1. cfalnevermore

    cfalnevermore Member

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    Aedan Thomas, Private Eye, Werewolf. Writing Journal

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by cfalnevermore, Jul 3, 2018.

    I was born on Halloween so I've always harbored a love for creepy things. Monsters, myths, urban legends, that sort of thing.

    When I was younger, sixth grade, i had a silly idea for a story about a war breaking out between supernatural forces, werewolves vs vampires. I saw the wolves as the good guys.

    It would have been the silly tale of a sixth grader if I'd written it. But a year or two later, Underworld was released. Not only was it my idea, they also made the vampires the good guys (sort of). Utterly discouraged and convinced Hollywood itself was out to get me, I abandoned the idea.

    I remain a fan of werewolves and the idea behind them. To me they remain a fascinating way to explore humanities struggle with their own primal selves. The werewolf could be interpreted as a sort of metaphor for all sorts of things. Inside us all is a beast clawing its way to the surface, and such.

    I still wanted to write a story about a werewolf, so something like 6 years or so ago I came up with a character. I called him Aedan Thomas.

    One day at college he wakes up naked in the woods, covered in blood. He contacts an old friend of his, Zach Bronson, who shared a love of the occult with him when they were little. It turns out Zach is a sorcerer and a sort of representative to an organization of supernatural beings and entities.

    Together they investigate why Aedan has suddenly transformed, as well as an unusual murder, and a series of dissappearences (of other supernatural beings) around town. Along the way they meet the Succubus Annaleigh who joins them, as she's certain something is stalking her.

    The mysteries end up being all connected. Another being is collecting blood of supernatural beings for nefarious purposes. After a grueling week of investigation, and coming to terms with werewolfism, The friends sort the problem out.

    From there Aedan becomes a Private eye who specializes in "weird" cases (paranormal stuff). From there I could write all sorts of adventures.

    I'm hanging onto the concept, but much the same way Underworld did all those years ago, I keep discovering that my story is similar to things that already exist.

    The concept as a whole bares a resemblance to Jim Butchers "Dresden Files" and likely many others. I told a friend about it and he told me it sounded like a show called "Being Human" that he liked. Just to add insult to it, guess what the freaking vampires name is? It's Aidan. (Stupid vampire jerks).

    "I spelled Aedan different and he's a werewolf." I argued. "Also my story has a succubus trying to live her life!"

    "Ever seen "Lost Girl?" He replied.

    "No."

    "It's about a Succubus trying to live her life."

    "DAMN IT!!"

    Still. I'm not letting this stop me from writing the story. I'm a big fan of the characters I've come up with. My love of the occult provides me with plenty of fodder for Aedan, Zach and Anna to investigate.

    I'm curious to hear what someone thinks of my ideas, and I want to end by saying this: it may be true that your idea has already been done somehow, but don't let that bother you. Just make the story yours.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  2. cfalnevermore

    cfalnevermore Member

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    One of the ideas I've enjoyed thinking about is the relationship between Aedan Thomas (werewolf PI and martial artist) and Annaleigh the Succubus.

    I'll just be upfront with my beliefs. Sexism is a problem, it happens on both sides but primarily women are victimized, and I think culturally we need to change our attitude. Women are more than just romantic partners. Anna and Aedan prove that by being close friends.

    In the beginning it's almost predictable. Aedan has romantic interest in her, she appears as a beautiful super model and walks and behaves with elegance. She's smart and charismatic, all things he finds very attractive.

    Cliche almost, but here's my twist. Number one, (more important) she doesn't feel the same, and number two, her being a succubus, makes a conventional relationship with her impossible. She can't have sex safely. Having sex for her means feeding on human spirit energy. It isn't pleasant for who she sleeps with. There will come a time when Aedan expresses his interest to her, and she gently talks him down, explaining that she doesnt feel the same, even if she did, she can't be the lover he wants. He has her affection and love, but not romantically. He accepts that in time.

    I'm somewhat proud of this concept. It may not be original, but in my head I'm establishing a relationship between to characters and removing the sexual aspect. I want Aedan to be... a typical guy in many respects. But I also want him to be an Ally to women. He may pine for her for a time, but he accepts her feelings and moves on. None of that "proving his love" stuff that makes Anna out as some prize he can earn by doing whatever.

    I'm hoping my characters are more "Part of the solution" than "part of the problem." It starts with him accepting Anna and respecting her feelings, letting his own romantic feelings for her wain, while his friendship with her grows. This helps to show that males and females are capable of having other emotions between them than just sexual tension.

