Monday, November 28, 2011

Haiku Week Number Two

Another haiku I wrote. Sometimes doing something smaller and simpler is more difficult then writing long sprawling epics. I hope you enjoy it.

Roses by Matti McLean

A rose grows from dirt
It reaches towards the sky
But stops half way

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Haiku Week Number One

I have declared this week Haiku week.
Because, why not?
That's not a haiku but it could be.

Ketchup by Matti McLean

A ketchup bottle
The bottle farts in my hand
My true age revealed


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I've been in a strange place lately. Trying to get over past relationships by covering them up with new ones has proven to be a very self-destructive tactic and I find one of the best ways to release them is to revisit poetry. This poem is dedicated to a singer who I recently discovered and find her music is extremely soothing. I've become a little obsessed with her truth be told, but I'm hoping that she chooses to take that as a compliment!

Ave Maria - Matti McLean

Ave Maria

Sing me a song

And soothe my soul with this bottle of wine

Though I am restless

And indecisive as the wind

I feel my heartbeat like a razor blade

I've covered my scars with relationships

That lasted as well as the wind

I've held onto the issues

And discarded the cures

I hold the urchin in my hand

And feel the spines

As venom envelopes my mind

Your voice helps heal my soul

I hold together pieces but the soul still beats

I try to connect with myself

and don't recognize my face

I turn my ears skywards

but don't hear the comforting words of the sky

so I listen to the voice

of Ave Maria

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Inferno - Prologue

So a while ago Dennis came to me with the idea of creating a steam punk version of Dante's inferno and it's an idea I really gravitated towards. I'm a huge fan of the genre and immediately started to write out some primary drafts of the story which I'm now sharing with you now.
This was the original prologue designed to set the mood for the novel. In a good prologue you introduce the tone, the character and the main themes of the book. Or at least you should. I think I was fairly successful in this. Thinking I'll keep writing it as time goes on and try to make something cohesive and delightfully twisted.

Inferno : Prologue by Matti McLean

He closed his eyes as the distant screams whipped past his ears. Smoke billowed through the darkness that clouded his dream as he fell through black storm clouds. Tumbling like a rag doll through smokey billows as skeletal beasts flew past on wings of bone and burnt flesh. The sound of clockwork echoing through their empty skulls. Above him a thousand dark creatures swirled as if preparing to attack the prey. One beast lunged a fanged tangle of teeth towards him missing him by inches. Thousands more seemed to appear and lunge at him as he passed by them, and they'd cackle as if he was another piece of meat for them to consume.

The ground below him burnt. The remnants of a city long burnt and still smouldering were splayed out below him. Long trenches stretched out as the dark landscape seemed to stretch as far as the eye could see. Tall towers that must have one been proud symbols of technology and progress stretched thousands of feet into the air. A giant clock tower, now decrepit and crumbling stretched out below him, but was rising quickly.

He fell, passing through the burnt sky and between the giant buildings that thrust into the sky. As he fell at speeds he could hardly comprehend; hurtling towards the street he could feel the air grow thick with heat as breath after breath thick with ash rushed into the burnt, scarring remains of his lungs. Two thousand feet, one thousand feet, a hundred feet- all flew by faster then he could recognize. As he was about to find himself a stain on the ground, the earth itself opened up in a giant mouth revealing miles and miles of dark cliff that stretched into a churning lake of fire. Bodies rolled in the flames and the sound of a million screams of terror burst from the ground and threatened to rip him apart. A thousand burnt fingers reached out to him as if pleading him for some form of relief; as if he and he alone could bring them relief. He tried desperately to do anything else, but he continued to fall helplessly, being drawn into the fiery, molten mass below him. The heat radiated at such a heat it almost burst his skin from his body. He screamed as the ground above swallowed him whole and the fire burned on.

So yeah, that's Dante's Prologue. Let me know what you think!
As a note, the artwork is not mine but perfectly emulates the mood I was going for so I had to use it. My thanks to Chenzan

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NaNoNovel - part 1

Well I'm 30,000 words into my NaNo novel and I'm a little torn on it. On the one hand, I'm getting a LOT of words out! On the other, I'm not writing the story that I originally intended to write. Hazard of the business I guess... but I'm doing something a little unusual today. I wanted to share my first chapter with everyone.
It's rough of course, (most everything I write is) but I hope you guys enjoy the beginning at least :)

My original goal of the story was to write a steampunk version of the Scarlet Pimpernel. I think it's safe to say I did not do that.

