1. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Nerium: Progress Journal.

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by OJB, Apr 30, 2017.

    Hello, guys.

    I am going to be starting a new project as I take a break from Mystics (I am just at a stand still on the 3rd draft, and need a break from it for a while.) I have a shorter story in mind (We'll say 30,000 words) that I am going to work on as I take a break.

    This story is a spiritual sequel (or maybe prequel) to Mystics as it takes place within the same story universe but does not have any cross-over characters (I might do one).

    I don't even have a plot thought out yet, just an opening paragraph and a half-put-together main character, but I do have a story goal.

    Here is my opening paragraph.

    'A lipless and gumless face, exposed teeth, and ceaseless drooling, the reflection in the mirror showed a Glasgow Smile that no surgery or makeup could hide. This would be my face for the rest of my life. Weeping, I covered my eyes and said, "Why did he not just kill me?"'

    -

    As we know I have five things I need to figure out before I start plotting.

    Lead: Nerium Lavender (all I have is a name).
    Objective: Find the owner of a strange ring and return it to him.
    Conflict: ????
    Knockout: ????
    Situation: Having had her face mutilated.

    -

    I am missing some parts that I need to spend some time figuring out. I will say that this story will be much 'lighter' in terms of content and language when compared to Mystics. This will be an erotic horror just like Mystics; however, this will be more of a Romance story vs. Mystics which is a story about self-discovery.
     
  2. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Today I wasted no time.

    Here is the Synopsis I came up with:

    -

    Having had her face mutilated, Nerium, a former model and singer, wrestles with the idea of suicide after her attack, but, when she finds a strange ring, her life finds new meaning; feeling a spiritual calling, Nerium seeks out the crafter of the ring despite the fact she finds herself being pursued by ghoulish entities. Will Nerium find the creator of the ring, or will she fall victim to the things that stalk her?

    -

    I also came up with 8 Scenes (I want 30 good ones in this story)

    and I wrote 1223 words in the first scene. (I have the first 3 scenes figured out.)

    -

    I thought about the ring that Nerium finds and I gave it two really unique abilities.

    1. The ring is part of a set. The other ring is worn by someone called "The Crafter" (he made the set originally). Nerium is able to experience and share the emotions of "The Crafter" and the Vise Versa is true. (This is where the Romance part of the story comes into play). This emotional bond is so intimate that Nerium seeks him out.

    2. The ring attracts the undead to her like how a U.V. Light attracts insects; the saving grace, however, is that like a U.V light, the undead are unable to touch her as long as she wears it. I have some really cool ideas on how to approach the undead in this story as I am trying to do something original yet horror like with them.

    -

    Last, as is my style, I will be writing this using Pivoting Juxtapositions, but unlike Bartlett, Nerium does not have Synesthesia.
     
  3. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Having received some feedback from a number of people on my Synopsis, I've made some changes to it.

    Synopsis: Having had her face mutilated, Nerium, a former model and singer, wrestles with thoughts of suicide until one day she finds strange ring; upon placing the ring onto her finger, Nerium not only finds herself being pursued by the dead but also finds herself unable to remove the ring. Will Nerium find a way to remove the ring, or will she fall victim to the undead that pursue her?

    -

    Below is half of my plot outline. I still have to figure out the second part of the story.

    Opening Image: A young woman mourns over her mutilated face which she calls ‘unkissable.’

    Theme: What is Beauty?

    Set-up: Having had her face mutilated, hence ruining her singing and modeling career, Nerium attempts suicide.

    Catalyst: After her suicide attempt, Nerium sees a group of singing Elves and chases them.

    Debate/Small trip: The Elves seem to disappear into a city’s sewers; she debates rather or not to follow.

    Break into Act II: Having gone inside the sewers, Nerium finds a ring and puts it on her finger.

    Fun and Game: The Ring acts as a beacon and attracts the dead to Nerium; Nerium makes numerous attempts to remove the ring but finds that she cannot.

    B-Story: The Ring, which is part of a set, emotionally connects her to another person; throughout the story, this ‘other person’ guides her and warns her not to contact her sister who has been looking for Nerium.

