As a reader, I always pick a book based on my mood, the cover art and the potential for entertainment. My mood determines genre. Don’t tell me you can handle a bodice-ripper of a romance when you’ve just been dumped. The cover art grabs my attention, so I’ll at least take it off the shelf to check it out. So I’m a visual creature, sue me. 🙂 And finally, if a book looks like it’s going to end without a firm conclusion, I probably won’t bother. Well, that’s not entirely true. I read just about everything. If it’s good, then I’ll read it more than once, that’s all.
As a writer, picking what to write about is different. There is no mood that will stop you from writing, no cover art to contemplate and the entertainment is in creating something. At least, it is for me.
Almost any writer will tell you that you don’t choose what to write. It chooses you. A writer is a conduit for the story. Sound fruity? Wishy-washy? Sounds like it excuses the writer from all fault? Not hardly. Writing something good and engaging is hard work and anyone who says different is lying.
Personally, my ideas or inspiration come from everything and everyone. I might see a movie and it makes me want to write something about ‘finding your potential’ or visiting foreign places. I could have a conversation with someone at work that sparks my imagination. Other times, I’ll just see something while I’m driving, or while I’m spending time with friends. Sometimes, it’s just a word or a visual in my mind. At some point, I will have to write it down. It might become a full-fledged story, it might not. More often than not, it doesn’t amount to anything. I have dozens of unfinished stories covering nearly every genre.
Another thing most writers will tell you is that they need to write about different things. I write romance at the moment but that doesn’t mean I don’t have ideas or urges to write in different genres. I’ve sometimes shared them – have you read “Body of Water?” Check out my Literotica page for that one. It received mixed reviews but I quite enjoyed writing it, mostly because it was far and away different from everything else I’d written or published. Hell, “Agent Alpha” was something I’d never tried before and never even considered trying until I started it. And look how that’s turned out!
I’m not trying to make a serious point or anything but I just wanted to explain that sometimes we may not have something in a regular series ready because we need a break to write something new and exciting. Lately, I’ve felt like I’ve been doing the whole hockey-romance thing to death. Oh, I still have several ideas for stories in that ‘series’ but for now, I’m getting more and more restless. I need to start roaming or else they’ll become stale and boring.
Just for fun now, I thought I’d share some ‘false starts’ with you. As you’ll be able to tell, they’re not my usual fare and none have been edited at all, so forgive the adverbs and other assorted errors. I haven’t completed any one of these – yet – and maybe one day soon, some new inspiration will strike and I’ll finish one. I’ll let you know. 😉
So this first one was the start of a Holiday contest submission. I’d almost forgotten about it and maybe I’ll try to get it done for this year. The working title is “Rudolph, The Grinch and an Angel Walk into a Bar.”
So Rudolph is the first to speak.
He looks up from his odd position on the filthy bar table and moves his bloodshot eyes between his two companions. He smacks his fuzzy brownish-grey lips together and winces as his one remaining antler knocks over a beer bottle. Finally he clears his throat and shares his thoughts.
“It’s such a joke, really,” he says.
“What the hell are you talking about?” His green friend asks with a scowl and proceeds to knock back another shot of tequila.
Rudolph turns his bleary gaze towards the Grinch and wishes he had the digits to properly flip him off. Alas, he is a reindeer and cloven hooves, while nicely black and polished, are not conducive to relaying information to jackasses at times.
“I wish I could backstep through evolution a few millennia for you, G-man,” Rudolph replies instead of explaining his initial comment. “That’s the only way I’ll find the proper sound effects to explain what I’m talking about.”
“Eat me,” Grinch snarls and downs another tequila shot. His eyes are equally as bloodshot though the green fringe of his hair is flopping in his face, hiding the worst of it. “You’re a freaking deer.”
“I’m a freaking reindeer, dumbass,” Rudolph is succinct with his response; or so he believes. “Or a caribou, if you choose to attempt that one.”
“I choose to put my size ten foot up your ass, you bag of flea-bitten fur,” Grinch snaps, spraying a fine, tequila-scented arc of spittle towards the reindeer.
Rudolph barks out a laugh, at last lifting his head from the table top. He glares at his green companion as he watches the Grinch down yet another shot; probably his fortieth of the night.
“You really need to get a bigger pair of shoes then, G-man,” Rudolph says. “The ones you’ve got on now are so tight they’re making you uglier.”
OK. So maybe not my best effort. 🙂
The next one is something I recently started. I’m pretty sure I know how I want this one to go, but for now, I’m at a standstill. Can’t seem to connect the dots, as it were. Anyway, I’ve tentatively titled it “Fact or Fiction.”
I’ve always had a very active imagination. But even I knew something was wrong when I woke up in a dark shed on a dirt floor.
A shiver raced through me as I sat up. A glance down revealed that I was no longer wearing my comfortable flannel reindeer pajamas. No, I had on a dirty, scratchy wool dress with a ragged hem. I tried to reach down to lift the fabric but found my hands tied behind my back.
That was when I started to panic.
My fantasies had always been limited to the mundane; a white beach, a warm cottage on a snowy day, winning the lottery. I had never once imagined myself bound and filthy in a dark, dank, unfamiliar location. I also had never gone to sleep in my queen-size bed in my sunny yellow bedroom at home only to wake in a shed.
