Friday, October 17, 2014

New Fiction Idea #55

Working Title: Tea from a Traveler

Genre: Steampunk

Protagonist: Lucy, a rather small young woman with a fondness for frilly things and dancing. She has a cheerful disposition whenever appropriate and has quite the knack for tea-brewing.

Other Main Characters: Hugh, Lucy's boyfriend for some months and one year her junior. He's a bit taller than her but rather thin, and he will occasionally draw attention because of his dark skin. He doesn't speak if it's not necessary, but he isn't perpetually serious. The engineering type, he finds joy in fixing things, literally or otherwise.
Cecelia, an easily excitable teenage girl who tends to run after every boy in sight. Her father, the owner of a large tea set-producing company, sort of assigned her to an apprenticeship with Lucy, but the girls get along well enough Cecelia doesn't mind much. She can hold her own in a fight.

Antagonist: Possibly none. Life. The past. Could be personified later in development.

Setting: Every nook and cranny of your typical steampunk England analogue.

Plot: Lucy and co. travel the world (at least, the portion easily accessible without resorting to ships or zeppelins) to serve tea to whomever they deem could use a cup. Although they tend to wander wherever, it seems that Lucy may be seeking out a particular person along the way...

Point of View: Third person, objective.

Monday, October 13, 2014

What's Your Type?

I've already covered the fonts I use for writing the actual story text, but those aren't the only fonts a writer needs to choose.

Today I'm more concerned with cover design and the fonts used therein. Readability is, as always, a factor, but much less of one than for the actual text of the book. Covers need to be eye-catching, and title/author font is a big part of that; I know I've picked up a book or two based on how interesting the font was.

Unfortunately, I've never been any good at writing/designing letters, and it doesn't look like I'll be getting into a typography class any time soon, so I'm restrained to using others'.

As of today, I've kept tabs on the following fonts for the following stories:

Dead Font Walking for Along the Winding Road

Aquifer for Short Tales of the Human Body, a compilation of short stories based on and explaining certain aspects of human biology (whether or not it will be written is still udner debate)

Xenogears for Macbay Transportation Services (possibly a dash of Gear Crank for, say, the author name if it would fit in)

bu Penfield Deco for Victims of the Bridge

 What do you think? Are these fonts eye-catching enough? What kinds of fonts do you like, either to look at or use in your own stories?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

New Fiction Idea #54

Working Title: The Final Apprentice

Genre: Steampunk

Protagonist: No one clear protagonist. The narrative switches between the main eight characters as equally as the plot allows.

Other Main Characters: Alejandro, a short but sturdy young man with a fox-like face and chronically unkempt hair. He's rather overreactive when startled, and he's a bit of a know-it-all, ready to correct others with a little finger-waggling.
Adelita, a tall and fairly muscular young woman who always keeps her hair in a thick braid over her right shoulder. At times, she's a bit flighty and tends to trail off into semantics; at other times, she's very decisive and aggresive. She tends to jump between personalities rapidly.
Fermín, a young man of average stature and cropped hair. He's a bit shady and has been known to swipe money and items from friend and foe (usually returning them to the former). He considers himself very masculine and as such can often be seen shaving with a knife, even when he doesn't really need it.
Guadalupe, a pudgy young woman who's always smiling and has a habit of pulling down her bangs temporarily when she's thinking. She's a bit preoccupied with her appearance, particularly her face and makeup, butshe's very caring and giving and doesn't expect much in return.
Lorena, the youngest of the group. She's quiet, easily flattered, and very superstitious, particularly concerning the presence of interfering demons.
Tercero, a young man of impressive stature with a well-kept beard. He's very laid back and unopinionated, although he's brought to sniffles easily and keeps a handkerchief on hand. He tends to trail off sentences and in general leave things unfinished.
Hernando, a bony but very loud young man who's always wearing a tasteful hat. He tends to be showy, and his default pose is an upright stance with his fists against his hips. He feigns confidence but can easily lapse into screeching or wailing when he gets ignored. He also claims to have demonic heritage (much to the chagrin of Lorena) and to be sparing the world of the full extent of his powers.
Roque, a well-spoken young man with particularly curly hair and a lopsided smile. He considers himself quite the gentleman and goes out of his way to be effusively polite. He relies on others for most things and has a habit of crinkling some mechanism or another in his hands when he's nervous.

Antagonist: Mostly unknown. Several other armies stir up trouble.

Setting: Latin American steampunk. The nation has little identity in its state of war.

Plot: Eight promising young students have made it to the safe home of The Animator, a tinkerer who believes creating a functioning clockwork army is the solution to unifying the state and ceasing the strife. Although all are put to work, The Animator intends to only take one on as his personal apprentice based on their work—but one hopeful apprentice is found killed in the estate, and the remaining students must figure out how such a thing happened and how the rest of them may stay safe to aid in the army construction in light of it.

Point of View: First person.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

New Fan Fiction Idea #31

Working Title: "Jail House Rock"

Fandom: Phoenix Wright

Genre Tags: Friendship/General, possibly Humour

Length: Short multichapter

Protagonist: Klavier Gavin (17).

Other Main Characters: Mostly OCs as well as a few detectives and possibly some prosecutors.

Antagonist: None. Possibly a minor role by Kristoph.

Setting: Pre-Apollo Justice, with Klavier's prosecutor badge fresh out of the European vending machine. As far as place, most if not all of the story will be at the precinct, in the vicinity of Criminal Affairs.

Plot: Klavier and some other new prosecutors are being introduced to some of the police members and facilities. In the process, Klavier runs into a series of present or future law enforcers with some similar interests, including one with a shark hoodie... Basically, it's the preliminary assembling of the Gavinners.

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

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Word for Word

And here is your allotment of odd and interesting vocabulary.

aplomb                              cachinnate                          shinplaster
gallimaufry                        kickshaw                            spume
bricolage                            toxophilite                          zowie
diffident                             antipathy                             saturnine
comestible                         chivy                                   sclaff
tortuous                             celerity                                balkanize
chicane                              crazy-quilt                           operose
rathskeller                         pell-mell                              aphelion
esurient                              comestible                          quiff
sotto voce                          pandurate                            nidificate
voluble                               clinquant                            cynosure

Friday, August 29, 2014

Writing Music! Part Deux

Although I've already touched on writing soundtracks, I've been exploring the topic enough to warrant an update. I never had a big tendency to pick out songs based on what I was actually writing, but now I've started being more careful with my soundtracks.

My iPod has plenty of songs of every emotion, but when I go out of my way to tint my soundtrack, it's not with my iPod. After all, I listen to those songs all of the time; they're just a general soundtrack, not strongly associated with anything for me. Video game soundtracks, however, are more strongly linked to emotions, moods, and certain types of scenes in my head; the only time I hear them much is in the appropriate scenes.

The 30-minute extended soundtracks put up by BrawlBRSTMs3 on YouTube are my go-to. Not only is it a great compilation of themes from Ace Attorney and Ghost Trick, the main video games with which I concern myself, the length of the videos allows me to continue writing with the same tune without much fussing on my part.

So what song goes with what scenes? Well, the bloodbath chapter of Tributes and Tribulations was written under the influence of TRAUMA. I used the first Epilogue tune from Phoenix Wright while writing the epilogue of Along the Winding Road. I've gone with video game soundtracks while editing as well; the last chapter of Along the Winding Road was done to the tune of the Turnabout Sisters theme, which may evoke the strongest emotions in my case.

What does your writing soundtrack look like? Do you incorporate soundtracks from video games or other entertainment sources? What music affects your mood the most, and what effect does it have on your writing?

P.S. Due to time constraints, there will be no posts during the month of September. Updates will continue starting October 1.

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Fiction Idea #0

It occurred to me that I can link back to story profiles for just about everything but Along the Winding Road. Better late than never.