    Midpoint: Nerium encounters the elves and learns about “The Crafter” a mysterious figure who created the ring and is the only one who can remove it.

    -

    World building: I wanted to create something original in my story world in regard to the Elves and the Undead. In most fantasy stories, Elves and the undead would be foes, and, in a way, this is true my story. In my universe the elves and the Undead wage war against each other by seeing who can sing the most sublime songs. The Undead sing laminations about themselves, while the elves sing Laminations about other people. Make no mistake, The undead are depraved and cruel monsters who relish the opportunity to torture the living (Hellraiser style), but they have a sublime beauty to them when they sing.

    -

    This is all I got for today. I am hoping to have my overview done by tomorrow so I can start plugging in the plot points.
     
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  4. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    I have my story all thought out on general terms and am now starting to plug in some of the plot points into the 3-act structure.

    The chapters I've finished plotting out.

    Chapter 1 (2 scenes)
    Chapter 4 (2 scenes)
    Chapter 12 (3 scenes)

    I am aiming for 30 scene within 12 chapters.

    -

    I've decided that after I complete my study on Clive Barker (I have a long way to go) I am going to do a blog series on Story Structure and plotting. I already have two book series I want to look at in terms of story structure, Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter trilogy and J.R.R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. This should be fun.

    -

    I really want my Undead to have a different look and feel to them than say Zombies and Skeletons. Here is an image I was playing around with today.

    'An Ape, taller than the doorway and covered in necrosis, grabbed the jeweler by the arms and folded him into a box; bones snapped, flesh tore, and broken veins gushed blood. As this living, screaming man was used as origami, the Ape sang with the voice of an all-female choir. It matched my expectation of what angels would sound like.'

    (@zoupskim I know you like horror so I thought I'd share this with you.)

    I am really hoping to make my Undead original, while still being Undead.

    The last thing I've been working out is "The Crafter", the mysterious figure that Nerium is seeking out. To add to the mystery and suspense of Nerium finding the Crafter, I have both the Undead and The Elves claim to have met him, but no-one knows what he looks like. This statement confuses Nerium, and most likely the reader, but in the final scene of the story, when she meets him, it makes senses (and yes, he is a living, talking person.)
     
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  5. zoupskim

    zoupskim Contributor Contributor

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    I am pleased with this :D
     
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  6. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Today I got 2 more chapters plotted out.

    Chapter 1 (2 scenes)
    Chapter 4 (2 Scenes)
    Chapter 6 (3 Scenes)
    Chapter 9 (3 Scenes)
    Chapter 12 (3 scenes)

    This gets me 13 scenes out of 30.

    -

    I was working on my 'Main villain' today. While in truth, the 'undead' count as the villain of the story, I am designing a 'face', someone who talks for the group.

    Here is the design I have:

    'A man, who looked as if he had swum naked through a sea of fishing lures, spoke; as he did, the hooks in his face tore open his lips. "The ring, we demand you remove it from your hand. Comply."

    -

    All that I got for today.
     
  7. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Today, I was revising some of the scenes I thought of. Two reasons for this, sometimes ideas repeat themselves (not in a good way), and two, I came up with better ideas for certain moments in my story.

    Also, I've reduced this story to having only three characters (not including any set-piece characters).

    Nerium: The Hero.
    The Speaker: The Villain. An undead that speaks on their behalf.
    Valinor, The Crafter: The love interest.

    -

    I am hoping to make Valinor solid enough so he is a good love interest for Nerium. I don't have them meet until the final scene so it will be interesting to see if I can pull off the love subplot like this. How I do plan on having them interact is that Nerium experiences Valinor's most intimate emotions and thoughts at crucial parts of the story (the parts where she needs guidance and support the most.) This is done through the ring she bears (as it is part of a set.)

    Also, Valinor is despised, though very well respected, by the undead. The undead do everything in their power to make sure Nerium is not united with him. I never state what the animosity between Valinor and the undead is about, but it is related to Valinor's nature and his creation of the two rings.

