Well, it’s back to work at the apocalypse tomorrow. Time to reflect on what I’ve accomplished during the past week or so now that I’m rapidly running out of time to slack about. Here’s what got done during the vacation:
* Visited with the folks, my brother, my adorable nephew, my grandparents, and my second cousin for a few days after Christmas. It was a very concentrated sort of visit – two full days of driving hundreds of miles in a rented Shoebowl on either side of a couple of days of hanging around the homestead and gorging myself on turducken. I also owe a visit to some folks in Fernandina Beach. I’m hoping time will allow in the very near future!
* Added about 100 pages to the new OtherSpace Wiki.
* Tweeted a bunch.
* Picked up a new iTunes FM transmitter for the Juicebox and the second season of Babylon 5 at Best Buy.
* Got No Son of Hekayt, Book I, online for free download at http://www.jointhesaga.com – a move that I made because I’m more interested in drawing newcomers to OtherSpace MUSH and the book’s a more tangible hook than a plain old invitation to explore the abstract concept of an online roleplaying environment. I also tweaked the main website a bit, adding buttons to link to the Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress pages – as well as the new forums, the Wikis, and the old community site. (If you’d be so kind as to become a fan of Jointhesaga on Facebook, that’d be great! And if you want to follow me on Twitter, that’s also cool.)
* Scored the Loremaster of Outland achievement on World of Warcraft. That’s Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, and Outland finished. Now to wrap up Northrend so that I can claim that Loremaster tabard. Also, got Stamp much better geared and statted for the DPS role that I intend him to play, thanks to a lot of pick-up group runs. (Got the Perky Pug pet too. Best virtual pet in the game, if you ask me.)
* Leveled in Fishville and Mafia Wars, but Farmville is slow going. I may be losing patience for the farm. Feels like such a grind.
* Got Huck a full dental workup, grooming, and a blue kerchief. He looks great, but will be on antibiotics for a couple of weeks to clear up some skin issues.
* Saw Sherlock Holmes – twice. Once with my brother in Orlando; second time with Karen at Southpoint in Durham. It didn’t seem as good to me on second viewing, gotta admit.
* Saw Avatar, again, but this time in IMAX 3D. Big pretty is still pretty, although the story’s definitely very formulaic and simplistic.
* Watched Terminator Salvation, finally, on Movies On Demand. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t as bad as I had expected.
* Watched UP again, on Movies on Demand. Sad part is still sad, but the movie’s still very enjoyable. Classic work.
* Wanted to watch O Brother, Where Art Thou? again, but discovered that the DVD is SCRATCHED. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?! Must get a new one ASAP.
When I wasn’t sick during November, I tried to stick to a general schedule of at least 1,000-1,500 words per day. I normally accomplished this by writing some in the early morning and some during lunch hour, but most was done at night or during the weekends.
I benefited from taking a week off from work to visit Charleston. I also took advantage of the 4-day weekend of Thanksgiving, especially since I wasn’t actually traveling for the holiday.
During the sessions in Charleston, I either wrote on my netbook in the hotel room or in the library at the nearby college.
At home, I usually went into the study with a cup of hot tea, cranked up iTunes, and proceeded to write a segment to completion. After finishing a segment, I tinkered around on OtherSpace, Twitter, Facebook, or on World of Warcraft. Sometimes I would take a longer break to watch a movie (Star Trek on Blu-Ray and Godfather II, for example).
I published segments in a WordPress blog. Announcements went out to readers as each section went up. It was gratifying to get feedback as I went along!
During the rush to write 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month, it is very easy for the process to turn into a real space-filling slog.
I’m happy to report that, for me, NaNoWriMo 2009 never felt sloggish. Some times were more amusing to me than others, though.
The chapters that introduced the major characters gave me a lot of surprises. When I started writing, I only had a few major characters in mind: Zazal the Lotorian, Vard Bokren the pirate, and Aldur Bokren – disgraced and broken father of the pirate.
Zazal started out in my mind as a relatively hapless innocent, but he quickly evolved into a creature with a lot of knowledge (especially about alien languages) and some craftiness to go along with his conscience. This character was a new creation, not based on anything I’d introduced to players on the grid. That made him even more interesting.
People on OtherSpace had met Vard Bokren before. In his in-game iteration, he’s a fairly standard, straightforward villain with a funky electrified prop on his arm. So, sticking him in this story allowed me the chance to provide readers with a “prequel” version of the pirate. He’s not as dark, brutal, or anvilicious as this story begins. In fact, as the story progresses and he starts to trust Zazal more, Vard actually gains a more Han Solo-ish quality – the smart-alecky rogue.
The Kamir Chapters
I really had a great deal of fun fleshing out the back story of the ancient race known as the Kamir and their creations, the Il’ri Kamm Hive Mind. For the first time since OtherSpace opened in 1998, I took some time and provided the foundational story for them. This only really became possible in this context because of the framework of writing about the origins of the civilizations on Kamsho.
For people who play Opodians, Llivori, Gankri, and Tupai, these chapters offer good information about where they came from. For everyone else, it puts into perspective the creation of the Hive Mind and the eventual fall of the Kamir.
Arrival on Comorro
As everyone finally came together aboard Comorro Station, it felt like a natural finishing point for the opening, stage-setting material of the broader work.
In particular, I enjoyed the chance to parallel the conversation between Vard and Zazal with that of Vard and his friend Yurok much earlier in the book. In the earlier conversation, Vard sits silently while Yurok nervously spills his guts about betraying his commander. In this later chapter, Zazal refuses to talk while Vard keeps blurting in frustration.
In all honesty, none of the writing in this felt like a chore. I never fell so far behind that the climb felt impossible and I paced the final push for when everything in the story was coming to a head.
I’m looking forward to where the story goes next!