Archive | November 2014

Acceptance Speech Time!

Well, I made it! 50,000! Actually I made it on Wednesday night, and then I realized I should say something about it- and then I came up with something bigger to do, sense it was just recently Thanksgiving and I realized how many things have helped me in this story. So I’ll go ahead and do something Oscar acceptance speech-style.

*hysterical giggles* First of all I’d like to thank the brilliant minds behind Nation Novel Writing Month! *gasp* Without you I probably wouldn’t have written numerous novels, including this novel. You’re the best!

*talking very quickly* I would also like to thank all my family for their patience with me and willingness to let us do this crazy trial! We wouldn’t have made it this far without you! (of course I need to make sure they take a look at this post) Thank you, Daddy, for letting me use your laptop so much! *wiping away a tear or two*

I would like to thank Hans Zimmer, Steve Jablonsky, *gasp* David Crowder Band, Newsboys, Jars of Clay and so many others for creating music that inspires me and helps me to write. So many scenes and emotions were inspired by your creations!

*starting to feel like I’ve been onstage too long but I must write this!* *Shaky voice* And there are so, so many other people that helped in the creating of this story- Shelby Foote and many other people who wrote about PTSD, as well as the veterans who were willing to speak about their struggles. You made my story real.

And last but far from least (in fact the inspiration for this idea) I must thank Doctor Who for the many years’ worth of timey-wimey training to help me figure out the timey-wimey stuff in my stories. With that training, so many plot holes have been mended, so many plots have been born and- most likely- so many possible readers will be totally confused! But I couldn’t have done it without you, Doctor Who. Most of my stories probably wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for you (and therefore I might’ve written much likelier, sensible stuff) (Douglas Adams, I still can’t match your wit. The world won’t know a genius like you again. RIP)

Thank you! Thank you, so much! Thank you again! *gasp and sob. Stumble off stage*

Now I just need to finish my story!

(In writing this, I must also remember the people who may not make it. They still can! There’s another day! My sisters are writing amazingly and their stories sound fantastic! You are doing a great job- this goes for all the people doing NaNoWriMo who might not make 50,000.

It is so not right when Word decides to have problems with your document so about 1,000 words are lost when you’re at the end of November!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Believe me, sister dear, millions of NaNoWriMo-ers feel great sympathy for you! Many prayers and wishes that your story gets pulled up again successfully! You- and it- deserve it!)

Thanksgiving

Well, it’s Thanksgiving! (There are also only a few days left of NaNoWriMo so this will be a short post)

Thanksgiving is a little more significant for me, especially sense writing my Civil War story, because of course it was first introduced during the Civil War by Lincoln. His Declaration of Thanksgiving is very interesting, one of my favorite documents of the Civil War, and I recommend taking a look at it. It certainly adds some depth to this holiday to not only remember the Pilgrims and the very beginning of the USA, but also to consider the Civil War and it’s affect on the people of America.

Thanksgiving has already been an important holiday for me, especially after I researched the Civil War, and especially after Thanksgiving has been forgotten more and more. I won’t complain about it or rant, because it’s a holiday (a bit late) and I don’t want to waste people’s time by reading unpleasant things about something that’s supposed to be enjoyable.

But I will say this; the meaning of Thanksgiving Day can be unspecific. Obviously you’re supposed to stop and be thankful for what you have. That’s a little like finding a blade of grass in a haystack- but only if you’re looking in everyone else’s haystack.

What I mean is, you’re living your own life with your own individual, unique problems, and being thankful for your food and home is- generic. Find the things in your life that maybe no one else knows about or they don’t always understand, find the things that seem tiny and insignificant. That’s one reason why I like Lincoln’s Declaration of Independence, because it helped me understand Thanksgiving and what it means, that it’s not just a holiday- a time when you can enjoy pumpkin pie and turkey- but something that you do.

