Updates

[Update] April 2018

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It’s April! It’s been April for a while! I’m really not sure how I feel about this.

March was a quiet month– quieter than I wanted it to be, in all honesty, but such is life. And while I don’t have a whole lot of concrete progress to show, I was able to make some decent progress with the restructuring process for The Seven, and given that April is one of the designated Camp NaNoWriMo months, I have high hopes for turning that into something with a visible wordcount.

You guys also gave me some fun prompts both here and on Facebook, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed responding to. Speaking of which, is that something you’d like to happen more often? Let me know!

For now, it’s time for me to grab more coffee and squirrel myself away into a corner for some good, productive writing.

Until next time!
~ Faith

Writing Prompts

[Blog] Best Laid Plans

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Some weeks, things just don’t go the way you want them to. In case the conspicuous lack of new stories hasn’t already given it away, this week was one of those weeks, mostly due to a nasty cold that took up residence in my throat and sinuses and completely sapped my energy. And, if I’m honest, it did a number on my motivation as well, so long story short (ha…) I’m afraid I don’t have any new full-length stories this month, for which I beg your forgiveness.

I also have an offer to make! In lieu of the longer stories that are still on their way, I’d like to write short (100-200 word) stories based off of writing prompts from all of you. What sort of writing prompts you ask? Pretty much anything! One word, a phrase, a scenario– whatever comes to mind. Just post it in the comments below and I’ll get respond with a story! I do reserve the right to refuse a prompt, but I’m not expecting that to be an issue. I can’t wait to hear from you guys!

Musings

[Blog] Freeway Interchanges and Cloudy Mountains

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Different landscapes have always made me want to write different sorts of stories. Show me a sweeping vista, full of dark forests spilling down the sides of jagged mountains and all half hidden beneath the shreds of cloud left behind by last night’s storm, and I’ll tell you that there are dragons there, coiled in lairs just out of sight. Catch me staring out the window while caught in traffic somewhere in LA, and I’ll be imagining what it would be like to wander the interchange on foot after something has rendered all cars immobile*. Let me watch the sun rise above the desert and paint the sagebrush golden and the mountains purple, and I will muse on what it would be like to ride a horse at a gallop there in the cool of morning, and why you might do such a thing.

Some of this, I am sure, can be attributed to growing up on The Lord of the Rings and the Peter Jackson adaptations. Between Tolkien’s descriptions and so many hours of footage filmed in New Zealand, it was bound to happen. But I don’t think it’s the only reason. I suspect most people find inspiration of one sort or another while looking at the world around them. Some of us will be driven to create with our hands or our words. Others will have our souls filled in different ways.

For me, I’m not sure if there’s a setting that doesn’t spark my imagination in this way. Mountains, cities, rolling hills: every place has its own sort of story. All we have to do is find them.

Speaking of stories, I apologize for the terrible lateness of the one that was supposed to go up last week. It’s on its way, but it’s coming slowly, Hopefully, I’ll be able to post it and the next Tanner and Miranda story next week.

 

* Well, more immobile than they already are at 5pm on a workday.

 

Musings

[Blog] It’s Mocking Me

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes, that picture is an animated gif. Like this one:

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Back when Facebook flair was still a thing, I had one that looked a lot like this that enjoyed a place of honor on my little virtual bulletin board. It just perfectly sums up what it feels like when the words refuse to come– which is probably why it ended up as a piece of flair in the first place*.

At the time I didn’t have a daily wordcount that I was trying to reach, so the impudent blinking of a few pixels on a blank screen usually had no trouble derailing me. And truth be told, it still succeeds more often than I’d like even now, with the only difference being that I’m a little better at pushing my train of thought back onto the tracks. Or at least better about coming back to it whether I want to or not.

As you may have begun to suspect, today is one of those days when the cursor seems to be winning, sitting intransigent about halfway down the page of my document with half-finished bits of story lying in shambles all around it. The joke’s on it, though, because while it’s busy over there, I’ll stay here and work on something else. I always knew there was a good reason to have a couple projects going at once!

 

 

* Oddly enough, I’ve had a heck of a time finding it since then, and were it not for someone’s old livejournal account (link), I might not have been able to at all.

Updates

[Update] March 2018

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Hey everyone!

Just checking in with a quick update for March! February saw two new short stories, one a sci-fi one-shot about the trouble that can arise when a small and mischievous girl starts running around a space station (click here to read Aruri), and the other a new Tanner and Miranda adventure, this time telling the story of their first job together on the colony planet Verdant (click here to read The Verdant Wildlife). If you’ve got a moment, give them a read and tell me what you think! I’d love to hear from you.

