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13:00 - 18:0018:00 - 22:00

1:37 PM
dusts off knick-knacks and bric-a-brac
puts kettle on
2:20 PM
puts out a plate of biscuits
2:43 PM
Ohai. Thanks for the help.
Are you interested in hosting a second chat at a different time @Matt?
If you like, sure.
Some users have said they were disappointed because they can't make it to the Tuesday chat, but I can't really do another time.
Of course, it's not like you could really do a nighttime one. You'd be sleeping!
But let's think about it.
@KitFox 'tis the problem of working across multiple time zones
and different cultures
2:58 PM
@KitFox how are you today?
I am desperately trying to untangle some huge amounts of crap to send to my stupid project lead so I can have fun in chat today.
I've got 4 out of 14 done.
@KitFox funsies
Eh. It could be worse. I could have a crick in my neck that makes it painful to use the mouse.
Oh. Right. There's that.
oh no! That's horrible. I hope it goes away soon
3:04 PM
@KitFox :-(
encounters missing data
decides to ignore it
4:03 PM
in 57 minutes? Whoa.
4:29 PM
interesting. one of the writers for a blog i follow published a book on amazon unrealitymag.com/index.php/2012/09/18/…
I'm going to go eat lunch. I'll be back around chat time.
4:52 PM
Welcome to chat this week.
Thank you!!
I got lost on my way back here.
So today we were going to talk about some ideas for NaNoWriMo. Is anybody here thinking of participating in NaNoWriMo? Is anyone committed to participating this year?
I am thinking of it
@KitFox feverishly Googles
Have you created your account yet?
@ΜετάEd National Novel Writing Month. November.
nanowrimo.org/en My handle is KitFoxfire if anyone wants to be writing buddies.
4:59 PM
My handle is KitFoxfire, if you want to be writing buddies.
Have you ever done NaNo before?
I've not. I heard of it a couple of years ago, but I wasn't writing thngs at the time
I'm NeoMojo...
@Cerberus what's in a name?
Is it New Zealandish?
@MattЭллен I don't know!
5:02 PM
@Cerberus Well, that's the title, but it is an international event.
@KitFox Buddies!
Apparently InNoWriMo didn't roll off the tongue for them
@MattЭллен Sweet. How did you do that?
@KitFox I searched for you in the search box, went to your profile and added you as a buddy
@MattЭллен Weird. I can't find you. But we're buddies anyway!
We're missing a few regulars. @Mussri, @Nathan, @Gigili are you coming to chat?
And @Mr.Shiny.
5:06 PM
@KitFox OK.
OK, so is anybody else thinking of participating in NaNo? Or maybe just interested in seeing what's involved in preparing to write a novel in a month?
I'm here to cheer you on and bake you tarts.
Aw, thanks.
Moral support is always welcome.
I'm here to observe for the most part. Silent as a cellphone camera.
@alex I know you've been working on a novel for a while. Do you have some thoughts on what it takes to get ready?
5:09 PM
@GraceNote with the shutter sound off?
trying to write anovel is rather... intimidating
@MattЭллен Video, not snapshot
and i dunno if i have the ability to commit to it for a month+
@GraceNote ah! of course
@GraceNote Creepy stalkerlike observation is probably OK too.
@DForck42 Well, this is what I'm thinking. I know I can't do NaNo this year. There is just too much going on in my life right now. But I think it will be a good motivator for me to explore what the necessary steps are when beginning a big project like a novel.
5:11 PM
Not stalking. Tactical surveillence
And if I start writing it in November and don't finish it, there's still December etc.
@KitFox yup
So really what we here to talk about is how to tackle novel writing.
@DForck42 no, exactly one month. that's the point yo!
@MattЭллен the + was the preperations beforehand
5:12 PM
With the potential added benefit of participating in a fun writing event.
@DForck42 oh! well, yes, preparations. good point
So I've never written a novel.
I am a crazy organizing fiend though.
So the first thing I thought of when I thought about how I would begin writing a novel is: I should have some kind of idea.
@KitFox agreed
Now, this might seem like a no-brainer to some of you, but I imagine others will protest.
