Exercise 10.5 – Dead drops

Exercise 10-5 – Three characters do a dead-drop.

It has been quite some time since I posted anything.  Sadly I fell out of the daily exercise of writing during the month of December (it was very busy along with winter blues).  I am trying to pick it back up and hopefully make it a habit once again.    Some of my hesitation was that I was stuck on this exercise and could not finish it for some reason.   I finally realized that this is NOT a project of perfection but merely creativity, so  I should just post what I have and move on.   I am not happy with what I have and will want to get back to it BUT if I can move on then the ‘battle’ is won.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On to this weeks exercise…are they truly weekly exercises if I am doing them with sporadic frequency?  According to the exercise I do not have to continue using the same characters and story ideas with each set of exercise but I am enjoying the development that will hopefully yield a story at the end of this.

The stated exercise says : Take three different characters and walk them through a scene. Convey their emotional states, their jobs, and their hobbies without directly stating any of those. The scene in question: walking through a marketplace, and they need to do a dead-drop.

I do not know how long these are supposed to be but I wrote about a half or three-quarters of a page.

I do not think the scenario will fit any of my ideas but this exercise will help me develop the characters that I would consider using.   This development will help me decide who  would be the most interesting in the role of the protagonist.

I decided to focus less on their jobs and hobbies and more of the different emotional states as it is with whatever is taking over and how they each encounter and respond to that.

Using three of the five characters from from the last exercise, I will start with Samuel.   In the idea of a monster within, I worked out this brief description. I am duplicating it here for simplicity

Joseph (gender swap?) – Joseph has always been the athletic sort.  He excelled at almost everything he put his mind and body to.   He was a swimmer and cross country runner.  He even went rock climbing at one or two weekends a month.   His body was in peak physical condition.  He never had a problem with confidence either.  This week though he began to get some strange urges. Aggressive tendencies at the most random times.  He decided to increase his physical activity thinking it was just some excess stress that needed to be worked out.  That was until last night.   He was out for his run, and he remembered another runner on the path with him.  He thought he had met her on time, he thought her name was Denise.  Then he had apparently blacked out shortly after that time.  Then next thing he remembered regaining …awareness on the running path near the more heavily wooded area.   He was on his knees and covered in blood.   He looked at his hands, covered in red, still warm blood.   It wasn’t his as best as he could tell.  Then whose was it. He could even taste it in his mouth.  What was going on and why was it happening?

Joseph made his way through the crowded open air market.  He has just finished a morning run, his breathing slightly labored from exertion.  He walked among the crowds of people but obviously not part of them.   He felt out of place, isolated, and it showed.   He was also nervous, his eyes never resting on a single thing for long.  His eyebrows lowered in both confusion and concern.  He held a small package, about the size of a paperback novel, in his hand.  He nervously moved it from hand to hand unsure of what to do with it.  The slight weight reminding him of its presence and his eagerness to be rid of the vile thing.   He almost laughed at his characterization of the package as vile, as if he knew anything about it.

“What am I doing here?”  Joseph thought to himself. “I don’t remember even getting up for my run this morning”  He pulls a crumpled slip of paper out of his pocket and read it yet again.  It was something he had done so many times that the words on the page were already committed to memory.  The act of reading was merely a formality.

Take box to Market square.

Drop it next to “Francisco’s Veggies”

Money will be transferred when drop is confirmed.

He wadded the paper in his fist and stuffed it back in his pocket.   It made no sense.  He “woke up” at the end of his jog just outside the entrance to the market.   This was his favorite spot to stop after his morning job.  He would pick up a few items needed before going home to start his work day.

Who gave him this package?  How did they know he frequented Fernando’s Veggies? If they know that, what else did they know?  They must have been watching him for a while to learn his patterns. In fact, they could be watching right now.  This thought alone stopped Joseph immediately, his eyes beginning to dart around frantic.  Was it one of his clients? No, that made no sense.  He scanned the crowd.  It could be anyone, he didn’t know who he was trying to find and even how to recognize them if he was staring right at them.  What was going on. Did this job have to do with the blackouts that have been happening.   Am I going crazy?  There is no one  at the gym that I can talk to.   Who would I go with this?  Anyone I tell is going to think I am going insane, and maybe I am.   Oh god, don’t let me be losing my mind.  This can’t be happening, not now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The second character :

Rachel – Life was never good for Rachel.  Sure she grew up popular but that is just a facade.  People didn’t really like her for who she was, they liked her for how it would elevate their status by being seen with her.  Things got to feel so empty.  The doctors really just gave her medication to help her not embarrass her parents in front of their friend..  That’s why she stopped taking them.  She was tired of being what everyone wanted her to be.  She decided she would show them, she would teach them a lesson, one that they couldn’t pay enough money to hide.  She took all of the pills she had left.  It almost felt like sweet release from the stress of life.  She embraced the darkness that came for her and brought her into the blessed darkness of unconsciousness.

Then she regained consciousness after what seemed like a briefest of moments.  This couldn’t be right she thought.  I should be dead.  That is when she noticed the subtle difference.   She was in fact awake and aware but she was not in control of her body.  Someone else was piloting her actions.  She screamed at the grotesque images that lay out before her.  She saw the now bloody, gore filled remains of her parents that lay on the floor.  She held a large kitchen knife.  Her body looked up into a mirror and she saw her body standing there, covered in the blood of her parents.  And she did not recognize the eyes that stared back at her.

