Blog Tour Interview with Bryan Davis


Today, I’m participating in a blog tour for Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World so I’ll be interviewing Bryan Davis. Bryan Davis has been instrumental in my writing journey and is always willing to help beginning writers.

There are also two giveaways at the bottom. To participate in the more complicated one for the grand prize, you must find the bolded/underlined number in this post and add it to the numbers you find in the other blog tour posts.

What project(s) are you working on now?

I am working on a young-adult science-fiction, space adventure. The working title is Search for the Astral Dragon. It follows the adventures of Megan Willis, a 12-year-old girl who works as a mechanic for a space cruiser that is searching for the captain’s kidnapped son. I have about 90,000 words written, and I expect it to be significantly larger than that, probably between 120,000 and 150,000 words. I also expect that it will be a series, but I don’t know how many books it will include.

Please tell us about your favorite project or close second, if you already told us about your favorite.

My projects have been important to me for different reasons, so they’re hard to compare. An intriguing project was “Let the Ghosts Speak,” a novel for adults I recently finished that takes place in Paris in 1860. It is part psychological thriller, part ghost story, and part spiritual introspection.

A dream I had more than a dozen years ago inspired this novel. It gnawed at me for all that time until I finally wrote it earlier this year. I had a lot of fun conducting research, reading at least seven books on the history of the time as well as consulting countless Internet resources. I am now in the process of seeking a publisher for this novel.


How did you get into writing?

I began writing as a way to get my children interested in the craft. We created a story together and added to it bit by bit until it became a full-length novel. I enjoyed the process so much, I decided to get more training by reading books on writing and going to writers’ conferences.

During that eight-year learning journey I accumulated more than 200 rejections. I finally found a publisher at a writers conference in 2003, and my first books were released in 2004.

What is your writing process?

I am what is often called a seat-of-the-pants writer. I have a basic premise in mind and maybe a main character, but I have no idea how the story will progress. I just sit down and start writing about a character’s ordinary world, then I ruin that world with some sort of crisis event.

That event creates an object of desire, a goal that the character wants to achieve. Most of the rest of the story follows how the character pursues that goal, though I don’t know what will happen until I actually sit and type it out.

Since you’ve been published traditionally and independently, what are your opinions of these two methods, and do you have one you prefer?

There are definite pros and cons for each. With traditional publishing my books have been far more likely to get onto shelves at bookstores, which has allowed for a lot more sales than for my independently published books. With independent publishing I have complete control over every aspect of the publishing process, including titling, editing, cover design, and formatting. I enjoy that.

At this time, I prefer traditional publishing. Although I make more money per book sold with independent publishing, I have sold far more books through traditional publishing, which results in a higher overall income. Yet, money is not the main issue. Of course I want to make a living, but my number one goal has always been to get my books into readers’ hands no matter what the revenue stream might be. Traditional publishing has been better at achieving that goal.

What advice would you give to beginning writers?

Learn the craft. There are too many aspects to mention in an interview, so my advice is to read books on writing such as Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain, attend writers’ conferences, and join a critique group. Aspiring writers can get a lot of tips at my writing blog –

Experience tells me that new writers often rush their stories by beginning with intense action instead of developing the characters and setting up the story world. Others tend to dump information about the back story without progressing the main story. It is better to allow the story to progress while intermittently dropping tidbits about the back story and at the same time provide character development before starting any intense action.


What about experienced writers?

I speak to myself with this advice. Watch out for ruts and repeated devices. I find myself using some of the same kinds of characters, actions, and dilemmas without realizing it until I review some of my older stories.

I don’t mind, however, repeating themes. I always include sacrificial heroism, forgiveness, and other timeless themes. They never get old. Yet, if they are employed in the same manner again and again, the devices can become too familiar, thereby harming the effect the themes might have.


What are some of your favorite books, authors, movies, and/or TV shows?

