13 February 2007

It pays to be mean to your MC.

Cruising along, or close enough, on the raccoon story. A couple of calamities befall the main character at once, pretty bad ones, actually.


Don't say I didn't warn you.

Thorn, my main character, loses an eye in a big fight. And then the same raccoon he loses his eye to goes off and kills Thorn's closest friend. Who also happens to be the raccoon that is helping to prop up Thorn's authority in the tribe. And Thorn's authority's going to be questioned soon.

It's a bad wound. It affects him in small ways, such as drinking (when he's trying to lap the water, he keeps misjudging the water's surface and keeps getting water in his nose) and walking (keeps crashing into folk, or startles when someone comes up on his blind side). He's leery about getting back in a tree, since he's not sure how this is going to affect his climbing skills. Which is bad when you live half your life in trees.

But there are some bad things looming up. Because Thorn's trying to move his tribe out of that area, but because of his bad wound he's sick and dizzy. The area around the eye is hot, it's constantly hurting, not just an owie but hot-wire-through-your-skull pain. He pushes himself too hard and blacks out while telling his successor that they need to have a council meeting right away.

But at that point where he blacks out, the narrative demands that I change the pov to his successor, who's sharing the story, so she can go make some mistakes that she's going to pay for later.

Except I don't want to mess with that chapter. I want to stay in Thorn's pov. Because now I have to admit I'm suddenly more interested in Thorn. (I was having trouble with that earlier.)

I know he's up to the challenge. I've always known that he was a strong one. But now he can show his strength. He's become much more sympathetic. For all his guff and bluff ways, now he is going to show that he is truly a good leader, even when the rest of his tribe start questioning his decisions.

I'm kind of glad this happened, even though it's going to be very bad for him for a while. Now I have a MC I can really be proud of. He's getting a bigger reward at the end, though at this point I'm not sure what it is.

09 February 2007

Have you ever considered underwear in the abstract?

Here's a poem by my (right now) favorite beat poet, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I have a copy of him reading the poem aloud. You can listen to a snippet of that reading here. I love his voice. And he's the boss of City Lights, which is a bookstore and also the publishing house that published Allen Ginsburg's Howl.

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I didn’t get much sleep last night
thinking about underwear
Have you ever stopped to consider
underwear in the abstract
When you really dig into it
some shocking problems are raised
Underwear is something
we all have to deal with
Everyone wears
some kind of underwear
The Pope wears underwear I hope
The Governor of Louisiana
wears underwear
I saw him on TV
He must have had tight underwear
He squirmed a lot
Underwear can really get you in a bind
You have seen the underwear ads
for men and women
so alike but so different
Women’s underwear holds things up
Men’s underwear holds things down
Underwear is one thing
men and women have in common
Underwear is all we have between us
You have seen the three-color pictures
with crotches encircled
to show the areas of extra strength
and three-way stretch
promising full freedom of action
Don’t be deceived
It’s all based on the two-party system
which doesn’t allow much freedom of choice
the way things are set up
America in its Underwear
struggles thru the night
Underwear controls everything in the end
Take foundation garments for instance
They are really fascist forms
of underground government
making people believe
something but the truth
telling you what you can or can’t do
Did you ever try to get around a girdle
Perhaps Non-Violent Action
is the only answer
Did Gandhi wear a girdle?
Did Lady Macbeth wear a girdle?
Was that why Macbeth murdered sleep?
And that spot she was always rubbing—
Was it really in her underwear?
Modern anglosaxon ladies
must have huge guilt complexes
always washing and washing and washing
Out damned spot
Underwear with spots very suspicious
Underwear with bulges very shocking
Underwear on clothesline a great flag of freedom
Someone has escaped his Underwear
May be naked somewhere
But don’t worry
Everybody’s still hung up in it
There won’t be no real revolution
And poetry still the underwear of the soul
And underwear still covering
a multitude of faults
in the geological sense—
strange sedimentary stones, inscrutable cracks!
If I were you I’d keep aside
an oversize pair of winter underwear
Do not go naked into that good night
And in the meantime
keep calm and warm and dry
No use stirring ourselves up prematurely
‘over Nothing’
Move forward with dignity
hand in vest
Don’t get emotional
And death shall have no dominion
There’s plenty of time my darling
Are we not still young and easy
Don’t shout.

06 February 2007

Despite Armageddon, we're making progress.

Right after I blithely said, "See? The Armageddon isn't so bad," a sale book with 916 cows hit my desk and I got buried in the detritus.

Which meant I spent a lot of time staring at the sale book and longing, yearning, to get to a computer or notebook and work on my story.

Though if I'd had actual hours or even days to work on this story, I'd be devising all sorts of nefarious schemes to get out of any form of writing.

I seem to get more done when I have less time to do it in.

So lately I've taken to walking around the basement track during lunch time, thinking about story. I do a kind of walking meditation, working my way down into a trance state as I walk, and then I can come up with a few things to write about. Sometimes I come back with two or three useful story things, sometimes I come back with nothing. Sometimes you catch a fish and sometimes you don't. That's just how it goes.

A lot of it is just trying to visualize the characters, trying to see exactly what's going on. I like it best when I get an image. But usually everything's so blurry.

Sometimes I'll do a little typing during lunch, usually when other people show up in the basement to do some walking, and then I can't think and I go to my computer.

But in this way, over the last two weeks I've pulled together two chapters, and there's a lot of interesting stuff going on in them. I really think that walking, and giving myself time to visualize, and giving my unconscious mind time to pull goodies out of its metaphorical hat, has really helped get these chapters going.

Another thing that helped was finding (at last!) a song to listen to while writing. Last Saturday KKFI played Eric Clapton's "River of Tears" from his One Car, One Rider album. I bought it today (no time yesterday) off i-Tunes for 99 cents and during lunch I played it while I was writing. With the music, I finally got the emotion, the feeling, I was looking for from my main character. That was worth the price of admission.

And earlier tonight I finished up the sale book and came home. Did some storywork and finished this week's chapter and I'm ready to move on to the next.

So I'm feeling good.