NaNoWriMo, Day 9: Gotta keep movin’

The meetup at the Enclave proved to be more chit-chat than writing, but it was a good time. There were only three of us in attendance, but one of the local NaNites who already hit the 50,000 word mark stopped by for a few minutes to gloat cheer us on. We did two sprints and I managed a total of just over a thousand words. I think Chris and Gus both managed to out-write me both times, with Gus cranking out an impressive 1,100+ words during the first sprint.

After I got home, I messed around with the Cardelion portrait for far too long (anything to keep from writing) and then sat down to wrap up a scene I’d started writing at the Enclave. I’ve got to give Chris Miller major credit for suggesting a couple of very interesting turns that I could take with my story. I glommed on to one and churned out what may be the worst-written scene I’ve done so far. My Inner Editor is securely locked away in a strongbox until 01 December, so I was able to be satisfied that I got the thing written and opened the door for something interesting to happen.

The trouble with throwing a character you haven’t fully developed into the spotlight is that you may or may not have a good feel for his or her voice. In adopting the spirit of Chris’ suggestion, I forced myself to return to a character that I hadn’t planned on coming back to for a while and doing things with him that I never intended to do. And as clunky as that scene is, it gives me room to breathe.

Amazingly enough, after wrapping up what I’ll call The Miller Scenario, I was able to launch right into another scene with my protagonist that practically wrote itself. The two scenes have no direct relation, but it was is if the act of writing the first got the wheels turning fast enough that I was able to coast through the second.

I’m roughly a day behind right now, but that’s okay. I’m still making forward progress and the characters are finding things to do or – in the case of The Miller Scenario – being given a jump start.

Tomorrow night (perhaps I should say “tonight,” as it’s now 2:15AM) is another meetup at Panera. Last Thursday there were roughly sixteen people there. It’ll be interesting to see who turns up this time.

And now, to bed.

Portrait of a Hero

Back in late September I won a Hero Biography contest with one of my City of Heroes characters, Cardelion. Today, I received Cardelion’s portrait from the contest sponsor/artist, Curt Allen (AKA Uziel.21).

I’m really pleased with how Curt has portrayed Maxwell Barstow (AKA Cardelion). Based on how the character was created in City of Heroes, I was expecting to see Cardelion in full gladiator regalia. Curt surprised me by posing Max, helmet in hand, looking as though the weight of the world rests upon his shoulders. “I had to take his helmet off,” Curt wrote in his e-mail to me. “All you wrote about him demanded that I reveal his face: strong, pensive, and giving away the fact that Max gets very little sleep.”

Curt also decided to tone down Cardelion’s physical size. In the game, Cardelion is a hulking brute, seven feet tall and extremely broad-shouldered. To get an idea of what I mean, have a look at this lineup featuring several of my heroes. Curt slimmed him down quite a bit, leaving him formidable (“[he] has Shaq’s shoulder-to-hip ratio”), but not “cartoony.” This actually works better for the Cardelion I write about versus the more exaggerated version that appears in the game (actually the Cardelion I write about is a more subdued version of what’s in the game, but you get the idea).

The scaled down image above doesn’t really do Curt’s work justice, but it is essentially a thumbnail. Click on it for a larger (but still low-resolution) version. The real treat is the high-resolution version, which is 1574 x 2475 pixels. The detail in the armor really comes out in that version, as does the emotion in Max’s face, both of which can be seen in the image below.

As I said before, I’m really pleased with how the portrait turned out. I wasn’t expecting anything with such a strong sense of personality, and I was wondering how Curt would manage to reveal the man behind the gladiator’s helmet; he did it by taking the helmet off and showing me the face I’d never seen.