An Attack of Creativity

I don’t know how it happens, but I get these creative inspirations at the oddest times.

It started out while I was taking a shower.  It seems like many of my writing ideas happen while I’m in the shower.  However, the more I thought about it, the stronger my idea became.  I washed dishes and my idea was almost fully fleshed out.

So, what’s my idea?  I have another writing project plan, but this is a series of short stories.  It’s about a man who’s dying and his final wish is to visit the planets of the solar system.  He gets his wish in exchange for something.  I won’t say, because I don’t want to give anything away.  It’s planned to be nine parts and easy to read.  It’ll be part adventure and part sci-fi.

And that’s my shower of knowledge story.

Questions Answered by Authors

This is an idea I had yesterday.  I’ve done interviews with authors (more to come), but something I’d like to do is start a weekly feature with several authors answering only one question about writing and books.  I will ask all of the participants a question, and they will answer via email.  I will post their answers, as well as my answer, on a weekly blog post.  I think it would be interesting to see varying opinions by different authors on these questions.

What do you think?  If you’re an author, published or unpublished, and would like to participate, please leave a comment or send me an email through my About page.

Of course, you may wonder what you get out of this.  You do get a bit more exposure.  I will make contributor pages for you, link back to your blogs and websites, as well as whatever social media you’d like people to follow.  You will write your contributor page, so you can write anything you like.  You can include pictures, mention your books, and so on.  And I would hope that the biggest thing you get out of this is some fun and a sense of community.  So, if you’re interested, please send me a message or leave a comment.

Introversion Does Not Mean…

Shy

Being introverted doesn’t mean a person is shy.  Sure, I used to be shy when I was a kid, but I’m not now.  I’m still introverted.  Shyness implies a social awkwardness.  Shy people are very self-conscious about how they look, how they behave, and have trouble interacting with people.  Introverts are often quite comfortable being quiet listeners.  See me at a party being quiet?  I’m not being shy.  I’m just relaxing and enjoying the conversations around me.  Sure, you’re sucking my energy away, but it doesn’t mean I dislike social interaction. I actually enjoy it.

Boring

A lot of extroverts seem to think that introverts are boring, mainly because they don’t have much to say.  You should see what goes on inside our minds.  We are intense and deep thinkers.  We think about everything that goes on around us, what’s happening in the world, anything.  We have so many very thoughtful and creative ideas that we don’t know where to start.  Many of us actually have the same interests as you, we just don’t scream, shout, and laugh about it.

Follower

Some are.  But there are many introverted leaders.  Take a look here.  Abraham Lincoln was introverted.   Bill Gates is introverted.  Those are just two examples.  Introverts tend to be calm in times of stress, think their decisions through carefully, and are very good at preparation.  Sounds like a good leader to me.

Something is wrong

Introverts are normal.  We just deal with energy in a different way than extroverts.  I gain energy through reading, solitary walking, blogging, and urban exploration.  I lose energy by being at noisy parties, bars, and clubs.  If you see me sitting there not talking, but watching, nothing is wrong.  I’m just recharging.

Extroverts, do yourselves and us a favour, try to understand how we do things.  Ease yourselves into a conversation with us, and you may find that we’re quite talkative and very interesting.  That is if we like you.

Arachnophobes, Don’t Look

Is there anything you really don’t like?  Something that can give you nightmares?  How about this?

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Golden silk orb-weaver spider.

This is a golden silk orb-weaver spider.  They can be found all over the world with various colours and patterns.  But they’re all quite big and build elaborate webs.  Although I’m not fond of spiders, I do have to admit that these are quite beautiful.  I even took a video of it.

So, that was about as close as I could get to it.  I really don’t like spiders.  I find them creepy.  They have a venom that is quite strong, but it’s not lethal to humans.  We’d survive when bitten, but we’d feel a lot of pain in the area of the bite.  I’ll stay away from them.

So, what’s your nightmare?  Can’t wait to read your comments.

Ingress, the Augmented Reality RPG

I’ve always enjoyed role-playing games.  When I was a kid and teenager, I’d play them on Sega Game Gear and traditional paper and dice.  When I was in university, I played on a MUD.  When I was single in Japan, I played an MMORPG.  But now, we have a totally new kind of RPG, augmented reality.

These days, I don’t have time to play games that involve a lot of time and effort to play.  When I discovered Ingress, I thought that the concept was quite interesting.  There are two factions, the Enlightened and the Resistance.  The Enlightened are fighting to support the aliens who want to help us go further in our evolution.  The Resistance believe they just want to control our minds.  There are portals everywhere.  Portals are usually landmarks, public art, and so on.  There are more around densely populated areas or busy areas, and not so many in less busy areas.  Where I live, there aren’t many portals, but we can submit locations to open new ones.  Anyway, you want to make sure portals are on your side so you can link them together and create a kind of coverage area that collects Mind Units.  These Mind Units are what are used to keep score.  Here’s a screenshot of my area with a single Enlightened portal.

