Friday, December 16, 2011

Lots of words...none of them mine

A.k.a. "Oh my god! There's only a week until Christmas! I gotta buy presents for people!"

So yeah, been off spending time at the bookstore, ha ha ha. I'm terrible at the whole gift giving thing (not just Christmas --- any conceivable occasion for giving someone something large or small, I suck at it), but over the years I pretty much gave up on it. Now I mostly give people books. My kids: books. My cousin's kids: books (and toys, as they're still very young). Other friends and family: books. I suppose it's a failure of empathy: I know I love to get books myself. Relatives have given me... clothing before. And I just grump in a terribly ungrateful fashion. I imagine some of them do the same upon receiving some random book. Ah well. I mean, I do try to make them age-appropriate, and I don't give people books I don't like, but still. Yeah. Books!

...all right. Books, and weird toys that I found amusing. Cute wind-up toys! Gliders, airplanes, kites, and other flying things! Spinning rail monkeys! Cheap yet effective. The screaming monkey was not so successful. I have hopes for the magnetic cannon this year, but we'll see how it works out when we get the package.

...and yeah, we have too many computers and video games in the house. I think we have more computers than people at this point. Pathetic, eh?

...so, no writing done this week. Gah.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gah! My Shambhala is populated by hobbits...

...or something. I have to stop romanticizing rural villages. I read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy at an impressionable age, and this mental image of low-tech farm life as being an innocent paradise has stuck with me ever since. Even though I have relatives from a low-tech rural background. Even my father is not that far removed from it. And I have personally visited (briefly) poverty-stricken villages in China, including the one where my father's older sister lived, and I heard with my own ears about the bad times when they nearly starved, with kids suffering permanent damage from the starvation and others dying. There's a reason why people in rural villages want to leave, and try to send their children to school so they can have a better life.

But here I sit in the comfort of suburbia writing... the Shire, except with more yaks and sheep. Um. Yeah. No wonder I'm not convinced. On the other hand, Shambhala is supposed to be this fantastical place, in fact, a rural paradise! It seems incongruous if I make it all urbanized. Ok, it does have at least one city, but...can we imagine it full of traffic, smog, and modern skyscrapers?* I can, but is that what I want? I can't stand the confusion in my mind!**

What does this have to do with anything?

I need to smudge the "rural paradise" aspect in order to make my ending make more sense. And there's the problem that two (three, but one's dead by this point) of the characters are supposedly from the "real world" (or an urban fantasy version of it), so the fairy tale has to meet that halfway.

Ok, yeah, enough blather, back to writing.

* and sewage. I nearly included in my NaNo some scenes where people discuss the various types of toilets and the disposal of the waste (and whether demons/spirits/magic is involved in Shambhala), but didn't. My children accused me (when I was talking about it) of being obsessed with the subject. So yeah.

** random classic Doctor Who quote.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

NaNo Fools! THIS is what a "word war" is!

Word War vi

Damn you kids and your fancy schmancy writing software! I always do my NaNos (and first drafts in general) in plain text files, using my favorite text editor, vim. (Though I have been known to use notepad when I didn't have vim at hand. I don't like notepad, but it does stop me trying to edit anything, because editing is too tedious and annoying in notepad.) Hrmph! Vim is small, fast, and pretty easy (except when I accidentally delete 30 lines or cut and paste something 100 times because of a typo). It matches up brackets for me: (,{,[, trouble me no more with the nested nested nested nested bits of code! Ha ha! And it knows things like html tags and php functions and so on and so forth, marking stuff with color coding so I know when I've misspelled a function or forgot to close a comment section.

Anyway. Thank you, vim, for getting me through another year of NaNoWriMo!

And die, emacs, die!

P.S. Just kidding about the emacs. Some of my best friends use emacs.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Argh! Still not done.

Well, I got to the 50K goal (actually, the NaNo validator gave me 500 more than the word count on my computer!), but the story is still not done. I think 1.5 chapters plus the epilogue to go. Blah! I guess I'll finish it next week, before I forget what I was going to write.

So I procrastinated more than ever and ended up having to write 3000 words today. Blew everything else off and just sat down and typed, without any food, water, or bathroom breaks! Took about three hours. But it doesn't get any easier for me. I get tired. And my sentences start coming out...

Like this.

Again.

Because that's all I can think of.

Because I can't hold more than a handful of words in my mind at a time.

And it makes me feel I am making progress.

Down the page.

If not in word count.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, this year's NaNo. Um. I stopped before I got to the really Oedipal part with Prince Senge. Well, the revelation of it. He's been doing what he's been doing for like half the book now. And as usual, the "minor" characters take over. Why? I think it's because I tend to "play it safe" with the "main characters". I worry about them. I don't want them to take too many risks. I want them to seem nice so people like them. Bah! It's a pain to continually fight this tendency. I guess I could just write the story, then turn it around afterwards to make someone else the "main character". But then if I ever try to write a sequel, it'll be the same problem all over again!

What did I like? Well, I was happy that all my "long long ago" flashback sequences eventually did tie into current events. Writing out the past helped me figure out the ending.

Right, I'm gonna go eat and go to the bathroom now...

Monday, November 28, 2011

I just meant to take a short nap and...

...it all makes sense now. Dawa is the Blind Frogmaker's granddaughter!

Wait wait wait. What? WHAT? WHAT!!????

(I'm retconning the story as I wrote it in 2010).

It's one of those days. I was struggling to figure out how to make my ending less like this:



and more like this:



All right, that was a bit of a nerd joke.

And ok, I'm slightly more awake and calm now. Yessss.... I will write some words today. Yessss.... later... yessss... I'm currently at 45K. Trust me. She's his granddaughter. He's possessing the body of her half-brother. I just have to get over the newly discovered squick factor of him having had a thing for the demon currently possessing his granddaughter's body. Er. Yeah. Maybe I can smooth it out in the revision. Also still in the air right now...how am I going to have this little fact suddenly be revealed? Huh? Ah well.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Time to kiss the frog

It's funny what things get into one's novel. Now it's the "Frog Prince" story, with the Bastard Prince playing the part of the princess, and the Blind Frogmaker as the frog. (The Frogmaker retrieved the "golden ball"/terrorists-in-inaccessible-location for him, then was hosted reluctantly/kept prisoner in the royal palace, etc.) In the Grimm version, the princess throws the frog SPLAT! against the wall, but in the popular culture, it seems she kissed him and he turned into a prince. Mine has elements of both. Heh. And the turning into a prince bit...in my case, it's more like the frog turns into a prince by possessing his body (hey, he's a demon, that's what they do!)

More generally, we're getting into the last few days of NaNo. So I need to finish this story! For once, I feel that I may actually be close. I've told nearly all the "long ago" sequences. There's just one final captivity-escape-fight-triumph bit for the "now" section. And then...look! Just around the corner! Do I see the magic words, "The End"?! Ha ha!

Also, I've run out of the good Halloween candy. So I must finish soon.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Is it plagiarism if it happens in a dream?

By the last week of NaNoWriMo, it's invading my dreams! Yikes! And worse, in my dream I am flirting with a completely different story idea... and I'm copying bits of something I'm reading (in the dream) into my story. When I woke up, I really wished I could have written down the actual words. I mean, in the dream I was thinking "I can't keep that! It doesn't sound at all like anything I'd write!". Yet it was something my subconscious had made up. I could read the words! See them clearly on the page and mark them up with my dream pencil. So now I wonder what I write like when I'm deluded into thinking I'm someone else?

