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The Writing Thread

posted by DAISHI on - last edited - Viewed by 3K users

Herein lies the Writing Thread! Usually I just post something brief and then allow the participants to engage one another, unshackled by rules like a meeting of Tea Partiers in a debate with Muslims.

However! I propose the following rules to the writing thread, and what this thread should be about.

1.) This thread should obviously be about your own writing.

Your post should be about one of the following things.
2.) A pitch. A story you're thinking about writing, ideas you're tossing around to solicit for feedback.

3.) Brief poetry can be posted in full. Just don't make your poetry a full length story.

4.) A short story you've written that you would like to post, in part. Since a short story can run 2000 to 5000 words, do not post in full. You may post sensible length excerpts, preceded by synopsis of that portion of the story for context.

5.) A long story or novel you've written that you'd like to post, in part. Since a novel can run from 80000 words to 120000 words or more, do not post in full. You may post a sensible length excerpt, preceded by synopsis of that portion of the story for context.

Things to avoid.
Don't get in a hissy fit about criticism. It's the only way to grow as a writer.

Don't just criticize to criticize. In other words, don't be a Debby Downer. List what you think a writer did well, in addition to criticism. Tone means a lot. Don't be overly negative in the tone of your criticism.

179 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @DAISHI said: Which poets would you count among your favorite?

    Frost, Shakespeare, Poe, and Hughes.

  • My query letter:

    Agent
    Agent Name

    Dear

    (blah blah blah droning on about myself)

    I have written in various capacities. I was at one time contracted to write lore and background stories for Blizzard Entertainment, makers of the popular sci-fi game series, Starcraft, as well as its well know massively multiplayer game, World of Warcraft. As a historian in the making, in the midst of my dissertation in the realm of Native American spiritual experiences in colonial North America, crafting a narrative is half my job, in addition to the research that goes into the writing itself.

    My light fantasy novel, The Dream Map, is a standalone work that comes in at 111,799 words. What follows is a brief description.

    "I'm looking for maps of worlds that don't exist."
    Maxwell Douglas was a dreamer, an underachieving student who preferred to focus on his art and fantasy books. It wasn't until an laboratory accident left him capable of opening a portal to another world, simply by looking at a fantasy map drawn from an old book, that he was able to live out the adventures he'd only read about. Aided by the science of his best friend Heidi, and the protection of a blue fire wielding princess named Katherine, he embarks on an epic sea voyage to arouse an ancient alliance of dragons. Armed with the blades of knights and the fantastic weapons created by the science of his own world, Max and his friends hope to drive back an awakened sorcerer whose ties to the dragons seem to reach beyond the borders of the dimensions. Along the way, he learns that war is far more terrible than anything he has read of in books, and that the greatest weapon he has is the affection he has for his friends.

    As with many others, I'm looking for a shot. Thank you for your time.
    Sincerely,
    Jason Luthor

  • ES006 - "Black Sunday"
    Name: Matthew McConnel
    Age: 89
    Classification: Delta

    HISTORY
    Matthew McConnell was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1922, shortly between the end of the first World War and the start of the second. Born under the occupation of the British army in Ireland, and a product of the rhetoric of freedom circulating throughout the world in the face of German aggression in WWII, he became a fighter in the military operations occurring in Europe. He was present on D-Day and demonstrated incredible skill, strength, tactical ability and speed. He was actually favorably compared to the American hero, Mr. Amazing [ES003] due to their comparative skills. Mr. Amazing always held the superior place due to his ethnicity and background, while McConnell suffered from discrimination and oppression within his own military ranks.

    McConnell was also, unfortunately, captured in the European Theatre. At this time he was subjected to the Third Reich's Sephiroth Program, the same program that formed the foundation of the future SWORD agency. An attempt to understand super, supra and paranormal activity, Sephiroth sought to weaponize human, non human and unusual relics in the hope of developing new tools for the Reich to use against the Allies it was fighting. Because of his superior abilities as well as his regenerative healing factor, comparable with Mr. Amazing's, he was subjected to a series of experiments testing his limits and introducing him to mutagenic agents.

