Monday, July 19, 2021

Temptation of a Break

Although it is not an "insecure writer" day, I needed to express my insecurities! 

I may have said I was too stubborn to quit, but having a break sure felt nice! I am openly admitting that I have done very little writing in the past few weeks. Here are some reasons...

  • I started a new project. The ideas flooded really quickly, I managed to create a basic outline, and I started drafting the first two tales. But the dreadful voice of the imposter crept into my mind, daring me to give up. Tales are quite different from modern stories and their obsession with "show, don't tell," and the demonization of the passive voice. How could I expect to successfully navigate this style?
  • My novel draft is being reviewed by my coach. He is making sure my notes and draft match, checking for disconnections between my intentions and my execution, and asking a few questions for clarification. I feel frozen until I see that final comment.
  • I have an overwhelming feeling that the novel is just too clean and dry. The plot is possibly too shallow and the story too short. There is much more I would like to tell, and I am unsure how to include it all. I want the reader to have a perfect picture of the cultures I created. I want them to see and smell each scene and relate to the struggles. What is that perfect formula for description? Did I miss it? Should the villain be more villain-y? Did I skip the most important scenes? The ones that would really make the reader angry at the "bad guy?"

  • I feel like the more time I spend away from the story, the more ideas I develop for making it better. But I also feel like that time spent away clouds my perspective a little. There is too much to fit in my head at once. A huge part of me wants to put this manuscript aside, and try something different as my "debut novel." I love this story so much. I do not want to see it rushed or incomplete. It deserves a better writer than the one I am right now.
Luckily, I am smart enough to know most of this is just insecurity. But I am also wise enough to know insecurities grow from the roots of reality. These are warnings—signs of possible weaknesses to be addressed. The expertise and multiple perspectives of a critique group might be the solution, but I have no idea how to find an effective one. Maybe that should be my next step. 

Hopefully, I will be inspired to write so much this week I will have a more positive post to share with you! Until next time, tout le bonheur du monde!

Sidenote:  Another reason I did not write much...
I rented a copy of The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy and reading it has made me furious. The short stories inside infuriate me so much I kept putting the book down. These were selected from thousands of stories. I wanted to look up to them and feel inspired by their classification as the best. But, the first story rambled on and on and on and on. After four attempts, I made it through and it just ended. The story finally reached the moment of decision, the moment of discovery, except the character did not reveal the discovery or make the decision!  The next one was almost the same! Backstory, first-person rambling, tons of incomplete sentences, big mystery about the "chosen one," then POOF! Story over. The last words were literally:  "You'll learn soon enough, Krit. For now, it's enough to know that they're the Bad Guys." And he's gone. No! No, I will not learn soon enough, because you stopped writing! And the third story was awesome! That is where I stopped. I was afraid to ruin the awesomeness. I did not hate any of these stories. They were each well-written and engaging. However, it was disheartening to read winning entries that fail to meet basic submission guidelines (like having a complete story with an ending). I would love to submit my own stories, but those doors are closed right now and I await my chance with impatience. Anyways, expect a full review later this month!

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

July IWSG - Too Stubborn to Quit

Welcome to the monthly blog hop. As always, follow the link by clicking the badge below to see the full list of participating blogs.

The awesome co-hosts for the July 7 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, Victoria Marie Lees, Chemist Ken, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

July's question - What would make you quit writing?

My first instinct was to respond, "Nothing." But as a writer, I am far too creative for such a simple response!

After thinking about the possibilities, I am getting images from the movie Inkheart. If my writing suddenly conjured terrible things into reality and the end of the world was growing closer and closer, I just might quit. 

If I was not the cause of the apocalypse, society as we knew it collapsed, and we had no electricity or resources for writing I would probably quit and become the creepy village storyteller.

The truth is, even if I did not continue to write for others, I would always write for myself. The written word is my brain's medium. I understand written language better than verbal communication. I prefer movies with subtitles on, and I channel my thoughts better on a page than I do out loud. 

Writing is my connection to the larger world and my pathway into my own mind.

*****

Head over to the Write, Edit, Publish website, too! I wrote a guest post about Writing with Change in Mind.

Also, there is a new video about Dark Matter:  Artificial. Check it out!

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Thinking Happy Thoughts

I am not sure which is more exciting, that my story won the June 2021 WEP, or that my three-year-old just pooped in a toilet instead of her pants (for the first time)! What a fantastic day!



I am going to admit, staying positive can be difficult. I sometimes reread the "average" reviews for my published short story and wonder if perhaps it was missing something that makes readers love stories. I am definitely not suffering from any illusions that all my stories are absolutely fantastic. I also completely understand the feedback labeling my work as confusing. I did not become a writer to create "normal" stories. Regardless, I feel accomplished just being part of the anthology. To my knowledge, no one has given me a one-star review, so I call it a win. I would love to read some reviews from people who regularly read science fiction, though. Most of the reviews I've read mention the genre is not their favorite. So, if you are a science fiction fan, pick up the anthology and drop us a review!

I am certainly grateful for any review. You can read the most recent full review here. There are also reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Reading honest reviews helps me improve!

And on to the happier thoughts...(not the poo).

Winners were announced for the June 2021 WEP competition.

