Behind The Scenes

12 Oct

A revisit

I really need to use character names before someone with that name walks into my life. Well, at least  I have a timestamp to prove I was using it first. :->

Anyway, d’oh, Sam can communicate with Max when he is in wolf form. Perhaps she has to come to grips with her fears and go rescue him?

17 Nov

A new start, but with Sam

The voice sounds right in the prologue, but once the action starts, it is purely descriptive. I felt bogged down, like I was making her the perfect character. I want her shy in public, but boisterous in private. In public, she is overwhelmed by the pressures of everyone’s expectations. In private, she has anchors in Ginger and Max.

If there was any magic left in the world, there would have to be some in Tulsa. So to prove that there was any magic in the world, we would just need to scour Tulsa to find even the smallest spark. The hardiest of all magics was the wild form, so we wouldn’t waste our time looking for some which was safe and predictable. We would have to look for something dangerous, dangerous and cunning. For it would have to be well hidden to have survived the ages of reason and science.

As we survey life in Tulsa, we might eventually find a drab little house with its own drab little family. Life is hard for that family, the Parkers. The mister and missus work hard to provide for their daughter. They are proud people, but life has not been fortunate for them. A series of bad investments has wiped out their savings. That is their curse, they once had much more, but now they have to make do with broken dreams.

And life is doubly hard for Sam, their only child. For she is more than pretty beyond her years, she is intelligent. She can see beyond the surface beauty. That statement sounds so innocent, but it harbors a deeper secret – one that will be revealed in time.

While Sam is interesting, she is not the evidence we need to know that the wild magic yet lives. But she has a certain air about her, a taint if you will. One would expect a child of that drab family to be beat down, introspective, unaware of her impact on the world. Yet, she has a wild streak to her, perhaps one stroked by wild magic. So we’ll follow her for a bit, to see where she leads us.

Sam Parker was as usual huddled into a book and her escape from reality was itself a form of magic. She yearned for adventure and the local libraries provided a safe outlet. Unlike her classmates, she didn’t have a Playstation to provide relief. Some might mistakenly call her a bookworm, but at 13 she was still more of a tomboy. She kept two personalities ready for all occasions. When she had to deal with people, she was the bookworm. When she got to be with her friends, she was still the tomboy.

The bookworm kept others at bay and the tomboy kept her friends close to heart. Unfortunately for the rest of her world, her circle of friends consisted of Ginger, her cat, and Max, the boy down the street. If the teachers at school had met Ginger, they might have held out hope for Sam. But as they just knew Max, they despaired  of her ever coming out of her shell. Her cross country coach, Miss Winders, held the most hope for her, she had watched Sam blossom from a gangly preteen who was all legs to an attractive teenager.

But Miss Winders knew that Sam only came to practice and meets because Max liked to run and Sam wanted to protect him.

17 Nov

Start of story from bus stop

I felt good about this until I realized it was inner dialog, i.e., me talking…

“Hey doggie, what’s the matter? Dad drunk again? Or did your mother finally come home?” shouted the small gang of teenagers. They were lead by Bobby Teals, once we had been friends, then kindergarten arrived. He was a couple of months older, an August baby to my October, so he headed off to Grimbsy Elementary before me.

“Ignore them Max.” murmured Sam, my best friend that I’ve ever known. She had her head stuck in a book. We were sitting on the curb at the apartment complex, the school bus didn’t stop in our neighborhood.

The insults didn’t hurt, time was healing the one wound and the others were just false. My father wasn’t a drunk, it was just a good cover for what he really did – there were rooms full of the booze he bought all the time, all unopened. And my mother, well she was gone, but she hadn’t run away. Kidnapping was a serious crime – but we never got a ransom. And there was no way I was a dog, but I did wear a collar. That was the bane of my existence – the kryptonite in my personal armor. It didn’t matter that I’d been wearing it all my life, that I had a polaroid of Bobby and me dressed up as puppies for our 4th Halloween, both wearing collars, it branded me stranger than any of the emos at the middle school.

And it was one of the most normal of my oddities. Besides my apparent white trash upbringing, it was however the only one people saw anymore.

“Sam, Sam, you should come over and sit with some real men.” they started chanting. It was a morning ritual for them. They never knew what might get me started and they had to get me going before the bus arrived, with the adult witness.

“Oh, men you say? What are you, fourteen? Any of you shaving yet?” she gently replied, without lifting her eyes from whatever fantasy novel she had laid out for today. Her goal was to get through a book a school day. And that was part of the problem, she didn’t have eyes for them, so they assumed that she had eyes for me. But really, we were just best buds. She had high schoolers calling her, asking her out. She was still thirteen and didn’t care about dating. She liked her adventures with me.