So, because I didn’t get to this until very late, I guess this applies for next Thanksgiving- except that one can always remember the blessings in your life. I think it’s best if we don’t forget Thanksgiving, in fact make it something bigger- bigger than a parade, a turkey and a football game, because it is much bigger than that. It’s a simple holiday, and I’m sure you’ve heard it lots of times: ‘It’s a time to be thankful for what you have’, until you’re tired of it. And I wish I had a better way of saying exactly that, because obviously that’s what Thanksgiving is for, (just imagine some fantastic Shakespearian actor saying it) but that’s exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, because it takes a while to stop and consider all the things in your life that you can be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! (even if it is a bit late)

The Small Problems with Writing

If anyone knows about NaNoWriMo, you know you shouldn’t be slowed down by any problem- ask questions later, edit when you’re done and put in even the inexplicable things. But of course that’s not possible. There’s always a part of the Inner Editor that you can’t shut off- some part of you wondering if you need to rewrite that part, if it makes sense, if you can find a better word for it.

Sigh- the issues of writing.

Well, today I came to one of those parts in my story. It wasn’t the worst kind of problem, when I know I am going to get rid of it later on. It was just one of those awkward moments that my fellow writing sisters and I have a problem with. Fight scenes.

They can be incredibly difficult to write, not to mention slow, because you have to figure out how your characters will react and what they will do! Fortunately this was just a scuffle, not an all out fight with blood and bruises (certainly no gore. I don’t have any ninjas)

Now, the worst kind of fight scene is when you have to describe everything in a very physical way, using words like: abdomen, chest, ‘foot pressed on his neck’, strangling, ‘gasping for air until he was bright red’, and all sorts of other things like that. It’s embarrassing, actually- especially when the writer is not a physical, masculine hero (which is the case for me). Fortunately you just have to state the facts and leave it at that- get it over with. But the other problem with that way of writing a fight scene is that I find it usually doesn’t keep me interested. I am being given a scene to picture in my head but I don’t feel it.

So, here’s a paragraph I wrote, written the physical way:

“The man paused and then threw a hard punch against Mark’s jaw that knocked a tooth loose. He was thrown against the wall, hitting his head and shoulder. The force caused him to stumble a little but he caught his balance and started toward the man, his hands outreached, ready to find the man’s throat or else just tackle him, but the gun was in his face before he could get further.”

Okay, I exaggerated it a bit, but it’s very easy to do when you write a fight scene this way.

And this is the way I used, which didn’t exactly feel like a fight scene, it didn’t have the same action, but it implied more emotion- which is important in this scene- as well as bringing in a little bit of the ever-present PTSD which my character is dealing with (and hopefully it makes sense!). It’s the emotion version:

“The man waited a second, and then quickly struck Mark so that he was knocked against the wall. He recovered and was about to return the attack, sensing only that upon being attacked he needed to attack back before it was too late, but the gun checked his action and he drew back again.”

I think I’ll stick with this version.

another interesting problem I came upon in that scene, moments earlier. Trying to find the right word can be problematic. In this instance the guard that attacks Mark is surprised when a prisoner vanishes (literally)

Here’s the sentence:

“Shut up!” The guard barked, clearly ________.” and that word was what caught me up for a while- besides texting 4 different people at the same time. You need the right word, because some times the wrong word can slow it down, oddly enough. Plus, in this situation it was a very specific reaction. The man is surprised, feels like he should be in control (having a gun), panicking, aggressive. So what is that word? I thought of consternated, dismayed, aggressive, shocked but none of them really work because they don’t feel right.

Well, for the moment I’ll go with consternated, but I’m not happy.

oh well. Time to ignore the Inner Editor and go back to the Word War I started a half hour ago.

A Horror Story for the NaNoWriMo-ers and All Authors

Something came to mind as I was about to start writing, and I thought I should let everyone know about it. At first I thought it would be good for just writers, but actually a lot of what people do can be effected by mistakes like the one I made.

On Thanksgiving day a couple years ago (yes, it is possible to write on Thanksgiving) I was using my sister’s laptop to write on and my story was on my thumb-drive. As I was pulling myself out of my couch (which likes to eat people slightly) the laptop slipped from my hands and my thumb-drive was broken. Fortunately the laptop was OK, but several stories I had been working on, including my first NaNoWriMo novel- a sentimental favorite and turning point in my writing- were lost. Fortunately the novel I was working on that year was up and so it was OK, and actually my sister may be able to retrieve the other documents (I’m kind of confused about that).

