Inspiration through Editing

Posted in Thoughts with a Sharp Tongue with tags , , , , on April 17, 2014 by TheDisfigured

Creation of story requires an active mind and a steady stream of thought, akin to a dam with a tiny hole at the bottom.

It is difficult to simply pull more content out of your ass. When I force myself to add words to my work, the work? It blows. I catch myself being lazy, using too many short sentences, stupid grammar errors, blah blah blah. The process is enough for me to hide from the piece I am working on, be it poem, novel, short story, name it. At present I am working on a new 99 Cent Novella featuring my two favorite characters, Thas and Gruun. At the present, I am adding more content into the story to beef it up. No, not to pad it for length- actual, real writing.

I’ve been dry.

But that’s okay! And I’ll tellya why. See, I thought writer’s block worked one way and one way only. Your ass sits at the computer/typewriter/notebook and you piss, moan, and pout when the story don’t come out. So, that’s the method I’ve been using forever. Only until recently did I discover a way to still work on your piece and fight back against writer’s block.

Years would pass in between spurts of writing or art for me. Years! I just accepted it as part of the creative process, my creative process, but this is bullshit. I don’t have to accept anything I don’t want to, and by sheer luck alone, I’ve found a loophole. When I used to write, I would complete a piece without even thinking about proofreading/editing until I was complete. Then, I would print it all out on hard copy, proofread, and then edit. Fuck THAT.

As of late instead, I found myself driven to read the pieces I have already completed. Before long, I noticed the unconscious tweaking of the content here and there. At first I spurnned myself, saying that it’s just a minor adjustment and I should wait until I am finished with the piece. That may have worked at one time, but no longer. Eventually, I just said fuck it, and started to edit and proofread all my work before I had finished it, and I stopped printing out my manuscripts (a task I do not miss).

During the editing session, I found myself generating new ideas about where the story would go, and what was needed to move it forward. I also learned where the language was weak, along with countless other weak points. This is helping me shape the story into something I can be proud of. Little did I know that for me, editing generates fresh content in my brain. Why?

My best guess is that maybe editing turns over my ideas inside my head and refreshes them. As I gain more confidence in the finished product, I can write the piece and finish it more quickly, and perhaps produce a result better than my previous method could create.

Hey, your writing process is your own. Everyone had habits and routines, but all I’m trying to say now is don’t get blinded by them. Every once and awhile, try something different, or better yet completely new. You’ll be surprised with how much thinking your brain is capable of.

Concept Art and MORE

Posted in 99 Cent Novellas with tags , , , , , , on March 27, 2014 by TheDisfigured

Explaining why I’ve been lax in my activity would be boring and egotistical, so I’m going to jump right in and get to stuff people might actually wanna hear.

I’ve been working a lot of the 99 Cent Novella project, in particular focusing on two characters. One, a barbarian half-orc, and the other, a human Warrior Shaman. Anyway, I’ve been writing a novella where these two team up to smack the shit out of a powerful Infernal (picture evil, demon-like creature). Then, on a whim, I decided to get a little artsy fartsy and sketch Gruun’s face:

Gruun.ConceptArt_99CN

No nonsense motherfucker, right? Anyway, he and Thas (the Warrior Shaman) are fighting a being calling itself Sycahiss: a creature that not only has an unsettling appearance, but is also a master of decay, death, and necromancy. It is an Infernal that can tear a hole into our world through the agony and pain of those sacrificed in its name. Like a moth to the flame, the beast is drawn to such profound pain and misery, and when the veil finally pops, Sycahiss takes form as. Well…take a look:

Sikahiss.ConceptArt_99CN

See that little face inside its chest? This Infernal is not as powerful as one might think. Once Sycahiss is ready to enter the material plane, he latches on to a human infant (provided by its cultists) that he keeps inside of himself. Sycahiss draws from the life energy of the child, aging the human without it ever getting any bigger. When the child is used up, Sycahiss must find another, or he will not be able to maintain his corporeal form. Also, his cloak is just a load of bullshit. Here’s a piece of concept art that details one this vile creature’s many captives:

SikahissThrall.ConceptArt_99CN

But that’s not all. Basically, Sycahiss is summoned upon a mass grave. Hundreds upon hundreds of people are tortured, killed, mutilated, and thrown into a large pit by his fanatic cultists, who will eventually add their own bodies to the pile. As Sycahiss emerges into the corporeal realm, he rises up out of the dead, and then rallies these unhallowed creatures to do his every command. Each one is different, but all are savage, mindless, and disease infested- all working as one via telepathic command from Sycahiss. Basically, this Infernal is a miserable and disgusting defiler, searching to spread misery and destroy lives, but unwilling to soil its own hands if unnecessary. Naturally, Thas and Gruun had to stand in its way.

