Saturday, July 31, 2010

Frustrated at One AM

The life of a teenage, hormonal writer right there. It's one AM, I should be sleeping, but I got so pissed off at how uncomfortable my bed is that I got up and managed to log onto my computer after it shutting down on me ten times. I fucking hate fucking computers that don't fucking work.

Don't quite know what I'm doing up. Should probably be sleeping, but slept all afternoon after work because I'm still too sore to move or do anything other than sit in front of this useless computer.

Still think I'm going to write that historical fantasy romance. Maybe I'll work on that.

Authors always say to wait until you have the project that won't let you go, and that's the one you know you have to write. That's your story. But what do you do if you have more than one project that won't let you go?

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's Not Supposed to Work Like This...

Haven't done much at all in the way of plotting and/or character shit. Thought about it, didn't happen. Instead I watched TV and went horseback riding. Where I almost fell off my horse, but it was my fault and not hers. I love my pony. Even though she's 17 hands and isn't much of a pony. And apparently she jumped out of the round pen earlier this week...the round pen gate is five feet high and she was never trained as a jumper. 

Watched [i]The Time Traveler's Wife[/i] tonight with my parents (brothers are gone right now so we can watch chick flicks and my Dad doesn't complain). I never read the book, but the movie was interesting and Eric Bana was hot, holy shit when did that man become attractive and reminded me of an idea I was talking with one of my friends about yesterday.

Last night that idea just involved an oldschool radio like this one. Now it involves a WWII airforce pilot and a modern girl, trying to solve his death. All while listening to it happen on the radio.

Yeah, not gonna lie, this sounds more interesting right now than Gunmetal Gray.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I like to write drabbles. Strangely, I never did with Todd and the original characters I used in the first draft of this story and maybe that's why it ended up never really working past NaNo. NaNo was baptism by fire; there's no real time to drabble when you enter the contest in October like I did and have to plan for the rest of the month.

I think I'm going to do one of these from the POV of each character. This one is from the POV of Lee's mother.

Drabble One

The first thing I noticed about Lee was the scars. I think that's what everyone noticed at first. My baby's back home, where he never should have left, but he doesn't look like my baby anymore. His hair is supposed to look like the supple fur of an otter after a day on the river. His smile is supposed to be brighter than the sun. My baby stands like an oak tree, and his voice sounds like rough bark rubbing against emerald, spring leaves. 

It's only because his voice hasn't changed that I know it's him. The scars that scratch his tanned skin aren't his, the limping gait isn't his, and he's staring. But he can't see me -- I don't know if he can hear me or not. I know he can't see me from the right, so I have to move. That's what the men in blue said. They warned me that he might be different, that he might not know how to handle himself back home after so many months abroad. They warned me that he might still think he's in a warzone and that his injuries might make his progress more difficult.

His progress to what, I wanted to ask, but there wasn't room for questions. There never is.

His voice brings a smile to my face. "Hey, Ma." Things can't be all that different, if he still knows his Ma in the dark of a storm rolling over the hill. "Hey, Dad." Dad grunts. Nods at his son, but doesn't move, and I know he'll think I'm crazy for rushing into my son's arms again and even though his face is scarred and he walks with a limp, his arms are strong. And nothing matters in that moment except that my baby's home and I know he'll never leave me again.

Abandon Thought and Let the Dream Descend

I think Erik's right. You only learn your secrets when you pass the point of no return. You only learn your strengths and weaknesses until you go somewhere you don't want to go and do things that you don't want to do. Until you watch the bridges burn and follow a monster down into its lair, you never know that the monster is secretly an Angel rotting in Hell.


YEAH, SO I SAW PHANTOM LAST NIGHT AND IT WAS THE MOST AMAZING, AWE-INSPIRING THING I HAVE EVER SEEN. It was totally incredible. Completely magical and I left it almost unable to stand. AND ERIK TOTALLY NODDED AT ME WHEN I WAS FREAKING OUT IN THE CROWD, BECAUSE I WAS ONLY TWO ROWS AWAY AND HE WAS SMILING AND IT WAS SO COOL I ALMOST DIED. I also met the actress (Trista Moldovan) who plays Christine this tour and found out that she's from here and that she went to one of the colleges my parents want me to look at. We talked for a little bit about how totally incredible the show is, and it was amazing to hear what the show meant to her.

