Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Back to work

Ahhhhhhh I sooooo needed that break. Anyway, Back to work for me. I only did a little today, as I'm still considering this as part of my break. I predict I'll be done sometime on friday with the whole second draft. I've posted a revised chapter 40, because I let my frustration and inability to concentrate ruin a lot of my ideas for changes in that chapter, so I went back and fixed them today. It's nothing much, just fixing a few sentances so that they make better sense, and changing a few details about Cain's control over the Apostle. Pain chases him from her mind, it's the only thing that he fears, and she was in a lot of pain, so I had to change it to something more like emotional pain, and pain caused by, but not felt by him as opposed to complete agony like before. The idea that pain chases Cain away is very important, because it's how Gabriel wins, and how the Apostle triumphs over Cain.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I've been working on Spires of Infinity at least 5 hours a day for an entire month, and I need a day or two off. I'm having trouble concentrating enough to do a good job, so I'm going to not work on it for a couple days. I'll still finish it this next week, but it'll be the end of the week rather than the middle.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spires of Infinity Chapters 36-40 Draft 2

I've finished chapters 36-40 of the second draft of Spires of Infinity and they can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

I'm down to 140,000 words woohoo. So far I've cut 27,000 words in this draft. I doubt that I can cut 5000 more out in 7 chapters, but I'll try. I'll be done on tuesday or wednesday next week and holy crap I need a break from this. It just took me 8 hours to do one chapter because I couldn't keep focused on it ><

Anyway, in these chapters the climax begins, I've changed quite a bit of things to streamline it and keep up with the earlier changes I've made.

So, before I even started writing the first draft of this story I went and did a crapton of reasearch on what, exactly, a black hole would look like up close. I found a ton of theories, and crap like that, and then i read one of stephen hawking's books, and his description of what he believes black holes looks like fit my needs the best. A black hole will visibly distort the space around it, kind of like looking at things through the bottom of a bottle. the event horizon, the point at which light can no longer escape the gravity, will be perfectly sphereical, and rather than actually being black as was previously thought, it will shimmer and appear to reflect. This effect is due to the fact that a black hole is constantly spewing radiation. I used his description and added a bit of the supernatural to make it seem like a living, malevolent entity rather than the single most destructive force known to man.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


After 7 freaking years, George R. R. Martin has FINALLY finished the next book of his fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. A Dance with Dragons will FINALLY be coming out in july. I've been waiting for this book for so long it almost seems like I'm dreaming, haha.

And here's a fun fact for you. Sa'Dhi is an abriviation for the name of the comapny that invented them. Saffron Dharmi. These are the last names of the two people that question Gabriel and Sam when they are captured in the past at the Spires of Infinity, Henry Saffron and Aaron Dharmi. These two men stole the data they got from Gabriel and Sam and went into business for themselves, creating Sa'Dhi, and experimenting with NVM before the nuclear war struck and ended it for them. They were not able to get very far with NVM, and they had sent the data to the Empire's Excel Research Outpost as well, so they did not have much to do with backwards engineering that one, but they can claim credit for making a working copy of Gabriel's Sa'Dhi, and they do, as evidenced by naming them after themselves. =)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I must grumble and complain!!! To the Bat Cave *points*

So, I'm reading The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, second in his trilogy after The Name of the Wind.

Ok, I had one gripe about the first book and that was that it went absolutely nowhere. It was highly entertaining, with a great world and characters, but nothing really happened. It introduced everything for a second volume that would get things going. I'm about 3/4 through with the second book and unfortunately it seems to have the exact same problem.

While the Wise Man's Fear is highly entertaining at parts, and very funny, NOTHING IS HAPPENING AT ALL!!! I have two gripes this time around. THe first is the mystery of the love interest. The author is dragging it out and dragging it out and draaaaaaaaaagging it out WAY longer than is necessary. I get it, she's terribly mysterious, GET ON WITH IT ALREADY!!! He drags out the fact that the main character knows nothing at all about her, and she's so hard to find, and she's working for someone shady, and he can never find her when he wants to, and they feel for each other, but they shouldn't, and they're too young to realize it, and blah blah blah, and it's becoming incredibly distracting and frankly painful to trudge through, I've even considered skipping any and all parts with her because they're annoying me too much. No one is THIS stupid when it comes to dating, seriously. there's no reason for all of this and I really want to give the writer a good kick for it. Yes, I get the whole building sexual tension thing, but there's a limit to how far you can and should take it. When the readers start rooting for her to die because they're sick of her, you've taken it MUCH too far.

