Sunday, 29 July 2012

A Doll Inside

P   R   E   V   I   O   U   S   L   Y      I    N 
S   P   I   D   E   R   F   I   N   G   E   R   S

    The big yellow baby began tickling its sweating pimple ridden belly as its open mouth revealed a lolling tongue, a snaky meaty muscle covered in thick brown gooey saliva. And upon the writhing flesh were a pair of glittering ruby red shoes. Distant street sounds emanated from deep inside his widened jaw. The vroom - vroom of a motorbike.

    'Come along Elemeno,' announced the blue man arising, 'let's go see if He Who is Red has found that godawful Mr Lime.'


    Saul and Handy Andy were riding through Wood Green, closing in on the threshold of their house, that place that neither of them really wanted to see again - not without significant back up anyway.

    ‘I just wanna spin this bike around and go the other way man.’ said Saul to the pocket in which Andy’s fingers poked out, ‘I’m not good at this. I was never any good at this. Vicky should be here – you and her always made better partners. It’s all Spiderfingers’ faul -’

    The weight hit him.

    From the night sky it blasted, a blur of hands and hair and all things Steph had crashed from out of the surrounding air and into him and his ride, which of course threatened to spin out of control, but thankfully, luckily (and seldom is any Discordian truly lucky these days) – Saul kept the police-bike upright as he gawped at the natty-haired woman straddled awkwardly in front of him.


    ‘Where the fucking hell did you come from?’ Saul yelled as Handy Andy crawled up out of his jacket pocket to take a look.

    ‘My-my mind.’ stuttered Steph, ‘hey please?!’ she hollered holding onto his arms forcefully; ‘please don’t eat my brains!’

    ‘I’m so not gonna eat your brains.’

    ‘You sure?’

    ‘I’m not hungry.’ growled Saul.

    Handy Andy had finger-climbed up onto Saul’s shoulder. He gave Steph a lightening quick thumb-up before carefully reattaching himself to the jacket of his chauffeur.

    ‘Stop!’ yelled Steph over the cycle noise, ‘Stop so I can get off!’

    ‘Oh for fuck sake.’ protested Saul under his breath bringing the transport to a halt, not that Steph waited for a full brake before getting off.

    ‘Missus,’ began Saul punching his lone fist onto the handlebars, ‘I’m not being funny but listen to my effing voice? Yeah?’ he spat, ‘I’m. Not. Hungry.’

    ‘Have you e-eaten?’ stuttered Steph hobbling away tripping a little on the street kerb.

    ‘Wanting details?’ answered Saul to the road.

    ‘Not particularly, no.’

    ‘Wicked, get back on the stolen police-bike so we can save my family please?’ said Saul gesturing to the cycle and it was Steph noting the ‘come hither’ finger coil of Andy that returned her to the vehicle, albeit very, very, slowly.

    ‘You know,’ muttered Steph, ‘you just know your life is really fucked up when you find yourself trusting the beckoning of a severed hand.’

    ‘Eh?’ asked Saul over his shoulder. Steph just shook her head as the thunderous wail of screeching tires drowned out her thin breathing...

    ‘So?’ began Saul strafing streets, ignoring red lights.

    ‘What do you mean so?’ replied Steph,

    ‘I mean like y’know, fuck sake, you teleported?’

    ‘Spiderfingers. He left me his subconscious.’

    ‘So now you can disappear?’

    ‘Inside my head.’

    ‘What? Speak up.’ hollered Saul over the bike roar.

    ‘I can travel inside my brain!’


    ‘You’re the Zombie, don’t act all weirded out here!’

    ‘What was it like then, in there?’ wondered Saul.

    Steph told him. She told Saul about her first visit too – The old lady, the wheelchair-man, the Matryoshka, the random passengers on their way to The Show, the odd land she’d found herself in. Steph told Saul about the house and that it wasn’t really a house, just her minds way of revealing memories of Spiderfingers – that it was his house too, their mind's somehow annexed.

He Who is Red, the blue man, the big yellow baby, Vicky’s arm, Elemeno…Steph told him everything. She told him about everything save her compulsion to, ‘Woof!’

