Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New Fiction Idea #12

Inspired by a painting, curiously enough.

Title: Family of Ibro (could be changed)

Genre: Fantasy

Protagonist: Gavin Ibro, a 16-year-old with the family's typical short, dark hair and green eyes. He can be quite impulsive but is very compassionate. He's very easily upset and not afraid to cry. He has a good build, though he wouldn't dare hit anyone.

Other Main Characters: Shara, Gavin's mother. She's sweet but strong and devoted entirely to the family's cause. She's rather gaunt and naturally has an accumulation of scars.
Angus, Gavin's 18-year-old brother. Though they have many siblings, Angus is the closest to Gavin and has the best sense of humour.

Antagonist: Clark Seeley, a military leader who seeks revenge against a political faction, and those who work for him.

Setting: Typical medieval fantasy. Magic-users are a fairly large minority, and each brand of magic is limited to one family, with foreign blood somewhat diluting the power. The Ibros (and they're always Ibrosif a man marries into the family, he must change his surname) have the ability to take upon themselves the sufferings, physical and emotional, of others, including madness and death. This ability is relatively automatic when sufferers are close, though for others farther away, each Ibro can establish a connection to one or many people and erase their suffering even after they have moved away. Over the generations, the Ibros have built familial philosophies and systems dedicating themselves to this work.

Plot: Clark wishes death on those who stunted his rise to power, but he cannot do any harm to them while the Ibros are in town. He drives most of the family away, but Gavin and most of his household, along with a few very dedicated cousins, remain. They try to set up connections with Clark's political rivals while avoiding detection, for at this point Clark has vowed to kill any lingering Ibros.

Point of View: Undecided. Likely one centred on Gavin, though.

I feel like this could turn out to be quite interesting. I certainly don't have time to write it at the moment, but I may try writing some random scenes and seeing how I like it (and posting them here, of course).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Annals of World-Building I

As I mentioned in its standard writeup, I've been doing some extensive world-building in the world of Macbay Transportation Services. I figure I could use as much feedback on that as on any other part of the story, so why not do a little sharing?

The map of the mainland is one of the first world-building exercises I did. Apologies for my handwriting, and for the image size (I tried the "X-Large" setting here, but the words weren't legible).
Map of Mainland Cynilann

I did some slight naming changes after scanning it onto the computer (Lavil to Havil and Helmland to Helmalann), but otherwise the original ideas haven't changed much. Lines represent major roads (usually alongside railways), though they're not all in great condition, as Macbay can attest. Rivers and lakes should be obvious; major bridges are double lines over expanses of water. The triple points are mountainous/very hilly areas, the sets of three lines are swampy areas, and the clustered circles are forest. Cities with blank circles are less populous. Mayport is the capital.

Macbay is from Avalanche City on Donnelon Island, Loretta May is from Jamber way up north on Rinheart, and Max is Mayport-born-and-bred. None of the mains represent Milsin Island, but it's not that important and is colloquially referred to as "Vet Island" since a whopping amount of war veterans settle down there.

There aren't many natural landmarks, but Wickport has a rather famous and ornate lighthouse open to tourism. Setchport has a clocktower, and Mayport has "Statue Park," a large field monument with various statues of leaders and warriors in a chronologically-ordered winding line of bronze statues.

Havil is the coal center of the mainland (though the "Coal Islands" or Lesser Colonies are that for the whole Empire). Central City is the tech city of the place, while most immigrants stay near Wickport. Fog (named that for a reason) has the nation's best university, although Mayport has its own uni and a good law school (which Max attended). Kinnick is a big producer of fish, though it's not that heavily populated.

Rinheart Island may have a lot more farmland, but Donnelon is the one associated with the country bumpkins. Near Central City and Mayport, those from Rinheart are generally considered snobs, while there's not a solid impression of those farther north or south. "Easterners" and "Westerners" are from the respective sides of Donnelon, while "Northerners" and "Southerners" are from Rinheart.

