Tag Archives: speculative fiction

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Firstly I want to celebrate a personal milestone, 1000 blog posts on my blog as of Monday 9th January!

post-milestone-1000

Writing:

Over the weekend, inspired by the new Writer in Residence, I continued with an edit of my speculative fiction manuscript, Life in Slake Patch. I will send the manuscript for the WIR to review once this is complete. This particular manuscript has been through numerous edits and revisions and needs to ‘get out there’ soon.

Books:

hope

I began the third novel by Claire North called The Sudden Appearance of Hope. It is written in a similar voice as the other two I have read. It is an intriguing concept as the main character is ‘forgotten’ almost from the moment she is out of sight. Time will tell if it matches up to Harry August or Touch.

Writing TipElmore Leonard

“Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.”

What writing project did you tackle this weekend?

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

 

Blog Wrap Up for 2016…


thank-you

Firstly a huge thank you to all my followers for dropping by to comment, read and share my musings. You are from all points of the globe, in fact  179 different countries have visited this site.  242 flags collected – that is amazing.

flag-2016

In 2016 for the first time, I split the themes of each day into two six month slots – firstly  Lost Words kindly approved by the http://phrontistery.info/ were on Mondays from January until June and then I invited author interviews, writing tips, stories etc for the second half Mondays. I also shared my road trip adventures around Alberta.

Wednesdays began with a look at alternative lifestyles in deference to my speculative fiction novel I was working on entitled, Life in Slake Patch. The second half was reincarnation/life after death, which tied into my reincarnation romance, The Twesome Loop but also because this subject has always fascinated me. I was fortunate to have some special guests involved in these posts.

On Saturday’s I posed writing prompts and the added incentive of prizes for whomever responded.

As 2016 becomes 2017 – I wish you all a healthy, loving, and exciting year.

2017

Book Review: Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman


HerlandHerland_04

Herland 1915

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I first heard about Herland a couple of years after I wrote my first NaNoWriMo in 2009, resulting in the basis of my novel, Life in Slake Patch. The premise of my speculative novel, Life in Slake Patch, is a future matriarchal society forced by a global war’s destruction of the planets civilization and a large proportion of the male population, to take control. This developed a segregated lifestyle maintaining men and women into defined roles. The population is bound by strict rules on activities, living quarters and parings (marriage).

So when I discovered the Herland story, I was curious to read it. Maybe it was my naivety but I assumed the book would be the usual novel length, however it is only 124 pages, so more novella than novel. Due to a series of writing activities – writing a further four novels, publishing two children’s books and an adult fantasy and launching my freelance career, I never seemed to get the time to buy Herland. Well until a couple of weeks ago!

It is surprising how Gilman formed the concept of an all female land in an era when women were seen as delicate housebound wives. Although, Gilman was hardly typical of her time as she was a turn-of-the-century social critic and lecturer. Her short story ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ is probably more widely known than Herland. The style of Herland is of course a reflection of the era’s writing style but even so fascinating and enthralling. Gilman tells the story of a feminist utopia from the viewpoint of a trio of men, who discover it by chance. This was my first surprise as my novel, Life in Slake Patch; written I hasten to add with no knowledge of Herland; from the viewpoint of a young man living in the male compound, Slake.

Gilman’s verbiage can distract the flow of the story, which in itself does not have the modern trait of increasing action and concluding climax. In truth it is monotone rather than stereo, devoid of suspense. However, it has beautifully written exposition giving the reader a real feel of the land and its inhabitants. I feel Gilman must have had an expansive imagination not only because she created a woman only land, but also she obviously thought of the ‘perfect’ woman world, cut free of the stereo type she personally experienced. Gilman goes into great detail on how the fruit trees were cultivated, the traditional meat animals were foregone and the garments the women wore were practical and comfortable. She writes in great detail of their psyche and how the population works together and abides to a thoughtful and exacting structure of life.Her explanation of their history is also creative.

The male narrator explains throughout the book how he and his companions try to impress the women of their male dominated civilization. Over time two of these men find that Herland has a much better way of life, utilizing forethought and planning, which over the generations made the utopia. One man is, however, not convinced and is determined to ‘show’ the female leaders, how they should be mastered.

In our modern age it is probably thought of as a naive story but at the time I would think it was shocking. Women ruling their own world and equal to men! The women of Herland were strong, capable and fearless of the men. Their interest was purely educational, a thirst for  knowledge of the world beyond their fortified enclave. The woman’s way of life was based on motherhood. This was their governing and abiding focus in everything they did, from nurturing the female only babies to caring for each other to sustaining themselves.

