Sunday, June 30, 2013

New Fan Fiction Idea #10

An old idea I could possibly revive someday.

Working Title: My Cup of Tea

Fandom: Hetalia: Axis Powers

Genre Tags: Adventure/General

Length: Multichapter

Protagonist: England

Other Main Characters: The rest of the Allies, possibly Romano and Spain as well.

Antagonist: Usually America. Sometimes the others on the ship.

Plot: Drowning in dull, modern-day paperwork and politics, England wishes for his old pirate life a bit too fervently. The next time he wakes up, he and several others are aboard an old pirate ship with no land in sight and no way to contact anywhere else. The crew tries to survive storms, attacks, and each other as they search for land. Between dwindling rations and the nations slowly reverting to their 17th-century selves one by one, they'd better hurry.

Setting: A wooden pirate ship of some age but decent condition. Most of the story is in open ocean, although a few small islands and (if I'm nice to the crew) a final spot of land are also involved.

Point of View: Third person, omniscient or static.

Because I feel the need to demonstrate that England can, in fact, be awesome, despite the fact that I have a disturbing tendency to kill him off at every opportunity available.

That's not to say plenty of other people haven't written a pirate England fic, probably with a similar premise, but it could be one of those things that, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." And any story is going to be different under a different author, right?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

New Fiction Idea #24

Original idea from a phrase in my history textbook. I had no idea what to do with it until inspiration suddenly struck me in Japan. Hey, whatever works.

Working Title: Bloom

Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Protagonist: M, a teenage girl with long, straight blonde hair and blue-green eyes. She's slender and weak and not that good at interacting with others after spending most of her life in a sort of solitary confinement. Various plants bloom at her touch, and she develops similar powers as the story goes on.

Other Main Character: Lawrence, a young man with messy, black hair and dark brown eyes. He's short and sturdy and rather tan. He can be quite clueless but is capable of acting under stress. He suffers (really) from bipolar disorder.

Antagonist: Smith, a 36-year-old government worker who does not smile. He's tall and muscular, though not excessively so.

Setting: A"sterile jungle of glass and metal." No plants are left; all things are synthesized. The city is rather soulless.

Plot: M has been locked up since about the age of four. Now she fights to escape to some sort of safety, with Lawrence tagging along.

Point of View: Third-person, omniscient.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Objectively Pursuing the Subjective Objective

In other words, trying to find a good formula for a good book when few can agree on what a "good" book is.

The subjective nature of novelling is obvious. Half the time I can't stand my own writing enough to give it a reread, yet I have readers calling me everything from "genius" to "perfect" to "a God or something." Either one side is wrong, or there's not that much of a "wrong."

That's not to say someone has to love every piece of writing. I think I'm safe in saying that (exempting over-encouraging parents and the like) no one's going to really enjoy a story of about 50 words, all of them misspelt so miserably no one can tell whether the main character's name is Angel, Angle, or Agnlee. Constant grammatical errors, likewise. A 70,000-word novel composed of only simple sentences is probably no more readable than the other two.

Once an author has a tolerable grasp of writing, though, things start to get murky. Maybe the concept is interesting, but the story seems bland and unexciting—but that was my opinion on the Twilight series (what of it I could get through), and it has a few fans out there. Maybe the plot is contrived and disorienting, but the characters and concept make up for it (what I feel about Takamagahara). Maybe some of the characters are terribly flat, but the others are interesting enough to keep things afloat, as in Brutal

In short, novelling seems to be a complex dance of plot points, characters, setting, concept, and others, where a good enough aspect can drag the others out of the dustbin, or a bad enough one can pull the others down into it. Exactly what can outweigh what else is up to each reader's preference.

Therein lies the frustration. What will enough people like to make a book profitable? There are trends now, but, by the time this book is written and edited, what will they be? Are my preferences similar enough to others' that I can just write what I like, and everything will work out?

