Yes, we all know writing is a solitary pastime, however we do need to connect with others writers from time to time. In this virtual age many of us have connections across countries as well as in our own place in the world. This is achieved with local writing groups or through the wonders of the internet.
With our imposed isolation those precious moments of physical connection have been extinguished for the time being and ‘virtual’ has become the norm. We have all seen the virtual book readings, book launches and promotions. The greatest thing as far as I am concerned are the growing number of virtual writing groups.
I have such a group, who link up on Sunday’s for three hours of writing. We can see each other and there is a brief hello and details of what project we are tackling. Then it is heads down and write! At the end we report on progress and feel accomplished. We may not be ‘together’ but we are!
The added benefit is that we are accountable and that drives us to write. No matter the circumstances there is always a way to stay connected.
We have all had to find creative ways to fill our time since the isolation began. Some of us can immerse ourselves in stories and that is a good thing. However, have you found any new outlets to indulge your artistic Muse?
My friend showed me an app for paint by numbers and it has become my latest obsession. I try to pick the most intricate so it takes some time to complete them. Here are a few results I shared on my Instagram.
Of course I am still reading and writing but it is good to have some other way to express my creativity. I also updated my bathroom counter this weekend. A job I have been putting off for a few months!
Without the planned author interview blog post for today, I was curious to look at some of my past posts and came across this one from March 2014. It is quite eerie how relevant it is for today.
We are fortunate to have the ability to connect with people from all over the world with the click of a button. Barring time differences we can speak face to face with them as well as converse via various technologies unimagined in quite recent history. Technology can be a burden but also a gift. Personally, I have met other writers from as far away as America and Warsaw, to name just two. People I would never have met any other way. The American writer posted on a non-writing site and our responses to a topic were so familiar we began emailing each other. After several months, we found out our lives were mirrors of each other’s life experiences. This culminated in us visiting each others ‘homes and becoming firm friends. We call each Soul Sister.
The young woman from Warsaw, blogged how she felt alone in her writing, this was a call I could not ignore, so responded with a paid membership to my writers group as we have virtual as well as local members. www.wfscsherwoodpark.com She has since managed to publish her work and enjoys the connection with other writers. This is the positive side of the internet, as well as research possibilities for anything under the sun we care to find out about. Our curiosity for knowledge can be satisfied with almost no effort at all.
However, not all connections can become physical ones and that is the shame of the internet. We cannot jump on a ‘plane at the drop of a hat in order to travel to far away countries to visit these contacts, for the most part. Our ‘relationships’ are limited to short conversations and ‘funny’ Facebook posts. In short it is not a’ true’ friendship with shared experiences but that being said, still important connections for a host of reasons.
How many of you open a conversation in a coffee shop, on a train or bus, even in the food store? People around us are as interesting as those on the computer screen. Has technology taken this ability away? I remember watching my Mother striking up conversations with complete strangers all the time. As a shy child I found this alarming but as I grew up I realized without human contact, we become isolated in a crowd.
We should not be afraid to connect with people – everyone has an interesting story to share after all. Who knows it might be a story idea.
What has been your experience with internet contacts? Has it changed now?
Today’s writing tip
Set your writing goals for every writing session
Outline your aims for a writing session in order to keep yourself focused. It may help to write down what you want to achieve in the next chapter or scene. However, remember, to give yourself elbow room. It is okay to depart from your scene summary if you feel the story should go (or wants to go) in a new direction. Personally, I let the story flow but some writers find writing a pre-scene enables them to maintain a clear sense of direction for each scene in relation to their story arc.
Science Fiction is a story based on the impact of potential science, either actual or imagined. It is one of the genres of literature that is set in the future or on other planets. The title is often shortened to SF or sci-fi. This genre typically deals with imaginative concepts, such as futuristic science and technology, space and time travel, even faster than light travel but also parallel universes and extraterrestrial life. The narrative can explore the potential consequences of scientific and innovation ideas developed to extremes.
Science fiction elements can include:
A temporal setting in the future with alternative timelines or in a historical past that contradicts the known facts of actual history
A spatial setting or scenes in outer space, on other worlds or even subterranean earth.
Characters do included aliens, mutants, robots and other imagined or predicted beings.
Technology can be futuristic or plausible. Examples being teleportation, mind control, ray guns and super-intelligent computers.
Scientific principles that contradict accepted physical laws, such as time travel.
New and different political or social systems.
Imagined future history of humans on earth or other planets.
Characters with paranormal abilities, such as telekinesis or telepathy.
Other universes or dimensions and travel between them.
Space opera, which is an adventure science fiction set mainly or entirely in outer space or on sometimes distant planets.
Utopian fiction, which portrays a setting that agrees with an ethos believed by the author of another reality.
Dystopia fiction, a portrayal opposed by the authors ethos.
Time Travel fiction where by utilizing a vehicle of some kind an operator can select a time period and purposefully travel there.
Military science fiction, where there is a conflict between national, interplanetary or interstellar armed forces.
Superhuman stories reflect the emergence of humans with abilities beyond the norm.
Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic
Apocalyptic fiction covers the end of civilization through war, while post-apocalyptic deals with the near aftermath of such a war.
Steampunk and dieselpunk, this genres are based on a futuristic technology existing in the past (usually the 19th century) and often set in the English Victorian era. They do contain prominent elements of science fiction through the use of fictional technological inventions.
Cyberpunk and biopunk. This is a reasonably ‘new’ genre emerging in the early 1980’s. It combines cybernetics and punk with a time frame usually in the near-future with dystopian settings.
Have you written a science fiction story/novel? Care to share?
