ReJUV is liquid energy! (Always 100% caffeine free.)

Her eyes went down to the can of ReJuv in the drink holder. The bright green can didn’t exactly beckon, however it did promise to wake her up. She picked it up gingerly. The beverage was almost 100% enchanted molecules and horrendously expensive. The club sold it along with Crystal, caviar, some really old whisky, and beer battered truffles to let the high rollers throw around their money. One of the bachelor party drunks had ordered it last night then never opened it.

Jessie had spotted the can when she was cleaning up. She could have tossed it back into the magic charge connected refrigerator. Instead she’d taken it with her. She’d felt a little guilty about that, but she didn’t know if health and safety regulations even allowed food to be put back into storage for another sale. When she’d taken it with her she’d thought she might be able to sell it online for a little extra cash.

Now she realized that wouldn’t be possible, the can had a small magical battery built into its base. As she explained to every customer who purchased one, the liquid required a constant magical charge to exist. The charge indicator on the battery went from blue to red. When it was red, or if you poured it into a glass, you had to drink it within 15 minutes or it would be nothing more than flat soda and trace minerals. The LCD now glowed a deep red-violet; she hadn’t realized the batteries drained so quickly.

She popped the lid and gave it a sniff. Bubbles of carbonation carried little droplets of liquid up to the tip of her nose. The odor was sharp and pungent. The most obvious smell was artificial lemon, but under that hid something like the olfactory equivalent of menthol. It wasn’t a good smell, and the can could have been dirty for all she knew. She almost decided to pour it out, but she was really tired. She drank instead, draining most of the can, before she had time to change her mind.

The liquid burned her throat on the way down, but it was tolerable, more like cola than alcohol. Nothing happened for a moment after it hit her empty stomach. Then she started to feel nauseous. The feeling ballooned going from mild discomfort to unbearable in seconds. Jessie scrabbled at the door of her car and, after a moment’s work, threw it open to lean out of the driver’s seat and heave at the ground below. Nothing came. She hung off the steering wheel of her car and the door handle, trying to get the potion up, for several awful minutes while her stomach clenched and her throat insisted it was paralyzed.

Then the nausea was past.

She sat back in the car shuddering and wondering if somehow the drink had gone bad.  She’d never seen someone react like that at the club.  Then again, she’d probably only sold five cans of it and she wasn’t certain she’d seen anyone drink.  The beer battered truffles were way more popular.

She did feel better. The logy leaden feeling was gone from her limbs and the fog bank had rolled out of her head. Her skin still felt gritty, and she could still smell the smoke of a long day in her hair, but now it felt like she had the energy to deal with both of those things.

I’d better do something about my clothes first, she thought.

The club she worked at was named “Prime Meridian.” For the most part it seemed like whoever had named the place didn’t really know what that meant but the VIP waitress uniform was vaguely nautical in a Hollywood kind of way.  Nautical and tight. Shoppers at “Finer Things” most decidedly did not expect to see that sort of outfit when they were picking out four hundred-dollar shoes and 5 hundred-dollar handbags. Fortunately, the store had a small employee locker room and shower in the back.

Jessie pulled an emergency outfit she kept in the back seat out and hurried to the store. After five minutes of banging on the front door Nathan appeared. He looked both ways before rapidly unlocking the door, opening it just enough for her to squeeze through sideways, and then rapidly shut it and locked it again. All of this, despite the fact that the parking lot was empty. “You’re late. You’re dressed like… You can’t work in that!”

“This isn’t even my shift, so don’t whine about me being five minutes late, and I’m going to change.” She held up the roll of business casual clothing. It wasn’t, really, quite as good as Finer Things expected out of its employees, but it would do.

“Well don’t clock in until you’re ready to work.”

Prick, Jessie thought as she headed for the showers.

A New Character Appears!
Working in Retail

For some reason I cannot adequately explain, even to myself, I'm trying to write and to write better. So if you like my story let me know. All feedback is appreciated.

Posted in The Beginners Guide to Magical Site Licensing
15 comments on “ReJUV is liquid energy! (Always 100% caffeine free.)
  1. Thaumaturgical_Support says:

    I like to comment on my updates, but I’m not sure I have a lot to say about this one. Maybe the magic? In coming up with the setting of this story I wanted magic to do all the things is does in other more traditional stories, but with a technological environment. So here we see someone drinking a potion. I think tonight I may reread this and add a line or two about just what those impossible molecules are doing if I can get it in without mangling the viewpoint. However the idea is straight forward, right? Some super impossible substance wakes you up perfectly – magic!

