Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Going dark

Okay, as most of you know, I try to keep 99% of my personal life off this blog and only talk about writing, art, and things like that. The few personal bits I post on here are usually unimportant details like walking my dog.

A few of you know I'm currently fighting with lawyers as I'm mid-separation/divorce.

I never post about that because, hey, I don't think dwelling on bad things is good for anyone, and I am trying to take the higher-ground.

Well, things just got ugly. To the point where my ex's lawyer has found a way to use this, my personal writing blog, as ammunition.

I am... emotionally and psychologically devastated at this newest development, and as such, I'm shutting down for a while.

I will not be posting, and I will not be answering email. I'm also pretty much withdrawing from NaNo this year.

Sorry, but this is taking up all my head-space, I have to deal with it now, and with my full concentration.

I'll be back when I'm back.

Please, no one take this personally.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Where surprises take you

Well, the thing I didn't expect to happen on Saturday, but did... it makes sense now why the story veered off-path, and I see it coming back on track shortly. In fact, I see it hooking up with this scene soon.

That's the thing I love most about pantsing. I really do trust my brain to know where things are headed, even if the knowledge exists in the spiderwebby crooks, far out of reach from my probing, questioning consciousness.

Somehow, if I just keep writing, I get there.

Oh, and there are now a couple of new secondary characters in the cast... including the cutest tiny soccer playing Korean girl EVER... too bad Jay proves, yet again, to be a complete and total ass... She will be back though, 'cause I like writing her :D

I don't base characters on people I know in real live, but there is a bit of her that's reminiscent of a couple friends I had in high-school (both Korean), and a friend of mine now who is very tiny (4'10") and plays soccer (she's Spanish though... and I was also thinking of her a lot when writing Donny's 'Mexican-jokes', as she hates it when people assume she's Mexican).

It's more the attitude/personality that all those three friends have in common than inspired this one side character, where I can imagine any of them reading her dialogue out loud and it sounding 'right'.

Not so much favourites, but a couple of very "Jay" lines:

Platitudes really aren’t my thing, and that’s what apologies are. Meaningless, trite, and rarely interesting, even if they are supposed to hold significance of some kind.
While I can appreciate that Kell may have misunderstood, I still don’t think I was wrong.
Another thing about apologies, they’re rarely genuine. Instead, they’re simply a tactic to reach compromise.

Things I looked up today in Google:

Sennelier oil paint, the brand made and sold in Paris near École des Beaux-Arts, and used by Monet, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, and others -> Jay is just entitled enough to use the same paint the *greats* used, and I wanted a consistent 'pallet' of colours in which he 'sees' the world around him, but I'm not going to worry about that until my first round of edits.

I know most paint you buy now is synthetic pigments, but I wanted a refresher of which ones used to have stuff like arsenic in them (greens) and other toxic minerals like lead (whites), cadmium (red/yellow), and cobalt (blues).

Google failed me in answering one question: I couldn't find if they still use gold as a component in some purple paints... I know they do in oil paints for porcelain, but I'm not sure about for canvas painting as the minerals in porcelain paints actually fuse into the surface during firing, which obviously, isn't the case with canvas. It's not a big deal since it would be such a tiny detail to put in, so I'm just going to move forward and perhaps do a more thorough search during edits.

Things I did today instead of writing:

I watched the second tv episode of 'Dracula', and episode #3 of 'Reign'. I've never really been a big tv watcher (haven't bothered with cable in years...), but these two shows looked interesting enough that I'll give them a fair chance.

I went out and bought pet food. Berkeley (thankfully) has not been throwing up the latest brand of chicken food I bought a couple weeks ago... he's plain refused to eat it and has noticeably lost weight. SO, I managed to hunt up a store that sells the old brand he used to eat in Victoria... sigh... fingers crossed?

Had lunch out with my mom :)

I bought a timer so a small light in my bedroom will turn on about 30 minutes before my alarm goes off. I've done this in the past around November, because when I wake up in the pitch dark, all I want to do is slug in bed and I'm drowsy all day. Having the light already on when I wake up seems to counteract that and fool my brain & body into thinking I've slept more than I really have. Boo, Industrial Revolution... I'd rather go back to the pre-IR days when people got up with the sun, no matter what time of year.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Slapping characters and being surprised

Number of times I've wanted to slap Jay for the elitist, arrogant crap that falls out of his mouth:


Things about Donny that surprised me today:

He's popular!
He knows Kell's real name!
He has her phone number...?

Things that I was expecting to happen in this writing day, which didn't:

Kell going to Jay's place and, y'know, moving the plot forward...

Things I was NOT expecting to happen, which did:

Jay... pulling another idiotic stunt out of frustration/misguided jealousy/loneliness

Things I REALLY hope no one ever thinks are my own opinions:

Jay's outlook towards his private school
Jay's opinion of the girls who attend said school... wow, bitter much?
Jay's opinion of... well, everyone...

