March 2021

Sci-fi TV

This might come as a shock to most, but-

I’ve never seen Firefly.

I’ve listened to endless podcast episodes, read countless blog posts, been part of numerous conversations between creatives, where Firefly has always been touted as the best-of-the-best in sci-fi story structure, world building and compelling characters, but I still had never seen it.

So when a certain streaming provider announced their new collection of shows and movies included Firefly, you can guarantee I stuck it high on my priority list.

A few episodes in now and it lives up to every expectation. Funny, complex, action-packed, and all built around a sci-fi world that hits closer to home than the gigantic space operas with FTL drives and wormholes and the like. The characters are deep and lovable, while being far from perfect (though this is often what makes any character lovable). Captain Mal is a barrel of contradictions, except for his core motivation, the love of his crew. He would do anything for them, no matter his defensive, tough guy attitude (he’s battling a whole lotta crap in his head) and that’s beautiful.

I especially loved the second scene in the first episode where they’re floating around in only slightly less bulky, NASA-esque spacesuits, among the wreckage of an abandoned ship. I could picture our own astronauts, with our current technology, doing just the same. And it felt real.

So that’s been a fascinating and utterly worth-it dive into another faucet of the Sci-fi world, despite my conviction to get the words done, I believe Firefly has been worth every minute.

Reading on the other hand- you can’t write well if you don’t read. So, onto books!

Sci-Fi Novels

Currently I’m reading To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini – who was the sole inspiration for me to begin my writing journey way back when, after reading the Eragon/Inheritance Tetra-logy (something around 8-15 times each, depending on the number of the book in the series, #1 Eragon being the most read) – and I am loving it.

It bleeds with the passion and dedication of the ten years he put into the worlds and characters and the plot. Revising and re-writing over and over until it was just right. I thoroughly appreciated the shout-out to one of my favourite characters in Eragon at about 20% in (you’ll have to read it too). That sparked a few tears of joy.

He was my favourite author as a kid, before I knew anything at all about Sci-Fi. The fact that he dove right into Sci-Fi too, with all of his heart, feels like we’re on a similar journey and it’s powerful to find an inspiration like that. I’m determined to flesh out my own worlds with as much realism and dimension as he has given the Sea of Stars universe.

I’m also reading Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood by Holly Lisle (free first chapter sneak peek via the link) whose teachings have empowered so many writers around the world to learn how to wrangle that elusive muse and get it spewing words and worlds in minutes. Her sci-fi is fast paced, with powerful multi-dimensional characters, and galaxy-spanning concepts. I’m loving it. I had to put down The Longview Chronicles to read this one, as the characters intersect and I just had to learn all about the infamous Cadence Drake before going any further.

I do not regret it.

Reading is so good for the soul.

Also reading:

Space Unicorn Blues by T.J.Berry which is another fast-paced, strange, dark fantasy, Sci-fi novel with characters who are full of humour and attitude.
Aestus by S.Z.Atwell a dark, post-apocalyptic sci-fi where the human race now lives in cities beneath the ground. The characters are complex and fascinating so far.

I also have a full bag of library books I just had to take with me when I last visited. No guarantees I’ll read them all before they’re due back but I’m well on the way through Space Unicorn Blues so far, so it’s a good sign. I just need to remember to read while I eat and wait at school pickup rather than perusing social media (though I’m slowly pulling away from all the platforms more and more to focus on the words, and will return when closer to release).


Current Project – Novel

The words are bogged down this month, but I get something small down most days. I wasn’t reaching my daily page goals for the first couple of weeks, but toward the end that number improved.

I’m always advancing, and that’s the key.

Up to 25k so far. If you’ve been following my flash fiction pieces, my WIP has just intersected with The End and Deep Wishes. I’m dabbling further into horror than I thought, but the darkness has always fascinated me.

Don’t worry, there’s a happy ending! And not too much body horror.

Just an air of creepiness.

Also, I tried a new tactic to get those words moving again, which helped me improve toward the end of the month.

Rather than writing from the MC’s POV – as I had been for the whole draft so far – I swapped out to an omniscient POV, and just wrote each scene out, one event after the next, adding in little excerpts of direct dialogue or descriptive passages as they came to me, and it has helped immensely.