    Hoping to get this outline finished within the next two week. This story should go pretty fast in terms of getting a first draft done.
     
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  8. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Today in my blog I was writing on how Clive Barker's Rawhead Rex is an Allegory for men's fears of the woman's Menstrual cycle (by the way if you've not read my blog, I am doing an academic-like study on Clive Barker and his stories. You should check it out as I've gained some great insight on how to bring my own horror writing to a new level.) This got me to thinking about my own monsters, the undead.

    The theme of my story is 'Beauty'. Keeping that in mind, the undead in my story are an allegory on how death is both grotesque and beautiful. On an even deeper thematic level, since my character is suicidal, I am basing my undead off the violent dead from Dante's Inferno in regards to my design. The undead in my story are feral, beast-like, cannibals. The undead dwell in a 'paradise' where the rivers are boiling blood (In Dante, Murderers punishment were to drown in a boiling river of blood) surrounded by beautiful forest (suicides were turned into trees), and where everything burns but nothing turns to ash (those violent against God are forced to be burned). My undead, while monsters (Hellraiser style), spend their time singing beautiful music in paradise-like meadows and forest. I am hoping to have this 'Beautiful' feel to my undead while at the same time making them scary.

    -

    My outline is coming along nicely. I have the whole story thought-out, I just need to define the conflict and goals my character has from scene to scene a bit better.
     
  9. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    I've been refining my logline by running it through my critique friends I use. There are some weaknesses in my idea that we are trying to get rid of. We are battling out the details right now. Right now my refined logline is as followed.

    -
    Having had her face mutilated, Nerium, a former model and singer, hears rumors of a magical ring, which can restore her face, and sets out into the world of murderers, rapist, and mutilators to find it. Upon obtaining it, Nerium’s dreams comes true as her face is restored, but it comes at a terrible price; ghost of the violent dead begin to haunt her. Will Nerium be able to escape the violent dead? Or will the price for her beauty prove too much for her to handle?
    -

    There is still some weaknesses I am hammering out, but we are getting there.
     
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  10. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

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    About Nerium finding the ring, I liked the 'secret admirer' approached you originally seem to take. I believed that 'the Crafter' had planted the ring for her to find because, hey, who doesn't want Katy Perry as a girlfriend?
    I'm looking forward to seeing how you progress.
    Godspeed!
     
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  11. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    That might still appear. I really want to keep that as the subplot.
     
  12. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Well, after some thinking I've got my story 'figured' out. One of the problems I was having, is that I was trying to make the story a 'Monster chase Hero' Story, like Jaws, Jurassic park, or Friday the 13th. Instead, I've changed the scope of my story to be more of a "Hero goes on a Journey" story, like Lord of the Rings, Wizard of Oz (my favorite movie of all time) or even the Hobbit.

    -

    In my story, Nerium finds a lost ring and attempts to locate the owner and return the ring. The reason actually has nothing to do with the ring, the reason is that Nerium -who has lost the ability to sing- hears a song so beautiful that she becomes obese with finding the person who sung the song. She finds the ring at the location of where she 'thought' the singing originated from and mistakingly believes the ring belongs to the person(s) that were singing.

    I do have a twist at the ending (I actually have two, one is obvious, the other is subtextual and will require the reader to pay close attention and think about what was said and done throughout the whole story.)

    -

    I'd like to take the time to talk about the board. I have a board that hangs above my computer that is divided into four rows.

    Row 1: Act 1.
    Row 2: Act 2 pre-midpoint.
    Row 3: Act 2 post-midpoint.
    Row 4: Act III.

    Now when I plot I fill out note cards and place them onto the board. Here is an example of one.

    B-STORY # 1
    Goal: Nerium wants to know Valinor's name.
    Conflict: Valinor wants to leave.
    Hollow Victory: Nerium learns Valinor's name, but he disappears.
    Emotional Shift: Excitement.
    Dilemma: Search for Valinor or search for the owner of the ring (this is somewhat Ironic as they are one in the same person, but Nerium does not know that at this time.)
    Decision: Search for the owner of the ring.

