10 Day Writing Blogger Challenge – Day 1

Introduce your latest writing project with an elevator pitch or maximum 250 words.

I have lots of projects that I am working on at present, but I guess the one that I really want to get finished first is this one, The Ice Planet (not it’s official title).  I managed to do it in 248 words – not a bad effort really.

Five years ago, Vyvica Karala was forced to leave her home and planet, and her father, against her will when it was invaded by Ch’ar.  Now she is the leader of the D’Authian resistance and one of her best friend’s has been killed by Ch’ar in a desperate attempt to find the resistance. 

Kelvaras is a vigilante for hire who lands on his feet when Ch’ar and D’Authian guard both ask for his help.  Ch’ar wants to find the princess to obtain a signed treaty, and the D’Authian resistance want to find out who the leak is.

Vyvica and Kelvaras’ worlds collide when he joins the resistance, and immediately sparks fly between the two.  They fight and argue about everything, from flying a pod to fighting techniques.  Vyvica wants Kelvaras gone, but she is too strongly attracted to him.  Kelvaras wants Vyvica, but can’t break through her defences.

When she leaves and attempts to break into the palace alone, information about Kelvaras could just about destroy Vyvica, especially when Ch’ar discovers that she is the princess he is after.  To save Vyvica, Kelvaras offers to marry her and a shotgun wedding is celebrated in true resistance style when they gatecrash the party and take back the castle, the government and the planet.

But Ch’ar has one more trick up his sleeve, if Vyvica won’t sign the treaty, he will kidnap her new husband and get him to sign them over.  But will he make it off the planet.

Hope it sounds like something you want to read.

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Star Wars – the Saga began

OK, I talk a lot about saga’s, but most of the big impacts in my life – reading and movie wise have been the sagas.

I remember when I was about 10 – 12 years old watching Star Wars (IV) on Television and being totally entranced.  I cannot say what it was exactly, but I guess it was the fact that it was taking place somewhere far far away, in another planet, in another existence, and someone came up with the idea!

I know that a lot of people out there think that Star Wars is not that great, but twenty odd years on, I am still a big fan, and I am introducing my son to it as well.  While he prefers the high tech imagery of the first Star Wars episodes (Episode I to III) I still prefer the storylines of Episodes IV to VI.  I guess I also appreciate that it was cutting edge technology when George Lucas first made those movies back in the late 70’s early 80’s.

In my twenties, when the digitally remastered versions came out, I asked for Whitcoulls vouchers for my birthday and purchased the boxed VHS version.  I loved the new and improved storylines.  But when my video’s all died, I cried.  While Video players were still available, it was beyond my means to purchase one, especially since we had a DVD player anyway.

Recently I have managed to purchase the entire set – Episode I to VI for a very reasonable price, and it also includes a documentary on the entire film making process.

OK, so I have rambled on a bit here, but in a lot of ways, Star Wars has influenced my writing and sparked my imagination.  And long may it continue.

 

PS – Photo that was used on Thursday’s post – it was sunrise behind a native forest on a cold Winters morning, but it could be anything you want it to be.  Please feel free to use the image to inspire your imagination!

In the Beginning…

This week is SpecFic Blogging Week, and I thought what am I going to blog about.  So I decided to write about my writing beginnings.

When I first started writing, it was to escape reality.  I loved to lose myself in books, find myself wrapped up in another world and discover new places.  I distinctly remember reading a science fiction book while on holiday down the Marlborough Sounds.  I also remember catching the biggest snapper ever also, but most of my memory is this book about sponges that sucked the life out of people until they were just these strange dehydrated shells.

My first speculative fiction story was about a piece of rope that was kidnapped off a boat and used to hang one of the Maungatapu murderers – that was in Std 4 or year 5 or 6… one of them (see my interest in this story goes WAAAAAY back to primary school!)  I got a Principal’s stamp for that story, and the teachers gave it a 1 (which was the highest score back in the dark ages!)

