Follow Me And Die!

Ramblings of an Old Gamer

NaNoWriMo 2014 Winner!

Winner 2014 NaNoWriMo

50,123 words for NaNoWriMo.

I have made the goal of writing 50,000 words in November. Now I just need to wrap this thing up.

50,000 words is not as difficult to achieve as it sounds. Getting to the point that there is an interesting story that others will want to read and enjoy it, that is the trick.

Now to get this story moving to a conclusion….

I hope to have a complete first draft by the end of the month.


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Musings on This Blog’s Name

As I explained in the About and here and elsewhere, the name of this blog comes from my brother, Robert, the DM mocking my character in his game, who hired all the mercenaries he could to deal with the large hordes of orcs in his territory and all of the troops dying, making it very difficult to hire more troops. It’s a bit like “going over the top” in WWI.

It is not lost on me the irony of the term when it comes to social media, as one wants to encourage and attract followers.

But if you think about it, whether you follow my blog or not, you will die, so don’t be like all the others who die without following my blog, join the few who die valiantly (?) in the pursuit of role playing fun!

Follow me!  ….. and die!

Or as best as I can imitate the way my brother says it:

Follow Me, And Die!


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Reading My New Holmes Blue Book Basic

I picked up a copy of the 3rd Edition Holmes blue book Basic D&D rules at UCON 2014 this weekend.

As I read through it, I found eight bold references to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

This is the third edition, which is copyright 1979. I started playing D&D in April, 1978, so I had either the first or second edition of this boxed set. This was when the three white books and any boxed set were not on the shelves and available to us, and before the revised Red Box full set of rules came out.

I am making an assumption here, but with all those bold faced references to ADVANCED D&D, that colored the thinking of the group I played with. Basic was “simple” and for “children”. We had to have Advanced. We decided to wait until the advanced books came out and managed to keep playing until then. I remember getting the Player’s Handbook for Christmas of 1978, then I bought the Monster Manual and the DMG when they came out.

If it had not been for our ignorant adolescent understanding that there wasn’t that much difference between the two games, we might have used more of the Basic information. Although cost was a factor back then. I had thought about getting Chainmail back then, but I had a subscription to Dragon and had to give my parents money to write a check to renew each year’s subscription. Mowing lawns at $10 each made that money precious and it did not get all the things I wanted. Had I been more industrious back then, I would have been able to afford more of the things I wanted, but had less time to enjoy them. Much the same problem still exists today, if I want paid so I have food, clothing, and shelter, I have to go to work instead of play.

A few things I noticed, after not seeing this for a few decades. While it only goes up to 3rd level for characters, the monster combat table goes to 11+ hit dice, and the monster list includes creatures that are well beyond 3 hit dice. All distances are in feet and some equipment on the list here did not make it into the Player’s Handbook.

This was a how to play book that reorganized the rules. It was not clear to us that this was the case back then. I have so far only had time to skim the rules, but it is clear that one can get a full set of playable rules and a wide selection of monsters in 50 pages, and easily in 60 pages or less. Delving Deeper is only 128 pages of rules with several full page charts and full page illustrations.

I look forward to reading these Holmes Rules and seeing what nuances I missed way back when. I will also read my red box rules and see how it compares to the AD&D I favor over others.


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UCON 2014 Impressions

I had fun at UCON and wish I had had the ability to be there the whole weekend, instead of the whole day. I did get tired and ran out of steam at about 7:00 pm, so I made the 2 hour derive home. Thankfully, the worst of the weather did not impact the interstate. This was my third con for 2014. Before this year, I had not been to a con in about 30 years.

I got there about 7:45 registration opened at 8:00. I took a chance and asked if I could get my stuff, and they were kind enough to accommodate me. I had pre-registered and prepaid for the day, so all they had to do was check my ID and have me sign something. I ordered a UCON bag, in case I needed it.

I then looked around to find where the two games I had signed up would be, they were in the same conference room at different tables. I had about and hour to kill before my first game at 9:00.