Rachel opened her eyes. Rather,  Rachel became aware that her eyes were already open.   IA fog lay over her mind, like waking from a nap that lasted too long.  She struggled to hold onto  a coherent thought.  Nothing seemed to makes sense or have any context.  The scene before seemed to be an open air market.  Its small temporary stalls set up with their goods on display.  Most of them were filled with a variety for fruits and vegetables, but occasionally a stall had hand crafted items for sale.  This place looked familiar but she could not say why.   She was apparently walking through the center of the market as

She groggily reached for something to make sense.   She was in an open air market, each of the stalls lined both sides of the walkway she was on.   She thought she remembered this place but something didn’t seem right.   She was walking casually through the crowd, like a cat on the prowl.  Her steps, her pace didn’t feel natural, rather it didn’t feel like her.  She didn’t walk like this, a provocative “come hither” sway to her hips inviting all to look and lust after her.   Sure she didn’t mind an occasional peek or gaze but this was not subtle.    That is when the fog seemed to clear. She was not the one doing the walking.   She could sense everything but had no control.  The nightmare returned to her.   She had been this way for two days now.  She had died in a stupid suicide attempt and then had awoken at her desk with no control of her body.   Something else had taken over and she was just a consciousness along to witness everything.   In that time she had done a lot of things that scared her.

This must be the latest in a string of confusing events.  There was an email saying to pick up a package that would be dead dropped at this market.   Fernando’s Veggies she believed.   Her body decided to tease the forty something man looking over some produce.   It, could she call it an IT even though it controlled her body.   It picked up cucumber and did some rather provocative things with it.  Rachel felt embarrassed for the man.  And that she was doing this.  Although the man seemed to be enjoying the show, at least until his wife noticed and he began to get an earful.  Rachel wanted to apologize for causing the scene but the voice, her voice, just laughed and walked off.

“HELP!” she screamed although nothing came out, it was all internal.   Was this Hell or punishment for what she had tried to do?  How long must she endure this?   And what they hell was she doing?   There was the Fernando’s Veggie that she saw mentioned in the email but why would she be picking up something here.   She didn’t have the whole story.  It was as if she had walked in during the middle of a movie and didn’t understand why.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

the third character

Suzanne or Suz to some of her friends was always shy growing up.   She submersed herself in her books finding fantastic worlds that seemed better than her real life.  There were heroes who could do fantastic things, go on quest of epic proportions.  When she was in class she could never truly find her voice.   She knew when what was being done wasn’t necessarily the best option but she could never say things like that out loud.  Those type of statements lead to conflict and that wasn’t something she was accustomed to.  People like Denise obviously liked taking charge and was doing  such a good job at it, who was she to question her.  But in the last week a strange feeling was taking over.  There was the one incident when the guy in the line grabbed her butt and just smiled knowing that she wouldn’t ever do anything.  She felt so angry, more than she had ever felt.  She remember slamming the book she was reading with such sudden force its clap startled the guy briefly.  Then he stopped and turned her way smirking that infuriating pompous smirk.  He quit smiling quickly with the spine of the book slammed into the bridge of his nose with an audible crack, followed by a second then a third time.  His smile turned to a fearful surprise.   The blood flowing quite freely from his broken nose and he started running from her.  Suzanne panted heavily from the sudden exertion a smile beginning to grow on her face.  This felt good….real good

 

Suzanne looked around the market quickly.  Letting out an exasperated huff, “I do not have time for this crap,” looking at the time on her phone, “I am already late as it is.”   Looking over the email for the fifth time.

Your skills will be very useful to us.  It will be very profitable

to you as well.  All you need to do is pick up the package left at Fernando’s Vegetable stand.  Take package and neutralize any resistance

Bring to Wharehouse on bay 11 and the $50,000 will be given to you.

‘That is a ton of money for me right now, so I am willing to give this crazy thing a try.’  Seeing a man in his late 20’s who seemed to be walking with a purpose grew near her, Suzanne reached out and grabbed his shoulder.

“Hey buddy, where do I find Fernando’s Veggie place?”

‘Wha..?   Oh um Fernando’s … that would be the stall right at the end of this row.   It has the big picture of a tomato with a mexican flag.  Yeah Fernando is a really nice…”

“I really don’t care.” Suzanne said and turn away leaving the man standing shocked at the abruptness.  She smiled a satisfied grin.   She liked this new aggressiveness she had picked up.  No more shyness.  No more being the one who gave ground to make the group happy.

Now to find out who the hell had the package so she could be paid.

Advertisements

Writing Promt 3 – A Tattoo

This is one of the post that shows I don’t always finish the prompts in the same order of setting them up.

Prompt:

Do you have a tattoo?  what is it and why did you get it?  If not, would you ever get one?  What would the tattoo be, and what would it symbolize to you?

On June 26, 2015 I received my first tattoo.   It was something I had been considering for years but had not been able to decide on what it would be.  I just couldn’t think of something that I wanted to put on my body forever.   I knew it would be related to gaming in some fashion but what would have meaning enough to put it on skin.   I was also hesitant because I didn’t know what my pain threshold would be.  I didn’t want to start something that I would not be able to finish.

I love dice.   I do not think that is clear enough.  I LOVE DICE.  If a boardgame is based on a dice mechanic.  Games like Castle Dice, Alien Frontiers, and Marvel Dice Masters (a collectible constructible dice game – Think Magic the gathering but with dice….it was gamer crack for me)

I also  have an addiction to obtaining as many dice as possible.   I have a huge collection that has grown through the years of roleplaying games.   I think the count is somewhere over 300 last time I actually counted.  I have decorative dice that are for show and not play.  It is connected to my hobby of choice and I love my collection.   One night I was thinking of something totally random and the thought came to me.  What if the dice were similar to a yin-yang symbol.  If they were designed to show the extremes of fate and chance.   That is when the design idea came to mind.   I loved it and could imagine it being on my body for a while.

