• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

Excuses

I haven’t posted anything about the evanescence story in a couple weeks, and of course I have myriad of excuses why I didn’t. I sat at a blank page wondering if I should barrel on through the creation of the middle (which is where we left off) or if I should do something else.

To be honest, I haven’t been “into” this story right now, so I figured , I should write a blog post about excuses.

We all have excuses, and some of them are actually valid. Many, however, are not. The first week that I missed my blog post I was on-call. I think that’s a valid excuse for not posting. It was a very busy week, I lost a fair amount of sleep that week due to issues overnight at work, and I was just lucky to have finished the week w/out going crazy.

The second week is where it starts getting fuzzy. Part of the week I told myself that I was “recovering” from on-call. While there is a small amount of truth to that, it’s really just a lie I tell myself to justify why I’m not working on something. The other thing I tell myself is that the blog posts I put up aren’t my ‘core writing.’ Again, there is truth to that statement. It’s something fun and different that I do that I really enjoy, but it’s not what I do when I “sit down to write”. It’s a side-project, one that I want to finish, but it’s definitely low priority when I have time to write.

My first main project, one the other Dwarves can attest to, is a Paranormal adventure/mystery book. It’s consuming most of my available-writing time right now, despite the fact that I already wrote this book for NaNoWriMo back in November. I’m currently in a complete re-write of the book due to some major flaws I found in my first draft. A lot of POV issues, too much telling, way too much backstory, and a lackluster ending made me realize pretty fast that I needed to go back to the core of the story I wanted to tell, and rewrite it from scratch.

So that’s what I’m doing. My main goal is to make sure I’m writing enough to keep submitting regularly to my writing group, editing said submissions, as well as critiquing my writing group’s stories. After that I work on this other side-project.

Maybe someday I’ll have the time to juggle multiple projects, and know that each one is contributing to my success as a writer, but for now, I only have a certain amount of time, and unfortunately the Evanescence story takes a back seat from time to time.

Till next week, keep writing!

Building the Plot: Pt. 04: Beginnings

Last week, we examined the ending to this illustrious in-process story. This week I want to start with the beginning of the story, so let’s jump right in.

I imagine the story opening with one of the first scenes I’ve ever had once I formed the character of Peter in my head. Hooded figure, calling himself the Black Angel, prowling around at night. He is sneaking around in alleys, crouching on rooftops. Doing pretty much a Batman kind of thing here.

When suddenly he notices a girl getting pulled into an alley. He swoops into action! Peter comes up behind the man to meet out justice when suddenly the voices in his head stop screaming. It throws him off his game enough that the mugger gets the jump on him. (I’m not 100% sure I want this to happen this way.) Maybe he doesn’t realize the voices in his head had stopped screaming immediately—anyway, back to the story.

This is clearly different for Peter. He’s not used to this, but he eventually gets back into his groove and sends the guy packing, and by packing I mean the dude is crumpled on the ground.

Peter then goes to check on the girl. She screams at him. Peter is just trying to help. She puts her hands over her head and runs, terrified of Peter out of the alleyway.

Peter is going to let her go, turns to scrounge stuff from the guy lying unconscious beside him, when the voices in his head come back.

Peter then realizes being near the girl has something to do with the voices being gone out of his head. He has to follow this girl.

Peter bolts off down the alleyway, turns and tries to follow her now.

He follows her as close as he can while still having the voices in his head. Sometimes they disappear and he realizes he’s too close. Eventually he tails her back to a building where she ducks in.

Peter waits around outside for a while trying to figure out what to do.

That’s when someone comes up behind him to attack.

How’s that for a beginning?

Yeah, I’m pretty excited about it myself.

Next week we’re going to keep going with the middle of this story—expect about three blog posts dealing with the middle, as it’s the longest part—and I’m still working things out in my head. We have to get Peter from this street to being tied up and almost sacrificed. Strap in, it’ll be a bumpy ride!

