So I had nothing to do last night and this happened. The song lyrics are of a song called “Flawed Design” by Stabilo, which I first encountered while reading a Kurtofsky fanfic some time ago, but it fits perfectly with one of my main characters for this year’s nanowrimo. So it turns out it was a good way to get into his character in a way I hadn’t done before.

And in case anybody asks about Tommy’s hair – yes he is based on Tommy Joe Ratliff, and I do plan to change his name sometime in the future, I just don’t know what to replace it with.

I know my drawings are a work of art, by the way, you don’t have to tell me. I’m especially proud of Tommy’s head and the buried brain.

(you can only see the details in all their glory if you look at the pictures in full size ;))

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A/N: These are the very first scenes in “Sunny Days”, my Nanowrimo novel from last year. I plan to post a part that’s somewhere in the middle of the story as well, but I’ve been promising to post an excerpt for so long and this bit is actually okay, as far as my writing goes. Feel free to critique(as long as it’s constructive!).

Mark closed his folder, and without even speaking to his class, simultaneously the sound of them throwing their books back in their bags and scraping their chairs against the linoleum floor arose in the room. As usual, they were out of there almost before he could say “Class dismissed”. He sighed as he watched them all leave. Then he packed up his things, put on his autumn jacket and hauled his messenger bag over his shoulder. He was going into town.

He had planned to go shopping, to buy something nice for his 12 year old niece, whose birthday was just around the corner. However, the Underground gods didn’t approve of this course of action, a fact they made clear when Mark’s train stopped halfway between Warren Street and Oxford Circus.
Mark had been through this kind of stuff before, so it didn’t exactly phase him. However, he was the type of person who kept to himself, and didn’t talk to anyone outside of his family or small circle of friends if he didn’t have to. That’s why he inwardly groaned when the old lady beside him started to small talk in a shrill voice, one that was much too loud for a mostly quiet subway cart.
“I think I recognise you from somewhere!” she said, and half the people in the cart turned to scrutinise him. Everybody liked a good celebrity encounter, he supposed.
But he was no celebrity. “I’m sure you’re mistaken, ma’am. He smiled weakly.
“No, I’m certain,” she insisted and started rummaging around in her bottomless handbag. “I know I had it in here…”
Mark looked away, stared up at the ceiling. What had his life become? Ten years ago, his whole life had been promising. He had been so happy. He used to consider himself an author, a man on a mission to change the way people saw the world. Teaching was really just his backup plan.
“Here it is!” the lady next to him exclaimed without warning and tugged at his sleeve.
He suppressed a sigh and looked to her. He raised his eyebrows in confusion.
“Wait a minute, that’s my…!” he looked up at the lady, who was now smiling.
She smiled sweetly, the wrinkles on her face testifying about a long life with many meetings and moments of both happiness and sorrow. “It’s my favourite,” she said.
“It is?” Mark stared disbelievingly at the book in her hand.
She turned to the very last page and pointed at the picture that was printed there. It was of Mark, a picture of the author, from eleven years ago.
He gently pried the book away from her hands to look at the picture. He was so young there. So happy. With a start, Mark remembered that very day, and his former boyfriend who had been with him. He smiled, this time much more genuine, and handed the book back to the lady. He never thought he would see anyone with his book, as it only sold about 300 copies when it was published. “Thank you,” he said to her and pressed a kiss to the back of her hand. Thank you for reminding me who I am, he added in his mind.
She returned his smile with fervour. In that very moment the train powered up and started moving again. Mark and his newfound friend returned to sitting in silence, the rest of the people in the cart having stopped paying attention to them long ago.
“Oh!” Mark buried his head in his hands. “An autograph!” he turned back to the lady. “Did you want an autograph?”

