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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NaNoWriMo (2016) Update #4

Perhaps this will be my last year attempting the challenge that is NaNoWriMo, but for some reason, I have a feeling I might (attempt to) undertake this feat again next year.

After all, next year might be the year I could hit at least the halfway mark, or at most the 10,000 word mark; the total word count in the five years I’ve participated (thus far) stands at 18,150 words. Conversely, this blog has existed for about three years, and the word count (thus far) stands at 110,707 words (obviously not counting this entry).

Then again, those unedited 18,150 words were written within a (roughly) 14 week period, and the unedited 110,707 words within this blog were written within 188 week period so it’s not quite fair to compare the two.

It’s akin to comparing apples to kumquats.

The NaNoWriMo writings were pure fiction, whereas the musings from this blog were mainly quasi-rambling streams of thought, with the recent entries tinged with politics (though I’ve never been actively political in these entries, tending to stick with the geeky / dorky /nerdy fandom commentary).

Some of the NaNoWriMo offerings were attempts to actually!write the stories that will eventually (inevitably?) end up somewhere in the MASC Chronicles Universe, while others were attempts at pantsing an original story, the latter usually finding its way into the former.

I’m not quite sure how that happens, but it does. Even when pantsing, the plotting reigns supreme.

The antics of the Real World and from the Real Life Brigade have (per usual) seized attention away from the true purpose of the Land of Exposition, with its land minds and other ploys at distractions, diversions and deviations (oh my!) to derail the momentum.

Anyway.

I’m sure it’s sounding like a broken record (if anyone out there remembers what records were and what an actual broken record sounds like) but procrastination does seem to go hand in hand with plotting and pondering. Structure and order (and a quasi-decent road map) are required in world building and character development and narrative arcs and all that jazz.

The Game of Genres for the MASC Chronicles has tipped toward a hybrid of Science Fiction / Fantasy mixed with the Mystery foundation; the narration is (still) in first person, though the narrator for Series One has oscillated between the main two characters. Influences and inspiration from the Real World will continue to impact recurring themes and character relationships, as well as (probably) comment on what could be in the near future.

It’s all still in a dry-ice fog of Uncertainty, as the  concrete is still damp, with falling leaves leaving minute imprints creating a mosaic pattern which will end up looking like… something completely different.

Maybe.

The Future is (still) unknown and the fictional world is still a work in progress.

Preparing for NaNoWriMo (again)

Quasi-random ideas pop into my head at any given moment and at any given place – sometimes they’re mind imploding epiphanies and other times they’re silly notions borne out of everyday situations. Sometimes it’s a plot twist, sometimes it’s a character trait, and other times it’s a potential story title. Usually the idea last a few days or so, living as a nebulous glob of stuff floating about in the Mind Palace, or roaming out and about in the Land of Exposition, carefully avoiding those pesky land minds. A recent thunderstorm revealed another batch of orange plaid land minds curiously exuding the aroma of candy corn and bacon. Luckily, most of the land minds floated away and landed into the Lake of Contemplation, creating unique formations.

But I digress.

Anyway.

As the 2016 Edition of NaNoWriMo is about to get underway, the challenge to complete the task of writing a 50,000 word novel within the 30 day window looms across the horizon. This year the plan (so far) is to write an original novel, with no ties (thus far) to any of the works in progress which have remained (so far) works in progress, albeit in various stages of progress.Details with regards to the title and (general) plot to that project will be shared next week, along with (hopefully) a bit more optimism than usual.

Nevertheless, the internal plotting and pondering of the MASC Chronicles and the possibilities within continues; it’s still in a quasi-nebulous form with the various alternatives being vetted for their plausibility, complexity and potential for fan fiction. The characters are waiting in the wings (or rather, gathered around the wide screen in the Character Development Inn) wondering what will happen next. Meanwhile, the Real Life Brigade gathers in a remote (and warm) location, pondering their ponders and plotting their plots – rumblings of change are on their horizon.

The days grow colder and shorter (the end of daylight savings is approaching, I think), and the countdown to November, and all the changes that will happen within the month, begins.

May The Force Be With Us and the Odds Ever in Our Favor.

Re-Examining Relationships

Relationships are still important.

The complexities of those relationships, regardless of how they are formed – through family, friends, co-workers, lovers, and even enemies (real or perceived) are the basis of how one behaves and how one perceives the life, universe, everything (to gently paraphrasing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). In conjunction with creating characters and their backstory, the relationships the characters have with other characters, and its impact on their perspective of their situation. It can also place a filter through which they justify their actions for the duration of the narrative.

After all, the villain is the hero of their own story.

(I have no idea who first wrote or said this, or if it’s just one of those concepts that has just existed since the Dawn of Time).

It’s a matter of perspective.

Anyway.