Building the Plot: Pt. 03: The Ending

I have to apologize for being a day late in my post. I was struggling with what I should post up since there will be more spoilers in this portion. After some ruminating on the subject, however, I’ve decided to post up everything but the twist at the end, to keep some surprise for the actual story once I get it out.

Let’s talk plot!

I’m going to break this down into three chunks:

The Ending

The Beginning

The Middle

All in that order. I’m doing it this way so that I ensure I know where I’m going before I start off with anything else.

As a matter of full-disclosure, I actually do have the complete ending figured out, but I will be leaving the twist off this blog. You’ll have to RAFO (Read And Find Out). Since I’m building this story on the blog as a sort of experiment, I will be posting up everything else related to the plot otherwise.

So here goes: this is a bit rough, more of a brainstorming idea, but it’s what I have right now.

Little backstory: Bael has created a runed spell on the ground that requires blood sacrifice every moon cycle (still working out specifics on it).

At the end, Peter has arrived to offer himself up as a sacrifice to the demons so that he will close the portal with his mixed-angel blood, but it turns out that they were waiting for him the whole time due to REDACTED. Because of this they actually wanted him to show up. Bael has been planning for it the entire time.

At the same time, Celeste, who Peter left behind, has also turned up, and tricks the demons into allowing her onto the rune in order to comfort Peter before he is sacrificed. She knows fully well that REDACTED, and since the demons were blinded by hubris, they won’t think about REDACTED.

Thus the rune will fail right before Peter is sacrificed and the portal to hell that Bael and his minions have been working so hard on for the last few years will be thwarted. The block that was keeping the Angels in Purgatory will be opened, and the angels will sweep back down to earth in righteous fury to cleanse our world of the demon taint once again.

So there we go! I am holding a couple things back, but next week we’ll take a look at the beginning. Then go from there with the middle. We might spend a couple weeks on the middle. Once all that is done then it’s on to the entire plot as a summary post then I will begin writing out the rough draft of the story. Once I have the plot down we’ll know a little better just how long this story will be.

Till next week, have a good one!

Building the Plot: Pt. 02

This week I want to concentrate on the Setting of our story.

Normally I love setting, as my favorite genre is fantasy, but I have to admit I struggled with this a little bit.

With all the angels gone, I was initially thinking it would be fun to just have a slightly different world from our own. Angels are generally around to help us out, so I wanted a slightly higher mortality and accident rate. I wanted to show a world that still functioned, but it was palpably different from our own.

Then Bael showed up.

I’ve heard other writers talk about this many times. Characters do something unexpected.

Now Bael didn’t really do anything majorly different. He just showed up, and that changed the entire nature of the narrative. It made me ask questions.

If a demon had come through, why is he here? Did he have something to do with the angels leaving? The answer it turns out (at least in my head), was yes. He banished them from the earth.

In my mind, that changed the whole story. Instead of Peter fighting crime in a marginally different world than our own, things have changed drastically.

If Bael banished the angels, it stands to reason that they can be un-banished. Secondly, if the only thing keeping our world from being like it used to be was the angels being gone, then it might go back to the way it was if we can bring them back. That gives some hope for the world.

Lastly, and more importantly, it means that Bael is our antagonist. He’s actively doing bad things in the world, and that means Peter and now Celeste, have to go defeat him.

So that makes him the boss of the world so to speak. I imagine a world where demons have been running the show for a while. I’m not going to go down the path of wide-spread carnage. No body-filled streets, teeming with demons at every turn.

No, I imagine a ruthless dictator-based society where the government has essentially been taken over by demons. Each city is ran by one, but they still need humans for something, and that something is blood sacrifice to keep their spell open.

Yes. Bael is sacrificing humans, spilling their blood, to keep either a portal or a spell open to keep the angels from coming back. Wherever they are currently trapped, he has them there.

