Vlogging, aka What Do I Say?

The thought of appearing on video to say what I want to say instead of typing it out on my blog is actually a bit daunting to me.  Even though I may want to say the same thing, it’s completely different.

Blogging allows me to hide behind my keyboard.  I can also say things more eloquently, as I have time to think about what I want to say.  Vlogging is immediate.  I don’t have much time to think.  It’s more difficult to get out what I want to say.  I also don’t like to listen to my own voice.  I’m sure many people feel the same way when they hear a recording of their own voice.  They think, “That’s how I sound?  It’s horrible!”

Another big problem for me is that vlogging is, in a way, public speaking.  I potentially have a large audience.  Even though I’m by myself talking to a camera or my phone, I’m speaking directly to a large potential audience.  That makes me uncomfortable, thanks to my INTJ tendencies.  I guess the more I do it, the more comfortable I’ll get.

Now, the biggest issue I have is figuring out exactly what to say.  I had this problem when I started this blog.  I wasn’t exactly sure what my focus was, other than books.  I feel like I’m in the zone now with this whole blogging thing, now that I’m writing posts up to twice a day (this month it is slightly more than twice a day).  Before, I had trouble writing once a week.  But the more I write, the more ideas I get.  I have several things going on, including the writing challenge I started a couple weeks ago, my worldbuilding series, my moons of the solar system series, and more.  And of course, the heart of this blog is book reviews.

So, what do I say in the vlog?  I had an idea today that I may talk about the books I’m currently reading, my writing process, my thinking process, ramble about some what-if scenarios, and of course use the video medium to show you what’s around me.  Pictures are great, but video shows everything is alive.

I’d like to give a mention to Sierra, a fellow blogger who also just started vlogging today.  She’s a very frequent commenter on this blog.  So, go on over to her blog and check out her first vlog.

What Will You Write? #3 – I, Elephant

The winner of #2 has been decided, so now it’s time for our third edition, and it’s a very different one.

What Will You Write? is a series of writing challenges that I am posting every one or two weeks.  How it works is, I post the beginning of a scene and give you the genre or theme.  You finish the scene and post it on your blog. Please read the challenge page for more information and past winners. The rules are simple:

  • First, read what I’ve written.
  • Second, copy it and finish writing the scene.  Please keep your portion of the writing at less than 1,000 words.
  • Then, post your story to your blog.
  • Make sure you link back to this post so others can come and join in.
  • Make a post in the comments below with a link back to your post (it’s likely that if you use WordPress, there’ll be a pingback, but please leave a comment with the link nevertheless).

The deadline is about 5 days from today.  Let’s make that 3:00 pm GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) on June 14th.  I’ll be going to bed after that time, so I can give you some leeway if you post it within 5 or 6 hours after that deadline.  But after that, I need to judge.

After the deadline, I’ll read all of the entries and decide on who I think wrote the best scene.  Originality is very important.  I will judge it based on which one grabs my attention the most.  Once I’ve decided, I’ll post the winning story with a link back to the writer’s original post.  After that, I’ll include links back to everyone else’s entry so you can see what everyone wrote.  The winner will have the opportunity to write their own prompt and be a guest judge if they want.

This week’s theme is not a genre.  It’s a very specific theme.  There are some rules to this one.  First, it must be written in first person point of view. Second, the narrating character is an animal.  So, what you’re going to be doing is writing a story from the point of view of an animal, entering its mind and giving it human-like thoughts.  The animal is an elephant.  Here is the prompt:

The pride of lions stalked us.  Their hungry eyes focused on my little one, my only daughter.  She didn’t understand the danger.

I warned her, three infrasonic grunts.  “Come close to me,” I said.

She shook her head and stumbled.  The largest lioness crept closer to my daughter.  I couldn’t wait any longer.  I charged at the group and they scattered.  But there were too many of them, I realized.

So, now it’s your turn to finish the story.  As you may know, elephants have rather sophisticated social dynamics and are quite intelligent.  They even mourn their dead.  I’m very interested in seeing where your stories go. Good luck!

What Will You Write? #2 – The Winner

The second What Will You Write? has come to an end, and we had a wide variety of stories this time.  There were only five entries, but the quality is high and incredibly creative.  It was another tough decision.  Please read the original post.

Fantasy gives the writer a lot of creative freedom.  It’s not just swords and sorcery, elves and dragons.  It can be almost anything as long as there’s an element of magic involved.

So, I did make a decision about who wins this edition.  It was a very creative story, I felt.  Clues were revealed bit by bit, and the entire picture was revealed at the end.  I was a bit confused, but very intrigued in the beginning.  I was very surprised how it ended.   Very interesting story and unique.  The winner is Tara Southwell.  Here is her winning entry:

Ferd opened his eyes, his headrest throbbing. Scrambling up to his feet, he remembered the rockslide- Concussion rends the morning silence, gravel pitters, patters, rushes, boulders tumble, wood cracks –That was no accident. Somebody tried to kill us. Us. Where is Cassia? He couldn’t see through the dust, but she had to be there.

“Cassia!”

A voice, pained, faint, came from his left. “Ferd? Ferd! I can’t climb up!”

