Eponine’s diary, 5/15/2147, second page

Alright, diary. I’m back from dinner; it was quesadillas made with our family’s broken quesadilla maker machine. The plastic latch broke quite a long time ago, so now everyone has to hold down the lid while it’s cooking until the green light goes off.

It’s an inconvenience, sure, but I’ve gone through worse in my life.

So Boney and I were staring down at a tunnel in the corner of an abandoned dollar store a few streets away from the power lines that denote the passageway into Heavestone. Boney had one hand over his mouth, trying to filter out the awful smells coming from the building around him. But the air wafting up at us out of the tunnel-

It smelled fresh.


And not at all like a badly written horror story.

“Do you wanna go in first, or should I?” Boney whispered.

“I guess I will,” I volunteered, swinging down into the tunnel. The handholds were surprisingly dry- I don’t know what I was expecting. Radioactive green goo? Poop from cave bats? Some acidic substance meant to dissolve me into a pile of bones?

I reached the bottom, not daring to turn around until Boney was down there with me. “Come on down!”

“Is it safe?” he yelled back.

I turned around. It was too dim for me to see anything past a few feet, but something blue faintly glowed in the distance.

“Probably not,” I whispered.

“Cool. I’m in.” Boney dropped down on top of me, catching my shoulder and crumpling both of us to the floor. He brushed himself off as he slid off my body and stood up. “Sorry.”

I got up on my shaky knees and rubbed my eyes. The glow had become stronger. “So?”

“So what?”

“Come on. Let’s go. Unless you’re too chicken?”

Boney took my hand and raced forward. I suppose that was our first mistake. A wave crashed over us- a wave of nonsense in our brains, white noise smothering us like a disciplining hand come to smack us into submission. And smack it did; I felt myself crumple to the floor, brain clattering in my head as the right side of my jaw screamed. My limbs went limp, all tingling like I’d been sitting on them for far too long. The ground rumbled beneath me.

And the scream- oh, god, the scream. Like someone had recorded a cheap Halloween soundtrack and coded it into eight bits. My ears shuddered; my mouth went limp; red streaks began to go across my vision…

What I wouldn’t pay to never have to hear that scream ever again.

And then it was all over.

What- what was that, diary? I don’t have epilepsy. Maybe-

No, I’ll tell you about that later.

Trembling, Boney and I picked ourselves off the ground and faced what had appeared in front of us. A pill-shaped pod, about large enough to contain a human body. The top was clear, although it had fogged up considerably.

“Who do you suppose is inside?” Boney whispered, touching a hand to the pod- and immediately withdrawing it, the fog having come off on his hand. A hand-shaped part of the glass had cleared, betraying a glimpse into the inside. Boney didn’t dare look in yet, although he knocked lightly on the glass. “Maybe they’re dead?”

I shook my head. “Nah. No point in using… whatever this is to store a dead body.” The pendant underneath my shirt grew cold as I wiped off the top of the pod and peered inside.

There was a girl about my age, serene and sleeping. Unkempt red hair, pallid skin, dark circles underneath her eyes. But her fingernails looked recently trimmed, and she was wearing clothes her size.

Somebody had to have been looking after this girl.

But how long had she been there?

And then I noticed something-

“A Miralayan, from the looks of it,” Boney whispered, leaning in closer to the glass separating us from her. “Hey!” He tapped the glass. “The Providence dot. What’s the female Providence doing here?”

My stomach lurched at the mention of the Providence. “I don’t think we should be here.”

“Why not?”

“This could all be a trap- Mordern could be looking for us, Boney! Us, and everybody else in Heavestone…”

“But the Providence, Pony!” Boney paused, tearing himself away from the pod, thinking. “You know, maybe you’re right. But get plenty of pictures of this place just in case we decide to tell anyone in Heavestone.” He shivered. “The Providence…”

“Yeah, I get it.” I whipped out my phone and prepared the camera, which liked to go blurry at inopportune times. “Or maybe it’s just a drawn-on dot and a damn good makeup job and she’s an Earthen druggie trying to earn herself a one-way ticket to Mars.”

