WIPWednesday: Pictures

I love visualizing. I think it’s a great tool to really get after your goals. It helps that I’m also a visual learner and have a great photographic memory.

I’ve been using Pinterest as my virtual WIPspiration since its earliest beta-testing days. I don’t necessarily need to find the perfect picture for my characters or settings; I look for images that capture the feel of my WIPs for that time when I can finally draft and polish them. (Until then, my WIP ideas are outlined and are kept in various writing diaries until they’re ready to be drafted!)

But! I’d been lucky to find some really cool pics that capture a couple of my characters and settings.

First, here’s my MC:

Ren WIP 2 Writing Character

 

And here’s another major character:

DanielHenney as Gage

Aren’t they adorable?? When I stumbled upon these pics I was like “OMG THAT’S THEM!”

And, here’s a setting that I never knew could exist but totally fits in my WIP:

Cave island

I think I want to travel the world just so I can keep taking pictures of random stuff to WIPspire me. I have a few trips this year that’ll help me out with that. I’ll eventually post them throughout my blog as featured images.

And, for the curious, CLICK HERE to see the rest of WIP2’s Pinterest board!

Advertisements

SciFridays: Stories–The Bridges To Real World Experiences

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mXLju6cBDwI

“That upon which we focus our attention is what we manifest in the third dimension…

I stumbled upon this blog post over at The Struggling Writer and was so intrigued by the video that I had to share. This is an engaging keynote speech by Levar Burton that explores the idea that stories are bridges to real world experiences; that imagination is the key to the unlocking of experience.

He shares his deep love with science fiction literature, a genre that dares to ask “What if?” Science fiction literature invites us and engages us in imagining a world that we ourselves would like to see, to inhabit, to explore.

He uses his own life as an example. As a child, he read a lot of science fiction books, but it was rare for him to see people like him in those pages, any heroes of color. Of course there were exceptions, but it was not the norm, especially in the ’60s.

Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future, then, was hugely influential to him, and became one of his greatest life changing moments. Because what Gene’s vision said was:

“by the virtue of Nichelle Nichols sitting on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, there was going to be a place for me in that imagined future.”

(Considering his role as Lt. Geordi LaForge in Star Trek: The Next Generation, this reality manifested for him in more ways than one.)

…the stories that we tell each other inform us of who we are, why we’re here and where we’re going.”

He also goes on to say that he likes to think that there was a child back in those days who saw Captain Kirk speak into a handheld device to communicate to his team, and eventually created one of the most ubiquitously used device in our society–the cellular phone. (Now, if that same geek can please develop a teleportation device, I would truly be grateful.)

My favorite moment is around minute 2:50, where he talks about the link between that which we imagine and that which we create. He posits:

“The stories that we tell each other and have told each other throughout the history of development of civilization are integrally important, inextricably linked with how we continue to invent the world in which we live.”

“Human beings are manifesting machines. We are that child watching episodes of Star Trek, seeing those images, using our imaginations, coming up with a piece of technology that actually serves humanity going forward. Imaginations are our continuing link into ourselves in order to make contact with ourselves that we might share the beauty of ourselves through culture with the rest of the world.”

I enjoyed that our perspectives on science fiction literature align. I mentioned in a previous post, SciFridays: The Green Float Concept that science fiction literature is an ally to innovation because it asks “What if” and lends itself to “Why not?” 

I feel the need to quote Einstein again, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

What are your thoughts? Have you had an encounter with the written word that resonated with you as strongly?

[I’m celebrating my blog’s Birthday Month! Hop over HERE to read the deets, and fill out the comment form to enter for a chance to win a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble e-gift card. Remember, any additional comments on any post this month will earn you extra entries!]

SciFridays: The Future Is Now

Blade_Runner_spinner_flybyLast night, the hubs decided that he wanted to watch some classic movies, so since we are who we are, our version of a classic movie translated into watching Blade Runner,* a first time viewing for both of us.

Our verdict of the movie itself was kind of a toss up. Even though I enjoyed the atmospheric, neo-noir-ness of the movie, and of course, I loved that Los Angeles kind of reminded me of Fifth Element meets Serenity, we weren’t really fans of the ending.

That’s OK. Whatever fault we found in the ending, the movie more than made up for it with a warbly, Kenny G-like soundtrack that we were way too immature not to mock, and a random cameo of a galloping unicorn.

(That feeling of “what?” that you’re experiencing now…yeah, us too.)

Anyway…

I think the best part of the movie watching experience was seeing all the far out future-y things that 2019 will supposedly have for us and yelling at the TV every now and again:

Hey, where is my spaceship?

I want a synthetic owl!

How come I don’t have a robot servant that will ultimately malfunction and try to kill me yet??

Blade Runner is just the last movie in a line of science fiction movies** that we’ve either watched or re-watched recently that’s made us ask that question. I mean, come on, Back to The Future II?! I’ve wanted a hoverboard since rumors spread in my fifth grade class that Mattel was secretly developing the toy. So, tick-tock. 2015 is just around the corner. It’s about time you deliver.

