Clarion West Write-a-Thon: Week Five Update

Top Secret Code Name of Current Project: Who Murdered Superman? (It Was Aquaman, Wasn’t It, I FUCKING KNEW IT.)
Current Pitch: Six Wakes meets Justice League Unlimited

Beginning the Novel With a Character Waking Up: Check
A Character Describing Themselves While Looking in a Mirror: Check
A Dream Sequence That Provides a CLUE: Close enough

Song From Current Project Playlist: “Ghost” – The Acid

Goal Met: Holy shit, YES!

This novel already has so many no-nos in it. That mirror one, for instance. That’s like Numero Dos in the 10 Commandments of Writing:

Thou shalt not describe one’s protagonist by having her gaze into a mirror so she can awkwardly narrate all her physical features to the reader.

And hey, that’s a commandment for a reason, one I usually try to live by. However, when you’re writing a mystery about five amnesiac characters . . . I mean, that rule just become silly because OBVIOUSLY they’re going to scrutinize the hell out of these strange faces they don’t recognize, these faces that are apparently their own.

Last week, I said Chapter 4 would deal with clues and choices, which is still true. However, a huge chunk of it also deals with identity, especially gender identity; one character, in particular, is really struggling to conceive of who he is without the context of his past. I try not to be too prescriptive about writing rules (because as evidenced above, they’re really understood best as–say it with me in your best pirate voice–guidelines) but if you’re writing an amnesia story (a thriller, a romance, a slice of life, whatever) and you’re not making identity a central theme in your story? I kind of feel like you’re doing it wrong.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m doing it well. But hopefully, I can succeed. I’m really aiming for this novel to be both fast-paced and character oriented. I refuse to believe it has to be one or the other. (Feel free to provide inspiration, though, and tell me your favorite fast-paced, character oriented novels!)

Random Line From Chapter 4:

Shit. Is he picturing who he wants to be, or who he wants to fuck?

Advertisements
Posted in WRITING | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Clarion West Write-a-Thon: Week Four Update

Top Secret Code Name of Current Project: Who Murdered Superman? (It Was Aquaman, Wasn’t It, I FUCKING KNEW IT.)
Current Pitch: Six Wakes meets Justice League Unlimited

An Inconvenient Blackout: Check
A Mysterious Disappearance: Check
A Fair Amount of Blood Loss: Inevitably

Song From Current Project Playlist: Halo – MONO

Goal Met: Alas, FailWriter! continues.

Well. I completed Chapter 2, anyway.

While I’m aware I said this last week, I feel like I can still make my goal by tomorrow night, since I don’t go back to work until Sunday. Still, I hate being behind. It probably wouldn’t bother me so much, considering these are all made-up deadlines anyway, but if I ask for people to sponsor me with their hard-earned money, I feel obligated to actually meet my goddamn goals. You know, like a professional.

On the upside, Chapter 3 isn’t going bad so far. I’m really looking forward to Chapter 4, where I think the characters will finally have a little more time to properly investigate who and where they are. Thus far, they’ve spent the majority of their time either finding one another or reacting to all the scary shit that keeps happening. Not that I’m having a terrible time terrifying my characters, of course; being mean to your MCs is one of the finest sadistic pleasures that the artistry of writing has to offer. Still, I have ALL THESE CLUES that no one’s found yet, and I’m excited to see how my characters react when they do find them. The choices they make (who to trust, what to reveal, what to conceal, etc.) will depend greatly on how they interpret these clues, so yeah, I’m excited for all that. Interpersonal dynamics is where I live, yo.

Random Line From Chapter Three:

“Wait, you two aren’t gonna go and leave me like this, are you? With some probable Jigsaw shit going on out there? Uh-uh, fuck you, no thanks.”

Posted in WRITING | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Clarion West Write-a-Thon 2018: Week Three Update

Top Secret Code Name of Current Project: Who Murdered Superman? (It Was Aquaman, Wasn’t It, I FUCKING KNEW IT.)
Current Pitch: Six Wakes meets Justice League Unlimited

Character Stepping On A Dead Body: Check
Character Waking Up Slightly Impaled: Check

Character Bursting Into Hysterical Laughter: Obviously.