My second gripe is this. At first this book seemed to really be going somewhere, making up for the last book's lack of any real climax, though entertaining, nothing really happened, and it really got to me in my second read through of it. Now that I'm looking out for it, the same thing is happening in this book. It's a great book, don't get me wrong, but nothing is happening. It is about nothing. The writer has made a great world, and excellent characters, and given them nothing to do. He hints at great events in the main character's life, but never takes any steps closer to them. I just finished a 200 page long side story that led absolutely nowhere except a realization that the character made halfway through that could have come at any other point in the story.

Anyway, I had to complain, because this series is so promising, but the writer seems to be ruining it with his inability to come up with an interesting storyline to go with his characters and world. Oh well, there's still 200 pages left, so I guess he's got time to pull things into a great conclusion in this book, but things are not looking good for it.

Sooooo, from this post you might think that I hate this book, but I don't. Those are just two complaints I have about it. In fact I'm actually enjoying it quite a bit, despite my grumbling about its faults. If there's only two things to complain about that are relatively minor things, then it's a pretty good book. It's written so well, and the characters really are very entertaining, and the author has a great sense of humor. He just drags some things out way too long for comfort.

Spires of Infinity Chapters 31-35 draft 2

I've finished chapters 31-35 of the second draft of Spires of Infinity and you can download them at the bottom of this page. I have also posted a revised version of chapter 30, and deleted the old version. There was something I forgot to add that explains something later on.

These chapters mark the point where Gabriel overcomes his selfish nature and decides he wants to be the hero of the story, and also the beginning of the climactic end. I've added a little more depth to his internal struggle and decision, as well as a bit more to Kari's advice to him to better fit changes that I've made. I've also added a lot more character development for Kari as well. Her internal struggle was barely touched at all int he first draft, and I needed to remind people that she's still not sure what her motivation is before her climax in the story. I've also removed a lot of the ambiguity regarding her feelings for Gabriel. Her character is interesting because she's got two very hard problems to deal with, her identity crises, and the fact that she met the man of her dreams and he was already taken, these two things have recently forced quite a bit of uncertainty and insecurity into her for the Apostle to take advantage of. I downplayed it in the first draft because it doesn't play that big a part in this book, but it will in later ones, but I realized this time around that she really needs to be falling to pieces over her perfect life crumbling around her for the Apostle to be able to affect her with her powers, and this gives her that extra little kick over the edge that she needs.

This is also where things get a little screwey with time travel. I hope that it is clear in the story, but this is what happens. Gabriel goes back in time. He almost immediately reappears with his mission completed in the present, the Apostle attacks, makes it over the walls, and uses the Gate's previous coordinates to Gate Jump back in time, and Gabriel sends Sam after her, knowing that if he does not, he'll die, creating yet another paradox. In the past, when Gabriel arrives it seems as though no time at all has passed between his arrival and that of hte Apostle, because she used the same coordinates to arrive at relatively the same time and place that he did. Everything that happens to him in the past happened between the few minutes that he was gone in the present, despite the fact that it was hours for him.

Isn't time travel fun? I really enjoyed using it as a plot device in this story, because it takes some thinking to set it all up correctly, and it makes someone who is reading use their brain a little to follow what's going on.

Only 12 chapters left to go on this draft, and I'm currently down 23,000 words from the first draft.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Save Japan~!!!

As most of you may have heard, Japan has suffered tremendously in the aftermath of continuing natural disasters. From very early in my life I have been influenced by Japanese culture through anime and video games, and I have to say that I owe a great deal of my own personal creativity to them. To see such a wondrous and magical place, that has given me so many hours of entertainment and creative nurturing in such a sorry state is a very sad thing for me. So many people have lost their lives, or been hurt, many more are still missing. The damage alone will take years to recover from. Every day I hear more horror stories about the conditions over there, and each is worse than the last.

