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

May updates for #IWSG and the #amwriting community.

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Hello visitors from #IWSG! Happy Star Wars day! I have some updates here that might be of interest to the neurotic writing community.

First up, I’ve got my ongoing series of writing exercises.

Every week for the past few months I’ve put up posts on Tuesday and Thursday featuring a writing exercise and my own sample take on the exercise. I’ll be compiling these exercises into a book later on, as I really need a new textbook for teaching fiction writing to ESL students. While I won’t claim to be a writing genius, I think the exercises will work well with writers at all levels of ability. I hope they will inspire you as well.

This month’s exercises focuses on using different points of view in writing. I hope you’ll check them out.


Other happenings:

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I have a story called Far Flung in a contest on Inkshares.

This contest is held by Launch Pad and Inkshares, and requires that you submit the first 50 pages of a novel you are working on. Your 50 pages will be read by successful authors and publishers, and you will have a chance to win a publishing contract or one of several other prizes. Might be worth checking out!

If you’ve never heard of Inkshares, it’s a crowd-funding program for indie authors. They’re a really good bunch of people, and I encourage you to check out the website.


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I’ve been hanging out in writing subforums on Reddit, especially /r/writingprompts

There are some very good prompts, and anyone is allowed to add their own. One prompt was so appealing, it got me to break my long Reddit silence and write a weird little fantasy piece.

Anyway, I suppose my message to IWSG this month is that I #amwriting, and finding excuses to write rather than excuses not to. Maybe that’ll help you find your own excuse!

Exercise 3 Results – Character Conflicts

On Tuesday, I asked you to write about conflicts facing your characters.

 

I gave you one example:

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.

 

Here are two more examples for the same character:

Character Goal: Flynn wants to propose to his long-time girlfriend, Darya Fitzgerald.

Conflict: His ship is stranded in unknown space on the other side of the universe.

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

Conflict: When aliens start talking to him first, many colonists are wary and some even fear him.

 

Note that I still have room to make the above problems even worse. Let’s worry about that next week.

For now, let’s see your characters and conflicts.

 


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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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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 Chapter 14 is up!

I’ve been trying to keep myself busy while I wait for news on my pending submissions.

I now have Part 14 of my ongoing serial Far Flung available at my other website.

Here you go folks, more science fiction from me:

Click here to read Chapter 14 of Far Flung

Click here to read Chapter 14 of Far Flung!

I am 40! (Cross-post from tccedwards.com)

I’ve copied this post from my other blog, tccedwards.com.

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I’m 40 today, and I’m feeling pretty okay with it.

I mean, there’s a lot that’s been wrong with my life, but there’s also a lot that’s been right, and I hope both sides have shown up in my writing. My wife and I have serious issues to get through. We agree on our kids, though – our wonderful boys bring joy into our lives, even as we both work harder than ever to provide for them.

This impending birthday is one reason my online story, Far Flung, has been long in getting another update. I’ve been pretty anxious about turning 40, and wondering what exactly it means. I have a career, a family, and kids, but nowhere near as much writing as I wanted to do. There may be some interesting news soon – I’ve been in talks with a potential publisher, describing my plans for a story very different from Far Flung. I can’t say more now, but I’m pretty hopeful something new and different will come of it.

It’s been over a month since I’ve published a Far Flung episode, and it will probably be one more before I really get back to it. I’m looking at an early July release for the next episode – but rest assured, I have drafts for 2 episodes almost ready now, with a 3rd in the works. My goal is to have 1 episode ready and 3 more nearly ready when I post the next part.

The next episode will also start a new act in the overall arc of the story, with the Tereshkova colonists trying to live in the habitat prepared for them by their alien allies. There will be several episodes devoted to life in this temporary colony and the tensions that develop between members of the Tereshkova crew.

It’ll be really fun if something comes of the publishing talks and I work on Far Flung at the same time. Either way, I expect to start a Patreon funding scheme for Far Flung soon – something to help me devote more time to Far Flung, hire editing services, and produce better episodes with material on characters, technology, and other background information.

So that’s what’s going on. Just your friendly neighborhood author keeping busy and having an existential crisis as another decade of life passes!