Wide Awake but Dreaming

Slip into my thoughts and do watch your step


13 Comments

Questions Answered

Finally, thirty-five hundred and sixty words later, the new scene I’ve been working on for my novel is finally finished.  With getting in five hundred words here and six hundred there, there was a week of writing, but it’s there.  It’s finally there.

First Draft?  That means it's okay if it sucks, right?

First Draft? That means it’s okay if it sucks, right?

I don’t mind that it took a while to get to this point:  I was working with a different mind set for the scene, and it was greatly different from the scene it replaced–for one, two characters were pulled out, and the dynamic is strictly one-on-one in both instances where characters are speaking.  It also sort of establishes that Ms. Rutherford and Annie are of the same world, and Kerry is just some interloper who happens to be there because–we’ll, you find out in Part Two and Three.

For now, however, one of the questions that kept getting asked is finally answered:

 

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

She realized she’d made Kerry a bit uncomfortable, but there was the possibility that his mind was focused on her, and when she asked him the question again, his mind wouldn’t wander. “Would you like to do something? Would you like to go somewhere with me, Kerry?” She leaned every so slightly towards him. “I’d rather not spend all day in the hotel, but I’d also rather not wander about London by myself.” She moved ever-so-closer. “I’d like it if you’d join me.” She sifted in her chair, sitting back while never allowing her eyes to drift from him. “Please?”

Annie didn’t need to read minds to see Kerry was suffering from a great deal of indecision. She began wondering if perhaps she’d pushed too hard, if the selfishness her mother often railed at had taken over, and she’d scared him away. He has no idea what he wants . . .

She watched his eyes shift from side to side as he considered her proposal. She couldn’t read him because of a mask of semi-confusion etched upon his face. Being able to read him didn’t mater, though: there were only two outcomes for her question—

Kerry rubbed the side of his face with his left hand. “Well . . .”

Failure, or

He met Annie’s piercing gaze. “There is this place I would like to see—” He turned his eyes towards the floor for a moment. “Would that be okay?”

Success.

She nodded slowly as a slight grin appeared. “I’m sure we can fit that in.”

 

See?  Not that big of a deal.  One just didn’t see the fifteen hundred or so words needed to get Kerry to make up his mind and decide if he wanted to stay at the hotel, or get out and pound a little London pavement.  And that will lead into the next scene, which is getting rewritten a lot as well, and will incorporate parts of a scene that was cut out and cast aside–one of those two cards in the picture with “Delete” written over the top of them.

Ask a question, get it answered.  Simple, yeah?

 


11 Comments

Fear For Your Lives

Despite the promises that I’d get a lot done yesterday, very little was actuated.  Call it holiday blase or whatever, but the writing spirit wasn’t there.  Also, the two rather hefty pints I had for lunch probably didn’t go much good for the mood, either.

But, hey:  can’t have every day being a writing day.

Thing is, when I look at my notes for the current scene I’m in, I realize that I can probably wrap up the whole thing in a day or two.  If I really jammed it out tonight, and I do it for sure, because all that remains it (a) having Annie tell Kerry there is no way in flippin’ hell she’s asking the other two monsters if they wanna see the city, (b) she answers his question about why she’s asking him to run around the city with her, and (c) asking the question for the third time and getting an answer.  Easily peasily, as Pinkie Pie says.  (Who, some quick research show, shares a birthday with me.  Um . . . okay.)

Annie is trying to get what she wants, which is something she does a lot.  That was something my beta reader told me about her:  she’s a leader, not a follower, and she does things.  She wants to go out, and she’s gonna drag this kid along no matter what.  Well, if he says “no” she’ll probably get steamed and then go after him in another way, but–yeah, Kerry’s hitting the town with her, like it or not, and that’s that.

"Aren't we supposed to be walking through London?"  "Pretend for a moment we're not in a stock photo, Kerry."

“Aren’t we supposed to be walking through London?” “Pretend for a moment we’re not in a stock photo, Kerry.”

In the original version of this scene Annie was the passive one and Kerry was Mr. Take Charge.  Someone who’d only been to London once was about to drag around a girl who’d been all over the world–yeah, that didn’t seem right.  Particularly after it’d been pointed out to me.  Now the feeling seems a little different, a little better–

I’m still afraid of Annie, though.

I wrote her wrong in the start–or, as I was told, it felt like I wrote around her.  She had no personality, no feeling.  As she points out in this new scene she’s been all over the world, but that didn’t come across the first time.  Now it’s better, but there is still the feeling, when I enter the scene, that I’m still afraid of her.

Or, maybe, I’m getting her too right, and that starting bringing on memories that I’d rather keep repressed right now.

