Writing Wednesday (Sunday Edition)

Got a late start this month, so the first Writing Wednesday is going to be on a Sunday. Today’s prompt comes from Writing Exercises, a random generator collection site. I used the random first line generator and got ” He kept absolutely still as the footsteps got louder ” Giving myself a 15 minute time span to write and I’m doing it in the blog editor so this is hardly going to be the most proofread story you’ll read today.

 THE STORY:

He kept absolutely still as the footsteps got louder, curling further into the niche in the wall he had found that was just big enough to hold him.  He knew this had been a poor idea, but it had been so long since he had seen Sarah, he had just felt he had to try to respond to her summons. He had made it halfway up the castle before running into any of the guardsmen that roamed it. Luckily he had worn dark clothing and the lighting had been turned down low as it was nearly midnight and most of the inhabitants were asleep. 

“What are we doing?” He jumped, turning to the opposite way of the guards to see Sarah standing there, an eyebrow raised.

“I was trying to see you.” They were going to be caught.

“Miss me then?”  Her mouth turned up slightly in amusement.  He supposed as the oldest daughter of the Regent she wasn’t as afraid of the guards finding them roaming the halls after hours.  

“No,” he said, sarcasm evident.  “I just felt like getting a good aerobic exercise in by hiding from guards.”  She giggled softly at that before turning to walk into the hall.

“Jeremey, Aara, My boyfriend is here, so don’t be alarmed.

“Of course, my lady,”  he heard a rougher voice say.  She pulled him out of the niche and pulled him down the hall past the two guards who gave him amused grins.

“Sarah, your father is going to know.”

“I don’t care, and neither should you,” she stated, continuing to pull him along.  “Father isn’t even here.  Besides, everyone knows I have a relationship with someone.  You act as if this is the middle ages and having someone visit me after 6 is some sort of infringement upon my honor.”  She shook her head as they came to the doorway to her suite, turning to look at him.  “And you have to know that Dad didn’t mean it.”

“I’m pretty sure he did.”  He couldn’t forget the cold look in the eyes of the Regent as he told him what would happen if he was found with Sarah outside public occasions.    Freiderick definately meant every word he said.  “You asked me here.”

“I know.  And you could have gone through the front door and been escorted up rather then sneaking around like you are trying to steal Gemma’s jewels.”

“Your Gemma is scarier then the Regent.  Why would anyone take her jewels?”

“Because they are idiots obsessed with money, or the shiney.” She finally got the door open and the two walked in.  “But that’s beside the point. As much as I missed you, and I did,” she stated with a look in his direction that told him she meant what she said.  He squeezed the hand still attached to his own.”I have something else to discuss with you.  Do you still have contacts with the Visen?”

“Yes,” he answered, puzzled.  As a artisan, he had many contacts across the various political bodies on the planet.  Sarah’s father was the Regent of Ikeva, a mountainous region to the north.  The Visen were located to the south of the continent, where the land was more flat and were more agriculturally based while Ikeva was more mineral and technology based economically.

“Any with political connections?”

“I think, why?”

“I was visiting with the Carens this past week, and got some intel that suggests that they are planning on trying to annex Visen.”

Writing Wednesday (belated)

So, its Friday, not Wednesday but it doesn’t have the same aliteration. Fiction Friday? It could work but sounds more like a recommednation post. Either way, here is my writing exercise for the week.

To explain the context of this bit, I have been working on a novel for years based on the myth(s) of Persephone called Lady of Shadows. It was a more sci-fi/fantasy take on the myths, deciding that the Greek, Norse and Egyptian gods were actually another species of Human that was more advanced and practically immortal. Cronus/Saturn is the leader of an organization called Titans, INC that the rest are fighting against because they are using the business to manipulate and use the regular humans (so Cronus is the big bad). All of his kids other than Zeus are adopted/fostered so Hera/Zeus is not quite as incesterious as it is in the myths, and neither is Persephone/Hades. So this challenge is me trying to explain the family dynamics.

 Challenge: 15 minutes, scene from one of my novel WIPS.

Hades pinched the bridge of his nose, attempting to stave off the oncoming headache that often accompanied dealing with his younger foster brother.  He loved Zeus, he really did, but Zeus was at times hard to handle.  He supposed it was better that he was there rather then then Posiedon who frankly rarely had the patience.   Posiedon had the shortest fuse of the family, which is probably why Zeus went to Hades rather then the other.

