Saturday, October 30, 2010

I Will Know My Name as It's Called Again

This is just... an amazing song.  It's inspiring and uplifting and hopeful and determined and beautiful.  All the things I need right now. Thanks, Angus, for showing it to me.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Working Title!

Rue des Morts!  I was talking with T. Mirai about titles for our NaNo stories.  We're both writing stories set in New Orleans, though hers is modern.  She has a title for her story already, whereas I do not.  Though she doesn't have a name for her main character, whereas I do, so I don't feel too bad. XD 

Anyway, I was looking at a picture on of a lane in a New Orleans cemetery.  I'm not terribly poetic, but the first words that came to mind when I looked at that picture were "rue des morts," which translates to "street of the dead."  I have no idea how it will relate to my story or even if it will, but it's a decent working title, so I won't have to call my story's file "NaNo."  <_<

Thursday, October 28, 2010

So I'm Going in Another Direction...

The other night, I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep, and since that was failing stupendously I started thinking about my NaNo story.  I decided I might as well make good use of my insomnia.  So I started thinking about Caleb and Jaime and what to do with them.  And I came up with... bupkis.  They refused to talk to me.  I have very little in the way of character development for them beyond a general impression of what kind of people they are, and vague ideas of what they might actually do for the duration of 50,000 words.  Needless to say, I started to feel some doubt that I can actually pull this off.

Then I was suddenly T-boned by another idea.  A character I created years ago and have never really forgotten jumped in my head, and he brought his entire world with him.  I started grudgingly thinking about him and his world, leaving Jaime and Caleb to frolic in their ambivalence.  This new (old) character's name is Jerome Roland Broussard.  He goes by Romy.  He lives in 1929 New Orleans.  The mood of the story is mysterious and mystical.  Romy is half Cajun, half yankee, and was orphaned at a young age.  He was raised by his grandparents in New Orleans, and his upbringing was steeped in voodoo and folk magic and lore.  All of that seems far away to him now that he's grown, however. 

Romy is a private investigator.  He used to be a cop, but he was also involved with the mob.  He and Sylvestro Carolla, aka Silver Dollar Sam, who is the head of the New Orleans mob, were friends as young men or teenagers, and this friendship carried on into adulthood, where it developed into a partnership between the police force and the mob until something significant happened (not sure what) to make Romy quit the force, question his life, and try to leave his friendship with Carolla behind.  Of course Carolla isn't happy with this.  He has tried, numerous times, to talk some sense into Romy, only to fail at bringing him back on board.  You can imagine how much he hates to fail.

All that is back story.  The story will actually start after Romy has been a private investigator for a while.  He's divorced, does not get to see his little girl, and he's quite miserable.  He hasn't been working much, and he owes money he can't repay.  It doesn't seem like he has much to live for.  He comes home one evening with his suicide all planned out.  However, everything is thrown off track when he discovers a woman waiting for him in his home.  She wants to hire him to find out someone's real identity--her own.  She has no idea who she is, and has no memories of her past beyond a couple years ago.

After some deliberation, Romy agrees to put off his own demise to help her out.  He can always kill himself tomorrow.

I realize this is going in a completely different direction than my original idea, but... I've always wanted to write an urban fantasy, and I am absolutely enchanted with this idea.  I have more characters for it, and I have the basis for a plot, even if I don't have the plot points worked out yet.  So... yeah.  <_<  At least I figured it out now.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wake me up when November comes.

Plodding along through October, jobless and depressed.  At the end of the month, I'll get my bonus from the driver guide job, and that should be at least five hundred dollars, so that will be a little relief.  I've managed to procure a ferry ticket out of here, though.  I'll be leaving Juneau on November 16th and arriving in Bellingham, WA on the 19th.  From there, I'll be driving to Ellensburg, WA to stay with family.  Alaska was an adventure, but it wasn't what I'd hoped it would be.  In fact, it was nothing I hoped it would be.  I"ll be glad to be somewhere else.

Good news is, three days on a ferry will give me plenty of time to write, since I won't have anything else to do.  I've been developing ideas for my Wrimo story, and the research for it it has taken me in some interesting directions.  For instance, Catholic views on assisted suicide. (They oppose it. Surprised?  Me, neither.) 

