andothersuchphrases: Dialogue from Descant. (Angels don't have windpipes)
Hahahahaha.

One of the characters in Eden (or whatever the hell it'll be called when I'm not in "name the verse after my current favorite song" mode)? Is a pathological liar. She lies even when she knows that Sam can tell when she's lying. She honestly can't help it.

At some point I need to figure out a plot for this thing that isn't just "AND EVERYTHING WAS CORRUPT AND A GROUP OF RELUCTANT PEOPLE GET DRAGGED INTO DEALING WITH CORRUPTION, ONLY TO FIND OUT WHAT THEY WERE FIGHTING WASN'T NEARLY AS BAD AS WHAT THEY WERE FIGHTING WITH."

....I do that plot a lot, I think. I have an irrational obsession with heroes getting pulled into conflicts that they don't want to be a part of, getting close to the people they're fighting with and starting to believe in the cause, and then finding out, "Oh yeah, by the way? YOU WERE ON THE WRONG SIDE ALL ALONG." I have an obsession with gray and gray morality and worlds where no one is good and the thing you're fighting might well be the lesser of two evils. I mean, the whole plot of Palaceverse is essentially a disgruntled teenage girl gets pulled into an agency that only exists to keep the government in control, disguised as a wholly dark, but seemingly righteous group, only to eventually find, just when she's starting to grow up and become a really big part of the whole thing, that the agency she's working for is what really needs to be kept in check.

And that's... Pretty much what Eden is. Except it's about a man who wants to just wants to walk the fuck away from a sordid past that he can't remember anyway, and just keeps getting pulled back into the world he's trying to leave, because he might have a key to taking down the Big Shady Organization. I'm sure there's more to the story there, but I need to figure it out. God, I suck at plot so much. I can nest in characters forever, but PLOT ELUDES ME.

Mrmph. I hate this. I have so many ideas, but almost no real motivation to write them or get the plot down. Bah. >.<
andothersuchphrases: The moon obscured by clouds (Bad moon rising)
Last night I had an epiphany about where I wanted to end the Descantverse saga.

You see, before City of Woe existed, the stories were just... The stories of three people in the same 'verse, which is all well and good, but part of the reason I was so quick to jump on the idea of a trilogy like CoW was because it offered the chance to tie them all together, and then I came up with a plotline for CoW that was simultaneously EVIL and just brings everything back around.

And, hell, I love stories that end where they began.

Last night, I sort of... Figured out how the story was really ending. I know the very last line of the entire series, even if everything else changes, that line will be the last line.

And I'm being so cryptic, but it's EXCITING to know where something is going to end. It makes me sad that I have to trawl through nine other books before I can get to the last trilogy, but... It's nice to know that I have a trilogy that deals exclusively with the mythology of the 'verse and ties everything together and then ends everything in a way that makes me FLAIL.

HEY, LOOK. I'M USING THIS JOURNAL.

andothersuchphrases: An open door. It's creepy. (Duct tape makes you smart!)
I hate happy endings.

This statement is not entirely true, but I thought it would be  a good way to begin this post. I've been thinking of doing this for awhile, but a secret over at RP!S just drove me over the metaphorical bridge and I have this self-deprecating problem where when someone doesn't like my opinion, I have to justify why I like my opinion and explain my case, even if the situation doesn't call for it... Usually I don't, because debate makes me spazzy, but I have the urge anyway.

The truth is, I don't like happy endings unless they're earned and sometimes not even then. I can understand that when you've put your characters through absolute hell to have everything not end happily just seems cruel, but that's not how life works to me. You reach the top of the hill after everything's falling apart around you, you learn something about yourself, but that doesn't mean that life is suddenly going to suck less just because you came to an understanding with your soul or got the girl or killed the dragon or whatever. If there's anything realistic about the way I write, it's that. The journey doesn't end with hearts and flowers just because I kicked the main characters' asses down seven different flights of stairs and killed their dog- I can settle for a bittersweet ending at best, usually, but it's very rare that anything ends with hearts and flowers. I'm just not that kind of writer.