    ‘Fucking Anubis!’ screamed Saul.

    ‘What’s this now?’ Steph screamed back.

    ‘Your barking!’ shouted Saul over the increased growl of the speeding vehicle, ‘I'm so thick...It’s motherfucking Anubis!’

    The nihilism of Soulwax’s Krack was blaring throughout the warehouse, the rabble of party goers threatening to drown out the Rock and Roll with whooping and excited screaming. Sarah and Bimpe had chosen to occupy space at the far end of the venue. It was far quieter there. Chit-chat with the painter Celeste Harrington could survive the din of Rock and Roll here, albeit barely.

Celeste took a long pull on her cigarette, ‘You do know,’ said the young lady in the beige Komodo, ‘that people are only aware of Spiderfingers because of the notoriety of his creators?’

    Sarah began playing with her rainbow braids.

    ‘What's that supposed to mean?’ asked Bimpe wiping his nose of flecks of white he’d spotted in the mirror opposite.

    ‘I mean,’ continued the woman in the beige komodo, ‘I know that there is a game to be played, but what’s the worth of hyping a vacuous piece of art?' 

    ‘Celeste, the hype is the art.’ said Bimpe standing closer to Sarah who had crossed her arms, her gaze shooting to the floor,

    ‘Really?’ continued Celeste peering down from her tallness, her elegance, ‘Well, I grant you that Spiderfingers would be nothing without Foley’s campaign.’ she said with her body language so relaxed, her smoking so poised.

    ‘Don’t say that,’ interrupted Sarah, ‘Tent’s writing is very –

    ‘...Her hi-jacking of a pop culture insignia – that’s genuinely alluring, but really, all people want to know is a) - did she rip off a missing homeless man, or b) – what club will Foley get papped falling out of next? No one really talks about the actual writing anymore. Have you checked out John Clay’s Myspace?'

    ‘I can’t talk about - ’ 

    ‘Come on,’ grinned Celeste to the ceiling, 'Hero-worship was obviously written by a man.’

    ‘The official line is,’ began Sarah looking somewhere over Celeste’s shoulder, ‘is that Stephanie Tent had permission from John Clay to write Spiderfingers. Why do we always choose to see the worst in famous - ’

    ‘The story is just the apple skin,' cut in Celeste, 'in selling your conjoined-twin story to the papers, you and Foley have – whether you intended to or not - become the new core.'

    ‘But that’s cos Steph and Sarah and Foley, they’re interesting.’ said Bimpe downing more of his vodka and orange.

    ‘My point exactly.' countered Celeste exhaling over one of her cream coloured shoulder pads, 'Sarah,' Celeste said hunting out Sarah's floor-bound attention, 'When is the last time you answered a serious question about Spiderfingers? Other Punk-lit authors don’t even like to associate themselves with the genre. Hikes, Pheobeman, Roth and Wilskman Browning - all of them have flown the coop, as it were. Like The White Stripes would ever refer to themselves as Blunk, remember that? Nirvana with Grunge and so on. And if…' Celeste looked genuinely puzzled at the departing duo...

    'Was it something I said?'

    The motorcycle continued to zoom on through suburbia’s night infested Monday morning, Steph and Saul so completely resolved to silence. Nothing, no bickering, no small-talk, both adventurers had secretly elected to spin around in their respective inner torments. Steph could only think of one word, a name: Anubis. She needed a distraction, some other motivating factor.


    Steph noted Keira Knightley in a wing mirror, her burning tiara upon her small and delicate head. She looked so beautiful; a magazine cover that moved. Keira, walking a red carpet signing book after book after book…

    ‘We need to get to an internet café.’ said Steph boldly.

    ‘Why?’ inquired Saul.

    Keira Knightley posing for photographers who'd sell her photos for hundreds and hundreds and...

    'Oi! Missus?'

    ‘Oh right…Sorry,’ replied Steph spying on Keira’s grace and mannerism, ‘…I’m just really tired, sorry. Look - Spiderfingers gave me his diary so that I could write his stories. I think he knew I was going to do that and well, I’m off to The Oma to kill or be killed aren’t I? May as well finish what I’ve started.’

