Monday, April 29, 2013

Mayflies Excerpt

Well, last post before I leave for May. I promise I'll respond to any comments when I have time! But, as for blog posts, this is it until June. See you then.

And so we come to an update from 2YN-land. I've already posted another glimpse of Mayflies, but this one may actually show up in the story somewhere.


Julian slows his pace as we leave the road, and I have no choice but to do the same. Keeping my wings as folded-in as possible, as if no one would notice them that way, I take another look around. Julian promised he made sure no one could see us on the way here, but if he's wrong, we need to be ready to go.

I haven't seen anyone but Julian and Matthew around, so—

Julian stops abruptly, and I have to take a step back to avoid running into him.

"Here we are," he says matter-of-factly, arms akimbo.

His house isn't all that impressive. It's fairly big, enough for two rooms, but only precisely-planted flowers and leafy plants surround it. No other homes. Either he's special, or he has no family.

The first possibility doesn't seem likely. The walls are still just flaking wood clotted with mud, the roof a few layers of dry grass. Not a stone in sight, besides the whitened wall. He's no aristocrat, that's for sure.

"You might have to duck," Julian warns as he steps inside.

I exchange a glance with Matthew. If Julian stays distracted for just long enough, we could fly straight out of his range. If we're too slow, he could either catch us again or curse us. We have enough curses already, thanks.

In silent agreement, we walk to the doorway. I take the lead as always, while he keeps an eye out behind.

I lower myself when I get to the door, but my wings pass under just fine. I briefly wonder why someone as short as Julian has such a high doorway, but there are more pressing things to worry about. Like why he's taking us into his house instead of chasing us off.

Tapping a foot, Julian smoothes out part of the wall as we walk into the main room. Images coat the walls. Straight ahead, the likeness of the owner; to the left, an angel; to the right, a short segment of the starry sky. Some words are painted on the ceiling, but to me they're just blood-red scribbles.

Another room peeks past the wall with Julian's picture, while a large, smooth rectangle of wood is laid carefully just in front of that doorway. Pots of ink, quills, and what must be paints lie next to the board in a straight line, a stack of amatl paper neatly to the side. The only part of the other room I can see is the back wall, coated with shelves lined with folding books.

"Now." Julian's low voice snaps my gaze back to him. Sitting in the center of the front room, he looks up at us with glittering, black eyes. "Let's have a conversation, shall we, Mayflies?"

Friday, April 26, 2013

New Fan Fiction Idea #8

Working Title: Chibi Rental Services

Fandom: Hetalia: Axis Powers

Genre Tags: Humour/Friendship

Length: Multichapter, though I have no idea as to how long of one.

Protagonist: Antonio, a high school-aged human!Spain.

Other Main Characters: Lovino, a human!chibiRomano.
Arthur, a high school-aged human!England.
Alfred, a human!chibiAmerica.
Roderich, a high school-age human!Austria.
Feliciano, a human!Chibitalia.

Antagonist: Unknown. Probably things like boo-boos and spilt ice cream cones.

Plot: There exists an small, undercover organisation that is connected to a local orphanage. It allows unlucky-in-love students to "borrow" or play with an adorable, female-attracting orphan (who could really use a little time outside) for a day, after paying a fee. Sometimes pretending to have a little brother for a day works... And sometimes it doesn't. And sometimes the customer doesn't want to let go of the little thing once the day is up.

Setting: Modern-day America, in a small city. It has a nice high school and a fairly popular and well-kept park.

Point of View: Third-person limited, switching between the students and possibly a worker at the organization.

It's still sort of in its barest bones, but I sort of want to try fleshing it out some. I think this would actually turn out pretty short, though it's too early for me to say so with any degree of certainty.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Untitled (Except It Is)

What kind of titles do you like?

As some of you know, I've been toying with the title of The Long and Winding Road. Since the original-fiction version doesn't have the love interest as such a big Beatles fan, the title doesn't seem as relevant. At the same time, I don't know what the alternative could be. I tried just The Winding Road, but it didn't seem to fit, and I really have no other ideas.

I'm not good at with chapter titles, either. I do my best to come up with them for, and I've carried some of them over to the repost on deviantArt, but I don't know about using them in actual stories. I don't feel like they're necessary, beyond a number. At, it's nice to remember where you last read, which is difficult with only numbered chapters. In published books, though, there are bookmarks, either physical or digital. Given I'm not brilliant at chapter titles (I either steal them from song lyrics, a word from within the chapter, or just something that may or may not fit well), I don't want to try them unless I have reason to think they're necessary.

I feel like my title ideas are terribly unoriginal. Granted, the fewer the words used, the more often they're used—that's just a matter of statistics. I just want to feel like my titles jump out at people, somehow. How much does that sort of thing vary between readers?

Also, my titles tend to be extremely short, on top of generic. Run a Google search for "Brutal" and you're probably never going to find the fan fiction. The same goes for The Rules, even if it's a lot more popular. Are there any sorts of resources for title generation, or is it just something I have to practise until it works?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

New Fiction Idea #20

Look, something else that started as a Hetalia fan fiction! This one's actually fairly old, but I'm excited that I suddenly remembered it.

