1. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Unworthy in the eyes of the LORD Contributor

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    Semester Break Target (and cover noodling)

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by Iain Aschendale, Jul 20, 2016.

    Right. I've got one more work day tomorrow, and it's a long one, but starting Friday I've got about six weeks off. One of those weeks is vacation with Mrs. A., but I've got a WIP, so it's time to get serious.

    Semi Military SF
    Story: Aliens vs. Bodysnatchers (working title)

    Plot sketch: People are being possessed by...something. That something is a form of alien that can take over control of their bodies. The bodysnatchers (henceforth Occupants, because that's what they're really called) are dumb, clumsy, and want lots of food. The bodysnatchers have the ability to jump from body to body when threatened, which makes them hard to catch. The government wants to catch them and trick the Occupants into brain-dead bodies, because the side effect of having been Occupied is brain damage. Get the beast out quick enough, and you might just have a doozy of a hangover, but if it's in there too long, you'll be nothing but a drooling vegetable, and the damage is irreversible.

    No, this isn't a satire on Americans, sorry.

    There are also these terrifying other aliens, called Slender Ones (subject to change). They're basically big preying mantises with octopus-like camouflage ability, and they hate Occupants. When they find an Occupant, they shred it, human body and all, so it's in the government's interest to try and capture the Occupied quickly, before they either get shredded by a wandering Slender One or turn into mental potatoes.

    Our hero is a former soldier. He was in (insert ongoing war here, present time-ish, so Iraq, Afgahistan, or TBA). He may have been under arrest, we'll see if that's necessary. Anyway, he was in the presence of an Occupied person at the beginning of the outbreak, when nobody knew that anything was going on yet. The two of them got blown up by an IED, and the Occupant's body was critically wounded. The Occupant jumped to him just as the second IED (double tap) went off, and he lost.... a lot of himself. Key point is that he suffered a TBI (traumatic brain injury) just at the moment of Occupation, so he's different. He's got this idiot living in his head, and he's got to negotiate constantly with it for control of whatever body he's in.

    Whatever body? What do you mean, Iain?

    Well, he finds out that they (he and his Occupant, who is tentatively nicknamed "Charley") have the ability to jump bodies, but only one at a time. In other words, he's still "tethered" to his original body, he can't hop from there to George and thence to Jill.

    He's good for the government, because they can use him to help round up Occupied people, since he's already Occupied, he's in no danger. There is a (insert large, only semi-portable mechanism) than can be used to imprison Occupants and keep them from jumping, so his job is to lure them into said mechanism.

    However, he finds out that the government isn't really that interested in rescuing the Occupied, but rather more in replicating his accident and creating an army (well, special team) of people like him. What good is having armed guards when they can be internally subverted, hmm, Mr. Dictator?

    Range limitations apply, I'm thinking about 5m? Maybe with the panicked ability to go farther?

    Anyway, he meets, on one of his missions, a Slender One who realizes that there's something different about him, and decides not to shred him.

    So we've got RoboCop plus Turner and Hooch with Our Hero dealing with his mental house-guest, Lethal Weapon where he occasionally meets his buddy the Slender One and tries to capture the Occupied before the S.O. kills them, and the mystery of why these two races are here in the first place.

    Which I know the answer to, but I'm keeping quiet on for a moment.

    My target is to write for one to two Zevons a day (a Zevon is the amount of time it takes for a Warren Zevon album to play through. He's my spirit animal) every day, with weekends and unscheduled hangovers off.

    Target is a short story, done and in the can, of around 5-7000 words, although if I can come up with more, I'll run with it.

    Sound plausible? I'll try and post word counts daily, and progress synopses as events warrant.

    And now I'm going to hit "Create Thread" and commit myself.

    Not yet........

    There.
     
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  2. zoupskim

    zoupskim Contributor Contributor

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    Ill beta your thing if you want.
     
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  3. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Unworthy in the eyes of the LORD Contributor

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    Thanks, I'll let you know when I've got something to the stage I feel is worthy of outside eyes.
     
  4. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Unworthy in the eyes of the LORD Contributor

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    Okay, yesterday turned into one of those unscheduled hangovers I was talking about, and today was busy, but I did manage to get in one Zevon. Only 650~ish words, but more than I've done on the story in months, so:

    Progress.
     
  5. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Unworthy in the eyes of the LORD Contributor

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    908 words, one full Zevon, time for a quick break.

    Keep in mind that this is ugly, "pound the keys" first draft word counts.
     
  6. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Unworthy in the eyes of the LORD Contributor

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    Dammit. Sitting in a coffee shop across from the part time job and I discover my keyboard battery is dead. No way I can type at length on the screen, so I owe myself one more Zevon tomorrow.
     
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  7. zoupskim

    zoupskim Contributor Contributor

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    I love the Zevon as a unit of measurement.
     
  8. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Unworthy in the eyes of the LORD Contributor

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    Well, I took delivery of the package of meat (which is just that, online butcher shop), did four Zevons of exercise, and got the gyro meat prepped for smoking tomorrow. Unfortunately, zero Zevons of writing....

    Lots of thinking during PT time though, so still some progress.
     
