4. Stories & Lies
Monday, December 30, 2013
4. Stories & Lies
Saturday, December 28, 2013
I do plan to have her life intersect back with the magician and Jay but figured it would be fun to do more stories just about Charlie and also helps broaden up the world a little.
From the story:
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Which should be done before the new year so I can work on Ghoulish Happenings at that point, then get back into this project and write out an actual treatment for the first episode. With luck it shall work....
OTOH, working on the project is handy for ideas about novels and games in general. I'm having to focus a lot more on the antagonist than I usually do and that is a good thing for any project. On the flip side, I've probably made it too complicated but that can easily be ironed out later on.
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Also reading one book on making screenplays and plan to read another, though I suspect the ambition -- to make an entire tv series -- far oustrips ability at this point. It should still be fun to do and probably fit the idea rummaging in my head rather well. It is very much in the embryonic stage: I have the one one main character and his family figured out but I'm still working on the others and the villains as well. By choice I'm trying to avoid any Chosen One tropes and try and have fun with the concept of hunting monsters and how such people get raised ....
Monday, December 02, 2013
"Is like, yes."
Just a little to have and hold:
I'd give a little of everything
To not watch you grow old.
Of things trying to be kind;
I drop shells on a seashore
I wait for you to find.
.... I am writing too many short stories lately.
Sometimes that I'm not either;
And everything that falls apart
Does so for a reason.
Thank you, the rest of Josh
Twilight and Philosophy: the definitive guide.
Homeopathy & You: medicine with no side-effects to worry abound!
Truly Alternative Payment Plans: kidnapping nephews in exchange for two free crowns.
Reading Saccharine Love Poetry: a treatise on the potential dangers of cavities.
Things Hallmark could instead
(Or, "You are why I need feminism." It probably works either way.)
.... this is gonna be a weird novel, even by my standards.
It needs to be.
It needs to be.
Sunday, December 01, 2013
Curdled Magics: The magician series novel draft went well. It ended up at a shade over 50K when I had figured on, oh, 90K. I cut some parts out as 'not necessary' that were in retrospect necessary yo write. The second draft needs some fixing (the first 6,500 words are in past tense rather than present, for example) and there will be a lot to change, fix and improve in another draft but the framework of the story turned out to be rather solid. I do need to give it more room to breathe, but I can work on that as well.
Ghosting: A novella set after the novel from Charlie's POV. I wrote it for myself alone, so that I'll know how she met Dyer and what CASPER is and the like. Pure backstory. In the middle of a story, but even so.
Rogue Dreams: I don't generally do sci-fi, which is one reason I wrote it for my second nano. I try to do at least one genre or story I never do every year as a kind of crazy challenge. This story almost ate my brain a couple of times given the first 7,500 words were a mess and the story that followed on a new attempt bore no relation to the story I'd wanted to tell. On the plus side, that does mean that I can still tell that story at some future date. It also never lived up to the promise of the first scene, but trying sci-fi without any real worldbuilding or notes at all is a recipe for disaster anyway. A fun disaster, but still that. I will probably re-read it in a few months but likely do nothing else with it.
War & Pieces: A mainstream-attempt at a novel/satire of nanowrimo and thrillers. It started getting far more serious than it should and I borrowed a plot threat from a story I wrote 2 years ago that probably didn't work at all. It is a neat story but probably could never get published for reasons of, well, liability. I will go back to it in a bit, but I'll need to alter a lot of the character and, probably, make his family far less important to the story. I also need to figure out what kind of story it's going to be at all. It was a fun start to a story and should be great fun to tweak later.
All told, this year counts as a success as far as nanowrimo goes. I had to cancel nothing to do it, which is definitely a plus, and am left in that state of: 'Wake up! Wait. No need to write. Sleep?' mental place which is fun. I have in the past generally done one serious draft (sometimes a redo of a nano) from Dec.-Feb. but am mostly taking December off save from short stories. Will begin the edits/revisions on Ghoulish Happenings in January and then the re-do on the sequel to it after that. At which point I will probably begin edits/revisions on Curdled Magics. But we shall see how it all plays out.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
So far the series timeline is:
- piles of short stories (Over 30).
- Road Trip novella, during which a trip is made to Oregon to stop creatures from Outside who want a new cold war.
- Curdled Magics. The novel, which is about the families of the MCs and the attempt to help a town that has sealed itself off from the world; as a result of the climax of it, Charlie leaves the magician and Jay to travel on her own for a time.
- Ghosting. Charlie novella.
- ?: Probably more short stories, once I get back into the flow of them.
