#WIP JOY//CAMP NANO 2K17//THE INSTITUTE OF THE TOUCHED

Hello and welcome to this weeks episode of Why Eden is the Ruler and Overlord of All Mortals.*

*Haha you wish. If I were, then it would be free books and chocolate cupcakes for the populace, and the weekend would be extended by five days, and the night would last twenty four hours instead of twelve. But we can’t all have everything, I suppose.

So I know I promised character snippets in me* last post, but then Charis posted something so cool, and since I have the focus of a hamster in the latter stages of brain decay, I’m going to do that instead. DEAL WITH IT, MORTALS. (Also─it isn’t too late to vote on which character you’d like to hear from! Just putting that out there!)

*I was going to fix that typo. I really was. But then I sounded like a pirate, and who doesn’t like pirates (?!?!) so I left it.

Like Charis, I will not be answering all twenty one questions, but I’ll put a list of all of them below  in case any of you would like to do this post. I’m going to be concentrating on my Camp NaNoWriMo 2017 project which is currently, but likely not always, called The Institute of the Touched for these questions. Soooo… Let’s go!

Describe your WIP:

A boy who cannot fathom what he truly is.
A girl for whom power is a game.
A singer with a murderer on her tail.
A street rat.
A sailor.
A genius.

And the man who wants them all.

That was the blurb that I created in like two seconds for Camp, but as it’s dreadfully uninformative I’ll expand upon that. This story follows the lives of six young people living in Lower Chaxholm, Akkerdam, an alternate universe where people are either Ordinary (my world’s version of Muggles, or Mundanes, or anyone not possessing magical powers) or Touched (someone who does have magic). Bazil Farrin─complete cinnamon roll and the person who’s life this story focuses on the most─discovers that he is an Amplifier, the like of which haven’t been seen in Akkerdam for over four hundred years. Amplifiers are people who have no magical abilities themselves, but can heighten and even control the magic of all those who are Touched around them. Basically, this is about four kick-butt women, one sort of kick-but guy, one guy who isn’t kick-butt at all, and the murderer who needs every one of them for his own Nefarious Plans.

Describe your MCs personality with a GIF:

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Would you rather be trapped in your story for a week, or have your antagonist enter your own life for a day:

I would absolutely rather be trapped in my story for a week. Even though then I would inevitably come across said antagonist… Oh well. Then I could frolick about in an adorable bookshop and talk to adorable people and watch people do magic AND YES THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN RIGHT NOW SOMEONE GET ME THE TARDIS.*

*Before you ask─why would Lower Chaxholm, Akkerdam not be accessible by TARDIS? Broaden your minds, younglings.

A line that was hard to write:

The way Bazil Farrin saw it, there were two types of people. Those who read because they had to, and those who read because they wanted to. Naturally, as an employee in a failing bookshop in Lower Chaxholm, Akkerdam─still working there for reasons such as his need for books exceeded his need for a livable income by a troubling amount and other equally debilitating reasons─Bazil considered himself one of the latter. That rare and endangered breed who enjoys the company of people forgotten or physically fictitious who reside between dry, dusty pages to that of usual and dully abundant mortals… Yes. Bazil was proud and somewhat resigned to admitting that he was one of them.

This is actually the first line of TIotT, and it was really difficult to write, I think because I was essentially setting the tone for the whole thing. I needed to get the correct voice, or else it would just stand out as a paragraph that didn’t match any of the rest of the narrative. (Note: This is all from the first draft of TIotT, so excuse any yucky patches. I haven’t edited yet.)

Choose an ideal reading spot, food, drink, and music to go with your book:

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Reading spot: someplace cozy with lots of pillows─maybe a window seat. A bay window seat (you know, one of those ones that stick out slightly from the house in a sort of curve?) with lots of fluffy pillows and more books on the walls.

Food: Chocolate. Is that even a question? Also bread. No WAIT. CUPCAKES. CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES. MAN I’M HUNGRY NOW.

Drink: Coffee. Black*, with honey. Trust me, my darlings, it is HEAVEN.

Music: I’ve been listening to a lot of Hozier and Sleeping at Last while writing this. Anything that’s low and melodious and dark sounding.

*Black, like my soul.

Dish about a favorite side character:

Nona Rastrova! Oh my goodness, I didn’t expect for her to come out this way at all, but I’m actually so happy that she did. She’s a mess, there’s no doubt about it─but still, there’s something about her… She is just a hoot to write.  In this bit, Nona and Claudia, who are currently flatmates having… difficulties are having a discussion in the middle of the night after Nona has quite loudly come home.

“Stop,” said Claudia, enunciating clearly just so Nona wouldn’t have any cause for claiming she hadn’t understood, “waking me up.”
Nona grinned at her, huge and loose and white in the darkness, and grabbed at her long, pale hair which hung unbound over her shoulders, twisting it over and over in her hand. She had dark smudges of makeup smeared around her eyes which should have made her look awful, but instead gave her a wild, devil may care sort of look that only she could pull off. A gun appeared in one of her hands, which she lobbed at the bed, only missing Claudia’s head by the inch that it did because she ducked with what she considered cat like reflexes at the last second. It skidded across the bright pink duvet and hit the metal headboard (tin, of course, not iron. Iron did to the Touched what salt did to slugs, only longer and with more smoking of the skin and human vocalizations of torture) where it came to a halt.
There was a moment of complete silence, wherein Claudia stared at the gun and Nona stared, horrified, at Claudia. Then:
“It is truly amazing,” said Claudia conversationally.
Nona cocked her head almost cautiously, clear disbelief written all over her shadowy face. The planes of her cheekbones ended in dark hollows that carved out her cheeks. “Is it?” she said. Her voice was loud. Loud and brazen, like she didn’t have a single care in the world.
Hence the slinging about of firearms.
“Hm?” said Claudia. She was playing it up, she knew, but Sanktel Zelinska. “Oh. Oh yes, it is.”
“What is?”
Claudia turned full on to face her new flatmate. She threw the covers aside and slung her legs over the side of the bed so that her bare feet hung a few inches over the cold, hard wooden floor. “How you do not even need to open your mouth to give me a headache.”

Would you rather never publish this, or have it adapted into a horrible movie:

Honestly I think I’d have to say never published because then I wouldn’t have to sob every time I thought about having my baby ruined. Plus, I have this… issue… *cough, cough* with sharing anything that I’ve written with anyone. Like. At all. So. I’d be more COMFORTABLE, certainly, if this never saw the light of day. But that’s why I have you all, isn’t it? My guinea pigs. My lab rats.

I’ll show myself out.

What’s something you’re still figuring out about this WIP:

World building. A pet peeve of mine is when a fantasy─or contemporary or sci-fi or how-to─book has really strong characters but zero insight as to how the world works. Like, I want to know who your characters worship! And what their houses look like! And what kind of food they have for midnight snack fests! And where this country lies in relation to the rest of the world! COME ON.  But that’s HARD as I’ve found, and so I feel like I’m wrestling with a giant squid every time I remember that my world has to… ya know… exist and then try to make it do so.

 

So here’s The Institute of the Touched for you… Sort of. I put all of the #WIPJOY questions below in case any of you would like to do this post yourselves! Also, don’t forget to vote on characters over here! Read on, lovelies!

 

Bad Blogger… Bad!

All right. Go ahead. Yell at me.

Done? Good.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’d just like to say how completely and unequivocally sorry that I am for not posting for… what has it been? Way too long, that’s what it’s been.

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But you guys! You see, I’ve got excuses! Excuses, you say? But Eden, what could ever entice us to forgive you for this terrible lapse in posting?

Ah, good readers, I believe I have the very thing. As many of you undoubtedly know, Camp NaNoWriMo has been taking place, and will continue to take place, all throughout the month of April, and I’ve been taking part in it. My goal was 50,000 words, as it always is for NaNoWriMo in November, and I’m happy to say that yesterday, I met it! I can now boast the fact that I have a 51,082 word long, 3/4 of the way finished, poorly written, riddled with plot holes so big a semi truck could drive through them manuscript sitting ridiculously proudly in one of my Open Office folders! *Throws confetti and cries tears of joy*. I’ve been working a retelling of the fairytale Puss in Boots with several noticeable twists; namely, that instead of a bossy pussy cat as the title character, I have replaced him with an equally bossy fox who isn’t quite a fox at all. As I said, this WIP is all in shambles, but even so, I have decided to give you all a little taste, as a sort of reward for having to wait so annoyingly long for another one of my rambling sessions. Because I know you’re all just dying to read this thing.

I’ll give you a brief background for this particular excerpt. Elinor and Fox, best friends since as early as they can remember, are travelling through their country to find a pair of something-magical-infused boots that are supposed to break Fox’s curse─ the curse being that, as long as the sun is up, Fox is forced to inhabit the body of an actual fox, instead of his natural human form. While a fox, he can only speak to Elinor through their minds, which is at once slightly annoying and helpful. Along the way the meet some… interesting people. I hope this helps!

Please feel more than welcome─my polite little way of asking you; wasn’t that nice of me? Do I get a cookie?─to leave any recommendations, or corrections, or things that were awful, or (heaven forbid) things that you liked down in the comments below. And now, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado… Elinor and Fox!

 

A crash sounded in the underbrush just a few feet to their left, followed by a muffled grunt, causing her horse to rear up wildly. She screamed as she slid backwards and grabbed─in almost as frantic a way as the rabbits had run─ at the reigns; she heard a thud as Fox went flying out of the saddle behind her and onto the ground and screamed once more, this time his name. With a sharp yank she got all four of her mounts hooves once more upon the ground and she dismounted hurriedly, a feeling of dread growing in her stomach. “If you’ve gone and got yourself offed, Fox, I’ll─ I’ll─” she darted around her horse, who still pranced in an agitated manner, and then stopped dead in her tracks.

Fox was very much still alive─ was in fact squirming a kicking and yipping in a way that made him seem even more alive than usual─ and was also held tightly in the arms of a very small, very dirty, very wild looking little boy who was sitting on his bottom in the dirt.

Elinor, get me out of this creature this instant! Fox yelled in her head, even as he nipped at the little boy’s arm, eliciting a yell out of him.

Don’t bite children, Foxy!” She responded, fighting valiantly to control a very disrespectful laugh that was threatening to bubble up out of her any second now. “It isn’t nice, and you might hurt him!”

I might hurt him? Do you see what the heathen is doing to me? He said indignantly.

The laugh was dangerously close to the surface, so to make up for it, she said a few pretty things. Alright, hold on. I’ll see what I can do.

The wild child was now holding Fox around the middle with one skinny little arm, and clutching his furry head with the other; he made odd little noises that were somewhere between coos, grunts, and growls as he did so, leaning in every so often to place a sloppy kiss over Fox’s ear or nose or eye. It did look uncomfortable, she thought, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t enjoy watching it happen.

Elinor crouched down so that she was at the same level as the boy and craned her neck to get his attention. He blithely ignore her, and continued his torturous administrations. “Er, hello─ little boy? Would you mind terribly setting my friend down? You’re hurting him, I think, and definitely making him unhappy. It would be very kind of you if you did so.”

The little boy at last looked up, gave her a huge, toothless grin, and pointed over her shoulder. “Horse.” He said, and then went back to his attack.

She glanced in the direction in which he had pointed, then gave a yelp of her own when she realised that her horse had wandered away. She stood, fast as lightning, and bolted after it, at last catching up with it several yards away from Fox and the dirty little child. Panting, she snatched the reigns and led it back at a much more sedate pace to where she had previously been crouched. After a quick glance to be sure that Fox and the boy were where she had left them─ they were, and Fox was now being tickled on the stomach, much to the amusement of both she and the boy, though not to him if his shouts of Elinor help were any indication─ she tied the reigns to the trunk of a sturdy young sapling and reluctantly turned back to the scene of the crime.

Looks like force is needed, she thought, darting in and grabbing the little boy under the shoulders and lifting him up off of the ground. Fox tumbled out of his lap and ran, faster than she had ever seen him run, to hide behind her horse’s legs.

The boy was remarkably light, and so she simply held him dangling there at eye level, the both of them looking at each other solemnly. He was naked except for a tattered little pair of brown trousers; he was almost twig-like in his skinniness, his ribs sticking out sharply, elbows akimbo, and his bare feet kicked at her in a benevolent way; mud smeared him all over, even matting his shaggy, mud-colored hair that was long enough that it fell into his blue eyes and sought to cover them. The bite on his arm from Fox was red but not bleeding, which served to satisfy Elinor that she wouldn’t have to yell at Fox later.

She broke the silence first.

What’s your name, little boy?” she asked him in a calm voice, not wanting to frighten him into jerking out of her arms and getting himself hurt. Though, when she thought about it, it did seem unlikely that this little monster got frightened so much as he was the one doing the frightening.

He gave her that odd, adorable grin, almost like an old man in its toothlessness but youthful with its crooked slant and dimpled cheeks. “Whatname,” he cooed in a peculiar, gravelly, husky little voice.

She smiled at him despite herself. “That’s what I mean. What is your name?”

Whatname.” he said again, smiling even bigger and wriggling to be set down.

Elinor complied, but kept one hand upon the top of his head. He barely came up to the middle of her thigh, and looked up at her with a look that she found disconcertingly close to devotion. “Alright, Whatname. Now, where do you live?”

Why does it matter where the monster lives? Just let go of him and let’s be on our way, Fox complained from behind her. She turned and sent him a glare over her shoulder, drawing amusement from the fact that he still cowered behind the black legs of the horse.

So, that was it? What did you think? Groundbreaking? Hideous? I’d love to know!

I promist that I’ll have a normal, actual-book related post in the next few days, I just wanted to put up this one to tide you all over.

Read on!