Can I hypnotize myself into writing something that isn't "me" at all? How can I think of words or sentences that I don't think of?

Actually, I'd be happy just to hypnotize myself into finishing my current novel. *mutter mutter* The closest I get is late at night, when I'm really sleepy, but I force myself to get some words in before I go to bed.

So anyway, still behind, at 39K. Must...finish...novel...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Catch-up time

Not to be confused with ketchup time. I don't even like ketchup. Yick!

So yeah. I'm behind, behinder, behindest. Not that bad, really, but when I could have been done by about now! Bah, humbug. I'm at about 35 K today. I plan to improve that number before I go to bed tonight.

And do I suffer from "fear of finishing"?! That's silly. I've finished short stories, novellas, etc. But finishing a "novel" does make me feel more nervous. Hmm. But I can't until I figure out what happens in the "Now" section of my story. It's not quite making sense in my head yet. I need Nyima and the Bear to head back into town rather than just running off to live out their remaining time in some remote wilderness. Hm. Obviously, Bear must think there's a cure for Nyima back in Kalapa somehow, preferably a cure that involves trying to break into the royal palace, but I'm fuzzy on the details. He knows he shouldn't take her back: she just lopped off Prince Senge's head, for heaven's sake! It's not safe for her in Kalapa!

So yeah. I gotta have all the players in place so I can railroad them into some kind of ending. They're all run by me me me, so there will be no OOC bitching! But now I'm complaining about my own bad plot? GRRRR!

Last week of NaNo, making less sense than ever...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Crawling, we crawl along...

Taking a break from typing on my novel for a message from the earworms that brought us chapter *mumble* six:


Double, double, this this (fist, fist, palm, palm)
Double, double, that that (fist, fist, back of hand, back of hand)
Double this, double that (fist, palm, fist, back)
Double double this that (fist, fist, palm, back)


(Alternatively, substitute "Bubble" for "Double"). I love these children's rhymes and clapping games. It's a pity I can't fit any into my novel this year, but perhaps I can have a future story with the Goose Sisters, those demonic/ghostly spirits who make use of such things. My younger daughter came home with this clapping game this week and has been making me play it with her whenever she sees me.

And then there's the Sibelius violin concerto, getting me through those wearisome nights when I just want to plop off to bed. It doesn't seem to get the same exposure as, say, the Brahms, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, or Tchaikovsky violin concertos, but it's still pretty damned cool. Admittedly, I'm not too fond of all those violinish cadenzas they have. To me it sounds like a bunch of lonely violins desperately seeking a mate by showing off their super-violinistic screeches and cries, and I'm not an unattached violin, so it all goes over my head. But other than that, I <3 the Sibelius, especially the first and third movements.

Anyway, lots more to do tonight. Urgh. At least one problem I don't have is thinking of what I need to write next. I always have way more stories I'm wanting to write than I have the willpower or skill to set down. So, onwards with the NaNo!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

25K! After a slow weekend, contemplating cheats...

So, here I am starting the morning at 25000 words, also known as "-7000". Ha. I'm now at the point in my story which I originally thought of (last year) as the "halfway point". Does this mean I'll get to 50K this year and STILL not be done with the story? Probably. Oh well. When I look at what I've written, 50000 words feels like it's hardly anything at all. Blah. For a novel, I mean.

Today I am going to "cheat". Not a word count cheat, but an author cheat: I'm planning to withhold information by not including a scene in its "proper" order. Why? The usual. Create a bit of suspense. I'm ambivalent about this kind of thing when I read books. Sometimes I just think it's annoying (when used over and over for many small things throughout a book) and sometimes I HATE it and think it's just UNFAIR (when used for a major plot point and the cut is slipped in where a cut really doesn't fit in with the flow of the narrative.) Megan Whalen Turner, I'm looking at you!!! (Mainly in The Thief, but in part because of that little trick, I dislike the character even in the subsequent novels).

But I think it's all right in one of these cases of "is she really totally under his control now? Oh noes! Oh whew, it was a trick all along!" People kind of expect a trick anyway, and then they can feel happy and relieved when they're proven right.

After that, it's all a muddle which I hope will sort itself out once I get to writing it. Ha ha. If not, I'll skip back to the flashback "ancient Shambhala" section for awhile, because I know what happens there, more or less. So. Onward! (After I go buy food, take shower, blah blah blah.)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Solve a problem, add a problem

And so it goes.

Having Mr. Tumnus poison Nyima and sell her to Prince Senge solved some of my plot difficulties (how to get Nyima into the palace and on site), as it now turns out that Senge wants Nyima to personally execute Chola T'hom, as a sadistic way of saying "in your face!" to his rival. It also pushed Nyima into studying the Blood Attunement Sutra faster, which we'll need later. And explains what happened to Achamo's staff. (Still working on the details. I expect to write out these scenes later this weekend. And I'm wondering if Nyima did let an ancient name slip...the old horror from Ancient Shambhala that may or may not still be accessible.)

The problem is, now Nyima is stuck with an incurable deadly poison (technically, it's a magical parasite called a "Ruin"). Now, Mr. Tumnus (I must stop calling him that) did say "there's a first time for everything", but it's still terribly cheesy if Nyima manages to get cured. I am NOT doing a side trip to a magical biowarfare lab to consult the scientists who created this Ruin! NO NO NO! I utterly refuse. So what, Nyima dies? Bah! Poisons and diseases are incurable...until someone figures out a way to cure them. Happens all the time. The main characters should be able to trade in their drama points to get the cure before they die! I don't want to write a tragic love thing. Enough people die horribly in real life. This is meant to be an upbeat fantasy. (Well, except for the horror-torture-evil and dead-mentor bits. The point is, the main characters survive.)

If Chola T'hom really cares for her, he'll have to find a way to save her! Ha!

Ok, meanwhile, in the long-long-ago fairytale flashback section, the "so they get captured by rebels and Younger Sister is killed" bit now has to be written out. It sounded so simple in the outline, but hashing out the specific details is a pain. Also, it turns out they were doing a census, so I also have to make up random statistics for my ancient fantasyland villages. Gluh.

Yeah. Starting Saturday morning (the second weekend in NaNoWriMo!) at 19K. That's "-5000", as I'm calling it this year. Hope to be at 25K by the end of Sunday. Enough random babble.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 10, Year 7!

Starting off today at -5000 again. *insert usual whining*

So it's my seventh year of NaNo! Scary. Just think, seven years ago... I would have been typing this with an infant in my lap. Well, no. That was before I decided to have any kind of blog (well, it's more just random personal notes) at all. One kid would have been in preschool, while the other had just started elementary school. Seven years ago, this was my second day of NaNo. I had found out about it from a post someone made on some fan forum (I forget which). I clicked on the link and the rest...well...here I am still. At least I no longer type while simultaneously breast-feeding and eating a snack.

In six years...I got pretty good at writing the first fifty thousand words of a rough draft. Ha ha ha. So so useless. Hence, this year, I am writing the second fifty thousand years of my rough draft.

