Far Flung is in the Nerdist Sci-Fi Contest on Inkshares!

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The Nerdist and Inkshares are having a party, and my readers are all invited!

Far Flung, my sci-fi novel draft, is going into the Nerdist Sci-fi Contest!

In 2169, Ulysess Spaceflight begins a private mission to colonize the Tau Ceti system. William Flynn, a rising star among the reporters for The Galactic Observer, is aboard with a unique opportunity to record the life of the colonists aboard the Tereshkova colony vessel. Instead of arriving at the fourth planet of Tau Ceti, however, the ship jumps to a new and unknown galaxy billions of lightyears from Earth.

Flynn and the crew are forced to survive in a war-torn region with no help from other humans. As they flee from hostile aliens, the crew is forced to trust the strange beings who offer aid and shelter. With no hope of returning to Earth, they must seek a new home among the stars.

pre-order far flung

Why should anyone be interested in Far Flung?

Did you ever watch Star Trek: Voyager and wish there were more danger and consequences for the crew’s actions? Did you ever watch the Battlestar Galactica revival and wonder what what happen if the crew met other beings and civilizations aside from the Cylons?

The story of Far Flung draws from episodic sci-fi and blends in a multiple point-of-view structure. See the story unfold through the eyes of five different characters on the colony ship Tereshkova – a rookie reporter, an upstart navigator, a brilliant engineer, an ex-military security chief, and an alien scientist. Their stories tie together the trials and dangers of a search for a new home.

Why put this on Inkshares?

I need a metaphorical kick in the butt to get this done. Maybe a real one too. Various issues have led to this book taking a long time, but this contest does not require a finished novel. If I win this, or get a minimum of 250 pre-orders, Far Flung will get finished. It will get the best possible attention that I can give it, along with the editorial talents of Inkshares and the publisher they hook me up with.

Why should anyone pay $10 for an ebook?

You aren’t just getting an ebook – you are contributing to a pool of money that will be used to secure editing, publication, and promotional deals. That’s the big difference between this an a Kickstarter – if I did a Kickstarter I would have to find an editor and a publisher, and handle all of my promotion by myself. At least this way, I can get help from industry professionals who know what it takes to get a book out there.

You get the satisfaction of helping an indie author make his dream come true. If that’s not worth $10, I don’t know what is!

What if Far Flung doesn’t win?

If I do not win the contest and I fail to get enough pre-orders, you get your money back. 100%, no questions asked, easy as that. I will find other ways to get this book done.

If I don’t win but I do get the minimum required pre-orders, I will have help from Inkshares with editing, publication, and promotion.

How close to finished is the book?

The second draft is complete from beginning to end, and the book stands at about 60,000 words in length. You can see samples from the third draft when you visit Far Flung on Inkshares and read the sample chapters.

If I win the contest or get enough pre-orders, I will be able to finish this book much faster than I would otherwise. I’ll have money for the services I need and help from industry professionals.

What are you waiting for? Pre-order Far Flung and let’s explore the universe together:

pre-order far flung

Setting #4 – Results

 

Time to finish off this month’s writing exercises.

I’m sharing an excerpt from Painted Blue Eyes as an example of a setting might look “in action” – that is, how setting description can blend into the narrative. I encourage you to share your own work, and to look at what sensory info you’ve included as you worked the setting into your story.

At the start of Painted Blue Eyes, my goal was to describe a setting that many people should know fairly well – the dusty attic of an old relative’s house. I used the familiar idea of stumbling into an old attic, along with sights and the memories it triggered in the main character. Blending sensory info with the feelings triggered can be a great way to put the reader in the setting, even without long descriptions of all the senses.

What are your favorite passages that describe settings? I’d love to hear what stories you’ve read with excellent stage-setting and scene description.

Continue reading

Setting #4 – Share a setting from your story

This month we’ve answered lists of setting questions, gone outside, and used a room to describe a character. Now let’s see your settings in action.

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Show me what you got.

Let’s see a setting from a story you have written or are working on now. You could share an actual excerpt where you describe a setting in narrative, or you can compose a separate piece laying out a setting that you plan to use.

