Deep in my own world….

Yes…it’s been a while since the last time I put anything up on my blog.  Why you may ask!  I could be cute and say I was abducted by international terrorists in an attempt to gain access to secret operational information.  I could also say that I was off gallivanting around Europe with a map and a bicycle in hopes of finding the perfect coffee.

Of course all of that would be bunk wouldn’t it?  Honestly, I’ve been stuck in a world of my own creation.  There are many people who you may believe exist in another world or another reality, but since I thought up this world I need to fill the world with people and events.  To be clear, I’ve been diligently working on my story…my novel…whatever you want to call it.  It’s got a lot of story lines, a lot of plot lines, a whole slew of interesting characters and I have no idea where I’m going with it all!

Actually that’s not entirely true.  I do know where I’m going with it….sort of.  But the long and short of it is over the past few weeks since I took a challenge to write at least 350 words a day on my story I’ve blown out about 40 pages, some umpteen number of words that I lost count of about a week ago.  Where does it all come from?  Why hasn’t it been flowing on to the paper before now.  I’ve been working on this damn story for almost 5 years…why now.

Oh well.  In the end, it’s getting done finally.  Will be something worth the NY Times best sellers list?  Most likely not.  Will be I able to sell it on Amazon for $1.00…probably.  I’m sure at least one person will read it.  As Blake Snyder says in his book “Save the Cat” you just have to bullhead through it and get it done.  With the grand scheme of things..I have to say…it’s all Chucks fault!!

Press on!

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Flash Fiction Challenge: Must Contain This Sentence…

From Chuck Wendig’s terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge.

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/05/12/flash-fiction-challenge-must-contain-this-sentence/

“The borderlands expire thanks to the hundred violins.”

“A poetic pattern retains inertia.”

 

Jarl concentrated the best he could trying to focus on his destination.  He knew the power to bend space and alter the reality around him lay simply in understanding how the patterns of the universe flowed around every person.  He’d always felt the energy, known he was different.  But knowing you’re different and knowing how to manipulate the patterns were two separate things all together.

“A poetic pattern retains inertia….a chaotic pattern is unpredictable.”  His friend and Mentor Spiros Altarus walked around the small pod of a cockpit speaking in his usual riddles.  Much of what Spiros told Jarl seemed to be riddles, at least to Jarl.  Somewhere in that twisted mind of his Mentor all of this made sense.  “You’re thinking too hard about everything else.  Clear your mind, focus on the pattern.”  Spiros said in his heavy accented voice.

Jarl shook his head in aggravation, batting the ships control interface away from his face.  He turned to look at Spiros. “Have you ever noticed that your riddles make no sense Spiros!”  Jarl said with a pained look on his face.  “I can’t focus the way you want me to.  I can’t see the patterns the way you do.”  Spiros simply sighed, a smile on his face as he looked Jarl in the eyes.

“You have the gift my friend.  I would not have brought you as far as I have if I didn’t think you could do what so few can.”  He drifted to the command console.  He always seemed to drift to Jarl, not walk, drift.  With a groan of resignation Jarl slipped back into the command chair, resetting the control interface in front of his face.

“Clear your mind!”  He said, stepping over to a console to the side of the command chair.  His fingers like spiders weaving a web, Spiros’ hands moved with elegance along the smooth console.  Buttons and displays lit up in unison as the sound of melodic music filled the small space.  All manner of instruments formed a soft poetic song that surrounded Jarl like a blanket.  His mind lost in the rhythms drifted with the flow of the music like riding a river.  He let the music carry him, fill him with its spirit.  He had never heard music like this before but it caused his heart to swell.

An energy surrounded Jarl, like nothing he’d ever felt before.  His skin tingled, hairs on his arms stood on edge as the power washed over him like water.  A familiar tickle ran up his spine.  That was when he realized it, that was when he felt it.  His mind began to visualize space and time.  The minds eye walked among the stars, in places few had ever seen.  Planets and stars unlike any he’d ever seen before passed through his thoughts.  The simple beauty and intensity with which these new sights filled Jarl’s mind caught his breath and held it.

