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,


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)