Friday, December 30, 2011

Cell phones and tea

She has been staring at her cell phone for over half an hour, her tea cold water filled with flecks of colour, lips pressed together.

I wish I knew her number, so I could call her, so the phone would ring.

But I don't know what I'd say.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day Poems for 2011

(For this year, some poems actually about boxing day. Kind of. There is no boxing; maybe next year.)

i.

Every shop burns a
desperate neon shade

Colours have voices
pleading:   Come      Please
We have things you don't need
We are dying
                         Feed us


We step past the signs to drop
pennies in charity baskets
hearts hard against their need


ii.

Sally sat under the mistletoe
Sally waited for a boy or girl
No one offered a kiss or a smile;
Something dark settled in her to grow.

Sally's Christmas list asked for no pearls,
No Rudolph, no sleigh, no winter snows.
"Only those with souls are worth my while."
Still a sigh from Santa's beard unfurled.

"Even Santa can't --?" She bit back bile.
"Something is missing in you, you know,
I can't hide it; I'm sorry my girl."
So he kissed her; she gave him a smile.


iii.

"What have we done to deserve this?"
she whispered, the presents piled deep
under the tree threatening an avalanche
of bargains tumbling on them.

"We don't need any of it," she said, and he
thought of how Santa was credit cards and
he smiled and whispered: "Fine, I will
take it all back, broken."

And then he swung the golf clubs
twice, sickened by her
sanctimony while the TV
belted out Joy to the World.


iv.

This year they're sharing memories,
unwrapping the past to the present
and letting sadness become laughter.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lines that do NOT belong in YA fiction ....

'The light was thin and wan, like the red lamps in the seedier districts of cities.'

... sometimes I really, really suck at writing YA :p

OTOH, this version of Falling Toward The Sky has over a single page before any dialogue is spoken which makes it nicely odd for me. I swear, if I ever manage to finish this story people would look at the first draft and think someone else had written it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Treading on landmines

Recently I began running an rpg game again online. I haven't done this since August (the longest hiatus I've taken from doing 'em) and the game is intended as occult horror where weird things exist in the world but the player characters are unaware of how strange things can be, having touched the bare edges of oddness and pulled back as best they can. One of the players made an ex-teacher (Jackson)  who turned another human being (Thalia) into a thrall: she sits in a wheelchair all day when he's at work and pretty much just moves and talks to him alone.

In response to said PC I made Mary-Anne and Stanley Throckmorton living in the same building as they do. She is the girl next door, friendly and polite and probably wanting to be more than friends with Jackson, while Stanley is about 12 or so, autistic and has a bad habit of biting and hitting people. It's heavily implied Stanley breaks into Jackson's apartment some days just to watch Thalia, whom he seems to find fascinating.

He doesn't have to worry about facial cues -- for her, only Jackson is real -- and Stanley will gladly just sit and watch her for hours on end. As the player pointed out, the entire scene in-game is deeply unsettling. 'Oh, just another zombie tending my zombie. How cute.' It was an interesting and creepy scene and the player got the metaphor of it (and how, like all metaphors, the map and territory don't meet), but the whole thing got me thinking.

(Note: there IS more going on with the concept of Thalia and Stanley, but such things are spoilers for the game and the player could find this page... :))

I'd never do a scene like in any novel -- the amount of people such a crude concept of autism would needlessly offend would be staggering and while it works in response to the character the player made setting up a novel where that would come into play would be too, well, preachy in some ways and veer into after-school special territory in the end. Possibly. Somehow. I tend to apply the same rational to mental illness: such things aren't as simple as the broad strokes fiction has to use to fit them into a story.

I found it interesting that one of the things running games is, for me, is an outlet for ideas and concepts I'd never use otherwise because of that issue of landmines. So, what about you? Are there metaphors you'd never use in novels or concepts you'll never write about because it's too easy to offend with it?

Friday, December 02, 2011

Bloody hell (a post about writing)

So .... the folder containing Rites of Exorcism stuff contains the current finished first drat (70K, nanowrimo of this year). I'm 20K into the sequel. The rest of the folders within it contain another 151,768 words. Various novel drafts, setting notes, character notes, write-ups on creatures, other attempts at the setting and so forth.

This is damn depressing on a number of levels :p

The worst part is that I have one other novel that, in various iterations totals 201,227 words. The actual novel that resulted from all that -- Monsters & Miracles -- was 67,000 of those words and is entirely impossible  to compare to the first draft of the story, which is kind of cool in its own way. Almost nothing from the first drafts survived at all, which is at least proof of a kind of progress even if it, too, can be seen as depressing.

I also have a trilogy in progress whose accumulated word count is 137,000 words which seems reasonable enough as it includes one finished draft of the first novel, 4K of the second novel, partial revised draft of the first and notes for the entire series.

(For the curious few, Boy & Fox is over 80K, not including 50+ handwritten pages I've yet to type up. Which isn't surprising given there are entire chapters of the first draft that no one else ever saw. It was very strange to be submitting a story to a writing group and editing entire chapters of the future story out of it in the process, which is one clue why it stalled so very badly.)

OTOH, the accumulated word count of some of the projects in some way forces a finished draft, as it did with M&M and has in many ways with the Rites series. I tend to be the sort of writer who leaps from idea to idea and concept to concept, seldom bothering to ever really go back and edit/revise novels since the new is always luring me on. However, thanks(?) to the writing group I tend to stop novels mid-stride, revise it as a new draft and what emerges at the end of an absurdly large word count is at least a more functional finished first draft.

Or so I am telling myself right now :)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

nanowrimo .. 2012

I've never done nano on the last day save for last year, wherein I was writing 3 nanoes and wrote about 4-5K on the final day to get that story over the 50K mark. As such, I miss out on some of the oddity of nano and the mad rush for the finish against the deadline.

So here is one possibly plot for next year: a haiku detective mystery involving as part of its plot the use of brazil nuts to murder someone during sex (afaik they are the only nut they can be transmitted via sex, hence killing someone with a nut allergy via it). Said knowledge was derived via TV shows and then the internet, so all is good.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

On using vampires

As a rule, I've never used vampires. Oh, creatures called that and mistaken for it, yes -- I have one novel series of sorts based around voodoo, Sumerian mythology and entities that became the basis of the vampire and were-creature myths.  I figure if you're going to have a world with supernatural things, having something as basis for some of the myths makes sense. The problem I have is that of horror: vampires aren't scary anymore. They haven't been for some time.

All monsters tend to be a reflection of the era they're in, echoes and statements about man and humanity. But it's harder to have a dark mirror when what we as humans do is generally plenty dark enough. So vampires -- like angels -- mutated into something closer to superheroes, to beings with powers and Kewl Stuff that, in the case of vampires, they had to not want. So, angst. Because living forever and never seeing the sun again is such a burden that vampires could never find it awesome or decide to fight crime or at least get a life. Or unlife.

As a side note, I have this theory that the transformation to a werewolf can easily be bracketed onto being a teenager: it would be interesting to take vampire and fit it into mid-life crisis, say. Stories about vampires endure because they are flexible in this manner: we choose what kind of story we tell with them, we shape the myth to fit the story that gets told. And not all stories with vampires in them are about vampires at all. (It is hard to write about vampires these days and not include a Twilight reference. This was that.)

