Thursday, December 08, 2005

#117. NaNoWriMo Buddies, More Eidolon, Wrestling

Strangely enough, I've never read The Book of Job or The Bhagavadgita, though I had intended to upon commencing writing my story. Things just didn't turn out that way...However, a book I was reading at the time helped shape a few more elements within the story, Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City, which concerns the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 (or, the Columbian Exposition, meant to commemorate the four-hundreth anniversary of o' Christopher Colmbus' stumbling into the New World, although they still believed at the time he did it intentionally, or maybe most people did, anyway...heck, they still do now...). The envisioning of the White City, or the grounds of the fair, helped to inform Tekamthi's efforts within Traverse, adding still more color to the world I so enjoyed exploring.

That being said, my efforts were sealed within a vacuum (there's a funny story about a family vacuum I will no get into here). This year I participated in NaNoWriMo in a community of writers from Digital Webbing. A few of these fellow participants were gracious enough to list my blog on their own efforts, and although I never got around to reciprocating the favor, I can make up for that, in some small way, here:

**Jason Rodriguez wrote Complex, and I believe that was the first to be completed within the group. It's a first-person narrative he describes as a satirical romance. Jason has an even more ambitious effort running this year, The Moose in the Closet.

**Joshua Hale Fialkov wrote The Miller, a sort of pulp thriller set in 1940's Pittsburgh, the first in a promised series of tales featuring the eponymous hero. Fialkov is also creator of the acclaimed Elk's Run comic book.

**Ron Phillips started writing Requiem for a Boxer, but alas, didn't finish. His wife succeeded, though.

**Paul Brian DeBerry, with whom I worked on a pitch called (variously) Shotgun Samurai and Masterless Samurai (his creation, my answered solicitation at DW), began The Perfectly Ugly Rug, but didn't finish.

**Ray Dillon, from Golden Goat Studios, also entered, and through a furious endgame succeeded, though there isn't an Internet version to link to. He was by far the most enthusiastic of the DWers, at least in his online commentaries through his progress reports.

I do have some regrets. One is that I didn't title the chapters this time around, as you might have noticed. Last year's were crafted to serve as pseudo-comic-inspired ("The Secret Origin of the Eidolon" being the most obvious) novelties. Part of the reason I didn't set out to do that this year was because there was less of a comic book feel this time around, though I still wish I had the titles, to serve as better touchstones (if I wanted to spend yet more time here on these stories, I would then produce brief synopses of each chapter, but I'm not yet that mad). I also wish that I could have made an effort to read some other participants' work, as I did last year (though the one I was most interested in was never completed, as far as I know). At least with the DW community, I have a few I can always go back to, because now that I've laid this blueprint out, I can't easily forget them.

Maybe I'll speak more of this later, and maybe I'll start redirecting this time to more productive matters, too...

Did I mention I actually did go mad last week? Yeah, I purchased the WrestleMania Anthology boxset at FYE, because they had a terrific price for it. I only overlap event ownership with the last four years, so that's not too bad. And my nearly-month-long search for Eddie Guerrero: Cheating Death, Stealing Life (the DVD, that is) in local stores finally came to fruition, and it happened at Newbury, my comic book savior, which makes it perfectly karmic in some ways. I've also picked up a DVD collection that features old A.J. Styles matches as well as a NWA reunion shows that will hopefully give me a bit of the flavor from independent scene I've only really read about in the pages of the PWI 500 each year, as well as other Pro Wrestling Illustrated publications.

Yeah, and I've been buying too many DVDs lately, or at least way more than I ever have in the past, but that's for my finances to grumble over.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

#116. Links to Each Chapter of Angry Avenger and Repose of the Eidolon

And now to make it easy to read this saga, in its two curent installments (next year promises a third, which obvious foreshadowing in the second as to what the subject matter may be, but if it isn't obvious enough, I'll just say Iliad):

Colinaude, the Angry Avenger

1: The Engine That Was
2: Objects in Motion
3: Says the Hopper
4: Against the Ropes
5: Fit to Print
6: Where There's A Solvent, There's A Way
7: Signal Devices
8: So, Was It Random Or Was It Not?
9: I Think I Smell A Rat
10: Something Snared
11: The Battle of Mad Jack's
12: Disjointed
13: Luck, And Who Should Have It
14: Highs And Otherwise
15: Conversation With Godsend
16: A Conversation Continued
17: The Man Comes Around
18: Bars And Maidens
19: All The News
20: Dinner, Lunch, It's All The Same
21: Good News For People Who Like Bad News
22: What Lou Saw
23: The Night, The Night
24: A Hold On Things
25: Direct Current
26: The Fate Of Peter Cooley
27: The Secret Origin Of The Eidolon
28: The Angry Avenger
29: The Cad

Repose of the Eidolon


And more yet of this to come...

