Hi all! I've been meaning to post this up here for awhile, but I need some ideas for faking someone's death.

Same world as I've been talking about before, approximately late-19th century style technology, with magic included. Also, my characters are in a different part of the world than they were before, so I'm also open to ideas  that might be new to them. 

So  two of my characters are traveling together on their quest (they heard a  rumor about a drug or herb that they think can help detox their friend (T) who is suffering from nevethe (magic) poisoning, and must pass through a country called Rengroth to get to their destination. The younger prince of Rengroth is a poor excuse for a human being, and my characters stand up to him when he's bullying someone in a tavern. He ends up backing off, but his cronies kidnap one of the two (E) and take him to a pirate island to be sold into slavery. They set things up to make it look like he's dead to his friend (J).

I'm trying to figure out how they might fake E's death, so that J will actually believe it and move on. On the one hand, J will definitely not want to waste time and press on to see if the cure for T amounts to anything. On the other hand, J and E are best friends and have been like family for over half their lives. I don't think he would abandon E unless he was absolutely sure that E was dead, and that there was nothing he could do to save him. Basically, I need J to move on (at least physically from that location, if not emotionally), because there's nothing he can do there,not because he's choosing one friend over another or anything like that.

I considered a poison or drug that would render E unconscious, and would look like death from the outside. But even in that case, if J just sees that his friend is dead, he'd probably want to make sure the remains were taken care of. I think there ought to be some other way to prove he's dead without J seeing the body, but can't think of any.

Rengroth is similar to the Middle East in climate, although probably not quite as technologically advanced as the country J and E are from. I think the prince is less likely to really understand how to use the magic of that world, although I wouldn't put it past him to get some black market drug made with magic or something where the work had already been done for him. He's a somewhat regular visitor to the pirate island, and enjoys himself there regularly.

 Hi all!  It's been awhile since we had some activity here.

I'm working on editing my book, and I'm drawing a blank on...... sort of brotherly fighting.

Here's the situation (this is all in the past, backstory for one of my POV characters):

I have two guys, who aren't actually brothers, who live on a pirate ship. The captain has a kind of Peter Pan complex, and tends to take kids in on his ship. The younger boy (Y) was about two when he got on, the older boy (O) got on about eight years later, when he was 12 (Y would have been about 8). O is a bit of a scientist (using the technology from their world), and Y is more the adventurer type, and the favorite of the captain ("father"). The "mother" is also a scientist, and kind of a mentor for O. Y did all sorts of things that irritated O, like playing with his experiments, stabbing his notes, etc. and usually got away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist because the captain likes him, and he's just being a kid. The "mother" is kind of on O's side, but still isn't going to treat Y too harshly (And these aren't the only people in the boat, or even the "family", just the most relevant ones).

What kind fantasies so you think O might have for taking revenge on Y? I'm at a point over a decade later, where O is seeing Y again for the first time in a decade, and Y is fast asleep. Unfortunately, all the revenge fantasies I can think of are probably a little too extreme for O (i.e. slitting his throat, tying him up and presenting him as a trophy....actually, I think most of the others involve death. O's a little dark.) The setting (alt-world, sort of technologically based on late 19th century America) doesn't really allow for him drawing on Y's face with a marker, which is about the only non-extreme idea I can come up with. Also, he is looking for Y, on the captain's command, but not exactly looking forward to seeing him again. 

Any ideas are welcome, even extreme ones. Considering what his captain wants, I don't think he's actually going to play out any of his fantasies - he doesn't really have time, and he doesn't want Y to see him -  but I thought it would be nice for him to reflect on a couple of them. 
A young teenage girl, moving into the (family's) old beaten down mansion with her mother after her parent's divorce, stumbles into a hidden room while unpacking.

After reading the mysterious book left open on a suspiciously witchy table, she realizes her ancestor was a witch, and that she has inherited her magical gifts! When trouble stirs around her new hometown, she uses her powers to solve the mysteries that come her way.


I'm having trouble coming up with her first mystery.

Should it deal with her new high school? An actual murder? Kidnapping? Theft?

Should she deal with paranormal creatures? Or should I stick with human foes?

Should her familiar be a cat? Or maybe have a crow following her when she goes to school/and or work?

Let me hear your thoughts!
Ok, so in my not-quite-steampunk novel, I have a scene where I have a very handsome pirate interrogating my heroine (no, he's not remotely the love interest), who is essentially dressed in a rather long, loose shirt and presumably, underwear. I just realized I've never actually addressed the issue of underwear in this world, and thought this might be a good time to start.

