WIP: Response from Launch Pad Competition

So I finally got a response to my entry. Needless to say, I did not place, but I am happy with the Notes I received. I submitted excerpts from my book and that seemed to be a bad thing. They said show them the action but I guess it was not to mean, literally, show action scenes only. Lesson learned!

I tried to streamline the novel to read more like a screen play but they said they want more background in the novel. Fair enough.

Lots of work to do. I have the background but need to figure out how to flesh out the story again but not weigh down the story’s flow.

I think what I will do is return to the first novel and rewrite it with these notes in mind. Then I will write the Pilot screenplay and outline the rest of the novel for a season one of the trilogy. Will try both Hollywood and book publishers again once that is done.

Here are the Notes they sent.  Hopefully it can help someone by showing things that industry folks look for. I can definitely see the benefit of going to school for this, but for some of us older folks, that is not practical.

I would love to hear what you feel these notes meant. Doesn’t hurt having a second opinion.

FeedbackNotes

The samples provided are excerpts or vignettes rather than a full 50 pages of straight text in the order of the story’s progressions so it’s difficult to get a good idea of the overall arc of the story and its timeline. A whole world is introduced in this story yet I don’t know what it looks like, the kind of time period the people are living in, the kind of technology they have available, etc. Unfortunately the sample lacks that set-up that establishes the world in which “Empires Fall” takes place.

As far as the excerpts are concerned, they contain intriguing scenarios and introduce compelling story arcs and characters, however often gloss over backstory which is necessary to build a foundation. For instance, in the first excerpt, “Arctic Icepack,” we’re told briefly that “Indrajit is a God anointed hero.” As well as that his comrade Zhenjin witnessed his anointing. However, this is glossed over in just three sentences. Perhaps there is more in an excerpt not included here, but the brief mention in the current scenario when the audience is already invested in Indrajit’s observation and attack on the researchers is distracting.

If more detail is not going to be provided to explain this here, its inclusion is confusing. It’s one thing to refer to Indrajit by a nickname, but wholly another to almost provide an explanation of the name which falls short.

Due to the structure of the sample, the time line of “EmpiresFall” is unclear, as are the main themes, tone, and the primary focus of the story. And due to the lack of detail, the excerpts come across as summaries of a larger story than as small pieces taken from an existing manuscript. Where is the detailed history of these two societies?Why are they at war, what are they fighting about?

Further, since we know so little about them/who they are, it’s difficult to invest in or care about what’s happening in the lives of the characters. For material to be capable of adaptation, especially from novel to film, there needs to exist a steady, broad foundation. Is the world of “Empires Fall” enticing and compelling? Are there characters that can carry such a weighty story?

As of now, the manuscript doesn’t offer a visually enticing presentation of this world (visual being the keyword, as film is a visual medium. Will “Empires Fall” translate to the screen?) nor does it offer a clear interpretation of the characters. How can this be improved? Include detail–focus on the description of the scenario (where are the characters, what does the scene look like how did they get there, what are their motivations, etc.) A narrative will almost always contain more than what is needed for the adaptation – the content of the film script has to come from some where. The back story of a narrative informs that script. “Empires Fall” also seems to get its inspiration from existing genre shows such as “Game of Thrones” which shows in some of the dialogue (e.g. Tilor’s name for Lena, “sun and moon” and the emphatic “by the gods” statements). While it’s perfectly fine to be inspired by existing content, be sure to give “Empires Fall” your own voice and flavor.

Advertisements

In other news…

With the submission of my entry into the Launching Pad competition, that could have Hollywood and book publishers seeing my story, I have been waging an illogical war in my head. Should I prepare a synopsis of my other books or continue writing the books?

Being optimistic is definitely a necessary trait for what I want to do when I grow up but even I wonder if I am getting too far ahead of myself. I am happy to have put together an entry that I am rather pleased with submitting. I also ordered notes be sent back about my submission. Hopefully, quality notes that I can use to help me better my books and future entries.

