LATE April Blog Chain

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Yesterday you got March. Today you get April.

So! The role of tea…

Well, I have two ways I like to drink it. I have a couple of Camp Nanowrimo mugs (no ACTUAL Nanowrimo mugs–hopefully that changes soon, but I missed the steampunk-themed ones, oh darn) which get used on a regular basis, during Camp and all through the year.

Also I have a tea pot and mug that match, and the water stays warmer with the pot. This one gets a lot of use ever since Mom gave it to me (thanks, Mom!)

I drink a lot of tea, when I’m writing or just working on school. Now that I’m finally establishing a YouTube account, I plan on also finally consolidating my unofficial playlists to match. There’s one song I always associate with tea, for a very complex reason.

In-universe… well, normally there’s tea when one of the characters needs to warm up, or has had a shock. (In one case, someone gave someone else a whiskey shot instead. It was actually a pretty fun scene, in my opinion.)

So I guess tea signifies kindness in my writing, which is very much in line with its traditions of hospitality.

L’chaim!

LATE March Blog Chain

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Go visit Rosalie’s blog, if you’re curious. Unfortunately, I’m in the middle of Dead Week and can’t help you much.

Well… a character who I’ve created who will probably never feature in a novel… Casceny! No, just kidding. The steampunk time-traveler heroine may or may not have a novel in the works. Eventually. So far, the time travelers in the Mind Palace are Charles Wallace Murray and Meg Murray (A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels), the Doctor (Doctor Who), and my own characters, Emrys Williams, Casceny, and a young Hispanic lady who is going by the alias of “Maria” at the moment until I can pick out a better name for her. Emrys is first in line and Maria is second (multi-cultural time travel academy, here we come!) But Casceny is still not eliminated from the running.

But she’ll be in the countdown anyway, since right now she’s more of an interest person and an agent of chaos in the mind palace at the moment.

More seriously, Kysherin. Kysherin is my evil muse. Generally a not-very-nice person. Pesters me to write, and then bothers me while I am writing. If I come up with a wonderous thing, she comes up with a way to corrupt it totally. All angst, posted here and elsewhere, is absolutely 100% her fault. (Okay, except for the sensory-overload type, which is me trying to cope with my overwhelming surroundings.)

There’s also Oliver, who is one of my all-time favorite characters, and who Writefury and I came up with. I probably shouldn’t even be talking about him yet, but I haven’t mentioned what he comes up in, so we’re good… you’ll all probably recognize him when he does, though. Technically he doesn’t count because he DOES exist in a project in what Rosalie terms the Erin!verse (which is a composite of all my ongoing projects at any given time.) But it’s not a novel. I just HAD to post about him, since he’s AWESOME, and let me just say, I can hardly wait. ;-D

And finally, there’s Chaos, who is barred from the mind palace for obvious reasons. Chaos is my artistic vent. She always wants to fight and start minor class wars. She’s a teenaged Marxist and anarchist and I sometimes doodle her getting into well-deserved trouble when I’m particularly hot under the collar about something (mostly politics). Favorite pastimes include random vandalism and Luddite-ing with copies of Das Kapital. Needless to say, I never plan on posting anything featuring her on this blog. If she were here, Chaos would claim that she was created as a caricature of Bernie Sanders, but she is a blatant liar and you should not trust anything she says. Ever. (Caricacturing Bernie Sanders would be giving me far too much credit, and I can’t draw Trump.)

The Average Plot of a Tinker Bell Movie

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Act I: Someone or something new happens.

Someone enthuses about doing the thing

Act II: “NO YOU MAY NOT DO THE THING”

“because TRADITIONS”

***ANGST***

***weak, barely-believable conflict***

Act III: So you know that tradition/belief?

Well… turns out it was wrong

YAY

and we all live happily ever after, cheerfully destroying any continuity between movies and/or Peter Pan.

Repeat

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Wow, it’s been forever since I posted any Star Wars stuff on here. Here, have a flash fiction.

Summary: A brief meditation on how history repeats itself. Warning: Dark, with visions of the past and future. Enjoy!

Repeat

                “He is… the Chosen One. Train him.” Qui-Gon reached up, stroking Obi-Wan’s cheek. Obi-Wan felt his skin burn under the touch, bubbling, blistering, crackling, curling up and away. This could not have hurt more if Qui-Gon had had only recriminations to offer.

I failed.

For the first time in his life, Obi-Wan Kenobi understood Xanatos.

The death of a father—it hurt. It should scar.

There was no way to respond to this. There was nothing that could ever compare to this.

He understood Xanatos. He hated it. It burned like poison on his tongue. And he was just as guilty as Xanatos ever was, his hands stained with the blood of his father’s killer. No different from Xanatos.

