Action vs. Thought: Meet the Reapers

As promised, I’ll be doing an entry today about the assassins living in the world of the Reave series: Reapers. Though the MC is not one, the entire series basically revolves around them – the things they do, the situations they bring about, what they cause, how all of it is dealt with. So, I can just as easily say the series is about assassins as I can say it’s a story of self-discovery. It all just depends on how you look at it and if you’re focusing on the growth of the MC, or the story as a whole.

(At the risk of starting this off in a confusing manner, I’ll say there are two named ‘categories’ I suppose, both of them beginning with the letter R. It can get a bit O.o, but . . . it happens.)

Maybe I should set up the world a little, to put the Reapers and their place in it into perspective. There are ‘cities’ (don’t think skyscrapers, just large places where many people are – it was just the word used). They have different ways of running, though that doesn’t come into play until later, as the MC is only in one and clearly couldn’t know how all of them function. Anyway, the only thing tying all of them together is the existence of Reapers. Every city has them, every city uses them for whatever purposes (clearly fun purposes, right?).

As I said in the last entry (Inspiration: One Word), there are no guns. With Reaper being the word that started it all, it completely started with them. I began getting a clear view of them before I sat down and started writing the MC. There were things I wanted from them, and things I didn’t want. No guns. It’s scary to think a person could shoot you from however far off and you could fall over dead at any moment that way, but scarier (in my opinion) by far when they come for you. I like the thought of having to literally face your own demons – mortality, judgment, consequences, etc. So, in a way, they’re the physical manifestation of a lot of things that may typically only take place inside a person’s head. And I love that – the symbolism and all.

It’s not just about killing with them. They train their entire lives, not only to kill, but to deceive – to infiltrate, adapt, blend, prevail, move on, repeat.

I don’t want to say it, but deception is the basis of the entire series. It’s a terrifying thing, I think, attempting to trust people. I’m not talking ‘I trust you to be somewhere when you say you will be’ . . . I’m talking ‘I trust you with my life’. Because how could you really trust a person with that? And I think a lot of that is getting into whether or not we can ever really trust ourselves, with everything, all the time. I don’t want to get into that because the rambling I could do about it isn’t relevant enough here.

One thing I want to point out is part of the title: Action vs. Thought.

Despite ‘assassins’ (enough said there) . . . action was not the point of it to me. It’s the thought involved – why, what it all does. As much as I’m not immune to the excitement of a good explosion, I don’t like thoughtless violence. I don’t like the thought that violence is inflicted with no personal consequences that follow – the guilt of having to live with it, to attempt accepting it, to try carrying on. You can try escaping the reality that it would – or should – affect a person, even in a book, but I think that’s such a shame. Not to mention how large an injustice it is. I wanted the Reapers to be as real as I could make them – sometimes seemingly heartless, sometimes broken, haunted, but always flawed. We’re all flawed enough, but to do the things they do . . . they would have to be. If you could break someone’s neck and feel absolutely nothing . . . you need some help.

I guess I can add here that some of the Reapers in the series need some help. (In a lot of ways.)

Obviously characters get injured and/or die in the series, despite the focus. Come on now. Assassins. Don’t expect it right out of the gate. I’m sorry, but it’s not a bloodbath from the get-go. Every bit of action, every attack, every injury, every death, every anything like that has a purpose. It’s not there if it isn’t needed, even if it would make it SO MUCH MORE entertaining. And trust me, there are some things along those lines that I WISH I could take out (you have no idea how badly), but . . . I can’t.

Putting my horrible writing aside, the one thing I will always be disappointed with myself in is the Reapers. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t quite get them onto paper the way I saw them in my head. I can explain them from my perspective, of course. I can explain them and cause nightmares (that actually happened, oddly enough), but it’s different when you’re writing through the eyes of another ‘person’. They look at things the way they look at things, see what they see, and you can’t change that without changing the person (character). I couldn’t change the MC any more than I could change you sitting there reading this right now. People are who they are.

Anyway. Moving on.

I personally have an aversion to knives (though I do have some and have played with swords once or twice . . . [I don’t advise that, by the way]), so just the thought of people running around almost covered in them – and knowing how to/being fine with using them – makes my skin crawl. That alone is enough to creep me out a decent amount, but it’s the way they behave that is the most unsettling thing about them. They’re just . . . off.

As much as I love the MC in Reave (I’m firm that she’ll always be my favorite, and I’ve written quite a few), the Reapers will always be at the top of the food-chain when it comes to my favorite things I’ve written. There doesn’t need to be endless action with them. It’s not how they are. They go in, do their jobs, and move on. But I will say that when more of them come out to play later on . . . it gets interesting. Especially when they aren’t playing nice and are just playing. And they’re always playing something, it’s just a matter of whichever way works for whichever situation.

