NaNoWriMo Day 3

Results:

~500/1,567

I’m having to guess at my word count today, since while writing my mouse run out of battery.

While I could have kept writing using my tab keys to navigate around, I was already a little stuck on how to introduce and define my magic system.

I am excited for the part of the story I’ve got coming up after, the magic stuff, a new character will show up, some bad stuff will occur and choices will be presented to characters. It’ll be great.

So for now, I’m writing this update on my phone and planning to buy more batteries tomorrow.

Hopefully your NaNo day didn’t have any bumps, and hopefully tomorrow goes even better!

– Zairron

NaNoWriMo Day 2

Results:

Goal: 3,334 Total, 1,864 Today
Achieved: 3,541 Total, 2,071

At the end of yesterday’s writing I stalled short of my daily goal of 1,667 when my story suddenly and unexpectedly offered me the perfect opportunity to feature a fairy tale. Unfortunately I had no fairy tales in me at the time, nor had I decided, in enough detail, the theme I wanted to take the story on to create one.
So I slept on it, and while sleeping, I came up with nothing. But with renewed energy and vigor I was able to throw something together, which gave me an idea for the actual fairy tale I ended up with. I’ve still got more ideas on how to tweak it in the future, but it’s NaNoWriMo so word count is king and revision comes later.
So by the end of the fairy tale I’d actually almost reached my goal for the day including the deficit from yesterday. At this stage my story has an introduction for the perspective character, a world-building story within the story, and the beginning of a scene to expand the perspective characters home. I have a vague idea I may introduce some of the shakeup in this scene, but that may also come later.

I’m certainly enjoying the experience a lot so far, I really like seeing all the enthusiasm and creativity coming from all the other people partaking in the experience as well. One particularly inspiring friend has already passed 12,000 words, putting her well on the way towards her goal. The story she’s writing will likely be her second novel, you can find out more about here, called Turning pages which should be the first in a series called The Arbiter.
I don’t know if I mentioned the name of my story, it is Morphogenesis, literally meaning “beginning of the shape”. Without giving too much away, I chose a scientific name for my fantasy novel because I’m want to be inspired by a lot of the philosophical and speculative ideas behind Science Fiction in a story with room for internally consistent magic, elves, and the fantastical. For that reason I like to think of my story as a Science Fantasy story.

If any of you are doing NaNoWriMo feel free to add me as a buddy or comment with your experiences, or even leave advice or ask for some,
Hope you enjoy it,
– Zairron

NaNoWriMo (Day 1)

This blog marks the end of my first day of my first attempt at NaNoWriMo.
Daily Target: 1,667
Achieved: 1,470

This is my first serious attempt at writing a full length novel, a vague goal I’ve had for most of my life but never properly acted on. Inspired by a friend of mine and self published author Brhi Stokes, I decided to finally give it a serious go earlier this year.

I started out writing short stories on this blog so I didn’t go into it completely unprepared, and I’m really happy with what I’ve achieved here and plan to continue as long as it continues to bring me joy.

The story I have chosen to write is one that I’ve carried with me for many years now. The name I use on this blog, Zairron Plaguestrider, shares an origin with this story.
Back in high school, I used Zeron as my name while playing video games. When we moved to World of Warcraft, I found the name was taken so I altered it’s spelling and to Zairron.
Eventually we played some RPG video games which asked for a last name, since my character in that game was an elven necromancer Zairron became Zairron Plaguestrider.
My friend who hosted the LAN’s we played at got the idea to write a book, staring his character “Emperor Drienn”. I got excited by the idea and Zairron Plaguestrider, the Necromancer became my character in the story we played around with.

During this time period my favourite games were Neverwinter Nights, Dungeon Siege and Dota.
I loved books like the Inheritance Cycle, Artemis Fowl, and anything by Tamora Pierce.
I followed more webcomics than I can remember. One that stuck with me was Dominic Deegan: Oracle For Hire, for it’s character of Rilian Blight. It was the first sympathetic representation of a necromancer I’d encountered, and I loved it.
I wasn’t really into much TV or Movies, but I did enjoy anime. Particularly Naruto, I was a kid, don’t judge me. While far from my favourite character, I found Orochimaru strangely compelling. I could understand why he did the evil things he did, unlike most of the other villains, and I liked that.

That was all around a decade ago, in that time I’ve done a lot of things, consumed a lot of stories and learned a lot. I still don’t really consider myself a real adult, more like a technical adult.
I’ve gained a lot of experience in story telling running tabletop games and Vampire LARP’s for many years. At this point I have the time, energy, confidence and desire needed to start. Every story begins with a word, every journey begins with a single step.

