Sunday, 26 June 2011

Hero Worship Part 1 of 4: My Skull the Vocal Booth

Stephanie Penny Tent Presents ...

    My name is Spiderfingers and chaos has a way of following me. It's best that I stay away from people. And so, I live in a disused toy factory with no running water, electricity or any other mod cons.

When your mind allows the dirt and stink of your body to shovel themselves over you, your every movement caked in the grime and smell of yesterday's exertions, it’s yesterday's failures and thoughts that control you. So I don’t deserve a stereo. Murderers don’t deserve Iggy Pop on tap, do they? They deserve to sleep on a mat in a shit-hole. I repeat, sleep on a mat in a shit-hole. Forget the wailing of your teething child, that selfish ball of flesh, because there’s nothing more unsettling than the private feral roar of something un-dead and angry.

    Maybe it’s a poltergeist woken up in a house being restored by a new family? Or maybe the fuckers just realised that it’s body is decomposing, never to eat, jerk off or go travelling again, I dunno. All I know is that my skull has become the vocal booth for an extremely expressive ghost with an overly familiar howl.

After long moments of wishing it away (as if self-exorcism is ever that easy) I decide to start an investigation. I’ll need the internet to confirm the ghost's identity, so I’m forced into hitting the street.
My Skull, the Vocal Booth
    Out in London's autumn chill, one cautionary glance follows another, and I decide the screaming really is a private torture. The scanned faces of most commuters scream ‘kill me’ but that’s just Camden in the early hours, man - my headache isn't a shared experience. Thankfully, my flaming fringe is also an exclusive phenomenon dependent upon my invitation.

See unless I wish it, your human eyes only see the half-dreads, the matted Afro that is my hair. Not a celestial spark in sight. You only see the black man in a Superman t-shirt, red Doc Martins and faded matching leather trench coat making his way to The Smart Camden Inn. This hostel has twenty four hour internet access which unfortunately doesn't come free. I'll be needing money then.

    Inside, I dart toward the first wide eyed German backpacker my droopy eyes can target. Her name’s Ingrid and her soul sees only primary colours. The subtle hue of bullshit that shades my every word is invisible to her. I open my mouth and free the dazzling marigolds, indigos and violets.

    ‘I need to contact my mum. She hasn’t got much time...’- I say forcing a tear.

    Ingrid must be from a rich family or maybe she doesn’t quite get the currency because out of her pocket comes a fiver! Maybe she thinks I’m homeless? My yellow belt is actually dirty olive; my red D.M’s and leather jacket faded to burgundy an age ago. My blue jeans are grey.

If I still ate food I’d be more grateful for Ingrid’s money but I feed on the continual breakdown of systems now. What would I like to order? Feed me subversion, the occasional Cultural Revolution with a side dish of chaos, please.

    Squeezing my aching temple with my left hand, I use my right to pay the old guy at the counter, so that slumping back down I can commence my cyberspace safari. And soon, Bingo. Thanks My private lion roar is identical to Cobain’s primal bellowing on secret Nevermind track, Endless, Nameless. 

    What do you want in my skull man?

    I’ll dump my vocal booth metaphor. Why? Well, vocalists that I've heard screaming take, after take, after take grab a time-out every couple of try's but Kurt? This jungle-cat's devilish yawning just keeps raging. 

    Give me a gun, somebody.
My Skull, the Vocal Booth
    Death by gunshot is one of the many futile, suicidal thoughts that continually blast through me as I unplug and exit Smart's arcade of computer terminals. And of course these man-made oracles are only consulted in crisis or genuine wonder of the world they occupy...


    Of course I do my damnedest to ignore the key-tapping throng of human waste, the headsets pouring idiocy into their souls. Their A to D list celebrity-fevered brains so much more repugnant than the probable rat shit smell of my ‘home’. I say probable because these days my nose is useless.

    I manage to avoid eye contact with as many of the enemy drones as I can, weaving in and out of the crowded club that is Camden High Street on what feels like the early hours of Saturday. The names of days don't really apply to my 'lifestyle' but judging from the mix of drunken teenagers and the suits with their cases, it's still Friday night to some whereas to others, to those mortgage-fixated-soul-sucked mortals rushing past me, a 'messy Friday night out' doesn't quite exist.