At 8:45 I worked my way back to the conference room, which was by now open, and found the table for Keep on the Borderlands, with S&W Rules. I had never player this module, or had no recollection of it, if I did. I started with Holme’s Blue Box, and modules were not a thing my brother and I could afford, so we only played modules when friends provided them. We had a father, John, and his ten year old son, Jack. This was Jack’s first con game. The other two players were friends Frank and Michael. Our DM was Forest Ray. We had a good time. We were given max hit points and our magic user, John’s character, was allowed to be third level. the magic user also hired a lantern bearer. Other than the power boost from the magic user and lots of sleep spells, we did very well in combat and the DM could not hit us for anything. We did have a couple of people get hit, but it was not knock down damage. Even if we had not had the extra spells of the magic user, we would have still done very well. Jack got the UCON token to redeem for a prize since this was his first game at a con. It was fun, but I can see where a lot of younger players would misunderstand game design and every player end up with a magic weapon or item of some sort. If there is a closet with a magic sword for every fighter in the group and other things, why aren’t the orcs using them on the players? In three hours we rolled up characters and got past the bandits, kobolds, and orcs. It was fun and I would have liked to keep going.

Next I viewed the vendor area. It was not very big at all. I had expected there to be more vendors there, but there was a bit of something for everyone.

I bought some things that I had not planned to by, but isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be at conventions? I had to have something to put in my UCON bag.

I picked up Gygax Magazine No. 2 at the Pacesetter Booth, that’s all they had. I have the PDFs but like having a real one. I wished I had the chessmen covers, those are too cool and remind me of the ones on Dragon, by the same artist. I wish I had my old collection of Dragon Magazine.

At Newera Enterprises, ran by Roy B. Snyder, I found a Blue Box Basic D&D Manual. This is what I started with. I gave my original to my youngest brother. But over the years, found myself wanting one.

I also picked up some things that I never owned back in the day: the red box basic rules that has a module in it – Keep on the Borderlands; the blue cover Expert Rules and red cover Player’s Manual with a Dungeon Master’s Handbook.

I spoke with Roy for awhile and found out that he live in Kalamazoo, and that one of the police officers in the village where I live has written for Castles & Crusades. It’s a small world. I had no idea.

UCON 2014L oot

UCON 2014L oot

While in the dealer room, I way a guy with this awesome shirt, and he was kind enough to let me take a picture of it.

Call Chulhu

Call Chulhu

I then introduced myself to Tim Snyder, of The Savage Afterworld, who was manning the Goblinoid Games booth. Tim sums up our conversation on his blog. Yes, Tim, it was good to meet you. One thing I will mention, is that it was priceless to see Tim’s reaction that I played Keep on the Borderlands for the first time that morning. [Tim – The Village of Hommlet is the module I was struggling to recall the name.]

From 2:00 – 6:00 I played in Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, DM’s by Shawn Dry. This was ran as three four hour sessions, so one player could go through the entire adventure, if they signed up for all three sessions. I played a high level priest of Odin. I had played this module once way back in high school, so I remembered bits and pieces. As the DM showed us pictures of the creatures and other things we were finding, I recalled more of it. This was the middle session, and we had done well. I was having such a good time, I wanted to play in the next session. We had one character die, and mine got knocked down. We thought for sure we had a TPK on our hands, but we prevailed and survived for the next round of players to finish the module.

My only real complaint, it that on the website for UCON when I signed up, it was not clear playing through the Peaks module was an all day thing. I did try to sign up for the third session online before I knew this, but it and the first session filled up before the second. I did go downstairs and try to sign up for the third session, having forgotten it was already filled. I did not think to ask about an “alternate” ticket, in case someone didn’t show up. The person assisting me did not ask if I was interested in another session at that time, and I did not think to ask. It didn’t help that some guy came up asking her about shirts in the middle of her helping me, so she was well distracted, as was I. (What is it about people and their social skills and waiting their turn? I find this in places other than cons, usually at convenience stores all the time where the person behind me is putting their stuff on the counter around me, before I can put my change or my receipt in my wallet and put away my wallet and grab my stuff and get out of the way.)

I would suggest that the website show filled sessions in red or whatever color it is that works for color blind people, so one can see at a glance which ones are still available. That doesn’t mean one can buy the “alternate” tickets in case someone is a no show. Also if any games have the potential to be an all day thing, make that clear, so one can decide if they want to play the whole thing or just a portion. I would gladly play another module with Shawn as DM.

My plan was to meet others I have met and followed in online RPG settings, but I ran out of steam too soon. It is hard to fit all one wants to do into a single day at a three day con.

I was impressed by this con. It was big enough to have lots for everyone. For the board game set, the ball room was filled with tables. I would say 50+ tables. The venue was big enough to accommodate the attendees with only momentary crowds in a couple of places and not the press of a horde, like at GenCon. There were all kinds of RPGs, many I had never heard of. I loved that they had an OSR track. There were several DMs using their Dave Trampier cover AD&D DM screens.