What kicked this whole rant off was that there was essentially a secret in RP!S (which is roleplaying, yes, but this is true of my actual writing as well as my RP and since this journal is for writing/rambling about fiction, that's what I'm focusing on) that complained of people focusing too much on trauma for character development. As someone who does enjoy trauma as a means of character development, I found that a bit unsettling. Yes, there are ways to develop characters that have nothing to do with trauma. I have done it. I have written characters who slowly came full circle thanks to a morality pet and characters who shifted their entire worldview because they spent too much time with one person who was a good influence on them- I'm not saying that other ways of character development are wrong, just as no one ever said my way of thinking is wrong, I'm saying that sometimes you just have to hit the trauma button repeatedly if you want to tell a good story.

I'm a huge fan of Greek tragedy. I like characters who have pride or a fatal flaw who go through hell and get broken repeatedly and overcome that flaw by the end of the story (and then they usually die). Never mind that I'm the kind of person who is happiest when her favorite characters are suffering. I feel more for characters who get hurt, who get broken, who get put through the emotional wringer, and God knows why. It's fascinating, I guess, to see how they come out of it, because even if ALL ANGST, ALL THE TIME gets a little crazy, no one person handles angst the same way as another person. I like breaking people and then seeing how they piece themselves back together- what parts get sacrificed, what parts get gained, who do they get closer to, who do they push away. It's so brilliant to watch and write and I just don't get the same emotional satisfaction from watching people grow from non-traumatic situations. Maybe I'm just overtly dark, but I'd rather have dark themes and torture and trauma than shiny, happy character development. I want to feel like people have been dragged through hell to get to where they end up, so that they're either better for it or worse. The point is the change and the point is that the change needs to feel real and come after a great moment of self-realization and a lot of self-realization happens after trauma (not all, yes,  I know, but still).

I offer Space: Above and Beyond as a perfect example of the kind of fiction I adore. It's a gritty show that's sometimes painful to watch- oh sure, it has its lighthearted moments, but it's about a war and it doesn't let you forget that for a second. It's about a bunch of kids in the middle of a traumatic situation growing up and fighting and breaking and becoming a team, and I would not adore it nearly as much if those kids were in a less traumatic situation, because it wouldn't feel as real to me. The show develops its comraderie so perfectly that you can see when the characters stop being at each others' throats to when they became true friends. And the show, and you'll have to forgive me for the vague spoiler, ends badly. Why? Because it's war. Wars don't end with hearts and flowers and everything being okay. Sometimes they don't even end. Sometimes you go through absolute hell with a bunch of people you love and you wind up still standing in Hell at the end of it. It's beautiful to me. It's real and it's moving and I feel so much more for characters in situations like that than I feel for characters who went through the same amount of hell and got their shiny, happy endings that feel tacked on just because the audience needs the pick-me-up.

The surest way to piss me off in a work of fiction is to give me a happy ending I don't feel is deserved. If I don't think the characters have suffered enough by the end of it or if the happy ending seems tacked on and ridiculous, then I'm not going to accept it and will spend a great deal of energy finding ways to break it just for my own sanity. I hate the way Alias ended, because I don't think Sydney is capable of leaving the CIA/APO- I think that's her curse and I think the series should have ended with her realizing that. I love the girl so much and I understand that she's suffered so much, but it's not realistic that she'd be able to leave the life she wasn't all that fond of- not when they've said that she's too hardwired to be a spy. LOST hasn't ended yet, but you can bet your ass that I will be gnashing my teeth if it ends happily, albeit for a different reason- the show has been established as a story about death and rebirth.  It just doesn't make sense to me for it to have a happy ending. It's not my love of trauma talking, it's a storytelling thing, especially with whole plot devices being built around the concept that once you achieve some sort of understanding or acceptance, you die. More besides, I, honest to God, get pissed off whenever I leave a horror movie that doesn't end  with either everyone dead or the killer still out there, because horror was not a genre that was ever meant to have happy endings.

