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Hey all. ^_^ I decided that if I'm going to be talking about my novel project in some detail here, it would probably be helpful if I started out by describing the characters. It makes sense to start the conversation with the characters since that's what I started my design project with. So here they are: Merru - This character is basically a male version of me. He starts out as a university student who thinks of himself as being extremely intelligent and having everything under control (yes he's a little conceited ). Then he finds himself suddenly in an alien body on an alien world not understanding the language and being treated like an animal. He first ponders whether he has lost his mind, decides that if he has he can't do anything about it anyway, so he might as well assume that he's really in alienland. He does NOT panic, as fantasy protagonists have such an irritating propensity to do. Rather, he calmly sets about studying the aliens and trying to learn their language (like the professor on Giligan's Island, if you like). What Merru has actually become is a Construct, a magically-created alien body with an animal's soul translated into it, used as a slave, servant, and/or pet. In particular, Merru has been constructed by the staff of the army's military academy and is intended to be the personal servant/partner of an officer. Being treated as an animal is a blow to his self-confidence, and being unable because of his cultural and linguistic ignorance to demonstrate his intelligence is even more disheartening and frustrating; but it's also unexpectedly, exhiliratingly freeing, like a second childhood. As he gets used to the situation he also realizes that he is lonely, and that somewhere along the way he lost track of his sexuality, because he can't yet read the dragons' (that's what he has dubbed the aliens) body language, and doesn't really consider any of them attractive because they don't seem like people to him. So this guy who was a playa is suddenly chaste and disoriented by this. Then he gets assigned to belong to Attranath. Attranath is the soldier. He is the bastard son of a nobleman and a common woman, and since these dragons have a rather rigidly caste-oriented society, this puts him into the no mans' land between nobility and commoners. Technically he's nobility, and his father could have recognized him and made the heir, except there was already a legitimate son. So as an unrecognized bastard Attranath gets to use his father's last name (only nobility have last, or clan, names) but he has to use the 'Bar' particle that marks him as illegitimate. Thus his full name is Attranath Bar-Televey, while his legitimate brother (a minor villain) would be Kayden Televey. In this culture nobility and military prowess are related, so Attranath enlist in the army, with the dream of being a glorious and honorable soldier and earning full nobility for himself, and thence the respect of his brother and the other nobility. (Merru's name, once he belongs to Attra, is Merru Con Bar-Televey, Con being a particle signifying 'construct of'.) But Attranath has two problems. The first is that his mental image of the ideal alpha male he wants to become (I'll explain that later) is a macho leader, whereas Attranath has a naturally submissive personality and is only happy when he's following a leader he respects and loves. Attranath hasn't yet figured out that this vision of his idealized self is not something that he can live up to, and even if he could he wouldn't be happy this way. Attranath's other problem is that he thinks being macho and honorable, etc. requires being straight. Which in a sense it does, since this particular arrmy has a rule against being gay and will throw you out if you get caught. Attranath doesn't think he's gay (major denial), he just thinks he's macho enough not to be obsessed with or easily manipulated by females. Of course he doesn't have a crush on his squad leader, it's just true-respect and a little bit of hero worship. Of course we the readers have a bit more objective point of view and can see the iceberg looming ahead whenever he eventually gets a clue. But meanwhile he loves being in the army because he likes following orders and he feels that he's making himself into a ideal man, and because his squad leader Bannis is really nice, and his teammates are becoming the clan/family he never had, etc. Bannis is actually being nice to Attranath - he likes Attranath's gung-ho, motivated spirit and obediance (a lot of these noble officer-candidate cadets are used to everybody deferring to them and hate to bow their crest and take orders from anyone). Bannis realizes that as a bastard Attranath is going to face a lot of mistreatment and prejudice that could harm his carrear, and plus he's just not that smart, even though he's got a heart of gold. To succeede, Attra's going to need all the help he can get, especially in the form of a good partner-construct (i.e. Merru). So, Bannis (who is btw straight as the proverbial arrow) has taken Attranath under his wing and thinks of him as his little brother, and a man who is going to make someone and excellent sidekick/right hand man someday - maybe even Bannis himsel, if he gets promoted to command. So, when Bannis gets his briefing with reports on all the constructs he can choose from to assign to his cadets, he gives the most promising-looking one, Merru, to Attranath. So there's Merru and Attranath, and it's hopefully easy to imagine how the first part of the book portrays them getting used to being partners and eventually becomming best friends, and their relationship dynamic, which starts out with Attranath as the owner and Merru as an animal, slowly reverses with Merru's growing ability to speak dragon, until Merru has become the leader Attranath respects and loves and Attranath has become Merru's staunch defender and sidekick. The third major character is Lieann Aravian. He's full nobility... but the problem is he's a beta male. I believe I mentioned Attranath is an alpha male. So is his half-brother, and Bannis, and Merru, although Merru as a construct might be considered genderless in the way an animal is, rather than having gender the way a dragon would. But the important thing is that he too looks like an alpha male - Tall, broad-shouldered, with the only feathers on their body being those that make up the cockatoo-like crest, and their vestigal wings having been converted to featherless bone spars encased in tough leather and useful for fighting. Originally all dragon males looked like this, and dragon-females looked somewhat like this too. But then there was a mutation and 'the most beautiful woman in the world' (think Helen of Troy) was born. She was the first beta-female - a throwback with a variant X chromosome that made her have feathered wings and be more delicately built than the original alpha-female dragons. This first beta-female was quickly siezed by a nobleman to be his wife, and half of her daughters were as beautiful as she and married off to other noble families, spreading the variant X chromosome throughout the gene pool of the nobility. Now, all of these beta-females have one variant X chromasome and one regular one. But some of them had sons who bore the variant X-chromasome rather than the regular one. These were still alpha males, practically indistinguishable from regular alpha males. And some of these males married other beta females, such that some of their children inherited two copies of the variant X chromasome and no regular ones. And these children were feathered and delicate just like the beta-females, but because the variant X chromasomes lacked some hormonal instructions, they were phenotypically male, genetically female, and sterile. And, almost universally, they were attracted to alpha males rather than either sort of females. So the typical idea of homosexuality in the dragons' culture came to be the image of an alpha male and a beta male as a mated pair (which is why it doesn't occur to Attranath that he might have a crush on Bannis - of course he doesn't, who ever heard of an alpha male liking another alpha male). So, since most alpha males can find something they like between the two different female genders, and since beta males are sterile and it's essential to the nobility to be able to produce a son, and because beta males can't inherit and thus have a difficult time getting political or financial power, and because most noble alpha males spend some time in the army and the army has a rule against homosexuality, very few alpha males are willing to take a beta male as a lover. So there aren't many beta males to start with because of the genetic distribution, and those there are are generally not taken seriously, mistreated, disliked, and lonely because alpha males won't take them as mates. Absolutely none of which Merru knows the first time he sees a beta male and goes, "Oh my god this body does have hormones! Oooh, I want one of those..." Lieann Aravian has experienced all of this. He also happens to be extremely intelligent, impatient with idiots (practically everyone from his pov), and used to using power because he is after all a child of nobility. So Lieann is used to being lonely, and perfectly aware that he is much-disliked. He responds to this by being misanthropic and unconcerned about others' feelings (which just makes him more disliked. He has learned to verbally defend himself with biting sarcasm, and is rebeliously defiant of society. He is somewhat bitter and jaded, but still has a healthy (if dark and a bit sadistic) sense of humor. He is particularly satisfied if he can shoot down an alpha male's machismo and ego. But on the other hand he _is_ extremely lonely and vulnerable to any alpha male who would be nice to him, he wishes he could find one who was actually worth his admiration rather than his contempt. Obviously this is going to be Attranath and/or Merru. And how exactly who meets whom and how the love story unfolds is the major question of the plot. So... anyone have any thoughts? Comments/questions? [edited by - sunandshadow on November 8, 2003 3:22:46 PM]

