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literature by InorganicHeart5

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Caity's World by fares002


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November 8, 2009
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The young woman slammed the front door shut, carried in the two paper bags of groceries, and set them on the wooden island in the kitchen.  She flicked on the television, and the local news station sprang to life.

" — er member of the Human Society was arrested today, bringing the total killed or captured to twenty-seven," said the woman on the box.  "Juan Alonso Ruiz was considered to be a mid-level operative in the terrorist organization.  Allegedly the director of the Human Society's M-based experiments to turn Changed people into humans again, he is accused of kidnapping, torture, assault, and wrongful imprisonment.  He faces life in prison, but his attorney says he intends to fully cooperate with authorities in exchange for a reduced sentence.  Prosecutors are hoping that with his cooperation, more middle-level and upper-level members will soon be found.  Unfortunately, no trace has yet been found of William van der Wals or Ellen Stockwell, believed to be the ringleaders of the Human Society."

She shook her head sadly and began unpacking the groceries.

"Also, the military tribunal today will hear continued testimony against General George Silver.  FBI agent Dan Parker, one of the prosecution's star witnesses, is expected to testify that General Silver willingly negotiated with the Human Society during the siege on the University of Philadelphia.  Parker's account will join that of Major Miley Adder and Lance Corporal Yuri O'Connell.  O'Connell testified yesterday that at the battle at the University of Philadelphia, General Silver ordered her and her squad on a personal vendetta, that he knew it was a suicide mission, and that she was, in fact, killed during it.  Other accounts from her squad members have corroborated her amazing story.  Silver is accused of dereliction of duty, of aiding terrorists, and of engaging in prisoner trades.  If convicted, he faces at least twenty years to life.  Prosecutors have not yet ruled out seeking the death penalty."

She got to the bottom of the bag and noticed the mayonnaise bottle had sprung open, covering the eggs in a nasty white sludge.  She took them out and began to wash them off as the news switched over to the male anchor.

"The University of Philadelphia research team announced today that they are withdrawing from the stadium site," he said.  "The black shell surrounding the stadium has proven impenetrable and is apparently harmless, so it will be placed under permanent government quarantine.  This has not dissuaded the thousands of people who have returned to City of Philadelphia in the last few months.  No explanation has yet been given for why the city suddenly was restored to normal after the University siege, or why gold bars suddenly appeared in every house in Philadelphia.  Sure wish a gold bar would appear in my house, though, don't you, Katie?"

"I sure do, Ron," said the female commentator.  "But it looks like making money has to be done the old-fashioned way, and even drugs are no longer easy money:  Another cache of M was found today, the largest yet at five hundred kilos.  The drug, which used to be manufactured en masse by the Human Society, has been the source of a number of recent FDA busts.  Drug dealers have been discarding it rapidly and carelessly in the last three months due to its sudden ineffectiveness, and while M use has plummeted, it appears older drugs like cocaine and heroin are on the rise again.  All next week, Channel 3 News At Five will be airing a special segment by Dawn Alexander titled 'New Dangers, Old Drugs:  Is Your Neighborhood At Risk?'  Be sure to tune in to this special report."

She finished washing off the eggs and put them into the refrigerator.  She picked up the paper bag and put it in the trash, and then set about cleaning off the kitchen counter.

"We turn now to our newest member of the Channel 3 family, Kim-na Yu, with the traffic report.  Kim, are you there?"

A pretty Asian woman's face filled the screen, and she paused putting away the groceries.  "I'm here," said Kim-na.

The camera turned downward, and after a moment she realized that the cameraman was riding on the back of a winged centauress.  She paused:  She'd never seen a centaur with wings before.

"The city's not doin' too bad right now," said Kim-na.  "Fifth Avenue is a mess from Forty-Second to Fiftieth 'cuz there's some kinda fruit truck that tipped over and now there's oranges all over the road, but other than that, traffic's movin' pretty good for five o'clock.  Got a small backup on the Brooklyn, and the Lincoln Tunnel's a little slow, but other than that, it all looks pretty good.  Rail's got no reported delays.  Back t'you, Ron."

