NaNoWriMo premise: Curtis – Human Bounty Hunter

My premise for this year’s NaNoWriMo, will be inspired by the “Humanity, Fuck Yeah“- threads one can find on the internet. Which has stories of how horrible, nice, honest, dishonest, et. cetra. The human race can be. I am thinking of three books, one detailing the encounter I give you below, but from the Selendaris point of view.  Along with the expansion to the NaNo 50k mark, it’ll feature more details on both the Selendari in question and the state of the universe. I think there’ll be three novels in this series, maybe four. Which leads me to reach at least 150k words, for three, or 200k for four if I write all four during this NaNo….

“It was in the fifty-sixth solar cycle of the space station Silvara Eight orbiting our- the Vadrian homeworld, that I met my first human. I had been briefed of humans, of course. And I knew some of their languages. I could, however, rely upon the translating amulet that the human was wearing to translate to the vadrian tongue. The man was named Curtis. He detailed no family name, so I never thought to ask.

As I was the operating officer of the security detail of the station, I was the one who went down to the surface after he had secured repairs to his ship. Curtis told me that we needed to use a landing ship I was prepared to lose. And that I would have to bring supplies for- I could see uncertainty in his eyes. “Maybe twenty of your solar days. I believed the man to be insane. However did as he told me. All the man carried was his space-suit and a huge backpack. Ah. I forget. You’ll likely want a description of the man.

I know he is a man because, as the security officer, I was tasked with searching the man for illegal cargo. Curtis not only acquiesced but stripped himself, and told me the best procedures. The man seemed no worse for wear after the extensive search. Curtis could tell me that there was a fugitive on our soil that he was hunting, as a far out branch of the human law engine.

Curtis’ legs, raw muscle. Larger than any of our own master athletes. With our clunky gait provided by our three spiky legs, there was something definitively unsettling about the ease with which humans moved. Moving up his bone-coloured skin, I could see scars so aplenty, that one wondered how the man could move at all. We’d been detailed on their bodies. But the details had been nearly nonexistent when it came to why it was made the way it was.

It looked like Curtis’ skin was sewn together with scars. Nevertheless, you’ll probably want to know the structure of his face. His nose, sprouting from his strong jaws, with a mouth that when opened completely looked as if it could eat the entirety of a small animal whole, was stiff, and triangular. His eyes, lightning quick. And uncertainty was felt in my stomach anytime those fearless deep wells of knowledge stared straight through mine.

In his spacesuit, his physique was far less pronounced. And I was far outmatched when it came to carrying capacity. That big backpack of his carried rations, emergency supplies, my supplies, and a great assortment of strange implements of metal and thread. I would later know their use, but at this time I would not know.

As we landed, Curtis shifted. Before seemingly falling on top of me. It happened in the instant we touched down in the location Curtis had told me we needed to go. The explosion was horrible, the craft obliterated. Curtis had a tear in his space-suit, amongst other minor impalements. However, all the damage I had taken, were few specks where his blood had fallen onto me while he protected my body with his own body. I felt kind of cramped. And tried to motion for Curtis to get off. However, he shook his head. Then whispered something to me.

“If I move now, they’ll shoot again. And the damage will be worse than the roof collapsing, which it probably will in a little while.”

My ears rung with his words, as we waited for what seemed like hours. The man continued to bleed onto my protective clothing. There was a slight hissing, as I knew the blood ate its way through the outer layers. It would not hold forever. However just as I thought that, Curtis moved. “The capsule seems to be holding, and it’s heat-shields protects us from the scans of my prey.

We should be safe for a little rest.”

The rest was indeed little. Curtis sprayed some sort of adhesive from a can onto the spots where his blood had begun to eat its way through my suit. It wasn’t that the environment was hostile to me, but at Curtis’ advice, that if I join him, I needed a hazmat suit and armour. I had worn them both. The blood had stopped eating the suit at least. Which was something that was not lost to me as picked pieces of metal, and glass out from his flesh. The deepest cut had gone into the muscle of his foot.
Curtis said nothing, and tore at the inner layers of his suit, and worked the metal out of his muscle. Sticking his fingers into the wound, after wiping some strange smelling fluid onto them.

