Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dream Journal #12

I feel like I could actually make something out of this one.

1 Jul—2 Jul

There were two main characters: a brother and sister, who were both in their teens and had dark hair. They lived in some sort of modern-day rural area where most of the villagers knew each other and many buildings were bordered by woods. I had the feeling this was part of some sort of series starring the brother and sister, and I knew they had dealt with the supernatural before.

The siblings were staying at their grandmother's house (although they did have parents, or at least a mother, living in the village) and were on the old, wooden front porch with them when something that looked like one of the "bonies" from Warm Bodies came towards them. The skeleton wasn't moving particularly quickly, but it was menacing, and the brother and sister knew to run away. The skeleton took off after them and, without turning to look at the grandmother, who was standing on the edge of the porch, jabbed the first two fingertips of its left hand into her pupils. The grandmother screamed as her eyes withered away, and the skeleton generated the same eyes in its eye sockets. This took only a moment and barely hindered the skeleton, who continued charging after the siblings.

The brother and sister came to hide in a hotel, where several others of the village were staying. This included one of their teachers, a plump man with a rusty voice who taught chemistry. The hotel seemed safe, but one of the other kids told the teacher they smelled HNO3 in one of the rooms. The teacher, who referred to this as "caustic acid," went alone to the room to investigate. There he was possessed by the same spirit that was responsible for the earlier skeleton; I could tell because his eyes and some of the skin surrounding them turned black.

It wasn't long before the siblings were captured by the skeletons, although the latter had already stolen enough from the villagers to look more like slightly rotten witches. One who seemed to be the head witch ordered the other witches to force the brother to kneel in the centre of the room, which was made of old wood like just about everything else in this village. The sister was not restrained but knew she couldn't do anything; she just tearfully tried to convince the head witch she was wrong. The witch said something about her sense of incompletion and what it means to be human before walking back to the brother. After a moment of thinking, she decided she first and foremost wanted to hear again and so placed her hand over the boy's ear.

Outside, a few villagers and I were running from the possessed teacher. While we were in the middle of descending some tall, wooden stairs, we heard the brother scream. This brought us to a nervous halt, but we realized all we could do now is try to keep ourselves alive, so we went back to running. One of the stairs had several uneven planks jutting out over the next step, so I had to find a gap between the fingers of wood to keep going down.

The brother and sister had apparently made it out of the witches' house and were now in a scene at the local park, where several groups were running from their possessed loved ones. My group was going over the thin sheet of snow on the ground when I decided to try to throw a snowball back at our pursuer to dissuade her. I really only threw a clump of snow, and it didn't do much good, but I kept trying.

Another group joined the fray, fleeing from a possessed large woman with long, curly, red hair. They had apparently decided running wasn't fast enough, because they were skiing down the gentle incline of the park with makeshift skis that were just blocks of wood below their feet, attached to strings for them to hold as they went down.

The main characters were running from their possessed mother. Apparently this was actually a book, because the next chapter was about half of a page. The brother was relating the general chaos and hopelessness of the scene, and then at the very end confirmed that the witches had succeeded in making him deaf.

The scene jumped to the same village some time later, and the survivors (main characters included) were climbing up into a wooden play house in the park for some sort of gathering. It was difficult enough for them to get up there, since the ridged, wooden slope was sized for children, but they made it inside, where a blonde teenage girl greeted them. More and more villagers kept coming, and few had made it into the play house before the siblings realized there was not going to be enough room. They pushed their way out, and soon everyone was sitting on the sun-warmed ground, listening to someone giving an emotional speech about the events that took place here.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Fiction Idea #29

This one's going to be fun.

Working Title: Blood, Brain, Body

Genre: Horror/Adventure

Protagonist: Felicia, an 18-year-old vampire girl who appears about 14. She has straight, dark red hair reaching to the middle of her back and is pale with blue eyes. She's a crybaby and doesn't like that about herself, but her recent infection of vampirism has left her physically weak as well. She's generally been a bit of a loner, and the apocalypse hasn't helped.

Other Main Characters: "Rachel" (actually Rachelle, but she thinks that's too girly, French, and weak-sounding), a 19-year-old girl of mixed European and Japanese descent. Still a human, she's sarcastic but cheerful and very much a survivalist. She has no qualms about firing on attackers or engaging in cannibalism (the most extreme case of her hangup on wasting things).
John, a 20 year-old zombie man who was loose friends with Rachel during high school. He has short, black hair and amber eyes. A joker, he can be just as sarcastic as Rachel but has feelings for her.

Antagonist: Pretty much everyone they meet.

