Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Peek Beneath the Duct Tape: A Hazy Shade of Winter

The origins of The White Album are shrouded in which I mean there's no way I could go back at this late date and find the picture that sparked the whole idea. I'll just have to settle for the next best thing: giving you the image that took me to the next level of the project.

Anyway, I can at least tell you how it all began. As I mentioned before, a longtime e-mail friend shared a picture that started me thinking about a different kind of vampire. The model in this picture was nude and tanned, but her eyes were so pale they were nearly white. It made such a strange contrast that I couldn't help but think about it; and since you already know about my MC-eyes fetish, you can guess what I was thinking! I fantasized that a vampire had drained this woman's will rather than her blood, and that her eyes were the visible symbol of the loss.

Not much later, I ran across the website of a photographer named Calvato and discovered the image above. Now, I know that's just grease on the model's skin; but putting this image together with the one my friend had shared, I came up with a new idea for my vampire. I decided she'd drain her victims by touch rather than bite, and that she wouldn't just leach color from their eyes; she'd take it from their entire bodies. Everywhere she caressed and drained, she'd leave a streak of white that would fill in oh so slowly - and leave the skin just a little paler than it had been before.

The third step in the process was meeting Jukebox last fall at Lady Ru'etha place, offering my still-vestigial idea as a possibility for collaboration, and encountering happy agreement. You can learn more about our general collaborative efforts by clicking the "White Album" tag at the bottom of this post, but I'm assuming you read A Hazy Shade of Winter before you got here, so let's move on to some of the thoughts and questions you might have.

First, yes, I used to be a rabid X-Files fan; however, I never saw the Teliko episode. I'd heard a little about it because I was such a rabid fan, but I really don't think it influenced The White Album. All I knew before starting the collaboration was that the episode involved a color-stealing bad guy, and Jukebox hadn't followed the show closely enough to know about the episode at all. I imagine that's because he was too busy watching Dr. Who at the time (Just try having a conversation with Jukebox that doesn't eventually wind up in Time Lord-land! Just try! ;-P).

Anyway, Jukebox brought all kinds of new ideas to the collaboration - and all kinds of color and humor. Flora is primarily his work (And be sure to ask him where her name comes from; I hadn't read that series, but maybe you have). However, she's not the character I had in mind when I said someone has a great big "Jukebox" stamp across their forehead. You'll have to wait a little longer to meet that individual!

I think Carly's a bit more mine than J's, but she and all the other characters are split pretty evenly between us as far as personality, behavior, and dialogue go. The most interesting thing, to me, is that we didn't plan Carly and Abby's personalities ahead of time.* We just started writing, and it was almost as though they wrote themselves. That's what happens when you're in the zone, authorially speaking. ;-) And when you're in the zone with another person, bouncing ideas off each other in realtime, it can be a pretty heady experience. It's hard work, but also damn fun!...And when you're writing an explicit sex scene with another person in realtime, it can be damn embarrassing, too. ;-/ Fortunately (for me and for you), I had plenty of opportunity to get used to that before The White Album was finished.

So..where do we go from here? In a storyverse where vampires drain will instead of blood, how many of the other classic vamp tropes can you rely on? Is Dalila allergic to sunlight? Stakes? Garlic? What happens to Carly and Abby now? Who (or what) are the harajuku gang? And how does Renata figure into it all? Obviously, I'm not going to answer these questions yet, but I'd love to hear your speculations! Yes, I know most people online prefer to lurk rather than post; but this is a loud, clear call for you to make your voices heard. Authors love feedback, and Jukebox and I would be tickled to know where you think everything is headed. So please, drop a comment. We'd love to hear from you!

*Yes, I know Abby's personality isn't as well developed as Carly's...yet. But it will be! She's just naturally more demure. ;-)

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