Stepping Off to the New

How was everyone’s day?  Good, I hope.  Mine was, well, let’s say pretty good.  I had a huge post yesterday, and it was a good thing I got it out early because in the afternoon it had to compete with the Internet shutting down over escaped llamas and bad dresses that may have been black and blue or gold and white–a question so burning for some that in one group I’m in on Facebook someone actually flounced because they were told they were wrong about the color.

"Now that I've solved the greatest mystery of the Internet, I'm going to tell all these losers wh--Oh, Llamas!"

“Now that I’ve solved the greatest mystery of the Internet, I’m going to tell all these losers wh–Oh, Llamas!”

Me?  Well, I gave my opinion on one (the dress), and we told many times about the other (the llamas), and continued working on something else.  And I made a lot of progress given that I was being told about the most earth-shattering events of the day–while at the same time my mind was on my own dilemmas as well.

Of late I’ve been thinking about a . . . let’s call it “next novel”.  And I think you know what novel I’m talking about, because people have actually asked me when I’m starting on that book.  I was even considering writing a scene from it, because it’s been calling to me a little, and I wanted to do something for that calling–

At the same time, though, I’ll admit:  I’m tired.  I told a friend last night that when you put almost sixteen months of your life into any project, you get tired of said project after a while.  It happens to the best of writers, and I imagine there are days when George R. R. Martin just wants to turn loose the Dragons of Westeros and torch the whole damn thing to the ground because he’s been working on the same stories for twenty years.

There is a real hesitation to get into the project again, to start on a second novel, because I may not have the energy needed to get into plotting everything out and start writing.  The good thing is I don’t need to make up any new characters, because save for a few people, they’re all there.  The bad news is I have no idea how long this sucker will turn out, and it scares me to think it could be huge.  The logical portion of my brain says that won’t be the case, but I won’t know–not until I plot it out.

While I was editing, however, I was contacted by other friends and asked if I wanted to get involved in another writing project.  And this sort of got me thinking, because it would be part of a collaborative effort, and that would mean I don’t have to do everything.  Also, it’s a change of pace, one that doesn’t involve throwing your body and soul into and coming out the other end of the wringer beat to hell and gone.

I’m looking forward to this, because it’s a change-up that I can use.  I’ll get back to Annie and Kerry when I’m ready–

After all, I’ll do their story more justice if I’m not exhausted all the time.

Mayhem Most Marvelous

Two chapters to go in Replacements, and it’s surprising how easy it’s been to reach this point.  It’s helped a lot that the last couple of chapters have been very easy to edit, with only the need to change a few things, and adding a phrase here and there.  It’s easy to see that when I wrote this on the first pass, I knew what I wanted to say in these later chapters than I did in the first.

But then I had a better idea of where I wanted the story to go by the time I’d finished the first couple of chapters.  It only makes sense that when I reached then last three chapters, I didn’t have to think about what I was going to write–I only needed it written.

In working this last chapter tonight, I realize that I should do something to the story.  There’s an event that happens at the end, and it takes place in something five paragraphs.  Which makes me wonder:  can a truly horrible event be summed up in under a hundred words?

Why not?

The event that happens, while needed, is not that important that if you never saw it happen, the omission would ruin everything.  If anything, the short scene–the whole chapter is about fourteen hundred words–shows how the person who’s become Olivia will do just about anything to get her way, and while she may feel sorry about what she did, that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t do it again.

In a way, the character who is Olivia is something of a psycho.  She’s kicking ass and burning bridges left and right, and what pisses her off is not the possibility that one may have picked up something strange about her–it’s that she’s enjoying her new role as department head and secret mistress, and woe be to anyone who steps on the toes of her Ferragamos.

I may have given it some thought in the past, but Olivia is probably one of the most screwed up characters I’ve ever done.  She’s not crazy in a Hannibal Lecter way, but once she figures out that she can do pretty much as he pleases, she talks about screwed people up as calmly as she would discuss what sort of polish to use for her pedicure.

When I used to run my World of Darkness Vampire game, there was one character who used to put in an appearance in just about everyone’s game, because when it came to the World of the Undead in Chicago, she was right at the top of the heap of room-temperature bodies.

She was old, powerful, and sometimes referred to as the person who was the historical Helen of Troy.  Since she was so old and powerful, people liked to play her in a very over the top manner, with a lot of histrionics, and beating of breasts.  She was this Amazonian vampire Wonder Woman who no one in their mind would ever cross, because she would hold out your maybe-beating heart for you to see if she was of that mood.

Naturally, I had her show up for a few secessions.  When the players meet her, what do they get?  A very short woman, about five foot without heels, somewhat dark, olive tone skin, black hair, dark eyes, and a physique that might lead you to believe she could lift her body weight–if she were lucky.

This was the same character, the old vampire killer to end all killers.  And she looked like you wouldn’t notice her twice if you ran into her at a local Micky-Ds.

