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The Crown is an original work of serial fiction by Hannibal Tabu. It was normally updated during the third week of every month. In theory. For a quick description of what it's all about, please check out the premise page. The first three chapters of Book One are presented for your review, and if you'd like to buy the entire book, there's a link just above.
The texts here are unedited versions of the final manuscript, which appears in the novel The Crown: Ascension from Telepoetics, available now.
Read no farther if you don't want possible spoilers about the story, lunatic notes to myself, and so on. If that's your bag, baby, feel free to head on down, and get busy.
Consider yourself warned.
NOTES ON THE RUN/STORY BLOG:
20040705, 2113 hours
It's finally done, I think. The "climax" is something of an anti-climax, in my mind, but I told the story as it came out of me. I can always edit -- I plan to go back and add a lot to the material on Symi, which I got from the lady who lives there. But I needed to get this project done, and I needed to finish the story as I planned it. Mission accomplished. As for how good it is, eh, who can say?
Book Three, if you care, is about the relationship really hitting a bad patch. I don't know whether they'll end up together or not ("together" being a subjective term, since he'll die sooner or later, as all mortal loves do). I just need some time away from this project. I'm gonna do some poetry to refine my writing instrument again.
20040614, 2117 hours
Later than I want, and a little bit uneven, but an all right chapter. I got some very helpful emails from a woman who actually lives on Symi, which means that I gotta go back and change a number of things. I'm working my way through things -- relit my shrine finally yesterday, and got some points of my life back on track. Pretty pleased on the whole. That is all.
20040506, 0105 hours
The good news is I'm exactly one month behind the last chapter. The bad news is that my schedule may be irreparably toast. It may have to be the first week of the month. Que sera sera, and all that.
The fight scene here is not as tight as I would like, and I may well edit it later. I also wanna get a better visual presentation on what Circe looks like. She's not as beautiful as I made Indira, but I don't feel I presented her right. I took the advice of another author -- just write it. I can go back and edit and rewrite to my heart's content later on. And I will. One day.
I'm staying home a lot this week, due to overextending myself financially, and short of not getting any laundry done, I've been very productive. Once I've finished this up, I'll probably work on some music.
It's hard, at this point of the story, to not get stuck in procedural points. I need to move characters from here to there. I need to get certain things done for the big, big dance number. I really wanna be working on Book Three, and the stories that come after, and a million other things. This is a good exercise in discipline, and I do like this story, but it's somewhat taxing.
20040406, 0445 hours
I am so freaking late again.
That stupid car accident has been sucking up time and energy left and right, as has a bunch of other time vampires (even some I like) like GarageBand or getting the marketing together for Hollywood Karaoke in time for the contest, plus that pointless singing class, plus dating, plus extra work for CBR (I've written so much there I'm tired of it), plus extra pages on the paper once or twice ...
Which is all an excuse for having less than stellar time management skills. The Crown kept getting pushed farther down the list of priorities, as all unpaid work did. Not cool. I mean, I just tonight drove out a copy of my Marvel/Epic script to a novice artist to work with. I still haven't resubmitted "Floyd." Blah blah blah.
But about this chapter. I have started sketching out the surviving immortals in the world. There's a dozen of 'em -- the Manos family only knows of seven. Everybody knows The Inheritor, who is a guy ... what do my notes here have ... "who lost the ability to die but can't move nor talk to anybody, holding a 'plug in reality' closed with his person." I see him as a horribly stranded statue of a guy who "inherited" the job. Some sucker comes looking for 'im, and gets stuck as the inheritor, until somebody else comes along. The prior one disappears -- doesn't die, really, but just isn't on earth anymore. I kind of envision scores of these jackasses trapped in an asteroid somewhere in the belt, never dying, stuck together, bored senseless. This sort of crap fascinates me. I'll never be able to fit it in, but I like having it as background.
Anyhoo, the rest are ... well .. you'll see one next chapter, so I won't mention her just yet. Nigel, Tonya, Damien, those are all well known. That leaves me a bunch more to play with. I kinda wanna put one in antarctica. I think that's zany.
Anyway, the "new solution" to the Manos problem I devised will now have a cool raison d'etre in the immortal they'll meet at Lake Debar. The Manos family dynamic is humming along smoothly. I planted seeds for Book Three in this and the last two chapters. Especially this one. Going well, and all according to plan, pretty much. David Goyer is right -- outlining rocks. Gotta try to get another chapter in during April, though. Mmm.
