Monday, November 29, 2010

PL Hell 7: Finished w/pt. 1 (EARLY!)

(simulcast on

I... am done. My Pink Lemon story is finished.
This was a crazy, crazy month, what with the holidays, my trying to get my GED, my first snow (I'm from Southern California; I'm now 20 miles south of Salt Lake City), getting a job (I got laid off from the metal shop :( ), and the pressure of rewriting my own mythology so that it makes sense were all looming over my head.

What I'm going to do now, aside of proclaim that I'm going to Disneyland and not actually do it, is stick in a few plot threads, and finish up some editing. Afterward, I think I'll put it away for about a month and finish up 2FOTS. This detour was nice, but I've been kept from 2FOTS for a while now... I'm still sick of it, but man, do I want to see it published.  When that month, or so is up, I'll take it out again, and read through it. Then, I'll take out my red pen and my (grandmas) copy of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King, and put it into a more readable form.

Hey, considering the mythology that I laid out, writing a drive for Samuel Campbell will be a bit easier, however batshit insane he is, anyway.

In other news, unless either I or a lot of people see a GLARING and INTOLERABLE error in this first story, I think that this might be the very last time that I write the Anne Redford the Psychic Girl plot for the sake of refining the story (I'll jump to write a screenplay any day). I think that it's done. I think that I hit the nail on the head this time and pounded  it in so that it contributes to the overall home that my stories of Levithor inhibit. This is it, guys. I think that I am done.

I'll release it soon, hopefully to

Oh, Dragonforce, Dragonforce, Dragonforce for Pink Lemon!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

PL Hell 6 (PANIC!)

I am 37457 words into this gig and I have been (non Nano) busy! I have moved again (I got a room within the same house; I was kicked out of the basement) and got a swank 'L' shaped desk to put my stuff on proper. My iPhone broke after updating to the new firmware (I have a basic 3G), but iTunes was nice enough to back it up before updating, but it was at the cost of devouring my podcasts... again. It's fine now, I got it working and got everything back, bar the Geek Fu Action Grip archives. I also got a Windows Vista laptop to call my own, sort of. No more WinXP...yay?

Anyway, I am panicking in a bad way because my NaNo work is falling behind. I'm panicking in a good way because I decided to write this PL story from the start by *gasp* giving my characters free will instead of directing their personalities like puppets. Why am I panicking over that? I don't know what they are going to do. They stuck to the outline as planned, but a lot of characters, heroes and villains alike seem to want to storm off going 'screw this! There's other people around, let them deal with it!' What makes them not want to do this, I have yet to figure out.
  I also went by the idea that, the first thought is usually the best one. Looking back, I never really did that and my work probably read a little stale because of it. I used the fourth or fifth idea and my characters weren't able to be themselves -- and I didn't realize that!
  I think that the good panic boils down to my being the director and being totally unsure of where this is going. I have a story, yes, they're sticking to it because of events seeded in whatever would logically be "the beginning" of the story, obviously, but the free will my characters possess is frightening me, but I also want to see where it all ends up. 
  I'm seeing also where my influences came from and they are shining in spades here. Dean Koontz, the DCAU (Tim Daly & Kevin Conroy, FTW!), Solitaire Deuce, TranceKuja2k, Daria and Quinn Morgendorffer, The City by Vangelis,and a little, very little bit of Monty Python. Maybe a little Elise Riggs and Allegra Sauvagess.
  This is pretty exciting, seeing where the story is turning up, where it's mood is headed, and how the characters will, or won't get out of it alive.
  I'm going to finish this sucker up, and hope that I make it to 40,000 words by the weekend--or tomorrow!!

Wish me luck,
(Must... close... Wonderella tab!)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What Does It Mean To Be An Elastition?

A complainers blog by Toby Gard.

