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Author Topic: [Nov 2015] - Mighty Beasts - Under Construction Thread  (Read 3117 times)

Offline Jmack

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Re: [Nov 2015] - Mighty Beasts - Under Construction Thread
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2015, 11:54:27 AM »
Yeah, since I'm not really doing NaNoWriMo, I'll bite on Xiagan's challenge.

It's November 10. I haven't written a word on this for almost a week.
I'm getting panicky that I'm falling behind on the word count. At the NaNo count of 50 per day, I should have 500 words down!

I only have...

Oh. More than 500.

Whew. That was a close one.  ;D

Meanwhile, I no longer remember what Xiagan instructed for NaNo phases. Oh well.

I'm going to imitate @m3mnoch here and put the bones of the story down in spoilers. The actual text below that is unchanged from my last update.

Outline:
Spoiler for Hiden:
The beast here is Leviathan, adapted from obscure references in the Old Testament. He appears in JOb and in one of the Psalms. The reference in Job is the most fascinating, because you see Leviathan in the context of middle eastern folklore and myth.

Which is the other interest for me here: Jewish/Christian mythology. That is, all these angels, messengers, Niphilim, etc. who are taken literally by many modern people, but to me are clearly mythologocial - even if you believe in the Jewish or Christian faiths.

So story:

> Gods (El) is detroying a bronze-age world in a great Flood
> King tries to save his daughter by sealing her in the sarcophagus he had made for his own burial
> Crazy priestess of El kills King and floats away on top of daughter's makeshift lifeboat
> As King dies, he sees a vast shadow of a creature looming in the night, leading the sea onto the land

> Daughter experiences being buried alive while being tossed about in a tempest
> Wakes when someone pounds on the coffin and breaks her out. A lone surviving Sailor pulls Daughter free
> He was saved during the Flood by an angel who instructed him when to throw his harpoon and stab the Beast. He was able to ride out the storm on the back of Leviathan
> Now he and Daughter stare around at a vast flat world of sand covered at high tide by just a few feet of water
> In the distance, they see a strange ridge
> They set off to it, both kneeling in the coffin, paddling

> The ridge isn't a ridge. It's Leviathan, beached in the shallow water, unable to get to open sea.
> The crazy Priestess is there, and she wants Daughter and Sailor dead so that El's vengeance is complete
> Dances around in front of Leviathan's face, demanding it rise up and destroy the rest of the world
> Leviathan opens one eye, takes in a breath, and incinerates Priestess before giving its last breath

> Sailor and Daughter found a new world on the back of Leviathan, drinking the fresh water that collects in its scales after a rain, eating its flesh, using scales as armor and whiskers as spears, and the body as a safe haven from sharks
> Other survivors gather, and human kind returns as the waters recede and reveal the land
> The angel tells people not to piss off El again, or they heavenly host might not be able to stop the next Beast from finishing the job

No idea how I can tell all of that in 1,500 words. The text below is already about 800, and we just got the Sailor through the flashback about the storm.



Working Title:
The Doors of His Mouth
Spoiler for iterating JMack's Mighty Beast story:

THE DOORS OF HIS MOUTH

Who dares open the doors of his mouth, ringed about with his fearsome teeth.
Job: 41.14

King Barrouk was thankful the deafening roar of the storm covered Emazara's cries. Except for the pounding of his daughter's fists on the other side of the sarcophagus lid, he could have dreamt himself just a simple sailor once more, fighting the tempest, as he dipped into the pail of pitch and smeared the sticky mass around the edges of the wood. Water climbed the rock steps of the tower and joined the rain pooling across the mosaic image of the sun god, hiding his golden face. The flood rose to Barrouk's ankles, even though the temple mount stood a magnificent sixty feet from the great foundations he'd laid with his own hands on the day Emzara was born, twenty years before.

He put his mouth at the last gap in the pitch, and yelled, straining to be heard over the drumming of rain on the painted wood. "Do not fear! I have made my own sarcophagus into your life raft. The gods will watch over you."

