Thursday, January 31, 2013

New Fiction Idea #9

This is one I started a while ago. It was very strictly structured—I had to end each chapter with a cliffhanger within three pages—but hardly planned out at all. One of my friends read some chapters and liked it (though I didn't give a good enough impression of the main characters' ages), but I sort of ran out of steam somewhere in the teen chapters. I doubt I'll come back to it, but there's somewhat of a chance.

Title: Special

Genre: Science Fiction

Protagonist: Kori, a 15-year-old thin girl with long, dark hair. She's good at running and of above average intelligence. She comes to the story as an amnesiac, but she comes to find out that she is a Special—in her case, her blood is highly corrosive to anything but her insides, including her skin.

Other Main Characters: Victor, a 17-year-old boy of Russian heritage with platinum blonde hair. He has a good build. He tends to be grave and not that chatty, and he also doesn't remember being a Special, but he's the first to find out from the Black Suits' computers. If his hands are uncovered (he wears gloves), he quickly becomes encoated in ice, with frozen claws, and will destroy everything he can until his hands are covered again.
Josephine, a 15-year-old blonde with twin low ponytails. She's quite small in stature. She is also a Special—she exhales large amounts of carbon monoxide, and she has an increased tolerance for it.

Antagonists: The Black Suits (at least, Kori names them this after their formal dress), members of a private agency seeking to contain the Specials, or at least those committed to their facility. They're normally armed, and their preferred vehicles are black Jeeps.

Setting: Modern day America, Nevada as far as I can remember. Specials live among humans, including their parents, but many of their abilities are more trouble than they're worth, or more trouble than their loved ones think they're worth. There exists a facility to which several Specials are committed, where the agency experiments on them in search of cures.

Plot: Kori is on the run from some very unfriendly, gun-pointing Black Suits. She's also trying to figure out who, what, where, and why she is. Her only clue is the melted-looking knife in her shoulder bag until Victor finds her. Both of them continue running, defeating the Black Suits when necessary, and befriending Josephine. I didn't write much past that point, but they go on to figure out the facility, meet with Price (the Special responsible for freeing them), find the corruption in the system, and somehow correct it.

Point of View: First person (Kori).

This was originally a  complete rip-off of X-Men, and it's still quite a bit like that. Overall, it just doesn't feel that original to me, so it'll need some spicing up if I plan to get back to it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fame (What's Your Name)

So, Break Out has finally arrived. It's really been worrying me because its readers have such high expectations, and it's in such a different vein than The Rules, being off the island for the most part.

Even so, I went ahead and whipped up the first (and second) chapter and posted. 23 reviews, 10 favourites, and 19 story alerts are the results, as of today. I can't say how much I freaked out upon opening my inbox to over a page of emails notifying me of these things.

It's really nice feeling famous again, especially when very few are interested in The Long and Winding Road. Between that, Unsurvivable having almost 100 reviews less than its predecessor, and the direction Break Out is going, I was terrified everyone has either moved on or would after seeing how different the sequel is. Certainly it's a bit early to judge, but since most of the 23 reviews are people being extremely excited just to see a chapter posted, I think I'll be optimistic about the fans I have outside the BDDSG.

Of course, I always love my BDDSG'ers and being able to count on regulars like OWL-F reviewing.

It's just the difference between feeling loved and feeling outright famous, I guess. Of course, once I felt so famous I decided to compare myself with other Hetalia fan fictions... That brought the mood down quite quickly. No matter the criteria, there are always some 7 pages of stories with double what I have.

That's all right, though. I'll just pretend that all of that is only because they include yaoi and turn the other way. I may do some catering to the audience, but I'm not going to break with everything I do just to get more reviews. Certainly other factors are going to be involved, likely among them quality of writing, but those are impossible to figure out without analyzing all of those ahead of me, and I'm not going to bother with that. A loyal fanbase is a loyal fanbase, however much buzz they give your work.

