Tag Archives: Writers

Flash Fiction – Alien Landscape/Forgiveness

Alien Landscape.

He fought hard against the growing tide of assaults. Inch by inch crawling over the itchy grains., each one like a mountain exhausting to climb. Another wave, battering, forcing him back what seemed like miles. There was one aim, to make it home. All he wanted was that safe place. Again he pushed almost frantic to be with those he knew.

He could only feel, no sight to speak of, just a sense of where to go. Homing in on what he desired, fighting the pain of each slow movement. Would he never reach his goal? From deep inside his spirit grew, finding inner strength to move forward. He carried everything he owned on his broad back. A single mistake, he would lose all.

The path was clearing, strength growing, his target in sight. One more push, one more almighty effort. Another assault, he held his ground waiting as it past. Breathing deep, he moved upwards towards his chosen spot. Crowded, covered by kindred spirits all searching, he inched his way through. He felt the spirits of those before as he nestled with his group. His search complete, his journey done waiting for everything to begin.

The lights shone bright, as the first note was struck. A thousand voices cried their name. Now he was home, back again.

Forgiveness.

He looked out at the sunset. Despite the heat, he was cold inside. He held the flower, a simple blue beauty its life so short. It was her’s, one she enjoyed. A faint memory surfaced, in a sea of blue, the pure white of her dress. Her smile welcoming the Knight home, helping to shed the cares around him. A single touch sparked the fire within, the two dragon stones calling to each other, bonding again.

He looked down at his stone. It was dying, lost without its twin, the spark needed yet so far away. A sigh escaped his lips, it was deep and sad beyond what he thought. Something nudged him. Scales rubbed against right hand. Looking into the eyes of his dragon, a silent bond between the pair. They both understood each other’s loss. Both felt alone now in a strange way, both trying to reach out.

He looked out at the shattered landscape and placed his right hand against the dragon. Out there they would find her, rescue her and ultimately ask her forgiveness. He placed the blue flower inside his armor, climbed on the dragons back. He heard her cry inside his heart, always watch over me.

He looked again at the bright blue flower. There was her scent captured in the bud, held for as long as he could remember. There was still the faint light of hope, he knew that he had to believe it. To complete his quest, to find his one, he had to truly believe. He rose from his knee, his armor battered a little more.

Why do Writers – Go Blank

Hello Dear Reader

Go Blank

In this third article of my short series (I have no clue how long it may run), I have decided to tackle a problem. Blankness. Some people do not think that writers have blocks, others know them only to well. Therefore, the first part of this is, do writers go blank.

parchment-memories-blank-paper

I have to say, from my own experiences the answer has to be yes. The mind is an amazingly complicated, it has to be given all it does. The phrase ‘My mind has gone blank’ can be misleading I would say. Parts of your mind can go blank, you can forget a person’s name or that cup of tea you were making. Sadly, there is the very destructive and heartbreaking conditions of dementia and alzheimer which strikes without a care. What I am looking at here is different.

Many times I have sat writing a blog or parts of my books and suddenly found I could not think of the next line, let alone a word. I had in effect, lost the path my story was taking. I could not see which way go and neither could my characters. Here is where it might sound strange. Many writers look to their characters to ‘tell them’ what they would do next. They believe that the characters are alive and in print they certainly can appear so. Some people consider the writer or author as the person who uncovers the story rather than telling it.

So who has the blank? The writer who can’t see or the character that can’t remember? Take the man in the café. He is, as always, sitting alone trying to write a simple paragraph to his novel. If we listen in, we can hear his dilemma.

“As my hero turns the corner he is faced with … I have no clue what he is faced with? I don’t know what sort of steam punk creature this will be? Is it a mechanical steam-driven robot or a man using a clockwork thing. And what sort of thing would it be?”

Clearly there are a few issues here. Some might say there should have been a plan about what the hero ran into next. Some would say, has he run into enough for the day? Either way, it’s a blank moment. Now the problem is how long do you stay put trying to work out what the thing is? Stay too long and you could become worried or panic and create a rust-bucket of a monster which falls apart at the first stare. If you skip over the problem and pretend he has beaten it, are you prepared to go back and rewrite what did not happen?

