Category Archives: Characters

A Grimaulkin Return?

I have the itch to write. I put aside the NaNoWriMo project after its epic fail last month. I want to write something, but I have no idea what.

So I sat down with my writing journal, and what came to me was a scene I had done years and years ago on another blog. I had Grim create a spell call the Cornucopia Spell that he put on a fridge. Anything you wanted would appear in the fridge. Cooked or uncooked, but just the way you wanted it.

Well, one of the characters in the hostel that the fridge was located in liked to “stump the fridge”. He created bacon ice cream. A long and very funny role-playing session happened (but not as memorable as Penis Coat in the D). I could do a short story with that character and the Cornucopia scene. It could be part of the Storyteller’s Tarot as the ten of cups (wish-fulfilment).

As I kept writing in my journal, I realized that there were a few other characters I wanted to bring out. Jules, the naive wanna-be hero; Eule, the prankster; Masonry, the anti-hero; and more from way back in City of Heroes and Champions Online. I have to go back to all the stories I’ve written (skipping Bomber because he’s quite dead) to get what I was trying to do with them. Do I want to bring them all out, along with Grim, who owns this hostel for “wayward boys” because he’s forced to do years of community service for a crime he committed?

The thing is, I don’t want to mine old stuff. But it seems to be the fastest way to get at anything.

I’ll play with the idea. Let it stew and pull out old characters, read/write them up.

Maybe another Grimaulkin story might find its way out.

Pantser, Plotter, Plantser

I’m not a pantser anymore. I have a poster up on my corkboard that has “My Contract With My Reader”. The first thing is: “I will not waste your time.” Ergo, “I will not waste my time.”

As a pantser, that’s what I did. I would write myself into boxes, toss half of it away, and start over. Frustrating as all hell. So I tried plotting, and you know how that goes (read some past posts).

I plot with a lot of wiggle room. I have a point where I start, and usually a point where I finish, and how I get there is…open. Most of the time. There are a few times that I there are certain things that need to happen, and I make room for that.

However, with this newest WIP, I’m creating a “bible” that has all the background information. The story is told in the main character’s POV, and she hasn’t got a clue really what’s going on. In an attempt not to infodump (which is what my first draft was) I’m trying to spread the information out a little bit at a time. But I have to put the background somewhere.

I have a 3 subject notebook. The first subject is characters. The second subject is scenes behind the scenes, that the main character doesn’t know about but that I have to clarify for the other characters to move on. The third subject is for the live plots in the story.

I’m still working on the character page. Right now I have:
Relationship to MC:
Personality and Skills (Thank you GURPS and Vampire: The Masquerade)
Physical Description (Which is the name of an actor/actress from IMDB)
What chapters they are in and what they do.

So yes, Jason Momoa and a “Raiders” Harrison Ford are in this book. I’ll let you figure out who they are.

I haven’t written down any background scenes and I’m still organizing the plots.

Oh, and what is the WIP about, you ask?

Imagine that the northern part of Maine, north of Route 95, are all feudal societies. Some live with technology and no magic; the rest live with magic and little technology. What if a person is able to use magic in the technological world, and technology in the magic world? That’s the Taurin. Among other things.

I’ll give you a few more snippets of the story another time. My editing is going slow now because I’m doing podcasts for Small Publishing in a Big Universe and my own Dark Mystic Quill. SPBU is a showcase for my publisher’s wares. DMQ is the same thing it’s always been: Writing, Witchcraft and Woe. Maybe not so much woe anymore.

So I am off to get my hand looked at. Carpal Tunnel, here we are!

Writing like you’re gonna die

My days, empty of work now, have been filled with what am I gonna do when I die. Skip the following block if you don’t want to hear anything about my medical issues.

{begin) Last June, I was told that to get out of dialysis, I need to weigh 100 kilograms. I’ll let you go calculate it, but it sounds better in kilograms. I weigh more than that. It was suggested that I get gastric bypass surgery. Before that, I needed to go on a “strict” liquid diet. Um, I’m on dialysis? Liquid diet is bad? So they allowed me one meal a day, and protein shakes for two other meals. Fast forward to today, where I’ve definitely lost some weight, though it took me a year to do so. I’m not at 100Kg, but I’m within sight of it. Because of that, I’m seriously thinking of not doing the gastric surgery and just trying to lose the weight by eating less and less, and drinking these shakes, which really aren’t that bad if you shake them up really good and they get frothy. I’m giving myself another two years to get down to 100 kg. Problem is, will dialysis last that long? (end)

I’ve been thinking of my own demise, what will happen after that, what will happen with all the stories and characters that are in my head. Gone. They will be gone. So I’m writing and creating characters like the hounds of Hell are on my tail, because I believe that they are. I’ve kind of stopped initiating Role Play in City of Heroes/Villains, but I have characters with eensy-weensy backstories. (I’m lazy in the costume creator and I like mohawks for some reason.) If faced with an RP group, I join in, of course, pulling out those one-line backstories and throwing myself into a character. But I don’t make a point to RP.