***

He arrived in Oxford Circus at long last, an hour after he was supposed to. The streets were usually still full of tourists at this time of day, but today seemed to be a little quieter. He was mostly window-shopping, finding nothing he deemed good enough for his favourite niece. Alisha was his goddaughter as well as his niece, and he always felt like taking a bit of extra care of her. He himself wasn’t religious, but his sister was Christian and all her two children were baptised.
An hour later he had bought a gold necklace, and though he was very happy with it, it had been a struggle to get through to the jeweler  who had been wrapped up in his own problems and arguing with his wife. He headed back to the tube station at a leisurely pace, feeling more relaxed than he had in a long time. Suddenly he stopped, as he saw another man his age come running down the steps from another street, carrying an unwieldy guitar case. The man looked extremely scattered and in a hurry, and suddenly he tripped down the rest of those stairs, guitar case falling open in the air, revealing a very battered and well-used acoustic guitar, now laying outside of its case, next to the man on the cold pavement. Mark had, however, already been staring at the man for several seconds before he fell. He knew that platinum blond hair anywhere. He swore he wouldn’t have noticed if a tsunami washed over them at this point. It had to be him. Nothing else mattered, because it was him.
He ran up to the man, who was just rising to his feet. Mark had gone over there, meaning to ask if he was okay, if he could help with anything, but he found himself simply standing there, a dumbstruck look on his face.
The man he knew to be Mitchell finally looked up at him, and Mark’s heart constricted with an emotion he had abandoned, as Mitchell’s face flashed with sorrow, anger and shock. And then something happened that Mark hadn’t expected.
“Mitchell!” Another man came running down the steps from which Mitchell had just fell. “Are you all right?” the man glanced briefly at Mark before grasping Mitchell’s shoulders firmly and looking deeply into his eyes, as if he was searching for something. Mitchell closed his mouth, that was open but silent, making him briefly resemble a goldfish.
“Mitchell!” the red-haired man insisted.
“Yes, Allen!” Mitchell burst. He squirmed in his friend’s tight grip. “Now let go!”
Allen did as he was told and glared at Mark, as if everything was his fault. Which he supposed it was, in a way. Mitchell turned to Mark, an unreadable expression on his face.
“Mark,” he stated in a strained voice.
“Mitch,” Mark breathed, showing considerably more emotion with his voice. With barely perceptible motions, started moving his hands up to Mitchell’s sides, but suspended the action before they had touched. He had never expected to see this man ever again in his life. “What are you… doing here?” he asked, because if he recalled as correctly as he knew he did – he wasn’t likely to forget his year with Mitchell, least of all how it ended – Mitchell was supposed to be working as a music teacher somewhere in Yorkshire.
Mitchell picked up his guitar with slow motions, as if he had to think each one through. “Came back to follow my dream,” he said matter-of-factly, looking at Mark strangely.
Mark couldn’t decipher his former boyfriend’s expressions. Nor could he think of anything to say to the man he had once considered the love of his life.
“Mitchell?” Allen said from behind him. “Who’s this?” he curiously raised an eyebrow.
“Nobody,” he answered, all the while looking at Mark.
Mark swallowed, starting to feel sick.
“I’ve got to go.” Mitchell looked as pained as he was, but his voice remained unwavering, and so did his gait. He started walking, slowly, and looked back to catch the older man’s eyes one more time, before he started running, guitar held protectively against his chest. Outside of its case.
Allen, however, didn’t spare him a second look as he sprinted after his friend.
“Mitch!” Mark yelled. “Mitch!”
But Mitchell didn’t hear him. Either that, or he didn’t want to.
Mark sighed and looked down at the ground, where the guitar case did indeed lay, open and empty without its occupant. He closed it and picked it up gently. Maybe if Mitch was back for good they’d run into each other again. That was his argument for saving the case. He could give it back if they did. And he couldn’t just leave it there. It was Mitchell’s. Therefore, it was more important than anything he owned. It was another link to the man he had lost through sheer stupidity. He couldn’t even bare to think about what that ginger bloke might mean to Mitchell. He hoped they were just friends. He disapproved of jealous thoughts in general, especially when they were unfounded and even more so when the person having them had no right to, but he couldn’t help himself. It was in his gut, that feeling. In his heart. It felt wrong to see Mitchell with somebody else.

Mark and Mitchell’s last meeting was so long ago, they hadn’t seen each other in ten years. Mark had almost started seeing him as a dream, being so utterly perfect in his memory. And he knew, that nobody was perfect. Maybe that was why, with each passing week, even day in the beginning, Mitch had felt less and less real until he seemed to Mark a concept, a dream you barely remember when you wake up, and one you distort further every time you tell it to someone. Mark hadn’t even thought about him for months, yet there he was, just like that. The same day somebody reminded him of Mitchell. The same day he found a new friend on the subway.

I have some exciting news! I’ve made some real progress on my Nanowrimo novel from last year today(seeing as I called in sick and all even if I’m not really sick…). I now know how I want to end it, and there’s basically only one or two more scenes left to write. This is huge, seeing as I’ve been battling with this for about 10 months now. I literally just did a lap around the flat, dancing to ridiculously disco celebratory songs.

