Camp NaNoWriMo and National Poetry Month

National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo) hosted a side-project called Camp NaNoWriMo this April (and another will be held in July). Unlike the one in November which is supposed to have a (relatively) strict structure, the camp version is designed to be more relaxing and has fewer rules and no pre-set word count target. Basically do what you want, when you want. It is open to non-fiction, or particularly appealing to me, is that I can work on an existing project.

In this case I have worked towards extending my upcoming (as yet unnamed) medieval fantasy novel. It would have worked on this anyway, but it’s always fun to know other people are writing at the same time and enjoying the same experience. Having only just recently finished my university dissertation on the 11th, I hadn’t the time to spend the whole month working on it. Unlike November, I didn’t write every day, in fact I didn’t even keep track of my total word count for the month, but words did get written and overall I am still happy about it. I was disappointed to not get a chance to spend the full month working on it, but…

There’s more!

In July (this is from what I’ve read) there will be a repeat of the months events. I intend on spending as much time as I can working on this novel and I still aim to have it finished by the end of summer (because I want to write a new novel in November and because I’ve been working on it for nearly two years now).

Remember: Word sprints are fun, I find they help me progress. Even if the quality at this stage is less than the quantity, it forces the story forwards and can always be re-written later if some of it sucks.

 

National Poetry Month was another events happening simultaneously in April. I am glad that I took part. Although my aim one day is to complete the challenge of writing 30 poems in 30 says, I was unable to achieve such a feat this year. For similar reason to the above and because it is hard to write that much (the word count would be lower than NaNo but each would be a different thing). Instead I manage to write a grand total of 4, yes four, poems in April. I am grateful as I could have done nothing at all.

 

As the month of April is about half an hour from closing (where I live) I would like to sum up the month. The cabins are closing for the break but will be shortly opening again soon. There is no reason why writing should be limited to a time and poetry should occur in short bursts on one month a year but these prompts get me through the procrastination stage. Talking of which, did I forget to mention I built a writers’ retreat in minecraft in an idyllic location, surrounded by trees, rivers and lakes away from the bustling metropolis?

Cosmological Mathematicians

Written by James Record in 2014.

The heavens have revealed a great wonder onto me.
If that is far from the truth,
It must be the cosmological mathematicians,
Who have rolled their near-infinite-sided dice,
And granted me wonderful luck.

The perfect symmetric geometry,
And the fractals of nature,
Make it all too tempting,
To believe there must be a celestial architect.
The roulette wheels and slot machines,
Are ringing out for all to hear,
With their silent deafness.

Life is a gamble,
You cannot complain if you call your lots wrong,
There are no refunds or safety nets,
You must take what has been cast unto you,
And accept it for the good or not.

Some laws can indeed be broken,
The casinos and gaming dens can be swindled,
Your luck becomes what you make it.
Some laws can never be broken,
And are independent and quite irrelevant,
To how much control we may think we have.

Some would say that they fly when really they are falling.
Unless they are astronauts, the odds are that they,
Are as deceitful as those that who claim to see fate,
And will be punished by a law with no judge.

The cards up your sleeves will mean nothing,
That day when the your luck runs out.
Cash in your chips now,
Because our brief existence is nothing,
When compared to the time humanity’s radioactive stain,
Will take to decay.

Creative Commons Licence
Cosmological Mathematicians by James Record is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Escape the Dragon’s Roost

Written by James Record in 2014.

The fiery breath,
Exhales down my neck,
Scorches my back,
And singes my only shirt.

The dragon sleeps in the cave,
One eye always open,
Watching every move,
Waiting for the attempt to escape,
The roost.

I try to fly away,
It stirs the moment I try,
Claws me back into the hollow,
Not this time.

The cliff is steep,
Rocks of razor lie at the base,
I will need to fly strong,
To avoid the painful death,
Between a monster and an eternal fall.

The constant demands of a flammable creature,
But one cannot get too close,
With risk of losing my hand,
To bone-deep burns.

