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 Hi_Inq's NaNoWriMo: The Anathost Chronicles (excerpts)

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High_Inquisitor

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PostSubject: Hi_Inq's NaNoWriMo: The Anathost Chronicles (excerpts)   Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:38 pm

So guys...here it is! Some excerpts of what I've got for y'all! Careful though...there's some language in there...

***Excerpt posted on the NaNoWriMo Website (Posted 11/2)***

“…no, that would do no good for me in the long run…I’ve got to keep looking for things that may help me later…”

Frag choked on a handful of dust as something was thrown in his face. Something was not right in the scenery around him. What had happened? This was not the lab that he had been forcibly tied to long before. “God, how long was I out for?” he mumbled to himself as he tried to get a good look at his surroundings. “It looks like a bomb was set off here…or is this part of the test?”

Looking out across the barren landscape was a gray dust covering the ground. Each step he took, trying to get his bearings back to normal, only kicked up more of this gray substance, only to be quickly set back by the wind. The sky seemed to be boiling over with large, gray clouds bubbling over with rage. Flashes of lightning could be seen striking throughout the cloud formations, but there was no visible break to see sky in any of the clouds. Frag continued to look out to the horizon, searching for some visible sign of life, but to no avail. There seemed to be nothing but the wind to comfort him.

“Ah! You’re awake! I thought I had heard a voice up there! I shan’t have to fix you for supper now! Now what shall I be forced to eat?” a voice cried out from behind the convict. Frag turned around to see a small hole near where he had been found passed out. From the hole protruded a man’s head. It was dirty, covered with the same dust that had been thrown in Frag’s face moments earlier. He sported a sort of shaggy look with his dirty hair, as if he had not seen a barber in some years. He wore a torn white T-shirt and baggy jeans that were also ratty. “I have had nothing to eat for quite some time, you know; I’ve been forced to eat nothing but the dust around here. Do you happen to know any recipes to help liven up this flavor?”

Frag stared at the man, undoubtedly confused and annoyed at what this crazed man had almost done to him. “I learned in prison to keep the ones like you off in your own little world. The crazy ones are always the most dangerous, but the quiet ones were the ones that caused the most trouble. You’re on your own. I just want to know where the hell I am and how to get back to the lab so I can give Jones a piece of my mind…and maybe a piece of his arm.”

The man in the hole looked up at Frag and cocked his head to the side. “Lab? There has never been anything of the sort here. Never a lab, nor has there ever been a Jones here. Only the dust…and the death, you can’t forget the death!” He began to laugh hysterically, filling the air with his haunting laughing fit.

Frag, unable to accept anything short of defeat, picked up the laughing man by the shirt, and looked at him in the eyes. The shaggy man immediately stopped laughing and began to shiver in fear. “Look, man, I was in a lab before. Some guy gave me a drug, which made me go to sleep. You don’t just wake up in the middle of nowhere like this without a damn good idea of where you are!” Frag’s voice grew in intensity as the cowering man began to whimper and shiver. “I’m going to give you a few seconds to answer me this damned simple question: where the fuck are we right now?!”

Frag let the man go and watched him sink to his knees. His tear wet the dust below and his soft moaning carried on the wind. “You’ll never escape, you know! The dust lies on the land all around us, and it stretches on forever and ever! There is no escape, you fool! You may as well sink to your knees and prepare yourself for death while you still can!”

The convict could not take any more of the man’s incoherent babbling. He brought his arm back and wound up for a large punch when he saw the man below him bring his hands to his face. The kneeling man continued to sob quite loudly as the tears collected dust below. Frag’s clenched fist loosened and eventually fell to his side. Instead he reached out and grabbed the sobbing man around the stomach and flung him over his shoulder. “If you’re not going to be any help to me now, I can always try for when you stop throwing your fit. Otherwise, I’d be more than happy to kill you some time in the future. Got it?”

“No! It cannot be you!” screeched the man slung over Frag’s shoulder. “It must be another, otherwise it does not work! There is a method to his madness, I have seen! There is method in my madness, but he can pull it off much better than I ever will be able to!” He began to pound on Frag’s back with his fists as he began to twitch and writhe his way out of the burly man’s grip. However, it was to no avail.