I even changed pen colour, to shift that along. Since I prefer Black ink, and I use Blue, Red and Green to add snippets and notes to reference in revision, I swapped to alternating blue and green between scenes, which just makes the writing feel less restricted.

Less like “these words have to be in the final copy,” and more like “here, have some general notes, do with them as you will.” I am loving it.

I highly suggest you play around with different colours and fonts and even stickers, for your first draft. Use them as rewards every time you complete a set of words, or a page, or a scene etc. Make the work fun and it’ll feel less like a slog, allowing you to conjure up more motivation to get back to writing every time you’re pulled away.

What’s a tactic you’ve experimented with and found helpful in getting that first draft done?

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

February 2021

The Incident

Friday 12th Feb 2021

So we’re now two weeks into the month, the kiddos have been back at school and I’ve been smashing out them words, doing a few workouts a week, joining in for the twice-weekly Create-Alongs run by Sarah Rhea Werner, sleeping enough, eating well, drinking lots and so on, so forth.

Feeling all-round awesome.

Then this morning rolled around.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had ups and downs, as we all do. Unexpectedly taking over two of the kid’s basketball teams as sole coach and manager was a big one! Especially since social interactions of all kinds drain me, and being handed the reins for these kids, to call the shots around something so important, it was a shock to the system.

You can safely assume my nerves were shot last weekend, there were tears and arguments and avoidance and all of it (it also didn’t help that I was reaching the end of my monthly cycle that week too, so: hormones).

But I got through it. I stepped up, and (with all the lovely support of our basketball families) I got through, and felt pretty damned good about it.

Before I get to this morning, I need to mention a story I heard from a few days ago first.

School traffic in the morning, abundant with people stressing and rushing and caring more about timing than safety, and a gorgeous family from the school were victims in a car accident. This poor family had their car hit from behind because the other person wasn’t paying attention. It was a write-off. The whole rear of the car was crushed from the impact. Young girls in the back seat, too, on their way to school.

Important side note: they’re all okay!

My heart broke when I read that story and saw the pictures. Car accidents are horrific, they stick with you for so long after, not to mention the fear you experience when it happens, the nightmares, the anxiety. All of it.

It wasn’t fair.

When I read this story, I came away horrified, frustrated, and disappointed in our community.

What could lead a person to be so careless?

I like to drive around in the zippy little car we have, it’s fun, but I’m careful. I respect the road rules. I respect that others might not be as focused as they should be while on the road. I don’t touch my phone while driving.

I’m careful.

And I still enjoy it.

I turn on a podcast or some metal or an instrumental collection to muse over my work-in-progress.

And I just enjoy the drive.

If we’re running late, I let everyone know ahead of time, I apologise, the kiddos all understand, and we still take it easy. We do not rush (a drastic difference to how I was raised). And we get there when we get there.

Now, the roadworks here are horrendous as of late. If we leave at our usual time, it takes 50 minutes to get to school drop off instead of 17.

So we leave earlier.

I get up earlier, I help the kids a little more than usual, I make sure we all sleep enough, make sure everything is ready that can be ready the night before, and we leave a little earlier to beat the build up.

And it works.

So, today. Here I am, all proud of myself. I dropped the kiddos off early, they have time to settle in without pressure, I’m headed home, cruising through the back streets, ducking and weaving around the building school traffic queues, always sticking to 40km/hr in school zones, or slower, never faster.

I’m ahead of it all. I’m doing awesome. This parenting thing is working for me. I’m feeling excited to get home early and get started on writing sooner than usual. I’m feeling proud.

And arrogant.

Now, I should feel proud, I know this, I accept this, I embrace this.

But today I took it too far. My teenage arrogance of old reared it’s ugly head.

So, there’s this set of lights, where everyone queues to skip all the traffic on the main road, trying to get back out of town. I stop in the queue and wait, the queue isn’t as big as usual because I’m earlier than usual and I’ll get through the lights with the next sequence then be on my way. Cruising home.

On top of the world.

Next moment, I see this patched up bogan car come to a hard stop right behind me and it scares me for just a moment, thinking there’d be an impact. But it doesn’t come. I breathe.

