Does your own mind ever frighten you?

So here’s where I’m at with my NaNo:

Ethel discovers the edge of the world (which, apparently, is flat or round, depending on whether anyone’s kept an eye on it). She also discovers that, at the center of the earth, there is a layer of coffee. Delicious coffee. She also, also discovers Teletubbies… which scare her half to death… and then she wakes up. Or does she?

Eyeballed by space pirates (who, weirdly, still carry swords?) and kidnapped by space ninjas (who also carry swords?), will she wake up and discover that she’s been in a coma for a very long time, or will she realize that the world of her imagination has leaked into “real life”?

And is Vernon real? Do cats cross over into the dream world? Why would a raccoon lead unsuspecting passersby into a double ambush?

Coffee has been an underlying theme. Chocolate croissants have made their way into the story as well. I’m still waiting for the Traveling Shovel of Death to make a cameo appearance…

NaNoWriMo brings out the randomness in me…


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Waffling and Whatnot

I originally was going to pants it this year for NaNoWriMo. Completely and utterly pants it. No plans, no plot, nothing. And then my writing simply hit a wall.

Sometimes life takes unexpected turns. Stuff happens, priorities shift, ideas dry up. I’m still not quite all there in terms of writing, but I’m picking up the pieces, and I decided –– last minute –– to dive in wholeheartedly and start something new… Or rather… half-heartedly dip my toes in and see if the water really is as cold as it looks.

And it feels like I’m hanging on the edge of the world…

And thus, Pandimensional Sandwiches has been birthed… To clarify, it’s more like pandimensional sandwich cookies, but that’s a really long title. If you ask me where I got the idea for it, I will just reply by saying that my imagination is an eerily random place and leave it at that…

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Finish him! – Or, A Writer’s Ethical Challenge

There are moments in writing when I picture a scene from that game, Mortal Kombat, which was so popular in the…. Was it really back in the 90’s? Wow. Anyway, the fighters have been fighting, the player mashing and smashing buttons haphazardly, and one of the combatants is struggling to stay standing. The words, “FINISH HIM!” are emblazoned across the screen in gory red letters, and the player is compelled to throw one final blow…

I am currently at one of those moments. Thing is, I’ve had this scene in mind for weeks –– even months –– but even now, I cannot decide whether I will have someone finish off this foe, or if he will be taken away in chains. The pacifist in me says, “Oh, he’s just misled. Let him repent!” but the fighter in me says, “No! FINISH HIM!”

In reality, my protagonist has a history –– a messy history –– but he and his friends justify it by saying, “That had to be done.” How on earth does this relate?

Well, when I first started writing this note,* my protagonist had a choice to make. Kill off his rival, or let him off the hook? When I couldn’t decide, another character stepped in and decided for both of us, finishing off the villain (Thanks, unnamed deciding character…). I’m always conflicted about this.

See, on the one hand, I want to kill off the villain. Seriously. Get him out of the way! Let the good guy take his vengeance and live happily ever after! On the other hand… I am a bit of a softie, and perhaps a bit sentimental. I find myself thinking, “Oh, he can always change his ways.. It won’t be easy, but it can happen…” Or can it? I usually have to bring my villain to his wit’s end before he even considers regretting his evil tendencies, nudging him by reconnecting him with such things as people he misses or taking the blinders off to the awful things he’s gotten into. Not to mention, there is such a thing as an unrepentant villain…

But this whole scenario begs the question: Am I to be held accountable for the way I portray these situations? What does it say about me as a person? On the one hand, yes, this is fiction. On the other hand, how does this effect the way I look at people in real life –– or how my readers look at life? I ask these questions, not to give myself or anyone else a guilt trip, but because they are very real questions. When I write, I am getting into the heads of my characters, and I not only consider what the character would do, but what I would do. Would I be willing to value a person’s life –– and chance at redemption –– less than I value “justice”? How does one even discern whether the person in question is sincerely willing to make the effort to change?

This is where the shady characters step in and save me from my own debate –– the ones who are on the right side, but whose values that aren’t quite the same as those that I hold. I feel absolutely guilt free when they make these decisions, because I don’t feel like I need to agree with them 100% of the time… So that is my solution.

But is that enough?

*Footnote: This goes to prove that one of my many, many ways of procrastinating from writing is not mere business, Facebook, forums, or general procrastination, but writing about the struggles I’m going through with my writing. It’s both helpful and unhelpful, really. Helpful, in that it helps me process. Unhelpful, in that it takes me away from the actual story I’m writing. I started this note when I was in the middle of writing that scene, and finished it after writing several following scenes (and a few to fill in beforehand). It spans a few days…

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