The camera switched back to the smiling man's face, and she went back to putting away the second bag of groceries.

"Thanks, Kim.  In international news, President — "

The doorbell rang.

She turned down the television and walked over to the front door.  She peered out through the peephole, startled, and quickly opened the door.  A female centaur and a male centaur stood on the front porch, and he was holding the unconscious body of a human girl in her late teens or early twenties.

"Hi, Mom," said Caitlyn.

"Caitlyn!  What are you doing here!?  Where've you been!?  I've been so worried about you!  And — who are they?"

Caitlyn smiled.  "This is Steven," she said.  "And she's — someone.  And I see you're a centaur now too."

Sharon blushed and stepped back from the hug she'd thrown around her daughter.  "I always was jealous of you," she said.  "But it looks like I got my wish.  Three months ago, right after the siege in Philadelphia, I woke up one morning looking just like this.  And I swear I'm not a day over twenty-five to boot!  It's not as easy being a centaur as you made it look, but even so, I don't want to change back.  You wouldn't believe how many guys have asked me on dates since then!"  She twitched her tail, which was smartly-coiffed and tied with a bow.

"You look good, Mom," said Caitlyn.

"But please, come inside.  I'll put on some coffee, and even make cookies if you li — "

"We can't stay," said Caitlyn, shaking her head.

"No?  I'm sorry to hear it, but you always were flighty," said her mother.  Sharon stepped forward and kissed her daughter on the forehead.  "But it's good to see you again anyway.  Where have you been?"

"Sorting some things out," said Caitlyn.  "I have more to do."

Sharon shook her head.  "Caitlyn, I know you feel bad about it, but I keep telling you there's nothing wrong with what you are and there never was.  But did you hear that in Midtown they're going to open up a transformation parlor next week?  I don't quite know how it works, but even the government says it's going to be safe and easy.  You could be human again."

"I know," said Caitlyn.  She looked up at Steven.  "But I think I'll be okay like this for a little while longer."

Sharon smiled.  "Maybe you will."

"And you, who are you, and why are you carrying that girl?" she added, pointing at Steven and the unconscious girl he carried.

"That — I — " began Caitlyn.  "It's — complicated," she said.

"My name's Steven.  And this is your daughter, Ellen," said Steven, stepping forward, past Sharon, and setting her on the sole chair remaining in Sharon's house.

"What?  She's not Ellen!" said Sharon.

"I know," said Caitlyn.  "She — looks different now.  Her face is different.  And there's no more M in her.  Her old life is gone, but she has a chance at a new one."

"But — Ellen — she's a wanted criminal — "

"She needs you now, Mom.  She'll be okay, but she needs you.  She can't go with me."

Steven came back outside.

"Go with you?  Where are you going?" said Sharon.

"I don't know for sure," said Caitlyn.  "But we'll know when we get there."

"Are you sure you're okay?" said Sharon, holding the door.  "You're acting very strange."

"I'll be fine, Mom," said Caitlyn, and gave her mother a hug.  "I know it doesn't sound like me, but — I think things will be okay."

She took three steps backward, smiling, and took Steven's hand.

"Don't worry," she said.  "I'll be back someday."

There was a woosh of wind, and Sharon raised her hand to shield her face.  She lowered her hand as the wind subsided, and Caitlyn and Steven were gone.
Caity's World, Epilogue.

Part 34 is here, and the Introduction and Author's Notes are here.

Three or four months later, we learn a little of what happened after the siege. Caity's been making changes, and the world is a little better thanks to it. It's still messy, but it's a little better. And the epilogue is intentionally a little abstract and loose on the details. You can reason a bit of what happened in the intervening months if you think about it, but not everything has an answer, just like in life.

