Wednesday, October 31, 2012

facebook & google+ status updates part XVI (Sept/Oct 2012)

Trust not those who cheat at cards: false once will prove false again, and over other things beside.

"I wanted to be a teacher when I was younger. Then I remembered what kind of student I'd been; there's no way I was going to teach kids like that."

What follows is a public service announcement:
The internet is not your diary.
That is all.

In order to see who REALLY reads the newspaper, the editor removed the comics section to watch how many subscriptions got cancelled.

"Happiness is just a lie we tell ourselves," he said pompously.
I snorted. "What isn't?"
And to that he had no reply at all.

His voice was a like a saw grating through bone every time he said: "Have a nice day."
Why Wal-Mart kept him as a greeter remained a secret.

Her silence was an emptiness waiting for you to fill it.

"Certain things only work to the extent that they are not questioned: religion, relationships, often families. The moment you start asking questions is when they fall apart."
"I just asked if I could borrow a cup of sugar."
"Even so."
"Look, if you didn't have a cup, you could have just said....."

I wondered why superhero movies felt the need to retell their origin story over and over, and then recalled that's what religions do as well.

Fact of the Day: Even if you you realize you have gravy left over in your fridge, smothering both hash browns and an omelette in it is not always going to work.

The chicken's claim to have crossed the road 'to get to the other side' fell apart under Colonel Saunders cross-examination, which included waterboarding along with 11 secret herbs and spices.

"I'm not scared of monsters," the boy said proudly. "My dad is an accountant and he says auditing is the best form of exorcism."

"Why were you late for work?"
"I can only take the buses which advertise companies I don't find immoral."

To be without sin, one must live one's life as though one is being recorded at all times.

"The murderer arranged the corpses in a stylized letter M and painted them yellow," the Detective told the press. "We believe he's seeking sponsorships."

I prepared a list of questions to ask the job interviewer, including: Is this where you saw your life going five years ago?

I have a theory that the universe is really 16 billion years old and the start of everything being so confusing and difficult to map is the universe trying to shave off a billion or so years from the driver's licence.

Whether the narrative was subject to the law was a question that kept the Detective up late many nights.

The measure of how much character a home has:
Is it haunted or not?

"I have no desire for competition. " The vampire smiled. "Why do you think none other like me exist?"

"The flaw in your plan was assuming that their was any flaw at all. You really must give yourself more credit."

We give our hearts to others to break all the time. I don't think there is a single heart that comes with a warranty any more; we break them so very easily.

What the words needs is a zombie story involving cremated remains as zombies. Zombie ash, infecting the world, clogging everything.
It could, in the right hands, even be a metaphor for pollution.
(I may have overstated things using 'needs'.)

Fun things to suggest at work:
That if someone has nothing to do, they can recite pi backwards.

It was a very close vote, but in the end the town council determined that playing the bagpipes did not count as domestic terrorism.

A proposed hobby: Adding 'autographed by author' signs to bibles in bookstores.

The reason for the divorce turned out to be quite simple: upon first seeing his newborn son, Raymond scratched him under the chin and cooed: "Oh, what a cute little monster you are."

"If your hatred does not define you, then what is the point of it?"

No one expected the wrinkle-be-more cream to sell, but it did – if only out of spite for every woman's magazine on the racks.

My form of terrorism is simple: I like to strike up conversations with random strangers on a bus just for their reaction.

Creationists are secretly used-car salesmen. "4.5 billion years old? Nah, only 600 years on this here puppy. Works like a charm."

A further hobby: Adding 'Free picture of the Prophet with every purchase!' stickers to Qurans in bookstores as well.

"Every exclamation mark use you use pushes the Literature Doomsday Clock closer to the end."

He became a superhero because no one had heard of a supervillain named Bob.
This was not included in his official biography.

You know, writing a sex scene as if describing a chess match would be pretty fun.
"Check .... " "Check." "King me!"
"Well, that didn't go well." "My pawn moved two spaces. I said I was sorry."

