WP 2: Something Wicked

Not my typical prompt. I asked some friends for ideas and this is one from Jay.  It is still super long but I care not.  I also misread the original prompt so I’m crossing out the part I skipped. It was Facebook messenger and there was a lot going on.  Not re doing it.  Don’t care.  I’ll probably Ninja Edit a  few times to fix errors.  Prompts are meant to be done quick and dirty.

The Writing Prompt

Write about fluffy dragons becoming the worlds cutest pets… or so we thought”  

My Response

“Mom…Why can’t I have one? Everyone else has one. Even that kid down the block has one and he doesn’t even have parents.”

Michelle sighed, utterly exhausted from Nathaniel’s constant begging. Weeks and weeks of Dragini this and Dragini that. The newest fantasy pet to come out Genamco labs. “I’m sorry bug, don’t you remember what happened to Jeffy the mini Giraffe?”

The horror that crossed his sweet face made her rethink taking him out of his PTSD therapy. To say Genamco had a history of releasing pets before fully debugging the process would be quite the understatement. Glow Rabbits developed sudden, massive, and extraordinarily fatal tumors; Miniphants surprisingly kept shrinking; Tiny Ts went feral, but at least the meat was tasty; Turtleducks frequently rejected their wings with their teeth; Talk to Me Gold Fish drowned; PandaPal had a tendency to spontaneously combust; SlinkySnake exploded when fed more than twice a month; and Jeffy…well let’s just say thank God for the National Guard. However this new one did seem promising. A whole year with no incidents.

Genamco had been out of headlines for the past couple years hiding from the press after….well, you know. Even now they weren’t splashing their smug faces all over the TV in nauseating ads. In fact short of a few phoned in statements they had stayed out of the press completely. Perhaps they did learn their lesson and spent more than two seconds checking their product before selling it. This new product had all the bells and whistles too. Affectionate, a good enough sense of location to act as a carrier pigeon, strong enough to grab bags of groceries at the store and fly them home to you, played fetch, liked to nuzzle, big anime eyes, pooped in the woods, and as long as you paid a fee to keep the local lake restocked the little guys just ate fish from their whenever hungry. Pretty much no maintenance. They sky had been buzzing with bright colors and sleek figures for months now. Maybe…..No, absolutely not. “How about a nice dog?”

Nathaniel crossed his arms and sneered. “Dogs are stupid. Nobody has those anymore.”

Before Michelle could even stick up for the memory of her old friend Dogo the front door swung open. “Honey I’m home, and I got a surprise for us.”

Us? Oh God No. She tried to cut Nathaniel off. If she could stop him from seeing maybe just maybe, but the kid slid under the kitchen table and beat her to the hall. She didn’t even have to see to know, the guttural purr followed by that piercing chirp said it all. To her dread she got to the door just in time to see Nathaniel wrap his arms around his new friend.   Metallic purple. Of course that dear husband of her’s would go out and buy the newest, most expensive model.

Nathaniel released an unearthly squee, “I will name him Flappers.”

She tried to stifle a sigh. No way could she win now. “Welcome to the family Flappers.” Her fake smile almost faltered at the thought of calling that out in public. Kids should never name animals. Once Nate went to run to find toys Michelle got her first good look at the newest abomination of nature. Not really what she expected. From a distance the silhouettes in the sky definitely looked like tiny dragons. Long bodies, quadrupedal, legs that tucked in close while their ethereally sheer four foot wing span glistened a rainbow of colors onto the ground below. Up close however all the details seemed off. The head came to a slight point at the mouth, not round and chibi like in the movies. The scales, all though wonderfully plated were long and narrow. Oh well, it’s not like they had real dragon DNA to go off of. The next generation would probably be a little sleeker. Flappers curled around her ankles with a deep growl purr, although is body seemed to flow like liquid she couldn’t help but laugh at the barely more than a stub of a tail. Daniel wrapped his arms around her trying to shake a smile out of her. “I thought the same thing too, but apparently that’s all it needs to maintain flight. I expected some long thing with spikes on the end, but considering Genamco’s track record this is probably for the best.” Melting into his warm arms she finally relented. Perhaps this would be ok. “Come on Nate. Let’s take Flappers for a walk.” Nate’s voice echoed off the walls and Michelle smiled when his nose scrunched up at the name. At least she wouldn’t be alone in the embarrassment.