Wingless - Chapter 1 - Matti McLean

It all began when the Southern Faction decided enough was enough. After years of oppression, they retaliated and the results were bloody and ruthless. That's not to say that the Kingdom of Vern didn't deserve it, they did. For centuries they lived in luxury while the oppressed lower classes struggled to survive. The world was harsh and thankless, and the jobs they performed everyday were not recognized by the ones who ran it. Finally, enough was enough, and they brought it upon themselves to fight back.

It began in Hartford. A terrible and bloody massacre when the Royal guard destroyed a peaceful rally and shed innocent blood on the streets. For the first time, the under classes began to band together and rise up against the oppressors, and with whatever measly supplies they had on hand they fought back. It was useless, however, and the entire resistance was squashed within a matter of hours. Only a few managed to escape but word spread. Soon murmurs were spreading through the villages, and people were banding together to fight for the things they never possessed.

The king and queen had heard rumours of such grumbles from the lower classes but paid them no mind. Instead, they expounded upon their opulent ways and expanded into realms of extravagance that had never been before seen in the country. Instead, the king, a power hungry man who demanded attention and loyalty from his followers, was growing restless and began to plot his superiority from the inside out.

The first official meeting of the resistance happened at Cheryl's tavern. A small inconspicuous inn at the edge of one of the main cities; Temple. The bar was small, scarcely big enough to fit twenty of the queen's men, but that was where the rebellion began. After much plotting in secret, the first battle lines were drawn and twenty villagers overcame the Queen's men in a surprise attack. The poorer classes had got a taste for blood and were beginning to fight for the freedoms that they were denied. Soon, similar coups were breaking out all over the country. The lower classes were uniting at a rapid pace and the ones who knew what to watch out for were beginning to get worried...

“Where is she?” The king demanded. He marched his elaborate shoes up and down the marble tiled hall and scoffed as he clenched his small, gloved hands together in a mixture of boredom and anxiety. He hated being held up. Especially by his wife. She was the one person who could get away with it. “Why couldn't I be more like Henry?” He muttered to himself.

“Your majesty?” A servant smiled sweetly to him offering him a sample from a tray of sweets, but that didn't distract him from his terrible mood. He waved him away, and put one hand down to his sizeable middle with a frown.

“Fifteen minutes. The woman must think she is preparing to meet the bloody bishop.”

The large white doors flung open, but unfortunately it wasn't the queen standing in all her gilded beauty, but instead a man in a mask and black cape. He wore a thick leather belt around his strong frame, and a mask that covered most of his face. A pair of brass goggles sat on top of his head showing that he was not one of the upper class, and the king immediately raised an eyebrow.

“What is the meaning of this?” The strange man said nothing and simply stood in the doorway. Behind him was the sound of swords clattering and firearms exploding. A guard tried to run past him towards the fighting when the man blocked his path effortlessly by stepping to the side. With a swift chop of his hand, the man brought the guard to the floor. The king was shocked and toddled backwards, startled at the lack of respect the man was showing. “Wha... Who are you?” the king stammered. The man said nothing, but the sounds of the riots grew louder by the second. “Guards! Guards!” The king ran backwards and tried to crawl to a safer corner in his room. The guards sprang into action, but the man seemed to be effortlessly cutting them down with a grace and skill that was uncommon.

“Who are you?” The king stammered as the last of his soldiers hit the ground. “There's no way a peasant could do what you're capable of.”

“You have no idea what I am capable of.” The man said.

“What... What are you going to do to me?” The king asked feeling a deep sense of terror begin to eat away at his considerable stomach. He clung to his red velvet curtains, knowing that they could very well be the last thing he would ever see. The threatening man simply shrugged and walked towards him.

“I am a harbinger of justice. A man of the people.”

“You can't be. You fight like you were of noble birth. Are you a knight? An alchemist? What was your past?”

“My past is over.” The man said. “And now it is your turn.” With a calm stride, he turned his back on the king and exited the room, the bodies of the guards still strewn unconscious around him. The king shuddered slightly, but before long straightened up to his full height. He was not a tall man, but his chubby body had always made him feel more powerful than perhaps it warranted. Now he just felt weak and scared.

He crept towards the door as delicately as he could, afraid that the noise of his shoe on the floor would bring that strange and wrathful man back towards him. He stepped over the bodies of his men and slowly peered his way out of the room. He looked down his hallways adorned with art, sculptures and vases far to large to be practical and framed by a golden trim. The marble was bright and glistened to an almost incredible level, but as he watched the sounds grew louder.

The first sign of something being wrong was the way the chandeliers swayed back and forth as if a large gust of wind was rocking them wildly. The candles flickered as a solitary apple rolled into view. It looked fresh and crisp and appeared to have a mind of it's own, stopping just at the other end of the hallway. A second later, it was crushed by a boot made of leather and cloth, by a bushy bearded man with a frown set on his intimidating face. He held a weapon in his hand that looked to be some kind of firearm the King had never seen before.

