inPrototype: Then Spoke the Thunder
Notes for inPrototype.
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Jonn Wood

Chp 1-01

Elements of this story were inspired by the Bourne film trilogy and the novel "The Bourne Identity" by Robert Ludlum, the Prince Roger/Empire of Man book series by David Weber and John Ringo, "Hitler's War" by Harry Turtledove, "Shatterpoint" by Matthew Stover, The Halo Novels "The Fall of Reach" by Eric Nylund, the Halo fanfics "The Art of War" by havoc-legionnaire and "The Enemy of My Enemy" by Katsuhiro, "Tiberium Wars" by Peptuck, and a good portion of Baen Books' free catalogue, esp. John Ringo's "Legacy of the Aldenata". I am very well-read.

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A man wakes up with no idea who he is, and an incredible array of lethal tactical and hand-to-hand skills. Yes, this was obviously inspired by the Bourne series. However, considering that Alex Mercer starts Prototype throwing cars at helicopters after having been clinically dead a few minutes earlier, my little story is actually rather restrained.

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The fact that the narrative keeps switching between "Alex" and "Cole" to refer to our protagonist is intended to reflect his disorientation. It also ties into the running theme of identity. Don't worry, I'll throttle back on it later.

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Alex's disarm of Black Suit is loosely based on a Krav Maga disarm from a Youtube video supplied by ExpertVillage, though several similar disarms exist in many martial arts. Most of them involve broken fingers. Was striking with an elbow and transitioning into a disarm awkward? Yes. Was it tactically inefficient? Also yes. Did it work? Technically, yeah, but it's probably not a technique that would be recommended by any self-defense expert. Heck, Alex's whole technique is sloppy. He somehow has several martial arts disciplines rattling around in his head, and he's not necessarily going to be able to choose the most efficient ones. Double heck, he's not even going to be able to rely on the voice, whatever it is.

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St. Jeanne/Jane de Chantal is the patron saint of forgotten people, among other things. Geddit?

5/5/2011 . Edited 5/5/2011 #1
Jonn Wood

1-02

Title: "I came" in Latin, from the famous "Veni, vidi, vici".

Zeke and Alex are a double act, but not the usual funny man and straight man, or dumb guy and smart guy, respectively. I'm going for "earnest and snarky". More Bert and Ernie, or Archie and Jughead.

This mashup is partially a testbed for a novel series I've been working on, set in an Alternate Universe. Besides the superheroes, I had the amusing idea that Ian, Patrick, and Sean Connery had all of their roles shifted one over. So, yes, Sean Connery is Magneto and Gandalf in this AU.

This was originally one chapter with the next one, until I realized that I had enough material for two chapters, and split it. As if I wasn't going to have enough chapters in this mashup already.

8/2/2011 . Edited 8/2/2011 #2
Jonn Wood

1-03

"In your Shelter Dimly Lit" is a reference to Colonel Bagshot's "Six Day War". You may have heard it as DJ Shadow's "Six Days".

The trunk-escape procedure is based on an episode of "Psych". It's also actual procedure for getting out of a trunk.

I noticed the Red Riding Hood thing a while ago, and it seemed to me a very Terry Pratchett sort of logic. The reason, of course, is that she wasn't always in a riding hood. It's just the usual mythology drift, like Cinderella's fur slipper. (See the relevant Snopes article for more on that.) There is a more poetic reason, in-story, but it's not going to be explained until well into Arc 3. That's at least 20 chapters away. Sorry.

The following should be taken as guidelines, not rules. In fact, don't listen to me. Find as many books about writing as you can, read them, and try to figure out how *those* books were written. Originality is often just knowing how to steal in a way no one else has done before.

On Exposition

Exposition is the bane of many amateur writers' existence. There is always the tendency to have the characters make note of it. One fanfic actually had a character go something like "Thank you Mr Exposition!", which made me want to smack the writer on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.

Try not to break immersion like that. Try having someone recap the longer briefing they're at the tail end of. And for Pete's sake, don't just have them monologue. Vonnegut said that every sentence should be plot development or character development. I don't see any reason not to double-dip.

So! How is the speaking character acting? What sort of idioms and aphorisms are they using? What emotions color their speech? How are their listeners reacting? What questions are they asking? What criticisms or jokes do they make? Don't forget physicality: most people gauge reactions that way, and 'show, don't tell' is always a good guideline. Take, for example, Zeke patting the generator when he refers to how valuable they've become.

This may seem complicated, but a little can go a long way. And remember to practice. The easiest way to write like it's real people you're describing is to imagine it's real people talking.

9/14/2011 . Edited 9/15/2011 #3
Jonn Wood

1-04: EXIT

Remember how I said this one and the previous chapter were going to be one bit? This chapter and the next one were going to be one bit. I really need to consolidate.

I knew, going in, that I needed to personalize the people on the bridge. The best way to do that was to make one of them a featured character. And the fastest way to develop a character - Ron, in this case - is to show things from their POV. That's why I like tight-third person; it's basically the same as first-person, except more flexible. And I don't have to do that incredibly awkward thing where the character narrates "I didn't notice that-" and they go on to describe something they are never informed of in any way.

This is also the first time we see any extended viewpoint of someone who isn't Alex. But not the last. not even close.

9/17/2012 #4
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