Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Peek Beneath the Duct Tape: Sleepwalkers, Chapter 2

This is the chapter I blogged about several months ago, where I said I'd come up with an M/f induction so cruel that I could barely bring myself to write it. The thing is, once I committed to this particular storyline, the scene became necessary; and once it became necessary, I had to go all the way with it. I knew I couldn't wimp out. You have to know how far Paolo has sunk, and you have to see the change in Shara from furious Resister to eager slave. Early reader reactions indicate that people are taking it just the way I want them to: they're horrified but also (at least in some cases) turned on. It turns me on, too, a bit...but then I feel bad about that. This is the nastiest thing I've ever written.

On a somewhat lighter note, now is a good time to talk about the original fantasy that sparked this story. Like I've said before, I came up with it when I was about twelve. I thought I was straight, so I made the MC'er a man; and I was too innocent to realize being controlled was what got me off, so the main characters in the story weren't really MC'ed at all. They were just pretending. Here's how it played out.

Shara was the central character of the fantasy. She was a completely different person than she is in "Sleepwalkers," and the world she lived in was somewhat different than the empire Hawthorne creates. Certain people had Bene Gesserit-like control over their bodies and minds, and Shara was one of them (If you don't know what a Bene Gesserit is, go read Dune - or at least Wiki it). Paul was another. The fantasy began with Shara being arrested by the Master's troops and taken to his headquarters for brainwashing. Paul was on the ship that carried her there. He'd been captured long before and made a doctor, so he was on site in case she was injured during the arrest. Later, when they were alone in the imprinting chamber, he revealed that he was only pretending to be brainwashed; and that whenever he ran across someone with abilities like his and Shara's, he saved them from brainwashing too. He hoped to eventually create a force that was strong enough to take down the Master.

The rest of the fantasy involved him coaching Shara in how to fool the Master, then the faux-brainwashing scene with the Master gloating over them both. That part of the fantasy played out a lot like my story Mirrored in Your Eyes, as I blogged about here. Interestingly, the mind-controlling drug and the will-replacing chip were parts of the story from the very beginning. So was the bit where Paul's chip gets turned off to horrify Shara; but in the early fantasy, it was the Master who turned off Paul's chip, Paul was only pretending to be catatonic, and Shara was only pretending to be horrified.

Not much drama there, eh? Or much originality, either. But after all, I was only twelve. I'm just proud of myself for coming up with the turning-off-the-chip thing that early in my EMC career.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Sleepwalkers" Chapter 2 online right here, right now

I've already sent Chapter 2 off to Simon, but as promised, I'm giving my blog readers an early look. Just follow this link - and look for a Peek Beneath the Duct Tape sometime around Sunday evening.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Peek Beneath the Duct Tape: "Sleepwalkers, Chapter 1"

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to put Sleepwalkers online after all these years. Believe it or not, I first started fantasizing about Paul and Shara when I was about 12. It wasn't quite my first MC fantasy, but pretty nearly. Of course, the plot I came up with as a kid didn't look much like what I've written for the EMCSA, but some of the basic elements remain. The drugs, chips, and imprinting table were there from the start (though without the sex - I was an innocent little thing at the time); and the gloating General was a gloating Master because I had no clue I was gay. I'll say a bit more about that old fantasy when I peek in on Chapter 2. You can see exactly where it's headed already, can't you?

Wizard wasn't a part of the original fantasy. In fact, she wasn't even originally part of Chapter 1. I added her in after the first draft was complete, when Lady K pointed out some holes I needed to fill. Having a character with communications expertise came in handy all kinds of ways, and fleshing her out made me change other parts of the story in ways that will make the whole thing more exciting.

I thought I made her up completely on my own, but not too long ago I stumbled across a website devoted to William Gibson's books and remembered that he created a disabled hacker of his own in Idoru. I'd totally forgotten that. I'd also forgotten that Neal Stephenson did the same in Snow Crash. So maybe it's a trope I'm not aware of. Anyway, I've come to love Wizard so much that she's now my favorite character in Sleepwalkers. That's pretty funny, considering how long I've had Paul and Shara in my head.

It's too early in the story to say much else about the plot, but I will add a few more notes:
  1. Wizard's disability is a real one, which I researched in preparation for writing her character. You'll find out what it is before much longer.
  2. Despite the current political climate in Arizona, I didn't choose Phoenix to make a political statement. I chose it because I tend to set my stories in the South, and I wanted to go in a different direction for a change. I've actually visited Phoenix, so I thought I could write about it convincingly (not that much action takes place there). It's a gorgeous city, and Camelback Mountain is magnificent, especially in late afternoon.
  3. Mount Weather exists. It's so secretive that you can't find much information about it online, but there's this and a few images of the above-ground areas. The below-ground areas I describe are 100% fiction. Probably.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sleepwalkers rollout begins...right now

And here it is at last. :-) I can't tell you how happy I am, to be sharing this story with other people after fantasizing about it in private for more than three decades. I sent Chapter 1 off to Simon earlier in the week, so you can expect to see it in the next EMCSA update. In the meantime, as promised, I'm posting the whole chapter here now as a thank-you to the people who visit my blog. I pasted the full content of the chapter into the page that previously had just the first half, so don't be fooled if your browser shows you've already visited the link. This is the whole Chapter 1.

