So much to do. Just, so much. I’m struggling to keep up now. I’m only managing to write 1,000 words below the target each day before I fall asleep, willingly or not. But, I shall press on. I am determined to complete NaNo. My war paint is now on.
My writing plan has degraded a little more from, ‘write anything that comes to me’ to ‘tell me anything and I’ll put it in’. Mitch and I attended a Write-in at our friend’s house last night, which ended up being a mammoth conversation about Lord of the Rings, Tolkien and eventually a few games of poker. One friend in the house (Sam), who kept coming in and leaving again (he’s not a NaNo’er), came sat next to me and was very helpful with the ‘tell me anything’ plan. Apparently there is an antique store in my story. Luckily, Sam knows what a creepy antique store looks like.
I made another trailer not long ago. This one actually required me to use masking, colour scheming, flow and thought! I was so dissatisfied with the last one that I simply couldn’t let that be it. New tab for trailer [here]!
On Sunday I poured over a scene I’ve been looking forward to; a horror scene, mwuahahaha! I love to listen to atmospheric music while I write, so I thought browsing the original Silent Hill soundtrack would super get me in the mood. Mitch also introduced me to the uber creepy short film, ‘The Cat With Hands’ on YouTube. I got so in the mood, my new horror music on repeat, that I scared myself something stupid as I was writing the scene. It got to the point that I just wanted it to end! But I suppose that’s what happens when you put your own fears into your writing.
I learnt in class last Friday that Mandarin is easier for dyslexic people than English. How insane is that? Children naturally read from right to left, which sounds familiar when I think about it. Our symbols (a.k.a. the alphabet) are not logical but we have trained ourselves to express thoughts with very few squiggles and punctuation. I just thought I’d share that with you.
Last Friday we were introduced to ‘intertextuality’ as defined by Julia Kristeva. Intertextuality is the relationship a text has with other texts, which I found quite interesting. “It can refer to an author’s borrowing and transformation of a prior text or to a reader’s referencing of one text in reading another.” The following list is of the categories that texts tend to fit into. Perhaps you can find which category your NaNo fits into.
Pastiche – pasting together various genres in a homage to or a parody of past styles.
Irony, playfulness, black humour – as if the text were in ironic quote marks.
Metafiction – writing about writing, often used to undermine the authority of the author.
Temporal distortion – playing around with time, using analepsis (flashback), prolepsis (flashforward) and Ad Infinitum (time-loop/never ending).
Minimalism – a focus on surface description where readers must take an active role in the creation of the story.
Maximalism – disorganised, sterile, focused on signifier, empty of emotional commitment.
Magic realism – combines realistic and fantastic/surrealistic elements.
Faction – fiction based on and combined with fact, which you must be very careful of. Get your facts right!
I’ve so far written a ‘minimalism novel’, ‘magic realism novel’ and my nano this year is a ‘temporal distortion novel’. What category does yours come under and what have you written before?
It was silent. The only thing he could hear was Li-ling’s breath and a feint ringing; a slight high pitched drone that was induced by the intense silence. “You like it here?” he asked, his voice softer than normal.
“Not on my own,” she replied, pushing past. “Follow me.”
Not fond of creaking, pitch-black houses, Frederick tried to stick as close to her as possible without tripping her up. He felt wary of the unknown at the top of the staircase, and he scuffled past the open doorway on their left. He stared into the room. A smudge of light was visible through the curtains and he could depict a sofa. A soft wind made the curtains ripple and Li-ling’s cautious footsteps made him uneasy.
“Where did you get a key for this place?”
She stopped and he bumped into her. Her clothing ruffled as she reached out to push against a door Frederick had not even realised was in front of them. “I bought it from the antique store,” she said in a meek voice. “The woman behind the counter showed it to me. She told me that it was for this house. Really creeped me out, but I kept thinking about it.”
Frederick glanced behind him. The place did not feel swept, which surprised him. If Li-ling used this place often, and if she was smart, protecting this house and cleaning out its past would have been the first thing he’d done.
He knotted his hands together.
“It just seemed like an important opportunity,” Li-ling continued. “I kept thinking about it… So, I went back one day…and I bought it.”
They shuffled into a kitchen, the grime ridden windows illuminated the sink beneath it. The cupboard doors were loose and a broom stood in the corner, but aside from that, it was empty. Nothing but the black and white tiled floor. Frederick studied the shadow-swallowed corners, wishing they were someplace else. His back tingled.
“The cafe is through there,” Li-ling said. She pointed to a door on the far left. “The ground floor is almost like a circuit.”
“Li-ling…” She turned to face him, her eyes shaded in the gloom. “You haven’t swept this house, have you?”
The girl paused, standing very still. “She told me not to,” Li-ling whispered.
Frederick went cold. “What?” he breathed. He edged further into the room so the distance between them was less.
“The antique lady, she said this house had something to tell me.”
A door slammed upstairs and Li-ling grabbed his arm. He seized her shoulder without hesitation and pulled her close.
“But I don’t understand them,” she whispered. “Demons can see life, can’t they?”
Frederick twisted out of her grip and turned to face the black corridor, sliding her hand to his lower back instead. “Life, yes, but the dead are dead, Li-ling. They have no light.”
“Aren’t demons from beyond the grave?”
“Sometimes,” he sighed, “I wish someone should write a book called ‘Interview with a Demon’. We are not dead.”
Floorboards creaked above their head and slow footsteps paced in the room above them. Li-ling stood close to him. “Perhaps you should teach me the secrets we humans don’t know,” she whispered.
“We need to leave first.” Frederick stared at the front door down the other end of the hallway, but he couldn’t move. That would mean having to pass the stairs, having to pass the dark sitting room. A wet noise started in the far corner of the kitchen behind them and they scuttled away.
“Can’t you tell me what they want?”
“Not unless they speak. What were you expecting?”
The noise in the corner sounded like someone was opening and closing their mouth. Frederick hoped beyond life that it would stay in the corner.
“You said you were one of the Immortals. Don’t they have the power to speak to the dead? Can’t you fight them, seal them, or trap them? ”
Frederick shook his head, beginning to shake and he wrapped one arm around her shoulders. He was torn between staring at the corner and down the corridor. “No. We can only bend time. Our main power is knowledge. We retain information, we each have certain skills but – this is really not the time I want to talk about it.”
A flickering, juttering, static sound made his heart plummet and he stared down the corridor. He grabbed Li-ling’s arm, keeping her close to his back, and forced her against the sink. She didn’t question his decision to pin her behind him. The dark abyss of the corridor was in front of him.
“What’s wrong? What do they want?”
“I don’t know,” he hissed. Frederick’s teeth sharpened and his top lip curled. Something moved in the edge of his field of vision. He wanted desperately to escape from whatever stood in the corner, opening and closing its mouth. “Why do you trust that old woman? How do you know she’s not a demon?”
“I…” She gripped the back of his shirt. “Well, she’s always been there.”
“Are you sure?”
Li-ling gasped and wrapped one icy hand around his bicep. “Don’t say that,” she whispered. “Betty has always been there! She’s an expert on everything that keeps us safe.”
“Can’t you feel how hostile this place is?” Frederick was feeling angry. He would have expected better from the daughter of the Redgraves.
The noise in the corner ceased and the pair of them went ridged.
“Why did you want me to come here?” he whispered.
“Because I’m afraid.”
The sitting room door down the corridor slammed shut making them jerk and Frederick could not have felt any less enthused to make a bolt for the front door. “So am I,” he whispered.