That began my search for an artist that could reproduce what was in my head.  I found Daniel at DandyLand tattoo.  I pitched the initial concept, warning him that this was my first tattoo so I didn’t know what all was involved.   He asked some clarifying questions, improving on my initial concept and by the time we were done I was confident he would be the right artist.   We set up a time for the ink and I left.    I came back about a month later to view his final design and have the tattoo done.  It was amazing.  It captured what I wanted.   My design had two D20’s (20 sided dice), 1 showing a 1 and the other showing a 20.  These show the extremes of odds one can get in a roll.  It is the worst and best outcome in each roll.  Options of everything in between exist as possibilities.    The dice are surrounded , one by fire and the other by water – two other extremes and opposites.  This is all placed over my left shoulder/ chest area.

First to me, this tattoo symbolizes the goods and bad experiences I have had within the game.  Within the narrative of the game positive and negative events happen to the character directly and in the story around them.  They have to respond to this drama within the confines of the rules, and the story that develops.

Second it also symbolizes my own personal experiences of gaming.  Roleplaying has come and gone then returned throughout the years.  There were years that I could not game because of limited access to people who shared interest.  Also a time period when my children were very young and my attention needed to be focused on them.  Then the present (2015) due to online video conferencing software, I almost have too many games.  The online setup has allowed me to find like minded gamers regardless of physical distance from each other.

Back to the tattoo, people ask if I will get another tattoo, and the answer is YES!  After the fear of pain was gone I was more willing to give some other designs a try.

1st tattoo-6-26-15

I plan to have a dragon (another of my loves) placed on my calf.  Possibly a browncoat flag / badge on my shoulder. But of course these all cost money.  So it is a slow process.  Maybe one a year would be a good rate.   So now I off to plan what and when to get my next one.

A Sharknado Fiasco

We did a thing.  A friend of mine (Brice Coolen) and I decided

cover

File link below

to write a Fiasco playset for one of our favorite series of movies – Sharknado.  It was just something to do at first, almost a joke. Shortly into it we caught our groove and   began to seriously fill out the necessary info.   To all who have played Fiasco, enjoy the playset addition to the community.  If you have not played Fiasco, why not?

If you have no idea what I am talking about let me explain.   It is a great roleplaying game created by Jason Morningstar.  You can check it out at the Bully Pulpit website.  The players create their characters, items, locations and character needs by going around the table and using some dice rolled up at the start of the game.   Once everyone has these facts established then the fun begins.   Each player takes a turn setting a scene, selecting who will be in the scene with them and roleplaying it out until it comes to a “natural” positive or negative conclusion.   It continues around the table multiple times until everything becomes an amazing mess of a story.   This is obviously a simplistic explanation and you need to ready the rules to truly understand how to play it.

I have played out the playset twice with two different groups and both times the story was wildly different but still hilarious each time.   Enjoy the playset with all the craziness that the movies themselves provided as well as Fiasco.

Shaknado – The Playset (Download and Enjoy)

Writing Prompt 4 – A Free Kiss

Writing Prompt 4 – Unusual Item – A Free Kiss

I know the danger of numbering these prompts as I begin to create them is that it reveals my scattered mentality.  That I bounce around on various topics as the mood compels me.   I do not know if that is a negative thing and it may not even be different than other writers.   I was going to hold onto this one for a while longer, maybe release it near Valentines day.  Since I have not posted anything in over a week,  I decided it was best to put this one out instead of the blog going stagnant.    I hope to have some more stuff finished before Thanksgiving vacation hits.

Writing Prompt for today : Describe one odd item that you have in your purse or wallet right now

Back in around 1992, when I was still living in Houston, before my wife and I were married.  We were still dating.  She was in San Antonio and I was in Houston attending the Art Institute of Houston.  It was a long distance relationship but through many long distance phone calls, letters and visits to San Antonio we made it work.

One time during my stay, I attended the local Renaissance Fair and picked up a card at one of the many stalls in the fair.  It was a simple business card with a parchment tan color that simply said :

“This card entitles the bearer to
One Free Kiss
from any willing man, woman or beast.”

I gave it to my girlfriend at the time (destined to become my beautiful wife) the next time I visited her in San Antonio.  I remember telling her about the Renaissance Fair, I think I had told her already in a letter but she was patient listening to it again.  Then I reached out of my wallet and handed the card to her, asking for my free kiss.   Then she kept it to ask for her free kiss the next time I saw her.  The next year we went through trading it back and forth every time we saw each other. The bearer would get their kiss then pass the card to the other person.   It was silly but it was our thing.

Through the years, it has still gotten passed back and forth, although less often but it is still a thing we do.  I smile every time I see the now bent and slightly ‘beat up’ One Free Kiss card.  In fact, I think it’s time to go get my kiss.

 

Exercise 10-4 : The Five Auditions

First anyone noticing the numbering of the exercises will notice that 10.3 is missing.  That is because I am following the episode numbers. Apparently the 3rd episode every month is going to be a Q&A episode and thus has no practical exercise that relates to the story development.  They have opted to have a writing prompt that is independent of the ongoing story development exercises.  While I have noted the writing prompt and have it in my queue of post to write it is on a lower priority than the story development post are.  Thus I am moving on to 10.4 the next in the story based exercises.

The writing exercise for today is to take one of the ideas I am excited about, and then audition five different characters for the lead role in that story. Make sure they’re all different from each other.

