Sunday, July 31, 2011

Crab Mentality (Part 3)

   He opened the door and walked out, but Mother had told him not to leave whenever she was away. The flames had stopped peering out of his doorway. He had to call for help, but he would do that only if he couldn't stop the fire himself. He went back into their house, and went into the bathroom. There was a small pail of water in the bathroom. He took the pail and walked into his room. Then he saw. That there was. No fire on the wall. The whole wall looked the same as it did when they moved in. It wasn't burned at all. What did I see? Could I have just made it all up? How could I have imagined it if I was so scared of it?
   He left the pail on the cemented floor of his room. He walked to the wall and raised his right hand to touch the spot where he had seen the fire. He carefully and gently felt the smooth wood with his fingers, scared that the fire would appear again and burn his hand. I couldn't be dreaming.
    He sat on the mattress to put his shoes on as he glanced at the wall, then he left the room. He sat on the edge of his mother's mattress, and brought out his black Nokia 1202 from the right pocket of his pants. "It's scary in here," he typed, and sent the message to Kim's cellphone number.
   He waited one minute, two minutes, and so on. No reply. He waited and waited.

   "Why? What scared you?"
   "Nothing. It's just in our room, but we're leaving, so it's okay," Chalano replied to Kim, who had texted back 30 minutes later.
   The bags and their belongings filled the back and the trunk of the car. The car smelled of orange-scented air freshener and the new bags that Mother had bought. His mother turned the engine on. Her hair was in a ponytail, and she wore a red blouse, black pants, and black, high-heeled shoes (she loved that attire). She asked, "Your best friend?"
   "Yes."
   "But you said that you're scared," Kim texted again.
   "No, I'm not scared; I just said that it was scary in the place where we stayed."
   "Really? 'Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.' You wouldn't say that it's scary if you weren't scared. It's in your subconscious, but you still wouldn't admit it. The thing about living is to be honest with yourself."
   "What?"
   "Hey, I'm just joking!"
   Chalano was smiling to himself, "You sounded Greek to me."
   "Well, really, what makes your place scary?"
   "It's a looong story. I'll tell you about it when I'm home. Texting in the car gets me dizzy."
   "Alright. Bon voyage!"
    Speaking with Kim made him feel a lot better, but he remembered that strange place again. Sitting on the passenger seat, Chalano looked out the window as their gray Mitsubishi Lancer moved out of the narrow driveway. There were moss on some parts of the walls of their little house, and a big rubber tree was standing beside it.
   He had thought that the place was strange even when they had just moved in. There was something gloomy about it. He'd never heard or seen things before they moved into this place. One of his classmates, John, had said that he was crazy. Maybe he was really crazy, or maybe there was just something wrong with this place. It was relieving to leave it and its creepyness.
   She wondered what he was thinking about. He was so quiet when she came back home with the additional bags that she'd bought from a nearby store. She hoped that he enjoyed their vacation. She wanted him to grow up into an individual who knew his way around. That was why she kept bringing him beyond their neighborhood. As she drove down the road and into the highway, she really wished that her beloved son appreciated the trip.

Stephen McFinalee

   Some of the individuals who frequently read my first blog have began reading this blog also. Nice. Thank you!
   I've been writing notes for Shane, the main character of "McFinalee Brotherhood." He shouldn't seem too perfect to be easy to relate with. I'm writing what makes him human, what makes him imperfect. This is hard because he is like me. (I find it hard to describe my present self. It sounds strange, but it's me whom I find hardest to understand, especially my tendency to know too much about people.)
   It's hard to depend on what other people say because people see only what they are permitted to see. I need to define deep thoughts, and natural personality. I'm planning to make it like this: Shane may be young, but he feels that he's running out of time. He thinks that his life is too short for him to rest, so he spends almost all minutes of it working to get what he wants. Shane is in a rush, and he doesn't like to spend his time on things that do not make him gain anything useful.
   I like making the characters of my stories very real. There's another one who needs more editing: Stephen McFinalee. He's Shane's 19-year-old brother. There's a natural dislike between the brothers, and that will increase as the story develops. My notes currently dictate that Stephen will start the bigger trouble, but editing the characters might change that. Shane's negative side is that he's always watching over Stephen, to the point that it wasn't good for Stephen anymore.
   While I carefully write "McFinalee Brotherhood," here's the third part of "Crab Mentality" .....

