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2406.10 — MC POV: if you could wipe something from your memory, would you do it? CW: Intense

Hypotheticals are valid only in quantum thaumadynamics, but I'll humor you on this one. I watched someone die, struck down on the street realizing in the same moment that had I not saved the evil beside me that had thrown the grenade he would be alive. The horror of the moment, the smells of smoke and the sounds of shots, return to me as PTSD episodes. It's triggered when I find myself powerless to protect the people I'm responsible for. It happens more often than you would expect.

Would I wipe away that memory? No. Without it, might make the same mistake of justifying evil. Especially when I see it in myself.

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341 — What are some of your SC's other (lesser) fears?

Citron is an arsonist. He likes to see things (not people) burn. He is also a gawky teenager who works to pay the rent for his aged parents, while trying to act cool around his coworkers. He dresses sharp. And he's employed by the mob. He's got plenty to fear, like keeping his fragile world together for as long as possible.

Lesser fears?

Girls. It's not like he can talk about his hobby or his job or comic books with them.

Well, not exactly. His boss is around his age, though a heck of a lot more mature. She especially likes how he can be all business and turn off his ego. She's incredibly cool, like that time she handled the constables that had been tipped off about their evening delivery. Best of all, she likes his talent. (Spoilers: It's magic.) Calls him her power-pyro.

He has a crush her. (She's the MC.)

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Ch 10 Nbr 10 — Do you revise and add more plot if you feel your story is too short?

Inklings was supposed to be a sudden fiction story, but 800 words proved insufficient to express a shy person's predicament with attraction. Adding more words developed the characters to where I could see a further ending, first to where they might misinterpret themselves into bed, and then again to where the love interest's past breaks into the present and the MC has to save his life with her magic. Now I see an epilogue, too.

Yes. Each change required a revision and backfilling earlier parts to create foreshadowing. This allowed me to add more plot.

Was it because it was too short?

Um... except for the 800 words in the beginning, well... dunno.

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#PennedPossibilities 340 — How does your MC or SC feel about love as a concept?

Wintereyes, the MC, is kind and considerate, and really wants to help, but when it comes to love she thinks like the wolves she's lived with over a decade. They don't have the concept. The closest is companionship and sex, which misses the point. Learning the concept of love is one of the many reasons Her Highness is forcing Wintereyes to live around people.

Caramello, the SC, fell in love a couple years ago. He knows that if he to return her interest in him, she'd be caught up in the succession war he's living in exile to avoid. The women since then have been substitutes. Wintereyes, however...

Wintereyes doesn't realize she could discover human love. Caramello doesn't realize that his dangerous past might learn about his present because of Wintereyes' kindness.

None of this bodes well for either romance novella character.

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Ch 10 Nbr 09 — How do you select ideas from all the ones floating around?

I require a character I can relate, to with an agenda to fulfill and a problem to solve. If that generates an ending I can write toward, it's "Tag yo it!"

Sadly, I sometimes write without an ending. Those rarely end well.

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#WordWeavers 2406.09 — Who has the best meals in your story?

The main character's first non-vegetarian meal was crab cakes. Her marathon trainer insisted she needed more protein in her diet. Since then, her diet has been more like a day angel's than her own kind, which is a problem because day angels live on the top of buildings and any good day angel restaurant is going to be a rooftop restaurant. Her day angel friends and team mates fly her up to the best fish and chips places. I think she eats pretty tasty food, both sky and earth cuisines.

You'd think her antagonist would have the best meals, since in the worst case she could choose takeaway delivered from ten different worlds. (Okay, all but one of the colonies are non-earth-like planets, but still.) Problem is she prefers dessert. Not a meal.

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339 — Does your MC learn from their past, or are they prone to repeating the same mistakes?

My MC is way too prone to making mistakes. Repeating them, not so much. Somehow she survives.

From the current work, this:

..."Better not to get hit?"

"Definitely. Though the direct route through an obstacle is sometimes more unexpected."

And:

Were my trust misplaced, I'd learn something about myself. But, then again, that seemed to be my method of operation: win—or get hurt, pick myself up, make different mistakes.

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Ch 10 Nbr 08 — Do you agree with Michael Moorcock, who said: "Ignore all proffered rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say"?

