The Next Big Thing : Cylinders

I have been nominated to take part in The Next Big Thing, by The Last Krystolos (Lisa Shambrook). The Next Big Thing asks ten questions about a current Work In Progress, and I answer them as best I can. As Lisa did, I’ll use my NaNoWriMo 2012 story as the basis for the answers to the questions.

Q1. What is the title of your Work in Progress?

Other than “Not finalized at this point”, I have a working title. Cylinders.

Q2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea came from a lot of ideas, spread over 11 years. It started with an idea I shared with a friend back in 2002, or 2003. Of machines that took over the galaxy, and gradually caused the extinction of the human race. The machines realized they’d lost something when the humans were gone. Some intuition. Some emotion. They couldn’t define it. So they couldn’t recreate it. So, the recreated humans.

That though led to so many others. At one point, the humans themselves turned into machines, through genetic manipulation, breeding humans for specific purposes. The ideas kept flowing, especially in the past 2 years.

After NaNoWriMo 2011, it occurred to me to try something different with the concept of the machines. Battlestar Galictica always refers to the Cylons as the children of the human race. And I had this world filled with humans, fairies, dragons and magic, and this idea for machines that were intelligent, and had grown their technological abilities far beyond what we have today.

That whole idea collided with the divisions I see happening within our society now. The multiplicity of religions, sexual preferences, personal beliefs, and ways of life, and how divisive these differences have become.

Q3.  What genre does your book fall under?

I’d call it Science Fiction/Fantasy. I’m trying to remember what several others have called it. Something like Gothic Science Fiction, as I recall.

Q4.  Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Well… They’d be voices for the characters. This would have to make use of CGI. A lot. As for what voices I’d like for the main characters? This is gonna take a while. I’ve never thought about it at all… So this is very tentative… (as in, I had to write something…)

Mystica – Famke Janssen
Merlin – Alan Rickman
Scream – James Marsden
Sword – Chris Hemsworth
Rose – Amy Adams
Dream – Kirsten Dunst
Musica – Mandy Moore
Sunshine – Scarlett Johansson
Chrissy – Kristen Bell
Lilly – Zoe Saldana
Flora – Jennifer Lawrence
Fauna – Rose McGowan
Miss Hooters – Catherine Zeta-Jones
The Machines – James Earle Jones

This one took me a while… And I can change it all around, and use lots of other names…

Q5.  What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

The story of the world of Cylinders, where humans and their children, the machines, merge together, and fairies, dragons, and magic come to life.

Q6.  Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

More than likely, self-published. I’m planning to ask several people some questions about that. My doctor also thinks I should self-publish. So, I’ll have to look into that. Of course, now, I haven’t got any plan to publish. Somehow, I think that will be changing in the coming weeks and months.

Q7.  How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

28 days. 1 November 2012 through 28 November 2012. At that point, it was just a process of pulling the story out of my head where it had grown for over a year.

Q8.  What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

I don’t read much, you know. I mean. I don’t read a lot of fiction. I think I’ve read for books this past year. And two of those were collections of short works of fiction. I don’t count reading technology texts. Nor do I count reading science texts. Or the tons of news, science and technology I read all the time from the Internet.

I can safely say it does not compare to any of those. As for other works of fiction it compares to. I like to think of it as me recreating such works as Battlestar Galictica, Star Gate (all 3 series), and Babylon 5. I also think of it as an anti-Terminator, or anti-Matrix type of work.

Q9.  Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Oddly enough, NaNoWriMo 2011. That’s where I wrote the first chapter in this epic I find myself in the middle of.

Q10.  What else about your book might piqué the reader’s interest?

I took something Arthur C Clarke wrote (Any sufficiently advanced technology will appear as magic), and went with it.

That brings me to the end of the questions. Now, I am supposed to nominate five others for The Next Big Thing. This is my list of those five others. Tried to pick five I haven’t already seen listed on this. Hope any of them can respond. (:

Robin Sturgeon Abess
Miranda Boers
Sarah Aisling
Susi Holliday
Rebecca Grace Allen

Have fun. I did.

Mark.

#NaNoWriMo 2012 – Week 4 Clip – Dragon Knight

[My father wrote to me, after reading the chapter this clip came from. “I like Scream best of all.” How can I argue with that? So, I’m sharing a little clip with Scream in it. The last clip I’ll put up from NaNoWriMo 2012. Enjoy it in all its unedited glory.]

Scream heard Merlin’s words. “It’s time.” He knew what Merlin meant. The dragons had spread the word of the fairy Fauna’s death. Every dragon knew what the invaders had done. Every dragon knew of the loss of one of the White Witch’s daughters. Every dragon knew the end of the war was approaching. The White Witch would soon strike.

Every dragon knew it was time. Dragons everywhere turned away from defending towns and villages. They turned, and attacked the invaders and their landing ships. Dragons would fall in battle. It was the way of war. No dragon would fall without honor.

Scream looked to the sky. He screamed. His scream echoed across the Southern Plains. Before the echo faded, Scream took to the sky. His wings fully spread. Every fairy in the kingdom saw him leave. Every fairy  knew where he was headed.

Straight at the enemy. A dark gray streak across the pale blue sky. Before Scream reached the horizon, the fairies of the Castle Guard all stood, as one. Took up their swords, shields, bows and arrows. And lifted to the sky. They followed after Scream.

Scream was the Dragon Knight. He was one of them. He would not face the enemy alone.

NaNoWriMo 2012 – Week 3 Clip.

[This is the 3rd clip from my NaNoWriMo work in progress, in all its unedited, rough draft glory.]

Merlin closed his eyes for a moment. 60,000 invading troops. 60,000. Easily more than the fairies of the Southern Plains. More than all the villages of the Northern Forest put together. 60,000 invading troops.

It was his first true understanding of the danger the invaders posed to Cylinders. To his home.

Merlin became angry.

Black fire coursed through his blood. Smoke curled from his nostrils. His eyes ignited with red fire. He became visible. And he didn’t care. He would show the invaders what they were up against. Show them Cylinders was not a world that would roll over and play dead.

Merlin roared.

He watched the ship land. A tower of silver, black and gray in the center of the plateau. It was scorching hot. Merlin saw the waves of heat coming off it. He didn’t wait. He didn’t call for help. He didn’t inform anyone it had landed. Instead, he flew from where he was hidden, down to the plateau. He approached that troop ship. As he did, some of the protrusions on it turned, pointing at him.

Merlin stopped his flight. Looked at the ship. Knew its weapons were pointed at him. “Good. That’s what I want.” He spread his wings, looked to the ship, and roared. His roar was the sound of metal being crushed beneath tons of rock.

He spoke to the machines. Calling his black magic as he hadn’t in centuries.

He held his place in the sky. His wings whipping back and forth, always forward, toward that ship, and back away from it. Each time his wings whipped forward, streaks of black appeared. Like black spears. They raced through the sky, toward the ship. Hundreds of them. Carried by a linear wind that blew harder than Merlin had ever caused before. The wind reaching 200 miles per hour. The black spears raced toward the ship.

The ship’s energy shield shimmered. The first spears reached it. They were deflected. But the next spears weren’t. They passed through the energy field, as if it wasn’t there. Hundreds of black spears aimed right at that ship.

Driven by the will of Merlin. The black magic dragon. The deadliest, most powerful dragon of them all. The machines doing what he asked them to.

The spears collided with the ship. Slicing into it. Gashes appeared on its side. Other spears penetrating those gashes. Things inside the ship exploded. Merlin saw humans falling before the spears. He saw them thrown out of the ship by the explosions.

He held his place in the sky before the ship.

He roared.

Then he spoke.

“This is Cylinders. This is our home. You will not take it from us. Leave. Now. While you still can.”

With that, Merlin turned, and flew over the mountains surrounding the plateau. As he did, he screamed. His scream ripped the silence of the dawn. It echoed for miles. And he heard the screams of other dragons. The message was sent. The word was given.

The invaders had arrived.

The war had begun.

NaNoWriMo 2012, Week 2 Clip – From Chapter 12…

[The second week of NaNoWriMo 2012 has concluded. As with the first week, many of my writing friends are sharing snips of their NaNo Novels, in raw, unedited form. This is such a clip from my novel in progress. From Chapter 12 of the story, written on the 13th of November, 2012.]

After much discussion with Merlin, Sword, and her daughters, Mystica went to warn Eyela what was coming. She called on the machines that were everywhere. “I would talk with Eyela.” The machines heard her request. They set up a completely invisible data transmission network connecting Eyela and Mystica. Each could see the other. Each could hear the other.

To Eyela, this was magic. A few short weeks before, it had been magic to Mystica. Now, Mystica understood it wasn’t magic. It was technology. Technology so advanced it appeared to be magic.

“Eyela. We need to speak.”

“Mystica. Good to see you. How have you been?”

“I am fine. But things are not well.”

“Your daughters are having problems?”

“No. We are all fine. But things are not well.”

“What do you mean?”

“As I said. We need to speak.”

“As you wish, my friend. You know you are always welcome here.”

Mystica called on the machines once more. She thought of where she wished to go. Picturing it in her mind. Then, she spoke one word. “Now.” The machines responded again. In a fraction of a second, they wrapped around her. Capturing every detail of who she was. Identifying every molecule, atom, and sub-atomic particle. Identifying every neural pathway. They took that information, and using quantum mechanics, transferred all of it from where Mystica stood at the lake in the Northern Forest to a space in the room of the castle where Eyela stood. It was as if Mystica had stepped from the lake to the castle in one step. Just a few heartbeats. That’s all it took for the machines to use their technology to move from the lake to the castle.

A Snippet From NaNoWriMo 2012

Yes. It’s November of 2012.

Yes. I’m hard at work on my 2012 novel for NaNoWriMo.

That’s why I haven’t been posting much the past 7 days.

But, since a few of my NaNoWriMo friends are posting clips on a weekly basis, I figured I’d join in, and put up a small snip of what I’ve written so far. In all it’s unedited, raw glory. So here it is. A snip of the story of the world named Cylinders, and the black magic dragon named Merlin…

—–

Sword lead Rose to the entrance of one of the large castles. There, he stopped, turning to her, and kissing her gently once more. Gods, but he loved the taste of her lips. The touch of her lips against his. He felt so alive when he kissed her.

“We’re here.” He gently squeezed her hand. “What’s inside will change everything, Rose. It will change everything.”

“What’s inside, Sword? Please, tell me.”

“Someone I want you to meet.” He looked into her blue eyes again, having to close his own eyes to break free of hers. “They’re not like us, Rose. They’re different. From anyone you’ve ever met. Anyone you’ve ever known.”

“Is it safe to meet them?”

“Yes! Yes! It’s safe.” He smiled. “I’ve visited them several times. They’ve never been dangerous to me. They’ve always been kind.” He squeezed her hand once more. Feeling her delicate, graceful fingers press gently against his hand. He wished he would never forget that feeling. “You know I’ll never let anyone hurt you.”

Rose leaned forward, and gently kissed him. “I know.”

“You know I love you,” he’d never said the words until then.

“I know.” Rose smiled, and looked into his eyes. “I’ve always known.”

Sword’s heart raced in his chest. He wanted to take her away. Anywhere. Just the two of them. Where he could be alone with her. Show her how he felt toward her. But it wasn’t the time. It wasn’t the time.

He turned toward the castles entrance. He took a deep breath, and slowly let it out. It was time. Time to take Rose into the castle. Time for her to meet them. The machines.