    The end result of these experiments would never have a chance to be unleashed on the Allies, and the full scope of them is still not known. McConnell's experience left him in a state of suffering and mentally broken, a situation that would not be remixed by the British. He was returned to Ireland, subjected to the same discrimination he had faced previously, and landed himself in close alliance with local revolution groups hoping to establish home rule for Ireland. He established a name as a particularly effective resistance leader, and particularly violent, a reputation that led to his expulsion from the resistance groups he had previously found a home with. Rumors broke out concerning certain, unique capabilities he held. In addition to his previously held capabilities, he was demonstrating a "corruption", an ability to degrade biological and nonbiological matter in his presence, at will, which made apprehension by normal means impossible.

    ​In the late 1960s, standard SWORD agents were sent in to apprehend McConnell, although they were ultimately unsuccessful. Ever larger teams were deployed, all which McConnell resisted through a combination of his own powers and the terrorist group he was establishing, whose influence was spreading throughout continental Europe. A concerted counter effort was made by SHIELD, the paramilitary wing of SWORD. In addition to agents, Mr. Amazing led the team which began a series of combative efforts to break McConnell's terrorist group, Lamh Laidir. This would be the first of a number of encounters between the two and, although they would fail to apprehend him, would drive his group underground.

    CONTAINMENT
    To date, no permanent containment solution has been devised for holding Black Sunday. His strength allows him the ability to break through concrete and steel. Heavily reinforced walls are effective at containing him physically, preventing escape by battering the walls with his physical strength alone. However, the corruption effect that Sunday produces is capable of progressively deteriorating the walls of his room. This effect is slowest upon superhard metals but regardless of the nature of the wall, the corrosion effect will eventually be sufficient to allow Black Sunday to penetrate it via his superior physical strength.

    ​The current cell devised for him and previously used is located at Facility Abaddon, an imprisonment facility for the most unpredictable, dangerous and hardest to contain super and supranormals. The cell is a multilayered wall of diamond, carbon tungstide, concrete and titanium in interchanging layers that are seven feet thick. These walls are resistant to temperatures up to 1370 Celsius (2500 Fahrenheit) and could withstand a blast exceeding the detonation force of the Hiroshima bomb. Sunday is allowed no television but is provided a set of a dozen books once every month. 24 hour monitoring of his cell is required. Because of the corruption effect he produces, cameras must be changed once a week, as well as plumbing. Because IRIS bullets degrade before they can make contact with Sunday, they are ineffective at delivering a dose of IRIS blood to the subject. Similarly, blood transfusions are impossible due to the corruption effect. This makes indefinite detention the only method of containing Black Sunday.

    ​All method of food, book and other utilities conveyance must be done via conveyor system. All camera replacement must be done only with active ESP agents working to hold back Sunday until replacement is complete, a process that should not exceed one half hour. A replacement cell must be constructed once every three months, and Sunday transferred to it with the help of ESP agents. This is a costly and ongoing expenditure that has not proven entirely effective. Sunday can, at random, exceed the bonds of his agent handlers. The intensity of his corruption effect has also been known to tear apart the walls of his cell with little effort. Attempts to terminate the subject have all been ineffective. Like Mr. Amazing, his cellular regeneration capabilities seem to be beyond the scope of normal medical understanding. Gunfire is ineffective due to bullet degradation, as are all physical methods of attempting to kill Black Sunday. Energy based methods, such as lasers, have literally torn his body to shreds, only to have him regenerate. Incineration has only led to his regrowth from the cells that survived the process, with explosive force producing the same result. Regeneration time can take several months, but always occurs.

    ADDENDUM
    Black Sunday is the perfect counterpart to Mr. Amazing, nearly equal in strength, speed, agility and tactical ability. What Sunday possess that Amazing does not is a corruption effect, which appears like a black smoke coming off of his body. This field of smoke extends at will in what appear to be tendrils, and can begin immediate degradation of all surrounding matter. When contained to a cell, Sunday allows this field to expand to consume almost the entire room, cloaking it in black and beginning a corrosion process. Only those with heightened regenerative capabilities, such as Mr. Amazing, have any place in direct contact with Sunday.

    Sunday can retract his corrosion field and regularly does so as part of his role as leader of Lamh Laidir. Uncorrupted, he appears as a male in his late twenties, a consequence of his cellular regenerative capabilities. He stands mid six feet tall, with bright red hair, a broad jaw and muscular frame, the equivalent of any Olympic level athlete or above. When in his corrupted state, Sunday appears to be consumed in black, like a walking ink blot, with no distinguishing features save the outline of his frame and musculature. Even his head appears rounded and smooth. At this time, his corruption field, the smoke tendrils he is typified by, become visible.