I snapped fifteen photos, some of them of the surroundings, some of them of the girl inside the sleeping pod. One of them was Boney sneezing.

Boney retrieved a water bottle from the backpack and took a long swig, handing the rest to me to finish off. He shoved the empty bottle in his backpack and whispered, “Come on, let’s go.”

And I stashed my phone in my pocket and climbed up the ladder with him.

It was raining by the time we got out of the dollar store. Boney deployed his umbrella, and we strolled back to the power lines, the wasteland beyond transforming into the borders of Heavestone right before our eyes. Boney escorted me home. Mom was still cooking when I stumbled inside, shivering.

“Eponine! You’re back!” She grinned, her face glowing with a soft love. “Have any wild parties?”

I shook my head. I wasn’t ready to tell Mom about the girl yet. She’d probably stir up a furor and rally half of the neighborhood to go find the girl- and even though the police can probably overlook two boys exploring an abandoned building, fifty people trying to all fit in probably wouldn’t go over so easily.

Although we’d need to tell someone eventually, because if that girl really was Miralayan, she belonged in Heavestone with the rest of us hiding from Mordern.

I… I’m not feeling well. I’ll see you tomorrow, diary.

Eponine’s diary, 5/15/2147

I haven’t opened my bedroom window in six months. Not because it had been stuck or anything- Heavestone is either sweltering hot or bitterly chilly, and I quite like the relative stasis of my room. Six months ago, I was mucking around with a science project and accidentally set it on fire, so I had to brave the winds of winter and an exasperated mother in order to clear out all the smoke.

Of course, I took the opportunity to tell my friends that my mixtape had done it, but being that I don’t actually have a mixtape, they saw right through me.

I went outside Heavestone today. To whoever might find this diary (which I just got today), I know that taking a step outside of your city might not be such a big deal- but it is to me. You see, Heavestone is different than most other cities.

It doesn’t actually exist.

Mom explained it to me when I was little like this- like Heavestone was a snow globe, self-contained with nothing going in or out. Obviously, that was a lie, because if that were true, then how did I get here? How did Old Man Jenkins or my friend Boney or Mr. Greenland get here?

Mr. Greenland showed up one day about six or seven years ago, and that was long after Mom told me about the snow globe. So obviously that theory was out.

Heavestone, from my tests, seems to be stuck in a loop of time. I can go in and out as I please as long as I have the pendant my mother gave me. It’s a weird technicality I don’t really understand. And there’s a neighborhood right outside where I usually pass through the border- I call it the “Land of Shadows”. Not to be edgy or anything, but because the first time I ever went through with my mother, all it did was rain and be dreary. And the name stuck.

Today, I passed through with Boney, my friend. My only friend, to be exact. I’m not the most sociable of creatures. There were a few kids milling about outside on the basketball court, which is almost always the first thing I see after I pass through. The streets were empty, and we walked for a few minutes before being accosted by this man in a trench coat. It played out almost like in a bad gangster movie- the two suburban kids being asked where they were from, what they were up to. One of them being intimidated, the other urging the frozen kid to flee, and flee we did, out to the lake a short distance from there.

The man didn’t follow.

To be honest, I got this diary as a relaxant. I don’t have to worry about being such a dweeb in real life if I can simply write myself as the hero of every situation.

But, to be honest again, I was the kid who got intimidated. Please, if you’re reading this, don’t tell Mom.

We stopped at the lake to rest. It was more of a pond, really, a man-made hole about the size of three houses squished up against each other. The only life I’ve ever seen in it are ducks flitting there in the warmer months and kids braving the easily cracked ice in the colder months.

The Land of Shadows doesn’t have winter, I’ve noticed.

“Hey, Eponine,” I remember Boney saying. “You got any more of that music library transferred over? My internet’s been crapping out recently. I’m getting kind of scared.”

“Not everything,” I replied, tossing a rock into the water as we sat a few feet from the murky shores. “A few discographies. My main concern is running out of disk space.”