  2. DeNarr says:

    Hmm, not much content in this chapter. It pretty much boils down to “Jessie drank an energy potion and went to her second job.”

    • Thaumaturgical_Support says:

      But it was unpleasant, and she was very unhappy about things as well! 😉

      Seriously though, I don’t think I’m quite writing a proper serial. I wrote the three updates, of which this forms the middle, in one sitting. I considered them more or less one scene – Jessie’s introduction. In retrospect, to make this stand on its own really well it would need – at a minimum – more trepidation over the the ReJUV (perhaps if she knew what was coming having tried it before) and more foreshadowing that this is not going to be a good work day. I’ll have to put that in if I get the time. Note to self…. circle back!

      The whole serial thing is interesting because it makes me ask “OK what’s in *this* 700 words for the readers?” I’m still learning to answer that question well.

      • Locke says:

        Hmm… I’ve written about this to an author or two, but I’ll give it a crack again here. The problem when you have 700 word updates is that it chops your story into too many parts. 700 words is maybe a page and a half in a normal hardcover book, an actual chapter is probably going to range from 12-15000 words. On the other hand, online serials are a different form of writing, so shorter posts can be expected. Clearly its hard for a first time author, especially someone who has a job and/or other commitments to devote significant amounts of time to writing, so maintaining a twice weekly update schedule is not easy. However, 700 word – or even 1000 or 2000 word – posts are simply too short to do justice to a scene that needs to open in a logical place, have some foreshadowing/tension/plotbuilding etc., and then close in a logical place. There’s simply not enough space – plus you have to build in all of these starting/stopping points that take the reader out of the story. After all, you’re still in the opening stages of this story; what happens when you start trying to build tension? It’s possible – Drew Hayes pulls it of with some success in SuperPowerds – but it’s not easy and it doesn’t work as well as it could. You can’t really build a crescendo of increasing emotion if you have to end every scene in 700 words. Really you need – at minimum – something like 4000+ words to even have the ability to create a truly gripping scene. Despite all this I can see the challenges quite clearly. All the words you’ve posted thus far would still only add up to 2 posts at most. So it’s not really a criticism of your writing in particular, as much as it is a criticism of serial-style writing in general. Some authors do manage to post 4000+ word chapters every week, but I think others try to match that and end up sacrificing length for speed.

        • Thaumaturgical_Support says:

          So, first, I absolutely agree with your assessment of the weaknesses, or perhaps particularities, of serials. I’ve read a half dozen completed serials as published novels. The ones that went out of their way to work for the serial format come off fairly choppy in the novel format. I tentatively plan (maybe plan is too strong a word, hope would be better – tentatively hope) to move this all to some sort of novel once I’m done. As such, I’m trying not to screw up the pacing of that imaginary novel to make things work better in the serial format.

          Plus, let’s face it, my writing has never dripped plot. I’m not sure I *could* come up with 1000 word sub-arcs. I do try to be my best, but I’m only as good as I am. 😉

          I’m not sure what you mean by, “I’ll give it a crack again here” are you trying to convince me to go to a 4K word update schedule? I might actually move a lot closer to that at some point. Right now, I’m trying to schedule around 4K worth of updates a week. However, half of that is going into a buffer, so I can take some time off around November and move the second half of the story from 1st draft to 2nd draft. Once that’s done I may increase the update size.

          I could do one thing now. I could put a marker in the text for people who want to read this in longer installments. Say a big red line or something. Then you could come back every 2 weeks, read to the line, and know you’d gotten something like a short chapter’s worth of action. Do you think that would make your reading experience more enjoyable? If I had this all on my own site I might even be able to establish an RSS feed, or a bookmark for that style delivery. Unfortunately, I’m not that far along. But it’s something for me to keep in mind if you think it’s a useful feature.

        • Tucson Jerry says:

          Hate to break it to you, Locke. But the “standard” page size in novels is 250 words. In novel writing, chapters vary greatly in size. They depend more on relative content and theme, than on word count. It seems to me that you are new to the whole Web Serial genre, which is good for us who reside here. Thank you for your patronage. I have found the best way to read them is to visit them once a month and read a lot at one time. A lot more immersive that way.

