Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"I eat dead people!"

So I decided to delve more into the background of the main characters. The male love interest was still something of a mystery to me, so I thought about it for awhile, and, um, that's what he told me. His demon (nick)name was "the Carrion Bear". He was known for a method of divination called "reading the gnomon of the carnate". (Would it look more impressive if I used more caps? Reading the Gnomon of the Carnate!) So while he does do the warrior demon thing, he gets his edge from knowing more than others. He can eat a corpse and mystically read past/present/future and pick out a path for himself and for his lover, the Taker of Eyes.

Oh yeah. It seems I have a case of "reincarnated lovers" on my hands. It's sad because she used to trust him completely, but now they hardly remember each other. I think he followed her when she was summoned by the Shambhalans. He cast himself into the wind that blows across the void, losing most of his remaining memories in the process. It took him years, decades, to reach Shambhala. And now he is not a student, but a prisoner of the teacher (whose name I forget or didn't decide on yet.) He's an illegal demon, so the sentence is for life (unless he chooses exile).

There we go. That's my story note for the day. Why am I writing this thing again? I suppose because I feel like it! I haven't read this story yet. Why shouldn't it exist? Hmm? And if I like it, maybe someone else will like it, too, someday. Or not. Anyway, I had a dream. Most of my stories have one or two bits that were inspired by a dream.

Monday, October 25, 2010

No more stuff until I hit 50K!

Heh, can't let my shopping sprees get out of hand. I can already see I'll be distracted with the books and DVDs I've already ordered. No more!

No books, no DVDs, no VCDs, no downloads (except what I already have a subscription for), no more than one youtube video per day, no CDs, no e-books, no comics, no manga, no "borrowing" from the rest of the family...

Not until I have 50000 words of my NaNo story typed in.

I'm declaring it here so I can't lie to myself and pretend I didn't really mean it. Hrmph!

Name the characters, round 2...

...with one week to go before NaNoWriMo starts. Hmm. Let's see, my 6 year old likes to give everyone names. This morning she says I should be "Mrs. Pompygan". All right. Maybe not for this story. I'll put it in my name file. Too bad the name file isn't much use to me as I've already used up the best names in previous stories. It's time for me to add to the list. Wait, isn't that what I've just been saying?

So yeah. Didn't I once use the rat-across-the-keyboard method for naming demons? That's why I called my random name generator "ratnamer", yes? Hey, I still have it on my computer. Let's see...

"Gweczambleblicztagl Wrautchczrterer"? "Eklionaiffish"? "Iohr Letfithschaipluis"!?

What the hell was I thinking? That was the worst random name generator ever (even given that I have the parameters set for long unpronounceables.)

Well, I did come up with a couple of demon nicknames over the weekend. It's a pity they aren't more inspiring, but these are the ones that stuck.

Taker of Eyes: so-called because she was once famous for her mastery of the Eyetaking Stance. What we need to remember is that demons are nearly immortal (meaning they can heal from just about everything), don't react to pain in the same way as humans, and can function even with massive blood loss. This makes the eyes a good target because even if you can heal them eventually, what matters is that you can be blinded right now. Another popular strategy is limb removal. I don't care if you can grow it back: you're going to have a hard time fighting with no arms or legs (the Monty Python Holy Grail sketch comes to mind). Ditto decapitation. Merely breaking a bone (or the neck or spine) doesn't work as well, because a demon can still get around that quickly. It's demon magic!

Fearless of Envy: this is our mini-baddie, the demon king-in-exile. He's there for the first big fight scene with the nuns. Poor fellow. He's there to show how bad demons can be, tell us about the Woman's demonic past, show how demons are seen in Shambhala, and demonstrate the rules governing the powers and limitations of magic in this fantasy world. And then he dies (after breaking the woman's leg/removing it?). His carcass stays around long enough to get a reunion between the Woman and the Prince. Why is the demon king called "Fearless of Envy"? Uh...um...because! Because I felt like it!

So there we are. I'll try to figure out more of my outline before next Monday.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Marital expectations...

Story note of the day: Why the woman's first marriage was a failure...

So it's like this: when the Shepherd married her, he thought he'd be getting a fairy wife just like in the stories. She was supposed to use her magic powers to make him rich. The first morning after the wedding, he snuck outside to count his sheep...and was disappointed to find the same number he had before. Gold, jewels, and jade were not served up along with his breakfast. He kept quiet at first, but then his parents began nagging him about it (that was how he convinced them to let him marry a demon, remember? He made all kinds of extravagant promises.) So first he drops some hints, then he just tells her outright...

Meanwhile, the spirits are laughing at them. She can see them but he can't. Well, she went into this marriage because she wanted to be human, didn't she? And human wives try to please their husbands, don't they? So silk is what she knows (from the years being bound at the silk factory), and silk is what she spins from her fingertips (literally?). (She also knows about being a demonic warrior, but she doesn't want to do that for profit.) It's something, but not as much as the Shepherd had hoped for...

Peace for awhile. It's only when they have a child that things really go hideously wrong.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My outline disintegrated...

Bah. I keep thinking of stuff that happened to this that or the other person, but it doesn't fit into the beautiful Plan that I once had for this novel. Oh well. When NaNo rolls around, I'll just be writing whatever scene comes to mind. I can worry about piecing it all together later. Meanwhile, I should be writing all the ideas down, but I'm not. I have this delusion that I can keep it all straight in my head for the next couple of months. Well, it may be possible. I'm not GMing any games any more, so there's that mental space freed up for novel-ing.