I’m looking, thinking they’re so close because they just want to be out of the way of the roundabout, so then I think sure thing and I inch a little further forward, giving them more room. Being the helpful community member that I am (more pride, feeding that arrogance).

And- they don’t move. They don’t even notice.

But I brush it off.

The light goes green and the rest of the queue moves through the light efficiently and without incident. I drive forward, keeping up so I don’t hold up the queue, and the light turns amber. I merge across to the second, now-empty turning lane and come to a stop as it goes red.

The patched up car? Yep. Still there.

Turns out they wanted my lane and were going to run the red light to get through and around the corner, if only I hadn’t merged across before them.

In their same hard-stop fashion, they weave sharply into my lane then back to the one we started in, no indicators, in one aggressive movement. Angry that I’d ruined their plan, that I added yet more hardship to their morning.

And me, in all my arrogance, now realising the driver is pissed off and in a hurry, I turn around in my seat and clap with all the sarcasm I could muster.

Congratulations! You got exactly nowhere and almost ended up in my boot, twice.

Smug look and all.

They see this, roll forward and wind down their window. Yelling out, they confront me on the mock-applause.

They knew the answer and, already being angry about traffic, and running behind and all the rest, they were just ready and looking for a fight. And I presented them with the perfect opportunity.

So I rolled down my window.

Now, I’m an introvert. I avoid confrontation. I clam up when in an argument, my mind shuts off if I’m just feeling anger from the other person. I can’t talk, can’t move, can’t look at them, none of it. I’ve gotten better as of late, but still. A stranger, with an angry look, fist waving, willing to ram their car into whoever ticks them off, and I choose this moment to be a hero(ine).

What compelled me to roll down my window and answer?

Pure arrogance.

I’m right and I know it and they’re going to hear all about it and fix all their horrible actions and then thank me.

I thought I’d grown out of that part of me. Turns out we all have sides we try to hide from, or squash down, and eventually, given all the right circumstances, they’ll come barreling out when you least want them to.

This is not to say we can’t work on these parts, and learn and grow.

We all can, all of the time, every day of our lives we can choose change and growth and kindness.

It’s never too late.

But yes, I rolled down my window, and leaned to look at them as they asked again, why?

And I said well, you’re in a rush, stumbling over my words like the introvert I am, and starting to feel a little out of my depth.

My arrogance dwindled, along with my pride.

As it always goes, for people who are struggling to keep things together as an adult and are angry at the world to protect themselves (we’ve all been there), they don’t hear anything you say.

So I argued for the 5 minutes of that red light, back and forth, they screamed and yelled, and made up bullshit to find any possible way to make me back down and apologise, which didn’t happen because I was angry now too.

I was arguing all of their bullshit with logic that they just didn’t want to hear. Slowly realising I’d made a bad choice, I’d gotten myself into that shit situation and I wasn’t feeling quite so proud anymore.

By the time the green light hit, my heart was pounding, my entire body shaking, and still, the other person heard none of what I said.

They were in a hurry, they were trying to get on top of their horrible morning and fix it the best they knew how.

Who was I to tell them they were wrong?

Never-mind the risk to other drivers, especially at school times when kids are sitting in the back seat of most cars.

Never-mind the horrific accident a few days prior.

I had no right.

The light turned green, I took off, as I usually do, swiftly, carefully getting around the corner, letting the car beside me (the one in front of the angry driver) have space to feel comfortable as they came around the corner too.

Despite what had just happened. Pretending so hard that it hadn’t made me nervous as hell.

But also, not knowing the full extent someone fueled by anger would go to.

I drove off, as I normally would. Already replaying the argument in my head, breathing deep to calm the shakes. Wanting to be off and on my way, to wipe it from the record, move past it, and vow I’d never do it again.

And then that patched up car shot up another lane, ducked in front of me and slammed on the breaks. Hard.

I stopped in time. Only just. And I’m sure they were laughing at this young, new driver who thought she knew better. No matter my achievements that morning.

I stopped in time, but it shook me.

The only thing I could think of was that they had a kid in the back of their car and their anger allowed them to go that far.

We can guarantee I won’t be so arrogant again, however. I’d never learned a proper lesson about arrogance as a teen, but today taught me well.

