Wednesday, October 30, 2013

First Wife

In Which I return from a brief Actual Writing Hiatus, wherein I successfully rebooted the ending to Ze Book and therefore paved the way for success in Ze Sequel. I've also been playing a lot of Pokemon X, which is my reward for productive writing as I await feedback. I've also signed up for NaNoWriMo (my username is Jadeling Hawkins--look me up!) and I plan on using the balls-to-the-walls method of that unhallowed national event to get a solid foot up on Ze Sequel.

With all of those updates out of the way, let's get to the meat of today's post: First Wife.

I've mentioned First Wife many, many times on this blog, along with her counterpart, Wifey, and the newest addition to our jolly little commune, Wifums. But today is First Wife's birthday--she is a Halloween Baby, baby! So she gets a much belated, much deserved silly little post dedicated to her.

First Wife has been my friend since middle school, and my best friend for years. I first encountered this lady through the elementary school news reel, because some jackass almost ruined everything by running her and another student (another sweet lady who now has beautiful babies) over with their car. We were twelve. Seriously--jackasses who run twelve-year-olds over should probably just be thrown into a pit full of hungry, angry, rabies-riddled ferrets.

So we knew each other back then, and I thought she was a delightful fireball, but we weren't over at each other's houses all day every day, because that is firstly a physical improbability and secondly just not the level of friendship we had back then.

Highschool happened, and it was a little rough on me. I was pretty sure nobody liked me--I was an awkward shadow. I was quietly miserable most of the time, because sometimes life kicks you in the ladyballs and just keeps doing it until you're crumpled up and just don't feel much of anything anymore.

But there was this absolute FIREball of a cheerful goth lady who was always so nice to me. We talked about anime (we raged together about the cop-out nothing 'ending' of Witch Hunter Robin. I drew a proper ending for her. She taped the comic to her water bottle and saved it until just a few years ago, when I think it was accidentally washed off) and music, and we shared horrible, corny jokes together in homeroom. She was fierce, funny, bold, ferociously loyal, and one time she waved her hand over my outfit, pronounced it 'adorable,' and left me beaming for the rest of the day.

FIREball cheerful goth lady started hanging out with this tall, adorkable Mexican guy, who was the founder of the anime club. More on that later.

FIREball cheerful goth lady crammed all of her brains onto a paper and graduated early, and after highschool, I kicked around for a while doing...not much. I Dayjobbed. I helped out with my younger siblings. I was still pretty sure nobody liked me. I was still pretty awkward.

Then I went to college, which was really fun, really exciting, really expensive. When I came back into town, I struggled to find employment. I took my sad-face that nobody liked around from one potential employment to the other, until, after a full day of fruitless paperwork, I slumped into this one grocery store I'd never actually set foot in. I purchased some ranier cherries for lunch, because their color made me happier and I couldn't afford anything else. As I was slumping past the bakery, I saw a familiar face.

"Hey!" she cried.

"Hey!" I cried back.

FIREball no-longer-goth lady was all a-bubble, and we caught up for a few minutes as she was bored at work and I had literally nothing else going on. What are you doing? Job hunting. We're hiring! Surreously?

I applied to the bakery. I was interviewed to work in the meat department. She demanded that I be hired to the bakery. I was.

Then we were coworkers. I'd disappear every few months to go back to school in Idaho, but she was always my favorite to work with. She'd play the soundtrack from Hellsing in the back, we'd talk some more about anime, I'd draw her pictures, we'd talk about our favorite monsters. I was a devout Mormon. She was a devout hippy. We disagreed about a LOT--marriage, politics, whether or not having babies was a good idea, what God felt like. We disagreed on many things, but we never fought. We'd have a passionate discussion. Then we'd move on to reminiscing about Rainbow Brite and comic books before they got ridiculous.

We developed a kind of friendship like I'd never had before. I'd had friends with common interests--very dear friends. I'd had friends who believed different things than I did--very good friends. But I'd never experienced a time in my life when the brightest part of my day was spent in the company of my perfect foil.

One day, the tall, adorkable Mexican guy she was still dating after seven years casually mentioned that she was always in a good mood after working with me. It was the first time in many, many years that I really believed that someone liked--not just tolerated--me.

