All posts by kate

I don’t have anything

Having accidentally missed a post on Monday, I was hoping to have more words today. I was feeling good over the weekend – I had energy!

But today I’m just drained.

The garden’s growing. The walls are getting covered in plaster. I got a little bit of writing done. I met Ryan’s family at the weekend, saw my own, had ice cream, did a lot of driving. I’ve got new review books and the cat likes me.

I’ve got a lot of big life changes happening at the moment, and while I knew it was going to be hard, it always feels different when I’m living it.

I’m still here. Just very tired. But on the plus side, that means the cat gets all the cuddles!

Old writing: Archivists

cartographerI’d forgotten how much I loved Mir…I’ve got this marked as 2006, which is probably about right. This is just a snippet, and it transformed into a story about people living on another world with the addition of a mystery bunch of time-and-space-movers, of whom Mark is one. It’s definitely got too much tell rather than show, and is still very mystery-girl-saves-the-day, but…I do keep meaning to go back to this sometime. Maybe Mir will show up in a future work.

The image is Cartographer by Donato Giancola, which was a lot of the inspiration.

A girl had been working at the table by the wall, unnoticed by Mark. All that he could see of her was a black leather jacket with the sleeves rolled up. She had dark trousers and sturdy calf-length boots, and she was bent over a scroll, drawing something onto it. Mark slipped off his chair, moving slowly over to try and see what she was doing. She was drawing on one of the scrolls, using red ink…he could see a brown hand holding the quill, with a green bracelet curving up her arm. The girl seemed to sense him watching and turned her head to see who it was.

Mark blinked. The girl had fine brown hair that framed her oval face, and dark eyes that met his with surprise and shock in equal measures. She was pretty in a quiet sort of way, and seemed quite young. The girl carefully put her pen down, frowning, and then unbent from the table to look properly at Mark.

The girl’s eyes scanned the boy’s face, noting the blue-green eyes and brown hair, the boy’s high cheekbones and straight nose. He was wearing slightly odd clothes – a rather ragged grey top and dark trousers. He seemed about fourteen, but had a bewildered look that made him seem younger. His hair was messy and he looked tired, and his eyes had a look of hopelessness in them that seem to be ingrained. What had happened to him?

“Who are you?” she asked, her voice faintly accented. “Did Mirell bring you in?”

“Mirell?” Mark said, his voice suddenly becoming husky. He swallowed hastily. “Who’s Mirell?” Did they speak the same language or did she speak his, he wondered? He obviously wasn’t at home, and it didn’t look like anywhere on Earth. Maybe he was dreaming…he’d got hit on the head and this was a delusion. It had to be.

The girl pointed behind him to where the two men were bent over another table, discussing something intently. “Mirell’s the younger one – he’s got blue-tint hair. The other’s Teol. And Jir just left, just before you came in.”

Mark stared at her blankly. “Mirell found me. Someone called Liumenn wanted to know who I was and what I was doing here, and Mirell pretended he knew me…how does he know me?”

“And brought you up here. We’ve been expecting someone.” the girl said simply. “We’re the historians, you see. The Archivists. We keep the records, the maps, the files. Everyone else regards it as a lost subject. So we don’t bother correcting them. There are only a few of us, spread amongst the centres, but we have some special skills.”

“You shouldn’t be telling him that.” said a grumpy voice behind them.

“Why not?” the girl answered calmly, looking over Mark’s shoulder at Teol.

“We don’t know who he is.”

“Alright.” Mirell said, walking over and touching Teol on the shoulder. “Let’s get this sorted. We have a strange boy who has simply appeared in the middle of the centre. We have no idea who he is or where he’s come from, yet I bring him up here…mainly to get him out the clutches of the professors and scientists. He’s not from our world and has no idea of what’s happening. About right, Mart?”

Mark sat down on the chair again, feeling bewildered as Teol and Mirell began to talk together again. So he had just appeared here? He didn’t understand…what had happened? Where was he?

The girl was looking at him in sympathy. “You won’t have any idea about our world, I guess.” she said. “It’ll be totally strange. I’ll try and help you, because until we figure out where you’ve come from and why you’re here, you’re stuck here.”

Mark met her dark eyes, feeling despair slowly creeping over him. Everything was far too strange and was too much for him to take in…what had happened?

“You’re on a world called L’uimal.” the girl explain quietly as Teol and Mirell began to talk about something else, Teol hurrying over to another table to find a piece of paper. “This is a centre, a place of learning. There are three continents, and this area is called Reingnne. Are you okay so far?”

Mark nodded.

“Now, the Archivists – which is us – are special. We have some contacts with other worlds, mainly through documents left by others who travelled. In the past, there used to be people – called Andres – who could travel between worlds. We’ve lost the skills and we don’t think that any have visited us for the last three hundred years. We don’t know what happened to them. But anyway, that’s purely academic.” The girl smiled. “Mirell studies that. It’s his subject. Anyway, you’ve just suddenly appeared from nowhere. I…I felt it happen, and Mirell happened to be down there and brought you up. Liumenn would have loved to have you to study.”

Mark stared at her. People who could travel between worlds? “How many worlds are there?” he asked after a moment of silence.

“There are numerous spheres – I used the wrong term saying worlds. There’s one universe, and millions of spheres in that. The worlds are inside the spheres. There can be several worlds inside one sphere, for example.” she explained.

“I come from…” but he couldn’t really remember. It all seemed like a dream. He didn’t want to go back there, to be hit and starved…how could he get back, though? If he didn’t know how he got here how would he get back?