He could not forgive Xanatos, he wouldn’t. He couldn’t forgive himself.

This was the moment when Obi-Wan Kenobi fell from grace.

I failed.

The charred remains fell away, and he looked forward, through the ashes of the veil.

Around him the Temple burned. Bodies were heaped, scattered in a macabre vignette, like wilted, twisted flowers. He looked into the venomous eyes of—someone—friend, student, brother—I have failed you, I have failed you—I loved you!—and knew that this was what he was. The one who would plunge the galaxy into the dark with all the best of intentions.

Logically he knew that this wasn’t quite true, but the passion overwhelmed him, swamped him, overturned and drowned him.

Train him.

And then, he was walking away, into shadow, guiding the small hands that might offer redemption—back to Tattoine, then, Master Kenobi?—and he knew what he had to do.

Yes, Master.

Housekeeping Things

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Sorry to have been gone for so long, people. I swear I was doing… important… things…

To be honest, I just had way too much to do. Sorry.

Anyway, I’ve been working on a project that I’m pretty excited about with some friends. We’re making Doctor Who fan audio dramas! *throws confetti* And the blog just went live, I’m working on putting content up there but since I’m still approaching Finals Week and have not passed it yet, it’s going to be an uphill battle.

I’m working on my time-travel story (the one with Emrys.) I had an idea for a sequel, featuring a young lady named Persephone Williams (Seph for short.)

I missed an assignment through no fault of my own. This is the first time anything of the sort has ever happened to me and I lost it the night it was supposed to be due and was cruel to a bunch of people who I should have been kind to, and this is also my public apology, and please pray for me.

Let’s just hope things get better from here on out, because if there’s one thing this semester has done to me, there are three:

  1. It has dumped me on my backside in the dirt and then dragged me face-first through a pile of leaves and THEN laughed at me.
  2. It has, as a result, stressed me out (like butter scraped across too much bread)
  3. It has taught me just how much of a survivor I am. I am not a quitter. On the other hand, just holding on is hard. It hurts. It’s only by the grace of God that I haven’t hit my breaking point yet. I need you guys’ prayers.

On the bright side, I spent the morning outdoors in the wind in the middle of nowhere and thought of ways I could volunteer this summer by renewing a garden at the place I used to volunteer at a lot (I stopped after finding a job–I shouldn’t have, it’s therapeutic and I need to make sure that people know yes, I’m a person, I’m not a machine, I have a LIFE outside this store, thank you very much), bought a bunch of beading supplies so I can hang with the sister tomorrow when not writing my poetry and creative nonfiction revisions, and saw a RACCOON on the deck tonight! (His name is Mr. Coon-Coon and he is my fluffy and I want cuddles with him, even though he’d probably bite me and give me some horrible incurable disease. He’s a big fluffy chubby chap.)

All in all, I think I’m doing pretty well for now. Pray that I’ll keep on being okay (ish).

Oh, and by the way, I might put progress posts for my creative writing pieces on the blog when the semester’s over and if you want a piece of that action, remind me at the end of the first week in May.😉

Thanks for reading and God Bless!

Time Play: A Music Writing Challenge Response

I’m sorry it’s been so long. I’ve been swamped with work and school.😦 I looked at the date on the previous Music Writing Challenge, and it was posted more than a month ago. The one I’m responding to–the second one–is more than five months old. Oops.

Bear in mind, all of the previous Music Writing Challenges are still open, should you wish to send in stories! And hey, at least we got an interesting short story out of it!

This story is written with a few characters from a prospective novel idea I’ve been tossing around for a while. If you want to know more, tell me in the comments, but I’m not sure if anyone would be interested in hearing about it…

Enjoy the tale!😉


Time Play

                A cold gust of wind blew past Emrys’ face, and he drew his coat tighter against the chill. The summer weather had lasted so long. Could it be that the spell that held them all here was finally breaking down?

Emrys raced towards the square. It was as if he was running into another world. Coreyville from the distant past stared back at him, a Western town, its dust rimed with snow. Emrys whirled around, and an Indian village stared back at him, and a Victorian town, reminiscent of London in the movie adaptions of “A Christmas Carol.” Vague glimpses of a futuristic city caught his eye, half-guessed outlines in the streaming light. It was too bright.

Something was wrong.

Ermys didn’t know where he was running to, to get help or to face the storm. A sharp prick to his shoulder snatched his attention, and he reached over his shoulder to snatch the offending object.

A hypodermic dart?

Suddenly he felt dizzy. The world was fuzzy, graying. As he slumped to the ground, the last thing he heard was, “Sir—we found him.”

