Tag Archives: science fiction

Mayhem in March: Monthly Writing Prompts

It’s time, my voluptuous golden minions for the monthly prompt selection by your Mistress of Fine Arts. I was hellbent on NOT doing themes every month, especially considering I did do a theme in January AND February related both to holidays and the weather, so this month’s prompts are thankfully unrelated. Although, I did sneak in a little Irish Celtic mythology in one of them so that St. Patrick’s Day would be at least vaguely connected. Can’t help but love my Irish heritage. AmIright?

Now that I’m done rambling. I present—–Mayhem in March Writing Prompts!
(All prompts were found or inspired by Awesome Writing Prompts)

Write about someone who uses office supplies for evil.

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Write a story with this criteria: Genre-folk tale. Person-hairdresser who moonlights as an assassin. Problem-there’s a red cap on the loose in town.

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Use these three words in a story: a mustache, a tube of lipstick, and a ray gun.

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Feel free to use the photos here as additional inspiration. Sometimes the right photo can jar an idea even faster than the words. Visual description is part of what brings the story to life as you know.

So, join with me this month in writing something with these prompts. It can be 100 words, it can be 1500. Whatever the muses decide. And when you’re finished with the story or even just part of it, send it to me at Amyoung0606@gmail.com and you will have it published on here.

Just to recap. Basically, write using one of the above (or all of them if you’re brave enough) ((if you’re really brave you’ll use all in one story)) from 03/03ne/16 until 03/27/16. Then you email it to me and watch as people revel and enjoy in your piece of art.
I know I will.

Happy reading and writing!

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The Doctor Is In!

T.A.R.D.I.S. —Time And Relative Dimension(s) In Space

Announcing the longest-running, most-successful science fiction series to hit television and the world by storm–I give you, Doctor Who. In the short time I have been alive, many shows, books, and ideas have captured my undivided attention.  But nothing is more intriguing and adventurous than Doctor Who.

I will leave most of the story telling to Wikipedia for the history of this amazing show, but here is the short version for those who have resisted this renewed love for the Doctor.

Since 1963, the Doctor has traveled through time and space in the T.A.R.D.I.S.   to save various races and events in time.  There have been 11 incarnations of the elusive Time Lord as he takes trips to the destruction of the Earth and planets. The most recent series picked up in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston as the 9th Doctor and the T.A.R.D.I.S. is currently in the able hands of Matt Smith.

The many faces of Doctor Who

The series has created a new army of time-traveling, dalek-fighting fans that have welcomed each new doctor with open arms. I have only started the new series beginning in 2005, but so far, the show has amazed and shocked me. It is no wonder it is one of the most acclaimed shows to come out of Great Britain. Strange alien races defy the audience’s previous notion of outer space, and there is technology that would confound scientists today.

David Tennant as the 10th Doctor

Since I have only experienced two incarnations of the Doctor, what I’m about to say is purely speculation until I have seen every one of them, but the Doctor that is by far the best is….DAVID TENNANT!

The tenth incarnation of the Doctor has the tenacity and energy to thrill every episode. Even more so, David Tennant manages to, in every episode, bring a sense of wonder to the human race that has not been shown so much in the Doctor. It also helps that he has dashing good looks.

The status of science fictions shows these days is depressing. Special effects cost too much, and send the good shows to an early grave (Eureka). Some manage a good run (Fringe), but they never last long.  For Doctor Who, life goes on forever. Reincarnating as a new Doctor for the rest of time, and eternally traveling with new companions.

How many Doctor Who fans are out there? Which Doctor is your favorite and why?

Share the Doctor Who LOVE ❤

Happy reading/writing!

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The Terrible Case of the Research Jitters

As one of the most influential genres in all of the written word, science fiction has become the genre of the speculation. For humans, speculation and inquiry are the two most important aspects to our intellect because it leads to the discovery, and invention of the most amazing things ever created.

