Friday, October 14, 2016

Let's Build a Story Together!

Hello again!

I had the fun experience of running a panel at SNAFU Con about creating a story with the attendees. My previous post detailed the decision we all made about the contents of the story I have started writing.

I also gave the ones who participated in the panel a chance to email me any other ideas they might have had.  To that end, the fact that we didn't get a chance to discuss the antagonists was brought to my attention. (There are so many decisions to be made as a writer!)

I had a message detailing one participants thoughts on those very bad guys. As promised, I am taking the input to heart.  He didn't provide names for the group that will be giving Richard and company so much trouble, but he did provide a concept:

The idea for how they are introduced is that after Richard and his/her group leave on their quest to find a cure for the condition, mysterious attackers invade the research facility, apparently after whatever the magi-scientists had been working on, before the accident. Whatever it is they are looking for, seems to be tied in with hero/heroine's condition, but as the attackers cannot figure out where exactly Richard has gone.

There would be five antagonists total; four of which are based off of the suits of playing cards (I do not have names for them yet, because this is just an idea.).

SPADE: The apparent leader of the four. A dark knight-type warrior, who uses his sword to cast spells. He is strong, and enigmatic, but has a deep sense of personal honor, and is protective of the other three in his group.

CLUB: A muscle-bound martial artist warrior, who envelops his fists & feet with elemental magic, and always seeks out strong opponents. He seeks out strong opponents though, because he does not want to hurt weak people.

DIAMOND: A sneaky nerdish guy, who summons monsters, but is too weak to fight anything on his own. He is aware of his own weaknesses, and has self-esteem issues because of this.

HEART: The token female of the antagonists, and the one most encountered personally. She uses powerful spells that are based on her current mood (i.e. Anger = Fire, Sadness = Water, Fear = Lightning, etc.), making her dangerous, but somewhat unfocused. The FIFTH antagonist is a shadow-boss based off of the motif of the ?Wild Card?, and commands the other four antagonists from the shadows.

WILD CARD: He is in fact a spirit trapped inside a magic crystal, and formerly one of the magic users from the ancient magic-using civilization that now lays in ruins. In discovering the origin of magical energy at the time, he attempted to achieve immortality through it, but ended up destroying the entire civilization himself. Although he is ?alive? and unageing inside of his crystal prison, he has no physical body, and requires the special magic energies inside of the hero/heroine in order to gain a physical form once again.

The Wild Card convinced the other four antagonists that they are decedents of the lost ancient magic civilization, but in actuality they are merely his pawns, and they also possess magic that the Wild Card will need in order to regain his body.

***

Now, as anyone who was in the Lets Build a Story Together panel can attest, this story grew to become much bigger than anyone originally intended. I do not think it will reach novel length, but this is going to be a pretty epic tale.

So, what I will be posting here is the rough draft of the opening scene.  Since it is an action story, I decided to drop the reader right in the middle of everything.  There is still a lot to reveal (pretty much everything about Richard hasn't even been mentioned yet) but I hope you enjoy what you see so far.  More will be coming...


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THE QUEST FOR THE RETURN OF THE PEE PEE
(Working Title, not final)
By Spencer Stoner
(based on input from the Lets Build a Story Together panel at SNAFU Con 2016)



The figure dressed head to toe in white stepped around the rubble. His pale pant legs peeked out from his long colorless coat with each step, only to disappear again as he maneuvered deeper into the room.

Stray sparks of electricity popped to life from the ends of newly exposed wiring that used to be encased in the now nonexistent wall. The building was trying to keep the power on but the damage inside was too severe. It was like trying to save a man by transfusing his life’s blood from one artery to another again and again only to find the adjacent vein severed every time.

The mask over the individual’s nose and mouth pressed tightly against his face as he inhaled, the smell of ozone strong in the destroyed lab. The fabric stretched, as much as it could, when he exhaled with a heavy sigh.

“Sam, do not tell me that Hearthstone killed everyone,” he idly kicked at the limp hand of the deceased scientist at his feet, “again.”

A woman stepped out from the adjacent room at the sound of her name. Each piece of clothing she wore was some shade of red, although the palest hue (belonging to the silk scarf around her neck) was flirting with pink. Unlike the loose, almost floating scarf, the rest of Sam's wardrobe bordered on skintight.

