Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category


So, NaNoWriMo Has Officially Started…

November 1, 2009

The only question is, am I going to participate this year?

Well, I’m going to give it a shot, but I still can’t be totally sure I’ll be able to make it to 50,000 words and be proud of the 50,000 words I’ve written. Ever since I found out about NaNoWriMo, I’ve been racking my brain, trying to think of something to write about and, while I have a few basic plot points down; I don’t have the story fully outlined the way I want it yet. Some people have told me to just start writing and fill in plot details as I go but I don’t know if that will work for me. I’ve tried that in the past and it’s never worked out well for me.

The main concept I have been kicking around and will likely go with is a spy novel, starring three agents working for a top secret black ops organization within the NSA (which I haven’t named yet…) is codenamed “Silver Bullet” and has absolutely nothing to do with werewolves, despite said codename. I have the first couple of chapters outlined, a few important plot points including the major plot twist that occurs near the end and, of course, the end. I figure that’s enough to go on for now but I keep second guessing myself. There’s a lot of research that I still need to do in order to present something that’s reasonably accurate as government agencies, weaponry, tactics and covert operations aren’t fields I typically study but I’m relatively sure that I know enough about these fields to write something that’s reasonably accurate and believable, at least to the average reader.

I have another concept in mind involving vampires but they seem to be the flavor of the month right now and I want to write about something that’s not so common in…everything these days (I call that the Twilight effect). The only problem with not going with this is the fact that I feel like this concept would be easier to write. I already have most of the story planned out and filling in the plot as I go along wouldn’t be terribly difficult, or at least not as difficult as I perceive my original concept to be.


This is me right now.

Now I know the goal of NaNoWriMo isn’t to produce prize winning works of pure literary genius but I don’t want to produce a steaming pile of garbage either. I want something that’s readable and at least mildly interesting. Perhaps this is just me second guessing my ability as a writer but I honestly don’t know if I can deliver that in 30 days, as much as I’d like to, especially now that I’m behind schedule with my outlining. Today is the first of the month and I’m supposed to write the first 1,667 words of my novel today and I haven’t yet done that. Perhaps I can get enough of the outlining done tonight to have a solid idea of where I’m going with this and be comfortable enough to actually start writing. I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out shortly after I’ve concluded this blog post and gone back to my outlining.

If any of you have any tips or suggestions, let me know, I’ll certainly be glad to hear them.


So…Next Month is NaNoWriMo…

October 22, 2009

Writing on Laptop

That’s National Novel Writing Month to the uninitiated and, long story short, I’ve been thinking of writing something this year.

I found out about it back in late ’07 and while I thought I wanted to write something, I never got around to taking the project seriously. Last year, NaNoWriMo passed me by, without me remembering that it was going on until it was too late to contribute something. To be honest, I just remembered it a few days ago when a buddy of mine brought it to my attention. Now, I’m frantically trying to come up with something to write about.

See, the object of this month long literary event is to encourage aspiring writers of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. The way I have it planned out; I’ll have to write some 2,000 words a day every day (excluding Thanksgiving, I figure I’ll want a break around that time) until the end of the month deadline. Whew. That sounds like a great deal of sitting in the glow of my laptop’s screen with a Microsoft Word document open, typing away whilst trying to resist the temptation to aimlessly browse the web, prowl around internet forums, watch reruns of My Wife and Kids or turn on my Xbox 360 to play another round of the upcoming Forza 3 or GTA IV expansion The Ballad of Gay Tony. This will unquestionably be a true test of my willpower.

As I lay in bed last night trying to get to sleep, a torrent of questions flooded my mind, leaving me restless for a while before I was finally able to drift off to sleep. What will I write about? Can I really write 50,000 words before the November 30th deadline? Can I crank out something that’s actually worth reading in such a short period of time? And, perhaps most importantly, do I have the discipline to stick to my writing schedule for 30 straight days?

One of my biggest flaws is that I am a chronic procrastinator. I’m worried that I’ll end up putting this off over and over again until a few hours before midnight on the 30th when I finally decide that I need to get something done but by then it will be too late and the challenge would have passed me by…again. This isn’t something I want to take lightly but I’ve never been able to discipline myself like this before and perhaps that’s because I’ve never had to. I’ve put off even the largest school projects until the last minute (sometimes, even, the day they were due) and still managed to put out “A” quality work. That fact has made me understandably cocky regarding my ability to do anything at the last minute. I guess the difference here is, if I do procrastinate, it won’t be like I’m failing a major assignment, I’ll just be letting myself down.

I haven’t decided whether or not I want to do this. I recognize this as something that could be hugely beneficial to me but recently, I haven’t been in the mood to write. I guess the best remedy for this is to…write. I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things by writing a few reviews but so far, nothing has really rekindled that creative spark that has been lying dormant for so long. I will say that the idea of working on something for NaNoWriMo has gotten me a bit more excited as of late so maybe all I need to get back into the mood to write is to start writing in the first place.

Whatever I decide, I’ll keep a steady stream of updates coming. If I do decide that I want to participate in this, I’ll probably create a new blog for chronicling my progress on a daily or weekly basis. If I do, I’ll be sure to spam the links everywhere. Who knows? I might even revive my long dead Twitter account to keep folks updated.


