Monday, November 30, 2009

Another Job Offer!

This time around, I was unemployed for only a little over 2 weeks. Booyah! I haven't officially accepted the offer yet because I haven't officially received all the numbers in writing. But I expect everything will look reasonable and I'll have a shiny new job ASAP. :D

That's all for today's blog post!


...with whom, you ask? Oh, right. Good question. ;) The company's called Jambool, located in Seattle's Pioneer Square. Their primary product is Social Gold, which is a payments platform that game developers can use for virtual currencies used in-game, bought with real money. Many of their merchant-clients are Facebook games, but they also support other web (and Flash) apps.

Speaking of Facebook... I had noticed while researching the company that their Social Gold app page had horrible reviews. I was really concerned about it, and it was the first question I asked them today during my on-site interview. Their explanation is this: Social Gold is just the payment platform; if the game that uses Social Gold doesn't do the right thing (either through bugs or fraud), then Jambool can't help that. That seems true, on the one hand, although on the other I'd like to see some kind of response to that effect — "Sorry for your bad experience! But you need to contact the game company if they didn't give you the points you bought through us." It's a bad user experience to vent about getting "ripped off" and no one from the company even comments on it.

The second comment Jambool folks had to say about this was that they were looking to hire someone to actually have the time to respond to these comments and concerns. ;) So it's not as great a situation as if they'd never had the bad reviews on the Facebook app page, but neither does Jambool seem to be fraudsters themselves.

Anyhow! I should be getting hard details tomorrow morning, and unless something is really off in the offer, I'll probably be starting work again soon!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Throwing in the NaNo Towel

You'd think that getting laid off would give me ample time to catch up on my NaNo writing. Alas, I've been focusing instead of hunting down lots of job leads. When I need a break from that, I really just need to get away from the computer entirely... so I join my friends playing Left4Dead 2 (which just came out).

I'm really rather bummed about it, but it no longer looks realistic that I'll make 50k by the end of the month. I can feel inspired about the underdog fight for word count, but not the impossible fight. *sigh*

I hope Steve and Pavel make it!


Monday, November 16, 2009

Negative Words Per Hour

Oh noes, I just discovered that I had typed some notes into my story document rather than my notes document. I moved the words to where they belonged, but that means I just lost 300 words in the last hour of writing. Sad panda!


Racing Against Other Seattle Wrimos

I didn't make the substantial word count progress I was hoping for this weekend, so now I'm finally starting to worry about "winning" NaNo this year. :( I'm not giving up, though!

For short-term motivation, I'm using the list of Seattle participants, sorted by word count. I'm on the 14th page and steadily working my way up the list. Every couple minutes of writing, my word count becomes higher than the next person on the list and I'm a little bit closer to my goal.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Five Isles

My island nation is becoming less and less Victorian all the time. It was the starting point of how I imagined the setting, but it's becoming its own society. I should probably stop referring to it as "Victorian" in any sense, since at this point the label is more misleading that helpful.

Let me demonstrate with the names of my islands. There are five:

  1. Isle of Esperion
    • people are referred to as Esperi
    • furthest away from the rest of the isles and closest to whale migration paths; only island to have sea-worthy boats (the rest of the isles only sail the shallow water between them)
    • first settled; oldest ruling family but also least powerful; considered more "salt of the earth," at least in comparison with the other noble families
  2. Isle of Cadhemar
    • people are referred to as Cadhemarians
    • abundant bogs (peat for fuel and fertilizer; bog iron) and clay (bricks, ceramics)
    • family has a reputation of being "snooty" compared to the other noble families; Here There Be Grammarians :P
  3. Isle of Veranez
    • people are referred to as Veranese
    • peals (used as currency)
    • the king historically came from this family; especially bitter toward Moreinya's "recent" rise to power
  4. Isle of Azerít
    • people are referred to as Azerians
    • education; this is where the best advisers, economists, administrators, architects, intellectuals, and artists come from
    • second sons often end up here for higher learning then bring knowledge back to their families
    • acute accent mark subject to change
  5. Isle of Moreinya
    • people are referred to as Moreinyans
    • artificial island built over an especially volcanically active region; surplus geothermal energy makes this family very powerful (no pun intendend ;))
    • newest island and youngest noble family to gain control of an "island," such as it is; the king often comes from the Moreinya family


Thursday, November 12, 2009

No Job For You!

November 12th was my one-month "anniversary" of my new job. The board members controlling the company decided that it would be a good time for a 50% "reduction in workforce." Extreme suxor. They reduced staff from ~20 to 11. There is no more HR, and all other positions lost any "redundant" folk. As the second developer, I was obviously the one let go.

They let us know Thursday that our last day would be... Thursday. Ouch. At least they're extending my medical benefits through the end of the year rather than the end of the month...

So yeah. This is officially ridiculous. I'm looking for a new job after just one month. *sigh*.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Name My Island Nation

I need some naming help now. In my setting, I have a collection of extremely isolated islands, subdivided into clusters. Each cluster is owned/ruled by one family and has been such for generations. Each cluster has one large island, where the capital city is, and a varying number of smaller islands, where the agriculture and other supporting industries happen.

Each cluster of islands, being ruled by one family, is named for that family. Right now, I have named the island cluster where my main character lives: Moreinya. (I'm intending that to be pronounced [moˈɹeinjə], for you folk who can read IPA.)

What I'd like is suggestions for the other island names. (And maybe a suggestion for a better term than "cluster," too. ;)) I'm thinking there are between 4 and 11 clusters, so the more name suggestions, the better.