Archivist of Selay’uu’s Journal: The Dangers of Writing

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Every once in a while, I set aside time to just go have lunch with my characters. Sometimes it’s originals, like Gervaise, Alex, and Ben. Sometimes, it’s my fanfiction pals–the Doctor, John Watson, Horatio, Will Treaty. Just sitting down with them every once in a while helps me stay sane and keep up.

Today, which will make Rosalie happy, we were rehearsing a scene from “Attack of the Clones”–the AU version–and we were laughing in between takes, trying to figure out a less ridiculous title for it. Unfortunately, in that scene, Obi-Wan gets force-pushed against a wall, and we kept having to do takes, because Dooku was suspiciously absent and Casceny was doubling for him, in between hiding from the Doctor.

Casceny is a time traveler, but not a Time Lord. A brash, loud, boastful little goose with a heart of gold.

And she was hamming it up.

So here Obi-Wan was, still uncomfortable because of the wirework we were having to do (this AU is taking some severe hashing-out to get it to work, I can tell you now), still in harness in between every take. And after that, we go get lunch. I had cheddar grilled cheese, Obi-Wan (who tends to be um… sort of… adventurous I guess? That’s not the right word for it, but whatever) put swiss and asiago on his. Don’t ask me why. Of course he couldn’t do something normal with his grilled cheese.

He flinched as he sat down, and I (naturally) asked him what was wrong.

“The wires aren’t strung correctly,” Obi-Wan said. “I keep getting slammed into the wall. That’s why I’m flopping down after every take. It’s not poor acting. It’s me getting a little stunned after hitting the wall over and over and getting the breath knocked out of me. Kysherin really has taken a dislike to me these past few months.”

“She needs restraining,” I grumbled into my iced tea. “How does kryptonite sound?” Obi-Wan chuckled.

“Better and better all the time.”

“How do you feel about this AU?” I asked bluntly. With Obi-Wan it was no good beating about the bush. He’d take you at your word and answer you in kind. Obi-Wan looked pensive for a long moment.

“It’s frighteningly in character for me,” he said at last. “In that situation, that is exactly who I’d be and what I’d do. I don’t think I would be broken, mentally–I’d still have my wits if not my memory, but even with no voice to act as conscience, I’d still be horrified at what I’d done. Candidly, I’m a little bit frightened that I can be so naive and think better of people than they deserve and be so blind to evil, so inclined to mercy when I should be on my guard instead. On the other hand, if I was given the choice to change that? Never. I never would.”

“You didn’t like the Rako Hardeen fiasco,” I remarked, guessing at what he was getting at. He normally plays along willingly, no matter how dark the AU, remaining a strong refuge for the rest of us who get tired, irritable, frustrated or ready to throw the entire thing in the trash, but he doesn’t seem to enjoy it. Obi-Wan shook his head.

“I don’t like to play parts,” he said. “I start to lose myself in the role. It’s scary, for lack of a better word–yourself and this other character who is not quite you. Or, in the case of Hardeen–entirely not you, but you’re in his skin and you have to act the way he would.”

“There’s a spectrum,” I remark. “Your character is not entirely consistent even through the length of one story. You’re always learning, changing, evolving, and your traits exist on a spectrum. There’s a wide variety of ways I could write your character and it would still read as you. The tricky part is finding the sweet spot for what I’m trying to do.”

“Yes, that’s it exactly,” Obi-Wan replied. “I guess you could say I don’t like my own spectrum.” His eyes twinkled as he glanced down into his water glass.

“It wreaks havoc, though, with the way I’m having to write this AU. You’re changing constantly and it’s hard to keep that in line when I have to write it in blocs according to function.” Obi-Wan laughed.

“I suppose we’re writing all the parts with Dooku this week, then.”

“Are you ready to move forward with the story?” I asked. Obi-Wan gave me a droll look.

“Force no.”

We both laughed.

The Music Writing Challenge 3

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I’m so sorry. I meant to do this earlier, but then, life happened. My job and school are conspiring against me. Gah! *remembers with sorrow and nostalgia old Nanowrimos when I actually won and had lots of fun with friends in the meanwhile*

If you’ve forgotten (my fault) or if you’re new (welcome!), here are the rules of the Music Writing Challenge:

  1. If you’re not familiar with the piece of music, you may actively–no distractions–listen to it once through.
  2. Open a Word document and press play. Begin to write when the music starts, and when the music stops, if you must write on, please insert a line or page break for indication that the bit below it was written after the music was over.
  3. Have fun!

