Saturday, July 31, 2010

Revision Progress

I'm really enjoying the first round of revisions on Revelations of Tomorrow. Yes, I know I still have the last few scenes to complete, but now that I've read it through and completed my initial research, the ending I envisioned might not be correct. So, I'm putting it on hold.

My first revision's focus is to integrate the various cultures and back stories of the characters. My goal is to flesh out the reason each ones makes the decisions they make and to highlight the weight of each revelation throughout the story.

There's something about a first draft, but I have to say even though it can be frustrating, I love the challenge of the revision phases.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


My first draft is almost done. I completed a couple more scenes, but found myself a little drained. To take a break, I started preparing for my next "layer" in the story writing depth research.

Research. It can (is) daunting, especially when there are so many details to research and outline in science fiction.

This is where my project management hat comes in handy. I first break every subject and subtopic into categories, partial example (it's currently scribbled in, bubbled out, and smudged across white paper):

Economic Status, diversity ratio, social hierarchy & roles, institutions, educational structure, etc.

Heritage, traditions, art & philosophical themes, dress, speech, protocols, etc.

Household, transportation (on planet/off planet, short distance/long distance), fuel sources (see transportation for subgroups), weapons, healthcare, etc.

My first step is to choose a main category and flit around my resources sites and books getting a broad scope of the subject. As I do this I highlight/tag those subtopics as they appear, sometimes jotting notes.

Once I've gotten at least a half dozen starter sources for my subtopics I'll delve into each topic in turn, fleshing out the concepts on a separate sheet. (Fleshing out includes jotting notes, exploring themes, and sketching out drawings based on ideas.)

The result will be an almost booklet thick folder that contains everything I need to reference when I go through my revisions/editing phases.

Sometimes I do this in depth research before I start the story, but usually the story is hitting me right in the face and I don't have time. It is one reason why I am a layering writer, because my primary objective when a story comes is to just get the basic idea/plot down so I don't loose bits and pieces.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Writing a Better Story

Yesterday L.J. Sellers offered a great article listing 10 Steps to a Better Story on the The Blood-Red Pencil. It was a very informative, so I wanted to share it with my blogger buddies here. The list is not preachy or overly subjective to personal taste (as all us writers know "expert lists" can be). Check it out if you have a chance.

Good writing all!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Build or Layer

This weekend was another push to complete the first draft of Revelations of Tomorrow. I have 6 planned scenes remaining, which in reality will probably end up being 8 or 9 (I usually find I've missed a few gaps along the way).

I know I've talked - er, written - about my writing method before, but I thought with the timing it would be appropriate to again. There are two types of writer methods in my thoughts. (I know there are probably more detailed versions, but my mind always groups them into two broad categories.) Those who build from the ground up and those who layer.

(A note before I go into this. Either group can have a developed plot line or not.)


The Ground Up folks work each scene to its fullest potential at the moment it comes down on paper, then move on to the next.

The Layering group (aka Bakers) write out the basic concept and plot line of the story. Then they flesh out details, layer by layer.

I'm more of the Layering type. Some scenes capture my attention enough that I flesh them out on the first draft, but for the most part, it's rather minimal. The next layers, usually, are the emotional and cultural scenes (as the culture usually dictates part of the emotional reaction). Then I have layers for scenery, scene transitioning, technical consistency. After all those layers, I take a couple weeks breather and then return to see how everything meshed together.

So that's my writing method and my thoughts on the two main types of writer methods.

Good writing all! (What kind of writing method do you all use?)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

And....I Have a Title

Oh thank goodness! It was a sticking point for me. Thursday night while writing, the working title for my sci-fi epic came to me. And drum roll please.....

Revelations of Tomorrow

You all probably already know, but I usually start my works with a title in mind. This epic, however, has been elusive. I think the reasons is because I'm doing some major layering of themes with this one. I had to wait and see what the dominate message was going to be...and then there it was shining right in my face and blinding my eyeballs.

