Archive | April 2010

five minutes and a bite-sized piece of history later, he arrived

I’m editing my novel right now, since I have nothing better to do. I’m still off limits for writing. (One more day!) However, I was reading this I thought I’d share it.

The setup to this is Shad, a pilot, is diverted from his current course in a race to inspect, and possible rescue someone, from an escape pod. I knew that I didn’t want to have it be something like:

Shad reprogrammed the AP to fly towards the eject pod. Five minutes later, he reached it.

I generally like to insert something more than “five minutes passed” to indicate that time has passed. But when I first wrote this section, I wrote:

Lunlight guided effortlessly through space. Sometimes, the ease with which Lunlight flew made him forget that he was even racing. It more made him feel like all this time was just a practice and if he messed up, it was no big deal. He rarely felt this way outside of the cockpit.

Then I continued on about how the only other place he felt comfortable was when he watched a sunrise. Okay, yes, but not great.

I don’t remember what exactly gave me the idea of writing exactly this but, see, Shad is one of the youngest pilots in the galaxy and I never really explain much about how he became a pilot. We know a little bit but the exact happens of it we don’t know. So I wrote this and not only does it inform the reader a little bit more about my character in a bit sized piece, but it fills in the time without saying, “five minutes later.”

*************

Lunlight guided effortlessly through space. Sometimes, the ease with which Lunlight flew made him forget that he even raced. He simply practiced and if he messed up, it didn’t matter. If someone interviewed him now, they would say he took this race way too casually.

Yet, he never wanted to fly a ship like it would explode if he didn’t pay attention to for one second. No true pilot ever flew like that. Elia did though. She might have been main pilot on Adrus but she always fretted too much about the ship. Near the end, her fretting became worse, close to an obsession that even the captain began to notice.

That last time, Shad knew she was too tense to begin her shift. Her tenseness kept Shad from mentioning that he suspected she flew into a minefield. But, even if she had noticed herself, she probably would have overacted. That outcome would have not been much different than when she finally realized that they flew among mines and not asteroids. Without any warning to anyone, she took Adrus through a series of much-too-sharp twists and turns. After that first mine touched Adrus and exploded, she overcompensated for it and set off a chain reaction. Shad knew that he should call for a replacement and kick her out of the pilot’s chair until one of them came. He knew that based on her flurry of curses, she should not be flying any ship right now in such a stressful situation. But at only fourteen, why should she listen to him?

Only after an explosion threw her against the wall did he leap into the chair, forgetting even to call someone to help. As soon as his hands touched the controls, everything became a sim. The minefield and the ship simply became a game. He could not touch a mine or he would lose the game. Only when he finally brought Adrus to safety and reality once more materialized did he understand what he had done.

Elia died from a subdural hematoma and Shad became a relief pilot in her place. But he always flew anything difficult like a game. Some people considered him to use too many colorful actions when he flew. You fly one way in a sim and another in real life, they thought. You can do all the crazy, neckbreaking stunts you want in a sim and it make some incredible shows. But in real life, people call those same stunts colorful actions and not to be tried. He didn’t think he truly did what they accused him of doing. But he promised himself never to do anything reckless like Elia did, when she stopped pretending it was a game and started realizing it was a matter of life and death.

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when life gets in the way

So, I haven’t posted for two days. I know that. And instead of letting everyone sit there hanging for the next post, I think it is fairer  to say that I will not be posting until Sunday. I’m very sorry about this but I am swamped with finals, which will all be over on Friday. So I’m going to take a week off, again, and then get back to it next week when this quiet down.

But, I do have a question for you. What topics related to writing would you like to see me blog about? Pop out most anything as I’ll consider most anything.

Also, my challenge since you don’t have anything to read.  I’m going to write something spontaneous and I challenge you to write five pages off of  what I wrote. Technically, I would advise that you don’t think about it, but that is up to you.

Here we go:

Sky squealed as a gust of wind flopped off her hood once again, but pulled it back on to ward off the rain. The drizzling, misting mess was exactly as she imagined it to be. The wind was more than she imaagined. But she couldn’t necessarily say that she liked either of them as much as they always surprised her.

With a furtive glance, she pulled out the key and slipped inside.

Enjoy, have fun, and see you on Sunday.

risky writing

My new story’s working title is “To be Held,” just so you know.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk a little bit about the story.

The main character’s name is Carmen. Carmen is doing research in basically how they can use fetal cells to either cure or heal diseases and other things.  Early on in the story, she tells her mom that she is pregnant.