I've also downloaded a trial version of the art program PaintTool SAI.  It's amazing in just about every aspect I have discovered so far.  Line art is so fricken easy in this program.  And the software itself is so much lighter than Photoshop.  It downloaded in about four seconds.  When the trial runs out in 31 days, I'll probably try to buy it.  It's only about 55 bucks, U.S.  Compared to Photoshop, for which even an older version costs over a hundred dollars, that's pretty damn good.  For my purposes, which is just digital inking and digital coloring, SAI seems like a great program.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sticks and Stones

A friend of mine, who is also a writer that I greatly admire, wrote an amazing post on her LiveJournal about the recent news on the kids committed suicide because of bullying.

i get told all the time how over-sensitive i am. a lot of times, when i do get angry, the people i know contribute it to and brush it off as my "being too sensitive." like this is a bad thing. pain is not bad. emotional pain, like physical pain, is HELPFUL. it lets you know when something is WRONG. ignoring physical pain can lead to permanent injury. the same could be said for emotional pain. and yet, people are told not to be so sensitive to pain all the fucking time.

this past summer, i was really depressed. i wrote sparingly about it on my own LJ.  what i didn't mention was that it got worse. i had never felt so low. i felt dismal every day. i had crying spells every day. i cried myself to sleep more often than i like to think about. it got bad enough that i actually contemplated suicide. that was when i really knew something was wrong and i needed help. i knew that wasn't normal, and that by ignoring my pain, or just waiting for it to end, it was only going to get worse.

i went to a non-profit psych clinic here in Juneau and talked to someone, and i got the help i needed. and no one told me i was "being too sensitive." it was the most wonderful feeling to have my emotions validated. for someone to tell me that my pain mattered, and that i didn't have to carry it alone.

there was also a poster in the waiting room of this clinic. it was a poster speaking out against domestic abuse with a help line, and that sort of thing. and what the poster said was this:

"Why does she stay with him?" Except that the word "she" was scratched out and replaced with "he" and "stay with him" was scratched out and replaced with "hit her?" you hear that all the time, "Why does she stay with him? Why doesn't she leave? Why does she put up with it?" the blame is on the victim for staying! but it occurred to me that i have never heard anyone ask that. no one EVER asks, "Why does he hit her? Why does he hurt her? Why doesn't he stop?" no one ever asks the right questions, and the tendency in this society to lay the responsibility on the victim of any form of violence or abuse is sickening.

665: Neighbor of the Beast

As November draws closer, I'm starting to get that panicky feeling in my gut.  You know the one.  That feeling of an impending assignment.  A project that you know will be crucial, and you still have no idea what you're even going to do, but it's hanging over your head all the same.  I get that way when I do art commissions.  I actually still have two art commissions that I owe a couple people.  Luckily, they're friends of mine, so they don't hound me.  One of them is also an artist and she knows what it's like to have commissions hanging over you like a shroud.  That's not really an excuse not to do her drawing, of course.

But I digress.  The panicky feeling I'm getting this time is, of course, about NaNoWriMo.  It's been over a year since I sat down and composed anything longer than a few hundred words, and in November I will expect myself to write 50,000 words inside of 30 days.  That's 1,666 words a day.  If I were religious I might be worried, but if I break it down into words per week I get 12,500, and that just sounds like a whole lot more.  I'll try to get cozy with the number of the beast.

 I am working on Caleb's character development, filling out the questionnaire in my last post for him.  After that, I'll do one for Jaime, and then one for Jameson.  Even though he's dead.  It's critical I know as much about him as I know about the other two as he may make an appearance, and he will be a huge part of the driving plot regardless if he's physically around or not. 

(It's 3:33, make a wish!)

I'm unsure whether I want to try to carefully plot my story out, or if I want to just... let it happen.  I get the feeling I'll be sorry if I do that.  Here I have three weeks left to plan, and I could put this time to good use.  I could give some serious thought to the content of the story.  I could do what a lot of writers do, and jot down notes on index cards.  I could write down notes for scenes that I know I want to happen.  I could tack them to my wall and rearrange their order.  I could draw story arc charts.  I could make time lines.  I could do all this inside three weeks, easy.

Or, I could do what a colossal number of writers do who just trust their creativity to get them where they need to go, even if they don't know what their destination actually is.  Going that route, your creativity is like a pair of headlights at night.  You have no map (or GPS, let's get real, who uses a map anymore?).  You can only see a little ways in front of you, but you can make the whole trip that way.

I don't know which approach I'm going to take yet.  I should probably get on that.

As a side note: anyone from upstate New York?  Or know anyone from there?  Caleb grew up in the finger lakes region, and as a result, he doesn't speak with a Brooklyn accent.  Rather, he would have an accent closer to the upstate counties.  I just want to get a handle on how he would talk, and if there are any phrases he might use in lieu of others (like the universal questions of "soda" vs. "pop," "bucket" vs. "pail," and "cupboard" vs. "cabinet").  I don't want someone reading my story and being thrown by what I would consider a small detail.  What I might consider small might mean the difference of authenticity for someone else. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

How well do you REALLY know your character?

