Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Just to set the record straight, I have NOT spent the entire week sulking. I pretty much expended all of my sulkage over the weekend, and since then I've been busy with various projects. Some of you may not believe me, but that's really none of my concern.
Stuff that has been consuming my time:
1) Octane. Yes, Octane. After I'd cooled down, I was able to see how some people might feel it had an abrupt ending, so I've been thinking about how to address that. The advice I've gotten about it seems to boil down to "Throw in more stuff at the beginning of the last chapter so that the audience knows the narrator has tried everything he can think of instead of having what appears to be a colossal leap of logic."
Yeah, I could do that. But being 100% honest with you... I don't want to. Which means that if I did write it, there would be no passion to it. It would stink of "Here, you bastards, this is what you want, fine, I hope you choke on it." Maybe later, after I've gotten distance from it, I'd be willing to revisit certain parts of it, but not now.
Then there's the ending. Sigh. I know people aren't happy about it, but that's how the story first came to me, you know? "Bloodthirsty car takes Communion, is Cured." It's derived from John 4:13-14 :
13 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."I thought this was a great ending, not because I wanted to push a particular religious agenda but because it seemed both theologically/philosophically sound and because no one would ever see it coming. And I succeeded on that last part, at the least.
But I've been talking to horror aficionados, and apparently they want the narrator to suffer more, to go through hell first. Part of that is addressed above, with my reluctance to pad the story; the other part is how the ending is perceived as too pat and easy.
Really, at this point there's only one compromise I'd be willing to make: the narrator attempts to feed the Eucharist to the car; car perceives this as a poisoning attempt, attacks narrator; narrator is eaten by car, but by virtue of having also taken communion before this, is currently in a State of Grace; therefore narrator doesn't die, but his spirit drives out the demon/curse/whatever in the Yellow Peril; narrator finds happiness as immortal, indestructible car for the church, who only needs to take Communion every so often instead of going to the gas station/mechanic.
If this is something people want, I'd be happy to do that as an alternate ending. Let me know by comment or e-mail, and if I get a half-dozen or more requests, I'll write it for you.
2) 30 Days of Fiction. Yeah, that's kind of fallen by the wayside. I was delayed by the election, and then I wanted to enjoy my weekend, and then I got mad...
So here's what I intend to do. Clearly, November is looking like a bit of a bust, but I really don't want to admit defeat on this (NaNoMo writers, you know what I mean by this) so instead I offer a compromise: Before the year is out, you'll have had a month's worth of fiction.
I can't promise this. I may in fact fail utterly at it. But I'm trying, dammit.
3). Commissions. Yes, there's at least one person out there who has hired me to write private stories for them, and frankly, my finances are in such a crappy state (as are a lot of people's, I suspect) that when it comes to either writing for free, on my blog, or writing something that will give me actual money... well, that's a no-brainer right there. I've promised my patron that one of these stories will be ready by Thanksgiving, so that clearly takes priority.
At any rate, if you're a regular reader, I thank you for putting up with my prima donna attitude and sticking around. Hopefully I will get my act together sooner, and I pray that 2009 will be more productive and successful that 2008.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I am astounded that a story that everyone seemed to love until the end was posted has generated so little commentary.
When I have gotten an opinion out of people -- usually by tackling them and saying "Give me your opinion on this, or else" -- they seem to say the same things:
- Uh, what happened?
- Kind of abrupt.
- Hate the last lines.
The car ate the Eucharistic bread and wine, which, according to the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church, is the transubstantiated flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. Since the Yellow Peril thirsted for the blood of the innocent, it stands to reason that the divine blood of the Son of God would really fix that problem.
Is the car permanently cured or does it need to go back periodically?
I deliberately left that up to the viewer, mainly because I didn't want to lie down at the intersection of Faith and Story Demands. If I said that the car was permanently cured, that leaves all the horror aficionados going "Well, that's awful convenient." If I say that the car needed constant tending, then I am suggesting that a curse is stronger than God, which is something that really makes me uncomfortable, and I'm certainly not the only one who feels that way.
If you want the curse permanently removed, it is.
If you want it a constant labor, it is. Perhaps the narrator sells it to the priest, and the church gets a really efficient vehicle for the next 20+ years.
This isn't rocket science, people. I don't have to spell everything out for you.
It seems abrupt.
Really? It seems to me like it's a desperate race against time as the narrator, at his wit's end, tries to do an end-run around the curse before he loses control and someone else dies.
Some people have said that the ending is a bit too cute, or tidy, or needs foreshadowing. Fine. These are valid points. Now just kindly tell me what you suggest I do to fix it? Simply flailing your arms and saying "Ugh, foreshadow more" helps me not one whit. A suggestion like, "Maybe he hears a sermon on the radio" is better.
The ending is happy. There are no happy endings in ghost stories.
I direct your attention to the first paragraph of chapter 1, and say "Your expectations are not my problem, as I clearly noted from the beginning that this was an unconventional tale."
The explanatory paragraph at the end is unneeded.
I'll pass that along to all my Jewish, Hindu, Pagan, and Atheist friends. We don't all come from the same religious and cultural background, and I wanted my readers to understand the ending.
The ending is too preachy.
Really, at this point, all I have to say is "Fuck your hypocritical double standard." If you can accept a magically haunted car that eats people and uses blood for fuel, then you can damn well accept that Roman Catholicism has it right. (Full disclosure: I'm not Catholic.) I think it's ridiculous to claim that curses are all right in horror but religion isn't. Case in point: The Exorcist, one of the scariest fucking movies of all time and one that takes religion completely seriously.
Now, with that out of my system, I will be more than happy to address whatever valid points or criticisms you wish to make. Please show your work.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Leon H. Wolf:
An anniversary has recently passed. On October 25, 3018 Third Age, Elrond Half-elven, son of Eärendil of the line of Thingol, bearer of Vilya the great Ring of Power, made a critical decision for his people.
Rather than allow the last remaining outposts of the Elves at Imladris and Lothlórien continue without disruption from the outside world, he chose to invest the Elves in a grand global fight to rob Sauron of his power permanently, in the process destroying the Rings of Power of his own and Galadriel's. At the Council of Elrond, a Fellowship was constructed, representing Elves, Men, Wizards, Dwarves, and Halflings, all united by a supposed common cause.
But where are the Elves now? All gone West. Was this great act of foreign policy by Elrond a self-destructive act? Would Elves not have been better off allowing Sauron to remain, acting as a counterweight to the Men, and preventing Men from being an undisputed hyperpower in Middle-earth?
AcademicElephant:What Elrond failed to recognize is that coalitions are fluid and should be assembled not simply for the sake of having a grand coalition, but to address the issue at hand. Really, what of substance did the dwarves contribute besides the disastrous and greedy foray to Moria that re-woke the Balrog? And what good was gained by having two men, not to mention four Haflings? Cut both of those in half and you eliminate the dead weight and have a leaner, more agile force that can get the job done efficiently and get the heck out of there.
Moe Lane:Here we go: blatant anti-Khazadism masquerading as policy analysis, yet again.
Khazad-dum is Dwarvish. Khazad-dum has always been Dwarvish. The Orcish invasion of our ancestral homeland - and note that the speaker does not mention the proven and notorious links between the Orcish "race" and that of the Elves - was an unjustified and illegal action that was replied to by the nations of the West with nothing more than empty condemnations from the Council of the Wise. Of course, what they also do not mention is that the mere presence of the Balrog itself can be directly attributed to Elvish incompetence after the First Age: if there had been a proper post-war cleanup, that monster never would gotten away in the first place.
Be sure to check out the comment by Sam Gamgee at the bottom.
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