Post-Thanksgiving Recovery

Thanksgiving this year was probably my biggest and most exhausting. Catching Fire was good, but it was a pretty big let down considering all the hype from my friends. I got some work down for the music video (my little pet project for my English class). My parents got a record high flood of passengers at their work (about 1,200 people or 24 buses worth). The turkey dinner was amazing. I gorged on that fatty skin with absolutely no regard for my cholesterol levels. I got to get my first run of the season up in Mt. High. The snow was thin and iced, but it was still fun.  It was my baby Vanessa’s first ride and I rode her throw a thawed out patch of pebbles. Vanessa is my snowboard by the way and yes, I name my inanimate possessions. That’s just how I roll (or slide – bah dum tss). I’m sorry but when I write informally, I go nuts with the parentheses (I’m cool like that).

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Anyway, the food coma I was in didn’t pair up well with the lactic acid from the trip so I spent the rest of my break immobilized with soreness. And when Sunday came around, I was not ready. At all. I have come to realize how bad of a planner I am. But oh did it hit me hard this time. Now I’m going to have to crank this whole week to catch up. It made me think about the invaluable benefits of something I had to do for my project: map out dates and key events that I planned to have done by then. If I am really expecting to get this novel done by the end of the year, I’m going to have to get my planning game in order.

I really appreciate the feedback I got for my first chapter: “Coming with the Clouds” and I’m glad you guys liked it. Looking forward to the next chapter! If all goes well, I’ll have it out for you by next Tuesday.

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Chapter1: “Coming with the Clouds”



I wake up with a breathless gasp and kick my blanket off. My legs roll off the side of the bed as I grab a handful of my sheets. Breathable Egyptian cotton, 1000-thread count, soaked with cold sweat.

One good night of sleep. Please,” I mumble between shallow pants.

There wasn’t any hope of going back to bed now. I knew the routine. It’s been going on for over two months now. Ever since I moved to this stupid town. The dark bags under my bloodshot eyes said it all.

I’m just glad I didn’t scream this time.

I’m sick of the therapy. Sick of that pretentious Dr. Hetvick acting like he understands what’s going on with me. The way he constantly bobs his head and squints, I swear the guy’s doing some messed up Robert De Niro impression.

“John’s been through a lot. -insert generic pseudomedical b.s.- He’s going to take some time to get used to his new surroundings…but he’s getting there.”

Some time. Probably just enough time to pocket another few grand from my parents.

No. I’ve put in too much work, faked too many smiles for another night terror to set me back to square one.

I glance over at the clock. 1:11 a.m. Awesome. Three hours of sleep. That must be a new record.

I lay back down and stifle in a violent yawn. Outside my frosted window, dark clouds had rolled in to hide a moon that never seemed to want to shine. Its light was quiet. Mute even. As if to say, “I don’t want to be seen. I’m afraid to be seen.”

There isn’t a single thing I don’t hate about this God-forsaken town. Petre, Newfoundland. A 6,000 acre peninsula bordered by steep coves. Population: 3,500. Motto: “Tene Et Consta.”

But how could I be angry? Moving meant my family could stay together. Dad’s doing his best to provide for me and Mom. Even if it means taking a job on the other side of the continent as an oil-rig dive tech, I’m in no position to complain.

The job pays well, but I’ve never been very fond of the ocean. And that was the shimmering Pacific of grand-old California.

Newfoundland. It’s something else entirely. No warm, sunny skies or buzzing piers. No beach-goers tanning along the shore. No loud, squawking seagulls.

The birds here silently run from the waves as if they’re afraid it’ll snatch them up. The 15 mph winds keep them on the ground, only able to take short, frantic steps. The waves trail close behind – erasing the prints in the grey sand – promising to do the same to any bird not quick enough.

Didn’t trust the ocean then, definitely not starting now. Even those obnoxious surf dudes would be a welcomed sight in this dead town. But it’s best I forget about that life and focus on the things at hand. Like the literal zombie climbing in through my window right now. How’s that to start a day off?

My name is John Sonner, and I hate this stupid town.

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For a complete list of the chapters I have out so far, click here.

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Taking from the great works of these men and women in hopes that one day I might put back great literature of my own.

