[Kit's Scrapbook] — The Open Book

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[Kit's Scrapbook] — The Open Book

Postby Kit Rowan on June 1st, 2011, 6:33 am

The First Page

A collection of miscellaneous musings,

Anb, ɒƨ in uʇʇiƨʜ ƚʜouǫʜƚ ʜɘ ƨƚoob,
Tʜɘ Ⴑɒddɘɿwoɔʞ, wiƚʜ ɘyɘƨ oʇ ʇlɒmɘ,
Ɔɒmɘ wʜiʇʇlinǫ ƚʜɿouǫʜ ƚʜɘ ƚulǫɘy woob,
Anb duɿdlɘb ɒƨ iƚ ɔɒmɘ!

Sometimes I think it might have been a mistake to bring Kit's age down to what it is. It's a strange thing to consider altogether, especially now, over a month after her creation and there's no turning back. In my head, as I was typing 'sixteen' into her age category I kept reminding myself that this was no ordinary world by our standards, that social convention had broken down and torn itself asunder, that most people didn't live past age forty. It is likely that many girls, without access to medicine, die in childbirth, and because life is so short they need to marry quickly.

I was aware of the reputation that most children that age carry when made on Mizahar. Boyhood swordsmen who stands for truth and justice and the American way, girl who is pretty without being beautiful and always nice and mannerly but somehow also has thirty points in archery. I didn't want that for Kit. It's stupid. No, it's worse than stupid; it's dull.

Kit is a child to all our eyes, no mistake. Sixteen. That looks young even to me now . . . But there's no better time for self-discovery. And none of the soft, gentle growth that we're used to. This is Mizahar. The gods went to war five hundred years ago and the continent was nearly sundered in half. Monsters wander the countryside. What's left of the world is barren or deadly or, most likely, both.

When she got hold of her gnosis, Kit took the first step toward becoming something different. Now, her safe haven in Alvadas is gone, and she needs to face a world she's not prepared to see, make decisions that will break and make her. Sixteen.

'Too early' we would think today, but when I made Kit I couldn't get around the impact it would make. Sixteen! Thrown into the forge of the world and shaped by it into something different, that can deal with the trials the world throws at it not because she is by her nature strong but because the choice was between dealing with it and dying.

I'm very shy about my characters, though. I don't ask questions; I skirt around them and look for the answers between the margins. Two months is not a long time. I don't know how much contempt 'sixteen' inspires in world-be roleplaying partners, in moderators. I don't know whether they would overlook it or turn away to some more promising, less 'cliche' character. In my weaker moments I wonder whether they would be right to.

~o~o~o~

I am operating on the assumption that once I rant about this here I will feel no urge to spout about it to poor Crow, or anyone else who happens to be within listening (reading?) range.

Alvadas fascinated me, not the lore mind you, not the locations or the city itself. I was fascinated by the concept, and hurt a little as everyone else talked about Syliras, about Lhavit, about all these other strange places. Do they not see? I wondered. Are they not drawn to the strangeness? To the unnatural dimensions of this strange place?

And then, in not much time at all, I began to realize why they did not. City of illusions, governed by Ionu, was really nothing more than an illusion itself. It was standby zone, with little diversions for travelers, with inns for them to stay inside . . . But it was not really a city.

What I mean by this is that there was no element of people to it. It is the city I would expect after reading the tourist booklets, (hearing the songs?) but has no depth beyond that. There is no force to police the streets, or encourage Ionu's justice. There is no government, central or otherwise, not even the anarchist chaos we find in Sunberth.

When someone kills a man, what happens? These are important questions to answer not because it happened to anyone important to Kit—it didn't—but it shapes the outlook of the people who lived there. It's supposed to be a city of illusions, of strangeness, but in practice the people who are born and raised there, who should be paragons of weirdness are really just our best guesses.

There is no culture, there is no social framework, there is no law. Without that a city is just a pale, lifeless cutout. What makes Lhavit fascinating is as much the social dynamics of the three families and Shinya as starstone they're used and the mountains their city climbs.

I want to write about the twisted psyche of a whole culture that tries to prove themselves to their God by tricking others, who are also trying to trick them, and who most values comfort through escapism. At first, it was all about Kit; I can't answer the questions about her life if I don't have a city from which to draw from. But now it's something different. I've started thinking of Alvadas as my city.

I really need to write an ST application already.
Last edited by Kit Rowan on June 1st, 2011, 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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[Kit's Scrapbook] — The Open Book

Postby Gossamer on June 1st, 2011, 8:27 am

Kit is hands down one of my favorite new characters. You play 16 with her remarkably well and with a depth I see in real people that age - including all their flaws. What that means is that I believe her. I really do. I believe that she exists and that she is a walking talking breathing creature with thoughts and feelings and a remarkable drive to look beyond the shallow depths of most people's souls.