I am already looking to next year. I plan to get Friday off so I can be present from the beginning, and to get Monday off so I have a day to rest. I will also get a room, so I don’t have to deal with all the driving and weather. I just wish I didn’t have to wait until January to put in the request at work.


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Gold vs. Silver Standard

NOTE: I went down the Wikipedia rabbit hole on this one – Wikipedia or a regular Encyclopedia is good for that when I find something I want to learn more about. Short version, there would be about 100 Roman gold Solidi in a US pound. In the early Roman empire the standard silver coin, the Denarius was a day’s wage for an unskilled laborer. A system where silver is the standard coin of trade would require one to determine how much that would buy and what the fractions of a silver piece, i.e. copper pieces, would buy.

This was mentioned in the past week and has come up on various RPG blogs over the years. Gold as the main coin is the default in AD&D. The weight of the coins is ten to the pound, which would be huge coins.

I was reading up on ancient Roman coins last week on Wikipedia, and the Romans used 72 coins to the pound of gold, for the Solidus. Another gold coin, the Aureus, was valued at 25 silver denarii, and its mass in relation to the Roman pound went from 1/45 under Nero (7.3 g) to 1/50 under Caracalla. The Solidus was a new coin under Diocletian and started at 1/60 of a Roman pound and equal to 1,000 denarii, under Constantine it had the 1/72 pound and was worth 275,000 of the massively debased denarii. In later years the Solidus equaled 4.6 MILLION denarii. The aureus was about the same size as a denarius, but weighed more due to the higher density of gold. They had copper and bronze coins that were common, but were debased just as severely as the denarius. This example shows that the price sheet in AD&D or other FRPGs is a snapshot in time, and as the economy is flooded with loot, prices should go up, if you want to model reality that closely.

The fantasy vs. reality, is that in the real world it is estimated that all the gold ever mined would make a cube of almost 21 meters on a side. The pile of loot Smaug has and other depictions of dragons has could not all be gold, based on the real world. Silver is another matter, I found this graphic that illustrates the amount of various sizes and weights of gold and silver and compares the size of all the gold every mined vs. all the silver ever mined. The ratio of gold mined to silver mined is 1:10.48 in modern times. Prior to current methods the ratio was about 1:8.52, and historically 1 ounce of gold has had the power to purchase 15 ounces of gold. Now, as of March, 2014, an ounce of gold is valued at over 64 ounces of silver.

However, in the ancient world, the silver coin was the standard. It was a day’s wages for an unskilled laborer. What I found interesting, is the for Roman soldiers, their annual pay in the Republic was 112.5 denarii per year, and was raised to 225 denarii a year by Julius Caesar; and they had to pay for their own food and arms. Centurians’ pay varied under Augustus from  3,750 denarii and the highest ranking, 15,000 denarii a year.

Depending on which era’s size and value of coin you wish to use in your game, or make your own standard; you can greatly vary the number of coins and the amount of wealth a single person can carry. In AD&D 1,000 coins weighs 100 pounds. A roll of quarters contains 40 quarters and weight 8 ounces, or 80 quarters to the pound. That would make 1,000 quarters weigh 12.5 pounds. Based on a modern pound, with 16 ounces, being 453.592 grams, or 28.3495 grams to the ounce, and a Roman pound being 328.9 grams with 12 ounces, each 27.4083 grams. This makes the Roman pound 72.5% of the modern pound, meaning that 1,000 quarter would weigh 17.24 Roman pounds. Similarly, a gold solidus would be 1/100 (1/100.798) of a US pound. With 100 gold solidi in a US pound, 1,000 of them would only be 10 pounds. Thus it would take 10,000 coins of this size to equal 100 pounds. This makes the ability to carry a large number of coins and large amount of wealth somewhat easier. Gems and jewels would still be a more compact means of carrying a large amount of wealth great distances.

A quarter has a diameter of 24.26 mm and is 5.67 g. Based on Roman coins of about the same era, both the Aureus 7 g and Solidus 4.5 g gold coins were about 20 mm. The Denarius was about 19mm and was about 3g, about the size of a penny – 19.05 mm and 2.5 g. The sestertius was about 35 mm and 20.3 g. A half dollar is 30.61 mm and 11.34 grams. The Eisenhower “silver” dollar is 38.5 mm and 22.7 g with a copper core and a copper/nickel cladding. A Morgan silver dollar is 38.1 mm and 26.73 g, so 0.4 mm smaller but just over 4 grams more massive, thus the heft if you pick up a “silver” dollar and a silver dollar.