“Man of many emotions, eh Twitchy?” quipped Frag as he began to set off towards the horizon. “Come hell or high water we’re gonna get some answers. They might not be what you want to hear, but they’ll be answers regardless. Come on!”

It was a sight to behold: a large muscle-bound man with another slung over his shoulder like some large knapsack. Mostly after the initial outburst he became calmer and more complacent. However, Frag had to put up with the occasional flurry of blows to his back. He did notice, however, that the man over his shoulder would talk to himself and answer his own questions.

“Hey there, Twitch,” Frag asked the man slung over his shoulder, “you don’t mind if I call you Twitch, do you?” There was no reply, not even a blow to his back. “All right then, I’ll take that as a yes, and you can shut up me up later if you don’t like it, is that all right?” No response again. “Groovy…you sure are the silent type, aren’t you Twitch? I mean, you’re talking to yourself and all, but that can’t be healthy for you or nothing, could it?”

At that, Twitch began to thrash on Frag’s shoulder, beating on his back and howling like a banshee. These blows were much harder than the ones before, with some sort of fury that Frag had never seen by a man before. The screams were unrelenting and piercing, like someone stabbing a long knife into Frag’s ear and twisting the blade. “Easy there, Twitch, take it easy! I’m just trying to make some conversation, is all!”

“Do you not smell it!? The stench of them!? Put me down this instant! I demand that you put me down right here or there will be dire consequences for you! Put me down now!” With one final blow, Twitch hit Frag in such a way that his grip loosened and he was able to free himself from the large man’s grip. Hitting the dusty ground with a satisfying thud, Twitch rolled to his feet and ran off in another direction, shouting “I can smell them! They cannot be too far from here!”

“What the fuck is that guy’s problem!?” Frag asked himself as he chased after Twitch. What could he smell, or at least claim to smell, that Frag could not? There was nothing on the wind except for the dust. Food, water, other people, civilization—not one of those things could be smelled on the wind, let alone seen or heard around the area at all. “Why are you so fucking crazy, Twitch!?”

Frag was able to follow Twitch’s trail for quite some time. He followed the cries of the crazed man as he ran with a blind fury. Just what was up with Twitch? There had to be something wrong with him mentally, of that Frag was certain. The guy was just crazy, Frag concluded finally; some people just have the crazy from the moment the walk onto this earth, and that’s all there is to it.

Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity of intense running, Frag caught up with Twitch. He was finally found face down in the dust, seemingly passed out from sprinting for that long. Frag kicked a bit of dust at the man’s face as he lay on the ground. “Just what the fuck were you looking for out here, Twitch? It’s the middle of nowhere…” Frag looked up to find a dune of the dust that seemed to appear out of nowhere in particular. On top of it stood a human-like figure with long hair blowing in the wind, and all it did was stare at the two men. Frag shouted at it and waved his arms at the figure, but it did nothing to respond. It turned around and walked away from Frag down the back side of the dune. Furious, Frag grabbed Twitch and hiked up the dune. “Of all the things to do, why would you not come down and help us, you fucker?”

On the other side of the dune was a sight to behold: a small makeshift camp had been set up and a small group of people were moving around at the bottom of the dune. The figure with the long hair had made it back down to the rest of the group and had apparently told them about what had been found on the other side of the dune. Frag, clutching his newfound companion with all of his might, ran down the rest of the way and expected the worst from these people.
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PostSubject: dust...the dust...   Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:49 am

So, the first thing that strikes me is how much this reminds me of a Bruce Campbell movie called Mindwarp, and it didn't help any when the protagonist said "Groovy." LOL.
But anyway, I think the premise works, you just need to stay away from what's been done before when post-apocalyptic works. I'm seeing shades of Screamers, Dune, New Eden, I am Legend (the book, not the movie) and Heavy Metal but not a whole lot to distinguish the setting.
I like the idea of the pulpy, big-chinned hero dragging along the complaining old man (thought there is a touch of the Road Warrior there.) Jesus, I've seen far too many of these movies.
Okay, starting over. I think it might benefit from being a little more larger than life. Some giant guns say, or crazy fantastic super science. Strangely evolved animals? Or maybe alien technology? I think the writing works for the premise, and I feel a sense of the characters, but it just feels like there needs to be more of an intimidate tone or a greater sense of atmosphere right off that bat because I couldn't' seem to stay with the prose after the first few paragraphs.
Excellent dialogue though. I like the out loud narration done by the main character. Sorting through his thoughts out loud as though he either doesn't care if people hear or wants them to think he's smart for it, it says a lot about his vain mental state and I like it.
Shot of going into actual editing mode I guess that's my take.
Hope that helps at least a little.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi_Inq's NaNoWriMo: The Anathost Chronicles (excerpts)   Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:20 pm

