n3m3sis43: (Default)
This is my writing journal. If you've stumbled across it, you probably know who I am. I'm always open to new writing buddies, so feel free to comment if you want to be friends. I usually don't bite.

If I don't already know you at least vaguely from somewhere, I've love if you'd drop a comment saying where you found me. I'm open to sharing my writing with just about anyone except my parents and my boss. My relationship with my parents is really weird, though, and all I need to know is that you're not related to me or them. :)


Opt-in Filters--let me know if you want to be added:
- Smut - This is mostly m/m and I don't write much of it.
- Blog - This is for people who don't hang out on Wordpress and would rather see my writey-blog links here.

Some of my writing (a lot of it's old):

Other places on the Internets you can find me:
- Wordpress - mostly wank about my process, fairly active
- Facebook Writer Page - mostly funny or interesting writey-type quotes and pictures
- Google+ Writer Page - so far, it's all blog links but I hope to improve

I'm also on Twitter and Tumblr, but I don't do much on there yet because microblogging scares me. I'm old.
n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
Your voice haunts me; it has since the first time I heard it.

I remember a car ride, my husband driving me and our then-toddler son to a picnic. The whole way there, you spoke to me in low, honeyed whispers. Your words flowed through me, and I had no choice but to take them down, tapping them out on my phone with fumbling fingers.

Back then, your words wove their way into my dreams and woke me each day before dawn. My own words were never enough, though I heard you as clearly as if you were standing beside me. I’d lock myself up in my office for hours on end, desperate to capture your essence on the page.

It wasn’t a labor of love, though I romanticize it now. Bent over my desk, my back in knots, I carried your tension, your shame, your self-loathing. Your story consumed me, and I hated you for it. My husband wasn’t happy. I was depressed, he said, hiding in my writing.

He gave me an ultimatum: Get help or I’ll leave. I tried.

The therapist found me “fascinating.” I told her about you, and exactly what part of my psyche you represented. It’s not unusual, apparently, for trauma survivors to separate themselves from their emotions this way, but it’s uncommon for them to have so much insight into the process.

I could feel you rolling your eyes.

Blah blah blah, you said, but you did your best to cooperate.

A few weeks in, you even finally let me give her your name, not that she could ever remember it. She always called you “that angry one,” as though that were in any way an accurate descriptor. I never told her what a privilege it was to know your name at all. Names have power, you know.

It was a power I shouldn’t have given her. When she suggested medication, I feared it would make me stop hearing you. She said that wasn’t how antidepressants worked. Besides, she asked, wasn’t I willing to risk a change in my writing process in order to be healthy?

I didn’t give a damn about being healthy -- but you did.

Take the fucking pills, you said. It’ll be okay.

It wasn’t.

Years later, the marriage I sacrificed you to save is ending anyway. The son who babbled in the back seat while you told me those first fragments of your story -- he hates me, and I can’t say I blame him for that. I spend too much time away from him, too much time straining to make out what’s left of your voice. My words were never enough to capture it.

They’ll never be enough to convey how much I miss you, Devin.

n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
As usual, I was fail at making the LJ Idol deadlines and had to drop out a couple weeks ago. Fortunately, Gary announced Second Chance Idol like ten seconds later, so I guess I'll be trying to make deadlines again pretty soon. Wish me luck?
n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
Randall shifted in his seat as the door swung open, noiseless on its well-oiled hinges. He leaned forward, the muscles in his broad back bunching. The solid oak chair beneath him didn’t creak in response to the movement. Under most circumstances, this would have pleased him; he seldom encountered furniture sturdy enough to support his bulk without complaint.

Now, however, it brought him no comfort.

The silence ate at him. It hung unbroken, tense as a held breath, as Devin stepped inside. The door made no sound when it closed behind him, nor did his boots as he crossed the room in slow, supple strides. He came to a stop only inches away, folding his lean arms over his chest.

He cocked his head to one side, the motion almost imperceptible. His golden eyes swept over Randall, studying him with clinical indifference. They held no trace of the sweet, unassuming boy he’d once known. Randall swallowed hard, his throat thick. “Devin, I --”


The words died on Randall’s lips, and a sense of unreality washed over him. Over a year had passed since he’d last seen Devin, but his lithe frame and exquisite features remained the same as Randall remembered them. Still, Randall felt as though a stranger stood before him.

He waited for what seemed like hours, an unpleasant pressure building behind his breastbone. Devin didn’t move; his face showed no sign of emotion. At last, Randall could hold out no longer, and opened his mouth to speak once more. Uncrossing his arms, Devin raised a hand.

Invisible fingers wrapped themselves around Randall’s neck. He uttered a strangled cry, unable to take in air. Devin looked on, his expression impassive. After a long moment, the squeezing sensation abated. Randall slumped in his seat, gasping. His vocal cords spasmed.

