Tag Archives: Story

Longing for the Good Old Days

Recently I’ve been talking with someone about Star Catcher and it’s been great getting to hear the thoughts that have gone through their head while reading the story.  I love hearing what people have to say about my stories, how they view the characters, if they like them or hate them, are drawn in by one aspect or another of the story.  But lately it’s gotten me thinking about how I wrote Star Catcher, the style that I used, the wording, the description, the emotion, everything.  Thinking back on when I first wrote the story during NaNoWriMo, I remember pounding out as many words as possible to meet the count for that day and nothing else, but I when I go back and read the story, the level of immersion that I feel with the characters, with the universe, boggles my mind.

Over the last year or so I’ve been working on two more novel length stories that follow after Star Catcher and as I think about how I’m writing them, the wording that I’m using, the description, the emotion that I’m trying to convey in them, it feels forced.  The characters have changed and it feels as if they are only partly there, like I’m missing some aspect of them that I somehow included in Star Catcher but seem to have lost in the preceding time between the stories.

I guess in that time between stories, I’ve changed as well.  I find myself rarely thinking about the universe Star Catcher is set in.  Granted there have been times that I have had spurts of inspiration to write and post some random scene from that universe to here, but even in those, they don’t feel the same as Star Catcher does when I reread it.  So, what’s missing?  Is it the forced creativity brought forth in the rush of NaNoWriMo?  The innocence of a freshman college student?  The lack of stress during those days?  The new-found freedom of being on my own?

I also find myself reading less and less these days.  I have not had the drive to search out or pick up a new book to read.  I attribute this mostly to financial and college stresses.  There were days when I would give anything to stay lost in a bookstore for hours on end and spend my wallet dry.  I find the same thing happening with video games.  My list of unfinished games is growing and though I have some initial elation from getting new games I barely make time to pick them up, instead turning to mindless internet surfing to fill my down-time.  Granted, Minecraft has been an addiction that has helped to fill my time as well and I enjoy playing with family and friends, but even that has suffered from this lack of drive that I seem to have acquired.

I would like to attribute this all to the stresses of college and working to obtain an engineering degree, but I feel there’s more to it.  I have lost habits that I have had in the past and have developed new ones to replace them that I feel are less productive in some sense of the word.  While anime has sufficed to provide me with the level of story immersion that I recall experiencing from books, I do long to return to my paper-bound roots, as it were.

While my thoughts these days reside with financial, career, and future choices, as well as food and house-hold chores, in my late night introspective musings, as I write this, I find myself considering all the changes that have happened in my life to bring me to this point in my writing.  I started this blog as a way to promote myself, Star Catcher, and any future writing.  I have long since fallen off with updating it regularly, much to my own disappointment and possibly that of others.  Since going a second year in the dorms, obtaining roommates, and having lived in two different apartment arrangements, I feel I have lost that sense of freedom that I once had when I first was left to my own devices at college.

Now, I know I’ve rambled completely off topic I’m sure from my original intent for this post, but let me come full circle.  Rereading sections of Star Catcher, Jayko’s character, while reserved and not without troubles, is happy and care-free.  While I tried to capture some of that in the second story, I find he is less of the character he was, without depth and missing that extra energy.  The setting of the story doesn’t help this in any way I suppose as I decided to start crumbling his world around him, but even with that, he should still be able to achieve that depth of character.  I feel this is worse in the third story, where I have thrown him into the military war-machine in an attempt to mold him into the future character that I had set up so long ago.  But I feel he’s losing that happy, care-free side of himself in all of this and that part of him needs to survive if I want to keep that depth for him.  And truth be told, I’m probably describing my thoughts on this in the most side-ways way possible and this could all be attributed to random, delusional, late-night, caffeine-induced, introspective musings.

But, and I stress that ‘but’… I have gained several things that I know I need to do:

  1. I need to pick up a book again.  Maybe a past book, one that I loved, get myself back into the series, reread it to bring back the enjoyment that I once felt when I first cracked it open.
  2. I need to reread Star Catcher.  I need to get that feeling of the original story back in my brain.  Hopefully I’ll be able to pick up on my old writing style and merge it back into my current stories, improve upon it, etc.
  3. Revisit character bios and get a feel for who my characters are again.  I’ve lost touch with them, that much I can feel.  I need to do more character spotlights and develop them, build upon old bios and flesh them out to get a feel of who they are in the current stories while retaining certain aspects from past stories.
  4. I need to write.  Doesn’t matter what, I just need to start writing again.  Not bi-monthly, not bi-weekly.  I need to do some sort of writing at least every other day to pick up the pieces of my shattered creativity.  (We’ll see how well I stick to this one.  It is something I need to do however.)