Their family was complicated.  Cronus and Rhia had only one biological child, and that was Zeus.  They had struggled to have children for years, opting eventually to foster and adopt to fulfill Rhia’s desire to be a mother. Whether Cronus wanted to be a father was less certian but for all his sins, he loved his wife.  He was largely out of the picture, prefering the children barely seen and not heard, although he liked to show of Zeus when he was younger till Zeus figured out the type of man he was and rebelled.

Hades had been the first son, but the fourth taken in.  When he arrived he gained an older sister in Hestia who was never happier then when she was caring for someone.  She was his favorite sister still, partially because she was the one to try and connect to him first when he arrived and partially because they were the two with the most patience and even temper.  Then there was Ceres, who was almost as dramatic as Zeus was when he was upset.  She wasn’t quite as oblvious, however, and actually could tell when he was on people’s last nerves.

Hera had been his age, and sometimes people had mistaken then for twins.  They had a simular look…dark hair and eyes.  But while Hades had been more introverted, Hera was an extrovert.  She had ambition enough for them all, and often the skills to back up anything she did.  She did however have a temper to rival Poseidon.  

Hera had left the house as soon as she was old enough, out to case her dreams.  She kept in contact with Hestia and Hades, but not so much with the others.  Zeus had been only a baby when she left, and didn’t have the same sibling bond he had with others.  He had been surprised but not shocked when it turned out his baby brother had a crush on the driven sister.  She was more like a family friend then a sibling to zeus.

He had been more surprised however, when it turned out Hera had returned the interest.

Writing Wednesday

Prompt: Alien race sees Earth for the first time (15 minute writing)

Story:

Grrr stared out the window at the small planet they had come across. It had been awhile since they had spotted lifeforms at this stage of development and the Fenfrew had decided it wanted to observe. So far the observations had not been too pleasing.

For one thing, the planet was mostly water. So, it seemed, were the lifeforms. Water was necessary, but for a Frew, this seemed the unlikest of planets for it to form. Mars, although lacking in a necessary atmosphere, appeared more to their liking.

Yet life had persevered. The beings seemed to quite enjoy the water. It seemed to be used as both nourishment and entertainment. They used it to provide hygiene. The sentient species – or at least the most numerous, were almost hairless. The variety of ways they dealt with this phenomenon, well, varied greatly. They seemed to exist in all temperatures and climate zones. Frankly, Grr preferred the cool of space, so it baffled Xim as to how the beings on this planet regularly enjoyed extreme temperatures.

The planet was not inhabitable, at least not by the Frew. It was surprising to find out any life could be sustained on it, but it was full of it, and would require much more study. Frankly, Grr was curious as to understanding the peculiarities of this planet, but Xe was glad he was not on the team that would stay and observe.

Rynli, a grey pelt, joined him in the observation room. Xe scanned the monitors before speaking.

“Their atmosphere might be more to our liking in a few decades”

Writing Wednesday!

I am starting a new recurring post series called Writing Wednesday, which as you can imagine is a writing exercise I will undertake every wednesday. For now, I am using This Blog as a prompt giver, but I do accept prompts in the comment sections. I can’t guarantee I’ll use all of them, but if you have a prompt you would like to see me use, feel free to give it.

I’ll take the prompt and write it directly into the blog. Sometimes I may give myself a time limit (Today’s is 15 minutes) to tell the story. Today’s story is probably scientifically unsound, but I wrote it in 15ish minutes and no time for prep like research. Also hasn’t been edited beyond basic listening to the spell check.

Prompt: You look up in the sky and think that you’re seeing things for a moment. But you’re not. There are two moons above you.

Story (507 words):

 Krysta opened her eyes slowly.  The ache in her head was slight but still present.  The room however was not well lit, the only light coming from the window where moonlight filtered in.  Blinking she looked around the room, trying to access where she was.  It was unfamiliar to her.  The walls were made of thick stone,  although she couldn’t be certain in this lighting. The only decoration was the curtains, which moved with the slight breeze entering through the window.

She sat up in her bed, moving to get up and walk to the window.  The bed was surprisingly large, with four tall posts at the corners. The covers were thick, and as she removed them, the air felt colder on her exposed body.  She definately wasn’t in California anymore, where the temperatures had rarely gone under 80 the past week.   THe bed was also high, her legs not reaching the floor when she sat on the edge.   