Except for her boots, they had large, clunky soles. They didn't even fit her red color scheme. They were black, although that could have been from the burning debris the man was being so careful to avoid. Thankfully, the potential fashion faux pas was alleviated by Sam's equally dark hair that just brushed over her shoulders.

If the man had been mortal, he would have likely described the woman as “beautiful”. Mathematically, Sam's facial features were infinitesimally close to the being perfectly symmetrical. But she wasn't standing around to let him inspect her closely, in fact the woman immediately turned in his direction as she entered the room.

While Sam was walking toward the man in white, the woman in red was not looking at him. Her attention was focused on the mere human wrapped under her arm.

“Not from lack of trying, Queensknee.” Sam responded. “But it seems he missed one this time.”

“My soul is absolutely aflutter with the joyous news.” Queensknee adjusted the brim of the pale fedora on his head to be almost as flat as the tone of his voice.

Sam tightened the grip of her thin arm around the almost as thin neck of her prisoner to force her prisoner to look in the man in white’s direction. The human was asymmetrical, although she could have been described as attractive in a nonlinear fashion, he supposed.

Her glasses, with one lens cracked in a pattern that resembled that of a crumbling planetoid, magnified her blue eyes. Queensknee figured that enlargement was the source of whatever attraction this woman was able to project.

Because, otherwise, she had nothing that any artisan would want to immortalize in marble or watercolor. He could only hope that her mind held her true appeal. That being the information that he wanted now, of course.

Queensknee bent slightly at the knee and waist to lower his masked face to the level of the woman in the headlock. “I trust that you realize that resisting us is a truly poor idea?”

“Y-yes.” She squeaked her answer.

The man smiled behind his mask, not that she could tell. Good. The woman had a basic survival instinct, at least. Now to see if she had good sense.

“Then you will tell us the location of the Kwisatz Haderach.”

Despite the obvious pain in the prisoner’s neck, she stared back at Queensknee blankly.

He let out a displeased sigh. “The glass box that glowed on one side?”

“Oh.” The woman frowned back. “Richard has it.”


“And who, pray tell,” Queensknee pressed a gloved finger under the prisoner’s chin, pulling her face towards his to ensure that he had her full attention. “is Richard?”

-------------------------

That is the opening gambit for our tale.  Everyone in the panel can tell that we have a LONG way to go!

You know what? Another participant said that she wanted to write her own version of this story based on the decisions we all made. I hope she sees this and decides to share with the rest of us!

You want to create your own? All the notes are in the previous post. I would love to see what you come up with!

And keep an eye out! You can find out what happens next in my version this coming Friday (October 21)!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Taste of Things to Come

I have just returned from a great time at SNAFU Con. I ran a panel there called "Lets Build a Story Together".

Now, the plan was that the participants would decide every, and I do mean every, element of a story that I would write for them.  A first draft for, at least, the elements that we were able to get to will be here on Friday. (I gave the participants a chance to e-mail any last minute ideas they wanted to add.)

Here are the elements for our story that were all decided upon:

First, it will be written in third person. I told you that EVERY element would be decided on.

It will be an action-filled sci-fi story with fantasy elements (and some dark humor, if I can do it right). The depiction will be of a roughly PG-13 level, so no graphic details of the damage caused by, shall we say, visceral violence or, um, hentai level lovin'.

The main character's name is Richard. He is an intern who is an introvert and, physically, about as average one could be. Through the events of the story, Richard will become more assertive and principled.

Physically, he has brown hair and eyes and an average build. In fact, the only distinctive feature Richard has is a birthmark on the back of his left hand.

Richard is on a quest to restore himself back to his original state. You see, he was the victim of an unfortunate side effect from a scientific experiment on magic that changed him from a male to a woman. This quest will, perhaps, lead to the discovery of why magic exists in their world.

He won't be alone in his quest to "restore his pee pee". Richard will have a team of five scientists with him. In fact, one of them will be in love with him. Unfortunately, we didn't have a chance to decide on her name.