    ‘What the fuck, are you completely loopy?’ yelled Saul.

    'You do remember the whole busting me out of a psyche ward, right?' replied Steph.

    ‘I ain't messing about Missus, you can’t go to some poxy café and start writing?!’

    ‘It might help,’ she said fixating on Keira’s happiness. Steph could see her wraith A-lister seated along a panel of suited industry tropes, an ocean of press firing questions, ‘I might gain more powers if I write some more about him, right?’

    Saul turned his head round as much as his driving the bike would allow, ‘What are you going on about?' He said, 'You don’t know how Spiderfingers works! He didn’t even know how he works. We don’t have the time to figure out how you work!’

    Steph let out a growl.

    ‘Listen to yourself!’ Saul continued, ‘I’m not being funny but you must be deaf. Minions of Anubis enter earth from the inside of their victims yeah? The inside!’

    ‘You can’t be sure it’s them.’ offered Steph weakly.

    Of course Steph let out a dog-like whimper.

    ‘Not sure? Not - I’m pretty sure it is now!’ retorted Saul.

    ‘You’ve just busted me out of the loony bin!’ responded Steph, ‘It could be some weird disorder or something that doctor Silberman - ’

    ‘Bollocks!’ shouted Saul kicking the bike's udder.

    ‘Look, please just hear me out,’ began Steph calmly, ‘ I’m different. I might be able to keep them in. Writing Spiderfingers gave me power and we could do with a little more. Take a chance -’

    ‘You see your brother get eaten alive from the inside and I'm sorry, you kind of get a little jumpy about chance taking, yeah?!’ bellowed Saul. Steph went mute.

    ‘Yeah that’s right,’ finalised Saul, ‘Sod your flipping muse, we’re saving my family, alright?'

    ‘Jesus Saul...'


    'I’ve already written it on my laptop...'


    'It’s not like I’ll be making all of it up on the spot. I just need to edit and send the file to Reggie.’

    ‘Who?’ asked Saul decelerating for a right turn.

    ‘Reggie Droste,’ replied Steph, ‘My web-designer.’

    ‘The fuck you are, we’re like, twenty, thirty minutes away? My house is more –'

    ‘Look, an internet café!’ said Steph using the momentary slow of the bike to jump off and shamble back a few shops.

    ‘This so isn’t happening,’ muttered Saul driving the cycle up onto the pavement and into an alleyway.

    They spoke outside, Sarah and Bimpe, far enough away from the party’s loud music. Far away enough from Celeste.

    ‘But I’m hustling the media.’ said Sarah.

    ‘Oh now you are getting ridiculous!’ laughed Bimpe, ‘media is your canvas.’

    ‘It’s not funny B,’ replied Sarah, ‘I need something, something much more than this, this crap that Foley and I live off.’ Bimpe looked away from his friend not knowing what to say, mirroring her gaze across the industrial area that the warehouse roof afforded them. Sarah gave him a long look before she began speaking but turning her face away from him, staring blankly over the balcony into the dark of the early morning, ‘Before the operation…the separation…dad would wheel Foley and me from pub to pub asking for money.'

    Bimpe said nothing.

    'The pictures dad would encourage people to take…he said it was good for us. I think that…I keep seeing him shooting off to the bookies with the cash. I take pictures of Foley and I think about dad making bets on dogs.'

     Bimpe knew better than to interrupt her now. He let Sarah tell her tale.

    'He sold my camera y’know? The one that mum left me. Forget this. Forget it all...We’re heading back to mine…we’re gonna get my card.’ Sarah made her way back to the party. Bimpe followed struggling to keep up with her swiftness.

    ‘Your card? We getting some drinks from the offie?’

    ‘You mean do I wanna get us drinks from the – B!’

    ‘I’m good for it…’ pleaded Bimpe his smile transforming to a slight but traceable sheepishness, ‘next month, promise.’

    ‘You said that last month,’ said Sarah allowing Bimpe to catch up with her, ‘You’re the reason I leave my card at home y’know? ’

    ‘Why the card?’ asked Bimpe.

