Revisiting The Land of Exposition

With all the musing about the State of Things in the Real World (with brief quasi-rambling segues about Doctor Who and Game of Thrones), not (too) much time has been spent on the results of the plotting and pondering (and researching about the plotting and pondering) happening in the various sectors within the Land of Exposition.

Actually, it’s been a while since the last (official) visit into that mythical, magical place where plot bunnies plot, and Muses wander about quasi-aimlessly musing about anything and everything. A place where the weather is ideal (which can vary depending on a majority vote), supplies (of every kind) are abundant, and where tolerance and empathy is the standard. It’s a safe haven for writers to escape from the less than ideal conditions of the Real World and plot, ponder, research and (eventually) write. The overall acreage of this fantastical land has never been measured, as it exists on an ever changing dimension in time and space. There are no (real) set borders, though the invading contingent that is/was the Real Life Brigade built a Wall to keep themselves separate from the rest of the land (for reasons not entirely explained). However, the “Wall” ended up being a tall fence that crisscrosses the southern plain, the Babbling Brook of Quasi-Rambling Musings flows through its center. Even though it has no real function, it is a geometrically pleasing piece of architecture (which might have been the real reason it was constructed in the first place).

But I digress.

Anyway.

Among the landmarks within the Land of Exposition is the Character Development Inn is always bustling with muses, writers and other creative types, collaborating and partaking in gourmet cuisine. The vast library occupies nearly half the building, with a fully stocked bar (and corner coffee bar). A quasi-newly renovated theater, with plush, roomy seats, and proscenium stage that can easily be modified into a thrust stage; there’s also a state-of-the-art movie screen that descends from the stage for the occasional film marathons.

Things with the land itself have been calm, with the aforementioned Real Life Brigade ceasing their shenanigans (at least for the time being) and the Land Minds neutralized (though the omnipresent aroma of maple syrup and vanilla still linger in the air, which is not really a bad thing). The Muses and Plot Bunnies (and Plot Ninjas) have used their time to muse and plot, sifting through historical records and Other Known Facts with the hopes of mapping how the (quasi) alternate (historical) universe that is the MASC(D) Chronicles will unfold.

The FanGirl Meter (patent pending) continues to work its own brand of mystical magic, as potential alternative universes are calculated based on the causality brought about from the stealthy minds of the Muses and Plot Beings calculating their alternate universes. Pondering alternative universes from Canon that has not yet been established might be foolhardy and counterproductive, but it’s still fun to potentially plot out fan fiction of a literary work that has yet to exist.

The MASC(D) Chronicles is the primary work in progress, though stray thoughts wander to the other quasi-developed works in progress, and how they could possibly fit within the primary epic saga. Working in themes and Easter eggs (based on my other interests) will be part of the process, as the narrative is sorted out and the characters developed.

A fascinating journey upon which to embark – the Meta saga of How it Happened is quasi- happening right now (I think).

That’s where the fun begins.

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Epiphanies Grand and Quasi

During the course of the writing process (including the Blogging Era) pondering and plotting has led to epiphanies of varying degrees. Some were interesting notions that led to plot twists, while others were of such epic quality that its very existence changed the foundation of the narrative arc. A smattering of the former appeared, disappeared and reappeared (albeit with minor differences) over the years, while the presence of the latter was rare yet monumental. Each successive Grand Epiphany adds to the overall status of the various works in progress, most of which have been for the MASC Chronicles (one expanded the series from a Simple three book trilogy to an Epic three part series saga), though some of the epiphanies have led to the creation of (or at least the possibility for) another story series, the most recent being Tales from the Land of Exposition, the quasi-meta series which may or may not include snippets from this blog; though from a certain point of view, these blog entries could possibly turn into a collection of essays written in real time – a kind of live journal, though I never actually used LiveJournal itself; I don’t think I was that tech savvy back in those days…

But I digress.

Ideas come in many shapes and sizes, and the inspiration from which they arrive range from the commonplace to the unexpected. For a lot of writers, brilliant story and or character ideas are dreamt up (in and out of one’s philosophy) in quasi-inconvenient places (in the shower, on a crowded subway, or in those fleeting moments before REM sleep kicks in) where they live in the limbo of the mind before they are written (either by pen or via computer) for limited posterity, filed away to be expanded upon or referenced at a future date. Inspiration can also derive from external sources – friends, entertainment media, or real world events; insertions of such ideas can potentially change the narrative arc or character traits, opening the door to infinite possibilities (hopefully ones that have not already been done).

