Thoughts, A Blog

This section of the SkunkWks web site started as my thoughts about writing Bot Story. Then on 05-Jul-05, it morphed into my thoughts about writing fiction. Finally, on 22-Sep-05, it's morphed again into a sort of blog about: virtual reality (VR); artificial intelligence (AI); ActiveWorlds and the AW "universe"; my world SkunkWks; the web site SkunkWks; modelling and object creation; and writing, both fiction and nonfiction. With this expanded scope, it seemed appropriate to move it into its own section on this site.

I'm not using real blog software to manage this, just ordinary HTML editing tools.

2005-10-30 (Sunday) – Life, the Universe, and Other Stuff

Too long since my last post… well, I've been busy. My cousin, Perry, was on his way to China by way of Germany and I needed to get a bunch of updates done for his web site . "Updates" include totally rewriting how his sculpture gallery works. With what I've been learning I may rewrite this section of SkunkWks to make it more data driven.

When I get my head into a project like that, I often neglect other things, like this web site and my writing. I have several pages in Stories and in Design that are half-updated. I've also been thinking about navigation through this site. Right now, it's okay, but not what I feel it could be. The way I've got the pages coded now, a radical redesign of the navigation will mean I need to edit every page. My last site redesign was supposed to prevent that.

I've also been neglecting my friends at CritiqueCircle . I should try to do at least one or two critiques there each week. They really don't take all that long.

I've been courting a company called Triad Systems Engineering, who's headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado. It would be 1099 work, with a long lag between doing the work and getting paid. If they don't hire me soon, I won't have anything for Christmas.

A few other possibilities have popped up, income-wise, as well. I need to pursue them.

NaNoWiMo is coming up Tuesday. I think I'll take a stab at it, even though I don't really have any idea of what to write about. I had thought of working on all my short stories, but that might not be kosher. The "No" means novel, although with the way my shorts tend toward the long, I could probably hit 50,000 words. What I won't be working on is finishing Melpomene's Daughter, unless it is in addition to NaNoWriMo.

Some of my short story ideas include: A sci-fi story about a wandering male fox, inspired by the Dido song, Life for Rent. A fantasy story, inspired by the Blackmore's Night song, Spanish Nights. Another fantasy short, loosely based on the Keats poem, La Belle Dame Sans Merci. A sci-fi story about an undercover alien on earth frustrated when his critique group tells him his sci-fi manuscript is "unrealistic". And of course I have a follow-on story about Cheri Avant meeting Tyler's mother. I do have some ideas for two novels with Doctor Avant, but I want to take some care with them.

Maybe I could combine all these in some way. The fox could be a time traveler, who partners with an undercover alien living on medieval earth to solve some local mysteries involving mischievous faeries, meanwhile a rat assassin pursues him through time for… Hmm, okay, why kill the fox? I suppose they could fall in love, but a cross-species relationship is so uncharacteristic of my fox. Well, I have 21 hours before I have to start, I'll think of something.

Nadan has kicked off his fall writing contest . This time the theme is apples. There's no way I can do both NaNoWriMo and his contest. Maybe I can participate in the spirit of the contest by embracing apples in my NaNoWriMo project.

Something else I should do is finish up that ground object for April's world, YelloSub. It shouldn't take me that long, an evening perhaps.

But what's important this coming month is income. I need a job.

2005-10-13 (Thursday) – Zort, Baby!

Due to Doctor Omar Zort's unfortunate cut from the story, Zort, Baby! the story has been renamed to Melpomene's Daughter—which is a much better name, in my opinion.

2005-09-04 (Sunday) – Progress Report

One piece of big, writing related, news is that I'm in the process of reorganizing this web site. I've decided to put all my fictional writing on SkunkWks.com, not just VR themed sci-fi. So I'm in the process of creating a new major section on this site called Stories. Bot Story will go under that.

