literature

THE INTERMINABLES story meme!

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UnoSombrero's avatar
By UnoSombrero

Literature Text

So, what's your story called?
    THE INTERMINABLES
Did you have any early/working titles?
    Current title is the early/working title.  It stuck.
Why did you choose the final title?
    "Interminable" means something that is endless or that can't be ended.  Considering the nature of the protagonists, it seemed apt.  When turned into the name of a team it also sounds a bit like a comic book, which plays into things nicely.
Was it easy or hard to choose a title?
    Fairly easy, once I put my mind to it.

Who's the protagonist?
    There are two: Edmund Templeton and Istvan Czernin, also known as the Hour Thief and the Devil's Doctor.  One is an immortal wizard who got that way through some very morally questionable magic that, among other things, lets him ask for five minutes and then take them.  The other is a spectral avatar of the First World War and the world's best surgeon.  They're both unkillable (hence the title), but that doesn't always help as much as either of them would like.
Why are they the protagonist, and not someone else?
    They're the people other people rely on to solve problems.  Big problems.  The sort of problems that make a good super-hero story.  Also, they're both survivors of a previous story universe and the current project was originally intended as a kind of lifeboat.
What strengths/flaws do they have?
    Edmund is honest, reliable, kind, and extraordinarily patient.  He's quite progressive (by the standards of 1950) and if someone wants to talk, he's willing to listen.  Whether he acts on any of what he's heard is a toss-up, as he does tend to file anything uncomfortable safely away in a corner and never bring it up again.  He's been accused of being dull or superficial, and can be savagely passive-aggressive if pressed.  He drinks too much, but considers it better than the alternative.  If you misuse any part of grammar in any language he knows, expect to hear about it.  He prefers taking orders to giving them, but constantly finds himself in positions of authority that he won't turn down, despite his better judgement.
    Istvan is brash, confident, protective, and justifiably proud of his skills.  He's an excellent storyteller and can be a surprisingly sharp judge of character when he's paying attention, though he is prone to fits of spite and fights an uphill battle against his own ingrained prejudices--particularly regarding women, a number of European ethnic groups, and anything French.  He's quick to anger and quicker to violence, impatient, overemotional, and sometimes cruel.  Inflexibility in belief is his hallmark, though he's more than willing to try new things and quite enjoys meeting new people.  He has a soldier's respect for honor and sacrifice, and will talk for ages if you let him.
Are they a hero or everyperson?
    Heroes!  With everyman qualities.  And some decidedly un-heroic details like Edmund's reliance on stealing time from people to avoid eternal damnation or Istvan's unfortunate tendency to experience pain and suffering like wine (to the point where he can become literally drunk on it).
What's their job?
    Edmund is a librarian/wizard/policeman.  Istvan is a surgeon/mercenary/policeman.  It works in context.  They fight crime!
Do they have a sidekick? Best Friend?
    They're basically each other's sidekick and best friend.  Istvan, however, isn't as well-known in the public eye and sometimes is thought of as an actual sidekick to the much more popular Edmund for that reason.  He hates that.
Do they have a love interest? Rivals fighting for their affection? A harem that hangs on their every word?
    Edmund has one current living ex-girlfriend and probably could have a harem if he wanted, but is a firmly committed serial monogamist.  Istvan is dead, which makes relationships difficult. He was married!  Once.  In the early 1880s.
Is there a secondary protagonist? Who?
    Kaylee Murphy, aka Warpshaper, is the most powerful metahuman in North America and the instigator of much of the plot.  Basically, Disaster Girl.  Kid Collateral Damage.  She's a lot like a living nuclear weapon, which causes problems for everyone, including her.  Especially including her.  And everyone.