Working Title: Along the Winding Road

Genre: Post-Apocalyptic/Romance

Protagonist: Charlotte Heiman, a six-foot twenty-year-old who works as a zombie hunter for her village—more specifically, one of its restaurants. She's determined, optimistic, and a little flirty, and family is her highest priority.

Other Main Characters: Arthur Deering, an English twenty-four-year-old of Chinese descent. He is an excellent archer but isn't the best at social interaction, particularly after being in isolation for years.
(John) Dalton Tolbert, a very blonde twenty-four-year-old who fanboys over swords but does most of his fighting with a staff. He's energetic and social and prides himself on his wingman abilities.

Antagonists: Zombies and distance along with some other survivors.

Setting: Four years after the zombie apocalypse. Some zombies are still hanging around, but they're not so threatening anymore. Place-wise, it's across Texas, between Killeen and Hunt.

Plot: Charlotte sets out to find her younger brother Blake, who was away at camp when the zombies attacked. On the way, she has to contend with various enemies, but Arthur and Dalton are happy to help her along—particularly the former, who quickly develops a romantic interest in her.

Point of View: Third person, omniscient.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Puzzle Pieces, Laid Out

Most of my Fragments have yet to find a home—but a few of them have. Here, I've decided to compile all of the bullet points from my first five Fragments posts and mark off the ones that have gone somewhere. The rest? Well, they might have an easier time finding their partners with everything in one place.
  • 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
  • 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
  • A character named Martha Bell who outlives her husband significantly (after seeing a couple's gravestone with the husband dying at about 40 in the 1930s and the wife with no end year inscribed)
  • A fighting gnome with an ice pick (how my mother described her earache)
  • A crack dictionary with fake definitions of the chemical elements (i.e. Manganese, n., the language spoken by otaku, or Boron, n., an idiot who can't even be interesting about it.)
  • Someone with a painfully Greek last name (Not quite, but I do have a painfully Greek first name or two)
  • "They can turn off my feelings like they're turning off the light" (line from a Phil Collins song)
  • A story based on example sentences in the dictionary on my computer
  • Characters who fly planes over tornadoes/hurricanes and drop bombs down the middle of them to disperse the circulation (my father's idea for a real-life thing)
  • Action girls that are personifications of thunder and lightning
  • Someone who brings optical illusions to life/reality
  • Personality traits as currency
  • A Hetalia SpaIre fic insisting that the Black Irish origin myth does have at least one grain (or one couple) of truth to it
  • A fan fiction for The Kill Order concerning the pair near the beginning with the boat
  • Someone with the ability to remember/know things the moment someone else forgets them
  • Hetalia-style personification of religions (although maybe with a higher proportion of serious scenes)
  • Personifications of languages (although likely discontinued)
  • Some novel in a Douglas Adams type of voice (if I should prove to be so capable)
  • An addictive pill that utilises stress hormones for weight loss purposes
  • A glove with a watch embedded in the palm
  • A world where fs = μsFs
  • The secret lives of instruments left in the band room between rehearsals
  • Fantasy with a romantic element, where the heroine chooses the ordinary human over the magical/whatever love interest
  • A fantasy with an African setting
  • A good, old post-nuclear apoc
  • A city whose residents do not age as long as they don't leave the borders—but if they leave, they'll immediately progress to their actual age, which at this point would turn many of them to dust
  • "Beaned up" as a drug euphemism
  • Two cooks (minor characters) who exchange witty banter at a restaurant the MC frequents (inspired by the omelette bar cooks where I have breakfast)
  • Someone who plays the oboe d'amore
  • Birnan, the very choleric (and fire-controlling) character from my old NaNoWriMo novel and the only one of the lot that I really enjoyed writing
  • Garjen, a character of mine who is quite cheerful and a bit psychopathic, and her main mode of attack is through bubbles that explode, have poison, etc. (she never really got to have her fun outside of a few RPs)
  • "She was forced to support herself not only by the pen, but as a secret agent." (Mac dictionary entry: pen)
  • A plot based on alarming fantasy racism
  • Mountain ranges/landscapes based on specific infrared absorption spectra (might have to be something visual)
  • A nutty professor and his adorable, long-suffering lab assistant (based on my Organic Chemistry Lab)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dream Journal #21

This isn't even all of it. Slightly disturbing details ahead (as if anyone who reads my stories needs to be warned of such things).

10 Aug—11 Aug

My mother was working in an office, a small but spacious room well-lit by the sunlight. She was upset with me because I hadn't removed a certain live cat—a rather large one the colour of sand—from the room. So I grabbed and picked the cat up by its oddly large scruff. Leaving with it, I walked past several buildings before entering a management building.

The man behind the counter was occupied with someone else, so I waited a bit before he invited me to speak. With the intention of putting the cat there, I asked him where my mother's work office was, but he told me there really wasn't one. Since she was working at home, I couldn't use her old office.

I then continued to carry the cat by its scruff to my university. I entered the main sort of welcome building, which was huge, spacious, and only intermittently lit by large windows. A hallway went around the edge with large doors on one side and occasional benches and houseplants on the other. I followed it, past several corners and various stairways covered in red-and-gold argyle carpet. A few normal-sized doors were open to narrow halls of teachers' offices; one of these was at the halfway point up a flight of stairs. At the top of these stairs, I finally decided to rid myself of the cat here by pinning him to a small, black plastic bag on the floor via some sort of arrow or dart through its ear.

From there, I went out the door to a beach area. Some distance away, in the water, stood an obstacle-course-like structure. It was a series of small, round, clear platforms suspended over the water. A popular challenge, it had quite a few students try to step all the way across it without falling off. I watched for a while, as it was exciting and intense rooting them on. The farthest someone had gotten: an Asian girl made it to the second-to-last platform before falling into the water. When I decided to try it myself, I got to the first step not connected to the others by a glass wall before falling.

At this point, I decided to go back and check on the cat, but I entered the wrong door. I was now inside a kids' area that was better-lit than the main building. Several children were seated in a cafeteria-like area, and a few saw me enter. I walked to the edge of the room and tried to squeeze past a frosted glass barrier that led to a small shop, but a clear panel of glass blocked the last bit of space between them. I failed to get past the other side of the room for the same reason.

Then I was escorted on a tour of the building. One sturdy-looking boy blocked an exit door that we passed. To the side of one hallway was an arcade area partitioned off by dark curtains on curtain rods. I tried to push a little bit up to peek at the games, but the entire half of the curtains angled up to the dismay of the children.

I finally made it outside to a kids' water park. Frustrated, I wandered around out there for a while before noticing that several of the buildings I could see in the area were those across the street from my university. I concluded that I must have been across the street, although I was baffled that I had managed to do that.

I made it to the side of the road with several other students around my age. We stood tensely, waiting for some cars to stop before we sprinted for the university entrance with its brick name sign and shrubbery. As I made it to the other side, I turned back to see one of the students with some sort of handicap still in the middle of the last lane. Another student scooped him up and rushed him to the grass as if we were all in great danger.

Alone again, I went through the gates and ended up on a crowded, unmarked street with vendor carts and vandalised buildings scattered along its sides. I wasn't able to stroll ahead for long before two of the teenagers there started to chase me. Poor, one of them demanded I give him everything black that I was wearing; the other wanted all of my clothes. Terrified, I kept running until I found a door at the end of the street and successfully shut out what I recognised as the impoverished part of campus.

I was now in a sort of backstage area that went around the entire edge of the university. Keeping quiet, I passed through several of the same nondescript red panel doors before I ran into a performer. He was around a corner towards the inside of the area, so I couldn't see him, but I asked where the Honors House was. He pointed me to the left.

I continued through the same area until I emerged into the main building again. I found the right staircase and went to check on the cat. By the time I got there, it was already being skinned and its parts harvested. It wasn't what I was hoping to find, but I left the workers to their job without any objections.

Later, I was at a table chatting with a group of students. A man with glasses and frizzy blonde hair admitted that he wouldn't have made it here without medical intervention. I saw where this was going immediately.