I guess as the days march along I will find out if I will stick to any of these goals or if they are just random, delusional, late-night, caffeine-induced, introspective musings that won’t amount to more than another blog post.  Here’s that I will.

 

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Filed under Characters, Uncategorized, Writing

Hardest Thing(s) About Writing

For me that is… everyone has their own gripes about it, but this is the hardest thing about writing for me, currently sitting in the number one spot:  Picking up a half-finished manuscript after leaving it sit for a long while, maybe a year or so.

It’s hard to get back into it, to get into the mindset of writing, or working on it, of who the characters are/were at the time.  I’ve decided that I want to get at least one of the two unfinished manuscripts I have lying around completed so I can start the editing process and get something else out there.  I’d have Theo’s story out there already but I still don’t have a title or cover for it and that’s sitting in number two on my list of gripes about writing.  Titles are hard to come up with.  Especially if you want it to fit the story and be catchy at the same time or something like that.

Number three on my list is tying to remember to get a blog post out there more or less frequently.  I’ve become terrible at remembering as I haven’t the mindset to do any form of writing.

Today, I’m going to sit myself down and force some words on to the page.  They may end up being a jumble of randomness, but I will at least have something to go off of.

So, what do you think are the hardest things about writing?

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Out of Gas –Yup, That’s Me

Yup, that title pretty much sums it up.  I haven’t been doing much writing or reading, or editing for that matter.  I did get a little bit farther with Theo’s Story, but it doesn’t need that much in the way of major editing.  I’ve been feeling like I’ve been running on empty lately… no new idea’s for Black-Heart either!  That’s a shock!

I figure I’ll get my creativity back eventually, but in the mean time, I’m still agonizing over the title for Theo’s Story and thought that I would run a few themes by everyone.

The story is based around the idea, of the discovery of faster than light travel, FTL, and what would happen if the greedy corporations that control the asteroid belt got their hands on it first.

What do you think would happen?

After this point there may be spoilers, but I will try to keep them to a minimum.

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2103: Timeline

Well it’s the end of the first week of spring term here at college and I’m so far enjoying this term.  Hopefully I will be able to continue enjoying it unlike last term which was full of work and stress and non-fun-things going on…

Anyway, I’ve actually been able to get some reading and editing done on Theo’s Story, and so far I haven’t found too many glaring errors that stand out to me, so I think I will be able to get this published this term.  But I will be needing a new title for it and a cover.  If I’d only brought back my other sketch book from home when I left after spring break I would be able to make tons of sketches, but alas the sketch book I have here is getting to be more or less filled up.  I’ll have to check and see if there is any space left for me to sketch some ideas in it.

As for the title.  It is currently called 2103: Theo’s Story, but I would like to change that as it just seems a little lacking to me.  But then, the book is mostly about him and whatnot.  If anyone has any ideas, please comment.  I always welcome the input.

While I was editing though, I decided to take a break and look over the notes I’d made on the story and found a timeline that leads up to the beginning of the story explaining the history behind the setting and everything that has happened.  I wanted to share it here, so here you are:

This is a brief history developed from little things that are noted and presumed to have happened in the past… just for reference, story development, and future ideas.