That was when it happened.  Had his eyes been open, had they not been focused on this place in his mind he would have seen it.  The space around the ship changed.  Lights melded together to form colors and then colors formed a canvas of light and color focused on the nose of the small craft.  A moment later the colors grew more intense, they encircled the craft, bending space.  Had his eyes been opened he would have also seen the aura of blue energy surrounding his body.

With a flash blue energy filled the cockpit, washing out the world around it.  As the blue subsided, the tingle on his skin also slipped away.  Jarl opened his eyes, awestruck with what lay outside the glass.  The image in his mind, the planets and nebulas and stars, foreign in every way from what he knew, hung outside the window as if copied from a dream.  Looking back as Spiros stepped up to the window, his expression betrayed his awe.  “By the gods….The borderlands expire thanks to the hundred violins.  This should not be.  No jumper has ever jumped outside of our galaxy.”  Jarl couldn’t understand what Spiros meant until he brought up the ships navigational systems.  They agreed, the ship was no longer inside the borders of their galaxy.

Had the music enhanced his powers or had his powers always existed and the music simply pulled it out of him?  Jarl contemplated the consequences of this discovery.  Uncertain he could duplicate the power, he feared they might never return home.

Creative Dissonance: Does the end game matter?

So after spending a weekend with my head buried in the story that I’m writing and eventually breaking out fifteen pages, I’ve realized something critical.  I have no idea where the story is going.  I have general plot lines that I want to follow, and I know what the motivations of the main characters are.  But I realize that the multiple plot lines and motivations don’t have a logical conclusion. 

I’ve never been big on outlines.  I tend to let my creative mind run wild and simply fill paper with words in hopes that my mind can draw the connections through the story without outside influence.  I remember as a kid, sitting at a desk with a pencil and paper writing page upon page of a story, losing myself in time and space until I finally ran out of lead and had to sharpen my pencil.  Did he just say sharpen his pencil?  Yes, there was a time once when people actually had to write their thoughts down on paper with a pencil that you had to sharpen with a small sharpened piece of metal. 

As someone who just lets the story spill out onto the paper, how do you ensure that your plot lines are all working towards the same conclusion?  I’ve considered writing each individual  plot line as separate stories and eventually pulling them together, making them link.  Unfortunately, I realized if I did that, I’d probably end up with multiple stories that have no linkage to the others.  Recently a friend introduced me to Scrivener which I find to be a very well thought out writing program.  Being able to break up different character plot lines from the main story while keeping the other plot lines close by may be a step in the right direction, but the overarching question still stands….. Do you need to decide on an ending to build the plot lines towards, or do you let the words flow and clean up later hoping everything comes together! 

Flash Fiction: Item Prompts

“A Parachute, A sliver of Moon, a Magnifying Glass, A Cane, an Arrow, a Tee Pee, a Rainbow, Sheep, and a Flashlight!

The moonlight gave the satin black sky a hazy feel to it as the stars twinkled randomly around us.  Falling silently through the night sky towards our objective seemed almost peaceful as the ground slowly grew larger and larger.  You could almost hear the sheep in a nearby village talking as they wandered through the fields looking for grass.

The quiet woosh of the wind passing across our chutes began to quiet as we grew closer to the ground.  A quick flash of a hooded flashlight told us where the landing zone was and the four other men behind me turned their chutes towards the light.  We had to be fast, I thought to myself as the ground grew closer.  We needed to find the artifact before the patrol arrived.  The air grew silent, my training told me the ground was coming up fast.  I let my training take control as I adjusted the rate of decent and braced my legs and body for the ground.  As I hit, my legs rolled and my body dropped absorbing the abrupt stop.