    ‘We’ll need petrol money, replied Sarah, ‘We’re heading to Surrey.’

    During her clipping and pruning of her creation, Steph decided that this was not writing, this was birth – a purging of a part of psyche that she had carried to term.

Stephanie typed fast, faster than a certain mild mannered Metropolis alter-ego, she thought. Certainly there was struggle, but the incubation period had readied eight thousand plus words of healthy narrative offspring, and its mother couldn’t wait for the oncoming approval – the huge swathes of cyber visitors cooing and marvelling at the existence of new life. Of course, there was another part of her, a secret mentality, so knowing of what she had created but would not share with her limited approximation of maternity. Where Steph felt motherly, something arctic and self-serving uncoiled itself from within her mind and indeed, it was responsible for so much of her creative output recently.

The entity blinded its mother to plot holes and motivational contradictions. It just wanted out. Even the new ‘About Me’ section of her website carried this wild unhinged serpentine voice to the world. It had to have an audience. It thrust her hands into the air.

    ‘Live, live!’ she hissed jokingly, her face twisted in a mock rendition of a crazed scientist. Her index finger hit the key to send the document and immediately, her body felt light. Instinctively her palms visited her left thigh. Steph had inspected her leg wound four times now to find it had vanished. As if it had never existed.

    Steph had prepared a speech regarding her rude health and she awaited Saul's eventual anxiety, his head pop round the corner from his internet booth.

    ‘Stop it. Forget Saul,’ said an actress from the computer monitor,‘There’re so many ways to reach me, Board all opportunities. Press on.’

    Steph smiled at the screen and began her search through Facebook for Foley’s profile page. Surely it was set to public viewing, and had she added him already? Finding his page, Steph copied and pasted the link that would ensure a fanning of media flames. It wasn’t enough that the media would mention her break out of Bellevue psychiatric hospital. It wasn’t enough that they would catch wind of her recent uploading of Forces of Nature. She had to paste a link of the Colossus song Drowning Dreams on Foley’s Facebook page. Who knows, she thought,

    Foley’s career needed new input and if his media profile had been sustaining my own, well…

    Steph applied herself to all this cyber maintenance whilst flicking her attention to the top left corner of the computer screen. She was helpless to disguise the glee creeping the corners of her mouth. She couldn't help but smile as the be-speckled American relayed his thoughts on Spiderfingers. Even though Steph had watched this video twice in a row, she was barely able to mask her grin at the presenter’s confusion as to identity of the Spiderfingers authorship. Steph could almost feel it against her face, the shroud of ambiguity she had woven about herself.

She couldn’t deny that there was the constant temptation to change her youtube channel profile name from John Clay to Stephanie Penny Tent. The itch was ever present. She never scratched at it. She couldn’t.

    'Spiderfingers is all about you you you,' whispered her voice, 'but only via actions that propagate Him Him Him...

    Two yellow eyes suddenly burned a path through her thoughts. This is it figured Steph. She wished them away, far away, her mind extracting this foreign agent to anywhere but the cafe.

    ‘Shit!’ said Saul pointing a trembling finger at the window to which Steph looked. Outside, a huge shaggy beast stood, wild yellow eyes staring back at her. Its snout was pressed against the window. The window began to crack.

    ‘Run!’ shouted Saul alerting everyone to flee to the back of the shop, the sound of shattering glass tinkling behind them. Steph bolted alongside the café-owner, the fat man sprinting just ahead of her. His dash to whatever safety presumably awaited upstairs was completed by a slam and bolting of the door. His panicking customers would have to find another exit.

    ‘Arrrrggghhhhh!’ It was Saul screaming, and Steph witnessed his body flying  through the glass door and out into the early morning light. Steph shook as she watched him roll into the wall on the street opposite as the wolf creature threw monitors and keyboards and desks and bystanders too scared to run this way and that. Bodies hurled far and out of the way. The monsters sickly yellow eyes trained solely upon her.

    And then…

    A white shard of movement. A snowy coloured force the size of a rock blasted into the creatures face causing it to stumble backwards on its hind legs. A stone? A fist? Yes, a fist, a fist that turned into a grappling lone hand.