  • ES008 - "Tweak"
    Name: Jacob Escobar
    Age: 18
    Classification: Alpha

    HISTORY
    Jacob Escobar is a young college student born in Philadelphia. A fifth generation Hispanic male whose ancestors dwelt on the border of Texas and Mexico, he has always been considered bright and fairly athletic. A lifelong fan of basketball and a player himself during high school, Escobar always seemed to have a streak of good luck. With a game on the line, he'd hit the winning three. Running on little sleep, his team would find a way to click. This streak extended beyond even sports. Team projects found ways to get done faster than normal, and people seemed to remember answers to tests better in his presence.

    SWORD investigations picked up on this recurring phenomenon and had him brought in for investigation. In his presence, team performances by agents increased in effectiveness 22%. Mental acuity, physical reaction time and overall cohesion seemed to positively benefit. When Escobar was removed from their presence, performance levels dropped steadily over the next few hours..

    Escobar was offered a chance to come onboard as a supplementary SWORD agent in exchange for college funding, an offer he and his family were excited to accept. In exchange for his silence concerning the agency and his powers, Escobar is allowed to live a normal life, interrupted only when SWORD requires a tweak to its performance abilities.

    CONTAINMENT
    No form of monitoring or containment is used on Tweak. Because of the passive nature of his powers, the lack of any negative side effects and the general sense that, as Jacob Escobar, he simply has astoundingly good luck, no ongoing monitoring or transfusion of IRIS blood is required. Jacob is part of the greater population whose powers fall beneath the threshold requiring monitoring or containment, and would nearly be classified Sub-Alpha and outside the agency's attention, if not for his tremendous impact on agent abilities in the field.

    ADDENDUM
    Tweak creates an aura around him, a passive field he has no role in generating, that causes astoundingly good luck to individuals but most especially groups. His designation, Tweak, is due to the fact that this field tweaks performance between members to optimal capacity, allowing groups to coordinate and function at levels higher than they would outside his presence. Agents seem to be able to anticipate the actions of their comrades as well as their enemies, and act cohesively in response. Devices function better, answers are arrived at more quickly, and agents have generally begun referring to Tweak's abilities as an inverse of Murphy's Law: "Anything that can go right, will go right."

  • ES002 - "THE HATMAN"
    Name: Unknown
    Age: Unknown
    Classification: Beta

    HISTORY​
    Originally considered to be a myth, superstition or urban legend, stories of The Hatman (or simply, Hatman) increased throughout the 20th century and endure today. Hatman was originally brought to the attention of SWORD via an encounter made between a researcher's daughter and this being in the early 1980s. This was SWORD's first encounter with a paranormal being and a detailed investigation began in order to asses its ability to expand beyond the scope of its original mandate to investigate supranormal humans.

    Hatman's various incarnations have been reported globally but for a stretch of the 80s were especially abundant in Benicia, California, United States, also the location of the researcher and a local SWORD facility. A town wide sweep was covertly conducted via the installation of various EMF, Infrared, and Full Spectrum scanners at various points throughout the city.

    Activity was initially detected in the residuals form of 'portals', breeches in the dimensional wall. A cluster of activity was traced to a single house, where SWORD teams were deployed. Armed with standard issue weaponry thought to suppress supranormal powers, visual contact was made through full spectrum goggles, but capture was impossible. Hatman is capable of infinitely quick teleportation time and escaped SWORD team members.

    It would be another decade before a second chance was had at capturing The Hatman. This time, SWORD agents were accompanied by ESP specialists capable of sensing and predicting paranormal phenomenon, as well as tachyon field generators that hindered The Hatman's abilities to create portals, though he remained almost invisible to the naked eye. Combined with interference created by ESP specialists, The Hatman was detained using a combination of tachyon weaponry and containment cells. His lack of a corporeal body mean that standard Ingles-infused bullets were ineffective.

    ​CONTAINMENT
    Hatman is kept at Facility Mezuzah along with a number of other teleportation capable individuals. The cell in which he is kept is surrounded by a number of tachyon fields operating at varying frequencies that permanently inhibit his ability to teleport out. Surveillance is maintained by an observation crew on rotation every hour. All in-cell experimentation is conducted only by individuals in whom chemical suppression of the amygdala has been conducted, and even these individuals are to spend a time period exceeding not more than 20 minutes within the cell.

