8 Sentence Sunday #6: Business & Pirates

25 Jan

In this week’s “8 Sentence Sunday,” Voi and Paul, her business partner and one of her best friends, are contemplating the state of AeroTaxi, their air charter and touring venture. This is just after their only tour for the day falls through early on in the story. Business has been increasingly slow–and while Voi is inclined to remain optimistic, Paul sees things differently.

Paul has always been skeptical about government, big business and large organizations in general–to the point of becoming a mild conspiracy theorist. While he and Voi fly planes, Paul is suspicious that a recent airship heist scare, combined with the wild success of a particularly large airship company, is somehow negatively affecting their ability to conduct small business.

Here’s a look at how he sees their current situation as opposed to Voi’s viewpoint. (Aside: both Voi and Paul are from a country named Apexia, though Voi holds dual citizenship in Borellia.)


The Snippet

“One measly Borellian cargo ship—not Apexian, mind you—goes missing, and suddenly everyone thinks Haran pirates are back.”  He looked outside again.  “As for the rest of us with real problems, a hot-shot Borellian war hero practically shows up out of nowhere and opens his own airship company after the war; it does amazing.  A handful of naval mechanics who’ve been working the ship yards practically their entire lives do the same with Skyward Enterprise, and they don’t last more than a year against Neverri before he buys them out.

“A fucking monopoly is what that’s shaping up to be.”

Voi took off her leather gloves and stuffed them into one of her pockets, shrugging.  “So he’s successful.  That’s no crime, is it?”


What are your impressions of Paul?

Do you think there’s a chance his concerns are legitimate, or is Captain Neverri’s imminent “monopoly” over the airship industry (and aerial transportation in general, in Paul’s eyes) as innocent as it seems? Also, what can you make out about the role of pirates in recent history?

Granted, this is all based on a short series of snippets, so this is just for fun. ;)

8 Sentence Sunday #5: The Aethercraft

18 Jan

For this week’s “8 Sentence Sunday,” I wanted to share one of Voi’s big, exciting moments in my WIP. It’s probably the most “dieselpunk-y” of my snippets so far.

As a pilot, Voi gets to fly a very experimental plane known as the “aethercraft” that was designed by her newest employer, Captain Neverri. After the basic mechanics of this craft are explained to Voi while they stand in a hangar, the captain reveals it to her for the first time.

This is what she sees.

The Snippet

No one spoke as Voi drew near to examine the machine.  She found herself holding her breath in reverence; surely Colonel Snipes was correct in comparing it to one of Ramboit’s controversial abstract masterpieces.

Its polished metallic body was exceptionally streamlined and much flatter than that of an ordinary plane.  A gentle bulge ran along the length of its almost nonexistent fuselage, which was smoothly riveted to conjoin with its swept-back wings so as to seem comprised entirely of wings.  Here, within this bulge, was also a cockpit enclosed by a clear canopy—perhaps an acrylic construct, Voi guessed, knowing the captain’s penchant for innovation.

Propped up low on its landing gear, the aerocraft reminded Voi of a slick, thin manta ray—like the ones her mother used to take her to see at the Aquiriem du Habour Tuccila in Tryste as a girl.  So sinuously crafted were the wings that Voi was very much left with the striking impression of a work of art…if she dared venture that far in her opinion of a metal aerocraft.

Well, the captain certainly has an eye for aesthetics.

What do you think?

What kind of aerocraft does it look like Voi is getting ready to fly? Can you tell some things that might be different in Voi’s world as compared to our own? Also, is there anything new you can infer about Voi’s character–her attitudes, beliefs and such? (I feel like I’m writing a lesson plan or something, haha.)

8 Sentence Sunday #4: Introducing Captain Andre Neverri

11 Jan

Every writer has their favorite characters, and ideally you’d think it’d be the main protagonists in their stories. As much as I love Voi, I’m afraid I love one of her employers even more. (That’s gotta be some sort of writerly sin!)

Captain Andre Neverri

Ah, Captain Andre Neverri…where to begin…

Aeronautical engineer, airship navigator, former air guard captain, pirate hunter and war hero, entrepreneur, multi-millionaire, gentleman inventor, expert on aetheric mechanics, and knife-throwing enthusiast…

Well, what isn’t this man capable of, dammit!

Ronny hates him, Milia can’t stand him and even Voi has her doubts about the man. Though, at the end of the day, in the middle of a crisis, Captain Neverri is probably someone you want on your side. He does have a reputation, however, for being a queer lone bachelor who keeps a crazy wife locked up in the attic (or local institution, in his case)… Though, *ehem* I digress.

Prolific resume aside, he’s a bit of a headache, to be honest, though that’s just my opinion. I’ll let you be the judge.

Below is a snippet showing the first time both Voi and Milia meet Andre. They were walking into a room full of men who were supposed to be working. Everyone is somewhat oblivious to their surroundings, as they’re all engaged in various conversations and activities.

