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The Never Ending Story
 
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Below are the 15 most recent journal entries recorded in The Never Ending Story's LiveJournal:

Monday, November 22nd, 2004
3:30 pm
[vaelor]
Hello?!

** ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATE POST **

Ermm.. hello?? {tap tap} Is this thing still on?!

Is anybody actually still interested in this, or should I just abandon it right now? =/

Somebody post something!!

** ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATE POST **

Saturday, October 16th, 2004
3:07 am
[vaelor]
Outside the front door of the gas station, Jon and Joe stood in an uncomfortable silence. Joe watched Jon out of the corner of his eye, as the man took the last drag of the Camel he'd got from the boss, dropped it just in front of him, and ground the burning butt into nothing under his black boot. Though the silence seemed to really draw out between the two men as they stood there, Jon could sense that Joe was deep in thought, and didn't want to put himself even further into the man's bad books by shooting his mouth off just now. If all went well, they might even end up working together, so best to give the man his space, Jon considered.

Joe's mind, on the other hand, was still reeling. He was still mentally kicking himself for shooting his mouth off to Mr. Moneybags here - who was he to go blabbing about Johnson's private financial affairs to strangers, and customers no less? He was disappointed - no, disgusted, he amended - with himself for his lack of self control. To make matters worse, he had no idea what Johnson thought of the whole situation. The old man was uncharacteristically gruff and ambiguous when discussing the situation with this newcomer, and Joe supposed he had every right to be. He wondered how it would look to old Pete Johnson, telling Joe the shop was shutting down, and then not two minutes later having him usher some weird stranger through the door offering to buy the place out and keep it running. He couldn't vouch for Jon's life, but Joe knew this was already one of the weirder days everybody else involved had probably had in a long time.

Joe suddenly felt Jon's eyes on him, and it made him a little edgy. He looked over at the stranger cautiously.

"You alright guy?", Jon asked, with what appeared to be genuine concern.

"Yeah," Joe replied after a moment. "Just.. it's just been a weird day. I need a beer."

Jon laughed - a surprisingly hearty, good natured laugh. Joe though everybody from the big cities always laughed like they were being filmed for a commercial, but Jon sounded like a man who never laughed unless he really felt like laughing, and enjoyed doing so when he did.

"Tell me about it. Is there any place nearby we can grab a drink at?" Jon asked.

Joe scratched the back of his head uncomfortably. "Look, Mr. KinKade.." he began.

"Please Joe, call me Jon." insisted Jon.

"Jon.. no offense intended, but as much as I appreciate what you're trying to do here, and I'm sorry for shooting my mouth off at you earlier in Johnson's office, but right now, I'd really just like to be alone, and work out in my head what the hell just happened, if it's all the same." Joe struggled to keep his voice polite and even forced a small smile to his face, not because he had any reason to be impolite or angry at Jon, rather because his brain had all but shut down and instinctively, he just wanted to forgo all courtesy and just walk away.

Jon smiled back reassuringly. He knew the difference between a troubled man who needed somebody to talk to, and one who just needed time to himself, and Joe was undoubtedly the latter. "Sure thing pal, I understand. Enjoy your beer."

Joe nodded in response, and walked mechanically towards where he'd parked his old Ford. Halfway to the curb, somebody tapped him on the shoulder from behind. Tired and more than a little fed up with human company for one day, Joe whirled around and snapped "Yeah, what?!" at what he expected to be Jon, or perhaps Mitch. But the man who stood before him looked unfamiliar, and far the worse for wear to boot. The guy even flinched a little when Joe raised his voice.

Max readjusted the satchel strap on his shoulder with one hand and massaged his temples with the other, squinting his eyes against the sun as he did so. The aspirins hadn't fully kicked in yet, and people yelling at him still wasn't on his list of favorite things to do today.

"Whoah, easy there big guy!" Max complained. "I'm nursing a bitch of a hangover here, can we go easy on the yelling?"

Joe rolled his eyes. Who WAS this guy? "Yeah, you look it," Joe replied rudely. "Do I know you?"

"Max Capote. I dropped my ride off here for a service, three, maybe four days ago? It was a..."

Joe cut him off, eager to go and have that beer. "Yeah yeah, Max, sorry, been a long day, didn't recognise you right away. Your car's done, purrs like a kitten, tuned her up myself. She's parked around the side, check in with Mitch in the garage to pay the balance and she's all yours."

"Thanks Joe. Looks like that tuneup's going to come in more handy than I thought now." Max replied. "For that matter, so would a beer right about now," he added under his breath.

Joe grinned. Max wasn't a bad fellow. He'd serviced the guy's car a handful of times, and once had to replace the front fender and give the front end a respray. The guy always paid late, but tipped well, so he had something of an unofficial running tab with the garage. Joe knew that Max was more than a little shifty - once, when he was cleaning out his car's interior, he'd found a handful of ID cards stuffed down the side of the driver's seat, all with Max's photo, but none of them with his name. For that matter, Joe couldn't say for sure that Max was even his real name. The guy always paid in cash, and Joe had never seen anything of his with the name Max Capote written on it. But still, Joe figured it was a don't ask don't tell situation, something of a mechanic/client privilege, or something to that effect. Max had never tried to rip off Joe or the garage, and what the guy did with his personal life was his own business, Joe figured. Besides, he was likeable enough - he didn't talk too much, didn't ask prying questions, didn't shoot his mouth off. Max seemed like the kind of guy that said what needed to be said and not much else, and Joe respected that in a person.