My three favorite novels are To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Joan of Arc by Mark Twain, and Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis. My favorite author is C. S. Lewis.

Movies are varied – Ben Hur, To Kill a Mockingbird, Saving Mr. Banks, Tangled, and many more. I like movies with ethical, heroic protagonists, especially men who are willing to sacrifice in order to do what’s right.

I don’t have any favorite TV shows. I do watch a couple to ignite story ideas of my own, but I find them all too flawed for various reasons.

Any closing words?

Thank you for the interview. It will be exciting to see how readers respond to this new story, especially since I am reaching out to a different age group with a genre I haven’t tried before. Even though the target age is young, I think teens and adults will enjoy it as well. I certainly enjoyed writing it.


About the book:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00011]

Eddie Hertz is smart, real smart. He has to be. What other twelve-year-old patrols the streets of Nirvana alone, hoping to foil the schemes of the evil Mephisto? Since Eddie is small for his age, he trusts in his Batman-style gadgets belt and acrobatic skills as well as lots of experience, like knowing how to swing across dark alleys without being seen.

Eddie has a dream, to become like Damocles, Nirvana’s great superhero. To make that dream come true, Eddie invented a device that is supposed to give him superpowers, but using it on himself is dangerous, maybe even fatal. He doesn’t have the nerve to try it.

When Mephisto unleashes an earthquake machine on the city, Eddie gets a surprising teammate — his quirky eight-year-old sister, Samantha, who comes up with an unexpected way to help Eddie in the frantic battle to prevent the biggest earthquake of all.

Since Damocles has lost his ability to help in physical form, Eddie and Samantha are the only hope for Nirvana and the world.

Available on AmazonBryan Davis’s website, and Christianbook

Bryan Davis Author PhotoAbout the Author:

Bryan Davis is the author of several bestselling series, including Dragons in Our Midst and the Reapers Trilogy, speculative fiction for youth and adults. Bryan and his wife, Susie, work together as an author/editor team to create his imaginative tales.

Links to his pages:

Book Purchase site
Author writing blog
Twitter – @bryandavisauth



And here’s the giveaway:

FIRST Giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway
GRAND PRIZE Giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway



Wednesday, September 20th
Tour Kickoff @ The Author’s Chair
Book Spotlight @ Backing Books
Book review and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ Zerina Blossom’s Books
Book Spotlight and Review @ The Spooky Bookshelf
Book Spotlight and Author Interview @ Scattered Scribblings
Book Review and Character Interview @ Light and Shadows

Thursday, September 21st
Book Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ Red Lettering
Spotlight and Author Interview @ The Reader Addict
Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ target verified
Book Review and Character Interview @ Hidden Doorways
Book Review @ Ashley Bogner
Book Review @ The Page Dreamer

Friday, September 22nd

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Story of Fire
Book Review @ Inkwell
Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Liv K. Fisher
Book Review @ writinganyone
Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Superheroes @ Dreams and Dragons
Author Interview and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ March to a Different Drum
Book Spotlight @ Author Jaye L. Knight

Saturday, September 23rd

Author Interview @ Jessi L. Roberts, author (You are here)
Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Book Lovers Life
Book Review and Character Interview @ Verbosity Reviews
Book Spotlight, Author Interview and YOU WRITE: Superheroes @ Creature of Graphite
Character Interview @ Wanderer’s Pen
Book Spotlight and Author Interview @ Adventure Awaits


Posted in Author Interview, Blogging Related, Geekiness | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Pick Your Apocalypse

Here are my lists of potential apocalypses and the media that portrays them.