And I didn't fangirl in front of her like an idiot and she signed my playbill and the next time my Mom and I go we're standing outside the stage door earlier to catch Erik (Tim Martin Gleason) and Raoul (Sean MacLaughlin). we're not stalkers, no. 

Now as I sit here listening to my monkey music box chime the tune to Masquerade over and over again, with the 2004 Movie Soundtrack (starring Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, and Patrick Wilson) going in the background, I feel so inspired just to create. I never thought that seeing the show would do this to me; I'm still shaking just thinking about it. 

Today will be a good day.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I know that this isn't supposed to be easy, but goddamn, how the fuck am I supposed to do this if I can't even take a notebook and write what I want to happen in the novel? How am I supposed to write the story I want to write if I don't believe in the characters I'm attempting to create? I think I need to just relax about this whole thing. Maybe today I won't do so much in the way of hardcore plotting, and just figure out Lee. Maybe I'll go on the NaNo forums and see if anyone would mind roleplaying with him for a minute or two.

In the meantime: the secret to productivity isn't plotting or characters, it's totally a massive box of Wonka Sweet Tarts.

Doubting is never fun

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Setting

This is the post I've been wanting to get to the most because I get to put pictures in it.

Lee and Cameron are from Shawnee, Ohio. Shawnee was founded in 1873 and was the largest town in Perry County for a very long time. It was based on the lucrative coal mining industry that sustained it throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century. As the coal mining industry began to fail, so did Shawnee; it is now classified as a semi-ghost town and was home to only 608 people in 2000. An overwhelming number of those people were white: 606 people out of 608 were Caucasian. 

The median income for a family in Shawnee is $37,000. The median income for a man over eighteen is $31,000 a year.

Baghdad is one of the oldest cities in the Middle Eastern World. It was the pinnacle of class during the Abbasid Caliphate and it was founded on the banks of the Tigris River in the 8th century. It remains to be home to 7-7.5 million people. Formerly, it was Saddam Hussein's stronghold, but it was the object of a United States (who were aided by a coalition of other countries) invasion that began the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars in March 2003.

Baghdad and Shawnee: don't think I could have found two greater, more different places.

The Plot

Is it obnoxious that I'm posting so much in a day? No one follows this blog, but I think it is. I'm just making it up for when I forget to update this/am too lazy/don't have time. I'm sure these extra posts will come in handy sometime and plus they're making me feel good. 

The Plot
This is technically the most important thing of a novel, right? This is what people read for, right? This is also the part that I can never write without sounding like a pretentious bitch, so here it goes.

My story is about a gay Marine who is discharged after he is WIA (wounded in action) in Baghdad, Iraq by a roadside bomb. A Facebook picture of Lee kissing another man in a gay NYC club surfaced, and was matched back to a trip he took while on leave. While he struggles to come to terms with himself and his country long after the war has become unpopular, his younger brother Cam must salvage his broken relationship with his longterm fiancée in order to earn his way back into his unborn son's life.

There. That's the plot. Pretty simple. I wish.

The Characters

Have the basics of my two main characters now.

Main Character One:
Lee Garrett Jr.
Born: December 2nd, 1977
Hometown: Shawnee, Ohio
Purpose in Story: Main Protagonist
Relation to Other Characters: Older brother to Cameron Garrett

Main Character Two:
Cameron Garrett
Born: September 18th, 1979
Purpose in Story: Secondary Protagonist
Hometown: Shawnee, Ohio
Relation to Other Characters: Younger brother to Lee Garrett

A couple secondary characters now:

Secondary Character One:
Lee Garrett Sr.
Born: July 4th, 1945
Hometown: Savannah, Georgia
Purpose in Story: Secondary Character
Relation to Other Characters: Father to Lee and Cameron

Secondary Character Two:
Rose Marie Garrett
Born: April 9th, 1947
Hometown: Dublin, Georgia
Purpose in Story: Secondary Character
Relation to Other Characters: Wife to Lee Garrett Sr.; mother to Lee and Cameron

Secondary Character Three
Charlotte "Charley" Bryant
Born: May 30th, 1981
Hometown: Shawnee, Ohio
Purpose in Story: Secondary Character
Relation to Other Characters: Fiancée to Cameron and mother of his son

I feel more official now that I have goals. I don't like goals, but after shoving myself into NaNoWriMo last November without any idea what the hell I was doing, I know I need them. My goal for tonight is to start on those goals, since I was a little premature announcing Phantom to the Internet...not seeing it until tomorrow, whoops, mah bad.  One of my friends made fun of me after NaNo was over and I was home on a Friday night after my horseback riding lesson that I was "trying to change the world" again. 