Alvadas is only a dead thing - a mockery of what it could be - because no one has fell in love with it enough to bring it alive. It's almost embarrassing to me to have it sit there rotting and floundering when it could be something completely amazing and grand. It just needs love. Kit already has that.
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[Kit's Scrapbook] — The Open Book

Postby Kit Rowan on June 1st, 2011, 4:56 pm

That means a lot to me. Thanks Goss.

This is post is too short so I'm going to throw in a picture.
Image
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[Kit's Scrapbook] — The Open Book

Postby Kit Rowan on June 5th, 2011, 1:37 pm

Parts + Parts < Whole

I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners," he said. "The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they're going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there's going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don't know how many branches it's going to have, they find out as it grows.
- George R.R. Martin

I want to be an architect, I really do, though it's hard to stick with the floorplan sometimes. Truth be told Kit's sheet doesn't have half the information I've written down on her, but the stuff that's left isn't all taht interesting to read about. I have her mannerisms all written down for me to draw from. I know, for example, that if she is agitated or worried she will chew on her lip. If she is really, genuinely happy, she smirks. I know all the gestures Kit makes in a conversation and what those gestures mean.

I want to learn consistency. Find writing quirks to associate to Kit and no other character, little catchphrases to work with, because I want my portrayal of her to be rock solid and unique to her person.

But at the same time I take a cue from the gardener, because I don't define Kit's future, however much I divide up and label her past. She has goals of her own of course but I am willing to let them carry her as they will, and attach her to interesting stories along the way, stories that might derail her character completely from the careful plan I'd set up for her.

And I don't think I'm a very good architect; I keep looking back and changing things, tweaking to better fit the present. If Kit's character is a house then it's made of wood that hasn't taken its cue to stop growing.

I think I may have overextended this metaphor. Slightly.

What sort of writer are you? A gardener or an architect? How does it help or hinder you?

~o~o~o~

In five hours time, a song caught mine eye,
And I knew that I need share.
So bear with this child,
his weakness for rhyme,
and let him have his way this time.

The Innkeeper's Song

There came three ladies at sundown:
One was brown as bread is brown,
One was black, with a sailor's sway,
And one was pale as the moon by day.

The white one wore an emerald ring,
The brown led a fox on a silver string,
And the black one carried a rosewood cane
With a sword inside, for I saw it plain.

They took my own room, they barred the door,
They sang songs I never had heard before.
My cheese and mutton they did destroy,
And they called for wine, and the stable boy.

And once they quarried and twice they cried —
Their laughter blazed through the countryside,
The ceiling shook and the plaster flew,
And the fox ate my pigeons, all but two.

They rode away with the morning sun,
The white like a queen, the black like a nun,
And the brown one singing with scarlet joy,
And I'll have to get a new stable boy.
Last edited by Kit Rowan on June 9th, 2011, 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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[Kit's Scrapbook] — The Open Book

Postby Kit Rowan on June 8th, 2011, 9:23 pm

⅂!ʇʇꞁө ƨoꞁɐⅽө ⅽowөƨ
ʇo ʇµoƨө ʍµo ɓʁ!ө٨ө
ʍµөu ʇµo∩ɓµʇƨ ʞөөb qʁ!ʈʇ!uɓ
ɐƨ ʍɐꞁꞁƨ ʞөөb ƨµ!ʈʇ!uɓ
ɐuq ʇµ!ƨ ɓʁөɐʇ pꞁ∩ө ʍoʁꞁq oʈ o∩ʁƨ
ƨөөwƨ ɐ µo∩ƨө oʈ ꞁөɐ٨өƨ
wowөuʇƨ
pөʈoʁө
ʇµө
ʍ!uq
.


No there is nothing wrong with me; I'm just a little morbid, and sometimes I think mirror-ways. That's no crime.

This scrapbook turned out very long indeed. Beware all ye who enter, for here be dragons!

Goals With Kit
I'm a shitty architect, and I say that in more ways than one. I've been trying to find a groove with Kit, a consistent narrative voice for her. I've been wavering a little, but I'm not too worried. She's mostly been toying around with herself for solos, and that's no way to define a character. And make no mistake; she is defining herself for me, not the other way around. Stupid character spreadsheets. You never prepared me for this.

Through utter serendipity By exercising my genius, I've found something in her gnosis request that really seemed to strike home for her concept. It'll help define her, I hope, and give her an interesting image to build on, and a change that matches the stress of her leaving home. Plus I felt kind of bad calling her list of questions 'A Mad Girl's Answers.' Now if things go as hoped she'll come to deserve that title.

