Mischief of a D├ębutante

Posted in Blog, Making-Of, Nostalgia Season with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

Chapter three’s almost halfway done now. It’s been fun getting into Sadie’s head and using her voice instead of the narrator’s. Descriptives are new and interesting because I’m used to the narrator explaining as much as possible. Sadie wouldn’t bother with all that, so her descriptions of things are more broad. If she bothers to describe at all. I came up with a better ending for the chapter. Much more heartfelt without being sappy. My goal, at least with this novel, is to make the reader feel emotions, strong emotions, but to not make them cry. It’s easy to make someone cry. But to bring them as close to crying as possible with any leakage is a challenge. I have nothing against something making the reader cry, it’s just not challenging to me. Plus I feel that too many things go for the tears these days. So yeah, the non-sappy ending. I want Sadie to open up in a way to Luciana that she hasn’t to anyone before, in a way that Luciana recognizes as a resemblance of herself. I have that moment and I’m well on my way to earning it, but presenting it is another matter. If I write it the wrong way, it’ll get laughed at and that’s something I do not want. I’ll figure it out when I get there, though.

With my recent review and the reviews I’ve gotten, I realized that I’m one of those love-or-almost-like sort of artists. The “fun” will be to see which side of the scale will be more weighted.

As I was writing chapter three, I found out that, among other things, I was writing a Chicago novel. To the point where Sadie essentially gives directions to certain places. It’s been harder to write because of that, but I’m not quite sure why. I almost settled on it being because I’m more inclined to fantasy, fiction, and made-up places. “Lie” was easy to write because although it took place in England, the part of England was made-up. “Nostalgia Season” being a Chicago novel means that people can do tours of chapters. I’ll have to be sure to warn people to not go to certain places, though. They’re a bit… seedy.

I think I found a way to get “Quagmire” made.

New Review, Courtesy of Fresh Coffee Blog

Posted in Lie with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

Thanks to Tracy, and… spoilers.

A Success and a Side-Quest

Posted in Blog, Making-Of, Nostalgia Season on February 12, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

Chapter two’s been finished as of last week. I’m proud of it, but I’m REALLY proud of the musical number at the end of it. It’s the first time I’ve written a song and was completely satisfied with it. I was listening to a lot of Amy Winehouse at the time. Not for inspiration, but because I liked listening to her. The musical number was always meant to be a little bitter, and Ms. Winehouse helped with that unconsciously. Ditto Ms. Morissette. There was a lot of planning that went into writing the musical number, in terms of lyrics. I wanted to give Luciana and Sadie specific points of view and singing styles. I figured that Luciana was ultimately singing about mortality and Sadie was ultimately singing about freedom. Because of that, Luciana’s lyrics became very structured (as everyone’s life is structured by ending in death) and Sadie’s lyrics became very free. Luciana had rhyming patterns and an iambic structure, and dealt with wordplay. Sadie was free verse and didn’t rhyme, and was more visual. What’ll probably amuse me later is the second half of the musical number and how committed I was to making it seem as if you were listening to it instead of reading it. The musical number was also a test in seeing if I could write with themes, and I passed. It’s good to try on something small-scale like a song because I’d rather screw up with that than something that has more than a hundred pages.

The goal of the second chapter was to show how close Luciana and Sadie are. This is a friendship-at-first-sight story and I wanted them to be super-close. So I did things like get them drunk and burst into song and dance, and the waxing. I get the feeling that some people will find the two giving each other bikini waxes stupid or superfluous, but they’re only taking the action at face value. I had to show that they’re closer in friendship than most friends while also saying that their relationship isn’t sexual. And the waxing story is true, like a lot of unbelievable things in life. In any case, I felt that I did a good job with writing it and not making it seem at all gratuitous. If you take that interaction out, you lose a dreadfully important set of character detail. And since my stories so far are more character than plot, I need all the detail I can get.

I’m taking a break this week to write a short film script, “For Irony’s Sake”.

I feel sometimes like I’m the Iron Chef of storytelling, taking a bunch of story elements that shouldn’t work and finding a way to. I just need a big hat and an announcer.