There are also the start-up blanks. These happen when you plan your day, ready to write pen held firmly, crisp white paper waiting for words. Then … nothing. No ideas or worse part ideas. You want to or need to write a new poem to complete a collection. There is nothing forth coming. Do you write random words in hope it generates the wisp of an idea or even a line of poetry? Tricky. There are exercises that helps free the brain and the mind or both. Writing random words may well allow you to clear that block. Using things like magnetic poetry words can work as well. You can even create your own version by simply writing lots of words on a piece of paper, cutting them up and randomly picking them from a tin or hat (purple in colour).

That might be enough to help you forget what it was that caused the block. What if you can’t even figure out what would make a good short story? Random words may help but you need something more concrete. Take our man again, he has decided to start a new short sci-fi story. The problem is what?

“A fresh start, new story, competition to enter. What shall I base it on? Robots, time-travel, the future? The competition is for a short 1000 word sci-fi story but they don’t say what sci-fi! My mind has gone blank.”

Actually, his mind is full of sci-fi he just can’t see the aliens from the robots. Which leads me to another form of blankness. It is not that you can’t write it’s just the subject is so vast. Help is at hand. One idea is to use a random subject generator. Here is what one might look like;

Number Period Number Style Number Style 2

1

Future

1

Robots

1

Aliens

2

Pre-historic

2

Space Travel

2

Derelict 

3

Modern

3

Time Travel

3

Planet

4

Post-nuclear

4

Aliens

4

Base

So what would you do. Well, very simple really, pick a number from 1 – 4 (or more if needed) from each of the three categories. Then check the table and see what it gives you as a start. This is not a new concept, it has been used in role-playing for many years. The old D-10 dice rolled in hope of something interesting for a character is very much still around. Even an electronic version can’t take away that fun element. You can also use this to help rid yourself of that annoying writers block. It might not be the best plan but then again it may just get you going again.

Our intrepid writer, sitting in the café, realises this could be his way out. It is not a block as such more a dilemma at this point. As I said, too many robots in his mind. As we join him once more, we can see how this exercise plays out…

“Ok, I have rolled the dice three times and drawn, 4,1,2. If I look that up what do I have. Post-nuclear, robots and a derelict. Derelict what? Is that all I need? Ah there is an idea. What about the last robot that comes to life years after a nuclear attack. It could become sentient and go in search of others. Brilliant!”

And so his writers block or confusion is gone. The outline of a new story has begun and our writer feels refreshed let alone relived. I am sure there will be other times writers go blank for no good reason. Most of the time, it’s how they get themselves out of that crazy maze trying to find the happy path of words. Some use exercises, some use music, some just sit staring into the empty reaches of space. Whatever it takes, the path is always there.

Tagline “I have no idea what to put here…”

Why do Writers …

Hello Dear Reader

Write Alone?

After my first article about why do writers write, I decide to ask another question of both myself and others. I know what makes me write, but why do I and others write alone? What is the joy and pain of sitting without contact for hours on end. But is that the real case?

Most times, a writer creates their own worlds, characters and more. In order to write you have to sometimes forget the real world to enter your own ‘real’ world. This is where a writer is often never alone, sometimes lost mind you, more so than in the real world. No matter how short or long the work is, there is a world of sorts. Each piece has a doorway to allow both writer and reader to enter.

This in itself is its own world. Although this is a work of fact, I am imagining what many other writers might be doing. To do this, I have to create my own world and populate it with what? Straight away I can be creative, take the writer who once more is sitting in the café. He is surrounded by people, yet is sitting alone. As soon as he opens that document, be it on a computer or paper, he can either enter an on old world or create something new. Therefore in theory he is not alone. Yet to be alone in the real world allows a writer to use those around him to create the imaginary world. Sounds like a migraine I can tell.

Writing alone means you are in control of what you create up to a point. Why? Again I guess it goes back to what a writer is trying to write. I, for example, once wrote a poem about a girl on a train station platform. She was sitting alone on the floor in a doorway trying to be unseen or so I decided. You see, I saw alone in my thoughts about the poem yet not alone with others who I was travelling with. The girl was alone and I created in my poem my view.