I’ve also chosen which plot I’m going with for this years Nano! It will be the dark romance one, and this is the revised synopsis:
Tommy is a punkrocker from a small town in Pennsylvania who has just moved to New York. There he meets Melissa, a French waitress who rocks his world. But he also meets Cameron, an eccentric man that he takes an instant dislike to. A man that attracts him, confuses him and just won’t leave him alone. Before Tommy knows it, Cameron is his best friend. His confidante. The person who calms him down when he fights with his band, his girlfriend and his conservative father. Cameron nestles his way into his life and when tragedy strikes – he’s all that’s left.
But what is it that Cameron really wants?

I’ll just leave it there for now, see you soon!

To continue with the Nanowrimo theme, the following is a comment I posted on Nanowrimo’s Romance:: LGBT Forum with the purpose of pimping out my plots and maybe getting an opinion or two on them.

So… I’m 16 now and I’ve been writing M/M since I was 12. It wasn’t until last year I started writing F/F as well, and this year I’m deciding between two very different plots.

1.Tommy is a punkrocker from a small town in Pennsylvania(subject to change) who has just moved to New York. There he joins a band and meets a wonderful girl who he falls in love with. He also meets a guy, who annoys him greatly at first. But this guy is persistent, and they start to become friends. Before Tommy knows it, Cameron is his best friend. His confidante. The person who calms him down when he fights with his band, his girlfriend and his family. Cameron nestles his way into his life and when tragedy strikes – he’s all that’s left.
This is aimed to be a dark romance, with Cameron mostly out to satisfy himself(he has some sort of hidden agenda that I haven’t quite figured out yet), BUT he also develops serious feelings for Tommy, which means this story could either have a happy ending with Cameron abandoning his evil plotting, or an ambiguous ending where Cam has gotten away with his scam, broken Tommy’s heart – and by extension his own.

2.Riley used to be an ordinary teenager. She had a pleasant enough life, some troubles at home because her parents wouldn’t accept that she was gay, but otherwise she was okay. But Riley is one of the few people that were chosen to become an “Angel”. The Angels are a secret government experiment that looks to be more from a science fiction film than reality. Angels are people that are invisible to everyone but the people that they’re meant to protect and watch over. The only other person who can see them is their soul mate(this was a biproduct of the genetic modification that the government never expected).
Jess is a 17 year old shy, quiet girl who is just going to her first party. There she meets Riley, apparently her classmate’s sister that he’s never talked about. She’s suspicious of her, and sometimes it feels like she’s not even there. Despite all of that, she can’t help but fall in love with her.

I’ve obviously thought through option 1 a lot more when it comes to detailed plot, but something about the sci-fi and mystery of option 2 makes me want to write that. The Angels are a concept that I’ve been working on for 3 years and in the beginning it was supposed to be a fantasy thing. It’s only this year that I’ve decided to make it sci-fi instead, mostly because I like the idea of the government having thought of this special breed of people to exist for the sole purpose of protecting others. It’s inspired by both vampire books, Charmed and Captain America xD

So if anyone wants to give me their opinion on these plots to help me decide which one to write, that would be more than welcome! 🙂

(my penname on nanowrimo.org is whereJIJisalive)

I’d like to warn you that this might sound like a pep-talk(and it probably functions in that manner – for myself).

Nanowrimo is coming up in three weeks and I can’t decide what to write. For those of you who don’t know, Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is a challenge for authors to write 50 000 words of their novel during the 30 days that constitute November. I did it last year but I only got to 32 000 words.

This year I have decided to do it again, and try to get to the full 50k this time. The most important part, though, is that I give it my best try. I just have to keep writing in the hope that I’ll get better. So at the moment I’m trying to cement two sets of characters for two separate stories because I have not decided which one I’m going with. This unwillingness to make a decision was, I guess you could say, destructive for me last year. Then I wrote about three different couples, three different major storylines. That was a problem, but I also think it’s what got me to 32 000 words, as opposed to a much smaller amount. So this year I’m choosing ONE, and something tells me it’s going to present a whole new set of challenges. It’s all about perseverance I think. Not giving up.

