Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Xanadu. My Wasteland.

Mind fueled by a dim and flickering furnace.

Faded Memory, ripe with souls long past.

Uncertain wisdom crowded with ghosts.

Will you deign to take their place?

Images fill my cavern of consciousness.

A smile, a touch, a shadow colored glance.

Imagined memories, tales of romance,

Laced with thoughts of rest.

Smothered in mind patterns, I struggle for air,

Entranced by the entity called self,

Unable to escape, to breach gulf

That surrounds my empty lair.

If I reach for you will you close the gap?

Smother the smotherings with your breath, your voice,

Words that choke the cacophony, the noise.

Touch my mind. I'll give you a map.

Show me everything you know how to chase

Don't leave me without the grasp of your hand.

Join me in my Xanadu, my Wasteland.

Would you deign to fill that place?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Interview with Gaharis of Orkney

Today I have brought Gaharis of Orkney from my WIP WHITE HART to talk a little about his adventures. Hello Gaharis.

Gaharis: Good day m'lady

Is it true that you serve your older brother Gawain as squire?

Gaharis: That would be the first question you would ask.

Well he is the family celebrity.

Gaharis: For the moment. He'd be helpless without me though. Half the time he
doesn't remember where he left his armor. If I let him do the packing he would bring his horse and his sword and forget basic essentials like food. A map. Maybe a smaller knife for cutting kindling and starting fires. The ability to whistle.

Sounds like you look after Gawain quite a bit.

Gaharis: Haha. I do, but don't tell him that. He thinks he's the protective older brother.

Do the two of you get along pretty well even though he gets most of the fame and glory?

Gaharis: Ach, he's a good man –strong leader type-- even if his sense of humor can be kind of dry. I'd much rather have the excitement of adventures without worrying about fortune and glory. That's the firstborn's burden.

Who talks the most on the road?

Gaharis: I do. Gawain's as sullen as a fish sometimes. Contemplating the meaning of his life or some such nonsense. I prefer a song to pass the time myself.

Oh, do you sing?

Gaharis: Not according to Gawain.
Do you think your adventures will end once you reach Camelot?

Gaharis: Not if I have anything to say about it. The sons of Orkney were meant for more than growing stale in some king's castle. I wouldn't mind a decent meal though when we get there. Food is so much more delightful when one doesn't have to cook it oneself.

Well thank you for coming by Gaharis. Maybe we can get you a doughnut on your way out.

Gaharis: You are truly a lady of mercy.

If you, my dear readers, have anything you have anything you would like to ask Gaharis feel free to put it in the comment and he will do his best to sate your curiosity –provided his mouth isn't too full of doughnut.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Character: Villains Within and Villains Without

Everyone loves to see the bad guy brought down at the end of a story but only in Saturday morning cartoons is the villain the sole cause of the conflict. It can be tempting to create an antagonist who's sole purpose in to torture the protagonist but a writer must be careful in constructing her villains. A villain who does not have his own reasons for doing things and his own feelings about everything that is going on is not a character. He is a plot devise.

A good villain has a choice between more than one path, which makes his decision to be evil more frightening and detestable. More frightening because we see the same duel possibilities within ourselves and more detestable because we see the same duel possibilities in the hero.

A good villain is human.

Similarly, a good hero's worst foe is himself. Defeating the villain in the flesh is only an outward demonstration that he has destroyed his own inner demons. He must find the strength without joining the dark side (Luke). Even the simplest good against evil plots become static unless the hero is fighting something deeper than external conflict.

A good hero is human.

And then there are the gray areas. The --gasp---possibility that the antagonist is preventing the protagonist from getting what he wants, not because he has a dark soul, but because two men can not marry the same girl, rule the same kingdom, or win the same trophy. Perhaps the antagonist chooses the good of his own family over the good of the protagonist's family or the good of the many over the good of the one who happens to the protagonist's true love. Perhaps the antagonist is the true force of light while the protagonist tries to justify his own dark deeds by parading a great nonexistent cause.

Brood. Whine. Search. Wallow. The hero becomes more acquainted with his humanity. The writer becomes more acquainted with her humanity. The readers become more acquainted with their humanity. Pain. Tears. Struggle. Hidden wounds are unsurfaced. And when it is done?

Strength. Humanity.


Bang. Boom. The villain is dead and peace is restored to Happy Valley. You decide which you prefer.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Stillness is Maddening

Do you hear that? Listen. That is the sound of no assignments due. That is the sound of no essays to write, poetry to read, or vocabulary words to memorize. That is the sound of a thousand stories waiting to fill the silence of my brain.

It is a good sound if only I could make up my mind which story to tell. And if I would adjust faster to not doing something for ten minutes together. Stillness is a difficult lesson to learn.

Here are some of the ways I plan on filling the stillness between now and late August when my mind shall be once again under seige. (Yes, I am afraid this is one of those "goal" posts that serves to lock in my decisions by making them public more than to provide you with interesting or informative information. I do appologize. I shall try not to have too many more in the near future.

1) Query. No really. I mean it this time. 50 quesries will be sent out before Septemebr hits or I'm a rubics qube. Hopefully I will send more but I figure since I may be a bit down and regection weary by the time I'm done with the process I had better make my goal number something I have no doubt I will be able to reach.

2) Finish my current WIP. I started working on it in January and am only about five chapters in. The frusterating thing is that, unlike many of my other manuscripts, I know exactly what is going to happen and how I just haven't been able to sit down and write it. Now I will.

3) Write short stories with particular magazines in mind for them. I haven't really written a lot of short stories in the past because I've never been able to find them a home afterwards. However, I have recently experimented with writing for a particular purpose and rather than impede my creativity, I find the challenge enhances it.

4) Read. A lot. I have so many unread books on my shelf right now it is painful to look at. The habbit of not pleasure reading is hard to break too. Seems like everytime I pick up a book this week I suddenly think that my time would be better spent going for a walk, making cookies, or doing the dishes.

5) And of course I shall be back here, giving you more posts from time to time. Let me know if there is anything in particular you'd like me to ramble about.