23 March 2011 0 comments

Small steps and cautious contemplation

The Trunked Novel Rewrite is dangling on the cusp of what will be a violent and messy scene wherein the MC, Jaedyn, attempts (unsuccessfully) to extricate his father from being ravaged to pieces by wild, mind-driven carnivores. The other MC, Renji, hasn't quite yet come to terms with the fact that his love interest has gone from being female...to male...in the general course of my apparent machete-wielding. His introductory chapter is horridly stalled.

Hey, Renji? I promise, I'm doing it with surgical precision. Really, I am. Even if it doesn't appear that way. The excessive blood spatter is disturbing, yet unavoidable.

I guess I'll get back on track with that one when he settles down.

Black's sequel, Blood Red, has hit a Snag-Lag also. Konaton is disbelieving, Jhez is offended, and I threw my hands up and left them alone to stew.

Andrej Pejic .... the face of Black.
Through the course of yesterday evening, though, I did manage to find the face of Black. The hair is wrong, granted, but this androgynous beauty, Andrej Pejic, could kill with a look, I swear.

Makes me wonder what it would cost to permit his likeness to be used in the cover art. It's unrealistic, but just the prospect of it makes me quiver in excitement. And drool.

Hey, I love eye candy as much as the next human.

So that's left me with a severe case of Writing Lethargy today, while the pieces slowly sift into place and take the right form. I'm not procrastinating, just hypersensitive to the way my creative energies ebb and flow. I've been poking through various books, looking for some escapism to assuage my overworked brain.
20 March 2011 1 comments

The Art of Rendering

Or, A Ramble About Craft.

I don’t pretend to have a “New! Improved!” perspective on writing, or any artistic expression, regardless of the medium, for that matter. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t have any answers, come to think of it.

I just have the moon outside my living room window. And a philosophy. It’s not even an opinion – those are like anal sphincters. Everyone has one. They pass some rather rank gases and other matter, too. No thanks.

Blind eye, writer’s block, deaf ear, clumsy hands. No matter what your chosen or preferred medium of artistic expression is, you’ve either heard these kinds of expressions before—or have experienced them firsthand. The composer who sits down to play, only to stare at the blank grids, and hear nothing in his mind. The writer’s Blinking Cursor of Doom, mocking. The painter who looks at the canvas and sees…nothing, not even negative space. Or the one who claims their mind doesn’t see in enough detail. Or what their hand does draw isn’t what they want it to be. Lost in translation.

It isn’t a lack of artistic inspiration that causes these things. It is the artist’s mindset, and approach. The inability to let go of the expectations of expression, of how you think the end result must look, feel, sound, taste, or what it should evoke. And let the artist in your hands do the work. Channel the vision, the concept, straight from your mind without amplification, filter or censure.

The concept is to render in a pure channel. Without the static that conscious thought and years of socio-cultural stigmas, preconceived notions and conventional thinking create. The definition of “render” in this sense is to depict, to translate.

Whether the medium is clay, metal, watercolor, acrylics, charcoal, graphite, ink, a camera or little round dots on black gridlines—or words—the artist is the sole interpreter. The only one capable of translating your vision into something that can be shared with the audience. Rarely is it the detail that conveys the concept—but the story of the whole. Not a single color or word, but the interaction of one with the next, the presentation of all, together, the composition, that shows the audience what the artist sees in their mind. The notes that make up the harmony of a song, the colors that blend to create the best hue. Or choosing the right words.

Are they important, those little pieces?

The basic philosophy many artists forget.
Of course they are. Without them, the whole would not exist. The translation cannot exist for the audience. But the whole will ever be greater than the sum of its parts. And so it is not the detail that the artist need be caught up in. But the scope. The landscape, the overall impact. Does it translate properly? The artist should not ask themselves, is it right? Instead, the question should be, is this what I see in my mind?

Writers often use real-life people—high-profile or otherwise—as inspiration for characters. What the character looks like to the reader may be completely different. Nothing wrong with that—it is not the writer’s goal to dictate how the reader sees, but to guide, and through that mold the concept. Otherwise, instead of offering descriptions, we would as writers simply insert the pictures, or names. Character X looks exactly like…Overpaid Blockbuster Actor Y.

Where is the artistry in that? There is none. Too much effort spent on the detail, on dictating exactly what the audience should see or what emotion they should experience…and the result is too controlling. Negates the engaging of the audience’s imagination. In attaining perfection of detail, the artist fails. Never mind the flaws. Flaws are what make the end result unique. Flaws are where the beauty is.

The idea, then, is for the artist to focus on the concept they wish to convey instead of getting lost in the details. Leave those to the audience to fill in for themselves, as no two will see the same ones. And that flexibility is an outlet for them to engage their own imagination and feed it.

That is what makes the book so much better than the movie.

Just One, I Promise!

