This month’s question: What is one valuable lesson I learned since I started writing?
The first thing that comes to mind is that we each have our own different writing styles and that style can make some people fall in love with our world and our writing and it can grate on someone else’s nerves.
A good example of this is me and my best friend. She is a fellow writer. We have different writing styles. She could like my work, she does like what i put into my world but how I write, my writing style, drives her nuts. During the re-write of Templar: Order and Chaos, I was having a wording problem with a sentence. My wife didn’t have an idea how to fix it. My mother in law, an English major, was not available. I turned to the next best person for help; my friend and fellow writer. She told me how to re-write the sentence and naturally, she fell into her own style when she told me how to re-write the sentence.
I shook my head and told her “that doesn’t work, it doesn’t fit with the entire paragraph, the tense is different, the flow is different. there isn’t one shred of me in that sentence.”
She read the paragraph and told me how to re write the paragraph. Again, she fell into her own style with it. I shook my head and said that doesn’t work, “We write so differently that anyone reading this would be able to tell that someone different wrote that paragraph.”
All she could do at that point was shrug and say, “I tried. You are on your own.”
God bless the editors. I don’t know how they can edit other people’s work and keep their own individuality out of editing other people’s work but they do it well! I just hope that I will make enough money someday to put a professional editor on retainer.
Now my wife likes my work. I have heard from friends of my writer friend that they love my character development. It seems to be the biggest stumbling block is my formal written language. an English major friend of mine said it was actually refreshing to see that in writing but it could drive some people nuts.
As for my wife; what is driving her nuts right now is GPFriday is only dropping one chapter at a time of Children of Legend; the Serial about the main characters of Templar: Order and Chaos before they grew up.
The June question is: Did we ever say “I quit?” If so, what made us come back to writing.
Since I go insane if I don’t write and my mother proved that this is a life long thing by pulling out a picture book i drew and wrote when I was 3, I never said I quit per se.
I am ashamed to admit it but I am a former smoker. I have been vaping since 2009 (since before it was infamous, before it was cool, before it was trendy, before it was weird, before it was awkward, before a lot of people knew about it). that was the best way i knew of to put down tobacco for good. I have made many attempts to quit smoking
chantix… If you are like me DON’T TRY CHANTIX!!
the patch, doesnt seem to work if you STILL SMOKE WHILE WEARING IT
the gum, DOESNT WORK IF YOU SMOKE WHILE CHEWING IT
They resorted to other anti depressants. One worked but it also took away that link in my brain between my creative writing and my hands. It’s called Wellbutron. I didn’t smoke, i didnt crave, didn’t even think about smoking for 3 weeks. I also couldn’t put pen to paper in a creative way for 3 weeks. I couldn’t type a limerick or prose, let alone work on a novel during that time.
This is how my wife learned I really do go crazy if I don’t write. before, she thought I was making it up, i just really wanted to write and just used my mental health as an excuse. Nope, something goes wrong with my thought process if I cannot write. I can try to go without writing but sooner or later I am COMPELLED to write. if something blocks me from it then it is like normal people without sleep. I go BANANAS!
At the end of the 3 weeks me and my wife came to a critical decision. throw the wellbutron away and if I go back to smoking we will find something else. If i have to try anything that messes with my brain chemestry we have to make sure it is nothing like wellbutron, we want that 3 week period to be nothing more than a fuzzy reminder.
at least a few days after the last dose I was able to write again.
The may question is: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?
I am going to put a disclaimer here now: this may reveal some plot points for 2 novels that I have published and one that is coming out in 2018. if you have an interest in reading the two that are out or plan on reading the third novel when it comes out then read beyond at your own risk.
Any science fiction writer (and historical fiction writer for that matter) will tell you that you have to do a lot of research to write credible science fiction. it is one thing to pull something extraordinary out of hammer space but another thing to not have that object or plot point with the object ripped apart by anyone who knows a little bit about science and physics. It only gets worse when you factor in that most people now carry instant access to the internet in their pocket, Gene Roddenberry would be so proud and horrified by the smart phone. It makes his tricorder look more like an old palm pilot than a piece of sophisticated equipment.
