Your Future…bumbumbum…

Over at Terribleminds Chuck Wendig issued a challenge. Write a flash fiction with words from his small child. Challenge accepted. I wrote about your future. (Or his, if his child turns out to be a super sarcastic partly alien living in a colony growing up in the J cohort. Seems unlikely, but not impossible.)

I even made a quiz. (should be at the bottom of the page too) You can find out your own future. Now excuse me while I go say some not sarcastic things to work this out of my system so I can do other writing.

Your Future

I looked around the room and peaked at tests. I looked down at my own. 500 questions. I was never going to finish. I only had my name on it.

“Please remember, this is not a test of your knowledge. There is no right or wrong answers.” I rolled my eyes at the teacher. She smiled at all six of us.

No right or wrong but it would determine the rest of our lives.

“Well some answers will be wrong.” Julie, who knew everything, mumbled just loud enough for everyone to hear. Jason chuckled. I rolled my eyes and my shoulders.

“Every job is important. Every position matters. Without each person and their specific talents the colony would not thrive as it does. Soon you will all be important, powerful members of the colony. This will help identify what your skills are.”

Someone made a sucking sound. Probably Jacob. I scoffed and sighed. At least when this was all over I’d be done with the Js and we’d all be off into the rest of the colony. It was so annoying to deal with these immature idiots all the time.

I sighed and looked down at the questions.

What is the most important thing in your life?
◦    The colony
◦    My cohort
◦    Discovering new worlds
Finishing this test. Not being annoyed by the Js to death. Being done with this damn test. Pff. I marked Discovering new worlds.

During free time you…
◦    Study the colony details, history, and optimizing my capacity for learning
◦    Spend time with friends and develop relationships
◦    Tending the animals
◦    Volunteering
They had to be kidding. Ugh. Fine.  I selected volunteering. At least my actual record would show I didn’t do that.

In the morning you notice your________first when you look in the mirror.
◦    My eyes
◦    My smile
◦    My fangs
◦    My aural stalks
Come on. Were they all going to be like this? Nothing even about what I was actually good at. I skimmed through the test looking for anything even the slightest bit relevant.

Which trait is the most important?
◦    Compassion
◦    Honesty
◦    Diligence
◦    Determination
Diligence would be something like janitorial duty. Compassion would make me deal with the dumbest of the colony, oh wait. I looked around the room…I already did that. I marked Determination. I was determined to be done with this test.

What is your favorite animal?
◦    Worms
◦    Goats
◦    Hawks
◦    Spiders
Oh, I really didn’t want to end up in the barns. I wrinkled my nose. Hawks, I guess. I looked around. Jill was reading each question carefully and stopped to actually ponder the answers. They’d just shove us into whatever jobs they had open. It wasn’t like they’d let the medic job sit empty because no one was naturally inclined to do it. Why were they making us waste hours on this damn test?

Under pressure you are:
◦    Nervous
◦    A natural leader
◦    A follower
◦    At my best
Oh good. We aren’t biasing our answers at all here. Nooope. Not even a little. Where’s the question about preparing these exams?

When evaluating others it is important to be:
◦    Consistent
◦    Pragmatic
◦    Direct
◦    Supportive
All over the place, random, obtuse, and dismissive wasn’t listed. Which of course just meant that I was absolutely right about shoving us into whatever job they needed filled.

B. I was going to go with B for everything. Nah. Every fifth answer I’d switch it up a little. I started checking boxes. B, B, B, B, A – oh fun!

Jacob was just drawing boobs on his. Maybe they’d make him the medic.

All my questions were answered. Well none of my questions were answered, but that wasn’t going to change any time soon. I filed up to the front and passed the test over to the teacher. I was the third person done. Jacob of course had been first. Boobs were apparently the way to finish fast. I snickered to myself.

Jill had finished before me too. I couldn’t quite figure it out. She was smart, sure. But she’d been thinking about the answers. Maybe I dozed off and took a nap and didn’t notice.

The teacher took the sealed print out from the machine and handed it to me. Putting her fingers to her lips and baring her fangs at me, she pointed out the door.

I headed out. My last day of class.

Jacob was slumped on the floor in the hall. “I’m a janitor. A goddamn janitor.”

“Hey now, you will be the second in charge. You jumped right to the front of the line. And all jobs are very important. And you’ll get to go outside the habitat. You like getting out of here right.” Jill was crouched in front of him with her hand on his knee.