Alright, I think that’s enough for now. I’d like to post some more about the races and creatures of Melias (the world where all my 99 Cent Novellas take place for now), describing what they are, and posting more concept art. I’ve been away from my craft for too long, and I aim to place my heart back where it belongs.

 

Obsession with a Character

Posted in 99 Cent Novellas with tags , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2014 by TheDisfigured

Mental health has always been an area of cloudy self-misdiagnosis and a constant drain on my own personal energy and willpower for me. Depression, anxiety, blind anger. They are all my friends, and I have them with me every day. No matter what I do, no matter where I go, they are always there.

Different emotions manifest themselves in different ways for different people. My defense mechanism is immediately to go into fantasy. Push out the non-fiction, and fill the empty space with stories of my own choosing. Lately, the feeling of stagnation has permeated into my life, but it is one that is unguided and without reason. Typically, I can hone in and solve my own problems, but I am not one who will deny help.

Gruun, one of the characters from my 99 Cent Novella project, has currently been my focus of obsession. Having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder already makes me predisposed to latching on and never letting go, so. Writing and fantasy kinda just…fell into place as I battle my brain.

I focus on Gruun because he is what I want. He is what I need. A force of unstoppable nature, an immovable forward moving object. Regardless if you know what the fuck I’m talkin’ about or not, let me be plain. This character is a literal manifestation of my own rage and body insecurity.

He is massive, muscled, and brutal- kind, compassionate and patient, he is the balance of fury and civility. Acting in the real world like a normal person can be difficult (is everyone merely acting?). Can be? No. Is difficult. For me at least.

Normal. There’s a word that I despise. It’s a label that follows the same mantra as generalized testing inflicted upon children in “schools” all over the world. Who the fuck makes the rules for normal? And why do I have to follow them? Why do you?!

Because there is no real normal. It is a label.

Obsession rocks and reels with you, waning like the tide. Sometimes, you are up to your ankles, and sometimes your buried neck deep in the sand, struggling for air as the tide collides into you over. And over. And over. And over. And over. And over again.

There is a freedom in directed brutality. I’ve never been a believer in simply spitting out anger and harming anyone or anything in my way. So as this builds up, it festers. The anger builds first, and then frustration afterward at the fact that you cannot simply purge this fury from your body. As stress and these feelings build, they must be released. And anger is best released on yourself or inanimate objects.

Writing is in act of masturbatory masochism that is rewarding and soul crushing. I turn my anger inward so it can only hurt the person responsible for it. It sits in me, a little black hole. My own personal abyss, pulling me on top of myself, collapsing. Gruun is that release.

Hatred piled on top of the frustration and rage seeps downward like grease, soaking the whole godamn mess, making it worse. Depression and self loathing is the dark fog which clouds the entire scene. And guess where you are? At the bottom, clawing through, looking for the light in the fog.

Whenever I am sad, rage is the first emotion to burn through the fog. All my emotions converge into that rage and create a multi-faceted confusion prism of human emotion that is almost impossible to direct or hold on to for a long time. To awaken such rage, writing is an outlet that often drags me out of the shithole and sits me back high on my own big ol’ pile of fuckin’ bullshit.

But with that anger driving me, slurping down all the bullshit becomes palatable when you don’t care about what you swallow.

I’ve never felt numb. I can’t- and this isn’t a statement of pride but fact: I need to feel. More specifically, I need to feel rage. The process of inflammation, reduction, and retribution associated with my  twisted mental jungle gym concept of my own consciousness. As the anger surfaces, so does the writing.

Gruun, Spek, Alistar, Thas. They are all facets of my rage personified. Every character I create is a bloody chunk of my own fuckin’ meat, raw and vulnerable. It’s my job to toughen them, and to toughen myself. What’s in a character? If you have any skill or common sense, the first thing in a character should be a piece of yourself. Rage is the first emotion I turn to.

Yours?

 

Stolen Steel Spine

Posted in Thoughts with a Sharp Tongue with tags , , , , , , on February 6, 2014 by TheDisfigured

People have a strange relationship with the world.

Little busy creatures, bustling about. In all types of weather, all types of climates, all types of places. I watch them from afar, always studying. It is not a place of superiority, rather of curiosity. Stewing, I believe, is the term I’m looking for here.

My mind is not free from idea. My projects have slowed. But sometimes the need to write outweighs the want, and vice versa. It is the struggle of both that is so godamn tortuous. The thing I miss the most was spine. A writer’s voice. Mine has dwindled into a pathetic vomit of disjointed entries like this one, or as ambiguous pieces in the abstract. And the kicker is that there is no solid way of knowing whether or not it’s my voice as a writer, or just a load of fresh, steaming bullshit.

