Saturday, June 20, 2009

New Stories~!

What I'm Listening To: The Dresden Dolls - Truce

What I'm Doing: Character creation for the newest, untitled story.

With Eversong complete to the first draft, and currently sitting with two of my best friends and awaiting edits/revisions by them, I've been going stir-crazy wanting to keep writing.

Unfortunately, it's not as easy as Eversong was, because for that, I had Mami's AftG to look forward to for every landmark wordcount I reached. Not to mention that all of my current 'WIPs' were having hate for me - M&M absolutely refuses to come out of hiding, and Perfect is at a stand-still as I try to figure Ally out.

I go out walking often, mostly because I can't drive, and if I need to sell or buy anything, I have to walk myself to the store to do so. With nothing to occupy me while I'm walking, I think about characters. The problem there-in is I don't write well with just characters. I've talked about this before; generally I get a story, and the characters come later to fill it in.

So I had some vague ideas, involving ghosts, a klepto-character, a pack-rat character, and some other even more obscure ideas that weren't even complete enough to call 'ideas.' But if I've said this once, I've said it a hundred times - I do NOT do well with just characters. So I had them all crowding around my brain, clamouring at me to write their stories, but no stories into which to put them all.

Gradually, a title came to me. Heaven's Halfway, and the main character would be Heaven. At first I thought she was the one involved with the ghosts, and it morphed into possession by the ghosts, but I couldn't make it work, and the ghosts went away altogether and left me with the notion that Heaven was a multiple. (If it's possible to have a 'favourite' mental disorder, then DID is mine. For those of you who aren't obsessed with it, it's commonly referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder, or more accurately, Disassociative Identity Disorder. Two really fantastic books dealing with it are When Rabbit Howls, a true story written by "The Troops for Trudi Chase" - she's been abused for so long, and so harshly, that there literally is NO Trudi Chase - there's just other personalities within her. Almost 100 total, and the MS for Rabbit was contributed to by most of them. I'd give my left hand to see the original, hand-written manuscript for it, because they said multiple times that the handwritings change as each alter wrote their part. The other is a fictional book by Jonathan Nasaw, called The Girls He Adored, and it's got two of my favourite things - crime, and DID. The main character is a multiple who generally goes by the name of Max, and he's kidnapping women with strawberry blonde hair for nefarious purposes. It follows him, his prison shrink, and the FBI agent on his tail.)

Anyway, where was I? *skims up* Oh yeah, so Heaven became a multiple. I've got the 'who' - Heaven and her alters - the 'what' - are on the run from her abusive ex boyfriend - but not the 'why', aside from the general "he's abusive."

But tonight I was going through old CDs of mine, and I found one called A Dark Cabaret, and it's full of ... well, dark cabaret songs. The Dresden Dolls, along with other, less well known artists, and they're some of my favourite songs. Very dark and still upbeat, full of piano and creepy lyrics ("knock three times on the coffin if you want my love")

Well, I was listening to it, and I suddenly had the image of a boy in a mental hospital, because he sees ghosts and demons and such. And I will admit freely that AftG had some influence on it (it's going to be 'gay fiction') and I immediately sat down and started writing. After a little while, I switched to the Dresden Dolls' CD, and started on character creation. (It was a desperate struggle to remind myself that my main character is Alexander and not Andrew)

Between Zander's Story (it has no name as of yet) and Heaven's Halfway, however, I started on the outline for what basically amounts to a fictional account of my life (my life, presented as fiction rather than a memoir) and I made it through chapter 13 (it starts when "I'm" twelve, and by 13 the story has reached "me" at age 18 - names are going to be changed, but not the events. I've led a dark and twisted life, or as dark and twisted as life can get without excessive drugs or murder.)

But it was heavy in my mind when I was thinking about Zander's story, and I realised that I can waste a lot of time with outlines, and Mami's words about how she writes without outlines (I can't recall her exact words offhand, and I'm afraid my computer will crash at any moment if I open too many things to look it up) went through my head, and I decided to simply get my main cast of characters down on paper, so I know who I'm dealing with, and then just write, and see what comes of it.

But the idea of writing with no way of knowing where it's going, or how it's going to get there is kinda terrifying to me. My first full length novel - Eversong - had outlines up the wazoo, as well as Mami's constant support. I'm going into Zander's story with... basically nothing but names. I'm worried that without a concrete ending in mind, the story will go nowhere.

Well, before this can turn into a whinge-fest, I'll wrap it up there. Sorry again about the radio silence, folks! Eversong and AftG took up a lot of my time these past few weeks.


  1. First of, let me say again, CONGRATU-FREAKIN'-LATIONS on completing your first draft of Eversong! It's exhilerating to actually look back and say, "Wow. All of that prep and all of that writing and here it is. My baby on paper. I did this." Best of luck with revisions, whenever that part begins :)

    Tell Mami to give you something else of hers to read, darn it! Or ... go get a couple of months that you're really exciting about and do the same thing with those--reward yourself by your writing. You can do it!

    Sometimes it's really hard to get moving on a story, even if you really want to. Often, when I get stuck and can't think of a scene, I skip it. I write something that's going to happen later in the story, or I write out a little bit of backstory to incorporate later. After that, one of 2 things happens: I'm still stuck, or the muse comes back, and I write write write away.

    I think about my characters all the time, especially when I'm driving to work or trying to fall asleep at night. Lines of dialogue, or character quirks, or physical imperfections pop into my head, and i have to jot them down somewhere. Like you, I normally get ideas for my character development like that, but that's also when my ideas are born.