I don't have a good handle on distances, so I haven't provided a scale. As of now, the place is a bit larger than Japan, though that could change as the plot needs it (don't want Macbay to get to his destinations too awfully quick).

So that's the basic writeup for our mainland. Just wait until I post their world map...

Monday, February 25, 2013

These Dreams

I had a bizarre dream this morning, but I can't remember it for anything now. It would have been nice to have the time to write it down.

I've been considering starting a dream journal for a while. My dreams rarely fail to amuse me, but just like my story ideas—or, more extremely than my story ideas—they fade in and out of my mind. I've tried just rehearsing events that happened, but if I don't write them down—sometimes telling others doesn't even do it—it'll be gone by the end of Genetics class.

Dreams are good for a lot more than vague amusement, too. The idea for Chemists came from one of my dreams. The idea for Entrapped came from the dream of a friend of a friend. Even if loads of pons firing is total rubbish, there are some interesting little gems to be retrieved in all of it.

Would you be interested in reading some of my dreams on here? I still have a few fairly recent ones—and the legendary twin squirrels dream—I could put, though I can't guarantee I'll remember anything that comes up later, or have any sort of predictability as to whether I dream something interesting or not. Nor can I say any of it will be worth reading, but it could give one of us some inspiration, I think.

Any recommendations for dream journals? I still have a mostly-empty moleskine (apparently they're a big deal) that I used a bit in NaNoWriMo, and I had been considering using it. I'm probably not going to be able to type everything up here in time, so I'll have to write it down somehow.

Also, I name a lot of my blog posts after songs...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Life, the Author, and Everything

Life and I have a complicated relationship. Throw in writing, and we have quite a love-hate triangle, constantly battling over each other's hearts and, mostly, time.

How do you balance writing with life? I usually do well enough, but this year has been a brutal tug-of-war in life's favour. Several classes are to blame, though I'm most upset about chemistry (taking it for the third time, after scoring a 5 on the AP test and getting A's every other time—needless to say, it's a hugely frustrating way to tear through time without actually learning anything). I have to kick myself into NaNoWriMo mode to get out 500 words or so of Break Out after a weary day, and I can forget about seriously pursuing other stories at the same time.

Of course, writing is very much based off life, so I'll handle whatever happens knowing I can use it somehow. Perhaps not always quite so optimistically as I just made it sound, but nonetheless handle it.

Time is really the only good weapon life tends to use against me. Crushing stress about exams—I go to writing for freedom. Death of awesome uncle—I apologized to readers if the quality was bad and kept writing, anyway. But loads of chemistry lab work and research paper outlines—there go my hopes of writing (and escape) for the next few days.

Ah, well. I'm sure this happens to everyone.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

New Manga Idea #4

When I was younger, I just knew I was going to be a mangaka. This was the first manga that I wrote, drew, and inked on my own. It made it to a chapter before I slowed my pace, and a few more pages before I could be considered to have stopped work on it.

I promised myself I wouldn't give up on this manga, so I feel a bit bad about never going back to it, but my drawing style is different, I no longer have the patience (in lieu of screen tones, I hand-dotted a lot of area on several pages), and I just don't feel like I'm ever really going to get into the idea again. Still, as a tribute to my younger self, I'll post the idea here.

Title: The Colony of Avlain

Genre: Shounen

Protagonist: Talia, a 16-year-old, slightly air-headed blonde with high ponytails and grey eyes. She has rather efficiently blocked memories of her earlier childhood—she was very much a test tube baby and subjected to all sorts of experiments to make her the ultimate Elemental Restraint-Opener. While she can't open any restraints, she's okay with it. She's been living on her own for a while but is still perky about it.

Other Main Characters: Jikuri, a 14-year-old girl with curly, black hair and green eyes. Her mother died giving birth, and while her father was very supportive, he became rather harsh and almost abusive when Jikuri failed to open her first restraint. She pushed herself extremely hard every time he was away at work (guarding the local representative of the empire controlling the island of Avlain), becoming serious and battle-hungry, until she finally managed to become a Spectral Restraint-Opener. Upon coming home that day, she learned her father had died protecting the governor and has been on her own—learning to open even more restraints—since.
Amora, an 11-year-old girl who is technically Talia's twin/triplet sister. She is rather emotionless and serves the research branch of the governor's complex as a successful Elemental Restraint-Opener.
Caden, a 16-year-old boy with curly, black hair and green eyes. He is a Spectral Restraint-Opener that likes joking around. He serves in the junior league of rebels, where he first meets Talia.

