The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘absolute write’

AW Blog Chain – Fire And Ice

Posted by BigWords on August 23, 2012

This blog hasn’t been updated in a while (though you don’t need me to tell you that), and I thought that getting back into the swing of things was a good idea. Even better, using the blog chain gives me ample reason for mass linkage to some of the awesome blogs out there – and you really want to start clicking on these linkies if you haven’t visited the blogs before. So… linkage first, madness second.

orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to this month’s post)
Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
areteus – http://lurkingmusings.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Catherine Hall – http://theelephantinthetemple.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
bmadsen – http://www.bernardmadsen.com/ (link to this month’s post)
pyrosama – http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
meowzbark – http://erlessard.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
BBBurke – http://www.awritersprogression.com/ (link to this month’s post)
writingismypassion – http://charityfaye.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
wonderactivist – http://luciesmoker.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
SuzanneSeese – http://viewofsue.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
randi.lee – http://emotionalnovel.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Proach – http://desstories.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
magicmint – http://www.loneswing.com/ (link to this month’s post)
tomspy77 – http://thomaswillamspychalski.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)

The prompt for the blog chain is “Fire and Ice”.

Image by Frank Frazetta. Go buy some of his paintings.

CONTENT WARNING – PROFANITY AHOY.

Fire and ice are at opposite ends of the thermal spectrum, and so aren’t linked by many things. Except volcanoes. Yup. You read that right – freaking awesome volcanoes at that. Sometimes it seems that the universe looks at our laws of physics and says “Fuck that, check this out” and does something outlandish. Not that, y’know, we should be surprised or anything, given that reality has already laid the smack-down on our understanding of life on our own planet. As a voracious reader, such things crop up surprisingly rarely in fiction because… Well, you simply wouldn’t accept being told about ice volcanoes, would you? It would be like those Kemlo books where the brat could breathe in space and had awesome adventures just because. Looking at the differences between fire and ice also brings up another question you are probably not going to give a damn about, but which gave me an unbelievable boner when I discovered it – you most likely know about absolute zero (−273.15°C), but you probably didn’t know that there’s an equivalent for fire as well. Unfortunately, some genius thought that “absolute heat” sounded good enough a name for this limit (where reality loses its shit and starts to break down), so scientists are forevermore doomed to say something which sounds like a bad eighties action film whenever they talk about this phenomenon.

Aren’t you glad I skipped over Gliese 436 to bring you all this other stuff?

There are a lot of myths about both fire and ice which are as fascinating for me as anything that reality throws at us – the phoenix, rising from the flames is an image not easily forgotten, and places such as Niflheimr (literally a land of ice) are as potent as any Greek He-Man wannabe. I spent rather too long a while back hunting down the origins of a rather more modern myth, concerning a Russian submarine which picked up a “corpse” on a chunk of ice only to find that the body (when defrosted) wasn’t as dead as imagined. The various tellings differ slightly, though the impossibilities of the repeated information make me think that somewhere along the line someone was having waaay too much fun propagating this piece of cold war nonsense – the life span of an iceberg isn’t that long, and to believe that the woman was recovered in 1988 and nobody has spoken about being on the sub which pulled her in beggars even the most credulous mind.

Those of you who know of my slightly (snerk) obsessive nature will no doubt be wondering when I’m gonna break out the inevitable reference to Fire and Ice from the Justice league, but… that would be too easy. And boring. Lets try something a little more highbrow.

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Robert Browning, 1920.

It is interesting that fire is linked to hate there. Written before the horrors of World War II, he couldn’t have imagined just how potent it would become for future generations. The notion of repeated apocalypses – apocalii? – has been a staple of myth for probably as long as there have been people. the Hopi believed that there have been three apocalypse events already. Handily, they occurred in the order of fire, ice, then the flood… I find this endlessly fascinating. Firstly, how the hell did they work all this out, and (more importantly) how did they come to that order? it fits with the scientific knowledge that a planet smashed into the earth, turning the surface into a molten goo. Then the massive ice ages (of which we are currently in the middle of a rather minor one), and… Hell, they nailed the fact that the last major ice age was followed by flooding when the sheets of ice covering giant chunks of the planet thawed. It is eerie. And that’s before we get into what the Mayans came up with, in between games of soccer with the heads of their enemies. It seems that no matter where you turn, there is another apocalyptic myth which begs investigation.