    Ghosts and kleptos = right up my alley. And DID I LOVE (that sounds creepy, but I think you know what I mean). My sis is mastering in psych, so I talk to her about that one a lot; she's pretty intrigued with it herself. I'm not sure if you've seen United States of Tara, but if you haven't, you should give it a shot. It's hilarious ... and also sad without trying.

    And oooh, I love what your core concept for Zander's story. Ghosts + Demons + mental hospita = I'm there. :D

    Ahh ... the outline vs. no outline debate continues. I think with some stories, you really need one. At least a basic, beginning, middle, and end type of outline. Of all of the works you have going, I could see where it would be helpful to have an outline for Allie's story--based upon what I've ready about the intricacies of murder mysteries, it seems that many murder/suspense writers use them. But ... you can always write that as you go, and whatever doesn't match up in the beginning can be corrected in revisions.

    I always start knowing where I want my story to go, but it changes directions at least a dozen times before I actually get there. So my outline ends up with a bunch of branches (i.e., all over the place). But it helps me.

    Anywho ... off to watch 7 pounds w/the hubby.

    p.s. I commented back after yours comment on the Rain post :)

  2. Technically, revisions have already started. I did a once-through before I sent it to Mami, and then I handed it off to a friend of mine in Texas, too, who's been with it since the beginning, and they've both promised to read through and help me with revisions.
    Also, I think I mentioned how quickly Eversong's wordcount jumped in my reply on your blog, and I just moved some things out of the way (I can't get to my .... curio cabinet, so I've got some euros on my desk that have nowhere to go, and are just taking up space. I collect foreign coins like canadian coins, arabic coins, euros, etc.) I just realised how quickly Eversong jumped. On June 5th, my wordcount was 28k. By June 12th, I hit 75k. That's like... 45k in a week. OO; *boggles at self*

    Haha, I'm tempted to ask her for some of her other projects. But the only one I'm interested in reading at the moment is one she's totally rewriting - she's genre-jumped it from military sci-fi to what she calls fluff fantasy, so I don't really have any hope of wrangling it out of her yet. XD

    So far, Eden's Gate (did I mention that that's what I'm calling Zander's story? It's kind of a play on words, as the hospital they're at is called Edensgate, too.) is going ... pretty smoothly. I went through a bunch of CDs that my friends left behind, and have started on a playlist for it (another idea that I ganked from Mami) but I made mention on Twitter that looking at the 2k word count for EG after seeing 60k and 70k for Eversong is painful. And I've got some later scenes in my head, so I have a vague idea of where it's going, but not how it's gonna get there, and of course, I haven't the foggiest how it's going to end. XD
    But, the backstory idea is a good one. Back/Side stories are yet another idea that I ganked from Mami, and Eversong's got at least five so far, including a history of Eversong and some side-stories to minor characters. And that's just the first book. When I get started on 2 and 3, I'm positive that more stories will arrive.

    I need to start keeping a notebook beside my bed. I think about it all the time, but now that I've got my stories going through my head, I can't keep jumping up to go to the computer to write things down when I'm trying to sleep and I get an idea. XDD I did that for a monster that appears in Eversong; my mind was drifting, and it took shape, and I was like, "I'VE GOT TO DRAW THIS BEFORE I FALL ASLEEP BECAUSE I'LL NEVER REMEMBER IT IN THE MORNING." and so at like four in the morning I hopped up and went to draw the monster. XD

    I'm so jealous that you've got a sister mastering in psych. I think that if I could put it to any use, I would love a psych degree. But I dislike people as a general rule, and wouldn't be able to do anything with it. XD
    My love of DID is... something of a recent thing. It got started years ago when I read The Girls He Adored, but it really coalesced a few months ago when I found When Rabbit Howls. I haven't seen the Three Faces of Eve, or the other one ... Sybil, I think? either, and I've heard of the United States of Tara, but I think it's on HBO, and that's one channel we don't get, and my computer would die if I tried to watch it online. XD

  3. The problem I keep running into with EG is that I've... never been inside a mental hospital. XDD Movies like Session 9 don't count, and neither does an overwhelmingly freaky love of old buildings, so I have next to NO idea how they work. I did work in a nursing home for nearly two years, though, so most of what I've written so far for EG is based on my experiences there. And ghosts are a pet-passion of mine, as well, so it's pretty natural to incorporate them into a story.

    Eversong's the longest thing I've ever written, and I went into it knowing that I needed an outline, because most of my fanfics tend to trail off and die when I lose interest in them, or when the story spirals out of control, and I didn't want that to happen to Eversong, but I'm also... not really familliar with writing outlines? Because I've never had to do it before Eversong.

    And even then, it deviated from the outline I'd written to the point that I actually had to go in and add things for the end to make sense. (A character that was mentioned... ONCE in the beginning of the story suddenly came back at the end with a vengeance, and made herself into one of the most important pieces of the puzzle, and I was left going "OMFG WHERE DID YOU COME FROM? DDD8")

    Mami described writing as taking a long car trip without a map or directions, with the revisions being the part where you try to tell other people how you got where you ended up without all the side-trips and breakdowns. My fanfics generally start with an "I want to see this happen" - say, I see two of my favourite characters in a pub, so I write an entire story around getting them to the pub, and what happens in the pub, and why they're there, and what happens when they leave, etc. But my novels, so far, have been different. They start basically the same, but there's so much more that I've got to worry about, so I can't even say that I always start knowing where I want to go with it.