Because I don’t want my ideas, the characters, the stories, to spill out from the page that they’re meant to be on. I believe that my writing needs to exist somewhere on paper/computer files for it to be real. Posterity. That isn’t to say I haven’t touched some people by role playing; I’m afraid these characters will go up into the ether. Since I’m a Published Author (TM) I’m afraid of losing ideas.

Now, if you read “Big Magic” by the woman who wrote “Eat Pray Love”, she is of the opinion that The Universe Provides Infinitely. Yeah, wonderful. But I have a finite time on this earth. I’m too scared to lose any ideas that are given me. Which idea will pay off, put me in the best seller list, get me that one big break?

I have 51 characters on City of Heroes. That could be 51 stories if I flesh them out. Once I hit the top level of a character, I will usually stop playing that character because what’s left is lewt and pwn sets. The only one I still play is Grimaulkin because I can play him in my sleep and I don’t have to make much effort.

But let me be honest. I miss the effort, the reasons to role play. If I join an established supergroup (“guild”), they’ve already established story lines and cliques and relationships and I’m a third wheel. If I join one from the ground floor, it’ll go “poof” (That’s happened twice already, so I know better). And then, there’s Pocket D, the club where everyone role plays; but they want to talk about how badass they are and not involve you except as a soundboard. RP in groups is slightly better as long as you don’t get the one who talks about themselves and their backstories in the middle of a fight.

Grimaulkin the book proves that the character ideas in CoX are worth while. I just have to claw through them to find which one to stay with.

My life, in three words

Dialysis: My life revolves around the needle and the machine. Three days a week, first thing the morning, I get stuck with two needles. One has my blood going in, one has my blood coming out. And for four hours I sit, sometimes napping, most times staring out into space, sometimes reading, sometimes listening to music or podcasts. Four hours I wait, watching the clock like Fred Flintstone, while the machine filters the toxins out of my blood. Then a half an hour both to stick me and to disconnect me. Half an hour to and from the place. Six hours, three days a week.

Work: Three other days a week, I work for ten hour days. Luckily, it’s not a totally stressful job, where I have to take it home on the days I don’t work. I moved my office to the third floor because the cellar was freezing in the winter (50 degrees, and no heat). Good thing about it, I now have heat. The bad thing? (Or maybe it’s a good thing,) I can’t snack as much as I used to because the kitchen is in the basement/cellar, and my office had been right off the kitchen, in a refurbished “pantry”. After last year’s Purge cleared out the pantry, I had more room for the computer and papers and a chair. But it was cold, even with a space heater.

Sleep: The final day of the week, Sunday, is a day of rest. And I mean rest. I’ve timed that I can sleep for 12 hours. If I sleep after seven a.m. on Sunday, I’m up until at least nine p.m. Sunday night, when my usual bed time is around six or seven p.m. Then I’m up at 4:30 Monday morning to start it all over again.

This week is a little different, in that I have dialysis on Monday and Tuesday. Last Saturday I couldn’t have it because my access, the port where they plug in the needles, was clotted with blood. I have to go to a special out patient procedure to get the clot cleared out. Supposedly, according to the nurses at the dialysis center, they put a balloon in my graft to expand the area and get the clot to flow. But where does the clot go?

I have been worried sick about this. My OCD has kicked into overdrive when I’m wondering whether or not I’ll have a stroke or a blood clot to the brain. My blood clots well, sometimes too well; which I don’t understand since I have anemia.

Writing: I’m trying to write daily, but it’s been such a chore that I’m lucky if I can get a hundred words a day out. The story I’m writing is one that I’m interested in, but it’s testing my memory. It takes place in 1974 Providence, RI, during the height of the organized crime gangs in the area.

I’m wracking my brain about whether things existed in 1974. Remote controls? No. Lids on paper cups? They didn’t have that, or hot paper cups, either. Styrofoam. Aluminum can Budweiser? Nope, bottles. Recyclables? Are you kidding me? Smoking in bars? Yep. Drinking on the job? Yep. Weed, meth, heroin? Yep, yep, yep (though meth wasn’t what it is now–it was speed, then).

My goal is to get it done by the end of the summer, so that it’s available for RI Comicon (Yes, we’re going this year, November 6-8.). There will be no magic involved in the story, which means I have to make my protagonist very crafty. He will be. He has a lot of secrets to hide.

NaNo, lost.

By week three, I had lost all interest in The Band Singer, mostly because I was exhausted. On Thanksgiving week, I had planned to wrap it up at least. I couldn’t even get the gumption to go online to a Google Hangout Virtual Write-In. I was in my big comfy chair or in bed most of the weekend, dozing on and off.

Heck, I didn’t even do the podcast. Next week, promise.

Now I’m ready to put that novel aside and start something new. But what? And this time I’m going to plan it out a little more, but not the end. That’s what killed it for me last time. Seeing the end on-screen, even if it was just a blurb, solidified it for me, saying “You’ve written the story.”

I’m going to wait to see where my next idea shows up from. I want to branch out from the Urban Fantasy/Magical Detective genre. But I love mysteries, going way back (Scooby-Doo, anyone?). Though it’s something I like to read, I want to put a different spin on it. I’ve read some real trash in the Urban Fantasy field recently, so I know what I don’t like.

Maybe another Grim story?