If enough people request it, I may post some of the reference material I wrote for the Caity's World backstory. I have a fairly complete timeline, as well as lists and short descriptions of the characters and locations. That won't answer a lot of questions, and I'm not sure how interesting it would be, but it exists.

So that's all for Caity's World. I hope you've enjoyed the ride. There's room, someday maybe, for a sequel, but I don't feel any pressure to write one. Everything that has needed to be said has been said.

And so, for the very last time, whether you loved it or hated it, whether you were enthralled or bored, whether you guessed every turn or were completely confused, please comment! And thank you for reading!
Add a Comment:
 
:iconsepisnake:
SepiSnake Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2014
I just discovered the this series last night and I've got to say, it was extremely engaging. I love the world you built there.
My only question really is if the transformation parlors are catered to turning people back human (the ones that cannot cope with their change) or is it also open to those who have not changed and wish to be? And would there be any detrimental effects to an individual that regularly changes their form, either from uncertainty or liking to experience the different bodies?
Well two questions. XD
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:iconphantom-inker:
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Some things need to be left to the imagination...  or to the sequel — not that I've written one, although I've considered it.

I'm glad you enjoyed the story.
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:icon16lradovilsky:
16lradovilsky Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013
Amazing job!
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:iconcomplete-herpderp:
complete-herpderp Featured By Owner May 13, 2013
I didn't like it very much in the beginning, it seemed boring, but i kept reading and got to the part explaining a bit of the change and that got me interested. I kept reading, but then it got boring again with the wils romance crap (imo). But, the change info kept me reading, hoping that i would see some action, and it payed off when she got attacked by the human society people. Everything there on out was pure genioushouse (or however the crap you spell genius) ! Thank you so much for writing this!
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:iconcomplete-herpderp:
complete-herpderp Featured By Owner May 13, 2013
timeline! timeline! timeline!
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:iconsquibble9:
squibble9 Featured By Owner May 3, 2013
Is it possible you could tell the stories of others affected by the change?
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:iconphantom-inker:
phantom-inker Featured By Owner May 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It took me the better part of two years to write this novel. Getting all the details right was far from easy.

There may at some point be another novel in the universe of Caity's World. But it's no small feat to attempt it.
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:iconcomplete-herpderp:
complete-herpderp Featured By Owner May 13, 2013
I would also really like another story...but it's ok if you can't. I understand.
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:iconliversnaps:
liversnaps Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2013
Loved the story. Wish it would continue but I understand why it can't.
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:iconsagefillyluna:
SageFillyLuna Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Student General Artist
four words: THIS SHOULD BE PUBLISHED. if it is, OMG WHERE CAN I BUY A HARD COPY?? and if its not...LOOK INTO IT!!!! i absolutely loved it.
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:iconphantom-inker:
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This has not been published outside of deviantART, mainly because I'm somewhat skeptical of the publishing industry. Many people have hinted they'd buy it, though, so perhaps I'll eventually offer it as an e-book.

But thank you for your accolades! They're greatly appreciated, and I'm very glad you enjoyed it! I figured you an ~MythicFables would both enjoy it at least a little bit. And now you need to poke at her to read the rest of it too, since she's still back somewhere around chapter three :)
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:iconsagefillyluna:
SageFillyLuna Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Student General Artist
ahh, je comprends.