BTW – The Troy pound is 373.241 grams with 12 ounces, Troy weight is used for precious metals. This is why a pound of feathers weighs more than a pound of gold if each is measured with their usual method and not on the same standard.

I have played in games with the default AD&D coinage system, and games with a silver standard of ten silver to one gold and ten copper to one silver and platinum and electrum are rare or non-existent, having only been used by the ancients.

My current game uses this silver standard with ten silver to a gold and ten copper to a silver. However, I have been re-thinking that. Yes, it is easy and decimalization makes the math easy. However, I am thinking about a new silver standard with 1 gold = 100 silver and 1 copper = 100 silver. That makes the copper nearly worthless, so maybe more like 50 silver in a gold and 20 copper in a silver.

Something to think about.

With 1 silver = to a day’s wage for an unskilled laborer, the value of a copper would need to be a reasonable breakdown of that. How many loaves of bread can that buy? Can a single silver buy enough to feed a family? How big of a family? A family of four, six, bigger?

The drawback to fiddling with the money system, is that you have to revise the price sheet to accurately reflect the new prices. Without a quick way, like a spreadsheet to fiddle with the relative value of each coin to the other, it becomes tedium.

[EDIT 11/16/2014 – Removed last line to remove incorrect information and a very confusing sentence.]

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UCON 2014 Final Preparations

I found out about UCON just a few weeks ago and about two weeks ago decided that I would go for all day on Saturday. I don’t have any unscheduled days off left, so I can’t get away in time to do much tonight, and the way traffic is Friday nights, I won’t make efforts to fight it, even for a game. Yeah, I know, I’m getting old.

I live in Michigan, over near Kalamazoo, and it’s less than a two hour drive, IN GOOD WEATHER…. Famous last words this time of year in Michigan. Of course, yesterday and today, we have been hit with our first big blast of cold and snow/ice. I am blessed to be able to work from home, if I need to, so I am avoiding the frustration of having to deal with all the people that seem to forget that you don’t go fast or slam on your breaks when there is snow and ice on the road. I’m not a native to Michigan, but I grew up driving on ice and snow, in Missouri. (I am amazed at the number of people in Michigan that don’t think it snows in Missouri. Maybe in the boot heel where it stays warm enough to grow cotton and tobacco, but it definitely snows in the rest of the state. There’s also at least one ice storm, the trees look pretty covered in ice, but yuck, what a mess. It’s really great if you’re a kid in school.)

So, I will gather my dice bag, a notepad, some graph paper, and some writing instruments and my bag for the games I have signed up to play. I already gassed up the car and hit the ATM for some cash. I will get to bed early, so I can get up  in the wee hours and make the drive. Not looking forward to the drive on slick roads, but I am excited to play and meet up with some other gamers from my corner of the LP (That’s Lower Peninsula, for all you non-Michiganders.).

Here’s to safe travels to all that aren’t there yet, and to all when it comes time to head home.

Now to find my checklist and make sure I don’t forget anything….




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Currency in FRPGs – Favors

There are many types of currency in FRPGs and other genres of RPGs.

We are all familiar with gold and silver in coins, bars, and items, gems and jewelry, magic, trade/barter, force -such as a quest or geas, other types of items found in treasure hordes, like the awesome ewer! One powerful form of currency is the favor. I briefly mentioned this in yesterday’s post on Magic Shops.

Often a character or party will be in need of something, like a potion or scroll, to help them overcome an obstacle to one of their goals. For example, a scroll with several sleep spells to quickly and quietly make their way to a well guarded tower. Or a potion of control of the creatures guarding the tower.

When seeking such things from a local wizard, or cleric, the matter of payment comes up. Gold and jewels are nice, but what if there are other needs of the temple or wizard? Thus the favor. A form or barter, its value agreed upon by both parties.

What kind of favor is required? Small, medium, large, enormous?

The favor is often more valuable than gold and can be as valuable as magic. One agrees to a favor with a wizard in hopes of it not being too severe, or difficult to fulfill. There are small favors, like information: Where is the lair of the marauding orcs? Mid-sized favors, like: Rescue the villagers from the band of ogres and slay the ogres. And large favors, like: go slay this creature, or retrieve this item from far away.

One avoids honoring a favor at the risk of the wrath of a wizard and his associates, or the patron diety of the temple. Not honoring a favor will make it difficult to gain another favor from anyone else in the general area. Among wizards and temples, perhaps no wizard or temple of that diety will ever help that party or character again. Perhaps other temples and merchants and other NPCs with useful skills will not enter into a favor agreement.