Alien Invasion
This would be the one I’d prefer if I got to pick. They tend to take out landmarks in the movies, but rarely bother small towns in Montana. Even a more realistic invasion wouldn’t be likely to reach my family for quite some time due to our lack of population.
Falling Skies did a good job showing a bit more depth than the movies. It showed a post-apocalyptic situation, not one where the aliens went home after a week. It also showed that the invaders had conquered other planets. Earth wasn’t special, though humans were scrappy enough to impress the aliens fighting the invaders. (Showing that other aliens stand against the invaders was also a bonus.) 
War of the World: Goliath was a much more traditional alien invasion, but added a steampunk twist. Granted, this one did little worldbuilding, but it was fun.
Under Alien Stars gets credit for a somewhat realistic alien invasion. These guys didn’t actually want Earth, they just wanted to keep the other species off the planet.
Animorphs put some serious thought into the different alien species and gave a good reason for aliens to invade. It was much more empire building than the old, “We’re smart enough to travel hundreds of light years, but the reason we’re doing this is because we aren’t smart enough to grow food for ourselves.”

Zombie Apocalypse
They’re slow-moving, stupid, and this method of apocalypse is so popular that many guys have a plan for what they’ll do if zombies show up. My family would be well-prepared to deal with this, as would most rural areas. There’s just too many guns.
World War Z (the book) tried to be realistic about this and does decently. Trouble is, I’ve never seen a zombie apocalypse where it made sense. Zombies may be able to take the cities, but once they got out of the city, ranchers and hunters would quickly end the apocalypse.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth and Hollowland also have zombie apocalypses, but the same issue still exists.
Enclave deals with creatures a bit like zombies, but they’re smart and reproduce on their own, making it more believable that they’d be able to fight humans.

Not the most common apocalypse. The only times I’ve seen it done is A Time to Die, where it has caused serious issues, and in Life as We Knew It, one hit the moon. The Destiny trilogy also mentioned it, though I’m not sure if it was the only reason Earth was in such bad shape.

My family’s a long ways from the coast, so this wouldn’t be too bad for us. It tends to be a more costal issue, and I can’t think of anything where an earthquake on its own caused the apocalypse. The Dead and the Gone deals with a tsunami (actually changing tides) after the moon gets closer to Earth. The Living tells about a kid trying to survive on a cruise ship during and after a tsunami, but I haven’t read the sequel.

darklife_cover-grid-4x21Global Warming
Not something most Montanans worry about. The Drowned Cities deals with the child soldiers and different ragtag armies who fight over flooded Washington DC, which has turned into a brutal place, while Dark Life is much lighter and softer. It tells the story of an undersea pioneer who has trouble with ocean pirates on a submarine. I don’t think a bit of rising oceans would cause as much trouble as most people think since there’d still be a lot of land, at least in the US.

World War III
I’d rather not have to deal with this one. Rural areas would be safer, but still in danger due to complete social collapse. Cinder is set after WWIV, Hunger Games is long after the war ended, and City of Ember is about people who moved underground to escape the war.

Global Cooling
We’re in Montana. Please don’t let this happen.
I’ve only seen it in Trapped, and that was more giant blizzard than global cooling.

Electro Magnetic Pulse or Solar Flares
This would be a sudden apocalypse that would kill very few people outright, but would lead to a lot of people starving as infrastructure breaks down.
The Pulse was a somewhat realistic version of this, though the writing was more survivalist than written for YA. Ashes was interesting, but also involved a form of zombies, and I never finished it due to the violence level.

Economic Collapse 
This collapse is especially scary because, like the EMP or solar flare, it doesn’t kill anyone outright, but leaves them starving, which would lead to people killing each other on a massive scale.
Patriots, and probably others I can’t think of. It seems to be pretty rare in YA.

This could be pretty bad if it hit Planet of the Apes scale.
This one is quite common in stories. A few interesting ones are The Eleventh Plague, Partials, which deals with superhumans as well as plague, Inhuman, the new Planet of the Apes trilogy. One advantage of this apocalypse is that it kills more outright, leading to less people living long enough to kill each other.

Yellowstone Volcanic Eruption
I really don’t want this because my family is downwind. Ashfall portrays it somewhat realistically, and is the only version I’ve seen.

