Camp NaNoWriMo Day 29

So, we’re coming up to the end of this July’s hair-raising, totally crazy, and somewhat intense Camp NaNoWriMo. The music has been playing, the story has been stop-start like a modern car, and the coffee has been well and truly flowing (from the kettle to my cup to my stomach).

I’m feeling pretty confident that I’ll reach my goal in time, especially after yesterday evening lent me a good three thousand words! I’ve only got about 3,500 words left to write to reach that big 50,000 words goal and complete yet another NaNoWriMo challenge. Hopefully I’ll avoid the insanity of November 2011 when I wrote over 10,000 words on the last day just to make the goal. I was dead on my feet by the end of it, and I was writing at a rate of about 1,500 words an hour that day.

However, I’m happy that I’ve only got to write over 1100 words a day in order to make the grade; as the story is reaching its thrilling finale (I would say that though, wouldn’t I?) the thoughts are flowing once again and I’m even hoping that I’ll finish before the deadline, or at the very least, only have to write a few hundred words on the last day.

Of course, once the story’s done, it’ll be onto editing the book and sending it out to a few readers to check over and let me know what they think. While I’m waiting to hear back on that, I’m going to make sure everything is in place for me to self-publish it. Once I get my feedback, I’ll crack on with editing, and fingers crossed, I’ll have it ready by mid-September. Once Hikari’s Coma is out, of course, you can be damn sure I’ll be back to working on Industrial Espionage.

I’ve also had an idea for another standalone story, which might even be my November NaNoWriMo project, but for the time being, it’s all hush-hush. All I can say is that it involves one of the side characters from Hikari’s Coma working with an agency dedicated to preserving some historical artefacts that others would see destroyed. It’ll make much more sense once you read Hikari’s Coma, trust me!

Anyway, like I said, I’m making excellent progress, and I should have some more blogs up soon. Keep posted, and I’ll keep posting.

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Personal Blog #2

Hey guys,

I just figured I might as well put out another personal blog entry to let you know exactly what’s going on in my life other than when I’m writing, which admittedly, is taking up a lot of time due to July’s NaNoWriMo! I’ve been falling back on my reworking of Industrial Espionage, which is a little disappointing, but it’s to be expected I suppose.

The first thing I’m going to mention is the music that I’ve been listening to while I’ve been working. As you may have noticed on my Twitter, I’ve been listening to a pretty eclectic mix of music while I’ve been working on Hikari’s Coma, and I think I’d do well to explain exactly what I’ve been listening to.

One of my favourite things to listen to while I’m writing are soundtracks from various different anime I enjoy, particularly Neon Genesis Evangelion. I have been known to listen to all three soundtracks from the original series in one day! The music is generally instrumental works by Sagisu Shiro, an excellent composer whose works are reminiscent of Ennio Morricone and John Barry. His tune, ‘Decisive Battle’ was even covered by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces‘ marching band! As the series is full of ups and downs, the music reflects that going from the dramatic, to the depressing, to the downright weird.

I’ve also been listening to the soundtracks from Fate/Stay Night, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya and Full Metal Panic!, as well as OSTs from video games such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. I just love the emotion instrumental compositions can bring across without having any lyrics or vocals to distract you from the ‘feel’ of the music. Of course, as a writer I’m a big fan of well-written lyrics, but I sometimes find it difficult to concentrate on writing when there is someone singing in the background, no matter how much I normally like their music.

suzumiya haruhi no shoushitsufullmetalpanicost1

house set ten desires

house set perfect cherry blossom

In addition to these, I have also been listening to doujinshi music works; that is, fan-created music works based on an existing media. I’m a big fan of Kuroneko Lounge’s Touhou Project House Sets, in which they take the original themes composed by ZUN in his popular danmaku shooter games and turn them into incredibly catchy house/dance/dubstep tunes. The three albums I have at the moment are House Set of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil (my favourite), House Set of Perfect Cherry Blossom, and House Set of Ten Desires. They are all excellent albums and are available, incredibly, for free from Melon Books. I’ll include a link for them here.

I’ve also been listening to Volumes 1-4, and Volume 8 of the Homestuck soundtrack. I’m a big fan of the internet’s longest webcomic, and the music that has been created to go alongside it is second to none. I have been listening to Cascade on repeat for almost the entire week, just because it brings up so many emotions connected to the webcomic. There are perfect tracks for almost every mood, and I’m determined to get my hands on the entire collection eventually!coverHomestuck - Homestuck Vol. 1-4 - cover

So there you have it, that’s essentially the kind of music I work best with. Music that inspires emotions, ideas, scenes – whether it comes from a movie, a game or an anime series, I love to have something that can really set off ideas in my head like fireworks, one after another in explosions of brilliant light. Drop me a comment on here or Facebook, or a Tweet on Twitter, and let me know the kind of music you work best with!

Camp NaNoWriMo Day 21

Wow, it’s been 10 days since I last posted! Apologies, but life has been getting in the way of things once again!