    Anyway, time for me to get back to nature. Wires and plastic and Google search can’t help me now. I need to know why Cobain was let through customs. I need to know before he splits my brains open. So, I head towards St Martins' Gardens well-balanced mix of yellowing trees, grass, shrub beds and wild flower borders, and it's funny. It's hilarious that I lied to Ingrid about needing to contact my mum. Now I really do need to ‘call up’ the Earth Mother. She’s dressed in the marmalade palette of her fast approaching autumn. 

    The children’s play area is surrounded by her wild flower meadow, which would make me nostalgic for youth were it not for the angry wildcat roaming the jungle of my brain. No matter, I’m the stare-at-a-school-photo-weepy-apologetic-type anyway.

Reaching into the crusty mess that is my pocket, I yank out a Polaroid of a young British African, aged seven? Maybe. I pity the shy awkward kid who’s trying to smile back at me...he never deserved me as his future y’know. He never deserved this lion-fuck of a headache, its jaws clamped round the head, refusing to let go.

    Time for Gaia’s bush or bark, her grass and flowers, shit, anything that’s growing out of her fertile ground because success really is all about who you know, you know. Take being a chaos god for example, very little talent here, just a case of right place, right time.
My Skull, the Vocal Booth
    A little bit about me: Earth’s my asylum, my refuge after a long, horrific cross-pantheon war which nearly ended in genocide. My side, the losing side, constituted of demigods. I'm the only one left.

    Gaia, Earth Mother, reckons gods threaten human ascension and I being half human agree. If it wasn't for Gaia's stories, her continual harping on about my history well...Sometimes even I struggle to believe in my existence. 

I am a nomadic soul surviving through symbiosis, penitent in my protection of the God-Hex, a wall to keep out deities that would force us into captivity. Hmph, idols. 

They seek out race upon race to rule over, never being satisfied until their whims and pleasures are at the forethought of anything that breathes. They can't help it. It's the natural order of things. I'm not big on order, not when I've seen what happens to those at the base of the pyramid, so to speak. Sometimes I get lucky in my mission. Hell, if it wasn't for their servants finally breaking through the God-Hex, I'd still be Boleraam, sleeping far beneath the Earth's crust. 

Yes, the divine are able to send blindly devoted minions to Earth with instructions to kill me. Why? Well, If I die, no more God-Hex.

    Damn it, look at me here, hugging an oak tree in St Martins Gardens at stupid o'clock. What is it, two, one? I should be asleep.

    ‘Hey miss world.’

    That’s what I call her. She likes it.

    ‘Hello chaos.'

    That’s what she calls me. I deserve it. I don’t know what your mum sounds like but I know on good resource that Gaia sounds identical. Gaia is the mother-mind you see, the prime aspect of femininity.

    ‘One of Eros’ trophy gods has returned to me,' she says, 'It’s your fault...somehow.’'

She’s probably right. I ignore Cobain’s pounding tantrum as best I can, rubbing her bark just the way she likes it. I can’t say it’s completely unpleasant.

    ‘Yeah, that’s why I called,' I reply, 'I haven’t slept. It’s Cobain that’s escaped. He’s inside my head. Screaming.’

    ‘Not quite,’ She says correcting me, 'He’s taken possession of a human living far away from here. You didn’t know that bit did you, chaos?'

    ‘Stop. Between your allowance of minions through the hex and your mad stories - I've had enough. So stop. No riddles, no mythos, just tell me straight Gaia, what do I have to do to get some sleep?’

    ‘I don’t know chaos. But all this is probably your fault. I suppose you’ll have to go convince Cobain to rest in peace?’

    My hands are to my head now, and I was doing so well at playing it cool. I half think up a joke about this place. It was once a cemetery. But I’m wiping away sweat. I’m locking my dentures, cos the animal howl is eating away all my ability to concentrate.

    I have to ask her, ‘Where is he? How did he get through the God-Hex?'

    ‘How much would Herculia have learnt about herself had she an all-seeing oracle to hold her hand? Your trophy god is far far away. Should I take you to him? Should I help you?’

She wonders aloud, so detached.

    ‘Yes, yes! Take me to him, for fuck sake - enough with the crazy?! My head feels like it's gonna explode and I'm no good to you dead!’ 

I’m not exaggerating, though I don’t think she knows just how painful his screaming fury really is.

    'Chaos, would you like to hear a story during your journey?'

    Miss World is so detached.

    'The Season of Muzzling? I don't think I've told you that one, have I?'

    So in need of therapy...

    'There was a young boy who had to rescue an old crone from horrible giants...'

