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Thursday, April 4, 2013

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A to Z 2013 : DEMONS

(An A to Z 2013 Challenge Entry)


“When I speak I cross my fingers
Will you know you've been deceived?
I find a need to be the demon
A demon cannot be hurt”
- Guster


Demon lore, and the fascination surrounding it, has existed for centuries and spans across multiple — if not all — cultures; each having their own take on the subject. I’ve never studied demonology, short of some online meanderings, but the topic intrigues me greatly. Do demons really exist? Are they denizens of hell, fallen angels? Extra/interdimensional beings?


Everyone has their own opinion, every religion their own belief. Naturally, I can’t speak for everyone. So I will speak to you on different fronts about demons and the various correlations they have with me. A tale of obsession, A tale of lust, and perhaps a tale of truth and discovery...

Demons of Twilight


Demons of Twilight is the working title of my first Fantasy/Adventure novel; a work in progress. It may be confusing attempting to explain its origins, but I will try.


My main body of work in progress is an expansive Fantasy Adventure epic/saga. In my mind, it expands of the course of three trilogies, and has multiple break-offs from it. I believe part of my 12 year writer’s block spawned from the sheer overwhelming intimidation this created. I struggled and have multiple outlines and many of the events worked down, but it just seemed to be too much. I was trying to start too big.


Everyone told me this, and it annoyed me. Why was it too big? I resolved in my mind that they felt it just wasn’t feasible, or accomplishable. That annoyed me even more. It was the story in me — pulsing and throbbing — the story I wanted to tell. The story I had to tell. Have to tell.


Over time, I conceded to the thought that it was too big of a project to focus on. One of the main factors leading up to this was reading about how publishers/editors would sometimes ask writers to completely change and/or remove characters — main or minor — to fit whatever mold they feel will market best. That is still a fear instilled today.


So I had a plan: Start small, with short stories and/or a stand alone novel. Hopefully get lucky and garnish a following, and gather enough pull to where I’d have control over my writing. Enough to where I could tell X person(s) wanting to change my art to fuck off. Or, I could self-publish. I won’t get into all of that, but it should give some understanding of my thinking at the time. How I still think.


A stand alone novel won out, because — as if it weren’t obvious — brevity is not my strong suit. This is where Demons of Twilight came into conception. The novel would be completely unassociated with the main trilogies. Up to that point, any piece of work I created became associated with the saga. And I have to admit, for a good while, this standalone stood apart from it for a long time.


Then I began writing the prologue and... wait a second... what the hell is this character doing here? He belongs in the trilogies, not here. He is intruding! Get the bloody hell out of here! But, he wasn’t budging, and he had brought along friends. Soon multiple characters from my main saga were present within this standalone. Insisting they belonged. That the book took place in their world, and that its main character was connected to them.


Then the standalone became a trilogy all on its own; a standalone trilogy connected to the other three. I stopped trying to fight its connection to my planned saga, but eventually — like all the rest — it was shelved in the bookcase titled: Writer’s Block.


This triple trilogy was somehow infecting, or rather absorbing, any other pieces of work I’d try to breathe life into. Demons of Twilight fought back, though. It is the best way to describe it. It instilled within the saga an element that wasn’t present: demons.


Now demons are a rampant element not only in the three trilogies, but almost all my other pieces of work. Even modern day projects — the only writing capable of avoiding being sucked into the main trilogies. So I feel the saga characters were correct. Demons of Twilight, and all within, were connected to them. The implementation of the standalone’s demon element fleshed out various storylines existing within it.


All of it was shelved, though. Until this past November’s 2012 NaNoWriMo that is. The standalone trilogy surged forth, once again, and whispered to me its sweet nothings. I know some of the specific reasons why, but it's tied into another topic to be discussed later. So, while I haven’t touched the first book since November, it is officially in progress and will be revisited soon.


What is Love, if You Don’t Hurt Me?