XDD haha, i might just do that!!!
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:iconminecraftbob:
minecraftbob Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012
wow. 3;03 In da mornin. just finished readin spree. nice story, but i dont really understand that last part, were she disappeared in a flash. can u xplain?
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:iconphantom-inker:
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think if you reread the last chapter it may make a little more sense to you. Caitlyn had a machine that could grant wishes, probably a dozen or so before it ran out of power. I'm sure that with that fact, you can find a suitable explanation for the things that occur in the final chapter.
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:iconminecraftbob:
minecraftbob Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012
Oohh. Ok. Wait, if she had the power to make wishez like dat, why didn't/ couldn't she save her father. Just wonderin. Feel free to not reply, if I ask to many questions.
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:iconphantom-inker:
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
She had a machine that could bend the laws of physics; I doubt it could do everything. By the time she could use it, Kevin was gone and likely beyond recovery.
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:iconminecraftbob:
minecraftbob Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012
:(
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:iconsomebodi:
somebodi Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012
Sir, I have read the whole story. And I must say that you did a magnificent job on this story. You have real talent! It's rare to find somebody that can write a story such as this! It really flows well together. And it's nice to see Caity, Steven, and Kim-na Yu alive. And if I had the chance, I'd do unimaginably horrible things to William van derp IDIOT! . (Yes, the period was intentional. And the derp.) But "Caity's World" is still remarkably great. :iconbravoplz: from me, and :iconclappingplz: from my 25-and-counting characters (Of whom I have not done anything with here yet, but I'm hoping I will). And I like how you leave stuff hanging between parts and leaving other things to the imagination , such as Caity and Steven leaving in a rush of wind. So keep writing! Don't let your talents fade and die by lack of use! No matter if your writing for others or just for yourself, just keep writing! There is always room for improvement, you know. Best of luck and happy writing as well!
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:iconphantom-inker:
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

And there are other stories coming, eventually. I have them in bits and pieces on my computer, and they'll be good when they're done, but they have a loooooong way to go yet.
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:iconsomebodi:
somebodi Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
You're Welcome! :D

Cool, good luck! I'm sure they'll be great!
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:iconneutronrogue:
neutronrogue Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2012
This is probably one of the best stories I have ever read. You do a good job in describing how the world was like after the change as well as tieing the main character to the whole thing. Loved it. I do wonder though if Caityln goes with Steven to another realm to create there own world or something?
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:iconphantom-inker:
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have bits and pieces in my mind of a possible sequel, which would answer some of that, but I don't know if I'll ever have enough gumption to put that story on paper. For one thing, Caity's World is complete as it is: I think I said what needed to be said, I don't think I really need to say anything more. It's also a grueling effort to write a good novel, so while I may indeed write another novel someday (and I have plans to), it probably won't exist in the universe of Caity's World since I've already exhausted a lot of what I needed to say in that universe. Caity will muddle on all by herself long after I've run out of things to say about her life.

