Tuesday, March 17, 2015

NaNoWriMo - Blacklight update!

Sunday I had a very productive day working on my NaNoWriMo project, Blacklight. I've been kicking around in my head the concept for this book, and have made some notes on plot points and characters, but haven't set down on paper (well, virtual paper anyway) a proper plot summary for the entire book. That's what I did on Sunday! The summary is 1712 words, which is an interesting number since that is a little more than what I will need to write every day in November to complete the minimum 50,000 words in a month.

It's going to be a struggle to not write any of the book itself until November, I'm so excited I want to start right now! I do have lots of details I can flush out between now and then to be able to write full steam, so I'll just have to content myself with that.

My Acer Chromebook 15

I have really bought into Google's Chromebook philosophy. I do 95% of everything on the web these days, and for the other 5% I use Chrome Remote Desktop to connect back to my iMac running at home - mostly for Adobe Creative Cloud Apps, and for my Java development IDEs NetBeans and Eclipse as well as Tomcat and MySQL. That is, until my Chromebook 15. With its 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB SSD, I can now run comfortably Linux alongside ChromeOS, and that means I now do my Java web development work directly on my Chromebook.

The Chromebook 15 is hands-down the best Chromebook I've used - fast Broadwell CPU, great battery life (I get 7-9 hours depending), full HD screen, and excellent trackpad. Only the keyboard leaves me wanting a bit, but it's by no means a bad keyboard.

For my upcoming NaNoWriMo projects, I'll be using my Chromebook 15 and the app/site Notebook for planning my novel, and Google Docs for the actual novel. I may even experiment with composing chapters directly in Notebook, and then using Google Docs to put it all together when I settle on a final chapter order. With Google Docs ability to script, I might even be able to automate that easily - sounds like more fun!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Camp NaNoWriMo!

If you've never heard of it before, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org), and it is held every November. Writers actually try to complete a short novel (50,000 words) during that one month - crazy! I've been wanting to do it ever since I learned about NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago, but I've always been scared by that level of commitment. And even though this year I have a full time job PLUS two part time jobs (teaching at Interface and our own North Omaha Chess Academy, NOCA), I'm going to do it! Don't ask me how, I have no idea. But I'm going to try!

During April NaNoWriMo sponsors Camp NaNoWriMo (campnanowrimo.org) - an online, virtual writing camp in which you can set your own writing goals as a warm up for the real NaNoWriMo. Melanie and I have been talking about how to expand our reach with NOCA, and what we've come up with is a Blue's Clues-style young kids web show about chess. The working title is Chess Mess Jess, and features a cat named Jess that always makes a mess of the chess board whenever someone says chess too loudly, since she thinks she's being called. The general format will be very much like Blue's Clues, with an host that talks directly to the children at home. Each webisode will be 5 or 10 minutes, we haven't decided on that yet. During the April Camp NoNoWriMo I'll be working on the first few episode script as my goal.

As for NaNoWriMo in November, I've been sketching out my novel project (but no writing!) - it will be a science fiction novel called Blacklight. The very short summary is this:

Young physicist and astronomer Doña Marina has always been obsessed with Sagittarius A*, being a Sagittarius herself. Her groundbreaking, creative study and theories of the elusive supermassive black hole thought to be at the heart of Sagittarius A* has brought her both fame and controversy, but the free-spirited maverick doesn't care for either. She just wants to crack the mystery of what lies at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. But what she discovers will change the world forever - if anyone ever finds out.
 Anyway, all of that could change when November gets here!