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“So,” Winter explained to his younger sisters, “the world is like a giant spaghetti squash.” He jammed his fork into their dinner. “Everything looks solid, right? But,” he twisted the fork, “if you grab things just the right way, you can see how it’s all made of long strands. Except in the case of the world, the strands are magic.”

His three younger sisters, used to taking Big Brother as the authority on everything, were still dubious.

The siblings Winter, Autumn, Summer, and Spring each manipulate and read the strands of the world in their own way, while attempting to live within the world as normally as possible. The Stranded World is contemporary fantasy, slice-of-life with a magical overtone, following the threads of their lives.

These stories are primarily one-shot pieces bouncing around the lives of the four siblings.


Good stories to Start With

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Worldbuilding Wednesday: Strands in Odd Places

So @Shutsumon started doing Worldbuilding Wednesday on Mastodon and that got me thinking and so then I started and…

well, here’s last week’s post. I’m going to try to post them a week after I toot (post on Mastodon) them.


Strands in Weird Places

In theory, Stranded World is composed of “Strands” which make up the connections of every thing and being to every other thing and being; certain people can see, manipulate, or read the Strands but they come into existence and eventually fade away on their own in a constant cycle of renewal. 

In practice, the Strands that strand-workers read/manipulate are like you took a page full of the very lightest pencil lines going everywhere and then added just a few bright marker lines: strong connections between people or between a person and an animal/plant/thing.  

For instance: I have a very strong connection with my husband, a rather strong connection with my cats, and rather strong connections with my grandparent’s house/farm. Compared to my connection to the guy sitting across from me on the bus, the cat I saw at the winery the other week, the apartment we lived in for a couple months when I was 20, those connections are going to be thick and easy to pick out. 

Sometimes, you end up with “Weird” connections:

People who met for three minutes at a bus stop who form a Strand so thick it pulls them back together, so that they reinforce that strand, so that it pulls them together again. 

A place that takes on so much of its own character that it holds on to connections; not only do people remember it for a long time, but it remembers them, and so the strands are no longer dependent on living memory. 

A moment in time will, on very rare occasion, create connections, which form a line between all of the people experiencing that moment and anchor people to that moment.  In some cases, it makes time warp strangely around it, such that even thinking about it for too long can create wrinkles much later on. 

Sometimes you end up with places, or animals, or plants that somehow not just form strands — since everyone and everything can do that to some degree — but manipulate them. 

There’s a tree in the middle of a forest that likes to loosen some bonds and form others, and you never know until you climb up into its branches which might happen. 

There’s a cat who wanders the suburban evenings tangling strands up, leaving a wake of small chaos behind her and caring about as much as she’d care about a ball of yarn. 

And there are events which are so tangled up from their very creation that just moving towards them — Burning Man, but only sometimes, for instance; certain marches on certain places; certain prayer circles and certain parties — changes the person moving, for better or for worse. 

The Great NanoWrimo Prompt Call

Autumn and a boy, part III

after Autumn and a Boy and part II

🍁

He was actually interested in her art, which she probably should have expected, and knew things to ask about technique and had interest in both her process and her decisions, which was a pleasant surprise.   It took her a while to pry them both away from talking about her art, and when she did, she found herself almost quoting that old saw “Well, enough about me, what do you think of me?”

“So, why do you like it?  My art?” she asked, feeling a little shy.  “I mean, I don’t think it was my pretty face that got you hiking till your feet bled, was it?” Continue reading

January 2018 Stranded World on Patreon

Hello my friends!  It has been an immensely weird month, but I did post a lot on Patreon.

Below is everything Stranded World I posted in January – some stories, some meta, a little more meta, and some links.  Winter featured heavily this month.  I find that interesting.

Free Posts

Mending Strands
The room felt wrong.  His sisters, Winter thought, might have said that it was creepy or oogy or sick, although sometimes sick was a good thing.

This Guy and Autumn could compare notes…
 5 Tips for Planning (and Surviving) a Mega Road Trip

Talk about a quest. Two years ago, Mikah Meyer set out to become the youngest person to visit all 417 U.S. National Park Service sites. Since then, the 31-year-old…

Metaphor for Stranded World?
There are not really enough pictures out there of strings of light or strings connecting people, so when I’m looking for pictures for Stranded World, I come up with some pretty interesting things.
All right, let’s talk about Summer’s clothes….
Winter’s Clothes
First, two notes:

One:  I think that Winter engages in a combination of actually knowing how to tailor his own clothing and using strand-working to make everything lie Just So, because I do not picture any of the RoundTree siblings particularly rich (Summer might be, eventually, but who knows?) but damn, the man dresses like a million bucks.

Autumn at the Ren Faire
I was playing around a little with Pinterest and Image Search today. 

Here’s some pictures that are pretty close to Autumn’s garb at the Ren Fest, although her costumes are almost always in red, orange, gold, and brown. 

The Stranded World
If you’re new to my settings, you may be wondering what this Stranded World is all about.

So here are a couple worldbuilding reposts talking about the magic of the Stranded world!

Small Town, USA
Autumn spends a lot of time in really small towns.  I mean, some of that is just that’s what she seems to like, but you’d think she’d spend more time in big cities that have big craft festivals, wouldn’t you?  I mean, she’s trying to make enough of a living to pay for the occasional inn or motel or Bed N’ Breakfast room, and those aren’t cheap.