"Duty before gods, before love, before honour. There is no other way to live."

Poor names for children's toys:
1) Helter Skelter
2) Youth In Asia: the board game for the whole family!
3) Monopoly: Whitechapel Edition

'After being scared by vampires one too many times, precautions are taken'
Cut to an image of a stake, a cross, a bottle labelled H. Water, and a box of Depends diapers.
Depends: for dependable results when slaying vampires.

What if grocery stores carried cloned body parts?

They dug up the graveyards and buried their dead in concrete a mile underground – if there was going to be a zombie uprising, they reasoned, the least they could do is reduce the numbers.

And after that moment, he was so happy that he never laughed again.

Ways to begin a day:
You waken the next morning to your alarm going off, feeling as if the flu-fairy decided to run you over with a cement truck.

Proposed essay: Stempink: an essay on sex and sexualization in steampunk.
(aka I typed steampunk as steampink and wondered 'what if'..')

Sunday, October 28, 2012

in which gods wander into the story

Among the questions that puzzle the God of Lost Socks is why he is male. Most gods are fluid, their shape a matter of choice; some can even alter their function, and this is power as gods see it: to not be yourself, even for a moment, is a wonder without compare. The God of Lost Socks, who calls himself Hole in order to have a name at all, has only two shapes: a small boy and a creepy old man. All lost socks are his and he stores them in a place all his own.

Some gods have heavens, which they often flee. The god of lost socks has a closet that stretches as far as the eye can see with more doors than most heavens can dream of. It would be a thing of envy, this closet without end, were it not for the smell. Lost socks gather in heaps and corners beside small doors of many shapes leading to closets and washing machines and the dryers of the world.

Most are never found again. A sock cannot weep, this is true, but the whisper of fabric on fabric is a sad, low rustle of things never found. The ones no one searches for are angry, though few notice it. If your socks get more holes than you would expect, it is quite possible you have lost too many socks and their anger has found you. It is also perhaps more plausible that you should just buy better socks.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

A snippet of the story

"I asked you not to do kill a witch here, nor bring them to the apartment to burn them in the oven. This is the second since I asked. I won't ask again."

"You won't, magician?" That there is nothing kind in Jack's smile goes without saying.

Boy's answering smile is kind, but does not reach his eyes at all. "I've known you for two months, Jack. I could tell the police so many things and they would hound you like a wild hunt, drive you from city to city without needing any magic at all."

"And that would free witches to do terrible things."

The fact hangs between them, ugly in its truth.

Boy stands, heading to the door, snatching his coat from the kitchen table. "I've done worse," he says, and does not slam the door behind him when he leaves.

Jack hadn't burned a witch in their oven, not even once. Three times he'd claimed to, neither had been true. Boy does not consider himself a man of many talents, but one that required no magic at all was knowing when someone was trying to trick him. Why Jack was doing it was more a matter of guesses, and Boy is rather certain that trying to guess the motives of a centuries-old immortal is a waste of time.

So he doesn't. In many ways, the people who become magicians aren't like you or me at all. He is angry at the lies, at Jack trying to push him toward anger, and that he burns off by walking through the night. The rain has fled the sky to leave behind clouds that the dawn dances through. Cities don't sleep, not as people do, but the stirring of animals and vehicles, of life and movement, of people and coffee machines, cannot but be noticed.

Electric lights flare in windows, tamed lightning cutting holes into the darkness the sun has yet to reach. Boy walks with the waking world until he finds a small coffee shop to duck inside, the local paper and a coffee enough. People slip in and out of the shop as he watches, coffee cups in hand. Modern talismans, but for the life of him Boy has no idea what they protect against.

The world changed when he was away. Some days it feels as though one day there will be more coffee shops than people in the city and no one will think that odd at all. He refills his coffee twice and watches the city through the prism of a single storefront. The rhythm of the city is as old as the village, a beat thrumming between people. Two hours produces nothing off-tempo at all, and Boy fills his coffee a third time with a frown.

