i_id: (Steampunk me)
Dear brain,

Generally, the characters come first. Okay, not usually the main characters, but a character. A face, a name, a quirk, a history. So why have you given me this whole story and no one to populate it save the hollow plastic redshirts?

I at least need the main two.

Let's call the antagonist Outrage, shall we? He is my mysterious, deliberate, ruthless, cruel murderer who tries to express his frustration with all the wrongs of the world by attacking its symptoms and symbols. He is bitter and violent, long past the breaking point of a rope stretched thin by too much empathy with the suffering of the many. So much that he's discarded the importance of the suffering of the one, even his own. Is he a former reporter, maybe, jaded with the shallowness of the public eye? Or maybe he spent too long mewed up with only the news for interaction with the outside world. Prison, perhaps, or a hospital bed. Maybe he's a soldier sent home injured and forgotten in a hospital bed somewhere especially neglectful. He's definitely American, ethnocentric even as he rages against ethnocentricity. Blindly hypcritical. Probably of middle-class upbringing with a tense but not an abusive youth. Fails to see that media coverage is the fault of the media, not its subjects. Possibly once tried to bomb a televison station or newspaper office and had it go entirely unnoticed.

I think, when he realizes that media coverage of his own exploits is doing precisely the thing he hates so much, he will do one of three things: Simply stop, turn himself in, or become his own last victim.

And then I also need Investigato, my methodical, level-headed, compassionate protagonist (Sounds boring, doesn't he?). He will have to grasp Outrage's patterns and motivations without ever sinking to agreeing with him, even if he might share some of the same views of media injustice. Empathy for Outrage's reactions, but not his actions.
I have a little bit of the shape of him. I think he is a married man, with an adopted son or daughter. He is, by necessity, an FBI agent. What drove him there, with his background in journalism and psychology, and his happy childhood, untouched personally by crime?

Think on it.

Yours, affectionately,
Hats _|=|_
i_id: (Green)
There's a park near my house, a forest really. A century ago, it was logged; those stumps still stand, taller than the underbrush of a second-growth forest, too wide for a family's arms to span. Above our heads, the notches still show where the sawmen put their springboards, to make their cuts above the widening of the trunk. From each and every stump, new trees have grown, alder and fir and cedar. The forest floor is thick with loam, spongy and giving and moist. Spanish moss hangs still; the wind can't reach this place.

The park covers the end of our island, the oldest end, a small mountain of peridotite and layered gabbro looking out over Rosario Strait and Burrows Bay. From the half-live juniper near the two-hundred and sixty-foot peak, we can even see the Pacific, far away, a white beacon between the blue hazes of the Olympics and Vancouver Island. And if we climb that juniper, just above the divide between the dead bough and the live, we find where my father carved my name, more than twenty years ago. Watching out over the seas.

For good or evil, there's a road to this place, two miles and some of twisting narrow pavement. I learned to drive here, coaxing a van around the switchbacks and steep curves and blind corners at the speed of a walking woman, pulling over to let the joggers pass me by. The road begins in the city, a gravel parking lot beside a groomed green hill, overlooked by the identicle windows of new homes, each painted a different shade of rose. From there, it dips nearly to the water, underminds a tree that leans straight out from the bank. Begins to rise, striped with sun-through-trees above the mud-stone cliffs, then sheers away from the shattered shore into the dark interior, dipping into a valley filled with boulders, rising up the mountainside in sharp angles. If I don't make the turn, the van scrapes against the tree that grows flush against the cliff-face. A thousand cars have scarred it before. Then the top, that half-live tree iconic, photogenic. There's a parking lot there and a field, stretching clear down the dun slope to the water, criss-crossed with red, clay-slick trails and the worn gabbro jutting through the earth like bones, in parallel ridges all aimed east-by-north. Deer keep the grass short, and the endless wind here keeps it yellow. The water below is smooth and green and deceptive. If you line up the juniper and the light on the end of Burrows Island, you have the heading to Victoria.

If we descend, the one-way road takes us into the oldest part of the forest, thick and wet and silent, the ghosts of trees blocking just as much light as their descendants. Douglas firs as big around as my father grow in perfectly straight lines, eerie henges honoring the sacrifices of nurse trees a century ago. Glacier-dropped boulders the size of cars are locked in place by clinging madronas, the red trunks curved around their shape like dripping blood. This is a place of ravens and snakes, and it forces us to remember that those who lived here before us buried their dead in the trees.

