Walking down the beach, he felt the sand pushing up between his toes. A had had a long day, with mud in his hair, sweat on his back and blood under his fingernails. It was, however, okay – he knew he could get home. He knew others had it worse. On the way back to rest, he could just take his time, and maybe feel a bit less bad. One way to feel less bad, one way he had been working on for some time now, was to do things that would make the people around him happier.
It’s mostly been planning at this stage. Part of what I’m doing involves taking apart the basics of the Twilight series, and since that series is, itself, mostly trash, that involves casting a wide net and trying to find somethings, anythings to latch on to.
I’m also in that stage where naming major characters is on the cards. This is a pain in the ass. Particularly if I ever talk to Fox about it because then I’ll wind up watching her scrunch up her nose because she dislikes how a name sounds.
Still, we have some good bits! I have some motifs, and I have the structure and framing device I want to use. Given that I am feeling quite ill (still recovering from the convention) this seems like a net win to me.
Current Word Count: 2,214 almost all not part of the book
Buncha words on my uni blog. I feel a bit like I should treat uni blog days as if I wrote them on my main blog so I don’t wind up dividing effort that should be rather focused. Fridays are going to be my Prince In Yellow updates day, I think.
I’m experimenting with writing, a lot these past few years. This is a project I’ve had on my mind for two years now, and I figure it’s best to do it now, while there’s no other creative project eating my time.
The plan for the Prince in Yellow is as follows; rather than release each chapter or chunk of text I create, I’m going to instead work on making sure each week, I make myself accountable by posting an accurate and honest word count and an explanation of what, if anything, I’ve felt about the writing so far.
One of the simplest lines you can draw in storytelling is between subjects and objects. Again, being as simple as we can, subjects do things while objects have things done to them. Characters are often objects, and machines or the like are often subjects, but basically, it’s a question that these days you hear in a lot of videogame conversations, where we point to player characters as subjects, and non-player characters as objects. That’s a simplification, but whatever.
Right now on my mind is an idea I’m working on for the structure of Prince in Yellow. In this story, we have three central characters, and I was kicking around the idea of changing each of them throughout the story; specifically, the notion of something changing them at a fundamental level. For simplification, we’ll say they’re all going to become monsters, but cool monsters. Good monsters.
This idea is reasonably flexible for me right now.
Those three characters are all girls; one of them is a woman of colour, one of them is trans. That is to say, I have these three characters who are all marginalised, some on multiple axes, and then my story is going to be about them discovering some monstrous thing about themselves, or having monstrous traits put onto them.
And I’m not sure if I want to do that.
I’m not sure if a trans girl character discovering, unrelated to her trans-ness, that she is in fact, an inheritor of a magical lineage and now she has gills and can breathe underwater, sends a right message; if it implies that her trans-ness is part of this monstrosity. If a black girl developing magical power like a witch implies that her outsider status overlaps with unnatural powers.
Basically, I am cautious about making unintentional statements. Not in a great, vast, dreadful way, but it’s something on my mind.
On the other hand… it’s still going to be a story about teens with superpowers.
What do I do?
Do I let this caution of unintentional sentiment lead me to not make these kind of characters? Or do I just act as if the characters are exactly what I would expect? I’m not a marginalised woman, after all. I like writing action stories about punching things and smooching things – so I’m left wondering if maybe, just maybe, I can just do what I’d ordinarily do, and hopefully, just treating these marginalised people as if they can be the standard protagonists of stories without ‘serious thoughtful treatment.’
Choices, choices, choices.
The past few days I have been haphazardly trying to string together the space of some story or other, a piece of writing I want to make, knowing that it’s all a bit of a mess in my head and that to do the things I want to do, I need to have decisions made more or less at the start of the writing process. It’s a bit spoilery but not necessarily, since I don’t know if this thing will even get written or if it’s just a maybe or an idea or whatever, if you like my writing and want to stay untainted, feel free to slip away.
“Look, I have some sympathy for those soldiers. Some of them – I mean, look, just because they fought for the south…”
“Fuck those people.”
A burst of laughter from the back seat.
“No I’m serious. Fuck those people. Fuck every last one of them. Fuck those brave and hard done by working class dudes who signed up to defend their homeland-”
“Well, it was their-”
“Yeah, it was their homeland! It was their territory! Which is to say, every last one of them, every last fucking one of them, when you solve them down to the purest and nicest and best and most noble of every last one of those fuckers, when he was presented with the choice between his efforts perpetuating slavery or ending it, he chose to fight to perpetuate it because it was his homeland. There’s nobility in sacrificing for your ideals but if your ideals are fucking vile bullshit then that pisses all over the sacrifice. No. No, it was a slow motion genocide. It was torture and death and it was for people who legitimately felt there was no better idea and the best people in that army were still people who were happy to fight and die to save the lives of the terrible fucking shitheads alongside them who would beat runaway slaves to death for the sin of touching them. Fuck. Those. People.”
It was a good minute before anyone said anything.
“Well!” A beat. “Don’t think… yeah. Well.”