The main antagonist?
    Supposedly there's an ancient cult called Upheaval out to destroy civilization.  Supposedly.  The only evidence at this point is contaminated corn and Kaylee's claim that she dreamed about Upheaval's triumphantly evil return, which both Edmund and Istvan doubt but are investigating just to be sure.  CAN'T BE TOO CAREFUL.
What do they have against the protagonist?
    All three of the people so far mentioned were part of this secret group called the Innumerable Citadel, which was founded to destroy Upheaval.  Long story short, it didn't, Upheaval came back, and the two groups mutually self-annihilated.  Now Upheaval is (supposedly) back again!  Presumably with a grudge against the people who were there in the epic final battle involving them, the Innumerable Citadel, and the city of Providence, RI.  Poor Providence.
Are they a loner, or do they have a second-in-command?
    Upheaval was an army of brainwashed cultists, elementals, and giant city-eating kaiju monsters, last anyone knew.  Their leader (a second immortal wizard guy, except this time totally crazy by most moral standards) is definitely dead, though.  
Villain with good or bad publicity?
    No publicity at first, because they were secret.  Now, definitely bad.
Sure, but who REALLY runs the plot?
    Someone (something?) with the best interests and happiness of everyone at (nonexistent or possibly tentacled) heart!  Also all the scheming factions and successor states to the now-defunct US of A.  Also, me.

Who's the most important character not on this list? Why are they important?
    Magister Mercedes Hahn is the leader of the Twelfth Hour, which is the wizard's cabal/police force/political entity Edmund and Istvan work for.  She's a pretty powerful lady and calls a few shots.  She might be slightly resentful of Edmund's status as senior statesman and doesn't like Istvan all that much (he is maybe a little dangerous to have around).
Who's the least important character that you pay attention to?
    LORD KASIMIR!  He is a steampunk warlord and swordsman with a horsehair plume skull helmet FROM THE FUTURE.  Aside from look awesome he doesn't do much.
What's the most prominent canon ship?
    There aren't any!  Several people were once together but now are not for various depressing reasons, and the romantic prospects of most everyone do not look bright for the near future.  Or even the far future.
Any other ships?
    There's a few people who are married, I guess.  Or were.
Any noncanon crack!pairings you would read/consider writing?
    Nothing that would ever make sense in character, so no.

Who is your favorite character to write?
    Istvan.  He's fun to research for historical purposes, has a lot of internal conflicts and contradictions, and has a perspective more skewed than most.  This is a guy who tells hilarious(?) stories about trench warfare while he's putting in stitches from the inside-out because he is a ghost and can do that.  He also has a horrifying skeletal winged alternate form that is fun to describe, and will deny that he is a drama queen in ALL CAPS.
Who is your least favorite character to write?
    I'm not sure that I have a least favorite, but Pae (Kaylee's alien sidekick/best friend/protector/former sniper commando with a killcount in the thousands) can be really hard to work into scenes because he's so quiet and deliberately shuns attention.
Which character is the most cooperative?
    Edmund, without a doubt.  He's annoying because his dialogue depends heavily on conciseness and wordplay, which is a pain to write, but he's quite agreeable and willing to compromise and works well in most any situation.  Dude is like a bridge over troubled water.  A pleasant, incurious, alcoholic bridge.  He is a wizard and knows better than to ask questions he doesn't want answered.
Which character is the least friendly?
    Grace Wu, Edmund's ex.  She's really smart and does care about people, really, but tends to be sardonic, dismissive, and obnoxious.  Like Spiderman, if Spiderman was meaner and punched lightning and could run 500 mph.
Which character would you most want to meet in a bar?
    Edmund is the most likely to be found in a bar, though if he's there he's not there to be social.  So... probably Mr. Roberts, registered nurse, Istvan's primary assistant in the infirmary, and a pretty nice guy.
Which character would you least want to meet in a dark alleyway?
    Probably Istvan.  Edmund is much more dangerous than he looks, but Istvan can be especially horrifying when he wants, is dead-accurate with a knife, and if he meant ill, he would probably be laughing.