    And unto the next scene, we go. There will be 30ish (+ or - one or two scenes) throughout this story.

    As of right now, I have all of Act I figured out, Half of Act 2 pre-midpoint, and half of Act 3. I have some spaces to fill.
     
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  13. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Well, I added 3 more scene to my board today; it is filling up, but we must remember that if I come up with a better idea, I will replace scenes with something else.

    -

    I was fleshing out the 'look' for some of my undead. Here is one I was working on today.

    "A hunched-back, vulture-head woman with wrinkled skin, sagging tits, and shit running down the back of her leg approached; it screeched out the sound of two cellos playing across the air."
     
  14. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

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    Your description sounds horrific. How have you developed your undead? I'm curious.
     
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  15. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Hello Stormburn,

    Since my Character deals with suicidal thoughts, I based my undead off the Violent dead (Murderers, rapist, suicides, and mutilators) from Dante's The Divine Comedy.

    In The Divine Comedy, the violent dead are beast-like in their nature. With this in mind, my most of my undead have some animalist feature to them (some of them being more animal than man.) There is a passage in the Divine comedy where the violent dead are singing which gave me the idea making the undead talented singers.

    I hope this explains my thought process in terms of my design a little better.
     
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  16. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

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    That is really cool and creative!
     
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  17. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    I put 6 more scenes up on the board today. Only 9 more scenes to think of.

    -

    My finger is getting itchy to write, but I must resist! I've already changed a few things in my opening scene a number of times in order to set up later event better. I am hoping to have all the scenes thought out by the end of the weekend. It is always the last few scenes that I have to think about with intensity. The last three scenes in my 3rd Act, I have 'ideas' on, but they've I don't have a clear vision of how they will play out.

    -

    A few people on this forum have been wondering how I come up with such intense imagery, and it is rather 'simple' if you have a good understanding of Imagery and grammar.

    So imagery serves one of three purposes: Revealing (showing what the character/speaker notices about the world), Projecting (where the character/speaker projects from emotion or private thought onto the image) or Symbolism (where the image means more than what is being talking about). Usually, I use imagery as revealing (as it is the simplest form) but I've been practicing projecting and symbolism as well.

    As for Grammar, my treatments look simple, like this.

    Image x: The speaker hugged and kissed Mary. Terrified, I begged him to stop.

    Now, I use a lot of sentence effects in my writing (I am going to have to do a blog series on them one day.) But, the first step is that I have four different types of sentences I can use: Simple, Complex, Compound, Complex-Compound. For the first sentence, I am going to use complex sentence and here is why. This is meant to be a painfully torturous scene so I want prolonged sentences just like how The Speaker is prolonging the pain on this character. A Complex sentence is made up of one or more dependent clauses, and one independent clause.

    Image x: As it kissed Mary, (Dependent) The Speaker wrapped its arms and thighs around her naked body. Terrified, I begged him to stop. (Independent.)

    We have a complex sentence, but I still need a little more as a way to show why this is bad. You know the funny thing, I hate the word 'flow'. When people say 'your story/sentences 'flow' well, I am like "What the fuck does that even mean?" I read an essay that the word 'flow' originated from how people used (or misused) Verbals. So instead of saying flow, I'll say 'to add clarity to the scene' I am going to add a verbal phrase.

    Image x: As it kissed Mary, The Speaker wrapped its arms and thighs around her naked body, impaling her stomach, arms, legs, and side of her face with the fish-lure piercings that decorated his body. Terrified, I begged him to stop.

    The next step is to add a juxtaposition into the mix. When people talk about 'style', my style is adding pivoting juxtapositions into my paragraphs. I don't usually add 'poetics' into the mix until the 2nd or 3rd draft, but I will for this one. Keeping in mind that The Speaker, an undead whose body impaled with fish lures, is hugging a woman (hence impaling her on the same hooks), look at the juxtaposition I add to the motivating sentence.

    Image x: As it kissed Mary, The Speaker wrapped its arms and thighs around her naked body, impaling her stomach, arms, legs, and the side of her face with the fire-lure piercings that decorated his body; squirting herself and moaning, yet tearing face apart on the hooks as she spoke, Mary said, "God, I've never felt this good in my life."

