Friday, February 19, 2016

Time flies!

Didn't realize I haven't been here for several months until I noticed that the last post was about NaNoWriMo! i can't say it's because I've been busy, because everybody is - for some reason everybody else seems to have something to show for it though!

I've been writing. Kept on working on the text I wrote for NaNo, but mostly I've been playing around with a novel I wote last summer. I wrote it in English, just to practice the language, and right now I'm translating it to Swedish. Realized it's not such a bad way to work on a text - English is a beutiful language, ans since it's not my natve tongue I'm not as self-conscious about the writing. Swedish is worse; I'm suppose to know the words, am I not?

But, to be honest, it's been more drawing than writing ;)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

First day of NaNoWriMo!

It's November again, and that can only mean one thing: time to write until your fingers bleed.

...Or at least that is what I usually do. Last year I had about 5000 words done in the first day, this time I didn't. Well, I'm feeling quite at ease with this subject, so I don't rush. Having a blast really.

The first day of Cideon's Brief History of the World was just a timeline. From that I have made links to pages where I expand the story a bit more. I'm so glad I found that feature in Scrivener!

The problem I encountered is that I will have to write something about a fictive religion too, I just added a religious group that is trying to take over the world. No time for writer's block here! One thing though. I notice right now that I find it really difficult to write in English. I've been writing and thinking in Swedish all day.

So. To all of you out there who are writing - good luck, break a leg and all that, but most of all: have fun!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sentimental value

I've been having the most fun ever - and I never thought it would be, which is why it hasn't been done until now.

I'm cleaning up.

Not at home, even though I should; no, far more interesting. I'm collecting everything I've ever written from the fantasy world I've built. It's a lot, I've been obsessed with this place since I was fourteen, so all the really crappy stories, the very limited conlangs I made in high school during my Latin classes, all those old characters (some of them are still the same, believe it or not) and the strange backstories; they are all about to find their way into the pile of research in my Scrivener file. Not all of it, but some of it can actually be of use.

What made me really sentimental was the old map I had drawn, where some of the place names saw daylight for the first time. I still have a Cliff of No Return just for the shits and giggles, a vast backstory to that name, but the Doomed Forest isn't around anymore. There are some historical places added to that map, and I remembered how much fun it was to come up with both the names and the backstories to these little spots on the map. An old bridge over a waterefall which seperated two countries at war, for example. Two ancient kings met on this bridge to sign a peace treaty.

Then I found something that I hadn't thought of at all. 
A calendar. I made a calendar some time during high school, made up important holidays in different cultures and countries. Why this find was such a surprise to me was that I totally had forgotten about it. I still use the same names on months and deities, but the holidays? I had forgotten about those. Of course I had to fix that right away. 

So, cleaning up. 
Couldn't get rid of the old maps, but lots of other papers just lying around. Filled a grocery bag with discarded papers, post-its and so on, and there's still a lot to go through. 

Found my old journals too, and they are really in bad shape. I had them with me everywhere. Full of scribbles, illustrations, ideas for stories and short dialogues between characters. My head was as strange back then as it is now...

So, sentimental value - yes. That's probably all it is, the only reason why I've saved these things for such a long time. Some of it for almost twenty years. This time I'll save the little nuggets of gold, and in another ten years I'll probably look at it all again with the same facial expression as I had today. I felt almost like I was looking at baby pictures of my daughter. 

Oh, and here's some Skyrim fanart I doodled the other day. Seldom save doodles nowadays ;)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Feeling relieved

Maybe this is not what it's all about - NaNoWriMo, that is - but I've decided to work with my research during November. For the time being, everything is chaos. I have some of the work written in really old Office documents, post-its and scribbles in journals, other things are found in Google docs. Some of it have been moved to Scrivener but are in such a complete mess that I can't find it.

So, a while back I was talking about making a wiki for the story, making it easier to find the information when I'm working. I realized that most of the features I needed in a wiki is actually found within Scrivener, so I can get what I want without adding new programs.

So, yeah. This is probably a little like cheating; I won't start anything new and I won't be writing a first draft. I still have to add a whole lot of information to make the threads between places, characters and timelines work, and there's a whole lot of information that have been lost on the way and has to be rewritten. I haven't taken the time to do this earlier because... well, it's boring, really. Pretty much like cleaning. It's much more fun to write, but a structure would make that part much easier.

So, hopefully I have some of the maps ready at the end of November. I have said for years that I should make maps of the cities and their suroundings, make sure the world map is up to date and so on. Make sure I have all the information on all the places ready and make sure I haven't used different sources in the novel itself. I doubt that last part, but I'll have to take a look at it anywway.

I also want to make a timeline of the world history, which at the moment doesn't exist. stuff happened, but when?

And all those illustrations lying around... They should really be scanned and placed where they are easier to find. Like in the character sheets for example.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The voice of a character

I was wondering... 

