Monday, August 27, 2007

Two Scenes - The Hunt

Here's my take on the two scenes exercise. I'm not sure where this came from apart from a desire not to do what we'd talked about as an example in the workshop: guy acting different with his wife than with his friends. So I started thinking of what the conflict could be that the guy was dealing with, and I got a couple germs of ideas and they all came together.

  He'd run those rooftops a hundred times, a thousand, even, and never slipped before. Whatever god had possessed him to come out for one more hunt on a rainy night must have been looking out for him, though. He stepped back from the crumpled form of the antelope and stared at its companion, willing his features into a snarl. “What're you looking at?” he growled, claws flexing in and out of his paws. “You want to be number two?”
  The antelope didn't move. His nose told him that it was female, so probably he'd just killed her husband. “You know how the hunt works, right?”
  She nodded, slowly, and whispered, “If they catch you, they'll kill you, too.”
  He thought about his wife, a spotted pelt on some antelope's wall now. “They haven't caught me yet, not in twenty years.”
  “You fell.” He could hear her voice over the rain without straining, now. She held a purse, but wasn't reaching for it; the confidence came from within.“I saw you land.”
  “I broke his neck. You should thank me. It was quick and painless.”
  In her eyes, he could see his own reflection, dripping fur, yellow eyes shining with the reflected streetlight. “You won't take him.”
  “Lady,” he laughed, tasting rain on his tongue, “you don't know the rules.”
  “I know enough.” The street was empty, but he would have to get going soon. The patrols would come by, or someone else would raise the alarm. “Haven't you lost someone? Wouldn't you rather they were buried on your land?”
  “We don't care,” he growled. “To die in the hunt is honorable.” But the image of her lovely fur, stretched out, gnawed at him. He shook his head, spraying water. “My family has to eat.”
  “My family had to live,” she said. “Little enough that mattered.”
  “Stupid woman,” he said, and took a step toward her. His arms were heavy with more than water. He remembered every antelope he'd ever killed.
  When they'd hunted together and brought down a couple, it always made her happier. One of them doesn't have to go on without the other, she'd say. He took another step, nearly in claw's reach of the antelope's throat now, and his foot skidded on the sidewalk.
  She watched, impassive, as he regained his balance. They stared at each other again through the hissing rain. “If you were going to kill me,” she said, “you would've done it. Just go. Leave me my husband.”
  He hated them, in all their trappings and clothing, with weapons and vehicles, the city an affront to God and nature. But he could not kill her. The energy of the hunt had left him, and he had made the mistake of talking to her, a cub's mistake. Hunt with your heart, not with your head.
  He picked up the antelope's body—her husband's body. His arms were tired, his back straining under the weight he'd lifted so easily in years past. He looked up at her again, and let the body slip to the dirt.
  Engines sounded through the rain, but by the time they came into view, he had made his way up the side of the building to crouch huddled on the roof, looking up at the moon through the veil of rain and fog.

  And the second version...

  He'd run those rooftops a hundred times, a thousand, even, and never slipped before. Whatever god had possessed him to come out for one more hunt on a rainy night must have been looking out for him, though. He stepped back from the crumpled form of the antelope as his granddaughter landed beside him, sinking her teeth into the throat of the fallen creature.
  “It's dead,” he told the cub. “You can let go.”
  “You were good,” his granddaughter said. She stood, all lithe muscle and grace, her tail lashing through the rain. “I hate this weather.”
  “Years of practice,” he told her. “Now let's get the clothes off. Quickly, quickly, before a patrol shows up. They haven't caught me yet, not in twenty years, and I don't mean for this to be the night.”
  He ripped the garments from the cooling body, tearing along seams to save energy. The cub, more energetic and less experienced, just shredded until they came easily away. He smiled. Once he'd had that energy, and that hatred for the antelopes and their industry that polluted the landscape and the waters. But the clothes made them run slower, so there was that, at least.
  He hefted the body over his shoulder. As it came away from the sidewalk, a small cloth wallet fell to the ground, open to a picture of two antelopes and a young fawn. His granddaughter picked it up.
  “Look, 'pa,” she said. “He has a family too.”
  “Course,” he said gruffly. “What did you think?”
  “We-ell...” She held the wallet. “What will his wife think?”
  “She knows the rules.” The weight of the body came up with him, heavier than he'd remembered. He should make her carry it, but no, it was the job of the hunter to carry his or her quarry. She was along to learn, too young to hunt on her own yet.
  “What rules?”
  “We hunt them. They kill us if they catch us.” He grunted with the effort.
  She swung up beside him easily. “Will his family know what happened?”
  “They'll figure it out.” He got to the roof, threw the body over it, and followed it, panting.
  She crouched beside him, yellow eyes reflecting the moon. “Like we did with 'ma?”
  “Yes.” He stared back at her and cuffed her suddenly. She fell back on her haunches, staring resentfully, tail lashing. “Never think about that,” he told her. “Hunt with your heart. If you start thinking about their families, or getting revenge for our lost ones, you'll be caught as sure as night after day. You understand?”
  “Yes, pa.” She shook herself, spraying him with water.
  “Right, then.” He looked up at the moon and stretched, thankful for the light even through the driving rain. “Next one's yours.”

