Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Watching for Backstory

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I have gotten hooked on The Walking Dead, which is a series on AMC about the zombie apocalypse. 

And okay, yeah, a big draw are those two guys standing in the foreground, Shane and friends and coworkers at the beginning of the series.  But then Rick gets shot, and while he's in a coma (or something) there is a zombie apocalypse, and he wakes up to a whole new world, with all new rules. 

Here's the thing:  I started watching  the last four episodes of the first season, and then have watched all of the second season episodes.  I thought:  WOW, I have to go back and get the back story on all these people, because they are just all so awesomely flawed and appealing...There is so much going on here, surely I've missed something.

So I went back and got caught up with Netflix, and realized that I wasn't really missing all that much background information--only two episodes worth.  How do these writers do this without even a speck of  "As you know, Bob" going on? 

The first time I saw Lori and Shane together, I knew that they had been doing the nasty (even though Rick was still alive, much to everyone's surprise!), even though I hadn't seen that episode.  It was in a look that Lori had on her face when she realized Rick was still alive. 

And then there is Darrel...backwoods white boy with of the Meth head who sawed off his own hand to avoid being eaten by zombies...with a sensitive side buried so far down he has to tear up barns to keep it from getting out. 

My goal for the next month is to see how much backstory I can make up for people on the street, based on their mannerisms...and then try to write it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Surrender!

Dagnabbit, I am not going to make my NaNo word count by the end of the month.  I was SO on track, too.  And then life brought me Penny.

The "little" white puppy with the black ears is Penny.  The poor, brown, slob, laying down and taking the abuse, is Stella.  In the 7 short days that Penny has been part of our family, Stella has earned the Princess of Patience award.  Poor thing can't move without being impaled with puppy teeth.  Ears, throat, belly, all bear the marks of her unwillingness to take a bite out of the baby. 


Not doing so well with getting any kind of writing done at all. I have, however, lost five pounds this week...all that running outside for housetraining is more activity than I've had in a while. 

The Teen Drama Queen, however, is on a roll.  She sat down last night and asked me to help her figure out some stuff with a short story she's supposed to turn in at school today.  I am in total awe at the level of detail in setting, dialogue, and character description she cranks out. She read me the opening for a story about four teens who discover (conveniently)  four necklaces with magical witchcraft powers.  The story she needed to turn in was supposed to be 1000 words, and she probably needs another 70,000 to get this complicated story finished.

I suggested maybe she should tell the story of the witch who created the necklaces...and in less than an hour, she brought me a completed short story, told in first person. It's about Mary Ash, a young married woman who believes her magic is a curse.  She's kept her witchiness a secret from her husband, but then her evil twin brother "outs" her (we're talking Salem, back in the day) and her husband proves his devotion by swearing to hide the necklaces that hold her power, so her evil twin brother won't get them.  But then Mary is burned at the stake (again...first person narrative*shudder*) and her brother undergoes spontaneous combustion. 

I am so proud of this kid!  She really struggles with school sometimes, but if her teachers don't suck the joy of learning from her, I think she'll be a great writer some day. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Reading While Driving, and Other Stuff

Okay, I will admit that I have, on occassion, been so into a book that I was compelled to read a few lines every time I hit a stop light on my way home from work.  This week's "OMG, I Can't Put This Down" selection is Because Of You, by Jessica Scott.

Because of You: A Loveswept Contemporary Military Romance

Ya'll know how much I love a beat down on an Alpha Male hero, and Sgt. Shane Garrison fits the bill.  It's only $2.99 on Amazon right now...this is a first novel for Ms. Scott, and I can't wait for the next in this series.  Hopefully the next book will come out on a day off or something, though, so I can avoid becoming a traffic hazard.

Onto safer Auto-Literature:  Way back before the dawn of Kindle...heck, before the dawn of the home computer, there was born a human female who was raised by Cavemen:
The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children, Book One): with Bonus Content
And this human female, Ayla, proceeded to have a half-caveman baby, who she left behind when she left the cavemen people.  In subsequent books in the Earth's Children series, Ayla became the MacGuyver of the prehistoric folk:  domesticating wild animials, inventing sewing, discovering flint and steel....and so on. 