    I hope I haven't offended, and I certainly don't want to stir up a hive, but I'm willing to hear what others may think. Is there a better way I can depict this? Anna is still a temptress type female character, she feeds on sexual energy, but she's more than that too. Am I making forward progress? Am I just making things worse?
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  3. Cohen

    Cohen Member

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    As many have stated before, no idea is really original any more, maybe not for thousands of years, it just gets transformed and delivered differently. Just write what you want to write, and if you want to have commentary on sexism and change the way males behave to women, then go for it!
     
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  4. cfalnevermore

    cfalnevermore Member

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    thats the plan. Thanks for your support!
     
  5. cfalnevermore

    cfalnevermore Member

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    I did something stupid. My ideas for Aedan Thomas and his adventures span years. I've been writing chunks, many of which are out of context and unrelated to previous chunks. I have yet to figure out how to connect them, or even what order they will occur in.

    In short, Aedan is resembling a series more than a singular story. Why I'm planning a series before I've even finished the first story, I have no idea. Like I said, stupid.

    I've been working on a timeline so that I can keep track of what happens when. But I'm encountering a problem. I don't know where in the timeline the first story should take place.

    The obvious answer is "at the beginning." But I'm hesitant to do that. A lot of my favorite series sort of throw you in in the middle. Let me try and elaborate.

    I have ideas for when Aedan is first bitten and given the werewolf curse while he's still a child, I have ideas for how he first transforms years later in college. I have ideas for how he meets other friends and characters. My thought is he'll move into his friend Zach's family owned hotel (which caters to paranormal folk in secret) and start his PI business there. Then I have many many ideas for cases he solves, people he meets, and other such things.

    That said, do I start the story when hes a child and first gets bitten? Do I start in college when he first transforms? Do I go even earlier and start with his mom (Secretly also a werewolf)? Do I start at his PI business where he's solving cases?

    After thinking a lot on it, right now I think I want to start there, at the "Moonlight Inn" where Aedan is solving cases. That was the story I wanted to write ultimately. Stories about a werewolf detective. So I'll start there and establish that, revealing events of his past as I go. Now I just have to decide which case I should start at...
     
  6. cfalnevermore

    cfalnevermore Member

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    I read through a lot of my stuff. It's riddled with grammar and punctuation errors, in dire need of editing, and very disjointed. The way I've been writing, I get an idea and I write about it as soon as I can. My mindset is "get it written, get it organized later."

    Consequently I've got a good number of random "scenes" (mostly action sequences) of my heroes doing this that or the other but no indication of how they may have reached that point.

    I prefer to write like this. It lets me put a bit more passion into the ideas I write because they're fresh in my mind and I'm excited about them.

    I've noticed however, that I seem to assume that people are only going to read the chunks, and I end up adding a lot of unnecessary detail to add more context to a scene. After reading through a bunch... I need to fix this. It's really not necessary to describe Aedan or Annaleighs physical build, or their wardrobe, or any of their habits, because in theory I'll have already established these things earlier in the story. It was especially jarring considering most of them are action sequences, and I keep pausing to add unnecessary detail on clothing or something because I feel like the complete picture isn't there.

    It's a conundrum for me. If anyone's reading, I'm curious to hear your opinions. Is it better to write in chunks to be edited and connected later? It would it be easier to just write a story from start to finish, for the sake of establishing and maintaining good flow and pacing?

    To anybody who's curious, here are some of the chunks I've written so far:

    Aedan as a werewolf teaming up with his sorcerer friend Zach to battle a magic spider creature called a Jorogumo.

    Aedan forced into a one on one duel with a renegade Ogre warlord who escaped a troll kingdom under a bridge.

    Annaleigh's wicked older sister kidnaps and bewitches Aedan with Succubus magic, forcing Annaleigh to fight tooth and nail to rescue him.

    Aedan and Zach investigate paranormal activity and dissappearences and discover traumatized spiritual beings (sprites) have grown in darkness to the point where anyone who comes into contact with them is whisked away into a nightmare world built by the sprites themselves.

    Zach's ex, Dante, a wannabe necromancer, escapes magical prison and attacks Aedan, Anna, and Zach, in their home, with fear sprites and a few zombie monsters.

    There's others. I still have to get them organized. Some of them could almost stand alone as their own stories. But I'll figure it out in time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  7. cfalnevermore

    cfalnevermore Member

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    So in my mind it's really important to establish the rules in which my characters operate. I established what a werewolf is in this story a long time ago but I've since forgotten all the rules I came up with back then. I wanted to reestablish a few.

    Werewolfism is a variation of an ancient curse placed on early tribes of humans by beings or deities unknown. In my story, many paranormal beings can trace their afflictions back to ancient curses.

