After Armageddon

1 | THE SOUNDTRACK OF IMAGINATION | 1

So it’s Tuesday and there is supposedly a music blog hop (Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday) that people participate in. I love my music and would love to give it a go, but it seems there is a specific theme/guideline they are using.

Basically they are working their way through the various decades — currently entrapped in the 60’s (or earlier) — where you make a “mixed tape” to someone as though you were living within that decade and have no knowledge of music beyond that time period. It’s a great, fun concept and I like it a lot, but feel a bit ill-prepared. I should have researched a tad bit earlier. Most know my knack for procrastination, though, so this likely doesn’t come as a surprise.

I’m going to go off the reservation a bit. It’s not that I dislike rules or lack understanding of their place; I just hate following them. No, but really, I just wasn’t prepared, so this week I will blaze my own trail — so to speak — while retaining the spirit of involving music in some fashion.

But first a completely unrelated story.

Bee All You Can Bee

Yesterday was Grandma Day. I visited and we caught up on current events from the past week, and I read her a handful of my BEDiM entries being we got behind last month. It was an early day, however, because my brother wanted to grill. On the way over to my brothers I had a close encounter of the bee kind.

I was almost to my destination, cruising down the road with my window down, taking in the evening breeze when all of a sudden there was a buzz and...

*THWACK*

From out of nowhere I was smacked upside the head (in the ear more specifically) and for a moment I thought I was going to die. Die by swerving off the road and flipping my car. But I lived, and my vehicle remained straight and true on the road. Then there was a buzz. I cringed, and was maybe gripped by fear. The buzz sounded again and whatever the source... it sounded huge. I was certain I was about to engage in another epic battle with a June Bug. I can’t recall if I recounted my first combat story; I will link to it if I happen to find I have.

Needless to say, I hate June Bugs.

Panic overtook me and I tried to remain low/scrunched over/etc for some reason. Maybe I thought I would have a better chance that way? No freakin’ idea. Instincts were kicking in. Another Buzz and I tried looking back to find out what I was dealing with, because I couldn’t recall if June Bugs, you know... buzzed. In my first battle with a June Bug it maneuvered silently. Chances were good I was dealing with a bee, not that that made it the situation any better; I am afraid of bees and wasps. Don’t judge!

Finally I got to my brother’s house and evacuated the vehicle. Looking through the back window I saw my arch nemesis for the evening: A giant bumble bee. The sucker was huge! It was dazed and confused... grooming itself and buzzing around the back window now and again, but unable to find its way out. I showed it to my young nieces and the friends they had over. It was quite the spectacle to them. Hell, even to me. I was against killing it. I understood we both happened to be at the right place at the wrong time, so I left the windows open for it to eventually escape and be on its merry.

At the end of the night, I have to admit, I was afraid it may still be in the car. Thankfully, “Flight of the Bumblebee” Part 2 never came to fruition; all was quiet and peaceful.

Hey, Look at that! Worked music into the story! I’m such a genius almost always never that I scare myself sometimes. And here I thought I would have to create a song on a whim. Perhaps, in due time, I still will...

Now that’s really scary!

The Sounds of Armageddon

Now down to business.

I thought for my music theme I would highlight a couple of songs that have given me inspiration for various pieces of work. I will likely make this a series that I partake in periodically (possibly sans the randomly interjected, unassociated stories). Consider this Part One of The Soundtrack of Imagination series! Today I’m specifically focusing on my Post Apocalyptic/Sci-Fi story: After Armageddon. First off is the song that I view being inspirational for the series as a whole. A theme song perhaps?

Imagine Dragons - Radioactive:

I’ve no place specifically in the story that this song represents yet. So far, when I listen to Radioactive I see a montage of scenes taking place throughout the story; like a trailer of sorts. If you see me listening to this song (or the After Armageddon playlist) on Facebook/Spotify you can be sure that I’m focusing on that fictional piece. It amps me up!

Next up we have a song I’m sure many are familiar with.

Michael Andrews, Gary Jules - Mad World:

I love this cover of the Tears for Fears song. The first few times I listened to it some pretty strong emotions were evoked (and still are). The first time hearing this version was from Donnie Darko, a movie I’m very, very fond of.

This is the song I listened to while writing Chapter Three of After Armageddon. The song will likely encompass a majority of the events that take place in that section of the story. Naturally it’s placed in a spot where a very traumatic event is unfolding. I feel the song allows me to lock into that state of mind, imagining myself in the situation first hand. The hope is that it fuels my ability to pull the readers into the character’s shoes, allowing them to experiencing what he/she is.

