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Jun. 17th, 2007

Divination Methods Useful for Fatewriting.

Dice:
Mostly useful in determining numbers of things. Even-sided dice can also be used in lieu of a coin to decide between two options.

Cartomancy:
Any system that makes use of any type of cards for gathering information (ex. Tarot). Currently, this is my preferred staple for this kind of work, since cards can provide a huge range of information while still being predictable enough to use for quick reads. Their established systems of symbolism also make it easier to get more detached information.

Digital Sonomancy:
I personally make use of a music playlist and software randomization, but one could just as easily use spoken-word files or scroll to a random spot in a larger spoken file. While this method can provide even more variety than cards, given that each song out of hundreds or thousands has a unique character, it could be either harder or easier to interpret because there are no rules or established symbols. (And I just now made up this term, since I couldn't find another that fit. It should mean "divination by sound" if I got it right. ^^)

Bibliomancy:
Any divination that uses books. One could take a completely random approach to this (flip to random page of random book, put your finger on a sentence with your eyes closed) or combine it with something like die-rolling to add greater control (which shelf, which book, which page, which paragraph, etc.). Bibliomancy could be used together with Google's "I'm Feeling Lucky" feature (Googlemancy?) to call up the search engine's current first webpage dealing with a word selected from a book; the other contents of this webpage could then be incorporated somehow into the planning or writing.

Wikimancy:
Wikipedia's random page function can be used to gather unpredictable sources of information that can be used for inspiration or directly included in the work.

Oneiromancy:
Technically divination by dreams. In my case, my dreams often contain worlds, plots, and characters that are far better than anything I could invent while awake, so this method would be more like taking inspiration directly from dreams.

While any divination system could probably find some application in random story generation, I'm hoping to update this page only with those that seem especially well-suited for it.

--E.G.

Nov. 30th, 2006

(no subject)

It approaches in the distant heat haze as the bystanders on the side of the road crane their necks, squinting against the sun. Could it be? Is it them?

Quietly, quietly, the first few notes of "Chariots of Fire" rise into the air.

They are closer now, a pasty white kid with a somewhat squishy midsection and no muscle tone to speak of. Their face displays the kind of striking good looks that normal people can only duplicate by punching themselves in the head with a brick. The number on the piece of paper pinned to their shirt is somewhere in the thirty-thousands. Sweat-mist fogs their spectacles and drenches their running gear, but still they continue on. The first of the spectators by the finish line, upon recognizing them, sets up a cheer that slowly spreads.

Somewhere, someone cranks the volume up a little on "Chariots of Fire" while someone else switches the camera to slow-motion mode.

Gasping for breath, staggering more than running, the authors struggle to put on a burst of speed as they catch sight of their goal. They stumble once as they gain momentum on the downward slope, but they quickly recover, urged on by the crowd and half blind from the sweat streaming across their eyes.

"Chariots of Fire" booms over the Secret Soundtrack Speakers, reaching its triumphant peak as they step across that beloved line on the pavement; the yellow ribbon stretched above it streams back from their waist as they break through. Tears course down over smiling cheeks as they raise their fists in the air, weeping with joy and relief. Those assembled rush forward to greet them as they trip on their shoelaces and take a header onto the lawn.

"Here's your towel, guys," says one. "You kind of stink."

"Thanks for caring, dude," they reply, rubbing themselves down.

"Here's your strawberry daiquiri and chocolate cake," says another. "Time to get hammered!"

"Amen! And thanks," they say again. "Where's the MC with the you-know?"

"Right here," the MC says. "In honor of your ability to sit on your ass for an entire month and type feverishly while ignoring all other aspects of your life like some nutcase hermit, we the people present to you this beautiful plaque!"

Sobbing anew, overcome with their surging emotions, they triumphantly lift their prize above their head so all may behold its glory:



Grabbing the first microphone that they can find among the crowd, one of them somehow finds the strength to gasp, "Upon achieving such a grand and lofty goal, I find myself thinking of what to do with the rest of my life...indeed, once a man has conquered such an unconquerable peak as this, the remainder of his life is often left in the shadow of the high point in his past. Possibly I shall simply fade away, a tragic victim of brilliance that can never be outshone."

"Didn't they do the same thing last year? Or twice, two years before that?" one person in the crowd whispers to another. The general murmur swallows up any possible answer.

"Didn't they finish a day before the deadline? I thought they usually wrapped this kind of thing up by the third week. Sounds like they're kind of slacking, actually," somebody else whispers to another somebody else.

But the opinions of those who mutter are finally voiced by some guy in the back of the crowd who, lifting his hand to get the attention of the people in charge, shouts, "Excuse me? I just came for the beer. Where's the keg, man?"


