Why Are You Making Me Think?

     Normally, my posts tend to be focus on an aspect of what I’m writing about. Whether it is technology that my characters use, how I organize my work, or even just asking people their opinions on these topics. However, for this post I thought I would try something a little different. I have been thinking about a topic that has been discussed on many social media sites. I have avoided giving my opinion for a few reasons that really are not that important. But after a conversation with someone I know I started thinking.
     Earlier this week I was speaking to someone who I know casually; one of those friends of friends situations. I know her a little, but not really to the point where we spend much time talking one on one. She had heard that I had published a book, and started asking me questions.
     Her questions were neither rude nor prying, but some of her questions did make me think. One of the questions that she asked was about why I did not tell more people I write. I am an introvert by nature. One of the things that I more than just about anything is having to talk about myself. So, often I can meet and get to know someone over several months, and I won’t bring that topic up. As you can imagine that makes me particularly bad at marketing myself.
     She told me she checked out my page on Amazon out of curiosity. The other question that she asked that really made me think was about customer reviews. She asked me if it bothered me that I did not have many reviews, and then how I felt about bad reviews.
     Reviews in the indie writing scene is a touchy subject. Between is a touchy subject. Between Amazon removing reviews if it appears you might possibly know the author and a few cases I’ve seen online where authors get confrontational with those who have left 1 star reviews, I have been a bit leery of sharing my opinion.
     First, I’ll just get this out of the way: I am horrible at remembering to leave reviews. I am making an effort to go back and leave reviews I have read in the past. I always mean well – I always intend to leave a review once I have finished reading a book. But something happens and I usually forget. I do feel that reviews are important, but not necessarily in the way that most people might assume.
     As a reader, 3 views mean very little. Too often I have read 1 & 2 star reviews panning a book I am thinking about reading. Once I get the book home and read it, I end up loving it; on the other side, I have purchased books with 5 star reviews and have not enjoyed a single page. Only rarely do I trust the reviews of another, and those reviews are usually done by people with whom I have a similar taste in genres.
     Reviews are best when used as a tool for writers to hone their craft. A writer can learn more from a bad review than they can from a review that showers them with praise. When a review tells you that’s your three page description of your main character’s dress is excessive, or that your writing style appears to be flip to random pages in your thesaurus and choose whatever words you land on, it might be beneficial to pay attention.
     My reviewing style, when I can remember to leave a review, it’s actually quite simple. My explanation is based on Amazon’s 5 star rating system:

 

*****   A 5-star rating is pretty simple. I enjoyed the book immensely, I was able to lose myself in the story, and I found no noticeable plot holes or grammatical errors.

****  A 4-star rating means that I enjoyed the story. There may have been one or two places where the plot did not grip me, but it did not hamper my enjoyment of the story. Again, with few or no plot holes or grammatical errors.

***   A 3-star rating means that I did enjoy the story; however, there may have been a few places where the story lost me. This would either be due to plot holes, magical rescues where there should not be one, or characters acting out of character. To earn a 3-star review there should still be few grammatical errors.

**    A 2-star rating means that for several reasons my enjoyment of the story was hampered. I would have been taken out of the story by poorly written characters, a plot that is poorly written, and excessive plot holes and grammatical errors.

*     I am Not sure if I would ever actually leave a 1-star review in today’s rather volatile marketplace. After having seen a couple of writers confront those that have left bad reviews, I just don’t feel comfortable anymore. But in theory, to receive a one star review, it would have to be a first draft that had been published. No editing, no proofreading. It would have to appear that the author had simply hit publish as soon as they finished writing the last word.
     I do feel that how I rate the books that I read is fair. As a writer I want to encourage others to continue to follow their passion. You don’t have to be the next Hemingway or Shakespeare to impress me. It does not even have to be a genre that I normally enjoy. If it is a romance novel that is well written and can catch my attention and keep it throughout – then you will get a 4 or 5-star review.
    For all readers:  When you leave a review, do you have a system for how you rate it?
 

 

Organizing my Cluttered Mind Part 2: Keeping My Stories Straight

      Continuing on from my last post, I have been trying to maintain some semblance of organization while writing. I am a note taker, sometimes to the point of obsession. However, when it comes to keeping those notes organized, I am guilty of complete and utter failure. In the past I’d have three or four different notebooks on my desk, loose sheets of paper I stashed in my pockets, and my research folder on my laptop.