The wound oozed after his fingers left it. And he touched the two sides of the skin together before applying the same adhesive from the can that had stopped the blood previously. The wound stayed shut, and Curtis worked his foot for a while before taking a short nap. The rest period lasted about fifteen of your “minutes”. Curtis stretched and said out loud. “That should allow them to get some bit away, and allow us to pick up the pace.”

As I followed Curtis, I noted how he carried the weight of the backpack upon his wounded foot as if it weighed nothing. “Does it not hurt?” My question went unanswered for a bit of time as the man worked his way up a small hill that my three spiked legs made short work out of. “A bit, I’ve been through worse. Luckily it only tore through about half the fibres in that muscle. I should have about half the efficiency of it and need a bit more rest than usual for a few days, as the salve I applied works.” I wondered how his body could function in our atmosphere.

As far as we knew it was poisonous to humans. Curtis did use a rebreather, but as the day went on, the man adjusted the efficiency of it down and eventually put it back in its place in the backpack. “Humans can breathe most atmospheres, if they have a healthy bit of microbes in their lungs. I should have no trouble the rest of my stay on your planet. ”

Walking on, we found somewhere to nestle for the next brief rest. I was exhausted. Yet it had been what Curtis called a “short walk” that lasted some eight hours. The man still only required another fifteen minutes. And was ready. I however, was finished. Curtis didn’t seem to mind spending an hour or so recuperating on my behalf. However instead of recuperating as I had to do, Curtis went on exercising his leg. Yes, the very leg that had been half torn open a third of his homeworld’s day ago.

Curtis told me that the creature he was hunting was a Selendari Conman that had managed to get onto the Human Empire’s most wanted list, for a large list of crimes against a lot of people. And that the Selendari needed far more rest than a Human. Curtis also prepared one of his rations. The human could tell me that he could’ve eaten it cold. But that he preferred it warm. As that lent itself better to the taste in his opinion.

A few hours later, and after my ration had been nearly consumed we trudged on. I wondered how Curtis could still walk. A damage like that to any of the Vadrians, and they would be crippled. Probably for many moons. It was our next encounter with a trap, that really put the fear of humans in me. Curtis walked straight into a laser-cutter trap. He’d not been surprised, however, there was a gleam of something unsettling in his eyes as he pressed the trigger.

The man was crazy, and as the laser sliced through his foot. This time the other foot. I noticed something strange. As Curtis fell to the dirt, his suit managed to confine the muscle. It still held the same shape. And was slack. Curtis had relaxed the muscle before the laser had cut it. Curtis didn’t look scared at all. And started applying the salve. This time clearly in pain. However refused any when asked if he wanted sedatives.

“If I eat that, It’ll slow down my senses, and make my body unreliable. I can handle this pain. It’ll soon be nothing. Once again sticking that strange black salve into the wound. Curtis when he tried standing he couldn’t. And asked for a branch of a nearby tree. Which he strapped to his leg by use of strips of fabric. The wound was sealed with the same can he had used before. Curtis wrapped the entire leg with fabric, then rose.

His gait still a bit stunted, I asked him “why did you willingly step into the trap?” Curtis simply smiled. “I have the opportunity to make them think that I will be either incapacitated or dead. Before following them, it’ll mean they think they’ve lost me. This trap, was lain here mere hours before we arrived. And by triggering it, I’ve given them the satisfaction of thinking that they got away.”

It made little sense to me, as Curtis now heaved whenever he stepped, and his gait had become unsteady. However, the man trudged on. Looking like the hunt would be long since over, I wondered why Curtis had asked me to prepare twenty days of rations. As we walked, Curtis picked up fruits, nuts and many other things from the woods around us, and tested if the Human body could withstand them.

As it appeared, the human body could withstand most things even those extremely toxic to ourselves. And as the days went on, me feeling ever more exhausted, the incredible stamina of humans was hammered into my brain. In the last few days, the campsites had started to show signs that they had been left in a haste. And the bounty hunter could tell me that we were gaining fast.