I just love them – trying to figure out what they’re doing and why they’re doing it (I LOVED writing this series). I might be a bit biased about that, but . . . they’re very complex. Nothing is ever simple when they’re involved, and I like it that way. I like things being hidden in books, and having to think. I don’t enjoy things being tied up nice and neat with a pretty little bow. (More on that at a later date.)

It would’ve been a totally different thing if I’d focused on the action with them (which could’ve been possible, I suppose, and I’ll probably do a spin-off for my own amusement at some point), but I would’ve hated it for this. It wouldn’t have done justice to it or to them, or to the uncertainty of life as a whole. Maybe I just like philosophizing about life and wondering why. Who knows? That translated to this series, I think, and it is what it is.

I just hope someone out there appreciates the Reapers for what they are – sneaky little devils. 🙂

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The strange things people do in their sleep…

I do weird things in my sleep, or so I’ve heard.

It’s kind of funny, when thinking about it, that people who would be in the know about what I do in my sleep never deem it worthy to inform me of those things in a reasonable time frame.

I didn’t find out that I talk in my sleep until I was 22 years old – while my husband was deployed – and walked out into my parents living room one day only for them to ask me, “Were you talking on the phone last night?”

Um, no.

So, after being informed that they’d heard me talking, I decided to call Best Friend. I asked, “Do I talk in my sleep?”

Her response was, “Yeah.”

That was one of those how could I know that if you didn’t tell me?! moments.

Countless sleepovers throughout the years (we used to spend all weekend and nearly every day of summer and school breaks together), and she NEVER TOLD ME.

I’ve been known to sleep with my legs straight up in the air, tickle my arms, and do all sorts of EXTREMELY strange things. I think those two things are enough for anyone to know in that department. Too much, actually.

Yes, I tickle my arms in my sleep sometimes. I know it’s weird. TRUST ME; I know it’s weird.

Talking in my sleep was the most disturbing of things I’d heard I did by far. Needless to say that when my husband was preparing to return home from that deployment . . . I was afraid, despite having slept next to him for however long before that unwanted parting.

I’m unsure how long it took for Husband to inform me that I do not SPEAK in my sleep. I mumble – incoherent words that my brain must know, but not want let out. I’m a mumbler in general though, so I shouldn’t be so surprised. Still, I AM surprised, as my mouth is a constant frustration-inducer (it so rarely does what I want it to). I’ve mumble-sang in my sleep once before. That was interesting to hear about.

After so long of being irritated that nobody deemed these things worthy of telling me, I’m kind of glad now. Husband and I were talking about this a few days ago, and I got so uncomfortable at some of the things I do (the mumbling, which I wake him up doing because sometimes I apparently argue with myself, or some unknown person in my dreams [I call it fair because he wakes me up grinding his teeth and giving me the occasional *knee-jerk* in the rear], heavy sighs that also wake him up [I suppose I’m as discontent in my sleep as I tend to find myself while awake . . . such is the curse of nothing ever being good enough to suit me]) that I’d rather ignore the fact it happens at all.

Now, my husband also does some things in his sleep. There’s the teeth-grinding, which has lessened significantly from when he and I first met. But he, also, talks in his sleep. Not as often as I do, because I allegedly do it nearly every time I sleep, but when he does . . . it’s clear.

While in Alabama a few months ago, he woke me up doing such a thing and the only two words I heard were, “Soul cairn.” He’d been playing Skyrim and he loves video games in general (as do I, but his love for them goes above and beyond). What can I say? There’s not often that I can wake up out of a dead-sleep and laugh my ass off; I usually don’t consider myself awake until I’ve had my eyes open for at least an hour. I did that day. I laughed for several days about that. I’m laughing about it again now.

But there was a one or two week time period about two months ago that was just . . . unprecedented. I’ve only heard him say things in his sleep a few times (which might be due to the fact that I am generally a HEAVY sleeper), so when it happened three times in that time period . . . I don’t even know.

Once, he woke me up laughing. I asked, “What are you laughing at?”

He was dreaming about a dude on skis falling.

Once, while he was napping, I asked him where the extension cord was. He said, “It’s under the fish tank.” This was after we’d returned to Kentucky. Our fish tank is still in Alabama, with our former roommate. He didn’t know he’d said it until I managed to wake him up by VERY firmly saying, “THE FISH TANK IS NOT HERE.” He informed me he was dreaming about the fish tank that time.