But we stay up here, if the sun stays with us. Leave the car with the tree in line with the light, and cross the road and its muddy verge to leave it behind. This is a field of madrona, first, all woven by wind, the coarse red bark peeling away to bare lucent green. We cross it, stepping over the low vines of native blackberry, between the gorse-like sprawls of salal, and into the shadow of the cedars. Up here, the wind has played its part in their growth, and every tree leans away from the ocean, with a widdershins twist to their heavy-hung boughs.

The sunlight filters in, warm or gray, through the open-set trees, but you don't have to go far before they shut out any trace of the ocean beyond. This place feels expansive and enclosed, all in one, like a forgotten park within the park. The grass is long and lush, unburnt by the wind, and so wet that your feet leave dark marks, brilliant green against silver.

The highest point of this mountain is hidden here, just a scrape of dark gray gabbro bared through the grass and moss. Unremarkable under the trees, but it's all downhill from here. Stand on it, king of the mountain. And below you, due north, stands the Gate.
i_id: (G is for Grue)

Some was late to work again. There was construction in Tunnel Four, the huge earthcrawlers chewing a new gap in the wall, filling the stone tube with dust and debris and clogging the way. A necessary evil; the new farms to the east needed a better egress than half-flooded Tunnel Seven, but still a bother. And Some hadn't left early enough to get past it all in time.
I'll just leave this here. )

i_id: (Default)
     The cow was a wedding present.  A three-part cookie jar, shaped like a reclining heifer, with three separate jars and their lids.  Dawn thought it was a bit tacky, but it was from her new mother in law, and so the politic thing to do was to put it out, in a place of honor on the counter.  It held flour and sugar just fine in the head and the haunches, and cookies in the stomach.  She could handle ugly.  After all, she only had to keep it until some part broke.
    It didn't break the first year.  It survived a year of Dawn and Jack still enamored with one another, a year of sex on the counters and midnight snacking raids, twelve months of Jack’s friends coming by to rescue him from the drudgery of married life and playing football in the kitchen.  Fifty-two weeks of experimenting with ‘just how did Dad flip his pancakes like that?’ and ‘Oh, baking powder, not soda!’ 
    The second year, too.  That cow survived their first real fight, even when Dawn threw one of its lids against the door that Jack had just slammed.  Just a chip out of the edge.  Didn’t change a thing about its dopey, cow-eyed expression.
    The third year.  The dog Jack adopted for Dawn learned to stay off the counters before she knocked the cookie jar off more than once, and that once, it landed in a basket of laundry.  Dawn packed it away while she hosted her first Thanksgiving, but Dear Mother-In-Law asked where it was.  It was back on the counter when she visited for Christmas.
    The fourth year.  Pregnant and ungainly, Dawn didn’t have much energy for baking, and the cow stood empty.  But still unbroken.  Gabby the dog broke six dishes in her never-ending quest to defeat the gaping maw of the dishwasher, but the cow remained intact and garish.
    Fifth.  Little Noah began pulling himself up six weeks early, according to Doctor Spock.  Dawn baby-proofed the house, and moved the cow to a low shelf.  It grew dust, and the chip in the lid began to turn grey.
    Sixth.  Noah liked to hide his pacifier in the center part of the cow, and then scream when Mommy couldn’t find it.  It wasn’t working to go back to work, so Dawn remodelled the kitchen instead.  In bright primary colors.
    Seven years after the marriage.  Dawn put the cow up, instead of down, on top of the cupboards above the fridge.  It observed from on high the year of Noah’s worst temper tantrums, the kicking, screaming fits of a toddler that drove his parents and his dog insane.
    Eight years, and the remodel was finally finished.  Dawn dove into a flurry of baking that lasted months, but she used the cookie jar she’d received at Ben’s first birthday; an urn in the shape of a dolphin, that chittered when opened.  Noah adored it.  Until it spooked Gabby into knocking it off the counter.  After that, the noises it made were a frightening gabbling, and Dawn made it disappear before she even thought that it might scare Noah.
    Jack left in the ninth year, and the same lid took another chip.  It shone white next to the older chip in the bright blue glaze.  The yellow lid went missing for a few weeks, but Dawn found it two days before Noah started preschool.
    Ten years after the wedding, Dawn took great delight in loading the cow from her mother-in-law into the car, and on the way home from dropping Noah off at preschool, swinging by the thrift store, and leaving it on their loading dock.  Someone else would have a chance to break it.
i_id: (Default)

More Homework. 