Tyrannical Government Rising to Power
Just turn on the news. It’s not fiction.
Nameless is more a case of all morality going out the window, while For the Win shows large corporations who treat their labor force badly, and Unwind is about a world where, instead of abortion, people have their children cut apart for organ donation when they turn thirteen.

Posted in Musings | Tagged | 2 Comments

Surviving a Writer’s Conference

I recently returned from the awesome Realm Makers conference, and I’m bringing back tips for anyone attending a conference. And also pictures, because those are fun.


Snow White and her dwarf.


Let’s start with what you should bring to a conference.

Writerly things to bring if you’re pitching: 

Onesheets (I have heard this is more of a Christian conference thing, but I have no experience with secular conferences.) Generally, I figure if you’re pitching, bring one more onesheet than the amount of people you’re pitching to, and you should be fine. Many of the larger agencies/publishers don’t take paper home with them, so taking this many is probably overkill, but the smaller presses do sometimes take this stuff home. Better to have too many than two few. It’s good to have an extra in case you get to pitch to someone you hadn’t planned on pitching to.
The first ten pages of your story Take the same amount as you would for onesheets, perhaps one less.
Proposal and synopsis Originally, I didn’t take these, but I had publishers/agents ask for them so I started bringing them. At the very least, have them written so you can send them when you get home from the conference.


Me with Ted Dekker

Other things to bring:

Business cards These are good even if you’re not pitching since it helps you keep in contact with people you met. 25 is probably plenty, unless you really like handing them out.
Laptop and notebook for taking notes. Make sure to have the notebook. Some conferences don’t have enough plugins and your laptop’s batteries might die like mine did.
A sweater even if it’s hot. Many indoor places have the air conditioning turned up to the point it feels like a freezer.
Medicine/vitamins/cough drops in preparation for getting a cold.
Ziplock bags
Water bottle
Whatever other stuff you need, such as a toothbrush and 
deodorant (If you’re pitching, you want the strong stuff.)
Snacks. These are useful if you’re arriving early, before the meals that come with the conference. Bringing candy for your roommate is always a big hit too.

Team Voltron genderswapped (I’m really looking forward to Season 3))

 Survival Tips

If possible, try to fly with most of your stuff as carry on. I hear too many stories about people losing baggage. At the very least, carry on anything you have to hand to the agents/editors/publishers, your notebook/laptop, and your pjs.
Arrive the day before the conference starts. This allows you to get one night of decent sleep, in theory.
Friend people on facebook or other social media so you know a few names when you go to the conference. (Realm Makers has a facebook group.)
Make sure your bags aren’t stuffed when you go to the conference. You’ll want to buy books and maybe other stuff, so you’ll need space for them. Realm Makers generally has quite the haul of swag, sometimes posters, sometimes free books, so you need the room.
If you’re flying carry an empty water bottle through security then fill it when you find a fountain. This means you won’t have to buy water. If you are carrying water in your laptop bag, make sure the lid is tight. I’ve seen people spill water in their bags.


Jill Williamson pulled this off well.

Random tips you won’t hear from anyone sane

For those who dislike coffee but need something to stay awake, it can be stomached easier if one mixes it with hot chocolate. (Cream and sugar work in a pinch.)
Those ziplock bags? Those are for leftovers. It seems many conference meals have so much food that some is left over. I hate throwing it out, so it goes in the bag and I can save it for later, such as days I’d normally have to go out for a meal. (I’m a very light eater and often eat a snack instead of a full meal.)
Some foods, such as donuts and cheesecake, do not fair well in laptop bags. A banana can be safe if packed properly. Some harder buns and muffins do well. Another trick is to reinforce the bag by putting the laptop cord or other strong  things on either side of the food.
Foods in the same ziplock bags will likely get mixed, so avoid incompatible foods in the same space.
If you need to toast a bun you stuffed in your bag and you don’t have access to a microwave, the blowdryer works.