Working Title: Figments

Genre: Horror

Protagonist: Malcolm, a freshman Business major who's extremely sarcastic. He's rather thin and self-conscious about it, with short, brown hair and pale green eyes. He has always had the ability to see and interact with ghosts.

Other Main Characters: Corey, a freshman Art major who's been Malcolm's neighbour and best friend for years. He has shaggy-ish blonde hair and ambiguously-coloured eyes. Friendly but a bit squirrelly at times, he's terribly afraid of ghosts (to Malcolm's annoyance) despite being unable to really see them.
Darrell, a sophomore Biology major (aiming to be a physical therapist) who's intentionally annoying quite often but is generally likeable. He's a dark umber, with a good build.
Crystal, a sophomore Nursing major who's been Darrell's girlfriend for about three months. She's a good few shades lighter than him and keeps her hair in a low, short ponytail of braids. She's not that comfortable around other people, but she's working on it.

Antagonists: A group of ghosts, of overall ebony coloration, with rather long claw-like fingers. Their faces are mannequin-like, smoothed-out and without mouth or eyes, but they are still able to speak. To Malcolm's confusion, they are perfectly visible to everyone. They float, their forms fragmenting away about where mid-thigh would be. They feed on sanity to avoid a second death that would send them at last to Hell.

Setting: An old, rickety, bed-and-breakfast kind of building about a ten-minute drive from the local university. It's abandoned and rumoured (correctly) to be haunted.

Plot: As a sort of initiation ritual into a fraternity, Malcolm, Corey, and Darrell are "dared" to stay in the haunted house the week before school. Crystal tags along for moral support. They are not informed that no one has remained the whole time yet and they're not actually expected to last more than a day. But as the ghosts appear on and off and the group of students find themselves slipping from reality, it's up to Malcolm to keep them from losing all hope of recovery.

Point of View: First person (Malcolm).

I might default it back to fan fiction, but I kind of like how Malcolm (whose name could change) is turning out so far.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Come (What) May

As those of you who look at my fan fiction profile know, I will be leaving for Asia in May. While my host family in Japan has stated they're all right with me using their computer, I really have no way of knowing how often I'll be able to rely on an Internet connection. Thus, I have no idea when I'll be able to update this blog.

Since it's still a little bit before May, what do you think I should do? Should I go on complete hiatus here? Build up a backlog and schedule it? If the latter, how many posts would be good? One a week? Two?

Just let me know what you think. I definitely won't be able to write enough for every day of May, but I can put a little extra sweat in beforehand and schedule some updates ahead of time.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Annals of World-Building II

In the first edition of this series, I went through some of the characteristics of The Empire's homeland. Now it's time to time a wider look at the world. 

I apologise for my handwriting and the quality of the picture.

It's difficult to see, but shaded areas are those under the control of or otherwise claimed by The Empire. This includes the following:
Alt!Eurasia: Cynilann (The Mainland), Helmalann, Crudeland, Mulsha, Silkland, Saricum
Alt!Africa: Brickland, Rubberland, Southern Holdings
Alt!Australia: New South Donnelon
Alt!South America: Errin, Trinon, Minctor
Alt!North America: Springland
Alt!Antarctica: Australia
Islands (left to right): Prover Islands, Saina, Mictan, Sealand, High Island, Limacle, New Rinheart, Lesser Colonies, Red Islands, Flail Islands, Stark Islands, Bay Islands, Fire Islands, Asman

Helmalann was where civilisation originated, and they originally colonised Cynilann; however, society and technology grew so much faster in Cynilann that in a matter of time they came back and conquered Helmalann.

Cynilann has had especially good trade relations with Silkland and has rather recently declared dominion over them, as well as Crudeland. (Most nations here ending in -land were dubbed as such by Cynilann because they couldn't pronounce the native names. Crudeland stays somewhat true to the real name, which is something like Khudan, but Cynilann doesn't have as much respect for peoples not so closely related to them and just names them what seems appropriate.)

At the same time, Cynilann rather respects Saricum, since the latter has pretty much always been the cradle of knowledge on the other side of the river. (Their Hetalian personifications are totally crushing on each other, just saying.)

Cynilann's claim over Brickland, Rubberland, and the Southern Holdings is almost entirely economical, though they keep enough of a government there to ensure they will continue to milk the area dry (and that nobody else is going to step in and try to share). This hasn't been entirely successful, and there have been some extremely threatening border disputes with Scewoa (belonging to Faxir), but it would have to be more of a problem before they would go to war over it. These three colonies are some of the most recently established of The Empire.

New South Donnelon, obviously named after the southernmost island of Cynilann, is a more appreciated colony. The majority of the native population (which wasn't large) was killed in a tsunami and subsequent (unrelated) plague a few decades before the Cynilan people landed there, and the few who remained were quickly assimilated when the Cynilan people colonised. The Cynilan population there now surpasses that of mainland Cynilann, though they're not quite as urbanised.

