This is going to be a weird sort of ramble – in which I stare at stuff I wrote out years ago and try to understand what I was thinking.
The goal being to show where I was, versus where I am now. There’s a mile of difference between partially formed thoughts at the “beginning” of my career compared to the stuff I put out now.
These were done before I started writing Continue Online, before even Royal Scales, and I think in the middle of a series I’ve never made public called “Pantheon of Evil” or something. A power fantasy in which 4 people get the power of gods (More like D&D ones) – needing faith, having portfolios of abilities, and fighting each other in a modern day setting. Which is a great idea but the execution was terrible.
So, here’s the first one. Cue the cringe.
In between the moon and ground was a layer of rippling clouds. Rays of light poked through the trees splashing onto the forest floor.
“I sit here, do I not?” The older man raised an eyebrow at me. Wrinkles lined his forehead. For a moment I wondered his questions were a trick. “Well?” he asked.
I blinked while struggling to find the hole in his question. My scalp and ears pulled back and one cheek lifted. Cautiously I answered, “yes?”
The man nodded as if he expected only a simplistic answer.
“Could anyone else sit here while I do?” Was his next question.
I shook my head no.
“Could anything else be here while I am?” Was his third question.
I shook my head no again.
“If I sit here for the rest of my life, and through the eternity beyond, I have changed what you can do. Even if you never met me, or I were miles away. By existing alone, for whatever reason, you affect everyone.”
My confusion still showed plain as day in the campfires waning light. He sighed then stood up. One warm hand took mine. Inside his palm was a large rock. For a moment I feared he had chosen to literally beat some sense into me. Through dim light I saw a smile on his face. Once he caught my eye he turned and heaved the rock into the quiet lake nearby.
We waited a moment as the ripples moved silently towards us.
“The splash fills the air. Fish move to avoid a sinking stone. The rock sinks, and in turn fills up some small part of the lake,” he spoke these words softly and turned to me. “One stone makes a difference. And once at the bottom, what will that rock do?” He asked.
“Sit there?” I answered, thinking myself clever.
The sad thing is that I found the ending funny as hell in my brain. The entire thing was originally written in like size 32 font, sideways, on single piece of paper. I’d been playing around with jotting down notes in different sizes, directions, or colors to see if that was creative. It was, sort of.
The scene lacks a lot of description. I don’t even say how many people are there, where they really are, how far out or anything. But we’ve got clouds, trees, a lake, a rock, and two people. I guess that’s good? An editor would tell me that things are jumping out suddenly. But if the goal was conciseness of setting – say the opposite of Tolkien, then it’s a step in the right direction.
Stranger still, some of these snippets are ones I heard in dreams. Some are me trying to capture a bit of an image, some fleeting story my mind told me between 3 and 6 AM.
“You are like a wolf in a flock of drugged hens. No scent, no noise, no howl could give you away.”
“You are a killer.”
What the hell does this mean? They were cool lines I wanted to use somewhere, but who knows what. I don’t even know if I was referring to a character I’d written or liked the idea of someone skulking around in the shadows talking to the main character.
Okay, this next one was a single sheet as well. Me trying to jot down stuff. It doesn’t work well because parts of this were written into the margins. Butt, I like it because from a writing perspective it shows how I’ve grown.
And let me be clear, often times my main ideas for a scene are about this – not much more. I’d have to expand this into a full page to make it clear and set up something really cool looking. This though, this is the equivalent of a written sketch to a final piece of art.
Swallow the fear. A single candle on the wall. The soft light dances across the sides.
A sudden movement. One shadow pitched against the wall moves. The motions are frantic. There should be another shadow.
If the turning is fast enough she can see them.
She can feel it. Almost see it. Even taste its enclosing smell. Like a cave in need of fresh air. The kind of air she wanted now.
White sand moves like water. Going back to its own shape when done. It ripples. It’s warm.
Ivy? Spirals out of it trailing waist high up around two rows of pillars. The floor of this place keeps the pattern of sand. Soft ripples like water dripping.
Two figures stand. Displacing each other. Creating an echo or a mirage, reflection. Looking at her, them? Makes you tired.
A panther pads up. Sand, floor, ripples for him as well. His fur shimmers and rolls as he sits.
He looks at you, then she opens her mouth to speak. She spoke the future.
You fall..awake…as she speaks. The waves in the distance follow you.
The whole scene above is meant to be stupidly majestic. I’d have to find one of those female with a cat companion pictures then put it on a beach with ruins of Greek pillars jutting out. Oh well. One day.
Below is the last one. Nothing huge, but I think it would have fit with Jay in Royal Scales.
Eyes closed. The headlights still shine. A blaring red through a man’s eyelids
It’s always raining, always nighttime. The wet face turns up. It’s hard to tell if it’s rain or tears.
Three days out here. The only road out of town. The way of three days started here.
There are words he has to say. Proof to give. His grey coat weighed heavily. His large shoulders pull forward.
Tired? Sadness? Too heavy? All.
Another call passes. Its lights the new bright kind. Another dozen pass.
One stops. The engine humming quietly as the window slides down. Eyes, glasses, and sandy blond curls are seen.
The tired behemoth leans over. “I’m sorry. Goodbye.”
Then one more line I wanted someone like the Jester from Continue Online to say – and who knows – he may still get a chance. He’ll be popping back up in the series after Continue Online…well, the one after that one. Bastion is next and it’s slowing me down. After that is Wayward – which I’ve got like 30k sorted out on. It’s part of the rewrite to First RE:Guards – which was a terrible attempt to butcher in something I thought was amusing with something serious.
Cowards don’t deserve happiness.
Anyway. The point being is that over the years I’ve scrapped, rewritten, changed, grown, failed, made new mistakes – and so on as a writer. I’m sure I’ll find more, but being able to go back and stare those old pieces is amazing to me. That’s not something that we used to be able to do with ease – much less share it.
In the 90s, 80s, and maybe even the first few years of this wonderful 21st century – writers notes were often something that only the most famous got to share. They’d be packaged by some third party and sold off.
That assumed that the notes were still legible, in a land full of ink and paper. Now it’s all digital. It’s hard for the ink to fade – just the attention to the author’s work outside of published stuff.
Here’s hoping I keep growing and the next stuff to come is still an improvement.
If nothing else, posting it here means I can delete it from my personal drive. A ha!
See you next time.