Nathaniel blasted around the corner and out the door leaving Michelle to fumble with the lock on the door. Once outside Flappers took immediately to the air. Neighbors beamed with envy at the purple beast, easily the biggest on the block by a foot. He swooped and dove chirping and honking. Soon even the other Dragini’s stopped to look on him in awe. Funny? That had never happened before. Maybe they were just as amused by this new model as the rest of us. Flappers flapped furiously to slow his speed and hover maybe a few feet above the tallest house on the block. The others gathered around chattering with their chirps and growls. At first the town laughed. It seemed like he was telling a story like the new kid standing in front of the class on the first day of school. Soon the other draginis went silent leaving only Flappers chirping away. No, not chirping. It was more of a honk, a noot noot sound. Draginis don’t gaw do they? Slowly the smiles dropped from the neighbors faces.

Finally the murmurings started, “No it can’t be?” Clyde grabbed his wife Martha and tried to run to the house, but their path was cut off by their Dragini Spalcor.

As the poor couple back peddled back to the street cries could be heard through the crowd.

“No, No we destroyed them.”

“This is just a joke. Right? The Dragini’s are just playing. Tell me you’re just playing Groofus.” 16 year old Grant tried to reach out to his, but in a horrifying second Groffus opened his mouth and the boy’s right hand was gone. Screams erupted as everyone tried to run. The Dragini’s took flight glistening their deadly rainbow onto the street. One by one the Dragini swooped down to tear at their owner or lift them to the sky. Flappers stayed firm though. He just started at Michelle with soulless eyes from the perch across the street as if to say the bringers of their champion would be last.

Michelle grinned right back. He was adopted by the wrong mother fucking family. Swinging the door to the house back open she ushered Nate and the lucky few screaming neighbors inside. It all made sense. Genamcos disappearance, the long narrow scales. Not guitar picks but feathers. Glossy sleeked back feathers. Sure they looked different, but it had been two decades since the war against them. How long had they had access to this type of genetic technology? Did they take over Genamco after? Had Genamco been experimenting on the survivors all along? Are there even any humans working there anymore? It didn’t matter how they did it. Not anymore. They returned and now they could fly. “Honey, get your shotgun. The penguins are back.”

 

 

Shot of Pen-icillin (It’s punny)

First let me say I have re-written this a few times, because I don’t know how to cover this topic without alienating myself. Second,  It’s long.  I ran out of time to perfect it since I wanted this out by the 1st, sorry.

I haven’t been in the whole official writing gig thing for very long, and maybe that’s why this particular topic sticks out so much with me. Or maybe I will be torn to shreds for even thinking I could have a say in this which is precisely the reason I’m doing this. Our community is sick. Now I don’t mean in the depraved way I mean in the doctor’s office sick way. It’s nothing terminal or anything, because it’s not too late to fix it. We just need a shot, a shot of compassion and humility.

Back-story time. I have been writing for a long time, but not like what I have been doing the past year or so. Like many others I wrote by myself behind a closed door with the lights off and the covers over my head for good measure. I was embarrassed. My work felt so fragile and raw. If people ever knew of its existence they would surely mock and insult me. After all, I’m CJ the jock or CJ the gamer not CJ the writer. At least that’s how it felt. I think this is a common feeling for most of us at first. When I found out another one of my friends wrote too I mocked him. It was wrong. I was wrong. I was jealous because he could do something I didn’t have the courage to do. I apologized, he pushed me to be more involved in the community, and eventually I relented with NaNoWriMo. I immediately broke the rules like I do, but I still did it. For the most part everyone seemed friendly and nice….that is, until I went into the show your work forums (and, most recently, the forum discussing this year’s rule change which is sort of what clinched my need to write this.)

Keep in mind these are paragraphs written at lightning speed by people who are doing this to have a good time many for the first time. Yet some of the so called veterans would rip at the cadence, the passive voice, and the spelling like they would a George Martin final draft. A few even resorting to insults and cries of just quit now. The mods took down the hateful things as fast as they could, but you could still see it from time to time. On the positive side, most people were helpful and decried those few mean spirits. This pushed me to get more involved.

I started to go to classes and seminars, popped into a few write-ins, continued to help and participate in Camp NaNo, subscribed to Reddit Writing Prompts and Writing, and even drove to other towns to see my favorite writers speak. The more I dug into this world of words the more I saw it. The dark side of us all. Being new I seemed to get a good brunt of it. Everyone telling me my methods and ideas are wrong and juvenile. Things only neophytes would do. These things I know. I’m still looking for my voice and I only have a rough draft.

Probably the worst thing I see is people tearing apart other ideas for the sole reason of getting their own more visibility. (A crime most often seen and admitted to by people using sites with an up vote/down vote system.) One down vote on a new submission will push theirs to the bottom of the pile to be forgotten and keep your own submission closer to the top. It’s tempting I know, but it’s wrong. Another thing tempting is to not up vote things that are good because it will put theirs higher than yours. This is a community, and although it feels great to be praised and recognized it is just as important and vital to praise others.