The Red Cross is currently working hard with relief efforts, trying to feed and shelter as many refugees as possible, but they can't do it alone. Shipping food and water over there costs a great deal of money, and they're asking for donations. If you would like to do your part to help them help the people of Japan you can donate money at www.redcross.org or to make a $10 donation that will appear on your phone bill text REDCROSS to 90999. Whether you can donate a little or a lot, every bit helps.

Spires of Infinity Chapters 26-30 Draft 2

I've finished chapters 26-30 of the second draft of Spires of Infinity and they can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

In this story there are three separate storylines that come together in the end. Due to the nature of this story these storylines are told out of chronological order to keep things moving along. Most of the characters are moving through both time and space, and rather than putting everything in the right order for continuity's sake, I took liberties and mixed them together to keep the story flowing along without spending too much time on the same character. These five chapters are when that ends and all three storylines come together in the same place at the same time. All of the heroes and villains are now assembled for the final climactic confrontation, as it were.

These chapters have changed greatly due to the fact that my edits to the first half of the book have created many continuity errors in them. All of those have been fixed, and everything flows along smoothly now. I removed a few of my more retarded ideas from the first draft and replaced them with some much deeper elements of character developement as Gabriel begins to come to terms with and accept everything, beginning to feel guilt for the way he's lived his life in the past. I also removed quite a few rather distracting references to pop culture as they had no real purpose beyond the recognition factor. Some of them have been left in, because they are where Gabriel gets the idea for his plan, but they've been toned waaaaay down so as not to make them overly opressive in what is, essentially, a work of fantasy.

I did demonstrate my grasp of complex physics here just to show off. I hope I didn't lose anyone while explaining what a time paradox is ~_^. What annoys me about other stories that deal with time travel is that they keep beating you over the head with the fact that such-n-such an action is bad because it'll create a paradox, but they never actually explain what a paradox is. The best of them is Back to the Future, but they're still a bit vague. Though they do show rather than explain the effects of a paradox pretty well, they ignore certain aspects for their own conveniance. I wanted to sit down and say exactly what a time paradox is, because the creation of a paradox is one of the big events in the climax. If you don't know what it is and how it works, it kind of deflates the danger and suspense of the ending.

I've finally dipped below 150,000 words, which was my goal for this draft. So far i've cut 19,000 words from it, which is the equivilant of 25 single spaced pages in 12 point font size, and I expect that I can cut at least another 10,000 from the rest, which would be great.

If you're wondering how I go about editing, this is how I do it. I made a copy of draft 1 and retitled it as draft 2. I then read through each chapter individually and fix all of the problems that I found while taking notes during a previous read through, and I also fix anything else that jumps out at me. I then copy and paste that chapter into a new file and get the word count and divide it by five to get 20% and proceed to cut unneeded and superfluous text and paraphrase, using that 20% number as my goal. Sometime I cut more, sometimes I'm not able to cut quite so much. After I'm done with that I then read the chapter through again aloud. I don't know why, but when I read something aloud I'm able to find more errors in the way things are worded than I am able to when I read it in my head. So reading it aloud allows me to catch anything I may have missed in the previous two edits, and gives me a chance to make sure that all of the changes i've made still make sense and don't contradict anything i don't plan on changing later. Then I copy and paste the edited chapter back into the manuscript in place of the old one and start with the next in line. Some writers go about writing out of chronological order, but I think that would drive me crazy. I always have to start at the beginning and write out everything in order to the end. I usually have to do that in editing as well.

Anyway, if I keep to my current schedule I'll be done with the second draft a week from wednesday. Then I'm going to take a week off, and come back at it for a final draft. There is not much that will change in this final draft. Basically all i'm going to be doing is reading it. If any spelling, grammar, or continuity errors pop out at me, or if thing are worded confusingly, I'll change them, but for the most part, much of the text will remain unchanged in that draft.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spires of Infinity Chapters 21-25 Draft 2

I've finished chapters 21-25 of the second draft of Spires of Infinity, much to my Agent's pleasure, and they can be downloaded at the bottom of this page

Currently the second draft is 151,535 words long and is at 48% completion. Considering the first draft was 166,888 words long, I think I'm doing pretty good. Normally a second draft would be half again as long as the first by now, but this was was written well enough that most of the changes needed so far have been deletions and paraphrasing rather than additions. So, at halfway I've managed to cut out 15,000 words. If I can cut another 15,000 from the second half I'll be looking very good on length. The typical mainstream novel is 75k-100k words in length. Sci-fi and fantasy typically run longer at 150k-200k, with notable exceptions up to 300k and beyond. 135k is the perfect length for a sci-fi book from an unpublished author like me.

