Archive for Making

Like the Boomerang That Won’t Quit

Posted in Blog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2017 by Rathan Krueger


I’m making a film! This year! May! What does the pic up top of the dearly departed have to do with it? Lots, but not at all in the way you’re thinking.

Early-Summer of last year, I decided that I finally had enough experience behind and around the camera to make my first film (look at that IMDb page). There have been a few false starts over the years, and even a start that came up shorter than I wanted it to because I wasn’t quite ready to wield the camera long-term. I don’t have a problem with waiting ’til I’m ready for something. I could’ve made films ten years ago because I had a strong visual sense and knew I could show a good story. But I couldn’t tell a good story yet. The only reason I wanted to be a director is because I could write scripts for me, and my writing didn’t match quality the pictures I could make. So I chose to focus on making it easier for me to make characters more defined as well as make better dialogue. Somewhere around there, I realized that although I enjoy a good plot-driven tale and could easily write more than a few, my home was with character pieces. It’s much more interesting for me to see people deal with each other instead of giving them something to do. Then I found women more enjoyable to write than men and never looked back.

I knew that I wanted my first film to be a generational snapshot (like Easy Rider or Clerks). There hadn’t been one for my ilk yet, and I knew that it’s bound to happen sooner than later. I’d rather be part of the “sooner” crowd, so it was a matter of finding out what about my generation I wanted to say. As I think about what I wrote, I feel that I’ve said enough but I’ve left out a lot. Maybe next time. Isolation was the thing that caught my attention the most, so I followed that train of thought. The ending is one of the first things I think up no matter what story I tell. It’s something I realized recently, wished I knew a lot sooner, and was grateful for knowing at all. Lucky, lucky me, what ended up being Wake Up Alone had an ending that came to me briskly. I wanted it to start with drama and end with horror, and the ending didn’t disappoint. Why is the end so important to me? It gives me something to work towards and earn. You’re not gonna be able to figure out how it ends, but you’ll also see that it couldn’t have ended any other way.

And now, we get to Ms. Winehouse. In the early planning stage, I quickly latched onto naming the main character after her and titling the film after a song that felt right. So Amy became the star of Wake Up Alone. I changed her name to May because of a subtle(?) joke involving her name and the names of two other characters. But the Winehouse goes deeper because the film, in a way, is a nod to the “Rehab” lyric, “I just, oh, I just need a friend”. There are a few other big and little nods to her, but I’ll let the film show you them.

After lots of thinking and planning and writing, I finally finished Wake Up Alone… and it clocked in at 63 pages, I think. My intent was to get some producers interested, and no one’s gonna read a script that’s around 60 pages. That’s basically a short film, in their eyes, and they don’t make money. I decided to put it away for a little while so I could look at it with fresher eyes and see how I could add more pages. I was worried about doing that because it’s such a tight script. Every line lead to the next, so to add anything new could’ve fucked everything up. While I was distracting myself, I reread Mick Rock’s excellent Metallica biography, Enter Night, and read a Tweet that changed the rest of my year.

While reading the book, the idea of a blind woman starting a Heavy Metal band came to me. As I kept reading, the idea started to congeal. I was gonna resign it to my idea notebook and come back to it later, then I saw her bump into a wall and say “Wall.” just before she did it and knew I had to write her story double-quick. How could I ignore a blind woman Metal guitarist who’s comfortable enough with her handicap to knowingly bump into a wall? I’m not at all someone who’s constantly writing scripts. If I’m writing it, I intend on directing it soon. Or at least doing something with it. Then I read a Tweet from BBC’s Writers Room, a site the channel has that fosters writers (more things should do this). It said that it would be accepting unsolicited, one-hour, dramatic scripts in December. I was glad and worried at the same time. I’d been waiting for that, but didn’t have any ideas. Then I remembered my blind guitarist. Writing her was more instinctual, and I quickly found out that I wasn’t interested in writing a dramatic story about her. It was more interesting to write something lighthearted because anyone could do the “woe is me” tale about a blind woman trying to do something. Not many would not let her handicap get in the way. Fewer would make her a leader. But the BBC thing would want a dramatic script. Then I realized I could give them Wake Up Alone since it was around 60 pages and make Turn the Strange my first film.

