Tuesday, July 19, 2011

7/19/2011 1 hour exercise: portion of WIP

 This is my progress for my 1 hour stint on 7/19. It was just shy of a full hour, as I got derailed towards the end. Disappointing, but better than nothing.

The Wrecker was crouched below her on a piece of asphalt jutting out of the ice. It was soaked through, its ragged garment clinging to its gaunt frame, blue-white with cold, like a second skin. It was trembling violently, and Amy could faintly hear it talking to itself, its voice surprisingly steady and hard despite its convulsions.
            "--and you will shut up shut up shut UP or I will kill them, yes, kill every last one of them and paint our hands in their blood, yes, unless you SHUT UP." To make its point, the Wrecker dunked its head in the freezing water, holding it there until Amy was sure it would drown, only to jerk up again like it had been dragged, gasping and vomiting up lake water. It looked down at its hands as if seeing them for the first time, and to Amy’s astonishment, its lip curled in a decidedly human gesture of disgust. Then it looked up sharply, meeting Amy’s eyes, and the eerie smile slid back across its pallid features. Amy gaped at it for a moment, and then finally shook her head. Iris would have made some comment, some remark to the effect of you are weird and more than a little creepy. But Amy wasn’t Iris and, if she was perfectly honest with herself, the Wrecker looked enough like Iris to completely unnerve Amy every time she looked at it.
            “So,” she called down instead. “The Weaver. Are we going to find her, or are you just going to bide your time on this giant ice cube?” That was not much better, you idiot, she thought wearily. Her mouth was going to get her killed.
            The Wrecker scuttled up the ice like a squirrel, toes and fingers digging into crevices Amy could not see as it propelled itself over the lip of the ice. It straightened slowly--it looked even taller out in the open, Amy mused--and looked out over the vast expanse of lake between them and the shoreline.
            "Weaver," it murmured thoughtfully, before turning to look at Amy again. It's face contorted, and a low moan escaped it. It doubled over, clutching its head, clawing at the long stringy hair that was quickly freezing into stalks from its dunk in the water. Amy backed up a few steps and crouched down to observe. The Wrecker was whimpering now, like a whipped puppy, its bony palms pressed hard against its eyes. It rocked back and forth, keening as if it were in pain.
            Amy sat back on her heels, her mind spinning. She tried to recall anything Iris had told her about her dratted story, anything that could give her a clue to this bizarre creature in front of her. The Wrecker had no form, Iris had told her on more than one occasion, and that was her biggest problem with it--she had no idea what it looked like, how it operated, what its weaknesses were. All she knew was that it was wantonly destructive, and had something to do with the disappearance of her protagonist's sister. Maralee, her memory supplied. Maralee was the protagonist.
            "Is Maralee here?" She asked tentatively. The Wrecker abruptly stopped rocking, but did not lift its head. Amy pressed on.
            "Did Maralee come here when you did? Maybe she's the Weaver you're looking for?"
            Too late, she realized the Wrecker was hissing.
            It leaped at her, all limbs and teeth, and the force of it hitting Amy was enough to knock the air out of her. They tumbled to the ice, the Wrecker clawing furiously at Amy's face and throat, mercifully protected by her coat's high collar, and Amy shoved back as hard as she could, catching one of the Wrecker's wrists and desperately trying to yank it away. It snapped its teeth at her, missing her ear by mere centimeters, and Amy rolled back over her shoulder, flipping them so that she pinned the Wrecker against the snow with her forearm pressed against its throat. Still it tried to fight back, yanking Amy's hair as hard as it could, and clawing red ribbons into her arms. Amy pressed down on the creature's windpipe.
            "Stop it!" She shouted furiously, pinning one of its flailing hands with her free one. It twisted under her like an enraged animal, its eyes flashing blue-black-blue-black, its teeth bared at her even as its lips started to turn an even uglier shade of blue.
             "Stop it, or I'll kill you! Do you understand me? I'LL KILL YOU!"
            It swung at her again with its free hand, and very clearly, Amy heard it grate back, "do it."
            What? Amy started, the pressure on the Wrecker's throat wavered, and it wrestled one long leg between them and kicked Amy straight back. She landed on her back and sat up quickly. The Wrecker was still lying on the ice, staring up at the gray sky. Slowly, it sat up, its face blank. For a moment, they simply stared at one another.
            It told me to kill it, Amy thought, bewildered. It was talking to itself, and now it wants me to kill it? She watched the Wrecker, completely still except for the occasional, violent tremor that wracked its skinny frame. If it's human, or anything remotely close to one, it should be shaking uncontrollably with cold. It should be doing something, anything but sit there.
            But it did do something, she realized slowly, watching the Wrecker watch her. It had been doing something since Amy first woke up. It was talking to itself, fighting with itself.
            "What's your name?" She asked it for what felt like the millionth time. The Wrecker gazed at her stonily, but its eyes continued to flicker black, blue, black, blue, back to black again. Then, wordlessly, it rose and, grabbing Amy by the elbow, returned to the Tower. The ground beneath Amy's feet shifted and the ice groaned, the sound almost swallowed by a swell of chattering and clicking--the little beasts were moving again. She felt rather than saw the island begin to change course, kicking up great plumes of crystalline snow and shards of ice as it rotated in the water and began to float back towards the shore. Amy glanced at the Wrecker out of the corner of her eye. Was it just her, or did something like satisfaction flicker across its blank face?
            Amy wracked her memory as she watched the frightening creature, trying to hold onto the bits and pieces of the story her sister had let slip over the years. There was a clue to this whole mess standing in front of her, embodied in the monster with Iris's face and the changing eyes. If only I knew what that clue actually was.

