it’s like a new music-a-palooza around here. Last post I mentioned The Blood of Others, and my William, and then alla sudden all the music in music land was released – new Dead When I found Her (OMG) and which does not ignore Michael’s love of Skinny Puppy, but then just when you think you’re onto this album, it changes into something different.
Randomly, Rotersand released a new album and the Gothiscles showed up again in my inbox (and I need to go download them), and it’s like a dance music wonderland around here.
I went to see Dr. Strange, and yes the orientalism is a bit much, and there’s no good reason (despite how good she is) that Tilda couldn’t have been played by someone else, but I am honestly not sure how they would have gotten away from the mystical asian stereotypes in that film. Cumberbatch was great, and my Mads (hubba hubba) was pretty hilarious doing martial arts, when in my heart he is always eating half-raw meat in a very expensive suit. (FANNIBAL).
I sent my wee short story off to the market, and so shall soon hear on that. I’m editing a book for a friend, working on Gingerbread, and The Mourning Wolves and generally not understanding why it is so dark out.
Okay! So first order of business is Mr. Control has a new song/video! *dance* (Note: WC’s music is way catchier than most things I listen to. This is straight up sing-along-in-the-car dance music, and I LURV it. Which shouldn’t actually surprise you, cuz it’s mah William)
Next order of business, is that in an unexpected move, I’m heading to LA in mid-October for the Das Bunker 20th Anniversary party, because someone I love is ultra squee over the Covenant live show, but the overall lineup is bananas: VNV Nation, A23, Covenant, High Functioning Flesh, my beloved Author & Punisher, my friend iVardensphere (not sure he knows he’s my friend, but whatevs. Yay Scott!), end.user, the Legendary Pink Dots and about 5billion other bands you have also never heard of, including my Aesthetic Perfection, who are performing songs off of an early album as a joke, and it makes me laugh (you know that thing where your music project evolves but everyone is still stuck in 2006. Yeah, it’s like that. FUNNY).
I am a bit amused to see VNV Nation twice in a month, as they’re bringing their Compendium show here (3 hours of snappy Ronan action!), I don’t even listen to much VNV anymore, but am still excited about this as the first show I’d ever seen in what is now “My Thing”, was VNV/Icon of Coil back in 1806.
In additional, writingly-news:
A.Y. Chao (who is probably the single-best resource for writing workshop information) recommended the Discovery Story Magic series for character development, and I’m almost finished – started with graphing/gridding Gingerbread to identify sticky-open plot places within the character’s journey. When the rewrite of GB is done (which, at the rate I’m going is probably going to take forever, bc reasons!) I’ll go through it for both The Mourning Wolves and Ellis, Underground. In a way I’ve got the bones of it all, as I tend to understand my characters on an emotional, if not practical, level — I don’t know their favourite cereal, but I for sure know how they feel if they find themselves standing on the stoop in the middle of the night with a snowstorm blowing around them.
So far, I’ve gone through DSM, and then I did a chapter breakdown which showed me some seriously glaring holes in my structure, so yay! also: boo. But, I am nothing if not resilient. If anyone asks, the answer is Yes, writing is precisely like running into a wall 300X a day. I’ve cut my first two chapters up, changed up my inciting incident, moved what was the II to chapter 2 (or I will, as soon as I stop procrastinating through this here blog post. :D), to make it maybe the first plot point – although, maybe it’s still too early for the first plot point, but I needed to up the haps and suggestion from People Smarter Than Me was more character development in the first 2-3 chaps (I tend to be a slow writer, as in I am not a whiz-bang plot a minute go-go-go writer, so feedback is often “pretty, but nothing happened”. I have learned not to take that feedback personally, but still. Man, this business is hard).
Curse this wretched anger and hurt
Surrender all the lonely and hurt
Or is this just a ruse, shall I keep this hate to use?
It’s so hard, to say no to you
what else? OH! I finished “I’ll Give You the Sun”, which was kind of amazeballs. I thought the characters were maybe a bit too awesome for their own good – the characters were well-developed and they sure had faults, they were just very fancy? like, in the way they’d built their outlook on the world, and the way they approached it was very Inside of a Novel, however! I cried. Pretty much. Not a full, on ugly Oprah Cry like I did for The Road, cuz that was a moment that is likely to never be repeated, however! IGYTS is lovely, and wonderful because even though the characters are pretty shiny and the framework is snappy, underneath the shiny they read like really complicated, honest, sad people and OMG I LOVED IT SO MUCH.
anyway, here’s a snippet of the new first-draft-messy that I’m adding to GB:
But then Emeric smiled, and tapped his fingers to his face and Quince grabbed a tea towel and wiped some of the green goo away and for a second it was like all that time hadn’t passed at all.