EDIT: Things I found out, and now have to go back and change:

The story timeline... which will mean a lot of tinkering with existing description/etc. See, the PSA contest deadline is the beginning of March... and since this story currently starts around the middle of March... yeah, I'll have to go back and work all that around the contest deadline so he has a reasonable time to actually paint something.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The power of Google, vomit jokes, and the 'A-word'

Things I looked up today on Google while hitting, and then exceeding the daily NaNo wordcount goal:

École des Beaux-Arts/École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts
the hippocampus
Japanese hand saws

Number of vomit jokes written:

 2, including one involving a cat.

Number of times I typed the 'A-word': 


Number of times Kell has screwed with Jay's head (and rightly so):


Favourite line(s) of the day:

Oh shit. I'm going to have to take my pants off.
"Abracadabra my ass."
"Those tight panties of yours aren't just cutting off the flow of blood to your balls, they're cutting off your sense of humour, too."

(okay, why, when Jay and Donny get together do they act/talk like they're 12?)

Favourite image(s) of the day:

Donny in a pink frilly apron making sandwiches.

Things I found out that I didn't know already:

Jay's run out of scars... now what?
Somehow, Kell has more patience than I thought... I was expecting a blow-up by now.

Things I want to know:

When is Kell going to blow-up? It's kinda gotta happen soon...

NOW, it's time to walk Eva as it's 5:27pm and normally we're back from our second walk by this time.

Switching voices and the first day of NaNo

My brain has been full of 'The Rules of Riding Shotgun' these past couple of weeks. I think I've read through the entire manuscript 7 or 8 times.

I re-read the start of 'Scarlight' yesterday to prepare for NaNo, and I already noticed a few things I'm going to have to watch for when swapping voices from the anonymous MC of 'Shotgun' to the cynical/bitter Jay from 'Scarlight'.

I wanted the MC to sound really anxious, so s/he has these really long run-on sentences that leave you breathless, and partially formed half-sentences (usually starting with 'and' or 'but') since I wanted to mirror Triss' car, the way it struggles to get going, but when it does, it's going fast and the brakes don't work very well. I know that's something no one's picked up in the story, and I don't care. It was there for myself, 'cause I'm, 'know, just slightly over-analytical about weird things :)

Jay, on the other hand, is really eloquent/learned, but he shifts fast between almost bored disinterest, and sharp, cutting comments/observations. He's a little unstable, but fiercely fighting to always seem in control. I'm thinking about different brush strokes when I write Jay's voice, at how different amounts of pressure and lift can completely change the depth and breadth.

The two characters really aren't that similar, and I'm pretty careful about giving characters different voices, even in their thoughts, but sometimes things leak in accidentally... and since I've spent so much time (lately) in MC's head, I don't want any of that getting on Jay. (See? MC's voice right there! I only noticed while doing a final edit/check of this post.)

Some of the 'Shotgun' MC words/phrases:

I swear
any excessive description having to do with the heart, breathing, and/or temperature
jacked up
messed up
any metaphors/similes having to do with cars/engines/driving/music
starting sentences with 'and' or 'but'
comparing normal/crazy
fight/flight instinct

Strangely enough, out of all of those, I think the "starting sentences with 'and' or 'but'" is going to be the hardest to weed out, and it'll have to be something I purposefully go back and check for.

Jay is definitely more biting/sarcastic in the way he notices things, and since he's an artist, he sees/thinks more by colour/shape/light/etc than by temperature and proximity (the MC has a really strong 'thing' about touching). Jay has a touching thing too, but it's a desire to touch, rather than an aversion.

One small thing I know now, after re-reading 'Scarlight' (well, the 15,000 words I have written of it) is where Kell lives. There was a funny, dangling little paragraph I had written at the end of the file, and I had no idea if it even belonged in the story or not, but it clicked... it's where Kell lives.

Now, of all the things I have to watch for, there are several things I know are going to be 'repeated', since they're in every story I write:

1) There's always at least one vomit reference/joke

2) There's always something about a cat (even just a reference, or something somewhat disgusting, like in 'Shotgun')

3) Tactile sensations are always very important, as is colour and temperature.

4) Now that I'm keeping that dangling scene, there's also a shower scene :) ...and if you were around back when I was first drafting 'Shotgun', you might remember that the shower scene was pretty much my favourite scene to write in the entire story. Mostly, 'cause it was funny. But maybe it was a scene only I would find funny...

5) I think the one factor that's always in any story I write, even in the short flash fiction pieces, is my characters are always missing something fundamental, something that makes them decidedly less human, or stunted, when compared to those around them. Probably my 'Shotgun' MC is missing the most (even his/her gender!), but finding the missing piece of themselves is always a very large part of their character arcs.

Jay is... hmmm, missing empathy, I suppose. He feels he's been betrayed & ditched so many times that he no longer knows how to connect with other people, and has no desire to. He's a little sociopathic when you get right down to it, but in a sad sortof way.

Yeah... I really DO write 'unlikable' characters, don't I?

Well, I'm going to walk Eva, then sit down and whack out my 1,667 words for the day.

How about you guys? Whether you're doing NaNo or not, how do you prepare to swap into the right voice of a particular story? Do you have a playlist, or re-read the last page you wrote? How do you ensure you're sticking with a character's unique voice and don't let another character's (or your own!) leech in?