The idea I settled on was …

Samantha is an uncontrolled monster underneath the surface. At one time she tried to remove this evil inside but no more.  She is tired of fighting it and now is embracing it regardless of the consequences.  Will her friends be able to stand against the monster that hunts them or even survive the pending doom. Scott does not even realize that his fiance spends her nights out hunting prey and slaughtering them.

So I must audition characters for the role of Samantha.  I will use different names just to keep the concepts straight in my head.  I am not entirely certain how I should “audition” the characters for the role.   I am going to go with creating a character concept and see how that would impact the story concept listed above.  I guess I need to decide who is the actual main character Samantha the monster or Scott the fiance.  Both will create a different tone of the story.  IF I go with Samantha then it is the mind of a killer more so that the survival of the friends and I am not sure if I want to delve into that.  If I follow Scott more it turns the story into a murder mystery / slasher book.  Although another idea is to from Samantha going through the changes (or flashback to when the changes began and who she started changing) then how she is now and uncaring of what she does to a possible redemption finish?   So many choices to go with.   I will go with Samantha as the story lead and see where the story will progress after I have auditioned for her role

Samantha role as played by Denise

Denise is a strong willed woman, she has always been the one who takes charge of things. Most often was the group leader for projects in school.  She didn’t want to wait on others putting things off when her grades would be affected.  She was still respectful and still would listen to everyone’s thoughts and opinions but when a decision needed to be made, and no one would make it, she would.  Getting work at the ad firm was easy for the assertive person she was.  Now that these thoughts of aggression are going through her mind she has found herself snapping off comments at her co workers.  She even threatened Joseph yesterday when he brought up a counterpoint to her proposal.  That will not stand.  He cant be allowed to challenge her in front of the others like that.  Her dominance is being questioned.

Samantha role as played by Suzanne

Suzanne or Suz to some of her friends was always shy growing up.   She submersed herself in her books finding fantastic worlds that seemed better than her real life.  There were heroes who could do fantastic things, go on quest of epic proportions.  When she was in class she could never truly find her voice.   She knew when what was being done wasn’t necessarily the best option but she could never say things like that out loud.  Those type of statements lead to conflict and that wasn’t something she was accustomed to.  People like Denise obviously liked taking charge and was doing  such a good job at it, who was she to question her.  But in the last week a strange feeling was taking over.  There was the one incident when the guy in the line grabbed her butt and just smiled knowing that she wouldn’t ever do anything.  She felt so angry, more than she had ever felt.  She remember slamming the book she was reading with such sudden force its clap startled the guy briefly.  Then he stopped and turned her way smirking that infuriating pompous smirk.  He quit smiling quickly with the spine of the book slammed into the bridge of his nose with a audible crack, followed by a second then a third time.  His smile turned to a fearful surprise.   The blood flowing quite freely from his broken nose and he started running from her.  Suzanne panted heavily from the sudden exertion a smile beginning to grow on her face.  This felt good….real good

Samantha role as played by

Joseph (gender swap?) – Joseph has always been the athletic sort.  he excelled at almost everything he put his mind and body to.   He was a swimmer and cross country runner.  He even went rock climbing at one or two weekends a month.   His body was in peak physical condition.  He never had a problem with confidence either.  This week though he began to get some strange urges. Aggressive tendencies at the most random times.  He decided to increase his physical activity thinking it was just some excess stress that needed to be worked out.  That was until last night.   He was out for his run, and he remembered another runner on the path with him.  He thought he had met her on time, he thought her name was Denise.  Then he had apparently blacked out shortly after that time.  Then next thing he remembered regaining …awareness on the running path near the more heavily wooded area.   He was on his knees and covered in blood.   He looked at his hands, covered in red, still warm blood.   It wasn’t his as best as he could tell.  Then whose was it. He could even taste it in his mouth.  What was going on and why was it happening?

Samantha role as played by

Samuel (gender swap?) – Samuel is not the nicest of people.  He has always managed to get what he wanted in life.  Growing up as the only child in a wealthy family he had everything he asked for.  He was practically raised by the house staff who did not put any restrictions on him.  He got used to getting what he wanted with little effort.  And the few times he had to request it of someone not in his circle of servants, he grew skilled at feigning interest long enough for the person to help him do what he needed then he would move on from that person.   That is how it worked out in college, he could convince someone to help or even pay them to do so, then he would move on to the next class.  Then a glorious thing happened at least from his perspective.  He found that he didn’t have to cajole people to do things for him.   He had physical prowess now and could simply demand or threaten.   They saw something in his eyes that convinced them to do it or was it simply that he had the ability to convince them more thoroughly.  Either way is was much easier now and didn’t require the tedious work of befriending them anymore.  He felt this would be so much more fun.

Samantha role as played by

Rachel – Life was never good for Rachel.  Sure she grew up popular but that is just a facade.  People didn’t really like her for who she was, they liked her for how it would elevate their status by being seen with her.  Things got to feel so empty.  The doctors really just gave her medication to help her not embarrass her parents in front of their friend..  That’s why she stopped taking them.  She was tired of being what everyone wanted her to be.  She decided she would show them, she would teach them a lesson, one that they couldn’t pay enough money to hide.  She took all of the pills she had left.  It almost felt like sweet release from the stress of life.  She embraced the darkness that came for her and brought her into the blessed darkness of unconsciousness.

