I just recorded Chapters 8 and 9. they were short, so I decided to combine them into one episode. I fixed the technical difficulties that prevented last week’s recording and fiddled with some settings that have improved my overall sound quality. As far as the story goes, things really start picking up speed, and gets pretty crazy from here on out. If you haven’t started listening, you’re missing out. Of course you can read it for yourself (Link embedded on the cover art). Feel free to comment or just say hi! Id love to hear what you think so far!
Category: Emergence Collective
What do I get out of it?
As a creative person, I am driven to make stuff. Most of the time, the stuff I create is just for me, something to scratch the itch. I am usually happy with my creations; most go unfinished, however. A lot of times, there are things I do to express an emotion or try out an idea, and once I have done that, I move on to the next thing (an expression of Attention deficit disorder). But it works for me. Creating things like writing, I need a little more, I need to share some things, and I want feedback on my ideas. Not that I am seeking attention, quite the opposite to be honest, I am very introverted (The pandemic was the best thing that ever happened to me, aside from all the death and dying stuff), and for the most part have to be poked and prodded to be social.
That’s where the paradox lies, where I am not looking for attention but want feedback on my creativity, but don’t want to have to be social about it. I am terrible about self-promotion. So, what do I get out of it? There is nothing better than hearing how a story I wrote made an impact on someone. If I frightened you, or made you think about a crazy idea I had, is a sense of fulfillment that is unequaled. When I write, I aspire to write something that will make the reader just think about my story a week or month later or even want to read it again.
I did get some very satisfying writing done this weekend. Wow, I am on Chapter 28 of Emergence Ascended, and I am really happy with it so far. As far as recording Emergence Collective, I had technical issues that prevented that from happening and that is disappointing. I am starting to feel confident, my narration skills are approaching “decent”, my editing is fair. Thanks for taking the time to read! Feel free to leave a like or comment, I enjoy the conversations! You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Character snapshot,Visual edition: Barney Derrick
I really enjoyed writing Barney’s Character. I wanted to make a character that you love to hate. I am sure everyone has met a person like Barney.
The sound of Barney’s boots echoed down the quiet hall with a hypnotic cadence. The overhead fluorescent lights seemed to flicker in time with his footfalls. He arrived at the lab and pushed through the door, causing it to bounce off the wall. Drab faces looked up from computer screens at the abrupt entrance. A soldier rushed over with a handful of disheveled paperwork, trying to organize it into a manila folder before handing it off to his superior. Barney grabbed the folder out of his and studied the file briefly. The soldier watched as he scrutinized the file, flipping pages, eyes scanning. Barney’s nose crinkled against his mustache, causing the soldier to wince. He held the folder out for the soldier to take it, allowing the pages to slip out with a whoosh onto the floor.
“What is this? Is this how I am going to get all of your reports? Is this how you show your respect to your country, to me?”
“Sir! No Sir!”
“This report is not even in order! Do you expect me to finish your work for you?”
“I understand, Sir, no Sir, I apologize, Sir.”
“Well–What are you waiting for?”
“Umm …yes, sir,” the soldier said as he scrambled to collect all of the paperwork and organize it all at once.
“Umm, yes, Sir? That’s how you address a superior officer? An umm? You Sure this is the right career for you, boy? How did you manage to crawl your sorry ass out of basic training?” he scolded, then turned away so that he could smile without being seen. Ah that felt good, better than coffee, and I’ll never get a bad report from that kid again. He took a few steps before turning around to see the soldier standing at attention, holding the folder in his shaky hands.
“Sir, your report is ready for your review Sir.” The Airman forced his words out.
Barney snatched it out of the soldier’s hands. Again, the soldier watched his eyes and fingers do their work. “That’s better, Airman. You’re dismissed.” The young Airman made his way to his desk and sat down, all the while avoiding eye contact.
Chapter 7 is recorded. As a bonus I recorded a sneak peek episode of Emergence Ascended.
Check it out on Spotify!
Character snapshot, Visual edition: Mark and Trina
It’s a character snapshot, but these two characters are equally important
together as they are apart, so I decided to lump the snapshot together. I
really enjoyed writing the relationship between these two. I really wanted to
express the kind of purity of love two people could share if they had the
freedom of innocence….
