1.26.2012

Further Into the Brainstorm . . .

. . . and never mind the whipping winds and whirling whirlpools, the sheets of rain, and the frosty gale that seems to tear the skin from your face!

The unfortunate thing about brainstorming is that I can share very little without giving a lot away. Thus, it is difficult to write a blog post about my specific brainstorm. As I mentioned before, I have been thinking a lot about Torrson . . . and yes, I have written the first words of my re-imagined novel. These, at least, I can share:
      Torrs√łn detested the cold. It reminded him how long he had been waiting. And taunted him with the prospect of waiting any longer.       
      Sitting with his back to the wind, he pulled his stiff nobleman's jacket tighter around him, but the frills did nothing to block out the biting frost. His nose was red as his frozen fingers, he was sure of it, and dripping with his inner mucus. He wiped it desperately on his sleeve. It would not do for the novice steward to have a runny nose. 
      Growling at the cold that persisted to stab him through the flimsy court fabric, he stood with a flourish and began pacing, as if by plodding back and forth he could run away from the frost.
My notebook in which I had begun, moths previously, to jot down notes about this re-imagination, has begun to fill up with pages of tight scripted notes. Specifying character's relationships, outlining their backgrounds, detailing their evil plots, listing their names . . .

And, of course, with all this comes the character sketches. Drawing my characters always re-inspires me, and it gives me a concrete face to gravitate to when I'm writing about them. (Does anyone else feel this way?) I have their personality inside my head, and I could write it out in words if I really tried. But somehow, in the raw early stages of their development, their personality more easily pours out of my drawing pencils than from my fingers on the keyboard.



With all the intricacy of the storyline in this particular character novel - political intrigue, plots and coups, intertwines relationships and devastating scandals (intrigued yet?) - I've decided to try a new method of brainstorming/organizing. The Bulletin Board.

This concept has both excited me and scared me ever since I first heard of it. I'm not sure if writing plot points on index cards, pinning them on a board, shuffling them around, lining them parallel to each other, adding things, and taking things away, will be an effective way for me to organize my thoughts. But I have yet to truly try.

"No time for idle talk! Back to work, you scalawags! Don't you know there's a storm a-brewin'? There she blows!"

1.16.2012

Contest Cancelation And A Brainstorm

 I'm sorry to inform you that, due to a general lack of interest, the January Poetry Imitation Contest has been canceled.

Since no one has commented about my contest voicing their intention of entering, and since my schedule was a little crazier than I had anticipated (sudden, unpredictable inspiration) I decided to save this contest for a better time.

However, I still intend to do a post on Imitation (since imitation has been such a major proponent of my writing and the formation of my style of prose); and I would still like to do a contest in the future. But, for now, these things will have to wait.
In the meantime . . .

I have recently discovered how much telling other people about my novel both excites and inspires me. Along with a whole slew of ideas for the second draft of my manuscript, several long conversations about my ideas have propelled me forward into a whirlwind of frantic brainstorming and note-taking and drafting.

HURRAY.

The original draft of 'Enslaved' will always remain as it is. It's my baby - I can't bear to rip it apart until it's unrecognizable. However, I've been mulling over the idea of writing a character novel for quite some time, and my character Torrson has been nagging me about telling his story. He knows he's the one genuine character that burst out of my imagination. Of all the characters I have ever written, he's the one who wrote himself. He escaped from my brain and rampaged across the pages of my manuscript. Now he wants to take over completely.
 
I love his back-story. It's interesting enough to be it's own book.


Hmm.

 A character novel/political thriller in third person that slowly transforms into an adventure novel and ends in a crazy transition to a different character's first-person showdown?

Hmm . . .  
 

1.03.2012

Submitted!

What a joy to log onto my email and see these words:
Thank you for submitting an entry to the 2012 Catalog Essay Contest!
We are grateful for your participation.
Your essay will be reviewed shortly, and a winner will be announced on March 1, 2012.
Now, all I have to do is wait.

I know that I promised to post the full story once the deadline for the contest had passed. However, it was recently brought to my attention that doing so may disqualify me from the contest. Vision Forum was unclear about who holds the rights to my story (they have the right to publish it, etc); so, in order that I may not be disqualified before my story is even read, I will only be posting snippets of the story.

However, if I place First or Honorable Mention (*fervently crosses fingers*) , then Vision Forum will post my story on their website. If I am among the winners, I will be sure to link to their site so you can read the whole story.

For now, here are some more snippets:

A sharp scream split the frozen mist.
I tore my eyes away from the malicious waves battering my ship, and whirled toward the deck. My heart skipped.
“Murdoch!” I called, sprinting from the bridge. The men in the wheelhouse jumped as I flung the door open.
“Captain!” All three of them stood.
I strode toward my First Officer. “Murdoch, what’s going on?”
He stammered, hesitating. “W-what do you mean?”
“On deck! Didn’t you hear the passengers yelling?”
His mustache twitched. Of course he had.
“So why aren’t you doing anything?”
“I left men in charge…” he blurted.
“I put YOU in charge! Do you see what’s happening out there?”
All three men turned and stared out the window. Murdoch looked up reluctantly.
The deck teemed like a disturbed anthill, erupting with a mob of Third Class Passengers, feverishly rushing to escape the sinking ship. Pale-faced men sprinted back and forth, or else bickered with each other, hollering curses. Women and children huddled like frightened sheep, herded toward the lifeboats by the deckhands.
And only one lifeboat remained.
“Do you see the problem now, Murdoch?”
He looked down.
And now to spoil the ending:
I looked around at my men, and they smiled resolutely back at me.
I couldn’t bear their loyalty. Not after I had been so heartless to the one woman in my life who deserved all of my loyalty and love. My men were putting me first, but I hadn’t put her before myself.
I had denied my responsibility as a man: to protect.
I glanced down at the little girl. My chance to make things right. Then I knelt, and slipped my jacket over her head.
My smile was tainted by tears.
I would go down with my ship. Redeemed.
But Sarah would never know.
(However, considering the historical fact that Captain Edward Smith did, in fact, sink with his ship, the end is already spoiled. The surprises are all in the middle, and I didn't spoil any of those.)

Now, one announcement before I go. There will, in fact, be a contest this month:

The theme? IMITATION
 
The Assignment? To write a poem of at least 100 lines in imitation of a specific poem selected from one of the masters (E. Poe, H. Longfellow, R. Frost).

There will be a forthcoming post on Imitation, along with an example 'imitation poem'. After that  the formal Contest Announcement will be posted (along with the deadline and description of the prize), and then
AWAY TO YOUR PENS!

And, UNTIL then . . . well . . . away to your pens, I suppose!