Monday, September 20, 2010

Essay: Old Pervs, Still Pervs

I promised to move my bits and pieces from the top of the blog postings, but I have no idea if this is any better. This was inspired by a writing prompt in my Creative Non-Fiction class. It was not until today that I realized that my life has some odd stories.

Essay: Old Pervs, Still Pervs

"You could never be a bridesmaid with that tattoo on your ankle," the man said to me, and it was a rather bold statement considering that I reached that age to have a lot of friends of approved marrying age, and to have one failed marriage under my belt already.
He had been talking to my supervisor, but shifted focus to me. I looked back at him from folding shirts on the counter, "Oh, my friends don't care really about how many tattoos I have. I have a lot more actually."
He leaned forward and dropped his tone, "Oh, you must be into pain," and down to a menacing whisper, "come with me."
My boss was right there, and this man appeared to be close to her nearly seventy years. I smiled and turned away, my manager laughed nervously, but the man had just smiled with a charm that struck me as odd. What could I actually say to this comment though? I enjoy telling the whole shocking, uncomfortable and sometimes painful truth because no one really expects that, but I had never had someone blatantly try to out me while at work. My mind began to wander as to where the comment came from. Was it simply a joke? Did he actually assume this? Did he know something? Had he seen me at the clubs? His tone seemed too curious as to what I was into. Was my silence a submission, or admission of some guilt?
I don't recall where the conversation went from here, my brain checked out. I was too struck by the idea that perverts do age. In my little fantasy land the odd people were young, lithe and beautiful all the time. I never tossed age in as a factor, but now I do. Oh, and when I saw Trigger the Human Pony do a show, my attention moved to the fact that he was wearing what I know as "Old Man Socks" pulled halfway up his calves, underpants and a leather harness. And once again I was a bit traumatized.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Poem: Vicodin Stars

A free verse poem written under the influence of pain meds and inspired by my recent ER visit. Fair warning, if you don't want to read about my more exotic piercings, then don't read the poem.

Vicodin Stars

Soft Jazz
computer error beep
the bed must be flat
they don't understand
her pain sounds like an orgasm
her movements collapse
quit showing off
suffer more gracefully
sounds like voice box
cancer reminders
of smoking
CT whirring, spinning
look away
pretty Asian doctor
I feel like a tourist
the piercing talk again
I can't remember
what my clit looked like
without the jewelry
why wouldn't people want
their genitals pierced?
for their three-minute sex
my faded pink hair
If only I had Jeffree Star
Beauty Killer lullaby
nausea over pink basin
wishing I had done my
makeup before this

This song was stuck in my head while I was hanging out feeling like I might pass out in the ER, and besides being sick, all I could think about was how faded my hair was. Odd fixations. I'm remedying my pink hair inadequacies now. Hopefully I can post some more writing or art-related items tomorrow, but we'll see how the medication is treating me. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

So Your Character has... A Playlist in Their Head

This is a series of posts that I'm writing leading up to my presentation covering Character Development at the Scribes of Lancaster meeting on Monday the 13th of September, 2010. Which is tomorrow, by the way.

So Your Character has... A Playlist in Their Head

Sorry, about missing the post yesterday, but I'll make up for it today and try to get two postings on here today.

Music usually plays an important role in most people's lives, and can say a lot about a person. You can also apply musical tastes to your characters. Maybe they only listen to gospel, or listen to gospel on Sundays and rap during the week. I'm thinking about that duality of zoning out to booty shaking videos on BET one night and waking up to find some fire and brimstone preacher on there at six in the morning, or whatever time that was. Maybe they're a classical music elitist snob. Or, is there a kind of stereotypically dense metal head in your cast of characters? Someone who subscribes to a lifestyle commonly associated with political punk? Is your protagonist a 1920's communist who believes that folk music is the true music of the people. Is your villain the "rockabilly devil"?
Oh, wait that's one of my villains.

So it goes, I like to use playlists when developing characters. It can also help to listen to these playlists when writing mostly about a particular character. I usually make my playlists on YouTube, but you could use an mp3 player, or any media player or iTunes. There are a few ways of sorting these lists:

1st Method:
Select songs that you think your character would listen to. Simple enough right?

2nd Method:
Select songs that fit that characters for particular scenes that they are involved in, or songs that describe their relationships with other characters.

3rd Method:
Playlists can be used to create a feel for the whole story and can help you condition yourself to work on a particular story. Music on, brain prepared to focus on that story. A conditioned response kind of like Pavlov's dogs, but less drooling hopefully.

So, I previously mentioned the process for naming my character Alistair and this is his playlist, you can draw your own inferences from this, but this is an example.

This is a story playlist. This one is for a short story involving Alistair and the so-called "rockabilly devil" villain, so I picked songs that each individual character may be into, but also songs that go along with different scenes in the short story.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

So your character has... A Personality

This is a series of posts that I'm writing leading up to my presentation covering Character Development at the Scribes of Lancaster meeting on Monday the 13th of September.

So you're character has... A Personality.

Sorry, this one is going to be a bit lacking for witty commentary and detail, one of my children graciously gifted me a really bad cold, just what I needed for the first week back to college. This is going to be a really quick thing because I just want to get this out there. Personality quizes can be a fun and easy way to get to know your characters. Answer the questions from their perspective. I know there are a lot of these things online, but Blog Things is by far my favorite. So here are these links--
Personality Blogthings

The most useful being What's Your Personality Type?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

So your character has...A Name

This is a series of posts that I'm writing leading up to my presentation covering Character Development at the Scribes of Lancaster meeting on Monday the 13th of September.