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The circled arrow is my position, while the portal is toward the top.  As you can see, there are streets marked out.  This game was created by Google, and they obviously use a kind of overlay with Google Maps.  All the roads are already there, so the map is already made for the game.  This game is played worldwide

I’m only level 1, but I’ll be getting up to level 2 very soon.  I’m not sure how long I’ll play this, but I’ll see.  I have a lot of work to do.  I joined the Enlightened, and there’s one portal nearby.  However, there are several Resistance portals in my area, and they completely cover the Shonandai station area.  I guess I’ll have to try create some local portals.  I also need to advance in levels to have any hope of switching over any existing portals.  We’ll see how it goes.

Anyone else play it?

Book Review – A Storm of Swords

astormofswordsA Storm of Swords

Author: George R. R. Martin

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire #3

Genre: Fantasy

Published 2000

Review Copy: Paperback bought new

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Goodreads Description

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, victim of the sorceress who holds him in her thrall. Young Robb still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. And as opposing forces maneuver for the final showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost limits of civilization, accompanied by a horde of mythical Others–a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords…

Review

A Storm of Swords is the third installment in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy series.  It continues the war in Westeros and the battle over who is king.  In this book, we see some big changes.  Huge changes.  You know how sequels are usually not as good as the original?  Well, I think this one exceeds not only the first book, but also the second.  What a ride!

As with the previous two books, each chapter is simply titled with the point-of-view character’s name.  This time, those characters are Arya, Sansa, Bran, Tyrion, Catelyn, Jon, Daenerys, Davos, and two newcomers, Jaime Lannister and Samwell.  We no longer follow Theon.  I found that the most compelling storylines were of Arya, Jon, Daenerys, and Jaime.  Sansa’s getting a bit smarter, but still a bit annoying.  Bran has a major story going on, and while it’s interesting, I felt it didn’t have as much impact as others.  Tyrion’s still my favourite Lannister, but he’s lost his touch a bit.  Catelyn is still Catelyn, a character I don’t particularly like.  Davos was never that interesting to me.  Samwell has a good story, but it’s not at the top.  Now, Jaime’s story, I really enjoyed that.  Not only did I enjoy his point of view, I’ve come to actually like him as a character.  Loving his sarcastic sense of humour.  Arya is a very good character, and I’m enjoying how her development is going.  There are things going on with her that are quite interesting, I have suspicions about something that will happen, but I’m not quite sure yet.  Jon is going on to bigger things, and he’s had quite an up and down story.  I’m very interested in seeing where it goes.  Daenerys is still on the other side of the sea, but things are changing a lot for her, as well.  We’re seeing the development of a leader.  We also see that not everything is as it seems with her and those with her.  I’m really enjoying some other non-POV characters, such as Sandor Clegane, Peter Baelish, and a very mysterious cold handed person from beyond the wall.  I have suspicions about him, but I’ll wait to see what happens.

The world continues to be great to explore, and we’re seeing more of it, including Daenerys’s exploits.  The number of cultures is astounding.  I can easily visualise everything that’s going on, and I feel like I’m going along in a medieval world that is somewhat dark and dreary at times.  It all feels damp.  Of course, it rained a lot.

The story has always been extremely good.  The intricate linking between the individual stories is incredibly well-done.  This book had a bit of a downside, though.  The middle was a bit slow-going, but it really picked up toward the end.  And what an end it is.  Chapter after chapter had me shocked and amazed.  So many unbelievable things happened that I was wondering what was next.  By the end, this is what I was thinking: What the?  Mr. Martin, you’ve made this reader very happy and very excited about reading the next book.  Never have my thoughts and emotions been manipulated by a book as much as this one.  Bravo.

So, I can’t give this lower than a score of 5 out of 5 stars.  It deserves it.  Best one so far.  Wow.

What Will You Write? #7 – The Winner!

What Will You Write? #7 came to a close a few days ago, but because of a couple typhoons, live-blogging, embassy visit, and general pre-schooler naughtiness, I didn’t have much time to get this post done. Well, it’s finally here!

There was only one entry, but it was a good one.  Our guest judge, Peggy, explains why she thinks it’s worthy of a win, even though it is the only entry.  Before that, though, you can check the original post and remind yourselves of the theme.

So, here is what Peggy had to say about the winner:

The winner of  What Will You Write Challenge #7 is D.T. Nova with “Breanna.”

While this was the only entry, it’s my opinion it would have been a difficult one to beat and deserves the win!

D.T. Nova’s piece has nice paced dialog that reveals the conflict between the main character Breanna and the protagonist Alexander, who share the inheritance of Prometheus Corporation.  Multiple levels of conflict within and between the characters, amplified by the youth of the heir, is presented very well, and there is a captivating twist to the challenge prompt. I won’t go into more detail lest I give out a spoiler, and suggest if you haven’t already read this story, please give it a read!

You can go to the original post, or read the entry below:

Breanna

              Breanna didn’t think she should care that her father was dead, so she pretended she didn’t. “We see him maybe once a year. Not a lot to miss, is there?”

              Breanna’s mother said “But he was still your father. Anyone would care.”

              Breanna took her mother’s word for it. She hated it when her lack of understanding of how other people felt was mistaken for not caring how they felt, and even her mother sometimes made that accusation. “But I really had already lost him before this. We used to all live together, and don’t pretend I’m not the reason it changed. Dad hasn’t cared about me since…since I told him I was a girl.”

