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The Shogun

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Just keep showing up! Worst case, it keeps the practice at the forefront of the mind, and you'll get better.

 

In the meantime, got into some character dev stuff with the lecture. Have new things to write about as I try to differentiate these characters from each other.

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On 8/6/2018 at 1:12 PM, Thrillho said:

Can we post various chunks on here, if anyone cares to read or offer feedback? I'd like to see what y'all are up to.

 

Yeah! I'd like to see what you all write, too!

 

Also, Nick Miller is my favorite real writer.

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On 6/8/2018 at 1:12 PM, Thrillho said:

Can we post various chunks on here, if anyone cares to read or offer feedback? I'd like to see what y'all are up to.

 

I WILL READ THEM SO SO EAGERLY and will also feedback for plot and structure but grammar is witchcraft and honestly if I can get a goat sacrifice I'll try for it but like...tl;dr will read for fun and no profit.

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So, right now I'm just doing short little snippet write ups to capture voice and such. They aren't really plotful or anything, but I can leave 'em here. They hopefully sound different enough.

 

Spoiler

Unlike most vampires, I do not snub the new technology. I have a library of apps and a smartphone to use them with, and I must admit that it’s a convenient device.

But the reason I keep shelves full of books is that there are some things you just can’t get via an online bookstore.

My shelves are lined with old grimoires, bindings faded and threadbare with titles gone. I do not need them anyway; I have learned them well enough. Or at the very least done a good enough job of learning where to store them that I can find what I need quickly.

Incidentally, things will become very different if the day ever comes that these things become as easily available as they are now. It’s rare for a tome to have its own defenses, but certainly most of what’s out there now could cause chaos if unleashed.

Of course, most people couldn’t do any damage with it. The formulae are only useful to people who have Mana circuits, and those are few and far between.

Although, suppose that we found a way to implant circuits into smart devices. And suppose that we set up an app for their use.

Now wouldn’t that be something?

It might not be bad to talk to some of my contacts in the field to see if that was a possibility. We’ll need all the help we can get for this revolution against Lord Malcolm, and there’s no reason for the humans not to help us.

Of course, I imagine that the allies I gather would probably have much to say about that. But they can be a problem later. I’ll trade the problems of a free people for a captive one any day.

The shelves are stacked with books, but there are other things as well. Various fetishes, tools, things that might not mean much to anyone else but are useful tools in spellcasting. There are various crystals for focusing magical energy, the skull of an old enemy, bits and pieces here and there of a chemistry set with some antique pieces that are too dangerous for continuous human use.

 

Spoiler

I’m kind of ashamed of myself that I have enough possessions to put on a shelf that I actually, you know, need a shelf. It’s sad. Really gets in the way of my whole warrior ascetic motif thing I have going on.

I mean, I have a floor bed and I keep a set of stall bars on the wall, but beyond that I don’t really have a lot. Or at least, that’s what I thought.

The shelf is full of books that I can’t easily get rid of. These are books that, for one thing, have a lot of value in and of themselves. But if I can’t find a way to digitize them and get rid of them for space-saving purposes, then I have to keep them. It’s been difficult, honestly, trying to find a way to get that whole project sorted. I have a wishlist where I used to have a library.

Of course, it’s not just a book shelf. It also has a couple of board games that I like a lot. I’m a big fan of Settlers, and there’s one other that I kickstarted but I never got the chance to play it with anyone and nobody seems to be interested.

I keep a photo of my family up on the top shelf. It’s a small photo, just me, my mom and dad. I look up to it and I think sometimes that I can feel them watching me. I keep a rosary draped over it.

There’s only one place left on the shelf. It’s the last clean place, and naturally it’s full of dust. Kind of amazed at that, actually. Can’t really see how that happens.

I need to put something there, but I don’t really know what. Actually, as someone who’s trying to get rid of things, if anything I need to open that space up.

But that’s not exactly the biggest thing on my mind these days. Huh. I wonder what made me think of it.