If I could go on a tangent, I’d like to talk about how Doctor Who, Wonder Woman, and Supergirl allowed Wake Up Alone and Turn the Strange exist the way that they do. I’m a huge fan of the Sturm und Drang. The bleaker the story, the better. However, those three characters injected something in my storytelling palette that I wouldn’t have put on my own: the dreaded c-word, “compassion”. I didn’t know it was there, but I also didn’t try to get rid of it when I looked back. Wake Up Alone is about three women, and two of them fit quite well in my house of malaise. The third, though, is definitely a by-product of the Gallifreyan, the Amazonian, and the Kryptonian. She might’ve popped up a few years ago, but she would’ve been someone the film made fun of. Instead, she’s an integral part of the tale and as fucked-up and bleak as the ending is, it’s also full of compassion. And I wouldn’t have bothered with Turn the Strange’s blind Emily if I wasn’t such a geek. My storytelling hasn’t changed completely because compassion was added. What’s happened is now I have an opportunity to create richer stories. I also get to see me war against compassion with nihilism. Should be fun.

So. Back to Turn the Strange. I wrote it and had a great time and accepted that Wake Up Alone was gonna be made by someone else. Then I started location-scouting (finding places to make a film) and making a style guide (a portfolio that shows ideas of clothes and things as well as cinematography). Metallica’s new album came out the day I was location-scouting, so that was a particularly fun and karmic time. Then December hit and the BBC started taking scripts. Two funny things happened. I realized that sending Wake Up Alone to them would’ve been like spending time getting to know a woman who was really into me, telling her that she should date a stranger when she’s ready to go on a date, and think “They sure look great together. Wait a minute…” The other thing that happened was, unlike other script things they had, the BBC was only accepting scripts from the UK. Thus, my decision was made on two fronts: Wake Up Alone is mine. But I also had Turn the Strange. After moping for a few minutes, I told myself that I now have a second film script already ready and felt groovy. Well, there was another script idea, but that’s for another blog.

I now had my original problem with May and friends: how the fuck was I gonna pump the page count up without making the script bloated? I hate deleted scenes. If there was more attention paid to the script, those scenes would’ve been taken out and not wasted lots of time and money. So if I was gonna add more scenes, I had to be sure that they HAD to be there. One of the characters is damn verbose, so I wanted to try avoiding her scenes because they’re exhausting to write. Her scenes were the ones that would’ve suffered the most from adding, anyway. Because I walked away from the BBC thing, I got to make things more adult, which was nice. Those lines of thought made me develop scenes that I wanted to kick myself for not think of initially, but I’m glad I found them at all. Then 63 pages became 75, and things were groovy.

Starting today, I get the gears going for Wake Up Alone on the intense road to get behind the camera on May 1st. I’ve got a schedule set up, so it’s just a matter of tenacity and ingenuity. I’ll update when I can, so I’ll see you when I have more to say.


Future Plans of Comicdom

Posted in Blog, Dreams and Things, Making-Of with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

Lots to talk/ramble about this week. Let’s start with something semi-productive. I’m gonna start the year with buying the supplies I’ll need for my graphic novel. A stack or two of regular, white paper (since comic book drafting paper costs more than this starving artist is willing to pay, and Adam Warren draws on regular, white paper), a sketchbook or two (for drawing page thumbnails because that means less clutter in a cluttered room), a binder (for my finished pages), plastic sheets (to put my finished pages in), and a scanner (to, y’know, scan my finished pages because the tablet camera’s done enough to smudge my credibility). I might’ve said this in an earlier post but most comics are drawn in pencil, traced in ink, and colored digitally or in marker. I’m a lazy artist, or rather, I hate doing something again and again and again and again… so I’m lopping out the inking part. Adam Warren does it, and I like the look of pencils. I was really into the idea of using markers (even though I’d be restricting my color pallet to blacks, grays, and red), but I quickly learned that I can’t color with a marker without the end result looking like a kindergartner, so I’ll be using a paint program to get that (uniform) marker look. I’ll also need ruler (normal and French [to help with drawing curves]) because, y’know, professional lines are better than wobbly ones. And that’ll be it for supplies.