So your character has... A Name

Of course they do. Everything has a name, so it only makes sense that you would name a character unless you're writing some experimental stuff, or a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Consider the type of character and their personality before naming them.

Give the name some depth, and make sure that it fits them (unless the name is meant to purposely not fit them, for example a Boy Named Sue, or a body builder named Tiny). I personally like symbolism and drawing from unlikely sources.
I'm going to explain the convoluted method I used for naming my character Alistair. First, I wanted a character that would, on the surface, fit into an uppity, Romantic Gothic stereotype. I knew what he looked like in my mind before naming him. The catch though is that this guy is actually a demon, and was part of a noble 17th Century British family. I also wanted his name to be a little uncommon for his era, making him an outsider even when he was a normal human, and it had to have an unlikely meaning because he is an anti-hero.
I googled "demon names" and found a list--which I cannot find again, but oh well.
I gave a brief look over names from England in my copy of "The Best Baby Names in the World"(which are neatly sorted by country). Not listed in that book (under the name it says to see the meaning for Alexandros), but the meaning of the name Alistair is "defender of mankind." Which is kind of funny because my character is notoriously lazy, noncommittal and only really motivated by sex and money. I also checked a list of common names during Early 17th Century England, and found Alexander, which is similar.
I matched this up with the demon named Alastor. An interesting point to choosing this demonic entity to link my character with is that the demon is tied to suicide, which is a topic stereotypically associated with the Gothic subculture, and an act that my character romanticizes since he is immortal.
His last name is Wentworth, an old British name with a family crest featuring the phrase "En Dieu est tout," meaning "In God all things." Which ties into part of the religious commentary of the story that I'm working on.

Some other things to consider--

In a story don't use too many names that sound too similar unless that is the intention. Triplets named Nora, Flora and Zora? Okay, kind of cute. A hodgepodge of characters whose names all start with "A" because that's the first letter you come across when using the baby naming book method. Not so cool. I renamed one of my characters from Hedda to Hedia (both variations from the German name Hedwig meaning contention and strife) because on of my other secondary characters was named Emma.

A good source for historic names would be a cemetery. Read the dates and the names and you can determine a great many things from this information including life expectancy (along with the depressing instances of infant mortality), names found in that time period, ethnic origins, family size. Some old stones have the place the deceased was born, as well as where they died and sometimes a little personal message.

Try not to get cliche, especially when naming superheros or supernatural characters, unless you're using irony. Not every male vampire has to be named after Dracula, or Vlad, or Nosferatu... or Edward. Remember the SNL skit "Goth Talk"? Circe Nightshade and Azrael Abyss? Yes, those are chiche. Stage names can be as silly as they want though.

One odd, but should be obvious, resource for naming characters is plain old Google. Simple enough, right? I don't know what kind of names you're looking for, so why not look for all of them? Muslim names, Christian names, names that mean raven, element names, jewel names, evil names, flower names, etc.

Some more resources:

Medieval Name Guides

House of Names Family crests, old surname history

Saint Names

Think Baby Names

SSA Popular Baby NamesSocial Security Administration baby names listed by year, starting in 1879 Name GeneratorsJust for fun

The Best Baby Names in the World Sorted by country or region
The Very Best Baby Names in the Whole Wide World I like that it offers a lot of names and lists alternative spellings and their variations by country or language. So, for example, if you like the name Beatrice (meaning blessed or happy), but want it to sound more casual this book offers the names "Bea, Bee and Trixie" under the Americanized versions.

Monday, September 6, 2010

So your character has... Body Modifications

This is a series of posts that I'm writing leading up to my presentation covering Character Development at the Scribes of Lancaster meeting on Monday the 13th of September.

So your character has...

Body Modifications

And maybe you do, but then again maybe you don't. Maybe you know the anticipation that forms in the back of the mind upon hearing the buzz of a tattoo machine, that weird medicinal smell of a tattoo studio that can either entice or horrify. Maybe you haven't experienced the thrill of a hollow needle slipping delicately through your nostril, or maybe your last piercing experience went something like mine, and you ended up feeling like your lip had been manhandled and jerked around by pliers--then again maybe you were kind of into it. I won't judge, we're all buddies here.

So how do you write about something that you may only have limited experience in? Or how do you write about something you've never experienced and have little desire to experience? Especially heavier body modifications, or plastic surgery, or even gender re-assignment surgery (I'm not going in depth on this topic right now because I'll cover it later, but it is covered in some of the links and items I have listed).

Research is key when you have not experienced something that you wish to write about. The following links will help you get started.

Points of interest-

BMEzine BME features an interesting collecton of member-written experience stories and member-submitted image galleries. Here you can easily learn about

Taboo on National Geographic This series covers various taboo subject matters and often includes rituals, rights of passage and other body modification topics. I don't have cable, so I don't know how often it is actually on tv, but it is definitely a good resource.

Wasp Creations: FAQ The FAQ list from Wasp Creations corsets. It may be tough to imagine that people still wear corsets and strive to reduce their waist in this manner, but some do. It can modify the shape of the body as well, so I have included this.

The Customized Body One of my favorite books on body modification, probably because of the interesting stories and pretty pictures.

Modify This movie features an interesting selection of modifications, procedures and interviews with professionals and enthusiasts. Includes piercing, tattoo, scarification, branding, implants, body building, permanent makeup, plastic surgery and gender reassignment.

Only Flesh This is the only suspension group that I have watched personally on several occasions, but I know there are others out there.

The Lizardman Including this link because The Lizardman is great. Do I need a better reason?