The genre is so embedded into the culture of humanity that we have been taking ideas from science fiction stories and creating innovations for the last century.  Science fiction is so important to write that the following quote is the only reason I need to write as much of it as I can:

Rod Serling‘s (narrator of The Twilight Zone) definition is “fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science Fiction is the improbable made possible.”

What if the world looked like this?

While most speculate the first true science fiction book, I would like to contribute the circle of contributors. These writers have made the genre what it is today, a magnificent support for the advancement of humanity.

Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Jonathan Swift, and many more have opened a door to eternal truth and speculation. You see, science fiction answers the ever-asking question–what if?

What if there were giant holes in the universe that had such a high density that its gravity simply took everything  near it and obliterated it. Black holes-the existence has been known to man for only a short time. Yet, the idea that black holes exist was formed in a fiction book. It’s crazy to think that some of the marvels like the submarine were one imaginative objects in the plots of books. It is here that I begin my attempt at a very science-y fiction story.

Earlier this week I described the setting for a horror, and the important of setting in place in that genre. When it comes to science fiction, however, it is the research that creates the most believable story. There is no need to put the  most extravagant idea down on paper and expect it to be invented. What makes science fiction loved by millions is its ability to be realistic and potentially happen in the future. For most writers, the constant research is just a part of the job. However, for the science fiction writer, a background in the science is almost mandatory. Arthur C. Clarke is one of the big three of science fiction and his background in radio and satellite communication allowed him to write phenomenal books that transformed the genre. 2001: A Space Odyssey opened our eyes to the future of space travel, AI, and remarkably–tablets used by thousands around the world today. He had such an influence they named the geostationary satellites after him.

It makes sense that the writer of science fiction should first and foremost be a scientist, but where does that leave the rest of us? My degrees will be in literature and writing, not physics and bio-mechanics. So, what gives me the right to say I can effectively write science fiction on things I don’t understand completely. Well, the answer is in the research. While I may not do as much research for say a romance story, I will always do research for my stories. It is a dedication to learning and Socrates’ philosophy that we are all ignorant. The world is waiting for me to discover the truth in it, and I will be damned if ignorance stops me from writing the story in my head.

This takes us to my research. For some non-writers, it may seem like a simple task of googling a few facts and then pounding out a novella. Regrettably, too many people have the mindset that it isn’t difficult to write about things if you know a few facts. However, this is not the case when it comes to writing. If I am taking a test on say the most conductive metals, I could just rattle off silver, copper, and gold. If I want to write a story that uses this simple fact, I must understand what it means to be a conductive metal, how it behaves, and which ones do what better. Not so easy, huh? This research may take a few minutes to an hour, and only provide me with enough information to write a sentence or two.

Depending on what type of science fiction story you’re writing, the amount of detail will vary as well as the amount of research needed. Immersive fiction will require much more research and development to create entire worlds and races that are foreign to our own existence. At the same time, interactive fiction will require significant research just for a small amount of detail in the actual writing.

I wish I could ask the big three of science fiction what they did when they were writing outside of their field, but alas it would be pointless. I must find my own way of developing the science aspect without the years of experience. Lucky for me, learning is a game in itself, so I have some fun late nights ahead of me. For science fiction writers out there–how do you cope with the research jitters?

Do you take it one step at a time or lose yourself in the science to write the story?

Share how you do research for a story, and HAPPY READING AND WRITING!

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The Tell-Tale Heart: My Love Poe

Creepy and mysterious!

So, I think it’s time for me to confess my love for Edgar Allan Poe. As sure as I am a lover of books and aspiring writer, I have loved Poe from the moment I picked up a middle school edition of his short stories. Inside this book, I found   the magic of Poe’s writing.  He was a legendary literary critic, poet, and author. I say legendary because his ideas have surpassed just becoming classic literature. They have become a basis upon which people can appreciate writing for its truly powerful purpose.

Even for those who “don’t read” they know Poe’s reputation. He is one of the most famous and revered American authors to date (if that isn’t a fact–it damn well should be). Like all great writers, he has dabbled in a bit of everything, but eventually settled into what he was destined to do. Write horror. He is credited with many contributions to mystery, horror, detective fiction, and science fiction.