All I know for sure is that she is pregnant because they were having a New Year’s party, they got drunk, and this guy that is an utter flirt convinced her.  So, for the first time in my writing career, I am writing something that I completely and totally disagree with happening. (Basically, she shouldn’t have slept with him.)

I find this kinda strange because I’m basing this story off of a Christian song that I couldn’t figure out and, in all honesty, premarital sex is rather looked down upon in Christian churches. (Toss in wine and you have serious problems.)

The other problem is I almost feel guilty for doing this. Yes, I know it happens. I know quite a few people have had children before they were married.  But the fact that I’m writing just doesn’t seem right. It’s like I’m looking into it too deeply.

Now, maybe that is because I don’t know the story yet. And although this pregnancy, I think, is needed, I don’t know how much it is going to play a role into the story. For all I know, it won’t be much. (It’ll be some though, just based on how it ends.) But I don’t know if I’m going to be doing much of this any time soon again. I just have too high morals.

(And yet I’m thinking that Miles needs to have a little more happen to him than a talking to. Wonderful. :P)

Question of the Week 4/25

We writers learn by reading and then analyzing. Because of that, this week’s question is one that is actually important.

What books are your favorite and why?

FAct is that it is easy to list of ten or twenty books that we love. However, if we can figure out why we love the books so much. then we can figure out how to slightly copy that into our writing.

I’ll request a limit of three books max. That doesn’t mean you have to do all three books but you can recommend up to three books.

building religions

All across the world, one of the basic building books of a culture is actually one of the touchiest ones as well: religion. Fact is too that I know a bit about all of the major ones, more than your typically American at least. As my dad often says, I know just enough to make me dangerous.

One thing that I find with many religions  is that they have some similarities. So if one is to build a realistic religion, one needs to at least have mind some of the basic principals of religion.  Understand that I am assuming there to be a creation of a religion, and not using a current religion, although some of these can be applicable for near-future stories as well.

1) Someone is always a freak. That isn’t very politically correct, then again, I’m not very politically correct, but fact is that there is always a group that is considered, well, freakish. This can be either the true religion  or it can be a break-off sect of the real religion. It doesn’t matter.

2) Sects typically get some of it right. Generally, whenever a sect is involved, they have some principals of the true religion correct, and then twist other parts of the religion for their own gain or because they can. Another possible reason to twist the belief is that a person sees a problem with the current religion and is trying to fix it.

3) Conflicting religions have some consistent threads. This can be seen by mere observation. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all believe in one god.  All religions believe in doing good. Islam and Hinduism  both, at least at one point, have had social classes. Most religions believe in a life after death, either through reincarnation (Buddhism and Hinduism) or heaven (Islam, Judaism (I think.) Christianity.) And I can continue. However, and most interestingly:  Almost all people in one religion believes that all the other religions get to this life after death through doing good works, while theirs is by faith.

4) Religion invades society. Many people will say in America that they are atheists. However, many people will also uphold a moral standing that comes from, among other places, religions influences. Also, societies thoughts about a topic can be traced back to a religious belief.

On a side note, I used this one in a story of mine. I took the general idea of striving for perfection that is actually found in many religions and had that be the driving force behind why a society began doing genetic modifications in an effort to build a more “perfect” being.

5) There is no such thing as a perfect religion. There is no church, or meeting house, or any other religions meeting house where everyone acts perfectly.  There is learner’s curve of belief, stubbornness, and corruptness of man all to fight against this perfect church. Plus, everyone has their people who come for just the major holidays and nothing else. (Christmas and Easter Christians are a good example.)

6) Holidays add culture. I have seen Christian holidays and I’ve seen Jewish holidays. The holidays are high points, and are used as a chance to celebrate, because in all honesty, how many people don’t want to celebrate something?

7) Holidays are related back to a significant event in the religion. I cannot give many examples here, but we can take a look at two. Christianity: We have Christmas, which is when Jesus was born. And we have Easter, which is when Jesus rose from the dead. Judaism: Although not instituted by the Jews themselves, Passover is to celebrate the leaving of Egypt. The two they did institute, Chanukah and Purim, are from major events. Chanukah is to celebrate a miracle of rededicating the temple. Purim is to celebrate the deliverance of the Jews from almost certain death. And if you asked anyone who practiced a religions holiday, they should be able to tell you why they are celebrating it.

the real reason finals stink

i don’t want to go into much of what is going on in my life here, but in all honesty, I’m not having a good week. What? How can you not have a good week when the number of days left in the semester is in the single digits? Actually, I think that is the exact reason why.

See,  one thing that I’ve been noticing this semester, compared to last semester, is how easily the plots flow. Last semester I didn’t have anything except Giant’s Wife, took me the whole semester to write, so everything was fine. Once the semester ended, life went on and I came up with plots. (Before that, I feared I lost the ability to come up with plots.)