He made his way cautiously through the dust, tested the ground with one foot, dread welling up. This was the direction he’d been looking in only moments before when he’d spotted-

The cliff.

He looked down through the dust and saw Cassia, hanging onto a branch over the chasm. A split in the dark red leather across her back oozed resin and stuffing. The split widened, the branch shuddered and her weight pulled it further out of the rock. He reached for her, but she was too far away.

Echoes of angry voices reached him. Cassia’s eyes widened, then narrowed with resolve. “You have to go.”

“No, I won’t leave you to them. I promised we would reach the Guru together, and that’s what I meant.”

Ferd reached down to one of his legs, covered with delicate vines, fitted snugly to his seat with nothing more than craftsmanship and glue. She saw what he was about to do, opened her mouth to scream but didn’t dare let it out. With a snap of dry tinder and a groan of pain, the leg was in his hand. He inched again to the edge of the drop and lowered the leg. She reached for it, leather slipped on the smooth surface, the branch released more of its grip on the mountain. “Just go!”

He gritted his teeth, splinters flew, wedged a foot in a crack in the stone, then leaned even further over empty space. This time her grip held. Both of them screamed as he heaved, another of his legs broke off, tribute paid to the mountain, the leather across her back rent asunder, and she landed beside him, puffing up more dust.

They embraced, sap tears running from their headrests, but their relief was short lived. By now the villagers had heard their struggle and were close. Brother and sister held each other up as they hobbled away from the barking hounds and ax-brandishing men. The dust cleared, little by little, and Ferd was once again able to see the stone temple near the peak of the mountain, dark red against the blue sky. “We’re almost there. The Guru will save us, you’ll see.”

The climb was treacherous. Gravel and cracks in the stone tripped them up, sent them plunging forward against gravity or sliding back the way they’d come. They pressed on, Ferd murmuring his mantra, “The Guru will save us, the Guru will save us, the Guru-” while Cassia moaned and tried to stem the flow of resin from her wounds.

They reached the top of the path. Before them, casting cool shade on their hot leather, the temple. The door gazed upon them with pity and asked, “What brings such ill used chairs here?”

“We’ve come to see the Guru. Please, sir, my sister and I are wounded. We need help.”

With window eyes drooping, the door swung open. “There might not be any help for you here.”

Ferd wiped sap from his brow. “Even the chance of help is better than nothing.”

“Come in, then.”

They entered the temple, soothed by the cool air inside. An elderly hatstand ushered forward to greet them, dropping her fedora and a sunhat in the process. “Oh, you poor dears, just look at you! This way, this way!” She led them down the hall, shedding bonnets, through a kitchen and den, another gracious door, and into the temple proper. Shining saws, glittering wood rasps, pots of glue and glossy new furniture welcomed them home. Ferd propped Cassia against a wall and followed the hatstand to a worktable on the far side of the room. He fell on his face at the sight of the Guru, seated on a stool before a music box, which he was inlaying with gold fleur de lis with the aid of a magnifying glass.

The hatstand cleared her throat and announced, “Master Pinnochio, we have pilgrims in need of repair and succor.”

Pinocchio looked up from his work, spun on the seat of the stool, then hit the floor with a clatter. The hatstand helped him back to his feet while he grumbled about cut strings. His voice was high but his tone was grim as he commanded, “Tell me what happened, young chair.”

Ferd stammered through his explanation: their villagers didn’t have enough wood in the valley to make it through winter. The humans turned on their former friends, the furniture, with their axes. He and Cassia had escaped the chopping block after a harrowing journey and-

“Enough.” Pinocchio put his painted face in his hands. “I’m not surprised the humans turned against you. I sent all of you out into the world with so much hope. I envisioned a world where Enchanteds and humans lived together in peace. I should have known better. I should have kept you here, or not made you at all!” The hatstand wrapped an arm around Pinocchio’s shuddering shoulders. “I shall fix you and your sister, but then you must flee.”

Ferd only nodded. To reclaim their homes, to make the humans see reason, that was the “why?” behind his trek up the mountain. Denied that, all he had left was his sister. Flee they would, but to where? Somewhere, out there, a place for them to call their new home.

Congratulations, Tara!  And what an entry that was.  I enjoyed it a lot.

And here are the other entries, all worth reading:

Steven Erickson – This entry was a pretty serious one.  With all of the humour in the previous challenge, it was nice to see something more serious.  I’m interesting in knowing more about this story.

Mark Morris – This gets an honourable mention from me.  Very delightful read.  I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.  Just read it!

Crystin Goodwin – First time entry here.  This was an interesting story, and I’d read more if it were a longer story.  I want to know more.  Very nice.

Tracey Lynn Tobin – Last time’s winner returns with a solid entry.  The ending was a surprise.  I didn’t expect that at all.  Great job!

Everyone did a great job, and I’m looking forward to the next one.  Actually, I’m really looking forward to it, because this one will be a challenge.  It’ll be a bit unusual, so I can’t wait to see the entries.  I’ll post the prompt within 24 hours.

Now, go and read everyone’s entries and leave comments on their stories.  They deserve it.