Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pink Lemon Hell (Or: The Horror of NaNoWriMo) Part 2

  NaNoWriMo starts next week, this coming Monday, to be exact, and I'm terrified. I want to do this, I really do, but how will my five day a week, eight hour a day job and my GED work suffer? I have to write five pages a day through November, and yes, even if I don't make it, I'll keep writing the story, but I would still like to finish actually writing it in November.
 The summery of my story can be seen here:
  What's my progress on the story? Well, I'm finalizing the notes to follow, so that I can nip writers block in the bud, I outright eliminated a mouse, I pushed some dialogue where I wanted it to go to flesh out the story, and, well, I combined a few PL stories in a runaway attempt to make nine small books into a trilogy. I have ideas, yes, but we'll see how the PL stories take off first. I need to make this one more self contained.
That's about it, I should have the notes done by Monday, and I'll update this next Wednesday when I have some pages written out.

Mur Lafferty's podcasts guilt tripped me into thinking that I should be writing (A good thing, mind. ;)), so I'm going to do that. See you on the weekend with another essay, hopefully more well written.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Wanna Get Lost In Your 8-bit Show And Drift Away

                I love music, and I don’t mean in a casual “Haay beetch, dat new Lady Gaga/Michael Jackson/Britney Spears song is really off da hook, huuuuh?!” sort of way either. I mean, I really love music. Period. I love classic rock, 80s pop, trance, 40s jazz, new age jazz, spaced-out ambient, and the like. It’s just easier to list what I don’t like!*
  It’s to the point where I know the difference between Dutch Trance and Swedish Techno (the former is more melodic, and the later is stereotypical techno), the difference between Bon Scott and Marc Storace (A.K.A., “I can’t Believe It’s Not Bon Scott”), my Sansa e260 has 1,600 songs on it, and I know who Starship Amazing, Butterfly Tea, and Denny Schneidemesser are. Beat that Paw Dugan! (I’m sure that he can quite easily)
  Anyway, I came up with this topic while writing my previous topic about my video game collection disguised as regretting my time playing them in excess. A good half of all the games that I kept was majorly for the soundtracks. I discovered the phenomenal Deepsky through SSX 3, gained respect for Stewart Copeland for his work in Spyro the Dragon (but not The Police), and gushed over the myriad of composers that brought the music of Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, 3, 3.5 and 4 to video games.
  Unfortunately, (record needle scratch) I cannot play any instruments, nor do I have a desire to. On my Dads side of the family, a good most of them are musicians, although some, not all, mind, aren’t that bright. On my Moms side, there are a few here and there, but they are all laser honed to being teachers and intellectuals. How I got in this jam of not having a high school diploma at 23 when I’m willing to do what is asked of me by nature, I don’t know. This odd duo of having composer and academic qualities intertwines my tastes in music into a bowel of mixed peanut butter and chocolate that represents its sweetness. This leads to the theme of this topic: My favorite kind of music, and how I use select tracks to get into the mood for writing my scenes.
  Now a word, since music is a sensual experience and mear words cannot express how wonderful you think a song is without sounding like you wrote Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, I will provide links to the songs, but since I plan to bring up backlogs when I need a week or so (What’s a rerun?), I’m going to find the most permanent example that I can find. I detest with a passion how music-featuring blogs will show off a song only to end in torment. If you click the link, it leads to a pink banner that says that BMG or Warner Bros got pissy and removed the video/song from YouTube. I hate that, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t use the video site if needed.
  Now, how has music as a whole helped me see scenes in my stories?
  My mental process suggests that I’ve seen too many movies, despite the contrary (I have yet to see Animal House, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Dark Knight((!!))). Aside of how the mind works, i.e. snippets of random things here and there with repetition abound (it would drive a telepath crazy), I see my stories like scenes like a movie, camera angles, sound effects and soundtrack all meshed. It gets my heart racing, it makes me want to transcribe the event quickly, and it enhances the experience for me and the potential reader.
  Some examples,
·         For chaotic, nutty action scenes, I use almost anything by Concord Dawn, specifically The Sun, Morning Light, Cloud City and Broken Eyes. The reason being is that the fast beats, and hard synthesizers provide an adequate experience that complements the action.
·         For awe and outer space, I use Matti Laamanen – Flakes, Airbase – Tangerine, and Liam Westbrooke – The Rush I love those three songs, and they make me think of Hubble pictures, and a futuristic city of crystal spires.
·         For a different sort of awe, I look to Hydroid. Eternal (Activa Remix), The Eternal, Sonate (CHOOOON!!), and Incurved (also CHOOON!!) Hydroid the artist makes music that reminds me of St. Frances Folly, which ties back to video games, but hey, it’s nostalgic.
·         For madness (different from the above), I use a remix of Set The Controls For The Heart of the Sun by Nemesis. Guess why. (Unfortunately, I could not find a link to this version, but any remix or even the original Pink Floyd version works just fine. The Nemesis version sounds just like the original, but sung and played by interstellar bees. It works pretty well though) Mistral by GTR works too. Equivalents, I would say, are Nerve Centre, Light and Shadow, and Procession by Vangelis. All songs under this bullet terrify me for good reason, and I can transcribe the madness felt into my own characters.
·         For lighthearted jaunts, I use a variety of things, depending on the mood. Joe Satriani – Summer Song and/or Motorcycle Driver, Moby – Spirit, and almost anything on the Windham Hill label works too. I enjoy nearly everything off of the album Sign Language by Montreux; Circular Birds, To Be, and Grant Wood.
·         Relaxing scenes are for Télépopmusik – Breathe, nearly ANYTHING by Joe Boyd Vigel, Bubble Shuffle and Seaspace by Larry Carlton, and Lanz and Speer—Behind the Waterfall
·         Of course, there’s also stuff that bloody distracts me when writing, but it stimulates my mind to try and match the mood the artists expressed to use in my stories: Sugar Ray – Every Morning, Andrew W.K. – She Is Beautiful, Airbase – Spin, Electrasy - Cosmic Castaway, Keiji Matsumoto -- Never Let Me Down, Joey Diggs - Coca Cola (yes, really!), and, of course, to prove how much of a geek I am, Still Alive by Jonathan Coulton.

