Sunday, September 26, 2010

Florence +The Machine - "Hurricane Drunk"

While I'm on the wave of sharing my creative process, here is what I'm working with as inspiration.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Short Story Time

As promised, I'm working on my short fiction and I'm ecstatic, because an idea jumped at me fully formed. I find it annoying that I cannot get a satisfactory beginning, but the very least I have a treasure on my hands.

I will reveal some of it right here. The story is inspired by 'Hurricane Drunk', a song by Florence + the Machine for my collection Lungs. I kept brainstorming and at the same time wanted to think of witches [something I watched presumably] and got to a very interesting mash of things I wanted to do. The initial idea for the story was to have Dorothy in her cottage house inside the hurricane. That was the image, but I never could get a plot out of that. I may or may not have given her a periscope, but that did not make things go along.

Now, I have been thinking of the classic witch. Pointy hat, broom and dark attire, but writing about a witch as a protag is not that new. So somehow a child entered the picture and the witch suddenly became Baba Yaga [the woman is legendary in Slavic folklore]. Baba Yaga is rumored to eat children, but she does something a tad more horrific with the children. And this time, this child [Tatyana] has some other ideas of what she wants from life. Who will win? Tatyana or Baba Yaga?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mistakes I made writing this novel

Not relevant, but oh-so pretty.

It's nonsense, I'm telling you. I've taken precautions this time to not let my novel spin out of control and cause mayhem, but it has happened again. Mid-novel [time and time again], I reach the point I realize that what I'm doing won't bear any fruit. Despite the pre-planning, a lengthy outline [not lengthy enough in retrospect] and an exact idea of what I want, my own subconscious mind has pointed out that I've been toying with one aspect, when I should've considered all layers.

The result: A stick-figure instead of an actual skeleton [if I'm to speak in analogies]. All of the usual mid-novel Eurika's demand great changes in the beginning. Then, wait for it, I will experience the Domino Effect of Ideas. The middle won't be spared and the ending will go through its own stages of alteration. I've been staring at the two possible choices for weeks and it's either write it [hating the process, because I'll regret having to delete them only to write new ones] or drop it like a hot potato and leave it on the percolator. For Theresa, I'll even include an analogy from her home country. I want a duck, not Balut. [While you are at it, please do search for pictures of Balut; it's a delicacy after all.]

I decided to post-pone finishing 'Air Boy', until I sort out everything around it. My mistakes are not involving characters at all and just write about the protagonist, until I got the right feeling for Ambrose. Now, that I understand Ambrose, I started going after the whole cast, which I have been neglecting. I know that Ambrose's father is harboring a secret, which will help with another issue Ambrose has. I'm entertaining the idea of the Smith family having a big, dark secret, but that will not be until later. The Smith family has an interesting history and so does the city. I didn't bother with any of that, which is a bad, bad decision.

I should've made my re-search about where to place the Smith family. I picked Colorado for the right geography and climate. The idea was to create a fictional city, which I failed to do, because I do not live in the USA and I have no idea what a town or a city feels there. Next best thing: I picked a real, small town [Gunnison] and gave it a make-over. Gunnison v.02 will be wicked, weird, because the land is wicked and weird. It took about four hours to get all the data I needed, but the impact on everything in the story is great and positive. People do not kid, when they say that you need to know a whole lot more than you show in the novel. It's a lesson well-learned.

So, forced by the muse, I'm back to the drawing board. AND never ever neglect your cast and the environment.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Can I survive a Critique Group?

While I’m semi-inactive at the moment, I do have an interesting announcement to make. I had the awesome courage to apply for a critique group membership. You are reading the words of a Magical Words Beta member. I have been a member since late August, which is the month of non-existing productivity [thankfully not restricted solely to me]. Since the group [plus me] is picking up steam, I do not have an opinion on anything. So far, everyone is Zen and civil. Not drama prone or attention whorish [I may add those wonderful qualities].

It also doesn’t offer any insight on whether I’m suited to be critique group material. Which, I am certain, has you wondering why I’d joined one in the first place. I admit to being solitary and chatty at the same time, which I believe makes me perfect for one-on-one’s. It’s been and tested, but at the same time critique groups are hailed as one of the greatest tools in the honing of one’s skills as well as the solution to the innate writer’s isolation. I’ve considered myself a very unsuitable match for such an endeavor.

