Sorry I disappeared there for a bit. After my last post, my plans derailed–one thing after another–and I had a little trouble getting back on the tracks. Today, however, I want to share an exciting event. It’s the first day of TBRcon21, a free online sci-fi writers conference. Tons of authors. Tons of interesting sessions. I’ll be checking it out on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/c/FanFiAddict. It starts this afternoon. Here’s the schedule:
I’m especially excited for Wednesday’s line-up and hope that the Joys of Editing session will prod our adventure into revision. It looks like there’s a lot of interesting discussion and information here for any writer (not only sci-fi), so I hope you’ll join me at TBRcon.
Imagine stopping all the clocks and uninvited mental knocks having the cutest fox who talks star in a box, star in a box
The veiled curtain alligator is a mystery creator until the reveal much later gator traitor, gator traitor
Alight with pockets full of rocks flights of fancy with soaring hawks who don’t care why you stopped the clocks translator squawks, translator squawks
The poetry theme made me think of the movie It Follows, so the visual prompt is a photo by Ben Ward which also makes me think of the poster for that film.
micro-story: The jolt of the car suddenly stopping had flung my phone from it’s holster into the backseat. I crawled back there to retrieve it. I didn’t want to even look out into the foggy pitch-black night without the ability to call for help. I didn’t see it anywhere. While I was pretzeled, rummaging under the seat, I heard a click and the creak of the driver’s-side door opening. I froze, but it wasn’t like I could hide. My leg was in the air between the seats.
Horror online magazine50-Word Stories These are fun. I recommend reading a bunch of them.
Today’s horror movie is It Follows. There was a lot of hype for the film when it came out in 2015 and I remember being unimpressed, but since it appears to be my theme for today, I’m willing to give it another try.
Today, I’m going to get back to some Futurist Thinking (the class I’m taking on Coursera) to develop the future of my story-world. I’ve been collecting signals–things that are happening now that could influence possible futures–and have a bunch. So I think I’ll try the exercise of randomly selecting three to combine into forecasts.
Hopefully, this will help me get away from things that people are already exploring and find completely original possibilities.
Once I find a few forecasts that excite me, I’ll play around with putting my protagonist in a few scenarios and see what happens.
micro-story At night, as the scientists slept, they worked in secret, building and testing their exo-suit. Under the bright lights, while the scientists tracked the data from their neural-implants, they ran a counter-experiment to find their strongest representative. The day the new researcher joined the lab, no one could find subject 243.
Today I’m going to do timed writings (10 to 15 min.) with each of the settings I listed in the Exploring your settings exercise I did yesterday. I’ll try to do very detailed descriptions of what my protagonist sees in that location and also create the “mood” of the place.
Let go the grip Let loose the tether tied Tied up tight Tied to an anchor Anchor at the bottom Anchor’s away Away from doubt Away, up, up, and And I stutter And my pen stops Stops to check Stops the flow Flow of thoughts Flow of images Images in color Images of purpose Purpose of pen scratches purpose of passions Passions grip Passions bright sparks Sparks to start the engine Sparks to light the flames Flames to burn the inner-critic Flames that warm intention Intention to guide the hand Intention will create the frame Frame the busy thoughts to focus Frame some rules to find a new link Link the opposed to find bridges Link the absurd to find promise Promise to keep trying Promise of gaining momentum Momentum keeps the ball rolling Momentum comes with continued action Action is coming to the page Action is trusting as I fall Fall in love with the process Fall and then get up again Again to risk and stumble Again to experiment and fail better Better words will come Better lines will connect Connect my meaning to understanding Connect me to clarity Clarity is a window needing washing Clarity is the droplets I can’t capture Capture that Aha! moment Capture the fleas for a circus Circus Moment
That felt good, like I cleaned out my brain with water from a mountain stream.
Today’s visual prompt is a haunting image by Alex Andreev (I couldn’t find the title)
micro-story: Ananke found the giant humanoid sculptures on the hill fascinating. She would ride out to stare at them whenever she needed time alone, enraptured by their detailed, realistic surfaces. Today, one returned the favor.
Today’s Poetry prompt beauty in chaos inspired me to pull out an old canvas and my acrylics and play. Tempest is far from finished, but I see potential in the chaos (and my arm is covered in purple which is fun).
I was having trouble with today’s poem, but then I remembered enjoying the Clarity Pyramid form last year, so I decided to play with that. I changed the form slightly to make it work.
Live CHAOS presently
fruit-flies everywhere swatting at everything like zombies they rise again
“random acts excite attention”
Find BEAUTY distantly
Droplets like jewels strung on spiderwebs glisten these foggy, drab gray mornings
“Each day brings the unexpected”
How are your stories coming? It’s not too late to start.
Julit admired her new creation. The 3-D Lifeprint came with only a few approved designs, but she had easily re-programmed its functionality to fit her imagination. Her menagerie chattered in their usual hisses and clicks. For her next creation, she would try to program speech.
Today’s horror movie is Loch Ness Terror : Sometimes I get in the mood for a very bad creature feature and this one is so bad it’s good.
I had trouble brainstorming scenes yesterday. I think it may be because I started by typing them directly into my Scrivener file. Today, I’ll start in a notebook and just write down everything that comes to mind. I’ll also delve deeper into my characters’ needs and wants and try interviewing them about it.
I have to remind myself that this is all very preliminary. No pressure. Anything goes. My world is at my fingertips.
Today’s prompt is vulnerability. I really like Morgan’s artwork and music choice for today.
Forms: Haiku or Lannet. I don’t think I’ve heard of a Lannet before. I think I’ll give it a try. Fourteen lines, 10 syllables each, no end rhymes.
Reaching blindly into the dark abyss where monsters lurk and may bite or devour knowing fear and facing it openly each toe dipped deeper into the unknown raw and tender, like the bruised flesh of fruit
Skin eroding under the slightest touch reveals the damage and imperfections time’s cruelty left behind to fester and grow, fungus in damp and shadow to some ugly, others delicacy
The raw nerves open to thrill and excite are also unprotected from distress the peril of quiet contemplation and diving into the murky waters
I enjoyed the webcast yesterday and the prompts helped me get some writing done. I recommend at least watching the very end. It’s inspiring. I didn’t get to my post about Plot and Structure yesterday. I’ll try to get it out today.
October is right around the corner which means some fun daily challenges I participate in are coming up. I hope you’ll join me.
Writober is a daily flash story challenge with image prompts. I set up the daily prompts on a pinterest board, so you can see them all at once and jump around if you would like. This year is #Writober 5. Feel free to look through all the #Writober boards if you are looking for creepy and scary inspiration. Pinterest has changed and will not let me rename the pins by day, so my link here is how you will know which picture I’m writing to each day.
This year, I’m planning my first science fiction novel for NaNoWriMo. In hope of truly understanding the future I’m creating for this novel, I am completely immersing myself in science fiction, so each of my flash fiction stories this month will hopefully have something to do with my future world (though a pretty scary and dark side of it). Thus, you may notice the images I have chosen somewhat more future horror than paranormal horror, or so I plan to interpret them.
October Poetry Writing Month is a poetry writing challenge to write a poem each day in October. Prompts are provided each day at http://www.octpowrimo.com/
I will also still be working on NaNo Prep 101 which will continue up until Nov. 1.
NaNo Prep 101
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) usually starts on Nov. 1st for me, but this year I got my idea early, so I’m participating in NaNo Prep 101 Workshop. Each week has a specific writing focus. So far, we’ve looked at the story idea, and character. October, we will explore Plot/Outline, World Building, Organizing life for writing, and Time Management.
This is the first week of NaNo Prep 101 “Develop a Story Idea You Are Passionate About.” My idea was inspired by something in the news which is the third suggestion in the week one exercise.
How I’m Prepping
I focused my intention by heading over to my NaNoWriMo site and declaring my project. I came up with a name and they gave me a pretty cool basic cover. I’ll probably collage something later, but I’m happy for now.
Because I want to create a realistic version of Earth in the future, I decided to take a look at what contemporary futurists are up to and I found a Coursera course to get me started. “Ready, Set, Future! Introduction to Futures Thinking” is part of a Futures Thinking Specialization offered by Institute For The Future. I’m already finding the resources helpful.