During October I took a swing at plotting, and I confirmed for myself: I am not a plotter. But that’s okay, I still managed to gain some things from the attempt, primarily that I didn’t have a story, I had a backstory and a world for a story.
So during that outlining phase, I managed to tease out the seeds of an actual story, as well as some protagonists to drive it. I’m still lacking a vision for the conflict, as well as pretty much everything else. But it’s a start.

This morning I got up, had breakfast and spent a few hours writing the story for my blog which has been uploaded here. After that I took a break for lunch and to reset my  brain.

Now finally we make it to the point where my NaNo writing actually begins. And it was rough, the start of a story always is for me. Up until the moment I have to put something down on the page, the story is perfect. With limitless potential, anything can happen. The moment I lock one character, plot point, or even setting description in place, that potential is infinitely diminished.
It’s hard to do that, to destroy every story that it might have been in favour of just one. Not this one, because who knows how many times the story will change while writing and revising. But the feeling remains the same.

But it got easier as more words came out. It always does, the foundations provide structure to build on. Ephemeral concepts become real, and that’s kinda beautiful.

I didn’t quite make my daily goal, but that may have been largely due to time spent researching. The story as it stands so far, isn’t terrible. I don’t hate it. I’m cautious to criticise it yet, because most artists I know are overly critical of their own work and end up putting themselves of, so I may wait until I let someone else read it before I get harshly critical.
But for now, I’m enjoying it!

Hope your NaNo is going well if you’re doing it,
Future blogs won’t be half as long as this I think, but the backstory I think is nice.
– Zairron

Caligation

Hey guys,

This blog post is recommending the work of an author and friend of mine, Brhi Stokes. Her book, Caligation, is one of the big inspirations behind this blog. So if you enjoy my writing and are looking for more stuff to read I’ve got some links below directing you to where you can find her and I hope you check her out.

If you’re not interested, rest assured stories shall be continuing as normal. And you can check out my two most recent stories: Here and Here

Thanks for your time,
Zairron


Free preview of the first chapter of Caligationhttps://instafreebie.com/free/Kn3Is
Free anthology of short stories Out of the Darkness & Into the Nighthttps://www.instafreebie.com/free/IIDz6

WordPress: https://brhistokes.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brhistokes/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brhisauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brhi.stokes.author/

The Front Page

Hi, I’m Zairron (Michael in the real world) and this blog is where I publish my stories to keep me writing regularly. This is my new front page briefly explaining the blog, I’ll be editing this to keep it up to date with what I’m doing.

September Goals:

  • This month I’m aiming to upload short stories twice a day 1pm and 1am AET
    • Currently mostly following Sonata in Red and Blood and Lies

October Goals:

  • Next month I will be aiming to upload short stories twice a day at the same time
    • With one of the two being a horror story in celebration of Halloween

November Goals:

  • The following month I will be taking part in NaNoWriMo, I will be posting a daily blog detailing my experience in the process
  • In addition I will be attempting to continue to maintain my regular twice daily uploads

Hope you enjoy what I post, and I’m completely open to comments, feedback or suggestions 🙂

Update.

While sitting down to write another piece for the blog I realised that we’re almost 6 months into the blogging experiment. So to commemorate, I thought I’d procrastinate from writing an actual story and take a moment to write about how I’m feeling in regards to this endeavour.
I think I’ve learned a lot in this chaotic experimental period, enough at least to reflect on how it’s gone and re-evaluate my goals and desire for what I post here.

Reflection
My first completed series was the ‘Poison Blood of my Ancestors’ story. This series was for me to flesh out my character’s backstory for a D&D game I was playing in for both my and my DM/GM/ST’s benefit.
It was always intended to be three parts, representing the Birth, Life and Death or “Daesach, The Cultist” and I think it achieved that goal, though I definitely learned from my mistakes in pacing which I think can be seen in the difference/inconsistency between the three.
Since the story of Daesach continues after these stories, if anyone is interested (or I feel the urge) I may narratively re-imagine the events of the game in a future series outside the Sunday slot.
Let me know in a comment if you’d like that.

Within my first experimental foray into mind-vomiting my ‘Chrysalis’ tale. I feel like I’ve brought ‘The Hermit’, ‘The Heir Apparent’ and ‘The Constellationist’ to the end of that “chapter”. For me these stories have been left so open ended because they would be the “prologue” in a novel.
This setting is one I’ve had in numerous incarnations since early high school. When it’s been in my head all this time, it’s never had to commit to any idea, but by writing it down I’ve had to define aspects, exclude things, abandon ideas that no longer fit. And that’s really hard for me as a writer. I always want to write 5 different stories, and get frustrated when I realise there’s only room for 1 story to fit satisfactorily. And that’s okay.
I tried a lot of different things in these in terms of tense, perspective and even pacing and themes. I think I’ve discovered a little bit of what I want from these stories, and things I’d like to try in others.
They’re by no means finished, I’m really looking forward to taking my next swing at these, and I hope you are too. Feel free to let me know if you are in a comment if you are.