"You too hey?" Joe replied. "I'm headed over to Jimmy's for a Bud right now myself. Been a long fuckin' day."

"Jimmy's Bar over on Stenson Street?" Max asked. Joe nodded. "I might see you there after I settle up and get my wheels back. If you don't mind the company?"

Joe shrugged noncommittally. Though he'd told Jon he wanted to be alone, there was company, and then there's company. While he was in no mood to make friendly small talk and make new friends just at the moment, Max had been around town for a while and Joe knew that his company would probably be the more comfortable type that involved them both sitting at the bar nursing their drinks, while Max did that weird fidgety thing with the Ace of Spades card that he usually did with his other hand. Joe figured Max's kind of company wouldn't be all that intrusive to his current bleak mood.

Max told Joe he'd catch up later, and waved as he ambled - or was it almost a limp? - over to the garage. Joe headed for his car - third time's the charm, he figured, hoping nobody else planned to stand between him and an ice cold Bud today.
Friday, October 15th, 2004
5:29 pm
[stephendann]
Max opened his eyes and the hammering sound intensified. Squeezing his eyes closed against the morning sun, he rolled his arm over to shield his face from the light. The movement caused almost as much pain as the light itself. ‘What the hell did I do this time?’ Pieces of the night before flickered through the haze in his mind. A card game, a few girls, a few drinks, a couple of fights, and no idea how he went from clubbing to being wherever he was now.

At least it sort of smelt like it could be home. Opening his eyes would bring answers and pain, but at least the pain could be cured. There was either a drink or a tablet somewhere in the apartment.

Slowly, as his wits started to come to him, and the effects of the night wore off, the cold feeling of disquiet started to replace the confusion. Something about the night had been wrong, and something about the day, right here and now, was definitely out of place. Realisation crept slowly, and brought the cold clarity of fear with it.

The gun in his hand was lighter than it should have been. A few years back, he'd taken to sleeping with the gun at his side, and more than a few times, he'd woken with it in his hand. But every time until today, the clip had still been full.

Max checked the safety without looking, and dragged himself to a sitting position against the wall. He was still wary of opening his eyes, not just because of the light, but now because of the distinct possibilities that could lay on the floor. Dead guys made for poor houseguests, and even harder explanations.

It was now or never. Never, in his opinion, was only ever the safety switch and a trigger away. That left now, and he opened his eyes slowly in the hope that would offer some relief against the sunlight.

Cautious surveillance brought two items to the top of the agenda. First, the lack of a corpse indicated things weren't possibly as grim as they could have been. Second, aspirin were now a priority.

Max hoisted himself out of bed, and took the moment to notice he was still wearing last night's clothing. Right down to the overpriced tie he'd bought to get into the damn club for the card game.

Except he didn't remember ordering a bloodstained one.

"Great". The word took an eternity to escape his lips. He stumbled across to the bathroom which was thankfully unoccupied by the living or dead.

Bullets fired, some blood. He stared into the mirror, and tried to stop himself from wincing. Movement brought pain, and the matted hair on his head showed some clue as to the bloodstained tie.

Swallowing his last two aspirin, Max realised it was time to take stock. He had to check the rest of the apartment, look for the shell casing if it was here, and get his shit together to get out of town. Assuming he'd shot clean, the police would probably have more awkward questions than he could provide answers. Assuming he'd shot badly, he was probably going to have to shoot clean next time.

Time for action. A shower. Staunch the fresh bleeding from the head wound. Collect the suitcase of belongings. Rummage through whatever was left he could safely lose, work out where to dump what needed removing, and clean up any trace of last night. Stuff the gun and the spare ammo into the satchel on the counter.

The satchel. Flickers of memories tried to return, but were lost in the pain. Something about the satchel. Memories of voices, male and female voices. A cheap underclass casino. That won't be hard to find in this town. Only a dozen hookers and blackjack joints he could name without having to think.

Max flicked open the bag. Wads of cash lay in the base of the bag. The distinctive green of hundred dollar notes, the golden glow of fifties.

"What the fuck did I get into last night?"

The answer to the question came from the distinctive doof doof of an overcharged car stereo, and a blast of Stone Roses from somewhere outside. Fools Gold, if he recognised it correctly. Judging by the abrupt cut off, it was probably some low rider gassing up at the neighbouring service station. Which, now Max came to think of it, was probably the best place to start the day. He needed to pick his car up from the service bay, and it seemed now at least, he had the ready cash to pay up before he took off. He stuffed the cash and gun back into the satchel, slinging it awkwardly over his shoulder and headed out to get his ride back.
Monday, October 4th, 2004
7:36 pm
[deadlikeme83]
God dammit, Jonathan thought as he looked down at his gas tank. As much work as I've personally done to this super-charged SS, you would think I'd make it well past two states. Jonathan grimiced and pulled into the service station, noting he also needed some more cigarettes as he put his last one out in the car ashtray. As he noticed the on-coming service station, he could see someone looking at him as he pulled closer. Queensof the Stone Age was playing pretty loud on his CD player, so he could kinda understand.