The setting for this tale is a modern city with some ancient, magical ruins outside of the town. The city is a colony on a planet long removed from Earth.

As I mentioned before, the participants had a chance to e-mail any additional elements they wanted. Those won't be listed here but I will note them on the post of the rough draft.

This is going to be interesting...

Monday, August 8, 2016

How Often Should One Post On Their Blog?

I've been making a point of being more active on the interwebs once I became a "professional" writer. I make sure to post a special "Wisdom of Ophelia" once a week on Twitter (and then Facebook and Tumblr) and share post that I like with my audience and audience in potentia.

While doing all this, I realized that I haven't actually posted anything here on my blog in a couple of months!

I didn't mean to ignore the blog.  I guess I just haven't had anything to say that wasn't around the size of a tweet or a picture that I have drawn.  I know that you can post pictures here but it doesn't seem, well, appropriate to just have pictures here.

I always thought of a blog as a place that you share ideas in a more detailed way.  Now, I'm before I get into this next portion of my tirade, let me preface it by saying that I'm not saying that other blogs do what I am about to describe en masse.  I'm not one for whining or reading a long rant about problems that aren't really problems but are because they make the writer annoyed and/or upset.  Nor am I one who thinks that I have all the answers in regards to the problems in and of this world.

With all that being said.  I wonder what a blog should talk about.  I think the most opinionated post I have here is my defense of the video game Metroid: Other M.  While I enjoy playing video games, I don't think most anyone would really care about my current game of the month.

Or maybe you do.  Perhaps you take the opinion of other gamers over that of critics who seem to be bought a paid for by those they are supposed to be reviewing in an unbiased manner.  But then, video games aren't something I devote 100% of my time to, either.  I mean, I do have to take time to eat and write my books, short stories and draw some pictures, right?

So this blog can go all over the place when it comes to subject matter.  That still begs the question of how often should one post before a blog becomes derelict?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Story Excerpt (Star Wars Edition)

Are you a Star Wars fan? So am I! 
I am such a big fan, in fact, that I write a serial for another Facebook page called The Star Wars Bash. (Feel free to check it out here:https://www.facebook.com/starwarsbash/)
In a belated celebration of George Lucas’ birthday, I wanted to share part of the first story that I’m proud of in that galaxy far, far away that he created. 
So here is an excerpt from the first episode of the first serial.
Anyway… Enjoy!
-
Excerpt from Ryotan is Only the Beginning, Episode One:
“Why do you keep such a neurotic droid around?” The woman asked out of genuine curiosity rather than any malevolence toward T-23. “He doesn’t seem to match your personality at all.”
The pilot laughed outright at that. “You know how many short circuits or malfunctions my ship has had since I got him? None. T-23 cares about the Icarus and doesn’t stop checking up on her.”
“Almost like he has a little crush?” Terra grinned.
“Oh, no.” Aryl leaned back in his seat again. “I think it’s outright infatuation.”
Neither spoke for a short while, each enjoying the silence together before Terra finally sighed. “I can’t wait to get back to Coruscant.”
The pilot arched an eyebrow over at the Jedi Knight. “T-23 is annoying you that much?”
“No.” The twi’lek straightened in her seat. “When I get back, I’m getting my first Padawan apprentice. He’s the same species as Master Yoda.”
“Understandable.” Aryl turned for a moment to press a few buttons. “I’m anxious to get back myself.”
“Why’s that?”
“Queen Amidala is getting sworn in as a Senator soon. What Noobian would want to miss that?” Aryl smiled.
Terra smiled back, relaxing into her chair. While the pilot had been living on Coruscant for years, at least according to his records, he still had a sense of pride in his place of birth, the planet Naboo.
Terra herself was born on Coruscant but, once she became a Padawan as a child, only returned rarely to the planet. Even then she spent most of her time in the Jedi Temple until it was time for her Master and herself to leave for their next assignment. She didn’t feel that same pride Aryl did, and wondered about that feeling of… connection.
The twi’lek watched the stars stream by in silence, stealing occasional looks over at Aryl, who busied himself with piloting the ship. Neither spoke, they didn’t feel the need.
Once, when she looked over at Aryl yet again, she caught him stealing a glance at her, just as she had been doing. She blushed, her cheeks turning a dark green, when the sheepish look on his face reminded the woman of what Aryl said to Gingi the engineer about twi’leks when she first hired their ship…
“Hey, Aryl! Can you hear me up there?” Gingi’s baritone voice popped over the comm.
With a flick of the switch, Aryl responded. “Yeah, I hear you Calamari-boy. What’s up?”
“Could one of you come back here and collect T-23?” Both Aryl and Terra had to stifle chuckles. “He’s messing with my engines again.”
Suddenly the ship lurched as if it had hit a wall! The human clamped his hands around the edge of the console to keep from being thrown into the cockpit’s viewing port. The Force kept the Jedi from reeling out of her seat, but only just. The momentum threw her head tails forward and back, giving her a slap on the cheek on their return.
“What happened back there, Gingi?” Aryl’s brow furrowed as looked over the instrument panel.
“I don’t know!” The Mon Calamari’s voice betrayed how uneasy he felt.
Terra glanced out at the stars as she rose from her seat… and they weren’t there. Outside the ship was only blackness, no points of light or any hint that they had even been there.
“I’m going back to see what I can do.” Terra hopped to her feet.
-
Want to find out what happens next? And, perhaps check out all three story arcs, you can find them here :
https://starwarsbash.wordpress.com/page/3/