Instead of encouraging others to join we tend to overload them with rules and tales of woe. If I had a dollar for every time I see: “Why write at all, you aren’t good enough to publish.” I would probably be able to open my own freaking publishing company.

Before I’m accused of just complaining for my own short comings please understand this isn’t coming from a place of anger. I’m a full grown dirt of my shoulders adult. I don’t really care what people say, and I don’t care that my work will never be world famous. That’s not why I do this (again something for another day). I do care, however, when I hear these stories coming from the teenagers at these seminars. So young with a confidence so frail. I have seen people giving up completely, because they felt so discouraged after sharing their work with the world which is a crime. Our crime. Of course it’s not perfect and of course we should give pointers, but we also need to be positive. Everyone likes to know that they are on the right track. We need to be able to push people in the right direction not push them away. Who knows, that young man you just ripped a new one could have been the next Dean Koontz had he been given the time to learn and grow. It’s easy to be misunderstood when our chief medium is text on a page; this is the internet after all.

Rant over I guess. As of tonight I start NaNoWriMo so my already poor updating skills will probably be even poorer this month. My bad. I will do my best though considering this blog is pretty much my therapy. I can’t wait to get back together with the old group for those weekly coffee shop nights, and the bar write-ins I’m trying to host for us older kids. Till next time I guess. Sign up if you haven’t.

My Thoughts on the NaNoWriMo Debacle

Initially I had a blog planned out that I was attempting to write, but in my procrastination I finally visited the NaNoWriMo site.  I do it every year and participate in some of the camps as well.  If you haven’t heard of it check it out.  However, I noticed something disheartening this year.  A minor rule change, no not even a rule change really, has caused a ridiculously petty uproar.  After reading 14 plus pages on everyone else’s opinions I felt the need to throw in mine.  Yet with my sickly mind, literally I am sick, I thought writing a poem would be a great idea.  I will probably touch more on this at a later date.

Since the topic sort of kind of loosely applies to the blog I’m working on I figured I would share it:

1.) becuase I took the time to write it,

2.) because I need to stall for time before I get the next piece out.  Don’t judge me.

Let me a tell you my story of woe
Of how I almost didn’t NaNoWriMo

On a dark stormy night late 2012
Into my mind I started to delve
I found a story I’d toyed with for years
Yet had not begun thanks to silly fears
I meticulously wrote each line and each scene
Ignoring the fact I was totally green

I heard tales of a boy who lived down the street
Who would attempt a truly ridiculous feat
50,000 words in a month! How naïve, how insane
A craptastic novel is all he could gain
I looked at my screen and at my perfection
I didn’t need some gimmicky goal to find my direction

I restarted, rewrote, meandered, and dragged
With every misstep my inner editor nagged
With every word a chore and my confidence shattered
Months flitted on by leaving me feeling quite battered

The boy who tried fell just short of his goal
Just as expected with a concept so droll
I wanted to gloat, boast, and beam to the brim
But in the nine months since I had yet to match him
I rushed to the site. What was his secret?
I’d hit a roadblock and needed to beat it

I glanced at the rules alas twas not for me
Why start a game when a cheater I’d be
I loved my characters with foundations so strong
Forsaking the finished felt backwards and wrong
A forum was made for committers of crime
But the rules proclaimed it would be a miserable time

Conflicted, into the community I lurked
In many a thread the argument tumbled and jerked.
A rebel was fine for the seasoned and ready
Their victories earned and their paces rock steady
Fresh blood, however, should never remiss
Without a beginning the spirit they’d miss *

Why even bother with a victory hollow
No, alone in my failure I was doomed to wallow
Maybe one day when this story was done
Happily ever after with evil undone
For now I could only continue alone
Creaking on forward with a sigh and a groan

The boy heard tales of my tormented soul
And came to my door with one alike in goal
Another newbie with a tale of old
Struggling to find the words to be told
That night we took to the site
Together we could overcome our plight

I finished my chapter a month prior to start
And spent the last weeks reworking the heart
The eve of the first I eagerly wait
New ideas lunged through the starting gate
Like a flash they flowed from my head to my hand
All ranked and filed just as I planned

After a week my poor enthusiasm waned
My outline fell through and I had been shamed
My inner demon pled me to give up the fight
With the battle too hard the rule must have been right
But forward I marched under the tick and the tock
A goal I had set; I would conquer the clock

In the days that followed strange words leapt to the page
A new villain emerged full of malice and rage
My hooligans struggled, bled, scraped, and clawed
My hands wrote a story while my brain oohed and ahhed

The story took twists and turns unexpected
Ideas spilled forth that I would have rejected
Characters shifted; I laughed and I cried
Some rose in ranks, some surprisingly died

The 30th came as I blew past the line
A victory earned; I committed no crime
50000 new soldiers all bold and all valid
Not just some worthless, jumbled word salad
My demon reduced to the size of a pebble
On it’s wreckage I stood a NaNoWriMo Rebel.

