Weekly Writing Prompt Response: 7/24-7/30 (2016)

Well, I meant to write this earlier in the week, but I got… somewhat sidetracked, and it didn’t happen.

I had a massive 5k day yesterday, and my brain is still a bit fried from all that, so I’m sure I’m not doing justice to the vision in my head but you know what? Doesn’t matter. Sometimes less is more.

This week’s prompt is here, by Amanda, as usual.


Jump

They say it’s a rush, jumping out of an airplane. More without a parachute. People, all sorts of people, say it’s a bigger thrill than sex or chocolate, better than winning the lottery at forty-something mil.

Let me tell you: they are absolutely not wrong.

Well, no. They are. Falling sucks. Flying, on the other hand, is amazing. I’ve been in the air for four hours– after a disastrous pep-talk from the military instructor, which basically amounted to and if you could do this on the ground, we’d be doing it there, but you already know how to jump and fall so it’s time to kick the chicks from the nest– and it may have taken a bit of time to get my balance, a little, get my feet under me and stop the dizzying vertigo, talk my wings into flaring out, feathers spread. But I got that down now. The ground hasn’t come any closer in the last four hours, and it’s a rush, to slice through the wind.

I can hear Lillian laughing, breathless through the comlink, as Tobias twists himself into a string of barrel rolls. Montgomery is rambling physics, a language I can’t speak and his conversation partner Rachel can barely follow.

And then there’s me.

All I’ve been doing for the last four hours is falling in love with the sky. And the wind. And my wings, as they carry me above the trees far, far below.

It’s not what I expected when I signed up for the program. But that’s good, because this is better.


And while we’re at it, lets have a list of people who’ve done it, yeah? Yeah! Good job guys!

Amanda’s | Kayla’s

Join us! I know you can come up with something super clever too.

-Natasha

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Camp July, 7/29 (2016)

NaNoWriMo

I can’t say for sure I’ve done anything on my novel in the last week. That happens; I met my goal, I went over my goal, I took a break.

I didn’t stop writing, though. I went to stretch out on other things, and I am apparently weirdly confidant in my abilities after this Camp because I did a thing and I joined a writing fest.

It was not planned. I swear. (I’ve dumped over 4k in it just today. Meep.) But it’s probably going to keep me occupied until NaNo, which is great. I look forward to seeing you guys NaNoers during November!

–Natasha

Current Count: 4,021/3,100

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Book Review: The Paradox Initiative by Alydia Rackham

The Paradox Initiative by Alydia Rackham
Reviewed: March 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition

Although I’ve never had the chance to read any of Alydia’s other original works, I’ve read some of her writing before and went in well-aware that this would be a good book. What I didn’t expect was quite how well it would be, or how it would turn out.

Kestrel Evans is a very real, understandable character– when you realize she’s in our future, and not our present, and so of course things are different. But despite that she’s relatable, which is important in reading any good book for me. Though also she’s not helpless, which is important in a female MC. I don’t know why, but in most stories a ‘helpless princess’ character leaves me frothing at the mouth. Kestrel? I was cheering.

Jack Wolfe, too, catches and holds you– though to be fair, as a proper gentleman of merit and a man of his sensibilities, Jack was going to catch my attention anyway. Alydia designed him well, because he caught so many of my buttons and I was constantly going back to reread Kestrel’s interactions with him, trying to figure out what sort of man he was. (Though she threw me with where he was from! Sssh. I shan’t give any spoilers! But I do love what she did there like you wouldn’t believe.)

Likewise the ‘villain’ of the story, William Jakiv, is a very human character, unlike many villains in most ‘romance’ stories I’ve read. He is given a bit of play in the book, fleshed out properly, and his motivations are explained very well. I felt bad for him, vindicated at the conclusion of the story, but still bad. A villain with reasons– motivations– is important to me, as much as any of the heroes.

The romance didn’t feel rushed or too slow. I read Pride and Prejudice once, and couldn’t figure out why there would be any romance being as they didn’t interact, and then in like, the last ten pages BAM, suddenly instant attraction and romance and lets-get-marrieds. Paradox Initiative didn’t do that; it was fluid and easy, like a paintstroke. And believable.

But the romance was beautiful. The story was beautiful. I have been left wanting for more, wishing that it had not stopped quite where Alydia left us, despite the fact that she tied up most of the loose ends quite well and wove in the strands. The one that’s missing?

Oh, just Mr Evans’ answer to Jack’s doubtless important question.