Makes any sense?  No?  That’s the way writing is at times:  the writing knows what they hell they’re rambling on about, and the read is left to wonder why.  Needless to say, I’m becoming less afraid of Annie and more willing to write her as she should be–just as I’m doing with Kerry.  The juxtaposition of personalities is happening, and it’s forcing me to go slow with my scenes and get their out the way they should.

But with all things slow and steady, in time you reach the end.

Usually in once piece . . .


2 Comments

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.


7 Comments

The Naming of the Names

Between various things–you know . . . how the rest of it goes–I was back into the new scene.  I rewrote some of what I’d written the night before, getting rid of some draggy stuff and adding information where needed, and then started writing the new stuff.  Not a lot was actually written–about another six hundred words–but something did happen in the discussion between Ms. Rutherford and Annie:

 

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

Ms. Rutherford’s last statement had Annie sitting upright. “We can leave the hotel?” She leaned towards the chaperon. “Without supervision?”

“Well, if I’m not here . . .” Ms. Rutherford tapped a fingernail against the envelope. “It would appear you’re on your own—yes?”

This brought forward another problem. “It might be a little difficult getting around—”

“—Without money?” Ms. Rutherford held the envelope for Annie to take. “You’ll find four pre-paid debit cards in there with instructions for setting up the PINs. Anyone wishing to do a little sightseeing won’t need to worry about fund.”

“How much is on each card?” It was a necessary question, because Annie was getting an idea for why Ms. Rutherford had handed her the envelope.

“£200.” Ms. Rutherford pulled her handbag to her lap and held it tightly against her body. “More than enough for buses, the underground—even a taxi if anyone wants to hire one.”

It wasn’t that Annie didn’t think she couldn’t handle the responsibility, but . . . “Why are you giving this to me?”

“Because you’re a Legacy.” Ms. Rutherford’s eyes shined brightly while rhythmically drumming her fingers against her thighs. “That means I should be able to trust you. Or . . .” She nodded towards the lifts. “Would you rather I give this to one of the Normal children?

This was the first time Annie had heard Ms. Rutherford use the labels that Annie knew, but didn’t expect to hear spoken aloud until everyone arrived at Salem. True, there wasn’t anyone close enough to hear their discussion—still . . .

Ms. Rutherford began digging around in her purse. “I doubt you’ll have to worry about handing out those cards; once you’re told the other they have the day to do as they please—” She set her gaze upon the area around the lifts and the cafe. “Would you like to hear?” She didn’t wait for Annie to give an answer. “If I were a betting woman—”

“Or a Numerologist.” Annie saw nothing wrong in voicing her own opinions now that Ms. Rutherford and she were speaking openly about their affiliation.

Ms. Rutherford didn’t respond to the taunt. “If I were a betting woman, I’d say two of your fellow students won’t do anything with their free time. Collin will come down, find out nothing is planed, and head back to this room to watch a football game, maybe get someone to come in and set up a video game for him.

“Alicia will complain, as she always does. She complain there’s nothing to do; she’ll complain she doesn’t like the food; she’ll complain there’s nothing to do in her room, and that she’s bored.” Ms. Rutherford gave the inside of her purse one last glance and snapped it shut. “She’ll probably come down here and complain to anyone who’ll listen about how bored she feels.”

 

And there you have it:  Legacy and Normals.  And a Nurmerologist, but what the hell are they?  Doesn’t matter:  you’ll hear that name come up again.  But I figured that rather than keep some of the stuff about The Foundation in the background–and since people, cleaver people, would already figure out that there’s something different about Annie, keeping things hidden when these two are speaking was rather silly.  Why would Ms. Rutherford entrust £800 to a girl a month short of the twelfth birthday?  Because she’s one of them.  And if you can’t trust them . . .

Then it’s onto the next scene, a big rewrite, probably a snapshot getting taken as well.  But I’m also going to use a function–well, not actually use it, because I already have looked at his a little.  But here is one of those nice things about Scrivener that can make your life easier when writing.

I’m talking about bringing in interactive websites while you’re working on something.

It’s very simple:  you add a new card, tell it when adding that you’d like to make it a website, tell it a little further in you want a dynamic website, put in the address, and click Okay.  And there you have it:  website in your project when you need it.

This means when I’ve got my kids walking around London, if I don’t feel like going to my browser and maybe getting distracted by whatever the hell distracts you on the Internet these days, I just split my screen and bring up this:

Anyone notice the time?  :)

Anyone notice the time? That’s, um, a joke.

That’s not a screen show, that’s the actual Journey Planner for the City of London website.  But what if I don’t know where I am in London, and where I want to go?  Well . . . I’m ready with that, too:

I started off by winding my way down Baker Street--hey, I already went there in the story.

I started off by winding my way down Baker Street–hey, I already went there in the story.

I bring up a map of the London Underground, and by using the image tools below the map–which I get by double clicking on the image–I can make it bigger or smaller.  When I’m done with the map I can arrow back to the story–using the arrows in the upper left hand of the left frame–and get back to writing.