Setting: Mid-apocalyptic modern-day America, in the heat of summer. Two big plagues are going around, of the zombie and vampire varieties (both transmitted by bite). Zombies take on a mottled appearance, develop an obsession for eating brains, and become quite strong and fast. Vampires go pale, develop an obsession for drinking blood, and become quite frail. Zombies have a very limited lifespan, usually ended when they go mad enough from hunger to attempt to eat their own brains (which doesn't end well), although this can be delayed by throwing out all human nature to eat more brains. Vampires are immortal but can be murdered.

Plot: Rachel and John take an SUV across America for sightseeing before the apocalypse (they call themselves the "Bucket List Gang"). Rachel takes pity on Felicia and lets her join (mostly because she looks so young and innocent), and happy murderous times ensue.

Point of View: First person (Felicia).

Monday, July 29, 2013

It Beats Killing Real People

Or: Writing for Stress Relief.

You see, I'm a murderous person. (I'm sure those that have read my Hunger Games fan fictions will be shocked by this revelation.) My "backup" career choice is based on my fascination with how people die.

At the same time, the Bible says murder is a no-no. I'm not going to get all of the schooling necessary for medical examiner-dom anytime soon, either.

The only instantly-gratifying, bloodthirst-satisfying solution, then, is killing people who don't exist. It's also great for stress relief.

For example, let's say I'm extremely upset with people who travelled long distances to Oklahoma in order to rob the people who had lost their homes, limbs, and/or elementary-age children to the recent tornadoes. So I write a story where some fictionalised versions of these thieves engage in such matters and either meet their terribly gruesome deaths or head home only to find their houses have been destroyed in one of the wildfires in Colorado. Or both. Yeah, probably both.

Of course, I do my share of killing off perfectly innocent characters as well. It's just whatever I feel like doing at the time, whatever would help blow off steam. That's the magic of writing—I can do whatever I want to these characters, and it will never be wrong. It might even be enjoyable or helpful to some people.

Do you like to get away with murder in your stories? What else?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

New Fan Fiction Idea #13

Working Title: What Would You Do

Fandom: Hetalia: Axis Powers

Genre Tags: Horror, and either Drama or Adventure

Length: Multichapter

Protagonist: Liechtenstein.

Other Main Characters: Italy and Monaco.

Antagonist: Unknown/Spoiler.

Plot: The main characters awake in three rooms, where it is revealed to them that their protectors' lives are at stake. No one else can enter the complex, and it is up to Liechtenstein, Italy, and Monaco to save Switzerland, Germany, and France. They are given weapons, pointed down the right tunnels, and left to fight their way to their protectors before it's too late.

Setting: A futuristic sort of complex, entirely indoors. Several tunnels emerge from three central rooms, and each tunnel diverges into its own series of dips, turns, and other rooms to end in a unique room. Several obstacles, including human adversaries, are set up along each path.

Point of View: Third person, limited to each protagonist but mostly Liechtenstein.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

They Say Three is a Magic Number

I've posted my first and second attempts at a cover for The Long and Winding Road; now here's my third (drawing heavily from the second, of course).

I changed the background to another photo by the same artist, but I had to add my own fog with different gradient styles, so I'm a bit unsure about that. It's much easier to see the title with this, although most attempts to place my name interfere with the most winding part of the road. I'd kind of like to figure out a way to put my name in two lines on, say, the bottom right side, but I don't know what I would use to balance it out. Currently, my best idea is wedging it between the arms over the straight section of the road.

I tried to go ahead and tone down the flesh colours a bit, but it really didn't look good. This photo does have more colour to it, though, so hopefully the contrast is less overwhelming. If not, I may just have to redo all of the colouring on the arms, which would not be particularly fun.

I fixed Charlotte's index fingernail and smoothed out some of the outline bumps. I think I might need to blur the texture on Arthur's (the front) hand a bit, since it stands out a lot more than that on Charlotte's.

I'm also considering changing the title again. I unfortunately fell in love with As We Wind on Down the Road, but since those are lyrics from a song instead of the title, I would have to deal with copyright, and I don't foresee much success in that endeavour. It's a shame, since I think Arthur could easily be a big Led Zeppelin fan. I may go with the earlier-suggested Along the Winding Road, although I'm not sure how I should divide that into lines for the cover. It all depends on whether any songs actually play a role in the story.

Feedback is always appreciated.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Dream Journal #11

One of those dreams where I always knew where I was, yet the surroundings were nothing like the actual place.