Plotting, pondering and planning for such circumstances, and incorporating them (wherever plausible) is a feat worth undertaking – though there does come that time where the plotting, pondering and planning gives way to actual!writing.

That time will come.

But not quite yet.

Character and world building (along with its history and consequences) takes precedence, though a multitude of scenes and conversations among the (ever expanding) cast of characters have been mind-written, from almost every perspective and with various sequences of events, all with the objective (if that’s the right word) of figuring out the narrative structure that makes the most semblance of sense (so that the plot twists are unexpected and mind imploding).

There’s work to be done, and magic to do (just for you) though no actual magic will be included…

So far.

Time will tell.

It always does.

Rebuilding Characters

With the sudden (and hopefully sustainable) resurgence of serious plotting and pondering for the MASC Chronicles, the urge to seriously review, reflect and rebuild upon the shifting quicksand that was / is / has been the foundation upon which the series saga rested. Perhaps it’s because of the changing seasons (though technically speaking, it’s still summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and the weather remains hot and humid) the plot bunnies and Muses have recovered their wits (and gained interesting tan lines) to focus their attentions back to character building and plot… plotting.  Though things are not quite back to normal after the Game of Genres and the usual shenanigans from the Real Life Brigade, as the leaves begin to fall and their color turn to amber, the Land of Exposition is slowly (and surely) returning to its quasi-original state, and resumed its primary objective:

To serve as a retreat from which stories are born and where characters are nurtured to become well rounded individuals (with some archetypal aspects so readers will be able to empathize and relate to them and the situations in which they find themselves).

The momentum began during the summer months and continued, despite the surprisingly brief (though probably unfinished) skirmish that was the Game of Genres and the perpetual land minds planted by the Real Life Brigade, which caused minor chaos for the FanGirl Meter (patent pending). The aforementioned distractions gave all involved and affected (namely the plot bunnies and Muses) a chance to regroup and reassess their very existence and purpose.

So here we are, back (almost) to the beginning…

Or maybe it’s somewhere in the middle…

I know it’s not quite the end (yet)…

Anyway.

Four names were revealed recently from the MASC Chronicles (the details of which will remain in that hazy, dry-ice fog for now), and the (re)building of those characters and those with whom they interact is the new / old launch pad to restart / resume the art (and craft) of storytelling. As discussed (at varying lengths) throughout this blog’s journey over the years, the role of themes, archetypes and Easter Egg tributes play a critical role in my plotting, pondering and writing process. Though really, planning out the plots and charting out (sometimes literally) the path down which the narrative arc and the characters travel takes up the bulk of time allotted to the Journey.

While this might come across as excessive procrastination (and admittedly that’s true some of the time), the internal thought process never stops; while many of the ponders and plots that have been plotted and pondered never quite reach their final destination (i.e. outside the realm of the mind), their potential remains potent. The eternal quest for an idea to live on paper, online and/or on screen is a promising prospect to ponder.

(Alliteration returns again!)

There are probably billions of blog posts, articles, and such about how characters are created, how they grow (or not) and why they are the way they are. For some writers, the characters are (seemingly) autonomous, sentient entities who “dictate” to their creators what they’re all about – there are plenty of memes out there about how writer’s block happens because the story’s characters aren’t talking to them (the writer). While most take heed in this, I don’t think there’s any stock to this; characters are created from the writer’s mind, and are at the mercy (for lack of a better word) of their creator, kinda like the protagonist in the movie Stranger Than Fiction, a movie I thoroughly enjoyed.

Nevertheless, the characters I’ve created (thus far) are statistics of physical attributes and paragraphs of general exposition; many have names with impressive lineage, some may or may not be aliases, and others are just archetypes upon which a character is fashioned.

Their fate is not quite certain.

Their place in the MASC Chronicles is unknown.

Their potential is infinite.

Let the (re)building commence.