The second surprise was Gilman’s explanation of how the women managed to reproduce without men. It is a kind of immaculate conception, (actually a parthenogenesis process), which occurred several generations after all the men were killed and the women cut off from the outside world. One woman gave birth and her daughters also carried the genetic ability to reproduce. In our modern day of science fiction and fantasy rich environment, where anything is possible this seems fanciful but in 1915, I would think it was inconceivable (pardon the pun!) to most of the population.

Although, I bore in mind the era in which it was written whilst reading, Herland is quite exceptional in its concept. Gilman was a woman before her time and I’m sure if it were written today in our accepted style, it would be a great hit with speculative and fantasy lovers.

Charlotte

Charlotte Perkins Gilman  1860-1935

Character Interview – Evan from Life in Slake Patch…


This post is a day early but Kathy invited me to interview my character, Evan from Life in Slake Patch. This was my first attempt at writing a novel during my first NaNoWriMo – talk about pressure! Prior to that NaNo, I had only written short pieces and plunged into the challenge full heartedly. I plan to revise and edit Life in Slake Patch next year.

I hope you enjoy the interview and please remember to comment on Kathy’s blog and share.

http://idea-creations.blogspot.ca/2015/01/character-interview-evan-from-life-in.html

LifeinSlakePatch

 

 

How Do You Choose Your Genre or Sub-Genre For Your Novel..?


articlesWithin the multitude of genres in fiction, traditionally there have been constraints on what is and what is not ‘allowed’ in terms of content or style based on the genre’s ‘main’ heading. However, with sub-genres being created almost daily, an author has a multitude of options to choose from nowadays. Does that make it easier or more difficult to categorize your novel though? Sub-genres can mix and match almost any genre together. Is this the ‘new’ vogue for literature? Make one up to fit your narrative rather than ‘fit’ your novel to a genre?

So let’s look at what you do.When defining your novels, what methods do you use to decide on its ‘genre’?

Do you decide to write specifically to a particular genre prior to starting a new manuscript?

Or – do you write your story and worry about the genre later on?

As most of you know I am a free flow writer so my story comes first and the defining comes much later. An exercise in branding several months ago did enlighten me to the fact that all of my narratives centered around ‘love’ – be it romantic, parental or another kind – so in essence I can use that title within the more traditional genre heading.

With so many alternative genres to choose from the ‘bonus’ of multiple ones enables us to entice more than one ‘type’ of reader. Romance readers would never go to the horror section first but if the description was something like – romantic suspense – then maybe they would pick up your book.

It is a matter of looking at your story and defining the main theme, even if it is an underlining thread throughout the narrative. My novel, Life in Slake Patch is an alternative world order but basically has a young man trying to change the ‘laws’ so he can be with the woman he loves. It can be described as speculative fiction but romantic speculative fiction is better.

My novel, The Twesome Loop also has romantic elements in it but also has a reincarnation element and is set in England and Italy so is it romance alone or do I possibly create a sub-genre: historical suspense romance..? As I am writing, I realized this sub-genre could also fit my fantasy The Rython Kingdom, as it is set in medieval England, has a romance and a master plot by a vengeful witch so should I add fantasy to the long genre title?

Obviously, some novels are easier to categorize than others and if you have found your ‘perfect’ genre and prefer to write in that one alone then enjoy!

genres

 

 

 

 

 

Link: http://fmwriters.com/Visionback/Issue19/themedefine.htm

 

Imagination – A Writers Tool…


articles
As writers we utilize our imaginations to make the unimaginable into reality in our narratives. There are no barriers, no limits to what we can create. Distant worlds, alternative realities and curious creatures are brought to life for our readers.

Our imaginations are a vital tool for our writing and we need to encourage it to flourish. We already ‘see’ things others may not even consider as story potential – such as a unique hairstyle, a particular speech pattern or even an outfit. Being able to incorporate things we see, hear and touch, no matter their original source, is how we create. Let your imagination free and enjoy the process of creation.

How do you ensure your imagination is not stifled? 

type writer imagine

It may seem rather ‘easy’ to create a whole new world, but in actual fact there are numerous hurdles we need to jump, metaphorically speaking. Fantasy readers, in particular, are extremely meticulous in their review and the consistency in fantasy works and the ‘laws’ of the land therein. This fact is obvious when you see the amount of sci-fi conventions and the followers of such programs as Star Trek.

 

 

This Q&A page is a great way to find out if your creation will stand up to scrutiny.

http://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/fantasy-worldbuilding-questions/

And a great link for tips on world building here:

http://www.malindalo.com/2012/10/five-foundations-of-world-building/

Of course world building is not restricted to fantasy. If you are setting your narrative in a particular time period you must ensure everything your characters use and interact with, are from that era. A 1940’s housewife will not have the luxury of a microwave oven, for example. However, when you have time travel within your story greater detail is required to ensure each era is true to its original. This not only gives the reader clues as to where and when your characters are but also gives your protagonist obstacles to overcome. Unless of course you have a time traveler visiting!