She slid to the floor, flinching at the cold of the hardwood, and made her way to the window.  Her window looked over an ocean, a rocky shore in the mid-distance.  The waves crashed against the rocks, and she could hear the distant sounds of the movement.  There was nothing however to tell her where she was.  

It was then that she looked up at the moon and found it to be different then she had ever seen it.  For one, there were two moons in the sky, one the size that she was used to, and another far closer far larger. 

“Ah, you are awake.”  She turned around, surprised by the appearance of another person.  “I apologise for startling you.  It is not often we have guests here.”  She frowned – how did that effect surprising people.  She went to ask but found herself without her voice.  The man standing the doorway looked at her in concern, and then sympathy.  “It will return,” he assured her.  “The method of travel is safe, but it does take some time to recover.  We haven’t quite figured out why it affects your people’s vocal cords, but it seems not to linger too long.”  He placed a tray on a table she hadn’t noticed before in the corner near the door beside the bed.  

“I’ve brought you some food.  Keeping your strength up with help you adapt more quickly.” 

Adapt to what?” She thought. 

“Adapt to the planet’s differences.”  He glanced over at her and caught her wildeyed look.  “No one explained this to you?”  She shook her head.

“Despicable.” he muttered under his breath.  “You have been taken to Laroux, a planet about 15 light years away from your home planet,”  he continued in a louder voice.  “For the most part, Laroux is not much different than Earth, but it has a higher gravity, two moons which of course cause more radical tides, and a longer day.  It won’t take long to adapt.  Most of what you have to recover from is the stasis you were put in for the journey.

Camp Nano Mid-way Update

The halfway mark for Camp Nano: July 2018 edition has arrived.  Word count wise I’m doing good, with an expected (according to them) end date of the 26th.  However, in actually accomplished projects I’m not doing as well.  I’ve been writing my blog posts which accounts for much of my word count, as well as some shorter stories that have come to mind.  However I had two projects I wanted to complete this month that have yet to be completed.

One is a multi-chapter fanfiction that I’ve been working on several years now (2012) and its starting to get a little ridiculous that I haven’t finished it yet.  Especially as I have several chapters mostly written.    However on the other hand its been one of my more popular works in fanfiction so perhaps the long time working on it paid off.

I also had a project from April where I had 30 songs that I was going to translate into writing prompts.  I have yet to work on this at all.

Mostly I think it’s an issue of time management, which I’m apparently bad at, but also inspiration.  There are some days where just nothing will come out (which ends up being the days I get more work done on my essay series for this blog.

I’m hoping that when I give my end of month update I’ll have a lot better news to share.  I plan on trying to manage my time a little bit better and getting the stories done I wanted to get done.  I also plan on finishing some of the essays that I have that are left incomplete – including one WOH essay that was meant to be posted over a week ago.

I’ll be posting the end-of-Nano post on the 30th.  Not actually the last day (as July has 31 days) but it’s the last posting day for this blog for July.

Disclaimers Discussion

Recently I came across a social media post that had a screenshot of a conversation about the history of disclaimers.  It made me want to revisit the topic, which I wrote about during my Fanfic Primer series.  A Disclaimer, traditionally, has been a notice on any piece of fan-made media that explains that the content is based on someone else’s creative property and the creator of this media is not out to make money on it.   When I first started writing in middle school, everything had a disclaimer.  It was common practice particularly on fanfic.  Culturally, fanfic had not quite made it as a true expression.  People still saw it as plagiarism, and an attempt to use someone else’s creativity instead of your own.

The amount of conversations I had with people who asked me when I was going to start to write something real was high.

There was also a fear of getting punished for your fanish endeavours in your public life.  Fanfic archives were password protected at times, and disclaimers could be lengthy.  Some creators of the original content *would* at that time pursue fan-content makers.  Anne Rice in particular had a history with prosecuting fanfiction writers.  Fanfiction.net won’t allow fanfiction based on her works, and authors of content from that time have found themselves sent cease-and-desist letters, or further.   Anne McCaffrey, an author I love had the opinon that having others play with her characters would be hard to keep seperate, so she made a forum for the fanfic and allowed it no where else.  Whether or not that kept her from actually seeing it, I’m not sure.  I haven’t participated on that forum in many years, so I also don’t know if they have loosened up on that since her death.