My main gimmick currently inhibiting in my stories is to let average people have the ability to stretch their bodies, literally, as if they were made of rubber. These kinds of people are referred to as ‘elastitions.’
  With the elasticity, I’ve come up with all different sorts of perks (read, mini-gimmicks) to go along with it. Of those perks, they have the ability to become intangible and fly in the process (though I might remove that), they can  obviously stretch up to reach higher items that if used in prolonged situations can keep blood from flowing, partake in odd sports that resemble archery in zero gravity, wear space spandex that behaves like a Dri-Tek dream by forming comfortable amounts of ice from perspiration, and it essentially slows the aging process by (I think) ¾ of the norm; a septuagenarian will look 30 or something, for example.
  Above all, aside from stretching; an elastitions skin can glow when their adrenaline levels get high. Awesome.
  Here’s my problem. Is that all that there is to it? Is it worth it on a human scale to be able to do all that stuff and not have my fictional people flip out on a human rights “that aint right” kind of way? Some of those are fine for practical real word situations, but I don’t think that they carry enough weight to hold out in a sci-fi action story.
  “Yeah, the story was good, but I couldn’t figure out why those guys were stretchy for no reason. It seemed kinda hokey and weird.” Thus dooming me to the niche pile, and that’s bad in the long run.
  Oh sure, I could go for the entire what is it to be human, and is being an elastition still being human? (if you have a human mindset that was not altered, then YES! YOU ARE STILL HUMAN, EVEN IF YOU ARE REALLY GOO! …but I understand that people would still have problems with that.). I am writing about that concept right now, but I don’t really want that to be my main theme. I’m welcome to it if that’s where it goes though.
  Is my own optimism getting in the way again and I don’t know it, allowing me to unknowingly shun whatever sort of flaw that would make this concept more interesting? How can I make it interesting and weave it through each story without calling attention to it, but making the story impossible without it?
  The Correct Answer is, of course, Anything I Want (but it damn well has to work!), I’m the writer, after all.
  Don’t get me wrong, I DO have plans, I’m not running out of steam – I’m 23, I have my whole life ahead of me! My problem is that my plan for my chronology in my universe with Pink Lemon and elastitions, called Levithor, technically works with the elastition concept (in a word; War!), but where the concepts should be at Ten!, it’s just at, maybe, four or five; neither italicized nor carrying an ungrammatical exclamation point. It lacks oomph!
  Most of my characters are common men and women, the kind likely to be reading some more famous blog and/or watch Glee. What does it mean on a gratifying and entertaining level, for the readers, for the common man and woman to be an elastition without looking like the idea was just put there like a mole on Samus? How do I make it bigger and better? I’ve got it down for the heroes, natch, but what of those that ran away from, like, Godzilla as the elastic hero subdued him? What’s their story and what advantage does stretching bring them?
  Oh well, as I demonstrated in my Pink Lemon Pastiche with the Plot Hole, I capitalize on writers block and acknowledge it while moving ahead in the story. Maybe I’ll just write about how useless boring being an elastition is in universe and see what happens.
  After all that’s said and done, and I’m through with tinkering in Levithor, I think I’ll find another gimmick. Maybe it’ll be balloon animal doggies. That way I can dig myself even deeper into odd internet niches as the clown that takes himself too seriously. …I self-deprecate, of course.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

PL Hell 5

sorry for the lack of writing blog, my essay skills suck, so I'm going to hone them a bit more.
That and with the holidays, plus NaNaWriMo, new PC software along with the hardware, my GED and stuff getting in the way, it makes it tough to get anything done.
I might practice essays that are not in a story format for a while, and then get back to writing some things I learned from my writing probably in January. I'm not going to say that I forgot this blog again, because then the 404 monster will deny me access to this board and impart thoughts in my head pertaining to getting a proper life, and we don't want THAT to happen, do we?

Anyway, I have 27164 words as of this writing. Sarra is elastic and being a jerk about it, Lora's trying her best, Tench is a dork, yet competent, and so is Levan, but in a different way. Bridget came by to fight, since I needed more action, and she's a holy terror, to the point of looking like that literally; a holy terror. I didn't know she was going to do that, but it was fun to "watch." Lora actually passed out for a second and banged her shoulder.

Anyway, yeah. I need to write some more, obviously, but I noticed that some scenes lack feeling and fall short. I told instead of showed. I need to keep those in mind and extend those scenes out so that I can convey the feeling properly.

