(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...
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
I was mistaken.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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:
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?”
“Uh... stuff... and then more stuff... you see?” Met with blank stares. “Once you read it, you’ll completely understand!”
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!
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!
I’m getting better with it, I swear. But... but no pinky swear. Just saying.
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
Uh... So WTF is Your Story About?!
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.
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.
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!
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
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!
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!
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
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
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?