There was a flashback to the man waiting just outside a phone booth. Inside it was a woman with short hair dyed greens and blues who slammed the doors outward without looking. The man was struck in the forehead hard enough to knock him to the ground. A huge lump was forming on his skin before long. He was only able to be saved with a cat blood transfusion.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

New Fan Fiction Idea #30

Despite being in the middle of another such crossover, this idea still came upon me. It would be a more proper sequel, though.

Working Title: Duel Destinies

Fandom: Ace Attorney/Hunger Games crossover

Genre Tags: Suspense/Tragedy (or whatever one is supposed to tag these things)

Length: Multichapter

Protagonist: Apollo Justice, 16 yr, District 5.

Other Main Characters: The full list is pretty much settled, but the most featured would be
Trucy Wright, 14 yr, District 5
Athena Cykes, 16 yr, District 3
Robin Newman, 15 yr, District 11
Juniper Woods, 15 yr, District 11
Hugh O'Conner, 18 yr, District 9
Klavier Gavin, 17 yr, District 7
Ema Skye, 16 yr, District 9

Antagonist: Each other, as always, and other tributes drawn from Dual Destinies and adapted appropriately.

Setting: The 21st Hunger Games. It is mountainous and features a series of short tunnels.

Plot: The 21st Hunger Games. Featuring a rather large main alliance, if you hadn't guessed.

Point of View: First person (Apollo).

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Fragments XII

And so we reach the last number of the clock... But most likely not the last instalment of undeveloped ideas.
  • Children are raised communally until they are able to choose their own parents
  • A character named Ixchel (seen on a name tag)
  • Good-guy bikers
  • Someone who works as a hibachi chef
  • A small town where every citizen is mentally off in a dangerous way
  • Aliens whose morals only allow them to abduct the deceased for research; furthermore, they don't realise at first that a crime organisation is manipulating them for efficient body disposal
  • A world where "Freaky Friday" situations are actually a regular weekly occurrence for everyone
  • A story at least mostly set in a large casino
  • "Realistic modern fantasy" as described here
  • Battle alchemy (of a different flavour than the obvious manga)
  • A character who can "see" the chain reaction any one decision would cause

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dances With Pirates

 It's been a while since we've heard from our pirate fanboy Sherman, so I thought I'd give a little update. This excerpt takes place right after the last one and was still written some time ago.


Shutting the glass door to my three-foot balcony, I toss the curtains closed and go to my closet. It’s not as spacious as the price tag would seem to imply, although I tried to limit my wardrobe to outfits without many layers. Since Caribbean temperatures aren’t jacket-worthy, it’s not too much of a sacrifice. I’ll only be here a week, anyway. If I survive that long.

I thought the mountainous pile of release forms I had to sign before I got my boarding pass was some sort of joke, but I’m starting to see why they were needed. You’d think a bunch of twenty-first-century guys, pirate fanatics or otherwise, wouldn’t be so keen on real-life violence. The worst stuff seems to be the bar brawls, and that’s probably the same for any society. I’m able to avoid most of the drunken fights since I’m still two years under drinking age, but there are so many bars on this ship I’m hard-pressed to walk from my room to the restaurant without passing in front of a few. With the surprising amount of hot girls here, I’m not always safe at that distance.

Of course, I’m starting to believe this is not the best place to pick up chicks. Half of them have brawny and perpetually drunk boyfriends, and the other half look lethal enough by themselves. I just can’t help it, though. I mean, look at these babes. I have to at least take a chance. I’ve only gotten one considerable bruise so far, anyway.

On the other hand, everyone does get a rapier upon boarding. They’re not pointy-edged or anything, but, with the whole alien-beekeeper costume fencers wear, I don’t think that I’m properly protected. Thankfully all I have to do is leave my weapon in my room, and nobody will try to stab me. Even with their neuroses and constant air of fermented molasses, these guys have a good sense of honor. That doesn’t mean they never pick on the skinny guy, but I’ll take what I can get, you know?

I pick out my dress suit—a weird, pinstriped, greenish thing that I wouldn’t be terribly upset about losing—and check the rest of my room again before shutting the dressing room door. It’s not like I’d feel totally violated if someone got a glimpse of me changing, but it’s still kind of creepy. I haven’t spent any time in sports locker rooms, so I haven’t had the chance to get used to the idea. Of course, if a hot girl decided to watch me, I might not object so much. Although I’d be really surprised and kind of suspicious if anyone wanted to observe my lack of muscles in an attracted fashion. I hook them with words, not physique, and that’s okay with me.

Words are my specialty, anyway. I’m not a journalism major because I want to work out all day. And I’m not writing an article over this cruise line because I’m just a huge pirate fanboy. I’m only a little bit of a pirate fanboy. Possibly not enough to survive this vacation. But we’re a little too far from shore to turn back now. Besides, I need my story, if I can string anything coherent together out of this chaos.

I clip on my necktie and straighten the spikes in my bangs—if they’re long enough to be called that—as I eye the mirror. This ought to do. It may be formal night, but I don’t exactly have a date. And I’ll be there with a bunch of yahoos, anyway, so I don’t think anyone’s going to be that concerned with dressing super-neat.

Friday, August 1, 2014

New Fiction Idea #53

Working Title: The Supernatural Authors Club

Genre: Supernatural/Urban Fantasy

Protagonist: Sheila, a 30-year-old single mother of two. A relatively popular high fantasy author, she also works part-time at her local coffee shop. She uses very flowery language when speaking (although she manages to tone it down in her stories), and she often ignores people or drifts off into a daze. She's tall and beautiful, mainly because she's an elf.

Other Main Characters: Darrell, a middle-aged father with one son. A slob, he's pretty big and keeps his dark hair in a scruffy, low ponytail. He's pretty friendly and laid back but complains a lot. His werewolf series (ten books long so far) doesn't sell as well as he'd like, so he works a construction job as well. He is a werewolf.
Lola, a single woman with a weakness for romantic flings. She's pretentious, has a love for exotic things, and generally looks down on everyone. She's slim and dresses a bit too fancily for the times (including a fancy hat for all occasions). Her large collection of vampire erotica sells enough for another bragging point. She's a vampire.
Ty, a young high school history teacher who writes on the side but hasn't published anything yet. Thin, bespectacled, and very curly-haired, he tends to take things too seriously and is constantly frustrated as a result. A cousin (by marriage) of Darrell's, he writes zombie fiction—apocalyptic and otherwise—and is a zombie.

Antagonist: Derek, a clean-shaven, stout man of average height. He laughs loudly and often and gets a kick from taking advantage of people.

Setting: Modern-day America, in the city and suburbs. Supernatural creatures are difficult, if not impossible, to tell from humans when they're not feeding, transforming, or casting spells.

Plot: Derek kidnaps Sheila's children for a magical ransom only she can provide. She doesn't wait very long on the police, though, and decides to recruit the members of her book club to help her save her kids without paying the steep price.

Point of View: First person, shifting among the main characters.

Monday, July 28, 2014

It's Like a Simile

One of the reasons I'm not much for poetry is that I'm terrible with figurative language. No matter how much Douglas Adams I read,  I can't seem to figure out just what to compare with what else. I'm a bit lacking in description altogether—although I've been told that's not always a bad thing—and my metaphors and similes in particular are no exception.

For me, at least, they're a part of writing that are difficult to practise. I've read to never use a simile you've seen in writing, and it seems like reasonable advice to me. If it's that unique a simile, you're just copying someone outright; if it's not, why bother using it? As such, my only choice seems to be either trying to change another writer's exact wording—which doesn't seem right—or coming up with new ones outright.