As soon as the man had seen the fat face of the king, he called out to the others and the din of the battle began to rage closer and closer. The king shut his doors and tried to barricade himself in but his lack of strength left him open and vulnerable. Within moments they stormed the door, breaking through the kings pathetic excuse for a blockade and had him cornered in the room.

Reports are mixed as to what had happened next. Some say that the king escaped to live out his days as a farmer working the fields that he had once owned. The messengers from the underground spoke of a much harsher and more violent story. A story where the king was stripped of everything and paraded around the streets from the back of a horse drawn cart. Some say he was thrown from the balcony, others say he was killed... the only thing that the resistance had made sure of was that the word was released: The king is dead, and all who followed his corrupt and opulent rule would soon face the same fate as their leader. Dozens of aristocrats were gathered and dealt with by the local authorities. Those who were merciful made them live out their days as servants to the ones who had served them. Those who weren't faced the wrath of a scorned people, and faced the consequences.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NANO inspiration - Why You Matter

This was a quick little forum post I posted as an inspirational pep talk to everyone doing NaNoWriMo this year. I'm hoping that someone will be inspired. Either here, or elsewhere. But I hope you enjoy it! It goes along with my original mandate about trying to create a community and the creation of a writing help blog and all that...

I hope you like it! I don't know if it makes any sense, but then again, when do I ever make any sense?

Pep Talk - or Why You Matter

Everyone has a dream. Many people will be releasing their dream to the world this month through a little event all of us know as NaNoWriMo. So much of the world wants to let their voices be heard and the brilliant thing is that, for at least one month, you, the one who is reading this right now, wi'll have the voice and the audience to achieve this.
Isn't that awesome?
Nanowrimo has been a very important part of my life for the better part of my adult life. Stories I've written through NaNoWriMo have become novels, plays, dreams and short stories that have helped to enrich my life and have allowed me to thoroughly root myself in my imagination.
What a great word. Imagination. So many people complain that imagination is only reserved for children. I'm proud to say that this isn't true. Your imagination is your ultimate weapon against the nemesis of mediocrity.
I may go out on tangents sometimes, but I like to think it's a result of my overactive imagination.
I want to tell something to every writer out there, and if you take nothing else from this posting, I hope you take this.
You matter.
Your voice matters.
Your writing matters.
You matter.
Why do I want to impart this to you?
Well the first reason is simple. I want everyone to know that they possess a voice that is distinctly their own, and that even though they may be in a world that will openly reject, dismiss and humiliate them, they still matter. Your voice is your own and no one else can see the world exactly as you do.
The second is slightly more complicated. I believe that your writing is a reflection of you. What you write down is your soul exposed to the world. It is you. Your visions. Your beliefs. Everything. You. Are. What you write. You live in your writing. People get to know you through your writing, even if you never meet them. It's amazing how much you can tell about a writer by simply reading one of their poems. Even haikus.

Everyone matters.
Everything you're creating
Will help you in life.

Think about your favorite authors. Rowling, King, Gaiman... They all started where you are right now. (although maybe they started on typewriters) With a blank page and made some of your favorite stories. They created characters out of nothing, and now you find yourself totally free to follow in their footsteps and stand on their shoulders.
Now, I know you might think it's a little overwhelming... And it is. Blank pages can be scary. Terrifying. Even bad! When all you can see is the little blinking line at the top of a blank page the pressure to write { 1,667 } words in a day can be downright daunting. Terrifying. Just awful. Gut wrenchingly, painstakingly awful.
But... all it takes is one word to unleash a cavalcade of emotional genius. And before you know it, the story will start to happen.
But Matti, you say, why do you think my writing matters?
Well... because there are people out there who desperately need to hear what you have to say of course. Your work will be read: Maybe not as fast as you'd like them too (I have friends who have had my book for MONTHS and not read it yet. SO FRUSTRATING!) but eventually, they will. They will drink in your words like a glass of fresh water into the soul. Writing can be the ultimate release for many feelings: Anger, regret, remorse, grief... and someone out there who desperately needs to know that everything will be okay will be looking for someone who's been through their experiences. Someone out there may be looking for the validation, or inspiration, or imagination that your writing will provide them.
Donald Miller wrote a blog a little while ago called "The Best Writing Advice I've ever received", and in my opinion it's brilliant. He says that we all need to love our reader. And he's write. (ha ha! I made a pun!)
I have a tendency to ramble so I just wanted to tell everyone that you matter. You all matter.
You sitting there reading this. You matter.