thinkinglazy

Aspiring author and random thinker

Tag Archives: science fiction

On Writing: The Choice Diagram

About a month ago I started working on my new book, a poor choice considering that I have not yet completed my fourth installment of Book of Kayal, because I found myself in a unique position to learn about writing from some incredibly talented writers and professors.

This one, however, is different from all my former stories, mainly because it is an exaggerated and science-fiction version of an interesting former experience of mine, which I chose not to disclose at the moment. Also I expect to improve my skills writing this book at an accelerated rate compared to the other books because of the vast wealth of resources available to me, including mentoring.

Yet I still continue to develop my own writing process and refrain from using that of someone else, unless for exercising purposes, and only pick up elements which I find potentially useful and testing them. One of the new additions I have come to explore is the ‘choice diagram’, essentially a diagram for all the main characters in the story which states the choices they have for all decisions contributing to plot development.

For example, the first chapter/part in my new story, which I decided to name ‘Palladium Falls’, is about a man trying to put together a case stating that robots – specifically a highly, self-evolving type of robots – should have their own freedom. The first set of choices he face is to go through the process through the courts or through the scientific community, he chooses the first. Then he faces a choice of bringing a robot to be questioned, bearing in mind that it would provide both him and his opponent the opportunity to take advantage of this situation, or bring one of the scientists working on the self-evolving program supplied to the robots.

The choices go on as such until the conclusion is reached. At the moment I am experimenting with simple ‘choice diagrams’ considering that I don’t really understand its potential impact yet, or whether it is better to have a complicated/detailed one or a simple one, yet I intend to develop a set of integrated diagrams by which all choices made by the main characters are influenced by one another. Essentially I plan to have this diagram visually depict the perspectives of the characters as they continue to interact and develop.

Maybe this is a completely useless idea, or maybe it is the best idea I have come up with since I decided to pick up writing.

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On Writing: Overflooding Ideas

I have no idea what has been going on differently in my life lately, actually I do have quite an idea, but recently an overwhelming amount of new story concepts keep popping in my head like a fizz in a soda can, one that never goes flat.

Normally I would be happy with this, but I simply can’t keep up with my writing. It has grown far worse than the previous post. I am barely thinking about my current work-in-progress and still have a part and two fifths to write, about 40k words.

Perhaps the solution lies in writing short stories then expanding them into novels once enough thought has been put in them. I am also considering writing these ideas down in this blog, but would not want to burn them by making them public…is that so bad or selfish?

On Writing: World Creation

I am currently reading a book titled ‘How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy’ by Orson Scott Card. Needless to say, this is an incredibly useful book that broadens your horizons when writing either of these genres. However, it also includes a great deal of information that would help in any other genre as well, yet not as much relevant information as for science fiction and fantasy.

It has come to my attention that the way ‘Book of Kayal’ has been written was rather unusual for an experienced writer, partly because I was new to the whole writing scene and partly because I started writing before knowing what the book was about (Discovery writing as mentioned before). Greatly interested about analyzing my own process and its development, I started thinking about how different concepts of my book developed. World creation was simply one of the first things I thought about.

‘Book of Kayal’ started with only one idea/concept which the story revolves around, an art called runecrafting which helped enhance individual attributes. In other words, a man could be made stronger by etching a certain word in his skin. Abilities and levels of runes differed greatly. At first, the story was haphazard at best – during the first unpublished book titled ‘Rise from Exile’ – and was loosely based on this concept. Instead, I focused on creating a defined set of species which lived in Nosgard, the main continent where the story took place. The idea of runecrafting was quickly demoted to a system which was only loosely mentioned and poorly explained. Instead of creating the caste system I hoped to make, runecrafting was a used only as a way to justify the power of certain characters. What replaced runecrafting was the societal struggles between the different kingdoms and races which eventually led to a civil war where an exiled kingdom regained its liberty through force. The story then changed yet again, focusing on war and battle loosely based on the four horsemen of the apocalypse, an idea which always fascinated me. Then it was changed to the benevolent ruler.

All this focus-shifting that took place in the first two books made these two volumes tremendously confusing and dense. The world of ‘Book of Kayal’ was accidentally complete by ignoring all rules to the writing of fantasy, or writing as a whole. Nevertheless, all this cramming made me somehow develop a detailed history of the land along with a great deal of cultures, habits, organizations, societies, interaction…etc. Even mild things such as weather were mentioned because it simply seemed to set a certain mood which I wanted to convey, something I recently discovered was critical to initially come up with.

In short, there are infinite ways of creating your own fantasy or science fiction world, and none of these ways are wrong. Unless you put an active effort into observing your surroundings and profoundly thinking about the reasons why things are as they are, you will likely need to start discovering your world by writing and hope that you would quickly come across hurdles and inconsistencies that would force you to rethink certain elements of your world. Without doubt, it is a far better process if you think about what you want your world to be like before writing, but that would still not guarantee that you would come up with the world you want and overcome all illogical constructs.

On Writing: So My Shortie Flopped

I received a rejection email from a magazine I submitted a short story to. This was possibly the first time I was glad that my work has been rejected, for now I can share it here with no worries. It is my first attempt at a (very) short sci-fi story. This one is about time-travel.

*****

Timeshift

The year was 2563 SE when the chronocyst Lerus Avilion tried out his first trial for the new alpha 27 chronomachine, a device that was capable of collecting live biological samples from times long lost.

While Dr. Avilion tweaked the machine which now harbored an ancient held in a frozen state, known as cryostasis, his colleague from the Space Academy of Advanced Sciences walked in during his lunch break.

‘Who is that?’ producing a food stick from one of his white lab coats, the man asked.

‘Test subject one,’ Dr. Avilion responded.

‘So that is what an ancient looks like,’ the man took a bite from his preserved meal. ‘It is rather strange to see a human with this amount of facial hair.’

‘Back then, they lived in primitive societies which were not yet introduced to the concepts of genetic manipulation. I don’t think that they even realized how unhygienic hair was and never bothered looking for a way to remove it.’

‘This guy is in pretty bad shape.’

‘You should have seen him when we first switched that corpse with him. He had steel nails embedded in his hands and feet with an abundance of other shallow injuries.’

‘Did you manage to find a solution to that biological requirement issue?’

‘The basic law of chronology states that “an object of equal mass and size is necessary for a successful switch”. The entire field relies on this trade-like concept.’

‘So you still used a corpse from the morgue to substitute with this ancient.’

‘Yes, but the chronomachine malfunctioned after being strained by the process of healing the man, and it was forced to re-switch the ancient back after three days. Fortunately, I was able to fix it within the same day and return the ancient to our timeline.’

‘How did you manage to locate this man, anyway?’ before returning to his students, the man asked.

‘I dug in the academy’s library for the oldest book and found one written by a man called John about some ancient story. Luckily, within the last moments of his life, the protagonist was embedded with steel rods which were a great conductor of chronoctricity that made it possible for such a distant chronolock’ Dr. Avilion paused for a moment then, based on an unexplainable urge, added, ‘and the man was referred to as the son of God.’