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I LOVE IT!!!! I have a question and a few comments though. First off, what genre are you writing, Sci-Fi, Comedy, or Fantasy? Here''s my idea. Instead of having it be a one pronged love story, have the lovers fluxuate, with Merru perhaps eventually falling in love with a female construct, and Lieann becomes angry, as Merru and Lieann were just begining to get close. Lieann then lashes out against Merru, and then Attranath, as Attranath is Lieann''s obvious competition, and the owner of Merru. Lienn''s desire is to take Merru from Attranath and use his intelegence (Merru and Lieann have had conversations) to make Lieann an alpha-male, thereby allowing him full royal privliages. This, however, wouldn''t change his mind, and therefore, his feelings toward Merru would remain the same. Durring this time, however, Attronath has also become close to Merru, although he will not begin to change his mind about how he feels. Perhaps as a humerous twist at the end, Lieann''s plan goes terribly wrong, and Merru gets the injection intended for Lieann. This, for some reason, gives Merru two X chromosomes, and the construct form changes around him. Because he has become so much a part of the dragon''s society, the construct form becomes his true body. Lieann is tried for his crimes of attempted murder, etc., and Merru and Attranath fall in love. Attranath is made general, and Attranath is made king, Merru is made queen, and the story ends. Good luck with your story.

Richard Veysey

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quote:
Original post by RichardMV
I LOVE IT!!!! I have a question and a few comments though. First off, what genre are you writing, Sci-Fi, Comedy, or Fantasy? Here''s my idea. Instead of having it be a one pronged love story, have the lovers fluxuate, with Merru perhaps eventually falling in love with a female construct, and Lieann becomes angry, as Merru and Lieann were just begining to get close. Lieann then lashes out against Merru, and then Attranath, as Attranath is Lieann''s obvious competition, and the owner of Merru. Lienn''s desire is to take Merru from Attranath and use his intelegence (Merru and Lieann have had conversations) to make Lieann an alpha-male, thereby allowing him full royal privliages. This, however, wouldn''t change his mind, and therefore, his feelings toward Merru would remain the same. Durring this time, however, Attronath has also become close to Merru, although he will not begin to change his mind about how he feels. Perhaps as a humerous twist at the end, Lieann''s plan goes terribly wrong, and Merru gets the injection intended for Lieann. This, for some reason, gives Merru two X chromosomes, and the construct form changes around him. Because he has become so much a part of the dragon''s society, the construct form becomes his true body. Lieann is tried for his crimes of attempted murder, etc., and Merru and Attranath fall in love. Attranath is made general, and Attranath is made king, Merru is made queen, and the story ends. Good luck with your story.