    Terrified, I begged him to stop.

    -

    As we can see, despite the fact Mary is being impaled, being touched by one of the undead can be extremely pleasurable. The last step is to look at the reaction side of this paragraph. I have terrified (which is an abstraction, and we all know how I feel about abstractions) place holding before the main action. All I need to think of is a reflex a person has when they are terrified, and plug it in, but, unlike the motivating sentence, I am going to use a simple sentence as Nerium is in such a state of shock that she can do very little. So let's look at the final product.

    -

    As it kissed Mary, The Speaker wrapped its arms and thighs around her naked body, impaling her stomach, arms, legs, and the side of her face with the fire-lure piercings that decorated his body; squirting herself and moaning, yet tearing her face apart on the hooks as she spoke, Mary said, "God, I've never felt this good in my life."

    Having pissed myself, I said, "Please stop."

    -

    Now, this might seem like it takes a lot of time, but in a good writing session (2-3 hours) I can get 20 images done.

    I hope this sheds a little more 'light' into my writing process. Even after this written, when I go back I'll cut or rewrite phrase, and add poetics. Nerium though is going to be 'poetic' light, with the expectation of my pivoting juxtapositions. Also, as can see from the above, this is why I will be posting my work in the workshop in the Erotic forum. Not because this is Erotic, but because it is just too adult for minors read.

    -OJB.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
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  18. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Well, I've started to write my first draft. and Hope to have it done by the end of June.

    -

    So, in my opening scene, I have one Cross-over Character from my story Mystics, Azure. Azure is a detective that runs a department that investigates bizarre murders. In private though (this is never confirmed, just hinted at) she is a wizard that hunts deranged serial killers, occultist, and monsters. Magic works different in my story universe vs. say, Harry Potter, where there are fireballs being flung around. I am not going to go deep into my magic system, but I wanted to give an example of this. Here is the passage from the opening chapter.

    "Is everything fine in there?” Asked a voice, that seemed to have a soft melody to it, as if wind chimes were playing in the background as the woman spoke.

    There is one obvious thing to this, and one subtle thing in this passage that shows the magic. First, the fact it sounds as if wind chimes are playing in the background as she speaks is the first thing that gives of this mythical feel. But let us look at the dialogue.

    "Is everything fine in there?” Now that I've highlighted it, notice how the I and E sounds repeat themselves? Also, there is really no hard sounds like T, P, D, everything is smooth sounding. This is all done on purpose to give the speech a soothing, smooth sound to it. In essence, Azure is casting a spell to calm down Nerium.

    This is the only scene I have with Azure in it, the purpose of the scene is to introduce Nerium, her recent tragedy, and to eliminate the possibility of this being a revenge story (The whole purpose of Azure's visit is to inform Nerium that she has caught the man who disfigured Nerium's face."

    I look forward posting this story in the workshop when it is done. I'll be sure to tag the lot of you when I do.
     
  19. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks. I like your explanation for your choice in sentence structure. Also, I like your questioning of the word 'flow'. I use 'flow' myself, but, I'm at a point in my development where I'm questioning my understanding of the terms I use. Posts like yours really help me. Also, your example of magic is much appreciated.
    Godspeed!
     
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  20. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Thanks Stormburn, that is one of the reasons I do Journals, as I like to share my thought process and knowledge with others. If you enjoy my journal, please check out my blog on this website; I am doing a study on Clive Barker where I look at his works and break apart some of the aspects of his writing to see what makes him a successful writer.
     
  21. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Okay, today I wrote 1236 words and finished chapter 1.

    -

    This chapter really sets-up a Dionysian tragedy. If anyone doesn't know what that is, this type of tragedy is where something bad happens to our hero, by no fault of their own, they set out to correct this wrong, only to fail and die.

