Monday, October 29, 2007

Ah, nanowrimo..

This year is different. Each year, I do try something new (be it an experiment in word count, doing 2 nanos, genre etc.). This year is comedy murder mystery set in an early renaissance. I have never done either genre before.

I haven't actually been nervous before doing nano before, and this is year five. So I take this as a good thing, and remind myself that at least I'm not trying my original idea of a haiku murder mystery, because that WOULD be insane.

This is just research heavy, on topics I used to know little about.

I also want it to be November first. Now :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The back cover copy/burb/precis/whatever it is

I did one back in may (when looking at unicorn tanks started my bookmarks folder for the novel), but it seems to be about a novel I shall never write now. Writing the back cover blurb before you have any idea about the characters is amusingly silly :) I do remain fond of the line: "That's what I always believed, until I heard the stories: a woman in the city, who can make the dead speak, who leans over the newly deceased and listens to the tales their bodies tell her. "

As for the blurb proper ...

Here is the short version: "An apprentice coroner in the Kingdom has to survive his employer, investigating the deaths of dragons, zombies, and royalty, and various people who want to kill him for being too good at his job. All Adwyn wants is to not end up being the subject of an autopsy, and to go home and tell his father that his character-building advice really sucked."

And the long version:

"There are many things that make someone a man: being shipped off to the capital of the Kingdom to be a coroner is probably not one of them most people would think of. Dealing with a boss who goes through apprentices like the king goes through food tasters is almost as bad as being dragged about to see dead bodies as she stares at you the same way she looks at corpses, waiting for something she never names.

Throw in the hangman's beautiful daughter, dead dragons, zombies that have to be questioned to find out how they died, dead princesses, other royal deaths and more suspects than anyone would like to think about and you have what may be the worst apprenticeship in the dubious history of coroners in the Kingdom, especially when people decide you're too good at your job.

Adwyn hadn't been sure what to expect when his father packed him off to the city, but having people try and murder him for doing too good a job hadn't been on the agenda. If he survived, he was definitely going home and and giving his father a long lecture on the dangers of being the best that you can be. But, really, he'd settle for not being a corpse his mentor gets to perform an autopsy on, if that's not too much to hope for?"

And, after November is done, I shall see how close to the novel it really was :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Not Quite Drunk; Confessions

If I was a better person, I swear
to you I swear I'd find another way
But you're always screaming &
yelling & insulting & hating
Until it's too much, everything --
yes, until everything's too much
And the only cure for sound
is silence, and my raised hand
and your body and the sneer
gone from your face, but --
If I weren't what you made me
I swear I'd find a way to silence
sound that didn't need your tears.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Nano 2007 plotting...

aka, great fun, The subplot involving the death of the king had ballooned into a massive plot involving at least 5 people who honestly believe *they* killed the king, the real killer and 2000+ words of notes and genealogy. I suspect it's going to be the latter half of the novel, with the first half being the MC learning how to be a coroner and growing up a little as he deals with the weird things on the job, falls in love, and learns some secrets about coroners and meets the only practitioner of real magic in the city.

The mystery aspect is great fun and convoluted and very, very silly. I can understand the appeal of writing a pure mystery novel, though I doubt I ever would since weirdness would creep into it. Somehow.

The Coroner's Son

So, I am doing Nanowrimo this year (again) and poking at the royal family tree, and then started wondering about the Coroner in it, and what kind of family she has.... so I decided to figure out the son with a short story about why he isn't a coroner.

I tend to do about 1-3 short stories like this before a nano, just to help me get a feel for the world and a few of the characters in it.