Richard Veysey


Hey, enthusiasm, that''s what I like to hear. ^_^ I''m guessing the book is going to be a fantasy romance novel with military elements. Which is odd because I myself read a lot more science fiction than fantasy, but I wanted a fairly low-tech culture which means they would have to be producing constructs by magic rather than technology. It will have comic elements because everything I write always has comic elements but it won''t be terry pratchett funny. I definitely want the lovers to fluxuate and the readers to be in doubt who''s going to end up with who. Using a female construct would be a problem though. See, normal constructs have the brains of animals, so they''re _stupid_. Whereas Merru is a genius. He''s definitely smarter than Attranath, and one of the things he finds most attractive about Lieann is his intelligence. So he just wouldn''t ever fall in love with a construct - it would seem like beastiality to him. Maybe with a female dragon though. Merru''s Constructor was an alpha female, and I''ve been trying to think of a way to work her in somehow, because she''s like Pygmalion, the sculptor who creates their ideal of beauty and then brings it to life.

I actually was thinking of having Lieann kidnap Merru. I was thinking that Lieann originally is in love with Attranath (not entirely sure _why_... >.<) and he figures out that Merru is the most precious thing in the world to Attranath, so he kidnaps Merru to try to blackmail Attranath. Which puts Merru living with Lieann for a little while, a great opportunity for Merru tobecome sympathetic with Lieann and possibly comfort/seduce him. So that would put Lieann in love with Attranath, Attranath (secretly) in love with Merru, and Merru sleeping with Lieann, nice and messy like a good love triangle should be. ^_~ Also, I like Lieann, so I''m not going to make him suffer at the end of the story - I was thinking it would be an interesting and rare enough twist to have the three of them end up together, as like a permanent threesome.

I suppose that Merru, as a construct, coud be re-constructed to look like something else; but I wouldn''t want to make him a girl. Attranath really is gay and probably wouldn''t be attracted to a woman, and Lieann doesn''t even like beta males, only alpha males. So if Merru got turned into a girl Lieann and Attranath would probably end up together and Merru would be left out, which is exactly what I _don''t_ want to do. As I see it, Merru is really the ingredient that makes this character dynamic special. Without him Lieann and Attranath would have a very typical irresistable force/immovable object dynamic, but Merru is like the monkeywrench in the works, or perhaps lubricant (ahem ^_~ ) - he is the one who isn''t homophobic, isn''t a virgin, is a playa, and likes to seduce and manipulate others (usually for their own good, but of course they don''t see it that way ^_^ ). Kind of like Albus Dumbledore, only young and sexy, if you can imagine that o.O .

Oh, and Attranath can''t be the king or whatever because like I said he''s a natural follower - he either has to follow Merru or some other dominant. Which reminds me about Dominion teams, which I didn''t explain above. Dragons live in little dutchies, basically a clan castle/manor house for the noble family and the village of commoners it overlooks. One of these is called a Domain. The ruler of the Domain is the dominant alpha male of the noble family, and he''s called the Dominion. But dragons have a leadership and family structure something like lions. The alpha males tend to kill each other off as teenagers, so there are more adult females than adult males, and you get polygamy. In order for an alpha male to have political power over alpha males he has to be stronger than them (for modern dragons this would be military/political/monetary strength, but for their primitive ancestors it would have been physical strength.) So it''s a major advantage for an alpha male if he can get another alpha male to be his right hand man. That would give you the Dominion, his Sub (a subordinate or submissive alpha male, occasionally a beta male) and some females, and all together this would be the ruling family of the clan, called a Dominion team. All of the members would refer to each other as mates (in the british or australian sense of the word where it means friends) and would specify which were their lover(s) by referring to these as Ardenmates. The dragon word for a casual lover is Ardens, while a permanent lover is an Ardenmate. So basically your ''mate'' would be your co-husband or co-wife and friend, but only possibly your lover. So a typical dominion team would be the Dominion (alpha male), his two or three wives (probably at least one a beta female), his Sub(s)(alpha and/or beta male), and maybe a wife for the Sub. Basically to the dragon mindset every relationship, sexual or friendly, has a dominant member and a subordinate member, and that''s the way things are supposed to work.

The army is an extension of this Dominion team concept. The leader of a squad is it''s Dom, and all the squad members are his Subs, at least in theory. But naturally some of these squad members want to be Doms too, so you get a constant low-level power struggle between them and the commander which is kept non-violent by military discipline and the promise of eventual promotion to command. You also get some squad members being dominant to others as a natural internal hierarchy (or pecking order) is established. (If anybody reading this knows anything about BDSM these terms undoubtedly seem familiar. Just keep in mind that when one alpha male is the dom of sub of another this is expected by dragon society to be a _non_-sexual relationship.) One of the reasons for giving officer candidate cadets Constructs is to give them somebody to practice ordering around.

