May 2021

Uplifting Diverse Writers

A quick shout out to brilliant science fiction writer S.Z. Attwell, whose debut novel Aestus has been positively compared to the first of my favourite sci-fi universe, Dune.

Aestus (Latin for heat/agitation) is an adult dystopian science-fiction series set centuries after climate change has ravaged much of Earth. An epic story of vengeance, power, shifting loyalties, and survival that looks at just how far people will go to protect what they love.”

Attwell’s writing is flawless and dynamic, the world of Aestus comes alive through its characters and compelling conflicts. Read some sample tips Attwell offers for your own world-building here.

AND there’s a sequel! So you don’t have to rest long before diving deeper into this unqiue and powerful new Sci-Fi universe.

Check out Aestus now.

Creative Community

As you may know, I’ve been attending Sarah Werner’s Live Stream Create-Alongs on Twitch sporadically for a while now, and I won some stickers! The create-alongs are a place for creatives to come together for two hours, twice a week, to chat about creativity, challenges and goals and to encourage and support each other on this rollercoaster of a journey.

Sarah kindly sent out these adorable stickers for me Down-Under with a heartwarming, handwritten card too. Thanks so much Sarah!

One sticker is from her audiodrama, Girl in Space, which is fantastic listening. I love space and science and mysteries and this one has the lot. The other sticker is from the create-along chats, where we all remind each other to drink water regularly: “Hydrate, don’t die-drate!” One crucial key to being successful in any endeavour.

Also, this week I was featured at the Carrot Ranch! Kid and Pal interviewed me at the Saddle Up Saloon, about my challenges as a creative and a young parent. Click here to check it out and join in the honest and heartwarming conversations we’re having there.

You won’t regret it. The Carrot Ranch has been with me from the start, always challenging me to grow and move forward through this ever elusive craft of writing. The Ranch’s weekly prompts inspire my flash fiction pieces and keep my writerly mind active while crafting my novel.

Sci-Fi Novels

Recently Read

I’ve now finished Subliminal by C.B. Barrie, find my 2-star review on Goodreads here. I think this book is great for a simple escape without too much excitement or intrigue, more for the intellectual looking at concepts close to home. Unfortunately not a fan, read at your own risk.

I also completed The Rift by Nina Allan which was more Literary than Sci-fi. The only sci-fi aspect was the fascinating world-building which was displayed as an unfortunate info-dump in several short pieces throughout the mid 40%.

The Rift was a thought-provoking look at how a traumatised individual integrates back into the world they once knew, and also, how those who love them see them in the aftermath. It’s about belief and connection. It’s powerful, but not my preferred style of writing.

Now Reading

Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee which, despite the deep dive into history (a subject I’ve never felt comfortable researching), is written flawlessly so far. An enjoyable ride, that’s also easy to follow. The clarity with which Nevala-Lee takes the reader through the Golden Age of Sci-fi is Astounding in itself.

A great one for writers who want to deepen their understanding of sci-fi, where it came from, how the ideas were first inspired and how a select few men and women influenced the use of the atomic bomb and the progression of the space race.

With the Kids

We just finished The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao which was a beautiful book, full of fun and action and culture. With a strong female protagonist whose Heroine’s Journey is less dependent on gender than on who each character is as a human. Highly recommended for school aged children, right up to adulthood. I loved this escape.

Content warning however, there are themes of death and battles, though it provides a safe and powerful forum to bring these topics up with the kids in a space where a parent can offer guidance.

What middle-grade sci-fi/fantasy should we read next?

Leave me your recommendations in the comments below.
The more diverse, the better!

Current Project – Novel

My handwritten approach got me to 25k words, which means I’ve hit the middle section of the draft, the bane of us all, and it’s time to add something else I’ve never done before: a reverse outline.

Reverse outlining is when you take what’s been written and you summarise it, creating an outline of the existing text and then expanding to discover what comes next. Reverse outlining is a valuable tool when mitigating writer’s block.

I’m using the widely known Snowflake Method for this.

As per the steps in the Snowflake Method (starting simple then expanding bit by bit slowly and organically) I’ve crafted the logline, expanded it into the plot paragraph, created basic story-driven character sheets (not attributes and quirks, but rather character needs, goals and growth alongside the story) and am up to expanding the plot paragraph further to discover the details of each part.

So far, this method is helping me craft a deeper world and multi-dimensional characters in a sequence that feels natural and inspiring.

Though having discovered the “ending” already, I can craft the outline toward that, I don’t know how the process would work without it.

Have you used Reverse Outlining? Another strategy? Or do you prefer not to outline?

I’ve also started compiling a list of near future sci-fi tech to enhance the settings and conflict in the story. These I’ll use as I write, or as I craft scene ideas via Holly Lisle’s Create a Plot Clinic* strategies.

If you’re keen on world-building, as mentioned above, remember to check out S.Z. Attwell’s post on world-building for Aestus. Attwell likens it to traversing a game world, where the map reveals itself as you go, and the character’s perspectives are vital to revealing the world to the reader organically. Check out Attwell’s post to experience some examples straight from Aestus Book 1: The City.

What strategies do you use for world-building more realistic settings and characters?

Leave your answers and thoughts below. I respond to each and every comment here on my website. Otherwise, pop over to the contact page and send me an email, I love to hear from readers and writers of all kinds.

For now, remember to:

Explore, create, repeat-

Then thrive.

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner

If you enjoy the author’s work, please consider supporting via ko-fi. Every little bit counts.

* denotes affiliate links

I only ever use affiliate links for products I wholeheartedly support and value.

If you do not wish to use the affiliate link, please find generic links below:

Holly Lisle’s Create a Plot Clinic

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