“Not everything has to have a redundant copy, you know.”

“But still…”

Boney tends to use me as his personal pirate. But that’s a story for later.

We got up and moving as soon as the tornado siren started blaring. It always does that on Saturdays in the afternoon, I’ve noticed. I would have thought that maybe once a month would be fine enough for the people living in the Land of Shadows, but maybe they just like to live in fear of tornadoes coming.

I’ve never seen an actual tornado with my own eyes.

A short distance from the lake was an abandoned dollar store sandwiched in between a daycare and a dentist’s office I’ve never seen anybody go in. I slipped the key to the front door out from under the mat, grimacing as I wiped the grime and dirt off my fingers, and unlocked the door. No alarms sounded; we’d already disabled all of them a long time ago.

Sometimes I wonder why nobody ever bothered to buy this property after the dollar store went under.

The shelves were long since emptied, just wire racks standing in solitude, ghosts of former days, bolted down to the ground to keep them from having another try at life somewhere else. Rack purgatory, I imagined, if purgatory were a rancid-smelling building with no lighting and probably some sort of childish monster lurking in the bathrooms.

“Hey, over here,” Boney whispered, his fingernails scraping against one of the floor tiles. “I need some help over here.”

I went over and helped him peel off the aging tile, flinging it aside, and- you know, diary, maybe I’ve been casted into a B-rated horror film. I’m about 99% sure that dollar stores don’t have secret tunnels leading into an unknown basement.

Uh oh- I’ve got to go- it’s dinner time now-

summer vacation, day 1


It is now the first day of summer vacation, and yet I still feel like there is a weight on my shoulders- like it hasn’t yet sunk in that there isn’t a pop quiz in AP Lit ready to spring at me and ruin my grades further or that a few certain people at school no longer have the opportunity to startle and aggravate me for their own entertainment or that I won’t have to wake up in self-hating despair at six in the morning anymore.

Prairie Flower is in a week. That’s also when the seniors have their graduation ceremony, and also when I was supposed to perform with the rest of the band- but my band teacher said not to worry about making it up if I couldn’t go. That makes two pieces of music I guess I’ll have to remember to return on the first day of school.

If I survive that long. Which I probably will, but you never know. Maybe I’ll decide to go into journalism, get a job at a repair shop as a stepping stone into sysadmin-hood, and be coerced by a nihilist rogue into running away to a commune. And then I’ll have to explain to fully-grown adults that violence only antagonizes people, which will result in someone actively planning my assassination and my brother intervening to bring me and the ethereal man-child who followed me out of the commune to safety.

And then I’ll hide for a while before being killed anyway, which will almost trigger a war.

Sometimes I feel bad for Vey and the rewrite I’m forcing her to go through. And sometimes I reconsider my life decisions.

from the OTHER archives: Shoes, Part 1, Chapter 5

So it’s my birthday in two days, and I’ve decided that I want to read more, so I’ve picked out a nice e-reader for myself. I’m going to drive down to the nearest B&N tomorrow with my dad and make some final checks in-store before we get it and wrap it up for Sunday.

Ah, Sunday. Time to isolate myself and watch all those 3D anime episodes I’ve been hoarding recently. and maybe play all those pirated games lol

Now we’ll take a look at a book that’ll never again disgrace any of my devices. Although it is regrettable that it’s still floating out there somewhere…

By some indistinct act, I was pulled up from the fog surrounding my unconsciousness into where I was now.

The world felt like it was on fire, just like it had been when I had been turned ‘perfect’. This time, I hadn’t been released from the straps that held me down on whatever it was I was currently laying on by the time I woke up.

Ah, I too enjoy recycled scenes. What’s next? Going into a pseudo-gas chamber before being forced into an arena?

And this time, my mind brushed up against Tim’s as he woke up, and I got a glimpse of where we were through his eyes.

We were in the main room in the Lab, the room where all of the cages holding the experiments were kept. The cages were empty, however, and they had all been pushed aside to one end of the room, making space for the three tables that were arranged in a triangle.