#115. Origins of Repose of the Eidolon, Eddie Guerrero

So, here that account is, a week later:

The origins of Repose of the Eidolon do not end at last year's Colinaude, the Angry Avenger. It began as a sort of Bhagavadgita, the Hindu epic that detailed a dialogue between a common man heading into battle with the disguised God Krishna. That's exactly what it was for most of the twelve months leading into the actual writing, since I'd had the notion from the completion of the original story, wherein the retirement of Cotton Colinaude, the Eidolon, was related. He still had much pain, and the follow-up, the name of which was also an early development, was meant to explore that, as much if not moreso than the first installment had detailed the pain of the path that had led him there. In October, when NaNoWriMo began gearing up again, I visited the official forums and introduced a topic on superheroes, where I first realized there was more to this story than just the conversation I intended between Colinaude (the so-called god) and a still-unformulated common man (Arjuna in the Indian work). Drawing on another great world religion, I realized I could tell a Job story just as well, just easily, with the framework I'd set up. Job, after all, spends much of his time, not just losing everything, but having a conversation with God as well, attempting to make reason out of all this. He's not just a man with great patience.

So from there, I added two more stories, that of Alexander the Great, which I became familiar with by the end of the month through Oliver Stone's unsung masterpiece Alexander, and Jin Sun Woo, from another masterpiece, television's Lost, through his plight described in the episode "...In Translation." Both very much helped to shape the central character of Balthazar Romero, who had his own delusions of grandeur, as well as actions he very much needed to rationalize. From this pinstripe I hung the destruction of his dreams (Job) and the illumination of his life as well as every other (Job/Arjuna), not only with Colinaude but a collection of characters, some already establshed (Hopper) and others newly created (Tekamthi). The mythology of the city these characters inhabit, Traverse, continued, as it had in the first story, to inform on every development, as it secrets slowly revealed themselves. In addition, several characters were put into the spotlight so as to illustrate particular elements important to Balthazar/Colinaude's journey.

...And yeah, so we arrive at the paradox of the story, that Balthazar is eventually revealed to be, in all actuality, Colinaude himself. This was not the original intention. The attack of Lotus was, but not its particularly dire consequences, the apparent death of Balthazar roughly two-thirds into the story. This occured around the time professional wrestler Eddie Guerrero unexpectedly passed away. When a death like that happens, you can't help but take renewed stock in the meaning of life, how you can't always count on everything to always be there, even if this particular element was never more personal to me than a favorite performer in the carnival of sports entertainment. I decided, on the day I read of Eddie's death, that I was going to bring that notion to life. I was going to kill Balthazar Romero, the main character of my story. Nothing would make it so obvious.

As it happened, the attack of Lotus was scheduled around the same time, so I took advantage and did the deed right there and then. This might be be accurately reflected in the "publishing" dates on the story blog, because I had been compensating around that time, making up for missed days (there was a total of two at that point, and never another after) by stamping a date with a "Forthcoming" message on a day I couldn't actually deliver and going back later with the edit feature, which didn't leave a mark saying it had been so edited. The illusion was that I was keeping track just as I wanted to, while I really wasn't. I had gotten myself into a trap. I'd set out, as I had last year, to write so many words a day, which might not have been a problem if I hadn't missed a day or two along the way, but I missed those days and thought the only way to compensate would be to try and write two chapters on given days, which I was able to do, but not enough. I eventually realized if I just stopped trying to write within the original daily wordcount, I wouldn't get into so much trouble, and that's how I made my way to the finish line, that and renewed determination to not skip anymore days if I could help it, and I didn't have to.

Speaking of wordcount, there was also the matter of not having a proper word processing program for most of the month, as I've mentioned before. In the last leg, I was finally able to remedy that, with the help of my sister (God, I don't mean Colinaude, bless her). It was in this way that I learned the wordcount program I'd been using all this time was not entirely accurate, but there was plenty of time to compensate once more, which I did, and by the time I compiled all of the material for a full count, on the Tuesday before the final day of the exercise, I did not have to sweat the extra couple thousand I needed, because I had already long since abandoned the thrifty mindset that had initially doomed me. What's more, I found it was not so hard writing. From the deathj of Balthazar onward, I found I had plenty to write for, and could improvise just as well when needed. Several character vignettes came about this way.

It probably didn't hurt that I walked a lot in November. It gave me plenty of time to think.

All of which is to say, as planned as this story was, it was still mostly improvization, on most accounts. I'm glad I was able to compensate. I'm glad I was able to win, again. Thanks to NaNoWriMo for the motivation.


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