Ignore. )
i_id: (Default)
These are story starts that have percolated in my head.   The challenge here is for people to choose one, and write a paragraph off it.  Take it any way you want to.  And then after that, another person can write the next, or choose a different start.  Round-Robin sort of thing.  Fanfiction, original, anything.  All of these began with fandom in mind, but I'd love to see what people do with them.

 
  1. The war ended silently, in a brick house in Dover.
  2. He never wanted to know her.   That seemed almost blasphemous. 
  3. Two hundred years ago, they decided that I should be born.
  4. When I first met him, he was sitting on a log in a wood, gilded by firelight into a phoenix of a man, blazing with his own death.
i_id: (Default)
Most of this is original.  Some is not.  Shush.  I am a creature of my fandoms.

Ot 
- gold-rich planet, fourth out from the sun known as Faison. (Tor, Jevo, Ov, Ot, Os, Lom, Lem, and the gas giant Sten.) Earth-normal, complete with a race indistinguishable from humans, a race currently undergoing evolutionary split.

Sonani - A small, commerce-rich nation on Ot's temperate smallest continent, defined on to the South and East by the varigated coast, on the North by the tall Paper Mountains (Tesat Dir), and to the west by the river Shif and the neighboring nation across, Liod.

Sonani is ruled by a monarch, Queen Reeshan in trust for her teenaged son Reese.  Reeshan is widely regarded as fairer than her late husband, but the Sonan people are not looking forward to her son's coming of age.  He's publically perceived as spoiled and apathetic, any opinion he has firmly in the hands of his father's old advisors, none of whom are particularly fond of his mother or her rule.

Sonani is composed of seven duchies: Three coastal - Bearns, Rippon, Shoaks.  Four interior - Tilth, Farrow, Corn, and Mollon.  The Sonani river runs from Tesaf Dir directly south through arid Corn, pastoral Tilth, and serves as the border between Bearns and Shoaks until it meets the sea.

Alnen Or is the capitol city of Bearns, perched on the rocky west end of the Sonani Delta.  It's the crowning glory of that duchy, designed, laid out, and commissioned by Duke Forb, the grandfather of the current Duke of Bearns, aging Orade.   It boasts a large, easily defended harbor, with several out-lying islands fortified with watchtowers.  Bearn Or is the Duke's keep, an old stone keep that predates the town, build as part of the old town, and the only major structure to survive a war over fifty years ago.



Other things to remember: Bream (Amber), Javen, and take some linguistic notes.  And either draw some maps or make Karl do it, because damn, you're going to confuse yourself.
i_id: (Oral)
Request a pup, a fandom, a pairing, anything, and I'll write a one-line fic.  My short fiction teacher will be so proud.  Ask for as many as you want, I have SO MUCH TIME.
i_id: (10)
    The teacher sat behind his desk every day, with a shotgun leaning against his knee.  He acted like the desk was a wall.  If he got there early, stayed behind his wood-and-Formica bulwark, and left very late, every day, the zombies couldn’t reach him.

    They’d eaten the principal back in September, two days after Open House.  Faculty meetings were unbearable now, with his brains all over the conference table.  The secretary didn’t help, taking every opportunity to bite fingers, even after her lower jaw fell off at the homecoming dance. 

    The teacher wore armor now to get through the halls, heavy gloves and a collar to protect his neck.  On Halloween, he had to blow away the student corpse president and four cheer leaders just to get to lunch.  Thanksgiving break was blissful.  All his family was still alive, except for the dog, and he was easy enough to tie out in the yard.  He went shopping the day after, and saw former students at the Best Buy, selling iPods and taking quick bites out of their oblivious customers. 

    He was glad to get back behind his desk.  The zombies shuffled and moaned in their desks while he tried to teach them, and he wasted shotgun shells on students who wouldn’t turn off their cell-phones.  He had plenty, as long as he stayed behind his desk. 

    By Christmas break, they were failing their tests. “Rarrrglgh,” was not the answer to any question about Shakespeare or the Roman Empire.  But they tried, so he gave them half-credit.  He told them all to interview a local person of note over the break, and sent them off.

    Christmas was pleasant, even when his nephews killed each other over what was left of the dog.  He got his wife a Winchester and a 2x4 for his son, and they got him a Teflon jacket, guaranteed zombie-proof. 

    On New Years, the top news story was that the mayor had been killed and eaten in his office by a high school student.  The teacher remembered the assignment he’d given his students and felt very guilty, even though no one said it was his fault.  Two reporters interviewed him and a third tried to bite his knee, but he fended her off with a baseball bat. 