Antagonists: Various people who just like to fight, including the Physical Restraint-Opener Kitana in the introductory chapter.
The governor (whose name I forget, though I know I wrote a lot of information on this down a while ago), a Control Restraint-Opener, and those that serve him, including the twin Form Restraint-Openers whose names I have also forgotten.
The government over Avlain in general, though represented best through the governor.

Setting: The island and colony of Avlain, a place with intermediate technology. In lieu of more advanced weaponry, Restraint-Openers are used. In each person are thirty-six restraints, six of each type. Once the first of a type is opened, only restraints in that category may be opened by that individual. The types are Elemental (Ice, Fire, Wind, Stone, Dark, Light), Spectral (Invisibility, Intangibility, Flight, then greater degrees of the previous three), Physical (Strength, Speed, Endurance, then greater degrees of the previous three), Mental (increasing degrees of intelligence), Control (increasing degrees of control over animals, then humans once into the last three), and Form (increasing degrees of flexibility/shapeshifting).

Plot: Jikuri picks a fight with Kitana, who was mugging a helpless Talia, and wins. The two end up sneaking into the governor's complex, where they are discovered. After much fighting, both girls are captured; in an attempt to force Talia to open a restraint, Jikuri is killed. It doesn't work, but Amora takes the opportunity to free Talia and escape with her, leaving their third triplet Amore behind. They try to recover while staying away from government agents until one night when a spectacular fire engulfs the house of a city governor. A teenager, shouting to onlookers how this is proper justice for the tyrannies of the government, flees the scene. Understanding, Talia and Amora follow him to eventually find the underground (literally) camp of children training to overtake the government (there was something about the empire keeping a tight watch over the adults, but not the children up to eighteen years). There they find Caden—Talia avoids him because he looks a lot like Jikuri. He gets a crush on Talia, but between her avoiding him and her being enrolled in the non-Restraint-Opener training, it's difficult. They get together by the time the big revolt date comes along, when they invade the governor's complex in battle. Talia finally opens her first Elemental Restraint and immediately plows through the other five to take out a lot of the opposition with Light. The rebels win, though with heavy losses, and the country of Avlain is established.

I get a bit nostalgic about this, but I really don't think I'm going to pick it up. I may end up doing something fiction-wise with either the Restraints (inspired from the gates in Naruto, by the way) or the universe, though I don't feel I did enough world-building for it to make sense.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mayflies (NFI#2) Revisited

I've been putting Mayflies through my online 2YN course, and it's had quite a few changes so far. The setting is now Mayan now (though that's thanks to a school friend). That's probably the biggest shift (no more blonde main characters, it seems!), but it's been an interesting journey so far, and I'll be glad to keep it up.

A recent assignment was to write a few paragraphs from first-person, and the same scene in third-person. Since my plan has been to alternate between Jonathan and Matthew in first-person, I wrote up three sections. Although the 2YN forum is limited to the participants, I figured I could share what I wrote here.

Third person: 

The tips of stone terraces peeked over the treetops. Neither of the twins could see any more of the city—let alone its inhabitants—at this distance, but that only meant that no one could see them.

"I think I'll take a look over," Matthew started, spreading out his wings and looking to his brother for permission.

Jonathan crossed his arms. "Don't get caught."

Answering with only a nod, Matthew flapped his wings a bit and lunged into the air. Taking a moment to catch his breath—flying wasn't the most fun when he hadn't had anything to eat lately—he pumped his wings harder and harder, ascending high enough any casual observer below could mistake him for a bird. Ignoring the increasing burn in his chest, he swept over the squiggles and squares of the main city until a wide, layered field of maize rippled below him.