Friday, November 22, 2013
His unrelenting hatred of nanowrimo also does not help the writing. It is a fun story to do, but I think it would probably be better if it wasn't being done this month, or at least not on the tail end of the other two stories.
Best line from Thursday's writing at Chapters....
"Christopher is a first-year student whose nanowrimo novel is going to look like a five year old trying to write Lolita.”
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
“You probably crushed some spirits in there,” she said, handing me a stack of papers that were messages from the university. They’d given me an email address even though I never checked it.
“A little crushing never hurt anyone. Anything interesting?”
She shook her head. “There’s a new writer in residence this week. Ronald Forbes, author of the Declare! series –.”
“I know who he is.” I kept walking.
“He sent an email about wanting to get together for coffee this afternoon; should I pencil him in?”
I wanted to say no. I knew Ronald of old, when he wrote for newspapers as Ronnie Forbes, before he created a story mill under his own name. Over a dozen novels come out a year by ‘him’, sometimes with the co-authors listed, often without. Declare! was your basic bare-bones plot: a unit of ex-something or others banded together by a mysterious leader who solved problems all over the world with extreme violence. The world of the thriller became an uglier place when communism died: the communists had standards. Terrorists didn’t. And Ronald and his cadre of authors had leapt into that, having torture scenes by all parties, shallow discussions on whether torture was a legitimate method of information extraction – often with the victim, while doing it. Some called it post-ironic. I didn’t think Ronald was capable of irony.
The lowest point in the series came after the spate of archaeological-thrillers that were all based around religious motifs led him to see an opening in that market. Ronald casually shoehorned Declare! into that by making it a ten-person unit and turning the mysterious leader – often widely held to be a younger John McCain – into Jesus reincarnated. Sales didn’t suffer. The series branched off into other genres after that under some shared-universe umbrella scheme that the best critics called a cheap parasol at best.
And we were to meet for coffee. He would probably ask if I wanted to write some of the series. The worst part was it would be a serious offer without malice in it. And I would say no. No, I don’t want to ghost write for you, Ronald. I would say no because it was all I had left.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Also trying to ignore another story idea entirely, damn it :p
Thursday, November 14, 2013
On the plus side, the sci-fi story is solid and going well. I know how the story ends, and what some characters end-goals are, but I have no idea how the main plot is going to be achieved. If you create what amounts to God (for all intents and purposes) and then wish to upgrade It, what makes you think the god will allow that? It is pretty much the major plot of the book and attempts by various characters to drag the MCs into their conspiracy. As with all grand dreams and plans, it is not going to end well at all.
Some fragments of recent dialogue:
“I’m trying to access files in me. They altered me a lot you know.”
I pause. “Yes?” I offer up warily.
“What if I am now older than you?”
“It really doesn’t work like that.”
I hold myself together, barely ripple, the tendrils of my body still. He has to know my sib hunted System for any information about what was done to me. And that we failed to find anything at all. He’s giving away what he could have traded to us for no reason at all. “Why are you telling me this?”
“Because Asral asked me to. Insisted that I tell you anything I found to make up for his mistake in assuming you were your sibs pet. His father approved it.” Bren smiles slightly at whatever reaction my body gives away. “People aren’t monsters, even the worst of us.”
“That’s not what the war taught us.”
“The war ended. That should have taught you something as well.”
“You misunderstand: I don’t hate you. I do not even pity you. You are not worth that much notice. I suppose I may mildly regret knowing you exist at all.”
“You would be kind? In this world, knowing the things you now know?”
“I will be kind because it is this world. And maybe because there is nothing left to die after hope.”
“A dream that can come true was never a dream at all.”
Sunday, November 10, 2013
What I have been thinking of, because of a friend's post on pantsing and plotting, is that those terms have done damage to a lot of writers. (I keep wanting to write 'untold damage', which must be nano creeping into my writing style :)) I don't think making the terms seem exclusive helps anyone, nor does saying a writer is one or the other: some stories can be done entirely by the seat of one's pants, others cannot. At the extremes, plotting is seen as writing out everything that happens in the novel so the story is basically the expansion of an outline where nothing surprising happens. Pantsing becomes, 'omg! AHHHH!' and rants about characters not doing what the writer wants. And so forth.
But ask any writer, once they start a story, about the story. Ask about characters, motivations, goals. And they know. It might only be subconsciously, in the case of the avowed pantser, but the author knows the characters, if not the exact thrust of the story they are going down. Ask 'if this ending happens, what does character B do' and they will be able to figure it out. The novel might be a choose-your-own-adventure in their heads, with story and plot not nailed down tight, but it seldom is for any author. Characters have their own voices. Ideas come up, things get nudged and changed.
