Learning

Girl peers at alien, watches its smooth movements, long white hair shimmering in the sunset.

Hens in the coop cluck wild like their party’s gone wrong. Alien shows Girl how to lock the gate.

There’s a hen out though, and another.

“Chickens,” Girl points.

“Ch-ck,” Alien tries to form the word, it’s been learning.

“No, look,” Girl gestures.

Alien pauses, turns, but is too late. The hens found a hole, they’re all out now, rushing past the strange pair.

Girl and Alien scramble away, something akin to laughter tinkling between them.

“N-no, st-op,” Alien says.

They make chase, together.

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner


May 6, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about party hens. Who are these chickens and why do they party? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by May 18, 2021 to be included in the weekly compilation. Note: longer deadline due to Charli’s well deserved graduation celebrations.

Submission details via original prompt link here.

If you enjoyed this piece, please consider supporting the author via ko-fi.

Irreplaceable

“Hanniah likes lego for fractions,” he said, packing a bag to leave.

“Of course,” she said.

Of all the teachers, he could trust her. She’d take care of the kids.

He knew this.

“And Kione needs to ask lots of questions. Answer them all, please,” he scanned the room for remaining valuables.

“Always.”

Sirens blared in the distance.

“I have to go. Please make sure-“

“Everyone knows it wasn’t you,” she touched his shoulder, “time to hit the road, Jack.”

He smiled, shaking his head, “humans.”

But their laughter felt hollow.

He left, watching home shrink in his rear-view.

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner


April 29, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “hit the road, Jack.” You can interpret the phrase any way you like — road trip, goodbye, or story. Go where the prompt leads!

Submissions now closed. View the full compilation here.

If you enjoyed this piece, please consider supporting the author via ko-fi.

April 2021

Supporting Black Writers

First off, I’d like to give a shout out to Lornett Vestal and team over at the Evolving Man Project where, among other topics and musings, “each week [they] highlight an individual that embodies what it means to be an evolved person, famous and non-famous individuals alike. [Stating that] the world needs to know their stories and deeds.” Primarily, black people/BIPOC.

The latest Evolved Man to be celebrated was Rodney Stotts, creator of Rodney’s Raptors, a licensed falconer and environmentalist, working to provide transformative opportunities to connect youth to the environment and community.

WASHINGTON, DC — 7/23/18 — by André Chung

Lornett also hosts a podcast with co-host Brian, where twice a month they discuss new topics and question conventional wisdom, such as the wealth gap, health care system and the US’s response to the pandemic.

Find the Question Culture podcast on Spotify or at the official webpage.

On the website, you’ll also find weekly greater world news stories, the ones unheard of on Westernised feeds, the stories that need more exposure and support.

Head over to the website, leave your thoughts, your thanks, your support.

Help uplift black writers.

And send me your suggestions for the next shout-out.


Sci-Fi Novels

Recently Read

This month my reading has slowed somewhat, since going back to the gym (and thoroughly enjoying it) and trying to stay on track with my WIP.

However I finished reading Space Unicorn Blues by T.J.Berry – as featured in my March update.

It was one hell of a ride, with a blast of an ending. I laughed out loud many times, and shed a few tears for the characters – which only made me care for them more. Their growth was believable and real and they managed to out-perform all of the obstacles the author threw their way, despite their own flaws and hindrances.

I’m keen to read the second, hopefully it packs as much of an emotional thrill as the first.

Now Reading

So far I’m 75% through Subliminal by C.B. Barrie and I’m enjoying the concept.

The real world possibilities explored by the experimentation of the main characters is one I haven’t read about in this way before now.

However, I’m finding it a challenge to feel anything but curiosity for the characters, and the writing is mostly passive-telling, but I’m pushing on. Also, there’s supposed to be a twist ending – according to non-spoiled reviews – which I’m looking forward to.

