i wonder if i could get the original one... sounds good

When the sorcerer found the dragon, it was attacking a grape.

This was only possible because the dragon was not much larger than a grape itself, but she still had to do a double take to be sure the object it was fighting with such animosity was in fact inanimate.

She crouched so that her eyes were level with the top of the table and squinted at it. The dragon sank its tiny fangs into the grape’s skin and gave a great tug, succeeding only in throwing it and the grape into a backwards tumble. The tiny green reptile rolled to a stop with its whole body wrapped around the grape and shook its head ferociously, managing to pull its teeth out but also launching the grape across the table. It gave a mighty roar of anger (about as loud as a human clearing their throat) and stalked after it, tail swishing dangerously.

“Do you need help?” she offered.

The dragon froze mid-prowl and whipped its head around to look at her, looking so offended she almost apologized for asking.

“I mean, I could peel it for you, if that’s the problem.” She wasn’t sure it was getting the message. One could never tell how much human language these little creatures picked up by hanging around the magic labs. Some understood only such essentials as “scat!” or “oh fuck, that sure did just explode”, while others could hold entire conversations — if they deigned to interact.

This one looked like it was deciding whether she was worthy. Finally, it sniffed daintily and flicked its tail, scales clacking together. “Little monster is my prey, and you can’t have it. Found it first. Will devour it!”

“Oh, sure,” she agreed. “But you know it’s a grape, right?”

This was the wrong thing to say. It glared at her and then bounded away to the other end of the table, where it slithered up to the grape and pounced on it.

Grape and dragon promptly rolled off the edge of the table.

The sorcerer quickly went around to that side, alarmed that it would be stepped on. The labs were bustling with shoppers stopping by to watch demonstrations this time of day, and a small dragon wouldn’t be easily visible on the blue and green tiled floor.

“Horrible! Dirty!” The tiny dragon was screeching at the top of its lungs, holding onto its prey for dear life. It would have been hard to hear anyway, with all the noise of the labs, but with the sorcerer’s diminished hearing it took several seconds to locate the screaming creature.

She scanned the pattern of the tiles for it and sighed. “Oh, hold on, we mopped this morning.” She cupped her hands around it and deposited it into her skirt pocket, an indignity the dragon endured only with more screaming.

“An outrage! Put me down!”

“Shh,” she advised. Lab workers were strongly discouraged from bringing creatures into the back rooms, which was where she was heading, picking her way through the crowded front lab.

“Fuck pockets!” her pocket responded.

“Oh, you can curse. Wonderful.”

The dragon seemed to take this as an actual compliment. “Am multitalented. Can also compose poetry.”

“Really? Can I hear some?”

“No. For dragon ears only.” It sounded viciously pleased to hold this over her head. The bulge in her pocket rearranged itself, and she thought it might be trying to gnaw on the grape.

She felt herself smiling even as she tried to squash her mouth into a straight line. She liked this little bad-tempered thing, even though its spiky feet were digging into her thigh.

In the much quieter kitchen of the back rooms behind the lab, she transferred the wriggling, scaly handful from her pocket to the table. The dragon hissed out a few more insults as it got up and straightened itself out, but its jaw fell open when it finally took in its surroundings. She’d set it down next to the fruit bowl.

“There you go. Food mountain.”

The dragon’s shock didn’t last long. Abandoning the grape, it scraped and scrabbled its way up the side of the bowl and from there onto an apple, its claws leaving tiny puncture marks as it hiked to the top of the arrangement. “Food mountain!” It repeated, its gleeful crowing much clearer and almost sing-song without having to compete with the noise of the crowd.

She watched it turn in a circle, surveying the feast. “But… cannot eat it all,” it observed after a while, crestfallen. “Human-sized. Big shame.”

“Don’t you have nest-mates who can help you with it?” she asked. She had assumed not, from the way it had apparently been foraging for food on its own, but she needed to be sure she’d found a loner.

“No nest. No mates. No nest-mates. You’re rude.” It flopped down ungracefully, wings spread out flat on the apple like it was trying to hug the entire much-larger fruit.

She gave it a moment to be dramatic, and then offered it the grape, minus the peel. “You seem to have a good grasp on human-speak.”

It grabbed the grape without so much as a thank you. “Yes. Have composed poetry in both Dragonese and Humanese. Not for humans to hear, though.” Bragging cheered it up a little.

“You mentioned. I can’t hear very well, anyway.” She pulled up a stool and sat down. “Actually, I’ve been looking for a helper.”

“An assistant,” it said, apparently showing off its Humanese. “An attendant. An aid.”

She watched it bury its snout in the grape, juice dribbling down onto the apple it sat on. “Yes. A hearing aid. How would you feel about having a job?”

It smiled craftily. “Would feel positively, if job comes with chocolate chips.”

“It could,” she said, grinning. She had some friends who employed bird-sized dragons as messengers, but this was the first time she’d heard of one negotiating its salary for itself. “It certainly could. What’s your name?”

“Peep,” said Peep. “It is self-explanatory.”

“Don’t worry, I got it.”

Peep expressed its doubt that humans ever got anything, but she thought the tiny, prickly creature might be warming up to her.

Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully - in Ten Minutes

by Stephen King
(reprinted in Sylvia K. Burack, ed. The Writer’s Handbook. Boston, MA: Writer, Inc., 1988: 3-9)

I. The First Introduction

THAT’S RIGHT. I know it sounds like an ad for some sleazy writers’ school, but I really am going to tell you everything you need to pursue a successful and financially rewarding career writing fiction, and I really am going to do it in ten minutes, which is exactly how long it took me to learn.  It will actually take you twenty minutes or so to read this essay, however, because I have to tell you a story, and then I have to write a second introduction.  But these, I argue, should not count in the ten minutes.



II. The Story, or, How Stephen King Learned to Write

When I was a sophomore in high school, I did a sophomoric thing which got me in a pot of fairly hot water, as sophomoric didoes often do.  I wrote and published a small satiric newspaper called The Village Vomit.  In this little paper I lampooned a number of teachers at Lisbon (Maine) High School, where I was under instruction.  These were not very gentle lampoons; they ranged from the scatological to the downright cruel

Eventually, a copy of this little newspaper found its way into the hands of a faculty member, and since I had been unwise enough to put my name on it (a fault, some critics argue, of which I have still not been entirely cured), I was brought into the office. The sophisticated satirist had by that time reverted to what he really was: a fourteen-year-old kid who was shaking in his boots and wondering if he was going to get a suspension … what we called “a three-day vacation” in those dim days of 1964.

I wasn’t suspended. I was forced to make a number of apologies - they were warranted, but they still tasted like dog-dirt in my mouth - and spent a week in detention hall. And the guidance counselor arranged what he no doubt thought of as a more constructive channel for my talents. This was a job - contingent upon the editor’s approval - writing sports for the Lisbon Enterprise, a twelve-page weekly of the sort with which any small-town resident will be familiar. This editor was the man who taught me everything I know about writing in ten minutes. His name was John Gould - not the famed New England humorist or the novelist who wrote The Greenleaf Fires, but a relative of both, I believe.

He told me he needed a sports writer and we could “try each other out” if I wanted.

I told him I knew more about advanced algebra than I did sports.

Gould nodded and said, “You’ll learn.”

I said I would at least try to learn. Gould gave me a huge roll of yellow paper and promised me a wage of 1/2¢ per word. The first two pieces I wrote had to do with a high school basketball game in which a member of my school team broke the Lisbon High scoring record. One of these pieces was straight reportage. The second was a feature article.

I brought them to Gould the day after the game, so he’d have them for the paper, which came out Fridays. He read the straight piece, made two minor corrections, and spiked it. Then he started in on the feature piece with a large black pen and taught me all I ever needed to know about my craft. I wish I still had the piece - it deserves to be framed, editorial corrections and all - but I can remember pretty well how it looked when he had finished with it. Here’s an example:

(note: this is before the edit marks indicated on King’s original copy)

Last night, in the well-loved gymnasium of Lisbon High School, partisans and Jay Hills fans alike were stunned by an athletic performance unequaled in school history: Bob Ransom, known as “Bullet” Bob for both his size and accuracy, scored thirty-seven points. He did it with grace and speed … and he did it with an odd courtesy as well, committing only two personal fouls in his knight-like quest for a record which has eluded Lisbon thinclads since 1953….

(after edit marks)

Last night, in the Lisbon High School gymnasium, partisans and Jay Hills fans alike were stunned by an athletic performance unequaled in school history: Bob Ransom scored thirty-seven points. He did it with grace and speed … and he did it with an odd courtesy as well, committing only two personal fouls in his quest for a record which has eluded Lisbon’s basketball team since 1953….

When Gould finished marking up my copy in the manner I have indicated above, he looked up and must have seen something on my face. I think he must have thought it was horror, but it was not: it was revelation.

“I only took out the bad parts, you know,” he said. “Most of it’s pretty good.”

“I know,” I said, meaning both things: yes, most of it was good, and yes, he had only taken out the bad parts. “I won’t do it again.”