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Postcards from Honua #3 (short excerpt from Ophelia and Lyan are Dead Meat)

Continuing my feature that shares bits and bobbins from my stories, I decided to showcase another part from my first novel (and currently only but the second is on its way!), Ophelia and Lyan are Dead Meat:

Skeletons weren't exactly known to have supernatural strength. Hopefully having nothing but sinew holding them together would make them more brittle and they could get through before the air power and behemoths could reach. Ophelia slashed for the neck of the nearest skeleton holding a torch and a longsword.

The undead creature's head flew from its shoulders and she started for the next. The first didn't fall, though, and chopped for the woman's neck much like she had to it.

Ophelia ducked under the strike. When she looked back up at the skeleton warrior, she saw the undead being place the flame from the torch in its hand at the base of its neck, as if it was going to light it like another torch.

It worked. The monster tossed the now extinguished length of wood to the ground and its skull was now replaced by what looked like a demon's head sculpted in fire! It reared back and shrieked its displeasure at Ophelia.

“Okay... panicking is looking like a better idea now.” She said before bringing Havarti down on the creature again.
---
Want to see what happens next? (Or what happened to lead up to that?) You can pick up Ophelia and Lyan are Dead Meat in paperback or ebook formats here:


Monday, February 22, 2016

Postcards from Honua #2: Girl Talk

I thought it would be fun to post another excerpt from one of my stories.  This one again stars Ophelia and Lyan Yo Bunpy (who are also the main characters of my novel Ophelia and Lyan are Dead Meat which is available here.) but is a completely different story.

If you came here via the link from my website, www.authorspencerstoner.com, you may have already read this short story, entitled Girl Talk (riiight?).  But for those of you who haven't (shame on you!  It's just a simple click on the previous sentence.  You can do it!), here's a little taste of the story that is exclusive to my site.  Please enjoy!

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Lyan looked as if she'd been asked some kind of riddle. Her brown eyes locked onto Ophelia as if she was trying to find some clue.

Then the Bunny Barbarian sighed and, sure that the answer she was about to give was wrong, she said, “You are an attractive woman.”

Ophelia nodded. “Thanks, the guys whose eyes make it to my face seem to think so, too. What about the ones who don't look at my face?”

“Don't look at your face?” Lyan muttered then came to a realization. “They keep looking at your chest. There is rarely much covering it.”

The barbarian pointed just where she mentioned. She looked proud of herself that she had figured out the answer to which the mercenary was trying to guide her.

Ophelia pointed right back at Lyan's chest. “Your top is covering even less and those are even bigger than mine.”

The Bunny Barbarian's face slowly turned insulted. Not at Ophelia, at least not directly, but at the memory of all the men who failed to make eye contact with her. She had taken it as a compliment previously, assuming they were simply in awe of a warrior of her reputation (word of the battle prowess of her tribe had spread wide, thanks in no small measure to her efforts over the years). Now, realizing that they only saw her as a piece of meat...