(I debated posting up a disclaimer given I was going to talk about sex briefly, and I am aware there is no age restriction to participate in the A to Z challenge, but I plan to be pretty non-graphic. If a Co-Host could tell me otherwise, if stumbling across this, that would be great)


A departure from my writing association with demons. Once upon a time, I was dating a girl who was incredibly sweet, but suffered from depression. This depression was deepened by the constant barrage of her parents asking her to come home. She was from out of state, but that is a story all on its own. Let’s focus.


There were moments that were great — as there usually is — but eventually the depression got worse. The inability to get a job really sent her spiraling. But, again, there were good times even during this period. It ebbed and flowed.


One night, when making love, our sexual encounter held a nugget of surprise... at least for me. During this specific session my ex became very aggressive, taking control. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love aggressive women. It’s a turn on, but this was a bit different. She overtook me and began having her way with me; placing the palm of her hand on my face, turning my head to the side, and then proceeding to push down.


Now, hmm... I’ve seen this in porn. It usually consists of the males doing it to the women and it's a complete turnoff for me. This, however — I’m not going to lie — kind of excited me. You have to understand this was a fairly timid and shy girl. Any kind of actual sexual aggression was not the norm, and this was extreme in comparison. The pressing down hard on the side of my face, choking, and... the grunting?


So this grunting wasn’t normal. It was guttural, deep and animalistic. It literally reminded me of movies portraying demonic possession. I went along with it, I didn’t have much choice. When finished, and we were laying next to one another, I expressed my surprise with her aggressiveness, but also assuring her it was okay.


That was when she said she felt like she was possessed and that during the act she had the strong desire to hurt me — bad — possibly even kill me; that she didn’t feel completely in control.


Soooooooo... that ruined the moment for me, because she wasn’t joking and poking fun, she was serious. At that point, she went to sleep and I went about calling a co-worker and family member expressing concern for them to call and check up on me periodically. I didn’t give them exact details at first. Hell, I didn’t know if anyone would have believed me; she was a sweet, shy girl.


I then did a little bit of that online researching I spoke about above. There were some sites describing a lot of the recent events going on, and some directly citing some of the specific mannerisms she displayed. But, its the internet, ya know? All I was doing was freaking myself the fuck out. Thankfully, regardless of it being hot within the moment, no similar event took place ever again.


Eventually we broke up and she went back home. The described event had nothing to do with the break up, but rather it was just the course of things. From what I’ve learned, she is more active in church and is doing really, really good now; I’m extremely happy for her!


Saved by the Word Count


Two of three tales shared. That should suffice for now, as this entry is becoming quite long. Sure it’s a lame excuse, but the next tale goes to an even darker place. A place that is hard for me to journey to.


The story involves another kind of demon. The kind the lives within, which we struggle with — sometimes daily — until we gain the courage to stand up and face it. I feel I’ve slowly gained the courage to face this one, and I really want to finally share it. This whole blogging journal is meant to be therapeutic afterall. For me. And to share myself, but this isn’t daisies and rainbows.


So this demon will have an entry all to itself. If I can get myself to write about it. That is the plan, though.


But no promises, and definitely no pinky swears.

Have you ever had an obsession? If so, what? Ever have a creative project that was so intimidating you couldn’t work on it? How did you overcome it? Ever experience a writer’s block? How real are my fears about being told to change my writing when attempting to be published? Do you believe in demons?

20 comments:

  1. ok for a second there I thought you are writing a fanfiction about twilight...phew I am glad this is so not the case.

    I am actually supposed to do a commissioned painting and he wants a medieval fighting scene, I don't think I can do it, I will be changing my name and moving countries to avoid it.

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    1. No... no no no no no... Hell no... No... Just... no... Oh hell no... no no no... Not going to do it... no *my attempt at mimicking Tracy Morgan in Cop Out from memory* Yeah, I've the worry people will think it is associated being the word twilight is in the title lol It's been recommended being changed even because of that. It's been the title for 10+ years so I will remain stubborn :)

      That sounds like a really cool art piece. Why do you feel you can't do it? If you run I can provide contacts or shelter you myself, but not sure how Crooks would react! dun Dun DUN!

