Incase anyone keeps coming here wondering what’s going on with the lack of updates, well:
Youtube happened. If I ever get the itch to do another long article I’m likely going to VLog it. I’ll be doing some Guild Wars 2 Videos when it comes out and I’ll keep doing Tribes Ascend update videos for the foreseable future.
A couple of minecraft videos. One is of Mercy, which is now slightly less under construction. But with a server reset looming all building work has kinda ground to a halt. Never mind.
And also some Redstone Shenannigans with a Redstone TNT cannon that fires beyond the render distance.
Well, I’ve been playing on the ShaBooZey Minecraft server and, well, I’ve been helping to build the town of Mercy.
Here’s a few video glimpses of what we’ve been up to.
About 3 years ago I took part in NaNoWriMo, an initiative to get people writing novels by giving you 1 month to write at 50,000 word story. The story I decided to write was a Science-fiction story called “Unity”, and was based on an idea I’d been throwing about for about 4 years prior, but never got around to writing. This was the perfect excuse. I ended up writing about quite a bit of it, but realised after reading it again that most of it was terrible.
The ideas were sound. I had a good premise and enough issues I wanted to deal with. The problems stemmed from having far too many characters, having no real story and certainly no drama or tension. I certainly didn’t want to read it.
A year passed, and another NaNo arrived. I wrote something different. I wrote with my mistakes in mind. I had a core set of four characters who would play off each other. I had a limited setting and a general direction for the plot. Unfortunately, that still wasn’t enough. I ran out of steam and just wrote because I felt I had to. I reached about 20,000 words by the end and most of it was still terrible.
This time it was the lack of a plan that scuppered me. I had one in Unity, but it needed scaling down from the colossal scope it had been originally. I took the four character idea from my second NaNo and as a result I merged my cast of about 10 characters into those core 4. I took the limited setting idea and expanded on it slightly so that I don’t get location fatigue, but not so much that I had to spend pages describing new locations every chapter.
After a couple of false starts I decided to stop trying to write linearly. I started at the end. I wrote the climax first. The final chapter where everything comes to a head. My characters were my focus. They drove the story, and showcased the issues I wanted to highlight.
I planned each characters development and anchored it at the end, fixed in point. It gave me a situation to aim for from the starting position I’d already well developed in my mind.
My slow on/off pace of writing worked. A year after starting again I’ve written 16,000 words. Yes, less than I wrote in a single month, but of generally higher quality than the rushed NaNo version. Yes, there’s the odd information dump, and a few walls of text, maybe some stilted dialogue, but nothing that a good editing once-over won’t fix once the thing’s complete.
Here’s a quick primer on the story. The Blurb if you will. After which will be an extract from near the beginning of the story.
Unity – Humanity’s first extra-solar colony. Out of contact with Earth, it has to fend for itself. It’s power structure, carefully crafted before creation, becomes fractured as headstrong personalities clash. The Bureaucratic and Orwellian Security Corps face off against the Socialist Liberty Alliance who value personal freedoms and civil liberties above all else. Locked in a cold war that threatens at any moment to erupt into a full scale conflict that would destroy everything they worked so hard to create. However, even in the depths of space, the hidden hand of the Colony’s corporate sponsors manages to reach out and stir trouble.
I have been having Alot of fun with this.
And a little tutorial on one of the more abstract control methods ever devised in a computer game.