Sunday, October 21, 2012

Catching Up and Hating Halloween Stories

Boy do I officially suck! I was so all over the map lately. When I posted my “temporary post” last week I never anticipated that I would never go back to replace it! So I guess this is Catch Up Week.

So let’s backtrack and review the month so far.
October 1-4 Hubby and I were on a mini-vacation to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary. October 3rd I became an official member of Ali Luke’s Writer’s Huddle. The first week of October I also decided to participate in a Hey Arnold Halloween contest over on DeviantArt. I now sort of regret that decision….But first… Writer’s Huddle…

October 8th and 9th I sort of tinkered with my Writer’s Huddle profile and checked out the site.
Wednesday the 10th I had the day off and Hubby was at work. The house was still clean from our mad scrub down before our trip, so I had no chores. A perfect set up for me to get lost for hours in writing. Instead I got lost for hours on Writer’s Huddle. I ended up spending a full 7hrs straight on the Huddle’s forums, reading and responding.

Seven hours straight! As in, I didn’t even stop to eat….

I am such a forums junkie. I have always been this way with every forum I’ve been on. I make sure I’m a prominent presence on them all. I lose HOURS just reading, responding, and refreshing to see if there’s any new posts. I lost hours at the Huddle, I lost hours on the X-Men RPG, I lost hours on the short-lived Hey Arnold forum, I lost hours on the forum for the webcomic Game Destroyers, and I lost hours on the forums of the MMO “DragonFable”. What most people do on Tumblr, I do on forums. Ali herself had to stop by my main facebook account and “yell” for me to get off the forums and go eat something!

So anyway, that was Wednesday.

Thursday I spent almost literally the whole day mowing our stupid lawn with that stupid push mower. I started wearing a pedometer at the beginning of the month and push myself to get to that 10,000 steps per day mark. It’s relatively easy to do while working a Deli. Anyway, this 10k steps goal is because it’s the rough equivalent to walking 5 miles a day which in and of itself is like working out the 1/2hr a day recommended. Well, I hit that 10k mark just mowing my friggen lawn! In fact, I hit about 11k mowing and 13k the whole day. That means I walked over 6miles on Thursday! I was in NO mindset to write anything that day.

Friday was the bi-weekly get together for the vampire LARP. So I didn’t really write anything more that day when I only had about four hours at home, but I did talk things over with Cyhyr. It didn’t really help matters because it was just broad generalities when it came to writing and NaNo coming up next month.

Saturday I researched TONS of urban legends and ghost stories, as well as watch all of the “halloweeny” Hey Arnold episodes to really try to nail down what I wanted to do for the contest. I have a word document filled with notes and bullet points. Nothing seems to really work though. Nothing seems to feel “natural” if you get what I mean.

Last Sunday I wrote to ChibiSunnie to see if she could help me out. I also sent a note to my sleeping husband for him to respond to once he was awake. I was really hoping that they could help me really figure out what I could do for this contest.