So, I’m well underway with Hikari’s Coma, now standing at just over 30,000 words, so I’ve made good progress since I last updated. I was running behind due to a busy week, but today’s efforts (around 3,500 words) have definitely made up for my lost time. I have reached a major turning point in the story, in which the narrative has taken a turn away from the main character and now focuses on the characters around her: her girlfriend Sarina, the Director of the Technis Institute of Military Technology Michael Price,  and her rival and predecessor Elissa Reed.

I’m hoping to still get the story done in advance of the final deadline. I’m hoping to involve a few volunteers in the process of story analysis, basic proofreading and minor editing, so please let me know via a Facebook message, a Tweet, or even a comment on here if you would like to be involved. I will then send you a proof copy of the book as a PDF, so if you have Adobe Reader X, you can highlight any changes and outline them with notes (I really like Adobe Reader X).

Anyway, that’s all I have with regards to my recent NaNo-ing; I should have a personal blog and an inspirations blog up soon, so keep your eyes peeled for some interesting (or not) tidbits of information regarding yours truly.

Camp NaNoWriMo Day 11

It’s normally at this point where the story starts to stick a little; just short of 20,000 words in with a good flow but an uncertainty as to where to go with the story. Hikari’s Coma has been no exception to this rule, but the stickiness doesn’t seem to be lasting quite as long as I expected, which is good.

The interesting thing I’ve found about this story is that it seems to want to write itself. It’s gone from an idea that was tentative at best, that could have sounded like a really terrible Evangelion derivative set before the events of the series.  But no, it’s turned into something much more than that.

The story has invented some new characters, some new challenges, and even some new locations. Two characters are just about to head to a private residence on the outskirts of the Arlandrian township of Black River (points if you can figure out where in Japan that corresponds to), one of my older characters has just announced they have a serious illness, and there’s been a possible terrorist attack at the base Hikari works at.

Interestingly enough, unlike most of my other works, the chronology of this story is entirely messed up in my head. When I started the project, I knew how I was going to begin and how it was going to end, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to do in the middle, and indeed, how I was going to do it. I was worried that it was going to feel contrived or forced or just not good enough, but I think my experiences with working on Industrial Espionage three times, and my more relaxed approach to writing is helping me out. The word count is a stressor; if I think about the word count, it actually makes things worse because I’m not trying to write for the love of writing. Instead, I’m trying to meet a number, and the gods only know about my love/hate relationship with mathematics.

But yes, that’s your update on Hikari’s Coma for the time being. Fingers crossed I’ll be done in no time, and you’ll have something to read while I continue to prepare Industrial Espionage for your viewing pleasure. Thank you for all your support thus far, it’s really great.

Camp NaNoWriMo Day 9

Hi everyone,

I thought it’s been a while since I last updated you of my progress with this year’s Camp NaNo activities and such. We’re 9 days in now and I’m well underway, keeping up with a lead of a good few thousand words above the par – I’m currently on 17, 247 words, whereas today’s par is only 14,516, so I’m quite happy with that.

This morning was a bit of a sticking point. I stopped in the middle of a good flow on Sunday evening, and it’s taken me a little while to pick it back up again. This evening, after a healthy stir-fry and a cup of tea, I got back into it and that’s where the majority of my word count today has sprung from. I’m still below my daily average (around 1900 words) at only 1495 words today, but I’m not too worried about falling behind; my NaNo experience in 2011 was spattered with days where I didn’t do any writing at all, or a few words in comparison to a few thousand.

For those of you who didn’t get the memo, I’ve published an update here on my site from Hikari’s Coma, under the title ‘Just Another Way to Survive’, which you can read here: https://danieljaeger413.wordpress.com/hikaris-coma/just-another-way-to-survive/

Thanks for keeping up the news; hopefully in a little while you’ll be able to read the full thing!

Personal Blog #1

Hi guys,

I figured I might as well make a few personal blog entries for those of you who wonder what I get up to in my free time other than writing. I’m not just a walking, talking, writing machine, although some may have you believe just that. If anyone knows somewhere I could get cyborg implants to turn me into a walking, talking, writing machine though, it would be much appreciated if you could forward me their details. (Cyberpunk, yeah!)

Lately, I have been playing a lot of video games when I haven’t been writing, on three different platforms no less. On the PSP, I’ve been playing the fantastic Fate/Extra – related to the equally awesome visual-novel-turned-anime Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Zero. Created by Kinoko Nasu‘s TYPE MOON, Fate/Extra is a slight divergence from the original VNs, in that it is set in a virtual environment, where numerous Masters attend a school in order to be given Servants to participate in the Holy Grail Wars.

Fate/Extra’s playable Saber class.