Then she regained consciousness after what seemed like a briefest of moments.  This couldn’t be right she thought.  I should be dead.  That is when she noticed the subtle difference.   She was infact awake and aware but she was not in control of her body.  Someone else was piloting her actions.  She screamed at the grotesque images that lay out before her.  She saw the now bloody, gore filled remains of her parents that lay on the floor.  She held a large kitchen knife.  Her body looked up into a mirror and she saw her body standing there, covered in the blood of her parents.  And she did not recognize the eyes that stared back at her.

Thoughts:

I like Samuel the best.  I feel like I could get the most story out of him as he is at the moment.   It would be interesting seeing him fall into this trap of the monster taking over.  Him blacking out more and scared of the loss of control over his body.   Would that drive him mad?  Is he already?   How would he ever get out of the downward spiral?  Things that need to be answered.

I have to say that I do NOT like Samuel and am not sure if i could write him with the maliciousness I think he would deserve.  I know it would alter the story in such a way that he would not be the protagonist for long.  It would have to be a story about everyone else surviving him.  I dont know if I could do a long story like that, maybe just a short story.

I am also intrigued and fearful to find out more about Rachel.   It might be interesting to explore that darker side of this story idea since there is a glimmer of hope since Rachel is still present even if she is trapped.

Wow.  This exercise ended in places I did not see coming.  I like the story ideas that are growing and hopefully will continue.  I was apparently misread this prompt with I first looked at it because I somehow did not think it continued the stories I have in front of me.  I am truly glad it did keep building these thoughts.  I am excited where this writing journey is taking me.

Exercise 10.2 – Developing the 5 ideas

Exercise 10.2 – Five Idea development

I am now charged with taking the previous 5 ideas and altering them in certain ways to hopefully develop and improve them.   I do not think the improving will be all that hard since the ideas were a bit weak, granted they were my first choices.   I am excited to see how these develop even further as the exercises progress.  Some of the revised ideas has me really excited on how much more I can / will do to it until it becomes an actual story.

Using last week’s five story ideas (or five new ones):

  1. Take two of them and combine them into one story.
  2. Take one and change the genre underneath it.
  3. Take one and change the ages and genders of everybody you had in mind for it
  4. Take the last one and have a character make the opposite choice.

The original two ideas were :

Tech support for non traditional tech support calls.  From the point of view of a tech support operator Samuel Williams, who receives calls for … surgeon having difficulty accessing his equipment.  An agent unable to activate his spy gear…. Or even a tech support for people’s memories.  They can not do a task due to a memory “glitch” and must have the tech support person access and ‘unlock’ those memories/skills/training.  Samuel must work through these tech calls rebooting the individual’s mind.  It is not until he gets a serious situation (undercover agent?) who is depending on the frequent reboots to save his life.  The frequent caller is being targeted by someone who is erasing his memory.

AND

A man who was part of a heist that was successful now has no memory of the job or even who he is.   The unfortunate part for him is that the targets of the heist are now after him and he does not understand why.  He still has his muscle memory for fighting and skullduggery but is trying to quickly find out why.   He is seeking help from sources he did not know existed and people he does not really know.

Combining those two become

A con man just finished a heist..  Unfortunately for him, he was the face-man and had the most upfront interaction with the targets. During the escape he was hit with some kind of technology that erased his memory.  He woke up in his hotel room wondering who he is, why he has a ton of money and why people are now trying to kill him.  The only thing he has in his pocket is a business card for Memory Support, a tech support for your brain.  He begins to work through the process with Ellie, his support advisor.

For my second task I take one of my ideas and change the genre underneath it. I have chosen to take my second idea listed below and alter it from a fantasy genre in a past era into a near future sci-fi genre.  This was a struggle on this idea to what other genre I could do with my heavily magic / fantasy inspired concept.   I think I could do similar things with what I want with future technology.

The original idea is

A wizard or superpowered person has the ability to create things by spoken / written word.  It must be described in great detail to allow for it to come into being.  Then something that already exist must be sacrificed to bring the new item into being.  This is not known by the caster (or is known but not told to the apprentice).  He is also struck with the inability to speak and must pass on his knowledge to an apprentice.  He struggles to teach the apprentice how to cast without the ability to speak.

It became …

Joshua is the new intern at Williams Intellectual Technologies Systems (WITS) Labs. He is pleased to be working on the new project.  It is a technology that will allow the used to disassemble matter and re assemble it in another fashion.   It is being lauded as the answer to pollution and disease.  Along the way he discovers that there are side effects to the perfect technology.  There is a exchange rate loss in mass.  Also the energy spent to power this is not as minimal as initially thought.  It could be devastating to the energy resources.  Why do the higher ups not see this? Or is he mistaken.

Next I need to take and idea and change the ages and genders of everybody you had in mind for it.  This was interesting in that I initially had a girl in her late teens and now I had a pre-teen boy.  It apparently altered the vaguely horror tone that I had into a mischievous juvenile fiction type of concept, with little to no horror elements.

Originally I had the thought of:

Have you ever walked a wooded path in a park and felt as if someone was watching?  Have you ever sat under a tree in a park and heard a strange noise and just assumed it was a small animal that you could not see?  There is some truth in this, it was something you could not see but an animal it was not.  Wooded gnomes do exist and they are not the cute little creatures you see in the gardens across America. You should be more cautious considering what they are after.  One teen girl is the target of these creatures but they only want to protect her since she is their queen who was stolen long ago.  They want to bring her back but only after she is ready.

