Archive for August, 2010


The Hardest Part

I’m a writer. If my past posts haven’t already drilled the hell out of that point, then it’s time to drive it home yet again. As a writer, that means I write, obviously. Now I try to start doing work with a  plot outline and all that, characters sketched out and everything so that there’s nothing to lose track of, so that the story will keep a good, consistent plot line and won’t lose track of itself. I don’t know about other writers, but usually I start out with a plot outline in my head, or at least a theme or other sort of event that can trigger a story. If not that, then usually I start out with an image of a character or multiple characters that will generally turn into an important bit of the  story. On occasion I am lucky enough to start out with both of these, and that’s just awesome. Probably because I never seem to have much trouble with those two, I have been cursed with the problem of the third.

I start with a good image of the character and an understanding of the character’s mentality, opinions, past, life, all that good stuff; what do I not start out with? A name. Nothing. This character is completely nameless person, and so are all the other characters, more often than not. I try to do what I can to dig up a name that fits the character in personality and appearance, their perfect name, but usually that doesn’t work out. And when I find a perfect character match, if they end up reminding me too much of another character from other stories, they instantly get scrapped. Sure, it might be unintentionally done that they are so similar, but I can’t accidentally borrow someone else’s character.

Unfortunately, even that isn’t the case for my current main character. He’s a guy who starts out as an underdog in an abusive home where his family treats him like garbage. Insert stereotypical twist that he is not the biological son and a terrible accident that overcomes his village, typical of fantasy, and you have him out on his own, growing to become a hero. A man who is blunt and generous, simple yet true, brave and noble, faithful, pretty much everything that you’d want to be. Sounds like a Mary Sue, but he’s growing into this man and even after his growth he isn’t perfect. His name? No idea. None at all. So in my lack of knowledge, I put it to you: do you have any names that I should use for him? Any name that is conjured up by these descriptions?

For the other ten or so characters that he encounters after leaving home, a group known as the Freedom Fighters, I shall struggle to come up with more fitting names though I have already found apt names for a few and will admit to borrowing something of the character of Locksley from Sir Walter Scott, though he is not such a noble and heroic, virtuous man as portrayed in the past. Fitting to the character, he is a master archer. Am I the only writer who agonizes over names like this? When I read I don’t pay so much attention to them as I do when I write, I’ve noticed, but writing it seems so essential; probably because while writing I can twist and turn the narrative to my fitting to some degree while with reading, it is not yours to interpret usually.

Time is on my Side

Well, it hasn’t been, not lately at least. Otherwise I would have been able to pump out some blog postings earlier than the considerable gap that I’ve had between this and my last. Of course, I haven’t done much writing at all in that time, lot of factors to add in and contribute there, but mostly, I’m just being lazy. And I’ve really got to work on that.

Anyhow, for now I will once again delve into my thoughts for the day and what has struck me as being worth making a blog posting about. For those of you who didn’t catch the reference in the titles, “Time is on my Side” is a song by the Rolling Stones, who I seem to find myself listening to a lot more than usual lately. One of my favorite songs by them is the lovingly controversial “Sympathy for the Devil,” though I’m not sure if I prefer that or “Memory Motel.” More to the point, though, I always find it interesting to look into the meaning behind songs,  what inspired them and all that, especially when there is some real substance to a song. (Meaning that most songs that come out today that just seem to repeat lyrics about getting “dollas and bitches” don’t count as anything with meaning. Not that there’s anything wrong with that type of music; it’s just not something that I believe has a lot of intelligence behind it for the most part.)

Looking up “Sympathy for the Devil,” I was able to easily predict that there would be a lot of interpretations on it, and I wasn’t disappointed. It was easy to understand most of the historical references littered throughout the song without much difficulty, but hey, I love to look into these things and so I went to the eternally interesting songfacts.com and plugged in the title to pop up what I could and look into it. The interesting thing about songfacts is that they allow users to submit their facts, opinions, etc. about the song. And boy, it didn’t disappoint this time. I could probably go on and on about the posts I read there, but quoting it and tearing the bits and pieces there that struck me as simply senseless would be a waste of time and boring for you and I.

So, I’ll try to sum it up without any quoted or anything, just going into my opinions on the posts. One of  the ones that caught my attention right off the bat argued that the Stones were a tool of the devil, used to forward his own place in the world and a handful of others continued along a similar train of thought. Now I’m and Atheist, but I can respect religion. But seriously? I mean, come on, this is the twenty-first goddamn century. The logic that a song about the devil points towards the makers worshiping the devil and how it is a method for manipulation of the masses put forward by the devil is a thought that seems shockingly medieval in nature. I mean, it’s almost as good as the guy I heard on the BJ Shea Morning Experience who claimed that Mel Gibson was possessed by a demon when he made the calls to his ex-girlfriend and that the calls were not his own work. Haven’t we moved on from then? Rather than whining about this song, the ultra-religious churchgoers who insist on this opinion should instead work on weeding the pedophile priests out of their own church; I’d say that’s a lot more of an abomination against God.

To add onto the previous post, another piece of the comment connects the evil in the world with music and states that Lucifer was once the minister of music and had instruments attached to his body, according to Biblical sources. No. Not happening. I’ve yet to get around to Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” but with the random bits of information I bump into and pick up, I know of no connection between the Morning Star Lucifer and music. If there is a connection,  feel free to call me out, but as I know it to be, the name refers to “Morning Star” and “light-bearer.” Yes, there is irony in the latter. Don’t misinterpret my comments as me putting forth Satanism or anything of the sort; no, I simply believe that religious fascism and fanaticism shouldn’t be around so much, considering the enlightened nature of society today, or supposedly enlightened nature. And if you insist on being a dumbass about that sort of thing, at least get your facts straight.

Enough ranting by me, though! What do you think? What songs do you like that are considered controversial? Or, even better, are you one of the people who really believes that the Stones worship the devil and that this song was some sort of oath? I’m all ears, though I will take your comments with a shaker of salt.

PS-Before anyone points it out, yes, I have already heard the rumors that “Stairway to Heaven” is an oath to the devil selling the souls of Led Zeppelin, though you are of course still more than welcome to comment about it. For the record, though, no, I don’t buy that either. I listened to it when my friend was obsessed with it. I heard white noise, but he was insistent that he heard the lyrics. Only after a second listen with lyrics printed on the screen was I able to get even a remote sense of any second meaning behind it, and even then it was a definite stretch. I’m sure about every song backwards has sounds like that, you just have to take the time to twist them around and attribute words and meaning where there is none. All of these types of things are just unbelievable to me, but I guess it could be used for an interesting story idea… Always milking the story thoughts!