OK, well then, I'm healthy(er/ish), Mum's healthy, the gas company have finally more or less cleared off, and I'm no longer in waiting-on-news distraction-limbo because the Alleged Story found a home (I believe a couple of the Brainweasels actually exploded there), so, hopefully I now have enough of my spoon-flow redirected into being able to, y'know, sit down and work at more regular intervals than lately...? We shall see.

Trevor and Jason, Vignette #52: It's too beautiful a day for this... )
A band of adventurers met in a tavern to share the rumors they had heard of a fearsome dragon. And, since of course everyone knows that dragons are horrible and wicked beasts, the adventurers decided that it would be to the benefit of the land if they were to go forth and attempt to slay this dragon. After many hardships and losses amongst their band, the adventurers managed to sneak into the dragon's lair and lop off its head. Proudly they took the head to the nearest village and laid it out for all to see. And the villagers looked at the head of the fearsome dragon, and said,

"Well, great, what are we going to do to attract tourism now? All of our artisans and small shopkeepers are going to have to go get jobs down the mines because of you."

And then the village constable locked the adventurers up pending charges of trespassing, animal cruelty, and interfering with interstate commerce, because some people have this thing about observing the rule of law.

the end

Polling the Man-In-The-Street: what names of individuals or persons known as heads of groups, besides Osama bin Laden and Gavrilo Princip, would you think of off the top of your head as having:

* profoundly influenced or diverted the course of history;

* in a way that history has largely regarded as undesirable;

* by acting out of sincerely professed convictions?

Note that I'm trying to screen out names that only hit on two of those, such as Jack the Ripper, Hitler, or Lee Harvey Oswald (state of mind not well attested or demonstrably not right in the head overall), Buddha or Jesus (change not currently regarded as broadly negative), or Timothy McVeigh or any number of people in recent administrations (change not disruptive enough or too soon to assess). An example of a "maybe" might be John Wilkes Booth, but are there others I'm missing out here? It would be particularly interesting to see if anyone can come up with someone who isn't an assassin or a terrorist, but did something ridiculously unhelpful to humanity out of the belief that it was a good thing...
Something important apparently nearly fell off of the car. The takeaway here is the "nearly", I think, because at least Mum got it looked at while matters were still at the "is it supposed to be making that noise/smell?" stage as opposed to the far more expensive ACTUALLY ON FIRE stage. So, progress on the Dealing With Life front. (Although the oven, washer/dryer, and bathroom sink continue to be out of service.) She did, BTW, get something at least vaguely resembling another job, which is good because the last bunch did as expected just sort of wander off without making any provisions for their workers; New Job is basically the same as Previous Job, only working for people who seem to be marginally less of assholes at least somewhat cognizant of how basic physics works on this planet in traffic. Rate of pay still crap, but may improve with familiarity, and at any rate sufficient to keep beans on the table whilst further plans are considered. And far more humane hours, which also helps RE the considering further plans because part of the overall problem was a chronic lack of spoons to do anything else. Just not having to work on Saturdays has already improved Mum's outlook noticeably.