This semester, I started writing stories and I wrote Dragon Slayers, Miles’ Love, When Darkness Swallows (If you count that one. I also wrote that over Christmas break.), and Samuel Brackborn. Some of those are pretty good too.

But now, I’m just dry.

I’m trying to plot my next story, “To bed Held.” And I figured out far enough to know that there has to be a triangle of distrust. Kenneth has to not trust Carmen, Carmen not trust Edmond, and Edmond not trust Kenneth (and Jeff but Jeff is unconscious most the story.) But how to get Carmen to distrust Edmond is beyond me. What to write for them is beyond me.

What’s worse is that I’m too tired to write. I don’t know how many of you have noticed but writing takes a lot of energy. If you write while you’re tired, you don’t write well (generally). I just feel drained.

So I think that I basically can’t plot anything. Apparently I have too much stress. Which is sad because I don’t feel like I have a lot of stress right now. In some ways, these last two weeks have been some of the most relaxing weeks for a long time.  But finals are next week, two tests on Friday, and an extra shift of work on Thursday. And I’m also trying to find a way to raise $1000 for a trip to Canada this summer as well.

So now, I can’t wait until finals are done. Not because of the stress and excessive studying but because  when I am done, I can write once again. And at least initially, the stress will be relieved.

Until then, I think when I want to work on something I’m going to work on Shad. I haven’t worked on that in a long time and I was suppose to be finished with editing it by the end of the month. (I would be editing Miles’ Love but my sister lost it on me.)

for the art

A friend of mine is hosting a fund raiser along with a silent auction and asked me to sell one of my drawings. She also wanted me to write up something about the picture an why I drew it. So I wrote this.

From: Time of the Dragon Slayers

My name is Natalie Paulson. I go by Natle.

I live in Basham Heights, right in the middle of the Dragon Nest. You’ve probably heard about that area. It’s considered one of the most dangerous in the country. Not because of neighboring countries but because of the dragons.  Yes, the stories are true. The dragons  do attack us, attack our farms, eat our cattle, and force us to rebuild.

We used to fight them. Dragons are smart. They don’t want to be hurt and they learned not to bother us. It wasn’t perfect; we had some problems. Babies came often enough,  before they learned how dangerous we were. And rarely, a few from the herd would come, when they were desperate.  My parents died because of that, leaving me alone with my brother.

But everything changed when Jorn came. Jorn told everyone that the dragons were dying out and needed to be saved. He said it was honorable for people to save them. People believed him. So people stopped fighting. They burned our crossbows, and banished me from my town, because I would shoot a dragon for my protection.

So when the dragons came again–five, six, maybe seven of them–we could do nothing but watch.

The dragons killed my brother. They destroyed my farm. And still, everyone thinks the dragons are merely misunderstood.  Which is why I have to leave now. I have to leave the land that has been in our family for generations, the people I grew up with, and everything I love, to live in a place that I barely know.  It is no longer safe here. It will probably never be safe again.

similar words

The English language is very often tricky and sometimes in ways that we don’t even notice. There are so many variations for spelling and to keep track of them all is a challenge in and of itself.   Here are a few very similar words, just to watch out for.

COLLEGE vs. COLLAGE: CollEge is a university, a place you go after highschool. CollAge is a form of art that involves pieces of things being stuck to a backing.

CALENDER vs. CALENDAR:  Yes, these are both correctly spelled. CalendEr is a machine  in which cloth or paper is pressed  by rollers to glaze or smooth it. CalendAr is the thing that hangs on the wall that tells you the dates.

Defiantly vs. Definitely: These don’t look that similar, but they are words to be wary of. Defiantly is an attitude of someone. Definitely means to be clearly stated. Not doubtful.

ForMAT vs. ForMATE: This would be something that you might look at and thing, “I ran spell check, so it has to be right, even if  it doesn’t look it.” Format is just how something is arranged or set out. FormatE is a salt or ester of formic acid.

BARROW vs BORROW: A barrow is a wheelbarrow, metal frame, two wheels, used for transporting things. Borrow is to take and use some something that belongs to someone else with the intent of returning it.

AD vs ADD: Ad is what you see on TV between each part of the show. ADD is 2 + 2 = 4

It’s vs. Its: It’s basically is “It is” and should be used as such. Its is a possessive  form of it. If in doubt, put in hers or his in place of its. If it doesn’t make sense, It’s not correct.