    You would be too if mankind had been slowly destroying your body for centuries.

    '...But to defeat them the boy would need help. He would have to travel beneath the howling waves of the sea, the Sea of Wolves.'

    No, I can’t expect her to quite understand my pain.

    'He would have to retrieve the were-mask from its sea bed. And so he begun his traveling, unaware that the adventure would...reveal him...'

    She’s not like me. Not. One. Bit.
My Skull, the Vocal Booth
    No one’s like me. No one can survive what Gaia does next.

The Earth Mother swallows her flowers and her sepia painted grass from underneath me, so that inch by slow inch I sink into her warm brown body. I haven’t needed to breathe in years but I close my mouth as soil circles round my neck and my eyes search for the sun hiding in the smog above. She guides me in.

I’m dragged down her dark tunnel, pulled along by subterranean roots, irritated by her prattling on and on. I don't care if her inane fairy-tale is supposed to teach me something. I need straight answers to my dilemma.

    ‘I just don't get why he'd leave Aphrodisia? Why return? No offence but Kurt Cobain spent a whole chunk of life hating you.’

    And Miss World denies my unfeeling statement a reply. There is only her spiteful silence. I'm such a dildo. 

    'C'mon Miss World, I'm sorry? C'mon, keep telling me your story? What did the boy have to promise the wave elder in order to win the were-mask? I swear, I want to know? I need to.'

    No good trying to appease her, not in her black mood. Truthfully, I could do with the silence. My thoughts turn to you, Kurt. Who’ve you possessed and why? I remember in the jams how afraid you’d be, how scared you were, scared to pluck a single note in front of Jimi (at least you picked up a guitar). You weren’t like the others, happy to frolic with whatever melon breasted girls your imagination could recreate. How could you tire of Aphrodisia? Leave a land brimming with eternal sunset? Each endless ray more potent than any heroin shot to the arm. Eros is a jealous queen and warps the minds of Aphrodisia’s citizens. She skilfully interferes with their recollection of place doesn’t she? So, you compare her sky to memories of Thailand or the South American rainforest and she floods your blood with her endorphins. Lucky for me I’m a bloodless deity.

My heart pumps a sort of non-compatible goo about my innards. It's glow in the dark, phosphorous, and if I'm being honest, looks just like spunk.
My Skull, the Vocal Booth
    When I awake I’m lying face down in dry flaky earth but the weather is warmer here, wherever the fuck here is. How long I’ve been out, I don’t know, but I can’t believe how I’ve managed to sleep through this wailing.

I’d kill for an aspirin strong enough to mute ‘the voice of a generation’ growling, snarling, on my grey matter plain. Turning over, squinting through unwelcome solar beams that shard from the sky above, I grab some unearthed roots to my left, so I can bellow at Gaia.

    ‘Miss World! He’s louder!' I scream, 'I can barely hear my own thoughts!’  

    A silence. And then...

    ‘I brought you closer and your trophy-god screams louder...interesting.’

    She says this like a doctor viewing the X-Ray of a special case.

    ‘Should I send you a minion?’

    ‘A minion’ll help my headache?!’ - I howl turning over, ignoring mum’s logic.

    ‘Dear chaos, you’ve forgotten the power of your own history.Your proximity to anyone remotely aware of your existence will ease your discomfort. Minions are vitamins.'

    She sounds just like John Clay's mum. I wonder if she’s still alive...

    ‘Uh, of course, O.K, O.K,' I say, ' send help.'

    I feel the wriggly unsettling texture of an earth worm crawl over me.

    ‘Any preferences?' she asks, 'Any particular pantheon? I’ve got Norse, Japanese, African minions? You have always profited well when coupled with Anansi.'

    ‘Any! Just get some help here now!'

    I grip the roots in my palms.

    ‘Well, the only ones I can presently locate may only walk upon me at night.'

    ‘I can’t wait that long!'

    'So long as you're sure?' she wonders, 'It's very important you remember all those tales I've told you about how to survive creatures. Monsters such as Rooenn -

    'Quit jabbering and save me!?'

    But I don't hear her reply. No, Miss World's gone, leaving me in agony, the frontal lobes of my brain subject to incessant howling. I thrash around pathetically and I spot something.

    A landmark I’ve only ever seen on T.V. 

