Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Year; Sick Me

Image is Leave The Past Behind And Welcome The New Year
by NaBHaN
Goodness, it's been a little while. Sorry about that. Not the best start to the new year, huh? In all fairness, however, the delay in my update is mostly due to the fact that I got hit with a wicked cold on the first. I barely had anything to drink, and I stopped at about 10pm, and so no snickering that it was a hangover.

I was battling a nasty head cold around Christmas, got over it around the 28th or so, and then got hit with an even worse one on the first. If I wasn't drugged up so I could get through work, I was fast asleep in bed. At least, that's how I spent the first three days of the new year. Monday was the first day I ventured out of bed for any decent amount of time outside work.

I had the intent to use the day off to work on my blog, which may get yet ANOTHER update day change given the frequency I've had to work on Thursdays vs the frequency that I've had Mondays off. However, I also had my bi-weekly writers group meeting on Tuesday, which I hadn't even started working on the writing prompt for.

I wanted to include the links to the prompt in this week's update, and so I tasked myself to finish that first. Problem was, I wasn't really sure where to go with the prompt.

We collectively pieced together a very vague character. Keaton likes our prompts to be as vague as possible so that she and DFL can each use the prompts to write another snippet for their overarching novels, which are fairly different from each other. I get it, but every once in a while I'd like for a very specific prompt and see how each of us tackle something that seems so black and white.

Anyway, the prompt this time had us tackle a character with two motivations, two conflicts, and a random extra element.

The extra element was that we had to include a dog somehow. Instantly, I knew I wanted to write the story through the dog's POV. I figured it would be fresh and unique. Then, I heard Keaton's story with a dog as the narrator. Hmmm. I guess that's yet another way the two of us are similar.

What were the other components needed for the story? Well, the two conflicts were a rival and the loss of something. The two pieces of motivation were recognition and money. Everything else worked fine with my idea of a dog POV, but money? Why would a dog want money? Keaton actually added that as part of the narration. "They say I'm supposed to want money, but I'm a dog. What would I do with money?"

Me? I had to go to my number one sounding board: Hubby. It was his suggestion that the dog is a show dog bringing in lots of winnings, and that his motivation for recognition and money is actually translated to him wanting to win more competitions. The rival could either be an up-and-coming younger dog that could take his titles away, or even a new pet at home that changes the family's focus to a more playful animal instead of the well-behaved and well-trained champion dog that is the narrator.

Great ideas. I loved it. Got the gears going. And then I thought of the Disney movie "Oliver & Company". Much like how "The Lion King" is Disney's animated animal version of Shakespeare's "Hamlet", "Oliver & Company" is Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist"; for those who didn't know.

The reason my mind went to the Disney version of the tale was because the company turned the character Georgette into a pampered and prissy prize-winning poodle. She hates that Jenny Foxworth brought Oliver into Georgette's home; taking away the love and pampering that she felt she deserved. She had a rival: Oliver. She was feeling loss: Jenny's love, Winston's time, pampering, etc. She wanted recognition: all the family's attention, and the proclamation that she was all the family needed. She even was a dog that had a reason to want money: it was spent to lavish her with the finer things in life, plus, as a show-dog, she was bringing in the money.

I tried to write it so that the fact that Georgette and Dodger's gang were all dogs, and that Oliver was a cat, was hidden. However, I forgot one key thing. If you aren't in the mindset of "Oliver & Company" you may pick up on the original text of "Oliver Twist". Which means my crafty "you won't pick up on this right away" would shoot me in the foot as people picture the original classic and still be confused where the dog would come into play. Whoops.

That's sort of what happened at the group. The other three women that typically show all have children about my age, and so in their mind the story was the classic. Whereas the classic Dickens writing always bored me - I know, I know, shun me now - and so I appreciated Disney's take on the story as a way of introducing me to the classic tale. To me, Oliver is a orange cat, Dodger is a Jack Russell Terrier with a red bandanna, Fagin is Dodger's beloved homeless owner, and Georgette is a pampered poodle.

Anyway, if you wish to read my story, you can find it on DeviantArt - with some typos, sorry about that - and on FictionPress. Yes, it is a fanfic, but it's part of my writing prompts anthology, and so I kept it with the others on FP.

"The Queen of This Castle"

Now I need to focus on the next prompt we put together. It was a generic setting we each threw one component into. Keaton was wondering why I said it was generic, and frankly, it's again what I said before, she tries to have something broad enough that both she and DFL can use it in their main manuscripts. It's not a bad thing, but she needs to understand how vague these prompts are because of that.

Our setting is Coming Back From A Funeral at Dusk on a Saturday during the Winter months. It's specific enough to be considered a prompt; most prompts on say LiveJournal are just one word like "Peace" or "Spring". However, she wouldn't allow me to throw in things more specific such as "snowy winter" or "rural vs city" or "unattended funeral." She felt it was too restricting. As it stands, DFL's story in the desert can still work. Winter doesn't have to mean cold or snow or even the winter holidays. It just means the three months where there is the least amount of natural light due to the Earth's location in relation to the sun. Also, she can have the funeral be as bustling or unattended or sorrowful or joyfilled as would be appropriate for such ceremonies in 10,000BC. Meanwhile, Keaton can use the same prompt with Buster Keaton in NYC or LA or writing his post-apocalyptic story-within-a-story of two boys in a semi-rural area during a zombie attack.

Me? I'm still seeing where this prompt takes me. Seeing as how I still don't have even an idea for a manuscript to work off of. X-Future definitely translates better into a more visual medium, and so a TV/Netflix/Hulu/webseries or a comic book series would work best for it. It still needs a manuscript, but not the prose/novel that I was aiming for. I'm also still attempting to work on my Gyateara world build, and so I'm nowhere near actually writing any stories in that world.