Song From Current Project Playlist: In A House (In A Heartbeat) – John Murphy

Goal Met: Not yet

In a late Season 3 episode of The Flash, Leonard Snart, master thief, explains The Four Rules of a Successful Heist:

1. Make the plan
2. Execute the plan
3. Expect the plan to go off the rails . . .
4. . . . throw away the plan.

This is, honestly, a more-than-fair assessment of just how my writing process works.

I finished a draft of Chapter 1 last week, and I felt good about it–sure, the draft wasn’t great and I finished it just under the wire, but hey, win by an inch or a mile, right, and besides, first drafts aren’t actually about being sellable. They’re about discovery, about reaching The End, about giving your story somewhere bigger and better to live than just the solitary space inside your head. I often rewrite as I work, but considering my weekly Write-a-Thon deadlines, I decided to avoid that as much as possible here. The plan was to push through until the six weeks were over; then I could go back and fix all the frustrating inconsistencies.

Obviously, Week 3 was all about Step 4.

The problem was this: after finishing the chapter, I realized there was just too damn much I wanted to change. And that’s the thing about mysteries, you know. The setup is kind of important. The biggest change I needed to make was to one of my POV characters. Let’s call her BC. Originally, I introduced BC in Chapter 1, which seemed fine. By the time I got to the end of Chapter 1, though, I realized I wanted to end it on this mini-cliffhanger. And with that cliffhanger in mind, I realized BC’s introduction could be so much more dynamic (and creepier) if I waited until Chapter 2. Which then meant I had to rewrite half the goddamn first chapter. Naturally, it took most of the week to do so, because life gets busy sometimes, and because it was absolutely vital I helped my friends kick ass on Trivia Tuesday. (I’m more valuable in some categories than others. In Science Fiction, for instance, I proved useful. When Spirits & Liquor came up, I was basically just there to look pretty.)

So, yes, I’m behind. Again. But I made some solid progress last night, and I expect I’ll manage to finish up by the end of Saturday. More importantly, halfway through the Write-a-Thon, people! With any luck, I’ll successfully complete this and get back to posting about TOS episodes and terrible movies soon!

Random Line From Chapter Two:

Flesh has a very distinctive bounce.

Posted in WRITING | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Clarion West Write-A-Thon 2018: Week Two Update

Top Secret Code Name of Current Project: Who Murdered Superman? (It Was Aquaman, Wasn’t It, I FUCKING KNEW IT.)
Current Pitch: Six Wakes meets Justice League Unlimited

Mysterious Bloody Footprints: Check
Mysterious Gunshot 
Wounds: Check
More Questions Than Answers: Double Check

Song From Current Project Playlist: “Taijin Kyofusho” – The Evpatoria Report

Goal Met: Nope

I’m starting to think I set a slightly too ambitious goal for myself.

Beginnings are a pain in the ass. It’s not that this novel is off to a bad start; it’s just off to a slow one, as I try to figure out what clues need to be given upfront and which POVs I want to begin with. That latter consideration is a big one to me; the whole idea of this novel came from the desire to see better “We’re Stuck In a Death Box Together And We Don’t Know Who We Are And/Or How We’re Connected” stories. Frequent readers of this blog will recognize that sub-genre of film is one my sister and I are hopelessly attracted to, like moths to a particularly disappointing flame. And while I’m not yet a screenwriter (who knows, maybe someday), I thought I could write the story I was dying to see as a novel instead. Only with superheroes, cause, you know. SUPERHERO MURDER MYSTERY, Y’ALL.

One of the things I want this novel to be, more than anything else, is a true ensemble. A lot of amnesia mysteries heavily focus on one protagonist. Other characters might have amnesia too, of course, but the audience is introduced to the world through this MC’s eyes, invited to primarily sympathize with (or primarily distrust) them in particular. Because whatever the Big Twist is in the story, whether our MC is secretly The Good Guy Who’s Only Pretending to be Evil or actually The-Bad-Guy-Who-Is-Now-All-Redemptive-And-Shit, it’s always going to center on them.

That’s . . . not a bad story? But it’s also one I have very little interest in telling. What I want is something closer to Anyone Can Die, except instead of dying, I want Anyone Can Be the Villain or Anyone Can Be The Hero or–what’s more appropriate for this particular novel–Everyone Is A Fully Realized, Morally Ambiguous Bastard Who Sometimes Does Bad Stuff For Understandable Reasons. What I really want, so, so much, is a mystery full of solid suspects, where every character’s identity and relationships matter and where no one’s around just to be a super obvious red herring.