The man sulked back to his service station as Jonathan got out of his car which was pulled next to a gas pump, a very old one with only two nozzles, regular and premium. He smirked at the pump, not really being used to have to pump then pay with cash but it wasn't that big a deal seeing as how he had enough on him at the time. As he started to re-fill his tank, he saw the same guy walk out of the service station without his overalls on and he did not seems to be in a good mood. A scraggly kid, maybe 17 or 18, walked out behind him with a bewildered expression on his face. "Somebody got fired..." Jon commented to himself.

After setting the auto-fill on the premium nozzle, he closed the door and made his way to the door of the store the gas station had. "Good morning." he said the guy passing by him. The guy stopped, staring at the ground for a second before he turned to face Jonathan, "Good morning? You shittin' me? You try to have a good morning when your boss pulls you aside and tells you the job you've had for the past ten years, a job you're damn good at, is about to go bottom-up. Go through that and then tell me good morning." He turned back around and started to walk off, "Hey, hey...hold on a second guy," Jonathan walked up to him, extending his hand, "Look, didn't mean to rub you the wrong way. Name's Jonathan KinKade and I've kinda been looking for something like this."

The man looked him over with a quirked eyebrow. Imagine some tall, cut stranger dressed in a black tank-top and black cargo pants with combat boots on tring to get all in your business. Joe reluctantly shook his hand, "I'm Joe. What do you mean 'looking for something like this'?" Jonathan smiled and nodded to the store, "Why don't you introduce my to your boss and let's talk about something."

After being introduced to the heavy-set man called Mr. Johnson, Jon and Joe sat down in his office. "So, Joe says you have something to discuss with me?" he said, cigarette bouncing on his lips with each word. Jonathan reached for his pack of Camels and looked up to him, "You mind?" Johnson shook his head and he took one, pulling out his Zippo from his pocket and lighting it, taking one long drag. "I've never been a Camel man...always Marlboro for me. I've actually been trying to quit for a while now, but it's a fight. Ultra Lights, man, they're like sucking air." Joe and Mr. Johnson sat there, watching him with perplexed looks on their faces. Jonathan glanced to the two of them, and nodded about nothing, setting the cigarette in the ashtray on the bossman's cheap metallic desk.

"Here's the deal guys...I'm kinda trying to start something with my life. I haven't been a good citizen these past few years and just recently I've had something of a change of heart. I noticed your man Jor here walking in a slump and figured I'd squeeze some info outta him and lucky enough for you I got something I can work with. Joe tells me you're about to go out of business?" Jonathan cocked an eyebrow to Mr. Johnson who nodded in response. He nodded, taking another hit from his cigarette, and leaned back in his chair, "How much is the going price for a place like this?"

Mr. Johnson furrowed his brow, leaning forward and resting his elbows on the desk, stubbing out his cigarette as he did. "Look, not to be rude Jonathan, but I've got a few phone calls to make. Where are we going with this?" Jon cocked his head and smiled, "I like that...someone not wanting to waste any time with petty talk. I want to help you keep this place up and running."

Joe leaned forward on this note, "Help keep this place going? How the hell would you do that? You travling with a few thousand dollars to buy out the guys wanting to turn this place into some Starbucks or something? See, that's the problem with you rich-ass city boys. Throwing your damn money around like-"

"Joe! Please..." Mr. Johnson held up a hand to him. "You don't understand Joe," continued Jon, "I've got to get something set up with my life and soon. 'Idle hands are the devil's playthings.' I can work on cars too...I don't want any kind of managorial position, I just gotta do this. Mr. Johnson, look, I can do this with you. I can help you turn this place back around. I have the resources and I'm damn good at cars and finances...well off, actually."

Johnson sat back, fingertips together on his lip, sitting in silence for a second. He leaned forward, "I've had this place for twenty-five years. I'll be damned if someone else is gonna scoop it up underneath me. Give me a minute, I've got some new phone calls to make..."

Jon and Joe stood up and left the office, coming back out to the store part. "Kinda funny how an empty tank can change your life..." Jonathan commented to no one. Joe nodded in agreement.
8:19 pm
[vaelor]
Joe pulled his old Ford up a little way down the road from the gas station and cut the engine. The power had gone out again last night, and his alarm hadn't gone off when it should have, which meant he was running late, again. Luckily he was a fairly early riser naturally so his body clock woke him up barely twenty minutes later than he should have been out of bed, but still, it was the third time this week. He'd have to sneak around the side, avoid the boss, and act like he'd been there the whole time. Mitch would cover for him, he knew - the kid practically idolised him after all.

He slipped around the corner into the garage, and grabbed his coveralls off the hanger. A boy's voice, cracking with the late onset of puberty, called out from underneath the pickup that was jacked up in the middle of the garage, "Hey Joe, whaddaya know?".

Joe rolled his eyes. "Y'know Mitch, that just gets funnier every single time you say it!". Mitch Simpson, a scrawny kid of seventeen wearing oil stained coveralls two sizes too big for his skinny frame, rolled out from under the truck and grinned a crooked-teethed smirk at Joe. "So, what time'd you get here today Joe?", the kid chuckled.

"Same time as every day Mitch, you know that," replied Joe conspiratorially, buttoning up his last button and reaching for his toolbox. Mitch chuckled again in his goofy way and scooted back under the truck. He'd been working at the shop about a month now, and seemed to have easily more skill at fixing cars than he did anything else put together, including conversation and personal hygeine. Joe could already tell this kid would be a grease monkey for life, and damn good at it to boot.