Friday, July 29, 2011

Official Title: "McFinalee Brotherhood"

   I just finished writing 1360 words for "Plot2", and it finally has a real title. It's the "McFinalee Brotherhood." Maybe businessmen who like innovative ideas would like it. It's about management, finances, theft, betrayal, and hidden grudges. I almost threw it away because the plot seemed hard to deal with. The story is supposed to happen within the span of two days. The lead character is a male version of me, but  he's probably only 50% like me.
    It's about Shane McFinalee, a 20-year-old graduate of Psychology who had founded a public foundation that helped out-of-school youths. His younger brother, Stephen, worked in the packaging section of the foundation. The vice chairman of the foundation was Magmund Celer, who had been Shane's best friend.
   Magmund told Shane that Stephen was stealing money from the foundation. The foundation was, indeed, missing some finances, and Stephen later got caught with the money. The issue sparked a stronger hate between the brothers, stronger than the grudges that they had had about each other in the past. 
   Well, just remember the story elements that were mentioned in the Clarion Blog, and you might have a clue how "McFinalee Brotherhood" would end. This story doesn't have the length of a novel. The final part is already making me cry, though, and I wish that I would be able to end it well.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

More About the Write-a-Thon

   No, I just decided that my second story won't be about astronauts. I finished writing the new plot yesterday. It's not horror this time, but, from my point-of-view, it's simple. I will temporarily give it the title, "Plot2", and I'm doing my best to keep it short because I just want to go back to writing "Crab". There's a new character in "Crab" who is my favorite; every hero needs a sidekick. I haven't introduced the sidekick on this blog yet, but he's already all over the story that I've written so far (he's talkative).
   It is already Week 5 of the Write-a-Thon 2011. It started on June 26, 2011, and it will end on August 6, 2011. This is the second annual Write-a-Thon of the Clarion Foundation (there was a Write-a-Thon 2010). More than 100 participants are writing as many words as they could to raise funds for the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop.
   The Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop is one of the oldest and most well-respected writers' workshops. It is currently being hosted by the University of California, San Diego. The Clarion Foundation supports the Clarion Workshop "both financially and strategically, in order to ensure that the Workshop will continue to provide a high-quality educational experience for aspiring writers." The Write-a-Thon is meant to raise money for the next class of  students of the Clarion Workshop. "Due to the economic downturn, incoming Clarion students have the greatest need for scholarships in Clarion's history. It's harder than ever for young writers to make ends meet." If my explanation is a bit confusing, visit the Clarion Foundation.
   The goal of the Write-a-Thon is to raise $15,000 by August 6, 2011. So far, we have raised $10,000 in donations. That means that we have $5,000 more to go! Quick, isn't it? And you can be a part of this, too. Be a sponsor today. Check out the 2011 Write-a-Thon Participants. If you want to sponsor me, donate on my page. You may donate $5, or any amount that you can give because "each donation really does make a difference."
   The writer who raises the most donations will win an iPad. I don't care about the iPad, I don't even have an idea where to place it if I ever won it. I just joined because I really support this cause. Due to modern technology, fewer and fewer people read books. If not for e-books, blogs, and other innovations in the world of writing, writers would really have a hard time in this century. We need to improve our craft to keep up with the changes of time and our audience's preferences. This is a particularly difficult time for writers, and think about the younger, newer ones. We need to help them.
   Today, I will try to write 500 words for Plot2. Also, I need to count the words that I've written for "Crab" (because I suspect that I've gone past my goal of 4000 words ..... that's already 16 pages ....). I will publish more parts from "Crab" in exchange for donations

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crab Mentality (Part 2)