For everyone who knows anything about the universe, this is gonna be boring as hell, but for those of you who didn’t pay attention in school, it is important – there are currently two ways the universe is going to end. Go on – take a wild guess as to what those two ways are… Yup. Fire and ice. Again. Shit, it is almost as if the universe likes deliberately messing with us. Either everything spreads out to the extent that the skies will turn dark, and the end comes in a slow, freezing nothingness, or the universe pulls back on itself like a giant rubber band and contracts into a fiery point of everything, where the next universe will be born from a big bang. Like hitting reboot on your computer, though without any of the information being saved. Kind of a bummer. And don’t fret – mankind will be long, long gone by that point. Oooh – we might all be ghosts, watching as the shit hits the fan. That would actually be kinda awesome.

Aaaand that’s as far as I thought ahead for this. I suck, I know. I’ll leave you with a suitable song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are wondering how the hell I got through this entire post without mentioning George R.R. Martin, then join the club.

Advertisements

Posted in Misc., Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Dusk At The Diner

Posted by BigWords on September 9, 2011

This post is part of the September 2011 Blog Chain at Absolute Write, wherein the challenge is to respond to a picture. In this instance, Edward Hopper’s seminal piece of Americana, the 1942 composition “Nighthawks”. Even if you haven’t seen the original before, you’ve probably seen the image in other media.

It was great fun watching the strands of the narrative come together last month, so this post follows on directly from the first post in the chain, so head over and read that first. I was conscious of the era and setting when putting this together, so some of the references may be more oblique than I would normally throw into something like this.

Acknowledging the historical events of 1941, while writing something which is (hopefully) entertaining to read, was harder than I expected, though weaving in enough for the following participants to play with was quite entertaining. I guess, if anything, you can explain this away as another episode in my Wold Newton obsession.

Dusk At The Diner – Part II

I

Allison tapped her foot nervously as a police car drove slowly past the diner. “Max, another coffee over here.”
“Sure thing, ma’am,” came the reply from behind the counter.
“That’s a mighty fine ring you are wearing,” Charlie remarked, almost offhandedly, as he slid his hat off the counter and clutched it in his lap. “It’s not often you see something like that hereabouts.”
“It was a gift.”
“I’m sure. Looks a lot like the kind Sala and her air pirates wore.”
“How did you-”
“Seems that throwing your lot in with the commies isn’t your worst sin. And what, precisely, is your interest in the book? Don’t tell me you’re another Aristide Torchia obsessive?”
“You seem to be clutching that hat awfully tight. A girl might think you’re using it to hide your interest.”
“And you’re changing the subject.”
Max placed a fresh coffee in front of Allison, nodding to Charlie before moving to the back of the diner.
“The book is important to an old friend.”
“This old friend wouldn’t happen to be named Strack by any chance?” Charlie asked.
“Eddie Valentine, actually.”
“Well, lady, you sure know how to make friends with all the wrong people.”
“Strange times make for strange bedfellows.”

II

Max raised the knife and plunged it into the slab of meat, levering the blade and slicing it in two. Separating the flesh from the bone was not as difficult as he had imagined, and, once he had removed the head and hands, the trembling voice in the back of his head had stopped questioning. He could get away with this if he was careful, and mixed in just enough of the regular meat so as not to affect the taste of the burgers.
“Hiya, Max.”
Spinning on the spot, the knife still held in his hand, Max looked for the speaker.
“You did a nice job there. Probably better than you expected.”
“Who is that? Who’s there?”
“C’mon, you can’t tell me you’ve never read Edgar Allan Poe? The Telltale Heart? Ba-doom, ba-doom, ba-doom.”
“This ain’t funny, whoever you are.”
From the shadows stepped the last man Max expected to see – the man he had spent the last three hours cutting into pieces…

III

Vince stared into the large window of the diner, and paled as he saw his reflection. The last week had been hard, and it was now showing in how gaunt and weary he appeared. From somewhere east of him, the police sirens which intermittently cut through the night began again. Another guy in a gray hat was probably being questioned about the killing two towns over – the only consolation he had was that the eyewitness accounts were so vague. It would be impossible to convict a man on the color of his hat alone.
Jingling the loose change in his pocket, he decided that the safest place to be was off the street. If that meant he had to spend his last remaining money on a warm cup of coffee and a meal, then that was what he had to do.