In six years...I find that the main difference between writing during NaNo and writing at other times is that... I write it, as opposed to thinking about writing it, writing a hundred words and calling it a day, planning to write something, jotting down notes for something I intend to write, telling people about a story idea I want to write, etc. etc. etc. The actual quality (or lack thereof) of the writing isn't noticeably different. The actual time spent butt-in-chair writing isn't that bad. (It's the time spent butt-in-chair-playing-computer-games that kills me.) The only force other than NaNoWriMo which can get me to write this much by myself, this quickly, is a Big Finish "writing opportunity" *laughs hysterically*, and those were short stories/scripts, or I likely wouldn't have finished those, either.

Yes, yes, I do write things outside of NaNo, but it just takes me much much longer to do them. To be fair, I do use time before NaNo to think about my story and characters and hack out an initial plot idea. But to be honest, it doesn't require (for me) more than, say, two weeks. I do a fair amount of all that during the writing process itself. (My first year, when I started late, I actually just continued my work-in-progress, which I had coincidentally started in October. I didn't want to try to think up a brand new idea in 0 days. But I only counted words written after I joined for my official word count!)

And yes, I do need to learn to revise my work more thoroughly. At the moment, I can only manage a short story or novella. I quail in horror when faced with anything long. Well, I'll see in January what I can do.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Wait wait wait...didn't I just escape?!"

Mr. Tumnus! No! You've poisoned her!

Ok, ok, it wasn't actually Mr. Tumnus after all. It was some random goblin, because random goblins pop up everywhere in this universe. At this point in time, they're supposed to be buying up fantasy weapons for the Queen's R & D department back in Goblinland. (Whoa! Can it be? A link to a story I wrote earlier? And here I was beginning to think that this Shambhala novel was diverging too much from the "established" setting I had made up.)

Actually, it was kind of funny, because first he tried to poison her with the sesame crackers, but she didn't eat any, because her true love had given her some fresh pears before he ran away. Then he tried to poison her with the tea, but she accidentally knocked the cup over when he told her the aforementioned true love had been captured. Yeah. So that's about as romantic as I get. Some women get gifts of jewelry or flowers. Mine just gets Asian pears. Whee! But the Bear is a seer, remember? He KNEW (subconsciously) that the goblin would betray them, and that's why he left her the pears.

Too bad it didn't work, and the goblin poisoned her with smoke instead.

Anyway, I'm getting tired of them getting captured all the time. In fact, I think most of the characters are in captivity at the moment. Any minute now I'll skip to the flashback/ancient history section, and they'll be taken prisoner there/then, too. ARRGH!

And I'm still at -4000 on today's word count. *cries* Takes me forever to get the words out.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Another day, another prisoner...

Now it's Nyima's turn in the "Argh! I'm trapped in the Matrix!" spinning chair. Mostly wuxia novels seem to do more of the "oh noes! I'm poisoned and dying!" thing, but I haven't had any of that yet for some reason. None of my characters so far are poison specialists, nor do they have their super-duper magic poison/antidote powers working. Hrm. I knew I was missing something. I have people throwing things, using swords, teleporting, seeing the future, flying on clouds (or with their scholar's hats!), using magic folding fans, using telepathy, traveling between worlds, generating random frogs, turning people into frogs and back, using magic tattoos, ghost bombs, etc.

But no cool poisons! Unless you count Senge's perversion of the Blood Attunement Sutra as a type of poison. Which I don't. Oh, there's also the Soul-Ravaging Incense, but you don't have long to use the antidote. I guess that counts as a poison.

Poison! Invent some magical poisons before the month is up! Yes. I will make the next random character someone with a signature poison. [Edited to add: as I can't help thinking that the next random character is Mr. Tumnus, the Narnian faun...um...that's a bit disturbing.]

But never mind all that. I'm way behind. WAHHHH! BEHIIIIND, I tell you. -5000 words or so at the moment. Yeah. Time to get back to writing (words in my novel).

Saturday, November 5, 2011

It's all going to end in frogs...

They're here, they're there, they're everywhere. Blame the Blind Frogmaker for this. And he doesn't really seem to be blind. It's a case of "I'll take the 'blind' flaw for 10 points, then put 5 points in extra senses, so I'm not really blind after all, ha ha ha!" You know, like all the other Daredevil clones out there, along with the legions of super-elite "blind" wuxia characters.

Anyway, it's day 5, and I'm already behind. I mean, behind even in my tippy-top secret schedule which has me writing 2000 words a day. The 5000-a-day thing was a joke. Yeah. Sure. At least I finished the first section (basically a novella). Thank you, Robert Schumann. Your symphonies 3 and 4 got me through in the end. But I'll probably change my writing soundtrack for the next section! (You don't want to know just how many times I went through the loop to get to 8000 words!)

And to celebrate (or to motivate me to get to work on the next chapter), I'll post the excerpt with the Blind Frogmaker. (Note that at this point Lady Bloodless is possessing Dawa.)


Dawa suddenly realized that the dog had stopped barking. Short on the heels of her realization came the sound of a distant voice, Lopsang's voice, shouting for Moghi.

The sound seemed to galvanize the stranger into action. His axe flashed silver as he channeled his internal energy into it. He hacked at the chains binding Dawa. They came loose in a slithering jingle, leaving Dawa now attached to several separate lengths by the manacles still clamped to her body.

"Moghi! Moghi, don't come out, it's not..." The door burst open in a blast of cold air, followed by Lopsang. His face paled at the scene that met him. His voice dropped from a shout to a whisper. "...not safe."

"Did you think these walls would keep danger out?" Lady Bloodless smiled ironically as he stared at her in horror. With the loosening of the manacles, the power of speech had returned to her.

"Oh, very good!" Lopsang recovered his poise with obvious effort. "This is called 'Luring the tiger away from the mountain.' Moghi, your death will be avenged!"

He jumped to one side, spreading his fan in front of him open to the word "Shield!"

Nothing happened.

"I think," said Lady Bloodless, "you are confused about who will be avenging whom." With a quick twist of her arms, two of the chains whipped out, sweeping down a row of the prayer flags hung from the ceiling. Instead of holy symbols and scripture, each one now held only the outlined sketch of a frog.

Lopsang's eyes widened in shock. "The Blind Frogmaker!"

The gray stranger choose that instant to step around Dawa and reveal himself. A wide grin split his face. His voice came out in a gutteral hiss, "Surprised? No one ever invites the Blind Frogmaker, but I arrive or I go just as I please."

"Yes, I am surprised," said Lopsang. "Surprised that Lady Bloodless scours the dregs of the Hundred Sunless Valleys for her army of terrorists."

Lady Bloodless lashed a chain straight at his face. Lopsang ducked away barely in time. She said coldly, "We fight for the freedom of survival, while you and your traitors defend the right of ignorant peasants to grow fat on the backs of our kind."

/Don't waste your breath! Kill him!/ urged Dawa. She instinctively reacted to their unexpected reprieve with a chaotic mix of terror and rage. She wanted Lopsang dead, for Xie Yiping's sake, but also out of fear that the hunter would trap them again. /Kill him now!/

"Do you forget your history? Shambhala gave you mercy and let you live, yet you repay good with evil! Only in hell is that the law," declared Lopsang.

"Damn you!" snarled the Blind Frogmaker.

"You can try," retorted Lopsang, but the Frogmaker had not waited for his reply. Frogs dropped by the hundreds from the rafters towards Lopsang's head.

Only to be met by an open fan...

...and be scattered as a cloud of dismembered parts to every corner of the room.

...while Lady Bloodless sent chains spiraling around to snag the fan.

...only to have the chains looped around Lopsang's left forearm, then caught in his fist.

