Tag Archive | plot lines

Not all written out.

I’m in my third semester of college. This week I made the comment that I am learning a lot. But not necessarily in the order of school (Well, I am, don’t worry. When I’m your nurse, I’ll take good care of you.) but more in the aspect of writing and school and studying.

See, the first semester I learned that stress sucks plots. I should have realized this earlier. I wrote my best work when I was unstressed and blissfully happy. But that whole first semester, except for one story that I probably shouldn’t even show you, I had nothing. Even though I had a giant poster staring at me every time i went upstairs in the library to study, nothing came. Within a week after finals–boom!–plots came.

The second semester I learned, kinda, how to write during school. Over Christmas break, I got several plots and so I kept writing them as the semester progressed. I actually wrote Time of the Dragon Slayers at that time, which I am still quite proud of, along with two other stories that really should never been shown to a single living soul at the moment.

This semester, I learned to plot. That sounds bad. After all, I’ve been writing for almost eight years now. But  here’s the thing is that I never knew how to write while stressed. Now I can. Now, it’s not like I’m writing a novel here, but I’ve written now two short stories this semester, with plans for another that won’t probably be started until Christmas break, but who cares?  I came up with, and developed properly, three separate plots almost.

Plot 1: Ethical Dilemmas: A mermaid  find herself in a difficult situation when her rebel, half sister gives her the option of either turning her into the authorities or committing a crime.

Plot 2: Shay’s Tadpole: Hurt and abandoned in the woods, Shay has no hope of being rescued until one of the feared male creatures finds her after crashing on her planet.

Plot 3: Completely unnamed: A soldier rescues his twin sister from an abusive relationship and flees to the neighboring enemy country, only to find that he has a claim to one of the senate seats.

Now, those other two titles are currently working titles. Well, probably more secondary working titles, since the first working title for Plot 1 was “Mermaids” and the one for Plot 2 was either “Shay” or “Save the Males.” The latter was taken from something my teacher said, that I mentioned earlier in this month’s plots section. But I’m not sure if I like those titles or not. I will however, be posting Ethical Dilemmas very shortly, probably by the 15th or so.

None of those numbers, however, include  the novel I’m trying to write, that involves pirates. I’m momentarily stuck on that, so nothing is happening however. But I did write another chapter this month.

On top of those fiction works, I am also attempting to write a nonfiction work. Now, this has to do with two factors. Factor one, and probably the motivation factor to begin with, is that there is the writing contest once again at my school, and it allows for essays. As such, I am planning on submitting something to that. The second factor  is that my dog died last Monday, so I actually have something to write.

To summarize, and I haven’t told anyone but you now, earlier this Fall our dog (my dog, whatever you want to call her), Rosy, became paralyzed. The vet said that it could be a degenerative disk or it could be a spinal tumor. With the disk disease, she could live several more years. With the spinal tumor, she would continue getting worse. She could not x-ray to find out. So we’ve been taking care of her, and trying to help her, but suddenly she just took a bad turn and it was only right to put her to sleep. (I honestly didn’t expect her to live through the night, but she did.) Chances are that it turned out to be the spinal tumor.

Because this impacted me so hard, and because she was one of the best dogs that we’ve had for a while, I want to write about her. So that is more of the reason why Plot 3 isn’t going to be written until Christmas break.

All things considered, though, this writing thing in college is going well.  I have hope that I’m not all written out.

What if…? Your turn!

Once again, It is time to have prompts for stories. I’m going to just let go with everything I’ve thought of this whole month and it’s your choice if you want to use any of them. Sometimes we all just need ideas.

• How would you tell the Chanukah or Christmas story to someone who doesn’t know it?

• What if a king marries an enemy spy instead of the neighboring princess he is suppose to?

• What if your dog dies?  What would you miss? How would it happen?

• What if you couldn’t drive a car?

• What if your religion was banished?

• What if you woke up one morning to a not forecasted  blizzard?

• You’re leaving earth. Why?

• If you could jump ahead ten or twenty years, what would your life look like? What might it look like? (Thoughts I’ve had from the movie 13 going on 30.)

• What if you needed to go to the enemy to keep your sister safe?

• What if your siblings were born in a different order?

• What if you were suddenly going to have a baby?

• What if you could automatically gain any skill you want? (I know, matrix-ish, but I think about it often enough.)

•  What if you were given three wishes?

• What if aliens were really in the solar system and we just haven’t seen them?

• What if you failed at your current goal?