What I’m aiming for with this whole “project” if you will is not to write fan fiction. Yet I’ve been drawing ideas from a fan-fic blog. It’s a great starting point that has given me a push in the right direction but it feels lacking in what I’m looking for. Currently I’m in the search for a great blogger that writes original stories. Not short stories but full on novels. I’d love any suggestions so feel free to comment some below.

Despite all of that, I ended up writing a fan-fic of sorts for an activity: I had to come up with a 100 word story using parts of well-known quotes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. They were “Something is rotten in the state of _______” and “revenge ____ foul and most unnatural murder.”

The exercise was interesting for two reasons. It really challenged me to come up with a concept and furthermore think of a way to introduce, elaborate, and conclude it within 100 words (87 if you exclude the words from the quotes). I typically struggle with just starting to write and seeing where it takes me rather than establishing structure to the plot. Next there was the idea of drawing inspiration from literary giants. Emulation I believe it’s called. Taking from the great works of these men and women in hopes that one day I might put back great literature of my own.

I’m still getting my creative juices flowing. Only enough to get the first few lines of the first chapter out of myself. But without further ado, I present to you all…

“Knight of Vengeance”

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Something is rotten in the state of Gotham: a city where the rat-ta-tat of machine guns and screams broken and breathless lull its denizen into an apathetic slumber. But the silence that night rang louder than any boom or bang the city had ever known.

Something is rising from Crime Alley’s inky shadows. As Thomas cradled his son, his heart grew colder with the lifeless blood running down his white sleeves. With every drop that splattered onto the dank concrete, his crippling grief became rage unquenchable.

There was no other way but revenge to this foul and most unnatural murder.

Point-of-view

I have been debating on whether to use a third person POV, like in Harry Potter, or a first person POV, like in Percy Jackson. If you guys haven’t noticed yet I’ll be making frequent references to those two books. I want my little novel to emulate the style, genre, and overall “feel” of the books, but at the same time, I fear for my life that I’ll rip them off big time. That’s not my intent though. I’m not planning on copy and pasting my content into a cozy template, but rather to incorporate my own unique jazz to the whole thing with an original plot.

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Here are the pros and cons I’ve been considering between the two:

I think writing in 1st person would be the easy way out. It can be extremely personable and relatable in a way that directly invites the reader into this fantastical world.

However I wouldn’t have as much room for the artsy imagery that I’m so fond of like I would with 3rd person. Perhaps the protagonist wouldn’t “talk” so much with the reader but the descriptive language would immerse the reader into the world of John Sonner.

As of now though I’m leaning towards 3rd person and have actually started to write in it. I’ll just have to see where it takes me.

The Protagonist

I feel guilty for caving into this very much overdone model of a typical teenage boy that becomes the “chosen one” of some sort and uses his newly discovered powers to save mankind. But hey. Give me a break. This is my first attempt at a novel so I might as well us model that has proven to work. Depending on how I feel, maybe I’ll even throw in a best friend trio with some love interests thrown in the mix.

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Books like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson have flooded the market targeting young adults with its superficial content of fantasy worlds and magic. I like to rag on them but it’s a love-hate relationship. It’s like that song that you absolutely hate but can’t help but tap your feet to. But I understand where the popularity comes from. The characters are relatable in the fact that they too are teenagers, so readers are able to imagine themselves in a much cooler world. It’s also no coincidence that both of these popular series incorporates the “real world” into its fantasy world, adding to the effect that there just might be something more on the other side that we just don’t know about. It’s an interesting thought that entices a bulk of today’s young readers.

The inner conflict that my protagonist struggles with will be the responsibility that he must face with  the power and knowledge he now has. And if you go to my previous post “The Antagonist” you can read all about who John Sonner will be pitted against. I’m interested myself in how John will turn out. I’m just hoping he won’t be an exact replica of the before mentioned characters.

The Antagonist

What makes a good story is not the protagonist. A good story consists of an interesting and original plot. A plot is driven by a conflict that can keep you on your toes. So a predictable antagonist-protagonist relationship will at the best leave you with a mediocre story. So it all dwindles down to the villain to carry the book. You could say the bad guy makes or breaks it.

When I think bad guy, I see smiles, not a menacing brute. I came across Shakespeare’s Iago in my reading recently and I’ve never appreciated evil like this before. A villain that simply beats up on the main character doesn’t allow for much personality or complexity. What sets Iago apart is his mastermind persona. The way he manipulates the other characters so smoothly without any suspicion gives me a whole new revelation on the term puppeteer.