You might be confused if you have read the first 2 templar novels, they are more urban fantasy than science fiction. Let me introduce you to an interesting fact about myself. I am an open minded skeptic (sounds like an oxymoron like military intelligence but it’s not i assure you). I am a Druid, i believe a lot in spirituality but I am also a technophille in the worst way. I once referred to the data center i work in as a silicon forest, i may not be that far off the mark, after all I work in R&D and there are some problems and solutions where even the architects and technologists (people who know WAY more about this stuff than me) don’t understand. In short I tend to write science fiction as well as urban fantasy.
In one novel, soon to be published, I was working on a propulsion system, a faster than light system. We all know about warp drive, thank you star trek, and there are several equations floating around the theoretical physics word showing that warp is possible. The one i gravitate to most is the one where it creates a field of negative gravity behind the ship and a field of positive gravity in front of the ship. The ship “falls” through space reaching faster than light speeds. the ship itself never really moves but the space around the ship does; hence the term warp.
That isn’t the cool part, that is coming up. The power demands set by those equations are enormous. There are generally 2 ways to get around this. the first one is to use the star trek method; a matter and anti-matter reaction, the second is to use fusion, create an artificial star and harvest the radiation from the reaction. Believe it or not, the technology exists on earth, NOW, to create anti matter and to initiate fusion.
Science fiction always relies on the author researching the current technology and physics. Take the science and understand it. The FICTION is usually making it smaller and readily available. Carbon batteries is a good example of science fiction that is slowly becoming fact. The theory is there but the technology is a good 30-50 years away, at best, from making it affordable. if you don’t know what carbon batteries are, they will be a game changer in everything powered by batteries once the technology is affordable and reliable.
In space, safety is important. I always took an issue with the star trek way of powering their FTL engines. You have to use magnetic containment to keep anti matter from reacting in the worst way with its surroundings, they make up problems with the core, heck, the core having an issue is a plot point for episodes. In my universe, my characters don’t want to deal with an engine breakdown unless they do something that is going to break the engine or neglect to take care of it (thank you firefly). I chose fusion as their powersource.
The fusion core is fairly simple; you have 192 lasers targeting the center of a sphere, at the center of that sphere is a small amount of hydrogen (could be protium-the hydrogen we are used to dealing with, deuterium, or tritium-the unstable neutron dense form of hydrogen). The pressure of the lasers pushes the hydrogen atoms together, overcoming the weak electromagnetic force and exciting the strong nuclear force resulting in fusing the atoms together. You need to have a cluster of atoms for a self sustaining reaction, you will create beryllium and helium and some other trace compounds, they will quickly split back into hydrogen and back into helium under the pressure; essentially the fusion cycle. I over simplified the fusion cycle but that isn’t as important.
The cool part is where i got the 192 lasers from. in California there is a research center where they actually do this. Now their facility is larger than the building I work in (the fiction is the fusion engine in the book is about the size of a small medicine ball). When I saw a picture of the facility I realized I saw part of the device before.
Yes that picture above is part of the device. It was featured in Startek: Into Darkness. That is a real life fusion plant. Those large pylons sticking off of the central sphere are the specialized Fiber optics that direct the laser beams to the firing chamber. I wonder how many people thought that was just props?
Well I have never participated in the A to Z challenge to the short answer is No.
That’s it folks, short blog post for the April IWSG, see ya….
You didn’t think I would let you off that Easily, did you?
I have never participated in the A to Z challenge for two reasons. The first reason is I haven’t heard of it before this year. Nicohle Christopherson, a friend of mine, told me about it and tried to convince me to do it but I had to decline doing it this year. That brings me to the second reason. There are 24 hours in a day, I have a family, a full time job, and if I don’t write I will go insane. I have proven this as a fact time and again in my life. If you are a writer and you hold down a job then you technically have two full time jobs. If you have a family then every other ounce of free time is pretty much consumed. My family doesn’t get enough time with me as it is. I can’t ask them to see me even less by asking them to give me up for another month out of the year. My career as a Systems Engineer pays the bills at the moment so until my writing can overtake my income as a systems engineer, I can’t exactly quit that (I also went to college for Computer Information Systems so its not like i am stuck in a dead end job i didn’t want).
