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derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

you did it! woo! i'm very excite.

is there a word count max or min per week

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derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

Little Mac posted:

Wait Won't people just vote out the strongest writers so they can win?

you have to write good enough so that people wont vote you out cause they want to read what happens next

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

also a no oot communication rule might be useful.

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

my story will be completely new unused ideas with not a word written before the iron author man bites into his quil pen

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

he only meant well

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

Fart

lost in the wind

the unauthorized biography of your anus

chapter one

the birth of a fart is always a joyous occasion, and this fart especially so, because it was birthed of your anus

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

i must confess that i too have had an idea. i havent typed a single word, but characters are forming and plots weaving in my head.

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSxQXOYnGUI

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

Meinberg posted:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is probably the best comedy show on the air today.



i would agree if not for amy schumers show

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

make a new account. sue lotax for the ten bux

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

Im almost ready to post the first thousand words or so. I decided to not be stupid. Which means you probably won't believe I wrote it but I did!

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

BottleKnight posted:

This reminds me, I will narrate (in any style) an mp3 reading of anyone's story if they wish! I may also just do this for random excerpts if I feel like it. I bought a new mic, I'm gonna use it dammit.

Motivation increased by 10x with this post

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

Ernie. posted:

this goes for me as well, i will narrate any story hal (and really anyone tbh) wants me to

Ok I gotta finish these beers and get home to write

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

Chic Trombone posted:

I'm still trying to plan my story out, I think I'm going with a murder mystery but that could change!!

Im trying to write one for not this contest! I look forward to reading it and stealing your methods

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

looks like im gunna be the first one oh poo poo

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

Lin watched sunlight from between the curtains slide over little Shanette’s round cheeks as she played with her iDoll. She swung the toy by its legs, squealing and grinning as the doll reached out its tiny arms, asking helplessly and repeatedly for a hug.

Sha Sha would be three next week. Lin had already missed birthdays one and two, now she was about to miss one more.

“Are you sure you have to do this?” Tabitha, Lin’s younger sister, sat on a couch behind Shanette with her legs crossed under her flowered dress, looking down at the laughing child. “She’s getting older, Lin, she shouldn’t grow up without you.”

“I know.” The pain was still with her, though it had quieted over the past year getting to know her daughter. It was a coldness in her gut, a hollow where the child playing in the sun beside her should have grown. But work had beckoned. Saul’s sightless gaze had beckoned. And Lin had seen college funds, gene enhancements and medibots--a healthy future for Sha Sha, in the long line of zeros Pearson and Pyle had offered.

She’d said yes, and traded away Sha Sha’s present to secure her future.

In Lin’s work, the field was much too dangerous to be carrying a developing child. Sha Sha was carefully removed from the warmth of Lin’s womb, and placed in an incubation pod to complete her development. During the weeks of preparation leading up to the jump, Lin spent many long nights huddled under the thin sheets of her bunk, silent tears blurring her vision as she watched the camera feed of her growing child by the light of her phone.

When she’d returned after four months of work, the time lag had cost her just over two years with Sha Sha. Two years traded for a better life.

But the money hadn’t gone as far as she’d imagined.

“Ma and Dad would be glad to help out, you know,” said Tabitha, reaching down to play with a strand of Sha Sha’s wispy hair. “I mean, if money is the issue.”

Lin shook her head. “Not like this, they can’t. This is a big payout, it will set us up for years. She won’t ever have a worry or want.”

Tabitha sighed. “That’s what you said last time.”

“It’s a lot more money this time.” And a lot more danger. Lin subconsciously ran fingers over the ridged scars on her left forearm, up and down like rolling waves.

“And will it be two years again?” asked Tabitha. “Or will it be four, or five? She won’t even know you when you get back, Lin.”

“I’ll send holos.”

“Lin...”

Lin ignored her, and stood, pulling her squirming daughter up into her arms. She squeezed Sha Sha then held her back to get a good look at her curious little face. Her stubby nose and light blue eyes, just like Lin’s.

