Nan-oh-noooo

Kris here,

November’s come and gone and I just wasn’t good enough to join Tina’s book club this time around. I pulled up about 35,000 words for November averaging a bit over 1000 each day – not bad, but some of the other writers out there were leaving me in the dust! I didn’t expect I’d hit the full 50k mark from the start, so making it 2/3 of the way is alright by me for now.

One important lesson I learned last month was just how many things the world could throw at you when you’re trying to get some danged work done around here. More importantly, I have 3 acts written down for my story, and in 35,000 words I’m barely halfway through the first act! The small half that is. My primary concern is that my verbosity is getting the better of me, and my main character may not need to adverb everything he does. On the other hand, shut up he’s my main character. Goddangit if I want him to thirstily gulp his refreshing spring water in order to blanket his fatigued body in the relaxing, refreshing shade of the quiet bungalow then that’s just what he’ll do.

Yeah so as you see, I have a few days…years? Worth of editing to do. It’s fine, I’ll do it all later, I just need to get everything laid out now so I can rewrite it 11 times before tricking someone I’m not married to to read it. While I’m off doing that, here’s another quick thing I wrote for my adorable wife for Christmas!

::Strangers at Dusk::

A solitary stranger rode into town on a blustery day. Snow driving itself into piles against the empty wooden jailhouse, the clanging of spurs echoed round the ghost town. He hoisted himself out of the saddle, bracing himself against the impressive antlers on this enormous buck. Floorboards creaked and groaned at his landing, glass rattling in its loose enclosure.

“I reckon I come to the right place.”

He caught sight of a few folk peeking through windows and he smiled leisurely at their panic behind the blinds. “Good.” 

Black, soft boots left no prints as he smashed the door to the jail. ‘That’s no good at all.’ Furrowed brows drew together as he casually observed the small, empty cells and grunted. Sliding his red vest aside, the figure loosed his six shooters in their holsters.

“Whoa boy. You wait here, this is like to be dangerous.” He steadied his steed with a firm touch on its glossy nose and moved ahead. He heard shouts across town from the iron mine that was these peoples’ lifeblood. 

That was where he would find his prey. 

Itching for action, the man kept his hands at the ready on his stroll through town. His massive beard catching thousands of snowflakes as his reached around and brought his rifle to the ready. Crunching snow beneath his boots, he finally came to the end of the road. 

A fierce bald man with a scraggly beard waved a pickaxe threateningly at a small pair cowering before him in the snow and demanded they open the bank.

“But sir, we have no banks. We work for the old lord in the castle!”

Biting down on the pipe between his teeth, the massive gunslinger closed the distance to the grizzled old bandit’s back and swung his rifle like a club. Crack! The old miner rolled down the hill to the mouth of the cavernous mining tunnel. “Ya ain’t good enough for bullets.”

Whirling to face the assailant, an angry prospector lit a stick of dynamite quickly and hurled it up the hill. “These people belong to me now. It’s time for you to die, fool!”

Seconds later, thunder rang through the valley. Chapped lips blew the smoking rifle barrel as the old prospector watched his dynamite fall uselessly to the ground.

“I’m afraid you’ve worn out your welcome, friend. I aim to take you down.” Another bullet loaded into the rifle as his voice reverberated through town like an earthquake. 

A roar behind him drew his gaze suddenly. The earth shook with every giant step. Dazzlingly white fur reflected the sunlight as the snow monster plowed through the pair of elves on the ground, hurling them across the street.

“Come on then, you varmant”

Widening his stance and training the sights on the enraged beast, the lone man set his rifle against his shoulder and waited.

Closer, the monster rampaged, grabbing up a dropped hatchet and flinging it at his oppenent – only to have it blasted to the side with thunderous retort.

The gunman quickly slid a large caliber round into the barrel of his Winchester with the monster bearing down on him. 

Planting the gun between him and the beast, he pulled the trigger as the monster made to leap over him with a deafening screech. The creature’s new hole and the blood staining his red suit gave testament to its pain, and proved the hunters’ wrath against the monsters’ body. It flew at him again in a frenzy, ripping the rifle away from him. 