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  2. Interesting post. An obsession? Not really that I can think of. I go through spurts with things though...where I can't get enough of something, and then I'm off to something else for a while.

    Yes to the intimidating project. My first novel...still sitting there waiting to be picked back up and re-rewritten. Writer's block, also yes. Had one for over a decade and still get them for weeks to a few months at a time.

    As for your fears, I do not know because I've never been published but I would say that chances are good that you would have to make some changes. Unless you went the self publishing route.

    Demons, yes I do believe in them but maybe not in the most traditional sense.

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    1. Hello Tracy :) I just came across your blog last night, so I've much catching up to do. All the while not getting bogged down with too much that I miss a letter ha! So bear with me some. I appreciate you stopping by!

      What is the name for that? The going in spurts with things and then off to something else. Is there one? Not just ADD/ADHD but a term maybe? Or...? I was actually going to do a post about it if it lined up with a later letter.

      The Artist's Way helped me nudge free from my massive block, and then NaNoWriMo helped even more. Friends and encouragement and all. Do you know what causes yours?

      With publishing/editing I understand the need to make changes. It makes sense (and at that point I am hope I am mentally capable of accepting some of them), but in books I've read minor characters are told me be made main ones (the previous main to be removed) all because say - strong female leads are hot right now. This wouldn't sit well with me. In terms of a marketing ploy. I feel it is where it changes the entire book that I have a strong dislike/fear of.

      Thanks again for stopping in and good luck with the challenge!

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  3. Wow. There was a lot going on in this post! You are very brave to share such intimate aspects of your life. I am interested to find out more!

    As for your project, here's my take: (feel free to take it or leave it)
    This is an incredible undertaking, but maybe you could think of it as your life's work. Perhaps it takes twenty years to complete! My advice would be to write what you want without worrying about catering to anyone or anything, be it your ex girlfriends or a publishing entity. If you censor yourself or limit yourself during the creation process, it will do nothing but disrupt your muse's good work.

    The writing is the fun part, remember? We all make cuts and sacrifice people and scenes during revisions, that's a given. Just enjoy the process of getting the story down. Good luck!

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    1. Hello again Jessica :)

      Thank you. Well, I left out the hardest, so maybe no so brave. I kind of do consider it my life's work. I'd imagine it would take forever to complete. I don't mind who likes it/hates it, but I have that want to get it "just" right, which I really need to let go of. Not more so, being I am actually writing some. My muse... we won't discuss muses haha :)

      People suggest writing the scenes and parts I have, but the block would hold it back. I've yet to revisit them since. Writing should be the fun part! Agreed.

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  4. 1. "Too big to focus on" is another way of saying "start with a one inch picture frame." Big sweeping ideas are grand, and character an plot arcs are important, but when they prevent you from sitting down and focusing on the minute details, you never get to the actual writing and thus, block.
    2. Focusing on what a hypothetical publisher might want to do with this hypothetical series you haven't written is pointless. You are thinking "too big" and focussing on the whether your vision will be accurately represented in the movie series based on the book series you haven't actually written. Block.
    3. If every idea you have works itself into this series you are either thinking "too big," or you are forcing yourself to think "too big," because the task becomes daunting; or you are so attached to the idea that it's what you really want to focus your time on so you should just sit down and do it.
    4. The pattern forming forming here is that you are blocking yourself from writing it. Writer's block is not a demon who possesses us,; it is an internal manifestation of fear of subject or fear of failure or fear of success. Sometimes block just means an emptiness of thought or desire to write, perhaps. But in your case, no.
    5. Learn to edit and murder your darlings. Embrace the power of a good editor, in yourself and external, who is not trying to "compromise your art" for market value, but who aids your writing, makes it stronger, and has the balls to tell you "this character sucks, you don't need it."
    6. Start small, Mr Cryton. Put away the outlines and write sentences. Your ideas about publishers and ever expanding worlds suck, you don't need them. One word after the other.