The Basics: Answer these questions from your own point of view about your character.

Current residence:

Birth order:
Relationship with siblings:

Skin color:
Face shape:

Speech patterns:
Educational background:
Intelligence level:
Mental Illness:
Learning experiences:
Sees himself as:
Believes others see him as:
Ruled by:
What would embarrass him:
What would shame him:

How he deals with anger:
Deals with sadness:
Deals with stress:
Deals with conflict:
Deals with change:
Deals with loss:
Does he have any goals:
What motivates him:
What does he want to change about himself:
What frightens him:
What angers him:
What makes him happy:
Is he judgmental:
Is he generous:
Is he polite or rude:
Is he religious:

The Nitty Gritty: Answer the rest of these questions from the point of view of your character.

Mandatory Questions

1. What about you is heroic?
2. What about you is social? What do you like about people?
3. Of what benefit could you be to the current group?
4. Why would you choose to join the current group?
5. Invent an adventure/plot that your character would actively undertake (as opposed to just tagging along)?

Personal Questions

1. What is your real, birth name? What name do you use?
2. Do you have a nickname? What is it, and where did you get it?
3. What do you look like? (Include height, weight, hair, eyes, skin, apparent age, and distinguishing features)
4. How do you dress most of the time?
5. How do you "dress up?"
6. How do you "dress down?"
7. What do you wear when you go to sleep?
8. Do you wear any jewelry?
9. In your opinion, what is your best feature?
10. What's your real birth date?
11. Where do you live? Describe it: Is it messy, neat, avant-garde, sparse, etc.?
12. Do you own a car? Describe it.
13. What is your most prized mundane possession? Why do you value it so much?
14. What one word best describes you?

Familial Questions

1. What was your family like?
2. Who was your father, and what was he like?
3. Who was your mother, and what was she like?
4. What was your parents’ marriage like? Were they married? Did they remain married?
5. What were your siblings’ names? What were they like?
6. What's the worst thing one of your siblings ever did to you? What's the worst thing you've done to one of your siblings?
7. When's the last time you saw any member of your family? Where are they now?
8. Did you ever meet any other family members? Who were they? What did you think of them?

Childhood Questions

1. What is your first memory?
2. What was your favorite toy?
3. What was your favorite game?
4. Any non-family member adults stick out in your mind? Who were they, and how did you know them? Why do they stick out?
5. Who was your best friend when you were growing up?
6. What is your fondest, childhood memory?
7. What is your worst childhood memory?

Adolescent Questions

1. How old were you when you went on your first date?
2. It is common for one's view of authority to develop in their adolescent years. What is your view of authority, and what event most affected it?
3. What were you like in high school? What "clique" did you best fit in with?
4. What were your high school goals?
5. Who was your idol when you were growing up? Who did you first fantasize about in your life?
6. What is your favorite memory from adolescence?
7. What is your worst memory from adolescence?

Occupational Questions

1. Do you have a job? What is it? Do you like it? If no job, where does your money come from?
2. What is your boss or employer like? (Or publisher, or agent, or whatever.)
3. What are your co-workers like? Do you get along with them? Any in particular? Which ones don't you get along with?
4. What is something you had to learn that you hated?
5. Do you tend to save or spend your money? Why?

Likes & Dislikes Questions

1. What hobbies do you have?
2. Who is your closest mundane friend? Describe them and how you relate to them.
3. Who is your worst mundane enemy? Describe them and why you don't get along.
4. What bands do you like? Do you even pay attention?
5. What tape or CD hasn't left your player since your purchased it? Why?
6. What song is "your song?" Why?
7. What's been your favorite movie of all time?
8. Read any good books? What were they?
9. What do you watch on the Television?
10. When it comes to mundane politics, do you care? If so, which way do you tend to vote? If not, why don't you care?
11. What type of places do you hang out in with your mundane friends?
12. What type of places do you hang out in with your normal friends?
13. What annoys you more than anything else?
14. What would be the perfect gift for you?
15. What's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?
16. What time of day is your favorite?
17. What kind of weather is your favorite?
18. What is your favorite food? What is your least favorite food?
19. What is your favorite drink? (Coffee, Coke, Juice, Beer, Wine, etc.)
20. What's your favorite animal? Why?
21. Do you have any pets? Do you want any pets? What kind?
22. What do you find most relaxing? (Not as in stress relief, but as something that actually calms you down.)
23. What habit that others have annoys you most?
24. What kind of things embarrass you? Why?
25. What don't you like about yourself?
26. How would you like to look?

