nascentnovelist

March 17, 2013

Force-Caleb-Read-Harry-Potter-A-Thon

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 2:02 pm
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Caleb J. Ross, author of Stranger Will and I Didn’t Mean to be Kevin, butt of (or genius behind) the epic Fuck Caleb J. Ross campaign, and former guest poster here at nascentnovelist, has decided to help save the world. Part of it, anyway.

He’s participating in the March of Dimes campaign, and his quest for money is taking an interesting turn. He decided to merge the fundraising efforts with his nerdy video-making hobby and nerdy reading hobby. And thus, Force-Caleb-Read-Harry-Potter-A-Thon was born.

Watch Caleb outline the project in this video:

Basically, the idea is that so many people (including me) say Harry Potter is such a great series (one Caleb’s never intended on reading, and have no desire to read, by the way) that he’s trying to leverage that passion for the sake of raising money for the March of Dimes.

For every 2 dollars he receives in donations, he’ll read 1 page of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. At the end of each week, he’ll tally the donations, read the appropriate number of pages, and then record a video where he’ll offer his thoughts on the book so far.

Now, even if you’re not a big fan of the HP saga, you could still donate. I mean, what’s more fun than forcing people to do stuff for you? I can’t think of a single thing.

To donate, simply go to http://cjrlit.com/potterbaby, all lowercase to donate. Any amount of money helps.

The deadline for donations is APRIL 28th!
 
What are you waiting for?
 

March 14, 2013

The Lure of Social Media Marketing

I’m a big fan of twitter. Not gonna lie, it might be my favourite social media. That’s why I’ve been bitching and moaning about all the indie authors out there who’re using it mainly as a tool to spew out ads for their latest novel. Why on earth would they do it, I asked myself. Don’t they know that it’s dull? That people skim past the noise to look for actual tweets? That they might be sorted out or unfollowed?

And then I entered a contest. And I wanted people to vote for me.

pick me!

Suddenly, I wanted to yell the loudest. I wanted to tweet every hour. I wanted to hold up a virtual sign over my head saying “Make my dream come true!” and jump up and down until everyone realized my book was the best and voted. I got it.

But even though I get why people want to tweet five (or ten, or twenty) times a day about how great their book is, it doesn’t change the truth: it’s bad marketing. I follow people on twitter because they’re funny, interesting or quirky. Not because they blast me with tweet after tweet about their five-star reviews.

There’re two days left of voting in the contest. My book, number 56: Fire and Blood, is currently at ninth place and I’m hoping and praying for more votes. But I won’t tweet about it. At least not more than once a day.

March 9, 2013

Powerlifting My Way to the Nationals

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 12:27 pm
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Today, I participated in an open powerlifting competition, and with a squat of 142.5kg, a bench press of 87,5kg and a deadlift of 125kg, I qualified for the Norwegian nationals.

Do you want to see?

142.5kg (314lbs) Squats:

87.5kg (193lbs) Bench press:

125kg (276lbs) Deadlift (RAW):

Hope to see some of you in Bergen this May!

March 8, 2013

Backspace Scholarship Competition: An Update

The voting for the Backspace Writers Conference’s scholarship contest is in full swing. Close to 2400 votes have been cast and they’re still ticking in. There are a lot of good quality manuscripts in there, but clear winners are emerging. This is the current top five list of manuscripts:

Top five

As I’m sure you notice, out of 110 entries, my book (number 56: Fire and Blood) is hanging in there in 5th place.

This is just a preliminary, however. The voting is open until March 15th. Much could happen yet. I hope, of course, that people will keep voting for my book so that I can go to this great conference, and get to see my first novel in print.

Fingers crossed!

March 5, 2013

Shameless Self-Promotion. Read: Help a Writer Out!

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 4:58 pm
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I have entered to win a scholarship to the Backspace Writers Conference in May. I need to get the most votes out of about a hundred entries. Read the entries here.

This is my log line:

Entry 56: FIRE AND BLOOD | Urban Fantasy

When Montreal police start finding bodies of youths with magical potential, Trinity McCormac, the only powerless descendent of a legendary family of witches, knows the killer has learned the secret she once uncovered: that it’s possible to steal people’s powers by eating their souls, but she cannot go to the authorities without making herself a prime suspect. Can she catch the killer before he succeeds in making himself the most powerful witch of all time, and can she defeat him without becoming a killer herself?

All I need from you you, dear readers, bloggers, friends, is a small vote. One small vote each. It would make me a very happy blogger and grateful friend. Also, I bake. Did I mention that?

Anyways, if you think my entry is worth a trip to New York, or if you have other, darker reasons to vote for me, I won’t judge, just click this link and vote for number 56: Blood and Fire.

Remember, a vote for number 56: Fire and Blood is a vote for the future!

I’m not going to promise it would make the world a better place, but it just might. It just might.

December 20, 2012

Last Day on Earth

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 1:33 pm
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I’m going to give it to you straight, like a pear cider made from 100% pear. I don’t buy it. We’ve been told the world will end so many times that what little faith I might have had in our impending doom has utterly dissipated.
Apocalypse Now

That doesn’t mean the idea of the apocalypse can’t be useful, however. Say that the world was ending tomorrow, what would you wish you had done? What little bits of life would you like to explore? How do you want to spend your last day on Earth?

Inquiring minds want to know.

(I would tell you to try and accomplish your goals as well, but since I’ll be spending the last day on Earth convincing strangers to join me in a taste test of coffee, I can’t really advice anyone on anything. If you can spend your day accomplishing something wonderful, I salute you!)

