Posts Tagged 'Fiction'

Flash Fiction Thursdays: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

"Guilty Until Proven Innocent"

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

As she blinked, red dots splattered across her vision from the interrogator’s lights.  Jyla kept her hands clasped to her sides.  Her interrogator faced the steel wall.  Jyla chewed on her bottom lip and watched him, waiting for him to move, listening for his breathing; waiting for any sign of her interrogator’s humanity.

“Where were you first taken?” he asked a voice like snake.

“Borderlands,” Jyla responded immediately.  Her instruments were destroyed when her aircraft ignited, so she had no way of giving more details.  Her interrogator did not turn to face her.  Instead, he stood in motionless silence.  It made her skin crawl.

“Where.”

“My instruments were destroyed in the fire that took my Mosquito.”

“Where are the ruins of the aircraft.”

“I told you, Sir, I don’t know exact coordinates.”

Her interrogator stepped forward and placed a white gloved hand against the wall.  The outline of a door carved itself in the metal.  “That is not good enough,” he told her, and exited.

Even after he left, Jylouna did not move.  She knew the walls were mirrors, and people were watching in.  She suspected that the King’s Men thought that she had betrayed the King and given her aircraft to rebels hiding in the forest.  And even though she knew these allegations were false, she had no way to prove it.

.

Author’s Note:
Seeing an upcoming deadline, I’ve switched from working on ‘Tweens to editing chapter four of Fate.  The character here, Jylouna (Jie-L’ow-Nuh) is the character whose voice I speak in for that chapter, but she is also my most difficult character to write.  I’ve been having difficulty getting back into her head.  Please let me know if this is flat or feels forced.
Much love,
Amber

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Flash Fiction Thursdays: Acceptance

Rejection, from The Letter

Acceptance

Her eyes lurked in the shadows.  She saw the haggard man there and the scuffed iron pistol he held in his shaking hand, but she pretended she didn’t.  If Vengeance deemed she was going to die between these red silk covers, then so be it.  But she would die with dignity.  When the gunshot sounded and the burning metal pierced her soft bronze skin, she was ready.

.

Author’s Note:
In both my writing courses this past year at college, my professors emphasized that a story doesn’t have to be long to be a story.  I recognize length as one of my weak points in creative writing.  I am inclined to be incredibly long, even if I don’t need to be.  I think these five sentences give enough information to relay character and basic setting to the reader, but I’m interested in your thoughts- how can I make this better without making it longer?
Much love,
Amber.

One Step At A Time

Shane Reading Backstage during The Letter

Last night, I had a decision to make:  go to bed?  Or write?

A while back I decided that yes.  Yes I am invested in The Sin Series, but if I publish, I want to publish a one-shot book before trying to market a series.  Because The Sin Series is like… my life… I don’t want to pitch that one to agents and have it turned down and be forced to self-publish, if I publish at all.  If I’m going to be turned down, I want it to be with a one-shot, so I can learn and improve and use any feedback I get in also expanding The Sin Series.  That left me with two options:  ‘Tweens or Absolutely Mad.

Absolutely Mad is a book that draws on the verse of Alice in Wonderland.  Since Lewis Carrol’s canon is no longer under copyright, I am free to do whatever I want with the characters and the world.  The main character, Yvette Hatter, is cynical and sarcastic, but curious enough and has an imagination, so it doesn’t take a huge leap of faith for her to believe that she has been pushed into a magical looking glass into the world of Wonderland, where a half-crazed Cheshire Cat is making himself dictator of the land.  It’s very much a distopian novel, but it’s out of all my usual conventions.  Absolutely Mad is written in the first person, to begin.  The story is also only told by one character, Yvette, which is also out of my norm.  Because this story is so far out of the normal for me, I don’t want this one to be the first one I venture into.

The other option is ‘Tweens‘Tweens was inspired by several things, from a comment made by one of Bryan’s roommates (“Everyone knows that covers are impenetrable to monsters!”) to an episode of Charmed (season two, I think) to someone telling me that I was good at writing children’s voice (gee, thanks!).  ‘Tweens starts in the real world (allowing me allusions, thank goodness) but there are ‘tweens all over the real world during which people, especially children, are susceptible to the Land Between.  Things like dreams and doorways, where children and those who still are a child at heart are liable to be scooped up by creatures of the ‘Tween and taken into their world.  Lucy Brown is seven years old, and her parents think that she is prone to nightmares and will have nothing of her complaints.  Her older brother, Timothy remembers the Land Between and is there to help her when he can, but he’s also a college student and is beginning to get tired of his little sister crying to him constantly.  He doesn’t have much of a choice, though, when Lucy is snatched away into the Land Between, and the only person who knows enough to go after her is Timothy himself.

