Monday, April 28, 2014

An Average Class

This is just a section of Ghost Brigade that I wrote recently. It may or may not be something that has happened in real life. Thought I would share.


I make it to my 8AM lab before I realize what I’m doing. Top-notch thinking here. I guess I have time. Showing up for a class or two might keep anyone from suspecting I’m going truant all over the place. I do wish I didn’t end up showing at lab, though. Three hours is a lot more than one, especially when we’re just doing more lecture.
I pull up the document with my notes as the teacher sets up his slide show and starts yammering. More nervous system. Everybody’s favorite. If he goes over action potentials again, I’m just going to strangle myself here and now.
I briefly wonder if Selena might be in this class, but quickly dismiss it. Pretty sure she’s some sort of art major. How dumb. We’re here to prepare for careers, not mess around. Although I guess I’m not paying as much attention to the lecture as I should. So sue me. It’s a little droll compared to saving lives with ghost powers. I’ll have time to get back into the swing of things after all that is resolved. Or maybe I’ll just stay dead. Might work out better for everyone that way.
“Now, we know why they’re called myelin sheaths, right?” Dr. Parker pauses to lean back against the blank whiteboard. We give him no response, so he glances at the clock resting on the eraser tray. He looks at us again.
“Myelin.” He waits another moment before forcing out an exhale that makes me envision steam coming from his nostrils. “As in, sphingomyelin? Anyone?”
He slams his fist back onto the whiteboard, sending it rattling. “Come on! This is something you all ought to know! Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten all about cell membranes.” He seizes a marker without turning around. “What are they made of?”
He eyes the lot of us before a brave girl in the front row proposes, “Phospholipids?”
Dr. Parker nods, turning on the board and beginning to jot down an array of letters in pale green. “What types of phospholipids?”
This time around, the front row is as silent as the rest of us.
“Do you remember sphingolipids at all?” With one last, loud jab of the marker, he turns back around. On the board is a simple chemical diagram of something that is definitely some kind of phospholipid. I didn’t go around memorizing head groups that weren’t on the test, but I’m assuming this one corresponds to a sphingolipid.
With a look of disgust, Dr. Parker puts the marker down and pounds the pinky side of his fist onto the drawing. “You should remember this! Maybe you learned about the cell membrane last year, but it’s still important! This―” he hits the board again― “is the basis of everything we do in biology! You can’t just go and forget it because you already took the test! I’m sick of you people not taking this seriously!”
He pounds his fist into the board twice, the rattling obscuring a few of his words. “―about the tests! We’re trying to teach you the material you’ll need when you’re out there working! You think you’ll be able to just stop and Google up everything? You think that’ll work when some mother walks in with her kid running a 102-degree fever? You don’t have time to look everything up! You people are going to have others’ lives and deaths in your hands, and you have―” slam― “to know―” slam― “your material!”
He punches the whiteboard one more time, and I just notice the clock tilting forward before a grand crash of glass shatters the air. The brave girl in the front row picks up her feet quickly as pieces of the clock cover skid across the ground, and I do a good bit of tensing myself. 
What am I doing here? What on God’s green earth am I doing here?
Dr. Parker looks at the fallen timepiece and lets his fist drop. “Sorry.” He nudges the glass chunks underneath the clock with his foot and steps back to the side. “But you’ve got to understand what you’re getting into with this field. Take it seriously. Be passionate about it. You’re not going to make it in medicine otherwise.”
With that, he resumes the lecture on neuroglial cells.

Friday, April 25, 2014

"30 Days of Character Building," Part 2

And the latter 15 days of the character-building exercise.

16. Are there any blood relatives that your character is particularly close with, besides the immediate ones? Cousins, Uncles, Grandfathers, Aunts, et cetera. Are there any others that your character practically considers a blood relative?
Becky: She’s not particularly close with anyone. Some of her cousins would come over to play Barbies some time ago, but Becky hasn’t really formed strong relationships with them since. She was close enough to consider all of them family, but not favouring anyone in particular.

George: He lived pretty close to some of his cousins, and they would run around and injure themselves a lot. George’ll still keep an eye on them from time to time, but at this point he mostly avoids people he knows since it’s hard to accept he’s no longer in their lives.