‘The Black Sun’ is still going, so I don’t have a huge amount to reflect on yet, other than that I’m glad I decided to give a completely spontaneous idea that I hadn’t planned a shot. Both my above stories I had a significant foundation, wheras this I think I just came up with the words ‘The Black Sun’, thought “That’d be interesting” and started writing. It’s a different experience.
It’s interesting that with no planning I’ve defaulted back to the Dark Fantasy/Urban Fantasy genre which is more of my comfort genre than the more traditional Tolkien/D&D fantasy style of Chrysalis and Poison Blood. It’s not a huge surprise given that my heaviest dive into fiction was with the World of Darkness RPG’s, which I have Story Told many games, tabletop and larp and played extensively in both.

And for those who have been following at home and wondering about my recent lack of regular updates, I admit I haven’t kept to the weekly schedule I’ve set myself in the past few weeks and I’m sorry for that. But if it helps, I have been consistently writing offline for a tabletop RPG I plan on running, so I haven’t been completely slacking on the spirit of the blog.
If you’re interested, I may upload some of that writing here. Let me know in the comments if you are interested.

Goals Moving Forward

Once ‘The Black Sun’ is wrapped up and I have no loose narrative threads I want to order my stories in an easier to follow format. Currently I’m just writing whatever comes to me, switching arbitrarily between three different settings and at least five different stories. My goal is to shift my Sunday updates to a serialised story format, where each update shares the same setting and follows (narratively, if not chronologically, geographically or perspectively) the same through line.
If the previous ‘Chrysalis’ stories were the “Prologue” my plan is to follow with “Chapter 1” in the Sunday timeslot.
I’m considering adding additional updates on other days of the week (Probably one of Monday, Wednesday, Friday) for other settings, if I decide to continue Daesach’s story, upload one-shot stories, or just muse about my influences, theories or other wanky nonsense like that.

In conclusion

While I’m writing this almost entirely to myself, it’s kinda fun to imagine I’ve got an adoring audience eagerly anticipating my releases, so thank you my (mostly) imaginary audience for your support!

Yours whimsically,
Zairron

Representation in Art

So today I was reading a webcomic, and in one of the pages there was a lampshading attempt made by the artist to acknowledge, in universe, that his artistic style had shifted to drawing the female characters more voluptuously. A character (all in the scene were female) noted another character had seemed more buxom of late and the addressed character noted that it seemed to be going around lately.
A beat was taken as the characters all spent the final panel looking down at their own chests. I laughed, and thought no more of it until I read the authors notes on the page below. He referenced a discussion in the comments below, which upon reading revealed some female readers had felt discouraged and excluded by this artistic shift and in particular this gag.

This crystallised an internal discussion I’ve been having with myself for many, many years now, but in particular since I’ve started writing again and thinking about what I wanted to include in and express with my writing.

I’m white, male, cisgendered, neither rich nor poor and have a very limited social circle that exists outside of those categories (with the exception of gender, women do make up around half my social circle).

I like to keep mildly aware of social and psychological issues relevant to artistic expressions. Some include the exclusion, or stereotypical portrayal of categories of folk that exist outside of my norm, but also of the clumsy presentation of them by privileged individuals like myself who attempt to include them.

When I write I wonder, “Do I have too much emphasis on male characters?”, “Am I trying to hard to include female characters”, “Are my female characters truly female, or are they simply re-skinned male characters”, “Do I portray male and female characters with a different level of dignity due to my own gaze as a male, or the assumption that my audience may be predominantly male?” or even “Am I being insulting and perhaps condescending, or even damaging my story by focusing so heavily on these thoughts”

For conclusions, I must note that I will never be able to perfectly write an Australian aboriginal woman, or a black transgender person, because I haven’t lived their lives or known their experiences. But at the same time I could never perfectly write a Wizard from another time and place.

I don’t want my stories to be only for people like me, I want people who haven’t had it so easy to find characters like themselves as I have to find someone to admire in my tales. I want young girls to be able to read a story which doesn’t treat them like objects, I want to not have all my heroes be white, and I want all genders and sexualities to be treated with respect by the writing. I don’t want to write a liberal utopia that pretends bigotry of all flavours don’t exist, instead I want to acknowledge the nuances and complexity inherent to every person.

I think I’m fortunate to have had a lot of feminist influences in my life during my formative years. The works of Tamora Pierce, particularly The Song of the Lioness quartet, and the webcomic The Devil’s Panties and it’s audience community through the forum, and of course my Mother who is working on a PhD about women protesters in Australia, were just some of the things that really taught me to consider how art should be inclusive and that representation matters.

It’s not my intention to be particularly “bloggy” here, but I thought this was relevant enough to warrant writing down. It’s not intended to be a piece with a conclusion, simply some, but far from all, of my thoughts on the subject put into words.

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