Me and my roommate



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Beautiful People: Author Writing Process


Firstly, thank you, Teddi of The Christian SpecFic Reader for sharing my review.

Now onto this post. I’m busy editing The Red Tattoo and haven’t had much time for blog posts, plus I don’t like posting if I can’t think of anything good to say.

Here’s a link to the original questions.


  1. How do you decide which project to work on?
    Mostly by figuring out which one I know how to fix or write, or the one that I want to publish.
  2. How long does it usually take you to finish a project?
    Nothing is published yet, and they’re not “finished” until they’re published since I never stop editing, so I don’t know. The first draft takes between one and three months to write depending on the length, the second draft takes a similar amount of time, but I try to take time off between drafts, then editing takes I-don’t-know-how-long.
  3. Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?
    Listening to music.
  4. What time of day do you write best?
    I used to say night, but now I’m not sure. Probably that time when I have a deadline.
  5. Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?
    Not really, but since Bryan Davis has been my mentor or sorts, I would guess that’s led to my style leaning his way. I think I remember a friend thought my style was similar to Brandon Sanderson. Since Sanderson gets three figure book deals, I hope that friend is right.
  6. Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?
    I started because I’ve always had stories to tell. I think I keep writing for the same reason, and also because I don’t give up.
  7. What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?
    Country in Chaos, which was so hard I haven’t rewritten, even though it needs a rewrite. The Red Tattoo would be the second hardest.
  8. Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?
    I’ve got a superhero idea, but I haven’t been able to come up with an epic twisty ending for it, so I haven’t tackled it yet.
    I also have an idea for a story involving a girl who gets in an online relationship with a guy, then finds out he isn’t on Earth, but I’d kind of want it to be funny, and it’d have romance. I don’t do well with romance or humor, so I don’t know if it’ll ever get written.
  9. What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?
    I want to be self-published or have agent/publisher interest by the end of the year. So far, no luck, though I did get Country in Chaos printed.
  10. Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!
    I’ll just do three things.
    Writing the First Draft = fun
    Writing the Second Draft = Still fun but getting a bit stressful
    Editing = Can I hide now?
Posted in Blogging Related | Tagged | 1 Comment

Book Review: For Us Humans


Caz works undercover to track down stolen art. He also dislikes aliens and has fallen away from God, which leads to trouble when he gets paired up with an alien who is interested in God.

Note on ratings:

*           Horrible.
**         Below average
***       Average. Not good or bad.
****    Above average
***** Above and beyond

Content: *** (Content based off my personal level of squeamishness.)
There is some violence but nothing overly descriptive, but there’s a fair amount of low-grade swearing, as well as a main character who gets drunk and has one night stands. (Nothing is explicit.)

Originality and world building: *****
The story starts out as a buddy cop story, but this time, the partner is an alien, which is a cool twist.
The worldbuilding here feels very deep, with the aliens having their own phrases and body language. It really feels like this universe has many more stories to tell. The prejudice in the story felt realistic too, not something shoved in there just to push an agenda. The inclusion of Christianity and alien religion was also really neat and didn’t feel preachy.

Characters and their Arcs: ****
Caz’s arc was okay, but I had some trouble relating because drinking and one night stands are not my vices. (Overcoming this is part of his character arc, not something that is endorsed.) Even so, I wan’t that interested in his arc. I was much more interested in his partner, Nil, since I get attached to aliens rather easily.

Writing style and Pacing: ***
I had trouble putting the book down, though the last quarter went from buddy cop to more solid space opera, which felt weird, and the tension seemed slightly lower when Caz and Nil began to get along better.
When it comes to writing style, the large amount of fragments did tend to get on my nerves, but the humor was pretty good.

Other things I liked:
Aliens. I like aliens and I don’t see enough of them. It’s always been a fantasy of mine to see a book where the aliens have a belief in God, so it was really neat when this got brought up.

Other things I didn’t like:
There isn’t a sequel yet. Does that count as something I didn’t like?

