Tag Archives: NoMan’s

Returning to a Ghost

I stopped writing things in the No Man’s Land series after Ryan died. He was one of my beta readers, and the one who cheered me on; he asked the questions, laughed at the jokes, talked to me about the latest plot and idea. He was the one I’d email at 3am with a story.  And I miss him so, so much, even eight months on.

But I did some organising this week, and hauled out all my half-finished short stories…and amongst them are six No Man’s world ones (well, No Man’s Land – they’re mostly about Ghost, because I love her). And I want to finish them. I started reading them, just to remind myself. It hurts, still. But that’s now being tempered with the love for writing, and the characters are starting to talk to me again. They’re not getting drowned by the waves of grief any more. I want to write.

Have the start of a new story that might now get finished…

The air is cold and frigid, with mist creeping across the ground, obscuring my footing. The trees are long dead, their branches hung with decades of cobwebs and vines instead of leaves. The ground is a morass of swamp and rock, its stink rising until it’s almost visible. The scenery wavers between dank, dead forest and occasional rock spires, their outlines jagged against the dark sky.

In short, it’s not the nicest of places – and in addition, the path that I’m on is most certainly haunted…I’m not just saying that because it’s pretty freakin’ creepy.

I’ve got a ghost whining in my ear.

One of the downsides of being able to see spirits is that I can also hear them, and I’ve found that they fall into three categories: dull, friendly, or freaky.

This one is trying for freaky. It’s achieving dull. After all, blood-curdling moans are only terrifying when you don’t know that the ghost producing them has no torso. I know that should be scary, but actually it’s quite amusing to see a disembodied head and legs floating along, particularly when said ghost is doing the traditional arm-waving and managing to look as if it’s attempting to land a plane. I’m not sniggering, but it’s taking willpower. Ghosts tend to get touchy when their efforts to scare go unappreciated.

I am a Horrible Author

I’m a horrible person.

When writing, that is. In real life, I’d hope I’m kinda nice.

…sometimes.

When people don’t piss me off too much.

(Mostly joking! I’m usually incredibly polite and friendly, with the usual proviso of “slight introvert so finds it hard to start a conversation”. If you ever see me, do come and say hi!)

I was thinking about No Man’s Dawn, which is sort of a prequel to No Man’s Land. I’m not entirely happy about it, so I’m just letting it stew…so I was thinking about it in the car as I drove down to see a friend.

And I had the BEST* idea.

You know it’s bad when I start giggling to myself. It’s even worse when I start laughing. And when I lean back and go, “Oh, now that’s GOOD” is when it’s going to be really bad.

Have I told you that my beta reader didn’t talk to me for two days after That Ending in No Man’s Land? I’m still quite proud of that as it’s entirely deserved. I’ve now got a little private bet with myself as to what names she’ll call me after she reads this one – I may have to create a bingo sheet.

Off to do some writing I go! There may be evil chuckles.

 

*Worst. For my characters.

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.

 

 

No Man’s Sky: getting on with it

I put No Man’s Sky on hold back in January. I’d finished the first draft before Christmas and I’d just had it back from Ryan with comments and notes, and then…well.

I didn’t want to touch it again. I couldn’t face it.

But I was in the car with my housemate yesterday, driving though the darkness and listening to Lindsey Stirling. I had her album Brave Enough as my playlist for No Man’s Dawn., and the song we were listening to made me think of it.

And I decided that I could do this. I am brave enough.

I cried, I admit. I want him back. I want to know what he thought, discuss ideas, get comments, see that smile. I want to know what he’d make of new characters, of changes I make. It’s like missing a part of my heart and because it’s intertwined so closely into the No Man’s stories, it hurts all the more when I go back into that world.

But I love the story. I love the world. I want to finish No Man’s Sky.

So. It’s currently at 50k and I need to add another 20k. I’ve got some ideas, and I’ve just sent it on to my beloved Aunt and my other alpha for No Man’s Land, both of whom I trust completely. One will give me an overview and the other will scream at me when I kill people, which is exactly what I want, and hopefully they’ll both have thoughts on what I could add and what areas need extending.

Ryan gave me his thoughts on the story and he encouraged me. He loved the world. He was an inspiration.

I can’t stop writing. I won’t stop writing.

It just sometimes takes a bit of courage to open up the file and plunge back into the world.