Yep, it’s really that simple.  And once you got it in place, you never gotta worry about it again.

Until you need something new, that is.


8 Comments

Starting Seems to Be The Hardest Word

This thing happened last night.  This thing is actually what is known in the biz as “Beginning a New Scene,” and it should have went off without a hitch–

But you know that’s not gonna be the case.  Not with me.

"Okay, that's eight words.  Does 'Urrrr' count as a word?  If it does, that's nine . . ."

“Okay, that’s eight words. Does ‘Urrrr’ count as a word? If it does, that’s nine . . .”

I run into this all the time.  I know what I’m going to write, because I’ve already went over this scene in my head probably eight or nine times.  Sometimes I’ll even say the parts out loud, because that’s the sort of crazy person I am, where I’ll act it out because–why not?  Who doesn’t talk to themselves all the time when they’re at work and they’re working on scenes while they should be, you know, doing something else.

I’ve got it all down in my head, and then . . . it’s time to write all the descriptions need to bring the scene into focus.  Which I normally don’t have a problem with, but when I’m starting everything up–

It doesn’t come out right.  It comes out slowly.  It comes out in spurts.  I comes out feeling like I’m missing something.

I managed about six hundred an thirty words all in all, getting the next breakfast scene rolling.  I’m usually like that at the start, and tonight I’ll read over it again and probably redo some of it before launching off into the new stuff.  That’s when my chaperon, Ms. Rutherford, pretty much throws shade as some of her charges–which you would think is something she wouldn’t do in front of another student, but Annie ain’t just “another student.”  (I was told by my fourteen year old daughter that none of the cool kids ever say, “throw shade”, and that she’d never heard of the term until I asked her about it.  I’m just being a proto-hipster here, yo.)

Besides, like a lot of my scenes, nothing really gets started until the first thousand words are out of the way.  There’s always the set up, the build, and then I launch into the goods.  The real business starts when Annie is getting ready to lay down the law to everyone else, and Kerry pops out of the lift–then I get going.  Then I know what’s going to happen, and there shouldn’t be any hesitation in getting it done.

This is nothing new:  it’s all been there, done that about fifty or sixty times since the story started.  And since I’m in rebuilt mode right now, I’m working hard to get things right.  Essentially I’m taking three scenes, completely scraping two of them, writing a new one to replace the first and rewriting the third with parts of the second scene to make it seem more interesting.  It’s a bit of a detour, because I should be a few tens of thousand of words into Act Two right now.

Getting this stuff right in the first part is more important, however.  Particularly if I want to polish this up and publish it while I’m still finishing the novel–

Wait–did I just say that?


5 Comments

Bookin’ it Back Again

Whereas the night before I was adding words to a scene, last night saw a balancing of the books, so to speak.  Second rewritten screen, and this was made somewhat better because silly little things were removed, and I keep someone sitting in the shadows until the last moment.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

Mostly I felt great writing last night.  I’d been thinking about what was needed for the rewrite, and it hit me some time back:  keep the room dim and keep Annie sitting.  Have her in the shadows, but put Kerry there, too, so that they can see each other, but not very well.  Keep her in here chair, watching this strange boy who doesn’t seem to know where his book are.  And keep the name reveal until the last moment, so she stands only to tell her name and hear his.  And then be shocked.  Or her version of shocked, at least.

This would be Annie if it were darker--and she were in a chair--and in shadow--and didn't have . . . oops, this is the future.  Never mind.

This would be Annie if it were darker–and she were in a chair–and in shadow–and didn’t have . . . oops, this is the future in a different library. Never mind.

There were days and days of hesitation, so being able to get into the story, look at what was written, and then just start writing was a marvelous feeling.  It was even better knowing what I was going to write, and when, and just wrote.  Sort of like old times before I was stressed and weirded out by a whole lot of things.

One of the things I’ve been playing with in Scrivener the last couple of nights are snapshots and using a drop-down function in Compile to make it easier to do a chapter at a time.  The snapshot is what your your scene/chapter/document looked like before you started messing with it.  As there were a few things in the Book Store Scene I wanted to use, I needed to ensure I didn’t get cut happy and waste a section before realizing, “Hey, that was important.”  So I snapshotted it, gave it a name, and left it to sit while I did my biz.  Since I’m happy with how the scene turned out, I’ll delete it tonight.

The important thing about the snapshot is being able to “roll it back” into the existing document.  That way, if you totally hose up your scene, you replace your new hot mess with the old, and things are good as new.  Though if old was a hot mess as well, good as new might not be an improvement.