Tim was on the first one, no longer creepy. I hadn’t noticed it when I had seen him after being freed from the diamond or whatever that was. I was on the second one, and over my eyes, there were bandages that appeared to be bloodstained.

>looking through his eyes

>he is also laying down on a table

>why are surgical tables in the middle of the room instead of in a sterile environment??

>somehow able to see from outside views that one wouldn’t be capable of seeing from a restrained position on a table

woosh you have crippling depression

I looked like I did before I had become ‘perfect’.

And on the third table, there was…

I wracked my brain hard, trying to remember how long ago Tomorrow- excuse me, I meant Lily- had become creepy. The first time I had seen her like that was when I had been forced into the stadium and almost been murdered by Lily.

Funny how pretending to die messes up your sense of time, huh?

Although, seeing how you seem capable of bending the rules of the universe to your will, Algeria, it won’t be long before you start contradicting yourself.

Anyway, it didn’t matter as much now. She was back to normal.

“Lecia, how long ago did the bleeding stop?” some voice to my left worridly said.

“Umm… about ten minutes ago?”

“So we can take off the bandages now.”


I haven’t even taken the finals for my high school health class yet, and I can already tell you that is not how post-surgical care works.

Some hands started touching my face, but this time I didn’t struggle against the straps or try to turn away. From whoever was above me, taking the bandages off of my eyes, I heard thinking that was bemoaning about how passive I had been lately.

This is why I rewrote the ending to A Shatter Down The Hall.

(Does that count as potential spoilers?)

It also mentioned hot knives and bleeding. Thanks for the image.

>mentions cauterization

>doesn’t understand how wound healing and bleeding works

It’s okay, G. You tried. But this is why even your participation ribbons were stolen away from you.

When the bandages were fully off, I opened my eyes, and then shut them again, this time very tightly. Something was wrong with my vision.

Very wrong.

Blindness? Inheriting 20/40 vision from your author? (Which actually isn’t that bad, unless you’re only using your left eye, in which case it’s an ocular-migraine-inducing hell.) Black spots? Blurriness caused by the anesthesia which clearly isn’t having any other effects on you?

I heard a scream from one of the people above me (at this point I recognized them as Lecia, Grecia, and Mahogany) and another one used some metal doohickey to force my eyelid open so I would be forced to look at them.

“She’s got…” Lecia started.

“… gold irises,” Grecia finished.

rifle to computer

Mahogany piped up through the silence, “Mriri, Algeria- whatever your name is, do that mind images thing again.”

How did she know about telepathy?

I began showing her-

Everything was white. I wasn’t strapped to a table anymore, and white was all I could see anywhere. I was the only person as far as I could see, except for Emma, who was pulling her braided hair and slowly pacing back and forth.

I… what? You’ve got me completely lost, G. Are you about to impart some forced knowledge onto the audience who are only here to torture themselves with cringe?

“They hated me, so I quit,” Emma muttered, even though I could make out every single word she was saying. “I quit them. It caused too much trouble. Now I have to get the phone number.”

What are you talking about, Emma? I thought over to her. She looked up from the floor that she had been staring at and stared at me.

“Social media,” Emma simply replied. Then she started doing the muttering thing again.

Is… is this in reference to the four suspended Twitter accounts made in 2011-2012 where I made one post about hating a certain boyband and then got immediately banned? Somehow I don’t think this was written anytime near the failed sister roleplays on a secret account that later got repurposed and then scrapped.

“Twenty-one minutes left before I can stop writing for the night. Everybody hates Emily Michealson, so I suppose I should contribute to her blog. I type so fast and yet so slow..”

“Stop!” I yelled, which caused Emma to stop the muttering thing and look up at me. “What’s going on? Who’s Emily Michealson?”

“That’s another story,” Emma replied. “I suppose I should tell you the truth.”

“And what is the truth?” I countered.

By the way, Emily Michealson was a failed blog that I started up as a protest to being constantly monitored by my parents on my first blog. I won’t link to either here, mainly because they’ve both long since been deleted.