    Hatman is in a small class of individuals known as Emotion Feeders. Specifically, Hatman is a fear feeder, whose powers grow in direct proportion to those in whom he inspires said fear. This emotional reaction seems to be unavoidable within normal humans even when viewed from distant, remote observation points, and The Hatman seems to be able to feed on this fear even from points that are separated by hundreds of miles. Because of this, observation teams are small, and on constant rotation. Even in-cell handlers do not seem able to endure his presence without the fear response for more than 20 minutes, despite chemical suppression of the amygdala. This reaction can occur in even shorter time frames, and all vitals of in-cell handlers must be closely monitored for emotional response. Should this occur, the cell must be abandoned immediately.

    However, it is necessary for Hatman to receive some emotional sustenance. Because of this, a single subject is introduced into his cell to invoke the fear response. This requires no more than two minutes within his presence, and must be repeated four times a day. Chemically suppressed handlers are then instructed to remove the subject from the cell. Should Hatman feed for too long on too many individual's fear responses, it is anticipated his powers would grow disproportionately, enabling him to tunnel through his cell and escape regardless of the tachyon fields surrounding him.

    ​​ADDENDUM
    The Hatman appears as a living shadow, standing seven feet tall, wearing a long coat or trenchcoat, as well as a top hat, cowboy hat or flat brimmed hat. Other elements occasionally gleaned from visual inspection are the appearance of a collared shirt or elements of a suit beneath the coat. However, his appearance shifts at random intervals.

    ​Hatman's primary power seems to be the ability to induce a tremendous sense of dread and terror in those he visits. He then feeds upon this fear, enabling him to create portals through which he can travel to distant places throughout the world. Relatively benign, he is nonetheless worthy of further research in order to uncover the exact source of his impressive teleportation abilities.

    Though Hatman has often been described by the public as a ghost, he is better termed an inhuman. An extradimensional being, he does not posses the virulent fury of a demon, nor the qualities and characteristics typical of a human, or even the qualities of a deceased individual persisting within this dimension. His point of origin is unknown, and all attempts to contact him have been met with zero success.

  • The unfortunate child of an afternoon not spent doing other more important things. Perhaps it might amuse.

    ******

    Here lies the grave of someone unimportant that with great merriment people around cheered internally when they saw his corpse. No one will mourn him for he justly received his dues when a ballista bolt impaled him to the ground. It was not this act which brought glee to the people that knew him; rather the fact that said bolt did not actually kill him. Perhaps the days events should be recounted in total so those that read will fully appreciate the cruelty he showed his fellow man and the general hatred he inspired in even the most pious man.


    Madness had gripped the community. Like most days in this region it started out as wonderfully as anyone could expect; a light drizzle followed a minor smattering of hail. It seemed like the mood of the weather closely resembled the attitudes of the town; constantly on the defensive due to encroaching monsters. Set in an area of fertile land with fresh water it was the only real…well…anything in a land that was well known for it’s rocky outcroppings, plagues of evil denizens and the ever increasing threat of something worse coming from behind the white veil that enshrouded the north.


    “Why me, why me?” whispered Jalyn as she attempted to scramble over the rock faces making her way home. She knew that venturing into the wilds could always be fatal but at times it needed to be done. How else could she get the berries she needed to make the pies and cakes that she was so well known for. Thankfully she had taken the regular precautions which only made some of the more conservative men in the area blush; a lady as fetching as Jayln should not be prancing about the forest wearing mens clothes. Especially since they believed that some of the evils in this region favoured young ladies; though no one could quite tell her if those evils lived beyond the city walls or within them. As Jalyn hurdled a branch she wondered why such a stray thought should enter her mind when in all likelihood she would not live to see another day. It was tempting too to drop the satchel that bore the fruits of her labour. By now some of the berries may be better suited for drinking than eating but she was determined not to drop the satchel; it would provide the money desperately needed for supplies for the coming winter. If the previous winter was anything to go by.