• What if cars were banned?

• What if guns were banned?

Some random possibilities.

I’m just throwing out some random things that you may find useful when writing.

Excessive yawning can be a symptom of a brain tumor.

A side effect of hypothyroidism in babies is they become very small and mentally retarded. (I’m not sure why I thought that to be of note, but I wrote it down when I heard it.)

When a plant exploded, what happened was that the water erupted from wherever it was stored, flash-vaporized into steam, and then reacted with the metal to cause the whole building to come down.

People with Aspergers have problems with overstimulation.

People’s short term memory lasts about thirty seconds. After that, it goes into the long term memory. We don’t always remember it because some memories become little deer trails in words and others become superhighways, based on how often we’ve accessed the information. But, theoretically, if someone could speed up their short term memory, could they then have a better memory?

Cultural crossovers almost always start with food. And therefore, food is the backbone of cultural diversity.

Calcium is the means by which all muscles in the body contract, from the finger muscles for typing to the heart. So if someone removes all calcium from a body, or inhibits all the calcium, that person dies. (I know, morbid. Sorry.)

What if….?

Since science fiction is all about the “what ifs,” this should be perfect for many people?

What is one invention that you can’t wait for? Have you written a story about it?

And yes, this is a total steal from the contest on Critters, but I won’t steal any of your ideas, though I honestly shouldn’t be telling you about it either, because then it’s more competition for me. :)

What to write when there’s nothing to write.

Without any thoughts.I had this problem a lot and I’ve talked about it a lot. Nothing is coming out. And the fact is, no matter what I say on here, it’s still not coming. Nothing I do is coming.

So here’s my plan. I’m just going to write whenever I can. I’m not going to try to plot out anything. I’m not going to find anything complex. I’m not going to do anything. I’m just going to write.

See, I think it’ll come out similar to Samuel Brackborn. With this story, I just started writing and I came out with what I came out.

My theory with this is that the more I write, and just keep writing, the more plots I’ll get and the more I’ll keep using that part of my brain that I need to use in order to continue writing.

I honestly don’t know if this’ll work, but that is my plan. I suppose as part of my plan, I also need to not watch as much TV. Even though I watch only an hour of TV a day, by the time I get home from studying, have dinner, do dishes and all, I don’t have much time left to myself. So we’ll see how this works out.

Walking past a thousand story ideas.

Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.

–Orson Scott Card

This quote made me think that I’m missing something. And because of that, I’ve decided to start Prompts of the First.  The basic idea is I’m just going to bounce out with a bunch of random ideas for writing. Anything that comes into my mind that oculd possible, with some delicate writing, be made into a story.

Understand I’m not asking you to write the story for me. I am merely recommending story ideas for you to write and make your own.

Why am I doing this?

Two reasons. First of all, when I started looking for writing prompts, they were all too specific. Examples:

  • You have been captured by cannibals. How do you try to convince them not to eat you? If that fails how do you attempt to get away?
  • In the middle of the night, you get an urgent call from a friend you haven’t talked to in years. Something terrible has happened. What is it and why is he/she calling you? (Okay, that one might be fun.)
  • You’ve left town—ditching your old, miserable life—hoping to start a new life for yourself. You’ve given yourself a new name, fake background and style. Write about your first encounter in your new town.
  • Storms have knocked out the power. You find the flashlight and make shadow bunnies on the wall, but you can tell the kids are not amused. So instead you decide to tell a scary story. Create a story that would scare even the toughest of teenagers.

I didn’t like that. I wanted something a little more vaguer, that doesn’t involve me.

The second reason why I’m wanting to do this is I want to notice more of the plots in every day life. I want to notice seven or eight of them a day. Right now, if I can come up with thirty prompts, I’ll be happy, but this’ll be an ongoing goal for me throughout the month.

At the first Monday of the month, I’ll share them with you. Feel free to post your own however.  The more the merrier.

That being said, here we go.

  • What can you hide in a tooth?
  • A death ray that feels like a gust of hot air. Once someone crosses it, they’ll die, but no one can see it.
  • If you stop feeling a part of your body, it stops existing.
    One word– Shape shifters.
  • By now, everyone has secrets–the kind of secrets that’ll cost a man his life.

So, there are my five ideas. Hopefully, I’ll get more next month. And maybe…. i’ll remember to write more down, because I know I had more.

Where to get a Story

Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.

–Orson Scott Card

So apparently I’m not a good writer at the moment, because I can hardly find one story idea. :) Or more specifically, I must train myself to do better.

