Saturday, May 30, 2015

Memories of What Never Was - Chapter 3 - Draft 1

So I've finished up the first draft of Memories of What Never Was Chapter 3, and if you're so inclined, you can read it at the bottom of this page.

This chapter hasn't changed much from the previous version of it.  Mostly what was added were a lot more character building moments for Kriss, to show how truly messed up she really is inside.  Most of the dialog is the same, but a lot of her inner thoughts and feelings are different, making the dialog mean something completely different in places, by giving it a completely different context.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Memories of What Never Was - Chapter 2 - Draft 1

So I've finished the next chapter of Memories of What Never Was, Chapter 2, and you can read it if you are so inclined by clicking right here

This chapter is Brand's introduction.  This character has changed so many freaking times over the many different versions of this story that I can't even remember what he was originally intended to be.  Now he's an outcast, bitter at the world, but wanting to find a place in it, who constantly makes jokes and sarcastic comments about just about everything in order to make others laugh and put them at ease around him, being that he's something of a monster out of legend and all.  Something I wanted to do with him is have a sort of running commentary going on in his head, making fun of pretty much everything that crosses his path, and to have him have actual conversations with himself inside his head.  I think I did pretty well with that, and with giving him the right personality I was going for with his character.  He's kind of a comic relief character that also has his deep dark demons that he deals with, as you'll see near the end of the chapter.  This is a really long chapter because a lot of really important things needed to happen in it.  Brand had to be introduced, as well as his plight, his connection with Kriss needed to be hinted at, and some of the background of the world had to be filled in.  I hope I was able to do a better job of showing instead of telling as I kind of tend to do while setting up worlds.  I think I did, but I'm somewhat biased. 

And on I go to the next.  With the new prologue, Kriss' new introduction, and Brand's new introduction out of the way, things are going to be more closely following the first complete rewrite I did of this book for a while, meaning I'll hopefully be able to crank out a few more chapters with a bit more speed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Adventures in Mail Delivery Part 1701

So, for the first time ever, my route is actually big enough to get a substitute carrier to fill in on my days off.  That's the job I used to have before I got my own route.  It is, basically, a terrible job, because you are only guaranteed a single day of work per week.  And, during the rest of the week, any other work is given out by seniority, and rarely scheduled in advance, meaning that you work 1 day a week, and are on call the other 5 business days.  Which, in turn, means that you cannot have another day job, or take school classes during the day, because you might get a call, and have to go in to work, and if you say no, you get fired.  As you go up in seniority, you get more steady work, but until you've gone up to, say, the top three seniority spots, you're not really getting much work beyond your one day a week. 

Anyway, so, my route is finally big enough that I get a day off every week, and they finally hired someone to cover my days off.  So I've been training this guy this week.  Now, one thing most people don't realize is how dirty mail is.  It's really, really dirty.  After a day of handling it, your hands are pretty much completely black with it.  It happens every day, and there's really not much you can do about it other than wash your hands when you're done.  So, I'm out, sitting in the back of the truck and reading a book while my new minion does all the work for me, because, really, if you had your very own minion, wouldn't you?  And this guy starts freaking out.  I mean, like, literally, freaking out, twitching, mumbling to himself, etc.  I deliver to two schools, a gas station, and an Arctic Circle.  When we got to the first of them, before I could even show him where to take the mail, he makes a mad dash for the bathroom like his bladder is one drip short of critical mass.  He spent like five entire minutes just washing his hands.  Seriously.  Five whole minutes.  Doesn't sound like a lot?  You try washing your hands for five minutes straight.  He did this at the next school, and the gas station, and the Arctic Circle as well.  Not to make light of mental disorders such as OCD, but holy crap man, this is a dirty job.  If you can't handle that, it's probably not the job for you.

So, the next day he brought latex gloves to wear.  And all four of those stops he went into the bathroom and washed the freaking gloves.  This day, he was asking me all sorts of weird questions. 

"What happens when it rains?" 
"You get wet, obviously.  You work outside.  Weather happens." 
"But I can't get wet, do you know how dirty rain water is?"

"What happens when it gets really hot in the summer?  This truck has air conditioning, right?"
"Oh sweet, naive child.  Do you honestly believe that the post office would actually pay for you to be using air conditioning in the summer?  You're going to be hot and miserable.  Bring lots of water."
"But... but I'll get all sweaty!"
"Why, yes.  Yes you will."