I’m trying to keep the story True-To-Show. Therefore I want to keep them nine and I want them to follow the traditional formula used for the “creepy” episodes:
  • Kids are bored/at a sleep-over 
  • A ghost story is told (usually by Arnold’s Grandfather – or in one case Arnold after his grandfather told HIM the story) 
  • The kids go to check out to see if the story is true 
  • The kids find “proof” that the story is true, but the “proof” is logically explained away 
  • Everyone is convinced the ghost story isn’t true, but then the ghost reveals itself to the viewer – and in some cases, one of the characters as well. 
 My main issue is that I don’t know how to create a ghost story. I had a handful of ideas bouncing around, but none of them seemed to work.
  • Urban take on the Blair Witch 
    • The kids hear about the Witch of Elk Island, and it turns out to be the author. Not sure if I like this though since there's already the Wheezin' Ed myth about the island and I have to set up that this story takes place before the "Crabby Author" episode so Arnold doesn't realize it's Agatha.  
    • There's a run-down industrial district with a shack snuggled in the middle of all the buildings. So the legend goes that a witch lives there. The companies tried to buy her out, but she refused to move, so they built around her and she cursed them all, which is why the buildings are now all vacant. Little "eh" about this one too. 
    • Regardless of which angle I take with this, I sort of want it to play out like "Ghost Bride" in which the "proof" is just people pranking, and I want Wolfgang and Ludwig to team up to scare Arnold's group. Then the real witch will scare the 5th graders as they laugh about how the 4th graders were so easy to scare. 
    • I dunno, I’m just not really feeling these… 
  • The school is haunted 
    • The school hosts a haunted house for halloween and the kids hear a tale about a janitor (or something) haunting the school. 
    •  Again sort of want the 5th graders to prank Arnold et. al and then come across the real thing. 
    • I sort of want this to go along the lines of the halloween episode of Ouran High School Host Club with the bravery test. 
    • The kids have been at the school after hours already, so would they really fall for a "ghost haunts the school" if they haven't witnessed this before???? 
    • I think this is the most plausible to write…. 
  •  Haunted Hay Ride 
    • Arnold's class takes a field trip to a farm and it just so happens to be Arnie's 
    • Who is going to tell the ghost story about Arnie's farm/town? Doesn't seem like something Arnie would do.... 
    • There was a hay ride in "Arnold visits Arnie" and a carriage ride in "The Headless Cabbie"... would it be too overdone if I did hay ride again???? Or is it just "The Haunted Farm"? 
    • Not sure what the "haunting" would be about... 
    • Not really feeling this tale…. 
  •  The Midnight Man 
    • Was going to do a parody of The Midnight Channel from Persona 4, but couldn't figure out how. 
    • The Midnight Man is a Pagan game. 
    • You turn off all the lights, light a candle, write your full name on a paper, prick your finger, and let a drop of blood soak in. Place the paper with your name on the floor in front of the door. Knock on the door 22 times in time with the ticking of the clock. The 22nd knock must occur at 12am. Open the door, blow out the candle, close the door and immediately relight the candle. Now the goal is to "survive" until 3:33am by avoiding the Midnight Man. You know he's near when it gets chilly, there's a low whisper, the candle goes out, and he appears in front of you. You must relight the candle within 10 seconds to ward him off, otherwise throw down a circle of salt around yourself and stay within it until 3:33. 
    • Checking to see if the Ghost Bride is true was sort of a dare and so doing stupid dares like this and Bloody Mary seem to be in-canon. I just need a better way to do this. No 9 year old will prick their finger and run around the house with a lit candle to avoid being tortured to death.... 
    • I could possibly do something with this idea…. 
  •  The Escaped Convict In The Woods 
    • Based off of how we freaked out this one girl in my Girl Scout troop when we all stayed at a hostel on a white water rafting trip. 
    • My girl scout troop (split in two vans) were driving down the highway towards the hostel and turned off in to this rural town. The hostel was along the Appalachian Trail, and so we drove down these rural back roads. Meanwhile, a thunderstorm came in, making it mad dark even though it was only about 6pm in May. That’s when we turned off the main roads and on to a well-driven dirt path in dense woods. The “driveway” to the hostel was easily 2 miles long, and windy, and dirt/gravel, and flanked by insanely dense forest that created a tightly-knit canopy. The canopy blocked out even MORE light, making the drive pitch black except for when the lightning struck. 
    • We pass through a large, stone wall/fence that lined the entrance to the hostel’s property. The wall looked worn down – as if it were built in the 1800s and never cared for. As we continued down the road we passed a burnt down utility shed, but the stone skeleton of the structure almost looked like it could have been a mausoleum. Two other girls and I started joking about how the building used to house a vampire. As our discussion started to freak out another girl in our van, we switched the conversation over to the more-likely scenario of "have you heard about the escaped serial killer that's supposedly hiding out in the Appalachian?" The lightning flashes, “things” (tree limbs, animals, whatever) moving in the woods with the limited visibility, and the feeling that we were in “the middle of nowhere” just made everything creepier. 
    • We get to the hostel and it’s this insanely old farmhouse that used to be part of the Underground Railroad. We enter the hostel through the basement/lower front door. Because of how old the hostel was, going through that door took us through this long, narrow hallway lined with rock walls and an unfinished floor. Once we climbed the stairs to the main portion of the hostel it looked like a warm, cozy farm house. Very welcoming. But up until that point it was MAD CREEPY. 
    • I was going to switch up the creepy farm house for a family cottage/cabin in the woods. Grandpa Phil never took the boys there before because when he got the boarding house his twin sister Mitzi got the cabin. Now that Arnold helped the twins reconcile, Mitzi allowed Phil to use the cabin. 
    • I wanted to have at least Helga, if not also Curly, with the group pranking everyone a la “Ghost Bride” episode, but I couldn’t figure out a reason they’d be out in the middle of nowhere. Arnold wouldn’t have invited either of them on his sleepover/camp-out with the rest of the guys. 
    • Chibi suggested an overnight class trip to get everyone to a hostel, but then I’d have too many characters to worry about. It’s a great idea and I might use it someday, but this feels like it would easily lend itself to a multi-chapter story and I don’t have enough time to write that much. 
    • This, among other things that I thought of but didn’t list here, is nice and creepy in person because the ATMOSPHERE is what’s creepy. It gets people thinking, doubting, and freaking out. However, there really isn’t a story here…. 
Pretty much all I’ve done this past week was mentally try to figure out what to write. Every free moment of the day was spent bouncing around all of the above ideas – plus others that I’ve dropped – to see what I can do with any of them. I’ve watched Hey Arnold episodes to get in the mood to write. I’ve researched more scary stories. I also tried using a technique I learned via the Writer’s Huddle forum: The Secret to Writing 4,000 Words A Day. Namely: Daydream whenever possible.

