Wide Awake but Dreaming

Slip into my thoughts and do watch your step


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Questions Asked and Yet Answered

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, I’m awake and alive (the two can be, at times, mutually exclusive), and I made it through another Saturday which wasn’t one of the best, but it was better than I expected.  There wasn’t as much writing as expected–I feel just short of six hundred words before I was busy doing some research during the afternoon, and there were distractions like Where Eagles Dare being on TCM (bit of trivia:  it has the highest body count of any Clint Eastwood movie–total 100 people–and it was the last movie where he didn’t receive top billing) and then Orphan Black Season Two starting an hour and a half later, seestras.  But the quantity isn’t important:  it’s the quality.  And it ended with one of the more important things I’ve written for the story:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie patted the envelope with her right hand. “Ms. Rutherford left prepaid debit cards with £200 on them for us to use. No need to worry about money for the day.”

“Oh.” Kerry’s eyes took on a far away look as he seemed to consider Annie’s words.

Seeing the indecision on Kerry’s face, Annie knew the time had come to push the forty-four percent odds in her favor. She reached out and touched his hand; Kerry’s head swiveled around to face her immediately. “Would you like to do something? Would you like to go somewhere with me, Kerry?”

 

Yeah, those last two questions are going to come back a few more times in this scene, and later–well, I know what sort of importance they play much later in the story, and the effects are going to be fairly tramatic.  You wouldn’t think that would be the case, but it will.  It’s gonna tear someone’s heart out.

Don’t worry:  they’ll get better.

Yesterday’s post seemed to generate a few of my more interesting comments, which were along the lines of, “Wait, there’s werewolf erotica?  Since when?”  Since people were writing, that’s when.  Off the top of my head I can’t remember the actual title, but back in the days when Rome was pretty much kicking everyone’s ass, one of the more popular books around had the main character turn into an ass and head off some sexual adventures.  It has been pointed out by no greater an authority on the mater than Cracked.com (I was biting my inner lip when I wrote that) that strange fetishes have been around a long time–sometimes centuries, sometimes a lot longer than we’d like to admit there’s recorded history.

I like to make fun of the various sorts of erotica out there on the Internet, until I remember that (1) these people are writing, and (2) some of them are selling a lot.  What that says about people in general I’ll leave to you, because if you read some of my stranger erotica, you’d likely lump me in with the dino porn women.

If you are curious about the the sort of things out there, never fear!  I’m gonna show you, because I’m that sort of gal.  Click on any of these links at risk of your own sanity, and lets remember that every link takes you to that wonderful purveyor of reading material, Amazon.com, and not some shady, back-asswards website where the Internet has crawled off to die.

Without further ado:

"How is that even . . . no, no, no!  Why did I look?  Why?"

“How is that even . . . no, no! Why did I look? Why?”

Maybe you’d like some Kraken erotica?

There are also some excitable werewolves, and a leprechaun you might not want to meet.

Maybe you’re not the Mother of Dragons, but you could be the lover or one–or two.

I don’t remember reading about this Minotaur when I was into Greek Mythology–

Speaking of Dino Porn–yeah, it’s here.

Gay Cuttlefish Shapeshifter Erotica–that’s not something I made up:  I’ve taken that right off the Amazon page for the story.  You’re welcome.

Even unicorns won’t escape my gaze!

Last but not least, if you’re interested in how someone works to write stuff like this, they talk about it in long piece from io9:  How to Write a Sex Scene Between a Unicorn and a Rainbow.

Hummm . . . I think my work here is done.


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Coven Cravings

After a few days of bringing you the lowdown on layouts and software, I was tired.  My eyes were also hurting, going through some itching and burning that may be due to The Burg, or could be due to a ghost living in my apartment.  Either way, I was ready to decompress.