Stories grow in the telling.
But thinking one has to write a certain way, that pantsing or plotting means a specific thing, is rubbish of the highest order. Every writer does what works for them. If something doesn't work, discard it and try something else. See what works best for the specific story you're telling. Don't become slaves to the terms, or take absurd pride in defining yourself by one or the other. They aren't mutually exclusive terms, or even clubs which one has to supply credentials to join. You're writing. So go write.
Friday, November 08, 2013
There are warning messages flashing across my right eye. I think that’s what they are. I still have eyes. There is pain. I can feel that burning through whatever passes for sinews in my body like rivers of cold fire. I never thought you could hurt so much you fall out the other side of pain. Never thought. Not once never ever.
Fragments: Luka screams. I watch her left arm dissolve. There is no pain now. I move. I am sharp as my pain, cold as the fire. I tear through plasteel and flesh. Other things. There is other fire. Luka’s right arm pumping out shot after shot into targets. People. Targets.
(I am being shot.)
Luka, running, legs leaving craters in the ground, weapon systems belting out slug-throwers. Didn’t know they put those in anyone anymore. Flowing. Flexing. There used to be pain here. I move around her, blanket in the darkness, darkness as a blanket. She fires around me, something tears apart. Not us not her not me
Silence doesn’t tear apart.
Luka is standing, swaying, left arm ruined coils, right arm smoking and juttering, legs functioning. Functioning. Not real legs. Walks toward me. I try to stand. Nothing to stand with. They changed me. (I was shot. No, Luka. Before. She was shot before.) I fall inward, feel pain. There is pain in the silence. She is grabbing me, my sib, and I am flowing through her grip into the ground.
There are no warnings now. I think
I think this is
I think this is bad
I think we won
We’re not dead so we won.
Went to bed. Thought. At 1 AM I realized I'd been doing the whole story wrong. At 1:30 AM, I realized the main character shouldn't be in it until near the end. If at all. At 2 AM I got up for over an hour and wrote 1,300 words to start the story back far, far earlier than it had begun. There is a piece of writing advice that one should begin as close to the end as possible. I began far too close to the end. No one had any reason to care about the other characters. So I'm pulling back. Altering. This may no longer even BE the story I planned to write twice before.
It will be a better one.
Thursday, November 07, 2013
It did not.
So tonight has been bits of research and slowly pulling an old idea back from the recesses of my head. Rogue Dreams began life in 2010 as a nano I scrapped for other stuff. In 2012, the same thing happened again to it despite having over 10K of notes to the project. I fiddled with the idea off and on since, shifting the setting and the kind of story being told by it. Even now my brain is shifting away from notes I wrote less than 20 minutes ago to a new conception of the store.
At core, it is about a boy, his sister, and a robot. It's a bit more complicated, but that's always been the core that the setting continually shifts and alters about. Right now it is YA in my head, but we shall see if that can survive where my brain goes with sci-fi concepts. So now I am going to drag this story from my head in some form, kicking and screaming, and see what it turns into.
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Downside; only one page left of a plot I *thought* would hit 80K :p
Also a couple of scenes I may have to alter or trim as I don't think they fit the series that well at all, but that'll be into the next draft....
A fun scene between Charlie and someone else. Charlie is always far too much fun to write :)
“I was angry: my husband had died not a year before. I was being blamed for his death, called a witch and all manner of lies.”
“So you called up a creature from Outside the universe to show you weren’t a witch.”
“We all do things in haste; what is life but a series of regrets?”
“Lessons on how not to be an asshole?”
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
“A magician is tied to their place of power: they can sense what people are doing and saying, probably even thinking if they have to, and in a small town they tend to notice and react to oddities much quicker. You eating four breakfasts would count as that.”
Jay gulps at that and manages a small nod.
“We have never tried to starve you,” Charlie says, cocking her head to one side as she studies Jay. “This is probably not the best time to experiment.” He looks relieved until she adds, “but there is no time like the present.”
“You’re the one who said we’ll want to blend in, magician.”
“Having Jay’s stomach growling like a small freight train won’t be blending in. You hungry?” Jay nods, trying to look casual, tongue darting over his lips. “On a scale of one to ten?”
“Thirteen? Maybe eleven?”
- Apparently, forming a union may create a god, or at least helped make the god of a local chain of coffee shops.
- That both Charlie and the magician's mothers are interesting pieces of work needs to be balanced out at some point. I shall probably have Charlie's mother get rid of her husband later on and build on that.
