|Throwback time again!|
As much as I love Lizzy and Darcy's story, I have to admit, my ideal romance would likely look a lot more like Jane's.
|A little but of fluff to keep the creative wheels from getting rusty.|
Alternate RealitiesIt was so strange. I had never seen that garden before, never been there before, but it looked so incredibly familiar. I walked over the grassy path, skipping from one wide flat stone to another. The bushy hedges on either side were roughly waist high to me, but I was short so that didn't mean much really.Alternate Realities by brietta-a-m-f
"Katherine! There you are! We've been looking for you!" I whirled, laughing at how my mother had startled me.
"Looking for me?" I giggled, skipping back along the stones as if I was a child. Dancing in a garden bathed in golden light, wearing my favorite sundress, I felt like a child, but I couldn't let Mum see that. It wouldn't do at all. "I'm rather old enough to take care of myself, thanks very much," I replied, wrapping her in a great big hug.
My mother reached up to pat my head. "Of course you are, but lunch is ready. Dad's got the grill fired up, and everyone else has already started on the potato salad."
I wrinkled my nose as I followed her back. "They can have the potato sala
Sharp Cat and a Sly Fox“Oh, excuse me! I’m so sorry!”Sharp Cat and a Sly Fox by brietta-a-m-f
Todd was almost surprised when a young woman bumped into him and quickly burst into apologies. Despite her slightly rumpled appearance, she was very pretty, and her voice friendly. However, for all the theatrics, she seemed to be in a great hurry since she didn’t stop for him to extend his forgiveness. He opened his mouth to say something then stopped himself. A slow smile spread across his face as he reached for his jacket pocket. It was empty, even though he knew he had slipped his wallet in there that morning. He laughed and shook his head. A very dull day had suddenly taken a very interesting turn.
He tilted his head back just a little bit and took a deep breath, sorting out the smells until he found the one he wanted. She had disappeared into the crowd of people, but that was alright. He began walking, following his nose. She had left behind all the clues he could want. Even if he lost her, Bisbee w
As We Know ItWhistling in that corridor was an eerie thing. Without any trappings, there was nothing to stop the little echoes from bouncing around like mad. One little chirp, and a miniature cacophony would begin.As We Know It by brietta-a-m-f
Keb liked that, which was why he never let anyone clutter up the hallway to his personal control room. They all had paintings or tapestries or thick, elegantly carved moldings around the doors. It was pleasing to the eye, but it killed the echoes stone dead. Where was the fun in that?
The tall, sinewy man made his unhurried way down the passage, whistling as if he didn’t have a care in the world. It wasn’t true. He had an immense task before him, and it wasn’t a pleasant one. Still, if he couldn’t enjoy his quiet walk to the control room, then he figured it would be time to seek new employment, if that was even possible for someone like him.
Keb chuckled to himself when the door’s sensor caused it to open just as he
Here Is No WhyHere Is No Why by brietta-a-m-f
The bus was late. In the four switches Ben had made so far, he had come to accept lateness as an unavoidable part of this mode of travel. The first three times, he had been irritated. Now, at a little after eleven at night, he really didn’t care. If the bus was at least running, he would be happy. Working air conditioning was a bonus. Timeliness was asking too much.
He wished he could call Mae again, even though he had just talked to her half an hour ago. It had been a little over two weeks since he had seen his fiancée, and hearing her voice helped ease his frustration. But it was late, and she had gone to bed. She would still answer, he knew, and talk as long as he needed, but he didn’t want to keep her up.
Instead, Ben just sat at the little station, staring almost listlessly into his paper coffee cup. He let his mind wander. Of all places, it went to the station’s seating arrangements.
The orange plastic chair wasn’t particularly comfortable, but
All In A Day's WorkIn mid-2022, Sahara.com, the world's largest online retailer, had become aware that running had become a more and more popular past-time as media raised awareness of the American Obesity Epidemic and studies were published almost weekly about the health (and cosmetic) benefits of the activity. Orders of various running equipment skyrocketed, and one of the Big Brains behind the retailer's success began to wonder about a new method of shipment within larger cities. The business started a trial program is New York City, New York, San Diego, California, Seattle, Washington and Kansas City, Missouri. It was called Sahara's Runners.All In A Day's Work by brietta-a-m-f
Once packages were shipped out from Sahara's main warehouses, they were routed through smaller shipping points, where actual runners picked them up. From there, it worked the same as bike messengers, except they pounded pavement instead of pushing pedals. The program proved to be hugely successful. In less than five years, it was implemented in more than eig
Ancients of Alterna Prologue“Ancients of Alterna”
“At the Top of the Tower”
In the center of the sprawling metropolis that was the capital city of a land known as Alterna, a tower rose high above the city and past the clouds in the sky. The city below was bustling with life as the citizens went about their usual busy lives, always being watched by the spirits that resided within the tower.
On the edge of the tower’s balcony on the top floor two orbs of light, one black and one white, looked out into the horizon.
“This view never ceases to amaze me.” The white orb commented. “After even a thousand years, nature has not lost its beauty to me.”