Rant over. As a reward I do have some bonus content. I have the first chapter of a serial out. This goes with the Templar Lone Wolfe saga. Meant to supplement Templar: Order and Chaos and Templar: Spirit Killer but won’t spoil the plot for those that haven’t read it yet. This Serial format story is called Children of Legend. Not sure if I will officially round all of this up and publish it yet but I will make it available on Blogs. It will also introduce characters talked about in the regular series and how some of the characters got their names. I work on these when I get blocked on something else so I can’t promise a regular schedule to these.
Children of Legend
Chapter #1: Unusual Children
March 31st, 2020-CE
It was a scene that should not be playing out in a first-grade classroom. The sound of a child gurgling and chocking. His raven-haired teacher, eyes filled with rage, held her pupil off the ground. Her hands around his neck, throttling him. His gold eyes bulged. Tears started to mix into his brown chin length hair. To the teacher’s right and his left stood another seven-year-old, her green eyes wide in horror. Torn between what to do to save her eldest friend.
A third seven-year-old stood defiantly, his blue eyes staring daggers into the teacher. He was not frozen in terror, “Let him go!” he growled, as best his high-pitched voice could manage, “Put him down or I’ll hit you!” He ran up to her and kicked her in the ankle.
The teacher’s response was to kick the blonde haired, blue eyed, boy. It knocked the boy down but enraged him further. He reached out to the air. He could feel a book but it wasn’t in his hand. He thrust his hand forward as if he were throwing the book. A heavy dictionary from the book case behind them flew across the classroom, much to his shock, and collided with her head.
The action worked and she dropped the boy to the ground where he laid there coughing and gasping. She spun around, “Who threw that book?” She howled in rage.
“Just another child,” the boy coughed. He said it to keep her attention off of his friends.
She turned around and grabbed his neck again. His face reddened as she tightened down. His mouth opened to yelp but no sound came out. Instead his mind screamed out in a telepathic projection for him, “Somebody help me!” His mind screamed. Everyone around him, normal and otherwise, heard the cry for help. Children in the other rooms all screamed and gasped. His two friends, the only other children in the room, stepped back in shock of such a powerful projection.
Her response was to squeeze tighter. He heard a small pop as his hyoid bone broke. Rage filled her dark eyes, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live!” She whispered.
Unable to speak, he unconsciously projected, “I’m a boy!”
“You’re a demon!” She hissed.
“Put him down!” A male voice barked. His gold eyes shot to the doorway to see another teacher standing there. His teacher ignored the male teacher until she could no longer ignore him. A punch to her jaw sent both the boy and the teacher to the ground. The teacher was unconscious and the boy was almost starting to follow.
Still unable to breathe, his mind again called out, “Jena, help me!”
Now able to act, the girl with green eyes and reddish brown shoulder length hair rushed to his side. She gently touched his neck, sending a comforting and warm, invisible stream of energy into his neck. His hyoid bone healed itself correctly, allowing the boy to gasp. The teacher soon followed up, “Get away from him!” The teacher stated sternly.
“No!” he coughed, “She is my family!”
* * *
The boy with gold eyes, his friend with blue eyes and blonde hair and Jena sat on a bench outside of the principal’s office. Jena had her arms draped around the golden eyed boy’s shoulders and watched as his neck turned different shades of blue and purple in the shape of two hands strangling him. His coughing had died down but his voice was still raspy and his breathing was still haggard. She didn’t want to touch his neck, afraid she would cause more pain in trying to user her empathic abilities to heal him, “Are you okay, Sean?”
The golden eyed boy nodded as the voices coming from the office behind them started to grow louder, “I’ll be fine.” He said. He glanced over to his friend who was still fuming with rage over what their teacher had done, “How about you, Curtis?”
