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Posts tagged as “Dragon Writers”

AnBloWriMo

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Recently I heard a friend say "2008 was the year the bloggers died" - because almost all of his friends who were bloggers stopped posting. Well, shame on us. SO, in the tradition of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) I announce Anthony's Blog Writing Month (AnBloWriMo) in which I will attempt to put up one post per day for the next month. Hopefully this won't amount to boring all of you to tears, but will instead serve as a useful reminder to me to get my backlog moving again. Of course, those two things aren't mutually exclusive...

Here goes - this counts as number one.
-the Centaur

Look ma, no tubes!

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Now this could really prove useful - Google Docs are now offline:

As long as I have an Internet connection, every change I make is saved to the cloud. When I lose my connection, I sacrifice some features, but I can still access my documents (for this initial release, you can view and edit word processing documents; right now we don't support offline access to presentations or spreadsheets - see our help center for details). Everything I need is saved locally. And I do everything through my web browser, even when I'm offline (the goodness that Google Gears provides). When my connection comes back, my documents sync up again with the server. It's all pretty seamless: I don't have to remember to save my documents locally before packing my laptop for a trip. I don't have to remember to save my changes as soon as I get back online. And I don't have to switch applications based on network connectivity. With the extra peace of mind, I can more fully rely on this tool for my important documents.

I've avoided using Google Docs except for a few small things, but maybe this could win me over. Unfortunately this is not available on every account yet:

If you don't see an Offline link in your Google Docs account, don't worry, it's coming. We're releasing this feature on a rolling basis. You should see be able to enable the offline feature for Google Docs soon.

But they claim it's coming. This is developed with GoogleGears, which anyone can use to make a web app that's offline.

The first thing you need to run a web application offline is the ability to start it without an Internet connection. This is the purpose of the LocalServer module ... Applications that are more than just static files have data that is typically stored on the server. For the application to be useful offline, this data must be accessible locally. The Database module provides a relational database for storing data ... When synchronizing large amounts of data, you may find that the database operations begin to affect the responsiveness of the browser. The WorkerPool allows you to move your database operations to the background to keep the browser responsive.

Very interesting...

-Anthony

82,732 Words

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I just finished the first draft of a new novel in two and a half months.

And immediately copied it to my USB key:

While I have started many novels and written many short stories, Frost Moon is only the second novel I've managed to complete --- thank you, Nanowrimo. The first was a much longer epic science fiction novel, homo centauris, that I wrote over fifteen years ago (has it been that long?) but which I never managed to get published. I worked on several others since then, but the closest to completion is an earlier Nanowrimo entry, tentatively titled Deliverance, set in the same universe, which I plan to finish while my alpha readers tackle Frost Moon.

Whew. I feel like celebrating --- but why do I not feel like taking a break?
-the Centaur

More useless tidbits…

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The first draft of "Frost Moon" is now at 75,000 words. It's turning out longer than my previous estimate (no big surprise for anyone who has suffered through all 698 pages of my Ph.D thesis) but since it is just a few chapters shy of being done I don't think it will be much longer ... somewhere between 80,000 and 90,000 words.

Useless tidbits about my daily life…

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... "Frost Moon" is at 60,000 words, and I've completed up to Chapter 20, the final three chapters, and a scattered salsa of much of the remaining third of the book. At the current rate I should finish up a first draft of around 75,000 words sometime in mid February, woohoo!

Not that any of you should care, other than that posting here keeps me moving ...
-the Centaur

Viiiictory…

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For the second time, I've entered and "won" the National Novel Writing Month contest. This challenge is to start a new novel in November and to write 50,000 words of the first draft before the end of the month. And, by becoming a hermit, not responding to email, and writing over Thanksgiving, I did it!

The working title of the novel is Frost Moon (though over on my Nanowrimo profile I was still calling it "Skindancer" before I found out that the full moon that happens during the course of the book is a "frost moon").

And now, the beginning of Frost Moon. Enjoy.