          • Irrevenant says:

            Locke specified a hardcover book which typically has more words per page than the 250 words-per-page estimate used for mass market paperbacks.

            That aside, his basic point is valid. No, serials aren’t novels but each chapter/post always needs to (a) be complete in itself and (b) significantly advance the story in some way, and that takes a minimum number of words to successfully pull off. That’s why very few novels have chapters shorter than 3-4 pages. That narrative requirement doesn’t go away just because the work is being published on the Web rather than in a book.

            Note that this is a suggestion, not a complaint. I think the author would probably find each post advanced the story more and was more satisfying to write if (s)he allowed hirself more words per post.

      • Irrevenant says:

        I was just about to say something similar to Locke. I think your writing is fine – the reason very little happens in your chapters is that your chapters are very short. (I’m not looking ahead in order to avoid spoilers, so apologies if you’ve already addressed this).

        My first thought is maybe try writing the equivalent of two 700 word chapters (ie. 1400 words) and see if you like that size better.

        My other suggestion would be to steal the chapter numbering system from Worm (or any of Wildbow’s other serials). He writes looooooooooong posts but it should work just as well for smaller chapters. He breaks his story into ‘arcs’ (which equate roughly to a chapter of a book) and ‘chapters’ (each post), so the first post is 1.01,the second post is 1.02. He has 6-12 chapters per arc and when he moves onto the next arc(/chapter) the first post in the new arc is numbered 2.01.

        This helps manage reader expectations because they can clearly see from the numbering that he’s posting *part* of a chapter/arc.

        • Thaumaturgical_Support says:

          It’s funny that you should mention that now. The second book in the series will begin to post around June 30 and I’ve been wondering if I should adjust my posting schedule. 20K words are already written for it, and I should be up to 50K or better by the time it starts to go live so on some level I certainly *could* do more. I mean, I could probably hit 3 thousand words a day if I put it all out at a first draft level like I think a lot of serial writers do. However, I don’t want to cramp my editing time because the iterative editing process that has been a part of breaking the story up into parts and then checking it as it goes live has been good for the story.

          I think the solution might be to keep my minimum at the stated 750 and my average at 1K but do a 2, 3, or even 4 thousand word update when something slow like this happens. Of course, there’s less “slow stuff” in the second story. This particular post is backstory for a main character. That’s less of an issue for a sequel. That and the characters are already positioned to do exciting stuff. I also think my plotting has improved somewhat. Still, a few long posts will do a lot to up the pace of the serial release.

          • irrevenant says:

            I probably came on a bit strong there. :/ You’re doing really good work and you should definitely stick with whatever’s working for you.

            I definitely recommend considering the Wildbow numbering system though. Citadel uses the same system, it has similar-length posts to yours and the numbering works well there.

            • Thaumaturgical_Support says:

              Oh no worries, like I said, I’d been thinking about it as well and the feedback is helpful.

              “Chapters with subpart” naming would be good for de-conflating chapters and updates. The only thing that makes me hesitate is I’m not entirely sure what the chapters would be. In retrospect it’s fairly clear. I think, to this point, I’d do: “Headache”, “Conspiracy and Karate”, and “New Character”. However, it’s not really a way I’ve been thinking about anything as I write or schedule updates. But, on the third hand, thinking about it that way might be helpful for plotting because it would give me another level of structure to arrange things around.

  3. Tucson Jerry says:

    Just wanted to add that I think you, the author, give a lot of content for a Web Serial. I’ve just started from the beginning and I have invested more than an hour to get to this point. You certainly are prolific. I am enjoying this serial very much. I love how you spend time building your characters and giving us a lot of background about the world our hero lives in. This is what Web Serials is all about, content and detail. Keep up the good work.

    • Thaumaturgical_Support says:

      Thank you. 🙂 You’re too kind. I’m glad you’re enjoying the story, and I hope it doesn’t disappoint as we proceed.

  4. I for one like the, this is a novel, you’re getting it in chunks, not a sequence of self contained short stories.

    that said, I’m likely going to wait until there are a few updats to come back and read, becasue of that, so I dont get lost and confused between updates. But I think i AM going to come back. some nice buildup so far, I’m liking it.

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