I mean, it could be some deep hunger for a normalcy that never really was, or it could just be that I’m tired of all this crap lying around and taking up my space. I could put a punching bag there. You don’t know that I couldn’t.

 

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This thread has really reminded/inspired me to actually get my writing done. I was in a dry spell for months before I started reading through other people's processes/works, and it was enough to get my mind moving again. Thank you whoever came up with the idea for this thread. 

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Trying out a little something.  STARTING a story is always super, super hard for me, since I always feel like I NEED to cover EVERY preparatory base, when I really just need to... start the story, and maybe explain some stuff later.  So, quick question... does this mostly make sense?  (CW: violence)
 

 

 

1.

 

A bullet screams through the night, one hundred and thirteen storeys above the bustling city streets, and buries itself in the skull of millionaire industrialist Baram Mallory.

 

Before the twin sprays of blood and brain had finished raining down on the opulent rooftop patio, Oscar nodded in satisfaction and pulled his eye away from the scope. Confirmation was always the easiest part of his job; there was very little ambivalence when it came to determining whether or not an appointment had been kept. The sight of the unmagnified world came rushing back, and he could once again appreciate (and perhaps take just a little bit of pride in) the difficulty of the shot.

 

Baram Mallory owned, or at least had so recently owned, the top twenty-odd storeys of Triumph, the tallest and, in Oscar's opinion, gaudiest monument to excess of the four skyscrapers that bracketed, what else, Mallory Plaza. Triumph, Victory, Excelsior and Conquest, each taller than the next, and each one clad in linear but still somehow swirling deco shells of gleaming metal and black marble.  Triumph was draped in so much chrome that it was reputed there were always two crews at any given moment polishing the facade, ground floor to penthouse, day and night, rain or shine.

 

Oscar could confirm this was a lie. It was actually four crews, one for each compass direction, and one of those teams was going to have a hell of a cleanup once Mallory's molls gathered their wits and reported the crime.

 

“Crime,” Oscar snorted, dragging the monstrous rifle back from the birdshit-smeared parapet of the Chalmers Building. “That's a laugh.”

 

More than a mile separated the south-facing rooftop patio of Triumph from the north-facing clocktower terrace of the Chalmers Building, as the crow flew. Taking into account the slight declination, and of course the arc the bullet would take as it soared up, drifted west, and descended, Oscar had calculated it as 2033 yards, give or take the variation in where Mallory would have been sitting at the time. By any measurements, that was a hell of a shot.

 

His shot, Oscar thought. That's what they're gonna call it, someday. Oscar's Shot.

 

He stomped that thought down, grinding it into the rocky soil of his mind. There were precious few things in this world that could make him smile, but he wasn't about to add murder to that list. This was just cold, hard math. Metal and numbers, nothing more.

 

He shifted around, putting his back to the low concrete wall, and laid the tank-killing rifle flat. More than five feet long from stock to mole-snout, it broke down into three pieces that still required a full-sized suitcase to conceal. The five-pointed suppressor at the mouth of the barrel  looked like a collection of stainless steel funnels, and he'd be damned if he could explain how they worked, but he wasn't going to argue the point. The shot had come off like a dream.

 

In the back of his mind, he wondered where they'd find the bullet. The original weapon's ammunition had been designed to pierce two-inch armor plating at a half mile; the one he'd fired tonight was longer, heavier, and made from some material denser than pure gold. One single skull wasn't going to slow it down appreciably. Still, there were no comparably sized buildings on the line that spanned from the Chalmers Building to Triumph, and on through to the ocean. Barring some sort of massive ricochet, it was probably lying at the bottom of the bay right now, maybe a mile out to sea, maybe more.

 

Pity, he mused. Could have made some money selling that. The Bullet That Killed The Modern Age. I could retire on that.

 

His hands moved swiftly and surely, breaking down the rifle into its various components and slipping them back into the velvet-lined pockets of his suitcase. Two indentations for the magnificently-threaded barrel, one for the stock, one for the mole-snout, one for the ammo case, and one for the scope.