Ms. Auel is one slow-assed writer. Clan of the Cave Bear was released in 1980.  Yes, that's 1980...31 years ago.  I was a sophomore in high school!  My favorite of the series was the Valley of Horses, because that's when Ayla met Jondalar and discovered "sharing pleasures".  Cause, you know, SEX. 

The fifth book came out this year. 
The Land of Painted Caves: Earth's Children (Book Six)
Ayla is aging well, and she has a kid, balancing motherhood and medicine-womanhood, she's still got that smokin' hot Jondalar as her mate (although they haven't shared many pleasures lately, as far as I can tell), she still hangs out with the horses, the wolf...

Anyway.  I got the book on audio, and it's like 35 hours worth of listening.  To details of preshistoric human life.  There is a lot of repitition of detail in here, too...explaining relationships and how Whinny's pole drag (Whinny is Ayla's horse, the pole drag is a travois thing) is used to carry people and stuff...And not much plot.  I'm about halfway through the CD's, and I'm GOING to finish this book, but I hope that when the next one comes out, in say, 2025, that Ayla goes through menopause and goes all psycho on someone's ass and creates some drama, because I'm in danger of drifting off to sleep while I'm driving and reading this one!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Like I Really Have Time for This

A few months ago, my 15 year-old German Sherpherd/Lab Mix, Lucy, was ushered on to the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm in the sky, with many tears and regrets.  Then The Big Guy had a couple of beers and suggested that we should get a new friend for Stella, our chocolate Lab.  May I point out that TBG works out of town at least every other week? 

I nixed that suggestion. 

But there's this thing I go through every now and then, I call it Baby Lust.  I went through it when my boys were toddlers, and I thought I was assuaging that urge by acquiring a puppy (Lucy), who was way more dog than I was prepared for at the time.  And then, Oops! I I was so busy with two human puppies and one canine puppie that  forgot to take my birth control pills a couple of days in a row, and was blessed with a Surprise Drama Queen (who is now almost 14, and the Abbot to my Costello, the Fruit in my Loom--not a mistake or an accident, but a wonderful surprise).  Yep, getting a puppy resulted in getting a baby. 

Anyway. Last weekend, I wandered in to my local Petsmart, which is when the Stray Animal Adoption Program has animals who are looking for a forever home.  Sigh. 

I tried really hard to ignore the idea of a new dog, I really did.  The Big Guy had recanted his suggestion of a companion for Stella. 

And so I would like to introduce you to Penny: 
Penny is a 9-week old, at least 1/2, Treeing Walker Coonhound, who does not like to sleep alone in her crate, and is quite vocal about her displeasure. 
Penny and The Bearded Wonder
Let us all say a prayer that the addition of Penny to the household will not result in TBG having a spontaneous vasectomy reversal. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Torturing a Hero: By Making Him Apppear in My NaNo Novel

My poor hero is not having a very good time so far during NaNoWriMo.  He was very comfortable living a life of seclusion, with a semi-new identity, avoiding the notoriety that came with being the Charlie Sheen of golf.  But then I thought him up (along with some help from Kate).  And I'm trying to torture him. 

Except my hero, Chris, looks more like this:

He just used to act like C.S. 

So far, he's had to sit in a hot parking lot waiting for his uncle to come out of the grocery store (how is THAT for an exciting first hero scene?), then Uncle Carl goes and has a stroke on him, and he finds out that Uncle Carl has neither health insurance nor a living will (so even if he wanted to pull the plug on the old fart, he can't), and NOW this weird, uptight scientist chick has shown up expecting him to give her golf lessons.  Next thing you know she's going to be dragging him around where his identity might be exposed, threaten his hard-won sobriety, and probably make him fall in love with her or something. 

What are you doing to your hero or heroine? 

Friday, November 4, 2011

We Interrupt this NaNoWriMo For a Special Report

My Imaginary boyfriend of the month, Channing Tatum,

has a new movie opening this week, Son of No One.
Your basic gritty cop drama with Ray Liotta, Al Pacino,sordid pasts and present scandals. 
And apparently it's a stinker. Which is really okay, because there is alway the probability that Channing will have his shirt off at some point.

  Unfortunately, the reviews I've read have been written by people who evaluate movies for the quality of the writing and the acting.  Whatever.