"There's bird crap on that mailbox.  I don't actually have to touch it, do I?"
"Neither rain, nor sleet, nor avian excrement shall stay these carriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
"Ah, man.  Seriously!  I actually have to touch that?"

"We don't go out in the snow, right?"
"So you've never gotten mail on days with snow before?"
"But I'll get all wet and messy!"
"I've heard that the sky is blue, but I've never bothered looking up to see for myself..."

By the end of the day I was just messing with his head for the fun of it because I finished my book and didn't have anything else to do but prod the mentally ill person for my own amusement.  I'm a humanitarian at heart.  I mean, honestly, what did he think he was signing up for when he applied for the job.  You're outside and exposed to every form of weather that happens by.  You're going to get wet, and sweaty, and messy and dirty.  Mail has dirt on it like you wouldn't believe without seeing it for yourself, and the ink on many of the full coverage adds that we deliver also comes off on your hands, making them even more dirty.  If you can't handle your hands getting a little dirty, maybe a job where you are primarily using your hands to handle pieces of paper that have come from all over the world, and gone through several different sorting machines is not exactly the career choice for you.  Just a thought.  And, hello, you know you're going to be working outside, and you don't expect to be exposed to... you know... OUTSIDE THINGS!!!

Yeah, I've been just shaking my head in amusement at this guy all week.  I do not expect him to last long.  There's wanting to be clean, and then there's crazy.  This guy is definitely on the crazy side of it.  I can understand OCD compulsions.  I have a few of them myself, but I know how to ignore them and keep them from ruling my life.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Memories of What Never Was Prologue and Chapter 1

Soooooooo, I've finished polishing up my first drafts of the Prologue and Chapter 1 of my new complete rewrite of Beyond the Lost Horizon, titled Memories of What Never Was.  You can read these shiny new chapters here if you are so inclined.  And they are both shiny and new.  Neither of these chapters appeared in any form in the previous two incarnations of this story.

The prologue is a recounting of what happened to Kriss on that night seven years ago.  This is not the same prologue as was originally included in the previous two incarnations.  That prologue has been moved to be the prologue of book 2 of the trilogy now.  Because of where I broke the story to make the ending of the first book, this book needs to center around Kriss' character.  The climax is all her being awesome, and it would be pretty unsatisfying if she didn't have a back story, a characters, or develop as a person to the point where she can be that awesome.  So, naturally, we get Kriss' backstory in the prologue, and we're introduced to her again as she is in the present day in chapter one.  The Prologue kind of sets the stakes for the series, showing what the eventual goal is, and why the villains are the villains, where chapter one shows what it has done to Kriss as a person, and how she will need to progress and grow if she is to overcome what has been done to her.

Something that really bothers me in fiction, and I see it from both male and female authors alike, is that when a character is raped, severely abused, or both, it never seems to change them as a person.  They're still the same person afterward as they were before.  They move on with their lives and soon forget that anything even happened.  When in actuality, those sorts of things leave severe psychological, emotional, and physical problems in their wake that can utterly destroy a person's life, relationships, and everything for years, if not decades to come before they are finally able to deal with it, accept it, and move on with their lives.  I thought that it would make for an interesting character and for interesting character development to have a character who was the victim of rape and abuse, but instead of focusing on the acts themselves as many authors do, I would focus purely on the emotional and psychological consequences, while barely even referencing what brought them about.  Sort of a turning of the tables completely on what the norm, in fiction, seems to be, and show the character trying to struggle her way through depression, suicidal tendencies, OCD, PTSD, and RTS.  I mean, what would you think was more entertaining, a rape scene, or a character trying desperately to come to terms with it, struggling to find some sort of meaning or justification in even continuing to live, and finally overcoming and finding a way to cope with and accept what has been done to her?  Personally, I think the latter is far more intriguing, entertaining, and most importantly, realistic.  I've done quite a bit of research on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Rape Trauma Syndrome, so that I can get her character just right for this story.  That's pretty much what I've been doing for the last three months since my schedule at work cleared up.  I didn't want to start writing before I knew exactly how Kriss was going to act and react to things.

Welp, like I said, my schedule at work has gone from 80 hours a week every week, to about 30 hours a week every week, and that, finally, gives me some time to get back to work on this book.  I hope to actually start making some progress on it pretty quickly here. But, in the long run, I think that the time I spent working rather than writing ended up being a good thing for this story, because it was during that time where I came up with some of the best ideas to bring into it.  So I guess there was a silver lining to that storm cloud after all.