But still, I'm glad you enjoyed it so much, and thank you for the kind words! Tell your friends! :)
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:iconcomplete-herpderp:
complete-herpderp Featured By Owner May 13, 2013
sequel? yes please! is it that sort of story where they fell through the air or something and turned into various 'taurs?
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:iconphantom-inker:
phantom-inker Featured By Owner May 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Uh, no, you're thinking of Bottomworld, a completely different story entirely.
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:iconcomplete-herpderp:
complete-herpderp Featured By Owner May 29, 2013
ah. i wasnt sure if the two could have possibly been related, because caity's father went to another place, sorta, and i thought that that could have some relation to bottomworld.
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:iconcavallo400:
cavallo400 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2012
Wonderful story! A bit a lot of bloodshed but still very very good!
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:iconphantom-inker:
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's somewhat belated, but thank you! :)
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:icon914four:
914four Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I've finally finished reading the entire story, and I have to say I enjoyed it immensely, with a bit of clean up you could definitely publish this. I really enjoyed the beginning chapters, although I have to admit I was less thrilled with the weird happenings towards the end (the girl turned into a house for example) but perhaps that's because it reminded me too much of A.M. Dellamonca's "Indigo Springs."
I really liked the main character, perhaps a bit because she reminds me so much of my own creation, Tanita, but mostly because she such a believable heroine, you just can't help but root for her. Caitlyn deserves a sequel IMHO, or perhaps an alternate timeline where the villain Van der Wals turns out to actually be a nice guy. Steven is OK, but he seems a little too wishy-washy to me. On the other hand, perhaps that gives Caitlyn more room to shine.
Kim-na is great in her role as sidekick if I can call her that, sort of like Tom Cruise's Roy Miller to Cameron Diaz's June Havens in Knight and Day . Most times she takes centre stage, but she's always there in the support role coming up with a quick solution to protect her charge. I think you should cast Michelle Rodriguez to play her in the movie. :-) Yuri O'Connell was another great character, too bad she ended up wearing a red shirt.
The ending was OK, but I suspect if you reworked it a bit you could make it better, of the same caliber as the beginning. One senses that you might have been trying to "get it over with", although the premise is still quite good. This is a challenge I personally tend to address by writing the beginning, the ending, and then filling it out from the middle, a technique I learned in a technical writing course many years ago. Many authors will tell you this is a terrible way to write novels, but so far it seems to be working for me. Holly Lisle refers to it as "writing the candy bar scenes first," which she recommends against, but then she's a professional writer with deadlines. I would be interested in how you track your character bios, when I started writing I used to use index cards; I haven't really evolved much from that, I've just migrated to a spreadsheet format.
Enough rambling, I'll end with this; I suspect you could easily get this story published as an eBook, probably with less than 100 person/hours of additional work. Heck, you could even do your own artwork. I'd love to read the other manuscript you're working on, I assume you will let us know when it goes to print. ;-) Keep writing, you obviously have a talent for this.
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:iconphantom-inker:
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you; I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Having never read (or heard of) Indigo Springs, I can't compare to it. This was a narrative formed around a blending of various ideas I'd had over the years that happened to fit well together: A self-loathing main character, a centaur romance, the laws of physics broken like a pane of glass, random TFs and how society would actually have to deal with that, and a pair of really smart and really sociopathic villains. Stir well, connect the dots, add in a few plot left turns, some family angst, a big climactic battle at the end, and you have a decent story.

As for your criticism of the ending, well, the fact is, the ending came out exactly how I wanted it to. By the end of chapter two I was sketching out the ending, and knew most of the major plot twists; by the end of chapter ten I could recite large parts of the last chapter and epilogue word-for-word. The story had the pacing I wanted; if it feels too fast, that's by intention: The story speeds up a little as the climax approaches to give the reader more and more sense of urgency, a sense of being propelled along against his intent just like the characters are. I realize the plot graph of this looks a little odd — it grows and grows steadily toward the end to its climax and then suddenly drops to zero — but it does that because the story really couldn't conclude any other way. I know not everybody liked the ending, but it was what it needed to be; I couldn't have written a different one.

Were I to go back and update Caity's World, there are a few things I'd revise, particularly near the start of the story, but as a whole, it was the story I wanted to tell, with the ending it had to have.

