Scribblings

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Re: Scribblings

Post by Supreme Overlord on Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:09 am

Darth Skywalkerbacca wrote:But will get to it by the end of the week.
Liar.

Darth Skywalkerbacca wrote:I say if nobody else has finished theirs before then, then we just go with you and me.
OK, I'm calling it. While Darth has not submitted his on Resplect, I have seen a copy of it and it is done, if not edited. So, I'll give him until Sunday to edit and post - if he hasn't by then, I'll just post the unedited version so we can get judging underway.

So, judging. Are Alex, Rewind, and Eggs agreeable to scoring both stories out of 10? Please post here with a yea or nay so we all know what's going on.
Also, other Resplect denizens, it's not too late to sign up for a judging position.


Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid doing entirely.

Supreme Overlord, Hank Wimbleton (from Madness Combat), Epic Serial Killer, Endured Unto Infinity

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Re: Scribblings

Post by Darth Skywalkerbacca on Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:10 am

ok I'm sorry this took so long but many of you know the reasons. So this is far from a perfect edit but it is 2495 words which is within the rules we set.

Spoiler:

Sunshine

I looked down upon them and my chest; my heart just felt - full was the only word I could think of, but it was more than that, so much more. It was hard to believe that these two little sacks of flesh could so easily bring tears to a grown man’s eyes. I looked across to where Dani was sleeping off the exhaustion from her recent ordeal and the tears welling in my eyes escaped, to roll shamelessly down my cheeks to mingle with my smile.

After a few days of tests and checks we were allowed to take them home, on the trip back I was beaming like an idiot, constantly sneaking glances at Dani in the passenger seat next to me. When she noticed she gave me a slight half smile before turning her head to stare out the window at the traffic passing by. With that the smile slowly slid from my face replaced with a look of consternation as I realised that something was wrong, that something was - broken.

*

“There’s nothing to worry about, post natal depression is a lot more common than most people think. Those that do suffer from it usually get better within no time, sometimes there are more serious cases but I don’t think we have to worry about that at this stage. Either way we should schedule another appointment in a couple of weeks just to be safe. Now there are anti-depressants that can help, though I have to tell you there is a very small risk to the baby but whether you decide to take them is up to you?”

Dani didn’t talk at all on the way home; she didn’t even get out of the car when we picked Claire and Amy up from my parents place. I was really starting to worry about her but I let it be; I didn’t want to be troubling her now, not after having all that dumped on her; I just wish she’d accepted the help.

*

I finished giving Amy and Claire a bath, a challenge if ever there was one. Having twins was both a blessing and a curse, though too be fair I’d always imagined me and Dani both leaning over the tub washing them at the same time but she didn’t seem to want to spend time with the girls. I think she hated herself for not being able to feel the way she thought she should when it came to Amy and Claire, and she projected that a little on the kids. I thought it best if I just handled things solo for now.

Once I had them nice and clean, tucked up in their cots in the room they shared, Amy already nodding off, I started to sing.

You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are grey

Dani walked in to put some of the girl’s clothes in the cupboard “Will you stop that?”

Normally I’d have asked what the problem is but we’d been fighting more than usual lately and I didn’t want to get into yet another argument over nothing. I sighed in my head so that Dani wouldn’t hear then the phone rang from the kitchen, I was half-way down the stairs when one of the girls stared crying, about to do a double take Dani called down “I’ve got it!” It put a little smile on my face.

Entering the room again I saw Dani holding Claire, still crying, rocking her from side to side patting her back and making increasingly frustrated cooing noises. “Dani, can you handle the girls on your own for a while?” That earned me a tiny death stare and I cringed internally.

“Why?”

“Worked called, apparently they have an emergency and they need me.”

“I thought you had the next few weeks off?”

“I’m supposed too, but they say there’s something wrong with the proposal we were going to go with for the new.”

“It’s fine just go.”

“You sure?”

“Yes I’m sure ok I can handle my kids for Christ sakes.”

“Ok then, I should only be gone an hour or two at the most,” I smiled at Claire in her arms, “she probably wants some milk.”

Another death stare from Dani, “Goodbye.”

I got the message, going downstairs grabbing my keys from the table next to the door and fetching my jacket, putting it on as I walked from the house out into the cold grey wintery landscape, the sound of a baby’s cries behind me.

“Come on now baby be good for Mummy,” still rocking Claire, “Come on. Fine, fuck it,” she sat down on a chair in the corner and pulled up her shirt and putting Claire to her breast, “come on take it and shut the fuck up please.” The phone started to ring “fine stay in your damned cot and cry for all I care” placing Claire back in her cot she went to get the phone.