Joe had just popped the hood and grabbed the tools he'd need to finish off the last bit of work he'd left off the previous day, when the auto shop's boss and owner, Pete Johnson, ambled in, with a cigarette parked firmly within a scowl. "Cross!" he called out over the truck. "You got a minute?"

Of course this was a rhetorical question. Even though Johnson had hired Joe fresh out of school and had always treated Joe as a good friend - or at the very least, something like a tolerated nephew - their working relationship was always held together by the fact that Joe knew that no matter how familiar or friendly Johnson may come across on any given day, he was still the boss, and that accorded him a certain level of respect. Johnson was tough but fair, but Joe had seen more than one apprentice grease monkey hang up his wrench after assuming Johnson was a pushover and stepping over the boss/employee boundary of familiarity.

"Sure thing boss," Joe called back by rote, putting the tools aside and wiping his hands down his front. He followed Johnson back to the small cubicle that served as the boss's office, and pulled up a chair at Johnson's indication. He loosened his collar a little and swallowed, certain that he was about to receive a stern lecture about punctuality. Joe resolved himself to accept the berating, avoid making any excuses, apologise sincerely, and call an electrician as soon as he got home, to get that damn faulty wiring checked out. Another thing about Johnson was that the old guy had no patience for whining or excuses - trying to blame anybody or anything besides himself would only land him in more trouble.

Johnson sat down in his old chair, which groaned under the strain of the boss's ample form, and put out his cigarette in an already very full ashtray, reaching to a crumpled pack for another stick with his other hand at the same time. Joe waited patiently while the old man lit up and took a deep drag, and then turned his attention back to Joe.

"You know why I called you in son?" Johnson asked him.

"I think I do, Mr. Johnson," Joe replied carefully.

Johnson chuckled, wheezing slightly as he did so, and took another drag of his cigarette. "I'm sure you think you do too, and I wish all I had to complain about today was you being late three times this week, but unfortunately, as they say, I have bigger fish to fry today."

Joe responded with a querying look while his mind clicked into the next gear. Old Johnson didn't miss a beat, and he realised he was crazy to think that sneaking in and pretending he wasn't late would have slipped past the old guy, but usually the boss took punctuality pretty seriously, and for him to gloss over it like he was mentioning the weather probably meant something fairly serious was on his mind. Joe didn't have to wait long to find out what.

"Joe, you've been here what, nearly ten years now? Longer than anybody else I've had here, anyway. So I'm not going to insult you by pissing in your pocket or wasting your time. We're getting shut down, and we're all out of a job." Johnson spat this out with a grimace, taking one last deep suck on the cigarette, and butting it out amongst its dead brothers in the dirty ashtray.

Joe blinked twice, slowly, his brain trying to process the situation. When Pete Johnson talked about business, humor, sarcasm, or pranking were never a factor. The old coot had a sense of humor, but never when it came to business. He wouldn't even waste the breath to say something like this if it was anything short of the cold, hard truth. This knowledge caused Joe's brain to stall and sputter like a cranky old car on a cold morning, since his instinctive reaction was to laugh and say "You're kidding, right boss?". But Joe knew that Johnson wasn't kidding.

"As I said, you've been here ten years, and you deserve an explanation," Johnson continued, "but right now I'm just too dern pissed off about it to even explain it to myself, let alone anybody else. Suffice to say, we're bust. Looks like you were right when you said that folks around here these days know a little too much about fixing their own damn cars! A cousin of mine from the city is buying me out, he's turning this place into a bar or a Starbucks or some crap like that. I would have told you earlier Joe, but I've been hoping until now that it wouldn't come to this."

Joe felt like somebody had just run over his chest with an eighteen wheeler. Things were just starting to settle down for him - his last girlfriend had been gone six months, taking her emotional baggage, her damaged goods, and her stupid cat with her. He'd just made the last payment on his old Ford, which would get the bank off his back and leave him a little extra dough out of each paycheck from now on. And damn it, he liked this job! It may be a long hard work day, and the pay was medicore at best, but damn, he knew what he was doing and he had career security. At least so he'd thought. He'd even begun to entertain the notion that Johnson might leave the place to him when the old guy retired, since he didn't have any kids of his own. Now what the hell was he going to do?

Johnson seemed to notice that Joe was having a hard time grasping the concept, or even a verbal response. "Why don't you take the morning off Joe? Mitch can finish up that old pickup himself, and you look like you could use a beer." A beer? Joe felt more like a triple bourbon neat, except that he'd probably have to watch his wallet from now on, he realised.

"Yeah," Joe mumbled. "Hey, when.. when do we, you know? How long have we got?" he managed to spit out.

"I sign the final papers on Wednesday. Friday we close doors. I've got a crew coming in on the weekend to clean everything out, and by this time next week this place will be property of the city boys."

Joe was already mentally trying to calculate how much money that would leave him with, and where the hell he was going to find another job. He felt bad for Johnson - the old fellow really was almost like an uncle to Joe, and the garage had been his life for more than twenty-five years - but for the moment he couldn't get past what it would mean for himself to be out of a job for the first time in ten years.

"I'm sorry Joe. You know I'll give you the best reference possible. You're the best grease monkey this state has seen since I was your age, you won't have any trouble getting yourself another good job, you know that." Joe nodded numbly, even though he thought he knew no such thing. "Now go on, get out of here for a couple of hours, on me. Not like we're flooded with work here at the moment anyway!"

