“There are a handful of unfinished stories. And in my head none of them are really dead. Only sleeping.”
Neil Gaiman

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Cover art incorporates “Portland Crossing” by Scheinwerfermann (CC BY-SA 3.0)
YPP Weekend Blockades, October 8-9; also the latest in Friday Fictionettes (Oct 7, Sept Freebie)
Sat 2016-10-08 11:43:25 (single post)
  • 1,209 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 1,073 words (if poetry, lines) long

This'll be a dual-purpose blog post. If you're here for the weekend Puzzle Pirates blockade schedule, click this to go straight there. If you're here for Friday's Fictionette announcement, read on.

The Friday Fictionette for October 7 went up late last night, and it's called "DON'T WALK"--all in caps, just like that. It's about a pedestrian signal that goes off-script. At least, that's what it's about at first. It's also about loopholes, and, briefly, the Hokey-Pokey. (Subscribers click here for full text in ebook and audiobook formats.)

I always make the mistake of thinking that I'll be functional on the day I return from a New Orleans trip. It's a reasonable mistake. The train gets in at 7:15 AM and, if I'm riding in the sleeper car, I'll have slept well the night before on an actual bed-like object; why shouldn't it be like waking up any normal day and getting on with my life? Because, apparently, it isn't. I got some work done in the morning, met John for lunch, went home... and then collapsed. "Just for an hour or two," I told myself. No. I was pretty much out until 7:00 PM.

So that would be why the blog post announcing the fictionette release didn't come until this morning.

I also need to announce the release of the Fictionette Freebie for September 2016. That would be "Living It Up." Click for full text in HTML, ebook, and audiobook formats. Available to all, regardless of subscriber status. That's how that goes. And for y'all what gets them, I'll be mailing out the Fictionette Artifacts any day now.

OK, so. All things Puzzle Pirates. Um. I haven't gotten a chance to play much yet this month, but I know this much: Current Seal o' Piracy calls for defeating one (1) group of skellies and one (1) group of zombies. Greedy Brigands/Barbarians have been released to all servers. Also we have the following blockades, featuring almost every single Ocean. Have fun!

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, October 8 ***

12:00 p.m. - Basset Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Midknight Sun
Attacker: Pirate King
Attacker: rosa ferklz

12:06 p.m. - Iocane Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Spoon Republic
Attacker: Rubber Duckies of Doom

12:14 p.m. - Edgars Wahl, Opal Ocean
Defender: Ursa Major
Attacker: Die Neue Welt

12:16 p.m. - Manu Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Spoon Republic
Attacker: Chemical Romance

2:00 p.m. - Acanthaster Spits, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Danger Zone
Attacker: The All-Consuming Flame (5)

7:17 p.m. - Aimuari Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Illusion
Attacker: Spankilicious

7:17 p.m. - The Lowland Hundred, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Illusion
Attacker: Spankilicious

7:18 p.m. - Gallows Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Illusion
Attacker: Spankilicious

7:19 p.m. - Saiph Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Illusion
Attacker: Spankilicious

*** Sunday, October 9 ***

10:01 a.m. - Admiral Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Major Key Alert
Attacker: Bite the Pillow

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Sunday, October 9 ***

11:29 a.m. - Zeta Island, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Black Flag Inc
Attacker: Jinx (5)

Cover art features original photography by the artist. The building is in Burlington, Iowa; the hand belongs to a random person in a crowd.
this fictionette fulfilled almost all expectations
Sat 2016-10-01 13:03:52 (single post)
  • 2,784 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 1,209 words (if poetry, lines) long

The Friday Fictionette nominally for September 23, 2016 but functionally for September 30 has gone up. I put it up last night, but then I pretty much collapsed, so you get the blog post today. It's "Living It Up," and, as mentioned before, it's mostly a shameless hate-fic in reaction to one of my least favorite stories of recent years. (Because of the Puppying of the Hugos, I feel I should specify that nothing makes it onto my "least favorite stories" list if it didn't stand a chance of not being on that list in the first place. Otherwise the list would be unmanageably long.) But as I wrote it and had to give examples of the main character's boyfriend being a jerk, I wound up coloring him in with the broad brush I obtained as a small child being bullied by my older cousins and one particular uncle. The rest of the family had various enabling spins on the bullying; one of them was that I clearly had no sense of humor or else I'd find the bullying funny. So... that kind of informed the development of the antagonist of this fictionette.

