Writer's deBlock

A site for writers by a writer for breaking writer's block and developing promising stories.

Book Review: Song for Avalon

May 20th, 2016

Song for Avalon is a fantasy story with beautiful imagery and no shortage of imagination. It is currently being funded on Inkshares.

The story starts off with a peek into a bleak future for a race known as the Doms. They are a sentient, energy-absorbing race created by another race known as the Celestes – another energy-absorbing race made out of light. Their once lush and beautiful world has gone dark. Without the nourishing glow of the sun the world around them has begun to die. The Doms and the Celestes will soon follow. Their only way of survival comes in the form of absorbing energy from Pyre Flowers. There is only one problem: there are so many flowers.

The story then takes a step back and shows us the world before it went dark. This world is in one word: magical. Beautiful imagery helps paint a fantastical picture of landscape reminiscent of Avatar – the movie, not the anime. We see our main characters Avalon and Jeyes frolicking freely in a fantasy forest. Everything seems perfect until the dark clouds come and for some reason they do not go away.

Without the sun the Celestes and Doms need a way to absorb energy or die. The Celestes find a way. Doms have the power to extract energy from Pyre Flowers but they cannot not absorb it. Celestes have the power to absorb and transfer energy but not extract it. They found their solution for survival but from then all that is all there will be: survival.

This is a beautiful story that was hard to look away from. The author’s imagination is wonderfully illustrated with words. It was like stepping into a painting. I cannot wait to read more. This story has a lot of promise.

Book Review: Burdens and Absolution

May 13th, 2016

Burdens and Absolution is a medieval fantasy story being funded at Inkshares.

In this story, Sir Hilda Burkhard is asked to take command of a company of soldiers to investigate disappearances within her kingdom. Among those who have disappeared was her brother, who was sent to investigate said disappearances some time ago. In response to these disappearances King Richter appoint Hilda as command of the regiment that will go figure just what is going on in the lands under Lady Costa’s governance.

The story has a slow start, however it makes up for this by focusing mostly on character and circumstance development. The use of medieval terminology is quite nice and adds depth to the imagery set forth by the author. Descriptions of events and settings are done quite nicely and it is easy to imagine actually being there. I like the author’s depiction of action during fight scenes. Most fight scenes I have read are not specific in movements and gestures, which is a short coming that tends to irk me, but here we do not see these short comings as each action is shown. This allows us to picture the fight exactly how the author imagines. This story has some promise.

Book Review: Seven Days Dead

May 7th, 2016

Seven Days Dead is zombie-outbreak story set in the backdrop of the Middle East. Seeming over night Jerusalem becomes ground zero for an undead apocalypse. It is currently being funded at Inkshares for their “hard science fiction” contest which is being hosted by Geek & Sundry.

There is currently three chapters up.

WARNING: SOME FOUL LANGUAGE!

This story begins much differently than other books I’ve read – of which I’ve read many. The very first line of this novel simply read: “Fuck.”

With that in mind, I had to keep on reading.

We found our protagonist Tal Barzani – a military veteran of the IDF – waking from a alcohol-fueled nightmare and experiencing one hell of a hangover. The author slowly takes us through his train of thought as he come out of this dream, going through emotions as they were stages and showing Tal’s reaction. It’s done rather well and it really makes you feel for the character. His guilt and remorse is palpable.

Tal is just about to get on with his routine of alcohol consumption when a bullet breaks him out of his reverie. We are immediately taken to Jerusalem on fire and chaos set loose. Our man kicks back into military mode. The only things on his mind being: grab essentials and get out.

After a moments hesitation at grabbing his gear and his and gun – guilt and remorse keying in – he exits from his apartment to find the place empty. Getting on the ground level and on the street he finds out why. The dead have been set loose in the Holy City.

So far, I really like this story. It reads easy and it is hard to take my eyes away. The author’s way of taking you through Tal’s consciousness through a thought-action-repeat model was systematic and very effective. The story feels very authentic and real. It lives and breathes. I hope to see more. This story has a lot of promise.

Book Review: Beyond the Horizon

May 6th, 2016

Beyond the Horizon is a story that borrows from science fact and explores science theory with science fiction. It is currently being funded at Inkshares for their “hard science fiction” contest which is being hosted by Geek & Sundry.

There is currently two chapters up. Here is a short review of what happens in Chapter 1 – The End and the Beginning.

The story starts off with a hook of asking the reader a question: “what if you could travel through a black hole?” It then proceeds to take us straight into the middle of a daring situation. The main character’s ship is damaged and they are unable to stop it. Because of their current trajectory they end up on a collision course with a black hole that is destined to destroy Earth in the near future.

With no other option presented to him, our main character (Wendell Wade) decides that if that can’t change their course then they have no other alternative but to go as fast as they can and hope that the gravitational and tidal forces of the black hole don’t tear them apart.

This situation ends before we see its conclusion and we are taken back five years in the past. We see from Wade’s perspective how the world takes the news that the world is going to come to and untimely end. For a moment he reacts just as any one else would, thinking about how little time he had left to do the things he wanted to do. But then he stops and considers an alternative. Essentially, he has a “I can fix this” epiphany. He storms from his classroom after making sure all his student would be passing in his class. The world around him is starting to hear the news. Chaos is beginning to ensue.  He calls a friend (Troian Hanson) and proposes to him that they could literally save the world. Troian gets on board with very little convincing.