His first wound had been completely healed in two days. His second took a week. The wound was healed, but his bone was not. The strange salve, a product of human factories, seemed to bring muscle fibres together rather quickly, and assist in lining up bones, leaving the actual healing to the body. And as Curtis walked, his strange gait straightened out, and he would begin to jog for spurts. I had been broken into his pace by now.

As long as we took a couple of hours off every two rests, I could keep up. I still tremor to this day when I think of the terrifying force that the human body represents. If I wasn’t there to slow Curtis down, he could probably have jogged the entire time. The stamina that this man could bring from eating all sorts of strange fruits, and animals from the native environment of the planet. It had been a long time since our planet was hunted for food, as it had been on the homeworld of the humans.

But Curtis seemed to find it a natural way to expend his resources. As we worked together, I asked Curtis how he tested for the edibility. “First, there’s the test to see if it is poisonous, it’s this device” Curtis held forth a device that looked like a communications device. “If it isn’t poisonous to Humans, then there is this test.” The man brought up a sharp instrument humans liked when eating, a fork. And scratched himself in his arm. “This way, if something comes in contact with these four scratches, and it becomes painful, or something of that nature, then I know not to eat it.”

It neared our twentieth day when we finally caught up with the creature Curtis was hunting. The creature had run for far too long. Exhaustion had finally taken it over, and it simply hung limp as Curtis lifted the small form and returned the same way we had come from. Curtis didn’t allow the creature to die. And gave his own rations to it to keep it alive. It was starting to get dire with my own rations, and I was starting to grow a bit concerned when Curtis asked me if there was anything I knew in the vicinity that I knew I could eat. I nodded, but fear clouded my mind.

“There’s a large animal some days from here, that my people hunted when we were in need.” Curtis simply nodded. “It’ll be a slight detour, but we’ll go there, provided slaying one is legal.” I nodded, Curtis carried the prisoner and the backpack. The second day of our journey to the fields of the Giant Alpondar natives of the planet, the prisoner Curtis had caught talked. “Let me go, you foul-mouthed mongrel” Curtis simply ignored the creature. And went about his business. Slept for fifteen minutes, then started jogging to the fields of the Alpondar.

They were non-sapient and huge. Something Curtis simply shrugged at. Apparently the man had seen bigger. The woman the bounty hunter had captured however was terrified. Chained to the ground, and hobbled, Curtis told me to stay where I was, and he would fell one. I tried to tell him to let me help. But Curtis had simply shaken his head.

We waited for a few hours. Before the ground started shaking. Curtis came. My face expressed shook with terror as the man sat upon the neck of the creature. The bounty hunter parked his Alpondar beside the campfire, before loading all three of us onto the creature, that he then steered towards someplace in the distance. It was a mere fifteen minutes at a run that we came upon the Alpondar body.

We ate. And I packed as many rations as I could. The prisoner begged to be let go, and not be left in the care of this murderer. Curtis continued ignoring her. Curtis spent a lot of his freeze-rods to preserve the meat-rations. And we managed to get back to the landing site. This time riding on the Alpondar that Curtis had tamed.

I’ve skipped ranks, and gotten pretty far upwards in the relations and military systems of our planet since. All the while cautioning on any aggression against humans. For I have seen, what ease with which a trained human can both live in harsh new environments and sustain crippling damage. I’ll leave this letter of detail with the Human ambassadors. They’ll know better what to do with it than I. I’ve even taken to learning the Human main language, if nothing else, to simplify my own existence if I should come into contact with a human.

Our race may be space-faring. And I am informed there are many others, however, none of them are as adaptable and efficient as the human race. Any relations except peaceful strongly advised against. Curtis, a bounty-hunter travelled across the galaxy, to get ahold of ONE prisoner. His journey, not even counting the one I had the opportunity to join in on, has taken him across a dozen different star systems, and many many different climates. Yet, the Selendari that ran away from her punishment, a race most well known for being extraordinary runners could not cope with the sheer determination and endurance of a single human.”
~ Signed Mondik Veldi; War Minister, and minister of extra-Vadrian relations.

Writing: My state, Camps and 1M words!