Joe nodded again, and opened his mouth to say sorry, or thankyou, or something, but nothing came out. So he turned around and walked out of Johnson's office, closing the door behind himself, and walked back to the garage in a daze, to ditch his coveralls.

As he walked the fifteen paces back to the garage, he heard a loud engine pull up, and the sound of some sort of loud music that Joe could only hear the baseline of from where he stood. A silver 1985 SS was pulling up to one of the pumps, its supercharged engine purring like a tiger as the driver cut the engine. Usually a work of art like that would sound like music to Joe's ears, but as he stepped out of his coveralls, he couldn't help but think to himself about the rich city asshole that probably owned it, driving around town like he thought he owned the place. Shit, Joe thought to himself with a wry grimace. Maybe this guy DOES own the place. Johnson had said his cousin from the city was buying him out. Joe didn't know any locals that drove a set of wheels like that, and he couldn't imagine anybody that did stopping into a cruddy little place like here just to check out the scenery. Joe spat on the footpath as he stalked back to his old Ford parked down the street. City pricks, he thought to himself again. What the hell am I going to do now?
5:09 am
[vaelor]
Never Ending Story - Last Minute Details

** ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATE POST **

Okay then. All four current NES writers have had their character profiles submitted and approved, and we're finally ready to get started. Some time over the next 24-48 hours or so, I'll post an opening entry and enable everybody's posting privileges and we can watch this puppy roll. However, before I do, I just want to go through a few last minute details/guidelines/reminders for everybody involved...

The first thing everybody should know is that this community is set up in moderated posting mode. This means that when you post a new entry, it won't appear in the story until I have approved it. This is done more out of policy than neccesity, ostensibly to help avoid occurances of two writers posting at the exact same time, and ending up with two conflicting story threads branching off, and also to avoid the even less likely event that some rogue member does something crazy like kill off people's characters, or gets drunk one night and post a picture of their ass into the community, etc. Though I'm sure with only four writers at the moment, neither of those things will ever happen, it's still a better safe than sorry policy.

The tricky part is, I'm strongly anti-censorship in all its forms, and there may come times when you may post something which as a moderator, I think is just horseshit, but as a person, I don't believe in editing/blocking/censoring your post. In these instances, you'll probably get an email from me asking you to revise your post, but if somebody else throws in an update before you've corrected whatever it is that was wrong enough to merit a modification, their update will take precedence.

Speaking of which, in the very unlikely case that multiple writers attempt to continue the story at the same time, regardless of whose entry is "better" in my personal opinion, the entry posted chronologically first will be entered and the rest will be discarded. With four writers, I doubt that will ever come up, and I will be approving entries as promptly as possible to avoid a backlog in the story, but I just wanted to warn you in advance. Not every single entry you post will be guaranteed to make it into the story!

Now, onto other things. Writers are permitted to, and in fact encouraged to, discuss the story with eachother outside of the community, to plan their entries in advance or try to learn more about other peoples characters. When posting your updates, you are allowed to - and again, encouraged to - write about other people's characters in your entries, but try to avoid doing so in too much detail until you're sure you can portray that character correctly, either by waiting for a few entries from that character's "owner" to get a feel for the character's personality, or by running your post by the other writers backstage first before posting for them to approve or correct. This way, nobody writes anybody else's character into the story in a way that the creator of that character will disagree with, and everybody stays happy with the story. =)

Which reminds me of another important note - ALL posts to the community once the story has begun MUST be story update posts. Any post that isn't a continuation of the story will not be approved. If you want to post side notes, ask a question, or discuss something story-related, please post a comment on the relevant entry and discuss it in a thread there. Also, community watchers/visitors are encouraged to post feedback and comments along the way - writers are essentially egotists: we love to be told that you're enjoying the story! So as the story progresses, whether you're a writer or just a reader, please feel more than free to post your encouraging - or, if neccesary, constructively critical - comments along the way. Derogatory or completely un-NES related comments will be deleted, however.

What else... ah, just another quick reminder to try and keep the story logical and flowing. Picture it like a book in your mind, and always try to make your updates sound like they are picking up from where the last post left off - write your character into the story, don't just write a seperate storyline on the side because you've got a direction in your head that you want your character to go in. If you were reading a book, you wouldn't likely turn the page only to find yourself reading about a completely unrelated character, doing unrelated things in another part of the world, so you should avoid that here, too.
Logically, after the introductory posts and a bit of scene setting, all active characters should have met and be playing together as a team, unless you have a cleverly written logical reason why they should be elsewhere. =)

On the topic of characters, writers are fine to include "NPC's" (Non-Player Characters, for you non-roleplaying writers, if there is such a thing!) in their updates, so long as they don't become as involved as the main characters. Don't feel you are only ever allowed to write about your own single character and occasionally those of the other writers - it stands to reason that in any story, there are a whole cast of lesser characters and bit players that make up the story. You can have a girlfriend, father, dog, bartender, old war buddy, whatever, but keep them in the sidelines - the story is about the four first credited characters in the end, not the supporting cast!