I feel disclaimers are important for a multitude of reasons.  Historically they protected people (or at least attempted to) from being accused of trying to make money off of someone else’s intellectual property.  But it was also a place to show that you acknowledge you are taking some leads from other sources. This is where I think it is still important.  While places like Archive of Our Own, and general culture have given fanfic more respect as a medium, an author should still acknowledge the author of source material.  Any source material.  This is why I am glad that AO3 has allowed author notes sections where I can credit any other sources outside the main one I tagged as well as thank any betas/helpers that helped out.

Fanfic itself is not only for free anymore as well.  If you go on Amazon and type in Pride and Prejudice you can find hundreds of variations and adaptations to the classic novel.  Some are free on Kindle Unlimited, others are not. Other older books are simular.  However, the balk of fanfiction is made by people who either want to play in universe that they love, or want to see where the story go go.

So while a debate can exsit on whether disclaimers are necessarily needed when its clear contextually that its a fanfic, I think they are important to keep at least in theory.  It can be used in a author’s note, or a full traditional disclaimer.

What do you think about disclaimers?

Writing Resources.

Continuing this month’s theme of writing, Today’s post is a simple list of links relating to writing.  There are hundreds of different writing resources out there available for those who want to look, but here are a few that either I or one of my writing friends have tried and liked.  Feel free to comment with your own suggestions.

National Novel Writing Month

It seems that NANO definately should not be left out of any list of writing resources.  National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo or Nano for short) is a yearly event where writers gather together for a month and try to write 50,000 words or a small novella.  Usually at the end are some good coupons and discounts for those who achieve the goal.  It also has forums, pep talks, and other resources to keep you going.

In April and June, Nano holds ‘Camp Nano‘, where writers gather together to write their own made-up goals (I recently edited mine down to 20,000 due to various reasons).  The goals can be less than 50k (like mine) or more (one of my cabinmates is doing 100,000.).  It’s up to the writer.   Like Nano in November, Camp Nano has forums and other resources for writers.

All is free, although they do have an online store to support costs and a charity they run each year.

4TheWords

4Thewords is a writing game.  It helps motivate you to write more.  You fight various monsters by completing word count goals.  I’m actually writing this post on their website.  MOstly because I need to fight a monster and ran out of creative parts of the story I was writing.  I’m fighting a monster right now that asks for 150 words in 11 minutes, which isn’t too hard.  But the monsters vary in amount of time and word count goals, and the developers are constantly trying out new things to add to the game.  There are also forums and areas for people to read other’s works.  Its really fun, but its not for everyone.   This has a free trial and then a monthly fee of around $4 which is paid by buying in-game currency so you can pre-pay for months in advance, or buy a larger package of currently (crystals) for in-game items and subscription.  its up to you.

Hemingway Editor

The Hemingway Editor is a browser based editing software that allows you to write in your browser window and receive statistics on your writing.  It helps alot with repetitiveness or over use of adverbs.  It can also give you a readability statistics.  This is useful for writing all sorts of types – non-fiction and fiction alike.  Its also Free.

Polygon Map Maker

Ok, this isn’t really a writing resource so to speak.  Someone created a way of generating polygons that look like islands and put it up on a website for those of us who feel its fun to create your own world to make our own island shapes to work off of.  Its fun, and it can be used to help you create a map for your fantasy story, a game, or just to waste some time.

750 Words:

750words has a basic goal: To get you to write 750 words per day.  There are badges to be won for the various goals you reach.  They include writing streaks, time of day, amount of words written, and many others.  It also gives you various statistics on your writing. It also saves what you wrote for the day so if you need to look back, you can.  New members to the website are charged $5 in a subscription fee to help cover the costs of upkeep.

Writer: The Internet Typewriter

For those who like the sound of typewriters,  and or are easily distracted by various things when using the computer, Writer might be a good app for you.  It’s free to register and it has a completely back screen to help keep you focused on what you are doing.  It does have a premium account, but I’ve never tried it.

CharaHub

Charahub is an online database for you to use to create and maintain information about your characters.  This is good for artists too. It helps streamline your information to one place.  Especially useful if you have many characters that you might want to bring back and don’t want to forget what you said about them.

The Periodic Table of Storytelling

Really this is just an infographic that helps you remember the elements of writing.  Its useful for remembering, but also learning.

Camp Nano Update

Author’s Note:  This was written on time, but then not posted till 2 days after it was supposed to be, so the dates are off in this.  