Now Attranath, he thinks he''s going to win glory and promotion and become a Dominion or at least the Dom of a small family, but what he really is is a Sub looking for a Dom to be loyal to. He first latches onto his commanding officer Bannis, and then transfers his loyalty to Merru when their friendship becomes closer than his friendship with Bannis. So we have the odd situation where a Construct, who is supposed to be property, is acting as the Dom for his master, who is nobility and thus supposed to be a natural-born leader. Attranath has to learn not to be embarrassed by this, and he has to learn that it''s not wrong or perverted or whatever to want to be sexually involved with his Dom. And then there''s Lieann. Lieann is a beta male, and beta males are culturally expected to be submissive (there''s a proverb that beta males are 1/3 female), but Lieann is also spoiled nobility and impressed with his own intelligence - he would probably be a leader if anyone would follow him. But he doesn''t have great people skills, so nobody wants to (until Merru comes along). Now, Merru''s what you would call a Switch, capable of being either a Dom or a Sub depending on what his partner brings out in him. So he Doms for Attranath, but might Sub for Lieann or any sufficiently aggressive person. He would probably get frustrated from being either a complete Dom or a complete Sub for too long, and be happiest if he has a chance to do both.

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You have this so well thought out! You''re right, I forgot about Attranath''s follower tendancies, so perhaps because Merru belongs to Attronath, he can become king, and when I spoke of Lieann as a villain, I was getting him confused with Kayden, so I therefore thought Lieann and Attronath were brothers, which significantly screwed up my ideas. This could be a very interesting literary world, and I agree that you don''t want to bring any Terry Pratchet elements into your books (altough he is a great humorist, I''ve read the Color of Magic and am looking for the Light Fantastic). Hopefully though you have as many sequels as he does . The way you''ve thought everything out makes me almost certain that this could become a very popular work, and have that ever sought after fan base that demands a sequel. When you start writing, or if you already have, you should leave room for a sequel if you want one, by leaving some things unresolved. These can be minor points if you aren''t sure about your desire to continue, but still can have some influence later. If you have some of your novel done, I would love to see perhaps a page or two. Although you want it to be a romantic fantasy, I think the potential for great humorous scenes is great, and you must milk the story for all it is worth to get some great belly laughes out of the reader, without resorting to slapstick or ridiculous elements found in other comidic novels.

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quote:
Original post by RichardMV
You have this so well thought out!



Nah, if I had it well though out I would have started writing already. I have some of the pieces thought out, especially the characters, but the plot is giving me fits, and I need to work on the dragons' culture a lot more. That's why I'm posting about my ideas here, because it helps me work them out.


quote:

...when I spoke of Lieann as a villain, I was getting him confused with Kayden, so I therefore thought Lieann and Attronath were brothers, which significantly screwed up my ideas.



Ah, that would be a bit screwed up. Incest is a bit more daring of a subject than I want to tackle in my first novel. o.O The political dynamic of a romance between half-brothers would be fascinating, but you can only ask the readers to swallow so much, and I think a gay threesome with BDSM elements about uses whatever credit I have as a first time author.


quote:

This could be a very interesting literary world, and I agree that you don't want to bring any Terry Pratchet elements into your books (altough he is a great humorist, I've read the Color of Magic and am looking for the Light Fantastic). Hopefully though you have as many sequels as he does . The way you've thought everything out makes me almost certain that this could become a very popular work, and have that ever sought after fan base that demands a sequel. When you start writing, or if you already have, you should leave room for a sequel if you want one, by leaving some things unresolved. These can be minor points if you aren't sure about your desire to continue, but still can have some influence later. If you have some of your novel done, I would love to see perhaps a page or two. Although you want it to be a romantic fantasy, I think the potential for great humorous scenes is great, and you must milk the story for all it is worth to get some great belly laughes out of the reader, without resorting to slapstick or ridiculous elements found in other comedic novels.


I agree that there's a lot of potential for humor - Merru making faux pas until he learns about dragon culture, Attranath finding his own nature working against his plans and getting politically outmanuvered by various people because he's not the sharpest tool in the shed, Lieann plotting and planning and losing his volatile temper, not to mention a whole army troop to play the chorus... oh yes, lots of potential for humor. ^_^ Reminds me I need to think up funny characteristics for the soldiers. I know I want to have one who makes bets all the time, and one who worships women...

Sequels are an interesting question. I don't at the moment have any plans to write a sequal, at least not with the same characters - maybe with their kids or one of the beta males who's a minor character in this book or something like that. Kind of like C. J. Cherryh, where she has lots of books set in the merchanter-alliance universe, but they mostly all have different characters and can be chronologically hundreds of years apart. At the moment I can't imagine writing as many books as pratchett has, but it's supposed to get easier after the first one, so who knows?


[edited by - sunandshadow on November 12, 2003 2:26:44 AM]

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Sounds great! However, as Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg showed, you can make something awesome from the most simplistic, unoriginal idea and something terrible from a rather interesting, complex and original idea (yes, I know, they''re not exactly writers but they illustrate my point rather nicely). I am of course referring to Pulp Fiction and AI, respectively. As usual, the devil is in the details.

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HELLO EVERYBODY! Last I checked there were more then two people here on the forums, so why aren''t there more replies? I would like to see at least four or five people here expressing their opinions, too. Sorry, but I wanted to revive this as I''m still interested in this story.

