Monday, November 29, 2010



I finished up, appropriately, with the end of the story.

There was a photograph resting on his pillow. Even from his place in the doorway Sam could see the two wolf eyes staring out at him and he stilled, standing where he was for a long moment before he finally eased the pack from his shoulder and crossed to his bed.

The picture was of a werewolf. Its face was an odd cross between a wolf and a gorilla, with thick round eye sockets and a long snout. Its eyes were green and stared up at the camera, alert but unafraid.

It was Sam. He didn't know how he could tell-- beside the obvious, because when the hell had David been hanging around with any other werewolves? Sam didn't remember him leaving to get his camera at any point during that last full moon, but his memory of that night was spotty at best.

Besides that, though, the picture had something about it, some invisible power... the same power that had been in that picture of Mary, standing in the back doorway of the house.

Sam knew that he'd never done anything to deserve that kind of power, but he wouldn't question it.

So, yeah, the end of the story but not the end of me WRITING this story. I'm serious when I say that I've probably got another 30,000-40,000 words to go yet before this is a real novel. I've the basics of the story laid out, though, so it'll just be a process of stitching them all together.

As far as NaNoWriMo goes... I really enjoyed it. I'm great at working to a deadline, so that was a great motivator. I might start seeking out other contests and challenges--maybe not 50,000 words in 30 days, because WHOO BOY. But perhaps something else along those lines.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Sam's body

4777 words to go.

This is from late in the novel, I think near the end of the second act. I tend to bounce around a lot when I'm writing, like flinging droplets of ink on a piece of paper then going back and expanding from those initial points. This is after Sam and Mary and David have started sleeping together.

Sometimes it felt like there were two Sams. One of them was a white-trash thief with nowhere else to go and no one. He'd lived an ugly life, had ugly things done to him, and he'd die an ugly death. The other lived in a nice house with a new GED on the wall and was thinking about college someday, was loving Mary and David, was loved, was hot.

He'd never been hot before, not the way they made him. His body had never been something that he liked: he was shorter than most dudes and scarred up pretty bad. He didn't know shit about fashionable men's clothing or how to work out and eat right, and his hair was probably starting to grow permanent hat-head. He was too skinny in the chest and too chunky around the waist and he had blackheads permanently embedded across his nose... Sam had long lists of things that were wrong with him.

All of which were completely aside from the fact that he spent about half the month either working up to or coming down from the full moon and at the mercy of some truly haywire hormones that left him raw and nervous or shaky and sick.

Or that he spent one whole night as something else, something hairy and dangerous and wild, and he could never remember any of it through the haze of drugs.

It did no good to whine about things he couldn't change, though. Mostly he just tried not to think about it that much.

When he was with Mary and David, though, all that seemed to drop away. They made his body feel good in ways that he hadn't even known were possible, and they made him feel good about his body. They liked him despite his flaws-- or maybe they didn't even see them, somehow, because Mary loved to run her hands over his back and David waxed poetic about his mouth.

Sometimes Sam imagined that they were physically changing him, drawing over the old Sam with their lips and fingers.
Sam's emotional arc is learning to take control of his life instead of being terrified all the time and just blindly letting things happen to him. A big part of that process is gaining some measure of control over his own body, something that he's never really felt that he had before. He's still a werewolf, he can't change that, but he can change the way that he treats that condition, learning to accept it and himself rather than letting himself be drugged into a haze and not even remembering what happens when he wolfs out.

Despite my jumping-around style of writing, I've got pretty much the whole first act of the story written. It clocks in at 22,500, which means a full rough draft of the novel will be about 90,000. So, even after this I'll have a lot of work to do. I'm actually really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Drumming diary: The double-tap, and manpris

I'm still hard at work on Good Times, Bad Times: I've got the movements down, I've just got to get my speed up. Towards that end, I'm trying to learn the single-pedal-double-tap. I've previously mentioned that John Bonham never used a double bass pedal; he emplyed a technique in which the drummer rocks hir foot on the pedal, hitting first with the heel then the toe.*

This creates a double-tap on the kick perfect for playing the "e-a" of a triplet (1-e-a-&-e-a-2-e-a-&-e-a). When you really get going, it sounds like a horse galloping. Supposedly this is going to send my speed on the kick through the roof. Cool. On the downside, whoa nelly my calves and shins. This one is going to take some getting used to.

On another note, I think I've discovered why some drummers wear, ahem, manpris. (Capri pants for men.) Today I sat down, having muffled the hell out of my kick in order to keep from driving the neighbors (more) insane, and started playing the hell-toe technique whilst wearing a pair of sweatpants with a fairly loose leg. The mallet struck the kit on my heel-hit, rebounded, and immediately caught in the hem of my pantleg, preventing any attempt at the toe-hit. This has happened a couple of times while playing the kick with single hits, but never with the consistency of a heel-toe double-tap. It's a fairly rock-genre technique, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of those guys and girls in shorts, or at least rolling up their pant legs, as I did.