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    1. 1. I agree, except I think focusing on minute details causes a block. I'd imagine that would be a process for rewriting/editing. I may be mistaken, though. Sadly, when some have made that statement, it by no means has meant "start with a one inch picture frame" it has meant it is impossible. Unsure how much people in your life have played a part in a block (with me it is actually very minimal), but they can fuel it. Some, even now, with their comments about me taking the time to blog have made comments.

      I'd highly suggest The Artist's Way (though it is almost like a workshop) and have yet to finish it myself. I know you had a book recommended for me to read too. Something about a bird... or... something... dealing with writing.

      2. I think you misunderstand my three trilogies. I am talking novel-form not movies. I'd never thought of these stories as movies, because in my mind they — yes — wouldn't be accurately done. I think once upon a time I envisioned them as an animated series. That was long ago.

      I do, however, view them in movie-form in my head? As in I see the action and story taking place. I even have mock up "movie trailers" for some of my stories. Even soundtracks (as I think you know by now via Spotify). This was in by no means me thinking of these stories as actually made movies, though.

      3. Not sure how to explain this. This is just what it is. Most pieces outside the 3 trilogies, became a part of it. There was no forced aspect to it, short of my describing how the saga seemed to draw everything to it. This factor is one that I like (minus the intimidating part) and is what I was referencing to with Stephen King in B. Where various separate stories are actually tied into this series in some manner. I did resolve to finally attempt to tackle it through the "backdoor" (olalala) via Demons of Twilight. Actually what I wrote so far has actually worked on fleshing out the main trilogies even more so now.

      4. I agree, I am forming the block. Writer's Block may not be a "demon" but my fears are. So I would say you were about 50/50. Correct about not having an emptiness, but the exact opposite. I fear both failure, success, and the inability to accurately present the work. I also fear bees... and clowns.

      5. You know how I feel about this lol hardest part of the process for me!

      6. On it (minus the ever expanding worlds... I can't seem to help that). I can really due without the pub/edit fears for sure :)

      We will be talking soon!

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  5. Well you already know that I had a painting creative block, not nearly 12+ years, but I would approximately 4+ years. I had all those fear thoughts about how something may not be feasible, or likeable or good enough... or... or.. you get the idea.

    But eventually, I placed an even higher stake on a set of paints. A freaking set of 12 1.2 oz paints. Last summer, I bought a set of water-soluble oils. Paints I never heard of before and quite frankly, seem impossible to exist. How can water and oil mix and possibly create the art medium I loved? Impossible! Anyways, I placed EXTREMELY high expectations on this thing, or set of things. For six months, they sat in my room, always within sight,taunting me every day. I just could not bring myself to even open the package. What if they didn't work? What if they were basically acrylics repackaged in oil tubes? (I had tried acrylics with different mediums to try to make them work, but I just did not like them.) So what if they sucked and then the last viable option (at least for a substantial amount of time) would be lost. And then I had to star over... again.

    So they sat, collecting dust. Then, in December, a very wise person told me to spend more time thinking about these paints. And if the more I thought about them, perhaps I would be inclined to open the box. And maybe if I opened the box, I might be intrigued to feel the tubes, perhaps open their lids, and maybe... just maybe try them out. I looked at her doubtful but said yes, I would think more about them. She said to not place pressure on it. To just let my muse work, if it felt inclined to.

    So I thought about them, long and hard and eventually, one Saturday afternoon near Christmas, I opened the box. I took a color out, and I open the cap... and *gasp* I grabbed a canvas and a paintbrush (because I always had both available, just in case) and applied my first stroke of paint in at least a year. And it felt amazing. The texture was just like the oil paints I grew to love in college. I spent the afternoon painting. And I was happy to report my success several weeks later. I had retreated to my parents to get my painting supplies, my easel, my brushes, my other canvases. I rearranged my bedrooom to set up a work station. I bought a few necessary items. And since that moment, I currently have three pieces in the works.