I FINALLY finished watching the 10-part jazz documentary I needed for Tracey. Or rather, someone Tracey knows. I don’t like jazz so there were points in the 20-hour journey where I wondered what the fuck’s my problem. But it helped the character, and Tracey’s world, really. The kind of art life she and her parents live lends itself well to being inspired by the jazz crowd. And since jazz is a major part of American history, I felt it was important to find out more about it. ANY way to be patriotic without being jingoistic or nationalistic is ok with me. Drawing Tracey earlier this week made me realize that I’ll have to redesign her slightly. It wasn’t fun drawing her and if ONE drawing isn’t fun, how the sweet fuck can I expect myself to put up with her for hundreds of pages? (“sweet fuck” has become my new favorite swear) I’m also gonna design the layout of the town “Dreams and Things” takes place in. It’ll help with the verisimilitude of it all, and it’ll spark new story ideas. I fear that I might get too into it, though, so I’ll have to give myself only a week. Tracey and Vicki empty their loft of most things on the anniversary of them moving in together each year to wipe away their past and build something new. It also allows me to not draw so much at the start of the comic (turn the negatives into positives). “Dreams and Things” might also evolve into something darker overall. I LOVE dark films (Gaspar Noe’s “Enter the Void”, Pascal Laugier’s “Martyrs”, Sion Sono’s “Guilty of Romance”, Lars von Trier’s “Antichrist”, Catherine Breillat’s “Anatomy of Hell”, Jee-woon Kim’s “A Tale of Two Sisters”, Chan-wook Park’s “Lady Vengeance”, Shinya Tsukamoto’s “A Snake in June”, etc), but I can’t find the comic equivalent of them. So I gotta make ’em.

As you’ve noticed if you’ve been following my blog this week, I’ve started posting a new dialogue scene and drawing each day since Monday. I gotta keep those creative gears working for the big life ahead of me. Science says that it takes two weeks for a person to stick to a routine so I know if I can make it to three weeks, I’ll be fine. Then I can start giving myself more than 20 minutes to write a scene, and do more than one drawing a day. It’s all baby steps to keep me from running away from the desk in terror. I’ve also committed to a time routine, treating drawing and writing like a job each day (which it kinda is) instead of doing it when I feel like it (the kiss of death for any blooming professional [with tongue]).

But enough about being professional. Let’s talk about being a comic geek. I know I’m around two years late, but “Saga” by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples is fucking fantastic. It’s everything I’ve wanted in adult fantasy and sci-fi. If fantasy or sci-fi veers toward the mature, it tends to be, what I feel, apologetic about being absurd and stuffs anything and everything fantastical into a ditch so the end result essentially becomes a costume drama with the odd laser blast or glyph. “Game of Thrones” is the biggest offender. Then “Saga” came along. There’s a space helicopter and magic spells and people with TVs for heads, but there’re also characters as real as people you know. They swear and love and laugh and argue and fuck and fight and cry and rant and goof, and death means death. I “hate” how I have to follow it like everyone else instead of collecting finished series. Waiting sucks. I was looking up interviews and was pleasantly surprised by how many female fans there are of “Saga”. Not in the pervy sense, “Saga” is a comic with a variety of phenomenal female characters (a rarity of rarities, I assure you) and it’s great that women know about it.

Well Thought Out Scribbles

Posted in Making-Of with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2013 by Rathan Krueger

This making-of brought to you by Silversun Pickups.

Towards the end of last week, I’ve finally gotten close to finding a proper rhythm for working. I was pretty much there at the beginning of the week, but got derailed severely with drawing last Wednesday that ended up creating “Purple Party”. Up until then, drawing was supposed to take up an hour or two of my day. Since then, I figure it’ll take me a chunk of the day to do a decent “issue”. Anywho, I figured that the best time for me to work is at night, being a nocturnal beast and all. Which essentially means that I’m fucked come Summer. I know that I can get at least two chapters a week done comfortably so I’ll be sticking with that plan. “Purple Party” business gets settled every Wednesday. And I’ll try to fit a short story in Fridays or Saturdays.