But then Quince blinked, and maybe stuff got clear because a sadness slipped over his face and my own heart sunk.
Emeric just looked a little bit sheepish, and whole lot beautiful.
Quince said he was art, like straight out of the Louvre art, where everything was carved from marble and stone and people stood around and gawked and pointed, but mostly they just blushed because hot was hot no matter the medium. I had to take his word for it.
You can easily see the troubles already – two sentences starting with ‘but’, for a start. Really, sentences should never start with But, however! sometimes a girl’s gotta make a stylistic choice. That someone will, later, mark out in red pen.
in an effort to be the hippest writer in hiplandia (actually, I can’t even say that’s true b/c I had no idea magically hipster pencils existed until I went to the stationery store), when I was looking for a plain, blank journal (no lines, people! lines restrict! I dunno, I’m on a blank-page kick), and found a midori journal, and of course leave it to our minimalist friends to make a super simple but beautiful journal –I mean, it’s the plainest notebook in plainlandia, but soooo pretty) — I also found Blackwing pencils (and bought one, but I think it is too soft and next time will try the pearl AND I CAN’T BELIEVE I JUST TYPED THAT SENTENCE, BRB, I’m going to go drink my cold brew coffee in front of my edison bulb lamp while I google places to eat in Portland), because for some reason I’m into pencils, instead of pens. I suspect it’s because they come with erasers and I’m tired of crossing out the bad ideas i have. Erasers make them go away.
even though the lines are gone, you can still feel their ghosts.
Although I’ve written the first two chapters, at least in some draft, I spent a bit of today thinking about The Mourning Wolves, because why wouldn’t you start writing a new book while you wait for the next few days to find out the fate of the last book you finished? So I did the thing tiny potatoes do: the thing.
And, I found someone who looks like Ash (mc) in my head. Model Erika Linder. She’s just gorgeous. Ash is genderqueer, and I’m currently using female pronouns for them, but it feels weird every time I do. So we’ll see.
I did not have the same luck finding an image for Fig, whose name is not really Fig, but may be Kananginak, because he is at least part Inuk (Inuit). And I think it’s because he came out wrinkly when he was born and a fig is nicer than a prune. And google taught me, as it often does, that finding images of POC is like wading through syrup — it takes forever and nothing good happens along the way. My goal with TMW, because it’s set up in mid-north Alberta (note, for those of you not around these parts, everyone pretty much lives in mid-south Alberta, cuz it’s cold the higher you get), about a 13 hour drive from Yellowknife, is to make sure that the book reflected the region (or tried to), and not have it be full of white folks. I’m super nervous to write this book because I do want to learn more about the history of the region, if not for the book, then for myself. I find myself more interested in my country — outside of high school history — than I have been in a long time.
I’ve lived about 7 hours north of here, and didn’t want to set the book in a place I hadn’t seen, yet. Though, prairie is prairie, really. It’s only the winter that changes.
*Because I worked my ever-loving bananas off and I am talking hours/day – I took a week off of work and didn’t see the outdoors, but I made the book the best I can, and I subbed it off and whatever happens now happens, but i can say for sure that this was all achievement: unlocked, and what not. Because. Yeah. It’s a good feeling to work your ass off and have something to show for it. I’m not sure I’ve ever been this focussed on anything in my whole life. And for those of you that know me, you know I’m an old lady – so. Go team me and what not. If there’s extra Pitchwars news, I’ll share. But for now, I’m kind of feeling amazeballs (it doesn’t hurt that I met a new CP, and she’s great).
So, this, is kind of how I am feeling right now (also known as: my day in rockstars)
I did take some breaks, though, and played through Last of Us again, which is like, one of my happy places (not necc. all of the Joel Killing Bloodshed stuff, but because it’s the video game version of The Road, and it’s complex and has great storytelling and has a great father/daughter relationship at its core and you should go play it right now), not the least of which is because (and i have no shame) Joel is so damn hot.
And, so, in an homage to my Joel, and because of my love for The Road, I’m going forth with The Mourning Wolves, my not-a-werewolf monster/transformation novel about Ash and her sidekick Fig, and the adventures they have in Northern Alberta. My hands hurt from typing 10 hours/day, but I’m kind of excited, too.