Frost Moon

I first started wearing a Mohawk to repel low-lifes — barflies, vampires, Republicans, and so on — but when I found my true profession it turned into an ad. People’s eyes are drawn by my hair — no longer a true Mohawk, but a big, unruly “deathhawk,” a stripe of feathered black, purple and white streaks climbing down the center of my head — but they linger on the tattoos, which start as tribalesque vines in the shaved spaces on either side of the ’hawk and then cascade down my throat to my shoulders, flowering into roses and jewels and butterflies.

Their colors are so vivid, their details so sharp many people mistake them for body paint, or assume that they can’t have been done in the States. Yes, they’re real; no, they’re not Japanese — they’re all, with a few exceptions, done by my own hand, right here in Atlanta at the Rogue Unicorn in Little Five Points. Drop by — I’ll ink you. Ask for Dakota Frost.

To retain the more … perceptive … eye, I started wearing an ankle-length leather vest that shows off the intricate designs on my arms, and a cutoff top and lowrider jeans that that show off a tribal yin-yang on my midriff. Throughout it all you can see the curving black tail of some thing big, beginning on the left side of my neck, looping around the yin-yang on my midriff, and arcing through the leaves on my right shoulder. Most people think it’s a dragon, and they wouldn’t be wrong; in case anyone misses the point, I even have the design sewn into the back of a few of my vests.

But those who live on the edge might see a little more: magical runes woven in the tribal designs, working charms woven into the flowers, and, if you look real close at the tail of the dragon, the slow movement of a symbolic familiar. Yes, it did move; and yes, that’s real magic. Drop by the Rogue Unicorn — you’re still asking for the one and only Dakota Frost, the best magical tattooist in the Southeast.

The downside to being a walking ad, of course, is that some of the folks you want to attract start to see you as a scary low-life. We all know that vampires can turn out to be quite decent folk, but so can cleancut young Republicans looking for their first tattoo to impress their tree-hugger girlfriends. As for barflies, well, they’re still barflies; but unfortunately I find the more tats I show the greater the chance that the cops will throw me into the back of the van too if a barfight breaks out.

So I couldn’t help being nervous as two officers marched me into City Hall East...

-the Centaur

“Aha!” he said, “mine’ll be self-referential!”

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Telling a story in six words? Unbelievable, until you see the evidence! Over on Wired:
Very Short Stories. Writers needing exercises, try it out!

-the Centaur
P.S. Technically I realize that the above is an essay told in six-word sentences, not four separate six-word stories, but then many of the "stories" over on Wired are really haiku-like phrases that set a scene. So sue me.

Torturing Our Characters For Your Pleasure

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I've been a part of the "Dragonwriters" writing group since 2002, when a group of people who attended Ann Crispin's Dragon*Con writing class decided that they wanted to stay in touch ... and did. We eventually came up with a slogan for our group ... "Dragonwriters: Torturing Our Characters for Your Pleasure" based on the idea that authors should put their characters through the wringer in order to create interesting stories. Well, now we have a t-shirt based on this idea:

Enjoy!
-the Centaur

The Visual Writer: Always Interesting

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A shout out to Scott Cole and his always interesting Visual Writer site, which is more comprehensive than I could possibly describe in a few short paragraphs. If you're at all interested in improving your writing, the philosophy of words, or the philosophy of the human condition, you should check it out.

Centaurs In Space III

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Continuing the translation of "articles" to modern blog entries... Part III of Article 30 from December 31, 2003.


Last in the series "Centaurs in Space", with text drawn from my short story "Death Wish" and images drawn from my sequential adaptation of the same story.

Death Wish
by Dr. Anthony G. Francis, Jr.

...then the remains of the shuttle slammed into the black surface of the asteroid.

Porsche flinched at the impact, then glared as the sparking hulk of the kyore carrier tumbled past the jagged scarp that had caught the shuttle and impacted the far end.

The edges of the black expanse seemed to shiver, and glowing bits of kyore scattered across the far end of the dumbbell like pretty little fireworks...