The crux of the issue is, if I do have a lot of interest in my story, will they want a presentation of the full story (submitted book one synopsis) and how quickly will they want it.

Murphy’s Law is in total play here!  For those that might not be really familiar with this abhorrent law of nature, it basically means ‘what you least want to happen will happen.’

So if I do not prepare synopsis’ of books two and three and maybe a seasonal story arc for season one of a possible series, suicidal mania will prevail. They will love my story and be really excited but will want to move quickly and will need me to submit yesterday with no promise of payment.

You see the problem right? Being one of many that has that silly obligation called “A day job and bills to pay.” I can not just bar myself in a dark room and type until my fingers bleed. Bills and food be damned.

So write the synopsis’ right?

Well that leads me to the next level of my self-made hell. If I spend a lot of time working on that and nothing happens on the Hollywood front, I have taken away time from working on book two which I am a little more than half way through.  I imagine a book publisher would like to see the books finished, since they are interested in that kinda thing.

Yes, probably not a big problem when compared to so many other curve balls that life can throw our way. But in my totally optimistic frame of mind, I would love this to be a new career and this year to be start of that career.  So need to prepare but which one should I prepare for?

“It’s messing with my zen.”

 

 

Seat 14c Short Story Competition

http://seat14c.com/

Another competition to try for, especially since this one is free to enter. My luck, I have a hell of a time trying to load the website. The competition is sponsored by X-prize and ANA (All Nippon Airways). The premise is you are on ANA Flight 8 from Tokyo to San Francisco and your plane flies through a wormhole that sends you 20 years into the future.  Yup 2037.

You need to write a short story (between 2000-4000 word) about what you see there. They are asking for positive stories, so no post apocalyptic worlds. First person perspective too.

Here is the first part of my story.  I would be interested in what you think.  Draft version, so happy to hear how I screwed it up but would love for that to be gently done.

 

“Whoa” I said when the plane hit the turbulence. The lightning was terrible, the entire cabin was lit up and people were yelling. It wasn’t really that bad of turbulence, but enough to shake the nerves.

I looked around the business class seats and noticed the others were settling back in as well. Seasoned travelers we are. A few tightening of the seat belts but for the most part crew and passengers were getting back to normal.

The sun was trying to fight through the clouds to show a beautiful dawn sky ahead of us. The wave tops below sparkled like tiny diamonds in a sea of golden azure. It was a calm view to see after the last 30 minutes of the trip.  The last hour would prove to be very relaxing and then San Francisco.

I couldn’t wait to see my granddaughter again. Such cute cheeks and an irresistibly impish smile. My daughter’s daughter definitely. Lots of spoiling and hugs.

Wait, what is that?

In the distance a large ship was following the receding storm and there was a massive structure on the top of it. It looked like a large funnel. It couldn’t be that heavy or it would have capsized the ship, I imagine.  I wonder what that is for, I thought, pulling out my phone to snap a picture of it.

Never seen a ship like that before. Would need to research a little to see what it does. I continued to stare out the window enjoying the view when another weird scene sailed below. A weird blimp was flying over a ship. The blimp had large propellers on the top of it and looked to be matching the speed of the ship. I watched them for a while and yes, they were moving as one. I snapped a picture of that too.  What a weird day this was shaping up to be.

The landing announcement came over the speakers and the crew started preparing for landing. I looked ahead and saw more blimps over ships and then San Francisco. Something was weird, the skyline did not seem them same. Yes it has been a while since I have been back to the US but this really looked different.

What is up with the blimps?!

There were more blimps over the city, with the large propellers. I did not understand this, the US was not that into green energy last I heard. Grant it California was one of the leaders in the states but this?

More pictures snapped.

As we got closer to the airport, the more things looked out of place. Something was definitely not right. More people around me were questioning the strangeness of the situation.

A passenger in 12C said rather loudly, “I just left here two days ago and this ain’t right.” Others joined in saying how long they have been gone and agreeing on the strangeness. The cabin attendants looked on helplessly.