But all of that was starting to get me in more trouble than I knew how to handle. They couldn’t take out their frustrations on her, so they took them out on me. They would be real cool acting in front of her, but if she were nowhere to be found, the accusations would fly.

She turned her head, “I know what you are thinking, you know. Perhaps I should just kiss you and make you the charming prince.” And then she giggled at the scowl on my face. She always knew what to say, always, with anyone. She told me it was harder with me, she just saw the surface. I think I didn’t scare her like the other kids.

“Sam, I don’t care about popularity. If I did, I’d be practicing football in the afternoon instead of cross country.” I whispered back – it drove the others crazy to not know what we were speaking about. And it drove the football coaches crazy when I hit that growth spurt in sixth grade, bulking out a bit and getting a stride that any wide receiver would love. But six years of being bullied by their system didn’t endear me to their overtures. I think the high school was considering  new coach from out of town, one without a history with my family.

“Get your bag Max, the bus is a block away.” I don’t know how she knew, I couldn’t even hear it yet. I didn’t argue though, years of doing that had beat the resistance out of me.

The ride in was just as long as the ride out. We were the first stop and the two of us would sit up front. If Sam were on the aisle, they would jostle her arm and she couldn’t read. If I were on the aisle, they would slam into me, bruising whichever arm was available. Puberty was raising the stakes though – the boys were both afraid of touching Sam and really, really eager to do so. And the girls just got meaner with her. And with me, well the girls just ignored me and the boys suddenly had to contend with someone who wasn’t as scrawny as before. Now when I fought back, I dished out as much damage as I got.

15 Nov

Some thoughts on Sam

So, Sam wasn’t in the first sketch. I needed another character, a best friend. I thought about Clarissa Explains it All and her best friend Sam. I wanted to do the same thing, but flipping the gender of the characters.

I also decided that Sam would gain powers in the house, when she crossed a certain point. I’m thinking that all humans might, that might be a good way to get Max’s collar off of him. So she was going to be a witch. Which is kinda funny in that Mellissa Joan Hart went on to Sabrina the Teenage Witch. It is funny because I didn’t make the connection until I sat down to write this entry.

But what also grew out of the new sketch is that Sam has mental powers, she can skim the surface thoughts of other people. I want to make this talent be one of the reasons she hangs around Max – the collar keeps her from seeing as deep into him as the others. She can see what other people want and as she starts to mature, it creeps her out. Normally she would bury her head in a book, because it allows her to focus.

Hmm, I just thought that perhaps in the house, her power is off. So she and Max go on adventures and she gets to be normal. She craves being shut off. That makes it all the more powerful when Max loses the collar and transforms. She can only hear him. And she shuts down.

Right now I’m more willing to lose the witch effect than the mental powers. I mean, losing your best friend because you nearly killed her with your animalistic thoughts has to be great teen angst!

I’m also starting to think that what could bring them back together is that she gets blinded and needs to use his eyes to get around. Why him? No clue. Perhaps it is easier when he has the collar on?

But I want her to develop as a witch so that the story can come out of the house and into the high schools. I’ll have to think on it some more.

15 Nov

Added original sketch

I just added the link for the Original Sketch of A wolf and his boy. I noticed a couple of things, first of all I first did it in 2000, which makes more sense. Back then it wouldn’t have been horror I was writing for my son, but mystery and adventure. I also want to say this would have been before I started reading Harry Potter. I.e., when I read the part about the rooms changing, I thought about Hogwarts.

The other observation is that in his puppy form, he has the collar on. I really want the collar to be on for the human form, how can he explain it at school? How does his father come to a principal of an elementary school and explain why his son needs to wear a collar?

I could either say that it flips between when he is in the house and when he is out of the house, but I was leaning towards Max not knowing what would happen when the collar came off. I also want to play on his friendship with Sam – if he knew what would happen or had done it before, then we wouldn’t get that shock value I want for the ending of the book.

No, either something happened between the capture of his mother or I need to retcon the whole thing. She takes the collar off the boy, he turns into the puppy, and he runs off with it in his mouth.

I also think he has to have forgotten that he can turn into a wolf puppy. I really liked his practicing in the fields inside the house, but that isn’t going to fly with this being more about horror. I really want him and Sam to be tight, this is something he would have told her about, showed her, etc. Or she would have picked it up from his thoughts.

The other point is that the collar must not come off if he doesn’t want it to. I.e., a principal can try to remove it, but can’t get it off. Cue a scene where a principal is about to cut it off with bolt cutters only to realize at the last minute what would happen if she slipped.

The other thing I think funny is that I needed a name for his elementary school, so I decided on Grimsby. I think solely because it sounded well, grim. It was two seconds later that I realized it started with a ‘Gr’  and so did the school my son went to. :->

But, here is the strange part, it was mentioned today on the Fox Soccer Channel on a piece about the FA cup. They had beaten some higher league team in the first round.