17. What’s your character’s desk/workspace look like? Are they neat or messy?
Becky: She’s the kind who organises without actually putting anything where it should be. Her desk at school has a clear area for working and all kinds of junk pushed to the sides.

George: He’s pretty messy. I don’t know if he really has a desk where he worked, and he picked up after himself, but where he actually lived was not safe for females or the more OCD to enter.

18. Is your character a good cook? What’s their favourite recipe, whether they’re good or not? (Microwave mac-and-cheese applies.)
Becky: She doesn’t care much for cooking. She can basically do any kind of simple pasta, and that’s about all she’s put her mind to. Old-fashioned macaroni and cheese is her favourite.

George: He’s actually pretty decent. His favourite would be meatloaf.

19. What’s your character’s preferred means of travel?
Becky: Car. It beats walking, and she does have a license.

George: Walking. It’s a little too much trouble for him to stay focused enough to not just phase through a moving vehicle. He was fine with driving while alive, though (although he probably wouldn’t have wanted to be in a car for a while if his accident weren’t quite so fatal).

20. Does your character have any irrational fears?
Becky: Who doesn’t? She’s afraid of snakes. Regardless of toxicity, if its bigger around than her index finger, it’s too much for her.

George: When basically nothing can actually touch him, most fears would be irrational. He is afraid of needles and sometimes doctor’s offices in general. Not sure if it's a phobia, but he's a bit paranoid about spies, too.

21. What would your character’s cutie mark be? [I've only seen a few episodes of MLP, so I really have no idea what I'm doing with this one.]
Becky: She’s intelligent and sciencey, so a classical atom or something?

George: If he has any special talents it would be his attitude, so smiley-face? Or maybe a leaf or something for his landscaping, er, skills.

22. If your character could time travel, where would they go?
Becky: Again, she wouldn’t go for it if it had a chance of messing up space-time somehow. If there were some guarantee it wouldn’t… She’s not a huge history buff and she's pretty much afraid of the future, so there wouldn’t be any particular events she’d want to watch unfold. She might check out an original Shakespeare play or something.

George: He might just want to relive his three years with Elise. Otherwise, as much as he likes his growing up in the eighties, he’s a bit of a fifties fanboy, so he’d probably run around in that time frame for a while.

23. Is your character superstitious?
Becky: To a normal degree. And then she can actually see ghosts, so I don’t know if that counts as superstitious.
George: He is a ghost, so I don’t think it can be called superstition there, either. He’s pretty big on gambler’s fallacies, if that’s superstition.

24.) What might your character’s ideal romantic partner be?
Becky: She’s not that interested in general, but I guess someone very supportive, and low-key. Maybe a bit of a daredevil.

George: Before he met Elise, he’d probably give some dumb answer concerning physical attractiveness and big hair. After he met Elise, he would say Elise. And these days, he’s kind of dead, so he’s not really chasing anybody else.

25.) Describe your character’s hands. Are they small, long, calloused, smooth, stubby?
Becky: She has good piano-player hands (although the only lessons she’s had were with her grandmother). Her fingernails are kind of stubby, though. Her hands will get dried out in allergy season, but otherwise they’re pretty smooth. She hasn’t done much repetitive activity that would cause calluses.

George: His hands are freaking huge. Not that excessively, but enough that he's self-conscious about them. Probably a few calloused areas from his job.

26. Second day of favourites! Favourite comfort food, favourite vice, favourite outfit, favourite hot drink, favourite time of year, and favourite holiday.
Becky: Fried things drowning in gravy, sloth, blouse and slacks (skirts make her uncomfortable), apple cider, spring, Christmas (being a break from school helps).

George: Meatloaf (this already came up), beer, jeans and a rock T-shirt (preferably Bon Jovi), coffee (only reasonably distant from black), fall, Thanksgiving.

27. Pick two songs that describe your character at two different points of their life, and explain why you chose them.
Becky: Around the time the story starts, “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence would be pretty good. Even though how she’s “brought to life” is by dying, it describes her pretty well. For a second one… “Land of Confusion” by Genesis for after the story. Because she still thinks the world more or less sucks, but she’s more willing to do something about it rather than whine and try to escape it altogether.