In my case, I wanted to do horror. I have the setting, the idea of the vampire fits it. In this case, the vampire is a stand-in for a viral plague at the level of metaphor. But that doesn't stop the vampires from believing they are vampires or, in some cases, becoming movie/novel kinds of vampires thanks to using magic that comes with no instruction manual at all. I have posited the vampires as the origin of the black death and had one character claim a single vampire could exterminate the planet of human life in about 2 months. Whether this will be enough, in terms of narrative or craft, will be an exercise for the beta readers to hash over.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

An update on writing....

Nanowrimo is an odd event: historically if I pause a project to do nano said project dies. The story I was working on before my first nano languishes in a file somewhere, having been added to in fits and starts since when guilt set in but otherwise doomed. There is simply not enough time to get out all the ideas rummaging for space in my head -- a lot of them are abortive notes on files that I only do something with if the idea and characters nag at me enough to demand to be written. Many of these end up as nanos rather than anything serious.


Rites of Exorcism is different: for good or ill I have not been able to get it out out of my head even after writing it as a nanowrimo story. Short stories and novel ideas for the world keep coming to me, and as such I completed the first actually finished draft of the Book of Going Forth during nano, waited two days, and began work in the sequel. It is tentatively titled The Book of the Never-Dead *  and I figure writing it will also make editing the first book -- which I plan to do after writing this story -- more interesting. I've never tried this method of writing/editing before and never written a true sequel, so shall see how it goes.

This story also has vampires. Which will be the subject of another post.




* I very much doubt the novel titles will remain come later drafts; as echos of the Egyptian cosmology they do work but as actual titles they're pretty clunky. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Facebook & Google+ Status Updates part VI

(This one includes fragments of nanowrimo as part of it, since I decided to share torment people with bits of it as part of progress reports.)

"Oh, grace? No, we don't say that in this house.But I see someone is late bringing the black goat for the sacrifice."

If the internet is a city, where are you located in it?

I wonder what it would do if I remove all facebook ads by listing them as 'sexually explicit' ...

Bob was pretty certain the devil didn't want his soul when the last temptation offered was an expired can of soup.

Alice was shocked to discover that it only took three bottles of Uncle Alvin's hooch to replicate Wonderland entirely.

A potential starting line for a bad story....
The night unfurls itself like a great dark thing.

"The point of stories is to use lies to tell the truth."

"Is Amy a demon?"
"Liking school doesn't mean your friend has a demon inside them," I said dryly.
"Oh." Sasha thought that over.  "Could I learn an exorcism anyway, to be safe?"

Useless Fact About Myself: I owe two ties. I have worn neither.

Useless Fiction About Myself: I tell people I hate blueberries so no one will blame me when they're all eaten.

It was the eyes that said he was older than he seemed, for they were hollow and empty, the green of things seeping from wounds
...  You can tell I'm writing Young Adult, right?

"I could take you south," the fox said once it became obvious Boy would not dream of asking such a thing.
"With me? Really?" Boy grinned his foolish grin. "Why?"
"I doubt your life will be boring and I abhor boredom," the fox said, which was the truth, for the truth can be the most clever lie of all.

"I do not find it wise to do what I cannot undo. No one should unless they have considered what they cannot do once they have done it."

Last night a Sleep Thief stole my sleep. They take hours from us and sell it to the highest bidder. If you know someone who is poor and yet well-rested, then you know why.
(They say the warlords and politicians of the world pay so much for a decent night's sleep. So very much.)

Idea for a world (probably an rpg), based on fans having fits over George Lucas changing the SW movies:
A world where the gods act like Lucas does. Each day, you wake up to find the world tweaked a little more, creation an on-going class project ....

"I'm not saying the lawyer IS a demon," I said. "I'm just saying that's the safe way to bet."

If you could be the death for one person, who would it be?

"I left her for a week. One week, and she emailed me with updates about her life, begging me to come back to her. Even about the lives of strangers, if you can believe it. I think if I left for over a month, Fb would stalk me down and drag me online."
... this message has been brought to you from Venice, which is made of awesome. That is all.

Boy dearly wanted to ask what made someone a witch, but his common sense finally kept him silent on that. "Oh," he said instead, which could mean very many things.
"Quite," the witch said to one of those things.

Recycling bins with the arrows in reverse recycle intangibles: memories, dreams -- some say even souls.

We all know deep in our hearts that the gates of Heaven and Hell are closed. Tourists ruin everything.

Fun in Italy: Having seen far too many pieces of Mary and Jesus art, Jesse and I now critique each one based on how realistic the baby Jebus looks: does he look like a real baby? An adult? Is the head too small? It does liven up otherwise pedestrian and samey art.

"Of course I don't hate you." The witch smiled at Boy. "One must care about something to hate or love it at all, and I care for you not at all."

Today's unfact: the ruins of pompei were made 60 years ago out of papier mache in a bid to woo tourists to the region. The alleged historicity of them is due to time travellers (all of whom have grossly overdue library books).

Interesting fact on the Palentine Hill in rome: the ruins go down two levels, none of which are open to the public. Which means the fee we paid to walk them was akin to someone offering you a tour of their house via walking on the roof and trying to convince you that you'd seen the house.

According to modern theology, purgatory is a train station platform that no train ever stops at.

Things I could not convince my brother to do in rome: run up and stand beside a police officerin riot gear so I can take a picure of both of them. (You will note I did not volunteer to do this myself, but a leader must sacrifice his happiness for others.)

from nanowrimo notes on a character:
Randall (Never Randy, not any more) was a quiet kid, the kind of kid who didn't have any imaginary friends because they'd be busy visiting other more interesting kids.

He was wide awake at 3:33 am. They called it jet lag, among other things, but he was certain the Conspiracy wanted everyone to think that was all it was. He had shifted in time, days become other days, and he wondered if any other time traveller truly understood the power this gave them, or if they all just tried to 'adjust' back to normal like the Conspiracy wanted.

The weather in Rome is colder now, which is probably for the best since last week the Pope woke up and thought he'd died.

This years Nanowrimo notes have a section entitled 'major characters not appearing in this novel'.

"What if there is a limit to the amount of pain we can internalize? What happens to you when you reach it?"
The other smiled. "I have a knife. I spread it around."

Nano snippet of the day:
"There are things outside the darkness that mean us harm," I said quietly. "And we can burn brightly if we aren't careful, dragging them to this world like moths to a flame and extinguishing entire towns and cities in our greed, because they offer us power we haven't the wit or courage to refuse."

Nano at 11K, so here is a snippet from today:
In the dream my mom cries as my dream-grandmother's bitter words that fill the world like thunder, and that is finally enough to wake me: I never saw my parents cry even once when they were alive. They were exorcists and any tears they might have shed were held back for a later that never came.

4K written today, a snippet thereof:
That the instruction manual for the coffeemaker weighed more than Damien's computer had amused him to no end, but drinking instant coffee was not one of the sacrifices I was prepared to make to be an exorcist.

6K or so today on nano, snippet:
Mind you, odd theories can be applied to most any family with a long history."
"Like the royal family being seven foot tall lizards?"
"No; that's just stupid."
"You're the one saying this family has an au pair that is over a hundred years old."

"I know X looks bad, but you have to remember X gets a lot of abuse, always used in equations, never an answer, shunned by the other letters. You never see pythagorus use X, never see it as a real answer. It's always paired with Y, which as post-structuralist feminism tells us is a clear indicator of indicative gender inequality."

Ripped a page out of a notebook from 2004 to use as scrap paper and found written on it, under a dentist appointment, the following two things in point form:
- Necropuppet.
- Hitler Choose Your Own Adventure
... I think this means I should make sure I burn all my old notebooks before I die.