The Captain made an announcement. “This is the Captain speaking. Folks, something is going on and I am not sure what but we will be landing soon and can get answers then. Please be patient and prepare for landing.”

The landing was uneventful, but where we were landing was anything but uninteresting. The other planes were sharper, defined. Faster looking. Truly massive buildings dotted the skyline with too many flying craft wending through the buildings. That was weird, a few helicopters I can understand but planes or I guess they were planes?  

And those blimps, everywhere………………..

Launch Pad Manuscript Competition.

So getting down to the wire for the final entry. Missed my deadline for the previous submission deadline because I was not happy with the synopsis. I feel better about this one and thought I would ask all for thoughts on how it sounds.

Some notes on the format.  First time a major character is mentioned, the name is all in caps,  JIM. Afterwards it would be normal, Jim.

Also this synopsis is to be one page only. Reluctantly, I have used exactly one page so adding more material is not possible unless I remove stuff.  I will include 48 other pages of passages from the book. The goal is to get them excited enough with the synopsis to read the rest of the submission.

The passages from the book are sequential but not a complete progression through the story. I decided to take passages that hopefully would show the action of the story.

Lastly, I do identify this as book one of a trilogy.  So hopefully that will help.

Thoughts?

 

Empires Fall Synopsis

For 30,000 years, Atlantis grew from small city to global empire. Poseidon blessed them with the secret of Aether, which powers their advanced technologies. First coming as friends and teachers, many considered them as gods. Soon they started to believe they were gods and friendship turned to lordship.

An alliance grew to stand against them, led by the Empire of Rama. The Gods of the alliance favored their followers with heroes of great might to combat the technologies of Atlantis.

For 10 years war has raged across the Ice Age world. In the last year, Atlantis turns to Aether weapons of immense destructiveness.

RISOR, a vailixi squadron commander, finds himself fighting the enemy and JANA, his political rival. Her animosity peaks as he questions the wisdom of her leading a WMD strike against the Rama Empire home cities. This led to the Rama Empire retaliating.

With cities being destroyed, Rama’s capacity for war diminishes. A last ditch effort by Rama sends, INDRAJIT, a hero of Rama, to the Arctic ice packs. His mission is to breach the ice walls, in the hope the flood waters would doom Atlantis.

Woken in the middle of the night, Risor and the citizens of Altai flee for their lives. The floods inundate the coastal areas of the world, ruining Atlantis and most of their colonies.

Atlantis demands a recall of most military forces to strike back. An act that would leave most colonies defenseless. Many colonies refuse the order and rebel. SHANDAR, another squadron commander, leads his people in open revolt against Atlantis. While Risor’s people decide to abandon their city and hide. In the end, they both realize they can not openly fight their former masters.

ROGAT, an infantry officer, takes charge of a group of survivors, abandoned by Atlantis and chased by the enemy. They are chased to a mountain stronghold, where they are trapped.

With the empire in chaos, LENA, the girlfriend of Risor’s lieutenant, has her colony attacked by Greek raiders. She is taken as a slave. After rebuffing the Greek leader many times, he gives her to a cruel ally. She is spared being raped or worse by an attacking Atlantean force.

Jana is sent to Altai and discovers that Risor’s people have fled. Her forces quickly find Risor and in the climatic battle, Risor’s people bring down her vailixi. She realizes it is him but is unable to do anything. His people escape and while Jana rages impotently, her master recalls her to Atlantis for a new operation.

Competition Time!

There are those that say, keep your projects (books, scripts, etc…) secret because you might fail. Then there are those that say announcing it will help push you to complete it because of the fear of failure.  I like the second way.

A writing competition is being sponsored by Launch Pad by the Tracking Board that is bringing together book and movie houses to review entries. Luckily, you do not need a complete novel to enter. Even more luckily for me, I have a pretty complete novel to enter.

So, I need to come up with a name for the trilogy, select 50 pages of text, from the novel, as the entry submission and put together a one page summary, novel and possibly trilogy. All before the 30th of June. Will find out if I was lucky by mid September.