It is an interesting read so far. Even more interesting is the concept. What gives this story its gravity (shameless pun intended) is that this could actually happen at any time. This almost makes this a science horror/thriller. This story has a lot of promise.

Stop Writing for Readers

January 4th, 2015

There are many ways of writing. One of the mainstream ways is to write about what is trending at the time. This is calling writing for readers. Writers often do this as a way of attracting readers. However, not all writers are capable of this.

If you are one such writer that cannot or does not want to write for readers then you should simply write for your self. Write about what interests you and write what you would want to read. If you have a story that you think only you would enjoy then write about it. Such writings are typically easier to churn out than writing for a market that you may or may not be familiar with.

This is especially useful for newer writers. A new writer should only focus on one thing. Picking a single story (more on this later) and finishing that story. By working on this story it gives you practice for more serious projects later and it gives you at least one project you can market yourself with.

Use FreeMind for Organization of Ideas

December 13th, 2014

For most writers (including myself) the organization of ideas is of paramount importance. It is easy to come up plenty of ideas for a story and it is simple to write them down. However, organizing them in a manner where you can make sense of them later (and make use of them) is another matter entirely.

There is a program available (for free!) that will allow you to produce mind-maps and allow you to keep your ideas organized. This program is called FreeMind. It allows you to create diagrams and maps of your ideas so you can have a sort-of “creative flow” and a record of your ideas.

Here is a quick example of how one could use FreeMind to organize your story ideas down below:

mindmapbookexample

Example of a mind-map for a story

I have used this tool many times and it has allowed me to save all my ideas in a logical flow from where each idea and detail flowed and stemmed from. By doing this one can keep track of which details pertain to which subject and one can keep track of which ideas are associated with other ideas.

Writing Fan Ficiton

August 1st, 2014

For those who want to write but do not have a good grasp on their on projects yet, writing fan fiction may be a fun and rewarding option to you.

Writing fan fiction has a few advantages and some disadvantages.

One of the main advantages is that you would be able to work with a world and characters that you are familiar with. You as the writer now have less to worry about in terms of character development and starting numerous characters from scratch.

Another advantage is that you get to put all your what-if scenarios with your favorite characters on paper (or screen if you are typing).

One major disadvantages is that you most likely will not be able to profit from your work. Unless an author has made it specifically clear that you can write “official” fan-fiction, then the most you can do with your work is share it to the public for its creative and entertainment value and get noticed as a capable writer.

Another disadvantage is that many loyal readers of any one series can be very picky, so what you decided to do with your fan-fiction, how you develop characters in new way, and how you choose these characters to act will be under scrutiny (possible extreme scrutiny). This is a double-edged sword, it has the ability to ruin your popularity if you get the characters wrong or make you very well liked according to how true you stay to the original work you are basing your story on.

There are many authors who support fan fiction. Some popular ones include: Stephen King, C. S. Lewis, Gene Roddenberry, J. K. Rowling, and many others. If you are lucky, popular enough, and write very good you may even have the opportunity to have your work recognized as truly official. It is not very likely but it has happened.

For a long list of authors that approve of fan fiction click here.

Some Updates and a Tip

August 5th, 2013

I have updated the contests page with four more sources of writing testing grounds for my fellow aspiring authors out there. A lot has been happening lately so updates have been slow and may continue to be slow coming. Fear not, I will not abandon this blog that easily.

Here’s a tip that I suppose I will expand upon in a later post:

I had just come back from the movies today. I saw 2Guns and Pacific Rim (in the same day). When coming out of the theater I felt that feeling that I should be writing more and getting my writing out there. Watching other people’s work on the big screen and seeing their work recognized can be a great motivator for getting you to get cracking on your own long-neglected manuscripts. I can tell you personally that such works for me. Where my writing rate might be slow and steady normally, after a movie or a walk through a book store my work rate increases dramatically.

Let the fact that your story just may be the next big thing motivate you to work on your unfinished masterpieces.

Enter a Contest

June 2nd, 2013

Just like NaNoWriMo, entering a contest can do wonders if you are given a deadline for your writing – not to mention the added potential benefit of prize money.

Not many things can create the motivation needed to sit your butt down and churn out pages of writing like the prospect of winning recognition  and/or money from a contest hosted by a reputable magazine, ezine, etc.

Another benefit of these contest is that usually they are content specific. This will give you practice in writing content that is not necessarily your forte. We all know what we like to write but it is another matter to write about other topics and for a specific audience. Writing contests can help with that as you will put more care into what you are writing the first time as you submit it into a contest rather than finishing a story and simply storing it in your hard-drive or drawer for potential publication.

You can also take existing works that you may already have and submit them and see how others respond to your work. Even if you don’t win this may let you know what you need to work on.

Make sure you read the submission guidelines before submitting your work to a contest. Some contest let you submit to multiple places at once while others require that you submit only to them. There are many more details but they vary from contest to contest. Once again, make sure you read carefully before submitting work.

Some good places to start are:
PatronQuo
Leapfrog Press
BOMB
Autumn House Press

Update: 8/5/2013
Writer’s Digest
Writers of the Future
Albedo’s Aeon Award
N3F

*Note: I will update this list as I find more contests to which writers can submit their work.

Writer's deBlock

A site for writers by a writer for breaking writer's block and developing promising stories.

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