Errin was gained via a Cynilan citizen's marriage to the local royal family and Cynilann's subsequent passing of bills to secure it nationally. Once Cynilann had a military presence there, it quickly took over Trinon and Minctor by force. Cynilann claims that Stalmid, right in the midst of their territories there, is too worthless a piece of land to be worth the trouble of conquering it. Then again, they do lay claim to Australia, which is worthless for anything but scientific research. Perhaps the Stalmidians are just rather troublesome...

Cynilann had established trade connections with Springland, notably the part of the continent as far as possible from Grema. From there, they peacefully took over. Springland is a very popular tourist spot on top of having great tropical farmland.

Most of The Empire's islands were taken militarily, with the exception of Sealand. It was uninhabited previously due to surrounding currents being extremely difficult to get through. It's still rarely visited (quite a few of the islands are really just claimed without being taken particular advantage of). The Lesser Colonies, or "Coal Islands," however, got their popular nickname for a reason. One of the most strictly-guarded colonies of the Empire (in fact, it was there that Macbay did his military service), it has oodles of coal, mined both by Cynilan people and the effectively enslaved natives. The Bay Islands are a good source of sugar and molasses. The Flail Islands have massive guano deposits.

During the actual story, war has broken out. A minor conflict over Opalia (fought between Balaccia and Ganoria, the Iberian peninsula-ish country and the Britain-ish country to the south) escalated, got some colonies involved, and then allies. Cynilann was dragged in via Saricum and is now on the side of Ganoria and Lichper (and their colonies). Balaccia is allied with Vitrina and, more importantly, Cerdisa. Cerdisa and Cynilann have had bad relations and a lot of cat fights over colony ownership, so it wasn't hard for Cynilann to really get into things once Cerdisa stepped in.

On the other hand, Grema (which has considerable influence over the other nations on its continent) was once Cerdisa's colony and still has a good relationship with them. Together, they're nicknamed the "Twin Beasts of the North," and it should suffice to say Cynilann really hopes Grema stays neutral over there. Certainly Cynilann is still sure they'd win, but it's enough to concern them.

This is only a rough map of the world, and several of the smaller nations and islands were cut out, but they don't play big roles in the time of the story. This is enough for now. The world isn't *entirely* fleshed out, but considering the actual story is limited to one island of The Mainland, I probably shouldn't be too worried.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New Fan Fiction Idea #7

Working Title: The Bard Games

Fandom: Shakespeare and Hunger Games crossover

Genre Tags: I never know how to label HG works. Let's say Horror/Suspense.

Length: Long multichapter

Protagonist: Othello Moor (District 11)

Other Main Characters: Romeo Montague (District 3)
Hamlet Prince (District 5)
Ophelia (District 5)
Macbeth Findlay (District 6)
Antonio Venis (District 8), volunteering for Bassanio
Portia Belmont (District 8)
Nerissa (District 9)
Desdemona (District 10)
Cleopatra Feyra (District 11) 

Antagonists: Our Career pack consists of
Caesar Julius (District 1)
Lady McBeth (District 1)
Antony (District 2)
Brutus (District 4)
Juliet Capulet (District 4)
Others with a clearly negative role in the story are
Iago Ensign (District 10)
Shylock (District 12)

Plot: A Hunger Games, from reapings to final kill, plus an epilogue. It's going to be one of the earlier Games.

Setting: A large, polygonal arena. It is split down the middle by a river (with a few rickety wooden bridges); on one side is ground, the other a wooden jungle-gym of sorts. The wooden part inclines, with the river side being the lowest and the edge of the arena being the highest. The section is split into nine rectangles (as in an octothorpe) with each rectangle containing a different type of wood. The other side of the arena is flat ground, rather muddy, for a stretch  but eventually leads to a three-storey sort of loft area. Also wooden, the area starts with a ground layer with decent barriers and, through a single ladder, leads up to two more levels, each less stable than the last. Various mutts, edible and otherwise plants, and traps dot the arena. The Cornucopia is just to the ground side of the river. 

Point of View: First-person, switching between each of the 24 tributes as appropriate.

I'm really looking forward to this one, although my cast list is incomplete, and I'll have to read more Shakespeare to fill it out. A reread of Macbeth could be nice, too. I still need to come up with surnames for a lot of the characters.

Protagonist assignment is arbitrary. At this point it seems Othello's alliance is going to get a good bit of screen time.

Still working out the setting, although the basic form is going to stay the same.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Prioritizing a Priority

In writing down basics for every story idea that comes to me, it's become obvious I can't do everything at once. While writing already has its own place on my list of priorities (somewhere below Bible study and possibly not wisely assigned in relation to schoolwork), each writing project has its own rank or general area as well. Now that I've hit twenty original novel ideas (including my fan-fiction-turned-original), I feel like I ought to do a bit of ordering.

