23 Skidoo

Today . . . I’m amazed I made it though the writing.

It was suppose to be easy: just finish one chapter and start another.  Just a matter of getting my characters out of a bad spot and then describing what the city of Chicago looked like from the perspective of the main character–

And in the process of getting the original name of Navy Pier I ended up finding something known as the Burnham Plan, aka the Plan of Chicago, and before you know it I was trying to redo the image in my head around a view of what the City of Chicago might have looked like given the chance.

And it drove me crazy!

Between Time Lag (which is what you get when your body thinks it’s 4 PM, but it’s really 3) and having a head that didn’t seen to want to stop spinning, I was following shiny things like a demented magpie.

But, I got my Chapter 7 done, and my Part One finished, and I’ve started Part Two.

And, though I might be disappointed that this is my lowest daily count for the first 6 days, I still managed 3034 words, with a final word count of 23091.

Yeah, I’m nit-picking about low word count–which is really isn’t–but that’s mean.  The good thing is tomorrow I’ll hit 25,000, and beyond, and I’ll be half way to “winning” NaNo.  As for the end of the novel?  Maybe it’s gonna run 65,000 words, maybe 70,000; I don’t know.  We will see.

Meanwhile I have to do a blog post on why Week Two isn’t the time to stop writing, and I have Part Two of my rave out to writing.

Oi!  How did I ever decide I wanted to be a writer?

Makin’ My Twenty With an Edge In My Mind

I hate Daylight Savings and the “Spring Ahead, Fall Behind” BS.  Enough.  I don’t need an hour of jet lag all day today.

Or maybe I’m because I have too many words going through my head.  NaNo Novel has me by the butt, and it made me crank out 4250 words yesterday, pushing my all-important word count to 20,000 and change–and I still haven’t finished the last chapter of Part One.  I will.  Today.  I promise.

It’s a lot of mind warping.  I have it all in my head and I’ve been writing at a (for me) white-hot pace.  And, I know this will piss off some of the NaNoers, but I’m editing as I go.  Yeah, I do that.  I can’t help it.  And I’m still rolling out 1000 to 1500 words and hour.  All that means is my real edit is going to go a lot faster.

So far it’s all been a lot of setup, action, and, need I say it, death?  And now I gotta shift gears, tone it down, bring in my last main character, do a lot of talking and set up, and then kick out the jams for what is going to be Hell for a lot of people in the story.  Somehow I didn’t realize I was writing something that was going to kick ass and take names through a lot of the story; when I originally put this idea together a year ago, but hey: I’ll take it.

I’m just along for the ride, you know.

Okay, that’s out of the way . . . so what’s next?  I gotta get something off my chest, and there’s gonna be nasty words said in the process, so if you don’t want to read further, thank you for stopping in!

 

That said, onward.

First off, let me give you a little of where I’m coming from.

I graduated from Hanover Central High School in Cedar Lake, Indiana, in 1975.  No big deal, right?  The next year the school board, following the lead of some ignorant dipshit in Texas, Norma Gabler, decided they needed to protect the fragile minds of the children and went ahead and banned a book from the school library.  And what was this heinous piece of literature?

The American Heritage Dictionary.

Objectionable words, you know?  The book’s full of them.  Like, “Bed: transitive verb: a place to have sex”.  Whoo, boy, ya got a barn burner there.

I helped fight against the insanity, but it did no good simply because the then-members of the school board were just as much ignorant dipshits as the person who got the ball rolling.  Sure, I managed to get a little satisfaction against one of the members of said board a few years ago, but that’s another story . . ..

What I’m saying here is I don’t like censorship.  I might not like certain works, and there are some of those works that I absolutely detest . . . but if you wanna enjoy them, have it, friend.  It’s pretty much a free world.

If you are a geek, like me, then you are aware of a certain set of remarks that were recently directed by one author toward another.  Hey, it happens all the time.  I’ve been reading for the better part of 45 years, and I’ve seen quite a number of scathing remarks lobed back and forth over the years.  And when you get the fans involved . . . hey, now, if you read this blog you know about my feelings on fan people pissing and moaning.  Life is too short, and in my case it’s getting shorter every day, and when it comes to a lot of the arguments in the geek community, my attitude is much along the lines of, “I’m sorry, but you’ve confused me with someone who gives a shit.”

Now, I was in a writing forum where these remarks were brought up, and the comments were . . . well, not surprising, at least at first.  Like any good fan service, there are certain works that are polarizing, and when you have that “Love it/Hate it” line drawn in the sand, you are on one side or another, and if you try to take the position in the middle of “Lets look at his logically,” you’re going to get blasted.

So I wasn’t really paying attention to what was being said; not giving a damn here, you know?  Only I have this friend . . . she’s a fan of the work that was being, shall we say, savaged, and offered the opinion that the writer who made the snide comments was being petty.   She wasn’t mean; she wasn’t condescending.  She spoke her peace and spoke it nicely.  And she got ripped because, well, she had the audacity to like said work.

Now, that’s also to be expected.  If you try to see reason with the haters, they’re gonna hate on you.  So, if you feel you’re right in your position, you ignore it and move on.

However . . ..

One of the individuals started in with, “So-and-so only does this for the money, they don’t do research, they shouldn’t ever be allowed to write–“.