“Said ‘don’t,’ didn’t I?” Devin said, his tone even.

Randall nodded, feeling dazed. When his breathing had returned to its normal rate, he forced himself to sit up straight. He met Devin’s eyes, now wide and a bit unfocused. His features had softened, and for the first time since he’d entered the room, they betrayed a hint of his old innocence. Devin blinked once, his jaw tightening, and his gaze became stony.

“Tell me what happened to Eric,” he said.

His fingers numb, Randall massaged his swollen throat. The boss had shown him footage of the incident, much of it from Devin's neuro feed. Randall recalled with perfect clarity the taste of soot-choked air, the heat of melting sneaker soles beneath his feet. He'd watched, transfixed, through Devin's eyes as Eric's house collapsed. Flames licked its broken bones, the same brilliant blue as the fire that often flowed from Devin's fingertips when he'd trained on Ward Zero.

“‘Swrong, don’t wanna talk anymore?” Devin asked, his voice low and honeyed. With a single step, he closed the gap between them. “Seemed pretty fucking chatty a minute ago.”

Randall chewed at the inside of his cheek. “I… don’t know what happened to Eric.”

Invisible hands took hold of Randall’s wrists, grinding bone against bone. Pain shot through his brawny arms, white-hot and sickening. The smell of singed hair assaulted his nostrils. His heart stuttered in his chest and his whole body ached from the inside out. He opened his eyes, wondering when he’d closed them. Devin stood on the opposite end of the room, a large wooden chair in front of him.

Randall blinked; he’d been sitting in that same chair only an instant ago.

A wave of exhaustion crashed over him. He sagged against the wall behind him, struggling to make sense of the situation. All his muscles twitched at once, and he became aware of an odd tingling in his extremities. Randall jolted upright as the pieces of the puzzle slid together.

He recognized this feeling.

It had taken almost a week to subside, after the night of the storm. He remembered the flash of lightning, the shock of a sudden impact between his shoulder blades. His arms had trembled as the current coursed through them, shooting out of their own volition and thrusting Devin away --

Cool fingers brushed Randall’s forehead. He shrank from the touch, his thoughts returning to the present. Devin hovered over him, brow furrowed and lower lip caught between his teeth. The air between them crackled, and Devin averted his gaze. Devin stared down at his hand, a visible tremor running through him, and settled himself on the floor in front of Randall.

Randall dragged in a deep breath. “You… didn’t know you were going to do that, did you?”

“Doesn’t matter, does it?” Devin drew his knees up, hugging them to his chest.

Time doubled back on itself, five years falling away in an instant, and Randall saw a glimmer of the boy he’d once sworn to protect. Randall hunched over, the weight of his failure bowing his spine. He longed to reach for Devin, to pull him close and whisper soothing words into his hair. Randall quashed the impulse, folding his hands in his lap. “It matters to me.”

“That s’posed to make me feel better?” Devin spat, his fine features contorting. “Don’t give a fuck what matters to you. Just wanna know what happened to Eric, and you --” His voice cracked and he curled in on himself, tears glistening like dew on his dark lashes. “Won’t fucking tell me that.”

“I can’t tell you.” Randall licked his lips, resisting the urge to kiss Devin’s tears away. “I don’t know anything, and even if I did, what good would it do to tell you? It wouldn’t bring him back.”

Devin flinched as though he’d been slapped, a choked noise escaping him. He held himself very still after that. Seconds stretched into what felt like hours as he collected himself, silent apart from an occasional shuddering breath. At last, he lifted his eyes, and Randall repressed a shiver.

Only once before had he seen them so cold, so empty. Randall stiffened, recalling white walls bedecked with blood and brains. He blinked away the image, but others arose to replace it: the remnants of Brinkley’s skull strewn like stars over carpet the color of a midnight sky, and those eyes -- Devin’s eyes -- round and yellow as twin rainy-season moons. They’d held no remorse as he crouched at the epicenter of the carnage, regarding the crumpled form beside him.

Should’ve stopped when I told him to, he’d said. Asked him real nice and everything.

He’d done more than ask. The Board had tried its best to keep the allegations under wraps, but rumors spread like brush fire on the ward. They’d taken Brinkley at his word, hypnotized by his martyr’s smile, and Randall had done nothing to dissuade them. He’d done nothing but watch, fists clenched, each time Brinkley led Devin off to have his way with him.

His insides twisting, Randall recalled Devin’s last day on the ward. He’d looked far younger than his fifteen years, frail shoulders slumped as he followed Brinkley into the treatment room. As the door closed behind Devin, he’d glanced back at Randall, an unspoken plea in his wide, wet eyes.

Even then, Randall had done nothing.