Consider: put three people in a room and no one is going to entirely get along. Add more and you get factions, political groups, religions, fear, hate: all the noble sentiments about humanity cannot disguise the fact that we are fundamentally insane. Extend that to a whole city and the fact that nothing seems wrong at all is worrying on many levels. Boy finishes his third cup, leaves, walking quickly through side alleys and along small paths known mostly to cats and children. Two more neighbourhoods are circled; nothing leaps out.

No lost animals. No spike in the pulse of a city that needs a mage to soothe them, a city gone strangely quiet. His search widens, a brushing of fingers over telephone poles, asking them secrets, receiving images of posters torn down by wind and rain in reply. He shoves his hands in his pockets and begins a slow walk home. He has no idea what is going on nor why.

We can only see so far. Our failures of imagination are those of the world.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Character Names

For me, one of the harder part about setting a nano in another world is names. There's a balance between too normal and needing a pronunciation guide that needs to be reached, so after going through a couple of baby names books (and most importantly, one organized by country) I'm going with a combination of more odd/obscureish American, English and French names. I'd tried to avoid this, wanting something with a not-english base as the MCs are from north america but there's enough odd names to be had that it should work.

The three sources likely share enough of the same cognates to work and also fit the idea of the world as a refugee vs. my idea of giving each major centre a different country as a naming basis. The nobility travel, as do merchants, so names and naming would spread, ditto with naming children after the king, heirs to the real, important nobles and such. That's old  magic, naming your child after someone famous to deflect harm from them.

Tannis, Tandie. Wray. Artita.Tailleffer. Sorel. Eloi. Cyprien. The names will sound odd and unusual without being all that unusual in many respects, which should be half the fun. I'll likely end up reserving names like Cyprien (derived from Cyprus) for the nobility as a general rule of thumb. A naming system has been set up for the other two major species in the novel so this is at least sorted as a major impediment to, say, making a bevvy of secondary characters and writing out a plot.

The latter of which I must give more thought to. I know how one of the major antagonists dies. I have the scene in mind where the novel begins. And that is it. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Back Cover Blurb (nano)

When he was 12 years old, Jake Sinclair was abducted to another world. There was a war on. These things happen, and the sacrifice of his innocence was a price the magicians of the Kingdom of the Seven Keys were willing to pay to defeat a foe too great for their own magics to overcome. A boy with the magic to make wishes come true walked their world and an entire civilization fell with his aid before he was spirited back home.

Two years had passed, years of frantic search and worry. He told no one of where he'd been or what he'd seen, convincing himself it had to be a dream in order to keep on living. The family pulled their lives together,his silence becoming theirs. Time passed, and wounds were not healed but left to hibernate.

Now, as Jake is up for promotion at work and planning his marriage with his fiancée, and they have come for him again. And this time his younger brother is dragged with him to the Kingdom, where they must face old ghosts and each other while seeking only to return to the world they know.

Tagline: Trapped on another world to answer for crimes committed when he was a boy, all Jake Sinclair wants is to return home before rent is due, his finance leaves him and his car is impounded.

The tagline is too long, but other than that this isn't too bad for a blurb written out rather quickly. It is likely too backstory/info-dumpy for a real blurb, which would probably more focus on the war crimes, but it works for now I think.

... now back to adding locations in the Kingdom and giving thought to naming conventions and the fact that the story NEEDS more characters in it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

This post is for me. So there.

The Higher Ground remake has now been titled The Second Theft. A horrible title, but better than nothing at all. A little bit.

Things that are done:
The main characters have been fleshed out, roughly. Jake needs to find his anger, Thomas to let go of his and the larger arc of the story is the brothers coming to terms with all the lies they've told each other and the mistakes each has made regarding the other.  It is easy to think, "I've changed! Why doesn't anyone see that?" and not give them the benefit of the doubt of changing as well.

Things that are not done:
Everything else. I do know the end scene of the novel and how at least one antagonist meets their end. And I think it has to begin roughly like the first version did because their lives before they are dumped in the other world is important, as is Jake's new car.