Enjoy!


The Snippet

Without warning, an object came soaring through the air.

Voi froze instinctively, though Milia dodged more quickly than Voi could process.  A blink of the eye later, she realized Milia was holding a combat knife in her hand, hilt clutched at eye level.

Male voices cried out at first in appraisal, apparently thinking the knife would hit the center of the target board pasted on the wall behind the ladies.  Their cheers, however, were cut short as Milia slowly directed her gaze towards them, seeking out the owner of the deadly projectile.

Every wide-eyed soul in the room turned to the lone man sitting at the drafting desk some distance away.

“Whoops!” he declared blithely, tossing his hands into the air.  “Looks like you walked right into our little game!”


What were your first impressions of Andre?

And was it just a little bit absurd that Milia caught a flying knife mid-air? (Hint: the answer should tell you that there’s a lot more to Milia beneath her diplomatic title of “special envoy.”)

8 Sentence Sunday #3: Introducing Ron Callahan

4 Jan

For this week’s “8 Sentence Sunday” over at Dieselpunks.org, I’d like to share a snippet with a different character: Ron Callahan.

Ron, usually referred to as “Ronny” throughout the story, first introduces himself to Voi as a social worker. Though, it isn’t long before Voi realizes he is an altogether different sort of government agent! (I’ve written about his character once before in my flash story, “Betrayal.”)

Ronny’s character is revealed a lot more slowly than Milia’s and Voi’s, I’ve realized, so I’m going to fast forward and share a snippet from further in, after Voi’s already had the chance to exchange some words with him. We don’t really get to see much of his personality here, more the nature of his relationship with Voi. It’s definitely one of the more complex relationships out of all my characters, I think. Very nebulous. Though, when I think about it, Ronny isn’t the most straightforward, easy-to-understand character to begin with.

Of course, there are reasons for this.

Anyway, at this point, Ronny has just visited Voi’s home and has caught her skipping doses of the medication she’s supposed to be taking to manage her condition, emelesia (summary here). In Voi’s world, it’s a serious thing when a social worker comes to check in on you. Emelesiacs live under fairly close government scrutiny and dread the day they’ll be sent to live in an insane asylum–as most are at a relatively young age.

Even though she’d never admit it, Voi is pretty darn scared that Ronny is here to take action on her noncompliance.

However, much to her surprise, Ronny instead starts asking Voi to describe what it’s like for her to go back on her meds after she’s been off of them for an extended period of time. Caught off-guard by his curiosity, she hesitantly begins to explain but then pauses. He asks her to elaborate.

He’s waiting patiently for her reply but is still sensing some hesitation from her. This is what happens next.

The Snippet

Suddenly, the warmth of his aura seemed to reach out to hers subtly—like a soothing brush of the hand.

Voi closed her eyes, embracing the foreign calmness of that moment.  Though, she soon sensed his energy pull away and reopened them.

He stood there with his arms folded.

After clearing her throat and licking her lips, she explained, “I meant…my pores, they close up.  I noticed my senses become duller, as well, as if…as if they’re being suppressed.”

Mr. Callahan drew his eyebrows together.  “Ever wonder what else it is they’re trying to suppress?”

What were your first impressions of Ronny’s character?

What do you suspect is the nature of the relationship he and Voi will share? Let me know in the comments!

‘Korrasami’ & Same-Sex Romance

29 Dec

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may know that I’ve been a big fan of Nickelodeon’s TV shows Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra (LOK).  I mean action, adventure, elemental magic/bending, martial arts… What’s not to love?

Speaking of love…

Korrasami: It’s Real

(That’s not the ending, btw. Just a little nerdy humor.)

Since Nick recently released a somewhat controversial ending regarding a romance between two same-sex characters, there’s been a lot of discussion and debate amongst fans as to whether the titular character and her friend Asami Soto were an actual “item”…

…at least, until one of the co-creators of the show released an official confirmation on their blog. The official answer is yes: the “Korrasami” romance is considered canon.

"Korrasami - By The Fire (SLVV)" by SandraLVV on DeviantArt.

“Korrasami – By The Fire (SLVV)” by SandraLVV on DeviantArt.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with this decision; that’s not my hang-up. What gets me about their decision is that, in my personal viewing experience, it truly seemed to come out of nowhere. Unlike other character romances, I felt there were not enough unambiguous cues that would suggest a romance between Korra and Asami.

What also gets me is Bryan’s statement regarding those of us who did not catch onto the possible romance between these two characters until the final episode:

“If it seems out of the blue to you, I think a second viewing of the last two seasons would show that perhaps you were looking at it only from a hetero lens.”

