bloodyrosemccoy: (Stand Back)
It can be frustrating to have to wait to get an agent and then get editors and publishers and things. But the good news is that the intervening time gives you a chance to have BRILLIANT IDEAS about how to fix some of the problems in your manuscript.

Oh, yeah. Today's a good day.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Creative Expression)
God dammit.

I've got to start over on this latest Scatterstone installment.

Those of you who know me might have heard about the unfortunate way my writing process works:

1. Have some idea how to get from Point A to Point B in a story
2. Take a long, laborious time to write a boring scene depicting it
3. Have a much BETTER idea about how to make the scene INTERESTING
4. Write the damn scene AGAIN

Step 2 takes forever, but unfortunately it seems to be an integral part of my mental process. So, yeah, I've gotten it written, but it's extremely boring at the moment. The good news is that, according to my process, I now know how to make it far more interesting. The bad news is that, yeah, it's gonna take a while.

I have got to figure out another writing process.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Creative Expression)
The hypomanic idea storm of a couple of weeks ago has died down somewhat, to the point where I can actually focus on other stories besides ALL THE GOOD IDEAS. It's admittedly unpleasant to have those episodes, but the good part is that then I'm left with a year's worth of material to process when I'm in my less crazed state.

This time around it's left me with some supertangential characters in OGYAFEland. I don't know if they'll ever see the light of day beyond one short story that should work, because they're a little bit melodramatic. However, following my recent post on creative truths, I'm finding these characters interesting to work with because they really do follow the casual animism of OGYAFEland a little more literally than my main OGYAFE characters do.

The idea in OGYAFEland is that they proudly insist they don't have gods, but have a hugely extensive belief in spirits and fairies. The idiom reflects this, and a lot of people are willing to follow the traditions of leaving offerings to the spirits, but some are more attuned to it than others. And this is a somewhat modern society--kind of mid-20th-Century, give or take--which means that the fairies are willing to adapt to the changing nature of magic and technology. I like seeing how a belief that they have a lot of little personal, localized spirits hanging around affects these somewhat modernized characters' actions.

Plus, it's just fun to be able to have a character casually say something like "Sure, you can borrow my car, but beware of the bad fairies living in the transmission" and have others take them seriously. It's the little things.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Deep Thoughts)
I keep trying to write up a commentary about one of the most interesting fantasy tropes: the Religion Is True trope. Mostly because I've been fleshing out some of the mythological beliefs of OGYAFElanders,* although it's also because I just read Tamora Pierce's Battle Magic and realized that I've been ... slightly disappointed with the direction the Circleverse has been going in for the last couple of books (this one and Melting Stones) on account of this specific trope.

I always liked the Circleverse because the religion, while a central part of the story, was not indisputably, unambiguously true. You had the temple dedicates praying to and swearing by and honoring the gods, but unlike, say, Tortall or Lord of the Rings or David Eddings' books or the Young Wizards or even goddamn Zelda,** in this world they don't do it because the gods regularly drop by the local waffle house for a short stack or leave helpful voicemails for the heroes or bequeath Our Heroes with Mystical Crysticals. Hell, it's entirely possible that the Circle gods don't even exist, and it's just humans ascribing random occurrences to them.

Y'know, like this world.

And don't get me wrong. I fuckin' like all the Religion Is True examples I listed up there. You can tell some great stories with a premise like that. Hell, I'm even working on a Scatterstone installment featuring some True Animism. But even then, making folklore True actually removes an important aspect from the people in your story: their unbridled creativity.