“What’d you get?” Jill sat down next to Jacob and I came over to sit next to her.

I ripped open my envelope and held my breath. “I am queen of the goats.” Lead Goatherd

There was silence for a long moment and then both Jill and Jacob burst into laughter.

Goat - your future - good for you!

A goat – from Armin Kübelbeck @ Wikipedia

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S1.9 Slippery Fish


Slippery Fish by Ronel van Tonder.

Learn more about Ronel.
You can support her by picking up her new book The Seventh
Glitch
, or read the first book in her Corrupted SUN Script Trilogy for free.

Ronel van Tonder is a science fiction author from South Africa, currently residing in Johannesburg. Her works include a dark,
dystopian sci-fi trilogy, The Corrupted SUN Script, and a standalone cyberpunk novel, The Seventh Glitch. When she’s not
writing, Ronel spends her free time slaying rendered baddies in the form of robots, gangsters and aliens – with any weapon that happens to be at hand. She also runs her own website design company, and loves dabbling in graphic design, 3D modelling, and
animation.

Music is provided by MADS.

You can support 600 Second Saga by giving us a 5 star review on your podcast tool or by becoming a patron.

Giveaway!

I’ve got a giveaway for audiobooks to announce! (This is my first giveaway so if there are any problems, please let me know.)

You can win a free audiobook at Audible.  If you don’t know about Audible they are a great place to get audiobooks. You can either subscribe and get a credit every month (or a year’s worth up front) or you can buy a book here or there. (I was a member long before they were bought by Amazon. I’ve clearly loved audiobooks for a long time.) Or…right now you can take a chance to win a credit for an audiobook!

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Weekly Email Giveaway!

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Learn more about submitting your flash fiction.

Reading Roundup

A little bit nerdy a little bit awesome a reading roundup this week. Not a list of books, but of very interesting tidbits of reading. (Hey these roundups aren’t always tied up neatly together, sometimes they are just some cool things I read during the week or stumbled across!)

Reading

How NOT to read like a beta reader from Kate Heartfield

I absolutely run into this when I do a lot of reading for …not pleasure. It is such a hard rut to get out of. I do feel like I do a little better with audiobooks because I don’t see things like grammar errors or other things, usually the narrator will read them correctly even if they are written wrong, which is awesome. But it is also harder to dwell or go back. I very much appreciate these tips.

Census and History

So Canada is full of nerds.

Nerds who love statistics. (You heard about how they crashed the census site right?) This is full of really great information about why census data is important, what they collect, how it comes out. And it includes links to data you can play with. (The US has some similar kinds of tools, though a lot of it is in hands of other organizations.)

census form

This is a Cuyahoga County, Ohio US Census form

Teeny Tiny Terrors

It is a mental floss counting list

I do love folklore traditions and the tiny little minions of doom that come with many of them.

I think that R2-D2 and BB-8  sort of fall into this category too. A little mischievous.

S1.8 Into the Leaden Sky


Into the Leaden Sky by Stefan Budansew.

Read the text for Into the Leaden Sky

You can learn more about Stefan Budansew. You can support him by purchasing Immersion.

Stefan Budansew has been storyteller his entire life, however he only started writing the stories down in 2013. Initially encouraged by Nanowrimo, Stefan published his first short novel in 2015, and has several other works in progress. He also assists with the 600 Second Saga podcast and encourages others to share all the stories which they keep inside. Stefan has a love of science fiction, old-school tabletop gaming and video games. Stefan will be at Niagara Falls Comic Con on June 4th as Kingpin. (Image thanks to Pop Culture Landscape)

Kingpin - thanks to popculturelandscape.com

Music is provided by MADS.

You can support 600 Second Saga by giving us a 5 star review on your podcast tool or by becoming a patron.

Publicity Roundup

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about publicity, marketing, outreach, and such recently so I thought I’d do a publicity roundup. These are a few of the more interesting links, resources, and even an ad I ran across.

Publicity infographic

Infographic from Book Baby. Because infographics are pretty.

I am doing most of the things on the list…ok like halfish…I am working on developing a couple contests, likely for audiobooks, coming up soon. Stay tuned!

