Photo Finish Friday: Yosemite Fire Falls, by Akram Mellice

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Click the picture below for full-size. On Photo Finish Fridays, I feature a selected piece of landscape photography that I have come across. I find that real-world photography can be just as inspirational to my imagination for crafting story settings as any piece of fantastic artwork that I might share on a Tuesday. I present these without commentary so they may inspire you without the burden of my perspective, and pictures have links to the artists’ blog or website if at all possible.

If you are ever curious as to why a particular piece is special to me, or use it for a writing prompt and want to share, please drop a comment!

Yosemite Fire Falls, by Akram Mellice. Click here for more of the photographer’s work!

Throwback Thursday: Midsummer Eve, by Edward Robert Hughes (1908)

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Midsummer Eve, by Edward Robert Hughes (1908). Click here for more of the artist’s work!

I’ve encountered this wonderful piece many times on cards, posters and book covers over the years. It’s been in the public domain since before I was born, and that availability combined with Edward Robert Hughes skill with light, dark and color has ensured its popularity. He was a master with watercolor techniques, and his use of that here creates the airy, dreamlike quality that makes it so enchanting. I never get tired of this piece’s timeless magic.

WIP-it Wednesday: March 22nd, 2017

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Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!

I spent most of my evenings this week reviewing and acting upon Lauren’s notes for the first chapter of Vivian’s Last Cigarette. This spurred an extensive overhaul of its first half, and a less extensive revision on the second.

As I mentioned last week, the ending of the first chapter is getting a radical change in the fourth draft. Most of the last page got scrapped, along with the original ending. About three pages of new material replaced it, and between that and edits the fourth draft became a thousand words longer than the third.

I’m really happy with this revision of the first chapter. I think it flows much better than the third did, and I’ve ironed-out a number of snags that had been hiding in it since the first draft. In hindsight I think these snags are narrative holdovers caused by the fact that when I originally started writing Vivian’s, I did so thinking it would be a short story.

This problem occurs strongest in the first and second chapters, when I was planning to have only 8,000 total words to work with. Things are condensed and the pace brisk. By the time I hit chapter three, I realized the story my growing vision saw was going to be a novelette or novella, and the scope of my writing adjusted to something much more like novel’s tone.

Reaching chapter eight, which ends what is now the first act, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to make the story a full-on novel. I sat down, did some planning and outlining, and embarked on writing the book’s second and third acts with my mindset as such. I wrote accordingly. However, the terse pacing of the book’s initial chapters remained there lurking. Kind of hiding in plain sight to me until Jess sensed it as the second reader, and Lauren put a spotlight on it as the third.

Here is the first page of the book’s fourth draft. I think it’s a much better hook and introduction to the setting than my prior takes:

(Warning: A little NSFW language. Click for large format.)The chapter’s altered ending leads into the two new chapters that will follow it. With the new setup, I was also able to get in more humor and serious moments. I think Viv and Gronk shine brighter during their introductions because of those additions, and that in turn sets up an immediate hook tempting the reader to check out the next chapter.

I started work on that chapter Sunday… and I had a really good day writing the new chapter two! I doubled my expected goal and reached two-thousand words.

Writing the new material has also been really fun. In short, my intrepid orc teens are trying to avoid trouble by hiding in a creepy, old, abandoned paper mill. To his credit, Gronk is insistent that being in there is a bad idea. But Viv isn’t listening, even when things don’t start off well from the get-go. By the time I stopped writing the other day, their fate was dependent on a Cheez Doodle… And they haven’t even hit the worst of what I’ve got planned for them yet. ;-)

Alright, having said that, it’s time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing them deeper into this mess they’ve gotten themselves into! Take care!

Mid-Week Muses: “I think that through myth people remember…”

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mwm_pngA weekly compilation of collected microfictions composed by yours truly. If your time is short, these are shorter!

"Now I'm dying, what
wonderful luck."

"Don't talk like that,"
Alistair said working on
the wound.

"At least I'll die
handsome..." 

"Before meeting Rik, I
thought the whole seventh
son of a seventh son crap
was just old folklore... Or
an Iron Maiden album."

