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Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend! Something that I was lucky enough to get in my Easter basket was the DVD of an old movie that I used to love catching on television when I was a kid: Cats Don’t Dance.

It’s this cute animated movie about a cat, and his other animal friends, who want to make it big in Hollywood. However, the people of Hollywood only give cats scripts with the line, “Meow,” on it. Therefore, the animals will just have to change the minds of the people of Hollywood and show them just how much talent and hard-work these animals really have. It’s all about following your dreams and never giving up. A bit cliche, yes, but sweet and totally relevant to anyone trying to make it big, especially in his or her creative pursuits.

Back as a kid, I never really understood the main meaning. I just thought it was a fun movie about singing and dancing animals. Now, though, it totally resonates with me. The last song, Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us, was one of my favorite parts of the entire movie. While it’s not as big as I remember, it still invokes that sense of nostalgia and the meaning is right there.

Remember to always remain positive and to keep heading towards your goals, no matter what the naysayers say!

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Posted by on April 17, 2017 in Home

 

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Writing Goals

Got any good writing goals for this year?

I know, it’s February already, but we can make goals and resolutions for ourselves at any time of the year. Rachel and I were talking the other day about what we would like to get done writing-wise in the upcoming months. It’s our dream to be able to fully support ourselves on writing (and, possibly, a few other creative pursuits).

We both have pretty good day jobs, although mine is probably more money orientated while she is more passionate about hers. Yet, neither one of them are exactly what we want to be doing for the rest of our lives.

Talk of Camp NaNo for April came up. Usually I write something brand new with complete abandon, but I was thinking this year I would use that 50k writing goal to add words to some of my W.I.P.s laying around on my hard drive. Depending on how far along some of those half-finished stories are, I may end up with more than one draft being completed by the end of the month.

What about you? Any other writing goals you’re making for yourself for this year?

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2017 in Home

 

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A Side Character’s Story

In between writing and work, Rachel and I have been playing video games. In particular, the game that we’ve been sweeping through is Paper Mario, a gem from the old Nintendo 64 era which we have on our Wii’s virtual console. Even non-gamers, I’m sure, know the Mario name. The guy’s been around since 1981 in the arcade game Donkey Kong when he was known as “Jumpman,” a year before he earned his familiar Italian moniker while playing the antagonist in his next game appearance. Being in over 200 games since then, Mario has become a well-known hero in the video game world.

The games in the Mario series are populated with all sorts of fun characters of all sorts of different species, from Mushroom Kingdom’s Toads to the colorful Yoshi dinosaurs to the shelled Koopas to the plant-like Piantas. Paper Mario is no exception, especially if one considers all of the partners and side characters that Mario helps and is helped by in the game. His partners are all helpful and have a purpose, both in and out of battle, but one of the side characters particularly amuses Rachel and me.

Kolorado and his snazzy mustache

Kolorado is a world-famous archaeologist in the console Paper Mario games. He frequently travels the world for history and treasure (much to the frustration of his wife). Mario meets him fairly early in the game at Chapter Two, and he just seems like a fun little character with a British accent. Later on in the game he actually accompanies Mario into one of the dungeons, an island volcano on the verge of erupting.

As creators, we populate our stories with so many characters to boost our antagonist’s and protagonist’s virtues, flaws, and goals. At times, promoting aspects of the main players of the story is the only purpose of the side characters. Many fall into cliche stereotypes, such as the mother hen, the dumb jock, or the brainy nerd, and are only there to push the hero (or villain) along.

Kolorado smashes through those stereotypes, proving that he’s more than just a simple side character. From his introduction into the game, the players are given a brief overview of his personality from meeting his wife, who complains about him not being home. He’s rash, always exploring, never settling down during his quests for treasure. Upon finally meeting him a little later, players find that he’s a friendly, curious sort. Even later still, he provides comic relief while courageously (or foolhardily) risking his life in an active volcano for Mario (and treasure).

Here is a character that has his own dreams to pursue rather than just being a plot device for Mario’s adventure. Here is a character whose personality is as well-rounded as a novel’s protagonist, with both virtues and flaws. Here is a character who is living his own life, even though the story’s spotlight is not on him.

Kolorado reminds us that every character, no matter how small a part they play in the novel’s overall story, has a tale of his or her own. He knows who he is, what he wants, and how to achieve his goals. Sure, he’ll help Mario if and when he is needed but, for the most part, he’s busy doing what he has to do for his life. Kolorado’s background and personality helps shape his story and his interactions with Mario which, in turn, help shape Mario’s story.

When sketching out a side character, don’t only figure out what he or she can do for your protagonist or antagonist. Figure out his or her character. What is their history? How did they get to where they are now? What made them the cheerful girl next door or the wise old man? What are your side characters’ dreams? What are they doing to achieve them when they are not interacting with the main characters? How do their goals shape them?

The main characters may be the heroes of your story, but every side character is the hero of their own.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Home

 

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Scribble: The Hero’s Shadow

A small excerpt from my April 2014 Camp NaNoWriMo. Enjoy!