“I’m going to spill all the secrets now,” Emma started. “You are a character in a book. A sequel, actually. The first book started when you were at that cherry orchard, that was. Or was it an apple orchard? I must look that up later. Tell me, what do you see right now?”

A character self-aware that they’re in a book- an interesting concept. What a shame that it had to go to waste on this steaming pile of crap.

Although… I am having trouble coming up with ideas for Living Wasteland. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Everything was different. It was like golden tendrils wrapped around everything.

“That’s because I wanted it that way,” Emma continued. “At first, you were going to live with me and have irises that changed color to reflect your emotions, but then I decided I liked this better. Now I have to watch that movie again. Correction: those three movies again.”

I have a faint suspicion that this was a lazy poke at the Matrix movies. But then again, I’ve repressed almost all of my memories from that time, so I don’t know for sure.

“Tell me more,” I whispered.

Please don’t.

“Well, the date is actually September 21, and I’m writing all of the parts to this book out of order. First Part 2 and 3, and this is the last chapter to Part 1.

Once upon a time, there was this girl in my Youth Group named Tequila, back when I was a religious extremist. I remember telling her about this book and her admonishing me for writing the book out of order.

But that’s all I remembered of her. She moved away after that summer, and I never saw her again.

Oh, and one last thing. When I let you go from my thinking space, you’re going to be outside my house, two weeks before Girl Scout camp, which was sometime in July. You’re going back two months. It’s going to feel weird but I know you can handle it. Ok?”

Ah, the forced Girl Scout Camp yearly diary. How are we going to do it this year, fellow readers? Another photo diary, or do you want something more… intensive? No video diaries, since I still have camera shyness (and also slight privacy paranoia; more on that probably never).

Just the same stuff as before, probably. Shame on me.

from the OTHER archives: Shoes, Part 1, Chapters 1-4

I didn’t expect to be making this post today. But writer’s fatigue seems to have stricken A Shatter Down The Hall again, even though I already have the ending planned out and I’ve made Vey more of a normal person thrown into unfortunate circumstances than a flat cardboard cutout of a character.

It’s been five months since I last did a review of the cursed trilogy. Since then, my circumstances have drastically changed- I’ve moved into an entirely new house, started drafting for a parody religion, gotten ideas for a new book (which I still haven’t titled, being the only thing I know for sure is the name of the main character) and managed to unwittingly make another enemy at my new school. Guess I’ll have to add Savannah to my list of assholish names, which so far consists of Morgan, Morgan and also Morgan.

Also, if you see our lord and savior Zero around, be sure to tell him happy birthday on my behalf.

The two were kissing, completely ignorant of anything but each other, when Abbey snuck up on them and pressed two nothink devices into the back of their necks.

They fell straight onto the thin mattress, still entwined in each other’s arms.

I’ve completely forgotten how much I hated the old books, but thanks to this one passage alone, I’ve unthankfully remembered. That reminds me, I’ve gathered a database of reaction images. Let’s start the cancer, why don’t we?

Is this what ‘perfect’ love is? Abbey wondered, looking at Mriri and Tim, who were sprawled on the thin mattress.

No, it’s not. It’s prepubescent angsting forced on two Mary Sue characters used as conduits for living the life that basement dweller G wished she had instead of holing up in her room all day with little to no friends.

She wished she still had that kind of love toward her husband. The feelings between them were prime conditions for divorce, but they were still married for their children’s sake.

You do realize that shared parenting is a thing, right? And why can’t you get remarried if the conditions are “prime for divorce”? How is perpetuating that kind of environment healthy in any way for the kids?

Their remaining children, for exactly a month after Abbey’s husband had disappeared 2 years ago in 2011, her daughter Yasmin had also gone missing during a field trip at school.

But Lily felt nothing like a daughter.

If I remember correctly, Abigail only ever had two children- Yasmin and Lily. True, there was also a pregnancy, but that was written off as a cheap plot device intended to generate a few more posts. One of the only times G was ever self-aware. But in any case, this sentence makes absolutely no sense. If there are more children, then where are they kept? Where are they raised? And by who? Abby seems too preoccupied with Algeria and her escapades to do much else.