How many of you hear your character with an accent and all when you picture them? I noticed that I do when I write in English, but not when I write in Swedish. Maybe because there is such a diversity of accents in the English language. Swedish - well we have some, but it's not really the same.

I noticed this, because I've been writing in Englsh all summer - still reading and writing in English just t practice the language. The main character I've been writing about has a British accent, sounds a bit like a thespian playing Hamlet. He's a drunkard, has several children in every port and can't talk about anything without finding a double entendre. I've had lots of fun, laughing hysterically to the voice I hear him speak with inside my head.

And he falls in love. Of course he does. With a tall, blond, muscular health freak who's sent to kill him. Yeah, she's an assassin. She's also a werewolf, talks with that adorable Savannah-accent, but is a bit too forward to be comfortable to be around. The thing is, she is bruatlly honest all the time, but everything she ways is said with that adorable voice, which makes her murders utterly amusing to write about.

The big thing about this is, that you use words that fit better with that accent you've chosen, which gives the character even more personality.

And then I come back to Swedish, and every male character sounds like my husband, every female character sounds like me, and there's no diversity at all. The voices aren't as amusing to write about. I'll ether have to find some accents that fit the characters quickly, or I'll have to think in English while writing in Swedish.

Man, I wish I had all your accents in Swedish too.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Song Challenge!

Yeah, I like challenges. Have been stuck on that video game challenge for a while now, written a whole bunch of short stories based on video games. Lots of fun, but now it's time for something new.

The Song Challenge!

Grab a song, read the lyrics and try to write a short story based on it.

What to remember:
  • The song has a hidden meaning - DON'T use that. Pretend you've misunderstood the entire text and twist it until it's hardly recognizeable. Example: Boogie Wonderland by Earth, Wind and Fire. Write it as if it was a fighting scene with zombies. Perfect for practicing double entendres - if you know what I mean *wink-wink, nudge-nudge*
  • Add rather than remove things to the story to create the right feeling.
  • Keep everything in order. If the lyrics starts with "Midnight creeps so slowly into hearts of men who want more than they get...", then that is where you'll begin your story. Maybe you're describing how it feels to turn into a zombie, I don't know, but keep the order of the song.
  • If anybody is going to say anything, try to use lines from the song. like "Baby, uh, uh, it don't work" (even though I'd probably do something about the grammar).
And by that, here's my example. It's not supposed to be serious, so there's no need for false politeness ;)

The song is, as mentioned, Boogie Wonderland by Earth, Wind and Fire.

The Sanctum. What was it with some people, preserving their dead? She could have asked John, but he would probably have laughed her in the face. It didn’t matter how silent she was, behind every door there was another mummy waiting, ready with a weapon and a spell, just a shout away from turning her into dust. As if it was guarding something. Marsha knew she was good at what she did, but for some reason the annoying little man behind her knew what to say to make her feel insecure. Muttered curses between his teeth as Marsha opened a wooden door with a squeak. Called her unprofessional. A squeaking door was of course out of her hands, but John’s words hit her right in the stomach like a hard fist. At first she felt guilty, was just about to give him an excusing smile.
That was before she noticed that there were no mummies on the other side of that last door and that the chest on the platform in the middle of the round chamber already had been looted.
The lid stood wide open.
That little thieving bastard. John hadn’t just reconnoitered the area while waiting for her, he’d emptied the place from everything of interest.
So, why did he need her around at all? It was nothing but a dance in Boogie Wonderland; a dance he knew all too well on his own.
He needed her as a shield. The chill running down her spine at that moment was enough for her to get her act together. He was up to something, and he thought she’d be a pawn in his game.
Marsha frowned and gave John a mean glance and a crooked smile over her shoulder.
“Midnight creeps so slowly into hearts of men who need more than they get”, she whispered, giving the new blade in his hand a glance. He knew how to handle a sword, and this wasn’t the one he usually carried. It wouldn’t be balanced the same in his hand.
John met her gaze, and as if he knew what she was thinking he replied her with a wolfish grin.
“Daylight deals a bad hand to a woman who has laid too many bets.”
His face, a mirror of her own expression staring back at her. Then he shook his head, still with that grin; he didn’t even say it loud. She understood what he meant: “Baby, uh-uh. It won’t work.”
Marsha didn’t even bother to draw her sword. It would be her death sentence. That sly bastard, he knew she wouldn’t fight him face to face. He’d keep his eyes on her, preferably her back.