He gritted his teeth, a familiar heat coming over him. He’d always worked well with the boys on the ward; even the boss had said so. If only they’d chosen him instead of Brinkley --

“Don’t know anything, huh?”

Randall felt the question, warm and silken on his sweat-chilled brow, before he registered its meaning. It lingered in his mind for only an instant, erased by the urgent press of Devin’s body against his own. Randall inhaled sharply, taking in the scent of soap and floral shampoo.

“Think you do,” Devin whispered, trailing his tongue along the edge of Randall’s jaw.

Devin moved his lips to Randall’s neck, teasing it with a slow, deliberate exhale. Randall shivered, pulse quickening and fingers trembling with the need to touch. His eyes rolled back and he drew in a ragged breath. Time stopped and the world around him receded.

“Wanna play nice, don’tcha?” The words were muffled, hot puffs of air on Randall’s bruised flesh.

Randall froze, his stomach rolling over. In all the times he’d bedded Devin, it had never been like this. Pliant and unresisting, he’d never played the aggressor. Was this the way he’d behaved with his clients, those men he’d slipped out to see at night when he thought Randall was asleep?

The haze of lust that fogged Randall’s thoughts began to dissipate. He grasped Devin’s shoulders, lifting him as though he were weightless and holding him at arm’s length.

“This isn’t what you want,” Randall said, each syllable an effort.

The color drained from Devin’s face. “Since when’s that ever fucking mattered?”

You wanted me, Randall thought, though he didn’t dare speak. You never told me no.

Devin recoiled as if from a physical blow, his eyes all whites. They narrowed a moment later, dull and devoid of emotion. His delicate nose wrinkling, he wrenched free of Randall’s grip.

He lifted one hand and sidestepped, the action so swift he seemed to blur. Randall hurled himself to the floor. Wind whistled above him; a large object sailed through the space he’d occupied an instant earlier. It struck the wall behind him with a deafening thud.

It echoed in his ears, accompanied by a sickening crack. Randall held his breath, glancing up to see the heavy oaken chair in splinters. Devin stood amidst the wreckage, though Randall hadn’t heard him move. His mouth quirked up at one corner, and he spoke in a soft, sweet voice.

“Never fucking wanted you,” he said.

n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
“Let go of my fucking son.” Murdock moves in close.

Can smell the stench of his carnivore breath, feel it hot on my face. Heart’s in my throat, stomach right behind it. I gulp ‘em back, keep my knife hand steady. Keep my eyes on his, searing blue and all but shooting sparks. World goes dim, him and me and nothing else.

“Let go of him, you Umani piece of shit,” he growls, like I didn’t already hear him.

I smirk, my arm still tight around the kid. “Gotta give me what I want first, General.

Course he can’t, not really. Can’t give me back the man I love, the man I lost. He’s gone for good ‘cause I tried to stall the war Murdock wants so bad, but --

Least I can finish what I fucking started.

Murdock glares, teeth bared. “I don’t have to give you anything.”

“Guess not.” I drop my gaze, focus on the blade. Blood wells up with just a tiny shift in pressure, almost black against the kid’s brown skin. Paints slick trails around the bruises on his neck. Kid’s silent, doesn’t move a fucking muscle. His eyes meet mine, calm as summer seas.

Air’s too thick, heavy in my lungs. Hands wanna shake, takes all my strength to hold ‘em still.

Murdock’s carved from fucking stone, a true Majerian. Folds his beefy arms across his chest and stares me down. “Why stop there?” He shakes his head. “Go ahead, cut deeper. Bleed him dry, for all I care. I don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

I swallow hard, mouth dry as desert dunes. “But he’s… your fucking kid.”

“He’s expendable.”

Kid goes stiff against me, lets out this little squeak. My hold on him relaxes and I stroke his hair with frozen fingers. Pulse pounds in my ears, throat closes up. No choice now, no way out --

Devin, sweetheart. Breathe.

I blink, remember why I’m here. Strain to hear that soft, sweet voice and let it ground me. Force myself to breathe in deep, be strong for him. I push the kid away, mouth one word at him:


“Everyone’s expendable,” I whisper when he’s gone.

I lift my shirt, reveal the wires bundled nice and neat above my shattered heart. Those ice-chip eyes of Murdock’s widen, fixed on my homemade bomb. His hand creeps toward his blaster and I grip my knife, white-knuckled. Raise it up and press its blade against my throat.

“Guess what happens if I fucking die,” I croak.

n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)

I can almost hear her lips purse, as though my name tastes sour on her tongue. Tension tugs at a spot between my shoulder blades, and I brace myself for what’s to come.

We’ve done this dance one time too many, and I know I’m in for a lecture; I always am, when she calls me by my given name. I linger at the window, prolonging the inevitable. It’s only once the sleek black car pulls away, my young companion safe inside, that I turn to face my fate.