(I would prefer my hoverboard in silver, but won’t complain if I get it in pink.)

So, how about you? Have you watched a movie recently that’s made you feel gypped about the future world that we’re supposedly living in? What techno gizmo do you want people to start inventing already??

*You were probably surprised it wasn’t Die Hard, but no need to call the Fringe division on us–we gorged on action movies last week for the hubs’s birthday. ^_^

**At least Dune has the decency to be set 30,000 years into the future, and Star Wars is set “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”

SciFridays: The Green Float Concept

Seeing real life scientists and engineers work together to create collaborative projects as the Green Float Concept (and others–see THIS ARTICLE) makes me proud to be a science fiction writer (and, proud to be a big nerd, evidently).

To me, science fiction is more than just setting, like a post apocalyptic world or a spacecraft. Don’t get me wrong, those setting are still COOL, but it’s not the main reason why I love science fiction.

When I think “science fiction,” I think of Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert…those pioneers in the genre who used their writing to create new landscapes that evolved from current political/social climes or adventure stories that explored/explained the unknowable (at least in their day).

Science fiction is an ally to innovation and progress because it explores the “what ifs?” and lends itself to the “why not?” Why not create a rocket that can break free of Earth’s gravity and land on the moon? It sounds sort of like a beta test, right? I mean, alien conspiracies aside, I wonder how motivated we would have been to explore the moon if Jules Verne had not written From the Earth to the Moon.

It all brings to mind this Einstein quote: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” What an awesome gift to have, the ability to influence a whole generation with imagination and all the other possibilities (and power) inherent in creativity.

SciFridays: Jules Verne

From the Earth to the Moon

Image via Wikipedia

Jules Verne is my parent’s favorite science fiction author, and though it’s not obvious, is a partial namesake of mine (the other namesake being Liza Minnelli, which I hope is kinda obvious).

For most of my life, I didn’t appreciate my name as I should. Chalk that up to the constant butchering of said name (correcting people who think they’re pronouncing my name correctly gets really tiresome), and also that dreadful Ernest TV series/movie(s). However, the older I got, the more I appreciated my parent’s thoughtfulness in naming me. I like having an instant connection to the foundation of science fiction.

A little too recently (*cough like a few weeks ago cough*), I’ve come to admire Verne’s science fiction because his stories go a step beyond extrapolating current scientific trends to an imagined, yet inevitable, future. Verne seemed to prophesy when he wrote his stories. I mean, come on, From the Earth to the Moon? He practically predicted (or paved the way for?) the international space race that would come 100 years later, even placing the rocket’s launch site in Florida. In a world before gas-powered automobiles were invented and mass-produced, he imagined a story wherein his characters manned a rocket into space and orbited the moon, somehow navigating the gravitational field.

Of course, Verne didn’t just dump a bunch of scientific facts into his works. He wrapped them nicely into charming adventure stories, sprinkled with bits of romance and intrigue. Actually, the adventure aspect of his stories is really what hooked me to read his work, especially since several of them are similar to some of the motifs that run through my current work in progress (WIP2). Notably, The Child of the Cavern, The Propeller Island, The Aerial Village, and The Mysterious Island*, which also happened to be the main inspiration to my beloved TV series, Lost.

I’m happy to know that I have a lot in common with my namesake. Even though I’ve only scratched the surface of his life and works, it’s somehow motivating to me to know his writing journey and career. And, I’ll admit, even though, for all intents and purposes, we have no other connection other than our names, I’m oddly proud of the fact that Jules Verne is my namesake.

Has anyone else experienced this? Have you ever felt proud of a connection to someone you didn’t even know, yet has inspired your life choices?

{*I put links to these works just so you can read their summaries. And, I also thought WIP2’s alpha readers would get a kick out of it. Or not. *shrugs* 😉 }

SciFridays: Dune

“And how can this be? For he is the Kwisatz Haderach!”

To most people, that line will probably mean absolutely nothing. But, for this science fiction nerd, it was the best end-of-climactic-scene line uttered since “Luke, I am your father.”

I’m talking, of course, about David Lynch’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune.*

Back in the eighties, when HBO still played movies, I was riveted by the long voice over introduction that set up the story of Dune.**

A religious revolt against thinking machines? Space-folding Navigators? Bald, mind-controlling women? Genetic breeding programs? Spice??

The way this movie unfolded defined epic for me, and even to my seven-year-old mind I knew that EPIC=LARGE SCALE.

Multiple planets, set twenty thousand years into the future. Sweeping panoramic vistas. Centuries-old political conflicts. A spoiled boy prince maturing into a nation-saving messiah…riding gigantic sandworms.

Gigantic. Sandworms. Come on, if that’s not EPIC, I don’t know what is.