I was questioned about why she looked the way she did.  I was able to justify her appearance on that fact that if she really were from Greece, circa 1,000 BCE, then the whole idea of having a six foot tall plus woman running about the city was ludicrous.  Skin tone, hair, eyes–pretty much the standard for the area.  If she’d been a real lady before turning bloodsucker, then manual labor was totally out of the question, and she probably wouldn’t have had a lot of toning or muscular definition.

But when she–well, I, since I was playing here–spoke, she was calm, has great manners  never once raised her voice or threw a tantrum.  I was ready for that, too.  “If you’re a poseur badass,” I explained, “you have to constantly show everyone so they don’t forever.  If you’re a true badass, though . . . you never have to show anyone what you can do.  They just know.”

And . . . they’re never bothered if they have to kill everyone in a room if they don’t get the first lesson.  You should have known, you dumb shits, that you don’t mess with Death in High Heels . . .

That’s the way Olivia is shaping up.  Killing people is just a thing, and if it’s gonna be done, then get it done.  She’s turning into a sweet badass without having to tip her hand to everyone.

She’s pretty sweet.  I should write more like her.


Brain Dead While on the Nod

Oh, oh . . . oh, people.  Rough times here, let me tell you.

I should have known the night was going to bring some kind of major strangeness, because I was able to get to The Undisclosed Location with little or no problems.  It was about as smooth a drive as I’ve had in a long time.  oh, sure:  come Friday and it’ll be two and a half hours of hell once more, but yesterday I couldn’t have asked for a better time.

Editing:  check.  Finished Chapter 7.5 (of the novel edition) of Couples Dance, then got about, oh, maybe a thousand words into Chapter 8.  The Satin Sheet Diva suggested that I edit in a way that would allow me to see the story as both a novella and a novel, and so there where changes in Chapter 8 that sort of glossed over events from Chapter 7.5–which, in the story, happened only a few hours before.

Eventually I’ll pull these two stories apart in Scrivener and make a few other edits to Chapters 8 to reflect what’s in Chapter 7.5, then renumber them so they make sense, but when it’s all said and done I can sell both to different markets.  Or, sell the novella, then turn around and say, “By the way, I do have a novel version of this story . . .”, and send that sucker off.  Either way, it’s a win.

I was looking for Annie last night.  Didn’t see her, but speaking of Annie . . . well, you’d only know this if you have watched the BBC version of Being Human, but that Annie (and as River Song is want to say, “Spoilers,” so highlight if you want to see what I’m saying next) is finally going off to her well-deserved eternity and will no longer be a ghost.  At least my Annie isn’t that Annie, though they are both very lovely.

So then it was off to bed . . . and Hell was truly unleashed.

‘Cause at 2:00 AM I really thought I was dying.  I awoke and my insides felt like the Chest Buster (Hi there!) had taken up residence.  It was horrible.  I wondered for a moment if I was going to have to get up and risk going to the hospital, which would have been a trip, because I have no idea where there’s a hospital around here, nor do I have any of my insurance information . . . great planner, I know.  I leave that to my characters, ‘kay?

But a few minutes of writhing in pain let me figure out what was happening.  And the diagnosis is so anticlimactic–

It was gas.

Gas likely caused by all the crap I ate yesterday right before–and during, mind you–my travel to The Undisclosed Location.  I mean, my eating habits have been hell for the last few months, and this is the end result.  So this week, if I can, it’s back to salads and soup.  I need to clean up and lose some of this weight I’ve put on.

After an hour, or so, it was back to dreamland . . . and more Hell.

Because, one, I had this dream that people were in The Undisclosed Location for no reason whatsoever, but they seemed to be there on the word of one of my neighbors, who seemed to believe that I had “something” in my place that was causing problems in his.  So people were tearing the place apart–which, in of itself, is a neat trick, as there is pretty much nothing here.  Have fun with that.

Then I drove off, though I knew where I was going, I couldn’t see a thing.  I was movement in pitch darkness, and the feeling that you are going somewhere, but you see nothing.  I get those more than a few times, and it’s very disturbing.

Then . . . I was in high school algebra, and a woman I know was sitting in the desk next to me, and she said, “You didn’t bring your book!  Go get it; you have time.”  So up I go to get my book . . .

I can’t find my locker.

I mean, I know it’s right here, in this spot, but I can’t find it.  I’m even looking at the names above the lockers, and they are all alphabetical, and my name should be there, but it’s not.  I start to panic, and then I attack a kid who is not answering any of my questions, I mean like totally ignoring me, and I go off and punch him several time–and nothing.  Him and his friend act like this sort of things not only happens all the time, but the guy I hit didn’t feel a thing.

So I finally get to the office.  I tell the person behind the counter that I can’t find my locker.  And they say, “What is your group code identifier?”

I have no idea.

Then I wake up, it’s a quarter to five in the morning, and I fire up the computer, and get in here.

Insanity, man.  I gotta stay away from crap and stick to the strange stuff I put my characters through.

At least then I know how I’m going to be once their madness ends.