Energy streamed up and down the taut chain, clashing in the middle. Lopsang and Lady Bloodless stared at each other with fixed concentration. Lady Bloodless had the advantage of Dawa's energy added to her own, but Lopsang had the advantage of superior energy techniques, using advances made in Shambhala since Lady Bloodless's era.

With his free hand, the hunter pressed his fan, now folded once more, onto the chain, introducing a perturbation into the energy stream. If the wave reached her body, it would jolt her heart into arrhythmia.

/Technique...does...make...a difference,/ came the rueful thought from Lady Bloodless.

/So do numbers,/ returned Dawa.

...because a single frog had penetrated Lopsang's defense.

One.

One was too many.


I don't think he had this many frogs (nor were they so demonic!) when I started. I'm not one of those people who can have a fully shaped character before they start to write. I have a name, a concept, and then make it up as I go along. Any inconsistencies will have to be fixed later.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 3

Starting the day at about 4100 words. I have to finish the chapter today. Probably will end up at around 5-6000 words, which is pretty much what I had planned. When I say "chapter", I mean a mental unit that's convenient for me while planning and writing. Each "chapter" is basically a mini-story, which is why they tend to run long. Once I get around to editing, I'll probably chop them up and rearrange them.

More captivity today. The genre being what it is, it seems the characters spend most of their time either fighting or being held captive. Later I expect to have some "on the run" sections. Not that I'm that fond of writing fight scenes or captivity scenes. It's just what it is. Argh! By the middle of NaNo, I will be wondering what else one could possibly write about. (No, no porn. Not in this story.)

At least the captivity scenes do seem to have relevance to other captivity scenes later. I had to modify the "escape" method used in the later one, when I realized that it wouldn't work (the characters tried it already now and the captors already know about that trick). This may be a good thing, as I think it will make my ending make more sense. (Don't laugh!)

Plan for today: captivity, a rescue and a fight, then a new chapter, which has a magical ritual, a fight, and then ends in captivity (though one person escapes). Why yes, I AM going around in circles. D'oh!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ok, so I lied...

Or I just ran out of willpower points. So much for "5000 words a day." Ending this writing day at about 2000 words. Hrmph. And didn't make it to the end of the chapter.

Random thoughts of the day:

  • Characters seem cool in my head until I start writing about them. Then they're dull, dull, dull.
  • Ditto the action.
  • The demon hunter known as the "Scholar Who Sleeps in Clouds" can turn his hat into a magical hang glider!
  • I like Kit-Kats better than Crunches. And pumpkin seeds more than both. I've been eating those all day long.


I'll try to get a bit more done tomorrow. I will!

Oh...yeah. So that's what it was like...

Otherwise known as, "Day 1 of NaNo! Hooray! Hmm, I'll just check my email and log on to the NaNo site." Half an hour later, "Ok, really, I am going to start typing now." Then, an hour later, "Oh god. How am I ever going to make my word count goal!?!!!! That was only 300 words!?!? Never mind. I have to go buy food now." Another hour or two later, "ARGH! I'm behind already?! Chapter. Finish this chapter. Focus on finishing this chapter."

And now, "Ok, while I try to visualize how this fight scene works out (and what is Xie Yiping doing in all this? He can't do superleaps, so he must have found stairs somewhere) I'll just make a post on my stupid useless blog." So I am. And after I do that, I'll go eat a piece from the Halloween candy stash. Then close my eyes for a few minutes while I work out how to have Lady Bloodless seem to be winning, then lose catastrophically, then transition to the interrogation scene. And don't forget that they capture the van, too, and search it. Vans just don't seem to belong in wuxia fiction, but hey. This story is set in the 1990s, I think. 2003 at the latest. Yes, I did have to make up silly fantasy reasons why people use swords and hand-to-hand combat when guns are available, but it's just One of Those Things. Genre convention. And no, I'm not using light sabers. Oh yeah. Also there's a satellite phone involved. A magically-modified satellite phone. This is important, even though it is a divergence from my outline.

Day 1! And I'm already diverging from my own (revised, 2011) outline! The truth is, I don't have a proper outline. I do my stories by imagining them in my head as a movie/TV serial, then run them back and forth until I'm convinced. Then I write down notes about each scene I've "glimpsed". Sometimes (often) the scenes turn out differently by the time I get down to actually writing them. So. What happens next...hmm...

Monday, October 31, 2011

One day more...

Another day, another destiny, this neverending road to...

Gah! Shut up, stupid mind(ear)worm! See? See? This is why I don't listen to music with words when I'm trying to write. Next thing you know, I'll have a bunch of oppressed people rise up against tyranny in revolution, and it will all end in buckets of blood and tears and...

Oh. Too late. I am having all that in my novel, according to my outline. Whether I can pull it off is another matter. I've been skimming over last year's NaNo, and it's a truly wince-inducing experience. I just want to take an axe to it. Still, being ever the optimist, I tell myself that's ok, that the important thing is to get this story told. After that I can go back and edit out all the incongruous bits that fell in from the OTHER story, you know, the BAD one. Ha ha ha.

Anyway, technically, it's LESS than a day till NaNo starts. But since I don't usually stay up past 11 pm, I'm not gonna get started until tomorrow morning. After I get the first batch of kids off to school...

So yeah.

One day to a new beginning...

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Countdown continues!

Well, no duh. Isn't that the nature of a countdown? So about 4 more days to go. Ready? Ready? READY?


  • Alarm clock. Working alarm clock! CHECK.
  • Donation to NaNoWriMo. CHECK.
  • Outline for novel. CHECK. Er. Mostly. Yeah. Kinda. Sorta. I have some notes, yes.
  • Clean the house. Ah. I'll get back to you on that.
  • Jack-o-lanterns carved. Um. I'll do that on Sunday.
  • Kids have Halloween costumes? Probably.
  • Fix the mumble mumble mumble deleted mumble. No.
  • Find my leaf blower. It's gotta be in there somewhere.
  • Do stuff with the garden. Get rid of the damned garlic chives!!! When I'm procrastinating during November.
  • Regain sanity. No no, too early for that. Ask me in December.
  • Get new glasses. Real soon now.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Less than a week to the starting line!

Yargh! A week until NaNoWriMo officially starts. It's going to be evil this year. I'm feeling more blah than ever. And I really need to get it done in the first three weeks or so. I swear, I'll try REALLY HARD to go for 5000 words a day. That's about a chapter a day, what with my fairly long chapters. I now have an outline (it almost makes sense now) for about 11 chapters.

As usual, I'm getting all obsessed with the side characters! Gah! I suppose because everyone turns all boring and stupid once I focus on them and actually write about them. Also, maybe it's because villains are cooler anyway. These two are the other ends of the main love triangle things I have going. I suppose the triangle is more credible if I do flesh out the "other woman"/"other man" enough to give them their own interesting stories.

My whole "way back when/past lives" section is going to be from the view of Lady Bloodless (before she was ever called that). So we'll be looking at Nyima/Bear's past lives from the outside. We can roll our eyes with Lady Bloodless at their lovey-dovey relationship. Or something. And Lady Bloodless will do that whole he-saved-me-I-love-him! thing. In the "now/what-the-heck" section, by symmetry, we'll have Lady Bloodless doing the saving, so then Bear will feel obligated to go with her even if he doesn't actually love her (because she saved Nyima as well!).