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Very well thought out, I don''t care for the the anime-ness(is that a word?), or the gayness, but it is quite good. Hmmmmm.... this gets me thinking, maybe i should post my game storyline to get some feed-back on it.

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AP - Well I expect most people here not to care for the gayness, but what about the novel strikes you as anime-ish? While I do write anime or manga scripts sometimes, I didn''t _think_ I had put any of that into this novel concept... ???

RichardMV - Oh, well if you''re interested in the story I''d be happt to talk more about it. ^_^ Hmm, what haven''t I talked about yet... oh yeah, scent glands!

Okay, the dragon aliens have scent glands behind their cheek bones and at the base of their tails. Males (both kinds) have one type of scent and females (both kinds) have the other type of scent, and then there are smaller differences by which they can determine which individual''s scent it is. Scent-marking is done with a little ritual where the marker touches a fingertip to each of his cheek glands and then rubs the scent on a few particular points on the other dragon. Scent marking reinforces dominance and dominion-teams, e.g. Attranath regularly scent marks Merru because Merru is his personal property, and in the army you always have to mark your stuff (just like stenciling your name on your uniforms and other equipment). The Dominion of a family would regularly scent mark his mates and children, especially before they go to a political function such as a ball.

So naturally scent plays a part in the courting process, like it''s a very important moment when a lover first scent marks another, and it makes illicit liasions complicated because you always have to make sure you scrub the other person''s scent off. A traditional courting gift is a cloth strip (used to make a nest) soaked with the suitor''s scent - the idea is that proto-dragon-aliens used to scent mark their territory, and the nest is the last vestige of territory thus marked by modern dragon aliens. Also, dragon scent (probably harvested from constructs) is sold in bottles, and used to make aphrodesiac desserts (either cupcakes or candy balls, haven''t decided yet). These would be color-coded so people don''t accidentally eat the wrong one. More humor with Merru not knowing what''s up. ^_~

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Tirial - All forms of writing fiction and a few of writing non-fiction are on-topic for this forum, it says so in the forum faq. (I know no one ever reads these things, but humor me.) Basically in order to be a good writer of computer games you have to be a good writer of fiction, so writing fiction is what we try to help each other learn about here.

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What about this story is Anime-ish? Anime is just Japanese animation, not a specific type of story telling, or something like that. Unfortunately, the Japanese are doing something American film makers have forgotten how to do: USE ACTION TO COMPLEMENT THE STORY, INSTEAD OF THE OTHER WAY AROUND. A lot of movies these days have a weak story used to hold a bunch of good action scenes together. It''s as though the film makers said, "hey, I have some great ideas for some action scenes." Half way through filming they decide, "hey, maybe this movie needs a story to hold it together. And have you ever noticed I say hey a lot?" So they stick in little bits that communicate a story, and we end up with the Matrix, lots of great action scenes, and a mildly good story, communicated in a terrible way. Anime, on the other hand, often seems to focus on the story element, and less on the action, because there aren''t really "special effects" in the drawing of cartoons. Therefore you get a great story, with not much action, or if there is action, it usually falls drastically short of what could be found in something like The Matrix. I wish our American film makers could take a lesson from the Japanese, because I''m tired of watching a bunch of action scenes thrown together and called a movie.

Anyway, I really would like to read this as a novel, so my question is, why haven''t you started writing yet, and if you have, how is it going?

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quote:
Original post by RichardMV
Anyway, I really would like to read this as a novel, so my question is, why haven''t you started writing yet, and if you have, how is it going?


Do you know, you''re the first person other than my sister to say you want to read the book? Thank you, that''s very encouraging. ^_^ Okay, I have not started writing it yet. Why? Well... multiple reasons.

First, the last time I tried to write a novel I had big huge problems because I did not have a good plot outline before I started, so this time I''m trying to make myself outline the plot first. It isn''t going very well. I have a list of things I definitely want to happen, and another list of things that migth be cool, but I''m not having much success stringing these beads to make a necklace. (That''s usually how I picture assembling plot, with each scene being a bead and I have a dish of them and have to put them on a string in some nice order.)

Second, I''ve kind of gotten stuck making things happen with magic rather than my preferred science fiction; since I never planned to write fantasy and I haven''t read that much of it, and I just don''t think in fantasy terms, I''m having a difficult time working a magic system into my world-building.

And finally, I originally wanted to write a story about a threesome with the three characters I described above, because love triangles have such fun and interesting dynamics to write, but the more I think about it, the more I think I need to add a fourth character, because I think I need to have a true dominant to balance Attranath''s being a true submissive. But that gives me two couples, which is much less interesting than a threesome. >.<


I am making progress at getting these problems sorted out, it''s just much too slow of a process for my taste.

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Well, I''m willing to help with your book, that''s why I''m here. So, if you''ll just post anything you''re having difficulty with, I''d love to give you advise. Anyway, I am a fantasy writer with a first draft about three chapters from being done (you have inspired me to at least think about posting my own story here), so I may be of help with fantasy elements. Also, if you really want to have a threesome, perhaps we can come up with an idea together by brainstorming. It''s really surprising how many great ideas can be created by two people working together.