When she came back Claire had woken Amy and they were both bawling, she stomped over to Claire’s cot and picked her up. Holding her at arm’s length she screamed at her “JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP!” Shaking her as she did so, when Claire’s cries only worsened she continued repeating “SHUT-UP, SHUT-UP, SHUT-UP, SHUT-UP!!”

Eventually Claire’s cries were silenced and Dani held her to her chest and sank to the floor, as her tears fell onto Claire’s unresponsive face she gently kissed them off. She stayed like that for what seemed liked and age, cradling Claire as Amy shrieked from her cot. In time she got up, still holding Claire, and left the room.

*

Parking in the driveway just before the sun set, getting out of the car I could hear one of the girls wailing inside. I walked in, putting my keys back on the table next to the door and shrugging off my coat, I walked up to girl’s room. “Honey? Honey?” I shouted but she didn’t answer. As I came into the girl’s room I saw Amy laying, crying in her cot, “Hello there, what’s wrong with you hey?” I picked her up and tried to comfort her, and after a while she started to calm down.

“Dani? Dani?” I shouted again, still holding Amy I walked out of the room and searched the house. I looked in our room thinking maybe she’d fallen asleep with Claire, when she wasn’t there I checked the lounge room and the kitchen but they were both empty. I was starting to wonder where she could be, even with her condition it was unlikely she would have left the house and left Amy by herself. Maybe she was taking Claire for a walk to calm her down, but on a cold grey day like this one I doubted it.

Amy had calmed down by now so I put her back in her cot then reached into my trouser pocket and pulled out my mobile. I rang Dani’s number and I heard her phone go off downstairs, a sliver of unease bored its way into my heart.  I went to check all the rooms, when I twisted the knob for the bathroom door open I saw Dani asleep in the tub, I called her name to wake her up but then I saw it.
In Dani’s arms was Claire submerged beneath the bath water, I rushed over to the tub and knelt down beside it lifting Claire out of the water, her body was still warm. My world went numb, staring down at my little girl from what seemed like a galaxy away as her sodden body soaked my clothes. I looked up at Dani and half whispered half sobbed her name “Dani? Dani?” My head started to reel, I felt physically sick, like I needed to vomit, my vision blurred, I may have even blacked out for a second before regaining control.

My eyes were drawn to a little white piece of plastic floating on the surface of the water at the other end of the bath; I wondered what it was for a while, my brain not able to process what was going on so it sought out the mundane. Then realisation dawned and I scanned the water for what I knew would be there - a small pill container emptied and filled with water was resting between Dani’s hand and leg. It snapped me out of the numbness and, still holding Claire in one arm I fumbled to get my phone out my pocket.

*

I was leaning on the car enjoying the sunshine as I waited for her to come out. Everybody was leaving and I scanned the crowd looking for her, though she spotted me first and ran up to grab at my trouser leg. I crouched down so that I’d be at eye level; the smile on her face melted my heart.

“Sooo how was your first day?”

“Good.”

“Did you make any new friends?”

“Yep I made two,” she said holding up two fingers to emphasise the point.

“Oh really? And what are their names?”

“One’s called Sasha and one’s called Ben?”

“Got yourself a little boyfriend already have you?” To this she made a disgusted face, she blushed a bit but didn’t answer. “Alright, get in we’re going to Nan’s place before we go home.”

*

“Amy, you ready for bed?” I shouted from the kitchen while I was washing the dishes from our dinner.

“Yep,” I heard her answer right behind me and her quick little footsteps as she walked into the room.

“Have you brushed your teeth?”

“Yep.”

“Here let me have a look,” drying my hands off on the dish cloth I cupped her chin between thumb and forefinger, “head up, mouth open,” she closed her eyes tight and drew back her lips as far as they would go.

“You didn’t do it properly, do it again.”

“But”

“Then straight to bed, you’ve got another day of school tomorrow.”

“Will you sing me my bedtime song?”

“I’ll be up in a minute; daddy just has to finish off doing these.”

I walked upstairs and Amy was already in bed and snuggled-up under the sheets, she smiled at me as I entered and I went to sit next to her bed.

You are my sunshine
My only sunshin
e”

*

“Wait did you just say you like Ben?” Amy averted her gaze to stare at the floor, “you mean you like, like him? Like more than just a friend like him?”

“Yeah, so what?”

Sasha smiled over her lunch, “nothing, you guys have known each other forever I guess it’s only natural.”

“Shut-up, you’ve known him for as long as I have.”

“Yeah but it’s taken until ninth grade for him to become hunky,” placing a comedic emphasis on the last word. “Ohh actually here he comes should I tell him?”

“What? No, please don’t, if you do I’ll never speak to you again.”

“I think I can live with that.”

Ben came over to sit down at their table, putting his tray down and sliding in next to Amy who shuffled across a bit as his arm brushed up against hers, “Ladies.”