Check out this month’s other bloggers, all of whom have posted or will post their own responses:
orion_mk3 – (link to this month’s post)
BigWords – you are here.
robeiae (link to this month’s post)
pezie
Ralph Pines
Cath
AbielleRose
Darkshore
dolores haze
Alynza
pyrosama

Posted in Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

AW Blog Chain – Mini Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

Posted by BigWords on July 9, 2011

This month’s AW Blog Chain is entitled “The Mini Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest” and, in the spirit of the great man (no laughing, please) we are obliged to provide the most overwrought, turgid, purple or just plain bad writing. Don’t worry, this is merely one of those “first line” challenges, so it won’t take up too much of your time. I went into this imagining that it would be a relatively quick bit of business to churn out something awful (hell, I write awful prose all the time), and as you’re probably wondering just how hard it it to write something deliberately badly…

In the early Tyburn evening, and under her light muslin veil, Mme. Vendredi – honored envoy of the court of von Bismarck – could almost have passed for beautiful, were it not for the pallor of the grave which hung around her.

Man, this is harder than it looks… Okay, so cod-Victoriana was probably the wrong choice to try, given that overblown hyperbole was practically invented for Victorian writers to play with. How about hokey space opera?

The Celestial Wanderer, flagship of the Covenant Of Worlds, had cowered in the Newt Nebula for three solar days before Captain Washington laid down the order to emerge, the cosmic war cannons readied for engagement.

Dammit. Still not hokey enough for the requirements of this challenge. Onto hard boiled, methinks…

The dame with the dirty blonde hair leaned forward and exhaled a mouthful of smoke in coiling whisps as tangled as the case,  her cigarette hanging limply on her lower lip.

Bad enough yet? Sigh. Probably not. The others playing in this months AW chain are as below; go give them some love. Maybe they’ll be better at manipulating their first sentences into a more suitable form for the sake of this (friendly) competition.

orion_mk3
AuburnAssassin
dolores haze
xcomplex
Proach
Ralph Pines
BigWords
jkellerford
Euclid
Diana Rajchel

Posted in Misc., writing | Tagged: , , , , , | 22 Comments »

Four Days And Counting…

Posted by BigWords on December 27, 2009

It’s something of a tradition, as the old year gives way to the new, that a short moment is given over to reflection on those who have passed in the previous twelve months. I’ve been surprised – rooting around the old Absolute Write threads – that nobody has thought of putting together such a list for the wordsmiths who have passed beyond the veil. Well, that is all set to change, as I have usurped the role of official chronicler from whoever was meant to be putting together such a thing. Yup, that’s the reason I haven’t been so active around the internet, commenting on blogs and such, but I’m sure I can be forgiven my lack of participation in the day-to-day activities as I toil away in my own mad way.

It started out as a few names, hastily sketched down in a notebook, but rapidly grew into an obsession. That’s what you get when OCD begins scratching away in the back of the mind, demanding a comprehensive run-down, alphabetized and with copious links to ensure that a level of understanding can be gained into the work of those who are no longer with us. I’m currently up to four pages of names, though I had (about a week ago) assumed myself to be 80% through the names. I was wrong, and the list grew substantially. It doesn’t help that I have signed up to various news feeds and e-mail alerts, begun digging through old obituaries, read Locus’ online portions, and trawled through Wikipedia.

Which brings up an interesting point – I’m not linking anything directly to Wikipedia. I’ll use the wiki to gather direct information (their links), but the site itself doesn’t meet my criteria for accuracy. There’s a long history of me bitching in forums that surfing Wikipedia is a poor substitute for research, but I’m willing to concede that it (sometimes) manages to throw up the odd name or two I wouldn’t have thought of. That, in case you missed it, is an apology to Wikipedia for my dismissal of its’ usefulness. Don’t hold your breath for a more glowing tribute to it, ’cause one ain’t coming.

The main thing I have realized, as the names accumulate, is the shockingly young age of some writers. My peers, people my own age and younger, are among the departed. It’s scary, and a bit intimidating. Here’s something I thought of – you know that feeling, when you first understood how far away the Earth was from the sun, and how far away the sun was from other galaxies, and how far those galaxies were from the rest of the universe, and how small and insignificant we truly are… That’s kinda the same feeling I had when I stood back and looked at the ages of some of the writers. I also has a few moments when I had to walk away from the laptop before the utterly depressing nature of such an undertaking got to me.