This week’s focusing piece is “Courageous” by Casting Crowns. (If you have not seen the movie Courageous for which the piece was written, GO SEE IT NOW. It’s got several awards from various indie film festivals and it’s sad and happy and awesome and just all-around amazing.)

I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!😀 Thanks for reading, God bless, good luck and good writing!

Character Voice, Attempt Number Two

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Informal part one here.

I know that not all of my readers are into Doctor Who, but this minisode makes a great jumping-off point for a new discussion. If you don’t want to you don’t have to watch the whole thing (the important part starts at five minutes and thirty-three seconds in), but it makes more sense if you do.

Notice how the Doctor (yes, that was the Doctor, even if you didn’t recognize him–he’s probably the most obscure one) says “Cas… I apologize.” He says “I apologize” instead of “I’m sorry” like the Tenth Doctor. Not only is this appropriate to his accent, which seems to me (lifelong American and non-expert that I am) to be a little more upper-class and even slightly archaic compared to the Tenth Doctor’s, but it’s also because the connotation is different.

For instance, when the Tenth Doctor would say “I’m sorry,” he was generally apologizing for some harm he’d unintentionally caused, or else he was saying just how sorry he was that he couldn’t save someone. David Tennant, on the other hand, saying “Sorry” is not actually the saddest thing in the world. It’s just the most adorable thing.

On the other hand, here we have the Eighth Doctor deliberately saying “I apologize.” Notice that he’s apologizing for what he is about to do. However, he isn’t sorry. His voice sounds more rueful, like he’s mourning the passing of a dream. If he feels any sorrow, it’s because the Doctor is dead and he’s about to be forced into a role he never wanted to fill, but he isn’t sorry for what he’s about to do. He’s feeling sorrow that things turn out this way, but he’s not going to back down. This is one of the things that I like most about the Doctor, but it also makes me a little bit afraid of him–his resolve is terrifying at times. This scene broke my heart, by the way, because I remember how adorable Eight was in the movie–he was such a sweetie!–and now he’s broken down and given up and that just hurt. *pounds on Life in general for being Evil* The way it’s played out, this scene is just so marvelously powerful, not least because of the word choice.

Also, kudos to Eight for being the only Doctor to double over rather than arching back during his regeneration.

Before the first rehearsals, actors working on a movie will sit down and read through the script together with the writers, producers, directors, etc. Not only does this show up any remaining grammatical errors, it also allows for any last minute changes to the script that might be necessary to add more depth to the characters. Does one of the lines just not sound right? Think about the character and then re-write it. Voice is extremely important.

Word choice and connotation, pauses and beats, intonation, volume, accent, and even misused words are your tools. You should be able to white out or even mix up the character’s names on a script and still be able to tell who said what. If you give it a decent try, maybe you’ll even be able to hear what each character “sounds” like. For now, forget the movie metaphor and the full sensory sweep. Consider the character’s socioeconomic background, history, the company he or she keeps, and so forth. How do they talk? How do they sound? Are there any misused words?

Can you hear your characters yet?

The Button Song

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It’s been a while since I wrote poetry, but then the opening lines came into my head and I came up with this pseudo-Shakespearean offering. Enjoy!


 

The Button Song

Tell me the company you keep

And I will tell you what you are

The Charlatan said to the Troubadour:

The things that trouble your sweet sleep,

Your dreams of troubling a star.

Your fortune, sir, for a penny a look!

Do you dare to see what Fate’s writ in her book?

Dear sir, you think you know me well?

The Troubadour said with mild contempt.

You think I dance for the sake of my bells,

With face grotesque and look unkempt.

I play for the people I see every day:

Yet never I’ve played for the same people twice.

Some prefer beer, some Chardonnay:

And for some will a glass of milk suffice.

Can you label my friends as you’d label a jar?

Can you tell the potters apart in a bazaar?

Do you think you know each human heart

When their owners themselves their depths do not plumb

And each of them their fears, and their starts;

The torrent of speech and that strikes them dumb.

Men are not buttons, nor are they their works.

Women are not apronstrings, mere wives, or berserks.

I’ve seen dreams more original in your streets

Than many the dreams of kings;

And the orphan’s throat hums many a note

That peacocks cannot sing.

And a feather I wear in my cap, good sir,

And a song I bear in my heart,

A simple life for the Troubadour,

And a truer—forgive me if I seem tart.

But I love my simple life, dear sir,

And I would not change it again,

No matter the fortune you read for a fur,

No matter my own secret pain:

And for you, fortune-teller, I’ll leave my advice:

Make a study of the poor and the meek,

Ignore your dreams of avarice,

And finally, begin to seek.

And now, dear sir, I’ll wish you good day:

The road my friends walk now calls me away.

 

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