stillsostrange: (Blood)
I survived many hours in the Gothtopus getup today, and even sold a book. An unexpected side effect of my recent weight loss is that my corset fits amazingly well (I had nearly grown out of it at this time last year), but the tentacle skirt is now too large. And it's hard to have a tentacle skirt taken in.

Today's random writerly revelation: I really want to write a gothic*. Crumbling mansions and curses and madwomen in the attic. This dovetails nicely with my equal desire to write a Scion of a Creepy Family story. Now I just need to find a plot to support these dreams.

* I had fun doing high fantasy gothic in Kingdoms, and my unfinished Pinion is a Texas gothic, but I want even more gothic than that.
stillsostrange: (Xenomorph)
I'm a little torn about Prometheus putting paid to the AVP franchise. On the one hand, some things need to be put a stop to. On the other...awww... Predaliens are so cuuuute. And I'm the kind of geek who enjoys getting a chance to say kainde amedha.

For quite a while now I've been looking for the book that belongs to the title Echidna's Children. Now I know what kind of story it wants to be. Next step: growing the chops to write it.
stillsostrange: (Plot Octopus)
I'm waiting for my kitchen floor to dry so I can put down sealant (again), wait for that to dry, and then start tiling. In the meantime I'm scurrying after book ideas and seeing which ones I can catch. So far I've collected a magical cataclysm, places frozen in time, a family of sorcerers navigating it all, a sunken city of the dead, and a creepy circus. What these combine to form, I do not know. Maybe Voltron. Maybe only another file in my unused idea graveyard.

Novels are hard, yo. Especially ones I haven't been working on for eight years.
stillsostrange: (Dark City)
I was asked about my process for beginning novels recently, and since I could use more somewhat coherent craft posts, you all get to hear about it. The question is relevant right now, as I'm just starting work on Oracle of Plagues.

Usually my novels accrete from several different sources and ideas, gathering mass until I have enough to work with. Images, characters, angry refutations, etc.

The accretion of OoP )

Titles are important, too, even if it's only a working title. Oracle spent years being "The FauxMayan [redacted]-sporking Suestravaganza"--while entertaining, this didn't give me much to work with. Even if I have to call Oracle something else eventually, be it for thematic or marketing reasons, the title is enough to go forward with.

A pitch blurb is just as important as a title. If I can't write a blurb for a potential novel, I don't know enough about it yet. I can always revise it later, as needed.

The blurb )

Now that I have a title and a blurb, I have to start worldbuilding. This is the fun part, usually. I have to create the Serpentine Kingdoms, their culture, the gods Ravana and her friends work for, etc. This will involve much googling and reading of Wikipedia, and probably digging through for awesome photos. I could start writing without the worldbuilding, but that leads to the hell of bracket notes. I also need to figure out who the antag is, and what the clashing goals are. That "rival priest" in the blurb isn't a real person yet. Right now I have a first paragraph written, but I can't get much farther until I can see the setting and know who the major players are.

Once I start writing, I'll need a soundtrack. Right now I don't have any songs for this book, and don't know what my themes will be. Possibly blood and snakes. (TDC had spies and revolution and water. TBP had angst and death and gothiness. KoD had spies and angst and deserts.)

Once I get all that, I'll probably have enough momentum to write the first 15k. Then I'll get stuck, because that's what always happens. Hopefully, that 15k will be solid enough to pitch the novel, and then we'll go from there.

And now I have to grovel through more CEM.
stillsostrange: (Veil)
Today my mission is to sort out Kingdoms' timeline, so I know what's happening when, and what my antags are doing while I'm paying attention to Isyllt and her zombie cobras*. Losing track of antags is one of my biggest problems.

In the course of my calendar-staring, I realized that I had started the book in time for the inundation of the deNile. This kind of turns the kingdoms of dust into the kingdoms of silty floodplains, but it would require a lot of alteration to the timeline to avoid, so I'm going to embrace it. This means also embracing the sociopolitical ramifications of the season on the plot, and vice versa.