I’m sending off the rewrites to a beta reader, and to do that I’m compiling them into pdfs.  Since I don’t want to play “Click That Scene” to get the right one to compile, I’ve used a drop-down box on the Compile Pop-up to get to the scene in question.  Just roll through your manuscript, find the act/part/chapter/scene, pull that out and click it to select.  Then compile and get your print out.  Easy as pie.

Really, I should have discovered this ages ago.  Guess I was too busy world building.

Really, I should have discovered this ages ago. Guess I was too busy world building.

Tonight that big “To Do” gets tackled.  I know what I’m going to say, because I’ve played that scene out in my head a couple of times.  Or three.  Or maybe a dozen.

It’s all relative when it comes to writing, you know?


4 Comments

The Ginger Rewrite

There was writing last night.  Not a lot of writing–though if one considers I added five hundred fifty words to a scene, I guess you might consider it a lot.

I finished rewriting the first scene in my current work in progress, the scene where Annie departs for school.  The first part of the scene was good:  it hit all the right notes and set a tone I set out to achieve.  Other than cleaning things up here and there and streamlining a few sentences, it remained the same.

Where I expanded was later, in Annie’s bedroom, where she’s looking over her things one last night–for the next few months, that is; it’s not as if she’s going away forever–and her father comes up to speak with her.  It was a good scene on its own, but as I was told by my beta reader, it was lacking something.  So . . .

Oh, you wanted to see what I was working on?  Well, look below:

Oh, you wanted to see what I was working on? Well, look below:

 

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

“Are you going to miss this?” She turned around and found her father stood in the doorway, watching her. “Do you want us to send you anything from here?”

Annie looked about the room, taking it in, considering her father’s question as she decided not to mention her previous thought. She shook her head slowly. “I think of anything, I’ll send Mama a message.”

Her father nodded. “I am going to miss you.”

“Are you?”

Victor was somewhat taken back by the quickness of Annie’s reply. “Yes, I will.”

“I’ll miss you as well.” The right side of Annie’s mouth twisted upward into the faintest of smiles. “Mama, too. I’ll miss you both.”

A few awkward moments of silence filled the room as Annie and her father gazed at each other without speaking. Victor didn’t know if Annie was being her normal self—quiet and contemplative—or if she were truly upset. It was impossible to get her to admit her feelings at the best of times, and Victor knew better than to press the issue now. The last thing he wanted was to see his daughter off on her great journey with her angry at him. “I do worry about you, you know.”

If there was one thing about her father that was true, Annie was aware that he worried about her. Even during those times when they had little to say, when he was away with his job, he always called home and asked of her well being. He does care—if he could only show it more. “I know, Papa.”

“And you’ll be away on your own, alone, having to do so many things for the first time . . .” His attention was drawn to the bay window. “Meeting so many new people . . .”

It wasn’t difficult for Annie to see where her father’s trailing statement was leading. “That’s true, Papa.” She twisted her head slightly to the right. “But I’ll be careful. You know I will.”

“I know, but . . .” Victor was almost squirming in his need to speak.

Annie decided to relieve her father from his dilemma. “But he’ll be there—yes?”

Victor nodded. “Yes. Your Ginger Boy.”

She’d wondered if this was the real reason for her father coming to her room: perhaps not, but it was enough to bring him upstairs. “There’s nothing to worry about with him, Papa. I’ll be fine.”

Given an opening, Victor was ready to voice his concerns—after a question. “When will I learn his name?” He raised an eyebrow. “Soon?”

“Mama knows his name; if she wanted you to know, she would have told you.”

Victor shook his head as he chuckled. “You women.” He rubbed his chin slowly as he met Annie’s unflinching gaze. “I know almost everything you’ve told your mother: you’ve known him for years and he knows you—”

“Yes, Papa.”

“But you don’t know him, Anelie. You’ll find seeing this boy in your dreams and then out of them are completely different experiences. Which is why—” He breathed deeply before continuing. “I worry.”

Annie had heard these same comments from her mother two weeks earlier—was it possible she’d spoken with her father? She dismissed the idea; the words coming from her father were not her mother’s. “I’ll be fine. I have nothing to fear from him.”

Her father wasn’t quite convinced. “I worry you’ll end up hurt.” He tapped his fingers together. “It is possible.”

She shook her head. “No, it isn’t.”

“Anelie—”

“Nothing bad will happen, Papa.” She almost cracked a smile to put him at ease—almost.

At this point arguing with Annie was going to lead to a confrontation, and that wasn’t what Victor wanted. “All right; I’ll take your word. I know what he means to you.” He chuckled again. “And I know when you’ve made up your mind, I shouldn’t try to get you to change—” He tapped his fingers against his legs. “Particularly where he’s involved.”

Annie did think it a little unusual that her father didn’t push his opinion harder, but his final statement said it all: he knew he wouldn’t change her convictions, and he accepted them. Maybe not fully, but he does. She went over and slowly slid her arms around him. “Thank you, Papa. It means so much that you trust me.”