Now, y'all may know I'm an atheist. I grew up an atheist. My big adolescent revelation wasn't so much that I was an atheist as it was the realization that other people weren't. And while that did lead to a good bit of WTFing on my part--wait, you all BELIEVE this?!--and I do think there is a lot of harm to be gotten out of religion, I also think that religious mythology is fascinating. You can learn a lot about people by the myths they come up with. The stories teach important ideals. You can see the way the mind works in magical thinking, anthropomorphism, spiritism, and just-so explanations. And of course, they're really damn inventive. It takes a lot more cognition to make up a story than to report it.***

I don't think I'm the only one who finds this a bit of a gap. Terry Pratchett (of course) explores it a lot. Discworld's got a sort of symbiotic nature of folklore and humanity--like in Hogfather or Small Gods, where the fairies and gods and Anthropomorphic Personifications are real and concrete, but were born of and fueled by collective human imagination. And even Tortall suggests that the Immortals have a similar backstory, though it seems once they're dreamed up they become independent of humans. But those all still have concrete representations of those concepts. The Circle books were the first time it felt like it really was like our world, where it really was all abstract.

And that was the model I used for OGYAFEland, where there are a bunch of different religions/folklores/mythos ... es ... that are not objectively True, but that influence the thoughts and actions of the humans. It looks like how I see the world. And while it's cool for Pierce to change that around, I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was a little disappointed when the Circle Religions started to leak into reality.


*And I just recently had a FABULOUS idea for a short story set in OGYAFEland, god DAMMIT who turned on the Inspiration Fire Hose?

**Or even His Dark Materials--weird, if you've read the book, but while the point is that religion is a construction, it's still not a human construction: angels are a Thing, and they are Messing With Us.

***When I was a kid, it frustrated the hell out of me that everyone was trying to figure out what might have inspired fantastical artworks. "Where could the idea of mermaids come from? Could it have been sailors seeing manatees?" I couldn't figure out why it never crossed their minds that maybe somebody just thought it'd be cool to give a human woman a fish tail. Yes, I know people had frames of reference to work with, but hell, they had fish and women. All it takes is one weirdo with a bit of abstract thinking.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Clever Dan)
There's nothing quite like having such a good idea to solve a problem in your story that you spend the rest of the day thinking "God damn, I am a genius!"
bloodyrosemccoy: (Triple Nerd Score)
I guess my dwarves are more Pratchetty than anything, really. I am hoping the whole "dwarf women have beards" thing really did come from that one stupidly ambiguous line in the LotR Appendices that suggests that they are so alike in appearance that they are often mistaken for dwarf men, because that would mean that someone besides tweener Amelia read that and thought "Wait ... does that mean ...?" And because it's spawned such fun results.

Anyway, now that I've gotten the Scatterstone post up with its little treatise, I can tell y'all what a huge relief it was to discover that dwarf women did have beards in The Hobbit movie.* Pratchettish dwarves are fun, but I also find the idea of fancily beribboned and bejeweled and styled ladybeards** terribly entertaining. (Torn World's Elizabeth Barrette also has a take on pretty sparklies for beards.)

Unfortunately, the movies' takes on Dwarf women rather preclude the possibility that any member of Thorin's company might be a lady dwarf, as my sister and I theorized. I mean, they still might, but it's not the default. Ah, well.


*Somewhere off in the Didn't Get To Be In The New Movies Actor Warehouse, Dominic Monaghan is elbowing Viggo Mortensen and waggling his eyebrows suggestively.

**I mean, you know, ACTUAL LITERAL FOR REAL ladybeards, not that other kind.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Creative Expression)
The good news is that I am POSSESSED BY SCRIBBLEDEMONS and have been furiously stitching together one of the stories I've been kicking around for years, and every writer's block in the story's path is being obliterated in great blasts of inspiration.

The bad news is that this is the story with hobbits in it and it is not actually something I could publish.

