UMWP #1 Planet of the Apes- New World Order

Its January and it’s time for me to drop my first Unique Monthly Writing Project, for the blog. Now these will be monthly post that contain a short story, a portion of a short story or perhaps just a writing project idea. Totally open to critiquing and feedback.  This is basically an exercise to keep my writing sharp and allow you to follow along as my writing style develops and advances.

 This first UMWP is I guess what you would consider fan fic, or more precisely it’s spin off fiction. It’s set in the Planet of the Apes Universe, only a few thousand generations apart from any of the movies. Bottom line is I’m a big POA fan and decided to drop a character of my own into the world just to see how either of us would fare. Read it, enjoy it and let’s say if I get enough request via the comments, I’ll write and release Episode 2.

Enjoy!

Lefty

POA- New World Order

Episode 1: Sweat, Blood and Tears

I woke up with the distinctively irritating feeling of sand in my mouth. Sand and blood, the two formed a horrible combination when mixed, and also an overwhelming feeling of nausea when you had no idea where either of them had come from. I managed to pull myself up to my feet. At a complete lost for where I was, or how I had gotten there, I did the only thing I could think to do, and begin to walk toward the setting sun.

From the inside all deserts look the same. My mind scrambled trying to remember or recall, which one I currently in. The Sahara, the Mojave, the Gobi; was I dropped out of a plane, did I escape from some remote facility, did I just randomly pop out of the sand? I had no history, no memories, nothing. Amnesia in the truest sense, and it sucked. Then again I couldn’t even faithfully call it amnesia, as far as I knew 20 minutes ago I didn’t even exist. To have amnesia you have to at least have a past, you just don’t remember what it is, but when you’ve just popped up out of the sand, you don’t have a past. You’re just there.

I checked my person for equipment or even clues as to my identity. Heavy duty standard issue work pants, made from a chemically treated fabric, a cotton polyester blend, tough enough to offer me ample protection from the elements without stifling or restricting my movement. They were apparently designed for such conditions. How I knew this, I had no idea. Perhaps I was a tailor in a past life, either way the pockets were empty and I was still, in a word, clueless. I was wearing a matching jacket made from the same technologically advanced material, and though the heat beamed, I zipped up the jacket. Protection from the sun and sand was more important than a little sweat.

My feet sank deep into the shifting sand with every step. I stumbled, I’m not afraid to admit, over dune after dune with no particular destination in mind.

After walking for what seemed like hours, I could see, what I assumed to be, a group of crudely constructed buildings in the far distance. My excitement grew as the buildings turned out to be actual solid objects and not simply symptoms of my oncoming madness from the extended exposure to the sweltering heat and complete lack of water. I picked up my speed and by the time the falling sun begin to touch the horizon; I was closing in on what looked to be some type of abandoned village in the middle of nowhere. The collision of the Sun and Earth turned the world a brilliant color orange, setting the tone for the ominous showdown that was about to in sue.

By the time I hit the empty village the unbearable heat had done a complete 180 degree turn and had suddenly become mind numbingly cold, the only feeling of consistency was my unwavering thirst, that, and the translucent orange tint that covered everything visible to the naked eye as the sun sank deeper behind the strange planet’s distant curving peak. I entered the ghost town in a frenzy. I stumbled clumsily through the dirt and grit of the small plot of civilization that someone, at some point in time, had probably considered a town. The scene was indeed desolate, to say the least. The air smelled heavily of abandonment, the buildings and city structures showed multiple signs of neglect. It seemed to not have been populated by a living soul in years, perhaps decades, there was no real way for me to know, but in my current state, It was safe to say I didn’t care. Banging on the first door I came across, I began frantically calling out for help and begging some unseen Samaritan for water. Though in my heart, I knew I truly expected no one to answer my call. More than anything I believe I was screaming only to say, once I died, that I did indeed fight desperately for my own survival. Sad I know.

I reached for the door handle of a small shabby hovel of wood and stone, only to find it tightly locked. This surprised me, and against my better judgment a small glimmer of hope sparked from deep within my stomach. If someone thought to lock the door than that meant that that same someone had to be inside. I pressed my face against the smooth wood, it was warm! I heard the sound of shuffling feet on the other side, someone was there!

“Hey!” My voice cracked and trembled as my throat screamed for some type of moisture. “Is anybody there?! I-I was out in the desert; I just need some water, maybe something to eat! I-I-I can pay! Please, I have money!” I lied. I reached into my pockets to find nothing but lint, my main goal was to get that door open, the details, I figured, could be worked out after I avoided dying of thirst, hunger or hypothermia.

I begin to bang even harder. My life depended on it. “Hey! Open this door, are you going to let me freaking die out here! I’m asking you for help”

“Please,” a soft whimper came from the other side of the closed door. “Please go away, we can’t help you.”

“Is someone there?” the sound of another voice calmed by frantic pounding and yelling, it wasn’t until hearing the comfort of another sentient life form that I realized how lonely and afraid I had been, and now, how absolutely crazy I must have sounded. “Please, please, please I understand. I just need some water. I woke up in the desert alone, I’ve been walking for hours, just some water please that’s all I ask then I’ll leave you alone.”

The voice on the other side went quite, the shuffling stopped. Perhaps a few seconds passed without a single sound from the other side of the door. I begin to wonder if I had imagined the shuffling, imagined the voice, I begin to panic, the feeling of dread and loneliness begin to set back in. The only thing worst then dying of thirst and starvation in the middle of nowhere is going insane before dying of thirst and starvation in the middle of nowhere. I began beating on the door again, determined to make the phantom voice appear once again. “Hey! Hey!” I screamed as loud as my voice would allow. “Are you still in there?”

“Please,” the phantom voice returned even softer than before “You have to be quiet, if I give you water do you promise to leave”

“Yes” I responded without hesitation. Hell, at that point I would have agreed to anything, anything for the promise of water and to keep the voice from disappearing again. “I’ll leave, I promise just please, please give me some water.”

“Sister, no!” another voice from behind emerged.

“Be quiet, if he keeps banging and screaming he’ll attract them for sure, this is the only way.”

It wasn’t until I heard the other voice, which sounded distinctly like that of a young boy, that I was able to fully appreciate the gentleness and femininity of the phantom voice. It was a soothing and mellow sound, and for a moment I allowed its rhythmic melody to dance in my mind, focusing more on its beauty, as oppose to the actual words. As it turns out I should have been a lot more focused on the “them” and finding out exactly why they were so hell bent on not “attracting” their attention. Regretfully now I admit, I did not.

Once again the shuffling stopped. The locks on the door began to unlatch themselves, slowly the door crept open, I breathed a sigh of relief, followed quickly and swiftly by a gasp of complete and utter horror.

The door opened slightly only to reveal an Ape standing behind it, slightly peeking out from around the edge of the door. And then, right before I could even let out a girlish scream of absolute terror, it spoke.

“Well, what are you waiting for come in!” She spoke in a horsed whisper. She? It was her, the phantom voice was the ape girl. The room began to spin, maybe it was the sudden drop in temperature, the lack of water, whatever extenuating circumstance that brought me to the twilight zone, but my fragile mind had reached its breaking point, and right before my mind passed into absolute oblivion, I managed to choke out the words

“You’re a monkey.” And with that I begin a face first descent into the hard cold wooden floor of the doorway, and passed out before I hit the ground.

To Be Continued…

Books on Writing Books 2

Here are the list of Books on writing books that I have added to my library so far…

Gotham Writer’s Workshop: Writing Fiction
The Write Brain – Bonnie Neubauer
Sin and Syntax –  Constance Hale
The Little Red Writing Book –  Brandon Royal
The Daily Writer – Fred White
Sparknotes: How to Write a Short Story
Spunk and Bite – Arthur Plotnik
The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing – Editors of Writer’s Digest

I’m a novice,  perhaps a journeyman at best, and I know in a previous post I stated that most books on writing books are a complete waste of time and paper, and most are, to be honest, my opinion on that hasn’t changed in the slightest. But that’s not to say I know everything there is to know about writing, or that I don’t seek out and or need help, because I don’t know everything and I do need help. I am but a mere Padawan Learner, a Jedi Apprentice with no Master to guide me. So, I’ve began an compulsive search to find fruitful and beneficial material that will help me grow and develop as a writer. and thus far these are the books I found informative enough to add to my Library of study.

To these books and the rules set within I have taken a Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do, styled of academic learning approach, meaning, I read through and “Absorb what is useful, disregard that which is useless.” Not one of these works, I feel could stand alone as the premier and essential guide to writing, but together, with a bit from this one and a thought from that one, I have found myself becoming a more confident and competent writer.

November = NaNoWriMo

It’s November which means its NaNoWriMo, which means National Novel Writing Month, but for me November means a lot of other things. For one my first year wedding anniversary was this month, Nov 6th to be exact, me and the wife went to Chicago for the weekend and had a great time, but I also took a complete break from writing for the weekend, not even letting myself think about my book project for some 72 hours (of course I cheated, but only because Chicago is a difficult city not to be inspired by) But before we left I finished Chapter 18, yep Chapter 18 done, on to 19. I sent out a few excerpt to a few trusted readers and hoping to get some good feedback as a really burst into the second half of the project. I’m planning for about 12 more chapters to wrap the project up which is less than I’ve already done but perhaps the most important portion. I hope to be done by year’s end but as December get closer, its seeming less and less likely. Here’s to trying.

Till next time,

Lefty

Name Collecting

What’s in a name?
In fiction writing, I believe a character’s name is the most important part of their being. A character’s name is its soul, it is the essence of who that character is, or who they are to become.
For my current project I basically took an old nickname and built a character around it, pretty soon the character had taken on a life of his own, becoming even larger and more complex than I could have originally imagined, and  it all started from his name.
There was a point in this character’s development where I considered changing his name. I had imagined it would seem self indulgent to name a character after myself, even if it was only a nickname and not truly my name in full, but by the time I had considered making this change it was too late. My character had already became who he was to be, and to attempt to change his name at that stage would have meant changing everything about him.I found this odd at first, I mean in reality people change their names all the time and it has no grand psychological effect on who they are. I mean if the guy sitting next to you at work, comes in one day and says “I needed a fresh start so I’ve legally changed my name from Steve to Donald.” that’s not really going to stimulate any great change in who he is as a person. To you, he’ll still be the guy in the next cube, albeit a bit more strange, but still, same guy, different name.
But see with literary character’s its different, The name is the culmination of everything that character will ever say, do and experience. Rather if it’s bestowed upon them before a single word is written, or if they don’t actually receive a name until you’ve thought out every detail of their personality, either way throughout their literary life span they will have not one single more important characteristic than their name.
So my question is: Where do you get your names?

As stated earlier the protagonist of my current project derived his name from a modified form of my own, but come on, a man can only have so many nicknames. Conveniently enough, I currently work in a Call Center, and though I hate it, it does supply me with a near endless amount of odd, new and exciting names to reference use and develop as my writing career continues to grow. That’s right, you read correctly, I collect names.

And honestly I rather enjoy it. I hear a name I like and I scribble it down on a sticky note or some random scrap of paper and store it away happily like a squirrel hoarding acorns for the winter. Its like a pastime of mine now, everywhere I go, my ears and eyes are open for the next great name that I can gobble up and add to my collection.
So I guess if I had to answer Juliet’s (great name don’t you think?) question of ‘What’s in a name?’ then truthfully I’d have to say, everything.

til next time,

Sincerely yours,

Lefty