Trekking Tuesdays: 7/26/16

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So some of you know that every Tuesday, when it’s within my abilities, I go up with my mother and jog with my sister and her son. And about a dozen other people, because my sister runs with a running group.

I’m not so hot in crowds. I don’t do well around other people, and I’m not well socialized. Plus: large groups of people, large collections of moving vehicles, and cities in general all spook me like you wouldn’t believe. A socially awkward skittish lass, that’s me.

A few weeks ago, my mother bought me these spiffy new shoes. They’re for jogging, and work, and while they’re not necessarily custom-fitted to my feet, they’re very well designed for my foot style, which is about as close as I can get to going to a shoemaker and paying both legs to get something to fit. Which would rather defeat the purpose of getting shoes, yes?

But they work magic for me. We went a mile and a half last week; no pain, except the twist in my ankle where I’m trying to straighten my gait. We went nearly two this week and I didn’t bother trying to work on my walk, I focused entirely on full steps and hunting for pain and twinges. Zero in my joints, although I did make the mistake of drinking some water on the walk, which gave me a glorious pain in my stomach. Whoops.My bad. At least I didn’t drink enough to make me sick?

Two miles doesn’t seem like a lot to some people, and it’s certainly not a lot to me. I did three on my first stretch out, but I did it in my broken-in and several year old work shoes, and I didn’t do it without pain. The time after it was raining; I did a mile in agony, my joints and injuries inflamed by the weather. A half-mile out, and a half-mile back; and I limped and nearly cried both ways. The relief I felt when I used a topical pain relief/muscle relaxant was amazing.

The running group is based out of a local store, owned by a runner himself who recently placed twelfth in the Badwater 135, a Death Valley footrace that only lasts forty-eight hours. The Badwater 135 touts the record as the world’s most challenging race offered, and considering the weather in Death Valley, and the fact that it’s almost a perpetual uphill climb, I can see why. But the point is: this man is a professional. He knows his stuff.

My mother mentioned to him, while I was dealing up my relief, what was going on. I’m not sure who’s idea it was, but he immediately insisted I come over and get checked out, do a couple tests. I did.

Turns out in addition to all my other issues, I do a twist-kick when I use my whole foot in a run, which granted usually only occurs on short stretches but is still an issue, and possibly part of my jogging problem. But you know what? He found me a pair of shoes that negates all the pain. Or, at least, all the pain thus far.

I’m walking, breaking in the shoes and getting used to not feeling the twinge in my calf or the grind in my hip. I match pace with my nephew, so I haven’t tried jogging yet since he hasn’t, but initial testing in the store did nicely. But in walking alone, so far? No pain. Eventually I’ll walk more, further and further. I’ll jog or maybe even run.

Obviously there are still aches and pains from everyday use. Getting to the group is an hour’s drive at least from my house to the city where it’s held. That’s an hour trapped in a vehicle without a chance to stretch my legs, which means when my ankle, knee and hip get tight, I can’t work them loose. It’s an hour or more home, since the return trip is usually in the dark, which is another stretch where I can’t loosen them up. All those fun nifty bones in my feet are still learning the lay of the shoe, so used to my day shoes that wearing another is somewhat uncomfortable.

But it’s getting better. I can feel it. I hurt less, and any chance to hurt less is great.

–Natasha

PS: Apparently ice cream is a thing that’s becoming a thing, after runs. Jacoba Almond Fudge is great. Tastes a little bit like coffee, maybe vanilla, a little bit like fudge chocolate, a little bit like almonds. Waffle cones are also great; especially the ones dipped in chocolate and coated with nuts. Unfortunately, waffle cones are also massive, and effectively Too Much for my belly in general, but especially after a run. The coffee taste is very subtle, cut with the chocolate and the almonds, but I can’t tell what the base is.

Oh well.

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Camp July, 7/22 [2016]

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is important overall, partly because it gets writers writing together.

Writers often have a huge issue climbing over this thing called Writer’s Block. It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a real blockage, but sometimes it can mean a lack of momentum or willpower to continue. That happens when you write alone and don’t necessarily have someone to keep you on track with your work.

Why is this an issue?

This is an issue because it’s incredibly hard to get back on track.

NaNoWriMo, however, is National Novel Writing Month. It tasks writers around the world to get together during the month of November to write 50,000 words in a scant 30 days. Millions of writers bring themselves to the task and champion through it.