I like small towns.

A long, long time ago
I can still remember how
Maggie’s Ell Jay made me think
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make words sing and dance
And maybe make them think, too, for a while
.♪♫♪

Ahem. 

A long time ago, M.C.A. Hogarth posted something in her LJ about tropes she’d like to see.  One of them – which I have tried more than once to write – was about the young male (it might have been a mage?) recruiting the older female (fighter?)

Everyone gets their inspiration from somewhere; every setting has its seeds in something.Stranded – well, Autumn – came out of the book Blue Highways.

According to Wikipedia, this book came out in 1982.  I don’t think I read it that early at all – I would’ve been six – but someone recommended it to my father, and I read it.  I was probably in my early teens.

Locked Posts

For a portion of every year, Autumn lives out of her van, travelling from Craft Fest to Ren Faire to City Historical Days, selling her art and sometimes solving mysteries.

The first time Byron RoundTree saw the strands, he thought he was tripping.To be fair to By, he had been partaking in some interesting substances for the last forty-eight hours in a mostly-peaceful tribal gathering of people deep in a national park.

Curtains
🎭
Winter wasn’t surprised when he came in to find the new temp crying.

Their job wasn’t the sort of place that lent itself easily to short-term or temporary help, and yet their supervisor, intent on getting caught up on her filing, kept trying.

 

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Mending Strands

So this is… sort of a continuation of Breaking Strands? But Breaking Strands is a fanfiction and this is… not. 

Anyway, it’s Winter Being Badass, as requested.  

❄️

The room felt wrong.  His sisters, Winter thought, might have said that it was creepy or oogy or sick, although sometimes sick was a good thing.

(Having three younger sisters go through teenage-hood a couple years apart had been approximately a decade of confusion and headaches for Winter.  He wondered how actual fathers did it. )

What it felt like to him was cold, and not in his namesake way, and broken.

“I think,” his contact – no, friend.  Normal people, his sister Summer kept telling him, had friends.  And someone he played chess with every week and sometimes saw a movie with was, if not a potential SO or lover – and this one was not – a friend.  His friend in the FBI cleared his throat.  “I think that what’s going on in these situations is that someone has cut their Stands.  That’s the correct word, yes?  I read  Ernesta Roundtree – she’s your mother, correct? – I read her paper on the Strands last year.  They told me I needed beach reading,” he added with a wry smile. Continue reading

Small Town, USA – a blog post on Stranded

Originally posted on Patreon.

Autumn spends a lot of time in really small towns.  I mean, some of that is just that’s what she seems to like, but you’d think she’d spend more time in big cities that have big craft festivals, wouldn’t you?  I mean, she’s trying to make enough of a living to pay for the occasional inn or motel or Bed N’ Breakfast room, and those aren’t cheap.I like small towns.

I grew up between three small towns, out in the middle of farmland (literally: My parents built their house on land my grandfather and his father before him had farmed, on a road my grandfather literally built as a high school summer job).  I grew up with a small-town library where the librarian knew me and I knew her, in the sort of place where a party really is a bonfire in someone’s backyard because, really, where else are you going to  go?  My parents grew up in small towns.  Pretty sure at least two of my grandparents did, too.  We’re small town people, rural people.

I have to admit, some stereotypes of small-town living (Everyone knows everyone, for instance) I never really understood.  I mean, I knew my neighbors, but in farmland, that isn’t all that many people.  And small towns these days often have housing tracts tacked onto the sides of them, apartment complexes, trailer parks.  So they’re not that image of small-town living that seems to permeate the media (And, to look at another setting for a moment, Regine’s vision of a small town with The Village outside of Addergoole)  The houses go back layer after layer from Main Street.  You go over the canal (in many cases) or the railroad tracks and you’re almost in another neighborhood.  But you’ll still run into people you know at the grocery store, at the Fireman’s Carnival (I haven’t written a story about anyone at a carnival yet, have I?), at the Canal Days Craft Festival (Where Autumn really ought to have a booth…)
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Weaver of Threads

A long time ago, M.C.A. Hogarth posted something in her LJ about tropes she’d like to see.  One of them – which I have tried more than once to write – was about the young male (it might have been a mage?) recruiting the older female fighter? 

Anyway, I was looking through my archives and I found this first chapter, or so, of Fiametta, a Strand-Worker living up on the top of a mountain. 

⛰️

There were those who had called Fiametta cruel. Back when her hair was still red, more than one man had accused her of enjoying the pain of others. She’d never denied it, finding that a simple smile made them far more uncertain than any argument would, and so had a reputation as a bit of a wicked woman.

She remembered, fondly, her favorite of those complaints…

read on… Continue reading

Weaver of Threads – an unfinished story orig. posted on Patreon


A long, long time ago
I can still remember how

Maggie’s Ell Jay made me think
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make words sing and dance
And maybe make them think, too, for a while
.♪♫♪

Ahem. 

A long time ago, M.C.A. Hogarth posted something in her LJ about tropes she’d like to see.  One of them – which I have tried more than once to write – was about the young male (it might have been a mage?) recruiting the older female (fighter?  Maggie, do you remember?)

Anyway, I was looking through my archives and I found this first chapter, or so, of Fiametta, a Strand-Worker living up on the top of a mountain. 

7/5/2011 is the last save listed on it. 

⛰️ Continue reading