    Fucking hell, I’m in America.
How Did Cobain escape Eroscollection in Aphrodisia?
Why is he a tormenting presence in Spiderfingers' brain?
And why after his suicide would Cobain return to Earth?
Be sure to follow Stephanie Penny Tent's Spiderfingers on his wayward mission in 28 days.  

(N.B The comments posted below pertain to a deleted scene).


  1. Hello John,

    Another strong entry into the Spinderfingers canon! I particularly enjoyed the way you cut between Steph and Spinderfingers, in much the same way one might see in a film. It gave a good sense of pace and this technique serves to advance the plot in a way which wouldn't be possible had you focused completely on the adventures one character over the other.

    I'm really pleased that we are able to read more about Steph's thoughts and motivations. It's interesting that she should be a frustrated writer, as it's something I'm sure everyone in the circle can relate to. Usually when authors write about characters who want to writer, or who are writers, it really turns me off because it seems like lazy characterisation. No need for research if the character's work in the same field as the author. However, in this case, you have put a fresh twist on this, as obviously the reason Spiderfingers has chosen Steph is because of her writing, and her connection to the Babushka dolls story format. What I really like about your narrative style, is that when one question is answered, other conundra (conundrums?) spring up in its place. I like to call it mushroom plotting, and it makes for a truly compelling story.

    My favourite line in the piece was: 'Like all people with such an emaciated frame, Saul Buchannan’s skeletal appearance was so stark that his Sainsbury’s uniform seemed to be in fact wearing him.' It immediately gives me an image of Saul in my mind's eye and though we don't know much about him yet, I feel as though he is the most 'real' character for me, just from reading your excellent descriptions of him.

    I find Vicky less believable. It seems like she is a plot device rather than a fully-fleshed out character. I like the idea of her as a supernatural type with a really interesting power, but the way she talks just reminds me of an EastEnders character. My concern is that you've focused on what she can do rather than who she is as a person. Feel free to correct me on this point.

    I did, however, really like your use of recognisable brands (The Sun newspaper, dire Russell Brand comedies etc) at the beginning of this piece. I felt it really grounded the narrative in its modern day setting. I feel reassured by the mundane aspects of the piece which then clash more vividly with the supernatural, godly elements, making everything seem more believable by way of their relativism. I hope you see what I mean on that one, I don't think I've described it very well.

    I also really liked the way Steph is re-writing the events that have happened to her in the school gym, and the fact that we only find out about these events through the prism of Steph's writing about them. It means that we, as readers, are open to manipulation, as I'm sure you're aware. We only get the information that Steph chooses to divulge. This use of an 'unreliable narrator' is particularly interesting, and makes me wonder A. if this has happened in the story before, maybe Spiderfingers has concealed elements of the story from the reader? B. Will it happen again. It's another instance where the writing style makes want answers and makes me want to read more.

    Can't wait for next month's instalment!

  2. Well, I think Leanne has said everything I wanted to say. I definitely agree about the switching between scenes and characters – keeps a nice pace. And again I agree that reading about Steph’s obvious struggles as a writer is refreshing. I’ve written far too many stories where the main protagonist is a writer and – surprise, surprise! – they’re amazing, but unpublished, misunderstood writers.

    I find Vicky very entertaining as a character, but like Leanne, I find her less believable – although her supernatural ability is pretty awesome.

    Only one thing that I wanted to correct:

    ‘That’s fourteen ninety five said Saul to his sister.


    ‘That’s fourteen ninety five,’ said Saul to his sister.
    (No speech mark at the end of speech confuses me when I read. It’s a sad but true fact.)

  3. Well I'm going to disagree here, I like Vicky.

    She's young, she clings to her created persona, her outfit etc as most teenagers do when they are trying to discover themselves, even if what they are really doing if defining themselves from the mundane world by their 'individual' interests.

    I can see how her innocence attracts SFs, and how her wisdom keeps him. And she is wise; she sees and knows about the 'supernatural' world, but not only that she grasps the consequences of this. SF's separation from his mother/Gaia leading to the darkness growing within him. She understands SF.

    Its this curious mix of wisdom and innocence that I most like about her. I'm curious to see how the upcoming adventure will change her, and hope she does some growing up. And by that I dont mean stop being her, but realise herself. Does she know about Rooen?

    Gaia: So she's back. Or soon will be. Muchly looking forward to this, I still havent worked out her motivations. I suspect its to teach some sort of lesson to SF's. She, after all introduced him to Rooen. Has the muders, separations of the darker nature of his godhood from his humanity been to her plan?

