Janna sat on the floor inside of Drake’s cramped workshop. Her legs were crossed, her eyes closed. She wasn’t ready to go back home yet. She didn’t fee right. Most of the places she’d been to had little civilization. She had beaten people to pulps, maybe even killed them. Her outlandish habits, literally the habits she picked up outside of her lands, had gotten her into trouble. She wasn’t sure what to do, but she had a strong urge to hide her mistakes.

So that’s what she had done.

In the small city of Baracus, fights were common. Duels happened daily. But they were sanctioned duels. If two people wanted to duel, they simply channelled the Servant of Duels, and then the duel would be protected. The combatants would be unable to die, and would receive healing from any mortal wounds after the fight.

But outside of the Solune Kingdom, outside of the North Metch Lands, the East Metch Kingdom, the Plainkind Desert, the Djeb and even the Lussa City, in the smaller, more remote parts of the planet, people didn’t duel. They relied on their natural survival skill and the passive protection offered by the Servant of Conflict. That’s why Janna was in trouble now. She had did an absolute number on someone. It was just outside of town, in the middle of the day. This gnarly looking guy had approached her. He was looking for a fight, and she gave it to him. His entourage followed soon after and she dispatched them one by one, two by two. She used her swords, her fists and her la. In her own thoughts, she beat the shit out of them.

But after the adrenaline wore off, after the battle high left, she realized, this isn’t how things work here. Janna immediately did what she could to stabilize anyone who she had put on the brink of death, then she channeled the Servant of Tendrils. He was one of the younger Servants and served time and conciousness, and more specifically, timelines. Janna removed herself from their thoughts. They would remember only that they challenged someone and lost.

Drake opened the door.

“Come on, we better get going.”

“Yeah.” Janna stood up, “Back home.”

In Murdock, Chloe had become very invested in Law and Poetry. It’s one of the six divisions of government, for whatever reason, poets often act as lawyers in the Solune Kingdom. Many scholars, and even citizens have wondered why. The reason, Chloe quickly found out, is that poets know a little about everything, and they study and write about humans all the time.

Chloe was not a poet, but she was studying to become one. It was frustrating for her because until now aside from reading, she had been entirely self taught. Classes were dumb, and Chloe hated all the structure. It took her an entire semester at the University to get a hang of everything.

She had never been told what to study, what to read, and when to do it all by. Chloe had never written a test. It took a lot of adjusting.

Now, though, she was blazing through her courses. Chloe was a genius, and once she knew what was going on, she blazed through it with ease. She aced all of her tests in the second semester. She was just finishing her final one now, and soon would graduate as a poet, in addition to everything else she’d learned in the past.

Chloe was going home after classes one day when her older sister met up with her. Natasha was a very tall, straight faced woman. She was also the captain of the guard, and she was currently in uniform, a grey jumpsuit with a light blue pinwheel on the right shoulder, and a rank ribbon on the left.

“Hey Chloe.”

“Hello Natasha, how was your day?”

“Not important.” Natasha replied, “Janna’s coming back.”

“Oh!” Chloe beamed, “That’s great, isn’t it?”

She added the question because Natasha’s expression remained severe.

“Not quite.” She said, “She has quite a list of misdemeanors and maybe even some felonies.”

“What?” Chloe was taken aback. What had her other sister done?

“She might have to be detained upon her return. Not quite the warmest welcome, but I think she’s prepared for it.”

“What did she do?”

“Well, I don’t know for sure, but her exploits outside of the kingdom weren’t pretty. She’s been one of the biggest sources of power for the Servant of Conflict for many months now.”

“Eh…” Chloe was a little lost, “How do you know that?”

“I asked Alice. Technically she still runs the Conflict temple in this city, and she’s been keeping me updated.”

“Oh. So that means…”

Natasha knew Chloe was supposed to be some sort of genius, but she sure asked a lot of questions. Her ditsy demeanour really wasn’t representative of genius. Better this than the overconfidence that geniuses have become known for though.