“You know I’ve got to go away for a while, don’t you little one?”

Sha Sha nodded.

“And you know I’m going to miss your birthday, even though I really want to be there?”

Sha Sha buried her face in Lin’s neck. “Yes,” she mumbled.

“Well, since I’ll be away, that means I have to give you your present today.”

Sha Sha looked up, her cheeks red and eyes sparkling. “Right now?”

“Yes, honey, right now.” Lin set her down. “You wait here with auntie Tabi, and I’ll be right back.”

In the privacy of her room, Lin ran a hand through her short, blond hair and let out a shaking sigh. Two duffel bags sat on her sheets, bulging with clothes and necessities. Being near them she could imagine she was already gone, away from it all flying through that impossibly twisted space to a new, unseen world. The idea brought her a cool relief.

Knowing she was about to be separated from Sha Sha made being with her almost unbearable. Lin could feel herself trying to hold back her affections in order to save herself pain after they were apart, but feeling cold toward her baby girl was the last thing she wanted to do. The dichotomy of emotions inside her was tiring. So tiring.

She unzipped the side pouch of one duffel bag and slid out a pink and blue wrapped box, about the size of a paperback. She sighed again, and prepared a smile.

Sha Sha leaped out of Tabitha’s lap as Lin returned. She clapped her hands and hopped up and down at the sight of the wrapped box. “My present!”

Lin knelt next to her. “Yes. Happy birthday, little one.”

Sha Sha tore at the paper with soft, clumsy hands, exposing the sleek, chrome packaging beneath.

Tabitha gasped. “Lin, did you really?”

“What is it, mama?”

Lin took the box from her daughter and thumbed it open, slipping out the two circular, reflective surfaces inside. “These, are quantum mirrors,” she said, holding them up so Sha Sha could see twin faces shining back at her.

“What are they for?”

She handed one mirror back to her daughter, who set it carefully on the ground before her, and rubbed one tiny finger on the surface. Lin tapped at the reflective front of her mirror. “These surfaces have gone through a process called ‘quantum entanglement’, which means that they will always be connected, no matter where in the universe they are.”

“Connected?” said Sha Sha.

“That’s right. And if I change one of them, the other will change too, instantly, no matter how far apart we are.” Lin held the mirror up so that it reflected her face. “So if I want to say hi to you, I can press this button, and-” Lin pressed a small button at the base of the frame, and her reflection froze, becoming a still image on the surface of the mirror.

The moment she pressed the button, Lin’s smiling face appeared on Sha Sha’s mirror, too.

“It’s mommy!” Sha Sha cried out, and hugged the mirror as if it were a favored stuffed toy.

“That’s right,” Lin laughed, and coaxed Sha Sha to hold up her own mirror. “Any time you want to say hi to mommy, just look in your mirror and press this button, and mommy will get a nice picture of you.” She guided Sha Sha’s tiny thumb onto the button, and the girl squealed at seeing her face appear on the mirror in her mother’s hand.

“Lin,” Tabitha said warily. “How did you afford that?”

“I took out a small advance.”

“Lin...”

“Please, Tabi, just let it be for once.”

They played with the mirrors, transfering images of Sha Sha’s favorite toys. All the while the clock turned forward, and the duffel bags in the other room grew heavier and louder in the peripheral of Lin’s mind. When the knock on the door finally came, it shattered the tension like tempered glass.

Lin took a breath, cold adrenaline filling her lungs. “That will be Saul.”

Sha Sha sensed the change in atmosphere, and tears sprouted in her big eyes. Tabitha held her as Lin answered the door.

“Good day, Ms. Elder.” The man at the door stood over six feet tall, thin as famine and with a grin like death. He wore a black and green jacket with the back-to-back P’s of Pearson and Pyle embroidered on the right shoulder, and tight, blue jeans that made his thin legs seem unnaturally long. His cheekbones were prominent, giving his face the contours of a skull. Where his eyes had been remained only ridges of wavelike scars that poured down his cheeks like wax. At the center of his forehead, a black lens winked at the end of a cortical shunt that led directly into his brain.