The next story I remember writing was at intermediate and *cringe* was about Simon Le Bon.  I won’t go into details, because it truly is cringeworthy.  It went on and on and on and on – it was a never ending story.

At college, I wrote Chrystias of Amasedon, and novella for my 6th form English class, and it got high marks.  It was one of my proudest moments, and I have since revised it to be a 100k epic fantasy novel.  It still needs lots of work.

I have always written on and off, generally in exercise books.  One story in particular took over three books, but for the life of me I can’t recall what it was about.  But there have been a murder mystery, a kidnapping drama involving a rockstar and one other… still can’t remember what it was!!!

Four years ago I discovered KiwiWriters and that was when I was revising Chrystias.  I used SoCNoC to write a portion of it.   Since then I have written during June and SoCNoC three other novels – a fantasy romance, a mythical story and this year I wrote a Science Fiction story.

My love affair with the written word has been a rough road, but it is one that I love and will not forget for as long as I live.  If I never get published I will still be happy, because it gives me pleasure just to write the words and create the story.

SoCNoC Debrief

It has been a hectic month, full of drama, adventure, passion and glory, and that ISN’T in the story!

So where do I start?  I guess the start would be good.  I was a day behind from the get go because of a funeral, but that was OK.  I managed to slowly claw my way back and finish before lunchtime on 30th of June.  Probably the closest finish I have ever had, but a finish is a finish.

Planning

This was done a month beforehand when I decided to let strangers and friends pick the story for me.  They chose, out of the possible three options, the Science Fiction one.  So a week before SoCNoC officially started, I was busy pulling together all the threads of the story I had sketched out and drew up my plan.

While I love planning a story, I also love following the plan, and I have to admit I didn’t realise that there was a flaw in my plan.  I hate flaw plans (hahaha).  Seriously I still have to work this one out, but I have an idea, which was duly noted in my “Edit later notebook”.

My writing actually took off this challenge and hovered about 6 inches above my plan.  While it was close enough, it was also different enough to keep me writing, and if I came to a hitch, I would go to bed at night and ask the question – where exactly do you want me to go?  Kelvaras or Vyvica would tell me, without fail, exactly what they wanted to see happen, and sure enough, it fit within my plan.

The ending was different, more dramatic, but it fits perfectly.

Writing

I managed to write at least every day, even though there was a long weekend in there.  Because I set a realistic writing goal of 2000 words a day, I actually managed to get ahead of my goal by about day 12.  Words flowed, sentences made sense, paragraphs formed scenes.  Fantastic work.  I did realise though that some of my action scenes were sadly lacking.  ONe chase scene lasted two sentences.  A chase scene that doesn’t make!  I went back in and created an entire new scene which was filled with action, adventure, near misses and realistic timing.  And it worked.  It also brought the characters together, so adds more to the emotional conflict that is going on as well.

Characters

I am so looking forward to having my head back to myself.  For too long Vyvica has been in there screaming at me to take notice of her.  Kelvaras was absent until the story, and then I had them bickering in my head.  So looking forward to peace!

Kelvaras certainly had some surprises of his own, suddenly calling himself an underling (which I had to tell him was not happening), then calling the bad guy “Father.”  Now that worked nicely!  And fits the ending so well too – how could I have not seen that before!

Vyvica was a handful from the beginning.  She was argumentative, vindicative, untrusting, she questioned everything I did for her, and I threw her in the deep end.  She swam.  I am extremely happy with her as a character.  Hard as nails, but heart of gold, just has problems showing it.

The other characters in the book have really turned themselves into nice people too, except for the bad guy.  He needs work.  And I don’t want him to be evil, he is just out for something and that needs to be clarified.

Title

I haven’t come up with anything yet.  I will have to rework it and see what happens.

Editing / Rewrite

I want to add more to this story, at least another 25k, which I think I will plan and work on before I actually edit this story.  Only because it needs to keep readers on the edge of there seats.  It does that at the beginning, there are moments in the middle, then a fantastic ending, but the middle could be stronger.  More conflict, more plot details I think.  But at least I recognise that.