Top of the List:
These are stories that I really want to write (or at least plot out/world-build, etc.) as soon as humanly possible.
  1. The Long and Winding Road (mid-writing)
  2. Mayflies (going through online course)
  3. New Fiction Idea #17 (I feel like I need to do a lot of world-building first, but I may at least test the waters of the first chapter before risking another Vortex of Infinite World-Building)
  4. Chasers (have begun writing, but barely)
  5. Macbay Transportation Services (will start writing once I get out of the Vortex)
Almost Top of the List:
These are stories that really interest me but aren't yet demanding to be written.
  1. Wanderers (love the world, not quite sure about plot or characters)
  2. Entrapped (hadn't been taking it seriously, but reading Incarceron makes prison-steampunk sound even better)
  3. The Heiress (not looking forward to world-building for some reason, but the actual story seems fun)
  4. Mount (a bit of back-to-basics steampunk just sounds nice)
  5. Chemists (once Jacob is properly tweaked and I've gotten over my first failed attempt, this is worth the trouble)
In the Middle:
These are stories I may or may not write, depending on whether some discovery about the story suddenly makes it more appealing.
  1. Revolution (might as well have some lightheartedness among the slaughter and hard steampunk if I can manage a whole story of it; also [somewhat] contemplating it as an opera)
  2. Family of Ibro (it interests me a lot, but the characters aren't really speaking to me yet)
  3. New Fiction Idea #14 (could be neat to play with a dystopia and utopia in the same story)
  4. War (the format would be weird, but it's intense enough to arouse some interest)
  5. Carmine (not liking how the romance shoved its way in, but a fantasy Cold War espionage has to be written sometime)
Just Meh:
These are stories that really don't particularly appeal to me yet. I may not feel capable of handling the material or style, or it was just a passing whimsy I wanted to note.
  1. The Rules (about the reverse of Family of Ibro—the characters are fine, repeated plot device not so much)
  2. Specials (just seems too unoriginal)
  3. Crumbling (not worrying about this until I get a good, original system for ghosts other than that used for Chasers)
  4. A Murder of Crows (never done a basic mystery, and not sure how much bird group puns could propel a story)
  5. Intolerant (has actually been handed off to a friend)
What do you think? Disappointed or encouraged? Had a different list of what you wanted to see first? Not so fond of ordering yourself?

I might do something like this for fan fiction ideas, etc. as well, though I don't have that many yet.

And, unrelated to everything else in this post, the Russians have invaded (there are officially more hits from Russia than the United States this week)! Not that that's a bad thing. Здравствуйте! (Because I can totally pronounce that in real life. Ahem.)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dream Journal #6

I'm not sure how I managed to remember this. I'm pretty sure I went back to sleep afterwards, but I really thought this was worth keeping and so rehearsed it quite a bit before dropping off again. Apparently it worked.

28 March29 March

Some ambiguous school friends and I were hanging out in a normal house, with sort of an old-person feel to it. It wasn't well lit, mostly by desk lamps, and the carpet was light. At some point we left the house, going along a path of worn, rectangular stepping-stones across the front lawn and onto the road. It was dark, probably a bit before dawn. No streetlights were on.

I'm not sure what happened, but we scattered. It seemed like a game at first, as I ran through the dark cul-de-sac, but at some point I found myself rather frightened and hiding at the front porch of someone's house. I couldn't see if I was that hidden, so I got a bit of light from my mobile phone before quickly putting it away. Still, the others—I'm not sure who in particular, or even if they were still my school friends—found me and tried to take me away. They grabbed my arms, but I managed to wrench myself away (this kind of thing happened quite often in the dream).

I ran away harder. It started to become lighter as I reached some sort of hotel. In an attempt to stop the others from following me, I ran straight across the edge of a large, blocky swimming pool, a sharp-edged hole in the otherwise undecorated concrete. I managed not to slip, and three boys that had been following me, one of which was Caleb*, came to a stop at the edges of the pool and argued with each other.

Still running as hard as I could and knowing I was still pursued, I went through the actual hotel and ended up in an indoor shopping mall. After some time of running across the main floor, I ended up going in a "store" that was really a type of popular shooting game, akin to laser tag. With no time to lose, I kept running through, dodging the crowd. I almost ran into a girl, donning the game's white, mecha-like costume, on the way back out and apologised to her for it.

After going across the main floor of the mall for a bit longer, I ended up underneath the building. There was a series of criss-crossing, otherwise deserted hallways on different levels that seemed very much like hotel hallways. The carpets were a bit darker than mint green, and there were few doors, only near places the hallways bent. Somehow Amelia had managed to almost catch up with me as I ran here. She caught me by my long skirt, and I couldn't quite get away. Crying, she begged me to stop running. I told her I couldn't do that, but also that it wasn't because I hated her. I couldn't convince her, but we did emotionally hug before I escaped and fled to the main mall.

Not feeling safe enough in the open area of the mall, I ended up running through stores in my attempts to dissuade my constant pursuers. I seemed to have lost them in some trendy but sparsely-stocked clothing and accessory store before I ran into another store. It was quite large, with two columns of various recliners spaced some distance from each other and extending back for a while. As I entered, a man in a coaching uniform who worked there asked if my shoes (which were my normal navy, undecorated walking shoes) were for the [city removed] team. I told him that they weren't, but my father coached at the school (which is true). With a grin, the man revealed he actually was my father and shook my hand, saying no one had complimented him like that before. He asked me what I was doing at the mall here, and I quickly thought to tell him some school friends and I were playing the popular shooting game.