20040405, 1818 hours
I am so freaking late.
February was a very busy month for me, and leap year be damned, and abbreviated one as well. I worked more than I should have -- never do a newspaper with people who don't know what they're doing -- but I'm making my way through it. That stupid car accident didn't help, but oh well. Enough excuses.
Certain ... factors in my life caused me to make the Indira Ragland character a lot hotter than originally intended. I "sampled" some George Foy lines to spice her up. I remember the waning days of my marriage, when I started looking around for any lifeboat in the storm. I remember saying, "If you're happy at home you two built together, it doesn't matter what's in the world, it's not good enough." Unless, of course, you're not me and you're an idiot. But that's another story altogether. And of course I wasn't happy at home ... this is all a larger and wholly unrelated story. Mostly unrelated. Right.
Anyway, I'm hoping a lot of decorative language helped make some fairly dry bits of exposition shine. I had to get Tonya and James (and the reader) in the know about much of what I already know about the Manos family, and I hope the distraction of Indira made it interesting. I gotta hurry this book up, as I'm anxious for another big dance number ... to be honest, I'm anxious to get Book Three out of my head (I'm that far ahead plot wise) so I can get on to other projects. Mmm ...
20040123, 1907 hours
Not feeling really chatty. Hope the fight scene is clear, jumping between two arenas of action. Really am getting a better grasp on it, having fun. Hope it doesn't suck. Gotta run, busy night ahead.
20031231, 0429 hours
I debated until the last minute whether or not to put the big dance number in chapter six. I'd written a really long chapter, accomplishing a lot of plot and characterization points I've been meaning to get to, and decided that a cliffhanger was more apropos. Why not? My book, hell ...
So chapter seven will feature the "all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world," to quote Tyler Durden, and I really think I'm hitting a stride now. Of course, I'm a week late, but I am now working three jobs (CBR columnist, newspaper editor, substitute karaoke host) with a busy social life and all that. I even tried swing dancing. Anyhoo ...
So next chapter I get to shoot up the place, do all my favorite metahuman kung fu bits, and probably knock down the whole building in the process. Oh, and a major character on the scene will die, no doubt about that. Heh. I'm so happy. My only concern is that I brought in the hacker too soon, making it like a deus ex machina thing (funny double entendre there). I have plans to introduce the hacker fully in a number of chapters, and now she will have more relevance when she pops up, but still ... in my desire to make Tonya and James smart, am I giving them too much power, too much access? I guess I'll answer that next chapter, when the world will know whether they save Mai Shen or are defeated by the Manos brothers (who I almost made cousins for a minute, then thought better of it).
Inpu says I should write more. I agree. You have no idea how many ideas I forget every single day. Mmm.
20031120, 1929 hours
I'm fairly confident in the fight scene I wrote. I've been working on it for a considerable amount of time, in my head. I need to do some more about Mai Shen, and the Manos' efforts towards her. I wanna put her on TV in the next chapter. I also am not really sure if I was clear enough about how the Wu-Tang game works, but I'm glad to be writing, glad to be trying, you know?
In any case, I'm glad to have not dragged the beaver fight out any longer than this, as I'm gonna get all Manos from this point out. The story is proceeding at a decent pace, I think. Mmm. Writing.
20031025, 0032 hours
I was in the middle of the shakedown scene with James when I figured a way to make him smarter and move the story along more smoothly. I skipped a goofy donut shop scene, and retold it in dialogue, which is a lot more smooth than I originally thought it would go. I started thinking, "the only reason he's beating people up is because he's watched TV, he thinks that'll work, but he's got more power than that," so I started thinking of a smarter way he could use his powers, and it came out rather bloody ingenious, I think.
The difference between the Manoses (Manosi?) is starting to come through quite well. Nikolas, the bitter brooder with a lot to prove and Alexander the grinning golden boy. I haven't gotten a chance to do my Alexander-does-Bobby-Goren-the-scientist bit yet, but it's coming.
I feel really good about this chapter -- it accomplishes all my plot goals, gets some nice character moments (I dunno if I underplayed Tonya's surprise at James' creativity), but all around it feels right, and that's a good feeling to have.