Okay, so that’s more about character, but it does dictate our world. I imagine this world being like a Gotham. Lots of lawlessness. People are genuinely terrified of leaving their homes, but they have to if they still want money and food. So people are still having children. People still have jobs. People still need to work. Transportation still goes.

The drudgery of normal life is there, but we are under new management!

Not exactly a ray of sunshine, but it’s something.

So let’s talk more about the setting:

I’m going to set this story in a place called New Harlem.

Near-future alternate history. Not quite post apocalyptic. Just imagine all the politicians deciding one day that they are going to seize power and start making their jobs permanent. They get to dictate all new laws and we have to follow them no matter what or we the humans are punished.

It’s hardly forced labor camps, but it’s brutal living here. Gritty and dirty It’s every person for themselves.

I think that’s about enough for setting. Hopefully I painted a clear picture of what the world is like being run by demons.

Now that we’ve looked at characters and setting, next week we will look at the plot of the story, or at least what I have of it. We still have a ways left in our journey so buckle in.

Building the Story: Pt. 01

Now that we’ve gotten some brainstorming done, it’s time to start working on the actual story. For the last couple weeks I’ve been working on additional brainstorming and I think I’ve come up with some pretty interesting ideas.

For the next three weeks I want to nail down the three main things: Character, Setting, and Plot.

This week, I want to spend some time looking at all our characters; Main, Antagonist, and Secondary.

First let’s look at Mains. For this story that would be Peter and Celeste:

Peter: 20 years old

Motivations: Peter is motivated by a sense of honor. He feels that because he was able to see Angels before they left that he’s somehow special and should carry on with their work as best he can. He has studied scriptures and feels he’s a Nephilim, the only one in the world.

Additional Notes: Peter was 15 when the Angels all left. He was standing on a subway platform when they all evanesced into mist. Since then he’s been hearing the angels screaming in his mind and they are there in his vision just out of sight, but always there, haunting him.

Peter at his core is a good kid. He wants to help people. He has since taken on a persona of a Black Angel. Kind of like Batman from the comics he read as a kid (no longer produced). He’s a vigilante who deals out street justice to try to bring down crime in his city.

Celeste: 9 years old

Motivations: Celeste feels she’s special because of the Angels. Calls them her protectors. She’s always seem them her entire life, never knew anything different. She’s young, so she just mostly wants to help out the group that she lives with. This will all change when she meets Peter for the first time.

Additional Notes: Was only four when the Angels left the earth. Since then she’s always seen them, just out of her vision, but they are calm. They make no noise. She has no memories of her life before the angels left.

Celeste lives with Lady Katherine. She goes out with the other bigger kids to help steal and forage for food for their small gang. Celeste is a natural, having grown up on the depraved streets of New Harlem, plus her natural tendencies as a Nephilim giving her extra powers makes her an excellent thief.

 

Secondly, our Antagonist, Bael.

Bael: Unknown Age

Motivations: He wants to rule Earth.

Additional Notes: One of the demons of the underworld who has been looking for a way to stay in in the mortal realm in his own body. Up till now hasn’t been able to do it but he figure out a way to banish all the angels while allowing himself to come into this world and stay.

He’s currently working on getting more of his demon army to come to the mortal realm, but there is a restriction they have to deal with with mortal bodies that makes it go slow, though through births possibly they could have an exponential growth over time? It’s why it will be key to stop it before it goes too long.

 

Finally, our secondary characters:

Father Gary: Early 60’s

Motivations: He’s CRAZY! Poor man has lost his mind since the fall and spouts scriptures.

Additional Notes: 50’s ish. Ex bishop of a Catholic Parrish. Wanders around New Harlem with his ratty-ass-bible quoting scriptures. He’s totally crazy as far as everyone around him is concerned.

Lady Katharine: Late 40’s

Motivations: Katharine just wants to help people. She feels like she missed the rapture when all the angels left and is abandoned here on the earth. She wants to feel right with God but thinks her sins have doomed her to a life here on this hell-earth. She tries to help as many people as she can to atone for her sins.

