Saturday, March 29, 2014

New Fiction Idea #47

Working Title: Rithia's Little Cult

Genre: Fantasy/Comedy

Protagonist: Rithia, the standard cleric of the party. She can basically heal all ailments, although she's more used to war injuries, and more complex ailments require a lot more mana. She's humble and unsettled when she receives any amount of attention.

Other Main Characters: Joman, the standard warrior of the party. He's a huge show-off, to the point of not usually being "nice," and he gets very passionate about things.
Cly, the standard rogue of the party. She's a bit of a trickster but is in the end undyingly loyal to the friends she's found.
Kolni, the standard sorcerer of the party. He's reclusive but very intelligent and knowledgeable.

Antagonist: Mostly the foolish humans, but someone is behind the environment switch as well.

Setting: The real world, somewhere in a city, maybe New York.

Plot: The main characters are suddenly ejected from their video game world to the real world and separated in the process. Rithia strives to put together the rest of the group, but her tendency to heal passersby of even the gravest diseases gains her many followers she'd rather not have.

Point of View: Third person, limited to Rithia.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

New Short Story Idea #5

Working Title: "I Am a Professional"

Genre: Mainstream?

Main Characters: Anne, the local medical examiner. Short in stature, and in her forties, she tends to take things solemnly to the point of seeming ambivalent.
A.S., an assassin-for-hire. Although he's not universally attractive, he is a bit of a charmer and tends to communicate with clients and others alike with cordiality.
Yvette, a funeral singer. She's rather thick but tall enough to even it out. She and her group have sung at many funerals, but she only seems immune to the sorrow until she's out of the building.
Herbert, the victim and the epitome of a good Christian man. Those who knew him can't fathom why anyone would murder him. (There was a logical, if heartless, reason for his murder.)

Setting: Modern-day, somewhere in America. All takes place in the same town, aside from perhaps a few musings from A.S.

Plot: Anne, A.S., and Yvette reflect on the meaning of professionality in the face of such a tragedy. Anne is trying to help solve the homicide case; A.S. is clearing the area; Yvette is waiting through the eulogies for her second round of songs at the end of the funeral.

Point of View: Third-person, limited to each of the main three in different sections.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Few More Words

More cool words here.

crepitate                                  senescense                                picayune
zeitgeber                                 cheeseparing                             cerebrate
prognosticate                          billingsgate                                jingoism
fantod                                      kelpie                                       crepuscule
phantasmagoric                       skeigh                                       clepe
novitiate                                  commix                                    tenuity
wroth                                      geit                                           wight
slumgullion                             hardihood                                 lipogram
umbriferous                            whitherward                              klaxon
cathexis                                  oeillade                                      sozzled
skosh                                      welkin                                       comport
wamble                                  hornswoggle                              echt
litigious                                  bosky                                         perspicuous

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Welcome to Ghosthood

Well, I've been writing Ghost Brigade (whatever the real title turns out to be), so I thought I might as well post the first (unedited) chapter here. Warning: suicide, not that descriptive.