The age and gender change altered the story concept into …

Johnny, age 12, is always in trouble.  He is the one who gets blamed when something in the house gets blamed, even if he did not touch it.  Something goes missing and is found in his room somehow, no one believes him that he never took it.  None of it is his fault. He never understood why this was happening until recently.  Apparently it has been the doings of the gnomes underneath his bed.   Of course his parents or older sister do not believe him.  Now they are calling him Lord Prince, they say he is the rightful ruler of the kingdom.(why ? what happened?)   He can apparently rule it any time his wishes.   What would he want a kingdom for, he’s only twelve!  How does he get these gnomes to leave him alone.

Finally in the fourth task I have my character make the opposite choice.  This cause the story that was sorta paranormal / urban fantasy transform into a murder / slasher flick motif containing elements of a willing descent into darkness and more focus on the friends instead of the one doing the transforming.

The original idea states:

A Dr Jekel / Mr Hyde type story.   A woman who has a SOMETHING (demon, evil, wolf, supernatural power) inside her.   She is doing everything to live normally.   She wants to get rid of it but it is fighting back, fighting to be the dominant power.  The fight is for her body and soul.  Can she win this fight? Will she have to admit what she is to others to gain their help or can she solve this by herself?

It became :

Samantha is an uncontrolled monster underneath the surface. At one time she tried to remove this evil inside but no more.  She is tired of fighting it and now is embracing it regardless of the consequences.  Will her friends be able to stand against the monster that hunts them or even survive the pending doom. Scott does not even realize that his fiance spends her nights out hunting prey and slaughtering them.

Because I have read ahead it seems that I might not be developing these ideas directly in future exercises so now I have to choose which one I want to develop more separate from the exercise activities.  So many options…

Exercise 10.1 – Five Story Ideas

Writing exercise 1 from “Writing Excuses” episode 10.1

Along with my writing prompts I am working through the podcast that I just discovered called “Writing Excuses”.  In Season 10 (2015) they began to walk through what they are calling a “master class” writing seminar.  Many of the episodes have writing exercises.  I will be working through these as I listen to the episodes.   In episode 10.1 I get my first exercise.  I hope others enjoy my travel through this as I do.  I can guarantee these ideas are not the best but according to the podcast that is not necessary, that is part of the exercise.

Exercise 10.1

Write down five different story ideas in 150 words or less. Generate these ideas from these five sources

  1. From an interview or conversation you’ve had
  2. From research you’ve done (reading science news, military history, etc)
  3. From observation (go for a walk!)
  4. From a piece of media (watch a movie)
  5. From a piece of music (with or without lyrics)

From an interview or conversation you’ve had

Tech support for non traditional tech support calls.  From the point of view of a tech support operator Samuel Williams, who receives calls for … surgeon having difficulty accessing his equipment.  An agent unable to activate his spy gear…. Or even a tech support for people’s memories.  They can not do a task due to a memory “glitch” and must have the tech support person access and ‘unlock’ those memories/skills/training.  Samuel must work through these tech calls rebooting the individual’s mind.  It is not until he gets a serious situation (undercover agent?) who is depending on the frequent reboots to save his life.  The frequent caller is being targeted by someone who is erasing his memory.

From research you’ve done (reading science news, military history, etc)

A wizard or superpowered person has the ability to create things by spoken / written word.  It must be described in great detail to allow for it to come into being.  Then something that already exist must be sacrificed to bring the new item into being.  This is not known by the caster (or is known but not told to the apprentice).  He is also struck with the inability to speak and must pass on his knowledge to an apprentice.  He struggles to teach the apprentice how to cast without the ability to speak.

From observation (go for a walk!)

Have you ever walked a wooded path in a park and felt as if someone was watching?  Have you ever sat under a tree in a park and heard a strange noise and just assumed it was a small animal that you could not see?  There is some truth in this, it was something you could not see but an animal it was not.  Wooded gnomes do exist and they are not the cute little creatures you see in the gardens across America. You should be more cautious considering what they are after.  One teen girl is the target of these creatures but they only want to protect her since she is their queen who was stolen long ago.  They want to bring her back but only after she is ready.

From a piece of media (watch a movie)

A man who was part of a heist that was successful now has no memory of the job or even who he is.   The unfortunate part for him is that the targets of the heist are now after him and he does not understand why.  He still has his muscle memory for fighting and skullduggery but is trying to quickly find out why.   He is seeking help from sources he did not know existed and people he does not really know.

From a piece of music (with or without lyrics)

[from “Monster” by Skillet]

A Dr Jekel / Mr Hyde type story.   A woman who has a SOMETHING (demon, evil, wolf, supernatural power) inside her.   She is doing everything to live normally.   She wants to get rid of it but it is fighting back, fighting to be the dominant power.  The fight is for her body and soul.  Can she win this fight? Will she have to admit what she is to others to gain their help or can she solve this by herself?

Clutch hears a Rahdeo (Radio)

This is my character in an Apocalypse World game I am playing in.  He is the Savvyhead in the group and is a bit socially awkward (or inept).  He also speaks to his machines.  Most people think it is just an aspect of his insanity but maybe there is some truth to it.   His discovery of a Radio, pronounced RahDeo by him, has been a major component in some plot points in the story.   I decided to address his initial discovery of the Radio which wasn’t necessarily talked about much in-game.

Clutch hears a Radio

The converted garage sat at the outskirts of the community named Edge.  A solitary structure visually out-of-place.  The ruined shell of a building hung onto the garage, serving no purpose but to remind all that it once was important  to this structure.  The interior of the garage walls were lined with a multitude of objects, all haphazardly stacked upon shelves and upon themselves.   The myriad of boxes and plastic tubs that held electronics of all sorts in a variety of stages of disrepair. The stacks of gears, circuit boards, wires and containers made a chaotic maze of equipment.   A buzz and hum of electricity went through the small room as many of the devices operated in whatever function that was their purpose.   It required a brave soul willing to cross the threshold of this garage, possibly putting their life in jeopardy by stepping in the wrong spot and causing an avalanche of mechanical and technological debris..