Ideas are things!
5:14 PM
Those of you who like to just sit down and write what comes out, you all are known as pantsless writers.
Prewriting of a sort is always an essential, no?
For most of my short stories, I start out with some small scene and let the rest write itself. So in general, I have kind of a pantsless style.
@GraceNote I really don't know.
@GraceNote not always?
It depends. I have had a pantsless style so far, but I've been thinking about researching and plotting before nano
@KitFox I could never write without pants. My computer chair is a leather-like thing that sticks.
5:16 PM
For a project as big as a novel, my thought was, this just wouldn't work.
Whether I'm writing a big thing or just wanting something to pass a few minutes, I always set some kind of goal.
@Donald.McLean Hahaha.
@KitFox me too
Larger projects will warrant an actual outline but if it's just "Let's flesh out this particular system of this world's mechanics", then I just figure out the scope of goals and work within that
Unless I found some way of writing 100 (or let's say 50) short stories.
@GraceNote Yes. That's what I'm getting at, I think.
5:17 PM
Over time, accumulating enough of these tiny passages creates an entire world system that is a lot better than trying to tackle the whole package in one session
So today we're going to talk about that process. How do we set the scope for a novel so that it is manageable and not intimidating? How do we outline an interesting, complex plot that can fill a novel and yet that can be broken down into bite-sized pieces?
Hey guys I'm late
You just had to pick the kind of topic I could actually contribute to.
Preferably pieces that can be written in three hour stints of 2,500 words or so.
Which is the pace you need to set for NaNo.
@BoltClock No worries. Welcome.
@KitFox Thank you
5:19 PM
So @GraceNote is going to tell us all about how she does it.
Hooboy. Well, am I allowed to skip the basics of things like dramatic structure?
Yes, let's assume we all know something about writing a decent story.
I just logged in to the site for the first time in I can't remember
I should point out that I just sprang this on Grace.
Without warning.
Now, I've never written for NaNoWriMo, so for my own education - is every 2500 segment supposed to be part of the actual story? Or can it be considered "prep"?
5:22 PM
@KitFox kinda figured ;-)
@KitFox ah....
@GraceNote the idea is that you write 50000 words in a month
@GraceNote You are not supposed to write any part of the actual novel before November, but you can write all sorts of prep. For NaNo, you have 30 days to write 50,000 words, which is about 1,670 words a day, I think.
that is it really - no collaboration or starting the novel proper before nov. but otherwise, make it work how you like
I am not sure where I came up with my 2,500 number earlier.
So during the preparation period, you can write character sketches, plot synposes, etc.
@KitFox Okay, so the portion that is actually done during the month is the actual novel. You can't spend any of those days doing associated work towards the novel
5:25 PM
@GraceNote You can, but that takes away from your novel writing time.
Yeah, and since you're expected of 50,000, no good there. So this'll all be next month's prep, basically
So the idea is that we are preparing in advance to maximize our chance of success.
Hi @Mahnax!
Well, the first step would be to figure out how much spacing you get out of one night's worth of writing. Obviously you can't use your actual material plans, but one thing I often like doing is backstory.
5:26 PM
And although we're talking boot camp prep for NaNo, I imagine that the steps would be similar for any novel-length project.
Things which sometimes aren't even relevant to the story you'll write, but which help make the characters more realized in your mind, and easier to work with.
I've got seven minutes and a fleeting internet connexion.
So do you like to start with your characters first, or your general plot?
@Mahnax just long enough to write a novel
@MattЭллен Fabulous!
5:29 PM
I think it's healthy to jump between three things. The characters, the world, and the plot.
I've been seriously considering NaNoWriMo, and now that I've decided to hand in my two weeks' notice at work, I think I might just try it.
I usually start off with a world basic entry (for some this might be as simple as modern day), then see what people populate that world, and from there, determine why these people have any relevance
@Mahnax Oh, wow!
Is it definitive?
I came up with a general plan of how I'd break up a story and thought about how I would want the story to go, but I don't have any characters jumping in to take the parts. It's kind of irritating.
5:30 PM
@Cerberus I have a letter written up that I intend to hand in tomorrow, if that's what you mean.