I’m still not completely sure about this.
That’s probably a bad thought to have in the middle of cutting my throat open.
Of course, it’s a little late now. I’ve probably cut my hand more than my jugular, but I’m still on my way to bleeding out. Hopefully I’ll wake up like I’ve been led to believe. If not, well, I tried.
I slump against the shut door as the walls around me begin to dim. The slacks and blouses hanging on my right get as fuzzy as the sweaters and T-shirts to my left. The shelves in front of me blur until no one book can be distinguished from another, and then until it’s all one greyish smudge. 
Fade to black. Cue curtains.
Or so I would normally expect. For a Biochemistry major, I don’t know all that much about death. Once your brain stops getting oxygen, it starts to die, and then things escalate until all of you is dead. There’s probably some apoptosis in there somewhere. That’s all I’ve got.
And then, after that point, well, you either stay dead or show up as a ghost. I don’t know the details of that process any more than the last one. I don’t have any proof that I’m going to end up as a ghost, either. Just a hunch. And some persuasion from a, uh, “friend” of mine.
I don’t know his name. I’m not even completely sure if it’s a he, it always shows up so faded. While I can see spirits in a lot more definition than the average paranormal photographer, this guy is still hazy in my eyes. But he’s persistent. He’s basically been stalking me for a month now, and, while he doesn’t give off any malicious vibes, I’m not sure why I trust in what I think he’s been trying to say. I guess I’ve just given up enough on everything else. You know, why not? What have I got to lose?
So, here I am. Dying. Or dead. Or something.
The world remains black and empty for an indeterminate amount of time before I start to see a glimmer. Gradually, my closet rematerializes around me, the light growing until I can see every detail.
I can’t turn my head, though. And now that I think about it, I can’t feel the stickiness on my hands and neck. I guess I’m not really back to my senses, per se, but I’m definitely conscious in some way.
My view begins to shift. I can’t feel myself rising, but the floor becomes more and more distant regardless―and then I can see my body below me. Yeah, that looks dead. My hair looks terrible, too.
Still I rise. The lowest bookshelf begins to eclipse the speckled carpet beneath it. The shoulders of my shirts sink below me in a row of colorful streaks. 
So is this just my spirit now? Am I going to keep rising to the heavens? I can’t seem to shake myself from my trajectory, so I guess I’ll find out. Here’s hoping I’m headed somewhere decent. I can’t say I’ve earned, it, but―
A screaming something crashes into me from the side, and I don’t have time to yelp before I’m crashing down onto the carpet.
I do manage to get out an “ack” a moment later, though. I can feel weight still pushing down on me, although it doesn’t hurt, and soon I notice my arms splayed out in front of me. I can wriggle my fingers. And my corpse is still sitting over there. Okay.
“Phew! You made it!” 
I find myself rolling onto my stomach as the weight leaves, but my hand is grabbed and I’m hauled upright before I can shift myself. I at least manage not to stumble back to the floor when I’m let go.
“You feeling okay? Coming over can be kinda rough. Do you remember who you are? How many fingers am I holding up? Can you hear me? Can you talk? Are you hurt? Did I tackle you too hard?”
“S-slow down!” I hold up my hands like I’m about to get slapped with that peace-sign hand being waved at me. I’m not sure that there’s reason to believe I won’t.
“Sorry! Sorry.”
The man standing in front of me hunches a little and puts his hands in his jeans pockets. His build seems pretty intimidating at first, but, after another moment’s investigation, he doesn’t seem to have much meat on his big bones. He’s a mite taller than me while he’s slumping, and he has a lot of hair for someone who doesn’t keep it much longer than the average guy. His facial features are kind of soft in general, although he’s still frowning pretty tightly as he glances between me and my corpse. 
I don’t recognize him as anyone I’ve ever known, but the brown of his shirt and blue of his jeans match the blur of my stalker-ghost. Considering that I don’t recall anyone else in my closet and my body is still very much slumped against the door, I’m pretty sure this guy’s about as dead as I am. This is him, then. I’m not sure how exactly I thought he’d look, but it wasn’t this.
“Uh, miss?” His glance at my ghost this round is a little longer before he averts his gaze to the other me.
I put my hands on my hips. “I prefer ‘Becky.’ You?”
“Huh?” He straightens up immediately and smiles at me. “Oh, great! You’re okay, then? Well, I’m George. Nice to meet you.”
I nod and watch him. His expression shifts to puzzled, and then uncomfortable as he slumps again.
“Mi―I mean, Becky?”
“Um―” he scratches the side of his head― “what is it?”
“What do you mean, ‘what is it’?” I wish I had a good three-ring binder in hand to smack him with. “What am I doing here? You’re the one who’s been trying so hard to get me to the ghost side, right? Is there a reason, or are you just a creep with nothing better to do than watch teenagers kill themselves?”