"We're in the news!"

Asil wearily took off her
mask. "Like somebody's
blog? Or―"

Clair thrust a smartphone
at her. "The Daily Show!" 

The algae flourished
throughout her skin, a
symbiosis that turned her
a chlorophyll green.

Fortunately, she loved
the color.

The orderly stabs a syringe
into a bottle of Drano and
fills it. Paralyzed in the
hospital bed, it's soon
hovering over your eye. 

"I think that through myth
people remember, in a way.
They remember that we were
here once before.” 

 
They embraced, electrical powers
throwing sparks.

Her lips smoked. "If that's a
kiss, we're gonna light up the
night in a minute!"

"I am... SHADOW BALLERINA!!!"

Asil grabbed her by the
tutu. "Another theme villain?
You guys seriously need to get
a life!"

Copyright © 2017 by Jason H. Abbott, All Rights Reserved.

Art-Tastic Tuesday: Faerie Dragon by Shuo Shi

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Click the picture below for full-size. On Art-Tastic Tuesdays I feature a selected piece of visual art that I have come across. These are pieces that have inspired my writing or beautifully frame some concept or another that I have already written or want to write about. I present them without commentary so they may inspire you without the burden of my perspective, and pictures have links to the artists’ blog or website if at all possible.

If you are ever curious as to why a particular piece is special to me, or use it for a writing prompt and want to share, please drop a comment!

Epic Music Monday: Two Steps From Hell – Flight of the Silverbird

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I love epic music! For me it is a perfect combination of the classic orchestral scoring, chorales and electronica music that I have enjoyed for decades. This stuff inspires me, and is a great companion as I write away on an exiting piece of fiction. Therefore, on Mondays I share a new piece by various artists on the blog… Epic Music Mondays!

Photo Finish Friday: ‘Eilean Donan’ by James Green

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Click the picture below for full-size. On Photo Finish Fridays, I feature a selected piece of landscape photography that I have come across. I find that real-world photography can be just as inspirational to my imagination for crafting story settings as any piece of fantastic artwork that I might share on a Tuesday. I present these without commentary so they may inspire you without the burden of my perspective, and pictures have links to the artists’ blog or website if at all possible.

If you are ever curious as to why a particular piece is special to me, or use it for a writing prompt and want to share, please drop a comment!

‘Eilean Donan’ by James Green. Click here for more of the photographer’s work!

Throwback Thursday: ‘Shadowrun 1st Edition Cover’ by Larry Elmore (1989)

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‘Shadowrun 1st Edition Cover’ by Larry Elmore (1989). Click here for more of the artist’s work!

The Shadowrun role-playing game introduced a generation of gamers to urban fantasy and cyberpunk and has remained very popular ever since its release 1989. As a property and franchise, it has survived the death of several of its publishers and expanded into novels, video games and much more.

And who was the artist chosen to grace its premiere core rules and setting book? The masterful Larry Elmore, of course!

Elmore is most well-known for his iconic artwork made for TSR and their Dungeons & Dragons products issued from the early to mid-1980s. Leaving their employ in the late 80s, creating this cover for FASA is a departure from his more commonly seen fantasy artwork. Despite that, he captured the feel of the Shadowrun setting perfectly.

I love this cover, and I bought the book it adorned with my lawn-mowing money the year it was released. The future of 2050 it depicts seemed so far away at the time, and the characters so high-tech. But like most fiction set in the near-future, it’s more of a funhouse reflection of the present it was created in. I look at the clothing fashions now and say, “Yes, this was 1989.”

Shadowrun had a big influence on me as a teen. I loved the game, but the setting concepts it exposed me to also left an indelible mark on the fiction I’d be inspired to create thereafter. I never really got into the cyberpunk stuff, but the ideas of Urban Fantasy it introduced would stick as well as the general concept of combining genres.

Vivian’s Last Cigarette, the novel I’m editing for publication now that features an alternate history with orcs, dwarves, elves and more… isn’t set in 1989 by accident. It’s a tribute to when this book came out and filled a young teen with so many ideas. ;-)