May 28, 2010. 4pm
   There was a house near the beach. It looked old. It was facing the nearby road. There was a much smaller house behind it. The smaller one didn't even look like a house; it was simply four, wooden walls and a low roof. The two houses were back-to-back. The owner of the huge house had rented the shack to Chalano's mother, and he shared his garage with her. It was the first time that Chalano and his mother spent their summer vacation in the province, and they needed a place to stay.
   Their temporary home was a six-square-meter, two-room place. It had no window. Chalano knocked on the wooden door.
   The door was opened by his 40-year-old mother. As soon as he walked in, she said, "Turn around, Charlie. Let me have a look at your clothes."
   Chalano turned around. "No spots of mud, no creases. Very good," she said, with "good" on a lower tone to tell him that he was dismissed.
   A bespectacled widow with straight,  gray hair, she had always been a perfectionist. To her, everything had to be in order. 
   He left his mother at the door. There was a compact fluorescent lamp in the middle of the ceiling, and its light filled the whole room. There was a small sink to the right, and beside it was a small bathroom. His mother's blue mattress was on the floor at the far left corner of the room, beside the traveling bags that she had neatly prepared for their journey back to the city. The place had no beds when they rented it a few months ago. The air still smelled of Purefoods Corned Beef, which his mother had cooked for lunch this afternoon. He walked to the doorway that was on the other side of the room. It led to the second room. His mother had made that his bedroom.
   The second room was smaller than the first one. There was a mattress on the floor. Beside it was a tiny lamp and a bright green backpack. The mattress had cartoon patterns of yellow, smiling stars on its blue surface. It was the same mattress that he had on his bed in their house. His mother had always brought it with them whenever they went very far from home. She said that it was supposed to help him adjust to unknown environments. That was his mattress since he was five-years-old.
  It made him feel awkward whenever his mother was being so caring to him. She didn't have to fix his hair nor fix the lapels of his shirt whenever she visited him at school. It was embarrassing. Thinking about that, he felt a wave of displease as he sat down on the edge of his mattress. At the same time, he wanted to know if she really cared about him. Did she really love him? She always talked with her friends. She talked to him only about school, but she didn't listen to him whenever he talked about the things that bothered him. His friends' mothers talked to them about their peers and their feelings, but his mother never did that. He carefully removed his shoes, then he dropped himself onto the cushion. Did she really like me when I came into this world? Did she really love Dad? He lay on his back as he thought deeply.
   He glimpsed something bright. Something .... ablaze. A small circle of fire. On the wall to his right. The white flames were getting bigger. "Mother," he screamed as he ran out of his room without his shoes.
   Mother wasn't on her mattress. Not at the sink. Nowhere to be seen. She probably went out to buy something. He felt a rush of terror as it dawned on him that he was alone. He looked back at his room. The flames were starting to peer out of his doorway. 

Earthquake, Lead Characters, and My Progress

   I thought that someone was just rocking my seat. Then I noticed that the whole house was shaking. It was the first moment that I felt an earthquake. It took place at 1am yesterday. It felt strange to feel the earth shaking beneath me. Other people on social networking sites who talked about what happened said that it made them dizzy. Yes, it could make one dizzy.
   Still, life goes on. I've been writing notes for the plot of the second story for the Write-a-Thon. The new lead character's identity is going to be based on me, unlike Chalano, who is a male version of one of my real-life "rivals" (I don't really consider her my rival, but she likes to call me her "rival", so I guess that that makes us rivals). While I create the structure for my second story, here's the second part of "Crab Mentality" (because you have been very supportive) ....

Monday, July 25, 2011

From the Blog

   The story originally began with two children. After reading the first draft, I decided that it was ugly, so I changed the characters into Aylyn and Rando. There had to be something that the readers could hate about the characters. Rando was a rebellious guy who was in a relationship with a minor, and Aylyn eloped with a rebel. I had written notes about the characters' deepest thoughts during each moment of the first part. I'm telling you, Rando didn't really love Aylyn. People might think that it was romantic, but I just know that it wasn't. Aylyn was just fooling herself (as you can see, I included a part of the stupid, because-I-love-him reasoning of common teens).
   Modern horror has become random, but my story isn't keeping up with the times. Being random removes the art. I'm following the old logic of one wrong thing leads to another. I'm not saying that Rando and Aylyn deserved what happened to them, but we can't deny that they were doing something wrong.
   In my post, "The Turning Points," I mentioned that the killer in the story would go to the school. After what happened in Norway, that kind of scene isn't a cute joke. It ain't funny.
   I'm going to give another spoiler about my story: the antagonist was planning to do something big and tragic in the school, but only one person would die. Yes, the killer wouldn't succeed with his plan.
   I actually dislike this genre. I never liked fantasy/horror; I just chose it because this fund-raising project is for the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop, and horror was mentioned in the Clarion blog (I just can't stand science fiction). Even though I don't like this genre, I will rock this as long as I have a valid reason to write this. But, what about this ....? There's a real- life turning point: the writing challenge for Week 5 of the Write-a-Thon is to create a new story. They even gave elements that should be included into the new story. Fratricide? I'm thinking of a couple of astronauts who were brothers. They were sent to Mars to search for eternal youth, and they had brought a hunting dog with them. Their food was cabbage soup (I don't think that makes sense, because astronauts in space usually eat dehydrated food), one of them has a tattoo on his wrist, and .... While I think about how to make this new story better, why don't you check out my Write-a-Thon page? You can donate $5, or any amount that you can give. Donating wouldn't just support me, it would also support the future of science fiction and fantasy because your money would go to the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop. Be a sponsor today to give new writers a chance to improve the world of speculative fiction. I will publish more parts from "Crab Mentality" in exchange for donations.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Crab Mentality [1st Part]