The other four landed quickly behind me as we all quickly scooped up our black silk chutes and hid them in the nearby brush.  Our contact, a local man approached in the darkness.  Our red hooded flashlights revealed an old man supporting his weight on a cane.  “The artifact should be in that cave to the east.  Hurry, there is a patrol that should be here in less than thirty minutes.”  I patted the old man on the shoulder as we hurried off into the night towards the east.  J

Just as he suggested, a rather unremarkable cave mouth stood at the base of a small stone outcropping.  Three men squeezed carefully through the small opening while two stood guard at the mouth.  The three of us climbed and crawled our way through the maze of tunnels until we came upon a large cavern.  In the middle of the cavern stood a stone teepee with a large red jewel at the top.  Having already studied the stories and legends, I pulled the specially crafted magnifying glass out of my pack along with a multispectral laser designed for this mission.  Pointing the laser at the red jewel, I moved the magnifying glass into place in front causing a rainbow of light to hit the jewel.  After a moment the teepee split in two as it slid to either side, revealing a large glowing arrow whose glow could only come from alien technology.

Grabbing the arrow from the pedestal, we turned only to be faced with the heavily armed presence of our alien enemy

 

Flashback Repost! Finish this sentence, “The best thing in life is…”

The best thing in life is true freedom Cassandra Velarou thought to herself as she crouched on the ledge of a roof top looking down at the city below.  Steam plumes rose into the sky in the background of the slumbering city from the engine factories that never seemed to sleep.  Cassandra, or Cassie to her friends, looked at the bundle in her hand which she deftly acquired from the residence of the Kingdoms Solicitor General.   She felt the weight of the bundle in her hand, pulling away the smooth velvet scarf which it was wrapped in.  Two square gold plated cards with imprints of the Queen and the Prime Minister etched into them shimmered in the dim light from the clear night sky.  “These are going to guarantee my freedom, nothing will stand in my way now.” she whispered aloud as she rewrapped the bundle and stuffed it in her belt pouch.  The sound of a steam engine carriage driving up the street brought her back to the moment.  She hunkered down on the ledge watching the carriage come to a stop a the front of the building.  Three men jumped from the carriage and entered the building as a fourth stood guard.  Cassie quickly scrambled further down the rooftop to a point where two another building nearly touched the roof.  Her sleek muscular figure, accentuated by the light of a half moon and oil lamps moved gingerly under the tight dark grey clothes she wore.  

Cassie cautiously moved along the rooftops until she was sure that she was far enough away to not be in danger.  Finally dropping to the ground in an alleyway a number of blocks from the scene of the crime, she reached into a hidden compartment built into the brick of a large building.  Pulling a bundle from the compartment, she quickly pulled off her top and bent to search inside the bundle.  As she searched the bundle, shadows and city lights battled to keep her glistening skin hidden from the night.  Finally she pulled a white top from the bundle and pulled it over her head.  Adjusting the fabric to sit firmly on her shoulders and gently show her ample cleavage, she pulled shoes and some other accouterments from the bundle and placed them in their appropriate spots.  Once she was confident of her look, she slid the bundle back inside the compartment and strolled down the alley towards what appears to be a bustling market.  Cassie stopped at the mouth of the alley, checking to make sure everything was how it should be, then she quickly slid into a large group of people and allowed the flow of traffic to carry her down the street.  The sounds of merchants selling wares, cutting products with knives, and carts carrying merchandise down the cobblestone streets filled the air along with many strange and sometimes not so good aromas.  

