WIP-it Wednesday: May 24th, 2017

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

My writing was interrupted by a Saturday that included a half-day of yardwork and a lawnmower that died on me. However, my inspiration never faltered. Even with an abbreviated amount of time to write this weekend, I had added 2,500 words to new chapter five of Vivian’s Last Cigarette by Sunday night.

Monday ended up being one of those rare weekdays where other projects didn’t crowd out my time to write on the novel. With my motivation in high gear by the time I got home from the day-job, a stiff dose of caffeine helped me add a thousand words to complete the chapter before midnight.

The first draft totals a little more than 4,100 words, and I got to end it on a great cliffhanger that wasn’t entirely dissimilar to this:

Overall, the chapter is quite character focused. Viv and Gronk get to have some fun at the start, a nice change of pace given events up to here, and the readers get to see their friendship develop a little more. Minor character Mike, introduced in the previous chapter, gets a touch of development too… although this is the last chapter he’s physically present in.

The big challenge for our protagonists this chapter comes in the form of a new character, Bri (Brian) Kane. He’s a local Hammerfist thug and member of the same gang that attacked Gronk and got the action rolling in chapter one. Although he wasn’t present in the inciting incident of the story, he’s fully aware of the event and serves a role to fill the reader in on how gang has reacted to it.

In monomythic terms, Bri is absolutely playing the archetype role of a Herald (specifically, of the Shadow) and the Trickster in this bit. Although not a physical threat to the orcs, he’s a crap-talking loud-mouth who is trying to taunt and goad them to violence with his anti-changeling vitriol. It’s a test that Gronk passes, but a trial that Viv fails. Her failure has several repercussions, one of which is very immediate and stinging for Gronk.

But, tested as they are, the pair’s bond strengthens for it. I got to illustrate that with some short, well-timed dialogue I’m rather proud of towards the end… And then the sh*t hits the fan.

I’ll be giving the chapter a read through and editing brush-up before handing it over to my first reader for feedback. Hopefully it will be in a second draft state by Friday or sooner so I can send it –along with the second draft of chapter four– over to reader two ahead of the long Memorial holiday weekend here in the United States.

I’m also going to crack my knuckles and try my hardest to write as much of chapter six as I can over the holiday. I have no other firm commitments, and it would be great to finish that draft and enter June on such a high note! But even if I don’t, the more work I can get done on the novel before I temporarily shift focus to finishing (and start crunch-time on) the RPG sessions for PortCon, the better. :-)

I’m really excited to start writing chapter six, too. I’ve been inspired to open it right where five leaves off: With a dozen or more skinheads hot on the heels of our intrepid (and fleeing) orcs. ;-) I’ve got this great idea for madcap chase that leads into the other scenes I have planned… And it all climaxes with the appearance of a majestic, one-horned animal that will tie the new chapters into the rest of the established book. Huzzah!

Alright, time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some more fiction! Take care!

Mid-Week Muses: “The 70s were all glitz and glam”

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

The lonely alley was
coated with dripping
ice in mid-July.
Partially crushed, a
sideways dumpster pined
a limp hand underneath it.

Clair nodded. "Something
changed a summer's day
into a deep freeze, then
crushed this poor old dude.
It's gotta be a super."

Asil studied the
tarnished ring she'd
found on the asphalt.
"Hold that thought: Once
upon a time, this guy WAS
a super."

"The 70s were all glitz
and glam. Before that,
we torched villages in
Vietnam, hunting communist
supers. I remember the
screams."

"You're a hero, Asil! I
was just a soldier. I did
it for a paycheck, and the
government drugs that kept
my powers from killing me."

"Star Squad was a joke! A
government PR campaign making
capes out of the least
fucked-up remnants of a
super-soldier experiment!"

The scaffolding began to
topple, and Asil reached
out with her power. A tarp
saved a man snagging his
boot as a blue tendril.

Suprised, Clair fished the
beeping, tarnished Star Squad
ring from her pocket. 

"A distress signal?" Asil asked.

"He's in trouble."

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

Art-Tastic Tuesday: Via the Attacker, by Vlad Marica

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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!

Via the Attacker, by Vlad Marica. Click here for more of the artist’s work!

Epic Music Monday: Iliya Zaki – Rise Of Fire

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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!

Kick-Start an Artist: Daniel Cann – Hecate’s Coming

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Daniel Cann is a talented fifteen-year-old that has already written drafts for two out of three books of a planned fantasy trilogy, and also dreams of composing epic music. When I was fifteen, I could hardly get my friends together to play D&D, so I find his ambitions pretty impressive! We obviously share some passions in common that are common topics on my blog as well, so when Daniel wrote and asked me nicely if I could help with his Kickstarter I was happy to do so.

Daniel is trying to raise a modest amount of money to purchase professional music software. With it, he wants to compose an album inspired by fantasy works he has read and written himself. If you’d like to help a young artist with a lot of heart in getting started, please check out this Kickstarter Page and consider pledging a little. There are only nine days left for Daniel to reach his goal of £160 (or about $208), and your donation could be the one that puts him over the top!