…or maybe it’s just showing your writing wasn’t as effective as it could have been. Plenty of shows have been clearer to their audiences about their intentions regarding same-sex romances. Granted, this is a show geared towards a younger audience, but that’s just all the more reason to make these things more obvious. If you have full-grown adults who didn’t see the signs, what makes you think younger viewers are going to have a better time of picking up on them?

I can understand the creators’ initial hesitation, but if you’re going to go for anything worthwhile in a story I say really go for it. After all, no expenses, so to speak, were spared on the other romances on the show (Opal and Bolin, Asami and Makko, etc.).

Those are just my thoughts, anyway.

Same-Sex Romances

While I’m not an active champion of same-sex romantic relationships and am not bi or lesbian myself, at the same time, I don’t see a reason to actively censor or not include such relationships and characters in some writing, TV shows or other art forms and mediums. However, “It never occurred to me” or “it’s not something I wanted to focus on or write/draw/etc. about,” for examples, are perfectly reasonable reasons not to, in my opinion, just as “I just wanted to write about a bi [or lesbian] character” is a perfectly acceptable reason to include one. “I don’t think gays and bisexual people should exist” on the other hand…not so much.

They do exist and to acknowledge this, even in fiction, is simply a nod to reality.

Don’t get me wrong: it can be so much more. You could be setting out to make an outright statement, though it isn’t necessary to. Sometimes having these elements can simply add to the variety of your cast, and if you’re going for verisimilitude that’s not a bad idea. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this.

Of course, what you do with such characters and topics in your works with be a source for open interpretation and derived meaning for readers, viewers, etc. Though, that’s another subject entirely.

What Do You Think?

What are your thoughts on including same-sex romances in fiction? Also, if you’re a fan of LOK, what did you think about the ending and how the Korrasami thread was handled overall?

And boy, it’s great getting back to proper blogging. :)

(Kudos to Deviantartist SandraLLV on the Korrasami artwork!)

8 Sentence Sunday #2: Introducing Milia Furlan

28 Dec

This week, for my “8 Sentence Sunday” snippet, I’d like to introduce a new character: Milia Furlan.

Special Envoy Milia Furlan is a well-respected diplomat who works for the League, an international peacekeeping organization–modeled loosely after The League of Nations, as you might have guessed.  Though, it’s been around for about 700 years in Voi’s world. (Funny: I tried thinking of other names to use, though “League” just seemed to have the best ring to it!)

Voi has heard a lot about this woman in the newspapers–including the first headline from last week’s snippet–but this is the first time she actually meets Milia face-to-face.

Suffice it to say Milia is not who Voi expected her to be!

The Snippet

At the other end of the barn sat a woman in a steel grey ladies’ suit atop a bale of hay with her legs crossed, smoking from a long, silver cigarette holder.  Traces of a sweet-smelling smoke lingered in the air.

To be honest, the woman looked rather glamorous to Voi, with her thin red lips and wavy blonde bob.  She held an air of aloof worldliness about her—a complete contrast to Voi’s disheveled tomboy-pilot look.  As such, the mundaneness of her attire in comparison caused Voi to unintentionally slow in her approach.

“My goodness,” said the diplomat.  “You look so…Borellian.”

Voi just stood there and frowned.


Granted, none of my snippets have included a physical description of Voi thus far, so we don’t have any specifics as to what she’s talking about. (I will say she is biracial.) However, for our immediate purposes, the goal here was to introduce the kind of tension that will be present in most of Voi’s interactions with Milia, as well as reveal some of Milia’s character.

What was your initial impression(s) of Milia?

Based on my first snippet, do you think Voi and Millia have a good chance at working together as part of a team? Let me know in the comments!

8 Sentence Sunday #1: Introducing Voi Román

21 Dec

Since I’ve gotten back into blogging and editing and whatnot, I’ve come to realize that my blog here still has been gathering a good deal of new followers! Needless to say, this was only all the more reason to get back into the groove of writing (and editing).

One new writer I’ve met (so to speak) since coming back to the blogosphere is Sarah from The Old Shelter, who also writes dieselpunk fiction and is working on a trilogy, as well. In visiting her blog, I’ve learned about a series over at Dieselpunks.org called “8 Sentence Sunday” in which writers are encouraged to share snippets from their finished works or WIPs and get a little feedback.

Sounds pretty swell to me!

I think this would be a fun way to help get me back to my writing happy place on the regular, so I’m going to try this and see how it goes. :)

The following is actually a snippet from the first novel in my Element 7 series, which I’ve decided to call The Elementalist: Rise of Hara. Here, we get to meet the main protagonist Voi for the first time. Voi Román is an aviatrix with a rare genetic condition that she suffers from–or so she believes! Hint-hint: it has something to do with that fantasy element I keep mentioning. ;) (Check out my updated blurb for a more detailed summary about the plot, if you’re interested.)