My to-do list is rather short:

1: Go to Lhavit
1: Go to Spires
1: Go to Lhavit?
2: Accept Heritage Of Magic
3: Learn to make acrobatics interesting to read.
4: Meet interesting people along the way.
5: Shenanigans

1
Frankly Syliras is a bit overcrowded and I'm not sure if I'd be able to handle the Akalaks of Riverfall trying to prep and prod Kit to sire their children and maybe die in the attempt. Denval is inaccessible, Sultros is closed, Karijin is closed, Avanthal would freeze her solid in the first five minutes and half the population of Kalinor would try to rape her.

Black Rock would be interesting, but Kit is terrified of death, and there is no one there. I learned in Alvadas; I need to define her character before I let her marinate in her own solo juices, especially in an unfamiliar place. I expect I'll take her there later, to face her fears, but not this season.

Lhavit is more appealing to me, all told, though it would take some time for Kit to get there, and some money that I'll need to delay to get my hands on. Thankfully, she has a solo thread in late spring that's still open to editing, and is in a quantum state of both having traveled to Spires and Lhavit. Schrondinger's traveler.

2
Lhavit isn't just pretty; it serves a purpose I intend to set in motion on the journey there. The traveling NPC I was lucky enough to grab hold of, Tsuye, is disowned member of the Dusk Dawn (Doh! Thank God that was a transcribing error and not an actual error in making the guy) family in Lhavit, traveling the world to escape his shame at home. The Dusk Dawn family is known for its reimancy, and Tsuye has found a sort of peace with his situation, and a sad nostalgia for his homeland.

Meanwhile Kit is terrified of her Reimancy. It's something her father gave her before she knew what it really was, and she's fascinated . . . fascinated because it occupies her thoughts, creeps and stirs inside her (or so she imagines), and that fear that she can't escape becomes fascination. I intend for Tsuye to begin wearing away at that prejudice toward her own body and power, and I've got a feeling (and may be wrong) that in Lhavit, so full of mortal magic and beautiful for it, will help to erode those fears the rest of the way.

Which will be good for me, but perhaps less so for Kit. After all, a healthy fear of personal magic is an essential part of a long, peaceful life. Which sounds rather dull to me truth by told, but may have its appeal to Kit. However, she doesn't get a vote.
3
It's a troubling question. How do I make street busking entertaining to read? In the beginning I thought it would be hard, but for different ways than I expected. First, the inspiration for making her a street acrobat, to show how I thought it could be cool, could be entertaining to play.



Obviously she isn't quite as ridiculous personality-wise as this person, and neither is she this good. Some of the stuff this man does . . . Speaking in Mizahar terms I would put him at Expert level at least. So, I thought it would be difficult to find the middle ground between no skill at all and this man. I had a few other videos I used, more or less to set goals.

Videos :








Most of them were of guys sure, but I did not see and do not see any reason why Kit could not do what they did . . . given time and training. Especially for the more spectacular stunts. It's a bit of a dream for me to get Kit to use a Mizaharian equivalent of parkour. But as of yet she can't dream of reaching the same height as most of these videos, so I was certain that the difficulty would be keeping the journey there interesting.

I assumed the general rule of gymnastics was in play, meaning the boys who did it got big and buff, while the girls got little and lithe - almost unhealthily so. If you look at her weight and height on the net you'll find that Kit weighs dangerously little for a girl her size and age. If you noticed, that's why.

After I did this watching, I figured that I would need to know not just how it looks but how it's done. So I sat and watched some how-to videos for parkour and gymnastics.

More Videos :


The issue is that she knows what she's doing. Violence is inheritly interesting to us - and I don't want to hear any of that talk about it being inheritly masculine. It's a threat of harm, and threats always get our blood pumping in one way or another. Rag on mercenaries all you want; they can always pull the 'now someone is trying to kill me' card, and that will get the job done every time.

If she was at least clueless then her fumbling around would be fun to write; doing something that big with your body and having no idea whether it'll turn out alright or not? But that's not in her character. It's what she does for a living. And . . . how do you even describe that? Motion is important to Kit, it's more or less written in capital neon letters all over her sheet, but how do you write that?

Do you describe every little detail? 'She held her body like this, she kept her back straight, she . . .' Or do you just do it, leave the reader wondering what happened? The answer is neither and both, somewhere in between, but I haven't found that sweet spot yet. Combat I've done, but this is a completely different beast, a different rhythm, a different goal.

And the simple fact is that Kit is used to this; while it might be intriguing to read about a girl using her body in ways that make you wince in sympathy, and does it for a living as casually as you or I leap down the last two steps of a stairwell, it'll wear off for a while.

So I try different ways to keep it interesting. In her first job thread, I played up her impoverishment, because in Alvadas street performers NEED money because there are just too many of them and Kit has no way to stand out. Second work thread, I turned it into a competition with her old 'mentor,' if you want to call Whet that.