I hope that last question can be answered with a "yes," because that's all I'm interested in doing. I write the stories that drive me and hope some others will tolerate it. I'm not confident that will work so well once I actually get into the business, but, when everything is so subjective, I can't predict what others' reactions will be, anyway.

Any thoughts?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

New Short Story Idea #3

This was first going to be a story idea, but then it decided to be set in the Macbay-verse, so I felt it would work better as a short story tie-in.

Title: Thrill

Genre: Steampunk

Main Characters: Anthony, the seventeen-year-old son of Max Webb. Quite tall, he's a thin sort of muscular with oddly long fingers. He has straight, near-black hair he keeps spiked, and hazel eyes. He's attractive enough to have a few girls after him, and the distant/bad boy attitude helps. He doesn't speak or smile often, but he very much enjoys steambike racing.
Maude, a sixteen-year-old girl with shoulder-length, wavy, blonde hair. She's a bit of a fangirl when it comes to Anthony, although she's rather calm about it (enough so to gain some respect from him).
Fenton, Anthony's older brother. He's much more social than his brother and hasn't spent much time with him since Anthony started distancing himself.

Setting: Ten years after Macbay Transportation Services, in the same universe (specifically Central City). Steambike races are a huge form of entertainment, helped by the fact there are a lot of crashes on the hugely-banked tracks (and no effective brakes).

Plot: Anthony rides the race circuit in spite of the risk to his life. Maude tries to set him straight, but Anthony's family shame-based suicidal tendencies aren't an easy barrier to break.

Point of View: Third person, limited to Anthony.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Fiction Idea #23

This idea is very much incomplete, but enough to worth noting down.

Working Title: Check

Genre: Fantasy

Protagonist: Ena, a twenty-two-year-old woman with sharp features and thin, black hair in a series of ponytails. She's fast and strong, prefers to use a spear, and is personally devoted to Enric.

Other Main Characters: Enrich, a twenty-four-year-old man with short, brown hair and hazel-green eyes. He's small in stature and a bit scared of most things, but he gets along well with others and can easily put their needs first.
Godric, a spindly man who lacks basic proficiency with weaponry. He's a trickster, though, and very skilled at deception of all types. As such, it's difficult to trust him, but he's friendly enough with those he chooses for them to at least mostly accept him.
Shelton, a barrel-chested twenty-four-year-old who's the quiet type. He's strong and good with horses and other animals, but he's subject to vertigo and doesn't always get along with people.
Timaeus, a tall twenty-ear-old with light hair kept a bit long. He's an archer with high endurance and generally good aim (especially compared to some of the others in the setting). He can be a bit haughty due to his heritage, but he's easily embarrassed and a loyal and determined fighter.

Antagonists: The Shadows, inverted images of the main characters with the same abilities, though without much thought process beyond instinct and strategy.

Setting: Medieval fantasy land, with most of the action just a stone's throw away from the mouth of a dragon's cave. Magic is limited to magical creatures and occasionally places.

Plot: Ena and company seek to destroy a dragon that has already incinerated a group of foot soldiers. Before they can get close enough to the lair to do any good, they're met by their Shadows and must take them down first.

Point of View: Third person, omniscient.

Based on chess pieces. First got the idea from TV Tropes's Useless Facts on chess (which I can no longer find for some reason).

Monday, June 17, 2013


Novel ideas are just a combination of weird quirks that interest me enough to require toying with them. Sometimes, though, I only end up with one little fragment of an idea with no idea as to what to put with it. Here I will compile some of these fragments, and maybe I (or you!) can figure out what should go together, or what else should be brought in.