The main tragedy of the event was that I’d lost my other stories- I mean, I hadn’t backed them up somewhere else, even though I had had plenty of time, I just didn’t think it was necessary. It is necessary though! So always, always remember to back up your work onto something else, maybe even several other places!

If you know someone, maybe doing NaNoWriMo, and they never pay attention to the ‘back-up your novel day’, please tell them about this or show them this post. It is very important. (actually I’ve forgotten to back-up what I’ve done so far too. oops)

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk (keeping in mind that I am also doing NaNoWriMo, so I need to get to writing)

And here is my own pep talk:

Did your character just jump off the roller coaster that was going at a 100 mps and turn into a fox, and is his name Aeson ‘Bubbles’ Douthwaite? Has he finished that double-decker pizza his wife wanted him to make for their kids’ birthday? Is his villain twin brother going after the ribbon wielding landscaper and is Bubbles working on getting his villainous twin brother to the moon in time to discover Australia? Will you be in time to write all this before the end of November? Have you even started on the mid-climactic getaway?

No?!

Good. Whatever your story is, I think it’s better than Bubbles’, so go ahead and keep writing.

(If you find the story I just outlined remotely interesting, and you’re thinking: ‘I wish I’d thought of that’, then I assume you’ve completely lost interest in your story! But don’t worry. I know you’re story’s better than that)

Good writing!

‘The Drifter’s Course: Time’ Excerpt

Well, I was writing along- in the back of my head lamenting that I never seem to find a good place to pull an excerpt from, especially earlier on in the month. Well, I decided the part I just finished will work as well as anything. (by the way, because it’s NaNoWriMo I haven’t had a chance to reread the excerpt as a whole, so it might seem a little odd) here it is:

 

Jeremy was sitting alone in the courtyard, listening to his music very loudly on earbuds and eating his meal of scrambled eggs and cornbread. He was intent about the music he was listening to, soaking in all the notes and crescendos and beats. He ate with less interest than usual, but kept his eyes on his food.

The tense atmosphere of hiding and running from a powerful foe had followed them there, and it seemed more noticeable than usual, which was why Jeremy listened to his music with so much intent. However, with the place being empty- purely by coincidence- Jeremy felt the silence as powerfully as though it was a presence and, when he stopped his music simply to hear if there was any sound to be heard, it was impossible to escape from it.

He pulled his earbuds away, letting them drop to the table, and looked around to see if there was anybody there. The silence was so complete that an anxious look came to his face.

All the doors leading to the rooms stood closed. Many of the curtains were drawn- that was, however, an agreement that whoever was running from the U.M.G. would take such precautions. The cleaning workers had evidently come and gone, which somehow seemed unusual. Cars could be hear on the streets, there was a man walking by on the opposite side, there was construction- but no sound in the immediate surroundings.

Jeremy was just attempting to convince himself that he was being silly- reasoning that if their enemy was there, they would not be leaving him to be disturbed by the silence, in fact he’d probably already be dead if they were there- when something told him the silence was not right. He could feel a strange sense of dread unlike anything he’d ever felt- certainly for no apparent reason.

Jeremy stood up, alarmed, deciding to figure out what was the matter. He looked around, as though hoping to be able to figure out more specifically where something wasn’t right, by turning around, but instead immediately feeling that he was in the center of the enclosure and therefore, in a sense, lost. He couldn’t get his bearing and for a moment Jeremy started to panic before once again trying to convince himself he was being silly.

Something caught his eye- a shadow. He immediately turned toward it, only to see that there was nothing there. He’d heard no door open or footsteps or even shuffling. As Jeremy considered what he’d just seen- or rather hadn’t seen- deciding that he had definitely seen something, he was running over all the possibilities- that someone had briefly come out of their room, then returned before he could catch a glimpse of them- thus causing him to run over all the sounds he would have heard if that had occurred, such as a door opening and the echo of it opening, and the shutting of the door and the echo of it shutting, when he suddenly realized that he really didn’t hear anything now. There were no cars, no birds, no wind, no construction, and certainly no sound in the immediate area.

