NaNoWriMo – Am I Cheating?

I’m so eager to get started on my NaNoWriMo challenge that I’ve begun writing the story. I’ve already plotted out most of what I want to write about, but I felt as if to not stall on my first day – I should at least get it started.

Although there are no official rules for NaNoWriMo, I can’t help but wonder if this is considered cheating.

I’m glad I did however. I spent a good few hours on only 1000 words so I knew exactly how I was going to style and get the story started. From there, I brainstormed my characters and how they will interrelate with one another – as well as with my protagonist. I had an idea on how they were going to all tie together, but I’m glad I sat down and actually figured it all out. I just saved myself a ton of time.

It’s funny that when you think you’re ready to get started, there’s always the little fine details you may miss out on.

Lesson learned: Take time with this. Relax. Breathe. Keep a pen on hand, always.

And as for the unresolved question: Am I cheating?

Joker Chips


NaNoWriMo – Almost There

To prep for my NaNoWriMo challenge, I have been reading an old book of mine called “I, Jedi” by Michael A. Stackpole. While no, the book nor the author are award-winners, it’s the only book I own which is written in first-person and involves entirely fictional characters.

It’s important for these characters to be fictional because with all of the biographies out there, the reader has some sort of outside knowledge about the person being written about. Ie. If you read a biography of Ozzy Osbourne, you’d have a general idea about Black Sabbath. With Stackpole’s book, everything is made up.

Every book I’ve attempted to write with so far has been done in third-person (albeit the first one was in first-person but with two narrators). But I’ve always given up because things became too complicated with the narration. To keep a long story short, I was tired of trying to pull “twists and turns” rather than just let the story flow naturally. I’ve gone back to “I, Jedi” to really get a hold on how I can create new characters only using a first-person narrative and still entice new readers to continue reading the book (which is arguably the hardest thing to do as a writer is to have something which makes your readers crave more).

Given the nature of the story I am going to write, I wanted to take on this first-person perspective to really strike the emotional feelings the protagonist will be going through. I think I finally have an idea with where I’m going with this story. I actually believe I’m going to accomplish this goal.

And while I do not expect this story I’m about to write to break any new ground, I really am excited to get started on it. My goal is to achieve a minimum of 1,500 words a day.

I really do not think anyone has any idea how inspired I am to get this goal accomplished.

January 4th cannot come soon enough!

I hope you all had an excellent Christmas.

Christmas Salem

R.I.P. Joe Simon

I’ve been pretty busy with work, the Christmas season and prepping myself for my NaNoWriMo event.

But I have to take a moment though to stop and reflect on the writer, artist, and editor legend: Joe Simon.

Today, Joe Simon passed away at the age of 98. Not only was he the co-creator of Captain America and Bucky with the legendary Jack Kirby, but he still had a prominent role in comic books today.

I always thought it was incredble when in 2007, during Marvel’s Civil War and the death of Captain America, Simon was quoted saying, “It’s a hell of a time for him to go. We really need him now.”

Joe Simon

You will be missed.

I can only assume you’re working on something new with Jack right now.

Review: X-Factor #228 & Avengers vs. X-Men


X-Factor #228
Peter David (writer), Leonard Kirk (pencils, inks), Matt Milla (colours), Cory Petit (letters), David Yardin (cover). $2.99

There is always a ton of fun to be had in an X-Factor book – guaranteed.

As of last issue, Jamie Madrox (Prime) was killed by Jamie Madrox (Dupe) who was killed by the little boy whose father X-Factor was sent in to save and later possessed by the villain Bloodbath who Strong Guy apparently killed! Geddit? And that was all in the last issue!

Although it may seem overwhelming with that summary, X-Factor is fast-paced and features many twists and turns with each page. By the end of it all, you’re left begging for more after each issue. In X-Factor #228, there is no exception. Albeit a more of a conversational book, the dialogue is completely necessary and builds up the inevitable answers people have been asking since Layla Miller’s return in X-Factor #202. (We’re so close!) Not to mention, we’re also getting closer to find out what really happened to Guido after his “death”! And those are still only a few of the loose ends!

Looking at the writing, however, it’s obvious that David has a great handle on this book. Even in a book with little action, the amount of effort put into the characters we are reading allows us to enjoy the book on such a higher regard. It really is a family book, where even the characters are invested in their own team – and that alone makes it a fun read.

And what’s to say about Leonard Kirk? He’s a tight artist with strong emotions pouring out of the characters. Layla in particular really shines with bits of sadness, rage and shame. With such a focus on characters, it’s hard to notice that most of the panels do not have backgrounds to them as readers will find themselves much more interested in the story than the “set” background. It leaves colourist Milla with a lot more freedom to set different moods in the varying panels of humour, action, and sorrow.

Although the book is definitely not a jumping on point for new readers (and I think most books should be), for the fans, we’ll be at the edge of our seats for yet another issue.

Bonus points for a killer cover by Yardin.

Grade: 7/10

As an aside, I’m sure you’ve all heard about Marvel’s summer blockbuster involving The Avengers versus the X-Men. Marvel’s pushing it with an “it’s finally happening” message through their all of their media releases.

Well, what about Avengers #53? Jeez, guys.

Avengers vs. X-Men

Yup. “‘Nuff said!”

Keep on Space Truckin’!

NaNoWriMo – The Uncanny Way

NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month during November. It’s something I’ve always wanted to divulge myself into, but have always found excuses to not partake. This year, I actually wanted to get involved, but between work, helping folk move, and amongst other little things, I told myself to not get stressed over missing NaNoWriMo, and just do it again next year.

However, I really want to get this novel written and “next year” is only a month away. So my compromise to myself was to set thirty days aside between January and February and go at it for a full-month. So I’ve decided to start my own personal NanoWriMo.

“Why are you telling us this, Derek?”

During the month of November, writers from across the globe are there, supporting one-another to get their novels done. There’s a lot of peer support between other writers and for a month – writers become a tight-knit community. Even though I did not partake, I found myself supporting writers I knew involved in NaNoWriMo.

Why I’m telling you this because I feel as long as someone reads this, I know that that one person will hold me accountable for writing a story. That’s right. I want to be held accountable for achieving this goal. If I keep Facebook or updates daily, you folk will know where I am in my novel, and in return, if I do not accomplish my goal, I will not be satisfied. I’m sort of setting myself up with a deadline so that I won’t let any of you down.

Traditionally, NaNoWriMo requires a minimum of 50,000 words – the length of a “standard” novel. I plan on easily surpassing that goal, but I refuse to give myself a word limit.

As for what the story is about, I’ll keep that a secret until I’m ready to announce it. As for the people whom have heard my other novel ideas in the past – this will be an entirely different concept, so it’s brand new for everyone.

I’ve rebooted my story four times now. FOUR times. ~20k+ words per version down the drain because I was dissatisfied with how it was going.

“What’s to stop you from doing this again?”

In NaNoWriMo, you have a word count to make in thirty days. That means there’s little-to-no time to sit back, reflect, and edit what you’ve done. That’s what has killed my other novel ideas in the past: I could sit with them and think about their direction and what I could improve or remove. With NaNoWriMo, I will not have the time for that. Yay. From the completion of the novel, I’ll then edit it and change whatever I want. I just need it written down first.

My plans are to start on Wednesday, January 4th, 2012, and be completed by Friday, February 3rd, 2012.

There will be a massive consumption of tea in those thirty days. Please provide supplies.

Most importantly, wish me luck.

I know both you and I are counting on me.

Let’s finish this.

Iron Man, Magneto