The Origin of Names

Last week’s entry concluded with the first (almost set in quasi-damp concrete) revelation from the MASC Chronicles, the oft-referred yet rarely-elaborated upon epic series saga around which most the pondering and plotting has revolved. The reasons for the lack of detail about the series saga is the inherent fluidity and fluctuation of the narrative structure, and the sudden Game of Genres, which stemmed from the overzealous nature of the Plot Bunnies (no doubt influenced by the sneaky land minds hidden in the Land of Exposition).

[For those new to this blog, or who didn’t read or don’t recall the goings on in the Land of Exposition, the quasi-Meta drama destined to be a stand alone series of its own, you might want to skim through the entries earlier this year, most notably, Updates from the Land of Exposition and its companion pieces, most of which were streams of utter silliness borne out of an overindulgence of caffeine in its various forms. Whether or not it makes any sense is questionable, and hopefully they’re mildly entertaining – I had fun creating them].

Anyway.

The previous entry left off with my (quasi) inability to remember from where the four names derived, akin to where some of the initial ideas for my stories (and its plotted out and proposed prequels, sequels, and side stories). Though I cited in a very early entry of the inspirations behind those ideas, the source almost always changes, as the things I’m into (books, musicals, TV shows, etc.) enter (and re-enter) my brain space, causing the Muses and plot bunnies to analyze, process and incorporate (sometimes) into the nebulous fabric of the narrative structure and character arc.

Oftentimes the names (of people and places) are thematic and inside references (Easter Eggs, if you will) revolving the various things of which I am a fan. The degrees of fandom range from mild interest to rabid obsession, with occasional segues into cathartic criticism. Sometimes the names are simply made up and “sound” cool and /or interesting; then there are times names are “donated” by friends, meaning that I ask friends for suggestions for names – male or female – and they offer some up to be used at some point in the saga. I keep a list (on a post-it note) of those names and strive to find a place for them; the characteristics assigned to those names are random and would not have any relation to the person from which the name derived.

Then there are times I shamelessly “borrow” names from existing works of literature (or other media) and mix and match them (so I don’t get into any legal trouble), or assign names using real people’s initials (again, there’s some significance behind the use of the initials or certain names, but that’s for me to know and you to figure out (though for those who know me in real life can pretty much figure out the rationale behind it).

Brief Update from the Land of Exposition:

The ninja plot bunny that is the Rule of Four vs. the Power of Three continues to develop, finding a warm spot in a cushioned nook within the Character Development Inn. The other plot bunnies are skeptical about this new arrival, though the Muses are appropriately amused by the audacity and alacrity of its stealthy invasion into one of the coveted spots within the Inn.

As summer winds down, and the scent of change (and all things pumpkin reclaim their relevance and popularity among the populous) is in the air. Gone (hopefully) are the heat and humidity, replaced by cooler breezes (and the inevitable impact of tropical storms and such).

Actual!writing might happen, along with the usual plotting and pondering.

TTFN!

 

Wait for it…

Plotting and pondering (and the meticulous research and flow charts that inevitably go with it) is a time consuming process that can go on and on and on and on, and frankly has gone on and on, my friends.. Some people started…

Wait.

*Squishes the ear worm*

Ahem.

Anyway.

As I was saying/typing, crafting a story, or in my case, a sprawling, quasi-Game of Thrones like epic saga (albeit light on the sex and violence), is a monumental task. Keeping track of the narrative arcs, character interactions and the possibilities of crossovers is a story in and of itself (and will most likely happen for the MASC Chronicles and the other works in progress.) I may be repeating myself (and odds are, I am) but there does seem to be dips in forward momentum in the summer months, now that the whole Camp NaNoWriMo thing has been abandoned (again, no surprise, writing with specific time constraints outside of writing term papers is a lost art for me).

While not much has happened, a lot (well, some) things have happened, writing-wise; albeit not actual!writing, but some actual!plotting and actual!pondering. Patience is a virtue, so they say, and as the wait for popular TV series (Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Sherlock to name but a few) to continue, the fan theories (and fan fiction) begins. While the main plot line for my epic saga(s) hasn’t been set in stone yet, the urge to speculate on AU (alternate universe) is strong.