    His wife was bitten while she was washing the reporter’s rotting flesh out of his best blue shirt at the laundromat.  The teacher took three days off before resuming his place behind his desk.  She still made him lunch, but he couldn’t stomach brains. 

    The zombies’ grades kept getting worse.  They failed their standardized tests (most of them just ate the pages), and he began to worry that none of them would graduate.  He’d have them all again next year.  They didn’t do their vocabulary quizzes, and one got his finger caught in the pencil sharpener when he should have been giving a presentation on Catcher in the Rye.  The teacher had to shoot him; he was howling and getting the others upset.  He gave the rest of the class an A for the assignment; they deserved it for not getting their fingers stuck in the pencil sharpener.

    He kept finding excuses like that.  Over Spring Break, he gave them the assignment “Have fun,” and wrote down a neat little line of As in his grade book when they came back more rotted and slack-jawed than before.  Those who didn’t come back, he gave A+.  Clearly, they were having more fun than the others.

    April passed, and May, and all of his zombies aced shambling, moaning, and oozing while he stayed behind his desk.  In June, only two failed their finals, and one had an excuse: his head fell off during the math portion.  He let him graduate.  The other, he shot.  His entire remaining class graduated, and he lay down his head on his bulwark of a desk, the day after Commencement, and laughed until he cried.
i_id: (10)
Crowd scene.

 
            Zeller insisted I come to breakfast the next morning.  He didn’t say a word about it, but I found myself pulling myself out of the hay long before I had decided to do so.  I was suddenly hungry, like a flipped switch.  The scent of hashbrowns filled my mind, Laura’s hashbrowns.  She was cooking them now, I knew.  Gold and hissing in the oil, and perfect.  I stumbled down from the loft, following that scent that somehow carried all the way out to me.  When I reached the porch, I took a deep breath, and opened the door.

            Everyone knew what had happened to me last night.  I could tell the moment I saw their faces.  Don and Richard were so carefully blank.  Laura, at the stove, wouldn’t meet my eyes, and Irene did so with a determined look.  Only Renette smiled, and she brought me coffee in her small hands, pressed the cup into mine.

            “I’m sorry about Jacob,” she whispered.  “I miss him too.”

            I gaped after her for a moment.  This little girl, this child… I knew, watching her go back to helping her mother, that she spoke nothing but truth.  From the mouths of babes.  She’d never met Jacob.  But she knew my mind now, all of them did.  They knew him as I did.  I looked around at them, and jumped when Allen shut the door behind me.  

            “Caleb, some breakfast?”  The New Jersey accent was back, a contrast to the soft Boston that seemed to be Allen’s normal voice, and I looked closely at him.  He nodded.  “It’s Zeller right now.  Allen doesn’t mind.” 

            I opened my mouth to ask how was I supposed to believe that, but then I knew.  

            It’s all right, said Allen into my mind, gentle.  This is the way things are.

            I held perfectly still, feeling as if my mind would overflow if I moved, like a glass with the water trembling over the edge.   

            “It’s not that hard,” Renette said, and her mother nodded.  

i_id: (Russell)
    “Do you know how close we are to something really important?”
    It was the fourteenth time I’d heard Doctor London say that this week.  I had a little tally on the edge of my desk.  Fourteen ‘importants,’ twelve ‘I can’t believe I’m a part of this,’ seven ‘shame about this town, though’ and four ‘oops.’  He was new on the project, and butterfingered.  I hoped he wouldn’t last long. 
    “Clair, did you ever think-“
    I cut him off.  It was getting irritating.  “Hold that thought, Doctor.  I’m trying to count.”  I wasn’t, but all he could see was that I had my eye to the microscope.  It worked, and he subsided.  I muttered under my breath.  It could have been numbers.  It wasn’t.  The cells in my field of view were dying, when they should have been thriving.  Genetic failure, they always feel apart at the blastocyst stage. 
    “Clair, do you-“
    ”London, do you ever shut up?” I pulled the slide out, handling it very carefully through the awkward gloves of the isolation suit.  “They’re dead.”  He glanced down at the bodies and I shook my head.  “The cells, you twit.”
    “Oh!  The vaccine’s not working?”
    Didn’t I just say that?



Three Good Things about Monday:
  1. RP meeting. Fun, crazy people.  I know I'll be BRPSing half of them, though.  No, you don't have to play your Toreador as a polysexual slut.
  2. Scarf!  48" by the time I went to bed.  Am running out of yarn.

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