  • An army mime (after seeing the words juxtaposed in a Scrabble solver)
  • Some sort of traditional epic fantasy
  • A family that possesses full-grown beards from birth that protect their owners (thanks to Caleb being weird after reading the surname "Beardsley")
  • A world with no bodies, only voices
  • A musical based on Journey songs
  • An overly-independent disabled person learning to rely on others sometimes
  • A modern day teen sucked into a fantasy world who insists on calling sprites "pixels"
  • A family where all of the children are named after different types of tea
  • A dark novel titled Thus Quoth the Raven
  • Something with two cats sitting atop a car in a neighbourhood and chatting whilst sipping tea (because my eyes took too long to figure out that was just a ladder wrapped in plastic blowing in the wind...)
  • Main characters called Lizzie and Ferd who are always at each other's throats
  • A fight scene on the outside of this building

Sunday, June 16, 2013

New Fan Fiction Idea #9

Working Title: "England Ruins America's Life Forever"

Fandom: Hetalia: Axis Powers

Genre Tags: Humour, possibly Parody

Length: Oneshot

Protagonist: America.

Other Main Characters: England.
Inky, Blinky, Pinky, Clyde, and Pac-Man (in the game).
Japan is at least mentioned.

Antagonists: England.
Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde.

Plot: America is playing Pac-Man in a public place. England informs him that the game's antagonists are, indeed, ghosts.

Setting: 1980s arcade in America, so they can both have outrageous hair, just because.

Point of View: Third-person, limited to America.

Just a random thing. And an excuse to write about England with eighties hair

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dream Journal #8

This actually shook me up a bit, though once I was suitably awake such thoughts seemed a bit silly.

Also a bit strange how I was only an observer the entire time, rather than switching places with the main character ever so often.

And a random welcome to all of the hits from Ukraine!

19 Apr—20 Apr

I was watching a DVD of some sort of anime. The first few clips (they were all too short to really be called episodes, since it wasn't as random as Hetalia) played without any unusual intervention and introduced the main character and her family. The main character was a brown-haired Japanese teenager who was rather cheerful and liked to ride her bike. I don't think she ever had a mother.

Then, after the end of one clip, a menu opened where I could choose which clip to watch next, each of which was near the same time in the storyline and so could be watched in any order. As I selected and watched clips, more options came up after every one, sorted by the character with which they were involved, including more characters (all connected to the main character) as I progressed. In this manner I continued to watch the series, where everything in the main character's life started falling apart. Her little sister was slowly dying of a mysterious illness; her boyfriend, with whom she played basketball, proved to not care enough for her during her troubles and left her; and her father, who was still quite young, was losing his memory in some mundane way piece by piece. I was hesitant to watch the father's first clip because I knew how bad it was going to get.

The main character also had a companion that was some kind of light brown, furry bat. He talked and pretty much only showed up from time to time for comic relief. His first segment (or at least the first that featured him enough to count as his category) was actually the fourth of his listed clips, but I couldn't select the previous ones, which, I reasoned, had to be because I hadn't watched the right clips in other categories yet. Caleb came into the room where I was watching the DVD and made a snarky comment about the bat and his colourful, furry ear lining. I shooed Caleb off and continued watching.

At some point the main character was running back to her village past a rocky area that happened to be some sort of shooting range. She had to run between rounds of shots (which were small, black rocks instead of bullets) and then hide behind outcroppings as the people, who never took any heed of her, fired. There was also some point when she and her bat friend were dropped off from a bus in the middle of the village/city, and she had to find her way home past a flooded roadway.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Writing from Music

As opposed to just writing to music.

At an orchestra concert a while ago, I had been innocently listening to the music when Luke (sitting next to me) asked what kind of head-story I had formed from the music. I, of course, had done no such thing, but I gave it a shot for the next piece and ended up with some short concerning a werewolf and a fleeing female (no relation to Dynblaidd).

That was the last song of the night, and my little story wasn't interesting enough to flesh out, but I thought I might give it another try. I've already toyed with an idea concerning "Just a Job to Do" by Genesis (which somehow came on shuffle as I was writing this, just like the original post...), but I think I might check out some more classical-type music. Being without lyrics, it'd be a lot more challenging, but it's worth a shot. If I come up with anything interesting, I'll put up a New Fiction Idea and give credit to the song; if I fail several times, I may just post a sequel to this with the fragments I got from the songs.

Have you ever sought inspiration from music without lyrics? Do you have any songs you'd like to recommend?