I’ve also begun thinking of the myriad ways in which I might – one day long from now, hopefully – die. It seems that many of the writers over the past year have died of cancer. That’s scary. That’s scary in ways which cuts through the bullshit and hits straight in the gut. My paternal grandmother died of cancer – and my mother has had a few scares – so it runs in the family.  I smoke a lot, and my chances of dying from the disease are slightly above average. Slightly. My paternal grandfather had a few heart attacks in his thirties, and my maternal grandfather had cancer at the end. I have genes which are custom-built for self-destruction, aided and assisted by a streak of obsessive compulsive weirdness.

Not the Christmas cheer you came looking for, right? Sorry. I’m not up to dancing the Snoopy dance for your entertainment.

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone besmeared with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war’s quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
‘Gainst death and all oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth: your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
. So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
. You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.

Shakespeare

The immortals, those whose words will continue to ring down through the ages, may no longer be with us in person. They are gone, but their words will outlive us all. It’s a wonderful reassurance that everything isn’t in vain – we will always be here as long as our work is remembered. I don’t hold on to religious notions, so grasping at immortality by vicarious means is as good as I can hope for. That’s why remembering those who came before us is important, and why time should be set aside to think of those who have gone from our midst. It’s why I’m putting my piece together. It’s why I’ve been surprisingly quiet this last week or so.

Things should be back to normal soon enough. Savor the quiet while you have it.

Posted in Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The “Ten Things I Am Thankful For” Meme

Posted by BigWords on November 27, 2009

Corrine Jackson has a Thanksgiving meme up on her blog, which was suggested by a post by Kate at My Sphere Of Domesticity, which in turn was prompted by a meme post conceived by Amy Bai. There are other instances of it cropping up but… I could spend all day pointing you in the direction of the use of the particular meme, but it is only gonna be annoying, ‘kay? Go see what everyone else has to say, then come back here and keep reading. I had to participate…
Yes, I know there are people who have said they are writing one in the comments of those posts, but there are only so many hours in the day, right? Anyone who wants to be added to the list of participants of this particular meme can add a comment at the end of this post.

Thanksgiving. It’s a very American holiday, so what the Hell does a Brit care? I shouldn’t, but the idea of the holiday is one which is very appealing. I’m reminded mainly of the scene in Addams Family Values where Wednesday explains the concept of the holiday, but an Ambrose Bierce quote also comes to mind…

HATCHET, n.  A young axe, known among Indians as a Thomashawk.
  "O bury the hatchet, irascible Red,
  For peace is a blessing," the White Man said.
      The Savage concurred, and that weapon interred,
  With imposing rites, in the White Man's head.

There are other tangents I could go off on, but I’ll stick to the plan.

  1. I’m thankful for the existence of the local Chinese takeaway, without which my Saturday evenings would be all the poorer. A lame thing to be so joyous about, but it has become a tradition to get a takeaway every week, even if I really should be trying to cut down on my spending.
  2. I’m thankful that I’m allowed to ask any dumb writing question which crops up at the Absolute Write forums, and not feel like I’m missing a few brain cells. It really is an important refuge from the endless slew of problems-not-problems which I create for myself, and the folks there really know what they are doing. If you haven’t read through Uncle Jim’s amazing thread on the basics of writing you don’t know what you are missing…
  3. I’m thankful that I don’t have to put up with the woeful quality of MP3’s thanks to Ogg Vodis. For someone who values quality audio it is a format that can never be too highly praised.
  4. I’m thankful for the existence of published books by Stephenie Meyer and D*n Br*wn, which means that if (or, more hopefully, when) I get published, I won’t be plumbing a new depth of shallow and obnoxious writing.
  5. I’m thankful that nobody has posted photographs of me at that party on their blogs or on image sharing sites. The rumors of a spare room, a bottle of cheap wine and an attractive exchange student are completely untrue. I didn’t do anything, and as long as the evidence doesn’t show up – which it hopefully won’t – nobody can prove a damn thing.
  6. I’m thankful for the existence of so many libraries close to me. Even though there are plenty of online resources, nothing can compare to holding a reference book in my hands. Which is where I should bring up how important Project Gutenberg is for the online stuff, but y’all know that already, right?
  7. I’m thankful for the releases of so many old and apparently obscure films on DVD. There have been major holes in my collection slowly filled thanks to both Criterion and the BFI bods. Maybe one day someone will turn up a copy of Vampire Over London so I can be proven correct that it does still exist somewhere… (seriously, if the wedding episode of Dark Shadows could be located, anything is possible)
  8. I’m thankful for the existence of spellcheck on so many programs. Without the easy ability to check that I haven’t committed a grammatical error I would be lost most of the time. Now, if only the feature could be added to Photoshop I would be able to confidently release some of my comic-book pages without the worry that there are numerous errors sprinkled throughout the text.
  9. I’m thankful for the pause button. Without the feature I would have missed the amusing vanity cards at the end of each episode of The Big Bang Theory, which shows that some television creators still value creativity. There was also a show back in the nineties which had pages of information shown frame by frame after each episode – GamesMaster? The idea was cool nonetheless.
  10. I’m thankful for being able to write freely without persecution for my writing. I don’t live in Manchester, so the racist, homophobic, sexist and religiously intolerant police force can’t censor my works as they did David Britton. The freedoms we take for granted are still under threat by the morons currently in government, but they are too busy stealing money from the electorate to care about what writers are up to…