"There is no God but El!" came a voice suddenly in his ear. He whipped his head around, but staggered as pain knifed into his back. "And El wants you dead!" He reeled away and saw Amat, the crone priestess of the storm god, toss away a bronze blade and push Emzara's box across the roof to the ledge, curses cascading from her lips. "Barrouk the Great! Barrouk the Builder! I warned you. And now, see! Where is your kingdom at last, oh man!" She clambered atop, and rode the little ark into the thrashing waves.

The dagger took away all sound as his blood poured out. He stumbled to where they had disappeared and saw that the whole earth from one end to the other was covered in the deluge. Not one building, not one tree, not one person remained standing. The king stared into the end of all things, and saw a vast shadow rising, lightning and fire blazing from its mouth. The avatar of the anger of the god. Not one of the wonders he had crafted here in Atta would survive it. Except one.

...

Emzara screamed until her voice was gone. She hammered her wooden prison until her hands were raw. As the air grew stale, she sucked at the gap in the pitch until her chest grew tight and her head spun and she faded out of awareness.

...

Something was pounding above her. Something hard, striking something hard. A dull thudding. She wished it would stop.

Light.

Air.

Emzara heaved awake and sucked at the breach. Dark fingers reached through and pried away a shard of wood with a wet crack. A man's face peered down into her coffin. Dark brown skin, flaring nostrils, bright white eyes in an open face. He smiled and set back to work freeing her.

...

"Nuah," he said, still smiling.

"Emzara," she croaked. He passed her a cup with water from the bottom of his little boat. She drank it fast, too thirsty to notice if it was clean.

"The world ends, and I pluck a woman from a coffin in the sea. Even the battle of the angels with the great monster seems less surprising."

"What?"

"In the midst of the storm, I saw them. My ship was gone to timbers and all the hands thrown down, when the great beast rose before me. I knew my doom, but a voice came from the clouds. 'Strike deep with the harpoon, Nuah!' So I did, and I rode the back of the serpent like a man holding an earthquake. All around me, a host of gods fought to bring it down, their blazing wings and shining swords moving too fast for mortal eyes to see. I tied myself down, and soon I slept, though the seas came apart around me."

Emzara stared at the man. He spoke with conviction, as though this impossible scene had actually occurred.

"You don't believe me?" Emzara sensed her found her wanting in some way. He stared into her eyes until she looked away. "You don't believe in the gods, then." It wasn't a question. "Then how do you explain all of this?" He spread his arms to encompass what remained of the world.

@ScarletBea, you can delete the other post now.  :)
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)

Offline m3mnoch

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Re: [Nov 2015] - Mighty Beasts - Under Construction Thread
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2015, 02:35:21 PM »
finalizing stuff for posting.

and, i'm in.

Offline night_wrtr

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Re: [Nov 2015] - Mighty Beasts - Under Construction Thread
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2015, 02:33:19 PM »
General Update:

I went back and rewrote the beginning and middle portions with what I had so far, then added a few last minutes ideas that crept into my head. I still need to go through the ending portion, but I think I know how this will go. I should have the first completed draft tonight or tomorrow. It will be well over 1500 words, so it will need to be sent to the editing monster for length control.

Offline Jmack

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Re: [Nov 2015] - Mighty Beasts - Under Construction Thread
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2015, 01:32:06 PM »
With help from my F-F Writing Group, I've returned from a dead end re-start to a revision of my first start. So much still left to write, but here's the old/new first 400 words.

Spoiler for Hiden:
THE DOORS OF HIS MOUTH

Who dares open the doors of his mouth, ringed about with his fearsome teeth.
Job: 41.14

King Barrouk was thankful the roar of the storm covered Emzara's cries. Except for the pounding of his daughter's fists on the underside of the sarcophagus lid, he could have dreamt himself just a simple sailor once more, fighting the tempest, as he dipped into the pail of pitch and smeared the sticky mass around the edges of the wood. Water sheeted down around him. It flooded the mosaic-floored platform atop the low tower faster than it could drain through the gutters, rising around his ankles and hiding the sun god's golden face.