May 28, 2010. 2am
   Cold, evening winds were blowing on her. Aylyn was lying on her side, her back turned to Rando. The 20-year-old Rando was lying on his back, asleep. They were on the ground, with only a thin blanket between them and the soil. They were underneath a tiny shed that was supported by four, thin poles. The shed had no walls. They had no tent, nor pillows. Rando was wearing a black T-shirt, with a red, hooded jacket over it. He was wearing black pants and black sneakers. The 17-year-old girl was wearing a small T-shirt, denim pants, and dark-brown sneakers. Rando was tall and lean, while she was petite and skinny. Rando had given her a blue blanket before he lay down to sleep. They had a couple of knapsacks.
   He was a painter. Even though he had had a quiet hobby, he had often got into fights. He'd dropped out of school early in his teens. His parents, who were lawyers, hated the life that he had chosen. A long-haired, ragged-looking young man who had caught the eye of the brown-haired teenager with the child-like face, he was absolutely disliked by Aylyn's father. He decided to run away in search of a better life in the city. Aylyn was going with him at all costs. Because she loved him.
   "I'd promised myself that I'd bring you to this beautiful place once I got you to come along with me," he had told her before he fell asleep that night. The shed was sixteen meters from the road, far behind the houses of this neighborhood. It was in the open area of the woods. He had been here before.
    The blanket wasn't enough. She was in a curled position, her knees near her chin. She was beginning to tremble uncontrollably as the tall trees around them swayed in the cold winds. The rustling sound of the leaves kept the place alive under the clear, evening sky.
   He had driven their car for miles all day, and he was absolutely tired. They would be back on the road tomorrow. In a cold night like this, it's lovely to think that I have company. She turned to him. A pair of black rubber shoes near his head. She looked up. A man. She sat up. Reached over to wake Rando up. Too late. The man swiftly grabbed Rando's arms. Rando opened his eyes, and began to struggle. Her instinct was to get Rando, but that would be stupid. It would just allow the man to catch both of them. Frightened, she ran away, but she couldn't leave Rando.
   She stood three meters from the man, begging, "Free him, sir, please."
   Rando was trying to break free, but the man was too strong. He turned Rando around before him, so that the young man faced Aylyn. And he held Rando's hands together from behind.
   Rando suddenly kicked behind him with his right foot, which hit the man's right knee. The man lost his balance. Both of them fell to the ground, the man on top of Rando. "Damn you, fool," he snapped, and hit the right side of Rando's waist with his fist.
   Lying on his belly with his hands still held together behind him, Rando raised his head to look at Aylyn, shouting, "Run, Aylyn!"
   Aylyn was too scared to move.
   Rando shouted louder, "Hurry, stupid!"
   Their cellphones were in their knapsacks, but there was no time to pick them up. She ran under the moonlight and into the shadows of the trees.There were tall  grasses ahead of her. She ran through them. Then she slowed down until she stopped. It felt so bad to leave him, and be the only one in safety. But she had to look for help.
   A flash lit up the trees and the grasses from behind her. She heard Rando screaming. She ran back to where she had left him. Then she stopped in shock. She saw him. Six meters away. In flames. He kept screaming as he quickly burned. It was fast. And he was gone.
   Her jaw dropped, but she couldn't find her voice. She stood staring at the flames, frozen in a grip of different emotions. The man came running toward her. She would be next. You have taken my love, I cannot live any longer. But fear took over her. She turned to run for the road.
   She was so scared, that she didn't notice the ground below her. She just had to get away, get away. The man was a fast runner. He. Was. Catching up. He threw something at her. She began screaming. A blinding light flashed.