25 Jun—26 Jun

There was a girl with very short, blonde hair, who was going to my church. At some point she fell in love with a boy there, but for some reason neither could hang out in public. So the girl arranged her hair over one eye and covered the bottom of her face to look like a male and went into the men's restroom where her crush was. They met in the first stall to the left and somehow both managed to plunge wholly into the toilet bowl (which may or may not have temporarily changed into a swimming pool-type apparatus). They made out underwater and resurfaced in the restroom stall. The girl put her disguise back together and walked out feeling quite happy.

I was at my first high school, talking with L.J.* and some girl friends. I was sure to keep good track of the time, because my parents would expect me back after school ended (even though I wasn't actually taking classes). Getting nervous and leaving the classroom with my friends, I decided to wash my laundry in some sort of sports coach area of the school. While waiting for the first load of whites to watch, I went back and chatted with my friends, still feeling uncomfortable, until the washing machine made a beeping noise to signal the end of the cycle. How I was able to hear it from that classroom, which was quite distant, I'm not sure, but my friends were completely fine with me leaving to take care of it.

I switched over that load and checked my watch. It was almost 17:00. I had just decided I had to find some decent excuse for still being at school when I realised there was a chemistry lab going on. I hurried to the lab building, where I had to get in a very long line of other students in order to go past the teachers and get my lab supplies and reactants one by one. A friend ended up in line two spaces behind me, so we chatted a bit as I texted my parents (on my current phone) that I was stuck in a chemistry lab. Dad was very upset because I didn't need to be taking chemistry again, and soon I was becoming rather irritated at this as well. I drew close to the front of the line as I continued texting my father about this, and I let the two people behind me cut in front to buy myself some time.

Dad decided he just wanted to actually talk about this instead of texting, so I left the lab building and somehow called him through the texting page. The phone said I was calling several people at once, though, including Phillip**, so I hung up and went through to call my dad the normal way. He finally bought my chemistry lab alibi, but I was still upset about having to take chemistry and so decided to myself I would skip the rest of it. Instead I remembered my laundry and went back to check on it.

Although I clearly recalled having changed enough loads I should have been down to the coloured clothes in the dryer, all I had were the whites in the washer. It was 18:00, so I was extremely upset and sure I really had to get home soon. I didn't want to wait another hour for the clothes to go through the dryer, so I just set them there, on top of several neatly-folded quilts and blankets that apparently stayed on the bottom of the drying machine. Then I imagined that the sports coach would notice in the morning, get upset, and track me down (which would have been simple because he knew the kinds of clothes I wore), so I pushed all of my clothes to the back and folded the uppermost blanket over the top, vowing to take care of this tomorrow.

*L.J. is my professor for my summer term class that let me go to Japan and China. Pretty sure I would have noticed him if he had ever come to my first high school.

**Phillip is a friend who went to that old high school and was famous in our group for his "five-and-a-half-pack." I last saw him working at Subway, and I don't think I actually have his phone number.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Order Chronological Writing In

You know how they always told you to do all of the hard problems on a test first and then go back to the easy stuff? Apparently it's supposed to be exactly the opposite of that when it comes to writing. Write every scene that comes easily, that you see in your head, in whatever order you feel like writing them, and then go back and put in connecting writing later.

It seems I'm just too "OCD" to do either.

Maybe it's just because I'm used to publishing chapter by chapter, and usually at a pace that wouldn't allow me to jump around if I wanted to. Maybe it's my need for a sense of completions—I'd rather write a finished chapter than a disembodied scene.

In any case, other authors advise working like this, and it does seem like a good idea to churn out what wants churning out. Just the other night, I was held hostage (i.e. awake) by a variation of a future scene in The Long and Winding Road. Is that when I'm supposed to cast away the bedsheets, run for the computer, and write it? I think that would have been possible, but I'm already wary of editing a normal amount—having to go back through the earlier scenes that I would write later to go back to the future scene and adjust some mindsets, wounds, etc. would not be a lot of fun. And it would probably be as confusing as it sounds. I don't mind challenging myself, but... shall I mention again that I am "OCD" about these things?

I'll never know how much this kind of technique would benefit my writing until I try it, though, so I may experiment with one of my less serious New Fiction Ideas. If it turns out to be too conducive to writer's block, I can always scrap the idea and start at the very beginning (a very good place to start, might I add).

How do you do your writing? Follow the inspiration? Take it chapter by chapter? Utilise some other odd technique that works for you?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Fiction Idea #28

Working Title: Piracy Cruise Lines

Genre: Comedy/Mystery

Protagonist: Sherman, a reporter assigned to this ship and secretly a bit of a pirate fanboy. He's generally rather meek and could easily be called scrawny. At nineteen, he's of average height; wears thin, rectangular glasses; and dresses a bit in the hipster vein.