“Are we ready to go?” he asked.

“Yes, give me a minute.”

“Of course.” Saul said. “The plane leaves in an hour.”

Lin waved him inside, then took Sha Sha from Tabitha, holding the sobbing child close. “Mommy has to leave now, darling, but remember to send lots of kisses and love with the mirror, okay?”

“Who is that man, mama?” said Sha Sha, peering over Lin’s shoulder.

Lin looked back at Saul. The constant movement of his head as he pointed his cortical lens gave him a strange, birdlike appearance. “He’s mommy’s friend. We work together. I know he looks scary, but he’s... he’s very nice.”

Sha Sha clutched at Lin’s shirt and cried some more.

“I have to go now, little one. I promise I’ll be back soon and send you pictures on the mirror, okay?”

Sha Sha just cried. Tabitha took her, and Lin felt that sick, cold feeling in her gut return like an old friend as she went to her room for the duffel bags. She slipped her mirror back into the side pouch, then grabbed one bag in each hand.

She hesitated for a moment, a spec of doubt tickling, itching like dust in her eye. Why was she doing this? Nothing was really forcing her to go. It would be a simple thing to get an earthbound job making enough money to give her daughter a perfectly prosaic life of safety and comfort. A mediocre, normal life. Wasn’t that okay? It was okay for hundreds of millions of families, why not her?

For a moment her mind was blank. She stood there, loosely gripping the duffel bags, staring at the wall on the other side of her bed. She was leaving her daughter, and she didn’t know why.

An instant later, rationalizations and justifications flooded her like reinforcements bursting into the room. Sha Sha would have a better life, mediocre was not good enough. It would only be a few years and then she’d have the rest of her life to make it up to her. It was so much money, it would make her a bad parent to turn it down. The college fund she could buy Sha Sha would get her into any school--

“Lin?” Saul called from the other room.

“Yeah, coming.” She hefted the bags and returned to the living room.

Tabitha and Sha Sha looked at her, one holding back tears, the other letting them flow freely. Saul took one of the bags from Lin and opened the door.

“I’m going to miss you,” she said, kissing Sha Sha's wet cheeks and smoothing her silk soft hair one final time. “I’m going to miss you so much.” She turned to her sister. “Take care of her, okay?”

Tabitha nodded.

“I’m going to miss you,” she said to Sha Sha again. “I...” There was nothing else to say.

“Goodbye.” She gave a final kiss, and followed Saul out the door, out of the house, and out of her daughter’s life.

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

'quantum' is a magic word that makes anything possible

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

Just post it you nerd

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

my eyes glaze over at the word 'protip'

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

forums are acting up, jj, your post is blank!

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

same

except from ecco

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

jk jk

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

chic i like how you included smells. people always forget to include smells. also ending on a cliffhanger there is a v good strategy.

dislike: (subjective opinion) present tense
dislike: (objective fact) switching between present and past tense

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

nice

have you read 'armor' by john steakley. you may like it

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

its up to us to vote him out i guess

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

also gj everyone, many good words on my screen

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

BottleKnight posted:

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

I'll allow it.

Diqnol is auto-voted out, but will still be on the endgame jury. Continue with critiques and comments and such and I will set a deadline for chapter 2!

good call imo

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

ecco you having way too many opinions is going to be really useful to everyone in this contest

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

dont worry about that ecco. my main worry is now that everyone thinks the mirror is cool i'll actually have to make it more of a focus

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

well poo poo ecco your gunna give me a fat head. thanks for the encouragement

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

hey so whats everyone reading? i just finished hyperion and am now reading (listening to) the new york trilogy by paul auster, who i'd never heard of until now, but sometimes i just buy books randomly without knowing anything about them or the author on a single recommendation from a friend. its v strange, and i like strange.

tell me what you're reading! ! !