The process seems to be
  1. Find something that could be compared to something else without it obstructing the flow of the story.
  2. Figure out something interesting with the quality to be emphasised.
  3. Make sure the compared thing doesn't conflict with the narrator's knowledge or setting (e.g. a comparison to something that doesn't exist in the time period).
And there you have it. The problem is that I can't come up with anything good off the top of my head. It buzzed like... a bee? No, that's too simple. What else buzzes? Uh... Well...

That's about how it goes with me.  Recently, I had the idea to start a "Simile Bank" on the phone I carry around, so that when a good one hits me out in the field, I can save it right then. Unfortunately, it's rather rare that that happens, but it's a better bet than trying to puzzle it out in the midst of writing. I have about four right now, but you'll have to wait until they make it into my stories before you can read them. If I posted them here, after all, somebody else might put it into writing, and then I can't use it.

How are you with similes and metaphors? Other figurative language? What methods do you use to keep your comparisons fresh?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Fan Fiction Idea #29

I would really rather see this as a fan game, but since it includes both 2D and 3D characters and at least one OC, that's probably not reasonable.

A silly attempt to rectify the fact that, of all the main characters, only those of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney seem to have not been accused of murder.

Working Title: Turnabout Sacrifices

Fandom: Phoenix Wright/Ace Attorney

Genre Tags: Mystery/Suspense

Length: Multichapter

Protagonists: Apollo Justice; later, Athena Cykes.

Other Main Characters: For the prosecution, we have Simon Blackquill and Klavier Gavin. For the detectives, we have Gumshoe and Ema. For the assistants, we have Trucy and later Phoenix. Lamiroir also plays an important part.

Antagonist: Spoiler, of course.

Setting: Post-Dual Destinies, with the crime scene just outside Kurain village.

Plot: Vera Misham is stabbed to death and Lamiroir injured, and Klavier is arrested as the prime suspect. Apollo takes the case and, in the process of proving his client innocent, ends up implicating himself. Athena vows to set him free even when a guilty verdict seems inevitable.

Point of View: First person, corresponding the the appropriate attorney.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Story-Making Game

This requires some technology, so not everyone may be able to do it easily, but...

Start up your method for listening to music. Put it on shuffle. Play (or at least start and write down) the next two songs it gives you.

Make a story out of them.

The story must get elements from both songs, but it doesn't matter what part of which song—the chorus, the title, the music video, even just the feel of the tune. The story can be as simple or as detailed as you feel the need to write down.

Of course, I can't demand you do something I haven't myself done, so here's a few from me.

1. "Youth Gone Wild" and "Don't Stop Believing"

A small-town girl gets more than she had bargained for when her aimless train ride is hijacked by a group of punks. But when she manages to escape into the heart of the dreary, superficially bustling city, she finds herself drawn back to the car. Between one of the young men who might not be as dastardly as he seems and the hope of negotiating the train to greener pastures, she might stay awhile.

2. "In the Air Tonight" and "Still They Ride"

Before The Generic Momentous Event, the town had been calm and Jesse a good man. But with the streets in shambles, half the population dead, and pyrokinetic gangs seizing power, quiet safety is impossible. The former nurse would have left altogether had it not been for one other man—an influential fire-thrower who killed Jesse's son in the chaos. Jesse wants his revenge before he dares flee the boundaries of the town, even if he has to team up with some unsavory characters to do so.

3. "Share the Land" and "Juke Box Hero"

The manager of a rising rock star struggles to keep up with her job and the world around her while hiding her drug addiction, which is only worsened by her occasional visions of her loving but deceased fiancé.

4. "Dead or Alive" and "Psycho Killer"

A charming professional spy with a lot of kills in his résumé has to secure information from a young woman. It seems simple enough until he finds that she is unwilling to communicate with a human like him, and her own history of killings spells its own kind of trouble.

Fun enough, right? Tell me if you come up with anything interesting. Maybe you can even pair your results with a character from an earlier little game and get a fuller story.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Prompt Writing #9

Prompt [veiledinspiration]:

"I’ve had the dish ten or twelve times, but this time it tasted sort of funny."

Randomly Selected Story and Character: Dead Man's Hand, Helen


"I'm eating, I'm eating!" Helen shoved a forkful of rice and General Tso's chicken into her mouth. "Gaw."

Her brother tightened his lips and checked the front door again. No one hovering outside. No one coming in, either, not without triggering the chiming bells tied to the inside handle. Inside the buffet, it was just them and the usual staff. Two-o-clock wasn't the busiest hour after all.

Helen paused in her chewing, squinting at her plate of food. She swallowed and said—something that was lost to Chinese shouts from the kitchen area.

"What?" Adrian frowned, rapping his knuckles against the table until he realised he was doing it.

Helen sighed into her straw, one bubble of Coca-Cola popping under her nose. "Nothing, nothing. I'll keep eating, don't worry." She swallowed another bite of chicken and rice. "It just tastes a little different today. Maybe not as many peppers or something." She used her fork to flick one aforementioned pepper away from her next bite.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Her brother grabbed her wrist. "Stop."

Glaring, she sniffed. "One or the other would have worked. Gaw, you're so bossy."

"Bossy? I—" He trailed off into grunts between gritted teeth before shaking his head. "Helen, there are people trying to kill you. Don't eat food that tastes funny!"

She rolled her eyes. "It's not that funny. I promise if I taste poison I'll stop." She shook her wrist out of his grip. "Besides, you're the one that decided this place was safe."

As he eyed a worker girl restocking the crab rangoon, Adrian steepled his fingers in front of his nose and let out a tense breath. "Well, that was a few minutes ago. What you're telling me now is that it might not be that safe."

"No, what I'm telling you now is—Augh!" She slammed her fork down. "Fine, I'll just starve! Let's get out of here." Pushing herself up with her palms, she stood.

"Helen—Helen!" Her brother leaped after her as she charged for the door. "We haven't even paid."

She snorted, snaking around one of the steaming buffet lines. "I'm not paying them if they're trying to poison me."

"At least—"

He cut off as the worker girl charged for his sister. Swearing, he put his hand to his gun as yellow light glinted off a knife in the Asian woman's hands. Before he could get a good shot, Helen screamed, grabbing a plate or two off the stack and slamming it onto her attacker's head. With a porcelain crash, shards slammed into the sneeze guards as the worker staggered back. Adrian took his chance and fired. The woman with the knife stumbled backward from the impact and hit the floor.

 Panting, Helen pulled a lock of hair out of her mouth and looked at her brother. "You still want to pay them?"

"Nope." Stashing his gun, he grabbed her wrist and ran for the door before any shouting from the kitchen could come closer. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Lee's Island, Part 10

(The beginning of the madness can be found here.)

Here is Part 10, in which winter is coming and TenTen is the boss.


