Category Archives: Working through ideas

Growing pains

I think I’ve had epiphany.

 I’ve often had problem in writing communities that the most common respond to beginners’ cries is “do as you will”. How many times I’ve cried out in response – but I have no idea what it is I’m suppose to will?

Well, last month I was talking to a truly beginner and realized suddenly that to all his cries of help, I had the urge to respond exactly the same. Out of spite. I’m not as spiteful as I play out to be sometimes, but it struck me that I really felt spiteful that moment. All the man wanted, was some answers. The same answers I wanted few years ago when I decided I wanted to know more than my own empty head was willing to give.

Why would I respond like that? To me, this was the meanest respond I could receive from people I considered my idols in writing world.

But then it got to me that he had to learn it by himself. Make the same mistakes we all go through so he can see the difference. Otherwise he would have never seen the real difference between character that captures you or flat Mary Sue. There is no “all roads take to Rome”, because if you explore them, they suddenly take you to London instead.

I stopped writing then, mostly duo over-planning and stress that caused, but also because of this. I realized that I was after shortcuts, but didn’t really want them. That’s why I couldn’t press myself ask questions that mattered to me, because I didn’t focus at all to the responses. Most of the questions I asked would have brought simple yes or no answers, but that doesn’t take you anywhere. And in the end I would have still gone back to books to understand why they gave me that yes, or no.

So even though I still find it very rude (because it shows how little others actually care) and I try to get pass this negative enforcement of “do as you will”, it was rather liberating. I realized that I didn’t need to constantly check on books to write. That I was constructing better story skeletons without having to peep into how-to-s so often.

I’m guessing he will have to go through the same road to come to the same conclusion one day – the understanding why pros don’t teach you unless you listen and don’t just hear.

Growing pains, some would say.

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Filed under Working through ideas, writing trivia

Phobia

FMWriters monthly challenge: June 2012 – Phobia

We all have something in our past we are reluctant of coming public. I wish it was something embarrassing that I could simply get embarrassed with and get it over with. Unfortunately, I liked being special and being the only possible child for another very special person, I just loathed publicity.

“I thought you told them you’re searching your father?” Mykola innocence didn’t save him this time.  

Saul-Erik asked something.  He was loosing his patience, asking this what felt like sixth time, but I wasn’t paying him much attention. I was busy beheading Mykola with my eyes.

Drops were forming over my hair, I could feel my hair greasing up. Or was it sweat? My throat was dry and my muscles suddenly ached from all the running yesterday.

Suddenly I felt Saul’s fingers close around my elbow and it was jerked from under me, forcing me to look at him.

“You are Huntsman’s daughter?”

I still didn’t see his eyes, only the gritting teeth and tense jaw muscles.

Oh great, I was near finding my beloved daddy and now this!

“Are you Huntsman’ daughter?”

He shook me violently, pressing me off my chair and forcing to look up. I didn’t like what I saw – his entire face had turned into grimace and for the first time in my entire life I actually felt the threat, the need to get away and hide as if being caught up by a grisly bear.

“Don’t you dear faint on me!” his yelling brushed over my hair and I felt the heat from his slap mix with pain. “Answer me!”

“Yes! I am Huntsman’s daughter!” I screamed, pulling myself away from his arm, but it didn’t happen. He was out of this world and everything I had imagined him do, this was worse. I never imagined him hit me. Get angry, turn away, but no hitting.

Suddenly he let me go and I fell away from his reach. I immediately thrust myself further away and hit against the wall. This wasn’t far enough, but it was furthest from anybody else in the living room.

His slap worked its way to my brain and the light throbbing from the red mark changed into headache. I wanted to cry.

This was why I didn’t want to tell them before I could reach my goal. Before I could finish the terror my father brought and make them understand I wasn’t the same. I am not my father, I don’t kill for pleasure!

I had to get Mykola away from here. If he says I have already taken a life, they would never believe I was different.