Backing out on fulfilling a favor would be perfect fodder for a quest or geas to compel fulfillment.

One might argue that a chaotically aligned person would avoid agreeing to a favor as payment. That may be for the personality of the character in question, but if one views a favor as one of the forms of currency, a greedy character would seek to acquire favors owed them, in addition to coin, gems, magic, and other goods and services. While it might not be in the nature of a given character to enter into a favor agreement, how is that different than any other character agreeing to a sum of gold delivered by a certain date as payment?

Favors are currency in our world, but tend to be limited in scope to family and close friends. How many of us have done a requested favor for our parents or spouse? They will come out and ask for a favor. In this context, it is usually a one-sided transaction, but a home cooked meal from Mom is often worth it, and one’s spouse might have a more personal reward in mind. When one asks for a favor, how often is the reply, “OK, but you’ll owe me?”

In farming communities, one farmer will make an arrangement for another to plow or harvest a field that is closer to the neighbor, in exchange for the same in return. Of if one farmer is called away for a family emergency, such things occur.

Why not extrapolate that into the game world of whatever genre? How common is the movie or TV plot that someone owes the mob a lot of money, but they’ll forgive it for a special favor?

I play this in my campaign and have experienced it in other campaigns that the specifics of the favor is not discussed until it is time to fulfill it. Some favors took years of game time to be resolved.

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Magic Shops

Tenkar has a post asking about Magic Shops. My reply grew as I thought of things to add, so I had to write a post, as I needed one for today anyway.

Game balance and maintaining a challenge for players is the key here.

Magic shops are only places where one can acquire inks (from a magical or fantastic creature, like a giant squid’s ink, or the blood of a troll), quills (from a magic creature), paper/vellum/papyrus for scrolls, and some standard items/ingredients for spells. Any special/unique/plot hook worthy ingredients are not to be found.

There would be a market for wizards and others for body parts of various creatures for potions of control, strength, etc. How common is it for busy wizards to trade scrolls, potions, knowledge, etc. for a “favor“, choice of found magic items, body parts, and a lot of gold or gems/jewelry?

Any place with a lot of magic items/ingredients is either a wizard’s tower, occupied, or long “abandoned”, a temple or shrine, or a tomb or dungeon.

All the really good stuff, the players have to find, or find someone who has something they want/need and is willing to trade; or live long enough to have the party wizard make it.

In AD&D 7th level is awesome because scrolls can be made, with the proper materials. Also, potions can be made by wizards and illusionists with the help of an Alchemist. This makes potions, other than healing, hard to come by.

Even holy water in AD&D has rules for how much can be made and the minimum 5th level cleric needed for all the requisite spells. Holy water can be hard to come by if the cleric at the local village shrine is not high enough level or does not possess the appropriate font.

While magic was once common in the ancient world, and many of its marvels still exist and function. Knowledge of all its features and functions are lost to time, or rare manuscripts, or word of mouth teaching from one wizard to the next.

Thus adventurers have to go where they hope there are unexplored ancient ruins, in hopes of finding the things they need to reach a level where they can make their own items or easily make deals to get the good stuff from NPCs.

I have played in games where one could buy anything they wanted, and it overpowered the game and the DM ended up scrapping the campaign and launching a new one that was low magic.

I find it much more interesting to have to figure out how to survive in a low magic campaign where wizards are reluctant to share fireball and lightning bolt with up and coming wizards. What kind of favor is needed to get access to these items?

While magic wands,rods, and staves are fairly common in my brother’s game, finding one that is permanent is rare. If one makes a wand of fireballs, if the wand is not re-charged with at least one fireball within 24 hours, it ceases to be a magic wand. I have a character with a wand of ice that can only do wall of ice, because of this. It still has its uses, but is not the awesome instrument of icy death it once was. This forces much more judicious use of these items. One can blast the enemy into submission, but at what cost?

In my brother’s game, another player finally reached archmage, 18th level, via an ioun stone, and made a very complex staff, that my brother declared is an artifact, due to permanency and very good rolls by the player for the success of most of the spells. It took a lot of time in game, a lot of gold, and a lot of other ingredients and preparations. The accomplishments of this player are much more impressive than a magic rich environment where powerful things are easily required. Back in the early days, I knew players that had archmages, high priests, lords, etc. after a few sessions. Monty Haul syndrome isn’t prevalent among experienced DMs, but can suck a lot of fun out of it.

Even an alchemist making certain kinds of potions should be regulated so that players can’t just buy their way into everything. Even if there were such things, how long until the alchemist is out of ingredients to make more healing potions, or they become scarce and the price goes up?