“If that’s true,” he said, “you’ll never have to work again. You can do this for a living.” Then he threw back his head and laughed.

And he was right; I am doing this for a living, and as long as I can keep on, I don’t expect ever to have to work again.



III. The Second Introduction

All of what follows has been said before. If you are interested enough in writing to be a purchaser of this magazine, you will have either heard or read all (or almost all) of it before. Thousands of writing courses are taught across the United States each year; seminars are convened; guest lecturers talk, then answer questions, then drink as many gin and tonics as their expense-fees will allow, and it all boils down to what follows.

I am going to tell you these things again because often people will only listen - really listen - to someone who makes a lot of money doing the thing he’s talking about. This is sad but true. And I told you the story above not to make myself sound like a character out of a Horatio Alger novel but to make a point: I saw, I listened, and I learned. Until that day in John Gould’s little office, I had been writing first drafts of stories which might run 2,500 words. The second drafts were apt to run 3,300 words. Following that day, my 2,500-word first drafts became 2,200-word second drafts. And two years after that, I sold the first one.

So here it is, with all the bark stripped off. It’ll take ten minutes to read, and you can apply it right away…if you listen.



IV. Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully

1.  BE TALENTED
This, of course, is the killer.  What is talent?  I can hear someone shouting, and here we are, ready to get into a discussion right up there with “what is the meaning of life?” for weighty pronouncements and total uselessness.  For the purposes of the beginning writer, talent may as well be defined as eventual success - publication and money.  If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.

Now some of you are really hollering.  Some of you are calling me one crass money-fixated creep.  And some of you are calling me bad names.  Are you calling Harold Robbins talented?  someone in one of the Great English Departments of America is screeching.  V.C. Andrews?  Theodore Dreiser?  Or what about you, you dyslexic moron?

Nonsense.  Worse than nonsense, off the subject.  We’re not talking about good or bad here.  I’m interested in telling you how to get your stuff published, not in critical judgments of who’s good or bad.  As a rule the critical judgments come after the check’s been spent, anyway.  I have my own opinions, but most times I keep them to myself.  People who are published steadily and are paid for what they are writing may be either saints or trollops, but they are clearly reaching a great many someones who want what they have.  Ergo, they are communicating.  Ergo, they are talented.  The biggest part of writing successfully is being talented, and in the context of marketing, the only bad writer is one who doesn’t get paid.  If you’re not talented, you won’t succeed.  And if you’re not succeeding, you should know when to quit.

When is that?  I don’t know.  It’s different for each writer.  Not after six rejection slips, certainly, nor after sixty.  But after six hundred?  Maybe.  After six thousand?  My friend, after six thousand pinks, it’s time you tried painting or computer programming.

Further, almost every aspiring writer knows when he is getting warmer - you start getting little jotted notes on your rejection slips, or personal letters…maybe a commiserating phone call.  It’s lonely out there in the cold, but there are encouraging voices…unless there is nothing in your words which warrants encouragement.  I think you owe it to yourself to skip as much of the self-illusion as possible.  If your eyes are open, you’ll know which way to go…or when to turn back.

2.  BE NEAT
Type.  Double-space.  Use a nice heavy white paper, never that erasable onion-skin stuff.  If you’ve marked up your manuscript a lot, do another draft.

3.  BE SELF-CRITICAL
If you haven’t marked up your manuscript a lot, you did a lazy job.  Only God gets things right the first time.  Don’t be a slob.

4.  REMOVE EVERY EXTRANEOUS WORD
You want to get up on a soapbox and preach?  Fine.  Get one and try your local park.  You want to write for money?  Get to the point.  And if you remove all the excess garbage and discover you can’t find the point, tear up what you wrote and start all over again…or try something new.

5.  NEVER LOOK AT A REFERENCE BOOK WHILE DOING A FIRST DRAFT You want to write a story?  Fine.  Put away your dictionary, your encyclopedias, your World Almanac, and your thesaurus.  Better yet, throw your thesaurus into the wastebasket.  The only things creepier than a thesaurus are those little paperbacks college students too lazy to read the assigned novels buy around exam time.  Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word.  There are no exceptions to this rule.  You think you might have misspelled a word?  O.K., so here is your choice: either look it up in the dictionary, thereby making sure you have it right - and breaking your train of thought and the writer’s trance in the bargain - or just spell it phonetically and correct it later.  Why not?  Did you think it was going to go somewhere?  And if you need to know the largest city in Brazil and you find you don’t have it in your head, why not write in Miami, or Cleveland?  You can check it…but laterWhen you sit down to write, write.  Don’t do anything else except go to the bathroom, and only do that if it absolutely cannot be put off.

6.  KNOW THE MARKETS
Only a dimwit would send a story about giant vampire bats surrounding a high school to McCall’s.  Only a dimwit would send a tender story about a mother and daughter making up their differences on Christmas Eve to Playboy…but people do it all the time.  I’m not exaggerating; I have seen such stories in the slush piles of the actual magazines.  If you write a good story, why send it out in an ignorant fashion?  Would you send your kid out in a snowstorm dressed in Bermuda shorts and a tank top?  If you like science fiction, read the magazines.  If you want to write confession stories, read the magazines.  And so on.  It isn’t just a matter of knowing what’s right for the present story; you can begin to catch on, after awhile, to overall rhythms, editorial likes and dislikes, a magazine’s entire slant.  Sometimes your reading can influence the next story, and create a sale.

7.  WRITE TO ENTERTAIN
Does this mean you can’t write “serious fiction”?  It does not.  Somewhere along the line pernicious critics have invested the American reading and writing public with the idea that entertaining fiction and serious ideas do not overlap.  This would have surprised Charles Dickens, not to mention Jane Austen, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Bernard Malamud, and hundreds of others.  But your serious ideas must always serve your story, not the other way around.  I repeat: if you want to preach, get a soapbox.

8.  ASK YOURSELF FREQUENTLY, AM I HAVING FUN?”
The answer needn’t always be yes.  But if it’s always no, it’s time for a new project or a new career.

9.  HOW TO EVALUATE CRITICISM
Show your piece to a number of people - ten, let us say.  Listen carefully to what they tell you.  Smile and nod a lot.  Then review what was said very carefully.  If your critics are all telling you the same thing about some facet of your story - a plot twist that doesn’t work, a character who rings false, stilted narrative, or half a dozen other possibles - change that facet.  It doesn’t matter if you really liked that twist of that character; if a lot of people are telling you something is wrong with you piece, it is.  If seven or eight of them are hitting on that same thing, I’d still suggest changing it.  But if everyone - or even most everyone - is criticizing something different, you can safely disregard what all of them say.

10.  OBSERVE ALL RULES FOR PROPER SUBMISSION
Return postage, self-addressed envelope, all of that.

11.  AN AGENT?  FORGET IT.  FOR NOW
Agents get 10% of monies earned by their clients.  10% of nothing is nothing.  Agents also have to pay the rent.  Beginning writers do not contribute to that or any other necessity of life.  Flog your stories around yourself.  If you’ve done a novel, send around query letters to publishers, one by one, and follow up with sample chapters and/or the manuscript complete.  And remember Stephen King’s First Rule of Writers and Agents, learned by bitter personal experience: You don’t need one until you’re making enough for someone to steal…and if you’re making that much, you’ll be able to take your pick of good agents.

12.  IF IT’S BAD, KILL IT
When it comes to people, mercy killing is against the law.  When it comes to fiction, it is the law.



That’s everything you need to know.  And if you listened, you can write everything and anything you want.  Now I believe I will wish you a pleasant day and sign off.

My ten minutes are up.

Tom and Lin-Manuel: An Appreciation/Jealous Rant

Every writer has a golden period – a chunk of time when her brain is ripest, when the veins he is tapping are the richest, when the ideas, big and small, spill out over the sides of the bucket instead of having to be patiently collected like drops of rain off a leaf. This is true for songwriters, playwrights, novelists, screenwriters, anyone who writes anything in any genre. Go look at John Hughes’s IMDb page and marvel at his golden period, which I would bookend as 1983-1990. It’s outrageous. He wrote Vacation, Mr. Mom, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Some Kind of Wonderful, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Uncle Buck, and Home Alone in eight years. Eight years?! That’s absurd.

But then look at his next 20 years. You won’t find one movie that is better than the worst one he wrote in those seven years. The vein ran dry. It always does. That’s just the deal.

Tom Petty’s golden period never ended. Or, at least, the silver periods on either side of his golden period were seemingly infinite. No matter where you think he peaked – Full Moon Fever, or Wildflowers, or Damn the Torpedoes – the decades on either side were wonderful. He was great from the moment he released his first album in 1977 to the day he died last month. For forty years he wrote, and wrote, and wrote, and the songs he wrote were good or great or amazing.

Tom Petty wrote “Breakdown” and “American Girl” in 1977. He wrote “You Don’t Know How it Feels” seventeen years later, in 1994. He wrote “You Got Lucky” in 1982, “King’s Highway” in 1992, “The Last DJ” in 2002. He wrote “I Won’t Back Down,” “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” Free Fallin’,” “Love is a Long Road,” “A Face in the Crowd,” Yer So Bad,” and “The Apartment Song,” and “Depending on You,” all in 1989, and they were all on the same album, and that’s absurd.