The one that will forever stick with me was me walking into the bedroom to inform him I was going over to my mamaw’s to eat potato soup (I believe). He sat straight up in bed and literally almost shouted, “Good day!” at me. I thought he was saying it just to say it, as he seemed completely coherent and being strange/random isn’t off-base for him. Imagine my surprise later when I bring it up and get the scrunched-eyebrows-confused-face and, “Did I really?”

Good day! is now a running joke with us, understandably so.

I’ll probably regret posting about the weird things I do in my sleep, but who really cares?

Hopefully somebody gets a laugh out of it.

A Word

The word moment is a tricky thing for me. There’s really not any other word that be used in replacement to prevent over-usage. Instant only seems applicable under certain circumstances, as does second or stretch of time – things of that nature. Sometimes only one word can be used – should only be used – when all other words would fall short of doing justice to a situation, a message you’re trying to get across, something you’re trying to explain the right way, or some hidden thing that you might be the only person to notice.

Words are a big deal to me. If I told people how many words I’ve written over the last several years, I would get The Look – the same look that I had on my face yesterday when watching YouTube videos of a guy getting scared while playing video games (it’s the, “You need to get out more,” look). Most numbers, when thinking about it, should usually be kept pretty close to the vest when they pertain to personal things. It’s taken me a bit of time to realize that.

Words are my entire life. I wake up, I read the ones I wrote the day (night) before, and then I write more. When I’m editing, I read the ones I wrote, add more, take some out, and move them around, trying to make all of them as close to perfect (my perfect) as I can get.

I don’t know how many times I can say, “I fail words constantly, but they never fail me,” or some variant of that with the same message.

And moment has always given me headaches. It took me an extremely long time of writing stories to realize what I said up top. Sometimes . . . nothing else fits. People might criticize you for it, but you know what fits in your own writing, and in your own life.

But, if we’re getting technical, I should explain.

Writing is like . . . medicine for me. It’s my way of coping with stress, and struggles, and life. It is for most people who do it, but then again, I think most people who do it manage to balance life better than I do. I go and crawl into my shed – sometimes almost literally when I’m just waking up – and I stay in there. I force myself to come out sometimes, just to do things I need to do. More often than not, it takes me several days to manage some things (which things I’m talking about shall go unmentioned past mentioning). I put things off because something inside of me says . . . I need to. For myself.

I spend my life – almost every second of it – writing the moments of people’s lives that only exist in my head. It prevents me from having my own moments. It’s healthy in ways, but not in others. Is anything in the world ever ENTIRELY good for anyone? I don’t think so. A new study comes out daily, contradicting the one before it. This is just me. It works. It makes me . . . better.

The point of this is that I had my own moment two days ago.

Normally, I would explain – rattling off for 2k words about events leading up and the like. I don’t feel I should.

I’ll only say that I realized two days ago that, well . . .

Words don’t mean the same thing to everyone that they mean to me. It’s easy to say the things that you mean and mean the things that you say, but when words are thrown in to any situation . . . the possibility for failing them is almost inevitable. The difference between, “I have faith,” and, “I hope,” is the difference in saying you believe something will happen, and that you believe it won’t.

Words.

I’ve been waiting three years to hear certain words. I hadn’t known – not exactly – what they were. But I heard them two days ago.

My father said, “I think you could’ve been a [INSERT MEANINGLESS WORD] and it would’ve just been a stepping stone. You would’ve ended up here. You’re doing exactly what you should be doing.”

There were more words said, but the last sentence up there was the one that got me. It was the only one that mattered.

I cried.

I cry over the lives of the characters that I write. I do. Often; I’m not ashamed to admit it. I laugh, and I cry. I cry about my own life a very small handful of times a year, if even that.

It was kind of amazing, having my own moment.

Just thought I’d share it. It’s funny how a moment can seem insignificant to some people, but can be the furthest thing from it for others.

I really can’t explain how much I hope all of you are having your own moments out there. That’s not me saying, “I don’t believe it will happen.” I’m saying that I hope it does.

Sometimes . . . a word is just a word. It’s everything behind them that matters – feelings and thoughts that hardly anyone can ever do justice to, express correctly, or truly get across.

When we fail with words, it can be so much worse than anyone ever thinks about. But if we fall, stand up, and try again?

It might be the one thing someone needs to hear, or see.

Words are never just words to me. They’re my life. That doesn’t mean I’m not falling.

Fail, Fall, Stand up, Try again.

Tired Rambling Pops Thought Bubbles…

So, Husband and I are all done with the actual moving part of the move…at least where it pertains to our physical selves.  Our things won’t be here for another five days or so, so we’re functioning as minimalists at the moment.  I’ve got the things I need (my laptop for working purposes, my computer for…er…uhm…computing purposes), and he’s got the things he needs (his XBox, his case of games, and our smallest TV).  Then we’ve got the cat and dog, of course.  That was a fun trip with the animals, let me tell you.

