Archive for the 'writing' Category

NaNoWriMo: Flood System

November 1st marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo, a 30-day novel writing marathon. This is my 3rd year of participating! Because I’m focusing on fiction writing, a minimum of 1,667 words a day, blogging will be sporadic and infrequent. I’ve added a word count widget to the right, where I’ll track my progress against plan.

The story I’m planning to write is this, however, I reserve the right to change it if my characters take on a life of their own – or if I write myself into a corner. :)

Working title:
Flood System

Casey Campbell is hired to save a failing, controversial floating city project in post-flood America. This paranoid new world is shaped by unmanageable numbers of displaced citizens and refugees, lack of availability of food and fresh water, and all of it controlled by a draconian post-democratic military government.

Upon arrival, she finds that the project sponsor has directed the team use a highly experimental & risky resource management system. It interfaces directly with the project team members’ neural systems and has the ability to actually speed up or slow down their subjective experience of time and ability to function in time, as the project requires.

Casey is painfully knowledgeable about direct neural system links, as she was part of the first generation of uplinkers, one of the few that survived the modification. She lives with the consequences every day – the induced autism, the spooky near-clairvoyance, the hard-wired preference for systems and data over people and the risk of brain burn.

The resource management system is administered by an IT team with parameters set by the project sponsor, a government military official with a fanatical drive to rebuild America.

As Casey digs further, she discovers that the project is staffed primarily by immigrants and refugees and they are being assigned to the highest risk teams. These project team members are being burned out, brain damaged and killed by the system, either from a glitch or because of the parameters required by the sponsors.

The controversial project is also the target of an organized opposition and pattern of attacks, both internal and external, from eco-extremists who believe the flood to be the earth’s revenge, and our just punishment is to live humbly with the consequences.

Casey must hold off the opposition, track down and resolve the system problem that’s killing her people and finish building the city. Failure is not an option in this paranoid drowned world; there are far worse consequences than late penalties at stake.

Posted on Sunday, November 1st, 2009 by Jeri
Under: writing | 3 Comments »

How Not to Write

Last week I tweeted a facetious novel writing suggestion, the first one in the list below, and it made me think: how many ill-advised ways can I come up with to write a 50,000 word novel?

  1. Write a 50,000 word MS project plan.

  2. Write a 50,000 word novel in Morse code.
  3. Write a 50,000 word novel consisting entirely of limericks.
  4. Write a 50,000 word comedic romance novel in Klingon.
  5. Write a 50,000 word vampire novel with a fountain pen. In your own blood.
  6. Write a 50,000 word literary novel in the bathroom, on toilet paper.
  7. Write and illustrate a 50,000 word serial graphic novel. In full color.
  8. Write a 50,000 word murder mystery on post-it-notes. Scramble them, then transcribe.
  9. Write a 50,000 word novel in sharpie (or tattoo!) on your own skin. And that of your family, if your handwriting isn’t small. Preserve via digicam.
  10. Write a 50,000 word novel in less than 30 days, while working full time, sleeping too little and drinking too much caffeine. Oh, wait, that’s NaNoWriMo!

Any really bad writing ideas you can come up with?

Posted on Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 by Jeri
Under: humor, writing | 7 Comments »

Corrupting Our Youth

I had a conversation yesterday with an absolutely adorable, precocious, dynamic seven year old girl, an honorary niece of sorts. I borrowed her from her mom and dad, took her for a ride in my convertible MINI and conspired to buy her a bubble-gum cream granita. (Ewww!)

We were talking about her favorite subjects in school. (Reading and writing.) And books. And Halloween.

She solemnly assured me she believes in EVERYTHING.

Sea monsters? Yep. Regular monsters too.
Tooth fairy? Yep.
Ghosts? Yep.
Unicorns, fairies? Yep.
Aliens? Yep.

In fact, she wanted to ask me if I believed in space aliens coming down and landing in flying saucers.

I told her, “Of course, but some space aliens are HORRIBLE drivers and have all sorts of problems parking their flying saucers very well. That’s why they land in cities, or in the middle of herds of cows, and end up on the news.”

She liked this, and giggled a lot. Her next short story in writing class is going to be about space aliens who don’t fly their flying saucers very well.

My work there is done. :)

Posted on Monday, October 5th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: friends, writing | 11 Comments »

Blogging Identity Crisis

As I slowly return to writing regularly in my blog, I find myself struggling with a blogging identity crisis. What is Smug Puppies? (It’s never been a dog blog, that’s for sure!)

I used to call it “an eclectic repository for whatever I’m wound up about after I’ve had my first cup of coffee”. That would be great if I were more volatile, but I’m not — although I’ll stand by the eclectic. I don’t think I could ever be a single-subject blogger – I’d be bored and boring.

Although you all have been tremendously supportive, I don’t want to write about grief any more, and a personal diary was never the objective of this blog. I’ve shared my thoughts and my journey through loss and rebuilding because it’s cathartic, and maybe it will help someone else traveling a similar road.

I’m sure not a political blogger, although occasionally a subject will strike me as important enough to research and dig into. For political writing, go to Eric, Jim, Janiece, Carol Elaine or Kate.

I also don’t really want to write about business & technology, although I can do so quite capably and interestingly. I live immersed in it during the day, and I’d rather write about other facets of my life. For tech blogging, go read Vince or Shawn.

What do I like to blog about?

  • Living life to its fullest.

  • Adventures, both locally and further abroad.
  • Acts of kindness and caring among friends and strangers.
  • Creativity, writing and other crafts.
  • Geeky SF/F fangirl stuff, mostly bookish but occasionally other media
  • Fitness, distance/open water swimming and triathlons.
  • Occasionally, my family, dogs & kitten.

I realize not everyone in my immediate circle of online friends is interested in all those subjects, but others may be. None of those subject areas are really lightning rods for controversy or debate – and that’s ok. I do reserve the right to write about politics, religion or Mac vs. PC whenever I see fit, it’s my blog. :)

I also really enjoy the recurring features that a few of you feature – Janiece’s “Conversations with Karma” and “Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History“, Jim’s “Things that Chap My Ass“, and Michelle’s “Tasty Tuesday” and “Wednesday Word Association” are all fun.

That said, I’d appreciate feedback… what would you like to see here?

Posted on Thursday, September 24th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: writing | 10 Comments »

The Crazy, It Burns

A couple of us have been playing around on Twitter and Facebook with #crazyday – tweeting the nuttiest things we can think of, rather than our usual daily trivia. I’ve actually tried to create a cohesive story of altered reality – here it is, so far:

# When I woke up, there was a spaceship on my back lawn and aliens raiding my fridge. They’d stepped in dog crap and tracked it in. #crazyday

# Aboard the alien spaceship. Apparently they needed a new pet, couldn’t persuade them to take the cat instead. BlackBerry works! #crazyday

# I’m beginning to look forward to the electroshock behavior modification sessions. At least they’re a break from the tedium. #crazyday

# My captors are taking me out for a walk. I hate the choke collar, but I guess I’ve tried to slip my lead and escape too often. #crazyday

# Finally escaped! The docs can’t seem to find the implanted alien locator & control chip, so I keep trying to remove it myself. #crazyday

# @Janiece65 Eww, the neck is scary – arteries & nerves. Mine is in my hip, I have to use mirrors and twist to try to remove it. Ugh. #crazyday

# They’ve found me. They search the house by day & hover overhead at night in stealth shuttles, waiting for me to make a mistake. #crazyday

# If I eat only clear food and liquids, maybe I’ll become invisible. #crazyday

# @uberjima Tinfoil hat AND duct tape jacket! #crazyday

# I’ve painted my car matte black, lined it with tinfoil and am living in it now. Park it in a new spot nightly. They won’t find me! #crazyday

# The cops dragged me away to a hospital when I stopped wearing clothes-how can I be invisible with ‘em on? #crazyday

# They’re trying to poison me in the food and water, and they hold me down and shove pills down my throat. I get rid of ‘em later. #crazyday

# Damn restraints. Stupid straitjacket. They’re dripping the poison directly into my veins now and I can’t stop screaming! #crazyday

# @sotsogm How did you know I have a webcam? Are you spying on me? Where’s my tinfoil hat & duct tape jacket… #crazyday

# @Janiece65 God, I hate running through the cornfields in my altogether – that foliage slices open bare skin! #crazyday

# @Janiece65 And why is it that there are no children of the wheat? Too short? Or children of the vineyard? I’d sign up for THAT! #crazyday

# @Janiece65 They’ve eaten their way through my kitchen, my pets, and are now looking for… I don’t know what. Run! #crazyday

# They’re letting me go! I have new clothes and a bottle of shiny red pills. I dropped them into the bushes as I ran to my car. #crazyday

To be continued…

Visit Janiece, who’s having a great time with this too!

Posted on Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: writing | 2 Comments »