"Credencium" started over 12 months ago as a vague idea that was hurriedly turned into an outline over the span of several days. I've had a soft spot for magical realism, and gutterpunk culture, and the mixing of the two for a while. I wrote my first NaNoWriMo with such a mindset (trunked and/or burned), and have another novella that needs just a bit more TLC that I should get back to some year. I either hung out with or was in a crowd that hung out with a lot of gutterpunks my first two years of college, and while I don't remember a lot, I remember being impressed by their diversity, passion, quirks, and, depending on the punk, antagonism towards social norms.
In gearing up to write "Credencium" I did what research I could online—there's not much. Anecdotes, the occasional article. I found one art series in particular by Darci Pauser titled "Pigs and Poop", and her blog on houselessness; I mined that for what information (and what memories) I could. She was kind enough to send me some of her notes to work off of, as well. I even did some volunteer work in a soup kitchen for homeless youth (not so much out of the good of my heart, but because I...well, because at the time I could, and because I wanted that to inform my writing). I'm not entirely sure it did, and I know it drained time away from my writing, but I'm glad I did in any case.
My wife has told me: never again! I'm a horrible procrastinator. I want that burning spark of inspiration to drive every word on the page, and I do all the writer tricks in the book to find it. I'm sure I caused Jennifer no end of heartburn with my "last-minute...past-the-last-minute...wh
It was a very strange experience writing to an outline that I'd set myself, hitting a deadline once a month; watching the characters evolve, details and backgrounds working themselves out as I went. I have characters just barely mentioned in the story that I wrote that I'd love to delve into more deeply (Hunin and Munin especially). I rarely hit my outline—almost always leaving things a scene, or two, before the end that I'd plotted, trying to develop a feel for just the right amount of cliff-hanger and resolution. I'd often jump in a scene or two later than what I'd plotted as well, trying to pre-emptively cut chaff from the story. There's a lot that isn't written, some of which I just hadn't figured out, but I think for the most part I did a pretty good job at writing the _right_ scenes, and I'm pretty proud of that. It was a great learning experience for me—though I doubt I'll ever learn my lesson on procrastination.
There's a lot of power in names, in naming yourself (I'm of the BBS generation, if not the internet generation, and between that and role-playing grew up with a plethora of self-given and group-given names), and there's a lot of room to play with that; there's a lot of self-actualization and self-discovery in self-naming. There's a lot of power in belief. And I hope I tapped some of that with "Credencium", and appreciate Jennifer Brozek (and The Edge of Propinquity) for having belief in the story, and giving me a chance to find it.