“So, why aren’t you -” Adwyn trailed off as Collin looked over.
        “What do you want?” He waited. “Well? You can talk, you know. I won’t bite your head off.”
        “Why aren’t you a coroner?” Adwyn asked, studying the floor.
        “Hah! You hate the job already?”
        “No!” Adwyn looked up sharply, meeting his gaze. “It’s interesting, and different, and I’d probably like it more if not for the maggots, but it’s better than a lot of other things.”
        “Huh.” Collin smirked. “Like what, being a street mime?”
        Adwyn just shrugged.
        “You really want to know?” Collin asked before Adwyn could look away. “It’s simple. I know too much about death already. I’ve been buried twice, once by accident, and it taught me many things.” he trailed off, staring at the table, thinking about wooden boxes.
        “Many things.”
        “You don’t like closed in spaces?”
        Collin looked up sharply, but Adwyn didn’t smile at all. “Fine, that. And that it all doesn’t matter. I’m me and you aren’t and we’ll never understand each other, because there is wood and empty spaces and I’m too far away from you even if I’m right here. Nothing connects us, or people at all, and we talk about love and mean lust and lust and mean desire and sex and we don’t understand that sex and love aren’t the same thing, that I can be screwing your brains out and look down and just see emptiness in your eyes.”
        Adwyn turned a bright shade of pink.
        “That’s all it is. We just have duties and obligations, we we call them love. We have language, and we invent words, and all they do is allow us to lie. We can’t talk with them, we can only put more distance between our bodies. And you’ll never understand me, or be me, or know anything about who I really am because we never take off our masks.”
        “I asked you about being a coroner, though,” he said softly.
        “See? You’re just proving my point. I told you.”
        Adwyn hesitated a moment, then drew a deep breath and shook his head. “You just said things that sounded pretty. Like a poem. You never really said anything.”
        “That’s the point!” Collin waved a hand and Adwyn jerked back. “No one listens! No one even tries to read between the lines! We tell the truth, and no one pays attention! No one cares! The truth is just another lie because no one wants to try and bridge the gaps! And you think I’m not telling you the truth? It’s all we have, and we waste it because it’s not love either!”
        “You don’t need to shout?”
        “And you could speak up for once! You’re too gods-cursed shy for someone who’s never died!” Collin took a deep breath. “I was buried because of the plague 13 years ago,. when my mother was off working, but I recovered. In the plague room, filled with bodies of the dead, I chose life! And three years ago, some bastards drugged me and buried me just because they were bored. I had to crawl up out of the earth, breaking my fingers, and I don’t even know their names. But we all do that. Crawl up, and try and reach other people.. The distance between us is too great to bridge.
        “And we are all hollow and pathetic and lost little creatures without hope, because hope is too hard to find and we piss on it and choose hatred over it and being cynical over being happy and we always take the easy way out! I’ve known too much of death to waste time with corpses, of the living or the dead.”
        Collin walked over to the table, wrapping up tobacco and finding a match. “You’re too quiet: maybe you understand this, too, but you won’t admit it. No one likes to admit we can’t understand each other, that we’re all wandering in the dark confused and alone and filled with broken promises and hearts we broke so long ago they’ll never be whole. That’s why. I’m not going to let the world hurt me any more, not stare at dead bodies and have the living try and figure out how it happened when death happens -- we’re born, so we get to die, and they want it to mean something, to be important, to somehow get some closure and so they leave the rotting body for my mother to look at. I don’t want a part of that.
        “She learns things about them, sometimes. The death don’t have secrets from the living: we can pry open carcasses and learn so very much. Some day I’ll talk without words, and someone will examine my body and learn what I’m saying. And for a moment I won’t be alone, but it will be too late to matter.” He took a puff of the cigarette and walked to the door. “That’s why.”
        Adwyn just stared.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

