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Category Archives: Late-night Brainstorm

Ah, winter beers in summertime. I’ve got a bottle of Old Rasputin in front of me, and in his honor, I’ve got this on youtube. Mastodon has got to be one of the best bands I’ve come across in the last few years. Their music has yet to disappoint me.

Tonight is the eve of one of the biggest weeks of my life to date. I say this because this week marks the true turning point. I’ve been out of school for a little over a year now, and my lease on my first off-campus apartment is ending at the end of this month. I’ve got two weeks to find a new place to live, so a decision really must be reached in the next day or two, in order to allow for processing of my application and time to move. I hate it. I’m ready to get out of my current place, because I know that I can’t afford to pay that much for rent, but I’m a little sad to be leaving such a nice place for something that is, at the moment, completely unknown.

I’m torn between a couple of options right now, since I’m down to a single part-time job. I could get a one bedroom or studio apartment somewhere, and try to find a 2nd job to cover the costs of living on my own. This would mean I have all kinds of space to myself, but it would also mean that all expenses are completely on me, and me alone. Option 2 is teaming up with some of my friends and getting a house together. Less privacy, to be sure, but also roughly 1/2 to 1/4 of the typical rent somewhere. We can pitch in for utilities, internet, netflix, etc. It’s a tough call.

In the meantime, I’m toying with less critical things, now that I’ve done my editing for V. Just a heads up for those of you who follow her: the book is glorious. I’m not trying to be flattering, or anything. It’s just the truth. You’ll see, ideally within the next year. I’m working on a pitch for her right now, and trying to come up with potential publishers.

On an almost entirely unrelated note, I’ve found a couple of other things for you. First up is an article from cracked.com that nearly caused me to fall off of my couch in laughter. I’ve found a few of the techniques described within to be quite useful, for the people who have given up all sake of maintaining their sanity.  Second is this, an article about a man who has decided that print media must be maintained. I applaud him for his attempt to do this. I personally have a great devotion to printed media.  It’s probably the reason for my love of libraries and bookstores, and my constant desire to find work in those areas.

Anyway, it’s time for bed, I suppose. I’ve got a lot to do tomorrow, starting with an early morning of phone calls to real estate agents. I’m so excited, can’t you tell? 😀 Yeah, no, not really, but it’s better than the alternative. Goodnight, dear reader. I’m off to dream of potential builds for a necromancer character.

“Thank God for a functioning ice maker, he thought dully, as the summer’s oppressive heat settled over him. Scotch on the rocks. That will do nicely. Never mind that it’s midnight. It’s too damn hot in here to not have a drink. The fan in his bedroom had apparently ceased to function some time ago, but he dared not leave his door open, lest he awaken the rest of his sleeping family. Tonight, he said to himself and to no one in particular, is a night to write. He pulled his laptop from his traveling bag, placed it upon the couch that now served as a bed on his infrequent visits, and opened it, allowing its glow to illuminate the room around him as it resumed its duties. I don’t do enough writing anymore. Not for someone who claims to be a writer. Yeah, you write. When? Where? Anywhere I can, but not frequently enough. No sense being dishonest. I’m lazy. I spend too much time watching TV or on the internet, never accomplishing anything. Tonight, that’s going to change. Tonight, I write.”

I put this together in the last few moments of consciousness before sleep on Monday night, back in my old room at my parents’ house. It was a good trip home, albeit less productive than I would have liked. There is an adorable little orange cat who awaits me again, and despite my dad’s denials, he actually does care about her. She’ll be sticking around, unlike her siblings, who have gone to live with family friends.

Upon my return, I found this waiting for me, courtesy of V. Warning: it’s a little bit graphic. Disclaimer: Warning is only placed here to dissuade the faint of heart (and my parents, God forbid they’ve found this blog). On a related note, I give you this. This is what writers used to be. By comparison, Chuck Wendig feels we’ve become too tame. It’s time to ramp it up, turn it to eleven. I’m all for this. I think it’s better to be published before going completely off the deep end, though. I’ll be starting slow. Any readers with booze to donate, I ask that you do it now. Preferably served in the skull of some useless “novelist” like Stephanie Meyer. Yes. That will do nicely. Now go, before I overturn a table. I need time to prepare my July entry for you all.