Context is important here, so here's the full quote for you to read first: https://www.writingclasses.com/toolbox/tips-masters/michael-moorcock-10-tips-for-good-storytelling#:~:text=Carrot%20and%20stick—have%20protagonists,what%20you%20want%20to%20say.

The advice boils to down to learn how to write and practice enough that you understand the basics (items 1 through 9), and understand what about all that gets in the way of you telling your tale... then tell your tale the way you need to tell it instead. I kinda agree...

To the extent you can be truthful with yourself and keep your ego at bay. This took me decades.

YMMV.

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#WordWeavers 2406.08 — Where would your SC go if they had a bad day?

She's a day angel. Solitude is easy. Near sunset on the always hot world she lives on, she can always catch a thermal and spiral high into the sky. Gliding way above it all, the city she's trapped living in seems so peaceful, so devoid of people. She can make believe for a few minutes that the boss doesn't hold blackmail that would frame her for murder, and that she can soar off into the coming purpling dusk and start anew. The dry air swiftly dries all tears.

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#WritersCoffeeClub Ch 10 Nbr 07 — What do you do first when you start a new writing project?

Short fiction intended to be written in one go: I write until it's done or it fails to gel.

Long fiction: I write a treatment or a first chapter to see what happens.

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#WordWeavers 2406.07 — What can make your MC cry?

This keys into pennedpossibilities 338 rather well (https://eldritch.cafe/@sfwrtr/112573054902942695): a betrayal. She. Doesn't. Cry. Stoic, right? When she's held it in for three-quarters of the novel, when she's trusted her identity with someone who has suddenly proven trustworthy, at least in her heart, my MC admits the first hurt of two betrayals that sunder her.

Whilst I won't reveal details, it is a case of a once trusted adult providing only material support when the MC required a simple act of love and caring.

Never forgotten. Never forgiven.

Thus she breaks, while being held. Actually, both cry over being betrayed, but that's also spoilers. In a subsequent novel, the friend characterizes the event as a "cloudburst."

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#PennedPossibilities 338 — How would your MC or SC respond to someone betraying their trust?

Since a childhood betrayal is an essential part of the MC's character, let's say she reacts rather poorly. She makes the worst mistake of her life, later runs away, and becomes a criminal (and an anonymous hero amongst other things.) It takes three novels for her to resolve the consequences of that betrayal in an event that shatters her conception of reality. And. She has to keep it together. At all costs. Lives will depend on her; failing to continue through it all would betray trust placed in her.

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#WordWeavers 2406.06 — MC POV: When was the last time you laughed? CW: Spoilers if you follow me under another alias.

My MC's story is rarely funny, despite being regularly snide or darkly humorous, sometimes ridiculous like here. Because the "last time" she "laughed" requires too much context, this is the penultimate time she laughed in the entire novel. It's also a minor spoiler for a chapter that will soon be published. The is a slight revised [#excerpt: Two SCs are sitting in a high security prison, on either side of the bars. The MC is watching them from the wrong side of them. The reader knows she has slept with both men.]

He sat opposite my shapeshifter. They looked at one another, the shapeshifter imitating his actions. When it devolved to insulting gestures and the sticking out of tongues, I cleared my throat to forestall laughing outloud.

The prince grinned as did my shapeshifter. The prince said, "It's like looking in a mirror; uncanny."

"Yeah," I said, covering my mouth. "Uncanny because not a mirror image!"

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337 — What was the worst job that your MC or SC ever had? CW: 400 word tootfic.

This tootfic is from an in-universe novel I published online in 2016 that would include both my criminal MC (aka the devil-girl) and her SC (aka Bolt) as SCs, as told by the crime boss who wants employ her as his enforcer. My MC has a knack for existing well and without regrets. The detailed jobs and conditions were undoubtedly the worst my MC experienced, and Bolt didn't like it either, which foreshadows their eventual friendship. [I made a few revisions.]

... From what [Bolt], my youngest employee, could find shadowing her in the university district, she was looking for a change of career. She had applied for admission to the [Home Planetary School for Thaumaturgy]. She'd have to wait months until enrollment started.

I saw leverage and a desirable new hire.

Why would I want a security specialist who failed her last employer? Well, in CA's case, sometimes you can't save a person from her own stupidity [so I found the failure forgivable.] I also visualized a different employment for this woman's "miraculous" talents.