Howdy-Do. Almost Through with Chapter Two

Posted in Blog, Making-Of, Nostalgia Season with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

I’ll be finished by Friday, which is fantastic. There were supposed to be three more cards but that last one was breaking two of my rules, so I chucked it. I wanted the gals to imagine a fight scene for no other reason than me wanting it, and I wanted to make it another Intermezzo even though I wanted to use them sparingly. Why did I want the fight scene? To show off, basically, and show that I can do more than have two people talk. But that was the author trying to slap the story around instead of let it be. The story tells you what it does and doesn’t need, and the best creatives listen. There’ll be plenty more times to show off my violent urges.

The novel’s becoming a scrapbook of memories, more than I intended it to be. It fits in perfectly with the theme of the novel, and I’ll never reveal which too-personal parts are more fact than fiction, so I’ll survive. Keeping with my plan for getting “Nostalgia Season” published the traditional way, I’ve made my first professional step to making that happen. It’s gonna be very time-consuming, but it has to happen this way unless something easier falls into my lap. Writing the second chapter has been slightly more of a chore than I’d like because it’s been predominantly in Luciana’s apartment. The next chapter takes place outside, but I wanted to spend more time out of Room 2B. So the fourth chapter will take place at Luciana’s gay friend’s house. That was gonna end up in a bunch of different places, and it still might, but I’ve at least settled on the town.

Something I wasn’t expecting to happen was to give a history lesson in the novel, but the opportunity presented itself. I wanted Sadie to ramble about Prohibition but when I got to that point, it didn’t feel right. Her referring to Prohibition was fine, but she was too drunk to wax poetical about it. But I knew I had some things to say about it, so I made the narrator do it. It was supposed to simply say one or two sentences, but it grew into this long and beautiful humanizing of Prohibition by focusing on its true cause. Hurt women.

Sometimes, getting the day’s writing done is like having to finish a set of push-ups when your arms are noodly. You know you have to do them, but it’s SO HARD, so you take little breaks and, bam, done. Finishing the last card was like that, so I’ve learned to not write while exhausted yet don’t allow myself to put the pen down for the rest of the day.

Crumbs, it would’ve been horrible to have Luciana live in a loft.

No artist should want to be “the next x”, they should want to be “the first me”. Taking inspiration from others is fine, but don’t try to be them. Why do what someone else did? With that said, I wanna do for women in fiction what Neal Adams has done for comics. Neal Adams, among many other things in the field, made it so that comic book people got the rights and respect they deserved from their bosses. For instance, the creators of Superman would’ve been happily forgotten by DC Comics if Neal Adams didn’t change things. I’m not a big fan of Superman but it’s fucked-up to not be known you created something as massive as him. But now if you open a comic or look at the credits on a TV show or film, you’re gonna see that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created him. Much like I just did to see how to spell Siegel. I’m not sure how that’ll translate to female characters, or rather, I’m not sure how to explain yet. But you’ve gotten a taste of it in “Lie” and will continue to taste in in “Nostalgia Season”… and everything else, really.

Other creative ideas– Two creative ideas have been nagging at me for a while, which means that I really wanna finish “Nostalgia Season” because they’re two GREAT creative ideas. The threat of distractions are a fine way to find out if you really want something. And I keep making the characters richer. Luciana and Sadie are gonna be billion-dollar characters when it’s all over. Not in terms of how much they’ll make me, but in terms of how full of life and details they’ll be. Without seeming cluttered or like someone tried too hard.

IT WON’T STOP GROWING!!