So how do you not give up? How do you not let the story take you as far as it will take you and then just stop writing? How do you make sure you don’t write yourself into a dead end that you can’t get out of? These are all extremely good questions. Because the truth is, committing to something like Nanowrimo is scary. It means you’re taking a risk. And it’s possible that you’re going to fail. But when I think like this, when I doubt it, and when it makes me wonder if I’m insane taking on something like this in the month that school is probably going to be the busiest, then I remember last year. Doing Nanowrimo last year was one of the best experiences in my life. And it has improved my writing so much. And the – admittedly still unfinished – novel I got from it was worth the time, the effort and the tears. Because it was more than I had ever written before. I’m not saying it was very good(I’ll post an excerpt soon and you can judge for yourself), in fact as novels go I think it’s pretty shitty and unstructured, but it proved to me that I can write.

This year I have my second chance.

A/N: I don’t really know what this is, to be honest, I don’t even know if I like it. But it’s different from what I usually write so I thought because of that it might be worth posting. As I’ve said, I do a lot of experiments with my writing lately, just to sort of see what I can do and not just keep to simple things. Interpret this how you like, I have something in mind for these characters for the future. I don’t know if this scene will be incorporated, but I like how these characters are in my mind and I’m actually thinking of writing a fantasy story around them. More on that later, though. Thanks, whoever you are, for reading my blog =)

Jess looked around the room awkwardly, holding a cider in her hand when suddenly a girl appeared next to her.

“Hi,” she said.

“Erm, hi,” Jess answered, surprised and not used to people initiating conversations with her.

“You enjoying the party, then?” The girl asked, friendly and inquisitive.

“Yeah, sure,” Jess said, apparently not too convincingly because the girl gave her a look that told her she didn’t believe her. “No, not really,” she conceded. “Parties aren’t really my thing.”

“No, mine neither. I’m Riley,” she said, offering her hand for Jess to shake.

“Jess,” Jess paused and looked at the woman she was facing. She was older than her – maybe a year or two – had short, dark blonde hair, a piercing through her eyebrow and a grey band t-shirt(Black Sabbath). That’s how Jess noticed people. Little, scattered things about them that caught her attention. It wouldn’t be until later, when they were stood on the balcony away from the people inside, that she noticed her burgundy slim jeans and the tattoo on her left  collarbone that she couldn’t make out the exact shape of in the relative darkness.

“So why are you here if you don’t like parties?” Riley asked her, above the noise of the music they were playing.

Jess smiled. “Half my class is here, they kind of dragged me,” she confessed.

“Oh, I know the feeling,” Riley said, taking a sip of her beer. Then she seemed to realise something. “Oh, so you’re in Robbie’s class then?”

“Yeah, why?”

“I’m his big sister,” Riley smiled, and that was when Jess noticed her piercing cheekbones.

“Oh, okay,” Jess said, slightly surprised. Although she could see the similarities between her artistic classmate and the girl in front of her. “How old are you, then?” She asked, feeling a little lame. She didn’t really know the rules of conversation in a situation like this. She didn’t even know what sort of situation it was.

“I’m 19,” Riley said, and looked around her as somebody raised the volume of the music. “You want to go outside?” she half-shouted, leaning into Jess. To make her voice carry, no doubt.

On the inside Jess was shocked, intrigued, and a little bit scared. Maybe it was that kind of a situation. Despite herself, she was excited. She said yes, and let herself be led through the house, Riley’s hand always touching some part of her, casually, as if they had been friends for years. The hand eventually landed on the small of Jess’ back, as Riley had closed the door to the balcony.

“I hope I’m not being too forward,” Riley said, and Jess’ heart skipped a beat. Or several.

“No, no, course not,” she heard herself say even though she wasn’t sure at all.

This was when Jess noticed the warmth radiating off the girl in front of her, and how much taller she was, since they were standing so close together. Riley looked into her eyes, not moving a muscle. The moment intensified.

This was when Jess noticed herself, standing on the other end of the balcony, a ghostly pressure on her lips.

After a long day(my Fridays in school are excruciating), I’m finally home trying to get something productive done. I’m listening to the new Muse album, probably one of my favourite albums in existence.

