Monday, November 1, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

It's that time of year again!

At about 1 o'clock this morning, I started my novel for NaNoWriMo! I am, of course, not very far into it just yet; as of now, I have written 849 words. Nevertheless, it is a start.

My usual NaNoWriMo strategy usually involves a large amount of Word Wars, which can usually be found on the NaNoWriMo chat or forums, and a lot of Word Sprints as well. Word Wars tally up your collective word count and can tell you how much you've written as a result of the Wars. You can have a friendly competition with other NaNo-ers in this way, but the competitions are usually for personal accomplishment.

Another NaNo strategy I have is to get someone to pick a random word for me (preferably a commonplace word) and try to use it in a sentence, or, better yet, write an entire paragraph around it.

This year, my novel is more serious than in past years. Normally I write about a group of adventurers called the Panzerotti Group who get into all kinds of ridiculous exploits. This year, however, I'm writing a psychological horror/action-adventure novel. I'm trying to use a different technique by picking a "mood song" for every chapter and having that song in mind while I write it. Here is my current mood song:

It's a remix from the video game Shadow of the Colossus. I want to get a similar feeling of loneliness and emptiness that the game tends to portray. My main character, Odessa, is all alone in a strange land, and she really relates to Wander from Shadow of the Colossus in that sense. The difference is that Wander is armed with a number of ways to defeat his loneliness: he is battling to resurrect someone, and he has his horse, Agro, to assist him. Odessa is completely and utterly alone, and she doesn't even remember who she is.

Here's a small excerpt from my novel, which is currently nameless.

She couldn't remember when she had even fallen asleep.

She blinked slowly as she awoke, and her eyes adjusted easily to the darkness, as though she had been there for a long time. The only light that met her eyes was a very faint, distant shimmer. She couldn't begin to fathom where it was coming from; she had to let her mind adjust to the fact that she was awake.

She suddenly felt very ill as she realised she didn't remember anything at all. It wasn't so much that she couldn't remember falling asleep... she couldn't remember what she had been doing before that, or how she got to be in such a dark place. Fear overtook her suddenly, and she couldn't stop herself from whimpering out loud.

"Hello?" she called. She tried a few times, just to make sure, but there was no response whatsoever. Panic was beginning to set in when she realised one last thing.

She couldn't even place her own name.

She struggled with this for a moment as tears of shock spilled down her cheeks. The sadness of her own situation overwhelmed her, and she suddenly felt very, very helpless.

How could she possibly find a way out if she didn't even know how she got there in the first place?

Her screaming began then. She screamed and screamed until her throat was raw. "Help me!" she cried. "Come find me! Get me out of here!". But no one came.

When at last her throat was hoarse and raw, she couldn't scream any longer. She sat there for a few minutes in silence, looking down to where the light was coming from. In a moment, she knew she would have to get out. She pushed herself to a stand, which proved difficult due to her legs being asleep, and she started to stumble toward the apparent exit.

In the time it took her to stand, she had started to notice a dull rumbling noise, with an accompanying tremor. She ignored it at first, but then found she simply couldn't, because the noise and vibrations were increasing. Whatever it was seemed to be getting closer to her. She broke into an all-out run then, taking little to no care where her footing landed her. She nearly found herself tripping a few times, but she managed to regain her balance as the creature came closer. She glanced behind her to see if she could perhaps get a glimpse of whatever was after her, but she found with dismay that the darkness was too thick to allow this.

The light grew closer and flooded the corridor ahead to make things visible. She now could see where she was running. She could also see where exactly the light was coming from.

It was coming from the ceiling.

She whimpered upon seeing this, knowing full well that she would probably have to find a way to climb up to escape. She also noticed that the hole wasn't very big, meaning that she would have to probably squeeze her way through. She realised then that she couldn't even remember what she looked like, and she hoped against hope that the opening in the ceiling could possibly be big enough to fit her. She refocused her efforts and tried to concentrate on finding a ladder, or something that could be suitable as a ladder. After some searching, she discovered a notched log resting nearby and attempted to prop it close to the hole to shimmy up it. This didn't work in the least; every time she tried to shimmy up, the log would topple down unapologetically. She cursed and sobbed, listening as the beast grew ever closer. She was out of ideas.

I'll likely update throughout the month with other excerpts. If you're writing for NaNo, add me on the website: my username is Nekonezume. Feel free to post an excerpt from your novel in the comments, as well. I'd be interested to read! If not an excerpt, then give me a little summary! I'm curious to know.