Oh, also, plain text entries only please - no HTML, formatting, links or graphics, etc. And as briefly mentioned in the initial rules post, there is no set "turn taking" or enforced sequence, but try to keep the participation fairly even - try not to post again until at least one or two other writers have posted since your last update, and also try not to leave it six months between posts. If any writer vanishes for an extended period and doesn't respond to continued poking and prodding via email for a while, we will assume you dead and kill off your character in turn. =)

Anyways, this is becoming long winded so I'll wrap this up here. In short, the best thing I can say is, if in doubt, sit back and watch the rest of us first. If you're feeling unsure of where to go, what to do, or how to do it, let somebody else take the next update and get a feel for the direction the story, and the character development, is going in.

The next post will be the beginning of the story, and then it's open house for updates from there. And as always, email me - or the other writers - and ASK if you need to know something, or post a comment instead of an update. It's better to check in advance than assume and be wrong. And I hate having to ask people to change their writing or deny their updates, so please try not to put me in that position! =D

See you on the flipside guys!

** ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATE POST **

4:05 am
[vaelor]
Character Profile - Max Capote

** CHARACTER PROFILE **



LJ Username:-
stephendann

Character Name: Max Capote

Character Gender: Male

Character Age: 28

Character Description: For most of his life, Max has lived under the pressure of being "the boy most likely", despite the fact that no-one ever seemed to state what he was most likely to do.  Constant pressure and expectation from a widower father who raised his only son to succeed has left tell tale pressure marks on his psyche.  After a bad run in his second year of university, he dropped out of university and went missing in a cross country binge of petty crime and hustling. Gifted with a near photographic memory, a head for numbers and limited tolerance for other people, he found an ideal conversion of his talent into gambling and confidence tricks. 

The eyes are blue, and frequently blood shot from long nights of online poker games.  His short black hair is cut to the non-descript current fashion, and his clothing makes him blend to the crowd.  Average height, an unmemorable face and a quiet demeanour away from the poker table makes him hard to pick in a crowd, unless you spot the playing card being nervously toyed with in his hands.  Surprisingly, underneath the plain clothing is a relatively well built body, the result of pent up frustrations and easy access to boxing equipment.

He has served some time in the military in the logistics division, habitually helping himself to the soldiers weekly wages with his card skills. Never the most popular of people around, he learnt to take care of himself in a fair fight, and make himself hard to find in an unfair one.  Since leaving the services, he spends most of his life playing cards for money.

Personality Traits/Quirks: Although flamboyant and extrovert at a poker game, he's generally reserved and withdrawn, and spends as much time as possible making himself blend with his environment..  Take the cards out his hands, and he's generally lost for something to do.  As a result, he tends to keep one or two packs of cards around the place, and will idle his spare time away practicing stage magician card tricks or new forms of shuffling cards.


** CHARACTER PROFILE **

Sunday, October 3rd, 2004
5:30 am
[vaelor]
Character Profile - Byron Sanderson

** CHARACTER PROFILE **



LJ Username:-
wondjina

Character Name: Byron Sanderson

Character Gender: Male

Character Age: 24

Character Description: Byron's family moved to the 'Big City' almost 10 years ago leaving his simple rural life behind him. He had always regretted moving, he didn't like the cars, smog, people or the way the city smelled but, he had little choice in the matter. He would often find his thoughts slipping away to the country and back to his home. He longed to go back there though he knew it would never be viable, his life in the city was just too important. Byron is a songwriter, a talented songwriter to boot. He spends most of his days writing songs and performing small gigs through the walls of smoke in the local bars. He has tried writing in to record companies in order to get his work noticed, but this only causes another letter to fill his over stacked box of rejection slips. Still, his hobby keeps a roof over his head and food in the larder. His shocking jet black hair is never combed through properly, he leaves it sitting just above he broad shoulders in a scruffy tangled mess that somehow seems to compliment his sincere olive skinned features. His electric green eyes embed compassion and warmth into the coldest shadows of callous hearts. He dresses in a long, dark black PVC coat that barely misses the ground as his feet drag along the concrete. His dark red heavy wool polo necked jumper clings to his slender figure. He wears black heavy jeans that crease around his ankles over his Doc Martens boots. Flecks of dirt are scattered up the side of his jeans as if he has been splashing through puddles for most of the day and hasn't yet learned how to use his washing machine. He never wears a watch, but swears he can tell the time from the position of the sun, he calls it 'An old country trick he learnt from his youth'.

Personality Traits/Quirks: Byron is a daydreamer. His head is often above the clouds, inspired by anything and everything. Byron has also been termed as a hopeless romantic. Almost daily he finds a new love in his life, someone who would whisk him away, until he sets eyes on his next muse. He can be somewhat overly sensitive to situations, and in others seem cold hearted and callous. He lives between the pages of his Journal and songbook, he carries them with him everywhere in a worn buckled leather satchel. His prized possession, nothing could come between him and that bag. Byron has a tendency to be argumentative, debating everything and anything he can. He always believes he knows best in all situations and although many times he is right, he can also be stubbornly wrong. In summary, his basic personality is like a running tap, one moment he is hot, the next he is cold. The problem is, finding the happy medium.