Butt in gear

I have lots of things to obsess about. The dialysis (which has given me four hours of reading time three times a week), the next book which already has a writer’s block on the first chapter, and what’s going to happen for the rest of my life.

As soon as I move the computer upstairs to my third office (I live in a 10-room house) I will be doing a podcast.

I’m having trouble with the new novel, tentatively titled Ova. I want to introduce the main character, but I can’t seem to catch her voice. I don’t hear her very clearly–though I know what she ends up doing, at the beginning here I can’t seem to get her down right. I need to ask myself some questions and do a little “interview” of her to get where she’s coming from. I’ve plopped her down on the page and have no backstory, only what happens in the future.

I tried to write her home life, but it was boring. Eat, watch TV, go to sleep. Wake up. Do chores. Go to work.

It’s really hard for me to describe something or someone without making it seem like a description. I have to use active words, have characters do something other than stand there while we take a picture. Describe and action at the same time.

I apologize

It’s been two or three weeks since I’ve updated this blog. I sincerely apologize because my head has been in City of Heroes nearly constantly.

It’s good to see it back, to play the old missions. Arachnos, Warriors, Council, Sky Raiders, the maps, the missions and contacts – it brought back old memories. Fighting in caves, warehouses, offices…different than Champions Online. I found out some ways to get different perks.

This is OCD in full-bloom. I need to ease up.

  1. I plan on stepping away from the game, attempting to just get on during the weekends.
  2. I need to write again. Something upbeat and fluffy, as something different. It’ll probably never see the light of day, though.
  3. I can grab a couple of characters and write stories about them from CoX. Personally I like Maximillian (Leader of “The Maximum Ride Gang”)–he’s a villain.
  4. I have other characters that I can work on. My writing depends on characters, not settings or plots.

This week, Maxwell Thomas has a book coming out, the omnibus of Brothers of the Zodiac. It’s eBook only, so available on Amazon, Smashwords, Nook, etc.


I finally finished Real Magic for Writers. I just need to take a few pictures so that we can have them in the book for illustrations. I just finished sending back the first editorial pass.

The publisher liked the book and is happy with how it turned out. It will be published under Water Dragon Publishing, probably in September, or maybe August if we get everything straight before then.

Meanwhile, I’m coming up with characters in City of Heroes. There’s Maximillian, in charge of a gang called “Maximum Carnage” (Mastermind/Kinetics).

A spider who was able to get his armor off and get out of the network of Arachnos. (No Quarter – spider soldier).

Grimaulkin, of course. (Dark/Fire “sentinel” aka “striker”)

I have 18 characters. Most are level 20 and below, and I have them divided into role-playing, sometimes role-playing, and concept characters.

Come join me on the “homecoming” servers (Yes, I found that amusing). I’m @Grimaulkin

Love and Hate

I love Grim, don’t get me wrong. I love playing him, and writing him.

But to do it for two weeks straight? That he’s all I think about for two weeks (now three). I have two stories left for the anthology, and getting them written is like pulling teeth. The idea is there, the few pivotal scenes are there, but there’s no thread combining them.

I usually write in a chronological order. I have tried writing a scene here and there, then putting the thread between them. It never works for me, because it bothers me that I’ve put something on paper, and it is in stone, unchangeable–and I have to mold the rest of the story around those few pivotal scenes. If they’re in my head, they’re changeable.

I have one week to write two stories. It’s not fun anymore. After this anthology, it’s time to put Grim to bed and keep him alive only on Champions Online. Sorry, but I don’t want to end up hating the guy, and writing book number 14 in the series, pissing off fans and milking the character.

Aftermath, and forward

I sold a total of 18 books at WorldCon, my new record. I doubt I’ll beat that record at RI Comicon, but I’ll try.

Fire is being edited as we speak; “War Mage” is next on the docket. I sent Blood From a Stone for a read-over to see if it’s worth producing. What’s next is a story for a possible anthology next year. I’m writing character sketches about them right now, and the story is relatively formed in my head.

One thing I’ve found out in my writing and editing is that I have to work on my endings. They seem abrupt and quick, coming out of nowhere and just “ending”. I need to learn to pull them out a little more and make them not sou out of left-field.

I noticed how my writing has improved and changed over the years by looking at “Aries” versus, say, “Leo”. Aries is full of detail, superfluous in places, showing off my knowledge. Leo tells the damn story. As my editor says, “Your writing is clean and sparse.” It tells the story without going off on tangents or down rabbit holes. Aries didn’t do that. Aries is my “I know a lot about WW2, and I’m going to show you.”\ I wrote that story off my obsession with WW2, which is why it goes down rabbit holes and goes into detail.

Even seeing Homecoming versus Grimaulkin Redeemed, I can see the difference. Perhaps my writing is getting better. Perhaps I’ve found my voice, finally.

What next? Well, I could continue the zodiac theme by dividing them into Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable signs. I could have the planets as Gods on Earth. I was going to do the seven deadly sins, but that’s been done so much. Have the seven graces been done? That would be a switch. That would be Max’s story.

As for me…the short story, maybe some poetry. An anthology of stories from Grimaulkin.

We shall see.