“No, no!” It’s his turn to hold up his hands defensively, although he waves them around, too. “I have a reason. I, uh―there’s something I need you to do. But there’s one problem.” He looks at the other me. “You kinda left your corpse where somebody’s gonna find it.” He pauses, straightens up again, and looks me in the eye. “Or are your parents leaving for a while? For how long? Is there anybody else that comes over here a lot? Are any neighbors probably gonna catch the smell? I don’t know how good the vent system is here.”
“Cripes! One question at a time.”  I grip my hips a little tighter. “So what exactly is the problem here? Why shouldn’t anyone be able to find my body?”
I guess that was technically two questions at a time on my part. Well, at least they’re closely related.
George puts his hands in his pockets and rolls his shoulders back. “Then they’ll probably do an autopsy, right? It’ll be a little hard to come back from that. So here―” he waves at the corpse― “get back in, quick, before somebody shows up. You have to find somewhere a little more exclusive.”
“First of all, ‘jump in’? You mean possess my corpse somehow? Is that possible?” I frown at the body by the door. Even if I could somehow get back inside, it’s already a dead shell. With blood all over it, no less. I don’t think I’ll be sneaking off to any good body-dumping spots without raising any suspicion.
“For you, yeah.” He eyes the quietly buzzing light in the ceiling. “Most of us not so much, but―” he looks back at me with an eager nod― “yeah, go for it. Quick. All you have to do is find somewhere cool and secluded and, uh, do the thing again, and we should be good to go ahead.”
“All I have to do is kill myself again. Great!” I sigh and step straight over my body, my foot just shy of the knife. “This method sucks. Should I just go jump in the river? I bet nobody’d find me then.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” He jumps in front of me, knocking me back from my corpse before I can attempt to somehow climb in. I land on my hands and rear with a grunt and glare up at him. He fidgets before breaking eye contact.
“No. Bad idea. You still have to be able to find your body.”
I pull myself back to my feet for the sole purpose of putting my hands on my hips again. Leaning in a little, I squint at him. “Because?” 
“Because you might still need it.” He blinks, apparently confused enough to stop noticing my glare.
I continue to stare at him, but he doesn’t seem to recognize a need to divulge more information.
“Okay, then.” I nudge his shin with my foot. “Let me get to it.”
“Oh!” He jumps out of the way, his back phasing through my hanging blouses in the process. “Okay!” He smiles. “Good luck!”
I try to thank him with the flattest tone possible, but he doesn’t seem perturbed by it. With an exhale, I step over to my body and frown down at it. 
So I’m somehow going to resuscitate myself, and then I have to go kill myself somewhere no one will find me, either on the way there or for who-knows-how-long after I’m gone again. I’m sure absolutely nothing will go wrong with that plan.
I step into my feet carefully, although they’re at such an angle I can’t quite fit them while I’m standing. Nothing happens for a moment so, with a chill of disgust, I lower myself onto the blood-soaked carpet and try to match my corpse’s position. I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do. Close my eyes, or meditate, or do some sort of proverbial reaching out to the core of my dead body. George looks like he’s cheering me on, but I’m not expecting much sage advice from him if he’s never done this himself.
Wait. I can’t hear him talking.
I open my eyes again to find more of a blur than a man in front of me. I can’t even tell if his mouth is still moving or not, although I’m pretty sure he’s waving his arms.
I start to sit up before I feel the burning in my hand. Looking down at my right fingers, I find them bloodied. That doesn’t surprise me nearly as much as their response when I try to move them. I manage to wriggle my hand for a god few seconds before it makes the cut burn too much for me to continue.
I guess I’m back, then. That’s nice.
Gently, I put my fingertips to my neck. It’s coated with blood, but no matter how much I palpate, I can’t find the cut. It was there a minute ago. I’m pretty darn sure about that. Where precisely it’s gone, not so much.
Well, I can ponder that over when I’m not locked in my closet covered in blood. I have other crap to do right now. 
After glaring hard enough at George to chase him out of the room, I get a clean shirt put on and check out my slacks. They’re a little wet, but you can’t really make out the blood on the black fabric. Good enough for me.
I hastily clean off the knife on my soiled shirt and toss it in my jacket pocket. I don’t bother trying to hide the shirt. There’s a huge bloodstain in the carpet that’s not going to resolve itself anytime soon, so I can’t stop anyone from getting suspicious by kicking the shirt in the corner. Here’s hoping no one tries to snoop in my closet. My parents ought to know better, as should anyone they invite over.
Once they think I’ve gone missing, well, I ought to be far enough away not to worry about it.
I still open and shut the door fast as I get to the bathroom to rinse off. My hand is still stinging, but I guess that’s the price to pay for my hesitation. I’ll just have to man up and deal with it. Until I die again, at least. But that’s a problem for a later hour. Right now, let’s just try to get halfway presentable.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Put a Face on It

