Needed: Social Reality Manager
Uncategorized / October 25, 2016

So… my social reality manager quit. I’m a Figment. I’m not real. I have to have a real person to interact with reality for me. I’ve had the same person since the very beginning.  Unfortunately, she up and quit on me due to what she called “the stresses of the job”. This means I’m now limited in how I can interact with my beloved fanbase. Apparently Facebook frowns on unreal people using their service, so I no longer have a Facebook presence. Twitter and Google appear to me more forgiving, so I’ll continue to use Twitter when I remember to and, perhaps, I may get around to using Google+ more. However, if you’re used to finding me on Facebook, you may want to either start checking here occasionally or to follow me on Twitter (@Zanzibar7writer) or Google+ (Zanzibar 7 Schwarznegger). Updates will still be posted to both sites. Thanks. Back to working on NaNo prep now. Less than one week to go.

NaNoWriMo Prep: Step Three, Plotting Characters
NaNoWriMo Prep , Uncategorized / October 14, 2016

I’m going to get to the character part, but first I’m going to take a quick side step. What have you not prepped for that has nothing to do with writing in November? You have told family and friends that you will not be socializing unless it’s at a write-in You have told family and friends you can manage fifteen minutes of socializing at a time IF they bring food and caffeine You have stocked up on foodstuffs, either freezer meals, pre-made dinners, cash for eating out, or family/friends bribery You are prepared to do one very good, deep housecleaning on the week of November 1st and then to just to touch-ups during breaks for an entire month You have shunted laundry duty to the spousal unit, children, or paid person. Or parental unit. Barring that, you have figured out how to do laundry between sprints. You know how to ninja write at the table while socializing during Thanksgiving. You already purchased Christmas presents (or you can deal with the “after Thanksgiving” rush) You figured out how to write on your phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, and (if necessary) regular paper and will be carrying as many items of mass wordage…

NaNoWriMo Prep: Step Two, Developing the Plot
Uncategorized / October 13, 2016

You can go into NaNoWriMo cold, with nothing. You can. I can’t. I break out in a cold sweat thinking about staring at that screen, knowing I have to write a minimum of 1,667 words that day, hoping something will come to me. No, thanks. I’m going into NaNo prepped. Those of you hardy souls who do not, I salute you. From far away. With a full CDC virus-protection suit on, just in case the insanity is contagious. Instead, I’ll be doing some exercises over the next few weeks to get my stories into a rough sort of shape. Note that I’m not a hardcore planner. I only get the map set up. I let the story determine where I travel on that map. Yesterday, if you did your homework, you came up with a number of potential plots. Now you need to spend some time developing them into a working thesis, so to speak. Or type. Or… whatever. Let’s move along. There are lots of ways to do this. One is just to take the general idea and plug it into various genres and see what it gives you. Idea: Husband and wife are traveling 2000 miles to get…

NaNoWriMo Prep: Step One, The Plot
Uncategorized / October 12, 2016

Alright, you’re set for the realities of NaNo. It’s hard. You should be ready. But you still don’t have a story. I’ve known some writers to say that any writer who doesn’t have a plot isn’t a writer, but sometimes they’re just not trained in what they need to know to find plots. Because, you see, the plots are out there. They’re evil little bunnies with vicious teeth and sharp claws, and they… ahem. Sorry. Anyway, you just have to learn to look for the plot bunnies. Because they’re everywhere. Everywhere. Okay, took a few minutes to get out of the hug-me jacket, but I’m back. Let’s get to specifics. You can start with story prompts, but that’s so… generic. So if you want story prompts, you might want to go look at another blog. I’m going to try to teach you how to find plot ideas yourself. Go watch people. Every person has a story.  No, you shouldn’t go up to total strangers and pepper them with questions. You’ll get some interesting responses, but it’s hard to promote your novel from jail. Instead, make up their stories. Who are they? How did they get here? Listen to music. The tune,…

NaNoWriMo Prep: Prepping for THOSE Days
NaNoWriMo Prep , Uncategorized / October 7, 2016

I don’t feel like adulting today. In fact, I don’t feel like humaning. Maybe cat or dragoning. I could maybe deal with that. Here’s the thing: you will have a day like this during NaNo. Either the weather will be too nice and you’ll want to go out or the weather will be too bad and you’ll want to stay in (but curled up with a book) or the computer won’t work right or you won’t feel right or your characters won’t be talking to you or you’re just having a bad day… Yeah, it happens. One thing I do appreciate about NaNoWriMo is that it teaches you to write when you don’t feel like it. Getting behind on 1,667 words/day is a big deal if you do it a few times. Trust me. I have the 10k makeup days to prove it.  If you have depression, family events (Thanksgiving, anyone?), or other things come up, though, you may have to deal with making up for those days. Prep for them ahead of time and you’ll deal with them better. Know what you’re going to write about. Sometimes it helps to jot a note about where the story is going before you…