My best answer for this comes from a story I published called Painted Blue Eyes. The excerpt starts like this:

In the cramped space between ceiling and roof, I stepped around furniture older than any living relative. Rocking chairs and antique tables were hidden under filthy rags or tangled in cobwebs. I came to an ancient brown sofa, its seats bandaged many times over with duct tape.

I encourage you to share from your work, and I’ll post more on Thursday!

 

Writing Exercise – Why Can’t Your characters have what they want?

Last week, I asked you to write about your characters and what they want.

Now we’re introducing some conflict and setting things up for the real story. It’s time to figure out obstacles that stand in the way of your characters. Problems that they strive to solve, and thus give the reader an interesting story.

One key thing to keep in mind about this problem – it should be bad for your character, but not too bad at first. Later, we are going to make this problem even worse, so the problem should start off as something difficult, but surmountable.

I’ll give you an example. Here’s one of my characters from last week, and three potential problems for him to face:

William Flynn, rookie newscaster

William Flynn is a rookie newscaster who is chosen to report from a colony ship on its way to a new planet.

More than anything, he wants to propose to his long-time girlfriend, Darya Fitzgerald.

As a reporter, he wants to see history in the making and be the first to break the story.

He wants to be adored and respected among the colonists of his ship.

I’ll start with the second problem – he wants to be good at his reporting job. A reporter, however, is supposed to be objective – but when an alien contacts the crew, it is Flynn who can understand and translate. He becomes the story, and can’t just sit on the sidelines anymore!

Let’s simplify this into a character goal and a conflict blocking the character’s progress:

Character Goal: Flynn wants to be a good news reporter.

Conflict: He can’t be a reporter because he is the story now. He has to figure out his new role, and how his skills can help.

 

If you are writing a short story or flash fiction, you may only have one protagonist and one goal to focus on. You’ll have just one main conflict, which will later get worse.

For longer stories, you’ll have multiple characters, and even have multiple conflicts for each character. Don’t get too carried away, though – you still have to be able to reduce the plot to simple elements for your book jacket, and the best way is to make sure you don’t go in with too many twists planned from the start.

Now it’s your turn. Take one character from one of your stories and describe their goal and a conflict that stands in their way.

 


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Why I had to stop my serial and write a novel instead.

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I went about writing a serial almost exactly the wrong way.

I started writing the serial for Far Flung over a year ago. I remember well why I started – I really, really needed to write and publish, and I was sick of passing my work by an unknown gatekeeper. Oh, I wasn’t afraid of rejection (okay, maybe just a little) , but I hated the whole routine of write something, submit it with fingers crossed, hear nothing for 3-4 weeks, and then get a ‘yes’ or more likely a ‘no’ with no feedback whatsoever.

I had read some great serial fiction, and decided to try it myself. I had an idea planned out, and a few chapters that I had run through my writing group. I went ahead and started with JukePop as my first main outlet, and later on made my own website dedicated to releases of my fiction.

I lost my ‘lead’ quickly.

I had 3 chapters ready before I posted my first chapter of Far Flung. I thought, somehow, that having the motivation to post regularly would get me writing new chapters quickly. I thought posting a chapter twice a month was enough. Obviously, both ideas were proven wrong.

First, simply having a serial in production can motivate, but it doesn’t change your writing speed. It definitely doesn’t help your overall quality. What I didn’t fully realize was the need to PRE-SCHEDULE. If you want to do a serial, you must must must must pre-schedule posts. From my experience, I’d say having a month or even two month’s worth of posts ready before you post the first part is ideal. The most successful serials post 2 or 3 times A WEEK, not per month. So if you are a slow writer, plan accordingly by giving yourself a HUGE leeway.

I didn’t have enough traffic to support it.

I started with JukePop because they (are supposed to) have a system for paying authors. I still can’t figure out how – I think you have to be an American in the USA. I tried running ads and placing Amazon referral links on my other website, but I just didn’t have the traffic. Even using Web Fiction Guide to promote my story and review other stories, I couldn’t bring in enough hits. Why not?

I was rushing out my writing to keep up regular posts. I was finalizing each chapter on the day I wanted to post it. Neither quantity nor quality were up to excellent standards.