Or as Gygax advises in the DMG, a huge influx of coin from the dungeons eventually inflates the cost of goods and services?

I am sure one can have a high magic campaign where there is balance, but for me, that would take a lot of thought and effort to plan and keep up with it all and assure a balance.

I do like a Dragon Magazine article that discussed a high level fighter going out to fight a dragon and limping back victorious, but his magic weapon and shield failed their saves, and are no more. I don’t recall which one it was as that was probably 30+ years ago that I read it, but the imagery stuck. That would bring balance with either a high or low magic campaign. One big, bad, nasty dragon gone, two or more permanent magic items destroyed in the fight, along with healing potions, henchmen and hirelings.

If magic is easily acquired, it should be easily lost. Even magic items that are acquired with great difficulty can be easily lost.

A halfling fighter/thief with a girdle of storm giant strength, gauntlets of ogre power, a ring of regeneration, and a +2 sword is nearly invincible in melee. The back stab from such a character is a death blow to the majority of creatures on the receiving end. Who needs to pick locks on doors when you can just run through them? It takes some of the challenge and fun out of it, unless the DM can present challenges, like an invasion of a lot of giants, or massive hordes of orc, or trolls, etc. The DM must give a challenge equal to the power available to the players, or it can become the same old boring slog. A magic shop where one can buy any item in the book, makes that challenge harder to maintain over time in my experience.

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NaNoWriMo 2014 Update

I tried NaNoWriMo in 2010 and didn’t get past the second day, I did 3,133 word. Things came up that soon derailed my efforts.

My novel idea is one I have had since college, just a few years ago (ahem!), and ideas and things keep coming to mind. I would see articles online, and email them to myself to add to my Novel label in Gmail.

I did figure out how to make the story “work” in 2010 with a central theme it all hangs on. This year, I am picking up the torch and trying to finish this thing. It’s a fantasy/science fiction story.

I am ahead and can’t believe I’ve passed 22,000 words of new stuff, and I didn’t write for a couple days. I have another commitment on Wednesdays – the weekly G+/Roll20 game I play in, so I have at least one day off from writing each week. I write a chapter at a time. I just figure out what the goal/idea is for the chapter and start writing, but picking up where the last chapter left off. I am amazed at the way the ideas are coming together. Most of it is like a detailed outline with more action and little dialogue. I am disciplining myself and not correcting every little error as I type. I only correct words that I need to be right to make sense when I come back to it. I make a tentative chapter title to describe the goal/theme to write for the next chapter. I just start writing and it comes out. It may not be any good, but it mostly makes sense. It is definitely better than the junk I tried to write in the dark ages back in high school.

I plan to write until I finish the last chapter. I figure there are 4 or 5 chapters for the end/resolution/conclusion, but I have a lot of middle to do. I didn’t do a formal outline, I just know where I want to go with it and how it ends. December and January are my busiest time of year at work, so I will let it sit and work on the second draft sometime after January. Famous last words.

What’s funny is that I haven’t picked the name of the hero, so I just write Hero. I figure I can do a search and replace when I settle on a name.

I think that it has helped that I have more than one blog and for this one I have an article almost every day, often writing multiple articles in a single sitting and then scheduling their publication into the future. I did the April 2014 A to Z challenge for two blogs, one for genealogy and this one. I figured out my topic for each day and had most of them done before the end of the first week. Normally, I have a terrible time coming up with topics. But as I get into this blogging thing and striving for an article a day, it seems that all writing is easier.

I use the programmable text editor NoteTab. I set up an outline document with my notes and miscellaneous ideas and one topic per day. If I write more than one chapter, and keep going, I make a new topic for the same day, but do A,B, etc. I then copy and paste each day’s writing into a single document and use the built-in word count feature.

[EDIT 11/10/2014] I wrote this post a few days ago and scheduled it to post today. I am now over 30,000 words. It is pretty clear that I will exceed 50,000 words in writing this book, at least for a first draft. Amazing!

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Castles and More Castles!

I joined the Amazing Castles community on G+ a couple weeks ago. Every day I get multiple pictures of new castles. Many of them are castles I have heard of, but never seen a photograph of them. There are also several that have angles that I have never seen of them before.

I like castles and wish I could afford to go to Europe and see them all.

Someday, when I grow up, maybe I can own one….

I plan to view them on my tablet and use some tracing paper, to see if I can make my own castles from the bits and pieces. Perhaps figure out how to map them on graph paper too.

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