Angel was always trying to make our exploration more effective, so it surprised me one day when she said, “I think we need to go back.”
We’d been together for about two years, moving steadily away from the cave in a widening spiral, learning about our world and each other. I stopped picking fruit and gave her my full attention.
“I think we’re looking for the wrong thing. Or the right thing in the wrong way.”
“I tried smoke signals once; nobody turned up.”
My weak joke earned me an expected weak smile and an unexpected big hug, which lasted long enough to remind me that she was growing up fast. If at ten she’d looked twelve, at twelve she looked fifteen, but I was saved from further fifteen-will-get-you-twenty thoughts by her next words.
“I don’t think this world is real. I think it’s part of there.”
“I don’t understand. If we’re there, how come you’re getting older?”
“How come you’re not?”
I’ve reached the point where, like Tolkien and the apocryphal engineers, I need to stop tinkering and just ship the damn thing. There are 16 pieces left after this one, and I’m sufficiently happy with them to declare them done.
Except I left a lot dangling along the way, and I still have the urge to write, and she showed up in my head to demand equal time, and who can say no to a smoking-hot redhead? It’s a very rough 2,500 words so far, and while it has more direction than this did at the same point, it could change at the drop of a skirt.
Her story is very, very tentatively titled “Isekai Alternative: Urakata”. (裏方 is an interesting word, classically referring to an upper-class consort, but more commonly “behind the scenes” folk like stagehands; she is definitely a power-riding-the-throne kind of gal, but things just don’t seem to be going her way any more…)
The setting for this one will require some actual research, but fortunately nothing esoteric. I can handwave the early bits and clean it up as I go, to keep the momentum going. If I hit a spot where I need a detail about how things worked then and there, I can skip around, but so far I’m exploring it linearly with her. The only part I’ve jumped over for now is the overlap with the end of the first story, since I want to resist the urge to write anything that would lead to revisions. My software projects aren’t the only thing susceptible to epicycles.
I’m trying out StandardNotes for now, which I’ve set up on all my devices with their free service tier. It autosaves and autosyncs pretty darn quickly, and so far reliably, and there’s an encrypted local auto-backup that runs at unpredictable intervals, and comes with a self-contained offline JS-based decryption tool, which is a nice touch.
You can request a manual backup download from Teh Cloud at any time, which arrives in the same JSON+encryption format as the automatic ones, but the only way I’ve found to trigger the auto-saves is to set a local passcode, manually lock the app, and then unlock it again. Quirky, but hey, it’s an Electron app; you learn to expect that sort of thing. At least the one-and-only editor at the free tier is plain black-on-white text in a decent fixed-width font (Consolas isn’t my favorite, with its short hyphen, high asterisk, and variable vertical alignment, but it’s readable, and I’m not writing code in this app). Font and size are hard-coded in the minified Electron build, of course, so I’d have to roll my own copy of the app on Github to change it.
Markdown formatting and simple HTML accepted.
Sometimes you have to double-click to enter text in the form (interaction between Isso and Bootstrap?). Tab is more reliable.