ROW80 and General Update

Hey folks, sorry for having disappeared on the past week or so. Exams, deadlines and projects at the university, plus some really bothersome shoulder pain (that came from nowhere) got the best of me, and I ended up not having much energy to post anything here. I won’t lie, the last few days I did have some more time spring up, but I actually used that to blow off some steam in some new games I had been planning on playing (one of which, by the way, is Star Wars: The Old Republic, which is awesome), so shame on me, shame on me. This next week is probably going to be busy as well, but I will try to have something up here as soon as possible, if not a short story at least a gaming post or something of the sort to not let the digital dust rise too far. Sad news all around, but the end of the term is always like this, with a shortage of time and energy for anything besides the university.

-JNicolini

Advertisements

ROW80 Sunday Update

It’s Sunday again, and time for another ROW80 report. Unfortunately, things are still going slower than I had hoped; I only had the time to finish one short story this week, despite being halfway through the second, and I still haven’t done any real progress on my novel, either. Unfortunately, I think this will be pretty much the norm for me, at least while I still have classes to attend and exams to study for. On the other hand, I’m in no hurry, so even though it is a bummer to not be able to fully devote myself to writing, I’m happy with at least being able to churn out one or two stories a week. I’m also beginning to seriously plan other kinds of posts for the blog, else it will be left to rot for most of the week when I don’t have time to finish all of my planned short stories, as has been happening lately. Either way, for next week I plan on finishing the short story that is already in the works and writing at least one other, so let’s look forward to trying to accomplish my weekly goal at least once! :D

-JNicolini

ROW80 Update

Hey, folks. Finally a ROW80 update that isn’t laced with bad news and doom! I’ve been working on a short story today, and already finished it (it is already scheduled to be published tomorrow, as per my intended posting schedule), and already have an idea for another, hopefully to be completed soon and to be published on Thursday. On the other hand, I still haven’t done any work towards my novel, and I don’t think I’ll be able to do any soon, either, due to responsibilities and deadlines piling up at the university. This doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it, however! Still not on the pace I want to be, but working towards it, which is always good. Not much else to report this weekend, though, so keep your eyes open for another update next Sunday!

-JNicolini

ROW80 and Other Updates… Again

Well, I’m embarassed. I had a short story ready to post on Monday, as I had promised per my new schedule, but WordPress somehow or the other ate it up, and I lost quite a bit of the work I had done, plus the formatting went all crazy. So, I didn’t post anything, and am in the process of rewriting it (and making it better; it wasn’t going in a direction I liked in the first place). But, that’s not all… unfortunately, I have been busy and generally without energy this past few days, and as such have done almost no progress towards my ROW80 goals…. which is a really, really bad thing in my book. I hope to get things fixed by the weekend, though, since the weekends are when I have the most time and energy to actually work on my creative process, and as such I hope to start working for real on my novel again and produce a couple of short stories and other assorted posts to be published here over the week, thus avoiding this situation happening again. Hopefully everything will go as planned this time!
-JNicolini

ROW80 and Other Updates

Hey folks, as some may have noticed, I have been totally inactive the past week. I apologise for that, but various exams, university projects. course assignments and quite a few other personal issues got into the way of any creative or even random writing. As a consequence, I also haven’t many any progress towards my ROW80 goals, but, fortunately, that is about to change. I also want to set up a more or less constant posting schedule for the blog, to make things more smooth (and hopefully allow me to have some worked-out posts in advance if something like this past week happens again). Therefore, I’m going to shoot for a schedule of 2 short story posts per week, one on Monday and one on Thursday, and at least one random post on Saturday (about RPGs, games, or other random subjects), in addition to ROW80’s update posts on Wednesdays and Sundays, of course.

That’s all for today, folks, just a short post to say I’m still alive.

-JNicolini

A Round of Words in 80 Days

So, while reading James’ blog, Speaking to the Eyes, I came across a post where he mentions A Round of Words in 80 Days, something that’s more or less like NaNoWriMo – which I’ve always wanted to participate, but never had the time to actually do it when it starts due to real life concerns -, but with more realistic and flexible requirements. Aha, it immediately piqued my interest, so I went to check it out and indeed, it seems like a lot of fun. Basically, the idea behind it all is that you have to give yourself one or more goals at the beginning of each 80-days round, and twice a week you post an update of your activity towards your goals; however, goals can be flexible and you can change them depending on your situation, which is awesome, since the unexpected can always happen to make your life miserable you find yourself with no time for your initial goals. Either way, their site (here, the link, one more time (: ) can explain it all far better than I. So, since I’m going to participate, what are my goals?

  1. Write two short stories (500~2500 words) per week, to be published here on my blog.
  2. Write at least 200 words per day towards my upcoming novel. Yes, I know it is just a few words, but unfortunately real life prevents me from writing more presently (especially considering goal #1).
  3. Self-publish at least one collection of short stories until the end of the round (or at least have one collection of short stories ready to be self-published at the end of the round, depending on real life constraints).

Well, that’s it, folks! Watch out for an update on my status on ROW80 on Sunday. :)

-JNicolini

Musings on the Quality of Books

One of the things every writer asks himself is, “what makes a book good?”, “what makes a reader hooked in a book”? Well, I was a reader way before I became a writer, and while I cannot speak for other readers, I can at least explore what I think makes for an interesting book for myself. In short words, I believe that a book is great if it makes me angry, sad, and happy; every single book that I read that manages to make me cry, laugh, and shout out in anger, I consider it on my list of best books.

But what makes us cry, laugh and shout out? That is the real question here.

Regardless if it is sadness, happiness or anger, for a book to drive into us enough emotion for us to actually express it out loud, we have to be emotionally attached to the characters and events happening in the book, but mostly to the characters, as it is them who drive the events and the plot forward. Therein lies the secret for success in any medium of storytelling: the characters. The most memorable books I’ve read had developed characters, with strong personalities and organic qualities and flaws. Some of them, in fact, didn’t even had that good writing, or the plots where a bit lackluster… but the characters more than made up for it.

So, what makes a character a good character? Well… I know I can point my finger at many of the awesome characters in the books I’ve read – Harry Dresden in The Dresden Files, Rand al’Thor in The Wheel of Time, Tavi in Codex Alera, and many, many others -, but I cannot for the life of me pinpoint what, especifically, makes them all such awesome characters. In your opinion, what makes an awesome character?