Tag Archives: scifi

#DarkLightChallenge – Freedom

He expected tears, and was braced for an attack.

Instead, she hugged him.

“They turned ten years ago.” She said, pulling away. “They had asked me to do it, if they ever showed signs of it, but I just couldn’t. Thanks to you, though, they’re free now.”

#DarkLightChallenge – Jack and Jill

Jack shot it again, and the body exploded, showering the toys with the dust of a finallyohdeargodthankyou dead vampire. There was still cleanup to do, and the toys would have to be burned – he wasn’t taking any chances – but the nightmare was over.

#DarkLightChallenge – The Lunch Date

All around the table, people were on the ground, crying silently, hoping to go unnoticed. The young man spread out on the table had no such luck, and his screams filled the air as Bree and Dan began to feed.

#DarkLightChallenge – Prayer

She dug the knife in a little deeper. His screams echoed, filling the room with a prayer for mercy.

She smiled and gave the hilt a sharp twist. “Sorry, Kal. Looks like God has more important things to worry about.” She leaned in closer to whisper in his ear. “So much for being the favorite son, huh?”

#PhotoStoryPrompt – The Seeker.

After the near deafening roar of the mack truck, the silence of the dusty desert road was a blessing. A ramshackle old house stood against a backdrop of the mountains in the distance. Somewhere between the house and the mountains, a dust storm had brewed.

I pulled the hood of my jacket up, and tied the bandana over my mouth and nose a little tighter. If what the lady at the bar told me is true, the answers I seek are in that little old house, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a bunch of dust and wind get in my way of uncovering the truth.

#PhotoStoryPrompt – Tunnel Vision Pt. 2

This is a follow up to Tunnel Vision.

 

“Maybe we were too late?” Sarika threw her makeshift staff into the woods. “It did take us a while to find this place.”

“The man said she would leave a sign if she arrived before us and had to leave.” Ash gestured at the walls around them. “There’s nothing here.” She shook her head. “Something’s happened to her, I know it.”

Fumé?”

Ash closed her eyes, and turned her focus inward, searching. “I don’t know,” she said, finally. “I can’t tell if it’s that, or just basic instinct. But there is something off around here.” She opened her eyes again, walking to the mouth of the tunnel. A cool puff of wind twined around her neck, ruffling the choppy edges of her hair at the back of her neck. She lifted her hand, trailing her fingers through the current of air as it passed by, and frowning when she felt the way it suddenly shifted. Instead of continuing on its path, it turned back, curling around her like a child in need of comfort. “What-?” Behind her, she heard Sarika’s footsteps as she moved closer. Pushing the sound away, Ash concentrated on the quicksilver flashes of emotion the wind buffeted her with. Anger, distress, fear…so much fear. And underneath it all, sorrow. She bowed her head.

Choti bahana?

Ash looked over her shoulder at Sarika. “We only checked the forest for the living.”

Sarika stared back at her for a moment, face blank. Then she lunged.

Ash didn’t fight as she felt her sister’s fingers dig into her shoulder. The familiar sensation of being pulled through a tunnel of air surrounded her, and then she was stumbling, tripping after Sarika out of an alley and down the stairs of a nearby subway station. As she caught up, she heard her sister muttering under her breath, curses in English spattered throughout their native Hindi.

Bright purple petunias poked up between the cracks in the sidewalk as they passed.

 

#DarkLightChallenge – Starset

The ship lurched, falling out of the bend in space the ship had created. His smile faltered. Before him was nothing but darkness. He was staring into the abyss – and the abyss hungered.

#DarkLightChallenge – School of NoMore

The children ran out of the school doors in droves, only to stop in confusion. The sky was dark. The sun was missing, the stars weren’t shining, and the moon…was the moon melting?

#DarkLightChallenge – Butterfly Wings

Pain lanced through her foot, traveling through her body. Her screams mingled with the shouts of panic around her.

Matt’s voice rose above the others. “I can’t just leave her!”

No, don’t go-

“They travel in packs, we have to go!”

-I don’t want to die alone…

World building: Putting It Together.

And now for some more advice on building your world. Last time, I talked about things you would need to help you keep your information organized. This week, it’s a bit more general advice. Ways to help you think yourself through issues/ideas you may be confused or unsure about.

Remember, this isn’t something that is 100% going to work for you. Everyone is different, so your mileage may vary – quite a bit, at that.