    Werewolves, and others classified as "shape shifters" were cursed for their greed and gluttony. They would be forced to take the form of monstrous beasts, and hunger for the flesh of the ones they care for the most. This took many forms as humans spread across the globe. In many African countries they became Wereleapords. In more European countries were herding and farming were more prevalent, werewolves took shape. Their are many varieties of shapeshifter across many cultures that all descend from this curse.

    Furthermore shapeshifters can spread their curse to other people, but only those that were descended from the original cursed tribes.

    This makes the curse sort of a genetic trait. Not everyone bitten by a shapeshifter can become a shapeshifter. One has to have a genetic predisposition for it (so to speak). Now this was thousands of years in the past, so these genes are everywhere, but in modern days, it's become far less common.

    If one does have the cursed gene, it doesn't automatically make them a shapeshifter. More often than not, the gene lies dormant and does nothing. It can only be "activated" by a bite from another shifter. It is also possible for the gene to activate on its own. If this is the case, the person will become a shapeshifter around the onset of puberty.

    Wow this is more complicated than I remember. Ok that's the background of the werewolf curse in my universe.

    Now... if you are a cursed shapeshifter, genes will again determine what sort of animal you become.

    Aedan is a werewolf. The curse effects his every waking moment to some degree. It causes his body to develope better hunters senses (smell, hearing) and causes him to hunger for something and it first he can't figure out what the something is. During full Moonlight, his body transforms, involuntarily into its beast form and he has little to no control of himself during this time, as his animal form takes control. It's after he awakens from this form that he understands the thing he's hungry for, that he's craving, is of course, human flesh.

    Overtime he learns to control his shapeshifting and he can do it at will while maintaining control, but every full moon he locks himself up, as no werewolf can stay in control during that time. The urge to hunt and feed their craving is at its strongest.

    Even though he can transform at will, Aedan doesn't do so very often. The transformation process is long and incredibly painful. He is awake, and aware as his bones change shape and size, his organs shift, his nerve endings stretch, and abunch of other unpleasantness. Transforming hurts. A lot. On top of this the transformation uses up a lot of his bodies stored energy. As a result, when it's over, he's ravenously hungry and must feed. This happens when he transforms back into human form as well. If he doesn't eat well he could make himself very sick. His friend Zach has a type of magical numbing concoction that makes it easier for him to get through the painful transformation process. Nothing will make that process pleasant.

    As a werewolf, his body chemistry changes in a lot of ways. More adrenaline is produced. It's a bit harder for him to maintain control if he's feeling emotional. He learns self control in time, but early on he frightens himself with how violent he feels at times of distress.

    The big rule looming over him though, every instinct he has compels him to hunt fellow humans, if ever he gave in, if ever he swallowed one small bite of human flesh in beast form, the curse would destroy his humanity entirely. He'd become something less than an animal, a mindless wretch seeking its next meal. More dangerous and monstrous than any wild wolves have ever been. Seems easy, don't be a cannibal and you keep your humanity, but the curse makes it difficult. The wolf form always desperately craves human flesh.

    That's probably enough for now. Covers all the bases. Feel free to share. What other rules should a good werewolf tale follow? Anybody else got their own developing lore?
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  8. cfalnevermore

    cfalnevermore Member

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    Today I'll cover the rules of wizardry and magic in Aedan's universe. His friend Zach, will essentially be my exposition-providing support character, and he refers to himself specifically as a "sorcerer."

    First off, in my universe, there exists a mysterious energy, unseen and ignored by roughly 90 percent of all life on earth. Mages refer to it as spirit energy. Many living things produce it. The earth itself seems to produce a constant stream of it. This spirit energy isn't very well understood even by the magical community.

    In this universe, magical abilities manifest in a few ways. The most common is the mage. In essence, mages are people born with a capability to produce spirit energy powerful enough to create various effects. They can strengthen this ability, like a muscle to grow stronger. It depletes stamina as it's used, so using to much can exhaust them. They use spell words to focus their spells into the shapes they want. Words used vary from person to person. The guild of magic has lists of possible spells and spell words it teaches to young mages. They can augment their abilities through study of spirit energy and knowledge of Alchemy, as certain natural components augment spirit energy in various ways.

    Mages can only use their own energy in their spells. They can't use the spirit energy around them or anything. Sorcerers are different from mages in this way. In the various myths and legends I read about (mostly on Wikipedia), sorcery and magic are often used interchangeably, but the word Sorcery often has darker, more sinister connotations. In my universe this is because Sorcery has gotten itself a sinister reputation over time, but the act itself isn't dark or evil.