I am such a software whore. I had to. Take a screenshot. Because I'm so in love.
Which is typical of who I am, I guess.
I am the most disorganized person. The state of my home is "lived in". Don't look in the kitchen unless you're wearing a full bio-hazard suit.
But give me a tool that does what it's supposed to, and does it well, and does what I need it to-- and all the sudden I'm so productive I don't know what to do with myself. I imagine my daily wordcount will increase as I get used to Scrivener, but right now I think 1500 or so a day is fine.
It's sure as hell more than I was doing a week ago. When I was lucky if I got a couple hundred out, on the days I didn't have off.
At this rate I might have Blood Red done before its prequel is even sold.
Anyways, without further ado: Scrivener Porn!

Please note how many different projects I'm working on (separate windows along the bottom). Whichever one strikes my fancy on Any Given Morning is the one that gets the attention. Which I find works well simply because ....

Now the muses are Forced To Behave And Cooperate if they want my attention.
But then... Jhez is showing me that those words still give her plenty of room to play in.
17 March 2011 0 comments

Since One Is Never Enough. Ever...

...I now have the sequel to "Black" crawling around in the back of my head, slapping my logic circuits with a rubber mallet, too.

The working title is "Blood Red", the POV character is Black's twin Jhez, and the previously interviewed Konaton, with a few tweaks, looks to be making an appearance as ... well, fuck. An anti-hero. Lacking Darling Daddy as the antagonist, it appears Mommy Dearest will fill the role in his stead.

Jhez is not the easiest muse to work with. Especially not right at the moment. Hopefully her badassery will mellow out soon. I mean... it's threatening to teeter over into bitch at the moment, and while she's good reason, it doesn't endear her to anyone.

...Are you listening to me right now, Jhez? You hearing this? It doesn't. SRSLY.

*sighs* Jhez, of course, is too busy to listen, explaining to Garthelle why an Audi wagon with all-wheel drive is NOT an acceptable off-road vehicle.

So on that note, this writer throws her hands up and heads off to bed.
15 March 2011 0 comments

Writing Porn

In the form of software.
Behold, The Scrivener. For Windows.

And many endless thanks to Aleks for introducing me to it. If I have to, I'll fork out the funds to purchase the official version when it goes live, because there is nothing better than a tool that works the way you want it to.
I'm sorely tempted to spam my blog with screenshots, I'm having so much fun with it. Of course, I feel like I'm playing, even if what I'm really doing is compiling some fifteen to twenty years of revisions, world-building, and concepts, and filtering the treasure from the trash.
I feel like I'm doing that in a good many aspects of my life, as of late.

Have finally made the decision to quit smoking. It's going to have to be a gradual thing, as this introvert still needs to maintain her gainful employment, and a modicum of sanity while interacting with others on the job. Thankfully, however, my current position does not present anywhere near the level of stress I had six months ago, when my attempt to stop resulted in a 50% increase in daily nicotine intake.
Yes, yes. FAIL.

All the same, I'm determined to excise it from my life. The last residual of a personal relationship I ended over a year ago, now. Dating this person was the sole influence in my taking up smoking. I take responsibility for the choice, of course. And now I want it gone.

Maybe without the nicotine, I can gain ten pounds. That would be nice.
11 March 2011 0 comments

Cutting Out Junk to Find Gems

The only parts worth saving from what I've worked through thus far are the intangibles, the world-building. And even that, I've had to revamp substantially.

Yes, this is the Notorious Story, the one I've been working through, endless revisions and rewrites, for the past two decades. Because there's a story worth telling in it, and it only needed my maturation as a writer to tell it correctly. And through all that, I've refused to give up on it entirely. Could not bring myself to discard the gem at the center, that deserved more than I was, until now, capable of giving it.

09 March 2011 0 comments

Tackling the "next" big thing.

About a month ago, I finally broke down and purchased a new coffee maker. Just a cheap 20-dollar one, but it's awesome and creates 12 cups of ambrosia in under ten minutes.
Which, no, the last one couldn't do any longer. I tortured myself many a day with that unwilling demon.
Over the past few days, I began noticing that when the brew cycle ended there was only 10 cups of coffee in the carafe.
This baffled me. I actually yelled at it the other day. "I have only had you a month, you piece of shit. I know the water quality is less than stellar, but there is no reason why you can't function optimally for SIX MONTHS before deciding to take a shit on me."
Yep, that's how quickly I go through them. Oh. And yes, I really do talk to the devices in my house. And the dog. And Shark the Goldfish.

At any rate, this morning I distracted myself with leftover coffee thermos contents while the fresh pot was brewing. It brewed a full twelve cups. So .... I can only conclude, that the reason why two cups were missing on previous occasions, is due wholly to my propensity for stealing a mug-full before the brewing is complete.
Yep, my mug is that big.
I would use a 12-cup BOWL if it was practical. Sadly, it is not.

More's the pity.