Oh, well. Take inspiration where it comes, I suppose. Now if you'll excuse me, MUST WRITE OR THE SCRIBBLEDEMONS WILL EAT MY BRAIN
bloodyrosemccoy: (Xenofairies)
What I Learned Since The Autumn Equinox:
  • It's a bit painful to win the trust of a shy cat and then have to destroy it again when you have to give her eye medication every few hours.
  • Those profoundly stupid-looking Breathe-Right strips you stick on your nose? They help ENORMOUSLY when you have swollen sinuses.
  • Awesome animator Friz Freleng would concentrate so hard on animating a scene that you could literally set fire to his desk while he was at it and he would not notice. His friends discovered this through several practical experiments.
  • Some gallbladders have really recognizable problems, like gallstones. Others just slowly croak over several years.
  • Trunk or Treat is not reserved for just Utahns.
  • Sharpie makes good pens that don't give me a headache now!
  • Quenya has an extensive case system, but it's also kind of weirdly redundant. Seems Tolkien had trouble making up his mind about a lot of things.
  • If your political party forcibly ejects anyone who demonstrates even an iota of rationality, it will not go well for your crazy-go-nuts party come Election Day.
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is known as the movie that invented the twist ending, but what I didn't know is that it was invented by accident because the studios thought the original untwisted ending was too macabre. Studio execs--messin' with your movies since 1920.
  • It may be sad to leave your cross-town library job, but dang is it a relief not to have to drive that far all the time.
  • When I observed a couple of years ago that Kevin Clash has gone mad with power, I was more right than I knew. (I was talking about the supersaturation of Elmo in everything! I didn't expect THIS! DAMN YOU, KEVIN CLASH)
  • A single episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? on Youtube exactly equals one medium session of boring WiiFit Free Step. Time flies when everything is hilarious.
  • There may be another unexpected upside to switching narrators in my Doctors! story: my former narrator gets back all the weird characeristics that got in the way when he was narrating! Why didn't I do this sooner?!
  • That butter-and-flour mixture I've enjoyed making for years as the best part of soup-cooking is called a roux.*
  • The ch in "chalcedony" is pronounced as a k.

*I know how to do a lot of things in the kitchen, but I don't know what to call a bunch of them. So years after I've learned something I'll find out there's a word for it. Clearly I need an authoritative 1950's narrator looking over my shoulder at all times.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Creative Expression)
Well, dammit.

I just realized exactly what Doctors! needs to make it work—how to fix that nagging sense that something is wrong with it.

Editing sure is a fine art, isn’t it? I make all sorts of minor changes that ultimately make a better story, fine-tuning and fiddling and WHAT WAS THAT YOU SAID I NEEDED AN ENTIRELY NEW NARRATOR? OH, SHIT.

Even though I’ve got an excellent candidate already in place, with an engaging voice and clever ideas and an actual sense of humor,* there are two major problems with this:

1. It will mean a massive overhaul of the entire structure of the story, so I’d basically be rewriting it, and
2. I really, really like the narrator I’ve currently got.

I mean it. He’s a great character—a real sweetheart, and smart, and so very earnest. But as a narrator, he’s just fucking boring. The dude thinks in parameters and infodumps. Plus, he’s not human, so there’s no frame of reference like there would be if I switched to the human. He’d benefit from the switch as well, it’s just … I also think his worldview is really fun to write.** I’d miss him if I were no longer in his head.

I’m definitely going to change it—what do they say about being ruthless and tearing out your heart for the sake of the story—but by god, it’s tough sometimes to get these darn things right.


*As versus the bitchy contrariness that so often gets mistaken for A Sassy Sense Of Humor in narrators.

**Especially that one time he got a concussion. That was a blast.

Bullets!

Oct. 9th, 2011 02:45 am
bloodyrosemccoy: (Venus By Air)
The regularly scheduled freak October blizzard came about two weeks early this year. The pumpkins are unimpressed, but that might be it for the tomatoes. And the cat has been absolutely letting us have it, grumbling and carrying on about the cold and the wet. I think she thinks it’s our doing.

And it never fails: I look out at the first snow of the year and get a surge of happy chemicals in the brain.* What’s with that? I swear I’ve got some kind of reverse-SAD or something.

---

Book club discussed Song of the Lioness! At least, I think that was a discussion. We’re not exactly a group of real conversationalists. I chatter on about books, then try to let others get a word in edgewise or engage them by asking questions, which usually gets mumbled responses, followed by awkward silence. So I fill the silence with more noise and t turns back into a monologue.

I like them, though. I just wish we could talk a little less awkwardly.

(I did get to traumatize them by telling them how the Narnia books ended. By request, of course.)