“Awaken, shadow.”

It was a command that he obeyed. Dull slabs of gray and brown stone were the first sight that his eyes took in. Dust and sand swirled lazily about in the air, the particles glinting in the light that shone through the room’s open windows.

“Are you conscious?” the voice asked, tone deep and curiously delighted.

He turned to the source of the voice, blinking slowly as he comprehended the lean man’s words. After a moment, the shadow nodded.

“Excellent.” The man gestured for the shadow to stand, and he did. “I am Lord Kadar of Gronn, ruler of all that you see outside of these windows. Truthfully, it is nothing but a desert pit. My land is dying, but it will thrive again soon enough. It is why I have created you.”

The shadow stayed motionless.

“You were built in the likeness of a certain Zelosian,” Kadar said, “a Zelosian that has decided to oppose my plans to rebuild my empire. You may have him to thank for your life.”

The shadow did not react to Kadar’s low chuckle.

“In order to rebuild my empire completely, I need the aspects of this continent,” Kadar said, his tone hardening. “I have the Dark Aspect from this area already, hence why I was able to bring you to life. The Light Aspect, alas, is well guarded in Zelos, and it is because of the Sun Aspect that I believe the Zelos queen has sent out her champion to collect the other aspects before we do.

“The other aspects are still out there,” the lord continued, “and I have chosen you to bring them here. Go and collect them before the Zelosian champion does.”

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2014 in Scribbles

 

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NaNo Day 7 – Character Appreciation

Dory, from Finding Nemo: “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”

NaNoWriMo Day Seven Word Goal: 11666
Current NaNoWriMo Word Count: 12170/50000
My NaNo Profile: Winged_Spirit

This year (or maybe previous years as well and I’ve just never noticed it), the NaNo site has a word count validator available all month where one just copies and pastes one’s whole novel into the little box and NaNo will count how many words you have. It’s fantastic if one is like me and bounces from Microsoft Word to OpenOffice, both of which tend to disagree with word counts, with a story. Now I have a tool that will always be able to correctly count words for when it really matters.

Anyways, I’m still doing well with NaNo, and I’m hoping to continue this streak despite the coming Week Two, in which most NaNoers feel the pressure, and the temptation to slow down the challenge is huge. My characters are being awesome, especially this random side character named Eddie. He’s a classmate and a student to the main characters, and has already proven to have a good sense of humor, leadership qualities, and seems to be supportive of everyone. He may have to have more of a prominent role in the story…

Here’s hoping that everyone else is having good luck with their writing, characters, and life in general. 🙂

Also, here’s the obligatory link to Rachel’s blog, because we always link to each other with every post, haha!

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2013 in Home

 

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NaNo Day 5 – Atmosphere

Ray Bradbury: “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

NaNoWriMo Day Five Word Goal: 8333
Current NaNoWriMo Word Count: 8514/50000
My NaNo Profile: Winged_Spirit

Yay for being on par with NaNo! I’m a little ahead with a couple of hundred words from the daily goal, which I am proud of.

Rachel and I tend to try to write together when we can, and lately the place where we write is at our kitchen or dining room tables. During the summer, we always tried to go to our local Barnes and Noble during my day off. We’d hit Dunkin’ Donuts for a quick, sugary breakfast, then order drinks from the convenient Starbucks that was inside our B&N before plopping ourselves at a table and firing up our laptops. It was a fantastic writing atmosphere, with all the reference books we would ever need and easy access to caffeinated beverages.

I admit, half of the time we distracted ourselves, but it was all in good fun and we always made some sort of progress on our writing dreams, whether it be typing up a new chapter, creating character lists, or editing the first draft of a novel.

Being the school year, Rachel has her homework to worry about as well as her full-time hours at her work. I recently got promoted and, while the work isn’t too different, there are definitely more responsibilities on my shoulders along with some interesting hours. During this month, we do our best to keep up with each other’s progress, asking about word counts and character tidbits when we do see each other. We’re doing our best to devote Sundays to each other, grabbing Starbucks after church before heading home to write for as long as we can.

It would be easier if our den/video game room was all set up for us to use. Lately we’ve been having gentlemen work on the house’s insulation, and they’ve been cutting holes in the walls upstairs where our den and bedroom are located (we had to sleep in the living room a few nights due to this). Those brand-new desks we have can’t be put to use with our writing just yet! Hopefully everything will be all set soon.

Rachel and I have contemplated staying at the Starbucks we visit after church to do some writing. It’s fairly small and cozy with awesome workers and a little lounge area with a FIREPLACE. I want a fireplace. There are outlets under most of the seats and tables. I do feel as if we would be a bit too loud for the place, though. It’s why we don’t go to write at the library, haha!

For the most part, we’ve been doing well making up our own “writer’s atmospheres” at home. We get distracted often enough, of course, with the animals and kids (and parents, haha — Hi, Mom!), but as long as we can keep writing, then I guess the atmosphere works in our favor.

Happy writing everyone!

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2013 in Home

 

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