 

Oscar paused, holding the scope by two fingers, the eyelens already snugged into its pocket. Later on, when he thought back to that moment (and he would think about it a great many times, possibly more than any other individual snapshot of his life), he would come up with many guesses and theories as to what had stayed his hand, what had caused him to indulge his curiosity. He would consider fate, destiny, judgement, karma, divine retribution, or maybe the intervening hands of some ghostly entity that he'd wronged during his time on the Earth.  That last one pulled up such a huge list of possibilities that he'd given up trying to figure it out. It had just happened, and that was all that could be said.

 

Still, it would have been nice to put the blame somewhere.

 

High above him, the brilliantly-lit northern clock face of the Chalmers Building clicked smoothly from 1:07am to 1:08am. Oscar pressed his shoulder against the parapet, shifted his legs beneath him, and lifted his head a few inches above the lip. He brought the scope to his eye, resting the bolt-lock on the concrete for stability, and easily located the roof of the erstwhile richest man in the world.

 

Drenched in his own blood and ichor, millionaire industrialist Baram Mallory stood at the edge of the penthouse patio, one foot on the wrought-iron railing, and pointed directly at his would-be killer. Directly at Oscar.

 

There was no mistaking the pose, or the angle. Oscar could make out nothing of the man's arm behind that accusing fist, and its single outstretched finger. If they'd set up a stringline between the buildings ahead of time, Baram's gesture could not have been more accurate.

 

As though he'd been waiting for Oscar, the grotesque, steaming mass of red and black split to reveal a row of perfectly white teeth. Teeth that, moments before, had been so much enamelled shrapnel, ejected from a skull that had been liquefied down to the shoulders. Oscar couldn't hear him, but even through the dripping sludge there was no mistaking the single word spoken by those infamous, perpetually-smiling lips. 

 

You.”

 

-    -    -    -    -

 

 

“Baram Mallory.”

 

Rupe Tiller nodded. His nose might be permanently blossomed, his cheeks shiny, his teeth stained scotch-yellow, but his eyes were hard and steady. That went a long way with Oscar. He'd had enough of the stony-faced  honchos with the firm handshakes and frightened eyes.

 

That still didn't make those two words any less insane, so Oscar tried again. “Baram. Mallory.”

 

Rupe nodded again, and to his credit he didn't smile. Clearly, there was an understanding regarding Oscar's disbelief. “You know, he's been on the books before, in a way. Technically, he ain't ever been OFF the books, know what I'm saying? Someone like that, there's always gonna be... friction.”

 

“But you're bringing it to me now. This isn't a new appointment, but...” Oscar chose his next words carefully. “... the situation's changed.”

 

Rupe agreed by tossing back his drink. The appointment had been offered and received, and now was the time for banter and barter.  Couldn't do that on an empty stomach. “Yep, this is a new one, in a way, and it ain't no fooling. Three em, in escrow. Naturally, given the... nature of the appointment, timeframe's a little special. Ten days after public acknowledgement, with notarized notice given two days prior regarding the exact time and date of the appointment.”

 

It was Oscar's turn to nod, slowly, contemplatively. That made sense. Some appointments were notoriously tricky, by virtue of the people involved. Someone gets their brains ventilated in a parking garage, a hundred men are going to try and claim credit, most of them just for the exposure. Someone's house disappears in an oil tank explosion, or their limousine ends up crimped by a cement truck, you're going to have a hard time proving it wasn't just an accident.

 

Funny as it might seem, the post-war crop of lawyers had been a Godsend to the executive hit man.

 

“Deadline?”

 

“Good Friday.”

 

Oscar moved his hand away from his own drink. He didn't care for scotch, certainly not when it was ice cold, but it was all part of doing business with Rupe these days. The old quartermaster didn't trust temperate folks, or anyone without a vice; considered them unclean, and clearly up to something worse. Oscar could drink it when required, but at the moment he needed to keep his hands clasped. Righty was trembling, and it just wouldn't do to have the ice in his tumbler rattling. “Good Friday.”

 

“Yup.”

 

“With two days prior notarization.”