So what am I going to do about it?

I’m novelizing it. I’m taking the chapters I did get out and constructing a better narrative to tie them together and bring Far Flung to life. I’m leaving what’s already out mainly so that I can show my improvement later on. I will share edited versions of the current Far Flung serial based on the improvements made for the upcoming novel. The edited serial will tie-in with the novel and hopefully help me promote and sell it.

I will do another serialized work in the future, but I will approach it more like a novella. I’ll write about 20,000 – 40,000 words before the first post even goes up, and have that much read and critiqued first. I’ll make sure that first post gets noticed on Web Fiction Guide and other sites – and I’ll have a link to buy my book at the end of each post.  Having a book ‘legitimizes’ me – I need to have a full novel out to improve my own confidence and my credibility.

It’s too bad I don’t have another chapter for the serial right now, but what’s coming will be worth the wait, I promise.


 

From Apathy to Determination

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From Apathy to Determination

I wrote about apathy earlier this year because I couldn’t bring myself to write at all. I was just fed up with everything – a crappy family situation and other things not going well. I rested, I reevaluated, and I nearly lost my full-time job because of burnout. The family situation hasn’t improved, but my writing determination has. I went back to Far Flung – my work that was an online serial, but which I haven’t updated in quite a while now.

I looked carefully at it, and I took in some new inspiration. I played a bit of No Man’s Sky (I’m one of those chumps who preordered, sigh), I read the Legacy Fleet series by Nick Webb, and I started reading The Expanse by James S.A. Corey. Suddenly, Far Flung took over my consciousness again, but I found I din’t want to continue the serial without some better incentive. I simply don’t blog enough to get many readers – I find it too difficult to make good blog entries often, and I type too darn slowly. But if I had something real to show for my work – say a book on Amazon – that might be just the kick I need to revive both Write, or Else! and TCC Edwards dot com.

Just like that, I started writing. I took on Far Flung, going back to the beginning and editing the story. I’m now expanding what I already have, with the goal of producing a book between 300-400 words. I’ve set a goal to finish this draft by the end of November, with editing to follow after that. I’m considering the Inkshares program to get it edited and published.

Just as suddenly, other projects showed up on my radar.

IWSG, a group I love being part of, has a new anthology in the works. My writing group is starting another book. Writers in Daejeon, a city not too far from mine, want me to join their book. And I still have to get something on my blogs, darn it!

I have my fingers in all of these. I have a draft for IWSG in the works, but it’s a trainwreck right now. Editing it into something I’d actually want to submit could take too much of my attention away from other jobs.

I wish I could work faster!

Unfortunately, it’s looking more like I’ll scrap the IWSG project in order to keep the most important things going.

Funny, huh? I went from writing nothing to taking on more than I could handle. It’s a shame – I really did want to be in the anthology with the other IWSG folks, but I have to do a bit of project triage here. The last thing I want – the very worst thing that could happen – is to get too frustrated and find myself unable to finish the book. I need a book out there – a real novel, with my name on it, properly edited, produced, and published. I need it as soon as reasonably possible.

So that’s where I’m at! Working away on this novel and trying to keep my social presence both online and with my writing group. Having to choose carefully what I take on and in what capacity. Deciding what to do with these blogs I pay for.

Honestly, writing itself is the easy part. It’s all this decision-making and figuring out that some things just aren’t going to work that gets difficult!

Far Flung gets an update on Inkshares – #amwriting

This is a reblog from my other site:

Far Flung is going well!

Click here to see the work on Inkshares.

I am drafting a novel of Far Flung, and you can see where I’m going with it. Over at Inkshares, I have the first 7 chapters up today. My regular readers will notice many differences between this novel-in-progress and the episodes I’ve posted on this blog. First of all, I’ve gone with a third person POV for the novel, as that will allow me to bring the reader more detail and better characterization. The blog episodes will remain as first-person log entries with the occasional transcript – the plan is to have the blog episodes tie-in with the trilogy of novels.

Did I just say ‘trilogy’?

Read more on my other blog, or click the image below to go to Inkshares! Back to writing for me…

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