So.  To tie in the first sentence, last night I had a choice:  go to bed, or write.  I compromised.  I wrote 1000 words in ‘Tweens.  In fact, I made good progress in Timothy’s voice, bringing him into the the Land Between in his recurring dream.  I was really pleased with myself.  I think that ‘Tweens is going to need a few good drafts before I will even think about querying (and that’s after finishing the manuscript) but I am always pleased whenever I am able to sit down and get something done like that.  Even if it’s only 1000 words (which takes me about an hour), it’s something.

On a side note, I noticed on Miss Rosemary’s blog, she has her specific story goals in the sidebar.  I think that is something I should consider doing myself.  I’ve never been one for due-dates, but if I manage to get published, I will be working on deadlines, and it’s something I should get used to.  Besides.  Left to my own devices, I get nothing done.

Right now?  Right now I am going to go read another 25 pages in Alabi’s World for school and then I am going to sit down and push my way through ‘Tweens until I need to leave for work at  4:30.  Sounds like a good, productive plan to me.

Twi-hards and Pott-heads.

Luna Lovegood:  Half-Blood Prince Poster

With the movie of Eclipse fresh out of the oven, the time again comes when any level-headed, perfectly rational, life-treasuring human being pulls the covers over their eyes and hides from the rabid fans.  Or perhaps I’m a bit unfair.   You see, there are three kinds of Twilight fans.  Type One: Rabid, insane people who stalk Robert Pattinson and ask him to bite their children. These are the ones that call themselves “Twi-hard”.  Type Two: Those who argue for hours and hours over who’s better:  Jacob or Edward.  They will occasionally stop talking to their friends over the issue, but only for a few days, and not forever (for those who hate those of the opposite team forever and always, see “Type One”.)  Type Three: Those who read the books, appreciate them, go to the midnight premieres most of the time, and keep up with the news.  Certain types are, naturally, a little easier to abide by.  For me, I know only Twos and Threes.  I get to read about Ones in the newspaper and online, though.

What makes these young adult book series’ such a phenomenon?  Is it just because they are what they are:  book series’ for young adults whose hormones aren’t stable and therefore it’s not about the books- it’s about the hotness-scale of the characters?  Is it because the writing is the most brilliant thing this side of Mars?  Or is it all about telling a good story?  I think it’s a mixture of all three (of course, many Twilight fans will tell you it’s all about Edward).

I am biased:  I picked up Twilight once when I was a senior in high school and didn’t like the writing style, so I put it back down.  There are a lot of people who have done the same as me, but there are also those who can (and will) argue that Stephanie Meyer’s writing style is easy to read and superior to any other they know.  Hey, awesome.  I’m glad that it works for y’all.

I choose not to talk about my opinions of the characters, or Meyer’s plot (which seems entirely dependent on Bella procrastinating on picking either Edward or Jacob).  I’m not suicidal, see, so I will leave the story itself alone.  From what I have heard, however, the screenplay is fantastically close to the actual books (the Harry Potter directors could stand to learn something) and that is a nice relief to the fans.  However, the film cast and crew probably doesn’t want to be killed by rabid fans by being incompetent.

Is it worth our time and effort to throw ourselves into these fictional worlds?  I’m not just talking about the world of Twilight– goodness knows I’ve been waiting for my letter to Hogwarts for ten years, and there are many out there that would die for a chance to see Hobbiton or have tried to build their own lightsaber.  The real question isn’t whether it’s worth our time and effort, the real question is:  why do we do it?  No series outside of fantasy has as big of a following, as many obsessive fans.

Fantasy has always been escapism.  It is true that young adults seem to pick it up more whole-heartedly (and no wonder- adults obsessing over fictional characters are judged much more heavily than teenagers), but there are people who come home after work and sink into an armchair with that tattered copy of Prisoner of Azkaban that they just finished last night, and they open it up to page one again…  “Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways…”  It certainly isn’t just the “geek” community who dives into the fandom.  It’s amazing that as everyone is wishing they could fly a tie-fighter instead of punching in data, we are escaping into our fantasy worlds and binding ourselves together as a community.

Oh yes.  I said it.  Twi-hards, you are equal to those wanna-be Jedi.  Pott-heads, you are equal to those who do not simply walk into Mordor.  So even though I do not like Twilight personally, I respect Stephanie Meyer just as much as I respect J.K. Rowling.  They are both gods, in their own right- weaving worlds of wonder for all of us to enjoy.  Whether it is Narnia, or Middle Earth, Tatooine, Forks, Hogwarts, Discworld, the Calla… I can go on.  We all exist in them in our imaginations to escape our world.  Fanfiction is the inner reaches of our souls trying to control those worlds we love.  Roleplaying gives us a chance to live in those worlds, even if only for a moment.