It hasn't worked quite yet, and mixed with my uncertainty about exactly where to stop with the elaboration on technique it makes for pretty dodgy threads. But I'm confident that I'll find a pace that's right for Kit on both counts, skipping the drudgery of the job and zooming in on the few exciting or defining moments of it.

4
Its natural charm aside, I picked Kit's profession as a street performer for a reason. It seemed an incredibly convenient tool for starting threads. She's doing backflips in the street for chrissake, people are going to stop and look. A good enough launching point into threading as any.

Another reason I prefer Lhavit to Spires; Spires may be monkey kingdom of the world and give Kit a chance to be thoroughly creeped out by bugs, but she would be one of the first characters to RP there in a long time. 'That's a good thing!' I see some of you saying. 'You'll be important!' Well, I don't want to be important. I want people to talk to and find out what Kit is like along the way.

Shitty architect I tell you. Shitty.

5
Ƨʜɘnɒniǫɒnƨ! Ƨo mɒny ƨʜɘnɒniǫɒnƨ!

A Little Game

For any of you who are bored. I found four of those videos while searching for other videos which I did use, while I wrote this post, and put them up because they seemed cool and good examples. Can you guess which are new?
Last edited by Kit Rowan on June 9th, 2011, 3:22 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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[Kit's Scrapbook] — The Open Book

Postby Kelpie on June 9th, 2011, 1:38 am

It's interesting to see Kit's goals and progress, but I just wanted to let you know that the Dusk family is known for Auristics not Reimancy, that's the Dawn family. :)

But overall, can't wait to have you in Lhavit!
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[Kit's Scrapbook] — The Open Book

Postby Kit Rowan on June 11th, 2011, 9:19 pm

My Books And Why I Like Or Hate Them

So I was bored, have this bookshelf behind me, and somewhere along the line my brain decided, 'hey, let's examine them all and tell people about them!' And so, I listened to it. I wish it was more complicated than that, but it isn't, really. So, enjoy. Or not, depending.

The Black Company Books
Glen Cook
"I do not want to die, Croaker. All that I am shrieks against the unrighteousness of death. All that I am, was, and probably will be, is shaped by my passion to evade the end of me." She laughed quietly, but there was a thread of hysteria there. She gestured, indicating the shadowed killing ground below. "I would have built a world in which I was safe. And the cornerstone of my citadel would have been death."

These books helped shape the way I look at fantasy. It's written from the perspective of a mercenary company, from the point of view of those who write its annals. The world is gray, the evils are ill-defined and strange. Magic, is odd, and broken and strange. The insanity of their wizards makes Mizahar's, at their worse extreme, completely tame. The world-building is top-notch, and there are no heroes; only the perspective from which the story is told.

Anansi Boys
Neil Gaiman

I'm a bit of a Gaiman fan, so it's no surprise that I liked this book too. But the odd thing is, I didn't think I was going to. The main character sort of put me off, I didn't know what to make of the rhythm of the story. I generally never throw a book down in disgust. I just leave it there, intend to pick it up again and never have the presence of mind to do so. I picked this up again maybe six months later and started reading at the bookmark, and it held on tight. Even though the main character is in his late twenties and has a steady job, this is clearly a coming of age story, about confidence in yourself, disguised as a urban fantasy.

Who Fears Death

Nnedi Okorafor

A beautiful book whose genre I still can't pin down. It's after civilization's end I suppose, because there are old heathen computers in some places, but there's also magic and . . . and those don't really matter in the scope of things. This is a story centered in what I think is Africa, with magic and supernatural power everywhere. It's about racism and sexism down to its very bones, and it often beats you over the head with feminism, but it doesn't actually hurt the story, and while reading it fit, rather than feeling like something shoved in to the disservice of the story.

Also . . . Just, don't read if you're squeamish. There's some cringe-worthy stuff in here. WARNING ADULT CONTENT and all that.

Dune
Frank Herbert
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

If you have not read these books then you should. That's all I have to say about that.

Neverwhere
Neil Gaiman

London Below is a charming place. I loved this book - SURPRISE - and it sort of fed my taste for the absurd. Not fantasy mind you, I mean the absurd. I mean the market full of bizarre creatures, selling bottlecaps and rusted steel, where metaphor is real and reality meaningless. I imagine anyone on site who had read this book and knew I had my eyes on Alvadas would stab me in the eye with a hot poker, while screaming.

The Dresden Files
Jim Butcher
"The world is getting weirder. Darker every single day. Things are spinning around faster and faster, and threatening to go completely awry. Falcons and falconers. The center cannot hold.

But in my corner of the country, I'm trying to nail things down. I don't want to live in a world where the strong rule and the weak cower. I'd rather make a place where things are a little quieter. Where trolls stay the hell under their bridges, and where elves don't come swooping out to snatch children from their cradles. Where vampires respect the limits, and where the faeries mind their p's and q's.

