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05 April 2012 @ 02:05 am
The other day, I got this idea for a writing exercise and I've decided to post it here to see if anyone's interested in giving it a try. It goes something like this:

Two writers pair up. They each invent a character and a setting, but they don't tell each other who the character or what the setting is. These characters will be each others' invisible friend, so to speak.

How does that work? Well, the characters will end up in peril. What peril that is, is for each writer to choose (it could be anything; ending up in jail, hiding from a serial killer, surviving a war, etc. But it has to be something where they can take a moment to breathe and think).

When the characters are in that situation, they form a telepathic bond. Why? That's for the writers to figure out after the exercise is done. As is, they start hearing a voice in their head that isn't their own.

Practically, Writer 1 sends a line of dialogue to Writer 2, for example: "I'm so scared."

Writer 1 might have written descriptions around said line, for example: He clutched at the wound in his side and thought to himself, "I'm so scared". However, Writer 2 only gets to see the line of dialogue.

Writer 2 then writes a response, with description and dialogue, but only sends the dialogue part to Writer 1. Each writer gets 10 lines of dialogue each, then the telepathic contact breaks.

Time passes (how much, each writer decides – it doesn't have to be the same amount of time for both characters) and then the next peril comes along. The telepathic contact happens again, for another 20 lines of dialogue (10 each). Then more time passes and there's the final dialogue exchange.

Once the third exchange is over, Writer 1 & 2 trade their full stories and try to puzzle together a reason for the telepathic contact and an ending to the story/ies.

The rules of the telepathic dialogue are:
1) The characters can't tell what sex/gender the other is or emotional state the other is in. They will interpret the "voice" as a mixture of familiar voices, that keep changing.
2) If one writer puts []s around a word in the dialogue they send (ex: "I'm in a [cave]"), that word is a concept the receiver has to interpret and describe in the "hidden" text (i.e. the text the other writer doesn't get to see until the exercise is over.)

Did that make sense? Anyone interested in giving this a try?
Current Mood: chipper
13 December 2011 @ 01:49 pm
How do you create the characters for your stories? I'm really curious, since so far I've seen quite different descriptions of the inhabitants of other authors' works from the way I usually talk about my main and side characters. For one, there has been way more pictures and physical descriptions, both of clothes and facial features/body type.

Now, I have nothing against a lot of details! In fact, I'm a little jealous that other people seem to have a firmer grasp on who their characters are, at least visually.

When I write, I start with figuring out who my characters are as people; what they like/don't like, where they grew up, what education they have, who they have relations to, what skills and motivation they have, etc. Often, there's a certain situation I want to write, where I 'hear' dialog and maybe 'see' vague outlines of how the characters move, especially if it's a fight scene.

But I never see faces. I rarely see hair colors or clothes or anything like that, which makes writing the not-dialog parts of the story trickier, since I can't quite picture the characters physically.

Any tips?
Current Mood: curious
01 November 2011 @ 09:27 pm
Glad to see naoki_hime and nonesane have already gotten the ball rolling. ♥ I'm going to throw my hat into the ring with the prologue I wrote today for my NaNo project, Anamnesis.

I don't plan on posting drafts here too often (though anyone who wants to read along as I write is welcome to do so at derailedtrees; comments = ♥), but I AM TERRIBLE AT WRITING BEGINNINGS -- seriously, just awful -- and so I'm hoping for some advice with this introduction. I can never seem to find the right balance between hook, description, and exposition ... where's the line, for instance, between 'vague enough to be interesting' and 'too vague to be engaging'? Intro paragraphs are the very last things I write for school papers. I just can't get the hang of jumping in.

So here's the first, VERY rough draft of my NaNo prologue. It's only 2,848 words, so I'd be outrageously grateful if anyone wants to take a look at it and offer their criticisms and advice. A crappy beginning can absolutely destroy a story before it gets off the ground, and mine has a ridiculous amount of room for improvement.

If you're going to read, just be aware: time is NOT necessarily linear in this story (any confusion there is deliberate), and the repeated lines and descriptive elements are intentional. (Still, if they're more annoying than effective, don't hesitate to tell me. XD)

All advice, suggestions, or general comments appreciated. ♥

(Fake cut to my writing journal.)

Er, I haven't posted a synopsis, because I'm pretty sure most of you have been listening to me ramble about this idea for over a year now ... *ducks* But a very brief summary for the non-initiated:

Anamnesis is an adult Steampunk fairytale which takes place primarily in the clockwork capital of a kingdom called Clarior. The first knight of the realm, whose heart is the key to the City, is injured in a terrible accident; now his broken heart is unable to wind the mechanisms keeping everyone and everything alive. It's up to a small handful of citizens, lead by their recently deposed king, to figure out how to put the knight back together again before their time runs out.