I’ve mentioned before I don’t watch television that much, though there are a few things that keep me interesting.  I watch Project Runway, which ends tonight, which may be a good thing as there was far too much drama this season.  I’m half way through Torchwood:  Miracle Day and Orphan Black, both of which I’m loving, though I’m not keen on the Americanization of Torchwood, but I blame the network for that.  As for Orphan Black–I wanna have my own Clone Club, and slap the Soccer Mom just because.

Last night I was waiting for a show to come on, so it was through Paranormal Activity and PA2.  I’d never seen either, though I knew how the first ended.  (I know the alternate ending as well; it’s online.)  No big scares for me, and the second movie tells you everything you need to know about why the first happens.  Thanks a lot, sis!

But then it was on to American Horror Story:  Coven, and what the hell did I see?  First off, gattor hunters baggin’ a big, then Stevie Nicks wandering through the swamp in her hippie dress and high heeled boots.  Poke Salad Annie, the dead gattor came to life and ate the swampbillies, chomp chomp.

It guest goes straight to hell on the crazy train from there–but that’s a good thing . . .

I love strange and crazy.  I was glued to the TV when Twin Peaks was on, I dug The Prisoner when I was a kid, and I know there are others out there, but my mind is a blank right now.  Last night, however, I get sarcastic witches with drinking problems; immortal racists; Angela Bassett, for whom I would crawl across broken glass just to say hello; a Frankenstein boyfriend; Stevie Nicks again, healing up the boyfriend with moss and alligator shit before foreshadowing her intentions like it was the Bat Signal; crazy witch sex with snakes; and a minotaur.  All because I wanted to see the girl with the killer fairy vagina, which is pretty cool method of keeping unwanted bros away.

I know the episodes are already filmed, but with the filming having taken place in New Orleans, the producers missed a golden opportunity.  I want you to imagine this . . .  Nic Cage’s character from Bad Lieutenant 2, showing up at the witch coven with his lucky crack pipe.  it would have been gold, I’m telling you:  gold!  It would have taken the show into heights of insanity that would be discussed a thousand years from now by the necromancers who’ll return to the Earth.

Like it or not, I have another show to watch.  Will it be enough to hold me over until Day of the Doctor?

Maybe I should start working on my spells.


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The Nonsensical Fantastic

I belong to a lot of groups.  Some are about writing, some about things science fictiontiony, some about makeup and clothing, some about how to cook the best meth.  (No, that last is just a joke.  A joke.  Does anyone remember laughter?)

Over the last few days a thread popped up in one of these groups, and it made my head hurt.  Without getting into too much detail, someone decided that, for their story, they needed a Hollow Earth.  Not only did they need one, but they needed it bigger, and they needed populated . . . and they needed it to occur naturally.  They also wanted to know if the people on the inside of the world would ever know that their are people on the outside, and if the people on the outside would ever know about the people on the inside, and could they detect each other like they would an earthquake, and . . .

Ouch.  My head hurts.

I know what you’re thinking:  “Cassie, you’re being a bitch.  You’re gettin’ all up in this guy’s stuff just because you think the primary plot element of his story is crazy.”  Yeah, I’m like that.  I look at things that aren’t and say, “Hey, you know if you don’t have a spinning molten metallic core in your planet, you’re never going to have magnetic fields, and eventually everyone dies.”  I know–bitch, right?

I am the first to admit than when I want something in a story, I go for it.  Magic?  Sure, why not?  I’ve done it in one story, and I’m going to do it in another.  Superpowers?  You know it, because I know I’d look great in a boob window.  Psychic abilities?  I have a whole series I could write around a couple of ladies who possess them.  How do all these things work?  Damned if I know, because it’s all stuff that’s happening at quantum levels of nature, and you need to get people brainer than me to puzzle that stuff out.

Tell me you have a naturally occurring hollow planet, or that you’re packing up your planet and moving to another system because everything’s used up, and I start looking at you funny.  Because there are some things that just aren’t meant to be.