** CHARACTER PROFILE **

5:20 am
[vaelor]
Character Profile - Jonathan Kinkade

** CHARACTER PROFILE **



LJ Username:-
deadlikeme83

Character Name: Jonathan Kinkade

Character Gender: Male

Character Age: 31

Character Description: Jonathan stands at 6'4" and has the build of a weightlifter that looks to tone, not beef-up.  He has a thin black beard with semi-short hair (long enough to get messy in the morning).  He has steely blue eyes that have quite the peircing gaze.  He was a former bounty hunter/hired hitman that is just trying his hardest to get away from that lifestyle.  He's constantly on the move, never giving his former employers the ability to find him.  Very intelligent without a college degree, he's spent half of his adult life reading every kind of reference book imaginable.  If he went to school, he would have a doctorate in human psychology and human anatomy.  His favorite thing to do is help people.  Financially secure way beyond what he needs, his travels from po-dunct town to po-dunct town helping the Sheriffs office or backing the gas station that had to close down or even giving out meals to homeless people.  His love is his car, a 1985 SS, super-charged, that he spent alot of time and money customizing it to perfect comfort.  Nice silver paint job and very impressive sound-system.  As much as wants to forget everything he knows of the art of death, I still wouldn't cross him.

Personality Traits/Quirks: Jonny-Boy tries as hard as possible to let things slide, but little things really get under his skin and can get him in a VERY grumpy mood.  Helpful almost to the point where it hurts, Jonathan does what he can for others. Great sense of humor though.  Has given up the fight of tobacco and smokes Marlboro Ultra Lights like a fiend, espically whilst driving.  Sucks down Dr. Pepper like it's the essence of life.


** CHARACTER PROFILE **

Thursday, September 30th, 2004
1:18 am
[vaelor]
Character Profile - Joe Cross

** CHARACTER PROFILE **



LJ Username:-
vaelor

Character Name: Joe Cross

Character Gender: Male

Character Age: 31

Character Description: Born and raised in a "medium" town - without the fast-paced success of a big city, nor the old-fashioned values of the country - Joe Cross is a grease monkey at the local gas station/auto shop, and doesn't really expect to ever be anything else. Having turned 30 last year, Joe has resigned himself to the comfortable niche (he hates the term "rut") that a steady paycheck and a bachelor's life provides. Standing six feet even in boots, and with the solid but untoned build of a man who works hard at his trade but doesn't exercise or eat well, with scruffy short brown hair and a permanent five o'clock shadow, anybody can see that while not exactly a slob, personal grooming isn't his highest priority.

Personality Traits/Quirks: Joe has a tendency towards a defeatist attitude, a by-product of working the same job for fifteen years, living in a dead end average town, and having never held a steady relationship for more than four or five months. He's never made much of his life, and having never really known anything else, has come to accept it as the way life is, without being depressed about it, nor striving for anything more out of life. Temper wise, Joe has a fairly long fuse, but when he snaps, he snaps hard, especially after a few drinks. A few years ago he earned himself a little community service for taking a broken bottle to a guy in a barfight. Since then, he's tended to keep his cool, since another scuffle could get him jail time, but he knows all too well that other people don't always back off just because you don't want to fight. Besides that however, Joe is an easygoing, simple, likeable guy, a man of simple pleasures and modest hopes, who just takes one day at a time.


** CHARACTER PROFILE **

12:26 am
[vaelor]
Never Ending Story - Now Taking Character Profiles

** ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATE POST **

Okay. We now have four members, officially signed up to the community, and ready and waiting to write. We have agreed that a modern contemporary fiction will be the genre of our first co-op story. Now, if you haven't done so already, please email me a character profile for the charcter you will primarily "own" for this story based on the form from this entry.

Please try to be fairly descriptive, and make a realistic, balanced character that fits the genre of the story. This being a modern contemporary, this means no magic powers, no dragon riders, no alien mutations - you get the drift. Characters should be "normal people" by today's real world standards for this story. And, like "normal people", they should have negative quirks as well as positive traits, to make the story a little more interesting!

Once all four profiles have been approved and posted, we can get writing! So let's not waste any time people! And as usual, email me if you have any questions!

** ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATE POST **

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2004
1:35 am
[vaelor]
Never Ending Story - Status Update

** ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATE POST **

Alrighty. Looks like this is happening after all. We have four definite writers now - stephendann, deadlikeme83, wondjina, and myself. A few short of the 6 to 8 I was hoping for ideally, but enough to get started, and maybe with luck once we get rolling we might pick up some strays along the way. =)

Now, at this point, the original plan was to get some feedback on what genre/setting people would like to see the story set in, and put the options to a nice democratic vote, but since it's just the four of us, and considering I personally am getting bored of the same old trite fantasy crap, I was hoping for something more towards a modern contemporary fiction this time around, and I know already that deadlikeme83 is keen on that idea. So unless either of the other writers specifically don't want to go with this style for this first story, I think we'll go ahead with that. You guys email me and let me know if this is a problem, okay?

That said, as soon as wondjina has actually joined the community (let me know if you're having trouble joining!), and assuming nobody has an objection to the genre, we'll be ready to take character profiles, based on the format described in this entry, and once everybody has a character approved, we can get started!

Anyways, as usual, any questions, email me, otherwise let's get this thing moving!

** ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATE POST **

Wednesday, May 19th, 2004
1:48 pm
[vaelor]
Never Ending Story - Status Update

** ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATE POST **

As of this post, we currently have three members/writers for the NES, including myself. I'd like to see at least six or more before we get a story started, so please pass the word around if you know anybody who might be interested, or are a member of other writing communities that you could invite people here from.

Contrary to some concerns, I'm still wanting to go ahead with this, despite the fact that I have decided to no longer continue updating my personal journal.

