Friday, June 29, 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Eyeing The End

Hit 81 pages on my script today. That's 17010 words (give or take) in word count speech. Only 3000 words left to go. And in two days. Heck, I've come up from behind from much farther during NaNo, so I'm not sweating the next two days at all.

It helps that I had a rather chatty character show up in the last scene. I never thought the Queen of England would be so chatty, but she was. She really wants to stage the show. And she was so much fun to write, I was tempted to let her. But I got through the scene and even stayed on subject and ended up two more pages along than I planned. Always a bonus. I'm trying to figure out a way to have the Queen make another appearance before the end.

I'm very close to the end now, too. I'm debating about having one more pass at an attempt on my heroine's life (which would be giggles of fun). Just one more, so my dashing first mate can save her. Or rather come in to find her saving herself and clean up the mess. Hee.

And then I get to blow up many ships. Fun.

I'm still enjoying this whole scripting process. And I'm already considering ideas for the rewrite. Yup, I'm going to take a week off from the script and then turn around and start on it again. But this time I won't have to nail myself in front of the typewriter with only the script. I can pick up Mummy Case again and Warrior Storm and another idea I've been toying with (because I'll have one story off the rough draft list, so it's time to add a new one, right?). It's actually an older idea that I've had a couple of failed attempts at, but I've had some new inspirations.

The one thing Script Frenzy has absolutely proven for me is that I like my pace of three to five pages a day and the freedom to work on whatever story is on hand that strikes my fancy for that day. I keep proving to myself that I can knuckle under and work on just the one story but it isn't my favorite way to write. So . . . I've decided I won't be participating in NaNo this year. Four years is good for me (hey, that's like going through High School, right? I'm graduating). But I'll be free to serve as cheering section and sounding board for any INKers who will be doing it again!

And I'll be encouraging you to give Script Frenzy a try next year!

Friday, June 22, 2007


I'm 41 pages into my script. (That makes only 59 more pages to go! Egads! How did I get so behind?) I finally typed in an edited excerpt onto my Script Frenzy profile. If you are interested (or bored and looking for a cheap laugh), here is the link.

I'm pleased with how it cleaned up. Maybe I'll take it and show the original versus the first edit. Not that I changed a lot. Mainly language and character direction. But it reads better now.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Capturing atmosphere in a painting is a pretty big deal. Creating a sense of distance and open air on a two dimensional platform is often a goal, especially in landscapes.

While sitting under the deck gazebo today, analyzing how the real deal colors interact to inform me about atmosphere and space, it got me thinking about atmosphere in writing. How does the written word inform the reader about atmosphere? Color is less abstract than the written word when you're trying to transmit a sense of real place to someone outside yourself. At least with color you can create a visual space that guides the imagination pretty reliably.

The written word does have advantages, though. Yes, you can make a scratch and sniff painting, but it loses something in the process. If you do that you're getting too cute with the medium, and it loses meaning. With writing you can play with all the senses, including non-physical ones. Naturally, an advantage like that adds complexity, which adds more dimensions in which you can really foul up things.

So that's what I was thinking about today. It doesn't really go anywhere, except to this: when I write next, maybe I can reach a little deeper by trying to analyze how things interact in the scene to make it special. What stands out? Maybe this time I'll skip the furniture when I describe a room. Maybe what's really important is the scent, or the lighting, or the interaction between the two. Maybe it's a detail, something odd, like a lamp that doesn't fit the decor. What sets the mood?

What is the atmosphere, and what are the most important elements that interact to create that sense of space?

Peering Through the Contruction

Slowly piecing my days back together, but it's been slow going lately. It seems to take more time to prepare and then debrief after a vacation than it does to actually take the vacation itself. Add the fact that my Mom underwent elective surgery on Friday and will need help at home for at least the next week, and my days have slowly not become my own. If they ever really are, having a toddler and a dog and a husband to keep up with three-quarters of the time. I've given myself permission to take the one quarter that is mine when I'm not doing dishes and cooking and keeping up with the places to do whatever sounds relaxing. Like reading far too many comic books or watching back to back mystery shows on TV.

Which means not a lot of script writing happening. But I'm still muddling through.