This post was a bit late in being posted.  I usually try and post around noon ET/EST but it doesn’t always work that way.  Part of it will be explained later in this post.

Today is the 18th, which means we are a bit past the halfway mark for April’s Camp Nano event.  For those of you just turning in, Camp Nano is a twice a year event in which writers gather to attempt to reach writing goals.  Its a spin off of the larger event, NanoWrimo that is held every November.  Unlike the Full Nano, Camp Nano is more personizable.  You can choose your word count, make cabins withyour friends who are also partispating and in general just have a good time.  Nano is a bit more focused, though just as fun.

This year, my goal was to write 30,000 words.  Not that hard for me usually, but it seems that life has other plans.  This month I have been continuously sick with a cold-slash-sinus infection which not only makes me an unhappy camper, it also makes my ability to write go down.  I just don’t feel like doing much of anything other then lay down and watch a show where people screw up cakes.  Most of my writing this month has been posts for this blog, and an email to my mother.

I’m still endeavouring to met my goal. I have a few days off in a row in the near future where I plan on resting (to get better) and writing (to get ot my goal).  Hopefully at the end of the month I can tell you I actually made it.  I’m probably about 15,000 words behind at this point, but I shall conquer the writer’s block!

I do think however that my goal of finishing two of my long-awaiting to be finished stories will not happen.  I’m almost finished with them, so hopefully within the next month I will finish.  I just don’t think it will happen this month at the rate I am going.  However, I will be finishing the pre-planned posts for this month.  Including Friday’s Women of History post, this time featuring astronaut Sally K. Ride, and Monday’s post which will be a list of writing resources.  If you have any favorites of your own, feel free to tell me.  I always welcome new suggestions to try out.

Hope your month is going well for you, and that this spring-in-winter’s-clothing ends soon so the germs will lay off.

Fandom Writing: The Importance of Trigger Warnings

WARNING:  This post mentions several triggering subjects in the course of covering Trigger Warnings.  

There has always been a debate on the use of trigger warnings..  Triggers are words and or images that can trigger adverse reactions in people who have suffered trauma or have various anxiety disorders. It also extends to things that people know, without having the anxiety, that they don’t care to see/here because its just not something they want to digest/handle.  People over the years have developed the idea of ‘Trigger Warnings’ to help people who have issues with these things avoid them, or at least be prepared to handle them if they still continue on.

Trigger warnings are important.  The debate on trigger warnings is that some people believe they are over used, and warning about things a person should be able to handle.  Others believe that not using it is showing a lack of compassion against those who have problems with triggers.  I am in the middle on this argument.  I believe common sense warnings about possible triggers is important and should be done.  However, if someone doesn’t write a trigger for something its not right to say they are not compassionate.  Perhaps it something they are unaware of being a trigger.

The common sense triggers are often built into archives.  Violence, character death, etc.  And it is already common to put tags to express when a fic has sexual content.  Its important to put these messages because not everyone is okay with everything.  Even if its not a trigger, some people simply don’t want to read smut, or want fluff only and no violence.  They might not want to read something descriptive in gore, or deals with a particular event or activity that makes them uncomfortable.

One of the generic ones is gore.  Some people don’t like the sight of blood or any other bodily fluid.  Sometimes its because an particular event, and sometimes it is just something the person knows they don’t like to see.  I used to have trouble remembering to tag these on posts because I wouldn’t think something was gorey, but then I would get messages asking for the tag.

If you are writing something that includes a sensitive topic, its a good idea to tag it, or make a warning in your chapter notes.  While you might not have a problem with it, or feel its important to your story, some people may just need to avoid that for their own personal reasons.   I have known people who refuse to tag stuff like this because they feel it gives the story away, but it would make it so much easier for people to avoid situations where they might be triggered.  It’s a courtesy to your readers. At the vary least it allows those who are picky about what they read the time to decide if your story will be one they choose.  It will also help those who have severe reactions to certain triggers to avoid them.

I think the fact that I have an anxiety disorder myself I understand the trigger system.  I am not triggered by anything written, but I can sympathise with those who are.  Sometimes surprise is not a good thing. So just take a few moments when you post your stories to think if there is anything worth tagging, anything that might trigger anxiety in people.  Things you should tag include sexual violence (including dubious consent), fertility issues (like miscarriage and stillbirth), detailed violence and torture.  Respect requests for added tags as well.