So those are two of the songs that play a significant role inspiring my After Armageddon fiction. I hope you’ve enjoyed!

Next Tuesday I hope to be on board with the music blog hop. Feel free to join in on the shenanigans!

Have you ever been kamikazeed in the ear by a bee while on the open road? *Sigh* Didn’t think so... Do you have specific songs that inspire some of your creative works?

A to Z 2013 : AFTER ARMAGEDDON

(An A to Z 2013 Challenge Entry)

It’s April 1st and it appears this A to Z event isn’t some cruel April Fool’s joke...

So, the challenge begins! I have no doubt this is going to drive me mad, but felt it would be great practice and should open some doors to connecting with fellow bloggers. I’m curious of how the appeal will be, being I chose to focus on my journal/personal blog instead of my fiction blog. I also passed on picking a specific theme; something that would have heightened interest and made everything worlds easier.

With no theme, the topics will be random. I do, however, plan to blog a little about my writing projects intermittently. They will be sprinkled throughout the chaos that is about to ensue.

As a first time participant, I’m just going with the flow, all the while attempting to avoid becoming completely frazzled. The concern of keeping up with not only my own blog entries, but those of fellow bloggers, is a real one. Knowing that others are diving head first into the same murky waters, though, is comforting. At least I’m not alone.

No map, compass, or survival skills? Sounds good, let’s do this!

Write What You Know

I figured the most fitting place to begin would be with After Armageddon. It is, after all, the reason I stumbled upon the A to Z Challenge to begin with, so it would only seem fair. 

After Armageddon is a story I began to partake in once NaNoWriMo came to an end. Taking a break from my NaNo story, I thought blogging would be a great way to keep actively writing until the dreaded rewriting process. The idea for this story has been with me since early 2008, and was technically imagined as a TV series. For a period of time, I contemplated dabbling in screenplays/scripts, but never went through with it.

I am uncertain how common it is, but I see all my projects in visualized movie format — playing out in my mind — needing only to figure out how to write what I see. Considering I was deep within a writer’s block funk, the fruition of those ideas were rarely birthed. I created some simple outlines, but never advanced beyond that.

Eventually the idea resurged and I wanted to explore it, only this time in novel form. Instead of attempting to jump right in and tackling it, I thought I would write it over a period of time as a blog series. It wouldn’t be as daunting if piece by piece, rather than a full blown assault; easy peasy.
I was mistaken.

I feel most at fault was my departure from one of the Golden Rules of writing: write what you know. While I don’t fully agree — I think going outside your comfort zone helps you learn and grow, even with writing — I can completely understand how it makes things easier. I’m more accustomed to writing Fantasy/Adventure, and creating the world the events take place in.

After Armageddon is a Post Apocalyptic Fantasy/Sci-Fi based story taking place on Earth. A story that I can add various creations to, but want to retain a sense of realism. Sense of realism... I’ve a feeling that statement will completely bite me on the ass with what I have in mind for After Armageddon. Regardless, this lack of knowledge on various topics has me researching a lot of things, which eats up a lot of time.

It was during this research that I came across Shannon at The Warrior Muse. She had up an article/blog entry talking about writing post-apocalyptic stories. It was a lot of help, and I subscribed to her blog, which in turn lead me to hearing about the A to Z Challenge.

Another factor creating a challenge is that I didn’t start where planned. When the idea came to me, it was end of this story. It was something that I wanted to create and from there worked backwards. Eventually the story spiraled into more than I had anticipated; expanding well beyond the “end” I had envisioned. I feel a starting point is important when you tell your story. After Armageddon was meant to take place specifically in the not so distant alternate future, accompanied by a series of flashbacks throughout.

I got wrapped into a few specific scenes, though, that I really wanted to write. They take place before the main bulk of the story; essentially what would have been the flashbacks. This made things more difficult, but I found (thankfully) that doing this opened up a flood of ideas for the story — from additional characters and events to plot connections later in the series. With the third chapter, I‘m slowly attempting to shift into this other section/timeline of the story. We will have to see how the transition goes.

So, with the fear of not writing realistically, researching, entering uncharted territory, and other life contributions my pace has been hindered. I’ve finally released the third part and hope to continue regularly, albeit a bit slower than desired. Having just shifted the series to my own blog — originally posted on a collaborative blog — and having such a long delay since the last post, I assume I lost a handful that were keeping up on it.