At least flooding rivers give me things to describe. They also increase the chances of throwing Isyllt into a body of water, since that's become a running joke in these books.

*Sadly, the zombie cobras do not join the adventuring party. It would be so much more awesome if they did. Hmm...
stillsostrange: (Dark City)
I run out of memes and content grinds to a halt. I am currently watching Funeral In Berlin, and my love for Michael Caine's Harry Palmer is moving from effulgent to boundless. And look, it's the bank from Run Lola, Run!

I will pay someone lots and lots of money to write me Harry Palmer and the Philosopher's Stone. If you don't, I may have to do it myself.
stillsostrange: (fatale)
The A-Team: Surprisingly--nay, shockingly--good. Certainly the best gratuitous Hollywood remake in recent history. Everyone in it was adorable, especially Sharlto Copley and his extra-adorable accent slippage. The people in charge didn't make the mistake of saying "Let's make this serious." Instead they said "Let's make this awesome!" And I believe they succeeded.

I woke up with an IDEA today, burning like an amphetamine-fueled tyrannosaur straight out of Warren Ellis's brain. I've figured out how to make my Spies With Fabulous Hats book work. I will even make it work as a historical novel. The primary focus of my research will be what sort of hats my nameless femme fatale is wearing in any given scene. All I need now is a working title and this thing will be a menace.
stillsostrange: (Words)
I am in Connecticut with [ profile] matociquala. Eventually there will be pictures. But first, the first lines meme!

Kingdoms of Dust

In the dream he was home.

In the dream he was whole.

Dreams of Shreds & Tatters

Halloween night, and parties staggered down Granville Street--clubs full of costumes, sequins and feathers, masks and paint. People dressed in shiny new skins, searching for opportunities to shed them. Groping hands and sticky candy kisses, tricks and treats in darkened corners.

Mist & Chill

The Terminal is a dive on its best day.

Monster Garden

The bombs fell again the night the stranger came.


Lilah runs and darkness follows.

Prayers to Broken Stone

Springtime in Paris, the cruelest month come and gone but storms still linger. Tonight rain washes the city, speeding the Seine in its rush to the sea. In the Left Bank, it pours from the gutters and drips from curling wrought iron balconies to splash against the cobbles below. Moisture darkens white walls, new paint and plaster over centuries-old bones. Pigeons sleep beneath the eaves, fat on café crumbs, violet-grey wings folded tight against the chill. And in her apartment on the rue du Dragon, Holly sits beside an open window and watches the rain.


The stallion came with the dawn and the rising sun flung his shadow before him over the cracked and dusty ground.

The faerie book whose title will probably not be Brittle Glass Hearts, as much as I love a Glen Cook homage

The girl whose name was not Aletheia Rampion woke to thunder, and the surety that something was wrong.

(I'm not wedded to this--I had to scrape something together to get this into the meme.)

"Bone Garden"

They found the girl unconscious on the back doorstep an hour before dawn.


Nan doesn't mean to fall asleep--she never does. But Evie's soft breath and the steady creak of the ceiling fan lull her, till her eyes sag and the worn paperback slides from her fingers.

"Music From a Farther Room"

Alex found his wife waiting on the threshold, at the divide between memory and dream. He was used to finding her here, one of the many memory-ghosts to haunt these halls. But this was different. The door she stood in was one he couldn't cross.

"Red" (Hopefully this stays "Red" and not Red--we'll see.)

I wake with the taste of storms in my mouth and screams echoing down the hall. Slow and dream-sticky and for a second I don't know where I am, but I'm still on my feet with my gun in my hand before my eyes are all the way open.


All Souls Night and the gutters still brim with shed Hallows skin. Broken glass crunches under Jane's boots as she carries an amp to the van, glittering beside limp feathers and cracked sequins, tattered black and orange fliers. One hell of a party, she heard--Sixth Street is still subdued and sleepy. But even for the day after Halloween and a Monday to boot, the crowd is still better than last night's in Dallas.