If he hadn't been the responsible one, he would have swooped down and ripped through the field, plucking whatever would come up and taking off again. But he couldn't get much that way, and he wasn't about to alert the locals Mayflies were around, or Jonathan wouldn't be able to come and get his share.

Mouth watering, he swallowed and pitched away, wind whistling and shrieking past his ears as he soared back towards the forest.

First person (Matthew):

I haul myself onto a low branch, letting my throbbing feet dangle. Just over the next patch of trees, stone temple tops seem to poke out of the leaves. Finally. We haven't had food in so long we can barely fly.

I still ought to give it a look-over, though. They could be expecting us—we may be far from the last city we robbed, but news travels fast—and if we walk up to an edge of town without food, we'll be chased out long before we can get to any food.

Leaning back to see Jonathan climbing a bit higher into the tree, I start, "I think I'll take a look over."

He stops, hooking his knees over a branch and flipping himself back to look at me. Crossing his arms, he just closes his eyes and says, "Don't get caught."

With a nod, I stand, gripping a higher branch to keep my balance as I give my wings a few preliminary flaps. I throw myself back into the air with a grunt and slowly fly higher up, getting used to the exertion before picking up the pace. It's harder to breathe the higher I go, but the last thing I want to do is be spotted for what I am. If I look small enough, they ought to think I'm just a bird.

Flying straight across now, I watch the pale, writhing roads and darker squares and lumps of buildings pass by beneath. My lungs are really burning by the time I see the right edge of town—an unmistakable farm, its rows of maize ducking and bobbing in the wind. I can smell my meal roasting already.

Somehow as intently as I'm watching the maize, I don't realize it's getting bigger for a few moments. Although, really... no one seems to be around at the moment. Would it really hurt if I grabbed some now?

No, no. I pull back up into the air, still circling. Ask those kind of questions, and a demon'll be after me in no time.

I'll wait. I can't carry enough for the both of us, and if I act now, someone could figure it out before Jonathan can get here safely. Even if they don't suspect Mayflies, they'd at least post a watch—and if they find Jonathan like that, he'll get speared for sure. That's not going to happen on my watch.

I finally turn away from the field, wind whistling and shrieking past my ears as I soar towards the forest.

First person (Jonathan):

I think I see a temple, but I'm not about to go flying to check. Not that I don't love flying—who wouldn't?—but because no one else loves me flying. Sometimes I think they're just jealous, but that's not it. It's more like... zealous. And while I've never heard of any angel telling people to hate Mayflies, it must be some implicit rule that people just really like to follow.

Really, I love being cursed with wings. With flight. I just hate people who hate us for it. Unfortunately, that seems to be everyone but Mom.

So instead of quickly revealing myself to anyone around who would either run screaming to the king or try to kill me then and there, I just use tree branches to get a little higher. There's not all that much climbing room, but the stone steps rise a bit with every branch. It's definitely a temple. Definitely a city, too, then.

"I think I'll take a look over."

Stopping, I hook my knees over a branch and lean back to look at Matthew. Despite stating his plan, he's still waiting for approval before going into action. I can't say I mind, most of the time. Caution is a good thing for any cursed person. I may have trouble with it from time to time, but that's why there are two of us. Me, to jump into things when immediate action is needed, and him, to dig me out of it if I mess up.

Crossing my arms, I just say, "Don't get caught."

He nods and, after readying his wings, takes off. He stalls a bit once he's in the air, and I can hear him panting over the rushes of wind from his wings. One of the reasons we have to steal food. If we hold out hoping someone will give it to us honestly, we just starve more. Get weaker. Stealing might be condemned, but so is murder. We're just trying to keep the others from committing that.

Exhaling, I pull myself back onto the branch and watch Matthew climb into the sky.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What You Want to Hear

As you can tell, I've been posting a decent variety of things on this blog. My question is, what do you like best? Seeing my ideas? Seeing how I think about writing or how I write?

Would something else be a good addition? Would you like to see me comment on other writings? Do you want more samples of my writing here? What could I add to make this more appealing to you, the reader?