But NaNoWriMo doesn’t just occur in November. Camp NaNoWriMo occurs in April and July, 30 and 31 one days respectively. Camp NaNoWriMo is harder for me because it’s a set your own goal type of thing, and I am incredibly difficult at tasking myself to my own goals without someone to stick me in the ribs.

Now, obviously those of you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo know about Camp. But some of you aren’t. Why is Camp NaNoWriMo important? Because NaNoWriMo proper only occurs once a year. But Camp officially runs twice a year, boosting it to three times a year. So three times a year, writers around the world are brought together to write together. Writers boost other writers to climb over their individual writer’s blocks.

They do it simply by being there.

–Natasha

Current Count: 4,021/3,100

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Weekly Writing Prompt Response: 7/17-7/23 (2016)

Writing Prompts1

I did it. I did the prompt early. Early-ish. Whatever. I did it before Saturday. Moving on!

This week’s prompt posted by Amanda — because Amanda drops amazing prompts and I’m currently too lazy and harried to find or make my own– inspired a lot of things. Some of which I’m not done with yet. Oh well. Maybe you’ll get them eventually. Who knows!

One of them that is done, however, gets to be below! Whee!

It’s still fanfiction, which is something I’m more comfortable posting online right now than my original work, so that’s just as well. The fandom is Transistor and it’s (comparatively) short but well worth a play through at least once. The story is amazing, the art is amazing, the villains are amazing, the hero is a strong woman who’s love interest is now her weapon.

Moving on. Have 900+ words cross-posted to my Ao3.


The Angel of Music

It wasn’t the easiest thing he had ever done, being someone’s kept man. But it was one of the nicest ones. And it didn’t hurt, either, that his keeper was Euterpe herself, with hair of fire and eyes of Spanish blue. Red was his muse, and he, she liked to say, was her own.

He didn’t believe it, of course. What could a ruffian like him ever inspire in someone like her? But what could he say, if she really did? A woman like Red, nobody told her no, and he was weak in the face of her sweet smile. Happiness like what she possessed, like what she inspired…

It was like magic, and she knew it. She knew the power she had over people, she knew the measure of it, how damning it could be. And she knew to be careful with it.

And that was what he loved about her the most.

It was a side-effect that he didn’t have to register for anything. Red was content to keep their trysts to the dark, out of the public eye. Sometimes paparazzi still staked out her apartment in Highrise. Technically she could say he was her bodyguard, and she wouldn’t be wrong. Sometimes he did underground fighting, paid off the grid, or he’d get work delivering Jan’s flatbread to the darker parts of town. But while he had made a living that way before Red, he didn’t have to. He could live. He could live, and love, and boy, did he love.

There was something precious to see Red wrapped up in her work while wearing the black and gold of him. Some days he would catch her humming, or trying out the lyrics of a new song in their apartment. All too often she stole his jacket. Sometimes when they were home, but always when she ventured out to the circuits where he fought. He was a bodyguard by profession but he was a boxer by choice, and there was nothing more thrilling than a bout between two consenting adults. Not that.. his fighting had started that way.

But he was quick, and sly, and he had a good one-two knockout.

Red was the real knockout. Red was an angel, his own Euterpe. That was why, when she asked him, dressed up in spun gold and wearing his glowing triangle and a bold, black belt around her waist, held her hands up and said, I want you there. Will you come? No one will see you backstage.

Well.

No one told Euterpe no, and he couldn’t tell Red no, not the way she glowed and glimmered with hope. Her return debut, and she wanted him there.

It was a good thing he’d gone.

It was a good thing he’d gone, or it would be Red laying here, lost and alone and dying, electric blue in his vision. They’d tried to kill her; this.. this thing would have severed her, cut her right in half. He’s too broad, it sinks in and sticks but at least he doesn’t fall apart.

He doesn’t even feel it. But he can see her when she approaches him, shivering, hands drawn around herself. It’s cold in this part of Cloudbank, and she’s bare-armed, dressed in feathers and cold silk that trails behind her like a river.

She’s pale, too, washed out with shock, breathing heavily, and he wants to wrap his arms around her and wrap her up in his jacket like he always does, except.

Except.

“Look at you,” he breathes, grateful for that. He hadn’t been sure who was walking up, only heard the quiet tap of heels on stone streets. “You’re alive. Me, I’m not so sure.” Red shivers. Her eyes water. His heart lurches in pain; he never wanted to see her cry. Crying would make her makeup run, splotch her cheeks with an unflattering scarlet mottling. Her shoulders shake.