*Cheap rhyme I know, but I’m tired

Overcoming Fear Pt. 1

Once again sorry for the delay but this is the post I have been dreading. Like I said in the first blog my biggest fear is getting my ideas out there. I fret over if they are rejected or taken, but the point of this page is to get over that so here goes nothing. What’s the point of creating something if you hide it? I have three projects in the works right now: my main, my mini-story, and my micro-story. (I have never tried to sum this up before so be gentle in your judgments good strangers.)

Whenever something is tough I’m always told to go in head first, balls to the wall so to speak. For my first trick let’s go straight to the main project, Blood and Whiskey, the very project this page is named for. It is the working title for the first book in the series I started actually writing down a bit over a year and a half ago. It took severe insanity and boredom to actually do that but that is a rant for another day. I say write down because the world and characters have been dogging me since I was but a young lass in high school. To put things bluntly I got sick of supernatural and fantasy creatures essentially being written as if every single creature has been stuck in stasis for the past century or two. One lonely afternoon I started to rewrite creatures as I would have actually seen them evolve through history. Every single historical path and goal designed around one rule, one truth: Assimilate, Hide, or Die. Once I finished that I created a few new ones, because…why not?

Gone are the days of vamps “From another time.” Orcs have broken off into tribes after a disagreement of which path to take leading to completely different modern results. Some species have flourished in the shadows; others have been hunted into non-existence.  An entirely new species emerged through fear and experimentation. No matter where they pull their energy from no species is inherently good or evil. In this world a demon could be your hero, an elf your nightmare, a gargoyle your neighbor, and a gremlin your tech support.

Book 1, which I finished the first draft in April :-D, centers around a small, local gang that goes by the Fenians of Erin. They have enjoyed a few years of peace in their little underworld, but run into a snag when a rival gang gets new management. Strangers start to arrive offering their services to the highest bidder forcing the already tenuous treaty to crumble.

In a town a few states away a species only know as hunter tries to reign in a war brewing under the surface as tensions rise in the increasingly frustrated meta* community only to be distracted by a serial killer targeting Meta sapiens*.

 

*Subject to change as soon as I redo my research. I lost my cheat sheet of each species’ genus and epithet (>_<)   Meta was the working name; I’m not a fan of it. On the other hand I wasn’t a fan of the name Max being one of the narrator’s names but that grew on me.

WP 1: Perfect Kid

I decided to start doing some Reddit writing prompts to help streamline my writing. I tend to be a bit verbose. This was and is my first attempt at it. I forced myself to write it quickly and tried to limit my length to match the attention span of the average Redditer. It still a bit long but I’m getting better. For a sleepless 3 AM story it turned out ok.

The Writing Prompt

“Far in the future, parents now purchase the traits of their perfect child. They decide everything from intelligence to looks. Better qualities cost significantly more money. Tell me about the imperfect life of the most expensive child ever born”

My Response

I glanced down at my doodle in progress while professor Gaul prattled on about one number or another. Every circle perfect, not a single smudge marred the penciled shading, and every flaw perfectly calculated. Da Vinci himself would envy it. Surely someone would buy it for a few bucks at lunch. Three more just like it and mom could stay home from work for a night…maybe.

“EDWIN.”

With an annoyed sigh I raised my head to face the front of the class. Professor Gaul had always been a problem. In English I flashed my winning smile, in ethics my BS prose could sway any debate, in science I just had to spend one lunch a month helping out in the lab, but Gaul wanted my attention. Something I simply refused to give. I knew more than he ever would, why should I waste my time with him? Another needlessly complicated problem awaited. “Glad that you’re still with us Edwin. Now would you mind solving the problem on the board since you obviously already know it seeing as you’re not paying attention.”

“Obviously.” The kids close enough to hear snickered and Gaul glared. I had mumbled too quietly for him to be sure, but he knew all the same. He just couldn’t do anything about it. For the first time this month I scanned the board. Chapter 4! How had he only taught to chapter 4? He wanted me to do his job. Not this time. In my mind I built the problem, saw the models and graphs, and bit by bit I whittled down to the answer. Not even complicated. “3 plus or minus 2i.”