How many characters are there total?
    Uh.  At least ten recurring ones.  Several minor.  A lot of extras.
How many are allied with the heroes?
    Quite a few!  Though that doesn't help much when most of them are busy with other things or can't do stuff like survive certain death.
How many are allied with the villains?
    Only one named character, but that one is... well, let's just say it takes a village.
How many hate both of them?
    A couple, but the situation is pretty complicated for that.
How many refuse to pick a side?
    The vast majority of extras, of course!
How large is the core cast (in 80-90% of the scenes)?
    Only the two protagonists are in that percentage of scenes.
Be honest—how many characters are actually important?
    Five or six of them.

When does the story take place?
    The year 2020, eight years after an event known as the Shift of 2012 which reshuffled everything from geography to history to the laws of physics.
Where does it take place?
    The east coast of the US, mainly, in the giant conglomerate city known as Big East (home to a crashed spaceship, the ghost of the Twin Towers, MIT, a two-mile-high black spire, the stranded USS Constitution, the Twelfth Hour, and, notably, NOT the White House, which is now in former Louisiana and surrounded by alligators).
Would you want to live there?
    It might be cool.  But, considering the near-collapse of civilization as we know it, it might also not be cool.
Does your story end in the same place it starts?
    It covers a lot of ground but it does stick to the same general area, yes.
What/whose POV is the story told from?
    Swaps between Edmund and Istvan; third-person past.
If not omniscient, whose thoughts would have the most spoilers?
    The million-mile-an-hour thoughts of the supercomputer/android Diego Errazuriz, whose processor exists outside of time and who can extrapolate EVERYTHING.  Unfortunately he's a bit like the prophetess Cassandra and no one understands him (it does not help that his speech hardware is corroded and his English poor).

What genre is your story?
    SUPER HEROES *cough* speculative fiction.
Where in a library would you file it?
    Fiction?  Of the speculative nature?  Or next to other SUPER HEROES or maybe in the "yes everyone should read this section."
What format are you writing it in?
    Standard?  It's a novel that you read on paper or some kind of e-screen, I don't know.
What format do you wish you could write it in?
    Full spectrum audio/video/olfactory triple 3D or maybe 4D.
Would you be for or against a movie?
    For!
Indie flick or multi-million blockbuster?
    All superhero movies require enough special effects budget for GRAND EXPLOSIONS.

Write a nice, long description about the story:
    Edmund Templeton is the Hour Thief, a perpetually 35-year-old librarian, linguist, and wizard of words who cons foes out of their own lifespans. Istvan Czernin is the Devil's Doctor, a spectral avatar of the First World War whose decades of bloody experience have made him the best surgeon on Earth. Together they are known as the Interminables: immortal, unkillable peacekeepers in a near future stalked by chaos and ruled by magic. When a young woman wanted for single-handedly leveling two major cities reappears, plagued by dreams of an ancient doomsday cult, the task of disentangling fact from fiction falls to them.
    Hurled into a treacherous and terrifying web of old battles, personal betrayal, and painful memory, Edmund and Istvan discover that they cannot rely on their legendary invulnerability to see the case through. In the end, all they have is wit, determination, excellent hats—and each other.
That sounds interesting, but can you cut it to under 200 words for the back cover?
    Done!
Quick! Write a 200-character-or-less (with spaces) teaser (think ff.net)!
    A librarian who steals time and a spectral avatar of the First World War, stolid patience in black and mercurial intensity in white, a man long-living and a man long-dead: these are the Interminables, supernatural peacekeepers in a near future where simply being unkillable is no longer enough.
Now give us a catchy tagline for promotional material!
    Sometimes simply being unkillable isn't enough.