There are some minor major changes to the story in these chapters. I call them minor major changes, because it did not take much work to edit them in, but they have a large impact on the story. Gabriel and Sam's relationship goes a lot deeper than in the first draft here, and a few other little bits were added in. One of them on a whim, but works for a bit of humor in an otherwise very serious chapter. Sometimes whimsy adds something to your writing that it needs, others it makes for something completely retarded and nonsensical. We'll find out which one this turns out to be in the final draft, I guess.

I've also been reading Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, second in the trilogy that began with The Name of the Wind. I have to say that this book is FAR more entertaining than the first, and the story actually seems to be going somewhere, and bulding up to something now, which was something that the first book, entertaining as it was, lacked. These are fantasy books that I think even people who do not read fantasy or sci-fi would enjoy, just because of how entertaining the characters are, and how real they seem.

This is a good month for books, not only did Wise Man's Fear come out, but so does I Don't Want to Kill You, by Dan Wells, the next installment of his serial killer series.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I can't sleep. For anyone that doesn't know, I have suffered from severe insomnia all my life. My brain get's going in overdrive and I just lay there with a billion and one thoughts fying through my head like flipping through channels on the TV really fast with a sound of loud static. I'm a very visual thinker, in my mind everything is either pictures or sounds, which get translated into words when I interact with the world.

Anyway, while laying here with the jumble of craziness keeping me from sleeping, I suddenly had a brilliant idea. So I have been toying with the next volume in the Spires of Infinity storyline, and I'd gotten most of it hamered out and outlined, but there was something it was missing. In my editing of Spires whatever the outline for the second book is missing has gotten clearer and clearer. I have great ideas for it, and it will no doubt be as fun as Spires is, but there was something a bit off. It was missing something. And luckily, i was laying there, unable to sleep when the final piece of the puzzle, secondmost epic idea i've ever had, fell into my lap.

With The Path, as Spires 2 is currently called (was first called Revenant Hearts, until I realized taht there is already a video game by that name, then it was The Beginning of the End of Time, and then Lords of Time, and will probably end up being called something completely different by the time i've finished the first draft of it), I want something that is a little more than merely a sequel, or continuation of an ongoing story. I want it to be bigger and better than Spires, without overshadowing it or crossing into ridiculousness. This idea, while not changing much of the basic structure as i've already laid out, does this perfectly. And I'm glad that I had this idea now, because I can lay a bit of groundwork for it in Spires as I finish it. I'd also been looking for an idea to resurrect the Apostle without it seeming too farfetched, and this idea offers the perfect chance for it. She still has work to do later in the story, but she had to die to free herself of Cain.

Unfortunately, coming up with this seconmost epic of ideas that I have ever had, has me too excited to even try going back to sleep, hence the reason I'm blogging at 1 AM and not really saying anything. I'm usually rather paranoid of my ideas being stolen, so I always keep the good ones to myself until I've written them out. Therefore, this post has very little substance, and no purpose whatsoever except to take up 5 mins of my insomniatic night.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spires of Infinity chapters 16-20 Draft 2

I've finished chapters 16-20 of the second draft of Spires of Infinity and you can download them at the bottom of this page.

So, if you couldn't tell, I made a goal for myself to complete 10 chapters a week on this story until I'm done. I sat down with a calendar and made myself a schedule to follow on what chapters I'm going to do when, and so far I've been able to keep to it. This is partially made possible by the fact that this story is BY FAR the best thing I've ever written. If I can entertain myself with it, I have a pretty good feeling others will like it as well.