George: The stages of his life are pretty much “0-18: Loser” and “18-21: Loser with a girlfriend” so… Probably have to go with “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel for the latter with the whole “how the heck did a guy like me end up with a girl like you” thing. For the first part, I have no idea. “I’m Alright” by Kenny Loggins.

28. If your character’s life was a genre, what would it be?
Becky: Supernatural would probably be a good choice because she can see ghosts and later become one. Otherwise, there’s not much interesting going on, so I’d be hesitant to say YA or something.

George: His life, specifically? Not Supernatural then. Slapstick comedy, with a touch of rom-com.

29. How does your character smell? Do they wear perfume or cologne?
Becky: She doesn’t do perfume or scented lotions because she’s allergic. She has some scented hand sanitiser, so her hands sometimes smell like cherry blossoms. Otherwise she just smells like a human.

George: As a ghost, he doesn’t have a smell. When he was alive, he probably wore some cologne that didn’t actually smell as pleasant as he thought.

30. And finally: Write a letter to your character, from yourself. [I'm terrible at this as well.]
Becky: Um, you’re cool. We should study for the MCAT together. And watch a dumb ripoff movie to make fun of it.

George: Hey, you should come to that one upcoming classic rock concert with me. It’s not Bon Jovi, but hey. It’ll be cool and remind you of the good old days and such.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Do You Really, Truly, Actually Need That Adverb?

Along my quest of editing The Long and Winding Road into its eventual end product, I've butted heads with many adverbs. Some say to never use them, but they're part of our language for a reason, right? At the same time, I do see them weakening verbs and adjectives from time to time. So, if it's all right to keep them sometimes, and it's all right to nix them sometimes, when do I do what?

I decided to make a sort of flowchart for my own theory on proper adverb use, as a reference during editing.

What do you think? Decent adverb theory? What's your stance on the dreaded modifiers?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

New Fiction Idea #48

I am entirely sure this was inspired by a dream, particularly the setting, yet I cannot remember any of the dream.

At any rate, it's basically the same as all the other stories I write, except the parties involved are for the most part allied against outside forces.

Working Title: Checkout (I really have no idea what to name it)

Genre: Suspense

Protagonist: Paul, the kind of everyman who got into this to save people and is a little disillusioned after a few years of work and paperwork. He has a tired air about him, but he still keeps up a good attitude and is loyal to his profession.

Other Main Characters: Alexis, the squad leader. She's serious and spitfire, and it's extremely hard for her to back down. When she's stubborn, it's usually for the rules's or her teammates's sake and not her own.
Jim, the least intelligent member of the squad (to the point most other officers think he only made it on due to bribery or nepotism). He prefers not to take things seriously whenever possible, although he's still pretty capable at times.
The rest of the squad, although they haven't revealed themselves to me yet.

Antagonist: Spoiler. It is a murderer responsible for the initial case as well as the casualties racked up during the investigation.

Setting: A large, ornate, old-fashioned luxury hotel. Still in business (although obviously not still checking in customers during the investigation), it shows some of its age but is well-kept.

Plot: The squad arrives at the hotel to investigate a murder in one of the suites.They don't get far before someone sets off a deadly trapand another. Clearly the murderer is still at it, and the remainder of the squad tries to track the culprit down and detain him/her without losing any more of their lives or risking others'.

Point of View: Third person, limited to Paul.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lee's Island, Part 8

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

Part 8, in which the weary take to yelling a lot and villains aren't really that important.