As summer returns to the Land of Exposition, and the more troublesome members of the Real Life Brigade have taken a holiday from creating shenanigans within the Land of Exposition to cause shenanigans elsewhere, the general populace (and visitors) have returned to enjoy the spectacular vistas, excellent cuisine, and the sometimes odd conversations and camaraderie from like-minded folks.

Pokemon Go does not exist in the Land of Exposition – there are no Pokemon (rare or otherwise) to be found amid the lush greenery and babbling brooks. There are scores of Muses, plot bunnies (and the occasional plot ninjas) out and about – please do not attempt to “catch” them – they’ll poke your profusely or bop you over on the head.

And that’s not a pretty sight.

But I digress.

Restructuring the quasi-formed structure that is the MASC Chronicles, and adding a hint of fantasy-themes and that extra thick layer of alternate history is underway. While history as we know it will take a left turn at one critical point, there are some events that are fixed points in time (or rather, inevitable events that would occur in any and all timelines and universes). They might happen sooner (or earlier) in the timeline, but they will happen, though maybe not in the manner in which they actually!happened.

Yes, everything is still very vague and will most likely remain as such, until most (or all) of the pieces are quasi-set in stone.

Not quite sure if there are any followers who have kept track of the comings and goings of the plotting and pondering, but it should be worth the wait.

I just hope the TV/film adaptation will be done properly.

Plotting and Pondering (revisited)

More plotting and pondering about the plotting and pondering about the plots and plotting the ponders. As the Game of Genres winds down (as the 6th season of Game of Thrones nears the end) the path of coordinating the complicated compromise continues. The dust has settled within the Land of Exposition, though the Real Life Brigade blithely deny any involvement in the latest round of shenanigans, preferring to go about their business as usual. The Muses and Plot Bunnies are in deep discussions about next steps and sorting through the Archives.

The meta quality of the blog entries thus far blur when the story about writing the story becomes a story in and of itself, one (for the most part) created spontaneously and with little editing before its thrust out into the (cyber) world… Does anyone really use the word “cyber” anymore when writing about things online? I have no idea.

Anyway.

The (quasi-solid) decision to blend the different genres to tell the Epic Saga that is the MASC Chronicles has brought forth a melding of (somewhat) old ideas with (relatively) new ideas, including some (recent) happenings taken from the Real World. The foundation remains (mostly) within the Mystery camp, straddling between the borderline between Cozy and Hard Boiled, with tinges of fantasy, a smidgen of science fiction and a foothold into Steampunk; a (tiny) hint of romance might creep in (the “fade to black” route, with subtext and innuendo – I’ll leave it up to the fan fiction writers to pen the NC-17 versions), along with some (plausible) melodrama and a cliffhanger or several.

Clearly, Game of Thrones has been an influence in this not-so-unexpected (plot) twist in structuring the narrative, though the MASC Chronicles will (probably) not be as violent or heart-wrenching, though that can change, depending on the needs of the narrative, and the character’s journeys to self-discovery and to their destiny.

Slight digression (spoiler alert): Got around to watching “The Battle of the Bastards” and it did NOT disappoint. House Stark has reclaimed Winterfell (though RIP Rickon – I suppose his death was inevitable, but he should have zigzagged, instead of running straight across an open field, with archers behind him ready to shoot him down) and House Bolton is no more. Though, despicable as he was, Ramsay Snow Bolton was a master of the mind games, and used it to his advantage; he deserved to be killed in that manner – poetic justice, for once in the Game of Thrones universe. As for his (paraphrased) comment to Sansa that “he’s a part of her”, I think it’s figurative and not literal (or at least I hope it’s not literal). Sansa has changed a LOT since the beginning of the series, and it’ll be interesting to see if it’s truly a change for the better, or a pawn in the machinations of the original master manipulator Petyr Baelish / Littlefinger, who of course, was the catalyst for (almost) everything that has happened in Westeros thus far. I’m looking forward to “The Winds of Winter” (the episode, and eventually the next novel, whenever it’s published) – since season 6 has been the Return/Revenge of House Stark, I’m really hoping for Arya make it back to Westeros to cross off more names on her list. If Lady Stoneheart doesn’t appear (I’m still holding out hope she will) I’d love to see Arya, as a former Faceless Man-in-training, use her newly acquired skills to infiltrate House Frey as a version of Lady Stoneheart (a la the Ghost of Hamlet’s father, which would be fittingly Shakespearean). King’s Landing will most likely burn – Cersei is mad (in every sense of the word) enough to use all that wildfire to be rid of the High Sparrow (who is, quite the Engineer). Also, I really, really hope we find out where Gendry ended up (though given the fate of the characters who returned to the series after a long absence, maybe it’s better if he’s still rowing in the open seas…)

End of digression (for now, at least).