*

TOTAL WORD COUNT: 50,218 (NaNo's word counter put me at 50,026, but at least I made the cut)

I am a hero!! (Kind of.) And I am also tired. I was trying to think of what I should do with myself now that I don't have to write in all the free time that I have...the only thing I could really think of was to try and finish DDS2. I really miss Heat, even though he is not playable until the very end. pT_Tq Other than that, I plan to sleep a whole lot until I regain my long-lost ability to actually feel refreshed upon waking up.

Surprisingly, the last ~4K that I had to write today was taken up almost entirely by the chara-establishing section for Blue Amy's player. I so shamelessly based her on myself that I felt kind of uncomfortable to be writing her descriptions by the time I wound down...some of the parts of me that I used to build her are the kinds of things that I prefer to keep hidden from view.

I feel so relieved that I was able to do this, since I think this might be the last year that I'll participate in NaNo itself. That's not to say that I wouldn't try timed writings on my own at some point, because they do provide some nice incentive--for example, this time around I was hobbled by the fact that I can't write serious prose well, but on this final sprint I discarded that weakness and now I feel that I can write that way much faster than I could before. It's a good opportunity for growth under pressure. :)

So far as the random generation system goes: I think it is still perfectly workable and very useful. The reason why my initial attempt failed in places (and you can learn from failure too, so it wasn't a total loss) was because I think the strict deadline interfered with the development; plus there was the fact that I wasn't able to completely finish the generation phase before I had to start writing. I think that if I were to try it again (which I'd like to do), I wouldn't start anything until I was satisfied that I'd finished creating everything properly, and then I might use a longer deadline, possibly a month and a half to two months. The daily spreads were very useful, since I got several scenes out of them that I never would have thought of if I wasn't forced to use certain characters and feelings. It was a good experience, IMO.

As for the fate of this story itself: I would actually like to continue it, preferably still using random generation to keep it running and feed new material into it to supplement things that I build for it on my own. I don't know if it will be awesome enough to be publishable, in a pro sense, but I have a kind of warped affection for it...all the random bits make it into a kind of Frankenstein patchwork puppy that is unnatural and freakish, yet too darn cute to just kick out on the street. It is my kawaii mutant brainspawn. I pinch its cheeks and tremble.

Anyhow, thank you to everyone who checked in on me while I was working and gave me support--I really appreciated it and it helped me along when I was thinking of giving up. :) *platonic love hugs for all!*

Now I'm off to cool down and get some sleep.

--E.G. (italic seg by D+R.)

Nov. 28th, 2006

(no subject)

TOTAL WORD COUNT: 46,232

I just got back from the library with this count. :B I could keep going and maybe even finish it tonight, but I think I'll hold off until tomorrow so I can finish it at the library and then have a victory lap around town. Perhaps it's me counting the chickens before they hatch, but I'm planning on finding a place that has big chunks of chocolate cake and celebrating by OMG EATING A PIECE OF IT. Carb content be damned!!

Apart from a short detour that I took either yesterday or the day before that involved me detailing how Felynx (the living weapon attached to a PC) came to live in his player's mind as a soulbond, all of the writing that I've been doing in this final sprint has been that same huge section that takes place in KB. It's massive, with filler practically bursting from the seams! Since that section is almost over, though, I may finish off the NaNo chunk with some additional pleasant scenes of Singer-possessed gamers cannibalizing each other, in order to establish this story forever as a G-rated festival of love that will be enjoyed for generations to come alongside My Little Pony cartoons and 24-hour blocks of Teletubbies. Ah, the innocence of youth.

For now, I may watch a little more RahXephon and then hit the sack... Over the past couple of days, my head, shoulders, and back have all turned into one solid knot of pain. I wish I could figure out what I did to it, but thankfully my Writing Zone is so intense that I'm able to ignore it while I'm sprinting on the keyboard.

W00T!

--D. (E.G.)

(no subject)

TOTAL WORD COUNT: 40,034

Must...keep...moving...

I closed today at work, so I didn't have much time to write. But there'll be more tomorrow, and even more the next day. Man, I've never cut so close in any NaNo before this one. Craziness! @_@

--E.G.

Nov. 27th, 2006

*dead*

TOTAL WORD COUNT: 37,136

Leaving 12,864 to go. Saturday was a complete loss, for a variety of reasons, none of them particularly good... I keep wanting to give up on this, mostly so that I can start recovering from the abuses inflicted on my sleep patterns because of NaNo, but then I remind myself that most of it is over and I just need to get a small number of words down.

*slump*

--E.G.

Nov. 24th, 2006

[MARATHON CONTINUES]!

Okay, I'm about to turn in.