So, there ya have it. Join in (if you haven’t already), or post a link to your own interpretation of the meme below.

Posted in Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

NaNoWriMo: Bomb Redux

Posted by BigWords on November 13, 2009

Agent Adway pressed his comm, opening the hov’s door remotely. “Y’know, this never gets old. We get dragged into some massive conspiracy and are expected to jump into action as if we don’t have enough on our plate.”
Agent Brisea followed close behind the seasoned supervisor, checking the messages on his comm. “This is most likely another waste of time.” He flicked the comm closed, “The shit that’s coming through on the streams isn’t even halfway to being a DCU level threat.”
“Never stopped the big guy picking and choosing which assignments he wants us to investigate.”
“Does it ever get better… I mean-” Brisea shook his head, “You think that the DCU is so different to the force, and then the same political choices and bullshit third floor directives pop up.”
“The job is what it is.” Adway got in the vehicle.
Brisea shrugged and followed suit.
The sensors automatically adjusted to the agents’ settings, lowering the ambient light level in the hov and bringing up the HUD over a frosted windscreen. Adway pressed the starter button and sat back, though the vehicle failed to start.
“What’s the matter?”
“No idea. I’m pressing all the right buttons but she ain’t turning over.”
“Your wedding night all over again, huh?” Brisea laughed at his own joke.
The available streams scrolling across the media player interface shuddered briefly, and Adway’s hand paused over the starter button. “What the fuck?”
“Status report.” Brisea ordered.
‘All functions within normal parameters’ appeared in the center of the window.

Adway’s comm vibrated softly. Flicking it open, he took his eyes off the HUD to read the message.

Tetris is life. Pwned. You lose.

“Log event,” Brisea said, half-watching Adway.
‘Event logged.’ appeared on the screen.
The HUD pixellated, fragments of words, images and numbers spread across the display. Blocks of solid color, reminiscent of childrens’ playing blocks, blocked the view to the street beyond. Adway felt his stomach lurch as he realized the meaning of the message.
“I don’t fucking believe this shi-”

From across the street, Kenway/Talos watched the explosion lift Adway’s hov into the air.

####

I think I have the end of the story figured out, but killing off the (nominal) lead in a mirror scene to the one in which I introduced him is probably pushing my luck. There’s a thread over on AW discussing themes which are present in books, and I’m guessing that any psychologist or literary critter would have a fucking field day with my stuff. Anyways, I’m not changing my mind about the ending. That would be against the spirit, if not the rules, of NaNoWriMo.

I’m gonna start digging through the scenes which are thin at the moment (the ones which have maybe a couple of sentences and weren’t worth the hassle of posting on their own), and flesh out the world. This is actually starting to be a lot of fun, though I can’t say my characters would share that opinion.

Posted in writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How Unforgivable Does An Artistic Work Have To Be Before Enough Is Enough

Posted by BigWords on October 26, 2009

There is a thread on Absolute Write about reading a second book by an author whose first book ain’t quite up to scratch, and it got me to thinking about how bad something has to be before a creator’s entire canon is ignored. In some ways I am able to see past the voice of a writer, or filmmaker, or musician, or any other art, to accept the output for what it is, but a small part of me knows that there is more to life than slogging through an annoying or ill-conceived concept for a few good moments. There are some big event releases coming up which I’ll be waiting a while for due to this very topic.