Until next time!
K. Cooper

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Poetry for the Poisoned

One of my favourite bands, Kamelot, recently released a new album that I've been listening to rather extensively since said release. The album is entitled Poetry for the Poisoned. They hosted a contest to celebrate the release of the album, and that contest was to write some Kamelot-related poetry. Here is my poem, which discusses listening to Kamelot while walking to work.

Walking with Ariel

The commute to work is drudgery, for most.
Like a small hell, we crawl, lengthening the hours already before us.
Thinking of the day ahead, we extend our fate.

My headphones on, I choose not to think of work,
But instead choose enjoy the walk.
My favourite songs buzz in my ears, and suddenly,
My walk toward work becomes a walk with Ariel.
No longer alone, we walk together,
And his voice carries me.
I'm not walking--I now drift toward my destination,
And though I cannot be his Helena,
I proudly adorn my own Black Halo as I reach the end of my journey.
It is not the arrival that has completed my day:
Traveling with ghost-melodies has brought me here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Survival of the Fittest

On 10/10/10, the dead will walk again.

This is World Zombie Day's tagline on their website.

This is a day for zombie walks across the world. United, the undead will lurch through various streets in various cities and probably scare the daylights out of any passersby.

As I noted in a previous blog entry, this is also the day that my novella, Hub City Survival, is to be published. In the wee hours of this morning, the book was completed. The editing was finished, the formatting done, the information compiled and all acknowledgments written. I am now considered published.

That feels pretty good.

I went to bed at 4 AM, feeling almost too excited to sleep. I managed anyway, and despite my late sleep, I got up at around 9:30 and took a look at the page, ready to start spreading the word of the book's release. To my surprise, I had already sold two copies!

Today also marks Canada's Thanksgiving, and how better to celebrate it than by giving thanks for being able to live to accomplish a dream of mine? I may not be an established author, and this may be one of the only journeys in the realm of self-publishing that I take. But this is definitely a good start in the direction of my lifelong goal.

I hope to one day have an actual publisher and distributor, but I decided to self-publish Hub City Survival for a few reasons. For the first, it is a novella. For the second, regional horror fiction is somewhat of a niche market, and I really think I'd have a lot of difficulty finding a publisher for it. For the third, I already have an established audience from publishing the story online as it was written. I would hate to make any audience members feel as though they had to purchase the book in order to finish reading the story, so I decided to add a few things at the end of the book as a bonus, rather than stopping the story online and stabbing my readers in the back for the sake of money.

I don't expect this book to become a sensation. The fact that two people have purchased my book already means more to me than I could even say.

For those of you who are interested, you can purchase the book here. The book contains artwork by fans and a bonus side-story that I didn't publish anywhere online. I wanted to make readers feel as though they were getting something extra.

Until next time. Thanks for reading, and happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians. To the rest of you, I hope you have an enjoyable World Zombie Day. Try not to get bitten!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hub City Survival

This past week, I've finished the writing project I've been working on for the past year, entitled Hub City Survival. It revolves around a young woman from Moncton NB who finds herself very suddenly thrown into the middle of the apocalypse.

As a NaNoWriMo participant, I find writing to be a difficult thing to give up even after spending an entire month writing roughly 2,500 words a day. Last year, after it was over, was when I started this project. It began on deviantArt with just a single entry. Then, a few people actually thought it was real! That hooked them, and I was able to get a small following of people reading every installment. Finishing the story was of utmost importance since I had such a following.

I have kept the entire thing online, but I hope to be self-publishing it very very soon. I know that many people will not purchase the book since it is all online, so I threw in a couple of extras. There is a side-story with brand new characters, set in the same time line, and I will be including some fanart from deviantArt fans!

If you're curious to read the story, I have collected all of the parts onto a single journal on deviantArt so they can be accessed easily. You can access them all here. The side-story will not be made available online.

I wouldn't quite consider this story to be a novel; I believe it is likely too short. It holds a very special place in my heart, however, and I believe the ending to be melancholy but faithful to the story.

The date I have planned for release is Oct. 10, 2010, which is International Zombie Day. I have everything finished but need to compile it all together and do a final read-through.

If you're interested, I hope you'll check out the story!


Monday, September 27, 2010

A new one.

Hi there,

I used to have a writing blog back in the day, but I fell out of touch with it. Instead of dusting off an old tome, I thought I'd start fresh with a new, slightly more serious one.

I plan on discussing writing projects in here, as well as posting snippets and some poetry from time to time. Keep an eye open and there will be slightly interesting things here before long.