This world is very loosely based on Victorian times, mostly in terms of technology (with magic) and aesthetics. But not necessarily sharing all the Victorian ideals and prudishness. In general, if women are wearing largish, poofy dresses, would it make sense at all for them to not be wearing giant bloomers under them,and instead wearing more modern style underwear (i.e. tiny)?

More specifically to my heroine, my heroine will probably have tiny underwear anyway, but she's from another country with a more sexually open nature (Most of the modesty she has would probably be more for the benefit of the people she's usually around, not herself). And she was dressed in a men's field uniform (before she got stripped) that traditional Victorian women's undergarments would not fit under. And for some reason, the only pictures I seem to find of men's underwear are long johns which I don't think would work for this. I could just have her not have anything (which might make more sense, if she was wearing the men's underwear, but got stripped of that), but I'm not really trying to eroticize the moment here. The pirate is willing to sexualize her, but he's more interested in making her as uncomfortable as possible.

Thoughts? What works for you when your characters need to cover up the naughty bits?

(Cue Austin Powers' pineapples and coconuts.)

(And it's not a silly scene, but apparently looking up Victorian underwear puts me in a silly mood.)

There's a trope that I really like in manga where two characters share a name, or one character has taken another character's name. (Since it's old enough that this shouldn't be a spoiler any more: in Weiß Kreuz, Aya's real name is Ren and Aya is actually his sister's name. There are other examples.) This is pretty easy to show in a visual medium, but is it even possible to do in writing? How?
Story specifics. )

xposted to [livejournal.com profile] wv_bookclub
This's a urban fantasy setting set in recent day New York, with supernaturals such as faerie and mages.
There're three main characters, a social worker suddenly can see the supernaturals, a college student with faerie heritage and a mage who's also a hacker. Right now  it has two main plotlines: different vampires who compete with each other to be the prince of New York, and two factions of mages are in a magical equivalent of nuclear race. However, I can't find a way to connect them. I think of eliminating the vampire plot, but I really like the idea of vampires as a common enemy to bind my main characters together. It also allows me to have a vampire as an unreliable ally who sometimes gets my characters into trouble for his purpose, so I'd prefer to make the vampire plot a bit larger. So help?
anthimeria: Gears, some magnified (Gears)
([personal profile] anthimeria Dec. 6th, 2012 10:15 pm)
So, the picture book that I accidentally wrote has a not-so-bright robot as the main character.  Right now he's named after Dummy, one of Tony Stark's bots in the Iron Man movies, but he needs a name all his own.  My Dummy helps his friend in their workshop--fetching tools, etc.

I'm looking for a two syllable name, soft, preferably ending in the -ee (e, ie, y) sound, that isn't a human name.  Think pet names.  The robotic inspirations are Dummy and WALL-E, both of which fit all the name properties I'm looking for.

(Yes, I know WALL-E/Wally is a human name, but the spelling and the rarity of the name in use make it workable.)

Any suggestions or good pet name websites would be incredibly helpful!

Crossposted on writers and wristerstorm, 'cause I need all the help I can get.  Thanks!
Do we still need First Girl Ever stories?

In the real world, these stories happen and are still happening, but we've been telling them for several decades--the Song of the Lioness quartet (Alanna), by Tamora Pierce, came out in the eighties, and I've read opinions that this trope is "tired and overused."  (To be clear, this isn't the only place I've read/heard that, Brennan is just very clear.)

While I definitely agree with Brennan in the article linked above, that I would love to see more Second Girl Ever stories, I'm wondering if there's still a need for the First Girl Ever story.  Is it still important?  There are girls making huge strides in male-dominated fields today, but as Brennan points out, they're largely in "field[s] that, while not exclusively male, [are] still heavily skewed that way."  Which makes the Second Girl Ever story all the more important.

So what do you think?  Is the First Girl Ever story tired and overused?  Or an important story that needs to be told, no matter how many times we've already said it?

(Crossposted, since I'm hoping to get as many opinions as possible.)
I'm having some issues with this plot point in my book.