Spending an hour a day in social media seems like a lot to me. Though if it was one of the less productive hours of the day it wouldn’t be so bad. And if writing was my full time job it would be different. For me it seems like the best thing I could do with an hour would be write. I don’t always get to do it. Sometimes it is a blog post, sometimes a flash piece, sometimes novel work. But I feel like if I’m going to commit another hour a day to something it should be writing. Though every hour can’t be productive. I can’t expect to spend 4 hours a night after 9 hours of work being productive at writing, that’s not how you brain, or at least not how I brain.

A great ad

Tree Lobsters has a fantastic ad for a new short story collection. (I didn’t know the Tree Lobster guy did short stories, but a read and love the comic so I’m going to guess the stories will be as fun.

Awesome ad/comic

I don’t know that I’ve learned how to make a great ad, but I think this is one. Funny, visual, but some thing else I can’t place.

Blog tours

I’ve been reading a lot about blog tours lately. I actually feel like I know less now than I did when I started reading. I’m not sure how that is possible, but that’s what I’m feeling.

You can pay someone to help you set up a blog tour, and there are a lot of these companies out there. I found lists of companies and inevitably about half of the sites no longer existed so I think it is a high turn over business. Mostly they collect bloggers and connect authors with bloggers.

There also seems to be a site that does it free, though no guarantee of success, you as the author have to do the outreach on your own.

Blog Tour (the free site)

There also seems to be the idea of just find the sites you like and ask. That seems terrifying. On some sites the authors do regular things that are guest posts you can request to participate in. For most sites though…scary.

Publicity roundup person

Image via Under30CEO

 

Why Audio?

So why audio? Why do I make it? Why produce things as audiobooks? I like to write, so why do audio?

I recognize not a lot of authors create audio, and even fewer authors create their own audio. (Which is 100% ok!) I was asked why I did it, especially when I talked a little about how much work it is.

My experience

I’ve actually got a good bit of experience in doing audio. Not entirely like audiobooks or podcasts but similar.

I worked in radio for a while. I produced news segments. (I actually have the skill of splicing tape, and I’m not that old, but I’ve chopped audio up into tiny bits and put it together.) I also hosted several shows and spent a good chunk of time on air.

I also have experience with doing shorter, more highly produced audio for elearnings. I do quite a bit of professional audio work that way now.

Microphone

Mic from Lucasbosch

So why audio?

Audio is something that I like to consume. I listen to a lot of audiobooks. (I was a member of audible a forever ago, back before it was an amazon company.) I’ve been listening to podcasts for a really long time. I’m sure I listen to more books than I read. I don’t know that the majority of my information consumption comes from podcasts and audiobooks, but it is a significant portion.

I also know that audio is valuable to a lot of people for a range of reasons.

Commutes

Some people have commutes that are hours and hours long, being able to escape into a novel is a great way to pass a commute. I’ve known people who have jobs that are primarily driving, same thing. So just having a lot of time commuting and being able to spend that with consumable information is wonderful.

Accessibility

For people who have trouble reading, audio is incredibly valuable. Being able to listen to a story and enjoy reading and other worlds, as well as consume information in a quick way is a great boon of living in the future now. (And yes, there are tools like text to speech, but they don’t have the same kinds of human qualities that a person would **yet**.)

Deeper world

I like bringing worlds to life. I know that some people really enjoy and focus on cover art and other art for books, but for me the moment it is brought to life is when I hear it. It creates a richer world. Both for me creating it, and when I consume it.

Better books!

Audiobooks are better. I said it. Ok maybe not all audiobooks are better than all written only books. But in general I think that doing a read aloud of a book makes it better. Even if you aren’t going to publish the audio version reading it will help you catch things you wouldn’t otherwise. I know when I’ve read something of mine or someone else’s when I read it out loud I always catch something new. I think that it really does help to improve the book to have a pass of reading it.

So why audio?

Because I like it. Because I want to share my work with people who need the accessibility or the flexibility of being able to listen to audio. Because it helps me improve the quality of my work.

(As a bonus, I will often do multiple audio reads because one of the people I turn to for beta reading sometimes prefers audio. These pieces I feel like really improve greatly.)

S1.7 Relics: A Land Destroyed beta v.8.14


Relics: A Land Destroyed beta v.8.14 by Mariah Avix.

You can learn more at 600 Second Saga.

600 Second Saga is currently accepting 1,000 word sci-fi and fantasy flash fiction. Please visit our website to learn about how you can submit your work to give voice to your world.

Music is provided by MADS.

You can support 600 Second Saga by giving us a 5 star review on your podcast tool or by becoming a patron.