In other news, the Alleged Story is still giving me fits. It's currently 600 words short of the minimum wordcount for the thing-I-want-to-submit-it-to, with 3 weeks to the deadline, and I'm at that point of "this is complete crap even if I can connect the rest of the bits together why did I start this", which probably means that I'll wake up the morning after the deadline has passed and realize exactly how I could have fixed everything in about twenty minutes. Would it be Bad Form to ask someone to beta this before I even have a completed draft? I can't help but think that maybe the issue here is at least partly the want of a fresh eye on the damn thing...
Washer/dryer, oven, and bathroom sink still out of service, which continues to be ALL SORTS OF FUN. Enforced downtime at the laundromat brings out Muse's weird side; a field-trip into the nearby Asian market somehow got her onto the subject of wondering to what extent the legacy of French colonialism still influences linguistic patterns, and then onto counting off on my fingers how many languages Trevor and Jason do speak, whereupon I was kind of surprised when I ran out of fingers. Trevor's list, as far as I can tell so far, runs, in rough order of acquisition: Welsh (a bit of a surprise to me as well), English, Latin (read/write only), French, Polish (he says this involves Marie Curie and I'm not sure he's joking), "some" Wolof (long story), classical Arabic (same long story), German (basic conversations), classical Greek (read/write only), Hindi (basic conversations, not literate), a few words of Spanish, and Nigel (depending on how agitated Nigel is at any given moment). Jason, meanwhile, has English, Swedish, Spanish, basic French, some food-related Japanese and a little modern Greek to his credit. Boy, that all sounds like a lot when I write it out and I haven't even mentioned a couple of the other polyglots in the cast roster...
I keep going back and forth adding and deleting about 150 words on the Alleged Story without making any forward progress. It's very frustrating, like re-knitting the same row over and over. I think I might have just wrestled it round to where the Important Point is more front-loaded than it's been previously, though, so we shall see if I can find another 1900 words scattered throughout the rest of the proceedings at hand... New Thing Learned: I am not naturally the sort of writer who writes to deadlines. (Not that this is particularly new-new knowledge, as such, but previous impressions of same have been being reinforced in some deeply unpleasant ways.)

In other news, a 'Cos-You-Never-Know Random Research Exercise yesterday involved didgeridoos, and observations regarding same from the Character Gallery ranging from Inner David complaining about his experiences with people making assumptions about the Ambiguously Brown Guy to speculation that the OMG MY SINUSES vibrations have something to do with scaring off bunyips. Note to Self: do not take Trevor and Jason to another didgeridoo concert.
A burst of inspiration whilst I was showering the Amtrak cooties off and suddenly the Alleged Story has nosed above 1k words, and even better, I think I have the @!##$ beginning. (Also the beginnings of a cold, see "Amtrak cooties", but hey, Muse likes her some DayQuil.)

Now I get to worry if there is another at-least-2k of story left in this idea...
robling_t: (Default)
( May. 21st, 2013 02:50 pm)
Still arguing with Proposed Story, for values of arguing that include that uneasy feeling of having retreated to our respective rooms to brood about the last attempt at communication and wonder if it would be too awkward to run into each other if we both ventured out to go to the can at the same moment. But in other Muse-related news, I turned around the other day and realized that I think I've been sitting on the Main Project's "elevator pitch" all along:

Paranormal bromance -- a supernatural-roommates story that focuses on how living with that circumstance would inform a modern life: How do you shave when you have no reflection? If you turn into a wolf in the city do you need to bring someone along to scoop your poop? Would you get fired for eating your annoying boss?

Not that I have any elevators to pitch this in at the moment, but there's something to be said for having at least found a jumping-off point to start explaining WTF it is that I'm doing, here...
Still going around and around with the Proposed Story on the question of the validity of the Narrator's motivations, vis-a-vis agency and gender-roles. Currently the hangup is that she seems to have dropped her work on a big External Emergency to come home and deal with a smaller Domestic Emergency; the problem I'm having with this is that I know that that's the choice that would be organic to this character, but I'm not at all sure that there's a way to pull this off in-text that won't automatically read as "oh, Family Concerns snap their fingers and the woman chucks her life to come running".

Is there a way to present her two possible paths as equally valid choices, and also make it clear that the decision to prioritise the domestic crisis at this time isn't being driven by a desire to conform to a woman's "expected" role? The Narrator would be the first in line to call bullshit on the idea that her place is in the home, but at the same time she's faced with a situation there that she not only needs to but wants to deal with...

{sigh} How much do bricklayers make per hour, again?
So far it's 600 words of rambling grief, random chickens and the fortuitously timely availability of safety-razors, but I think I'm starting to find the voice for the Proposed Story. It's at the frustrating stage where now I can see the overall structure and roughly what goes where when, but the individual images don't have words coming through as fast as I'd really like; but words are starting to attach themselves to one another and precipitate out of solution, so I'm more encouraged that there's really a story somewhere inside this particular chunk of marble Muse has dragged in and set up. Y'all try to make me leave the worries over what sort and how long until later on in the game for once, will you...?