    Andy clawed at the dog-monster’s cheek to only be gripped by a paw. The paw squeezed. The paw reached back and threw Handy Andy into a bin stationed at the enclosures corner. Steph had nowhere to run. Steph had nowhere to hide. She could only register the inner bubbling of her belly, an inner chemical that spread throughout her body – a petrifying fear. And then she saw the purple haze of her subconscious loom behind the creature. With a swift violence her wheeling Matryoshka drove itself into the large assailant’s hairy middle. Steph’s instinct kicked in, forcing her body to the side of the café. Shoving past a shrieking bystander, she leapt up and on to the counter, her body slamming the floor on the other side. She didn’t wait. The paw and its claws, sabers kitchen knife long, they shot through the wood of the counter. Too scared to scream, too fearful to remain still, Steph rushed around the counter and through the entrance onto the High-street, where she just kept up the running. She sprinted to the growl of the police bike that Saul sat upon,

    ‘You were gonna wait for me right?’ spat Steph.

    ‘Eh? And slow myself down?’ muttered Saul. The wolf-thing had bounded out of the disaster theatre that was the internet café, its shaggy self out on the road, its yellow eyeballs locked on to Steph and then…it saw nothing, for Handy Andy had sprung up onto the beard of the creature. The eager hand had scrapped himself up onto its snout, blinding the creature’s eyes with decrepit fingers. In a howling fury, the wild-thing used its paws to easily pull Andy away to the street - punting the sprightly hand into the fast approaching dawn. Then, with goopy magenta blood pouring out of its retina’s, the hairy bully charged about, its hind legs wheeling at an outrageous speed. The creature hurtled toward the sound of the motorcycle.

    ‘Off the bike!’ whispered Steph.

    ‘What? Do you know what that is!?’ blurted Saul.

    ‘Trust me,' replied Steph, 'This is not the way out of here!’ Steph couldn’t wait for Saul’s consent and jerked him off his vehicle as the monster rushed past with no uncertain relentlessness, the transport being obliterated by the howling hunter’s ramming speed. The bike was in flames. Steph's pang for her laptop arose within her. But this was not the time for grief.

    ‘What do we do now?’ cried Saul as Steph placed her hand over his mouth.

    ‘Keep it down – he’s blind.' whispered Steph, 'We have a chance.’

    They both watched their heavily-built enemy, his long snout snuffling out at the gradually lightening skyline.

    ‘He’ll track us.’ whispered Saul.

    ‘No, he won’t.’ countered Steph realising how much she’d gotten used to Saul’s pong.

    ‘It’s one of Anubis’ hunting legion – the first thing it ever smelt was Spiderfingers’ scent – our scent!’

    ‘No fucking way he’ll find us, not where we’re going.’ said Steph eyeing her purple bus pulling out of the café, the hat of the driver doffing toward her, red and blue hands waving from the seat with no steering wheel. And that was when Saul's jaw dropped... 

    The sight of the flames, spirals of whip-lashing fire fanning above Steph’s head and in front of her face. She took a quick scan of the debris laden street. No sign of Andy anywhere. Hastily, she shoved Saul aboard whilst keeping an eye on her predator. The wolf thing was sniffing the air. It span in Steph's direction.

    ‘Believe in me.’ she said as she boarded the bus and shut its doors behind her.

    Foley Edwards lay naked and shrunken to his human size, rocking in a pool of sweat on his sister’s bedroom carpet. With hands at his ribs, Foley whimpered with the slight knowledge that he was not alone in there. Foley began to moan until he heard the front door click open. Someone had entered the house and all he could think of was a string of dashes and cuts upon the flesh. Each wound resembling numbers and letters.

N   E   X   T      T   I   M   E      I    N
S   P   I   D   E   R   F   I   N   G   E   R   S

    'Oh, yeah. The only reason why me, Vicky, Lilith, Mum, Dad and Nathaniel started believing in him was cos of a fucking lie. He recruited us as his little army off the back of a fucking set up.'

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(N.B The comments posted below pertain to an extended version of this story, truncated due to issues of pace).


