Tuesday, October 29, 2013

…Thinking about Vampires today.

That seems appropriate for Halloween week.

This newest season of Supernatural really had a hold on me, until episode three last week, when its grip slipped and I started to plummet into the darkness that is entertainment related disappointment. As a brief, almost spoiler-free explanation, I’ll only say that I saw Cas getting expelled from the bunker coming a marathon away, and I was screaming “NOOOOOOOO!” the whole way, because, come on, guys. Such a cop-out. You can’t come up with any other way to maintain tension and drama between Cas and Dean except to keep them separated, can you?

Ever since season five they've repeatedly come up with lame (okay, some of them weren't bad, or were downright awesome, but it’s getting old) excuses why Cas doesn't just stick around. And this is coming from someone who doesn't see Cas and Dean as having a romantic relationship.

But, now I’m getting into an entirely different rant, about how my generation can’t seem to comprehend the idea of a close bond between two people that isn't sexual.

We’ll see if I can recover in the next few episodes. I’ll watch episode four tonight and maybe it will all be okay… Maybe Cas will get the truth about why he has to leave and see the necessity in it, or maybe at least they’ll have Dean come up with a decent lie. I really hope so, because I want to be excited about this season.

Which brings me back around to the vampires.

I was trying to think of ways that Supernatural could make it up to me, as I’m sure it wants to—our friendship means so much, and it’s so needy, geez. Very near the top of my list was Benny the Cajun Vampirate.

Let me take you back to innocent days. When as a youngster, what I wanted, more than anything in the world was a really good vampire book. I searched everywhere, but unfortunately I only found a lot of really horrible and one or two really mediocre vampire books.

Oh, and Dracula. Which is great.

Eventually, I gave up and decided I would just have to write my own. Since my ex-boyfriend had so recently condemned me as a Satan worshiper, and had me believing at least for ten seconds that he was going to attempt an exorcism and hide my no-longer-possessed body somewhere in cottonwood canyon, I felt like I was in a really good place to write something truly romantic and not at all about how men are psychotic monsters. Bonus points if you can pick out which parts of this story aren't lies.

My awesome (and never to be finished) vampire novel ended up resembling Benny’s story to a somewhat troubling degree. I had originally envisioned it as a romance with a lot of violence and bloody revenge, but as I wrote it chapter by chapter I found myself more engaged in a secondary story-line in which my main fanged man chose to watch over one of his still very human and clueless descendants… so, it evolved into a family story, with a lot of violence and bloody revenge.

Also, everyone was Cajun, which I didn't realize at the time is kind of a thing already.

So, my novel did help me get vampires out of my system for a minute there, but then I needed another fix. Just in time for one of my friends to ask me, “Have you read Twilight?”

I hadn't. I hadn't even heard of Twilight and apparently there was another book already out and I was seriously behind. I went ahead and read it, and let me tell you, it was exactly what I was looking for at that particular time in my life. Hear me out, haters!

No… that’s all I got.

No shame. I liked it. I’m really critical of books, usually, but I found it entertaining and it was what I wanted.

I can say negative things about it, and in fact, I will, in a second, but let’s get real. I can say negative things about every writer. Except Jane Austen. She’s perfect.

Charles Dickens relied on coincidence, Silvia Plath wrote through one narrow, angry perspective, Douglas Adams purposefully tried to piss off his audience, Shakespeare pandered shamelessly, Hemingway hates you and James Joyce are you kidding me?

These are great writers, and I don’t think anyone is going to accuse Stephanie Meyer of that, but she filled a void that had plagued my lonely, self-conscious, why-are-guys-so-mean?-adolescence. I’m happy she wrote Twilight. I’m happy I read it.

Rereading it didn't work out though.

I used to be the kind of person who reread books. Twilight cured me of that. Attempting to read the book a second time was oh so boring. The narrative that kept me going the first time around, just doesn't hold up when you have another go at it and the plot… well, there’s really not much in the way of plot, so what was going to compel me to read more than two chapters? The characters?

Hell to the no.

In my adult years, I would say I've transformed into a classicist when it comes to vampires specifically, but monsters in general. With few exceptions, I think they ought to exclusively be terrible and don’t fall in love with you, but kill you dead and eat you. And maybe turn you into one of them and then you’re a monster too. Which sucks. Pun absolutely intended.

Benny is one of the exceptions. He was believable as a good person, and as a monster. Usually, I find myself not buying either the good or the bad side of the archetypal conflicted vampire’s personality, and maybe that’s more my problem than the writer’s, but I’m gonna say no, it’s not on me.

Allow me to leave you with this clip from Community, of when Abed briefly became a vampire in order to meet a girl.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013

I was totally going to skip it this year. I had all these excellent, detailed plans about how I was going to not.

Then I thought to myself… that’s stupid, just because you’re unreasonably busy is no excuse to stop doing the things.

It probably is, but myself won’t hear of it, so even though we’re somewhat in disagreement about the wisdom of this decision, we are going to snap our faculties back together in order to attempt to knock out another novel this November. For a second there it looked like I might have the third book in Rosenrot’s series done this month, but then life ensued and I decided to hold off on trying to finish it until December.

Anyway, last year, NaNoWriMo did not work out so great for me. I finished the book, but it was terribly short and refused to get any longer, no matter how I begged it. It doesn't surprise me though, since it was someone else’s idea and I was writing it in a genre that I typically avoid, precisely because it’s challenging for me to maintain the interest. That having been said, I do quite like the book I wrote last year and perhaps in a few years I’ll pull it out, dust it off and turn it into something less embarrassing.

For now, I've decided I want to choose an idea that’s more fun, and yes, much more self-indulgent. I think a healthy level of self-indulgence can be crucial to finishing a NaNoWriMo novel. Skip right to the fun stuff. Author Avatars everywhere, switch voice and style as it pleases you, never editing! That sort of thing.

I've got a short list of ideas I’m considering for NaNoWriMo. All of them involve going back to my YA Fantasy roots.

Idea # 1 – I shall call thee High Fantasy Gods & Monsters Book! So, this one is currently in last place because it involves creating a new language, which seems mighty ambitious for a novel I’m supposed to finish in thirty days. But, it’s the most solidly formed in my mind, I've got characters and plot points and four parts, I just need to write it… and make up that language.

Idea # 2 – The Inverted-Harry Potter Story! So, it wasn't until recently that I realized this was the inverse of the Harry Potter plot. I’ve had this idea for years and it’s taken on a few different forms. The fact that I can’t seem to pinpoint exactly how I want to tell this story is one of the reasons I haven’t written it, but essentially, it’s about a Sorcerer’s Apprentice who finds out that his master stole him from a mortal family. He runs away to find his real parents and tries to live as a normal kid for a while. Spoiler—he’s unsuccessful.

Idea # 3 – Currently in first place, we have: Post-Modern Epic Fantasy Experiment. I think every sad writer of my generation has written this story already, except me. It’s basically Lost in Austen, but in a Fantasy World that resembles every Fantasy World. Very self-indulgent. I’ll only go ahead and do it if I can be clever about it.

Honorable Mention #Theonlyone – Guinness. Five years ago, I told you that if you hadn't at least started writing that charming and wickedly funny fairy-tale story you’d mapped out from beginning to end, I would steal it from you in five years and write it myself. I feel I’m morally obligated to make good on my word. I’d be willing to give you a six month extension except I know it won’t matter.