Marsha wouldn’t call herself a religious person. She’d kept the old silver cross that her father gave her, but she didn’t have it with her. Left it by the shrine in her home, kept it more of tradition than belief, prayed because she had gotten used to it. She said her prayers though she didn't care.
At least not until now. When she turned her back against John to walk through that door, she prayed. Asked her ancestors to protect her from whatever that deceitful rat would decide to do behind her back, asked God for wisdom, even sent a thought to grandma.
Why wouldn’t she - this mission, this tomb; it was madness, and for once her crazy old grandma might be able to see things from the right perspective. Marsha knew this wasn’t life, but she didn’t want to go like this, not without a fair fight where there at least was a chance that she didn’t reach the end of her line.

On the other side of the chamber was another wooden door, this one locked. So, either John hadn’t gone further than this, or he’d locked the door when he returned to the surface. The latter rather improbable. Whatever met her on the other side, he hadn’t sneaked past it before. A slight flutter in her stomach as she bent down to pick the lock, thinking that this was ridiculous. Why was she doing this, really? He apparently managed to unlock doors that wasn’t supposed to be unlocked; why was he standing there behind her, instead of doing what he did best? She didn’t have to think that thought through; Marsha remembered that she already had the answer to that question. And still that short little man had the stomach to taunt her when she broke her lockpick. Marsha took a deep breath, tried to pretend she didn’t hear him, grabbed one of her hairpins and got back to the lock.
The door flung open, a narrow and dimly lit corridor in front of them. The stench of decay, sound of feet over stone and rubble further in.
“Dance and shake the hurt”, Marsha murmured, took a deep breath and walked slowly on light feet into the corridor. John followed just behind her, stopped when she stopped at the edge of a platform. On the ground floor, several feet below them, three mummies were walking back and forth. One of them wearing a crown on top of the linen wraps, the two others holding staves.
“Dance” John agreed, and for the first time since their paths crossed, Marsha understood him. In this boogie wonderland, they talked the same language.
So she giggled. “Yeah, dance.”
The sounds flew through the night; her screams, his taunts, metal clashing against metal or rotting and peeling flesh. They were both on the ground floor in a whirlwind. Back against back, spells making the floor crumble under their feet, her sword glowing of the fire within. For a short moment they were equals, chasing the same dreams in this land of undead.
The noise woke others; like sleepwalkers they left their sarcophaguses to join in the fight only to meet their end at a sword. Limbs scattered around them, a severed head flew across the hall and bumped over a table in the middle of the room with a thud, and when the last of the undead was lying on the floor, twitching before leaving to the eternal stillness, John and Marsha turned around, face to face, a split second of understanding before he grabbed her face in his calloused hands and kissed her. Hard, demanding and with the same desperation as herself.
And they both knew that soon they’d be dancing again, and one of them would reach that dream at the end of the other’s blade.

Have fun!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Video Game Challenge!

Firstly, I'd like to say I'm sorry for not writing in a long while. I've been busy with work, being a parent, and recently reading lots of books (and some light video gaming). My summer holidays started a week ago and I've been delving into all those books I've wanted to read since Christmas.

And as I finished that last book and still was hungry for more, I started searching the web for anything, really. I found something quite interesting; fanfiction based on video games.

This made me think. What game have I played recently? Well, Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V : Skyrim, of course. I bought the legendary edition a while back.

I played Skyrim a few years ago, finished the main quest line and all the guild quests and was bored when I reached level 80 and couldn't level any further for the perks.

So, I started a new campaign, completely new character build.
...Or, not entirely. I have played female Dunmers since the dawn of ages in these series, so of course I still play a female Dunmer, but last time I went for a battle mage through and through. This time I went for a thief. Different perks, and in my oppinion much more fun to play.

OK, so to the challenge.

Chose any videogame you like, I guess RPG's are to prefer though. Write a short snippet about your character, and make sure to stay true to the way you've played it so far.

My example is, as mentioned before, based on my Dunmer from Skyrim. I tried to build the character for this snippet based on the skills and the perks I've practiced this far.

Her name is Savesea Salobar, names snatched from the Elder Scrolls III : Morrowind. She's a skilled marksman (level 90), great at sneaking and mixing potions, besides that I've worked on her light armour- and speech skills. Oh, and she's also a werewolf. For a thief though, she sucks at all kinds of stealing this far.

Here we go!