  1. This piece was great - one of your better ones by a clear stretch. Lots of action, excellent scene changes and a sense of cohesion throughout. Some scenes (ie Lilith) were filled with questions, while others gave us some answers, and this is a good sense of balance that has sometimes been lacking in previous chapters. I'm interested in Lilith's slavery and the markings on her back - hopefully these will be explained in a later episode.

    As always, there are lots of references to social media, and I like the multi-level story telling that you are trying to accomplish with the use of Colossus tracks and facebook references being woven into the fabric of the story. The meta-fiction apparent, especially in Celeste's critique of spiderfingers is interesting and adds depth to a plot already dripping in subtle twists.

    Having said that, I sometimes wonder if there is too much going on at times - Anubis is a clever touch, and a good way to tie the barking into the alternative egyptian mythology of the story, but I wonder if adding another murderous beast into the mix is a bit over-kill. I wonder what everyone else thinks of this?

    There were a few word choices that felt wrong to me:

    1. The red herring are described as amphibious, but this means an animal that can live in both water and on land. I don't think it can legitimately be used to describe fish, even imaginary mind-poisson.

    2. You describe the tattooed wings as being on Lilith's back then say that they are on her 'hind'. To my mind, hind is more suited to the buttocks area. I think this one might be a case of personal preference though...

    3. Towards the end in a scene between Saul and Steph, one sentence reads: 'Sarah had inspected her leg wound four times now to find it had vanished.' Should this be Steph instead, or is there a deliberate merging of characters here? (I wouldn't put it past you!)

    I fascinated by the idea that Sarah and Foley were originally conjoined twins, but I'm not yet sure how/why this is relevant to the story. I can't wait to find out though.

    It's interesting - but as the tale of spinderfingers has progressed, there have been fewer and fewer 'stories within stories'. Your narrative has shifted from a Russian Doll format to a more conventional, scene-based narrative. Is this something deliberate on your part? And will we see any stories within stories emerging again? Do you think the plot has progressed to a stage where these smaller tales are no longer necessary?

  2. Thanks for the positive review! I am such a fan of action movies and I’ve been aching to do another piece similar to ‘Handy Andy: Sidekick Supreme! This is that piece. It’s so important that we get our main cast together for this, the tail-end of this year’s volume/season. Weirdly, I see Spiderfingers as an ensemble piece now and in fact, I’m enjoying the writing now that he’s dead. The affect he has on other lives are so much more appealing to me now, at least in this medium anyway.

    ‘Lots of action, excellent scene changes and a sense of cohesion throughout. ’ – Crimson Eblog

    Well, I’ve only been doing this and not music this last month so I had no excuse but to raise the bar. I’m on a mission to introduce three more Discordians into the story before my year long break…Lilith is an easy but rewarding place to start as she is in The Oma where A LOT of Season/Volume III takes place. The markings on her back as indeed the powers and visual traits of her family will be revealed in a future tale called Origins and Endings.

    I have to use certain aspects of social media in relevance to Steph and Spider because even though she has had a lot on her plate, they are very much a large part of her world. Would have liked to show this earlier in the narrative but we don’t suffer for it too much. Celeste was our way into the perception of Steph’s Spiderfingers. Have you had a look at Steph’s ‘About Me’ page on her website?

    Glad you liked the reveal of Anubis…hopefully Steph’s barking is now seeming less random and more story driven (as I’m sure her armless blue man and He Who is Red now seem yes?). Another beasty killing people being over kill? Minions galore want her dead so that their masters can travel to earth unharmed…had to show this as otherwise it’s all just talk.

    Sorted out the amphibious mistake! Cheers (Swapped it with gill crested)!

    Changed hind to shoulder-blades!

    Sarah was indeed a typo – it now reads as Steph.

    ‘I fascinated by the idea that Sarah and Foley were originally conjoined twins, but I'm not yet sure how/why this is relevant to the story. I can't wait to find out though.’ – Crimson Eblog

    Having Sarah and Foley as conjoined twins was part of the set up that thrusts Sarah onto her mission (which you won’t have to wait long for). I’d be evil to say anything else though I was interested in enlisting a member of the circle as a ‘watcher’ ie. Someone who knows the ending to the story and thus can critique that in mind. Also means missing out the big pay-offs to come at the end of the year and of course 2014’s big finale.