“It mean that she’s been stirring up a lot of trouble. A lot of trouble.” Natasha said.

“Oh no… Didn’t she go to find Zeallott?”

“Yes, I know not if she failed or succeeded. Our brother has done far worse than she though.”

“Really?” Chloe looked away. She already knew that much.

Zeallott had become unhinged long ago, that’s why the King exiled him, exiled his own son. Chloe was sort of sad, but she was very young at the time. Janna on the other hand, was older. She knew Zeallott, they were very close. Chloe always wondered why Janna decided to hunt him down. Why not send someone else? If she had succeeded, it must have been a painful experience.

“Look, I have a feeling our father will still consider her as heir no matter what she’s done. You were not yet born, but back in the days before we had a kingdom wall, the Solune were in constant battle with the East Metch. Our father fought for this land relentlessly, and of course committed many counts of war murder.”

“Well…” Chloe had knowledge of law from school now, “War murder isn’t quite the same. The enemy is the only one that would punish you for that…”

“Right, but if Janna has committed murder outside of this Kingdom, she may have done it in similar circumstances. The reason Zeallott and for that matter Venus ring so high on Conflict’s contributors is because they mobilize large groups. She may very well have been fighting a war with her man there.”

“Drake. His name is Drake. And he’s a Solune Agent, you should know his name.” Chloe said.

The two walked together through the kingdom until they reached the castle, where Natasha went back on patrol.

“I will see you tonight.” Natasha said.

Janna stood outside the capital, Murdock. She took a deep breath in, then out again. Drake began to talk, but she stopped him. She just stared at the walls. The walls surrounding the city, and the walls of the castle, jutting out in front of her.

She sighed.

“I wonder how long it will take before I am arrested.”

“Well Natasha runs the guard now, so probably not long.” Drake said.

“Yeah. We’ll see.”

I noticed this was a lot of exposition. Sorry, I like exposition, but I know it’s bad writing. So, I put that hook at the end.

I only have a vague plan for this, but I hope it turns out okay. I think it will, you can see the pieces of the plot converging right now, can’t you? Janna is the accused, Chloe the lawyer/poet. The second part has been written!

Daniel Triumph.

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Natasha updates 2 (And the Royal Family)

If you haven’t heard, I’m working on a novel. It has only modest prospects, I don’t think it’ll ever make it in print, but I’ll send it out to publishers for sure. My favourite post on this blog was Alice and Finch: Negative Dawn, now simply called Inck Alice. I liked it so much, that I submitted it to an upcoming online magazine! Fingers crossed I guess. Anyway, this novel was started before that post was ever even thought up, I began at about mid April. If you liked Alice and Finch, you might be pleased to know that Finch is a large supporting character in the book. At the end of the three part short story series, Finch gives up on- Well, I won’t spoil it, but he decided to become a guard. Captain in fact. In the novel, he’s at the rank of Vice-Captain.

So in the first novel update, I said “I’m going to write tonight, and tomorrow I’ll write up a post on what the plot is and where it’s going.” This is that post.

So last night it took a lot of effort, but I put myself into the chair, looked for a pen for about five minutes, and then started writing. I wrote and wrote until I got so tired and jittery that my words began to form together into long sweeping messes. Then I stopped, tracked my progress, and called it a night. Wow! Eleven pages! I’m pretty happy with that, you know?

Rate my cursive?

So Natasha is about… Natasha. Surprised? Well, let me explain who Natasha is. I’ll start with the writer. Do we still study the writer when we look at fiction? I didn’t in High School, but I did in University. So, since the inception of the Solune Royal family in 2013, the amount of children has been growing. It started with just one, Chloe. Then Came Janna, and Natasha. Later on, Natasha’s twin Kain and later still the oldest child, the evil Zeallott. Finally, this summer, the outcast Crystal Jealousy was added as the new oldest child. I also know that in the future, the King and Gwenhime have a child but he/she doesn’t exist yet, so I’m not worried.