"Lee, you awake?" TenTen whispered, peeking through the doorway. Lee was still sound asleep. "He's still sleeping like a log," TenTen said, exasperated. "What's the big deal?" Naruto asked. He cupped his hands over his mouth.
"Hey, Bushy Brow! Wake up!"
"Huh?" Lee sat up. He jumped down immediately. "What happened to Sakura?!"
"She was attacked by a leopard. She'll be okay, but we should bandage her up so that she doesn't get an infection," TenTen said.
"Okay. Here, we can use some of my bandages." Lee started to unravel the cloth around his left arm. Rock Lee unwound the bandage until his hand and half of his forearm, which were badly bruised and battered, were bare. "Let me handle her. I will set her on her bed." They handed Sakura over to Lee, who carried her up to her bed. He took his bandages and broke them apart as necessary to cover Sakura's wounds.
"Got them on. I will leave her on her bed to rest. In the meantime," he said, landing gently on the cabin floor, "I have another idea."
"Okay," TenTen replied, "I'll stay here and watch after Sakura." Lee headed off and TenTen stayed. Naruto tapped his foot. "Well? What am I supposed to do?!"
"Whatever. Just don't get yourself killed."
"Fine." Naruto walked off and entered the forest.
"Well, this is boring." Naruto was sitting against a tree. "There has to be something to do around here!" He groaned. "Hey! I know! I'll climb some trees the way Kakashi-Sensei taught me to!" Naruto made the Hitsuji sign with his hands. Soon, his feet were glowing with chakra. He set off onto the tree he was sitting against just moments earlier. He walked up the tree, not using his hands at all. He groaned.
"This isn't any fun either!" He lost his focus and tumbled down the tree trunk. Naruto rolled around, grasping his injured head.
"Almost done," Lee said, carving another section out of the wood. "Okay, that one's done. Hmm, I wonder if we will need a spoon?" He looked down at the recently made spatula, knife, spear, and double-pronged fork.
"Might as well." Lee grabbed another chunk of wood and began to whittle away.
TenTen looked down at Sakura.
"I hope you don't get an infection. We wouldn't know what to do." 
Sakura stirred.
"Huh? What's going on?"
"You were attacked by that leopard again. He clawed you pretty badly."
"Oh," Sakura said, looking at her arms. "Where did you get the bandages?"
"They're Lee's."
"Really? Huh."
After finally recovering from his head injury, Naruto headed back to camp. "Hey, Sakura! You okay?" He called, seeing Sakura sitting up.
"I guess."
"So where did Bushy Brow go to?" TenTen looked around. "I'm not sure," she said. Then Lee came through the brush with a load on his back.
"Hey, Lee! So what were you doing?"
"Take a look," said Rock Lee, setting his pack on the ground.
"All right. This should make cooking things a little easier. And speaking of which, I'm pretty hungry. Want me to get some fish?"
"Aw! But we had fish for breakfast!"
"Stop complaining, Naruto!" Sakura yelled.
"He has a point, though," TenTen said. "We've had nothing but fish for the whole time we've been here. I'm not sure what else there is, though."
"Mmm-hmm. See, Sakura! I was right!"
"Naruto!" Sakura whacked him. "Owowowowow!!" TenTen sighed. "Wait a second," Lee said. "What about the forest? We found some edible fruits there!"
"Yeah, edible fruits that taste like-"
"That's beside the point, Naruto. Anyway, there's probably some more edible fruit in the forest. Some that taste more... Appealing. Here, I'll get my scroll, and you two can go get some fruit for all of us. TenTen, you stay here."
"But Sakura," Lee said, "do you think I would make a better guard? I mean no offense to TenTen, but you are low on chakra, after all. The times Naruto and I left you two, you both were attacked and..." Lee trailed off.
"That is a good point," TenTen said. "Okay, Sakura, how about Naruto and I go find food and Lee stays with you?"
"Wait a minute! Are you guys saying Bushy Brow makes a better guard than me?! I wanna guard Sakura!"
"Well..." Sakura pondered as Lee and Naruto argued. "Ugh." TenTen said. All of this is giving me a headache, she thought.
"Okay, listen up!" Lee and Naruto stopped as TenTen continued. "Nobody gets any food until one of you backs down. So who's it going to be?" Naruto looked at Rock Lee and he looked back. "I'm not backing down! Believe it!"
"Okay, fine. Naruto, you can stay here. I will go." Naruto jumped around yelling. TenTen sighed.
"At least settle down first!" Naruto chuckled.
"Sorry, TenTen." Lee and TenTen headed for the forest.
"Okay, what should we look for, TenTen?" TenTen looked over Sakura's survival scroll. "Hmmm..." she said, looking at the descriptions of edible plants.
"Let's look for this one," she said, pointing at a paragraph. "It looks like it might be easy to spot." Lee read the description out loud. "An ivy with bright purple leaves. I have had those before!"
"Really? Do you know where you found the vines?"
"Eh, no, not really. I ate all that I found."
"Ugh. Okay, let's start looking."
"Naruto! One more word and you're out of here!" Sakura yelled.
"Okay, fine." Naruto stood watch over Sakura silently. Sakura closed her eyes. A breeze blew on her for a moment. Then she realized she was still in the hut. She jumped up. Naruto was nowhere to be seen. "Naruto?" she called. An eerie silence arose.
"I found it, TenTen!" Lee shouted.
"Coming!" TenTen walked up to the ivy that Lee had found. "Yep, that's it all right! So just peel off some of it, and we'll bring in to the cabin." Lee and TenTen gathered the ivy and headed back to camp.
"Guys? We found some food!" TenTen said, walking into the cabin. "Hey, Sakura? Where did Naruto go?"
"He disappeared." Lee and TenTen gasped. "What?!" TenTen said. "What happened?!"
"I just closed my eyes, I felt someone rush by, and when I opened my eyes, Naruto was gone." Sakura sighed.
"I wonder if it's that grass ninja again?" TenTen muttered. "Okay, guys," she said louder, "I'm going to go check and see if I can find Naruto. Lee, you make sure nobody attacks Sakura." Lee nodded.
"I'll see you later," TenTen said, securing her kunai pack to her leg.
"Bye, TenTen. Be careful."
"Hey! Let me outta here!" Naruto yelled.
"Shut up!" came a voice from outside the bag.
"And stop kicking me!" Naruto yelled even louder. "Oof!" Naruto grunted, falling on the ground. He heard his captivator scream. I'm busting out of here, he thought. He kicked and squirmed around. Suddenly, the top of the bag was sliced off.
"Huh?" Naruto looked up. "Hey, TenTen!"
"Come on, Naruto. You get back to camp. I'll take care of this guy." TenTen said.
"Okay, you got it! Believe it!" Naruto ran off towards camp.
"Well, if it isn't Mrs. Weaponmaker! It's finally time for revenge!"
"I don't think so!" TenTen said, forming hand signs.
"That won't work once I use my..." He paused to make hand signs, "Metal repel jutsu!"
"You think so?" TenTen responded. She jumped up in the air with her scrolls saying, "Rising Twin Dragons!" The grass ninja smirked. It'll never work, he thought. Suddenly, weapons were falling upon him.
"What? How could you do that?!"
"No problem. All I had to do was summon weapons made of something other than steel; in this case, wood." The grass ninja screamed, one last kunai falling on him, and TenTen walked off.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