Anyway, these five chapters have seen some major overhauling. Nothing has really "changed" in them except for some minor stuff dealing with Kari's personal crisis. The majoirty of the changes have been to remove a lot of clunky writing, and several things that really didn't belong. As a resuly I've managed to cut 4000 words out of this chunk of the story alone. Everything got majorly streamlined in these chapters and the story flows along sooooo much better now.

In these Chapters, things change tone a bit for Kari and the twins, the last story with them was a bit of a transition from lighthearted adventure to seriousness, and in this part, things are very dark for them, including capture, implied torture, and personal crisises that will be the basis for later actions and struggles.

I'm really happy with how this draft is turning out, and I'm frankly having the time of my life with it. People are even commenting that I seem different at work. part of me wishes I'd continued working on Spires of Infinity rather than tackling the beast of Exile, but you know what? In editing Exile I got a crapton of experience editing and rewriting that is coming in very handy with my work on Spires. Working on that story made me a better writer so that I could do better work on this one. Which, on further thought, may have been the reason my agent suggeted I work on Exile before finishing Spires.

I've managed to cut over 14,000 words from the story in this draft, just through tightening things up so they make more sense and flow along better. Currently I'm 43% done with draft 2. Hey look, I remember how to do math. Remember math? Didn't it suck?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spires of Infinity Chapter 11-15 Draft 2

I've finished chapters 11-15 of the second draft of Spires of Infinity and you can download them at the bottom of this page

Moving right along with this draft, i've got five more chapters done. as a whole, not much has changed here, but in a side by side comparison you'll notice that a lot of the text has been rearranged, or paraphrased.

Here's an example from teh first paragraph of chapter 15

Draft 1:
The first thing that Kari noticed after stepping to the next world on the quest to find adventure was the noise. There was so much noise coming from all around, even above her in the sky. The second thing she noticed was a sort of acrid underscent that, while not overpowering, seemed to permeate everything. It had her sensitive nose on the edge of burning, but not quite.

Draft 2:
Noise beat at Kari from all directions, and an acrid underscent, while not overpowering, seemed to permeate the air. It came close to making her sensitive nose burn.

Draft 2 says the exact same thing as Draft 1. You get the exact same information in both, but in draft 2 it's far more compact, it gets to the point faster and removes all the superfluous junk you don't need to know, or already know. And Draft 2 does the same job as Draft 1 in half the word count.

One major change made to these chapters was the removal of probably the biggest and most distracting contemporary cultural references where I went on a three page long rant about what a jackass George Lucas is. That TOTALLY had no place being in this story, and it's much better off without it. In its place I added quite a bit of backstory for Gabriel and Sam, resulting in a huge step forward in their character development and the development of their relationship with each other. These were things that I had later on in the story but really, by the time you get taht far, the figurative ship has kinda sailed, and I like it a lot better with these moments earlier on.

I've also dropped a few vague hints in here as to what REALLY happened the night Gabriel threatened his father with a knife. I've never actually said in the story what really happened there, but in this draft I'm going to have the Apostle drag it out of him and use it against him in their duel to distract him so she can stab him.

If you care about spoilers stop reading now. Gabriel killed his father. When his father told him he didn't have what it takes to kill him, he snapped. He'd heard that far too many times and it literally drove him crazy. Because of how horrible this event in his life was he blocked it out. He doesn't remember doing it at all. What he remembers is that his father got up and left and then never came back. His mother was so horrified by what happened that she never spoke of it again, and the police determined that the killing was justified because he saved his mother's life by doing it so no charges were ever made against Gabriel.

So far I'm down almost 9000 words in this draft too ^^V

After 11 straight hours of editing work, i'm going to bed before my brain melts.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spires of Infinity Chapters 6-10 Draft 2

So, I'm done with chapters 6-10 of the second draft of Spires of Infinity, and you can download them at the bottom of this page.

Oh, but you just posted five whole chapters the day before yesterday, you might be thinking. Yes I did. The speed with which I finished the next five is due to a couple of things. Mostly it's that the chapter length in Spires is much shorter than in other things I've written. Also, there's the fact that there's really not much editing work that needs to be done. I did so well with the first draft that I don't have to spend so much time editing it as I did with Exile. With Exile about 80% of the entire story had to be completely rewritten. With Spires it's more like 5%. Plus I've been working 8-10 hour days on Spires this whole week after getting home from work. What can I say, I'm just more excited about this story than I was about Exile. It's so much more fun, interesting, and most importantly, ORIGINAL.