A friend of mine. J.E. McKnight, is an excellent time travel author and he is meticulous in ensuring the ‘time-line’ is correct as well as ensuring the ‘vehicle’ of travel is believable. You can purchase his book here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/264043

With attention to detail and solid back story, every narrative can be believable no matter how fantastical the characters, creatures or situations. Most of us ‘believe’ in Hobbits, Harry Potter and the like because the narratives are so strong in the basics of world building.

I have used reincarnation in my novel,The Twesome Loop, an alternative future  in Life in Slake Patch and magical creatures  in Ockleberries to the Rescue. If you can imagine the inconceivable – you can write it.

What worlds, characters or creatures have you created?

Imagination

 

 

Are Your Novels Pigeon-Holed Into Genres – Do You Want To Break Free..?


articles 

For many authors pigeon holing our work into specific genre’s is difficult and this fact is reflected in the sub-genres that are being created almost daily. We can also use a technique where by we utilize several ‘genre headings’ in our description. Such as the list here: https://www.worldswithoutend.com/resources_sub-genres.asp , which only deals with fantasy and sci-fi, but however gives you some indication of how the selection works. So there is a method open to us to use our genre description as a way to entice more than one ‘type’ of reader.  Romance readers would never go to the horror section first but if the description was something like – romantic suspense – then maybe they would pick up your book.

It is a matter of looking at your story and defining the main theme, even if it is underlining thread throughout the narrative. My novel, Life in Slake Patch is an alternative world order but basically has a young man trying to change the ‘laws’ so he can be with the woman he loves. It can be described as speculative fiction but romantic speculative fiction is better.

I am sharing an excerpt from my Life In Slake Patch speculative fiction novel. (Still awaiting representation.) LifeinSlakePatch 002Evan is leading a posse to find the rebel band, known as the Tribe.

 

As the cluster of riders approached we saw there were nineteen or so horsemen. We would have no trouble fighting them off as our party was made up of thirty men. Then another shout was heard; there were more horsemen coming from the east, another ten or more. We would have to co ordinate our efforts if the attack was to come from two flanks. The four out riders dispatched earlier were almost indistinguishable from the surrounding landscape to the south and I hoped with luck they would reach the Garricade compound in a couple of hours with some hard riding. In the mean time we had no choice but to hold fast.

As the riders moved toward us it was plain that all were young men and just before they reached our barricade a rallying cry rung out.

“Brothers fight for supremacy.”

Gripping my dagger even tighter in readiness, I shouted orders to my men.

“Stand firm behind the wagons, let them come to us.”

The clash of metal against metal and wood against wood filled the valley air. Cries of pain rung out as wounds were inflicted and cries abruptly silenced. A shadow blocked the sunlight above me; I looked over to see a horse’s belly level with my head. Swiftly I turned to look up and face the rider. He was no older than myself swinging a baton toward Peter’s head. I let out a cry and dug my dagger deeply into the rider’s thigh and pulled with all my might. The rider’s scream of pain seared through the air as he fell from his mount. I held him fast with a foot against his chest and my dagger’s tip pushed into his neck.

It was then I noticed the deafening silence around me. Looking up, all faces were turned toward me as if everyone had become frozen. One by one the Tribe riders weapons began to drop to the ground, my men took advantage of the opportunity and grabbed their opponents. As the Tribe members were secured my victim groaned.

“Don’t fail me brothers’ fight.”

But he could see all heads hanging down in defeat turning away from his stare.

In truth I was shocked it had not occurred to me or any one of us before that there might have been a leader to the Tribe. We had thought it was a few disgruntled young men wandering the plains, surviving by stealing. This man must have recruited his followers. I looked down at my captive.

“What’s your name?”

“I am, Aiden, leader of the Tribe and proud of it, you down trodden oaf.”

At the insult I could feel my muscles tense and pressed the dagger deeper into his neck. He cried out again and I released the pressure.

“Secure this man with the others. Medic Jones, please tend to the more seriously injured first.”

How did you categorize your novels?

Do you use a multiple genre (sub-genre?)

Thank you for reading and as always comments are always welcome.

A Self Imposed Grueling Schedule…


Grueling – definition : strenuous; exhausting; very tiring; arduously severe

2013_Blogathon_word_cloud_II

With only three more posts until the end of my year long ‘post a blog a day’, I have mixed feelings. The regime has become second nature, although at times I did struggle. Now I am wondering how to utilize the ‘free’ time not posting every day will give me.