Posted in Blog, Making-Of, Nostalgia Season with tags , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

“Nostalgia Season” is becoming beautifully unwieldy. Chapter one is, I think, twice as long as the longest chapter in “Lie”. And I know it’s gonna get longer in the edit like the rest of the chapters. Chapter two is looking to be twice as long as chapter one, and it seems that the following chapters will be about that length. That’s fucking nuts, in the best way. My goal for this novel was to make it around 320 pages, a decent novel length and about a hundred pages longer than my first novel. Now, pre-edit, it could easily get to 400. That’s astounding to me because it’s basically two people talking with no real plot. I come from the Scorsese and Kubrick school of thought. Stories about characters are more important than stories about doing something, to me. You tend to be able to figure out the plot of a story before the characters do these days, but you’ll rarely be able to predict a stranger. I’ll do a few plot-driven stories someday, unpredictable as your death, but I’m more interested in characters right now.

Something about “Nostalgia Season” that’s making me a little nervous is that there’s so much talking. Nervous because I haven’t heard about too many stories like this unless they involved talking about intrigue, politics, or that thing that should not be. Luciana and Sadie are just two women who live in a lower-middle class town. They’re very unique women in this town, though. It’s a fun challenge, though, making sure that they justify the pages they’re on. The Edit’s also gonna be fun because I get to add details of them doing things while they talk. People just don’t sit and talk. They look at things and play with things and so on, so I get to add that sort of garnish. Like the bit I wrote last night. I gave Luciana a laptop and Sadie her cat so I had something to play with during the edit.

I’ve started using things from the surveys I made for the gals before I started writing. Those things were too good to just leave there. There’s something Sadie said that I’ve been agonizing over, trying to find the perfect place for it. And it has to be the perfect place, I don’t want it to seem like it’s there because the writer wanted it there, fuck how outta place it is. Something I realized after yesterday, besides realizing that I need a new word besides “realize”, is that writing for the stage will be incredibly easy after this. Not that the next thing I write will be for the stage. No, I’m jumping back into cinema. This director needs a camera.

Luciana will be the prelude to the moratorium I’m putting on what I’m calling the Tank Girl character. She comes so easily to me and although Luciana isn’t Idette, they’re not as far apart as I’d like. So I’m getting Tank Girl outta my system and building a circus of character types for the future. The third chapter’s gonna be oh so welcome because it’ll get me out of Luciana’s damn apartment. I love how I’ve designed it (and earlier this week, I saw that the layout looks like a uterus), but there are only so many ways you can lounge around for pages at a time. It does make you creative, though. The gals are having a very exciting conversation while one’s in bathroom and the other’s at the door, and I don’t think I would’ve had that idea if I wasn’t trapped in Room 2B. With that said, I’m very much looking forward to putting them on the streets of downtown Chicago next chapter. Another thing I’m looking forward to is using just one voice in that chapter. It takes place from Sadie’s perspective, and I’m excited about translating how minds work into a chapter. I haven’t seen this done before and that’s delightful.

Something I read earlier this week stuck with me. You’re the average of the five people you’re around the most. I’ve always been selective about friends, but now I’m obsessive. I don’t need someone mucking up my creativity pool. I wonder if it counts if I’ve watched lots of documentaries and interviews, and listened to lots of commentaries of my favorite directors. I had the chance to talk about “Nostalgia Season” to people recently, and it felt fantastic. I probably came off as slightly psychotic, but all creatives do when they’re talking about people they made up.

Chapter Two’s First Volley

Posted in Blog, Making-Of, Nostalgia Season with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

Although this is being posted midday, I’m writing this just before bed. I point that out because I’m about to say that I hope I’ll be  almost done with the first third of the second chapter by the time this is posted. Or rather, have just said. Semantics. Before I get into that, I wanna introduce you to my new tablet. My laptop’s motherboard melted last week. Luckily, my years of work and fandom were tucked away on the external so there’s no real loss. Especially since I can hook it up to my Blu-ray player. However, I was forced to join the times by begrudgingly getting a tablet since I couldn’t find an affordable laptop within driving distance. I say “begrudgingly” because I was fine with laptops. I love laptops. They’re portable and close like a clamshell. But I couldn’t get one and NEEDED something computery because my career and future as an artist depended on it. So I went to Best Buy and got the only thing I could afford (and was glad it wasn’t an iPad).