“I’m a Dunmer, you thought repellant little alit”, Savesea scoffed with one of her eyebrows raised, “where, in that small brain of yours, can you find me a reason to join the stormcloaks?”
Not the best way to answer a question on such a touchy subject.
Especially not when in Windhelm, the city where Stormcloaks seemed to pop up faster than mushrooms in a cave.
And as usual, her big mouth ended her up in yet another brawl with yet another man who thought she’d be an easy target.
“Damn it”, she murmured as she rather hastily decided to leave Candlehearth Hall, the man she’d fought still panting on the floor. She left with sore knuckles and blushing cheeks indeed, but from the sound of that slowly growing mob behind her, there wasn’t much hope of keeping neither knuckles nor cheeks if she stayed. Maybe she should have listened to the angry woman at the counter and gone for the Gray Quarters instead. Even if that's where the rest of her kind stayed, she didn't like that slum.
This mob though. And that full moon. Awesome, just awesome.
Maybe it was better to leave Windhelm all together.
Her blood was boiling of suppressed rage and she could feel the beast trying to escape through her chest, nails trying to turn into claws. It was painful, and she had to regain her cool. The weather outside was cold enough to help.
She pulled her hood up, took a deep breath, opened the door and walked out into the blistering snow. Was the weather always this welcoming in this part of Skyrim? Hold that thought. Was the weather ever welcoming at all in Skyrim?
“With that big mouth of yours, Savesea, you’re the real alit”, she kept scolding herself, muttering all the way down the stairs, clenching her fists. Without even noticing it herself, she harvested some snowberries from a bush as she passed. Still muttering, concentrating only on her heartbeat as she forced it back down to a slower phase, she kept on walking directly towards the huge gates just a stonesthrow away from the inn. Irritating really; she’d already paid for the room and yet not even had a glance at it.
A guard opened the gate for her and she walked by him without even giving him a slight nod as a response. Breathe in, breathe out. Think happy thoughts. Gold. Yes, gold was nice. Swiming in a sea of septims and diamonds, rolling naked over a bed covered with jewels. Yes. Much better.
Though, it was painful to her core that she’d spent some of those septims on a bed that she wouldn’t use. The thought of that empty bed made her mutter a whole sentence of ill repute words, but the beast was back in it’s leash. Admittedly pulling the chains, barking and snarling.
“Excuse me?”
A man’s voice pulled Savesea back from her thoughts.
“I’m sorry, what?” she answered, put on a quick smile to hide her confusion. A guard. Of course. She’d just left Windhelm, of course there’d be a guard. Why was she so surprised?
“Did you just call me a s’wit from a fetcher’s ass?” he asked, which made her stop in her steps, one foot mid air and spin around looking directly at him.
Keep your cool. Don’t feed the beast with anger. Feed her something nice. Like sweet rolls.
Only picturing the beast licking the frosting off a sweet roll was enough to make her smile.
“A s’wit from a fetcher’s ass?” Oh, she might just have said that, she wasn’t sure. “Of course not.”
“I’m quite sure you did”, the guard replied.
Savesea gasped and covered her mouth behind a gloved hand. “Oh, dear, I’m sorry, you weren’t supposed to hear that. I must have thought out loud.”
“Would that make any difference?” the guard asked, now with a harsher tone. 
Those helmets, they were really irritating, how could one interact with a person whose facial expressions were so hard to decipher? She could smell anger on him, a bit of sweat. She would never recognise this man again if she only saw him. That smell though. Maybe he wasn't familiar with baths.
She would have to talk herself out of this one, and since it really hadn’t turned out to be her lucky day this far, she wasn’t sure feeding the beast with even more sweet rolls would make the difference. Maybe the beast would become morbidly obese and not have the strength to keep pulling those chains?
Rhymes. What could she have said that was a bit better than… that? Her brain tried to rummage through words that could form a less offensive sentence while her heart started to beat faster.
Sweet rolls. Gold. Diamonds. By Azura, I’ll give you a rabbit haunch if you just behave.
The beast backed down, wagging it’s tail.
This might actually work!
Savesea took a deep breath and moved slowly towards the guard. Being dressed in leather armour wasn’t working in her direction even though it was new and of superior quality. Flutterling eyelashes, a mischievous smile, biting her bottom lip usually did the trick, but a plunging neckline would have been better still.
Another step, a sigh as she entered his personal space. She could smell it on him; this was as close as he’d let her come. 
For now, at least.
“This is really embarrassing, I don’t want you to think less of me for this.” Savesea said and inched just a little bit closer. Reaching for his arm, desperately working her mind to find the right words while bowing her head just slightly to be able to give the man a gaze through her eyelashes. “You see…” she hesitated for a second then smiled even wider. This time her smile was honest though: she suddenly know what to say.
“The thing is, as I passed through the gate I couldn’t help but having a glance at your… behind”, Savesea whispered and lowered her glance in faked embarrassment. “What I said was ‘that’s fit, what a fetching ass’ - oh, my, this is really awkward.”
If she’d been able to blush on cue her act would have been even better, but it would probably not had made any difference. With a skin as dark as hers the poor guard would not have noticed it anyway.
At first they just stood there, both silent. Savesea looked up again, trying to figure out what the man was thinking. His shoulders fell down and back, from defensive to proud. The smell of anger ran away with a couple of fast heartbeats.
“Huh”, he said, almost laughed. “Thanks, I guess.”
Savesea sighed from relief, gave him a quick wink and left. She could sense his eyes following her down the path towards the stables.

If you'd like to try this challenge, please send me a link! 
I'd love to read what you've come up with!