Cobwebs

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Whew! It’s been such a while. I haven’t been slacking off with writing. Quite the contrary, I’ve been doing lots and lots of writing… which I learned meant that I didn’t have enough brain juice to keep up-to-date with these update blogs o’ mine.

I’m at the midway point of the horror section (7 1/2 more chapters and then, done). It’s been a very interesting ride. I was more worried than I thought when I started the section because of the switch but I’ve thoroughly adapted. I knew that I had to slowly bring the horror into “Lie” because of the kind of story I’m telling. A part of me wanted to rush in with horror after the first sentence, but I told myself that I had to be true to the characters. The rush would’ve been selfish on my part and the goils have enough to deal with, so I put my ego away. Idette’s horror section, “A Vagrant’s Story”, is finished and I’m currently in the middle of Fantine’s horror section, “Ages” (originally “Fool’s Paradise”), with Veronique’s horror section, “Whiplash Girl-Child”, taking us home.

The way I came up with their sections is by using my friends, note cards. If any of you plan on writing, I can’t stress enough how much a corkboard, a stack of note cards, and a tin of tacks could help. I wrote gave the goils their own note card with their names up top. I didn’t want to do horror for horror’s sake, and the best kind of horror is personal horror, so I thought of a question for each character that’ll be their theme. To find the questions, I had to re-read the normal section of “Lie” so that I could find the very personal ones. With Idette, I found that she doesn’t stick around one place for too long so her question became “Why don’t I stick around?” Fantine wants to be treated like an adult so hers became “What’s it like being grown?” Veronique was difficult because I knew that I wanted her big secret to be subtext, but I couldn’t think of a proper question. So I sighed and went with the obvious, “Why can’t I tell Fantine the truth?”, but will do my best to not be lazy in presenting the answer. Speaking of answers, I had to answer the questions on the card because I didn’t want to discover them as I wrote. There’s nothing wrong with that, I just didn’t wanna do it with this.

After the Q&A, I did some math. I really wanna write a novel that’s at least 50,000 words because that’s the norm. With the amount of words left, I figured that if I wrote 15 chapters that’re at least 1,300 words each, I’ll be fine. And since three divides into fifteen beautifully, the goils got five chapters each. When I settled on that, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to write at least 1,300 words. Ha. After that, I gave each chapter a theme that refers to the goils’ questions. Fantine’s was simple because I got the idea to dedicate a chapter to a decade (her 20s, 30s, 40s, etc). Idette was second-simple because that was just a matter of evaluating her friendship with Quinevere. Again, Veronique was the one to give me grief. Because I was going with what I felt was obvious, I had to examine her in such a way that I could live with myself. It worked out in the end.

Then came the fun part: monsters. Or “monere”, as I’ve called them (Latin for “to warn”). For some reason, I felt that Idette should have four, Fantine should have eight, and Veronique should have five. Naming them was fun because there’re some absurd references in there. They’re not distracting, though. It all stemmed from a horror make-up artist named Screaming Mad George. I knew that I had to put that name in there and because of that, I felt the need to encourage similar names. I guess I can say this here. Idette’s names are taken from Eurobeat musicians, Fantine’s names are taken from horror make-up artists, and Veronique’s names are taken from burlesque dancers. Then came the hard part: figuring out what they represent. My notion for the monere is that they’re monsters of the person’s subconscious, so I had to do a bit of psychoanalysis for the three. I won’t tell you how much I giggled at the idea of Screaming Mad George representing menopause. Once I had the names and what they represented, how they look came next. I could’ve came up with their appearance first and found names/ideals to attach to them, but that wouldn’t have been true to the characters. That would’ve been me saying “Oi! Lookit me! I’m creating fucked-up shit!” Now, I’m still creating fucked-up shit, but it’s form following function. So far, designs have been plenty warped, so I feel great. I haven’t drawn any of them because that would force me to be more detailed in my descriptions and I’d much rather your imagination do the hard work.

After all that stuff was taken care of, I took five note cards for Idette since she was first on the slab. I (Roman)numbered them 1-5, wrote down their themes, and then the monere they get. I didn’t want to go into each chapter with too many details because I think good horror has a lucidity to it. Too many details would take away from the surreal, and I’m creating surreal. Because of that, I only had a one-sentence prompt for each chapter. My original idea was to have Idette’s entire section take place in a town that’s constantly shifting, but that got boring after the third chapter. You should always have fun with what you write, and it pays to take different directions. So I expanded her world. I also felt that she wouldn’t allow her to be a victim as long as I wanted her to be, so she fought back earlier than I planned. An interesting thing was her ending. I knew how I wanted it to end, her finding out why she doesn’t stick around, but I didn’t know what the last sentence was going to be. Let’s just say that things are cyclical sometimes. Boredom’s a funny thing that leads to inspiration. I hit a patch of boredom with Fantine last week because her story revolves around a glass city with doors that take her to various ages. Up until the chapter I’m writing now, she was basically a ghost in a room. With this chapter, she goes into the mind of her future self as she’s going through a mid-life crisis. There’s a lot of great stuff with me having a twisted sort of fun with the notion of a person being in their future mind, but I won’t explain any of it here. Trust me, it’s worth not knowing about until you read it.

Besides all that, I’ve been listening to musicians who managed to be successful while not being what the mainstream would prefer. Patti Smith, David Bowie, Queen, Bjork, Velvet Underground, and some others. I didn’t realize until last week that there was a theme with them. And I didn’t realize until a few weeks ago that I’m basically writing a revenge story with an angry third-person narrator. With the musicians, I guess I wanna surround myself with avant garde types so I feel better about writing this crazy, crazy book of mine. I have two book reviewers interested in “Lie” already and pretty soon, I’ll be whoring my days away to make sure that I can reach as wide an audience as possible.

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