  I’m not really a fan of classical music aside from film scores (I cry at Test Drive by John Powell every time I hear it). I think that a good most of non-film score classical music is way too pretentious. There are exceptions though, Symphony No. 6 in F major (Op. 68) - 3rd movement, by Beethoven, The Firebird Suite by Igor Stravinsky, Fantasia, I know! Otherwise, I would go withpicking music from Medal of Honor by Michael Giacchino, Super Mario Galaxy by Kōji Kondō, The Rocketer by James Horner, and the score for Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow by Edward Shearmur is really good.John Williams, James Horner and Jerry Goldsmith are gods though! Of course, who can forget the Haunting Torgo Theme by… whoever.
  Here’s the bottom line, music helps me visualize my stories. With my rapidly developing skills as a writer, the rewards for being under the influence of my favorite music that fits the mood might, nay, will bring vast rewards worthy of the same majesties that that music expresses.
  I hope that you looked at the links and got a taste of what I like to listen to, and how I write my stories. I can only hope that one has a deeper insight into how I work, and that my methods can work for you as well.
  See you when I post my Pink Lemon progress on Wednesday, and please pray to the internet gods (Domo? Ben Huh? Evo Terra?) that the music links I chose that are on Youtube stay up.

 Random links on the subject:

*I don’t like country music of any kind; gospel; pretentious classical; stupid, stupid friggon gabber; jazz that sounds like a cat is having convulsions on a piano; “booty bass” (crunk, gangsta, etc.); Japanese pop music; and overall, RANDOM INCOHERENT NOISE PASSED OFF AS MUSIC!! (Or, stuff that is stupid, not musique concrete, artonal work from the 50s, noise, not the soundtrack to Forbidden Planet)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pink Lemon Hell (Or: The Horror of NaNoWriMo) Part 1

 (AN: This is NOT the topic that I was alluding to at the end of How To Play Video Games. This is a secondary weekly update pertaining to a 50,000 word novel that I plan to finish by November of 2010's end.)

