Saturday, August 30, 2014

Where to Begin

I've heard this question rather frequently recently. People think they have a story in mind but they just don't know how to start.

My reply is to pick a beginning >just pick one< Two of the people who approached me wanted to do something of a memoir, and in one case it was important to paint an early foundation behind a family relationship so that later issues would be fully understood. The other one, I think, simply wants people to understand him, and so a beginning might be kind of hard to nail down, but still, a beginning needs to be THE beginning - first thoughts - first realizations - first conflicts.

This holds for starting a fictional story too, no matter the genre you choose to write in. Pick a beginning - somewhere where the crux of the matter starts - somewhere where you first understand that a certain chain of events has come together.

I've picked several different points of beginning: A voluntary medical procedure which changes everything - a chain of deaths that forces my character to make hard choices - love at first sight - murder - the fall of the royal family, though my character did his best to avoid stepping into his responsibilities. Those are just a few, but you get the idea.

For me, starting a story was always rather easy. Some idea would give me a scene and then I would simply have a suitable character work out the details of getting to or from that scene. The biggest issue is agreeing on an ending. Sometimes my characters decide on something else, but it's still a goal.

Some people like to do a story outline. I prefer to drive in the dark with the headlights on high, but something of an outline might be useful as something like mini-goals to achieve within the bigger story. Whatever works for you, by all means have at it, but don't spend so much time on your outline that you get tired of the story before you start writing.

Recently I've offered my services for hire, but I do also try to be available just to help out. I do enjoy helping other writers however I can.

How do you come up with your beginnings? Inquiring minds wanna know.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Other Side

Things have been really crazy this month and my brain went rather dead. I was working on little more than caffeine and functioning on routine. There was little room for anything else.


Had a dream last night. Here it is:

People can drop into another dimension. It can happen to a handful a day or a handful a year. One man set himself up as king and he rules his little corner of the world with an iron hand; you either join his delusion or, well, lets just say bad things may happen to you.

My character comes across, and though he doesn't find anything wrong with the medieval society, he thinks the tyrant was simply too much.


Well, that was the dream. We'll see what my muse will want to do with it. The alarm went off before I learned anything else.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fallen Angel

Here is my second stab at first person. I wrote it some time ago. There's more to the story, but it stalled. Maybe I'll rewrite it as a short. I'll get to it one of these days. In the mean time, enjoy. My brain does go to strange places sometimes.


Who am I? I am a black man and I have never been anyone that someone would be proud to know or meet, including myself. When they say life has its ups and downs, well my life had been so down for so long I could see absolutely no hope for me or my future. With that outlook on life, I’m sure no one would be too surprised that I submitted myself for experimental surgeries in cybernetics, not that anyone would care.

I didn’t care what they did to me, it was my next meal and a roof over my head and I could drift in my depression without being disturbed very often, they even paid me some money, but I didn’t care much about that either. When they asked me to fill out this form that asked for next of kin and who to notify in case of death or disability, all I could do was hand it back to them blank saving my signature on the bottom; I had no family or friends who would be the slightest bit interested in me or my fate. When they were reluctant to accept that, I filled in the name of the head doctor here; it was the only name I knew so far and I figure the only person who might be interested in what happened to me since he was accepting my application.

So that’s how I became a lab rat. Over the next few years, pieces and parts of me were replaced with mechanical pieces and parts, and over time, they were improved and upgraded until they almost looked normal. These scientists were constantly trying new ideas, so it’s not surprising that I had a mechanical eye as well as a mechanical ear. Any piece or part that might replace a nonfunctioning piece or part of the human body, I had at least one of them implanted in me.

Somewhere along the line, I found my way out of my funk and could function again, if only within the orbit of the medical community in which I was now completely buried.

One day, I noticed new scientists were beginning to show up to replace the older men in our group of doctors. No longer, were they solely concerned with improving the life of the disabled; there was now an interest in such things as flight or seeing great distances. It almost sounded like some kind of military application, but then I have always been a little paranoid.

The new series of surgeries I was subjected to, began with reinforcing and restructuring the bones in my back and shoulders so that I could support the weight of the wings as well as my own weight while in flight; there were also plans that it would ultimately need to support an assortment of mechanics needed for navigation that they planned to install at some later time. All of this would be tied into my nervous system, and it would draw on my energy reserves. The sensitivity of my eye implant and my ear implant were increased, it seemed like, a hundred fold.

In between surgeries, they had me on an exercise regime that would make an Olympian proud. Though I have always been, for the most part, healthy, and I was used the physical therapy they had me do almost all the time, I have never been a runner or a weight lifter. Now they had me committing at least four hours a day every day to a variety of sweat-wringing exercises, to include aerobics and karate exercises as well as kung fu, not to mention the running and weight lifting. The list of things they had me do was a long one and they all had some kind of name, I’m sure, but I stopped trying to keep track of them; I just did whatever they told me to do each day. If I didn’t know what was coming tomorrow, it made getting up in the morning that much easier.

Eventually they started me doing exercises associated with flight. They put me in this thing; I think they called it a gyro, or something like that anyway. I was supposed to learn how to control my own equilibrium with no outside help. On command I was supposed to lay horizontal or move to vertical, then it was on my head or on one side or the other, and I was supposed to do it in this thing that spun around in any and all directions at the slightest twitch. As soon as I thought I was getting the hang of it, they started to throw things like wind and rain and other distractions at me. Now, understand, I don’t have any wings yet, so I had to balance myself in driving rain and lightning while being over balanced with all that extra weight in my shoulders. I don’t know how those men did it but somehow they devised a way to approximate the worst Mother Nature could deal out to any unwary bird on this earth. I was the only one who seemed to realize that you never saw a bird flying in that kind of weather.

Finally, the day arrived when they thought that I was agile and strong enough to earn my wings. They hinted to the fact that I would have to do it all over again after I recovered from the last of my surgeries, but what I had accomplished once couldn’t possibly be so hard to accomplish a second time. Besides, what else did I have to do with my life?