 TenTen was working out some rough edges on the supperware very carefully when a freezing wind blew across. She shivered.
"That's right, winter's coming up fast." Then the idea struck her.
"Hey, everyone! Back to camp on the double!" she yelled, hoping everyone would hear her. Soon, the others had assembled before her.
"What is it, TenTen?"
"Well, guys, you know, winter's coming. And fast."
"So, since we probably won't be able to get much in the winter, I want us to start collecting as much food, water, and firewood as possible. We okay with that?"
"Yeah. How about I get water, you catch fish, Lee catches animals, and Naruto gets firewood?"
"Sounds good to me. Everyone okay with that?" Three heads bobbed up and down.
"Then that's what we'll do. Okay, Sakura, you'll need something like a bucket to collect the water in."
"I can make one, TenTen."
"Okay, Lee. Make Sakura a bucket, but wait just a second. Okay, so Sakura should be covered there. Oh, Lee did show you where the stream is, right?"
"Okay. Naruto, you have enough kunai to cut down branches, and they shouldn't be too heavy for you to carry. Everything taken care of for you?"
"Yeah, I guess."
"Okay, Lee, you'll need the spear," she threw it at Lee, who caught it, and continued, "and you don't have any kunai, do you? Do you think the spear will be enough?"
"Yes, ma'am."
"Okay, good. I have enough kunai to catch fish. I might have to wade in a little further, but I'll be fine. All right, everyone, get to your jobs!" The ninja dispersed.
"I have to hurry. I should not keep Sakura waiting!" Lee sped up his carving. He was almost finished, but major chunks of the wood still had to be cut out.
"There, done!" He sped over to Sakura.
"You finished already? Great! Thanks for your help, Lee." Sakura took the bucket and walked into the forest. She shivered. TenTen was right. Winter was definitely coming on fast. Sakura sped up and later arrived at the stream, which had a frosty covering. It didn't take long to dispel it and gather a bucketful of water. She walked back to camp, slowed by the extra weight. By the time she arrived, the sun was high in the sky. She walked up to TenTen.
"Where should I dump it?"
"Oh, gosh, I didn't think about that." TenTen sighed. "I guess we'll have to get Lee to make more. But then that would interfere with his food gathering..."
"Well, I could probably make some buckets myself."
"Okay, if you're up to it. Here's a kunai for you. Go ask Naruto if he can spare some of the wood he's gotten." Sakura walked through the forest and found Naruto walking to the cabin with an armful of vine-covered branches in tow.
"Hey, Naruto!" She ran towards him.
"Can I use some wood?"
"Um, sure." Naruto attempted to remove a single thick branch, but all of the wood tumbled down. He groaned.
"Oh, I'll help take it to camp. Here, give me some." Sakura held her arms out.
"Mmm-kay." Naruto stacked some of the wood in her arms, then picked the rest up. "Let's go."
Sakura and Naruto arrived at the cabin short after and dumped the branches on the ground.
"Whew. Well, the worst is over. Now we just have to peel off the vines."
"Okay, go ahead. I'll..." he paused, "help with your bucket."
"Oh, no, don't think you'll get away with that! You do your job, and I'll do mine. Got it?"
"Okay, okay, fine." Sakura heard Naruto grumble something before she picked a branch and walked away. She saw Lee arrive from the forest with a gargantuan pile of rabbits, birds, and other animals stacked up on his outstretched arms.
"Hello, Sakura," he said, storing the animals. "Oh, did you need more buckets? You can always ask me to make one."
"No, but then you couldn't do your hunting as much. It's best that we all stick to our own jobs."
"No, really Sakura. It does not take long for me to make a bucket, so it would not interfere very much. Here, give me the wood." He held an arm out.
"Okay, go ahead." Lee took the branch and started carving.
"I guess I'll have to go farther in." TenTen waded farther into the ocean. Still no fish. She sighed. It's past time for lunch, and she'd hardly caught anything. Oh, well. Let's head back and get some food ready. TenTen walked over to the pile of snow and stored the four fish that she had caught. She looked over the pile and withdrew a large rabbit. TenTen hated preparing these guys, hated it. But someone had to do it. She gutted it and skinned it and put it on a skewer. Soon the fire was set up and the rabbit was roasting. Luckily, everyone was already at camp, so she didn't have to call them for lunch.
"All right, guys, it's ready!" They gathered around the fire and ate their food. Suddenly, they heard a groaning.
"What the heck was that?"
"I don't know. What do you think?"
"Probably another person."
"I will go see." Lee darted off in the direction of the moaning. It took a while, but he finally found the source: Sasuke Uchiha. Without hesitation, Lee rushed him to the others.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


I've recently come across advice that editing a piece should require completely retyping it. Supposedly, merely rereading a story and editing in the process allows the writer to pass over various errors. Only typing out every word a second time allows the proper amount of attention to be given to every aspect of the work.

I'm not sure about that myself.

Of course, the time difference is unappealing, but it shouldn't be a problem if it really helps the writer catch all of the details, right? I just doubt that it does everything it's supposed to. I've been using this method for Tributes and Tribulations, and it does do some good, don't get me wrong. I've made several changes in word choice, and I've caught a few other errors.

One big advantage it gives me is that, since I'm retyping previous paragraphs before I write the next ones, it gets me into a rhythm. Staring at a blank page is one thing, but if I've already typed several paragraphs—even if you haven't actually "done" anything in the process—it feels like I've already started.

The thing is, this really just works for line-editing... and it's not too good at that. It takes so much mroe time that the writer is given a more limited view of the piece each session, so some plot details or long-ago-mention character qualities have more opportunities to slip through. Furthermore, retyping doubles the odds of making typographical errors. I've caught some in the first draft, but I've also made several new ones during retyping.

Maybe those less prone to typing mistakes will find this method more effective. It is, of course, only one round of editing, and I personally would advise to use it last, for the line-edits.

Have you tried rewriting a work, word for word? How well has it worked for you?

Friday, July 4, 2014

New Fiction Idea #52

Based on an excellent dream that I decided not to write down because I was half-asleep and not yet making good decisions.

Working Title: Twenty Minutes

Genre: Sci-Fi

Protagonist: Gordan, an energetic young man whose job is at a doughnut shop. He holds family in high regards but still appreciates alone time on a regular basis. He dreams of swimming in the Olympics but hasn't done much about it outside of regular training.

Other Main Characters: Celeste, a 33-year-old woman with long hair and an average figure. She's serious by default but can lighten up in appropriate situations. She's very goal-oriented but a bit of a doormat at times.

Antagonist: A small but well-funded agency that deals with technology.

Setting: A luxury cruise ship. The trip is a 5-day one in the Caribbean with some island stops. Modern day or near future.

Plot: A rather secretive organisation selects Gordan, a former affiliate, as a tester for a prototype watch. The gadget has the ability to send the consciousness of the user back in time at minute increments up to twenty minutes. Gordan goes along with the trial and its rules despite being on vacation during the time they want him to try it out. At first, he's only doing small tasks and experiments, but when Celeste is killed at one of the starboard bars, he sets out to save her and digs up a sinister plot in the process.

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

Monday, June 30, 2014

New Short Story Idea #5

Working Title: "Roulette"

Genre: No idea. Literary?

Main Characters: Cherise, a new chef at Roulette who's quite nervous about her job, although she's a perfectly good gourmet chef already.
Ronald, one of the well-established chefs of the restaurant and (secretly) the one who will poison meals at random, and not necessarily the ones he makes.
Jones, a frequent customer at the restaurant who brought his girlfriend Dinah along this time.

Setting: The kitchen and main dining area of the Roulette restaurant, modern-day-ish. The restaurant serves gourmet food for free, but on occasion, a random meal will be poisoned. Generally, the poisons are matched with foods that will mask the particular flavor or scent. The toxins also range from near-instant death to mild food poisoning.

Plot: Cherise works her first day at the restaurant, while Ronald and Jones do their normal things.

Point of View: Third-person, omniscient.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Dream Journal #20

Also, a brief notice that there won't be any posts next week.

12 June—13 June

I was at school, wearing nice clothes, as I left the gym area along with several classmates. While we were taking a shortcut through a grassy, hilly area, an alarm started to blare. I wasn't quite sure what the plain, on-off rhythm was meant to warn us of, so I just followed the others as they fled. One of them told me the sound was a fire alarm, and, when I looked back, I could finally see smoke nearby. Braden* came after it with an extinguisher. The smoke went down briefly before the fire flared up again, and it took a few cycles of this before the fire was finally put out. My classmates and I congratulated him and returned to our business.

I walked on and entered my dorm room, a den-like area with a short step down stretching across the middle. My roommate was a plump Asian girl who stayed at the lower side of the steps. I sat at the middle, my feet on her side, as I took off my black church shoes. Then I removed the hose-like socks just beneath them; then the thin, white socks beneath that. I briefly thought it might b e rude to put my shoes on her side of the room, but I went off looking for lunch, anyway.

The normal place was not offering lunch at the time, so, rather upset, I started toward the alternate eating place. One the way there, I had to get through some sort of lounge room where several adults sat on a couch watching television. A fluffy, bright blue rug stretched over the only area I could walk across, but a dull, green liquid was pooled all across it. I tried to step onto it regardless—and managed to put my toes somewhere they didn't get wet—but Becky** was on her knees trying to clean the thing, and I gave up.

