Writing Prompts

[Blog] Writing Prompts Open! (Round 2)

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I think it’s time for another round of writing prompts! (She says, shamelessly levying everyone else’s imaginations for ideas.) Same deal as last time: all you lovely people give me prompts– a song, a word, a phrase, a whole darn premise, whatever comes to mind– and I respond with a bit of flash fiction (100-200 words). Post your prompts in the comments!

Also, as it’s the middle of the month I have a full(er) length short story due. It’s mostly written and on its way, and I should be posting it over the weekend, so keep an eye out!

Musings

[Blog] Resistance is Futile

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One of my favorite tropes for fantasy or sci-fi stories is when the big bad has a penchant for assimilating its enemies. Well. I say favorite, but it might be more accurate to say that I find it to be thoroughly compelling and a great way to raise the stakes– it being a fate worse than death, and all that. Something about collectives of cyborgs bent on galactic conquest or races of giant AI spaceships intent on harvesting all organic life just gets under my skin and does a great job of making me root for their ultimate demise.

Borg_cube
Resistance is futile.

Oddly enough, my feelings regarding zombies and vampires aren’t as strong, which leads me to suspect that what unsettles me the most is the fact that their victims end up helping them realize their schemes of total conquest, not so much the loss of humanity of each individual victim. Dying’s bad enough, but if I could avoid joining the dark side and trying to kill my friends and doom the world in the process, that would be much preferred.

And given how effective these sorts of villains can be, it’s probably no surprise that I’m trying to do the same thing with my villain for The Seven. The obvious problem with this being that I have a very distinct idea in my head of the feelings I want these creatures to evoke, and I don’t think I’m quite there yet. I want them to create a feeling of dread in the people that have to fight them, and I want that feeling to go beyond just fear for their own survival. And if I want that feeling in the characters to be believable, they need to evoke that feeling in the readers as well.

Forgive the musings of the author neck-deep in worldbuilding questions. Or, if it strikes your fancy, ask me more! It’s harder to stick with the silly ideas when I have to explain them out loud.

 

Musings

[Blog] Balancing

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It’s been one heck of a week in the best of ways: I started a new job, with my first full day being this past Monday. Which basically means that the past five days have been absolutely nuts, filled to the brim with a billion new things to learn, new responsibilities, and one ridiculously excited Faith. Unfortunately, what it hasn’t been filled with is disciplined writing time. And for this week, I’m okay with that. Mostly.

Because as far as excuses for not writing go, starting a new job and keeping an 8ish to 5ish schedule for the first time in… a while is a brilliant one. It’s also a really good way for writing to drop to a back burner, and I don’t want that to happen. Which mostly just means that I’m going to have to find a balance. The hours are there, after all. I just need to use them.

Musings

[Blog] Threads

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It’s funny how certain things can end up having such a great impact on our lives. I realized a little while back that if I had found my way into a job as an EMT before I went to Armenia, there’s every chance that I wouldn’t have gone at all. At least, not until later, and perhaps not for as long as I did. That in and of itself is interesting enough, but it goes so much farther than that. I got certified as an EMT more than three years ago with the intention of finding work with an ambulance company or in a hospital, but as I already had a steady job with wonderful people, I was less than motivated to move on. That job itself was the one I’d gotten straight out of college that I more or less fell into after working various jobs in the same department as a student, mostly (at first) because I knew they were hiring most any student looking for work, and that was exactly what I was doing.

So really, you could say that I went to Armenia in the fall of 2017 because I was a student worker in the custodial department of my college. And you wouldn’t be far off. There is, of course, a whole lot more to it than just that, and probably a thousand other factors that I don’t know and will likely never know, but the connection remains. And I find that absolutely fascinating.

Musings

[Blog] Overpromising

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Despite copious amounts of evidence, I haven’t wanted to admit it. I’ve bitten off more than I could chew. But another month has streaked on past, and I haven’t managed to finish the one short story I’ve been working on since March, let alone anything else, and even I’m starting to realize that trying to hold tighter to my ideal schedule as it slips away is going to end up backfiring in a spectacular way, because much as I wish it would, stubborn willpower doesn’t actually add more hours to the day.*

So! Instead of throwing my metaphorical back out by pushing against something that clearly isn’t moving, I’m going to try something a little different. Starting this month (May?!), I’ll just be aiming for a single short story, to be posted up on the 15th or whatever weekday is closest to that date and not a Friday. The rest of my writing time will be spent on my novel. Because the darn thing desperately needs to be written. I desperately need it to be written.

My hope is that the specific schedule will help me keep on track and make better progress, and that the drop from two (or zero, I know, I know…) to one story per month will help me stay better focused, which will in turn let me get more done without getting caught in the cycle of panic that I’m not getting enough done. Theoretically. We’ll see how it goes! And to those of you who have stuck with me, thank you so much. Your support means the world to me.

 

 

* Being more carefully disciplined would help me make the most of the hours I do have, but it’s still only a stop-gap measure. I think. I may just need to figure out how to better make time for writing during this migratory time of life.

Musings

[Blog] Green to Gold

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The mountains where I live are starting to fade. The last good spring rain was weeks ago, and while the hills haven’t yet grown brown and dry, they’re also not as bright and giddily green as they were at the beginning of the month. It changes the way I look at the landscape and reminds me that I do live in a desert of sorts.

It’s also part of why I know that the setting/weather can be an incredibly effective tool in writing. One that I’m usually really bad at using. Not so much in short stories (mine, at least) that take place over a shorter period of time, but when you get something novel-length, having the seasons or the climate change over the course of the story can add some awesome depth to the themes and conflict.

Think The Lion King and the way the Pridelands change. You might argue that it’s a bit heavy handed (not sure I could argue against that, per se) but it’s definitely effective. If I remember right, that particular example also works within the framework that used the state of the kingdom to reflect on its ruler; if the ruler was wicked or ill, the land itself would be sick and poor. Like I said: maybe a little heavy handed, but it certainly gets the point across.

All this is to say that I think I’m finally starting to understand what my high school English teachers were trying to say when they said that a good setting is like another character in the story. It’s got its own arc and it affects the story itself. And if you think about it, that not so far fetched. I dare any of you to tell me that you’ve never had things changed by the weather.

Musings

[Blog] Music to my Ears

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Sometimes, you run across a piece of music that makes you want to write something that does justice to the heroic deeds it invokes in your imagination. Perhaps it has something to with the decidedly epic music used in movie trailers, but that may be something of a chicken/egg problem– in some cases, I suspect the music does ninety percent of the work (and, I have to admit, it totally works on me). But that being said, it’s not like we haven’t been making music to move the soul for a long, long time.

Either way, like I said, sometimes you run across a piece that makes your fingers itch and your mind burn with ideas. For me, that’s usually something like Two Steps From Hell’s Empire of Angels or Last of the Wilds by Nightwish. The tricky part is that the pieces that really get me excited are almost invariably the ones that would match the climax of a story, and there’s a whole lot of work that still needs to go into getting me there.

That, or I’d need to write out of order, and I’ve never been any good at that.

I know some of you reading this are writers as well. What are some of your favorite writing soundtracks?

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.