Revelations, of both internal and external sources. Each character has some life altering revelation they are either suppressing, hiding, or don't even know about that comes out through the course of the story.

Good writing all! (What are some of your titles and what makes them perfect for your work?)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Chill Out

Okay, this might be driven a little by the Obsessive Introversion I'm hitting right now, but I have to say it...chill out.

Most of the time I don't mind the overly serious nature some writers take on their business, craft, art, or whatever other title they're giving their writing. I am usually impressed by those writers who delve into the framework of every friggin' aspect of the writing world...but geez.

Chill out.

The more you talk about writing, the more you talk about talking about writing, and the more you talk about those others who are talking about talking about writing (see the trend growing here?)...the less you're actually writing.

Just write. Write however you like to write. Research how you like to research. Friggin' spell it alright or all right...just string sentences together until you're done. If you don't have an idea...write incoherent thoughts until it starts to make sense.

Phew! My rants draining and I'm feeling much better, thank you.

That is all. Good writing all! (Writing, not talking about writing.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hitting That Point

Okay, I'm hitting that point. The point I forgot about since the last time I wrote a novel.

Obsessive Introversion.

My social life outside family is the beginning. The phone becomes the enemy and email, its sidekick. My laptop is out to get me, starting with torture of slowness. It doesn't matter just days ago I was fine with its speed.

Meals? Breaks? Why do I need these things? Are they vital to my survival?...Prove it!

No, no. The only thing that can keep me company happily right now is my novel. Thank goodness I have an understanding and independent family. Plus, they know when to tie me up, strip me of my laptop, and sit me at the table for dinner and family time afterwards. To ensure I stay, they usually pick a sci-fi flick or science documentary.

Good writing all!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Committed to My Monster

It's nice being committed to a novel again. I miss the long-term investment. Short stories definitely give you a quick feeling of accomplishment, but not always the lasting depth of creativity. They're kind of like hit and runs on the mind.

The characters for my sci-fi epic (still unnamed, double grrr) are becoming a lasting impression on me. Each one consciously and subconsciously are apart of my life experience. Of course, I've never been to space (sigh), but their characterization has been drawn from me.

I'm like Dr. Frankenstein creating his monster up in the tower. The sci-fi bits come from my childhood heart. The values are designed to enforce my upbringings, either through opposing consequence or positive emphasis. Their movements and reactions are bits and pieces of people I've either passed or met in my lifetime.

There...there's my current monster, the unnamed sci-fi epic. She's almost done. I just have a bit more grafting and electronic work. As soon as I zap her with lightning, I'll let ya know.

Good writing all!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Butterfly Cocoon Now Available

Exciting news!

Butterfly Cocoon, is now available on Smashwords.

*Throws confetti*

Butterfly Cocoon was originally published on Aphelion Webzine's September 2009 issue. Based on the urgings of several interested readers, I uploaded it to Smashwords to make it more accessible...and to give it shiny cover art.

For those of you new friends, this story was my first publication and a very exciting time for me as an aspiring writer. Okay, here's my spiel:

Science Fiction, 5,664 words. To Marie Hadner it's a regular shift in the boondock space colony of Pluto C. That's until people start disappearing and a comet decides to defy all logic.

I hope you enjoy it, and please feel free to let me know how you liked it.
Good writing all!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Riding the Wave

Climbs out of the river of writing for a quick towel off.

Oh boy! There are times in writing when the words and ideas just take over. It's almost all you can think about. You fall into the pool of creativity and find out it's a raging river instead. All you can do is check her ducky floatie and plug your nose.

Saturday I was at a point where, even with a typing speed of 100, I couldn't keep up with the story. Muse was speed flashing it through my brain and didn't shut off until late into the night, when my brain just crashed on her.

6,500 words.

I woke up Sunday still having the story streaming through. My attention span was a little more fragmented but I still typed away for most of the day.

Another 4,300 words.