I gave orders to ensure the woman's efforts in finding a job to pay room and board would be only marginally fruitful. I provided strategic services to many businesses; they usually respected my opinions on such matters. The woman seemed reluctant to venture into downtown or suburban Home City. Perhaps it was that she was shy about being noticed as the failed security specialist for the deceased Doña. Perhaps it was because visibly healing wounds, time pounding the pavement, and days exposed to the sun and the elements made her look like a vagrant. In any case, she restricted her search to the less-structured more-freewheeling Lower City where I conducted my core business. Her life would be hard.

Surprisingly, this stoic didn't break. She saved the minimal coin she made first sweeping floors, then, when pushed out, cleaning ovens at a bakery, then later hauling garbage, and after that painting walls. She literally performed a dozen menial jobs before the proctors granted her admission when the spring session opened later in the month.

And during those months, she spent nothing. Instead, she lived homeless in encampments in the warehouse district. She never visited the homeless shelters paid by the homeless tax levy where she'd have to identify herself. She ate when she got handouts, even bathed in public washrooms. She even endured a week of strong spring storms, sheltered beneath the eaves of warehouses or restaurants after they closed, sometimes soaked to the skin.

The latter drove my usually hard-flanked [day angel] to tears one evening. The only thing I could do to stop [Bolt] from flying the [daemon] to her aerie that last dark rainy night was to relent and promise to offer the former specialist a position in my organization the next day.

[Author retains copyright (c)2016 R.S.]

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#WritersCoffeeClub Ch 10 Nbr 06 — Have you queried agents for traditional publishing? How did it go?

I met my agent at a writers conference, so technically I didn't query. It helped that I had a couple completed manuscripts with me. I appeared serious. I was told when I completed the next one, send it in. The agent sold it so quickly to such a good imprint that I didn't appreciate the miracle that had been pulled off. Nor did I appreciate the necessity of pursuing the career with intensity a lucky high school baseball player who makes it to the minor leagues needs pursue the majors.

That's the danger of getting a day job. A day job that pays well monetarily if not psychologically.

Not making the mistake again.

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335 Part 2 — Do you use metaphors in your writing? What are some examples?

Yep, caught myself writing one:

...reading a CW forms in the reader's head a preconception without actual knowledge of the facts. It's a cudgel not a scalpel.

Not a simile. I could have written that a CW is as sharp as a cudgel to do that. Might still qualify as a metaphor, though. It is certainly an allusion.

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#WritersCoffeeClub Ch 10 Nbr 03 Part 2 — Should books include a content warning?

Well, I inadvertently conducted an experiment in content warnings. I added a content warning for Ch 10 Nbr 4 (here: https://eldritch.cafe/@sfwrtr/112560345961576143) consistent with my eldritch.cafe instance's standards. It stated:

How do you handle highly intimate scenes? CW: Intimacy. Nothing graphic, but, really, if intimacy or discussion thereof bothers you, don't read.

In my opinion, it worked a little too well. 😊 I generally can count on more response. Yeah, maybe the post wasn't deserving.

The "experiment" does allow me to discuss my fears about CWs—despite agreeing to use them in the spirit of their requirement. In warding off people who need them to be sufficiently detailed, or want them, reading a CW forms in the reader's head a preconception without actual knowledge of the facts. It's a cudgel not a scalpel. In my cited CW, I overwrote it because in the back of my mind I fear picking up a hater. I've dealt with getting badgered because someone's interpretation of reality wasn't mine, and I became an evil to be purged for the good of the world. As a shy person, this is a very difficult thing for me to deal with, so I use CWs.

My two ¢.

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#WritersCoffeeClub Ch 10 Nbr 03 Part 2 — Should books include a content warning?

Well, I inadvertently conducted an experiment in content warnings. I added a content warning for Ch 10 Nbr 4 (here: https://eldritch.cafe/@sfwrtr/112560345961576143) consistent with my eldritch.cafe instance's standards. It stated:

How do you handle highly intimate scenes? CW: Intimacy. Nothing graphic, but, really, if intimacy or discussion thereof bothers you, don't read.

In my opinion, it worked a little too well. 😊 I generally can count on more response. Yeah, maybe the post wasn't deserving.