Avatar, James Cameron’s return to the big screen may be endlessly hyped by some, though after the dumb True Lies, an obnoxious Titanic remake, and his terrible Entourage cameo, I don’t see how he has any reason to expect my money. I’ll wait on the DVD, only if the film gets good reviews, or the television premiere if it sucks ass. The notion that he has anything new to say in the realm of SF is doubtful, especially when the idea behind Avatar is examined closely. It sounds like the plot of any number of novels by people who have something to say.

George Lucas, the man to blame thank for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is another individual who has lost any respect from me. Did he fall on his head and forget how to direct? Jeez, it’s a good thing that the fanbase ignored the terrible aspects of his second trilogy long enough for him to turn a quick buck. I’ve been wary of Star Wars properties since those films, but there have been a few games (The Force Unleashed and the Lego tie-ins) which pulled back some of the wonder from those first Star Wars films. Better than Jedi Academy at any rate…

I’m more forgiving to people who strike me as people I could have a drink with and not be irritated by. Even after Land Of The Dead and Diary Of The Dead failed to impress me, I guess I would still check out any new film George A. Romero comes up with. Is that an asshole / box office equation that I’ve just come up with? There are other creators I forgive poor quality work from, and Clive Barker – once hailed as the future of horror by no less an authority than Stephen King – is one who goes straight to the top of that list.

Cabal, a book I love as much as I am infuriated by its missed opportunities, is still with me after fifteen years of re-readings. His Books Of Blood were brilliant, and I can forgive him pretty much anything for their existence alone. His film career may not have panned out quite so well, and I’ll comfortably ignore Rawhead Rex despite it sitting on my DVD shelf alongside his other cinematic outings. I bought it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll ever watch the fucking thing – collector mentality only goes so far.

Those are familiar names. My opinion on their talent is irrelevant. Suckers will still shell out money for any old crap that is associated with Star Wars (and how else could stores shift Jar Jar Binks toys?), but that kind of loyalty has long since left me. I (thankfully) missed the One More Day storyline in Spider-Man as it was happening due to endless and awful Spidey crap from the late nineties. I hold my grudges well. Only… The Spirit (the DVD of which I finally managed to get running) is shit. I’m sure everyone is in agreement on this. Does that mean I should wait and see if Sin City 2 is okay for human viewing?

Frank Miller, whose work is divisive when discussed in polite company, is one of the very few comic book creators who have yet to create something completely unreadable. DK2 is a hard book to love, but it isn’t as terrible as some make it out to be. There is a rhythm and a specific cadence to his writing that instantly appeals, and his artwork on Sin City, while reminiscent of both Hugo Pratt and Jim Steranko in places, is a breath of fresh air. The Spirit is an anomaly, and I’m sure he will put it behind him.

I haven’t mentioned music yet, because that is trickier to separate the artist from their work. Many times I’ve heard a song which is catchy but at the same time doesn’t sound like it belongs to the performer. It isn’t necessarily that they are doing a cover of a famous track, it’s just that they aren’t the best singer for the song. Can you imagine anyone else but Roy Orbison singing In Dreams? No. That is a perfect match between singer and song, and it is a good benchmark for anyone to compare against.

Most people deserve at least two opportunities to prove themselves. If we implement the one strike rule, then James Cameron’s career would have amounted to a shit sequel to Piranha. No Terminator, no Aliens and no Titanic… It’s a good way of looking at most artistic endeavors.

Posted in Misc., Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

It’s Just A Question Of Self-Restraint…

Posted by BigWords on October 22, 2009

As NaNo lasts an entire month, I figure that I’ll have to drastically alter my internet habits. The forum activities will be hard to give up, but if I stick to two or three rather than my usual round of three-to-four hour surfing then I’ll be able to give more attention to my writing. The NaNo forum is going to be one of my main haunts, but I can’t give up AW for any novel. Hell, I’ll probably need some of the advice therein to get my story fixed up nice ‘n’ presentable.

Film and game forums will be banned from my computer for the foreseeable future though, as those are distractions, and I probably shouldn’t be browsing 4chan in the first place… TV Tropes might have to be given a miss as well, despite being one of the most useful Wiki’s on the net – yes, it is much better than the one you’ve all heard of. The one which pops up at the top of every single fucking Google search. I have spent longer on TV Tropes than Wikipedia these last few months, and not a single minute has been wasted time.