Is there anything that would help me get a greater audience, as far as content goes?

I'd just like to know if there's anything on this blog I could do better.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pitchapalooza: The Sequel, in Amazing 3-D!

Well, I've gone on ahead and written up a pitch for The Winding Road. I'm sort of unsatisfied with that title now that I've thought about it more, though, so I refer to it as The Long and Winding Road in the pitch. If anyone has other fitting title ideas, feel free to (read: please do) let me know. Also feel free to critique this first draft of the pitch.

Clocking in at 239 of 250 allowed words, we have:

The zombie apocalypse was years ago—old hat. Besides, there’s a cure and plenty of bullets yet to take care of the rotting stragglers.

No, the threats these days are the survivors.

Charlotte Heiman has finally achieved a stable life in the walled remains of Killeen as a zombie hunter, but she can’t stay any longer. She hasn’t seen her little brother Blake since her family dropped him off at camp that fateful summer, and now that she has the supplies, she’s headed his way.

Arthur Deering has finally achieved a stable life in a rural home with no companions but his bow and arrows. He has long since come to believe that he’s the only man alive—so it comes as quite a shock when Charlotte finds him. Quite an infatuating shock, as a matter of fact.

Although Arthur turns out to be much more of a suitor than a menace, he’s not the only survivor Charlotte meets. It’s a long walk to Hunt, filled with those who lost everything and aren’t afraid to take whatever they can. It will take both Charlotte and Arthur to get past survivors that threaten to take their supplies, bodies, and lives.

A tale of the numbness and the hope humans can achieve in the aftermath of atrocity, The Long and Winding Road will appeal to all post-apocalyptic romance lovers from the realm of The Hunger Games to that of Warm Bodies.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

New Fan Fiction Idea #1

While I normally put short synopses of fan fiction ideas on my fan fiction profile, I figured it wouldn't hurt to put some up in more detail here. Also, there can be some ideas that hit me but disappear from mind by the next time I update my profile (like this one has done frequently).

Title: Weird New World (could be changed)

Fandom: Hetalia: Axis Powers

Genre Tags: Fantasy/not sure what else. Probably Humour, but possibly Friendship or Adventure.

Length: Multichapter

Protagonist: England

Other Main Characters: America, Romania, Norway, Sealand... It'll probably be an ensemble-type thing.

Antagonist: Unknown. There will likely be friction within the group, but that alone would be a rather boring driving force.

Setting: Modern-day earth on the macro scale. A university-like campus cut off from the outside world on a smaller scale.

Plot: Everything is normal, blah, blah, blah. Then out of nowhere a glittering wave encompasses the earth, and all normal laws of physics and such are moot. At the same time, England's magic suddenly has a 100% success rate (as do other experienced casters') and requires no incantation. After a random nation (Estonia originally, though I'll probably change my mind) dies for no reason, the magicians among them work together to make a safe place for the others to gather where normality is restored. To combat the chaos in the rest of the world, however, the magic-users decide to acquaint the others with spells to bring the rest of earth (and the solar system?) into normality, but the classes don't go smoothly.

Point of View: Third person, limited to various characters at different times but mostly England.

So I haven't really worked on this one much since it first popped into my head, but at least it now seems to have some sort of plot beyond the establishment of the school. I still have no idea where to go as far as reasons for the wave/antagonists go. It feels like it could be a lot of fun if I get to it, though.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Writing Spaces

Where do you like to write?

When I'm at school, I usually do my writing on my plugged-in laptop on my desk. I've heard some people like to turn out the lights so nothing else in the room distracts them, but that's a big no for me. A glowing screen in the dark makes my eyes hurt (and may be part of the reason movies give me headaches). Just above the shelf I have my radio/iHome/alarm clock, whose writing use I have explained earlier. My phone is nearby in its weird little stand, though that's not a big deal because I rarely text people, and they rarely call me. I sit sort of slumped back in my vaguely-cushy rocking chair with a foot on the weird low shelf inside my desk.