One day, years later, the FIREBALL lady became a FIREBALL Mama! She and the tall, adorkable Mexican (spoiler alert: we call him 'Captain' now) named me the Godmama of the Riverbug that was born. So, FIREBALL lady was now my Godbabymama. Which became my official title for her for a year or so.

One of the most beautiful, eye-opening things that has ever been said to me came from this FIREBALL woman. I was rambling some excuse for an ill behavior I hadn't ever actually exhibited, but was scared I would. I had done this several times before. She finally told me, "Babe, you keep warning me about the monsters, but I just don't think they're in there."

A few people have (hilariously) expressed discomfort with my referring to my best friend as my 'wife.' The best explanation I have come up with for what separates a 'wife' from a 'friend' or even a 'best friend' is that a 'wife' causes you to love yourself, even (especially) when you don't want to.

Some things have changed. We still work at the bakery. I've written two books. First Wife has moved twice. I've moved several times. We're actually neighbors now. I no longer Mormon, and First Wife has two beautiful baby girls (who look suspiciously like tall, adorkable Mexicans).

If not for First Wife, I would not exist--at least not as I am now. I would still be a slumping, sad-faced sack who lacked the drive to actually carry out any of the mad plots in my head. And I'm not the only one--I'm not exaggerating when I call her a FIREBALL. The woman is MY muse, but she is also the muse of...pretty much everyone she's ever met. She lights the fires that others are too afraid or shy or embarrassed to light on their own.

So, thank you, First Wife, for pulling me out of the shadows. I hope your quarter-centurion is the best year thus far, and the least of those to come.

The Woman
(real name)-Belle
Watson (to my Sherlock) ((the Captain is the Mary in this formula)) (((the babies are Gladstone)))
The Wife
Mi Mael (from Ze Book--means 'My King')
The Good Ship (real name) ((see also: Cap'n Sexican of the Good Ship (real name)))
Vincent Van Goh (to my Edgar Allen Poe)
The Selkie
Kelia McGuire (not really, but she did heavily inspire the character...okay, she IS the character from Ze Book)
First Wife

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Going 180

Very brief post today, just an update on ze book:

I spent three months and a lot of stress to crank out fifty pages for Book 2 of the LORELEI, ONCE series. Every page, every paragraph, every word was bugging me. The writing wasn't terrible. The story wasn't even terrible. But after all that time and grudging effort, I waved the white flag at myself and accepted that it just wasn't what the story needed.

So, after a check-in with Pestritto on Rye, literary agent extraordinaire, I have decided to change the ending of Book 1. It is, on a technical level, a very small change. Like casting a Basilosaurus, rather than a Tyrannosaurus, as the lead villaintagonist of Jurassic Park. You could still have all of the awesome jumps. You could even finagle most of the same cool chase scenes into the movie. But the ending, with the humans joyously escaping across the ocean?

Think again, chumps!

In essence, there will be maybe two, three paragraphs of difference. But Book 2 starts in a completely different place.

That means a lot of work and stress was for nothing. But I'm too excited by this change--it really is where the story needs to be!--to even care. There may be something wrong with me.

But! Whole new adventure! Woooo!!

Now I must away to Dayjob.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dat Shakespeare

My Wives (First Wife, Wifey and Wifums) are all out in the other room, giggling and watching Benedict Sexybatch rehearse for his greatest role evar (playing me in my biopic) during his tenure as Sherlock Holmes. I only tell you this so you can fully appreciate what company I am sacrificing to write this blog post.

I asked the women in the other room what subject I should write on for my morning post, simply because I am in the right mood to write and therefore I should get this handled while the writing mood is right and...Anyway, they said, among other things, Shakespeare.

Why do I like Shakespeare so much?

I don't know. Because he was a dirty man who stealthed his jokes into existence through fancy speak? Because he tapped into the ridiculous base desires of the human conscious through the medium of intensely dirty comedy and/or tragedy?

Because I'm just a dirty-minded individual who enjoys being justified through the most famous poet evar?