In the same fashion that writing the whole plot in one session is generally faulty, so too is trying to make all your characters fleshed out from the start.
@Mahnax Nice. I pinned the link and my handle on the board if you want to register officially and be my writing buddy.
@KitFox In your case, is it because the incidents of the story feel too removed from the characters behind them?
@Mahnax Okay, no doubts?
@KitFox I will register later, because I must away. My seven minutes was inaccurate.
5:31 PM
@GraceNote It is because my plot is too contrived.
cu mah
Ah, one of those. Oh, the joys of rewriting a plot to avoid what sounded good in the original version.
I imagine during the actual November month, this isn't a luxury you'll be able to partake in, though.
Which is why it's all the more important to make sure that the characters, the world, and the plot all work together.
Here is the idea. It was entirely to make the divisions in the story easy to see.
It is not my usual method.
But I'm not sure how to take what I usually do and make it into something big enough and interesting enough to be a novel.
Getting a chapter structure helps
Which you already have set before you, to some extent
Though now I'm jumping all over the place in my instructions, haha
5:35 PM
> In this story, two protagonists will move through each of these stages. The first will begin as a scientist and end as a philosopher. The second will begin as a worshipper and end as a logician. The idea will be to contrast the benefits of science and religion.
I will probably never actually write the novel in my head.
I feel I'm in good company.
So you associate religion with philosophy?
I think in the manner of "belief systems". In a sense, philosophy can be said to be a religion of its own, and likewise religion is the following of a sort of philosophy
@Cerberus In a sense, but this isn't really the time to discuss that.
I wasn't planning to...
I just sense a certain someone's shadow here, hehe.
5:37 PM
Has anyone else got an idea that they'd like to share? Maybe someone from last week?
From a personal report - I started a particular world setting with an interesting cast of characters coming from nine different nations. They had a lot of motivations and agendas to accomplish within the span of it, which made for a very large story
Hmm. I can see how that would work.
@GraceNote I wouldn't phrase it like that, but I didn't mean to discuss this, so OK.
Way back in 2009 I wanted to do a murder mystery. As you would expect, that never played out
5:38 PM
You could set out the backstory for each and then put them together and let them do their thing.
I did have fun writing the intro though, but I never passed the 2000-word mark
@GraceNote Wow, that's lots of possible combinations!
@BoltClock are you writing this from jail?
But then it turned out there was extremely low interaction between the characters in all of their agendas. Basically, what was supposed to be several intertwining stories, was just a couple stories that sometimes you'd see one of the others. Only about four characters even had any real reason to know any other character.
That often happens in novels, it can be very hard. Look at Martin.
5:39 PM
@KitFox the basic idea of what i have in my head is: a world where life is an rpg. to advance in society you must level up. and the main protagonist was put into a coma at a young age and is now years behind in leveling
Nine characters seems like a lot.
Actually, there were 17 characters
That seems like a lot too.
@DForck42 What sorts of things have you done to explore that idea?
@DForck42 That's a great plot. If you make it "realistic" enough. You might want to check out Jack Vance's "To Live Forever".
@KitFox coming up with questions to ask myself about it
5:40 PM
@DForck42 Are you keeping a record somewhere, like on your blog?
questions i've got so far, but haven't actually answered any of them: Who is the protagonist?
Who/what is the antagonist?
How do they determine when they level up?
What lets them see their progress?
What is society like?
How do they level?
What skills can be leveled?
Do people fight each other?
Do people die?
Is there murder?
How does healing work?
how does magic work?
Are there guns?
Oh, quite, which was an intentional goal of the project. These weren't the only characters - the whole thing was about stories in itself, these 17 were actual protagonists. "A life that passes is finite. A legend remembered is infinite." was the tagline for that project.
@KitFox not on my blog, but yes
@GraceNote Sounds interesting.
@DForck42 Oh, there is going to be combat?
5:41 PM
Even though there was some measure of interaction between the associates of the characters, even that was strained in parts. The characters were interesting individually, but the plot as I originally planned it wasn't.
@DForck42 Guns.
@Cerberus that's another question!