Is it worth reading?

My Rating:


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TV Review: Star Wars Rebels Season 3

I’ve sort of decided to post once a month or so. However, I did add a Gallery to this site, which is where I’ll be displaying my own art.

In celebration of May the Fourth, also known as Star Wars Day, I’m reviewing the third season of Star Wars Rebels. Last year, I reviewed the second season.
The crew took a beating last season, but now they’re back, and Ezra’s starting to take charge.


Star_Wars_Rebels_Season_Three_posterNote on ratings:

*           Horrible.
**         Below average
***       Average. Not good or bad.
****    Above average
***** Above and beyond

Content: **** (Content based off my personal level of squeamishness.)
This season felt lighter than season 2 with less violence. Yes, it’s still Star Wars, but there was a bit less head chopping.

Originality and world building: ****

Like all Star Wars media, the world feels deep, but I think the show could have gone a bit deeper in this season. There are certainly a bunch of different cultures around.

Characters and their Arcs: ****
Ezra’s arc with Maul felt a bit choppy, but it was nice to see Ezra maturing. I enjoyed seeing more Sabine’s arc, which was good. We also had some of Rex, and Agent Kallus got a lot of development. Saw’s arc, though rushed, was also enjoyable.
I loved seeing Thrawn on the screen.

Pacing and action sequences: ***
The pacing felt a bit too episodic in this season. Though there were a lot of good episodes, it felt choppy, and some arcs seemed to be forced into too short of a space.

Animation: ****
The backgrounds are looking pretty good, but I didn’t feel the awe like I did in season 2.

Addition to the Universe: ****
It was really nice to see more of Saw Gerrera, and I think this show does fit the universe well.

hqdefaultOther things I liked:
Saw Gerrera showed up. Even though his character arc felt rushed, I was really glad to see him since his part in Rogue One had been so small. Having the rebel groups not get along, and having characters who disagree with each other really ups the tension.
Sato’s sacrifice in the last episode was good, even if the season final didn’t seem as good as the previous season’s final.
Thrawn is a great villain and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of him. He was one of the best villains I’ve read about, so I’m really glad Disney decided not to cut him from cannon.
It was good to see Maul’s arc ended. A long fight would have been cool to see, but the three-second one was fitting.


What I didn’t like:
The episodic nature of the series. I also wasn’t that big of a fan of Bendu. This season’s climax wasn’t nearly as emotional as S2’s.

Is it worth watching?
Yes, though it wouldn’t hurt to skip episodes you’re not interested in. It also looks like Season 4 will be really good.

My rating:


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Camp NaNo: Black Claw

For Camp NaNo this year, I’m rewriting the third book in my spaceverse, a sequel to Hand of Steel, currently titled Black Claw.


The cover, which is just a simple thing for Camp NaNo. If I publish it, I’m not keeping this cover.

Pitch: When Klate is captured by bounty hunters and blamed for murders he didn’t commit, Krys must work with the hunters to track down the real killer.


The team Krys is forced to work with. (For those who don’t know, Krys is the cyborg.)


In other news, there are a few new pictures on my fan art page. I also updated the Country in Chaos page to show the book’s cover.

Posted in Art, My Stories, Spaceverse, Spaceverse, Updates | Leave a comment

Kark Breeds

Warhound trinity

Here’s a picture of three kark breeds, a species featured heavily in my novel, The Red Tattoo. Karks are the mounts of the Chix, who are the only species small enough to ride these large predators that are a mix of canine and feline, which gives them an unnerving yowling howl. They’re able to run for hours, much like wolves, but they can also race through treetops.

On the left is the courser, the fastest breed. They’re ridden on scouting missions, in races, or for other situations that need speed and don’t require them to haul much weight.

The right creature is the common warhound. These make up the backbone of the mounts for the Chix cavalry. They are known for their loyalty and intelligence, which makes them a force to be reckoned with in battle.