September 1, 2012

It Must Have Been Love

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 7:23 pm
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The mood in the ice hockey court dressed up as a concert hall is singular. Thirty years of emotion saturates the air like the waves of music blasting from the sound system. I’m hidden in a crowd comprised mostly of the same people who came to see Roxette the last time they played Montreal, only twenty years and three kids later.

Marie Fredriksson is worn and beautiful as she struggles to keep up with the rest of the band’s perfect rendering of classic pop songs. The looks that pass between her and Per Gessle during the ballads break my heart. The grin on her face as she hits the high notes on Fading like a Flower resonates inside me. The audience has no choice: dancing is our only option.

“She’s got the look,”
Per sings and it’s suddenly 1991, summer in Denmark and a scratchy car stereo with too much treble and not enough bass.

“I’m living in a box but I come out when opportunity nox” the crowd chants to the beaming band. I sing along and it’s suddenly high school graduation. My classmates are spinning unselfconsciously and I feel my hips popping to the beat as I suck on a cigarette and pretend to be too cool to like Roxette.

“‘Cos every time I seem to fall in love / Crash! Boom! Bang!” Marie lilts and I lying on the floor in my room, imagining what heartache must feel like.

“The fever turns slowly into a fire, drawing a fine line, a neverending love” everyone sings, the band and audience in complete synergy, and it’s the day before second grade starts and I’m dancing through my best friend’s house, her mop a mike stand, my air guitar on perfect form.

As the band files out, leaving Marie and Per on stage, surrounded by the thunderous cheers of a full hockey stadium, I realize just how much of my life’s score belongs to Roxette. And I smile.

October 10, 2011

Narratives in videogames

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 2:29 pm
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Last Saturday, TAG (the research center in Technoculture, Art and Games) brought together Canadian and French researchers and industry leaders in the field of digital game studies and game design for a conference in Montreal. This was part of the 24th edition of the Entretiens Jacques Cartier and the overall theme of the colloquium was the study of narratives in videogames. I was lucky enough to score a seat at this fully booked event and got to enjoy four panel discussions followed by a keynote speech by David Cage, writer of Heavy Rain.

The first panel focused on Assassin’s Creed and Assassin’s Creed 2. Darren Wershler (Research Chair in Media and Contemporary Literature from Concordia) spoke about the games’ use of architecture to guide player movement and influence gameplay, while Brian Greenspan (Associate Professor, Carlton University) spoke about about NPC’s as agents of politics and the depictions of utopia and dystopia in games. Both Wershler and Greenspan’s presentations show that it is possible to review computer games as more than toys. Since many games are of a quality both in narrative and theme that they merit serious academic attention, I’m glad to see the English departments of several prominent universities taking an interest.

I found the ideas put forth in the second panel, studying The Graveyard, fascinating. Both the academic reviewers of The Graveyard and the creators themselves focused on the belief that the most powerful narratives happen inside a player’s head, rather than on screen. Though I agree with the sentiment, I believe the discussion would have been better suited in a panel about a game with a less set storyline and with less railroading of the player. One example could be Minecraft. It seemed to me that the Graveyard was a game very much intending to tell one story and that it happened very much on screen. It’s hard to imagine what alternate storylines or sentiments a player could get out of The Graveyard. That being said, I look forward to seeing further studies on player generated narrative, hopefully with games that are more sandbox-oriented.

The third panel discussed the narratives of Mass Effect 2. Nick Montfort, Associate Professor of Digital Media at MIT, explored alternatives to the dialogue wheel as the main vehicle for storytelling. Rather than improving the narrative, Montfort argued that the clunkiness of the dialogue wheel limited player immersion in games and that alternatives, like the text interface in Facade could be utilized by game designers. Though I agree that dialogue wheels are limiting, and that there are other options, I don’t see how it is feasible, from a budget perspective, to implement freewriting in a AAA game. As the writer who worked on Mass Effect 2 said: one extra line of dialogue costs 2-3 days of work. Hopefully, we’ll see more indie games experimenting with this type of text/voice recognition, but I think the big games will be slow to follow.

In the fourth panel, it was great to hear Amnesia: The Dark Descent described as a terror rather than a horror game. I wholeheartedly agree with the distinction. Also interesting to see a game with little to no combat that still manages to tell a story and evoke strong emotions while sharing a compelling narrative (take that Graveyard). I can’t wait to see the next game from Frictional Games.

The last post on the program was a keynote by David Cage, writer of Heavy Rain. Although Cage set up and knocked down some straw men (like the big bad makers of most games that don’t care about stories), I really liked to hear about his process for making Heavy Rain and his thoughts on the future of games as an industry. Why not take a look?

What do you think about the future of storytelling in games? Are narratives important for your enjoyment? Which games have touched you the most?

October 3, 2011

Attention all!

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 10:37 am
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I have big news. In two days I`ll be proud to present my first guest post on this blog: Caleb J. Ross, author of Stranger Will and the upcoming book I Didn’t Mean To Be Kevin, will stop by the Nascent Novelist on his blog tour. Ross writes dark and funny fiction about shooting carrier pigeons and cleaning up after violent crime. You should buy all his stuff, and most definitely come back to see what he has to say here.

September 25, 2011

A weekend full of awesome

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 11:56 am
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This weekend I’ve been writing, shopping, wandering the streets of Montreal and driven to Burlington, VT to catch a show with a band I didn’t know but really liked. I’d tell you all about my adventures, but my friend and road-tripping buddy already did a better job of it than I would in my mindnumbingly slow Sunday-state. Check it out here: Adventures in Amurrica

Good weekend everyone!

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