Given my schedule and my need to do homework during gaps in the day, I do most of my writing in the evenings. Say, 16:00–16:50 (when I leave for supper) and then off and on until 21:40 (when I do my Bible study). Of course, I do things in the evenings on occasion, mostly Scribes meetings and dorm events, but most of it is writing or reading or poking about Neopets and some of the rest of the Internet.

I have done some writing after 22:00 or during the school day, but that's only on special occasions, usually when the end of a chapter is close enough. I can fuss with typing after my Bible study, but my brain doesn't function that well once it gets that late, and I'll turn in soon afterwards, so I usually won't bother starting something I can't finish. I think the only time I've stayed up significantly late writing was when I was doing chapter 48 of The Rules. My roommate was quite surprised to find me up.

At home, I do most of my writing with the laptop unplugged in my little corner of the couch. It's my attempt to be sort of sociable around my parents (and I don't get good Wi-Fi reception in my room). Given the lack of classes, I'll type anytime then.

I did have to stretch myself for NaNo. I brought a lined journal and jotted down things before classes, waiting for an omelette to cook (at someone else's hands! I'd burn the place down), and on one occasion during a basketball game on my phone (this is not recommended under any normal conditions). When it's that urgent, I can block out all of the people a bit better, but for the most part it's just distracting. If I'm in the throes of writer's block, I might try to type with other people chatting around me. I actually did that for the last chapter of Unsurvivable, and a joke somehow led to a friend (the same boy who elaborated on the zombie restaurant idea, incidentally) typing enough of the chapter for me to get back with it.

I am guilty of distracting myself with the Internet while I type. I'll drag some of my (Neopets) Habitarium P3's into their homes to rest, or check my email, or look at some recent reviews. I feel like I do these things so often it hurts my productivity, but it's difficult to stop. I can't even up and switch the Internet off, or I'll lose what I'm typing on ('s) Doc Editor, and I'm too OCD to type up my fan fictions elsewhere.

(And, yes, I've decided to start putting more links in my posts. Why not?)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

New Fiction Idea #11

This is an incredibly rough idea I had a while ago that I suddenly thought of again (I get these a lot).

Title: The Heiress

Genre: Fantasy

Protagonist: Andromache, a 20-year-old woman of average looks, tall stature, and flowing brown hair. She is the heiress (pretty much princess, but that term gets overused) of a war-torn kingdom. She is well-trained in etiquette, politics, etc. but has an independent streak and can do things rashly.

Other Main Characters: Several palace guardsmen, including Claudius, a 21-year-old man with rough brown hair and a short beard. He has feelings for Andromache but accepts that he's not of the caste that could court her.

Antagonists: Aristaeus, the king/whateverIcallmyrulers of a neighbouring kingdom. He's entirely removed from the struggles of battle but is dedicated to the overall well-being of his people.
Various soldiers serving him will feature prominently.

Setting: A well-off kingdom under attack for its resources. All soldiers and guardsmen are male and trained in magic as well as weaponry. Healing/repairing magic is unheard of.

Plot: When a surprise attack comes straight to the royal palace, Andromache witnesses firsthand the sacrifices her men make to keep her and only her safe. After coming to realize just how much of this has gone on all her life and how many soldiers are dying for her sake, she vows to fight with them. Of course, no one will let her, but she secretly forces her way into the ranks to do everything she can to protect her people and her ruling parents. But she's incredibly vulnerable, and the enemy as well as some with possible claims to the throne are all too ready to target her while she is outside the palace.

Point of View: Third person, limited to Andromache.

Wow, I actually gained a lot of ground just typing this out. Maybe I'll toy with it more later.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Scribes

I'm a part of my institution's writing club, the Scribes. It's not always particularly structured, but it's a lot of fun. Usually we start with a round of introductions, with one random fact (last time, it was favourite poem or song lyrics) since the same people don't tend to show up for every meeting.