  1. Talk it out.

    cooperate-2924261_1920If you can’t decide on one idea or another, open up a blank document and “talk” it out with yourself. Or, better yet, with a friend or collaborator (I recommend Google Docs for this).

    Some people like to argue with themselves about which way they want a story to go, or the pros and cons of using one idea or another. If that’s you, hey, that’s fine! It’s wonderful, even. It helps sometimes, believe me, I know. The problem is: sometimes you get so caught up with chasing this idea or that idea, that you forget where you were going with it. Have it written down helps you 1. Stay on track, 2. remember all the ideas you come up with, and why you discarded them, or kept them, and 3. Oftentimes, you will come across an entirely different idea that completely blows all the others out of the water.

    Just remember, when/if you use this method: do not delete anything. No thinking, “oh this sounds stupid” and hitting backspace. Type it out: “This is stupid, what was I even thinking? ARG! Next idea, please? Brain?”

    When you are entirely done discussing whatever issue you’re trying to work out, and you have a final decision on what you are going to do, then go back and delete all the extra crap.

    Bullet point the information you want to keep (remember: keep it organized). You may even want to bullet point the ideas you rejected and why they didn’t make the final cut. That can help prevent the wishy-washy “Why didn’t I do this instead?” question that likes to rear its ugly head halfway through the damn book. You’ll be able to go “Oh yeah, that’s why!” and move on much quicker.

  2. Diversity is good.
    Think about it. Look around you. Chances are, unless you live in a backwoods small town, you’re going to see people of all colors and beliefs. There’s going to be families with mostly blondes in it. Another with mostly brunettes. There may even be a couple redheads in your community.

    Now look at the world you created. Is everyone exactly the same? If they are, you might want to make sure you have a really good reason why. I’m not saying you need the “token black guy” or the “nerdy Asian” stereotypes. You just need to have more than busty blondes and chisel-jawed heroes. Spice it up. Why can’t the hero be the Average Joe or Jane? Why can’t the guy with the sculpted muscles be the spunky sidekick?

    And don’t get me started on the sexualities. Just, seriously, spice. Spice is good. Spice is wonderful.

  3. Pointed diversity is insulting.
    This goes back to the “token black guy” thing. If you are just including a character of color/sexuality/gender to be “inclusive” – DON’T.

    It’s an insult to the people you’re “trying” to include, your story, and yourself.

  4. Do your research
    This is where it can get fun, believe it or not. You just have to make sure you don’t fall into the Wikipedia abyss. This actually also ties into a major pet peeve of mine regarding research vs. creative license. I understand that sometimes it’s tempting to just write whatever you want, and claim creative license – research can be tedious, believe me, I know – but when you do your research, it shows and it really helps to make things so much better. It feels more authentic. Plus, a person who reads a lot of that particular genre will be able to tell that you’ve put in the work, and will appreciate your story all the more.

    There’s also the chance you’ll get a new idea to play with, which is always a bonus.
    And now for one that is slightly off topic, but still important:
  5. SAVE YOUR SOURCES.
    This one probably sounds insulting at first (“Psh, like I don’t know how to bookmark a site!”), but trust me: sometimes that’s not enough. When I say “save your sources” I mean save them. If the site won’t allow you to download the page, screenshot or copy and paste the important information into a word file and save it (as well as the site address and/or authors of the article). Writing a book can take a long time; you don’t want to do what I did, and lose one of your sources when the person running the site loses interest and lets their domain expire. The internet WayBack Machine can only do so much.

    On that same note, however, make sure your information is up to date. Don’t use information from the 1950s to write a book in 2018 (unless your story is actually set in 1950s, in which case, your characters can/should only act on the information available in their own time…).

    This bit of advice is mostly aimed at those of you who are working with ideas that aren’t very well known, or societies that a lot isn’t known about (ie: Sumer, FreeMasons, certain types of cults, religions, etc.). Whether it’s because people lose interest over time, or other reasons – in the case of cults, societies, and religions, anyway – a lot of the sites with somewhat useful information tend to disappear.

    I know some/most of us probably use Wikipedia for our sources, but even those pages change sometimes, so the point remains. Save your information.

 

Keep in mind: I am not here to tell you how to write. We all have different styles, and let’s be honest, there is no real expert on writing. There are professionals in a field, but that does not make them “experts” and what works for them might not work for you.

The suggestions I’ve made here are not rules. These are simply ideas and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way – ones that I wish I had heard about/figured out long before I did. I hope you find them at least somewhat useful.

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