Without Poe, the genres detailed above would not be what they are today. He allowed readers to see inside the human mind, and wasn’t afraid to highlight the frightening parts. Yes, I’m talking a big game, but that is only because Poe walked a pretty big walk in his time on Earth. I believe that my love for Poe began when my 8th grade teacher had a week dedicated to Poe and we read “The Raven.” Cliche to read “The Raven” first? Probably. However, it was the best possible poem to introduce Poe to me. I proceeded to learn everything I could about him, and fell in love with his stories. I cannot claim to have read them all. At the same time, though, some of my favorite stories are his or come from his influence. Part of my love for detective fiction stems from that heart-racing mystery that Poe provides in many of his stories, which is probably what brings me to my next topic.

Pop culture. Dread it or use it, pop culture has an effect on the public. It can enlighten people as book movies encourage people to read, or it can scare people away by the out-of-date references of the past.  For Poe, nothing has helped more than the pop culture influence he has bestowed upon the world.

A screen shot from the episode featuring Poe's notebook

First, let me take you back to an episode of Syfy’s Warehouse 13, which utilizes the power of word to bring Poe to life. I recently watched the episode in season 1 titled “Nevermore,” which features an “artifact” or supernatural item that must be contained by the main characters Myka and Pete in the show. What they create in the show is a notebook and pen used by Poe that hold the power of his words within them. The notebook causes the possessor to fuse with the words on the page and create a link between the text and the person in possession of the pen. It is a painful process to be so close to the  words of Poe that it almost kills the man.

The pen, however, holds the power. It allows the person who holds it to recreate the stories of Poe in real life. A pendulum, trapping a man in a wall, and forced love are some of the disastrous effects of Poe’s writing in a young boy’s life. The episode brings the two together to solve the supernatural issues going on in the story, and the overall message is—Words have power. The simple fact that the writers of this tv show chose Poe is not a coincidence. He has always had a very powerful connection with the words he placed on paper. He has influenced me, and some of my favorite authors to delve into the darkness sometimes.

Next, a more recent event in pop culture has given this lover of Poe something to be excited about:

The movie--The Raven featuring John Cusak as Poe himself!

The Raven will be coming to theaters very soon, and I anticipate its arrival. The scene is set–Poe must help the police find the suspect behind murders copying his stories to clear his name and stop these horrifying killings. Sounds spooky and fantastic to me. Any chance I can have at seeing great writing on the big screen in an inventive way, I will TAKE IT!

You see, I have faith that this movie, like Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and many others will spur some in the audience to go back to the books before/after watching the film. It is an opportunity to show the world how exciting and powerful the written word can be as well as those who write it down.

I look forward to the move and invite you to check it out as well. Here is the trailer below:

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Orson Scott Card is a Science Fiction God

Let it be known, Orson Scott Card is not the end-all-be-all for science fiction writers, but he’s damn close. Regrettably, I was only introduced to one of his best selling books a few months ago, so I am not a long time fan. I say regrettably because (like any fantastic author) he hooked me within the first page.

SPOILER ALERT: There will be spoilers in the following paragraphs!

Orson Scott Card's amazing novel!

The premise of Ender’s Game is simple: people of Earth discover alien species that “wishes” to harm them. We engage in epic wars that last decades, until the governments of Earth band together, and decide to enlist children in the International Fleet to help save the world. They train children as space soldiers, breeding them to be smarter and quicker than ever before. Ender (Andrew) Wiggins becomes a special student of the I.F. and soon learns he has been destined to save the world against these Buggers. Through the careful training and help of his friends he is able to defeat the Buggers through a battle simulation, controlling the real soldiers remotely. He saves the world, but unknowingly has destroyed an entire race.