The old man took a solid hit to the jaw. Catching the monsters’ next swing, he used the momentum to launch his massive body into the air and delivered a stunning kick to the side of its furry head. The monster howled and clamped its teeth loudly all about as if to bite him in two. Shouldering it violently, the old man gave it a heavy round of justice to the stomache before finally hurling it at the dastardly prospector below.

At the sight of his two henchmen defeated so easily, the villain moved to flee to the labyrinth inside the mine when a resounding retort of gunfire stopped him short. 

This bullet had singed his moustache clean off, infuriating the bandit. Scowling, he turned to the lawman. 

“Your aim is slipping, old man.” His eyes darted to and fro, searching for a weapon against his longtime nemesis.

“It looks like we have ourselves a problem, here. A yellow, snively coward without a gun stands before me begging to die. But no weapon in sight?” 

Drawing a peacekeeper from his belt, he shined it against the white fur trim on his coat and threw it to the ground in front of his opponent.
“Alright scum. Draw.”

Both men twitched at the trigger. Greasy, unkempt hair topping a mug who’d never known shame stared into the abyss that was the other’s face. Twinkling eyes set under a red and white fur hat, promising him an eternal reward for blinking first.

Lightning struck the old church steeple on the hill with an explosion of thunder bathing the two men in destruction.

When the light dimmed, only one man remained.

Spurs jingling against his boots, the big man sidled over and retrieved his favorite gun. Tipping his furred cap at the terrified townspeople looking out at him, he wandered back to his partner and pulled himself to the saddle once more. “Alright Rudolph, let’s get a move on boy.” The two left as quietly as they came, a wake of dead bandits at their backs.

“Merry Christmas to all, and don’t break the law.”

NaNo-more please my fingers are bleeding.

Tina here,

So with that grim title I am here to share with you all my outlook on this the day after what should be the Halfway mark of NaNoWriMo. Meaning we should have 25k words written into our projects.

However, I am working on an existing project so I should have 75k and Kris is well, Kris is Kris. He has been working so hard on his project and I am so proud of him for all the challenges he has overcome. The biggest one being him asking me to read over his last writing session to see if what he wrote sounds good or if it makes me think of fire and death. He laughed at me last year for asking him each day to review my work. Stating firmly that he would review it once I had finished with it… here we are two years later and I am still writing. However, now I feel no need to show him any of the work!

It has been fun to see him get excited about creating and moving his story along, and don’t tell him but I have been reading it each day and watching what he adds. He is building a beautiful story that I am now racing to try and beat with my own story! I can’t allow him to finish his own novel before mine is done now can I?!

Another funny thing that Kris and I discovered yesterday as we were talking was that it was amusing to us that the stories we are writing is not even what his world was created for, meaning that he created that world to tell a story that neither one of us has even touched. He is so in love with the idea of the story that he cringes anytime I bring up the idea of storyboarding it or working it out on paper. I had wondered if he just needed a push and that was why I started my story.

Now this year he is writing a story that is something completely different than what he wanted to start with but we are both so entranced with the story that neither of us mind. I just thought it would be funny that in a few years we have a few books out in this world and at a Q&A we get asked about why we started writing in the same world and the response would be because of a story that they have never heard of!

Any way, I have been mostly rambling, but since Nov 1 I have gotten really good at doing that for the word count. Don’t forget to backup your current projects and keep on writing!

How we Outline

Howdy ya’ll Tina here again! You know what that means. I am just sooo much cooler than Kris. I get to say that because I can. HA!

So because thinking up a blog post on the fly is OH so much fun, I am proud to present you with, Our outlines for NaNoWriMo! This is my second year doing it, but I am kinda cheating because I don’t want to start a brand new novel, I am going to do 50,000 more words on the novel I worked on last year! And this will be Kristopher’s first year doing it so he is a fresh new little baby into the whole NaNo world. He is aiming for weekly goals and as he says, isn’t wholly aiming for 50,000 so much as for writing every week on a story.  So, I thought I would share with you some of the brain farts and dumps that we do when we were getting ready to get started!

Let’s start with me first since Kris still hasn’t sent me his pictures yet.

Binder
I have a Binder for Each of my Projects
Acts
Each Manuscript has it broken down into Acts
Blocks
Which is then broken down into 3 blocks
Scenes
Further broken down into 3 scenes

So, When I break it down like this I find it much easier to focus myself on what I am writing at that moment. I make notes on each scene as to what I plan to do within that scene and expand it with my beautiful words. Taking in those tiny little strings of thought and turning them into big fat bottomed thoughts of filled goodness. I push to have about 500-1000 words per scene but tend to end up with more.

