“Origin” or “How I Ended Up Airing Some Fantastic Dirty Laundry”

The question on deck for the Blogfest Buccaneers: Share your light bulb moment with us. How did you come up with the idea for your WIP?

As is somewhat usual with me, it was a long, meandering train of thought

The “point at which something comes into existence or from which it derives or is derived” of my tale was a character (that’s usual with me, too) – or rather, two of them. The first was a kinda strange lady, and as I lay waiting to fall asleep one night, I mulled over why that could be. I don’t recall when I figured it out, but it had to have been before December of I-forget-the-year, because by the time I’d started in on a collection of Christmas-centric short stories (one of which some of you may remember from this post), I knew what she was. More than that, I knew what a whole bunch of characters in that story world were, and – surprise on me – the answer wasn’t human.

(You know it’s time to switch your genre to fantasy when…)

Meanwhile, in another part of my head, the second, related character was bugging me to let him write a tell-all on his side of the story he didn’t feel was doing him justice. I let him rant for 200-some pages, then stepped in to rewrite it as a more focused memoir. That project sat in the Possibly Salvageable Junk Pile for a good while, along with the first few sorry pages from a companion story.

Fast-forward to early this year, when – after some enthusiastic encouragement from writing-buddy Tirzah – I felt I was finally ready to tackle this old monster project in a new form: A trilogy spanning three generations of one hilarious, heartbreaking, mega-dysfunctional, truly phenomenal family. Strangeness will be explained. Tell-all will all-told. Many of my earliest characters left for years in authorial storage will finally get some time in the sun, as well as plenty of time in the dark.

I’m quite pleased with and proud of the work I’ve done so far, and am looking forward to finishing strong and sharing this beautiful beast with the world! I think fans of YA urban fantasy/paranormal stuff are gonna like it. (:

“HYSRT!” or “Of Thieves of Fish, Et Cetera”

Sometimes you read something that just gives you pleasure. You can’t always say just which chord was struck and why (or maybe you’re having a good wordsmith day and can say it with the eloquent beauty of minstrel song), but there it is: You read it, and you relished it, and you want somebody, somewhere, to know about it.

I feel that way a lot when submerged in the words of Louise Jaques. My friend’s lyrical lines of poetry/poetic prose are most often to be found at her blog, but the piece I’m featuring today was a guest post on the blog of another (Stef, by name), “Dodging Commas”. (Double sharing points! Gotta love the blogosphere.)

The feature, “Swimming in a Language Sea”, speaks of that readers’ pleasure with which I opened this post, and of the writers’ high that such pleasure so often inspires. So if you are, like me, a lover of language and ravenous reader – and perchance a writer, to boot – then Hey: You Should Read This.

“Swimming in a Sea of Words” by Rachel Ashe, as seen here: http://rachaelashe.com/2009/12/22/altered-book-swimming-in-a-sea-of-words/

“Tag +!” or “Get Your Head Back in the Game(s)”

Righteo, readers! – who’s ready for the second round of Blog Tag? I’ve answered and asked my first five questions, and the halftime show is over (without a trace of scandal, unless Bruno’s voice or Saturday’s scientific/theological debate can thus be called), so now let’s finish up strong! (And then we’ll have ourselves a little unrelated bonus round of sorts. Hang on to your hats, kids, this place in jumpin’!)

6. When it comes to your creative endeavors (writing, drawing, singing, cooking, whatever!), what is your best source of inspiration?

Quite often, my past creations will inspire those to come – books and short stories and poems and pictures all circling around related themes; the off-the-clock babble of characters sparking a story that simply has to be scribed; and even my tales without minstrels in them have been known to inspire songs. (Take my The Princess and the Moon” music video, for example. …Well, I mean, don’t take it; that would be shameful piracy. But do feel free to watch and listen.)

7. Do you plan on doing NaNoWriMo this year? / 8. Why or why not?

Oh yeah, you better believe I am! My first NaNo gained me an awesome book (“The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”), an equally awesome best friend (Tirzah), and all sorts of other awesomeness inspired by those first two awesome things. My second NaNo didn’t quite count as a NaNo (although it counted for a lot as a PerGoSeeMo), so I’m more hyped than ever to have a proper NaNo this year. And by “proper”, I mean off the hook! I’m even planning to attend The Night of Writing Dangerously in San Francisco with Tirzah and two of our mutual writing buddies, so BOO-yah! Do I have any idea what my novel’s going to be about? Not a clue. But that’s what October’s for.