He wrote “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” in 1981 and “Big Weekend” in 2006. He wrote every song on Wildflowers – and they are all great – in or around 1994. He wrote fifty other great songs I haven’t named yet, like “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and “Jammin Me.” He wrote great songs you’ve heard a million times, and great songs you’ve maybe never heard, like “Billy the Kid” (1999) and “Walls” (1996) which was buried on the soundtrack to She’s the One.  He took a break from the Heartbreakers and casually released “End of the Line” and “Handle With Care” and “She’s My Baby” with the Traveling Wilburys in 1989-90. He wrote “Refugee” in 1980 and “I Should Have Known It” in 2010. Is there any rock and roll songwriter alive who wrote two songs that good, 30 years apart? (Paul McCartney wrote “Hey Jude” in 1968, and only 12 years later he wrote “Wonderful Christmas Time,” which is so bad it nearly retroactively undid “Hey Jude.”)

He wrote about rock and roll things, like ’62 Cadillacs, getting out of this town, and dancing with Mary Jane. He wrote about love and loss and heartbreak. He wrote legitimately funny jokes, and moribund memories, and personal narratives, and imaginative flights of fancy. One of his characters calls his father his “old man” and it somehow isn’t cheesy. He was from Florida and California and wrote about both of them, and every time I’m on Ventura Boulevard I think of vampires, because the images he wrote are indelible. 

Petty didn’t just write songs directed at women, like most rock stars. He wrote about women, and he wrote for women, and he wrote with women. He treated the women in his songs as lovingly and respectfully as he treated the men. He cared about them as much, he spent as much time thinking about them, and he liked them as much, and all of that is rare.

He wrote simply, but not boringly. He made his characters three-dimensional, somehow, in a matter of seconds. There’s a famous (probably apocryphal) story about Hemingway bragging he could write an entire novel in six words, then writing: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” I prefer the 18-word novel Petty wrote as the first verse to “Down South” –

Headed back down south
Gonna see my daddy’s mistress
Gonna buy back her forgiveness
Pay off every witness

When I was working on Parks and Recreation, whenever we needed a song to score an important moment in Leslie Knope’s life, we chose a Tom Petty song. It started with “American Girl,” when her biggest career project came to fruition. It was “Wildflowers” when she said goodbye to her best friend. It was “End of the Line” at the moment the show ended. For the seven seasons of our show, Tom Petty was the writer we trusted to explain how our main character was feeling, because he wrote so much, so well, for so long.

*******

It seems like a joke, Hamilton – a joke in a TV show where one of the characters is a struggling New York actor, and is always dragging his friends to his terrible plays. Like Joey in Friends. There’s an episode of Friends where Joey is in a terrible musical called like Freud!, about Sigmund Freud, and you get to see some of it, and it’s predictably terrible. Freud! the musical is arguably a better idea than Hamilton the musical.

I’m far from the first person to say this – I’m probably somewhere around the millionth person to write about Hamilton, and the maybe 500,000th to make this particular point, but it needs to be said – a hip-hop Broadway musical about the founding fathers is an astoundingly terrible idea. Lin-Manuel Miranda should never have written it. As soon as he started to write it, he should’ve said to himself, “What the fuck am I doing?!” and stopped. And after he got halfway through, he should’ve junked it, gotten really drunk, and moved on with his life, and made his wife and friends swear to never mention the weird six months where he was trying to write a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton. I literally guarantee you that when Lin-Manuel Miranda first told his friends what he was writing, every one of them reacted with at best a frozen smile, and at worst a horrified recoiling. Some of them might have been outwardly encouraging – “sounds awesome bud! Go get ‘em!” But then later, alone, they would call each other and say What the fuck is he doing?

There is a moment, in Hamilton, when what you are watching overwhelms you. (It’s not the same moment for everyone, but most everyone has one, I suspect.) It’s the moment when the enormity, the complexity, the meaning of it, the entirety of it, overpowers you, and you realize that what you are experiencing is new – new both in your specific life, and new, like, on Earth.  The first time I saw it, that moment was a line in the middle of “Yorktown.” Hamilton sang the line And so the American experiment begins / With my friends all scattered to the winds, and I burst into tears in a way I hadn’t since I was 10 and a baseball went through a guy’s legs in the World Series. Something about how casually he says that – And so the American experiment begins – just settled over me, like a collapsing tent, and this thing I was watching wasn’t in front of me, it was everywhere around me, and it was exhilarating and transformative.

(If I could put this part in a footnote, I would, but I don’t know how to, so: I should mention that I am very far from a musical theater aficionado. I have seen maybe eight musicals in my life. Not only did I not expect to cry, hard, during Hamilton, I did not expect to enjoy it. I saw it like a week after it opened on Broadway, kind of on a whim, knew nothing about it, and the last thing I said to my wife, as the lights went down, was: “We’ll leave at intermission.”)

The second time I saw it, that moment came much earlier (I knew what I was getting into, this time, so I was more ready to be subsumed). It came barely three minutes in, when the entire cast of the show, in a piece of choreography that can best be referred to as “badass,” all walk down to the very front of the stage and stand, shoulder to shoulder, and sing very loudly about how Alexander Hamilton never learned to take his time. The cast has, to this point, trickled on stage, slowly, one by one, telling you Hamilton’s origin story, and then suddenly there they all are, all of them – maybe 20? 50? It seems like 1000? – as close to the audience as they can get, and they are every size and ethnicity and gender, and their voices are loud, and I thought to myself, oh my God, this is a cast of people descended from every nation on Earth, all singing about the foundations of the American experience, and yes I “knew” that, intellectually, but holy shit, now that I see them all, I know it, like in my stomach, I understand it, and what a thing that is.

The third time I saw Hamilton, that moment was during “It’s Quiet Uptown,” when this enormous, sprawling, improbable, otherworldly, multi-ethnic, historical, art tornado presses pause on all of its historical-cultural-ethno-sociological-artistic investigations, and spends four and a half spare minutes with a couple who are grieving an unimaginable tragedy.  Specifically, it was the lines

Forgiveness
Can you imagine?
Forgiveness
Can you imagine?

What a thing to do, for your characters – to give them four and a half minutes in the middle of an enormous, sprawling, historical swirl, to just be sad. What a piece of writing that is.

(Again, should be a footnote, but: as long as I’m talking about writers here, I should point out that if the late Harris Wittels were alive, he would, at this moment, text me and hit me with a “humblebrag” for writing about how I have seen Hamilton three times, and he would be right. Miss you Harris!)

In the hundreds of hours of my life I have spent thinking about Hamilton since I first saw it – far more hours than any other single piece of art I have ever experienced – I have revisited that same thought over and over: he never should’ve written it. It was an absurd thing to do. It took him a year to write the title song, then another year to write the second song, and how did he not give up when two years had gone by and he’d written two songs?  He must’ve known in his heart it needed to be a 50-song, 2 ½-hour enterprise, and he had two songs after two years, and he kept going. How did he keep going? I’ve been trying to write this blog post about two writers I admire for different reasons since the week Tom Petty died, and I’ve almost given up five times.

At this point, the entire musical is that “moment” for me. It’s the whole thing, now – the thing that overwhelms me is the whole thing. The conception of it, the writing of it, the rewriting of it. The music and the motifs and the themes and the threads and the dramatic shape and the characters and their inner lives, and the eagle-eye writer’s view it took to keep all of that in his head, all of it, the whole time. The writing of it. The utterly impossible writing of it. 

It’s time for another Hiveswap development team interview!

Hey there, Hiveswap and Homestuck fans! Ash here once again, and as promised, it’s time for another interview with the talented folks on Hiveswap’s development team! And don’t worry – if you missed the first interview, with our environment art director Rah, you can find it right here!

Who’s in the hot seat today? Why, it’s Adrienne, our lead animator! She can tell you far more about her work on the project than I ever could, so without further ado, I’m going to hand things off to her – after reminding you all to take good, long looks at the wonderful examples of her work peppered throughout this interview. Take it away, Adrienne!

Introduce yourself to the fans! What is your specific role on the Hiveswap team?

Hiya! My name’s Adrienne and I’m the lead animator for Hiveswap. I work together with Angela, the animation director, on roughs, cleanup, background and cutscene animation – anything that moves!

When and how did you get your start on the Hiveswap project?

I was hired full-time in January 2016, but I started doing some sprite conceptualization in late 2015 in tandem with [S]:Collide work (I animated sprites for the main big bads and did thumbnails for some of the sequences).

Tell us a little bit about your career background! How did you get your start in animation? Do you have any advice for others looking to enter this field?

Homestuck is basically my career background, ahaha.

I drew a lot of fan art for Homestuck after I finished catching up in late 2012. I got some attention from my work and I was asked to do comic pages for Paradox Space. Then I did work for the Homestuck calendar. Then I just became more involved in the comic after that by doing thumbnails, sprite animation, comic pages, snapchats… and now I’m working on the game… it’s been a wild ride from fan to full-time fan.

