Writing Journal

Rewriting the Remembrance, from 15 November.

Tim let go of her shoulders, grabbed her hand, and rushed her over the shifting pieces of pavement and through the now-mature field grasses.

“Tim, where are we going?”

I DON’T KNOW, DIANE. WHERE ARE ANY OF US GOING?!

*ahem*

Another change. Instead of having Diane react to the Green’s scare tactic by letting go of the roots (Nikki says she’d tighten her grip by tightening up her body), go full fight-or-flight and have Diane bolt. Tim will chase after her, and they will stumble into the Squirrel-King-to-be rather than hunt him down via chi radar.

Nerd Links

And now, another round of nerd links!

  • TenFourFox is Mozilla Firefox for Power Macintosh and PowerPC. Keeping my G5 PowerMacs relevant!
  • I don’t often use eBay, but when I do, I’m usually shopping for used nerd goodness.
  • Don’t be fooled by X-Box Live Gold trial cards that come with consoles and games. They are full of the lame, instead of full of actual Gold membership.
  • Reasonably-priced fiber-to-the-home service is coming to my neighborhood! I am full of the squees and the excitements! Yay for LightSpeed!
  • I have finally received my Ello invite, and am intrigued. I have several invites to hand out, so if you’re interested, let me know.

Writing Journal

Rewriting the Remembrance, from 7 November.

Okay, stop. This is all dialogue. They’re makin’ with the talky-talky. There’s no action, well, very little action, and most of this chapter has been and will be exposition. We need more action.

I like the conversation as-is, though and I don’t want to cut it (yet). I need to have the conversation interrupted by the arrival of the man who will become the Squirrel King. The Green will insist that Diane let go of her hold on the roots, so that they can do their job. She’ll take to the air in an effort to locate him, and Tim will search him out on the ground.

Tim will confront him, knock him to the ground, and start grilling him about why he’s been following him and his caravan since they came into the city.

“That flicker out of the corner of my eye that disappeared as soon as I noticed it, that was you! You distracted Devion when we were coming up on the grasses, too! Admit it!”

Diane’s going to get worried as Tim loses his cool. Then they’ll both get buffeted back by the wings of a green dragon who grabs the would-be Squirrel King in its claws and carries him off into the forest, but not before granting the caravans’ safe passage through her realm on their way east.

She should send along a message to Detroit. Something like “Come and find me, I’ll be waiting for you.” That will set up his later return, and traumatic discovery.

Also, the Green bringing the soon-to-be Squirrel King into the heart of the forest will be the mistake that allows him to wrest control of it away from her. If she wouldn’t have done that, he would have never gotten past the roots. Also, any punishment she enacts will be seen as justification for his later treatment of her. He won’t have done these things just for kicks any more, but to hurt her as she hurt him.

If it’s this easy to write about what I want to write, why is it such a pain in the ass to actually get it down? Why does the writing feel so forced when the stuff behind it feels solid, reasoned, and worked out?

Nikki said she could tell that Diane’s scenes in the beginning of Chapter 2 were hard for me to write. No doubt the same will be evident here. That means I’ll need to do an editing sweep after I add the new material in, to improve the flow and massage out that hard-to-write feeling, assuming that I can properly identify it.

Is having Nikki edit with a limited number of passes increasing the pressure to get it right the first time, and removing the permission I’ve given myself to write crap? I don’t think so, but even if it was, giving it a pass myself before I hand it off to her will mitigate that.

Writing Journal

Ruminations on story ideas from 17 October.

Follow your dreams, don’t let them go.

Can I use dreams to connect my urban fantasy project scenes? A twenty-something woman questioning everything about herself – ideals, sexuality, gender identification, spirituality, whether or not she wants to live. She dreams herself into other bodies, often during intimate (emotionally and/or physically) moments. The tattoos appear on the person’s body at the height of the encounter, and are never the same twice. That’s neat, but what’s the conflict?

