Tag Archive: thoughts


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.

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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!

How many characters are too many?

I don’t have much to say, and judging from the lack of activity on my blog, I haven’t had too much to say for a few days. Part of this is because I was out of town, but that’s not important now. Now that I’m back, hopefully I’ll be able to crank out and do some more writing than before, especially blogging; creative writing is going pretty well. At least what I’m currently working on; I have another plot idea that is boiling in the back of my head, an epic, or at least so I believe. And that gives rise to my question: how many characters are too many?

I’m undecided; the tale is for the most part something of a stereotypical fantasy epic and a lot of the characters are there as help to further the story and make it more believable. All of them have interesting back stories that I could,  if I wanted to, probably turn into their own short story at least, even if that is quite a large bit of writing to undertake. The fact that this epic is supposed to be a single book really makes me believe that character-wise, I should limit myself to a maximum amount. In a series I’ve been working on, you can introduce a handful of new people each book and still keep it fresh, without overwhelming people. In a single book, I fear that the mass of characters will just be overwhelming. But many of these characters I see will not fit into the series, unfortunately, and I’d rather not have homeless characters in the streets of my imagination. I’m trying to come up with an idea for what to do here but I find myself at a loss.

Any ideas? Anything will work, even if I’ve already said it; split off into multiple short stories, cut it off, use them elsewhere, whatever. What are your suggestions?

Or if you take an issue with my opinion on slowly introducing characters throughout a series, tell me your own. I will admit that minimum and maximum character amount has always been my weakest point in terms of storytelling.

Ticking, ticking….

I’ll begin this by simply coming out and saying that the creative team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin is perhaps the greatest out there today. I don’t think much more evidence needs to be given than the extensive history of great hits that they have consistently put out. Now, if you’re one of those people who believes someone like Eminem or Fifty Cent is one of the greatest song writers of all time, leave now. There’s a nice little X button on your page to leave.

Actually, don’t leave, I could use the visits and perhaps comments as well; I like to feel like I’m reaching someone.

Back to  the point at hand, though, one of John’s songs strikes me beyond most of the others. Off  the album Caribou, a somewhat lackluster album, apparently, the song wasn’t even, to my knowledge, much of a hit when it was released. If for nothing besides its length, I can believe it was never a single. Have you guessed it yet? From the title, those of you who know Elton John probably have. “Ticking” is a song that tells the story of a young man who goes on a killing spree. Just a little bit macabre, right? But in spite of the gruesome story behind the  song, it has quite a few lines that strike me as quite interesting and thought-provoking, especially when sung in John’s astoundingly wonderful voice. (A gay teacher of mine who saw Elton John in concert with Billy Joel described the experience as “orgasmic.” What more needs to be said to prove his amazing talent?)

Similar in tone to “The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-1934),” the song is a slower number with a solemn tone throughout. Usually I imagine songs playing out as stories in my head, perhaps the reason this plays out so well; going by that literary-esque stylization of it, the narrative seems to flash back and forth between the current day events, namely, the shooting, and the past, his growing up. The title, “Ticking” and the lyrics which carry the same word, clearly refer to the ‘protagonist’ of the song as ticking, akin to a bomb, counting down awaiting the inevitable eruption and shooting. Similar to “In Cold Blood,” you begin to feel a certain amount of empathy towards the ‘protagonist.’

That isn’t the point of this, though. Back to the point I raised earlier about the striking lyrics which John sings throughout the song, probably written by Taupin, but I am not sure there and should not presume.

“‘Now you’ll never get to heaven,’mama said/remember mama said.” This occurs early on in the song and, in writing, it doesn’t appear to carry much meaning, making me begin to wonder if perhaps the wonderful talent and depth of the lyrics comes solely from John’s masterful way of spinning them. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that when sung by him they seem to bring up memories, to strike me and make  me think about the meaning, what deeper definition could be behind here. Or it just makes me realize how well written the song is and I’m just over analyzing.

“‘Don’t ever ride on the devil’s knee,’ mama said/remember mama said/ticking, ticking/’Pay your penance well, my child/Fear where angels tread.'” This is another line, and though it carries more of the original tone when written, it still does not compare to the magnificence that is carried when the words are crooned by John. Still, there are some deeper thoughts which can be attributed here, especially in the first line and the last as well. (Personally, the last line reminds me a little of “The Prophecy” with Christopher Walken, where the idea is proposed that it wouldn’t be too great to meet an angel; would you want to encounter a being that had spent several thousand years doing God’s dirty work?)