Now Jeremy was really alarmed, and not happy to have proof that he had reason to be alarmed. Once again he looked around, trying to find some explanation for what was happening. And as he looked around he noticed that everything looked wrong. He didn’t notice when there’d been a change, only now everything looked like a strange vast painting, and totally untouchable. He took several steps forward, and he knew he had crossed a short distance- but he didn’t seem to have gone anywhere.

“Is anyone else here with me?” Jeremy shouted, immediately realizing that was a stupid question, and then wondering why he should think it was stupid. He’d really only spoken because of the need to understand this place, and the reassurance- or the discomfort- that he was really there.

The real reason why he thought the question was ridiculous was that he’d felt, for no apparent reason, and certainly no proof, that he wasn’t alone. There was definitely something else there with him, and it was a person, not just the presence of fear which can occasionally seem as powerful as to actually be a person. No, he felt as when someone knows one is being watched, he felt that there was something there, watching him- with him.

Again he turned around, determined to find the person with him. His eyes immediately fixed on a shadow. He was tense, on high alert and ready for anything so that when he looked at the thing staring back at him, it was as though he was watching it in slow motion, and therefore he had a chance to take it in- for the thing moved a split second after he’d seen it. It didn’t actually walk away, or even run- there was no sense of urgency or panic about it- but it vanished and for a second Jeremy thought he was alone again, only all of his senses told him it was still there, to his right, standing on the roof of the building.

The short glimpse he’d had of it- which, due to the rush of adrenaline seemed strangely long- told Jeremy this was a creature unlike anything he’d seen or even imagined. He knew at once that it didn’t belong to this place- in the sense that it didn’t seem to belong to this universe.

Again Jeremy turned to look at it and it vanished once more.

“What are you?” He yelled at it. Seeing that it had the full advantage, Jeremy ceased trying to find it. He was aware now that it seemed to be standing across the street, though there was nothing definite to tell him that. Though he was aware of something different in that area, there was no solid figure, and no fixed presence.

Jeremy waited, listening intently. But the answer that came was from a voice that was both yelling and whispering, far and near- the answer might have even been in his head. And the voice that spoke seemed vaguely familiar.

“I wanted you to meet me this way because we will meet again, and I don’t want you to panic when we do,” the thing said

It is the 11th of November

The 11th of November is an important day- partly because it’s a good friend’s birthday- but also because it’s Veterans Day. For me, the meaning of this day is one of those things that seem too big and amazing to contemplate- sorry, wrong word: it’s too big to imagine. I can contemplate on the sacrifice men and women give all day, I can stand in awe of it. But to think about all the people in history, at the beginning of America to this point, who have answered the call of freedom’s duty, is the point where I am too amazed to be able to imagine it. It’s the Grand Canyon of bravery and patriotism; you can paint it, take a picture of it or talk about it, but no imitation is comparable to when you are actually there.

So, before I go on, talking about my own stuff, I just wanted to say thank you to all the veterans. Simply saying ‘thank you’ in return for what you’ve done seems small, and it is too small, but I mean it with all my heart and with every sacrifice that’s been made in my thoughts. So, it isn’t just a simple thanks, but a thankfulness from one of the millions of lives you’ve touched, a mere echo of your own achievements. God bless you.

Now, the rest of this post will be related to the first part, because of what this day means. As I’ve said, Veterans, Marines, Sailors, Generals, NCIS and just about all of those numerous military-related things give me a sense of awe similar to the Grand Canyon. They are heroes of a kind that I can only admire and attempt to capture in my own small ways. And My Civil War stories are one of those attempts- unfortunately, I think I’ve only managed to get a picture of the Grand Canyon with an old cell phone camera that’s been run over.

There’s a comradeship, a friendship, a strength and bravery, a- well, if we’re talking only about America- there’s something American about it that you can recognize, though sometimes in different forms, that’s distinctive and wonderful. It’s simple, rough, determined and steadfast.

And that’s what I tried to capture, allowing my characters to be fascinated- mesmerized- by it. I basically tried to capture what I appreciate myself. I can only pray I managed it.