“The internet is an amazing place,” said the lecturer. “It’s removed all the barriers for publication, it’s this endlessly creative space, it’s where you can say whatever you want and you’ll find people based on the quality of your work, it’s meritocratic and it’s attention-driven, it’s an entirely new type of economy, where value derives not from scarcity in the conventional money economy, and where you can say whatever you want in communities you curate, where love and joy and expression are unbound and valued and pure, where you can explore literally any idea you want.”
“Oh really.” I asked.
I have been sitting in this room for roughly a day.
Sometimes I fade out, distracted by the reassuring buzzing in my skull. I have walked the path of the butterflies, stood in the presence of this man, without his shirt and with his robe, while he tells me of the tools of warfare. Blood and blade, fist and hammer, the tools of war in their purest senses, the craft of violence which, let’s face it… is what I am here to do.
But I don’t know what two to pick.
I reach for my phone, to look up guides again, huffing to myself… after all, I want these powers to have some synergy but I also want the style of them to work well together and ugh ugh ugh oh god it’s four in the morning again and I still haven’t decided.
I guess what I need is a backup plan. A plan bee, if you will.
Slowly, the turtle moved his head towards the mouth of his shell, “What if,” he said, just ruminating, in the gentle, round-about, toe-in-the-sand voice he knew he had to use, “What if maybe someone you knew was a turtle?”
“Oh, don’t be ridiculous.”
“I mean, surely a turtle would know,” The little window of light was closer. “I mean, I guess maybe even I could be a turtle.”
“No, you’re definitely not. You’d never be a turtle.”
And he stopped, and shrank back.
Probably best to stay in the dark more.
Not like anyone needed to know he was a turtle.
in his hand
were her lips
and she was
it kept him
standing still so she could
do what they both wanted
and then she
Sitting on the porch
and watching the dog
The dog didn’t want to sit still,
– because he was young –
but he didn’t have a friend to chase
So the little black-and-white head, triangular and pointy,
picked up a stuffed toy
– left in the yard for another dog, of course –
flicked it up into the air
And chased after where he threw it
Bouncing in the grass, overshooting it, skidding around
Throwing up clods of dirt.
He looked down at his phone.
And wondered how he could ever share this
Of sitting on the porch
and watching the dog
“Was it hard to get into her phone?” Jude asked, perching in the back seat, resting his knees on the back of Sparrow’s chair. The car rumbled through the snow, which fell in quiet little whorls.
Writing a novel, a piece at a time, over a year, was an interesting challenge, but it had a nice little side effect where if I didn’t want to write much one week, I could instead do outlining and notes, push that off to after the publish date, and produce a section of story that was smaller, simpler, more indulgent. It helped the story gather momentum.
With the Mycroft stories, which are short, I can’t really do that. Tomorrow’s piece has to wrap up the second case. It has to. I don’t get to push that off until later and instead fill tonight’s piece. It’s just an interesting different gear of discipline.
Talking with Hoodiejoy today reminded me of this little story from the last Christmas City of Heroes had, just after the game was shuttered. It’s a story about what one character, Carceri, did, and it featured his friends. I’m putting it here because this is basically an enormous tweet.
Move along, nothing to see here.
Big wide halls, thick red carpets and all the effort a building made in two thousand and five could put to look like it’d been standing since the sixteen hundreds didn’t hide things from Tally. Of course, Tally wasn’t using eyes to see – holding a smartphone in hand, browsing wireless information. The whole estate was built with Old World Charm, which seemed to mean terrible wireless access. There was wi-fi, sure, but it was bad, bad enough that it dipped in hallways and only seemed to improve when Tally approached an actual access point.
Outside, beautiful and lush greenery didn’t whirl past because it had all died. Instead, sticks of barren black and a cloud of heavy white, featureless but for the occasional jutting stick or utility post, flew on by, less like the New England greenery and more a magical wonderland that looked suspiciously like someone had piled a rather large amount of cocaine outside. The outside of the car yielded no relief for the mind, but the inside had its own problems.
“God, do we have to listen to this?” Eris groused.
“Sparrow’s driving, so Sparrow chooses.” Jude murmured from the back seat.
Eris squirmed around in her seat, holding the shoulder of the chair so she could look over into the back seat at Jude. “It’s Taylor Swift,” she said, waving one hand. “Taylor. Swift.”
“Ms Mycroft does not see visitors.”
“I hate driving these things.” Sparrow grumbled. “If Ms Mycroft was going to pay for rent a special car for a job, couldn’t she have gotten somethin’ nice?”
The car was white, with a charming green and red stripe by the rear door, for visibility. It was also a few rounded edges away from being nothing so complex as a rounded metal crate. Sparrow’s own ride had had a nice deep back seat, at least when the driver’s was pulled forward as far as it could go, and Jude had enjoyed the extra foot room.
“I’m not a big fan of them either,” Jude noted, unwrapping a fabric pile on his lap which clinked slightly. “But this is how Ms Mycroft wants things done and I know better than to expect better results ignoring her.”
Sparrow unconsciously brought his arms in by his side as he stood behind Jude. Hands bunched up into fists, he tried to suppress a quiet squeak of worry. Clearing his throat, he made to speak, but somewhere between voice and brain, the words turned into a long, soft, “Oh noooo.”
Jude turned slightly, putting one arm back so he could brush against Sparrow’s side. Big calming hand came down over Sparrow’s shoulder. “’Scuse me, gentlemen,”