With that I gasped and I wanted to beg. In my entire life I had never had to beg, but tonight I was willing to do it, beg for Saul’s forgiveness and make them see that I wasn’t same with my father!

But if I even made a sound, he would have simply tossed me out on the street and I knew it. It didn’t matter right now that I had helped Rasmus or Malek or Harry. They were sitting there behind their round table and gagged by Mykola just as much as Saul was.

It was better to leave myself, I decided and dragged myself up from the corner, eyeing my chance as Saul had left in the bedroom.

I froze on the second step, Mykola standing on my way.

“That’s what happens if you hold back information, darling!” he whispered and grinned.

“Like you were much better!”

I only felt the wind as Saul pushed himself between us and pressed me back to the corner. “You knew and said nothing to me! That is hardly honesty!”

“Saul –“ I started, but he responded without looking at me.

“Get out. I will have no-one related with that monster in my house!”

“Yes sir.”

I didn’t even know why I had said it, but I used the moment and ran back to my house, out of their way and hid myself under my own rusty bed. I should have run further, but I reacted by hiding myself under my bed like I did whenever they showed my father on TV. Back then I waited friends to call and mock me for it, realizing I was his daughter. Tonight I was hiding for my life and that only because I was his daughter.

Six hours later I didn’t hear anything from their house anymore, but I didn’t come out either. The floor was cold and the wall molted, reeking of wetted wallpaper and old newspapers that I saw under it.

Suddenly I heard footsteps on the stairs. They were heavy, wearing big boots and I knew it was Rasmus, because no one else had such boots around here. The kind that clings every time the chains brush against the buckles.

I pressed myself further away. I knew I should have pulled the blanket lower to hide myself better from being seen from the door, but it was too late. He had already reached the door and the door handle creaked.

The door opened and he looked in.

“Evelyn?” 

I held my breath. My shoulder was in the light and I instinctively pulled it in the shadow.

He was about to close the door, when he probably heard my movement, because he reached his head out one more time and eyed lower.

He held his breath for a moment and I knew he had seen me, but instead of coming straight after me, he simply sighed and closed the door and left.

I panicked. I wanted to leave, but I could still hear him on the stairs, so instead I crawled up against the most darkest place  I could manage and I begged God to forgive me the killing in Sandlewoods, for trusting Mykola and for any misleading action I had ever taken, as long as he would keep me from their revenge. Moment later I cursed him for letting me be born, because this faith, I assumed, had to be punishment for doing something very bad in my youth. Or my mom doing something wrong, but there was only one thing my daddy was and that was our punishment.

I saw daylight sneaking in from the curtains. No one came, but I was sure they were just outside, waiting me to walk to them, spreading this news to everybody. My dad had killed nine of them – there couldn’t be a family out there, who wasn’t related to them one way or the other.

They could just torch the house? I was allergic to the mold, I was reminded by it when the tears mixed with the dust and it burned my cheeks, but why bother with cream if all they had to do is fire my house up?

I hit my fist against the wooden base, then again and again.

Right then I heard the door open again and it was enough to make my heart jump. I pushed myself back against the molted wall and held my breath.

I didn’t know the man, who entered, but he didn’t seem angry. Instead he seemed relaxed, looking around, getting acquainted with my papers on the nightstand.

Something cluck in his jacket pocket. He sat down on the bed and I heard it come out of his pocket right before he put it on the floor and tossed it to me.

“Here,” the low voice said, “Saul said he’s sorry.”

I looked at the bottle that had hit my elbow.

It was the one unmarked blue plastic water bottles Saul used to carry with him. The one that no one else was allowed to touch. The ones that had painkillers added to the water

He waited and I waited. I still didn’t say a word, didn’t even breath properly.

After ten minutes he had enough and he rose. “Anyway, Saul wants to see you when you get over this childish hiding game. Bye!”

“Childish?!?”

I was out from under the bed and up before I understood he tricked me.