I track character bios, locations, major terms, and timelines in a series of four separate documents in a word processor:
  • There's one document for character bios: A short paragraph for each character covering major life events, personality traits, ages, and relationships that are critical to getting the story right and avoiding mistakes. Anything more than that I tell in the story itself, and I intentionally leave many visual character attributes to the reader's imagination.
  • There's a document for major locations, one paragraph each, so I know where they all are, how far apart they are (to ensure consistent travel times), and roughly what each one looks like. Again, it's only rough: Anything more than that belongs in the story, and again, some parts are intentionally left to the reader's imagination.
  • There's a dictionary for major new terms, so that if I introduce a noun in chapter two I can reference it correctly in chapter ten.
  • And there's a timeline document, with dates/times and exactly one line of text describing what happens then so that I can ensure events happen in the right order, in the right places, to the right people, even if flashbacks or parallel events are involved. For example:
    • 2021-Dec – Ellen joins the Human Society.
    • 2022-Feb – “M” created for the first time by a high school chemistry teacher in Chicago.
    • 2022-May – Ellen graduates college at 19 with a pre-law degree.
    • 2022-Aug – Ellen marries Jeremy Black.
    • 2022-Sep – Ellen enters law school.
    • ...
    • 2026-Jun-05 (Fri) – Caitlyn goes on a date with Wils. Gets dumped. Goes to Central Park. Is chased by Human Society agents. Meets Yu Ji-Cheng. Escapes with Yu Kim-na. Ji-Cheng kills most of the attacking Human Society agents.
    That kind of detail ensures that writing the rest of the story surrounding it is just a matter of filling in details and focusing on characters and personalities — that, and doling out those facts in a shuffled order so that the reader doesn't see the full picture until the end.
As for publishing, well, I've considered it, but it probably won't happen. Self-publishing for me has too much of a stigma still, and I don't trust the rest of the publishing industry.
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:icon914four:
914four Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
If you enjoy the "altering of physics" theme, I think you would appreciate "Indigo Springs", a brief (unfortunately not all that flattering) excerpt is here: [link]
I didn't mean to offend with my comments on the ending of "Caity's World", only that I found it inconsistent with the remainder of the book; in my opinion only, it was a bit brusque in comparison. Perhaps it comes from reading too many Robert Ludlum novels, an author who can spend two pages describing a simple writing instrument. My goal was not to denigrate, simply to give you my thoughts on how it could have been improved, again only in my opinion, I am not claiming to be right. I personally find constructive criticism more difficult to extract from own my readers than praise, despite realizing that my writing still has a ways to go before being bookworthy, so I try to offer my own constructive views when I can. In any case, I'm glad to see another author who writes the beginning and ending first, saving the body of the text for last. Dyslexics Untie! :-)
I very much enjoyed the villain in "Caity's World", I've developed a fondness for sympathetic bad guys (Ever read Richelle Mead's "Succubus" series?) and he really was a well developed character, not only charismatic and mysterious, but likable such that you are always wondering if he'll actually turn out to be the hero at the end.

Thank you for sharing your character methodology, I believe we follow similar methods only I use tabs in a spreadsheet rather than individual documents. I have a USB key for places, and I typically take a few dozen photos of each place to ensure accuracy. I often will rename or move the location of a building, but all of the locations either have a hand drawn map or a series of photos that allow me to reference them as I write. Some of my locations are fictitious, however I usually have a Google map with an approximate location of where a town or building is. I also keep print outs of scientific articles or Wikipedia pages that I've used as the basis for a decision or fact used in the story, I find it helps during rewrite to be able to quickly find the references.

Something I've never done is the timeline document; I know that's a best practice, but I have yet to write anything so complex that I've felt I've needed it, my writing tends to be very linear and not overly complex, rarely having more than two events occurring at once. I have done a timeline graph for a particular chapter in "The Kentauride" where four different scenes are playing out simultaneously, but it was a very simple crayola line art type thing covering a few hours, nothing involving dates. I do tend to have "events that must happen," but they sometimes end up being re-ordered as I fill out the middle.
I agree with you where it comes to the publishing industry, I have a friend who owns a small publishing firm. If nothing else, she has convinced me of the importance of having an agent, particularly one who has dealt with "first novel" authors before.
As time permits, I'll read some of your short stories, if they are of the same caliber I'm sure I will enjoy them immensely. :-)
Take care, and thank you for your great response to my post!
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:iconcomplete-herpderp:
complete-herpderp Featured By Owner May 13, 2013
...
you took the words right out of my mouth.
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:icon914four:
914four Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks :-)
Thank you in particular for bringing me back to my original post; it's interesting to see how my attitude around agents changed so dramatically.
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:iconcomplete-herpderp:
complete-herpderp Featured By Owner May 29, 2013
welcome
and yeah its neat
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:iconwanderingslacker:
wanderingslacker Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2011
Excellent read. This was recommended to me by a friend and I'm really glad she did. I'm not really a big TF fan, but this was too well written to be overlooked anyway. The way you portrayed the world after 'The Change' was just how I would imagine it to be if such a thing were to occur. As a character Caitlyn was both believable and likeable. Although I was starting to get a bit tired of her wishy-washy attitude when Van Der Wals dumped her. The only real criticism I have is that the ending is a bit too cheery. I'm rather curious about where Cait's dad went though. Was it Heaven or Hell, or just some place that you came up with?
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:iconphantom-inker:
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! (And my apologies for the very belated reply.)