    Sorcerers/sorceresses are people capable of channeling spirit energy into themselves in order to fuel various spells. Few of them can even produce their own spirit energy. This ability when used right can make a sorcerer infinitely more powerful than a mage, as they can keep using spirit energy around them so long as there's a good sizable well of it nearby.

    Sorcery was thought of as darker and more wicked magic for a long time, because they were considered spirit "thieves." It didn't help that in ancient times, some sorcerers kept various living beings, or even spiritual entities as slaves to fuel their magics.

    The practice is banned in the modern magic world. Sorcerers obtain usable magics these days by forging alliances with powerful spirit beings who then allow them to channel their power willingly.

    For example, Zach's family has long had an agreement with an old and ancient Mountain Spirit known as Klikitat. Klikitat is, in short, the spirit born of the spirit strength of Mt. Adams in Washington. It's grown old and powerful enough that it's sentient in many ways. There were Native American tribes that worshipped this being. Zach's lineage can be traced to these people. Klikitat agrees to aid Zach and provide him with spirit strength, and in exchange, Zach must travel to the mountain once a year to do what he can to strengthen the Life force there. He basically does a bunch of environmental work. He'll plant trees, help wild life workers, things like that.

    Zach can meditate and mentally contact Klikitat from anywhere to ask for strength, and Klikitat can refuse if he so chooses. Sorcerers can only channel so much magic at a time. If a sorcerer tried to channel the entire spirit of a mountain into a single blast, their brains would pop like baloons. Zach's method of managing his magical gifts is to channel magic into magic jewels, where he can store it for later.

    There's a lot more to magic and Sorcery, so likely I'll revisit this topic in the future, if only to iron out the details for myself.

    Once again, feel free to ask questions, share ideas or whatever. Anything to help me develope my own ideas and help me get the details nailed down.
     
  9. cfalnevermore

    cfalnevermore Member

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    I can't decide if I should actually post this... but what the hell, maybe people will find my stupid random musings endearing. I mentioned before that I wanted my character to be an "ally" to women. I also want him to be an "ally" to members of the LGBTQ community and plenty of other oppressed peoples.

    After I pondered a bit I wondered if I wasn't making a mistake. My tale is essentially "straight white guy to the rescue." World has way to much of that as it is. Even if he is an ally, it's still a problem. So I started thinking about making Aedan something other than a straight white guy... There's literally no reason he can't be a gay black woman. He's a person. So why do I have so much trouble envisioning him as anything other than a straight white guy?

    The simple answer I suppose, is I still have predjudices I need to fix. The more complex answer is, Aedan is supposed to be like me. I can write well about a straight white guy because I am one. I'm more familiar with the cultural differences, the subtleties.

    But then I ask myself, would it really be that big a deal if I wrote a white character and just switched his skin color, orientation, or gender? On the one hand, it shouldn't, were all people. On the other hand it should, because ignoring someone's cultural heritage, gender, or orientation, could be doing them a disservice.

    My musings have lead me to conclude I still have a boatload to learn. I feel more like an ignorant child than a freaking 29 year old at times. But I suppose I am a product of my culture.

    Race, gender, orientation, religion, all these things should be treated with dignity and respect. I believe that. I feel that best I can do, and consequently, Aedan can do, is be an Ally. An ally is someone who stands with their beliefs. He doesn't fight the battle for them, it isn't his fight. But he stands alongside them in support of the cause, helping them earn the victory.

    He'll treat people with dignity and respect, even if it takes him time to understand how. He's not greater than them. He's their equal, unique, beautiful, and deserving of dignity, just like they are.

    All this in a story about a werewolf solving mysteries. Sometimes I worry I might be dumb.

    I'm no champion, I'm not setting the world on fire, I'm just a privlaged American schlub, I get that. But I'm gonna try to do my part. It may be a small part, but I'll do it. I'll treat people, men, women, gay, straight, trans, black, white, Latino, Asian, whoever they may be, with respect. They deserve it. I'll endeavor to be a less ignorant person while I'm at it.

    Now that I've humiliated myself on the internet, I think I'll go show someone I respect them... somehow. Best of luck to all in your lives. Even if you've had to struggle endlessly, I hope all of you get the respect you deserve.

    Idiot white guy who likes werewolves, out...
     
  10. cfalnevermore

    cfalnevermore Member

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    Now that I'm done humiliating myself and showing everyone just how little confidence I have in myself as a writer... let me move on. As a challenge for myself, I decided to write a short story about Aedan Thomas (werewolf PI). I'm rather proud of the end results. I'm thinking of posting it here for all to see once I get some editing done.

    Part of me wonders if perhaps I should stop focusing on Aedan as an overlong epic and think more about him from small story to small story. I've got all the background stuff in my head, that can come across as his adventures unfold.
     

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