Nano slowly moves ahead. An excerpt:
"I'm sorry for this," I said to Emily.
"As sorry as you should be?" she said, and if there was malice in her voice she hid it well behind breeding.
"Whoever is?"

Writing typo of the day:
"I wiggled free of his arm" does not work if one actually writes "I widdled free of his arm".

Anyone else waiting for news about the elves and Occupy North Pole? If Santa isn't the 1%, I don't know what is.

Little known facts about the devil:
* When She goes shopping on Earth, She only pays in pennies
* You will known She is near when your cell phone rings and it's a spam caller
* She finds Satanists to be as much a trial to bear as Jesus finds Christians
* Sometimes, when no one is watching, She eats low-fat foods

I wrote this today. I feel so ashamed.
"Aiden's an exorcist; if people don't pay up their homes just get repossessed."

And done nano this year at exactly 70,000 words. The final lines are from a magazine interview between two of the characters.
D: "What I think is that everything is a risk and sometimes we have to take one, uncalculated, and that's all free will is."
PS: "Free will is falling in love?"
D: "Yeah. And falling so well that you try to never see the ground."

Fun thing to do working at a major computer company: Replace the word 'bug' with 'feature' in all releases.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

And the end....

of Nanowrimo for this year. The novel ended at 70,000 words on the nose, since I added in three words in one line to get it. In some respects, this was the hardest nanowrimo I've ever done since, unlike all the others, this was a non-nano project -- aka one my brain says 'this could be a good novel' vs my normal idea of trying a new genre or just getting an idea out of my head, which is my normal fun with nano. As such, the story stalled a few times and was almost redone from a different POV once. Interestingly, the last 10K took almost a week to write since it was the last part of the nano and a lot of plot and story elements had to be resolved and come together.

Did they? Well, no. By that point I was too aware of stuff I'd be changing in the next draft and wanting to have this draft reflect that. Which is probably a sure route to madness, so I finished this draft as was and had fun with  it. It did manage to surprise me in some small parts, a few of the people in it turning darker or tougher than I'd thought and I discovered the big change for the next draft is to shorten the timeline a lot. Aiden is an exorcist, and very good at that: this novel was him dealing with non-ghost stuff mostly and being out of his comfort and knowledge zone. As such, taking four days to figure out the major plot stuff going on made him seem drastically more incompetent, and possibly stupid.

Things I learned this year:

1) Plotting worked. Less plotting would have worked better. I write to find out what is going to happen as much as anything else and this draft left little room for me to be surprised which led to some sections being rather slow to write since I had, at least in point form plot notes, 'done' them already and the plot didn't deviate much from them.
2) I think I may use nano for something I plan to Do More with again in the future. It does limit me to one nanowrimo a year, but that's just fine; I could do more, and I have, but I have no need or desire to. 
3) I don't think I'll use nano to rewrite a concept from scratch and such again, however: using it for something new is more to the point and a better break from other projects. (And yes, this may violate #2 but what the hell. I'll still limit myself to the one nanowrimo, however long or short it turns out to be.) 
 4) Trying to write one story that's over 80K should definitely be a challenge to myself; very few of my first drafts are that long. 
5) I had fun, even if sometimes the story didn't feel fun at all. Working on one project off and on for over two years is not my cup of tea: I tend to get idea, write, move on to next idea, write, and so forth: I think this story and Boy and Fox are the only two projects I've stuck with for a long period of time, and the latter is missing some indefinable something to make it work.

Also, my collective nano wordcount for 8 years is now:  862,374 words. Daaaamn.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A curious thing happened on the way to 50K....

Hit 50K tonight for nano and looked back at the chart in amusement. The first day I managed 7K and the same on the 5th. I'd hit 25k at that point, faster than I'd thought I would given my goal was ~80k at best (I hope for 90K and expect 80K, it seems to be about my natural length). I went to bed Saturday night having a moment of doubt about Damien's character and saw the novel from the pov of Damien instead of Aiden. And on Sunday morning I began to write the entire thing from scratch, reaching over 1K in writing and a lot of notes -- the latter in the privacy of my head.

Saner heads than mine prevailed in convincing me to keep going with Aiden's pov, if only because it was more challenging than changing it to Damien's. I saw the wisdom of that and moved forward again; despite that, by the 10th I was only at 37K and most of the days had been about 2K, though the tenth had been 4K. So this weekend I knuckled down and did 14K over two days, pushing me over the 50K mark. The plot developed a few twists, the characters surprised me a little and the story is flowing ahead again.

The trick for me at this stage is not thinking too much about the next draft: I already realize what I wrote as 5 days of plot  should be condensed into 3 and a lot of the conversational stuff between the characters can probably be pared down to the grit of it in the next draft.

To whit:
* Cindi's vehicle needs to be more important, so the Beast must be getting repaired. (Damien repairing an RV should be fun.)  She, a a character, needs to bring more to the story and demand more out of it. Someone has to get in his face and not know or care about his reputation in a very select circle of people: she is that person.
* The DEA agents need to show sooner and do a little more in the story.
* Shortening the time-frame allows for the characters to figure out who the magician is a lot sooner; the current timeline makes them look even more incompetent than I'd intended.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Thoughts on a few monkeys

Thoughts on character background, most specificically the edit of:

To be honest, I really hate stories where a character behaves horribly and their sad childhood keeps getting brought up to somehow validate their bad behaviour

Because: hell, yes. I loathe this trope with a passion. Yes, horrible things happen to people. I get that. Everyone does. But not everyone who is abused goes on to abuse, not every person with a shitty childhood becomes a shitty parent. Choice is involved in who we decide to be and how we decide to react to the hand(s) life deals us. If you are an asshole, it is because you are an asshole.

In the case of nano, this is Aiden by and large. Yes, his parents did terrible things to him but he honestly doesn't see them like that: they're his parents and he loved them, as horrible as that can sometimes be. That his parents had motives that were on the side of 'good' doesn't change that at all: he was raised and taught to think in a very utilitarian manner and that his life was a worth sacrifice to stop Evil Things from happening. Others disagree with this (vehemently) and part of his growth as a character is when he decides to walk is own path as best he can.

He is a jerk, but that is by choice: it's how he dealt to lessons and his response to getting hurt by people and the word. Damien, on the other hand, tried to see every setback in life as an opportunity to grow. Not to forgive, no, but to try and forget a little and move on from things done to him. To an extent, they balance each other out and Vita threw them together partially in the hope they'd rub onto each other a little and become a little stronger in the process.

