thinkinglazy

Aspiring author and random thinker

Tag Archives: Short story

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.’

 

On Writing: Hypothoses About Good Writing

I have been reading a lot lately and realized that the ending can turn an average book into a masterpiece, or a masterpiece into [a] useless read. The books I tend to enjoy the most are the ones which conclude by leaving you thinking about one statement that summarizes the purpose of the main plot. While this is relatively easy to do in short stories, it becomes somewhat of a challenge for novels.

If not for reading , analyzing, and writing short stories, I would have never reached this conclusion and appreciation to these types of books. However, this does not mean that all other factors of writing are useless, for I still find a good writing style important, but not critical for all genres.

So far my writing journey taught me far more than I expected, in a far shorter time-span than I anticipated. Again, I would recommend others to pick it up as a hobby, or at least try it sometime.

On Writing: Submitting Shorties

I recently submitted one of my short stories to Guerrilla Graffiti Magazine, the first one I ever officially submitted. Although the story got rejected, because it was not something they specialized in, I am extremely satisfied by their elegant and polite manner by which they responded to my submission. The response e-mail even had a suggestion to another magazine which might specializes in the genre of my story.

That was the only purpose of this post.

I would suggest checking it out regardless if you are interested in submitting a piece or not. <http://ggmag.net/&gt;

On Writing: An Early Attempt

Moral Dilemma Coffee

Within a coffee shop, two men conversed, while having a cup of coffee. One of the men was a political science professor in a university. The other was a philosopher, who wrote books and essays for a living. A conversation about the current political state of affairs, and corruption, stemmed.

“Tell me, if a man/woman was to come and start an organization to selectively assassinate corrupt political figures, would you support him/her?”

“No, it is wrong to do so. Matters should be resolved peacefully”

“How?”

“Through protests and non-violent demonstrations”

“What if the current government has violent tendencies, and supports the killing of members belonging to any opposition?”

“Still, this does not justify their killing?”

“Would you defend yourself if you were attacked by a burglar in the streets?”

“Yes”

“And how is this different? You are still being robbed from your rights, and when you defend yourself or demonstrate objection, you are killed”

“Because a civilized society does not act as such”

“But a civilized society, usually, is composed of civilized individuals. And if civility stops people from defending themselves, then how did we come to evolve as such? Perhaps civility is a new and mutated characteristic, which is not meant to be passed on”

“But things don’t really matter if you attain them using the wrong means”

“Let me give you a little scenario, and then you can judge it. An idealist decides to start a small group of assassins, targeting corrupt political figures. They subjectively determine the motives of whoever is in charge, and if they find them harmful to the people, they kill him/her. However, if a politician truly attempts to improve the state of the country, and its people, they let him/her be. Let us assume that this particular group was very successful, and they grew to be a significant force. Now, during their existence, the country improves significantly. If after enough time passes, for their actions to have a significant positive impact on the country, and you are to judge this idealist. Would you consider him/her guilty – of actively improving the country – or innocent – for killing its leaders?”

“Well, this person did the right thing with the wrong methods. I cannot say that he/she is innocent. Regardless of his/her motives, he/she killed. Killing is wrong”

“By your logic, people like you will be extinct by the hands of people like the corrupt rulers. A prey cannot will its predator into submission, just as a pacifist cannot object a violent government into resignation”

By the time this conversation was over, the two finished their coffee and each one headed to start his day. It was a rather beautiful day.

On Writing: Discovery vs. Outlining

My new tactic of outlining my chapters before writing them served me well while working on the first part of the book I am currently working on. However, as I dig deeper into the story, the strategy seems to loose both its effectiveness and efficiency. I am currently half way through the second part and its seems that I am utterly lost.

There are two options I am currently aware of regarding the new hindrance, (1) to work on completing an outline for the remaining half of the part, or (2) to take a break from the current project and start working on improving another aspect of my writing. Nevertheless, It is unlikely that I would be capable of taking a break from an uncompleted story.

PS: so far the book stands still at 56,000 words.

On Writing: Outline

I wrote my first story (75,000 words) without using an outline and completed it in just under a month. I enjoyed writing and often sought to make time during my day to write. There were the occasional days where I managed to write 10,000 words and others where I wrote none.

However, I thought that my story seemed a little foggy in terms of plot development, in spite of the reviewers telling me that it was fine. Due to the self-non-satisfying plot development, I decided to prepare an outline for my second story before writing it. It went smoothly as I started off and motivated me to keep on writing, but as I got deeper into the story its shining faded away. Finishing it started to feel like a chore.

Eventually I decided to merge the first and second volumes into one bigger book of 120,000 words. Nevertheless, the stop between both books as well as the improvement in my writing skills gave me the impressions that he style changes drastically by the end.

The third and current project was my final and most successful attempt at making the plot smooth (so far). Instead of preparing the outline in one sitting before I start to write, I decided to prepare each chapter’s outline just before writing it. This method cost me the flow of the story a little as my ideas and concepts about the story develops. However, it does help keeping me motivated to write and continue with the story. Each chapter is dedicated to part of the protagonist’s journey with a complete set of story elements. In other words, each chapter feels more like a short story which ties into the main plot.

So far the biggest challenges I met in writing long stories were (1) keeping my goals in perspective, (2) keeping motivated to write, (3) finding appropriate historical figures or myths to base the lore on, and (4) preparing a smooth outline that dictates the story flow.

Although my journey as an amateur writer had just begun, I already feel it improving me.