I need to flesh out the Kingdom of the Seven Keys. Right now my rough notes make it an ugly aristocratic-driven kingdom with magic reserved for the rich and wealthy and most crimes being punished with death. Which makes sense, given the transition in the thousand years since The War but it does remain woefully generic. Sooo....

  • The world (faerie, according to humans) originally 'belonged' to the hingari, or at least -- next to the People -- they were the first inhabitants. As such its shape needs to be fluid, no map adequately fitting the territory. The seven keys/locks are old magic that allows seven city-towns to remain solid and serve as the focal points for the Kingdom. They don't move, so it is easy to find them. The rest of the kingdom is less easy to pin down, and movement between towns can range from an hour to several days, which makes travel uncommon and difficult.
  • This shall fit into the idea of the middle ages and how people never knew the wider world since no one left home. Add to this the idea that the Kingdom is deliberately encouraging this looseness of geography and holding back scientific (and magical) advances that can allow the Kingdom to better fit together in order to keep the power structure intact.
  • At present, due to lack of training for many, most magics are small and unimportant. 
  • (finish later)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

More of the weird story

She calls herself Ms. Wormwood and people think of religious parables and look no deeper. Too many have lost the ability to see symbols, else they would be blinded in a world teeming with them. She names herself for all the world to see, as witch and witch-kind, and almost none see past the young face she wears over her own or think her more than harmless.

When feeling cruel, she tells people she is a witch and watches them thing of nakedness and crystals and herbs. What she thinks of wicca is best left unsaid, for there is no word in any language to compass the depth of her contempt. Politics comes close, in election seasons.

She is ancient and aweful, as old as the woods she once claimed. She has destroyed lives with words and created tales to terrify children for generations and has walked from death back into life and mastered power even the bravest of magicians would never dare to bind. To her, the world yet holds one crime that sickens her: she is afraid.

Her fear slew her mentor and walks the world, a boy ever and always, with a knife and will that no witch can face down. His name is Jack, and her fear of him is so big that God herself would weep to see it . And as she is afraid, so Ms. Wormwood knows others are. She sets her plans in motion so that she need never fear again. She has whispered, long and hard, in the right ears, just like her namesake.

Can it be a namesake if it was named after you? No matter.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What I am poking at

This came into my head a few nights back, I finally had time to begin working on it Sunday in a notebook. I have some idea what it is, no idea where it is going. I should, probably, be working out stuff for Nanowrimo. Instead, I began writing whatever this is:

Listen: the world is never how we think it is.

Listen: it starts with Jack. Twelve years young, giant-killer, walking the world with a smile as sharp as his knife. The weight of the world sits behind his eyes and his damnation is the damnation of the world. He is that sort of boy. It is that sort of world.

(The underneath of things is always ugly. We throw shade and shadow over the world and the ugliness slinks out into the opened cracks. We are taught, so young, to never turn over stones. Who knows what you may find below?)

Listen, please: there is Mister Anthony, the most selfish man in the world, and Jillian who broke the hills of kings and the Junk Food King and the last fox-friend in all the worlds waking and dreaming. It is sad, yes, but all stories are sad. We cannot free ourselves from sadness, or we would be gods that the gods would envy.

There is love, which holds the world together. And secrets, which keep us apart and whole. And we are here to listen, and we are here to witness, because judgement is easy to make and pass and there are enough hard people in the world already. A heart is a thing that sickens and grows cold: this is not in textbooks, but it is a true thing.

There is a man named Boy. This is not where his story began, but it is where we will start. He has been away for a long time, and has come home. There is an ugly truth about homes. We leave them but once, and thereafter they become a thing to be sought and nothing we ever reach at all. We can burn the past behind us, but its shadows follow us as ghosts and our memories are not always out own.

Here is a beautiful truth, that we carry each other. There are as many truths as their are people, and many others beside them. And every one I tell you isn't true at all: a truth can only be discovered, it cannot be revealed.

Read these words with care.