My heart pounded hard, my blood thrummed in my ears. Then I heard voices a scant few seconds before the door to the shed was wrenched open. I fell back with a gasp, blinded by the light that poured in through the doorway.
“Up with you,” a rough male voice growled before beefy hands clamped on my upper arms.
I was hauled unceremoniously to my feet and turned my head, squinting through the light. He was large, that much I could tell from his shadow. Features, possible age or race remained unknown for the same reason.
“Please…” I thought I’d managed to speak out loud but the voice that left my throat was not my own. It was high-pitched and accented as I’d never been able to fake before.
“Keep your please. His Lordship has asked for you.” He let go of my arms and I sank to the floor.
Strength had apparently left my body along with sanity.
Intriguing enough to read more? I thought so… 😀
This one here is my first real attempt at science fiction. I do still want to finish this one someday too but, like always, the need has to be there. I’ve called this “Star One.”
Tristan shook the memory free and tightened his grip on the steel railing before him. Outside the ship, space was dark in this direction. The odd star glittered from afar but Tristan already knew without reaching any of them that none of them were right.
Sighing, he lifted a hand and rubbed his face, telling himself yet again that he should shave. He always found himself reluctant to shave since Hannah used to tease him ceaselessly about his obsession with facial hair when he was a teenager. He brushed the thought of Hannah aside. As much as he could anyway; Hannah was never far away.
“Are we to continue forward, Captain?” Hannah’s voice spoke from his elbow and his vision swam before him for a moment. The great, broad window wavered and for a split second he felt himself falling forward, diving out of the ship.
He turned his head, looked into Hannah’s green eyes and clenched his teeth. “I’ve told you a hundred times, FIVE,” he growled in a low tone. “Do not take that form. Ever.”
Ever obliging, the alien shifted. Its body melted to the deck at Tristan’s feet before reorganizing and rising up before him as a faceless, featureless human shape. It was unfailingly creepy but for some reason, Tristan could handle the non-face better than Hannah’s.
“I’m…sorry?” FIVE phrased it as a question. He was a curious alien, always concerned with speaking Tristan’s language the correct way.
Tristan nodded even though he was quite certain FIVE didn’t understand what true remorse was. “That’s right.”
Star 1581 had been a very odd place.
“Are we to continue forward, Captain?” FIVE repeated his question in his own alien version of a human voice. It echoed as though they were in an empty grain silo.
Tristan glanced back outside and shook his head. There was Star 1217 and 1253 and beyond those he could just make out 1377. And a smattering of other lesser stars.
It was beginning to feel like none of them would ever be right.
Hmm. Definitely needs work.
Oh, here’s an interesting one, and a slightly longer tease than the others. Are any of you familar with my TAITS series? 😉 I think I’ll call this one “Burnout.”
Forty-seven engines roared to life at once. Dust from the gravel pad rose in a cloud around the lines of cars. The spectators milling about in the pits weaved through the vehicles and moved out of the way. The cars at the front of the line started to roll forward.
She didn’t get too close to the cars and trucks lined up in the pits. Her jacket was tattered and worn almost all the way through on the elbows. As she watched the vehicles move, she lifted her arms and wrapped them around her midsection. The sun was still high in the sky, though the shadows were growing longer at this point in the summer. She kept herself hidden beneath the shadow of the big signs lining the north end of the main track.
Most people wouldn’t have noticed her. But he wasn’t most people. Even as he kept his car rolling with the line-up, Fly knew where she was. He’d known for weeks where she was, where she always stood after she got to Race City.
Who she talked to.
A whistle sounded in front of his car and Fly faced forward as the pit crewman gestured at him and the red Mustang on his left.
Fly glanced sideways at the driver in the red car but the other driver already had his helmet on. Reaching for his own helmet, Fly took one last look at the woman under the sign. Then he lowered the helmet and slid the visor down.
The crewman gestured again, waving him into the right lane. Fly felt his heart give a solid thump against his ribs and he swallowed around the sudden dryness in his throat. It was always the same. He’d been coming to the Secret Street races for the entire summer and he still felt the same rush as he had the first time.
Even working on the security systems and booby trap network at the compound in Priddis didn’t make him feel like this.
He grinned when he imagined what Rhodes would say if he found out what Fly had been doing for three months. The boss had a way of stringing together profanities that was almost poetic. Almost, if they weren’t accompanied with hand gestures and threats of physical harm.
Then he saw the other crewman waving him and Mustang forward and Fly pushed all thoughts of Rhodes out of his mind. The quarter-mile track stretching out in front of him demanded all his attention now.
He rolled his car up to the water box and took a deep breath. Then he pressed his foot down on the gas and counted the beats until the smoke started to pour from his rear wheels. When he took his foot off the brake, the car jerked forward and he eased up to the start line.
There he waited, his fingers tight on the steering wheel, his heart thrumming a steady rhythm under his ribcage. His vision narrowed from the end of the track to the light tree just ahead to his left. The yellow lights ticked off; one, two, three. Green.
He slammed his foot on the gas and let up the clutch. The engine roared to life and he shot down the track. Swift thoughts flitted through his mind – check the tach, keep an eye on the injection, watch the coolant – and all were replaced by something much more basic and instinctual: hold on tight.
And that’s all I got.
In other news, we’re scoreless in the first. DOWN with Detroit! Oh, hold the phone…GOAL for San Jose! Take that Red Wings! Hehehe. 😀
Take care and happy reading.