9. What’s one thing you like to do to relax?

Relax? Oh, mercy, I don’t bother to do that nearly enough. I have to justify everything I do as being somehow productive, or I feel like I’m frittering my life away. However, those infrequent times when I’m willing to say, “Forget productivity, I wanna do this!” I’ll usually double back to re-smell the roses. Read stuff I wrote. Listen to music I composed. Look back on old drawings. Or maybe hang out on DeviantArt to look at other people’s drawings, while listening to others’ songs on Pandora Radio or YouTube. Or reread someone else’s book (I specify rereading, since I may count reading something the first time as a sort of productivity). And, oh yeah, gab on the phone with Tirzah at all hours; when we’re not annoying the snot out of each other and don’t have to carry the emotions of character drama, that can be quite relaxing (and circumspectly productive. Our immaterial pillow fort’s an inspiring place).

10. Do you prefer books/movies/TV series with clearly defined endings, or those with ambiguous ones?

The former. Even if a story is slated to have a sequel, I need some closure at the end of Part One. I mean (**“Pirates of the Caribbean” spoilers!**), what would have happened it all the people involved in the films died before they had a chance to finish “At World’s End”? Where would that have left us? Wailing because Captain Jack Sparrow’s been swallowed by the Kraken, Captain Barbossa’s suddenly alive again, Beckett has Davy Jones’ heart, Will and Elizabeth can’t look each other in the eye, THE END. Just, The End.

So much for the worst case scenario. It could well be, of course, that the story in question isn’t leaving you hanging simply to build up suspense for the next installment in the franchise; it could well be that it’s a standalone, and that’s just the ending the creator had in mind. I don’t care for that, either (though it may not call for the screaming that the “Pirates” example did). I like my stories tied up with a nice, “And they all lived happily ever after.” Or, “And they all had to lie in the beds they made, for better or worse.” Or, “And they all died in fiery explosion just as Gore Verbinski called a wrap on the filming of ‘Dead Man’s Chest’.” Whatever, just so long as this plotline feels conclusively over. Otherwise, I’m inclined to feel cheated.

* * *

That’s that on my end, friends! Now here are the last five questions for all of you.

6. Who was the last person you told you love them, how did you say it, and what prompted you?

7. If your life were a movie, which part would you condense into a musical montage, and what kind of song would be playing?

8. If you had the power of unlimited multitasking, what else would you be doing while answering this question?

9. Name a word or phrase that you despise (and the reason behind it, if you happen to know).

10. A magic spell/science experiment has gone awry, and you’re a mermaid/man for the rest of the week. How stoked are you?

Thanks for playing, guys! I’m looking forward to seeing what you have to say for yourselves.

* * *

But wait! There’s more! Another little game going around Blog Land, these days, is the Lucky 7 Meme, a tag-esque deal specifically for writers of novel-length projects, which works in this wise:

1. Go to page 77 (or, variably, page 7) of your current MS/WIP
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs, and post them as they’re written.
4. Tag 7 writers and let them know.

I’ve been explicitly tagged by my dear pallies, Ben and Louise, and have found myself a part of the open invitations of Emerald and Ms. Marshmallow, as well (and possibly more that I’ve forgotten. Like I said, it’s been going around). And as I’m not quite sure how many people I know are writing a novel and/or already got Lucky 7 Tagged, I shall also go the open invitation route. All even remotely eligible players welcome! Now, for my novel-in-progress’s 7 lines! (…Which, to avoid awkward chapter breakage, I just started at the top of page 77.)

~ Ruster sighed in bliss. “Isn’t it extraordinary?”

“That a letter she sent this morning came this afternoon?” said Logan. “Kinda. That thing must have shipped triple-express or something.”

“You miss the point,” Ruster sulked, and returned to his reading.

“I guess we could always eat each other,” Mitch said contemplatively.

Daniel’s green eyes rolled. “If you can manage it without fainting, help them get their stuff moved into their space, and I’ll go pick up some sandwiches or something.” ~

Just dying to read the finished book, now, aren’t ya? Someday, my friends; someday…