Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Rules of the Universe completed!

Novel Progress:
Words: 37,000 approx.
Pages: 148
Chapters: 10

It's crazy when you think about it. I've been working on this only since January and already I have so much (over 37,000 words!). I've been very pleased that I've been able to keep and sometimes even surpass my daily writing goals. Writing has brought me so much pleasure and I only wish I would have picked it up sooner. But no time to worry about that, keep moving forward, because Ka is a wheel and this time I'm finding myself enjoying the ride rather than feeling trampled under it.

So I took one week off to work on just the "Rules of the Universe" and damn am I ever glad I did that. It's helped me answer so many questions I had about the Dream Realm and the creatures in it - and most importantly the roles that humans play both as spirits wandering it at night and visiting there physically. Lambent had a lot to say of course, but most of it came from more story ideas. I was intially afraid of writing down what could and couldn't be done. I mean, the Dream Realm is the world of impossibilities, right? But I suppose if there was one thing I took away from Animation school it's that even the most impossible things are still plausible. Watch any classic Merry Melodies and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Mr. McMorpheus finally makes his appearance in text too. This time he's much more developed. And yeah, the "Mc" came back. It was missing it. I think it needed the extra syllable and to me it makes sense that he's more non-sensical. I almost want to say Suessical, hahaha. I'm excited to get to Bastinado now - I'm dreading the Greyscales, but I'm confident this time the boys will make it through and they won't get stuck like poor Blythe. I'm still sure I will do a story with her later. They have Cameo and he's really come to life - a lot more kid-like and brave as ever.

That's all I have to say for now other than I want to post my reading list too. Thank God for the Public Library System. I've been checking them out like crazy and loving every page of them. I was surprised to find Neil Gaiman's Sandman in the library too! Yay for graphic novels. I want to see his interpretation of the Dream Hunters in that book of the saga. I still want to see "Coraline" at some point too. I saw the maquettes for her and some of the other characters at ComicCon last year and couldn't wait to see more from it. Animation Mag had a great story on it. It's so good to see Stop Motion going strong. I hope it's doing well in the cinemas.

Books of the Week:

Indignation by Phillip Roth
I found this one on the "new books" shelf at King County Library. I had read The Plot Against America back in 2005 for my English Seminar class with Dr. Fuller and remembered enjoying him. This one's about an atheist Jewish college student on the edge of being drafted into the Korean War. I loved his character portrait - Marcus was someone who reminded me a bit of myself, a perfectionist - Roth really knows how to stab you in just the right places. It had a bit of existentialism thrown in and the ending (as always) surprised me. Not nearly as happy as Plot Against was, but this ending was more satisfying. Very short, less than 220 pages, so I read it in one day.

Triss by Brian Jacques
There isn't a better traditional storyteller alive than this man. His voice is akin to sitting on Grandpa's lap and hearing a "ripping yarn" just before being put to bed for the night. (God Bless the United Kingdom! I don't know what I'd do without my dose of British humour and stories...) I think his work is best appreciated in the audio books, so you can hear his voice and his wonderfully talented cast not only act the roles, but sing the songs with music! You can almost taste the RedWall foods by the way he describes them so vividly and his sense of smell is something I want to emulate in my own writing. Triss features a glimpse of Salamandastron (the fire mountain of the Badger Lords), an evil Ferret princess, a squirrel Swordmaid (the titular character), a scaly three-headed monster and a score of other memorable characters. I loved it and if you love a good old fashioned battle of good and evil, pick this up.

The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson
Ever wonder what goes on at night in the Magic Kingdom? Five kids know because each night in lieu of dreams they are holographically projected here, chosen to do battle with the evil characters who are struggling to break the boundaries of reality and take over. Great concept and I'm looking forward to reading more from this series. A really sad reference to the now debunked, VMK, but I'm glad for having experienced it before it went offline. I even got to visit the park last year and log in just for fun while there. Ridley has written the famous "Peter and The Starcatchers" and a host of other neverland fiction, which I read. He's a great author for children and I'm looking forward to more. It's rather simple, but if I was an elementary schooler again, this would be a permanent book on my shelf.

What do children dream? by Gérard Bleandonu (English Translation)
Phew, I hadn't read real textbook science material since my last college course. It was refreshing to find a challege again. I learned a lot about Dreams and Sleeping in general and also quite a bit about basic child psychology as the author himself is a therapist. This is the only book I found on the subject and had to wait two weeks to get it from the main Seattle branch. It also had special sections on Post-Traumatic Stress Dreams and Fetal Dreams, which were insightful to what I'm writing about. In the case studies he included many drawings from his young patients which helped me understand how children attempt to form what they have dreamed into words and visual language. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants some hard core facts about dreams.

The Secret Language of Dreams by David Fontana
At first I thought this was just your average Dream Dictionary, but was surprised to discover that the first half was an indepth discussion on the history of dream study, documenation and of dreams culturally throughout man's history. Fontana mentioned a lot of famous names I wasn't familiar with yet and rehashed Freud and Jung, helping me understand better what their separate philosophies were - and even presenting some of their most famous dreams. There were a lot of case studies in here too and have been helping me as I'm forming my characters' dreams.

Bird Brains by Candace Sherk
Candace is just awesome. This is a total coffee table book just bursting with full color photographs of the Crow (Corvidae) Family in action. I learned more about the corvids in my neighborhood, including the Stellar's Jay, Common Raven, and Lambent's species, the American Crow. I've been noticing them a lot more lately and was surprised to discover even more stories about their great intelligence and their ability to mock not only other bird calls but other animals and in some cases, human speech as well. Watch out parrots, here come the crows!