    My character, while recovering from her injuries, is visited by Azure, who has come to inform her that her attacker has been killed. Nerium, however, wants to see her fiancee Adam. While at first Azure is hesitant, Azure reveals that Adam leaked a story to the papers claiming that Nerium was having an affair with the man who attacked her in order to break off the engagement. Nerium concludes that Adam does not want to marry a woman who has had her face mutilated. (I'm not saying this is the reason he did it, this is just the reason that Nerium comes up with.)

    Overwhelmed by how bad things have gotten for her, Nerium considers ending her life. This last part presented me with a bit of a problem. I didn't want to have some dialogue where Nerium says "I am going to go kill myself." It seemed to 'in your face,' so I decided a more subtle approach. Here is how I end Chapter 1 (mind you this is a rough draft. That Imagery that I can produce takes a few rewrites to get.)

    -

    Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. I looked out the window to see a baby bird fall from the tree, dying as it hit the ground. Nature could be so cruel. But perhaps the bird wanted to die in order to escape an ugly life. I stared out the window, looking for a better tree.

    In the distance, the city bridge could be seen. “Maybe, a walk is in order.”

    -

    A little rough, but the idea is there. Nowhere do I have Nerium say "I am going to kill myself." But I do imply it.

    -

    I am going to try to write a scene a day. If I can do that, I will have the first draft done by the end of June.
     
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  22. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    I was at BBQ yesterday, but today I wrote scene 2 with 1261 words.

    -

    Today's scene: As Nerium sits on the bank of a river, watching a ferry carry people across, she ponders what death will be like. As she does, she hears this Angelic singing.

    "Sung with voices that could not be matched by Katy Perry, Britney Spears, or Lady Gaga, the sound of a choir of women, singing in a foreign language, echoed through the night. Hearing it caused every color in sight, the green of the grass, the blue of the water, and the red of lady bugs, to shine with the brilliance of the stars, and caused the nerves of my body to become virgin raw; the hairs on my skin felt pollen brush against them, the plaque in between my teeth had the taste last weeks meals -chicken and asparagus, and my core tightened and I became dripping wet."

    Nerium tries to find the source of the singing but is unable to as a dense fog has settled on the river bank. While searching for the singers, a sickly dog appears and starts to follow her. Nerium tries to lose the dog while finding the singers but is unable too. The scene ends with the dog appearing to laugh, with a human voice, at Nerium as she sees the group of singers being ferried across the river.

    Here is the scene ending paragraph.

    'How crazy must I be to believe that a dog could laugh? Nevertheless, I turned to it and said, "Laugh at me all you want you bitch, for I shall find those Heavenly singers."'

    -

    The Next scene will introduce the ring. I've redesigned how the ring fits into the story a lot better, and I did this by looking at my favorite movie -The Wizard of Oz. Dorthy's goal is to go home. Nerium's goal is to find and meet the Heavenly singers. In my story, Nerium's ring = Dorthy's ruby slippers. Just like how the Witch wants the Ruby slippers (but is unable to take them by force), the Undead want to Ring but are unable to take it by force (hence they try to coax Nerium into killing herself.) There is some hardcore Irony to this however that I won't state openly, but if you reread my journal you might be able to figure out the Irony that happens at the All is Lost moment (The black moment) in the story.

    How the ring 'finds' itself to Nerium will be explored in a subplot, and it is the romance subplot part of the story.
     
  23. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Minor update,

    I currently won't be able to work on this project until after the end of next week, as I am busy with a few other things I need to get done.

    -

    I've been thinking about what my next Blog series will be after my Study on Clive Barker. I plan on doing a study of Theme next, but after that I have two subjects that people have been PMing me a lot about, Story Structure and Meter (Manipulating stressed and unstressed syllables to add Rhythm to your writing). I love both subjects, but to do an extensive blog series on them I could only do one at a time. Both subjects have so much to offer people in terms of their writing.

    If anyone is reading this journal, what would you prefer: Story Structure or Meter?

    -

    Last, I plan on writing an Article over the summer for this site. It will be on the subject of Sentence effects.

    -OJB.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017
  24. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    Beer!

    (I guess story structure will have to do)
     
    OJB likes this.
  25. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

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    I wish you could combine both. I opt for story structure. Thanks!
     
    OJB likes this.

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