That brings to light the other most important factor I seem to constantly forget. It’s for me. I love others reading and critiquing/discussing my writing, but ultimately it’s for myself; to keep doing what I am passionate about doing. Practicing and plugging away, finally after so many years of lost time. I’m treating the blog series as sort of a rough draft. That is why there will be random edits made over time. One of these, I’ve a feeling, will be the timeline. Others will just be minor grammar/spelling edits.

As for writing what you know? I’d like to believe I know people, and my stories are all very character driven. So, while I may not know much about military protocol, complete effects of earthquakes, and alarm system capabilities when power is lost, I feel those things will be background to what is most important: the characters.

What’s Your Story About?

This is a question I heard a lot during NaNoWriMo. It makes sense, right? You’re writing a story, and you’re interacting with other writers doing the same. Why wouldn’t you ask that question? As logical as it sounds, I’ve always had a strong sense of avoidance to it.

It’s like I have the defense mechanism of keeping my ideas safely guarded and secret. This isn’t necessarily because I think my ideas are amazing, but more that they are mine. Sharing these ideas would mean having to share some of myself. Also, I hate spoilers and feel that I will somehow give something away. It makes no sense, but it is what it is.

I can only imagine the scenario if I ever attempted to pitch my book for publishing:

“Well, you see, this thing... this event takes place. The story takes place X amount of time after said event, and these characters are striving to survive,” I’d begin.

“What exactly is the event? What happens? What happens to your characters along the way?”

Silence.

“Uh... stuff... and then more stuff... you see?” Met with blank stares. “Once you read it, you’ll completely understand!”

Yeah.. I’ve a notion that won’t go over too well. What can you do? If there was a trailer for the series I’d want it reminiscent to earlier M. Night Shyamalan movies; Vague yet intriguing. I hate how so much is spoiled in trailers nowadays!

Anyway, it has to be maddening for one of my brothers who I’ve signed on to be my soundboard. The conversations aren’t so much different from the above. Even worse is I know he’s likely to read it at some point, and hate ruining anything. He will bring up one point/topic, and I will say that point/topic is explained or irrelevant because of X, Y and/or Z which have yet to be revealed to him. Oh yes, it drives him mad! Muahahahahaha!

I’m getting better with it, I swear. But... but no pinky swear. Just saying.

What I can say is that the story is set to be gritty and geared towards adults. Violence, blood, and vulgarity will be prominent. There are religious themes, and like most of my writing, various theories/beliefs are intermixed.

Uh... So WTF is Your Story About?!

To be honest, I haven’t exactly ever come up with a fitting synopsis of After Armageddon. While I know the endgame, The inner workings are still very much a work in progress.

Essentially it’s a story about a cataclysmic event that changes the world as we know it, and how those that survive must adapt and cope with this change. Specifically focusing on a handful of people as they fight for their lives and quite possibly the future of the world; some by choice, others by circumstance.

Sound pretty generic? Yeah, I thought so too.

So you see, this event takes place... and stuff happens. But guess what? There are people in it! Not only that, but they have to survive through the aftermath of said event!

*Sigh*

I'm working on it, I swear! But... you know... not pinky swear. That’s serious business.

If interested in checking out what I have out so far, just remember it’s always best to start from the beginning.

The Early Arlee Bird Gets the Worm Word

Upon registering to the A to Z Challenge I was informed who it was exactly that begun the challenge: Arlee Bird. He has been there from its humble conception, building it up and helping it metamorph into the beloved event it is today. Each year, more and more participate and now there is no going back!

It just goes to show how a simple idea can spawn great things and bring such a wide variety of people, of different backgrounds, together. Its a beautiful thing really, and is a reason I like a lot of these types of events. Regardless of our upbringings, beliefs, passions, we all have a connectedness. This is one of the ways we ignore those differences and engage with one another. We write! We encourage one another! We curse the letters X and Z!

So I’d like to give thanks to Arlee Bird for creating such a fun event, and I look forward to giving it my first go. I plan to participate from here on out; year after year.

You can visit Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out! Good luck to everyone participating!

Que the Interactions

I’ve come to notice a handful of blogs place questions at the end of their entries. I’ve also read articles stating it is a great way to engage your readers. It seems clumsy to me, but I am attempting to follow suit...

Have you ever strayed from “Write What You Know” when writing a story? If so, how have you managed the challenges it presents? Are you secretive/hesitant about sharing your story ideas or do share with wreckless abandon? Does anyone actually take pinky swearing as seriously as I do?