And since I plan this to be a series, it also means the reader gets to see Aiden become a bit more involved with people and the world, less of an exorcist and more of a human being. But at no point is the fact that his parents did a serious number on him during childhood going to be an excuse or actual explanation for his failures as a person.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Nano Day 7 .. an excerpt


I turned to see the local sheriff's car pull up. A tall, stern man who looked like he could bench-press snarling rottweilers got out of the driver's side, his boots shiny and uniform looking freshly ironed, the badge gleaming as he walked over.
      A shorter balding man got out the passenger side: He was thin and wiry and even sported a cowboy hat over rather more rumpled clothing, having an air about him of someone who'd seen most everything the town had to offer and wasn't prepared to be surprised by any of it.
      The sheriff ambled over and the locals parted without thinking, the truck driver removing his hat and looking like he wanted to chew more of the brim off in worry. The patrons of the McDonalds slipped back inside slowly but steadily, showing a natural distrust of the law I found curious: I'd have bet good money that the local law enforcement only did what the Klein family asked of them.
      The deputy wandered into the McDonalds, nodding amicably to people and talking statements. I just moved off to the side, throwing up a protecting circle around Damien the buffer him against emotions and saw his shoulders sag a little in relief.
      "Sheriff John Cassidy," the Sherrif said briskly. "Someone mind explaining the call we got about a hit and run?"
      The driver, whose name turned out to be Simon Saundersen, stumbled over barely seeing Damien jump out in front of him, trying to break, something hitting the window, but each statement was a little more hesitant than the last as his brain tried to parse someone being thrown into the path of the truck by an force unseen to him.
      "You throw something at the window, mister ...?" the Sheriff said, turning to Damien.
      "Daimen. I didn't see the truck when I was crossing the road," he lied, looking pale and shaken. That he was seventy pounds of nothing in a baggy sweater and coat helped hide that there were too many tears in the clothing for him to have no scrapes at all.
      The sheriff grunted. "We'll need to take you down to the station for questions anyway; insurance companies like stuff to be formal," he said, then added: ''Sides, it's a slow day so far and we're got coffee to spare," which disarming honestly.
      Damien just nodded, trying not to look worried as he glanced over at me.
      The sheriff glanced over, eyes narrowing. "You were walking with him, sir?" he said.
      I nodded.
      "I trust you have a name?" the Sheriff added.
      "Aiden Nel," I said, handing over my wallet when he held out his hand.
      "Long way from Canada, boy, " he said, handing it back. "You're that quack Klein hired."
      "I'm an exorcist, yes," I said.
      "Well, Simon here seems mighty confused by how your friend ended up in front of his truck across one lane so darned quick," the sheriff said, slipping into a stereotype with ease. "You reckon it could be ghosts?"
      I smiled brightly. "If the dead went about shoving the living into traffic I think you'd have a lot more fatalities, don't you?"

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Old notebook oddity

Ripped a page out of a notebook (which included notes from nanowrimo 2004) to use as scrap paper and found written on it, under a dentist appointment, the following two things in point form:

 - Necropuppet.
 - Hitler Choose Your Own Adventure

 ... I think this means I should make sure I burn all my old notebooks before I die

Monday, October 31, 2011

Nanowrimo Synopsis

And here is, finally, a synopsis for The Book Of Going Forth By Night. Not the best, but it's far better than the ones I had before, especially one that attempted to explain the novel setting in a paragraph and just left people very baffled.


My name is Aiden Nel. If you're lucky you won't have heard of me. If you're not, you probably found my webpage and need an exorcist. Most people don't believe in ghosts, but I don't hold that against them: they're made to forget the wider world that lurks outside in the dark. I come in when too much happens for people to dismiss it, and they often pay me a nice sum to keep the dead quiet.

Sheffield Bay should have been just another routine call. The Klein family run the mill town and the owner's son was convinced he was hearing ghosts in their home: it should have been a quick exorcism. Easy in, easy out, payment strictly in cash. But there's a magician playing with terrible magics and an ancient spirit stalking the family to uphold a terrible pact lost to history. If they fall it could well cripple the entire town.

All I have on my side are a friend who is trying not to become a monster and a blogger who wants to write my life story. It may end sooner than she'd like.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Writing plot....

Half-way through what I have listed as 'day 3' for nano, with notes as point form bits. (I find it easier to do them that way so I can juggle them about and add new ones easily when needed.) I've also reached 5 pages typed up and found myself doing the notes as though the story was third-person and not first. Which should help when typing it to make it feel that I'm not just expanding an outline when I do type it all up.

It should be interesting to see if this level of preparation helps or hinders the story but one can only learn by trying. And it had added a few characters to the story I didn't intend on, which IS fun. I know, somewhat, how it ends but have no clue about the denouncement parts at all yet. But hey, got a few days to work on it so it's all good.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The evolution of a novel

Over the past few years my writing style has changed in weird ways: I tend to write part of a novel, set it aside, come back to it, redo it from scratch at least once and see where it goes. It's probably wasteful on a lot of levels, but I find it gives me a better grasp of the characters and what works and doesn't work in the story. 

In the case of what is now going to be nanowrimo 2011, it began life as Rites of Exorcism, which took place over 2 drafts of Aiden Nel, an exorcist in high school and his attempt to cope with the deaths of his parents, graduation, his own future and some entity that had begun murdering cheerleaders. Eventually I realized I didn't have a workable ending for it and rather than force something realized the entire story actually worked better as a backstory. I began another draft, dropping it because it didn't fit and eventually began work on another project involving a man named Zeth who had done something utterly terrible in his past and gained power for it: an examination of what happens to someone who hits rock bottom and then starts digging deeper. 

Eventually the two concepts congealed in my head along with an old idea about a world where the egyptian gods were real that I'd first done up as a quick rpg game. I began work on what was by then The Book of Going Forth by Night, with the stated goal of sequels, and while busy travelling I realized that one of the major characters in it should really be in the sequel instead. Which meant redoing it from scratch as well, so my old nano idea was scrapped in favour of bloody well finishing a draft OF this story, since it's been about four years now. 

On a practical level, this means I've written over 120K of words that are either backstory or possibly plot stuff for the second novel in a series without a first novel. Because that seems to be what I do. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

songs for exorcists

I don't listen to that much music, as a rule. Most of it tends to be folk, and my only real requirement is that if the song has music, I can hear the words. (Given hearing loss, this pretty much disqualifies most rock and such.) However, when stumbling across a song by chance today, I realized it fit one  character for theBook of Going Forth and that I had a few others lurking in a playlist that worked, so without further ado:

The series itself fits with Empire by Super8 & Tab.
Aiden is, for various reasons, Secret by Heart
while Damien, naturally is I Am (The Doppelganger's Song) by Seanan McGuire
Vita fits with Windmills of Your Mind.

I have nothing for other characters at present, and some -- okay, most -- of the songs are ones I come across while working on a novel and think they fit into it on some level, so I lob them into a playlist I often entirely forget about.

There are a few for Boy and Fox but listing those would constitute plot spoilers. Really.

All of which leads me to wonder ... do you have songs fitting your characters? Do you even bother to try? Or, like me, does it mostly happen by accident?

Thoughts on genre and writing

At the moment I am working on two different stories, the Book of Going Forth By Night/Rites of Exorcism urban fantasy and Falling Into Sky (aka Boy and Fox), which is a fairy tale. The former is much easier to write since my writing style tends to be more dialogue-heavy and the story is quick and fast-paced. Fantasy-pulp, in some ways, which I'm perfectly okay with. I get about 2K+ a day done on it when I work on it.

Boy and Fox, on the other hand, leads to 1K a day, at best. I have to remind myself to shift focus to the narrator, focus on the description and be vigilant on how things Mean Something in the story. It has a heavy icing of literary on it that I resisted in some drafts as cliche but am trying to work with again, largely by paring the setting down. It is very much outside my comfort-zone genre of 'urban weirdness' and as such comes much, much slower than other stories I do.

It is also the only story I've done where the alpha/beta readers of the Writing Group didn't see entire chapters of it because I'd decided they didn't fit the story any longer. I have about 4 versions of it, and have deleted more than I've ever kept, which is absurd even by my standards, and eventually the edit as I write and change future bits to fit that all came to the writing group having caught up with the story, which by then had lost focus and fallen apart.

The end result is to make me wonder how much harder it is for others to write outside their (sub)genre, both in terms of ideas and productivity.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Writing Snippet II


Boy ended up being caught by a rope that pulled him up a tree and wriggled free to fall and hit the ground. This follows that.