I think most of myself is twisted in hypocrisy and guilt. In spite of the light, it gets bent. Bent around experiences, fractured by pain, amplified by joy. But always malleable. It’s this fact that drives on the terrible point, hanging like an old noose at the gallows. Dramatic.

It’s all dramatic. Each emotion, each word I push forward feels like shit flavored molasses. I don’t have the will to write now. Not forever, mind you. But the strength of mind writing takes (for me) fails me. Fuck this entry, and fuck this day.

Lost with a Compass

Posted in Thoughts with a Sharp Tongue with tags , , , , , , , on January 16, 2014 by TheDisfigured

Days roll on by and the guilt of stagnation hangs with the meat until there is a call for action.

Completion of tasks, both great and small, go checked off until the lists are calm, until the day makes sense again. Wandering-

There is a stark honesty about apathy and sloth. They imply peace, but are often abused. The mind is a weak thing that must be cradled by willpower and bone, or it will break. Each stone pillar wears away in the desert sand until all is dust, slow but sure.

Writing has been hard. Mostly these types of entries flow because there is no point to them. They have no definitive purpose, nor is their journey valid or useful. Creating ideas in the brain that won’t translate -or can’t- into creation itself. There’s no more will to write anymore and there must be a rally within to find the spark once more. It feels forced and arbitrary. Wouldn’t read the words pushed out like a smeared shit.

Mostly the violence sticks out. Violence in the stories, especially the killing and dealing with loss and guilt. Envy. Stick to what is comfortable and profitable, but can there be a time when comfort is a liability opposed to an asset? Of fuckin’ course.

Setbacks at a later age are harder to cope with as responsibilities, anxieties, worries, and doubt build up inside an adult brain. Not enough space to cope. So it’ll get fixated. This one is fixed on violence.

Why the violence? Why the need for blood? Is there a hurt inside that is invisible to the world and its victim? Why such blind anger? Why the need to spit pain in all directions?

Forests sometimes have a path. Deep ones, ones that have been around for decades; tempt beauty off trail, but there is no solace or safety where there is no vision. Following a compass so the path is always known is not foolproof. Many, many times the forest will swallow travellers. Some find the path once more and travel to the intended destination, wiser for the experience as a whole. All too often, the direction, goal, and destination is lost or discarded, and there are mass graves of intention and loathing that conceal an endless supply of ignorant bodies.

Wander the woods, but keep an eye on the path. Death, metaphorical and tangible, comes in many forms and feelings.

Mind the deadfall.

A Zenith’s Umbra

Posted in Thoughts with a Sharp Tongue with tags , , on January 9, 2014 by TheDisfigured

Bottled rage and pain are a collective pool in which all is poured and consumed. Shattered shards of sadness and lethargy mix with an indignant sense of apathy where the only viable goal is self destruction, or loathing. Concepts of self hatred change accordingly, always mesmerizing and out of reach. When a grasp is finally achieved, there is an abyss that draws all hope toward it, the choke of tears, the burn of frustration, exhaustive overwhelming waves of just…hopeless, hopeless pain. Most turn numb after a time but the burn of pain eats holes through this veneer and then the sensation of release is all too common. But there is no release. That rage and pain just can’t disappear, or be let go of. It is an anchor. Calcified with shadows from the crawling abyss of depression. Feel it sitting? Some could ask. But it isn’t a question, it’s a statement with a shit eating grin.

As the anchor rusts inside, those shards break off and get lodged in hope, fraying it. But there’s no way to let it out without violence at this point. A mild interjection, a disagreement they are drops in a bucket of blood, where the entire sea is red, and there are many drinkers- completely parched but on their hands and knees shoveling the gore into there gaping throats, dark as the abyss that spawned them. Many choose to kneel with them, some choose to observe, others ignore. There comes a point where the light at the end of the tunnel is a pinpoint harpoon of bloody light, where the only option is endless violence, endless fury, endless tears, all frustration. Throwing anger and pain out of itself until burned out and snuffed like the stove’s pilot. There can only be blood.

Violence calls out from the abyss, a voice and a guide. That endless depression, dragging and holding, clawing- choked; see what there is now but a bleached black skeleton rattling against itself in the silence of depression and darkness. The empty void- staring into an unlit room after nightfall, the maw of familiar things suddenly unknown- there are no guiding voices in the pitch black ink. There are only demons. There are no allies. Only imagined voices. Ingrained. Doubt clings to each other, creating clots that can only cause stroke.