1 Million words!

I recently rolled above 1M words written since I started my focused writing career last august. A reminder if you don’t remember where to find my spreadsheet (or if you are a new reader)

Whenever I think of the number one million, this guy shows up in my brain:
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What did I learn writing one million words? I learned that even if you write fast, your fingers have to hit the keys they aim for. I’ve been above 100 words a minute averaged over 83 minutes. It was during the April CampNaNo, and my typo rate was gloating back at me with 54% (of the words had some form of typo in them).

Since November last year, I’ve made a point to record typo-rates. If I didn’t, I would never know how bad or well I wrote. I find the rate at which I have shifted a space, or a random letter in a word is as good a measure of accuracy as any (which is what most of those typos consist of).

CampNaNoWriMo

Is an event in which you like NaNoWriMo write on some sort of project. However what is different from NaNoWriMo is that the camp-site has the added component of peer pressure to perform. You’re put in a cabin, and the idea is to have the cabin “win” if everyone wins. Which means that you get guilted by yourself to perform (You don’t want to rob the others of a win?). Camp is run twice annually, once in April, and once in July.

April (250 000 words)

I set upon myself the insane task of writing 250 000 words. Which I managed. Not without issues (more on that below), but reasonably well. The goal in April was to describe the early life of Kimberly, the cursed true-born Vampyre, upto her conversion to vampyredom. I spent around a thousand words on every day, meaning that I got nearly 250 days worth of her life (By the end of the month, I was writing on a couple of other stories as well).

July (120 000 words)

I have two projects slated for July:
A co-op book with five other Norwegian writers, the writeup has me write five periods of a groups life with a minimum of 2000 words a piece, set in a post apocalyptic world (It also happens to be in Norwegian ugh) (10 000 words (5*2000 ) but I’m adding another 10k since I might go on tangents… ).

A magic-school novel, which follows an anthropomorphic panther-girl going through her second year of magic school (100 000 words).

I’ve just started on my July run, I don’t have to write for the co-op until the sixth. The first of July, I wrote 8200 words. The second, I wrote 4k words. The burnout from April’s camp came from writing nearly ten days of words in three. I am quite sure I could manage to write 8k words every day. Without ending in a burnout.

State

I suffered two setbacks this year, so far.

Sick

At the end of March, I suffered from my regular (second time) five-year disease. I don’t get sick, so when I do get sick, I get really sick. This time it was a virus, that knocked me about for three weeks. The last time I was properly sick was in 2010.. This period ended my 200 day writing streak. And I’ve been trying to rebuild that habit.
I’ve located one thing that keeps me back from starting the new writing streak. Where previously, I had a strict rule to not sleep unless I’d written, that’s fallen to the need to sleep that I had when I was sick. So even though I am healthy again, I still can’t bring myself to adhere to that rule again yet.

A burnout

The second setback I have experienced this year, happened during (the camp) and especially at the end of the April CampNaNoWriMo. During the camp, I didn’t manage to write every day, and with a target of 8334 words a day,  it racked the numbers quickly. I had a couple of days early on that I was able to reclaim. But the last three days of April, I had to write at least 80 000 words. It was the third of these days that I noticed that my timezone was incorrect. Had been incorrect the entire time. Which meant that I hadn’t started writing until the people in that timezone had started. And it bought me a few more hours (as related to my own timezone).

I wrote 25k the first day, 25k the next day, and 32k the last day.

After this, I was burned out. I just had no fire to write. No will. It was simply knocked out. This burnout lasted for 25 days, before I started picking up the “pen” again.

Blog

While I’ve really started to work on getting back into the habit of writing every day, I have also started looking back at the blog-posts that are in the making. There are quite a few. I’m thinking of making another page that names the ones that I haven’t finished.

I know I haven’t been consistent enough with blogging. Which is why, with this post, I am announcing that I will be blogging at least one post a week. And after a while, maybe I’ll increase that number. I’ll be posting them friday, at 12:00.

I also want to start posting to the “Writing updates” section. The problem with this section is that I write 4k words a day. Which is a lot of words to clean. That said, I do need practice with editing. So maybe I’ll get into that again.

Author’s Page

I have a facebook page, that I use to post my writing updates to. The only problem? I haven’t done that in a while. I’ll see to it that it has more content, as I write more on the blog it’ll have at least that on it.