Each month, the admin at Series-Unknown features one novel that displays outstanding plot, characterization and hard work and has a little heart to heart with the author to get a peek into their writing processes. We're doing it a little different this month and featuring a short story writer, who has been very prolific and whose works stand well out in a crowd.
dtb84 has kindly shared his thoughts on writing and some tips that he has found helpful when laying words to paper.
I've poked through your gallery quite a bit, as you know, and I've noticed that you seem to have many different genres that you work in. Which ones are your favorites?
Poking through my stuff eh? One of the books that inspired me the most (There's a long list of titles that I’ve picked up and read with envy) is Henry Kuttner’s The Last Mimzy: Stories. Kuttner is an amazing writer, but what impressed me most about the book was how I didn’t know what to expect from one story to the next. They were all of a fantastical nature, but one could be about a fairy like creature that lived hidden in a bird cage, the next about a problem solving drunken genius, and the next about a song so addictive that it ended a war. The simple variety of thoughts, ideas and stories still blows me away.
Or to put it another way; I like to write what I like to read, which is whatever is closest to hand. I can find inspiration for a story in a childhood friend, from a single line in a song, a dream, or a nature documentary. I just try and take those bits of inspiration and use them as well as I can, and that may be in a litany of different styles.
What got you started in writing? Why did you pick it up, and how long have you been doing it?
When did I get started? Also a toughie. I remember getting book orders at school (little flimsy pieces of paper that you could order a handful of children’s books through), and I would basically drool over the pages begging my dad to fork up enough cash for me to get six books here or eight books there. Once I was the only one that ordered anything and the teacher just gave me the entire box to take—strange how clear that memory is. Back then it was R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps. One day school was closed and I read two entire books back to back. Then there was high school. Teachers couldn't convince me to read the required texts no matter how hard they tried. I didn’t score higher than a C in any English course and technically failed two others (then found a charter school that basically gave me a diploma).
During high school though, a friend of mine introduced me to a fantasy wrestling online thingy. A role-play game where you would have a wrestling character and you would type up scenes and promo’s, lots of smack talk and violence—perfect for a young boy! Me and that friend had a tag team and we would send stories back and forth, editing and adding on each time (God I wish I had someone to do that with now-a-days). Next moment… hm… I think there was a lot of really bad poetry that I wrote in high school—I technically still have it I believe. Okay, then there was the time I got a night job at 24 hour fitness. Basically all I had to do was hang out all night and scan an occasional gym membership card. I did a lot of reading, A LOT of reading, and it was there that I kinda decided that I should try and write stuff. My mind has always been a bit imaginative. I can always make up an excuse or explanation, so it was there that I wrote my first bits and pieces (probably about eight years ago). I basically just stashed those in a binder, looking at them occasionally and wondering why they weren’t masterpieces. There was probably about a dozen pieces or so, and they got rewritten maybe two or three times each over the next five years or so. I continued reading and continued to think of more and more reasons to actually try writing out as a serious hobby. Then I just got a serious itch, and began rewriting those older pieces (This was about a year and a half ago).
Shortly after I started taking writing seriously, I fell in love with a girl and moved away to be with her. Being in a different location took away a lot of life's distractions (No real friends, not much family, only a full time job) and gave me the chance to write every day. I didn’t just jump in and write for hours every day, it was a slow working up process, but ended up finding myself at Barnes and Noble for three to four hours a day just pattering away at the keyboard with little aim besides trying to get better at writing.
Finally I set up my own system. I apparently like writing short stories, single scene, or brief overviews (along with everything else I can write). So having a hundred half finished stories, I occasionally sent them into writing contests and really received little feedback. I continued writing. My girlfriend wasn’t much of a reader, let alone a fan of my writing, so it was just something that I would basically go and do all by myself with no encouragement (Honestly, DA is the place where most of my pieces have been seen first if at all).
I got tired of all the work required to research writing competitions, that and giving them money, so I just quit submitting works to them. My next decision was to write a ‘manuscript’ that I could send out to agents and hopefully find someone who wanted to represent me. I picked out the stories that I thought were my best and put them in a list. I would then read and rewrite the top story on that list, then put that story to the bottom of the list and move on to the next story (that is the system I currently use for writing). In that way my eyes don’t get numb to a single story I’m working on. I get a little break and can come back fresh to the story when it cycles around and edit it again. Early on the stories had to be washed over and over again until they were fairly clean (at least I believed they were then). I think I sent a few into professional editors, which, while costing an arm and a leg, gave me a lot of insight and respect for editing my own work.
After compiling my first manuscript (The folder Hero’s in my DA stuff), I started shopping it around to agents (using Writers Market books to find possible representatives). While I was shopping that manuscript around I started my next manuscript (Villains). I completed that next manuscript and started shopping it around also, and then started a third manuscript (an 70,000 word novella entitled Locked Doors). Once I finished the third manuscript I started shopping that one around. By this time I was damn tired of writing cover letters and reading brief descriptions of agencies and trying to find names of people to copy and paste to the letters, tired of the rejection notices, and tired of simply not hearing anything back from people at all. Honestly the entire process of trying to get my stuff accepted anywhere is the most tedious process of writing.