I mean, let's be straight about this. Shakespeare was a card and a half. I once, during Highschool, wrote a paper critiquing a performance of his play, A Midsummer's Night Dream, as being too dirty. The justifying note from the teacher (an awesome lady with a blackbelt and a fantastic name) was 'Shakespeare was a dirty old man'. The dude had a raunchy sense of humor.

Is that why I liked him? Was, he, during my more Christian years, an outlet for the funny, sexy side of my personae, covered by the seeming social acceptance of ye indecipherable olde English? That may have been.

Or it may have been that I just thought lines like "Ah, my dear lady Disdain! Do you yet live?" were really freaking funny.

So, Shakespeare provided us with toilet humor before there was indoor plumbing. He also wrote about stories with such depth that they have continued to echo throughout our human conscious all these centuries later. And he was the master of double, triple, and quadruple entendre. And he was more open-minded about social issues--like gender equality, religious differences, racial boundaries and all of the other headliners--than many people are today. He just knew how to frame his beef in a publicly acceptable way.

Sigh. Shakespeare.

I'm going back to bed.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Make Her Stop!

Am I bored, or am I just doing this wrong?

That is the question that is flicking my ear as I write this. It is half-six AM, and I have been writing and plotting Book 2 all nightmorn. To kickstart the work, I'm trying a new technique that is essentially a fat version of cork-boarding. I have little digicards with chapter titles and rough descriptions, and then a thoroughly condensed page or two for each digicard that will, in time, be edited into proper chapters of the actual manuscript.

I've never really done it this way. Book 1 was written with more of a shotgun style--I had a cool scene in my head, I wrote it, and then I worked my way through the whole book with a fine toothed comb. Some awesome scenes ended up getting the boot as a result, but it meant I was always working, because I was always indulging whatever inspiration I was feeling.

That's less of an option this time, because I have people actually waiting to read what I've got. Y'know, in order.

A side effect of this is that I have been plagued with doubt nuggets, as I briefly mentioned in yesterday's post. I'm not sure I'm starting this book in the right place, but if I skip forward to the bits I'm really, really excited about, then there are some very key happenings that will just sort of...not happen. Things that really, really have to happen in order for...anything else to happen.

Part of the problem lies in the way Book 1 ended (no spoilers!). Book 2 starts by resolving a lot of the things that were left over to plague our sweet morbid protaganista--or at least acknowledging them. Some loose strings have to be knotted together before we can move forward to the real action.

I just worry that this will get boring for readers. But I also realize that it might just be boring for me because I've spent SO MUCH time in this scenario. I am committed to writing out at least a rough version of all of these shenanigans, because I will be able to make sense of it all if it is out of my head. But even with what I have, I'm still just not sure.

So I suppose the question I have to ask myself is this: am I writing the first three pages of any given Animorph book (verbatim identical to previous renditions) or am I writing the Dursley Summer section of any given Harry Potter book (awesome and completely necessary)?

Does it bug me because I'm bored, or because I'm doing it wrong?

The kicker is, I will not have a proper answer. Possibly ever. Certainly not until this section is all finished and I get real-life reader's opinions on it. And this is pretty much my mental state for every good thing I've ever written. My favorite ME WRITE GOOD story is, and perhaps always will be, the fact that I hated Book 1 when I first started working on it. I didn't want to go past the first two chapters. I wrote them out of desperation, to show that I still knew how to work a keyboard, and because I needed to have something to awkwardly shove at my writer's group. They lurved it, and forced me to write more. That turned out okay, I guess.

So, this blog is complaining me.


I'm going to clock in one more digicard rough chapter and then possibly go to bed for a few hours. Then I will probably have some coffee, and get back to work.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ten Minutes

I've got ten minutes before I have to leave for Dayjob. If I was smart, I'd check on the state of my car windows--the last couple of days, I've gone out to find poor Brucey McGee (the car) covered in a frosty shell. This adds about five minutes to my get up and go schedule, which usually means I'm a couple of minutes late for work.

See how responsible I am? I've mathed all of that out so I can blog about it.