    God bless this craft that I have allowed myself to be wedged in to. I enjoy writing, I enjoy reading, I enjoy getting inspired by how perfect and clever the work of other people came out to be after reading that I just lean back in quiet awe with a grin and say: "Wow..." It makes me optimistic to see that the human race can create something so wonderful despite horrible shortcomings.
  God damn this craft that I have allowed myself to be wedged in to. Yes, the above is true, but those aforementioned shortcomings? Yeah. Those get in the way. Bad. Especially if you lack the discipline to see that you have time to write, but you putz around on the Internet instead (like I am as I write this; damn you Doug Walker!).
  It is here where I decided that I need to do something about it, and that something is this: I need to force myself to sit down and write. Every day. No video games, no Twitter, no podcasts (unless I'm out and about), and ...decrease novel reading time, but not too much.
 So, to help with that, I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. What is this (literally) alien sounding name? Here's an exert from Wikipedia: National Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo) is an annual creative writing project coordinated by the non-profit organization The Office of Letters and Light. Spanning the month of November, the project challenges participants to write 50,000 words of a new novel in one month.
(Mur Lafferty introduced me to it by her podcasts! :D)
   The novel that I chose is a rewrite of the first story in a (below eight but above five part story arc) superhero concept of mine called: Pink Lemon. What is it? It's a story about a bubbly young woman named Lora Summers and her sardonic fraternal twin sister, Sarra, both gaining some gauntlets that grant them superpowers; the gauntlets themselves having formed several pairs of superheroes on Earth for many years, so it's like the Green Lantern Rings; they have mentors.
  Lora and Sarra find out what it's like to be sudden top notch super heroes with a reputation to keep, in a world where about sixty percent of the population has some sort of meta ability already, while dealing with a crazy witch named Morgan who seeks revenge on a supposedly nefarious warlock named Leon Donaldson and will do anything she can to achieve her goal, Morgan taking an interest in Lora's best friend and superhero in training, Cindy Richards to help complete her goal complicates the issues.
 Along the way, the world that they live in suffers from people not caring for the heroes anymore, since there is an over saturation of metas anyway, and the people in charge, those top notch heroes, face a crisis of having thier interest lost, and thus loose funding to help support the metas that can do inhuman acts, but not enough to be real heroes, and help them cope with their powers and nip supervillians in the bud.
  This summery will be at the start of every blog regarding Pink Lemon Hell since my readership on blogger is growing ever more. Don't worry though, the content will be different after the summery each time.
  What is this PLH blogger series about? I wanted to keep a public journal (thus, a blog?) documenting my progress to keep this goal up and actually sit down and write the story with a frightening deadline standing outside the window and approaching ever closer with a knife in it's hand. Whew!This is because, if I don't project expectations for myself and others around me, than I might as well never finish the book and keep watching The Nostalgia Critic and call it research (and I thought that video games inhibited my writing!).
  So, how's the PL story going right now? Well, I'm planning it out, making a summery and sweating bullets to find ways of legitimately padding it out to 50,000 words without looking gimmicky (roughly 245 pages on a 4 x 6 inch book at a 12 PT. font). This fucking terrifies me since previous drafts of the same story hit around 70 to 110 pages using the measurements in the lines above. God damn man's shortcomings!
  So, the question is, if the story is worked out, sorta, how do I complicate matters to make life hell for Lora and Sarra while making a good springboard into their new lives as heroes and at the same time, keeping story ideas separate from each other?
  Not to mention getting a 250ish page story done within a month while having a full time job with children that are not my own running around at home too. How to I do that?!
  ...Those are very two good questions...
  I'll conclude for now, and write a new entry on this topic next Wednesday. Over the weekend, I should have an entry about music in general and how it affects me and my writing as a whole.
  See you soon.

"You put an ounce in a bucket each day, you get a quart."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

