Comicality: So, tell me…exactly where did the idea for this story come from, and when did you start writing it?

Well, it’s all you fault! *Mwahahaha*

I read the Photos Lately preview the last week of December and I started working and it just “Godzilla’d” on me.

I’d seen calls for submissions a couple of times before, I think. I thought it sounded cool but that I didn’t have the right stuff to offer.

I read the preview and something clicked “I can do this!” I think I said it out loud, hehe.

The recipe:

I have a universe in my head, but world building for an audience takes a lot of words, so I needed something accessible.

I immediately looked for a holiday. The sights, sounds, symbols, we (almost) all know them. If I say ” they went to a party,” I’ve got to invent and describe everything. But if I say “Christmas party,” see? You’re already doing it, aren’t you? Seeing the lights, colors, ugly sweaters, egg nog, cookies. Only, this was the new year (nearly) so the first one I thought of was Valentine’s Day.

More than details for the imagination holidays provide relatable excuses. To go places, do things, get out of the normal routine.

These two pieces informed everything else. World and circumstances narrowed a paralyzing infinity of possibilities to things I could get my head around.

Once I went looking for a cast, that set the time, and a whole new set of possibilities burst forth to be narrowed down.

Things started lining up one right after another.

I was probably writing less than 15 minutes after finishing “Photos Lately.” By the time I told you about it, there where more than 26,000 words

Great story, by the way, Photos Lately, could easily see a longer story growing from it. Only… I’m waiting for so many already. You are the master of creating short fiction that seems to catch a moment between past and future. With a sense of history and potential.  It’s amazing and frustrating. Hehe. Oops, moving on.

Comicality: Why THANK YOU! Hehehe! But, seriously, isn’t that what you’ve done here with the first chapter of “2-14-9x”? Created a moment? One with a definite sense of ‘history’ behind it, and great ‘potential’ for the future? We were all dropped into the center of this story, after all, with the first paragraph.

*Opens mouth, sits with one finger raised, for three seconds. Closes mouth.* Well… I see what you did there. I suppose technically, I did. But… okay, look, you’ve caught me in a corner. I had a point a second ago, promise. (May I break the fourth wall and admit this question came a few days later?) Something about you managing to do it in your short fiction. Even very short fiction. (“I could tell”, many examples in your Blood Bank) You’ve had one-shot stories that continued, but they started as something that was small that had a complete arc, start to finish. My first chapter of Predators (2011) managed to do that. What I’ve made here is simply a long form story. That’s the difference.

But, you’re right. I did, didn’t I? And that’s probably a trait that’s common. The only way to start a story with no sense of “these people and places existed before this moment” instead of “holodeck program complete, enter when ready” might be “Let there be light!” (Unless it’s one of those, “the holograms are at it again” Star Trek things. XD)

I hope everyone follows from here. You’ll learn more history and I’ll, hopefully, deliver on the potential as we go.

Comicality: A term that you used in this story that really caught my attention was ’emotionally claustrophobic’. I really love that, and it fits Aiden’s character fabulously, while having Peter help him deal with everything going on in his head! What went into creating him as a character?

Well, it was an organic, natural flow out of the things I was saying before. About my story, not you. Ahem.

I’d settled on the not quite Chicago world of my 2011 story Predators. (Also your fault, but that’s literally another story.) So, I got the cast together including some new faces, and when I couldn’t find a teenager, it went something like “You, in the back. Yes, you. How old are you? Okay, well… “

And from there Aiden began taking shape. Oh, he looks defined now, but once I started writing things were being revealed on the fly. Looking at him now, he reminds me of the “intelligent and awkward as he does it” type. The kind of kid that teachers and adults love to deal with but doesn’t quite fit with their real peers.

I’d be interested to hear what you see from the outside and why you think it describe his personality so well. But, until then…

It’s funny. That phrase, the claustrophobia part was meant to convey how surrounded and pestered and intruded upon he felt from the way the people around him were acting, the “emotional” part an acknowledgement it was mental, not physical.

But, now that you’ve shined a light on it, I see more. A sense of building pressure and shrinking free mental space. The kind of point where just to be “normal” for everyone else is taking so much that the things that you need and want to deal with, there’s nothing left for them.

Stressed, exasperated, and turning slightly hostile, just looking for a time and a place and opportunity to went the pressure, dump all the pieces on the floor and start figuring your shit out in peace! Or explode!

0.0 (zeros make two big, shocked, eyes with the period as a nose) anyway

That sounds like more than a few years I’ve lived through. So, after all of this, the short answer would be, me! *Giggles* Of course, I can’t tell you everything, that would spoil the surprises.