The middle creature is a Saddat warhound. This somewhat rare breed originated from common warhounds who were brought to Saddat, which is colder than Chibbink. The breed is a bit larger than the average warhound, has more fur, and a thicker build. Because they can handle the cold much better than the common warhound, they are often ridden by the higher-ranking Chix during campaigns in colder regions.

Other breeds:

Pithounds, which look like common warhounds but almost always black. They’re used in pit fights and tend to be extremely aggressive

Draft karks, a species even bigger than the Saddat warhound. These are used for plowing fields and other farm work. They’re known for being extremely docile and slower moving than warhounds.

Wild karks come in two breeds, the plains kark, which resembles the courser, and the jungle kark, which is smaller than any other breed and tends to be very much an arboreal species.


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All Senses Story Challenge

This is something I found on DeviantART where a person uses multiple senses to describe their character(s) so I did it with Savora. (In-universe, Jagur would never meet her, but I needed someone to see her from the outside.)

Here is the original. Note that the original included if the character was attractive, but I cut that one out since Jagur wouldn’t notice since he’s a different species.

Sight: Jagur watched the creature as she walked down the path he crouched beside. She had reddish fur with a corse look too it, especially on her short tail. Black stripes marked her body, and her long ears were almost fully black on the outside, with a lighter inner ear. They perked for any sound while her whiskers twitched, sensing the breeze. One ear had a notch taken out of it. Jagur couldn’t tell if she had a good sense of smell, but he’d positioned himself downwind of the game path. She stood nearly seven feet tall, making her quite a bit taller than Jagur, though the way she walked on her toes gave her a few extra inches. She had various scars along her arms and possibly more under her sleeveless shirt and skirt. Judging by her long, sharp claws, she could fight well. With arms that long, Jagur knew he didn’t want to get in a scrap with her. He pressed himself agains the ground behind the bush he’d picked. He’d just let her pass him by and wait for real prey, not something that was obviously intelligent.

Sound: She walked almost silently, an odd thing for a creature of her size. Jagur hadn’t even detected her until she’d come into his line of sight. He couldn’t hear her breathing, not from this distance, but the way her ears twitched worried him. With those big ears, she probably had good hearing. He tried to breath quietly.

Smell: The breeze shifted, blowing the creature’s scent to Jagur. He inhaled deeply, trying to get a better feel for what she was. He caught a dirt scent, giving him the hint she lived underground, which would explain why he’d never encountered any of her species before. She carried a root smell mixed in, and a slight roast meat scent. Omnivorous, most likely, not a full meat-eater like Lazakal. Didn’t mean she was someone he wanted to get into a tangle with, but now, she was too close for him to reveal himself without her getting surprised.

Action: The big alien’s ears twitched, swiveling Jagur’s way. He held perfectly still. He was downwind and hadn’t made a sound. She couldn’t have noticed him.
She sprang at Jagur, her movements fluid and faster than he’d have thought possible for something her size. He rolled onto his back as she crashed into him.

Touch: One of her huge hands slammed into Jagur’s chest, pinning him down. She put enough weight on him he could barely draw a breath. Luckily, her long claws, meant for digging, didn’t slice into his chest. Her other hand poised over him, claws upraised.

Taste: Without thinking, Jagur bit her arm, tasting blood and dirty fur.

Composure: She roared in pain and rage. Her free hand slammed into Jagur’s head. He fell back, half stunned. She shot to her feet and stood over him, her claws at the ready, ears flattened in anger.

Mentality: Wary of Jagur’s jaws, she didn’t attack. Not wanting to anger the huge creature, he stayed low, his head pounding. This wasn’t a fight he wanted. Even if he managed to win, he’d be too injured to hunt.

Emotion: She growled, a deep rumble from her chest, not quite like a Lazakal growl. Jagur met her eyes and noted they were wide. She was frightened, at least slightly. She’d attacked out of fear, not because she wanted to fight.

