Hildegard lives in a real-life dollhouse, surrounded by prop houses and actors who play friends, teachers and foster parents. Only one man ever seemed real, and after his disappearance, she’s had enough playing along. As Hildegard makes her final preparations to run away from home, a swarm of black clad soldiers appear, controlling the police and swarming across her home town. She can evade them for now, but after learning their mission, she decides to play along one last time, following them to Truman Academy, a lonely building on a freezing aleutian island. Hildegard knows it for what it is: just another prop, but not everyone feels the same way. Through the hell of endless drills and marching, Hildegard befriends the stealthy Grace and bloodthirsty David, and enlists them in an effort to unravel the plan of the man called G and his monstrous menagerie of inhuman soldiers.
“Doctor!” A student rushes in, holding a smoking walkie-talkie, and supporting a friend, limping on a bleeding leg. Islet jumps to his feet again, setting the injured student on the ground, elevating the leg, and shining a small flashlight across it.
“What happened?” I ask them.
“It’s G,” he says, never taking his eyes from Islet’s treatment. “We overheard the baggers, they formed up around him, somewhere near their comm room, and called in a chopper.” I scan the ground and snatch up a weapon.
“That’s where they had all the phones, right?” Grace says. “The one outgoing line.”
“Trashed.” The student groans. “By the time we got in it was just broken glass and charcoal.”
“If G escapes, we’re all as good as dead,” I tell the room. “And he has a lot to answer for.” They all look up. “So who’s coming with me to bring him in?” Some stand. Others raise their hands. “Grace.” I tap her on the shoulder. “Take two minutes to organize them, make sure they’re all healthy and armed.”
“Got it,” she nods. “He’s going to get what’s coming to him.”
“Islet.” I drag him aside. “We need to talk.”
“Uh, okay,” he nods. “What is it?” I listen to the murmur of voices and the clatter of equipment.
“I saw the medical staff.” He nods, making a show of listening. “Radiation suits.” His eyes roll down to his feet.
“You saw the bomb?” he asks.
“I saw enough to guess,” I say. “We all did.”
“I didn’t want to,” he gasps. “We were forced, we installed it at gunpoint, I hate-”
“I don’t care how you feel about it,” I say and shove him against the wall, “I need to know how big it is, what kind of detonator it has, and if it can be disarmed.”
“Well,” he gulps, “it’s tactical grade, I remember they said that, just enough to-”
“Get rid of the evidence,” I say.
“That was the idea.” He nods. “Even if we take the academy, they might-”
“They won’t,” I tell him. “G wouldn’t trust anyone else with the detonator, so we won’t give him the chance to get far enough away. Don’t get the wrong idea, Islet, I need to know if it can be moved.”
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Plotter vs Pantser: The One Thing You Must Know Before Starting to WriteBy Alexander Charalambides
Since the Age of Origin, one conflict, ever raging, has defined the world of storytelling.
The Pantsers, a legion vast, vibrant, and The Plotters with their tangled schemes, always weaving.
For centuries, there was balance, but then, amid the darkness of the Internet-
Okay, I’ll drop the voice. I have something to say, I promise.
Plotters and Pantsers aren’t really at war, in fact, you don’t really see them talk much, but their different approaches, the relationships between them, and what you can learn from both are what I thought I’d use for this guest post.
First, we have to make sure everyone’s on the same page.
What the H-E double hockey sticks are plotters and pantsers? (which my computer insists on calling panthers. Cool.)
A Pantser is someone who writes ‘flying by the seat of their pants’ meaning they sit down and go to it, usually without much of an idea of what they want beyond whatever originally inspired them. They usually talk about characters “talking” to them, writing prompts, and usually try to stay inspired by using music playlists or staying close to their influences.
By contrast, a Plotter plans their work before they start, and then tries to realize their plan through their writing. Unlike the Pantser, the Plotter tries to eliminate outside influences and randomness, sticking as close to the original plan as possible, living or dying by their design.
As you might’ve guessed, these two groups have cause to clash, and little way to settle disputes, since entertainment value (not technical skill, mind you) is completely subjective, and when it comes to writing, there’s always this nagging feeling that no matter what you do, you don’t really know what you’re doing, and whatever good stuff you produce is a product of slapping your keyboard at random, leading to the sort of defensiveness that can get people into Internet Arguments.
Pantsers are clueless amateurs, or Plotters don’t care about fun or expression.
Naturally, neither of these are true, and if you’ve never heard either of these accusations before, count yourself lucky.
So what can we learn from these two tribes? Wasn’t that the whole point of this post?
This is the part where I admit to being a fairly strict Plotter, purely because I think it’s important to try my best to filter and structure things so as to not waste anyone’s time.
I organize a novel on at least two separate levels of detail before I commit to any actual writing, and most editing I do is to keep what I’ve written close to my original plan.
So why am I talking about Pantsers at all?
Because I’ve learned from experience why Pantsers do what they do (mostly by accident), and one of my recent projects really suffered because of it.
I don’t want you to make the same mistake.
Some of you’ve probably guessed already, but I’m talking about fun. The goofy idea, the nugget of inspiration, the mis-handled theme you can’t resist trying to fix.
Writing takes motivation, commitment.
If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you won’t able to keep to a schedule and your readers will be able to tell. You’ll be stuck with the worst thing of all, a boring story.
He studied Creative Writing, and graduated from the Open University.
As a freelance writer Alexander enjoys storytelling just as much as editing and analysis, but often takes time off to enjoy wind surfing, do the sickest of motorcycle flips, wrestle with deadly animals and lie about his hobbies.
In 2008 he moved to the USA and now lives in New Hampshire’s beautiful White Mountains with his family and two dogs, Gwynne and Gimli.