“Hey Ben guess what? Owwh” Amy kicked her leg under the table, Sasha flashed her a look, half hurt, half co-conspiratorial.

“What?” Ben said, halted in the process of digging into his lunch with a plastic knife and fork he’d noticed the exchange between the girls and currently sported quizzical look on his face.

“It’s nothing don’t worry.”

“Uhh-huh, you girls worry me sometimes.”

Sasha just giggled.

*

When they got to her house Amy said goodbye to Sasha and Ben and went inside, throwing her schoolbag on the floor of her room she picked out some clothes from her draw and changed from her school uniform. After making a sandwich she retreated to her room and unpacked her books from her bag, noticing as she did so that she’d stolen Sasha’s maths textbook after she’d forgotten to take hers to class. Pulling out her phone she flicked through her contacts and rang Sasha.

“Hey, what’s up?”

“I’ve got your maths book.”

“What?”

“I’ve got your math book; I must have put it in my bag after class.”

“Oh don’t worry I’ll just get it tomorrow.”

“Fine by me, but if Mr. Daniels puts you in detention for not doing your homework again.”

“Then I’ll tell him it’s all your fault.”

“Huh.”

“Anyway I have to go.”

“Ok then, bye.” She was about to hang up when she heard Sasha still talking though her voice was muffled as if she’d put her phone back in her pocket.

“Anyway as I was saying, she totally confessed her love for you over lunch today.” Amy froze in horror.

“What?”

“Yeah I know.”

“Haven’t you told her we’re dating?”

“No, come on don’t tell me you hadn’t noticed, she’s been crushing on you for years.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, it’s kinda pathetic really.”

The phone flew across the room and smashed to pieces against the far wall.

*

I opened the door and walked inside, kicking off my shoes and sliding them into the corner I proceeded into the kitchen, flicking through the mail as I did so.

“Junk, junk, bill, no idea, doctors appointment reminder oh yay.”

Passing the loungeroom I stopped, taking a couple of steps back, the mail falling from my hands to scatter on the floor. Amy hung from the middle of the room, one end of a belt around her neck the other tied to the ceiling fan, the small table that was usually placed next to the sofa kicked over underneath her. After a few seconds I ran to her, grabbing her legs with one arm trying to keep the weight off her neck while the other arm frantically tried to unbuckle the belt.

Eventually she dropped into my arms, my knees folded and I fell to the floor. I had hollow felling there was no fear; there was no sorrow it was as if there was just a vast expanse of nothingness inside me. I propped her up a little putting my arm around the back of her shoulders, I brushed the hair away from her face and her skin was cold to the touch. I pulled her closer and hugged her to me as tears started to stream down my face and great sobs racked my empty body as all I could do was weep. I held her like that until my eyes were so swollen from crying that no more tears could be shed but my body still convulsed from the silent grief, then I started to rock her gently and sing.

You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are grey
You’ll never know dear
How much I love you
So please don’t take my sunshine away

So this came about because I a while ago I had wanted to write a truly sad story and I'd had this idea but I ended up benching it because the predictability of the story I found detracted from the feels, I ended up remembering it when we started doing a tragedy Scribblings, I had been unusually busy over the two weeks we had set to write this so I ended up going with Sunshine instead of thinking up a new idea, it was originally meant to be a much larger story and I think I'm going to stick with writing a bit more of this now that I've started so suggestions on improvements would be appreciated.

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Re: Scribblings

Post by Supreme Overlord on Sat Aug 31, 2013 11:02 am

Let's go, people; let's have some scores and feedback!

Royal Duty Author's Notes:
The ideas behind ‘Royal Duty’ first came into being when I was bored one afternoon.  I conned my brother into picking certain ideas from a list (for inspiration), and intended to write a short story before bed.  That did not happen, of course.

The original criteria were as follows:
Genre: Fantasy
Style: Tragedy
Characters: Large cast
Setting: Group of islands
Morality: Grey and grey
Other: Special powers

Over the next few days/weeks, I kept going with the ideas.  The ‘sacrifice to the volcano’ was the first concrete idea; it involves the islands while forming the basis of the tragedy (people are dying), grey and grey morality (is it okay to sacrifice one to save the many?) and the special powers (certain people must be the sacrifices).

I tried to think of a reasonable scenario; one that actually works.  Setting aside the option of leaving the islands and just letting the volcanoes blow, it makes sense to take the sacrifices when they’re babies and raise them respectfully but without true emotional ties, until you have to kill them.  I think that minimises trauma all round.

Usually I’m not too fond of the brainwashing idea, but I thought the bonding was necessary to kick off the story between the prince and the sacrifice.  It also makes the queen more sympathetic; she’s doing her duty despite the pain.  It was worse in my original outline where Drake was portrayed more heroically and Lisa was more apathetic/resigned; I was having trouble liking Lisa enough to be sympathetic to Drake’s efforts to save her.  The main tragic moment in that outline was Drake being forced to kill Scott, but Lisa still being killed senselessly.  (Runner-up tragic moment was Timothy being forced to kill Iris.  Don’t remember them? They turned out to be superfluous to the main story.) When I trimmed down the story for Scribblings, I made it more of a tragedy than a tragic story, so Drake became less sympathetic (and Lisa more interesting as a result).  So now the tragedy is Drake’s fall, and the closure of his punishment.

Fun fact: the original story had low-level superpowers in addition to the ritual stuff.  Everyone has some sort of enhancement; such as intelligence, strength, speed, senses.  With nothing to do but train all day, the Tranquil (all 18 of them) would have become a fairly powerful minor army when combined with the personal forces of Drake and Iris after they were all broken out.

In addition, the original plot kicked off when Drake demanded to see the Tranquil for the first time.  Yes, rather than taking over as soon as he turned 18, the system was for the reigning monarch to perform the sacrifices until they died, and only then did the heir find out about the ritual etc.  I’m not actually sure which is more ‘realistic’.  It’s really based on personality differences between original and final Miranda.  Original Miranda had an affinity with intelligence to help control her emotions, so the bond wasn’t as harsh for her; she could continue indefinitely until Drake matured.  Final Miranda is weary from performing sacrifices since she was 18 herself, and wants to get it over with.  In fact, other than simplicity, the main reason for removing the superpowers was because a highly-intelligent Miranda simply wouldn’t allow the plot to take place; she’d just be in control the whole time.

The key scene is Drake holding Scott while Lisa is held hostage, bonded to both, in the roaring volcano.  He makes the wrong move, loses them both, and is imprisoned forever.  I think that scene worked out pretty well, in the end.  The ending was a bit weaker, but I tried not to go the whole melodramatic ‘his descendents doomed to be the architects of murder until the end of time’.

It’s Drake’s tragedy, but it was almost Miranda’s, at one point.  In the early scenes where Drake’s just a fool caught up in the Tranquil bond, I wondered if he’d wind up being too pathetic to be a fallen hero.  I think he came into his own as a character as the mistakes piled up and he kept forging ahead.  But Miranda has a tragedy of sorts as well; instead of holding firm and doing her own duty (sticking to the plan, pretty much), she tries to compromise, and in the process her son falls and she is broken.  It’s more a matter of taste whether this is a tragedy or just plain tragic; I found Miranda more sympathetic, myself – she’s trying to do the right thing while fighting off the years of haunting memories (I really hope that came through, otherwise she’s just a weakling herself); while Drake falls for the very thing he was warned against (in the original outline, he went in blind and was hit by 18 Tranquil bonds at once, so it was more forgivable) and tries to solve his problem by pretty much making the same mistake again.

I like how the character of Lisa turned out – she’s pretty much doing what Drake should be doing, which is a nice contrast.  I would have liked a moment, right after Scott dies, where Lisa realises that she will survive after all (before being senselessly killed), but as it turns out there’s not really any time between Scott being incinerated and Lisa falling, dead.  A Lisa-moment would have broken up the flow, and would have put just a little bit too much focus on her for what is Drake’s defining moment.


I’m kinda rambling here; feel free to ask any questions about the process.  I have many notes referring to the original plot outline if you’re interested.



Any feedback is good, but I’d particularly like comments on the two key scenes (volcano and prison).  Did you feel like Drake got what he deserved, in the end? Also, did the relationships and bonds make sense to you? Did you understand how blinded Drake was to reality (like Lisa’s plain description, topped off by ‘She was perfect.’)?

Thanks, and hope you enjoyed it.


Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid doing entirely.

Supreme Overlord, Hank Wimbleton (from Madness Combat), Epic Serial Killer, Endured Unto Infinity

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Re: Scribblings

Post by Darth Skywalkerbacca on Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:19 am

If I may.

When I first read Royal Duty I saw what you were trying to pull off with the story, but I never think you really got there, and I'm not exactly sure why not. There was no one big flaw that I could point at and say this is what let the story down, I think the main problem was dialogue how the characters spoke to one another always seemed removed slightly and you never got a real sense of the bonds that were supposed to be between them.
I believe that was mainly because you had such a large cast and separated the time between each character to evenly for a story such as this, Drake never spent enough time with each person to develop in the minds of the reader the relationship he was supposed to have with them, this is the same as Alex's criticism of the second half of Sunshine.

That being said though I wouldn't mind seeing more notes on the story or if you have any older copies that would be nice too, I want to see how you changed the story over time and the concessions you made, both our stories were meant to be bigger than they actually could be and we had to cut out a lot and try to refine the essence of what we were trying to write I want to see how well you did that.

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Re: Scribblings

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