Comicality: You’ve mentioned to me in the past that you have a very ‘stream of consciousness’ style of writing. Do you find that to be a freeing and comfortable way to write without limitations or constraints? Or is it a challenge to try to stay focused without drifting off into something else?

*Snickers* Sorry, but… are those my choices? A or B? Umm… yes!

Yep. My answer is yes. *Mwahaha* Suffer in bewilderment! (Not really XD)

It’s both and neither. It’s complicated and messy and weird and things usually only make sense after they’re over.

Wait, so it’s like life? Wow, I’m deep at 1AM, heh.

It’s a stream. That’s a good image for it. Things develop a current and your thoughts get pulled along and a few hours later you look around and see where you are. Sometimes it’s a trickle, sometimes it’s a white water rapids ride. And what sucks is that when it’s “on” everything is good and by the time you look at a clock you’ve added 5,000 words, and when it’s not…

Sigh. There have been days that 350 words is a struggle or I’ll get 800 words into a good scene and realize that it’s taken me somewhere that dead ends or just isn’t necessary. And then you feed the scrap bin. (Don’t every delete your cuttings folks) and there goes the day’s progress. Sometimes I blindside myself with an emotional shark attack.

One time, well… that’d be an off the record bit.

Uhh…

And then there’s the frustration of when it’s working but you can’t write it down for whatever reason and what was so clear an hour ago has dissolved like a sand painting in a rain shower.

I’ve lost whole chapters to that. And even if I hold on to what they did or said… if my emotions are out if sync with the moment the characters are having than it doesn’t live.

Or, like a night two or three weeks ago, I went to bed at midnight because my typing had gotten strange and I knew I needed sleep, it was so clear exactly how to get from the end of one chapter through to the beginning of the next the scene I already knew would happen.

Going to sleep can be an investment in reduced editing.

But sometimes you wake up to nothing but a ruined sand painting.  it’s a crapshoot and I still haven’t ironed out how the next chapter should start. Glad I’ve got a few months. ^_^

Or my favorite example of the pitfalls of how my mind works: Predators proper has been a one chapter wonder for 6 years because I couldn’t find the particular river that gave me the voice of that character. Praise God and pass the Gone From Daylight, I found it again. XD

Umm what was the question? XP

Comicality: You mention ‘creating a cast’ before you got started. How do you go about doing that? Populating your story with characters and choosing how to best represent them?

I think I said things like I “went looking for,” and “gathered together.” XP Remember the river? I forgot all about the squirrels. The leaner, craftier, better organized, (and better armed XD) version of plot bunnies. But that story can wait. (Shocked? I know I am. Imagine how all the squirrels feel. Hehe. There goes one now.)

Probably the only character that’s guaranteed to have something formed in my head before I start is the narrator. Everyone else gets found, built, recruited, resigned, or whatever as I realize I need them. Probably not the best advice. I should probably be pushing notes, and outlining, planning plots, and writing character profiles. And I’m not saying I don’t do those things, but I don’t usually have a chance to do it first.  Think about it, would you want to sit still and answer questions about history, philosophy, and so on first, or would you want to pick up the phone and get things started? You can decide for yourself which Aiden went for.

Sometimes I start  with what I need them to do. Be wise and authoritative yet  funny about it. Dr. Thompson.

I needed someone to be behind the wheel of the car, could drive like a vampire-bat outta hell, and be credible doing it. What do you know, I tripped over one. Soon had reasons he could do it, a fitting appearance, and a few ideas what else I could use him for. But you’ll have to stay tuned.

See? Now, my professor moment, before the next question.

Those profiles are something I used to do, and probably will this weekend, since I’ve thought of it. Thanks, Com. Those of you curious just look up freeform role-play character sheets and you get an idea questions you can ask yourself about your own characters. No dice required.  My folder full of profiles is probably why I still remember characters I’ve more than 10 years, a snapshot of their minds, not just what they look like. Look at a few, keep the questions that are helpful, build your own. Works for settings too.

Comicality: Tell us about some of the other works that you’ve written, and you’re experience being a gay author on…ummm…GayAuthors.org! Hehehe!

This is really two questions:

4A – other work, posted and planned

Well, there’s a marked gap between what I’ve written and what’s published. Little VM grew up thinking “books get published when they’re done. Between life, and the fortunes of the stream, little has reached that point.

Enter Comicality. You do the serial posting thing and you do it well. So, I’m letting go of that preconception, and here we are.

Predators (Ch 1, 2011) begins telling the story of Zach, a vampire newly arrived to Chicago from parts unsaid. He’s gotten a place to stay, caught up on the local hotspots, and a few other chores. After all that work, he has needs to satisfy.

From the GA story description:

“Everything that lives, eats. It just so happens that humans are more than animals, humans think. That can make it complicated, being one step higher on the food chain. A wolf kills a rabbit because its instincts take over when the rabbit crosses it’s path. But, what happens when hunter and prey are both capable of thinking, feeling, choosing?”