Let’s Discuss Viruses.

A very common science fiction scenario is a rampant virus that kills off most of humanity or something like that. So, it makes sense that i should post something about it.

When naming viruses, we’re going to go back to the whole kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species thing that you learned in elementary school. The family name ends in -vinidase.  The genus ends in -virus. So, if you decide that you want to make up the name for a virus, keep that in mind when making up your name. Species are distinguished by numbers.

Now,  you must understand that viruses aren’t living organisms. They cannot reproduce by themselves. They need a host cell. Once it finds a host cell, it will then insert its DNA into the DNA sequence of that cell so the cell unknowingly makes the virus.

Then, one of two things happen. Either little part of the virus is made, put together, and then release. Or, the virus makes a whole bunch of little viruses inside the cell and then ruptures the cell and the viruses can spread out into the surrounding area.

That is all very technical in some ways. Let’s move on to maybe slightly easier things.

Viruses are only for targeting one specific type of cell. That is why if you get a cold virus on your arm, it could sit there forever and ever (well, it’d actually die before too long) and never give you a cold unless you wiped it by your mouth or nose. This cold virus will also only effect respiratory tissues.

Keep in mind then that related viruses have two things in common. 1) They have close to the same genetic information. 2) They share the same type of host.

About defenses, sometimes the virus can cover itself with a fatty layer (called a lipid layer). Because your body recognizes foreign substances by proteins, the fatty layer covers the proteins and hides it from the body. The white blood cells also cannot recognize foreign objects if they are inside your cells.]

Viruses aren’t always deadly. Sometimes they are used to transmit good DNA into a cell because of their fundamental characteristics of inserting the DNA. For example, a person with cystic fibrosis (CF) ends up having too much mucous production that blocks their airways (so far as I understand). They can have a virus repair the part of the cell that causes the excess secretions by inserting that DNA sequence into the cold virus (which effects the respiratory tissues that also causes CF). The person will first get a cold, then eventually the cells will start operating correctly and the symptoms are relieved.

Lastly, many of us have heard of the avion bird flu and how dangerous it is. And that is true; the virus is very dangerous. Almost everyone who has gotten it, which are mainly people in Asia and mainly younger children, have died. However, because it’s not able to be transmitted via the air, and can only be transmitted through contact, it has yet to become the deadly menace they thought possible.

So, there’s some about viruses to encourage your creative juices flowing.

Take Action–WRITE!

In a longish life as a professional writer, I have heard a thousand masterpieces talked out over bars, restaurant tables and love seats. I have never seen one of them in print. Books must be written, not talked.
Morris L. West who wrote The Devil’s Advocate (1959),The Shoes of the Fisherman (1963), and The Clowns of God (1981).

Need I say more?

question of the week – 5/9

Last weeks question was:

How do you remember your plots or ideas before you can write them?

And although I warned you that you should answer it to get more impute, well, that didn’t matter.

Anyway, I’ve had a few ideas about how to save plots, and hardly use any of them.

  • The most obvious one, that everyone says, is to write them down in a notebook. And although, yes, I have a notebook of a few plots, I’ve found that doing that is just too difficult. The notebook is upstairs, under my bed, and I generally get plots or refine plots downstairs. Although this probably sounds lazy, going upstairs, finding the book, writing it all down, and everything is really hard. (I do, however, have the original idea of Shad in that book. Scary what I thought it was originally.)
  • Notecards. Don’t do this one but if you have a notecard box by your computer, then write the plot on a notecard and just save it.
  • I’ve always wanted a giant whiteboard by my computer, so I could write down whatever I pleased, and keep track of all sort of things.
  • Post them on your blog. (*slight snicker*) I actually had a plot, thought it was brilliant, wrote it up as a blog post, changed my mind about the brilliance, and did nothing. Recently, I went back and reread it and I actually think it might be doable.
  • Then, of course, my favorite one, do nothing! The brain is a great storage device and two things I’ve heard in my eight years of writing. You will always have a lot of plots (unless you’re in college) and you will be changing your plot a lot before you finally place it on paper.

I’m sure there is also a way to do this on the computer, but I haven’t quite figured that out yet. I’m still thinking about that.

This week’s question is a two-part question actually. You can answer each part as you deem fit.

What attracts you to a particular title in general  and how do you pick a title for your chapter/story?

As always, I’ll be writing this sometime between Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, but feel free to drop a reply any time.