Can I stay away from ‘Quote Of The Day’ sites? Hmmm. Might need to ponder that. I certainly won’t be bothering with online dictionaries or thesauruses, seeing as how the NaNo WIP will be posted here anyway. I do so love the spellcheck WordPress has, even if it isn’t filled with as many obscure and wonderful words as I would like. There will be no reason to mess around on music sites because I have enough CDs to listen to different songs all the way through November, and I’m not going to need any browser games.

Am I missing anything?

Oh yeah… Torrents. Downloadable goodness. I might as well fill up some of the space on my hard drive while I’m busy writing, and the entertainments which will be ready for me at the end of the month can count as my little reward to myself for keeping focused. The idea of staying in for a month is beginning to appeal to me, especially when I take into account the money I will save by not going out. I might even end the month with some money to spare – not likely, but I can dream, can’t I?

It’s lucky that I don’t have any ongoing subscriptions to sites, so I’m not gonna lose money by not visiting anything, and there’s nothing I particularly need to subscribe to anyway. My book blog (not abandoned, simply neglected) won’t be getting any attention during the writing frenzy, but neither will my Triond account – which I still haven’t written anything for due to all my running around these last few months. I guess I ought to check in on my mail every day, even if only to delete the spam…

This NaNo thing is a really good idea for people who spend too much time online.

Seriously, I can really imagine it being suggested to people who have big problems with constant web activity, and it’s benefits aren’t limited to keeping people off chatrooms and forums. There are lots of therapeutic reasons why writing for a month can be beneficial. All hail The Office Of Letters And Light, saviors of the human race. If it wasn’t for an enforced break from my usual routine I would have the urge to see what is going on around the internet…

I won’t be buying DVDs, games or books. There are some magazines I might pick up, because life without at least a few little luxuries would be intolerable. That is a lot of free time I’ll be making for myself. Other blogs are a big temptation, and I’ll do my best to steer clear of the more engrossing ones, otherwise I’ll end up spending the better part of a day engrossed in someone else’s life. Which, interesting as that may be, isn’t gonna be the most productive use of my time.

The biggest difference the lack of downtime will bring is in my ability to find weird stuff, which I seem to have a knack for. So that means I won’t be bringing you stuff like, uh… Well, this:

Disneyland Memorial OrgyMy words will have to be compelling enough on their own…

I’m getting rather nervous about this idea now.

Posted in Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

I Have A Cunning Plan…

Posted by BigWords on October 17, 2009

I’m still wandering from idea to idea without so much as an inkling of what my NaNo will be about, though the notion of adopting “dares” seems to be one which has real appeal. They will, of course, need a through-story to make sense of them, and a proper sense of time and place. Some ideas which are being bandied around sound really fun to tackle, and I may have to decide on a genre quickly if I’m gonna add more, but the following seem to have merit:

Have a character who kills people via txt-tlk.

Interesting, but it might be a bit of a hard sell.

Use as many AW user names as character names as you can.

Oh yeah, this one is gonna be interesting.

Make your characters play ‘The Game.’
BP if someone says, “I lost the game” at the climax.
DBP if the game is a plot point.

Maybe. I like the notion of an ARG being a plot point.

DARE: Use the words lubrication, moist, and intercourse in your novel

This… I kinda HAVE to do, don’t I?

DARE: Have a character say “I reject your reality and substitute my own!” to another character.

I like.

Include a character who makes constant references to the internet meme of your choice.
-BP if the internet doesn’t exist/hasn’t been invented yet in your world.
-DBP if no one questions this character until at least halfway through the story. That includes references to it in thoughts.
-TBP if the character ends up turning evil because his/her ways were questioned.
-QBP if they become the main villain.

Have a character who only says one line
BP if they say the line in every scene they’re in
Double BP if the line makes sense in the context of the scene
Triple BP if it turns out to be an important plot point

DARE: Have a belligerent robot.
BP: If he was programmed that way.
TBP: If the purpose of his creation was to drive the entire world insane.
QBP: If the programmer did this by accident, but was happy with the result.

Dare: Incorporate Vampire-Robot-Nazis who are also zombies into your plot.
BP if one Vampire-Robot-Nazi who is also a zombie says “You’ve just been Philed in.” after shooting somebody several times.

Damn… So many good bits of business to use, and I still – fucking pathetic, I know – have no plot. The one thing I have set my mind on is the fact that I’m exploiting the Friday the 13th date in the middle of November. That’s when all the nasty horror stuff will appear, though with the suggestions that I like from AW and the NaNo boards being more SF in nature… Yeah, this is gonna take some hard work to accomplish.