Well, It’s been a nostalgia week, so I broke out the Game Boy Advance SP and Pokémon Yellow. As I played through the interactions between Ash and Gary (yeah, I’m a by-the-cartoon-purist. I don’t nickname my Pokémon either), I realized something. I don’t have anyone that I compete with on such a direct level, a true rival. Now granted, I’m also not wandering around the world, capturing various wild creatures and forcing them into battle with other kids’ captured animals (and here you grownups thought Pokémon was wholesome 😀   Seriously. How are animal rights activists not up in arms over this franchise?). But I digress. My point is, I don’t have someone that I’m constantly struggling against that I can use as a focus for my energy and as a source of determination. What’s this boil down to? I have little to no drive to do anything. I don’t know that developing a rivalry NOW would be the best thing to do, either, considering that the only person I know that I could even begin to consider as a writing rival is one of my best friends, and is letting me edit her first book. There’s also the fact that she’s already done with her first book, and I really just started laying down foundations for mine back in January. Oh well. I guess I’ll just have to keep going.

I found some pretty awesome stuff today, in my various roamings and divings of the internet. 1: A Pokémon Tower Defense game. Play it here. B: A blog of man who gets authors to insult him when they autograph books to him. Read it here. Amy Sedaris has given me my new favorite insult.  Finally: The ultimate bedroom. If I ever have the means, I want each of my kids to be able to grow up with a room like this. Yes, occasionally I go link-happy. Today is one of those days.

I’m playing with dialogue a lot right now, partly in response to Sonia M’s latest writing challenge. I’ve decided that my upcoming entry will be a nice bit of story/character development, starring Zach and maybe one or two of my other characters. Zach’s got hundreds of stories to tell, if not more. He’s been around for a while, remember? This will be the first time he’s ever told anyone else (other than me, I mean) one of them in his recent memory. I hope to put most of it to paper while I am at work tomorrow. More soon, I promise.

During the climax of the PS2 game, the Major is fighting hand-to-hand with another cyborg who has a body identical to her’s. Batou comes across the battle, and has to figure out which one of them is the real Major. He calls her name to get their attention, then shoots the one who turns to look at him.

There was another world in my garden when I was a child, one that could only be accessed through secret doors and passageways, across and under grapevines, up and down ropes, and around and through the trees. I had no real name for it, but my sister called it “Lafneria.” She was the one who took the trouble to breathe real life into the place. She built log benches there, places to rest among the hidden flowers, sheltered under elm tree branches. She was always the artist, and I was jealous of her skill, but oh so grateful when she let me enter this world of hers. We would eat rhubarb, and drink the water straight from the garden hose, listening to the hum of the mosquitoes that flew overhead. We would camp outside, a blanket-and-pillow-filled innertube from a tractor tire serving as a bed for each of us. There, we would lie awake beneath the stars and the cool glow of the Milky Way, waiting for one of our cats to find us, seeking our warmth. It was a world that we created together, each in our own way. I know my other sisters helped too, but my memory of their parts isn’t as strong as that word… Lafneria. I wish I knew how she came up with that. It made the whole place seem more magical, and more distant, even though it was still just a small spot in the garden in the back yard of my childhood home.

“Come ride with me through the veins of history. I’ll show you how god falls asleep on the job. And how can we win where fools can be kings? Don’t waste your time or time will waste you.”

I mentioned earlier how much I love the Muse video for Knights of Cydonia (lyrics above). It’s an incredible song, with a fantastic video to accompany it, not to mention the depth to the title. Given the subject matter I’m attempting to cover with my latest writing project, it seems fitting to discuss a god who is less than completely attentive to the pleas of his followers. [Side note: I find it quite interesting that, hundreds of years ago, some people who heard/saw things that no one else did were welcomed as prophets. Today, most everyone who experiences something like that and tells someone else is given a prescription and told to shut up.] In my current work in progress, Arsus plays that role, but he is only one of many gods. Eventually, the other members of the pantheon of this world grow tired of his lackadaisical attitude and decide to teach him a lesson in humility. As Neil Gaiman writes, gods only have power as long as mortals continue to believe in them. What happens to a god no one believes in anymore? He ceases to exist. If one member of a pantheon grows bored with humanity and decides to ignore the people, prayers to that god will cease to be answered, and eventually will cease. Soon, faith in all of the remaining gods will dwindle as well. This is the belief of Arsus’ siblings.

With this in mind, Arsus’ siblings throw him from their side. He is banished into a world filled with the beings he had previously chosen to ignore. Arsus finds himself in Dhe’skuva, not far from a temple where a man has been praising him. When he introduces himself to Rime and claims to be his god in human form, Rime looks at him, and collapses to the ground in a fit of uproarious laughter. Arsus is naturally insulted by the indignity, and he attempts to use his godly powers to do something fitting to punish the laughing man in front of him. At this point, he realizes that he is, in fact, completely stripped of his powers, adding further insult to the injury of his human form. Eventually, a strange sort of friendship will form between these two, though Rime completely refuses to acknowledge that Arsus is his deity, since a god as mighty as he would never stoop so low as to take on human form; additionally, how could he be so weak that his fellow gods could force him into such a position? The god that Rime worships would never allow such a thing to happen to him. This is going to provide for some fantastic bits, such as when Rime discusses miracles worked by his god and Arsus denies ever having done such things, and when Zach explains some mythology in a “Disney” version and Arsus corrects him, providing the true “Brothers Grimm” version instead.

I still need names for the girl and the innkeeper. I’ve got time for that, though. What matters right now is focusing on the characters who are telling me about themselves a little bit at a time. I’m toying with the idea of making Arsus a winter deity, and patron god of Dhe’laza because it’s one of the few regions in this world that receives snow on a fairly regular basis, most of the rest of the country being one massive desert. This would make having to cross a desert even more uncomfortable for him, and add to the challenge he’s facing. I’ve also got several great scenes planned out in which the consequences of his actions as a god are presented to his mortal incarnation. One in particular deals with him seeing that blind devotion to him has lead to the deaths of many, even among his loyal followers. It’s going to be quite the journey.

It’s been quite the week. I’ve received one job offer, and now I’ve been asked to come in for an interview for something that would be full time, twice the pay per hour of my current job, and ten miles closer to my apartment. To top it off, it’s a job that is actually directly related to my degree! Shock and amaze!

Also, my prayers are going out to my high school this week, as a senior girl was killed in a car accident two months before graduation.

Okay, so I’ve decided that I want one of these. “Come to my office. You must make it through the labyrinth first. If you survive, you can talk to me.”

I’ve got all kinds of ideas for my future home. It may just be the fact that I’m a writer, but I really love the idea of a Victorian style home that still has all kinds of hidden modern technology. It probably dates back to my early childhood, and this book. There’s a fantastic illustration near the center of the book that displays the full exterior of the house in which the main characters reside. I always wanted to live in that house. My sisters and I would even point to windows in the picture, saying “I want that room!” My love for Victorian style homes may also stem from my adoration of so many British authors and the architecture of their homes. I know it might seem a little silly, but I also love the idea of a hidden library/office that I can ideally use to hide from crazy fans of my wildly successful writing. Hey, I can dream, can’t I? Besides, you never know when that wannabe is going to show up.

In addition to my current job, it would seem that someone has finally paid some attention to all of those job applications I submitted. As I believe I said, I didn’t get the job with my bank. That’s okay, it’s not the end of the world. After all, that job really would have been for the money far more than the sheer joy of it. Instead, it looks like I’m going to be working part-time at the closest (hell yeah, short commute for once!) branch of the public library. The best part about this is that it’s a 20 hour a week job that I can work along with my current job. Two places of work where I’ll be surrounded by books…this is glorious.  Granted, I am still holding out for a tech writing job, since that’s kind of why I got my degree. I’ve applied for a couple of different related posts, each of which would be full time and pay almost double what I’m making right now. If I get one of them, I no longer have to worry about finding a roommate. I’d be able to afford this place on my own, with plenty left over even after my other expenses. Maybe I’d even let one of my less fortunate friends stay here with me in the 2nd bedroom, at a considerably reduced rate of rent, say…internet and utilities. We’ll see what the next few weeks bring.

I had a good night of D&D tonight. That’s the main reason I’m up still. That, and an inventory shift at work coming up (6 PM-12:30 AM). I’m actually looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to the next D&D session too, honestly. I love the game. Right now we’re playing three-class gestalt, meaning that our characters are leveling in three classes at once. It’s something we created about two years ago and have played around with a little, since actual rules exist only for single class (standard) and the original variant gestalt, which allowed for leveling in two classes at one time. I like D&D because it lets me get inside the head of a character for a brief while. It’s very akin to writing in that respect. I’ll fully admit that a great deal of my love for the fantasy genre is owed to my fondness for D&D, which in turn stems from my love for the works of people like Tolkien and Lewis (and I still need to read this). My setting is not unlike some worlds in which I’ve adventured as a D&D character. Some of my characters may still someday find themselves in a story, especially those who were just plain fun to play, like Eliza, the cheerful necromancer, who didn’t see her magic as evil, but more as a way to make new friends (or let old friends stay forever). It’s actually quite easy for me to cross over between RPG characters and story characters, since I like every character I create to be fairly round and realistic (within the confines of the setting). Right now, I’m reading Berserk, and I can’t decide if I want some characters the manga is inspiring to be story or game characters.

“There should be more books. I want to get lost in rows of shelves, filled with books in which I can lose myself. Books are like the pools in C.S. Lewis’ wood between the worlds. Each one is a portal to a new realm limited only by the imagination of the reader. The best part? You don’t need a magic ring to enter one, and any of the characters you find inside stay behind when you close the cover. I love to lose myself in a book. Too often of late that has been difficult. I find that I am surround by distractions that prevent me from straying too far from the printed path. They serve as signposts that I want to avoid. It’s a far better adventure when you don’t know the way. I love the feeling of picking up a book I’ve never heard of but knowing that it is about to pull me in. When I touch the cover of such a book, I feel an inexplicable joy, an almost electric rush, and an urge to drop everything and devour its contents before I can move on. This is a rare joy, but the scarcity of such books makes the finding of one all the more fantastic.

Doubtless, there are those who would call me mad, but never to my face. They would whisper, as so many have done, behind my back, though I would hear nonetheless. It is the nature of a whispered phrase to meander about until it weaves and winds and finds itself within the ears of the one about whom it was first spoken. It is the nature of secrets to be discovered, for riddles to be solved, for the sun to set at day’s end. It is the nature of the world for these things to happen. It was in my nature since birth to crave knowledge, and in my nature to seek it. It was in the nature of my father and mother to guide me to the books in which I could find such information, such wonder. It is in the nature of knowledge that lingers the traces of original sin. So it is that those who would seek knowledge lose their innocence. This is the nature of man. One could say that a library, for all the knowledge it contains, is more sinful than all of the bordellos in all of the world. Conversely, such a library could be considered to be more sacred to those seekers of knowledge than Mecca or Jerusalem or any similar site to her faithful devotees. In the poorest of libraries can one find more wisdom than in the minds of the richest woman or man now living.”

That’s a little something I wrote a few months ago, but finally got typed up. I’m thinking about how it ties in to the character of Rime and his understanding of his own religious beliefs. He begins the novel as a man who is beginning to,  for the first time in his life, consciously question the existence of his god. His brotherhood works in Dhe’skuva, the city on the desert’s edge, selling crops from their garden and spreading the word of the patron deity of the city of Dhe’laza. The people of Dhe’skuva are highly resistant to the visiting prophets, though they have allowed them to live within the city for almost ten years. Rime stays near the temple entrance most of the days, caring for the garden during the day when his brothers are out proselytizing (I love that word). He speaks of his god to any who come near, but the streets near the temple are empty throughout most of the day. It’s almost agonizing to Rime, knowing that his own effectiveness is limited by his location and his physical inability to keep up with the other members of his order. When he’s alone, with nothing but the echo of his own words for company, a little nagging voice keeps popping into his head. “What if you’re wrong? What if he’s not real?” the voice says.

Over the course of the novel, Rime will have to decide how much he’s going to listen to/trust the voice in his head versus what he’s seeing right in front of him. His interactions with Arsus are going to change his life. Landara, Zach, and the others who have yet to tell me their names are going to be a part of a great adventure. The journey to Dhe’laza is going to challenge them all in ways they never thought possible. Long-held beliefs about the characters are going to change. Zachariah (Zee) will be narrating, and at the same time providing some stories for the other members of the cast. As a wandering poet, he will have been accumulating knowledge over the many years of his life. However, he’s got his own personal demons haunting him, maybe more literally than he ever expected. Landara is fleeing her own heavy gambling debt and her past as a city guard, an enforcer of the brutal law that provides Dhe’skuva with its legendary security.

Then there’s Arsus. Arsus has a unique claim that no one can prove or refute. The first character he meets is Rime, and his first statement is that the voice in Rime’s head is full of shit. The voice of doubt should be ignored. Rime’s god is indeed real, Arsus says. Not only that, but he’s standing right in front of him, stripped of all of his powers and trapped in mortal form. Rime’s reaction is exactly what you’d expect from a man who spent his entire life dedicated to the praise and worship of a god who supposedly protects an entire city-state and is among the strongest in the pantheon. Rime hears this stranger’s words and immediately falls to the ground in front of this strange man who claims that he is his god incarnate, closes his eyes, and bursts into a fit of uncontrollable laughter.

I’ve got a sickly green concoction in a glass in front of me. It’s mostly Mountain Dew Voltage. The rest is Kahlua.

I hate writing things in purely digital form. They’re not real enough for me. Ideas are too easily destroyed, words too easily unsaid. We live in a temporary world. Nothing we say or do is permanent anymore. We’re not permanent anymore. Just passing through on our way to wherever the hell it is we’re going. Words on paper mean something. Legally binding, as it were. Writing a story or a poem is like signing a contract with your creative side. On paper, there’s no backspace, no delete key. Sure, you can take an eraser to pencil and white-out to pen, but you don’t see the mistakes you made anymore. You erase your past with every mis-typed word. At least with paper, there’s some sign that something WAS there, even if it’s not anymore.

Superman is suicidal, but he can’t die. Think about it. He’s massively depressed. No one understands him, since he’s the last of his race. All he wants is to end it all and be with them again, see his REAL parents one more time. But he can’t die. Some freak coincidence with our planet’s sun makes him nearly immortal. What would you do? Why do you think he hurls himself into danger time and time again? He does everything he can to try to feel pain, but he can’t even BLEED under normal circumstances. He envies Bruce because, while Bruce too suffered loss, he will eventually die. He remains mortal, and so he has no fear. Clark, on the other hand, has no idea what physical pain even feels like anymore. He antagonizes Lex Luthor because he knows that Luthor possesses ways to obtain Kryptonite, the one thing in existence that can allow Superman to be physically harmed. Clark, then, is torn between saving his new friends and finally achieving what he’s sought for so long. Eventually, he will give in, Lex will win, and he can rest.

Things that I read make me wonder what kind of person Rime should be, personality-wise. I already know a few things about him. He’s a religious man. A priest of sorts. His beliefs are constantly being challenged, and he’s forced to question the very gods that make up the pantheon of his world. When he feels that his prayers are not being answered, he decides to take matters into his own hands. This is a driving force behind the quest he sets out on early in the story. He wants to prove that his devotion has not been pointless this whole time. He’s basically shouting “I EXIST!” to the night sky. Maybe at some point he’ll do this. I need to decide how prevalent alcohol use would be in his world. If he hides his emotions most of the time, maybe Arsus will get him drunk just to get him to open up a little. This could be a great spot to build off the hot springs scene I’ve been working on. It’s going to be a great sequence in which the characters (particularly Arsus and Rime) get to know each other better. I’m still debating who else will have joined in on their little adventure. I’m thinking no more than five total. I mean, that gives me a classic Five Man Band. Now don’t expect any of our little friends to necessarily perfectly fit any of those classic tropes. I intend to subvert them where it makes sense to do so.