2025 – First successful fusion reactor is brought online.
2028 – First space tether is completed on Earth.
2030 – First base on the moon is established… in the same year and years after, other bases are set up by other nations and companies looking to exploit the wealth of the moon.
2031 – Fusion reactor technology is sized down enough to be used onboard a rocket.
2032 – First fusion rocket is used on the moon and mission is planned for it to head to the asteroid belt.
2035 – Mining base is established on Ceres by the U.S. and Russia.  Japan enlarges their operations on the moon.
2037 – Resources slowly but steadily make their way back to Earth.  Larger nations profit from the new influx of mineral resources.
2040 – Asteroid 4 Vesta is established as a mining transfer station as operations are steadily enlarged by the U.S.
2042 – Russians claim a monopoly over resources shipped in through Ceres claiming their ships are the ones bringing everything back.  U.S. battles for political control of moon resources with Japan.
2043 – German ecologist selects 4 Vesta as a site for an experimental "microgravity" forest.
2045 – UN disbanded over political infighting for belt resources and control of orbital factories including resources on the moon.
2046 – Japanese invade U.S. orbital factories.  Russians cut off all resources coming in from the asteroid belt to other nations.
2047 – Private corporations invested heavily in the space industry on multiple fronts withdraw allegiances to protect themselves from political infighting.  Many companies move themself solely into space for protection.
2050 (November) – U.S. uses ground based forces to assault launch sites around the world controlled by Russia and Japan.  Fighting escalates.  European nations come to the aid of the U.S.
2051 (January) – Tension between nations created by sustained fighting for the past year finally reaches a critical standoff point.  Nuclear weapons are used on several ground-based launch sites.  Fighting escalates further and nukes are used on cities creating even more retaliation.
2051 (December) – Nuclear apocalypse devastates the Earth.  Nearly every nation on Earth collapses or is reduced to radioactive dust.  Massive storms of debris from nuclear strikes fill the atmosphere.
2052 (January) – With all contact from Earth lost, established bases on the moon agree to meet and decide what is to be done.  Contact is gained with refugees who were able to flee Earth during the war.  There are few resources and little space to accommodate the number of refugees plus future expansion.
2052 (Early February) – Corporations set their sights on the asteroid belt.  In cooperation with the established moon-bases they agree to assist in providing ships and resources to establish a suitable refuge for humans beyond Earth.
2052 (Late February) – All available fusion rockets from the moon are tasked with a mass Mars colonization project.  Space stations and derelict satellites in orbit around Earth are scavenged for resources to be used in creation of several colonies on Mars.
2052 (April) – Rockets reach Mars and begin landing resources at designated colony sites.  Construction begins soon after.  Corporations out at the belt send much needed resources to fledgling colonies via rocket.  Prefab shelters are set up on surface near each landing site.
2053 – Nonstop construction yields two small settlements on Mars.  The moon exhausts most of its existing resources to house refugees and aid in the construction on Mars.  First orbital space station is completed to act as a spaceport hub as well as house construction workers and refugees until cities are fully operational.
2056 – Both colony cities are brought up to full operational status.  Refugees not already living in the fledgling colonies are moved into the cites.  Corporations out in the Belt attempt a hostile takeover of mining personnel rights and ownership 4 Vesta.
2057 – Belt corporations invest in creating a station around Jupiter to skim needed helium and hydrogen from upper atmosphere.  Construction begins as soon a materials are available.
2059 – Construction is completed on the Jupiter Fuel Hub.  Needed fuel for fusion reactors is shipped to colonies on Mars, the Belt, and the Moon.  With resources coming in and flooding out from the moon and Earth orbit, expansion of the largest moon-base into a city is started.  Lumina City on the moon is born.
2070 – Construction begins on various space stations in orbit around Mars.  Many scavenged stations and satellites from Earth orbit are used in the initial construction.
2080 – Constant expansion and trade with the Moon, the Belt, and Jupiter creates a stable, yet slow growing economy on Mars.  Proposed outpost on the Northern Pole to gain access to frozen water is accepted.
2085 – Lumina City starts into a slow decline as trade with the moon tapers off and lack-of-water problems start to grow.
2090 – Corporations propose funding a research station in orbit around Neptune to develop proposed technologies.  Construction begins as soon as ships reach Neptune.  Construction begins on Space Elevator outside of Melas City on Mars.  Project dubbed the Merineris Space Elevator.
2092 – Grants are awarded to various educational facilities on the Moon and Mars to send scholars to the new Lab facility in orbit around Neptune.  North Pole Outpost on Mars is established to bring back water ice.
2099 – Space Elevator is completed on Mars and becomes the third trade and spaceport station in orbit.  Wealth of job opportunities open up for colonist from the cities below.
2103 – The beginning of our story.

All events and happenings in this timeline are in no way indication of future events and are completely fictional.  I wrote this for reference and story notes.  Any similarities to other parallel timelines is purely coincidental.

Joking aside though, I hope this is interesting for readers and it also explains where the current title 2103 came from.  Cheers!

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Filed under Novels, Setting

Theo’s Story

I have this feeling of satisfaction, of completion now.  I feel accomplished.  It’s hard to describe, but with Star Catcher done and out there for people to enjoy, I feel complete.

It’s weird, I don’t get to experience this feeling much, so it’s new for me.  In all reality, it’s akin to my life’s work being completed which is a weird feeling.  And yet, I still  have more to write.

As for Star Catcher you should totally check out the book!  20% is free as a sample, so if you like it you can buy it.  Tell your friends though, spread the word.  Help out a poor college student trying to get by. Winking smile

With that done though, I now start moving on to another project that I have had in the works for a while and has been sitting on the back burner, as it were.  The working title right now it Theo’s Story.  I wrote this story back in high school and tried to get it published for my senior project, but I didn’t take into account self-publishing at the time as my project was on traditional publishing.  Truthfully though, eBooks were still fairly new to me and I was biased against them cause I still like being able to actually hold the book in my hand.  That and I was totally against self-publishing cause it cost me money and I was not willing to do it.  I have a different view of all of that now with eBooks and self-publishing with Smashwords.  I’ve done my research.