Fig’s foot is wet with blood. I pull his sock off, and grab at the hem of Yegor’s dress, I tug and tug until the fabric gives and then I’ve got a bandage. “Pressure will help but if you got broke bones then -“
He covers his mouth with his hand, wincing as I tug on the fabric, make a knot, tucking the ends under so it won’t come loose. “I’ll just slow you down.”
I shake my head. “It’s okay, Fig.” But it’s not and he knows it.
“I wasn’t lying when I said you kill me if you want.”
His hair’s a tangle and there’s still water in the corners of his eyes.I don’t apologize for falling asleep. For saying one thing, then doing the other. “Not a thing I’m doing. Witch’ll help.” I’d seen Yegor heal up worse.
“Ain’t a worse thing than witch,” Fig says in a sigh and I almost backhand him for being stupider than I thought possible.
“Witch might mean I don’t need to change your name to Lefty McHobbleston.”
I throw up my hands. “You scare me half to death again and I will leave you strung upside down in a tree with a note on your chest that’s all recommendations about what you’re good for. Understood?”
Fig nods. “Help me up?”
It’s still dark, maybe there’s enough heat the in the fire to start it up again.
I guess when I promised him I wouldn’t kill him, I should have clarified on purpose.
here’s the thing, I like writing first drafts. I like stories, I like being told them, and I like telling them. Second drafts, third drafts, they’re all about fixing the story, and I don’t like them as much. I find it laborious and frustrating. Perhaps (probably) because the fixes are more craft than inspiration. Mostly, they are perspiration. Editing tells me what I’m missing, reminds me what I need to add in, it challenges me on the characters I’ve built: do I know enough of who they are?
In truth, I don’t. I never do. I think of characters like people. I will never know the whole of who you are. In first drafts, characters surprise me. They come out of the wood work and stand there, on their awkward legs and introduce themselves and tell me a thing, or don’t, about who they are and what they want.
I know people that can mold characters into who they need to serve a purpose. I suppose my subconscious does that, but it’s definitely not happening in my forebrain. That is one of the reasons why I’m such a crappy outliner.
I wrote a framing statement for The Mourning Wolves, that was something like “in the County of Witchare, Sunday Mourning must join forces with a local wolf hunter to save the city” (it’s better than that, but I don’t have it here with me, so please just play along!).
Now that I’m writing it, however, I don’t even know if Sunday Mourning will show up. (I think Sunday Mourning is a great/hilarious name for an Urban Fantasy Heroinne, ps.) Right now, my main character is Ash, whose lover was killed by Salamander, a rogue werewolf hell-bent on destroying the county of Witchare, so he can then own the city of Saint Ailby. Ash is on the hunt for a witch to help her both interpret the marks she found in the abandoned house she crashed in, and help her with her anti-wolf weapons arsenal.
(there’s also a second story line about Jessie and Oleander, these kids that are just trying to get by, and Paja who is half healed from a werewolf attack and, of course, Salamander. Also, who names a murderous werewolf Salamander? OH WAIT, I DO!)
so, there’s Ash, all independent and grr and lone-wolfish, who sets out from her crash house to search for this witch dude she heard was around somewhere and not but five minutes out she runs into this kid, Fig, who is wandering about looking for food and water.
He also might be a werewolf.
What the hell happened to Sunday Mourning?
I HAVE NO IDEA.
Maybe Sunday is the witch dude? Maybe it’s just a delicious post dinner snack in the summer time? I got nothing.
All I know is that there is no point in me planning because whatever pre-work I put down on paper will be a giant fat lie within twenty minutes.
anyway, I guess I’m writing a novel about a 18ish year old (I’m always super bad at deciding specific ages for my characters, too. I’d rather know how they think and feel*) who decides, against her better judgement to protect a thirteen year old maybe-werewolf.
at least i’m keeping with my theme of makeshift, chosen families. That shit never gets old.
*yes, I know, thinking and feeling is inspired by our age, too. Anyway. *hand waves*
I hold the door open, Fig slips under the crook of my arm. The marks on the porch don’t trigger, wherever the witch went, she took their magic. Fig steps in and looks up, way up at the high ceilings. He turns his bag around front, but doesn’t let it go, hugs it like that, like safety.
“Bathroom’s upstairs.” I point, waving my finger.
I nod. “It’s okay.” Except I can’t guarantee that. I reach back, scratch at my spine. Things are crawling, like a warning. Sun’s down but the moon is quiet. “Your brother, he turn?”
Fig bites at his lip, dragging a tooth along the dried, cracked skin. There’s blood, a single drop he cleans up with his tongue. “Not full.”
Not full. Halfling, half-Moon, the worst and the kindest, both. “What about you?” Because I can’t ignore the warning in my bones.