    It’s gonna be weird not writing the Russian Doll Stories on a strictly monthly basis for you lot. About those Russian Doll Stories:

    It’s safe to say they were introduced as Spiderfingers’ way of ‘seducing’. He promised that each story shared a common theme and that is what lends them their name.
    And then of course Spiderfingers died didn’t he.
    You’ll have to be patient regarding the outcome of that plot strand, not that it has disappeared forever. For now, accept it as a way of me drawing you all in.

    Checked out some of the madness that is issue 004 of Hero-Worship? Steph has been rather busy…

  3. I can kind of see your point; you're trying to show the audience that Steph is danger from beasties and monsters and other-worldly nightmares pressing in on her from all sides. But I think I have to agree with what Ashley said a few months ago, sometimes it does feel like your biggest weakness is an abundance of ideas.

    Now, if this is your biggest weakness, then let the good times roll! I always find myself with the opposite problem, and it's a real bitch. But there are times when you do need to look at your story and say 'does think tie in with the main thread?' or 'is this a strong sub-plot?' If the answer is no, then have the courage to cut it. The plots you don't use can always be housed in other stories. Your work is so bursting with concepts and they're all really interesting, but sometimes you have to know when to hold back in order to make a narrative a bit more cohesive. Literary topiary is the key here. You are the gardener, prune those word-trees!

    I hope that doesn't come across as too harsh, the work itself is strong, but I think it might benefit from some thinning-out from time to time -x-

  4. Thank you for yet another comment invested with the safety and well-being of my story! I’m glad that you are concerned with the amount of ideas flying around because it shows how much you want SPIDERFINGERS to work as much as I do.

    Glad you see my point regarding showing Anubis. Spiderfingers is constantly being attacked by minions, kinda like how Bruce Banner is constantly being attacked by the General Ross' military personnel). I don't think he was attacked once in The Russian Doll Stories although I get away with this being a problem because of how little we see of him. Steph has the responsibilities of the god-hex and so, we must see the lifestyle that she has inherited rather than merely chit-chatting about it. Presumably you think her attack is of an analogue nature, that it will lead nowhere. Presume again...

    EVERY plot strand is bound up within one eternally gratifying central theme. There will be many conflicts that draw upon the events of last year’s volume as well as the events in this one. Sub-plots will seem more gargantuan than they are simply because of the length of the piece. Had these stories been accompanied by comic art then the swallowing of them might be more easily acceptable – such is the price of creating a niche market. Bold words I know, but my intention is and shall always be to play to my strengths. I will concede that the events surrounding Mr Lime may have been asking too much but hey, for now that sub-plot has met an end. Will he return? Well, he’s dead, my characters never return from the dead (let’s not talk about Ungumpo as it would lead to me skirting around a plot spoiler).

    I am heavily influenced by the big selling point of comics and Soap Opera – both mediums generate heaps of continuity; comics in particular ask the reader to buy into decades of back-story that can be utilised at any given period of time. I’m gonna have to echo Steph’s statement to Zombie Boy…believe in me.

  5. Of course I believe in you! (If I didn't, your wings would fall off, right?)

    I understand that you're weaving a series of intricate sub plots that will all tie together at some stage, and the dense-ness of your story-telling is definitely one of your strengths. I think there have been a few instances though (principally with Mr Lime) where the main thread of the tale has become lost. However, I understand that this may be an issue of perspective. We view your stories episodically and what appears confusing now will probably make perfect sense once the novel finished and can be viewed as a full and complete entity. Do you see what I mean? -x-

  6. See what you mean ;) In a novel we have a better sense of beginning middle and end whereas in a series of stories (a few of them self contained) depth perception is more difficult. We get to hold a novel or at least know how many chapters are in it from an index. I may or may not use all the chapters/parts delivered in this so far but I'm keen to wrap up quite a few mysteries by the end of the year.

    Thanks for the belief dude ;)