Dad was fine with that, and I left the store, running from the pursuers again. At occassions they caught up and grabbed my arms; I managed to get away every time. We went through all types of stores, none of which I remember well, before I finally lost them. Wanting a break, I ran until I saw the front of my favourite bookstore chain. Although I knew it was terribly predictable and the others could try to look for me here, I entered anyway. Passing some typical displays of children's books, I realised how badly I had to use the restroom and looked at ceiling signs to find one. One sign pointed to a sort of atrium area, which included a rock wall (as in, a slab of grey rock in the gap between escalators that reached to the next floor) and various displays of small, square pieces of speckled soap.

Unable to find the restroom, I went to the second floor hoping for it there. Not far from the escalator sat one of the moderators of the improv contest I had the evening before (in real life). I knew he was one of the people after me, but I decided it was time to stop running. He seemed rather shocked and unsure how exactly to react to me just standing there watching him. As we were at some sort of video game station (consisting of a large, wooden box), he invited me to play with him and another girl, who had been sitting there with him. I agreed to it but asked where the bathroom was, hoping he wouldn't think I was just trying to get away again. He directed me towards them, but warned me the women's were a lot worse than the men's, with a score of 7-0. I tried to pull up the back of my jeans (apparently I was no longer wearing the skirt from the rest of the dream) but was unsuccessful and instead pulled my shirt down before hurrying towards the restroom.

*Caleb is a school friend, though we don't see each other much. We both went steampunk for Halloween, though, so that was cool.

Wow, this was a dream of rather epic proportions. And surprisingly consistent, as far as dreams go. I wonder if it actually meant something.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Amelia Special

Or: The Best Way to Visualise Characters is by (Others) Drawing Them.

Amelia is a friend and almost-neighbour who, unlike me, is able to draw people in non-manga styles. She's also willing to sketch things on request when we're stuck on a long field trip. As such, I have requested a few character drawings, though with differing specificity.

Clyde and Pink

(Sorry for the blurry snapshot of her sketchbook.) Having read only the first section of Chasers, she didn't have much to work with. Still, there was a decent description of Clyde, so I asked her to draw him, and she came up with all of this. It's really nice, because Clyde's eyebrows are perfect (I'm a freak about eyebrows, okay?), although they didn't show up too well in this picture, and I didn't have much of a physical design for Pink (I had actually just vaguely imagined her as a blonde Tayuya), so this worked out really well. Clyde's missing his top hat, but it's nice to see what his full head of hair looks like, so I'll forgive her.


These and the following sketches were actually from a trip much earlier, but they definitely deserve in, too. I asked Amelia to draw Macbay's beloved truck. While I'm not going with the treads (they were a cool idea, but the speed limit just isn't going to work) and the dashboard got flipped somehow, it was really cool watching this come to life. Now I know where the advertising panel is (though it's probably going to say "Macbay Transportation Services"), and all of the smoke pipes and mirrors are cool to see, too.

Max Webb

We didn't take this one entirely seriously, but this is a really good head-image for Macbay Transportation Services's antagonist. A bit plump, none too jolly, and well-dressed. And with a gap in his eyebrow from his time in the army (Yes, I even characterise people through their eyebrows. Shhh.). And last but not least...

Bartholomew Macbay

...We were rather tired by the time we got to him. Note that his arms are not like they appear in this sketch. Ahem. Otherwise, pretty accurate. Not all that handsome, not all that well-dressed, and a little bit classy without possibly being called a gentleman. His teeth are also pretty grody, which I wouldn't be able to draw at all.

Friday, April 12, 2013

New Fiction Idea #19

Inspired by an unfocused glance over a part of my history book I actually didn't have to read. Barely even an idea at this point, but worth scribbling down.

Working Title: Carmine

Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Protagonist: Alizarin, a twenty-something man with shoulder-length indigo hair and an unassuming build. He's an excellent actor and quite charismatic. He has some training in magic, but it's limited so it doesn't prevent him from carrying out his job.

Other Main Characters: Cerise, Alizarin's preferred assassin. She has shoulder blade-length red hair and is quite attractive despite having muscle tone. She enjoys playing on others' lust, and she's also a very powerful sorceress and skilled assassin.
Alizarin has several other assassins with equally "colourful" names. [rimshot]

Antagonist: The local government, which has gone to great lengths to clamp down on the assassinations.

Setting: Mesopotamian-like, low-tech world. Magic is hereditary (though not weakened by non-consanguinous marriage) and always creates more energy than is used. Fantastic hair colours are the norm.