TOTAL WORD COUNT: 32,509

The new material for today (9K+ words) was all in a single seg focusing on Snake Onaplayn and Ozkurr Irony from Killing Breed, including some general world design and useless blah-de-blah Narrator Commentary that serves as warm, fluffy filler. I even used the werewolf cowgirl idea! ^.^ The seg isn't finished yet, but that's good, since it's better for me to know exactly what I'm writing when I need to get into a sprint like this. I have a couple other segs in mind that will hopefully carry me through to the end, since uncertainty would kill me right now... But as long as I keep up this pace, I think I'm going to be safe in the end. ^_^

Wow, I'm incoherant. I so wish I didn't have to work tomorrow...

--E.G.

Nov. 23rd, 2006

[MARATHON]

Just an update... My parents left for Oklahoma this morning, leaving the house entirely to me until Sunday night. I had to get up at 5:30AM to take them to the airport, but instead of falling asleep again after getting back, I stayed up, made breakfast, and proceeded to throw myself into writing. Since I have only a few days left, I'm breaking with the pattern even further and have decided that I won't be using cards or Shuffles unless I'm totally drawing a blank for something to write (and I'm still going strong, so far).

TOTAL WORD COUNT: 28,299 (as of now)

I've decided that I won't eat dinner until I break 30K, and I hope to have at least 35K done before I have to go to bed. It'll all depend on how fast I can write and how late I feel I can stay up without having to come to work crippled tomorrow. ^^

Back to the grind!

--E.G.

Nov. 22nd, 2006

Kibbles. (And Bits...and Bits.)

Singer with Singer and a side dish of Singer, garnished with a freshly-cut piece of Forces.Collapse )

Some notes:
- Singer's establishment was written in two halves. The break comes right after his in-game battle progression is described. Personally, I think I was in the groove pretty good before then; the stuff afterwards needs some cleaning up, but isn't too bad by comparison.
- I still think it's weird how Singer ended up being the most developed chara so far despite the fact that he was originally intended to be a monster sidekick for Zhuu', good for freak muscle and not much else. I attribute this partly to the fact that Zhuu' is what the Tibetans would call a tulpa, only he was created by millions of generations of dead digital creatures instead of by people and is thus more of a force of nature than a person. I don't think he'll get any more direct chara development apart from what you saw in the prologue.
- The S-man is also me flexing my irony muscle...he's the result of what happens when a gameperson gets way too far into the game, limiting his mind until he's convinced that nothing else is reality. Given how so many people think that getting into games too much can turn humans into monsters, I get a little tickle when doing the same thing from the other side. ^^ I'm hoping to do some horror/suspense-style scenes of him stalking and eating people while in other people's bodies (because after all, this is a lighthearted, cheerful story that provides fun for the whole family!).
- The explaination of how AUM contains a kalpa has always stuck with me as something extremely cool.
- Misused religious material = +10pts.
- Forces' Halfborn seg is definitely not one of my better ones, but I felt compelled to share it anyway because HB is probably my favorite out of all the games I designed for this project. Hopefully I can write other scenes later on that will actually do it justice, but for now this is all the scenery we have.
- The unnamed woman will eventually be named Melissa, I think... She was literally created just for the sake of this scene, although she's developed a history and some personality since then. Basically, she's a nice person who is too trusting for her own good, and she finds Forces soon after he appears in the human world and tries to help him out. The whole point of her presence is to contrast a real human against Forces' casual coldness. I feel pretty certain that the man will not turn remotely human by the end of the story (the chara that I find myself comparing him to the most often is Javert from Les Miserables), though he may gain some weird humanlike traits.
- The last seg is that aimless monologue I mentioned. It's not entirely done, since the point of it is to describe how Singer overlays his three-part battle onto all of the events that have happened so far (this part belongs near the end of the story) and believes that it's almost time to enter the third stage, which will cause some very unexpected changes in behavior and possibly motivation.
- Of course, this is not all the new material I've done since the last text post, but some of it desperately needs a flogging before seeing the light of day.

Gosh, I talk a lot. Now I should probably sleep. ^_^;

--E.G.

Nov. 21st, 2006

Blah blahblah blah blah!!

Today's mix: CM 4 Cups, The Magician, King of Coins, Escaflowne ST's "Mystic Eyes." The song ended up spawning an overly colorful and ferociously happy rave set in TrickyCube. :B

TOTAL WORD COUNT: 23,008

Meh. Today being Tuesday, I was so seriously off my game that it wasn't even funny--there may be a universal law against me doing exciting creative work on Monday or Tuesday. ^^;; A big chunk (the part that I was hoping to tack onto the beginning of one of my previous scenes) got dumped right into the Graveyard, but the rest of it wasn't much better... I consider it to be hopeless filler material. Finally, I gave up on doing much of any use and started a kind of timeless third-person monologue from Singer, which was actually getting some decent material into it by the time the library closed and I had to come home. Since I still feel like my muse has taken a temporary vacation, I think that I might just tag a few of the better scenes for Net-friendliness and be satisfied with my ~3K night. :/

Not being able to write in a normal LJ has been driving me a little stir-crazy, so permit me to pour out a little bit of my brain contents here. They're almost relevant to NaNo!

