November, 2020

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When Sci-Fi Tropes Attack

Hello, all! Today, it’s my pleasure to welcome amazing author Tyrean Martinson to the blog. She has a brand-new book out, and she’s stopping by My Pet Blog to talk about sci-fi tropes.

Take it away, Tyrean!

Tropes in fiction can be helpful for our understanding of plot and character in a fast-paced movie, show, or book. In science fiction, some tropes deepen the plot or help us get to the heart of the story faster. Some tropes, like the Ancient and Advanced Aliens trope, seem to be suited for any SciFi film or story where humans seem to need to learn a little humility, or to gain a new insight that our puny human minds couldn’t possibly achieve on our own.

Advanced and ancient aliens attempt to humble humanity when they:

  1. Threaten to annihilate our planet or human life in films like: Independence Day, War of the Worlds, Annihilation, Spectral, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Alien (Aliens).
  2. Show only mild interest in us, but don’t really take much time to interact because we aren’t worthy in films like: The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Contact, E.T., The Cat from Outer Space, The Last Starfighter, and to some extent, Farscape.
  3. Show up long enough to wow us, but not to hang out, because again, most of us are probably not “ready” yet for their level of awesomeness, like in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and The Abyss.

Advanced and ancient aliens attempt to give our puny human minds new insights when they:

  1. Decide to grant us access to advanced technology only after we’ve shown we’re worthy, like in Star Trek, Babylon 5, and Doctor Who (only the companions get access). 
  2. Admit we (or individuals) might be contenders for their advanced technology after some kind of battle, test, or close shave with our own deaths, as in Stargate, The Arrival, Wonder Woman The Fifth Element, and Thor.
  3. Decide we might be worthy after we’ve helped them like in Transformers, and Superman.

While there are many types of human and alien interactions in science fiction, there are many examples of ultra-intelligent, god-like advanced and ancients aliens who seem to serve the purpose of teaching humanity a small dose of humility, although we certainly don’t always learn the lesson.

Do you like seeing/reading about advanced and ancient aliens who attempt to teach humanity about our own frailty or need for better technology? Or do you think aliens with advanced technology might have just as much to learn from us as we do from them?

In Liftoff, Amaya finds herself entangled in a Thousand Years’ War between two alien cultures who are more advanced than our own. Amaya gets a front row seat for alien contact and new insights into advanced alien technology, but that doesn’t mean she understands the culture of intolerance which has one of the side affects of the ongoing war between alien worlds.

A spaceship in disguise,

An Earth girl searching for a sense of home,

And a Thousand Years’ War between alien races,

All collide on a summer afternoon.

An old movie theater welcomes Amaya in and wraps her up in the smell of popcorn and licorice. But one sunny afternoon during a matinee, the movie screen goes dark. The theater rumbles.

Amaya gets trapped in the middle of an ancient alien conflict. Angry and frightened, Amaya entangles herself in a life-changing cultural misunderstanding with Sol, a young alien who keeps omitting key information, even while they’re on the run from his enemies.

What will it take to survive a battle between alien races involved in an ancient war?

Liftoff is a fast-paced read for fans of Code 8, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Cobra Kai.

Available Now

Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tyrean Martinson is an author and teacher from Washington State. As a former fencer and kickboxer, she enjoys writing fight scenes in fast-paced novels and novellas. As a teacher and writing tutor, she loves to get students writing and reading comfortably by any means: talk-to-text, short writing assignments, short stories, novellas, and adventures. She wrote her latest novella, Liftoff, for herself during COVID, but realized it also fits a dream she’s had for a while: to create a short, fast-paced read for teen/YA readers who love popcorn movies, adventure, and sweet romance.

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Happy Birthday, Bro! (Plus a NaNoWriMo Update)

Today has the distinction of being my brother’s birthday, so I’d like to start off my post by wishing him a very happy birthday.

I am so very lucky to have him as my brother. And not just because he’s, like, super good at pinpointing problems with my WIPs. But he is. Like, just, crazy good at it. Which I’m sure delights him to no end. So I just hope he knows how much I appreciate it. And him.

Happy Birthday to the very best brother for which a girl could ask!!

I hope it’s a good one.

All right, so we’re now into the second week of NaNoWriMo. I admit, I was more than a little distracted last week, and my productivity may have suffered because of it, but I am at least keeping par every day. Somedays, I am just barely getting over that 1,667-word mark with, like thirty seconds to spare in the day, but I am getting there.

The overall word count, however, continues to be…well, shocking, frankly. As of the moment I wrote this sentence, my word count is sitting at…

Which puts me days ahead.

Yeah. I don’t get it, either. I mean…there’s no reason why it should be that high. I can’t stress that enough. There is NO reason. At all.

Once again, I have written a romance novel with no actual romance in it and, really, no real hope for a romance.

I’m not sure what the plan is, but I guess as long as I keep thinking of words, I’ll keep writing them down? And when I do eventually run into that wall (and it’s coming. I mean, it just has to be), I’ll worry about it then?

And on that note, I’m outta here.

If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, I hope the words are flowing for you.

Stay safe and well, everyone!

What Happens Next (An IWSG Post)

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, y’all!

If you’re reading this, I do assume that you’re already familiar with the IWSG, but if you’re new and/or interested in more information and/or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link.

This month’s awesome co-hosts are Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G. Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!

This month’s (optional) question is…

Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

I’m going to attempt to answer this question, but me being me, I’m probably going to attempt it in some weird, roundabout way that may or may not actually answer the question. And me being me four days into November, and those four days being in November 2020, this weird, roundabout way may end up being even weirder and more roundabout than usual (And may or may not involve more vodka…) If you choose to keep reading, I hope that (wherever this ramble ends up), you enjoy the ride.