My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk. When things get strange, when what goes bump in the night flicks on the lights, when no one else can help you, give me a call. I'm in the book."

The Dresden files takes pulp-style action and sexuality to lull you into a false sense of security, only for you to realize a few books in what kind of nightmare world you've been snared into caring about. The plots make the main character - a wizard private eye in the yellow pages - seem mundane in comparison, but it's handled so expertly that everything fits together.

Each book is self-contained, so it can be read without having expert knowledge of what came before . . . Except Changes. It's incredibly easy to slip from casual reader to hardcore fan. Be wary.

I think I'm going to just put WARNING, ADULT CONTENT at the end of everything that I think has adult content in it, kay?

A Song Of Ice And Fire
George R.R. Martin

Read the books, dammit. They're good!

WARNING, ADULT CONTENT

A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
N. K. Jeminson

I bought it thinking that it was a fantasy, but it turned out to be a romance instead. And now, against all odds, I want the sequel!

WARNING, ADULT CONTENT

Coraline
Neil Gaiman

Children who read it think it's an adventure story about a clever girl saving her parents. Adults allegedly think of it more as a horror story. I'm not sure what that says about me, but don't let its location on the bookstore shelves fool you! It may be short but it's strange, weird and adult enough for anyone under a hundred and ten.

Kraken
China Mieville

His other books didn't quite ring true in me, which is odd, as I generally like the odd, but this one did. It has everything you could want; sentient ink, magical nazis, Londonmancers and a squid that is key to the end of the world. I liked it.

The Wheel of Time
Robert Jordan

This was, counting LoTR, my second real venture into fantasy. I burned through all the books in a summer, but now . . . It just sort of rings hollow, honestly. I'm not interested in the fight against the Dark One, and I don't even care what they lose along the way. Rand is a dick, Egwene is getting along just fine and Matt isn't the same since Sanderson took over. I don't even remember the name of the last book I read, but I haven't picked up Towers of Midnight yet and probably never will.

The Kingkiller Chronicles
Patrick Rothfuss
My name is Kvothe.

I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow-kings. I burned down the town of Trebon, I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the university at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me.

The main character's parents were killed when he was a boy and he spent years as a street rat, he was a natural at magic and just about everything. He is clever, smart, has red hair, and generally fits the hero archetype almost perfectly.

I loved it.

The Kingkiller Chronicles is shaping up to be a part heroes journey, part coming of age story . . . but mostly tragedy in the making as we listen to a broken man recount his story in full. This is the book that taught me that cliches are not bad; they are just badly used. That a character can fit a cliche without that cliche defining them. It also sent me diving into the bookshelves looking for a story to sate me, and almost every book I've listed so far was picked up after this one. If there is a root reason that I am on Mizahar today, it is the fit of curiosity that led me to picking up this book and leafing through the first page.

WARNING, ADULT CONTENT

The Windup Girl
Paolo Bacigalupi

Who here likes Dysptopia novels?

So do I, so do I. But usually they're all bogged down with message and I can't help but read it without bonking my head on it along the way. The Windup Girl is more jealous of its message; you need to search for it, think about it rather than have it hammered into your head via an author avatar speech halfway through. It points to things that are wrong but leaves how to fix it up in the air. I recommend it. There might also still be a free e-book floating around, with author permissions. I'm not sure.

WARNING, ADULT CONTENT

The Graveyard Book
Neil Gaiman
There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately.

The knife had done almost everything it was brought to the house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet.

'Oh Kit what is this? Gaiman again? Oh we get it you - '

SILENCE HEATHEN!

As I was saying, this is another book you'll find in odd areas of the bookstore. In England they put it in both the children's novels and the fantasy isles, and I can't help but feel that they should have done the same here too. The only reasons I can think of for them to put it where they have is that the protagonist is a kid, and there is no sex.

But there is violence. The scene opens right after a murderer has sliced and diced the poor baby's family to smithereens. And yes, I mean baby quite literally.

Altogether the book is about a boy as he grows up, raised by a loving family and neighbors. Oh, and they're all dead. This is happening in a graveyard. Hence the title. It's one of my favorite Gaiman stories to date.

The First Law Trilogy
Joe Abercrombie

Abercrombie's break out fantasy trilogy puts a neat little twist on the old formula. Not in ways we notice, but in the ways that matter. All the cheery, happy, victory-is-sweet and good-triumphs-over-evil stories cringe and edge away from The First Law, because he seems to follow all the rules but something isn't quite right.

He gives us what we expect and tells us the price for victory, and it is bittersweet, and costs us a good deal more than expected. It's an honest fantasy, honesty about people. In the end, he's left us dealing with real people, and the terrible consequences that real decisions leave us.

