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?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Long Lost Stories

I once wrote a story, or part of a story, about a kid who gets transported to some medieval land and has to find his way home.

Side note, I like just starting my posts all abruptly. I imagine it's like I just strolled into your living room and started telling you a story you weren't anticipating and didn't ask for.

Anyway, something reminded me of that story. I knew how it began, and kind of how it ended, but I never got around to figure out the middle. I haven't even seen this story in years. I wonder…

Saturday, March 10, 2018

A Change of Plans

All right, guys, I'm calling it. I'm discontinuing "Just One Yesterday" for the time being. I wanted to give it a better ending, but… It was getting stuck in a rut of nothing really happening, or just the same things happening. There was all kind of other information that needed to make it in there, but for whatever reason, it never did. I think it's the nature of making it up as I go. I don't have a set plan of where to fit things in, so they don't fit in at all, and the story just wanders off the rails.

I know there were some unanswered questions, the largest of which was probably, how did Patrick end up dead and condemned to hell in the first place. That was actually the initial idea I had for the story, but when I actually started writing, I skipped to the aftermath.

I'd like to return to it someday, and I probably will eventually. But right now, I'm bored of having to write it, which is likely reflected in the quality, and everyone's getting bored of having to read it. So we're moving on, for the good of humanity.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Random Scribblings

I had a great idea about something the other day. But I didn’t write it down, so now I have no idea what it was. Let that be a lesson to you. Inspiration is a fickle bitch. The best and probably only piece of advice I can give about writing is to always have something to make notes on, whether that's a little notebook, a voice recorder, or a smartphone app. When you get an idea, you write it down. That idea's not going to stick around, and it's not going to come back when it's more convenient for you.

During Camp NaNo some years ago, I was about to go to bed when I thought of something that would solve the current issue with my story. I didn't have anything to write it on, so I willed myself to remember until morning. Well, I can tell you with some certainty that it was a word with about seven letters, and it had a "g" in it. That information did not solve the problem in my story.

Sometimes, I'll have random ideas about revision for NaNo projects I worked on years ago. And you better bet I write those down, because one day, I may actually sit down and fix those stories. If I wait long enough, I might solve all the plot holes with random thoughts.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Bailing Out

And… it's late. Again. I even had this one outlined in advance, I just didn't write it. I'll be honest with you, I'm kind of getting bored with it. I feel like it's not going how I want it to, and I can't pull it back and divert it. So, I think this is a sign that I should wrap it up. There will probably only be a few more installments, and then we'll move on to something new. I just need to get to a good stopping point, that's not like a bullshit cliffhanger.

So… Part Six:
"I thought of angels choking on their halos…"
The room spun. The ceiling warped like a heat mirage. The light fixture threatened to blink out of existence.

Patrick tried to raise his injured arm. It didn’t cooperate. He picked it up with the other hand and brought it up where he could see it. Besides the crusty bite marks, he could swear he saw something moving under the skin, crawling through his veins.

The front door opened. Patrick dropped his arm, wincing when it landed on the couch. Someone walked through the haze of the room. He expected Bryony, and thought it was her until he saw its face.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Everything's Connected

I had an interesting story idea yesterday, and with a lack of anything else to talk about today, I thought I'd tell you about it.

Imagine this: a short story collection with, I don't know, ten or so stories. All are set in a shared universe, each is from the point of view of a different character. There is some underlying current of a connecting thread, and the whole mystery or secret truth or whatever is only clear after reading all the stories.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Spread of Darkness

I don't know why I can't write this on time. I'm terrible. I'm sorry.

Here's Part 5 of "Just One Yesterday."
Patrick could try to get his job back, and work for a soulless hell-monster. He could try not to stare at those abysmal eye sockets. But Frank would know. Somehow, they always knew that he could see them.

He wanted to be a badass and do a tactical roll out the door to escape from danger. That wasn’t going to happen. Instead, he awkward shuffled out the door, still crouching and hoping the booth shielded him from the view of the kitchen. He didn’t look back.

He crossed the street and kept on walking. He wasn’t going to deal with this right now. His arm hurt where that thing had bit him, like little pinpoints of fire. The job search would have to wait. For now, he was going home.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Back on the Road

In the midst of working on other projects, I'm always thinking about The Long Road, my NaNo novel from last year, and how I'm going to fix it. If you're just joining us, it was essentially about three friends who go on a road trip, and slip from reality into pockets of weirdness. It didn't work out, as a NaNo novel, coming in at only 25,000 words, but it had so much potential.

The main thing I've been thinking about lately is that it needs more lead-up, more time to establish characters. Which means a minimum of two chapters before anything weird even happens. We need to learn who these people are before we throw them in the grinder.

For instance, Tony has to wander off. That's a given. It's a thing he does, that kicks off a major plot point. But he also needs to do it sooner. I need to show that this is a character trait of his, so that when he does it at the worst possible time, you're not wondering why.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Taking a Step Back

So I've written a bit of a twist in the last installment of this story, and I'm not totally sure where to go from there. Hence the lateness of the post. Also I went to go see Black Panther (super good, go see it), and then took at least two naps. Saturdays are my napping day.

I am calling the story "Just One Yesterday" for the time being, so now all the pieces are tagged with that. And I guess it's going on hiatus for the moment, since I'm not sure what happens next and I don't want to screw it up. It'll be back next week. Maybe even on time. But probably not.

What am I going to talk about today, then? Well, I'm glad you asked.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Apropos of Nothing

Titles are important. That's the first thing anyone sees of your book or short story. It has to be catchy, and good, and it has to mean something.

Well, that's the goal, anyway. I have a history of working titles that don't necessarily mean anything. They sound cool, and somehow reference something in the story or in its creation, but don't necessarily make sense for the finished project.

What do I mean? Well, I'm glad you asked. Here's some examples:

  • Locking Up the Sun: This was a superhero story about a guy who could teleport. The title vaguely made sense because the main character was sent to rescue a superhero named Supernova. But really, it was just named after this song.
  • Secrets and Thieves: A post-apocalyptic adventure with a wide variety of strange characters. And while yes, there are secrets, and at least one thief, I don't know that they were central enough to get a spot in the title. It's a line from this song, which has nothing to do with anything. It's just a good line.