“Yes, Lilly? I ask, meeting her glacial blue gaze.

With swift, efficient fingers, she plucks a vial from my living room table and tucks it into her medical bag. “I expect you already know what I’m going to say, not that it’ll make any difference.”

But she’s going to say it anyway, I suppose. My teeth clench against a retort, and the action sends a flare of pain through my newly set nose. I hold myself still, forbidding my face to betray my discomfort. It’s a cardinal sin, after all, for a man of my ilk to display any sign of weakness.

“It hurts, doesn’t it?” The hard line of Lilly’s mouth quirks up at one corner. “Good.”

“I won’t fire him.”

“Oh, of course not.” She snorts, crossing her well-muscled arms over her chest. “The last one tried to stab you on more than one occasion. What’ll it take before you let this one go?”

“They have names, you know.” Heat rushes into my cheeks, and I’m certain that whatever I’m about to say, it’s going to be the wrong thing. “You met Mosan tonight. The ‘last one’ was Jasen, and I hired him on your advice.” My voice rises in pitch, becoming a feminine falsetto. “‘At least take a Majerian boy this time,’ you told me. ‘They’ll talk less if he’s one of our own.’” I let out a gusty breath, raking a hand through my hair. “That certainly worked out well, didn’t it?”

She regards me with narrowed eyes. “You’re really going to blame me for that.”

“I’m not --” I pause and replay my own words. “I suppose I just did, didn’t I? My apologies. I only mean to say that there’s a reason I prefer Umani sidearms. They’re --” I glance down at the dark stain on my uniform shirt, and a ragged laugh escapes me. “They’re less prone to violence.”

“So I’ve noticed.” She lays a hand on my arm. “Sit down. You look exhausted.”

I open my mouth to protest, but her fingers close around my bicep.

“Yes, yes, I know.” She shakes her head, all but dragging me to the couch. “You’re Major Aidan Ellis, a fearsome Majerian warrior, and are therefore impervious to fatigue. Now sit.”

I do as she says, though I suspect it’ll only make her more insufferable. She settles herself beside me, her back straight and strong as a girder, and waits for me to state my case.

“What happened tonight, it wasn’t Mosan’s fault,” I say at last.

“He was drunk,” she says, each syllable clipped and clinical. “At a military ball.”

“He’s Umani." My pulse quickens, and I fight to keep the pleading note from my voice. "His people don’t frown upon such indulgences the way we do, and it settles his nerves. He suffers from anxiety, you know, and he’s little more than a boy --”

She lifts a hand, and my defense dies on my lips.

“It’s never their fault, and they all seem to suffer from something,” she says with a dismissive wave. “You’ve always liked the pretty, broken ones, and --”

She shakes her head and stares off into the distance. I know what’s coming next, the list of allegations. It’s difficult to watch me sabotage myself, she’s going to say. If I’d only held my tongue when the general baited me, or hired a female sidearm instead, I’d never have been demoted.

We’ve done this dance one time too many, after all, and I’ve long since learned the steps.

“It’s never your fault, either, is it?” She speaks slowly, moving to an unfamiliar rhythm. “You parade them about like exotic pets, with no thought for how it affects them. Do you think they don’t hear the whispers on the ballroom floor, or do you let them drink to drown them out?”

I flinch as though she’s slapped me. “They know the truth, regardless of the rumors. I don’t… indulge myself with any of them, nor have I ever wished to. I’ve only ever --”

My words catch in my throat, Mosan’s shrill accusation ringing in my ears.

You say you don’t look at me that way, but -- you get off on this, don’t you? I’m not a person to you at all. I’m just here to make you feel good about yourself, to inflate your stupid ego.

Once more I hear his screech, the crunch of bone and cartilage beneath his fist. I blink, my vision hazed. “I’ve only ever had their best interests at heart, haven’t I?”

She tilts her head to one side. “Have you?”

n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
It turns out that there's going to be another season of LJ Idol.

I tend not to actually write things for Idol when I sign up for it, but I'll give it a shot anyway. Wish me luck?
n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
The Voice in my Head
(inspired by Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat)

The words would not flow.
It was too hard to write.
So I stared at the screen
all day long and all night.

I messaged Alicia.
We chatted a bit.
And I said, "How I wish
all my writing weren't shit!"

My muse was away
and would not come to call.
So I wasted my day.
I wrote nothing at all.

So all I could do was to
And I did not like it.
Not one little bit.

Then I said, "What the fuck?
I don't care if it sucks."
I typed,
then deleted and whined to my friend,
"It's tripe!"
And I heard it.
The voice in my head.
And it said to me,
"What kind of 'writer' are you?
Your plot's full of holes
and your humor's not funny.
And nobody
likes your main character, honey."

"I know some good ways I could help,"
said the voice.
"I have some good crit,"
said the voice in my head.
"A lot of good crit.
I will give it to you.
"Your 'readers' will thank me so much if I do."

Then suddenly I
did not know what to say.
My word count was already low
for the day.

But my friend said, "No! No!
Make that voice go away!
Tell that voice in your head
you do NOT want to play.
It should not be there.
It will make you morose.
It should not be there
With your deadline so close!"

"Now! Now! Have no fear.
Have no fear!" the voice pled.
"My crit is not bad,"
said the voice in my head.
"Why, this could be
quite a good piece," the voice said,
"with a technique I call
rip-rip-rip it to shreds!"

"Fucking Christ," said my friend.
"Let's not do this again!"
"Gotta go," said my friend,
and she signed off IM.

"Have no fear!" said the voice.
"I would not steer you wrong.
I will beta for you
I will make your piece strong.
By deleting this poo
and then writing instead--
good words," said the voice, said the voice
in my head.

"Look at this!
Look at your ghastly word choice.
And your info-dumps, oh--
and your character's voice!
He can't talk like this, dude!
He can't say 'fuck' this much!
Oh, the sentence fragments!
And your 'worldbuilding' sucks!
And look!
This is not realistic at all!
But that is not all!
Oh, no.
That is not all..."

"Listen up!
Listen up!
Listen up NOW!
It is good to use words
but you have to know how.
I can teach you to write
things that people will read!
Just as soon as you scrap
this ridiculous screed.
You must shitcan this 'plot'--
your 'protagonist,' too!
And then with my help
you can write something new.
You can write something great
if you do as I say!
But never your way.
Oh, no.
Never your way."

That is what the voice said...
So I sat on my bed.
I sat there like a lump
and I wanted to quit.
Then I said to the voice,
"Fuck you and all your 'crit'!"

So I took a long nap
and I thought and I thought.
I said, "Are you helping?
Oh, no! You are not.
You're not helping me grow
or write something worth shit.
No, you are not helping,
not one little bit!"

"Get out of my head!"
said myself to the voice.
"I have to write now!
Deadline's Monday--no choice!
You tore down my plot
and my characters too.
You wasted my time
and I wrote nothing new.
You SHOULD NOT be here,
mean old voice in my head."
So I banished that voice
and I wrote this instead.

n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
I thought it would be fun to list the books I read this year. You know, because I don't keep track very well. This is based on my Kindle purchase history (which means I'm missing some I already owned or was given by my lovely book-pirating friends) and my memory (which means I'm missing some because my memory sucks. Anyway, here goes.

The scary thing is how many of these (5?) are books I'd read before. I clearly need new material.

(although my list of Kindle purchases says otherwise--I just need to read what I buy)

More or less in reverse chronological order:
1. Misery by Stephen King
2. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
3. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
4. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
5. Island by Aldous Huxley
6. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
7. Divergent by Veronica Roth
8. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
9. Allegiant by Veronica Roth (don't... just don't)
10. Crank by Ellen Hopkins (why do most of my work friends read YA, arghhhh)
11. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
12. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
13. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
14. A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin
15. A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin
16. The Half-Life of Planets by Emily Franklin
17. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
18. Tiger, Tiger: A Memoir by Margaux Fragoso
19. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
20. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
21. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
22. Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King
23. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
24. The Giver by Lois Lowry
25. A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs
26. The Talisman by Stephen King
27. On Writing by Stephen King

...That list is actually kind of short and sad. Oh well. I've been working 50-hour weeks since April while having a 3 year old and trying to write every day. And reading a million Idol posts. Let's not talk about how much of today's writing time I wasted making this list. Oops.

ETA: I decided I might as well keep updating the list for as long as I remember. And I also found some more books I had read this year and forgotten to note before. Oops.

28. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
29. The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern
30. Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
31. Middlesex: A Novel by Jeffrey Eugenides
32. The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists by Eleanor D. Payson
33. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (bleh)
34. Scars by Cheryl Rainfield
35. A Child Called It: One Child's Courage to Survive by Dave Pelzer
36. Mean Mothers by Peg Streep
37. Sharp by David Fitzpatrick
38. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
"We have to talk," Katie's eyes are hard and her brow's all creased up.

I nod and I try to look agreeable, but I don't say a word and I keep on brushing Daniel's hair. And I focus on the sweet floral scent of his shampoo and how soft his hair feels and the way it slides like black silk through my fingers. Katie wanted to cut it last year when all of this started, but I wouldn't let her. It's his pride and joy, or at least it was.

He won't be able to keep it up, Katie said, and you'll have your hands full anyway.

But my hands don't feel full, not with all I've lost.

"It's about Daniel," she continues, and her voice's so cold.

He doesn't react to the sound of his name, but I do. Because I don't want to talk about Daniel--not now with him here and not later, either. I know what Katie's gonna say, and I don't want to hear it. My hands won't stay steady and I almost drop the brush and it snags in Daniel's hair. And he turns to me with a small, hurt noise, and he's too pale and his eyes are big and shadowed and scared. But he's every bit as beautiful to me as he's always been, and for a second I swear he's there, really there--

And he blinks and the moment passes, and my heart breaks all over again.

"Sorry I scared you, dude," I whisper, and I lay a hand on his back. I can feel his ribs through his T-shirt and the too-fast beating of his heart. His whole body tenses under my touch, and I've gotta stay still 'til he relaxes. But then he leans in and rests his head on my shoulder, and I hold him close and breathe him in and remember how he used to be. How we used to be. And I remember those first awful weeks last year--how lost he looked and his endless questions.

What happened? Was I dead? Am I alive now?

One year and who knows how many tests and treatments later, and we still know so little.

Every thirty seconds and sometimes sooner, his memory resets and for him there's nothing in between. And he's quieter now with all the meds they've got him on, but those questions are still there and I can see them in his eyes whenever he looks at me.

Where'd I go? How long was I asleep?

But there's never any answers to give him, because even the doctors're stumped. It's a brain injury, they say, but they're not clear on the cause and I can't help because I wasn't around when it happened. They tell us it's a rare case and they look at Daniel like he's a puzzle for them to put together. But they can't find all the pieces, and they can't say for sure if he'll get better or how long it'll take if he does. It could happen tomorrow or in a year or not at all. And that's the worst part, that nobody really knows anything.

All I know is Daniel's gone, maybe forever, and I wasn't there when he needed me most.

"Jess?" Katie's voice is softer now, but she's not gonna let me ignore her.

"What is it?" I ask, and I'm so tired, all worn out from fighting so hard to hold onto what's left.

And I feel selfish saying that when Daniel's the one who's lost everything. It's not so much work taking care of him, really. Because it turns out he can take care of his hair and his showers and all those things just fine on his own as long as you remind him every day. The doctors call that procedural memory, and it means his body remembers how to do things even though his brain doesn't. So he can still tinker with his circuits and wires and stuff, and it makes him so happy and it's the only time he's almost him.

But you've gotta watch him so he doesn't get distracted and burn the house down... like he almost did the other day.

Katie twists a lock of her own black hair around one finger. "I think we need to consider... other options for his care."

My eyes well up and my stomach's in my shoes and I think I might choke on this lump in my throat. But I knew this was coming and I've gotta stay calm, so I wait to speak 'til my voice won't shake. "There are no other options."

"Jess." All the steel's gone from her now, and her voice's flat and kinda robotic. "He's not getting any better."

My arm tightens around him of its own volition and he lets out a soft little sigh. And there's no way I'm gonna abandon him again, not now and not ever. "He's--" My words come out all squeaky and I swallow and start over. "He's calmer, isn't he?"

Katie snorts. "More like catatonic." She shakes her head, and her dark eyes flash. "How long do you think you can keep this up? You're only nineteen, Jess. You're supposed to be going out to parties and... doing whatever normal people our age do."

"You don't understand--" I start, but Katie cuts me off.

"Understand what?" she demands, and her face might as well be made of metal except for the flush rising on her brown skin. "That you blame yourself for a breakup that wasn't your fault? Or that you're wasting your life playing nursemaid to make up for it?"

Her face's too close to mine and her breath's hot on my cheeks. Daniel squirms away and he huddles in the corner and makes himself small and I want to tell him it's all gonna be okay. But it isn't okay, and I don't know if it ever will be. And I want to tell Katie it is my fault, because I knew he didn't mean all those things he said to me, the last time I saw him before. I knew it was just a fight and I walked out on him anyway, and he never takes care of himself when I'm not around, and--

"Snap out of it, Jess," she growls, and she lunges toward me and I think she's gonna slap me. But she grasps me by the tops of my arms instead and lifts me onto my feet. She shakes me like a ragdoll and her long nails dig into my skin.

"H- he belongs with me, K--"

"Yeah, right," she snaps. "That's why you were on that six-week 'vacation' at your parents' house when all this started."

And she might as well have slapped me right across the face, the way that stings.

"You didn't break him, you idiot." Her arms fall to her sides and she stares at the floor, and I've never seen her look so sad. "I heard him yelling at you clear across the house, and I heard the front door slam when he left. He walked out on you first, and you were right to leave him when you did. He was broken from the start--"

"He's. Not. Broken," I hiss through gritted teeth, and that low, icy voice's coming from my mouth but it doesn't sound like mine. My blood's pounding in my ears and there's this crazy strength surging through me. And I'm shaking but it's not because I'm scared, and all of a sudden I don't feel like sweet, harmless little Jess anymore. I march right up to Katie and I stare her down and I swear I could throw her across the room. Daniel shrinks away from me, and he mutters something I can't make out.

But Katie doesn't back down one bit. "Well, he's not coming back, is he? Look at him."

He's cowering against the wall, and his eyes are bright with fear.

"Is this the man you love?" Katie won't let up, not for one minute.

And all my rage drains away in an instant, because that's a question I can actually answer. "Yes."

She hollers something back, but I don't hear what it is because my eyes are on Daniel. And he blinks back at me with this light in his eyes and I want so much to believe it means something. That this time it's him, it's really him and he's back for good. But I've been hoping so hard for way too long, so I swallow and I brace myself for the moment the light flickers out again.

But it doesn't come.

Daniel's perfect brows knit together and he clears his throat. "Don't fight," he croaks. "Please."

His voice's like a thousand rusty hinges but it's the most wonderful sound I've ever heard.

I throw my arms around him and I snuffle into his shirt and he holds me like he's never gonna let go. My hands tangle in his hair and now I'm the one with all the questions but I'm too busy clinging to him for dear life to ask them.

"She's right, y'know." His words're soft puffs against my ear and they make me shiver. "Did this to myself."

I'm drenched in tears and my head's spinning and I don't want to pull away, but I do. "What d'you mean, dude?"

"Might not want anything to do with me once I tell you," Daniel mutters.

He leans forward and he lets his hair fall over his face like he always does when he's ashamed. And it's so him it makes me ache, and there's nothing he can say that'll change the way I feel, and--

"You left, and I--" He pauses and picks at the carpet, and he takes a deep breath. And he leans his head back against the wall and closes his eyes. "Look, I fucked up, okay? Knew this guy..." He trails off, and he looks straight at me with his big wet eyes and shakes his head. "I don't deserve you, Jess. I wanted this."

And I can't think straight, because nothing makes sense. "You wanted this? To lose all your memories?"

"Not all of them." He sighs. "Guy wasn't supposed to take everything. Just--" His voice cracks, and my heart does, too.

Because I already know what he's gonna say, but knowing doesn't make it hurt any less. He cups my chin in one gentle hand and he plants a soft kiss on my forehead. And he whispers the words against my skin.

"Just... you."

Author's Note:
This story and its characters are fictional, but the idea was inspired by a real person. They did not teach me about Clive Wearing when I got my psych degree, and I feel a little cheated (especially since I'm still paying back my student loans).

n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
"There are architects and gardeners. The architects do blueprints before they drive the first nail, they design the entire house, where the pipes are running, and how many rooms there are going to be, how high the roof will be. But the gardeners just dig a hole and plant the seed and see what comes up."

--George R. R. Martin, on the difference between outlining and discovery writing

I'm only writing this because I can't finish my book.

It went so well at first. I banged out a first draft, sat back, relaxed--and then realized it was crap. Which I was okay with, because I hear this is a common problem with first drafts. I figured I was home free, since all I had to do was fix it in the second draft. How naive I was. One does not simply write a second draft--not if one is a discovery writer.

In the fabulous world of discovery writing, the process goes something like this.

1. Write your first draft.
This part is pretty easy, because the characters kind of just do things. You'll probably spend a lot of time asking yourself, "Why would he [or she] do that?" Other than that, things are good, your creative juices are flowing, you're thinking, "Wheeeeeee, I can do this! I can really write a book." If you're writing 1000 words a day or so, you're done in a few months.

2. Review what you've written.
Here's where you start to run into trouble, because this is when you realize 90% of your "novel" is character development. Say you've got a 100,000-word first draft. The typical novel has 250-300 words per page, so you've written a 400-page book with, at most, 40 pages of plot. Whatever plot you do have bears little resemblance to the story you thought you were writing.

3. Write an outline for your second draft.
To a discovery writer, outlining might sound like pure torture. It's not so bad, though--all you have to do is pick up the cues your characters have given you and develop them into a coherent plot. It's satisfying to see it take shape, and you're optimistic for your second draft.

4. Begin the second draft.
Oh, boy. Remember that outline you wrote? Your characters laugh in the face of it. Within a few thousand words, your plot's taken an unexpected turn, thereby invalidating most of your carefully thought-out storyline. You may still have a basic idea of where the book is going, but how you're going to get there? That's a bit of a mystery.

5. Regroup.
Stop expecting your characters to cooperate and resign yourself to the fact that they're going to do what they want, when they're damn well ready. Give up on writing "in order" and write the chapters in the order they reveal themselves to you. Attempt to determine what order everything is really supposed to go in. Practice deep breathing.

6. Panic.
At this point, you may begin to lose your mind. It's not unusual for your characters to feed you lines of story as you're waking up or falling asleep. While you're driving, in the shower, during sex. You have 200,000 words of random notes for your book but only six chapters in your second draft. Your characters lie to you. You argue with your characters. They argue back.

7. Repeat steps 3-7 as needed.
Do them in any order you please. Rewrite the same chapter five times. Whatever. It's not like you're finishing the fucking book anyway.

8. Realize that your "main character" is not, in fact, your main character.
In hindsight, this probably should have been obvious. Oops.

9. I have no idea.
I already told you--I wouldn't be writing this if I could finish my novel.

n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
I crushed my first Table of Doom (while I was working the first draft for Cliffton) and my last one was epic fail. I wrote half the prompts in like a month and then never got around to doing anymore because apparently my rewrite involves a lot of outlining and wanking about voice/character development on my blog and, um, reading?

Notice how I didn't say anything about actually writing parts of the book. Although I'm going to stop wanking and go work on my Calla piece now. And in hopes that it will force me to at least rework some scenes from the book, I am signing up to do one again this time. This way, I have to do at least 20 Cliffton pieces by August 28th.

Gah, why is "buttons" one of the prompts? I'm not rewriting that this summer. I'm not.

all the writerverse people have seen the prompts by now, so I'll cut it )

Instead of writing, I'm now looking at the prompts and deciding what scenes I will rewrite out of order.


n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
This is chapter 6 of Cliffton book 1. Some of it is vaguely based on bits of the confrontation in chapter 3 of my last rewrite. This time, it's in Kalen POV. Fun fact: this is the third version of this confrontation I've written, and the first was in Kalen POV, too. As always, concrit is much appreciated. Rip me to shreds. I don't mind. Warning for violence, rage issues and some language. Not Devin levels of language, but Brendan is very, very angry.

If you're reading Cliffton for the first time, here are the previous chapters so you can catch up:
Prologue | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

you wouldn't like him when he's angry )
n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Mustang and Huuuughes otpppp)
This is chapter 5 of Cliffton book 1. It's mostly new stuff, because my original first Brendan-POV chapter is going to get split and have parts of it used elsewhere. As always, concrit is much appreciated. Rip me to shreds. I don't mind. Warning for a tiny bit of language, not Devin levels.

If you're reading Cliffton for the first time, here are the previous chapters so you can catch up:
Prologue | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

in place of clever cut text )
n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Mustang and Huuuughes otpppp)
This is chapter 4 of Cliffton book 1. Some parts of chapter 2 from the previous rewrite are reworked here, from Wes's POV this time. I have not written Wes's POV in forever. As always, concrit is much appreciated. Rip me to shreds. I don't mind. Warning for language because Devin is there.

If you're reading Cliffton for the first time, here are the previous chapters so you can catch up:
Prologue | 1 | 2 | 3

writing Wes POV is hard )
n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Mustang and Huuuughes otpppp)
This is chapter 3 of Cliffton book 1. The first section is a reworked version of chapter 2, section 1 in the previous rewrite. The second is totally new. This didn't turn out the way I expected. I need money for every time I say that. As always, concrit is much appreciated. Rip me to shreds. I don't mind. Warning for language because, um, Devin.

If you're reading Cliffton for the first time, here are the previous chapters so you can catch up:
Prologue | 1 | 2

wherein we finally meet the insurgents )
n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Mustang and Huuuughes otpppp)
This is chapter 2 of Cliffton book 1. This is all new stuff. A couple people asked to see the library trip, and I needed a less expository way of explaining why Kalen and Calla decided to set off the bomb. As always, concrit is much appreciated. Rip me to shreds. I don't mind. No warnings that I can think of.

If you're reading Cliffton for the first time, here are the previous chapters so you can catch up:
Prologue | 1

it's a COOKBOOK -- okay, no it isn't )
n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
This is chapter 1 of Cliffton book 1. It's a reworked version of parts of my previous chapter 1, if you're curious. I've added in some details and worldbuilding -- hopefully it's enough. As always, concrit is much appreciated. Rip me to shreds. I don't mind. Warning for implied sexual abuse.

If you're reading Cliffton for the first time, here are the previous chapters so you can catch up:

Whose side are you on, anyway? )
n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Mustang and Huuuughes otpppp)
Here we go again. I decided to tear apart my 13 rewritten chapters and start over again because who doesn't want to read the same shit over and over a million times? Anyway, this is the prologue. As always, concrit is appreciated. Rip me to shreds -- I don't mind.

Ready or not, here it comes )
n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
Concrit much appreciated. This is chapter 11 of Cliffton book 1, now edited and hopefully beta-ready. If you are looking for the older version for comparison purposes, it is here Slight warning for minor violence. Also, this chapter took For. Ever. to write. Ughhhhhhh.

If you're reading Cliffton for the first time, here are the previous chapters so you can catch up:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

Can't we all just get along? )


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March 2017

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