She starts out aimless and wishy-washy because, well, real people are often like that. I know people right now that could easily be her, and so do you. Making her average and aimless makes her approachable, the sort of person almost everybody can sympathize with. But what takes her beyond sympathizable to genuinely likable is that in that kind of situation, she could have just curled up and given up, but instead she grows, and at the end, when she has the opportunity to become the hero(ine) we all hope we could be, she pulls herself together and shows the best she can be.

The ending is cheery because that was planned from the start. I followed Shakespeare's rule of comedies: The story is a repeating sequence of, "You think they're going to fail, they succeed; you think they're going to fail worse, they just barely succeed." (That pattern, by the way, produces great exigency for the reader, since he's convinced that at any moment the characters will fail beyond redemption.) But it *must* end on an upbeat note because it was headed that direction all along; the sequence ends with success, not failure. I had the last chapter and epilogue written in an early form by the time I finished chapter 2; the story ended there because that's where it was going all along. The biggest complaint I've really had about the ending was that it was too abrupt and too obtuse for some readers: It happened too fast (but it needed to happen fast), and I didn't describe the aftermath explicitly enough (but I explained all that I needed to explain, if you read it carefully enough; every loose thread was neatly tied).

I'm not exactly sure where Kevin is. It's definitely not Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory. I think he was probably slowly phasing into another dimension or something like that; he's somewhere, I think, but it's not a somewhere that's part of our universe.
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:iconthejollydummkopf:
TheJollyDummkopf Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2011
Eh, it was okay - some parts I enjoyed (like the beginning parts) and some were meh. I thought the Human Society idea was a bit cliche but that's just me. Much better than some other ones I've read, anyways... at least this has a decent plot.
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:iconaziraphale001:
AzirAphale001 Featured By Owner May 4, 2011
I loved it. Read it all in one go this morning, and I find myself wanting more.
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:iconphantom-inker:
phantom-inker Featured By Owner May 4, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm glad you liked it! The story ends as it should be ended, and there is no more. Someday, I may write a sequel, but for now, this is all there is.
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:iconxd9575:
xd9575 Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2011   Writer
fantastic, gripping story! read the whole thing in one sitting :)
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:iconphantom-inker:
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!
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:iconfurvertme:
Furvertme Featured By Owner May 12, 2010
I could not stop reading once I started!
Wonderful work, but like most stories you wonder where did it go from there even when it ended properly. Interesting Physics too, may even be close to reality for all we know. Your story does show how fragile such things are and we can hope someone does not shatter ours playing with it someday as we may not be as lucky.
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:iconphantom-inker:
phantom-inker Featured By Owner May 16, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!

They say that a good storyteller should always leave the audience wanting more. I can't claim to be a good storyteller, but I'd like to think people liked this enough to want more :)

The physics side is complex. I've studied physics; I had two years in high school and another in college, and while I'm not a physicist, I do have a science degree. And I had a roommate who was a physicist for two years in college. And I'm fairly well-read on quantum and relativity, and I can't wait to see the results from the LHC. (I never learned LaGrangean mechanics, though, and my skill at using Maxwell's equations remains pretty bad. But I'm still far from clueless.)

So, in short, I know physics at least passably well, so I tried to write a story whose science was believable. Physics as we know it isn't in any danger of crumbling, but there are serious, respectable scientists who are starting to wonder if the laws of physics as we know them may, in fact, be a localized phenomenon in our region of the universe.