“I’m fine, I just want to have another go at Ms. Leeks!” Curtis grumbled.
“Use your newfound power against her?” Jena questioned in response.
He glanced down at his hands, “I’m not sure how I did that. I was angry and I wanted to throw something at her. I could feel the book in my hand at that point. I thought I picked up a book and I thought I was throwing it from my hand. I never knew that I never had the book in my hand until it hit her in the head from a different angle.”
“Telekinesis,” Sean stated with a raspy voice. Both of them looked at him in astonishment before Jena smiled. He was gifted with two abilities just as the rest of them were. His second ability gave him insights into just about anything.
Curtis glanced down at his hands, “Cool.” He reached out, determined to grasp another item from the secretary’s desk across the way. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t feel the object from before. He glanced down at it again and asked, “Why can’t I feel it like before?”
“Maybe it was your emotional state?” Jena suggested.
“So, I can only wield this power when I’m pissed?” Curtis questioned.
“I know, it sucks,” Sean stated.
Curtis, however, beamed, “What do you mean? This is totally awesome!”
“Huh?” Both Sean and Jena stated at the same time.
Neither had a chance to react as they heard a crash of class from beyond the doors of the principal’s office.
* * *
Inside of the principal’s office Sean’s parent’s Dale Carter and Sylvia Carter paced while the principal sat typing on his laptop, “What are you going to do about this incident, mister?” Sylvia hissed at the male principal. Her straight red hair was starting to get disheveled as she paced furiously. Her green eyes carried more fire than her crimson hair. Sitting atop her black shirt was a triskal within a circle. It was an article of which she constantly clung to. Her leather jacket was open as the spring weather was starting to make it too warm for her to wear the jacket any more.
When there was no answer from the principal, Sylvia shot her husband with a venomous stare. The venom was not meant for him but it did get him to act. He placed his hands behind his back and his blue eyes pierced through to the man. His telepathy got him to sit up straight and acknowledge the pair of unusual parents. The mother was a network technician and the father was a former Marine and now a cook at the college, “Our son just had his life threatened by his first-grade teacher. What do you intend to do about it?” He asked sternly.
“We have called the police and have detained Mrs. Leeks. She is under arrest for aggravated assault,” The Principal answered.
“That’s not good enough!” Sylvia exclaimed.
“What would you like me to do?” The principal asked but his gaze was fixed at Dale, not Sylvia.
“Excuse me, Mister! I asked the question!” Sylvia hissed.
“Would you control you wife, Mister Carter,” The principal insisted.
“She’s not property,” Dale answered.
“Direct your responses to me!” Sylvia insisted sternly, “Now, what are you going to do to help my son?”
“We are going to offer council services to the three children in the room when the attack occurred; your son, Jena Beckhart, and Curtis Barton. We will also pay for a hospital examination and any treatment for any injuries that have occurred.”
“That’s not good enough!” Sylvia growled.
“What would make it good enough?” The Principal questioned in response.
She placed her hands on her hips and answered, “The trust that should exist between student and teacher as well as the trust between parent and staff is destroyed, what will you do to fix that?”
“We can have the teachers and staff take classes for sensitivity and anger management,” He answered.
“How about you resign?” She hissed.
“You hired that vile teacher! She didn’t like my son from day one and you were the one that hired her!” Sylvia protested.
The principal shook his head, “I refuse to speak to you anymore, good day Miss Carter.”
“We could go to the news about this incident,” Sylvia stated.
The Principal said nothing, he went back to writing a report on his laptop. Dale shook his head and said, “We will go to the news and to the school board with this if you refuse to help.”
The principal ignored both of them. Sylvia strode forward and slammed the lid of the laptop shut. He barely had time to pull his hands free of the keyboard. Sylvia wasn’t finished. She grasped the laptop in her hand and chucked it towards the window. The laptop sailed into the window, shattering it as it went through it. The Principal stood, enraged by what she had just down, “What the hell! Why you little—”
Quicker than what could be thought possible, Dale placed himself between the principal and his wife, “Excuse me sir, you cannot just ignore us! On top of that, NEVER threaten my wife or speak ill of her!”