So Theo’s Story takes place in the Solar System after World War III, I forget how far in the future it is, something like 50 years or more, not sure.  I’ll have to look it up.  It’s been a long time since I’ve even looked at it, so it’s not very fresh in my mind, and I’m hoping this will help with editing it.  I will be able to read it for what it is.

The story itself is about the discovery of faster than light travel and what would happen if the corporations that control the asteroid belt got their hands on it.

The main character, Theo ends up getting dragged into a conflict between the corporations and a smuggler by the name of Dustin Anthony who has somehow gotten his hands on the prototype FTL drive.  Theo has to work to keep the drive out of the hands of the greedy corporations who would monopolize it for themselves and figure out how the drive is supposed to work.

They end up traveling all over the solar system and even visit post-apocalyptic Earth for a short while.

It’s a neat story I think and those who helped me edit it back then liked it as well.  So we’ll see where it goes.  It still needs some work and I wasn’t satisfied with some areas of the story, but if I can find any spare time in between all of the work college is throwing at me, I’m going to pick it up and get it started again.  And that may not end up happening for a while. I have at least three midterms this next week and I’m taking all engineering, and science classes, with a math class thrown in, so it’ll be challenging, but I need those A’s so that what I’m working toward.

Anyway, I should wrap up this post before I ramble on too long.  I’ve got writing and college to do!

Cheers!

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Random Short! #4: The Flying City

The grand flying city of Azure was one of a kind throughout history and the galaxy beyond. It floated high in the atmosphere lazily following the flow of the winds. Come rain or shine, the city gleamed, it’s tall towers of white and silver gracefully cutting through the clouds around it. At it’s heart was an artifact older than written history itself that manipulated gravity in ways never seen before, lightening even the most dense material to to that of the air around it.

Today the sun gleamed off of the towers of the city, the fluffy wisps of clouds surrounding it filled with the different colored sails of airships that followed in it’s wake. It was the busiest city on the planet and the only reason that the planet was even given a second thought by those on other, more developed colony planets.

Aaron hung tight to the ropes of the airship’s sails with one hand, reigning them is as he steered the ship’s wheel with the other. The wind threatened to tear the sails from his control and he heaved on the ropes. He weaved his way in slowly toward the docks that circled the flying city, looking for an open space. Airships and spaceships moored at the city filled what space was available, but Aaron had a special space that he was heading for. A dock that was being held by a friend for him.

Slipping past two larger airships with full crews working them, he spun the wheel of the ship, turning it so that the starboard side faced the white metal of the dock he was making for. There standing on it, one foot up on a thick mooring, arms resting on his knee as he leaned, Keern watched Aaron maneuver in.

With a bump and scrape, the ship contacted the dock. Releasing his grip on the ropes he let the now slack sails go free and held the wheel while Keern jumped across.

“Ahoy! My friend! I was beginning to think you weren’t going to show when you were a day late!” called out Keern as he grabbed the mooring ropes from the deck and tossed them over the mooring pins on the dock.

“I was held up about half way,” called back Aaron releasing the wheel as Keern tied off the ropes. “Pirates.”

“Uh oh. More of ‘em eh? Tough times I guess. They weren’t armed were they?”

“Nope, it was just a cargo ship. I didn’t let them get aboard to see if they had any personal weapons though.”

Keern shook his head as he jumped back over to the dock. “Too bad. Would’a given us a cause to hunt ‘em down.”

Tying up the sails, Aaron smiled. “It’s good to be back. I brought ten crates of fresh fruit from one of the settlements. Should fetch a good price.”

“Aye, I’ll have it unloaded the money transferred to ya.”

“I’ll take it in cash,” replied Aaron.

“As always then.” Keern smiled thought his bushy black beard. He was one of many burly men who worked the docks and was a good friend of Aaron’s. They had known each other for just over a year and traded favors back and forth ever time Aaron sailed into port.

Aaron stepped from the decking to the docks in one fluid motion, coming up beside Keern.

“Off to find your next take then? Or a pair of legs?” Keern asked clapping him on the shoulder.

“A job yes, legs, we’ll see about that one.”

“I’ll give her the work-over then. FTL and all.”

“I appreciate it.”

“Go have some fun!” Keern clapped him on the shoulder once more and turned, heading off to get a few hands to unload the crates.