I'm in revision right now, but the original way I had this going was that my Female Lead sneaks into a small group of soldiers in disguise, so that she can join them, and hopefully prevent them from doing anything she doesn't approve of to her fiance when they find him (because that's the mission they're set to do. She is disguised as a man (not because women weren't allowed in the army, but because that was the only uniform she could get a hold of, and the guy was pretty close to her size and coloring), who was supposed to go on the mission and was a bit of a newbie, and this was going to be his first mission (She and her friend bribed and bullied him into skipping town and staying out of the way until she got back. I'm sure that will have other consequences for him later, but not important for my story at this point). I pretty much didn't address any issues as to why they believe she's this other soldier (My original thought was that the people for this mission had been pulled from several different squads, and hadn't actually met each other before), and just accept her into the group. Yes, I know I stretched that a bit. At the very least, I figured these people should have met before going on this mission together, and I don't think they have access to special polymer masks that conform to your face, and can imitate someone else's perfectly. (This is my society that has a magical/electrical energy force, but otherwise the technology would be similar to late 1800s America).

There is the issue that she is still a complete rookie (she can fence with a sword, but she's never fired a gun in her life), and it seems odd that someone like that would be sent on a mission to arrest someone accused of murder. I don't have as much of an issue with that as I do with the just accepting that she's this other person that I would think they've met before, if not trained with before. I explained it away in my head by saying that even though it's a serious crime her fiance has been accused of, he's well known and been brought up by an aristocratic family, and they're not actually expecting much trouble out of him,, so they're sending the newbie along on a "training mission" with the more experienced soldiers. But it's still a bit weird, an I'd like to find a way to make that work better.

At this point, I'm thinking she doesn't have to replace that soldier specifically (and by that, I mean, she doesn't have to pretend to be him - she still can't be herself, exactly - plus, I really like having her pretend to be a guy). She could be someone completely new suddenly joining the team, and replacing the other guy. I'm assuming she would need some sort of paperwork - false ID, orders from above, etc. In my revisions, there is the possibility that the captain of the squad does have a way to communicate quickly with his superiors. I have a not widely available form of communication that's basically a copper plate infused with revtha (my form of magic), that's attuned to another plate, so that messages traced on one plate will show up on the other one. So far, I have public transportation using this in an emergency, and I have my female lead with one because her friend stole a prototype out of the laboratory so they could communicate. But again, not widely available. I was thinking the captain might have one if his mission is considered important enough (and I figured it is). That complicates things a bit since it means he can't find out who she is until after they've found her fiance and she's broken her cover.

What would you need to believe the sudden switch in personnel? Reasons for sending someone inexperienced on an important mission? The fact that they believe her and take her under their wings for this mission? I can probably get her forged papers, but what would they need to be? What else would she need to deceive them?
([personal profile] meretia Sep. 19th, 2011 03:33 pm)
I was never particularly interested in writing about vampires even before the market got flooded with them, but long story short, I have this short story forming in the back of my mind about a vampire who supervises the late shift at a university research library's archive and is also the kind of perky dork who collects master's degrees mostly for fun and does her document scanning while rocking out to Pat Benatar and laughing out loud at the stupid little jokes she makes to herself about the names on the records she's digitizing.

I know that the protagonist is a student worker in the archive, and I have the first and one of the last scenes and the basic framework of the plot sketched out in my head. A group of well, basically Mennonite-style vampires--they live in their own isolated rural community without anything that's developed since the 19th century--show up with something they claim they'll donate to the archive if she can convince them it'll be in good hands. What they actually want is something already in the archive that they very much shouldn't have.

The scene I had in mind that the protagonist and vampboss had figured out what these guys were actually up to and go back at some point after the archive has closed. They were exactly right, and the visiting vamps are there. And in the course of trying to figure out how to work this thing called a com-pu-ter or open the folding shelves, they've managed to
turn on her music so that basically everyone's sneaking around the office in the dark with "Everybody Lay Down" blaring over the computer's speakers.

But then I started hearing "Thriller" on the radio all the time because apparently Halloween starts in mid-September now, and I'm really tempted to use that song instead (since she'd totally have that one on her computer too), with the POV character tossing off something to the effect of "oh, of course it's this one." But I'm concerned that the humor might seem a little forced or corny, or might spoil the mood of the scene.

It's just the tiny, most niggling detail but it's bugging me so much. Do you think it makes much difference to the story which I go with?
This is a semi-Victorian, semi-steampunk-ish alternate world fantasy setting.

Background: T has been kidnapped by pirates led by M, who are using her as bait to get J. J, E, and I (along with 3 soldiers, who are meant to escort J back to their city for trial) plan to rescue T, of course, despite knowing that it's a trap meant for J. They have to go to Muir (a bit like Tortuga in PotC, but worse - actually,there's probably a fair amount of this book that's PotC ispired), the island where T is being held captive by the pirates.