How To Play Video Games

                I am a casual gamer. I’m not a hardcore gamer, or a pro gamer, or even an MMO freak (I would like a girl-gamer for a good friend though). I play Guitar Hero when I can, listen to every week, and gleefully fanboy over Sonic 4. No complaining about games, no 24/7 sessions, no overnight campouts for the BIG game of the year, I’m just a normal casual gamer, but I was not always like that.
  I used to be a hardcore gamer; I’ve been gaming since 1992 when I was five years old. I got a Nintendo Entertainment System with a port of Marble Madness, and the very okay Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle. This started my problem with this digital crutch. I had all the great NES games, Super Mario 1-3, both Zelda games, Somari, you name it, I had it.
  Over time, the collection got bigger and bigger. I ended up with a Sega Genesis with an impressive library, a Super!! (fanfare) Nintendo Entertainment System, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy III, an Atari 2600 with a plethora of games that have not been reissued, a Nintendo 64, a Playstation One and Two with a collection just as huge as the NES assortment, and Game Boys and Pokemon up the wazzoo. Of course, I could get all this stuff because we bought secondhand, and my parents loved my brother and me enough to have spent about five figures on video games throughout my 23 years on Earth, but there in lies the problem.
  First off, I have seriously, seriously calmed down. At my peak, I played Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy VII, and Crash Team Racing, among others, fifteen hours a day for two years straight in a room where a ghetto entertainment center and pair of bunk beds dominated the room with the blinds shut, a mausoleum earning the nickname of “the cave.” I lived video games, I breathed them, and I only ever came out to scavenge for food looking like a young Geico Caveman. I was a teenager.
  One day in 2004, I got the internet. With it, I yearned for something more productive, so I veered away from video games, and decided to follow the culture surrounding them instead. I wanted more to be with other gamers and pal around rather than on my own staring at Tommy Vercetti’s butt all day.
  Why am I talking about this? Well, I’m asking myself why I even mentioned Tommy Vercetti’s butt at all, but that’s not the point. The point is that I literally got nothing done as a teenager except for exercising my thumbs. I can hear my late mother laughing at me. I could have been reading all of the sci fi books that I’m just catching up on now, I could have gotten to be a better writer gradually instead of assimilating it all in four years, I could have watched Mystery Science Theater 3000 in its prime instead of discovering it on Google Video. Dude, even reading some Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers would have been more productive… At least I think that they would have, but that’s a different argument.
  Allow me to explain further, think about this. What if you forwent your workdays just to play in the holodeck, when there was a constant niggling sensation in the back of your mind regarding a burning passion that you want to achieve? Why waste time in the cave when you can feel in your bones that there is something greater in the real world that you know that you can achieve? You have the confidence to work at it, you have the ability, the drive, and the balls to get out there and make it happen… but you don’t. You put it on the backburner because the princess is in another castle, and of course, you need to make sure that she is able to rule her kingdom in between the nanosecond she’s kidnapped again by a turtle. Strong female lead, that Princess Peach.
  That was my life as a teenager. That was how I felt every waking moment, yet I pushed the feelings back, thinking that I would get to them later. Of course, I did eventually, but I know that many people do not. I know what you’re saying though. I was a teenager, and as I put in one of my own stories, the word is a synonym for “insane.” Moreover, why look back on what you should have done and dwell on it Well, that just kills all my defenses, and it makes you just want to tell me to move on and that the past is the past, moving away from my own problems with e-addiction rather than telling others to spend less time gaming.
  That’s not why I wrote this.
  I wrote this for all those people who were in my position; procrastinating to the point where their minds are too flooded with ringworlds to pursue their passion, whatever it may be. What sort of long-term productivity does a massive amount of video game playing bring? Hand-eye coordination increase from Call of Half-Halo? Better reflexes from Dance Dance Guitar Hero? How World of Everquest can increase leadership skills? How Super Portal Galaxy can help put you in the right mindset to understand physics?
  Wait, I’m turning around on myself, aren’t I? I am, yikes! Spend your teenagerdom playing video games and you’ll become a better person. Sounds like a deliberately poorly thought out fantastic aesop.
  Anyway, before this article’s point fully loops itself into a horrible knot, my final words are that I regret wasting my time being Solid Snake and Squall Lionheart because, what good did it do for me outside of being a lot of fun? Well, I played Portal and Mario Galaxy to warrant the effect outlined above later on, but pre December 2004?
  Parody fodder?
  Helping me not to fear computers as a whole? (what are RPGs but menu screens?)
  Not a whole lot else.
  I’m not decrying the video game concept, not in the least. My whole writing career came about because I wanted to make a video game (that’s a different story), I bought Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and a Sega Genesis Collection recently and I love them both dearly. I am condemning over excess of video games when you want to do other better things and you’re just procrastinating.
  This article is just my ranting about a tirade I have on video games and subtly bragging about my collection and my game knowledge when it boils down to the concept of procrastinating, isn’t it? I don’t think that I’ll retool this, but I’ll throw common sense to the wind and say that Hitler played Grand Theft Auto, and look at what he accomplished.
  Happy (responsible) Gaming.

  One good thing did come from my experience with a bunch of games, and that was the music. SSX 3, Grand Theft Auto, XGRA… This brings us to our next topic…

