Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Building the Infrastructure of a Story

So sorry for no 2nd blog last week, and this one is a day late, mostly because I figured nobody was reading blogs yesterday...

So y'all know I've been trying to get writing again, yes? I've been very half-assed about it, but I really AM going to full on write in June, so I've spend the weekend developing character and backstory for my June effort. I don't fully outline, but I do need to do enough work to understand who is on the canvas and what drives them. I also like a bit of a timelie.

This is good. I am planning more than I usually do because I am feeling less confident, but I plan to give myself some leeway to stray, should better ideas appear.

BuNoWriMo begins next MONDAY, so anyone who wants to join is welcome! (we do it on Facebook)

June's Novel: Summer of Bones

This is the second in my Chatcolet series—this is a Young Adult series, each of which addresses a real teen issue, hopefully in a rounded way. The characters don't overlap (at least in my overall plan) and are just joined by broad location and tone. The first (Also Appearing) is about identity. This one is broadly about bullying and pranks (and how it can spin out of control).

So now I have a broad timeline that still needs some work.

I have my MC and her family (and a backstory for her family).

I have a cast of mean girls.

I have a group of boys (that is the reason the MC is targeted by the mean girls).

I have a frenemy.

I have a sympathetic quiet, reluctant person who will lend some guidance.

It just all needs to be a bit more concrete.

I even wrote a scene last night—not one that I'd USE but one to get to understand the relationship between my MC, Gabbi and her frenemy...

What about you? Who is joining me in writing a first draft in June? How much planning do you do? Are you ready?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Blood, Boobs, Carnage? Sounds like Game of Thrones to me

I have to admit to you that normally I can take or leave ALL these things. I don't object to them. I am not squeemish or prudish. I just also don't really NEED them. They don't necessarily add for me.

Why then, is my very favorite TV show ever so full of all three? [I read these books, too, but these descriptors in the books have far lower prominence, though they are there--how graphically depending largely on the PoV character at the time and how much they understand and would care to describe.]

[Minor spoilers included, though kept to a minimum other than the first episode and the one I think most of the world knows about]

Jaime pushing Bran out the window
The very first episode doesn't have ACTUAL blood--oh wait... there IS a beheading of a deserter of the Night's Watch--but what it lacks in blood it makes up for with two different incestuous scenes, which I think we will call a draw. Besides that, MOST episodes have blood. And there are boobs... I think Danaerys gets the first full boobal scene (yes that's a word—it means “all about boobs” though it might be Roz—a whore, so her boobage can be forgiven. And carnage? An eight year old boy is thrown out a window of a high tower for stumbling across one of those incest scenes mentioned. And there are hints that someone (John Arryn) was murdered.

It isn't the blood itself, but the implications
Favorite Blood in the Series

Oh, sure, there is gory death and battle blood. Lots of it. But I think the BLOOD MAGIC ("Only death can pay for life" and "There is Power in a King's Blood") has a lot more appeal to me. Also, there is a scene where Sansa wakes up from a dream of being raped (after she nearly was—it is a PTSD dream) to find she has “flowered” (moon's blood, aka: started her period)--this puts her in imminent danger as it means she is old enough to marry the sadistic young king.

They showed this from both angles, but in the interest of PG...
Favorite Boobs in the Series

Erm... this show has coined a phrase. “Sexposition”--when someone has to SAY something that can't be shown, then somebody in the scene is inevitably having sex to make it visually interesting... or something. I guess though, I forgive the boobage as it is one of few shows to not shy from full male nudity, too. The best scene this way is Hodor because it is largely so innocent. Hodor is believed to be part giant with great strength, but the wits and temperament of a sweet three year old. He comes out of a pool to find Bran, Osha and Rickon and Osha raises an eyebrow, “Now there's a big man” and Bran tells Hodor to put his clothes on. Hodor has no clue he's been inappropriate (and in a better world, neither would anybody else--it's just nakedness). It just is this sweet, comedic nakedness.

Nobody is safe. Nobody.
My Favorite Carnage

Man, this show is so full of it. And my favorite scenes this way are favorites not because they were “good” but because they were full on wrenches to the gut. The first is in season one and even people totally unfamiliar probably know: killing the person we all thought was the MC. Then there is the George RR Martin Wedding Planner thing... and the trials by combat... In short, I like the carnage in this show because it has proven to have such power as a game changer. Anyone is expendable, which increases the tension all the time. And tables can turn in an instant. This series took a lot of inspiration from War of the Roses, which is actual history, and I think this piece is where that is most powerfully displayed.

So I encourage you to go check out the other participants. And what about you? Do you like violence? Nudity? What is your favorite book, TV show or movie that is heavy on these?

Monday, May 11, 2015


You know what I don't see much of in books? People who don't like each other but are stuck pursuing a common goal. It is comedy gold and a really beautiful opportunity for character growth, but it had not occurred to me until just a few days ago that I should be taking advantage of this beautiful dynamic. I am definitely going to include it in my next book, but I thought in the meantime I'd talk about a few frenemy pairings that I really love.

