It’s a jungle in here

October 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

Here’s an excerpt from my daily writing. I thought I might show a peek of the world I’m working on.

The boundaries between their community and the beginnings of the city were unmistakable. Squat concrete buildings gave way to multilevel dwellings in various states of decay as the termite-infested skeletons collapsed onto themselves. Long vines of ivy pulled the buildings into the earth like giant arms, twisting and twining in rain spouts and broken windows. The structures seemed less affected as they moved closer to the city center, perhaps because the broken concrete had only begun to give way to the insistent call of the natural world. Many places were completely devoid of plant life, but still the decay was evident in the crumbling facades of stores exposed to years of the elements with no one to care. The tallest buildings which seemed to stretch up to the clouds had once been covered in glass, which now lay in various sized shards in the streets up to two blocks away. The result was remarkably like the skeleton of a giant snake stood on end.

Character First

September 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

I only have about ten minutes so this will be short but I want to get it out there while it’s still fresh in my mind.

I was trying to think of how to describe the story I’m creating to someone, the tagline I guess it’s called, but everything I thought of sounded really stupid when I typed it out. I started to wonder if that was a reflection of my story, and started to think of things to change to make it sound better.

Eventually I just had to snap myself out of it. I could feel my blood pressure rising and just the slight edge of panic creeping into my thoughts. No, this is all wrong! It’s not working, nothing is working! I stopped and tried to clear my head for a moment, which was when I realized that the real problem I have is that I need to work through my characters; their goals and personalities, and what they hope to achieve, and once that is done I can go back and work the setting to find the most effective way to tell their story.

First things first, I need to work on characters.

Setting the mood

September 24, 2012 § 2 Comments

Wind from the Sea

Andrew Wyeth – Wind from the Sea, 1947

The tone I’m going for in the story can essentially be summed up in Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Wind from the Sea.” When I look at this painting there is a calm bleakness and inevitability in the muted colors and path leading into the line of dark trees in the distance.

Despite this, the feeling of motion in the curtains hints at a more dynamic scene than would first appear, and brings a small ray of hope into an otherwise somber setting.

Re-reading

September 18, 2012 § 7 Comments

I reluctantly started to re-read my nano novel from…was it 2006? No, 2007, which seems like such a long time ago. I’m surprised; it doesn’t suck nearly as much as I thought it did. It’s not fantastic by any means but definitely entertaining because I largely have forgotten all of the plot twists that were added in. One nice thing about needing a word count is that it forces me to look to other areas besides dialogue and action to fill in description. I’m paranoid about being overly descriptive, and as a result my ability to set a scene is limited because I avoid talking about it. I end up having the opposite problem which is just as obnoxious.

This is a consistent weakness in my work that I’ve noticed ever since I was young and it’s something I really want to work on because reading the description, which I thought was superfluous while writing, strengthens the work. I think about stories like a movie in my head, and I can see the setting  while I’m writing so I don’t think to describe it for others. I also get really carried away with dialogue. I’m sure I could just make a story that was entirely dialogue between characters; in fact I’m pretty sure I’ve done that at some point.

I’v also been reading character sketches my sister and I did over the years. There are a series of questions to answer about a character such as “favorite food” “first memory” and so on. Mine were written answers, not usually direct but through a scene in their lives that was related to it or answered it in some way. My sister’s are actual drawings, she is very talented, and we were laughing at some of the comedic answers we came up with. The characters are from a computer game we play but they have blossomed under our care until they developed minds of their own. I wonder how I could possibly use some of them in the work I hope to make.

A Month of Villainy

May 27, 2008 § Leave a comment

Month of VillainyThe month of June has been declared ‘Villain Month’ by elizaw. This sounds like the perfect way to kick start the writing process. Developing characters is by far my favorite part of writing any story. In fact, I often get more absorbed in the stories of minor side characters than I do in the actual MCs.

Villains are always a challenge. I don’t know if it’s just the difficulty of relating to them or the reluctance to think on their level. I know that a book is much more enjoyable to read when there is a complex and subtle villain in place. So why not strive to achieve that in my own writing?

I’ll try to come up with a more organized form as June draws nearer, but in the meantime, here is a list of some of the topics I’ll be considering (I’m having fun with this already!)…

  • Black sheep of the family: villains or just misunderstood anti-heroes?
  • How to develop the modern henchman
  • The Boss: make them live up to their reputation, dammit!
  • Villains as humans versus non-humans

I’m also trying to work on setting and description, so I’ll try to incorporate that into the writings. More to come as the date draws nearer!