“Earth.” the girl filled in softly. “Mirell got your name wrong, but Mart is a better version for here. Mark is a little odd.”

“How did he know my name?”

“It shows. You look like a Mark.”

“How much do you know about me?”

“Enough.” the girl said absently, listening to Mirell and Teol. “I think Mart is better. And you’re a youngling…that’s someone who comes to see what we do, or gets adopted and becomes an apprentice later. Mirell seems to have adopted you, so that’s okay. We’ll have to see what you’re here for. I don’t know how you got here but you must be here for a reason.”

The door opened and Jir slid back in, his open, honest face smiling. “Greetings, people. Who’s this?” he added, spotting Mark.

“Mart. Mirell’s adopted him as a youngling.” the girl said before Mirell or Teol could speak. “He’s from Earth. I’m wondering what he’s here for.”

“What’s your name?” Mark asked as Jir wandered over and the two older men began to argue the girl’s question between themselves.

“My name?” the girl said with a grin as Jir leaned on the table nearby, listening. “Which name would you like?”

“She’s Mira, normally.” Jir filled in. “Your full name’s Miranda, isn’t it, Mir?”

Mark stared around him, the knowledge that he was in a foreign and alien world finally sinking in. He couldn’t get home, and had no idea about how this world worked. Abruptly, he put his head in his hands and began to cry with helpless tears.

No Man’s Sky: alpha-read progress!

My wonderful alpha reader has just finished her first read of No Man’s Sky, and I’ve been squeaking with delight. This is how you should feel – when you get comments back, it’s “YES, of course!” or “Ooh that’d work” or “Hmm, how do I do that?” or “Now that’s a good idea…”

Comments should make you think. Make you write. Make you see a different side of the characters. Show you what’s on the page, and make you think about how you’ve portrayed the world or the people or the conversation. Can you tweak it to add more anger? Can you show the hurt? Can you add in a conversation with some foreboding? What happened during that event? Can they go to that place which sounds really interesting?

My other beloved alpha, Ryan, gave me some comments too – and it’s always reassuring when both alphas highlight the same things! I wish he was here to re-read my changes, and I miss his wisdom, his comments, his laughter. But that’s life. He’s got the dedication already, and he knew it. I miss him so much, even when it’s a nice feeling of getting back into something and using his comments and thoughts. I really miss him.

Anyway! I’ve now got a lot of work and a lot of thinking to do. I need to make it faster, give it an additional bit of pace, an impetus to their quest that’s external to both of the character’s internal drives. I need to make Arran more shocked and hurt, and toy with his feelings more. I need to show more of the world.

I enjoyed writing this one, so it’s a pleasure to get back into it and start adding to it.

Ps. The two favourite lines;

“I’m going to be grown-up and then I can do all the things, and I’ll never have to eat stew again!” – this from a six-year old 😀

And, “The goose was unimpressed.” Because…geese.

No Man’s Dawn: writing a bastard

Luk is a bastard. And he’s great fun!

He’s a version of the Knight from my Dresden writing, and a version of him also snuck into the Dresden RPG – Ryan wanted to play him for our next session. The character sheet was awesome to make; basically, if he can fight or screw his way out of a situation then he will, and if he can’t, then he’ll weasel out of it. He’s mostly looking out for himself, has a definite way with words, and is just generally a git.

He comes in to No Man’s Land, but he’s a bit less of a dupek at that point. No Man’s Dawn is a prequel, set about ten years before No Man’s Land…and I get to have Luk be his original, bastard self.

This is just the start of him; he gets worse! *big author grin*

 

But the first thing I do after I swing myself out from under the very comfortable duvet is pull out the two trinkets I stole from the crone in the Otherworld yesterday.

In the morning light, they look plain and dusty. One is a set of thin bracelets, held together with a leather strap woven down one edge; the other side jangles faintly as I pick them up. Seen through the Sight, this cluster of thin silver rings looks like it contains a fairly potent shielding spell, or maybe a concealment. I’d have to get someone a bit more knowledgeable than I am to have a look.

The second item looks, frankly, like a small red carrot. It’s heavy, slightly bobbled, pointed at one end and blunt at the other. It doesn’t look like it does anything.

I hold it in my palm and flick my Sight on. It’s magical, sure, and…it looks like it’s got some kind of trigger spell on it. You’d have to put magic into it to start whatever the magic is that it contains, and I’m not feeling that today. That’s a pretty good way to get your metaphorical fingers burned when the main spell sucks you dry. No thank you.

I put both of the items in one of the desk drawers, and sling the invisibility cloak over my naked shoulders. Polly’s got a long mirror leaning against the wall in the hallway, so I pad out to look at myself. To me, the cloak just looks like a cloak, but in the mirror I’m barely there. I’d guess that the spell has lost some of its potency here; the cloak will act as more of an attention-diverter than a true invisibility spell. Still, pretty useful.

I drop the cloak, enjoying the fabric on my skin, and spend a little while examining myself. I still look pretty good, even with my scars. The white, puckered lines trail down my cheek and neck and onto my side. My rib’s healed nicely, and you can’t even tell that my arm was broken. My cock took a bit of a beating, but that’s healed – although admittedly my balls didn’t. Oh well, it’s not like I wanted children anyway.

I pose for a while longer, and then run a hand through my hair. A bit greasy, but it’ll do. It’s not like my natural charm ever let greasy hair get in the way of a fuck.