Tag Archives: Writing

An Epilogue to The Past, A Prologue to The Beginning

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INTRODUCTION

Every morning when I wake up and get out of bed, there are certain facts I may not always be aware of. Mainly, each day could bring anything. It could be my last, my best, my worst, my craziest, or my saddest. On this day, I could meet a person I think of every day for the rest of my life. My life could change drastically or it might not. I might crawl under my covers at night, failing to see the purpose in the past sixteen hours I spent out and about.

This past year has been many things. The last 365 days have impacted who I am and how I see this world, and so many things have changed. It’s been the best, the worst, the craziest, the saddest, the happiest, the most confusing series of days in my life.

There is a lot left to figure out, to deal with, to come to terms with; and deciding what to do with this blog is just one small part. For a number of reasons, I have considered giving up writing and deleting this blog. I can hardly do either. But as it appears, I will be putting writing on hold and eventually taking down all content from this blog.

As a sort of “good bye (for now)”, I am posting a twelve-part (hopefully twelve parts, we’ll see) “epilogue”, describing my last year and all the glorious (or not so glorious) things that came with it. Well, I’m actually not sharing my secrets – just mainly feelings. But they are very personal.

I hope you can relate to some of my feelings or that I may encourage you in some way. I will be posting the parts as they come – I am guessing every other day or so. Stay tuned!

If you had to describe your last twelve months in one word, what would it be? After much deliberation, I think mine is “intense.” 😀 Tell me yours in the comments!

Picking Up Projects

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I am probably the most indecisive, undisciplined writer there is. Making up my mind about writing is impossible. I am very torn. I love writing and miss it very much, but the other side of me says I don’t have the time and there are more important things in life than writing stories that no one benefits from anyway.

Every now and then, I go back and read old things I have written. I started NaNoWriMo 2014, but quit about a quarter of the way into it. That was a big deal to me. Anyway, I actually really liked my story idea. In my humble opinion 😛 , I think it’s pretty cool. I got about 18k into it and then stopped. Here is the last bit I wrote:

I wanted us to stay alive.
I thought about the wish he gave me on the shooting star. I thought about our night together and how much we had thought we meant to each other and knew each other. I did know him now, but it wasn’t that way. It wasn’t the I-want-20-million-children-from-you way, or even that I needed him close. I needed love. And it wouldn’t have to be complicated.
I took a deep breath. “I hear them,” I said.

If I could only discipline myself to find a healthy balance between writing and life. I so easily obsess over things…

Have you ever “taken a break” from writing? What made you quit? What made you pick it up again? How do you balance writing and real life? I need advice. 🙂

MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR FIRST DRAFT – NaNo Prep

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  1. Plan ahead.

I am undecided when it comes to pantsing and outlining; but for something as big as NaNoWriMo, I take no risks and plan ahead. When pantsing, I often have a cool story idea that runs dry after approximately 20,000 words, while outlining (usually) guarantees a win.

  1. Take enough time to plan ahead.

Last year, I outlined my NaNoWriMo novel ahead of time. Things didn’t go entirely as planned (hey, my main character hadn’t told me about the sweet ex-boyfriend she hadn’t let go of) but I passed the 50,000 word count and felt accomplished. The manuscript is, however, as valuable as a garbled collection of notes for a story idea. Clearly, I didn’t know enough about where I wanted the story to go and who I was dealing with.

  1. Keep to the point.

I know we’re trying to write 50,000 words and only have 30 days to do it. At times I get desperate just to get my daily word count in. I scribble nonsense, things that have nothing to do with the story and affect my draft in detrimental ways. Be strict with yourself and don’t allow yourself to give in to the temptation to stuff in conversation, descriptions, subplots that don’t further the story.

  1. Dare to lose.

Winning NaNoWriMo is an incredible feeling. It’s nice to say, “Yeah, I won. I was even nearly 10k over the goal.” Check your reaction when someone asks if they may look at your work. I don’t think NaNoWriMo should be used for simply getting words out there. You are more than that. The tricky thing is, your novel is not completed at the end of November. An average novel is 90-100k words. NaNoWriMo gives you the opportunity to get back into consistency, to get a foundation for your new work-in-progress. I love the community feeling of writing and being in it together.

But I challenge you to seriously consider quality over quantity. First drafts are always pretty crappy, but there’s normal crap and then there’s… well, you know. By crapping 50k into a Word document, you may just be making more work for yourself than necessary. Honestly, if I wanted to complete last year’s story idea, I would start from scratch because my NaNoWriMo draft is nearly useless.