       "You slipped out of that rope quickly," a girl's voice said, her voice low and hard.
       "I think I kind of fell," Boy said.
       A grunt answered him, and Boy felt the weight move from his back, followed by hands examining his pants and shirt quickly.
       "You have no weapons," the girl said, sounding even more suspicious and, Boy thought, disappointed, which struck him as pretty odd even for a world with talking foxes and a sky that felt wrong.
       "I have a fox," Boy offered.
       The weapon pressed lightly against his back and the boy felt several jagged edges, almost like teeth.
       "Are you a squire?" the girl demanded.
       "I don't know what that is," Boy said.
       "And you're no magician despite your clothing," the girl continued, "or you would have struck me down with a spell by now."
       "Maybe I'm a nice magician?" Boy muttered, who was feeling quite put upon by this time.
       The girl laughed at that. Her laugh was light and warm, and the blade was removed from his back. "That would be as likely as finding a witch that doesn't eat children," she said. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Writing snippet of the day


              "I don't think there are witches where I come from," Boy said.
              The fox lolled his tongue in a grin. "Then your land must have the wisest witches of all."
              "I don't know. When I try and remember stuff I knew, it's all about math and the cold war and science and tv. Like, an adult fox weighs over ten pounds. I remember that. But I don't think I read anywhere that foxes could talk."
              "Of course not; most foxes have the sense to keep quiet," Reynard said, which was quite true on many worlds. (The discerning reader will find that many things to tend to be true, for sufficiently large values of ego.)  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On characters, some thoughts

I'm working on characters for a novel, getting a feel for how they work in my head again. It's been a while since I looked in on them, and the story and the characters have shifted and changed a lot over that time. I've written sequels to their story that failed, tried to write their story a few times to have it die on the page. Sometimes change is good, both for the story and the character. (For example, the 'sequel' idea failed utterly because the one character simply could not be the other as an adult. Which has led to re-thinking both characters. Again.)

I have found that I tend to approach characters from the central question of what lies they tell to themselves and to other people. The starting point, in my head, is where they are the most dishonest, how they fake honesty and so forth. We're different people depending on who we chat with and when, and why: in a lot of ways, we never let go of our masks, or we convince ourselves we do so well that said desire becomes a mask in and of itself. As an author, the fun part is finding the bits of myself in each character, and building -- or removing -- masks around that as the story and character dictate.

So I am looking at their masks, at the lives they choose to lead, the lives chosen for them and the costs (and sacrifices) of such things, sure in the knowledge that no one truly believes themselves the villain of their own story and wondering what would happen if someone did....

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Dear character,

I would like to inform you that this was entirely unexpected. While I had plans for you, finding out your skepticism has its roots in seriously twisted blackmail of your father while you were eight was never in any form of the plot at all. Your insistence on becoming important to the plot on some level and trying to upstage your older brother is rather worrying, given your original intent as foil by means of seeing an irrational universe as explicable via rational means.

While this may give you more layers and perhaps make you more interesting, it also means I have to re-think -- and probably re-write -- your previous scenes thanks to this. In the future, if you'd try and remain a minor character in a story with too many major characters already, I would greatly appreciate it.

It's either that or I kill you messily.

Thank you,

Josh.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

This may happen....

Every year I tend to plot out a nano idea in Sept. and abandon it about 10 days before nano, but this year could be different. The current idea is an exploration of a post-scarcity society and the construct of wants and needs in the far future. Mostly because I seldom do sci fi (and end up liking it) and because, since I've been told I can do just one nano this year, I figure I want a story with more heft to it than many others.

The plot at present involves an artificial life form created to record this civilization for those that come after it and two census takers trying to catalogue people in the dregs of the city. Weirdly, the main characters also map onto the wizard of oz rather well in some respects, something I plan to make more of just for the sheer fun of it.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Update for BOGF

Managed 4K so far today, with family stuff (and Dr Who) earlier and such for breaks. Not bad, given I managed to end up at a walk-in clinic because of work on Friday. I swear I accumulate scars at work like other people do raises.

On the plus side, the story feels pretty solid so far. I have to alter some background details like character's ages and need to figure out what is really bugging one of the MCs, as if had become more relevant than expected and two of the MCs have shown surprising streaks of pure nastiness that is quite interesting.

Friday, September 02, 2011

September Writing

It seems my latest method for novels is to combine things from other stories that have stalled or failed and see what works. As a result, what is now 'The Book of Going Forth By Night' was once, in no particular order, the Rites of Exorcism novel [now a backstory], the BOGF rpg idea that sprung out of Rites and a story I'd only called 'zeth story' about what happens to a man after he's lost everything.

The end result has been pretty fun and odd so far, so I'll see where it goes.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Found this morning while link surfing

Freaks was a thing I photographed a lot. It was one of the first things I photographed and it had a terrific kind of excitement for me. I just used to adore them. I still do adore some of them. I don't quite mean they're my best friends but they make me feel a mixture of shame and awe. There's a quality of legend about freaks. Like a person in a fairy tale who stops you and demands that you answer a riddle. Most people go through life dreading they'll have a traumatic experience. Freaks were born with their trauma. They've already passed their test in life. They're aristocrats.
- Diane Arbus (American Photographer)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

facebook status updates: part V (Now including google+)

14%: The percentage of cattle used in McDonalds that have been previously abducted by aliens.

"What if there really IS a clue at the bottom of the bottle?" The Detective stared down into the glass. "How will I ever attempt to be sober after that?"

I have learned that the phrase 'shamanic elder porpoises' is funny in almost any context. (The context I used was crossing the origins of Tarzan with Aquaman)

Plot for a murder mystery: a serial killer who only targets people's pets. (The hate mail you'd get would be epic.)

There were many reasons to make Pacts with Beings from beyond time and space: Joe had wanted to be able to enter bars at the age of 16 and not be carded.
Every arthritic step is now a kind of victory.

A short story: Nothing happened. They lived quiet lives, and then they died. Like all tales never told, devoid of war and death and pathos, it was the only one truly worth telling.

I smile at her, or at least pretend to. "The truth always hurts. Otherwise it would be a lie."

"All true kings abdicate that throne, be it pop or or rock," he told the reporter, and his smile contained echoes of one of his oldest songs. "Otherwise we'd become gods, and why would anyone want to do that?"

"The rapture did happen in 1994." The old man smiled sadly. "I think 3 rather shocked cats were taken, and a lot of dogs. Strange the world hasn't changed much, isn't it?"

When the Messiah decided to form his own country-western band, the Church knew it was time to send out the death squad and start over. Again.

"Saying science hasn't figured everything out is fine and true as far as it goes, but it doesn't mean you get to fill in the gaps with whatever crap you want to," James said.

Fun bit from writing yesterday:
"I am rather good in sports, but that is just the luck of genetics more than real skill. Talent is often merely a defect of character, after all."

"Do you know what reincarnation MEANS?" He smiled, thin as a knife, eyes bright and dark. "It means this life doesn't matter. We have another, and another, and each time we move closer to our perfect life. I am killing them to help them. We all come back, all of us."

"The power in a relationship belongs to whoever cares the least. There is always going to be imbalance, one person who needs it more than the other, and thus is at the mercy of the other person. I considered it a kindness to break up now rather that hurt her further later."

Thought for the morning: is the book of revelation fanservice?