              “He just…had trouble getting used to the idea, Alex.”

              “You know I don’t like it when you call me that.”

              “It’s your name.”

              “I’ll change my legal name, along with everything else. No matter how hard it is, I’ll make it without everyone who’s turned against me.”

              “Alex…Breanna. Your father didn’t turn against you. Look at this. His share in the corporation…his controlling interest, and his fortune; he left everything to you.”

              Breanna snatched the piece of paper from her mother’s hand. “’I leave my fortune to my son, Alexander Prometheus.’ He didn’t leave it to me, he left it to the son he wished I was. This was updated the week after he refused to pay for hormone therapy for me. This is such a backhanded gift.” Breanna really wasn’t sure how normal her own feelings were now; how many people were jealous of themselves?

              “But even if he’s not who you’d rather be, Alexander is still you.”

              “Mom. the last time I tried to pretend I wasn’t a girl, I almost-” Breanna shuddered, and in the pause remembered that this was something she’d never told her mother about. She was never comfortable talking about sex, and didn’t think it really mattered as long as she didn’t intend to be having it any time soon. “No, you’re right. My ‘rival’ is only a fake me. I can use ‘his’ money for what I couldn’t afford before, and that includes fully becoming myself and overcoming ‘him’.”

              “You’d be foolish not to. But until you change your legal name and gender, you can’t avoid being ‘Alexander’ in all circumstances.”

              “Maybe that’s one more thing that I need to change.”

***

              Despite her protests, Breanna wore a men’s suit to the first meeting and allowed the young upstart trying to get named as CEO of ‘his’ father’s business to be publicly known as Alexander. But the pressure of ‘him’ being the one in charge made her question her sanity more than once, particularly when things were unusual to begin with.

              One day, Breanna just couldn’t believe what came across her desk. “Ms. Lucas, if I might ask…what is this?”

              Veronica looked at the proposal only briefly before answering. “Oh, that again. I suppose Leonard thinks he has another chance now that someone else is in charge. It’s a transforming mecha.”

              “It says ‘Prototype 70% complete; project on hold’. Did it work?”

              “No.”

              “Then I think Mr. Smith is another person underestimating me because of my youth. This is the kind of thing I want there to be less of than there was under my father, not more.” Breanna sighed. “A weapon that doesn’t even work gets physically built, while when it comes to things that would actually help people, like sustainable energy, we have trouble convincing anyone to even start designing them.”

              “Unfortunately, that’s all too true, Mr. Prometheus.”

              “I wish you wouldn’t call me ‘Mister’.”

              “I didn’t want you to think I’m not respecting you because you’re so young, Alex.”

              “Not what I meant.” On impulse, Breanna decided she could trust Veronica Lucas more than anyone else who worked at Prometheus Corporation. ”‘Alexander’ is who I was born as, but it’s not who I am. I’ve known it for years, even if I couldn’t really start to do anything about it until recently. My friends call me Breanna…or they would if I had any.”

              “You’ve got at least one friend, Breanna. Me.” She reached for Breanna’s hand, but Breanna recoiled.

              Breanna said “Sorry, but I don’t like to be touched.”

              Veronica shrugged. “I’ll remember. Does anyone else here know you’re a girl?”

              “No. I knew you’d understand, but I didn’t expect it to go this smoothly, Ms. Lucas.”

              “Because you don’t know about…well, I shouldn’t tell her story without her permission, but I have had need to understand something a little like this before. And please call me Veronica.”

              “Unfortunately, Veronica, the inheritor was publicly announced as ‘Alexander’, so I’ve been trying to ‘pass’ the wrong way. It’s probably because I’m young, but it’s already hard enough to get people around here to take me seriously enough, and I’m sure there are people with whom this knowledge would just make things even harder. But I have to try, and I’d appreciate your support.”

              “Well of course, Breanna. I’m one of the people that does like your ideas for the direction of the company..”

              “And one more thing. I do want the credit for my part in this to go to ‘Breanna’, not ‘Alex’. Do you think we can manage that?”

              “I’d like to say ‘yes’, but I think I’ll say ‘eventually’. There’s no avoiding the fact that it will take time, and you are young enough to have time. I’m sorry but…I think you’re going to have to put up with ‘Alex’ a while longer.”

              After Veronica left, Breanna sat down and cried. She had more wealth and influence than almost anyone else her age in the world, and she didn’t really understand why she was crying. But even in her confusion, she swore to never let ‘Alex’ regain control of her life.

Thank you very much, D. T. Nova for your great entry.  And since you are the winner this time, you’ll have the opportunity to judge and provide a prompt in the future.

Now, as to the future of What Will You Write?, I have decided not to have another challenge this year.  It’s too close to NaNoWriMo right now, so it’ll be a very busy time for writers from now until the end of November.  Also, December tends to be busy for people going on holiday and visiting family.  #8 will be coming after the new year begins.  So keep an eye out for the announcement for that.  And since Peggy had two wins in a row, it’s up to her to provide a prompt and judge, if she likes.

Exploring new worlds, real and fictional.

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