Ain’t All Drunk

I mentioned yesterday that I had a new keyboard. I still have it. I’ve added about four fingers of scotch to the evening. Don’t worry, it’s got three cubes of ice so it can’t be more that two and a half fingers, and it ain’t all drunk.

One thing I’ve not done is define much about The Solex Corporation and it’s religious affiliations…or roots. I think maybe doing that could help me find additional layers of conflict in both the Shanty and Benhá threads. Let’s see what I can come up with.

So far I’ve written all the Brother Gane stuff with an odd mixture of religion and programmer speak. Essentially describing hres as prayers which work directly and very practically on solex panels. The language I’ve used to describe these prayers always uses programming jargon. I call him a monk, but I’ve not spent any time deciding what or who he prays to or why. I’ve loosely thought of the solex panels as solar panels which collect the suns rays and turn them into a form of magic parallel to electricity. Beyond that I’ve not thought it through.

Since I’ve been thinking of The Solex Corporation as a combination of monks and business men then maybe I’ ought to make the whole entity a bit bifurcated. I like that idea since it gives me the chance to have lots of fun internal squabbling and conflict, but I also like the challenge of writing it in such a way as to make it perfectly homogeneous and normal. If I did the later I’d want to make it 50:50. wouldn’t want there to be an obvious leaning one way or another—never a corporation with heavy religious influence; never a religious order with a corporate mentality. Both. Evenly.

Back to the magic though.

What’s the story there exactly? Part of me wants to perpetrate the hoax I’ve been harboring for a while now where a group of magicians pretend to be a manufacturing group to conceal their magic and make it look like mechanics, but I’m not sure I need to waste that little bit of fun on this thread. Since I’ve got a demi-god in thos whole thing I suspect that magic wouldn’t be too hard to add in, but I’ve not really defined the demo-god thing either so that’s easily removed if necessary. Although I suppose I could mix a demi-god with tech and not need magic in there too.

Both as a corp and a religion The Solex Corporation is going to have natural competitors, detractors, and enemies. Let me take these each at a time.

Competitors requires I know what it is these guys do to some greater degree I suppose. Though it’s reasonable to go the Coke Pepsi route here and just suggest that there is an entirely parallel corporation out there working a slightly different angle in the same niche. Exact same products and uses, but a different price point or maybe a different quality point. Maybe just later to market and always with a minor market share. A competitor like Pepsi who never goes after the 800 lb gorilla just tries harder to increase consumer mindshare and be no bigger than needed. Not much conflict here, more like natural good natured rivalry. That doesn’t mean that individuals couldn’t get carried away and competitive, but it’s unlikely the corps will do direct battle. Or I could turn the table and make The Solex Corp the upstart taking on the 800 lb gorilla. That gives them a fire the other guys don’t possess. In many readers minds that puts the other guy in the natural enemy camp. That could be fun and might even give me a place to put Roundmartin in the Shanty history.

Detractors would be competing in the same niche but with vastly different products. These would be the electricity guys trying to play off The Solex Corp as some sort of freaks of nature. Freaks who are potentially even immoral somehow because they use magic. These guys could give anywhere from the full-court press to just being innuendo-y. In any case they’d be aggressive from an oblique angle. Not head on. Always trying to make the customer feel a little dirty about going with The Solex Corp rather than the clean and natural electric co.

Enemies. Hmmm? The first two I only addressed the business side of The Solex Corp and not the religious. Now that I think on enemies I’ve got religion as the only comer. Might want to circle back and make it an even show. Religions hardly ever seem to clash until two get extreme enough compete for the same souls or large enough to finally square off ideologically. I don’t see that happening here. Or at least I don’t see it being something I’m interested in writing.

808 words on day 756

Brother Taig’s Maquette

Brother Taig had a knack for being both happy and lop-sided. When circled in casual conversation with his fellow brothers they would swear his left leg was at least an inch shorter than the right, but gathered again later in the day—maybe just prior to Nones—the same gathered group would swear the opposite: that his right leg was now the shorter of the two. His moustache would—depending on the time of the year—favor one side or the other as well. His fellows imagined him at the glass with his razor carefully matching one side with the other but always just a little uneven. They assumed he attended to one half till he realized the other was too long then switched sides to bring them up even only to discover he’d taken to wide a whack again. These same moustache appraisers then concluded that he eventually just stopped as to avoid a moustache breadth no longer in style. Asymmetrical being preferable to arcane. When he moved it was like bales being dumped out of the back of a hay truck. Presumably his leg length switched sides uncontrollably during locomotion.