About your outlining idea: outlining is good for some people, but I feel that it is easier for me to write well when I have a very broad outline, in which much of the story comes from myself deciding how my characters would react to a situation as they come up. Usually I have an idea in my head as to where the characters will get, but interesting ideas suddenly will manifest themselves in my writing. I find that this tactic keeps my story interesting not only for the reader, but also for me. Just an idea.

I hope to see more of your ideas soon.

____________________________________________________________

official Necromancer of GameDev forums Game Writing section

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(God I hate this college with a passion... but anyway, here I type again)

SnS, if you listen to me only once, I think this one would be the right time.

I cant recommend you enough the Anita Blake novels by Laurell K Hamilton, or her newer series about Princess Meredith.

I really couldnt be arsed retyping all my post AGAIN as I just spent half an hour on it and it''s gone, so I am not gonna retype for half an hour just to be ignored. So if you want more info, I suggest you try looking up the website. Or you can email me and I ll explain in length why I think you could really use the read

In short, the author, a woman, explores very deeply the sexuality and the love relationships of her protagonists. "Menage a trois", sub/dom relationship, the dilemma of chosing between love and sexual attraction, and various other wonderful things are explored. I am pretty sure if you want to see a really interesting example of "how to do it", those novels are it.

Anyway


Sancte Isidore ora pro nobis !

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Thank you both for your kind offers.

Hmm... the part I need help with most is the plot, but I''m not sure how to verbalize either what I already have or what problems need solved in a way that would make any sense to anybody but myself. >.< But, let me give it a try...

1) I need to think of a political situation to be going on in the background of the story world. I _don''t_ want this to be someone threatening to take over or end the world. This is _not_ a save the world story, it''s a romance and a bildungsroman (coming-of-age-and-finding-one''s-place-in-the-world). I don''t want to write about people getting killed. A political coup or bloodless power struggle might be good, or something else entirely. If possible, the resolution of this situation should result in beta males becoming more integrated/accepted into society.

This would be where my fourth character, the true dominant (his name is Ravennin) comes in: he''s an ambitious visionary leader type so he needs to have some big compelling goal to struggle towards. Preferably something that he needs the other three characters to help him accomplish. Particularly, Ravennin should want Lieann''s aid for the reason that Lieann is a tactical genius, despite the fact that as a beta male he is inelegible to attend the military academy where Merru was constructed and Attranath is a cadet.


2) I need to think of assignments and exercises for my cadets to do. These must serve the purpose of showing the struggle to find a workable balance in the relationship between Merru and Attranath. Need opportunities for Merru to save Attranath''s butt and Attranath to look flushed with victory. This also needs to provide offortunities to characterize the other troop members, especially in their comic aspects.


3) I need to think of a sufficiently dramatic way for Merru to end up temporarily in Lieann''s possession - either Merru (maybe or maybe not Attranath also) is captured (why and how?) or Merru is ordered to seduce or guard Lieann (why and by whom?). It would be great to have an abrupt power reversal, e.g. the location is captured and suddenly everyone who was in charge is now a political prisoner.



Anyway, if you can come up with suggestions for any of that I will be grateful. And meanwhile, I''ll share some more of my worldbuilding ideas. ^_^


Soulbreeds - A construct is essentially a biological robot imbued with an animal''s soul/mind. Merru started out as a human animal, but most constucts stary out as some species of animal native to the dragons'' planet. Constructs are tagged according to this ''soulbreed'' so that their dragon handlers will have a general idea of how they can expected to behave. Dog constructs act like dogs, cat constructs act like cats, etc. Merru is at first mis-identified as a parrot because he is attempting to speak by imitating dragons, much like a parrot would.

Now, dragons don''t have animal soul/minds, but they do have soulbreeds - for a dragon a soulbreed is like a personality type or an astrological sign. (Hey baby, what''s your soulbreed? You look like a fox to me! ^_~ ) I would imagine Attranath is a dog or a horse, Ravennin a lion or a bull, Lieann a fox or a snake... who knows about Merru if he''s not a parrot. Maybe a monkey. Anyway dragons tend to use this totemic symbolism in making jewelry, choosing costumes for a holiday about soulbreeds, and coming up with visual themes for their ornamental body paint.

Dragons don''t wear a whole lot of clothing - the summer uniform for a military construct is only a loincloth/shorts. Instead they''re like some african tribes, they put on body paint for parties (and also wrap wires into their crest feathers). One outgrowth of this custom is the handprint party. This is basically an orgy where each person is given an ink pad of a different color, and you have to do some sexual favor to earn a handprint from them, and you try to get handprints of every color all over your body by the end of the evening. Sound like fun? Merru thinks so, especially since he''s much in demand when a beta male throws a male-only one of these. ^_~ One of these parties is where Merru first meets Ravennin, I think.

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Well, s/s - I gotta say I can''t wait to read the book. You''ve certainly gotten my attention! Anyways, while the gay stuff could certainly be hard to accept for some people, I''m pretty sure your characters will make it work. You''ve already got me liking all three of them and would like nothing more than for them to end up together (all three) happily. I can''t wait to see all the character development you put into this!!

Curious to see how Rav. fits in. Needs their help and respects them... but maybe a little put off by their relationship?

Still can''t picture the dragons - don''t know why... It''ll help to have a better idea of how our ex-human looks.