Plot: Alizarin's beloved national espionage organization has been hit hard by the security measures put in place by the opposing government. Only those with weak or no magic are able to get within a certain range of their leaders because of new barrier magic. But the spies have found another weapon: masks. By transforming their assassins into inanimate masks with only a small amount of magic radiating from them, they are able to get them inside the barrier. From there, the assistant (Alizarin) slips on the mask and transforms into the assassin. Once the deed is done, the assassin can return to mask form, bringing the assistant back. The story follows Alizarin in his dutiful assassinations and his growing attraction towards Cerise.

Point of View: Third person, limited to whatever character is appropriate.

The "red" theme is due to "Masque of the Red Death." Because Poe allusions automatically make a piece better, right?

(And where in the world is Carmine? Hehe)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

New Short Film Idea #1

I write stories. I do not write scripts or film videos. Still, film (or maybe theatre) seems like the best medium for this little idea, so short film it is.

Working Title: Roses

Genre: Romance/Mainstream

Characters: A man and his wife. They've been married for some amount of time and have a young son.

Setting: Modern-day. Everything takes place at various times in front of a kitchen counter with a vase of roses.

Plot: For Valentine's Day, the husband buys his wife a nice vase of flowers. She's delighted, and they discuss a nice steakhouse for dinner before leaving. Various other occasions where they chat here are shown, with their conversations becoming less "romantic" and more normal as time goes on and the flowers wilt a bit. Eventually we show a few small fights, and the husband storms out, leaving the wife to water the flowers and note their state wistfully. Eventually life catches up fully, and she no longer waters or notices the flowers. The fights get progressively worse, and tears are shed. The wife finally disposes of the flowers in disgust. A few days pass where the couple doesn't exchange words at all. In the kitchen by himself, the husband notices the empty vase and takes it, exiting the house. The next day, the wife enters the kitchen to find a fresh set of flowers on the counter and smiles.

Anyone interested is free to take this one. Also feel free to change the ending. I felt like it should end sort of happily, but what I came up with seems too forced. That's what I get for trying a condensed romance idea, ha.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chasers (NFI#1) Excerpt

While in the throes of writer's block in other projects, I decided to give the first part of Chasers a try. This definitely isn't the entire first chapter, but it's the first whole section. Feedback is appreciated, as always.


She awoke with asphalt grating her back. No warm light touched her face, and a look straight ahead to the sky confirmed the sun wasn’t out. Nor were any clouds, nor were stars. Only a vast black canvas hung above her.
Something seemed off about that.
With an exhale, she pushed herself up to a seated position. She could see well enough despite the lack of celestial bodies. Tall streetlights, which contributed no more to the lighting than the absent sun, stood on either side of a pristine street, painted lanes glowing brightly over the black asphalt. No sputtering of engines filled the air, but she felt it was a good idea to get to the sidewalk.
Managing to stand easily enough, she hurried onto the concrete and rubbed her arms. While the atmosphere wasn’t as cold as it appeared to be, her short sleeves still left her with a bit of chill.
Nearly stumbling into a mailbox, she clenched her fists and glanced about her. She didn’t feel any keys or mace in her pocket, but she was sturdy enough to feel that feet and elbows would be adequate.
Finally she saw the man strolling towards her. Leaning back a bit, he smiled loosely, the tails of his fine suit flapping quietly behind him. He was well-dressed from top hat to gleaming shoe, but his windblown hair and stubbly beard ruined any impression of utter spotlessness. He raised his thick eyebrows at her grimace and wisely chose to stop while yet some distance from her.
“I don’t believe I’ve seen you before,” he started with a brogue that matched his flame of hair.
She crossed her arms, no tension slipping from her frame. “Good for you.”
He chortled. “Got another nice one, looks like.” He held out a hand to shake before seeming to realize she was standing too far away to reach him. Instead he tipped his hat. “My name is Clyde. Pleased to meet you.”
Though she wasn’t planning to respond with her name, she found she couldn’t if she tried. Clyde must have seen the flicker of shock on her face, because he smiled a bit wider and said:
“Don’t have a name of your own, do you, lass?”
“I’m sure I do.” She kept her voice cold. “I just don’t seem to remember at the moment.”
“So I see.” He pulled out a pocket watch without looking at it too closely. “I don’t suppose you remember anything else about yourself?”
She took a deep breath. “What business is it of yours?”
“You’d be surprised.” Still smiling, he slipped the watch back into his pocket. “In fact, I know just how to get your memories back. If you don’t trust me, you don’t have to follow me, but the others will be gravely disappointed.”
With that, he turned on his heel and began to amble back where he had come. She watched, a tremble creeping into her shoulders. He could be trying to lead her into any number of traps. She had no phone in her pocket to dial for help, if there was help to dial. No lights shone in the windows of any bland-faced buildings, and a car had yet to putter past. She still had no idea where she was, and that also boded ill for however she could get help. No signs marked restaurants, hospitals, or general stores. The only thing yet of any comprehensibility was now striding away from her.  
Cursing under her breath, she walked after him, keeping her footsteps light in the hope he wouldn’t notice. She swore again when he glanced over his shoulder with a grin.
“Decided to come after all, then, lass?”
“Don’t call me ‘lass’,” she muttered.
Clyde turned back around, picking up his pace. “Then what shall I call you?”
“I already told you I don’t know my name.” Hunching over a bit, she jogged to catch up.
He moved to the side to give her room. “You might as well make one.”
“Why?” She exhaled noisily, watching the concrete tiles pass underfoot. “Does no one else know what my name is?”
He shrugged. “There are only four of us here, so I’d very much doubt it.”
Her pace lulled before she hurried up. “Four of what? Your gang?”
“Oh, no.” His shoulders bobbed with another chuckle. “Four people. Two of them being you and I.”
She walked without reply, observing the empty buildings and roads. They didn’t look much different from any others she had passed.
He watched her head swivel before starting, “The place goes on forever. Loops round on itself.” After a while of receiving no response, he grinned. “Have you already given up on understanding?”
She didn’t turn to look at him. “Just lead me to someone else.”
He laughed grandly. “Will do, lass. Will do.”