This morning I'm back at work, but I hear it, right at the back of my brain. Muse is in her shiny sports car, revving the engine. I hope she at least lets me get home before slamming it into drive and hitting the gas.

Good writing all!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Science Update

I'm back with another science update. (Well, technically I'm NOT back as I'm on vacation. I've sent this through telepathy...okay, okay, through the post options.) Any-who, I've been collecting them for a couple week and have some exciting new "stuff".

First up, the first images of Saturn lightning. This is a total geek thing on my part, but has some writing inspiration in it. Think about it. When you're building your world what's the weather going to look like? Be like? Feel like?

Could you image the experience of a Saturn storm? Just the thought gets my blood pumping. Because this article I'm revising my sci-fi epic so that my MCs will fall for each other during an alien planet storm.

All right, on to the next groovy-geeky-awesome thing...Silk Microchips that test and monitor the blood instantly. Yeah, you read right and probably assumed correctly. Lab techs...or even physicians implant this chip right below your skin and it will keep track of your blood.

This has great sci-fi potential for both short and long term scenarios. Short term, your MCs or secondary characters have a chronic illness that requires constant monitoring of the blood system. Long term, well every human born has this implanted to track health through their lifetime. Now that would have some great plots associated with it!

Just saying folks.

And on to the next. The next phase of "Vaccinomics" is here. Scientists are kicking back into gear on the development of individual vaccinations using genomic science. These shots will be tailored to fit your specific requirements.

How cool would this be in sci-fi stories? The medic could run a gene scan for injured, poisoned, or ill characters and the computer will come up with the perfect antidote!

Before I get too geeked out here and start tripping over my own words, I'll put one more update in this post. This one is one a purely domestic level. The interactive kitchen counter. This amazing counter has a brain and talks with your. It'll tell you if something spilled. It knows what kind of food you're putting on the counter and will help you find a recipe...What the Wisconsin?! This is crazy!

The possibilities of this being used in sci-fi bread and butter. It just fits. This is a totally quirky everyday thing you could use with your characters to give that extra little bit to the story.

Phew! Okay, I'm losing my mind on geekdom right now. I'm going to have to break for a moment.
Good writing all!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Back to Basics

This should be interesting. As this posts, I'll be on vacation with the family.

I know you're asking, "What's interesting about that?"

Well, the family as a group - daughter not included and not happy about it - decided to leave all electronics at home. No iPods, no radios, no laptops. The only thing we'll have is a cell phone for emergency. (Leaving emergency singular. Plural is pushing the fates too much for my taste.)

Yup. Completely unplugged.

I'm going back to basics with my writing. Pen and Paper. Paper and Pen.

I do it occasionally when I'm overwhelmed with the Internet...but I still had the option, which somehow made it non-stressful. What if I can't keep up with my thoughts? What if my brain stresses too much and I can't focus? What if the papers fall into the fire, or water, or-or-or...

Breath AR, breath. *Deep breath*

Okay. It'll be fine. Just going old school, that's all.

Good writing all! (Hopefully I'll be sane when I return.)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Four Horseman Now Available on Kindle

Great news!

The Four Horseman: An Anthology of Conquest, War, Famine, and Death is now available on Kindle: here.

My story, Judgment, is included in this awesome anthology. I hope you take a moment to pick up a copy (either hard, soft, or electronic). For the other formats, just check out my Published Works section up at the top.

And if you want to find other great anthologies and novels of the speculative fiction variety, check out Pill Hill Press.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Give it a Rest

Sometimes your thoughts just get jumbled, your candle burns too far on both ends, or the chaos has become too....well, chaotic.

I've been going full steam on the Sci-Fi epic, heavy projects at work, vacation preparations, and summertime. Needless to say, it hit me Thursday night. I finished writing to my goal, turned off my laptop, and laid on the couch drained.

After work yesterday, I decided to set writing aside and let my brain reset. I helped hubby at the store with the final vacation preparations. Came home and watched superhero movies with my little sons. Then, I headed to bed early.