 

“Yup.”

 

Numbers raced through Oscar's head. “So they think you can just punch a millionaire's meat ticket with nine days prep and a two day note.”

 

“Not they, and not me,” Rupe said, with something approaching emotion in his voice. “They must think SOMEONE can do it, for that price, but I think YOU can do it.”

 

The fee was also definitely starting to raise some alarm bells in Oscar's mind.  Three million bucks, in escrow. Rupe wouldn't be sitting here talking about this appointment at all if he weren't damn sure the cash was good, and this wasn't just a healthy amount used to garner some special attention. Hell, this wasn't even retirement money.

 

Someone out there in the big black world, either a person or a committee or a board of directors or some other bunch of red tab brass, wanted the most famous man in the world dead, and was willing to put up enough money to buy the Presidency to see it through.

 

Oscar shrugged, grabbed his scotch and tossed the amber-colored kerosene back in one motion. Much too quickly for any uncertainty in his gesture to be noticed. “Why not?” he said with forced grandness, sweeping his arms back to take in the whole of the dingy room. “Yeah, why the fuck not. Spring's been slow anyways, and I get dusty when I'm not busy.”

 

Rupe frowned, and for the first time looked fidgetty. “There's gonna be some competition,” he warned.

 

“Oh, of course.”

 

“Not the friendly kind.”

 

“Yeah, I get you. You know, Rupe, after you make the sale isn't the time to start trying to talk me out of it. You sound like a shitty door-to-door, trying to upsell an icebox to your old lady.”

 

“I ain't talking you out of it! My commission would let me retire, too,” Rupe laughed, too loudly. His eyes swerved around to his own drink, and seemed upset there was none left. “Just... want you to watch yourself. It's going to be a sloppy week. Not everyone's as careful as you.”

 

Oscar didn't miss the implication. An appointment like this, a fee like this? There might as well be a mob armed with carpetbags and picket signs following Mallory around for the next week, all of them trying to figure out the man's habits, his routines, his weaknesses, and plan out their hit. Mallory would have to be an idiot not to notice all the sudden scrutiny, and he'd have to have surrounded himself with idiot bodyguards, to boot.

 

It would be impossible, of course. Mallory would bunker down until the attention blew over. He'd leave the country. He'd change up his routines, at the very least. Be unpredictable. He'd have multiple homes in the city, probably more upstate. A man like that could afford to employ a virtual private army. Anyone looking twice was gonna find themselves dragged into a convenient alley and have every extremity that could conceivably be used to pull a trigger very deliberately removed. 

 

Oscar frowned, as he did when a pleasant thought wandered unexpectedly across his mind, and then smiled. Rupe flinched; he found Oscar's smiles distinctly unsettling. “So, should I-”

 

Oscar nodded. “Send the papers to my office.”

 

-    -    -    -    -

 

 

 

 

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so @Thrillho I love the feel I get in the first scene.  You paint the calculated cold killer well.  I also want to know what the hell happened oh my god what why is that a cliffhanger.

I'm also a sucker for literally everything, especially the flavor you're writing with, so don't trust anything I say.

with that disclaimer, I really enjoy your setup, I love the world you're painting (at least what we can see of it from these snippets), and I want to know what the hell happens.  

 Am anticipating next posting.  That is all.  No pressure.

 

Edit: oh yes it mostly makes sense.  I think.  I would need more context and additional writing to be sure I understood what happened, like, did that thing I think just happen actually occur?  Like, seriously?? but yes I thinks I gots it.

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Context will be forthcoming.  The first... chapter or two-ish is going to be an anachronistic mess, MOSTLY on purpose, to sort of throw you into Oscar's shoes, disorient you, show you snips of the past and present (1916 up to 1933) and his mostly-sensible world suddenly falling apart. Also, the very first scene with Baram I KNOW is missing la mot juste to make it clear.  It's clear in my mind, but my descriptions are perfunctory now while I just TRY AND FINISH A WHOLE DRAFT FOR ONCE. Thank you!