The first chapter won’t be the only chapter for much longer. This foray into magazine contribution threw off my personal release schedule, just a tad.

Else, on GA I’ve got a very short piece about young man with needs and a less than scholarly use of a public library.

There’s a blog now, and my color commentary on stories and blogs, my status updates on GA are a forum for my humor and hopefully no little wit.

My thoughts on including/introducing  sex in a story, recently expressed beneath Com’s blog entry, didn’t preclude me, long ago creating a story that, being short, doesn’t have enough story around the character and emotion driven sex to meet my standard to submit it GA.

Maybe once I’ve opened the door into that world a little wider. Until then, drop by, I might point you in the right direction.

Stories, comments, blogs, prompts, challenges, opportunities, revivals and reboots.

Hmm… sounds like fun!

4B – a gay author on gayauthors.org or GA on GA. (Does that make GA^2 (squared)? Or just make me Gaga? Heh.)

Born this way, baby!

My profile my say I’ve been there for 7 years but you’ll notice that the dates jump from 2011 to 2017 without much in the middle. Over the last few months I’ve been, not starting over, but picking up where I left off. I still very much consider myself a new writer on GA.

2011 or 2017, the community has been responsive and encouraging. Though most of the evidence is behind the garden wall of the Writer’s Circle club right now. (if there are a thousand writers why are only a hundred and fifty members of the club? :$ Squirrel! Hehe)

It isn’t just gay authors. Org I’m coming back to you after a long hibernation, it’s writing itself.

I’ve said, “Nothing helps you fix a computer like a working computer with the internet.”

And i think nothing can help you solve a problem with a story before publication than a bunch of writers. People that do the same things I do, have the same worries I do, but different perspectives, and they aren’t as close to my story as I am.

So I can’t imagine a better place to smuggle my coffin into while I bring my writing back to life.

Especially with an amusement park next door when I need a break. (Reminds me Com, I keep hearing you’re gonna bake a cake or something. If you ever need to borrow sugar or something, come on by. *giggles*)

Comicality: So you feel more at home when it comes to sharing your work with your writing peers, then?

I wouldn’t put it that way. I look forward to answering readers, no author or editor tag required. (*Cough* hint *cough*) But as far as the forums go… it’s like avoiding a great big beach or something and sticking to someone’s fancy backyard. You might have gathered I’m kind of thinking in a lot of directions. So sticking to one small board keeps it focused. (Relatively) Better yet, focused on writing.

Turn the die (singular of dice, roleplaying pun) and… I don’t know what to say about music, and, movies and such. (A vast, staggering, oversimplification. Please, nobody feel insulted) but I can talk about writing and stories. Hell, try shutting me up! Sometimes I have to physically force myself to step away from the keyboard and go eat or whatever.

But yeah, I’ll talk to anybody. Just be prepared to get pulled along for a bit.

Comicality: You have more chapters already written and almost ready to go for this story. Without giving away any spoilers, what can new readers and fans expect from “2-14-9x” in the future?

.Questions, answers, the journey in between them. Obstacles, detours, and everything in between.

Come on! Hehehe… Vampires, teenagers, angst, drama, action, sexual situations, and more! (Or was all of that redundant after teenagers and vampires?)

Sigh. still dunno what to do with this question

Comicality: Is there anything else that you′d like to tell your audience? Like where to look for your newest projects, or how to get in contact you for feedback and encouragement?

Well, I’ve got my lair set up over on GayAuthors.org. That’s the center of things. https://www.gayauthors.org/profile/13708-vampiremystic/

Jokes, musings, stories, my blog, it’s all going through there. Except for Imagine getting 2-14-9X first, of course.

If GA isn’t your thing, or you just want something more direct, I’ve got an email address. VampireMystic2011@outlook.com.

Really mean it, I’ll talk to anybody. So… hehe…

To quote the master: Drop me a line, k? (Don’t sue, Com XP)

I’ve got a lot in store this year. You’ve no idea what you’re in for, but… I promise I won’t bite.

Okay, I better give you some ideas, hehe. *clears throat*

My fiction is my vehicle for exploration. Life, not planets. Good things, bad things, the easy and the difficult. Life is shadows and grays more often than extremes of darkness and light. I intend to see in the  what’s there in the murk, shine some attention on it, examine, question, and through the process, maybe understand a little more about things. Worlds inside my head, I said. Exploring them as much as this one… I may be just as much exploring myself as I may be everything else.

I’m undertaking the quest, starting the journey. I don’t know where it’ll end, or what I’ll see on the way. But, I’m going.

Are you coming along?

Published June 18, 2018