    I generally like the intro of the new Super family-just dont go too Incredibles!!!! Zombie...zombie what? Zomies are cool, let there be zombies! The little known 56th commandment of God.

    Steph; I hate to say it. But. She's fucking me off. Waaaa, wa, wa. I thought I wanted to know more of her, buts shes so boring! I get her, yes, I like the way you play with her guilt over her role as mother (and can see how SFs would translate this to a guilt he thinks HIS mother should feel) and how she attempts to write as escapism but really does little more than keep a heavily biased and self punishing diary. But she does whinge a lot. Looking forward to some action being thrown her way, give her some impetus.

    The new more clearly demonstrated switches between chara's works well. And I'm genuinely relieved at the return of Sfs, not the is-he-isnt-he hobo. Thought the doubts were well crafted, I like the belligerent (t)humour that is Sfs. A few little crinkles in the sentances, but nothing major. Lik framing your chat with a little more description, making clearer who's talking ( Afew instances hwere the same person speaks twice, the 2nd time at first seeming like the others reply).

  4. Unreliable narrators are what this installment is all about – thank you for figuring that out! We’ll find more truths flooding in from next month as I’ve set up enough questions and BADLY, need to show you the answers. My mantra is show rather than tell so don’t worry, exposition will be filtered in naturally with enough ambiguity for you all to make your own conclusions and speculations.

    Thanks for the mistake spotting Carla! Fixed it. Anything else to add? Has my month of copious writing only earned me a grammar check? Pity  as I’m sure you may have other ideas for the story that Leanne may not. Right? Hmmmm...

    ‘And by that I don’t mean stop being her, but realise herself. Does she know about Rooenn?’- A.Fox

    Errr, yeah dude! They’ve got Salabaster’s egg to stop Spiderfingers from going psycho at night. Doesn’t that imply that Rooenn is something she’s aware of? Tell me as I want that clear (or is the vagueness a good thing here? I can make it clear in the next issue where u guys get tons of answers!!!!).

    The less I say about Gaia the better as her relationship with Spiderfingers is intriguing BECAUSE of the ambiguity and the estrangement. You will get answers, you just won’t all agree on them as everyone’s relationship to their mother is so personal right? Cool.

    Glad you like Zombies. Get ready for the war.

    You have no idea how much I wish we were posting bi-monthly. Though honestly, bi-monthly would allow me too much time and widen my focus, not in a good way.

  5. Thats whats the Egg is for???? Well then, that could be stated! Vagueness not good here. Major. That littel bit of know changes my perspective on SFs, and his return to his former self. Or is it? Ho does the Egg stop him going psycho, doe it sever the link? Shield Sfs? Does this seperate him from the darker urges of his divinity, or allow his humanity to act as a moral filter? He does after all skip the abigail article and chaeck out..celebs? Ah ok upon reread it IS clearer...but could be made more so, earlier on, a comment on what is usually is sensation of Rooen or some such.

    "19FROM26=1OF8 made for one of those .........19FROM26=1OF8" is a clumpy on the grammar. As is the next immense para.

    "nodding an ‘its O.K’ to the concerned traveller. " - I dont like it, not very SFs is it? Uness thats what you want.

    Ok Im tired, I'll poke more holes tomo if you want :P

  6. He can easily pass over reading about Abigail as he has a conscience during the day. Arguably, he should want to read it because of his conscience but then therein lies debate no?

    Nodding it's O.K to a traveler concerned for Vicky is gonna put that person and everyone else around at ease, that Spiderfingers is in control and should be 'believed' in. His clothes underscore his function in that context; all part of the snack ;)

    Leanne? Anyway to help the satnav sentences work better? Or are they just gonna have to be pushed on through?

    The conversations regarding the egg are exposition in disguise but it's only cos they'll be using the egg in the next issue (it only works in The Oma, not on earth) and thus, more exposition. We the audience don't need to know about it yet, simply, that it will allow Spiderfingers to join O.G and the others on the mission to Po - another mystery, unless I've not given it away completely.

    More pokes please, yes! I've read it through and there are many places I could go for clarity regarding who is speaking. Some of them work in terms of dramatic impact but hey, poke at em all if you like. It's what we've all signed up for! I'd do it for you and probably already have ;)

  7. Good lord - Blink and you're out of date with Spiderfingers. Haven't had a chance to catch up on previous installments, but as ever I feel I have to move furniture in my head to fit in all the concepts and twisty plotlines you write. Gonna talk about what I've read here as a standalone, taking for granted that some of the stuff would make more sense having read the previous chapters.