I decided that I’m gonna stop posting chapters after the fourth one as opposed to the third one. The thrust of the rest of the novel happens there so it’d be wise of me to share that. The first three chapters have become one long introduction, which is what I wanted. The second half of “Lie” is dependent on how well I get you to care about Quinevere, Fantine, Idette, and Veronique in the first half. But I thought I should show the world for a few reasons. One of them is a plot point (for what passes for a plot in “Lie”), another is a character point, and the last is a me point. I wanted to show that the novel, the characters, and the author are capable of being dramatic as soon as possible so that you know you’re in good hands when I take you where I take you.

Over the weekend, I was pleasantly reminded of why it’s good to take inspiration from anywhere. Up until Saturday, I felt that I had to watch only dramatic, female-led films… which broke one of my major rules. One of the things I talk to people about is to not take inspiration from things you’re creating. Say you’re making an action film. It’d be stupid to watch other action films because you wouldn’t be creating something that’s different or noticeable. I’d suggest that you watch musicals and things as far away from action films as you can get. They’ll do something interesting to you inspiration process and you’ll end up with something better than what you started out with. That doesn’t mean that you’ll end up with a musical action film, but you might end up with an action film that has the most beautifully choreographed action sequences ever. I’d actually like to see an action film inspired by Bob Fosse (NSFW) or Michael Jackson (no, this isn’t “Thriller”). I’ve thus remembered to learn my lesson and am glad to have taken inspiration from “Fight Club”, “Die Hard”, and “Chasing Amy” in ways that aren’t at all obvious.

How I’m finding writing “Lie” is coming along is that I can’t write the current chapter until I can see the following chapter in my head. I suppose I like to see where I’m going so I don’t end up rambling. I heard an author earlier this month talk about how they’d love to write something completely blindly. No planning whatsoever. I’ve done that with my dialogue exercises, but nothing that’d ever be considered a long narrative. Could be fun. At least until it’s time to edit. But there aren’t any rules that say I’d have to edit it, and rules are made to be broken.

I gave myself the goal of finishing “Lie” by the end of February. I figure I’ll start writing quicker once I get to the second half because that’s the most exciting thing about the novel. I’m enjoying the first half and giving it my rapt attention, but it knows its in the way of the second half. The story won’t seem that way, though. The quality won’t drop off and suddenly spike midway. It pays to see the bigger picture.

I’m finding that it’s easier to be personal in this novel than “Love! in Bedlam”. I may have said this before and I’ll probably say this again, but it stands out so much to me that I have to be a broken record about it. Interior things find their way into “Lie” whereas they were forced in “Love! in Bedlam”. It’s amusing to see what finds its way from one to the other and how what’s found changes. Why am I ok with being personal in “Lie” and not “Love! in Bedlam”? Because with the former, it’s keeping in line with inspiration and I’m not going out of my way to fit anything in there. Just as I was inspired by “Die Hard” in a particular way that’s now an inseparable part of “Lie”, some bits of my life are an inseparable part of “Lie”. But they’re buried and hacked in such a way that they won’t seem personal.

It’s easier to write as characters now. Well, I hope it’d be. Everyone’s more solid in my head, particularly Idette and Veronique (the extroverts). The thing about Fantine is that I’m not too worried about being specific with her voice because of her arc. Quinevere’s the least solid, but that’s because she hasn’t had much opportunity to speak. That’ll change in the fourth chapter, though.

Babble, Babble, Rebel, Rebel

Posted in Blog, Making-Of with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2013 by Rathan Krueger

Guten abend. What shall I talk about today… well, I’ll do a quick bore job and then switch to something more interesting. I found out recently that double-spacing is a bad thing (pressing the space bar twice after each sentence) so I’m trying to break that habit. But the world looks so weird single-spaced. Oh well.