After a few minutes Cassie finally found what she was looking for.  She stopped at a booth which sold black market engine cards, outwardly showing interest in a stack of shiny black cards while she cautiously watched over her shoulder to the booth across the way.  Macius Wane was talking to an older man regarding a piece of merchandise he held in his hand.  Cassie watched as the man obviously was attempting to haggle with Macius.  Cassie snickered to herself, she’d known Macius for years and knew how much of a penny pincher he was.  He didn’t haggle on a good day and so far this would not be a good day for him.  Finally the man gave in and handed Macius three small silver coins and walked into the flow of the crowd.  Macius turned from the street and disappeared into the tent behind his booth.  Cassie quickly took advantage of the opening and slipped across the street.  Her hand firmly on the stiletto strapped to the back of her belt she slowly entered the tent.
         “You know if you’re going to continue trying to sneak up on me when I’m unsuspecting, you really shouldn’t watch me from across the street to find your moment.”  Cassie stopped in her tracks as Macius addressed her, still turned away from the opening yet somehow he always knew she was there.
         
         “You’re assuming I care whether or not you see the face of the person who ended your life.”  Cassie returned with an evil grin on the corner of her mouth.
         Macius turned from what he was doing.  His stout build, dark skin and large black mustache made him a very opposing figure even though he stood almost a head shorter than Cassie.  “Do you have them?”
          Cassie dropped her hand from her stiletto and leaned against a support pole for the tent crossing her arms across her chest and her left foot over her right leg as she supported herself on her right foot.
        
          “The best thing in life is true freedom, you remember our agreement if I got them for you!”
          Macius nodded, “You have my word Cassie and you know I’m good for it.  If you truly have the cards the syndicate will release you from your contract.”  Cassie thought for a minute then reached behind her back and pulled the dark red velvet bundle from at hard leather pouch.  Tossing it gingerly to Macius, she returned her hands to their crossed position on her chest.  Macius slowly unfolded the velvet scarf and stared for a moment at the two golden plates weighing heavily in his hands.
         “By God Cassie, you truly are the best.  But we have a problem…the Imperial Crest is missing!”  He looked up at Cassie with concern only to find a sly feline look of accomplishment on her face.  The edge of her mouth on the right side twisted into a mischievous grin.
         “Insurance!  It’s not that I don’t trust you Macius, you are a good and dear friend.  When I have a decree declaring me free from the Syndicate the last plate will be delivered.”  Cassies’ words hung in the air as she suddenly disappeared from the doorway.  Macius stepped into the street to look for her but she was nowhere to be seen.

The conundrum of large stories!

So for the better part of the last five years I have been working on a story.  A long  story, a Sci Fi extravaganza beyond compare.  It started out as a random idea about a new galactic setting that I came up with one evening in a fit of unrelenting creative writing.  The world formed around itself until it took on it’s own existence.

This world soon turned into the basis for an RP that I ran based on D&D Modern 3.5 rules.  Something along the lines of Eve meets Firefly meets Bond but with lots more space and intrigue!  The characters both NPC and PC started the story and established the action and suspense that really drove my thoughts on how I could incorporate all sorts of different plot lines, stories and ideas into this world.  The game went on, I would like to think we had lots of fun and developed a good story.  Unfortunately, like most games real life got in the way and the game ended.

I would like to thank my players for helping me set a nice baseline for the story even if we never finished it.  And after a few years of slowly chipping away at the story, I started making some headway only to be stopped by more real life and very little time to write.

Now, I’ve been contemplating what direction to take with the story.  There are questions of plot lines, how protagonists and antagonists interact with each other that I still haven’t answered.  I guess this is the problem with creating big stories with lots of directions to go.  Now I feel how George R. R. Martin feels trying to keep up with what season HBO is on.

I’ve contemplated writing individual stories and weaving them together to see how they fit.  I’ve considered writing the ending and working my way backward.  And of course I’ve considered putting it in a drawer and never looking back.  I know many authors and writers go through this, and eventually the either quit or succeed.  So the question is where to go from here.