Other Main Characters: Francisco, a flamboyant twenty-eight-year-old man with frizzy, brown hair and a thick Spanish accent. He likes to gamble at card games, especially when it gives him the chance to accuse someone of cheating and have a sword duel. He's rather haughty, to the extent it could all be just an act.
Darla, a blonde twenty-year-old who typically wears a green bandanna and lots of mascara. She's not very modest, although she doesn't tend to flirt, and she's an excellent fencer (though fist-fighting, not so much).

Antagonist: Unknown. Likely a corporative something-or-other.

Setting: The PCL Scurvy, one of the newest fleet of PCL's luxury cruise ships for pirates. Being on its maiden voyage, it's not nearly as battered as other ships in the business, and it has every facility one would expect on a cruise ship: swimming pool, piano bar, sushi stand, sports bar, casino, more bars... Rank aboard the ship is determined by ticket fare; i.e., those who stay in the cheapest rooms on the boat be deck-swabbin'. Prices are high, and amenities are not well-guaranteed throughout the trip (due to contact with other PCL ships), but in a time where honest piracy isn't enough to make a living anymore, this is the only good alternative.

Plot: Sherman embarks on the ship for his story, soon befriending his neighbour Francisco and setting his sights on Darla. Amongst the normal happenings on the cruise (rowdy bar fights, carousing, huge battles with other ships in the fleet), a line of deaths a bit too orderly for a place like this starts lining up. Sherman plans to get to the bottom of this, if his newfound companions prove to be better at keeping him alive than giving him away.

Point of View: First person (Sherman).

The original idea of "piracy on a luxury cruise ship" could have been some sort of gritty story worthy of Liam Neeson in a film, but somehow it took this turn when I looked the other way.

Monday, July 22, 2013

New Fan Fiction Idea #12

I was listening to "Send Me an Angel" on the radio when this started to form.

Working Title: Send Me an Angel

Fandom: Hetalia: Axis Powers

Genre Tags: Romance/Humour

Protagonist: "Rose" (Earth name), a fallen angel version of Nyotalia England.

Other Main Character: Feliciano (human Italy).

Antagonist: Modern life, falling in love, and probably Satan.

Plot: Feliciano's friends and brother are gone on business for a while, leaving him very lonely. Never quite able to adopt the same mindset as the other angels, Rose is rejected from Heaven without being given a solid reason (although she's at least glad she only went as far down as Earth). Rose has to deal with becoming human under the care of Feliciano, who first saw her come down. And romance happens. Hooray.

Setting: Human alternate-universe. Feliciano's home in Italy and its general area, modern-day.

Point of View: Third person, limited to different characters at appropriate times.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

"That First Moment of Blinding Clarity"

The title is a quote from a recent pep talk for those in Camp NaNoWriMo this month. The writer asked us to recall the first time we clearly saw the characters of our novel, and, my current work being based on a fan fiction, I couldn't really join in.

I do remember some other moments where I met a character, or a story.

I was riding in the backseat of a car, just about to go over the highway, when a semi-truck crossed in front of us at a stop sign. On the grill were two jaws' worth of vampire teeth decals. I remember thinking that truck must have been its driver's baby. A few articles on steampunk later, the core of Macbay Transportation Services was born.

When I volunteered at the hospital, I ended up doing all of the filing they had ready for me in the main office and was transferred to the wound care centre. There I met my supervisor of sorts, whose name was Marisa. Not the English muh-RIH-sa, mind you, but muh-R-R-REE-suh. As on that morning I was on the lookout for characters for Contestant Zero, I suddenly saw a young woman named Marisa who was very particular about the pronunciation of her name. From that alone, she turned out to be the show's sassy Latina with a heart of gold.

The world of Crumbling hit me at about the second line of "Jesus is Coming Soon" while I was singing with others of my class at a devotional. It was incredibly awkward trying to shove the idea down for the rest of the song.

Later on the day I studied the nomadic section of world-building for my 2YN class, "Gypsy" came on the radio in the car, reminding me of that aspect of the week's lesson. Then "The Boxer" came on, and the plot of Roughhouse was born.

I was contemplating doing some humanisation of Pac-Man on my way to a sporting event. The ghosts were some sort of secret police force (thus their code names "Ink," "Blink," and "Pink") after the Pac-Man, who was attempting to evade them in order to not be caught for drug smuggling. I had just left the car and was walking through the parking garage towards the lift when I saw Pink in the lightless city, landing from a jump with one palm splayed over the ground for balance, her left leg bent, and her right leg straight out, the edge of her heel touching the asphalt. Such a look of determined fury was in her eyes I knew I couldn't change her, even if the story went through quite a few phases before becoming Chasers.

