Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Story Ideas

Filed under: Fun,NaNoWriMo,On Creativity,Stimulus and Production,The Tools — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:05 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Need a NaNoWriMo story idea?

Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’ve been thinking about this for a long time and you’re ready to start writing. If so, you’re golden and this is post is all academic for you. If not, this post is all about helping get you started.
First of all, you have time before everything kicks off, so if you haven’t read it, get No Plot, No Problem, which was written by the creator of NaNoWriMo and serves as a guide for a month-long novel writing experiment. Getting through this book will help you get focused on what kind of fiction you want to write and what you feel makes that genre great.
Secondly, I completely sympathize with you if you’re having a problem nailing down a story idea. When I was in school, my favorite exercises were the creative writing exercises. Why? Because when the teacher gave me a title or a theme for the story, those constraints automatically gave me a direction, a framework on which to build my story. Now, when the story ideas are totally open-ended, I find myself floundering lost in the vast ocean of possibilities. One way to help reduce those endless possibilities is to go back to some external constraints. And, that’s where the internet’s vast collection of random generators comes in handy. Some of those are what I’m actually sharing with you this week, to help you get started.

The first place to check out is the mother-lode of all random generators, Seventh Sanctum. They have a whole section especially devoted to writing. It’s pretty awesome. They have everything from simple story ideas to whole writing exercise challenges to plot twists and a whole lot more besides. They’ve really got your bases covered and I’ll most likely mention them again in this month-long series of posts.
If you’re writing science fiction, you definitely want to check out SciFi Ideas – Ideas and inspiration for science fiction writers. They seriously have the most amazing collection of random generators with a science fiction theme to them.
And, if you want to generate both a book title and section titles to help inspire your science fiction novel and keep you writing, hop over to the Space Adventure Title Generator and you can almost outline your entire book, albiet pretty randomly. Still, having those constraints and guides to keep you moving forward might be just what you need to keep going when the writing gets tough.
Finally, if those aren’t enough, you can check out Fantastist.net’s very own Story Starter random generator, which is based, in part on an exercise from the great book The 29 Most Common Writing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them) by Judy Delton. If it makes any difference to you, that generator was at one time heavily featured in several grade-school creative writing curriculms. It’s pretty simple, but effective.

I know those links were a little heavy on the science fiction, but that’s just where I am with writing right now. And, the other stuff I’m going to share this month will, I hope, make up for that geeky focus.
Stay tuned!

This post originally appeared at The Fantasist’s Scroll.


Dating Roulette

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:29 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

So, yeah, I signed up for six months of Match.com again.

Wow, this feels like confession.  Or would if I were Catholic.
Anyway, yeah, a week or two ago, I got an e-mail deal on six months of Match.com, including their BS “Six month guarantee!”  I finally got an updated profile and new photos up.  And, took down some shots of me taken shortly after I finished chemo after my hair started to grow back.  Not sure what I was thinking with that, frankly.  Regardless, the new photos are better, partially because of my skill improving, partly because of better equipment, and partly because I’ve been working out a bit.  (No, not because of Photoshop, you bitter cynics!)

But, the reason I’m writing this isn’t to advertise my availability to the three or four readers I have left!  No, rather it’s to share a little story about a kind of Russian Roulette.
One of the things you can do on Match.com is send what they call “winks”.  They’re just little messages that let someone know you’re interested in them.  Like a ping command, in networking terms.  Incidentally, men should never use “winks” on Match.com.  It’s far better for us to write women a short e-mail that makes more personal contact.
In any case, I got a wink from someone who seemed interesting.  Her profile was kind of generic, but, then aren’t they all after a while?  Besides, she was pretty good looking.  At least, from the one, grainy photo that looked like it was taken on a cellphone, she looked pretty.  But, I had to question what a 28-year-old, blonde, blue-eyed teacher would find interesting about a 42-year-old, graying, professional geek.  Yes, alarm bells went off in my head and they all sounded like “Russian Mail-Order Bride Scam”!

See, more than once, I’ve gotten e-mails from someone who is clearly not from the U.S. and, after a bit of probing, usually turns out to be from somewhere overseas, often Russia or one of the former Soviet-block countries, who’s looking for someone to marry here in the States.  Look, to be clear, I don’t have anything against Russians, or any other foreigner who wants to come to marry an American and come to this country.  I don’t even have anything against the whole mail-order bride thing, though, as an industry, it does seem a little sleazy to me.  But, really, if I wanted a mail-order bride from anywhere, I’d be on one of those sites, not Match.com!
Sadly, I was bored enough today that I was willing to roll the dice and see what happened.  Frankly, I figured that at the worst, I’d have a funny story to tell on the blog.  But, when I went back to play my Russian Dating Roulette, the profile had been deactivated.  So, while it is a problem that crops up on these sites, at least Match.com was on top of it and deleted the profile.

So, now, I’ll be sifting through all the profiles and searches and whatever looking for someone who’s easy on the eyes, can possibly put up with me, is willing to take the chance, and not running a scam.  Won’t that be fun?!?
Well, at least it will give me something more to write about!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering why this has been filed under the Bavarian Death Cake of Love category, that comes from a few years ago, before cancer, but after divorce, when I was writing more and trying to date.  (You can read that old entry here.)

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