Messy Roundup

My thoughts are a bit mess this week so it is leading to a bit of a messy roundup.

Have you read blahblahblah

I told you messy. I both love and despise all of the lists about what you should read and what you have to read and what you are a horrible person if you don’t read and what you aren’t a real writer if you don’t read and whatever. They always say more about the people compiling them than anything else.

SF Signal’s How Well-Read found a new shiny toy at Worlds Without End  which lets you compare and compile lists without end in the SFF realms. There of course was the one that NPR put together that was turned into a fancy flowchart and an even fancier interactive thing.

I love that they can introduce you to new books. I love that they give you a chance to see if you are being broad in your scope. I hate the often prescriptive nature of the lists.  It feels like it is always the same books over and over and over. And the over and over nature of it feels a little like if you don’t like this thing you’re not a real fan. There is also a bit of the whole idea of a true fan that I will explore at some other point in time, but for now. Bullshit. The bullshittiest of bullshit.

messy so messy

Free Will horse from Faisal Akram because when I searched for Free Will this was the best thing that I got…

I have no choice but to write this

Illusion of Free Will I feel a little surprised that this is a new idea apparently? Is this really a new idea? I assume there is something fundamentally different about this than other stuff I’ve read.

There is an idea in some communities (I am really sure there is a Mysterious Universe episode that talks about this but I’m having a hard time finding it so I may be wrong?) that the gap in time is basically where …consciousness lives. Or where the soul lives.

But that our brains sort of back engineer things is very common. Some biases work this way. You make decisions (people are so weird during the full moon!) and then you seek out evidence to support that and dismiss what doesn’t.

*This doesn’t give you the right to be an asshole. Not having free will doesn’t mean you should go out and shoot someone and say you couldn’t help it. You’re just an asshole. Stop being an asshole.

Mesmerizing

This is a round up of things that will make you stare for hours watching how the insides of things work. So engineering gifs basically.

 

Post Camp Nano

So we are now post Camp Nano. How did I do?

Post Camp Nano logo

Post Camp Nano blues

Goals?

My goal was to rewrite a novel. I knew it was going to need a lot of changes. But I was hoping I could focus and get the editing of it done. So that I could move forward with that series. I thought this might be a big goal, but I thought it was doable.

But poorly considered…

I just started a podcast. It has only been going for a few months, and I’m determined to keep it going and it is a lot of work to make it happen. Promoting it, getting the word out, bringing in listeners and authors, supporting the authors with critique feedback, not to mention actually writing, editing, recording and producing.

Somehow I didn’t really managed to take that into account. I’m trying to balance a lot of things and I think that I’m trying to figure out what a good balance is. I’m learning.

Post Camp Nano debrief

I failed. Super duper failed. Super duper fantastical extraordinary failed. I at one point had a little done and I’ve actually gone backward. I have less done now than when I started the month. I had a couple of chapters edited. Now I have to throw the whole book out basically.

All is not lost

But on the upside (yes there is an upside here) I learned stuff. I learned a lot of stuff. Like I was creating a plan that might be overly ambitious, or aggressive, or three minutes of laughter…”you’re kidding right? oh ….shit.”

I learned that the structure I need to create for myself. I learned what I think for now a better plan would look like. I learned that I need to make sure I don’t go, I’m only going to edit. Editing is hard and in a lot of ways feels less creative and less like I’m doing a thing. So I need to weave in doing some writing and not only editing.

The novel?

So I went backward. Mostly. But I think I actually came up with a really good plan on how to make it actually work. I have good ideas on resolving the problems.

They are big changes, removing an entire character and spreading her actions between two other characters. Adding several more scenes. Changing one scene completely radically, it was actually one of my very big stumbling blocks, I couldn’t see a way past it. Now I have a great solution.

I made a lot of really good notes so I can come back and pick this up later. It might have to sit for a while longer before I come back around to editing it. And that’s ok. I should be able to pick it back up with the good notes.

Cabin mates

I had great cabin mates this year! Some have already written and published, some are just starting out. But they all had great things to share. Many thoughtful conversations. Most of the cabin was working on paranormal romanceish works. Some historical (which was great to hear perspective on), some modern, some editing, some writing fresh. It was very cool to have a great cabin. So thank you to all my cabin mates!

Bonus recording learning…

I may be better off scheduling recording longer things in the winter. Doing full books and doing narration for other books, might be better left as a winter project in general.