Don’t win for winning’s sake. Win for yourself. Write for yourself even if it means losing. NaNoWriMo is a tool for your benefit. Decide how you can benefit from NaNoWriMo. How can it help you write a better novel?

  1. Finish it.

Don’t quit December 1. Finish what you start. Give yourself something to work with. Finish your first draft, set it aside, and then pick it up with fresh eyes and mind.

Don’t give up on your story. I’m sure it’s pretty awesome!

Determining Your Protagonist’s Personality

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The wonderful thing about writing and blogging is all of you. I’m busy with NaNoWriMo prep (and not organizing my room like I should be), and I’m currently working on figuring out my main character. I know her name, a bit about her issues, and even what she looks like; but my next task is discovering her personality and what she is really like. It makes me wonder…

  • How does the protagonist’s personality affect the story?
  • Do I determine her personality and strictly write according to it, or will her personality develop as I write?
  • How the heck do I even determine a character’s personality?
  • What is personality?

Here’s where you all come in again. I love that I can be working on something, then I bump into an issue; but all I have to do is switch over to WordPress and ask for your all’s opinion. I love writers’ discussions, and I love hearing about how you write.

How do you write your characters and decide on their personality? Is it something you plan ahead of time? Or does it just appear somehow?

Which Comes First?

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There are few “real-life” people I can talk about writing with. Sometimes – and really only sometimes – I can persuade my sisters to. Around this time last year, I thought it would be the most fun thing in the world to sit around and create characters. With quite a bit of no enthusiasm, my sisters helped me come up with the two characters I used for NaNoWriMo 2013.

“You can’t write a story solely based on characters! You need plot.”

I agree with my sister’s frustrated statement. I do not believe, however, that you always need a plot first and then the characters come along later. A story is about a character and how the events that take place (the plot) affect him or her. Those are the three elements essential to every story –

  1. characters
  2. events
  3. change in characters caused by said events

Take one away and you don’t have a story. I usually have a plot before characters – last year was an exception. But what about you?

When you come up with new stories, which element do you develop first?

D. EMERY BUNN – Author Interview

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Emery belongs to my core collection of writer friends – for my part at least. He’s been a guest on my blog before, but this time it’s an interview. I hope you enjoy it. 

D. Emery Bunn is an author, editor, and engineer, though his pile of interests keep on getting larger. He got his start on writing thanks to National Novel Writing Month, and is an avid supporter of free culture, the power of writing, and the creative arts. Darkness Concealed is his first novel, but he will be working on the sequel and a cyberpunk short story collection. He lives at his home in Clovis, New Mexico.
Darkness Concealed - releasing September 23rd

Darkness Concealed – releasing September 23rd

Why do you write?

I write for several reasons. First, I wanted to tell stories that I saw no one else writing, putting a different spin on the expected. For those who are trope-literate (oh, the hours lost to TVTropes), I am a massive fan of subversion and aversion of common tropes. Anything I write isn’t just a story I wrote, it’s me twisting “the rules” and “expectations” around in a way that excites me.

Second, I love reading. What better way to appreciate the author’s work to give me an awesome story than by doing the same? I’ve read pretty much the gamut in genres, including War and Peace(if you want a quick rundown of how to write character sketches, read it. Tolstoy is a master). My poor Kindle is sitting on 60+ books to read, and my already read pile is just as long (and I only started using it in 2011). I don’t spend as much time reading as I wish I could, but the full time job cuts a lot out of my schedule.

Third, I love to ask hard questions, and seek to either answer them, or pose them in such a way that it’s up to the reader to decide what they want the answer to be. In Darkness Concealed, there are tons of questions asked about the depth of evil, the nature of prosperity and peace before that evil, and whether there can be a god who can be considered good. I answer none of these questions in full, but they’re all posed.

Fourth and finally, I write because I want to inspire others to write. I want to enable others to believe that they can tell a story that no one else can, put their own unique spin on the world we live in. One of my dearest values is leading by example, and so I write to show that the way is open to anyone with the desire and will to write.

What are you up to when you’re not writing?

I’m an avid computer gamer (League of Legends is my current mainstay, though I’ll bounce around RPGs, FPSs, and RTSs regularly). I’ve been gaming almost as long as I’ve been reading, and the natural pull toward constant improvement actually helps my revision ethic a ton. When I know it can be better, I look it over and make it change. Full text revisions happen often.

I also do a ton of reading, either blogs and websites or stories. Any time I take a plane trip a full novel usually succumbs to my consistent reading of it. A large part of my off-work time is spent on keeping up on all the posts for about 2 dozen different blogs.

I spend lots of time beta reading and editing for others, helping their work improve to a level that they’re satisfied with before they let the world at large read it. Right now, post-completion of Darkness Concealed, I’m working on two separate beta reads, each story at different phases of readiness.

Finally, I love tabletop RPGs. I know every version of D&D except the very first, and an adoring fanboy love of both Shadowrun (future cyberpunk/magic/fantasy) and Legend of the Five Rings (alternate timeline Japan where magic is real).

In some ways, tabletop got me my start on storytelling as I DMed large campaigns all about making things as realistic as possible. My first year of NaNoWriMo (2011) was a transliteration of one of those campaigns, entitled Even Heroes Fall, an evil campaign (of former heroes) as they struggle to change the political and social climate of the world they live in. I made my players both love me and hate me for always figuring out a way to throw monkey wrenches into their plans without derailing them entirely.

Tell us about your book.

Darkness Concealed is a dark fantasy/mystery novel:

50 years ago, the dawn did not come. Again. Everyone in Telthan knew it would happen. Monsters roamed the land, killing virtually everyone in their path, laying waste to anything in their way. Only a precious few survived to rebuild the wreckage of civilization, just like last time. No one questions the Darkening. Not even the children.

That is, until four strangers set off in search of answers, braving a forbidden city, a forgotten library, and foreboding mountains for the truth that has to exist. But the past does not give up its secrets easily, and the truth is far darker than the blackest night.

Where can we buy your book?

Amazon, Google Books, and Kobo. All three will go live on September 23rd at the price of $3.99. I will also have a full PDF copy of the book available for free on my blog the same day. Again, I believe in free culture, and I leave it as your option whether or not you buy the book.

Where would you like to be in 5-10 years?

In 5 years, I expect to have my initial two settings, the Darkness Trilogy, and the Normalization setting, more or less complete. From there, I have a few large story ideas brewing, but I’m not sure whether I’ll take them up or write something completely new.

I also hope to be well-known as an advocate of writing and free culture. I despise the state of copyright law (too long, too restrictive, too uncreative), and want to work toward it being made more reasonable. In a lot of ways, I live by Ghandi’s famous quote “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” so all of my work is available free from day 1.

Moving beyond there, I don’t know. I’m just getting my start on writing and publishing, and I don’t know where the path is going to lead. I guess I’ll find out.


Thanks so much for dropping by, Emery! If the rest of you are interested in knowing more about Emery and his work, you can connect with him on Twitter, Goodreads, and his blog. And check out his book!
Twitter: @DEmeryBunn

Past And Future – An Update

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  • I’m moving and going back to school.
  • I’m laying aside my current writing project.
  • And starting something new.

12-Month Review

This last year has been absolutely crazy.

Tomorrow is my last day of work before I move back to Berlin next week. A year ago, I had just moved back to Berlin again. I had finished a 5-month internship at my current job and was about to write my thesis to complete my Bachelor’s degree. My sister’s wedding was a few weeks away. We had people from four different countries staying at our house. It was the craziest and best time of my life.

On a lark, I decided to do NaNoWriMo. I had way too much fun and met lots of cool people. My thesis was approximately 10,000 words – that was torture. During the four months I had to write it, I wrote 100,000+ words for different stories… In February, I completed my degree; and a few weeks later, I moved again. I worked for five weeks, then had two months off, in which I traveled across the US to visit friends and family.

Germany won the World Cup!

What’s Ahead

I will be going back to school for a Master’s degree. I plan on being very diligent. 🙂

The Part about Writing

I also plan on taking my writing more seriously. I want to win NaNo again, so I have (slowly) been making preparations.

I have decided to lay aside my current projects and take up a new one. That is, I need to work on something smaller. I’ve found out that Hidden People is too much for me at the moment. The project and story is too huge (for me), and I need to be able to complete at least something.

I will be planning a shorter, less complex story to write in November. I want to go through a structured (yeah, good luck with that, Brooks) writing process and actually complete something. Hidden People etc. is too overwhelming at the moment. I definitely plan on picking it back up and finishing it, but I simply can’t manage it right now.

Details on my new project will follow. I am sort of excited about it. 😀

Who else is participating in NaNoWriMo this year? It’s coming up sooner than you think!