Writing A Story Online In Real-Time

Brandon Sanderson, author of many fine books, wrote Warbreaker in a rather unusual fashion.

He wrote it on his blog, in real-time, going through the entire process (writing, annotating, editing) with amazing transparency.

It was a really cool thing to do, especially given that at that time he was quite a successful author. He was under the Tor banner, and was a rising star. Not an easy thing to convince people about the wisdom of I imagine. But he did.

I’m not even an unknown author. But, this still inspires me. I’ve had a story rumbling in the back of my mind for a while. A number of chapters have been written, and the Synopsis is weakly fleshed out. I think I’m going to give it a crack.

Perhaps the reason why Brandon Sanderson could do it was that he was successful. That’s okay. Have never been one to not attempt something for fear of failure. You just have to read back over this blog to see all the crazy ideas I’ve had and tried .. and failed :)

But anyway.

Just have to work out how it will work, practically, in terms of the blog mechanics.

The story is about a girl who lives in a world where Magic is the Dark Father and the Dark Father is Magic. It’s a story that isn’t quite right, where those telling the story are scattered not just across the world, but across time. Also, it has zombies. Sort of.

Today’s Story-Tellers Never Seem To Get Christianity Right

Eric Liddell My Dad’s a preacher. He’s been a minister of the Presy Church since around the time I was born. He’s a strong man, meek and humble, preaching the Word of God in and out of season, faithfully toiling in a parish as an under-shepherd, pointing people to Jesus.

He doesn’t take the name of the Lord in vain, either out of hand or when something horrific happens. He’s not a fool given to asking awkward questions. He’s faithful to his wife. And he doesn’t go through “crises” of MY FAITH, because he knows the truth of the matter, that his faith is not his own, but a gift from the Lord Almighty.

To me, because I grew up knowing him, grew up under his teaching and instruction, THAT is the character of the Christian.

I have rarely, if ever, seen this accurately represented in today’s story-telling. None of my favourite tv shows, books, movies, have someone like Dad.

We love Bones. It’s a great show, full of surprising gentleness and love. But last Sunday night’s episode really got me thinking. The show centered around the writer’s understanding of faith, demons, God .. And it all came to a crux at the end, when the two leads are talking about faith, and how MY FAITH has taken a beating, but it will grow back.

Mine. My. I.

This is the problem.

The majority of today’s story-tellers just don’t understand Christianity. It’s not Roman Catholicism. As my good friend Dave said just now, it’s far easier to convince people of Roman Catholicism because it’s all about what we can do. We can go to the priest, said to be the intercessor to God. We can grab our beads and pray to God or Mary or a Saint. We We We WE WE ME I …

This is not Christianity.

Where is Jesus? Where is His death and resurrection? Where is salvation? Sanctification? Where is Repentance and Belief? Jesus, the Christ, the one and only Son of God .. He is our mediator, our intercessor. He is the way. The truth. The life. You might know those words off-hand, but they are the absolute reality.

I get it. This is much harder for our broken selves to take on board. We have to come to Jesus as we are, knowing that there is nothing we can do to gain salvation. Nothing. Knowing that everything we are is broken and deserving of hell and all that stuff which noone really likes to talk about, or they like to talk about it too much.

I’m not ranting about this. Not much. For the writers, the story-tellers, of the world to really draw the true character of a Christian, they would have to understanding the Gospel. And well, it doesn’t seem like most folks do. Or if they do, they don’t like it and don’t want to write characters like that.

Please don’t hear me wrong. I’m not talking about how awesome Christians are, how “better than thou” and all that. If you think that, then it’s another error. The Christian has full awareness of their broken state before the Almighty, their utter UTTER dependence on the Mercy and Grace of God Almighty.

What I am saying is,

I wish there were a few more stories written today that had a proper understanding of what it means to be saved by Grace, Jesus as King and Lord.

Just a wish. Nothing more.

Software Development IS Like Writing a Story

See the previous post in this series for togetherness.

137180pxtarzan2 The reality is that people do write stories with perfect characters. While the situations in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ books were broken and brought about by despicable (not many shades of gray) men and beautiful but damaged women, John Clayton (or John Carter) was pretty much perfect.

When writing software, you almost never have a perfect feature. There are so many different possibilities that somewhere, in some place, at some time, your feature would be rendered imperfect.

Gemmell might not stand against literary giants, but I’ll read him once a year at least.

Gmail doesn’t do exactly what Outlook does, but I’m not going back.

So what do we do?

We write stories and software to be more than the sum of their parts.

Fife’s .. And Fifer Street

So yesterday I was perusing my "Books" directory, looking all my writing projects, and came across a kids story i’d started on. Only a few bits and pieces. The start of the first chapter.

Upon reading my notes ("Bits" word docs) .. it seemed pretty cool. Some of the ideas.

Anyway, there’s a little shop on Fifer street that the main characters (twin boy and girl) visit. The bus stop is out the front of it.

Using "Fifer Street" when describing the shop seemed important to me.

The little shop on Fifer Street, Odds and Ends.

Anyway, taking a look on the web, which means wikipedia usually, I read up on Fife’s and the Fifer. Pretty cool stuff. A Fife (pipe) was used in folk music, and in battle. You could hear a fife above the sound of guns and such. It was phased out late in the 19th century i think, early 20th in the states (of course, all my knowledge comes from wikipedia).

Cool stuff. I mean, probably boring .. but acquiring random useless information is one of my best talents.

Telling Stories

Contrary to the last post, this one isn’t going to be about software development. As I’ve got http://pimpmyclarion.com as my main focus for Clarion and Development, Dev Dawn will mostly be used as an outlet, more like a personal blog. Hope that’s okay.

I’d love to tell stories for a living.

The biggest problem is that I never finish what I start. I’ve got at least 30 unfinished novels. Lots of short stories, one screenplay, and heaps of poems.

Most of them are unfinished. Well, not the short stories .. but the _vision_ for the short stories are unfinished, mostly because I was writing them together like a tv series, and only got a few done.

Good writers _write_. They keep going. That’s how I figure is the only way I’ll get anywhere. I just have to concentrate on one story, and finish it. Then another .. one step then another. And so on.

The second problem, related to the first, is that after a while, after the lustre of what i’m working on has faded, I move onto something else, something more exciting. It might be a new story, or a business software idea, or even a few times an idea for a game. But in the end, the project lies forgotten until the next time.

Another problem is that I get stuck on inconsequential issues. It shouldn’t matter that I don’t have a slick and awesome website to put my stories onto .. but at times it has really blocked my progress. I start thinking about putting together the website, and that takes my mind from the story .. and suddenly I’m fleshing out notes for a huge story telling website.

This isn’t always a bad thing .. but it’s happened so many times now that I come to dread it’s onset.

Of course, it happens with all my projects. At the moment, I’m stalled on Bank Buddy, a very cool personal finances tool. It’s an awesome idea, and has come together pretty simply .. but I can’t get past a couple of sticking points. And it’s frustrating. Thankfully I can still see light at the end of the tunnel with this particular project.

Back to the topic at hand.

I’d love to tell stories for a living. Books. Comics. TV. Movies. Radio. Each medium would provide new challenges .. but at the heart, it’s all story telling.

A few years back I had a site, TaelsOnline, for which i wrote a small number of short stories. I took it down a while back, but still have the url.

I’d like to start it up again. Maybe. WordPress is a good tool .. but what I want out of a storytelling template is a bit more. Modding WordPress is simple though .. maybe someone else has done it already. Will have to check out the wordpress scene.