LTTP LP: New Vid's up!

This week’s video is kind of short, I realize. I also missed it on Friday because…

 

OK, I honestly don’t remember Friday right now. I remember there was a nice little PTS-freezeup. But when the day ended I was DEAD TO RIGHTS. There could have been an earthquake—well, ANOTHER earthquake—and I’d’ve slept through it much like the last one.

 

Hey, maybe if I move to California, I’ll get more sleep. xD

 

Chrysanth WebStory What’s your WebStory today?
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How's NaNo Going, you ask?

Well, it’s going well for me. Lowell, on the other hand, is NOT amused:

 

   

Lowell’s pace was significantly slower than that of his brother. Whenever he had the chance to be outside on his own for any extended period of time, Lowell took his time. He would walk at the slowest pace that he could stand, and he would take the time to look at everything that he could see. The half-beast took nothing in his small sphere for granted, since he never knew when he would have the chance to be on his own again.

It really is a nice day out today, he thought as he walked. He took a deep breath: though there was the always-present oily haze to the air that marked the place as a city, he could still smell the ground underneath his feet, the plants in the carefully preserved nature trail, the faint but sweet fragrance of some wild plant blooming in the distance.

For this reason, Lowell was torn—he didn’t know whether to love autumn, or to hate it. The air was always so crisp during that season—fresher, cleaner…but it was also when things began to wind down, to end, to fade away.

Like nature’s flipping me the finger, thought Lowell bitterly. He’d barely had the chance to really enjoy the season before it started to fade out, and—

When the warning came, it was a combination of a change in the pressure and an actual sound, felt deep inside the middle of his ear. Lowell jumped out of the way just in time to avoid a long, notched dart’s sharp point shearing through his foot. Instead, the thing landed harmlessly in the dirt of the path, skittering as it bounced off the ground. Almost before he knew he was doing it, Lowell’s head whipped around, his eyes coming to rest in a patch of greenery off to the side of the trail.

Oh, shit.

 

Keep in mind that this is a zero draft! …but also if you want to tell me what you think so far, feel free to. Sometimes, us inkslinging types need a little scritch behind the ears, just like our kittens do.

Chrysanth WebStory What’s your WebStory today?

Process: Script (Or: “You go here and do this, OK?”)

I’ve gotten back to work on my script that I began for Script Frenzy, even though a victory is not something I’ll be able to declare on the contest.  However, I’m going to finish the thing anyway, because I like the way the story’s going and I want to have a finished script under my belt before November hits.

 

And now to dork about my script project!
(Note:  No title mentioned because I need to come up with something that sounds less like a cheesy romance novel title.  Seriously.  I’m TERRIBLE with titles.)

 

A little voice…?

In the script, an angel and god play important parts—in fact, the angel is one of the most important characters in the entire setup.  It was easy to come up with a compelling design for the angelic character—but giving a concrete presence to God (capital G for clarity here)?  Now there was a daunting task.  Rather than coming up with physical form, I decided to convey this particular character by sound.

It’s a rather artful (at least I thought so) conceit because it gets around the fact that three different people could see the same thing four different ways, to riff on an old rabbi’s joke.  The other thing that I liked about it was the fact that it gave me a chance to play around with reactions—it’s one thing to know what was said right off, but it’s another to watch the reactions as the thing progresses.

I’m well aware of how difficult it is to represent such a thing in a script, though, and deciding just what sound would be perfect to manifest the ‘voice’ of God not to mention getting around the fact that according lore only Metatron can actually hear said voice without developing an exploding head was a bit of work.  I eventually decided on a series of chime-like bells: soft and quiet when calm, discordant when agitated, brazen and loud when angered.  Only test readers will be able to tell me if this worked properly.

 

Snark Factor.

I’m going to have to reconcile the snark with the storyline…the snark’s necessary to keep the main plot from getting depressing (after all, my protagonist’s literally a dead man—not undead, just plain old regular dead) but I’ve got some mood whiplash working in this thing. Sometime during the editing phase, I’ll have to balance things out…which means—

 

Scope Change.

 

I’m probably going to wind up with something other than a movie-screenplay. I might have a miniseries before this thing is done.  Or I might adapt it into a graphic novel.  Or I might even just novelize it and go the novella route.  I could do all three.

Or I could just take the red-pen-and-scissors approach until it FITS in the movie-format.

I haven’t decided yet.  Hells, I haven’t even finished yet.  I’m WAY ahead of myself here.

So now I’m going to turn around and get started on getting finished.

Attack Plans, Part II.

At the beginning of the month, I was fairly ambitious.

I’d discovered the glory that is Dropbox, and backed up my drafts.   I’d also just gotten my daily dose of gonzo writing tips from over at terribleminds, and so I was ready to go—two Nooks loaded with things to remember, a notebook full of other things.

Then Jeannie, my sweet computer, caught a nasty little infection of malware.  The probable culprits: sneaky flash imbeds that probably originated from deviantART (which has recently been updated and now is a bit buggy) and a malware removal tool that I got from CNET—and I wish I’d heard about the malware fiasco before it’d happened, or else this wouldn’t have happened.

It took a week to find the problem, another week to finish fixing it.  I’ve lost half the month to computer trouble.


Of course, that means that the plan is almost shot—or is it?

Finishing this revision by my birthday was the goal.  The deadline for redeeming my Createspace code is the end of June.  Of course, it won’t be totally done then, but this is aiming for a different milestone: a proof copy.

Call me old-fashioned, but I like having little rewards as I work—even if it’s something minimal, like getting a bag of gourmet chocolates after hitting the 25K word mark—

Wait, did I just call chocolate ‘minimal?’  Crud!  I’ve committed sacrilege!

Blasphemy aside, I have a winner code that entitles me to a few proof copies from Createspace.  Tangible goals help keep me focused, and what’s more tangible than an actual book in the hands?

But…before I can do that…

*hefts hammer*  You ready for this, Part I?

Chrysanth WebStory Published by WebStory

Genesis? Exodus? Why’s it thus?

It wasn’t until the first teardown of the first draft that I noticed that my outline for the overarching project had taken on biblical themes.  The beginning, dubbed Genesis; the middle, dubbed Exodus; and the one that wraps it all up—after things get horrendously worse, of course, dubbed Revelations. In fact, what I’ve got now looks nothing like what I started with.

  • What’d I start with?
  • What changed?

Truth be told, rigid planning had little to do with how this happened.  In fact, the planning I’d done beforehand almost didn’t let this happen.  It wasn’t until I got frustrated with the lack of movement and tore down the first draft that serendipity struck.

(Such a funny turn of phrase.  I think of it, and I picture a lovely woman, wearing Greek or perhaps Roman attire, with a lovely smile and a lovely…gigantic mallet that, once she’s swung it, takes me upside my fool head, shooting stars and holographic images out instead of skull fragments.)


I started with a scene.  Just a scene.  One scene.  It was heavy on the eye candy, and light on anything else.  While it made for pretty mental pictures, it was skinny.

This is often how I start: a scene pops into my head, and my mind proceeds to ask me: “How did we get here?”  That’s when I begin this thing that sort of passes for an outline.  It’s usually closer to a mind map, put together in a .txt file instead of a sheet of paper or a nifty app.  (I didn’t have my own machine when this project began.  It was stored across two flash drives.)  I began working backward, coming up with the pivotal scene that started the whole thing, and formed the path leading up to it: shiesty!high priest makes a move on his mark, modest!apprentice priest.

It occurred to me one day that it had all the depth of a kiddie pool.  I had to go deeper.

(…did I just reference Inception?  …well, I’ll leave it in.  It works, and you’ll see why.)

At the start of the project, I had exactly two characters—Shiesty and Modest—and two characters does not a novel make.  I began to think backward: Why the hell is this character so interested in that one?  What’s their connection?  When did it happen?  Out of this, I created an attendant for Shiesty, gave him a minor past within the city the story’s set mostly in, and set him up as a spy.

This, of course, led me to wonder: What’d Attendant do?  Why’s he’s on Shiesty’s side in the first place if his loyalty was previously here, in this town?  I went deeper, to the literal beginning.  Or, if you prefer, the Genesis.  I’d jokingly applied it as a placeholder or a code name so that I could remember it, but then…well, it stuck.  I mean, it was the beginning of the beginning, and in the beginning, there was…plot.  Suddenly, I had the underpinnings of a plot, where I had nothing of the sort before.  We have three main characters now, who for simplicity’s sake, we’ll just refer to by their first-impression adjectives: Shiesty, Attendant, and Modest.  Furthermore, Shiesty’s boss, Well-Informed, has emerged as another driving force.

I took the first 80 pages of my first draft, and took a hammer to it.  Then I took the hammer to the pieces.  I still have the first first draft, but looking at that one side by side with what I now consider my real first draft, I don’t recognize them in one another.  Sure, some names are the same, but there is a different feel to the story now—even if they are the same fundamentally, they feel like two different narratives.

This is a good thing.  That first shot was godsawful.  Out of that first shot, I think I kept three elements total.