It does, thanks!

This is just a small excerpt from what's really going on in the novel. Not to spoil too much for you, if you ever plan on reading it for yourself (maybe pull a few strings and get it published for me...?), but here's some of the things that go on that are NOT mentioned here.

BEFORE: Frag, the main character, was released from prison to take part in a government experiment to help test a drug that would help simulate and out-of-body-experience. However, what Frag doesn't know is that there is no such experiment, and that he had been duped into volunteering himself to be a sacrifice for a cult. He has been deposited into Anathost, the realm of the dead basically.

DURING: The crazy old man (Twitch) is utterly crazy; no doubt about it. However, as seen in this excerpt, he believes that he can smell something in the air and it is his duty to find them and collect them. What he's looking for are small black translucent stones called blood crystals; these react with human blood to help perform feats normally rendered impossible. (For example, later in the book one of the characters will drain an entire lake and fill it back up with the help of these crystals.) However, continued use takes it toll on the mind, rendering people crazy. (Actually, that might come into play with Twitch...jeez, the ideas I have while I'm writing this now!)

Something else to take note of (that again is not here...damn, I'm getting bad at this!) is that those that try and sleep in this realm have extremely vivid dreams. For example, Frag has a dream that something comes through the camp and slaughters everyone with a large shadowed greataxe. Another character has a dream that someone summons lightning bolts and a wind storm to create a torrent of dust and glass to kill her. I'm sure that there will be more strange dreams to come. Their significance, however, varies from each particular circumstance.

The reason I really haven't posted any more excerpts is because I have too much to post on here at one time (At the writing of this post, I have currently written 21k+ words, no small feat!). However, if you want a copy of what I've got now, I'd be more than happy to email you what I've done so far.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi_Inq's NaNoWriMo: The Anathost Chronicles (excerpts)   Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:40 pm

I'd be happy to take a look after the end of this year. Until then it's all I can do to keep my bookstore going and squeeze in some editing for my new book.
Oh, and I'm still self-published, so I can't say my contacts (such as they are) would help much, but I am getting pretty well known around the Sacramento area and maybe someday I'll get picked up by the big leagues. That's the hope I guess. Although complete creative control is pretty damn amazing. They'd have to pay me a lot to give that up.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi_Inq's NaNoWriMo: The Anathost Chronicles (excerpts)   Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:54 pm

Now that I'm thinking about it, I might as well extend the offer to anyone else that's at least somewhat interested!

Anyone that wants a copy of what I've written up so far, feel free to either leave a post or drop me a PM. I'll email you what I've done so far; for a first draft, I'm pretty damn proud of what I've got! I'm not expecting any critiques, just basic feedback about plot and epic grammar fails on my part (although I like to think I've done a good job at avoiding many of those to this point) and how this book is BLOWING YOUR MINDS AWAY!!!

*er-hem* Sorry about that, but I think it's still pretty damn cool. Anyway, offer's on the table!
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PostSubject: Re: Hi_Inq's NaNoWriMo: The Anathost Chronicles (excerpts)   Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:40 pm

Hold your horses there, Yaz. Where's my latest issue? I subscribed to The Anathost Chronicles quite some time ago and my inbox remains destitute of it.

I think I might have to take a very large bat to a very High Inquistor shaped head pretty soon.
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PostSubject: Re: Hi_Inq's NaNoWriMo: The Anathost Chronicles (excerpts)   Sun Nov 14, 2010 7:42 am

Fine, I'll send you yet another copy like now!

Be careful, it's a bit beefier than last time...by about a good 17-18 pages or so...so enjoy!
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