Overall

Considering this is my first science fiction story, I am actually very happy with it.  I like the characters and the plot, although that almighty plothole (hehehe) definitely needs to be fixed.  But nothing a wee bit more thought can’t hurt!

SoCNoC Progress – Week 4 – final day!

What a roller coaster.  This light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t an oncoming train!

Light at the End of the Tunnel, Kawatiri Tunnel, Feb 2011

I have 1600 odd words to write today in order to finish the story, and I am up to the penultimate part of my story, and Kelvaras has just seen Vyvica get blown up.  Or did he?

I have gone back and injected some more action into the story, and I am happy with that, but I still need more.  When I rewrite, I hope to add another 25k to really give it the buzz that it needs – although I am very happy with it as it is.

It is my first time writing a Science Fiction story, and I have been conscious of what to call things.  I didn’t want cellphones or computers, but needed that type of technology, without getting technical and confusing.  I am happy with what I came up with, and I think that they are well named, no one will think – what does that device do?

I don’t really want to do too much of a breakdown, because I want to do another post in the next couple of days just doing a recount and a debrief of my writing month, so I think I will end it there.

Hopefully I feel well enough today to get this finished and complete my goal – complete SoCNoC!

Action and Drama Aplenty!

My story isn’t epic enough.  Does that make sense?

I want this story to be action packed and full of adventure, which it was to start with, but then things slowed down, and rather quickly – think a boat in a kelp forest!

I know the story needs action.  One part in particular they are being chased.  It lasted for one paragraph. Mmm, needs some serious work.

Why do I want all this adventure?  Because I want the story to be memorable.  I have recently rediscovered Matthew Reilly – well I never really forgot him, but he is an action packed author.  The first book of his I read – Ice Station – I read in one day – why?  Because each chapter was one big action packed adventure and each chapter ended with a cliff hanger.  You had to read the next chapter to find out what happened – then you were caught in his trap.

I loved it.  I shared my books – I never saw them again, so I guess most of the fishing fleet of NZ have enjoyed them too!

But he set the bench mark for me, and for the first time, I have written a story where I could have those same elements.  Its Science Fiction, I want it fast paced, and I wanted action and adventure.

So, as SoCNoC draws to a close, I am going back through my story (which I haven’t ended yet!!!) and adding more adventure and excitement.  At this stage, some of it are just scene setting, I also have a notebook in which I have scribbled things, so that I can straighten the story out once I come back to edit it, because I have changed my mind about certain things.

I love this story, just like I love every story I have written, but this one is different because of the action, and I hope that I can pull it off!

The Finale?

The last two days  have been a little tough in the writing stakes.  I am at the end of my SoCNoC story, which is exciting, but the ending isn’t quite going like I planned.  And yesterday Kelvaras, my male MC, sent me a curve ball – he is the bad guys son, and instead of being the vigilante I wanted him to be, he decided to be an underling.

Both of these make sense, but I really liked the vigilante side of things.  In fact, I think I will turn him back into the vigilante, having settled on the planet with his mother and sister, when his father came along and decided to invade.

Sounds a little corny when I put it like that, but having him related to the baddie, makes it easier for me to explain some of the backstory without it looking staged.  For instance, it isn’t known if the King is dead or alive.  At least if Kelvaras already knows the fate of the king, then he can bring that into the story.  He can also explain the failed assassination attempts on the princess.

I know that might not make sense to you, but it does to me.  I can’t give too much away of my story, or some budding writer out there might pinch the idea and what am I left with?  Nothing.

So now, in my story, I am at the point where Vyvica has chosen death over the other options, because she feels betrayed by everyone, and she knows that her death will cause further complications.  Probably not the best thought through idea (as far as she is concerned), but she is thinking and planning, for a change.  So I will let her go with that for now.  Of course, she doesn’t die.  She’s the heroine!  But will Kelvaras live or die?  Will the baddie live or die?  Will her bodyguard live or die?  These are still decisions to be made.  I know how I want the story to end, but Vyvica and Kelvaras certainly have different ideas.