So if you ever wanted to write a book or have one in the works or completed, check out the link. Wish me luck!

New Idea: Fight of Ages

While I work on my epic adventure story about the downfall of Atlantis, I have recently started loving the epic music of Two Steps From Hell. I like to write to it, which is really cool when I am doing an action scene.

It also struck me as Cirque du Soleil-ish in their shows. In fact, the game play videos that the link above is mated to started to give me ideas.

Imagine.

The venue is a enclosed stadium, with three quarters of the seating available. The stage is the field below that backs up to a mountain that encompasses the last quarter of the stadium.

Up and way in the back of the mountain is an orchestra and band blaring out epic songs that are piped through the stadiums speakers. The seats occasionally vibrate to the beat of the music.

Closer to the crowds, high over head are singers belting out the vocals of the songs. Angelic voices that tear at the heart or stir the emotions to the action below.

A massive fight scene develops on the stage or stadium field. Some participants are doing aerial jumps over their opponents. The stadium is darkened and parts of the action are highlighted with spot lights while others fade out to near darkness. In the back are the heroes, yet to enter the fray.

They carry on a conversation that the audience can hear through speakers near their ears.

Suddenly the stadium’s speaker blast a monstrous roar. Clouds of smoke start to bellow above the field of battle and a massive laser-drawn winged dragon appears above the battle. It beats it’s wings and the audience feels the wind stir around their faces.

The dragon looks at the heroes and talks to them via the chair speaker. It threatens to incinerate the audience. The dragon turns to the audience and inhales. One of the heroes knows magic and casts a large shield over the audience. The dragon’s fire blast rolls over the audience, as heated wind, hitting their faces with chairs shaking. A large laser light display acts as the shield blocking the majority of the fire.

This angers the dragon that then turns his attention on the battle below. A blast on the field furthest from the mountain causes another wave of heat to hit the audience. Fire engulfs the combatants. The combatants have disappeared, when the audience can see again, vaporized by the dragon fire’s intense heat.

The main hero yells No! and starts to run up the mountain towards the audience. The dragon turns to look at him and starts to inhale for another blast. The warrior leaps into the air. With his massive sword first, he is as an arrow, aimed to the heart of the dragon.

The dragon blasts flow around the hero, protected by his magic. The warrior pierces the dragon in a massive explosion of laser, light and pyrotechnics. The blast encompasses the audience with wind and a rumbling of the chairs. All of the combatants are floored from the destruction of the dragon.

 

So a theater production that takes Cirque du Soleil + Final Fantasy, to the music of Two Steps From Hell, sprinkle laser lights and active chairs (like Disney’s A Bug’s Life chairs).

I figure a two hour show with an intermission. Probably five different stories tied together via a few similarities like Final Fantasy does between stories. Something that can work on the same stage props (mostly the same). Acrobatic fight scenes with an overhead system that allows characters to do massive jumps over their opponents in the fights.  Like the games or fantastic martial art type movie scenes.

Use the active chairs when something happens on stage. This would allow for giving the audience an experience beyond just watching the action on the stage. For example, a blast of fire washes over the audience (a small blast of hot air directed to the face of the seated audience) or chairs that rock back when a particular event occurs on the stage.

Also the actors voices could be projected through speakers in the chairs. This would allows the “din” of the battle, the music of the orchestra/band/vocals to be projected differently. Maybe these would come from the stadium/theaters speakers while the main characters would speak in the voices that best projects the emotions of the part (maybe pre-recorded).

Yes I love to dream.

From the Web: Another Explanation of Fermi’s Paradox that sounds wrong to me.

Happy New Year.  My first post of 2017!  Here’s to hoping for a good year.

As I usually do when I want to write my novels, I stare at my computer until I get the urge to write or look at Facebook or something.  This morning, Facebook won out.  I found a post about Brian Cox explanation of Fermi’s Paradox.  Another article talking about how all aliens must destroy themselves before they break free of their home planet.