Frustrated, I went back to my room and decided I would just go to the sandwich store at the edge of campus because it would be easier. I sat on the little step in the room and put on my shoes. My roommate was on the couch on her side watching a cartoon I didn't recognise. She had the English subtitles on since it was in Chinese, and I wondered if she was trying to learn Chinese.

I left my room into the larger building surrounding it and tried to figure out how to get out. There was a door to the outside in a sunlit storeroom, but it was blocked by a man calling his mother on the telephone there. My roommate told me this happened a lot. I didn't acknowledge her as I kept trying to find an exit, and it took me a minute to realise that that might have been rude.

Finally I came up to a door-like area with four stacked, horizontal metal sheets; each was a series of joints so that it could curve whatever way it was pushed. I squeezed through one of the panels into a garage area and found a second set of the things inside. I pushed one partway open to check, and it did, in fact, lead outside. I shut the flap and prepared to go through before I paused and took another look out. As I had suspected, the truck outside, its headlights on, was drawing closer. I let the flap go and hurried back through the first set of flaps to hide.

Then I was in some kind of classroom. The subject we were learning there was never made clear, but Hemingway and certain other assignments mentioned made me think it was a creative writing class. We were getting our final assignment before the class was to be dismissed when the teacher called two of my friends and me the top three in the class.

*A sort of exaggerated figure with whom I took some Japanese classes.

**A family/church friend and my oldest friend's mother.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fragments XI

More and more of these little guys.
  • A magic system centered on photographs
  • Competitive trampolinists
  • "They told him he has pancake syrup in his veins" (overheard at a hospital)
  • A character named Tilda
  • A story or game where the main character can take the colour of an object and give it to another one (whose colour the character is now able to transfer further)
  • A character named Nohbdy
  • The main characters both sing karaoke well and unwittingly pick out songs that soon become relevant to their adventures
  • A character with the last anme Deatherage (which apparently is a real name)
  • A leading lady whose boyfriend is pretty much only there to shapeshift into various weapons and tools for her
  • The time-travelling (incompetent) saxophone haters trying to assassinate Adolph Sax throughout his lifetime (seen on Tumblr)
  • Someone who works at a snow cone stand

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Take One Down, Pass It Around

How many POVs is too many?

I've gotten away with stories (fan fictions) that switch the point of view character every chapter and come back to any of the same ones very rarely. I've also done stories with some twenty-four POVs—hardly equally weighted—and some with about three or four. But what's the farthest you can go, either way? Is the story too one-track-minded if only the main character gets to carry the POV? Is it too incoherent if a long series of characters keeps passing on the baton?

I certainly prefer books with multiple POVs. Not dwelling on certain Hetalia/Hunger Games crossovers, original works like the Unwind dystology do a great job with POV-switching. There are certainly main characters that carry more POVs, but still other characters get their own voices, and even inanimate objects carry the story every once in a while for a change of pace.

Of course, I'm sure there are plenty of ways to go about multiple-POV stories the wrong way. I can't think of any actual examples, though; most books seem to be almost entirely single-POV.

There's nothing really wrong with that, though, right? A novel tends to be the main character's story—that's why the protagonist is the protagonist. Of course, many other characters' stories are entwined with the main character's, but does that mean they have to tell it in their own voices? Dialogue can cover a lot of that, and, of course, the other characters are moving along with their own actions as well.

What do you think? Who should get a POV? How is switching between multiple POVs done right, or wrong?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Character Questionnaire

I  completed a 30-day version with the two main characters of Victims of the Bridge, and, although there were many interesting questions, there are obviously a lot more my characters could bear to answer for me. As such, I decided to put together a few more questions for the lot of us to enjoy.
  1. What does your character like on his/her omelettes?
  2. How important does your character consider his/her heritage to be?
  3. How many volts would he/she go to if he/she had been a teacher in the Milgram experiment?
  4. Describe your character's typical scent.
  5. What kind of video games does/would your character play (puzzle, first-person shooter, etc.)?
  6. What is your character's preferred style of footwear?
  7. How does he/she feel about musicals?
  8. What breed or kind of dog is his/her favourite ("dog person" or otherwise)?
  9. What's your character's favourite smell that brings up memories?
  10. What's your character's favourite smell that doesn't bring up any particular memories?
  11. If your character were forced to start a triathlon, how far would they end up going?
  12. How short a skirt (if any) would your character wear?
  13. If your character had the chance to buy everything from a single store, what store would it be?
  14. How many minutes early or late does your character intend and/or tend to get to scheduled events?
  15.  What is your character's ideal vacation environment?

Monday, June 9, 2014

How I "Organise" This Blog

You've probably figured out that updates come every three days, but have you noticed them alternating? Well, not really back and forth... at least not the way I see the posts. I don't know about you, but here's how I classify my posts, to keep from repeating the same kind of stuff post after post.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Ballad of George and Becky

Here I present the chapter following the first chapter of Victims of the Bridge (current title of Ghost Brigade). Still raw. Still contains some suicide.