Also, the title of this post is from the David Bowie song, for those confused.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Short Story Idea #1

I'm really not much of a short story person. I've certainly done oneshots before, but always as accompaniment to some larger whole, usually something like the Brutal series. This is one idea that struck me, though, that I couldn't do in a whole novel. We'll see if it ever happens.

Title: "That We May Live" (could be changed)

Genre: Romance, I think

Main Characters: Annie Bernard, a young woman with boy-short black hair and a general attractiveness about her.
Phillip Durham, a young man with short brown hair that's rather scrawny.

Setting: Modern-day America during Veterans' Day.

Plot: Annie visits the grave of her grandfather, a war veteran. She decorates the headstone with flowers and prepares to plant a small flag, but she loses her grip, and the flag blows to the next plot, an empty one. Phillip, visiting his aunt's grave for similar reasons, is at the next plot and manages to catch the flag before it can go any further. He hands it back to Annie, who thanks him. The two strike up some patriotic conversation about being blessed with the people who fight and die that they might live. As Annie starts back for her grandfather's plot, Phillip stops her for a moment and, apologising if it sounded callous but bringing up the point of their being able to live, asks for her number.
It ends after skipping to some time later. The empty plot is now marked with headstones for Annie and Phillip Durham.

Point of View: Third person, static or omniscient.

Inspired by visiting an ancestor's grave that by some strange coincidence was two plots (one empty) away from ancestors on the other side of the family.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Plotting and Planning

What do you all do for plotting? I've heard a popular strategy in NaNoWriMo is making outlines and writing from them, and Novelist's Boot Camp requires very extensive outlining.

I really can't handle it, to the point I'm not sure if I can go with the NBC strategy. I have problems outlining essays—anything for which I have to outline ends up choppy with extremely questionable/terrible transitions. I may not hit absolutely everything without an outline, but at least I feel like it flows. That's just for nonfiction, too—something that draws only from my own inspiration is going to feel much worse than usual if I try to make it fit something.

On the other hand, I can't just decide to write a chapter (*cough* first chapter of Break Out *cough*) and write it. I need to have some prior plan in my head, and I have plotted "outlines" of entire chapters like this. Actually, I think it's more like making a movie of it, though I do end up with a few loose phrases I want to incorporate (a lot of which I actually don't, incidentally...).

I'm not sure exactly how much organization I'm trying to get—or how much I need to get. It's an art, I guess. Until then, pantsing it is.

New Manga Idea #3

I started this a long time ago, before I could draw, and had a friend do the art for me. We've since parted ways, and I feel like I've lost too much of the story to really reclaim it, but it's worth mentioning.

Title: Countdown (or C0un7d0wn)

Genre: Undecided, likely shounen

Protagonist: Shil, a redheaded 16-year-old with half-green, half-purple eyes. He's rather good-natured and likes playing the hero. He has the ability to see how long everyone has to live in the form of a digital clock-type display over their heads. The clock shows their natural life span unless an impending threat to their life arrives.

Other Main Characters: Frass, a crabby 16-year-old with spiky blue hair. He's a childhood friend of Shil.
Keed, a brunette 17-year-old who keeps his mid-length hair in a ponytail. He's a bit of a jokester and incredibly (magically, I assume) strong. He also lives in a glass house, but I don't remember why.
Tulip, a 16-year-old with bra-length blonde hair. She's feisty but warms up to people easily enough. She can telepathically control a length of cloth that can only be cut by the blade of a death god.
Karin, a wheelchair-bound 17-year-old with black hair in a low ponytail. She's sweet but quiet around strangers. She and Keed eventually fall in love.

Antagonists: I have completely forgotten, or I may have never determined any.

Setting: A modern-day fantastic universe.

Plot: Shil struggles to save the world one person at a time while keeping up with school and friends. Eventually (I don't recall how) he and his friends start mixing with the bad guys and death gods. In this struggle, he finally finds out the origin of his powers (spoiler: his mother is a death god).

I definitely need to develop it more if I plan to go anywhere with it. At this point I don't.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New Fiction Idea #8

I made it this far without posting this idea? It's been my baby for a while. Be prepared for a lot of  information. I've written multiple pages on these things.