Chemists was born from a dream. Jacob and Scarlet were fleeing from unknown enemies and ended up in a shed, its wooden shelves filled with paint cans labelled "CELESTIAL MATTER" under a blue stripe. Jacob woke up on an aircraft driven by Martin and looked behind the cockpit to see someone controlling water and someone else directing a black, gel-like substance pulsing with jolts of blue electricity into a floating sphere.

Most of the time, I can't remember where I really got an idea, or how I came to elaborate upon it to a point I wanted to work with it. How about you? Have any of your characters stepped forward in blinding glory in the middle of a car ride? Anywhere else?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Nick Richards

I've been writing as long as I can remember. As to what I actually wrote early on, I can't remember a thing—but I just found this gem in a dresser drawer. Published on high-quality white paper folded in half (and not evenly) and written in purple and orange coloured pencil was an illustrated story entitled "Nick Richards." I will replicate it here for our amusement.

Nick was a [local television company] worker. He loved his job. He got paid so much! Nick was a happy man with everything he had. He had a wife, free stuff, and he was rich. His wife's name was Wanda. She was a saleslady. Nick was also a generous man, which led him to the right places. One day, while he was relaxing in his pool, his wife took a friend in with her. They welcomed her in the pool. She said, "Hi, my name is Amanda,". Amanda was quite lovely herself.

They had quite a day. They played Tennis, Soccer, Baseball, and Basketball. (Richard won all of them by himself, exept [sic] for Tennis.) They watched a football game. Of course [logo of local football team] won! They went online played board games and had a lot of fun!

Amanda said, "Bye. See you tommor-ow."[sic] She left. All of a sudden They heard, "Help! Help!". They went out. Then Nick & Wanda saw Amanda stuck in a quicksand trap! "What should we do now?!" cried Wanda, "If we get to [sic] close we'll fall in!".

"We can give her advice." "Wait a second..." Wanda said, "There is No time!". Nick said, "You give her advice while I investigate those,". Nick pointed to a hand and foot in the cement. Nick did that and said "I know him!" Nick went away.

Nick came with Bob. Bob got arrested. Then Nick saw Amanda covered to her mouth. He said, "Grab the root!". She grabbed it and pulled herself up. A townsman said, "Bob never liked anyone,". Everyone threw a party. Then Wanda said he was a hero.

Friday, July 19, 2013

New Fiction Idea #27

Definitely not a complete idea yet, but something I felt needed noting down.

Working Title: Crime or Punishment

Genre: Sci-Fi/Suspense

Protagonist: Michelle, a 22-year-old tall woman with long, dirty blonde hair she keeps in a low ponytail. She's fierce but quiet and a very good shot. While she ha a certain fondness for long skirts, she's usually in her police uniform.

Other Main Character: Cayman, a 22-year-old mixed-heritage woman with short, dark hair kept braided. She smiles a lot and can be very talkative, especially when she's bragging, and she's very much an adrenaline junkie. She's excellent as disguise and avoiding detection. Technically her boyfriend is the leader of her new crime organisation, but she really holds the reins.

Antagonists: Various members of both organisations.

Setting: A futuristic American city and some of its suburbs. Population density is very high, and all non-foot traffic is kept underground. Cost of living is high due to energy shortages. An experimental new form of energy occurs in normal battery-size units; it can power an average house for a week or, alternatively, can be opened up and its contents used as a potent stimulant. Cayman's organisation deals in this product.

Plot: The local police are determined to stop Cayman's organisation while they still can. Michelle is one of those sent to fight this battle; however, she is addicted to the energy drug being dealt (it's not widespread enough yet for police drug testing to catch it). Struggling to keep with her assignment without losing her source of fuel, Michelle works with Cayman (an early childhood friend she knew well through middle school) to keep the crime organisation stable but stunted without raising suspicions from either side.

Point of View: Third-person, alternatively limited to Michelle or Cayman.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fragments II

A sequel to Fragments, because the platelets of the idea universe will never stop coming.