I’ve walked about thirty minutes away from the car before I get to what I think is a good spot. I’m actually pretty much in the middle of civilization, but I have no reason to think I’ll be found here.
The sign out front for The Crawfish Kitchen still hasn’t been properly taken down, but the For Lease sign is definitely up. This poor building has probably been twelve different restaurants, none of which have remotely succeeded for more than a few months. At this point, no one’s dumb enough to try to make it into another one. It’s not a good location for much of anything else, though, so the first person I would have to worry about finding me is someone in a deconstruction crew. That operation isn’t going to happen anytime soon, though, so I’m sure this will be fine. The interior is cool, and there’s a nice little room in the back with no windows or doors outside.
Anyway, it works for me, and, as far as I can tell, George isn’t terribly upset with the place. So I settle down, sigh, and ready the knife.
There’s got to be a better way to do this. But I don’t have a gun—someone would hear the shot, anyway—hanging myself sounds even more horrific, and I don’t know what the heck pills I’m supposed to wash down with alcohol to die and not just get extensive liver damage. And, you know, this worked once. Why take any chances?
I still get quite a bit of bile in my throat before I hack it open. And then it’s the same fun all over again. Pain, dark, waking, George.
I at least get dislodged from the floating part with less force this time. Maybe the guy is starting to get an idea of what he’s actually doing.
Letting out a long exhale, I put my hands on my hips and nod at the corpse. “Good enough for you?”
George, tapping his right hand on his thigh, looks around the room. “Uh, yeah. Nobody comes here, I guess?”
“No, I just felt like killing myself an extra time for fun.”
He laughs weakly, putting his hands back in his pockets. “Let’s get going then, huh?”
He turns and starts to walk into a wall, but I just watch him. He’s halfway through before he pauses and looks back at me.
“Miss? Are you all right?”
There are too many responses to that for me to pick one.
“First of all, I go by Becky.”
“Right! I know—I remembered; I just—” He cuts off and scratches the back of his head. “Never mind. Sorry.” Slumped, he spins to properly face me. “So, Becky, are you all right?”
“Yeah, sure.” I just manage to stop myself from trying to lean against the wall. “I’m just wondering if you’re seriously going to lead me off into your grand plan without telling me anything about it.”
He smiles. “Nothing wrong with jumping into things and then learning how to swim, right? I hear it can be more effective that way.”
“Sadly, I don’t care. Tell me what’s going on.”
He slouches. “Well, it’s a pretty long story, but, basically, a big plot is about to come to fruition, and innocent people are going to die if we don’t do something.”
That sounds like the basics of something, all right.
I take another step away from my body. “So what are we two ghosts supposed to do about it?”
“Oh! Actually, I’m useless.” Of all things, this doesn’t seem to cast a shadow on his mood. “But I’m pretty sure you’re the one that can stop this. That’s why I’ve been trying so hard to get to you.”
“Okay.” I put my elbows back. “What’s so special about me?”
He tilts his chin up a little. “Your abilities, for one. I’ve never sensed any so strong.”
He pauses, his eyes rolling up a little. “Maybe that sounds a little weird, but you’re a ghost now, so you should be able to sense this stuff, too.” He grins, looking back at me. “Can you figure out how many special abilities I have?”
I focus for a second, but either I’m too skeptical to sense anything, or George is completely making this stuff up.
“Sorry. I’m not getting any vibes from you.” Other than the lack of brainpower, but I don’t think it took a sixth sense to figure that one out.
He doesn’t stop smiling. “That’s because I don’t have any special abilities! So you get the picture, right? I know what’s going on, but only you’re strong enough to stop it. So, you wanna start walking?” He points a thumb towards the wall.
“Sure, what the heck.” It’s not like I have anything better to do. If I did, I wouldn’t be lying dead in a cursed restaurant building.
“Great!” He spins on his heel and strides right out of the building. At least, he disappears behind the wall, and I have to reason to believe he didn’t come out on the other side.
Fisting my hands loosely, I go to follow him. My first time phasing through a wall. Somebody take a picture.
I still brace myself as the metal approaches. Strictly speaking, I don’t really know what I’m doing, but it can’t be that hard, right? My ghost can already move and walk without thinking about it. Going through walls ought to come just as naturally in this form.
I hold my breath, keep stepping forward—and then I stumble and fall flat on my face. I can feel spongy concrete pressing in on my face, although it doesn’t hurt. Guess I can’t complain, then.
Well, I can’t complain about getting hurt.
I’ve pushed myself to my knees before George is grabbing at my shoulders to haul me up the rest of the way.
“I’m sorry! I should have warned you about the step down. Are you okay?”
“For cripes sake, your Chosen One ought to be able to take this much.”
“Uh, right.” He pulls back, scratching the underside of his jaw.
That’s when I realize how oddly dark it is out here. It was only afternoon when I stepped into the building, but now everything seems to be obscured in a hazy shadow. The concrete is specked with white spots of old gum, the clouds are black, the brickwork is greenish, and, now that I think about it, it’s as if I stepped into a negative. The kind you get back in film strips when you get the pictures off your disposable camera.
And then there’s George, who doesn’t look like the kind of surreal X-ray of a person in a negative. He just looks like George, as normal as he gets. A glance down at my shoes proves that I’m still in the positive as well.
Ghost world. Fun stuff.
George is watching me, his head tilted to the side a bit, so I sigh and rest my hands on my hips.
“Sorry. Just getting used to the scenery. I’m ready to go when you are.”
“Huh? Oh.” After a brief survey of the area, he starts walking, and I follow. “Did you not step outside before?”
“Not as a ghost, no.”
“Huh. Well, yeah, this is how it looks. You get used to it.”
“How long have you been here, anyway?”
“Thirty years now.” He lets his hands swing at his sides as we walk through traffic. I can’t sense anything as a car, then a pickup go straight through me. It’s kind of neat, though.
I’m having a little trouble keeping up with George, even when his legs aren’t all that much longer than mine. “So you’re at least an expert on how things work on this plane, right?”
“Of course!” He scratches the back of his head. “At least, I’ve figured out a lot of the ropes by myself. I don’t talk to many other ghosts, though, so I doubt I know everything.”
“Are you a little too galling for them?” I don’t imagine that most of the recently dead or otherwise wandering would take too kindly to such a broad enthusiast.
“Um.” He puts his hands back in his pockets, and I get the feeling he might not be sure what “galling” means. “I don’t know. Sometimes it seems like everyone’s ignoring me, but—” slouching, he looks up at me with some awful puppy-dog eyes— “you’re the only human who’s ever seen me, and I’m starting to wonder if even the other ghosts don’t notice me.”
Yawning, I smack him on the scapula. “Don’t worry. You’re annoying enough; I’m sure they’re actually ignoring you.”
“Uh, thanks.” He doesn’t quite straighten up.
We make it across the street, and he takes a sharp left once we’re at the sidewalk.
“Where is it we’re going?” I find myself sidestepping some freshly spat gum, more out of principle than anything else. “Kill People Headquarters?”
“Not exactly.” He picks himself up a little and glances down at me. “To be honest, I kinda thought you’d need a little more time, you know, to get used to being a ghost.”
“Oh.” I watch my feet as they go over the pavement without incident. “The look of this place is dizzying, but otherwise I think I’m all right.” Exhaling, I toss my hair behind my shoulders. “Let’s go and do something. Hit me with your best shot. I can take it.”
Huh. Did that come out of my mouth? I guess being dead is kind of liberating. No more depressing life. No more normal. Just having no idea what’s going on and actually not minding. I’m not sure what it is. You would think being the only one able to save multiple people’s lives would be a lot more crushing of a responsibility than just trying to survive classes in a way that won’t wreck your hopes for med school.
Yet here I am. Let’s go have an adventure. It beats the crap out of sitting through yet another class’s lecture on action potentials, and it’ll be nice to get a chance to do good for some people before ten more years of school have passed.
“All right, then!” Shoulders back, George charges ahead an an even more unreasonable pace. “Let’s get cracking.”

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

New Fiction Idea #51

Working Title: The Academy for Exceptional Butlery

Genre: Humour/Action

Protagonist: Ravi, a charming and moderately attractive young man who's trying to finish up his first year at the academy. He does excellently in almost all of his classes. He's kind, friendly, and honest, although he relies a bit too much on others and tends to be indecisive.

Other Main Characters: Conall, Ravi's good friend who enjoys chasing women and playing cards when he's not studying. Although some consider him incapable of being a proper butler due to his atrophied legs, he does quite well in most of his classes.
Kyrie, a young woman with a sly, sinister air about her. She keeps her dark hair in two ponytails (which I can only imagine anime-style at the moment). She failed out of the maid academy across the street for being neither shy and cute nor sexy and coquettish. She may have gone to... unusual measures to secure herself a spot in the otherwise male-only butler academy.

Antagonist: Unknown.

Setting: The titular academy, where aspiring butlers receive their training and typically graduate in two years. The most emphasised classes are those concerning household management, etiquette, hand-to-hand combat, combat with household items, and scathing, dry sarcasm. It's in a bit of an alternate universe, probably similar to ours a century or so ago.

Plot: The final examinations are closing in. Each student must both complete a written exam and perform well in a week-long simulation. Although each student's simulation is a bit different, all involve several days of keeping up a mansion and interacting with its inhabitants, as well as a feast that culminates with a threat to the household that the butler must resolve (combat, of course, is involved). But some problems have been arising with the workers in the simulation, and Ravi, scheduled to take his finals last, might just have to fix all of it.

Point of View: Third person, limited to Ravi.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Lee's Island, Part 9

Part 1 is here.

Part 9, in which water isn't that necessary and random coughing fits don't have to be plot-relevant.