So in that image you can see my ideas for each Scene on that Block. Then I included pictures of the word count for each of them to show you that I tend to go a bit more heavy handed in words. I enjoy adding detail, and I can always cut it out later if I need to.  Here are some extra pictures from my project I thought you might like to see.

Project Statistics
Here are some stats from my projects
Full break down
And here is just a full view of more of my acts.

Now, Kris does things a little more wonky….

Now I apologize for the blurriness and crazy tones in the pictures, that was my fault. However, you can see, Kris likes to lay out a bubble plot where he has lines that connect in various ways. How did he say it again? *shuffling papers around, flinging post-it notes here and there* AH! here it is, “double lines are plot progression, single lines or connected bubbles are relevant or progressing ideas”.

There you have it. He included several pictures of his more detailed outlines where he has it more neatly laid out but I thought the bubbles were the cooler part of that whole process.  He has pushed himself so far and I am so proud of him. I have really enjoyed getting to brainstorm with him about ideas for both of our stories since they both take place in the same world. He is even going to have one of my main plot points show up in his book for like a few seconds. *girly sequel* How romantic is that! Well, Until next time Keyboard Couple readers!

 

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Place!

 

*Groovy bat symbol spiny sound*

In which Kris has weird thoughts while walking Izzy

Hey guys, Kris here –

Sorry to break our normally scheduled release – Tina and I have been working on the podcast and were trying to get that up this week, but we haven’t been able to get it hammered out. This is my blog week, so I figured I’d write a silly story that made itself in my head while I was walking Izzy for a few miles.
_____________

The boy sifted through the objects in the dumpster with distate. Yech he thought, more biscuits and rawhides. The small child carefully let himself drop silently to the ground. He was told to get food out behind this old warehouse, but it seems it was all for the dogs. Slinking into the narrow shadows cast by the streetlight, he looked about for any other refuse. Spotting a promising looking trash can with a lock, he softly padded his way over.

*SQUEAK*

“Crap!” Tripping over a small pile of squeaky bones he hadn’t noticed, he pulled his emergency axe from his waist pouch and picked up two of the bones. Sprinting back toward the woods, he doused the two toys with the bodyspray, careful not to get any on himself. About halfway to the forest, he tossed one to the side. Then a few meters later, chucked the other in the opposite direction as hard as he could. Sliding into a bush, he lay very still, catching his breath and listening to the alarmed barking.

The two guard dogs were sniffing the pile of toys he’d stepped on a minute earlier, smelling them carefully. The two guards wore handsome uniforms with crisp collars, so he knew they were professionals. The boy made sure not to move, not to make any single sound. He knew society had a special place for him and he couldn’t let himself get caught now. The dogs tracked his scent through the field easily, when they suddenly stopped. Sniffing experimentally, the two split up to search, sniffing in circles and looking questioningly at the sky. The boy heard the howling of sirens in the distance. One of the guards stopped, jumped a few times and started barking at his partner. The other jumped into the air once, ran in a few circles and bolted to the first. Picking up the squeaky bone, the first guard bit down twice and bolted for the other. Just before they colided, the first stopped all of a sudden, squeaked the bone twice more, and sprinted back toward the warehouse complex.

Watching from the shadows, the boy let out a sigh of relief. Dogs are so easy to distract, it made him wonder why his pack was in this predicament in the first place. The sirens came to a stop as several more dogs filed out of a police vehicle marked DPD. They were all armed, armored and very serious. The two guards arrived back to their posts just as the squad car emptied out and the new group stared at the other two expectantly. After a moment of silence, the dog with the toy leapt into the ready position and bit down as fast as he could. The somber group broke out in excitement, each dog barking or chasing his own tail individually, then all chasing after the first to tackle him and wrestle the toy from him.

Feeling it was as good a time as any to slip away, the kid slipped away into the moonless forest.

***

“Oi!”

He awoke to a rough shove and a rougher voice.

“You didn’t bring anything back!?”