Barrouk knelt to put his mouth at the last gap in the pitch, and yelled, straining to be heard over the drumming rain on the gilded wood. "Do not fear, Emzara! The gods will watch over you." He tried to believe it, that she would be safe in the coffin he'd crafted for himself to match her mother's. It was all he could do.

"There is no God but El!" came a voice suddenly in his ear. He whipped his head around, but staggered as pain knifed into his back. "And El wants you dead!" He fell to his knees, blood pouring out. Amat, the crone priestess of the storm god, tossed away a bronze blade then pushed Emzara's coffin to the edge of the roof, curses cascading from her lips. "Barrouk the Great! Barrouk the Builder! I warned you. And now, see! Where is your kingdom at last, oh man!" With mad strength she levered the heavy box onto the low wall of the platform, clambered atop, and rode Emzara's ark off the ledge.

Barrouk stumbled to where they'd disappeared and looked down from the temple whose foundations he'd laid with his own hands the year Emzara was born.  The whole earth from one side of the sky to the other was devoured by the deluge, and waves roared across the land. Not one building, not one tree, not one person remained standing. The princess and the priestess were already lost from sight.

King Barrouk stared into the end of all things, and saw a vast shadow rising from the sea, lightning and fire blazing from its mouth. The avatar of the anger of the god. Not one of the wonders he had brought to life here in Atta would survive it. Except one.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2015, 01:40:56 PM by Jmack »
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)

Offline Jmack

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Re: [Nov 2015] - Mighty Beasts - Under Construction Thread
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2015, 11:56:54 AM »
Finished it last night, coming in at 1,585 words as a first draft.
Sent it off to a friend for first reactions.
Will get to 1,500 and send to another beta reader.
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)

Offline m3mnoch

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Re: [Nov 2015] - Mighty Beasts - Under Construction Thread
« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2015, 01:50:46 PM »
Finished it last night, coming in at 1,585 words as a first draft.
Sent it off to a friend for first reactions.
Will get to 1,500 and send to another beta reader.

didn't you forgot to paste it in here?

Offline Jmack

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Re: [Nov 2015] - Mighty Beasts - Under Construction Thread
« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2015, 02:10:01 PM »
Finished it last night, coming in at 1,585 words as a first draft.
Sent it off to a friend for first reactions.
Will get to 1,500 and send to another beta reader.

didn't you forgot to paste it in here?

What the heck, why not?
This version just under 1,500.

Spoiler for Hiden:
LEVIATHAN

King Barrouk was thankful the roar of the storm covered Emzara's cries. Except for the pounding of his daughter's fists on the underside of the sarcophagus lid, he could have dreamt himself a simple sailor again, fighting the tempest, as he smeared a sticky mass of pitch around the edges of the wood. Water sheeted down around him. It flooded the mosaic-floored platform atop the low tower faster than it could drain through the gutters, rising about his ankles and hiding the sun god's golden face.

He'd been told the deluge would come. But he'd ignored the warnings, and now this was the only thing he could do: consign his daughter to the flood in the coffin he'd made for himself to match her mother's.

Barrouk put his mouth at the last gap in the pitch and strained to be heard over the drumming rain on the gilded wood. "Do not fear, Emzara! The gods will watch over you." He tried to believe it.

"There is no God but El!" came a voice suddenly in his ear. He whipped his head around, but staggered as pain knifed into his back. "And El wants you dead!" He fell to his knees in agony. Amat, priestess of the storm god El, tossed away a bronze blade then pushed Emzara's coffin to the edge of the roof, curses cascading from her lips. "Barrouk the Great! Barrouk the Builder! I warned you. And, see! Where is your kingdom now, oh man?!" With mad strength she levered the box onto the low wall of the platform, clambered atop, and rode Emzara's ark off the ledge.

Barrouk stumbled to where they'd disappeared and looked down from the temple whose foundations he'd laid the year Emzara was born.  The whole earth from one side of the sky to the other was devoured, and waves rolled across the land. The princess and the priestess were already lost from sight.