Gaul’s nose crinkled and his brow creased, but you can’t punish a kid for being right. Even if he thought I cheated he couldn’t prove it. “Well smart ass why don’t you show the rest of the class how you came up with that.” He extended the chalk and waited, impatiently tapping his foot.

I knew what he wanted. He wanted me to show a step by step method that would get you to the answer, but completely miss the point. Why parrot the cold methods of the old and dead when the answer held so much perfection and beauty? I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. Instead of the line by line step ladder expected I started to draw the concept from my head. Not half way through the first curve he pushed me away from the board. The cloyingly sweet scent of his cologne filled my senses. No man should ever wear that scent.

“I’m sick of you cocky attitude. I want you out of this classroom. I don’t care what the Dean says I’m failing you.”

I stood in shock and anger. It didn’t really matter. I could test out of this class, the next class, and the next class. The doctors gave me the ability to memorize entire textbooks in mere days and the artistic mind to visualize concepts with ease. That perfect memory allowed me to speak six languages, to debate politics with senators, to handle complex problems and their solutions in my mind, it allowed me to remember the first argument my parents had when their fixed loan rate hadn’t been so fixed, to recall the faces of every agent that dragged my father away to work off his debt, the exact brand of whiskey on my mother’s breath before her first night in her new job, the ability to match each scent on her the next morning to those that called themselves my mentors, and the sense to know it was all my fault. Tonight marked the second Tuesday of the month; the day before that cloying sweet scent would linger in the kitchen while mom made my breakfast with her head hung in shame. She shouldn’t feel that way; she did what she could, what she had to. She just wanted me to be happy and to bring my father home.

Chalk dust began to fall from my clenched fist. Not tonight. With a quick flick of my wrist I turned that line on the board into a middle finger before mirroring the image with my own hands. Professor Gaul turned a new shade of red and charged me; just like I planned. With ease I side stepped before burying my knee into his groin. I couldn’t hide my sneer when he slumped to the ground. At least he would be icing it instead of using it tonight.

The class cheered as I walked out the door. Why wouldn’t they? I helped them cheat, I made them laugh, and I got them in and out of all sorts of mischief. They loved me. Everyone loved me. Everyone except myself.

Welcome I Guess

Hello to everyone who may have stumbled onto this page. I’m sorry to disappoint you. This is not the page of a great scientist or some famous author or even the page of a mildly interesting pseudo celebrity. This is the page that I chose to sit on while I write my novel. A series that will probably never see the light of day, but that won’t stop me from trying. At first I just allowed this page to lay idol, but it seemed like such a waste. I don’t like waste. There is enough of that in my life already. I waste food, energy, and time. At least this time waster will give a small, lonely url some purpose in life, even if just existing is all it ever amounts to.

For weeks I have debated its future and purpose, and to be honest I still have no idea. So for now it will just be a place for words; words from a hack of a writer trying to keep from going crazy. Editing is a long slog of a process full of disappointment and frustration. I spend hours staring at the words I individually typed into my computer, and sometimes they disgust me. Now don’t think that I am negative. It’s a first draft that I wrote at break neck speed; of course it’s terrible. Slowly the words will flow onto the page in an order and cadence that is pleasing to the eye and mind, but right now it’s a mess of inconsistencies, errors, and elementary writing. Every now and then I need an escape from it, and what better place to run to than to a website based on the novels future name. A mini vacation from what it is now to the place that it will one day be. So welcome to Blood and Whiskey.

What to expect here? Now that is an interesting question with no real answer. My guess is for the moment this will be a blog for updates and my jumbled musings about life and writing. Most likely I will pose questions to the aether when I am stuck (never expecting an answer) or maybe time lines and landmark completions. Perhaps random story ideas or maybe just whatever schlock that is running through my head. Eventually I may add drawings of my beloved characters and locations. (Step 1: learn to draw….Step 3: profit?) Definitely interesting tidbits I may come across during research. Above all this will be my sanctuary of sanity. A way to help me overcome my fears of people seeing my ideas and art. That is my fear though. That one day someone will see my idea, and pull it out from under me before my poor manuscript ever sees the light of day. Or maybe the royal and malicious will simply judge it and squash it’s razor thin slice of hope before it ever gains the self confidence it needs to survive. I know, however, these are silly fears. Thus this.

For all who choose to read or stay, Welcome. To all that travel here I hope you can at least glean something interesting from this. Hopefully this will be my outlet that keeps me focused and keeps me from quitting. I do intend to update at least once a week with something. Although it might just be my favorite cat photo that kept me from doing actual work. But be warned. My grammar is awful and spelling errors will be rampant. Sorry about that.

Edit: This site is still under construction.  Hopefully I will get it all pretty designed soon.  I’m planning on keeping it updated anyway though.