As the protagonist, you get to choose whether you are male or female, and that’s about it. The story is that you have amnesia, and thus have essentially no abilities as a Magus (a type of computer hacker, in this instance) and this translates to your servant as well. Regarding the servants, you have a choice of the fiery Saber, the gruff, cynical Archer or the cheerful and slightly goofy Caster. I’m currently playing through both Caster and Saber, and I’m planning to play through Archer on a higher difficulty when I’m done with the others.

The playable Archer class and the female protagonist.

It’s an interesting game, although the difficulty curve is immense; the first two Masters you must fight are relatively easy, albeit annoying. The third is particularly trying. I’ve found that no matter what difficulty you play, you’ll still find yourself level grinding just to be on the safe side. That said, I highly recommend the game if you have a PSP.

Fate/Extra’s playable Caster gives all other adorable fox-girls a run for their money; here’s looking at you, Ahri and Holo.

With regards to the Xbox 360, I’m working my way through towards the end of Mass Effect 2. I downloaded the first one to my hard-drive and completed it quickly – not because it’s a short game by any means, but more because it was addictive and the story is exceptionally engaging. I’m carrying on from my original ME FemShep character – an Infiltrator class, which is much more balanced in the second one, thankfully. The level of character development in a game of Mass Effect 2’s size is really impressive, and I feel like it expands on the original game so much more than expected. I’m hoping to get around to purchasing the 3rd game soon, which in spite of its apparent Gainax Ending, I’m still looking forward to playing the final chapter of the series.

PC wise, I’ve been doing a lot. This evening I downloaded the early access to Archeblade, which seems like it will be an excellent MMO beat-em-up once the few bugs and connection issues have been ironed out. It reminds me in a way of a combination of League of Legends and Phantasy Star Online, if both were simpler. My main attraction to Archeblade was the exquisite character design, and I’m even considering purchasing the basic pack, just so I can use the characters without having to stick to the weekly cycle.

Archeblade’s impressive visuals and character design isn’t half bad for a company with only 12 employees!

 

I’ve also been playing Sim City 4, because I enjoy trying to make the cities work. That’s really all there is to say on that matter. Aside from that, I’ve been playing Company of Heroes, FTL: Faster Than Light and the original Sonic the Hedgehog, back when he hadn’t learned to share his hedge.

Lasers! Spaceships! Solar flares! PCHOOOO!

I was going to write a little bit more about the other things I’ve been up to, but I think there’s enough about gaming here to last a decent blog post. I’ll probably have a few more updates later in the week, just so you know what else is going on in the Busy World of Daniel Jaeger.

Camp NaNoWriMo Days 3/4

So, Camp Nano’s fourth day has just ended, and my goodness does this story just write itself!

 

What?! 9000? There's no way that could be right!
Vegeta! What does the scouter say about Daniel’s word count?

 

I’ve already reached a word count of over 10,000 words in the space of these four days – this is bearing in mind that I didn’t write a single word on the first day! Hikari’s Coma is officially 1/5 of the way through, and I’m still enjoying it just as much as the idea I first came up with. Just writing without the constant need to self-edit or refer back to earlier in the story (due to some rather well-worked planning by yours truly) is a pleasure.

If I keep it up, at this rate I’m going to be done by part way through July! I might take a few breaks if it starts getting stressful, but knowing me, I’ll likely just crack on with it and do some first-glance editing. I’m not expecting it to be perfect, but from flicking back through the book so far, I only found one glaring mistake, which is always good!

The best part about being this far in is that I’m really getting into the actual story now; things have built up and now it’s time for the challenges to come into play. These challenges won’t exactly be the most action-packed, but I’m hoping I can make them exciting and interesting enough for you to enjoy.

I’ve also had a few basic ideas about what I’m going to do with my cover. This is the provisional one so far, but it’s a far cry from what I’ve got planned in my head. I’m thinking I may put it out to vote on my Facebook page, and see what you guys think once I’ve made a few variations.

HC Cover WIP

Anyway, I’ll keep at it! Wish me luck!

Camp NaNoWriMo Days 1/2

So, I’m well into the 2nd day of Camp NaNoWriMo 2013, and thankfully, well into my word count for my story. I was concerned that I’d be lagging behind a little, having helped a friend move out over the weekend, and travelling back to Bradford on Monday, but I’ve made decent progress and I’m currently at 3,273 words and two chapters – three if you count the prologue.

A new character has invented herself – one of Hikari’s schoolmates – and I’ve got a better feeling about the character development, as the initial plan left me thinking that the plot might be a little metallic and boring. It’s going to be one of those stories that is as much about the characters as it is about the plot. The schoolmate is going to be imperative in the overall plan, giving Hikari an anchor with which to ground herself, and an aspect of conscience to help her consider her own actions.

I’ve essentially worked out that Hikari, my main character, is an interesting mix of traits. She is thorough and methodical in her work, but because of her caring nature, she can be taken advantage of. She is reserved, but dislikes being alone because of growing up with a close knit family. I’m sure these traits will evolve into a great, interesting main character. This is her story after all; I’m merely the storyteller. I’ll keep you updated on the book as it progresses!