I don't think I want to change the world, but the only people who actually do change the world are the ones who don't mean to. There's some quote somewhere about never underestimating the power of a small group of people with a common goal, but I don't remember who said it and I'm sure that I just butchered it. Oh well. I don't need to change the world, I need to write my story. There's a difference somewhere in those two goals; the main one being that "change the world" isn't on the goals list that I just whipped up and stuck on the side of this page. 

So. Goals. 

Year long goals:

  • Write the first draft of my novel
    • Edit the first draft of the novel
  • Write the second draft of the novel
    • Edit the second draft of the novel
Week long goals:
  • Decide on main characters
    • Basics for all of them, however many there may be
      • Name
      • Age
      • Occupation
      • Purpose in Story
      • Relation to other Characters
  • Outline the basic plot of the novel
    • Outline the basics of the novel
      • Setting
      • Number of Chapters
      • Number of "sparks"
  • Outline the first three chapters of the novel
I should be pretty busy this week. Somehow, I'll get it all done, starting with the main characters tonight.

The Novel

This is the story that's possessed me for over a year now. It was a year back in May, I think, so that means that I've been dealing with this monstrosity for a year and a couple months. It started with a dream that involved Gerard Butler and evolved from there; it's become so much more than that stupid, fangirly dream. Now it's about politics and war, love and acceptance, and everything in between. It's about recovery and catharsis.

Knowing all that doesn't help me write it one bit. Because no one, besides me, gives a damn about it's themes. If there's anything that reading Janet Reid's excellent blog, Query Shark, has done for me, it's drilled into my head that:

1) you never put your contact information at the beginning of an email query letter
2) you have about a sentence and a half to get the agent's attention so you better not waste time or words
3) people don't give a damn about themes when they paid for a story

So themes don't matter. Characters do. From characters come a story and that's what readers want. That's how you get published, not how you become a best-seller. Becoming a best-seller is, of course, what everyone dreams of, including me. But that's like buying a lottery ticket every week for your whole life and never losing hope that you'll win eventually. And that's damn near impossible.

I decided to completely revamp my story last night. The plot's still the same, the backbone of my main character is still the same. In fact, I can still pull the same writing exercise from November when I started NaNoWriMo and had no idea what the fuck I was doing. But the characters have changed, and that's a good thing.

I started to write last night and I have a couple hundred words of the story I always meant to tell.

Let Your Soul Take You Where You Long to Be

Floating, falling, sweet intoxication....Let the dream begin!

Seeing Phantom of the Opera tonight. If you know anything about me, you know just how important this story is to me. Sure, Leroux's Phantom wasn't exactly anything to fangirl over, and ALW's new musical Love Never Dies destroys everything that's good and magical about the original in the way that only poorly written fanfiction can, but the original Phantom is amazing. Susan Kay's novel, Phantom: The Story of his Life, passed my incredibly difficult test of Does My Fangirl Approve of this Erik with flying colors.

I don't really know why I love the story of Erik, Christine, and Raoul as much as I do. I've tried to figure it out, and I think it comes down to this. It's a story of how we perceive love and how we react to our surroundings when we're out of our comfort zones. Christine loved Erik in his lair, when she was still suspended within his magic. She loved him within her soul -- where his mask and the deformity it hid didn't matter. She loved Raoul because of convention and youth: Raoul was the right one to love, and Erik was not.

Erik, oh, oh Erik. He is the most intriguing character I've ever read. And I've read a lot of very intriguing characters. How can someone who is so totally broken and perverse inspire so many like he does me? I know that Americans love an underdog story, but damn, he was first written in pre-WWI France (if I remember the original date of Leroux's novel's publication correctly). So what if he was a little more crazy, a little more deformed, and a little more maniac in Leroux's novel? That's the purest form of Erik, I think. Kay gave him a backstory and a life beyond Christine and the Opera Populaire; ALW gave him the voice of an Angel while still keeping true to the insecurities that define Erik's character.

