In trying to continue working on last year’s NaNoWriMo project, I’m hitting a couple roadblocks. So I had a sit-down/brainstorm with a friend who basically ended up giving me a couple homework assignments:
- Map out my characters and character groups, and their relationships to each other, and
- Write a 500 word short featuring one character — it can be backstory, future scenes, whatever, but 500 words.
So I’ve been writing ideas down as they come to me, and have a sizeable list at this point. Now I just have to pick something, and you can help! :) Do any of the of the options in the following list catch your interest? What kind of short-form stories do you like to read?
- Backstory: A scene from Harolyn’s childhood — surviving on the streets or fighting her way into a children’s street-gang
- Backstory: A romantic scene with Harolyn (the main character) and [former love interest] (a character who shows up in the novel)
- Backstory: Harolyn and [rival smuggler] butt heads (pre-novel, but this is an ongoing and unfriendly rivalry)
- Behind the Scenes: Harolyn on a smuggling run — something sneaky? something completely mundane (or, “What does Harolyn do when she’s on a job that bores her senseless?”)
- Behind the Scenes: How Brezo (Harolyn’s broker — the guy who finds her work) fixes up a meeting with an untrusting contact — part of the TCW, but happens off-camera
- Future: Harolyn post TCW — Where does she go? What does she do? Interactions with other people (some who recognize her, some who don’t)
- Backstory: What’s the story with Harolyn & Ginna? (a young barmaid — minor love interest character in the story)
- Backstory: Ginna & Dinka/Adevich (The two proprietors of a sea-side inn — minor characters, basically Ginna’s guardians)
- Backstory: How Verity (the politico/gentlewoman) and Rhyme (her maidservant/bodyguard) became associates
- Backstory/History: How Verity became the mediator for the Speakers (a Veridian activist group trying its best to work with reluctant/distrusting lawmakers to enact change) — possibly tied to her meeting Rhyme?
- Backstory: School, political, or social scene with Verity and Traver (a fellow politico and colleague/on & off love interest)
- Backstory/History: Chymanic (a terrorist organization on the planet Veridia) R&D — developing their “bomb packs” (montage of sorts?)
- History: The negotiation and/or signing of the Yedri’in Stellar Trade Alliance
Admittedly, most of these don’t really fit the spirit of the assignment. 1, 4, 5, 6, and maaaybe 12 do. Ideally, I’d like to end up writing all of these. It would be a useful exercise to help me flesh out character backgrounds and personalities a little more concretely; and it would also be cool to have a bunch of shorts that I could compile into a collection as a companion to the full-length story.
I think I’m leaning toward 1 or 4. The first one is completely disconnected from the current storyline, and would highlight some of the foundations of the way her personality formed. #4 could show us how she functions in, alternately, a high-stress situation of her own devising (as opposed to being tossed into the fray against her will), or when she’s more or less at ease and on her own. Hmm.
What do you think? :)
This is a list of the writing projects that I would like to work on right now. It includes simple blurbs and/or more of an idea of what each one is about, since I realized most of the items in this list are vague or don’t actually tell you much of anything.
I’m still struggling with prioritizing because I’ve caught the writing bug again, and want to write ALL THE THINGS, and want to write them all RIGHT NOW. I’ve been poking at “Saddle Brother” a little, trying to nudge it into story-shape. Having worked on “The Current War” frantically for an entire month, my brain wants to do something else for a while. -.- I dunno, what from this list sounds interesting to you? Do you have any thoughts or questions?
- These are intended to be novella length or longer, with fully-developed storylines, and will generally be long-term projects.
- The Current War (Genre: Science-fantasy | tag: Greenpunk)
- Originally conceived as an exploration of a fantastic world through the eyes of its people. The planet Veridia is populated by people uniquely adapted, and with a strong affinity to their highly electrified atmosphere, and the roots of sentient trees form a worldwide network through which civilization is powered. Intrigue and eco-/terrorism are large features in this story, with politics and a dash of romance to flavor, and a smart-mouthed heroine running away from (and inevitably straight toward) the secret of her past. Almost 33k words written as of the end of that November 2010. [For the record, I dislike this working title, but it’s the best I’ve been able to come up with so far :/]
- Parthia Answered (Genre: Fantasy | tag: Parthia Answered)
- A dark fantasy about a former priestess betrayed by her goddess and hellbent on vengeance. She learns from another immortal wronged by this goddess that not all gods are born; some are made, and a made-god could have their power taken from them if someone were clever enough to find their fetishes and claim them for themselves.
- Hollow/Hollow World (Genre: Science-fantasy/Young Adult? | tag: Hollow)
- Another world exploration, and again, one in which trees play a significant role in the lives of the planet’s inhabitants. An adventurous young nomad and his winged companion are exploring forbidden places when they stumble upon the remains of a prehistoric civilization. They unwittingly set in motion a chain of events that awakens the sleeping people of the ancient world, and threatens the way of life as it has come to exist on the planet.