Suspension of disbelief is something all writers have to deftly balance when working their craft.  You can throw a few pieces of Handwavium into your story to make it fantastic, but if you maintain the internal consistency of the world, things’ll be groovy.  (And Handwavium?  Yeah, that’s a real word.)  But if you do something stupid like, oh, I don’t know, synthesize someone’s blood and discover that it’ll bring people back from the dead hours after they croaked, then you’ve officially crossed the border into Bullshittia without your passport and there’s no coming back in one piece.  (This also goes for dumping a dead body on a newly created planet and having it restore someone to the age they were when they died.  Yeah, the border guards should have stopped you.)

Nothing wrong with the fantastic.  We love to read it, love to wallow in it, too.  But we own it to ourselves to keep it somewhat real as well.

Otherwise someone like me comes along and . . .


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The Sun On the Trail

So far this morning I’ve woken at four AM, drove through the darkness to arrive at my local Panera for a breakfast sandwich and coffee, and spent ten minutes helping someone get the wireless card in their computer running.  Yes, I’m off and running, and it’s not even seven AM.

Now I have the earphones in and I’m listening to City to City, and Baker Street is playing and the day feels good.  Never mind the fact that my right eye was bothering me again last night, making it difficult to do anything because my left eye was the only one that wasn’t all clouded up with junk and burning.  Still, I worked on, because that’s how it goes, right?  You work thought it, even if it means you feel like lying down and doing nothing but moan.

I managed to finish my school layout last night.  This is something I started back before my Camp Salem AboveNaNo story started, and it was also something I’d need for the novel that follows.  What you see to your right is the school grounds from the air:  all the buildings, all the towers and walls, all the roads and trails, even a couple of lakes and springs and a large meadow.  There are even a few things that, if you squint, you’ll see, like trees, covered stairs leading below, and a couple of graves.  Yes, I said graves, because we have dead people hanging out at this joint.  I know every point on this map, because I’ve pretty much lived with this place for a couple of years.  Some might say I’ve lived in it, but what do they know?

But do I stop at what you can see?  No.  Because there’s always more to the picture than you can see . . .

I also designed the tunnel and basement system that runs under the school.  Salem BelowIt only makes sense:  this place is right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, and during the winter you’re gonna get snow and cold and even a Storm of the Century every so often.  When that happens you don’t want your kiddies walking a half mile through ankle-deep snow to their next class–ergo, tunnels.  And basements where dangerous experiments are held, or where control rooms are set up, or where you have a lot of storage because you never know when you’ll need something.

There are only a couple of features that need adding, but I can get to that later.  The Salem Institute of Greater Education and Learning is complete.  All that remains is the writing of its tales.

Speaking of tales, I set up the Scrivener project for the short story I’m going to write.  I’m going to start on that today at some point, and I do promise it’ll be a short story–which is why I used the short story template for my project.  This isn’t going to be dragged out:  it’s going to be quick and to the point.  The story is really more about how one character takes to having to do “official” things, and it’s meant to be something of a character-building bridge than anything else.  No great ideas will be developed; no terrors quelled; no threats extinguished.  Just fun.

At some point this morning I’m going to head up north and get pictures of the Appalachia Trail.  I discovered it’s about twenty minutes north of me, so I’ll drive to the point where it crosses the river and walk across.  That way I can say I hiked the Trail.

Maybe I should bring my survival gear.  You never know what dangers are lying in wait for me . . .

 


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Hangin’ With the Alien

Last night I was hangin’ with David Bowie.  Though the hair was straight outta the Beeb recordings in 2000, the attire and manner were right in line with Black Tie, White Noise.  We were working on bringing a new amphitheater to the town where I live, and when it was all over, he’d convinced me to take over the town and rule it like a queen.  In the meantime he’d convince Elton John to play opening night . . .

The last couple of nights my dreams have been this way:  crazy and vivid.

