Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Zombie Sestina

I don't like sestinas. I honestly don't like them. It's not that they are bad, I'm just not a big fan of them. I don't like reading them and I'm not a huge fan at writing them either. However, I had to write one for class. So I started thinking. I needed a theme, something to focus on. I was floundering, then I saw this post by the lovely, and talented, Natalie Parker. Suddenly, I had an awesome, evil, zombie idea. So, Natalie, this one is for you.

Zombie Sestina

The government wants to hide the fact there are zombies.
Did you know that they eat brains?
It starts as a virus.
And it infects your blood.
The best way to kill them is to use a gun.
If you’re out of ammo, you should be running.

If you are out running,
You better watch out for zombies.
They’ll be gun-
ing for you because they like brains.
They can also smell warm blood.
If they scratch you, you’ll get the virus.

If you see someone infected with the virus
Your best bet is to start running--
They’ll soon be out for your blood,
Trying to turn everyone into zombies
That want to eat your brains
Hope you didn’t lose your gun!

You have to know where to aim your gun
The virus
Lives in their brains
It keeps their bodies running,
Turning the dead into zombies
Who love the taste of blood.

Did you know there is no blood
When you shoot them with a gun?
I mean the zombies!
Did you know the military developed the virus?
So stop running
And blow out their brains!

I told you about their brains
Right? That there is no blood?
We need to find a safe-house so we can stop running,
Maybe find some ammo for your gun.
Stupid virus!
Damn zombies!

The zombie’s brains hold the virus that infects your blood. Grab your gun and start running.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Hardest Chapter Written and #writemotivation update

I almost called this post "How I Survived Hell Week", because it was. Not my worst week ever, but still taxing emotionally for several reasons.  First of all, I was grinding through Chapter 10 of WIP#1 and really not wanting to, plus I had a temp in my office all week.

Chapter 10 sucked because I had to deal with the death of one of my more favorite characters. Yes, I killed him. It was actually what he was wanting. Not in a suicide sense, but in a story sense. He knew his death would better serve the story than his life. I didn't want to do it, but he made me. Now, for those non-writers out there, this might not make a lot of sense, but trust me when I say, it was necessary. I even cried a little when the chapter was done. Partially from grief at killing a character I liked, and partly because it was a hard thing to write and I finished it.

On top of that, I had a temp working in my office. Now to some of you, this may not be a bad thing. To be honest, it usually isn't for me either. In fact, I needed the help. I was so far behind, I couldn't catch up. Not that I was goofing off, but rather my work load has increased exponentially since I started working there 15 years ago. Back then, we had 5 people. Now, we have 2 and we do so much more than the 5 of us did back then. Not sure how we do it, but we do. Anyway, my boss was super nice and brought in a temp. The guy that was helping me was actually really nice. He worked hard, he didn't complain, and he actually picked up on the job pretty quickly. I shouldn't be complaining, but I am. It wasn't his work that bothered me, it was that I had someone else in my office. I've been a solo worker in this office for years. I'm used to doing things my own way without having to worry about someone else getting in the way.

Despite the stress of the week, there were several positives.

  1. I am involved in an anthology project started by the very cool, Violeta Nedkova (@LynMidnight on Twitter). It's part of Writer's Worth. Anyway, she's envisioned this really awesome idea. It involves 12 stories, written by 36 authors. 12 to start, 12 to flesh out, and 12 to finish. The hash tag on twitter is #Grim5Next (not sure why, it just sort of took). I was chosen to do one of the 12 starting stories. My beta has been giving me rave reviews and I should be sending it to the amazing Lyn (a.k.a Violeta) soon.
  2. Someone was looking for a slush pile reader, I responded, and starting Monday-ish, I get to help read some slush-pile stuff. It should be fun. I'm looking forward to it. The other cool part is that I need to do a e-journal report for class and now I have an e-journal to present! :D
  3. I finally figured out what my short-story is going to be for my Creative Writing class. Now, I just need to write it. I also have to do a character write-up as well as a short outline.
  4. I attended Planet Comicon. Which, if you live in the KC area, or even the Midwest, it's about the biggest one in the area. This one was gigantic and had some really amazing guests and authors. If you follow me on Twitter, you'll see some of the pictures from it. I'll post more at some point. It was awesome, and exhausting.
  5. Got some feedback on chapters 1 & 2 of WIP#1. At least in the first chapter, I used the word "seems" multiple times. Oops. I already go through each chapter remove excessive "that"s, now I have to look out for "seems". Sigh. I also need to provide more descriptions. I have some, but at least one of my betas things I need more. I guess that is why it is called a "draft". Needless to say, I will be doing some revisions later. Other than that, they really liked it.
So, after this week, my brain is kind of fried. I've kept up my writing every day, but sometimes it is harder than others. I kicked butt on my #writemotivation goals. Blew my chapter count out of the water and rooted for all my writer tweeps. As for insidious WIP#2, he kept quiet, but I'm finding that I can switch between multiple writing ideas without any problems. Either I'm going insane (a distinct possibility considering the people I hang out with) or my brain is living up to the challenges I've placed before it.