Now that I’m (finally!) getting back into the swing of regular writing, this month should see another couple of new stories with the first going up next week, so keep an eye out for those. Also! While I have you here, what sort of story are you interested in seeing more of? Fantasy? Science fiction? A more in-depth look at the world from a previous story? Let me know!

Until next time!
~ Faith

Musings

[Blog] Seventy Days

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According to the calendar it’s been ten weeks since I left Armenia, and for the last several days, my thoughts have been wandering back there more and more frequently. I find myself missing Yerevan: the kebab and shawarma  stalls on almost every corner, the families coming out to enjoy all the parks and public places every evening, even the busy chaos that fills the streets. It’s all the surface level things that make up my memories, almost inconsequential in and of themselves, but part of a much greater whole.

In so many ways I’m still just processing, and those simple surface things are the useful handholds I can use to figure out what I found in the land of my heritage. Or rather, if that’s too melodramatic a turn of phrase (which I think it very well might be), they’re concrete examples that I can use to better understand what I found there and how I changed.

It would also be pretty cool if I figured out how to incorporate it into all those stories knocking around in my head. That might not be for a while, though. I can’t remember which of his essays I read it in*, but Ray Bradbury talked about how it took years for themes from his time in Mexico to start appearing in his stories, and he was a great deal more prolific than I am. Right now, I’ve just got ideas that I want to use, but I haven’t figured them out nearly well enough to be able to fit them into a piece of fiction without it sounding forced and cliched. Of course, the flip slide is that trying and failing to write about it the way I want to is the best way to get it figured out, so maybe that’s no excuse after all.

 

 

* If memory serves, it was one of the ones in his collection Zen in the Art of Writing. Even if not, I highly recommend that particular book to anyone interested in writing and Bradbury.

Musings

[Blog] Stretch Fingers, Write

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I’ve missed writing. I’ve missed chasing the words across the page and catching them on the tips of my fingers. I’ve missed building cities and starships and space stations, and imagining the conflicts and the stories that take place in them. I’ve missed the exploration– of themes, of characters, of imaginary places.

And it’s funny to say that, because it’s been years since I last took off an extended period from writing. I didn’t get half so much done while I was in Armenia (at least, not when it comes to fiction), but I didn’t stop either. All the same, though, now that I have a little more free time again, it’s like stretching muscles that haven’t had a chance to work hard for too long. It’s a little rough and rusty at first, but once it gets going, it feels like coming home.

I’m still surprised by how much practice it takes, and how little time it takes to fall back out of practice once you’ve gotten yourself into it. If writing is a method of recording your own thoughts, it almost seems that it should come more naturally. And yet there’s a divide between the things we imagine and the words we manage to put onto the page, and for most of us, it takes a lot of work to bridge that gap.

I can’t help but find it fascinating that language, even when it comes naturally and almost as quick as thought, can’t always express the ideas that build their homes in our heads. Things get even funnier when you realized that a particular language might not have the words you need to describe exactly what you want, and while another language might get closer, it’s still not perfect. And, funniest of all, that’s okay.

Because of its limitations, writing forces us to understand our own thoughts better in order to more fully express them with the words you have available. It would be one thing to be able to transfer a complete idea to another person’s mind, just as it exists in our own. It’s quite another to write as we actually do, knowing that each word we choose may evoke subtleties in the minds of our readers that we have no knowledge of.

But perhaps I’m rambling, letting the words take me where they will. I suspect it means that I haven’t thought all this through entirely, or at least not as completely as I thought I had. But that’s okay too. God knows I don’t have all this figured out. And besides, a little rambling now and then is healthy. How better to remind ourselves that there are a thousand things we don’t understand?

Musings

[Blog] Great Big Planetary Empires

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Across the planet today, there are around two hundred different countries, between three and eight thousand different languages, and more cultures (and subcultures?) than anyone could possibly count– if they could even find a reliable definition of culture in the first place. Or put another way, our Earth is both very big and very small.

This is the sort of thing that comes to mind after watching entirely too many episodes of Star Trek in a row. Or pretty much any science fiction TV show or movie or video game or book, for that matter. Compared to our own, all the biggest, grandest worlds that we’ve created are just so small, so limited.