Thought of the day: the Bastard wasn't possessed after all. It's the king-his-father who is, but he doesn't know. And then there's his half-sister, the revolutionary/political prisoner. The Bastard suspects that she was responsible for the terrorist attacks, but he doesn't want to know. He doesn't even want to kill her (and can't bring himself to do it personally), but he believes her death is necessary to progress into the modern, demon-free New Shambhala. It's a symbolic thing. He, like all the Shambhalans, must reject the demonic!

Meanwhile, remember that we have demon-hunters, monks (roughly divided into mountain, village, city, and road sects), and spiritualists. And the problem with demons isn't that they can do bad things to people (anyone can do that. Even I could in theory go out and buy a gun and shoot someone) but that they probably WANT to do bad things to people. And they're good at it. And they're just not human. But the distinction blurs between demons and spirits... out in the countryside, people do have their hungry ghosts that they secretly feed babies to. Some of the older ones are worse than the demons. (Ghosts who are independent of the organizations in the outer world!)

Monday, October 18, 2010

What do demons do all day?

At least, why do the Shambhalans enslave them?

Ok, it's like this. They still have remnants of their old magic tech from the bad old days. In this case, mandalas!

They can use a mandala to drill a hole into Infinite Time and bind it into common time. Remember from the other series that Infinite Time is bad news for mortal life (those two prophets ran around trying to plug up leaks: that was their whole raison d'etre), so we need to have a demon sitting inside each mandala converting the power into usable form (heat, electricity, etc.) It's Eeeeevil energy, but mostly clean. Let's not talk about the long term effects right now. Eventually, the demon sucks up enough thought/biodata/whatever from the mortals around it that it can incarnate properly if released. After 100 years, the law says that the demon is to be freed. About one percent choose to stay on Earth (and get marked and "adopted" by a sorcerer/priest type). The rest are banished back to whatever hell they were summoned from.

So while enslaved, the life of a demon is pretty boring. Not much of a life at all. Once freed, they can eventually get a human style life for themselves, though they do face some prejudice. Would you let a demon (however tame) marry your son or daughter? Especially as human/demon hybrid babies are unlikely to survive without illegal interventions (like feeding it a mortal baby to give it a stable body-print). My main character got as far as the "giving birth to a hybrid baby" part, but she couldn't bring herself to murder an innocent. So yeah. That's why she's not the happiest person in the world (and the marriage didn't last.)

Short version: "Kill, kill, hate, hate! Maim, murder, mutilate!" (What a demon thinks while trapped inside a mandala.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another day, another story note...

Yeah, it's October, which means that after a month or two of messing about with other story ideas (which I dropped after not being able to come up with good endings for them), I'm back to the main NaNoWriMo novel. For once, I already know which (out of the half dozen stories that are always lurking about in the back of my mind) I want to work on at the moment. Yes, it's that stupid romance and action in Shambhala thing.

This year, my goal is to 1) finish the novel, however many words it takes and 2) write a novel that I myself want to read. Some of my short stories I've kinda liked (maybe not brilliant, but at least I thought they were ok!) but the novels...eurgh...

So today, I'm thinking about where the "demons" came from... I realize that yes, they are actually demons (in the sense that I use the word in the world this novel is set in), but they're "lost" demons from desolate hells. That is, they come from planes that have been utterly drained of life. Wracked by war and abandoned even by the Dark Queen of the Abyss (or whatever I'm calling her these days), they are broken places scoured by the mind-destroying wind that blows through the Void. The "Dry Kingdom" where the Salt Gang are headed to now is one such place. A few of the planes bordering Shambhala are also, as a result of the wars from the time of the Golem Empire (yeah, remember that other story? The one you decided was also set in Shambhala, but back when the rulers were basically gods?)

So the lost demons have lost their bodies and most of their minds. They're worse off than the goblins. They wander into the world of the living and latch onto the first embodied, sapient mind they find. So the Bear killed someone, and she can't forget that... he is living a stolen life. She, on the other hand, was summoned into Shambhala and gained her incarnation more slowly (over a century!). Note also the "latching onto the first sapient mind" thing: they instinctively seek out "complexity", so people who work out in the borders try to keep their thoughts calm and wordless if they can. The monks/nuns who defend Shambhala against the demons do that "Empty Mind" thing. In the chapter with the demon attack, note that the younger novices have trouble with this...that's why they were targeted.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Prince's Mother has Evil Hair!

Just a note to myself: the queen was a princess from a sub-kingdom where they had a tradition of magic hair/beards/eyebrows/nose hair/whatever. When the prince was moping after the Woman ran off to marry the human shepherd, the queen berated her son for wasting his time. She spent all that effort to get him a good education, not to play at love. This was the last straw for him: he said he'd show her what he'd learned! He's improved on the Blood Attunement Sutra... except it doesn't work as well as he'd like. When he tries it on his mother, she fights back (the magic hair is loosed!) and it ends badly. Her mind is destroyed.

This is when the Revolutionary sees that she can return. Way back when, her mother had fought the Queen and escaped with one of her (magic!) hairs. Put a spell on it and put it in a cylinder of (something), trying to burn. It glows red hot for years but never burns, even after the Revolutionary's mother dies. But now that the Queen has lost her power, the cylinder has only ash in it. So it's time to plan a trip back to the homeland...

A bit after this is also when the King makes noises about abdicating again (what with his wife in the state she's in and all). The Prince mutters darkly (but needs to refine his powers before he tries to take over.) The King just likes to talk about it, though. He wouldn't really quit.