I still think it's a little too easy, for lack of a better word--of course he's going to act differently when confronted with the wife of his victim rather than his granddaughter. But maybe that's the whole point. I dunno. In any event, I feel like I want to make something more out of these scenes, maybe a slightly longer short story. Anyway, it was a lot of fun to do, and people seemed to like it.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Two Scenes - Micah's Proclivities

In our writing group, we try to do some sort of exercise for every meeting, whether it's during our meet-up or done as some sort of between-class assignment. Most recently, our exercise was of the latter variety, where the goal was to showcase a character's personality by writing two scenes involving the same situation, but with a different character with whom to interact.

I think the idea was a very good one, and I think that the lot of us did a very good job. Here are the scenes that I wrote. They're a bit on the racy side, but I like how they came out.

Micah swirled his straw through his iced tea. The halfway-melted ice circled around and around without even the fainted of clinks. The otter let his gaze fix on the small wedge of lemon that bobbed along as his straw cut through.

Jarvis, the fox sitting across from him, cleared his throat. Micah looked up and blinked a few times, pretending that he hadn't heard the previous question. “Huh?” he said, scooching back upright. The look in the fox's eyes, though, told Micah that he wasn't fooling anyone.

“I said, what's this I hear about you on Saturday night?”

“What, you mean Trevor's party?” Micah asked. “Yeah, I was there. Weren't you invited?”

The fox sighed. “You know I don't care for Trevor's crowd,” he said. “And you know that's not what I'm asking. What's this I hear about you and Tommy?”

Micah tried not to clearly envision the raccoon's face. “Yeah, he was there, too,” the otter said.

“From what I hear, you two were definitely keen on one another's presence.”

The otter withheld a sigh. “Look, is there something you're trying to get at?”

Jarvis' face was blank. “Does Jason know?”

“Does Jason know what?”

“Does Jason know that you spent Saturday night making out with some other guy?”

Micah looked back into his iced tea. “What business is it of yours?”

“It's my business because I don't think he should hear it from one of the other several people who witnessed said make-out session.”

This time, the otter didn't even try to hold in his sigh. “And what if he does hear about it?” he mumbled. “It's not like he's my boyfriend or anything.”

“Try telling him that,” the fox replied. He looked sad, now. “Come on, Micah, you know how he's going to take that.”

“Yeah? So then why don't you tell him?” The otter almost knocked his glass over as he continued to fidget with it. He puffed out his chest and pulled himself back out of the slouch he'd slunk into. “What's the big deal, anyway?” he added before Jarvis could say anything. “All we did was kiss.”

“Kiss with your hand down his pants?” Jarvis asked. “Seriously, man, you and Tommy were the big gossip point of the week. And you know how Trevor's gang is; you're not going to be able to escape notoriety from this one.”

Micah dropped his straw into his glass of iced tea and pushed his chair back. “Well, if Jason wants to buy into town gossip, who am I to tell him what to believe?”

“Wait, so you're really not going to tell him.”

The otter was already on his feet, fishing through his wallet to find some bills to drop on the table. “If he finds out about it, and he still wants to be my boyfriend, he'll forgive me,” he said, before turning to walk out.

And here's the second:

Micah stared into his Long Island Iced Tea. The colors were separating, so the otter gave it a swirl to mix it all back together. Nothing was worse than a badly-mixed Long Island. Well, at least as far as trips to bars went.

“Come on, spill it,” Trevor said, the skunk's snout twisted up into a huge grin.