He never once acknowledged his incongruity. He never said ‘I should just shave this whole blasted thing off’ or ‘Sorry for bumping into you. I’ve got two extra knees and elbows, you know?’ He just smiled, bobbed his whole upper half like a bow, and drew you in with a hello that made you wish you were as comfortable in your own misshapen body…your own imperfect life as he was in his.

260 words on day 747

Your Descent

I must have started a day late or missed a day or doubled up because it’s the Eleventh and I’m on my last of ten plots. There is no time to sort that out now though, only time to write on.

Tritti from The Shany thread stepped up yesterday for the Ascension plot; I think You might be a fun volunteer for the descending corollary.

Theme – Descension

Setup – You are hired to impede the delivery of a [McGuffin] to the Adroit Supplicant (just made that name up) in ah’Taconschientee.

Hook – You meet with a shadowy figure of power you suspect is a demi-god; the meet is odd since clients of any caliber rarely engage you directly. Additionally, the figure forgives you.

Plot Point 1 – A usually open informant proves uncharacteristically reticent; you stoop to toture to gain the location and time of the hand off.

Pinch 1 – Tritti implores you not to kill her or to block her delivery of the [McGuffin] to Adroit; she escapes and you tear up a market looking for her.

Mid-point Twist – You discover the man guarding Tritti is a demi-god, and the real threat to accomplishing the task you were hired for.

Pinch 2 – Tritti and Brother Gane block your efforts to get backup; you resort to black magic to increase your skill.

Lull – You speak to the Adroit Supplicant and blame him for your desperation.

Plot Point 2 – You decide the only way out is the way down; you vow to kill the demi-god expecting to die in the effort.

Conclusion – You do kill the demi-god; you do die in the effort.

Some of that’s a little squeezy, but I think I could work it out to make sense without significant overhaul. At least it’s a shit ton further along than I’ve been in the past with You or The Shanty thread.

319 words on day 678

Tritti’s Ascension

Yesterday when I was writing or thinking about that wretched Wretched Excess plot I spent some time looking up other’s lists of master plots. So far I’ve only collected them into my writing wiki and skimmed the contents. I find the variety interesting; I may employ some of them in future months.

My twenty master plots book wraps up with a bit of a cheat if you ask me. Tobias combines the chiral Ascension and Descension plots as if he were running out of paper to print his book and just now noticed how similar they are to each other. I don’t begrudge him the aggregation, but I would be less critical had he done the same with his other matched plots.

Anyhow. He contends the difference between these plots and others is the gradual nature of each, the protracted crescendo or decrescendo of the main character. The plots I find them similar to, Transformation and Wretched Excess, should be administered quickly and focus on the effect each change has on the character rather than drawn out and focusing on the character…or something like that.

Both Ascension and Descension rather an ultra-real charismatic character who can hold a reader’s attention and carry the whole plot.

Beat.

I keep thinking maybe a day with these plots in my head will turn them into something appealing by evening. I suspect I’d need to devote brain time to the effort to get anything out of it. Funny that.

I hope Tritti the Pilgrim from The Shanty thread helps me out here tonight.

Theme – Ascension

Setup – Tritti pilgrimages to ah’Taconschientee.

Hook

Plot Point 1 – Against tradition, Tritti decides to enter ah’Taconschientee to deliver the [McGuffin] Johnka gives her. She meets Brother Gane.

Pinch 1 – In the land-side market You attempts to kill Tritti. People she’s just met protect her with their lives.

Mid-point Twist – Johnka confesses to Tritti that he is a demi-god.

Pinch 2 – You kills Johnka but misses Tritti.

Lull – Tritti recovers from her wounds at Brother Gane’s monastary.

Plot Point 2 – Tritti inspires the monks to escort her back to ah’Taconschientee to complete the delivery.

Conclusion – Tritti fights off the folks she’s been battling and ultimately delivers the [McGuffin].

378 words on day 677

From Shanty to Benhá

Charming’s story keeps feeling much like Luke Skywalker’s with shades of Harry Potter. I don’t know if I see it because I’m that close or if her story truly mirrors both and anyone would.

I don’t want to abandon what I have so far though. I like the bits I’ve put together. I don’t know if I should be sensitive to the commonalities and seek to reduce them, or if I should disregard them and push on.

Roundmartin is Charming’s dad currently but there isn’t any established reason he needs to be related to her. It made sense that the dermatographia/oracle might run in the family. I could write that another way.

Charming has adoptive parents/caretakers. If I remove Roundmartin as her father it’s no longer neccessary for him to orphan her.