    I like the concept of 'Object Girl'/Vicky. I don't know if you have done previously but I would like to see more of her asides about personalities of the things she communicates with. Favourite bit of the whole story was her describing the opinions of the tube train.

    As a Londoner too, I appreciate the descriptions of this fair city, and can agree, particularly in the 'broken down majesty' angle you play with Spiderfingers. Couple of bits that grated were talking about Tube destinations for some reason. I'd leave out the line names - either you know London and know what they are anyway, or you don't and they mean nothing. Talking about changing here to go here can simply be compressed to they change trains. "He scanned across the navy blue line marked Piccadilly. Wood Green. Almost there" would flow better as "He scanned across the navy blue line. Wood Green. Almost there"

    I found myself a bit drowned and lost by perespective, as you jump from three characters internal thoughts at whim. I understand jumping from Spiderfingers to Steph, but perhaps it's worth breaking a section to change narration or PoV to switch to Vicky, or set up a mechanic such as SF reading her mind or something, I'm not sure.

    Have missed your eclectic writing style, working on the fantastical with reference to the mundane (reference to real things, brands, etc), and still enjoy your stylistic choices, having Steph's writing as if on paper is a fun breaking up of the piece.

    I think I've missed too much to get the point of Steph, will have to read back - I'm sure she's important but without a frame of reference she just seemed a bit anciliary and pointless, I wanted to hear more about the Vicky/SF strand. Will read back though and I'm sure I'll get it.

    One of my favourite elements of Spiderfingers has always been the juxtaposition of Clay and the God element, and the bleed of identities caused by the merging. The playing up and reference to the difference between Spiderfingers and Clay ("You mean John Clay did") and the frustration born by Vicky from that casual half-truth was another enjoyable element. I know that the clash of concepts between God and Man was something I enjoyed highlighting in that short piece I did with Spiderfingers, and I'd love to see more of that in your chapters, with the frustrations and confusions coming from the other characters or the mangod himself.

    And one day I'm gonna convince you that your fonts don't need to be quite so massive :-).

    Hope comments made some kind of sense. Another good, crazy, intriguing and downright mental installment of Spiderfingers - I look forward to the next.

  8. Glad you're reviewing this as a stand alone considering that the success of past issues may tend to cloud the judgment of those who've been keeping up. I know that past achievements have that affect on my writing, probably harder for someone to write a series and tackle the merits and weaknesses of each part without in some way referencing their past efforts. What say you Ashley?

    Object Girl is probably my favourite superhero and this is the beginning of her and her families final adventure. When Spiderfingers finishes (after this arc) I'll be writing a new series called The Discordians and Vicky shall be in pretty much every other issue just cos she's got a lot going for her (Don't worry Leanne, Carla...she will prove herself to be more than just a unique power-set).

    The 'navy blue line' bit is gonna be changed sharpish as you're right. About that.
    I LOVE specificity, as long as it is done sparingly, specificity gives the reader so much more belief in the writer's research and indeed, helps sink me into their world easier. Don't take my word for it. Read Neverwhere.

    I really could've focussed more on P.O.V and as I'm sure you're aware by now, I start off with a skeleton of where the plot should go every month and place my faith in the feedback of these wonderful women here, this means things change and i have to start again. The plot and the characters motivations come first and I normally sort out P.O.V in my final week of writing before post.

    Keep badgering me on this though as I want to be able to comply to your particular strictness on P.O.V. Strange how we all have our particular narrative priorities, often revealed in our commentary - you love to pull people up on their clarity, Ash is all about character motivation and consistency, Leanne is the grammar Nazi and Carla is at present a mystery to me for the moment. Comment back Carla, I'd like to know more of your opinions on protagonists that are themselves novelists ;)

    Where do my priorites lie? Maybe that's for you guys to say. I'd suggest that I want my main characters to get restless and not travel down familliar roads. If I read a story about another boy wizard or a modern teen vampire gone rogue, I'll drink leach my own wrists and carve a lighting strike on my temple.

    Hey Sim, you're good at riddles, so what the hell does the killer intend to tell us when he writes that weird 'satnav' shit on peoples heads?