I don't really have a proper subject to write about today. There are several I have backlogged in the old noodle--some funny, some deep, some more along the lines of which kind of creamer I like in my coffee. Because some day I'll be all kinds of famous and they will want to know those details when they are filming my biopic (I'd like Benedict Cumberbatch to play me, by the way. Not because we look at all alike, but because First Wife loves him almost as much as she loves me, and it just seems right. Just stuff his bra a few times and no one will notice. British men wear bras, right?).

Anyway, ten minutes (six, now) isn't really enough to write about any of the things I've had in mind. I've been awake for a few hours (ghastly Dayjob schedule) but I only started nibbling on my coffee fifteen minutes ago, and I couldn't pick a subject.

So I'm writing this wrambling wreck because I really, really want to build up the habit of writing in the morning. It's already helping--I've added a few pages to the manuscript. Keeper pages, even! With quite a few bunk pages to boot. Which is infinitely more than the nothing I've come up with in the weeks past.

Hey, I was moving. And writer's blocked like you wouldn't believe.

I was freaked out about making changes and decisions that my readers wouldn't like. I believe the exact plaintive I sent to First Wife was "What if I cock it up and none of my readers trust me EVAR AGAAAAAIN" to which she replied with hellfire support and then I was okay. Then I had a breeze shooting session with Wifey, and she helped me map out the next few chapters.

This is why writers need wives, folks.

Welp, the time has come. Blech. Dayjob time. I must away, to sling bread and judge people by how many times I can mentally recite Jabberwocky  before they pick a freaking donut.

But hey, gotta pay for those fancy Dr. Who shirts somehow!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Shakespeare Shots

A few weeks ago, I had a special dream.

William Shakespeare and I were doing shots in a strip club, discussing our favorite death scenes--and how best to kill off a character. The shots were named after his characters. The strippers were my characters.

Last night, I had another dream.

So, magic exists, and everyone has it. But each family has a finite amount of magic running through its bloodstream. That magic does not disappear when someone gets gacked, but rather rearranges itself among the family. So, the only way to gain strength is to wait (or, you know, whatever) until someone in your line dies. Likewise, if someone new is born, your magical strength is lessened.

There was no real plot to this dream. It just featured a very...dysfunctional family.

I think I should combine these two dreams into the greatest romactiomedy evar. What say you?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Common Questions and Answers About Moving

Q: What should I do if I am not yet receiving mail at my new address?

A: Accept that you have no friends, family or business associates who care about you enough to slowly check that you are still alive.

Q: How should I let my friends, family members, magazine publishers, and business correspondents know of my new address?

A: Stop pretending. It's getting sad. We all know you've never actually received a letter.

Q: Do I need to register to vote?

A: Snerk! As if it matters!

That's right, I'm back! I have moved, I have set my 2010 Guide to Literary Agents on Fire (because I already won at having an agent ((HI, PESTRITTO ON RYE! TEAM LARKIN LURVES YOU!)) and also because our new lair has a fire place and we had to use it), and I have begun proper work on Book 2 once more. I'm taking Zacharias (my mini laptop) to Dayjob today so I can get some serious word countage in.

What else has happened since the last time I posted?

I have a new goddaughter! Everyone shoot off a big round of applause for the incorrigible Miss Maralee! The Riverbug (goddaughter the first) thinks her squishy-faced little sister is pretty cool ("Hi, cute baby!" said the adorable then-two-year-old upon their meeting).

Oh, and the girls (and their parents, I guess) are now my neighbors.

I got a new place with Wifey (my personal ediatrix), with First Wife (my muse) living across the hall, about three feet away. Between the three of us, we have enough devil's juice to pickle a pirate. Oh, and Wifey, aside from ediatrixing the sweet hell into and out of my work, cooks like some goddess of the stove. What I'm saying is that, as far as 'writers life' goes, I have struck gold.

I spent two years in hermit mode, and I benefitted greatly from being forced to contend with myself. Now I'm surrounded by people that force me to think I'm great and make me want to actually BE great. Level Up, life!

To keep my fingers moving, what with the words coming out and all, I am going to really push and give this 'one post a day' thing another try. I'll even try and do it in the morning. Because that's the world we live in now.

The Good Ship Looney (with its fabulous crew) has officially set sail. Let's go chew on the horizon.

*Questions provided by the USPS. Answers provided by a rough shift at Dayjob.