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Pitch For Something Perfect

A Pitch For Something Perfect
by Toby Gard

This is a story about a man living in Irvine California known as Chad Hanson. He works at a Drugstore. Chad lives with his gruff apartment roommate named Marlow Angelo (who insists that his middle name is Doom), and he works as a fry cook at a fast food restaurant.
Both Chad and Marlow have girlfriends; Gale Pryor for Chad and Amy Lucas for Marlow, the later pair barely get along due to their own fiery passion for video games getting in the way--for the both of them. Chad and Gale get along pretty well, and plan on heading for UCI Irvine together when they accumulate enough money.
One day while Chad was working, he came across a girl who was buying a packet of bubble gum. He took a look at her, and noticed that she had long blonde hair, a perfect figure, sunlight draping over her, and that she was causing everyone in her presence to admire her. The blond introduces herself as Princess Clarabelle Aurora Sakura Kawaii-Oninoko Cinderella the 3rd. She possesses pure desires, a modest attitude, and the need for a strong man by her side.
Chad, unimpressed, thinks that she is a popular cheerleader that he had missed, or a variant. He gives her the bubblegum, and she leaves the store with admirers following her around. Later on, Chad’s coworkers can do nothing but marvel over Clarabelle as a whole, her hair, her eyes, her voice, and her overall presence. Some of whom are swept to tears by a mear mention of her! Chad is befuddled to learn that his peers had declared that day as the unofficial Clarabelle Cinderella Day. Chad admits sheepishly that he did not see what was so special, and called her a showoff and attention seeker. Chad’s coworkers are horrified at the statement, and he gets a little apprehensive.
As Chad thinks that his coworkers are just messing with him, he is suddenly transported to a night time city bejeweled with neon, bright colors, and electronic noises at every turn. He slowly explores the area, and sees nothing that could help him tell where he was, or even how he arrived at that spot. Arcade machines, Japanese characters, and anime adorned the strange city of a hyper color, tie-dye nightmare. As he passes a video store, he sees someone familiar out of the corner of his eye. He turns to look and is deeply confused to see Clarabelle Cinderella, on all video covers and TV screens, seemingly the idol of this strange place.
Chad is instantly warped into his moving car, and just about to hit someone at the crosswalk. He swerves out of the way of the oncoming car and continues on, trying to figure out this strange vision. Believing he had been working too hard and studying too long, he heads home to lie down.
Chad arrives at his apartment, and he is disappointed to see that Marlow, Amy, and Gale were hanging out and playing a video game with Clarabelle Cinderella. Amidst the garnishing praise that Clarabelle was receiving in gratuitous Japanese, Chad could tell that his friends were letting her win.
Clarabelle was the first to notice Chad, and she invited him to join them. Chad declined, citing his poor gaming skills, but he was begged to do so by his friends. Chad sighed and conceded for the sake of relaxing. Over the course of the session, Chad found that his friends were cheering for Clarabelle, and they seemed to be holding back. Knowing that he was bad enough at the game to loose triumphantly any day, a surprised Chad finds that he thwarted everyone with ease, repeatedly. All the while, his friends are cheering more for Clarabelle then for Chad, the underdog of their own personal gaming tournaments.
After five rounds, Chad found that he had won every single round, with Clarabelle in second place. He cites luck for his victories, and told Clarabelle that it was a fun game. Chad’s good-natured attitude vanished when he saw a fire in Clarabelle’s eyes, suggesting that the session was more than a harmless game. Chad was spooked by the eyes. Clarabelle’s fire quickly vanished; giving way to her saying how mean Chad was for being too rough on such a tender loving thing like her. Marlow, Amy and Gale became angry at Chad for ganging up on Clarabelle.
Chad, baffled, says that he wasn’t very good at the game in the first place, and that everyone else combined would beat him with one fair swoop. Clarabelle refused to listen, and she stormed out of the apartment, stopping at the door, and giving a half-assed, run-on, sentence-fragmented speech about how people should be nicer, kinder, and stronger, going above and beyond to act more like her.
Marlow, Amy and Gale were deeply moved by her speech, and Chad’s confusion only deepened. He left to his room with heavy chagrin, and denied any sort of jealousy, and animosity toward Clarabelle that his friends were accusing him of.