Her laugh was gentle, mocking. "I have given you all you ever wanted, old friend, old enemy. I have damned you with happiness, that you may see how empty it is." And then she bowed and vanished, leaving behind a world too perfect to be borne.

Like most serial killers, he started small. Not wanting to harm animals, he began unfriending people on facebook instead.

After the edict abolishing liars was passed, we hunted down the priests and their gods.

No one really knew what to make of the cat with the halo. The dogs laughed and laughed while the mice were outraged and demanded the cat be branded a heretic. Because mice remember what we forget.

Every time she told them she wrote fish porn, they asked if she had clammy fingers. Every. Single. Time. So no one was really surprised when she decided to filet them.

"What happpens," she pressed, "if we love ourselves too much? If it hurts too much to stop? What then?"
"Talkshows."

"And now, O Warrior of Light, having vanquished you I shall ... destroy the world!"
".... you will? Really?"
"I was not boasting, child of earth. I am the Lord of the Dark Realms and I have sworn that this world shall be no more!"
"Yes, yes, but then where will you go?"

"Wait, wait, wait: hellhounds exist and I brought one to the apartment?"
"Yes. It's mostly Bouvier. And," Jack added, raising a finger, "there is no need to shout."
"I'm not shouting."
"Really? You could have fooled me"

Rover looked up warily from the doorway, tail between his legs. The hellhound had yet to pee on the carpet from fear and I tried to take some deep, calming breaths that managed to be anything but calm. Jack didn't help by asking if we'd need to call in an exorcist if the dog crapped on the floor

Security questions on websites are so mundane. 'Favourite pet', 'Mother's maiden name' and such. (What if you never had a pet or you mom didn't have a maiden name?)
They should get creative. Like, 'Person who you most want to see on a Reality TV show in Rwanda' or 'Celebrity I want to see working at McDonalds'.

Monday's aren't bad for Garfield now, since the prozac was added to his food. John realized it was cheaper than all that lasagna.

Story Seed: Believing a house is haunted can knock up to a third from its price; so faking a haunting in a home is a great way to buy it at a reduced rate.

I stared down at the puppy and then up at Jack. "His name is Rover," I offered.
"Of course it is. You've never brought a found animal home before, though."
"The house he came from is gone. Burned right down past the foundations. For all I know the police would have blamed me."
"Ah." The boy raised a single eyebrow. "Did you do it?"
"What, burn a house down so I didn't have to return a found puppy?" I paused a beat. "I do it about once a week. Depends on the puppy."

It wasn't reading other people's minds that disturbed him. It was that he only ever did it during sex. No one ever told him, after, that they did as well, but he always wondered ...

"I wasn't joking. Witches exist, I hunt them down for a living."
He said nothing else as he picked up his drink again almost hesitantly.
"So one hurt you?" I tried.
"One of them cooked and ate my sister. I killed her, and later others because I found I was good at it. But at some point any calling, no matter how pure or noble, becomes a job if you do it long enough."

I am not near awake enough to check email and be informed that I have two days left before an exlusive offer of 500 'Rakuten Super Points' expires. Without bothering to trouble google over it, I figured best buy must be offering to make me into a japanese anime character.
Now to shout "Rakuten!" at work and see what it does....

the closet opened and Oprah stood on the other side, in full child-monster mode and offered me a free car.
"It's an import," she whispered and smiled, and each of her teeth contained a small Michael Moore screaming soundlessly.
.... and that is what my brain decided the MC of the august campnanowrimo had as part of a dream.

What google searches do you use to see if the government has put spyware on your computer?

Oddest thing in the nano thus far: a serial kidnapper.

"Of course I'm the good witch," she said, shocked. "Who else would offer magic enough to mend a heart?"

"Happy people never do anything important, Dad." Charlotte snapped. "Only unhappy people want change and are willing to do something to get it."

"I've killed a lot of witches and other people. Daniel. Some people think it makes me a monster, that I somehow never feel anything anymore."
"Killing doesn't make you a monster?"
"No. Being a monster does."

"We do take all kinds," the agent said. "But your resume ..."
"I introduced fire to man," the titan said.
"Mmm, quite: but not much work since then. The whole eagle and liver bit was good reality tv, but ratings declined sharply over the years."
"I am Prometheus. I lit the first phoenix, defied Olympus ...!"
"Yes, yes. Have you considered a career in stand-up?"

From WIP:
Charlotte cried softly during the night; I pretended not to hear her. Sometimes silence is all a parent can offer.

The children were surprised when they exited the wardrobe to find the camera crew waiting for them.
"Welcome to Survivor: Narnia," Jeff Probst said with a smile, his hair flowing back behind him like a mane.

Glorious Failure

Also known as 'Found'. My attempt to merge another novel's backstory into Found didn't work as well as intended. The story itself does work, up until the point where the characters go looking for the missing boy. Which means I pretty much need to jettison anything overtly weird/supernatural from the plot to get the story to work, I think. In an odd way, the story asks more of the main character than he was designed to deliver and runs into limitations of his character and personality quickly. Not a bad thing, necessarily, but it happens a little too often and allows the plot to become visible under the story.

Some parts works, I have some good lines for the next draft and I know what won't work at all. Which isn't at all bad for 50K in 19 days, especially when I set out to write it knowing that this draft might well fall apart as I tried to merge ideas together. I am pretty certain the next draft of Found is going to have Boy & Fox as not remotely part of it and will also see the Jack/Witches subplots get expunged as well, which is a bit of a pity as Jack is horribly fun to write.

But ultimately the more supernatural elements the story gets, the more it seems to cease working. So the next draft, when I write it, will be a very different beast indeed.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Transmissions

Before the operation
I used to show people my scars.
Then they put me under
fluorescent lighting and scalpels.
They did things in the light
no one would dream of doing in the dark.
Now I have nothing to show
when people ask me if I’m unique.
I try to tell them that I
am controlled by radio waves.
They tell me that everyone is
then giggle and titter to each other.
I tell them that I think
my father was an alien.
They become pseudointellectual
and pontificate about immigration acts.
No one understands
that I am being literal.
When I try to make them
they just quote from the X-Files.
If the truth is out there
Why do I have no scars to prove it?

Monday, August 08, 2011

8 days into camp....

And of last night, 20,000 words written. Still plotting entirely as I go along and no real clue how it all ends. The story has managed to surprise me in some respects and the first act is almost over as people prepare to enter the unruled kingdoms that lie between this world and another and bring back a rather confused kid. Whether he'll want to come back is, of course, something else altogether.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Fun absurdity....

So. I tried writing Found in July, only to have it die. This was not entirely a surprise, since I have 4+ treatments of it around (one of them having reached 60 pages) so I figured I should do it for august camp nano and damn well get a 'finished' version. In the process of writing, I had a bit of doggerel verse pop into my head to possibly use, that being 'we pay prices to be free'. Since I can never be sure such sudden bits aren't from, say, half-forgotten songs, I googled it. To find it came from a role-playing game called La Fin De Siecle. Which I ran in 2005. Said verse follows:

"I've been told I'm here to save the world
But yet I fear that I've been hurled
Into some strange game never knowing why.
So much is changing (I know the world may die).
I know that I have a prayer but no one ever answers.
Am I pawn or player, before the dance was there a dancer?

       I'm doing everything I can to bring about his fall
       But it feels like nothing I do can ever matter at all.
       He's the one and future king and his heart is bitter gall.
       And I have nothing left inside, nothing to call.