'Till next time.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Falling in Love with your Characters and #writemotivation Update

So, I am now 23,000 words into "Stone Of Unity" (a.k.a WIP#1) and I am starting to experience a phenomena that a lot of writers experience. What I'm talking about is developing an emotional connection with my characters. Like I said, it isn't a unique experience. J.K. Rowling mentions becoming emotionally distraught over the death of Sirius Black. At the time, I thought it was an odd "author thing". I mean, I've felt sad when a character dies (in the case of Harry Potter, it was Dobby), but really the thought of getting completely distraught over a character just sounded weird. Well, I don't find it so weird any more. While I was lying awake in bed one night, I had a brilliant flash of inspiration on WIP#1. As soon I thought it, I started getting really upset. Then it hit me. I was emotionally connecting with my characters. I really didn't want to have one of my good guys betray someone that trusted them wholeheartedly. I know it sounds weird and neurotic, but it is true. I'm mad at one of my characters now. I don't want to write the chapter (which I am now currently doing). I don't want to hurt this innocent, trusting person, but I know it will make the story better. I know, it's weird, but true. If I could stop, I would, but I can't. I've hit that point with writing where it is my preferred activity. It trumps computer games, TV, and even reading at times. Yes, it is weird. I blame all my #writemotivation friends. They are evil and are contributing to my writing obsession.

Speaking of #writemotivation...Goal update!

  1. Finish Chapter 4 of WIP #1 and start on Chapter 5: Yeah, blew this one out of the water.
  2. Blog at least once a week: Yup and sometimes twice!
  3. Write at least 30 minutes every day (more is better!): Stumbled a couple times with this, but even when I didn't get actual writing done, I was still working on writerly stuff. I give myself a 98%
  4. Cheer on everyone else!: Yup! Love this part!
  5. Do my best to not get distracted by WIP #2 as it is insidious and evil.: Nope, still quiet, had some other ideas floating around, but nothing big enough to distract me.
Well, that's all I have for today.

'Till next time.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Poetic Forms and #writemotivation update

This week is spring break, so I won't be attending class.  It's funny, but when I was in college the first time, I couldn't wait for spring break.  Now that I am in this creative writing class, I can't wait for spring break to get over. Partially, I want to see my teacher's comments on one of my assignments.  If they are good, which I expect them to be (he's liked most of what I have done so far), I plan on using it as a basis for my final short story project.  I'm also partially wanting to get back to class.  Its been fun and I want to take more classes like this.

One of the assignments that I need to get done before the next class is to create my own form (poetic or prose).  From what he showed us from last year, they can get pretty crazy.  There were all theoretically possible to do.  I've got a couple weird ones that I am probably going to turn in...and yes, I will share them

Piece of Pie Form (Poetic form)

  1. The poem must be 6 lines long
  2. Must be in this form:
    • 1st line: 3 words
    • 2nd line: 1 word
    • 3rd line: 4 words
    • 4th line: 1 word
    • 5th line: 5 words
    • 6th line: 9 words
  3. There can be no repeated rhythms, phrases, or rhyming.
  4. Optional challenge: Don't repeat a word in consecutive lines

Towel Form (Poetic form)
  1. Poem must be 42 lines long
  2. First line must be 4 words, 2nd line: 2 words.  Alternate the 4 words/2 words pattern until the end
  3. The last 3 words of the poem must be "Infinity Improbability Drive"
  4. The poem cannot make reference to any book by Douglas Adams (excepting the last 3 words)
  5. Optional challenge: Every 4 word line must rhyme, Every 2 word line must rhyme
  6. Optional challenge: Include the word "towel" 4 times and the word "mice" 2 times
  7. Improbable Challenge: Multiply 9 x 6
Ok, #7 is a joke, but I had to add it.  These should be possible to write.  I will have some poems written in this form by the time classes resume (I hope!).

