Unseen (Series)

Update 4/29/17

Polishing. Here is a deleted scene that I’ve moved to another location and changed the context.

“Nice theatrics,” said Elizabeth, stepping out from behind a tree as though appearing from thin air, her long dark hair swaying.

His heart jumped. “I hate when you do that!”

“You could cloak too if you took the time to work at it in class.” Cloaking was a hallmark of the Cutters’ Guild, the skill that made it possible for the harvesters of Book to collect soul blossoms from the unsuspecting people of Haven. A trained Cutter could attune his perceptive energy to match the frequency of others. An exceptional level of empathy was required to understand someone well enough to see what they see, and shift their focus such that the viewer paid no attention to his surroundings, rendering the Cutter cloaked. Marcus had yet to develop much empathy for others.

He fumed but couldn’t sustain his ire, her smile already lifting his mood. They’d grown up together like siblings, his mother and hers being sisters. Marcus and Elizabeth had managed to stay close even after the arrival of curves and hormones.

“Look, cousin,” she said. “You picked a helluva time to throw a hissy fit.”

“I just couldn’t take it anymore. All day long, Mom was riding me about this Casting Fates thing. It’s bullshit, right? Then I go and throw a five, and now everyone is thinking I’m some sort of jinx or something. Oh look, there goes Marcus, the black hole of bad luck.” He stood still as she approached, like a mouse with no direction to escape.

“You and I both know the dice are a part of this whole place, of our history, even before Book had a name.” She wafted one hand above her head. “The choices you make are still your own. Fate or no fate, you have to live your life the way you want to.”

“Yeah, well. I don’t see how I’m going to be able to do that here. Everyone expects I should be something I’m not. I might as well live in the city and join the army or live like a hermit in the woods or something. If I stay here, I’m screwed.” Marcus dropped his gaze and scuffed his foot in the dirt.

“Still being overly dramatic,” she said, shaking her head. “You can’t have it both ways, you know. Either you don’t believe in the dice, and you don’t care, or you believe enough in them to let them ruin your life.”

“It’s not what I believe, it’s what everyone else believes.”

“Speaking of everyone else,” she said. “You realize you’ll need to apologize to your mom. She’s just trying to do the best she can.”

“Yeah, I know, the whole single-mom bit. And I had to go throw Dad in her face.” Marcus took a moment before continuing. They were comfortable with the silence between them. “I’m an ass sometimes, I know.”

“You got that right,” Elizabeth said with a laugh.

“It’s just that she gives up so much for me, and it’s hard for me to believe I’m worth that. Now the whole town is going to think I’m not worth it either.”

“Buck up, my little pariah. Be a good soldier and go make nice with your mom. Otherwise, she’ll come crying to my mom and they’ll both be up all night crying all over each other, and I can’t deal with that. Do the right thing, at least for tonight. Tomorrow you can figure out tomorrow. Okay?”

The words stung, but Marcus could always hear the truth from her. Tomorrow. He scuffed his foot in the dirt again and when he looked up, she’d disappeared, cloaked to his senses.

“I seriously don’t know how you do that, Lizbet, but when I do, you just better watch out.”

Update: 8/5/16

First book (second of three now?), focusing on Marcus, is nearing the end of the first draft. Here’s a deleted scene:

“Oh, shit!” He grabbed the top rung of the ladder and swung over the side.

“If I make it to Haven, I will wait for you,” Sally said.

If I make it to the ground it one piece, that is. As he steeled himself for the drop, visualizing crouching and rolling on impact, a flash of light caught his eye, a reflection of the setting sun on water. He leaped toward the light and held his breath.

***

The water wasn’t deep, and it didn’t do as much as he hoped to break his fall, but he survived, bloodied, bruised, and now muddy. The train rolled on through the station with another blast from the horn, and continued south, toward Haven. Marcus looked for Sally, but didn’t see her on the last car. Did she jump after all? An image of her mangled mechanical body impinged on his thoughts, but he discarded it. There was no sign of her along the tracks, safe, mangled, or otherwise.

He cleaned himself up as well as he could and made his way toward the station.


I’m thinking this series is probably just two books, Ferocity, based on events from the early European pioneer days of America when the Settlement (still needs a name) is founded, and Unseen, set in modern times when we see how the consequences of decisions impact others, sometimes for generations.

seeing is believing until believing is seeing

Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Ferocity – based on several previously published pieces on this blog. Current status: 0% written, initial planning only, see below.

Ferocity

  • Concept – What if you felt responsible for the deaths of your sisters? What if you had a special power? What if your child had a special power? What if you were captured by someone else who had a special power? What if you didn’t have a special power but those around you did?
  • Theme – Our childhood colors our adult perceptions. What makes us special makes us different. Acceptance of differences.
  • Writing Voice – thinking more omniscient first person narrator

Ferocity – Unseen Book One

Part One 20-25%
Family rolls into Buch am Forst
after hearing stories of how unique it is,
sets up homestead nearby in forest.
Silas sees Ferocity’s soul.

Part Two 25-30%

Ferocity in captivity.

Part Three 25-30%

Ferocity on the run – meets fog

Part Four 20-25%

Ferocity changes pattern so that souls
need distilling, needs other specials,
sets all special abilities in place.

First Plot Point

Ferocity is taken in by Silas, not willingly

Midpoint

Ferocity is forced to set up the first pattern,
that souls can be cut, used, distilled.

Second Plot Point
Ferocity has conversation with sisters (dead).
Opening HookFire and death of sisters

Pinch Point

Silas conscripts father into his gang.
Needs foreshadowing with poor crops.

Pinch Point

Silas threatens father, kills mother?

Ending

Ferocity sets up the fog and the
hiding, protects her daughters and
the settlement of  Buch am Forst,
formerly known as New Eden.

Unseen – based on a previously published piece on this blog. Current status: first draft 100%.

Update – May 30, 2014: Realized that Marcus needed a little jeopardy in his life, so I made a change that involved removing roughly 20% of the story. Current status: has restored nearly all of the deleted material with new material to piece the story back together. I’ve also added a character to provide a much needed outsider perspective and let us see how the role of the settlement on the lives of the city. I’ve also come up with a name for the settlement, Buch am Forst. More to come when I finish the first draft, now v2, and have had a chance to involve a couple of beta readers.

Update – June 11, 2014: Only two or three more scenes to write to finish first draft. After that, it’s on to beta readers. I was privileged to participate in a beta reading for a friend of mine. I found the experience to be mildly depressing. Overall I really enjoyed the book, but the impression I got from all the corrections I suggested seemed very negative. I’m going to need to thicken up my hide a bit.

Update – June 21, 2014: First draft finished. Time to dig in for a bit of editing, and then it’s time to find some beta readers, hopefully by the end of the first week of July. We shall see.

Unseen

Part One 20-25%

Setup: Intro hero, context,
what’s at stake, foreshadow

Part Two 25-30%

Response: new calling, journey

Part Three 25-30%

Attack: start to fight back,
last opportunity for new info

Part Four 20-25%

Resolution: conquer inner demons

First Plot Point

Cynthia’s test

Midpoint

Cynthia sets a new pattern

Second Plot Point

Cynthia restores pattern

Opening Hook

soul harvesting – death of a child

Pinch Point

Attack at the convocation

Pinch Point

Gregor attempts to force Cynthia to
set pattern to his specifications

Ending

Cynthia learns to control her
power and defeats Gregor

Update – September 6th
I attended my first writer’s conference this weekend, and while I don’t think writers necessarily make the best presenters, I’ve learned a lot, and think that overall, it was a worthwhile experience. I also attended my first ever pitch session, and they liked what I had to say about The Unseen enough to ask me to send them the first three chapters, along with a synopsis. I can hardly believe it! Now I just have to finish writing it and get some serious editing done on the story as well.

Update – September 11th
Since the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold writers conference, I’ve managed to find some time each day to work on the story, mostly by sacrificing some sleep, and have managed to add about 2000 more words, bringing the total up to 43k. Gee, only another 22k or so to go!

Update – September 24th, one year later
After working through the first draft of Cynthia’s story, I realized what I wanted to do all along is to write about Marcus. So I started working on the prequel. The work is coming along well, and I’ll be posting some more info about it another time. It is enough to say that Marcus will have his story, and for that, Cynthia’s story will be all the richer. For those keeping track, this story fits after Ferocity by a few hundred years and before Cynthia by about 20 years.

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