The future

I have on multiple occasions been called a machine, an alien, a natural phenomenon, and a galactic cataclysm for the pace and efficiency with which I write. Now I only need to rebuild that habit I once had. So I can reclaim those titles. My attitude? Positive, as always.

Practice: The law that force you to suck.

Writing to me is just practice. Practice in writing, practice in thinking, practice in storytelling. This attitude allows me to suck. Because that is what you do when you practice. You suck at something for so long that people notice that you are making less mistakes than the rest.

And then suddenly you feel like a god. Because you have gone through the same mistakes, and corrected your behaviour.

I ponder if there are things that I can do better (there are). I am planning on making a world-bible (atlas, and encyclopaedia combined). Before that  I need to become better at drawing maps. Because if there is one thing I will need then it would be a lot of maps.

I coach writing, and my coaching mantra has become this: I’ve done it, you can too!

I’ve been on that ladder. I was doing 500 words a day. That was hard for a time. It needed hours of my time. Some days I spent nearly two! That is a long time to get your 500 words out. It felt so hard that there was nearly no reason to continue, that is how those days felt. But the next day I had a new day, try again. There were days I could write for 1500 words. That was something I had never experienced before. I fell in love with writing.

It gave me two things: It allowed me to experience my bookverse, and it allowed me to see that I was doing something. Working on that one thing I had been dreaming of doing for years. Writing those things into existence.

How does it feel being a writer? Horrible. That’s the truth. I’m one of the first writers that I know of in my family. Which means that I am that one person, whom everyone is asking when the book is done. It’s kind of like being an IT professional, or that computer person that everyone goes to. “Yes, I can fix your computer. No, I don’t know when it’s done. Yes, it’s working away, It’s a really slow computer.”

But that has all been exchanged with “When is that book of yours done?” And I have to explain to them in an exhausted tone that I am not writing on one book. I write on multiple. Then their kicker, the one that goes for my balls. “Where’s the paycheck? You can’t live on no money.” Now, that is a loaded question. To me it feels like a powder-keg. You see I’ve been unemployed for five years.

It’s a harsh truth. But it is the truth. And I HAVE tried, I have been out there. Tried to ask employers. Worked on being a better applicant. I just wanted somewhere to work. When job-searching, people just didn’t notice me. And that annoyed me. I gave up. It yielded too few results in too long a time.

I didn’t give in to depression however, I hid. I hid in the Internet. Made myself someone people on the Internet would like. I learn games easy, so adopting new games came fair enough and I like being nice. So that’s what I did with my time.

I entertained myself. And I love it. You can drown whatever sorrows you have in the Internet. Without feeling the pounding head-aches that come with alcohol.

Sometime during this period I discovered Jeff Goins. I listened to him, I watched him grow. Joined a couple of the webinars that he sent my way. He was interesting. And he made me think of writing. I’d been fantasizing of making my own epic fantasy world. I’d made a few attempts before, at writing. I realised on one of my writing bursts, that I could combine all the stories I’d written before. It wasn’t all that hard.

I had to relax, or scrap a few rules of magic. But that was fine. I decided to make the rules of magic as follows: Whatever culture you have, influences what you can and cannot do in magic. If your culture tells you that you cannot use magic, because your left nostril is a little bigger than the right one, then that is your truth.

This opened up so many angles to me, that I don’t have any problems when I get a writer’s block. I just end up changing character… Yeah, I don’t do outlining. Which is something I am working on, as with so many of my other projects. I’m working on it.

“But you HAVE to outline! Otherwise, how will you know where you are going?” the short answer is that I don’t. The long answer is that I dooooooooooooooon’t. Now, joking aside. This does mean that I have to be more sensitive and effective at remembering stories. Which is why I spend longer training to write than people that does it the regular way (Outline one book, write one book, rinse, repeat). It means that my outline is not in “a year or so”, it means that the outline is “unknown”. I’m fine with that. My financial future has been “unknown” for five years.

I still look for jobs, but when I apply, I still get either no reply, or a negative reply. It doesn’t get me down any longer. I just sit down, every day, and write. It’s becoming a part of my life. Slowly. Today, I write 4000 words a day. When I started some 194 days ago (10th of march now.) I wrote a mere 500 words a day. And that was hard. Here comes the kicker. I write 4000 words in 50 minutes. When I am not distracted, which has become an integral part of my writing process.