In the distance, he saw a vast shadow rise from the sea, lightning and fire blazing from its mouth. The avatar of the anger of the god. The end of all things. Not one of the wonders he had brought to life here in Atta would survive it. Except one.

---

Emzara screamed until her voice was gone. She hammered her wooden prison until her hands were raw. As the air grew stale, she sucked at the gap in the pitch until her chest grew tight and her head spun. She felt herself raised high then sucked down. The world spun.

---

Stillness.

Something was pounding above her. Something hard, striking something hard.

Light.

Air.

Emzara heaved awake with a gasp. Brown fingers reached through and pried away a shard of wood. A man's face peered in, dark against a brilliant blue sky as she squinted and blinked. He smiled and set to work freeing her.

---

"Nuah," the man said, still smiling.

"Emzara," she croaked. He passed her a cup of water from a leather flask.

Nuah laughed. "The world ends, and I pluck a woman from a coffin and the sea. Even the battle of the angels with the great monster seems less surprising."

"What?"

"I saw them in the storm." Nuah's eyes closed, and his voice hushed. "My ship was gone to timbers and all the hands thrown down, when the great serpent rose before me. I knew it was my death, but a voice rang in my ear. 'Strike deep with the harpoon, Nuah!' So I did, and I rode the back of the serpent like a man holding an earthquake. All around me, a host of gods fought the monster, their blazing wings and shining swords moving too fast to see. So many died, burned in the serpent's flame or speared through with its claws. At last, the serpent fell, and I was thrown into the sea. And, somehow, here I am, blessed by gods, standing on the one rock remaining in the whole wide world I think."

Nuah finished, and looked at Emzara, a vague embarrassment in his face. Emzara stared at him.

"You don't believe me?" Nuah's looked deeper into Emzara's eyes, and now she turned away. "Ah. It's the gods you don't believe in then." He spread his arms to the endless horizon. "But how do you explain all of... this?"

The sea was flat as a threshing floor. There was no wind, and no ripple marred the mirror surface, more brilliant than polished copper. A hot sun high at its zenith blazed down. The two of them crowded on a single, barnacled rock, the sarcophagus bouncing lightly against it. Emzara was grateful to be alive, but her eyes filled with tears at the enormity of her loss.

"I believe in the gods," she said. "I just have no faith in them." Something in the far distance caught her eye. "What is that? Land?"

Nuah squinted into the distance. A long, undulating shadow stretched across an arc of the horizon, like a low line of hills.  "I don't think so."

They fashioned an oar out of the coffin lid, boarded the sarcophagus, and rowed awkwardly toward the distant shape. The tide went out and soon they could walk through ankle-deep water, towing the coffin behind them with a line of rope Nuah had scavenged from the surf. When the sun was low in the sky it struck the long shape, and they could see at last the truth of the thing. Sunlight sparkled on blue-green scales as large as shields, and limned the sawtooth spine of a great serpent, so long they couldn't see the head or the tail in either direction. It was utterly still, certainly dead. Emzara tried not to notice the smug look in her companion's eyes, but she finally acknowledged his strange tale with a slight nod of her head. They looked at how the scales pointed, and turned toward the head.

It took another span of time, but at last the grotesque skull emerged in the dying light. It was horned, and whiskered with whips the length of great spears, with gills the size of a man. They tied the coffin to the tip of a curling horn and waded through the shallows to see its face.

The sound of another human voice made them step back, but they'd already been seen. "And lo! The harlot will rise from the sea as a sign of sin, and you will know the end has come!" Amat, the priestess of El, stood tall in the rags of her robes and cast a bony finger at Emzara. "The king is dead, Princess, and all his works. Condemned by my God. His bane sleeps here before you. Bow down, or be consumed!"

Nuah glanced at Emzara. "King? You are a princess?"

She grimaced. "Of a land beneath the sea now. Golden Atta. The land my father built."

"Barrouk the Sailor! Yes, I saw him once when I was just a lad swabbing decks. A great buccaneer." Nuah took in Emzara with a new light in his eyes. She gave him a haughty glance in return. He laughed. "A king from a simple sailor. I'd say such a man was blessed!"

