Death After School

Stephen King may take his birthday off, but I generally don’t have anything that’s interesting enough that gets me to take the day off.  I had to run out and pay bills, I had my normal birthday dinner, I watched Orphan Black and laughed when a paranoid, chemically enhanced Allison face planted right off a stage . . . oh, yeah:  I did some editing, too.  No freakin’ rest for the wicked, right?

Actually, yesterday was pretty emotional for me.  It was one of those crying off and on days where one minute I was pretty good and happy with everything, and then–BAM!  Tears were pouring out of me.  I am going through some hormonal changes, and even my therapist said the other night that she was surprised to see me start crying while we were speaking, because it was something I’d never done before during a session.

There were a few reasons why I was crying, but one of the main ones concerned my preoccupation with the concept of death–

In particular, the deaths of the characters of my current story.

As I’ve stated on a few other occasions, I generally like to know everything about my characters.  At this point in the game, however, I don’t know everything, which means there are blank sections of there lives that need filling.  This here is a good example:

Whole lotta nuthin' goin' on.

Whole lotta nuthin’ goin’ on.

Last year at school, all of Annie and Kerry’s classes out of the way, and there isn’t a whole lot for them to do, right?  While wandering about the apartment I thought about this segment of their lives and figured out where they are the summer before the start of this level, and then came to an understanding as to how their school year will shape up.  Work remains, but the mind is grinding away even when I should be doing rewrites.

There’s more, though.  It wasn’t enough to begin the process of figuring out what they do during this level of school, I thought about what they did after school–way after school.  Like what happens after they shuck this mortal coil and, as they say in the stories, Pass Beyond the Veil.

Of course I had to go there . . .

I have another set of time lines for everyone.  It looks like this:

Every character gets one from each of the coloums.

Every character gets one from each of the columns.

Birthdays, death days, life lines:  I know it all.  Of course I smudged out the last dates on those life lines because you don’t need to know that stuff–not right now.  I know, and maybe in time, if I don’t drive myself insane with all this stuff, you’ll know, too.  The thing to know, though, is there are moments that each of the characters experience after they bite the big one.  There are always moments in time–sometimes short, sometimes long–where the astral energy of the dearly departed finds themselves on the other side of The Curtain, and they go off in search of their Portal Through The Veil.

That’s what I was thinking about yesterday.  I was thinking of the last story I’ll ever publish about these kids, about their moments after they die and are waiting to get ferried over to whatever awaits, as told by the only person who could tell the story.  I was thinking of in terms of viewing the panels of a graphic novel, imagining the story drawn out so the reader could see some of the important moments that happen between dying and passing on.

Three scenes in particular came to mind, and even now I’m getting a bit weepy thinking about them.  That’s just me, because I cry at the drop of a hat these days.  Maybe I’ll convince my daughter to draw these scenes–she’s becoming a damn good artist and could likely do them justice in a few years–and they can be added into the ebook when I finally get around to publishing the story.  For now I’ll hang onto them.

And there’s one other scene that I would probably add as well.  The thing is, the scene is described in the retelling of what happens, but the person telling the tale doesn’t really know what was said between the two characters in question.  I know it, because I saw it, and it would make for a nice little add-on to illustrate what actually happened between the characters.

So many ideas, so many ways to show them–so much sadness trying to bring these stories together.

It’s not enough to kill off your characters when it’s time; sometimes you need to know if they made it to their final destinations.

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.

Taming the Whirlwind

Well, now, this is a late in the day post, isn’t it?  I have been one busy writing-type person, let me tell you–though only a little of it has had anything to do with writing.  I’ve actually been–gasp!–writing computer code!  Oh, what is this world coming to?  Get the fainting couch!

I got into a grove today and couldn’t get out.  I also had some tasty tunes coming in over the earbuds, and that helped keep me entertained while I slung code like a mofo.  And, over lunch, I chatting with a friend in New York City.  Yes, I am cosmopolitan, are I not?

(Something I’ve been listening to on YouTube a lot these last few days is the album Trilogy, by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.  This has always been one of my favorite recordings, and another of those, “Nothing On It Sucks!” albums I’ve mentioned from time to time.  Give it a listen; it’s progressive rock at its finest.)

When I wasn’t coding, I was thinking about writing.  I’ve helped with a solution on the Storytime blog that will allow people to have an easier time reading through our stories.  I’ve been asked to join a Facebook group so I can review erotica:  apparently someone there thinks I know something about that genre.  And I’ve been put in contact with an illustrator who may do a cover for me.

You may ask, “Why do you need a cover?  Are you publishing something?”  I’m giving the notion a bit of serious thought.  I’ve had a couple of friends–women on both coasts, if you must know–who are telling me that I should self-publish my NaNo novel, rather than find some house to do the work for me.  A few months back I was hesitant to go that route:  I’ve done the self-publishing thing, and seen little success.

I am eager to publish my NaNo novel, and with the first anniversary of the publishing of Kuntilanak coming, the notion of going the self-publishing route feels enticing.  So, I’m beginning discussions with an illustrator for the cover of a book that may, in the next few weeks, may be ready for people to buy and read–and, I do so hope, enjoy.

All the ideas that have been running wild in my head for a couple of weeks, I’m starting to get a handle on them.  There is work ahead of me, writing work, and some reading work, and it’s going to keep me very busy for the rest of the year, it would seem.  I’m managing time, and in order to do that, I need to get my arms around these ideas so that I know what they are, what they mean, and how I can write them.  Maybe even go so far as to set up a Scrivener file with the ideas, some notes, maybe a time line or two.

I know writers are always the most organized people in the world, but if you have ideas coming fast, and you don’t want your Muse showing up at your door wearing the thigh high boots with the five inch heels, with plans of kicking your ass, you better tame that whirlwind.

Then again, maybe my Muse in stiletto thigh high boots isn’t that bad a thing . . .