I think I have a deep-seeded issue with not finishing a book once started. I have to get to the end of this one. I’m just glad it’s quick, and clever – even if entirely oblivious to its blatant sexism – I’m also glad the only long-lived female character is not meant to be a main character.

With the Kids

Right now, our bedtime story is The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao.

It’s well written, humorous, full of culture and passion and hard hitting themes, but the kids (and I) are thoroughly enjoying it. Begging for just one more chapter, and asking questions about China, the gods and deities, celebrations, lifestyle, culture and foreign words with unending excitement.

Kids need exposure to a vast variety of other cultures, as many of Earth’s collection as possible, especially those children born in western societies. Even us adults will forever have more to learn. The Dragon Warrior is built for enjoyment and new experiences.

Highly recommended, so far. Will report back when finished, however, with the story setup offered so far, I have no doubt it’ll all payoff.

Cover Review

Current Project – Novel

Writerly Tools of April

Still sitting at 25k words. Instead of furthering the plot, I acknowledged the block causing the words to be a slog – despite March’s tactic change – and I went back to basics.

As author Holly Lisle says, “build what you need, when you need it,” and I needed to flesh out my second alien culture further before advancing.

My muse wouldn’t accept any shortcuts. No way. I had to do the work.

You’ll find evidence of this in flash piece Supply Run, which inspired a “day in the life of” story, encouraged by Holly in her Culture Building Clinic*1. And also in Warm Welcome, which furthered my understanding of the other alien race.

Writing a “day in the life of” piece encourages the muse to craft how the culture works in the nitty-gritty inconsequential bits and bobs of daily life. I discovered snippets of insight into their religious beliefs and practices that added layers of complexity to the aliens that will feature in my WIP.

Well worth the week or two off from writing.

Alongside culture, I advanced their language too, which involved the creation of prefixes to denote hierarchy within families where there are multiple adults and elders – an “ah hah!” moment for me.

A tip in Holly’s Language Building Clinic*2 suggests using prefixes or suffixes to make words mean different things in different situations. In this case, the same word for adult or elder in my alien language can be changed to mean “oldest, second or youngest elder/adult” depending on which two letter prefix (we’ ka’ je’ di’ etc) I tack on the front.

My aliens don’t have their own names, per-say, they have a familial name and a title within, so this tactic was vital to ensure writing from the perspective of these aliens flowed.

Even if these characters won’t ever feature in my novels, the work put into world-building allows for layers of depth and complexity within the stories and it gives readers the ability to suspend disbelief while in these worlds.

That’s a power that all writers need to cultivate.

Language is utterly fascinating. Especially when you get to the part where you can create entirely unique concepts just by turning root words into verbs instead of nouns. I.e., the verb form of their race name, would mean “to make/become one of their race”. Just as the verb form of “community” would mean “to make/become a community”, but in a single word.

Now think of this when you create concepts unique to your own worlds and races. Holly’s example in her language clinic is “moonroad” which is a fascinating dive into her paranormal thriller world.

A single, basic noun, with a letter or two on the end (in this case), can create an entirely new concept unheard of to humans.

Wow.

I now know that many languages on earth do just this. Holly’s clinic has clarified the power of languages and makes it more fun and comprehensible than LOTE ever did in school.

I highly recommend Holly’s range of affordable clinics. I’ll be returning to each of them for every creative project I tackle throughout my career.

They are invaluable.

Do you have a favourite language?

A favourite foreign word?

A concept that sparks your muse into action and entices your creativity in ways that English can’t?

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.

Note * refers to affiliate links, where I will receive a small percentage of the price of the product as payment for sharing Holly’s classes.

I won’t ever use affiliate links for products I do not fully support and highly recommend.

If you don’t wish to use the affiliate links, see alternate links below:

  1. Holly Lisle’s Create a Culture Clinic
  2. Holly Lisle’s Create a Language Clinic

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner


If you enjoyed the author’s work, please consider supporting via ko-fi.

Earth’ling

Readings returned slightly less than optimal levels, but their shuttle-mind assured them of safety.