Monday, June 10, 2013

New Fiction Idea #22

Inspired by a Genesis song that somehow against all odds (/slightly off pun) came on my iPod on shuffle as I typed this up. 'Tis destiny.

Working Title: A Job to Do

Genre: Suspense/Action

Protagonist: Danielle, a twenty-three-year-old woman with fair skin and dark brown hair, which she keeps mid-back length and only ties up for jobs. She is an assassin who prefers to use handguns but is proficient with sniper rifles as well. She takes her job seriously and unemotionally, though she's spent her entire life in this system and wants to settle down with a family eventually.

Other Main Character: Lennon, a twenty-two-year old man with short, black hair but bangs that are as long as possible without getting in his eyes. He's well-built and "ruggedly handsome," beard stubble and all, but he has yet to take a relationship seriously. He's also a trained killer, though not from the same organisation as Danielle, and specialises in faux suicide operations.

Antagonist: Lennon and some others in his organisation.

Setting: A few slightly futuristic Earth cities, possibly extending to some parts of the countryside. There's little gang activity, but, due to the high-class, high-profit nature of the city and its buildings, a lot of important people end up there (although they're not usually executed on-site, because that would be a tad too suspicious). Assassins make good money and are often trained from a young age after being sold (usually for drugs or such) or, on rare occasions, stolen. Only two assassination organisations are dominant in the main city of the story, and they have a bit of an underground rivalry.

Plot: Danielle carries out her many heart-thumping missions and, in the process, meets Lennon. They're both easily convinced the other works at some other office in the city, and they strike up a bit of a relationship. Unfortunately Danielle then succeeds in offing someone the rival organisation did not want her organisation to get, and Lennon is then assigned to take care of her. Unswayed by the small amount of time they had spent with each other, Lennon pursues his goal but, since she lives a dangerous life and could be killed by others of his organisation at any time anyway, decides to make it a cat-and-mouse game, toying with her but cutting closer every time.

Point of View: Third-person limited, alternating between Danielle and Lennon.

Honestly, it sounds a bit more like a movie to me, but I barely even consider it possible to do a script long enough for a short film, so that's not happening. And, I mean, you know how action novels never get made into movies, anyway.

It's definitely just in its first stages and needs more original elements, but hey. If I had everything worked out, I would be writing it now.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Revised Chasers Excerpt

Thanks to the feedback on the first version of my Chasers excerpt, I've come up with a (slightly) revised new one. I've cut off after Clyde's entry because I made no changes after that.

This certainly doesn't have to be the final draft, per se, so let me know if I should add a little more.


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 still a good idea to get to the sidewalk.
Managing to stand easily enough, she hurried onto the stone slabs 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.
In front of her now was a tall building, more window than steel. A reflection watched her: bangless, pale blond hair, some of which was pulled back into a ponytail; tanned skin with haywire patches of freckles; a round face with thin lips, thinner eyebrows, and blue-green eyes squinting in scrutiny. Apparently all of it belonged to her.
Unsettled by the lack of familiarity, she turned away and walked, keeping the building in the corner of her eye to catch any doors. There weren't any; the glass of the next building also had no way of entry. The next still had no door, and after passing another, she realized no signs marked the buildings, either. All of the glass was the same, shining in the lack of light, free of handprints and smears. A few buildings edged their windows with brick rather than steel, but they had no more discernible a purpose than the others.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Draft Dodging

Overall I'm quite new to the editing process. I've certainly had rought drafts, etc. for school papers (ten pages over historical reasons for the theory of the humours... ugh), but I've rarely done such things for my fictional works. Usually I just churn out a chapter of fan fiction, fix any of those pesky squiggly red lines, and post it.

I've been a bit better on The Long and Winding Road. I've still done little editing, but I at least reread the chapter and edit for flow issues, misincorporated words, etc. I haven't read up on any "official" terms for editing techniques, but I would consider this something like fine-level editing.