Food for thought ;)
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:iconfurvertme:
Furvertme Featured By Owner May 16, 2010
Worse the Laws may be changing as that would explain quite a lot about older civilizations. Think about the Industrial Revolution, why had it not occurred before that when many of the ideas used had existed in similar forms for a long time. So many stories of things that read very high tech in civilizations that collapsed, possibly due to technology failing.
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:iconbyakuyasvampire:
ByakuyasVampire Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
When I first started reading this, I was just searching for a love story, and then I got this. lol Well done! I really like how this turned out.
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:iconphantom-inker:
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's not quite the romance you expect it'll be when you first start, but I think it works out pretty well as a science-fiction/fantasy/adventure story too. There's some romance, to be sure, and a couple of scenes that can make the women in the audience go "squee," but there's also a much bigger story too.

Anyway, I'm glad you liked it! And if you like it, tell your friends :)
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:iconbyakuyasvampire:
ByakuyasVampire Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No it's not and I got that surprise just a few chapters in. And I really do love that it turned out to be more than just a love story. You're such a good writer and I'll definitely be telling my friends. :)
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:iconmitchelltf:
MitchellTF Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2010
I'm sorry it took so long to read...but this is an AWESOME story!

I hope to read more in this setting someday!
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:iconroocharffer:
RoochArffer Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
just got through reading all of it =]
thanks for writing
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:iconshelagnoa:
Shelagnoa Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2010
I read the entire story, took me two days between work and class, but I just bolted it. I also enjoyed it immensely. I kinda felt bad not commenting on each chapter as I went along, but since the whole thing was already written, I figured it'd be all right if I just saved my comments for the last segment.

I'm thrilled that Caitlyn finally accepted her equine half, and when given the option, didn't choose to restore her world to the way it was before the Change. Honestly, the human nature issue of racism has me curious about whether Changed racism completely overshadowed the older prejudices of skin color and gender.

The writing itself was engaging (though I found a few typos and quirks here and there). Did you do any research into military tactics and procedures for this? Also, I'm with a few others here, that I would encourage you to try for publication. I'd certainly purchase it, especially if you wrote that sequel!

I also wish that there was more detail in the ending. It seems as though you went directly from climax to resolution, completely skipping the falling action. However, since the epilogue provides well for the imagination, it's not a big deal.

I loved the story. I love finding hidden jewels of writers like you on dA. It is stories and discoveries like this that make me want to take up my pen again. :bulletblue:
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:iconphantom-inker:
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The question of whether the Change overshadowed skin-color racism is one that I've wondered for some time myself, and a question to which I don't have a good answer. Humans are fickle, angry, paranoid creatures, and I can't really say for sure whether having, say, minotaurs living in their midst would make your average white racist willing to ally with the black man living next door against the "true weirdos" or whether that person would hunker down and grow even more intolerant of everybody. From a thematic perspective, the Change was a chance for me to explore how humans would react to living next to people who are really different and not just wearing a slightly different shade of skin, and it's no surprise that they didn't react well, but that still doesn't answer the very interesting question of how people who are already racists would react.

And yes, there are a few quirks and typos. I've noticed those myself, to my chagrin, upon successive rereads of the text; but I had a standing rule that once posted online, I wouldn't change a chapter, so unless I dare publication, they're there to stay. Still, I think I didn't do too badly with the story considering that I was the only person writing and editing and proofreading it. Next novel, I think I'm gonna have my wife proof my chapters before I show 'em to the world ;)

The ending I have mixed feelings about. It's the right ending: There's no other one that would fit, and while a lot of people have loved how it left so much open to the imagination, a lot of other people found it unsatisfying. I'd love to be able to add more, but it's a gemstone polished to exactly the right size: Writing is not so much about what you can still add as it is about whether you have anything left that must be taken away. If I ever published it, I'd like to think I could somehow add more between the last chapter and the epilogue, but I can't fathom what could be added without ruining the feeling at the end.

But I'm glad you liked it! I tried hard to write a story that was interesting, engaging, and unique, and with any luck, I'd like to think I succeeded, typos and all :)
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