There has been some deaths on X-Future, although, I don't recall if we ever established a day of the week for any of them. The one I'm thinking of was definitely in the late summer/early fall months, so that might not work. Then again, we never did comment about the deaths that came just before the initial 2yr time jump. That happened just before winter break. Not quite winter, but with the rummaging through rubble, the actual funeral service(s) may not have taken place until late December/early January. I might be able to do that. This way I'm not the only one just writing random prose unrelated to each other.

Then again, I may just stick with what I've been doing. Who knows what stories may come to life with these prompts. Red, for instance, may go back to an earlier prompt with this setting one. She had a character who was going mad after her boyfriend left her, and now she's plotting to kill both him and two people in her past she felt wronged her. We were all talking about how much fun it would be for her to use this funeral prompt as a continuation. I said I wanted to see how the narrator kept her composure at the funeral so that people didn't realize how excited she was about the death.

Also, back when I did the daily prompt challenge for "Hey, Arnold!" fanfiction, I actually had a few related prompts. It just seemed perfect to have one continue the story left from a previous prompt.

Hopefully, it won't take the full two weeks to figure out what I'll write. Either way, if I don't have it ready by next week I will certainly have it done the following one.

In the meantime, I have another challenge. Phfylburt is in the picture again. With his new little one, although she's apparently very easy going, he hasn't had the time or inspiration to write lately. However, he's always wanted to learn how to draw, and he has just enough time to practice that daily. He's been a bit mad about slacking off, though. So I issued him a challenge.

He would give me a new writing prompt every Sunday, and I would give him a new drawing challenge. The following Sunday, we will exchange what we did, and issue another challenge for the week. Technically speaking, he's supposed to show me at least five different drawings he's done throughout the week, but as long as I get the drawing I requested, I can let the others slide.

Now, poor Phfyl thought he was easing me into this new challenge set-up. Thing is, he asked me to do one of the most challenging things for me: poetry.

I used to write poems a lot in middle school. Looking back at them, I've realized they're terrible. My college ones weren't much better. The ones I attempted to write for Helga in my "Hey, Arnold!" stories are just as bad. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's because I can't stand vague, thought-provoking writing. I don't want a pretty simile about your soul and the colors of the rainbow when you meet different people. I want to know the location of every battle scar on that 6' 2" Puerto Rican man with cocoa-bean brown eyes, brunette hair so deep it appears black, and a crooked smile due to his previously broken jaw.

Every time I attempt poetry it always seems like a pathetic forgery. Like someone telling you they'll make you a fabulous Thanksgiving turkey dinner, and then plops a Tofurky in the center of the table; worse yet, the tofurky is barely shaped to look like an actual bird.

If this isn't bad enough, the challenge is to write a 12-line poem that describes nothing. NOTHING! No description! WHA!? Hit the ground running, I guess. Sink or swim. Well, the point was to challenge each other in order to better them. So he swung hard without even knowing he did.

It may not be pretty. It may not be poetry. But by gum, I'll have a 12-line poem ready to post here next week! I just need to write it still....

Because of my illness-induced impromptu vacation, I actually have a lot more to talk about. However, this seems to be getting a bit long. I'll save it for next week, or perhaps an extra blog post to try to get me up to 52 this year!

Oh yeah! I never officially stated my resolutions for this year! Yup. Definitely need to work on another post. Now that football's regular season is over and the playoffs have started, I should have more of my evenings free. That should open up some more time for me to write and sneak in that extra post. However, Ronoxym and Cyhyr are supposed to visit on Saturday. And my nephew's baptism is Sunday. Still, I'll try to get something ready for Mondayish. So, keep an eye out.

I'm also going to use my first post of 2016 to yet again plug the fact that you can fave my blog and/or join a mailing list. The mailing list simply drops this blog right into your email for ease of access. Plus, you don't have to worry about maybe missing a post since my update days are never set in stone. I swear that's it. You won't get any promotional mail from me or Blogger. You won't get any spam. We don't send out your email address to anyone. Just a simple: "You've Got Mail: The Rogue's Scribe Updated; here it is!"

Sound good to you? Then just go to the right side bar; you'll have to scroll back up to the top. Do you see my "About Me"? Good. Right above it is the option to input your email address to join the mailing list. Simple as that. Then the blog will be delivered right to you like a faithful Sunday morning paper.

If you want to fave my blog and just check in on it via your Blogger dashboard, simply set up a Blogger account if you haven't yet. If you are on Google+ you have an account already. Simply go to Blogger and it will bring you to your dashboard. Scroll down a little bit and you'll see "Reading List." From there you can add new blogs. You simply click "Add" and then drop in the url of this blog. You can then choose whether or not to follow me anonymously before clicking "Follow." You're done! You can now just log back into your Blogger dashboard, go down to Reading List, and read the latest entry of this blog and any others you are following.

You can also include my blog in your RSS feed; basically the same thing as favoriting it on Blogger. For those of you who don't know what an RSS is, then don't worry, the other two options work fine. For those of you who do have one, just above the option to sign up for the email is a place where you can subscribe to my posts, the comments, or both via your RSS. You can subscribe via NetVibes or My Yahoo!

One last way to stay up to date with this blog. I post on Twitter. I don't really do much else on Twitter any more - I'm addicted enough to Facebook to add Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, or Pinterest - but I do post when I update my blog. It's as simple as following @LycoRogue.

Alright, I really should get some work done, either on the funeral prompt, my poem, or some of the cleaning I need to do around here. Catch you guys next week, and have a happy new year!

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