A 100 word Drabble

Time for another Chuck Wendig challenge! Just a short one, a 100 word Drabble as he’s called it, and for lack of any better inspiration I decided to see if I could pare down a 1000 word short story of mine and still have it make sense. You be the judge, whoever you may be

 

Hushed Whisper

She came again today. Pressed her nose to the glass, that same smile, same eyes, same beckoning finger. I managed to get my hand over my mouth as I coughed, but tiny red spots still hit the glass.

She breathed on the surface and wrote her name, with the strength I had I did the same. She promised to be back tomorrow, I couldn’t promise I would be here.

She came again today. Pressed a finger to the glass and waited, but my own went right on through. She took my hand, laughing, and pulled me away.

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Nano and writing what you know

So I’m doing Nanowrimo (and I recommend everyone has a go at least once, even if you only end up with a thousand words by the end of it, you’ll have more than you started with) and have been trundling along at a reasonable clip, managing to keep up so far. But the other day I was writing a scene with the crew of a spaceship chatting about something, what to do next or some such, and I realised that not only was that boring, but it was too nice. So since my Captain, Laura Shields, tends a bit towards the irreverent and stupid on some things, I decided to do what all writers must do.

It was time to be mean.

Now I tend to agree with the consensus that, on the whole, the job of a writer is to be an asshole to their characters, to be the one who makes their life hell so they can come through it stronger, or weaker, but either way definitively changed. In some cases, dead, which I’m sure you’ll agree is a hell of a change. So I decided that it was time for the Captain to screw up on a tiny bit of interaction with the ship’s AI, and since the AI is a full fledged person this was enough to actually hurt her.

What has this to do with writing what you know, phantom people who may exist only in my fevered hallucinations are no doubt asking? Why that’s the very thing, I took the interaction from one of my very own fuck ups of this sort, and I think the scene is better for it. Like me, Laura didn’t realise what she had done because she was thinking about other things and generally being an inconsiderate dumbass. Also like me, she was immediately called on it by her crew and, I hope (there’s still a long way to go just on this first story with them) has learned from it. Now, I didn’t need to use my own experience for this, I could have just made something up that made sense and gone from there.

But it was a hell of a lot easier, and more convincing, to write from what I’d experienced.

Also, in an odd way, it gave me a kind of final ownership over my fuck up. Recognising I’d been shitty, owning up, then showing how it can happen have helped solidify the checks needed in my mind so that it won’t happen again. I hope. We’re all human, mostly.

So yeah, writing what you know, useful in a whole range of ways and for more than just the writing. But, I think the phrase ‘write what you know’ is a bit problematic, since it seems to imply only ever writing about what you’ve experienced.

And I’ve never insulted an artificial intelligence.

A better (in my opinion, which you can take, leave, or fling away in the desperate hope to never see it again but know this: like a boomerang it will come back to haunt you) way of saying it might be: ‘know what you write’ which, while still somewhat ambiguous, at least puts the impetus on ‘knowing’. And I can know all kinds of things without experiencing them, just from reading and watching and generally taking notice.

Basically I’d prefer it if everyone felt safe to write whatever the hell they liked, and if you don’t feel like what you’ve written about is convincing, just read read read until you think you understand it, check that by explaining it to someone else, and then fix your writing appropriately.

No, this wasn’t me justifying my wiki walks and tv tropes traversals, shut up.

Changes, gearing up, and comics!

Enthusiasm is infectious.

I’ve let this blog lie long enough, and thankfully I stumbled across Kate Leth’s Less Than Live podcast a while back, and I was blown away by how excited she gets by comics, not just the ones she reads but those she’s writing too. Kate started out working in a comic store with a webcomic on the side and now is on a rapid rise to the greats of modern comic book writers. She’s written an Adventure Time graphic novel, Seeing Red (with another on the way), is the writer for Bravest Warriors and has recently taken on writing duty for two new series in Fraggle Rock and Edward Scissorhands.

You can probably tell, she’s busy.

Her podcast has gotten me into comics. No other way to say it, really, and I am so very glad it did. If you go to the podcast site I mentioned earlier you can see lists of the comics she recommends and so many of them are sooo good. Saga being my favourite, everything she says about it is true, it’s great and you should be reading it now. It’s star crossed lovers in space, with wars and magic and a baby to protect.

If that doesn’t sound good to you, then I’m sorry but I can’t help you.

I’ve found that comic writers and artists are some of the more interesting on twitter, and ended up reading the new 52 Batgirl and Dynamite’s Red Sonja as a result of following Gail Simone, who can tell you what is and what is not fakey, and whose works I have only begun to delve into. Both are great, by the way, so go get reading.