I have a YA novella, Clickety Click that deals with aliens living in secret on Earth. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/679515 https://www.amazon.ca/Clickety-Click-Mandy-Eve-Barnett/dp/1927510856
And my latest YA novella, Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria is set on another planet. Launch early 2018.
I also have a steampunk inspired, The Toymaker (7K words) that may become a novella in the future. Time will tell.
Do you try writing in different genres? What has been your experience?
It may be a day late but I hope you enjoy this Halloween themed story. I wrote it 3 April 2011, when my writing career was starting.
A Glimpse Through a Window
It started with a glimpse out of the corner of her eye. A movement passing the opened window but when she turned there was nothing there. Dismissing it as possibly a bird or a butterfly floating in the warmth of summer sunshine, she turned back to her work.
Just one more chapter and then she would treat herself to a walk to ease and stretch her aching muscles. Janice had woken bursting with inspiration at five o’clock, now six hours later a major part of the novel was complete. With a flourish she hit the keypad and straightens up. There in front of her was a beautiful face peering through the window. Instinct made her jump and involuntary utter a gasp.
“Hello, who are you?”
The lady smiles but does not answer just reaches out her hand to beckon Janice outside. Her dark shape and long ebony locks float as if in water, it is surreal. Fascinated Janice opens the patio door and enters the warmth of the day time sun.
“Come follow – you will find.”
“Find what, where are we going?”
Without waiting the lady turns toward the rose garden, the oldest part of the cottage garden. The floral scent permanents the air as they approach the blooms. The dark lady stops in the center of the path and points. Janice’s eyes follow her fingers direction – there blooms an ebony rose so dark it gleams.
“Write its story, Janice and release me.”
“Release you – I don’t understand?”
“My spirit resides within the bloom I am relying on your gift of words to free me forever.”
“What shall I write? Tell me what to write.”
“You know my story it is deep within you.”
Janice’s mouth opens to ask another question but the dark lady has disappeared. Was she dreaming? Everything seemed so real, so tangible – the warmth on her skin, the grass beneath her feet. Janice returns to her desk puzzling thoughts race through her mind. There she finds a dark rose petal lying upon the laptop keys. It was real?
A blank page faces her and her fingers begin to type – a story unfolds.
Esmeralda’s roses were well renowned even as far away as London. Each bloom was perfection itself due wholly to her unwavering commitment to their care. After years of trial and error with combinations of manure, egg shells and herbs, Esmeralda had found her ‘secret’ formula. Each season demanded another ritual before the first buds appeared in April. With careful attendance each bud was nurtured to its full potential. Every flower show saw Esmeralda take first place much to the dismay of her rival, Vanity. The competition between the two women was fierce.
During the sixth annual London show Esmeralda was summoned by the Duke of Suffolk. He commissioned her to produce a truly black rose – something never achieved before. With a deep bow Esmeralda had thanked him for his obvious confidence in her abilities but felt she would not succeed. The Duke took her hands and solemnly stated that if anyone could succeed it was indeed the Rose Queen herself.
Upon her return home Esmeralda began researching the deepest and darkest strains of rose. Using grafting techniques and cross pollination she grew several young plants. As they grew and flourished she waited patiently for the first blooms. She achieved deep burgundy and the darkest crimson but never ebony. Three long years past each new bloom took her a step closer to her goal but never close enough. Then in the fourth year a tiny shoot grafted to the main plant produced a bud unlike any Esmeralda had ever seen. It was the darkest green she had ever seen. She tended to this special bud as with all her charges and waited in anticipation for it to blossom.
Sunday 14th April would be a date Esmeralda would never forget – for that morning she witnessed the darkest most beautiful ebony bloom gleaming in the sunlight. She would send word to the Duke that she has succeeded in making his wish come true. However, Esmeralda died that day at the hands of her arch rival, Vanity. It was a dagger to her heart as she breathed sweet words to her special bloom. Vanity took the plant and professed it was her own creation. She became famous over night and revelled in the adulation.
As for Esmeralda her body was buried beneath her rose garden- a place she had loved above all others. Her spirit lived on in the multitude of blooms until one day it rose up and made its presence known. She was the Rose Queen and the ebony bloom her creation.
The words flowed so quickly Janice could not read them quickly enough. At last her fingers ceased their frantic tapping and she realized who her visitor had been. Janice would make sure the real creator was acknowledged for her Black Rose.
Most of my writing for the next couple of months is going to be my freelance project – I have to keep to the deadline! If my brain needs refreshing I will return to my YA novella, Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria, I have maybe 2-3 chapters to complete now. Then I can send the whole manuscript to my illustrator with ideas for the chapter header images.
What projects do you have planned for the winter months?
I am reading this novel by a young local author. She has created her voice and a wonderful cast of characters. Review to follow.
Writing Tips: Hashtags for writers.
#amwriting: Commonly used by writers to indicate they’re generating pages.
#amediting : a writer is going through his or her pages, revising.
#writingtip or #writetip Writing coaches, editors, and others whose livelihoods depend on authors will offer up their tweety pearls of wisdom, marked by these hashtags.
#writingprompt This hashtag is used when writing coaches give a suggestion about what to write, an idea to get the writer going and help to stimulate the flow of the pen on the page.
And good luck to all who are participating this year.
#nanowrimo National Novel Writing Month (November) helps create solidarity among those toiling on their magnum opuses
#book #novel #nonfiction #fiction #paperbacks #short or #short #story or #shortstories or #shortreads #litfic (for literary fiction) #histfic and #histnovel (used for historical fiction) #womensfiction #scifi or #science #fiction #romance #paranormal #crime #suspense #kidlit #cookbooks