Saturday, June 26, 2010

Any Excuse…

For a bad pun.

I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist using a song by The Doors for today’s Teratogenesis soundtrack.  Still, it is one of their better songs.

This chapter has fallen astride three of my subplots, although one is only mentioned in passing.  Events are starting to get out of hand, so this time I’ve decided to use an incident from one of the subplots and write it as though it’s in another.  The effect has been to level off the increasing character tension by making something seem mundane, but still keep ramping the dramatic tension up through the story.  I’m having to be careful because there is an increasing amount of danger in one of the plotlines and I don’t want to play my hand too early.

But the centre point has definitely passed and now it’s time to start tying up loose ends…

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Well, Teratogenesis is into its seventh month.  Yes, I know it’s June and I started in January, but it’s been seven months; you’ll just have to trust me, if you haven’t worked it out yet.

I would count this as a good entry even if it weren’t advancing the plot or character, as it not only references And She Was by Talking Heads, but also Angela Carter’s collection of short stories, The Bloody Chamber.  If you’ve not read it, and you aren’t squeamish, then I whole-heartedly recommend it.  It’s certainly the best book on folk lore I’ve read since I managed to get a collected Brothers Grimm.  Now those are strange stories!

As it happens, we are moving into another arc; although, June has been quite strange, in that everything has been held in suspension as the overall story pivots about it’s centre.  Like a ball tossed in the air, we’ve reached the brief moment when acceleration and gravity are held in balance.  But from here on in, it’s time to roll on toward the finish line.  There are at least three major subplots that will move through before the end and the density of entries will also start to pick up soon.  It’s odd:  I’m just before half way in my word count, I’m just at half way with the plot and I’m just over half way in my schedule.  It could all unravel yet!

Since it was the Summer Solstice yesterday, I can officially unveil the new summer theme as well.  In contrast to this blue and misty site, it’s very orange.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Peace and Quiet

Would be nice, I suppose.

But it’s more than enough for the protagonist of Teratogenesis, who’s feeling becalmed this week.  But you’ve got to agree with him about the vuvuzelas.

I’d take a bit of peace myself right now.

Other projects are coming for the next week or so.  Basically, something I’ve been working on for awhile is a having a line drawing underneath it.  So I just need to tie up some loose ends and get that posted.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Faith and…

Today’s Teratogenesis soundtrack is another track from Muse.  I like Muse, but I’m not a massive fan.  However, they do produce excellent cinematic feeling music that is great for setting a mood.  It also helps that most of their music is quite catchy and sticks in your mind.  Hence why it’s used in a lot of trailers and adverts.  And why it makes a second appearance in Teratogenesis.
I’m also beginning to consider my next project a bit more.  There will be similarity of some themes I think, mostly in the fact that I intend to keep presenting the evidence of the story rather than tell it traditionally.  This time, however, it will be a lot more objective than the first-person narrative of a man on the edge of sanity.  I remember that some computer games, particularly adventure games, would come with a host of little artefacts:  cloth maps, coins, scraps of paper, fake Polaroid pictures.   The general term for these was “feelies,” in that they let you “feel” the game and they mostly appeared in games by Infocoms.  The intention is to create a file of documents and paperwork that tell the story.  As the reader roots through these pieces of paperwork, they are able to explore the story at their own pace and in a non-linear fashion.
High falutin’, eh?
It will also be the second instalment of what may become known as my “Universal Monsters” cycle where I present a traditional monster in a new way.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Things are going to get worse before they get better in Teratogenesis.

Everything so far has been building to a point of now return and, with the end of second act coming up, that juncture is almost upon us.  Soon our secretive protagonist will find himself on the next coil of his downward spiral and will have to… transfigure himself.

The hardest part of writing Teratogenesis is actually the mundane elements.  After all, who wants to read about real life?  We’d all sooner live real life than read about it or watch it on TV, wouldn’t we?  Wait.  Don’t answer that.  The monstrous and the mythic elements are the easiest to write, not because they are the simplest or most beautiful (in Teratogenesis’ case, this especially true) but because they are the most rewarding.

And one of the paradoxes of writing is that the further I get through the story, the more I enjoy it.  But eventually, the story must end and it must end well, otherwise everything thing that came before it is for nothing.

Welcome to the beginning of the end.

So, now it is time to start looking beyond Teratogenesis, to other projects…

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Catching Up Is Hard To Do

Well, I’m finally back on track for the next chapter of Teratogenesis on Sunday.  We are firmly in the middle of the story now and will begin accelerating toward the conclusion over the next few months.

I decided to tie these other two posts together by the choice of music.  Each song in the four blog entries is by Mike Patton and span pretty much the length of his career.

I experienced some fun and games with my internet connection and it looked like this would be delayed even further, but a fair amount of jiggery and a little pokery managed to get it connected again.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Sometimes events occur on the larger stage which give us cause to pause and reflect on what we are doing and how our deeds are perceived by others.

The first example I can think of is from the band, Machine Head.  Even if you don’t like heavy metal, I’m sure you can appreciate the sad irony of this, just watch with the sound turned off.  As Machine Head were preparing to launch their fourth album, they chose a song as the lead single and recorded a video for it:


This video was released in the first few days of September 2001.

Needless to say, it got canned and had a direct effect on Machine Head leaving their record label and spending an unfortunate amount of time in the wilderness.  The band, director and record label could have had no idea about September 11th but it still had a very negative consequence for all of them.

This is what I mean by flinching.

Sometimes the world is a horrid place and we just can’t bear to look, like the first sight of a bad wound or other unpleasant shock.  Just because something is vile, though, doesn’t mean we should turn away.  In fact, it is the worst elements of life that must bear the closest scrutiny, if we are to overcome them.  Humanity is a contradictory species:  for every Plato, there is a Pol Pot, for every Trent Reznor, there is a Simon Cowell, Leni Riefenstahl made a beautiful film about a venomous subject, we find great leaders like Richard the Lionheart and Saladin and then pitch them against each other.  To improve ourselves, we cannot blind ourselves to our failings.

So I will not censor Teratogenesis in light of recent events in Cumbria.

The dark heart of Teratogenesis is coming to pass and I will not flinch.  The story is about personal madness and to shy away from that now is shameful cowardice.