The writing of “Lie” is going well. I didn’t quite make it to three chapters last week, but the third chapter is in a good place and will be finished tonight. I took a break and watched some horror films (“From Beyond” and “Neighbor No. 13”) as well as “About Cherry”. I’ve been wanting to watch “From Beyond” for a little over a year now and found a used copy unwanted in my local FYE. It’s an adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft short story and I’m slowly taking it upon myself to buy all the good adaptations. Mostly because I have and love “Re-Animator” and “Evil Dead” (…the original, and it was an adaptation of Lovecraft’s short story about the Necronomicon ex Mortis [“The Book of the Dead”]), and I found out that John Carpenter adapted “In the Mouth of Madness”. The director of “Re-Animator”, Stuart Gordon, also directed “From Beyond” (he loves his Lovecraft) which is what brought me to that. Guillermo del Toro is a big Lovecraft geek, which also drew me to the adaptations. No one’s done a worthy Cthulhu adaptation, though. Hmm. With “Neighbor No. 13”, I saw it in a secondhand store a year or two ago, thought it looked interesting, and said that I’d buy it next time I saw it. As for “About Cherry”, I have no scruples about sex in stories (as you’ll find out soon) and I liked the concept. But back to “Lie”.

The corkboard is still being used, but it’s not filled with chapters. Instead, there’s a card for each character full of notes and three cards detailing Dragonspire. The layout of the interiors and exteriors. It’s cool being able to see the scenery because it lends itself very well to planning complex situations. Geography is fun. “Lie” might be a novella instead of a novel. I love long stories, but I’d never create one just for the sake of it. Now, “Lie” might naturally get longer as I get to the end, but it seems to be a novella. A very fat novella, but still a novella. What’s the difference? A novel is at least 50,000 words. With writing “Lie”, I don’t wanna push the story. By that, I mean that if I run into a wall, I don’t wanna aimlessly write my way out of it. That’s how you get long passages with flowery dialogue that’s ultimately about making a sandwich. I love flowery writing, as long as it has a purpose. When one walks into a wall, I think it’s good to not ask what to do next. Rather, ask what not to do next. The answer’ll come quicker. I initially wrote in blocks, then I tried writing in bits throughout the day. Experiments. When I wrote in blocks, I conquered two chapters. When I wrote in bits, I got a portion of one chapter. Lesson learned. An interesting concept I came across yesterday is taking a break from writing to write something else. Clive Barker talked about it in “The Dark Fantastic”, and I thought it was strange until it happened yesterday.  I was watching “About Cherry” and a scene inspired me to write the short story I posted yesterday. It was nice, taking a break from a story while still being artistically productive.

In recent updates of surrounding myself with success, I put away “The Dark Fantastic” for a while because a book that’s basically a 300-page convo with Anne Rice came in last week and demanded my time.  That was a great back rub.  Then Saturday, Susan Cain’s “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” came in, just as I was finishing “Conversations with Anne Rice”. I talk a good game but I’d much rather be quiet than verbal, and quiet folk have a hard time finding each other. Plus, what’s to say? Naturally, I’m enjoying the book so far and will be sad when it’s over. After that’s done, I might start reading about Oscar Wilde. Or pick up one of the other biographies of epic people sitting on my shelf: of Poe, of Tesla, of Alexander the Great, or Natalie Barney. Mademoiselle Barney was one of the most influential people of late-19th/early-20th century France and the book about her, “Wild Heart”, talks about her life. Hmm. Maybe I should finish that book, writing women and all. It’s also the book I’ve half-read the longest, methinks four years by this point. I saw it in a discount bookstore. I didn’t know anything about her, but the cover reminded me of the art of Alphons Mucha. Sorry, Clive.

I had myself a think last week about building an audience. For a while, I thought that I had to join a literary group in the area and grow from that. Then I realized a few things. No offense to authors, but I have no interest in being friends with most of you. Books aren’t really my world, cinema is, and Anne Rice has shown me that most authors are very insecure. Don’t need that in my life. I also don’t need the gratification that comes with being in a literary group. Being with like-minded people as you race toward the final page of your novel. There’s nothing at all wrong with that, it’s just not for me. I’m so into my own head that I hear everything good and bad that I need to. Plus, I’m “hanging out” with Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Anne Rice, et al: it’s kinda hard for the average author to compare. With writing groups, there’s also a need to get an outside opinion. Which is great when you’re writing something the world has seen before. But “Lie” isn’t normal. And I have a different voice than most authors, so the group members will be put off with a lot of what I have. So it’s best for all parties involved if I stay here and they stay there, me wishing them the best all the while.

