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Startup Stock Photos

Since I’ve publicly expressed my resolve to write every day, it seems only appropriate to have some sort of equally public accounting of my progress. It’s easy to lose track of a day here and there if you’re keeping it all in your head, and too many of those make it start feeling like the entire thing is hopeless.

So, for the next (hopefully)  365 days, here is what I come up with:

1.1.17: Blog post. “… I’ve always hated the idea of New Years Resolutions. They almost always feel contrived and artificial, born out of a sense of obligation to social norms rather than out of anyone’s real desires or needs, and we all know that nobody follows through with them anyway. The idea is so prevalent that the “buy a three month gym membership so that you can start in January and give up in March” thing is a running cultural joke …”

1.2.17: Elder Queen background writing. “… She was a pretty girl, as girls always are in stories like these, and she was lively and clever as well. She and her family lived in a vast city, but although there were many other children around, the little girl spent much of the time alone. She tired quickly of other children’s games, preferring to spend her time climbing walls she imagined to be cliffs, hiking through gardens that were lush meadows, and building houses in the forest of hedges around her home. Her parents adored her, but their lives were busy in the way of adults’ lives, and so the little girl learned to be happy playing quietly by herself with the stories in her mind…

1.3.17: Elder Queen worldbuilding. “… Stroki are smaller than the average fae, averaging about 4.5 feet high, and their arms and legs are closer to human proportions. They have very long ears and very long fingers, smaller eyes and more prominent, pointed noses. (It is believed by many, perhaps incorrectly, that stroki navigate at least in part by scent). They are excellent trackers when they can be persuaded to cooperate. They are generally known to have short attention spans. They are one of the few humanoid fairy species that do not have wings; they are incapable of flight.
Stroki have no problems with the touch of iron or any other metals, nor do they face counting compulsions or most of the usual fairy hangups. However, they find it almost impossible to refuse a direct invitation to enter a home or share a meal, and are hurt by the touch of wool… “

1.4.17: Elder Queen worldbuilding. “… Much smaller than the court fae, ring fae are about three and a half feet tall, although they keep the same proportions as their taller cousins. They live in clans of between twenty-five and fifty members, in pockets of the Lands Beyond that are contained within rings of flowers in the Mortal Land. The ring fae are unique among the sìthe in that their courts don’t have fairy rulers; when a mortal enters a flower ring under the right circumstances, the ring fae pull them into their court and that person becomes their king (rìgh-sìthe) or queen (banrìgh-sìthe) for a period of time that can range anywhere from one month to several years. When the time ends, the mortal is returned to the Mortal Land once more, usually only a brief period of time after they left. Various courts within the Fáinne Sìthe compete to see who can lure the best rulers; the prettiest children, the most clever, gentle, well-spoken, and the like.

Because of this, the title of “banrìgh-sìthe” and “rìgh-sìthe” are given exclusively to mortals…”

1.5.17: Elder Queen character building. “… He also has no idea what he would actually do – most fairies that he knows either live somewhere in the Lands Beyond and just use the mortal realm as a sort of pantry for when they need something, or else they use mortals as a sort of a permanent power trip while they collect money and prestige and smug satisfaction…”

1.6.17: Elder Queen character building. “… So long as he is holding his talisman, Morad can manifest blue fire. He can control/manipulate both his own fire and any other flame that he can see – and sometimes, depending on the nature of the fire, he can sense it outside of his line of sight and exert crude control. He is immune to fire damage.
Morad can transform himself into flame and move around at will, although he never really does that because a) it burns his clothes and that’s inconvenient, and b) being sentient mobile fire is NOT VERY USEFUL …”

1.7.17: Elder Queen – Aoibheall musings. “… The legends say that a Queen of the deàrrsadh sìthe is born when the purest drop of rain lands at the heart of the most perfectly-formed flower in the Mortal Lands – and there’s some truth to that. Queens are indeed born with the rain, spun together from dewdrops and raindrops and heather and spidersilk and the light of the rising sun. Aoibheall has seen it happen twice, and while she’s not really one to make definitive absolute statements, the sight of a newly-formed Queen spreading her wings for the first time is the single most beautiful thing she has ever seen in her life.
She doesn’t know how Kings are born, but it stands to reason that the process is as different from the one she witnessed as it is possible to be. Kings and Queens complement each other through balance, not harmony…”

1.8.17: Elder Queen – Aoibheall motivations. “… Because each of the fairy courts is somewhere in the Lands Beyond, but fairies are specifically a type of creature who define themselves relative to humans. They have to come into the Mortal Lands every now and then for some of their rites, their rituals – the Wild Hunt for example, but most Fae don’t pay very much attention to what’s going on while they’re there…

1.9.17: Elder Queen character building. “… Aoibheall has been a queen of the deàrrsadh sìdhe, ruling over a Court in Craig Liath. When Ireland started industrializing, Aoibheall noticed the change in the air and went to go see what was going on. It was the first time she’d had any interest in going farther than her little country grove, and she had a hugely eye-opening experience. She moved from village to town to city, and then from city to city and port to port …

1.10.17: Elder Queen character building. “…Gwen has always been attracted to the “Jack of All Trades” idea, and ever since she was a kid she’s been taking time to teach herself strange and interesting things because you never know! Some of them are useful, some of them aren’t. They include but are not limited to: juggling, picking locks, flair bartending, calligraphy, a couple of slight of hand card tricks, playing the flute …” 

1.11.17: Elder Queen character building. “… She likes forming bonds – that’s why she doesn’t let herself form them easily anymore, because she likes the feeling of being close to people, but at this point she’s got a bad track record of the people she trusts leaving her…”

1.12.17: Elder Queen character building. “… Gregory really likes impressing people and showing off, which can lead to some rash impulsiveness. He also has the sort of stereotypical abandonment issues problem where he assumes that he’s not good enough and that people will abandon him, so he sort of tests them unconsciously to give them a chance to prove themselves unreliable. He is prone to cutting and running when things aren’t going the way he wants…”

1.13.17: Elder Queen worldbuilding. “… Everyone knows that fairies can’t lie – or at least, they think they do, although the truth is a lot more complicated than that. For one thing, many fairies can lie. Fáinne sìdhe can lie just fine, as can stroki, brownies, pixies, what have you. Triath sìdhe can lie too, they just can’t break promises. The only fairies that have direct problems with lies are the deàrrsadh sìdhe, and only the kings and queens of the deàrrsadh can’t tell any kind of lie without a huge consequence… “

1.14.17: Elder Queen worldbuilding. “… Anthra aren’t free shifters the way doppelgangers are, and they can’t take on other humanoid forms like changelings or mirrormen. They’re also not limited to one specific form the way the wereshifters or kitsunes or ravens are…”

1.15.17: Elder Queen worldbuilding. “… Significant here are the kings and queens, for whom the truth is more like a natural law like gravity rather than a judgment call. Kings and queens of the deàrrsadh face consequences when they lie, whether or not they’re aware of speaking a lie, which means that the notion of truth is being judged by some kind of external source. It doesn’t matter how they feel about it – which is where they differ from the triath, who only suffer consequences for breaking promises – which are relative to the triath’s own personal intention…” 

1.16.17: Elder Queen worldbuilding. “… It’s well-known that time works differently “In Faerie”, as though “Faerie” is one concrete place that can be talked about in those kind of broad sweeping terms. It’s not – it’s more like a bunch of blobs floating in the middle of a lava lamp, where some of the blobs touch each other and some of them brush each other occasionally, and some of them are always just completely separate…

1.17.17: Elder Queen worldbuilding. “… Magical pawn shops and antique stores are the stuff of legend for a reason; there aren’t very many of them, but once one’s made it’s pretty damn hard to unmake. They’re usually tiny pockets of Otherworld reinforced with overlapping layers of magic to make it structurally sound, impenetrable to unwelcome visitors, impossible to locate from the outside… “

1.18.17: Free Spirits character basics. “… Briana was intelligent, relatively quiet, the sort of third wheel in a group of friends who both wanted her to be more fun, but also enjoyed having someone to be able to easily look down on. She was an easy target for gentle mockery, but at least in that position, you know you’re a part of a group, and they’ll fight for you rather than against you when an outsider attacks…”

1.19.17: Elder Queen outlining. “… Gwen and Carter are chasing Parker through some random ass-backwards neighborhood in Boston. They just want to talk to him, but he bolted as soon as they knew his name and isn’t looking back. He ultimately takes advantage of a bottled spell and a thin place between worlds to open a Random Portal… “

1.20.17: Elder Queen outlining. “… Begin with Willow coming in to hire Gwen and Carter to look for her boyfriend. She reported it to the police and they told her that he’s a wanderer who she’s been dating for a couple of years, and that him bailing isn’t cause for the search she wants. She knows he’s fae, and a friend recommended Gwen; she just wants to know what’s happened to Parker, find out if he’s in trouble.
Jump forward to the present. Gwen tells Willow what’s happened with her boyfriend; Parker bailed and went to live with friends from college, was planning on moving to LA, and then he got eaten by a crocodile. Willow is not happy about the idea that her boyfriend wanted to leave her. Gwen is not great at playing happy therapist. Willow is not gracious when she leaves…”

1.21.17: Next Forgotten Roads sketch, CH1: “…Parker was a scrawny guy, built more like an awkward teenager than a man in his late twenties, and we found him huddled over a dirty pint glass in a South Boston bar. Between his build and the smell of cheap beer, I hadn’t expected him to manage more than some drunken reeling, but as soon as Carter called his name he’d bolted up like some kind of jackrabbit on an adrenaline rush.
Dumb mistake, there. No matter what you think is going on, it’s never a good idea to call someone’s name across a crowded dive bar. That kind of place makes everyone skittish, like the skeletons in the closets might be lurking at the bottom of the next glass. I guess the last thing you want when you’re trying to lose yourself is for some stranger to remind you that there really is no escape…”

1.22.17: NFR CH1: “… ‘For the love of God,’ I shouted,  ‘just stop and talk to me for a second! I’m not going to hurt you or make you do anything!’
‘Just tell her you couldn’t find me,’ he called back, scampering off again. ‘Tell her I skipped town!’
‘I’m not going to do that!’
Around another truck, and my lungs had definitely decided that they were tired of this game and my legs were starting to burn. Running around a park with a podcast and compression leggings is great, but playing steeplechase over gravel parking lots is a completely different thing. How embarrassing would that be, to refuse to back down and then collapse in a parking lot thirty seconds later…”

1.23.17: NFR CH1: “…’It’s just London all over again,’ he muttered almost too softly for me to hear. He reached his hands into the pockets of his dark green windbreaker, and I felt something start prickling the back of my nose.
I sneezed, and then again, and by the time my vision was done watering Parker was pouring a stream of glowing powder from a dented pocket flask into his cupped palm.
‘Parker, wait!’ I hadn’t even realized that Carter had caught up to us until he dashed past me, one hand extended in protest. ‘Don’t do that, not here!’
Too little, too late; Parker’s eyebrows rose briefly, but his hand was already moving, dumping out the shimmering substance…

1.24.17: NFR CH1: “…I spun around to see Parker struggling to pull himself up in the waist-deep water beside one of the strange living bridges about a hundred yards away. He had shed the illusion he’d been wearing, although he was either young enough or weak enough that it didn’t make very much of a difference; he stood maybe two or three inches taller than he had before, and was five or ten pounds skinnier as well. His face was leaner, his jaw bonier, his cheekbones more pronounced, his ears might have had a slight point. The most noticeable change was to his eyes, though, the disorienting oil-slick shimmer that now played over the dark brown of his irises.
‘I guess that answers her question of whether or not he’s human,’ I murmured. The flask of stardust had been a pretty strong hint, but Willow Deacon had told us that her boyfriend was involved in some things she didn’t understand, and I’d seen more than enough to know how easily regular old humans could get their hands on some fairly impressive magic tricks.
‘Garbh sìdhe,’ Carter agreed. ‘Probably a stroka in his family somewhere, and maybe pixie.’ ….”

1.25-27.17: Aaaand here we have the first lapse. Damnit! Oh well, pick up and keep going!

1.28.17: Blog post draft. “…I don’t like the way it seems like people are being increasingly encouraged to define themselves by one thing and one thing only. If you distill a message too many times, all you’re left with is a hollow slogan, and I feel like that’s a risk for people as well as ideologies…”

1.29.17: Blog post. “… I can and frequently do trip over absolutely nothing – in fact, I can’t actually remember the last time I tripped on something. It’s always just a smooth flat surface and then all of a sudden I’m face-planting…”

1.30.17: Practical Apiculture CH1: “… ‘Two days ago,’ he said. ‘Three people – Margery Anderson, Samuel Davis, and Gemma Harford, have you heard of her? Yes, of course you have, shouldn’t have asked – were approached by a man who claimed to be representing Christie’s, telling them that certain pieces were being auctioned independently from the rest of the collection -‘
‘Forgeries,’ Sherlock cut in, nodding to himself.
‘Exactly. It’s a series of sketches … three Vermeers, two Rembrandts, two Bosch … Bosches? Uh, one Cézanne and yes, one Picasso. The, erm.
Fillet au Chien.’
Fillette,’ Sherlock corrected absently. ‘1905, gouache on cardboard, yes. Interesting.’
He shot John a quelling look and brushed a pile of tabloids off of his desk, very nearly knocking over the remains of a Briggs-Rauscher oscillating reaction as he uncovered a laptop and slid into the nearest chair.
‘How long ago were the targets approached?’…”

1.31.17: Blog post. “…The problem with the sayings, though, is that no matter how well I think I understand them, now matter how many times I repeat them to myself, by the time any one of them is actually relevant it almost always feels woefully inadequate…”

January Total: 28/31 = 90% = A-

Next up: February!