Showing posts with label science fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label science fiction. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Space Travel Guide for Science Fiction Writers

If you or any of your friends write science fiction set in space, check out this great resource: Intergalactic Travel Bureau Vacation Guide to the Solar System, by Olivia Koski and Jana Grcevich.

It's a lot of accesible real science about realistic space travel and how things work on the moon and the planets in our solar system. Mixed in with this science is a lot of great speculation about what tourism would look like in a more space-faring future.

It's already inspired ideas for a couple of short stories, and I'm going to read through a lot of the first chapter again and take notes on what space travel would really be like.

It's also simply a fun and interesting book, beautiful with its helpful illustrations and retro-chic travel posters for outer space.

Check it out from your library or get the Vacation Guide to the Solar System on Amazon. I recommend the actual paper version to appreciate the full aesthetics.

You can read (and listen to) Melinda Brasher's most recent short story sale at Pseudopod.  It's a tale of a man who doesn't believe in superstition...until he has to.  You can also find her fiction in Ember, Timeless Tales, Intergalactic Medicine Show, and others. If you're dreaming about traveling to Alaska, check out her guide book, Cruising Alaska on a Budget; a Cruise and Port Guide. Visit her online at http://www.melindabrasher.com


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Finding names for your characters


Find your character a name: click here  
If you're like me, you sometimes have a hard time coming up with names for your characters.  This can be especially difficult in fantasy and science fiction.  One solution:  online name generators.

In February, I posted about a cool  "what-if" generator.  Sites like this are good for laughs and for sparks that you can turn into stories, but they're a little on the novelty side.  Name generators, on the other hand, can be very useful in a day-to-day way if you don't intend your character names to be deeply symbolic and if you don't want to waste time, energy, and creativity coming up with names, especially for secondary characters.  

Many generators have various versions or settings, so you can search for names for anything from Japanese women or French men to colonial Americans, rappers, and English kings.  If your writing's a little more on the speculative side, you can search for elves, super villains, robots, heroic orcs, and a whole lot of other character types.  Some sites also have place name generators where you can discover the perfect name for your a small town, lake, hospital, planet, or mystic temple.

Generators should not replace your own creativity, but especially for minor characters and places only mentioned in passing, or if you're really stuck, they can be a life saver.

My favorites:
Fantasy Name Generator (also includes a lot of not-fantasy names)
Rinkworks (mostly aimed at fantasy, with cool settings like "very long names," "vowel-heavy names," and "mushy names")
Seventh Sanctum (One option based on names from US census data, many fantasy options including things like "dark elf" and  "pirate ship")

You'll discover many others online.

So, whether you need a name like Deidre Gordon,  Ronaldo JimĂ©nez, Alouko, or Swiftdemon the Striker, there's a name generator out there for you.


Melinda Brasher currently teaches English as a second language in the beautiful Czech Republic.  She loves the sound of glaciers calving and the smell of old books.  Her travel articles and short fiction appear in Go NomadInternational LivingElectric SpecIntergalactic Medicine Show, and others.  For an e-book collection of some of her favorite published pieces, check out Leaving Home.  For something a little more medieval, read her YA fantasy novel, Far-KnowingVisit her online at http://www.melindabrasher.com.

Friday, August 3, 2012

My Journey to Publication

My Psychedelic photo, simply because I like it


 My tween/YA science fiction, "Relocated," has just been published by MuseItUp Publishing, and I've published the book of poems, "Sand in the Desert," I wrote to go along with the book through CreateSpace in print and kindle formats.  How did I get here? Good luck, working at my craft, a father who insisted on proper grammar, and some level of ability.

I've written poetry as far back as I can remember. I kept it in a series of spiral notebooks that accumulated in my attic, wrote cards for holidays birthdays, co-workers leaving the office, and the occasional small newsletter. Along about 2005 I wrote a poem I wanted to keep, so I scrounged around online and ended up putting them in Yahoo briefcase (online) as I had too many computers to keep them on just one

That December I was reading an ezine I liked and discovered they had a poetry. I believe the theme was 'sleep',  I  had a poem to fit it. Since it was handy (read online),  I sent it in, and the poem was one of four runners-up., I didn't win.

But they published all four of the finalists, and I was psyched. I joined a couple of online communities and started working on my poetry. In one of them, I ran across someone who was starting a small print poetry mag (since died, I believe). He liked and published a couple of my poems. That was early 2006. I found out about "The Muse Online Writers Conference," (free, online virtual conference) and "attended" that October.

There I "met" Linda Barnett Johnson. Linda runs writers forum, and she insisted that her students join both fiction and poetry forums. Poetry alone was not an option.

At  that point, I'd never written a word of fiction (at least, not since elementary school ), and I would have sworn I never would. However, I liked Linda, and I wanted to join the poetry forum, so I signed up. I started writing for children, as that felt less intimidating - and shorter. As a poet, I was a terse writer, and generating sufficient word count worried me. My first story ended up published online. It was a *long* time until I placed another, but thus encouraged, I continued to write fiction.

Many years ago, a family friend lost his wife and all four of his children in a house fire. This incident had haunted me ever since, and one weekend I wrote a 5000 word book in which the main character, a nine-year-old boy, lost his mother in a house fire. I couldn't change my friend's outcome, but in my fictional world, I could.

I spent the next year and a half or two years whipping it into shape. Although I have (and had) a good ear for language and a solid knowledge of grammar, I knew little about structuring a story. I set out to learn about plotting, characterization, dialogue, setting, points-of-view, and, yes, more grammar. I joined a critique group and took the ICL basic course. I hung out on Writers Village University and took their free fiction course and a couple of others that proved extremely helpful. The story was accepted for publication. It won't be out until next year.

Fast forward to September, 2010. I am a huge science fiction fan, but I'd never written a sci fi story -- I had kind of a phobia about it -- so I decided I'd do Nano (National Novel Writing Month) that November, and began to plan my story.

I devoted most of my time and energy to world building, a bit to thinking about the characters, and devoted about  a page to the plot. Then I started writing. I heard about an online editing workshop given through Savvy Authors. Through Savvy, I connected with a publisher and submitted the manuscript. It was rejected. They liked it, but not enough to publish it. I worked on the manuscript, including strengthening the ending. That June, I pitched to Lea Schizas and she accepted it.

Backtrack to November 2010. Robert Brewer runs a chapbook challenge on his PoeticAsides blog. I wanted to participate, so I created a poet to go with the universe of the novel and wrote 31 of his poems that November. I used eight of the poems in the novel, as I worked studying the poems into the plot.

"Relocated" has just been published by MuseItUp Publishing I  brought all the poems out as a book, which I self-published through CreateSpace.
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You can find Margaret Fieland on her blog, http://www.margaretfieland.com/ or on the Poetic Museling's blog, http://poetic-muselings.net/


Also check out these excerpts from Relocated on the publisher's blog: http://museituppublishing.blogspot.com/2012/07/relocated-excerpts.html

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