Between that first shot and the real zero draft, several things changed.

(I’m calling it a zero-draft because I ran that whole first draft—that is, the one that resulted from pounding the first shot into itty bits—in the space of one month, in a spirit of “Can I even do this?”  Even though it’s incredibly rough, it’s far better than that first attempt—and more importantly, it’s completed.  …well, as completed as something before its first edit can get.)

  1. Shiesty priest developed a personality.  He’s kind of a dick.
  2. Modest priest is just an apprentice.  Kind of a prodigy, but also kind of a ditz.  (And kind of a smartass.)
  3. Attendant was once a priest.  In fact, he’s Modest’s master.  He picked up one hell of a tragic past.  Also, he’s kind of a dick and a smartass.  (Modest got it honest.)
  4. Well-Informed, initially intended to be a level-headed foil for Shiesty, picks up a wicked, dry sense of humor and piercing insight.  Also, he’s totally jaded (which, to those who don’t think the way he does, makes him seem like kind of a dick.  …I’m seeing a pattern, here.)

As I ran through the draft, pulling out characters and slapping nametags and signs on their backs reminding me of who they were, a clear theme emerged, and I was less-inclined to drop the Genesis codename.  Most surprisingly, as I was keeping all of these people straight both in my head and on paper, their motives became clearer and clearer: everyone was working toward a totally different goal.

As I’d tried to make the baseline of this project tenable, I’d unearthed both theme and plot.

I only took five minutes for my victory jig.  It was one of those 3K word days, and I couldn’t break rhythm for too long.  Genesis had gotten things started.  And a year later, Exodus would get things moving.

…well, moving faster.  The leitmotif of travel and escape runs strong through Exodus, along with the more obscure bits that you don’t see unless you actually have begun to read the Book of Exodus.

Genesis, Exodus…biblical references that mesh perfectly with the pattern of action.  I’d not planned this at all; it simply rose organically as I wove cohesion into the narrative.

I know serendipity when I see it.  And I’ll take it.

First Impressions.

There are quite a few things percolating in the project pot.  I can’t stare at it for too long, however; after a while, the fact that everything is MADE OF WORDS! begins to befuddle, and the vertigo sets in.  (Not helping: the fact that I should actually be sleeping right now, and the fact that I should not have skipped that dose of Antivert.)  So I turn my attention to specifics.

 

Right about now, I’m looking at a bunch of stuff.

It includes:

  • a Scrivener doc—a recently finished and iced draft that needs to chill before I begin to edit;
  • a WIP that has stalled;
  • a second Scrivener doc that has had a year to chill; and
  • a third Scrivener doc—but this one’s for the fun of it. Fanon.

Let’s push the ‘just for fun’ one aside for a while.


The two Scrivener projects are intimately related, both drafts of a project that seems to want to become a trilogy, but the division is starting to feel like it might go in a slightly different direction.  True, the story encompassed three clear ‘acts’ when I was working on it initially, but the more I work on that, the more artificial that the structure feels.  I felt the first flaws in this structure when I hit the half-way mark in the second project.

(For reference, the projects are in chronological order: Genesis, Exodus, and RevelationsRevelations is still only in the outlining phase, and nothing in it is solid.)

Exodus began life as a clear-cut five-act outline, but the narrative no longer fits the outline that I gave it.  The story was still told, but the outline morphed and reflowed, sprouted new limbs and new characters (geesh, mixed metaphor much?) and became something a little bit different than what I had planned.  Of course, this is one of those things that isn’t to be disliked: when the changes happen like that, it’s often a better result than the original plan.  One-and-done doesn’t often happen in writing.  I’ll be working the wrinkles out of it, but before I can do that, in roughly 48 hours, I start ironing Genesis out.  It’s had a year to cool off, and the holes that it was riddled with have started to fill—oddly, from things that came up within Exodus, which happens chronologically later.

…hey, no one ever said that this would be fast.


The stalled WIP happened seemingly out of nowhere.  It isn’t as though I’m not in love with the concept anymore—I still want to hold it close to me and make it all happy—it’s just that my motivation stalled a bit.  This tends to happen when something comes up—I finish something else, I get sick, or life comes up.  In the spirit of charging madly forward, I’ll put a little bit of effort on it at a time until I’ve finished.

It really is a nice idea: an alternative imagining of how angels are born.  It’s in a rough state, but it does have its moments of pretty.


I’ll admit it: mad dives into fandom help keep me sane.  My own work makes me want to pull my hair out at times; jumping into fandom for a while acts like pushing the pressure-release valve on a cooker, making it a little easier to keep going in both realms.