Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Goals for July 2008

This is my first post in over 3 whole weeks. Last month I put so much effort into the Bad Company synopsis, wrestling that elusive plot into workable shape for the first time, that I neglected everything else. Well, here's my goals for this month:
  1. For JulNoWriMo, at least write 50,000 words of Bad Company. Better yet, finish the second draft!
  2. Edit Spanner and complete the second draft of at least #1.
  3. For 50 Songs in 90 Days (hosted by FAWM), write at least 10 songs this month, including songs for Charlie to sing in BadCo.
  4. Start learning the guitar again.
  5. Learn enough HTML to design a website of my own that's not "plain-Jane".
Unlike last month, I don't have to battle the BadCo plot; I finally fixed it last month. (I have been doing some worldbuilding notes, though.) The only enemy I still have to beat is procrastination.

I've taken a week to start pursuing my goals. This is not a Good Thing. I need to use some strategies for becoming productive again if I want to get off my butt and stop moping. Fortunately, I've finally started writing again. Next, I'll need to start plotting the opening scenes of BadCo and Spanner.

Here's a surprise: When I was heading off to the neighborhood community center for a how-to-rent class (followed by a computer class), my muse suddenly decided to have Desiree regale me with the opening of my '08 NaNoWriMo novel, Points of Authority. Here's the gist of it: After the wild events of BadCo, in which Desi and her sister Charlie are publicly revealed to be in love (after their violent efforts to remain in denial fail miserably, even to kill them), Desi opens PoA with a description of a lesbian porno video making waves on the Internet. The two beautiful young women are obviously into each other. Gradually she reveals details: one is a redhead, while the other's hair is strawberry-blond; they look suspiciously like sisters; in fact, they are sisters; and of course the sisters in question are Desi and Charlie. Desi says the series of videos to which this one belongs helped boost Charlie's singing career, since scandal is always a boon to a rocker. But Desi has settled into her calling as an underground webvideo reporter dealing with the most controversial subjects; these videos, she says, make her seem frivolous and Unserious to those more sober types she calls Serious People, who tend to look down snobbishly on people who like sex, and especially those who let the world know it. That's the gist of her opening narration. Still, I realize that I need something before it, something violent and mysterious. An Inciting Incident, in other words.

Lately I've been reading a lot of books on writing. Here's (most of) the list so far:
  • Robert McKee, Story
  • John Truby, The Anatomy of Story
  • Christopher Vogler, The Writer's Journey
  • Philip Gerard, Writing a Book That Makes a Difference
  • Carolyn Wheat, How to Write Killer Fiction>
  • Robert J. Ray, The Weekend Novelist
  • Les Edgerton, Hooked
  • Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman, How Not to Write a Novel
  • and so on...
As you can tell, I'm serious about knowing what to do and how to do it. I want to make sure I really do know how to write. The hard part is actually writing it.

I've been writing a whole lot of notes for BadCo over the past month. So now I have a much better understanding of what I'm writing, and how the two seemingly incompatible concepts (sisters in love with each other, and paying the social price; the invasion of America by a Blackwater-type corporation) fit together. I won't get into any of this tonight. However, there's two thing I need to remind myself about my (human) archvillain, Colonel Becket:
  1. He's devoted to the kind of misogyny and eugenics-related pseudoscience that was mainstream until Hitler made it lunatic-fringe, the kind of bullshit described and denounced by Klaus Theweleit and Bram Dijkstra. Social Darwinism is only the beginning.
  2. He is ultimately derived from my memories of the ultra-villainous Baltar from the original 1970s Battlestar Galactica TV series, with psycho mercenaries replacing Cylon robots. But this neo-Baltar strides the world like a god; he wants to enslave humanity, not merely destroy it.
Also, I read the introductions and afterwords to Orson Scott Card's Ender novels (those I have; I'm missing three of them) and found a new and very useful concept: Center versus Edge nations. The Arabs were the Center of western civilization in the Middle Ages, only to be relegated back to the Edge by the Mongols and subsequent invaders including the Americans; they're as Edge as the Japanese, only far more violently. Meanwhile, America managed to be the Center nation of the whole world for decades, but is now in rapid decline and is quickly being cast away to the Edge where it began. My strategy in the Dictel/Spanner cycle is to focus on Edge heroes (atheists, ravepunks, hackers, rockers, hoverboarders, monkeywrenchers, incestuous lesbians, SF/fantasy/comics/anime fans, etc.) in a collapsing empire (American, of course) where the Center is rapidly falling apart. By Black Science, in fact, the Center is clearly moving away from dying America toward Asia plus possibly Europe. By Spanner, America is no longer of any consequence, whether economically, politically, militarily, or culturally; in fact, America is the Evil Empire, and the world's existence depends on the American military theocracy being overthrown as soon as possible.

There's more I can write about tonight, but it's getting really late (4:30 a.m. PDT) and I need to sleep. And so I conclude this entry.

Back to Spanner’s World...

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