    Keilen stood on the wall peering out, well it couldn’t really be called a wall. A gently rise from townside outward to a sudden drop, it was just good old fashioned earth but it was surprisingly effective at what it needed to do. As he looked over the edge he remembered how painful that drop could be, and also how lucky he was that it only claimed a bone in his forearm. As if to remind him not to be so cocky the first bit of hail plunged straight at his nose and ricocheted into his eye. “Of all the...” his thoughts were cut short as he spotted something trying it’s damndest to run at the town. It certainly would have helped not having a tear filled eye and a bruised one from some of the more…exciting activities late at night in the inn. Best thing to do he thought is raise an alarm, let someone else deal with the mess. Or atleast deal with it more accurately. The whistle he brought to his lips was made of bone, their old markings smoothed to almost nothing from all the handling it had suffered, it’s sound though was unique. Something the young ones loved to say was a sleepy baby dragon’s yawn, yet for such a mellow and low sound it cut through any noise and shook the air around it. More importantly it could be heard clear across town without alerting anyone approaching the town. It took a few moments for someone to arrive at which time Keilen had dealt with the offending bit of hail that attempted to blind him to see that the figure was indeed female, that…was the full extent of his deduction. Well he hoped it was female, it ran kinda weird, quickly but weird. The newest arrival with a keener set of eyes, less bruised at the very least didn’t so much pay attention to what was running toward the gate but rather what was chasing it. Instead of calling to the gate guards as he should have since Moraw knew it was Jalyn he was transfixed by the huge badger clawing it’s way across the ground to get at her, it must have come up to atleast his waist, maybe more. The only thought echoing in his head was “Dear god, what the hell is that?”. Thankfully Keilen’s sight miraculously improved, perhaps because of the figures rather close proximity, perhaps more the screams aimed straight at him “You bloody oaf, don’t just gawk! Open the gate!”. “What a curious scream for a monster” echoed Moraw’s thoughts, he was never known for his brilliance so when a rather intelligent thought did come into being it felt rather lonely.

  • Daishi, I like the idea of what the overall story is. The scene is well set out and easy to picture.

    @Vainamoinen said:
    I even have an idea about a first 'short story' that hopefully sees life this year. The encounter of a troubled young man on a rather short autobahn trip, who meets some kind of a cop so peculiar in moral and deed that he scrapes the fantastic of the inspired benefactor as well as the autistic of the civil servant.

    That instantly makes me imagine a juxtapose of something fantastical and something real world (almost the way old childrens stories or old folklore would twist what was real and not) alternating which is which as the story goes given the idea you gave Vainamoinen. I mean the pictures being either real or fantastical then changing as the story progress's or is needed, same with the prose.


    Alcoremortis, I think you definitely write well, I enjoyed reading those stories. Chances are though that knowing the world in question brought the story more to life, not so sure what people unfamiliar to it would think.

    @Vainamoinen said:
    I make things happen with my mind. Nobody knows. Nobody believes me. People die in my sleep. Please kill me.

    I love that bit, just makes me imagine a game made on that kind of idea. The player would have to be the person saying that of course and it would have to be cleverly done to keep people in the dark about as much as possible.


    Jennifer, I dislike how she knows that she was in an accident but I think that's just personal preference. It would be interesting to see how Julie would cope being trapped in that coma while "helping" out. Maybe more interesting if she ever came out (or lost her abilities) and suddenly people started dieing.

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    Jennifer Moderator

    @Saemunder said: Jennifer, I dislike how she knows that she was in an accident but I think that's just personal preference. It would be interesting to see how Julie would cope being trapped in that coma while "helping" out. Maybe more interesting if she ever came out (or lost her abilities) and suddenly people started dieing.


    I was debating about that actually. I figured she'd know that she got hurt, and figure it out. But, now that I think about it, I had a concussion before and it's hard to think, let alone remember stuff. I'd imagine a coma would be even worse. I was going for the clueless angle anyway (for both Julie and the reader), as I mentioned before in this thread, so it would be better if she were totally clueless.

    I've got an even more twisty idea worked out for the story, but your last suggestion would make for a great follow-up story. :)

  • I don't have too much time to respond to Saemunder at the moment but I did see use of the passive voice which is always a pet peeve ;) I'll take better look at it later.

  • I don't pretend to even be good at writing so it's hard to pinpoint exactly what is brilliant or not especially if I think I could not have done better. I was hoping that in the meantime the brain would work and I'd be able to express it properly or more accurately. Your story Daishi, with the boat and dragon, I read all the way through without struggling to find a desire to read it. So it played well in my mind but there is something there that makes it feel...perhaps the right word would be incomplete. Perhaps because that scene sets a good idea for what is going on but lacks what feels like the person the story is focused around doing much. Kinda like a cutscene he's just there taking in the details, but that happens plenty of times in books because it's not just that one part we read that tells the story but the whole book so there are parts that while much is going on it still is meh when taken out of context. Anyhow that's the limit of what my feeble brain can come up with for what I wanted to add about that story. Stupid brain.

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