Thank you!
Current Location: merry-land
Current Mood: nervous
30 October 2011 @ 06:22 pm
Here are my three main NaNo character profiles, Tahmik, Rozan and Malkinim. I've got an exiled faery knight, a neurotic necromancer, and a regular kid learning that he's got some powers.

The world is sort of vaguely medieval with emerging technology - electricity is becoming more widespread, but only to major towns and it's terribly unreliable - but with emerging technology comes the fading out of magic in the world. People generally don't believe in it anymore, and they don't accept it when they do see it.

There's two major countries, one western one and one eastern one. The borders between the two tend to be full of trading and pidgin languages, and strange blends of the two very different cultures while they try to get by side by side. Tahmik's from one of those border areas. Mal isn't from their world at all - he's a faery, and they have an entire world of their own separate from humans. Roz is from farther west than Tahmik, but he doesn't consider anywhere to be home.

One day Tahmik finds a strange kid in an alley, huddled down and seemingly talking to himself. Roz tries to run off and Tahmik follows him, and they both get caught in some kind of weird... thing. Lights go out, the sounds of the streets and the bazaars go dead silent. They make a break for it and manage to get out, and Tahmik finds that he can't go back because whatever caused it was targeting Roz and now him, by association. He decides to follow Roz, and they end up on adventure together.
30 October 2011 @ 10:54 pm
Hi everyone!

Newbie here, both to scrawlology and NaNo - nice to meet you :)

My plot is still a bit up in the air, but the characters have solidified a lot since I started dabbling with this idea, so I thought I'd give introducing the crazed mass of ideas a try. Feedback much appreciated!

My nervous ramblings lie this wayCollapse )
Well, that's it so far. Any thoughts?

And of course, I'm looking forward to see what others here are working on too! (Though I'll be without Internet every Monday-Tuesday, just as a heads up, so my replies and feedback can be sporadically slow).
Current Mood: giddy
Current Music: Drumming Song - Florence + The Machine
30 October 2011 @ 02:44 pm
Hello again, Scrawlers;

First, I want to apologize for the polls not working yesterday; I haven't the faintest idea what's going with there - I double-checked the coding, and everything looks okay - but I want to thank everyone who posted or messaged me with their feedback regardless.

I haven't heard back from absolutely everyone yet, but I've received enough votes to feel that we have a comfortable majority ~ and on that note, scrawlology is now officially open to NaNo'ing!

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, there's no established guidelines for how this is going to work. Those users participating in NaNoWriMo may feel free to post here anything they would like to share or would appreciate feedback on, whether that be character profiles, writing excerpts, research-related questions, plot snags they'd like advice on dealing with, etc. We're all writers here, so use us! I also know some of you, myself included, have separate LiveJournal communities dedicated to NaNo projects. Feel free to x-post or include links to posts in other locations (just make sure none of the linked entries are locked.) I'm also going to say that links to non LJ posts (ie, Tumblr) are okay, too, though not preferable; be careful with any external service which requires log-in information. Best case scenario is to just copy and paste your entry here, too, though I'm not making that a hard and fast rule, since I know people like to have all their comments in one place.

The only officially prescribed rules are the ones which already comprise the community: be polite, be friendly, take all criticisms with a grain of salt, and don't dish out anything you couldn't take yourself.

And of course, those of you not participating in NaNo are still absolutely free to post anything you might be working on and would like help with. I'm proclaiming November our official Nuts and Bolts month; help each other out with the mechanics of writing! This doesn't pertain only to NaNo. So again, those of you none NaNo'ing this month, feel free to contribute something else if you'd like to.

(And I'm saying 'November,' but feel free to fire at will from now onward. These last two days of October are honorary November days, so far as I'm concerned.)

I've noticed that some of you who didn't know each other before have already started to talk to one another about NaNo projects, and that makes me overwhelmingly happy; that's the entire point of a community like this, so please, don't be shy about posting and/or commenting! I know each and every one of you personally, and you're all friendly, talented, and generally awesome people. This is a stress-free, pressure-free environment. We're here to help! Please, take advantage of the support group. That's why it's here!

As far as the proposed Holiday Exchange goes, we appear to be split 50/50 in votes. So if you haven't commented on your preference to that yet, please do! I'll bring it up again once we make it through November and see how everyone's feeling at that point.

In the meantime, feel free to start posting your November projects! If you have any questions or concerns, drop me a line, either in the comments here or through PM.

Good luck, everyone!
29 October 2011 @ 07:38 pm
Is anyone aliiiiiiive out theeeeeere ....?

Kidding, kidding; I know what most of you are up to, and that all of you have been crazy busy. BUT! I'd like to propose two ideas, one for now and one for later, which might help get things moving here again!

The first was suggested to me this afternoon by the lovely naoki_hime. I know at least half of us here are participating in NaNoWriMo this year, and she suggested that we utilize scrawlology throughout November as a place to discuss, comment upon, and encourage one another with our NaNo stories. There wouldn't be any rules to this, per se; you'd be free to use the community however you think it can be post beneficial to you -- whether that means actually posting excerpts from the story itself, or simply ideas which you'd like to bounce off of the other members, that'd be entirely up to you.

