Stress Kills and “Death of a Darklord”

stress-can-kill-youMy stress level is high these days, but it’s nothing compared to my husband’s level. It’s severe. So severe that it’s probably burning a hole in his stomach. For the last several weeks, his stomach has been difficult. He threw up this morning too. This is important because he never throws up. EVER. I can throw up at the drop of a pin but not him. His willpower rivals that of Superman’s bulletproof skin.

a054b2acd96452c9d212d00c636681a5I guess I just figured out why my husband is the way he is. That chart really said it all.

Of course, bad food and snaky roads will also cause you to have an upset stomach. Did you know adults can get car sick too? It’s not just kids. Yep. Even sitting in the front seat it can happen. That’s when I move to the driver’s seat. (If you didn’t get that, I’m the one who gets car sick. Always have and, it seems, always will.)

No writing is getting done right now. When I’m not packing and planning for the upcoming move, I’m playing games on my iPad or reading. I pack and play a lot. My books have all been packed as of yesterday.

OMG! My books are PACKED??? I have nothing to read???? Nope, my library rocks. I have a couple books on hold right now. Luckily I just finished reading a book so I’m still riding off that high. Unfortunately, it was so good I whooshed through it like it was nothing.

title_Death_of_a_DarklordDeath of a Darklord by Laurell K. Hamilton. She’s an AWESOME writer! Her books totally rock. The book is like horror D&D. Between playing Baldur’s Gate and reading about mages/clerics/fighters/zombies, I was in D&D HEAVEN! It’s a horror book set in the mythical, evil land of Kartakass. Magic is considered evil. That’s unfortunate as one of the main characters, Elaine, has just found out she has magic and if she doesn’t train as a mage, her magic will kill her and perhaps those around her.

Awesome book. Totally awesome. Perfect for horror and fantasy lovers.

Here’s a little something funny for all those suffering from stress:

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Enjoy your day! Remember that stress may kill people, but laughter kills stress so laugh as often as you can!

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My New Working Title

I came across some doosies whilst searching for a working title for my Norse mythology manuscript. There are lots of frustrating and annoying things about writing but I’d have to say that the working title is one of the most difficultly pleasant things about it.

On the one hand you have the enjoyable task of creating an interesting title while on the other you have a pull-your-hair-out difficult task of sifting through garbage titles your pathetic mind has created.

Just to be clear, I’m not calling anyone else’s mind pathetic. Just mine.

Until I pick out a title for my manuscript (whatever length it may be), I exist within a horrible cycle.

Situation: Working on a nameless project bugs me (sometimes almost to distraction)

Evil Cycle:

  • Can’t think of a title till I know more/have written more of the story
  • Working on title-less projects bugs me so much that I sometimes get distracted

You can see how I might have a problem.

To be clear: title-less does not mean nameless. I can’t very well work on a project without a name. How would I ever refer to it even to myself? Night’s Treasure was Greek Gods or Greek mythology. The sequel was NT2. My new one is Norse mythology. But these aren’t titles.

I read somewhere (I forget where but it was probably Writer’s Digest) that a good way to find a title for your manuscript is to consider the main characters and their characters, any underlying feeling/situation/theme/etc in the story. Then write down at least 100 ideas that come to mind no matter how rotten they are. Put your list away and forget the issue. A couple days later, take your list back out and choose about 10 of your favorites that you think really represent the story. Put them away again and come back in a couple more days before choosing your favorite from those.

The details of that could be different (probably are in fact), but that’s how I remember it and it worked for me.

Most of my ideas are laughable, some are painful to write and even more painful to read again later. I wanted to try something different with my Norse title. My Greek mythology projects each consisted of two words, one of which was possessive – Night’s Treasure, Shadow’s Strength. I didn’t want to fall into a pattern.

I failed. Pretty much everything I thought of was ridiculous. Exasperated, I considered using the heroine’s name as the title: Ildri. Like the Lunar Chronicles: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter. Or the classic Rebecca.

I was talking to my dad and mom about it, bouncing some of the whoppers off them, and they actually helped me decide. None of the ideas worked because they didn’t match the character so far. They didn’t know the rest of the story like I did (not written yet) so they didn’t know how she would grow to encompass those ideas.

I was this close to making the title Ildri’s name when I looked back through the list one last time with my parents’ thoughts in my head. The idea was already there on the paper but I had skimmed over it before because it seemed too blasé. I wanted it to be all about fire and ice etc but those all sounded too GRR Martin and/or too melodramatic.

Ildri’s Worth

It pretty much says what needs to be said about the underlying theme. And like with the golden apple for NT, I have a symbol for it: the Web of Wyrd.

web of wyrd

It symbolizes the past, present, and future being intertwined together. I’m not going to get into it right now, but it’s a good symbol for this Norse project. It’s not super pretty or cool but it represents my thoughts on the Norse myths in this case perfectly. I’d use a newer version of the web of wyrd but it needs to be traditional, not modern.