Title: Macbay Transportation Services (could be changed to Steamtruck, or something better)

Genre: Steampunk/Fantasy

Protagonist: Bartholomew Macbay, a 27-year-old truck driver (box handle “Haulin’ Thol”) who transports goods and people—usually illegal—across The Empire’s mainland. His main goal in life, at the moment, is to carry on with his job until he’s too old to keep up or the thrill wears off. His face is rather flat and not particularly attractive. He has a bad scar curving down the left side of his forehead, though it’s usually hidden under his shaggy, black hair. His right index finger’s tip was lost on a job. He’s fairly muscular and on the taller side but not particularly big overall. He’s spectacularly brave but also self-centered. He’s both stubborn and determined and is extremely good at what he does for a living.

Other Main Characters: Loretta May Franklin, a 24-year-old factory worker and robber. She is very determined and is an excellent fighter. She’s rather cynical and can be hostile, but she will hold tight to her virtues. Nothing upsets her much more than being denied things or put down based on her gender, and her ultimate goal is to show that’s she’s more—or at least as—competent as any man. She has chin-length, light brown hair and a tan face. She’s overall rather attractive, but she also has musculature, which is shown off in her usual skimpy attire. She’s on the tall side, a fact made more obvious by her habit of never slouching. She has a few light scars on her arms but doesn’t bother to cover them.
Additionally, though "she" probably doesn't count, Macbay's truck is named Lauren/Laurie and is fairly awesome, though not animate or a mecha.

Antagonist: Maximilian “Max” Webb, the 36-year-old Manager of Conscription for The Empire. He is manipulative, suave, and a bit of a coward. His goal is to continue accumulating wealth and power in the government, though he hasn’t settled on exactly how high on the totem pole he expects to get. He is of average height, with near-black brown hair that is kept straight and reaches to his chin. He’s missing part of his left eyebrow from his time in the army, and his face is rather plain otherwise. He has average musculature but is approaching the plump side.

Setting: Rinheart, the main isle of The Homeland. The Empire stretches around the world, and The Homeland is a thriving place, but everyone has military service.

Plot: Beyond the growth of The Empire, a war has begun. Off the books, Max has begun a special conscription of magic users, the existence of whom is generally disbelieved. From their shared time in the army, he knows Macbay is one and will stop at nothing to force him back into the army. Loretta May, fleeing Havil after an incomplete robbery, hitches a ride with Macbay at just the wrong time in all of this.

Point of View: Third person, limited to Macbay. Possibly a few chapters closer to Max.

This story is currently in the Whirlpool of Infinite World-Building, so I can't be sure when I'll feel ready to get started. I've been using Novelist's Boot Camp, but I totally blanked out at the plot outline (in NaNoWriMo terminology, I am a natural pantser), switched to more world-building, and got stuck there.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Moral of the Story

So, I've decided to do Mayflies for my two-year-novel course. Writing down the basic idea and genre were easy enough. This week, however, the task is to assign a theme. I've put some sort of thought into it before, but I'm entirely new to trying to incorporate a theme from the beginning rather than writing the story and seeing what comes out of it.

I started out stating the theme as injustice, and how it may always be present, but that's no reason to give up on justice. One observer suggested it would be better to call the theme justice since no one is seeking injustice. Another commented that destiny could work well, too.

Are there any suggestions from readers here? Any suggestions on writing in themes in general? I could use some assistance.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Fiction Idea #7

The other night, my friends and I were sharing weird dreams we and others have had. I had the impression one of them could turn into something quite interesting—and since Chemists originally came from a dream, I figured this could use some writing down as well.

Title: Entrapped (could be changed)

Genre: Steampunk/Science Fiction

Protagonist: Sophia, a hard-of-hearing 17-year-old with long, brown hair. She's easily intimidated but has the power to pull through if she so desires.

Other Main Characters: Edwin, an 18-year-old with short, scruffy hair under a hat. He's rather impressive in stature but isn't that intelligent and tends to pick fights he can't win.
There could be a larger group.

