NaNoWriMo Update/Advice/Advice?

So, ever have that feeling that you’re working through some big life issues and somehow that leaked into your writing? Ever have that feeling that your entire work of “art” is really just you whining about your own life? That’s kind of how I feel right now.

It’s weirdly fascinating in that I hate what I have so far so much but it’s probably therapeutic. Still, I can’t write any more because I just don’t have enough information. My character is me, with a few major modifications and worlds apart. So I cannot change his life without changing mine.

It’s fiction, so I could just make it up, but it feels fake to me. I’m not trying to write what I know, but that’s what I’ve done, and now I don’t know any more. I want to start over and write a new story from scratch, with a character who is not like me.


This is kind of like an advice article, but it’s also me just rambling. Hope it helps someone…but it might just end up ruining your NaNoWriMo, who knows? I hope it doesn’t.

Trying to write a character who is completely undefined is a deathtrap. You can do it if you’re being meta, or if you are already clearly defined as a person and/or author yourself and are trying some kind of experiment. But having your main character be a young adult from nowhere special who is essentially no one special and ends up being special? You run into two problems.

1) It’s cliché

2) It’s just fancy role-play

It’s better to do what I had tried to do in the past, I feel. Create a diverse cast of characters, or at least one very interesting, well-defined character, and take THEM through a journey. Don’t explore the world yourself–explore the world through their eyes. Don’t try to ask “what would I do?” Ask “what would they do?”

It seems like obvious advice, and I feel like someone has given it to me before. But maybe this will help someone. And maybe someone can help me. Can you help? Please? What would you do? Start over? Change things? 

I have just over 9000 words, which puts me at almost 1,000 behind. No worries, because I can catch up tomorrow! I write quickly when I have to, and when I’m inspired, but I cannot for the life of me write one more paragraph in my current state of mind.


New Books & NaNoWriMo

So I’ve been really busy with school and haven’t posted a thing since September. Jeez. Well, I’ve actually been doing a lot, like reading books and watching movies, and every time I think of writing a review I just find something better to do.

Unfortunately this November will probably be much the same. I’m attempting NaNoWriMo again, even though I probably shouldn’t, and this time I’m making a semi-serious effort. The reason why baffles me completely. Maybe I just need to prove that I can finish something.

So how’s NaNoWriMo going? I’ve got 6600 words, about where I was supposed to be as of yesterday. So I’m on track. If I can just write 1660+ words every day for the rest of the month I can make it to 50,000. Good luck, if you’re attempting the same! My previous record was 30k.

I’ve read a number of books last October, all of which I’d highly recommend. Let’s make a list:

  • Redshirts by Joe Scalzi (Funny and smart!)
  • Off to be the Wizard by Scott Myer (Cheap and hilarious!)
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Clines (AMAZING! Nerdy and perfect adventure!)
  • Pathfinder and Ruins by Orson Scott Card (Good premise, lots of talking)

I’ve also been re-reading/listening to some audiobooks, namely The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie. It keeps my commute sane and provides tons of gritty, witty fuel for writing later. I’m finding that spending last month reading has given me all sorts of inspiration, but it’s also tempting me to do other genres and other stories; difficult when you’re supposed to just be writing one.

I’ll definitely be recommending Ready Player One with an article at some point, and perhaps throw it into a list with Off to be the Wizard and Redshirts. They’re all nerdy, meta, and hilarious, though Ready Player One is more of an adventure/epic. It was written by the same guy who did the Fanboys movie.

ImageI’ll try to do more NaNoWriMo updates as I go along. I’m sure there were tons of Day 1 posts, but that’s not my style. As the month goes on people will drop out, and maybe I’ll be one of the few bloggers still in this thing. It’s a race!

You can add me as your Writing Buddy if you want. My profile is ShawnAnkersen.

HIMYM Is Back!

I’ve been a bad consumer. I’ve been so busy lately with journalism classes and others that I haven’t been able to review my recent consumables. These include Carrot Alarm, Evernote’s new terms of service and update, iOS 7, and more. But I’ll get to those later–perhaps in a rapid fire article that won’t waste too much time on old news.

How I Met Your Mother is back! It’s my favorite rom com/sitcom. If you haven’t watched it, do it! Complaints about the new two episode premiere: surprisingly few! (Spoilers sorta)

There is a little too much cuteness between B & R, but the return of Barney’s brother is fantastic in both plot and comedy. There’s a lot of jokes (maybe almost too much) and some strange new plot framing devices (flashback esque) but overall it doesn’t seem like the show has lost its way.

The mother is way too nice after meeting Lily at her craziest, and Marshall is almost idiotically trusting of strangers as well. Is this a message to people in general? Sorry, I’ll believe in the goodness of humanity only after everyone in the world voluntarily surrenders their capacity for evil and mental illness! Still, it’s funny, and that’s what it’s all about! Watch!