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

jane eyre is good i read it a couple years ago for the first time. i have a friend who was always obsessed with it and she convinced me to read the first chapter, then i finished it

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

i guess only 2 people in this game about writing are reading books? ? ?


here is the next part

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




The car door shut after Lin with a muted thud, and the quiet, stale interior of Saul’s Mercedes somehow made her think of the padded walls of an expensive coffin. She snapped on her seatbelt and already regretted resisting the urge to slip out the mirror before putting her bags in the trunk. How long, she wondered, would she have to wait for a picture of Sha Sha to materialize on that strange surface.

The driver-side door opened and Saul slid into the leather seat. He thumbed the ignition switch, input the address of the airport, and the car pulled onto the road, crunching over fallen leaves on the frosty pavement.

They rode in silence for several minutes. Lin looked out the window, watching the neighborhood streets slip behind her and into her past, wondering how much of it would still be familiar when she returned.

“Shanette looked healthy.” Saul broke the silence, peering at her through his singular black lens.

Lin looked away. “Can you brief me on this now, or what?”

“Not yet,” said Saul, turning to look at the road again. “When we reach the training facility. They have high hopes for this one. They aren’t letting any hints out.”

That was the way with Pearson and Pyle. Ever obtuse, even with their own employees. It wasn’t enough for them to keep their formulas hidden, they had to keep even the idea of what they might be working on next a secret. So that left even Lin--who was not a chemist and had no way of knowing what they’d do with the information she gathered--completely in the dark until they had her satisfactorily isolated from the rest of the populace.

This upcoming expedition would be her eight planetfall, and her third for Pearson and Pyle. The company had been shockingly aggressive in their bid to steal her away from EdCorp, her previous employer, and once they had her, they made sure she never wanted to leave. The diverse and seemingly contradictory set of skills it took to be a field exo-biologist were hard to come by in a single person, and Lin and Saul were two of the best alive.

There were only several hundred field exo-biologists employed by private companies in existence. The job was dangerous, and required years of education--the kind which didn’t usually coexist with combat and survival expertise. For Lin, that drive for adventure had always been there. It wasn’t enough for her to know about the inner workings of alien life--she wanted to hold it in her hands, cut it open herself and be there observing how it experienced life and death. This kind of hands-on attitude was a requirement for being a field exo-biologist. Dropping into a hostile, unexplored world and surviving in the wild was par for the course. And she enjoyed it--not for whatever results her research produced, but for the adventure and the discovery. Whatever kind of drugs or other products Pearson and Pyle made with the data she collected, she’d never cared enough to consider. She did it for herself, and for the money. And now, for Sha Sha.

They rode in silence for a while. Lin watched the neighborhood outside transition into taller and taller buildings that flashed by faster as they pulled onto the highway. Everything blended into a grey smear, and she turned away.

“So what’s the time lag gunna be on this one?” she said.

“Two years,” said Saul. “You didn’t ask?”

She hadn’t. Maybe she didn’t want it to be harder to say yes, if the number was high. Maybe she just hadn't wanted to think about what that number meant at the time. Two years. Sha Sha would be five. She’d be reading, talking up a storm, and making friends in preschool.

“Not bad,” said Lin. “If the job is quick, we could be back in time to vote out that scam artist Nicholson, get ourselves a democratic president again.”

“Two years each way, Lin.”

The world froze around her for a moment, and her heart struggled to keep beating. Four years, plus however long the job took. She’d be away from her girl for longer than she’d even been alive.

Saul must have seen the look on her face. “Lin? Is something wrong?”

We have to turn back, she wanted to say. I can’t be away for this long. But even if she declined this job, there would be another. She’d already put Sha Sha and Tabitha through the pains of goodbye, what good was it for her to return now only to leave them again in a few weeks?

“I’m fine,” she said.