Ok, I know, theoretically, that the movie was far from being the best movie in the world. In fact, it’s often proclaimed as the worst movie of 1984. However, I hadn’t read the book yet, so I didn’t have a “story prejudice” when I watched it. And, quite frankly, I was barely able to follow the storyline anyway.

What fascinated me about the movie, and what has stayed with me, was the feeling I had while watching it: a ridiculous sense of AWE. What the film lacked in narrative art, it made up for in action movie eye candy (keep in mind, this was the eighties: the effects look silly now, and the soundtrack is a bit warped).

Anyway, the movie may have been a cinematic flop, but its most redeeming quality, at least to me, is that it made me want to read the book.

By the time I decided to read the book, I was eleven. I didn’t have any memory of the movie’s storyline at that point (thank goodness!); only the memory of the movie’s settings remained. My mind used those images as backdrops to bring to life the story Frank Herbert imagined, and through subsequent re-readings, they are still the images I see.

Dune will always be THE science fiction story to me. That EPIC SCOPE, that AWE fueled my imagination, and made me hungry for more. It awakened my young imagination, and permeated it with archetypes that will always be a part of my consciousness.

How about you? Do you have any stories that set the standard for your imagination?

*Most consider this movie a gigantic flop, and I’m not going to argue. I just want to point out that Frank Herbert was quoted as saying, “They’ve got it. It begins as Dune does. And I hear my dialogue all the way through. There are some interpretations and liberties, but you’re gonna come out knowing you’ve seen Dune.”

**I rewatched the beginning prologue that intrigued me so long ago, and nearly died of boredom from the long droning exposition.

Share the Love (this time with a giveaway!)

Cover of "The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)&...

Cover of The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)

I’ve read a lot of good books since my last Share the Love post. Let’s see, there’s…

  • The Iron Queen, by Julie Kagawa
  • The Iron Daughter, by Julie Kagawa
  • The Iron King, by Julie Kagawa
  • Darkest Mercy, by Melissa Marr
  • The Unwanteds, by Lisa McMann
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carson
  • Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card

I’ve actually read more than these books, but I list these specifically to showcase the inordinate amount of fantasy that  I’ve been reading lately. I wonder if that was a conscious decision on my part or not. I know I picked up Eon and Eona specifically to inspire me about an aspect of WIP2. And, I also picked up Ender’s Game (which I know is science fiction, but has fantasy elements I enjoy) and Among the Hidden for that reason, too. I know that somewhere in the recesses of my mind, my muses are tinkering with a post-apocalyptic fantasy, and I wonder if they’re hungry for more fantasy?

Maybe it’s a combination of the available e-galleys and ARCs that came my way, coupled with my need to read meatier works? After all, the fantasy genre does lend itself to intricate world-building, and often uses sociopolitical power dynamics to add conflict and tension to the narrative.

For example, take, The Girl of Fire and Thorns (newly released September 20). The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1)This book is full of political intrigue, magic, and adventure. Set in a world reminiscent of medieval Spain, the story centers around Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza (aka Elisa), Orovalle’s second-born princess. Though she is royal, her privileged status comes less from her royal lineage, and more from being a Godstone-bearer.

Once a century, God chooses a bearer during a baby’s naming ceremony by placing a Godstone (a living jewel) on the baby’s navel. The Bearer is destined to perform an Act of Service, and the mythos surrounding the Bearer sets in motion harrowing challenges that Elisa must overcome.

What appeals to me the most is the sheer amount of terrain that Elisa covers throughout the story. I loved the big-ness of this world. I loved experiencing the lush climates of Orovalle; the seaside of Joya d’Arena; and the desert mountains of the rebel stronghold. I loved the concept that all these various countries and people groups are on the precipice of war. But, what I love most? Carson weaves these settings and power plays brilliantly through the narrative, making the countries so unique they were almost characters in themselves. (Interested in reading the full review? You can read it HERE.)

Honestly, though, now that I think about it, this year’s obsession with fantasy probably started after reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor. My initial Good Reads reaction to it was…

Daughter of Smoke and Bone“Holy. Crap.

This book was AMAZING!

I loved Every. Single. Word.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a beautiful example of what YA literature could be, and what I strive for in my own fiction. I wish books like these were available to me when I was a YA, but at least I can appreciate them and revel in them now!

Brava, Laini Taylor, for crafting such a remarkable story!”

…and, since this book is holy-crap-amazing, I wonder if I just wanted to keep experiencing that awe, thus glutting myself on more fantasies. Hmm.

(BY THE WAY, Daughter of Smoke and Bone will launch on Tuesday, September 27, but I was lucky enough to read an ARC of it back in June, thanks to my dear friend and crit partner, Kayla (which I talk about HERE) and I remember gushing about it to my friend, Carol, that she was awesome enough to give me a signed ARC (which I talk about HERE.))

I plan on putting up a full review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone next week, because, DUDE, you all need to read this book. For reals, yo.

 SO, have YOU read any good books lately??