Buffy and Cordelia

Cordelia is the self-appointed society queen at Sunnydale High and in comes Buffy who doesn't care about all that because she is busy fighting the vampires, but somehow Cordelia always ends up in the middle of it, snobbing her way along and learning and growing. Several times Buffy and Cordelia have to actually work together or DIE... it is great humor at first, but that growth stuff eventually makes it emotional and we are rooting for reformed Cordy.

Joss Whedon uses this a lot. Even just within Buffy there is also Buffy and Faith and Buffy and Spike. Or on Firefly there is Jayne with just about anyone...

Legolas/Gimly (at least initially)

The Fellowship of the Ring needed representatives from the different peoples, but dwarves and elves are notoriously anti-the-other. It really because noticeable when nine was narrowed to three. Loved their banter.

Percy Jackson and Clarisse

Not many people in the Half Blood Camp like Percy, but Clarice is a special kind of bully. Daughter of Aries, she is made for war, not love, and she is not thrilled to have a son of the “big three” (Zeus, Poseiden and Hades are sort of a tier above the other gods) show up. Needless to say there is a TON of posturing, but eventually Percy needs her and manages to convince her to help.

Dorian and Vicky (from One Life to Live)

You may not be soap fans and the show has been off the air for two years now, but these two divas from rival rich families, having affairs with each other's family members and friends... (you know soaps) but the show gave them some brilliant moments of danger where they had to work together and they were comedic gold and tear jerkers all in one.

Soap operas broadly have made good use of this: competing divas. Whether the day soaps or the prime time ones.

Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire has a couple pairs

Brienne/Jaime: originally captor and captive and a rather mean back and forth but Brienne earns the respect of the snob and they grow to respect each other (is it love? The jury is still out but I think it miight be).

Arya/The Hound: Again, captive/captor but he becomes a sort of twisted mentor to her, teaching her survival skills she very much needs.

In all these cases there is a giant benefit from the comedy potential and the character growth possible from having to learn to work with someone a character doesn't like. Who are your favorite frenemies?

So I am not doing a second blog this week as I have travels for work but I will be back Monday for the blood, boobs and violence blogfest!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

IWSG May 2015: Inertia

A body in motion stays in motion.
A body at rest stays at rest.

Too long my writing muscles have been at rest. Those of you who've been here in the last few months may know I hit a setback in January and have been spinning my wheels since. Reading a lot—this is good as I once again am in awe of good writing, but because I've been reading bestsellers and award winners I am also feeling unworthy. I am not Maggie Stiefvader. Sadly. I can tell when I read her how much she knows about various mythologies and near magics kinds of things. I can tell she's done her research.

Do you know what happens when I do research?
I fall down a rabbithole and find way too many interesting things that I can't seem to find the willpower to NOT include and I end up with a hot mess of stuff not relevant to the story.

I definitely have to do my research at first revision. But it looks like having a basic knowledge base would be REALLY nice... ah well.

But rabbitholes aren't my current problem. My current problem is I have been sitting still and getting going is seeming to be REALLY HARD. I think maybe I've turned into a slug.

So my PLAN... I think I am going to PLOT like crazy this month... get my idea files caught up so I don't have scraps of paper everywhere... get my plot for my next book in order, and gear up for BuNoWriMo.

WHAT is BuMoWriMo?

My writing group began in 2010 to do a SECOND WriMo in June. NaNoWriMo has begun a summer camp then and that is all well and good, but we had June first, AND our little group all gets to know each other so the discussions are more personal and encouraging, IMHO. If anyone would like to join, you are welcome. We do it on Facebook, as that is easiest, since I don't have a clue about running a website.

BuNoWriMo on Facebook

Monday, May 4, 2015

A to Z Recap and Assessment

This was such a good delve back into blogging for me. Not that I was wildly successful... I mean I DID get a blog up for every letter (two recycled from the past, but 24 fresh content). But I learned a ton about what was and was not realistic for me as a BLOGGER—meaning a person who not only posts content, but gets around to visit new people.

To be an authentic blogger—part of the community—a person both needs to blog regularly AND visit OTHER bloggers regularly. This second piece has always been more of a problem for me but it had been two years since I'd had a month of trying to blog nearly daily and I had forgotten how this fell.

Monday has some flexibility for me. My work week starts a bit slowly and I can steal a bit of time. I was able to get to a reasonable number of blogs on Mondays and expect I could maintain it. Then, from about noon Monday my job picks up and stays crazy. If I do well, I can MAYBE back visit those who visit me, but that is about the extent of it. Then Friday, I can get a bit of time again...

With that in mind, I think I will go forward blogging twice a week—Monday more seriously and Thursday or Friday lightly (as in silly or funny).

But this month of frantic writing was ALSO good for me on another front.

In January I had a couple writing setbacks that really sort of threw me into a funk. I've hardly written since. Nearly nothing. I had my confidence shaken and just have not been able to face it. This month of drabbling has given me back my sense of whimsy, which allows me to play a little, rather than being so worried about quality which has stopped me up for the last few months.

So overall, THANK YOU A to Z!!!

In other news, I have added a Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire blog because I find I am obsessed and needed an avenue, if anyone is interested.