Vee Hoffman's Blog

June 18, 2014

About seven years ago, if my math is correct, under the combined influence of the Year Zero mythos and a compounding interest in some pretty bleak films and books, I tinkered with a half-baked story concept about people left alone at the end of the world. That's really all I had. No aesthetic, no voice, not even a clear idea of what the point was. Only the starting point -- fifteen minutes pass in a blink, and when eyes open again, the world's a wasteland. The mystery was the best part about it, but I suppose I wasn't at a point where I could hammer it out. Two years ago I revisited the idea, trying to draw on themes of important cultural/spiritual tales like Journey to the West. That framework became essentially a shallow analogue of Xuanzang's pilgrimage, and I don't have to tell you why that was a problematic concept. It was scrapped.

Last Sunday the power to our apartment went out in the fuck-all middle of the night and everything was black and quiet and unearthly for a few minutes. That suddenly brought an old concept rushing back to me, and when I say the notes started flowing from me like a stuck faucet, I mean it. I had something I could work with!

Over the following week I kept making notes, and wound up writing not only several paragraphs of freewriting to get a handle on the voice of the narrator, but also a blurb to tease the concept. Here it is:

They were all at the diner when it happened. In fifteen minutes — in the blink of an eye — the world was a wasteland and no one remembered themselves. Where they’d come from or where they were going, or evern what their names were. None of the five — correction: the four — that remained.

This is how Natalie (the name pulled from the ID card in her wallet though she doesn’t feel like a Natalie and doesn’t even see much of herself in the awkward, smiling photo) meets them -: the limping girl, the movie star, and the conjured man. The letter on the dashboard of her Challenger, replete with apologies and vaguely terrible things, says she’s going to California. The two duffel bags full of cash in her backseat say the going is more like fleeing. And then there’s the body in her trunk.

With no other direction, and a strange lack of curiosity regarding what’s happened, the group agrees to follow Natalie, to accompany her to California unsure of what they’ll find there and what their survival will require along the way. Memories lurch to the surface on a slow collision with the present day and closer to an understanding of the reason they’re alive.

Here's the brief narration piece. Spoiler alert, I guess. Though not really. Hopefully no one will remember this too clearly.

Nevin died a killing sort of death, still twisting and mutating on theatrics in the final bow, a death that was grindhouse arterial spray, an act of violence in and of itself. He left no mess - a clean, attractive corpse - and I left him behind only to carry him the rest of the way. He stuck himself like a knife in my gut but of course I couldn’t pull him out or else I’d leave a trail of blood to the West, leading all the way to the coast, before I dried up, convulsing. Inside, in warmth, enveloped, protected, but still invading, proclaiming, tearing where there was never room for him in the first place. There’s never room for a man in a woman and indeed there’s never room for anyone inside of anyone else, which is why we meet in frenzied little bursts of hyperbolic piston-pump, making pretty frames of psychology to place around everything that happens more politely, emotion and necessity as reasons to draw together, conflict so petty to mask the deeper, the more pointed, knives we can’t excise without bleeding out until it all becomes theatrics, it all becomes a set-piece and script, and the only reality is intrusion.

I made it to the West and when I made it to California it had been swallowed by the sea. No story from there to tell that isn’t tragedy, proving bleak and proving nothing. Knowing all along that the great catastrophe shook the Earth and took with it all destinations, the blink and the catastrophe one in the same, that makes little difference. Knowing that the destination of death was a prize to be won, that demons do not sleep but must be slain. No others to crownd the coffin, I stand at the cloven shelf of barren rock, soul five feet from the Earth, frothing waves of silver-white and murk churning endlessly, noisily beneath me, below me, behind me and forever, forever, indomitably against me.

As the last evening light made a break for Yosemite and the wind rushed in to cool the healing balm of shock clung like anointing to the back of my neck, I suddenly understood.


I'm going with the working title "westing." Who knows, maybe this is the first step of a strange new journey...
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Published on June 18, 2014 00:30 • 212 views • Tags: sneak-peek, westing

June 16, 2014

About seven years ago, if my math is correct, under the combined influence of the Year Zero mythos and a compounding interest in some pretty bleak films and books, I tinkered with a half-baked story concept about people left alone at the end of the world. That’s really all I had. No aesthetic, no voice, not even a clear idea of what the point was. Only the starting point — fifteen minutes pass in a blink, and when eyes open again, the world’s a wasteland. The mystery was the best part about i...

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Published on June 16, 2014 23:16 • 39 views

April 7, 2014

I finally got my act together and compiled playlists from the Acclamation series a couple of weeks ago!


These mixes are antiquity — they were my actual playlists during the writing of the books. I gotso sickof these playlists that I’ve honestly blacklisted most of these songs for a couple of years. But now I’ve unearthed the old goodies, and I’m passing the fun along to Acclamation readers. Included are some song calls from the series itself, songs that are just evocative of the scenes and moo...

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Published on April 07, 2014 15:19 • 113 views

March 29, 2014

As I start on Chapter Five of “Fucking Dragons”, with a small cadre of supportive beta readers to receive whatever I manage to come up with, I thought I’d drop by the ol’ official blog and make mention of a few exciting happenings.