Zort, Baby!: After finishing scene 5, I realized it had to go. It gave away the ending. So that cut me down to seven scenes total. I wrote the next scene (now scene 5) and got a good start on scene 6. Unfortunately, there is necessary background information missing that's needed for scene 6. Rather than load scene 6 full of telling, I've decided to create a new scene and slip it in between scenes 3 and 4. I'm back up to eight scenes again. Incidentally, without that deleted scene, including Doctor Omar Zort is too convoluted. No Doctor Zort means no "Zort, Baby!" so the title will have to change.

Beach Tour: About mid-August I heard about a writing contest an online friend of mine was hosting. After two days of thought, I decided to borrow one of my protagonists from Zort, Baby!, set the new story about one year after Zort, Baby! ends, and whip up something quick. The deadline for the contest was Midnight, August 31st; word count limit is 3,500; the story must have at least one "anthro" or "furry" character; and the theme is beaches or the sea. Beach Tour is one of nine stories in the AnthroStory Summer '05 Contest . You, the reader, get to judge this contest. So go, read, then score the stories you read. Thanks.

Bot Story, Book 2 – Milliscent Awakens: I haven't touched this since June. I'll get back to it one day, hopefully by the end of this month.

Hey! I'll bet if I updated this page more often, the updates would be shorter.

2005-07-20 (Wednesday) – Progress Report

I'm pretty jazzed! I've pushed Zort, Baby! up through scene 5, with only three more to go. I've also done some edits of existing scenes. Initially, the word counts bloomed, but I've been whittling them back down. Presently, the word counts are: scene 1, 3289; scene 2, 1535; scene 3, 846; scene 4, 1654; and scene 5, 1172. Nearly 8500 words and three scenes left to write. My goal of a nice five to six thousand-word short story is going to require a massive rewrite.

I must set this aside for the time being. I have a white paper due in a few days.

2005-07-18 (Monday) – Progress Report

The first scene of Zort, Baby! came in at around 3100 words, which is way too long for one scene in a short story. I've done a minor rewrite to clean it up, but it needs more editing. I don't really care for the ending. Happily, I have some stuff I could probably cut from it.

The second scene is a little over 1400 words and I've said almost everything I need to say. The only thing I might add is a few details, but I can probably cut some things here and there and keep the word count down. This scene was longer than I expected. It's a five-way conversation, with a mental break by the first protag to fill in background information.

I have the first sentence of the third scene done. Oh boy! This scene will be quite a bit shorter than the others.

I've also remapped my scenes, combining scenes 4 and 6, and cutting the scene count down to eight. Scene breaks are either a jump in time, or a jump in location (and point of view). I have three points of view. I wanted only two, but scene 5 needs to exist and neither protag is present in that scene.

The whole story takes place over a little less than two months, which is a new writing style for me; I cannot afford a minute-by-minute telling of the tale. I also need to find the level of detail necessary for this story; I suspect I'm putting in too much. I think with a little effort I could keep this under 10,000 words, and if I cut detail I could shrink it even more. On the other hand, this could be expanded into a novel if necessary.

2005-07-05 (Tuesday) – Progress Report

I wish I had some progress to report on Bot Story, but I've been busy with other projects and with some personal issues.

One of these extra projects is a new short story I call Zort, Baby! Originally, I wanted to keep it down to four or five thousand words, but the first scene is almost two thousand words and still growing. However, the first scene is the longest and most complex, so maybe I can still bring the total in at under five thousand words.

Zort, Baby! is sort of science fiction, in the style of The Twilight Zone. You think the story is going one way then at the end it takes off in a new direction. Nine scenes total, some are very short. When I finish it, I'm not sure where I'll put it. I'm thinking of trying to sell it to a sci-fi magazine. If I do, I won't put it up on a web site until after the magazine is out. Even then I don't know which site to put it on. It has nothing to do with SkunkWks.

I'll jump back on Bot Story, Book 2 again real soon. I promise.


Historic Thoughts on Writing

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