WARNING, ADULT CONTENT

American Gods
Neil Gaiman
'There was a girl, and her uncle sold her,' wrote Mr. Ibis in his perfect copperplate handwriting.

'That is the tale; the rest is detail.'


American Gods is a beautiful urban fantasy that is hard to define even in hindsight, but I'll try. It is about a war between the old gods that the people brought over with them from other countries into America and the New Gods, the Gods of cars, of television, of electronics and internet. And a man who people call Shadow, caught in the middle of it all.

Lots of things happen, and not all of them are easy to place.

WARNING, ADULT CONTENT

And Now For Something Completely Different


Alright, I'm starting to get hungry now, but before I go I'll throw in a few other things I'd thought of while writing this. Not books though; webcomics.

Dresden Codak
A freaky, sometimes stream of consciousness and sometimes serial comic that really catches the eye. It updates irregularly but even the comics that are there right now are worth looking at.

Image here :
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You can find Dresden Codak here.

The Meek
A fantasy webcomic with a thus-far dark plot and villians that I can love, if you even want to call them villains.

Pictures here! :
Image
WARNING, ADULT CONTENT . . . Kind of.

Can be found here.

Unsounded
Another fantasy webcomic with a dark plot and wait, are there even villians? I don't know. The heroes both seem like assholes. Likable assholes yes, but still. One thing I particularly admire about this artist is her ability to alternate art styles depending on what would best fit the mood of the moment, whether silly and cartoony or serious, dark and realistic.

Not only that but she updates regularly, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Silly :
Image
Serious :
Image
Here be link.
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Kit Rowan
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[Kit's Scrapbook] — The Open Book

Postby Kit Rowan on June 13th, 2011, 5:26 pm



Image


A Certain CIty :
Image


Another Perspective :
Image


A Market :
Image


Endless Restaurant :
Image


Long Hall :
Image


Stairway To Somewhere :
Image

~o~o~o~



~o~o~o~


In November I took part of NaNoWriMo and wrote a novel. It was not a very good novel altogether, but there are some scenes that I liked. This is something I added later, and changed the name of the story. I'm still not sure if I'll salvage it in the end.

Really this is probably here because I didn't feel comfortable making a scrapbook without a lot of text in it. So.

The Left Handed Fortune

The neighbors talked about them.

Sometimes it was because of Anya’s mother and where she had been brought from, but mostly they talked about her Dad. Whenever someone fell and broke their leg or a child died too young they would look in his direction and suspect.

They called him a warlock and whispered that he was am abomination. He fed their fear with his ceremonies, and sometimes Anya helped. But they came to him for his ceremonies, to banish a bad cough, to find a missing daughter, to foretell the future. They said he knew the Old Way and used its magic.

He did not believe in it.

“Why do you do it?” She asked him once as he was tending to his herbs on the roof. “They’re all afraid of you.”

He clucked his tongue as he ran a finger over a long frond. For a moment he examined it, licked along the edge and smiled. She waited. He’d talk or he wouldn’t, but either way it would take time.

“It’s what they expect,” he said. He severed the leaf at its beginnings with a shear and set it down beside him. It seemed he thought that he had said enough.

Anya disagreed. “They hate you,” she said, crossing her arms and glaring up at him.

He was very quiet. Then he looked up and met her eyes with his own. A fleeting cloud’s gray. “And you?” His smile was small and sad.

She looked away, scowling. They did hate her. Children who knew who her father was would not touch her unless it was to push her down; the coldblooded witch-child. They wanted nothing to do with her.

“You haven’t helped much,” he said. “Do you think I’m the only one who notices it whenever you sneak out?”

Anya cringed.

He ruffled her hair, and when she peeked back at him his smile was too good-natured for a scolding. She felt herself relax and caught herself smiling back.

“I do it because there are sick people who need tending,” he went on to explain. “And the praying won’t keep them healthy.”

Her expression turned incredulous. “But you told me it was a lie!”

“Only some of it,” he said. Her father tapped a finger to the frond he’d just extracted. “Frostleaf. Stings, but it drives the infection away.” He pointed to a red flower that grew along the wall. “See those? The Heartsbud is useless, but if you ground its leaves into powder it can put someone to sleep.”

“I can’t just give them herbs. They don’t believe in them. But they believe in the Old.” His eyes were solemn. “They hate us, but they still believe in us. If I were just an old man with herbs, they would never accept it. A man with herbs is a hack, but the Old?” His eyes lit up. “That they can have faith in.”
Anya looked away. Her father put a hand on her shoulder and she, reluctantly, turned back toward him. “Would you like to know about the rest?”

She shook her head.

Her father sighed. He took a long moment to find the words. “Perhaps another time then,” he said.