Antagonist: Spoiler/not entirely determined. The environment is also a rather big obstacle.

Setting: An impossibly large, ornate structure that, when viewed from outside, looks like a birdcage. Inside this structure are several levels. Each level has a distinct horror, but if the obstacle is conquered, those entrapped can pass down to the next level. At the bottom level is an unlocked door to the outside world.

Plot: Sophia and Edwin, who had spent years in the cage, struggle to escape in hopes of safety and finding their families.

Point of View: Third person, probably omniscient.

In the original dream, the passages between levels were strange fireman poles, and two of the levels were a John Wayne movie and a zombie apocalypse. Not sure if I'm putting in any of that.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

NaNoWriMo and Other Extreme Sports

I'm wondering whether or not I should do NaNoWriMo again this year.

The 2YN program I'm doing allots writing time during November, so it's compatible there.

I have no idea what my workload will be as far as education goes.

I'm not sure if writing 1,667 words a day for a month straight will be particularly useful. There are certainly other reasons I didn't like how last year's NaNo came out, but I already have a rather negative opinion of my normal writing, and I'd like to actually feel able to reread and edit what I write for Mayflies. I'm not sure what kind of writing schedule the 2YN recommends, but if it's under 1,667, I'm not sure I'll do NaNo.

It was certainly an experience; however, I more or less only undertook it to finally finish an original novel. Now that I have done that, I don't feel very motivated to participate this November.

I'm still not sure, but I do have time to decide.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Fiction Idea #6

This is a vague idea I've had for a while. It's a bit too theme-heavy for my tastes, so I probably won't write it.

Title: Intolerant

Genre: U/Dystopian Fiction (is that a genre?)

Protagonist: As-yet unnamed female teenager. She has long, curly blonde hair under a pink knit cap, a puffy jacket she keeps zipped up unless it's absolutely too hot, and jeans and beaten-up running shoes. She has a distinct sense of right and wrong, isn't afraid to be stubborn about it, and holds to Christian values though she hasn't been baptised for reasons that should be rather clear.

Other Main Characters: Athena, a teenage girl with dark brown hair and generally ratty clothing. She's a rather acidic atheist, but she does have a conscience and will act on it.

Antagonists: Er... The world. More specifically, the city authorities, I suppose. I envision one of the leaders being a blonde lady named Laura. She has black glasses.

Setting: As-yet unspecified city in future America. Cities are places of work in factories and artificial futuristic greenhouse/farm things. Suburbs are places of residence. Both are secure from the wilderness and unwanted weather (for the most part). There are no laws but absolute tolerance, which is generally achieved through brainwashing. Crime (if anyone was silly enough to think such acts should be controlled, stifling the "criminal's" true self) is rampant.

Plot: MC never quite understood how everyone else wanted her to be. Despite everything she'd been taught, she always had the feeling there really was a right and wrong for everyone, not just for each one. As long as she went to the required sessions when she acted on these beliefs inappropriately, she was fine. But when she found a Bible that had escaped the Burnings, she liked what she read. It was only a matter of time before she acted up more and, after many attempts at reprogramming her, the authorities finally labelled her Intolerant and banned her from the enclosed network that was society. She struggles to survive in the wilderness, eventually (sort of) befriending Athena, a fellow Intolerant and a much better survivalist. I'm not entirely sure what happens after that.

Point of View: Most likely third-person limited to MC. Could be first person instead.

Yeah... Given the theme, a modern audience would hate it to bits, and I don't think it would have a high enough death toll for me to be interested in putting it together. Ah, well. I thought little harm could come of throwing it out there.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Writing Music

I very much have a habit of needing to listen to music as I write. I've carefully calculated the proper volumes for both my radio (4) and my computer (3 bars, with iTunes on half volume)—loud enough I don't have to figure out what song it is, but soft enough I can focus on the story.

I sort of wonder if I do better writing when listening to particular song styles, etc., but I haven't looked into it. I've heard others sharing their types of novelling music but haven't looked much into that, either. What kind of music (or silence, or perhaps a television program) do you like in the background when you write?

