Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: June, 2010

A Day Before Next Month’s Insanity

Well, it’s a couple more hours until the start of Julnowrimo.  Part of me thinks I should just go to bed early, but it’s not like I get that much sleep anyway.  Besides, there’s the excitement of starting the month-long project at midnight.  For some reason, this never gets old for me.  I guess it’s because I’m not writing the same thing over and over again.  It’s always different.  And different stories bring different challenges.

After mulling it over a couple days earlier this month, I decided to set the story in a Victorian-esque setting, in a county in England that is known to be influenced by the Vikings.  This fits in perfectly with my intentions to incorporate Norse mythology into the story.  If you’re curious as to how I came upon these settings, it was all due to my obsession with BBC documentaries.

Windermere – a location for a proposed fight scene
(Inspired by BBC’s Great British Railway Journeys, Windermere episode Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3)

Carlisle – proposed location for a character’s home
(Inspired by BBC’s Great British Railway Journeys, Carlisle episode Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3)

The only thing different I’ve done in planning this time is to have “blank” characters.  Oh sure, I have a list of characters that I’m including, but I have literally no description on them other than the correspondences they have to Norse mythology.  For instance, a major character in the story is the Wyrm, Jörmungandr the Midgard Serpent.  But other than that title and a motivation, I have not written down in my notes what he looks like or even what his personality is.  Is the Wyrm dangerous, angry, mysterious, silly, sarcastic, or something else?  I have no idea, although I suspect it will be fun discovering exactly who any of the characters are once I start writing.

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No One Knows Who I Am

In last night’s dream, I was coming back from a conference. Back in lab, everyone was telling me that I was nominated for a research award that I had never heard of.  They asked me if I was going to the awards banquet the next day which puzzled me because no one had e-mailed or otherwise contacted me about this.  So I looked up this research award online and I saw a link to a video interview someone did with one of the members of the awards committee.  I clicked on the link.

The interviewer asked how the nominee was chosen and the awards committee member mentioned some recommendations from some professors I know.  So far, this made sense.  Then this person was asked, who exactly is this nominee?

“Well,” the awards committee member replied, “there’s actually a lot of detailed information about her online.”

Okay. So maybe this awards committee discovered my weblog.

“Her life is quite picaresque.  There’s a photo of her house online which has a bamboo grove growing right outside.”

Bamboo? I thought. I live in Idaho. There’s no bamboo groves growing in Idaho.  And even though there are pictures somewhere on my weblog, I’ve never taken any pictures of bamboo.

The awards committee member continued detailing my “exploits” which seemed like somebody else’s life.  Maybe me in a parallel universe.  But definitely not me here.  It’s like being a miner in West Virginia and discovering that somebody with your same name has set up a Facebook account detailing a life of indie rock and silk screen painting in Oakland. And nobody had the ounce of sense to realize that these were two different people.

“That’s not me!” I screamed at the internet video.

But, of course, the video didn’t pay any attention to me.  It continued: “And there’s even a biography written about her.”  What biography?  I’m too young and too boring to warrant a biography.  Maybe if I was Andrew Jackson.  But I’m not Andrew Jackson.  The video flashed a picture of “me”.  It’s not me.  It’s the picture of that girl in the graduate student association who thinks she knows everything.

I woke up in the middle of the night, heart pounding, thinking that someone else had stolen my life and identity.

First Notes for Next Month’s Insanity

I recently signed up for Julnowrimo.  The last time I tried writing 50,000 words in the month of July (a fantasy western back in 2004), I got halfway and stopped.  I tried picking it back up the following year but I only managed a chapter or two more before I stopped again.  The problem, I think, was similar to all the trouble I had finishing the scripts that I had started prior to this year’s Script Frenzy–lack of planning.  I had a cast of characters and a destination, but I really didn’t have any idea what was going to happen in between.

For July’s story, I’m revisiting one of the ideas I discarded for last year’s Nanowrimo which had involved Iceland, wacky chase scenes, and the Midgard serpent.  This time, though, I’m just going to keep the Midgard serpent (he will become a main character), eliminate the chase scenes (they’re not that interesting anyway), and change the setting (some place that is more boggy and less icy).  And since I will be borrowing heavily from Norse mythology, I’m going to bypass a lot of the headache of picking character names.

Outlining the events in the story is another matter.  Most of the work comes from figuring out what makes the journey from point A to point B so interesting.  There will definitely be more lightning and less bananas.