The idea of this community is to encourage one another in our writing endeavors, and so this strikes me as a fantastic way to do just that; but since, so far as I know, only three of us are actually participating in NaNo, that still leaves three of us who aren't. And so ~ a poll!

Should we turn Scrawlology into a NaNoWriMo support group for the month of November?

Yes! I'm participating in NaNo, and that would be helpful.
No! I'm participating in NaNo, but I don't think that would be useful.
Yes! I'm not participating in NaNo, but I'd be willing to comment on others' work.
No! I'm not participating in NaNo, and I'm not interested in commenting on others' work.
Do whatever you want, I don't really care.

The second idea I had was to do some sort of holiday season gift exchange. This obviously wouldn't get off the ground until November was over, which means everyone would have about a month to create their presents. I haven't quite worked out the format for this, but at the moment I'm just wondering where we stand as far as interest goes. Would you be interested in participating in a holiday gift exchange?

Would you like to participate in a holiday fic exchange?

Yes, and I have a great idea for it which I'll tell you about in the comments!

Alright darlings, that's all I've got for now. Hope everyone's doing well!
30 July 2011 @ 08:54 pm
Hello again, Scrawlers! Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out the poll questions yesterday. It seems you all have just been busy, which is entirely understandable; I myself have written next to nothing in the past two weeks, so I appreciate how that goes.

Since no one seemed especially dissatisfied with the community format thus far, I have here a brand new prompt for Week 6. However, many of you also expressed an interest in instituting some sort of challenge complete with stricter, more specified perimeters. My goal is to cook something up along that vein for next week, but in the meantime I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. What sort of challenge would you like in particular? Off the top of my head, I was just thinking of providing a theme and a minimum-maximum word count specification, but is that enough? Were you hoping for something more specific than that? I'm assuming most of you saw my Tic-Tac-Bingo writing game idea over at russettedbones; is that sort of thing of interest to anyone, or is that too extreme? Let me know what you're looking for, and we'll figure out something new and interesting for next week.

I still plan on providing our usual prompts on a regular basis for those of you who prefer looser inspiration, however, and to that end here's a new prompt for this week:

(source: 03mm)

If anyone has anything else they'd like to contribute for a future prompt, please continue posting your submissions here.

Again, let me know what sort of challenges you're looking for, and happy writing! I hope this coming week is better and less stressful for everyone in general. ♥
29 July 2011 @ 10:57 am
Hi Scrawlers,

I'll post our new prompt a little later after I'm sure LJ's actually going to let me post at all, but in the meantime I wanted to check in and see how everyone's doing. It's been a while since we've had any fresh submissions, and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, I wanted to take a quick, informal poll to get a handle on what's going on.

I know some of you have been particularly busy as of late - no worries there! - but I'm not certain about the rest of you, and I wanted to make sure there isn't something I can do on this end to help promote activity here. Would more structure be helpful (ie, challenges as opposed to prompts which more clearly define specifications, etc.)? Would anyone prefer some sort of group activity, maybe round-robin story telling or something along that line?

I imagine you all are just as prone as I am to scribbling notes in margins between snatches of real-life events and drama, and I know most of you have long-term projects in the works, at least nominally. But the point of having a community is to find a way for us to express our creativity together rather than just individually. I chose a low-structured approach initially, because I felt that best suited everyone's various needs, interests, and schedules. If no one posts, however, the community loses its reason for existing. So what can we do here to help encourage more participation? I am very much open to suggestions and comments, so fire away! Let me know what you think, and how you feel about what we've been doing here so far. And if this format suits you fine and you've just been swamped with other things, let me know that, too.

I went ahead and made a quick poll ~ please check all boxes that apply:

Poll #1765288 Scrawlology Poll

Why haven't you been posting?

I've been busy
I've been suffering from writer's block
I've lost interest in the community
I prefer to post my work elsewhere
Another reason, which I will explain in the comments

What other types of writing activities would you potentially be interested in?

Group writing, round-robin style (each writer picks up where the previous author left off)
Group writing, RPG style (each author writers for a certain character(s))
Challenges, which provide more specific guidlines than our prompts currently do
Challenges, which pit us in competition with one another for fun, low-end prizes
Something else, which I will explain in the comments
Nothing; I like things the way they are

Thanks, everyone!
22 July 2011 @ 04:16 pm
Happy Friday, Scrawlers! Here's our optional prompt for Week 5. Those who have something to post yet for Week 4, feel free to do so up through tonight ~ those who'd like to post for Week 5, fire when ready.


This week's prompt was suggested by naoki_hime ~ thanks! If anyone else has a prompt suggestion, feel free to post it at the Prompt Suggestion Post.

Happy writing!