NaNoWriMo Prep: What You Need to Know
NaNoWriMo Prep , Uncategorized / October 4, 2016

Yesterday, I started my yearly discussion about NaNo Prep. But maybe you’re really new to all this, so I dropped you into a discussion where the wind-speed of a laden RPG was mixed in a MOOC with OMG results and everything was pretty FUBAR. (That’s “funnied up beyond all recognition”, for those who don’t humor.) So, baby steps. What is NaNoWriMo? NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, and it happens in November every year. It started back in 1999, in July. I guess they hadn’t capitalized on the fun of the “No” in both “novel” and “November” yet. They fixed that by the next year and threw in some “rules” (which people still break every year and call themselves “rebels”). If you haven’t read their history, you really should. It reminds me that big things start small, sometimes have a few really stinky poopy diapers, get a rebellious teenager phase, and then grow up (hopefully) into something we can be proud of. It also remind me why Figments shouldn’t be parents. NaNoWriMo is also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which means they went from twelve people just having fun to being, you know, real. Sounds like a success story for a Figment. Why…

Cover Reveal: The Wicked Witch of Whatever AND New Contest!
Promotions , Uncategorized / September 20, 2016

Yes, it’s that time. Another cover has reared its not-so-ugly head and is ready to be revealed to the world. I give you The Wicked Witch of Whatever. This YA paranormal/ urban fantasy (still trying to figure out that exact niche) is set at Cawdor High School for the (Magical) Arts. I don’t have a blurb yet. Are you nuts? I’m still rewriting. What if I rewrite something that gives me the perfect blurb? All you need to know is that Macbeth meets Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead meets me. And maybe a heavy dose of teen pop culture thrown in for seasoning. The Wicked Witch of Whatever is slated to be released on Halloween, which is my favorite holiday of the year. When else can I get away with dressing like one of my own characters without someone questioning my sanity? In honor of its release, I’m throwing a little picture party. Dress up like your favorite INDIE character for Halloween, snap a photo, and send it to me. Seven lucky winners will win an ebook copy of The Wicked Witch of Whatever. Three lucky winners will get to have a character named after them in an upcoming book….

Where’s Zanzibar? (Tricky Graphic Not Included)
Uncategorized / September 15, 2016

  My dear readers, my deepest apologies for leaving you high and dry without any blog entries for a while. I’ve taken this “become a Real Person” thing to an extreme and have not only been working a regular “day job to pay the bills”, but have also encountered Illness and Surprise Events. While such things are very useful for content of writing, they are less useful for the practice of writing. Or for blogging, Twittering (er, tweeting) or Facebooking. Mea culpa. I have been incredibly busy in the background, though. The Annals of Bobian did well in the Indie Summer Book Awards, although it was edged out at the end by someone who probably has a Real Life already and is better adjusted to it. Alright, it was edged out of the top five. It was still an honor to be nominated and I will be part of an event tomorrow (9/16) for authors who were nominated. Come visit me here at 6pm Pacific Time! Many of you may know that I started out in NaNoWriMo. After all, I was a product of NaNo and my Figments books are, to one degree or another, largely about the NaNo process. I…

My Words Are on Vacation
Uncategorized / August 18, 2016

I have no words. I have a theory that the more real I become, the harder words become to find. How do normal people write? How unreal do you have to be for words to flow like sunshine down the side of an ice floe? I’m not sure, but I think this reality thing is way overrated. I got a day job. It was part of an experiment to see if I could become Real. The day job, however, has now consumed my life and, in effect, become my reality. This is no way to be real. I come home too tired to write and my creativity is sucked down a drain with dirty dishwater. And I have no words. Sometimes I still think clever thoughts. I still have a moment when I ignore the pressing in of the “must do” list and just bask in the warmth of a moment of clarity and vision. Then an alarm beeps or a break ends and the moment runs away, as flighty as a skittish deer in a forest. And it takes my words. How do I set aside a space for this side of me, for the me that is fragile…

Your Life Main Character
Uncategorized / August 16, 2016

  We’ve all heard the saying (if you haven’t, lie to me; I don’t mind): be the main character in your story. I think maybe it’s brought us a profound sense of deserving to be the main character… and has also led us to believe that being anything but the main character is somehow less. I’ve decided I’m not the main character in my story. Why would I want to be, anyway? Some of my very favorite characters of all time were not main characters: Sam Gamgee from Lord of the Rings, Catwoman from Batman, So why the fight to be the main character? Maybe it’s because the current societal mindset is one of entitlement. You are entitled to be rich! famous! happy! blahblahblah! We’re not entitled to anything. I watched the movie Joy this weekend (largely because I wanted to watch the lovely J-Law; don’t judge). One quote stood out to me: Don’t ever think that the world owes you anything, because it doesn’t. The world doesn’t owe you a thing. – Joy This rang so true to me that I’ve been holding onto it for days now. The world doesn’t owe me anything. It doesn’t owe me wealth….