Where Have I Been?

It has been quite a few months now since I last made a post. People will, no doubt, have wondered if I had given up, or something else had happened. Well, things have happened, and continue to do so. But let me talk about the events I’m in a position to talk about.

A combination of a rough, tough NaNoWriMo last year and the Writing Group I started attending had seriously affected me. The way things were in the group was such that I was changing what I was doing, the way I was doing it. I ended up losing all momentum – and motivation – for the novel I had started in November, and was even starting to subtly hate writing itself. I was trying to produce pieces that were going to tick all the boxes for the group, and the more I was doing that, the more I was worrying about if a piece would be acceptable, or might cause problems.

It escalated to a point where in April, things became rather interesting. A simple comment from me ended up with a massive row, where I was suddenly finding myself on the defensive. It got worse when the piece after that was another politically charged item, which shouldn’t have been read at all. She had let her boss see it, and they had made half of the long poem get struck out. Once that had happened, the whole thing fell apart.

So, I was not in a right frame of mind, after having gone through one set of debate about the Second World War. I was then hearing all about the Jungle in Calais, because she had volunteered to help out there, cleaning up the place and trying to assist. Because of the first argument, I made another comment… and again there was a large debate. And since both times I was effectively on my own, it meant that I was trying to defend my position and opinion, against a tide of opposition. I’m certain someone could have made the whole thing into a quite interesting story, if they had been there in the corner, taking notes.

In any case, I have not gone back to that group, and hopefully will find ways to make sure it stays that way.

As for the novel, that has been a long, torturous journey. Because of all the feedback on pieces read out, I ended up doing quite a bit of editing and re-working, all the while still writing it. A cardinal rule broken, and one I do not wish to break again. I have learned to be wary of releasing pieces that are not concluded, unless it is a serialised story. They can be a great source of fun and entertainment.

Thankfully, I’ve been doing Camp NaNo.

I have been in two great Cabins, and we all motivated and stirred each other on. I even managed to restart writing The Coven, and slowly it moved forwards. Tuesday, I finished it, a work that stands at 118,822 words. I wouldn’t have done it without them, and am go glad to have been in those Cabins. I can only hope and wish many successes upon them.

I’m hoping to get this Blog less dormant, and I’m trying what to do with it, exactly. I might well post up pieces of writing, to show readers what I’m working on, a sort of sketchpad, if you will.

I’m now trying to plan and outline for November, when a new novel will be started for NaNoWriMo. It’ll be exciting, because one thing I’ve done is change my Home Region. I feel that a different group – one not obsessing on word counts and beating other Regions, is more what I want.

Hopefully, this will serve as an update, and hopefully the first of a number of new posts made.

Is There A Story In David Bowie’s And Alan Rickman’s Death?

I have previously talked about writing a creative piece on the matter, and I felt I should explore the topic further, now that I have committed to it. I also feel I need to talk about it, if only to reassure myself I am doing the right thing.

As we all no doubt know, Alan Rickman and David Bowie have died. There is a lot of interesting details with them, but I also want to point out that a number of rock stars and actors have died during the same period,at about the same age that Rickman and Bowie. I also want to point out that there are a number of people suspicious of the whole affair, and are unconvinced of the pair’s demise, particularly when you have to consider the television appearance of a guy who looks uncannily like Bowie.

I want to highlight one essential fact: If they are still alive, then the identities are certainly dead. So, it matters not what has happened, we can say that they have passed away.

Alan Rickman is something of a disappointment to me, as I have certainly enjoyed his performances over the years. Amazing to think that the film Die Hard was his first major role, in both television and film. Before then, he had only a few minor roles. From there, he has had a career that has spanned decades, and covered a range of categories. He had a distinctive voice, and deliverance… It is hard to write about him, strange as it may seem. I am finding myself tearing up a little. No matter what may or may not come out about him, we certainly have lost a great actor. I want to share this quote, something he said, and I feel it tells us a lot about him:

“When I am eighty years old and sitting in my rocking chair, I’ll be reading Harry Potter. And my family will say to me ‘After all this time?’ And I’ll reply ‘Always.’ “

So, why write about him?

I’ll get on to Bowie in a moment, because there is a lot more interesting stuff I can say about him. But since I am now part of a writing group, I now have a homework to complete. And I need to include rainbows and current news into the piece. So, since I am constantly drawn to the supernatural, and horror, I have decided that a nightmare involving the two. Having them appear as animated corpses, along with other visual elements has proven a good starting point. And having Rickman as Snape – possibly his most iconic character – is a suitable homage to him, I feel. Moreover, at some point we will have to write about them, and use them creatively, even though they are dead. I am certain that Alan Rickman wouldn’t mind me doing so, particularly as I have just gone on record as saying he was accomplished, and I feel he had a powerful intellect, and a tenderness to him. I already used him as a basis for a character back in 2013, to create a hero that was so well hidden, the revelation that he was a good guy helping others was a shock to the few who have so far read the text.

As for Bowie…

Well, his real name was David Jones, and when he started off his music career, was going under the name “Davey Jones.” However, he discovered that a band called The Monkees had gotten famous, and had a member calling himself “Davey Jones” as well. So, he changed his stage name, calling himself after the famous knife, to make himself sound more dangerous and mysterious. Similar surrounds his ‘bisexuality.’ He admitted in the nineties that he had said he was bisexual to garner attention, and to cultivate a mysterious image about him.

One thing that is unmistakable is the occult connections Bowie has. Lyrics about the Golden Dawn, being in Crowley’s uniform, talking about the Kaballah… There is a huge amount of symbolism in his work, and he clearly had a fascination with the occult, even if he didn’t practice it. (I have no certainty he ever practised.) In fact, I noted the music Blackstar when it had first come out. It took three attempts for me to watch it over two weeks. There is such an overload of occultism and symbolism in the ten minutes long video that I was on overload, and was on some levels left traumatised by it. Lots of people have commented on it, and I’m not wanting to do a massive breakdown of the video. But if nothing else, there is a huge amount of visual imagery an detail crammed into it, and can be used as inspiration for many, many pieces of literature.