From there, we can branch out anywhere. Most times we include an open session to just share ideas—I've put Macbay Transportation Services out there to get the idea an actual war is starting up aside from all of the empire stuff—but it's also neat to see what some of the others are doing. One girl just asked for help with one point of the plot she couldn't get past, and, while I wasn't useful at all in that one, I think we as a group helped a lot.

The idea-sharing is actually where I got the idea for The Long and Winding Road. One boy (I don't know why I'm referring to all of the members as children) decided to sort of jump on the zombie bandwagon, but to him it's not horror if it's not cannibalism, so he threw the idea at us that eating zombie flesh is the cure for zombieism. Another boy ran off with that and started a beautiful comedic idea for something set a while past the apocalypse featuring a zombie restaurant. My focus has kind of slipped away from the original, but I got both of the boys' permission and started up that fiction.

Aside from that, we do a lot of funny writing exercises. Some involve coming up with a plot when given a title. We get about five minutes and then share with the others. Invariably someone will come up with something involving either the Mafia or the total breakdown of society (apparently we might be anarchists). We've done one where we're given a plot and had to come up with the cast (or at least one character).

This week's exercise is the first time we've been given "homework," just because we ran out of time at the meeting. We all had to come up with two "themes" (we used that term quite loosely, as you will see), a setting, and a main character. We then randomly picked a character, a setting, and two themes, and we need to have a rough idea of the storyline by next week. I ended up having to write a 20-year-old female university student moonlighting as a sports team mascot, set in sixth-century Constantinople, with themes of revenge and flying time monkeys.

If nothing else, it's going to be interesting.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Plot in General

I can't do real plots.

Possibly that's an exaggeration, but I have to wonder sometimes. I rely on fan fiction for worlds and characters, but that's not all. Brutal series? Hunger Games plot. The Rules? Ditto. I don't really plot. I just throw people together and make them kill each other. My possible +Anima fan fiction is just a retelling, and the only roleplays I can keep up are OC tournaments, which is a pretty rigid standard plot (though it can wander off on its own at times).

As far as making do with my own ideas, it's shaky. Break Out is incredibly difficult—it's now not so much a question of "Who dies this chapter?" any more as it is "What do I reveal about the cause of The Rules in this chapter?" The Long and Winding Road is definitely no easier. I have a few definite antagonists and know there's a lot of walking, but it doesn't feel like enough to sustain a real story. Trying to throw in a chain of romantic events on top of that is so out of my element I don't even know what I'm trying to do sometimes. My original fictions don't get enough attention right now for them to have any real semblances of plot.

Maybe I'm too caught up in trying to prove myself or something when I don't feel like there's much there to prove. My readers have a history of thinking of me differently, but they don't pay money to read my things, nor do they have to worry about getting to know characters (though there are some exceptions for the latter). I don't know whether to not worry about trying to sell anything at all, given I don't have a great tendency to finish original works anyway, or to push myself to get better, however I go about doing that. Apparently I haven't been doing it right the past few years, because I can't read Unsurvivable any more easily than I can read Brutal. Maybe the 2YN course will help. Maybe I should go with more outlines. Maybe I should just listen to the advice of everyone in the world and keep writing as a secret little hobby only to keep my head from exploding from life. Maybe I should sign up for psychiatric help. Who knows?

What is plot, anyway? Introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, denouement, right? But what is it like in the real world of novelling? I mean, people can't even settle on when the climax of Hamlet is, and that work tends to be considered decent. Is it all really just about keeping people's interest, or is it the pretty little literature class mountain diagram, or is it just whatever weird stuff you want to put on a page? Is there anything in particular that makes a plot good? Terrible? Just okay?

Eh, I'm just having one of those "why do I bother writing" days, I guess. I'll probably get over it, but advice would still help.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


I'm interested in the NaNoWriMo Pitchapalooza. There's an incredibly slim chance my pitch would be picked at random, and an even lower chance it would win, given that I've never written a pitch before.

It seems like a great opportunity, though, and I feel like I could use the practice even if mine personally won't come to anything. Despite the odds, the reward of an "introduction to an agent or publisher" seems like something from which I shouldn't just up and shy away.