1) I originally got Forces' name from a fragment of sourceless dialogue that floated across our brainspace during the generation phase. Since I've been trying to pay more attention to these spontaneous little lumps, I decided that that was a pretty cool name for the leader of the Arbiters and wrote it in. But would you know that ever since I had to stop paying attention to my Aedenia project, I'd totally forgotten that there was a Hirasawa Susumu song called "Forces"? I don't know why this seemed so funny/odd/important to me when I realized a few days ago that I'd forgotten it. Maybe because "Forces" the song is not much like Forces the angel and I fear for false advertising somehow?

2) nina_anileena made a point in a recent post that's unsettled me, since it inadvertently points out a problem that I can't figure out how to fix, at least not easily. Her post was actually about Japanese voice acting vs. American voice acting, but something clicked when she complained that American VAs and actors all to often fall into the trap of just acting like themselves instead of being absorbed by the character that they're supposed to be playing. It made me look at my own written dialogue and take note again of how difficult it is for me to write spoken words that sound like they belong to only one distinct character. That is, we write with several different "voices," but any given character will usually just be assigned one of these defaults that will be tweaked a little. If you took out all the "said X" and "Y replied" stuff, all of our written dialogue would unrecognizeable from chara to chara. I remember reading once that a mark of a good character writer is their ability to write long conversations consisting only of lines of dialogue, with all participants having speech patterns distinct enough that the reader won't be confused into wondering who's talking at any given time.

Narration is something a little different (unless it's first-person), as that usually requires a certain degree of similarity from scene to scene to tie things together. But it really does bother me that so many of my characters sound almost exactly alike... But what I've noticed is that even published authors don't seem to care a lot about how their characters sound, since I've read many books where you can tell that the same voice "speaking" the narration is also "playing" all the characters when they talk. So it's hard to find good examples of how to break out of this tendency. In her post, Nina connects the idea of good acting to the tradition of channelling (something that I've also thought for a long time)--this has worked for me in the past, but obviously it works best when there is only one or a very small number of people to be written. Trying to channel a cast of thirty or so would run a person ragged, I'd think, though maybe I should try it before running my mouth. :/

3) I figured out why I keep trying to go to libraries as much as possible despite some of the bad experiences that I've had. It's because being there removes the vast majority of distractions that I have in my home. I can't pace when I get antsy, I don't have my own book collection to sit down and read, I have no movies to watch, no video games to play, no bed to sleep on, no Internet connection to blow hours of my life on, no little felines digging their talons into my butt and legs... It's so much easier to buckle down and focus. I'm glad I figured that out, because I was worried that I'd developed some kind of programmed addiction to liFNORDbraries. Whew! ^_^

4) Oh hey, more good news! Another house showing tomorrow!! XD We didn't hear back from one of the people who came to see it last time, so we're hoping that maybe they're coming back for a second look before buying. *wiggle of excitement*

Okay, I'll get to work tagging now. ^_^;

--E.G.

Nov. 20th, 2006

Yay!

The mix for Sunday: CM 10 Wands, Ace of Cups, 8 Coins, Samurai Champloo's "The Updater."

I interpreted this to mean that I should write about the time when Forces was persuaded to read The Little Prince, which ends up being a terrible mistake for him later on... It's not the best scene that I've written, but at least I knocked another one out beginning to end, and it seems coherant overall. Could use some polishing, but eh, it's NaNo. I'll do it later. ^^ I also thought of a beginning for the scene that I wrote yesterday, but since it's past midnight, I'll have to try and get that done tomorrow.

I got an email recently from Borders/Waldenbooks that told me that I had $15.25 of free money to use as part of their holiday plan, so tonight I went out after dinner and bought myself copies of The Little Prince (everyone should own one--I'd read my parents' before, but they've packed it away) and Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the latter of which I'd never read before. I read both of them before sitting down to write... Seagull uses a nice set of metaphores, but it turned me off a bit because it brings down the New Age Hammer of Truth a bit too heavily for my tastes. I prefer purer, simpler stories like Prince and the Serendipity Books, which teach you things that you really already know, but have forgotten. :) Not to say that it was bad, only that it was easy to see the agenda behind the story.

And now for the happy news:

TOTAL WORD COUNT: 20,139

Yayyyyy~! I'd wanted to break 20K by the end of this weekend, but I was worrying that so much stuff had happened that I wouldn't be able to do it. Even though I have another 30K to go and not much time left, I think that I have enough early days and days off that I can do it. I just need to keep the nose to the grindstone. ^_^ Time for bed!

--E.G.

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