First of all, this:


Image


That would be Emperor Lascien, courtesy of the beautiful (I mean that, she’s beautiful) Sam. Look at this smug bastard. Probably eyeing some poor unsuspecting provisory Senator and wondering how to ask him how long he’s been sleeping with the Capt...

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Published on March 29, 2014 16:35 • 43 views

March 9, 2014

I wrote Acclamation for the Museslash fandom. It was easy, but at the same time not; Museslash was and is a strange, beautiful beast that was born from that thorny place called RPS and grew into its own. By the time I started Acclamation, the fanfic writers that made up the fandom were trending toward Alternate Universe fics that would become the standard. A/Us were everywhere. A/Us continued to proliferate. Basically, the challenge was taking two templates with tertiary characteristics and a...

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Published on March 09, 2014 18:40 • 57 views

February 26, 2014

I tend to make my vitriol posts in the morning, and I tend to make those posts on Tumblr. This is sometimes a good thing, as once I’m awake and caffeinated and I’ve moved onto other things I’ve also moved past vitriolic anger and just don’t want the headache of dealing with speaking my mind. I usually mean this in the fandom sense; though I’m passionate about more important topics, other people are better at discussing that shit than I am. I leave it to them. Sometimes this is a bad thing, th...

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Published on February 26, 2014 09:41 • 42 views

February 25, 2014

I’m finally a damn dot com.


I haven’t had one of these since 2010 and even then it certainly wasn’t myname, but I guess I’m a brand now. Pardon me while I bust Nicki Minaj lyrics into the sunset.


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Published on February 25, 2014 18:41 • 32 views

I’ve been struggling a little, lately. The idea of my first series being fully published with nothing immediately on hand to roll out is troubling, to say the least. I’ve started a YA project and abandoned it in a slow burn of Not Being Able to Find my Voice, and along the way at some point I fell into a new fandom and one of my first fics for that fandom gained notoriety and visibility of the ol’ double-edged sword variety. While I think 1994 is good, it certainly wasn’t something I started...

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Published on February 25, 2014 17:47 • 36 views

August 11, 2013

Downtime at work and I'm writing an author blog.

I'm working hard on planning for The Nothing Children, and working very, very hard at churning out this current story I'm working on for fandom. And with the last few months having been so unusual, I've noted a lot of changes in my writerly behavior.

I've started to do my best thinking/brainstorming in bed before I sleep. It sounds cliche but this was never the case before. Now my iPhone is my constant pre-sleep companion, and I tend to note out entire scenes using it. Is it because I calm down more before sleep and allow my mind to focus? Is it the mask of darkness (I tend to be very animated when I'm brainstorming, acting out scenes or gestures, etc)? Perhaps both are true to an extent, because more than ever I am around people all the time. Good for the soul (I'm in a very safe, loving place right now) (it's been a long time, really), bad for the writer, because my writing requires isolation (ask me why I don't date).

But it's comfortable. And I'm enjoying it that way.

Also I've been enjoying the process of chaptering (is that a term, idek) more than before. With Acclamation the serial aspect took over as well, yes, and the focus of each chapter became a THEME as time went on (in books 3 and 4 -- especially in 3, I think -- there is a sometimes clear and sometimes subtle theme for every chapter, riding an undercurrent sometimes). Now I'm trying to focus more on events, dialogue, actions, and in doing so I'm having fun building chapters around linchpin conversations or details. I can't quite explain it... it's fun.

Hope everyone is doing well! Keep fighting the good fight!
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Published on August 11, 2013 11:57 • 283 views

July 20, 2013

So, Intimation is out, I'm a year older, and I'm about to move into a new house. Oh, and I managed to strike gold in the A/U fanfiction world again, but that's another story (literally, it's another story... and I don't know if anyone's interested in fanfic, but I'm Vee over at AO3) Everything is very exciting right now, so I wanted to drop a line and tell everyone thank you.

Thank you so much for supporting the Acclamation series thus far, and for maybe just maybe having the feeling that you'll support me going forward. The framework is still up for future projects, including a young adult series featuring LGBTQ themes called The Nothing Children (okay, emphasis on the "L" with that one).

Of course, the last book in the Acclamation series has yet to premiere. Let's hope for that by Christmas, if not sooner. Preliminary title was Ultimation, but I've become recently attached to the thought of titling it Proclamation instead. The word simply fits better.

Book 4 is my favorite installment in the series. If I had to rank the story by my personal favorite installments it would definitely be. 1. Proclamation, 2. Intimation, 3. Acclamation, and 4. Reclamation.

If you think of the series as spiritual cycle, Intimation is definitely death (with Acclamation being rebirth and Reclamation being life). Which means that Proclamation inhabits that strange area between death and rebirth. Acceptance, maybe? I don't know. I'm feeling pretty poetic this afternoon.

Thanks again, everyone. Look forward to the last volume. I'll be here.
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Published on July 20, 2013 10:07 • 668 views