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Not my desk, but a close approximation.

     In my last post I mentioned that I have been using Scrivener in an attempt to become more organized. I have been using each project I’ve created in this software to house all of the research, links and photos I’ve gathered for each project.

     For the most part, I have only written one-off stories up until last year. Recently I’ve been in sequel/shared Universe mode. Two of my projects are closely related, so I decided to try and create a single file to keep track of what is going on in my stories. After doing some research on Scrivener templates, I downloaded a story bible template from here.

     I went through the template to see if it would fit my needs. It fit when I was looking for more or less; so I started using it, adding or subtracting elements as needed.

     The first thing that I did copy over my reference information that crossed over between the different stories. For example, I made a master timeline of all of the events that have occurred in each story, as well as events in the past that help to establish well known facts when in the universe created. I also created folders for the two different series sharing this reality. In those folders I put all of the character profiles, location profiles, and the synopsis for each of the stories in those series.

     I like the fact that now as I progress through each subsequent entry into either series, I will be able to reference any necessary information by simply referring to my story Bible, rather than trying to figure out which story I need to reference in order to get the information I need. I must admit that in the beginning I was afraid but I was going to be spending more time keeping track of my story Bible than I would be writing. But I’ve been spending no more than five or ten minutes at the end of each session updating any new information if needed.

     I’m also a writer that seems to receive inspiration for my stories at the least convenient times. In the past I would attempt to carry my notebook around with me and jot down any notes that I felt I needed in order to remember what came to me so suddenly. Using Evernote, and sometimes even my phone’s note taking app, I don’t have to worry about looking for my notebook to jot down my ideas. Most of the time I only use these apps to jot down notes: possible locations for a story, ideas for characters or backstory, and especially names for characters. I am horrible with names. So in the event that I think of a name I really like, I jot it down – or more accurately, type it into my smartphone. then when I get home, all I need to do is elaborate on those ideas within my story file.

     A couple of times, inspiration has led me two ideas that needed to be written down and greater links. Sometimes these passages how complete enough to go into my draft. When that does happen, transferring that information over isn’t all that difficult.

     As always, I’d love to hear from you:  how do those writers working on one or more series keep your storylines and characters organized for continuity purposes?

Organizing My Cluttered Mind Part 1: The Tools

     I am not the world’s most organized writer.I admit it. I have the best of intentions. I sit down with my notes, my research, and anything else I might need for any given project., but inevitably, it ends up hopelessly mixed up and all over my work surface. Eventually I just give up and try to work in a sea of papers and tears of frustration!
     I have tried to organize using technology using a few different means. At first, I switched from handwritten manuscripts to using MSWord. That helped a bit, insofar as it allowed me to eliminate the risk of writing a story into the wrong notebook.
    Along came the early 2000s. I stumbled across WriteItNow. The ability to separate my book into chapters and scenes was a handy addition to my writing toolbox. Making character profiles was both easy and had a great deal of depth. Creating personality profiles, character biographies, and keeping notes was easy. I didn’t need as many physical papers while writing. One notebook for quick jotting is all I needed.

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    Finally, last year, I saw Scrivener for the first time. I fell. Hard. It has nearly everything I love about WriteItNow, plus it is super easy to use the software. There was definitely a learning curve with WriteItNow. Creating your own custom templates for projects was not quite as intuitive. And despite my love for the older software, I was not going to find much in the way of tech support. I slowly began transferring to Scrivener. I completed my projects that were closest to completion, then started new projects directly in Scrivener.
    It has done a lot of things very well. The corkboard feature is a favorite, allowing me to jump to the section requiring my attention ASAP.
    The main writing surface in Scrivener is set up quite simply. It is a basic word processing software. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that Word has, but it doesn’t need it. If your goal is to write a manuscript, report, for any heavily text based document, you don’t really need 200 fonts for those types of projects.

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    There are a lot of features I enjoy with this software, including the ability to create ebooks in the format of your choice. If you plan on making your work available on multiple eBook retailer’s sites, this can save a lot of time. My only real gripe about the software is that the character and location profiles are very basic. Basically just a worksheet to fill out. Even after using the software for a little over a year, I still miss the much more in-depth options provided by WriteItNow 4.
    The final piece to my organizational puzzle is my note taking. In an effort to eliminate the use of a physical notebook, I have been using Evernote for the last couple of months. Since my cellphone is always with me, I have the ability to not notes whenever inspiration hits. It is a simple interface, that has won me over due to how easy it is to retrieve this information from other devices for use in my story.

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    Now, as I’ve learned today, while visiting each piece of software’s websites, WriteItNow apparently released version 5.0. Now I know I will be upgrading, to see if Raven’s head has been listening to the wishes of their customers. It will be interesting to see how I feel once I’ve been able to explore the improvements they have made to the overall experience.
    For the writers out there: what do you use to keep yourselves organized? Is anyone still using pen and paper? Typewriter? Is MSWord still the norm, or are people using other pieces of software to organize their thoughts and put them into a publishable form? I look forward to hearing about other people’s methods.

Here are some links to these pieces of software, for anyone who might want more information;

WriteItNow
Scrivener
Evernote

Book Review: Murder Out of the Blue

Once I was an avid reader. There was a time when I could sit on a rainy day and read for hours. Life gets in the way, however, and the last couple of years has seen me unable to spend more than a few minutes reading or writing. Between a massive move, to having up my education, and looking for work, I was busy. But now things seem to have evened out, and I am starting to find stretches of time where I can read and write. This is helping to relieve much of the tension that accumulates throughout the day. With the increased reading, I made a promise to myself: write a review.

As a writer, I know that reviews, no matter how much we may disagree with some them, ultimately do help is to become better writers. Seeing the world you’ve created through your reader’s eyes can help you to see what works for your readers,as well as what needs to be fixed or better explained.
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Last night I finished reading Murder Out of the Blue, by Steve Turnbull. The rave reviews I’d been reading made me curious, so I decided to give it a read.

Last night I finished reading Murder Out of the Blue, by Steve Turnbull. The rave reviews I’d been reading made me curious, so I decided to give it a read.

Last night I finished reading Murder Out of the Blue, by Steve Turnbull. The rave reviews I’d been reading made me curious, so I decided to give it a read. I was happy to learn that the story was deserving of every bit of praise it has received.

Let’s start with the setting. A Steampunk setting, which I love. But instead of Victorian England, we are given a peek into a Victorian era British-occupied India.the change of pace, although only glimpsed through the windows of an airship, is an exciting change of pace. Through this locale, we are given a glimpse into the mindset of those that lived under the rule of the monarchy in the colonies

The main technology referenced is the Faraday device.while the concept was unfamiliar, the author did a wonderful job explaining its purpose without  making it sound like a user’s manual.

The main Character, Maliha Anderson is an interesting character, that Mr. Turnbull walks a very fine line in developing. Miss Anderson is a private character, with a mysterious and troubling past. Being biracial, in a time when anyone not born of two white parents was, at best, treated as a second-class citizen, allows Maliha a surprising amount of freedom to move between both groups – as to both groups, she is an outsider,never truly belonging on either side.

Her reserved character could have made Maliha come across as unsympathetic, but Mr. Turnbull did an excellent job of showing us her vulnerability. All this poor young woman wants is to be left at peace and return home. Of course, as this is a mystery, it won’t be quite that simple.

Without giving away the details if the plot, there were several twists and turns to the story. Some of them were truly surprising. In a short work, Mr. Turnbull had me guessing up until the reveal (I admit I did guess the identity of the culprit at one point, but quickly decided that it couldn’t possibly be them!)

All in all, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this story. If I had one complaint, it would be that the story was too short. I will be reading the rest of the books in the series, so that I can revisit this interesting place and time.

Writing Rituals

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I spent several hours last night writing. I started with a quick blog post, to get the creative juices flowing and then followed that up with some time on one of my current projects. It was strange, after the post here, I just started typing in the story, and before I knew it, I had written a little over 1,100 words.  I was quite pleased with the progress. Most days I’m lucky if I have the time or inspiration to write 500 words.

This got me thinking. I know that when I write something other than one of my projects, it does seem to help me to maintain a longer writing session. Usually I’ll write a little in a word file – what happened at work, or things I would like to accomplish. It seems like if I get my real-world concerns down on paper (or in a document), I am able to focus more on the task at hand and worry less about what else is happening in life.

I have a few writing rituals that get me in serious writing mode. If I don’t perform a few of those rituals, I can still write, but the more I don’t have done before sitting down to work, the less focused I am, and my writing session ends up much shorter than usual.

I always have to have my notebook by my side. My notebook is the home of all of the little notes I jot down. I have a horrible memory, so if I get an idea for one of my stories, or for a new project, I grab my notebook and scribble it down. The notebook was where I jotted down my idea for Captain Drayton’s funky eyeball, and where I initially decided to change my rough idea for a pirate story into something that fit more into fantasy (at that point, I had not decided to try steampunk).

I also have web pages open at all times, so that my research is available immediately. I use scrivener for my writing and organizing, so I have a special folder in each of my projects where I put information as well. I mainly use this for photographs for inspiration, as well as storing all of the links I use for research. In the event that the project is something I want to publish, I’ll also store the links to the store pages for those stories.

There has to be something for me to drink/snack on as well. If I am really in the zone, I will forget to eat or drink, at least for a while. I become a bit obsessive when I’m writing. It is too easy for me to get lost completely in my project, and I won’t even realize what time it is until something distracts me from the writing.

It seems like my little rituals each help individually, and if all of them are performed together, my productivity is greatly improved. If I can continue to write like I did last night, I should be finished with this project in no time. Then I’ll just need to come up with a name, get a cover design I like, edit, edit, edit, and it should be ready to publish.  It’s still a lot of work, but I am looking forward to finishing another project, and getting it out there for people to read, and hopefully enjoy!

For the writers out there:  Do you have any special rituals or habits that help you clear your mind so that you can focus on writing?  Or are you among the lucky that can sit down and write with no problem?  As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

A Review and Some Purchases

     I am a reader.  I have been ever since I read The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Jester.  It was the first time I found myself transported into the story being told. Because of Milo and his adventures, I became someone who tears through books. Even now that I am working full-time and trying to fit in writing time each day,  I always have My kindle, at the very least,  within reach. Unfortunately,  I am very lax in a key area: I am horrible at remembering to leave a review.  So,  I am  going to try and right that wrong. 

     This post has a dual purpose: to ensure that my book reviews are preserved,  and also to talk about reading a little. With all of the brouhaha  concerning  Amazon’s bizarre policing who we may or may not know,  and whether we are allowed to put a review up on a book we purchased and read,  I have decided that going forward,  I will post any reviews that fall under the sci-fi, fantasy, or steampunk heading on here,  and all book reviews on Goodreads. I want to let authors know what I thought of their work,  and would hope they would do the same for me. Shortly before this all hit the news I did place a review on Amazon for a book I purchased for the Kindle –  The Dockland Kingslayer,  by VC Remus

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I purchased this book not knowing what to expect. I found to my great surprise and pleasure, that this novel is quite the page turner. V.C. Remus has created a world that feels alive. The conflicts between the lower class “Docklanders” and the ruling class plays a vital role throughout the story of Alistair. It is through him that we are introduced to a world of injustice. Heretics and sinners executed in public, the poverty stricken forced into servitude in the King’s army. Remus introduces a lot of ideas and history as the story progresses, and if you don’t pay attention you could very well miss some important pieces of information.

While I read this book almost compulsively, and managed to finish it within a couple of days’ time, this is by no means a book to breeze through. In order to truly appreciate the tale being woven, you must pay attention, in order to grasp the entire story. Ultimately, this is a hero’s journey, and though meets others along the way, there is always a sense of loneliness, isolation in Alistair. The author has a unique voice, combining steampunk elements of the Victorian age with touches of medieval Europe throughout, creating something that is both bleak and and beautiful. I look forward to reading more from V.C. Remus in the future.

     Overall,  it is a solid story, not overly long. Set up as the start of a series. I didn’t see any real negatives.  The only thing I did notice was there were a few times where a rather elaborate word was used,  where a more common one would suffice.  But it was not so noticeable as to be jarring or to detract from the enjoyment of the story.

     Finally,  I made a couple of purchases this weekend that I am excited to start reading (once I can get through some of my already massive reading list).  The first purchase was a copy of K.W. Jeter’s Infernal Devices. I had borrowed it ages ago,  but didn’t get to read it before I had to return it.  So I am looking forward to reading that.   The other purchase was the first five books in the Song of Ice and Fire series.  I am ashamed to admit it,  but as much as I love Game of Thrones,  I’d never read any of the books.  I intend to rectify that now that I own them.  But of course,  they will have to wait for a bit,  as I already have two lined up to be read once I finished my in process reading.

     With all of the reading and writing I will be doing in the future,  I have a feeling that I will be a busy man. And I can honestly say that I am looking forward to it.

Fantastic Devices to Improve Your Steampunk Reality Part 2: The Airship

     So, as an extension of my previous post, I am taking a look at another essential piece of technology to the Steampunk genre: Airships. They have been a staple of both the steampunk genre as well as alternative history in general- and with good reason. The images conjured up when a description of a sky filled with airships of all sizes and shapes fills your page are often indescribable.

     Often the images that fill her head resemble flying versions of the traditional water bound vessels, such as this:

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Who wouldn't want to fly in one of these?

     Some with propellers, others with sails, with crews of men and women that appear to have been pulled from high seas adventure stories. These images and others much like them have existed in our minds since Jules Verne first put pen to paper. Amazing machines capable of things that were once only possible in the wildest of imaginations.

     These devices seem tailor-made for the steampunk genre. Steam powered engines fuelled by coal and the sweat of the crew belching black smoke into the heavens. The vision is both romantic and a bit Stark, with the realization that many of these stories involve at least on a subconscious level, the darker side to the progress. With pollution, thick smog, and poor health as side effects of the push for progress.

     The reality of airships is slightly less beautiful but no less majestic:

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     Real dirigibles were less elegant, but inspiring. In these real pieces of flying technology, people were able to break free of the earth below. Machines like these helped to inspire the imaginations of the first modern Writers of science fiction

     Within the reality of the world I am writing, I have a combination of real-world dirigibles and the more fancifully designed airships. The blimp-style tends to be chosen for function, while the ships based on their nautical counterparts are purchased more for vanity.

     A look at some of the available photographs of some of the airship interiors has helped me to better understand not only how these vehicles were built, but it gives me a clearer picture of where the different sections of the ship are in relation to each other, as well as what controls and communications Devices were used.

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Control room

     There is so much to learn about the airships of the past. My focus is on flight control and procedures. I have a confession: I am a learning nerd. One of the things I love about writing is that it gives me a reason to research different topics. Whether it is about the History of flying machines or the life of a 19th century pirate, I get to learn things I might never have thought to research, if not for the project in progress at any given time. But, as usual. I find myself over-researching. I start out looking for specific information, such as the altitude of flight or amount of time it would take to travel via airship from England to the U.S; then before I realize it, I have pages of notes. then I have to hunt through those notes for the information I actually need.

     For the writers: when you research, do you look for specific information, or do you find yourself going more in-depth with the research?

Links

http://www.airships.net/

http://io9.com/the-most-astounding-airships-dirigibles-and-zeppelins-1515616128

Fantastic Devices to Improve your Steampunk Reality: The Difference Engine

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     Airships. Steam powered trains. Carriages drawn by mechanical horses, or self-propelled. When most people think of steampunk, these types of images frequently come to mind. Often these images are accompanied by automatons running amok, strange contraptions that bare little, if any resemblance to devices that currently exist, filled with cogs, gears and springs.
    
     When it comes to the technology of a steam punk reality, the expectation seems to be big and impressive. But perhaps in a reality where the steam engine never gave way to the modern internal combustion engine, there is still a chance of a similar technological revolution. Perhaps in a world of steampunk, the world would be forever changed by a single device. A device that could take complex data and simplify it, translating it into information that the common man could use. We have the computer; our steampunk counterparts might have The Difference Engine.
    
     For one of my current WIP I have been in research mode, as I want to make sure that my understanding of the technology and its basic history are accurate up to the point at which the story differs from reality. The device at the heart of my current research is the Difference Engine.

     In reality, The Difference Engine was basically a rather sophisticated 19th century calculator. Had Charles Babbage actually succeeded in creating a functioning Difference Engine, the computer age could have started much earlier. Although a working Difference Engine was never successfully built completely in his time, Babbage and his contemporaries were able to envision a future where this device could perform calculations, represent more abstract things such as language, and even perform music. All of these things and more are possible with the modern computer.

     One thing that I have noticed in most alternate history works is that if the Difference Engine is referenced, it seems to be treated as something more magical than scientific. And while I enjoy a dose of magic in my steampunk on occasion, I feel sometimes as though the technological leap in some of these stories from the most basic of Babbage’s designs to the designs and functions of the time periods represented Continue reading

Review: Maplecroft the Borden dispatches

Today I thought I’d try my hand at a review. As a near constant reader, I tear through books pretty quickly. The downside is that I don’t always give myself the opportunity to leave a review for the author. As a writer myself, I know how frustrating it can be to not receive a review on your work.  I’m hoping that this blog can help me to improve on that.  So my first review on this site is going to be for Maplecroft: The Borden Dispatches by Cherie Priest.