What do you think? If you have heard the song did you find it as touching and intriguing as I do or am I just off my rocker? Or if you have just decided to look it up and listen to it, what do you think, this being your first listen to it? Get at me!

Who does this reflect badly on?

So yesterday, I upgraded my phone, which is all good and dandy. Now I’m a minor and all, but I still have to pay my own phone bill and all that jazz, which is just an all-around pain. I also have to purchase all my own books and everything no monetary help, which is just as irritating. But to move on, I got an upgrade and through a series of circumstances, my mom got my old phone with a new number, free of charge. Now it’s irritating enough that she got a phone free while she makes me pay for mine, but, hey, it’s not like I can do much about it.
What is bad is that she now has access to texting. In the course of a single day, she, the single most computer illiterate person I know, has started to text. This is ironic enough because she considers herself ‘too good’ for computers and refuses to learn how to use them; instead she spends most of her time on a computer bitching about it. But I digress; she has started to text, and I have been on the receiving end of her texts. Before I’ve mentioned that I’m a bit OCD about grammar and punctuation in texts, so I find this intensely interesting.
My mother, someone who always goes on about how much smarter than me she is and all, how I’m so inexperienced in life, has already begun to text and she uses more text-lingo than I do. And to boot, she also misspells words like it’s falling out of style. It is by far one of the most irritating things that I’ve ever had to read. But it’s also a little embarrassing that my own mother is more into text-lingo than me… Bleh.
On top of that, I used to be able to hear my phone ring and know it was probably a friend texting me. Now, it’s almost always her with some random thought. Thanks for waking me up twice this morning and then ruining a great train of thought I had going for a book idea, mom! Just figures that I’m one of those people who can’t get a train of thought back once it’s been disrupted.
Now I’m just rambling again. Great. But tell me, what do you think about text-lingo? Do you use it? Does it irritate you? Or does it just seem out of place for a fifty year old woman to be using text-language?

First blog!

I’m relatively new to this whole blogging thing. I had a few blogs briefly in the past, but mostly to try and showcase my writing. For those of you who couldn’t figure this out, that was a cataclysmic failure that I’d rather not speak on. My own tastes in terms of writing have advanced since then… Two years ago? I believe it was, at least; perhaps even more. As promised in my description, I’m already starting to ramble, so I might as well keep on!
What with this being a new blog, I’m sure you can realize that I just had to create it, username, password, etc. Going through this process, I’ve got to wonder how many other people were as irked by this as me; when you have to enter your username, it’s limited to lowercase letters and numbers. That’s all fine and dandy; except for the lowercase letters bit. Am I the only one who is borderline OCD here?
Reflecting on it, I have to admit to myself that I probably am; even in my group of friends I’m a bit anal about this. When I text, I always have proper grammar and punctuation, and the same is true for Facebook. Makes me wonder if there are people out there who are as irked by proper writing in a casual forum as I am by the lack thereof. I believe so, but off on what is hopefully my last tangent, this reminds me of a story my class and I heard from my English teacher.
In Washington, we still have senior projects that must be made and presented before a class in order to graduate. One day a year, every class in my high school, freshmen to juniors, must watch about three senior presentations. Naturally, when you have a particular affinity for some teachers you try to get them. As the story goes, my English teacher wrote to either ask about a certain students schedule, or else request that particular student. Apparently, he wrote it so well that his response can be summed up essentially as, “I cannot believe that this is an actual English teacher, I take it as my responsibility to write you back and inform you that a student is attempting to use some form of sabotage and has gotten on your computer.” Now, my English teacher is a sly guy; chagrined by this, he chose not to reveal that he had written it and instead replied with an e-mail that rolled with the story, saying that he was on the lookout for the student who had gotten on his computer for the e-mail.
Hm… Maybe not the greatest story via web, eh? In person it was a lot greater, though for the purposes of ego I have to say it doesn’t match some of mine. Now I’m REALLY rambling on, and chances are nobody’s willing to stomach this much of it. If you have, thank you for your time! Maybe next time I’ll actually have something to say, huh? One can only hope!
And of course, happy late fourth of July!