- Jay helped beat a curse by eating waffles.
- Charlie could probably list Starbucks as her religion.
- apparently I ran out of other things to add and never finished this.
Sunday, November 03, 2013
The coffee maker beeps. Alex pours everyone a cup, though at least gives Jay a small one, and sits back down. I dump cream and sugar into mine and wait.
“I see that hasn’t changed,” Alex says with the hint of a smile.
“Some things don’t. Are we done sparring?”
“Not on your life. You ran away. No note. No explanation. Do you know what you did to mom?”
“Nothing she couldn’t handle.”
Alex’s right hand twitches on her coffee mug. She takes a sip. “I didn’t know you could be so cold, little brother.”
“I can do a lot of things.”
“Most of those seem to involve running away.”
.... and now hitting 23K and taking a break before shifting into Charlie's POV for a few scenes. Whew.
Saturday, November 02, 2013
I have just hit the first major act of the story. The magician -- along with and Charlie and Jay -- are not at his hometown. We get to meet his sister and mother, which will be AWESOME to write and he has to deal with magics he has left undone, what the town thinks of him and we even get to learn his name. It shall be great and crazy fun to write and I'd rather do it all in one mad go than break it up, so ending for the day.
I shall go nuts at it tomorrow, never fear.
Fun line of the day:
We love people for who they are, not who we desire them to be, or we don’t really love them at all.
Friday, November 01, 2013
I had planned to do the story in first-person past tense for all sorts of good reasons (marketability being one). And did so, but the story faltered at odd parts and the dialogue and tone felt stilted and off. Few lines jumped out at me as being cool or neat. So I shifted into present tense and 500 words later things are flowing far more smoothly. Past tense got into the magician's head too far, taking away some of the mystique of magic (and what he is doing/plans). So shall change it up later on, which won't be anything major: I'll be altering the first two major scenes but not to any huge degree so it's all good.
Mind you, that 7K has only brought me to the third scene of the novel is more than a little worrying :)
Fun bits so far:
Charlie and Jay were in the suite when I returned, the floor covered in stuffing. Jay was sitting on the one bed and looked unharmed but was giving Charlie a wary stare as she stared down at her hands and flexed them slowly as if unsure they were still her own.
“I murdered a dozen teddy bears,” Charlie said flatly. "I have eaten gods. This was worse by far."
"Oh," I said.
“No stuffed bear should tell you they are a bear of very little brain but have a large...” Charlie trailed off. "I need a drink. I need several drinks."
Alderton is a larger town, at least a ten-Starbuck sort of place, Halloween and Christmas decorations already starting to fight for space in store windows.
.... describing town size by # of Starbucks is fun. Charlie is, after all, rubbing off on the magician as well.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
He could not sleep. Oh, he tried but the deadline to create loomed hours ahead, weight of a novel yet to be written.
"I can’t," he said. "There are rules."
The novel said, louder, BEGIN ME.
"No," he said, unafraid of a story he had yet to write.
The novel was silent.
Hr tried to write it, hours later. He had notes, had characters, had outlines and plots and … nothing. The novel had found someone else to write it instead.
Two years later, he found the title of his novel on the bestseller list.
He could have bought a gun.
He could have committed some horrible acts, signed his work as ‘begin me’.
He wrote a review that scathed and damned his novel, that went viral and tore it down from its high perch on the sales lists.
He became a critic; his words had such power that no movie was ever optioned. He waited, grimly, for his novel to understand. And fear.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Saturday, October 26, 2013
The actual folder for the novel proper contains over 11K in notes, half of that being notes on the town of Sunny Creek, historical vs. modern magic, various notes on characters and assorted bits and bobs as I do notes very haphazardly. The novel plot itself is sitting at about 5K of words in the novel folder, most of that being the first half of the novel. All my notes are pointform summaries of ideas, digressions and in some cases sarcasm.
EX, from last night’s notes:
- The magician losing to William. This is William’s place of power. To defeat him in it requires X [Determine what X is. This would be Helpful.]
- Making a Deal with Mary will be considered unwise; a hundred years of imprisonment may have tempered her, but also made her seriously pissed off. (This is actually not true, but the magician will believe it to be so. Everyone makes mistakes: not trusting her is going to be a big one on his part.)
- The townsfolk are all guiled by the wards/protections of the town (or murdered if they begin to see through the town’s protections/illusions). As such, only non-human entities will be able to aid the MCs. So now I know why I wrote over 1K of notes on fae glamours and various critters earlier this week … go me.