Anyway, these chapters kind of set the tone for the rest of the story. You see what you can expect of the characters in their mis/adventures, their personalities develop more, and the worlds they live in start to take on more detail. Some of the things that I worked on in these chapters was changing the wording of things to start off more sentencess with action words, which keeps things moving along quickly even when they're not.

Here's an example:

Before - Gabriel drew a pistol and looked around.
After - Drawing his pistol, Gabriel looked around.

It doesn't seem like much of a change, but when you have a ton of sentances that begin with nouns or pronouns it really gets repetitive, and if there's one thing you REALLY want to avoid, it's repetition. Things feel like they're flowing along much more smoothly when you start as many sentences as possible with action words. Also, if you'll notice, the "after" sentence is also one word shorter than the "before" sentence. Fewer words to say the same thing ALWAYS = better unless you're being paid by the word. One word may not sound like much, but when you consider there's something like 12,000 sentences in this story, take a single word out of each sentence and that's 12,000 words.

I've added a bit more humor, and some foreshadowing of what's to come. I've also put in a few things to illustrate how disgusting and crass Sam is, because she really is, but it didn't really come out much in the first draft. The biggest change you will probably notice between the first and second drafts of these chapters is the removal of a great deal of dialog. I had the characters giving huge rants that went on for paragraphs just to say what could be said in a single sentence or two. So I cleared all of that clutter away in this draft. Other than that, you probably won't notice a huge difference between these chapters in the first and second drafts unless you print them out and look at them side by side.

Word count wise, things are looking really good. I'm now down 3500 words from the first draft, which is puts me exactly on target to finish below 150k where I want it to be. The more I can condence things in this draft the less work I have to do in the final draft. Having come this far into things now I'm pretty certain that this story will only take one more very quick draft to finish it completely. I might actually be able to make the end April deadline that my agent gave me for Exile with Spires instead. He'll be ecstatic to hear that. I get the feeling he's getting a little sick of me not giving him anything he can sell.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spires of Infinity Prologue-Chapter 5 Draft 2

So, rather than make a blog post for every chapter of the second draft of Spires of Infinity, I figure I'll post chapters on my site in 5s. The prologue and the first five chapters of the second draft of Spires of Infinity can be found at the bottom of this page

I am an extremely critical person, especially of myself. I can rarely say with honesty that I've impressed myself with something that I've done, but I'm really impressed with how these first few chapters have turned out in this draft. I did an excellent job with them. I'm beginning to think that this story can be completed with only one more draft after this one to basically just check continuity, grammar and a few other minor things. I pretty much owe that to how well I did with the first draft.

These first few chapters contain most of the character introductions, and they needed quite a bit of tweaking. I think you'll find that there is a crapton more description and personality in the characters now as compared with before, and I've filled in a few gaps in the story that were left in the first draft, such as how the Apostle gained her powers. There is a lot more character develpement in these early chapters, as well as a lot more description. And the very best part is that I've managed to cut 600 words out of these chapters while improving them.

I've got a pretty good feeling about this story. If this doesn't get me published I don't know what will.

Finally feeling better

After three weeks or so I finally don't feel like I'm going to die anymore. Woohoo!!! And I just realized I still have christmas presents to give out too. It's only March... it's not THAT late...

So, before I tell this story about work yesterday, it needs some setup. Long ago and far away I was Elder Allen in Chicago, preaching the gospel to the unwashed masses of the most destitute place I'd ever seen. This was a place so horrible that whilst tracting from door to door we often had to skip three or four houses in a row because they had been condemned, and the houses with people actually living in them were not far from it. Often a single three bedroom house would be walled off by the owner into four or five apartments and rented out for dirt cheap until it literally fell apart. The people living in these areas were much like the houses, beaten down, poor as dirt, with little hope and nothing to look forward too except their eventual eviction due the the condemnation of their home. Many of them could not even afford water or electricity. I loved those areas, because the people were so humble, and ready to listen to anyone who brought a ray of hope to their miserable existenses.