So utterly sad. Just…so sad. It’s the best word. Despair feels cliche, sorrow, melancholy, the only thing that works is sad. Swirling down a filthy drain, clogging itself until the tub is full with psychic quicksand, which overflows and settles into the places that are forgotten inside. It is a fluid, anger a solid, they mix and do not blend. Drink it all down anyway, each urchin of unrelenting anger appearing in the outline of a clenched jaw, let it make deep slashes and allow the sadness to infect and help fester. Doubt settled there first, but it mixes nicely with anything, a whore on the spectrum. Shackled and tamed the pain gets worse as it is contained in a smaller and smaller space. There is the essence of anger, it grows and shrinks its vessel at the same time until there is no place left to go but everywhere and against itself.

Gouge a blood trench through death, each inch a reminder of mortality so final and pathetic in the last moments in such vulnerability where dark daggers plead suicide for the owner. But there is no suicide. There is no end. No. End. Except the only one that matters.

 

Corpses and Christmas

Posted in Thoughts with a Sharp Tongue with tags , on December 24, 2013 by TheDisfigured

Death comes in a strange haze that is punctuated by a sudden snap and loss of all control. Rarely is it quiet, even when done in secret, and the meat will fight to stay alive as long as there is a soul fueling the heart that still refuses to stop beating. It is also intimate. Private. To look upon a dead body, to see the last moments of life and the first moments of death frozen in the muscles; it is seen almost too causally, and tossed aside as something normal.

Death isn’t normal, it’s inevitable. There’s a difference. To watch someone decline, point A to point B, and then be there, to stare at the body, to feel the loss. The gravity. There’s nothing normal about it. Last week, my grandfather finally died, and I say finally because he had severe dementia, and ultimately, it cost him his life. A grim blessing, truly.

Work doesn’t have time for death, so I was working like usual. The call I received was simple, gentle. He was gone, and it had been a long time coming. I’ve only seen a dead body once before, to be honest. For as much as I write about death and the consequences of it, I have little face to face experience with it. But like most things in life, one is often woefully prepared for grievous situations no matter how well adjusted they claim, or have tried, to be. I am no exception.

Walking into my grandfather’s room at home, I smelled…illness. Medicine, old sweat, piss, shit, sadness, impatience, boredom. I approached his form under the sheet, but his face wasn’t covered. He was on his side to alleviate the pain in his lung from the night before, still in the same position I had left him when I said goodnight to him. I remember holding his hand as he gripped the safety rail on the side of his bed. He still gripped that rail. I sat down beside him, and looked into his face. What I saw is now burned into my skull, my very godamn bones.

His skin was yellow and thick, like looking at candlewax covered in a thin, dessicated membrane. His mouth was slightly open, as were his eyes. They hadn’t closed them. I looked into those eyes, seeing a flicker of his iris. A clot of bright green mucus clung to his nose and upper lip, they had not cleared it. As I stared at him, I couldn’t help but feel…hate. Anger. Not at him, or my family, but unguided.

Touching him was a terrible mistake. His skin was freezing, slightly damp, and rigid. I tried to hold his hand, but it was resistant to movement thanks to rigor mortis. I had this maddening thought, this terrible thought, that I needed to wash my hands right away. I felt like I had taken some of that death. He lay there for several hours as we waited for the funeral home to take away his remains. Even though he was gone long before they took him, I never felt the void until he was no longer in the house.

Void. The perfect word.

My grandfather was dead, and I thought I was prepared for it. In truth, my experiences with death have never been normal, so I don’t understand why the subject is so simply dealt with by so many others. I feel that his death was a miserable, lingering experience that a man of his worth and caliber did not deserve. But, I am no god. I have no power here. I am merely another hunk of meat trying to make sense of more death in a world so alive.

I hate the casual way death is approached in modern times. Or disrespected. It is downplayed, accepted, spun, altered, hidden, applied, dictated, ordered, natural and forced, among other things, and it is the final answer to a question that was asked at birth, the question that burns inside every one of us until the day we blink when staring death in those empty, black sockets.

Death is not a stranger to me. I am surrounded by it, as all we are. And I can feel the clawing black sometimes. It’s like a rotted bridal veil that we all look at the world through. Death and I have a strange acceptance for one another. Well, at least an acceptance that a man and an intangible force of nature can have together. Death comes. Death is always coming, and we must all be ready for it. Even when we aren’t. Even when it’s our own.

The night before I left him, I could feel his beating heart and shallow breaths. Together, the sensation in the room felt like pleas, or prayer under the husk of death because he lost his power of speech a few days before he died. I watched him, laboring under his illness, and could only think to say, “…”

Nothing.

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