After hours therapy

“I never understood the difference. People would tell me that multiple personalities was really demonic possession and I’d scoff at that.”
        “There’s a theory out there,” I said, “that there is no such thing as past lives. It’s just demonic possession through the generations: you’re only remembering what the demon did of your ancestor, or someone else they possessed.”
        Dr. Bussard reached down for a kleenex and began to wipe his glasses. “I see, I see. And you’re certain?”
        I nodded.
        “A pity. My son could have used a date to his graduation this evening.”
        “What’s that supposed to mean?” I snapped. “Was that why --”
        “No! No! It wasn’t.” He held up his hands. “I don’t suppose I can ask you to put the gun down?”
        “Not even by telling me it’s a phallic symbol.” I smiled, or at least tried to fake it.
        Dr. Bussard nodded, his adam’s apple bobbing like a captive balloon. “I see. Well, Warren, it’s quite simple. I thought -. Well. The signs were there. I assumed you were living a lie. That was the only reason.”
        “My parents disowned me because of you.”
        “Come now, Warren.” Dr. Bussard smiles ingeniously. “Surely we do nothing but because of who we are?”
        “Try that in English or I swear to God I’m going to shoot you in the hand.”
        He blinked, once. “Ah. I understand now! You never could escape your belief in God, and as such could not embrace the Goddess and your feminine side. I had worried at your dislike of dressing in women’s clothing, since most gay men aren’t homovestites.”
        “I’m not gay.”
        “So you say, but --”
        “I said I’m not fucking gay, you conceited prick!”
        “Because you watch football?”
        “Watching grown men grope each other and pile up upon each other is perfectly straight, of course.” He didn’t stop smiling.
        “I should shot you just to shut you up. I already told you. I’m not.”
        “And that means what, precisely?”
        “More than your - your quackery. How many people do you think you’ve saved, doctor?”
        “I am not a priest.” Bussard’s smiled wavered for a moment and then returned. “I merely help people see themselves as they really are. So many of us build up walls, you knows. I’d rather have them down.”
        “So you’re gay?”
        “Well, no.”
        “How do you know?”
        His smile acquired a sad tinge, like an adult about to berate a favourite pet. “Because I’ve shown none of the signs.”
        “What, like astrology?”
        “Now you’re just being foolish, Warren. I have never been drawn to a man.”
        I bit back the first thing that came to mind, reminding myself I had the gun. “Nor was I, except the once. I was ten years old. I’ve had girlfriends since then, before then. It was just sex! And then you come along, because my parents are worried about my grades, and I end up here, with your stupid theories and your idiotic conclusions.”
        Dr. Bussard finished cleaning his glasses, hands barely shaking as he put them on again. “It was neat, logical and, perhaps, wrong. But I merely went with available evidence, Warren.”
        “You made shit up.”
        “You’re free to feel that way, of course.”
        “Why do you do it?” I sat down in the plush faux leather chair on my side of the desk, resting my gun on a knee: it’s harder to stand and point a gun for long lengths of time than Hollywood would have us believe. “This is almost all you do, so why?”
        “Because too many of us live lies, Warren. We all deceive, after all. Sometimes just strangers, or friends, or only family. Or just ourselves. I believe the truth is more important than lies. And this is an important thing.”
        “But it’s not. It’s private. It’s who we fucking sleep with; that doesn’t define us!”
        “Ah. You’re been reading.” He sounded pleased, in a teacherly away akin to calling me a good dog.
        “Then you’re starting to learn. When did you buy the gun?”
        “I stole it from the - date you convinced me to take. He wanted to - do things. Disgusting things.”
        “Ah, so that is the real reason --”
        “Would you be willing to dress up as Garfield and molest Jon?”
        “Would you?”
        “Well. No.”
        “Then why should I? I took the gun, after punching him away from me. He drew it and we fought over it and I left with it. And walked. Ended up here. To ask you questions. But the gun doesn’t seem to matter. Is this all about your son?”
        “No.” He clasped his hand on the desk. “That was an unfortunate slip of the tongue, Warren. Listen to me --”
        “Why? All you did was lie to me. Your Ex-Straight Conversion Therapy just ruined my damn life, doctor. You keep going on about the truth, but the truth isn’t important. How long do you think our civilization would last, if no one could lie? I doubt it would last very long: the point of communication is lying.”
        “Warren --”
        “Shut up. That’s why we talk. Not to tell people things, but to hide them. And you never get that, because you write articles, and you think words are more important than they are. But they aren’t. They don’t actually do things.”
        I raised the gun and fired, before I could second guess myself. The sound was loud, like thunder. I waited for the ringing in my ears to die down, shivering a little. “It’s lies that society is built on, lying that makes it work. It’s telling the truth that’s unnatural,” I said as he bled out over his desk. “People forget that, and they try and take down walls, and make people see things.
        “But just because you see it doesn’t mean it’s there, doctor. I was never gay. Having sex with a guy didn’t mean I was gay: it just meant we had sex. Once. We were kids, we were experimenting. I’d like to have known about yours, about what you thought you really were, how your son drove you to this .... I bet he’s not even gay, doctor. Maybe you made him like that, because it’s trendy? Something to discuss at psychology conferences?”
        I waited, but he didn’t reply. What with being dead and all. I put the gun in his hand, wiping it off to get rid of my prints. (I’d seen that done on TV shows.)
        I listened for sirens, heard none, and left the office. The walls must have been thick, because the secretary didn’t look worried. I asked her out for a date.
        She said yes.

Monday, October 08, 2007

So, I was thinking about Mary Sue's ...

... and I got to wondering:

Is Sue part of her first name? A middle name? A last name?

And, can: "I am Mary Sue" justify anything she does?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Changing Present

Oceans are changing and the tide is coming in
The world is going out and it's twisted all about
Until it's something new and there's only you
To remember what was, if only because ...

Time keep changing and the worlds keeps on fading
Falling so far away, nothing we hold ever stays.
This is your life: memories adrift on every passing breeze
And when the world changes it keeps changing stranger
But only you can recall for me the world as it used to be

Oceans are changing and the tide is coming in
The world is going out and it's twisted all about
Until it's something new and there's only you
To remember what was, if only because ...

Every time you save it the world forgets that
It was different place: there's this deepening space
We don't have words for, love we don't have mending for.
You're alone with your duty and lost in all that memory:
And when people ask what's new I never look at you.

Oceans are changing and the tide is coming in
The world is going out and it's twisted all about
Until it's something new and there's only you
Who could ever say it wasn't always this way
But you never say a thing ... no, you never say a thing ...