It has come to my attention that relatively few of my stories have actual antagonists established. This seems like a bad thing.

Now, some I just wouldn't want to state outright because it would spoil a lot of the story. But I can only think of one of those cases where I know the mysterious antagonistic force itself.

This is probably indeed a bad thing. Granted, I don't have all of my story ideas fully developed; that would take a ton of work for a lot of ideas that won't ever really insist on being written. But it seems like I leave out the antagonist disproportionately often. Even when I don't know the "Other Main Characters" well, I'll at least hack out a basic description. The bad guys? Not so much.

There are a few reasons why. One: I'm lazy sometimes. It's hard avoiding that when it comes to story ideas that just sort of showed up and didn't demand to be taken anywhere. Two, and hopefully the more major reason: there isn't always a distinct antagonist. Particularly in my favourite types of stories where all of the characters are at some point enemies, it's hard to specify exactly who should be labeled the antagonist. There are also times when it's more of a manner of survival—then who's the bad guy? Nature in general? Infectious bacteria? Large rocks?

Do I need more distinct driving forces all of the time? Is it more acceptable to wait for the evil masterminds to show themselves than the rest of the cast? How important is a real antagonist, anyway—as a symbol? As a finite force to be dealt with? Do you ever find yourself skimping on the real masterminds during the more up-front struggles of your stories?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Lee's Island, Part 7

(The first part of my oldest fan fiction can be found here.)

In which exclamation points cannot possibly be overused and Naruto thinks he's really funny.

Also, happy (American) Pi Day!