I feel so lost but I've been told that I can win
At what cost: everything I am, everything I've been?
It could all be gone maybe that reason enough to try
The sun at dawn reason enough to make reply
I don't know if I'm worthy (maybe I will when the battle's won)
And sometimes I'm filled with worry though it only has begun

       I'm doing everything I can to bring about his fall
       But it feels like nothing I do can ever matter at all.
       He's the one and future king and his heart is bitter gall.
       And I have nothing left inside, nothing to call.

I don't know if I'm worth this power I don't understand
It's been mine from birth and this was all planned
Long before I was born it was written in the stars
I'll come again ,be reborn, yet never lose my scars
I don't know if I can bear all these sacrifices for me:
Dead ghosts are staring and we pay prices to be free.

.... I cannot very well use int in Found, but it was odd to find again.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Huh ...

Thought of the evening:

Vasili Arkhipov amd Stanislav Petrov (the latter of whom I knew of before tonight) are both credited with saving the world from nuclear war. (The former during '62, the latter during the 80s over a missile warning 'glitch'.) Who would be their American counterparts, if any?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

For a novel

All you can do is break the world,
That's all you're good for, all you are
Cracks in the world, wholeness in me
Sunlight dancing on a frozen sea
What is it good for, failing so far:
all you can do is break the world.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Perfect Angel

She flew more naked than the day she was born,
eyes wide and wounded with silent scars.
Angels formed in the snow, crude and misbegotten.
Her eyes burning she turned away
in a silent pain too deep for words
and blinked fiercely in denial
of denial and it seemed that the stars
blinked back, and laughed.

So she forgot, and people can forget:
that is Heaven.
She made one last angel in the pristine snow
because she could
and had nowhere to go.

They found her cold and smiling
and knew that she was gone.
They carried her home in silence
not knowing what she’d done.
They tramped over the perfect angel
that then melted in the sun.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Working on a novella

Tentatively titled 'Found', it's about a man, his family, and his accidental adoption of a hellhound. Which, thanks to poking at dog breeds on the 'net ,I have decided is 'mostly Bouvier'. It says much about me that I figured the dog needed to be a specific breed.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Stories

Our stories have a limit,
you said, soft, watching skies.
I waited, drawing words from you
with silence.

Follow any story long enough
and it's just a tragedy.
"Like heroes?" I ask, though
I am never sure I speak.

When our stories end, prayers begin.
We plead for exemption, from death.
I would have a story rather
than live forever, you added.

I listened to your voice, felt
the silence fill the emptiness
as if that was all we ever do.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Silent

It was a point of pride, dulled
with life's decay; pockets free of holes,
empty of tools. The deaf man
carried no paper, no pen, no pad
into the world of open-mouthed silence.
He knows their language but so few,
know his, not even the insults.

When he needs them, they appear
at a gesture, another magic of
a foreign world. Shabby but
sometimes a miracle, signs
like small gifts, offerings he takes
as hope for the world, swallowed
with a kind of nameless sadness.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

This is Untitled

I project the inward out,
everything I offer you already have.
Our meshing a tangle of needs and wine.

Outside, rain sluices down windows
drops meet, merge, slow, but
they all seem to fall alone.

Inside we are too warm, our words
hot and heavy and I think of the desert:
to move, make such wondrous noises, but
not to change.

In cool sweat and tangled sheets
the rain loud over our breath, we find
smiles, yes, but no words to share,
not one.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Why?

Hollow, we cling to empty things,
Seance a lonely whisper in the dark --
Why?

Before stark truth, a metal table and a white sheet,
Raw words from numb lips --
“Why?”

Laughters slips, harsh and unrestrained,
Men in uniforms, silent, might wonder:
Why?

Amateur mourners say false sympathies
Eyes righteous, accusing the unvoiced:
Why?

Why did we let you die, not stop you,
You hid beind a smile, never telling why
You died.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Love and the Sea

I know even a lousy miracle is still a miracle
I whispered softly to you
I held your hand and traced our names in sand
And said I’d always be true
But the water came and washed it away, I guess it’s the same
For love. And a harsh wind blew
Across the land, crashing windows: someone said I should know
Omens when I see them true.

But I had so much to give I still thought that was love
I still thought you were there for me
I thought we were inseparable but everything is permeable
All we had was each other, if only
If only it had been enough. O what was our crime what was our sin?
We let love in and I don’t see
What we did that was so wrong but someone told me I should know
We never took the time to be.

Someone told me things aren’t fixed by songs -- broken wings
Might never mend again
Somehow we just go on and maybe one day the hurt will be gone
So we learn to never complain
Yet it’s a miracle we’re told since we loved at all but it’s hard to see
And harder to sustain
But we were sold on it even if it was a lie, even if we feel too old
So I’m trying for love again

And this time it’s not first love and maybe never can be true love
You say you love me, I say “We’ll see”
And there’s hurt in your eyes but I won’t offer up lies
And often I walk alone down by the sea
And I remember other lovers, how cold it is in December
And wonder why love and I always disagree
But here I am again, opening up my heart again to let it sing
“Maybe this time we will be. Maybe this time we will be
What wound ever healed but by degrees?”

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The fun of resurrection

Higher Ground is a story I wrote in 2002. Some people liked it, I finished it, re-read it and pretty much didn't care for it. (Major plot holes, last minute 'wait, there is no villain! Shove one in!' stuff, the usual fun of doing a draft of a novel without, say, plotting more than a couple of chapters ahead.) However, as much as I disliked the end result, I did have a soft spot for the core concept of it:

Why do characters who end up in Fantasy World stay?

Not everyone would want to, or should, but I thought it would be focus on a character whose only goal is to get back home because of mundane issues like the new car getting towed, work, rent and so forth. As such I am entirely re-doing the novel from scratch and altering a lot of character roles. Or shall, in time; I'm doing up notes at present so things are more solidified in my head when I start out.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Life In The Big City

I’m a long, long way from home
And anyone that I know;
Said nothing held me there
Oh, if only that was so.

I know I said I’d never leave
But it was just too hard to believe
I know you’ll think that I lied
But my love I swear I tried.

I’ve been walking down lonely roads
Just going with the flow
I sometimes wish you were here with me
But it was too long ago.

I wouldn’t know you if we met anymore
I burned my bridges and I closed my doors
This is truly what I do believe
Though sometimes I still grieve.

Having sex with strangers
That I will never know
They keep saying “Do you love me?”
And I keep wanting to say no.

I know I said I’d never leave
But it was just too hard to believe
I know you’ll think that I lied
But my love I swear I tried.

Some days I think of you still
And wonder how I fell so low
Sometimes I wish I could see you
But there’s nothing I’d want to show.

I wouldn’t know you if we met anymore
I burned my bridges and I closed my doors
This is truly what I do believe
Though sometimes I still grieve.

I sometimes think we’ll meet again
And our eyes shall catch and glow
Or we might pass by as strangers do
And maybe just say hello.

I know I said I’d never leave
But it was just too hard to believe
I know you’ll think that I lied
But I swear I tried, I swear I tried.

Maybe we could just say hello.
Maybe we could say hello.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sometimes I dream the world is good

Sometimes I dream the world is good
And I know I know that you do too
A place where everything turns out okay
And love can always be true

And it’s a world I’ve never lived in
And I know I know it’s one I want to see
And I don’t know what I’d give up
For such a world to be

And I’m thinking too maybe you don’t know
And I wonder I wonder if anyone does
Or if we just keep on going around
But I sure hope not because

I have seen this world that never was
I wonder I wonder and hope you have too
And I hope you’ll come along with me
And somehow make it true

A world’s out there waiting to begin
And I wonder I do what it will be
I know you must too I see it in your eyes
‘Cuz together maybe we can
And together maybe we will

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Daffodils, or, It's raning and my allergies are acting up.