Anyway, since the preamble/gushing is out of the way, on to things about me. Yes, I know you’re all excited (even if imaginary, but I won’t hold that against you). Enthusiasm for comics and the people that make them has lead me back to wanting to finish the numerous projects floating around in my head, so I’m starting with a rearrangement of this blog, since that’s not quite so scary as the at least three books and dozen or so short stories I want to fix and make worthwhile.

With that in mind, things have changed to be a bit more sensible. Gone is the slightly more Urban Fantasy idea of this being a place where stories flow through from other worlds, since that was frankly confusing. And I want Davely confusing, at the least.

… Yeah, even with the changes, I’m still me.

Short stories are now in their sensibly named section, and since I don’t have books out yet I’ve got a longer works section for the little bits I’ve put up about what I’m writing. Which I may not be writing right at this moment, but are always there, nibbling away at my consciousness until they find a way out through my fingers or drill a hole in my skull. I hope they put it to a vote.

Things will appear, disappear, maybe even exist as only nebulous waveform in a passing cloud, but rest assured this place will make a bit more sense.

But only a bit.

Friday flash, it’s been a while

So this friday flash from Chuck Wendig is theme specific: “We’re all human, even when we’re not”

Hmm

Sounds eerily similar to the theme of ‘Only Human’ a book I have drafted and am attempting to edit. Some stuff is going to have to go and be rewritten and as it happens this seemed like a good opportunity to write a peek into that world. This had not appeared before and may or may not end up in the book, I haven’t decided yet, but I think it stands well on it’s own.

Standard Procedure

Everyone was being tested. Garret watched the reports with eyes half closed, a pen twirling in the air above his hand. They were saying this was for the good of all, that the next step in evolution needed every bit of help that could be given.

Hearing other’s thoughts and levitating pens didn’t sound like the next level of evolution.

Mark next door was claiming anyone with powers was sub human, not the next stage of evolution, and there were a lot of faces on the tv that agreed with him. The debate was raging everywhere and registration was a compromise, stalling for time.

Garret twirled the pen.

A knock came at the door. He ignored it, but let the pen drop into his hand and proceeded to stab the other palm with it. Flakes of plastic littered his lap, then the floor as he went to answer, the knocking this time more insistent.

“Yes?”

“Garret Norton? We have you down as untested” There were two black suited men and a woman from the local doctors’, all looking a little unsure.

“Really? Suggestion: invite people down for an appointment, takes off the ‘jackboot’ edge you’ve got going here”

“Sir, this is routine and will go much smoother if you just let us in, please” The man on the right was older, had very dark skin and lacked the ‘scrutinising a bug’ eyes of his partner.

“Fine. Though you didn’t need to bring her, I already know,” He smiled a little at the nurse and turned into the house.

He’d expected dull thuds in his back with accompanying sizzle, but there was just the door closing instead. They’d brought the nurse in anyway and the Suspicious agent pushed past Garret to explore the rest of the house.

“Standard procedure, sir, we take a blood sample from everyone” Older Guy said.

The nurse approached, opening her little case and slipping on a pair of gloves. As she extracted a needle Garret smirked, making Old Guy raise an eyebrow.

“Got goggles too?” he asked.

She frowned, but did and put them on. He pulled up his left sleeve and presented the arm, watched the needle gently prod at his skin, noticed the twitch in her eye when it wouldn’t go in.

“Push harder”

She did, and the needle snapped. A piece careened off her goggles while another bounced off Garret’s cheek.

“Told you,” Garret looked pointedly at Older Guy, saw his hand go to his ear.

So that answers that

Suspicious Guy came back, blocking the way to the front door. “You’ll need to come with us,” Older Guy ushered the nurse out through the back as he spoke.

“Why?” Garrett knew, of course.

“Sir, please don’t make a fuss,” Old Guy said as Suspicious approached.

“Then answer my question, I’m curious”

A look was exchanged between the two agents and Old Guy let out a sigh. “People with any new ability are to come with us, for their protection”

He looked like he’d swallowed something foul and Garret smiled. “Realising that line won’t work with me, Agent?”

“You could say that. But I assure you, sir, this will be much easier if you just come with us,” Old Guy said.

“Where’s the family, sir?” Suspicious guy asked.

Garret leaned back in the sofa and smiled at him. “Not here, obviously. They’re not quite so indestructible”

Both agents touched their ears and listened for long moments. Garret was fairly sure he knew what was coming next.

“We have backup on the way, sir. Until you are designated as safe you will have to come with us,” Old Guy said.

“Okay,” he replied, turning to stretch his legs on the sofa, “I’ll wait ’til they get here. Want to see what else I can do?”