Is there magic?  
    Yes.  Of the "you really don't want to know" variety.  Wizards are individuals who must be able to hold all contradictions in their heads simultaneously and be okay with that.  Spellbooks exist because it is too dangerous to memorize entire spells.  Heads explode.
Time travel?
    Yes.  It's happened, at least.  There is a farm from the future, for example, and LORD KASIMIR is also from the future.  It doesn't happen in the story itself.
Psychic powers?
    Istvan is an empath.  Sort of.  Only to negative emotion, though.  He always knows when you're sad or in horrible agony (and finds it delicious) but can't tell being totally apathetic apart from the joy of Christmas.  He uses his ability to drink down pain and suffering as a general anesthetic/morning coffee.
Talking animals?
    Sure!  There is a biochemist who is a cryogenic tiger that turns people into popsicles and then eats them (he regrets this later).
Pajamas?
    Edmund wears them at night.  He is grateful for this at least once.
Different dimensions/realms?
    Istvan and another character who won't be named both exist in a nifty place known as the Conceptual realm, home to perfect ideas such as War and Order.  Also Triangle, Knife, and Pie.
Aliens?
    Pae is an alien!  He is probably not the only one.
High school?
    Kaylee never finished it because she blew up Portland.
Poison?
    Upheaval plans to use a bioweapon to (supposedly) kill everyone!  Yay?
Dragons?
    If they exist (and they probably do somewhere) they are terrifying and will break your mind.
Cake?
    Yes, thank you.  *noms*
Large guns?
    Pae carries a sniper rifle that can hit things at a range of two miles plus.  He is just that good.  The neighborhood-fortress Barrio Libertad is excessively well-defended.
Children?
    At least one ungrateful brat.
Ninjas?
    Pae is a ninja!  He can turn invisible.  Also jump like a mantis... ninja.
Large cities?
    The entire East Coast is one large city.
Advanced science?
    Diego Errazuriz thinks faster than light, can see light moving, can rearrange matter at the submolecular level, and has constructed a fortress made of corrugated steel and adobe that can shrug off a nuclear blast.  Don't ask how.
Teenagers?
    Kaylee.... isn't one, but sometimes acts like one!
War?
    ISTVAN IS THE CRACK AND ROAR OF GREAT GUNS AND THE HOPELESS CHARGE OF DESPERATE MEN ACROSS THE BLOOD-CHURNED MUD OF NO-MAN'S LAND AHAHAHAH.   Also Edmund fought in WWII, both of them fought in an epic Final Battle, and there is fighting at the end.  Book is violent.
Faeries?
    Edmund keeps a horseshoe above his door, just in case.
Corrupt government?
    At least one region is ruled entirely by warlords, East Command is what's left of the US government, and Mercedes is sort of an absolute magical despot though her title is nicer.
Romance?
    Wouldn't everyone wish.
Witches or Wizards?
    Edmund is a wizard!  So are the people who control two different interim governments and provide a variety of useful allies.  Upheaval was founded by a wizard and everyone in that organization knows horrifying elemental magic!  Yaaaay.  Also Istvan knows some embroidery techniques that are sort of magical and sometimes useful against bullets, but he is not a wizard.
Spaceships?
    One crashed in Virginia and now people live in it and strip parts and technology in exchange for things like food, shelter, and patents.
Fanservice?
    Edmund is specifically stated to be movie-star-quality handsome.  Everyone in the Twelfth Hour makes fun of him for it.  It's a 60+ year tradition.
Ridiculously long names?
    Diego's full name is Diego Ernesto Maria Espinosa Errazuriz.  It's not ridiculous, he's Chilean.
An old, wise mentor?
    Both Edmund and Istvan can be this.  Istvan was this to Kaylee until he messed up badly and turned her against him forever.  It is a sad story (spoiler: it gets sadder and also awesome).
Swords?
    There is at least one swordfight!
Internet?
    Everyone uses it.  Except the protagonists, who don't and can't figure it out.
Housewives?
    Jennifer Craine is married but her husband Jon does most of the housework in between delving for alien secrets.  She runs the Twelfth Hour's security net.
Conspiracies?
    Everyone conspiring against everyone all the time oh nooooooo
Overprotective parents?
    There appears to be a dearth of parents in this novel.  Possibly because Edmund and Istvan are supposedly 35 (ha!) and 150+ years old/dead, respectively.
Revolutions?
    The entire world suffered a revolution in 2012.  A revolution within the Twelfth Hour may or may not happen, and there's some other factions trying for this.
Scented soap?
    Edmund prefers plain soap.  Kaylee, however, likes lavender.
Stuff blowing up?
    Copiously!
Monkeys?
    Not stated, but extant.
A happy ending?
    Possibly?  This depends on who you ask.