Tonight had been his turn to scrounge up dinner, but he’d come home empty handed. It appears he’d fallen asleep waiting for the others to arrive.

“You told me there was food at the storage complex! Well I went there, I climbed inside every trash can and dumpster, crawled under every porch and there was nothing.” The boy crossed his arms. He was hungry too, but there was no helping it tonight.

“You go, sleep on the ground. Blankets are for good boys” Scowling, the grungy man yanked his covers away and wrapped them around himself.

Tears welled in the boys’ eyes, but he didn’t let himself cry. He refused to show weakness to this pack of brutes. He needed protection it’s true, but if he could just find his own pack he wouldn’t have to put up with any of this nonsense.

“Fine!”

Storming off, he angrily took the pack and what clothes he had left and set off. He knew there were few places in the forest to sleep safely, so he opted instead just to try another hand at getting something to eat. Stashing his clothes inside a tree at the edge of the woods, he crept out into a small neighborhood this time. Houses where everyone lived were much more likely to have food thrown out. Rummaging a few cannisters and barrels, he scored a jackpot.

“Carrots!”

They were a little mushy it seems, it’s probably why they were thrown out. Who wanted to chew on mushy carrots when you could chomp into fresh, snappy carrots. Shoving his mouth full, the small child devoured the carrots until he could eat no more. “Ahh,” he sighed happily. He spent a few minutes looking around for a quiet place to rest. Finding a caged trampoline by the edge of the wood, he crawled underneath and used his clothing as a bedspread.

***

“Mom! Can we keep him!”

He opened his eyes and immediately shut them against the bright glare of the sun. Covering his face, he opened his eyes more slowly this time, allowing them to adjust to the light. He was surrounded by what he assumed was the family of the house.

“Patches, you don’t know where he’s been darling. He could have lice!”

“Aww mama, he doesn’t have lice. Look at him! Pleeeeeease. I’ll feed him and walk him everyday and he can sleep with me!”

Things were looking pretty bad, his eyes started darting around looking for an escape. He hadn’t noticed the tall privacy fence around the yard last night in his tired wandering and now there was only one way out. Growling and barking at the other trying to reach out and pet him, the boy bolted for the open gate to the yard and leapt as far as he could. Freedom! He cleared the gate easily and looked to check his pursuers. Ha, they hadn’t even started moving, he was too quick for em.

“Whoa there little fella, nobody’s gonna hurt you. Come here, I got some pizza-flavored pringles for ya? You like those” A man stepped in front of him, setting a small can on the ground.

Warily, the boy eyed the dog catcher’s truck and the y-pole he carried.

“There now, come on over here and we’ll take real good care of you.”

The catcher set the pringles on the ground and backed away. The boy sized up his chances. They were probably faster in the short run than he, they had four legs after all. But he had experience on his side, and could probably lose them in the forest if he made it that far. The boy turned disinterestedly, casually turning his body away and mozying a few steps in the wrong direction. As fast as lightning, he bolted for the can on the ground and used his momentum to roll between the legs of the dog catcher as he turned to get him. Getting to his feet, he made a break for the treeline with the prize. Heart pounding, gasping for air and his mind whirling a mile a minute, the boy pumped his legs as fast as they’d move and barrelled headfirst into the trees.

*Hurk!*

A tightening around his neck choked him fiercely, dragging him back. Wrenching at the rope around his neck, he bit the hands that reached out to him and struggled to free himself.

“Easy does it kiddo, easy does it” The dog catcher eased him back into the grass, the pole securing the boy to the harness around his waist. The terrier spent a minute sniffing the boy and smiled.

“It smells like you’ve been living out in the trees! Don’t you worry, we’re going to take good care of you. We can get you bathed and fed, and maybe find you a nice family. Come on little guy”

The boy pulled as hard as he could against the leash, but it was no use. He’d known it was a risky move and now he’d pay the price. If the price were 3 meals a day, maybe he’d spend a little extra time paying it anyway. The boy was helped inside the back of the truck with the other stray humans while the terrier climbed into the passanger seat.

“Alright Spot, I think we should head on back to the shelter, this one’s gonna need some attention right away.”

“You got it ruffles” replied the Bulldog behind the wheel, who kicked the truck into gear and sped off. The boy watched out the back window as the family of great danes moved their trampoline back into place before they were out of site.