As the week went on, Chad noticed that things got stranger and stranger. Everyone had begun to loose their interest in their own everyday lives, and focus more attention on Princess Clarabelle Cinderella. Chad’s coworkers bowed to her and offered to pay for her snacks and necessities; she got free food at the local upscale Tex-Mex place. She even got a 1958 top-of-the-line luxury car that played Ode to Joy on the horn and had her own chrome statue as a hood ornament. The most disturbing thing that Chad noticed was that his own nu-metal loving friend, Marlow Angelo, with Amy’s help, had thrown away all of his music, and changed to the bright, sped-up and upbeat sound of the Eurobeat genre, a staple for arcade game lovers with happy feet. Chad was also distressed to learn that the funds Marlow had been saving for a high end sports car had been given to Clarabelle for no reason. Marlow and Amy seemed to be pleased with the decision, and thought about buying a lower end car.
Chad tried to talk with Marlow, but he was stopped short when he learned that his college funds were also given to Clarabelle under Gale’s command; over four thousand dollars. Chad blew up in fury at his friends, saying that his chances at having a good life had become nil thanks to them. Their excuse was that Clarabelle thought he would be all right with the decision. Chad demanded to know what they were going to do when all their money was given to Clarabelle and they were on the street, but no one had an appropriate answer.
Chad stormed out of his apartment and met Clarabelle, standing in the middle of the empty lot, glaring disapprovingly at him. Chad marched up to Clarabelle, raised his finger to tell her off, and blacked out for the second time to that strange city filled with Neon, and Clarabelle’s face.
Chad, too angry to think straight, decided to run, and find a car so that he might be ale to escape. Unfortunately, he found neither cars, nor people, just bright neon, drowning arcade and Eurobeat music, and TV shows with Clarabelle being the best in Sailor Moon, Harry Potter, and Twilight, all anime adaptations, of course.
When Chad stopped to take a breath, he heard some cops call out to him, and he felt relieved, wanting some answers. Instead of getting what he wanted, the cops slapped some handcuffs on Chad, and told him that he was supposed to be at a mandatory seminar being given by Princess Clarabelle Cinderella. Chad did what he thought was right and fought the cops. Chad escaped and ran away with the cops close behind. He got no more than sixty feet down the road before he ran into some more cops, who pinned him down, threw him into a squad car, and drove him to Clarabelle’s seminar.
Chad begrudgingly sat through it, swearing that Clarabelle looked at him with menace several times, as the audience wooed her, and wished to adorn her with gifts. Clarabelle simply told them, with a run on sentence, that she had a hard life as a lowly street urchin with a heart of gold, until she learned that she was half-human, half cat, half giant lizard, half wizard, half vampire, half karate master, and half godlike alien on her sixteenth birthday, and became Sailor Cinderella, the official strongest hero ever. Unfortunately, she had died in her lovers arms by her mortal enemy Indoles Maturus. She was soon reincarnated back into herself with ultra powers, and angel wings that she could bring out whenever she wanted. Using her new abilities, she vanquished Indoles Maturus a second time. The audience ate it up, all the men were madly in love with her, and the women wanted to be just like her.
Chad was escorted outside for loudly throwing up.
After Chad finished showing his disapproval, the cops led him back to the police station for resisting arrest, and showing displeasure for Clarabelle and all her perfect glory. Chad sat in his jail cell bed, studying a poster of Clarabelle staring him down disapprovingly and superiorly.
Chad snapped back to the real world, where he was looking down at a form that he had just signed. In his confusion, the form was taken away. He was told that he had just signed away every penny of his future income to Clarabelle Cinderella. Gale, who he did not know was there, hugged him, and promised only good things for Clarabelle, neglecting to bring up themselves. In a growing fury and panic, Chad tried to take back the form and void it. He learned though, that after he signed it, he couldn’t back out on the deal that was made, and he fully signed away his life’s earnings to Clarabelle with no legal loopholes. Every leak was sealed.
Chad was livid! He stormed out of the bank with Gale trailing behind, telling him to think about how Clarabelle would feel if he did not sign his assets over to her. She did not understand why Chad was suddenly against the choice; that he was fine on the way over to the bank, supporting Clarabelle and all. Chad stops, looks Gale in the eye, and tells her that Clarabelle Cinderella was a fraud who had somehow hypnotized everyone. Gale thinks that he is crazy. To prove his point, Chad reels off some events that he had noticed: how everyone was talking about Clarabelle like she’s a savior, Marlow drastically shifting gears, and, as Gale noted, the city naming Clarabelle mayor.
As Gale dismisses Chad’s findings, they were confronted by a weathered man with chin stubble, and toned muscles named Stu. He says that he used to be just like Clarabelle, but he was reformed when he found out the consequences of his empty role as a Deus Ex Machina. He soon decided to set off to try and help others stop Clarabelle’s reign of perfect terror. Stu says that for Chad and Gale to help, they would need to use Clarabelle’s own reality warping power against her. Stu is very pleased to find someone who has not fallen under Clarabelle’s charms when not blacked out.
Stu, in his aforementioned Deus Ex machina way, gives Chad a small leather-bound handbook telling how to defeat Clarabelle. Chad pockets the book and asks what the blackouts are, as Gale urges Chad not to trust Stu. Chad ignores her, and listens in. Stu says that the blackouts are Clarabelle’s method of trying to make Chad see her way of being, and effectively hypnotizing him, temporarily turning him into one of her drones. The place he goes is called Akiba, named after the Tokyo district of the same name. It is a location that Clarabelle sees as her ideal fantasy world, where she is the center of attention, and is everywhere at once, worshiped, and adored.
Chad asked how to use her own power against her, but he is cut short by Clarabelle suddenly arriving and shooting Stu with a pink pistol. He went down with a dramatic yell in B sharp. The two argue with each other, Stu saying that Clarabelle’s actions are not right and that they need to end, and Clarabelle saying that Stu, her one true love, could have continued with her after she killed Indoles Maturus. Stu ignores Clarabelle, and tries to tell Chad how to stop her, but she shoots him in the head, causing Chad to run away with Gale in tow.
Clarabelle shouts out to them that they were making her goal far more frustrating than it needs to be. The two ran down the road with Clarabelle behind them, and her townspeople-turned-drones ahead of them trying to stop them. Chad and Gale rush off to their car, and drive off, deciding to leave Irvine, and see what horrors that they could mend off, and how they would defeat Clarabelle and her minions with the knowledge contained in the book.
Chad, and a freed Gale drive away, and a ragged and frantic Clarabelle marches up to Stu. She glares at him for a long time, and demands of him why she cannot be a perfect thing. In Stu’s last breath, he says that nothing can be perfect, and that’s what makes life interesting is a set of imperfections.
Clarabelle raises her pistol again, says he is wrong, and shoots him in the head, vowing to become a perfect person, adored, and loved by all, no matter what.

