So on Friday, Sailor Boy calls me and is like, “Okay, command decision. We’re driving down to Alexandria tonight and trying to get into the Birchmere.”
Since it usually takes me about three weeks to ease Sailor Boy into the idea of crossing the border into Virginia, I was a bit taken aback. But a few weeks back, we’d been dismayed to discover that both the local DC shows of Jonathan Coulton (one up in awesome Annapolis) were sold out, and SB had been bummed out about it.
So we bundled up against the frigid February night and prepared ourselves for a long wait outside the Birchmere, holding two fingers in the air.
Or not. Actually, the nice lady at the box office informed us that they’d just released a few more tickets, so we bought a pair and walked right in. All that fleece for nothing.
The show, she was awesome. For those who don’t know, Jonathan Coulton is a sort of comedy science fiction folk singer. He is probably most famous for writing the theme song for PORTAL, which is one of the best video games ever. It is certainly one of the only video games whose script is so darkly comedic that I spit out my coke all over my controller while playing. Anyway, JC is a Yalie, and a former Whiffenpoof, and, as I’m sure surprises no one who is actually familiar with the group, a former Spizzwink. He was also a computer programmer until he decided to chuck it all and make a living writing songs about mad scientists in love. This is a WOW machinima video of one my favorite of his songs, “Skullcrusher Mountain::
He also has this great zombie apocalypse/office etiquette song entitled “Re: Your Brains.”
Okay, one more…
Oh my gosh, so funny. And also catchy.
Anyway, on Saturday, I went to the WRW meeting, where Sophia Nash and Diane Whiteside talked about characterization. Sophia is a character charter, and I am not, though I think we seem to think about characters in much the same way, in terms of who they are and what they need. I definitely found that I had the information to put into her charts about my characters — in fact, I surprised myself with how much information I actually had. So it was fun to see a new way into something I already do during story development. For instance, Sophia asked about our character’s favorite possessions, and I was surprised to realize that the characters I was charting did, in fact, have thematic possessions. I never would have put that together on my own.
Diane’s talk was about using astrology to develop characters. I know nothing about astrology. I’m not even sure what my own husband’s sign is. But I imagine it might be a really good way to go about a creating a character, because the “brightside” of astrology — all the good qualities that come with a sign — is matched with “darkside” faults. So you can think about who your character is and what sign that matches best, and then see what the corresponding faults might be. Often, people’s greatest strengths are also their greatest faults. Someone very steadfast might also be very stubborn, for example. Someone very spontaneous could also be very flighty. Someone very perceptive can also be very manipulative. If you’re a writer that often has trouble seeing your character’s flaws, this method might be very helpful to you. It doesn’t even have to match your character’s actual birthday. Though I was surprised to discover that, four books later, I had given a character in SSG a birthday (because it was relavant to plot, which is the only time my characters have actual birthdays) that matched a sign that matched his personality really well. Who knew? SURPRISE!
Also, I am the proud possessor of an ARC of Sophia Nash’s latest, Love with the Perfect Scoundrel. Jealous? It’s a snowstorm story. I’m such a sucker for those. I think I shall read it while sequestered in my own little castle in Ireland. Jealouser?
Hee hee. I’m evil.
Now it’s Sunday, and I’m working on my secret project. I love my secret project. I’m so giddy all the time when I’m working on it. I think often of what Jennifer Lyn barnes wrote about keeping the love, and it’s very fitting that it’s what has been filling my head recently, as Jennifer just sold her “love-book”:
Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s RAISED BY WOLVES, in which a human teen struggles to find her place in the werewolf pack that has raised her since childhood, while dealing with the inexplicable connection she shares with the pack’s newest wolf- a teenage boy, to Regina Griffin at Egmont, by Elizabeth Harding at Curtis Brown.