The horses are restless.

"Spell 81A"

Someone had left flowers again.

"Waiting For the Train"

When it's raining here, you hear the trains. You hear them other times too, with the tracks so close, but the dusty heat of summer bakes the sound out of the air, till it gets buried under cars and trucks and TVs and voices and all the other small-town noises. But when the rain comes, and the trains come, the whistles carry all over, low and mournful and rumbling in my chest.

Untitled Blind Cave Mermaid Story

I wait in the mud and dark for the oracle to come.
stillsostrange: (Bone Palace)
I am in the process of slogging through all the end matter for The Bone Palace. I've finished the acknowledgments and dedication, and proofreading the appendices. Then I have to kick the first scene of Book 3 into reasonable shape to be a teaser.

Bone Palace generated lots of extra ideas and characters that never made it on-screen. Today several of those have banded together and started lobbying for a spin-off sequel. This would involve members of the demimonde solving crimes and wearing fabulous dresses. And just now I had an idea of what sort of murder they might be called upon to solve, and how it would involve the king and Savedra (my favorite character from Bone Palace). There might be bonus Nongols.

He's a psychic demon-hunting boywhore with a tragic past. She's a scandalous, bespectacled playwright hiding from her noble family. They Fight Crime!

Pray for good sales for The Necromancer Chronicles, because I want to write this book so bad.

Also, I have discovered that the alternate yellow cover of Bone Palace isn't actually a fluke. That's the UK variant.
stillsostrange: (Lily)
She's a blind faerie Suicide Girl with a changeling twin sister. He's a ratboy with a speech impediment who looks like Peter Lorre. They fight crime? They commit crime?

Why yes, I have a very serious case of "Any book but the one I should be writing."
stillsostrange: (Ginger Snaps Back)
The Beast Must Die (1974)

According to Wiki: Due to the small production budget, the "werewolf" was played by an Alsatian.

And that is really all that need be said about this film. I would like to read the Blish story it's based on, though.

It's a cold, cruel world. A world that taunts me and slaps me across the face with metaphorical gauntlets. A world in which I have to write a werewolf novel of my own. Not a novel with werewolves in it, but an all-out, harbls-to-the-wall werewolf book. Scary werewolves who want to eat your face.

Moonlight through bare trees, lonely moors, haunted ancestral estates, family drama, ancient curses, survivor guilt.... Hell, I'm almost tempted to use the werewolf-as-rape metaphor*.

*falls to her knees and Wolverine-screams*

This is not my novel-brain. There has been some sort of mix-up.

*As opposed to vampires-as-seduction. Vampires have to be invited. Werewolves attack you, brutalize you, and leave you scarred and lashing out.
stillsostrange: (Medea)
There are dozens of stones with various healing properties attributed to them, but I am looking for one specific gemstone to associate with healing magic. Amethyst or agate are the two that spring to mind first for me--does any one else better versed in gemstone magic have any thoughts?
stillsostrange: (Wild roses)
The internet has such beautiful things some days.

stillsostrange: (Bone Palace)
1800 words on The Bone Palace today, and the dangerous realization that it might not be Isyllt who goes to Mongolstantinople to eat pastries and rescue oppressed boywhores and be romanced by the demon prince--it might be Isyllt's spunky apprentice. Hot eunuchs will definitely be involved.

This is why I don't worry about running out of ideas. Not writing fast enough to keep up is a greater concern.

In other news, Miss Maddy had her girl-parts removed today, and is now sulking in the garage. Despite this serious life-altering surgery, she complained less in the car than Siggy, who only went in for her yearly shots.
stillsostrange: (Miss Muffet)
(No, not a Rob Zombie CD)

After my mostly-joking zombie poll, I reread the first 2k of "Red Is the Color" to test for YAabilification. And lo and behold, it takes almost no effort to make Audra a teenager instead of a 20-something. It also makes some of the relationship conflicts stronger. Natalie doesn't mind becoming a teenager, either. When you're already dead that doesn't matter so much. The first few scenes would also greatly benefit by 100% more setting and character description. This doesn't bode well.