But as for how I got started in animation, a lot of it was influenced by anime and then DeviantArt while I was growing up. I grew up with Naruto and loved Norio Matsumoto’s work in it (he did the key animation for the best episodes!). And on DeviantArt, I liked following OCTs (Original Character Tournaments) and was particularly inspired by Unknown-Person’s work.

My general advice would be to value learning and exploration, and have less expectations of what life should hand you – it makes a lot of circumstances feel like a pleasant surprise and a good opportunity to learn something new. That’s how I felt when I stumbled into this field anyway, haha.

We’re making a video game, so of course the question must be asked: what’s your favorite game of all time, and what games are you playing currently (if any)?

Agh, what a difficult question. My most-played genre is colorful multiplayer shooters like Team Fortress 2, Overwatch, and Splatoon.

I finished Nier: Automata recently and now I’m working through Persona 5. But when I’m not working through that game, I play Breath of the Wild (most of my time is spent riding my horse around Hyrule – it’s very calming).

Are there any games that you currently use or have used as inspiration for your own animation work here on Hiveswap, or just in general?

I generally use Homestuck flash animations as an inspiration for Hiveswap sprite animations.

When I’m working on cutscenes, I look to Professor Layton stuff. I love how they integrated cutscenes with gameplay in that series.

As an animator, you must have some favorite cartoons and/or anime – tell us about them!

My recent favorite is Mob Psycho 100. The raw and rough quality of the animation for that one is my jam and the main cast is really inspiring. Avatar: The Last Airbender is still my top favorite for its epic storytelling and world-building. Naruto always has a special place in my heart since it’s one of the earliest things that inspired me to study animation.

Other big influential works for me were Princess Mononoke and How to Train Your Dragon.

What’s your workstation like? Do you like to listen to any particular kinds of music while you work? If so, tell us about it!

Here’s a picture of my workstation! If you squint at the bottom screen closely, you can see me taking the picture. But anyway… yeah. I am a little embarrassed for people to know how saturated my workstation is with inspirational quotes (there are papers of handwritten motivation on the walls behind me), but that’s just how I deal when the anxiety gets a little rough.

When I want to focus (usually for rough animation and concept art), I pull up an electronic or classical playlist on YouTube (and recently Spotify) or have no music playing at all. But for everything else (cleanup, in-betweens, etc.), I dig into different genres once in awhile but Imagine Dragons and Americana/folk stuff are my go-to. Acoustics sound really nice in these speakers.

Favorite Homestuck character?

Egh, this is impossible… I’m gonna say it’s between Rose, Jade, Roxy, Kanaya, Terezi, and Vriska… um…

Favorite Homestuck ship?

Rose/Kanaya has never once failed me! c: (I think John/Terezi is really funny too.)

Favorite Homestuck flash?

Urgh… I don’t know, there’s so many that I love. In terms of like… cool and creative setup, [S] Cascade probably? [S] GAME OVER is cool too, because everyone died and the stakes just got so much higher. Oh! I just remembered [S] Make her pay as well!

This question is impossible.

(In the above animation timeline, the first frame is held for 4/24 of a second, the second frame for 2/24 of a second, the third for 2/24, and so on.)

Do you have a personal message you’d like to relay to all the Homestuck and Hiveswap fans out there?

Thank you for all your support, and for your patience in making it through the Giga/Mega/Omegapauses intact!

Where can people find more of your work? Link us to your own little corner(s) of the Internet!

If you want to see more of my stuff, my Tumblr is the place to be!

Thank you, Adrienne! Well, folks, I hope you’ve enjoyed this second Hiveswap development team interview – and don’t worry, there are still plenty more to come!

Now that we’ve gotten things rolling, from here on out we’ll be bringing you a new interview every Wednesday, so be sure to check back every week for a new behind-the-scenes look at the development of Hiveswap and the talented people behind it!

See you next time!

anonymous asked:

I'm going through a real rough patch and if you want to write something cheerful you have no idea how grateful I'd be.

Flash sidled up to Superman on one of the Watchtower’s mezzanines, leaning against a rail. They looked at each other sidelong, then away.

“Wanna hear my new time?” Flash asked sideways, swaying as he alternated which foot held his weight, hands on his hips.

“There’s no way you beat my time,” Superman muttered, his arms crossed over his chest. His eyes were in the other direction, and both men went silent as the Lanterns walked too close. Superman and Flash gave them a nod of acknowledgment, then waited for them to be at a safe distance.

“Nine seconds.”

“What!” Superman dropped his arms, whipped his head around to where Flash was grinning and bouncing on his heels. “No way.”

Flat,” Flash said.

“There’s no way.”

“Check my heartbeat if you don’t believe me,” Flash said, tapping his insignia with his thumb. Then he frowned. “Actually, don’t, I’m pretty excited about this so my pulse is probably crazy.”

His heart always sounded like an angry hummingbird trapped between his lungs, but Barry was also a notoriously terrible liar, so it wasn’t as relevant as it could have been.

Dangit,” Superman said, crossing his arms again. He leaned back to scope out the area around them. No one seemed to be paying them much mind. “What time?”

“Eleven on a Saturday,” Flash said, looking even more smug. “You know I don’t mess around.”

“Tch!” Superman made an irritated sound, licking his canines. Then he snapped his fingers. “You forgot about–”

“Nnnope,” Flash interrupted. “I’m including the new ones in that, that’s the whole reason we had to reset our times, otherwise I’d still be at seven-point-four.”

Tch.” Superman drummed his fingers against his bicep. “Nine seconds,” he repeated, torn between irritation and awe.

“You know what that means,” Flash said, waggling his eyebrows.

Superman sighed. “Alright, where are we going?”

“I want soup.”

“Uh-huh.” Superman waited. Flash was waiting for him to ask. Superman was not going to give him the satisfaction.

“… in Saigon.”

“You’ve been watching Bourdain again,” Superman accused.

“It looked like really good soup!” Flash said, defensive.

“Fine,” Superman said, “but I am going to beat your time, and when I do–”

“Beat what, now?” Wonder Woman asked, having managed to approach them while they were distracted by negotiations.

“Nothing!” Flash and Superman said at once.

“We were just talking,” Superman said.

“About stuff,” Flash added unnecessarily. “Private, personal, man stuff.”

Wonder Woman’s eyebrows shot up. She was close enough for her lariat to hum on her hip. She looked Flash over. Flash started to turn red.

“Okay bye!” Flash said, and he was gone in a streak of red.

“Superman?” Wonder Woman asked.

“I should, uh. Hal…”

He wasn’t actually making any definitive statements, just stringing words together, and yet somehow it still managed to ring false. She watched him go, putting her hands on her hips.

She could practically sense it when Batman came up beside her, even quiet as he was.

“Do you want to know what they were talking about.”

“Do you know?” she wondered. He said nothing, so she turned to look at his face. It was as expressionless as ever, but she got the impression that he did not consider the question worthy of dignifying with a response.

He was Batman. He would never be so rude as to say ‘of course’ – but of course he knew.

“I wouldn’t want to invade his privacy,” Wonder Woman said cautiously.

“He’d tell you if you really asked,” Batman said. “They just like feeling like they have a special thing.”

“Oh.”

“Flash, especially.”

“I see.” She tapped on her lower lip as she watched Superman talk to one of the Green Lanterns. “So what’s the special thing?”

“Pick me up in the plane on Saturday and I can show you.”

She froze. Slowly, she turned to look at him. As always, being able to see him helped not at all. “Like a date?” she asked.

The corner of his mouth twitched. “More like a stakeout.”

“That could be like a date.” She was mostly saying it to tease him. Sometimes if she did it right, he turned pink and had to find a shadow to hide in.

“It’s usually not.”

“Why not?”

“I’m usually with the kids.”

“Oh!” Her eyes widened. “I didn’t mean–”

“It’s fine.”

She put her hand out to rest on his shoulder. “I would never imply–”

“I know.”

She took her hand back. “I’ll behave,” she assured him.

“You don’t have to,” he said, and she grinned.

“I’ll pick you up at ten,” she said, and she gave him an exaggerated wink as she walked away.

“It’s a date,” he murmured.


Why,” Wonder Woman asked, “are we in Florida?”

Batman was sitting beside her, and the plane was in a low hover. “Because as far as anyone can tell, this is the single biggest and busiest Walmart in the world.”

“I don’t think that explains as much as you think it does,” she said.

Batman held up a phone. A clock took up most of the screen. 10:59. “Watch,” he said, and he pointed out to the parking lot, vast and terrifying and teeming with people. She watched, and she had no idea how she was supposed to see anything in the crowd.

Finally, she spotted it. The motion too quick to be anything mortal. Would anyone on the ground notice anything more than a strong breeze?

“Oh! It’s the–” She snapped her fingers, couldn’t remember the word.

“Carts,” Batman supplied.

“Yes!”

In almost no time at all, every cart in the parking lot had been returned to one of the designated corrals. Batman pointed to something that he must have been using technology in his mask to see, because otherwise his eyes should not have been good enough. Wonder Woman was much better equipped to see Superman, standing beneath a tree and checking a stopwatch and scowling. He did some kind of motion with his arms and one leg that suggested he’d have thrown his hat to the ground, if he’d been wearing one.