I single table sits against the east wall.  Most of its surface covered with current projects of all sorts.   The sun cast its morning light across the table, the metal components strewn about glimmering in its light.  A single occupant sat, hunched over a carburetor, reassembling all of its parts now cleaned and fixed.

“I know how this attaches, calm down” Clutch muttered.  “It isn’t my first time.”

“Did you remember to include all the pieces this time?” a electronic voice said.

“Yes, yes I did.  Stop your fussing.  I know what I am doing.”

“Sometimes I wonder” the voice quipped

“Hey, I can take your batteries out if you don’t hush. It’s real easy” Clutch admonished.

“…”

“Someone is arriving sir.  They have passed the U-H ul and are presently approaching the entryway” a different voice chimed in.

“Umm Clutch?  Is it ok to come in?” Twice asked.

Clutch looked up from his table and saw the young energetic man a little confused by the question.

“Ummm yeah.  NO WAIT!”   he exclaimed and got up to move on of the boxes at the entrance. “These not friendly.” Putting one of the spare lids onto the tub and sliding it into a whole  under a shelf.   “Come in.”

Twice walked in cautiously allowing his eyes to adjust to the difference in lighting.  “So who were you talking to?”

“Umm My machines of course! Who else would I talk to in here?”

“Right.   Hey Lost wanted me to bring this in.  It was something that I found on a recent scavenge run.” Twice held out a small metal device about the size of a loaf of bread, “I can’t figure out how to get it to run but of course it looks like some kind of device and that is your area.  Lost thought you might want to take a look at it.   She also wanted me to tell you about our gathering tonight.   She said you were missed the last meeting and are always welcome back.  And well that’s all I got, I am going to head to Tao’s to get some breakfast.  Apparently Blender found some powdered eggs last run.  It is bound to be good.  So I guess that’s it!   Bye” he left as quickly as he arrived, a sudden expression of relief on his face.  Whether  is was to be leaving the cramped garage or just Clutch’s presence was unclear.   Clutch was used to this reaction by now, he had experienced it most of his life, the uncomfortableness others had around him.   He knew that he could probably do something to alleviate it but understanding humans was so much more difficult that understanding machines.

“You did not make that easy on him, sir” a dignified voice observed.

“I wasn’t trying to make it difficult. Kindle, It just isn’t easy to understand what to do sometimes.” Clutch commented

“Hell … brzzztt… just dont worry …zztzz ‘bout them fleshbags….they..they…they…they.. you dont need them” a static filled voice added.

“On the contrary, he DOES need human interaction or else will fall into a yet another of his states of isolation.  Who knows how long it would take for him to come out of that this time,” Kindle added.

“Kindle, ‘Pod, can you two stop talking about me like I am not here. I need to look at this new equipment.”  Clutch took his shop rag and began to wipe clean all the years of dirt and grime that had built up on the object.   “It’s no surprise it wouldn’t work.  They don’t think of simply cleaning it, treating it with respect before trying to turn it on.” After twenty minutes of thorough wiping, brushing and a cautious use of water, the device looked much newer.   Where the paint still remained it was red in color. It surprisingly had very little rust.  That made him wonder where it had been stored to limit the water exposure.  He turned it over a few times examining the various scratches on the body.  There was a dent at the right front corner, which was not bad for something that was obviously this old.  Most of the devices he received looked much worse.  Flipping it back over to the front, he began to read one of the words still found on it

“R..rrraaaahhh..Deeeee ooooo. RahDeo.  It must be called a Rahdeo.  Now to figure out what it can do.”  Slowly and methodically Clutch began to analyze the Radio, disassembling it to see if anything inside was broken or disconnected.  He worked on this project ignoring the sun’s journey across the sky until it had progressed across the sky and began to set making it difficult to see the smaller components of the Radio.   It was only then that he realized he had not eaten anything the entire day.  His stomach growled letting him know of its anger with this decision.  It was time to at least get a little food.   Clutch stood up and left his garage abruptly, not bothering to close the bay door, knowing no one would bother his stuff.

He walked to Tao’s to get a quick bite to eat.  Clutch was so focused on imagining what the Radio might be that his normal anxiety of crowds did not begin to surface as it might normally.  He arrived at the small diner moving on autopilot.  As he opened the door sound escaped from the small place.  People talking about the night before, making plans for what was to happened today and any other gossip that was floating around town.  The sound of dishes clinking together with the sounds of people enjoying their breakfasts.  It was those noise and chatter  that pulled Clutch back into reality.  He quickly approached a table, one closest to the exit, his favorite.  He tried to avoid any eye contact with the patrons of the diner.  He saw Prime looking at him out of the corner of his eye.   She didn’t like him, and he wasnt sure why.   He knew it has started back when he saw a flaw in her weapon and took it apart to fix it.  It was a simple defect that could have cause the gun to jam after a certain amount of use.  He tried to explain it to her but his words did not come out right, they never seem to come out, more so when talking with women.

“It’s so much easier talking to machines” he mumbled.

“Did you say something Clutch dear?” Ile said as she stood there.  “Do you want your usual?”

“OH!” Clutch looked up not realizing she had approached .  “I guess.  And I want to take it to my shop if I can”

“Sure sweetie.  You are always good with bringing the dish back.  I’ll get Tao to fix it up for you real quick.”