Matters of Motivation and other things

I have not written a word in more than a month.
Actually, that's not entirely true. I've written a couple of articles for the university paper. I've been writing in my journal with a bit more regularity, though not as much as I would like, and I wrote many, many thank-you notes. I've even written a paragraph or two for one of my WIP's.
But actually WRITE? As in, sit down for a segment of time devoted solely to furthering one of my stories? Nope. Not even a little bit.
To say I am frustrated is kind of like saying Hurricane Katrina was a nasty storm--vast, enormous understatement. I've tried a number of times to sit down and get to work, but something--sometimes incredibly stupid somethings--always gets in the way. Or I am out of energy. Or the cat is annoying. Or, most worryingly, I simply can't think of anything.
I asked my husband yesterday if he thought it was possible for someone's imagination to die from lack of use. I certainly feel that way lately--my brain doesn't seem to generate stories anymore. I don't dream anymore ,except when I have nightmares and those, to be honest, are very boring and repetitive. I can't even create original nightmares anymore! What is happening to my brain?!
He said, very simply, "no, but it's like playing soccer--the longer you let it go un-practiced, the harder it is to get back into it."
This both makes me feel better and more concerned. I've bemoaned several times with writer friends about how much EASIER it was for me to write when I was younger, and how the ideas flowed faster and more freely back then. What I seem to have forgotten til now is that when I was writing back then, I was not only writing faster and more freely, but I was writing All. The. Time. And I do mean all: at night after I had been told to go to sleep, in class when I should have been taking notes, on family vacations, in the dentist's office, literally every-bleeding-where. And that is probably the biggest difference between my writing then and my writing now. I am not writing nearly as much quantity as I did then. And it's starving my imagination.
This time last year, I had just started my job at Borders, and I was trying to galvanize my foundering imagination. I brought a notebook with me everywhere so that I could write at any time. And I made progress. Not the same speed-of-light-and-excellence progress I made when I was younger, but progress all the same. Now? The notebook is still in my bag, but that's all it is doing, is just sitting there. I need to find a way to get out of this slump, to start writing again, either on the computer or in my notebooks, anything to just get WORDS MOVING AGAIN GAH.
okay, end the complaining portion of this post. Moving on to the strategy part.
When we were on our honeymoon, Dennis suggested that I devote at least 1 hour each day to writing, absolutely no excuses. I thought this was a fabulous idea but (naturally) once we got back to the real world, with our real jobs and our real responsibilities, that ephemeral piece of an idea was immediately relegated to the bottom of the heap. It is time to bring it back up and see what can be done with it. 1 hour a day of writing--any kind of writing, be it blogging here, free-writing something on the computer or in my notebook, working on any sort of story, or hell even writing "I'm stuck I'm stuck I'm stuck" ten billion times. And to hold me to this strategy, I am going to post my hour's worth of writing on here, starting today.
Fingers crossed that this works.