Additional Notes: Lady Katharine used to be a nun before the Evancesance. She now takes care of kids/runs a small gang to help these kids have some kind of normal life.

There we have it! Next week we will dive into the Setting! Let me know anything you like!

Ideaifying Pt 6: Side-word on process

I wanted to have an aside on what it is I’m doing here, and a little thought about how long writing can take.

Normally this entire brainstorming process takes place all in one day. I generally sit down for about an hour (for a short story), and just dump down words on the page until I have nothing more to say. Novels are far, far longer. For this blog, however, I’ve been breaking them up each week, and giving myself some time to ruminate on the things I did the week prior.

This doesn’t mean that I take all of my stories from a single word to a full outline in one day. Far from it. Ideas need to percolate to allow the cream of the crop to rise to the surface. I’m actually enjoying having this semi-force gap in between brainstorming sessions, it’s giving me a different perspective each time I sit down.

I’ve heard it said before that an overnight success takes ten years to obtain.

What does that even mean? Here is my thought; it means that the author has poured over their work for ten years, ideas mulling in their head, jotting down things on the train or the middle of the night. Spending sleepless nights re-reading over old notes to put them all into one place, then writing the product.

And that’s just draft 1. They edit and edit, agonizing over every chapter, paragraph, phrase, and word. They fix commas, delete entire chapters, re-write the ending four times and the beginning ten times. Then, they delete the first four chapters and re-do them from scratch.

They cut entire characters. They take one character with too much going on and split them into two.

This is all a lot of work, and many published authors, from what I’ve seen, talk about their process much like this.

Only then do they sell their book to a publisher and “suddenly” come up with a half-million dollar publishing deal.

The rest of the community may have just heard this new author’s name for the first time when they got their deal, but for them it’s been a long journey. And this is just one of the many stories. Some authors have written 7-13 books by the time they sell their first one. Others sell that first book that took 10 years to write. For every possibly scenario, there’s a different author with a different story of how to make it.

So buckle in, fair reader. Tis a bumpy ride where we go.

Ideaifying Pt 5: Concatenating

This week I promised to take the last few weeks of posts and re-iterate what we have come up with. So here we go!

We started with the word Evanesce.

I then ruminated on what that word meant to me, and came up with a few phrases and other definitions that resonated with me:

Fade Away

Angels

Screaming Masses

Which led to this singular phrase:

Mass of Angels, screaming as they fade into nothing.

This really felt right to me, and has been the phrase I come back to when I think about this world.

We then started with a character, given the angels motif we named him Peter. Then we started brainstorming.

Here are all the things I liked about the brainstorming:

Peter can see angels. The angels help people. They save lives. Unseen heroes.

When he was 15, these angels disappeared. Without their protective detail, crime has increased, death rates by accidents have skyrocketed, disease spreads much more virulently. Social order has taken a hit.

Peter is now twenty years old. He sees himself as the Black Angel. He is trying to fill the void left behind with the angels no longer around to protect humanity.

Peter also still sees angels, but they are just out of his peripheral vision. And they scream. They scream all the time.

One day Peter meets Celeste. Celeste is a little younger than Peter. While he’s around her, the screaming stops. Celeste can also see angels, but they are calm. They don’t scream. When she’s around him, the angels scream.

Both our heroes have “powers”. In addition to being able to see the angels just outside their vision, they have slight precognition to keep them out of trouble, faster reflexes than an average human, and don’t tire as easily.

Turns out Peter and Celeste are Nephilim, as mentioned in Genesis 6:4. They are two halves of a whole. Peter is the demi-spawn of a demon and human, while Celeste is Angel-Human.

Demons, after being cast from heaven have always lacked corporeal bodies, being relegated to spirits. Other than possession, they have never managed to truly own a body here on Earth.