The first of four books in the Shadow Series

Now, one of my friends had suggested this novel a long time ago, but the military/ genetic thing didn’t wet my whistle, so to speak. However, the trust of an old friend, and forcefulness of his attitude beckoned me to give it another shot. When I mean forcefulness I mean: taking out 13 books in the Enderverse and putting them in my car to make me read them, secretly knowing that once I read the first book I would not stop. And I didn’t stop, I have worked through the books at a slower rate than I would like (school books and all that stuff). I have finally finished all books on the Ender side of the collection. I have just begun the Shadow Series (Ender’s Shadow), which is  a mini-series following Bean, one of Ender’s comrades in battle school.

It has occurred to me that Card has knowingly/unknowingly created one of the most elaborate and well thought out universes I have ever seen.  Save for the elaborate books on Star Wars or Star Trek, I have never seen a collection of book so dedicated to one main story.  For me, I prefer a series or collection of books on one character or place rather than a standalone novel. It’s like a t.v. series that I can go back to every day, and have more and more to discover. I know they can’t last forever, but at least I have a steady stream of the same good writing, and a great story. So, discovering Card’s dedication to the Enderverse is like discovering a gold mine for me.

In addition, I think that I have found my source for constant inspiration. It happens every time I read Stephen King and now every time I read Orson Scott Card. He makes me want to stop in the middle of reading to write, but t the same time I don’t want to stop reading his amazing books! Just as I started Ender’s Shadow, I had ideas for my own short story, which I haven’t touched since I received notes from my mentor a few weeks ago. It has been slow starting after these comments, but somehow it’s always better if I’m reading about Ender and the kids from battle school.

On another note, I want to suggest all of these books. Just type in Ender or Orson Scott Card and it will take you to the list of books surrounding Enderverse. I as always read the series somewhat out of order, but it was very easy to piece things together. If you are remotely interested in space, aliens, or science fiction, this is the book for you. Even if you aren’t this book is not super heavy on advanced technology or weird languages for the beginner science fiction reader. I would/have suggested this book to everyone I can because it changed my perspective on science fiction. I can’t wait to be finished with Enderverse and explore the other worlds that Orson Scott Card has created. If his other books are half as good as these, I think I will have a lot of inspirational material to use in the future.

Happy reading!

 

 

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Reading Towards Better Writing

Touching on the most fundamental rule for writers: reading helps make us better writers. Sadly, this simple rule has escaped many in their attempts at becoming writers. It is a mistake no aspiring author/poet should make. Below is a blog post that inspired my reaction on reading as a writer:

http://goinswriter.com/good-writers-read/

Some of the time, reading is what provokes the inspiration to write. I know that my first inspiration to write came in 5th grade, when I discovered the wonderful world of Bruce Coville. He is a young adult fantasy writer who specialized in writing about unicorns. Needless to say, his ability to create a world unlike any in existence lead me to my passion for writing. However, the love of writing never would have developed, if not for my love of reading.

For a few writers, their belief is that writing just happens. You don’t read the work of the competition or important authors before them. They don’t think that taking the time to read is beneficial because they don’t have a love for reading as a foundation. Just think of how many writers you have met that just don’t seem to “get it”. They spend their days sitting at their computer, talking about their ideas, but never seem to get it on the page.

If you've seen this scene from Family Guy, you know these guys don't read to help become better writers. They're tools!

They usually won’t be published, and they can’t figure out why. “No one understands my style, my voice,” they will chant. My response is– “You don’t have any of that if you don’t know what has been written before you.”

No, I’m not talking about the classics, or the stories we reading in high school. I’m talking about influential books for the craft. Authors who have revolutionized your particular genre are vital to understand your own writing. Take for example, my ignorance in the science fiction genre. I haven’t read nearly enough of the classic sci-fi authors. I recently picked up Issac Asimov, and I hadn’t heard of him in great detail before I began searching for great science fiction books to read. Pages into one of his books, I understood the complexity necessary to create a great science fiction book. Within minutes I learned a new facet of the genre I was attempting to write.

Some of the most important skills we can learn as writers come from the time spent reading. While the blog post above states that any reading can help, I’m going to focus on just reading in your genre can shape your writing skills. As I have mentioned before I can break down the types of reading into three categories.  Reading as a reader (for pleasure), reading as a student (for analysis), and reading as a writer (to absorb skills/ideas).