Incidentally, I recently got a Steve Perry CD, a Scorpions CD, and an A Flock of Seagulls CD. I'm currently in love with "Wishing" and various other songs on said CDs whose titles I cannot recall at the moment. They're not bad for novelling, either.

"Dirty Laundry" is inherently distracting somehow. I think it's the beat.

"Troubled Child" and "Edge of the Blade" are the best to have on repeat, especially with the kinds of stories I write. I haven't tried much else on repeat, though.

Also, how about listening to music while reading? I know I've done Recommended Listenings for everything in the Brutal series, but seeing as I don't read my own work, I haven't read it while listening to the listenings. I've done some casual reading with music on, but I always just end up ignoring one or the other. Any thoughts?

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Manga Idea #2

So, I was struck with this idea suddenly, but I'm not going to use it because it's too much research and should be left to someone who's not an advocate of teetotaling.

Title: Have a Drink on Me (could definitely be changed) 

Main Characters: Personifications of various types of alcohol, including:
Wine, a lean woman with very shiny black hair that usually wears a small but stylish dress. She can be quite a snob, especially towards Beer, but she does have a kinder side.
Beer, a big-boned frat boy with curly, blonde hair. He's huge on sports, especially American football, and considers himself the manliest of his group.
Vodka, a teenage girl who likes to dress in bright colours and is generally very sweet. She also likes to hack things (and if unrestrained, people) to pieces with a large axe.
Ale, a young man with dark blonde hair he keeps at a medium length. He's the most normal of the group, though he can definitely be mean when he wants to.
Rum, who is basically the pirate from Dodgeball with dark hair. He's totally crushing on Coke (if the series is expanded to include soft drinks).
Tequila, a Latino woman with dark hair she keeps long. She's usually in a black bikini and is quite a flirt.
Gin, a brown-haired girl who's a bit squirrelly and hates to be alone. She usually clings to Tonic.

Setting: Modern times, in various parts of the world.

Plot: None foreseen. I'm imagining it Hetalia-style. Them fighting and making up (or not). Going to sports games, swanky bars, and what have you. Yeah.

Obviously should be done by someone with more knowledge of alcohol. Please don't use this as an excuse to drink for research, though, haha.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Forward Motion!

So, I signed up for the Two Year Novel course at some time ago, but the first assignment just came out today. I've already completed it (because I'm just that much of an overachiever... along with quite a few other forumgoers there).

I'm very excited about this. It seems like a long commitment, but I really hope to get some feedback on my original things (I'm going to do Mayflies for it) and actually get a final draft of something other than a research paper for once in my life. And maybe publish something. Maybe.

Wish me luck, and/or join in. It sounds like it'll be a lot of fun.

New Fiction Idea #5

I've toyed with this one for a while. I tried putting it through the Novelist's Boot Camp techniques, but the way I wanted to format it didn't really work out with that, and I put it to the side in favour of Macbay Transportation Services. I've gone through more of the book's exercises with it, though I'm still doing some world-building before I try to jump into it. This one hasn't seen much action since.

Title: War (could be changed)

Genre: Sci-Fi/Action

Protagonists: Several, including people fighting and leading on both sides of the war. No particularly main characters have yet been developed/established.

Antagonists: See protagonists. Good guy/bad guy distinctions aren't really made most of the time.

Setting: Very far into the future, on Earth, mostly in the trenches of a dry and dusty battlefield. All soldiers have a series of nanobots in their bloodstreams for instant healing and brain chips for telepathic communication purposes.

Plot: Beyond the two sides fighting is an organization of pacifists. This organization has managed to hack the technology within the soldiers so that each soldier on one side is connected to one on another side; if one of the pair is killed, the other will die. The story follows the soldiers and those above them as they fight, discover what's going on, and try to figure out what to do about it.

Point of View: First person, switching between quite a few characters.

Just an idea to toy with at this point. We'll see if I ever try to flesh it out someday.