 

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oh no don't worry, if that was your goal and what you wanted, it is coming through loud and clear.  Totally absolutely do the drafting thing; nuances can come later.  But what you wanted to convey to the reader and how you wanted them to feel is there in what you have already.  

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I'm playing around with the film noir concept of fatalism and the whole duel timelines thing seen in those films (Out of the Past, Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd that kind of thing) hopefully it'll work, snippets of a story coming soon, hopefully tonight sometime. 

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So I've been working on getting to know my protagonists better and somehow a scene appears to be developing. Will post when completed.

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7 hours ago, By365 said:

Wow it took me a bit to get this in the computer, here's the link to what I mentioned last week. 

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/16lN5YyKsG7gy8mwiaJggPX-lElW4bAcM5by30VQRPIE/edit?usp=drivesdk 

 

Also if anyone knows how to make that hidden content thing a quick walk through would be appreciated. 

hello!  I cannot get access to the thing, but how you do the hidden content is: look at the top bar, right above where you're writing your post.  At the very end ofthe bar (where it has the normal icons for bold etc etc) there is a little eye, next to a page with the magnifying glass.  It says "spoiler" but that's the drop down thing.  it gives youthe in post textbox you can throw your hidden content into. 

 

if you're talking about something else I am super helpless and also useless I am sorry.  

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*sneaks in*
Hey ... can I join? I'm mostly doing writing-for-hire rather than my own writing at the moment, because Earning Money, but hopefully I can catch a few hours this week to knock out a few solid chapters.

 

Thrillho -- definitely agree. The thrill of finishing the draft is an amazing motivator! I often find I'm better at fixing nuances anyway when I know what the whole thing looks like.

 

Kishi -- those snippets were amazing! Looking forward to the new scene when you post!

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Hey, the more the merrier!

 

Speaking of, though, dangit, I really fell off the wagon last week. Need to get back on it.

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Ditto.  I'm trying to bash down some ideas that have been clogging my head in order for me to focus on the next section of my serial, and TRY to finish the first draft of my contribution to the Collabor18 Anthology.

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took me too long to get this posted. oh well.

Spoiler

“You know I wasn’t born into service like most of us”

“Oh yeah” she says washing blood off of her axe, taking care to polish the eagle stamped on the side “I was born here, never left the resort before” the woman lights a cigarette as the heat of the Mojave sun begins to fade. Smoke floats around her face and fades into nothing above her dark hair, I'm ashamed to say that I forgot her name.

“I'm from the Midwest, my clan roamed from Minnesota all the way down to parts of Texas following our herds of cattle, You know I still remember the smell” I began to get nostalgic then “Horse shit, canvas, hastily cooked meals, and blood, that's the smell of home.”

“Where did you learn to fight like you do?” she asks as I begin to wash my metal gloves and boots, the eagles on my wrists shining bright.

“Everyone can, traditionally we all start training at age five”

“Why?”

“War follows our culture like the flies follow cattle, different tribes fight daily, theft of horse and livestock is almost a badge of honor, and clans fight for any reason they can think of, usually pride” It was a bloody and simple way to live, not like now which was just bloody. She began to say more but then the whistle rang out, and more blues were on to us. A group of four men smashes into the draw. Three recognize me right me right away and come towards me seeing red. Two came at me at once, one with a staff swinging low, the other going for my neck with a blade. I swept up on the bladed one and checked his attack on my iron wrapped forearm and he drops to the ground with a fist sized dent in his head. The other came at me fast, I just took the staff to my shin, even without the iron boots i could have taken that hit. I grin as terror flashes through his eyes. I slide up to him and take his arm away, wrenching it around i shoulder throw the poor sap hard into the last guy after me.

“Sorry” I say as I take them both out with a sweeping kick hard to their temples. I look up to see the wo… Lidia, that's it. I see Lidia check a blade on her shield and sink that axe of hers into the squad leaders neck. Crimson blood sprays everything as he fell.