“Stop, stop right there.”
“What now sir?”
“This person, your Claire, that’s my daughter’s name, you know, your Claire, she is a god of some kind…”
“A Mary Sue, sir.”
“Whatever. Your Claire, is some kind of god-thing, and wants’ to take over the world by turning everyone into Borg slaves, and this one guy whose name sounds like what they use to count punch card votes, or not, is immune to her. Is that right?”
“Well, uhhh, yeah, that sums it up.”
“Kid, you have a lot to learn about making a television series. With a project like that, it could cost millions of dollars to produce. Not only would there be the standard fare of writing, casting, locations and such, but also it sounds like there would be far too many visual effects for us to spend money on. Moreover, I don’t think that our sponsors would go for such a TV show. It’s just not what the public wants.”
“Sir, with all due respect, I came from the public, and I would have to say that I know that Chad and Clarabelle’s story would attract many fans, and warrant artistic gratitude for all of us.”
“Artistic gratitude? Ha! No one wants shows like that when they sit down and watch TV, they want reality on TV, invading the lives of their next door neighbor, and seeing what kind of trouble they will get into. All with an occasional celebrity thrown in to mix up the scene, and rake in huge ratings in the teenage demographic.”
“Oh God… I’m speechless, that sounds wonderful…”
“Heh, glad you like that. Tell you what, if you change this around a little bit, we might have a deal.”
“Well, what sort of changes did you have in mind, sir?”
“Well, instead of Clarabelle, why not Jane, her name is too long already, and also, why not make Chad into a gung ho take no excuses macho man with the skimpy girl by his side. Oh, why not make Jane a failing political leader, sending Rambo-Chad into a war where he fights some kind of Bond villain.”
“I can’t make those changes! It demeans the whole story! Chad’s allure is in his humbleness, and the story doesn’t work without Clarabelle’s--”
“…The story doesn’t work without her supernatural abilities to empower, and Chad trying to stop her.”
“Then I can’t let this show pass. Hell, I can’t even let you make a pilot and show me how you would do it without those changes.”
“Can I ask you something sir? What would be better, a show that is completely original, and shows the public nothing like they have ever seen before, and said show making a lot of money, or making a show something that you think that the public would like, and earning a quick buck after you give the order to cancel it when the ratings plummet.”
“Kid, a quick buck is better then no bucks.”
“Well, then I’ll take my pitch for something perfect somewhere else. This is only the sixteenth time I have been rejected for reality TV, even by the Sci Fi Channel...”