On another note, I really need to work on my metaphors.
  • Someone whose dream is to be a graphic T-shirt designer
  • A character named Jovial Munk (at my father's request)
  • Twin female telepaths, one who controls sugar and the other salt
  • Terrorist retirement (after my mother mishearing "terrace")
  • A manga about a foosball player
  • An excuse to use "mediastinum" (dedicated to Dr. Li)
  • Someone with the phone number 324-5873 (spells "failure")
  • Some modern fantasy version of the Song of Everlasting Sorrow
  • A man walks out to get his mail, sees a wasp, slaps it to the ground with the letters he just retrieved, stomps on it, and yells "SKILLS" before returning to the house (my father is cool sometimes)
  • A super-steampunk megalethoscope
  • Intelligent, demonic honeybees
  • A maestro who can command heartbeats by conducting

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dream Journal #10

I think I put all of the parts in the right order.

16 Jun—17 Jun*

I was travelling on the grounds of the hospital where I volunteer. There I met a teacher of mine, with whom I chatted and followed into a restaurant, which was called Himalayas and served Thai food. I intended to sit down with my teacher, but he quickly got in a booth that was already seating three eating people, and there was no room. Slightly forlorn, I looked for a two-person table and sat down at one that was scooted far too close to an empty six-person table. A black waiter in his thirties served me and, seeing my state, made some friendly conversation with me, which I enjoyed.

I went underground (still on hospital grounds) and tried to discreetly make my way through a series of narrow passages with yellowish paint on the walls. Along these hallways were several room, a few of which I had to pass through to continue on. The rooms I passed were all nurses giving checkups or vaccinations to children. I had to stop in one of these rooms; it was so small I would have to jump over the nurse, patient, or sharps box to get out, and I didn't want to do that. I waited, but after the nurse was finished and put away the sharps box, a scanner (that had been in one wall, covered with glass like a fire extinguisher) swept over us with purple lights. The nurse crouched in the corner protecting the child, while I froze where I was, sure that the scanner was going to shoot me. But it receded back into the wall, glass sliding over it, and the nurse and child left. I took a quick mobile photo of the disclaimers on the glass (which concerned the lack of responsibility the hospital had for deaths it caused) because it was in Engrish, which I somehow knew to have been translated from Japanese.

From there, I slipped back into the hallway and followed it a while, and eventually it opened up into a very wide underground passage lined with concrete. Doctors and other staff were now walking to and fro, but I was no longer concerned with being caught and just followed the passageway until it led me aboveground. Coming out near the back patio area of Himalayas (and wondering why I didn't notice the opening earlier), I went onto a normal outdoor pathway, where I ran into my parents. Dad gave me a slip of paper that looked like a receipt, and I looked at the text, which had a list of guitar-playing keys/styles based on the guitarist's mood. Dad then pointed me to the top of the paper, which advertised the current video competition and invited people to make a free short film with the equipment.

The scene then changed to one of the short films. The main character became a man who looked like the Cake Boss, and he was pursuing a robin. An epic chase scene ensued, helped by the fact he was somehow doing this for the sake of justice. Finally he climbed up a tree where the robin was perched and came within reach of it. The robin then pecked at his head and proceeded to attack his hair with its beak (although the video effects on this part made it obvious the robin was attacking a mannequin, spliced with shots of the actor's face in pain). The scene switched to the main character at his house, explaining this event to his wife. She interrupted him at this point in the story and told him it was okay to just admit he was balding.

*I'm actually quite sure everything took place on the morning of the 17th, because I first woke up at 3:00 with no dream in my head.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Annals of World-Building III

We zoomed out on the last instalment—now let's get a bit closer to our most important characters from Macbay Transportation Services and their families. Perhaps a bit too close, but so goes the Infinite Vortex of World-Building (and this was an assignment for Novelist Boot Camp, which I've since more or less abandoned, but it was a nice read).

Bartholomew Macbay (Son of Hamilton and Mabel Macbay)

Hamilton Macbay was born to Walter and Dorothy Macbay on July 12 in Wickport. His sister, Monica, was 4 at the time. When he was 6, Hamilton’s parents divorced over Dorothy’s adultery. Walter took both of the children, and Dorothy was not heard of again. Shortly afterward, Hamilton entered school, where he preferred to stay alone. At the age of 15, his home was robbed, and Walter and Monica were both wounded by the robber. Walter recovered, but Monica contracted an infection and died the same year. A month later, the family moved to Avalanche City. Hamilton withdrew more at school but did graduate at 18. He worked in a shop for a while before meeting Mabel when he was 20. He chose the military over her a year later, but he was sent back home to recover from wounds at 24. A year later, he was married to Mabel, who had waited on him. At 25, his father died of cholera. When he was 26, Bartholomew was born. Two years later, Loretta was born. Leaving the kids, Hamilton rejoined the army at 32. Aside from a few yearlong breaks, during which he didn’t do much but preach the glory of The Empire and its conquest, he remained fighting. At 43, he died in a land mine incident.