Flashback Repost

“You work for a large corporation, in a very large office building. You finish filing your last report and you are ready to head home. It’s been a long day, and you’re really happy to leave the office behind. But, as you reach for the office door, the lights go out”

Standing quietly in the darkness I allow my eyes to adjust to the light from the city outside as my senses begin searching for any sound out of the ordinary.  I notice that no light leaks in through the bottom of the door from the office outside. The lights at least are all out on this floor. I think to myself.  I begin to notice what seems to be a repeating vibration, carried on the glass of the building, slowly growing in intensity.  At the same time I catch a random sweep of red light from under the door.  Someone’s coming for Cypher.  Training from a previous life kicks in and I quickly but quietly make my way to my desk.  Tapping in a key code into the desktop display, a small door at the base of the desk opens and a door slides out, revealing a cube.  Taking the cube into my hand, I spare a second to admire the wonder of this technology.  A DNA locked organic crystal data system which carries more storage or processing power than any current computer system.  The vibrant thumping grows louder through the glass as my attention turns back towards the situation.  I can see numerous red lights sweeping the area outside the door now.  My mind searches frantically for an exit then suddenly I remember the rooftop to the secondary research lab is directly below the west window and only about twenty feet down.  Without hesitation I stride over to the small couch end table on the west wall and push it through the glass. The raucous crash of glass exploding into the night, resonating for blocks, surprised the men outside the door as they busted in.  Four men dressed in smooth armored suits, all carrying small automatic weapons with laser sights burst into the room running straight for the open window.

“Pick up one this is Lead, subject has dropped to secondary roof on west side of complex.  No visual, need eyes on” the voice from under the hardened combat face plate emitted from a speaker located somewhere in the helmets casing.

Two men scoured the room by the desk, recognizing the opened safe drawer meant their target has been removed.  None of the men noticed the dark figure in the business suit who slipped into the hallway after they burst in, nor did they notice the countdown on the secondary console signalling the anti-theft countermeasure which tripped once the crystal was removed from the safe.  As the turbo fan transport flew around the side of the building and settled just above the roof to the secondary research lab, a bright flash of light filled the night sky.  To most the plasma charge explosion was just an interesting flash in the night.  For the men and the chopper in the office the EMP of the charge blew out all of the electronics within two blocks, but the plasma flash disintegrated all matter within five hundred feet.

Flash Fiction, from 1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts by Ryan Andrew Kinder

You discover a diary with only one entry. This one entry gives you a grand insight into that person’s life. 50 words or less. Go!

“I walked through the tunnel, the wash of warm air and light cleansed my soul. I stepped out onto the rocky crag. Far below, the mountains in the distance and the valley floor so far away transformed my world forever. Misty breezes rush across my arms like wind over wings.”

“Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wing in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?”

A good friend of mine suggested I start a blog to help put my thoughts down on paper and to share my strange twisted mind with other.  Honestly I’m not sure why anyone would want to read what goes on in my mind, but I suspect the ride will be worth the trouble.  Hopefully we all can get something out of it in time.

The first thing I think I should explain the title.  Order needs Chaos….what does that mean?  I mean seriously, who want’s chaos in their life.  Isn’t there enough Chaos without adding more?  Sometimes that Chaos pushes you in another direction that you didn’t consider before.  A direction that changes your life forever.

What does a butterfly flapping its wings have to do with a Tornado in Texas?  While one obviously cannot truly effect another, a series of seemingly random and chaotic events can play off of each other to create a major life changing event.  Or even a not so life changing event.  How about what does a Volcano erupting in Iceland have to do with meeting my wife and giving birth to an amazing little boy?  What would you say if I told you that Volcano erupting was one random event that changed the path of my life down a different road and led me to meet my wife.  Would you say that I was crazy, hindsight is 20/20, you can always see patterns once their formed?

Possibly all are true and then there are those that would say it doesn’t matter, because the outcome was already decided and the random events meant nothing in the overall plan.  Can we really know whether the events shaped the outcome or the outcome shaped the events?  My life  seems to me to be a convergence of chaos which has always had some sort of unforeseeable order too it.  Is there Order in Chaos…?  Does Order need Chaos to exist?   I’ll save those questions for the philosophers and scientists!