Never, she thought. She did not say it but was sure he’d see right through her, like he always did.

Still, this time she must have hid her feelings well enough. He hadn’t noticed. “You’re a lot like I was, Anya.” He said, his voice carrying sorrow and warmth. “The other children, they have too much of the sun in them. They can’t live without other people. I can’t do this to them. The loneliness would be too much for them.”

“I don’t want this—” Anya said, or tried to say. Her father pulled her close, wrapped his arms around her and lifted her off the ground. She stiffened and shut her eyes.

“There’s no one else,” he whispered, voice thick with emotion. “You’ll come around, little witch.” She hated that nickname, but she had never told him. “I did.” He lowered her to the ground and let her go.

Anya took a step back, eyes wide, trembling. She slid down the ladder, not bothering to close the hatch behind her. Her father watched, still smiling that sad, nostalgic smile. “You’ll come around.” He said to the air. “I know you will.”

~o~o~

Anya did not want to learn what her father had to teach her, but there was only so much to be done. Her mother taught her to sew, but she cared little after she had learned enough to make little pockets in her clothes. Mouse always had things to tell her, but he was careful and cautious, and wouldn’t always teach her what she wanted right away. Her father, however, was always there. And though he did not believe, the mysticism of what he did drew her in, sometimes.

She was drawn in once, in winter, when it was too cold for anyone sane to step outside, and near dull enough inside that she felt the urge to go out all the same. Anya tried, slipped halfway through the back door and was buffeted by winds and chill. She closed the door and, wild-eyed, searched for something a little less cold to do.

It was dark. Fili and Bit and her mother were all asleep; she peered into their rooms and watched as their chests rose and fell. But her father was not sleeping. There was light from the entry hall.

Their home was by no means large. All the children but her slept in one room, their mother and father no more than a thin wall away. The entry hall was many things; there was a fireplace and a few mats for them to sit with one another and laugh. They ate there, talked there and lived there.
There was a table placed before the front door, bolted down with nails. Her father sat there, a single flickering candle set to his right. Long, dark shadows were cast across the room. His shoulders shifted, and Anya heard a faint clattering.

Anya’s head tilted quizzically to one side. She watched him for a moment, slipped slowly closer on silent feet. She stepped around a creaky piece of floor and peered at what her father had been doing.

That table was where he conducted business, when he did not leave for it. On it she saw two pieces of dice that she had not seen before.

Anya was certain that she had made no sound, but her father stirred, looked over his shoulder and saw her there. She froze, stiff, a small animal caught in the sight of something strange and unfamiliar.

He smiled gently. “Would you like to know what it means?” He asked, very soft, very quiet. Anya’s face grew redder than they had when she found a couple intimate in a dark alley. She managed a small nod.

Anya followed his hand as he motioned her forward, until she was standing beside him. While he sat, she was half a hand taller than her father. He looked up at her with an old smile and shifted the candle so that it sat between them.

He raised a cupped hand, and in it Anya saw both the dice that he had rolled. “Take one,” he whispered, his voice reverent. She licked her lips and plucked the nearest she could see. Anya felt its shape before she saw it; four sides.

Her father took hold of her hand and brought it lower. She opened it.

It was not the sort of dice that came to a flat top. There were four points, and each of them were marked. The one that showed now was . . . “A tree,” she said, surprised. “It’s a tree.”

“Yes,” her father said; a hint of amusement in his voice. “You see their leaves?” She did. “This is Summer’s tree.”

He brushed at the tip of the dice and made it turn over to another side in her hand. The same tree, no leaves. “Winter.” Blooming flowers on the branches. “Spring.” And the last . . .

“Autumn,” she finished for him. It was, she thought, the most beautiful of them all. It was the only one with color. The leaves were red, and several were falling, spiraling down into nothing. She rotated it in her hand—yes, around the tip of all three sides, falling fall leaves. “It’s mine,” she said, and found that she was smiling in the dark.

Anya had been born in autumn. The seasons were important things, after all. She did not know the day or the hour of her coming, but she knew it had been while the leaves were red and orange and yellow. “Yes,” her father said. He closed her fist around it. “Would you like to see the future?”

Her mouth felt very dry. She said nothing.

“Throw it onto the table,” he said easily. “And I’ll tell you what it might mean.”

For a moment Anya felt as though she might do it, then she frowned, opened her fist and stared at the dice there. She flipped it into her left hand. It felt right. Anya let it roll from her fingers, and it made a familiar clattering. She leaned close to get a look at it.

Her father had seen it first, or perhaps he’d just known the dice better. “Autumn again,” he said. “Your season. You’re a lucky girl, Anya.”

“What’s it mean,” she asked, earnest and full of curiosity.