There is one such demon here now known as Bael, who is related to why the angels suddenly went missing.

Peter and Celeste need to go on a mission to kill/banish him, and hopefully bring the angels back to earth to help restore balance.

So there we are! All the details that our brainstorming has come up with, all in one place. Now I have a lot more brainstorming to do, but I’ll do that off-screen from now on, unless my readers really want to see my brain-dumps.

What we need to do here though, now that we have our main characters, and the main “goal” of the story, is to start fleshing out, well, everything. Some people are outliners, some are free-writers (aka pantsers), I’m somewhere in the middle. I come up with ideas by free-writing. I then take a break and put it into a basic outline, which I call a proto-outline. It’s basically a brainstorming exercise in the form of a story start-to-finish. But before we get that far, there are a lot of details that need to be figured out:

These are: the magic, the world, Bael himself, Peter and Celeste and how they fit into this plot, and specifically how their opposite nature makes them the two best suited, or solely suited to resolving this problem.

That’s it for now. Do you have any specific questions you want addressed while we finish up brainstorming? Anything you want to see added to the story, anything you don’t like?

Till next week!

Ideaifying Pt 4: Brainstormening 3

After two weeks of brainstorming, I think I need to do one more in order to flush out what the overall conflict here in the world is. Here goes:

***Beginning of brainstorming dump***

So what am I going to do for the conflict? I think the natural inclination would be that I need these two to team up and go on a bit of a quest to find out what happened to the angels. That’s really the crux of the problem here, not really solving shorter things, but the larger picture. The more I think about it in this light, the more I think this is the story that I want to tell, and the questions that I want answered.

So there I go. I need to know what happened to the angels.

I guess this boils down to two main questions.

What exactly happened to the angels.

Why are these two the ones that will be able to figure it out?

Let’s work on the second question:

1. They are both half-angels. This is exceedingly rare, it’s possible that there actually other half-angels out there, (I really should come up with a name for them, which should be Nephilim.)

2. They are opposites. One hears the screaming of the angels, the other never hears them unless the two of them are near each other, and I’m talking physically.

3. What I can gather from this is that they are two halves of a whole. Obviously I could go with some kind of sexual encounter, but I’m not sure that is where I want this story to go for now, but I do need to explore more options related to how these two could “come together” and join forces somehow to fix the problem.

4. This means that they need some kind of alternating powers that can be combined to do something.

Which of course leads to the big problem, and I’m not entirely sure how I want to handle it.

How did we get here to begin with? The writer portion of me wants to not go down the thought process right now because I feel I need to keep it secret. I’m also a bit of a discovery writer in that I don’t always know where I’m going. I’m trying to do better, but since this entire project is being up online for everyone to see, I think the best course of action is for me to just bite the bullet and spill the beans.

Here is my thought. Peter is actually not half-angel. He’s half-demon.

Celeste is the true half-angel. Angels and Demons are basically two halves of the same coin. They are pretty much the same beings, but one is light, the other dark.

How about, when God cast out 1/3 of the hosts to become demons, he prevented them from ever having a corporeal form. Demons themselves could never become corporeal, but their children could. This is why Peter is like this. How about a demon finally managed to get a body, thus locking out the angels from being on this earth until his body is destroyed.

This would give Peter and Celeste a goal. Kill the big-bad demon guy that is now inhabiting the world. I want the fact that peter and Celeste are here on this earth to be something of a mystery, and anomaly.

Perhaps, nephilim don’t really gain any divine powers until they mature. They hit puberty. This is when their modest powers manifest. Angels notice this and destroy any demon-spawned nephilim when they kids hit puberty, in fact maybe they destroy both of them. Peter and Celeste were under the radar when this happened. It’s still exceedingly rare that this would happen, but when it does happen, divine decree requires that they have to be destroyed. It sucks, but it’s the law.