That said, I have a few confessions to make:

  • I dressed up as Obi-Wan Kenobi for Halloween when I was a senior in high school.
  • I own a time turner.
  • I have every single Harry Potter book, including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quiddich Through the Ages, and Tales of Beedle the Bard.
  • I own half of the New Jedi Order series.
  • I have read Attack of the Clones by R.A. Salvatore 5 times.
  • I own the special extended versions of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  • I am dressing up as Luna Lovegood (see image above) this Halloween.
  • I have read the Harry Potter series all the way through twice, and I have read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at least 10 times (I stopped counting).
  • I have music from A Very Potter Musical on my Zen.
  • I own the Lord of the Rings trivia game… and rock at it.
  • I learned proper English grammar by writing Harry Potter fanfiction.
  • I online-roleplayed in the Potterverse for two years (until there were no more decent forums).
  • I once spent a whole week pouring through my Harry Potter books to prove that Draco and Hermione were a more feasible couple than Draco and Harry, even though I don’t ship Draco/Hermione.
  • I own soundtracks to Lord of the Rings:  Return of the King, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and a collectors edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
  • I’ve taken the online Harry Potter Sorting Tests enough to know that I don’t fit in one house, I’m split between two (Ravenclaw and Slytherin) but if I was actually at Hogwarts, I’d be sorted into Ravenclaw.
  • I have a toy lightsaber… and nobody else can touch it. *shifty eyes*
  • I own the videogames: Knights of the Old Republic, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Force Unleashed, Lord of the Rings:  The Two Towers, Lord of the Rings:  Return of the King, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  • I dominate at Harry Potter Scene It.
  • I go to every single Harry Potter premiere I can get to.
  • I went to 2am showings of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
  • I spend the entire time watching the Harry Potter movies pointing out all the discrepancies from the books.  Somehow, this amuses my friends.

That is all I can think of at the moment.  What about y’all – do you have a list of “guilty secrets” that ties you to your favourite fictional worlds?  A cardboard cut-out of Edward Cullen, perhaps?  Arwen’s pendant?  How many times have you walked into your closet, hoping you’d come out in Narnia?  I’d love to know about it!

Down With the Bloody Big Pen!

Ashley busy in Creative Writing

I often find myself frustrated with writing.  I feel like the market is so competitive, nobody will ever read my works.  I won’t become a national phenomenon, and I’ll never meet amazing authors like J.K. Rowling and Tamora Pierce.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy writing, granted, but every once and a while, I get depressed about it.  I want to see the paperback artwork for my book… instead of just pixels on my computer screen.

These times are the times when I stop writing.  Why?  Because I feel like I have so little freedom any way, why should I waste it doing something that isn’t going to get me anywhere.  It’s a long jump from the girl sitting on the old stone wall, a tattered paperback in her hand, breathing in the words as though she could live in the magical world she was reading about.

I’m in that place right now.  I could write, but I feel no motivation to write my fiction.  So when I do write, I am spending my time writing non-fiction:  my life, my memories, my thoughts.  In other words, blogging.  Is blogging dangerous to my writing life?  Or is it just frosting to fill in the cracks until my muse returns from her vacation in the Bahamas?  I can’t tell.  Both, I think, sometimes.  For example, I am sitting here, writing this blog entry, when I very well could be writing my flash fiction of the day.  That’s what I should be doing; I’m supposed to do it every day.  But I don’t do it often.  In fact, I rarely do it at all, lately.  Simultaneously, I am also aware that there have been days in the past where I’ve written four flashes because I just didn’t want to stop.  I wrote twenty pages in a day when I started working on Absolutely Mad.  Now that was fun.  I was so incredibly proud of myself.  Eric and Yvette were imprinted in my mind and they felt more alive to me than any of the Sin Series characters have in a long time.

Through writing at school (during class, occasionally), I have learned that I have the capacity to be an incredibly prolific writer.  I often do as many as 500 words in a mere blog entry, and I don’t have a terribly difficult time writing 2000 words a day, when properly inspired.  If I remember correctly, Stephen King says he does 2000 words a day in On Writing. He considers himself a prolific writer.  So I should be proud of myself.

Only, it’s making myself do it.  I blame my muse, often.  It’s so frustrating to sit in front of my computer screen and listen to it hum and have the bright white pop out until my eyes water up, but have my fingers frozen on the keys as though they were superglued there.  I blame the economy, writer’s block, my muse, all of it, but that’s all lies.  See, I have ideas in my head to write about.  Sometimes, I even have paragraphs prepared.  But in the end, they’re all just in my head, and they never end up down on paper.  I wish I could say why.

In order to attempt to redeem myself, I am going to go attempt to write a flash.  What do you do when you know you should be writing, but you just can’t?  And does blogging count as “writing” in the sense of it being an art form, even if I am just pouring out my thoughts?  And what do you think:  is blogging a distraction from “real writing”?


tweet-a-twitter-twoo?

something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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