I have fixed the setting that was not allowing people to apply for membership to this community, but as per the previous post, no application will be approved until the applicant has submitted their info to me via email.

Hope to get this on the road soon!

** ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATE POST **

Friday, April 23rd, 2004
6:05 am
[vaelor]
Never Ending Story - Now Taking Writer Applications!

** ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATE POST **

Okay. The first LJ NES is now taking entries for writers. If you are interested in participating, please email Vaelor with the following information:-

- Your LJ username
- Your full real name (will not be published anywhere onsite if you prefer)
- Your email address
- Some info about your writing background, interests, and preferred genres
- Why you are interested in participating in the LJ NES
- Any other information about yourself you'd like to let us know

If your application is accepted, you will be given membership and posting access the NES community. Once we have enough writers to begin a story, everybody will sit down and choose a genre, theme and setting for the story. Once this has been agreed upon, each writer will submit a character profile explaining the main character they are going to introduce to the story. Your character profile will look something like this:-


LJ Username:- joewriter

Character Name: Henry Arnold

Character Gender: Male

Character Age: 47

Character Description: Henry is 5'9", heavyset, with short greying hair and brown eyes. He wears spectacles and has a bushy grey beard. He is a retired private investigator who enjoys reading Tolstoy and watching Baywatch reruns.

Personality Traits/Quirks: Henry is a suspicious, short tempered man, quick to anger but likely to back down in a direct confrontation. He is as blind as a bat without his glasses, and is slightly deaf in his right ear. He is an avid right-wing activist however, and has been known to have very heated political debates with anybody who is unlucky enough to bring up the subject. He chainsmokes Lucky Strike cigarettes and drinks cheap whiskey.


When all writers have been authorised and their character profiles have been submitted and approved, I will post the opening entry, and the story will begin! Writers are free to post in any order they choose - there is no turn taking, as this would cause extended holdups to the story if one writer can't/doesn't log in for a while. However it is preferred that no writer posts twice in a row - please wait for at least one other writer to update before you continue.

So, without further ado, please email me to join up and let's get a story happening folks!

** ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATE POST **

5:42 am
[vaelor]
Never Ending Story - Rules and Guidelines

** ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATE POST **

Welcome to the Never Ending Story - A Co-operative Creative Writing Project

Rules and Guidelines are as follows:-

1. The community administrator and moderator is vaelor. His word is law. If any member/writer blatantly breaks the rules here, he will be the guy who blocks your writing priveledges temporarily, or in obscene cases, bans you from the community.

2. The writing team will consist of approximately half a dozen (6) writers, give or take, per story. Each writer will create, and (pending review and approval of their character) have primary control over that character in the story.

3. Writers may incorporate any aspect of the story into their updates, including interaction with other characters, but may not make significant plot changes involving another writer's character. For example, writer Johnny, whose character is William Fallstar, may write an update including writer Sarah's character, Nyri Wolfbane. It would be quite acceptable to write "William and Nyri sat down at the bar and discussed their next plan of attack.", but it would not be acceptable to write "William came up behind Nyri and shot her in the back of the head with his pistol, laughing as she fell to the ground, dead.".

4. Writers must always follow a feasible and realistic update to the story. If the story is a medieval fantasy setting, and the characters are about to enter a battle, Johnny might write "William, consumed with bloodlust, charged into the fray, heedless of what personal harm he might incur!". He may NOT write "William took a turbo plasma rifle from his backpack and fired into the fray, reducing the enemy army to a puddle of bio-organic goo!".

5. If a character is to have any defining personality traits or unusual abilities or powers, these need to be stated in the character profile submitted before the story begins, and can not be sprung by surprise mid-story. If William Fallstar is actually a werewolf, say so upfront and then introduce it into the story when you see fit, don't just morph and start eating the guests in the middle of a dinner party!

6. Writers may not post a story update that only involves other writer's characters. Pre-introducing a future plot point that doesn't involve any character, ie. "Many miles away, in a dark and gloomy castle unbeknowst to the party, an evil wizard peered into his crystal ball and muttered "Soon, you will be mine, my foolish adventurers!" is fine, but any updates directly influencing the current storyline must include the writer's own character in some way.

7. Writers must respect the character profiles of other writer's characters when including them in their updates. If Nyri Wolfbane was created by Sarah to be a shy, quiet, reclusive girl, Johnny can not say in his update "Nyri grabbed William by the front of his shirt and dragged him into a passionate kiss, growling 'Take me, you sexy man!'." If you don't yet fully understand another character's personality, avoid including them too much in your updates until you do, or contact that character's writer and try to learn more about the character first.

8. NO FLAMING OR REVENGE WARS. If another writer does something with your character that doesn't break any rules but annoys you anyway, back out of it in a creative way within the story and then politely ask the offending writer privately to avoid doing so again. If there are any disputes that can't be settled amicably and are starting to ruin the story, please contact vaelor and one or both writers will be reprimanded accordingly.

9. Please keep each update to a reasonable length - at least one paragraph, and no more than a dozen or so. No one-liners, and no fifteen page updates please!

10. And above all, HAVE FUN! Co-operative writing can be a really enjoyable experience if everybody participating can behave themselves and get along, so let's get this on the road! And please keep an eye on this post from time to time, as new information may be added as required.

** ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATE POST **

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