Tuesday, August 6, 2013

State of the writing

Okay. The following writing projects on the docket:
First, the paying gig: I generate content for Herballove, a site the offers sex advice and supplements based on Chinese medicine. The ongoing assignment is to write two articles per week, 400-700 words, relating to a list of approximately 50 different topics. Obviously, this is the highest priority, as I want to be a paid writer.

Next, a novel. I'm collaborating with a friend on "A Million Tomorrows". It's still in rough stages, but the concept and four of the five main characters (the villain, the 'girl', the artificially-intelligent house and the talking dog) are really interesting. Now all I have to do is build up the protagonist, and the rest of it should be easy. As it stands, I'm trying to establish why the villain is "picking" on the protagonist, out of millions of other possible candidates... and why the readers should care that this poor schmuck is being bullied at all. The villain has technical skills that leave the protagonist in the dust, and the protagonist... well, doesn't have much in terms of material goods that the villain can steal.

Finally, a 'riposte'. The same friend wrote a series of short stories that inspired me to write a twelve-chapter fanfic. I'm not completely happy with said fanfic, especially chapter five, but he was sufficiently impressed that he's borrowed one of the characters I created to use in his own next story. Assuming that it's finished, I now have all kinds of inspiration for my own "answer" to it. In essence, the protagonist of his story has made the mistake of trusting someone "much like him" who turns out to be walking a very selfish, cowardly path, but has no problem with that at all. So now, I feel obliged to run the protagonist through a path to some kind of redemption, because I feel that said protagonist could be so much more.

Gwen, the character I created, functions as a party girl. Julie, my friend's character, is trying to live a more exciting life and thinks that Gwen will be an excellent partner for seeking that goal. However, Gwen is a hollow, self-serving temptress who badly misjudges a situation and abandons her 'friend' when things get tough.

I'm now going to use a different character I created, Lynette, to provide a different example. As I'm entranced (heh) by White Wolf's "Mage" role-playing game lines (both the older "Mage: the Ascension" and the more recent "Mage: the Awakening"), I think I have lots of options for structure. Gwen might be a failed Cultist of Ecstasy, or an apostate Mastigos who never joined an Order because she does not play well with others. In contrast, Lynette upholds the Code of Ananda, though she also has the drive of an Obrimos (possibly of the Free Council, possibly of the Silver Ladder, I haven't decided). And if Julie gives her permission... Lynette will offer to find a path to redemption.

Of course, there's also the possibility that the story may bring Julie to something very primal (Thyrsus), something else quite final (Moros) and something else very fey (Acanthus, which resonates quite nicely with Julie's character). I've also got a thought about bringing in "Carnegie" (see previous posts) to offer a different tack on the Mastigos-type of personality. Specifically, I've got an idea for a scene where Lynette introduces Julie to Carnegie, then leaves them alone together (in a public place, naturally). Julie notices that Carnegie is looking after Lynette with a longing expression and asks, "How well do you know her?"

Carnegie turns to her, his craggy features softening somewhat. "Oh, I've made polite inquiries, that's for sure. Those eyes of hers cast a spell, almost without her realizing." He smiled, then shakes his head. "But rest assured that I'm not her type, and... well, we have an agreement."
"What, she's out of your league?"
Carnegie raises one eyebrow and gives a short, staccato laugh. "Oh, hardly." He tilts his head and gives her a half grin that puts a flush on Julie's face and quickens her breath. "If I really wanted to, I could show her the kind of parties that you could only dream of." A shadow falls across his eyes, and something enticing happens to his voice. "Places, sensations that would..." He catches himself, exhales slowly. "And it would be the wrong tack." He nods in her direction. "She's more than willing to have a good time, but she also wants to make sure that everyone else has a better time. Not that I have a problem with that, but it means the world... and more... to her."
He pauses, makes a little hand-wave to dismiss the very possibility that he and Lynette could ever be together. "No. What keeps her safe from me is one very simple truth." He releases a wistful sigh.
"Angels know their own."