The night before was like this, though no recording artists showed up to aid me in a quest to bring arts and entertainment to a local berg.  I recall in one dream that I did a lot of running around inside tunnels, and that when I was finished with that I went back to my job dancing at a lesbian strip club (what do you call a “gentlemen’s club” just for the women who love women?), where I eventually left with this stunning black woman who just loved my eyes.  I think she had me confused with someone else, but it’s a dream, right?

Here is something I’m noticing.  The last few months I’ve been crazy busy with writing, editing, and looking for work.  So Saturday night all three more or less converge and come to a conclusion:  I finished up my first week at The Berg (no, really, that’s what I see printed on stuff here at the hotel:  “The Berg”.  Yay, Penny!) and I finish my almost final edit on Couples Dance.  Sunday I’m sorta, kinda looking for things to do, because I’m not writing, not starting anything new, just kicking some ideas around, and come the night–the vivid dreams return.

Just as they did last night.

I can rationalize why this is happening.  A bit of depression has dissipated and I’m relaxing.  Relaxing means less stress, less stress means the brain isn’t all fried up thinking about what to do next.  Also, when I’m writing I’m thinking about characters, thinking about stories, thinking about what comes next, and that keeps the creative centers of the mind so full of signal that when I go to sleep, it simply shuts down:  there isn’t anything left it wants to process.

That’s not the case at the moment.  Right now I’m kicking back and playing with toys.  I’m mind mapping and literally mapping out a bunch of planets–which, let me tell you, the more I get into this last thing, the crazier it looks.  Regardless, it’s all easy on the brain:  it’s almost like riding a bike, little thought at all, just move forward.

My creative centers are saying, “Hey, we’re bored, when ya gonna do somethin’?  If you’re not going to do something now, how’s about we give you a little push . . .”

In it’s own way my mind is telling me to get back to work.  “Do something, honey, or tomorrow night you’ll discover yourself pregnant with the succubus child of Selena Gomez.”  Which, to be honest, I wouldn’t find all that strange . . .

I mean, I’ve done stranger.


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Deep in the Motherlode

There are a number of things happening today, not the least of which is finally getting to this blog post.  I was going to start writing about eight; it’s now ten-thirty, and I have only myself to blame.  Part of it is due to looking at bad book covers.  Part of is due to being pulled away by every shiny thing that happens to cross my path.  Part of it is that it’s sticky outside today, and I feel it in my writing space.

But I’m here now.  All Hail the Great One!

When I crawled out of bed today I had Fantasies in Harmonie on my mind, because my life is pretty much like that.  No one else in bed with me, so wake up with my story.  Last night I finished all the sexy encounters that happened in the aftermath of one big event, so all that is left is to have the girls say goodbye and close it out, just as a story should.

While putting the story together in Scrivener I set up the chapters and gave each a little tag, as I always do.  For my last part, Part Four, where I am now, I had two chapters:  one of goodbyes, and one of followups.  And while getting up today, I thought about the writing I had ahead of me and went, “I don’t need that last chapter.  It’s going to take away from the story and and end up becoming superfluous.”

Which means the last chapter is dead.  Something I was going to do in the old last chapter gets done in the new last chapter, and that’s that.  End of story, write “The End”, move onto the next project, my Fantasies are over.  Sit on my twenty thousand words of erotica, it it later, and submit it to the big smut stand on the Internet.

Speaking of what’s next . . .

I’m off to camp again:  Camp NaNo July, that is.  I’ve already sent out my notices about who I want in my cabin, and I’m getting stuff ready for smores for those moments at night when we’re not writing.  It’s going to be fun, I tell ya–fun!

Then again, I have to come up with something to write in the next few weeks, don’t I?

I’ve a few ideas that I could do, all of which sound like–here it comes, I’m going to say it . . . novels.  I have lots of ideas that could be turned into novels, but if I write a novel now, does that mean I’ll be able to write another novel come November and the Big Party?  I even had another one pop up this morning and I need to get it written down before my mind completely spaces away.