Oh, and on Monday, October 15th I officially set up my NaNo profile. So go ahead and send me a Writing Buddy request if you’re NaNo-ing too! 

Anyway, here I am, 6 days from the contest deadline and I STILL haven’t even decided on what to write yet. I have no clue if I’m going to make the contest deadline, let alone polish the story up enough to actually win. And since I’m spending all month working out the logistics of my Halloween story I haven’t continued playing Fable, which I was trying to finish so I was more prepared with my “base story” for NaNo. So I’m flying blind there too. Still haven’t really figured anything out – including a name – in regards to my female lead for the Super Massive Crossover Hybrid Story

On a sidenote, Chibi linked me to an AWESOME interview one of the Hey Arnold fandom members had with the show’s creator Craig Bartlett! It’s two hours long, but I listened to it while doing house work, so I suggest you take the time to listen too! You can find it here. Soooooo much awesome stuff there! 

Chibi and I are actually super excited because of two things in regards to scripts/TJM. 1) Craig’s scripts would be roughly 2pages/minute of screen-time, which means where I was with our fanscript was actually about right-on time-wise, instead of INSANELY LONG like we originally thought. 2) Craig just sort of thought “The Green-eyed people can live in a place like that and even have a hidden city that’s probably in the crater of a dormant volcano.” When I had to figure out where the GEP hidden city was I placed it inside a dormant volcano! So both the volcano thing and the “on the write page count track” thing really made us think that perhaps our fanscript was kinda spot on! So now we’re rejuvenated about the whole endeavor and will try to pick it back up again come January. In the meantime, Chibi has the script thus far and is figuring out any tweaks we should do and where to go from where we left off. I’m just SUPER interested in getting this done and sending it to Craig as a “thanks for the inspiration” sort of thing. Sure, he doesn’t read fanfiction – and probably makes super sure not to read TJM fanfiction to avoid being influenced in case he ever got the chance to make the movie – but maybe…. maybe he’ll read ours if we snail-mail it……….. 

Speaking of Craig Bartlett acknowledgement and praise, I want to give a shout out to the awesome Chopfe who excitedly posted this status on October 12:
Chopfe: Craig Bartlett, the creator of the Nickelodeon cartoon HEY ARNOLD, liked my picture of Crime Inyy. There are no words to describe how awesome that is.
And here’s his awesome picture that got such high praise: 
 
And so now I’m off to again ponder how I’m going to manage this story before this upcoming Saturday… wish me luck. Any advice would be welcome.

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