Hamilton had always been rather detached, from his community as well as his family. He was capable of infatuation with Mabel but usually leaned more towards resentment. He had a pretty big vendetta against the colonists, especially after his severe injury at 24, and was disappointed at being assigned to the units in the Lesser Colonies later.

Mabel Selby was born to Peter and Alice Selby on November 5 in Avalanche City. She was about as sickly as her already-deceased siblings had been, but she survived. She was homeschooled for her first unit of schooling, to avoid too much contact with other children. By the time she was 10, Mabel was healthy enough for her parents to put her in a normal school. Despite not being used to other people being around, she was quite social within months and made friends with several girls, including Tabitha Key, Barbara Smythe, and Margaret Pemberton. Mabel graduated her second and final unit of schooling at 14 and began dating at 16 with Robert Pickle. She did some work sewing, still looking for a husband, until she found Hamilton at 19. She dated him for a while until he suddenly left for the army. She went back to work, now at a factory, at 20 but refused to give up on Hamilton, even as her condition started to deteriorate again at 22. Hamilton returned from the colonies about the time she would have had to give up working, and she kept after him until they were married (she was 24). Her father died of a heart attack a few months before Bartholomew was born, when she was 25. Her health declined more sharply after this, but she continued to care for Bartholomew and had Loretta at 27. At 31, Mabel was left to take care of the children alone. When Mabel was 38, Loretta contracted a bad fever, but the caretaking had to be left to Bartholomew due to Mabel’s condition. The same year, Alice died. Mabel was normally bedridden by the time she reached 39 and was intermittently taken care of by her children and old friends. When she was 44, her husband died. At 50, she witnessed Loretta’s marriage and today relies on Virginia Reeves, help hired by Loretta’s husband, for her caretaking.

Mabel is quiet and has been easily pushed around, but she loves her friends, family, and in-laws very much. She somewhat regretted marrying Hamilton when he left for the army the second time, but she was easily able to fulfill herself by caring for the children. She always wanted better health, but she is content with what she has.

Loretta Macbay was born on April 12 in Avalanche City. At 6, she entered her first unit of schooling, making friends with Theresa Bernard and Maude Parker. One year later, Loretta’s father left for the army. When she was 10, she entered her second unit of schooling, making friends with Joanna Armistead and Steven Skinner. A fever almost took her life at 11, but she pulled through. In the same year, her grandmother died. Loretta graduated her second unit of schooling at 14 and went to work at a clothing store. She had her first date at 15 with Albert Mundy. They broke up a few months later, and she went on to date Randall Goode and Nicholas Coke within the next year. She decided to focus on her job for a while until her obligatory two years of factory service at 18. Her father died during this span, but she was unable to take time off to mourn. At 20, she was unable to secure her old job again and when looking for work found Albert again. He convinced his family business to hire her as a secretary, and he proceeded to woo her again. At 23 (Albert was also 23), Loretta was married. She continues to work as a secretary for the Mundys but will quit when her first child is born.

Loretta is kind and giving but is frightened easily. She can be determined and sometimes holds a grudge, but she isn’t much of a fighter for things other than her family and friends. She is rather optimistic and always looks forward to letters or visits from her brother.

Loretta May Franklin (Daughter of Roderick and Gabrielle Franklin)

Roderick Franklin was born to Luke and Modesty Franklin on November 30 in Ricken. His older brother Cedric was 5 at the time. Roderick entered his first unit of schooling at 6, making friends with Gerald Crewe. At 10, Roderick entered his second unit of schooling, making friends with several boys, including Randolph Nowell. Roderick entered his third unit of schooling at 14, making no long-term friends. He had his first drink of alcohol at 15 at a school party. His first date was at 17 with Ellen Sparks. When he was 18, his mother died of unknown causes, and he began drinking more regularly. Shortly thereafter, Ellen, unsuccessful in convincing him to put down the bottle, broke up with him. After graduating at 18, Roderick began work at a military factory and soon found he had become an alcoholic. He met Gabrielle Mathers at a grocer’s at 19. The two began dating, Roderick concealing his addiction as well as he could, and he was wed to Gabrielle when he was 20. They moved to Jamber straight away. At 22, his alcoholism started to overrun him, and he beat Gabrielle for the first time when she brought up his habit’s effect on their finances. A year later, Loretta May was born. Roderick took up residence in the factory for a while and at 25 returned home. He was 27 when his wife had a miscarriage. He managed to restrain himself from abusing his daughter until he was 31. His addiction went further form his control, and he quit work at 32. When he was 34, he nearly killed Loretta May and brought her back home once he found her. Five years later, his wife died from wounds he gave her. Roderick drank himself to death shortly after Loretta May left the house for the last time.