And this whole ramble has totally gotten away from me and I'm not even sure if I'm on the point anymore, but the original point stands: Trauma is good in fiction. And yeah, there are people who like their trauma in small doses or people who need fluff and bunnies and I get that- I love Disney movies as much as the next person and enjoy fluff on occasion, but I also want ROCKS FALL, EVERYONE DIES and torture and people dragging themselves out of the hole (literal and metaphorical) or hanging onto sanity by the skin of their teeth. That's how I write and that's how I enjoy a lot of my fiction. You don't get many happy endings from me- like I said, bittersweet is about all I can manage in the best circumstances. 

And, of course, the standard disclaimer is that I am not the be-all and end-all on this subject and, hell, what I've just written is all a matter of personal taste and preference. I honestly know I'm overreacting to something that means nothing, but I always meant to write about my obsession with unhappy endings, so at least it gave me a reason to flail. I admit that I'm a dark and morbid person and that not everyone can stomach angst the way I can, but... Yeah.

EDIT: XD And wow. Reading this again has made me realize how horribly fucking cynical I sound. Hilariously, I have not had a shit life that makes me all "LIFE SUCKS THEN YOU DIE." I really do just find darker fiction to be the far more fascinating medium. I have no idea why. Maybe my life is just too happy and contented or something.
andothersuchphrases: An open door. It's creepy. (And the merry-go-round goes around)
Yeah, yeah. I said I'd never use this thing and now two entries within minutes of each other. Go figure. This is for original writing flailing and I am flailing. Also, I'm kinda flaily and nesting in IDEAS makes me... Less so. ... For a little while anyway, until I get through all the worldbuilding and come up with the characters and all that and then realize that I have no idea where to go from there. Meh. I'm annoyed with the universe right now- I can stand to be a little more annoyed.

So anyway. Last night, I had bad insomnia, because my internet was dying repeatedly and I was pissed off at it, so I just went to bed before I was ready, which meant a lot of tossing and turning and I have a tendency to play out little scenes in my head to get to sleep, because... Head-movies are fun, honestly, even if they annoy me, because I get my best dialogue when I'm half-conscious and if I wrote down everything that was said, I'd never sleep. So... Yeah.

Anyway. I had a character around- a new guy whose name I didn't know- and he was pretty resistent to me trying to drag already-established characters to the front for my amusement, so I just went "to hell with it" and tried to figure out who he was, despite this not really doing much for my insomnia.

From that one character, I somehow managed to come up with some weird historical fantasy set in an alternate universe where magic has always been in the public eye and universally despised ever since the advent of Christianity and the constant rain of "MAGIC IS BAD" getting shoved in the general public's face. The actual bulk of the story takes place in the 1920's, which are my favorite decade in American history, hands down. I would actually enjoy the amount of research I'd have to do for this story just because I freakin' love the 20's so much. 

Anyway. The idea is that mages (or... I dunno, I may find a better name for the magic-users) post-WWI are starting to get a few more rights, but are still considered second-class citizens, but they have skills in dealing with things that other people don't, so the police forces in large cities have taken to hiring groups of mages to deal with threats posed by their own kind. Mages who sign up for this tend to wind up as social pariahs- they're unappreciated by the greater public for being mages and other mages hate them for hunting down and killing their own kind. 

As of right now, I have three characters. The kid who was lurking in my head last night who is the main character and first person narrator (I swear to God, everything I write these days is first person), the guy who runs whatever random magey police force they've got going on, and some chick. I imagine there will be more, since I always randomly wind up with a million and a half characters by the time I'm finished worldbuilding.

...And you know how ideas sound a lot less awesome or original when you put them down on paper/blog? ...Yeah. Rawr. I'm still poking at it, because I don't have brain for my tags or actual writing right now. I just want to nest in universes and escape reality for a little while.

Rrrrh. Maybe once I find a PB for the main character, I can make a journal and take out my interest in his universe on prompts or something.

...I need a song for this 'verse. Most 'verses come out of songs. It's so hard to find a song after the fact. Dammit.

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andothersuchphrases: An open door. It's creepy. (Default)
Chris

December 2009

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