Sunday, April 7, 2013

New Fan Fiction Idea #6

Working Title: +Anima

Fandom: +Anima/Hetalia: Axis Powers crossover
Genre Tags: Adventure/Friendship
Length: Multichapter, about as long as a novelisation of +Anima.
Protagonist: Italy as Cooro.
Other Main Characters: England/"Bushy" as Myrrha/"Husky".
Sweden as Senri.
Belgium as Nana.
Antagonist: Germany as Igneous.
Spain as Fly.

Plot: A retelling of +Anima, with the above cast (as well as substitutions for more minor characters) and whatever changes they require.
Setting: Same as the original manga.

Point of View: Third-person, omniscient.

I'm still debating the naming. I may do country names or human names, though probably not the original +Anima names.

The description is so sparse because it's quite close to the original and is really more of a casting issue. There are some differences—for example, England ends up in Astarian waters because his ship was attacked by pirates, rather than Husky being left to drown and escaping the capital through waterways. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Pearl Worth Writing For

Recently I've finally come to realize that (shocker) if I don't enjoy writing a story, it's really not worth the loads of time and effort I put into it.

This is an unfortunate realization for the readers of Break Out. I've really only been writing it for the readers. I had my fun in The Rules, but Break Out was the more seriously-taken sequel to explain why I was able to have my fun in The Rules. Negligible amounts of my own interest went into deciding to write the sequel. The chapter with France finding Canada wanted to be written, as did the chapter with Italy taking an unexpected turn (which was originally going to be in The Rules, anyway). That's it. I haven't plotted enough to know what happens at the point I've reached, and I've realized I don't really care anymore. I've only been writing my 2,500 words every four days for the readers' sake, and so few showed much interest the last chapter posted (until recently) that I just gave up on it.

I'm not promising I'll never go back to it. If it becomes of interest to me, or if I have a lot of extra time and pushy readers, I'm sure I'd be fine with writing some more. I already have the "normal" amount of reviews for the last chapter, so I'm not feeling quite so abandoned. It's difficult trying to balance what I want to do with what I should do for readers, but I've chatted with a good handful of friends (and my mother), and they've agreed that I just shouldn't write it if I don't want to—it's my hobby, for veal's sake. (If I do give on forever on Break Out, I'll at least post a summary of what was supposed to happen next, so no need to panic too much.)

At the same time, I hope I don't end up doing this with all of my original fictions. The Long and Winding Road is getting few enough reviews that I can be sure I'm not just writing it for the readers, and I'm not seriously thinking that I might lose interest in it. As for my other (future) fictions, at this point I don't know. I'm worried that I'll find myself losing interest in things and losing my discipline in the process. Hopefully that's just another unfounded accusation I'm making at myself, but I guess only time will tell. If nothing else, I've powered through all 50,000 words of NaNoWriMo with a fiction I was at no point proud to call my own.

What do you think? Any advice for me? Have you ever been in this sort of situation? What do you think makes writing worth it?

(Also, if the title sounds somehow familiar but you can't quite place it, here's your hint. I also mean "pearl" in the metaphorical sense, though hopefully that's not difficult to figure out.)

Friday, April 5, 2013

New Short Story Idea #2

I've had this idea for a while, but I've just never gotten around to writing it. Was reminded of it in Genetics Monday morning.

Working Title: "Apoptosis"

Genre: ...Is Suicide a genre? Maybe Horror, with a touch of Mystery.

Main Characters: Gwen, an 18-year-old female with short, orange hair that was normally well-kept. She was a freshman, preparing for a pre-medical degree of some sort. She was book-smart, but not very good with relationships.
Claire, Gwen's 20-year-old sister. She has reddish-brown hair, shoulder length, and is certainly "the pretty one" of her family. She can be a bit of a ditz, but she's willing to make friends with just about anyone, despite the toll it takes on her time.
Herman, a 29-year-old male officer. He's a bit big but in-shape. He's not an emotional man and just wants to do his job.

Setting: Gwen's bedroom, in modern-day America or something. The story format alternates between Gwen in that room, hovering over a Cell Biology textbook, and Claire and Herman standing there the next day.