Waking up this morning I was rejuvenated and ready to start writing again...of course, it might also be the fact that I'm off work for the next week. I'm super excited to have a week where all I have to worry about it hanging with the family and writing.

Family, beach, paper, and pen...that's the life!

Good writing all! (And remember, give it a rest sometimes.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Writing Anticipation plan is write the evening away.

My goal: 2,000 words.

My objective: complete space port scene and begin the next transition where the character's separate for a little bit of the journey.

Just so you know, I can hear Mission Impossible theme playing in my head as I type to you right now.

Good writing all!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Courting the Story

With several thousand words written, 1k just tonight, I'm very happy-go-lucky this week. My wonderful, fabulous, magnificent sci-fi epic is coming along swellingly if my Muse and I do say so!

What I like most is that I'm finally getting that full click going on the story. You know how it's sort of like meeting that person that just might be "the someone".

When I dreamed it, I had that initial attraction. The passionate drive to meet the characters and get to know them. Then we had the initial awkward date where I didn't quite know what approach to take, what questions to ask, if I should do dinner and movie or mini-golf and nachos.

Of course, after the first couple of get togethers, we started really getting to know each other. This week was like meeting the family and moving in with each other at the same time...


The other characters of my MC's life came flying out the creativity door and slamming into me. Culture, characteristics of their lives, likes and dislikes, angsts with each other. I can now fully hear their responses in my head and know what secrets they hold inside.

I'm in love people!

In love with my story all over again, but like a's so much more than that initial attraction. It's deeper and contains the grown respect of the life it has all its own.

Okay...enough about my mushy gushy courting of the manuscript.

Good writing all! (Maybe this means I'm closer to naming the darn thing!)

Saturday, July 3, 2010


It's 4th of July. For all you international friends, this is US of A's day to celebrate independence, freedom, and all the hot dogs and hamburgers we can shovel down our throats.

I love 4th of July, which only comes in second to Thanksgiving. Why? Who the hell really knows. I'm patriotic. I'm into things that go boom. Okay, those sound good.

This is a sci-fi blog, AR, what are you talking about the 4th for??

All right, I'll get right to the nitty-gritty of the post. What kind of holidays do you expect in the future? There we'll be, spread out all over the solar system, government systems completely changed, diversity mixed into new cultures, religion turned inside out and upside down.

Most likely, my 4th and Thanksgiving will be nullified. So, what's the core of holidays? Well, they're primarily religious points of reverence and government points of victory.

When you're building your story and outlining your religious and government framework, think about the holidays that will be involved. It might make for an awesome showdown scene (think Macy's Day and Mardi Gras parade police chases). Or a great revelation scene (think Church confession or monk temple sabbatical).

What it'll definitely do is give that extra bit of believability to your future world and a little more depth to your storyline.

Good writing all!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cause and Effect

Drop a quarter into a mixing bowl full of water from a good height. What happens? Most would answer the water ripples out until it runs into the edge. Okay...that's a basic understanding of cause and effect. But, what happens to the quarter? It falls flat until it hits the water, swivels, spins, and then glides unevenly the bottom of the bowl.

There are two cause and effects happening. Like the quarter and the water, there are always going to be multiple causes and effects because there's multiple components, in this case with the quarter and the water.

Most can get the most obvious effect...just like in writing. A lot of writers flesh out scene after scene after scene based on obvious effects and completely overlook any other potential effects.

Are the resulting actions addressing all the effects of the causes? How are the compounding scenes altering the various effects?

I hope I'm not going round and round and making everyone dizzy. Just my thought for today. Take a look at your manuscript and make sure you've covered all your bases.

  • Character cause to environment effect
  • Environment cause to character effect
  • Character cause to character effect
  • Environment cause to environment effect
  • Character cause to moral/ethical/value effect
  • And the farther into the story you go, check how the effects are compounded and diversified by the stacking causes
Okay, good writing all!