Am I going to be successful in that endeavor? Shit, I don’t know; like I said, I’m not even done with the first chapter yet. (I’m almost there!)

Best get back to writing and figure it out.

Random Line From Chapter One:

Dissociative amnesia, perhaps. Psychological trauma. She IS wearing a dead man’s blood, so it’s not completely out of the question.

Posted in WRITING | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Clarion West Write-A-Thon 2018: Week One Update

Top Secret Code Name of Current Project: Who Murdered Superman? (It Was Aquaman, Wasn’t It, I FUCKING KNEW IT.)
Current Pitch: Six Wakes meets Justice League Unlimited

Number of Amnesiac POV characters: 5
Number of Important Backstory Events Planned Out: 3
Number of Dead Bodies: 1 . . . so far 

Song From Current Project Playlist: Batman Theme (1966)

Goal Met: Almost

I am not a gardener, not in any definition of the word. If I mean to write something, especially if it’s long, a mystery, or both, I’m gonna need some blueprints to work from. Admittedly, I don’t always follow my own blueprints, but I feel a lot less anxious at the start if I at least have something resembling a plan.

This week has been all about Crafting the Plan, and while I’m not quite done yet, I’m feeling good about the progress I’ve made so far. This particular novel (or possibly novella) idea has been rattling around in my head for literal years, and it feels good to seriously start work on it. In fact, I’ve already identified a problem and since course-corrected: there were just too many characters for the story I wanted to tell. More characters mean more suspects, which obviously I enjoy, but too many suspects usually means a watered down mystery where supposed main players are clearly extraneous and thus easily discarded as possible culprits. Once I considered combining a few of my characters, though, I realized I had a much tighter mystery taking shape.

I also spent some time working out my Timeline of Important Events, not of what takes place during the novel but rather what leads up to it. I’d do this before tackling any mystery, of course, but it seemed especially important with this particular project, considering I start my story with a bunch of characters who don’t know who they are, what’s going on, or why there’s a dead superhero in the room. It seemed important I knew at least marginally more than they did.

Now armed with a bunch of secrets (SO MANY SECRETS) and a handful of origin stories, I feel like I’m in a much better place to actually, you know, begin the novel next week. Please do not expect any such optimism to persist on this blog. That’s simply not how we do things here at My Geek Blasphemy.

Finally, a Random Line From the Notes Without Any Context:

The Dead Guy Principles:
Thou shalt not murder

Posted in WRITING | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

World’s Worst Trekkie: Carlie Takes On “The Conscience of the King”

From Klingons spouting Hamlet quotes to Captain Picard fake-wooing Lwaxana Troi with a sonnet mashup, Star Trek has had a very long and very weird history with William Shakespeare. In fact, the Bard features so prominently in the franchise that he has his own motherfucking entry on Memory Alpha.

And this, my friends, this episode is where it all begins.

Continue reading

Posted in TV STUFF, World's Worst Trekkie Recaps | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

The 2018 Clarion West Write-a-Thon

Yup. It’s that time of the year again. As going to Clarion West was, you know, one of the most rewarding experiences of my life (both practically and emotionally), I’ve come to ask for your souls money for Clarion West’s annual fundraiser.

Last summer, I worked on my Spindle City novel, which I’ve since completed and am currently submitting to agents. This summer, while I wait to hear back, I’m focusing on a different idea I’ve been kicking around for years now, a murder mystery with a handful of amnesiac superheroes, one dead body, and no way out. The unofficial pitch? Six Wakes meets Justice League Unlimited.

As always, I’ll be posting updates on my blog at the end of every week. If you’re interested in sponsoring me, fantastic! You can do that HERE, where I also have a list of rewards for anyone who donates. (If you’ve been wanting to torture me, for instance, by making me watching some atrocious movie, or if you’ve always wondered what neat-but-not-exactly-earth-shaking super power you might secretly have, you’ll want to go check out that link.) Or if you’re interested in supporting a good cause but aren’t so keen on my particular project or rewards, you can browse through all the other participating writers HERE.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m afraid I must go: I have a murder mystery in my head that I desperately need to untangle.

Posted in WRITING | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment