Friday, December 31, 2010

Website Idea

Via some spam on a forum I am on...

Interested to earn extra passive income?
- Get paid to read email
- Upfront payment is not required
- Featured in The Sunday Times (Singapore Newspaper)
- Receive money by cheque or Paypal
- Little effort is required
It would be funny to set up a website like that, with fun disclaimers about the cost being pride, your eternal soul and whatever self-respect you have left in your life and then offering alternatives such as selling meth, being a prostitute and the like as less morally questionable.

"Interested in getting something for nothing?* This is the American Dream!(tm)
- Get paid to do nothing (Subsections: Alimony as a Lifestyle Choice and Lawsuits are Your Friend.)
- Upfront payment is not required. Really. We just want your soul, assuming you have one left and haven't already bartered it away for a free toaster since you're stupid enough to have clicked this link, you thick moron.
- Featured in [REDACTED FOR LEGAL REASONS]
- Receive money by cheque or Paypal or smiling orphan imported from overseas**
- Little effort is required. So little, it's like scamming the system. (And, to make the website Political, include rant on welfare cheats here.)

* No, not chlamydia.
** Payment will occur after the Rapture. We are pretty certain you will not be among those raptured. We are positive we won't be.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Via a writing prompt

In the dark room, wreathed in cigarette smoke, the smell of whiskey and sour dreams, the man looked up from the lines of cocaine on the desk. There was another figure in the room. Some whispered it had antlers, others horns. Still others said it was just an idea given form. The man at the desk saw his father’s casually cruel smile, and eyes as cold as a banker’s soul.

“It is time, then?” he said, distantly pleased his voice didn’t shake; he had little to be proud of any longer, save for small glamours of pride.

The figure inclined its head and handed a piece of parchment — no, paper, a mere trick of light, the same that made a hand seem a claw had befuddled him and the man took it.

“Why this one? Why in person?” he said, unable not to speak. He felt as if others were speaking at the edge of hearing, that he was part of some ancient tradition stretching back across time and space.

The figure said nothing, the silence deafening.

The man quailed back in the seat and took the paper, signing his signature in an untidy scrawl.

And Barney was renewed for another season.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

On Family Structure

Upon preparing the second draft of volume 1 (Contact), I realized that I'd made a few screw ups.
A) All the MCs (Emma, James and Leo) are only children and
B) Theyan ll come from two-parent families.

The former was authorial laziness, the second just odd. So I began to alter things:

Leo now has an older brother studying 'university' who will show up later in the novel. Parents remain together.

Emma remains an only child, though her dad died when she was an infant, mom has run the store etc. mostly on her own in the past few years. (I was able to figure her mom out perfectly, and never did get a handle on her father, so figured it was best to jettison him.)

James ends up with a younger sister (Caroline), his parents being divorced [in lieu of his mother having died a few years ago] and a younger half-brother, the latter of whom will show up. His mom's parents won't show up now, however. At least, I don't think so though I will at least have them mentioned.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Notes on Dogs of War

To be deleted when I get home:

Progress on the second volume isn't possible until I redo the first. To whit:
* James has a younger sister (Caroline) who is studying abroad.
* Leo has an older brother (Thomas) who is in university. Like Leo, he was home-schooled between Dixon River and Ottawa. (Dad works out of D.R., Mom in Ottawa. They both moved here after Thomas went to 'university'), because of Leo. Thomas is in the CSE, same as they are. (It will be him coming home, rather than Lance, who deals with missing parents.)
* Emma will be raised by her mom alone,who runs Healthy Planet with Emma's (free) help and anyone Emma can coerce into helping. Her mom shutting down shop to go to the reservation then becomes that much more sinister.
* Linda has no family in the town and keeps largely to herself outside of work. Should have good relationship with Leo's doctor (who needs to be named and show) and get a few scenes to herself once the others become aware of her.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Summary of nanoes to date

Waking Dreams (2003): The first nano, a tale of voodoo economics (with real voodoo) in a city that was sometimes only half-real. Multiple view-points, many characters, entire scenes done as poems and the ghosts of murdered children who sang twisted songs to communicate. Finished in 20 days with an epilogue, began work on a sequel that never went anywhere.
Higher Ground (2004): Fantasy in the 'humans go to another world, try and get back home' variety about two brothers. Should have been longer, but I burned out near the end. Probably a better story than I recall.
Guardian Monsters (2005): Written while having just moved and job hunting. Not that good a story, but was sci-fi in the future.
My Cat Used To Be A Buddhist (2006): Literature: an attempt to write a nano in 5 days while working each day and having parents staying at my place. Two hours in the life of an unnamed protagonist wherein the reader learns they are waiting for a phone call and eventually why: almost no dialogue, save for conversation with the cat briefly. It starts well, but should have been a 30K story at best.
New Fires (2006): Fantasy story about alchemists and magic. Written because I'd made an agreement with myself that I wouldn't spend the time/energy on making fantasy rpg games anymore, so I made a novel in the world and then ran a game in it set at a later time.
The Coroner's Tale (2007): First high-research nano, about a coroner in a fantasy world trying to solve a murder mystery. Finding information on CSU stuff from the 14th century was a pain, but I do like the story.
Roadside Attractions at the End of the World (2007): Surreal urban horror/fantasy.
Necessity and Power (2008): My attempt at a superhero novel. Should have been much, much longer given the background. (My notes included information on over 80 characters.)
Roadside Attractions (new version) (2009): Better version of the previous nano, re-done from scratch just using some of the same characters.
The Adventures of the Miskatonic Elementary School Kids #1 (2009): A quasi-parody of the Bailey School Kids series idea, this is definitely one I plan to revisit and fix/change.
Shadows of Never (2009): A family dragged into Neverland (and Everafter, then girls version) who have to deal with what the death of Captain Hook has wrought, a legacy of being a lost boy, the appeal of pirates and love. Very odd story.
Monsters & Miracles (2010): Urban fantasy about an insurance company who decide to kill off all supernatural critters in an area to save themselves money. Ended up more being about two characters relationships than anything else, which was quite fun.
Dogs of War, vol. 1: Contact (2010): Aliens land in small-town Ontario to begin the process of converting humanity to their religion. First in a planned 3 books.

Aside from nano, three novels exist in what I call the Shuck Cycle as well as drafts in various forms of 4-5 other novels in varying states of completion.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Cumulative Nanowrimo Word Counts

Waking Dreams (2003): 52,214
Higher Ground (2004): 105,857
Guardian Monsters (2005): 54,347
My Cat Used To Be A Buddhist (2006): 50,074
New Fires (2006): 50,857
The Coroner's Tale (2007): at 62,857
Roadside Attractions at the End of the World (2007): 50,314
Necessity and Power (2008): 74,988
Roadside Attractions (new version) (2009): 50,269
The Adventures of the Miskatonic Elementary School Kids #1 (2009): 50,277
Shadows of Never (2009): 50,002
Monsters & Miracles (2010): 67,571
Dogs of War, vol. 1: Contact (2010): 72,747

For a grand total of: 792,374 words thus far in 7 years. Damn.

and done

Whew. Did 140K in total, 72 and change on Dogs of War and 67.5 on Monsters & Miracles. The first volume of Dogs of War did work, and only deviated from the outline in minor respects, though I suspect that once I finish the whole draft of the trilogy much of the first book will become back-story so that it begins with more of a bang than it does.

(For example, plot wise the aliens don't actually show up until book 2, making book 1 very limited in terms of actual contact. It works in my head, but probably not in terms of story and pacing as well alas.)

OTOH, this became the first year I've written for nano on the last few days: every year prior I finished with at least four days to spare. Granted, the weekend and part of the last was spent helping parents move, so there is that but it still became rather surreal. More to follow tomorrow.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thoughts for next year

It occurs to me that Santa's elves invading north america on Santa's orders would make for a fun nano...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This, an update.

Just passed 120,000 words in total [Insert mutters about Open Office here], and just reached Thursday, plot wise. As Dogs of War ends mid-Sat, novel time, that's pretty good overall. It is pretty much certain I won't make the 160,000 word goal, however, for a few reasons.

1) Helping parents move this weekend (Fri-Sun) and also did on Saturday.
2) Right hand is being rather sore. Long story, incident at work involving a window, customer, me, arm, tenons etc. It was fine last year, but this year is rather colder and seems to be being rather more annoying as a result. Doing even 1K an hour is unlikely at present.

Not a problem anyway, really. I hope to finish the plot of the Dogs of War book 1 story, but if I don't, I can always use December for that and probably begin work on Book 2 as well.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Open Office update

Today has proven itself to be an odd day, thanks to Open Office. Via a random browsing of the nano tech forums I learned that OO has a bug where it takes curly quotes (which I like, because they are pretty) and turns them into a word. So "Hi," becomes 2 words, with one quote or two oddly. Which means once I reformatted both nanoes to straight quotes and ran them through the word count nano api I ended up losing 3.5K of 'words' from Monsters and almost 2K from Dogs of War.

Which means that I have written over 5,000 words today and thanks to OO I have also written none. Yay.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Midpoint-ish update

Just hit 100,000 words overall. 30K in 6 days on Dogs of War. Not as much as I'd like -- or planned to do -- but I have to do just under 5K a day to hit the goal, so over 6K a day for a few days isn't all that bad. It is going slower than I planned, but I think some of that is a factor of having a real outline: I large know what is going to happen already, so while I still get some surprises while writing it out, the general plot isn't going to do a giant swerve and have me writing to find out what happens next.

Also managed to toss another $20 to nanowrimo via paypal (I was just lucky to have some money in it at all), so that was nice. Now for a break and then - onward!

Monday, November 15, 2010

fun with dogs and war

13,000 words into the story, first day of it (and plot) finished. The rough plan is for the entire story to span one week, and the same for each subsequent book. I hope to shift focus from character to character at it goes and, since this is the first time I've done a real outline (about 4K of pointform notes) I've been able to add in stuff I forget about briefly and foreshadow characters and events who won't pay off until the second or third book.

It's proving fun so far though I'm still getting a handle on some of the characters and not quite sure if I'll be able to pull off a few of the conceits properly -- I have decided that the mad scientist is going to stop explaining his inventions in real-world terms, if only because it causes the other characters to have massive headaches when he begins designing a car to run on what he calls cold fusion, but made up overnight from parts of a car, fridge and a microwave.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

bits that don't make the first draft...

These are bits I write during sections that elicit a chuckle and then get deleted after. (I don't hold with the 'keep all deleted stuff in a file/never delete!' nano aspect, but that's me, so they die.)

And so, for the sake of the future ..

From nano #1:
"I just get ticked off at people like that. Saying there is no God, by whatever name we give it, as if the entire universe has no kind of plan, no order, and was just being created while we sat here by someone trying to reach 42,00 words (who has realized typing that out would have netted more words) and also that this entire paragraph will not be in any draft after this, amen."

And written today while working on #2:
“Look, the author of this story doesn't find those things important. You could just as well ask me my favourite colour, but he doesn't give a shit about whatever hobbies I might have. We're just vehicles for prose and not real people at all. The bastard.”


I do think it would suit the spirit of nano to do an entire story breaking the fourth wall, though... perhaps next year.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nanowrimo - finished one!

The first nano has finished, at 70,000 words. Oddly, the result is I wrote 50K in 5 days and then 20K in 6. Was hoping for 80K, and the second draft of the story is liable to be closer to that.

Now to spend the next 2 days working on plot/outline for the second nano to see how it all will hold together.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Nano #1 progress

And at 60K now as a total, which is about where I wanted to be at the end of this weekend. The goal for this weekend is ~20K to finish this story then a pause of a day or two to work on plots for the Dogs of War novel. On the plus side, the latter is intended to be a trilogy so if the story for book 1 comes short I can always work on book 2 and so forth as needed.

Surprises thus far:
* Terry and Aiden's relationship became a LOT more important once I realized where it was going to go. Knowing what would happen at ~50K at the 5K mark made it much easier, if creepy, to build things up to that point.
* The eponymous government agent became fun enough to keep alive (that and I realized most every introduced character was getting killed off, which doesn't work that well).
* Mr. Morrow, owner of the Crematorium, almost tempted me to toss the entire story aside and do a story about his life instead :) Were I doing a 'all words count! more, more more!' nano, I'd have thrown in a giant "Hi! Here is my past!" few thousand words from his pov, but no.

Problems to work out in a later draft:
* Glasses. Aiden should have some, Terry not. (Terry had them only for a 'omg! I don't need them!' moment later on, but instead they just vanished and never get mentioned again.)
* Terry's breakdown needs to last longer initially, and he should be literally dragged back into Stuff.

All told, I'm pretty happy with the way the plot's gone so far though I suspect it would be a better novel were it not in first person.

Friday, November 05, 2010

And note for NEXT year ...

I have determined that next years nano will be one story. Over 50K, but not sure how much over. Just one single story, about 5K a day, and once it is done it will be done. Not that this year hasn't been fun and won't be, just that I realistically can't push myself to do more words than what I have planned. Well, could but I know I wouldn't much like it, and liking it is the large point of doing nano to me.

So this will, probably, be the last year I challenge myself, word-count wise, toward a goal.

Update (november 5th)

And 5 days into nanowrimo, at 50K. Plan do do a little bit tomorrow and Sunday, but mostly take the week slow and get the last ~30K of the story done and then work on the second nano the next 2 weeks, but at a slower word/day count. the story is shaping up pretty well though I am not quite sure how/where the plot goes from here, in concrete terms. I know how the story ends for the major characters, but am still not quite sure how they'll all get there.

Monday, November 01, 2010

nano progress, day 1

Having decided to not do The Empty Book, I am working on Monsters & Miracles (another version/variant on) from the first person. So far I've done a shade over 10K for the day and worked up a mental game plan for the month.

Week 1: 10K a day for 5 days, weekend 'off'. (If I don't make the count, I can make it up those days: no big deal deal.)
Week 2: 30K for the week, thanks to work and everything else.
Week 3: Repeat week one.
Week 4: Repeat week two.
That leaves me with the tail-end of the month as a buffer and no real stress in all of it. Or so I tell myself :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Facebook Status Updates, Part III

Since I will be doing nano in November and likely posting nothing of note here (save for nano status updatates), some more facebook bits. All the Boy and Fox bits end up not being used in the actual story.

------------------------------

And, having been given the Spear of Destiny in the mail via FedEx, Joe-Bob held it aloft and wondered how fast he would be arrested for carrying it about in public.

If you build it, they will come." It came to me in a dream, but the waking world was zoning laws and permits and city regulations and neighbour complaints and, eventually, I had another dream and burned it down for the insurance money.

None of the children could think of Narnia in the same way after they found the porn in the wardrobe.

There was a drunken djinn once, genie in the common tongue, who never had a limit on the wishes she gave. And yet, no one sought her out, for who would dare to gain everything they desire?

It was shortly after finding out she could turn flesh into stone that Medusa decided to become a sculptor.

Your TV only shows new episodes of cancelled tv shows.

Story idea: The day in the life of a Production Assistant at a Hollywood TV show where the real secret is that the actors aren't actors. It's really doctors, serial killers etc. hired for maximum realism.

After biting the hand that fed him, Rex knew he had gone far beyond being a Bad Dog. He was a terrorist now, and The Pound was the only place they'd put him.

Cath-22: Yossarian's catheter in the nursing home.

"Of course," the wizard said slyly, "you can only understand others as far as you understand yourself. And in all of them, everything you see will be reflections of your true self."

I think it would be fun to show up at a talent show. "I can saw a woman in half."
And then, as you're being dragged away by the police, brandish the bloody saw. "I never said I was a magician! I did the act!"

An African fable:
When she woke, the first thing she said to her doctor was: "My children, what happened to my children?" She was told: "Madonna took them." And she was very, very confused.

Whenever you wake up, the bed always has the impression of someone else having slept beside you, but no one is ever there.

The artist giggled. "You shouldn't be asking me why, Director. You cut my funding, so I am going to cut you. Every year the arts lose ground to the sciences and the world loses a little more wonder. I am merely addressing the departmental budget ... and proving, one cut at a time, that art is not science. Art is passion."

From notes for nanowrimo: "But a prison with no hope for release neglects the virus -- and ultimate despair -- that is hope."

“Asking a dragon why they did not eat you is unwise,” the dragon rumbled. “Much like looking a gift horse in the mouth, except a dragon can burn your head off.”

My second nanowrimo is going to be weird and fun. It includes a football player turned mad scientist, an artist whose parents sell encyclopedias door to door for a living (in 2010...) and a park uplifted to sentience by aliens.

"Ah, yes. Your poem is quite beautiful, but don't you know that the more beautiful something seems the less likely it is to be true?"

"But is their anything you want to ask us?" Oprah said.
"I find your religion of McDonald's rather disturbing; could you explain it to me?" the alien said.

“If – if foundations aren't shaken, people forget that they are there or what made them strong. Traditions, too; sometimes they're just things people do because people have done them.” He raised his head and met her gaze. “Sometimes, some things need to be broken.”

According to the laws of chronal physics, upon receiving a time machine (from your future self, naturally) the first thing one does -- knowingly or not - is invent the platypus.

I think of happiness as a false positive.

“I didn't think anyone would answer me,” Boy snapped “That's why I prayed.”

Love is when you tell someone you really, really like them and they do not issue a restraining order in response.

The Ghostbusters looked at each other, then at the entity in the containment unit. No one said anything, but they all knew that capturing the Holy Ghost changed things.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

nanowrimo research ...

In terms of books read, that is.

How To Defeat Your Own Clone & Everything Is Going To Kill Everybody
Both bought in HMV as fun science books and proof cool titles work: people wanted to borrow both. Some useful and fun science primers on odd things and people.

The Case For God & Letters To A Christian Nation
Variant books on religion to give me some ideas for the one aliens in the second nano.

Prisons We Choose To Live Inside
A very interesting examination of freedom and war.

Karma Wrapped In Bacon Dipped In Chocolate
A book by a zen practitioner about practical applications of zen during a very bad year.

Curtains & The Dead Beat
A book on working as a mortician and one about the obit pages of papers; I doubt the latter will prove useful for either novel but it has been a fun read.

War Before Civilization & Beyond UfOs
The densest books (next to The Case For God) that will likely be skimmed more than read due to a lack of time.

A lot of it involves death, aliens and religion, and most of it is research for the second nano more than the first. I also have a couple of books on small towns and some other religious ones I'll probably not get around to reading until after nano, so they'll likely just inform the next draft of said works.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Just because...

$10 - donation.
$20 - tote bag.
$250 - netbook.
$30 - cover for.
$150 - groceries, so far.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

plotting....

Work on Dogs of War goes well, relatively speaking. The aliens have been developed and become akin to buddhists peddling enlightenment. As one reader of the file of them commented, "it feels overall like an interesting critique of the love of science as a new agey culture thing", which I found interesting. I need to do some research on deaf culture for one character still and flesh out other secondary characters but things are coming together.

Regarding The Empty Book, I have notes on the major characters and a vague plot outline in my head: by nano standers, it's more a pantster than a plotter. (Dogs of War, naturally, has to be plotted out since it's a planned trilogy kind of deal. Or just the three sections as one volume, depending on how long it works out to be.) The Empty Book is going to be easier to write, I think, because there are fewer characters. But only time, and November 1st, will tell.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The FBI and Lennon's fingerprints ...

FBI seizes John Lennon fingerprints before auction
Peter Siegel, co-founder of GOTTA HAVE IT!, the shop selling the fingerprint card, said he was bewildered by the FBI action and interest during the week also by Homeland Security.

"This great icon has been deceased for 30 years," he said. "This is not a national threat."

The card was consigned to the shop by a well-known promoter who bought it about 20 years ago, Siegel said.

In a week-long discovery, Siegel said the FBI, "with a sense of urgency," was concerned with whether the card had been part of Lennon's file and was lost or missing.

"We're investigating how the item came to be in a private collection," FBI spokesman James Margolin said. "It is apparently a government document and would not normally be in the commercial stream."
Begin conspiracy theories on why the FBI wouldn't want anyone having access to Lennon's fingerprints in 3 .. 2 .. 1....

Mine are either the banal
a) he died
or the fun
b) because the clones they made of him would have his fingerprints.

nanowrimo - titles!

Nanowrimo #1 is now going to be called The Empty Book. It's a horror story about a man named Brodie who learns the true nature of the world following an attempt at suicide and gets involved with the wars of magicians, angels, demons entirely against his will. It is emphatically not a feel-good book in my head.

Nanowrimo #2 is an urban sci-fi story involving a small town in northern Ontario and alien invasion of earth. The plan is for a trilogy called Dogs of War. The first book will be Contact and be about three high school students and their encounters with aliens, being altered by (other) aliens. It's going to be about war and religion and the sacrifices made on all sides. It will, however, have more humour than the first nano.

Word-wise, I am hoping to do two 80K nanoes this year.

Monday, October 04, 2010

nanowrimo #2 chosen :p

And doing Dogs of Wars as Nano #2. To summarize: "Aliens arrive to convert humanity; another alien species alters 3 humans (and a park) to fight them."

nanowrimo #2 ....

As my goal for this year is to write two 80K nanos, I'm having to give some thought to the second one. I know the first is horror, and going to be damn dark, so the second will need humour to lighten things a little. I know it's not going to be period-fantasy, since that would take hella amounts of research -- and, as much as I like it, cost me money in the process.

I *think* I'm going to actually work on a novel idea I had years ago that never made it past a couple of pages in all drafts of it involving alien invasion. Alien invasions are always fun, after all.

Friday, October 01, 2010

hula hoop craze

Hula Hoops were the first insane fad (via a link). Demand that appeared and vanished during 1958, causing Wham-O to lose money despite the popularity of the trend. So how/why did the trend die out? What was it meant to do?

nano summary

From a thread asking us to summarize our nano in 20 words or less:

A man discovers the world is a prison made by 'god', kills himself in response.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nano plots

The nanowrimo file grows. Lots of odd, random bits throws in, a variety of plot ideas and conceptions. Much of this is liable to be culled and ripped apart as nano draws closer, but so far I have the first scene in my head and a nasty idea of what the ending is going to be. It's going to be a horror novel in most every sense of the word where even the people with the grand and good goals have to go through hell to try and achieve them and how even good goals and organizations simply fail to work.

The real world demands compromises and breaks even the noblest of goals. You want to help others? Sure, but you'd better be prepared to take it up the ass during the process. And that is in the normal world, while the bulk of the novel takes place behind the stage, as it were, dealing with secret monsters and magicians and the small-minded people who want to rule or change the world.

Sometimes I worry myself :p

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A note for nano

This is from me, to me.

Wikipedia is not that reliable, but here is Jeanne Calment (122), Marie-Louise_Meilleu (117), Christian Mortensen (115) and Henry Allingham (113). All supercentenarians, all smoked. (There are also combinations of vegetarianism, eating chocolate and wine among them, but that's the one common factor.)

Which means, obviously, that smoking can keep you alive longer. There must be a trick to it, however.

Monday, September 13, 2010

namowrimo 2010: working on the tone

Insect wings hummed on his back, muscles straining painfully as they hummed a tune Brodie almost knew, with echoes of nails across boards and the dentist chair under it as the wings tried to adjust to human flesh, digging deep into his bones to stabilize the both of them.

His heart hammered hard in his chest as blood flowed from his body into the wings. The memory of the insect they’d been was deserting the wings and he began to glide rather than fall, feeling things tear deep inside his body as the wings tried to make him into something Other.

The ground was not coming close soon enough.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Truth

There is one trick to learn in life, just one: how easy it is to take a life.

And one lie to forget: life is sacred.

Do those things, and you have Truth and power at your side. While all others will be hemmed by prisons of decorum and conscience, of shame and guilt, self-loathing and self-pity, you will be free.

And only the free can truly act. Justice without mercy, law without weakness, strength without shame. It is only those of us who are free who can change the world, who can shape it from outside, who can cut it so fine.

We are the surgeons the world needs. We are the judgement it craves. We are the the hands that that will heal without pity and make war without flattering.

And you, who are too weak to be strong, dare call us monsters? We are only w2hat you are too afraid to become, for once you act you cannot cease from action. Once you find Truth, you cannot settle for lies, and the Truth will take you far and deep and wide.

And there will be blood. Even your own.

3 boys, one moral, several lesssons

The three boys played paper, rock, and scissors with the real deal, to make it more fun. It ended tragically when, beating Joe's paper, Henry stabbed him in the eye with the scissors. Then Alphie went all Cain and Abel with the rock.

If there had been four of them, they would have added dynamite.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Facebook Status Updates, Part II

And a few more status updates; one friend jokingly thought the first should be a t-shirt :)

“You know how, when you were walking along the beach?”
“Yeah?”
“And there was only one set of footprints?”
“Oh, come on --.”
“God was piggybacking.”

Short story in 6 words: See? I told you they’re friendly.

If Jehovah's Wtinesses don't believe in blood transfusions, can they become vampires? Discuss.

"Magic is not the negation of science, my child; on the contrary, it is where all unified theories take us in the end."

I looked at the ghost who had been my wife. She was thin and taut, bones jutting out under pale flesh; everything about her was hard. She wore white, probably to tick me off. Her anger was a cold wind in the room and her fingers crooked like claws. “Being dead changes a lot of things, Nathan. Not enough of them that matter, though.”

What, you think you are children of Light? That your species will enter the age of Acquarius to become stars? Are you truly that stupid? You destroy the planet, murder each other, leave half your world starving to death while the other half finds new ways to avoid noticing that. Fool. This world you’ve made, with oil spills, wars, pettiness: that is the limit of human potential.

We all make lines we will not cross, in our hearts. Some will never murder, never love: it’s not about morality. And it’s not arbitrary, as much as it can seem like that. It’s - identity, choosing who we are in the world. As long as you can do that, you can call yourself sane. the danger in such things is that there are no lines we’ll never cross, not truly: people are capable of anything.

Everything changed when Tyler realized there was no such thing as twins.

Dear Grey Alien: If you really must mutilate cattle, try to avoid the ones with testicles.

Thought of the morning: the world needs redneck superhero teams.

What kind of person watches clown porn? Discuss and provide examples (politicians not permitted).

"I hate you sometimes," He said.
She shrugged. "Hate is a force of attraction as well."

They teach things, in the school that isn't a school. They tell stories, because all stories are lies, but never laugh (it could be cheaper than the medicines) and smile in the way that never touches the eyes, all surface without depth. When they speak truths, their voices are gentle and unkind. And when they fold the world, trying to make someone anew, there is always a corner left crumpled.

What if only one Siamese Twin gets raptured?

"Of course I adore The Secret," the Devil told Mike Wallace. "It tells you that the victim is always to blame, and makes you all so very smug. No wish changes the world that remains a wish, no dream that is only ever but a dream. Wonderful stuff."

"Of course I backed the Skynet project. Once the Terminators come, we'll finally be alive again, have an honest war with fighting for. Once Mr. gates gets on board, the time travel project will proceed as well. I can't see anything going wrong with this plan, can you?"

“I'm not going to be a hero,” Boy said, and there was silence under the mountain. “If being a hero means I have to kill a dragon – to kill you – then I won't ever do it. If it means thinking of others as monsters, it's wrong. Just because things have a price doesn't mean it has to be paid.”

"How many times do I have to tell you? I don't care how many calories you burn: a zombie apocalypse is NOT a valid diet plan."

Dangers of having an very active danger sense: Cigarette smoke. Transfat. Misleading advertising. Artificial food colouring.

"Look at them, hiding out in their gated community with security to keep out the riff-raff -- for their false sense of security and putting happiness above freedom and -- ..."
Charles interrupted my have/have not rant mildly. "What do you think Heaven is?"

Vampire facebook:
"Delia bites Joe"
"Joe stakes Deliah"

Whenever I read that the Prime Minister has shuffled the cabinet, I wonder if it is really a living tarot deck.

"Really, being a sociopath is probably the best choice for stable morals."
- Moi. Context is everything, though ..... right?

The children adopted by Angelina Jolie and Madonna form their own nation by 2030. Discuss.

The most boring job in the world be improved by mentioning "sting operations"

"I want to be free."
"You are social?" the teacher said. "A herd animal, yes?"
"Humans are."
"Then I am sorry. You would be alone, and confuse that with being free."

When the aliens abduct me, I'm going to demand to see if they really do have a gift shop on the UFO.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ah, plotting...

Falling to the Sky proceeds interestingly via writing group. Current scene semi-works (aka the swamp needs more detail as does the naming of things) but at least I know where it broke and how to fix it. Currently I write 1-2 sections ahead of what I submit, and the submissions are basically first-second drafts, altered based on comments about previous sections and plot changes from the new sections added in. Since I have the overall story arc mapped out, it works pretty well in allowing critiques to influence certain aspects of the plot (like having a certain item be a stone and not a glowing hand) as well as helping me figure what things are intrinsic to the plot and can't change.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Master Said, “See? They Don't Seem To Notice?”

The silence stretched between them until finally she broke it. “Your trip?”

“I don't want to talk,” he said, “about it,” and then did. “They took me to the cold place, the place that smells of death and the end of hope.”

“It is not always bad,” she said, though to him it was faith rather than hope that underscored her words.

She snuggled closer to him, their warmth enfolding; he did not pull away. This time his body was silent for him.

“What have they done to you?” she said, voice steady for the children. For them, she could do anything.

He tried not to think about that. “No more, never, never. That is what they did, what they are,” he said, a howl rising under his voice but he throttled it back. They could take him back. They could do worse things. He knew this in his bones.

“But --,” she said, and nothing else.

“I can still guard,” he said. “I still have my job here.”

“But.”

He could feel her wanting to draw away, but she did not. He wondered who this was for: the masters? the children? him? Herself? “They fed me,” he said. “And I never bit their hand, not once. I was loyal, and brave and true and --.” He stopped, courage failing for a moment.

“They made mockery of our love.”

“I should have been the one to say that.”

She stood, her eyes hard, a growl under her voice. “You did nothing wrong, and they made you not a man.”

“Sit,” he pleaded, but the speaking of truth seemed to have drained the strength from his voice.

“We should hurt them,” she said, and for a moment he saw the wildness he had fallen in love with and wondered if he'd ever see that flash of her again.

“No,” he said. “Our children would be taken to the death place or the river.”

“And you would not fight them,” she said, not making it a question.

“What do I have left to fight for?” he said. “I will not risk our children.”

Her tail thumped the floor feebly, trying to assure him and they curled up together on the mat by the door, trying to keep each other whole.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

nanowrimo 2010

Well, have a plot idea. As my previous "Oh, here is a nano plot idea!" things have led to ... never doing it for nano, I shall see where it takes me. (Seriously; I did 3 nanoes last year, none of which was the story I plotted out.) So all I will say it is is horror and involves gnosticism like a lot of good horror does.

And it's about how global warming and nuclear holocausts are good for the human species. Really.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Things I have ready today on the internet

Or, signs the net is awesome:

Family circus parody.
Other theories of Intelligent Design.
The use of zyklon-B in world war two. (And failures of attempts to trademade zyklon since then.)
An episode of Look Around You, a british comedy series making fun of old science videos.
Information of brothers Loki may have had.
Article on Prop 8, leading to comment: "and the terminator approves of that. Gay marriage: bringing skynet one step closer...."
Information on the co-founder of google.

And other things, all a result of links and random other connections from links. (The Family Circus of Values led to Zyklon-B. Because the internet works like this.) Of course, I haven't got that much actually writing -- or anything else -- done this evening yet :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Creating worlds

A curious factoid: I run roleplaying games online, often a couple of nights a week. Sometimes I throw in novel ideas to test them, but mostly they exist as their own things. However, years of creating settings that existed for mere months became tiring, so I made a promise that games, especially small one-player side games, would involve much less writing and time spent from working on novels and stories.

Despite this, I have written over 3K in notes for a side game in the past couple of days and have vague future plans involving horror and gnosticism running about in my head wanting to be written down. End result? Despite intentions, I always put more into such projects than I initially plan to.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Court

He came dressed in black, and the Court was silent when he entered. Some things are so deeply forbidden no one need ever actually forbid them; but since no one had, he continued to walk in slow, measured steps to the throne. The King sat on it, listless, unmoving: the Bishops hovering about moved quickly, buzzing about to offer advice and keep others away.

They did not stop him, because he was beneath their notice.

The Queen looked down upon him and her smile was as brittle as the paint on her face. “Why are you here?” she said in her great and terrible voice that could be felt over the whole of the kingdom.

“I bring word from the front lines,” he said.

“The Knights do that,” she said.

“The Knights are dead,” he replied, and the court was hushes for a moment.

The King roused briefly to murmur something only his wife heard.

“All of them?” the Queen snapped.

“Yes.”

“And you, peasant; why do you come here in the colours of the enemy?”

“Black is also a colour of mourning,” he said.

“There are always more Knights; we can promote from the ranks,” she said casually.

“Not without cost,” the peasant said.

The Queen gazed down, her pale face gleaming in the light from the floor. “You have a problem, peasant?” she said, drawing up her office around her.

“The enemy slipped through our lines too easily, and left without being harmed,” he said, the words tumbling out in a spasm of guilt and desperation.

The Queen raised her pale eyebrows. “Sabotage?”

“Treason,” the peasant said. “Someone broke the laws, worked out a deal. Or was jealous,” he added, and knew himself damned.

“Jealous?” the Queen said.

“In all the land, there is only one Queen, and you are a Power of our land. You can do anything your bishops can do, even what the towers that guard the kingdom can; you see it all, but there is one thing a Queen cannot do.”

Her smile vanished, and her face was colder than winter as she stared at him.

“I am only a pawn in the games of the Court,” he said into the terrible hush that gripped the court. “But Knights can move in ways even the Queen cannot.”

“Guards,” the Queen said.

The peasant smiled then, mirthlessly. “I will not serve a kingdom whose honour has been tainted. I do not just wear the black!” he cried, and the court froze as he lunged towards the King and stabbed him once, in the heart.

For a moment, as only the peasants could, as only a pawn in the game could, he briefly was the queen and then the king, and the world fell away as the Queen screamed her rage down into the swirling void of white and black and silence that engulfed them all.

Plotting Oddities ...

I am currently ~30K into Falling To Sky (formerly titled Boy and Fox). The write, edit, submit to writing group, alter future sections based on that etc. method is proving interesting. Definitely a better story, though it takes longer to write. At present there is about 15,000 words that have been deleted, became irrelevant, or were redone entirely from scratch. Whole scenes and characters no longer exist, which is always fun.

The current oddity is that the novel now has an Antagonist of sorts for Boy, which was never intended at all. As Shing doesn't show up until this point regardless, it doesn't change what has come before, but will alter future plans enormously. At some point, Boy will realize that Shing isn't a Villain, if only because people so seldom are and I've no intention of writing a simplistic Good vs. Evil story but the main character needs to THINK the story is like that at this point in his development.

Or so I hope. Shall be interesting to see what the writing group makes of it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Horrors.... ?

According to I Write Like my current WIP is written like James Joyce. I shall go off in a corner and snuggle stuffed animals and weep now.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rituals

“Why am I here” Father Black said. “I left the order years ago.”

“You are still a priest,” a man says roughly to his left, fingers holding his arm tightly.

The bag over his head is tight, but not enough to choke: he can't see, but it isn't restrictive. It occurred to Father Black that the two men walking to either side had put bags on heads often, easily dragged people from their lives and to.... where?

“Are you with the government?” he tried.

“After our fashion,” the man on on his right says; they both sound alike.

“Why am I here?”

“A baptism is needed,” the man on his left said.

Air hisses, cool and sterile, and Faqther Black finds himself guided into a room andn brought to a halt. The hood comes off, and the man to the right tells him not to look around, says something about security, but Father Black doesn't here. He's busy staring at a silver incubator devoid of tubes, and a small figure is lying in it. Not wrapped in clothes, but naked like a doll, with skin the colour of a dead body and wide black eyes that didn't blink at all. Small, long fingers reached up towards them

“I was asked a question?” Father Black said.

“They can't talk; most of the time we get images,” the man to the right says.

“This is an alien.”

“Yes,” one of them says. Father Black doesn't hear any weapons, see any movement, but the dark eyes of the creature in the incubator grow wider.

“What – what I am supposed to do?” he asked.

“You are a priest,” the man to the left says. “We have water.”

“What?”

“A baptism,” the man to the right said, without a threat of humour in his voice. “The aliens rarely produce children, but those they do must be blessed so they will not burn in hell. Baptism is a kind of exorcism, you know.”

Father Black nodded numbly and took the water from them, saying the words. The alien did nothing in return, and the water sank into that strange skin as though it were more sponge than flesh.

I'm sorry, he thought, not sure who he meant, or who he was speaking to; if the alien could hear his thoughts, it didn't react. The bag was placed on his head again and Father Black led from the room.

“Do – do you plan to wipe my memory?” he whispered.

“Who would believe you?” the one on the right says, and sounds almost sad.

Father Black said nothing else.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A first attempt at a back cover blurb

This is a story about maps, and what happens when you fall off of them. About how you lose your self to find it, the thin line between a blessing and a curse, and – like all stories ever told – about family. It's a story about dreams, what can come to pass if we lose them, and the prices we may to make them come true.

Once upon a time, perhaps tomorrow or maybe yesterday but not that long ago, a boy found his way out of the Wasting at the end (or, some said, the heart) of the spirit world, so far from the real world that the sky was devoid of even moon or sun. His name had been lost, and even the name of the person he had entered the spirit world to find, but the boy was determined to find his quest and the questions he had come seeking answers for.

There is a also a fox, because every real story has a fox in it.


Or, as I think of it, pretentious twattle. But it is something: it's hard to write any kind of blurb for this story that doesn't give it all away.

Journey's end

“I was going to call,” she says.

I speak a silence filled with unsaid words.

Her eyes flit about the room, taking everything and nothing in. The walls peel with the smell of chemical cleanings.

“I was going to say I love you,” she says brusquely. “But I thought, you already know that. Not much point in saying what you know, is there?”

I am dying, I think, or whisper, or say.

She pats my hand as though it were the paw of a dog. “I was going to talk about the weather, but it's not nice. All rain and chances of snow. It has to be above freezing to snow, you know. I read that somewhere.” And she laughs, the sound entirely devoid of a sob. “And here I am talking about it anyway.”

She reaches for the cigarettes in a pocket, drops her hand. “The doctors tell me you aren't in pain. They have you on drugs, so many drugs. You might not even know what I am saying.”

She looks at me, holding my gaze with hers; I see no tears, but a tenderness that confuses me.

“You never sent me letters; I almost didn't find you,” she says, soft, almost gentle. “But I did, and your eyes are so empty now, so very empty again.”

I want to ask how that can make her happy, what she could even mean, but my voice is a single breath, croaked, and she squeezes my hand and tells me she is here.

And somehow, despite everything, it seems right.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

travel

I remember you, sometimes. Not as now, but when your eyes were empty, drinking in the world without conditions, watching to learn and learning to watch. That is what a mother can love, what is remembered. There was a time when you were so empty you were beautiful.

I left when you were six to return when you were sixteen. I do that to all my friends, all my family: vanish and return, to see you with new eyes. We change slowly, but we do change, and if I had stayed with you, remained with any of you, I would never have been able to see your song except to confuse it with my own.

I don't have roots, you understand: I don't want to cease changing, to be a stone ground down by the river. And I want to see you change, how you grow and become someone new, each time I visit. I can remember each you that was, and each you that is, and when I try I can love them all.


I wonder if our eyes become empty again when we die?
I would love this to be true, but love has no place in truth.

You prove that to me with your tears, and all those letters you never write. If you really missed me, you'd find a way to find me, I said, gently, and you said you were going to travel too, as if you could hurt me with words. I remember your colic-crying; nothing you say can hurt worse, and I told you that you won't find anything that you can't find here as well.

I should have told you that we only travel to lose ourselves. I should have asked you if you ever thought I had changed as well. I wonder how empty my eyes are.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tanabata

They have done this since the time when the stars were young, when the earth was fresh and new, each year one meeting, one night on the earth and together.

"It should have rained," he says, after their bodies have had their way with each other,as flesh cools and they become two people again, no longer strictly whole even with their breath enfolding each other.

She looks up, startled; they have met for so long that no words are needed. One a day, aye, but more lifetimes than the human mind can easily compass.

"The rain makes it more piquant the next time," she says. "We never talk, then."

"No." He does not ask how she is, she does not ask of his year: they are here, and nothing else has any meaning before that.

"We could," she offers. "Only not politics," with a smile at some private joke he does not know.

For a moment he is angry with himself, and then with her, but he lets it pass. "I meant the magpies," he says roughly. "The rain would have washed away the oil from their wings."

She looks surprised at that, then looks at the bridge with fresh eyes. One hand rises to her mouth, reminding him of when he first saw her, but her eyes have ages and lifetimes in them now, and her hand lowers as she smiles sadly.

"I would have come anyway," she says. "I could not call this day off."

"Do you live for any other days?" he says, half-dreading her reply.

She just looks at the birds dying for them and says nothing.

He holds her tightly for a moment, savouring the smell of her hair.

"We could end our night early, send them home," she whispers.

And it is his turn to be silent. He kisses her again, to end speech, to dissolve thought, and loose and lose himself in their aching greed.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Why I should not have begun work on a sci fi novel

On the second page of the first draft of the opening, a character asks what day it is. There is an hour-long pause while I realize that they wouldn't use the current calendar and consider various metric calendars before settling on one, altering some bits of it and printing it off. End result: "It's the 42nd day of the second month."

OTOH, it does add a certain realism that is fun, but damn .... :p

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Time and cultures

Via a friend on facebook, the secret powers of time. (For what it is worth, the video is 10 minutes and I do plan to watch the 40 min. version on youtube linked to in the comment. Fascinating stuff.) |The gist is that different cultures are oriented to the past, present or future. Geography fits in to an extent, but it got me thinking that it would be a large basis for making culture clashes in novels work.

A different focus on time gives different ideas about the past, present, future, and one kind of person (say, Future) would be driven batty by a Present-focused culture that can be told smoking is bad, knows this, but it fails to register at some level. Insert other ideas as appropriate.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Witches and familiars

(via the morningstarr)
Word quickly spread amongst the villagers that the mystery child rapist was a tokoloshe, a hairy dwarf zombie created by witches for sexual purposes by removing the eyes and tongue of a human corpse. According to African legend the corpse then shrinks, grows hair and is reanimated to life to act as the witch’s familiar and sex toy.
A tokoloshe cannot be seen by adults, it carries a magic pebble in it’s mouth to make it invisible to grown ups.
Keeping this critter for possible (modified) use in something down the road. It makes for a fascinating mythology and, really, if one is going to have witches as evil, then this makes a hell of a lot more sense then black cats and the like. If a myth has witches as evil, then make them be evil. (I'd personally nix the child rape, for obvious reasons, but the idea of a familiar that is a witch's sex toy is amazing.)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Facebook Status Updates

I've fallen into the habit of posting bits of writing on facebook as status updates. Some are just lines jotted down in a file, others are bits and pieces that may (or may not) end up in a current WIP and some are short stories seeds for stories I will never actually write.


Bob knew he was being fired if he didn't upgrade to BrainBot 6.0, but all his education and programs worked with 4.0. Her'd avoided 5.0 by claiming it was too buggy, and now it was too late. Pushing thirty, he didn't even know if his brain could handle the upgrade. But he had no choice.

He told everyone he was a paranormal detective, but really he just liked seeing naked ghosts. Almost as much as watching them have sex.

He stepped out of the time machine, staring at his mantle clock and thinking it had worked, that he had moved an hour into the future and time would be his for the plundering. And then he read the paper, and damned daylight savings time with a heartfelt bitter sob.

"Why did you invent the time machine? To see the battle of Waterloo? The birth of Jesus? To meet Genghis Khan? Find out about the dinosaurs?"
"I wanted to go to my high school prom."
".... For the record, I'm writing down Jesus."
"I can't visit Jesus with a death ray!"
"What death ray?"
"The one I'm taking back with me."

The secret of magic is this: every work of fiction is really a travelouge. Understand that and you know all of magic you need to learn.

"Sanity is nothing more than proof your mind is a virgin," the man in the lab coat said with his cheery smile. "It will all be better soon. Scapel."

Cassie shrugged away Terry's question, her response light and dismissive: "We have an infinite capacity to bear the pain of others."

Jared smiled crookedly. When he spoke, his voice was terribly gentle. "To forgive requires a kind of judgement too."

"College girls?" The vampire managed to look paler than normal, like wamed-over oatmeal. "You don't go after them, little fledgling. What do you mean, why? They have mace! You want to know what it will feel like when the sun burns you to a crisp, get some mace in the eyes."

"Catching the pack of werepoodles was quite easy," Detective Christensen told the press conference. "We just went to pet stores and found out who was buying an excess amount of flea collars."

"You have to understand, mom and dad. I paid Joe Chill to kill you. I had to. There was no other way to become the Bat. The Bat needed your sacrifice for me to grow strong, to become the Batman, to fight crime. Because I couldn't do that with the vast fortune you ... left ... me. Oh."

"It is not that the dead don't wish to return; it's that they lose their way in the other world, lost without a Starbucks to guide them back through the darkness to the day."

There is a moment before the burning begins. The brief, fragile hope that you might escape, might not burn, that even fire can be kind.

"I don't think I get it," Terry said. "I mean, you've helped create a goddess. Doesn't that make you spiritual more than, you know, religious?"
Jared grinned. " Spirituality is just the privatization of religion."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A ghoul and his mother, a conversation

"This call may be monitored for quality assurance purposes."

Terry held the phone in his hand and said nothing. She always answered the phone like that, a family joke that now seemed strange, forced now that her husband was dead.

"Terry, I know that's you," his mother said on the other end.

"How?" he whispered.

There was a brief pause. "Call display. What did you think?"

"I don't know. Sandra called, about dad."

"And?"

"You know." Terry took a breath. "His body was missing."

"Ah. Missing."

"Mom," he began, the urge to confess choking his voice.

"Don't," she snapped. There was a longer pause. "I did tell you this call may be monitored, didn't I?"

"That's always a joke," Terry said reflexively, mind racing over the conversation; he didn't think he'd said anything incriminating yet, and nothing to tell people he'd eaten his father's corpse. He remembered to hang up a moment later, fingers trembling a little. Real police work wasn't hollywood; Ethan had told him that long enough. They'd have traced him, if they wanted to.

He set his phone down on the counter carefully and turned. His fist hit the wall before he'd consciously considered it, drywall cracking as he hit it again and again until bones broke, the smell of his own marrow easing something inside him. Terry shuddered slightly and watched the hand mend itself and pretended his tears were only from the pain.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Comments (for 2010)

Anonymous commenting has now been disabled, due to spam. (Catchpas isn't enabled for comments, because I hates it.) Not that too many people do ever comment, but even so.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mister Disaster

(In response to writing prompt 167.)

Mister Disaster doesn’t know he has that name. In folders that are classified 36 levels of security above the President (and this is the real one, not the show one that gets elected), there is a very thick file with his real name on it, and this one as well.

The file contains every trip he has taken in his life. And at each one, precisely two days and six hours after he leaves, a major natural disaster happens. No one knows why, but he had been awarded ‘free’ vacations in the mail and sent places the secret government wishes to damage. Sometimes he goes, othertimes Mister Disaster does not.

Despite the danger he could be to both king and country (and there is always a king, as long as there is a country), no one has ordered Mister Disaster suicided, because there are levels of government more secret even than that, where nothing is written down and only steel-trap memory records their comings and goings; and there, they worry Mister Disaster is something far more than a mere man, and keep a careful watch upon him.

And, naturally, they never vacation where Mister Disaster goes.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Novel research

Useless fact of the day while researching surnames for novel: Parents are not permitted by Urhobo cultural practices to count their children. The number of fingers often represents a count of one's children.

What the heck? you wonder, and rightly so. All I needed was to find out how common Johnson is as a surname in Canada (I was pretty sure it was #2 in the USA, though did check to make sure that was actually correct). Which led to the interesting oddity that the Canadian Census does not release that kind of information, that Li is the most common surname in Canada, and from that to the reason behind the few Chinese surnames, and from that information about Welsh, British, Irish, Urhobo and Byzantine naming conventions.

I surfaced from that with a deeper understanding of some oddities in such conventions, how they change over time and if the next fantasy world I do will even have surnames, beyond son of X and so forth. (Probably not.) The Chinese practise of giving everyone kin region C the same surname made me wonder about applying that to said settings but for now it's going to the back corner of my mind and the MC's last name is, simply, Johnson.

Mostly because another main character has Smith as hers and she's going to complain about it a fair bit, while it's never occurred to Terry to even really think about his.And for this little tidbit of characterization, the internet stole half an hour of my life :)

Friday, April 02, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A writing Prompt Thing I guess

Via a friends writing blog, I ended up doing a post about Peter the Great and some quick research on him. It being the internet, I ended up on the mad monarchs site and reading a fair bit of it.

What struck me as fascinating was how many rulers in Russia managed to rule -- if only by proxy -- despite being either physically or mentally unfit for the throne. Rulers of other countries would refuse to sign anything, wallow in their own waste and the country grind to a halt. And yet no one took matters into their own hands to end that, which strikes me as a little puzzling.

Is it fear of retribution? Divine rights of kings? I figure it's more that having a ruler is far better than the chaos that can follow not having one, with various parties battling over a throne. Which is the prompt: Have a king (or queen, prince, princess) who is liable to get a throne despite being "unfit", and follow through with where that leads a plot. Even if it's only background to the major story, it could be quite interesting to follow through on.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Worked (also: a rant)

The old alcar.blogspot has been incoporated into this, which probably means some of the older posts will have weird formatting but should be readable anyway. Said blog has been deleted in its entirely. The nice import/export feature did this.

After the fourth try. Because of 'catchpa'. Which seems to assume that anyone can read writing that seems to foil humans more often than spammer. And, if they cannot, can hear the so-called handicapped assist thing. I almost gave up entirely, on both of them, and would be quite, quite happy if catchpa was tossed into the bin of useless internet things.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Things one should not read while doing up notes for a novel on exorcism

Sex abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church are proof that that "the Devil is at work inside the Vatican", according to the Holy See's chief exorcist.

Father Gabriele Amorth stated that the consequences of satanic infiltration included power struggles at the Vatican as well as "cardinals who do not believe in Jesus, and bishops who are linked to the Demon." The devil is also apparently pure spirit and "At times he makes fun of me."

[Amorth] was among Vatican officials who warned that J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels made a "false distinction between black and white magic". He approves, however, of the 1973 film The Exorcist, which although "exaggerated" offered a "substantially exact" picture of possession.

And the devil makes fun of him. Colour me not surprised.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Rites of exorcism 3.0

Or something like that. I did one version to 20 pages, redid from scratch to 80 pages (35K and change) and realized I'd have to change a fair bit to get some characters feeling believable. Shelved it for current project, but it's nagging me again. This time with a solution: take the Rites 2.0, finish it in my head. And make it the back story to another novel. The only thing I need to keep, really, is the stuff with Aiden's grandmother. A lot of other things will make more sense, Brooke and Sal attempt to deal with their odd relationship as twenty-something's and I'll see where it goes from there.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

magnetic fields.

"Early Earth's Magnetic Field Was a Weakling"

If only it knew that in 3.5 billion years people would say such things, it might have tried harder.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Box and fox: an update (finally)

The story as it stands is now at 23.5K. It used to be a bit longer, but in editing some bits for the writing group I ended up re-reading it to date and realizing one character could not show up when she did. Why not? Honestly, I don't even know now but scenes were deleted and attempts to move her reunion with Boy worked on. All told, I wrote ~5K new words and lost about 7K during two weeks and change. OTOH, I have a better idea of where it is going from here than I did before and the next few scenes are sitting about in my head waiting to be written.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Of grass and empire

The grass growing through his ribs was tall enough to hide his bones. They were all there, I was told, but felt no need to count. The supernatural being had not been touched after he fell, or so my guide assured me, stumbling over the words. English it a hard enough second language to speak when one is not afraid, I thought, and just listened. He didn't want to be here, of course, but he dared not disobey.

"Fresleven," I said, not meaning to speak aloud, but the bones did not stir. A foolish fancy, but such things strike us more easily out here than in England. This is the very edge of the Empire, at least metaphorically, and things are different here. They believe in magic and they make us magic. And why not? We are capable of things they can barely dream of, holding an Empire that stretches around the entire world. Even Rome fails in comparison to what we are, though we still use their roads.

And here, without roman roads, there are other paths, of stone and bone. "All we do is build on the ruins of the past," I said to myself and shook my head. I drew the cross over his bones and looked over at my guide, who saluted me nervously.

Morituri te salutant, I thought, surprisingly myself.: the guide looked healthy enough. Even so, I did not salute back. "The body must be buried."

He froze. "We dare not move the Being. The villagers fled, and dare not return. To disturb the remains would free it to hunt them."

I raised my eyebrows. Our family is not that far removed from the King, and we have lands and titles aplenty. The guide drew back (perhaps he paled, I can never tell with them) but shook his head again.

"You are in my service," I said, and he squirmed and nodded jerkily. He wanted to run, but my words held him in place.

I do not know why. They thing us supernatural begins, and perhaps engender it. I can order the common rabble and servants with ease, but even the King, I think, cannot command in the way my voice has here.

"Would you die, if I asked?" I hadn't meant to speak, but I couldn't help but do so.

"Yes," the guide said, not hesitating a moment, his eyes clear and flesh willing.

I hesitate in turn, taken aback. I was to ask if we are gods or demons, we supernatural beings, but I am almost -- ah, almost -- certain he would lie to save my honour at the cost of his own. I feel strangely heavy as I turn away from the corpse. 'The gentlest of men', Fresleven was called, and it lead to attempted murder over two black hens.

And they know we die as they do, supernatural or not, I thought, but tried to keep the thought from showing on my face.. I wanted to ask what the guide thought of us, of Britain, but the building I had been housed in this morning was a chief's home, once, and I imagine it was built on older ruins still.

"There will come empires after ours," I said, half to the guide, trying to be only the man I was for a moment, in this solitude. "I imagine we will feel towards them as you do to us, angry over what they have, what we lost, marvelling at their arrogance, secure in our condemnation."

For a moment I thought nothing had changed, that my attempt had failed, when the guide favoured men with a slow, sad smile. "They will speak of rights," he said, "as you do now. But we have only responsibilities."

To whom? I opened my mouth to ask. And for what? I closed it and smiled in return. My children would know, or their children's children, when all they would have is quiet pride devoid of arrogance and clothing of the lost dreams of empire to chase them to sleep each night.

I turned away, heading back towards the ocean. "If I stay, I will die like Fresleven. I will make his mistakes, demand things, wish for things that are not mine to have."

"All men do that," the guide said.

"You would have an Empire again?"

"All men learn as well," the guide said smoothly, but did not quite meet my gaze.

I walked away, leaving the supernatural being behind me to be food for worms and a story for villagers. Our empire would end in time, but Fresleven might live on, destroy of villages and seeker of hens, to become a story told to children long after even Britannia is forget. The thought was, strangely, almost cheering, but I shared it with no one, and even less to be a supernatural being and bind and loose what I could not contain nor understand.

I fled from power to safety, and maybe that -- and people like me -- are why the Empire will fall. I don't know. I don't think I want to.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Lion, The Children, And The Zoo

Dearest Judith,

It is with deep regret and a sorrowful heart that I write this missive to you. I cannot say when the madness first began to appear among them, but it spread among the children like wildfire and would not be contained. I believe the fancies begun with tales by Mr. Tumnus, our elderly gardener who once worked for the zoo until the unfortunate incident with the elephant which I shall not relate herein.

I have reason to suspect that the Turkish Delight Mr. Tumnus gave to Lucy and the others contained various hallucinogens owing to the bizarre nature of their behaviour and the eventual tragic results. While the police are still not certain about the events at the county zoo, it is known that Edmund decided a random woman was his mother and refused to leave her side until the other three children freed a lion and it attacked her and killed the poor woman and then the four children who were to all accounts trying to get it to “name the animals”, of all possibly absurdities.

The lion was rather enraged and the police shot it a multitude of times before it fell, breaking a stone park bench and, astonishly, trying to rise again before they shot it several more times. The children, alas, could not be saved.

The police are still searching my home for clues as to their aberrant behaviour but alas with the disappearance of Mr. Tumnus we may never know just what he gave poor Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter. God rest their souls.

Your loving brother, Digory.

P.S. You would not believe the condition of grandmother’s old wardrobe in the attic. I don’t know what games they were playing in it, but it is positively disgraceful. I cleaned out human waste from it and some of Lucy’s toys, leading me to believe the other three must have locked her in their at one point.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Box and fox excerpt

"A boy was following the path. He was thin and hollowed out, skin pale with a hint of grey under it, head devoid of hair save for spare eyebrows."

That is probably one of my better mistakes :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

A one word bit of fun

one word gives you a word, and sixty seconds to write something about it. This was mine:


All he had, he told her, was hers. She didn't believe him and returned home, across the seas, and he sent her his heart later that year, in a box, only it never got past customs.

Love, the post office said, is not exportable. Neither is that.

Friday, January 01, 2010

The nail

Thinking about Roy, my tears tracing
fresh lines of woe into my face like
the cuts on my arms, I cover my sorrow
with a veil, my arms with
a top, and oh, my sorrow, and oh, my
sorrowess, the memory is tender
as a bruise and my muse expires
from the pain of ecstasy as I write
his name in the sand of time to be
washed away, grimed and ruined
in all but memory of Roy.

I would have nailed him like Jesus
to the cross, licked his sorrow like
sandpaper-kitten toungues and the pain
of my broken nail reminds me tears swelling
like my belly (all better, now)
like a whale on the beach, dying, and he
no longer is, but I wish to see him
but once and again, forevermore. My love.