But, with no angels on the earth anymore, Peter and Celeste haven’t been found out and thus were kind of grandfathered in. This makes them literally one of a kind on the earth and the only two people alive that can possibly stop this.

So Bael, we’ll call him, the big-bad guy that finally managed to find himself a body host, and we can figure out exactly how he came into the world, has been running the mob for the last few years now that he’s here. He has a ton of powers, granted to him as a full=fledged demon. He’s also working on preparing hosts for more.

Ooh, he actually managed to grab a body and cast some kind of spell to banish the angels. We’ll have to figure this one out later, but I’m thinking they are banished to some kind of third dimension. Not heaven, not hell, not earth. Some other dimension, purgatory we can call it? The waiting room for the dead. They don’t belong there and shouldn’t be there. Maybe this is also causing a bit of a back-log in the dead being processed or something, but he’s thrown the balance off real bad this time and he’s working on paving the road for more demons to make it onto the world. Maybe he already has some of this guys already through to this side.

So all I need to figure out now is:

1. How exactly did Bael manage to accomplish this feat.

2. How will Peter/Celeste be able to use that knowledge to get out of it.

Stay tuned next time while we work on that solution!

***End of brainstorming dump***

So this was a little longer of a brainstorming exercise. I still think I came up with some really cool ideas.

Next week I will concatenate everything that we’ve assembled into one post so all the pertinent information is in one place, then we start start work on actually writing something. I will bring that up more next week though.

Till then, let me know what you think about where we are going with the plot and how you like the world and the characters!

Ideaifying Pt 4: Brainstormening 2

Since this blog series is starting to take on a life of it’s own, and I don’t rightly know how many parts we are going to have, I’m going to stick with Brainstormening as the subtitle for now since that’s what we’re doing.

Like last week, I’m going to spend some time with a brainstorming exercise. Let’s launch right into it then analyze what I come up with.

***Beginning of brainstorming dump***

So let’s talk about the girl:

Celeste. I like this name. It’s pure, it’s beautiful. I don’t rightly know if it’s actually a biblical name or not, but I like it none the less. So let’s stick with this shall we?

Who is she? Well in order to be able to see the angels, she would have to be part angel, just like Peter. I almost want to toy with the idea of her being the product of a demon and a human, or a demon and angel, but let’s stick with angels for now. No need to complicate an already complicated storyline.

Differences between her and Peter. Let’s start with what is different because that is where we will see the conflict.

Instead of hearing Angels screaming all the time, maybe she sees their faces but they are always calm, maybe not smiling around her, but calm, collected. No emotions and they stare off blankly. They’re always in her peripheral vision, much like Peter, but never in front of her face. They never make noise, that is, until Peter shows up.

She’s a little younger than him, sixteen perhaps? She’s always viewed them as her guardian angels. So here’s the tricky question: did she notice them disappear? Ooh. That could make or break the story. I could go a few different ways here:

* She’s young enough to not remember them disappearing, so that would make her like eight or nine.

* She never saw them before they suddenly showed up in her vision one day, I could make her older at this point, possibly within range of her being a love interest with Peter.

* She did see them doing good before, then suddenly they were gone. This also keeps her within love-interest territory for Peter, but also shows us that since they went from helping people to following her around, whatever happened to the angels was different.

* She could have just accepted that this was life and moved on, or maybe she kept it a secret. She felt God or something just favored her with a secret that she couldn’t give out. This might work better if she’s a little girl instead of a woman though.

* Because of the angels surrounding her, maybe she has a lot of luck. Maybe Peter does too. Only it’s not luck per-se, it could be the simple fact that they are both half-angel and have slightly better things happen to them than regular humans.

Possible “good benefits” of being half-angel:

*Slight precognition. i.e. you can sense that someone is going to punch you so you turn around before it happens.

* Slightly faster reflexes

* Not as tired after a lot of exercise.