Mark’s beat-up Honda fishtailed around the corner of the driveway and then
skidded to a stop in a cloud of dust in front of the longhouse. Trina had
a white-knuckle grip on the dashboard as if she was holding on for dear
life. “Why do you have to drive like a crazy person?” she shouted, but the look
on her face was one of excitement rather than terror. “Umm, because
it’s fun?” he said with a chuckle. “Well, here we are. Let’s find the best
cabin before anyone else calls dibs.”
“Yeah, good call,” she said as she got out of the car and stretched her
back. “This is a cool place,” she said as she looked around, taking in the
layout of the place. “But geez, namaste much?” Mark chuckled at that last
remark. “Yeah, he was the poster child for hippies, I guess. That’s
probably why my dad and Grandad pretended he didn’t exist.” “I think
you might be cut from the same cloth, honey, ya know? A long-hair dropout in a
family of lawyers and doctors. You’re not gonna get rich, but I love ya,”
she said softly.
He walked over and put his hands on her tiny waist, and pulled her close to
him. “That’s how I know you love me. You’re not a gold digger. He
whispered in her ear, “That makes me richer than any of ’em.”
“I think this place is making you mushy,” she whispered back. He moved
closer to her ear. “It’s also making me horny.” Then he playfully swatted her
butt. She pretended to be mad and started to push him away but grabbed his
hand and started pulling him to the cabins. “Let’s go find us a cabin, my
‘mushy’ man,” she said and winked at him. He dared not resist as she led
him down a random path. “These cabins are all in good condition. I was
imagining something like sleeping in a dirty barn,” Trina said as she
peered into the window of a pleasant-looking cabin. “I like this one, but I
want something, ya know, a little more private.” “Anything for you,
love,” he said, smiling. “Yeah, I think Uncle Frank had a lot of time on his
hands and kept the place up nicely.”
They reached the end of the path at a cabin that seemed to be the farthest
from all the others. Mark walked up the few steps to the porch and opened
the door. “Should I carry you over the threshold?” Trina pushed past him
with a smirk. “Don’t get ahead of yourself, bucko,” she said
“Well then,” he said with an exaggerated bow, “after you, m’lady,” then
followed her in.
Character snapshot, Visual edition: Frank
I’ve been playing with Artificial “Art” generators. Honestly, I am on the fence about how I feel about artificial content creation. While I am diametrically opposed to using AI to generate content on my blog or ANYTHING that I would put my name on as my own. But I do see value in using it as a tool to spark my own imagination. I feel AI art or other content can be used in the same way as writing prompts or thumbnail sketches to fine-tune an idea.
AI is a new and fun (sometimes frightening) technology that I am willing to explore. I wanted to know what it could do, so I decided to see how close it could get to my own internal visualization of my characters. I am also curious if you had a similar image in mind of my characters as you read my story.
The first thing I learned is AI art is NOT human art. (a relief, as a human, I don’t want to be deposed as an artist). There are things that it (in my experience) just can’t get right. Faces are number one. They are always a little “off,” a tad skewed, and more disproportionate than reality has to offer. And some of my descriptions go completely ignored no matter how I word them. (Again, proving that only a fool would rely on AI to make content that you would claim to be yours)
The image I described for Frank came out pretty close (but since Frank’s appearance and a few character traits are based on someone I actually know, it’s not perfect, of course, but it’s close enough).
An expert from “Emergence Collective.”
Still lost in his thoughts and even a little excited, he must have been
driving faster than he realized since he got to the hardware store in
quick time. It was good, though; the evening was going by fast, and the
store was about to close up for the night. He got out of his Volkswagen van
and pushed open the old door of the storefront. He only got a few steps
into the store when the cashier gave him an odd look. The young kid had spiky
black hair and a ring in his nose.
“Mister… you can’t come in here like that, sorry.” The young kid sounded
apologetic and amused at the same time.
“Like what?” Frank was oblivious to any reason why he should not be
“Your feet, bro. You have to have shoes to come in; it’s a safety thing.
Might step on a nail and sue us or something.” A smile indicating laughter
was soon to follow was on the boy’s face by now.
Frank looked down at his feet and realized that he wasn’t wearing shoes. The
thick calluses on his perpetually dirty feet did not feel shoes in the
summer most of the time. He was an old hippy and stuck in a time warp.
Shoes were for winter when it was too cold to go without. He chuckled at
himself and smiled back at the cashier.