In other news, we are piecing the computer back together, now, too. It's running faster and with less errors since TC did a hard core system restore, but now we have to weed out all the newer programs that the restore corrupted (like Norton, unfortunately--I'm back to emailing them to get Live Update to run again) or deleted, like my Word program. Which isn't a big--I have the disk for the Word program. I just haven't dug it out of the basement boxes yet. And TC's graphics card. Everything is HUGE on the screen right now and slightly pixeled at times. But it's nice to be able to boot up and run programs without waiting ten times longer than what we should, and my new spysweeper program, which I got up and running again with very little difficulty, totally rocks.

I'm still jonesing for a laptop though. I eyed the cheapies on sale for Father's Day, but I think I'm going to wait out the next six months and go for a nice, low end Mac laptop at the beginning of next year. Because I just read about this cool writing program that combines notes, research and does lots of neat formatting and it is only available on a Mac. And TC's games don't run on a mac, so he won't be tempted to abscond with it. And I do miss our old Mac . . .

I guess Kami's infected me with all her talk of a new Mac. Change is good, though.

But for now, the Lady Gray is calling my name. Time to get typing so I can at least make a show of keeping up with Script Frenzy.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Part time means never having to say I'm available

Before I start, heh, I love the Moody's comment about a period agricultural event. If only ...

I've been griping about my work schedule for a couple of days now. Apparently part time has been translated into Kami working six days in a row, getting one day off (Wednesday) and then working some more followed by getting Saturday off. Okay, yes, I'm looking forward to the ensuing fat paycheck. But dang! I have stuff to do, people! Once again I'm facing an unhappy chat with the manager which may not become necessary if, on the upcoming Thursday, I look at the schedule and see a heap of days off in a row. Problem solved. Normally I make excuses for management along the lines of so-and-so is on vacation or what's-her-name is sick so we have to fill in, yay checking account. In this case, though, a managerial type is on vacation and there is no such thing as filling in from the ranks for that position. Other supers fill in, not us grunts. They even pulled a super from another store to help. So what gives??!!

What gives is someone who doesn't like to do scheduling, or any paperwork for that matter. Rather than deal with the issue by making everything as automatic as possible (by making the schedule almost identical each week, shuffling people around only as needed to cover vacations, etc.) the manager has chosen to just fill shifts with qualified personnel in pencil apparently at random until all shifts are covered and then tack the schedule on the wall. Which is followed by us recipients of said schedule looking at it and scratching our heads wondering WTF. This negates such niceties like being able to say with fair certainty if you can make the picnic in two weeks or the Friday meeting down at the local burger joint that happens every other week. There isn't even a pattern as to shift or post. Nor is there much advance notice--it's posted week by week, one week at a time Sunday-Saturday on Thursdays, period. How in the world can people plan weekend stuff with their families if they only know if they'll get the Sunday after the Saturday off two days in advance? I've never seen a schedule done this way, dartboard style. I hope to never again. It's terribly inconvenient for everyone, including the schedule maker, although he probably doesn't see it that way. For him, short term, it appears to be the least stressful way to fill positions.

He'll be retiring soon. I like the man, and yet, yay!!

He needs to retire. In the meantime, apparently working part time means never having to say I'm available on a given day. Boo, drat.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Little pieces of progress

I'm getting there.

A bit ago I was whining about how my schedule disrupted daily writing. Well, I'm daily writing again. Sometimes it's just a few paragraphs, but that's all I need. I think. Here we are at June 13th, almost halfway through the month that will mark the halfway point in the year, and I have got to get hopping to get this thing done before December 31st because I am NOT buying a PC, thank you! Time pressure is good, though. Time pressure means that when I start writing excuses in my head (I'm really good at writing excuses, too) the overriding image will always be a rubbery-faced salesperson with a half-smile asking what kind of PC I'm looking for today.

In Masks, Mark is drunk, very very drunk. It's fun impairing him when important things are going on. I don't think he'll get drunk like this again in a long, long time, if ever. Ah, nineteen. Yes, we make stupid mistakes like this when we're nineteen.

It's my first official day as a jester and I've just been invited to a party for which I'm not in the least bit prepared. I know! I'll go find a cute guy and he and I will kill a bottle of high-percent alcohol together! This will relieve my stress!