"Hey, TenTen! Did you get him?" TenTen sat down.
"Pretty much."
"We've started up the fire and everything," Sakura said, "We were waiting for you to come back before we started eating."
"Okay. What do we need the fire for?"
"Lee caught a big rabbit when he went back into the forest."
"Okay, cool. A nice, big meal tonight!" TenTen said, sitting down with the others.
"Yup." Sakura opened her canteen. "Uh-oh."
"There's barely any water left in my canteen. Has anyone found a stream?"
"Not me."
"No." Sakura pondered for a moment. "Okay," she said, "Let's explore to see if there's a stream anywhere. There should be one, so let's find it."
"But what about the rabbit?"
"Let's just take it with us. I'm sure no one will mess with the campsite."
"Okay." Lee picked up the rabbit and followed the other ninja into the forest.
Sakura sighed. The Leaf Village ninja had been walking for barely less than an hour. "Have we found any yet?" she complained.
"Nope." Sakura groaned.
"Hey, guys? You can go back to camp. I will continue searching for the stream. You might as well relax if you are all feeling tired," Lee said.
"Oh, no, Lee. You must be exhausted, too!" Lee shrugged.
"Not really. You guys go ahead; I will keep going."
"Okay. Thanks, Lee!" The others returned to camp. Lee walked further into the forest.
"So, should we go ahead and eat some of our food?"
"Yeah. We'll save some for Lee. And we can keep his share of the rabbit warm over the fire." In agreement, the three ninja began their meal. It didn't take long for them to finish their share.
"That was pretty good, compared to having fish everyday!" TenTen said with a hint of humor in her voice.
"Yeah, definitely!" Sakura said, swallowing her last mouthful of rabbit. "I'll get some more wood for the fire." Sakura went into the cabin, picked up some logs, and headed back to the weakly burning campfire.
"Hey, guys!" Naruto, Sakura, and TenTen turned to see Lee walking out from the forest.
"Hey, Lee! Did you find any water?"
"Yes, I did! There's a huge stream in the middle of the forest! Does anyone want me to get more water for them?"
"Yeah, go ahead," Naruto said, sticking out his canteen.
"Naruto, you jerk! He's been out in the forest for an hour at least, and you want him to go back just for a little water?!"
"Sorry sorry sorry! Please don't hurt me!" Sakura chuckled softly.
"You don't have to get anything tonight, Lee. Here, we saved you some food."
"Thanks." Lee sat down and started eating.
"I'm tired," Sakura said with a yawn.
"Go ahead in," TenTen said. "We'll be fine." Sakura walked into the cabin. Naruto soon followed.
"Hey, Lee," TenTen said, seeing him finish his rabbit, "you can go ahead and sleep. I'll take first watch."
"Okay, TenTen." Lee walked into the cabin while TenTen put up the cooking utensils.
Soon enough, the night passed. Lee awoke to smell something on the fire. He walked outside.
"Hey, Sakura. What are you making?"
"Squirrel. And we had some ivy left over, so I powdered it and spread it over our breakfast." Suddenly, Sakura started coughing.
"Sakura, are you all right?"
"I'm fi-" She coughed again. "I'm fine."
"Are you sure?"
"Ye-" She started coughing violently.
"What's going on?" Naruto said, walking out of the cabin.
"Something's wrong with Sakura!"
"What?" Naruto said. Sakura started coughing again, and she winced from the pain.
"Sakura, you should probably go back into the cabin and get some more rest. I am sure that TenTen can finish the cooking."
"Okay," she coughed again, "I'll go." She walked into the wooden house as TenTen walked out.
"What happened?"
"Sakura's coughing a lot. Bushy Brow told her to go back into the cabin."
"So what'd she cook?"
"She said it is squirrel with some of the ivy on it. She also said that she was not finished, and that you would be able to finish it." TenTen looked a the squirrel.
"Yeah, I can finish this up." She kneeled down and slowly spun the little animal on the skewer stick.
"It's almost done. We'll just have to wait a little bit longer." They heard Sakura cough again.
"I hope she will be okay," Lee said softly. The three ninja waited.
"Okay, guys, I think it's ready," TenTen said, pulling the squirrel off of the skewer. She put it on a plate and got out the utensils.
"I'll get an equal share for all of us. Lee, take Sakura's to her." She sliced off a fourth of the squirrel, put it on a plate, and handed it to Lee, who nodded and walked into the cabin.
"Naruto, here's yours," she said, handing him another plate, "this one's Lee's, and this part's mine." They started eating. When the meal was over, Lee gathered all of the canteens and sped into the forest.
"I just have to find that stream," he said, darting through the forest. He slowed, spotting the sparkling water. He knelt down, filled the canteens, strapped them on tight, and ran back to camp.
TenTen cut another notch into the wall by her loft.
"It's been five days now," she said softly as to not arouse Sakura. TenTen fell back on her makeshift bed.
"I wonder how long we'll be here? Who will rescue us? Will we be stranded here forever?" She sighed.
"Oh, well." She closed her eyes and heard Lee arrive outside.
"You got the canteens filled? Good; I'm thirsty." TenTen got her canteen from Lee and took a big drink.
"Is it just me, or is it cold today?" she said, wiping some water from her lips.
"Colder than it has been," Lee replied. TenTen shivered.
"Of all the times to be wearing a no-sleeved shirt..." A gust of icy wind fluttered the trees' leaves.
"I guess summer must be coming to an end."
"Well, I'm going to go inside for a while," TenTen said. She walked into the cabin.
"Is there anything to do around here?" Naruto asked.
"Not much. You could always spar with me." Naruto backed away.
"No thanks!" Lee laughed.
"Wow. We've been here for a while," TenTen said to herself, cutting the thirtieth notch next to her bed.
"Oh, good, you're already awake. It's your shift," Sakura whispered.
"Okay." She climbed down from her loft and headed outside. She took in a deep breath of the frigid night air and sighed. When was this grass ninja going to leave them alone? They'd have to keep doing shifts until they knew he was gone for good. The freezing cold around her made her shiver. She sighed again. At least Sakura's coughing had gone away. Luckily, it wasn't very serious and had faded away. TenTen walked around, trying not to crunch the leaves underfoot. There just isn't much to do here, especially if you're trying to not wake anyone up, she thought. The island was either boring or dangerous. When there's nothing to do, Lee would train the entire day, Sakura would find food for the next meal, Naruto would sit there and complain, and she just waded in the water and thought. Soon the sun rose through the clouds in a burst of vivid colors.
"Guess it's time to make breakfast." TenTen walked over to the pile of snow where extra food was kept. She grabbed a bird and walked over to the firepit to start a fire. She heard a yawn from the cabin and, soon after, Lee walked out.
"Good morning, TenTen. Do you need any help?"
"No, I've got it," she said, using the stick in her hands to spark the fire. She put the bird, which had already been prepared to cook by Sakura, on a skewer and placed it over the fire.
"All right." Lee walked into the forest for some early-morning training. TenTen sighed. It couldn't be healthy to train that much! She wondered if she should stop him when Sakura came out of the cabin.
"Morning, Sakura. Why are you up so early?"
"I couldn't sleep last night at all. You know how loud Lee snores?" TenTen laughed.
"Yeah. I guess we just have to live with it!"
"Yeah. So, any special plans for today?"
"Not that I know of. I might try to get Lee doing something else."
"I don't think it's a good idea to train every second you get. It just can't be healthy! Got any ideas on what we could occupy him with?"
"Well, he did do a good job on the utensils. Maybe he could start carving wood? Or collecting firewood?"
"Those are good ideas. Speaking of firewood, could you fetch me some? This flame's going out."
"Sure." Sakura went inside the cabin. TenTen heard a clatter from inside.
"Sakura? Everything okay?" She walked after Sakura. Logs were spread out all over the floor.
"Yeah, everything's just fine."
"This isn't just fine! Waking me up like that!"
"Sorry, Naruto." Sakura rolled her eyes. "But, yeah, it's okay. I just dropped some of the wood, and everything came tumbling down."
"Okay, I'll help you put it up once the fire's going strong." TenTen picked up a couple of logs.
"I can see why you dropped them! They're pretty heavy." She walked out the door and fed the fire.
Just a while afterwards, the bird was cooked and prepared.
"All right guys, food's ready!" she called. Naruto came rushing in, soon followed by Sakura. They started to eat their shares.
"Isn't Lee coming?"
"I guess he didn't hear me. I'll go get him." TenTen set her food down and headed to the forest.
"Oh, and Sakura?"
"Make sure Naruto doesn't eat my share!"
"Lee? Breakfast is ready!"
"Oh, okay. Let's go." TenTen saw Lee push aside some brush to meet her. They walked to camp for breakfast.