“See? That wasn’t that hard now, was it? Oooh!”

What ooh, I frowned.

“Perhaps shower first, then Saul.” He suggested chuckling and nodded towards the bed. “Unfortunately you need to climb after the bottle yourself,” he looked at me again, “but you already know the way I guess?”

He burst laughing and went, leaving me standing there like fish – gutted, molded and dehydrated.

But while I was there, contemplating my own death, I realized that it wasn’t gonna be that easy with my neighbors. Especially if Saul had the mentality to first cure his victims and then torture them again.

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The muses are indeed merciful.

I wanted to base some parts of my story monsters on Marfan Syndrome and was thinking of it, when suddenly a girl walked in – huge, and I mean tall! I have seen tall people in my life but she nearly took my breath. I automatically rose, instinctively trying to reduce the distance between us. Later my brother musingly suggested that it wouldn’t matter to someone her size if I was standing or sitting, she’d still see me like little ant. In a way a very correct observation.

I’m usually not that aghast when I see someone her size. It hasn’t bothered me at all – my cousin is well over 2 meters and there are several short folks around here and I saw many in the hospital in my youth.

But SHE! It took me one quick glance to see all what I so far had only read about in flesh right before me. She has all the symptoms! She must be Marfan syndrome carrier! I am not mean person and what a world wouldn’t I wish she didn’t have it, but on that moment I had hard time keeping myself from staring or observing her every move, her every gesture, the movement of her muscle… What a life!

But seeing the syndrome in flesh means I’ve got a monster problem. And I don’t just mean the size of it. If I use this syndrome – the book would be unbelievable and that in a bad way. The characters would be too unrealistic to relate with.

Thank heaven this came out now, not when I have most of the book written out and then discover I have major rotting root in my character build up.

Oh muses – help me find the monster, who is suitable, right and most relatable!

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Writing about itching and scratching

 I want to write about something that even mentioning the topic makes people squeamish on their chairs. I love it. On the other hand, publishing folks might not like it that much. It surprisingly thrilling to read something that has been banned, too. Why is that?

Also, being around people a lot lately, who preach the freedom of thought and ideas, are surprisingly judgmental of things around them. Like one lady that I’ve come to respect over the past year – she was the most amazing lady, preaching about freedom of speech and harmony and loving each other and Earth as our Mother… and following her on FB this past few months… All her testaments talk about protesting against one thing or another or how the government is poisoning them. That woman is so afraid!

Or a friend I’ve admired for close to 6-7 years. She is amazing artist, but quietly loosing her touch with reality. She also talks about freedom and happiness and ideals, yet she constantly comes back to her little truth of being harassed constantly because of her gender.  

Yet I’ve got several, who consider themselves conservatives, opinionated people, who speak of everything, not just preaching, but really talking about things that hurt and things that bring them joy. Surprisingly, they are unhappy and ok with it – they get angry, then they calm down again.

I took up a little chats with my friends on those topics and came to alarming results. I tested my book idea, giving each the same amount of information: “I’m writing a book about two men having sexual relationship, but who are not lovers.”

People, who said they are opinionated conservatives, listened this one sentence, burst laughing and then asked questions on relations and the reasons. Also, they asked about how I would represent it to the local editors, adding they would like to read it. Over all – they were interested what took the characters to take the path they are taking.

People, who said they are free minded people, I got very different responses. The one concerned of her own sexuality, immediately took the approach of the sexuality in the book and said it won’t be published because of it. The entire conversation turned into discussing intimacy between two people instead and how erotic and sensuality is the same (which I preferred to differ on the opinion).  The one having “old religious” views gave me long questioning stare, cheered on the topic, but didn’t get past that. Later I saw an article she had posted on her page about traditional family model. I hadn’t even mentioned homosexuality, because that’s not the main idea, nor had I said anything about cheating on their partners or threats of family life.

It has made me think if those conservative people really are to blame for censured books and topics?