Amat turned back to the head of the beast. "Rise, Leviathan, rise and destroy those who would mock the God!"

Nuah looked a question at Amzara. "She wasn't always like this," she sighed. "I remember when she used to bounce me on her knee. She helped my father forge Atta as one people after he took the city. That was before I was born, of course. But she was a friend."

"No friend to sinners!" screeched the priestess. "No friend to adulterers and idolaters!" Amat raised a fist and struck the serpent on its nose. "Rise! Your work is not done! Rise and split the world in two!"

A rumble shook the body of the beast, casting ripples. Amat stumbled back and fell. The great eyes of the monster opened. "Who can look into the doors of your face!" she intoned. The enormous nostrils pulled in a breath, the gills sucking at the shallow surf. "Yes!" cried Amat. "Now!" The great jaws opened. Leviathan coughed, and a gout of flame and steam roared over the priestess, consuming her robes, hair and skin. Then the beast sighed and quieted again. Nothing of Amat remained but ashes on the waves.

"If there is some meaning in all this," said Emzara into the following silence, "I do not see it."

Nuah smiled his constant smile. "I am the last man on earth, with a princess, a boat - however small - and an enormous monster to provide meat for eating, shelter from its body, armor from its scales and weapons from its jaws. I have faith the gods will show us what to do with all this bounty."

Emzara looked at the brown man from his feet to the crown of his head. "I may discover faith," she said. "But not in the gods."
« Last Edit: November 17, 2015, 02:17:44 PM by Jmack »
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)

Offline Nora

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Re: [Nov 2015] - Mighty Beasts - Under Construction Thread
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2015, 03:19:08 AM »
I find it interesting that you use Beta Readers Jmack. I never did, and don't really think of doing it, it's odd.
At least not for the monthly stories.

Anyway, since you guys want to see concept work and the struggle to come up with a story... Here is what you asked for...

Let's start with my note pages, mostly useless, styleless chunks of story I force write in order to progress on the plot even if not too inspired. Most of it isn't used as is, but it unlocks a lot of struggle.




This first one explored some other idea - in space! - that still didn't work out. On this specific story, I discovery wrote my way through the first 800 words then stood dissatisfied. That's where I started doing hand written notes.



Doodling and covering a completely different idea that had no plot behind the concept itself...





That's what got me by on these three pages of forced writing :



Sample of the story "under construction" in Ulysses. It's the demarcation between where my chronologically written story ends and sample notes begin.



That's all shabby, too wordy writing, pre-editing... Anyway, I'm wrapping up that story now and posting it in the next half hour... I hope! Then I'll be done with this! And free to write for my writing group ayooooh!
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: [Nov 2015] - Mighty Beasts - Under Construction Thread
« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2015, 09:52:43 AM »
Now *that* is an 'under construction' I enjoyed ;)

Nora, your drawing skills are amazing!!!
At home in the Fantasy Faction forum!
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Offline m3mnoch

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Re: [Nov 2015] - Mighty Beasts - Under Construction Thread
« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2015, 03:10:35 PM »
Now *that* is an 'under construction' I enjoyed ;)

Nora, your drawing skills are amazing!!!

right?!?

LOVE IT!

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Re: [Nov 2015] - Mighty Beasts - Under Construction Thread
« Reply #25 on: December 06, 2015, 01:13:17 AM »
@Nora just saw this, you are in good company -  link for details below

Stardust



But your handwriting is easier to read  ;)


http://www.buzzfeed.com/hayleycampbell/the-art-of-neil-gaiman#.evRbxk6NW
« Last Edit: December 06, 2015, 01:16:20 AM by Lady_Ty »
I imagine arguments being swallowed back, wine spit in glasses and gurgling up bottles. I imagine my ring sliding off my finger, Bobby's lips hot on mine for the first time again, and then unknown to me.
Time doesn't seem to ever be kind. - Nora - Time's Arrow 1750

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