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Tindertraum



Martin Spernau's Tinderbox Weblog, part of Traumwind.de



Last Build Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2014 20:11:00 +0200

 



Chasing Lizards Up Sacred Street - audio

You can go listen to my story "Chasing Lizards Up Sacred Street" on the Every Photo Tells podcast. It's a very nice narration by Katharina and Mick Bordet, and it has Quatlmanders and lots of Ohtek culture in it.




Mythical Monday

I have a guest appearance on Melissa's blog in the Mythical Monday series! I get to talk about how there is "No such thing as a Quatlmander." (And show that there actually IS)




floating

I just realized I never posted my "Floating Down River" story here on my website! Go read it for some wisdom :)




My Writing Process - Blog Tour
Well, I was tagged by not one but two lovely authors to participate in this Blog Hop Thingie. So here are my answers to the four questions, and below you'll find links to more lovely creators of fiction. 1) What are you working on? Right now, I'm putting the finishing touches on draft one of "A Matter of Scales," which is a little murder mystery, with some myth added. It's set in the same world of "No Thing Harder Than Bone" and has several direct ties to that story. (You can read it in the recently published Theme-Thology: New Myths collection.) 2) How does your work differ from others of its genre? Aren't we all different? Maybe just that I accept and embrace my divergence. Also, I write what I want to read, but that's not so different, is it? 3) Why do you write what you do? See above. Plus there are certain ideas, concepts, I'd like to flesh out. The good old WhatIf, with a good dose of hobby inventor mixed in. I like to explore alternatives, and fiction seems like a perfect vehicle for that. All those ideas need to go somewhere. 4) How does your writing process work? For each and every piece I have written lately, I seem to invent a new process. But there are certain common elements. I often start by collecting diverse ideas, stuff that interest me at the moment, but often has no connection. Sometimes I'll even draw cards at random or enter into writing prompt challenges for those core concepts. I then brood over those ideas, words, images, until I start to see connections. I build on those connections, iterating over the whole thing several times. In the end I have a tightly woven mesh of characters, places, concepts. All I need to do now, is write a story containing it all. (You did read that note of irony I had on the 'all I have to do?' Good.) Another important element of my process is feedback. It's not easy to find the right kind of feedback, though. Sometimes I need plain praise and encouragement, but more important is quality feedback, from people who's opinion and judgement I trust. Who can call me on my BS. Who will help me improve. A good editor can do this. I have more to say on process and general creativity, but I want to keep this post here short and give the four other people I'll link to a chance to add their's. First the two authors who tagged me (and who have already put up their respective post): A. Carina Barry has an eclectic writing style that swings like a pendulum between the polar opposites of love and death. Between these two points lies the vast totality of human existence. Thus she can be found exploring these themes in romantic fiction, poetry, and gothic horror tales. Anne Leonard is the author of the fantasy novel Moth and Spark (Viking 2014) and is at work on a subsequent novel. She has served time as a lawyer and as an academic. She lives in Northern California. And here are the two who will post their version of "My Writing Process" next Monday: Dani Beneker was born and raised in California but settled in the Southwest for the 300 days of sun a year. She enjoys knitting shawls, which is odd because it's rarely that cold in the desert, but fun nevertheless. She draws her inspiration from all over the globe, themes and names and deities from places as diverse as ex-Soviet bloc countries to Mesoamerican ones. Her short stories and musings can be found at: http://writingouttakes.wordpress.com Rianh Silvertree is intrigued by the fantastic as it reveals itself in the ordinary; by inklings and barely noticed movements in the liminal spaces of the urban environment. Her fingernails change colour constantly, but she never paints them.[...]



Theme-Thology: New Myths

It had to happen sooner or later. You can now buy an anthology that has a story by me in it. Theme-Thology: New Myths: Meet a wayward son who returns a Rainmaker. Find out what happens when a fourth grader uses a computer to find the secret of reality. Sit with Grandfather while he tells you about the Light... and the Dark. Ten original myths by ten amazing authors. Each story will take a unique look at a mythology, either by building on top of existing mythos or by creating something wholly new.

My story "Rainmaker" is set in the city of Bazaarat, and is only the first of many I plan to publish.




posted three stories

So yeah, nothing new as per so... but I just posted three of my SF flash fiction stories to my story pages for y'all to enjoy.




retrofitting context

Joe: "I hold that only mammals are capable of high level communication."

Dave: "Dinosaurs likely had feathers."

Joe: "I love you too, Dave."

We all know these kinds of exchanges, where as an outsider we are left scratching our heads, lost for the context required to understand why one participant just scored argument points.

Now what if we - as writers - turned the whole thing on its head? What if we started with a random stream of back and forth arguments and only later created a context that explained the scores?

We'd need:

  • a number of one-liner statements like: "Dinosaurs had feathers." "In a patriarchy, yes." "John Peters is known to whistle like any bird." "Karl Marx never paid Helene Demuth." "Anyone can throw a rock." "Birds can imitate most any sound." "Everything must die." "The sequential passage of events is a symptom of our minds, not physics." "Tarot started as a game of cards." "Democracy is a poor excuse for lack of leadership." "Dinosaurs might have been good at baseball, you know." "Do you think it is worth controlling our inner pedant?" "Hackers are the modern Robin Hoods." "The Big Bad Wolf is an early criticism of patriarchy."
  • vary some of the above as questions along the lines of: "Are you saying XY?" (This is especially fun for the more provocative statements above.)
  • a few (partial!) quotes by famous people to pepper the discussion: "If only you sit at the river long enough..." "The opposite of every great truth..." "Everything is relative."