So that's the plan. Yes! I have a plan! Mwah ha ha ha ha ha ha!

My outline even includes the bit where Prince Senge's crazy mother has had her son's corpse mummified and now animates it as a life-size puppet using her evil hair! Ha ha ha ha ha! (Ok, fine, just imagine it as an anime sequence here.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Outline, outline, la la la

Today I'm gonna work on the outline for my 2011 NaNo project. I think I'm just one of those people that really needs some kind of plan before trying to write something. Without a map, I get hopelessly lost. I usually end up diverging from the outline, but that's ok. I can always make up a new plan. The outline gives me the momentum to keep writing.

I tried to do my Camp NaNo stories without an outline. Massive fail. Not to say I would have succeeded if I had used an outline, but I probably would have got farther in the story than I did. Once I start writing down the outline, it's not as much of a leap to start writing words in the actual story. Later, reading the outline helps me get into the right frame of mind for continuing onwards.

Not that my outlines are very detailed. I find if I put too much into the outline, it kills the story for me. I end up feeling as if I've already written the whole thing. Time for a new project! Oops.

So yeah. I'm picking up from where I left off last year (coincidentally or not, the same point where my NaNo diverged massively from last year's outline!) and patching it into the new plotline I'm adding in this year. This includes adding in another minor love story, ha ha, that cliche where two side characters who were hopelessly in love with the major characters keep squabbling with each other and finally realize they're in love with each other. Well, demonic torture will probably be involved, but they're who they are and that's what they do.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I'm gonna cheat at NaNo this year...

It's October, which means it's time to think about NaNoWriMo, which means I'm thinking that I really just want to finish the novel I started last year. So I will. I already know I can write the first 50,000 words of a novel in a month, as I've done it for the past six years. It will be more useful and entertaining (for me) if I can write the second 50,000 words of a novel in a month. I do have new ideas for the story.

I will pick up with a "THEN" (past) section, but this time jumping hundreds of years (or possibly over 2-3000) into the past of Shambhala. As usual for these fantasy novels, I don't think things change as much as they do in real life (blame the conservatism of magic.) I will do it from the point of view of the character now known as "Lady Bloodless" and see how the old love triangle thing played out in their past lives (which she is the only one to remember now) between her, Nyima, and the Bear.

So that means, before I start, I have to invent a whole new set of cheesy fantasy names. Grrr. Ok, Lady Bloodless was a slave-assassin created by the priests using the magical mutagenic properties of their imprisoned superweapon, so she was named for her year of birth: Golden Serpent 14. And the other two were pirate-rebels. He was the Navigator and she was the Warleader. They also had names, obviously. Grrr. I'll decide on them by November. Anyway, I have to explain what happened to the old Shambhalan Empire, and what happened to turn everyone else into demons.

(Ok, and let's not talk about the Santa Claus versus Drosselmeyer faceoff, which wasn't nearly as much fun to think about as I'd hoped. I hearby banish it from my mind!)

Blah blah blah. Random babble to get into the mood for novel-writing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The birds know too much...

They sent the hawks to watch me today. "Fear! Feeee-aar!" they say, but I know better than to listen. They know the serpents came to me in a dream last night and suspect the worst:

I now have access to the secret alphabet!

But they are wrong. It's not the alphabet that is secret, it's the punctuation. The parrots can recite from the spellbooks until Doomsday, thinking it's only their pronunciation holding them back. No. Without the correct punctuation, all they have is a big ugly string. The spell will never be an executable.

Ha ha! So turn the trees against me if you like, let the potatoes infiltrate the apples, and let the tomatoes turn traitor, none of that matters anymore.

I have the secret punctuation now.

Remember. The magic is in the punctuation!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tentacle fail...

Great Kroll forgive me, it's just not working. How the heck does a land-based creature manage all those tentacles? Like a bad hair day, only a thousand times worse! Here I am trying to walk down the street without tripping over them...um. And I used to think making a winged (human-sized) humanoid was difficult. Yes, yes, these are magic tentacles. They only interact with physical reality when convenient. But what kind of lame magic power is "convenience"?! I haven't even got to the rape part of "tentacle rape"! Grrr!

Why did I think I wanted to use some kind of sex magic in the story!?! Gah! I blame it on Gilgamesh. Well, Shamhat. Priestess of Ishtar with her love powers that transformed Enkidu. Why why why!? I guess it was inevitable once I named my city "New Babylon". But then why mash it up into the Church? Now it's not just one hot priestess out in the wilds, but we have a whole bloody song and dance with chanting and robes and everything! D'oh!

...but damn it, tentacles! Must do the tentacles! Some people use them to cheat at cards. My character will use them to...er...become an origami expert? A one-woman chamber orchestra? It's a pity she's not musical. Hrmph. I'll just set their reality quotient low enough that we can ignore them most of the time.

Anyway. I give up on attempting to make it seem reasonable and coherent. From now on, I wade into the stream of consciousness and follow the fish of destiny! As long as I finish before November.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Things I learned from my July NaNoFail...

So, I only got about 2800 words into my novel in July. Oh well. On the plus side, I did learn the following:


  • A seven-year-old jumping and shrieking on the bed while rolling around in a big fluffy blanket is even more distracting than I thought. Especially when being attacked by an irritated older brother.
  • Santa Claus is gay! There was never a Mrs. Claus! Drosselmeyer was his lover until they broke up about 150 years ago. And the reason for their falling out...involved timey-wimeyness.
  • I have a love-hate relationship with the timey-wimey. Argh! That's such an idiotic sounding term. Thank you so much for that meme, Stephen Moffat! ARRRGH! Even worse, there's a timey-wimey paradox thing that's become a major plot element in the now. NOOOO!!!
  • I'll never get anything done if I don't do anything. D'oh!
  • My kids are insisting that I supervise their (instrumental) practice sessions. Argh! So now I'm a personal music coach? I'm not very good at that. I lack patience, loll around on the couch with a bad attitude, and I am not a metronome. And of course people don't like to practice. It's boring and repetitive. D'oh!
  • And so is writing a novel, when it comes down to it. One word after another, gotta do it today, tomorrow, yesterday, make up for days missed, we're so far behind, oh noes!!! So I should stop being a whiny hypocrite, ha ha!
  • Ellie's grandfather is her daughter's son. Her grandmother was the Clara from the Nutcracker story (ballet version).
  • I'm bad at secrets and suspense. Um. The moment I "know" anything, I have a tendency to spell it out for the reader, too. And then my characters end up knowing too much, too soon. Gotta watch out for that. Maybe I can improve it in the revision.
  • There will be nothing to revise if I don't even get a first draft done.
  • August is another month! I can do this! I will do this!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Depressingly behind...

In fact, I've hardly started. My word count total right now is a meagre 2000 or so. And I wrote 1000 of them in the last hour.

On the other hand, that just means if I write 5 hrs a day for 10 days, I can get this sucker to 50k! Ha ha ha ha ha! Yeah, sure.

At least I haven't lost interest in the story or been distracted by other story ideas (so far.) Heh. So, the latest discovery is that the Sweeper is an Asura! I got tired of generic demons yadda yadda yadda. So she is a (vaguely Buddhist style) Asura. Yeah. Except it's about as faithful to tradition as my Sinterklaas is. Which is to say, not at all. Apparently, my Asurans are not human at all. Their mating habits are a bit weird, too. Polygamous like my orcs/goblins were, but in a more civilized way (meaning, they have cities!) The marriages seem to only last for one "season", meaning the eight years or so it takes for the woman to bear a child and raise it to age 7. The marriages are arranged by the woman's father.