So I stopped trying to get people to read my pieces. Since then I’ve just written. I’m working on my 8th manuscript currently (some good stuff in there). I mainly write for myself, not trying to please anybody else—which I should probably be trying to do. I mainly post my stuff on DA—I really like the platform they have. I do have to reformat my pieces, but it’s not much work and it gives me a chance to look over things I considered finished a year ago and touch them up. I do my best to post two stories a week, and I send them out to different groups throughout the week. I usually post them on Tuesday and Friday and send them out on the other days (so if you wanna see ‘em first watch me or check my page out on those days).
Some of the pieces I’m presenting currently have characters that began to reoccur. One I affectionately call Suicidal Sid, and another named AJ have been introduced over the last couple weeks. At the time I was reading Fitzgerald’s Pat Hobby Stories (which I personally didn’t much like) and trying to emulate his success (as an exercise I even rewrote almost every story word for word, then changed the character from a writer to an NFL scout). It was great practice and great development. When it comes to exercises for writing, I never went to school for it, I’ve never taken a creative writing course, and I was abysmal at English classes in general. So I made up my own exercises and methods of checking my writing, I learned my voice and style kinda off to the side of everyone else.
Like I said, when I write I like to emulate what I read. I love Ambrose Bierce, Mark Twain, Chuck Palahniuk, Osho (eastern philosophy crap), Richard Bach, a bit of Ray Bradbury (I’m critical of him), Vonnegut, the list is long. I try to read some popular things and take away some of the style in which it is written, cliff hangers at the end of chapters, putting a tie at both ends of a story, etc.
Biting the Hand that Feed (1225 Words)Skeeter’s paws twitched in his sleep. Running through his canine brain were images of his owner scratching his neck while he devoured the soft food that was in his bowl. Then the two of them were out on a hike and Skeeter was off of his leash, running ahead and sniffing the strange smells in the air. Looking over his shoulder he saw Her, his owner, on the trail behind him, smiling. At that moment he heard a howl. Something was hideous about the howl, it sent shivers through his spine and caused a whimper to escape his sleeping lips, he somehow knew it was the sound of a supreme horror, a voice from some outer void. In his sleep, Skeeter felt a weight on his chest, he dreamt that it was Her, his owner, rolling over and laying an arm or leg upon his body.
With a snarl Skeeter was drawn back to reality.
Pawing his chest, sniffing to see if he was still alive, Loki stood over him. Skeeter knew the reason his fellow canine was checking on him wasn’t out of sympathy. He qui
Queen and Soldier (800 Words)The Queen did what she could do to relax in her sitting room—pondering questions that lives would hinge on—when a knock came at her door. Through her exhaustion she stood to her feet and stepped to the mirror to check her reflection. There she smoothed the worry from her face, softening her aspect with a tender smile at the edges of her lips, placed her crown atop her head, and then stepped to the door.
A Soldier stood proudly before her. His gaze was hard, his face tough, providing a look that could only be attained from bitter time spent on a battlefield. In the doorway he spoke bluntly, harshly, to his Queen, “I am not fighting for you anymore.”
She recognized him, she wasn’t sure from where—she knew she had never met him. The Queen motioned for him to enter the room and to take a seat across from her ornate chair. Both postured, backs stiff, without comfort, and exchanged looks.
“I’ve watched your palace up here on this hill and I
Dewdrop (9200 Words)Sun
In a twinkling it began.
Just a drop, a small bead, perched high up on the tip of a green stalk of grass. His existence came upon him slowly, like waking from a slumber. He was aware that there were moments before, but he couldn’t point to an exact second his thoughts began. He remembered a lot of darkness, a cooling, a sensation of condensing, but he couldn’t recognize an exact beginning.
As the sun began to curiously peak its head over the horizon it turned the long stalks of grass into great shadow casters, pillars of darkness spread as far at the droplet could see. Then the sunlight struck the little bead of water and he began to sparkle.
Instinctively the little droplet called out, “Sun! Why must you be so bright?”
A deep, booming voice came from the sky, “Who asks that of me? Who begs such a silly question?”
“Me! Right here!” The little droplet chimed and trembled on the stalk of grass to be noticed.
The sun showered his
Heroes (11,600 Words)Heroes
(A Discussion of Celebrity)
The Streets of Notoriety
They fought in the streets. Sticks, pipes, bricks and rocks were the weapons of choice. Man against man, woman against woman and, inevitably, man against woman. Men didn’t always win; bigger or faster didn’t always survive. But if you had something besides your fists to swing, you had good odds of not being one of the first to fall.
Mac, Muhammad, Tanya and Hector were all there. They had seen each other at the onset of the mob scene. They all felt the same way—they didn’t want to face each other—they didn’t want to fight someone they had known, even momentarily. They knew that familiar faces would stick in their minds more than those of random people. Each of them turned their backs on the others and headed into the fray, hoping that somehow everything would be all right.
Windows blew out of a building alongside the street. Flames leapt wildly up from the gaps just like the people fighting
Many many thanks to Samm for giving us some of his valuable time to share his writing process and what goes into writing his amazing stories! If you haven't checked out the few I featured here, or anything in dtb84's gallery, definitely go do that now! Show him some much deserved lovin'!!