I’ve planned to have Gane take her back to the monastery where she’d learn more about her skills. And maybe other skills. A little Hogwartian I suppose, but I think training anyone might always have that feeling. Yesterday I suggested her arrival might not be so positive—no Hermione or Ron. Or hell, no reason for there to be scabs of robed monks wandering around like a boarding school. Could be religiouser like the name monastery implies. Though I’ll have to retcon that with the Solex Corporation if I keep Gane Gane.

Those two things right there may route enough of the sense I’ve been having to keep me happy.

At one point, I’d considered introducing a reference book as a bit of a mcguffin. Or even something of a quest for book two. It’s possible I could swap Roundmarting for the book. Play it either way. In the first novel Charming gets the book but looses Roundmartin. Or vice versa.

Might be useful to consider how Tritti, Johnka, and You figure into the Charming story. I’m expecting rather thinly. Maybe considering them even some small bit will give me other ideas for Charmings story to fill in the gaps. Maybe doing so gives me some insight into their stories instead.

351 words on day 603

Archiving Serendipty

Day 475

I should keep better track of the things I read. I suppose thats what Delicious and Evernote are for, but I don’t always have the time to archive serendipity. I should keep better track because when I everntually write about the things I read I’d like to link back to them for your reference. Suffice to say I did read several somethings along the lines of what I’ll write about now. I did not make this up.

That I did not ake this up should be evident in how clever it is. What I’m writing about not my writing.

A reader should be able to pick up a book, start reading at any point, and within a few paragraphs know the characters’ goals. That, for me says quite a bit. I need go no further, but will anyway.

I don’t think the authors I’ve aggregated that statement from meant that a character’s whole plot goal should be immediately apparant, though I suspect they think it should appear soon. I believe they mean a character’s scene goal; their current driving need. Worse, they expect clarity for the antagonist’s goal too; the bad guy can’t just poke your heroine in the eye he needs a reason to poke her in the eye.

These are the writing lessons I love to find. And consequently love to avoid incorporating in my writing.

Last week a wrote with this in mind, but neglected to have a goal for my antagonist. My antagonist merely through up half-hurdles for my protagonist to overcome. Looking back on the piece I didn’t like where the bad guy’s flimsey efforts were leading. Ultimately he’d have become a throwaway character and the scene would have played for no other useful reason than to introduce the protagonist by name in a clever-like way; that could have been done elsewhere and better.

OK, so. Bad guy needs a deeper life I decide. This story is not outlined at this point so I can do anything I want. Suddenly I’ve decided that our minor functionary is now the client who hired our protagonist to off the wife of his boss. Now I’ve got something I didn’t have before.

368 words

Showers on Okkatu

Day 470

Why no, I don’t write on days I go fishing. Seems self-evident to me.

Yeah, that’s bullshit. I dropped a day and didn’t need to if I’d planned better. Though I did fish longer than I’d anticipated. And then there were the Christmas lights to take down. This week of writing has not gone the way I’d hoped but it’s right in line with how I planned. Since I didn’t plan, I can say that with high accuracy.

You got a prime berthing but you still have to walk a bit to the showers since you’re not the first to get stowed. Some weasly functionary in dockworker whites waits for you at the end of the gangway near the doorway to the pilot’s lounge. He’s eyeballed every other pilot coming in and stopped once his eyes met yours. That you could take him in a fight doesn’t enter into your mind, but you do wonder what he wants. You hope he’s not been sent as a recreational sex apology.

“Excuse ma’am…err…miss,” he asks. You pretend not to know he’s addressing you and walk on by. He’s prepared for this and good at being weasly. He smoothly matches your step and grabs your wheelie to help.

“I just want a shower. Can it wait?” you ask.

“Yes and no.” He thrusts a card into view for you to take; you don’t. He continues wrangling with the wheelie trying to gain control; you don’t let him win. After several more steps and no explanation of the card you pull up short and exasperated.

“Sorry. It’s an upgrade for the lounge. It won’t get you away from the xenos but you won’t have to wait for a hot shower. Newer towels and even a massuere.” He abandons his useless grasp on the wheelie to talk with his hands.

“Thanks.” You snatch it from him and head off to the showers. Leaving him in your wake.

“Ma’am!” There must be more than the upgrade.

“Call me Bonnie. And keep walking if you want me to listen.”

His black hair manages to make a dockworker buzz look stylish, but he’s too skinny and his eyes too small. As weasly as he is, he’s still attractive—but too young. He hurries to catch up.

381 words