“I should have your wife arrested for vandalism!” the principal growled in response.
“Do that and I will end your career, you will spend the rest of your life asking people ‘would you like fries with that?’ instead of administering staff!” Dale stated in response.
“She is making an unreasonable request,” He stated.
“You aren’t dealing with the situation that well,” Dale protested in response, “You should expect two parents that are nearly hysterical! If you want this to wait until everyone calms down, then you may receive calls from a legal team. You don’t want that; the district doesn’t want that and I don’t want to put my child through that! Sylvia is right; his trust in teachers will be shattered from this point forward! All the best councilors in the world will not be able to help that! The administration does have some responsibility in this. It may have been wrong for her to ask for your resignation but she deserves to hear that you have some responsibility for this situation!”
Sylvia hissed and turned around, “You take care of this Dale, I’m taking my don down to the springs. He needs some time with family!”
* * *
Sean sat in the back seat with a book in his lap. It was starting to get dark out so he couldn’t read it now. He couldn’t concentrate on the book anyway, his neck seemed to hurt too much from his recent experience. His mother glanced at him from the rear-view mirror as she drove down the highway. Her green eyes showed as much concern as they did sadness, “I’m sorry for what happened to you today. I wish I could take it away from you. What happened that caused the teacher to attack you like that? Did you do something to provoke the attack?”
Sean shrugged. His gold eyes focused on something far off in the distance. He was trying to figure out what could have caused the attack. It had been a few years now since he could hear the drone of voices in his head. It was a sea of voices; one way conversations in his head. They had nothing to do with him most of the time. They were one way monologues that had to do with someone’s day or what they were doing or their first impressions with something. A couple of years ago he realized that it was the thoughts of those around him. He tried to block them out the best he could but they still filtered in. Some of the thoughts he welcomed in, those like Jena who seemed to have similar abilities to him.
“She was thinking about something,” He answered after a moment, “I told her it was alright, she was probably overreacting.”
Sylvia’s eyes narrowed. She hoped her son would not take after her and after his father’s side of the family but it was becoming apparent that he was one of the gifted, as Dale’s side of the family referred to. Her side of the family always tried to bury their powers. They tried to pretend that they didn’t exist. Those that managed to blend in usually were “unusually talented” or had “intuitive instincts.” She was never one to blend in and thus she was one of the black sheep of the family.
“You read her mind,” She stated finally, “You know you shouldn’t do that.”
Sean nodded, “I know. I didn’t mean to do it. It just sort of happened. It all slipped out and the next thing that I knew she had her hands around my neck.”
“I’m not excusing what she did and I will make sure she gets punished for what she did. I am just letting you know that a lot of people exist in the world that do not have your talents. You should not use your talents on other people. Using your talents against people that don’t have your talents will scare them and they may attack you for it. I’m sorry you had to find that out the hard way. Just keep that in mind the next time you have the urge to look into the mind of another person,” Sylvia stated in response.
Sean shook his head, “You don’t understand. I didn’t mean to do it at all. I don’t mean to read anyone’s mind. I hear them all in my head all the time. It is an ocean of voices in my head. I hear them all the time. It is loud and I can’t block them out. I can’t get them to shut up!”
His words seemed to shock her. She didn’t know that he had been struggling to block out the thoughts of those around him. It sounded like his mind had the reach much further than her mind or her husbands. She glanced down at her speedometer in thought. She wondered if she might have been wrong about not letting her husband and his family train her son on how to control his abilities. It seemed now that his powers were totally out of control. He had no clue on how to block out or control his powers. She thought he would have learned something by now.
She forced a smile and said, “Don’t worry. I am sure something will change for you in the near future. For now, enjoy Relena’s company when we get to Colorado Springs. I am sure she misses you.”
The mention of his second cousin did seem to cheer him up. He smiled and nodded, “It has been a while since I saw her last. I wonder if she has been having fun?”