    We bolt from the draw, frantically looking for someplace more secure up in the mountains. The cold desert night was approaching fast. Tucked behind a series of boulders we slide into a cave that had two other rebels hiding inside, seeing the eagles they welcomed us in. We all cover the entrance with brush and settle in around a small fire lit to stave off the cold. We eat, begin to talk, and eventually start on how we came into the service of his hammardness the master. Lidia is third generation on the resort. One of the guys we met, tall blonde and muscular, he was kidnapped by bandits south of Pittsburgh and sold to the master when nobody would pay his ransom. The other, a sinewy swarthy fellow, was a debtor who signed himself into service for a “mere three years”, that happened seven years ago now.

    My time comes around and I clear my throat

“ I was born to a tribe of nomads, Lidia you already know this, either way, our clan was called the burning sun so we got into a war with a neighbor, don't really remember who or why. Things were normal, skirmishes and battles, nothing surprising really, but we kept being pushed westward towards Colorado. Eventually i got shot off my warhorse and i was left behind”

“Brutal” Lidia says

“Not really, death in war is considered honorable or something. I woke up in bounds, having been picked up by scavengers looking for wounded to enslave. After I was well enough they sent me up to what's left of Detroit to fight in blood-sport. They loved me up there for a while. Won some matches, stayed alive, made and lost good friends in the pits. They eventually sold me off after I killed three patrons on an ill conceived escape attempt. Somebody too violent for the arena would be the perfect guard for the master right? The drunk fool”

    “Wait did I hear you right?” asks Lidia “you’re a former blue”

    “Yep”

    Blondie speaks up now “You're the coyote aren't you?”

    “No, no the Coyote is some jackass from Texas, can't even fight without those stupid guns, Lydia is right I was once a member of the king of fools forced guard, not the Coyote, or either of the birds, no friends you're looking at the diamondback”

    “Shit...” they mouth as the cave fills with uncertainty.

 

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So, I'm paranoid about posting what I wrote because I think it's gonna go in the longer work. I'll have something else up at some point, tho.

 

In the meantime, I'm working on some worldbuilding stuff. I haven't hit a dead-end yet although I've had to reconsider the scope of what I'm doing a couple of times.

 

So, still working on it, but nothing to share just yet.

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4 hours ago, Kishi said:

So, I'm paranoid about posting what I wrote because I think it's gonna go in the longer work. I'll have something else up at some point, tho.

I get that. I only like to post writing activities and not any content I'm planning on using, helps me develop tone and style. 

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On ‎6‎/‎1‎/‎2018 at 7:27 PM, chemgeek said:

Woot I totally need this. 

 

Someone yell at me to do my 30min of writing for today plz.

 

I have a lot of inertia a4ound writing... in that if I start writing I can write a lot but then I have a hard time starting. Plus I prefer to hand write rough drafts but I am not allowed to hand write too much anymore cuz I dislocate my scaphoid... bellow at me to quit making excuses and get used to typing please?

 

I would be glad to help keep you accountable!

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I have 3 story ideas that I think are great, but I am unsure about certain details so I am unable to move forward with any of them.

 

Wondering if anyone here might want to read what I have, and make suggestions?

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I have been doing freelance writing for so long that I have neglected writing stories I came up with. Chalk it up to the fact that I have 4 kids, so I need the guaranteed mah-mah-mah-money. However, that doesn't mean I have done NO original writing. Every now and then I eek out a song or a poem, or I might write down a plot idea. On days when I am in rare form, I might even outline a story from beginning to end.

 

In a way, I don't mind that the freelance work has kept me from delving into a full-blown story. It gives me time to read the outlines repeatedly so I can adjust things that don't make sense, or fill in plot holes. That way, theoretically, there should be fewer or none by the time I write!

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34 minutes ago, GeekWingChun said:

I have 3 story ideas that I think are great, but I am unsure about certain details so I am unable to move forward with any of them.

 

Wondering if anyone here might want to read what I have, and make suggestions?

 

Happy to! You can post 'em here under spoilers, or you can DM me or whoever expresses an interest. I make no promises as to the quality of my suggestions, however. :D

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