Sakura yawned. It was morning at last, and she had just now woken up. It didn't take long for her to notice that Lee wasn't there. She got out of the tent and stared at what Lee had worked on all night.
It was another hut, though nowhere near as shabby. Lee had cut down a lot of trees and made a log cabin! Sakura walked up to it and looked inside. It had a main room and four lofts for sleeping. The ground was covered up with strips of bark that were somehow connected. There were a couple of wooden chairs covered with cushy leaves. There was even a pile of firewood, neatly stacked into a pyramid, to use to cook meals. Sakura was amazed. She then looked more carefully at the lofts and saw Lee sleeping on his leaf, which he had brought with him. Sakura was about to say, "Wow, Lee, this is amazing!", but she thought he had done all this hard work and should have some rest. She went back outside, where the sun was shining brightly, and kunaied some fish for breakfast. 
"Time for breakfast, everyone!" she said. The fish were completely finished, and Sakura had even added some spices, edible of course, to their meal. "I'm up, I'm up," Naruto mumbled. He was still on his leaf. Finally, he got up. He walked out of the tent and gaped at the cabin.
"What the heck is this?!" He walked over to the leafy door where Sakura was with the fish. "Neat, isn't it?" she said. "Lee made it overnight." Naruto's jaw nearly dropped to the ground. "Seriously?!"
"That's what it looks like. He's still asleep, on that loft right there." Naruto bended over and grabbed a fish. "Huh. Hey, this is good fish! What'd you do?" Naruto grabbed another when he finished.
"I put some spices I made in it. Hey, leave some for Lee!"
"Hey, you snooze, you lose!" Naruto rolled around laughing. "Get it? Snooze? Because he's asleep?" Naruto kept on laughing. "Come on! Get it? Get it? Get it? Get it get it get it?" Sakura sighed. "I get it perfectly well, Naruto. It's just not very funny." Naruto stopped laughing and moaned. TenTen arrived. "Wow, who did all this?"
"Lee. He's asleep up there now."
"Huh." TenTen sat down and started eating her breakfast. "Hey, Sakura," she said, munching, "what'd you put in here? It's better than the ones I made."
"Oh, nothing really. I just thought to make some spices for it, and I found suitable materials on the island."
Eventually, Rock Lee woke up. "Hey, everybody," he said drowsily. "Do you like it?"
"Like it, no. I love it! It's so much better than that poor excuse for a hut we slept in last night!"
"Thanks," Lee said. "Time for breakfast, I guess?"
"If you want some," Sakura said. 
"I am pretty hungry," he replied. "Why not?" He grabbed a fish and chomped down on it. "These are the best yet! Sakura, did you cook these?"
"What do you mean by that?!" TenTen yelled. 
"Uh, nothing?"
"You'd better mean nothing!" Sakura and Naruto started laughing, and eventually, so did TenTen and Lee. 
"Ugh. I do not feel so good all of a sudden," Lee said, sitting down.
"Must not be the fish. I feel fine."
"Maybe you should go back to sleep. You did stay up all night building this."
"It did not take all night, but I do feel a little sleepy. Why not?" Jaws dropped. "It didn't even take you all night?!"
"No," Lee said, climbing up to his loft, "It was still dark when I finished. I am going to go ahead and take a nap." He set himself down on his leaf and was soon snoring. You'd think he would wake himself up snoring that loud! Cha! Sakura thought.
"Okay, I'm finished. How about you guys?"
"I'm pretty much done, too. How about you, Naruto?"
"Well, we ran out of fish." Sakura stared dumbfounded at the now-empty bark bowl. "So, yeah, I guess I'm good."
"What should we do now?"
"How about target practice?" TenTen replied. "No way!" Naruto yelled. "That's boring!"
"Naruto! Shush! Lee's asleep, remember?"
"It's hard to forget," Naruto mumbled, "when he snores that loud."
"Grrrrr..." Sakura growled. "Wait a sec. Did anyone else hear something?"
"I didn't," TenTen replied. Suddenly, a figure rushed out of the brush, pouncing on Sakura.
It was the leopard. Sakura, along with the big cat, was tumbling across the grassier area of the island. TenTen and Naruto sprinted after them. Sakura's shrieks of pain were somehow not enough to wake Lee up. Soon, the cat and Sakura stopped rolling. Naruto ran and yanked the leopard off of Sakura. He gaped at the many claw wounds Sakura now had. Without premonition, the cat turned in Naruto's grasp and pounced on him. The boy screamed, claws digging into his skin. Naruto struggled, attempting to pull the leopard off of him, when suddenly, it fell limp. Panting, he looked at the cat. A kunai had struck it in the heart. Naruto threw its body to the ocean.
"What happened?"
"It attacked you, so I threw a kunai at it."
"Oh, okay. Thanks, TenTen."
"No problem. Is Sakura okay?"
"I don't know." TenTen sighed. "Here, I'll check her pulse." TenTen knelt down and did so. "She's fine," TenTen said, "but we need to doctor her so she won't get an infection. Do you have any bandages?"
"Nope. You?"
"None here. Do you think Lee might have some to spare?"
"Yeah, if we can wake him up!" Naruto started laughing.
"Okay, help me carry her back to camp." TenTen and Naruto picked Sakura up and headed to the cabin.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Fan Fiction Idea #25

This isn't actually a new idea, and I don't have any intention of writing it myself, but, hey, here it is if anyone else is interested.

Working Title: "Sunset"

Fandom: Axis Powers: Hetalia

Genre Tags: Angst/General

Length: Oneshot.

Protagonist: England.

Other Main Characters: Possibly none.

Antagonist: Possibly none.

Plot: "If the sun never sets, then why is it so, so close to the horizon now?" England reflecting on the impending loss of the empire.

Setting: Outside at his home, at the appropriate time.

Point of View: First person (England).

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Prompt Writing #6

A shorter one, it seems.

Prompt: [Forward Motion Writers generator]

"Where would your character hide if they needed to disappear? Where could they blend into the crowd and, hopefully, vanish in plain sight?

Today, give your character a reason to hide, and then help them find a way to go underground until the storm blows over.

If they can."

Randomly Selected Story and Characters: Mount, Dobson and Crick


It didn't take their genius IQs to recognise that there was a problem. As a matter of fact, even Theodore and his sister seemed concerned.

Granted, several tribesmen were readying their spears with no targets but the railroaders in sight.