She felt the opportunity to stay shrinking behind her, receding further from reach with each breath until it was gone, somewhere behind the grey, towering skyline that enveloped her.


~


An hour later the acceleration of takeoff pressed Lin and Saul back into their seats. Lin watched out the window of the rising plane as the city shrank to dollhouses beneath them. She held the mirror in her lap, having slipped it from the side pouch before checking her bags. The surface still displayed the last image she and Sha Sha had taken together: the face of Sha Sha’s iDoll. It’s empty eyes and plastic skin seemed to mock Lin with their simulated humanity every time she looked.

“Give her time,” said Saul, noticing Lin’s anxiety. “She has probably cried herself to sleep. You will hear from her eventually.”

Lin nodded at what she knew Saul meant to be comforting, but the image of her little girl crying for her mother only made Lin more desperate to see a smile. Now, she could not picture Sha Sha’s face in any way other than tearful.

Time passed grudgingly as the plane crawled across the sky. The iDoll’s sterile forgery of a child’s face did not leave the mirror’s surface.


~


Tires screeching at touchdown. A girl sneezing on her in baggage claim. Outside, the impossible pyramid of Space Elevator Three rose to a needlepoint that pierced the clouds, continuing up--Lin knew--out of the atmosphere to Space Station Three above, where her transport awaited.

Four retina scans and a DNA check later, she stepped inside the Pearson and Pyle facility at the base of the space elevator.

Her assigned room, to be used during the briefing and training before the jump, was small and simple. It contained a single bed, and a locking trunk for personal items. There was one wallscreen for announcements--she somehow doubted it had access to any entertainment--and a toilet and cubicle shower.

The sterility of the room was interrupted by a single object hanging on the wall opposite the bed, like a lone ship lost in a sea of frozen white. It was a small, wooden crucifix, and its incongruence seemed to draw everything in the room toward it, like a vanishing point. It pulled at her eyes as she tried to unpack, until she gave in and walked over to look at it.

The wood was dark and smooth from years of being touched--caressed in thankfulness, rubbed in anxiety. The tortured figure on the cross seemed to have a questioning look, his head tilted up at her as if to say “Well? What are you going to do with the life I afforded you?”

It made her uneasy. Not for what it symbolized, but what it meant that it was hanging there on the wall at all. This was not an object that one left behind by mistake. It seemed likely that whoever owned the cross was not returning, and would never return. The look on the figure’s face then seemed to ask a different question: “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”

Did she? Lin ran a hand over the rippling scars on her arm. She’d been close to death before. Being at what you perceived to be the very end gave one a perspective that not many gained so early in life. Your time in this world was short, so short, and every minute of it was a literal gift--from God, the universe, chance--and not to be taken for granted. In that moment, with her skin melting like butter, pouring onto her boots and pants in sizzling drops, she felt the void hurtling toward her, and thought of her daughter. She’d sworn if she somehow made it out alive, she’d never go on another expedition--never put herself in such danger again--and risk leaving Sha Sha without a mother.

But she was doing it now. Somehow that urgency was gone. Or, not gone, but pushed aside--ignored, in favor of the bigger picture. There is no reward without risk.

“I know what I’m doing,” she said aloud. Lin lifted the cross from the wall and put it in the bottom of the trunk, out of mind.

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

hyperion was pretty great. lots of interesting ideas, and i loved the structure of the story--a bunch of travelers on a ship all taking turns telling their story of where they are and why they are going to this one weird planet together. but, it ends in a frustrating way, which doesnt answer any of the major questions. at least now i know its possible to write an award winning novel without actually finishing the story!

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

lol bk love the av

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

you can do it! type for 30 minutes and get 500 ish words then post!

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

Meinberg posted:

I'm leaving to go see Neil deGrasse Tyson

i'm jelly

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

good song

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derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

welp

still gunna finish my story! contests are good for motivation, though, will be harder without a deadline :'(

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