So, if the raw writing is my first draft, the published fan fiction would be my second draft. After that, some major editing needs to be done in accordance with the original characters in the alternate version of the story. Once that third draft is done, another fine, readability edit is a good option so I'm not distracted by small errors, and that gives me my fourth draft.

My fifth draft, then, would be the result of larger-scale editing: seeing if individual scenes or even chapters are necessary to the storyline and such. I'm still only vaguely sure about how this whole process works, so I really can't be sure about anything past that. I'll need to make sure things are consistent with each other and with the real world (or the post-apocalyptic real world, at any rate). Extra revisions may be needed after giving that draft to a test audience, and then I guess at some point I'll come to my nth, final draft and hit Smashwords.

I'm sure my 2YN class is going to cover editing quite well, so I'm not too worried about my inexperience just yet. Still, it all seems quite daunting, especially when my previous editing experiences weren't for anything I really enjoyed.

How many levels of editing do you aim for? Any tips for me?

Monday, June 3, 2013

New Fiction Idea #21

Because the vampires get all of the attention these days.

Working Title: Dynblaidd

Genre: Fantasy

Protagonist: Aaron, a half-Dyn with wavy, dark brown hair. He's rather tan, with hazel eyes and a crooked but white smile. While he's very friendly, sometimes even a doormat, to those he considers his family (which in this world encompasses close friends), he's cold to others and rarely lets them in. He still smiles a lot at them, but when it comes to aristocrats he can't even manage that much. He pursues Robin-Hood-like fantasies as well.

Other Main Characters: Galen, an aristocrat with very dark, reddish hair. His eyebrows would be thick enough to warrant suspicion he's not entirely human if he weren't the eldest son of his very noble (human) family. He's incredibly hostile towards the Dyn of any variety and does not smile in public (it's doubtful he would in private, either). He's engaged to the daughter of the wealthiest family, though he's never met her, and as such has been practising to become the effective ruler.
Andraste, a quarter-elf with platinum blonde hair and violet eyes. She's very quiet but is eager to help anyone that makes requests of her. As far as racism goes, she's extremely open-minded for her time.

Antagonist: Seona, a blonde elf of an averagely pale complexion with light blue eyes. She's indiscriminately hospitable, but she's excellent at ensnaring people. She's very protective of her family but can be irresponsible when it comes to her extreme prejudice of the Northwest.

Setting: A large island, separated into the Northwest and Southeast by the River Tell. The Northwest is populated by a vast majority of humans, and the Dynblaidd (Dyn for short). The Dynblaidd appear mostly human, but with thicker hair and eyebrows, as well as claws of steel-like consistency; a larger but more stooped stature; tails about half the length of their forearms; and long, sharp teeth with slightly larger canines. Their strength waxes and wanes with the moon; the new moon has them near death, while any sliver of moon has them about the same strength of humans and the full moon at about thrice the strength of humans. Regardless of other heritages mixed in, all have a taste for human flesh (whether pureblood human or human-Dyn "mutt") but can resist to degrees varying from Dyn to Dyn. They've occupied the lowest castes of society since a group of technologically-superior humans drove them to near extinction. The Northeast is an aristocracy with a fairly high quality of life, for humans.
The Southeast is populated by a majority of elves, and humans. While every species has access to magic, the elves are particularly skilled at it. The Southeast is broken up by mountains into city-states, but a king claims control over its entirety.
The two sides of the island have finally stopped warring some forty years ago. The Northwest has yet to fully recover and still distrusts and fears the other side, particularly the elves. Little commerce or communication is carried out between them, and immigration more or less doesn't exist.

Plot: A starving Aaron finally secures a job as one of many servants in Galen's household. He uses the position to his advantage, Robin-Hood-ing it every chance he gets, and slowly makes the unfriendly acquaintance of the young master. Eventually the two antagonize each other enough a private fight ensues, and Aaron pulls the expensive, heavily-jewelled family amulet off Galen's neck to discover it had been repressing Galen's Dyn nature. Now under threat of death, Aaron is forced to assist the young master in finding the elven woman who cursed him to be Dyn before it becomes permanent and hereditary.