Sample Discussion:

Joe: "If only you sit at the river long enough..."

Dave: "Well, yes, everything must die."

Joe: "No, I meant more like: everything is relative."

Dave: "Anyone can throw a rock."

Joe: ”That is a very naive view, almost like saying: Hackers are the modern Robin Hoods.”

Dave: "Birds can imitate most any sound."

Joe: "Oh, please, God does not roll dice.”

Dave: "But dinosaurs had feathers."

Joe: "Dogma is the last resort of Ignorance."

Dave: "Well, Karl Marx never paid Helene Demuth."

Joe: "I love you too, Dave."

Now the writerly fun would be to create a back-story for this exchange, so that what these two are saying actually made sense. Points are earned for making each reply be an intelligent and thoughtful response to the statement before - as opposed to simple catch-phrase remark.

(I admit that pure randomness in selecting the lines is rather limited. I was tempted to pick and choose lines that would already create some sort of intelligent argument. Given a limited number of lines to choose from, maybe that is a workable approach.)

Update: if you want to have a sheer endless source of meaningful sounding... phrases, you might want to check out the New Age Bullshit Generator. Just hit 'Reionize electrons' button on it's top.




first, second and n-th level creativity

"Stick with your first idea, it usually is the strongest." - One of the more useful writing advice I recently read was: "Never stay with first level creativity. Go at least one level further, if not two."

The advice went on to define 'first level creativity' as 'the first thing/idea that comes to your mind when you see something.'

Especially in fiction writing, I think this is very sound and useful advice. Just think what usually is the first thing that comes to our mind when confronted with a writing promt? More often than not it comes out as cliche. That's why there are cliches after all, because they are what everyone comes up with. And don't we all try to avoid cliches like the plague. We torture our minds to come up with something fresh, original, new. But honestly, how likely is that? Hasn't everything been done before?

Second level creativity is not about 'coming up with something new' so much. It is about taking that first inspiration - be it as cliche as it may - and raising it to the next level. It is about cherishing the first inspiration and working with it, thinking it through all the way.

Let's see, how about this simple three word prompt:

"Girl, Moon, Wound."

Yeah, can you see it already? A girl with a wound that only open when the moon is full? A bit tired, isn't it?

But now, what else can we come up with if we try and take that first inspiration a step further. (And you could argue that the first inspiration might already be a second level one. We could have started with 'A girl with a wound under the moon.')

How is this: A girl with with a wound that can only heal when the moon is full? Or maybe a girl who can hel wounds when the moon is full? Or maybe she can cause wounds?

Those might be considered second level creativity. Now what would be third level? Well, why don't we take all the above ideas and roll them into one:

"A girl with a wound that only opens at full moon must discover her healing magic to finally heal her own wounds."

There, a full one-sentence summary for a short story or even a novel. Well, maybe not, but this is only a quick example to illustrate the principle. The process can be repeated and refined at taste. You could take the one-sentence summary and use it as 'first level.'

So, stick with your first inspiration, but take it to the n-th level!




Two new

Two new stories, which are actually not that new. They were posted elsewhere before, but they really belong here.

Both are obviously in English (which won't surprise anyone who is reading this blog, but might surprise people who stumble over the other stories I posted on this site.)




the right time to write

There is this myth among writes regarding the “right time to write.” Believing it can be rather limiting on your ability to be creative… but it doesn’t have to be.

So what is this “right time” anyway? What does it mean for a time to be right for your writing? You can either think of it as an external factor, one you can not directly influence - you can’t change the time afer all. All you can do is try to be writing when it is the right time. So you limit your creativity to only those times of day you (or someone else) declare as right for you?

When you look at it from another perspecive, the “right time” is not really about time, as in time of day, at all. What it really is about you being in the right frame of mind for writing. Now wait a minute! What if you are not in the right frame of mind when it is the right time? Or, what if you are in the right frame of mind, and it’s not the time you set aside for writing?

I’d propose to stop thinking of “the right time to write” all together, and instead consider what you need to be in the right frame of mind. You see, a frame of mind is something you, yourself can control! Much more easily than the clock for sure.

Learn to steer your mind into the right frame for writing, and ANY time is the right time.




Iron Pen Anthology - Volume I

Oh yes, even more story goodness. I have a story in the first ever Iron Pen Anthology.

The Iron Pen challenges are a long standing tradition in the Mythic Scribes forum. Participants are presented with four 'concepts' or prompts, and need to write a short story (between 1500 and 5000 words usually) that incorporates them all in an original way. All entries are judged and graded according to a strict rules-set. My story "Painted Truths" was a winner of such a hard fought round. The story I have in the Iron Pen Anthology is a heavily refined and edited version of that. The winning story taken so much farther.

Actually ALL stories in this anthology have been winners of the challenge, and have been taken up even more notches by their authors for this book.

Buy on Amazon.de - Amazon.com