Sometimes, you have to write with another person, say on a script for a film or television show. To do that the group have to agree the world, the boundaries and parameters. Writing with others for me, means having some control taken away. You could not suddenly introduce a fire-breathing dragon into Victorian period drama, unless it was sci-fi. There are always exceptions of course. Authors do work with others one example is Clive Cussler who with others has produced a huge range of adventure novels. I often wondered what it would feel like to try to write a story in someone else’s universe. In order to do that I would imagine you have to understand the said universe in detail, even better than the originator. How would they feel if you found something new in their favourite character? Should you even try? Take one iconic figure, James Bond as penned by Ian Fleming. He did give some details about Bond, how he acted, his job and some of his character. Now we have new books written by others, should they change his appearance for example? Have they the right to change what someone has created?

Clearly you can play in another world to a point. But these days there is much more than just a book to consider. Copy-write attempts to protect those worlds. Yet fan fiction is found in many corners of the interweb often crossing boundaries without a care. I tried to write one particular story regarding Doctor Who. It took me almost ten years to complete. I started it due to making a daft bet that I had a better idea than someone else. Never make bets like that. I knew the universe I was entering, I was alone in my writing but felt the years of other writers as I built my story. Let alone the various characters I had at my disposal, I still had to create some of my own. When I finished it, I felt very happy. It needs work, it needs reviewing and more but I completed something.

Now I have my own worlds, my blogs and more. I still write alone as I am now in the café. Only I can see what my worlds are until I let them loose. It is an odd feeling, surrounded by people no-one paying attention as I write.

Why do writers write alone? To allow everyone else to be surrounded by their imaginary friends.

Tagline: “Are you sure it’s ok to open that book?”

Why do writers …

Hello Dear Reader

Write

Over the past few months, well years really, I have written my various thoughts, ideas, stories, and blogs. I have also spent a good portion of my time reading. Although that seems to be staccato at times. By staccato, I mean when I am interested in a book or need to read something or just hankering to remember a good novel, I read. Then I have time away, then back to reading again.

What makes me want to write? I found that my imagination created amazing worlds and characters for me. In my day, there was no internet, computer or to be honest, fancy gadgets. I had books, toys, Lego and more to occupied my mind. I was not content to just play, I needed to write my ideas down. I created my own worlds, most of which vanished sadly. In order to want to write, I needed first to read. I read all sorts, including numerous comics which in themselves helped me to see into certain places.

Others advised me later in life, I was told that the best way to write a book is to read many on the same subject. At first, I thought that would work against me. If I read the latest best seller on crime for example, would I subconsciously be influenced by said book and just rewrite it for myself. Clearly, it can’t be the case otherwise, how would writers know they liked a particular subject? I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy in my school years. Lots. In fact, I read one book so many times when I was young, I was banned from reading it again in school. Sadly I can’t remember what that book was, which in itself is odd.

Still, the question remains, why do we write? There are of course many reasons; creating others worlds, new characters, differing stories. A single writer can bring joy to millions with just a few words. Imagine the impact that stories such as A Christmas Carol or The Hobbit had on people. Remember also that when some of these books were published they had no social media as we do today. Yet, they had a huge impact on people. You also have to realise the imagination behind the book, which in itself creates an imagination in the reader. Each one of us, I am sure, see’s a character or location just that bit different.

Take the following few lines:

“He sat at a table in the café, trying to think of what to write next. It was noisy to a degree which helped him. His hands hovered over the keyboard. A few more words appeared on the screen. He looked up again. Did the people in café given him inspiration or distraction?”

What does that conjure for you the reader? In truth, it was me as I wrote this, sat in café trying to find the words of why I write. So why do I write? My reason is I want to see if I can tell a good story or create a deep poem or just engage people with these blogs. I have written numerous poems and short stories, one poem has been published. Very soon an article I have written will appear in a magazine. I am quietly excited. Shortly after, my very first book will be published. These days, everyone has the chance of telling their story and publishing it via social media or ebooks. What it means for me, is that I will have reached one of my goals. Should I stop there?