Point of View: Third-person, limited to Aaron.

It seems sort of counter-intuitive to have werewolves vs. elves instead of the more traditional lineups, but I'm hoping that can turn out to be a good thing.

One of the Lukes has suggested it needs another element to not be hackneyed. I've been able to come up with two, one of which would only amount to a twist ending, and other being a conversion of the story to fan fiction (and I'm sure we all know who would have to be Galen).

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dream Journal #7

I have returned from Asia, so the blog is back in business. Might as well reopen with something interesting.

04 Apr—05 Apr

I was at home with my mother. I'm not sure exactly what was wrong with her, but she began acting so terrible and somehow cruel that it made me cry. Huddled on the green couch under covers, I texted Grandma Mona*, tapping letter by letter, always fearfully checking if my mother was watching. In the end I couldn't bring myself to send the text message and just sat there crying.

Later the same day, my mother seemed to have been healed. We went to a museum, its walls dull pink, that was about the size and layout of a house. The exhibits were mostly sculpture-type things, including one human-height skeleton with an elongated skull like a cross between a triceratops (I seem to like them subconsciously?) and a rodent. In the centre of one room stood Lori**, a younger Kennedy*** in her arms, with the latter's face buried in Lori's shoulder. We may have conversed for a bit before my mother and I moved on. We commented that it was a shame Dad didn't make it today. Somehow we knew the apocalypse was coming soon, and we thought that everything there would be reduced to skeletons by the time we could come again. I briefly imagined the Lori-and-Kennedy exhibit as skeletons before another museumgoer brought up that museums change exhibits fairly often, anyway. My mother and I realized how much that really undermined what we were saying.

My father joined us in a restaurant, which we had earlier visited for breakfast while my mother was still being tyrannous, for dinner and a show. It was Disney-based, with many characters from different worlds interacting, and I somehow already knew some of what to expect. In the introduction, various groups of actors, from different Disney movies, came in. I particularly remember Luke**** and two other boys with purple wolf masks resting on top of their heads. Parts of the show included a party, with a long table full of stacks of punch bowls and other food containers that were obviously empty but pretending to not be. Rapunzel dipped out some invisible punch as she was talking to someone. At one point it was hinted that Peter Pan was going to arrive, so I looked to the ceiling excitedly. To my disappointment the actor was not Sealand, but he still "flew in" on cords and tumbled to a landing just in front of the stage (which was actually a few steps lower than the dinner area). It turned out that Peter Pan was actually also Pinocchio, and he made a show of stuffing some of his strings in his clothes before going to interact with the others.

During the intermission, I ended up heading outside on some sort of concrete porch. A grid of folding chairs seated quite a few people who were ambiguous church friends. At some point a bald man dressed in black with a scowl on his face walked by while I stood there, and I hurried to hug him while informing him he looked like he needed a hug. Then I realized he was a random stranger and felt awkward about it, so I pulled away, though not without having gotten his attention first. As I stood there being awkward, the man made some sarcastic comment about how he was doing fine. This also had something to do with him tasting beer but no longer drinking it, and one of the men sitting on the porch congratulated him and told him not drinking was a good thing.

I went back to the show after that. Now only a small amount of ice was left in my drink cup (which likely had Dr. Pepper in it previously), but I started drinking and it soon ended up being a full glass of ice water. My mother announced she was leaving to track down someone she could pay for the meal, as well as for the morning meal in the restaurant she had failed to pay in her reign of terror earlier.

* Grandma Mona is my paternal grandmother. She's single and not tech-savvy, so I have no idea why I would try to confuse her by texting her.

** Lori is a family friend whom we haven't visited in a while.

*** Kennedy is Lori's daughter. She's a lot younger than me, but she was probably about three in the dream, and again terribly shy.

**** Luke (not the one mentioned in The Scribes) is a school friend who's pretty awesome. He did excellently in the recent improv contest, if that gives you a good idea about him.