The urge to write a variation of Game of Thrones (or rather the A Song of Ice and Fire series) is strong, as it’s an archetype used in many epic sagas – the hero’s journey to battle the forces of Evil, overcoming impossible odds (never tell me the odds!) and restore Order to the Universe. It’s been used countless times in every media, with varying degrees of success. Nevertheless, I’m hoping the (slight) twist in perspective in the MASC Chronicles will render the archetype a new and (hopefully) exciting Saga.

I also intend to actually!write several volumes before going through the rigors of publishing, so the readers will not have to wait (too) long for the next installment.

In closing: a milestone crossed with the writing of this entry: the word count for the weekly ramblings and musings has crossed the 100K mark. So, had this blog been an actual narrative story (in a way it could be interpreted as such), it would have been two or three full length novels (or a host of short stories/novellas).

And it took a little over three years to reach this point.

Here’s to the next 100K (maybe I’ll get around to actually!writing it and writing about it here).

TTFN!

 

 

(Almost) Three Years Later…

So nearly three years have passed since I started this blog, chronicling the journey (or lack thereof) of writing the stories I plotted out many, many moons ago; since then many things have changed.

Yes they have, though it might not seem so, given the lack of actual!writing or actual!imparting of actual!details about the actual!narrative…

(OK, I might have been a bit overzealous with the exclamation points, but they’re there to their point…)

Anyway.

As the anniversary of this journey is (quasi) fast approaching, another round of reminiscences, reflections and regrets (?) is forthcoming. (Alliteration seems to be the Name of the Game in recent weeks.) New projects had been created, plotted and pondered, and inevitably never finished (a recurring theme), while older projects have been arranged, rearranged, discarded and revived along the way. A brief foray into the world of NaNoWriMo (which I misspelled throughout my foray into that mythical land), both the camp version in April/July and the regular version in November resulted in some (but not that much) actual!writing, and the (Captain Obvious) realization that my writing process does not work on a set schedule (at least outside these weekly updates/musings/whatnot).

The main WIP is still out and about, though more about than out, as I tend to keep an aura of mystery about it, lest I need to rewrite/revise any details after the fact. Other quasi-stand alone projects have come forth from the main epic saga (the elusive MASC Chronicles), as well as the creation of the Land of Exposition and the Follies that have happened within, mainly from the efforts of the Real Life Brigade.

In writing those entries (the updates, the mini-tour, etc.), it almost seems as if I’m focusing on the “wrong” genre – that essay writing and absurd streams of thought are the genre (or rather format) from which I should be writing. Most of what is written here is spontaneous, quasi-rambling and (for the most part) unedited from the time the words are typed into WordPress to the time the “Publish” button is pressed and the entry is shared on Facebook.

(I probably should have created a Twitter presence at the start, but I don’t have the time to monitor it, and maintain using it as I should – maybe someday when actual!writing is actually!written, I might start one). Then again, considering all the trolling, passive aggressive commenting and other tedious (and often juvenile) nonsense that goes on there, I might not bother to do so until I really have to.

As a confirmed introvert (I took several online quizzes confirming this status), it’s not too surprising that not that much detail is revealed (or at least I don’t think so), which also explains the lack of omnipresent presence on Social Media. As the plots sequence of events falls into place, the subplots and tangents are squared away, and a sense of normalcy returns to the Land of Exposition, trace details on what the heck I’m actually!planning to actually!write will be revealed.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll reveal what “MASC” stands for.

Maybe.

Quasi-updates for the State of the Land of Exposition:

An air of uncertainty, instability and general confusion lingers in the (still) bacon-infused atmosphere.

*cue dramatic music*

No one knows what will happen next.

Maybe.