The geek in me loves the following:

Have one of your battles be an RPG battle, and record commands, damage taken, limit breaks, etc.
– BP if all your battles are like this
– DBP if at least one of your battles is a random encounter, with the monsters spawning literally out of nowhere

I might just do an entire novel set in the City Of Heroes game.

Posted in Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pick A Genre, Any Genre…

Posted by BigWords on October 16, 2009

NaNo is approaching fast, and I still haven’t even decided which genre I’ll be using for my entry. That’s right, I’m completely and totally out in the wind on this. I should decide soon, but there are so many crazy things that seem like they would be fun to try. If November rolls around and I still haven’t decided on a specific genre I’ll be forced to sit down and type the first thing that comes in to my head, which won’t be pretty…

The options are endless, though somehow intimidatingly small. A western? Nope. Still tinkering with the mess I’ve got the last one into. A thriller? Too plot-heavy to wing it, and there wouldn’t be enough time to come up with an amazing twist or three. A detective story? Maybe. I like the work-backwards’s way (mangling the English language here, bear with me) in which they work, but the one month rule is a bit tight to do one justice.

Fantasy? Very possibly the genre which will save my ass. I like the strangeness I’ll be able to play with. SF? Tied with fantasy, though perhaps too much to deal with in one month. Horror, then? Oooh, yeah, a very real possibility, but it won’t be zombies. The zombie novel I dusted off and checked through looks too good to waste energy on aping, and I will be coming back to it after November.

So I’m left with… Erotica? Sheesh, trying one for the first time with the whole pressure of NaNo would be insanity, and I’m not sure what new insight I would be able to offer that genre. Comedy, possibly? Aaah, yes, my old friend comedy. Though my taste in humor is very, very dark, the prospect of trying to remain in a funny mood for a whole month will probably result in one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever written. Parody might be do-able.

Maybe autobiography would be too self-indulgent, unless I decided to drag up a lot of old shit that is unresolved. I’ve been witness to some incredible, and some very illegal, things over the years, so settling old scores by telling the world where the bodies are buried (metaphorically) would also be therapeutic. It might get me greenlit by an unhappy reader, but at least it would be interesting and a unique angle.

And I have yet to work out if it will even be a novel. I’ve always wanted to write a musical along the lines of the Morrison-era Doom Patrol comic. A giant ball of light in the middle of a stage singing how having sex with one’s self is so grand… Heh heh, that’ll probably be my Christmas pantomime idea, so I better leave it till later. A comic-book script will be tough to hit 50k with, unless I come over all Alan Moore with the descriptions.

A computer game? Which brings up an interesting question I hadn’t thought of until now… Does computer code count towards the final word count? Hell, I could hit 500k (maybe more) if I was allowed to go wild with code, and I could turn in an actual finished (if kinda small) game if I was left alone for a month. Maybe I’ll bolt myself away and unplug the ‘phone so I have no distractions…

Wow. So much choice, and so little time left to make up my mind.

I want to keep clear of anything anyone else is doing as well, just to add to my problems. That’s one of the reasons I’m so picky about my work – I can see so many similarities to the works of others. I’ll check the SYW area of Absolute Write every now and again, and nearly every time I do so – or closer to every time – I end up scrapping a handful of ideas because they have been covered so well by others.

Nathan Bransford said that originality was impossible over in his blog, but I still want to strive for something that feels unique. Something that rings with a sensibility that could not have come from the mind of any other writer. I want, to put it bluntly, to be so fucking original that it hurts. Yeah, that’s the ranting of a spoiled child, but I’m not gonna apologize. I’m in crisis mode here.

Two weeks and counting. This is probably gonna be a very long two weeks, filled with possible storylines emerging, bad ideas being mocked and an unhealthy amount of liquor being drank. Two weeks of worrying – because worry is good – and frantic scribbles to see if I’m able to come up with a unique idea, told in a unique way, with unique characters. Hell, I might as well give up right now…

Maybe nobody will notice if I just re-write my favorite myths as extended superheroes-by-way-of-horror film mash. A drunken, mean Heracles bitch-slapping people for no real reason. I could even write it so it reads exactly like early Image comics. Hmmm… There’s an idea.

Posted in comics, Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »