Tuesday, June 30, 2009

JulNoWriMo Day 1: And They're Off...

At midnight I start completely rewriting Black Science for JulNoWriMo. I'm looking to beat the almost 65,000-word WriMo record I set with Bad Company last JanNoWriMo. And I'm doing it with not just Black Science, but with at least one Spanner Side Story ("Mind Bomb") and maybe some still unwritten scenes of BadCo as well. And all this while I'm doing 50 Songs in 90 Days and resuming my Project 365 (I'm in the Flickr group).

So what are my plans for JulNo '09?

First thing, start writing Black Science at midnight my time. I'll be writing it as if it were a brand new NaNoWriMo novel, basically a first draft of a novel of which only one scene survives from the original fiasco I wrote during NaNo '06. I want to write as much of it as I have time for before my busy July 4, in which I'm recording two songs for 50/90 and playing my first songs live (albeit in front of family members).

Second, there's the first of my Spanner Side Stories. I've decided I'm going to use my neglected DeviantArt account and post these short stories to it. "Mind Bomb" will be the first. I'll post it chapter by chapter, and of course hope there's not too many chapters to call it a short story. After that, I'll start a new one. I hope to do one a week — if I don't pour out too many words of Black Science.

Third, I intend to start drawing again. At first, I intend to spend at least a few minutes a day on practice sketches so I can get back into it again. It'll be rusty at first, since it's been so long since I've drawn anything; I've spent too much time over the past couple of years writing novels and songs.

Of course, I'll write songs.

I've got an ambitious agenda for the next month. Let's see if I can actually pull this off for the first time...

Goal before I go to bed: 1,000 words. After I wake up: 5,000 words.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Black Science: Preparing for JulNoWriMo

Instead of returning to Bad Company, I started a new short story (which is turning novel) instead. I'll post the first few chapters soon, and I'll inform you here (and elsewhere) when I do. Though I'm now delaying BadCoFiMo, I still plan on doing the complete rewrite of Black Science for JulNoWriMo. I'm already assembling reams of old handwritten story notes, writing new ones, and collecting a small library of books and websites as research material.

A short synopsis of Black Science, or a rough treatment for the eventual plot: After the disastrous events of Bad Company (in short: Barack Obama gets elected, and giant military corporation Dictel invades America in a futile attempt to restore Operation Permanent Republican Administration), the government psychologist Willa Richter-Thomas is confronted with a choice to either join the super soldier project at Dictel Research or get railroaded for espionage. She chooses to fight. The big question: Why does the new Democratic government want to bring back the evil corporation that tried to destroy them in 2008? The answer, in one word: Afghanistan. President Obama is escalating the Afghan war into yet another Vietnam. And the Pentagon sees Dictel as the key to victory.

BadCoFiMo Delayed...But A New Strategy Emerged From Its Failure...

Turns out that, unfortunately, there will be no BadCoFiMo in June. The strategy just wouldn't come together, at least not now. If I start editing Bad Company, I'll have to take my time doing it, since I'll be focusing on Black Science for JulNoWriMo and AugNoWriMo while taking part in the 50 Songs in 90 Days challenge. But instead of BadCoFiMo, I decided to take a different strategy: writing short stories to prepare for BadCo, Black Science, and especially Spanner. It's called "Mind Bomb", and it's the first of a new set of "Spanner Side Stories". And it's already expanding into at least a novella...

"Mind Bomb" takes place in 2025 (or 6025 by the "Neo-Egyptian" calendar), almost a decade after the spectacular ending of Spanner. Shira and Desiree are back, in a new post-"Corporate Empire" world dominated by a large collection of constantly warring imperialist governments dedicated to the economic philosophy of state capitalism. And guess what? Even despite the fall of the Corporate Empire and the leading member of its ruling Cartel, Dictel Corporation — guess what? Dictel's back, and it's up to no good yet again! This time it involves the latest version of its infamous mind-control machine, the "psychotron", the biggest project of Dictel Research since the 1950s. When word gets out, thanks in part to a new recurring character named (in a sudden spasm of geekiness) Lala Sun-Microsoft (note name of corporations used as family names, something I'll explain later), a notoriously insatiable gossip, word gets out. When the state-capitalist empires all find out, all hell breaks loose in a free-for-all over the new psychotron. So a new character I created just for this story, calling herself Lucy Williams (formerly a Russian businessman [male], now a young [and very much female] roving activist), hires Spanner and asks her to repeat the "mind bomb" trick that took down Henry Becket, only on a larger scale.

This short summary omits several elements that I created for it, of course. First there are the factions: Corporates, Imperials, Crusaders, and so on. Then there are the posthumans of various kinds, including the strange cyborg-beings prominent in Spanner and a new breed of cyber-entities who have uploaded their consciousnesses to the Internet and/or Hans Moravec-inspired robots, and thus abandoned carbon-based lifeform altogether.

Unlike the Dictel trilogy, and far more than even Spanner, "Mind Bomb" is a true science fiction story — cyberpunk, in fact.

So this is what I've been doing instead of BadCoFiMo. That and writing notes on the Spanner and its spinoffs, from Bad Company all the way to "Mind Bomb" and beyond.

I'll keep you posted here more frequently. And I'll make sure to tweet updates.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bad Company: BadCoFiMo Starts Late...

After losing Script Frenzy, I took a break from the whole WriMo thing. I took May off. As it turns out, I took almost the first half of June off too. That means my "Bad Company Finishing Month" is starting late — when the month is already half over. But at least I've actually started BadCoFiMo...

I changed my BadCoFiMo plan when I started trying to insert those JanNo/FebNo scenes from their standalone files into the main manuscript. Each day during JanNoWriMo, I wrote scenes from various parts of the novel and saved them in separate files to make sure I could count the words more easily and not mess up the main file. However, some difficulties ensued when I tried to put the scenes in their proper places in the novel. So I realized that I need a new strategy:
  1. Separate the chapters of the novel from the main file and put each chapter into a separate file, named in the order I find them in the main file.
  2. Separate each of the JanNo and FebNo files into the separate scenes, one file per scene.
  3. Organize (and, if necessary, reorganize) the files so that all the scenes are in their proper order.
  4. Take out the index cards I've already used and write ideas for the missing scenes on new blank ones.
  5. Map all the storylines and character arcs so that I have a better idea of those I've already written and how to write the unfinished and unwritten ones.
  6. Write all the remaining unwritten scenes and put them in their proper files (new ones if necessary) in the proper order.
  7. Organize the scenes and chapters again if necessary.
  8. Finally, put the whole thing back together, restoring the main file with all the original and new scenes in their new order.
This should make everything a lot easier for me to write and edit, even if it's more unwieldy on my hard drive and in Word.

I still plan to finish the first complete draft this month. I've simply gotten a late start on it, as I've gotten distracted by news and opinion websites, which can get addictive...