I’m still physically recovering from the speed-loading that we did a few days ago.  Me carrying a giant, awkward desk that’s at the end of its rope down stairs?  Well…let’s just say that it wasn’t very pretty.  It was kind of embarrassing, actually – the entire moving process, with me carrying anything that weighed over two pounds or so.  I think I might need to go to the gym and *cue music in my head* get ta workin on mah fitness.

…………..

I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for just typing that.  Maybe nobody will get it and just think that I’m insane.  That would probably be best.  And it was a joke, mostly.  I can just go shovel rocks or something, which sounds like WAY more fun (that’s just my opinion…to each their own).

No, but really, my body feels pretty shot at the moment.  I’m having doubts as to whether my feet will ever recover and return to normalness.  Normality.  Oh.  Apparently normality is a word.  That’s nice to know.

I PROBABLY should not be blogging right now, given that my brain seems to be lacking its usual functionality.  I knew that functionality was a word, but I’m not sure it’s entirely appropriate to have been used there.  Maybe it was.  Oh well.  I’m sure anybody reading this will know what I meant if it wasn’t.  This is generally the time that I’m most awake during the day (night), but my sleep schedule is still wonky.  By wonky, I mean that I’ve been waking up in the *gasp* morning, and going to sleep right around now.  Meaning…I’m tired.  And my leg is asleep from this HORRENDOUS chair that I’m required to sit on to compute at the moment.  I don’t know how my leg being asleep is relevant to the fact that I shouldn’t be typing anything right now, but………uhm………Yep.

Anyway.  Things are strange here.  Which is strange, me saying that, given that I’ve lived here most of my life (on and off).  Easy how quickly and completely I can forget things.  Things are much more simple, yet so much more complicated in some ways.  I’ll blame my lack of remembering the latter of those to some sort of purposeful forgetfulness.

To explain.

I am beyond physically exhausted.  Even after a few days of coming here, I haven’t recovered.  I’ve said that already, I know.  The point is…I haven’t sat down for more than an hour at a time since I got here.

I’ve walked around, I’ve helped my mom and my mamaw cook, I’ve cut up strawberries for shortcakes and cobblers.  I’ve picked some of those strawberries.  I’ve shelled some peas (yuck to the eating).  I’ve paced while talking on the phone.  I’ve done more walking around.  And then more walking.  And then a little more.

My feet freaking HUUUURT.

But anyway, I’ve gotten so bored during all the spaces between.  Apart from one bit of not-moving-in-between where I worked on a few technical errors in my book.  I was expecting that to take me days upon days upon days.  Nope.  That was my thing to do – my thing to keep myself occupied.  Now, I’ve got a whole lotta nothin’.  Oh my god, I’m even typing that way now.  I apologize.  Which reminds me…I heard my accent coming back out at some point either today or yesterday.  I didn’t lose it completely (it’s the way I talk), but I said something (don’t ask me what it was because I don’t have a clue) and it made my eye twitch.  It’s always so much worse when I’m around my family.  Why in the world am I even talking about this?  Because I’m tired rambling, that’s why.

Back to boredom.  I’m bored.

I could’ve typed this up yesterday, technically, since we set the computer up and all that.  I’m going to be totally honest and say that I didn’t want to.  I honestly don’t want to right now.  This chair is so uncomfortable.  SO.  UNCOMFORTABLE.  I was going to say that it’s almost as bad as sitting on a rock, but you know what?  I would rather be sitting on a rock.

I have a bit more time left before heading off to bed (YAAAAAAAY for air mattresses……Did anyone hear the sarcasm?  I hope so…)…so, when I’m done with this, I’m going to do as I said and do some looking around on here.  I’ll probably have a million blogs to catch up on reading.  That’s fine though.  I can guarantee I won’t get done with that today.  Probably not even tomorrow.  But I WILL get it done.  And it will give me something to do during the between times, when I have them.  Also………..crap.  Lost my little thought bubble there.

I’m antsy to get back to work.  You have no idea.  I’ll calm down whenever that happens.

 

 

I realize that I didn’t make any of the points I intended to make when I started writing this thing.  Well, that’s wrong.  I made a few of them, but not as well as I’d intended because I’m tired.  No big deal.

I’ll give more updates about what’s going on with the book (where it’s at, or where it’s going) whenever things are a bit more set in stone.  I’m trying to work out details at the moment.  And now I’m thinking about Merlin (sword in the stone) and wishing I could watch season five.  I’m whimpering a little on the inside right now.  I love that show.  You have no idea.