Raoul's the character that I love to hate, though reading Susan Kay's novel changed that slightly. I was able to make it through the 2004 Phantom without gagging or jeering at the screen whenever he came on, which is a first. He really just is the "good guy". He's the quintessence of cute and chivalrous and he's loved Christine since they were childhood sweethearts in the attic after he saved her scarf from the sea.

And Jesus H. Christ, that makes me gag.

ALW's Love Never Dies screws with all that is good in the world: Raoul becomes a drunk, Erik runs a freakshow from his tower on Coney Island under the name Mr. Y and Christine's kid is actually his.

Did they pay the fanfiction writers they stole that from? 'Cause I think my thirteen year old self deserves some compensation for that plot that was obviously mine.

Anyway, the point of this post isn't actually to prove that I'm a total and complete Phantom phangirl. It's to wonder what the hell makes some characters so damn alluring as Erik to make his followers completely ignore and forgive all of his mistakes, crimes, and otherwise cringe-worthy behavior. Somehow, I doubt even Leroux would know what's become of his character.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm most comfortable sharing my writing with people I've never really met. I might never meet them. Some people probably think I'm crazy and stupid for breaking the cardinal rule of life: don't talk to strangers, but how are they strangers if I've trusted them with something as personal as my writing? Without most of them, I never would have developed into the (struggling) writer I am right now.

And they're the best writing friends I ever could have right now, because they're willing to listen to my problems and help me through them in ways that I can't really explain. They're the only ones to say, Rewrite it, forget your characters, if it makes you feel better!

So long as I don't forget the story.

At this point, I don't think I could ever forget the story if I tried.

I Want to Write About Gay Marines like Cormac McCarthy

And now's time to start the real fun shit. I already don't know why I started this blog. It's been what, twenty minutes? This is looking good already.

There is a story that I want to tell. A story about a gay Marine in today's world and war. My parents have chosen to remain mostly silent on my choice of subject matter, but I'm sure they're thinking How the hell did we raise such a damn liberal? But I don't consider myself a liberal, or a conservative, or an independent. I consider myself a person who doesn't want to blow the Middle East off the map because the culture there fascinates me and I believe that you can't blame a population for the beliefs of a crazy few who have taken a beautiful religion and culture and twisted it to meet their own ends.

They called for jihad against the West, so how does it make us any better than them if we do the same against them?

But those are the thoughts of a damn liberal in a house of damn, foolish conservatives. Politics aren't my story, though they certainly play a roll in it. No, my story's about Todd and how he chooses to live.

If only I could give him any life to life.
My name is Hannah and I'm desperate enough to try anything at this point. My name is Hannah and I am a teenage writer struggling to find her muse in the midst of summer afternoons free of anything pressing to do. Even write. See, that's my problem; writing isn't pressing. It isn't something I need to do now, because I'll have time to do it tomorrow.

I've mastered the art of procrastination by now. What writer hasn't? None that I know of. None that are published, too. I think what I need is to master the art of Artful Procrastination. Procrastination with a purpose. Hence this blog. I'm sure no one will read this unless I tell them about it, and I'm sure that some people that I mention it to won't read it. I'm not sure if I want anyone to read it. But if I didn't want anyone to read it, why would I put it up on the Internet?

Nothing you put on the Interwebs ever goes away. That's the beauty of it. It's impermanent, intangible, and yet totally permanent. All at the same time.

So this is my blog. Duh. This is my blog where I'll post everyday, even if I have to write "post on the damn fucking blog" backwards on my forehead. This is me trying to become an artful procrastinator in the hope that, if I let myself have an outlet that isn't one of my stories, I'll actually start to work on those stories.

I'm listening to Enth e Nd. One of Linkin Park's songs from a while ago with Motion Man.

I'm picking up my summer reading, emailing my Latin teacher about my MIA Vocab list, and snagging Stephen King's On Writing from the bookstore today.

And I think I'm more insane than I was five minutes ago for trying to write a novel during my junior year of high school.