So how does one build an audience in this day and age if one throws away the standards? One way is harnessing the internet: Reddit, in particular. Why spend hours with a small group of people when I can reach the entire world? That doesn’t mean I’m a populist artist. Pfft, I’ve already accepted my niche lot in life (of course, if the world ends up loving what I do instead of just a corner of it…). That doesn’t mean that I can’t put my work as out there as I can (within reason). So I’ve been posting new/old short stories in various subreddits, and it’s been treating me good. I don’t have a massive following but I’ve been slowly and surely gaining more readers, and being grateful for all of them. Because I’ve of the mind of building an audience quickly, and I don’t wanna post another chapter every week (gonna stop at chapter three or four), I’m gonna try to write more than one short story a week. But I’ll always have at least one. Like this week. You all are getting two short stories and a sample chapter. Lucky.

Writing “Lie” has done interesting things to my life. When I was preparing “Love! in Bedlam”, I could listen to and watch anything. “Lie”, however, demands a certain diet. Inspirations come from random things more readily, too, and in the case of yesterday’s short story, not all inspirations lead to “Lie”. This week’s other short story also falls into that line. It came to me as I was reading the Anne Rice book and, well, I’ll save that bit of fun for later. It’s interesting not having everything as laid out as I did with “Love! in Bedlam”. This story doesn’t need that sort of road map, to the point where I don’t have a real plan for the second half. I mean, I’ll do my work when I get there but it’s very character-based and I’d rather organically come to that point instead of having a goal. This time.

Came up with a title for my eventual short story compilation: “Splintered Prisms”. Y’know, because it’ll be all over the place.

And Now, For Something Complete Different

Posted in Blog, Making-Of with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2013 by Rathan Krueger

As you’ve noticed, I haven’t posted anything on Mondays for a while.  That’s because I haven’t been working on “Love! in Bedlam” as much as I would’ve liked, then stopped working on “Love! in Bedlam”, then started working on “Lie”.  Even made a new banner for it.  Why would I, after being so gung-ho about everything “Bedlam”, put it away after being so close to getting things moving in a big way?  Well, that’s part of the fun of blogs.  You get to read about some interesting things.  Like so.

A big reason why I stopped writing “Bedlam” is that it was like writing a diary.  I was dumping far too many personal things in there than I was comfortable with, and I started noticing that.  I’m not an entertainer who creates personal things.  As in, open diaries.  Everything I create is personal, but in the… “this means a lot to me and I don’t really care if you like it because I did it for me so fuck off” sense.  Because “Bedlam” felt like me dumping my dirty laundry in public, it started feeling like a chore every time I decided to work on it.  I still feel strange looking at the notecards I have posted.  I’m all for hard work but I have the hardest time getting interested in something that doesn’t interest me, and that’s putting it lightly.  “Bedlam” stopped being interesting.  I still wanna write it, or aspects of it.  I don’t wanna let go of Naimee because she was turning into such an interesting character, and there were some good things in it that can exist without being a diary entry.  Another reason for no “Bedlam” is, and this might sound silly, that it wasn’t Gothic.  It was very much a real-world story and I’m much more comfortable in black cloaks dripping in malaise.  “Bedlam” also wasn’t a first-story.  With how all over the place it was, it shouldn’t have been the world’s introduction to me.

So why “Lie”?  It started out as a half-page film idea.  A female-only drama that becomes something else around its second half.  I wrote a few ideas down that put it in a place where I could walk away from it comfortably and, a year ago, I did.  Then two things happened: “Love! in Bedlam” started losing its fire and I watched the trailer for the “Evil Dead” remake.  I’m a huge “Evil Dead” fan and I was PISSED when I saw the trailer.  Long story short: I’m not a champion of remakes.  However, I’m all for things that’re inspired by others, as long as you don’t end up creating a clone.  While I saw red, I felt the need to put “Bedlam” away and work on something tout de suite.  And I remembered “Lie”.  It’s fun to rage-write something that’s not a Live Journal or Post Secret entry.  Something else I forgot to mention about “Bedlam” is that it wasn’t a predominantly-female story and one of the things I told myself is that I wanted most of my stories to have women as at least the majority.  “Lie” is also something that I could write quickly, which was very important to me.

What can I say about “Lie”?  Well, it was sickeningly easy to come up with a lot of things for it.  An amusing thing is how it slowly became English.  I knew that I wanted it to take place in a cabin, which became a cottage.  And I knew that I wanted the cottage to have a name, which became Dragonspire.  Something about the name “Dragonspire” made my brain suddenly become an Anglophile because the four characters’ names became Quinevere, Veronique, Idette, and Fantine and Dragonspire is close to a (made-up) town called Edithshire.  And so on.  “Lie” is… about a group of four gals who go to a family cottage for a getaway, and the getaway is revealed to be because one of them is pregnant and doesn’t know what to do with the baby.  There’s a lot more to it, but that’s a nifty summary.  The title, “Lie”, is interesting because it doesn’t have anything to do with what’s happening with the characters: it’s about the tone.  The characters are exciting because, unlike “Bedlam”, I chose to refer to existing people instead of leaving it to the reader’s imagination.  Veronique looks like a matronly Eva Green with a salt-and-pepper (heavy on the pepper) pixie cut, Idette looks like Olivia Thirlby with copper Grecian hair, Quinevere looks like Shirley Henderson with peroxide-white hair, and Fantine looks like Jodelle Ferland with a shaggy bob.  It’s so exciting to be able to see them, and Dragonspire, so vividly in my head, which wasn’t the case in “Bedlam”.

My original idea for this week was to lock myself in a hotel room and write what I could.  It sounded great up until last night.  It was a great idea for “Love! in Bedlam”, but “Lie” is a story that requires me to be at home.  I dunno how to elaborate without turning into Doc Brown with an easel.  Something that’s sorta carried over is the music mindset.  “Love! in Bedlam” was quite into dance music, but “Lie” is a much more mellow, New Age sort of thing.  It’s been hard listening to nothing but New Age music because I’m so used to dance music, but it’s helped enormously.  Ditto watching particular films.  Usually, I’ll watch anything.  Except modern comedies and chick flicks.  But for “Lie”, I’ve been mostly watching female-oriented dramas.  That doesn’t sound strange but it’s very for me.  I’m used to taking inspiration from anything and everything, but that’s not working with “Lie”.  I have to have a very strict… I guess, diet because it’s demanding a different part of my creative brain.  And it’s always fun to be challenged.

Well, I’m off to write history.

The Making of This Week’s Short Story, “Tuesday’s Gone”

Posted in Making-Of with tags , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2012 by Rathan Krueger

I’m all about pulling back the veil when it’s harmless, and since part of me being an entertainer is decimating some of the mystery behind entertaining, I thought it’d be fun to share how I write stories.  As always, I’m not claiming that my way is the best way.  You could look at everything and tell me to fuck off, and it’s very much within your power to do so.  What I’ll be posting are my notes and their evolution until the point I decided that I had enough.  It won’t be as clean as I’d like because, not taking my own advice, I didn’t date each note.  That’s important because a lot of notes get notes piled on top of them as I continue incepting.  I’ll try to accommodate.  I can’t say that next week’s short story will be better annotated because my idea for it is weeks-old, and dateless.  But notes thereafter will be how I’d want them to.  Anywho…

Three stories woven together of Batman, Joker, and someone else preparing for their day, then converging.

“And she puts away her gun.”  Cassandra Cain and Alfred watch Bruce.  [This was interesting because I forgot to put it in the story.  My idea was that after Bruce chooses not to kill himself, I’d show that Cassandra was on the same wavelength.]

“Someone else” is a lesbian cheating on her wife.

Recurring theme: “Not tonight.”  Batman says it about suicide, Joker says it about a costume [which changed to whatever that thing was Harley does], sappho says it about leaving her wife.

Joker was hired as a hitman to kill the sappho by her wife because he found her early that week and decided to do something nice for a change.

Joker cries uncontrollably every morning because he gets so much joy out of life that he feels the need to balance the positivity forcefully with sadness.

Sections take place at different part of the day until convergence; Joker’s is in the morn and Batman’s is at night; sappho is throughout day.  [This changed to Joker and the sappho’s days happening side-by-side.]