Oh yeah. On a side note, I am now adding pictures for this project on Pinterest. Here’s a taste:

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Welcome to Jotunheim! Or the Arctic Sea. Whichever.

“The Woman in Black” by Susan Hill

I recently watched the 2nd Woman in Black movie, Angel of Death, and I was disappointed. What really bugged me and severely lessened the scare factor were the multitude of continuity problems. Then I found out that the first movie had been based off of a book by Susan Hill. I liked the first movie so I was eager to read the book.

There’s a 2nd book as well, The Woman in Black Angel of Death, but it seems to have been based on the screenplay of that 2nd movie which, while I’ve always enjoyed the idea of and have always wanted to try my hand at, I’ve usually found to be unsatisfactory. In my experience, it leads to a second-rate book no matter how good the author. Granted, I haven’t read many books that have come from movies, but those few that I have tried have failed.

One of those books taught me a valuable lesson actually. Just because you have a friend who has an MA in Creative Writing, that doesn’t make that person an awesome writer and you should not automatically give them the job of turning your movie into a book. Two words: Epic Fail.

Back to the book at hand though.

Woman in Black

The Woman in Black is a well-known horror movie starring Daniel Radcliffe. It was originally a book written by Susan Hill in the early 1980s. British people loved it so much that it was turned into a stage production and ran for 20+ years. I’m not sure if it’s still running or not. It might be.

A lot has been changed from book to movie – the guy doesn’t die for one. You may think that’s a spoiler but, trust me, it’s not. The book is written in the 1st person narrative from the guy. He’s recalling his past and writing it down in the hopes that he can move on once and for all. His wife and child still die, just not in the way we’re told in the movie. It’s much sadder really because you know he lives through their deaths and has to deal with that loss for some years.

The book ends on a sad note, but when you think that the guy is remembering these events years later and has a new life with a new family, then his life didn’t have a sad ending.

I love ghost stories. It’s my absolute favorite thing to read and think about, even more than romance! Like most people, I enjoyed this book. Or I should say I enjoyed this story. Because the grammar of the book sucked. More than a few times during the course of the book, I’d stop and reread a passage a few times trying to make sense of it for various reasons. Hill changes tenses multiple times in the beginning of the story, at times moving from past to future in the course of one sentence. More than once I was confused as to when something happened. Are we talking about the distant past, the recent past, or his present which was referred to as his future? Ugh! Also there were a few too many sentences that were run-ons or were convoluted and obscured messes.

Maybe it’s a British way of saying things that my American mind isn’t familiar with. I’m leaning toward bad grammar.

grammar

Grammar aside, the story was good. There was very little action and it was a bit dull in some parts but I think that’s because I like things to happen. The fear in the book is more of the psychological kind in my opinion. No ghosts popping out to scare you. No turning on a flashlight only to be confronted by a dead face lunging at you where before there was empty space. It’s enough for me to know and understand why this man was frightened.

When I’m home alone at night and I hear something that I shouldn’t hear, I freak. He freaks out a bit much though. Poor guy’s kind of a wuss. But, in his defense, he is in a freaky-deaky house and the townsfolk are kinda not helping by making it all seem super mysterious and spooky. Also, the atmosphere is AMAZING! Talk about the perfect atmosphere to give someone a heart attack! So, yeah, I can understand why he’d be a scaredy cat.

Actually, if I heard people dying but couldn’t see them because of the dense sea-mist I’d probably freak out more than just a little. Considering it’s a ghostly event, I may even soil myself.

wee wee cat

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill:

  • Good ghost story
  • Bad grammar in places
  • Not a lot of action

A good yarn to spin around a fire at night.

Reading While Sick

I’ve been out sick this week. The feeling of death trumped the importance of getting online considering I would’ve had to leave home to get online. Also, there’s a week-long festival going on so there are TONS of people around the library (best place for me to get the internet) so parking’s hard to get and I’m not waiting for an hour in the cold before the library opens in the morning just so I can use the internet for blogging.

Like I said, feeling like death trumped blogging importance.

My coffee is tasting like crap lately too. I’ve just noticed this. Yuck. Maybe now’s the time to wean myself off of it?

coffee-addictOr I could add more sugar. Or almond milk. That actually sounds pretty good right now. Add fake milk.

Anyway, I’ve been too ucky to do much of anything except take care of my son and read. I don’t even want to eat. So weird. My son seems to be going through the same thing. He told me the other morning that he was too tired to finish eating breakfast. I totally agreed with him and packaged up both our breakfasts to finish later.

I’ve been reading The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. I can see why it’d be considered awesome and I do like it, but the writing can be confusing sometimes. She changes tense without warning, sometimes in the middle of sentences and there are run-ons everywhere. I do like the book but the grammar would’ve been shredded by a paper eating monster if someone wrote it today. I’ll write up a post on it later when I’ve finished the book.

Woman in BlackWhat do you do when you’re sick?