Mr HJ Weston does not approve

October 23, 2007 § Leave a comment

I loved this one character I made during the time of this roleplaying game, which is now the basis of my new story. I’m still not sure what kind of purpose he was supposed to serve, but it tickled me to make a CPA for the vampires of the city…

I’m posting some Very Old writings that describe him and his place of business, more as a reference for the future, so I don’t have to go rooting around in the LJ comm while I’m supposed to be typing.

We were in an area of the downtown district. I had been here several times before with Mathias, taking care of affairs. The storefronts here were immaculate and aloof. I was afraid to even let the man’s blood sully the street.

One store was not dark. It was a small, squashed-looking building crammed in between a boutique and a gourmet restaurant. I saw the faint yellow glow behind the heavy curtains and under the crack in the door. The sign read: “Offices of H.J. Weston: CPA”

Siren and I gently lay the body on the steps, taking care to make certain the blood was dried and would not stain. Mr. H.J. Weston hated stains. Siren looked confused, but said nothing as I climbed the stairs and knocked three times softly.

“Business hours are from 9 to 5. Please come back later,” answered the familiar, aristocratic voice. I started banging on the door loudly.

It flew open to reveal the severe figure of Mr. Weston himself, manager of the business affairs of half the vampires in Glass City.
“Ah, Nina. Mathias told me you might be coming around.” He glanced surreptitiously past me. “And you have brought a friend?”

“Two, actually,” I told him, stepping aside to reveal the body on the steps. He looked at it in distaste.

“I trust this is an emergency? My business does not exist solely to store your used carcasses.”

“It’s only temporary. I’ll have it out of there by tomorrow. You said Mathias was expecting me to come here?”

“Yes, to settle your accounts. But we should not speak outside, when your…friends…need assistance. Please come in, and mind the walls.”

Mr. H.J. Weston’s office was a thing of beauty. The dark wood paneling shone in the places you could see; most of the wall space was covered in bookshelves that reached floor to ceiling. The windows were covered with heavy drapes to ensure no sunlight would penetrate during the day. From all appearances, one could easily mistake Mr. Weston for a vampire. He went to great lengths to ensure that his clients felt at ease, and he had subconsciously taken on a pseudo-vampiric lifestyle himself.

The body was safely stored in the basement freezer, kept for such occasions. Mr. Weston liked to be prepared for everything.

“I have been informed of your…situation,” he said, after he had motioned for Siren and me to take a seat. The other vampire looked plainly suspicious, but reluctantly sank into a chair. “Mathias arranged for a substantial portion of his assets to be set aside in your name. Now, I will need you to sign—”

“No. I’m not signing anything.” The look on Mr. Weston’s face as I said it was the closest I’d ever seen him come to a real expression. He folded his hands on his desk, annoyed at my interruption and the potential paperwork I was going to put him through.

That guy cracks me up.

Setting

October 22, 2007 § Leave a comment

I think I should probably muse a little bit on the setting of my novel, since description is something I need to work on. There’s some plot mixed in as well…

Glass City is, obviously, a city that boasts a long fruitful history. It was originally a town created for the workers of a glassworks factory, established by the Kaltblutig family (can’t get umlauts to work, there’s supposed to be one over the ‘u’). The family remains to this day one of the most influential forces in the affairs of the city.

Located on the edge of a large lake that feeds into the ocean, the harbor has long been a means of trading and recently, the location of several successful dinner cruise lines. A river that feeds into the lake splits the city in half, although numerous bridges line the banks. The police regularly drag the river for people who ‘go missing’.

In recent years, Glass City has developed a thriving nightlife, thanks in part to the Underground, nearly a city in itself that is housed completely below ground. Subway systems crisscross the city and converge in the Underground, where clubs, retail, and even residences are located.

Very few of the people who work in GC actually live within the city limits. Most prefer to stay in the suburbs and commute. Those that live in the city are often transient, vampires, or both.

The present time is one of upheaval and revolution. William Kaltblutig, the controversial mayor of GC, was an advocate for vampire rights, endearing him to the undead population while isolating him from the human constituent. He was recently assasinated, his replacement has the opposite mindset. The police have been given more authority in the employment of hunters. To soften his image, he has declared vampirism a disease, and has created a department in charge of finding a cure.

This turn of events has made the vampires of the city suspicious and touchy, especially around their own kind. Some have turned others in to save their own skins. Sires no longer trust their children, even going so far as killing them to protect their locations and secrets.

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