rosengeranium

Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

I’m a compulsive pundit!

In Weekly report on 18 April 2009 at 20:21

Well, I could certainly say one thing or two about religions. Ask me about the chinese imperial pair’s religious roles the year 1924 and I’ll go on and on and on and on and on and on. And I can certainly brew something up about current religious event like, let’s see, the Hillsborough Catastrophy 20 year “aniversary” (if you don’t remember sections of a badly maintained soccer stadium collapsed under the people watching the game – 96 persons died), Iran jails journalist as US spy and Somalia parliament votes in Sharia law. But my big weakness is my love of puns. No, it’s not love – it’s a passion, an addiction!

It’s so bad my friends at my first creative writings course crowned me the queen of bad puns. “Bad” because they are convinced there are no good puns. I‘m convinced they don’t try hard enough.  Of course there are good puns – you only have to read, say, Terry Pratchett to see that. Now, any swede reading this may say that this is because mr Pratchett writes in english, and that swedish is a language less versatile in this area. And to this my answer is “you don’t try hard enough”. Or: You have a language man/grrrl – use it! (Or, if I in that mood; phrhrhrb!)

I won’t give you any swedish puns today since I assume most of my readers have english or another language as maternal toungue (thanks for stopping by BTW!). As you can see in the header I take the risk of punning in a foreign language – english this time. I’m not sure if I should do it. There are a lot of fine nuances in a language that takes ages to get when you learn it – if you ever do.

Still, I can’t resist . I don’t know if it’s my training as a minister where I spent hours and hours translating sacred texts in a forgotten language (admit that this sounds better than doing my homework on the text course), or if it is my fling with sanskrit where I spent hours translating sacred texts in a forgotten language, or my love affair with mandarin where I… nope, no sacred texts there, and definately not a forgotten language. (To be fair neither koine greek or classical sanskrit are entirely forgotten, but manadrin is the modern language in this trio.) Whatever it is I’ve gradually come to regard language as a toy box where I can pick up things and combine them to new realities.

I’m guilty of making numerous puns. My favourites is in a resting project where I make two old friends having a conversation wich puns in swedish and if you translate the text to english the puns are still there. In another paragraf the pun is only visible if you translate the text into mandarin. It’s quite clumsy – despite my efforts I still don’t speak this language fluently, so I can’t tell if the pun works or not, but I found this easter egg hilarious to write. And if it works in the text, story line and keeps me happy it stays.

The bottom line is that punning is part of having fun as a writer. Even if you don’t use it in your published texts a wee bit of playing around will improve your grasp of words, rythm, content and contexts. Try it.

Now, I have to admit I’m totally stuck on my Big Baddy. I don’t know if it’s the leftover candy from my son’s birthday party, but my brain goes blank when I try to nail the character. And I can’t find my commented copy of chapter one which I need for my editing. I thought I would improve my writer’s math this week, alas it’s worse. So, let’s see:

Word count: 0

Chapter mindmaps: 0

Character mindmaps: 1/2

Editing: 0

Research: 1

Gardening blog updates. 3/3

Current projects: 1

Subprojects: 5

Expected celebrity visits: 1

Cold from Hell: 1 (and waning!)

Oh, I totally forgot that I did some background research on the Big Baddy – I may not be so bad after all.

Now, pun along!

Advertisements

Everybody was zombie fighting…

In Weekly report on 11 April 2009 at 21:09

The combination of a hot bedroom, talks about the new Jane Austen pastische and cortisone wasn’t good for me. A few nights ago I dreamt a vivid zombie dream where seemingly normal persons were turning others into zombies by lightly pointing their finger into the victims ribcage, often behind their back. The zombies, of course, could use this trick too – and devour each other in the most horrendous ways, because people weren’t just transformed, they where turned into two different teams at war with each other. Like in many dreams I dreamt before there was no safe haven, nowhere to turn and almost no possibility to run in those cramped alleyways I suddenly found myself. And when I woke up I only opened my eyes.

Knowing that cortisone can bring halucinations I stared at the open bedroom door waiting for a zombie to lurk through. I was lucky – only the fear from the dream held its claws in me and refused to let go. With my heart pounding I promised to God I’d end all medication in the morning.

Being an aspiring author in the SF/fantasy I have some handicaps and one of them is that I can’t read or watch horror. A versatile imagination and a fear of the dark means that anything scary puts my creative wheels in motion making hallways and toilets impossible places. Lack of sleep and even mild drugs like tea and coffee enforces the effects (eventhough the above exemple is extreme). So when I thought I’d enlighten myself on what story the movie “Carrie” really tells (after seeing the lolceleb below) I looked up the full synopsis on IMDb. Safer that way, and just enough horror for me to handle.

sissy spacek
see more Lol Celebs

Despite this, or perhaps because of this, I tend to write gory and scary stories, causing my friends at creative writing studies to nominate me as the number one choice if you want someone to write something revolting. (We were discussing abject at the time.) Eventhough I like happy rainbowy and flowermeadowy stories they do get boring. I always aim to tell things that reaches deep into your soul, grips the fragile center and sqeezes.

Which brings me to my current project. I’ve made progress this week; I’ve worked through one (1) creative writing exercise from the article “Three-Dimensional Villains: Finding Your Character’s Shadow” by Carolyn Kaufman. It’s kind of old fodder – I’ve worked with shadows before. But it made me realising one thing about my project; it’s a zombie.