Anyway, without further ado…my 8 Sentence Sunday entry! (You’ll see where I’m getting the new name for my blog from, as well.)


LEAGUE SPECIAL ENVOY ATTACKED ON TRAIN LEAVING DARMOIL.”

“LOCAL PILOTS LOSING BUSINESS TO AIRSHIP CONGLOMERATE.”

“FLIMSY STUNT PILOT MEETS GRIM END.”

It was 8:37 sunrise and Voi soaked alone in her clawfoot tub, avoiding her meds, with a morning copy of The Chandra Tribune propped open.  An autumn breeze drifted in through the awning window, gently encouraging the jasmine-scented steam rising from the tub.  The telephone clanged repetitively from a faraway place—Voi’s sitting room, actually—though she paid it little mind.

Rather, she folded the newspaper and set it aside on a nearby stool, flexed her fingers and toes then slipped deeper into the bathwater with an earnest sigh, keeping her head aloft.  She shuddered as she closed her newsprint-assaulted eyes, momentarily forgetting AeroTaxi’s financial woes, the Tribune and the troublesome world it reported.

The Chandra Tribune: New Blog Title?

21 Dec

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to update the look and direction of my writing blog/website and really start branding myself as a dieselpunk fantasy writer. It’s a niche I really enjoy and know I could get a good number of novel-length stories out of–six stories, to be exact! Though, I suppose, if necessary, I could always “rebrand” myself later if I were to write something else.

Anyway, I was looking at some new themes to possibly use then thought, “What the heck. Why not figure out a way to bring in more of the dieselpunk theme with the WordPress theme I’ve already got (Bueno)?”

As you can see, after some finagling around, this is what I came up with:

Screenshot 2014-12-21 12.40.39

In my first novel within the world of Element 7, there’s a newspaper called The Chandra Tribune that plays a somewhat significant role early on in the story.  I thought it’d be cool to play with that and use a vintage typewriter in the background along with a more neutral color scheme. I’ll probably do a little more tweaking with my tagline and descriptions and whatnot at another time, but I just wanted to get something going and see how it turned out. I really like how other writers like Bard Constantine (his older site, which I don’t think is up) and JazzFeathers incorporated dieselpunk elements into their sites, so they are a bit of an inspiration to me. :)

Also, I thought I’d like to keep my URL, but I’m not sure if calling the site “The Chandra Tribune” will be confusing. “Tiyana Marie White” or even “T. M. White” across the page doesn’t really appeal to me, to be honest, so maybe I will change the URL. I don’t know, I’m not a web designer, though I’ve always loved putting my own spin on things. ;) WordPress has made that very easy (and affordable!)–which is one of reasons I plan to stick with them.

Anyways, we all know how distracted I can get, haha, so back to editing!

What do you all think of the look so far?

Is this a direction I should go in? If so, any tips to make the overall theme work better?

Breaking The Ice

20 Dec

So having reviewed some of the older scenes I edited months ago and getting back into my story, I was able to edit a new one today. Tonight’s a lazy night, too, so I might be able to get one more done. Sure feels good to be able to change the color and update my progress bar. :)

Color Wheel(I cycle to the next color on the (six) color wheel each time I make progress, one color for one scene. So for example, if I’m on yellow and get two scenes edited, I skip green and go to blue. (The colors I can choose from go the other direction/clockwise on the progress bar generator I use, so it makes more sense there.))

After 8 months of no progress at all…I’ll take what I can get!

It’s a start, anyway.

Wow!

27 Nov

I just realized I haven’t written anything here since March. That’s sad. :(

I’ve been exploring different, new avenues in my life lately. My business was picking up, then slowed dramatically, I ended a fairly serious relationship, took a break, had an intense fling with someone new, and that didn’t work…then bought a new house.

Yup, my first home. :)

IMG_2154

Now, I’m kind of like, “Hmm…how do I really want to live my life? What do I want to do with it?

Writing has still been a part of it, just not here or in the fiction realm. I keep a couple of other blogs related to design and other random stuff. Having so many different interests, I’ve always found it difficult to focus. But even after all this time neglecting my beloved Element 7 project, I find myself missing it terribly.

I have some decisions to make, about priorities in my life. I miss writing fiction and reading it. I miss being engaged with other writers on their blogs and on Twitter. Generally, I miss being a part of the whole spec fic community.

Even if I am still an amateur.

I don’t even know if anyone will be reading this post! But if there is anyone out there still peeping in on my ramblings here at Seven and A Half Firsts…just know that you all have been severely missed.

I’m not sure how things are going to play out over the next few months because I have some renovations to do on my new townhouse before I’m actually going to move in, but I do know I want to make writing more of a priority in my life.

I think about it a lot, but nothing gets done by thinking alone.

We’ll see. :) I’ll keep y’all posted. Oh yeah! And Happy Thanksgiving! ^_^

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 487 other followers