I also have one particular story I could do that would make this a great Camp NaNo.  I’ve even been nudged in that direction by someone who knows me well, and knows the sort of stuff I write.  They even had a couple of words of inspiration for me:  “Two witches”.

Hot lesbian witches . . . wait, sorry:  I’m not Charlie Sheen.

I need to get this erotica behind me today.  Then I can get my witch’s hat on and start thinking right.

 


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The Foundations Upon the New

Lets get this out of the way right now:  Her Demonic Majesty is finished.  I received the finished edited manuscript yesterday afternoon, and I had it ported into Scrivener, and chapters updated, by five-thirty in the afternoon.  (Or as my friends in the rest of the world would say, 17:30.  Audrey and Cytheria would say that, too, just because.)  Today I write the dedication page and start getting the Table of Contents in place, and all that remains is the upload and publication.

So this part of my writing life is almost over.  Though, really, it’ll never be over,  because this will become my first published novel, and that’s something you sort of look at with a bit of nostalgia   “Remember when you published Demonic Majesty back in ’13?”  “Oh, yeah:  that thing was a bitch to finish.  Pass me some caviar. . .”  Just kidding:  I don’t care for caviar.  I’d probably be drinking some European beer instead.

I’ve already had someone ask when I’m going to have the book up on Kindle.  My reply was, “Soon”.  I want my accounts in order, I need to run it through the Smashwords meat grinder–there are still a few steps remaining, but it’s going to be soon.  Before the end of the month, I think.  If not next weekend, then maybe Memorial Day weekend.  But soon.

Which means, I’m already on to the next thing . . .

I’ve not started writing yet, but I’m doing a lot of thinking, and not a bit of world building.  I have my erotic cabin story to start setting up–yes, I’m still doing that–and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this new world I’m creating, one with all the strange things that really happen in the world, but no one knows about.  Scoff and say it’s been done already, but I don’t care, it’s a world for a couple of my favorite characters, and I’m going there.

I began looking at the layout of the interior of Cape Ann, and under satellite it doesn’t look too bad, but when you switch over to a terrain map–geez, oh, is it rough!  It’s not a simple expanse of level ground; it’s rocky and hilly, and a perfect place for people with unusual skills to have built a place of higher learning.

Now I’m getting into the things I like, because making maps of places is something I dearly love, and once I begin getting ideas about how the Institute should appear, I’ll come up with some very interesting things.  At least I hope they’re interesting:  I’d hate to put a lot of work into this stuff, then have it ignored–

Ah, who cares?  It’s what I want to do.  World building is something every writer should do now and then, and have a blast throughout the creation.  And if you manage to root it a bit of reality, then it becomes an even greater world, because you’re interfacing the possible with the maybe-impossible, and it doesn’t get much better than that.

So much to do, so little time to get it done.  You’d swear I do this for a living.


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From the Mountain to the Island

It’s warm outside, the sun is out, work has slowed down a bit, and my novel is back from proofing.  All is good in Cassieville.

Her Demonic Majesty came back yesterday afternoon, and the woman who proofed it had a few comments that we discussed online.  I was a little worried, mind you, because I thought a slam was coming, but she set me to ease, and went into her topics.

First, she loved the story.  That was the one that surprised me the most, because this novel was way outside what she normally reads, and for her to tell me it was a “page turner”, that left me in a good mood.

Second, she asked me if I knew I’d left the novel open for more stories.  I told her, yes, I knew, and I’d already thought of other stories.  She told me that she wanted to know more about the characters, in particular Jeannette, and I let her know that there may be more to come.

Third, she didn’t like the first chapter.  She thought it was slow and plodding, and there was too much exposition.  She suggested I cut it by half, and get readers into the action as quickly as possible.

And I agreed with her . . .

The first chapter of Her Demonic Majesty has always bothered me because I felt I was taking too much time getting to, as my friend told me, the action.  But I didn’t want to mess around with it, because then I’m getting into the area of second guessing, and you can ruin yourself with that stuff.  She told me what I needed to hear, and it didn’t upset me in the least.

Oh, and she said she now understood the title of the book, and it was a good thing I didn’t change it.  I knew you’d see it my way eventually . . .

With all that behind me, I made all the corrections she noted, and started rewriting chapter one:  just created another text card in Scrivener that was a duplicate of the first chapter, then added another fresh card to it, and began cutting and pasting what I wanted to keep, and adding what I needed to say to make it sensible.

By tonight I should have the chapter together, and I can begin editing it into shape.  By tomorrow–maybe I’ll have it ready.

By this weekend I’ll have a novel that’s ready to publish.

This is how it should feel, that you have something worthwhile, and it looks good, it’s got great covers, it isn’t full of typos:  it’s what a novel should be.  Now I need to get the table of contents ready, do my dedication page–there will be one–and decide if I want to upload it over Memorial Day weekend, or wait until the first weekend in June?

Once I have that, I can start thinking about my other ideas–like my erotic camping in the cabin story, or the idea I’ve been considering about a couple of older characters, moving them to a new world where they can learn to be all they can be–in a magical and super sort of sense, that is.  I’ve already figured out where their center of higher education will be located, and I’ve taken Annie and Kerry and moved them from the mountain of Maine to the islands of Massachusetts–no, really, you have to wait and see, because I’ve got it down so nicely.

I’m in a great mood–

Which is why I’m waiting until tomorrow to school someone . . .


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Backwards to the Summit

A year ago, something strange happened.  I wrote this post.

I didn’t there was anything out of the ordinary about that post.  In fact, I dashed it off early in the morning before heading off to The Hole That Was My Job, located at The Undisclosed Location.  I was up early because I was having trouble sleeping, probably because of the cold that was developing that day, and would remain with me the entire month of May and well into June.

I popped it off, went to work, then went to dinner.  When I returned home and fired up the computer, I checked my stats–

The post had seen over two hundred views, and that day ended up becoming the most on-site views I’ve ever received.

I’ve tried hard to figure out what it was that drew all those people to my website.  I don’t think it was the tags, or how it appeared on Google, or even the subject.  The reason for the popularity is puzzling, because I’ve written far better posts than that, and they’ve had to go begging for hits like an out of work bicycle messenger who hocked his single-gear speed buggy for meth and is now hovering above the rocky bottom.

It’s strange how things like that happen.  You can bust your butt over something that you think is going to set the world on fire, and the collective sighs of a tiny group of readers can be overwhelming.  At the opposite end of the spectrum are those things you dash out almost as an afterthought, and your fans lose their shit in rapture-like ecstasy.

Stories are like that.  You put your heart into something that seems to speak to you in special ways, and it seems the indifference is suffocating–then you have some fun with a story that’s not meant to be taken too seriously, and you watch the money roll in.  Now, I don’t think that’s going to happen with my next story, but the way things work in my life, who knows?

I started putting my next story together last night.  Right now the title is about as original as it gets:  Cabin Fever.  As in, “I gotta fever, and the only prescription is hot women having sex!”  It’s the sort of simple title that can catch an eye, though it seems as if there are way too many cabins with fevers on Smashwords, so I’m going to need to rethink my approach.

I have the names of my characters, and a short outline of their lives.  It was while I was playing with this that I discovered something about the Scrivener Name Generator:  once you have your selected names in the “short list” box, you can transfer that list to an existing card or folder, and then play with the contents as you see fit–or even append the name at the end of a line currently being written.  That’s a function that I’d not played with, and now that I know it exists, when I need a quick name, and I throw it in and create a character card for that person at the same time.

This is how I go about getting a story ready:  I develop, I do my research, I lay things out.

And then, when I’m ready . . .

I see to things really get laid.


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Preparation Great

Oh, my my my, was Sunday a fun day for a writing day.  Got my blogging, got my article, got my editing, got my ideas–

What’s that?  Ideas?  What are you talking about?

As I said, I had writing to do.  I knocked off an eighteen hundred word article on the wonders of powered armor, which is probably being edited as I write this–or not, who knows, because I know it’ll get done and get posted, and I’ll be allowed to work on what is pretty much part two of the same article.

Then there was some editing for Replacements, which involved a lot of cutting of words so issues wouldn’t arise between what I’d once written, and what had been newly written.  It was therefore necessary to do some cutting and adding, to rearrange words and make sentences whole, where once that didn’t exist.  I’d worried that I would somehow screw things up, but some thirteen hundred words later–no problems.  Handled it the way it was meant to be handled:  like a pro.  Or, semi-pro, if we want to get technical.

I thought I was finished for the night, but it was eight-thirty, and I didn’t feel as if I needed to laze about doing nothing, so I looked at the next chapter, thought, “I can do this,” and jumped in.  It wasn’t difficult, it wasn’t trying, and with the focus I still had, I was able to find some obvious mistakes and rewrite some clumsy sentences.  It’s all part of the editing game, where you learn to read your material, and find the stuff that either doesn’t make sense, or is flat-out wrong.

But what’s this about ideas, hum?  Not a problem:  sit down and let me tell ya . . .

During a lull in all the thing that were going on, I decided to take a look at my ideas file.  I have my ideas set up in Scrivener  so when I need something, I made a new folder, give it the meta idea name (like “Orion Story”, which tells me the basic idea), and then set up a text file with a little more information as needed.  For a few of my ideas I already had notes written, so I copied them into the various folders where they can set until I need them.

One idea that I’ve worked on in the past has to do with my Indonesian horror tales.  Kuntilanak is the first, and during NaNo 2012 I wrote Kolor Ijo, the second.  When I was close to finishing Kolor Ijo, I started wondering if there were more stories that could be writing about the horror that is supernatural Indonesia.  The answer was, “Hell yeah”.

I already had some idea about these other stories, and some idea about where they would take place, so . . . all that remained would be to give them a title and some time frame, no?

So I copied out some cards, added titles, gave a time frame, and there I was with four more stories . . . really, four more novels, perhaps three hundred thousand words to work on–

No problem, right?

This is what I get when I say I don’t have ideas.  They come after me until I write them down.

It’s when they make me want to do something more that I get into trouble . . .


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The Sofa By the Hearth

With everything that’s happened this week, I can at least say that writing continues, and another chapter bit the dust last night.  After four hundred and twenty additional words, Chapter Thirteen of Suggestive Amusements came to an end, and was put to bed with a glass of warm milk and a biscuit to keep its tummy filled.  It was time to stop The Tale of Izzy and Elektra, and time to start on The Continuing Adventures of Keith and Elektra, and see if Keith is going to freak over what comes next.

What am I saying?  Sure, I know what he’ll do.  You just have to wait.

As I was heading off to bed last night, I looked outside to check the weather, because this week has seen the weather get very strange.  It’s been a little warm, then cold, then rainy, then snowy, then . . . well, the drive into Chicago was a bit like ice skating off and on this morning, so go figure.  But the weather made me think of times gone back, of stories from the past . . .

Of Annie and Kerry.

Yesterday I though of their story quite a bit for some reason.  Maybe it was the weather and the cold and snow I’ve seen the last week.  Maybe it’s the idea that they could end up in the same universe as Her Demonic Majesty, and with the rejection of that story, I thought of two of my favorite characters . . .

Maybe I just miss the hell out of them.

The thing with role playing character, rather than just write about them, is that you throw your emotions more fully into them that you might a literary character.  You create the mindset that you’re occupying the character, and that some of what is in you goes into them.  That happened with both Kerry and Annie; we fell into those characters to the extent that they became an extension of me and my role playing partner, and the more we played, the more we understood who are characters were, and what they wanted–besides each other, that is.

There was an interesting thought I’d had with them once.  At their school, Salem, they had something called “The Midnight Madness” every Friday and Saturday evenings.  It was a chance for the student to get in their pajamas, head over to the Great Hall at nine-thirty PM, and hang out and chat until midnight and a little beyond.  I saw it as something that an old institution would do to lighten up the rules and make the kids feel as if they are at home, when home may be a thousand or more miles away.

One of the things I imagined for Kerry and Annie is that, for some reason, the sofa they pick to camp out on during the first Midnight Madness sort of becomes “their” sofa.  It’s up towards the front of the hall, close to the majestic hearth, and no matter what time they showed, or how many people were in the hall, their sofa was always there, waiting for them to arrive.

Why did I do that?  I think I was trying to show a connection between them and the school, that their presence there was something important to . . . who knows?  The spirit that watched over the place is the best bet, but I’ll only know for sure if and when I ever write their story.  The idea that they will always have their little home away from home intrigues me, though, and also haunts me–

Oh, you don’t know what I mean?

Just ask Jeannette.  She knows.


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Ghost of the Writing Past

Today has been one of those that work well with my adage that writing is work, and if you want to get things right, you gotta do your leg work.  Or, as Chuck Wendig says in his piece on NaNoWriMo, October should be named “National Story Planning Month.”  Sit down and begin getting your shit together about what you’re going to dump upon the page for all of November.

Assuming you want to do it right, that is.

My NaNo 2012 novel is a follow up to my story Kuntilanak.  As that was a horror story that took place in Indonesia–specifically, the island of Bali–my new novel is a horror story that also takes place in Indonesia, this time in the city of Makassar, on the island of Sulawesi.  I’m moving around the archipelago a bit, sampling the local flavor, and I’d decided a while back that if I was going to do another story with my Fearless Indonesian Ghost Hunters, I would stage it in an urban setting.

Fortunately for me, I have a few connections with people from Indonesia.  Which means, for about three hours today, I sat in a Panera’s and talked about the city of Makassar with someone from there.  Picked up some information on conditions, locals, greetings, names . . . and learn a few about ghosts and weapons.  Yeah, weapons: because sometimes you just gotta rip up something magical with something sharp.

The last couple of days have seen a lot of work on the next novel.  While thinking about ghosts, I’m feeling the ghost of something I had a year ago . . . something that feels like what I had going a year ago.  I’m excited; I’m pumped.  I’m ready to jump into this work, and maybe I’ll make Indonesian ghosts famous at last.

I finished the time line yesterday about 6 PM.  I looked at it for a while, and in looking at it, I came up with ideas about the story, and even managed to dream up a detail that comes up as a major point.  At the same time, I figured out the motivation behind what’s happening . . . yeah, I’m like that.  Get the basic idea, beat it for hours on end, and eventually, you work it out.  One way or another.

So, what has come along?  Well, for one, the timeline has turned into this:

Yes, that’s twenty-four chapters and a Coda.  When you add the prologue into the mix, I’m looking at a total of twenty-six chapters.  If I do two thousand words a chapter, that’s fifty-two thousand words.  I expect I’ll write more than two thousand a chapter:  in fact, I’ve already set the Project Total in Scrivener to sixty thousand words.

And since I’m starting to move everything on the above timeline to Scrivener, here’s what that looks like:

That’s Part One of my timeline set up on Scrivener chapter cards.  This is how I work; this is how I write.  It might seem like a lot of work, but for me, it makes me comfortable.  It gives me the direction I need so I can perform “Thirty days and nights of literary abandon!”  Because with where I’m going with this story, if I simply jumped in and started slinging crap about the word processor, I’d end up with a manuscript that looks like hammered shit.

Not for this writer.

Anyway, that’s what I’m doing, and where I’m headed.  It feels like old times again.

It feels like writing.

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