New Fan Fiction Idea #26

This is so silly I might just have to write it. We'll see if I find the time for it.

Working Title: The Luckless Turnabout

Fandom: Phoenix Wright/Ace Attorney

Genre Tags: Humour/Mystery

Length: Multichapter

Protagonist: Phoenix, naturally.

Other Main Characters: Maggey and Larry as the defendants. Maya and Gumshoe as the, er, helpers.

Antagonist: Winston Payne, Miles Edgeworth, and lastly Franziska von Karma are the prosecuting attorneys. And then there's whoever actually committed the murders.

Setting: Typical PW:AA Japanifornia. One crime scene is at a decently nice steakhouse, another is at ExposĂ© Park (I think that's the name?), and the third is at a patch of woods near Gourd Lake.

Plot: The two unluckiest characters of the game (i.e. Larry and Maggey) go on one date. After a long series of mishaps with their meal, they start to head home only to be caught in a freak accident that hospitalises them both with not-terribly-dire injuries. When they wake up, they are informed that there is strong evidence suggesting that both of them were responsible for a murder at the restaurant that night, as well as two other murders at the same day in different locations. Phoenix finds himself taking their cases and has to do a fair amount of legwork to stay on top of things. Gumshoe is doing his best to help Maggey out but is unconvinced that Larry isn't the killer (named Harry) the detective still thinks he is. Additionally, Gumshoe is trying to break up the somewhat-not-really budding relationship, while Larry finds himself romantically torn between Maggey and Franziska.

Point of View: First person (Phoenix).

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Prompt Writing #7

Perhaps not the most exciting, but a short bit of character exploration nevertheless.

Prompt [2YN generator]:

"Yesterday, your character had a chance to meet an alternate version of themselves. Today, they wake up in a world _almost_ like their own. A world populated with different versions of the people they knew. Can they return home? Or will they be trapped forever among familiar strangers?"

