Posts Tagged ‘white album’

Behind the Music: Love Like Winter

September 16, 2010

We tried not to end it like this. Really, we did. We worked out the basic outline together, thrall and I, and we knew that the key to saving Abby was finding the one person she was truly passionate about; only that kind of passion could survive the process that drained Abby and make her want to keep those energies for herself, instead of storing them passively to be passed on to Dalila in turn. Carly had to sacrifice herself for Abby, we knew that. But we tried to think of what might happen next.

At one point, it was going to end with Abby resolving to find some way of making Carly fall in love with someone, just so that she could drain them. thrall actually suggested an epilogue set some five hundred years in the future showing exactly that. But we both knew, I think, that deep down this was how the story ended. It ended with the kind of love that is beautiful, and tragic, and beautiful because it’s tragic. It ends with one person loving another enough to give up their soul for (although IIRC, thrall was very specific about not wanting to use the word “soul”. She felt that it had a different connotation than simply being “the animating vital force”, and was more pure and incorruptible. I had no problems avoiding the word…well, it was sometimes hard to come up with a good synonym. But no emotional problems, that was the key point.)

Other than that…I remember having to rework that first joke a lot to make it more understandable. (It’s a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ reference, for those of you who still missed it. The three fairy godmothers in the Disney version were Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. One of these things is not like the others…) I remember proudly coming up with the way Carly was going to lose the flashlight, and how when I typed the first bit–where she accidentally switches it off with her tongue–thrall said over the phone, “But really, she should lose it completely…” just as she saw the bit about her spitting it out and dropping it fill in on her side of the connection. We were totally in sync there. I remember it very specifically being thrall’s idea that they didn’t scream when they died. (I hope that is giving credit, and not assigning blame. I think we bear an equal amount of blame for how little sex is in the final chapter, though.)

We agreed to split the final scene; that meant I got to write the final confrontation between Carly and Dalila (which I really wanted to do) and thrall got to write the final reunion between Carly and Abby (which she agreed to so quickly that I’m pretty sure we both think we got the best of the deal.) But I loved writing that scene. I loved the way that the two characters talked to each other when the masks were off and the claws were out, as it were. Carly’s line, “You don’t have friends, do you? Just things you own and people you haven’t killed yet,” is one of the best things I think I’ve ever written.

Oh–credit where it’s due, thrall added in the line, “See, killing you would be a hell of a great thing. Right up there with blowing up….oh, fuck, I don’t know. The shark. The Death Star.” in rewrites. Credit where it’s also due: I added, “The Ark of the Covenant.” Specifically, I added it while giggling madly and saying to myself, “She might well kill me for this, but I don’t care!”

And of course, the final scene that thrall wrote was brilliant, emotional and sweeping and hot all at the same time…but hey, I didn’t expect anything else from such a great collaborator. We enjoyed the hell out of writing this, and I hope you enjoyed the hell out of reading it! Thanks very much to those who did!

Behind the Music: A Whiter Shade of Pale

September 9, 2010

At some point fairly early on in the development of the White Album, thrall and I had a bit of an extraordinarily polite bicker (all our bickers are extraordinarily polite; I think we’re both deeply terrified of hurting the other’s feelings) about what to call the story. She wanted to call it “Love Like Winter”, whereas I was (as usual) stuck in the 80s and wanted to call it “A Hazy Shade of Winter”, after the Bangles song. Our compromise involved turning the single story into a trilogy, with “A Whiter Shade of Pale” coming in as the middle part. (Also amusing was the way she kept calling the individual sections “chapters”, and I kept calling them “stories”. This is because I am almost pathological about not posting multi-parters anymore.)

As a result of my pathological fear of multi-part stories, we designed each section of the White Album so that it would a) have enough exposition so that if someone read the story by itself, they’d at least be able to pick up on what was going on (although you do get more out of it if you read them in order) and b) have an ending that, while possibly open-ended, was at least an ending. So if you read “A Hazy Shade of Winter”, and then your Internet connection shut down forever, you would at least have the satisfaction of believing that Abby and Carly got happily drained and enslaved at the party. If you moved on to “A Whiter Shade of Pale” before the gremlins ate your wi-fi, you’d at least have the dubious pleasure of knowing that the story ended with Abby becoming a mindless slave, once and for all. (And “dubious” is the word for it…in retrospect, that ending might have been a bit too convincing, judging by the reviews. Oh, well. We’ll see who comes back next week.)