Aaron nodded. He watched Keern go for a moment before starting off into the docks. The sound of the wind in his ears had kept Aaron company while he was alone in the skies. The sound of the docks was similar. The noise of man and machine alike radiated through the air. A place of commerce and trade, the docks were the gateway into the city, and thus were filled with the many peoples of the galaxy.

Vendors lined the walkways, turning gradually into shops and buildings as Aaron made his way deeper into the city. Stopping on his way into the city, Aaron asked around for jobs, sampled wares at vendors, and chatted up the local populace, catching up on news. He had a specific destination in mind, for where he was heading, but he was in no hurry to get there.

Stepping through the crowd, he caught sight of the flash of an animal through the press of bodies. He stopped short looking through the throng of people where he’d seen it; the orange and red coat, the flash of a tail, a large cat-like figure. It had been quick, following in the footsteps of someone in the crowd. But it couldn’t have been, he thought. No, not here. Not on this planet.

Shaking his head, he ran a hand through his hair. He needed a drink more than ever now.

Turning, he headed through the crowd for the bar that had been his destination all along.

Stepping in out off the bustle into the dim atmosphere, Aaron instantly felt more relaxed. Some modern beat music played and people drank and were having a merry time of it inside. He frequented this bar whenever he was in port. Keern would show up after work and they would have a drink together, but it was never to early to start before he showed up.

Sidling over to the bar, Aarons slipped onto a stool and gave the young woman behind the bar a flashy grin.

“So you dragged your ass back here finally,” she said leaning on the bar top. “To what do I owe this pleasure, dear?”

“Just the winds, Grace.” replied Aaron. It was their usual greeting. He’d dated Grace a while back, but with his too short calls to port and his roaming nature, they had decided to break it off. Whenever he was in need of a good cheering up, Grace was there for him though.

He leaned in and kissed her on the lips. She kissed him back, a thoughtful loving look in her eye.

“Careful,” she said as he leaned back. “If my guy friend catches you doing that, there’ll be hell to pay.”

“Hell I can take.”

She laughed lightly and turned from the bar, pulling out a bottle of his favorite brew and setting it before him. Pulling out two glasses, she cracked open the top on it.

“You know you’ve been really popular with one lady around here recently.”

Aaron cocked and eyebrow. “Oh yeah?”

“Yeah, she’s been asking around for you. Wanted to know when you would be back in port. I told her that you never really have a schedule and she said that she would wait around.”

Aaron stared at Grace, keeping his face emotionless. He hadn’t just been seeing things then. The animal had been there.

“Grace, where is this lady staying?” he asked, semi-casually.

“I offered her one of the rooms we rent out to people. She went out for a bit earlier and should be back soon. Why? Is she a old ex of yours?” Grace looked at him questioningly.

“Something like that, yeah. Where’s the back door?”

Grace looked startled. “Um, behind the counter.”

“Good, I’m going to take this with me.” Aaron slid from the seat casually and grabbed the bottle. Slipping behind the counter, he scanned the room. She wasn’t in here. He would have known if she had entered because of the big cat that always followed her.

“Aaron, what’s wrong?” Asked Grace, taking a step towards him.

He smiled as casually as he could and shook his head. “Tell Keern I’m sorry I missed him. I need to get back to the skies.”

With that he turned and headed through the backroom of the bar and out the back door. Glancing down the alley that he’d stepped into, he took a long swig from the bottle and set it by the door. Moving quickly he headed to the end of the alley and into the crowd. Flipping up the collar on his coat, he hunched his shoulders and tried not to look suspicious as he made his way through the crowd.

They were definitely following him now. He could feel it. Just the two of them, which was the weird part. He was sure there would have been more.

Turning the corner onto a short-cut that would take him to the docks, he started to move faster as the people thinned out, pulling his coat around him in an attempt to blend or hide… whichever worked better.

It was too late though…

“Aaron Black! Stop!”

 

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So…Um… Cover Art

I’m speechless.  Yeah…  Never thought that I could be anything of an artist.  I still don’t.  But I do a damn fine job of making use of Photoshop’s various tools.  And boy Photoshop never cooperates with me.  I think it took me about four hours, give or take a half an hour, plus the time it takes to write this post.  I couldn’t wait until tomorrow—which I’m leaving open for homework and other stuff, so I had to get this finished tonight when I started it.

I don’t have more than one sketch or picture to show you all.  I’m afraid I only was able to scan one in, the other one got dismissed in the early stages and is now just a nice sketch, but this one I took all the way and it turned out quite nicely I think.

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