- Legend of the Mahuizoh (Genre: Fantasy | tag: Mahuizoh)
- Mahuizoh is the man-given title of the world-emperor Centehua, who is the god of the earth, child of the Sun and Moon. When he was an infant, his parents created mankind to keep him company and be his playthings, but he came to love them as he grew. When he was old enough to take on the power of godhood, his parents wanted to destroy man, telling Centehua that he could not let himself become so attached to such finite beings. In order to protect them, he bound himself to the world, and to life in a mortal shell. But a god-spirit still, Centehua must rest for hundreds of years, or his power will destroy his mortal form, breaking his connection to the world, and leaving its people vulnerable to his celestial parents’ wrath. The story follows his awakening after a millennium of sleep to a world in which the Mahuizoh is merely a legend, almost forgotten.
- Suicide Kings & Bedpost Queens (Genre: Fantasy | tag: Royal Flush)
- Intrigue, romance, and possibly war will feature in this story of four allied kingdoms, based on the symbolism found in the face cards of a standard playing deck. The four kings form the Parliament of Kings, more often than not, bickering amongst themselves; the four queens, the Queens’ Cabinet with their own games of gossip and manipulation; and the jacks, unbeknownst to all, a secret society constantly vigilant for the security and wellbeing of the four kingdoms. This is still mostly in the conceptual phase, though I have a fair amount of notes on the figures in these three groups, and some on the world itself.
- Generally speaking, short-form projects can be worked on at the same time as longer projects, and are often simply a way for me to get ideas out of my head.
- Saddle Brother (Genre: Fiction)
- A vignette-turned-short-story about an unconventional war hero. Inspired by some Wikipedia reading I was doing recently. Told from an unusual point of view.
- Tochtli’s Gamble With Teoxihuatl of the Moon (Genre: Fantasy)
- A folktale from the world of the Mahuizoh, telling how the moon got it’s rabbit-shaped mark. A cunning young rabbit dares to wager against a goddess to win the heart of his beloved. [Another story from Mahuizoh’s world is “The Star That Followed,” telling of the star who loved Centehua and followed him into the mortal world. I may write that one eventually as well, or it may get worked into Legend of the Mahuizoh.]
Dec 13, 2010: Updated to organize a little and add one or two things. | Note: Entries before this one were posted here from various of my other websites/blogs for archival purposes.
I was going to write a “Hi guys! This blog is about…” sort of intro post, but screw it. You’ll catch on eventually, or you’re probably in the wrong place. (And that’s what the “About” page is for anyway, right?) I’m still working on the site itself, but I’m tired of letting that keep me from posting. So on with the content!
Well, sort of. We’re starting out with a bullet list or sorts. Recorded and summarized here (in no particular order) for my own records, and for your general enjoyment, are notes on at least a few of the ideas that have been kicking around my head for the last few years. I’ll try to keep them brief, but it’s likely I’ll fail miserably.
Projects in Development
The Current War (tag: Greenpunk)
- My NaNoWriMo project for 2010. Almost 33k words written as of the end of that November. Originally conceived as a means of exploring an electrified world populated by sentient trees and what we might call elves (but don’t let them hear you call them that), through the eyes of its people. Politics, eco-terrorism, secrets, a smart-mouthed heroine and a dash of romance.
- Legend of the Mahuizoh (tag: Mahuizoh)
- Setting inspired by/based very loosely on the civilizations of ancient Central-America. Inspired by a dream a friend had (hey, inspiration everywhere, right?). Mahuizoh is the man-given title of the world-emperor Centehua, who is the god of the earth, child of the Sun and Moon. When he was an infant, they created mankind to keep him company and generally be his playthings, but he came to love them as he grew older. His parents wanted to destroy them, telling him that he could not let himself become attached to such finite beings. To protect them, he bound himself to the world, and to life in a mortal shell. But a god-spirit still, he must rest for many, many years, or his power will destroy his mortal form, breaking his connection to the world and it’s people, leaving them vulnerable to his parents’ wrath. The story follows his awakening after a millennium of sleep to a world that has nearly forgotten him.
- Parthia Answered (tag: Parthia Answered)
- The full-length version of “How Mortals Gave Justice to the Gods,” the story I started (but didn’t complete :p) for NaNoWriMo 2009. A dark fantasy about a former-priestess betrayed by her goddess and hellbent on vengeance. She learns from another immortal wronged by this goddess that not all gods are born; some are made, and a made-god could have their power taken from them if someone were clever enough to find their fetishes and claim their power for themselves.