The More You Know. ~~~*

* I actually had a well-meaning friend of mine tell me that it was toe-then-heel. I don't know if other drummers do it this way but ho man, that so does not work for me. Having my foot arched up off the pedal when I'm hitting with the toe causes the mallet to come flying back and nail me in the top of the foot. YMMV.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day 21

Whew. I can't believe I'm still on track for my work count; one of the other bartenders quit so I've been working 36 hours for the last two weeks, plus training some new people. Besides not having a lot of time to write I've been pretty much exhausted. I'm fairly introverted and having to be in constant conversation/supervision with another person sucks the life straight out of me.

BUT. I am, in fact, on track to finish. And somehow I'm still really liking my book! I feel like I'm doing a good job at making Sam a sympathetic protagonist--he's prickly and kind of hates the entire world and oh yeah, he's a thief, but he also feeds the neighbor's neglected dog and plays peek-a-boo with his girlfriend's son, who has fetal alcohol syndrome. He secretly really wants kids of his own but he's a) worried that his own physical abuse (and implied sexual abuse) as a kid would make him a bad dad and b) a werewolf.

Augh, now all I can think about is the future story wherein Mary is pregnant with David's kid, but Sam names their little baby girl Lily and whenever he wolfs out he's like, "GET AWAY FROM THE BABY. MY BABY. GRRRRR." Even Mary's demon is kind of impressed, and stops trying to kill Sam on a monthly basis.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

14-year-old is way more eloquent than you

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, a teacher was recently suspended for disciplining a student who had used hate speech against gays. The teacher is fighting the decision.

This is Graeme Taylor, who is a 14 year old student, speaking in support of the teacher. He is gay. I want him to run for president.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

NaNoWriMo: wrong word counts?

Has anyone else doing NaNoWriMo noticed that the word widgets don't update properly with your word count? Like, for instance, I'm at 21,688 right now. Yet this is what the widgets read:

Obviously that's not a big deal right now, but that makes me nervous for the end of the month. Am I doing something wrong? Did I screw something up in the updating process?

ETA: Wait, now it's working. Nevermind. I guess there's just a delay.

Friday, November 12, 2010


And now Bob Bryar from My Chem has made an appearance in my NaNo.
The kitchen manager came out in his apron and Sam twitched, staring. The guy was big and blond. He wore a thick black hoodie with the sleeves rolled up; his forearms were covered in prison tattoos.

He was also a werewolf.

Sam didn't know how he knew, exactly, there wasn't any particular smell or physical feature that showed in their human forms, but he knew right away. The cook could tell about him, too, if the quick double-take was anything to go by.

Sam almost walked out right then...except then he'd have to go back home and explain to Dave and Mary why he still couldn't find a job. He held his ground, trying not to crinkle his liquor permit in his fingers. The kitchen manager didn't say anything, just looked at Mr. Eldritch.

"This' Sam Owen," Mr. Eldritch said, gesturing between them. "Sam, this is Bob the kitchen manager. Sam's gonna be bartending for us."

"Cool," Bob said, his flame and knife-scarred scarred hands tucked in the front pockets of his apron.
He's a minor character, but symbolically very important: due to the horrific way he was turned, Sam is terrified of other werewolves (and therefore terrified of himself). His tentative friendship with Bob represents his personal journey towards self-acceptance.


This week has not been good for NaNoing. One of the other bartenders at work quit, so I'm holding down, oh, 33 hours? When I asked for 25? Yeah. No good. I didn't write a lick all yesterday and stayed up until 3am last night cranking out yesterday's word count. Now I've got......2.5 hours before I've got to leave for work. And I still have yet to cook a single dinner for myself this week. I've been surviving on nuts and yogurt and pears. Soooooo hunnnnngryyyyyy.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Mary's demon

A little interlude in which Mary explains how she came to be semi-consensually possessed by a demon:

"How did you get that?" he asked Mary.

Her expression turned guarded. "David never told you?"

"He told me what it was and how not to piss it off. He didn't tell me how you got it."

She sighed, shifting in place a little. Her knee knocked into his. "When I was a girl, I had dreadful dreams. I'd dream that I was dead and rotting in a coffin, that I had murdered my entire family with a knife, things like that. They went on for two years, until one day a woman came to the door. She told my parents that she was a nun, but she had no habit. When she saw me, she laughed and acted like she knew me.

"That's the first time I heard the voice. The voice knew her. I could feel it, too--it hated her, but it was happy to see her, too. I think maybe it loved her."

"Bullshit," the demon's voice growled, making Sam jump.

Mary didn't bat an eyelash. "She'd been following this one demon for a very long time. She kept finding it and exorcising it, but it kept coming back. Some of the people it had possessed died during the exorcism. That's why it had chosen me--the nun didn't want to see a child die and the demon knew that.

"But the demon didn't want to go back to Hell, either. It was tired. They were both so very tired, and I think maybe she had come to love the demon back, in a way." She paused a moment as if waiting for a response; when the demon remained silent, she went on. "So she spoke to my parents and then they offered the demon a deal. It could stay in me so long as it didn't actively harm me or let harm come to me. In exchange the nun would not try to exorcise it, nor would she prevent it from seeking another host after I die."