Last year I read some books on Scrivener to finally figure out more of its functions. I’ve been creating my own templates and think I have a pretty nice set up for this year’s novel.
In my Research section, I’m collecting articles and a list of books I would like to read before November. I created an idea section for my logline and dramatic question. I have my own character and settings templates and pages for different types of outlines: Hero’s Journey, Heroine’s Journey, Save the Cat, Three Act Structure, James Scott Bell’s Super Structure, and The Virgin’s Promise. As I figure out my main necessary scenes, I can see where they would fit in these different structures and play around with plot and structure at the same time.
I like to use Pinterest to create a mood board for my novel. I keep the board private and collect everything I think fits my aesthetic for setting, characters, tech and objects, any images that give me ideas for my novel.
Today, I’m going to spend some time looking for comparable sci-fi novels, short-stories, films, podcasts, radio shows, etc. It will be nice to immerse myself in both genre and specific concepts before I start writing. I like Neil Gaiman’s concept of creating a compost heap of ideas and giving it time to break down into good soil to grow my novel.
Calendars and Planner
I like the cute Sticker calendar in the NaNo Flair. I’ve collected stickers since I was a little girl. Putting stickers on a calendar over my desk is a good idea for me, but that won’t leave room on the calendar for goals. Last year I created a daily planner for writers focused on submitting stories to literary journals. I’ll be re-vamping my fourth quarter pages to fit my goals for this year. I’ll try to predict which prompts will help me get the most words on the page each day. My planner pages also bring attention to eating well and exercise which is important during NaNoWriMo as well as evaluating what works and what doesn’t each day.
I like to create a physical timeline for my story and put it up on the wall over my desk. Because I’m writing science-fiction this time, I might want two timelines: One for the major events between now and when the story events occur to explore what will be my characters’ history, and another that is the timeline of the novel. Once I have decided on the amount of time that the novel will encompass, I can start putting my scenes on post-its and play around with where they fit on the timeline and start exploring story arcs.
Tomorrow is the first NaNo Prep Write-In (9-16-2020 1pm PDT). I’ve always enjoyed the NaNoWriMo Write-Ins and find that the prompts help me think of new ideas and get a lot of writing done.
So that’s where I’m at right now. I’m excited to be ahead of the game for once and spending quality time developing my idea before the writing begins. Who else is preparing for NaNoWriMo 2020? What tools and tricks do you like to use?
McKenzie’s New Boyfriend is my second story published by Fictional Pairings. They paired my story with a song called Recover by Second Still. I’m listening to it while I write this. It feels perfect for my story–spacey road trip–and on Second Still’s site it says the album was released on my birthday this year (coincidence?).
This is another first in my writer’s journey because this is the first time I have published twice in the same magazine.
When building a publication history, why the same magazine?
When I first submitted to Fictional Pairings, I had two stories that I thought might work. I chose the shorter and more obviously sci-fi because I thought it was a best fit. The moment I received my acceptance letter from Fictional Pairings for BAM-AG Home, I shot off an email saying that I thought I had another piece that would be a good fit. I asked if they might be interested and how long I should wait before submitting again.
Why did I do this? Because I love the musical pairings with flash fiction. It is a great fit for me and I think it will grow. It also shows a growing readership that your first piece was so good that the magazine wanted another.
Like I said in New #LitMag+, finding the right place for your stories can feel elusive, so once you find a good match, I recommend submitting more than one best fit.
Today, on World Theater Day, I am excited to announce that the short story I sent to The Evening Theatre will be published as part of their debut performance tonight 10pm Eastern/ 7pm Pacific. As I mentioned in my previous post New #LitMag +, the magazine is set up as a theater performance and my story “When To Report A Co-Worker” is the Jester’s comic interlude. My story is introduced by The Evening Theatre as “a tremendously misdirecting comedic piece.” I like that.
I hope you will join me in celebrating World Theater Day with a collection of the dark and macabre- and sci-fi comedy- at opening night of The Evening Theatre!