I'm going with a vaguely Victorian flavor, so here are the first and last names I've used so far in the story: Miley, Claire, Annabel, Irene, Edith, Abigale, Lenore, Sarah; Miles, Isaac, Robert, Nicholas, Simon, Henry; Moreinya, Wessin, Feingeld.

Also cross-posted to the NaNoWriMo forums.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kingly Rewards

A snippet of a scene near the end wanted itself written. It appears that Miley attracts the attention of the king, who grants her independent "personhood" after having lived years as property. But Miley is going to have a separate, much lower-ranking love interest. So the king is rewarding Miley for some service she did, rather than because he wants her.

The question is, what did Miley do to be A) noticed by the king and B) rewarded with the rare honor of personhood to an "unfamilied" individual, which is done through adoption into the king's own family?

Perhaps the man she was sold to, a lesser noble, was plotting something against the king and Miley was able to disrupt the plot? (How was she able to "defeat" a noble with far more resources than she?) Perhaps she saved the life of someone dear to the king? (How would she be in a position to do that? Was it the abused girl that she rescues? Why could Miley save this person but the king could not?) Any other ideas out there?

Update, 1 AM: I'm going with the "foils a plot against the king" route after talking it through with Jerry.


DIY Rubber Ducky... Sorta

The NaNoWriMo Seattle region's mascot is the duck. We identify each other in random cafés by rubby duckies on the tables. I brought mine with me to a write-in last night, but in my rush to catch my ride when I left, I forgot to put my ducky back in my bag!

I've sent a message to the guy who organized the write-in, hoping that he has my ducky. In the meantime, I've made myself some rubber ducky Post-It Notes (sticky side is the base of the ducky) so I can still be known to my fellow WriMos. :)


Momentum at Last


My word-count-behind-ness will not keep me down! I've written 800 words today, and that's on a lunch break. I have not even begun to write today! I'm going to a café after work, where I shall lay the smack-down on my word count. (Not catch up completely yet, though; I'm determined, not crazy.)

You heard me, sporadically-working progress bar! I'm throwing down the gauntlet!

This is like Week 1 for me, with a new story itching to get written. I'll probably lag behind in the typical Week 2 doldrums that have started afflicting my fellow WriMos. But if I can ride this momentum and hit, say, 3000 words for the next few days, I can be back on target by the Night of Writing Dangerously (aka the halfway point of NaNo).

Sanctuary Synopsis

For the first week of NaNo, I was coming up with some new angle, some new story, pretty much every day. I changed the title of my document more than once a day. When I finally came up with my current story idea, a title just came to me: Sanctuary. My document has kept this title since acquiring it on Sunday. It's clearly Meant To Be™.

So my main character is Miley, named such because her father wanted her to be a boy. When her baby brother Miles is born, her world is turned upside down. In a world where only 2 children are permitted per family, any "extra" children become property rather than people. Miley is "unfamilied" and sold to a brothel to repay a debt her father owes. She is strong-willed and disobedient, and will spend the rest of the story fighting back against those who believe that owning her means controlling her. She will carve out her own place in the world and find a way to become her own person again.

At least that's the planned story. Stay tuned; characters have a way of determining their own destiny if you let them get away with it. ;)


Sunday, November 8, 2009

I Had a Dream

So what I'd written about NaNo so far? Throw it all out. I have a dream.

Or rather, I had a dream. Last night. Usually my dreams jump around in illogical ways and are rather odd. Last night, I dreamed consecutive scenes with plot, characters, conflict, the works. No ending, but that gives me room to explore. It feels almost like cheating, but I'm only stealing from myself.

I'm days behind from all the floundering and lost momentum. But I finally feel like I have something to write. Yay! :)


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Maybe Like Groundhog Day

I still don't know what my NaNo story is about, 4000 words in. It currently wants to do a Groundhog Day thing, but without the narrator being consciously aware of the repeats and with there being some (sometimes significant) variation between the repeats. Again, I don't know if that's what this story really wants to be, but I'm trying to go with the flow here.

The narrator was going to be boring and just get out of bed, get ready for work, and head out. I was even about to type those words. Instead, the cat jumped underfoot as she was walking to the bathroom. She falls and breaks a wrist trying to catch herself. Now her whole day will be different. That's what she gets for planning a boring day in my story. ;)


Monday, November 2, 2009

NaNoWriMo Without a Plan

No plot no problem indeed. I had been intending on writing the sequel to last year's (as yet unrevised) NaNo fantasy story. But 3 days before NaNo, I threw that idea out the window in favor of following a crazy gimmick of an idea that has no characters, plot, or purpose yet. Such is the spirit of NaNo. :)

I want to try writing in second person. Well, it's really narrated in first person, but the narrator is addressing the story to the second person. So the two main characters' names are "I" and "you." But it's not like a Choose Your Own Adventure story. It's more like if you were reading someone's journal entries, but in present tense, as the events are happening. I may decide to abandon this unconventional format in a few days, but I'm curious enough that I want to see how it looks.

As I said, I have no characters, plot, goals, antagonists, obstacles, or anything. November 1st, I had this image in my head that "you and I" had just been left alone with an isolated mountain cabin, going on an off-grid vacation of sorts. "We" spent the day's word count unpacking, mostly.

On November 2nd (aka today), "we" jumped settings entirely and are disembarking from a plane in Mexico City. Maybe that cabin from yesterday is in the mountains of Mexico, not California? "We" could take the train there, perhaps.

But for now, I'm just letting "us" wander around and see where "we" end up. That's actually how last year's NaNo story wrote itself, and I was fairly happy with it. So it's not a guaranteed disaster, in any case. :P

Can I apply this post's 295 words toward today's word count? Pretty please?