Now on to my #writemotivation update:
  1. Finish ch. 4 and start ch. 5: Um, yeah. I'm up to ch. 8 now (need to revise my goal!)
  2. Blog at least once a week: Yup!
  3. Write 30 minutes every day: Done (and then some!). There were a couple days where I wasn't actually typing, but I did get some stuff plotted out and figured for WIP#1
  4. Cheer on everyone else: Definitely! It's one of my favorite things!
  5. Not get distracted by WIP#2: He's still lurking in there, but he's been really quiet so far. I think he's decided to be a good boy for the time being.
'Till next time!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Nerdalicious Alphabet Poem

I normally wait on posting my class homework until later, but one of my friends wanted to read this. I also need to post for my #writemotivation stuff (which I will add after the poem). Anyway, the assignment was to write an alphabet poem. I had no idea what I was going to write. Alphabet poems take some planning and I've been more focused on my WIP#1 than my school work. It wasn't until the phrase "All your base are belong to us" popped into my head that I realized that I had something. Then it was just a matter of coming up with the remain 26 letters and a title that summed it up. The first draft sounded pretty good until I got to the letter "K", then it started to get stinky. So, I put it away until a little bit ago when I think I figured it all out. It doesn't flow as well as other things I've written, but I'll just have to deal. If I push to much more on it, I'm afraid I'll get frustrated.

Here it is:
Nerd-gasm (Iambicum Insaniae)

All your base are belong to us
Baseball cards and all that stuff
Comic books and Cons galore
Dynamic Duo across the floor
Electron microscope in hand
Fluorescent rotoscope expands
Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!
Hydrogen filled flotilla escapes
Impressive foam Godzilla’s fate
Japanese anime reigns supreme
Kings and queens and majestic knights
Live action role-playing tonight
Magic, the Gathering we all play
New rules for AD&D. Yeah!
One does not simply walk into Mordor, you see?
Plunder the ruins, slay the beast
Quickly someone call for pizza, please!
Requisite monetary donations feed
Succulent, savory tomato sauce and cheese
Tonight we’ll stay up till three!
Universal mayhem kills to fast
Victory within their grasp
Waiting for the dice to pass
Yells the DM commanding
Zzzzzzz…the players dream.

As promised here is my #writemotivation update.

  1. Write 30 minutes every day -- So far so good!
  2. Blog once a week -- So far so good!
  3. Cheer on my fellow #writemotivation buddies -- Definitely!
  4. Finish ch. 4 of WIP#1 -- DONE!
  5. Start and finish ch. 5 of WIP#1 -- Starting soon and I think I know what Ch. 6 is going to entail
  6. Keep from getting distracted by WIP#2 -- It's been quiet so far, but I feel it lurking in there. It is still insidious and evil.
'Till next time!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Poetic Definitions with Patterns

One of the things we do in class is write through imitation. I've mentioned this in other blog posts, so I won't bore you with the details. Needless to say, today's blog post is another one of those writing projects.  In this case, we had to analyse "af • ter • glow" by A. Van Jordan.  The design of the poem is that of a dictionary definition.  I would include it, but I don't want to infringe on any copyrights. If you find a copy, you can read it. If you really look at what he's doing, it is quiet elegant. Lots of patterns using opposites.  So, our assignment was to write our own poem, using the same techniques and patterns that he did (i.e. write a poem definition of something an use lots of opposites with some sound repetitions). So, that's what I did.

I used to have the poem on here, but apparently, it was picked in a literary journal for my local Community college. As such, I am deleting the poem.

'Till next time.