My behavior is usually dictated by moods, which makes me pretty unreliable on the long run, but through the group I hope to change all that and establish regular routine, despite what my hormones dictate. This will also help me straighten my priorities, which always seem to swing by instant gratification… Another thing that has me bothered is how much help I will be to others and whether I will be in time.

Monday, September 13, 2010

From two to ten fingers... the journey

I promised myself that I would blog a lot more frequent, but at the time I published that post I had undertaken a massive typing mission. Ambitious little me wanted to transcribe reviews, hit all the insane novel quotas, tweet and post at the regular intervals. Though in theory I could squeeze all of the above in whatever portion of the I have, I neglected something rather small, which instantly turned into something rather big. I experienced a weak, but persistent prick in my right forefinger, which also happens to be my main typing finger [because I use, you guessed it, two fingers, when evolution has given me ten]. Can you sense where this is heading? 

So, during the days leading to the weekend I discovered that I couldn’t type, because the prick of pain intensified. Yeah, no typing whatsoever or at least in limited quantity over the span of the weekend. I came to the conclusion that A) I’m way too young to have such issues and B) that normal people typed with more than two fingers. Since I know me, I didn’t bother to even feign shock at the fact that I’ve been doing something wrong. I just facepalmed and googled a guide for typing with ten fingers. This is what I have been doing for the past three days. 

The guide gave a span between two days and two months to get it. Two days to get the whole new sensation of all the fingers on the keyboard and the right positioning and two months to get the speed back. I am not sure whether I will manage to return to my former speed of 80 to one 100 words per minute [though the latter has happened only on a few occasions]. I do hope to master or at least achieve decent speed, because after all I need to type. You can imagine how 80 words per minute can damage my single most important digit. Therefore, I am doing the slow-poke dance on the keyboard. What I do know is that I as far as quantity goes I get the same amount. That may puzzle you a little, but before I typed faster than I could compose my sentences and now everything is balanced. 

This was me. The voice from beyond. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Schedule, Re-schedule, Goals

My current situation is the following: Creativity is overflowing, productivity is the malnourished child. 

Yes, writing has not been going so well. The awesomeness of having a smaller sibling return from her private palace in the summer caused serious issues for me. I had to cook, feed, provide the sibling with attention and PC time, take it out and get it to private tutors. Not good on the writing routine. BUT with additional family members also returning from my family's vacation-home, I can safely stick to her education, which is less time consuming. 

In light of this, here are my short term goals till the end of the year: 

(1). Finish AirBoy. We are speaking first draft. My first drafts are always short. I think 60,000 to 70,000. I have an outline. I have 13,000 words. If I adopt a 2,000 word routine I can get it done. It will be crappy... But whatever. I am not getting that voice done, until edits. That's evident. I need too much trivia to make it work.

(2). Revive a novella I left at the stage of a short story. 

(3). Edit, edit, edit. Start with Crimson Cacophony and then whip my Friday Flashes into shape and then send them off.

(4). Finish what I have started... Oh, these are just 10 or so short stories.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vacation... [Literal and Metaphorical]

I let things here stagnate, because I had to poll some crazy shifts with some even weirder sleeping regimes. Plus, I had to travel away from the city. Real life keeps me away here [though I have some other projects that do swallow my time as well] and since I have long since ditched the structure of the blog, I wanted to sort the chaos before I resume any regular posting. 

BUT until then, more chaos and a rather intimate reading moment. My family has a villa, situated in a smaller town than my own, which we use every summer. A good fourth of my childhood was spent there and I always recall these days as the best, even if I did not have all the TV channels I wanted or an Internet connection [a very serious issue for a budding teen]. I wrote my first short story in that villa. I also completed my first novel [in Bulgarian] and attempted to re-write it, even if it read like something from Stanbeck. It's because of the disconnection that I manage to do a whole lot, which when tempted with a personal computer and a wi-fi is nigh impossible. This combined with the nature... Can you spell heaven?

As you can imagine I experienced heaven again. Two families [my family has known for decades] visited us and every single one of these people are heavy readers during their vacations. I spent two silent afternoons, six adults reading, first on the beach and then under the grapevine. It was a comfortable silence, mute joy. The best bit was that my Dumas made company to Dan Brown, Stephen King, Joe Hill, one German crime fiction author and another thriller author. We all asked what happened in our books and who liked what, agreed on our different tastes and kept on reading... 

No name calling. No genre slamming. Acceptance and peace. I learned that weekend that genre acceptance was possible. Ain't it wonderful?