Supposing that that carving Theodore took was quite important to the natives.

Dobson and Crick were currently bringing up the lead in the fleeing party, despite the latter's short legs. The luxury expandable shelters were far too soft to be proper cover; the single railroad car was solid if relatively lightweight, but there were too many windows. The rock face ahead—the actual start point of the mission—was, however, considerably solid. 

It was also considerably distant.

The engineers forged ahead regardless. There were few trees and other obstacles on the way, and, while there was no hope of tripping up their pursuers, there was little risk of tripping up themselves. 

The spears, at least, seemed to be a mere threat rather than, well, a threat. Surely natives that hunted animals were capable of throwing spears at moving targets. They were merely trying to frighten the railroadmen into returning the artifact.

Shame that Theodore had already sent it back to his home.

It was a wooden relief, not particularly large, from one of the trees that were the predominant type in this area. A good number even crept up the side of the mountain.

Surely it would be a simple matter to replicate. With the engineers' attention to detail, they could recall every swipe of the blade that created the medicine man's profile. As long as they could shelter in a spot of the mountain for a while, they could resurface with the "artifact," hand it over, and go on their way. Of course, they would need supplies. And most likely their benefactors out of the way or, even better, as a distraction.

No problem. If anyone could orchestrate such a complex cover-up, it was Dobson and Crick, the genius engineers of their century.

As long as they could outrun the natives first.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

New Fiction Idea #46

This one isn't very well-developed yet, but it's worth throwing out there.

Working Title: Witchlet

Genre: Fantasy

Protagonist: Antheia, a centuries-old witch who appears to be somewhere in her twenties or early thirties. She has dark red hair that hangs straight to her shoulder blades. Her face is angular, and she's more thin than skinny, although she's still fairly attractive. She doesn't have a tendency to take most things seriously despite her severe cynicism, and her playful side is quite malicious. As a child, she was much more quavering and afraid to hurt others.

Other Main Characters: In flashbacks, the other main character is Antheia's older brother Lazarus. He was tall, blonde, and fairly well-built, and he sacrificed a lot of his personal life to take care of his sister.
In present day, Antheia's only company is her coworkers at the business firm and her tabby cat Samantha.

Antagonist: Phillip, a young man with brown skin and dark, medium-length hair. A bit naiive, he enjoys climbing and works as a mechanic. He's under the impression that Antheia saved his life once before, and he's determined to pay her back somehow.

Setting: Massachusetts. The flashbacks are mostly during a witch hunt, and the other story is moder-day.

Plot: In the frequent flashbacks, a 7-year-old Antheia (who has been cursed with witchhood but has not made an actual pact with the devil) struggles not to be found out for what she is. Lazarus is her main protector.
In present day, Antheia goes about her business until Phillip finds her out. She does her best to throw him off the trail, but he's determined to reach out to her.

Point of View: Third person, limited to Antheia.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

From Me to You

People always seem to think that writing should be for the writer's sake, and that the writer should be happy with the work regardless of what others think of it. That's right... to a point. Of course, there's striving for quality, which really can't be done by one's self, but that's not the only reason to share one's work.

I think it's important—maybe even more so—to let others enjoy it.

Now, to some extent, I do have a need to write every once in a while. Once I spend time beyond that on a story, though, what is it for? Maybe it's not necessarily wrong to just write a lot for my own enjoyment, but, when I think about it... Isn't it a little bit selfish? If it's exclusively about what I want, and I'm putting tons of my time and resources (and maybe even some others') into it just to have fun myself, wouldn't that seem a little self-centered? I could be spending that time helping people, or at least hanging out with them so the enjoyment is shared.

So I kind of feel obligated to share my writing. In my case, this is hardly a burden; in fact, I have trouble writing most things without some friends' feedback along the way. But that's not the case for every writer and every story, and I think we have a responsibility to let other readers in on the fun. Maybe it's just a silly story, and maybe it's more than rough around the edges, but someone out there could really enjoy it or even learn from it (whether that be a life lesson or just some material for mnemonics). And who am I to keep that from them?

I might have a weird way of looking at things, but how about you? Do you think a writer is obligated to share? Only under certain circumstances?