The agents took a step back. Garret chuckled a little, wishing it actually drove away the nerves. These two seeing now would be easier than the big group later.

More of the house would be left standing.

He pointed at a coaster on the coffee table and the sliver of glass rose into the air. Hands went to concealed guns as he made it rotate lazily. Nodding carefully at the coaster, Garret said, “Push on it”

Old Guy shot a meaningful look at Suspicious, but did as he was asked. The coaster stayed in place, even when he put his whole weight on it.

“I imagine,” Garret began as he lowered the coaster, “that there will be a lot of people asking questions”

Old Guy nodded.

 

Government had been, as ever, efficient and discreet.

So there were three news vans and a gaggle of photographers behind the line of police cars and black vans.

Questions, cheers and noise greeted Garret as he left the house, an agent’s gloved hand on each shoulder. He’d declined hiding his face and no amount of force would keep a jacket over his head. Forcing himself to smile and look into every camera he could see as they rushed him to a van, he didn’t see the tomato coming.

Soft flesh smacked his cheek and sticky wetness rolled down his neck. Garret wrenched around with a growl, seeking the attacker and dragging the agents with him. The next projectile stopped in front of his face and was joined by others before they were returned to sender with prejudice.

One person was actually knocked over. There were screams from the crowd that set off a storm of camera flashes.

“Damn it,” he muttered, accepting the jacket now as the agents forced him into the van.

“Why’d you do that?” Old Guy asked as they sped away.

“I don’t know,” Garret smiled sadly as a pair of handcuffs were slapped onto his wrists, “what would you have done?”

Old Guy didn’t reply. There was angry chatter from the front of the van, and Suspicious was still staring.

“Agent Phoenix,” Old Guy said, extending a hand. Garret shook it, just once.

Back in something, probably not black

Time to restart, methinks.

Ugh, I hate that word.

This blog has been neglected for the various reasons people neglect blogs. I won’t bore you with details.

I finally finished last year’s nano story, and by finished I mean it has a beginning, middle and end. All of which are too thin and require a metric tonne of world building to work properly; I really need practice with fantasy writing.

It’ll get done, just needs to simmer for a while.

I’m editing Only Human, a previous nano story which needs more work. But the difference is I know what it needs now, enough time has gone by for that to become clear. Editing is it’s own kind of slog though, so that’s fun.

Write write and write some more, that’s what we’re aiming for.

Enough gibberish from me, I’ve got a first line to figure out for a Chuck Wendig friday flash challenge 🙂

Shattered Blade

This years (years’? year’s? I don’t even care anymore) Nano novel is one that has existed in one form or another in the back of my mind for a couple of years now. I wrote out the first few chapters by hand in a notebook and it kind of died an odd sort of death as I drifted away from it. Now though it is not a tale of gods intruding on the world we know, but one set in a fantasy world where they have always existed.

And always been petty, as it turns out.

The titular item is a weapon forged in the last great war between the heavens and hell. Neither of which are really more than the domains of their respected gods, He on high and the Vengeful One, both of which are just the most powerful of their kind. There are many others all vying for power, but this weapon is going to change the entire world with it’s coming. Forged when the greatest weapons of heaven and hell clashed this thing is stronger than both and will end up in the hands of a mortal woman who just wants to know more about the world.

She… may have to stab some people in the process ^^”

The synopsis be here: Permanence, and the first 1200 words or so are here: Fragment

And now I rush off back to it, my word pile is not nearly high enough.

Behold the Nanobolt

Storm clouds gather in the deepening dark, mustering energies beyond fathoming with which to assault the ground below. The arcs begin even before the rain starts but they are merely the light show, the echoes of what is to come spreading in grand webs through the strengthening storm. Rain and ocean mix in the wind, the smells combining in the charged atmosphere to make that unique air of the storm.

The first strike explodes a tree. No one notices.

A second writes glittering letters in sandy soil of a language none can read.

The third, it’s always the third, strikes me, and life is reborn.

Somewhere, quietly, a madman is cackling with glee over this very subject. Or because he spilled his soup and it looks like jesus, it’s hard to tell.

The grand storm is Nanowrimo and it has, as pointed out in this silly little post, brought me back to writing life. I fell for an mmo, always a silly thing to do, and have written very little for the last few months, but no longer. I am 17,530 words into this year’s little month long novelling adventure and could not be happier to be back into it, with a little look see and revision (advised against, but I take advice sparingly) I think I’ll be posting my first 12-1500 words here shortly. Why? Why not, and because Chuck Wendig put it forth as the flash fiction challenge, of course 😉