The Wolverine: Better Than Origins, Not Great


I just saw The Wolverine — A little late, but that’s because I only see superhero movies that aren’t on their 4th sequels on opening night. I saw it at a 2nd run theater on Quantico, but you might be able to still catch it in theaters.

I just wanted to write a quick review, but my thoughts came spilling out. Sorry.

In an effort to help you get a quick idea of my review, here’s my quick scores (out of 10):

  • SvetlanaEffects: 10
  • Design: 10
  • Acting: 6
  • Story: 6
  • Fight Scenes: 8
  • Romance: 5
  • Pacing: 7
  • Ch
    aracters: 7
  • Plot twist: Predictable

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“Interrogation” — New Last of Us Online Game Mode!

According to GameSpot and Last of Us’ official 1.03 update, Last of Us now has a new “Interrogation Mode” in the multiplayer menu.

If you haven’t picked up The Last of Us yet, you may want to!

With welcome fixes (which I’ll list in a minute) Interrogation mode switches gameplay up with a 4-on-4 match in which players must interrogate 5 enemies for clues as to where a lockbox is, and then find said lockbox while fighting off enemies, and crack the safe. I haven’t played it yet, but it sounds pretty cool.

Again, I have not played this, but the bug fixes (according to the video below) include:

  • Increased revive range (Good!)
  • Ability to interrupt special executions (and prevent points) (good and bad)
  • Balances to supply cache locations (Good, I guess!)
  • Opening camera movement fixes (good!)
  • More balanced teams (good!)

Check out this video from the creators!

The BEST Zombie Books I’ve Read Yet. Seriously.

Wow. First week back at school. A little overwhelming. But I’ve also been reading an amazing new series! I’ve been reading these books for about two weeks, but unfortunately I have to stop. Why? The next one doesn’t come out until January. Nevertheless, this series was amazing. Get this:


…protecting thousands of civilians…

…in a film studio in L.A…

…from Zombies.

This new series by Peter Clines includes Ex-Heroes, Ex-Patriots, and Ex-Communications, with the fourth one, Ex-Purgatory, coming out in January. It has everything a movie/comic book/zombie nerd wants. It’s got brand new superheroes. It’s got supervillains. It’s got rotting-flesh afflicted gore descriptions. It’s got references to tons of sci-fi pop culture. What more could you want?

Well, there are a few complaints I have with it. Mostly just plot questions to the author, but even those complaints shouldn’t take away from the fact that this book was just damned fun to read. I tore through it. Voraciously.

I know zombies are “in” right now, which is the same as saying they were “in” three years ago and are getting old, but I have ALWAYS loved zombies. And I have a passive love for super-hero movies. This book brings the two genres together in a way that makes you wonder why this hasn’t been done before. This is not Marvel-Zombies. This is a legitimate post-apocalyptic zombie novel — with super heroes.

It wasn’t written by any Science-Fiction master or anything, but Clines does a fair job. The books have an “indie” feel, especially if you read the “about” and “dedication” pages. It’s got a post-apocalyptic setting but it feels like an action-adventure. It doesn’t try to depress you, or even impress you with it’s “realistic zombies,” but it might end up grossing you out. When zombies bite St. George their teeth break off on his rock-hard skin. Some of the descriptions of zombies are hauntingly disturbed. While it might be liberal with the gore it isn’t just chaos in the streets — these books are from the heroes’ points of view, most of which are pretty competent when it comes to dealing with the exes. That’s what they call them in this series: exes, as in ex-human.

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The World’s End — Why I Liked it Best

The World's End

I use the words movie and film interchangeably; it bugs movie buffs and film critics alike. This is on purpose.

The World’s End plays out like an amazingly told story. Not a story in the form of writing; books are long and tiresome in that respect. I’m talking about a story told to you by a brilliant orator. He gives you a compelling reason to listen, but then takes his time and carefully describes the setting and the characters before he gets to the plot. You are riveted the entire time, waiting for the part where the story gets good, when he delivers what he promised. And it only gets better from there.

Chances are you’ve seen the trailer for The World’s End. If you haven’t watch it quick. Gary King was “the king” in high school. He had four friends, and all they wanted to do was “load up and have a good time.” Now, 20 years later, he is in therapy. He talks about the best night he ever had, attempting the “golden mile,” a 12-pub drinking spree in his home town. They never made it, but he remembers having a great time. After that, life’s been all downhill. Someone asks if he every regrets not making it to The World’s End. He shakes his head…but then he gets an idea.

The movie is described as an action sci-fi comedy. If you’ve seen Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, the other two films with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright working together, the film is structured similarly. The first 30-45 minutes of the movie has nothing sci-fi about it; it’s merely an exceptionally funny comedy, with tons of hilarious dialogue good-humored foul language. From there it turns into a sci-fi/action movie, the intensity of which grows gradually but steadily. It’s hilarious the entire time.

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