“Spill what?” the otter asked. He chuckled preemptively.

The skunk kicked Micah's shin under the table. “You know what I mean,” he said. “You and Tommy at my party. What's the deal?”

“You were there,” Micah said, his thick tail brushing against the floor as it gave a flick. “We were, ah, attracting quite the little audience, too.” The smile on Trevor's face made the otter feel a flush of pride.

“Oh, please, you know how shitfaced I got,” the skunk said. “If I was watching, I sure as hell don't remember any of it. Details, man, details.”

Micah shrugged it off modestly. “There's not much to tell, really,” he said. “I didn't get as far as I wanted, but that's mostly just because by the end of the night, Tommy was on the verge of passing out.”

“You didn't blow him on the couch again like you did with Ken, did you?” Trevor asked. He had this look of worry on his face, but Micah surmised that the skunk was more concerned with the prospect of having missed a free show.

The otter shook his head, though. “Nah. Just most of a hand job,” he said. “Actually, given how much he was drinking, I'm impressed he was even able to stay hard as long as he did.”

“How much of it do you think he remembers?” Trevor asked.

“Probably enough that he wouldn't hesitate to let me into his pants again,” Micah replied with a flick of his tongue. “Not that it was all that difficult to get in there in the first place.”

“You don't really seem to have that problem with anyone,” the skunk pointed out before taking a sip of his own drink.

Micah chuckled. “Well, except with Jason,” he said. “You figure after four months, he wouldn't still be so prudish about going all the way.”

“He probably feels intimidated,” the skunk said. “I mean, given all the action you get, he might just expect that he'd be inadequate.”

“Are you kidding?” Micah asked. “You don't honestly think he knows about all that, do you?”

Trevor chuckled again. “Okay, I think you must be joking, here,” he said. “You think your reputation doesn't proceed you far enough that Jason doesn't already know?”

“He sure as hell doesn't act like he knows,” Micah replied. “Given his general attitude towards sex in general, I think he'd run for the hills if he knew what I slut I was.”

“Hey, you're not just a slut,” Trevor said, poking a finger at the otter's snout. “You're everybody's favorite slut.”

Micah preened. “Flatterer,” he said.

“As if I need flattery to get anywhere,” the skunk said with a wink, and all Micah could do was grin again.

I tend not to make my stuff quite so, well, overt when it comes to the workshop itself, but for whatever reason, this situation just kind of called for that level of bluntness, and that's how the character was coming together in my head, so I just went ahead and wrote him as I saw him.

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A Quick Introduction

So, as Tim has already mentioned, we've got a writing group that meets on a regular basis. This group is also strongly connected to the New Fables project. I myself have a story in the Summer '07 anthology, entitled "Changes for the Better," which takes place in a fantasy world that I've been piecing together over the last couple of years.

I've got my own writing blog linked here, so I won't go on and on too much about myself, but I will say that I've been writing for almost my entire life, and I've been writing seriously for the last seven or eight years or so. It's only just recently that Ive begun getting my stories put into print, and I find that sort of exciting. I'm very happy to get to share my work with others, and I'm flattered to think that people want to go and read it.

There's not much to say about me other than the fact that I'm a writer, first and foremost, and that writing is what I'm most passionate about doing. I tend to mostly write about anthropomorphic animal characters. Also, very frequently (though certainly not exclusively), I write about gay themes and/or gay characters. For whatever reason, my tone tends to be either rather dark or rather lighthearted, and I don't seem to do a good job of hitting the middle ground; that's something I'd probably ought to work on.

I look forward to seeing how things go with this, and I'm glad to have the chance to share my writing and thoughts with people out there!

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Saturday, August 25, 2007


This is the blog for the New Fables writing group, writers of fabulist stories in the Bay Area, with a strong preference for the animal and anthropormophic animal themes. We'll also be posting news about the New Fables journal, published yearly (for now) by Sofawolf Press.

I'll let the others write their own introductions, but here's mine: I've been writing for years, and blogging about it for months. I help publish as well, through Sofawolf Press (and I contribute to their journal). Though I do enjoy the publishing side of it, writing remains my first passion. I recently released my first novel, Common and Precious, through Sofawolf, which was a very exciting process, especially since selling the novel to my editor was easy.

The New Fables project--both the writing group and the journal--is near and dear to me, and I look forward to having some fun writing in this blog. Hope all you readers like it too!

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