Mmm hmm.

Did you tell anyone where you were going, Mark?

Uh, was I supposed to?

What if someone sees you?

Um, would that be bad?

You've already had an attempt on your life in this part of town. Might you not be attacked again?

What are the odds?

Can you figure the odds?

Um, hang on. Let's see. Uh ... what was the question again?

I rest my case. And there's a knock on the door. Who is it, Mark?

I hope it's someone who can pour me home ...

Typing Typing Typing

After hitting a rather rough patch in script writing, I'm back in calm waters, racing toward the end scene. I tapped out seven pages today and came up with a lot of meat for the story in those seven pages (plus blew up the entire Spanish fleet moored in San Agustin). I'm feeling my way forward, still, writing slower than my usual fiction speed, but I enjoy the thought process of picking way through the scene on description and dialogue alone. There is something very freeing about not having to worry so much on point of view and internal dialogue and thought processes.

That being said, I do miss the focus of a point of view character in description. I find myself slipping naturally into a point of view and I have to watch the language I use in the writing. It's a challenge, but one that is teaching me a great deal about word use and phrasing and the language in writing. Such a basic thing I've only paid attention to during the editing stage, and then only when it leaped off the page as poorly executed.

No matter how this script turns out, I think I'll find my fiction writing has improved vastly.

In other news, our computer is slowly dying, eaten up by a virus that nothing seems to clear. The system lags terribly, making typing these entries trying as my fingers go much faster than the cursor keeps pace with and ends up leaving out letters along the way. I might as well be on dialup for all the time it takes the pages to load. Very annoying to think about trying to key in a second draft on this thing. And I've been planning on working on the first edit of my script in July. Might be using the typewriter for that for now unless we can get this great behemoth running better.

For now, though, I have the typewriter and I'm still loving it.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Don't get a massage; be tense!

I have been working, really, on Masks. I'm coming up on a big scene, and I'm a little nervous about it so I'm trying to be careful. Not careful careful, where I'm trying to control everything. Ew, that's no fun, not for the writer, or the reader. Just trying not to rush. Trying to let this scene unfold without rushing into things.

It's got me thinking about tension again. Tension can come from all kinds of sources. The ticking clock is one. Time's running out! Don't dilly dally, because here it comes! Then there's the 'the other group is in trouble while you guys are farting around here' method. About the time when this group hits an oh no moment, the author goes back to the first group. You want to know what's happening with both groups simultaneously and you're biting your nails, but you only can know about one at a time, and that tension can effectively carry you through what would otherwise be somewhat mundane set ups for various scenes. Yet another form of tension comes from exploring the unknown. Another is setting up a dire consequence--the last person to attempt this died horribly--and putting the character through the anticipation of awfulness about to happen. The list of how to develop tension is really long. Despite the almost infinite opportunities to create tension, though, it's easy to lose. Why?

My theory is that, at least in my case, the tension is counteracted by the various characters constantly trying to relieve their own stress. They want to take time for tea. They want to sleep dreamlessly. They want to escape, even for a moment, their circumstances. Well, too bad. If they want it, it'll have to happen off screen, or briefly and in a way that leads them to even more badness.

Tension aids in movement. If everyone, or even just most of the people in a scene are totally comfortable, there will be little or no tension and the scene won't move. It'll just sit there, sit there and smoke and drink beer and watch the game with maybe an occasionally leap off the stinky couch to toss potato chips in the air and curse at a referee that can't hear it. It'll be a lazy scene without tension.

So why not rush to get to the 'good part'? Glad you asked. Because it's all the good part. If I rush through now, I'll miss an opportunity to create more tension. By not rushing, by giving this scene the attention it deserves, I've stressed the dynamic between two of the characters in numerous and hopefully entertaining ways. This should pay off big time later. And, I'll get to have another cliffhanger chapter ending if I time this right, just as the scene I am definitely not going to rush toward hops out of the closet dressed in lace panties and a clown hat.

It may be that all this attention to detail may not pay off, and I'll end up cutting the scene anyway. But I think it's okay. I think I'll let it live, for now. And while it's alive, it's going to be tense, tense as a adolescent boy asking a girl out for his very first date. How will she answer? We'll find out later, in chapter X.