Satan

This is what has made Satan such an iconic figure throughout history. It’s a shame really at what culture has made his appearance out to be. The hideous, horned demon with unsightly red skin, forked tongue, and hoofed feet, doesn’t do justice to who Lucifer, the angel of light, was.  The Satan I picture does not cackle in a gruff, echoing voice. But rather he speaks softly, seductively, enticing his unsuspecting prey.

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An antagonist using strength alone, relies on strength alone and can be overpowered. However, an antagonist that turns his foes against each other and manipulates them to do his bidding without them even realizing it can do so much more harm. For a more relatable example, look at Iron Man 3. The villain does his during work behind the scenes, setting up a pseudo-villain to take the glory (and heat) for everything. This throws even the ingenious Tony Stark off of the true trail and allows Aldrich Killian to do even more damage. Ironically outwitting is so much more powerful than overpowering.

Teaser

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It seems like all hell breaks loose when 17 year old John Sonner discovers his recurring nightmares go beyond the bedroom.

Following the suicide of a close friend, he realizes there is more going on at Carmal Valley Academy than meets the eye…of everyone else at least.

As John continues to face new challenges and tread deeper into his school’s dark secrets, he realizes the cafeteria food was the least of his worries.

Can he save the school and stop the encroaching evil before it’s too late?

Preface

The posts on this blog will serve to gather my raw thoughts and ideas into an extremely basic outline. I am hoping that by writing through these twenty-two chapters, I will be able to concisely summarize and organize what very well might be a book I’ll write in the future. This pre-write will enable me to construct a plot and rearrange things accordingly in the finished product.

The story will follow the life of John Sonner, a typical boy in high school, whose life takes a dramatic turn after he discovers the reoccurring dreams he’s been having go beyond just his bedroom.

Now I know that this “ordinary-teenagers-whose-lives-flip-upside-down-following-some-dramatic-revelation” genre is as overdone as a Sizzler’s  sirloin steak, but bear with me.

1986

Winter of 1986

My name is Charles Rembrandt. At least that’s what they’ve told me on my documents. The only thing I can be sure of is that keeping the scribbles of my pen silent is a matter of existence or nonexistence.

I am a member of the Brotherhood, though it is very hard to consider ourselves anything of the sort. The few I know of, it is only by name and face. But it is our belief that makes us one. Is that not what keeps any family together? The belief that those of flesh and blood are special. That they hold some supplementary value above any neighbor. That although they have caused the most grief in our lives, they deserve the most love. Even if that love came at the cost of life and limb.

The Ministry could tear me apart, tooth by tooth, nail by nail. But it is only family that can tear at the heart, for where there is no love there can be no heartbreak. My only recollection of family was my mother’s face, smiling but wracked with sorrow. Of a father, save a loose arm severed and rigid, consumed forever by the fire of a bomb raid. Family is the only thing that can hold a memory through all the brainwashing and suppression of the Party.

As a prole I had no need to worry about any of that. Death was a part of everyday life. We were taught that from birth. And life was getting by, undisturbed by the Party. I had no business here, and I could continue that life, but…John-Hurt-in-1984-001

It is difficult to write when the pounding of your heart could very well become the pounding of snorting gorillas, trained from infancy as purgers of the state, on your door. Let every tittle and trembling character be a testament not to my fear of death (for I have long prepared to go beyond even that) but that of erasure. The fear that my part to bring BB down was nothing more than a speck of dried pigeon ordure on a face of the massive Ministry building. The fear that the Party’s army of mindless followers had already grown far too large. That there was no longer a sliver free from the dark eyes of Big Brother. That Goldstein could not…

Thump!

Thump!

Thump!

But we are the Brotherhood. When one ceases to be, another 2, 3, 4 follow. We are held together by an idea, a belief. One that is impossible to corrupt through forgery. Impossible to send down a chute to be burnt.

We are the Brotherhood.

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I am adding another subsection to my blog called Emulation. Reading through 1984, I absolutely fell in love with George Orwell’s writing style and what better way of developing as a writer than to learn from the best. This ideas goes back to my post “Standing on the Shoulder of Giants.” I’ll be adding more posts to this category as I come across more notable authors. I hope to develop a coherent and distinct writing style through this practice, and I hope you guys stay along for the ride. I’ll have the Chapter3 in tomorrow. Thanks for the patience and support!