Look, I never promised you subtlety in this exercise. You get an ebook and an audiobook version depending on your subscription tier, you get them four times a month, you get sentences and paragraphs that more or less make sense and add up to a story-like object, and you get a glimpse into my writing process whether you want it or not. You don't necessarily get literature.

I had a nice long day in Metairie after my nice long day on the train: rental car adventures, traffic on I-10 West, the last 15 minutes of game play (which is to say, the better part of an hour) of my high school's homecoming game--which they won by a comfortable margin and with several showy interceptions too--and then dinner courtesy of My Father the Cook. (Venison and green onion sausage with a side of garden-fresh okra? Yes please thank you any time!) Stayed up late talking with Dad and exchanging stand-up comedian recommendations--not the best of ideas, as it turns out; he didn't get Maria Bamford, and I'll be happy not to hear any more of Anthony Jeselnik pretty much ever. But we both partake of the geek/nerd/fan nature and want so much to share with each other the things we enjoy! In any case, we didn't part ways for the night until well past 9:00 PM. Generally I consider that downright early, but after all the day's activity and travel I was ready to drop.

Oh, right, predictions for Thursday. They were good! Everything happened as hope--including skating in Chicago! There was no rain falling when I got there, though it clearly had fallen (and was still falling in Naperville). I did indeed skate the Lakefront Trail to Navy Pier. The trail's paving is not the best for skates--it's very bumpy--but it goes all the way there. Then a very diligent security guard made me de-wheel myself on the pier itself. I met my friend for dinner at Giordanos by the Children's Museum and we had a far too short visit before he had to drive me back to the train station.

Once I got settled on the train, I spent some time trying to prepare "Stand By For Your Assignment" for submission. That story is giving me such trouble. I can't seem to make the words do what I want them to do. The story goes clunk, clunk, clunk. I think I need to stand back and give it more of an eagle's eye once-over, ask myself what I'm trying to do with the story overall, and only once I have the larger structure pointing in that direction will I be able to get any joy on a line-by-line level.

I'm terribly afraid I'm stuck in the perfection trap, though. The one where you never finish and you never move on because you can't seem to get it perfect. I keep telling myself, just let the story stand as a record of where your craft is now, so you can move on to where your craft is trying to go. But the story needs to be at least publishable before I let it go, right? In theory?

Anyway, that was Thursday night. Friday morning, instead of doing more work on "Stand By...," I played around with a new story idea inspired by an anecdote I overheard, told by one of the train staff (assistant conductor, maybe?) in the sightseer lounge. I'm not going to get this right, and I have no idea how true it is, but it began, "This town we're passing through here, Stanton, Iowa..." Seems there was a woman who traveled from France to the U.S., took a job as a nanny for some family somewhere, but turned out to be unsuited for the job, possibly due to mental illness, also possibly due to not having the proper immigration documents, and she just... ran away? Disappeared into the midwest, I guess, and wound up in Stanton, Iowa. And that's where the immigration officials finally caught up with her, months later. Or at least found out what became of her? I'm not sure; I just remember that the last thing the storyteller said, which seemed like a complete non sequitor, not to mention at right angles to reality, was, "I guess the feral cats got to her."

*Blink. Blink.* Feral cats? Did I mishear? I don't know, but that day's freewriting exercise had the writing prompt "The feral cats of Stanton, Iowa." (It may also have been influenced by having recently read "If You Were a Tiger, I'd Have to Wear White" by Maria Dahvana Headley.) It seems likely to turn into a real story, too. And that's good, because I need to stockpile submission-ready short stories this month--but that's another story which I shall tell at another time.