The video Lazarus is also filled with symbolism. Going in and out of that closet, the shadow rabbit that appears when his arms are outstretched and in bed, the dark blue with silver stripe astral travel suit he also wore in the seventies… again, there is quite a bit in there. And I have a sneaky feeling that this was intended, that we carry on talking about him for many, many years to come.

So, I will finish that piece, and go over it a couple of times, to make sure it is right, and respectful. And hopefully is read by them somewhere, somehow, and is enjoyed.

I’m Still Alive…

I know it has been some time since I last made a blog post. Well, there were reasons for that. I had a bad time with the NaNoWriMo 2015, though I did get the fifty thousand words done. Afterwards, I had a mental flop, of sorts. I’ve done very little, and I suspect that I had burned out mentally.

In the end, I sort of had a meltdown, of sorts, and stopped writing and working on all of my projects. It is only now I am trying to get back to writing, and finishing that November Novel, because I am curious to see what it is like finished.

Another change is the fact I have now started attending a local writing  group, which is now brining in some changes as well. I feel it is a good thing, because it is introducing a different dynamic and focus to my writing.

I will look at posting up some of the recent writings, to try and showcase what I have been attempting, and to see if anyone is interested in such posts. I am still trying to work out how to best use this resource, and what those who read the posts want to see.

All I know is that I am now planning to use some of the David Bowie music videos in upcoming writing, because Blackstar is utterly creepy. And if I can combine a rainbow somehow, I can then hand it in as the writing group’s homework…

I wonder if I can include Alan Rickman in somehow, and maybe Back To The Future? Additional challenges for myself, I suspect…

Rest In Peace Slate, Part Two

Oh the irony…

Back in September, I had talked about role-play characters, and how they could be used in my writing projects. I had also said the following:

I also intend to use Melissandre, my half Fae sorceress as well. I have a way to jump universes, and plan to use her in some way in a future story.

Of course, I had been thinking about characters, because a friend had posted the death of his character on Facebook. But at the time, I wasn’t aware of what was to come…

Basically, I now have Mellisandre being unplayable. That is because she has since had an adventure where she ended up a werewolf, and then she and the other characters had to find a cure, before the next full moon. I had ignored the fact that you had half-elves and half-Fae being inflicted, even though I was seriously wondering about the validity of the adventure. It was on the way home I realised that I had played the final adventure with her.

The curse had been given by the god Apollo.

This is significant, because she had ancestral curses, powerful demonic tainting of her bloodline. This is why she was part human in the first place: an ancestor – a member of the Unseelie Court – had made bargains with demons, and had been expelled. They then had to live as a human, a curse placed upon them, and future generations, to bind and seal the pact, to stop it manifesting.

This binding had already been destroyed, in an adventure years ago. Because I couldn’t have my character evil and demoniacally powered (even though I had given the detailed background beforehand,) I had to find a way to have her “rebound,” so to speak. Thus, I had her pantheon of gods give her the ability to Planeswalk, in short travel to other universes. Their plan worked, and she ended up on the world of Innistrad, where the Archangel Avacyn had enacted the Cursemute upon her. The Cursemute had also ended the curse of the werewolves on that world, turning them into a wolf-human hybrid, the Wolfrir. And so, for a couple of years, all was good, because I had found the perfect solution.

Until she ended up a blasted Werewolf.

The problem is, I now have a negated binding, and am back to Square One. But it is worse than that… How do you come up with something more powerful than the Cursemute? And what happens when it is undone again?

So, I have found a way to solve the problem, but the character cannot be played ever again. I can’t go through another session of working out how to make her playable again. The advantage is that she can end up in my stories, and I can still have fun with her…

But not as a Werewolf, I can assure you.

Preparing For NaNoWriMo 2015, Part Three

Well, it is nearly here. And I’m dreading it.

As those who have followed will recall, I made the mistake of thinking “Everything is ready… what can go wrong now?” Well, i ended up with the netbook going mental, and I had weeks of having to use my phone as a laptop. All old news.

But the problem lies in the fact that I had realised that there was more to do. Details on locations, fleshing out the characters some more, pinning down the time-line, and placing it in relation to the greater mythos… and my notes were trapped in a cyber-limbo.

Face-palms all round…

So, the moment I could, I got myself a replacement. That in itself is in some ways not as good as the original… but at least I can attach a monitor to it, which is helpful. As is my having a phone with a large enough storage capacity to use as a glorified USB stick. Tens of gigabytes of data was transferred, and I am still sorting things out. But now, I am slowly getting to put together the information… and with NaNo about to start, I can see me having to add information as I go along. Not the most helpful of situations.

But at least I have a chance of operating, and I still have the crazy plan to get the first draft finished within a week, then spend the rest of the month editing and polishing it. This is more to have a finished item, and not something waiting to be completed: there is more than enough of that on that pile. So an item done, dusted and completed would be a wonderful thing indeed.

What is also a fair bit nerve-wracking is the fact that I am now hosting Write-Ins in my town, not a idea I had in the first place. I expect it to be a simple affair, and all low-key: a few people meeting up, and doing Word Sprints. I also have had the idea of myself and friends having an all day session in the local library… which has now been added to the calendar. Thus a lesson of learning precisely what to say, and when. But there is potential advantage for a small group to emerge, and gel in my town, and that would be wonderful. And who knows? It might just carry on through all year round.

So, there is still lots to do, but lots to anticipate. And I am back at the literary precipice, preparing for the plunge…