---

Latest fun topic of research for writing: pregnancy and childbirth. My Playtime Universe presented me with another story idea, but the timeline means that one of the characters will be very pregnant when it takes place. I figured that wouldn’t slow down her determination any (she's awesome like that) and it’ll actually make the story a lot more entertaining if I can swing it. I dunno, the idea of a pregnant hero in a swashbuckling pirate adventure amuses the hell out of me.

---

Also, still into Raygun Gothic for my latest project, and decided to finally watch Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. I’ve wanted to see it, but the blinding sepia tone put me off. Now that I’m watching it, I still dislike the filter something fierce—I realize it was meant to echo the sci-fi serials, but prefer my old-timey future to be bright primary colors, deco pastels, and crazy halogen neons, a la Frank R Paul, and I have the feeling if they could have made them in color, the ’30s would have agreed with me. The special effects are updated to match what was in the people's heads; why not the colors, too?

Also, Jude Law really isn’t the Spaceman Spiff type.

But goddamn, the story is spot-on pulp sci-fi, damn fun and totally entertaining. I keep squeaking with happy when I see the giant robots marching, or the ridiculously implausible airplanes diving into the sea, or the big goofy monsters,**or the amphibious jet packs, or Giovanni Ribisi's gratuitous Actual Raygun. The vintage ads were a nice touch, too. And this marks the first time Gwyneth Paltrow worked for me, so hey—I can deal with sepia for that.

---

Smashed my pinkie with a book truck today. It hurts to type. So I’m gonna stop now. Off to play Zelda.

*Also an equally inexplicable overwheming urge to play Zelda games.

**Another improvement over the old serials: the critters can actually be in the shot with our heroes, and don't appear to be occupying some parallel dimension.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Creative Expression)
Reason #789 Wh My Characters Are Not Like My Children

I love killing off evil characters. Makes me feel like God bringing the smitedown unto wrongdoers.

Now if only I can convince the poor dope who did the actual killing that he was doing God's work, it'll all be golden.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Creative Expression)
Today's ridiculous Google search for the sake of a story: "How to kill a bear with a knife."

Damn, I love writing.

(Unfortunately, it turns out you can't kill a bear with a knife. Bears without knives have enough of an unfair advantage against hobbits. Bears WITH knives ... don't even try.)
bloodyrosemccoy: (Creative Expression)
I have come to realize that, in lieu of overwrought sex scenes, my writing vice is overwrought medical scenes.* Which makes some sense when I write Doctors! sci-fi, but it’s probably a bit harder to justify in an old-timey Standard Fantasyland.

I apologize for nothing, though. For one thing, it’s got the extremely fun side effect of letting me cruise through medical databases with complete fascination. Dang, I love the internet.


*And either of these scenes immediately invalidates an author’s claim that their characters are like their children. If I had to name two of the things at the very top of my—and, I’m guessing, everyone else’s—list of Things Parents Should Not Inflict Upon Their Children, I would come up with sex and traumatic injuries.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Creative Expression)
ME: I believe I am entering a manic writing idea phase.

MY MANIC CREATIVITY: (hobbit pirates again and dragons for OGYAFE and magic systems and orange blood and space!kraken …)

MY SISTER: Along with your “I love Alien” phase, does this mean you’re going to write some epic Alien fanfiction?

MY MANIC CREATIVITY: WHAT IS THIS I HEAR ABOUT ALIEN FANFICTION? BECAUSE I HAVE IDEAS ALL UP ONS ABOUT THIS VERY THING!

ME: Well, I wasn’t, UNTIL YOU SAID THAT.


Dammit, this is going to be one of those phases where I have so many ideas I get none of them written, isn’t it?
bloodyrosemccoy: (Creative Expression)
Wouldn’t you know it—just as Questionable Content's Marigold’s starting to annoy me, along comes this excellent bit of silliness and she's adorable again. Jeph Jacques wins at Comics this week just for that.*

I love that QC’s characters are all so darn pragmatic and communicative. What with the entire internet NaNoing right now, I’ve had a bunch of writing discussions, and wound up lamenting to both [livejournal.com profile] fadethecat and my sister that I need dumber characters, because it’s a lot harder to manufacture conflict when your people are willing to Think Things Through, Question Their First Impulses, and Sit Down And Have A Conversation (speaking of Digger).

