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.)


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


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.


"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.


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.