We were talking about language in school today(actually I have a class that’s called Människans Språk which best translates to The humans’ Language, I suppose, even though that reads horribly), more specifically about what’s right and wrong in our language. Obviously we were talking mostly about the Swedish language, and what changes are being made in it by the younger generations. Some grammatical rules are being changed, slowly but surely, and for some reason that makes me a little anxious. I don’t want our grammar to become more lenient, so to speak, I want it to stay correct. But then again, if it always stayed correct it would never evolve. Is it just that I don’t like change? Am I becoming a teenage version of those grumpy old men who can’t handle – can’t understand – change, no matter if it’s linguistic or otherwise? No. Well, obviously not. I’m part of the change. I’m very much a part of the internet generation. I love new words and I love when we incorporate English words into the Swedish language(for the most part). I guess I just like it better when languages evolve slowly. In that way everybody can catch up and get used to what’s new. But language is a matter of taste, too. Authors(even aspiring ones who don’t know what they’re doing) live on that taste. It’s the same when I listen to music – and the few times that I’ve written songs – I listen for the artistry, to hear what the songwriter has done to the language to make it special. To make the words resonate with people. And for that we need words that are complicated and messy. Old and new. Words that we can all relate to.

This has been an unstructured post, to say the least, but I’ll be back soon with a new short story that I’d love to get some feedback on – it’s another experiment.

Biblioklept

 

(From Kafka’s diaries).

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Writing motivation

Now, I don’t know who made this, and it might be against internet protocol to repost it, but I just fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. Every aspiring writer should see this. Hell, I’d like it taped to my eyelids.

A/N: This is something I wrote while in Oxford this summer(taking an English course) where I went against my unoriginality instincts and wrote about where I was. What I knew. Oxford inspired me the day that I wrote this, and I’m very glad I let it. This is one of the short stories I’ve written almost like practice for myself, to not think about everything so much and just let the story guide me. Also to describe looks and surroundings more, as that is one of the major criticisms I’ve gotten from various friends and teachers over the years. You probably won’t be too fond of this unless you’re a sappy romantic just like me.

“I feel like a tourist,” Ben said and continued to bite his thumbnail.
“You are a tourist,” Martin smiled affectionately at him as he took another stroke to propel them further along the Thames, that was more correctly called the Isis as it was running into Oxford. A gust of wind caught their boat making it sway slightly.
“I can’t believe you talked me into this,” Ben remarked, continuing his string of falsely negative comments.
Martin knew that Ben didn’t like being in a boat, but he also knew that he loved Oxford, meaning that most of Ben’s protests against doing anything touristy were bound to be simply for the sake of protesting. Rowing further down the river, Martin studied his boyfriend. The over-sized t-shirt with a Beatles print, the long, blonde hair done up in a ponytail, the dark sunglasses giving an air of nonchalance to him(but that was really just a way for him to hide what he was looking at). Like right now, when he was alternating between looking at the scenery and looking at Martin’s bare chest. He really wasn’t trying to show off. The day was just exceptionally hot.

They made an odd couple, Ben and him. Martin was half Greek and tanned all through the year while Ben had ancestors from Scandinavia, which made him pale in the winter and blushed when he was exposed to the sun. Martin was confident and loved to exercise while Ben was more careful and had an insatiable love for ice cream. As did Martin, when he came to think of it. Maybe they weren’t so different after all. Not when it came to ice cream flavours, and not the important stuff either. They had the same religious views, the same political believes and they loved the same music. But above all, they loved each other. Martin stopped rowing, putting the oars down on the sides of the boat and smiled at his boyfriend. He couldn’t suppress the urge to reach forward and kiss him.
“I love you,” he said between kisses, ones that Ben reciprocated happily.
“What’s gotten into you?” Ben asked with a smile on his face.
“You have,” Martin answered and peppered his neck with kisses. The boat swung back and forth as their kissing got more heated, and as Martin leaned further forward the balance was set off. Panting, Ben reached for him, grabbing on to his belt buckle to pull him closer. Neither of them noticed how much the boat was tipping, nor did they think of any possible witnesses to their passionate display of affection, despite the business of the day. The wind grabbed on to them once more, this time causing the already unstable boat to wobble, and just like that the inevitable happened.

At first they were shocked, and Ben managed to swallow a mouthful of dirty water, but then they got themselves together and resolutely swam to shore. Laughing, they sat there on the grass for a good five minutes, before they realised that the boat they had been in was a rental.

EDIT 21st February 2013: I’m a huge Sherlock fan, and I’ve read a fair amount of Johnlock fanfic in my time, but I seriously didn’t realize until now that these characters are called Ben and Martin. Seriously. Perhaps my subconscious was trying to tell me something(though they obviously don’t look like Ben and Martin, but still).