“They introduced new carts,” Batman explained. “They don’t fit with the other ones, so it slows them down. Ruined their whole system.”

“They had a system?” she asked, giggling.

“No, here,” he said, tapping her arm to point again. “This is the best part. He’s frustrated.”

That’s the best part?”

“Watch what he does.”

She watched. Superman was gone again, more impossible-to-follow motion through the crowd. Things were moving. Large things.

“He’s fixing the cars!” she said, clapping her hands together.

“He’s fixing bad parking jobs,” Batman confirmed. “Because he’s mad.” There was a brief crooked curve to his mouth.

“He moved that one to a different space!”

“Illegally parked in a handicapped spot.”

“How fun.” Wonder Woman watched the people wandering through the lot, wondered how many of them had noticed what was happening and how many had disregarded it as nothing worth noticing. “Flash is the winner of this contest, then?”

“Consistently.”

“Is there a prize?”

“Clark buys him lunch. Usually somewhere he saw on a food show, since he can’t normally do that.”

“Why not?”

“Hm?”

“Barry can run anywhere, can’t he?” she asked. “I see no reason he couldn’t run to these places on his own.”

“He doesn’t like being alone in foreign countries,” Batman explained. “It makes him anxious.”

“Oh.” She returned her gaze to the parking lot. “How nice, then, that it all works out.” She frowned. “Is this weird?” she asked. “Spying on our friends like this.”

“I don’t think I’m the right person to ask.”

“Do you do this often?” she wondered. “Watch people have fun without you?”

“Define 'often’.”

Wonder Woman held up a finger in warning. “Zatanna taught me a trick.”

“That doesn’t sound good.”

“She says that if you ask me to define the parameters, it means the answer is bad.”

Before he could respond, there was a thump.

Superman was standing on the nose of the invisible jet.

He tapped a knuckle on the glass, until Diana opened the hatch. “Hello!” she said cheerfully.

“What are you two doing here?” Clark asked.

“We’re on a date!” Diana said.

“We’re not on a date,” Batman said.

“If you’re not on a date, can you give me a ride?”

“You’re out of our way,” Batman said.

“Nah, just drop me off in Gotham,” Clark said, slipping inside the plane, awkwardly floating between the two front seats into the back.

“You don’t even need a ride,” Bruce said, having to fit himself as far as possible into the edge of his seat so that Clark would have room to get by. “You can fly.”

“Yeah, and you can walk, but I don’t see you giving up the Batmobile.” Clark made himself comfortable in the back seat as Diana closed up the plane. “I’m craving Dimitri’s.”

“You’re too sober for Dimitri’s,” Bruce said.

“I’m always sober. You’re lucky I can tell this wasn’t a real date, or I would be really creeped out by the whole spying on me thing.”

“Don’t tell Barry we know about your special thing,” Diana said, pulling the plane out of its hover to ascend. “I don’t want to ruin it for him.”

“I won’t,” Clark assured her. “Hey, you know where we should go while we’re here?”

“No,” said Bruce.

“Where?” asked Diana.

“No,” said Bruce.

“Disney World!”

“No.”

Diana gasped.

“No.”

Clark put a hand on Bruce’s shoulder. “You can’t have come all the way to Florida just to see me,” he coaxed.

“I’m banned from Walmart, strongly discouraged from visiting Disney parks, and my parents are dead. I have no other reason to visit Florida.”

fake fake fake
  • the clip starts with eva talking about causeries: humorous written piece that, in english, can be referred to as “talk of the town”. eva says she’s not good at it while noora says she doesn’t even know what it is. 👀👀👀
  • even before sana starts focusing on the carrot munching, from the very first second of the clip, the audio has a slight echo to it. which could just be the staircase in which they’re in but i’d think that the team would fix it in post-prod. i feel like they left it because it gives a daydreaming quality to the scene and sana’s pov. from the start, she’s not really listening.
  • carrot munching from the trailer
  • i’ve seen people comment that noora is eating too loudly, that’s not what it is.
    firstly: have you ever managed to eat a carrot silently? and secondly: the shot is to show how much sana is annoyed by noora now. when you hate someone, you tend to find every single thing they do annoying. suddenly, they breathe too loud, eat too loud, are just generally gross.
  • in my attempt to find out if there was a word for this phenomenon other than misophonia (as i understand it, misophonia is when you’re hypersensitive to certain sounds regardless of the context or person…i was looking for a word for when it happens only when you hate someone), i discovered a video of 5mn of carrot munching noises. here it is if you want to die.
  • the mcdonald’s discourse
  • sana looks outside at sara, vilde, and laila and…
  • …i’ll come back to this image later.
  • as sana focuses on noora and eva joining the group, she tunes out the noise around her just as when in prayer or when she was looking at yousef’s facebook profile. it seems that the music from sigur rós is used here as it was used in the other focusing scenes.
  • isak literally gets his nose into other people’s business (and i feel that almost everyone noticed immediately, despite how little of the frame it takes, because of the reading sense)
  • again, we have isak trying to reach sana and he says exactly what’s on sana’s mind: “has sara stolen all your friends?”

[cont. after the “read more”]

Keep reading

Yuri on Ice 2017/02/11 all night event report

I’m back from the event and I’ll write a report before going to sleep, mostly because I’m sure I will not be able to decipher my scribbles when I wake up… It’s not the full talk show since you can’t record it and also I couldn’t possibly write down everything, but I tried to take note of most things, especially stuff that has never been mentioned elsewhere. In the end it became quite long so I guess I was able to get most of the stuff down…

Needless to say it’s my notes, so other people might write about parts I omitted, etc. To be honest quite a few of the things they said especially in the beginning, like what the seiyuu think about their characters, is something I’ve read so many times in interviews that I could almost answer in their place, lol… I was a bit disappointed that one of the questions that was answered is the one about Chris’ mysterious acquaintance, because actually Kubo answered that in Pash already (it’s in the Q&A part I’ll be translating later), and I hoped they would feature questions about stuff that hasn’t been explained yet. Well I guess not everybody reads interviews, but still…

Due to the format of the report you can find my comments here and there, mostly in brackets.
Under the cut because it’s long.

I forgot to mention something important: the ones participating in the talk show were Mitsurou Kubo, Toshiyuki Toyonaga (Yuuri), Junichi Suwabe (Victor), Kouki Uchiyama (Yurio).

Keep reading

In Motion (M) | 01

Character / Genre / words: Jeon Jungkook x reader (with POV switches) | Smut, Mature scenes, Masturbation Club!au | 7,721 words

➼ Summary: The rule is simple - you can look but you can’t touch. You’ve been attending the event for a few times but it was only when a certain boy arrives at one occasion did you feel the fire of lust burning inside

➼ Warning: exhibitionism, public display of masturbations, graphic smut scenes, mutual masturbations, mentions/use of sex toys, language

➼ Warning 2.0: this is only the beginning

➼ a/n: This is a revamped/edited version. I have decided to not scrap the whole thing when there is no scenes or plots being changed in the process. Feel free to reread this chapter before the next chapter is out. More story fillers will be added in the upcoming chapters.

➼ Chapters: 01 | 02 | 03


Keep reading

Put on some socks

Pairing: Eggsy Unwin x American!Reader
Summary: You’re a member of the Cupler Ring and you’re working with Galahad on a mutual assignment. Overbooked hotels lead to everyone’s favorite scenario: bed sharing.
Genre: Smut, apparently. Fluff, too. Still not sure how the smut happened, though…
Warnings: It’s smut, what do you expect? Things get a little rough (hair pulling, light spanking, etc.), but nothing major.
Word count: 3,910

[Masterlist]

A/N: Tumblr flipped and screwed the original post up, so let’s try this again…

Originally posted by theandrophile

“Put on some socks, dammit,” your partner, Eggsy, grunted as he ran a hotel towel over his wet hair. “I don’t wanna deal with your ice feet tonight.”

You chuckled to yourself, shaking your head and looking back down at the tablet resting in your lap. You and Eggsy – or Galahad, as the Kingsmen called him – teamed on this assignment a few weeks back when your paths crossed and you realized you were working the same case. While your team – the “petticoated patriots,” as the larger organization playfully called you – was weary of working with “the red coats,” you happily accepted the help. A fresh set of eyes wouldn’t hurt, and neither would establishing connections and a working relationship with your buddies across the pond.

Additionally, Eggsy was a cute, funny guy. In your line of work, the only guys you ever met were fellow Cuplers (and you weren’t really a fan of dating within the workplace) or bad guys that you had to take down. Hanging out with a cute guy who wasn’t a coworker or criminal was a nice change of pace.

“You’re the one who got all cuddly last night,” you reminded him, your memory flashing back to your new partner holding you close to his shirtless chest throughout the night. “You’re like a fucking furnace, by the way. I actually thought I was going to get heat stroke at one point.”

Eggsy responded by pitching his damp towel at your head, which you promptly tossed to the floor.