General stand is that they are to blame, but how then is it that if I talk to them, they can find the point of the story and they care enough to learn more about it while free-minded, free-sexual-oriented just blast-hatch on it without any interest of any deeper thought? They just seek what goes together with their cause, but neatly leave all the rest out?

Perhaps I should re-orient myself to write for those opinionated folks instead of blasters, because the last month’s experiences have led me to believe there is very little freedom in free thinking.

Still, I appreciate having both of them around, because if I think back on this, they do make a nice sphere and together I can talk both on details, moods and backgrounds, see the problems it rises and find the solutions.

But when it comes to scratching the ideas that irritate – both are to blame.

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Updating myself on my tasks

 Something good. A blog entry: “:Another Way to Love: GLBT Culture in the Age of Steam

I was amazed, it went well what I was looking for and it answered one question that had bugging me, plus it warmed my heart that I can finally refer to an entry in web that responses to what I see and feel and think. YES! Where was it when I was preparing for my final essay?

This means my story idea has merit and inspires to search more about it and built it strong.

About my stories. Yesterday, having forgotten almost everything behind, I made my year’s plan. At first I thought to make it to the end of the year, but as I have severeal things going, I decided to do it for entire year. Ummh… now I know my every move for the next year… it isn’t pretty… so much work…

Oh well. There isn’t anything I can do about it. If I want my goals to go through, I must work for it.

Edit. FANTASTIC FORUM! I am amazed by dislogical thinking human being can come up with. Not for children, seriously!

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Filed under Book in a Year bet, Working through ideas

Excitement turns to dust and depression flips its wings.

 In other words – how writer’s life is either dipolar disorder or Phoenix raised from its grave.

I spent 5 hours in the library yesterday and just wrote my novel instead of plotting it to pieces. In the evening I came to a grim notion that I have the emotions, characters, close to solid plot, scenes, places (got the street names for last!) and dilemmas, but somehow they aren’t interacting, the lovers are stiff and emotionally barren and oddly I’m still writing the plot that goes around the corner and doesn’t touch the characters at all. Neither are the small signs showing that I had figured out already and reasons why the society is as it is. Like watching jelly wobble on a windy day.

So today I’ve come to my conclusion that I will set the whole written part (1/9th of  100k) aside and start the story from the beginning once more. Because there simply isn’t anything that would show the plot in the character’s lived or vice versa.  That’s, what, third time now?

At least I figured it out now, ay? Not when I was in editing stage and read the book as if made of stiff puppets.

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Continuing research

Interesting how one idea that has left you close to death with researching it out suddenly stops being interesting at all. Then, after half a month has past, its suddenly up and rolling again. I feel like suddenly I need to start working on it again as life isn’t a petty time passing by.

Today I had an exam I had prepared myself for quite some time. I feel like it suddenly put me back on track on working again. Perhaps its just the adrenalin finally leaving my body and having brains back again.

Or perhaps its the interesting topic of legislations of Soviet Union the teacher is talking about in front. Though surprisingly interesting topic (did you know there is a keep place in Siberia where they keep many documents related to Baltic states?), I must say the topic of How much to use real history in my story looks much more appealing.

I have decided to use background mix of real life, but to put the story in a made up society and the city.  Therefore I now need to know what and how I’ll put up as facts and what I will add. And there is still the question of their background. Like the man responsible for them. Who is he? Should it be he? In what terms did he work on such things?

Also, finish up the yoville love as well. That game is seriously distracting. While I’m at it. All the programs created for writing. I’ve come to conclusion that though helpful and though I kinda like using them, they are still not for me.  Working the system up is very time consuming. I think I’m still paper and pen person.  Having it all in one-two notebooks and then working from them seems still the best way I work. Plus no problems with different computers. I do like Dramatica Pro and Scrivener, which I think I will add to my writing systems after all   (I adore that I can create my own templates!). But everything else. No.

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