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  9. Sniam

    Sniam Member

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    You know I tried to google Zevon because I thought if was an actual measure of some kind ? :nosleep:
    Anyway... I would also be interested in beta reading your work, if you don't mind ! Seems really interesting !
    From the outline, it reminded me of an anime named "Parasite", in which aliens try to take over human brains. Some of them succeed, but the MC manages to stop the alien targetting him from getting to the brain. Long story short, the alien is now his right hand and they have to cohabitate, while other aliens try to kill them for being different.
    Sorry if this input disturbed you in your writing in any kind of way,
    Keep up the good work :)
     
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  10. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Unworthy in the eyes of the LORD Contributor

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    I've seen the first season or so of "Parasyte" (as they write it here), and I'm sure it had some influence on my thought processes, so your spot-on there. Charlie, the alien who shares my MC's head, is much, much dumber than Migi though. (Is the right hand still named "Migi" in the official English version?)
     
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  11. Sniam

    Sniam Member

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    There is only one season out as for now, I think. I've watched the subbed version as well, but I don't think they will change the name of Migi. You can't really call someone "Right", right ? wait a minute . . .
     
  12. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Unworthy in the eyes of the LORD Contributor

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    Update: 1200 words, 1.5 Zevons, time for a break.
     
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  13. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Unworthy in the eyes of the LORD Contributor

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    1300 words, one Zevon. My pinkie hurts*, time to stop.

    *for some reason, my left pinkie finger roles over and I tend to type with the side of it. Need a forearm cushion too.
     
  14. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Unworthy in the eyes of the LORD Contributor

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    Okay, wow, two weeks plus of nothing. Ran out of steam, there were still ideas I had ready to write, but.....

    My scenario was in my head, but not really my character and his motivations.

    Insomnia and a touch of depression hit tonight, and then I thought about him being unable to sleep, trapped in a Faraday cage, never to leave and....

    Still more character development to do in my head, but I've got a motivation that I can feel, which is a good start. Only 400 words, .5 Simon and Garfunkels (One Simon?), but I think something is unlocked again.

    More later.
     
  15. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Unworthy in the eyes of the LORD Contributor

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    Messing around with cover art. I know it's not writing, but this seems to be the best place to put my efforts without threadjacking someone else's topic.

    If there's a better place to put this, mods please let me know.

    My current best cover:

    BangedUp Best.jpg
     
  16. rincewind31

    rincewind31 Active Member

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    You need to sort that font out.
     
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  17. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    90% of the books I buy are horror, so by the looks of it I'm your target audience? If this isn't a horror book, I think you're barking up the wrong tree. :D

    It does look 'home made' and self-published to me, I'm afraid. As you noted in the other thread, the thumbnail doesn't work - on the screen I'm on now, it looks like a plain black rectangle until I look closely.

    When I look at the full size version I can only read the red text and none of the grey. I'm also expecting some kind of graphic, not just text on a black background.
     
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  18. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Unworthy in the eyes of the LORD Contributor

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    Yeah, it's just not working, is it?

    It's a romantic YA coming of age story, wasn't that clear?:D

    Er, nope, horror. Definitely horror.

    The grey text isn't really meant to be readable, it was supposed to be more of a visual version of the horror-movie whispering:



    However, it seems that despite two semesters of graphic arts, thirty years ago, graphic design is not my strong point, so I'm going to abandon this little project for right now. Thanks for the criticism, it's very important to know when you're barking up the wrong tree.

    :bigfrown:
     
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  19. ajaye

    ajaye Senior Member

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    I like the idea of the background, as an atmospheric thing. I can read most of the grey writing so it must be a screen size thing. I suppose whether that's ok or not depends on whether it's distracting when viewed on a small screen - which it looks like it is.

    I think there's spacing issues with the text; 'from' is too close to the left margin and I don't think that increased spacing between lines 1 & 2 works, it leaves 'from' hanging alone too much.

    I reckon you've gotta get at least your title readable in thumbnail before anything else.
     
  20. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I think you have the trunk right, it's just that branches need to be pruned into a beautiful shape. :D

    From the title, I'm envisaging a cover that would intrigue me: much the same as it is with the black background, but in the corner a small circle of light (like a tunnel opening) with a scary eye looking straight out at me. Or the black with a silhouette of a menacing figure outlined in the whispering-grey/silver, like he's emerging from the blackness. A bit like that infamous still from The Exorcist with Father Whatshisname under the glow of the street lamp.
     
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  21. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Yep - I'm on a laptop but the display is very poor. It may well look better on a phone...
     
  22. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Unworthy in the eyes of the LORD Contributor

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    That's the problem, I'm a Luddite who works on a desktop, or a 10 inch hi-res tablet. I'm too old to read things on phones even with my no-line bifocals.

    Might fiddle with this a bit more, but I'm kind of thinking that this would be ideal to show to someone better at it than I am as a sketch of what I basically want.
     
  23. ajaye

    ajaye Senior Member

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    Oh! I'm on a laptop too o_O .

    ETA ok yeah my display's good
     
  24. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Unworthy in the eyes of the LORD Contributor

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    Huh, the thumbnail actually looks better on my phone than on my desktop, but the expanded version looks worse.

    Yeah, I should probably go back to writing what goes behind the cover and leave the other to someone better. Thanks all!
     
  25. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    How are you resizing the thumbnail ? - I suspect that its the resizing method that's got a lot to do with the illegibility rather than the font
     

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