Randomly Selected Story and Character: Suture, Jethro


In this world, Jethro was not in fact a student at the university. When a baffling new reason to study thermodynamics hadn't been thrust upon him, it wasn't surprising.

The others were still in the area, though, virus or no virus. Powers or no powers.

And he had no particular reason not to check up on them.

Midas was the easiest to find, since he was the only one actually enrolled at the university. He was easy to walk behind for a while, too, with his earbuds perpetually in his ears. He didn't seem to be in any trouble. Got to class on time, didn't really interact with friends. It was Midas all right, even if his occasional subconscious conducting wasn't controlling any heartbeats in the area. There wasn't terribly much reason to stay after him.

Sven was at his high school three streets over. He was eating lunch with a few friends Jethro didn't recognise. Of course, he'd only seen Sven at the studying sessions, which were not open to the common populace. There was no reason to assume Sven didn't actually have friends. Perhaps his personality wasn't the most conducive to that, but he did have a life outside of his abilities. Jethro could stand to learn a bit more about him personally.

Not here, though. Not in this world. Although little time had passed since the illness had changed any of them, they were still slightly different people. He couldn't leave the other world, the one in danger, to his powerless self.

If he could find his way back, at least.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Visual Association Centers

I've been considering a visual novel for a while, particularly due to my experience with the Phoenix Wright games.

As such, my first hope was a fan fiction of sorts for that series; outside of a crossover, it's a little hard for me to think about fan works that wouldn't themselves be visual novels.

Of course, an original visual novel might be fun, too. There would be a lot more to put together than for a plain text-only, one-route novel, but that's the point, isn't it? I would just have to figure out what story wants to be seen as well, and not as a manga; what story could be playable with some alternate courses of action.

One friend has suggested Midnight at the Iston Diner for this. I am sort of drawn to the idea of doing more of a mystery for my visual novel, given my inspiration. It really wouldn't be bad seeing Jenny and some of the others, either.

What kind of visual novel would you want to play? Does anything of mine, Iston or otherwise, strike you as a good story for one? Would you even want to try a visual novel from me, or is it safer to spend my time on "normal" novels?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Fragments IX

There are quite a few instalments of these idea fragments, eh?
  • Maggey as a space cadet (I have no idea why I had this idea or why it refuses to go anywhere)
  • "Wulver: a werewolf in Shetland that is said to have had the body of a man with a wolf’s head. It was reported to have left fish on the windowsills of poor families."
  • Some humanisation of the concept of shielding functional groups in chemistry (the group is turned into something else so it won't be affected in a reaction; then it's turned back)
  • "They were to be as if cast into the vast expanse of starry space, depending on God alone—in touch with the source of miracles." (from Streams in the Desert)
  • "This man lives in a world where everybody is in an infomercial. They all screw up simple daily tasks, but not him. Because of his incapability to be incapable, this man is bullied, ridiculed, and shunned by everyone around him. Yearning to fit in, he desperately tries to be clumsy but fails to cause a huge mess. Until one day when he was confronted by a mugger. The mugger tried to stab him but continuously missed until they stabbed themself. He found his true calling and became a hero, stopping criminals everywhere by using their own clumsiness against them." (seen on Tumblr)
  • Distinct shadows stretching across a set of stairs otherwise lit at the top of each stair (this could probably go anywhere; I just saw it and thought it a nice image)
  • Referring to tea as "England water" (as someone seems to have mistakenly done)
  • A school of fairies suddenly cut off from the outside world
  • A mother protagonist
  • Characters raised or otherwise in poverty

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"30 Days of Character Building," Part 1

It was a challenge on, and I decided to go for it with the two main characters of my weird little ghost story. I did it by day, as suggested, but here's the first half of the exercise.

1. Describe your character’s relationship with their mother or their father, or both. Was it good? Bad? Were they spoiled rotten, ignored? Do they still get along now, or no?
Becky: She chafes against her parents about as much as she does everyone else. She’s been rather spoiled by them in the past, mostly from her father (who likes to think of himself as the cool dad). Her mother doesn’t spend much time with her but does care about her and expect great things from her.
George: Easiest part: No, they don’t really get along now because they’re all dead, and he’s the only ghost. Ahem. He was totally a mama’s boy, although his father would still come to his baseball games. He got along with each of his parents better than they got along with each other, and they didn’t divorce until he was out of the house.