* A general “feeling” of what to do and when. This can be an extension of  the precognition. They in general know where they should be and a general timeframe, but sometimes, when it’s going to help them avoid something catastrophic, they can get much more specific info in a more timely manner, but it’s not always exact.

“TURN AROUND AND PUNCH” the feeling might say.

“Don’t go down this alley.”

“Be in the park before the sun sets.”

“Be out of the park before the sun sets.”

Stuff like that.

So what does she do right now? Maybe she’s a researcher, or a student, just trying to keep her head down and out of trouble. I have to imagine that the world hasn’t come to a complete grinding halt, it’s just that the world is a lot more harsh nowadays. You have to work that much harder to stay ahead. Crime rates have basically doubled across the board, so have death rates, maybe tripled or quadrupled even.

Gangs run a lot of the places now.

***End of brainstorming dump***

Well well. That was fun. Now let us dissect what it was I just wrote and pick out the things that I like:

  • I love the name Celeste.
  • I like her silent angels bit.
  • I also like the idea that Celeste and Peter’s fates are inescapably intertwined. I think having them stay around the same age range is good. If Peter is 20, maybe make her a little younger, 17 or so, in order to hold on to a little bit of that childhood innocence. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something in my mind tells me that it could be key to whatever big mystery we are dealing with here.
  • I also like the luck/precognition portion. That might be a fun thing to explore, but it’s out of the scope for today’s post.

Note that as I brainstorm, I’m starting to lean more to a cooperative story, rather than Peter simply saving the girl. Of course this could drastically change the storyline, but we’re still in the brainstorming mode here, we have plenty of time to adjust/add/cut. You will probably notice wide swings in my feelings from one week to the next. I write these weekly, and that separation gives my subconscious a chance to mull on things so when I sit down next week I might have a different perspective. I prefer this method of world-building that sitting down and knocking it all out in a weekend. Give things time to percolate.

This is evident when I started the world. We started with screaming angels, then immediately jumped to a character and I’m working out the world from there. You could just as easily start with a specific conflict, or a scene in your head, a character trait, a painting, or an object. This is the beauty of brainstorming. Nothing is off the table, and tossing around ideas without a care to how good they are is my favorite part of this journey!

So how do you like Celeste? Do you like her differences from Peter, what about their similarities? What is her backstory, and how old do you see her being? Stay tuned next week as we continue down this crazy path and see where we end up.

Ideaifying Pt 4: The Brainstormening 1

Hello everyone! Tom here for the fourth installment in this very-experimental blog series. Last week we opened our minds, took the basic concepts, and started creating a world where this story can be told.

This week, we are going do some brainstorming, fleshing out more of the world, Peter, and the situation he’s in. To me, this is the real fun part of taking an idea into a story.

My method of brainstorming involves typing. Lots and lots of typing. I do this for a couple reasons:

  • I type fast, which allows me to play to one of my strengths.
  • Typing fast means I can get a lot of ideas down quick, allowing my mind to move from point to point and document the journey along the way. It’s sometimes quite fascinating the iterations my mind goes through when I do this.
  • It’s fun coming up with new ideas or twists on old ideas. Majority of what I brainstorm gets thrown in the garbage, What remains is what I’m after.

Brainstorming Rules:

  • Start writing—keep writing.
  • Write down everything (your mind thinks, no matter how silly or off-topic).
  • No editing. Other than the occasional misspelled word if I need to give my brain a couple seconds to dwell on a topic.
  • Stop when you’re done. This could be 5-10 minutes, I’ve had it go on for an hour as well. I just let it happen naturally. When my brain is done, I stop.

With all that said, let’s get started!

***Beginning of brainstorming dump***

I mentioned last week that the angels leaving the world was too big a concept to really tackle in this short story form, so we will use that for background to the world. The conflict that stemmed from it though, is interesting. Here we are, a few years after the angels left us, and the world has fallen into chaos.