And some of that is by necessity. Take the aforementioned episodes of Star Trek*, for example: if you only have a little less than an hour to tell a complete story, then you just don’t have time to develop a complete and complicated set of geopolitics for your strange, new world, and to try it would be to take away from the story you actually want to tell. When a bunch of humans, Klingons, and tribbles all end up on the same space station, we don’t need to know anything about the inner workings of Klingon geopolitics in order to enjoy the episode.

Even in the infinitely more complex Deep Space Nine that spent numerous episodes exploring the conflict between the Bajorans and the Cardassians, both species have only a single culture, and any hypothetical divisions among them are ignored. It seems there is no such thing as Northern Bajorans and Southern Bajorans, and even those separate groups that appear as the series progresses all stem from the same basic culture, only different in the way they react to their common history. And again, that’s not a bad thing. Even as simple as it is by real world standards, it’s plenty complex enough for the purposes of the story.

That being said, I’d love to see a story that plays a little more with the ramifications of multiple major powers on a single planet with the capability of interstellar travel. What would happen if American explorers made contact and formed an alliance with the Greys from the planet Heru at the same time that Russian explorers hit it off with the Purples on one of the same planet’s other continents? And what would happen if the Greys and the Purples didn’t get along?*

I’m inclined to think that that’s exactly the sort of question that science fiction was born to answer.

 

* It strikes me as I write this that I’m poorly enough read in science fiction that someone may have already written such a story, and I just don’t know about it. If you happen to know one, do mention it in the comments below, as like I said the idea fascinates me!

Updates

[Update] February 2018

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It’s February! January proved to be a busy and productive month, just not in the ways I’d expected it to be, as you might have guessed from the continued dearth of new stories on the blog. Between unpacking, getting settled, traveling home for a week, and hunting for a job to support my writing habit, there’s been no shortage of things to get done. That being said, now that they’re all more or less taken care of, next on the list is getting back into the old twice-a-month story schedule. I’m very excited.

I’m also very happy, because part of the getting settled process involved getting a writing corner set up in my room. Combined with the coffee shop half a mile from the house means, this means that I have almost unlimited opportunities for bunkering down and coaxing/threatening/luring words onto the page. If that’s not a recipe for a good writing environment, I’m sure I don’t know what is.

Speaking of which, keep an eye out for a new short story going up tomorrow! I’ve been wrestling with this one on and off since October, and provided I haven’t just jinxed it, it’s finally coming together properly. Next up is another Tanner and Miranda story that should go up before the end of the month.

That’s it for now! As always, thanks for sticking around and following my musings and meanderings. It truly does mean the world to me! If you’ve got any questions, comments, or just want to chat about writing and stories, drop me a line in the comments or by the contact link up above!

Until next time,
Faith

 

Handy new writing perch!
Musings

[Blog] Writing, Writing, Rewriting

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When I was in junior high, I distinctly remember having a conversation with one of my friends in which we expressed our doubts on whether or not all the famous authors we were studying really meant to infuse their works with all the themes and symbolism that our lit teachers said they did. If I remember correctly, we admitted that at least some of the structuring was done on purpose, but we figured that it had far more to do with the author wanting to write a good story than to make any particular point. Looking back, my only defense is that we were very young and very foolish, and we both grew a great deal wiser in the years that followed. It turns out there’s an awful lot that thirteen year olds (and the rest of us) don’t know, despite their opinion to the contrary.

That being said, I think (hope?) that I had formed that particular belief in part because of a faulty understanding of the way the vast majority of people write good stories– specifically, I had not yet realized that “all good writing is rewriting”. On that first run through a story, whether it’s a vignette or something novel-length or longer, there’s only so much crafting that can be done as you drag the words onto the page and pin them there in something roughly approximating what you had in mind in the first place. Hopefully, you have some idea of the point you want to make, but most of us are going to have to edit, coax, and generally manipulate the words for even longer than it took to write them in the first place if we want them to say everything we want them to. And, of course, some of the things I’ve written that I’m happiest with are the ones I stumbled on and realized after the fact that they worked better than anything else I’d tried, but if it weren’t for rewriting I doubt I’d ever have recognized them.

That being said, it’s entirely possible to get stuck in a neverending editing process. Or, worse, it’s easy to start the editing process prematurely, before the whole rough form of the story has made it onto the page. I won’t deny that restarting before reaching the end is occasionally helpful, but more often it seems to just be a good way to get stuck rewriting the same thousand words in a vain attempt to make them perfect. Nine times out of ten, the parts that actually need retooling will only become obvious once you’ve gotten to the end.