He scrambles for something to lighten the mood. “Could use your help. I know this looks bad.” He didn’t, really. He could imagine how bad it looked, but even when he caught fists with his face, he didn’t end up this.. bad. Like a cut marionette. One the Camerata had disemboweled.

Red shivers. Hunches down into herself. Her mouth parts in a quiet sob, sucking air, unable to breath. There’s no sound. If she breaks down here, he can’t even give her a shoulder to cry on. He doesn’t know if she’s hurt if she doesn’t talk to him. He doesn’t have the strength to get up and find out himself.

“Hey, say something already.” Panic grips him by the chest, somewhere above where the sword– he thinks it’s a sword–lays lodged in his body. He is not usually one for begging. “Say something, will you?”

Red opens her mouth, still shaking, calls his name. Kneels down next to him, incautious, and wraps her arms around him, calls his name against his skin as she shakes and cries.

Realization sinks into him as clear as the blade. Euterpe is the muse of music, strong and glorious on stage and full of light and laughter. She’s the muse of song.

“Oh no. Oh, Red…”

She can’t sing. She no longer has a voice. The Camerata stole it.

He wonders if it’s because of the concert. He never should have let her do it. He should have been.. He should have been able to protect her. That was why he was there, that was all he was good at. Of all the things in his life he failed at, he hates the most that this is one of them. This is the one he should have been able to do right, that he had needed to be able to do right.

“Oh, Red. You’re okay. We’re okay.”


I think I’ll take a page out of Amanda’s book this week and heavily encourage people to do the prompt. If you do, give me a ping and I’ll link you here on this page!

Other Responses to the Prompt:

Amanda’s
Phil Charles’
Jasmina Offer’s

Later folks!
–Natasha

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Remediation: Five for the World

Here’s the thing about remediation that I can’t convince people of: it’s always happening. Maybe not always in obvious ways, but it’s happening. Tropes? That’s remediation. Applying one medium into a different medium. The differences imposed from one way to another are often known as artist’s prerogative, writer’s voice, or director’s cut. Little changes throughout mediums change the way things are depicted.

But the idea behind remediation remains the same. Take an idea or object and reproduce it as many times through different mediums as humanly possible. And then a few more for good measure.

I’ll cover an individual topic through various media later, but for now let’s focus on one media: television.

And let’s just focus on one concept to remediate: five save the world. There have been a lot of different takes on this concept, especially for television. Let’s see what’s come up of it, yes?

Power Rangers always begins with a team of five, and I’ve never seen it fail. Often they gain new members as time goes on, but five is a good, solid number for them.

Voltron is much like Power Rangers in that the team has five fighting members, but considering that’s the theme of the post, it should come as a surprise to nobody.

la-et-images-from-voltron-legendary-defender-2-004-900x506

Saint Seiya has a core hero group of five, and a secondary hero group of five.

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Sailor Moon‘s original hero crew is cast entirely of girls, not including the Plucky Sidekick slash Love Interest, Tuxedo Mask (not pictured.)

Wolf’s Rain is one of those on the list who’s heroes are not humans at all, but, guess, wolves! I am very sad, but I cannot find an image with the whole crew to show you. The fifth member of Wolf’s Rain‘s hero troop doesn’t join in the beginning of the series, and is often left out of much. Meanwhile the girl in pink here is the team’s Damsel in Distress sidekick.

Disney’s Gargoyles has five surviving gargoyles plus one stone dog.

 

Godzilla functions due to a team of scientists, and one very large irradiated reptilian. But, hey, five scientists!

So what’s my point? “Five save the world.” All these shows have five people, or gargoyles, or wolves, saving the world. “World” is subjective, of course; in the case of Gargoyles, it’s mostly their own world, trying to save themselves, and in Godzilla they’re trying to save the world and the population from the effects of radiation and it’s mutations. Power Rangers and Sailor Moon both occur on Earth– usually, but sometimes elsewhere– attempting to protect it from powers outside the bounds. Voltron’s actually attempting to rescue Earth and Many Other Worlds. Saint Seiya’s out to save the world from the machinations of Gods.

All these shows cover different things, but they all depict one thing: five save the world. But taking this one concept and running it through different people to put on the screen created numerous different shows. This is a form of remediation at work.

That said, just because something has been done, don’t be afraid to try it, or reference it, or depict it in your own measure. Charles Caleb Colton claims “Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.”

–Natasha