Last time I saw you, you were unconscious amid a sea of metaphorical diamond shards. If you’re reading this, you have probably woken up.

Note for self in the future- if you’re planning to write any sort of epistolary novel, this is exactly what not to do.

I wish you were here. Things here are boring. And I keep having dreams about nothink devices and divorce and Justin Bieber (don’t get me started on hating) and plastic surgery. (Don’t ask about the last three. That dream was very creepy.)

Contrived and easily outdated pop culture references: 0/10 for a novel intended to be timeless. True, you could fabricate a fictional celebrity and rail against them, but without proper characterizing beforehand, you’d just end up confusing the readers and making the reference stand flat.

Not that a certain celebrity hasn’t been doing harmful shenanigans, but the hateful anti-fan act has gotten more than old and stale.

Don’t tell Yasmin this, but I hacked into her blog and gave myself administrative privledges. And I’ve been posting junk that has nothing to do with her.

I have to go now. The creepers are waiting for me.

Ah, yes. Thank you, G, for reminding me of a time I sincerely believed I was allergic to Minecraft and would go home and scribble over my shoulders in emulation of a “rash” every time I went over to my cousin’s house. Although, I have to admit, reliving the experience of being beaten with a rolled-up Minecraft sheep poster brings a little life to my day.

“Why, hello, Lily.”

“Would you shush up, Twenty? My name’s Tomorrow. And besides, we have to get going if we’re going to arrive at Triko’s place in time to rig the voting machines.”

There are a handful of things wrong with this passage:

  1. Who the hecc is Triko? They’ve never been mentioned before. Do they have any plot relevance? Will they be introduced later? Tune in next episode for more Unanswered Questions!
  2. What is going on here? Who is Twenty? Why does he refer to her as Lily instead of Tomorrow?
  3. Why do the voting machines need to be rigged?

Tomorrow and Twenty were outside, arguing over which of Tomorrow’s many names to use. Obviously, Lily isn’t a very good name for somebody as violent as she is. But that’s just the author’s opinion.

This is not how you break the fourth wall. Unfortunately, all the examples of the correct way to do so have been censored and pushed to the meme page.

Tomorrow crawled through the narrow entrance to the helicopter they were about to leave in and shouted, “Twenty, get in here! You’re piloting it this time. And I want to take a nap on the way there.”

Do you know how loud helicopters are? You can’t take a nap in them unless you’re completely exhausted or mentally wired to do so…

…although someone takes a nap in a helicopter A Shatter Down The Hall, so maybe I shouldn’t complain.

It had been two days since Mriri and Tim had disappeared. The random kids from the bus had all gone back to their various houses. Everything except for Lecia and Grecia’s frantic hunt for Tim and Mriri had gone back to normal.

If I were in charge of a top-secret medical research facility responsible for hundreds of ethical violations and some of my specimens went missing, I definitely would not go back to normal until I had found them.

And whatever happened to the random kids on the bus? Surely some of them would have phones. Come on, put the NSA nanny state to good use and track down the locations from that day! Turn a violation of our rights into a godsend for others!

What’s wrong? You’re too lazy to write realistically? Or are you only in seventh grade and know nothing of value of the world around you?

Or maybe Algeria is just your self-insert for all the insomnia-induced dreams you had every night when you weren’t busy stressing about how the devil supposedly was coming for your soul. Which obviously was just the product of your over-reactive and radicalized mind, but that’s a story for another day.

It was this hunt that was taking place right now. Actually, it had just ended.

“Hey, Grecia!”

“Yes, Lecia?”

“Come here! I think I found them!”

Well, isn’t that convenient. No sights of the search Lecia and Grecia had to go through in order to build up suspense for the reader, no moment of realization, no characterization of these two women who are about to mess up everything- nope, just unconscious one day and discovered the next.