- Warrior of Shea (tag: Warrior of Shea)
- This one has been brewing for almost a decade at this point, and may be too fargone to rekindle the original enthusiasm I had for it. Another of those Joan of Arc-type stories, where the main character disguises herself as a man to fight in the war that killed her father. Unbeknownst to her, she was born to be the living embodiment of her people’s god of eternal flame/light, and it’s a good thing too, because the enemy’s army has found an avatar of Shadow and won’t hesitate to use it. She learns her true nature after her decision to leave home, when she receives a vision in a temple. But first, she must prove herself worthy to bear the Flame.
Bowman Vance [Series] (tag: Bowman Vance)
- Asian-inspired setting. A short story collection with an overarching storyline, following a man who is being framed/accused of betraying his liege who is trying to regain a bit of honor before he returns to face the charges. Told from the POV of a young boy who found out the plot and followed him to avoid being hurt. Story/character/setting/etc concepts based on interesting words and phrases seen while driving. First story: “Bowman Vance and the Lightkeepers’ Village”
- Saddle Brother
- A vignette-turned-short-story I’ve been picking at, about a war hero. Inspired by some Wikipedia reading I was doing recently. Told from an unusual point of view.
- Tochtli’s Gamble With Teoxihuatl of the Moon
- A folktale from the world of the Mahuizoh, telling how the moon got it’s rabbit-shaped mark. A cunning young rabbit dares to wager against a goddess to win the heart of his beloved. [Other stories from Mahuizoh’s world: “The Star That Followed” (telling of the star who loved Centehua and followed him into the mortal world).]
Hollow/Hollow World (tag: Hollow)
- A pet-project as of August 2010. Working through this fantasy worldbuilding FAQ on the SFWA website, to get the world and some background fixed in my mind before I start with the actual writing. A concept built around unique aspects of the planet itself. Part Little Mermaid, part Fern Gully, part post-apocalypse/second evolution sci-fi re/discovery adventure.
- Suicide Kings & Bedpost Queens (tag: Royal Flush)
- Possibly a romance, or political/war adventure. A world and its people based directly on the symbolism in the face cards of a standard playing deck.
The Dreamer’s Journals [Collection] (tag: Dreamer’s Journals)
- A travelogue of sorts, based on one person’s (“the Dreamer”) travels to other worlds through the dreamscape. Would be mostly the Dreamer’s thoughts on the people and cultures he encounters, with a smattering of more up-close encounters where the Dreamer gets pulled into dream events rather than simply observing. I’m actually considering turning this into a website of its own.
- Mytho-religious Stories [Collection]
- Pretty much exactly what it sounds like. This one doesn’t even have a working title yet. A collection of short stories based on myths and legends from the various conceptual worlds in my head. Would probably contain stories such as “Ona & the Weaver,” the elemental “Advent,” “Tochtli’s Gamble With Teoxihuatl of the Moon,” and “How Mortals Gave Justice to the Gods” (the short fire-side version of the story I started writing for the 2009 NaNoWriMo), among others.
- Runaway Space Princess Pirate [Series] (tag: Princess Space Pirate)
- Uuuh. Yeah, exactly what it sounds like, and really it hasn’t gotten much farther than that. I wanted a concept and some characters I could just play with and occassionally be completely silly, and and this was what I got. Kind of an ensemble series. Main character is the headstrong middle (and thus least politically useful) daughter of a king from some far-flung world. Rather than be dumped into a political marriage to someone she’s never even seen, she steals a starship from her father’s merchant fleet and runs away for fun and adventure (and trouble) among the stars. She’s also her father’s favorite, being most like him, and guessing what she’s up to, he sends the son of the Sergeant of his personal guard to keep her out of too much trouble. Also on-ship are a furry, hookah-smoking dragon engineer, and at least one or two others.
Tag names are included where I think they’ll be necessary, and links where they’re actually applied. I’ll likely come back to this from time to time and add or update as I see fit.
If you could read any of these, which would you choose?
By no means a stunning beauty, Callas was yet pretty in a that quaint way one might expect to find in the countryside. Her skin was smooth and tanned from a youth spent working and playing under the sun, and her hair, long and wavy, was sun-bleached to the color of harvest-ready wheat. Eyes that had been a muddy brown in her childhood had deepened with the years to a chocolate hue, and were rimmed by thick, dark lashes. Her father would have said she had inherited her mother’s soulful gaze. And if she had also got her father’s aquiline nose and strong square jaw, and his tendancy to purse her slighly-thin lips, who would notice? When she had occasion to smile, it lit up her battle-wearied face, and she glowed with it.
But Callas was certainly a product of her surroundings. Her years spent at war showed in the line of her body, taut and wiry, with a fluid grace and strong arm, and her hands were callused by the sword and plow alike. Under her Chosen’s sash, she walked proud and erect, having finally accepted what she was, and her dark gaze took in all around her with neither reserve nor apology for such sapience in such a young face.