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"Learning a New Life" by Astroguy

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The Intro: Hi all. I'm new here, and I'm generally new to writing. My English teachers in high school complained to my mom during parent-teacher conferences that getting me to write was like pulling teeth. But, we all change. My story is set in our world but with an extra component to it. It's very much like the idea behind Harry Potter or Charmed where we have our world and another, magical one that coexists along-side it but is fairly invisible (except when things go wrong).


The story of this thread is Learning a New Life.

The Description: The story is actually a prequel to a very lengthy to-be 2- or 3-book novel-length series that's almost Lord of the Rings -like in scope. I've written over 120 single-spaced pages of that work (about half-way through the first book) over the last four years, but I stopped about a year ago after feedback suggesting I radically change the way the main supporting character works. That's led me to write this.


This is a "short" story prequel that introduces that supporting character as the main character here, telling about his earlier life. The premise is that he is a witch/wizard/whatever (male magic practitioner ... I go with the Charmed adjectives and just use "witch"). I wanted to make him unique among other human witches, or at least a very rare type*. I borrowed from Dungeons and Dragons to have two branches of human magic, one that I mention as "manipulative" and the other as "grounded." Normal spell-casters, potion-makers, etc. are the former, and those with a more inherent ability to manipulate magical forces are the latter. I want this character to have an even stronger tie than normal and so I have him being raised by elves and the story opening on his 18th birthday when he's being kicked out because he needs to live with his own kind.


The Plea: This is my first tory I've put "out there" for general feedback. I'll try not to take anything personally (unless it was meant personally in which case I'll ignore it and put you on my ignore list). I really do want constructive feedback on where things are going, pace, characterization, if the characters are relatable ... you know, all that normal stuff. I'll even take plot suggestions since, as of now (April 27), I have the general story mapped out but subplots and details are lacking except at the end. And if for some reason you have a desire to work in an editorial capacity on this, or be a beta reader (I'm assuming that means you read it and give feedback before it's released?), please let me know.


Some More Background on the Story: The story includes what some may consider a deus ex machina in that the main character has a jinni (going with a more literal transliteration of the Arabic), but I've tried to make the jinni relatively impotent by describing him as a "young" jinni and thus incapable of doing too much that would otherwise make the story uninteresting. He's a crutch, really, though he will develop into something more.


This is rated "adult" in that there are some brief sex scenes. However, the story does not in any way focus on them as I can't write them and I usually don't enjoy reading them. But I do want to make the plot point that this character is open about his sexuality, is fairly naïve, and somewhat helpless despite his potential abilities. Anyway, I just wanted to put that out there up-front.


What's Posted as of Apr. 27: At the moment, there are three chapters that are live, and because I have 1 rep point as of when I last checked, the next two chapters are awaiting approval from those on high. I will admit: The first three chapters may be slow. They were seriously edited down. Posted Image (I'll pretend that's a pick-ax emoticon.) The fourth chapter finally gets to some magic and some action (both literarily and literally) while the fifth chapter gets to where I really wanted the story to be closer to the beginning, introducing new characters and a potential mentor in the human world. In fact, if you've read the first chapter and it doesn't seem interesting, I'd ask you skip to chapter 5 (or 6 if it's posted by then) and read that to see if it interests you more before giving up.


I have three more chapters written, but I would really like to hold back a bit on posting them until I hear from some of you on the story -- style, characters, plot, etc. In other words, if it sucks, I want to know what sucks and how later chapters can experience less suckitude. If it's great, I'd like to know what's great so that later chapters may be more greater. :)



*The feedback I had gotten was that the story was WAY too much like Charmed, where the main supporting character (Michael) was effectively a clone of Leo from that series. The suggestion was to make him human and a witch, just a more unique kind with somewhat different abilities that gave him some of Leo's abilities but wasn't so obviously a clone. Hence I'm writing this to "feel him out" for myself, provide his back-story, establish what he can do and why so that I can go back to the other story and re-write it with that in mind. This is not at all to say that this "prequel" is half-hearted nor -assed, as it is a story I want to tell.

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P.S. I tried to add a link back to this in the "Chapter End Note" for ch. 1 but using BBC and HTML resulted in just that text being there instead of the link. Anyone know how to get it to link?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi folks - for those who may not have seen, ch. 7 is up. I've written the majority of ch. 8, part of ch. 9, and I've outlined the rest of the story. It should have 13 chapters total. Ch. 9 sees the action pick up for the climax to happen in ch. 12 and 13.


Since I'm now writing the rest as opposed to having ch. 1-7 written when I first started posting to this site, things are somewhat slower now. Expect 1-2 weeks between new chapters.


Thank you for reading! Please submit feedback/reviews. Posted Image

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  • 3 weeks later...

Chapter 8 will be up as soon as those on high verify it's not plagiarized and whatnot. Chapter 9 will likely follow shortly as I've now finished writing it, but I need to edit it quite a bit. Chapter 8 could be considered the end of "part 1" while chapter 9 is the start of "part 2" and sets you up for the climax to the story. Chapter 10 is is not written but will be the build-up, chapter 11 a battle, 12 the climax, and 13 should be the dénouement. And setting up of the sequels ;).


I've also decided to expand somewhat on my framework for this story (for those who are interested ...). I have written an over 80-page framework to describe to myself how magic works in my world. It was more set up for my "main story" to which this is a prequel, but I've used it in this, as well. I'm also involved in modern scientific skepticism -- as in, ghosts don't exist, there is no afterlife, and 2012 is not the end of the world. Yet I write stories about magic -- seems kinda an odd mix, I know.


But, I try to inject a little skepticism into my story, like in chapter 5 where Joanna explains to Michael how to scry but to avoid the pitfalls of the ideomotor effect (which is how dowsing and ouija boards "work," among other things). But that's also why I have my framework, so that things can exist on top of our world, and this one I've created can still be somewhat consistent with it. In other words, I break reality, but in a plausible way. To this end, I've actually started to write "papers" on how some things work, going into more detail. The first one I'm working on is "Magical Sight" which is introduced in this new chapter 8 that's being posted. I may in the future post a collection of them as an anthology, but that's down the road.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi folks - Chapter 10 is up now thanks to Cia. This chapter is the lead-up to the climax in chapter 11, resolution in 12, and dénouement in 13.


Chapters 11 and 12 are already written, though 11 needs a lot of editing to make it less of a script of a play and more of a story told from the characters. Posted Image But they should be up relatively soon.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Chapter 11 should be up as soon as Cia moderates it and makes sure I haven't copied it from anywhere other than my own hard drive. Chapter 12 is written, but 13 is not, and I want to post the two of them together. I know it's taking a bit longer than I had intended to get these out, but work has picked up significantly. :( 13 will be the last chapter.

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  • 3 weeks later...


I have enjoyed the story. I hope you go forward with more of it.



Thanks much! I actually forgot to post here, but the final two chapters have been posted and this particular story has been concluded. I did leave it somewhat open to more, though. :)

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