Okay, right there . . . that last statement.  Let me slip on my U-Boat captain’s jacket, step out of the TARDIS, and allow me to put on my Doctor’s voice as I tell you, “And with that last statement you just lost the right to talk to me.”

No.  You don’t ever get to decide who gets to write and who doesn’t.  You don’t ever get to decide what is good and bad writing.  And you never, ever, get to tell me what I can and can’t read, ’cause your opinion means nothing.

You want to criticize the work based upon the writing, the story telling, go right ahead.  That is your right.  Hell, I do that a lot as well; in fact, I decided to try my hand at writing years ago because I was tired of bad story telling.

But if you call yourself a writer how can you say another person’s work should not only not be published, but that said author shouldn’t ever be allowed to write?  Look up the history of people who think the same way; they usually never come to a good end.  And, with that sort of small minded attitude concerning a fellow writer, why should I ever read anything you publish?

And when I think about it . . . the author in question is only in it for the money?  Yes, I agree with Stephen King’s adage that if you only write for the money you’re a monkey, but the last time I looked ol’ Stevie Boy owned roughly half of the state of Maine, and he didn’t buy all those goodies with tins of beans.

Yes, you invoked Hemingway’s name as a writer who sweated for his work.  Very true.  But look up The Torrents of Spring, his first long work.  It was a satirical work that was deliberately written to be so bad as to refused publication.  And, why, do you say?  Because Hemingway wanted to break his contract with Horace Liveright so he could move over to Scribner for–here it comes–a whole buttload of money.  Sure, he sweated for his work–but those trips around the world and that house in Key West weren’t paid for with food stamps.  He loved to write, but he also loved getting those checks.

And the research angle . . . I’ll let the cat out of the bag here, because the damn thing is clawing the hell out of it, and say the subject matter here is vampires.  And the argument seems to be that said author who shouldn’t ever write again made her vampires . . . yeah, you know where this is going: “Ooh, Shiny, Captain!”  And this is wrong because we all know vampires don’t walk around in the daytime–

Ah, yeah.  But they do in Being Human, where vampirism is treated as something akin to a disease, and while the vamps there don’t really like being out in the bright sunlight, they can do it.  I guess they didn’t do their research.

Oh, wait: in the novel I An Legend, which is the novel that first develops the idea that vampirism equals disease, the virus that turned people into vampires mutates and slowly but surely the bloodsuckers start walking around in the daytime.  Oops.  Guess Matheson should have stuck to shrinking people and gnomes on the wings of planes.

I guess that means no other vampires walk around in the daytime . . . oh, wait: here’s one jerk who didn’t get the memo.  And who is this loser?

Count Dracula.

Yeah, I went there.

Dracula–from the novel of the same name–is seen in moving about in broad daylight.  Like the vamps in Being Human he’s all bundled up, and he doesn’t really have all his mojo with him, but he’s awake and enjoying that probably-not-so-brilliant-English-daytime.  Likely not sparkling, but then who the hell knows what he’s got going on under that long coat?

The whole meme that vampires spontaneously combust when exposed to sunlight comes from Nosferatu, which was nothing but a retelling of Dracula with the names changed simply because they couldn’t get permission to film the original material.  Then needed an ending for the movie, so . . . sun comes up, vampire turns to dust, meme is born.

Well, at least Dracula got the whole “Religious symbols make a vampire turn away in fear!” thing right.  Although shouldn’t I say, “Crosses” instead of “Religious symbols”, because it does seem like it wasn’t until Being Human that a Star of David had any effect on a blood sucker.  No word on what seeing a Islamic crescent moon and star does to a vampire; probably nothing.  I mean, it’s not like there’s any sort of supernatural creatures in Islamic lore, right?  That last is sarcasm, in case you missed it.

Toby Whitehouse, what are you doing, man?  Didn’t you know you’re suppose to lampoon that stuff, as was done in Love at First Bite?  When a vampire sees a cross they are suppose to recoil in pants-crapping terror . . . ‘cept, in Interview With a Vampire, not only did Louie say crosses didn’t bother him, but that he liked looking at them.  Did someone not do their research here?

Vampire lore falls under the general classification of “Making Shit Up,” which is generally what the first guys writing about them did.  Don’t like something?  Don’t use it.  After all, garlic, running water, and not being able to come into your home uninvited–all co-opted from the Chinese, who had a completely different take on vampires than what the Europeans developed later.  Use it, don’t use it; hey, it’s your story.  Have fun with it.

Which is to say, like it or not, Bram Stoker was pulling crap from his butt and turning it into lore.  Or plagiarizing another writer’s work, if you roll that way, but that’s a tale for another time.

That’s enough ranting for now.  I have more to say because there was some other stuff being said that rubbed me the wrong way, but I’ll save that for later.  Probably tomorrow, after I’ve driven myself crazy with NaNo!

However, while writing this I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to do something with my vampire character that some would consider “different”.  I mean, she exists in a universe that isn’t ours, where the laws of physics are such that magic is possible . . . and if that be the case, why does my vampire need to adhere to the “rules” of this universe?

You know, that making up shit thing?  I’m doing it all over the place, so why not there?

And so she is changed.  She won’t glitter . . . but in her own way, she damn sure is gonna shine.