Peter was 15 when the angels left, it’s five years later. Why fifteen? Because I want to have him do something, and in this gritty world where we have no protection from the divine, and people have all lost their moral compass, I feel like any story we tell will best be handled by someone in the prime of their youth. So Peter is 20. Yeah, I like 20. He’s also internalized the fact that he was the only one who could see them, and the only one that saw them disappear, so it’s taken it upon himself to fill the void left behind.

Peter is the Black Angel. Hiding in the shadows, the antithesis to all that was in the world.

He still hears the angels from time to time. Or sees their faces ebb and flow, constantly fading into sight, then fading out. The angels are screaming. Why? Well that might be best answered in a larger story, but for now, Peter still sees them, just outside of his vision, every one of them in locked in state of soundless terror. It’s a wonder Peter is still sane. At first he used to be freaked out by it, but he’s learned to largely ignore them.

That is until they stop screaming. That’s when he really notices. That’s when he springs into action.

I like that we are a few years later. I like the gritty Peter, and I love the imagery of him taking over the role of the Black Angel. I think it makes sense to have him older too, since he would need to be able to have the physical prowess to handle a wider variety of situations.

I also like the idea of him still seeing them and the imagery of them locked in soundless screams. That is very evocative, but not hearing. I think he’s got enough on his plate. It’s enough to have the image of terrified, screaming angels just outside of your field of vision. We don’t want him to be totally crazy. And maybe he doesn’t see them all the time, they fade in and out.

So we have a bit of a batman theme going on here. Kid, dressed all in black, hiding in the shadows, tormented by his past. Bit derivative but I’m okay with that for now. So what is our hook?

Well I love the bit at the end, when there is suddenly an angel that isn’t screaming. Something has changed. And one thing that popped into my head just now is: what would happen if he found someone else that could see the angels? That’s also an interesting idea.

Let’s say he meets a girl (it’s always a girl), maybe she’s getting mugged on a street where no one cares, Peter goes up to stab the guy when he suddenly realizes that the angels are no longer screaming. I think at this point I should have them actually screaming…why? Well…how about they scream because (at least as far as Peter knows) they can’t help people, and they are being tormented by all the injustices in the world that they cannot do anything about. Ooh yeah, I like that!

So Peter goes up to attack this guy from behind, to save the girl, and the voices stop screaming. It throws Peter off his game. The guy turns around, clocks him one and starts attacking him. Peter’s mind is racing, he’s torn between wondering why the voices suddenly stopped and saving his life.

***End of brainstorming dump***

Whew, that was a lot to get down on paper. It’s a bit jumbled, and I only edited misspelled words and some punctuation in that brainstorming dump section so it looked a little better to share.

So what do I like? Let’s list the things:

  • Angels leaving as part of the backstory
  • World in Chaos
  • Peter realizing he’s the only one that ever heard this (I especially like this because we can flip his world upside down when he realizes something he thought to be true his entire life was wrong)
  • Peter being the Black Angel – so much backstory and reasons
  • Constantly hearing the angels screaming all around him. This is a powerful image
  • I love them stopping screaming when the girl shows up. That’s even more powerful.
  • I love the idea of the girl too. His antithesis. Yin Yang etc…there could be something there…
  • Gritty story is good. I’ve not actually written much with grit, so this will be a fun exercise.

Things we still need to figure out:

We don’t have a hook. Something has to change, his world has to change completely for this short story to really have a good beginning. Remember my goal is to write a story out of this, so as much fun as world-building is, I want to constantly remind myself that the goal is a story, not hundreds of pages documenting a fantasy world.

We need to know more about the world, the magic system and how the angels and humans play into it.

What is special about this girl? This might make for a good initial hook at the start of the story, something to draw in the reader, but we have to figure out first what is so special about this girl. Why would the angels stop screaming when Peter is around her?

Well, I will leave that until next week. If anyone has suggestions on what she should be, why she’s special and why the angels don’t scream around her, leave them in the comments.

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