For those who like Cindy, or learned to like her in the snip it of the rewrite,she's not gone, she still has the same role. She's just more like Chekhov's gun rather than the partner now so that LORA could be the PROTAGONIST. The problem now is that Sarra and her struggle with being a cocky hero is turning out to be more interesting, so I need to do something for Lora.

Okay guys, that's about it for now.
I'm going to high five a shark later today, woo hoo! but before that's done, I am going to write, because I should be writing.(Thanks, Mur for providing me with a guilt trip mantra.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pink Lemon Hell (Or: The Horror of NaNoWriMo) Part 4

As of THIS writing, I have 15300 words, 12000 more than last week. Woo-Hoo!
My writing is coming along fine and I even made up for the gap that my *twitch* Gateway Computers experience left.  The story is really picking up. Some minor changes that I made, for long time PL readers, is that the former Sergei Slade character is renamed to Bill Garner. The Sergei Slade name was given to the former Dr. Lincoln Dark--because the pun was bloody wretched!
Also, I extended the plot in a couple of ways. I combined the stories with Anne and Bridget into one conglomeration, well, I actually just introduced Bridget earlier. I had a conflict with myself about making the PL stories episodic, and finally just dropped that in order to emphasize that it's one 600 (700?) page book split into three parts where they can each stand on their own. Tolkien would be pissed at me.
Oh yeah, Sarra became stretchy. Yes, the EnWol Gauntlets (formally the PL/CC earrings) had their elasticity stripped from them, but why did it affect both pairs when only one pair, the one that Lora would eventually receive, was caught in the previous drafts? It didn't make that much sense, so Sarra's stretchy now; I guess technically gooey.
I also had another idea while writing the outline. That portal that Anne creates, what does it do? Where did it go? How can I exploit that into something interesting? So yeah, our heroes get sucked into the Anne's portal. To where it leads, we'll find out soon.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gateway Gave Me the Gateway

  I originally made this blog out to be for my MST3K style riffs, and then retooled it into my writing blog. This one though, although I’m not deviating from the format again, this one will be a little different. It will also be on target because I use a computer for my writing.
  My old eMachines, a T3624, had a gig and a half of RAM, a 60 GB HDD, a GeForce FX 5500 (clearance at Wal-Mart), Windows XP SP3, a 17” 4:3 monitor and a single core 2.7 gHz processor. Not bad for five years ago.
  Well, the time came when the old thing was not performing well. Oh sure, I kept it in good condition and all, I physically cleaned the inside for dust biannually, but I noticed that more modern software was becoming a hassle to run. Heck, Premier Elements 2.0 wouldn’t run without a huge strain—and thine protests from an 80 decibel cooling fan.
  Although I loved my old bucket, and I still do, I decided that I needed to get a new one.  So, from my paycheck at Majestic Metals, I saved up a bit of cash and nabbed an offer at CostCo (red flag count: 1) that I could not refuse. I found a Gateway (red flag count: 2) DX4320-02e. This was a Windows 7, six gig, quad-core, 640 GB HDD system with a 23” 16:9 monitor all for $749.99 with a $100 automatic rebate. I was sold and so was the computer. I took the box-o-crazy back home, content that I was a few hundred words ahead on schedule in NaNoWriMo, ready to spend the night migrating everything over from my poor 60 gig eMachines.
  This is where my first non-oblivious red flag went up. As soon as I hooked it up next to the eMachine, waited through some startup stuff, and entered my overall password for the thing, it bluescreened on me before I even touched the desktop (red flag count: 3).
  I, being an optimist (but I’m not stupid), was more deeply confused rather than shocked. I wrote down the error, and restarted. It booted twice (?!) (red flag count: 4) after asking if I wanted to boot in safe mode, as if it was trying to tell me that danger (or stupidity) was the only option. I rebooted it, on my toes after two legitimate problems had happened, and updated the drivers. This was after I found no logical connection between an overheating error and a computer that was sitting in 50-degree weather just turning on for the first time. Afterward, everything was great… for about four hours.
  As two AM rolled around, I still sat, well, where I am as I write this, babysitting Windows Easy Transfer in the dark (technically in the basement). Two keyboards, two mice, two monitors, two towers, I looked like I was programming a worthy successor to the sasser worm. I got up to grab a decaffeinated Mountain Dew and take a leak, and Windows decided to go on standby. That wasn’t a big deal; I could just press the spacebar. When I pressed, this happened:

(red flag count: 83,465,783,783,264!!!)
  That’s right, my advanced Windows 7 machine decided to tumble down from the 64-bit lineage to 8-bit hell, deciding to chill with the TI-99/4 and the Apple III to smoke rolled up ARPANET’s for all time.
  “Dude, you gotta try this stuff! I see MISSING NO.!”
  Box-o-crazy indeed.
  Okay, this did not happen exactly, the password screen had some misplaced pixels here and there looking more like a bad JPEG picture of the screen. Oh, and it froze. (red flag count: 5 for real)
  I started to panic. I turned off the machine, which held 90% of my eMachines HDD data, mind you, and restarted it. I could hear the whispers rushing from the screens cold, dead blackness. Actually, I just heard an odd rhythmic click from the tower. The clock was threatening to chime three in the morning, well past the witching hour, and I decided forced myself to sleep on it.
  Saturday morning hit, a time that I used to spend eating Fruity Pebbles and sitting in front of the Nintendo playing Super Mario as I waited for Pokemon to come on. Hold on a sec, I still do that. Well, there was no time for nostalgia to take over my life; I had an expensive brick to mend!
  And that it was…. A brick…. My new Gateway Computer… was a brick. I listened for that odd clicking sound that came from the night before, and found that it was not coming from the HDD, as common sense would lead me to believe, but from the Ethernet port. There is a top green light and a bottom orange light on every port on every computer with an Ethernet cable. The orange was blinking in synchrony with the clicks.
  Finding that I was clueless in this computer related matter, I threw my head back ferociously, and made a Big No so robust that it would make almost anyone in Star Wars proud.
  (red flag count: 6)
  So I went to Costco, and, bitter but hopeful, I swapped that new and improved brick of a DX4320-02e with a different and better DX4320-02e. This was given in the return line with a scathing and bitter note to Gateway about their fluke and that one unit. Actually, it was a request to destroy the hard drive since I had bank account information on it (I can’t delete if I can’t access), and I was vulgar without the use of cusswords, so I hope that my urgent request went through.
  I swapped it and left, the problem here is that the worst had already passed, yet the story is not finished, so please excuse my lack of something thrilling like “The worst has yet to come, true believers!”
  Anyway, know what happened with that new one? The one that I swapped for the old one?
  It did not even power up. Right out of the box with the plastic still on it. It. Did. Not. Turn. On.
  (red flag count: 7)
  I looked at the orange power light of the monitor, and the deadness of this true brick, and I did what any normal person would do before taking an expensive yet faulty item back. I shouted several fragmented sentences pertaining to excrement from bulls, bulls partaking in intercourse, the male offspring of a female dog in heat, more excrement from bulls, and any sort of eternal damnation into the pitch black void from beyond that would fit the context.
  (red flag count: 8)
  After I recovered from my fatal heart attack, I was advised to call Gateway and chew them out politely (“Good sir, would you be so kind as to allow me to rip your head off and pour acid down your neck? I would deeply appreciate it ever so much.”). I recomposed myself exactly eight hundred and one hours later, and called up Gateway. There, I was talked to by a recording of a real lady that had apparently had parts of each word clipped off, so she sounded like some old WWF toy with a voice box.
  I went along with it. It asked if I had a Windows problem, or a power problem, I replied that I had a whole dang computer problem. As I went on, it suddenly interrupted itself, as if a very rude clone had butt-in and totally shut out its first duplicate, all to speak with special old me, and said that the serial number for the tower was needed.
  Odd, but whatever.
  I told the machine on the other end of my iPhone all about the sexy numbers (it gets off on pi really badly, I imagine), all in the exact same robotic way in which it was talking to me. In the middle of my reciting the number, a third clone interrupted and said that I would need to call a separate 900 number to get more assistance. I saw its metallic eyebrows rise and fall with naughty intent in my head when it said assistance.