The Art of Creating a Vigilante

March 2, 2009


Hmm…I’m having a sort of dilemma in my writing. First, a little back story to get you up to speed on what this post is about. I’m in the process of writing a book from scratch. I’m also in the process of rewriting a book I started back in the eighth grade. What these books are about…well, that’s a story for another time. Anyway, in the story I’m writing from scratch, the main character eventually becomes somewhat of a vigilante after a traumatic experience early in the novel (very much unlike the traumatic experience that happened to Bruce Wayne, so it’s not a rip off of that and that’s not where I found my inspiration). What I’m worried about is…in today’s fiction, vigilantes and anti-heroes in general seem to be done to death. I honestly don’t know if I can portray the character properly or at least different enough from the rest of the vigilantes out there to make an impact.

In my personal reading and internet research (basically glossing over Wikipedia pages and forums) it seems that the two characters that truly epitomize what it means to be a vigilante are Batman and Watchmen’s Rorschach. The two characters have very similar but at the same time incredibly different approaches to cleaning the streets. Both Batman and Rorschach aim to put an end to crime, but Batman has two rules that he will not break under any circumstances, the first being using a firearm and the second, killing the criminals he comes into conflict with. Rorschach, on the other hand, has no rules. This creates a distinct contrast between the two characters right off the bat. Batman can be seen as a sort of noble vigilante in the way he refuses to sort of lower himself to the level of the criminal underworld whereas Rorschach is totally uncaring and unflinching in his duty of punishing all forms of crime and corruption, severely, resulting in a character that seems to be likable, but at the same time you wonder if he’s hypocritical and insane (or insanely hypocritical). After all, he’s in effect crossing the line he punishes others for crossing each time he “punishes” someone for their crimes.

So, the question remains, how can one create a character that approaches the fundamental principles of vigilantism without making the character seem like he was modeled on one of these readily available archetypes? Can that even be done? It’s tough. This character of mine, he doesn’t have a sort of duality in his personality, like Bruce Wayne and Batman. He’s pessimistic, cynical and, well, angry. Now, I haven’t read Watchmen yet (I do plan on picking up the graphic novel before I see the film) but I’m worried that he might seem too much like Rorschach. I haven’t done too much research on the character of Rorschach (I ended up spoiling something for myself so I promptly stopped) but he seems a bit like that kind of guy I’m modeling my character around. My character doesn’t share Rorschach or Batman’s passion for eliminating crime from the streets and doesn’t know if he’s doing this because he believes it’s right or if he’s doing it for purely selfish reasons. I can’t delve too far into what those reasons are without spoiling a bit of the story but, let’s just say he has a sort of hunger for the job.


To put it simply, I’m a bit befuddled by the whole issue. Character creation is paramount to a good story and I want to avoid the pitfalls writers sometimes fall into when creating this type of character. I don’t want my character to seem too similar to any current vigilantes or anti-heroes that are so popular in mainstream fiction, be it television, books or movies, I want him to resonate strongly with my future readers, leaving a lasting impression. This is where you come in. I know the people of the internet read, play videogames, watch television and/or watch movies and I could definitely use the help. What do you like to read? Do you like anti-hero types of characters? Do you think they’re overdone? Am I crazy for doubting my artistic ability? Do you hate me for subjecting you to this? Why or why not?


The Rave…A Short Story

February 7, 2009


Here’s a short story I wrote as a bit of a personal challenge, having been given three story prompts to include.

  • A rave party
  • A bottle of Smirnoff vodka
  • A Piece of rope

I’ve taken the liberty of creating a separate page just for that story so in the future, it will always be easy to find on the sidebar or by clicking this link.

The story will be posted after the jump.

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GRID Review

June 20, 2008

The following is a small excerpt of my review of GRID, Codemasters’ second forray into the racing genre for the Xbox 360.

“Following up their previous admirable efforts with their successor to the popular Colin McRae series of rally racing games, DIRT, Codemasters once again dives into the racing genre with another pseudo-successor; this time to the TOCA Race Driver series with GRID. In a move that may be shocking to fans of that series, GRID is not a strict simulation in any sense of the word. It manages to blend arcade style drifting with near simulation handling with good results while still retaining the varied race types and career focus of the TOCA series.”

Justin McBride – Talk Xbox

Full Review


Story in a Blog Chapter 3 Posted

June 2, 2008

Story in a Blog Chapter 3

I figured I’d also give you a bit of writer’s commentary as well to go alongside this entry…But be sure you read the chapter first!

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Manhunt 2 Review

May 30, 2008

Prior to its release, Manhunt 2 was the subject of much controversy and scrutiny, having received an “Adult’s Only” rating from the ESRB. This taboo rating prompted console manufacturers, retail outlets and even entire countries to ban it from store shelves, well before it saw the light of day. As a result, this version of Manhunt 2 has undergone some minor changes to even allow the game to be released, earning a “Mature” rating and approval from many of those who shunned it. Now, if you’ll notice, I haven’t said anything about the game itself because, if you remove all the controversy, the game is pretty unremarkable. That is, of course, if you ignore all the grisly violence.

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