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Ok, so I’m going to preface this review with an apology. I love to read, however, my reading addiction has resulted in a to be read list that is miles long. Due to the sheer size of my reading list, a number of books have yet to be touched. Up until recently, this book was on that list. This book ended up on my to be read list for two very important reasons: first, Cherie Priest is an awesome writer; second I find the history of the Borden case to be fascinating. So to combine the two elements, I was going to end up either elated, or highly disappointed.

Luckily I was elated. Cherie Priest has been able to capture the location and time of the crimes, mix in some Lovecraftian elements, and create a dark and foreboding atmosphere.  I may face some backlash for saying this, but i was pleasantly surprised to learn that Ms. Priest is better at the lovecraftian elements than the master himself.

The people of Fall River are under attack by a mysterious force. Some are drawn to the sea, watching and listening. Those affected begin to change. We witness this change through the eyes of several characters. First and foremost, we see through the eyes of Lizzie Borden herself. We see that she did use the axe to end the lives of her father and stepmother. But we also learn why.

The story is made up of first person accounts from Lizzie, her sister Emma, and the town doctor. Added into this are a number of ties to the works of Lovecraft – including Miskatonic University.

The sense of dread permeates the pages of this story. The residents of Fall River are becoming aware that something is not quite right in their town, but there is a sense of futility to solving the strange mystery at the heart of the terrifying transformations.

If you like a horror story with strong female leads, Maplecroft is an excellent choice.

Jump Starting Creativity

Last night I sat in front of my laptop preparing to pick up from where I left off the last time I wrote. At first, I reread the last paragraph. For some reason I could not think of where to go from the last sentence. Then, reading turn to rereading, then to staring blankly at the page, as if trying to will the plot to unfold for me. Now I know that I’m not suffering from writer’s block, because I have plenty of ideas for stories. But from where I left off in this particular story I was having some difficulty finding the best way to proceed.

In an effort to try and jump start some creativity on this story, I thought about different methods of exercises to boost creative thinking that I’d read about in the past. I tried a couple to see if I could get those creative juices flowing.

At first I tried simply to write about something from my past as a means of just getting something down on paper, so to speak. I dug deep in the road about 500 words about a birthday party that I had when I was 5 years old. I tried to remember as many details as I could- from the weather, which was cool and a bit drizzly, to the location, my grandparents house that they had recently purchased and we’re in the process of renovating.

This exercise helped me to think any more visual way. But when the exercise was done and I was back in my project, I still wasn’t feeling creative. I decided to set this project aside and see if maybe trying to write on one of my other projects would help. So I opened up my work in progress folder and searched through the files to see if I could find one that appealed to me.

I skimmed through, thinking how ridiculous it was to try and write for a different story when I was having trouble with the one that I was currently working on. But as I scrolled down, I happen to see one of my projects that I started years ago. It was a scifi story that I began with a lot of passion. But I lost confidence in it somewhere along the way. I don’t think it was because it was a bad story; in fact, I remember thinking that the basic plot was actually pretty good, and I really enjoyed some of the characters I created.

I open up the file and scrolled through the story. It was a little over 40 pages long. And although I saw a few things that I definitely would like to change, I started to see something close to what I saw when I first started putting the words down. So I went from skimming the manuscript to actively reading it. Reacquainting myself with the plot as I had written it back in about 2010, I started to get some ideas on how to improve the current content, as well as how to continue the story to its conclusion. Once I reach the last paragraph of what had been written I immediately begin typing. In the end I worked on this project for about 3 hours, and somehow 1000 words more. And during this time somewhere in my subconscious, my brain was working away at how to continue with the project I had issues with earlier.

Once I reached a natural stopping point for my scifi story, I decided to put some words down for my current work in progress. I  must have ended up in the zone or something, because I ended up writing another 500 words. And now it looks like I have three works in progress now: my sequel to Mademoiselle Durand and the Pirates, my as yet unnamed companion story to the Mademoiselle Durand series, and now my long abandoned science fiction story tentatively titled Cruising the Universe with Buddy (this will likely change).

Has anyone else rediscovered a story that they had abandoned while trying to jumpstart their creativity? Did it lead anyone to new ideas for both stories? I love to hear about other writers’ experiences.