And I’m glad no one got hurt.

The thing I wrestle with now; will calling out a person for their harmful actions result in the same risks?

But we need to. In appropriate forums. And without sarcasm.

Not shouting between cars, when the person is already overwhelmed, anger the only way they know how to survive.


Current Project – Novel

I’m still going strong with handwriting my first draft. Up to 15k words already, reaching (and exceeding) my page goal each day and brainstorming outside that. My characters are feeling more real and the incidents they find themselves in are complicated and steeped in emotion and are a blast to write.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard, every day it’s hard just to sit and write, but putting in the work helps.

I’ve whittled my sprints down to 5mins each and am rewarding my brain with a dark-choc-coated roasted chickpea from The Happy Snack Company range for every 5mins I achieve. It’s helping.

I’ve also been joining in the I Am A Writer FB group hosted by the amazing Sarah Rhea Werner in their twice-weekly Create-Alongs.

In this event, the group chats through Sarah’s live stream on twitch as Sarah follows along, celebrating our wins and helping us through our losses as a creative community for a magical 2 hours, twice a week.

In the middle, we all get creative, or practice some self care (where ever we’re at, it’s all valid) for an hour and then come back and chat about how we went. Did we reach our goals? Why or why not? While Sarah and the community help us work through it.

It’s been such an inspiration to have so many creatives together in one place, feeling completely at home and supported and empowered, no matter what we achieve.

Thanks Sarah for creating this community. It truly is a blessing.

As for next month, I’m looking forward to getting another 15k done for this draft. August is my self-imposed deadline, if I get there early, I’ll be over the moon.

Though I know still the hardest parts are yet to come…

Revision and beyond.

But the story can only get better, fuller, richer, deeper, and better.

I hope you all achieve or learn something in February, despite ever changing unpredictable situations still lingering around the world.

Whether it be words, drinking more water than usual, tapering your own arrogance while still maintaining your pride, or taking a moment to breathe.

What have you learned this month?

Leave your comments, thoughts, goals and lessons below, I personally respond to each and every comment here and can’t wait to hear from you.

I’ll have another update for you in March.

For now, remember to:

Explore, create, repeat-

Then thrive.

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner

December 2020

Current Project Update

Finished the 1st alien Culture, got the foundations down, enough to write their part of the novel, and flesh out the finer details as I write.

They’re an advanced race, valuing knowledge. Collecting and consolidating genetic and intellectual data from planets with life via inter-dimensional rift pathways.

But they’re not all virtuous.

Their God(s) seem to be a race of other aliens, in the distant universe with a strength of mind that reaches across dimensions but with no desire to interfere.

Yet.


Starting on a 3rd alien Culture, a race who finds the 1st aliens abhorrent in their genetic manipulation, a race who is struggling to survive, a race who want the 1st’s perfect world.

Yet this race too houses individuals at odds with their values.

Both these races have individuals on Earth, amongst humans, in the near future. Our planet a mid-point between their home planets.

Starting to flesh out the 3rd alien culture as soon as I pick me up some more stationery.

Lovely, lovely stationery.

[As per Holly’s writing courses, I use paper and pen. Binders with lined paper, plastic pockets, dividers and printed worksheets. And an awesome pen. Or five. I’m partial to the Bic 4-colour pen. Super tactile and durable, and great to fiddle with between thoughts.]


Appreciation

Using Holly Lisle’s Create a Language and Create a Culture Clinics in sequence for both cultures.

Learning how to control the muse has been miraculous.

Right side of the brain, come at me.

Thanks for the ingenuity Holly! She’s been writing for 30 years and is sharing all, over at Holly’s Writing Classes.

Looking forward to connecting with everyone in the new year, in the meantime, I’ll be exploring my alien worlds some more.

Remember:

Explore, create, repeat, then thrive.


Affiliate links offered here come highly recommended from my own personal experiences, any links on my website will only ever be personally endorsed.

I love Holly’s teaching style and resources, and recommend her work for every writer, no matter what stage of the journey you’re on.

If you do not wish to use an affiliate link, visit www.HollysWritingClasses.com for her full store.

© 2020-2021 Rebecca Glaessner

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