In plotting and pondering the epic series saga that is the MASC Chronicles and the characters within, the need to re-examine, refine and rearrange the relationships quasi-established in earlier drafts was evident. Some characters were shuffled about between the three series that (still) comprise the series saga, which created shifts in the narrative arc and the relationships within. As the characters are fully developed, using a character profile checklist detailing physical and personality traits, the relationships they have change (whether it’s for better or worse remains to be seen). Thus far, the pieces are moving at a glacial pace, as the resurgence of the (almost) infinite possibilities down which the narrative arc can travel brings forth multiple (plausible) options.

The tricky part is choosing which path is the “right” one – the One True Path, the Path to Rule Them All… (paraphrasing Lord of the Rings). Events and circumstances a character endures could have a significant impact (positive, negative or indifferent) on their lives, effecting everything after that point.

Of course, any path could be the “right” path, with the other options could be alternate / parallel universes from which billions (slight exaggeration) of fan fiction stories are born.

Clearly I spend far too much time pondering the possibilities of the sequence of events, but that’s most of the fun of creating stories and such. As I re-read the ponders that have been pondered and the plots that have been plotted, the overall framework of the series saga remains intact, though some characters have been shuffled about, and their (apparent) motives have shifted one way or the other.

The perpetual (dry ice) fog surrounding the MASC Chronicles remains and will do so for a while longer. Hopefully, when certain aspects are (proverbially) nailed down (or at least duct taped together) actual!details will emerge, though it’s subject to change as time goes by. Spending time in the Land of Exposition has been illuminating, especially accessing the Vault of Nearly Forgotten and Discarded Ideas.

Back to the Plotting and Pondering.

Details to follow (when that will happen remains to be seen).

Meta For Metaphors

I like metaphors.

It’s fun to create ones for other to decipher, and it’s equally fun to attempt to find them in other people’s works. Though whether or not metaphors are actually present is entertaining, and quite the mental exercise.

Anyway.

This is not too surprising for those who regularly (or even quasi-regularly) follow the (usually random) musings within this blog. I ramble about the goings on of the Muses, the meanderings of the plot bunnies and (fairly recently) the antics of the Real Life Brigade – all of whom (at varying degrees) reside in the Land of Exposition, and are frequent visitors to the Character Development Inn, playing the Game of Genres.

Read into what you will from all that.

I constantly (albeit not that consistently) plot and ponder what types of metaphors to formulate for my characters and the environs in which they find themselves. The potential (inevitable) direction to twist history / reality so that the world in which the aforementioned characters live is different than the one of which we know gives ample opportunity for symbolism and metaphor. It’s similar to television shows such as Twilight ZoneOuter Limits, Quantum Leap, Sliders (to name but a few, and I’m sure by naming those particular examples, I’ve dated myself) where assumptions and preconceived ideas are questioned, reversed or obliterated altogether. It makes one question the status quo and why things happened the way they did / do (justly or otherwise).

The pondering and plotting continues, along with the refining and reorganizing of narrative arcs, character relationships and exposition. The main (epic) work in progress, the quasi-cryptic and nebulous MASC Chronicles is in the process of being reassessed and plot points are being fed into the (in)famous (?) FanGirl Meter (patent pending) to purge the high melodrama and cliches.

Not an easy task, considering there’s about 20 years’ worth of plot points, character development and outlines to sift through. Deciding which to revive, which to revise and which to repel will be revealing.

I also like alliterations.

The foundation is there (somewhere buried deep amid the quagmire of distractions and digressions), and the new / old idea of paying homage to the four names which have miraculously survived (relatively unscathed) through the decades of my writing journey has become an interesting plot twist.

While I’ve written about the Power of Three (and multiples thereof) and its significance, the Rule of Four (not to be confused by the novel of the same name) has emerged as a new(ish) thing. Though I’m not too superstitious about the connotation of the numbers three and four within the Chinese culture (the enunciation of three sounding similar to “birth” and four sounding similar to “death”), it’s there in my subconscious.

Come to think of it, that might be a useful plot twist in and of itself.

… and there goes yet another plot bunny.

As those who regularly follow this blog, it’s written directly into WordPress in real time, with minimal edits along the way, so essentially it’s a weekly snapshot of a long (winded) stream of consciousness.

Updates (of a kind) from the Land of Exposition:

Not too much is going on, at least on a grand scale – plots are being plotted, Muses are musing and the Real Life Brigade is distracted by the multitude of tasks of cleaning house and reorganizing themselves in a coherent manner.

The Tales from the Land of Exposition will be written; exactly when is anyone’s guess.

Then again, this entire blog might very well be part of The Tales from the Land of Exposition.

Hidden in a metaphor.

Oh, and the four names that survived the Journey (and have guaranteed themselves a place in the MASC Chronicles – the exact place and their role within that reality) are (in no particular order) as follows:

Charles Goldman.

Lucinda Huntley.

Alec Hartledge.

Aldrich Manfield.

Remember those names.

Though for most of them, I can’t recall the exact origin behind those names…

 

Random Musings: Summer 2016 Edition

Summer: a time of high temperatures, when the air is thick with humidity, along with the unmistakable and omnipresent aroma of barbecue smoke and suntan lotion. It’s a time when (most) people go on vacation, and (usually) travel to far off locales to unwind, recharge and explore. Thus far, the weather has been fairly normal (though there have been a few instances of flash flooding), so things are (more or less) as they should be, and things within the Land of Exposition are almost as they were, before the Real Life Brigade shenanigans. While the NaNoWriMo experiment has been suspended until further notice, plotting and pondering, has continued, along with the retooling of the inner workings of the FanGirl Meter (patent pending). The Muses and plot bunnies have returned, though most prefer to stay in the perpetually air conditioned Character Development Inn, with all the material comforts of a five-star hotel (without the five star prices).

Thus far, the plan for the MASC Chronicles is to have Series One set in an alternate (historical) universe, and Series Three set in an alternate (future) universe, with Series Two (tentatively) set in the actual (historical) universe. Whether or not the alternate universes will be the same in Series One and Three remain to be seen – all I know is to NEVER cross the (time) streams.

I like to create complex exposition, with layers of subplots and such, but even I have limits.

Most of the time, at least.

Anyway.

Character exposition is still a work in progress, with slight tweaks here and there, and the customary shuffling of character arcs to other characters. The attempt to avoid cliche scenarios, in order to be “different” is challenging and fun and a fun challenge. Then there’s the endless (alternate universe) possibilities and the consequences of changing the past/future due to an action (or inaction) at a critical (quasi non-fixed) point in time.

In these tense and scary times, I remain hopeful that things can get better for all, and that change is possible – even it if takes (a lot of) time for real change to occur in the Real World.

The beauty of writing fiction is that change can be effective immediately and for the better (well, as immediate as it takes to actually!write it).

Distractions and flow charts will pop up intermittently with diversionary tactics and color coded timelines. It’s obvious that I’m much more a plotter than a pantser, so onward (and upward) I go to plot and ponder and ponder the plots.

All the while attempting to stay cool amid the heat and humidity and avoid those pesky land minds while visiting the Land of Exposition (there may be a few left camouflaged in the fields).

TTFN!

Thoughts on the Past, Present and Future

Plotting and pondering continues to chug at a glacial pace (though that glacier is moving slightly faster due to the extreme heat in the past week). Real world events prompting deep thoughts on setting Series Three of the MASC Chronicles in a possible alternate future. Granted, the original (and ongoing) conceit is that reality in which most of the MASC Chronicles exists in an alternate universe, where one historical moment doesn’t happen the way it really happened, causing a ripple effect of a different present / future.

While it’s wishful thinking to (fictionally) change history for a better present / future, there are those (pesky) Fixed Points in Time (thanks, Doctor) where certain events must always happen, regardless of efforts to stop said (usually negative) events from happening. The reason those moments in time are deemed fixed points (though who or what decides which moments are fixed and which are variable is questionable. Is there a committee? Can there be a vote…? Wait, letting the [oftentimes uninformed] populous vote on such important things may not the brightest idea…)

Anyway.

The (quasi-recent) Game of Genres has allowed for sub-genres to co-mingle with the One Genre to Rule Them All (aka Mystery), so Fantasy and Horror (with some input from Steampunk and Cyberpunk) have collaborated to propose the MASC Chronicles be set nine universes away (to the left) from our universe with a (brief) crossover to our universe before plunging back into that 9th universe away. The possibility of visiting another alternate past, present and / or future is tempting, though it comes close to the (main) premise of Sliders, (an American TV series from the 1990s), where the protagonists had the ability to visit (slide) to parallel universes where things were not as they truly are in an effort to return Home… Actually, thinking that over, the premise for Sliders is a kind of variation of Quantum Leap, where that protagonist found himself in alternate universes (I think) attempting to return Home.

So maybe I  can have an alternate universe hopping protagonist / antagonist messing about and/or attempting to fix history as they know it. Or maybe that’s how things got messed up in the first place (second place).

That could actually be a viable concept.

That almost makes sense.

Each of the series has ties to the others, with lineages, legacies and long-standing disputes among and amid the core cast of characters.

I may need to some more research within the Vault in the Land of Exposition, where a heat wave has stuck, leaving the plot bunnies to burrow underground, the Muses to depart for cooler climates and everyone else hunkering down in the perpetually air conditioned, well stocked Character Development Inn. Things are brewing and plots are being pondered and ponders and being plotted.

Imagination is a wonderful thing, regardless of how silly (or far fetched) it may seem.

That’s all for now (there may be actual!writing and / or actual!plot revelations in the near future).

Maybe.

TTFN!