“Seriously, my guy,” you continued with a teasing smile. “I woke up like five times last night and you were wrapped around me like a baby koala.”

Eggsy smiled and hopped onto the bed, blue eyes trained on you.

“People love baby koalas,” he told you with a smirk.

You laughed. “Oh, do they?”

“Mhmm,” he nodded, crawling closer to where you sat at the head of the bed. “’sides, love, you’re the one that picked the room. All a ploy to get me into bed, yeah?”

You scoffed, your face heating up at the insinuation. That may not have been your original intention, but it wasn’t as much of burden as you pretended.

“Definitely,” you said. “It didn’t have anything to do with the fact that I booked the room last minute and a single was all they had left.”

“Coulda had the penthouse,” he pointed out, rolling over and leaning against the headboard.

“I see ‘discretion’ isn’t in the Kingsmen handbook,” you said with an eyeroll.

Eggsy shifted in the bed, folding his hands behind his head and glancing down at your lap.

“It is,” he argued, smirk still firmly in place. “It’s just not as important as style.”

“Figures,” you laughed.

He groaned in response, reaching across you and turning off the bedside lamp before inching under the covers.

“Whatever ya say, Yank. Put your socks on and turn in.”

-0-

Keep reading

Angel in the Darkness (M) pt.7

Originally posted by aestheticvbts

Summary: After a patient urgently pleads you to go and help a friend of his, you naively agree to it. Little did you know, that you would get more than what you agreed to, when he leads you to a brothel, to help a dangerous prostitute named Jeon Jungkook.

Pairing: Jungkook x Reader (ft. Jin, but not romantically)

Genre: Smut (M), angst, mafia!au, prostitution!au

A/N:This is a dark and filthy story! Graphic descriptions of sex (masturbating, etc), heavy dom/sub undertones, drug use, vulgar language use……(alot of smut comes in later) This is a mature read! You have been warned!

part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4 | part 5 | part 6 | part 7 | part 8



The air conditioning caused the dimly lit room to be abnormally cold, as Jin slightly shivered. He was sitting with his hands forming fists, while his father gave him a stern look.

He didn’t want to be here, that was for sure. He knew his father must have started to become suspicious of him, since it was taking an unusually long time for him to locate Jungkook and you. So when he got another message that his father wanted to see him – he couldn’t stop shaking.

What was he supposed to say? He couldn’t keep lying and give his father the same answer of ‘they are close.’ No, that definitely wouldn’t work this time, as he could tell with the look his father currently gave him.

“Son,” his father spoke with a grim voice. “How stupid do you think I am?”

Even though Jin was nervous, he managed to pull off his infamous poker face as he replied, “What ever do you mean?”

“Save your lies for someone else Jin,” the greying man mocked. “You may be able to fool others, but certainly not me. Now tell me where they are. Now.”

Keep reading

Overtime (m)

@lilacxsehun requested: Jungkook/Reader inspired by the lyrics “He says I know what I want and I want it now I want you cause I’m Mr. Vain” in which Jungkook is the CEO of a big company you work for. 
Pairing: Jungkook | Reader
Genre: Fluff/Smut; CEO/Boss AU 
Word Count: 12,037
Author’s Note: I’ve always wanted to try my hand at a CEO AU so I was very excited to get this request. As I was writing this, I wasn’t entirely sure if Jungkook’s position should constitute him more as a CEO or a boss but eh, ignore the technicalities.

Summary: In which an awkward first encounter with your new boss gives Jeon Jungkook all the more reason to make your job an interesting experience.

.


To say you are late would be a complete and utter, tragic and ill-fitting, understatement. By the time you were supposed to be here at the building, you had just finished adding the last minute touches to your hair with the straightener, and by the time you were supposed to be doing that you needed to finish your makeup and by the time that was happening—!

Well, you get the idea.

Point is, you are running incredibly behind on your schedule—as if life just wanted to prove a point that no matter how much it seemed you could stitch your life together by managing to land an interview for a company actually relevant to your degree, something always had to go wrong. It just so happens that the bad day you constantly worried about just had to occur today. On the day of your interview.

You think it might be enough to get you to scream. First, the power just had to cut off the night before, disarming your alarm clock and resetting all the previous settings so instead of just beeping at some abnormal time it just didn’t ring at all. Given that you had also forgotten to plug your phone in for charging the night before as well, there was no way that could have been any source of an alternative method for waking up. All of that led up to the simple fact regarding the issue that you have a very difficult time waking up in the morning even with an alarm, so having none only elevated that struggle, bursting out of bed after frantically wondering about the time, and attempting to compress an hour’s worth of preparation into 5 minutes.

Keep reading

Long Angsty Sterek Fics

All at least 20k words long (by request)

Divided We Stand by KouriArashi

Derek is being pressured by his family to pick a mate, and somehow stumbles into a choice that they didn’t expect and aren’t sure they approve of….

By Any Other Name by entanglednow

He doesn’t know his name, he doesn’t know who he is, and neither does the werewolf he’s on the run with. But he’s pretty sure they hunt monsters, because they seem to be really good at it.

Permanent Fixture by linksofmemories

Derek is Scott’s older brother. Stiles is Scott’s best friend. Derek is falling in love with Stiles. This is a bit of a problem.

Mating Habits of the Domesticated North American Werewolf by lielabell

Derek doesn’t do pining. He doesn’t. So when it becomes clear that Stiles is much more interested in having Derek as a new best friend than a boyfriend, he puts on his big boy pants and makes it fucking work. He becomes the best goddamn friend a spastic teenager could ever hope to have.

Don’t Speak by fatale

The Alpha pack has systematically attacked Stiles and his friends for months, testing their strengths and weaknesses. When one of the Alphas goes after Stiles, he awakens in the hospital and realizes that something’s wrong. Very wrong. All sounds seem to hurt him, he can’t understand what anyone is saying, and when he tries to speak, it’s gibberish. How is he supposed to deal with the fact that he’s lost the ability to communicate with his dad and his friends?

Without his ability to talk, his sarcasm, and his wit, what does Stiles even have left? Enter Derek, the only one who seems to make it better.

Enemy Lines by qhuinn (tekla)

This is the story of werewolf Derek Hale and human Stiles Stilinski: two people who grew up in the same town but completely different worlds, their realities split by the war between men and wolves.

Years later when Derek returns to Beacon Hills, he does it as Alpha of a military pack on a mission to capture those responsible for the region’s resistance. With his main objective, Sheriff Stilinski, out of sight, he settles for the next best thing: his son, Stiles.

Neither of them suspects they’ll need to trust each other if they want to make it out this alive.

Keep reading

1940 -- Chapter One

(banner credit: @tiostyles)

The beginning of a series where you fall in love with a soldier named Alex.

A Note From The Author: This is the first of many chapters for this Alex!AU. This chapter is simply setting the scenes for what is to come between y/n and Alex. Stay tuned for swing dancing, cheeky banter from Alex, and a few stolen kisses along the way. Let me know what you think! xxh


April, 1938
London, England 

The store sat empty, as it did most days of the week. Dust regularly collected on the cash register sitting in front of you and its brass keys grew stiff with the lack of activity. With your elbows propped up on the counter, you leaned your weight forward and held your chin in the hand that wasn’t busy drumming across the countertop. They tapped in time with the clock ticking on the wall, a constant reminder that you were stuck here on such a lovely day outside.

It was unusually warm for this time of year. Normally covered in a dreary layer of gray, the sidewalks and storefronts shone in the rare-April sunshine, people out and about, taking advantage of the weather. You were antsy as you watched out the window, hoping that someone, anyone, would walk through the door and give you something to talk about.

Keep reading

31. Stop biting that fucking lip.

Despite spending the last four years of his life studying Russia, Yuuri was still greatly underprepared for how cold it was when he arrived. The palace consort had offered his sister, Mari, Minako-sensei and himself a fine fur pelt each to wear; something Yuuri gratefully accepted as the chill had gone through the wool of his mon-tsuki like needles, hakama soaked nearly up to his knees from the snow.

‘Stop biting that fucking lip,’ Mari snapped, Japanese vulgar in her impatience to get into the warmth of the drawing room they had been brought to. Yuuri squeaked, glancing quickly to where Minako-sensei was walking ahead of them. But thankfully, their tutor seemed not to hear them.

‘I c-can’t help it,’ Yuuri replied, barely containing his shiver. ‘My teeth won’t stop shaking.’

Mari rolled her eyes as they entered the drawing room, bowing her head to the servant who held the door for them. Yuuri followed after her, still dwarfed by his older sibling’s height and attempted to do the same, bending his body. Unfortunately, this just had Yuuri stepping onto the front his hakama and stumbling.

At 14, Yuuri was still adjusting to the formal wear, not used to having fabric bundle after him so much. It had taken great practice not to trip entirely over the hakama’s length, the weight of his mon-tsuki making it incredibly awkward to gather any semblance of lift over the whole ensemble. While the pelt didn’t help in that regard, it at least had the benefit of keeping Yuuri warm.