THAN vs. THEN: Than is a comparison word. I am taller than my brother. Then is a reference to time. Then I went to the mall and got caught up in the robbery.

hAllow vs. hOllow:  Hallow means honor as holy. Hollow means there’s nothing inside of it.

ContinUOUS vs. continUOS: Continuous is to form an unbroken or whole unit. Continuos is a plural of a  musical term.

PLURAL vs. PLEURAL: Plural is when you want to make make a noun having more than one. Pleural is the adjective form of a pleura, which is related to the lungs.

COMPLEMENT vs. COMPLIMENT: ComplEment is when two things go well together. LIke that necklace might complement the dress. Compliment is when I say nice things to you about you. Like, you look very pretty in that dress.

STATIONARY vs. STATIONERY: StationAry is to be standing still. StationEry is when you have pretty paper to write notes on.

THOROUGH vs. THROUGH: Thorough is when you do something without missing a detail. Through is to move in one side and out the other.

DeSSert vs. DeSert: DeSSert is the yummy tasting thing at the end of the meal. DeSert is a sandy, hot, wasteland. Not yummy.

LightENing vs. LightNing: LIghtENing is a form of lighten and is to make something lighter. LightNing is the thing that happens during the thunderstorm.

MucOUS vs MucUS: MucOUS is an adjective. MucUS is a noun. They mean they same thing; they’re just different parts of speech.

There are also many other words that are plus or minus a letter. I’m trying to do the  ones that aren’t obvious.

don’t you hate this?

I don’t know why, but I didn’t have a good day for some reason. Which is strange, because my Saturdays are usually good. But basically I’ve been frustrated all day.

So, to calm down, I decided I’ll write a little bit before bed. That usually helps. It takes me a minute or so to figure out the title of my most recent work, but once I do, I pull it up and go to scroll up a bit to remember where I left off at.

Only to find out that the stupid computer ate the whole thing!

I had this really awesome, dangerous, horrid scene that actually came out halfway decent for a first draft. I even posted a video here about intubation after writing that, because I figured the guy would need to be intubated.

But it’s just gone. My computer has no record of this modification. I thought I saved it. I’m usually good about saving things. But apparently I either didn’t this time or appleworks didn’t figure out it was saved.

See, my biggest problem is that the computer doesn’t even think it was modified at all. It wasn’t like I realized I started something and thought it was corrupted. It’s not like I didn’t press the save button when I was done. It is more like it never existed.

So now I’m even more frustrated because I can’t do anything. I have to rewrite the whole scene, and study for two tests, and go to bed. I think I should go to bed actually.

(Although, this story is going to be hard as it is. I’ve been tossing around this story since December. So I have a challenging story to write and now I have to rewrite a scene, which I hate doing. *giant sigh*)

I have a feeling I’m going to be sharing some tips about rewriting scenes later this week. (OH, and this does not replace the question of the week if you were wondering. This is a spontaneous post to let me rant. Question of the week will be here on Sunday as normal.)

when characters refuse to talk

I finished my second draft of “Miles’ Love” last night. Unfortunately, although I like the story, it isn’t coming out as well as I would like.

I don’t know if I can say why for certain. IN some ways, I think that it is just a collection of many things which can be summarized into two things: The characters don’t really react to their environment and the problems are solved too easily.

It’s not that I don’t understand the characters, because I have enough of an idea about them. It’s more that they just aren’t clicking for me. Sure, I know Miles, I know what his goals are suppose to be, but I don’t understand or see any logic behind his overwhelming desire to go back. Sure, I understand Rachel some, but she’s so quiet and the story is in Miles’ POV that I can’t express much of what she feels.

Then, as far as the environment goes, well, Miles isn’t one to wait around and do nothing. So of course he’s going to take action. I just couldn’t put into the story anything negative resulting from that said action.

The problem is that I don’t know how to fix it. I know what the problems are–I can sea them very easily–but I have no clue about how to go about fixing these said problems. It’s not like with Dragon Slayers that all I needed to do was interview the characters. It’s more of a functional part of the art of writing.

That’s all I can really say. I was hoping to start a paper edit today, which I didn’t expect to take terribly long, but I might very well be too sick to do so.

About starting to post Miles’ Love on Sunday, not going to happen. There are two reasons behind this however, One is that I don’t know if I can get it done in time. I might be able to and if not, it’ll probably happen early next week. However, I have finals in a little more than a week, so I really think I would like to save it and post that as my only post that week of finals. (My brain, thanks to the almost end of the semester, is getting fried and I’m having a hard enough time coming up with blog topics without the pressure of finals.)

Again, a reminder: Question of the Week due by tomorrow night. (US central time, which I think is -6 GMT or so.)