When I apply myself, I don’t do half measures. I don’t go writing 500 words in an hour and am happy with that, I improve that. Then I level up the requirement. Sure, I could have gone with 500 words per day. Then be happy with it. But I would not have written 648,828 words if I did. And I would not have challenged myself to go for 100 000 words on day 3 in my first NaNoWriMo ever. (I won, writing 141,281 words.)

I would like to do the same with a job somewhere. I’ve looked into writing for on-line publications, but most of them requires educations which I don’t have, or a driver’s license, which I cannot afford to get.

End of pt 2. (No, it’s right. I’ve not edited part 1 and 3 yet, but this part is fine enough)

100 Days of writing

love,   #171 in explore !

ashley rose, via Compfight

227 241 Words later

Hello there. Yesterday, I ended up hitting a milestone. I have been writing with focused writing for a hundred days.

I want to start out with a couple of statistics because I love me some stats.

When I first started out, for the first month my goal was a minimum of writing 500 words per day. This made me most days write between 500 and 1000. Some days I went above 1000, but that wasn’t often, I think there are six or so.

After my first month, I upped the ante, by adding a target that would slowly increment. It will round to the nearest 500 upwards. I would spend somewhere between 25 minutes and 50 minutes to write those 1000 words.

NaNoWriMo was coming up, I decided I wanted some training in the increased workloads of the NaNo month… So I increased my own minimum target to 1500.

At this point in time, I knew that I would beat NaNo

The first of November was here, NaNoWriMo was in! I decided to go for 2k words per day. This would bring me well into the 50 k that was required.

Two days passed, and I was inspired. I decided to go for 100k words instead of the regular 50k words. Therefore, I would need to write at least 3334 words. This had me write 3402 words the third, and 3885 words on the fourth. I had decided to simply double my previous word-count. I was aiming for 4000 words per day.

Thanks to my at this time around sixty days of experience with focused writing, I KNEW already on the third that I would manage to get 100k within the months end. To me NaNoWriMo was an excuse to be a little more focused on my writing. Therefore, I allowed myself to be even less social than what I usually had been.

The first half of my month writing on this novel was spent in the WPM-ranges of 31-37, this was a rather good improvement upon the previous speeds I had had when I started.

During the time up to the thirteenth, I had heard a couple of murmurs about a site called ilys.com. It was apparently a writing aid. This one site skipped my writing speed 9 words per minute up.

This happened overnight. Three days of practice later, and I would not under normal circumstances go below 50 WPM. There was this one time, where I was on vacation, and had forgotten to write before I left, so I wrote in the car. Yeah, that day I had a WPM of 25. All other days, the WPM kept in the higher scale of 50 (55->60).

There is a downside with ilys.com, well to me at least for now. My fingers have still not caught up with my brain. While they can type at 60WPM, they have still had problems actually hitting the right keys. So from time to time (about 10% of the time) it hits a second or third key. This makes it a chore to spell check. Which one should do straight after getting done with the writing.

During NaNoWriMo I was called crazy multiple times, I even called myself crazy, so I could make jokes about the speed at which I wrote, and how many words I required of myself.

During NaNoWriMo, I wrote 141 000 words. That’s 41000 words more than I had planned to write. What did I do? I started writing on another story that is set in the same bookverse. I decided to add this story to my NaNoWriMo book.

Have I learned something from all this writing? Yeah.

  1. The faster your writing is, the more will you write. If I like I want to, can get my WPM up to 120, I will be writing at 7200 words per hour. This is a lot of words. And will assist on my ultimate goal (Breaking a NaNo event by having over 999 999 words to submit without cheating).
  2. Until your fingers grab themselves enough accuracy to hit the letters they were meant to hit, you will get typos (And that is fine).
  3. Even if it is not fun, even if you do not want to write, write. In the end this also makes experience, you are not practicing at optimal condition. However, you are practicing.

I learned that the system is key.

Detach yourself from the goal (I did that, since I knew I would get the goal by the end, there was no pressure), and trust that your system will bring you there.