Geez, you''re looking for some nice answers to your three questions, there.

For the first...
Glad nobody wants to take over the world. It''s way overrated, anyways. For the coming of age part - who, in particular? I assume all the (main) characters will have individual growth, but are you going to focus on one in particular as the ''main'' character or just do all three?

Speaking of which... what point of view will this be written from...? If you said it already, I must have missed it. I skimmed one of the posts (hey, its late... )

Anyways, your second question will greatly depend on your solution to the first. If their is a coup attempt or serious power struggle in the works... then its not too hard - Rav. can be the one seriously contending, and Lieann provide some of the tactics behind it. Presumably, Attranath can get himself into some sort of trouble (picking the wrong side, ending up in the middle of something, making a bad decision) and Merru can help him out, endearing the two of them to Lieann, and Lieann to Rav.

The third... lets see... Well, with a power struggle going on, Merru could (again) easily end up in the middle of a very tense situation, possibly save Att. in some respect, and get himself sort of ''rescued'' (more of a motive/opportunity combination) by Lieann... and work from there.

An abrupt and surprise (even to the reader... or maybe some intense dramatic irony) would be great. Talk about turning the tables. Great opportunity to introduce change to the characters and see how they react under stress.

I''m still not sure how (really, why) all the construct stuff works.

MAN! Or, maybe, woman, I can''t wait to hear more about this.

You rock, s/s...

You''d better start writing! I want to read this!

-George

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Thank you very much! ^_^ Actually, I did start writing - about six paragraphs of handprint party which logically should go in the middle of the book, not the beginning, but it's something.



POV - I don't think I said. I intend to write in first person from Merru's POV, with lots of introspection and internal dialogue, for some of the chapters. From this you can probably tell that Merru is intended to be the main character, although Attranath is probably the one who does the most coming-of-age during the story. The other chapters will either be in first or close third from the POVs of assorted other characters, definitely including Bannis, Attranath, Lieann, Ravennin, and some random beta-males. Haven't decided whether Kayden needs a chapter yet. Or one of Lieann or Ravennin's relatives, perhaps. But no matter whose eyes we are looking through at ant given momen, the subject of that character's thoughts will always be one or more of the main four characters, and the book should focus about equally on them.



What is a construct? Well, have you ever read the myth or Pygmalion and Galatea? It's asically like that. Dragons have magic of some sort, and they used to keep other dragons as slaves, and one day (hundreds of years before the present time of the story) somebody sculpted a beautiful dragon and brought it to life by calling an animal's soul to inhabit the body. I was thinking of doing the Ursula K LeGuin think of writing little myths from the culture I'm creating and putting them in between some of the chapters; this myth of the creation of the first construct would be one, the first beta female would be another, and probably some about some of the main characters' totem-animals, and the holidays that happen during the course of the book.



What do the dragons look like? Well, Lieann looks something like these:
Clicky 1
Clicky 2

The alpha males would have featherless wings with no webbing either, broader shoulders, etc. And for all of the dragons, instead of hair there should be cockatoo-like crests.


How does Ravennin fit in? Well he is a true dominant, and probably a little bit of a sadist, while Attranath is a true submissive and a bit of a masochist, so I would imagine there would be an interesting and intense dynamic between them, which they probably both resist since Attranath is in love with Merru when he meets Ravennin... (I think...) Ravennin and Lieann are both full nobility, so there's probably a bit of a power struggle between them. And Ravennin will be puzzled by Merru, at first inclined to either feel threatened by or contemptuous of him, so he'll have to observe Merru for a while before he decides to respect him. For Merru's part, he isn't sure he trusts Ravennin not to hurt Lieann and Attranath, both of whom Merru is protective of. So the question is whether Ravennin is with Lieann before Merru and Attranath show up (not-so-happy arranged marriage for political reasons, perhaps?), and whether Ravennin eventually falls for Attranath or marries a female to start his dynasty, or what.


Edit: It occurrs to me that I had better explain that arranged marriage part some more. Now, Ravennin wants to be a powerful Dominion. To do this he has to have at least one submate that he can trust to delegate responsibilities to. But as a true dom, Ravennin had problems getting along with anyone else who is at all dominant, which includes most alpha males. So maybe a beta male was the only thing he could tolerate as a submate. But Lieann is not all that submissive himself, and not a masochist, so maybe Ravennin mis-estimated how well they would get along...

[edited by - sunandshadow on November 28, 2003 4:09:15 AM]

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Sounds a little off the wall to me.

It sounds well thought out and very detailed, but it just seems so off the wall to me. I mean, becoming an animal through some "soul transfer"? Seems really odd to me =P

Not a big over the top SciFi fan like that though.

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ACtually, the concept is used in Altered Carbon, a really cool sci fi novel that was released not so long ago.
They call the host body a "shard". It allows for faster than light travel, you simply leave your shard behind and get a new one where you land. You get pure human shards and you get cyber enhanced military grade shards, that sort of things Very cyberpunk concept.


Sancte Isidore ora pro nobis !

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I must say, I look forward to seeing what has been writen here almost as much as I enjoy seeing my own posts.

As to your questions...

1. (political situation) I think a civil rights situation similar to what we went through in the sixties except for beta males might work well. The beta males are tired of the oppresion the sometimes feel from the higher up alpha males and wish to have all the rights of alpha males, including being in the army and holding a position of dominance (nobility). This could lead to Lieann being seriously involved in this, and Ravennin very much opposed. Attronath could be in the middle, which could lead to an interesting scene later (an argument between Lieann and Ravennin, where Attronath says a hearty "yeah!" to every thing said by either of them, and at the end he still doesn''t know where he stands on the issue). A rally of these beta males could march on the place where Attronath and Meru are staying, leading Attronath and Merru to meet up with Lieann, and Ravennin to meet all of them.

By the way, what about your minor villain, Kayden? You haven''t said much about him.

2. (assignments for cadets) Do the dragons have other powers besides making the constructs? These could play a part in the assignments. Having the rallies could lead to assignment possibilities, with putting down a rally, and perhaps even heading into the place where the movement is headed. This leads directly to number

3. (Lieann getting Meru) Attronath and Meru, perhaps among others, can get captured by the leaders of the movement, among whom is Lieann (he is a natural leader, after all). Perhaps you can have Meru getting captured because he tries to save Attronath, otherwise he could have gotten out safely. This could introduce Attronath''s feelings towawrd Meru at just the right time. Then comes Lieann, who instantly decides he wants Meru, in more ways than one...

I loved your pictures, because they are entirely different from how I imagined them. I didn''t see them as humanoid, which made things very interesting when I thought of the romance dynamic. Keep up the good work; I can''t wait to see more.

____________________________________________________________

official Necromancer of GameDev forums Game Writing section

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Hmm, well the problems with a beta-male civil-rights movements are: 1) There aren''t enough beta males; they make up less than 1/10th of the population, and 2) I was never very interested in the various civil rights movements and wouldn''t enjoy writing rallys and things.

And no, I haven''t said much about Kayden because I haven''t thought much about him. The character I''ve been thinking about has been Ravennin. Remember I said that proto-dragons, particularly alpha males, were territorial and scent marked everything? And Ravennin as a true dom can''t get along with other alpha males? Well maybe he has a hormone/behavioral disorder, let''s call it hyper-dominance. He''s exactly what his society says an alpha male should be: a natural leader, decision maker, and fighter who will jealously defend his family and territory, and egotist who is magnetic and intimidating, and has a macho personality (often grouchy, never sad, main three emotional states are businesslike, amused, and annoyed.) And the problem is that modern dragon society, as I said, doesn''t have room for someone who is so strongly territorial. Particularly when along with that territoriality go berserker rages and jealousies.

What do I mean by ''berserker''? This is a trait observed in some humans, particularly from certain ethnic backgrounds such as Irish and German. A berserker is a person who ''snaps'' when they get angry; they have no rational control at these times and may feel as if they are watching themselves fight instead of actively, personally directing their actions. This is the sort of person, who, if they discovered their wife was having an affair, might murder the lover and possibly also the wife. This sort of person is often afraid of their own distructive potential because they know they can''t control it, may distance themselves from other people for fear of hurting them accidentally or because others are too great a source of the irritation that strains their fragile control. Feeling that they can''t control themselvees, this type of person may react by trying to control everything else and thus becoming a ''control freak''. When the term alpha-male is used to describe humans this is often the sort of human intended; they may also be referred to as ''neanderthals'' or ''cro-magnons''. You can see why the soulbreed symbolizing this type of personality would be a lion or a bull.

So, back to Ravennin. He knows it''s irrational, but he still just can''t stand other alpha males, and would find it difficult to socialize with one at all. So maybe he''s assigned to work with Lieann, because Ravennin can''t work with anyone else and no one else wants to work with Lieann. They don''t get along terribly well, because they annoy each other, but they can work together and have a grudging respect for each others'' abilities. Being constantly annoyed by Lieann is actually good for Ravennin because it helps him work on his emotional control. So maybe they have one of those ''love thy enemy'' stormy violent romances, where they screw violently, insult each other instead of saying endearments, and tend to bite instead of kiss. Ravennin being something of a sadist, this would have an almost addictive appeal for him, but he would be unhappy because how the hell did he end up screwing a beta male and what if people find out?! Lieann would feel just the opposite - proud that he has a gorgeous alpha male for a lover, but not happy with how rough and mean their relationship is. Thus, after a few months of this they''re kind of committed to each other, but at the same time Lieann is looking for a more loving relationship and Ravennin''s ego is insulted that Lieann isn''t satisfied with him. OH, and meanwhile they don''t have an exclusive relationship and Ravennin at least is sleeping with other people. Aaaand... enter Merru into the middle of their screwed-up relationship!


So, now that you know more about Ravennin, what kind of heroic goal might he have? I was thinking perhaps his father has several sons and hasn''t named any of them heir because that way they all have to be polite and obedient to him. But Ravennin knows that because he''s hyper-dominant his father wouldn''t choose him, and also that if anyone finds out he''s slept with a beta male he would definitely be disinherited. So maybe his heroic goal would be simply to establish his own dominion or marry into one that has no heir (Lieann''s???). That''s not much of a political situation though... Also, what work might Lieann and Ravennin be assigned to do together?

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