One of their problems in getting to Muir is that there is a large maelstrom surrounding the island, where the island stays ok mostly because it's in the eye of the storm (I'm still working out the mechanics on this). There's a passage that's difficult to navigate, and fairly impossible if you don't know what you're doing. J knows about it, but hasn't gone that way since he was twelve, so he's a little rusty. To get through this, theyve found S, an old friend of J's and M's, to help get them through (even though she hasn't taken that path in even longer than J, probably still knows it better).

I've got some ideas for the series of events that goes next, but it starts with them trying to rescue T, and I think they need to have some sort of plan for rescuing her. Not a foolproof one, but something better than "let's charge in there and hope no one notices." Most likely, I and S will turn back once they've gotten the others through (S because she doesn't really want to have anything to do with M, and I because she's not a fighter, and since she and S are both the scientific geniuses, everyone figures it would be safer and more useful for her to go back with S). J, at least, and possibly E (maybe the others) will get captured and find T. T, meanwhile, has become addicted to a new drug M is making, so her willingness to leave is compromised by the fact that she can't get the drug anywhere else. That could be where their plan fails, except I don't know if I want to reveal her until after J gets captured.

My first problem is trying to figure out their plan, though. It should be easy to sabotage, since M is expecting J to come, and one of the soldiers with the group has betrayed them in the past, and might do so again.

Any suggestions for decent plans, or how I might possibly go about trying to create one?
I am working on a story where a couple is getting engaged in two months (in this story, an engagement is almost like getting married, the actual marriage is more a confirmation).

The Main Male Character/MMC is a former soldier who was sort of kicked out of the force and got into the business of his future father in law (merchant ships).

Now my plan is to have the MMC called back for 1 more operation with the forces. What I am wondering about is, if this action should take place before or almost right after the engagement ceremony. I see options for both.

Before: the uncertainty if he will be back in time, in one piece, or at all.
After: the shattered good moment while the couple is still on cloud nine, the agony of both lovers being torn apart with the unspoken prospect of him perhaps not returning.

What are your thoughts on this? I can't decide at the moment...
I have a post-apocalyptic world. (The apocalypse in question is a ten-year world war that used physical, chemical/biological, and nuclear weapons.) The world is mostly based on our own, though as it's post-apocalyptic, technology, communications, etc. are broken down and much less common than they used to be. However, now they have magic.

I've worked out that magic is a genetic trait; a long time ago, people with magic existed but were rare. Then they stopped being able to use magic. Now that the war has destroyed whatever infrastructure element kept the magic hidden and dormant, magic users--who are more resilient against modern weaponry and therefore have survived in greater numbers than they previously had--are able to use magic and out in the open again.

My problem is the infrastructure element. The original suggestion I had was cell phone towers/lines, but I think that's too recent. If magic existed up until the time cell phones were invented, the world wouldn't be all that much like ours. I want something that changed longer ago.

Other suggestions I've had are the steam engine and the printing press. The first doesn't seem insidious enough (and now that I think about it, steam engines haven't been widely used for a long time, have they?), and while the second is kind of awesome and I've worked it subtly into a short little story, it seems too nebulous. I guess it's hard to explain. I also thought of using plumbing, and having magic unable to cross running water, but I've been able to find frustratingly little on the history of plumbing, so I don't know how well it would work.

Any suggestions? Reasons one of the other things would work better than I thought? Throw 'em at me!
I didn't do NaNo this year because I didn't have the time or anything I wanted to write, but I've been doing [community profile] origfic_bingo instead. If nothing else, it's got me wanting to work some more on stories that I'd given up as irreparable a while ago. But the more I look at them, the more I come to realize that all three ideas have giant flaws in the basic plot/premise. This is driving me nuts. I'm afraid this post was long; it seemed better than spamming the forum with a post for each plot problem.

Problem 1 )
Problem 2 )
problem 3 )
I need some random, crazy ideas here.

The setting is an alternate world, a bit remniscent of Victorian America, but with steampunk elements. Magic/energy in this world is evthene, composed of revtha (physical) waves, and kethna (spiritual) waves. There has been a lot of research into manipulating revtha (think kinetic energy, temperature, electricity, etc.), but not much is known about using/controlling kethna.

I need ideas for a guy trying to politely discourage a girl who wants to marry him, without offending her or her father (who has a lot of political influence, and is bad to offend, basically). He has a sister who likes to invent things, and is pretty good at manipulating revtha.