May 28, 2010
    His blue, Converse sneakers left deep prints on the white sand as he carefully walked toward the beach. He stopped abruptly. Because his beige, cargo pants shouldn't get wet. Chalano was a skinny 15-year-old. His straight, jet black hair was a bit long; it made him look a little like a member of The Beatles.
   The weather had been bad all summer. It became fair only on his last day on this beach. His orange T-shirt was as bright as the day. The waves were splashing on the shore five feet from him. He and his mother would be traveling back to the city soon, and it was his last chance to cherish the scenery. If he ever felt totally bored at home this year, he would remember the day when he stood on this place. That would cheer him up. He raised his left hand to look at his black, Casio wristwatch. 4:00pm. He had only a few minutes left.
   He couldn't decide which was more blue, the sea or the sky? The sun seemed to be burning his skin and the waves sounded so soothing to the ears, but he turned away from the beach. He began walking away from the shore.
   A loud noise behind him. He looked back. The waves were rushing toward him. He ran to avoid them. The waves gently touched the back of his shoe then slid back into the sea. "The waters are calling out to you," a voice whispered.
   Startled, he looked to the left. No one. To the right. No one. A person had to be standing close to him to whisper like that. He was the only one on that part of the beach. In fact, all the people were more than three meters away. John must be right, I hear voices. He shook his head a bit, and continued walking away from the beach.

The Turning Points

   The Clarion Blog discussed the turning points in a story, and these are the turning points in my own story ....

Turning Point 1: Chalano Marchus looked up to the president of the Student Council just like all of the other students in his school did. John Paolo Ontagio was good-looking and multi-talented. But everything changed when John suddenly made racial remarks on Chalano's foreign best friend and began bullying them.

Turning Point 2: Chalano realized how evil John really was. Nobody would dare say anything wrong to John because John was the best. Chalano planned to defeat John in the annual writing contest of the school, because nobody ever won that contest other than John. The students just had to see that somebody could be better than John. Chalano began to write about the mysterious deaths in his neighborhood.

Turning Point 3: John suddenly apologized for all of the wrong things that he did to Chalano, and he became Chalano's ally. Chalano couldn't trust his former enemy. John said that he wouldn't join the annual writing contest. It was the only year that John wasn't a participant in the contest, so Chalano would take the chance to gain John's reputation before they graduated. But John's former "minions" wanted to stop him.

Turning Point 5: The killer came to the school to, what else would a killer do? John and Chalano had to stop him, and .... I have to stop right here because this is going to be a major spoiler.

   Now, I will start publishing the first part of the story ....

Message

   I am very surprised that you've quickly moved from my other blog to this blog. Thank you so much for the support. I had been revising. This is the first time that I'm revising since I began writing for the Write-a-Thon, and I have more than 3000 words to read again and again. I'm really trying to speed up because this is already Week 4, and I hope to finish the story sooner than expected. I will introduce another main character when I get back to adding words, and people in the story will finally realize that the deaths weren't accidents. I said in my last post that the lead character could be the killer, but I'm not saying that he is indeed (of course, I won't spoil it).

Friday, July 22, 2011

"Crab Mentality" Preview

   My story is not about food, but I think that it could remind someone of food. Look, the protagonist loves tuna, the name of one of the prime characters rhymes with "cauliflower", and the title of the story is "Crab" (but,later in the story, I would write about the real significance of crabs in the plot). Before I start sharing the story with you, let me tell you first what it's about. Maybe we all need a little preview ....
   It's about Chalano "Charlie" Marchus, a 15-year-old secondary school senior and a member of the local Youth Council. He seemed so normal, so ordinary, but he had a secret. This secret kept haunting him in the form of recurring nightmares. It wasn't just in his nightmares, it was in his memories. As the story goes on, his memories aligned with the present. People perished, one by one, just like the lives in his past. This time, though, the deaths left no trace behind. It was as if the victims didn't even exist in the first place. Either he was a victim like everybody else in the story, or he was the killer himself.
   Whew! It's so hard to tell you about the story without giving too much spoilers! I spent this day writing notes for the final scenes.I'm not anywhere near those scenes yet, but it's always good to plan ahead so the writing would be smooth with lesser need for revisions. I won't count those notes into the number of written words for the Write-a-Thon because they're not really in the story.       

Update

   I've been working on this new blog. It is now 12:17am, so Thursday is officially yesterday. I finished writing 1045 words for the Clarion Write-a-Thon 2011 yesterday, and I need to finish this day's worth of writing. More updates about my Write-a-Thon progress will be coming up tomorrow, er, I mean, later this Friday. Again, please consider donating $5, or any amount that you could give, here. I will publish my manuscript (that's why it is the title) on this blog in exchange for donations.