‘I’m sorry,’ Yuuri said in English to the servant, whose white skin and fine hair looked as striking as everyone else Yuuri had met in Saint-Petersburg so far. The servant said nothing, light eyes darting between Yuuri and the tall figure of their consort.

Lilia Baranovskaya was as imposing as she was alien to Yuuri, long nose constantly titled up in a position of great displeasure. Yuuri had only met her once before, four years prior when she had travelled to Japan first with the Tsar and his advisors. She seemed just as terrifying now as she did then, green eyes fixed on Yuuri like he were something she were about to dissect. She straightened the skirt of her Western gown, vivid purple silk which fitted her frame in direct contrast to Minako-sensei’s demure kimono.

‘She won’t understand you,’ Lilia said, her English sounding almost completely foreign in accent. ‘None of the servants speak English.’

‘Why not?’ Yuuri asked, curiosity ahead of his manners. Minako-sensei sighed, Mari rolling her eyes again.

‘It wouldn’t be proper. Now sit by the fire, before you catch cold,’ Lilia replied like it were obvious, before dispatching the servant in rapid Russian.

Yuuri was quiet then, knowing a dismissal when he heard one. Yuuri tightened his grip of the pelt around himself, walking closer to the chairs that were laid out before the fire.The sketches of the Winter Palace did not the do the reality of the building any justice, as far as Yuuri was concerned. It’s grandness gave Yuuri a hollow feeling in his stomach, nervous of the opulence that was gilded to the walls like it were worth the same as wood. Even the fireplace looked to be carved from riches, small gems of greens and reds encrusted along the spiralling gold carvings.

Mari sat across from Yuuri, her posture less proper than Yuuri expected. Yuuri didn’t imitate, keeping his back straight and hands folded neatly as Minako-sensei and Lilia began to speak in hushed tones at the chaise in the furtherest corner of the room. Discussing Yuuri, he was in no doubt. Yuuri watched the flames for a long while, talking with Mari about the journey, trying to ignore the mutterings behind him. When Yuuri heard the word marriage, the nervousness eating him from within won out.

‘Excuse me,’ Yuuri said politely, standing up from his chair. Lilia and Minako-sensei both looked from their discussion, eyes considering. Yuuri did his best not to blush. ‘But I’m feeling quite heavy-headed from all the travel. Could I be excused to take a turn around the gardens for some fresh air?’

Minako-sensei opened her mouth first, no doubt to tell Yuuri no. But then Lilia was standing, sharp chin pointed down in consideration.

‘Of course. I’ll fetch you a chaperone.’

Which was how Yuuri now found himself back out in the snow he had been so resentful of at first, an armed escort walking five steps behind him. But anything was better than sitting in that small, glittering room like it were anything but the cage it would inevitably be. Yuuri looked around himself, at the towering stone walls of the palace and how they seemed to dwarf out even the white blanket of the sky. The snow falling in the small, snow thick space of the garden courtyard that sat in the centre of the palace reminded Yuuri of the snowglobes the Tsar would send his family at the winter seasons.

Someday, Yuuri would be one of those small glass figures. Trapped behind a wall he could not see and drowning beneath Russian snow.

Yuuri’s turn of the square came to a halt once he crossed the far corner, the central trees passing to reveal a small arena of some kind that didn’t appear to be part of the original garden. It was like the pavement had been dug up to form a small, square pond of sorts. And on the pond’s frozen surface was a boy, a teenager perhaps, gliding across the ice like a dancer.

Yuuri stopped where he was, uncaring of the snow that was eating through his boots. He watched, transfixed as the other boy bent low, his body the delicate contortion of strength, before leaping into the air. Spinning, like string unwoven, and landing back on the ice with a clap like thunder. Yuuri’s heart swelled in his chest, entranced.

The boy was dressed well, or at least he was from Yuuri’s understanding of Russian fashion. He was wearing a coat of leather, fur-lined and thick so some of the movements of the boy’s arms looked unseamly with its bulk. On his head was one of those round, fur hats Yuuri had seen from his carriage to the palace, hands covered in rounded gloves. Yuuri found himself walking, interest and hope coming together like the stitching of his mon-tsuki, approaching the makeshift ice with speed.

Yuuri stopped when he reached the edge, which was lined with a straight wooden fence. The skater turned on his steel, speed ruddering him across the uneven surface of the ice. He looked over to Yuuri, reaching up with a gloved hand to pull the front of his coat down.

He was… beautiful. With a narrow face and straight nose, eyes vivid in their blueness and Yuuri’s breath caught in his throat. Yuuri flushed, whole body quaking as his embarrassment suddenly thawed the chill that had set in his bones. The skater approached as Yuuri tried to hide his quivering under the thick pelt.

The Tsarevich, Yuuri guessed. The boy who would become the man that would inherit this large, strange country. The man Yuuri would marry, as arranged by their respective courts.

The Tsarevich skated up to the fence, his pale skin burnished pink from the cold in a manner Yuuri couldn’t help but stare at. It was so strange, to see skin so stark like it were burnt. The boy was tall, even if he hadn’t been wearing his steel and easily the three or so years older Yuuri knew the Tsarevich to be. Yuuri’s breath was a cloud in front of him, the Tsarevich’s eyes glacial as they regarded Yuuri from beneath his cap.

When the Tsarevich spoke, it was in Russian and Yuuri was struck dumb with the speed of it, the harsh sound of it in his ears. Yuuri stared, unsure how to even respond. Yuuri hadn’t been taught Russian, on the request of the Russian court.

‘So they can hide their secrets,’ Minako-sensei had said with disdain, all that time ago. Yuuri realised too late that he still hadn’t said anything and he panicked, voice squeaking in his throat like a girls. Yuuri winced, embarrassed but the Tsarevich was suddenly cooing soothingly.

‘Prosti, prosti,’ the Tsarevich said, reaching out with a gloved hand to touch Yuuri’s shoulder. Yuuri flinched from the touch, unsure and the Tsarevich retreated. ‘I am sorry. English?’

Yuuri blinked, caught off guard. Then, his manners returned to him.

‘Yes,’ he replied, word a cloud in the cold. ‘I speak English.’

‘Wonderful,’ the Tsarevich replied, tugging a glove off with his teeth. Yuuri stared, amazed by the lack of propriety and strangely, relieved by it also. The Tsarevich held his hand out, fingers white like the snow. ‘I’m Victor.’

‘Katsuki Yuuri,’ Yuuri said, untangling a hand from where he had it bundled beneath the felt. Victor smiled, a slanted thing that made Yuuri’s stomach squeeze. Yuuri’s fingers were red now, too. Hand shaking. Victor took it, before looking down with wide eyes.

‘Your hand is freezing!’ he exclaimed and Yuuri snatched it back, afraid he’d overstepped. Then, much to his surprise, Victor tugged his other glove off and offered both out to Yuuri from over the top of the fence. When Yuuri didn’t move to take them, Victor took Yuuri’s hand into his own. ‘Please, I insist you take these. That fur won’t be enough, especially once the sun goes down.’

‘T-thank you,’ Yuuri replied, nerves catching on the words like hooks. He took the gloves, slipping them on when Victor waved a hand at him to do so. They were lined in fur as well and Yuuri couldn’t stop the sigh of relief he felt at having them. They were still warm from Victor’s skin.

Victor smiled again, his teeth sharp and eyes bright. Yuuri smiled back, happy to have pleased him.

‘Do you know how to skate?’ Victor asked, gesturing to the ice behind him. Yuuri shook his head, replacing his now gloved-hands beneath the pelt again.

‘No, we don’t really have the sport where I’m from,’ Yuuri said, not hiding the disappointment he felt. ‘But I know all about it. I’ve admired it for a long time.’

‘Perhaps I’ll teach you!’ Victor said boldly and it had Yuuri blushing. So forward, though perhaps Yuuri should’ve expected it. ‘Would you like me to skate for you?’

‘Please!’ Yuuri said, not bothering to contain the excitement he felt. Victor grinned, bright like the moon.

Yuuri wasn’t sure how much time passed between them. Enough for the snow to crawl up past the knees of his hakama, for certain and enough for even the escort assigned to him to cough. But Yuuri found that he didn’t care. He was totally caught by the movement of Victor’s body, the tumbling sound of his laugh. They shouted conversation across the ice to each other, Victor waving when he would skate close to where Yuuri was standing.

Then, Victor’s steel caught the edge of uneven ice, sending his body down. Yuuri cried out as Victor hit the ice, his cap flying off him in the impact. From beneath it, a curtain of long, fine hair spilled out. Silver as the ice it was laying against, Yuuri lost his words and even his panic for a moment at the beauty of it. Victor gathered himself up, brushing the ice dust from his jacket and looking around for his cap.

‘Ah, that was embarrassing,’ Victor said as he approached the fence again, shaking his retrieved cap. Yuuri said nothing, watching the sway of Victor’s long hair like it were a clock’s pendulum. ‘Though, I never have such a charming distraction.’

The compliment brought Yuuri tumbling right back down to earth.

‘I’m so sorry!’ he said, reaching out to touch Victor. He held Victor’s arm, barely feeling him under the layers of fabric between them. ‘You are not hurt, are you?’

