The Words From Hell

Consistency.  If there’s one thing you need in writing, it’s consistency.  Loose it and you may find your characters stripping off all their clothes, swimming out to a sinking ship, and filling their pockets with items once they arrive.  Or you’ll make pancakes for breakfast, give food to all seated, and when daddy shows up some time later, he sits and begins eating off a plate that appeared before him.

The one thing I learned so many years ago when I started reading in the 1960’s, and had reinforced in the 1970’s, is you have to keep your rules consistent.  This is especially true in science fiction, where you are creating new universes, and if your notes aren’t straight, you’ll find yourself crashing your spaceship into a planet that wasn’t suppose to be in your way.  Or, as David Gerrold–the World’s Oldest Redshirt–once stated, if you set up your rules so that no one can use their left hand, you can’t have the hero win in the last chapter by using their left hand.  It’s not only bad writing, it’s lazy.

Yesterday I’m on a editing burn.  I wanted to get through at least two chapters, and three if it where possible, because I’m in Part Two of Her Demonic Majesty, and if I were to finish the last two chapters today, then all that would remain of formatting is Part Three, and by next weekend I could get my Table of Contents in order, kick back, and get ready to meat grinder the story.

So I’m going through the story, looking for strange characters and misspellings, and correcting things that need correcting, and I discover one of my characters saying the word “hell”, and I realize it isn’t the only character who is suppose to say that word . . .

Allow me to explain.

Her Demonic Majesty takes place in an alternate universe difference from ours.  The main character, Jeannette, finds herself in this universe, and as she learns about the world, she begins picking up on all the little things that set it apart from her home.

One of her partners in crime, so to speak, is a demoness.  This demoness comes from another realm–an alternate universe, if you will.  The realm has another name, and because the realm has a certain notoriety  people of this new universe often use that name when cursing–

It should be noted that this realm isn’t named Hell.  Which means within this world you’d never hear people saying “What the hell?” or “The hell with it.”  Hell is an unknown name:  it’s not part of the lexicon.  If there is any character who would use the word, it’s Jeannette, because it is part of her lexicon.

But here I was, having someone in this new universe making a comment that has the word “hell” in it, and I’m scratching my head, because that goes against my rules for the world.

What can one do, you say?  You get to fixing.

I threw my story in Scrivener Mode and did a search for “hell”, and once I found it, I checked to see if Jeannette was speaking, or if someone else was.  And what do you know?  I’d screwed up:  I had characters from this new world using the word “hell”.  The one who was using it the most?  The demoness–the one person who wouldn’t use it, because . . . well, I think you know by now.

Keep in mind I’ve put this story through a couple of edits, and this is something that I missed each time.  I might have missed it this time, too, if I weren’t hyperfocused on getting the novel in pristine shape.  I caught it, and I know my other two rules have been adhered to, so I should be good as far as my rules are concerned.

If anything, I’m happy I didn’t say the hell with it.

See what I did there?

Starlight and Demons

Some people will ask “What does the future bring?”  I’m not certain I have an answer for that, but I do know it can lead to some remarkably crazy stuff.

Last night I was going over notes for a story idea I’ve had for a while.  I developed it about two years ago, during a creative writing class.  It was a fun class, because I met some interesting people, and I freaked out my instructor, who just didn’t get how science fiction worked.  At one point, it was necessary to write a two page rebuttal to her questions about a five hundred word scene I’d developed.

Some people just can’t ever wrap their minds around this stuff.

So I was updating some notes I’ve had for these characters, realizing that some things needed a radical changing because my ideas about them have changed in the last two years.  Some things about them I’d forgotten; some things needed a bit of fixing.  I resisted starting a time line, but that could . . . take place . . . today.  Why not?  It’s not like I have to prepare my NaNo Novel 2012.

But that took up most of my time to somewhere just south of 11 PM.  (Does time have a direction?)  After that, I decided I’d had enough to do for the day, and headed off to bed.

That’s when the strangeness came.

For some reason my dreams wanted to remind me that, one, I can get caught up in some crazy, criminal-like shit that would make Vic Mackey cringe, and two, I do all my work in invisible buildings.  They were also somewhat unsure what sort of work I did:  sometimes it was programming, other times it was teaching, and once in a while I was working with twenty-somethings to build projects for science.  (Or better yet, science!)  It went on like that for a very long time . . .

Then everything shifted, and suddenly I was at a party where Amanda Tapping was trying to talk me into going home with her.  Come to find out, she was a demoness, and she was looking to get her jollies on with someone who understood demonesses.  To be honest, Amanda made a pretty hot demoness, and she was talking to me in her Doctor Helen Magnus voice, so I was instantly in love–and what she was wearing did things for me, too.

Unfortunately, nothing happened.  It seems like every time the talk turned to heading to her place, I’d end up in a room in this huge house, and have to go looking for her.  This must be why I felt so worn out when I finally crawled out of bed at 7 AM.  I mean, seriously:  my body felt as if I’d ran a marathon.  Or spent all my time walking around a huge mansion.

I can’t tell why this happens to me these days.  Of late–maybe the last couple of weeks–my dreams have been coming on strange and vivid.  There also seems to be no letup.  I’m certain this has to do with my mind getting back into Imagination Mode, pushing aside the crap that passes for earning bill-paying cash.  By the way, kids:  don’t get into programming.  The lack of tedious repetition will eat your soul!

Two days, thirteen hours until NaNoWriMo.  Should I stick to my novel ideas, or think about other things–

Besides a demonic Amanda Tapping seducing me?

There are worse things, you know . . .