And then my son and I were playing Resistance – Fall of Man, guess where we were before we went to Manchester? Right Grimbsy.

14 Nov

Basic plot of book 1, minus the middle

Max – our hero, a werewolf puppy
Sam – his best friend and a budding witch
The new high school football coach – the arch enemy

Kids from our world gain powers as they got past the third level of Max’s house. Actually, the river that he wasn’t supposed to cross.

Here is the first story:
Sam goes on vacation with Max in the house, she sends postcards home. How?

When Sam gets her powers, Max takes off his collar in order to fight. (This is the ending of book 1). Sam gets overwhelmed by Max’s thoughts. She ends up in a coma? The real ending is him carrying her to the ER and having to confront her parents. They think he got her drunk, that he is like his dad.

Perhaps the second book has her awake and afraid of Max. He is waiting at the bus stop to go to school and he is alone.

At some point, Sam goes blind and uses Max as her eyes. ???

14 Nov

I have a new story coming along

I’ve got a short 2 pager from 3-4 years ago that sets up the backstory of a werewolf coming to age. It really started as something for my son and it was supposed to be about a magical house – one that would take you to hidden realms.

I was never able to push that along. And now I’ve taken it and it is dragging me along. I have an okay start, I want to weave in life in Tulsa and some of the themes I see here. And I even know how the first book is going to end. I just don’t have the middle. :->

But I’m not worried about that yet – I’m still discovering things out about it.

So, I’ll post the original two pager soon. I’m going to wait a bit on the start.

05 Nov

Stuggling with Dialog again

I’m back in the mood to write – plots are thickening, characters are brewing, and once again dialog is casting fear.

I’m thinking of doodling, scratching as I’ve called it in the past. An artist might have a doodle pad to get the kinks out, to start their creative process. And what I might have to do is start off with dialog and let the character/plot develop from there. I.e., the ice I have to break is dialog, not the rest.

Both the stories about Jenny and Nanos are fleshed out enough to turn into product. The Nanovampire is the closest thing I have to blossoming into a real story and I don’t know how to flesh it out.

I was just looking at a webcomic – Wapsi Square and again I’m struck by how much of a comic is dialog. Shelly’s consciousness could just “Thip!” in the key and the head, but the explicit expression of Shelly’s fears about hurting Monica carries the story.

In my creative writing course way back when in 11th grade, I wrote a story that was just dialog. And I discovered that those words, “he said” bored me to death and trivialized the process for me. I remember I made it a volleyball match with the two characters using terms from that sport instead of “said”.

I also feel that dialog is the part that has to come across as natural. Plot, descriptive narrative, characterizations, can all be a stylistic choice, i.e., part of the art of writing. But dialog, we experience that every day. We know what sounds true and what sounds stilted. And when I see that being forced in my writing, I eventually stop writing.

My son is writing for school and he is struggling with sharing his work with others. I’ve tried to tell him it is a very common feeling and the best thing to do it to just do it. I know that has worked for me in the past with technical papers, public presentations, etc. And I need to listen to myself and continue this blog, continue posting stories on the sister site.

I’ve mentioned that webcomics are an inspiration to me. There is a lot of great art and story out there in this medium. And it is by people who might not have as wide of an audience or the balls to do it if it weren’t for the communication medium and not having some media mogul deciding if they should pay you.

One of the further inspirations is when those artists share their fear of sharing their works. They talk about how they are gripped with depression and doubt. But they still manage to put out some quality product.

19 Apr

Vampires need heart

So we were playing Champions of Norrath last night and when Mormaz pulled out his heart, I immediately thought that the vampires could be searching for their hearts.

This doesn’t dovetail too well with a stake, ala Anita in Obsidian Butterfly.

Anyway, I could spin this as in heart == love, but I’m not sure this is the type of story the Monster would want to read…

13 Apr

Fledgling and Saltation

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller produced two excellent examples of Serialized Science Fiction and look to turn a buck on it. A huge difference between them and myself is that they are scarred veterans of the publishing world. :->

Anyway, here are some links to the examples:

  • Fledgling …the story of Theo Waitley and how she came to have a “kind of complicated” problem to lay before the delm of Korval.
  • Saltation The continuing story of Theo Waitley and how she came to have a kind of complicated problem to lay before the delm of Korval.

By the way, I happen to feel a third book is needed here. I think the quandary put forth on Theo is not compelling enough. Given what we know of her, the choice to help Win Ton is a slam dunk – he acted in good faith towards his friend.

© 2014 Behind The Scenes | Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)

Global Positioning System Gazettewordpress logo