Sappho: Tabitha Arnold.  [I changed her last name while writing for… well, private reasons, but not my private reasons.  I have a friend who had connections with an Arnold and didn’t want them to think I was trying to relate the two.]

Alternate paragraphs; 3-4 per person, ending with 2.  [I decided to end with one paragraph because I wanted everything to converge at once.  I felt that the sense of “Oh shit!” is taken away a little if I broke it up.]

Tabitha’s wife: Lauren.

Tabitha’s mistress: Wendy Dillon.  [I wish I got to reveal her last name, but couldn’t make it fit.  I thought about nicknaming her apartment “Casa del Dillon”, but I felt that might’ve seemed like the building’s name.]

Batman’s sections: suicidal thought (NT [“Not tonight.”]) -> he and Cassandra spar while Alfred prepares dinner -> the two help prepare their suits/weap each other dress while Alfred makes routes for the night and gets gear they might need.

Batman and Batgirl have different routes.

Batman alternates between saying “Cassandra” and “Batgirl”, whereas Cassandra always says “Batman”.  [This got kinda lost when I unconsciously decided to go mostly with narration, but it lives on in that the narrator says those names instead of the characters.]

Joker’s sections: cries in Harley’s lap -> watches “Moulin Rouge!” (NT), then gets “distracted” by Harley [What was originally supposed to happen was that they were watching the film, then she asks if he wanted to fool around, and we were supposed to think that meant sex but really they were gonna shoot what became “The Sack”.  It changed when watching “Moulin Rouge!” became her idea.  Why “Moulin Rouge!”?  I was thinking about what Joker’s murder weapon should be and didn’t want it to be typical.  I also wanted it to relate to something that happened earlier in the story.  “Moulin Rouge!” has can-can dancers and he kills Tabitha with soup cans.] -> shoots something bloody and lumpy in a burlap sack in the shooting range with Harley and a machine gun before being reminded by her of his appointment later that night.

Tabitha’s sections: morning breakfast with Lauren, then leaving for work at school (on a holiday) -> she wastes time at a store until getting a phone call from Wendy -> they’re finishing up (NT) their night.

Joker’s at the harbor (Port Adams).  [All the locations are real Gotham locations.]

The Arnolds live in Grant Park.

Wendy lives near City Hall.

Batman to patrol Miller Harbor [Switched to Ranelagh Ferry.]; Alfred tells him to circle around City Hall to make sure things are ok for Dinah and Jay [This note was written mid-story as a reminder to myself to strengthen the thread of Black Canary and Flash that I came up with as I was writing.].

Batgirl to patrol Ranelagh Ferry [Switched to Miller Harbor].  [I wanted the story to end with Batman, even though the meat of the story ended up being Cassandra-centric as I wrote.  Ranelagh Ferry is closer to City Hall than Miller Harbor, and that’s why I swapped them.]

Alfred cooks Cassandra’s steak medium-rare (she used to eat it rare due to her training).

Joker beats Tabitha to death with soup cans.

“The Matrix made me do it!  Ask Harley!  We have it on tape Blu-ray!”  [I came up with this when I wrote that Joker decided to be nice because of Rama’s convo with Neo in “Matrix Revolutions”.  About film references, I think there are far too many of them in entertainment these days.  I think people try too fucking hard to force a wink and a nudge into something instead of letting it happen organically.  I happened upon the idea of Joker watching films because a) I needed to find a reason for him to be nice, and b) he needed a murder weapon.  The idea of Joker being a film addict was too good a reason to pass up.  Plus, I liked the idea of him getting ideas of his past from cinema.  As for why I chose Blu-ray over cassettes, I didn’t want him to be a hipster.  I thought it’d be funny that Joker would go out of his way to have found a film on tape… for about a minute.  Then I thought it’d be even funnier to think that he has an HD set-up in an abandoned warehouse in a harbor.  The story of that whole thing writes itself, in my head.  No, I wouldn’t write it.  I like playing with my own toys and don’t wanna rationalize fanfics.]

Oh, the title.  I was listening to Metallica as I wrote the last paragraph and “Tuesday’s Gone” (from “Garage Inc.”) came on.  I thought it was fitting, taking place on a Monday and all.