Other than that, I think the story still falls under the umbrella multiverse of my "Time's Children" series, with the prophets, etc. etc. The gods are pretty much the same gods. The supposed Christians are a polytheistic version (with the gods taking the place of the saints, and the saints being something else altogether.)

So yeah. Maybe I can write 4000 more words today. Or not...anyway. Must try.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Oh. My. God. It's Drosselmeyer!

I love making these "discoveries" as I write. I think I'm gonna ditch the "erotica" aspect of this story, as I'm far more excited by the conspiracy theories than the theoretical s3xx0rs supposedly to take place. So it all makes sense now! The Sweeper's ghostly prophet is Drosselmeyer. He's older than you think. He was allied with Sinterklaas back when they were plotting Jesus's birth. (Jesus is a failed Khristos, as far as they're concerned, but they still put in some propaganda efforts to establish the church, etc. etc. The supposedly resurrected Jesus was actually one of Drosselmeyer's simulacra, but at the time his art was more primitive, and it fell apart after a few days.)

And obviously Drosselmeyer made Santa's magic sleigh and flying reindeer, too! Yes! It all makes sense now! Mwah ha ha ha ha! And later Drosselmeyer and Sinterklaas had a falling out, so now they're enemies.

So I hacked out a few more words. Still ridiculously behind, though.


/Bravo. What are you waiting for, a presidential Medal of Honor? Let's get on with it. One more sweep and we can call it a night./

/I KNOW,/ snarled Jashika. At least the temperature was hovering above the freezing point tonight. Icy roofs made her job that much more difficult. She peered down over the corner where a particle of Infinite Time, washed down with the rain, had seeped into a gargoyle. The grotesque face turned and grinned back at her.

She had left it for last, and this was the result. By the time she traced the intrusion to this rooftop, it had already begun to infect reality.

No matter. She stabbed the broom in its direction and brushed alien time from its head. Stone hands grabbed futilely at the bristles, then froze in place again.

/Hmm. The alignment's off, now. Careless of you./

/No one's going to notice, Dross! So the water flows a centimeter to the left./

/Perhaps you're right. A trivial flaw compared to the ghastly monstrosity of the whole. Now if I had been the architect.../

His voice broke off, as the distant rumble of the train reached them. Jashika nodded towards the sound. /There, see? Thirty minutes to midnight. I finished early./

The ghostly presence in her mind made no response.

/Smug bastard. You know I'm good, you just don't want to admit it./

/Listen.../

/No, you listen.../

/Do you hear the bells?/

/Bells!/ Jashika clamped her jaws shut abruptly. She /did/ hear bells. A faint, silvery tinkle.

/It's him./

Who else? She lifted her head to scan the sky, and there he was. A red sleigh, drawn by eight flying reindeer, descending in a wide arc.

/He's coming here!/ she thought, bringing her broom up in instinctive defense.

/Look at that. Still working exquisitely even after all these years. You call me smug? Could you craft such perfection?/

The reindeer were mechanical creations, but in such fine detail that they were nearly indistinguishable from living flesh. The reindeer didn't really fly. They trampled a path through time and space, bending reality under their feet in a leap of faith. They /fell/ freely, eternally, even when standing still.

As they now did, their driver bringing the sleigh around to hover. "Ho ho ho!" he boomed through his expanse of white beard, then turned to stare down at Jashika. "What brings you here, my child?"

"Lord Sinterklaas," she acknowledged grudgingly. "Just doing my job. What brings YOU here?"

"What? Don't you know night it is? Children all over my favorite city lay out their shoes and hang up their stockings, listening for the clatter of tiny hooves and the jingle of tiny bells!"

"Very jolly," grunted Jashika. "But I hardly think there's any children /here/."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Oh well, it's a start

At least it's 200 more words than I had this morning. It didn't come out the way I had it in my head, but there you go. As openings go, it's not that exciting, but I had to start somewhere. (I may revise it all once I have something to revise. Ha!)


New Babylon was a colder place by night, city lights reflecting from the dour sky while any hint of warmth bled away into the wind.

But day or night, winter or summer, the cathedral rooftop was Jashika's last choice for her perch. If her ghostly shackles had not bound her so tightly to her duty, she would never have come here at all.

Not to the Cathedral of the Incarnation, the rotten heart of the Church of Earthly Desires. Bright specks glinted through pyramid shaped skylights. Jashika's hand tightened on her broom: she knew too well what services were held below. She had peered down through those windows before. The sight had roused an unpleasant feeling in her, disgust mingled with envy at what she could not have.

Shoving the thought to the back of her mind, she scanned the ornate peaks, valleys, and domes of the roof for traces of stray time. Not the ordinary moments of the world's time, but the mutating flurries of Infinite Time that infested the world since the Shattering. She inched across the ledges crossing the roof, one hand out against the slanting side, grimacing at the grimy dampness left over from the day's drizzle. Others could clean the dirt, but only a specialized sweeper could collect droplets of Time.

Evil Santa it is!

Agh! So does scribbling in a notebook count as writing? It seems that story idea got stuck in my head, and while I was sitting around waiting (again) at a doctor's office, it suddenly all made sense.

It's all a plot by Santa Claus! Him and his sidekick Black Peter and his sleigh drawn by the eight tiny reindeer, yes yes! Only I'm going to be calling him "Sinterklaas", because that sounds more steampunk. (What!? Is this supposed to be a steampunk novel? And "sounds more steampunk", my ass.) At any rate, Sinterklass is the secret Hierarch of the Church of Earthly Desire (obviously that's why he goes around handing out toys and money!). He was a saint (in this setting, saints are those who work miracles on behalf of mortals), took part in the Shattering, and became a prophet when that failed (prophets being those who work miracles on behalf of the gods). But he's a double agent! Ha ha! And soon his plan will come to fruition in the Cathedral of the Incarnation, and he will be revealed as a fallen prophet! Mwah ha ha ha ha!

See? It all makes sense! Er...honestly. It does!

So where do my other characters come into it all?


  • The Sweeper Street sweeper or chimney sweep, one of those things. Hermaphroditic demon (though she thinks of herself as a woman) haunted by the ghost of the prophet who bound her to serve the cause of the gods (or some of them, anyway.) She is haz tentacles of teh sexay! Just because they're used as super-long phallic extensions (sex with 15' reach!) doesn't mean girls can't use them! Hrmph! The ghost is suspicious of Santa. So they happen to be at the Cathedral on the critical night.
  • The New Mary Culmination of Santa's secret breeding project. She's supposed to get impregnated by a god and give Santa control of a divine infant. Why? Because who doesn't want to have a divine infant to control? Eh? Eh? (Miracles! More and better miracles! He will save the earth! Be able to make everyone happy! It's his duty as Santa Claus!) Except of course that the Sweeper interferes at the critical moment and kidnaps the Mary. Wacky antics ensue! And lots of sex. Wasn't this supposed to be my attempt at erotica, dammit? Geez I suck at it.
  • The Bishop The dude officially in charge at the Cathedral. It's his head on the chopping board now, so he's gotta get the Mary back, whatever it takes. And restore her virginity in some gruesome ritual or other, probably.
  • The Reverend Mother The woman who raised the Mary. A bit of a cipher at the moment. I'll have to think about this.
  • Santa's army! So, you don't think he handed out all those toys with no strings attached, did you? Hmm? Beware the children!