‘I have survived far worse, I promise you,’ Victor said, winking and Yuuri was struck again by his brashness. Victor reached up, turning his hair around like rope.

Yuuri remembered when he had had his own hair cut before the journey, Minako-sensei pulling the strands back before taking a blade to it. Cutting it all the way up, to Yuuri’s ears. It was the fashion in the West, Minako-sensei had said. They had wanted to make a good first impression.

‘What do the people think, to have the Tsarevich grow his hair so long?’ Yuuri asked, admiring the way Victor’s hair shone like starlight from his dislodged cap. 

Victor froze, abandoning the replacement of his cap and staring at Yuuri in a manner most uncomely with his mouth slightly open and Yuuri panicked, worried he had offended. 

‘My- my apologies!’ Yuuri stammered, bowing as low as he could. ‘That was uncouth. Please forgive me.’

‘No, no!’ Victor said, seemingly finding his voice. Yuuri titled his head up, not entirely comfortable to straighten up fully yet. Victor pushed his fine hair from his face, looking quite sheepish. ‘You did nothing of the sort. I’m afraid it’s me who has been foolish and should be apologising. I swear, I never meant to mislead you.’

Yuuri did straighten up at that, suddenly wary. He stepped back, watching Victor carefully. ‘What do you mean?’

‘I’m not the Tsarevich,’ Victor said, eyes downcast with a look of shame. Yuuri’s heart stopped in his chest, stomach dropping like a stone. ‘I’m his skating coach.’

Next.

Batboys X Reader- Welcome To The Family

“He got another one?”

Dick and Jason stared at your dirty and small figure sitting at the dining room table, eating your food as if it were your last meal.  Bruce had informed everyone that he had taken you off from the streets when he found you at a crime scene.  You were hidden behind a couple boxes when a criminal decided to mug someone in the same alley.  The sounds of the victim struggling woke you up from your nap, making you leave your current home at the time.  There was a woman that was attempting to push a man’s knife away from her neck.  You quickly grabbed an old pipe you kept with you and stood up, quietly approaching the man until you were directly behind him.  You rose the pipe and bashed it on his head, causing him to drop the knife and collapse on the ground.  You hit him again for good measure and kicked away the knife.  The woman you saved stared at you, trying to process what you had just done.

“He’s still alive,” you muttered and kicked the man, receiving a groan from him.

“Thank you,” she stuttered out and hugged you.

You sighed at the warmth she provided, but had to let go, “Can you call the police?  I don’t want to be here without help if he wakes up again.”

She nodded and pulled out her cell phone out of her battered purse.  A few minutes later, a shadow enveloped you and the woman.  You turned around, the pipe still in your grip, to find the Batman looking at you and the woman.  He walked past you and the woman, grabbed the man, and placed some type of handcuffs on him.  Once he was finished with the criminal, he turned around and faced you and the woman.  

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The Heart - Roman Godfrey

(Nerd!Reader X Roman Godfrey)

You tutor Roman Godfrey in Anatomy, the Cardiovascular System to be exact.

A/N : This is one of my first tries when writing for Roman so I’m going to say sorry in advance! Give me some time to master writing for him! Enjoy!

Originally posted by iamfire355

Hemlock Grove High School was unwelcoming to say the least. Despite having lived in the sleepy town for all of your life, you couldn’t help but feel apart from your peers. While they gossiped, you were studying. While they went out with their friends, you were home alone. One thing that came from this was your good grades. You were soon recommended to be a tutor.

Hardly anyone ever came up to the Peer Tutoring lab. If they did, they would seek help from someone more affable, approachable instead of yourself. It didn’t matter how smart you were, your personality off put so many people, they refused to get the help they truly needed. Part of you liked it that way; you had grown used to the cold shoulders after a few years. However, deep down, it hurt you.

It hurt that no one wanted to talk to you, ask you a question about the Algebra homework or number forty-five on that History assignment. It hurt that, while you sat alone at a table, all the other tutors were explaining to their friends what the difference between a covalent and an ionic bond were. So, instead of thinking about how much it hurt, you busied yourself with a book.

You were already in deep within the pages when the rapping of knuckles against the table frightened you. You looked up and your eyes locked with none other than Roman Godfrey. You had known him since grade school, liked him since grade six. So of course it was him that came up to you. The boy offered you a soft smile, as if in apology; but Roman never apologizes.

“I need help with something,” he said coldly, “you’re a tutor right?” You nodded, peering at him as you closed your book.

“You care about your grades?” You countered, without missing a beat. Roman actually smiled, taking the seat next to you at your empty table.

“I need to pass,” he said, “my mom’s been riding my ass all week about it.” He reached down into his bag, pulling out a binder. His lips were pursed as he moved, his jaw tight with agitation. He flopped the binder on the table with a smacking sound that drew the attention of people in the room.

“Anatomy,” you said, opening the binder. “You’re covering the body systems…” Roman only nodded, watching you as you looked over his notes. You suppressed a smile as your eyes skimmed over his handwriting. It was fanciful, not the childish font most males scribbled in. Little sketches also caught your attention. A wolf’s face and a few snakes littered the margins on his notebook.

“We have a test soon,” Roman said, bringing your eyes to meet his own. “On the Cardiovascular system, I think. I’m not good with-”

“The heart? Does blood make you queasy?” You asked, leaning over the binder. Roman scoffed at your words, rolling his eyes. You noticed the quirking of his lips a little, making your heart flutter. He looked good when he smiled.

“You ask a lot of questions,” he said blatantly. While his original annoyance lingered in his expression, mischief glimmered in his eyes too.  

“I don’t see many people asking me for help,” you explained.

“Maybe ‘cause you ask so many questions,” Roman said, the hints of a grin forming on his lips. You had heard about those lips. Girls of Hemlock High raved about the magic Roman Godfrey could work. You yourself had wondered, but never dared to entertain the thoughts of him any further. If you did, you wouldn’t be able to focus.

“I can help you,” you said, flipping through his notebook to find the notes on the heart. When you found the pages, you looked back up at Roman whose gaze was glued on you. You swallowed hard under his gaze, shifting in your seat. It wasn’t just his lips, it was his eyes. You felt your heartbeat start to quicken as you mentally cursed yourself.  

“So-uh, where should we begin? The circulatory system?” You asked, clearing your throat. When Roman didn’t respond, you looked up at him.

“I was thinking, maybe the inner workings of the heart.” You nearly melted at the tone of his voice. The heart, of course. His green eyes were bright, a full grin on his face now. He knew exactly what he was doing. You felt a red-hot blush creep onto your features and you knew it would be a long study session.


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A Lesson in Love (A Different Perspective)

Summary: (College!AU) In which you’re assigned to write a story about romance, a subject you know nothing about, and Bucky, a hopeless romantic, offers you his assistance.

Pairing: Bucky x Reader

Word Count: 4,431

A/N: The tag list for this story is CLOSED. 

“A Lesson in Love” Masterlist + Soundtrack

@avengerstories - You are the forever best for editing for me.

Originally posted by skylerlockerbie

“I can’t believe you’ve never been to a track meet before.”

“I’ve never had a reason to come to one,” you say, defending yourself against Wanda’s accusatory tone and disapproving gaze.

“That’s no excuse,” she responds with a click of her tongue. “Now hurry up, we need to secure a good spot.”

You follow her blindly, not knowing what qualifies as a ‘good spot’. Unlike Wanda who has spent years attending track meets with her brother, you’ve never been to one. Like you told her, you never had a reason to attend one. Not until today.

Not until T'Challa.

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Google Salutes the Birth of Hip Hop with Interactive Doodle

Google is celebrating the 44th anniversary of hip-hop today with an interactive doodle on its homepage. Kool Herc’s party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx 44 years ago is cited as the crystallization of influences that became known as hip-hop. Google’s keyword team spoke with Kevin Burke, Ryan Germick Perla Campos who are behind the doodle. They also worked with hip-hop legends Fab 5 Freddy who was the first host of Yo! MTV Raps and Def Jam logo creator and visual artist Cey Adams. Check out their story behind the doodle,

Keyword: How did you come up with the idea for this Doodle?

Kevin: I’m a huge Hip Hop fan. Growing up outside New Orleans, it was a part of my DNA-performing Hip Hop in my high school band, adding Hip Hop to my college radio station’s rotation, and working on the set of Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson” music video in my first job out of college. Hip Hop has been a constant thread through my life and I wanted to bring my love of it to a Doodle. I developed the concept for interactive turntables, showed it to my manager Ryan (also a fan of Hip Hop), and he lost it. He said, “let’s make it tomorrow!”

OK, so people were into the idea. But Hip Hop is such a big topic. How did you decide what to focus on?

Perla: From the beginning, we were thinking big. I mean, Hip Hop touches so many parts of culture but a lot of people don’t know much about its origins. So, we anchored the Doodle to the birth of Hip Hop, and wanted to celebrate the people who pioneered the movement. We hope to give them the voice and the recognition they deserve, which is what Doodles are all about-shining light on times of history that maybe you didn’t know about. 

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