My oxygen stolen to fuel the flame,
The air thickens with unbreathable smoke,
Suffocating with vile lies.
Every thought taken away,
And incinerated with everything else.

I will fly today,
My wings are weak,
I just pray they are not made of wax,
And so fall to a vicious demise,
And be left to be consumed by the land beasts.

Creative Commons Licence
Escape the Dragon’s Roost by James Record is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Battle for the Creative Mind – Behind the poem

Last year I wrote a poem called Battle for the Creative Mind Click here if you haven’t already read it. Basically there is never a true meaning to a poem, we can invent any emotion we want when we read one, and I normally don’t like explaining the meaning behind my own but I thought it is relevant to explain a little more about myself.

I am a programmer and a writer, I write code and I write fiction and poems. The code requires a very mathematical and logical mind and under normal circumstances is completely incompatible with creativity. Many programmers struggle to create anything fancy hence the term “programmer art” and I cannot escape this myself. I cannot particularly draw very well myself here’s my deviantArt so you can judge for yourself, however I can write (or at least enjoy it).

Several times when I’ve applied for programming jobs I’ve been asked how come I can write fiction but I cannot draw. Well one answer to that is that they are not the same thing, the second answer is that I have enjoyed writing long before I have been making games and software. I always loved the idea of making video games one day but knew nothing about how they were made until I taught myself to program in order to find out. My strengths in maths and science subjects at school and beyond have always helped me with this regard, I also love anything science-y: space, astronomy, physics, crazy mind bending stuff like quantum mechanics (I try) among many other things, I could consider myself a scientist but I don’t look good in a lab coat and safety glasses (not many people do). I have a degree (or at least very shortly will have the piece of paper to prove it) in a computer science field, anything tech-y is me.

You may be wondering how this ties in with the fiction, well I said before, I have loved writing stories since before I liked computer stuff. I particularly got into writing in with fifth year of primary school when the Wednesday assembly was dedicated to a writing competition. Once a week there was a prize for the best short story and the best poem, the winner got to take home a trophy to keep for one week and their story was put on display in the hall. I loved this, I wrote nearly every week churning out all sorts of weird and wonderful things (remember I was aged 10/11 at the time) some were good and some were terrible. I particularly felt proud of a set of stories called Peter Johnson and the… based of course of the craze of the time which was harry potter, an eponymous character who went through a series of adventure in each book. By book I mean a massive font sized print out and bound in a plastic folder, so a long short story for the time. I still wasn’t able to write a full length novel at this point, that would come later with Revolutions: the U for the A, my first novel.

My favourite thing about stories? The plot! No, not that kind of plot, I mean events within the book. This is another reason maybe why I appreciate games that have a decent back story, multi-players are all well and good, but no one seems to be able to make a good story of a game any more. Then there are movies, a good film tells a story a bad movie has things exploding and lens flares coming at you from every angle. Effects are cool and add to the experience but this is why I don’t get 3D, because they don’t add anything to the plot.

Favourite genres? Well anything thriller, action to a degree (see above), mystery for certain, science fiction (because space and aliens and lasers), certain fantasy sub-genres. Which ones I don’t like? Well that must leave anything overly romantic (a bit is ok but not the whole story).

So in conclusion, I like learning facts, I like reading/writing fiction. Some people only like one or the other, I like both. If there are people who have had a similar tale, or rather quite an opposing one then let me know in the comments and please subscribe or follow me.

Fantasy Novel still going

I am getting back into writing my yet unnamed medieval fantasy novel and I am aiming to have it finished by the end of summer. I am over half of my predicted word count, but considering the development of the plot, it is possible this will be stretched slightly. This is definitely going to be the longest book I’ve written so far and I look forward to having it in print and on e-book.

Hopefully I can make this blog post sound interesting and you will want to know more. Well I plan to post more on this story as the plot thickens (page count pun), I may post extracts or teasers and hopefully some cover art before it is finished.