Ok, yeah, I'm starting a week late. Better get writing...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo...?!

Oh good lord, it's July already!

So...um...yeah. I guess I'm gonna rebel and try to finish my NaNo from last November rather than starting a new novel. Although yesterday morning I did think about writing something else, I banished those thoughts after a few hours, once I was properly awake. I wanted to do one of those supernatural erotica thingies, but then I realized that a) I didn't have any decent ideas for an ending...splattered across the universe as "glue" just didn't seem romantic or sexy enough and b) who else is gonna find my erotic fantasies sexy at all? and c) writing about naughty tentacles just seems silly and d) where does evil Santa Claus fit into all this and e) ok, maybe next year I'll sit down and actually write this story.

So by the time I was waiting in the doctor's office (damn the waiting, they made me wait for over an hour this time!) I was definitely, certainly, thinking about the Shambhalan demon novel. Ha ha ha! I even scribbled down a few notes. Which may end up with me having to retcon the earlier chapters, but there it is.

We'll see how this goes.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Another month, another day, another chapter...

...another wretched combat scene with more disposable demons and/or demon hunters. Gah! At least I managed to dribble a few more words into my novel today. For me, at least, the secret to getting any writing done (outside of NaNo) is to sit down with my laptop somewhere by myself, with no internet access and just force myself to open the story file and start typing. It doesn't always work, but it works more often than the other methods I've tried.

The story...the story...the story... Thinking back, my current story originated in a dream I had. I then combined it with another dream, put it in a blender with the series I was currently working on ("The Salt Gang Chronicles") and came up with Shambhala and demons/demon hunters. And a romance! I like the idea of soul mates, who, when together, can do anything! Unstoppable! Mwah ha ha ha ha! In theory, anyway.

The sad thing is that even after 50000 words of NaNo, plus whatever else I've written since then, I still haven't reached the scenes from my original dream. Gah! And even if I do get to that point, it's still nowhere near the end of the story. All right, all right, no more blog nonsense. Back to novel-writing!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

National Kite Festival...

...postponed due to the weather. Awww. It actually turned out to be sunny and not too cold this afternoon, so I got a chance to test out my kites in the back yard (there's just enough space if one is careful about it). Both of them flew, yay!

Here's my younger daughter with one of the kites:

Sakura kite 2011

The theme this year was "spring and blossom-inspired kites". For once I made an attempt to follow the theme (that's supposed to be a cherry blossom design, damn it! Even if it is completely invisible once the thing is in the sky.) (In 2009 I went with a Dalek kite. Heh. Well. It was one of the usual shiny-wrapping-paper diamond/square thingies I always make, as those are reliable flyers and not hard to make. I just glued on a drawing of a Dalek. Also invisible once it was in the sky!)

Ok, then. Back to writing I go. I need to finish the story before the next season of Doctor Who begins, or it'll be even more hopeless. I'm such a slacker. I should be more inspired by the example set by Diana Wynne Jones, who was apparently writing just about up to the day she died... R.I.P., DWJ. We'll miss you. :(

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I feel like a vulture...

...picking over the dying Borders bookstore. Wah. It was my favorite local bookstore, and the main reason my family ever went to that mall. (A mall which as a whole seems to be dying a slow death, too, sadly.) I suppose I'm part of the problem: nowadays I buy at least half my books online (many of them used). But I still prefer a bookstore I can physically walk through for browsing and buying random items that catch my eye.

So, I've been going every week or so, picking out a few books to take home with me. I find that I have much less patience these days to read novels (especially not big long epic ones), so mostly I end up with fluffy nonfiction books (preferably written by a scientist/doctor/engineer/whatever as opposed to a journalist).

Today's catch:

The Food of a Younger Land (Mark Kurlansky)
I really liked Kurlansky's book Cod, and enjoyed some of the others, so this looked promising. I also vaguely remembered reading a review of this book in the Washington Post, so...hmm... I did always wonder what Americans ate in the old days when food was a local thing. (I remember years ago I read some old book about turtles where they talked about eating them as if it was common! Well, who knows?)
Survival of the Sickest (Dr. Sharon Moalem)
Subtitled "The surprising connections between disease and longevity". They had lots of them at the store. I'm not sure how "surprising" it will be to me, but it looked like a fun book. It was on sale! It should help me design my next generation of vampires and werewolves. (Remember, in my world, vampirism is caused by mutant magical parasitical worms.)
The Island of the Colorblind (Oliver Sacks)
I've always enjoyed Oliver Sacks' books. This one is from 1996, but I don't have it in my collection. I do now! Ha ha! Anyway, obWriting: this kind of thing helps me think about how aliens might be alien (mentally and in their perceptions). Also about how in the future humans might meddle with their own minds. Or how you might design AIs. Etc.
Quirkology (Richard Wiseman, Ph.D)
Subtitled "How we discover the big truths in small things". Is this trying to capitalize on the popularity of "Freakonomics"? Still, I do have a weakness for psychologist-magicians, so there we go. Humans! Ha ha! Silly creatures. So yeah...this is the first one I'm actually reading!

Once I finish these books I'll get back to writing. (Ha ha ha ha ha! Shyeah, right. Ok, I did do a bit yesterday, but now I need to start a new chapter and I'm not sure what happens in it, so I stopped writing. Um. Later.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My story never writes itself

It's so annoying. I'm jealous of all those people out there who seem able to go into the "zone" and feel that their stories are flowing freely...just about writing themselves!

For me, it's like pulling teeth. Every single time. I wrote a bit this morning, but only got about 300 words done. I mean, I like to have written stuff, it's cool, and keeps me motivated (if I keep at this, I'll have some stories to show for it). But now, NOW I am hating having to think of what words to type next. "Now" may not actually exist and be purely an illusion, but that's how our minds work, so it's "now" that I am wasting words on this blog and not putting them in my novel. Hrmph.

Maybe it's just me trying too hard to write a "wuxia anime" fantasy thing. The Doctor Who stories were so much easier to do. (I just don't really WANT to write a ton of DW stuff. Come on. I'm American. Of course, you could say the same about the "wuxia anime", but hey, at least I don't have to worry about trying to sound British!) On second thoughts, the non-"wuxia anime" non-DW stories aren't any easier. I'm just grasping at straws.

Here's one of my "wuxia anime" confrontations. Can you count the cliches? Also, yes, I am very literal-minded.


A cold fog lay draped over the folds of the hidden Shambhalan mountains. Chola could smell the wet green of new leaves. Somewhere in the fog, he could hear a creek trickling past.

Somewhere in the mud and the fog, he knew he would meet those he had come to meet.

Somewhere in the fog, he heard the soft pip-pip of frogs. The sound echoed in his mind, shaped a name, a name he had tasted many long years ago. Chola stopped walking. He unsheathed his deathblade and held it before him.

"So the Blind Frogmaker walks this world still!" Chola sent his challenge into the fog.

The frogs fell silent.

A shape formed in the fog: gray and hairless, long-limbed, stooped. It was naked except for a ragged white loincloth. Eyeless sockets turned towards Chola. "The Carrion Bear. Fancy meeting you here."

"It's not you I've come to meet," said Chola.