MY SISTER: Yeah, my dumb character gets into the most fun situations by far.

ME: I can’t do it. I’d be the worst sitcom writer ever. “Jane hears Sarah talking about pregnancy and sees her shopping at a maternity store. She wonders if Sarah’s pregnant, and considers throwing her a surprise shower. First, though, she asks Sarah if she IS pregnant. Sarah says no, she was buying clothes for her pregnant cousin. Jane is glad she didn’t jump the gun and mention this to her friends.”

MY SISTER: “Shawn sees Evelyn having coffee with some guy and worries she might be cheating on him. So he goes over and says hi, and Evelyn introduces him to the guy, who turns out to be her brother, Kevin, and Shawn joins them for some biscotti.”

ME: “Bob’s parents come to visit him, his roommate Lily, and his boyfriend, Phil, but they are under the impression that Bob and Lily are an item. A few confusing conversations later and they realize the misunderstanding, clear it up, and have a nice dinner.”

MY SISTER: You’re right. I’d never watch that.


And yet I love QC and Digger. Smart characters mean you need more interesting conflicts to work through. You just need a smart writer to figure them out.

And hey, if that smart writer can write wonderful badfic, well. Bonus points and candy for him!


*Ursula Vernon won last week. Y'ALL, I WAS INCONSOLABLE FOR THREE DAYS.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Space Madness)
Okay, okay, the ginger Klingon is less irritating now.

I could have done without the ginger-Klingon sex, though.

The idea of introducing Pilot to Gypsy, however, has given me an excellent twist for an upcoming Doctors!verse novel. When I return to a sci-fi ruining state of mind,* the medical saga of Shipmonster G. Space!Kraken,** already inspired by an aspect of Gypsy, gets an upgrade. It hasn't made me cackle before now. I love it when I cackle.

Speaking of medical drama, I can't stop writing it even in high fantasy, it would seem. You rarely hear, "There will be a slight delay in our world-saving Quest on account of our hero's recovery from open-heart surgery" in these stories. I'd like to see the Houses of Healing deal with a character whose heart has just exploded. THAT'S RIGHT, YO, MY NOT!ELVES ARE WAY COOLER THAN YOUR ELVES.

Damn, I love this hobby. You wish yours was half so much fun.


*I oscillate between sci-fi and fantasy moods pretty regularly.

**Another placeholder name. It takes me YEARS sometimes to come up with good names.

For the record, the G stands for Gamera.
bloodyrosemccoy: (I'm Writing)
Hurk. Feeling rather dull and listless lately, perhaps on account of allergies, or possibly as the aftermath of August/September’s MANIC IDEAS spike, or that whole downer of a death in the family. Whatever the cause, I’ve gone from crazed energetic output to plodding through a few basic projects. My necklace stuff, quilt, dolls, cookbooks, and even my blog are sitting patiently and twiddling their thumbs while they wait for me to start up again. Although I will note that Super Mario has not had to wait; last night I collected the final Star Coin and am now officially a Super Player.*

This lethargy isn’t all bad, though—my brain has left to it one useful process, and that is Composing. I can finally write down all those great ideas that were bombarding me. Don’t get me wrong, the HAVING IDEAS phase of My Writing Process is exciting and electrifying, and also frustrating as all hell because I can only scribble down generalities and outlines until they all shut up for a while. It’s hard to really write a detailed bit of dialogue or description when your brain keeps shrieking “AND! The pygmies get a bus and they drive all the way to Hollywood! … FLORIDA!” ** or whatever at you.

And dang, y’all, now that I’ve got some of it written, I am thinking that maybe I am not the only one who would get a kick out of the stuff written in my Playtime Funiverse.*** I make no promises, but if I am satisfied enough with it I may start posting it here.