 

And there he is:  The Ginger Boy.  You’ll learn more about that brat about sixty thousand more words into the novel–or will you?  Actually he’s hiding in plain sight, because one of the things I’ve changed up in these first few chapters is to not hide things.  I tried that and it wasn’t actually working.  While I’m not coming out and saying things–okay, I will come close to that later–if I’m gonna tell the tell, then I’ll tell it.  Tell it in a way that makes sense, but at the same time doesn’t show everything.

Yeah, it makes sense that things will get said by people who aren’t part of the Normal Group.  You have to show a little difference here and there to make the characters come into their own, to allow them to be who they are.

Hence some rewrites–

‘Cause you’re not always going to do it correctly the first time around.


3 Comments

Chestnut Breakdown

It’s Liz Parker Time around the casa once more.  That can only mean one thing:

I’m writing again.

I say I’m always doing something writing related, but now I’m actually back writing.  Slow, yeah, but I’m back.  Nothing new, either–unless you consider a rewrite of an existing scene that needs some tuning up and something added a rewrite, well, I’ll take it.  I’ve sections of Act One that are in need of rewriting and, in at least two scenes, to be made completely new.  There may be more, but I’m getting to them.  Because it needs getting to, you know.

There is one good thing to come out of all of this:  in deciding to completely redo a scene in Chapter One, something will happen there that will actually tie into a conversation that will happen in–let me look it up–Chapter Thirty-one.  It would be Chapter Thirty-two, but I think I can change the time line just a little, move a couple of scenes from there to Thirty-one, and eliminate a chapter.  Whee!  That means I’ll only have to write forty-two chapters–which, you have to admit, is a lot more geek-lined.

However, getting to that link required thinking about how the story would play out on the other end, and that wasn’t pleasant.  Oh, the planning and whatnot is always a lot of fun–usually.  There are moments when it’s all a pain in the ass to get everything straight in your head, which is why I always make charts and such to help me along.

No, it’s when you have to get into your kid’s heads and understand why they do some of the things they do.

The scene in question brings up the matter of dreams, which in the world I’ve created are usually a lot more than they seem.  Particularly if you’re Annie and Kerry, who seem to have an issue when it comes to a special form of lucid dreaming.  These dreams have special meaning to both kids, and for the first time yesterday I thought them out, even made a few notes, because at some point gotta talk about them.

But it wasn’t those dreams that caused issues in these scenes:  it was remembering another dream alluded to in Kerry’s dream.  It’s something that explains an action he takes in Act One; it explains something that’s been bothering Annie since meeting Kerry.  It’s something that ties in something said in Chapter One–something she’ll say a few more times, as if she’s trying to trigger memories.

In bringing up this new dream, however, it pulled out a few memories and feelings of my own, one of which is particularly painful at the movement.  And in doing so, I had a full-on crying meltdown.

"These imaginary characters of yours are tearing you apart.  Why don't you take up another hobby--like, something without emotional connections?"

“These imaginary characters of yours are tearing you apart. Why don’t you take up another hobby–say, like, something that doesn’t involve emotional connections?”

The upside is I finished the scene, and made notes.  One moment I’m all about to fall to the ground crying, and the next I’m trying to set it down in writing.  I blame the hormones, which probably did play a big part in what happened last night.

But I’m back writing again.  I feel good.

Let see how long this goes.


24 Comments

Frolicking in the Danger Zone

Let’s do the niceties right now and say this post will speak of real things that happened to me.  It may feel like a rant to a lot of people, and there is a high likelihood I’ll upset more than a few of those folk.  But seeing as how it’s been close to a week since the last time that last happened, I may as well close out the week cranking up the irate a bit.  With that in mind, here’s a kitten to put you into a great frame of mind:

It's a Siamese kitten, though, and we know they're sort of evil, so this kitty is probably ready to take you Straight to Hell.

It’s a Siamese kitten, though, and we know they’re sort of evil, so this kitty is setting up to take you Straight to Hell.

With that out of the way, onward.

I spent a lot of time as a kid scared.  Never mind all the crap going on in my head with gender identity issues and just generally being considered a strange kid because I did things in my shitty little town like read–I was scared.  A lot.  I had a very active imagination, and since I read a lot of different things like science fiction and comic books and the occasional horror story where people were being walled up alive or having bad things happen to them because they were screwing around with a monkey’s paw, I’d start imagining things–you know, stuff.

The sort of things that prevented me from being in a dark room with an even slightly cracked closet door because there might be something in there–something that was going to eat me.  I couldn’t stand to look out a window in the dead of night for fear something was going to jump into my line of sight, something I didn’t want to see, something that was going to do me harm.  And this last still happens to me; occasionally I’ll get the feeling that something is out on the balcony getting ready to jump me, and I don’t dare look ’cause I don’t want to see . . .