Sex & Intimacy Questions

1. Would you consider yourself straight, gay, bi, or something else? Why?
2. Who was the first person you had sex with? When did it happen? What was it like? How well did it go?
3. Have you ever had a same-sex experience? Who with, what was it like, and how did it go?
4. What is your deepest, most well-hidden sexual fantasy? Would you ever try it?
5. What was the wildest thing you've ever done, sexually? Who was it with and when did it happen?
6. Is there any sexual activity that you enjoy and/or practice regularly that can be considered non-standard? (Bondage, Fantasy Play, etc.) Why do you like it?
7. Is there any sexual activity that you will not, under any circumstances, do?
8. Do you currently have a lover? What is their name, and what is your relationship like? What are they like? Why are you attracted to them?
9. What is the perfect romantic date?
10. Describe the perfect romantic partner for you.
11. Do you ever want to get married and have children? When do you see this happening?
12. What is more important - sex or intimacy? Why?
13. What was your most recent relationship like? Who was it with? (Does not need to be sexual, merely romantic.)
14. What's the worst thing you've done to someone you loved?

Drug & Alcohol Questions

1. How old were you when you first got drunk? What was the experience like?
Did anything good come out of it? Did anything bad come out of it?
2. Do you drink on any kind of regular basis?
3. What kind of alcohol do you prefer?
4. Have you ever tried any other kind of "mood altering" substance? Which one(s)? What did you think of each?
5. What do you think of drugs and alcohol? Are there any people should not do? Why or why not?

Morality Questions

1. What one act in your past are you most ashamed of? What one act in your past are you most proud of?
2. Have you ever been in an argument before? Over what, with who, and who won?
3. Have you ever been in a physical fight before? Over what, with who, and who won?
4. What do you feel most strongly about?
5. What do you pretend to feel strongly about, just to impress people?
6. What trait do you find most admirable, and how often do you find it?
7. Is there anything you think should not be incorporated into the media or art (sex, violence, greed, etc.,)? If so, what and why, and if not, why not?
8. Do you have any feelings in general that you are disturbed by? What are they? Why do they disturb you?
9. What is your religious view of things? What religion, if any, do you call your own?
10. Do you think the future is hopeful? Why?
11. Is an ounce of prevention really worth a pound of cure? Which is more valuable? Why do you feel this way?
12. What's the worst thing that can be done to another person? Why?
13. What's the worst thing you could actually do to someone you hated?
14. Are you a better leader or follower? Why do you think that? If you think the whole leader-follower archetype is a crock of shit, say so, and explain why?
15. What is your responsibility to the world, if any? Why do you think that?
16. Do you think redemption is possible? If so, can anyone be redeemed, or are there only certain circumstances that can be? If not, why do you think nothing can redeem itself?
17. Is it okay for you to cry? When was the last time you cried?
18. What do you think is wrong with MOST people, overall?

Post-Supernatural Awareness Questions

1. When did you go through whatever made you supernatural? What was it like (in your opinion)?
2. What do you think now of being supernatural? Is it cool, or have you been screwed?
3. Do you have a mentor? Who are they? How did you become their student?
4. Do you have any magical items? Where did you get them?
5. What do you think of the other denizens of the World of Darkness? Why for each? (If you haven't met something, do you think it exists, and if it does, is that bad or good?)
6. Think of a major event that happened during your training/initiation. What was it?
7. What is something you had to learn during your training that you hated? Why did you hate it?

Miscellaneous Questions

1. What is the thing that has frightened you most? Do you think there is anything out there that's scarier than that? What do you think that would be?
2. Has anyone or anything you've ever cared about died? How did you feel about it? What happened?
3. What was the worst injury you've ever received? How did it happen?
4. How ticklish are you? Where are you ticklish?
5. What is your current long term goal?
6. What is your current short term goal?
7. Do you have any bad habits? If so, what are they, and do you plan to get rid of them?
8. If you were a mundane person, what would you do with your life? What occupation would you want, and how would you spend all your time?
9. What time period do you wish you had lived in? Why? (Looking at this as an attempt to change history doesn't count.) What appeals to you about this era?
10. How private of a person are you? Why?
11. If you were to gain an obscenely large sum of money (via an inheritance, a lawsuit, a lottery, or anything else) what would you do with it?
12. What would you wish for if you found a genie?
13. What do you do when you are bored?
14. What is the most frightening potential handicap or disfigurement you can conceive of? What makes it so frightening?