Congrats to all the winners:

Steph - Winner

Kalpana - Runner Up

Jemi - Encouragement Award

Pat - Team's Choice

Brilliant Debut Awards went to:

Jackie

Anne

Pennie

Such a great collection of stories and art. I have been very inspired by this challenge and am working on a treat for my readers involving some very beautiful artwork combined with some hopefully enjoyable stories. I need a few weeks to work on it, so maybe by the end of July!

Keep thinking happy thoughts!


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

WEP - Storm of the Water Dragon

 


STORM OF THE WATER DRAGON

“Are you sure this is where we will find her?” Hisoka shouted over the deafening wind and the splash of the waves against the hull of his trimaran.

    Everywhere he looked he saw gray—water, clouds, air. Even his skin looked gray. He feared the storm would force color from the world forever. The invisible horizon oscillated three meters above and below the edge of the deck. Lines and sheets vibrated and pulleys popped. Gray was the color of fear. 

    “Yes! All the oracles divined the same thing. I spent my whole life studying this. I am sure!” Asuka shouted. Her soft voice did not carry well through the turbulent air.

    “If we die out here…” Hisoka started. He wiped his face with his hands, trying to peel the water from his skin, but another spray surged over the side of the boat. “This is ridiculous!”

    “What did you expect? A giant butterfly resting on a sunny beach? We are talking about a water dragon!” The water roared all around them, erasing her voice.

    Hisoka shook his head. Conversation proved pointless. He spit out a mouthful of seawater and motioned Asuka to come below deck.

    Inside the salon, the noise shifted from constant whooshing and thunder to the sound of being trapped in a metal can being kicked down a gravel road. Hisoka grabbed a steel bottle from the cupholder. The tea inside made him gag. “Gods Asuka! Do you have to use my water bottles for that rubbish?”

    The trimaran lurched, sending Hisoka straight into Asuka. He put his hands against the cabinet but the force was so sudden his chest still collided with hers.

    “Must be a love potion. One swig and you can’t stay away from me!” Asuka laughed.

    Hisoka forced his breath out and braced himself against the opposite counter.

    “Your obsession with drinking potions does explain your crazy ideas about water dragons. I still cannot believe you talked me into this. That man was serious when he asked us to fill out our death certificates before embarking on this mad mission. Sea travel was shut down over a decade ago for a reason. The oceans are no longer passable. The surface temperature is out of control and the CO2 levels cause storms every few hours. I still don’t know how you convinced me to do this!” Hisoka fumed. 

    Asuka reached out to brush his arm gently, taking the bottle from his tightened fist. 

    “I think the news that we only have thirty years left on this planet did the majority of the convincing. That and the fact that my cycle is late. We both know there is no point having a child if they will never live to be our age. And what life would she have? Gasping for breath? Hiding in storm shelters? Eating from powdered ration bags? I am telling you, this will work. I know it.”

    “It is a fairy tale, Asuka. There are no such things as dragons. But somehow sailing into the sunset, finally living the dream we built for each other, seemed worth it. I just did not think it would be over so soon.”

    “Nothing is over, beloved. Anyone who seeks the power of the water dragon who perches at the end of the world will be flown to the portal of a new world.”

    “Yes and bad poetry is the product of wet farts after drinking the mead of poets,” Hisoka said.

    “True, most mythology is not literal. But most of them are analogies. Honestly, strong drink does drive some to create dreadful prose.”

    Hisoka let his head fall back, then quickly recovered as the boat took another dip. “I don’t want to get into another spiraling argument about your obsession with mythology. I just think you should let go of this delusion and welcome the release from this world with me, in my arms.”

    A tear fell from Asuka’s cheek. “That can’t be it, can it? The portal to another world is death?”

    Hisoka pulled her tight against him. “Did you honestly expect a dragon?”

    Asuka’s sobs became a torrent, echoing the storm raging beyond the hull. Tears fell freely, warm and golden. Hisoka wanted to bring her warmth and safety but did not know how. Then, warm light poured from Asuka’s eyes and flooded the boat. She grew hot in his arms and blinding light surrounded them both. 

    He could no longer see, so he called out to her. “Asuka!”

    All he heard was a pounding heartbeat and a steaming hiss that drowned out all other noise. He could no longer feel the hull beneath his feet, or the motion of the waves. He floated, suspended in air thick as smoke. “Asuka!” he cried again.

    The bright white light began to fade to gold. Hisoka blinked and rubbed his eyes. The faint shape of Asuka stood in front of him and he reached for her. The flesh of her arm was textured like scales, smooth, and hot.

    The salon faded into view and he once again felt the rocking of the boat, but this time it was gentle and rhythmic, how he remembered it as a kid sailing on an old fishing boat with his father. That was before the oceans could no longer sustain life and maintain Earth’s climate.

    Hisoka felt as if he had just awakened from a dream. He studied Asuka, steam rising and swirling around her. Her body radiated intense heat and her smile burned. She led him to the deck where the light of the sky shimmered on her skin. Outside they found a scene of extraordinary beauty. A creature jumped alongside the boat, stitching a pattern into the surface of the water. A mountain towered in the distance. But it was not Mt. Fuji. The peak was too high and broad and golden. A large bird flew overhead, its swooping neck turned to study him. Hisoka exhaled his disbelief and found himself in a new world.

Word Count: 996

FCA (Full Critique Accepted)

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