After five minutes he had a bowl of Tao’s oats with grilled meat.   It actually wasn’t bad.  Tao was a master of making the simplest of ingredients taste amazing. It wasn’t like he had a lot to work with either.  He spooned a few mouthfuls in as he walked, no sense in wasting time.   He had just come up with an idea of what to do with the Radio. His pace picking up in excitement.

A few hours later Clutch sat up from his work table and stretched his sore muscles.  He had set up some lights that he normally kept stored in the U-H ul, reserved for those times he wanted to work after sunset.  His joints and spine popped, releasing their tension and enjoying the stretch.

“Sir, Do you think you have been able to fix it?” Kindle asked

“Yeah bzzzttt… ya got it workin’… bzzrpppttt … it’ll be fun to have to have to have to have zzzz another to talk to.” ‘Pod said

“We I think so,” Clutch looked upon his work with the start of a smile starting, “But there is only one way to find out.”  As he switched the toggle that read On / Off into the ON position.

Static filled the air.

“Hmm that seems like an odd thing to do.”

“Brzzzttt… Seems damn stupid, zzzcccckkk if you ask me” ‘Pod stated.

Clutch began to move the small dial on the side of the Radio.  The static changed slightly in tone but nothing distinguishable came out.  He was on his second trip with the dial, moving much slower this time, ear pressed against the speaker.

zzzztttzzzzccckzzzkzzz. we are calling the followers…

Clutch sat up quickly.  The Radio spoke but not in the way his other machines spoke.   They had discussions or commentary with him about what is happening.  This seemed to be calling from an external source.  He realized he must find out more, this could be important..

Descriptive Exercise #1 – Dice

As I read through the Word Painting book, it has a few exercises I can do.  This is my first one.  I obviously need a bit more practice with this, but this blog isnt about perfection.   It is about the journal to where ever this leads me.    Enjoy my first attempt.


The over-sized six-sided (D6) die is approximately 1.5 inches cubed.  Its material is a rock that shows layers of earth much like a geological sample from the Grand Canyon.  Its colors ranging from all shades of brown with a light stone grey on the top surface of the die.  This is also the side that shows 6 red pips in its surface.   The die is polished in such a way that is reflects the light with a dulled shine.   It has a smoothed surface yet has the faintest of texture remaining. This texture giving the stone die a subtle wood texture to the surface.  A crack on the side of the four surface winds its way up until stopping just before the six side.  The pips of two through five are colored in black while the one and six are colored in red.  The die also has some significant weight. It thuds to one side when tipped, giving the feel of the boulder that chased Indiana Jones only smaller.   Subtle imperfections cover the surface, some of the pips not being perfectly round. Its circumference marred with chips and jagged edges as if worn through years of erosion.   This only appears on the one side, making one wonder what made this side show more wear than the others.  The other pips are in their respective parts yet not correctly aligned,  It gives everything the feel of something handmade, each pip being hand drilled into the surface manually. This is not the work of a precise computer but the loving hands of someone crafting this die with their own skill.

I wish I had paid more attention when…

Another writing prompt today.  I don’t think this is what the author of the prompts had in mind but this is where my mind went to.  When the Muse comes I must obey.

“I wish I had paid more attention when….”

You know how you can look over your life and the choices you have made. I don’t mean the whole life flashing before your eyes sort of thing, but more of a introspective view.  Well what I most regret is not paying attention during the countless hours of roleplaying end of the world games.  Those scenarios had some useful tips and techniques that could have proved useful right now.   

The metal pole drove deeply into the eye socket of the zombie with a satisfying “KA-THUNK”.  The zombie stopped its approach immediately, collapsing to the ground.  Another of the undead had fallen.

Had I paid attention I would have noticed that this location was a perfect ambush setting.  I don’t mean that Zombies think strategy and tactics but there were a lot of blind spots I didn’t consider when I came down here for supplies.  Blind spots that apparently held scores of Zombies milling about out of sight.  Zombies that were all too happy to show themselves when they got a whiff of living human walking around….whistling.

Another zombie dropped to the ground as all automatic brain functions ceased.  The twenty-three remaining mindless carnivores shambled closer, reaching for their prey, moaning.

Some more attention to those games could have told me that my current supplies were really sufficient.  Any more was clearly just indulgence.  Seriously how many cans of beans does one really need  at one time. Do I really think there will be a rush on the Super Mart on aisle 7?  Heeding advice on encumbrance charts would have pointed out that adding more weight reduced my speed and increased my bulkiness. All of this significantly limited my options of escape.

Two more of the undead worked through the narrow opening to encounter their final moments.  The sharpened pole KA-THUNKED its targets, ending their life for the second and final time.

Then of course there is all the combat strategy I could be employing.  One does not simply walk into a Zombie infested Super Mart.  Hey I really did know these things but I just grew lax with how good the past few weeks have been.  I let my guard down, yet another lesson forgotten.  

A zombie slowly approached from behind, drawn here by the noise of a struggle at the main entrance.  Two more creatures struggled to push through the revolving door and gain entrance to the building.  Decaying arms reached through an opening they had created by sheer force of numbers.  The door was rotating open then rotating closed like a see-saw in a child’s playground.  The lone human struggled as he fought to keep the door closed.This  prevented him from noticing the zombie approaching.  As it arrived its target and bit down on the meaty part of the neck.  A terrified scream followed by the victim falling to the ground.   Within seconds the horde swarmed and fell on to the human, eager to join the new buffet.

Oh yeah  I never really understood the whole mechanics of grappling.  I guess no one really did.  I wish I had paid more attention when ….

~The End~