Grecia came to where Lecia had pulled open a heavy metal door leading to a cold room. It was in this room that they found Tim and Mriri sprawled across a mattress, still hugging each other.

Lecia and Grecia stood there for a full minute in awe and silence.

Awe and silence that these two immature teenagers didn’t decide to use the privacy to bang each other and instead remained chaste.

Their silence was interrupted by Mahogany, who was falling down the stairs and screaming, “Lily’s been in a helicopter crash-”

Funny that all the news I can find about helicopter crashes always end up in fatalities for everybody aboard. How much do you want to bet that Lily’s going to miraculously survive so that the story can continue?

“WHAT?” Lecia and Grecia shrieked at the same time after they had turned around to face Mahogany at the same time.

“She broke all four limbs-”

Well, yeah, death from a crash is usually caused by severe bodily damage.

Lecia and Grecia smiled at each other. “What are you guys smiling about?” Mahogany demanded to know.

“I was just thinking,” Lecia piped up, “that this would be the perfect time to get rid of Lily’s and Tim’s creepiness and Mriri’s ‘perfection’.”

Seriously? Your liege- master- superior- whatever the word for it is in your fictional universe has just been severely injured and possibly dead, and all you can think of is an excuse to waste precious time in a medically unnecessary surgical procedure? Have you seen the pictures of plastic surgeon addicts? Their faces look like lifeless plastic slapped onto a mannequin and then animated! Why are you condemning those poor kids to that fate? Because they’re kids. Admit it.

Also, now that I notice it, how does Lecia know of Algeria’s secret name change?


And that was when the surveillance system decided to break.

If this chapter was written in the perspective of someone watching the events from a security maintenance console, then you did a bloody poor job of making it immersive.

And, then by convenience, the computer decided to end this post and potentially my misery.

3/26/2017- more books, more problems

It has been so long since I last had the urge to post something, and yet here I am, typing away on a blank page.

I have been hard at work writing a new book called A Shatter Down The Hall– a sort of yelling at myself for past mistakes, to force myself to stop the constant cycle of wanderlust between simplification and decentralization. Do I want to automate everything so that I’ll spend more time actually working on what I enjoy and less time making the connections between all the facets of my online life work with each other? Or do I want to take the extra steps of spreading out my work among several different sites so that no one entity has control of my data at the cost of more time down the gutter in maintaining the flow of work?

The main problem I have while writing this book is the main character- she’s a little… flat. Vey doesn’t have very many defining characteristics, which fits the book’s theme- she’s dazed and gets her identity from losing herself inside of Virtuality, a hybrid of an ocular implant giving one a nonintrusive HUD and a Matrix-esque virtual reality video gaming platform which puts one in a simulated sleep and then manipulates dreams. She longs to reunite with her brother Velaire, who supposedly committed suicide several years prior but turns out is actually still alive and in hiding. And she loves to write, although she hits writer’s block quite often as a result of her addiction to Virtuality. But her indecision when it comes to fighting to return to the world she’s always known or submitting to the fate forced upon her mucks up the book and makes her a quite unlikable character.

In contrast, we’ve got Vio- a quite insolent man who enjoys reminding Vey that her only viable choice is to go with him to the village. Because Vey was present during the “terrorist” attack, Vey has connections to Vio, which makes her a potential target to the police. Vio barely restrains himself from forcing himself onto Vey, as she reminds him multiple times that she resents him, especially since following him through a convoluted journey is the only way she has a chance to see Velaire again. But halfway through the book, his role becomes quite diminished as the book focuses more on Vey’s development, and he doesn’t return in a major capacity until the climax.

Normally, if I were writing, this would be perfectly normal- the story writes itself, and I can’t force a character to be more than they design themselves to be. But there’s the issue of retaining the reader’s interest, and if they decide early on that the book is boring, then… there’s no recovering from being shelved, ignored, and forgotten.

As I write this, I’ve got twenty-two chapters written and am working on the twenty-third. But, as usual, there’s a thousand other projects calling for my undivided attention as well, voluntary or foisted upon me by the high school. And there are only so many hours in a day to sleep…