“It can mean a lot of things,” he said, and though he could not possibly believe in what he was saying, he knew he had Anya hooked. “You didn’t roll the other, so I don’t know all I could.” He stopped.

Anya looked down at her father, the beginnings of irritation coming over her face.

“It,” he said at last, “is the time when the harvest comes. It could mean a reward well earned,” he said. “A task completed.” Anya smiled at that.

“Also,” he said, as though it were the most natural thing in the world. “It can mean death.”

“Death?” Anya asked, dismayed. She thought a moment. “Wouldn’t winter be better for death?”

“No, not in the way you mean. Winter is a trial,” he said, not looking away from the dice, not hearing the alarm in her voice. “It is a test. It can kill you, but if you survive you will only come out stronger. That is the nature of winter.”

“Autumn is different,” he told her. “Healthy things wilt away for no reason except that they must. The world slows down and starts to fall apart. Winter can kill,” he said . . . “But in autumn they just die.”
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Kit Rowan
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[Kit's Scrapbook] — The Open Book

Postby Kit Rowan on June 18th, 2011, 1:34 pm

Beware all ye who enter here, for Language Most Foul lurks in the paragraphs past this one. Turn back! Turn back now!

The blatant acceptance of fact tends to be rather closely linked with some common complaints of SF/F in general: that it’s conservative, that it doesn’t do a lot of pushing of social mores, that it’s insensitive and underutilizes characters of different orientations. And likewise, we tend to accept it all with our various reasons: “a woman couldn’t beat up a man, that’s just impossible,” “women didn’t have equal rights in a medieval society,” “a gay person couldn’t function normally in this kind of society so we can’t use it here” and variations on “that wouldn’t happen.”

Which baffles me.

I mean, presumably we’re writing in this particular genre because of the freedom it allows, because of the worlds we can create and because of the characters we throw into it. Why some people are so eager to slap down rules, constraints and the same sort of legalities that govern our every day life is, to me, more than a little baffling. I mean, why invent a vast, sprawling world if you want it to act, look, feel and work exactly like medieval England except with one or two twists (“yes, well, my peasants shovel their own feces instead of animals’”). Why not do whatever the hell you want?

By that, of course, I’m not suggesting that you do just throw things around willy-nilly with violent whimsy and fuck whoever takes exception to that. I’m merely suggesting you think carefully about the discrepancies between rules and logic.

Logic suggests that the wilting flower of a woman wouldn’t be able to fight off a big man, logic suggests that a homosexual character probably wouldn’t find acceptance very readily in a society that is theoretically more regressive than our own modern one in which this is still a challenge, logic suggests that a society based on patriarchy wouldn’t value womens’ rights very much.

But logic doesn’t say that a woman couldn’t find a way to fight a big man through one way or another, logic doesn’t say that a homosexual character couldn’t exist, persevere and even find some measure of happiness in the face of adversity, logic doesn’t say that women wouldn’t think of rights as being all that important even if not a lot of people do, logic doesn’t say “that can’t happen.”

Rules do.

Logic is something you can twist, bend, mold and adapt, like clay. You can use it to change a character, to change society, to change reality and readers will love it because you’re offering that by changing the world around them instead of pulling stuff out of your anus to fit the plot. Rules are just constraints. They do not change. They do not alter. Your reader will be bored because, once they figure out the rules, they know what’s going to happen. You need logic. You don’t need rules.

[. . .]

Doubt fact.

Forget rules.

Challenge everything.
Sam Sykes

I didn't intend to be a connoisseur of other people's words, but this resonated with me. A bit of foul-mouthed writing wisdom.

Now the bigger issue for sites like Mizahar is that people need to be aware of the logic, because it's an important step to telling a good story. Rather than simply accepting that their concept is not only possible, it is vital that they recognize and face up to the problems that their character is bound to come across in their society, or just the world in general.

Part of the reason I like Mizahar is that most people know how to figure that out for themselves. It's a rare thing. But it helps me sometimes when something I do only subconsciously has its outlines painted like this.
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Kit Rowan
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[Kit's Scrapbook] — The Open Book

Postby Kit Rowan on June 25th, 2011, 11:40 am



It's easy to forget with a light switch in reach, the depths of a darkness you can't flare away, and the monsters crawl out of the margins and into the world. It's easy to forget, illuminates, saturated, safe, in the quiet suburbs, it's easy to feel protected, it's easy to be seduced by the idea of safety.

But then the power goes out and the light won't come back, and you wander outside into a world wrought in darkness; the streetlights all dead and the sky all black, and the people are sleeping and lightning is flashing, silently in the distance it flares and it flashes, and the wind makes no noise and the fireflies dance, and little lights glow like eyes in the distance, and you remember the monsters in the margins and stand like an ant beneath an angry sky, and choose between the darkness and the storm.

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Kit Rowan
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