Anyway, as the years passed, I focused on one child at a time, usually through my art. See, first I was an artist, but only at the hobbyist level. Then, more recently (around September 2016) I began writing seriously. The first one was Chloe, Chloe and Yaska, the main characters of the Legendary Event, a story I’ve been sitting on for a while now. And by a while I mean nearly half a decade.

Chloe Rhye, Seventh Prince of the Solune, prodigal genius.

After that, I moved onto Janna, the older sister, more confident and forward sister. Actually, I wrote a short piece on her here. I actually switched back to Chloe when I started my previous, vastly inferior (but still sort of active) blog. Wrote a story about her on the Underside which ended up making no sense and is still unfinished.

Finally, Natasha. I still don’t have a good drawing of her, I’ll have to fix that. Natasha was the oldest for a long time before Zealott was added. She’s very similar to her father, the King (I know I haven’t given him a name. He doesn’t have one right now.) Calm, focused, stern, wise, and calculating. It’s been interesting writing as her, because at first to both readers and myself, she came off as boring. But, as I dived deeper I realized this wasn’t the case. Natasha had some desires, passions, and tenancies that were very interesting. She’s fully capable now of carrying a plot on her own.

I’m working through the first draft right now, I just passed my hundredth page. It took seventy pages for me to figure out what the book was even about. At first it was just about Natasha getting promoted from Castle Guard Captain to Murdock City Guard Captain. Then I wanted to add some questioning of capitalism, with a thief who was stealing unusual objects for reasons I’m not going to spoil.

The problem is that that plot ended really fast. I planned a nice arc with her investigating the thief and then finally apprehending him. I wrote about seventy pages on that outline. It had a cool climax with undercover elements, but then that was it. I had run out of plot at seventy pages. As you know, I’ve continued writing, just reaching out my tendrils towards natural character and plot development. Now that Natasha isn’t “stuck” on the thief plot, she’s trying to get some abandoned buildings from the town to set up a barracks. She’s redoing the guard patrol routes. She’s revamping the minimum fitness policy due to her issues pursuing the thief. He climbed very fast, and Natasha had never climbed. Finch, the Vice Captain, is eager now that the old unreasonable Captain has retired. He’s trying to get Alice back into the town!

20170527_211627.jpgA lot of stuff is happening, and it’s great, but it’s also unfocused. There are two things in my eyes that make a story fail. First, it’s leads the reader to expect one thing then disappoints them by doing something else (Golden Time, Guardians of the Galaxy 2). The second is that it’s unfocused, which makes it a boring read. I don’t really want that, so I might make another outline for the second half.

I’m almost excited for my second draft now, since I know I’ll be integrating the thief plotline into something much bigger. Honestly, I’d be interested in having no protagonist. Just Natasha working against the system and hitting roadblocks and setbacks. I think I can do it. You don’t always need a physical antagonist, in fact, I’ve always thought of that kind of thing as an easy way out. You can just have a character embody all the things you’re protagonist is trying to fix or stop or whatever. Then solving all their problems is easy! Just kill/apprehend the bad guy!

So, here are some goals for codename Natasha.

  • Plan the second part of the book
  • Do a second draft that combines and unifies all the elements
  • Send the second draft out to beta readers, and put it aside for a bit (heard it’s good to stay away before doing a rewrite, so that you don’t gloss over mistakes you’re familiar with.)
  • ???
  • Profit.

In reality, I’ll put it up for publishing. I really think this book can hit publishable levels, especially after reading some really bad published work… If it fails, I still want to send it to readers though, so I’ll self publish and market through this blog, and also facebook.

So, That’s project Natasha in a nutshell.

Next time I might hit up the inspiration, talk about the thief character, or something like that. If you’re interested in what got this book rolling in the first place, I’ll be uploading and linking the story here soon. Keep an eye out for it, by following or returning!

Daniel Triumph.

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How’s your novel going? Have one in mind that you haven’t really started? Tell me about it!

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A sketch. Natasha is center, to her left is Finch then Vinth. The rest are characters who come about years later.