How much of the story have you finished?
    About half.  Maybe three-fourths.  I'm in the fourth revision and the eleventh chapter now.
How much of the storyline have you decided on?
    All of it; just have to finish writing it.
About how long is it?
    The current working document is roughly 80,000 or 90,000 words.... hard to tell when a lot of it is personal notes and stuff I haven't gotten to editing yet.
How long is it in-story from beginning to end (flashbacks don't count)?
    About a week, actually.  Not long at all.  (spoilers: WORST WEEK EVER FOR EVERYONE)
Do you ever think it will be finished?
    Yes.  Soon(TM).
Anything else you'd like to add?
    NaNoWriMo?  Totally doing it.  Also, for pictures of peeps, check out :iconplangkye:.  She's pretty good at drawing peeps and is in fact my designated go-to peep-drawing person.
Was looking for some way to better get across what this deal is all about and it would seem that I've found one! Enjoy!

Original meme can be found here: fav.me/d4mpz89


Everyone mentioned in this meme is mine. Just FYI.
Published:
© 2013 - 2021 UnoSombrero
Comments5
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Jallarial's avatar
How did NaNoWriMo 2013 go? I came across this meme of yours while browsing Deviantart looking for inspiration to construct my story arc for NaNoWriMo 2014. I think by answering these questions, I'll be able to flesh out my story more.
UnoSombrero's avatar
NaNo 2013 went quite well, until I decided to rip out half the storyline because it was getting away from me and start over with a half-sized cast, haha.  But it IS better for it--and I'm still polishing it, two drafts later, and it's turned into something I've now pitched to literary agents, so....  yeah, I'd say it went well.

Meme was indeed useful, though what really ended up helping me was sitting down and writing out a sort-of-structured plot like thus:

1. Whose story is this?
2. What ending do I want? 
3.  What beginning do I want?
4.  What is all the cool stuff I want to fit somehow into the middle?

Then I arranged the stuff from #4 in plausible order between the beginning and the end, scribbled out some basic scene details ("they fight!"), and went off from there!

Curious now - what kind of story are you thinking to do?
Jallarial's avatar
That's a good way to do things, because it's tempting to get to the good stuff first. I think I may actually write the cool stuff first!

Well, my story is about a prince who is living an extended life as punishment for war crimes he committed as a warlord centuries ago. His punishment is to live as an ordinary history teacher and teach about his original era, including his own atrocities. He can't die until he fulfills certain conditions, so he's stuck teaching until he can fully atone for his crimes. I may make his dad, the king who actually raised him to do all the bad stuff, appear in the present and have to be defeated and put to rest before the prince himself can actually rest. I don't know whether it counts as fantasy or not, because there's no magic, just unnatural happenings.

You going for NaNoWriMo 2014?
UnoSombrero's avatar
I.... actually feel really terrible for not responding to this earlier (a move cross-country has happened: Boston to Seattle), but that sounds amazing and I would definitely read it.  That is a punishment I have not seen for that kind of person before; sort of a downgrade and a shaming and a "don't be like me guys" all at once.  What era and where (or is it not Earth?)

(and I don't know that I'm doing NaNo this year or what for; we'll see)
Jallarial's avatar
Aww, it's alright, at first I figured you must be busy and then I forgot about my comment. Hope you've settled in nicely after your move. It's definitely Earth but way after the present. Right now I have tentatively thought of it as being set millennia after the present civilization crumbles and has been rebuilt again, so that I can use details from "ancient history" if I want to.

And I have decided to only outline and plan my novel this November because of my exams. I think I'll start writing it after my exams and if I don't finish it before November 2015, I'll join NaNo 2015 as a "rebel" (someone who continues a novel they've previously started for NaNo).