I'm a bit torn as to whether I should try a pitch for The Winding Road or for Mayflies. At this point, The Winding Road has a lot more to it, and I'm slowing down Mayflies to keep my progress in sync with my online course. On the other hand, I just watched Warm Bodies, and it has a shocking number of elements exactly like The Winding Road. Certainly it's not the same, but the major points of my idea weren't nearly as original as I had thought.

There are some writing tips on the site, but, as someone who's never written more than however many characters allows in a summary, I'm still not sure how to actually do this 250-word thing. If anyone has experience with this, please share.

I seem to have the rest of the month to finish this, but this week is going to be terribly busy. I'll put all of my writing into Break Out, I think, and leave this for another time. Maybe I'll have figured out something about it by then.

Friday, February 1, 2013

New Fiction Idea #10

For those of you who don't know my fan fiction life:

I started a crossover series with human!Hetalians fighting in the Hunger Games. I finished said crossover series. Depressed at no longer having a premise to kill the Hetalians, I thought up a premise that wasn't a crossover with the Hunger Games. Then I went back and decided to continue earlier series and abandoned the non-crossover idea. Before I picked it up again, I tried to see if it would work as an original fiction. I haven't put much thought into it since breaking down and writing The Rules in its originally-intended form, but here's what I ended up with.

Title: The Rules

Genre: Horror/Suspense

Protagonist: Lars, a twenty-something man with very curly blonde hair. He tends to focus too much on work rather than his family, but he does love them.

Other Main Characters/Antagonists: Shelby, a nine-year-old with light blonde hair and Lars' daughter.
Leah, a fourteen-year-old with hair like her father (Lars), she likes to bicker with her sister but is actually pretty brave.
John, a sixty-something man with grey hair and thick glasses. He is a devout Evangelical Christian minister and widower.
Leslie, a brunette party girl in her early twenties. She's very giggly and enthusiastic, and she does not yet know she's pregnant.
Stuart, an African-American man in his early twenties. He's been Leslie's friend since junior high, and he's been crushing on her for a while.
Stephen, a high school loser with cropped brown hair. He's a coward and is fine with using dirty tricks to get what he wants.
Vanessa, a 17-year-old girl with her dark hair in a bun. She's very much the bookish type and only ended up at a party after much coaxing. She gets a bit unhinged after she figures out what Stephen did to her at and after said party.
Rick, an African-American man in his thirties with a habit of selling prescription painkillers. He has a heart, though he's very self-centered.
Cassandra, a twenty-something woman with scraggly dirty blonde hair. She's very much addicted to prescription painkillers and suffering from it (in case her abusive husband wasn't enough to wreck her mentally).
William, a twenty-something Indian businessman. He's quite intelligent and charming, though things can quickly get out of hand if he's angered (which is a rare enough occasion).
Sharon, a very pretty Arabic woman and William's recent wife. She's quiet but graceful.
Chester, a 19-year-old Video Game Design major with wavy blonde hair. He gets really into games and will consider some fairly serious things as games.

Setting: A modern-day cheap, somewhat run-down hotel. It's haunted by a previous victim of The Rules and staffed by people who know what's going on but can't stop it.

Plot: The hotel guests wake and arrive for breakfast at the same time. When they head back to their rooms, on each bed is a note (which may sound familiar) that reads:

The Rules
1. For each of you, there is a certain person in this hotel you must kill.
2. If you kill your person, you will go home.
3. If you do not kill your person, you will not go home.
4. Enjoy your newfound immortality while it lasts.

Accompanying the note is one six-shot revolver for each occupant of the room. Vanessa is the first to experiment (firing on Stephen), and soon the hotel devolves into murderous chaos as the occupants try to escape or kill their people while they're still coming back to life.

Point of View: First person, switching between each guest.

I've certainly worked some things out about this alternate version, though I've very much let it rest as the fan fiction version came out. The bit on immortality seems a bit harder to swallow here (maybe a setting change would somehow fix it, though I can't imagine how), and I'm just overall not sure about it. It's certainly an option to toy with, though.