Next up is the big dance number with the mystery animal from the past (where I'll get in even more jokes -- during some Wu-Tang, Mai Shen will use it to distract him and escape). This is fun again, whee!
20031001, 0452 hours
I almost got both chapters done in September (to make up for missing August altogether), but I'm still on track for a fresh one in the third week of October. The plot is very amenable to little changes I make when a better idea strikes me, and I almost don't need to refer back to Book One when I do something "historical." I was surprised how hard it was to find Asian female first names online, so I ended up resorting to the White Pages (SBC was finally good for something).
Anyhoo, I'm confident with Chapter 3, which feels a little dry but has all the essentials. I'll polish it up on subsequent edits, I'm sleepy and I have comics to buy tomorrow. I plan to stay in tomorrow night, so maybe I can nail it down then. The Manos boys, of course, are becoming more and more interesting as I work with them. Why do I always end up adoring the villains? Blah. I'm actually patterning Alexander Manos on another character for a story "down the line" in the "big story" from The Crown, but that's too much to discuss here.
Next up I get to do a fun compare/contrast between Alexander and James (Kenyatta? Argh!) and warming up for the big to-do with the castoroides ohioensis, which promises to be freaking hilarious in afterthought if not at the time. I should have that big battle as the centerpiece of chapter 5, with the manuvering Manos and James getting down and dirty all up in chapter 4. Yah, moving on, moving on ...
20030913, 0226 hours
I am so freaking late. Argh.
The reason -- because I kicked myself hard to get a script and proposal ready for Marvel Comics (and one to Platinum Studios, and one to Devil's Due), which an editor there has and will run up the flagpole to see who salutes -- is worth it. It just kicked me off this project for an extended amount of time, because as I discussed elsewhere, scripting still takes a lot out of me (while I'm also dating and singing and all), but I believe it's worth it. My goal is to do two chapters in September and catch up.
The story is proceeding along OK, and I have a good grasp on things from the outline. I've left myself room enough to improvise and not get bored, but finding time to devote to this has been a challenge. Still, happy all around, and the romance between James and Tonya (should I change his name to Kenyatta? Argh ...) is solid. I'll just have to keep working at it and see.
20030714, 2033 hours
After considerable difficulty, I finally have the next installment of The Crown ready to rock. I wrote out an outline of the whole story -- longer, more ambitious and grand in scale than the last one -- and will fill in the details as I go along. I like it a lot -- I just have to stay focused on it. I'm debating calling this book "Hunted," but I'm not really sure about that. The story notes, I hope, will function as a DVD commentary one day, but who knows?
I swear, I'd kill for some editing help, as keeping all the details in my head is a challenge. You have no idea how often I go back to earlier chapters to check something. While doing that, I end up going back to fix drafts all the time -- today I found a typo in chapter three of book one, which irked me to no end. Oh well, born alone, die alone, work alone too I guess.
The first chapter is what I'm calling my "Neo Reloaded" chapter -- James (and I still think about using global search and replace to change his name to Kenyatta every time I start working on this) is more comfortable with his powers, he's done some practice and some research, and he's a serious force to be reckoned with. I don't want to make him stupid, I want him to stay on his game, as stupid protagonists irk me endlessly. In the next chapter I'll reintroduce a the subplot from chapter eleven of the last book, which is one of the main plot points for this one. Levitz style, a subplot from the last big story becomes the main plot for the next one, as ... well ...
I'm hesitant to talk about it, as The Crown is a story that keeps getting better and bigger than my ambitions for it. I got an idea -- partially based on my own divorce (which was the personal crisis which I wrote about near the end of the last story blog) and partially based on the kinds of ups and downs I see in all relationships -- for the next installment, where James and Tonya will hit rocky times in their relationship and have to work through it. It'd be a more intimate story than the kind of action tale I'm doing now, and truthfully it'd be a while until I could get to it, as after book two of The Crown, I wanna start publishing some of the really "big idea" stuff that the Crown is a tangential foundation for, keep it all in context. The next story starts several hundred thousand years from this one, and Tonya will at best be a supporting character. We'll see what happens, as that's all a long time off, no matter how you slice it.
Glad to be writing again. Glad to be alive again. Here goes ...