Zombies are beings using another energy source than the original spark of life, in one way sentient puppets, in another way badly programmed flesh machines set on one target (usually brains). In turn my project is only part of a bigger meta project, and is run by the energy from the mother structure. The story lacks the individual spark of life. I need the final ingredient that makes it all come together.

Working through the exercise I realised that the villain and the heroine are the problems. I don’t know how or if they should shadow each other. I know that shadowing is popular, but I experience a kind of Jung/Freud fatigue since every new piece of ficition seems to include clumsy psycology theories. I mean, what’s wrong with slimy tentacles, do they need to have an inner life too? However, I’m battling a rather complex structure centering around religion, slimy tentacles simply can’t shoulder the entire role of the villain.

I’ll probably use shadowing in this story, because I know this will do the trick and save me time and tears. The story will reach into the soul of the reader, perhaps squeeze something and may even fullfill my aim. But sometimes I wish someone would be bold and skilled enough to make up a working villain and a catching story structure without using shadowing.

So, what I really learnt from the exercise was that I could break out of my writer’s block by getting to know my heroine and my villain better. And that, eventhough the heroine is the character I’ve currently made most work on, there still are areas in her personality I need to map. Sounds like a suitable one week homework.

Before we do the math for this week we’ll head over for an review of “Let the Right One In” at the Guardian. Apparently they find the movie “infinitely superiour to Twilight”, so yes, it’s a vampire story – and a love story of sorts. Thomas Andersson is the director and he was working with some outstanding material making this film. The novel “Let the Right One In” by John Ajvide Lindqvist was one of the few horror/fantasy stories making it into the ‘approved culture’ stream in Sweden. With a bit of luck it’ll make it easier for us aspiring SF/fantasy authors in the future. And of course, that an internationally read paper calls the movie “a bloody, touching contender for film of the year” is a source of patriotic pride. Jay!

If you can’t watch the film I think I can safely recommend you to read the book. For obvious reasons I haven’t read it, but I did manage to catch up some fragments of the author’s debut. John Ajvide Lindqvist’s first novel was a zombie story called “the Management of Undeads” (roughly translated, only availabe in swedish as far as I can tell). The few snippets I could read presented a plausible insight in the psychology of a, well, revived body. They certainly had ‘quality’ as well as ‘reading fun’ stamped all over them – and “Let the Right One In” is better.

So, the math:

Word count: 0

Chapter mindmaps: 0

Character mindmaps: 1

Editing: 0

Research: 0

Gardening blog updates. 3/3

Current projects: 1

Subprojects: 5

Expected celebrity visits: 1

Cold from Hell: 1 (and waning!)

On a sidenote; “Let the Right One In” takes place in the area I spent my first seven years, and roughly at the same time. Look closely and you can see the place where my mom used to take me shopping for toys when I was a tot. My father gave me two knives of the kind the boy uses (although I used them for woodworking). This really bring out childhood memories.

First post on my work log

In Weekly report on 04 April 2009 at 18:57

So, I’m an aspiring author – I got three projects resting (two of them are actually finished stories), one I’m working on and a few more ideas. I’m safe in that departement. On the other hand I’m lacking time, which is a common problem among authors. I’ll have lesser time in the close future, since I need to get a fulltime job. This worries me, I have a family, we’re already worn by daddy’s daily commute to another town, and this’ll take yet another toll on us. However our economy needs restoration, so we don’t have much choice. I can only hope that the person I want for nanny for my son are willing to take the job (ie. I need to take a job that not only pays enough to restore the economy, but alse pays her salary – real life math can be depressing).

To keep on writing I started this blog for logging my work in public. I guess I think it’ll work like one of those ‘loosing weight’ blogs, and I hope it’ll work like my twinblogs Parkettodlaren/Indoor Gardener. They started out as an one hour a day project since I wrote and translated the text during the one hour my son was napping.  Today I have a modest following (100 readers / day), but I’ve understood that the swedish blog is read by many important gardening persons including one of my biggest idols in the game, and I’m getting offers and invitations from gardening media around the world. And I’m close to reaching the goal of growing vegetables for a family of three indoors in an ordinary flat.

My plan is to update on Saturday, listing the latest work and perhaps some musings about anything regarding writing. There may be some bonus updates, if I can without neglecting my other blogs.  So, let’s do the math, shall we?

Word count: 0

Chapter mindmaps: 0

Character mindmaps: 0

Editing: 0

(By now it should be clear why I set up this blog.)

Research: 0

Gardening blog updates. 2/3

Current projects: 1

Subprojects: 5

Expected celebrity visits: 1

Cold from Hell: 1 (and lingering)

This is my first blog using wordpress, so I’m playing around a bit with the toys here. I couldn’t resist setting up a poll regarding my future profession. Keep in mind that I work as a telephone saleswoman right now, and the jobs I’m applying for are in the same genre (who could have thought that the opportunities for masters of arts in religious studies were so few…). If you want to see what my art look like you can take a peak at Joys of Modern Medieval Life, my cafe press shop that is currently resting*.

*No, it’s not pining for the fiords! I’m living in Sweden. Norway is on the other side of the Scandinavian mountains.