“In my presence you might wake
Through this fiction I must fake
Your death to grace the face of my character
With these lessons he might learn
That all worlds from here must burn
For as God demands in the end we miss.”

I love Coheed and Cambria. I’m greatly saddened that I’ve only listened to one of their albums, now that I realize how deep the story behind the whole discography goes.

Again, I find myself staring down a pair of days off.  It’s very strange. I have only worked one day out of the last five. I know that this is due to asking a coworker to cover a shift so that I could make it home, but still. It’s a little disconcerting to feel so thoroughly unemployed while still having a job. Today should be a day for filling out more job applications, but it’s more likely to see more creative writing than truly productive writing. That is the hope, anyway. In all honesty, I’d be quite happy if either of those plans works out.

As I (think) I have said, I recently returned home for the funeral of my great uncle. He and I shared a name, albeit spelled differently. Apparently, however, this caused no small bit of uproar in my hometown. See, I’m from a LITTLE town. Everyone knows everyone. So when a funeral notice went around town that happened to have my name on it, some people freaked out, thinking that yours truly had gone and kicked the bucket. It was an oddly funny bit of an experience to tack on to the sad circumstance of seeing family at a funeral. I can also now say that reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. 😀

Rime has haunting eyes. They shift from gray to blue to green, depending on the light and his mood. This is going to severely freak Arsus out the first time he sees it happen. They’re going to be a major part of his emotional displays. The man is dedicated to his beliefs, and when he sees something that challenges all that he holds to be good and true, his eyes are going to show the struggle going on within him. In a similar manner, when he’s asked to make a choice for the greater good, any character paying close attention will be able to see an almost wistful look in his eyes. I’m choosing the eyes because of how frequently I’m told that my eyes are incredibly expressive. Rime and I have a great deal in common. I think that this makes him the easiest and yet most difficult character to write. While I can easily write him as me, the question is how much of myself should I allow myself to write into him. Where do I need to draw the line between character and writer? Should he be the narrator? Which is a greater problem, faith without belief, or belief without faith? (Thank you, V).

One last thing before I head off to writing for today. One of my good friends is a musician, putting together a bunch of house/trance music. You can check out his soundcloud page and listen to all of his current tracks here.

 

And back to the blog.

Here I am again. After managing to somehow survive work today, despite a crazy man who claimed that I stole the $5 change I was supposed to have given him (a quick count of the cash register proved him wrong, thankfully), I am back at home. It’s nice to be able to come home to the apartment after a long day and finally get some dinner and a drink or two.

I’ve been spending a good deal of time thinking about this story I’m writing. I kind of wish I had more of it planned out in advance, but at the same time, I like to think that my first journey into this world will be far more similar to that of my future readers. Ideally, this means that I will be able to keep things from becoming too overwhelming/confusing for anyone other than myself. I want people to know how it felt as I was creating this world. I want it to feel lived in and rugged, but inviting to people who’ve never experienced anything quite like it (ideally, this will be all of my readers).

I hate when I read a novel and get overwhelmed with crap. I like something I’m reading to be accessible with a minimal level of extra effort required, especially if it’s the start of a series. If it’s a writer I’ve read before, there will be some level of tolerance. If it’s something that I already know, again, there will be tolerance. After all, “A Clockwork Orange” is still one of the best things I’ve ever read, despite the crazy dialogue and narration that goes along with the story of Alex and his droogs. I don’t, however, tolerate this kind of writing when it’s done pretentiously. If someone takes the trouble to create a language, they should make it useful, not just throw it in your face to say “OOOOO, look what I came up with!” Everything should have a purpose. Don’t give throwaway details. Make people question the intent of every line of dialogue, every description of every lamp and every passing dog. Create a visual that your reader can not forget. Forge something truly memorable. That’s my goal. I want to give my readers text that they desire. I want them coming back to my book every couple of years after they first read it and have them find something that they didn’t notice the time before.

At any rate, it’s time to write something before I fall asleep. As conviction becomes content, I shall post more.