“The writer stopped again for a moment. How to sum everything up without appearing self-centred. Difficult, as writing could be a self-centred art. He considered other forms of art; painting, music or acting.”

You see, writing is an art form, it is self-expression, a desire to interact both with real and imaginary characters. For some writers, it explains sides of their own character they sometimes can’t admit to others. They can express grief, loss or depression in words that are harsh to hear. Words are also actions. Some writers want to show that there is a path forward to others. Some just want that selfish moment in time.

It was odd that I decided to write this without seeing what others said on the subject and a quick interweb search made me smile. There are hundreds of reasons and ‘posts’ on just this subject. There was even a competition. I also write because I can enjoy what I am creating. I joined a local creative writing group to help me better understand what I am trying to write and how to improve myself. It works. There is an element of danger as well. When you write, you think you see what others will read. That can be hard when someone reads what you have written rather than what you have imagined you have written. A single comma can change a line. Do I write just for myself where the only critic is myself? The answer can be both. Sometimes I just want to write and see. In my first book, I want to educate, my second I want to entertain. My third? That could be a little of everything. Everyone should write, even if it’s just a diary, you need to try.

This is why I write. Because I can.

Tagline: “Why the hell did I write that!”

Marvel Reboot

Hello all

In the comic world there are a number of major players, the top two being Marvel and DC. Many of their titles have run for well over 50 or 60 years now. With the rise of new multi-million dollar (not pounds sorry) movies and television shows now appearing, there is a point when the big bosses take a look at what they have. Sometime ago, DC comics entered into what they called a ‘Crisis’ storyline which basically involved merging universes into one and producing a new comic line called ‘The 52s’.

This offered DC the chance to start again or reboot as in the IT term. Now Marvel have announced their version of the ‘Crisis’ story. In some respects, there is only so many ways to tell a story with the same characters. Take Doctor Who for example, they have had the same evil characters throughout the past 50 years. So how do they keep it fresh? I think for them, they sort found their reboot by accident when they introduced the Doctor’s regeneration. That allowed a new actor to face each bad guy in a different story. Has that damaged the Who universe? Not one bit. It has kept going (just about) for 50 years and has no plans to stop, as yet.

However, Doctor Who is just one main character and he always becomes the Doctor after each regeneration. There is the Tardis which sort of regenerates as well yet stays the same on the outside. The odd lick of paint makes it a bit brighter but its the same each time. Sometimes his time travel crosses universes but unlike DC’s merging, the Who universe does not really recreate a character. Yes the Daleks and Cybermen look new but they are just production changes.

The problem for DC and Marvel, any major universe in fact, is how to keep the same while changing and not lose readers or viewers. It’s a very difficult time when you pen the words, ‘and the world exploded killing everyone’. Many writers face the same problem, when to draw a conclusion to their favourite character. Many fans can never understand why a writer would wish to end their favourite character. Why do you have to stop?

Ian Flemming faced that very problem when he decided to kill James Bond after only a short time. There was an out cry and he came back. For some writers, a character or characters take on a life of their own and they can also take over the life of the writer. They invade their thoughts, they almost stalk the writer calling out for new stories. Write me, write more for me, a character might say to his writer. The writer has to decide what is best.

For me, the decision by Marvel to rewrite its own universes into a new one is a bold and maybe dangerous step. DC took that same step and it is still here. Is the new DC universe any better? I don’t know, but the new television series of Arrow and The Flash certainly have made an impact. Marvel movies and their television show has upped the stakes. Marvel comics have a huge fan base, very loyal and very passionate about their universe. There is the problem for any writer of any  long-standing character or universe, the fans.

How do you explain to them that all will be fine as you rip apart what they love? How do you explain that as the writer you can no longer find another version of the same story. That is the tough part.

The Marvel announcement will no doubt cause many posts on many web pages with many points of view. Stan Lee has already commented on the change in a positive way. One idea is to take a trip back in time and start again or bring back old dead characters or rip up all the past of a character and bring them back to something. Whatever happens, whatever the plans are it will upset someone and bring someone new to the universe. Wait and see.

 

Tagline: ‘Hang on, wasn’t the universe a different colour a moment ago?’