I was immediately struck by how much desk space I had and how streamlined my day-to-day became with the apps. There was a learning curve: how to tap things, how to get apps, finding out that tablets don’t need to defrag, finding out that I still needed to monitor memory by clearing out caches, and as of this moment, getting comfortable with typing. This last one is important because it looks like I’ll be typing “Nostalgia Season” on this once I’m done writing it. Self-promoting’s been interesting because of this thing and Twitter. I’ve given up on bloggers for the time being because I wanted to try a more direct approach. And because most use Blogspot and those sites loaded horribly on the laptop. I don’t wanna throw the tablet in frustration my first month of having it. So I chose Twitter to bang the “Lie” drum with and something amazing happened within the first few seconds of loading its app. I couldn’t see how many followers I had. Because of that, I could lose what little restraint I had when it came to what I had to say. I could self-promote and act au naturale because I couldn’t see a number attached to me. Little things go a long way. Since I started, I’ve gotten new followers and have been added to a few lists.

But back to chapter two. It’s been a great ride so far. Luciana has been surprising me and allowing me to address a few things… and gave me the chance to think of the male equivalent of my favorite line from both seasons of “Rome”, “I hope she fucks like her ass is on fire.” I’m probably prouder of that than I should be, but it’s been nagging at me for years. Through Luciana and Sadie, I was able to talk about the woes of women with large breasts. I’ve heard complaints about them for a while and thought it’d be fun to talk about them instead of treating breasts as sex objects. Sadie… I know that she’s been getting the short straw in terms of character development, so this chapter’s gonna be more about her. Luciana comes easily to me, but not Sadie. To the point where I hit a creative wall because I couldn’t see what her room looked like. Everything in Room 2B was so vivid to me save that place, and I can’t write something I can’t see. But that problem’s been taken care of and I found out more about her in the process. She loves art in all its forms, and Amy Winehouse. That second thing helped me out more than I expected when I thought of it.

A New Split

Posted in Blog, Making-Of, Nostalgia Season with tags , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

I finished the first chapter Friday. Or rather, I tried writing more and it laughed hysterically. I was afraid of that happening. I still had two cards that needed to be fleshed-out and I hoped that when I stopped writing, I’d still be able to fit them in. Alas, nay. Chapter One felt like it ended where it needed to and adding the two cards would’ve made it bloated, to the point where I would’ve taken their content out during the final edit. But they couldn’t work in the next chapter. And they’re too important to the overall story to simply put away. Worrying about the waste gave me the idea of what I’m calling an Intermezzo. As much as I love cinema, I tend to make more intriguing musical references. Anywho, what I’ll be doing with Intermezzos (because I feel that this is something that’ll be in my eventual Wikipedia entry under “Artist Trademarks” [along with parantheticals and "Gosh, he really loves gingers... poor guy."]) is take something that’s important to a particular part of the story but won’t fit somehow and make it a side-story. Or turning a negative into a positive, which is what all artists should do. Basically, I’m making a mini-chapter after the chapter-proper, but Intermezzos could be mini-songs or short films.

I’m a big fan of the Metal Gear Solid series (well… up until the fifth one but that’s a rant for another day) and each game ends with a long post-credit sequence. What I loved about them is that they were legitimately adding to the story. You couldn’t put the info from them into the games because it’d be out of place. Similar to the Appendices with “Lord of the Rings”. I wanted to take that idea and apply it to everything I create, basically. Although there’s nothing like that with “Lie”, there will be whenever I can release it as a paperback (gotta give the kids a reason to buy it). The post-credits sequence has gotten out of hand, though. The Marvel movies are known for them, but they don’t add anything to the story. They’re there to either wink at itself or be an ad for the next movie. Because of that, I started recoiling from the idea of addendums. Then “Nostalgia Season” told me to stop being stupid. Not every chapter will have an Intermezzo because they’re a coping mechanism for too much content and I’ll try to make everything fit, but it’s nice to have an out.

Read the first four chapters of my novel, “Lie”, so I can cause more creative mischief. Liking what you read, you can pick it up for only $1.99 wherever eBooks are sold. Thanks for reading.

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