The three key elements of the influence of reading, according to the blog post:

1.) Reading with a purpose is useless- His first point is imperative to learning from reading. If you read with something in  mind (other than reading the book) you’re going to limit the experience. Reading as you would for pleasure is important because it develops your love of reading.

2.) Language is the key to writing- The easiest skill you can learn from other writers is how to handle language. As budding writers, we are clumsy (well I know I am) with language. We don’t have the experience to use our words wisely. So, to gain the experience we read what the best writers have done. At the same time, reading bad use of language teaches us how NOT to write, which is equally important.

3.) Read suggestions from other writers-This element is especially helpful is bringing variety to the normal type of books your read. It also allows you to converse and connect with other writers. This bond is crucial to learning not only from the books, but from the writers who recommend them.

I will add only a few additions to his list of how reading helps your writing.

4.) Read contemporary books, and ones in your genre of choice- By reading contemporary books (not necessarily on the best-seller’s list) you learn what books are being chosen by the general audience. You also learn what openings are available in the market for you particular style or ideas. Reading the books in your genre (competition) allows you to understand your audience in an intimate level. For example, werewolves and vampires are HOT in the fantasy genre. While they have always been fairly popular, it is because of one contemporary series (  :/ Twilight ) that has driven trends in the genre. It is vital to know where you fit now in the market as well as what readers look for in stories being published. Make sure you take the ideas of the competition in stride. It’s not meant to change your writing to what they’re doing. You can find the differences an advantage as well as what you could write differently.

So, go out and read. Read old books, new ones, and ones your friends tell you are good reads. Speaking of, Goodreads.com is a great place to compare books you’ve read, and get suggestions from people across the globe.

Happy writing AND reading!

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Prologue To a Post Apocalyptic Novel

About a week earlier I posted a back cover blurb for a science fiction novel I’m writing.

https://amyoung0606.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/back-cover-blurb-for-a-science-fictionfantasy-book/

I’ve been working on this for well over a year thanks to a dream I had one night. The prologue below is the beginning to a futuristic novel set in 2037 of a post apocalyptic society. You can call it science fiction, fantasy, or speculative fiction. To me, it is a fiction story using elements of myth as well as realistic threats to the future of humanity. It prays upon our fear of society falling a part, but eventually shows how people can find love even in the most extreme situations. 

Without further hesitation, here is the prologue to my work in progress. Please feel free to give comments and criticisms. 

Prologue

 In 2037, the world feels alien compared to what it was a few decades ago. Scientists believe that long term exposure to radiation started it all. It took decades for the radiation to change the genetics of humans. Our superiority made us ignorant to how much was changing underneath our skin. Humanity thought it was indestructible. Top of the food chain. King of the jungle. That ignorance would be the downfall of the human race.

Since the creation of the atomic bomb and multiple nuclear disasters (Chernobyl 1986, Three Mile Island 1979, Japan 1999, 2011) humans have been exposed to ionized radiation on a massive scale. More devastating than X-Rays and cell phones, nuclear power became a weapon beyond simply destroying life. Those that died were mourned, but we neglected to step back and look at the big picture. We focused on curing the individuals with the most radiation levels. Doctors were certain that there was no prolonged effect besides the increased possibility of cancer. Researchers created a safe level of radiation that could exist in humans that they guaranteed it would not be harmful to have some radiation in us.

They were all wrong.  What they didn’t know is that the radiation was still working inside people’s bodies. It removes electrons from molecules, which can create terrible effects on the human body. There is typically a low white blood cell count in those with radiation illnesses. Blood transfusions were a common treatment to those exposed. It helped to replace the affected cells. The point is that radiation changes your cells. All of the known symptoms were being treated, but there was one that remained dormant.

People never imagined that radiation would change our genetics. It was only until 2021 that the final symptom began to show. At first, it was just one or two people out of billions. They were deemed insane and locked up. No one thought there was a biological reason for them to eat people and drink their blood.  It was the genetics no one bothered to study.

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