-

Not long but what postcard is?  You can find the rest on my new website and find other fun freebies there, too!

Why are you still here?  The post's over.

Go (check out some other posts while your here. :) )...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

An Interview to Celebrate the Launch of my New Site!

Hi there! My name is Spencer Stoner. I'm the author of Ophelia and Lyan are Dead Meat. In celebration of the launch of my website, www.authorspencerstoner.com, I thought I would try something a little different. You know how, in interviews, the one asking the questions asks the writer things like “where do you find your inspiration?” or “do you have a system for picking names for characters?” (I do. Two, in fact, but that is another article).

Instead of that, I am going to interview the main characters of Dead Meat. That's right! We are going to get answers straight from the mouths of the actual participants of the story! Let's begin, shall we?

To set the stage, I'm in a simple room with the two ladies. The walls are mortared stone, there are several plants in each corner to make it a little more, well, cheery, I guess. Outside the window, the sky is gray but it doesn't look like its about to rain or anything.

As for Ophelia, she's sitting (or more like slouching) in her seat, resting her chin in her hand as she waits for me to speak. Lyan is sitting with nigh-impeccable posture, although she looks less eager to be there than her compatriot.

Spencer: “First, I really appreciate you taking the time to speak to me today, Ophelia and Lyan.”

Ophelia: “Of course. I just wish that you had provided some beer or something.”

Spencer: “Yeah, sorry about that but I don't drink. It didn't even occur to me to bring anything like that.”

Ophelia:  Sighs.

Lyan: “Do not be disgruntled, Ophelia. We will not linger here too long. We do have more important matters that require our attention.”

S: “Why are you in such a rush? I thought you had, you know, taken care of the problem already.”

O: “You really think that we only have one major problem at a time? That's a pretty simplistic way of thinking. What kind of writer are you?”

S: “Err... I guess you're right. Sorry again.”

Lyan: “So many apologies are a sign of weakness.”

S: “Sor- I'll try to remember that. Are we ready to start the interview proper?”

O: “Sure.”

L: “Very well.”

S: “The first question is for both of you. It's a pretty simple one. Who are you?”

O: “My name is Ophelia.”

L: “I am Lyan Yo Bunpy of the Yo Bunpy Tribe of Bunny Barbarians fairing from the Land of the Long Toothed Rabbit.”

(Note: Lyan's name is pronounced Lee-an, not like lion, as the spelling would imply. I know, it's weird but proper names seem to not have to follow the standard rules of pronunciation and spelling in the English language. Of course, we can always blame the one who translated it from the Honuan languages but that would be... rude.)

S: “No, that's not what I mean. I already know your names. What I want to know is who you are.”

O: “I thought you said this was a simple question.”

S: “It isn't?”

O: “Would you find it easy to answer a question like that?”

L: “Perhaps you do not realize that simple is not synonymous with easy.”

S: Sighs. “You're right. I'm so- sure you can give us a little, I don't know, a little overview of how you see yourself?”

O: “Yeah, sure. I'm a mercenary, a sword-for-hire. A pretty good one, too.”

S: “And you like fighting for the highest bidder rather than something you believe in?”

O: “I didn't say that. I don't just fight for the highest bidder. That's more of a prostitution frame of mind and I know you're not calling me a prostitute, are you?”

S: “No, no. Of course not.”

L: “Ophelia is a noble warrior who often fights alongside myself and my people. When it is just she and I, it is often not for money.”

S: “So what about you, Lyan? You've told us your lineage but not about you.”

L: “What more do you want to know?”

S: “More about you, not your people.”

L: “Very well.” Long pause. “I am one of very few female warriors among my tribe.”

O: “More like the only female warrior in your tribe.”

L: “You forget that my mother is a warrior.”

O: “She had to leave the tribe to do that.”

L: “But she is returned now.”

O: “I wouldn't call overnight visits with Corthek every fortnight returned, Lyan.”

L: “...Right.”

S: “Um... Corthek is your father, right?”

L: “Yes. But I thought that you wanted to know about me.”