“Don’t know yet,” Fig says, so honest my chest seizes up. “You kill me, you want.” His eyes, his ridiculous blue eyes are all water.
“Go upstairs,” I say, waving him off. “Get washed up. I’ll start a fire.”
He pauses, two seconds like he’s making sure what I’m saying isn’t lying, isn’t trying to catch him up, get him off guard.
“Go,” I say and the back of my neck is warm and I should open his heart, and he knows it and I know it.
the title of the book is The Mourning Wolves – there’s a reason for this, my MC/protag, gender TBD however leaning female, at least in theory, was supposed to be named Sunday Mourning, now, at around 5K, her name is Ash and she’s met a kid named Fig, and suddenly my solo-artist has turned into a duo or group. It’s fun to write, and makes me happy and is, on some level my Little Red Riding Hood book, which means I’m covering all kinds of tales, here.
Still not sure who Sunday Mourning is, but maybe she’s the wolf-hunter that Ash meets up with later, I’m sure my subconscious will tell me (or not), because she’s good at that (hardly).
I woke up this morning at 5am, for no particular reason, if you don’t count the 2 hour sleep I had between 5 and 7pm, and maybe the magnesium that I’ve started taking before bed for sleep and the spin class that turned me into a jelly fish. Not the scary kind either, the cute cartoon kind that just sort of flop around and look ridiculous.
I got ready before my alarm was set to go off, I wrote almost 600 words and ate a scone with devon cream and drank coffee from a local roaster. I did a couple of dishes and packed my lunch and had a chat with Dexter.
now I’m at work, and in 15 minutes, I will have, essentially, been working or commuting or doing a Thing for 4.5 hours. Six hours from now I’ll go to spin class and make dinner and maybe watch a Mr Robot with the feller, and then at 10pm I’ll probably fall over from snoozings.
Tomorrow I probably won’t randomly wake up at 5am, but for today it was good that I did.
I’m supposed to be working on the book that’s 30K, not the one that’s barely 2K, but let’s stop pretending I’m in charge around here:
I hold my knife in my left hand and throw it as hard as I can. A whistle, the vibration, the sound of wood, splitting. It’s all just practice, I’m not ambidextrous. I remember you and I, we went into the woods and shot at beer bottles and tin plates.
You were so beautiful before the Moon ripped out your throat, before you bled to death in my arms.
as a short story, The Mourning Wolves is a meagre couple thousand words. It doesn’t really do much except introduce three characters in three different spaces worried about three different, but also the same things. I moved pieces around and turned the first three scenes into three chapters, ASH, PAJA, SALAMANDER.
Ash, so far, is the protag, Paja is someone else. Antag, protag both. Salamander is my bad boy, or he might be a bad girl or maybe it doesn’t matter, maybe that’s Ash, too. Ash tells me gender doesn’t matter, but writing agender, or gender-fluid is a huge undertaking, or feels that way. I’m such an average, middle class cis-gendered, middle-aged white lady. When I think about writing what I know, which is an old acorn and not necessarily true, or even good advice (except when it is), I want to write not about what I know, but about who I know, my trans* friends, the folks I know, or will know who don’t consider themselves binary, my gay and lesbian friends and my straight cis-friends. My bi-friends. But good gods I don’t want to screw it up, either. I want the world I’m writing about to reflect the one I live in, which is the same one I lived in when I was small. Except in many ways this one is so, so much better, which doesn’t always say much.
in the untitled Gingerbread project, my MCs are ace (asexual) and bi, and they are in a relationship with each other, and it is heteroromantic, and it is not sexual, and it’s poly, too, and I’m not sure I got it right, but I’m trying. I read a lot, through asexuality.org and utilized my friend google, and I’m not sure if there’s enough identification within the book, because i want it to be clear. So that’s a note-to-self. I want the reader to know who Haven and Quince are, both to themselves and to each other. Gingerbread is a relationship book; if I did what I set out to do, it’s about Haven and Quince and their little brother growing up, it’s about Haven finding a father, it’s about sacrifice and letting go.
I’m not sure it’s there yet, but the mss is with some very smart people and they will tell me.
I think The Mourning Wolves is my loner book, although so is Ellis, maybe. Maybe also is Three-Tenths, Nine-Tenths, the languishing werewolf/baba-yaga book (oh, great, now i have TWO werewolf books. I’m using up all my themes in theme parks, here) that i think about finishing, sometimes.
I need a name for a diner.
I just started watching Dominion. Hot dudes that happen to be angels. It’s like I signed the cheque on this thing.