Thursday, December 27, 2012

Down to the wire

A short note here.

    My goal for December was four short stories. I just sent off the second one [Red Eyes and Yellow Teeth] today and got confirmation of receipt on first one [Dead Truth]. Third story is started and rolling along. I was going to avoid zombie stories, but there's this call and then ideas happened. Always with the ideas. My original thought was World War II and the fire bombing of Dresden Germany. Through the grapevine, I heard that the editor was looking for pre-CE [Current Era] stories, so I switched gears and went for the plagues of Egypt, specifically the last one. Kill the First Born, but not really, make them come back as zombies. Real life events happened concerning children as I was starting, so that idea got shutdown and went back to WWII.

    On a prompt, I began to poke around again and looked at Asia, notably China. There's lots of good ideas, including the Great Wall and the army of Terra Cotta Soldiers that were buried near the tomb of the 1st Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. That got the juices flowing and now I'm off on a 3rd idea and writing furiously to meet a January 1 deadline. Not going to hit my goal of four this month, but at least three.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Splatterpunk & World Building

    Four open calls, which I thought were all due on the 31st or the 1st, until my friend pointed out that the splatterpunk call for Grey Matter Press was due on the 21st. The good news is that I have a story that I think will fit. This was one of the origin stories that I wrote during NaNo this year. A rather dark tale that ventured into uncomfortable and unexplored territory in terms of subject matter. Bad news is that I need to rewrite parts of the story and see about adding another 1-2k words. It's 7k already [which I didn't expect], but pushing it to 9k couldn't hurt. So far, only the sheriff has managed not to get eaten.

    For those not familiar with the genre, splatterpunk is bloody, messy, and disgusting type of horror. The likes of Clive Barker, Poppy Z Brite, and Robert McCammon are commonly cited authors in the genre. I have a few books by Deadite Press that I've been reading as a reference to do the rewrite. "All You Can Eat" by Shane McKenzie was a particularly good read and very messed up. His descriptions and ability to keep my engrossed were top notch stuff, even if it means I'm not going near certain types of restaurants in the near future. Not for the faint of heart.

    On a different topic, been working on world building for my urban fantasy novella. Keep finding little inconsistencies and need to stamp them out hard. At the moment, I've got how magic works, what sort of supernatural things go bump in the night, how much the public knows, and a solidified character backgrounds. The broad magic categories comes out as Lovecraftian [hyper-science, also related to mentalism], Invocation or Necromantic [one coin, two sides], and Fae-related [gifted by heritage]. Werewolves, vampires, and zombies are not common in the setting. Great Old Ones [GOO], their minions, and The Fae are the common magical threats/obstacles. Humans can wield the power of the GOO's but it ends up driving them insane or changing them physically. The exception is mentalism, which is unreliable and weak, but safe to use. Invocation/Necromancy tap into the power of life and death as represented by spirits and non-Mythos entities. Either can be used for good or evil, it's a matter of application. Belief and conviction govern how much power can be harnessed by the wielder. Fae blood powers are nebulous right now and I'll cover them later.

    John Q Public is just beginning to notice that things go bump in the night. There's a sense of unease, rising to panic in some places. Some religious organizations are finding that the faithful can perform miracles and not all of them are controlled, as the most dogmatic are the least likely to develop the right frame of mind. The Fae are coming across the Wall, taking people, and causing chaos. Not all of them are evil, most are amoral and have little concept of human ethics. A side effect is that people with "fae blood" are finding themselves able to perform magic, both large and small effects. Governments are trying to keep a lid on the events with the usual mixed results. It's only a matter of time before an event happens in front of a large enough audience to blow the lid off everything.

Go to put that bit aside for the moment and finish up my current calls. And I promised my writing buddy that I would answer the ten questions about me and my current projects.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Winter Projects

    NaNoWriMo for the year is done and I hit the mark, if just barely. Put down some good words and some terrible words, along with seeds for additional stories. With the closing of City of Heroes and the writing that I did related to the game, I'm going to let that rest before returning to edit. Looking at my call list there's four that are due by the end of the month or beginning of January. For the 3-10k splatterpunk I'm thinking something supernatural or that appears supernatural. Zombies in history is about the Dresden firebombing and how the Nazis were using a different type of slave labor. The horror in history call is nebulous, but I'm thinking about a faerie related story set in the old west. Bloodbound Books has a call that pays professional rates for up to 5k. Four stories, 26 days. Time to get busy. I'm seeing a theme in some of my stories, as they are based around faeries and fae-like creatures. Trying to stay away from vampires, werewolves, and zombies [history one aside], but not going to rule them out totally.

    Further out is a call for Urban Fantasy novella's and short stories along with pulp heroes and astrological short stories. The novella is a rewrite of an older submission that was rejected. Looking over it, I need to tighten it up. Originally it was written as a superhero romance, something that I've never thought I would write about in combo. It has demons, heroes, faerie, necromancers, and assorted other tropes that work in the super hero genre. The hero/protagonist had someone try to rip out his soul and stuff a demon in him. Didn't work out so well for any of the parties involved. Looking at it critically, I don't like it, so that idea goes out the window and he's become the child of a Faerie Lord and human romance. That ties in a bit better with the overall story. Removing the super hero related trappings isn't hard; a few renames here and there, tweaking of motivations, and giving some “logic” to the background. The one thing that I'm still looking at is to remove the romantic, but the call isn't specific to any theme, just Urban Fantasy. Either way, there's some tweaking involved to make the love interest more active in the story and not as passive.

    Last thing I need to catch up on is my reports for the local WHL hockey team here in Portland. Woefully behind on those.