In those days I was, by necessity, always clean shaven, with my hair cut short, and I wore glasses because I didn't want to have to spend my limited funds on disposable contacts whilst on my mission. I was often told that I looked like harry potter, because of the glasses and the way that my hair is completely and utterly wild when it's short unless I basically dip my head in a vat of hairspray (hence the reason I usually let it grow out). My compainion and I lived in a two bedroom apartment with another companionship. Something you might have heard about missionaries is that they seek out the most ugly and outrageous ties to wear because it's the only part of their wardrobe that they can use to express themselves. And this is true, or at least it was in South Chicago where I was. You wear the same boring business suit and white shirt day after day, and you start to get very sick of it. There's nothing wrong with wearing a suit, it's just horrifically dull when it's all you ever wear. But that wasn't the only reason we wore those horribly ugly monstrosites. In the deep, dark, awful parts of the ghetto when people answered the door to young, clean-cut, white boys in their pressed suits with the most ridiculous looking ties imaginable on, it often brought a smile or even a laugh from someone whose day would otherwise have been full of nothing but despair.

And so began the quest for the ugliest tie imaginable. Every P day the four of us would go to every thrift store in our areas, searching for the holy grail of ties, the tie so ugly it could actually break the space-time continueum. One day, Elder Forrester and I found it. The other companionship had made an appointment to visit a member family that day and so they had not accompanied us on our shopping excursion, saving it for later. We went to the ties in the back of the Salvation Army thrift store and there it was, the ugliest tie imaginable. It was indescribably hideous. It was so ugly that you couldn't look directly at it, for fear of being blinded.

The two of us stared at the tie, having finally found the holy grail. Neither of us could quite work up the courage to touch something that awful looking, and so we left it there. Having seen perfection, we could not quite work up the motivation to own it.

We returned to our apartment to check on our laundry and put away our groceries, and the other companionship came home. Elder Kerrigan was proudly wearing that eye-wrenching, vomit-enducing, ugliest of ties like a medal of honor, and proud as can be over having found it. My mommy told me there was no such thing as monsters . . . but there are. That tie consumed him, making him its loyal puppet, and soon he wore nothing but.

Now, jumping ahead nine years to yesterday, I was delivering mail on my not quite route. A little explanation of my route, I deliver to all of the buisinesses at the intersection of 7800 S. and Redwood Road, as well as Gardener Village, a small apartment complex, and a little neighborhood. I call this a not quite route because it is an auxiliary route, and is evaluated as 32 hours a week. As such, it is not a fulltime route, and I, as the carrier, do not recieve full time benefits, nor do I recieve a regular, weekly day off. I wont get those until my not quite route reaches an evaluated 40 hours per week, or until someone retires and I move over to that route instead.

Now, Jordan School District was recently split, and they needed to move their headquarters to someplace actually within the new boundries of their district. So they bought out the strip mall on the Southeast corner of that intersection, where DI used to be. THey knocked out all the walls between the various businesses and made one huge office building out of it. Which was GREAT for me, it bumped my route evaluation up by 3 hours because of the volume of mail that they send and recieve.

Anyway, yesterday, as I walked in their front doot and started toward the mail room with my little collapsable cart in tow I caught sight of someone who looked vaguely familliar to me. I stopped him and asked if I knew him from somewhere, and as he turned to face me I recognized him. It was Elder Kerrigan, if a little fatter and balder than I remembered. AND HE WAS WEARING THE TIE!!! I imagine that a tie that ugly would be literally indestructable by conventional weapons, so I was not surprised that it still existed, but I never expected him to actually KEEP the thing after his mission, much less wear it to work at a repsectable government job.

And in other news, I'm slowly but surely working on Spires of Infinity, with three chapters completed so far. These earlier chapters are taking a bit more work than most of the stuff in the middle and end will, because of the amount of stuff that needs editing here. Most of the character introductions were badly done in the first draft, so I'm having to rewrite them almost completely. So far I've actually managed to cut the word count rather than add to it, which is a good sign. As I get more into it I can see that This story is actually very close to being finished. It doesn't need very much in the way of editing at all. I should plan stories out as thuroughly as I did this one more often. It really does cut down on the amount of work needed later on.