Sam listened to the whole story in silence. "What happens if the nun dies?" he asked.

Mary smiled a little, faintly. "It wasn't a nun, Sam."

I think the demon might have a New Yawk accent. Why, I have no idea. But that's the joy of magical realism! Nothing has to make sense! \o/

Also, in my head Mary now looks like Christina Hendricks.

ALSO, also--apparently I have something about demons and women named Mary and threesomes. (People who know me from the Supernatural fandom will get that reference.)

NaNoWriMo: Day 9

Just realized that I haven't had sexytiems with myself in days. T'would appear that NaNo has completely wiped out my sex drive. I've never been happier to be asexual, man; if I actually had a romantic partner, I would feel so bad for that person right now.

I also have not shaved my legs in two weeks. I strongly doubt that there will be any leg-shaving at all in the month of November.

Aaaaaaand, that's your TMI post for the day! Ta-ta, gotta get through another 700 words in--shit, three hours.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Days 4-6

Consolidating a bit--I've broken 10,000 words, which is amazing. I just keep imagining the Red Leader from Star Wars: "Stay on target...stay on target..."

I had one of those delightful moments yesterday wherein I discovered an idea that my brain had already put in place. Do you ever get those? It feels like there's some other part of me that's someplace just ahead, laying down track to connect my thoughts together in such a perfect line, it's hard to believe that I hadn't consciously laid it out that way to begin with. Of course David can steal people's souls with his photographs (though not really; it's more that he can take their feelings out of them, and he's very careful only to take bad things out of people who need them taken). Of course the demon that lives inside Mary keeps him from taking photographs of her; that's the only way their marriage ever worked in the first place. Of course that all ties in with the theme of self-acceptance, and how so often, emotional intimacy means letting someone else see all the gross, weird things inside ourselves, all the neuroses and baggage and, yes, the demons and wolves.

Well done, brain, well done indeed!

Another point of some amusement is how many people that I know in real life are finding their way into the story. Hello, David. Hi, Nikki Molly. Sarah, yay! This only gets awkward in David's case, as I have to write him having
b)in a threesome
c)that involves both a man and a woman. (Pretty sure Real Life David is straight.)

Yyyyyyyeah, that's probably a standard hazard when you're friends with a writer.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day 2

I don't even know. I guess I have something for strong human women holding werewolf dudes by the back of their necks. *hands*

It helps if the strong human women are possessed by semi-friendly demons who are contractually obligated to help the woman (and the plot).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Heeeeeeeere's JOHNNY

I wonder if anyone's ever submitted an entire novel of "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" for NaNoWriMo. Someone's got to have tried that, right? I'd guess that they've got ways of preventing it, though. More's the pity.

On the subject of my NaNo: I'm kind of in love with it right now. We're in the honeymoon phase, I think, where it's all flowers and intimacy and figuring out the character voices. In particular I adore Sam, which is handy given that he's the main character. He's just such an angry, adorable little fucker. Witness:
"At least I didn't choke," Sam muttered.


"Sometimes in fights I don't do anything, I just stand there. I didn't this time." Because of the moon, the voice inside his head whispered. You could never do that on your own.

"And you think the fact that you did this time is a good thing? I just picked you up from jail, dude. Maybe violence isn't something to aspire to. Just a thought."

Sam bristled. "What, I should let people walk all over me?"

"No, but I think there's a big difference between defending yourself and breaking a guy's nose for sleeping with your girlfriend. There are other ways of solving that." Sam scoffed and David shot him a frown, his brows knit together. "You think I'm wrong?"

"I think," Sam said, "I think you live in nice fucking house in a nice fucking part of town. I think you have a rich daddy who likes you and you've never had to really work for anything. So no, I don't think you know shit."

They drove on in silence. Sam stared out the window at the houses and yards passing them by.

"You know, Sam," David said after a while, "sometimes you make it real hard to like you."

"Yeah, well, ditto," Sam shot back without turning.
AWWWW, SAMMY, look at your precious little >:( face. You hate everyone in the world, don't you, bb? Don't you? N'awwww. (This snippet is made more amusing by the fact that David is pretty much the easiest person in the world to like. He's like a slightly less randy version of Jack Harkness.) (Very slightly.)

Today's "A Softer World Comic"

NaNoWriMo: Day 1

I've never done National Novel Writing Month before, but I've always wanted to. For those who don't know, NaNoWriMo is where you try to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. From midnight Nov 1st to Nov 30th, people all across the globe become hermits, pounding out the word count to the tune of 1,667 words a day.

I'm doing pretty well so far --

My novel is tentatively called "Nature Boy," a magical realism urban fairytale about a young werewolf cat burglar who falls in love with the married couple whose house he broke into (though he kind of falls in love with the house first). The wife has two voices and the husband takes pictures in his sleep that become famous works of art. Without knowing about the burglary, they fall in love back. AND THEN POLYAMORY.