That’s the genesis of this story, in the loosest sense…let’s see, what else can I tell you that thrall hasn’t already mentioned in her own blog post about this story? I remember it as being much longer, originally; the outline had Abby going back for her clothes after being seduced the second time (the scene in the bathtub) with Carly watching for her and totally missing her because she was so pale as to be unrecognizable. The argument that was merely glossed over was going to be a full scene in its own right, as well. But we both felt, during the writing process, that the story was starting to turn into a slog, and there was only so many times we could play the “Abby goes back to Dalila against her will and gets drained a little further” card before it got old.

(Fun story: thrall came up with the name “Dalila”, insisting not just on that name but that particular spelling because she wanted the character to sound like a pretentious model. I hated the name, but acknowledged that its irritating obnoxiousness was exactly the effect that the character would be going for, and agreed to it. About halfway through this story, thrall stumbled on typing the name and grumbled, “God, I hate that name! Can’t we change it?” My revenge was making her stick to it.)

As to Geoff…I really could have written a lot more of Geoff’s “vampire-hunting” exploits, if there was time. Because one thing that gets clarified a lot in the next story is that Geoff is completely and totally wrong; Dalila is no more a vampire than she is a succubus, or any other specific monster from mythology. So all of his attempts to “slay” her and her minions started from a false premise and went spectacularly wrong. He’s tried spiking their food with garlic, splashing them with holy water, all sorts of classic methods from movies and books, and they’ve all failed completely. That’s why Dalila never killed him; she was too busy laughing her lily-white ass off. (Incidentally, one thing that Geoff never tried was sunlight, because while he was starting from a false premise, he did his homework; the “sunlight kills vampires” meme was invented for the movie ‘Nosferatu’ because it was more visual than “having to lay on a bed of soil from your native land at dawn”. It never appeared in Stoker’s book, or any vampire folklore prior to that.)

(Speaking of, and totally apropos of nothing, one of the best vampire tricks for hiding one’s coffin was in the movie “Son of Dracula”. Alucard floats his coffin in the Louisiana bayous, with an anchor to prevent it from drifting too far. As dawn approaches, he just turns into mist, seeps in through the cracks, and then resolidifies. His additional weight causes the coffin to sink. Try getting to that, vampire hunter!)

Anyhow, what’s there to say about next week? Lots of things happen. There’s a scene inspired by Steven Moffat (who is too brilliant–it makes the rest of us look bad.) There’s a hint to the final ending already in place, and a character who returns to tell Carly some of the things we already know…and others we don’t. Carly gets to put her bartending skills to good use, and how do things finally end? With “Love Like Winter”. See you there!

Behind the Music: A Hazy Shade of Winter

September 3, 2010

Given that thrall has talked on her blog about the writing of this story, I figured I should go ahead and do the same. For me, of course, it started with thrall telling me about it when we met in person, and Lady Ru’etha making it quite clear that She would like to see a collaboration between the two of us. (That’s generally motivation enough for me.)

After that, there was a lot of plot discussions; for me, it was key that we not get too “vampire-y” about the creatures. I didn’t want this to be “thrall and Jukebox’s vampire story”, I wanted it to be a little less easy to pin down and categorize. Some of the characters in the series might call Dalila and her kind vampires, but that’s not necessarily what they call themselves. They could just as easily be succubi, or something far more mutable and unrecognizable, which is just what I wanted them to be.

thrall mentioned in her blog that I had someone very specific in mind for Flora, and it’s true; in my heart, she is forever Flora from the court of Amber (who spent a lot of time in high society on a Shadow very similar to our Earth, for the benefit of those who only dimly remember “Nine Princes In Amber”.) She’s just passing through this story, which is probably very lucky for Dalila. 🙂 The other characters didn’t have specific actors associated with them for me (it was actually quite interesting to see thrall’s conception of them) but I’ll confess to a sort of Cate Blanchett-y feel to Renata, in my head. Only more cutting and cold…I won’t get into much “who wrote what”, but I wound up really jumping at the chance to write Renata’s dialogue. (My favorite moment is when Carly asks if she and Dalila were lovers, a thought that provides her with her first genuine moment of mirth in centuries.)

Oh, now that I think about it, she’s got that in common with Morpheus from Sandman along with the skin color. One of the most effective moments with Morpheus was when he just started cracking up, because you never saw it from him. (Inspiration is sometimes just subconscious plagarism like that.)

Other than that, the story unfolded very naturally for both of us; once you’ve got the characters so clearly set into your mind like that (I might not have had pictures, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t know them) writing is just a process of figuring out what everyone wants and is willing to do and letting events take their course. Dalila wants Abby, Abby wants to photograph Dalila, Carly is protective of Abby. All those things lead to the story we wrote like water running downhill.

So what’s next? After all, Dalila seems to have what she wants by the end of the story, and both Abby and Carly have been drained white. But of course, no matter how much color fades away, you can still find “A Whiter Shade of Pale”