@GraceNote How long did it end up?
@DForck42 It could be like premodern duels, which were integrated into society to some degree?
@Cerberus maybe
5:43 PM
@KitFox Uh, one of my eight design documents is 230000 characters in length
And losing duels could mean loss of reputation and the perks that come with it?
that's not at all fleshed out
Ah OK.
@GraceNote Goodness.
@Gigili Hiya.
5:44 PM
That's the longest one, though, and there's a couple spell lists and descriptions in there
I kind of hit a tough spot though that might require some reworking,b ecause how is healing in an rpg world going to work wellw ith... a coma?
I added you as a buddy @Kitty.
@DForck42 You could go the cyborg way...
@Gigili Right back at you.
@Cerberus actually, i think i just solved it
5:45 PM
But the content of that document ranges from: taking a character and specifying their background and personality and quirks; identifying a system of the world (adventuring guilds, exuberance, phantoms) and solidifying it; geographical mappings; actual portions of the story including a pre-segment that takes place years earlier
@KitFox Great.
healing works only to an extent. most "duels" are stopped before serious injury, and brain injuries are the hardest to heal. although thanks to advanced healing, major brain trauma can be cured overtime and the body can be kept mostly functional
So it's not as if it's one giant coherent document. But, to me at least, jumping between a lot of things is more productive. It not only keeps me from being bored with "Ugh, how many more times am I going to talk about Mystical Energy?", but also as each part develops individually, you see what raises inconsistencies or problems in your earlier drafts that you wouldn't have noticed in knocking it out at the start
That could work.
5:48 PM
@GraceNote Nice. I hadn't thought of it that way.
To that end, especially if you're just prepping yourself for the real writing, don't be afraid to write about stuff that may never be mentioned in the stories or even be relevant to any motivations behind events or characters.
So in a nutshell, what would you suggest is the best place to start?
I always say begin with a basic world premise ('In this world, "Folk" are beings who can wield Mystical Energy to perform interesting feats. But there exist creatures known as "Fiends", born from Mystical Energy itself, who exist only to exterminate Folk), then work out just the start of basic characters, then get ready to develop a skeleton of a plot
World, then characters, then plot, then dance between characters and plot, working on the world as you see it necessary.
The development of the characters and the plot influence each other, while those two will influence the world just as much as the world influences the characters and the plot.
Thank you, @Grace.
Does anybody have any questions?
@GraceNote that's like... recursive... man...
5:53 PM
Remember the ultimate goal of structure in your plot, though. Don't get carried away with a cool story idea and end up with something that'll take four months.
Does using this world make it easier to plot, or do you still need to define your version of this world just as much as a fictional one?
I remember in a comic I made that went through lots of character development and little plot or world development (in fact, almost nothing is known about the world, even though I implied in most of my comic strips there is one)
Or maybe I'm just confusing "world" with "environment"
I wonder if world building is most essential for sci-fi/fantasy plots, where the assumption is that the world is different or works differently than ours.
What exactly is the definition of "world" anyway?
@MattЭллен So, one key thing about my world, as an example. The number 9 is a very lucky number. This is why there are nine nations. But the number seven is unlucky - it's a number highly associated with Fiends. One major thing that results from this is that people never travel in numbers greater than 6
@KitFox Well, you have a lot more work when you have to build from the ground up, from the start of history to all sorts of systems that don't exist in our world. But you can't forget that cities and such still exist in a contemporary setting
5:57 PM
That's true. I suppose if I want the characters to inhabit a particular kind of reality, I need to spend time on developing that feel, even if they live in 'the real world.'
@BoltClock "World" is the setting in which things take place. The time period, what technology is available, what resources people have available, the culture of those involved, the government, the economy... in a casual writing setting, you won't have to delve into the complex parts too much, especially if they are entirely irrelevant. The "world" is the scope of what happens in your story - if the local king is unnecessary, it isn't needed as a part of the world.
It's more than just the geography - things like family style (do people prefer to live with family until they marry, or do they seek independence the moment they become adults?), what trades people practice, the roles that people fall in outside the scope of your plot
13:00 - 18:0018:00 - 22:00

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