I have addressed how I feel this is wrong in this previous post, so I will not dwell on those reasons here. Of course; I, like them, have no clue whether aliens exist or not. We have no substantiated proof either way, yet.  It is all conjecture.  But what fun this is!

To me, these arguments for self-destruction is superimposing our behavior on any alien race that might exist. While I believe this is a very possible outcome for the human race.  I do not believe that means all intelligent races will do the same.

Look at other examples on Earth. Bees for example.  How do they expand? Do they grab every possible hive location as soon as possible?  Do they constantly war with themselves? They do have their cold-blooded aspects but not like us. Bees expand, or swarm, when they have grown large enough that they can not “smell” the queen. When a hive is so large that the queen’s pheromones can not reach all members in the hive, those members not ‘under her spell’ make a new queen. When she is born, the old queen flies off with a portion of the workers.

A hive grows larger because it has produced enough food to allow the colony to successfully grow.  So instead of producing swarms that go out and just find land, they do it when they are over populated.  Could an alien race act like this?  Why not?

Another example could be the big cats or wolves. Normally they also do not go out and grab all they can grab. They keep their territory unless resources are scarce.

Why would aliens not have a similar behavior? Why would we think that aliens would make their main goal of exploration of everything?  Why wouldn’t they just explore their immediate surroundings, find a few places and settle in for a while to develop these resources.

Within 10 light years of Sol (our solar system) there are 15 known stellar objects (stars and red/brown dwarf stars). These are the ones we know of.  The last being discovered in 2014, with a few more found since 2010. This leads me to believe there might be at least double this number in this space.  If there are 30 systems in this small space, that is a lot of exploration for us to undertake.  Each one requiring a mission to be set up, speed up and slow down of the craft on the way, communications between the stars, etc..  That is a lot of resources.  And we still have problems on earth that are priorities.

Within 100 light years of Sol, there are over 500 known G type stars (ones we can see as a twinkle of light in the night’s sky).  In the 10 light year range, only 2 of them are G type. So if we take a similar ratio of dwarf stars to G types, in 100 light years range there might be 2500 stars.  Include even fainter ones, like we are discovering still in 10 light year range, and that might be 5000 or more.  Again think of all the trip planning and particulars of the trip to get to all of them.

Humans seem to have the wanderlust that makes them always go over the horizon. That doesn’t seem to be a trait of most of our fellow species of Earth. Why would aliens act more like us and not more like one of the other species of Earth?

Additionally, there are so many resources in this solar system, why would we need to go elsewhere? Yes for humans, its wanderlust.  If the species was not prone to wanderlust, when would they need to move?  When they have exhausted the resources of a solar system?  How long would it take for us to mine out this system?  It has been 5000 years of recorded time and we still have not mined out the resources of Earth. What about the moon? asteroids? Mars? Jupiter and her moons? etc…

If a race takes 1000 years to exhaust the resources of an entire star system and thus requiring the aliens to move on.  It would take this race 30,000 years to exhaust the 10 light year range from Sol.  With the Milky Way galaxy being 100,000 light years wide, it would take this race 30 million years to strip a 10 light year wide strip from one end to the other.

To do this for a 1000 light year wide strip, it would take 3 billion years. That would still leave the vast majority of the galaxy untouched and that is a quarter the age of the galaxy. So even if we had a locust acting race out there, chances are, the galaxy is just too big to swallow.

Have a Happy New Year!

Poem: What is Dying?

Please do not read into this.  I wrote this in a really weird mood a while back and just read it again today.  Think of it being published in the dying hours of 2016.

 

What happens when you die,

When the day means a little less, is that dying?

When the laughs are a little more forced, is that dying?

When the smile comes less often, is that dying?

When the desire to experience life lessens, is that dying?

When a sigh comes more often than a laugh, is that dying?

When a memory seems more important than now, is that dying?

When those around you laugh and you feel alone, is that dying?

What is dying but the lessening of life.

What is dying but the anticipation of the end.

To live is to experience. To die is the loss of experience.

What happens when you die, you lose the ability to experience.