Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Drudge Jobs


Watercolour illustration by Mirko Hanak.

From European Fairy Tales, compiled by Dagmar Sekorova.

Brockhampton Press, 1971.


I have written about 1600 words for the WIP, A Malignity of Ghosts, mentioned earlier.

Probably enough for a short first chapter. (It had better be, because I have a neat hooky line to end it.)

Status reports about word counts are usually a pain in the piriformis, so forgive me.

But before I go much further with the novel, certain fundamentals must be decided.

Just what is my heroine's occupation? Her job description? Her talents and/or magical abilities?

Think this particularly important in paranormals of the magic realism type - because it factors how she reacts/responds/redacts to the fantasy world around her. Else writers risk logic gaps and inconsistencies that will be the very devil to accommodate during revision.

Besides, if the main character is a psychic investigator or a vampire hunter( think LKH) or some such, it removes any need to explain how the worlds collide. A character contremps with various creatures and entities is a natural outcome of is/her occupation. Much easier for the reader to accept without awkward explanations. The average citizen would be as unaware and unaffected by the illicit and criminal in a paranormal as they are in a contemporary. Having the action evolve/devolve from the main character's occupation is an effective tool.

I could just have her a ghost-buster, employed by the department of highways, because of the proliferation of ghosts from vehicle accidents constitute a hazard to motorists and "Ghost Crossing" signs have proved ineffective...

29 comments:

Carla said...

"I could just have her a ghost-buster, employed by the department of highways, because of the proliferation of ghosts from vehicle accidents constitute a hazard to motorists and "Ghost Crossing" signs have proved ineffective..."

I like that! Do you suppose the ghosts squabble for haunting room on motorway verges? It must be pretty crowded on some stretches.

December Quinn said...

Yep, I think that's adorable! Like, she's all tough and whatever, but her job is essentially a dull beaurocratic thing with lots of paperwork and citizen complaints to deal with.

Bernita said...

Yes, there could be all sorts of spirited territorial arguments, Carla.
"Drop dead! I was here first!"
"Fade off!
And then what happens if a Phantom hits a phantom...

I'm working on it, December. I think I'll have to include that as one of her responsibilities.

Carla said...

And how a ghost drops dead.... And is there a pecking order based on the gruesomeness of one's death... Are there cliques and exclusive clubs, like the Headless Hunt in Harry Potter that won't let Nearly Headless Nick join... And do the ghosts have their ghost cars to play with... Not to mention whether hedgehogs, rats, mice and other miscellaneous two-dimensional wildlife get to have ghosts too, in which case the place would look like a safari park.

Bernita said...

Re: animal ghosts.
Carla, I think I must work in a Black Dog.I'm fond of them. There's a tale of one in my hisband's family.

Scott said...

That sounds like a lot of fun Bernita. Have fun with it. I was thinking that if you just roll with it for a while, you could always fix logic gaps in the rewriting stage. Just a thought. I wouldn't want to get too hung up with limitations. It might staunch creativity.

Bernita said...

I'm afraid her occupation is rather fundamental, Scott,integral to the world, or there won't be much to be creative about.
If certain things are not solid at the beginning, one can become so intimate with the story that one doesn't even notice them in re-write.Oops!
Even pansters have to decide a few whys before they go too far.
But, yes, this is fun.
Anf now Carla has gotten me thinking about having a Black Dog as a watch dog...

Jaye Wells said...

Sounds like a fun book, Bernita. This brainstorming stage is always fun--so many possibilities.

Bernita said...

So true, Jaye!
Thinking I'll work in the bean-si, just as an example.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

That occupation is hysterical...This could be a really funny book...some much to play with.

I'd like to see you write, and me get to read, a comedy. I think it would be kick-butt!

spyscribbler said...

LOL ... see, I know this part is the most fun, but I hate this stage. I'm terrible at making decisions. Terrible! I'll write it thirty ways and not have a decision, unless someone slaps a deadline at me, LOL.

I do see the fun in this stage, though! I love all your above-mentioned possibilities! (See?!)

Bernita said...

Thank you, Bonnie!
How about a thriller with wry commentary? Don't think pure comedy is within my talents.
I've just decided she has to have a barghest watch dog though. Named Dumbarton.

Think I fuss over names the most, Natasha. Which is silly, because they are probably the item most easily changed later.

Robyn said...

I really like the idea that the paranormal activity is a constant in the world. Kind of tired of the Bewitched we-have-to-hide-it-from-the-neighbors scenario.

raine said...

Love the planning stage too. Endless possibilities there (even though I rarely end up with what I initially planned, lol).

Bernita said...

I agree, Robyn. And that's another thing that LKH does very well.

They are all so new and shiny, Raine!
Not worn like they get after 39 edits.

Erik Ivan James said...

Great idea, Bernita, to include an animal!

Didn't you mention here some time ago that you once did investigative work involving cults? If I have recalled correctly, how might that weave in?

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Okay...but some of the ideas that you've thrown out there so far, make for great laughs!

I think comedy's in you and you don't even know it yet...LOL!

Bernita said...

Definitely I must have a spectral hound, Erik!

My former research into non-traditional and occult-related material, events, practises and beliefs may be quite useful in writing this sort of book, because I'm not inclined to label alternative spirituality or pagan ideas as "satanic."

Bernita said...

Nah, Bonnie, thank you for the encouragement but I'm a serious person, really. I just get giddy ideas at the beginning. I think a thread, a touch, is all I can manage.

anna said...

I love all these ideas! The dog is a hoot. So much fun!!! well get on with it girl; we're all waitin.

Bernita said...

And the reason the beast did not give tongue over the curious incident of the zombie in the nightime was because he was off chasing wariths in a near-by graveyard?
Yes, Anna, and she calls him "Dummy" for short.

Carla said...

Or because he hadn't yet perfected the spine-chilling spectral howl, and she'd told him that if all he could do was yippety-yap like a poodle puppy he'd better keep quiet....

Do Black Shucks bark, BTW? At least I'm guessing that your Black Dog is what we call Black Shuck, rather than Churchill's description of depression.

LadyBronco said...

I could just have her a ghost-buster, employed by the department of highways, because of the proliferation of ghosts from vehicle accidents constitute a hazard to motorists and "Ghost Crossing" signs have proved ineffective...

I really like this idea. What a fun premise you have! :0)

Bernita said...

I think he didn't give tongue because he recognized the husband, Carla, and so allowed the zombie to pass.
Yes, he's definitely of the Black Shuck/Mauthe Doog breed.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Ladybronco!
Or maybe a free lance exorcist on contract.

Gabriele C. said...

I love the title A Malignity of Ghosts.

David Stefanini said...

I love the blog that you have. I was wondering if you would link my blog to yours and in return I would do the same for your blog. If you want to, my site name is American Legends and the URL is:

www.americanlegends.blogspot.com

If you want to do this just go to my blog and in one of the comments just write your blog name and the URL and I will add it to my site.

Thanks,
David

Bernita said...

Thank you, Gabriele.
It was quite accedental.

Thank you, David - but I think you're a sports fan, not a writing fan!

cyn said...

congrats on the new project, bernita! it sounds promising and exciting. i struggle with my own magic system within the novel. i didn't know what it was until i began delving deeper, and now, during edits, i'm having to do a lot of "magic" myself. =)

can't wait to read about your new story's progress! always an inspiration.