The End…

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Work of Mur Lafferty

While living with my (stupid, technophobic, loving) aunt, I roamed across Lake Forest, Laguna Hills and Mission Viejo, most times walking for an hour or more from point A to point B. In that time, my library of about 1,400 songs on my Sansa could not hold me, so I turned to the concept of Podcasts, starting with those on

One podcast lead to another, some were, and still are a lot of fun, but others sounded like someone recorded their monotone voice in a bathroom. One day, I found This is a site where authors, or authors to be, can put up their work in an audiobook format, and I'm hoping to contribute my own work for exposure. It was there, were I searched for the best work there, and branch out after I got a taste.

Running through some stories that have received major awards from the site, I found this superhero novel:

In a small nutshell, it's about a meta hero who has the ability to retain whatever belongs to her; she cannot have her possessions stolen from her. With a small ball that's given to her that both asshole heroes and asshole villains want, she has to decide whether to comply with a party or look out for herself. That's the first part anyway.

I enjoyed this audiobook immensely, pretty much to the point where I'm going to buy a *new* copy off of Amazon to support Mrs. Mighty Mur.

She also has a The Office parody (with zombies), called: The Takeover, I did not think much of that--'cuz I don't know where to watch the show sequentially without buying the DVD's, and a podcast about her experiences writing her novels.

She also has some useless, but damn enjoyable sundries about her observations,which I enjoyed called Geek Fu Action Grip.

The real, real crown jewel of her work is the Bangsian fantasy story, Heaven, part's one through five.

This set of stories is about two dead lovers in the afterlife. They find that heaven is too perfect, and go exploring, finding that all religions are basically true. There is far more to that, and the tone changes quickly though the first part for the better, but I can't reveal anything that would not spoil the stories.

Mur's Heaven in particular strikes a chord in me because it's basically about gods roaming with mortals nonchalantly (later on, anyway), and this is the sort of fiction that I always yearned for as a teenager, but I never found and did not yet have the skills to write properly. A story where Q joins Picard for a beer without any malice intended, so to speak.
I also love it because, well, it's so close to a work that I have written and rewritten before, that her story might as well be it! If that story of mine had kept going, and I did not abandon it, then it may have been very, very similar to Mur's work. (On a rights level, I never, ever let the internet, or anyone outside my immediate family see or learn about my similar story, so it wasn't stolen, this is coincidence)

All of Mur's stories, especially Heaven, quickly became something special to me, and they all have a professional, caring hand behind them that allows excellent readability. I highly recommend her work, and I hope that, like me, you become inspired, and enlightened by her prose as much as I did.

I'm back, better than ever!

I want to be straight.
I made this blog in the first place because, well, I was scared. It was about a year ago when I realized that something was amiss in the world. I had no job, and my dads commercial real estate firm was starting to die. It was here when I realized that I needed money--fast! I knew that I had no skills and that looking like Grizzly Adams would get me nowhere fast, so I looked to the Internet to find some cash.

I opened up a Rifftrax business with good friend, John Carter (Captain Quazar and Lady Elastica, if you watch the Attack From Space video), that was unofficially called 'Ones And Ones of Dollars Productions' for obvious reasons. I produced a few, despite the Rifftrax site having problems, and made a total of about $26. A good amount for saving the financial lives of my family.

Sadly, very sadly, the buissness folded in the middle of March 2010, and my dad went to live with his girlfriend, while I went to live with my aunt, who would not allow me to eat beef, fish, poultry, salt, sugar, or flour, nor would she embrace technology like the rest of the world would. Computers keep me from chores, apparently, because that's all I did there. I had little time to find a job, I had no where else to go, and I was stuck at her house, not writing, but vacuuming, dusting, and watering 7,000 acres of land because a sprinkler system apparently costs a zillion dollars.

It was like that for seven months. With what little escape I got, I hammered out 50 pages of combined work on a paperback sized page at a 10 pt font size. Not good.
That's where being jobless without a high school diploma gets you kids. Stuck with your crazy aunt who's some kind of bizarre possession-hording vegan thing!

Anyway, seven months later, I was invited to live with my grandparents, each who work at universities, and have the degrees to prove themselves. I took it and went with them to Pleasant Grove in Utah. Now, although I still do chores, I have access to my computer and can write to my hearts content. Yay!

I reopened this blog and spruced it up because I read that some publishers won't allow anyone, anyone to be published unless they have an internet following. Since I'm trying to take my novels seriously, I figured that it would not hurt at all to take that advice and build this blog up as a base of literary operations--Deviant Art being for my visual work.

So, from everyone at LevithorArts, which would only be me, I want to welcome you back to my blog, where I'll post stories, essays, updates, book reviews and other things related to my writing.

Have fun!