    Anyways, if we try hard enough and focus our thoughts, we have the power within to overcome any intimidation or fear. I am *SO* glad you thought hard enough to write again and I am *SO* glad I painted again. And then I am *SO* glad I met you and we can share this journey of rekindling our passions together.

    Great piece. As for the demon of lust, well, it sounds like your ex finally worked through what she had to. Sometimes we don't always understand our place or purpose in another person's life while we are experiencing it, but sometimes we get an indication or hindsight later in life. Who knows maybe now she is more exploratory in bed, or... perhaps she is more content and comfortable with her religious side. I assume that night was an eye opener for her and probably was the start of something greater.

    The power of human connection -- nothing can compete. The reason why I value relationships so much. To quote one of my favorite songs of all time, "Even the best fall down sometimes / Even the wrong words seem to rhyme / Out of the doubt that fills my mind / I somehow find /You and I collide

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    1. Sorry, we discussed this elsewhere :) Thanks for the post!

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  6. curious creatures. love to read about them. just read a great paranormal romance with a demon, the Marquis.
    no obsessions for me to speak of...

    good luck with your demons!

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    1. Thanks Tara :) I just saw the trailer for The Conjuring, which got me into reading about demonology some. Interesting stuff. Kudos for no obsessions and thanks!

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  7. Hi Jak, forgive me if you've said this somewhere in you blog but - do you plan to self-publish or go via the usual, more mainstream route to publication when the time comes?

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    1. To be honest, it all depends really. I've a feeling I may have to go self-publish, but there seems to be more... eh... cred? If going traditional route? Not sure, may just be a false assumption. I'll likely go whatever route available; traditional if possible, though self-publishing may be easier.

      How about yourself? Sorry I never got to replying to these comments.

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  8. Okay, it sounds like you just HAVE to write the books! They are bursing to get out. It's fascinating hearing your whole process of things. I hope you are able to bring it all to life.

    That episode with your girlfriend sounds terrifying. Not that actual event, but what she said afterward. It's pretty awful if you have to tell people to check on you! Thank God nothing happened.

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    1. I agree Kianwi! I have to get them out. They are certainly taking there sweet time.

      Yeah, thankfully I've never had a similar situation since.

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  9. It certainly sounds like that is the story you're supposed to write if it keeps invading everything else. And I imagine once you've completed it, it will be an excellent book with thorough world building, because those characters are real for you. I can't really give advice on how to get it done, though. I don't straight up plot, but jot down notes as they come to me then get back to writing. I find when I think about the future of it (such as whether an editor might make me change something), it's easy to get sidetracked, so I try to turn those thoughts off.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. I mainly have characters and specific plots. Most times I know the ending of each story/novel. The journey up to the end involved connecting said plot events, but when they connect is always kind of up in the air.

      I've begun attempting to avoid thinking too much about what may happen that far off and hypothetical situations which may never occur.

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  10. As they say on the internet, "all my feels." There can be a hell of a disconnect between "the thing that is safe and marketable and that I would still enjoy writing" and "the thing whose unfinished drafts will form my last stab of regret as my car hits the tree."

    I'm in a little bit of a similar situation myself. The first book of my trilogy is out on submission to publishing houses right now. I should really be starting something completely different, so I'll have a backup book to sell if that trilogy-starter doesn't get any bites. But boy, I tell you what: that's the one that moves my mountains. That's the one that costs me sleep and eats my dreams and lives in my brainspace like an unemployed roommate.

    Anyway, hang in there, buddy, and keep at it in whatever way you can: I applaud your sensibility and totally sympathize with the feeling of being creatively railroaded against your will!

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  11. Tex, sorry for the late comment :( I missed a whole slew of them. How long would you say you have to wait before shopping it out to other publishers? I thought I had read that doing so, same manuscript to multiple publishers, wasn't a good idea? It would suck sending to one at a time. Who knows how long it takes before getting an acceptance/rejection letter.

    It would be hard for me to work on a new piece if I had the first of a trilogy being sent out. I'd want to be working on the second and/or third, depending where you are at in the series.

    Thanks for stopping by and your words of encouragement!

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