The protagonist desperately wants to be able to label herself. She is convinced that there is a word out there for who and what she is, but nothing feels right. Like many searchers, this quest becomes all-consuming for her, and she is convinced that the key lies in her strange, sort-of-recurring dreams. Unfortunately, every person that she dreams of is wildly different.

She stumbles upon someone she’s dreamed of, and the woman’s tattoos appear as the main character approaches. Answers! The woman is spooked and a chase ensues.

While the main character isn’t a Chosen One, she is one of the chosen few. These dreamers are networked, naturally mentally interlinked.

  • Need to explain the interlinking.
  • Need to explain the tattoos.
  • Need to explain the relationship between the interlinked and the tattooed.
  • Need to come up with some rules, some limits, some drawbacks, and some REALLY COOL SHIT.

Maybe the two groups were forbidden to co-exist because the tattooed group (mages?) manipulated the dreamers, and used them as gateways between the real world and the dreaming world to gain immense power. The dreamers were lost to time as a way of safeguarding against this. So, there are mages that want the status quo to continue, mages who want to find the storied dreamers to increase their power (bad guys), and mages who are searching out the dreamers to safeguard them and teach them to safeguard themselves.

The first group wants to prevent the main character from getting what she wants. The second group wants to subvert her will and turn her into a tool, rendering what she wants moot. The third group may or may not have an answer for her. Or an agenda. Or a leader (charismatic, borderline cult, maybe? Good intentions, meaning well, going about it all the wrong way?). Don’t let this character’s path of discovery mirror Caroline’s too closely. I don’t want to write the same book in two different settings.

Both wizards and dreamers should be sterile. Instead of an easy out for pregnancy, this should be presented as a choice taken away, and that lack of agency should be painful. This also raises the question of how new mages and dreamers are born.

Are there other kinds of odd people out there? Yes! But they greatly distrust the tattooed mages because of slights and atrocities generations old. Shape-shifters/lycanthropes, clockwork immortals, races and monsters of all kinds, marooned on this world after being pulled through their own through the dream world.

Is travel to these places possible? Yes, but not advisable. It’s dangerous, requires sacrifice, and the people there might just hate your guts, through no fault of your own. But, seriously, there’s enough to worry about on our fucked-up little mudball. If you want to return some poor schmuck to its home world, that might be a different story.

Or sequel. Goddamnit.

Editor’s Note

Rewriting the Remembrance, from 5 October.

Grand River and squirrels, she says.

How many people should get caught up in the roots at the edge of the Forest? The whole caravan? Drive a mile and a half just to have a vehicle crunched, and maybe lose/injure one or two people? That seems like a waste, and a blundering move, after all of the lessons learned through wacky hijinks and hardship.

It’s more likely that they’d send a scouting party to make sure the way was clear out of the city while everyone began packing and loading up. Who to send? From a story standpoint, I could send five or so schmoes, but then they’d end up ballooning into full-blown, three-dimensional characters that the reader would want to see again. I already have WAY too many of those. I could send in the three main characters with a couple of redshirts, or I could send in just the three main characters.

Nikki recommends that Tim and Diane go in with a couple of redshirts, because Sebastian  is still feeling ill. She says that this will give her an opportunity to see what Sebastian will become, and then she can wrestle with whether or not to tell her husband.

That could allow Sebastian to “rest” as he directs the reloading and packing of the two caravans. This could be a good setup for Sebastian’s later suggestion of rotating the protective forces. If he’d worked on the earliest stages of integrating the two caravans, he’d have experience from which to draw for giving suggestions.

One redshirt from each caravan, then? Four people, on foot from the ruins of 127 down E. Michigan Ave. to where it joins Grand River. So, where will the forest cross the road? It would have needed room to expand, so it cannot be directly next to a forested part of campus. It’d probably be by Brody (Michigan and Harrison), with the forest having taken the intersection.

When Herod and Sebastian return, the borders will have expanded.