Gabrielle Mathers was born to Theodore and Gwyneth Mathers on June 19 in North City. At 6, she entered her first unit of schooling, making friends with Lisa Acker and Magnolia Hume. When Gabrielle was 9, Lisa was killed in a train accident. Gabrielle continued to her second unit of schooling at 10 but didn’t try to make friends for another year. At 11, she made friends with Susan Deadman and Charles North. Gabrielle finished her second unit of schooling at 14 and went to work making hats. Her first date was with Charles at 15. When she was 16, Charles joined the military, still corresponding by letter. A year later, Charles was killed by colonists. Gabrielle quit her job but had to find a new one within a year. At 18, she began work at a goods factory in Ricken. A year later, she met Roderick. The two were wed when she was 20. At 22, she was first beaten by her husband. About a year later, she gave birth to Loretta May. Gabrielle convinced an overseer at the factory to convince her husband to stay there, but she was only able to raise Loretta May for two years before he returned. Gabrielle was still beaten, though she only had to put herself in place of her daughter once, when she was 26. A year later, Gabrielle has a miscarriage after an attempted suicide. At 31, she wasn’t able enough to keep Loretta May safe from Roderick. At 32, Gabrielle had to find work again since her husband quit. Two years later, she helped Loretta May run from home. Gabrielle was 39 when she succumbed to injuries inflicted by her husband.

Maximilian Webb (Son of Winfred and Erin Webb)

Winfred Webb was born to Kenneth and Mariana Webb on April 25 in Mayport. His sister Patricia was four at the time. Winfred had a relatively normal childhood in the city, completing all three units of schooling. He graduated at the age of 17 and went on to Mayport University the following year. He went through several girlfriends but did not marry Erin Wyman until after graduation at 21. A year later, he began his education at The King’s Institution. He finished in four years. At 25, he lost a political election to the war-scarred Hugo Stenger. A year later, Winfred moved to Perry; at 27 he became deputy major of the city. At 30 he failed to become mayor of Perry and moved back to Mayport. About this time, Max was born. Winfred was able to secure a spot at the colonial conscription office later that year. At 33, he finally became the Manager of Conscription for the Lesser Colonies. He hung on to this position until the age of 59, when he died of a burst aneurysm.

Erin Wyman was born to Graham and Themis Wyman on March 2 in Anemolis, Saricum. The family moved to Wickport when Erin was 7. She began her first unit of schooling then, staying a year behind. Due to struggles with learning the language, she did not move on to her second unit of schooling until she was 12. At 16, she graduated and succeeded in being accepted for a third unit of schooling, working at a clothing store for extra funds. She graduated at 19 and applied to several universities. She was only accepted to Mayport, so she moved there at 20 and began her studies. She dated Eston Stewart for a year but broke it off after he demanded certain things. At 23, she dated Winfred for a month, dropped it to focus on schoolwork, and later returned to him. She graduated from the University at 24 and married Winfred shortly afterward. While Winfred went to complete his political education, Erin worked as a schoolteacher, especially catering to students from a similar background to hers. She moved to Perry with her husband and began teaching there. She gave birth to Max at the age of 31 after she and her husband moved back to Mayport. With the support of some friends and colleagues, she was able to devote her time to raising Max until Winfred got a stable job three years later. Erin then continued to raise Max with her husband’s support until Max left the house. Since then, Erin has returned to teaching. Her husband died when she was 60, and she still mourns him a bit, but she loves life.

Viola Robbins was born to Frederick and Elizabeth Robbins on September 22 in Fog. Despite some difficulties in the way of intelligence, she managed to get through her first and second units of schooling by 14. She began work at a clothing store later that year. At 15, she had her first date with Cleveland Harrison. They broke up within a month, and Viola went through a few more boyfriends before meeting Max when she was 16. They fell madly in love, and in two years, they were married. When she was 20, she had her first child, Fenton. A few months later, Max left for the military, leaving Viola in Fog. She stayed there during his time in the military and at The King’s Institution. At 26, her husband finally rejoined her in Fog, and he became mayor. A year later, Max moved back to the capital for conscription duties, and Anthony was born. Viola today devotes her time to raising her children, still in the less urban Fog, and she doesn’t fuss much with her husband’s activities, though she still comes to visit when Max has time.