Photo Finish Friday: Welcome to Hawaii, by Hansi Kiessner

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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!

Welcome to Hawaii, by Hansi Kiessner. Click here for more of the photographer’s work!

A Word of Thanks, to All 500 of You!

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I was editing and writing the other night, as is often my lot, when the notice that my blog here had reached 500 followers chirped onto my phone. I’m continually amazed and grateful for all the people that take an interest in my blog and writing, and for all the wonderful individuals I’ve been able to connect with here from around the world. You’re truly great folks. I’m honored share my work and inspirations with you, and humbled knowing that so many of you like them.

In other words, thank you all. Thank you very, very much! Every like, every comment and reblog, lets me know that I’m not just talking to myself on this little corner of the internet.

Since surpassing my last milestone of 400 followers in October, a lot has changed. I’ve finished a second draft of my novel, Vivian’s Last Cigarette, and I’m knee-deep in more drafting as I write this. I finished several short stories on top of that. And I’ve also added the Throwback Thursday, Mid-Week Muses and Fifty Word Fantasy weekly features to Aethereal Engineer in the intervening months that have proven popular as well.

I share a lot of things here that inspire me. As I continue to grow as a writer, and my book continues to shape-up coming closer to publication, I want all of you to know that this blog has become a source of inspiration to me in-and-of itself. You inspire me with your engagement, and for that you have my gratitude. Thank you.

~Jason H. Abbott, Aethereal Engineer.

WIP-it Wednesday: May 17th, 2017

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

Steady progress was made on Vivian’s Last Cigarette this weekend. I edited the new chapter four that I finished last Sunday, and expanded it by almost a thousand words to add and improve a few things. These were focused on the chapter’s second half, particularly on the introduction of the first non-orc changeling to appear in the book, and an encounter with one of Gronk’s former friends that gets ugly.

The introduction of the new character needed refinement, mostly to get her voice consistently right. I also expanded the conversation she has with Viv and Gronk. Their dialogue now foreshadows some things that are important points later in the book, and the additional verbiage allowed me to pad everyone’s speech and give it a more natural sounding flow without packing it with filler-fluff.

The original version of the conversation did what it needed to do plot-wise, but was too short and pointed. Now it sounds like a brief, friendly encounter that drops a lot of background and upcoming story tidbits for the reader… without glowing neon signs pointing them out.

It was also fun to write a conversation that included talk about Chevrolet Camaros and Jackalopes in almost the same breath. ;-)

The new changeling, Cricket, is a pleasure to write because of her casual, new-age, and laid-back nature combined with a humorous side. She’s a four-foot, hippie – granola gnome girl. The teen plays a bigger role (no pun intended) as an ally in an upcoming chapter: When a chain of events has a couple of orcs seeking refuge in the Magic Moo-Shroom Metaphysical Shop (and petting zoo) that is her family’s business.

I’m looking forward to writing that bit. :-) And to writing her dad, Neil: He’s a mellow, former 60s hippie and Grateful Dead roadie. Obviously, his daughter is an apple that didn’t fall far from the tree! However, he is also a changeling, having gone dwarf from “The Change” around the same time Cricket did. Yet Neil is groovy with it… things are just pretty far-out these days, ya know, man?

Getting back to chapter four, my efforts on the last quarter of it were devoted to making Gronk’s former friend, Mike, more of a character and less of a cardboard cutout. In the first version, he’s just a flat jerk. After the revision I did Saturday, he’s a more rounded character. He’s still being rotten, but is doing so because of his fears and external pressures that eventually get shown to the reader in an ugly way.

He’s definitely being spineless and not doing the right thing, but now I think there’s a little sympathy for him. It leads to a downer moment of no winners that makes the whole scene sting a lot more than the original version as it closes.

On Sunday I got chapter four edited into a second draft thanks to Kim’s feedback. Then I edited an unrelated new short story of mine (I hope to share it here soon) before cranking-up some 80s punk and starting the new chapter five.

I was a thousand words deep before the day was over, and the opening pages of this latest chapter were pleasant writing. Viv and Gronk are goofing off, bantering and playing the Gauntlet arcade game while waiting for a pizza. Its funny stuff, and a healing change of mood compared to the downbeat end of chapter four. But because of the way that chapter ended, the reader knows that the clock is ticking unbeknownst to our intrepid orcs. Trouble is on its way, and if Viv knew of the danger she wouldn’t be playing games.

It’s subtly tense. And I was able to write right-up to where a different –and competing– sort of trouble walks in the door. ;-)

And that’s where the novel is sitting at as of today. I don’t think the rest of chapter five will take too long to write, given that what I still want to happen in it consists of about two and a half more scenes. This makes me hopeful that I might get it finished next weekend, and then I’ll be on to the last of the new chapters being added to the book’s opening!

Alright, time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some more fiction! Take care!