    I'll reserve my reaction to your reaction of Steph till next month where no doubt, you would have caught up. By the way Ashley, I don't think it's at all easy to warm to Steph at the moment, but I think you can tell that once again, the stories main draw is Spiderfingers albeit through the interpretations of others (ie Steph, Vicky, Saul, Gaia himself etc).

    As you've may've noticed Sim, Spiderfingers' events in Hero-Worship have been written down as memoirs and Steph intends to re-write them. So you're gonna get some of that man verses godhood shit that I like to write but through stories you yourself edited.

    I really wanna tell you about the website I'm setting up on behalf of 'Stephanies' Spiderfingers series.

    Life imitating art eat your heart out.

    P.S Large fonts rule O.K?

  9. I say thats fine if you want each episode to stand out, however if you are writing something that is part of the flow of a massive fucking narrative that is ALL part of a grand arc, you have to critique with that in mind as well as each pieces individual merits/bad points :P

    In fact you could argue that overall cohesiveness is one of your faults. If you were to print out each ep in this current arc and read them as a whole it would be very disjointed. Voices change, style changes, perspective changes, devices change. The reader is expected to just go along with it, rather than you make it part of the story. IE the doubts about SFs being just a homeless guy or the God of chaos. If the doubts and perspective had all been done from Stephs POV, then it would make more sense when we slipped into SFs in this ep, back to his old self. However you slipped into his POV constantly through out the arc, sometimes as god of caos, sometimes as homeless guy.

    Now I can see where you were going with this, and the idea is sound. However the excecution leaves something to be desired. Perhaps the transition from the image he wished to project/had become to reel steph in to his present state of spider in the web with fly firmly in place could have been graduated more distincly. You could easily have used his interactions with Rooen to do this.

    In this ep I tended to skim and then skip stephs bits in the reread. They just couldnt hold my attention. I think its a pov/voice issue. Your 'voices' are all very similar, you have a strong style, but your narrator and SFs are vey similar, you can get away withh this; stephs seems like awhiny version of this voice.

    "Many words unloved, many thoughts, all so terribly misplaced as she wholeheartedly permitted her pen to homicide:
    Steph, she lay in her over familiar emptiness; foggy and unsure how to spell. The tragedy being that she had never truly addressed a long term solution for this cavernous neglect inside, that even when applying multiple remedies, she always felt carved out."

    Here is seems as if we go from narrator to stephs writing. Yet the voice is almost the same, the use of 3rd makes it seem a continuation of the narrator, yet the change in locales confirm her writing. The story that unfolds is then back to a narration. Perhaps having Stephs writings in first would distinguish it more. As it you do alittle futher down. Perhaps also keep this tactic when she is writing of her quiting her job.

    Oh and ive just noticed that suddenly extra bits have appeared!! The piks of 'paper', the hite boxes werent htere before...did i somehow read an early draft?!?!?

  10. I'm always changing it, so yeah, you probably read an early version! Considering cutting a big load of Steph's stuff out as that seems to be the genuine concensus. Should I keep the white blocks in then?

    The third person bits of hers that she's written ought to be in a different style, I know. Time is the main issue that forces me to cut said corners. Anyone want a job imposing a style onto Steph's? I AM WILLING TO PAY. Ask Sim for references;)

    You've decided that Spiderfingers has 'slipped back into his own self'. I like the interpretation, but until Steph actually sees him do something wild and magical, it really is all about perception. Our perception of ourselves through the rules of our religions define us. NOW I've said too much...

    Have you tried reading each story back to back?

  11. I think I'll keep Steph's writing in the third person but change the style. When someone is moaning in first person it's harder to have sympathy with them PLUS, Steph DEFFO finds it much easier to write in third person. It grants her distance from her problems. Thanks Ashley!

  12. It is true that your writing style means that Steph's voice is drowned out a little. You need to make her sections more distinctive, without losing that common narrative thread. You could do this by trying to write her in first person, as this might prompt you to write in her own vernacular. Perhaps try it as an exercise, she how it works out?

  13. I've tried it but she's nigh on unbearable in first person. Ironic given the author I've styled her upon writes passages that present little more than a winge-fest made in public. That unnamed author is interesting though, considering her motivations (just like Steph's) are skewed desperate attempts to gain a certain amount of attention and gratification not afforded to the anonymous and those happy to be counted as audience members.

    How do you feel about taking on the job of writing Steph's writing style Leanne? I WILL PAY YOU!!!!!! You'd just have to re-write what I upload in her style each month.

    Oh, and you might even enjoy it too!