Plot: A morbidly-depressed Gwen is studying for a big exam she "knows" she won't pass when she finally commits suicide, which she has been contemplating for months. She is found in dead her room the next day, and Claire and Herman investigate the scene.

Point of View: Alternates between first-person from Gwen, describing the process of apoptosis (programmed cell suicide), and third-person from Claire, who describes to Herman how Gwen had been faring as of late, in parallel with the processes Gwen describes in her sections.

After reading Seven Pieces of Chalk, I don't feel like I could do any suicide stories more justice, but I'd still like to toy with this someday. It seems like an interesting format to me.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dream Journal #5

20 March—21 March

For some sort of dire grievance, some others and myself were to be banned from our home planet, which, as far as I can tell, was not Earth, although we were all human. We were forced into a very cartoony rocket, where we all stood in the centre, by the one round window, as we were launched. We were supposed to be condemned to die on the "spring moon"—a moon, not far from our home planet, that was labelled with an extremely large pale blue structure in the shape of two intersecting semicircles.

Before we got to the spring moon, however, we came across another celestial body in our path. It was a very small (probably about the size of the rocket) planet made of rocky, deep scarlet stone. I remembered hearing a presentation about this planet (whose name now escapes me), so I decided to take my chances with it rather than the spring moon. Without a space suit—none of us had one, it seemed—I managed to slip out of a wide hatch in the spaceship just as we came to the rocky planet.

As I grappled to keep hold of the rock, I noticed Logan*, the one who had done the presentation I remembered, sitting on top of the planet. Not wearing any special equipment, other than a somewhat casual suit and fedora, he greeted me cheerfully. I reciprocated and mentioned his report on the planet. He nodded and informed me that "the natives—yes, natives—are really nice." This was indeed the first I had heard of any natives on the planet.

While I did not see them at first, after a while of living on the planet, I finally managed to observe the natives. They were tiny (about the height of a finger), standing triceratops creatures that usually lived underground. They weren't very social and never talked to me, but I was okay with that.

Meanwhile, I was trying desperately to get an Internet connection on my laptop, but reception on the planet was terrible. There were several Wi-Fi places to which I could connect, but they didn't work correctly, and the one that I actually received properly kept sending my browser to a bright green website advertising a hotel on my home planet and insisting I sign up for a night or two.

* Logan is one of my lab partners in Chemistry and sits next to me in class. I really feel like he would be the type to energetically do some presentation on a weird, tiny planet. He also likes to sing annoying things, but luckily that didn't crop up in this dream (although I woke up with "You're So Vain" stuck in my head).

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New Fiction Idea #18

Somehow inspired by seeing two flyovers on levels on top of each other. The world came before anything else.

Working Title: Wanderers

Genre: Steampunk/Mystery

Protagonist: Joey, a twenty-something man who is rather short. He dresses as well as anyone else and keeps his brown hair short, with bangs slicked back. He's rather easygoing and really a bit lazy, but he really loves people. His specialty is cobbling, but he's fit enough to help in construction crews and other ventures.

Other Main Characters: Annette, Peter's wife. She has dirty blonde hair kept under a flowery hat and is on the thin side. She's sweet but very quiet. She prefers to work with children, but she'll lend a hand in what she can.
Neal, Joey's single brother. He has curly, brown hair he keeps a bit too long for the times, but he still dresses normally. He has a passion for architecture and is a bit of a trickster.
Deborah, Annette's 18-year-old best friend since childhood. She has impeccably straight red hair kept shoulder-length, and she very much likes dresses although it's unusual for women to wear them for long periods of time. She's outgoing but a bit too susceptible to imbibing. She specialises in clothing design and hatmaking.
Kimberley, Deborah's best friend and boyfriend. He's dark-skinned and dark-haired, and he's confined to a wheelchair. He's only talkative around friends, but he doesn't have an indoor voice. He's a born tinkerer, though he also enjoys teaching.

Antagonist: Peter, a kleptomaniac who steals mostly loose clothing articles. He sees himself as the bad guy, but he's a bit too skilled at getting away with robberies. He has a bit of a drinking problem but incidentally can contribute to the operations of breweries he crosses.

Setting: A land of bridges and little else. On the ground live ranchers (and a few others), but it's exceptionally rare to get a glimpse of them. Bridges, mostly spanning from one bridge to another, cross the world and up into the sky. Various shops, hotel-like houses, schools, churches, and other amenities dot the sides and intersections of bridges, but there are no towns. Everyone walks (or otherwise moves), all of the time, getting food and contributing what they can whenever they run across the proper facility. "Settling down" and "home" are entirely unheard of.

Plot: Overall, everything is peaceful and there is little crime. Joey has finally separated from his parents and his main group of friends to marry Annette, who is now expecting. Then Peter swipes Annette's light jacket (containing some precious family heirloom) and runs. None of their group can quite catch up, and it's exceptionally difficult to track someone who doesn't want to be found.

Point of View: First person (Annette).

I really just now made up all of the characters and plot. It could change to just about anything; I just want to play with this world.