2. What are your characters' most prominent physical features?
Becky: Does her glare count? Probably not. Er… Her hair’s nice? It’s really curly… I don’t know. She doesn’t stand out much physically.
George: Probably just his size. He’d be pretty intimidating if he wore a big trenchcoat or something. Unfortunately, he’s kind of stuck in his T-shirt and jeans, so it’s easier to tell that he doesn’t really have any muscle to go with that big-bonedness.

3. Name one scar your character has, and tell us where it came from. If they don’t have any, is there a reason?
Becky: If she does, it’s probably from a hair straightener or something. She’s never been very athletic, and her life is pretty sheltered in general. She could potentially have some cutting scars, but probably not. In that case, they would be more like hesitation marks than anything else.
George: He has one on his forearm from an open fracture when he fell off a tree. He’s gotten himself into all kinds of trouble and injuries, but he’s had good medical care, so there wasn’t much scarification. There’s that fatal car accident, but wounds don’t stick around once you’re a ghost in this story, so he doesn’t have any physical scars from that (even his clothes got out unscathed).

4. How vain is your character? Do they find themselves attractive?
Becky: No self-esteem here. She doesn’t think she’s ugly, per se, but she’s well aware that she’s overweight and not particularly attractive. She doesn’t really care about that. She’s not generally vain in other areas, although she does default to believing she’s more intelligent than others.
George: Yeah, he thinks he’s attractive. It’s within reason, but he probably has slightly too high of an opinion on himself in that aspect. Otherwise, he knows he’s a loser. He tries not to worry about it too much.

5. What’s your character’s ranking on the Kinsey Scale?
Becky: This is romance stuff, so I have no idea what I’m talking about, but… I dunno. 0, I guess. She’s dated a few boys unsuccessfully. She’s just not really a romantic person, especially at this point in her life when she’s pretty much done with everything.
George: Hm. Well, the love of his life was female, but he may not be entirely straight? At the same time, I can’t see him ever being seriously attracted to a guy, so probably 1. Maybe 2? I’m bad at this. This is why I don’t really put any romance into plots.

6. Describe your character’s happiest memory.
Becky: It was another lonely Valentine’s Day at her high school. As she rushed between classes, she kept passing a student government-sponsored stand selling a variety of plushies. Although she’s not very girly, she does have a sense for the cute, and she fell in love with an adorable caterpillar plushie. She didn’t have any money, though, so she walked straight past. After another class passed, she considered asking her father, who taught AP Biology at the school, for some cash, but when she next saw the stand, the caterpillar was gone. Nothing else at the stand compared, so she just sighed and went on to lunch. It was just a dumb plushie, anyway. She didn’t need more useless stuff cluttering her room. A smiling little caterpillar face wasn’t going to make everything better whenever she looked at it, either. No big loss. Just another of life’s disappointments.
At least, it was until she got home and found that her father had bought the caterpillar for her during his planning hour that day. She considers it all a little silly, but now the caterpillar is like her symbol of things somehow going right sometimes, so it’s pretty important to her.
George: Well, it’s got to be something with his girlfriend Elise. I don’t know if he would really rank the memories, though. And the positive ones would basically all be the same. Cutesy stuff, George does something dumb and embarrassing, Elise cleans up after him, and then more cutesy stuff. 

7. Is there one event or happening your character would like to erase from their past? Why?
Becky: Hm. Well, if she was actually given an opportunity, she’d be the type to avoid messing with the space-time continuum and all that jazz (even though she’s fine with messing with the material world when she’s in ghost form, but that’s different…?). Assuming the change wouldn’t mess up anything… I don’t know. She tries not to dwell on the past much, so it would be hard to determine what change would do her the most good. I don’t think she’d end up going for it.
George: I hope it’s not cheating to say his death. He died pretty young, which is bad enough, but as a ghost he ended up seeing how hard it was on all of his loved ones. Not to mention basically putting his girlfriend-eventually-fiancĂ©e-someday-hopefully in despair for fifteen years and then seeing her find another guy. It’s been kind of rough for him, especially since he has no way of interacting with the human world anymore, not even to give a hug or make his presence known.