“Sorry,” Frank said with a bit of a giggle. He was not embarrassed by his
attire. Look at that kid; why should I be embarrassed by the way I dress?
he thought to himself, almost laughing out loud. Nonchalantly turning
around, he gave the cashier a nod goodbye and headed for the exit. He
only felt a little disgruntled by the situation since it was a wasted
trip. He did not have anything much to do anyway, but wasted gasoline was
Audible update: Chapter 6
Today’s recording went well. I’m getting the hang of it, I think. Chapter 6 is a short one; I had intended to push through and get chapter 7 recorded this morning but ran out of quiet time. This is one of my favorites chapters, Frank and Barney meet and Frank goes spelunking. When I wrote this I referred to it as “The story of Frank”. The story of Frank is one of my favorite parts of the story. I think once we get into chapter 7 you might agree. Thanks for reading I hope you enjoy!
Workshoppin a scene
I am at a pivot point in the plot of Emergence Ascended. I thought I would workshop the scene and share it with you. There is no context yet. My goal is to catch the reader off, guard. If I decide not to include it in the novel, I just might keep it in my backpocket of flash fiction ideas. Let me know what you think (as always, my shoot from the hip, flash fiction ideas are NOT polished, so bare that in mind)
Content may be too graphic for sensitive readers (Im not sure anymore, I am so jaded I don’t know what is offensive)
The golf ball-sized chrome sphere appeared in the middle of the pine and seventh avenue intersection. It hovered silently and unwavering as a tractor-green waste management truck collided with it, punching a perfect hole through the length of the truck. Out of control, the dump truck plowed into the traffic ahead, tossing a few small cars aside as it ground to a halt. Another perfectly round hole pierced through the vehicle following the truck, and it, in turn, smashed violently into the garbage truck. In a desperate attempt to avoid the collision in front, the third vehicle braked hard and turned sharply. It slid sideways, the momentum carrying the car into the sphere, forcing the globe through the temple of the driver’s head like a hole punch. The sphere sat steady unmarred, with a mirror finish that made it appear innocent despite the carnage surrounding it.
Shocked at the scene, the onlookers quickly noticed the strange imperturbable object that had caused so much damage and bloodshed. One of the witnesses sprang into action in the seconds that followed the collisions. He rushed to the man with the perfect circle of gore just beginning to ooze out of his head, deciding in horror that there was no help, and looked into the back seat for any passengers that may need assistance. The body slumped over, its former owner no longer in control, and fell into the sphere still hovering inside the car.
There was no resistance as the body slid over the spere, causing a surgical swath nearly cutting the man’s head off as it passed. Stunned at the scene, the hero moved his hand to cover his mouth. His fingers were trimmed off neatly and cleanly as they brushed the sphere causing the would-be hero to cry out and vomit on the driver.
Audible update :Chapter 5
A quick update! Chapter 5 is recorded and I am almost pleased.The narration was a lot smoother (Im getting better at it) and the editing has improved. Thats why we practice folks. I feel that by the time I finish I will have it down well enough to Re-record it at a level that will be acceptable for ACX (audible format)
Check it out on spotify!
Painted into a corner
I had a productive weekend creatively. Chapter 4 of Emergence collective is recorded, and I got Chapter 24 of Emergence Ascended sort of almost finished, maybe. Yeah, I am a little undecided since it seems that I painted myself into a narrative corner plot-wise. I am stuck with a decision that will steer the story on two different paths. The two storylines converge in this chapter.
One of the issues and how I managed to do it is I am a seat-of-the-pants kind of writer where I do not outline the entire story. I have a plan about how I want it to end, and I wander with the story as I navigate my way to the ending. By wander, I mean that as I am writing a scene, even I do not know what is going to happen next. Sometimes I have epiphanies and inspirations that feel right but create other issues that I have to reconcile with the overall storyline. Like I did Saturday, On the one hand, I am very happy with my latest bout of inspiration (It makes sense for those characters), but it has created a timing issue with the plot and a sticky situation that I have to think about and finesse my way out of.
Yes, I know I am being vague about it, but I am hoping that you might be curious enough to grab yourself a copy once it is finished. Anyway, I will ponder this for a bit, and maybe I will come up with an elegant solution. On the optimistic side of the coin, I do enjoy a challenge; without them, we only stagnate and do not grow.
Thanks for reading!