Good and bad ideas are welcome. Actually, bad ideas might be even better than good ones, though I'd appreciate some heads up on the ways the bad ideas could go wrong (For the most part, at this point, this is for conversation pieces, as the guy and his sister brainstorm ways for him to get out of his betrothal, as neither of them can really stand the bride-to-be for long periods of time). I'm thinking that later on, they might try one or two of them.

Okay. You, and a bunch of your friends, are going off to colonize an alien planet.

You know that this planet has:

Gravity, heat, light, temporal cycles, elemental resources, and weather that are close enough to Earth's that most reasonably adaptable Earth species can survive and breed there.

A functioning carbohydrate-based planetary ecosystem that does basic things like keep the atmosphere oxygenated and soils fertile and dead things rotting and oceans thawed and all the other cycles rolling, and has been around long enough that much of the geology is fossilized (so there are probably coal and petroleum and carbonite deposits, etc.)

A fairly large landmass with a subtropical/Mediterranean-like climate with warm temperatures year-round, no major extreme weather, and ample seasonal rainfall, where you are planning to settle.

However, the planet's biology is not close enough to Earth's that Earth life can interact with it on any complex level. You can count on being able to use native life for things like fibers and building material and fuel and maybe latex and dyes, but anything you want to eat or use for medicine you'll have to bring with you. Along with pollinators and symbiotic fungi and any other life needed to keep that life going. And you're going to need to be self-sufficient within a year or two of arrival, with a fairly small initial population and very limited technological resources. On the plus side, local diseases, pests, and predators are mostly going to ignore anything Earth-based.

If you could have your pick of all species currently alive anywhere on Earth(and maybe a few that are recently extinct, and maybe a few that need a tiny bit of gene-tinkering first), what among Earth life would you bring with you? I am especially interested for species that aren't currently common food products in Europe/North America.
Okay... So, this isn't part of an actual story or a full-born plot bunny(yet), but just a thought-bone that my imagination has been chewing on, and I'm feeling compelled to work it out.

gnaw, gnaw ...mumble, mumble... gnaw )

How would a book, with an intelligence and will of its own, act on its will? It's hard to be a protagonist (or antagonist) if you can't actually do anything for yourself.

Since "Body" equals "Movement," at least on some level, I'm thinking that the book's mind might be bound up in the movement of pen on paper, when its letters were formed...

But I don't know. Any ideas?
Supposing you picked up a book (secondary world fantasy, FWIW) and from beginning to end, it didn't have a single mention of religion in it. What would you think? I mean, none of the characters, major or minor, are religious, no places of worship, no names of gods, no forces beyond mortal ken, no epithets or swears or the like. How hard would you roll your eyes?

I am examining my worldbuilding for flaws. )

Can I accomplish my story in a world with no religion, or is that just too implausible?
Okay, y'all, I need some help.  I'm trying to outline a superhero story, and for hero-related reasons, I'd really like my villain to be a shapeshifter.

The thing is, I can only think of sneaky-infiltration type plots for shapeshifters, and that doesn't mesh with my superhero (she's a little more, hmm, think Wonder Woman or Spider-Man instead of Batman or Daredevil).

I am fully capable of pulling full-blown ideas out of tiny bits, so large or small, what kind of villainous deeds might a shapeshifter commit?

PS: it's set in the modern USA, in a world that's accustomed to superheroes.  I'd like to avoid such overdone, boring schemes as "taking over the world," "blowing up something big and important" and "creating new real estate from radioactive minerals."
Ok, I need a bit of brainstorming power here. I have a short story that’s almost ready to write, but one of the two main characters needs development. It will be a futuristic story (not certain how futuristic – could be 10, 20 years in the future, could be 500). The character in question has committed a crime, and is on Death Row (or whatever the futuristic cultural equivalent of that is.) He’s pretty much sitting in a cell during the story, having a conversation with his executioner.
I’m trying to decide what his crime was, and what his job/life was beforehand. It needs to be something that would merit/require a private execution (or, another thought would be to have all executions in this place be private, because the population has gotten to the point where they don’t want to see executions anymore. And also, the executions have gotten…. softer (sort of), as a result of people protesting for more humane executions. Votes, anyone?). So far, the only idea I’ve come up with is that he found out some government secret, and they want to get rid of him privately, so he won’t tell anyone. Except, I’m not wanting to copy Serenity (At this point, the word “Miranda” starts echoing in my head).
Facts about the prisoner: He is intelligent, and probably has a challenging job. He has a wife and kids. Yeah…. That’s about all I’ve got.
Any ideas? Anything at all?