YA would mean toning down the sex, which would be a blessing to me. I already know way too much about these girls' kinks.

Luckily, I know they have been paid off by The Bone Palace to distract me right before my deadline, so I will throw them in an oubliette until I have more leisure. Also luckily, they don't have a proper working title, which makes it easier to ignore them.
stillsostrange: (Default)
If, in theory, one were ever to develop a lesbian zombie-apocalypse roadtrip adventure past a short story, should one go all the way and make it a YA lesbian zombie-apocalypse roadtrip adventure?

[Poll #1465745]
stillsostrange: (Brigitte)
What happens when you find yourself with a 30-year gap between your antagette's death and subsequent resurrection? An Evile Cocoon, that's what! Solves all your pesky timeline discrepancies.
stillsostrange: (Default)
So I've been joking for years about Isyllt Sue's fondness for leather, and how she wants to dress like she's on the cover of a paranormal romance. (She especially likes Marjorie Liu's Hunter Kiss covers, although she finds the sword impractical.) I've spent years trying to convince her to wear more practical--not to mention plausible--clothes*, and she's finally sat me down and explained the issue in small words that my feeble writer brain can comprehend.

Leather is made of dead animals, you see. And as such is affected by her magic, unlike silk or wool or cotton. So if I give her a long leather coat, the chances of Spawn-like special effects increase dramatically.

Who am I to argue with that?

I have a squid dilemma. Since the primary language in this book is pseudoGrecoLatinate, I have access to a lot of words I wouldn't want to use in, say, an unNorse novel. But typing calamari bugs me. What do you think, readers? Would seeing calamari in a second-world fantasy bug you overmuch? Would it be better or worse if I used an obviously similar word? I saw "calamar-fish" in Green yesterday, and was rather taken with it.


*I talk about conversations with my characters, but it's shorthand. I do not actually externalize them that much. They're definitely not entirely controlled by my conscious mind, but I couldn't role-play them, or do one of those weird character interviews. And since sound is pretty far down on my sense-awareness when I write, I don't "hear" their voices at all.
stillsostrange: (Baby bats)
18. Inkheart

It's so refreshing to see Paul Bettany in a movie I like. I may break down and watch The DaVinci Code just to see him as a self-flagellating evile albino, though.

19. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (vampire movie #16)

This movie is very bad. Its crimes against blue filters are vile and unforgivable. But, hey! It doesn't have Scott Speedman in it!

Inkheart gave me a brainworm, though: The Secret Garden with monsters. Plucky orphans, spooky mansions, creepy dead gardens... Add 200% more monsters (and something that passes for action) and that sounds like a winner to me.
stillsostrange: (Witch)
In addition to the pain in my cheekbones and my growing desire to take up home-trepanation, Miss Asenath Waite is also wandering around in the back of my head making over-protrubant big eyes at me. This would be all fine and dandy, but she can hardly seduce me away from my deadlines if she doesn't bring a plot with her.

A feminist rebuttal of "The Thing on the Doorstep" is one of the stories I reeeeeally really want to write before I die. Even more so than "Waves Like White Elephants" and "The King in Yellow Wallpaper". And the Tombs of Atuan/Dragonsinger fanfic.

What Asenath really wants is a fishsex story, maybe even with a blind cave mermaid, but the trouble with this is writing a story around it that makes sense to anyone who hasn't read TTotD. Of course, I could say screw that and write it anyway, and hope a nice Lovecraft anthology comes around. :P

What I really really really want is for the plot to Undertow Fathom Salvage Fishsexstravaganza, since Miss Waite would be perfectly at home there. All my stray fishwaifs could frolic and gambol and save the world from/deliver the world to Cthulhu. If they only had a plot.

Maybe if I had a title, plot would follow. I need to find more snappy one-word ocean titles, before [ profile] matociquala and [ profile] cmpriest and [ profile] jmeadows use them all.


stillsostrange: (Default)

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