"Of course not," hissed the other. "No one ever wants to see the Blind Frogmaker. Not this ugly thing, when there are so many more pleasant things to rest your eyes on. Oh no. But it's me here, nevertheless. Here to tell you: don't look for a welcome. You will find none."

"Where is she?" asked Chola. He had no patience to waste on the Frogmaker's self-pity or resentment.

"She doesn't need you," said the gray figure. "She doesn't need you, and she doesn't want you. Go away while you can!"

"Let her tell me that herself," said Chola. He sensed the shift of energy around him, but made no response. Not yet.

"You don't deserve even a single word from her lips!" The chorus of frogs had started up again, louder than before. To Chola's ears, they seemed to be shouting curses.

"That's for her to decide," said Chola. "Lady Bloodless! Call off your pet before he ends up skewered over an open fire!"

"You think it's so easy?" sneered the other.

"I already know," said Chola. "Guard yourself!" He leaped upwards, slashing all around him with the deathblade. Gray strands fell away in every direction.

His trap dismantled, the Blind Frogmaker grunted and flew back, using a hand and a foot to catapult himself into a tree. From his other hand, a shower of fist-sized frogs shot towards Chola.

Chola reacted instantly, severing each frog before it could reach him, taking care not to let the venomous blood drip on him. Just as he was about to launch his counterattack, he heard slow applause from behind him.

"The Carrion Bear is the Carrion Bear," said a woman's voice.

"My lady!" The Blind Frogmaker dropped from the tree and went down on one knee, lifting his hands and cupping them in respectful greeting. "The Frogmaker has offended you."

Chola lowered the falchion and turned, careful to keep the Frogmaker in his field of view.

The woman was a stranger to him, yet he recognized the mind behind the face. "Lady Bloodless."

She smiled. Without taking her eyes off Chola, she said, "There's no need for hostility. We're all friends here."

"Friends?" said Chola.

"Frogmaker, aren't you going to thank our friend for destroying Heartless Killer Achamo and avenging your son?" said the woman, not bothering to even look at the kneeling figure.

Chola's jaw tightened. You have no proof, he thought. Though he kept the thought to himself, she clearly read it in his expression.

"Who else could it be?" The woman laughed lightly. "How could anyone else have killed her if you had chosen to guard her? You would not be standing here today. There would have been two dead bodies on Stone Monkey Mountain."

Chola had no answer for her.

"So you killed her, or you abandoned her," spat the Frogmaker. "Faithless or gutless, I name you."

"Yet you owe him," said the woman. "Whatever the circumstance."

"So be it," said the Frogmaker. He lifted his face towards Chola. "This debt I will repay!"

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gah, it's turning into a soap opera

A cliche-ridden soap opera, at that. Well, this is what I get for being bad at plotting. I end up just doing the cliched thing to keep the story going. (Let's not think about is-there-anything-I'm-actually-good-at...I'd just get depressed.)

So after thinking about what the heck is going on in my story, I realized that oh, so the Blind Frogmaker is in love with Lady Bloodless (she has that effect on people), while the only one Lady Bloodless likes is the Bear (Chola). (And of course the only one he likes is Nyima, but she's confused and all that, so...) So now we can have the cliche plot element where the spurned lover is captured by the enemy, turns traitor to save his own skin and to get at his rival and ex-love interest. Woot. I was wondering how they ended up being captured. Now we know.

I also know when: it's just when Chola and Lady Bloodless were about to gate off into hell and it looks like Nyima and Chola are about to be separated forever. (Yeah, another cliche.)

And it seems the Bastard's been busy. He's apparently invented some kind of anti-demon taser-like device. Ha ha!

Anyway, that solves the problem of what I'm going to write for the next few days. (Made a small start today, hope to get more done tomorrow.) As to what happens AFTER that...I'll think harder about that once we get there.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Trudging onwards, ever onwards...

No, I lie. Yesterday I deleted 30 words from my novel. Whee. (I'm sure it'll get much worse when I get down to serious editing. That was just a few sentences I couldn't bear to ever look at again, hence the immediate deletion. When I revise, I tend to cut things more than I add them in.)

But today! What about today? Well, it's a start. I finished one scene, started the next. (+700 words!) And so it goes. One scene after another. If I just keep writing, I'll get to the LAST scene. Eventually.

In the next scene: the return of the Blind Frogmaker! In which he thanks Chola (unhappily and grudgingly) for killing Achamo. So there. I didn't just introduce a random demon for a flashback scene to kill him off and never have him appear again. However, I must ask myself, what's with the name? Self? Am I supposed to show him making frogs now? Huh? What the hell is that all about? Why would anyone make frogs? Is he a random frog generator? Why? Why why why? It's all Glen Cook's fault. He had that Toadkiller Dog character and I could never get the name out of my head. Ok, and Richard Dawkins' fault for having a whole book called the "Blind Watchmaker". [ETA: and Patricia Wrede, for introducing me to the term "frogmaker".]

Obviously the Blind Frogmaker is actually a god running experiments with the evolution of "frogs" which are just a type of artificial lifeform...um...or not. But if he is a demon, one wonders if he had some kind of weird agenda. Maybe he did want to be a god, and all the other demons mocked him for only being able to produce "frogs"? But if you mutate and evolve the frogs enough (one wonders what kind of selection pressures their maker would use on them), frogs can do anything!

Oh, never mind. I'm gonna go eat lunch now.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I really need better notes...

Dammit, I knew this would happen. I admit it, I haven't worked on my NaNo in 3 months. *hangs head in shame*. And today, when I opened up the file for the last chapter I had been working on, I couldn't remember what was supposed to happen next.

Yes, I have an outline, but alas, my outline is full of lies. I guess I'll read everything I have up to that point (while cutting the bits that are especially cringe-worthy) and try to get back into the flow of the story. I did have a plot in mind at one point. I'm pretty sure I did...no, really... gah...

Why is Chola T'hom going to that town? Wait, he can't, because all the demon wards will go off if he tries. That's why he's coercing the herdsman. The herdsman is supposed to...find a corpse from the latest DLF attack and...do what? Chop off a piece and bring it back to Chola? Why? I forgot.

Oh yeah...something about Chola's method of divination. Eating the dead to learn about the living? 'Reading the Gnomen of the Carnate', that was it. So what did he want to find out? Oh yeah. He knew his mind had been messed with by Prince Senge. He wanted an ally to back him up before he went after Senge again (and he thinks Nyima is the Prince's prisoner?) so he wants to find out where he can meet Lady Bloodless. That was it. Remember, this is the same Lady Bloodless who lusted after Chola back when they were all demons together.

Ok, but what was the deal with Dawa's Chinese boyfriend and the masidi overdose? Something something something. Lady Bloodless kills him for his faithlessness? Huh? Hopefully it'll all come back to me soon.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

It's 2011!

Happy New Year, and all that...

...I guess that means my little writing vacation is now over. Back to finishing my novel! *cracks the whip at self* Man, I'm feeling unmotivated. For now, I declare my self-bribe to be a reward after every 5000 words. Ha. And if that doesn't work in the next week, I'll have to get stricter on myself, and go on a media restriction diet.

Did I write anything today? Umm...not yet. I'm getting the story back in my head and trying to remember what I meant to do with everyone. Tomorrow. Definitely. Tomorrow is a yes writing day. A pity I'm hating my story right now and think it's utterly stupid. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that I get the words down and finish this first draft. Yeah. Ask me again in a week where I am.