That stopped me from reading, right?  No.  I didn’t stop me from watching all those funky 1950′s science fiction and horror flicks on TV, either.  If I knew it was going to cause problems, why did I continue to scare the shit out of myself?  Because I had a jones that needed feeding, and learning and being entertains was worth the price of imagining something could jump out of my closet and get me.

I also ran into my share of personal tragedy.  By the time I’d turn ten I’d watch an uncle lose a long battle with lung cancer, and since it seemed like everyone in our extended family either died of cancer or heart disease–and I heard this stuff being talked about all the time–it was a simple matter to know what was happening.  Oh, and my mother was also a nurse, so there were plenty of books around the house with pictures–just in case I needed to know what a cancerous lung looked like.

I lost two close friends before I was out of high school:  one drown and another was involved in a rather horrific auto accident.  A girl I’d dated for a year at the end of high school died a year after we broke up when her sister’s car spun out and flipped over into a drainage ditch.

There was also the occasional suicide popping up from time to time.  When I was about eight a second cousin of my mother’s decided she was going to take her two daughters for a ride, got them into the family sedan, and never left the garage.  There was no way I didn’t know about this because it was all over the Chicago news, print and television, at the time, and my mother didn’t stop talking about it for days.  As for the other suicides–well, they were attempts, and not successful ones at that, otherwise I wouldn’t be here typing this post.  Though I’ve not tried anything like that since the 1990′s, I did voluntarily check myself into a mental heath facility in 2008 for a “Forty-eight Hour Observation Stay”, which is a polite way of saying, “We’ll make sure you’re not given a chance to permanently hurt yourself.”  Actually, it was an interesting experience–I was roomed with a schizophrenic who kept telling the doctors he was okay because he’d found his cure in the Bible, and they could give him any test they wanted to try and prove him wrong, and I was hit on by a couple of women:  one wanted my opinion on whether I thought she’d make a good lesbian and should she castrate her boyfriend before doing so, and another girl kept trying to convince me to have sex with her, telling me, “You’re not that crazy, so it’ll be good ’cause I can trust you.”

Fun times, let me tell ya.

These are all little bits of my life experiences.  No mention of the time a “friend” beat me up because I wouldn’t dance with someone at a club–yeah, that sort of sucked.  But all of this come to mind when I’m writing.  All of this makes up little things that pull at my psyche when I’m dealing with characters.  I don’t think I have an interesting life, but I certainly have one that’s seen it’s fair share of bullshit.

I’m not the only one who’s been there.  A Clockwork Orange was written in three weeks by a highly intoxicated Anthony Burgess, who admitted that a lot of Alex’s story brought back memories of his wife’s rape, and drinking helped get the words out with a minimal amount of pain.  Harlan Ellison wrote in the preface of All the Birds Come Home to Roost of the terror he felt having to write, at an editor’s request, a short scene where the main character describes what his first wife–who was going insane–did that nearly drove him insane, because brought back all the memories of the things his first wife did that nearly drove him insane before she was committed to a facility for a while.  Stephen King mentioned that The Body may have resulted from from him witnessing a childhood friend being hit by a train, but damned if he can remember that happening even though other’s told him it did.

Writers put themselves into their stories, like it or not.  When they write about something horrifying or miserable or just downright cruddy happening to one of their characters, they’re usually pulling upon some well of memories.  They may remember these things clearly, or they may not.  They may not be affected by the retelling of the memories, or they may find themselves overwhelmed as they transfer the story from their mind to the page.  This last has happened to me:  there have been more than a few passages written over the last couple of years where I’ve had to stop and collect myself because the place from where I was pulling my inspiration was far too personal.

At the same time a writer shouldn’t be afraid to put all that shit out there for people to see.  A writer shouldn’t hold back; if you have something terrible to show, show it in all its gory glory.  I went through this when I wrote Couples Dance because of one scene in particular, one that I’ve never actually described–until now.  The scene involved three woman and a man in 1920′s Paris getting high on a combination of wine and drugs, and two of the women decided to pull the third woman into a ménage à trois.  In the process of getting their crazy freak on, the two woman who instigated this party begin dismembering the third woman while continuing to sex her up.  The person reading this account doesn’t know if it’s complete bullshit or not–the person who wrote the entry in his journal can be considered the most unreliable of narrators because he was higher than a kite at the time this all went down–but there’s also a nagging suspicion that it might just be the real deal.

I had trouble writing the scene at first because I thought it was a bit over the top.  And it is–face it:  it’s suppose to be.  Later I had trouble because I understood this craziness was coming out of me, and who wants to admit they can pen this sort of insanity and then head down to Burger King to pick up a Whopper with Cheese and a large Sprite like nothing out of the ordinary just went down.  After a few days I got good with the fact that there is a lot of craziness inside me, and in time it’s all gonna come out.

In the course of my life and work I know I’m going to offend people.  I know I’m going to say things that will piss them off.  But what I say or do won’t be racist–I lived through that shit with my family, and try as they might I abandoned their “If it ain’t White, it ain’t Right” ways.  It won’t be misogynist, because I love women and the more I slide into womanhood the more I understand the privileges they don’t share with men.  I’m damn sure not anti-LGBT–hey, some of my best characters are LGBT, and considering I was hangin’ with my trans support group last night, nah:  no hate there, people.

No, if I piss someone off it’s because I don’t give warnings about what’s coming.  I gave one today, and on other occasions I’ve given them as well, telling people if you have easily blown minds you might wanna step off the page and find something else to read.  Most of the time I’ll call things out as I see them, and and if people lose their shit over it–as has happened when I expressed the opinion that if you’re truly convinced that your characters actually write your story, and that they get into arguments over what they want to do, you should acquaint yourself with some high powered meds–then so be it.  I can’t protect every precious snowflake, and I don’t bother trying.

Writers shouldn’t be afraid to throw life out onto the page as raw as it comes.  They shouldn’t hold back.  They shouldn’t censor themselves.  You have to be more real than real; you have to show the nasty without a pretty little gauze curtain between you and the reader.  Be like Rick Grimes and rip out that bad guy’s throat with your teeth, because there are times when you just gotta lay it all out in black and white with red all over.

And should someone come back to you and say, “I’m offended by that!  You didn’t give me a warning it was coming!” then you should introduce them to Mr. Stephen Fry:

 

“It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what?”

[I saw hate in a graveyard -- Stephen Fry, The Guardian, 5 June 2005]”  (Article found on link, which details things he discovered while tracing his Jewish ancestry.)

 

I should point out that maybe people are offended by his statement.  Yeah, big surprise.  Could be worse–

I could have found an inspirational quote from Tyler Durden.


6 Comments

Out of the Fire, Into the Dance

Not much writing wise got accomplished last night–and yet, there was.  It was a weird, raining night (not dark and stormy, mind you) and I had to door to my balcony open and my fleece jacket on while I did my nails and thought about writing scenes.  I kept walking from the computer to the balcony, where I would take in the night air–and the noise of the street twelve stories below–while I let my nails dry.  It’s a great way to think and let you mind work on ideas–

I worked on a story.  Only it wasn’t my current work in progress.  I was thinking along the lines of erotica, because I’ve reread some of the stuff I did years back and I’m interesting in publishing it under another name and seeing if this generates any cash.  Be my luck that I’ll end up selling big and I’ll spend the rest of my life writing all sorts of strange stuff for the masses to wank to.

But I believe Gore Vidal started out this way, so there are worse paths to follow.

I also spoke with a friend who read a few of those stories–I’d sent them her way Thursday night–and she told me she’d had a difficult time sleeping because, well, I apparently brought back sexy.  She’s also an illustrator, and she let me know she had a few ideas about a couple of the scenes, and she wanted to work up a few preliminary sketches to show.  I let her know that if I liked them I’d commission a few more for the story, and use them when I publish–which, honestly, I now feel is a bigger possibility that it was a few months before.

Which brings me back to the current work . . . the Great Cassie Novel on Hold.

Today or tomorrow I’m going to go into one of the scenes and rewrite part of it.  If I like what I see, I’ll move on to another scene which needs a rewrite after the previous rewrite didn’t feel right.  If I’m satisfied there, then I’ll move on to the new scene that need recreating, and then rewrite the scene that follows.

I know my focus there now, and I have a better feel for the characters.  I say I may start the rewrite today because I still have things to work out in the character map, and there’s a few things I want to do with Kerry as well.

The rewrite is coming, however, because yesterday was a Dance on a Volcano sort of day, and it was necessary to, as the lyrics say, get out of the night and out of the dark, into the fire and into the fight.  One as to make up their mind if they’re going to continue or just cut and run–and I decided there really isn’t any choice for me.  It’s finish the story in a form that isn’t going to embarrass me, and by that I mean I can live with the characters.  It won’t be an easy struggle, but I’m certain I’ll find my way through the death zone of expectations that didn’t pan out.

"Death zone my ass.  You wanna see a death zone?  Watch what I do with the whole London section."

“Death zone my ass. You wanna see a death zone? Watch what I do with the whole London section.”

The novel will get finished.  That’s all there is to that crap.  Just need to stop being worried and get through what needs to be done.

It’s dance on the volcano or die time.  I know where I want to go.


1 Comment

The Highs and the Highers

Let’s just get this out of the way first thing in the morning:  mind mapping can be a huge amount of fun, but ultimately it can also be an enormous pain in the ass.  You’re trying to organize your thoughts on a page–and I use that term “page” liberally, because inside your computer your page can go on for a very long time.  Don’t believe me?  Look:

No, that's not the remains of a fly I swatted . . .

No, that’s not the remains of a fly I swatted . . .

That’s sixty-six notes I’ve made on a character time line while trying to deconstruct and rebuild this character, with Scapple zoomed out as far as I can take it.  As you can see, I have plenty of room in which to work.

And work I was.

Not as much as this time line would show, but it’s getting there.  I have my head where I want it now, and I’ve narrowed down some of the questions I need to ask.  I’ve also set aside room for Kerry, because in retrospection, he’s wrong, too.  At least in the opening chapters.  Oh, not the prologue:  he’s pretty much spot on there.  The whole London section–it’s wrong.  It’s really wrong.  Kerry has a computer:  who needs to go out?  That’s what Google Streetview is for!

Yeah, need to deconstruct him a little, because if there’s one thing I know about his, it’s that he’s emotional shut away from most everything.  So London . . . rewrite city, baby.  I hope to start getting to that on Sunday.  No really; stop laughing.

I’m actually feeling good about redoing this part.  I figured out a day trip inventory that’s really more to the liking of the kids, and it’s fun to roam all over London on The Maps (that’s what I’ll call it from now on) and see things that I shouldn’t have missed the first time.  But, hey:  first drafts are for your screw ups.  As James Michener once said, “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”  (Paddy Chayefsky apparently said the same thing, so I’ll let them fight it out over who gets the real credit.)

Something else happened last night as well.  I was chatting up a friend, and we got to talking about some of my work.  It so happened–as writers often do–I spoke about some of my old erotica I’d written some ten years back, and how I was thinking of editing it and putting it out in ebook format to get comfortable among the dino porn and gay cuttlefish transformation stories.  (And if you read this blog regularly, you know those both exist.)

Being in something of a good mood I asked my friend if she wanted to see some of it.  She said yes.  I showed her the stories I had in pdf format with the artwork that had been drawn especially each of the tales.

I'd show you the real artwork, but it'd probably piss someone off, so here's something everyone can agree is completely safe.

I’d show you the real artwork, but it’d probably piss someone off if I did, so here’s something everyone can agree is completely safe.

And what I was told was, “This is really good writing, Cassie.”  Which it really was, even if it was totally fetish smut.  But after a long week of being down, feeling tired, and beating your head again the computer, you know what you, as a writer, needs?

To be told you’re good.

Those really are the magic words.  Try them on a writer friend and see what happens.


4 Comments

Trials and Sombulations

There weren’t any last evening’s activities.  This whole weeks has found me struggling to stay awake after getting home from work, and there was no exception to this rule yesterday.  Work was something of a mind bender, and I even came down with a bit of a headache from all the concentrating needed to figure out why a program wasn’t working.

It’s enough to get you drinking if you wanted to drink . . . and there are plenty of times I want to drink these days.

But I did have the ability to think, however.  I couldn’t really write down what I was thinking, but I thought about thing anyway.  I wanted to go on my character design; I wanted to think about starting to write something I have developed, in my head, for a scene–

I couldn’t.  Not one word.

When those moments come around you begin to wonder “Is this from being tired, or am I ready to pitch this crap into the nearest bin?”  Those thoughts do run through my head a little these days, because that precious ego that I never really had was bruised, and I take a long time healing.  Not always a real long time, but it’s enough to push me into one of those quiet moments where I really want to walk away from things for a while.  Though the last time I did that, it was like ten years before I came back, and I don’t think I have another ten years left in me.

It all comes down to a matter of adaptation.  I need to make this character work, and I’m deconstructing her so I can put her back together.  There are some things I don’t like, or that bother me, about her personality, but that’s part of the character.  You have to work it out and own it, baby.

But in the haze that entered my mind about eight PM last night, I starting having my doubts if I could make it work.  If I could have this happen right.  Those doubty doubts:  I hate them.  You get them if you’re a writer, and when they come they play hell with you.

But then there’s the flip to that doubt.  If I got up and walked away from it all, if I said, “I’ve had enough of this bullshit, I need a break, I think I’ll take the next year off and think about never coming back to my writing,” that wouldn’t set well with a few people.  I can think of at least one person in particular who would react badly to that news, and all hell would break loose . . .

"You're upset because I've stopped writing!"  No, I'm not . . . just look at the flowers, Cassie.  Look at the flowers."

“You’re upset because I’ve stopped writing!  You are!” No, no I’m not . . . just . . . look at the flowers, Cassie. Look at the flowers.”

Okay, maybe not that bad, but there would be a lot of hurt feelings come out of it all.

I know what’s bringing on the tiredness I feel at night; I simply need to work through that.  Once that’s out of the way I can get my mind back on other things–

Like reconstructing the deconstructed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,918 other followers