Random Ramblings - winter cleaning edition

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My brain is NaNo fried at the moment (ignore the sidebar counters. They haven't been updated.). While looking for things to do other than write (things I could at least pretend were important enough to skiv off writing for...) I decided to clean out my closet. Not just any closet...

wait for it....



Terrifying as this prospect was, it yielded some interesting things. I found $65, my dog's walking harness, and a whole stack of old sketches stretching back to my high school days. Right in the middle of that stack, I came face-to-face with one of the earliest incarnations of what would become Arclight.

Now, I know I've said in another post that the original idea for Arclight came from a story about army ants on the news, and I'm fairly certain that I've told you that the novel was Frankensteined together from other things, including a screenplay I wrote when I was in high school.

The screenplay (which I also found) was nothing like Arclight on its face. It wasn't YA; it wasn't set on Terra Firma, and the main character wasn't a teenage girl. Ouroboros, named for the spaceship where the story was set, was a hard core sci-fi space opera with lots of Alien-esque jump-out-of-your-seat moments, conspiracies, and a rip-your-hair-out (cliched...) bait-and-switch ending.

I actually loved, and still love, that original incarnation, and if I could figure out a way to pare down some parts to a YA or MG level, I'd retool what I didn't use for Arclight and make something of it.

The main character was the ship's captain, and while his image wasn't among the ones I found, I did find these three (I apologize for the quality; these things are old and I hate my new scanner):


If you've ever "seen" me on Absolute Write, you'll recognize the name "Cyia" as my screen name there - this character is where it came from. I *LOVE* this character to pieces and bits. She's one of my absolute favorite that I've ever created, a sort of combination of Han Solo and Princess Leia, who is, actually a princess. But she's a princess in a duster coat and at the helm of a smuggling ship because her entire planet was pretty much overrun by the big bad villain, and this is how she fights back. (Firefly parallels are inevitable, but Cyia came before captain Reynolds and Zoe, so there :-P )


Cassandra was a half-human / half-Nari (my alien species) who ran what amounted to a galactic switch-house for travelers going different places, only via wormhole rather than train tracks. She died a noble and tragic death.

Somewhere, this image exists in full oil color painting, complete with the earth outside the funky-looking window arch behind her. You have to imagine her with silver-blue skin and black stripes. What looks like "dots" would be red or gold, and they're a part of a very detailed social order that went with the species. They're what hold that veil-like thing on the lower part of her face.

Take away the veil and the dots and the bone ridges, and you get the origin of the way one of the groups in Arclight looks. (Another part of that group came from a species called simply the Aether, because that's where they lived. They only appeared as a shimmer or smudge to most people, as they were trans-dimensional.)

And finally, there's this one:


These were the "ruling" aliens in my story, and I really don't remember much about them other than their name came from mixing the letters of "Jaguar", they were red-skinned with heavy tattoos, and while they appeared antagonistic at first, in one of the later installments (I wrote 3), they were actually a great help to the MC's.

Sadly missing was the schematic of the Nari ship, called a Hornet's Nest, which was basically a giant gyroscope with attack ships attacked on the upper and lower halves (Hornets). It was a sphere when in one piece, but the Hornets could break off into individual manned (and semi-sentient) vessels. The whole system was pretty cool - at least it was to me when I was in high school.

I could go on and on, but I'll spare you that torture and get back to NaNo now. Thanks for putting up with my silliness. :-P

5 Chiming In:

D.G. Hudson said...

Josin, enjoyed hearing about the background of the early work, especially when it affects later writing. Thanks for sharing the art work too.(Keep that original)

I hate cleaning closets, but you do find some interesting tidbits amid the junk.

Good luck with the Nano.

Delia said...

Wow, I had no idea you were an artist, too. I love Cassandra. Great find.

Bryan Russell said...

I think I have a whole JUNK HOUSE O'DOOM. Who knows what wonders lie hidden therein?

Stephanie Thornton said...

A treasure trove of cool stuff--well worth the break from writing. It's pretty nifty that you found your original version--I hope you do get to put the extra ideas to work in another incarnation one day!

Vicki Rocho said...

I have a closet of doom that I really really need to clean out before someone gets hurt. Problem is I know I'm not going to find any money or anything cool to make it worth my while.

Love the sketches -- wish I could sketch my characters. They'd probably all look like this:
o->-< (that looks like a stick figure if you turn your head sideways, right?)

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