Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Something to Believe In

I have found religion.

Okay, well, not me, but my character. Andrea. I had all these little bits and pieces about her, and they suddenly all made sense when I gave her a Christian upbringing. Like, there was something in her backstory that, well, technically didn't happen, but it almost did, and she'd just as soon forget about the whole thing. I was never quite sure why. Whether it happened or didn't, it wasn't wrong. Unless you've got some traditional values. Also, this kind of explains why she is one of six children. Not to say that Christians have the monopoly on large families, it just seems like it's more common.

This is a new thing for me. I've been writing NaNo novels since 2010, and a good handful of short stories before and after that. And I don't think I've ever had a main character (or a character who was in more than a scene or two) who was religious. It's going to be an interesting thing to write. I'll try not to offend anybody, but I make no promises.

This revelation has made me realize that my three characters fall on a spectrum of Purity vs. Corruption.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Music for the Road

I've been thinking of all kind of interesting ways to divide a story. Chapters, sure, but that's so… ordinary. One thing I wanted to do with The Long Road is to group the chapters into sections named after road feature. Like "dead end" or "hairpin turn." I don't know if that's going to work, but it's a thought.

Another thought I had was to break up it up by the song that's playing at that moment of their road trip. But that would make for very short sections and is probably not a very good idea.

I have been thinking about road trip music, though. Each of the characters is going to have their own musical taste, just like real people. And sure, there's bound to be some overlap, with some bands or genres that everyone likes. But then maybe one person really likes Nine Inch Nails and no one else really gets what the big deal is. So then you have fighting over control of the radio.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


I realized that in my last post, I said that the word counter filtered out words like "it" even though "it" appears in the last line of my abstract "poem." The site claimed that, not me. So someone is confused. (Hint: it's me.)

But moving on.

I've started rewriting the beginning of The Long Road as part of my revision process. I still don't know what cargo area of an SUV is called, and am still calling it steerage. This will continue, more than likely. Anyway, there was a whole thing about Tony being late and getting coffee that I've kept and altered, because it shows that he's kind of a dick and only out for himself. I think I could come up with myriad ways why people wouldn't like him, and why his family abandoned him (I'm kidding, they left because they’re also selfish assholes). The challenge is going to be convincingly showing why anyone would want to be friends with him. What are his redeeming qualities? What makes him likeable? Why the hell does he speak Russian?

All good questions. Some may one day have answers.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Talk About Looking Back

I decided to see what the most used word was in each story I wrote, for shits and giggles. I ran The Long Road through Word Counter and got a piece of abstract poetry.
Jesse, Tony
Andrea said back
Look, just go
Ask around down
I know, get road town
Don't turn door
Fuck time!
What did sheriff one-something
Over hand think happen?
It didn't
It goes on like that. Pure nonsense.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Beginnings Are Hard

Revisions are going slowly. The problem lies in the fact that I don't know even the basicest of information about anything. Like the fact that basicest is not a word. Most basic.

I don't know where they’re going or why. I don't know where they're coming from. I've changed my word goal to an hour goal so all of this pondering and planning can at least count for something. I need to get my shit together, seriously.

I told my washing machine that they were doomed from the start, but I can no longer remember why.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

I Keep Falling Out of Time

As I said last time, I'm going to talk some more about time travel. Because I love it. What does this have to do with upcoming Camp NaNo? Probably nothing. And that's okay.

Here's my experience with time travel. I've written two time travel stories. I think. I can only thing of two. I have Unknown Soldier (first written as a short story in 2008, then as a screenplay in 2011), and A Matter of Time (my first NaNo from 2010).

Unknown Soldier was pretty straightforward. It was a loop. Essentially, our protagonist heard a story about a mysterious guy who did a heroic thing. This inspires him to try to be heroic. He volunteers for an experimental program to test, you guessed it, a time machine.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

So Close, So Far, I'm Lost in Time

Time travel.

It's one of my favorite subjects. It opens up all kinds of possibilities for stories that cross multiple time periods. It can be done really well, or really not.

There are options when it comes to time travel. You have two main types:

  • Loops
  • Branches

Loops are different from time loops, in which a period of time keeps repeating. Rather, I mean the kind of thing where someone went back in time and did a thing, but that doesn't change the future, because they always went back to do that thing. Like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The bit with the patronus at the lake or whatever.

Branches are when they go back and change something, and they divert events onto a different path, resulting in a future different from the one they left. Like Back to the Future. School dances and sports almanacking lead to changes in the timeline.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Oh, the Places You'll Go

This was one of those days where I wrote a good chunk of a post, before deciding it was no good and starting over. I also had to make time for Lego Jurassic Park and at least two naps, and well, here we are.

I have a week left before Camp NaNo begins. Which means I need to get my ass in gear, regarding an outline. Now, I've determined that the first chapter or so should establish these characters on their road trip. They'll make stops, fight over snacks and music, and just… do things young 20-somethings do.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Proliferation of Portals

I've been watching 11.22.63, and spoiler alert for the first half hour, there's a portal. Not anywhere that would make any sense, it just is. And I'm only a few episodes in, but it’s not explained how it got there. In true Stephen King fashion, I suppose. Sometimes, weird things just are. I mean, in From a Buick 8, there's a portal to a hell dimension or whatever inside a car (I think, it's been a while since I read it). He can get away with it. But can I?

To be honest, The Long Road is really shaping up to be some kind of homage to Stephen King. The weird town with the sheriff is very Desperation, whether I meant it to be that way or not.

And that's where we run into trouble. There's a fine line between "inspired by" and "a rip-off of." You don't want to be on the wrong side. Especially if you hope to eventually publish something, which I do.

So on the one hand, I might be able to get away with giving no reason for the portals and reality jumping. On the other though, I kind of want to have one. It's seems kind of cheap to just say, "It's happening, just because."

What do you think? Would you want a reason to eventually be revealed, or can you accept a mystery with no answer?

Today's post is a little short, because I don't have much time. I'll see you Saturday.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The In-Between

I love liminal spaces. You probably know that by now. Those places between other places. The thresholds. The doorways. Places neither here nor there. That moment between today and tomorrow.

Somehow or another I found myself reading about hypnagogic and hypnopompic states, that is, the transitional periods of falling asleep and waking up, respectively.  Essentially, your brain doesn't always go smoothly from one to the other. It gets a little murky and mixed up, and gives you this liminal state between the two. And then I read about false awakening, where you think you've woken up, but you're still dreaming. The whole dream within a dream thing.

Me being me, I take some run of the mill mental phenomenon, and ask myself what kind of adventures could this lead to. I mean, a doorway's a doorway. Not just a link between asleep and awake, but maybe also a link to somewhere else. I've mentioned hypnic jerks before, that twitch when you're on the verge of sleep, like you've nearly fallen and caught yourself. But where were you falling to?