NaNoSprints Newbie

NaNoWriMo is the group which helped me write Cells Divided in a month in November. Yesterday they ran an event called NaNoThon, a writing marathon for fiction. I decided to take up the challenge of spending much of the evening writing as much as I could in a couple of hours. Five sprints later I have another chapter for my upcoming medieval fantasy novel, not to mention the two poems I wrote before that. Now one chapter in a day doesn’t sound much and I did it many times during November but having not written more than about 500 words at a time, it is good to know that I am capable to getting back into this project. Now I have completed my studies at university, it is as good a time as any to really get into this novel and complete it before the end of summer (this is my personal deadline).

NaNoSprints taught me one thing, that I am able to write a reasonable amount in a short time and yet still feel happy with the development of the story and the quality of the writing (remind me to say this again in a few months come revision time). Sprints are a good way to get into a project new or old and they are very fun, in fact so fun I might do some of my own. They can last anywhere from five minutes to half an hour, doing several sprints one after another with variant periods is also quite entertaining to see what my word count is at the end. To add to everything, it is always a bonus to use the prompts and dares to my advantage, it only has to be a sentence or two, and if I’m not happy with it come editing I can always take it out again.

If you have writer’s block I personally recommend trying one, come up with your own, set a timer for fifteen minutes right now and see if you can hit 500 words. It’s ok if you can’t, because even if you reach 450, that’s still 450 more words than you have fifteen minutes ago.

 

 

(I also apologise if you’ve been doing sprints for years as I’ve only recently found out they are so fun. I guess you can call me a sprints newbie, hence the title.)

The Real Mother-Earth

Written by James Record in 2014.

The fragrant breeze across blissful fields,
Is enough proof it took a mother to create,
Everything we take for granted,
And love in the world as children.

“The father” stood idly by as he gazed upon,
What glistens in the sun,
Sings in the half-light of dawn and dusk,
With a taste from the divine here on mortal earth.

Don’t let the rosy face of nature fool you again,
The father may be well known for his anger,
By the way of lightning and fire.
But the mother, as kind and jovial as she appears,
Can be just as cruel,
With frost of the eternal winter,
And famines of the dry dusty wastelands.

Respect the mother as she is most powerful,
At her most spiteful,
Love the father,
If such a figure necessitates a meaning in your life.
But remember maths can be just as beautiful,
With fractals and perfect geometry,
Physics has its equilibriums and balance.

Honour thy mother and thy father,
The ones that created this wonderful world,
If that is what you believe.
But treasure the real miracle of your parents,
Those who brought you into this world.
Even when we don’t get on and say what we don’t mean,
Long after they are gone from this green land,
The magic of new life,
Trumps almost everything else.

Creative Commons Licence
The Real Mother-Earth by James Record is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

The Two Poets

Written by James Record in 2014.

The two poets,
Working together as one,
Interweaving rhymes graciously,
Until they are done.

Although they inhabit one world,
They cannot be more unequal,
One likes the beginning,
While the other loves the sequel.

The former thrives for all,
The latter ceases to be,
If takes a watercolour by her,
And a fractal from me.

The paint splatters on the easel,
The ink dripping on the lamp stand,
Who knew words and numbers co-existed?
Prose and research go hand in hand.

Her verses are fresh,
Mine are tidy and square,
This doesn’t stop us from trying,
For we make a wonderful pair.

I drive the engine,
She creates the aesthetics,
A scientist who loves an artist,
Who could have been this prophetic?

If I am the clean-pressed suit,
She must be the flowing red dress,
A wristwatch set precisely on time,
A gallant couple with no need to impress.

Her lyrics are perfect,
The statistics of a report,
When life get one of us down,
The other will be there for support.

Creative Commons Licence
The Two Poets by James Record is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

New website

I am currently in the process of splitting my website into a separate area dedicated to my writing hobbies, here I will post all my writing related information. I will continue to update my developer site but I will no longer add writing to that, only programming, games, software and web dev related stuff.

My new dedicated writing website: http://www.jamesrecordauthor.com