The OGYAFE stays under wraps for now, though. You will have to buy that one when it becomes an actual book. I assure you, though, it will be worth the wait!


*I also declare World 9-7 the Fucking Impossible World for this game. It actually wasn’t so hard to beat, but getting the second and third coins took some serious thumb-fu.

**2:00 in.

***So named because it’s written for me, and not for me-plus-others, you see. It’s a big bloated silly collection of universes. I used to refer to it as the universe where my fanfiction goes to die, but at this point any source materials are no longer really relevant to what’s evolved, except in the general “This person reads way too much fantasy” way. Pretty much the only serial number I’d have to file off is the hobbits, and I make no apologies for loving the hell out of hobbits.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Movie Sign)
Ah, buggrit. Here it is less than a week before my birthday and six weeks before Halloween, and now I realized what I want to do for both of them. Seems that my current creaton* bombardment doesn’t just include the four or so entire fantasy sagas demanding to be written by last week SEND HELP; it’s also about art projects—such as pirate and Halloween costumes.

Unfortunately, I can’t just do one of these things, because I have dolls. I’d have to make ten costumes for each occasion, and I don’t have the time or the money to do that right now.

So the upshot of all this is that, unless I drink way too much PowerThirst over the next month, there will probably be no doll Halloween album this year. On the plus side, I have tons of ideas written down** to do for next year! And don’t even ask me about next year’s Talk Like A Pirate Day. I will try to make it epic.


*Creatons are particles of creativity. Not to be confused with croutons, which are particles of salad.

**God help me, y’all, I have started a CRAFT NOTEBOOK.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Hobbit Approved)
[livejournal.com profile] agenttrojie had a meme going a few days ago: What Fictional Character Are You Most Like? I like open-ended memes!

My answer? No doubt. I am Bilbo Baggins.

Evidence:

-We are both mostly content to be invisible
-But we periodically get wanderlust,
-And go off on crazy adventures.
-On these adventures, we are resourceful when we have to be.
-Although we complain about it a lot.
-Both of us have a certain natural immunity to things that others can get addicted to—the Ring for him, alcohol and such for me.
-Not that we’re entirely immune! And we are not exactly virtuous. We do not always do the right thing, but we try.
-We both love soup food.
-We both like to write.
-Both of us are short, round, curly brunet(te), and hairy

Pretty much covers it, no?

A timely question, because I’m feeling rather hobbity lately—watchin’ Lord of the Rings again, trying to find a good fantasy saga. (Anybody got a recommendation?)

Both of these are a result of something that happens at times: my own little headhobbits are getting noisy as part of my brain’s decision to have ALL THE GOOD IDEAS EVER. When this happens, it’s impossible to get them to line up in an orderly fashion. All I can do is alternate between furious scribbling in flurries of ink and paper and pixels, and wandering around in a daze while the hobbitses, wizards, pirates, shapeshifters, sprites, final bosses,* dragons, arhods,** snowy-riders, licensers, and trolls all carry on madly in my head. This is making me even more absentminded than usual. It is hard to hear you jerks over all these jerks.

Being creative is hard, yo.

But damn, it’s also fun. This is one of the best parts of being a writer. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a bit more typing up I can get done before I go to sleep.


*I have awesome final bosses going. Y’all will just about fall down when you get to the OGYAFE’s final boss.

**I’m mostly in a fantasy mood in this manic phase, but my big fluffy aliens get to join the fun because they’re big damn fans of CAPSLOCK FANTASY SAGAS in their own right. Someday I’ll write one of their sagas, but for now they do seem to be liking the Lord of the Rings.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Calvin And Uncle Joker)
An Open Letter To Disgruntled Authors

Please quit hammering on about how your characters are like your children. I realize that your characters are important to you, with a bond that cannot be understood by outsiders, but dammit your simile’s just inaccurate. I have read your books. I know what you do to those poor dopes. Your book is not a nurturing environment.

Therefore, when I hear you say they’re like your children, it makes me want to call child protective services.

C’mon—you can come up with a better comparison. You’re writers. I’m sure you’ll think of something.

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