By: William Wordsworth, after finding his wife in bed wth STC and learning his poems about childhood stemmed from abuse at the hands of his mother.


I meandered pretty as a cloud
Singing while high o'er home and hills,
Drugs ran out and I heard the sound
A host of falling coloured pills
Beside the lake, I let out a sneeze
And they danced away on the breeze

No longer happy and not fine
Thinking of semen as the milky way
I saw my home and a light shone
I saw where Sam had been today
Ten thousand sins seen at a glance
Tossing their heads in a sprightly dance.

I screamed in fucking agony; they
Just pointed and waved with glee
A poet could not but be gay,
I loved my wife's company
I gazed -- all glazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
Remembering mother strange moods
That make black unpon the inward eye
And make me want to say things rude
I remember the axe, and pleasure fills
My heart, dancing with blue pills.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Spare Change

Spare some change?
begs a hand thrust
out of tattered rags.

Most of us
have no change to spare;

Most of us
never change at all.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Rain

The day after
my cat died
Mummy told me
"The rain
Is God
Crying with you."
I asked what God
Up in Heaven
Could ever have
To cry about.

That night, my bum sore
from the spanking, I wondered
If God hated people
Living in deserts
Because
It never rained in them.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday, April 08, 2011

facebook status updates: part IV

I want to post about a fake trip and, when the burglars arrive, give them a happy grin. "I was just looking for friends! Didn't you see that I'm looking for friendship in my status?"

You are now infected with sentient lice. They will eventually try to establish communication... unless, of course, you've been trying to exterminate them. In that case, they'll be very unhappy with you.

"I don’t get this whole destiny thing. Aren’t you already doing whatever it is you’re going to do?”

“There are many forms of currency in this world,” Ril said softly. “You and I both know that the only one that matters is secrets. ”

Mind you, most things mentioining Anne Coulter sear themselves into the brain much like cthulhu would. - Moi.

Silence, Del had found, was the most cunning of traps. People felt compelled to fill it.

From a current WIP: And sometimes, if you say you'll pay anything, the price is everything.

You begin to urinate shredded White House documents for the next 10 hours, and the page they form tells you who will really kill you tomorrow.

How to tell your kids there is no Santa: "We're not getting you any gifts this year because Santa will bring them."
And come christmas morning: "Well, it seems the recession hit St. Nick hard, too. But we still got you each a satsuma!"

Signs you are writing a very screwed-up story: It includes references to zombie fetish films. In this case, one made for zombies by zombies and involving humans eating zombies.

For the past week, you have been getting text messages on your phone, dated noon tomorrow.
"Sorry," from a blocked ID, and nothing else.
The messages are coming less frequently now.

this is a fun story line out of context: "Ant farms aren't vampires, least not any one I've ever seen."

What ISN'T the world's second-oldest profession?

Telemarketer for scotiabank: "Hello, I am looking for Josh MacLeod."
Me: "No, you're not. Because he's getting sick of these calls and will switch banks if they continue."
*click*

Weirdest line written thus far this week in WIP:
"What is decency, if not stigmata?"

This is the postscript of a letter I sent to my grandmother 5 years ago.
PS - I just discovered that spiritual councillors who speak to the dying are paid by the hour. It created an interesting mental image of “die slower, I need to pay my rent!”

The grass won't be greener on the other side after you apply the lighter fluid.

Vampires who sparkle in sunlight should convert to Islam so they can hide behind the burka. Discuss.

"You killed God," the Devil said, and She looked disappointed. "I had a round of golf booked with Him this weekend; now what am I going to do?"

"Would someone care to explain," the Detective said slowly, "why anyone thought the king's horses could put an *egg* back together again? Look at what their hooves have done to the shell!"

This was turning out to be a bad day for the Detective. No less than four calls in the last hour from people claiming they had lost an hour of the day, and demanding someone catch the thief who stole it.
Only two of them had been joking.

"No," the Detective said, his voice cold and quiet and breaking through the shouting of victims and suspects and the killer.
"What?" The killer said. "No? No to what?"
"I am not telling the mayor the butler did it." The Detective raised his gun. "We need a better killer than that."

"Commissioner, you asked me to solve the case of reality." The Detective paused. "The solution is 42."
"That is amusing," the Commissioner said, his voice devoid of a smile. "You're fired."
"But .... I wasn't joking. It really is 42. Why won't anyone listen to me?"

"Of course I arrested the suspect," the Detective said to Internal Affairs.
"For someone to be a suspect, you have to charge them with with a crime. Not march into their office and arrest them!"
"I knew he was guilty of something; he's a senator."

There is one conspiracy so great is can bring down the moon, so brilliant it burns even the worthy as it makes them pure, and so terrible that darkness quells from it and sorrow seems, at times, its mate. This conspiracy is called love.

Things that would be fun: answering the phone as though you were a help desk.

"Yes, your honour, I was drunk when I was pulled over," The Detective said. "Drunk on clues."

"Oh yeah?" she said. "So I'm like that, am I? Well, how many horsemen of the apocalypse have *you* slept with, mister?"

The Detective laughed unkindly. "I hate to disappoint you, but this is not a locked room mystery: I placed a cat in the room four hours before the disappearance of Ms. Dunway in this same room so it is now a schrodinger's cat room, and neither locked nor unlocked."

The Detective has been fired for many reasons, over the course of his career. Concerned pet owners over his use of Schrodinger's Cat was, however, a new one.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Freewrite on the subject of losing things

He couldn’t love her. No one had to tell him that, in the White City. But that was the deal, the oldest bargain in all the worlds that were: you bring them back, you leave a soul behind. And you could take nothing there save what was within you.

Most people don’t have extra souls. He didn’t. And she came back, from the White City to the world, from death into life, as if it was a matter of bureaucracy as much as will, destiny as much as chance. He smiled — he could fake that, at least — and she laughed, and kissed him, and talked.

When she left, two months later, only she was surprised. He wasn’t surprised by anything anymore. he let her go, despite her pleading for him to change, trying to move him with words, and love, and human things. He just waited, watched her go, and made himself a sandwich.

They never talked about his lost soul, not then or ever.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Insanity, thy name is WIP....

There is a terrible book in my WIP called "Deep Ones and R'lyeh", which is a cthulhu-inspired version of Green Eggs and Ham. Characters quote from it.

I think this means I need help.

(But, on the plus side, I did resist the urge to write up said book idea entirely. Which is probably for the best.)

"Huh." Clay flipped the page. "I do not like deep waters and Dagon?"
"It is not a mistype," Uniq said. "Would you like them there or there," is not one either, since that is a picture of Carcosa. I believe the good doctor used Disneyland as a reference point for drawing it."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

sort of an update

<Chaos`^> sup?
<alcar> I is writing. Just began chapter 7, Parents Don't Exorcise Jell-O.
<Chaos`^> what?
<Chaos`^> you write the weirdest damn stories...
<Chaos`^> can't you write something while NOT on acid?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Progression of works

I'm currently poking away at another version of Boy and Fox, and also working on an urban fantasy/horror novel on the side (tentatively titled 'Zeth Story' at present). The latter is being done as first person present tense, and the former in third personal omniscient unreliable narrator.

This makes about as much sense to me as it probably does to you.