So, it’s been mentioned a few million times on various social media sites, I know, but in case you maybe missed it, I am participating in NaNoWriMo this month. It’s the ninth time I’ve participated in the November event. Thus far, I have six wins and two losses under my belt, but win or lose, I love the challenge. Which is why I pretty much sign up for every session I possibly can.

My first NaNoWriMo experience was back in 2009, when I wrote the first draft of what would eventually come to be known as the Terrible Romance Novel. When November 1st came around, I didn’t have a plan in place. I didn’t have character charts or a storyboard or a scene list or anything. I just thought, “Hey, I wonder if I can write a romance novel” and set out to see what would happen. (And with a name like ‘Terrible Romance Novel’ you can probably guess what happened…)

On November 2nd of that year, I sat in front of my computer, looking at the monitor and thinking, “WHAT THE HELL DID I GET MYSELF INTO?” because I was working without a safety net, or a parachute, or any sort of metaphorical rock-climbing gear designed to keep me from plunging into the rocky gorge of failure or whatever (Seriously, y’all. Day Four + Insomnia + 2020 + Vodka + Well, you know = rocky gorge of failure or whatever).

I got through those thirty days by just constantly asking myself, “What happens next?” And when I had no what what (what what? Thanks, brain.) happened next, I asked myself, “Okay, what could happen next?” Because I didn’t know and there was only one way I would find out.

By writing it. (I knew I made a mistake not being clairvoyant or whatever. My brain is so good at the words-putting-into-sentence-doing thingy thing.)

This November, I am working on the Terrible Romance Sequel (I’m sooooo good at naming books, I know). I am currently crushing the word count (as of the moment I wrote this sentence, I am sitting at a whopping 14,006 words) and—even stranger still—I am enjoying the hell out of discovering this story.

Sure, the plot is…extremely problematic (to put it mildly) and I seem to have made it pretty damn impossible for my main characters to have any sort of romance (the Terrible Romance series is aptly named), and my daily word counts are dwindling drastically because of the aforementioned problematic plot and romanceless romance, and I will very likely not write another word the entire damn month AND have to throw out the whole damn thing on December 1st and start all over again.

And I’ll do it. Maybe not right away, but I’ll do it. Because I want to know what will happen.

I don’t know if anyone else wants to know what will happen (and I don’t see why they would) but that’s cool. I want to know, and that’s enough.

So yeah…I don’t have lofty aspirations when I write. I write what I write because I have an idea and I honestly just want see how it’ll turn out.

If it’ll turn out.

It may not.

But, you know, I won’t know until I try. (Once again, I say SUCK IT, YODA.)

So, for now…You know what? I honestly have no idea if I answered the question or not, or got even close to an answer. But my brain is completely fried at this particular moment in time, and I am done in every way possible. So instead of me trying to make this post work, please enjoy this adorable photo of my adorable little Snoop Dogg practicing his favorite yoga pose—downward sleeping dog.

On that note, I’m outta here. Thanks for stopping by, all. I’ll try to do better the next time…

Stay safe and well.

NaNoWriMoRama

It’s goal post day on the blog. I know it’s hard to contain your excitement over that, but we’re going to have to find a way to keep calm and carry on.

First up, let’s see how I did with October’s goals (spoiler alert: not great…)

OCTOBER GOALS

—Complete first draft of Full Circle

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Yeah. I didn’t do this. I’m pretty much in the exact same spot I was in at the beginning of October. Can’t quite find the right hook for the start of Act III. I keep writing the same scene from different POVs to see if that’s the problem, and it keeps not feeling like the solution, so I think the plot itself isn’t right. Which sucks because I don’t have a Plan B. Or whatever letter this draft happens to be on now. Zeta, probably.

—Read a book

I did this. Technically, I read five books. Sure, they were, like, thirty-page-long graphic novels, but it still counts.

—Walk at least three miles every day

While I didn’t hit three miles every day, I still managed to walk nearly 122 miles, which averages out to almost four miles each day. That’s what we call good enough, kids.

NOVEMBER GOALS

—Win NaNoWriMo 2020

I’m working on the Terrible Romance Sequel this month. As previously stated, I have a concept for this story and not much else, so I have no idea how this month will go. It’s Day Two, and I’m well ahead for the moment, but…yeah. I have a feeling I shall soon be running into a very large and high brick wall that will probably be surrounded by a moat filled with alligators and zombies and zombie alligators and things of that nature.

But I shall enjoy the creative flow while it lasts. I really hope I can make this story work because I’m really kind of loving it right now.

Which probably means I just jinxed things horribly. That, or me actually liking something I’m writing is the final sign of the apocalypse.

Also, for reasons unknown, I also decided to make things more interesting/frustrating by using Scrivener. I heard through the grapevine that I might decide I like it hate it less if I start a brand-new project with it rather than trying to transition in the middle of a current WIP.

We’ll see how it goes. Or for long that whole Scrivener thing lasts (it’s already made it to Day Two, which is about two days longer than I thought it would last…). But the ultimate goal here, of course, is to hit that 50k mark.

If you’re also participating in NaNoWriMo and are looking for some buddies, feel free to add me. My user name is M.J. Fifield (clever, right?).

—Walk at least three miles a day

It is always good to avoid becoming part of one’s couch. Or so I’m told. Fortunately, the fur babies make this goal pretty easy. They like to walk. A lot. So we walk. A lot.

And on that note, I’m outta here. I’ll try to do better the next time.

Stay safe and well, everyone.