   (red flag count: 9)
  I was a bit confused as to why some robots at Gateway were so interested in me, so I hung up and went back to CostCo, the second time in four hours, to exchange the same thing for just cash back. Maybe it was the whole situation, maybe I thought that there was a bad batch of Gateway computers there and that the employees and my grandpa agreed with me (red flag count: 10), maybe it was that I was ready to pass out from swearing till I was blue in the face, but I just did not feel like the ‘don’t-take-no-for-an-answer’ Jim Kirk kind of guy then. My art is a delicate subject, and if the computer that I do it on is faulty, than my art suffers, and I get even angrier.
  I gave up, I stopped harping for a gateway computer, I was lost, broken, and torn, lying naked the cold, dark void that I had cursed the other two Gateways to earlier. A crow cawed in the distance, carried and distorted by the sound of wind that was paired happily with television static. What was I to do, my experience with buying a new computer hampered by the two DX4320-02es? My soul hurting from the prospect of going back to my very well loved, but trusty eMachines T3624.
  I reached up to a light, a yellow price ticket. I went to Best Buy; got an HP p6654y and now I’m all better.
  AMD-Athalon II 630 quad-core, 4 gigs of RAM (expandable to 16 GB!!) , 750 GB HDD, a 20” 16:9 monitor, Windows 7, and an ATI Radeon HD 4200.
  I had told some of the team members about my experience that is outlined above, and they said that it was odd (yeah, duh), and that the Gateway company, despite being awesome at one time, was bought out by Acer, a computer company known (that’s what they told me) for poor, budget computers. (red flag count: 11) That actually explained a bit.
  I left the best Buy with my new prize, praying to the gods of probability that this HP with the Nightmare Before Christmas font would work. When I got home, I was told by my grandmother that she was talking to her friend about my ordeal. She learned that gateway sells their refurbished computers to CostCo, Wal-mart, and other big box stores that don’t put focus on electronics, but carry them anyway. (red flag count: 12 and 13) That actually explained a bit more than I needed. That actually explains my tweet here too. It was a recent Gateway keyboard obtained from Deseret Industries. I was too worn to note a flag for the keyboard.
  I took my true box-o-crazy down to the basement, where my epochal T3624 welcomed me with it’s 60 decibel fan that goes whenever it starts up, and I begun a HDD migration.
  I finished late Saturday, and this new HP is now fully acclimated. There have been no major errors as far as hardware failure goes, just a little bit of slowdown, but that was my fault. I typed up this whole essay on the new HP while my T3624 lies in a corner, the both of us hoping that with whatever life is left in it will be put to good use before it absolutely needs to be recycled.
  The only thing that bugs me now about this tribulation is a simple question. Why do I keep personifying computers as if they were real people? I really need to spend some time outside…
  Regardless though, now I must leave you, for I am now two and a half bloody days behind schedule for the Pink Lemon story!
  I really should be writing (stories)!

  Total red flag count: Unlucky thirteen
  Pretty bad for computer shopping. I’ll put my character Sarra through the same hell… with a DeLorean Motorcar, perhaps.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pink Lemon Hell (Or: The Horror of NaNoWriMo) Part 3

As of this writing, meaning that the widget is incorrect, I have 3,970 words.
This... this is pretty tough, but it's not as tough as I would have thought. I furiously wrote an outline (that technically does not yet have an ending) and I'm using that as a guide line to flesh the story out. All I need to put is fleshed out events and dialogue if I follow the outline closely. As far as it can reasonably be said, this book should be fairly easy to finish. 

Wish me luck.

I'm sorry about the lack of an essay this past weekend,  I write parts of it, but it got bigger than I could fathom, plus I went down to Fillmore and got a nasty bruise from riding on an ATV on my leg. I'm fine, don't worry. I'll try to finish the essay as soon as I can.

Day-after edit: