agilebrit: (Well shit.)
about the new!Ben&Janni story.

It's not actually Ben's story.

Oh, sure, he's the one getting whumped. His pain (mental, physical, and emotional) drives the plot.

But the story itself is about Angeline and how she grows as a person.

Capitalizing on this realization will require an extensive re-write that I'm, frankly, not sure I have the energy to tackle. Or even the inclination. May I just say that I love the fact that it took me 145,000 words and over a year to realize this. And by "love," I really mean "it makes me want to stab myself in the eyeball, repeatedly, with a letter opener."

I may just chalk this one up to a learning experience. This is akin to the realization I had 70,000 words into the last one that Ben was my real protagonist. At least with that one, it was an easy tweak. This one, not so much.

I hate everything I'm writing right now. I have five fic docs open and no idea where any of them is going. I should just go to the bookstore, or perhaps the coffee shop, and see if a change of scenery and an infusion of real caffeine and sugar helps the process.

The good news is that I've finished three short stories (for a certain value of "short") totaling nearly 23,000 words in the last three months. And they are all out seeking homes. So, I guess that's some sort of accomplishment, and I should hold onto that. Lord knows I don't have any other accomplishments to hold onto; I haven't been paid for my writing in over a year and a half, and it's wearing on me. I remember when this was fun.

agilebrit: (That which does not kill me)
Because I'm bored, and Ben is feeling neglected. Setup? You no can haz. Context is for the weak.

Ben chose that moment to come down the stairs, dressed in a clean pair of jeans and a t-shirt, scrubbing his hand through his unruly hair. "No, I'm okay." He sat on the floor by Janni's raised feet, which made Alex frown. Usually Ben sat beside his wife, not on the rug.

"You've been run through twice with a silver sword, Master Ben," Chambliss said. "And ripped a man to shreds with, apparently, your bare hands. I'd venture to say that you're far from 'okay.'"

"I've been through worse," Ben said, resting his forehead on Janni's knee.

"Just because you've been through worse in the past doesn't mean that this event wasn't also traumatizing," Chambliss pointed out before Alex could.

"It's not the event itself. It's that I can't actually remember it that's got me freaking." The line of his shoulders told everyone in the room how tense Ben was. "I should remember something like that."

"It is possible, Master Ben, that your mind has become so overloaded with trauma that it's hiding things from you so you don't have to deal with them."

"Well, make it stop." Ben didn't lift his head. "Because that's freaking me out more."

Poor puppy.
agilebrit: (That which does not kill me)
I just had a thought about what I thought was the "final scene" in the new!Ben&Janni story. That should not be the final scene, actually.

I mean, it's nice and stuff that Janni's going to let Ange borrow Ben once a month--but the scene with Ben finding Ange and giving her a yellow rose (for friendship) should be the next-to-last scene. The last one should find him back at home in the arms of his wife.

I'm an idiot.

Oh well. It's not like this thing will ever see the light of day anyway. I may not even bother to finish it, honestly. YES, I KNOW IT ATE A YEAR OF MY LIFE. SHUT UP.
agilebrit: (That which does not kill me)
Without further ado...

Janni had brought in a stack of his own clothes--a tank top, cotton boxers, and a pair of cargo shorts. And his wedding ring had pride of place, right on top. His knees went weak--weaker--and he grabbed it and held it against his chest like he'd never let it go, even as he sat abruptly on the toilet lid. She came to stand beside him, and he leaned on her, shaking a little because the shakes still hadn't let him go quite yet. "Omigod, honey."

She had a tremor of her own going. "I know."

"I wish...I wish I'd had it with me. Might've--" Might've held out longer, he decided not to say. Now was not the time to bring up what he'd done with Angeline, although he'd have to tell her sometime, sooner rather than later. He cringed, thinking about it, remembering the joking discussion about cheating the night he'd disappeared. Breathe, he reminded himself, and slid the ring on.

Continuation from last week? You no can haz. :p
agilebrit: (That which does not kill me)
Back with Ben. And go:

Ben snapped awake to find the collar around his neck, his arms cuffed far too tightly behind him, and wolfsbane wrapped around his bare chest. How had he gotten covered in blood? Was that Ange's blood? In his mouth?

A fist in his hair lifted his head off the ground as the air left his lungs. "What did you do to her?" Perez, shouting at him, and he didn't actually know--

"I can't...I don't..." Elevator, he was in the elevator, surrounded by scattered groceries and spilled blood and beer. They'd gone on a supply run...

"Where is she?" Perez shook him. "Did you eat her?"

"What? Can't remember." His shoulders cramped. "Hurts..."

"What did you do? It looks like you took a fucking bath in her blood, wolf." Perez dropped him.

"I wouldn't hurt her." But his memory was gone, so maybe he had? The inside of his chest felt like it was on fire, the outside of his chest was seizing up because of the wolfsbane, and he couldn't think because of the incipient panic attack. "Perez, for god's sake, uncuff me, I can't breathe."

"Not on your life, not until you tell me what happened."

"I don't--"

A flash of memory, then. Ange, blood pouring from her throat, holding her hands out to him. Her lips moving with a silent "Puppy..." His clawed fingers, covered in red as she fell to the floor in slow motion.

Yes, I'm mean. You knew that. Comment and I may give you more next week. *evil laughter*
agilebrit: (That which does not kill me)
I just figured out a plot point that's been bugging me in the new!Ben&Janni story.

I've got a guy with a sword stabbinating people late in the story, whom Ben finally kills violently and messily (without remembering he did it *evil laughter*). I had no idea who this guy was or what he was doing in the book, but now I do and it's a rather substantial load off my mind. He's a loyal family retainer who knows what Ben did to the villain's (twin) brother and son (in the previous book) and is willing to help him exact his vengeance.

Now I just have to figure out logistics. How did this guy find out that it was Ben that killed the brother? Considering the fact that Osteim just sort of "disappears" in the previous book after heading over to Alex's place, I need some way that he'd know what happened. Must noodle that a bit. But it's a start. At least I know who he is now.
agilebrit: (Over My Head)
Hi, Chambliss! Let's have a scene from your POV, shall we?

Chambliss noted his friend's expression with mild amusement. Bickford really should, he thought, be used to things like this by now. "You can't be serious," Bickford said, on the other side of the mirror.

"I'm quite serious. The young man has one foot in an insane asylum and the other at the brink of a precipice. He needs to be pulled back from both, and there's none to do it but me."

Bickford ran a distracted hand through his hair, mussing it thoroughly. "But why? Your exile is nearly over, James. This would extend it another fifty years, at least, not to mention the physical toll. Don't tell me you've got attached to these people. They're barely people."

Chambliss smiled. "Oh, they're very much people. And yes, I've grown rather fond of this little family. Ben, in particular, reminds me of us, back when we had ideals."

"Back when we were young and naïve," Bickford snorted. "Look at us now. I'm playing both ends against the middle, trying desperately not to get caught. You're a bleeding butler in another dimension, keeping a rich playboy from breaking his neck in lunatic stunt after lunatic stunt. And now you're nursemaiding a sodding werewolf?"

"The wolves here are different from ours. Domesticated." He paused. "Mostly. And Alex Jarrett is far more than a rich playboy, else I'd have left his employ long ago."

In other news, the Hubby and I have discussed a trip to Costa Rica in (possibly) May of next year. It'd be the trip of a lifetime, at a time in Da Boy's life when he might actually remember it, and at a time in ours where we're still physically capable of semi-strenuous activity. Win. Now I need a passport for me and Da Boy.

In other other news, I've figured out where in the narrative a certain scene that's been bugging me to write it can actually go. It's a scene in the wrong story, but considering the fact that I haven't actually written anything this week...yay for scene?

*headdesks repeatedly*
agilebrit: (Tired & Long-suffering)
So, Perez gives Ben's file to Alex when they hand Ben (who is unconscious and barely alive) off, at the rescue.

Of course, I have to decide just how detailed it is. Clearly, Ben's issues with authority (in general; the boy is a lot of things, but "cowed" isn't one of them, his penchant for panic attacks notwithstanding) and West (in particular), along with Perez being troubled over the nature of the relationship that Ben and Ange have, will be in there. The break-ins. What happens to Ben over the full moons. His escape attempt. Ange's circumventing the restraint rules.

But I'm not sure that Ange's capture and rape, or the whole thing with Fifi (which was a pretty major event for Ben, but not in The Great Scheme of Things), would necessarily make it into the file. Which would make it terribly incomplete, and it's going to be a subjective thing, as well as from a vampire felon's point of view, too.

So. Does Alex read it?

Does he give it to Janni? Does she read it?

Or do they wait and try to get the story out of Ben? Who is, by the way, notoriously closed-mouthed about his traumas. Even Janni's only had the highlight reel on Afghanistan, and no one knows about the heroin but her and Megan, not Alex and not Ben's boss. The only reason Ange knows everything is because she's actually guddled around inside his head and dug the info out, not because he actually told her anything.

Of course, this isn't the story I should be working on anyway. And if it was, it's not the part of the story I should be working on. I should be working on either Chains or my Writers of the Future entry. Undisciplined [ profile] agilebrit is undisciplined.

*sigh* Someone just thwap me.
agilebrit: (Tired & Long-suffering)
So, I revisited the "Ben&Alex have a conversation about their women" story that I started, lo, many moons ago, by request.

WHY WHY WHY does everything I write in this 'verse (at least, having to do with Ben) devolve into angst? Especially in something where they're supposed to be having fun? *shakes Ben out of his funk, because holy cow*

In other news, Jim Butcher did a live Q&A today at BittenByBooks. Good stuff, although you might want to avoid if you've not read "Changes" yet.

In other other news, I need to start a new short story for this quarter's Writers of the Future. Do I have a plot, or characters, or any-damn-thing? Nope. Do I need one? Oh, hell yes. I suppose I should start poking my Plot Bunny Hutch again...
agilebrit: (That which does not kill me)
Without further ado, takes place after this. And, go:

"I take it your discussion didn't go very well." She gestured at his bleeding wrist.

"Your wolf is very resourceful and a deceptively fast and sneaky little bastard. But." Marco blew a breath out. "He's also controlling himself very very tightly. He could've hurt me. And he wanted to. But he didn't do it."

"You're bleeding."

"No, Angel, he could've hurt me."

Oh, god. "And?"

Marco shrugged. "I actually do feel better now. He cares about you."

"I could've told you that without you restraining him in a bloody cage." She put her hands on her hips. "Is he all right?"

"You should probably go to him. But, Angel? Be careful, okay?" He looked at her earnestly. "Because I don't see how he can keep this up for much longer."

Neither did she. But at least Marco's fears had been mostly laid to rest, she thought as she abandoned him in the hallway and rushed back into her apartment. She found Ben huddled in the back of the cage with one fist clenched against his sternum and the other arm over his head. The cuffs had been thrown into the corner. She fumbled with the lock and yanked the door open, dropping to her knees next to him. "Puppy?" She could hear his heart hammering, hard.

He moved so his head rested on her leg. "Is he pissed?"

"Not now." She moved the arm aside and petted his hair.

"That's something. I think I might have been less than diplomatic when I called him on his bullshit."
agilebrit: (That which does not kill me)
Without further ado:

Ange stroked Ben's shoulder, trying to settle him.

It wasn't working too well. He realized with a start that sometime, when he wasn't looking, she'd become Pack to him. More than Pack, actually--not quite Mate, but way more than just Pack. And this guy was threatening her. He bared fangs at West, who sneered back at him. "You're dead, little wolf. And then I'll have Angeline the way I nearly had you."

That wouldn't stand. Rafe snarled and Ben lunged to his feet, and only Angeline's hand on the leash halted him before he did something everyone would regret. "Back, puppy," her quiet voice said as she stood up. "He's trying to get you riled, he is. Don't do what he wants."

"If you touch her, I'll fucking kill you," Ben promised.

"Oh, I'm touching you first. And then you'll die. Screaming, while she watches."

"Bring it, you overconfident, overblown, overwrought eunuch."

Angeline's grip on the leash tightened. "Now, Ben, it's not fair to flaunt your superior education in front of a drunken fool. You'd better get him out of here," she told West's friend. "Before something happens that no one will like."
agilebrit: (Facepalm2)
Ben going on the back burner lasted as long as I remembered that there was a point of my own canon that I needed to fix at the start of the thing. I managed to fix it (a wolfsbane net should be draped over someone lying on his back, not wrapped completely around his body, lest the part that is getting no light and squished in the bargain up and dies and dumps very many nasty toxins into that person's body, thus killing him much faster than you might want to, and boy is that sentence a mess, like I care), after much swearing and tearing out of hair. My canon is once again internally consistent, go, me.

And I have also realized that the (original) first part of the Chains story...doesn't actually work. A few days ago, I scribbled an actual beginning to the thing, and now the part that I scribbled before, which I thought was the beginning? Isn't, nor does it work. I can probably salvage pieces of it and finagle those in somehow, but I think my Captain of the Guards is going to morph into a Head of Protocol or something similar. Because my Master at Arms can do double duty as a Captain of the Guards (it's a small kingdom), and I need a Head of Protocol to deal with the fact that my Prince needs to get married.

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. I don't want this to turn into a novel. Novels are hard.
agilebrit: (Giggle)
Er. That is, I can haz [ profile] robgoodfella's new book, released today, titled "Roadkill."

Seriously, you guys. Ben's sarcasm has nothing on Cal's. He could take lessons. In fact, I'm taking lessons, because this woman has things to teach me about writing.

Speaking of Ben. Ben is going on the back burner for now. For which, honestly, he's probably grateful. I mean, there's no sense in working on a sequel for a novel that's not even sold yet, amirite?

THEREFORE. I am working on the Chains story. And this one is going to get a semblance of an outline--at least to the halfway point--based around the template that Dan Wells outlined at LTUE. I don't know if it's going to be a novel yet or not. We'll see, as the thing gets fleshed out. But considering the problems my protag has, and the number of people vying for his attention (not to mention his hand in marriage--it's good to be the King, or first in line for the Kingship, in this case), it could easily, I think, be one.

But I'm not going to be upset if it turns out to be a short story either. Seeing as that's the milieu that's chosen me, it would be normal. For once.

Speaking of Dan Wells, his novel "I Am Not a Serial Killer" drops at the end of the month, and I urge you all to go out and buy it. I picked up the UK version (yeah, he got it published overseas first and it's doing gangbusters over there, OMG) at CONduit last year, and it's brilliant. Totally cannot wait to pick up the UK version of the sequel at this year's CONduit--he did a reading at LTUE and I thought I was going to die of squee.
agilebrit: (Tony Stark--Anteaters)
Even though Ben is a werewolf, with Amazing Lycanthrope Healing™, his body still needs resources in order to accomplish that healing. Therefore, after he's suffered a horrific physical trauma, the boy needs to eat.

Yes, this is me, reminding myself that my characters have physical requirements that have to be taken into account. Especially considering what happens in this scene, and what had been done to him before.
agilebrit: (Writer of Wrongs)
I have the beginnings of a new Story, which shall henceforth be referred to as "Chains." No, I have no idea how it ends, why do you ask? I'm sure it will tell me as time goes on.

I'm going to give Ben a break for awhile, while I figure out exactly what Janni needs to do in order to find him and what awful act she will have to commit to get him back. Because there has to be a cost for her too.
agilebrit: (That which does not kill me)
Without further ado:

Ben twitched awake with his head and upper body pillowed across Janni's thighs. He buried his nose into the spot just above her knees and inhaled deeply. "Oh, god, you smell good, honey," he said.

"Hey, sweetie." Her hand caressed his hair, and he basked in her presence. "How are you?"

"Still not dead. Doesn't hurt as much." Rafe stirred in the background. "Guess they just don't make bad guys they way they used to. Is there water?"

"Here." He rolled to his back. She held a bottle to his lips. "I'm glad to see your sarcasm circuits are still firing away," she said as he swallowed a few mouthfuls.

"They can have my sarcasm when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers. Which, apparently, won't be today." He pressed into her, and she squeezed him. "It's good to see you, honey." The shakes hit, then, and he reminded himself to breathe.

"We never stopped looking. Never."

He closed his eyes. "Glad one of us never gave up."

"Do you remember waking up before?" she asked.

"Maybe?" Something vague nibbled at the back of his mind--a nightmare wherein he'd died and gone to Hell, and a demon in Janni's form taunted him that he'd never see her or touch her again, because she'd never forgive him for what he'd done with--

"That redhead called you 'puppy.'" Janni's fingers traced a wolfsbane welt on his chest.

"Ange." Of course she had, in front of Janni. He'd have laughed, if he had anything to laugh with. "Yes. Yes, she did."

You know I love your comments...
agilebrit: (werewolf)
Avalanche Skiing on the Olympics this afternoon, on a little bio-thing they did for someone or other.


Seriously, I used it as a throwaway line for Alex after Ben punches him in the face when he thinks he's hallucinating. Because Alex is an adrenaline junkie with poor impulse control who participates in extreme sports.

Just goes to show that truth can be just as strange as fiction.
agilebrit: (That which does not kill me)
Does this need setup? Naaaaaaaaaaaah...

Perez chose that moment to walk into the room again. His brows lowered thunderously when he saw where Ben was and he opened his mouth to say something. Before he could, Ben forestalled him. "If you wake her up, Perez, so help me god I will tear off your leg and choke you to death with it." His voice was utterly calm.

"I don't breathe."

"Trust me, I'll manage anyway." Ben bared a tooth.

"What's he doing off the table?" Perez asked Jensen tightly. "Bad enough to unstrap him…"

"He asked politely and she outranks me." Jensen shrugged. "He'll go back on before moonrise."

"Did you see what he did to Henderson?"

"He can't wolf and he's weak from wolfsbane and blood loss anyway. I think I can handle him, but thanks for your confidence in my abilities, I appreciate it."

"And thanks for talking about me like I'm not right here, again," Ben said. "You know how much I love that." Ange made a noise and shifted, and he tightened his arm around her. "Go away, Perez. You don't have to worry about me tearing shit up, and Ange needs her rest."

Perez exposed his fangs. "I can have you killed out of hand, you know."

"If it would shut you up, I wish you would." Ben closed his eyes. "God, you're annoying."

Comments are love, especially when I'm at a writing conference... :)


Feb. 12th, 2010 03:02 pm
agilebrit: (That which does not kill me)
I've had the feeling for awhile that the opening of the new!Ben&Janni story is kind of...lame, for want of a better word. We start with Domestic Bliss, Ben showing off his Mad Hacking Skilz, we find out that he works for a PI, and their wedding anniversary is the next day. I think I tell it in an engaging fashion, but still. I'm the kind of person who likes to throw my readers face-first into the action, and this scene is nice, but it doesn't do that.

But I've figured out where I need to actually start this--at the prison, where my Bad Guy escapes and hatches his Nefarious Vengeance Plot.

*evil laughter*
agilebrit: (That which does not kill me)
Boy, am I late. So, without further ado and with no setup whatsoever other than "early days, right after Ben's second full moon in prison," go:

Ben was as peaceful as she'd ever seen, and it looked good on him. Angeline hoped the Nightmare Fairy would skip him for once, and she kissed his stubble before softly rising to grab a bottle of cow out of the fridge. Pulling a chair over to the bed, she shook the blood up and sipped from it cold, not wanting to awaken him with the noise from the microwave.

He'd been right about his blood. The hangover had left her. Her mouth twisted, and she wondered when he'd got so smart. The fact that he'd offered himself like that, so casually, so trusting--

Her heart lurched, and she set the bottle down quickly before she dropped it. She'd twisted him into new and different shapes just so he'd survive...but what if West had won their wager? What would have become of her puppy then? Bile rose in her throat at the thought. Assuming he lived through the first night off the table and then after, that biting sarcasm she enjoyed so much would have devolved into pessimistic cynicism. The tiny flame of hope he held of seeing Janni ever again would have died a violent and ugly death, and he would probably have goaded West into killing him by now. West was eminently goadable, and Ben was first-rate at pushing buttons.

The notion was excruciating, and something caught in her chest. A realization struck her. "Oh. Oh, good god, no."

When the hell had she fallen in love with the little wolf sleeping in front of her?

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