8. Day of favourites! What’s your character’s favourite ice cream flavour? Colour? Song? Flower?
Becky: Chocolate chip cookie dough, scarlet, ??? (I feel like she’s not a huge music fan in general. She might have a song she associates with good times, but it’s probably something modern, so I wouldn’t know it.), those purple-budded weed things.
George: Vanilla I guess? (He’s not big on ice cream, but he doesn’t mind sundaes, so that counts as vanilla, right?), yellow, “Runaway” (he basically has my music tastes but is a huge fan of Bon Jovi rather than Journey), crepe myrtles maybe? (I wouldn’t think he’d pay much attention to flowers, but then again he worked as a landscaper).

9. Who does your character trust?
Becky: Apparently she trusted George enough to risk killing herself permanently, but she was also kind of in the mood for that, anyway, so I’m not sure if that counts… The people she trusts the most are probably her online friends. She shares a lot more with them than her parents, that’s for sure. She’ll tend to follow instructions from authority, but she doesn’t really trust them to guide her down the best path, either. Or she just thinks the best path is still too dismal to be happy about.
George: He’s the kind who will trust most people to a certain extent without really knowing them. That can still be broken or strengthened, though. As for people in particular, there really aren’t any options other than Becky seeing as no one else seems able to detect him. So he does trust her, although it’s more out of necessity when things are just starting.

10. Can you define a turning point in your character’s life? Multiples are acceptable.
Becky: It’s a little hard to say. Probably the biggest influence on her depression was giving up on trying to be an original watercolour artist as an occupation. It was her dream for some time, and she had certainly been improving, but she finally decided it just wasn’t realistic and that she’d do med school like her parents wanted. But she also gets a positive turning point in the course of the story. No need to spoil it just yet, though.
George: Hm. He honestly does more running in circles than anything; he’s not that dynamic. I think his outlook on life was really too gradual to attribute to any turning points. Aside from that, he’s had all of the basic schooling, he played baseball for a while, he got a job landscaping, and he got a nice girlfriend. And then he died, but he didn’t change too much after that, aside from giving in to the sadness for a while. So no, I can’t really define one.

11. Is there an animal you equate with your character?
Becky: I hadn’t really thought about it. And nothing really comes to mind. Depressed and snarky animals… Yeah, I don’t know. So no, there isn’t.
George: Um, fainting goat. Yeah, why not? He does tend to be out for the count every time things get dire.

12. How is your character with technology? Super savvy, or way behind the times? Letters or email?
Becky: She is totally savvy. She can’t program or anything, but she can basically work whatever fancy computers and lab tech you want her to. Definitely email.
George: Considering he hasn’t been able to actually interact with technology in the last thirty years, he’s a little behind. He’s at least familiar with those fancy smart phones and such and such, but only what he knows from observation. He definitely never owned a computer, so snail mail.

13. What does your character’s bed look like when he/she wakes up? Are the covers off on one side of the bed, are they all curled around a pillow, sprawled everywhere? In what position might they sleep?
Becky: She’s a side sleeper, and a slight insomniac. She’ll wake up with her sheets either off the bed entirely or in such a mess she doesn’t even bother to properly make it up. She would be curled around a pillow, though.
George: Well, as a ghost, he doesn’t get much sleep these days, but when he was alive… I feel like he would nearly always be exhausted when he finally hit the hay, and he’d just flop onto the bed and sleep. Back sleeper. Probably forgot to pull the covers over him half the time. He did roughly make his bed every morning, though.

14. How does your character react to temperature changes such as extreme heat and cold?
Becky: Well, she hates them. Cold more than heat. If it’s that extreme, she won’t even step outdoors/approach it.
George: He’ll tough it out. He’ll get uncomfortable pretty quickly, but his job entails a lot of outdoor work, so he’s learned not to throw in the towel in such situations.

15. Is your character an early morning bird or a night owl?
Becky: Neither, really. She tries to get as much sleep as possible. Given the choice, she would rather wake up early, though.
George: Definitely an early-bird type. He’s kind of awake all of the time these days, but he's still freshest around dawn.