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Hi! How are you?

Up here in Alaska, we’re doing alright. It’s back-to-school time for most kids. I know a lot of parents and children look forward to this time of year with almost as much excitement as they feel towards summer. Am I right in thinking some of you even enjoy a little extra writing time during the school year? Or maybe, it’s really that you enjoy less of it during summer… *sigh* See. This is what trips me up. My brain never knows whether it wants to be optimistic or pessimistic. My answer to the Half-full Glass question is usually, “Oh, look! Water! I’m thirsty.”

Well, if you enjoy writing, whatever season it may be, let me invite you to play along with WIPpet Wednesday. Our nefarious hostess, K.L. Schwengel, just loves expanding her ranks of minions. Besides, the group is very supportive. If you’re feeling iffy or timorous about something you’ve written, this is the group to join. I don’t think anyone has ever given anything other than just good ol’ constructive criticism, and that usually laced with praise for something you did right. It’s very encouraging. The only rule is to relate your post to the date somehow. For example, my post today is 27 notes long to go with the 27th of August.

Last we left Arvid, the monsters were letting her down out of her tree so she could use the nearest bush. The next big chunk of scenes (not next week’s, but for several weeks after that) feel a bit wobbly to me. I’m not really sure whether I’ll like them enough for the final cut. They slow the pacing down quite a bit, I think. Part of the problem is working in just enough description and background to give the reader an anchor without sinking the whole story. Today I decided to share my notes on the monsters so you can tell me how I’m doing when I’m describing either their physical appearance or their culture. I beefed up my official notes a bit to make it 27 points for today and also so anyone inclined to can keep better tabs on the monsters.

  1. Striped or mottled moss green, grey, tan, sandy yellow
  2. Face slopes down into a protruding, triangular snout
  3. Serrated teeth, not protruding, but always visible, fit together
  4. Mouth forms permanent smile
  5. Row of spikes from forehead to tip of tail, limp when relaxed, lethal when angered
  6. Five-fingered fore claws with opposable thumbs
  7. Three-toed hind claws
  8. Ridged brow cartilage
  9. Body is proportioned similar to a man, stands upright, heavily muscled
  10. Blue tongues
  11. Faces do not show emotions
  12. Colors brighten when angered
  13. Females monochromatic, colors do not fluctuate to show emotion
  14. Females do not have spike ridge
  15. Adult males range from 7’-11’; Females range from 12’-16’
  16. Nocturnal, very cranky during the day
  17. Both males and females wear short loincloths, though males wear bright colors while females wear undyed wool
  18. They keep herds of mountain goats
  19. Males wear belts, bracelets, anklets and necklaces highly decorated with polished stones
  20. Females do not have breasts
  21. Live in well-camouflaged, sky-lit caves that they dig themselves
  22. All trilingual (Speak Nairi & Someone-you-haven’t-met-yet’s language)
  23. Males and females live in separate caves, except very young males, and function more or less independently
  24. Rank among males is determined by combat; among females by age
  25. Measure time by “clutches” or egg-layings, which are more or less equivalent to a year with slight variations for weather (early winter = shorter clutch, mating season in autumn) for the rest, use a nocturnal variation of Nairi measures
  26. New kings are chosen, by combat, only once a generation
  27. Male lifespan about 115 years; Female 130; both grow larger and stronger with time except to within 3 clutches before their deaths, at which point they weaken rapidly

Well, what do you think so far?  I know my descriptions of the monsters have been lacking. Any particular points you wish I’d mentioned before? Something I should expand on? They have a decent backstory, which is as yet still just in my head, but I don’t want to reveal much of it at this point. However, since it’s come up in comments several times: Yes. When they got it, they really, really, really deserved to be called Monsters. They just mellowed a bit after a certain conflict taught them a few things about life.

Oh, how I do love that song. *cheesy grin*

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