(Oh, and it has acquired a title I like better than "Women Standing In Kitchen, with occasional Vampire". Also, for Muse, a good sign, even if it's another one that's going to confuse the hell out of people and autocorrects...)
Proposed Story now has something resembling an outline, or at least a complete sequence of events from inciting incident to resolution, even if one line does read, in its entirety, "PROFIT!". (I believe that this may be Muse's code for "insert happymarriedsexyfuntiemz here".) This is weird for me, because it's not usually how I work, but apparently all that remains is to chase down 3-7k of actual words and see what it looks like when they're all glued together in some sort of an order...
I thiiiink I'm getting a glimmering of something resembling Story, if not necessarily actual Plot. This involved Muse looking at the cheesegrater and going, "...I can work with this", so I'm not entirely sure that this is a good thing. But it came with notes attached, so hopefully actual words will shortly follow... or not, it may just be 3-7k useless words of "Women Standing In Kitchen, with occasional Vampire".

Ah well, the only way out is through, right...?
Flood waters have receded for now, but there's more rain in the forecast. Ah well, by the piles of waterlogged basement-contents everywhere there's not much left to wreck...

As to Muse and her ongoing issues, I suppose that Proposed Story's continually getting all hung up on the question of whether female-Narrator's desires are a "legitimate" focus for storytelling could very well itself be an interesting meta-take on the anthology's brief about marginalization; I'm still not quite sure how to weld that general impression together into something that would pass for a commercially-viable narrative in the current age-slash-markets, but the idea that I'm butting my head against problematicness on purpose could be progress here, I guess. It has, at least, got to the jotting-down-interesting-imagery stage, even if that's not quite "I have enough of an idea what's going on and why that makes it a story to be confident of beginning" yet. We Shall See...
Aaaand in the "on a scale of 1-10 exactly how doomed am I" department, Muse has pointed out that I have access to a library with a decent selection of material on the period and subject I'm considering, drawn up a list of titles to go look for, and "helpfully" suggested that they're open quite late and it's allegedly above freezing out if I go over there right now.

I think she's serious about wanting to write this story. I just wish she was as serious about finding me an@#!!$ plot already...
robling_t: (muse)
( Apr. 9th, 2013 01:12 pm)
I'm mulling over the submission guidelines of the "Long Hidden" anthology, and wondering if I could talk Muse into trying for it with one of the side-stories she keeps hinting at the possibility of. 1919, you see, would have been the year Trevor came home from being jailed as a conscientious objector to the Great War, and if they didn't even understand how to re-integrate shellshocked soldiers back into society, I can imagine that a fledgling vampire would have been even more of a puzzle to loved ones... Somebody talk me out of this, or into this, or help me to figure out what the damn plot is here?
Inner Cecily made me watch a looooot of PopeCam. (Although she was gracious enough to allow me to go put some pants on between the white smoke and the reveal, since the former had caught me in the shower...) She has subsequently been engaged in a running argument with Muse about whether her sympathies do in fact lie closer to Anglicanism than she's admitting at this point, and Inner Trevor is pretty thoroughly traumatised by their occasional tangents onto what actual practice circa, say, Constantine's conversion would have been. I may need to put my foot down about Muse dragging home two tons of books on the various nuances of Eastern Orthodoxy next... Do other writers end up caught in the crossfire of theological arguments between oldish vampires this often?
Latest weird note from Muse is something about the origins of her extrahuman phenomena like vampirism and lycanthropy back in the Paleolithic.

I'm not sure what frightens me more, the prospect of having to go to the trouble of writing a "cave-vampires" story to shut her up, or the part where so far I can't actually poke holes in her overall-evolutionary-advantage arguments...
Just made these molasses-spice cookies and they are OM NOM NOM. I used about twice as much cinnamon as it calls for, and added 1/4 tsp ginger and a dash of cloves because they seemed to need something.

While I was rolling them in the sugar, Inner Jason started referring to them as "förvåna bollar". This is what it's like being me these days.
Since I have too bad of a sinus toothache to keep my mind on any of the things I'm "supposed" to be writing, let's try some Audience Participation instead:

Tell me about a story I haven't written, and I'll give you one sentence from that story.