I plan to continue posting each new chapter on my blog the Thursday before it appears on the EMCSA, and I plan to do a mini "Peek Beneath the Duct Tape" on each chapter, but I won't post the peeks until after the chapters appear on the EMCSA. So look for a new chapter here every Thursday, and then look for the peek on that chapter Sunday afternoon or evening.

I'd still really like to hear people's thoughts on the story, so let me encourage you again to post a comment - even if it's just one word. It means a lot to me, really.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Robot and doll fetishists, right this way

Thanks to Slyspeaker for the videos below. He found them in an article on io9 about post-apocalyptic K-pop. The other videos on the page are also worth checking out, but these two were my favorites. Slyspeaker said the first one reminded him of Willing Subject. I can see that, but what it mainly reminded me of was A Tenpack of Trixies - in fact, it reminded me so strongly of my story that I could half believe the video directors read it.

The second video isn't as fetishy as the first, not once you get past the incredible introduction, but I do love the silver foil suits. They're like what the costume designers of classic Star Trek wished they'd come up with for The Gamesters of Triskelion.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sleepwalkers, Chapter 1, first half

By majority vote (and honestly, to my relief because it gives me more time to write!), this weekend's post is the first half of "Sleepwalkers," Chapter 1 - everything up to the induction. Those of you who're into that kind of thing might like to compare this final version to the not-quite-finished draft I posted a few weeks ago. It'll give you an idea of how much polishing goes into my work - especially if you consider the fact that I'd already polished that section several times before posting it.

Some websites include a "tip jar" for viewers who'd like to contribute to the upkeep of the site. I'll make a simpler request: one that's easy and cost-free.  If you read this story, just leave a comment below it - positive, negative, mixed, one word, several paragraphs, whatever. I've set up my blog to allow for totally anonymous commenting. You don't even have to sign up for an account. So just let me know what you think about what you read here. I won't delete anything that's not trolling or spam.


 And now, without further ado, here's the first half of Chapter 1.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

I'm not dead yet!

I didn't post anything last week because I was so intent on polishing "Sleepwalkers" - and getting it out to you fine people - that I couldn't stop long enough to think of a blog topic. This week the writing bug is biting me even harder, but I'm making myself pause because I think you deserve a story update.

The whole first draft is finished, and I had a little laugh yesterday thinking about how, in my introduction, I thank my proofreaders (Lady K, Callidus, and the friendly neighborhood orc) for helping me keep the volume turned to eleven - and then I actually ended up with eleven chapters. I hope that number will give you that extra push over the cliff.

In the meantime, I apologize for being too obsessive-compulsive to publish the story until I have several chapters polished to my satisfaction (I'll probably still end up with a few typos despite that, because I always do - and I can't tell you how much it drives me crazy). I'm not waiting until it's all done, though. I'll post the first chapter on the EMCSA after I've finished polishing chapter 6. That way, I can feel confident of having each successive chapter ready to go live the following week. I'm polishing Chapter 4 right now, so that gives me a rough time frame of three weeks before Chapter 1 goes live. If - and only if - I unexpectedly croak before then, Lady K has my permission to post the rough drafts she's been proofing. I'd hate to leave you all hanging ;-P

And now I need your input. Like I said before, I plan on posting each chapter of "Sleepwalkers" on my blog a few days before I post it on the EMCSA. That's my gift to everyone who takes the time to stop by here. My question to you is which of these options you'd prefer in the meantime. Let me know in the comments section. I've set up this blog so that you don't need a Google account to make a comment, and you can post in total anonymity. I won't delete anything that's not trolling or spam.

So, now, tell me what to do. I am your obedient thrall. ;-)
  1. I can tide you over until EMCSA-posting time by giving you the first half of Chapter 1 right here, next weekend. That would give you plenty to get excited about even though it would mean you had to stop reading just short of the induction.
  2. I can wait until just before posting Chapter 1 on the EMCSA and then give you the whole chapter in its entirety here so that you don't have to stop before the induction...However, I should warn you that the chapter itself ends on a cliffhanger. Most of the chapters in "Sleepwalkers" do.
Weigh in below.