S: “True. I just wanted to clarify for people reading this later. Let's move on and see if we can get back to answering a few questions. Ophelia, you're a mercenary who fights for who you want rather than who has the most money. But what is your ultimate goal in life?”

O: “Boy, you do ask all the easy questions, don't you?”

S: “To be honest, I'm using a guide to questions I should ask from another article I read.”

O: “Oookaaay... I can't say that I have an ultimate goal. I mostly just want to have a soft bed, a healthy dose of booze and maybe a warm body to go in the bed with at night.”

S: “Pretty simple if... morally ambivalent goals, I guess.”

O: “What do you mean by that?”

S: “I guess I'm kind of old fashioned. I'm kind of a type that's more into having a committed relationship. I'm not big on having a different partner every night.”

L: “Do you not feel that is rather judgmental?”

S: “I'm not saying it's bad. I'm just saying that it's not my philosophy when it comes to relationships.”

O: “It's not mine, either.”

Both Lyan and I look at Ophelia with surprised looks on our faces.

O: “I didn't say that I wanted a relationship with whatever warm body was in the bed with me. I'm not saying that I'm not open to having a relationship. I just haven't had one outside of the one I have with Lyan and a handful of other people.”

S: “You mean that you and Lyan have...”

O: “I didn't say that. I said that I have a relationship with her. Get your mind out of the gutter!”

L: “By that standard, I have not had a relationship in some while, myself.”

S: “Listen, I didn't mean to make this conversation devolve into a discussion of your sex lives. I'm just trying to give the readers a feel for who you both are as people.”

O: “Well, sex is part of being a person but I get your point.”

L: “As do I. As for my goals, my people believe that I am destined to destroy the Great Evil. Unfortunately, we have yet to uncover where it is hiding.”

O: “Scouting around for information is one of the contracts I take with regularity.”

S: “You take money from your friend's family to wander around and get information about something as ambiguous as a Great Evil?”

O: “A girl's gotta eat.”

L: “And we are willing to aid her as she had aided us in the past.”

S: “Point taken. Maybe now would be a good time to change the subject. If people were to read your life stories or, for instance, the story of the events of your recent encounter with the Lytyl Tribe and Perrett, what would you want them to know?”

L: “That was a fine battle. It had powerful ramifications throughout the countryside. It even created a new political force that will undoubtedly change the face of the continent in years to come. A warrior can usually only dream that their struggles could lead to such events occurring in their lifetime.”

O: “I don't mean to disagree with Lyan here but she does like to gloss over the things we lost thanks to that (I apologize to those who prefer to have every word written out but, Ophelia's description of Perrett was a little more, um, colorful than I was comfortable printing here.) ...and I hope it falls off.”

S: “So it's fair to say that you have strong feelings about what happened.”

O: “You could say that. While we're on the topic, I feel that the Lytyl can (Sorry again. I'll just give you this brief synopsis of her... passionate opinion of the svartalfar*: Ophelia feels that those she dealt with within the Lytyl Tribe were duplicitous, underhanded and generally dishonest in their dealings with her and Lyan.) ...after they spank the horse.”

(Note: *The svartalfar are elves that, long ago, moved into tunnels and caverns deep underground. As the centuries passed, their skin has absorbed a lot of the carbon in the fertile soil around them to make their skin colors range from gray to obsidian black.)

S: “Thank you, Ophelia for that... honest assessment of your feelings. I think I've held you two ladies up long enough. Be safe in your future adventures and I hope that we can do this again sometime.”

O: “You want to get yourself alone with two attractive women again? And I'm the morally ambiguous one?”

S: “I didn't mean it in the warm bodies in a bed way!”

O: “Of course not. But I do expect to have one in my bed tonight and I have a feeling that you are the one that can make that happen.”

S: “I'll... see what I can do. No guarantees, mind you.”

L: “Does that mean that you may provide me with a better sharpening stone?”

S: “That would be... easier.”


I hope you enjoyed reading my conversation with Ophelia and Lyan. I have to admit that it so didn't go the way I thought it would. Anyway, my novel, Ophelia and Lyan are Dead Meat is available in paperback and e-book formats here: bit.ly/1HYjNSH