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.