My first task is to decide on the frequency of my posts for 2014 and then what subjects, themes or topics I will cover on those particular days.

Obviously, I have some ideas bouncing around inside my head but still need to finalize them.

If you have enjoyed a particular post or posts, I would welcome your comments and suggestions (within reason – I will not be posting every day in 2014!) What, I hear you cry (or maybe not!) I have several projects, I want to bring to fruition in 2014 and blogging every day would seriously interfere with those plans.

To give you an idea what those projects are:

To publish two novels as e-books that have been languishing in my laptop files. Life in Slake Patch & The Twesome Loop.

LifeinSlakePatch 002Twesome Loop 002

To publish in e-book form and on a print on demand site, my children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue.

To edit, revise and refine my NaNoWriMo novel, Willow Tree Tears.

My biggest project is to boost my freelance business – any offers are more than welcome!

These projects are in addition to my role as secretary of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and the planning of our annual conference in March. As well as creating a prompt on the website every Saturday and attending sharing meetings, board meetings, workshops and book events. All of this has to be squeezed into the time I am not working the day job.

Please consider attending our conference if you are within driving distance of Sherwood park, Alberta, Canada or fly in and stay at one of the many hotels in the area. We would love to meet you.

Post card frontWFSC Conference postcard back

Making the Inconceivable Believable…


Inconceivable – definition: not conceivable; unimaginable; unthinkable

Glen

Writers have the ability to make the unimaginable reality in their narratives. There are no barriers, no limits to what a writer can create. Distant worlds, alternative realities and curious creatures are brought to life for the reader.

It may seem rather ‘easy’ to create a whole new world, but in actual fact there are numerous hurdles you have to jump. Fantasy readers, in particular, are extremely meticulous in ensuring consistency in a fantasy work and the ‘laws’ of the land therein.

This Q&A page is a great way to find out if your creation will stand up to their scrutiny.

http://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/fantasy-worldbuilding-questions/

And a great link for tips on world building here:

http://www.malindalo.com/2012/10/five-foundations-of-world-building/

Of course world building is not restricted to fantasy. If you are setting your narrative in a particular time period you must ensure everything your characters use and interact with, are from that era. A 1940’s housewife will not have the luxury of a microwave oven, for example. However, when you have time travel within your story greater detail is required to ensure each era is true to its original. This not only gives the reader clues as to where and when your characters are but also gives your protagonist obstacles to overcome. Unless of course you have a time traveler visiting!

With attention to detail and solid back story, every narrative can be believable no matter how fantastical the characters, creatures or situations. Most of us ‘believe’ in Hobbits, Harry Potter and the like because the narratives are so strong in the basics of world building.

I have used reincarnation (The Twesome Loop), an alternative future (life in Slake Patch) and magical creatures (Ockleberries to the Rescue)  in some of my novels. If you can imagine the inconceivable – you can write it.

What fantastical worlds have you created?

How did you decide on the ‘laws’?

8040621425_23590bca52 (2)

Genre Constraints…


Constraint – definition: the state of being checked, restricted, or compelled to avoid some action

do-dont

Within the multitude of genres in fiction, there are constraints on what is and what is not ‘allowed’ in terms of content or style based on the genre’s ‘main’ heading. See here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_literary_genres

When you are defining your novels, what methods do you use to decide on its ‘genre’? 

http://querytracker.blogspot.ca/2009/04/defining-genres-where-does-your-book.html

Do you decide to write specifically to a particular genre prior to starting a new manuscript?

Or do you write your story and worry about the genre later on? 

As most of you know I am a free flow writer so my story comes first and the defining comes much later. For many authors this pigeon holing our work is difficult and this fact is reflected in the sub-genres that are being created almost daily. We can also use a technique where by we utilize several ‘genre headings’ in our description. Such as the list here: https://www.worldswithoutend.com/resources_sub-genres.asp , which only deals with fantasy and sci-fi. So there is a method open to us to use our genre description as a way to entice more than one ‘type’ of reader.  Romance readers would never go to the horror section first but if the description was something like – romantic suspense – then maybe they would pick up your book.

It is a matter of looking at your story and defining the main theme, even if it is underlining thread throughout the narrative. My novel, Life in Slake Patch is an alternative world order but basically has a young man trying to change the ‘laws’ so he can be with the woman he loves. It can be described as speculative fiction but romantic speculative fiction is better.

My novel, The Twesome Loop also has romantic elements in it but also has a reincarnation element. How would I describe that one? Suggestions welcome!

Twesome Loop 002

LifeinSlakePatch 002