Posture: Even if she was afraid, her eyes were the only thing that betrayed it. She stood strongly, her left side facing toward Jagur. The only weakness he spotted was how she put more weight on her right side. She favored her left leg, perhaps from an old injury. Jagur doubted he’d be able to get her off-balance.

Alignment: Instead of attacking, she stood over him, watching, waiting for Jagur to make a move. She wasn’t going to finish him off, not if he didn’t show any aggression. Considering Jagur had only been hit, not clawed, she was holding back.

Jagur slowly rose to a crouch. He shook his pounding head.
The big alien watched him, the tension in her body telling him she still expected him to attack her.
“I was hunting animals, not you,” Jagur said. He licked a little bit of her blood from his long canines. “Sorry about biting you.”
She watched him, her stance relaxing just a little as he spoke.
Jagur stood and brushed leaves from his vest. “The name’s Jagur.”
She tipped her ears to him. “Savora,” she said. “I’m sorry. I heard you there and thought you were going to attack, so I figured I’d get you first.”
Jagur shrugged. “No hard feelings. I should have said something when I spotted you. Does that bite need treated? I could lick it.”
Savora looked at the wound. “I’ve had worse.”
Considering her speed, Jagur guessed she wasn’t lying. She’d had him down before he’d had a chance to fully react. This creature knew what she was doing.

Posted in My Stories, Spaceverse, Spaceverse, Writings | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Fanfic, the Dark Side of Writing


Over the years, I’ve read fanfic and seen discussion of it. I’ll even admit to writing some.

For those who don’t know, fan fiction (fanfic) is when a fan of a story writes another story set in the same universe. For example, if a person likes Star Wars, they might write a fanfic about Luke hunting Womp rats.

Some say fanfic is lazy writing, but I think it depends on the sort of writing. Many published authors started out writing fanfic. Kenan started out as Star Wars fanfic and the Lunar Chronicles started out as Sailor Moon fanfic.

There is also some media that is technically fanfic, but is legitimate, such as Star Wars books and cases where a new author finishes a series when the original author is no longer able to continue it. (When Robert Jordan passed away, Brandon Sanderson had to finish The Wheel of Time series.)

Fanfic is a good way for new, inexperienced writers to get into writing. After all, someone who just started writing is going to need a lot of practice to get to the point where they’re able to write something worth publishing, so there’s no reason they can’t start with fanfic.

But is it lazy to write in someone else’s world? I think this depends on the point of view. If it’s lazy to write in an already created universe, it would also be lazy to write fiction set in any time period in the real world.

Don’t get me wrong, most fanfic is awful, but it’s not because writing fanfic is lazy. It’s because lots of people who don’t know how to write are writing it, and good fanfic takes just as much skill as good writing in any genre.

Most of these lazy writers do things that a good writer would avoid. Their fanfic is little more than wish fulfillment, often jerking characters in directions those characters wouldn’t go, for example, pairing up characters who are not a couple in the story and would never be a couple. Another thing these bad fanfic writers do is write themselves into the story by making a character that is basically themselves but better, so this character can run around with the main characters of the story world. (This is where the term “Mary Sue” came from.)
If these people were writing something original, it would be just as bad as the fanfic, but readers seem more likely to read bad fanfic than bad original stories.

Good fanfic involves using someone else’s characters and depicting them accurately. This can be very difficult to get right. The writer can’t just design characters that they want to. They have to keep each character consistent with the rest of the media featuring that character. They also have to keep track of how the rules of the world work, and if they’re writing something based off a book, they should try to mirror the author’s style. This takes talent, and sometimes, it takes talent that those who write original fiction haven’t developed.

When it comes down to it, fanfic is a form of art, but like any form of art, there is a lot of it that’s just not good, which gives the rare good stuff a bad name. It can also be a good exercise for writers and help promote the authors they love.

Posted in Controversy, Geekiness, Musings | Tagged | 2 Comments