The first creature stumbled out, overwhelmed by colours. The browns and blues and golden yellows were not where they should be.

And it hadn’t ever seen so much green.

Their journey from the dying world began generations ago, long before their own time.

What was left of them.

This world was here, now. All around. Spreading, reaching further into the distance than the ship-born ever thought possible.

The creature crouched, removing protection from an appendage, and touched the Earth.

All at once, it felt home.

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner


April 22, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about earthing. Put a character’s hands, feet or body and soul into the earth. Who needs recharging? What happens between the interaction? Go where the prompt leads!

Submissions now closed. Read the full collection here.

If you enjoyed this piece, please consider supporting the author via ko-fi.

Warm Welcome

“Pathway closed. Rift secure,” announced a warm voice, filling the air around two bewildered humans. Adult and child; woman and girl.

A different being approached. Human, only in appearance.

“Welcome,” it said, robes fluttering, “we trust your journey was painless?”

“Please help,” the woman held the girl close, “she’s-“

“Yes, we’ll take care of the child,” the being smiled.

Others came to collect her.

“No need for thanks,” the being motioned, “there’s much time.”

A chill ran through the woman before the warm voice gently eased it away.

“She’ll be healed soon,” the voice uttered, lulling her into inaction.

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner


April 15, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that seeds generosity. Who is generous and why? Think of generosity as planting a future outcome. Go where the prompt leads!

Submissions now closed. Read the full collection here.

If you enjoyed this piece, please consider supporting the author via ko-fi.

Supply Run

Slinking along the dark and barren hillside, pack of acquired supplies secured tight, I see movement.

Have I been caught?

I drop low, confident in my darkened outer-wear, and watch the quiet, sprawling city. A flash by the edge reveals an individual stumbling past the barrier, long, unshaven white hair gleaming in the night.

I need to leave before next watch begins, but they fall.

I weigh the risks, and reluctantly return.

“Can you walk?” I ask.

They nod, startled.

“Put this on,” a shawl for their hair.

With sounds of next watch beginning, we disappear into the hillside.

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner


April 8, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that “rethinks the hero.” Define the hero, comparing or contrasting to the classic definition. Break the mold. What happens to the hero in the cave? Is it epic or everyday? Is there resistance or acceptance? Go where the prompt leads!

Submissions now closed. Read the full collection here.

If you enjoyed this piece, please consider supporting the author via ko-fi.

Swift Passage

The alien planet hung like a pool of blue. Their only stop on a one-way journey.

Their vessel’s final dregs of energy concealed them in orbit while their shuttle fell into the alien atmosphere.

The violent entry rattled the shuttle, pilot and crew breathed deep lungfuls, fighting to clear their minds, to imagine a paradise so near.

Generations spent drifting through the void had corroded all memories of their world from before.

This or death.

The pilot’s expert hands flew across controls – navigating, maintaining, adjusting – to grant the first of their last a swift passage into their new world.

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner


April 1 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a swift passage. You can take inspiration from any source. Who is going where and why. What makes it swift? Go where the prompt leads!

Submissions now closed. Read the full collection here.

If you enjoyed this piece, please consider supporting the author via ko-fi.

An Escape

The nightmares are haunting, full of strangeness. They call me through them. Who or what, I don’t know, but they’re out there. Waiting.

And I need to go.

She’s nice and all, but she’s not them. There’s something more waiting elsewhere. Maybe it’s where I belong.

I climb out the window in the cold, dark of night, when the sun won’t burn me, and I find the car waiting. I pay with her card and direct the car to the countryside, out west, toward the calls.

There’s something inside my head, something different, something they know.

Maybe that’s home.

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner


March 25 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write an escape. It can be daring or subtle. Who is escaping from what and why? Go where the prompt leads!

Submissions now closed. Read the full collection here.

If you enjoyed this piece, please consider supporting the author via ko-fi.

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


If you enjoyed the author’s work, please consider supporting via ko-fi.

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