The "experiment" does allow me to discuss my fears about CWs—despite agreeing to use them in the spirit of their requirement. In warding off people who need them to be sufficiently detailed, or want them, reading a CW forms in the reader's head a preconception without actual knowledge of the facts. It's a cudgel not a scalpel. In my cited CW, I overwrote it because in the back of my mind I fear picking up a hater. I've dealt with getting badgered because someone's interpretation of reality wasn't mine, and I became an evil to be purged for the good of the world. As a shy person, this is a very difficult thing for me to deal with, so I use CWs.

My two ¢.

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Ch 10 Nbr 05 — Have you ever dreamed about characters in your work?

So rarely as to be certain it happened less than a dozen times.

What being an author has done is turn most of my dreams (the one's I vaguely remember, anyway) into sequential stories that feel like narrative. I am not saying they make sense, but events seem to happen for a reason, with characters that show up in successive scenes, with recollection of what happened reflecting in choices that follow. Sometimes, the story continues after being awake for sometime. Sometimes it continues on a subsequent night. My dreams are always in color.

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2406.05 — Do you have fans/people who enjoy your writing? What’s your relationship to them?

I've gotten sporadic feedback for years, some which has made me confident a certain population of readers like my stories because they aren't run of the mill. For a long while, I had a reader who liked dissecting passages in my stories, happily pointing out sarcasm and innuendo, and subtleties in the interactions between characters. Complementary comments are always nice. Way back in the previous millennium, I received an actual fan letter. You know, with an envelope. Written on a typewriter. I really wished I'd saved it, but I was young and stupid.

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336 — Would you or have you ever used a mixed metaphor in your writing? We would love to hear some examples.

Unintentionally? I hope not. Intentionally, not often. Like a misquoted cliché, such things are humorous only if the reader is aware of the original metaphors. Since I write in first person, and those persons either live in some future time or some fantasy world, my characters can't tell their stories using common English metaphors. That said, I've created sound-alike metaphors and my characters have used them mixed them snidely, usually for the purposes of innuendo.

Like 335, they're a rarity in my current works, so I've none at hand to share.

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2406.04 — Antagonist POV: Is it easy for you to apologize? Can you apologize to someone right now?

If I made a mistake or bumped into somebody? Of course. Many people recognize me, or take a look at me, and something between awe and stupidity sets in. I account for that. I've survived the fall of civilizations; I can be charming. What I won't apologize is for doing things I must do, whether it simply upsets you or ends up killing people you knew, and all the permutations in between. My role in this miserable life that never ends is ensuring humanity survives. Nobody apologizes to me for saddling me with that responsibility. You know what really ticks me off? Questions like this one. Sorry!

Director Rainy Days

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2406.03 — Who is your most creative character?

In the sense of one of my creations being uniquely different? I have one who character who interacts with the spirits of a few people and aliens who have died over the course of the two SF novels, but in the end it's difficult to decide whether the spirits were "real" or if the shaman is simply insane. In another set of novels, the main POV is able to rewrite reality (but not history) by application of will, but doesn't really understand the process or the implications. It takes a couple of books for her to fully understand she's being used, then she has to fix what she's been tricked into doing.

In the sense of the character being a creative? Being creative isn't often important in my stories, but my characters have things they do beyond what is necessary for the stories. Almost all my characters cook, and at least one of them cooks for a party that proves pivotal to the story (the shaman above). Caramelo in Inklings is a "spirit" photographer. It's important for the story as the MC wants to get him a job because she finds his work amazing. His artistry allows me to add a visual component to how the magic flows in the story.

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Ch 10 Nbr 03 — Should books include a content warning? CW: Usage of the word "should."

"Should" is a terrifically ambiguous word. It is worthwhile checking the dictionary. Almost any answer including this word may tick someone off.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/should
https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/should
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/should

I include CWs if the publisher or host requires them (Mastodon does) keeping to the spirit of the requirement. Beyond that, I refuse to impose my opinions on the matter upon any author, other than to point out that you dismiss this topic, and its implications for finding and retaining an audience for you work, at your own personal risk.

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335 — Do you use metaphors in your writing? What are some examples?

Yes. But it took a question like this to think to quantify it: A lot less than I thought. Going through three different stories (recent works), I found that I rely on simple description and simile most of the time. After 10 minutes, I couldn't find anything suitably florid or particularly interesting to relate.

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