Well, The Stardrift Trilogy is now available to the public. Spread the news. You can buy the books on Amazon Barnes &Noble, and on Abbott Press Bookstore. Read it, review it, enjoy it if you can! Seven years in the making, and it's finally here!!!
Saturday, August 8, 2015
There was a worrisome fluttering and clanging and then silence. Presently, the seabird’s head appeared at the other end of the shelves. Without a thought, Dahskay sneaked up on it and caught it before it could fully emerge. She pulled it out gently despite its clawed feet clinging to unseen anchors behind the shelves. She tucked in the enormous wings and held it firmly against her side.
“You got it!” whispered Cahathel in amazement, rushing to open the door.
She glanced nervously down at the bird’s long, ponderously hooked bill as she carried it to the exit. It didn’t threaten her with it. It just blinked and gazed steadily ahead.
Just outside the door, she crouched down and let go of it. It fussily rearranged its wings and turned walking into the wind a couple of steps. Before it took off, it looked back at Dahskay through clear gray eyes.
As the enormous spread of wings climbed away into the stormy sky, Zaarrveck muttered, “Strange, most of them have dark eyes.”
Friday, August 7, 2015
On the other side of the door, she stopped short and stared. The chamber’s ceiling was as high as that of the exterior hallways and it was punctuated by skylights shaped like elongated teardrops streaming from the highest point in the vaulting. Stormy blue-ish light flowed down from these windows and lit the soaring labyrinth of shelves and cabinets that kept the temple’s some twelve-million documents. The air was cool and felt like it somehow came from outside. There wasn’t a sound to be heard.
Thursday, August 6, 2015
Dahskay slipped suddenly from the gentle hand of dreamless sleep. It was funny how every time she had awakened from any amount of sleep on this mission, she always expected to be in her room. What was even stranger was the fact that it wasn’t her room at the OAOF on Clilltar. Not even the girls’ dorm on Finzar, but her childhood home that she imagined she would see when she opened her eyes.
Monday, August 3, 2015
One of the greatest absences I sense in modern novels, poems, and short-stories is atmosphere. When did we lose it? Where did it go? And…why??? I don’t know that I could answer any of these questions. All I know is it’s gone, and I want it back.
So, what exactly is this lost element, atmosphere? Atmosphere is the underlying mood or tone of a piece of art. It’s what flavors and colors a scene, or a moment, making it more than the sum of its parts. In film, the soundtrack, lighting, set, and movement of the characters are powerful contributors to atmosphere. In paintings, the composition, palette, and focus play parts. In music, the instruments, dynamics, articulation, and tempo make all the difference.
Atmosphere really exists independently of subject-matter. A good author can take a scene in which the same characters are present, doing the same things, but make the reader feel any number of ways about it. The magic is in well-chosen details.
The atmosphere of a scene is a combination of physical and emotional elements. Look at the scene through the eyes of your characters in reference to what their currently going through. If your main character is walking down a beach, whether they are waiting for a boat that they are confident will arrive soon, or one that they’ve heard rumors may have gone down earlier that day.
Supposing it’s the exact same beach, the exact same time of day, and under the exact same weather conditions in both scenarios, what makes the difference? The main character’s focus, and the narrator’s descriptions set the atmosphere in this situation. Here’s the narrative for the more positive scenario:
He kicked along the shore, bouncing pebbles into the springy, flashing wavelets. For a few minutes he watched the minnows scatter, vaguely aware of the jeering laughter of the gulls as they took off with each other’s fish bones and trash. When the rumble of a boat faded in, he looked up, shading his eyes against the blazing sunshine. That wasn’t them, but that one scudding in off the hazy horizon could be.
And the more worrisome scene:
A few paces from the docks, he stopped and scanned through the tethered boats. Gulls screamed through the heavy air as one by one, all the boats in the bay docked. The sun glared on the agitated water, but the horizon was dark and the incoming craft seemed to emerge from behind a dark blue curtain. Another boat droned in. His eyes snapped to it. No. That still wasn’t them.
Some of the details are the same. Some differ. The things that stayed in both scenes were described differently. In the first scene, he idly kicked stones and noticed minnows—in the second, he got right to the point, searching for the boat. The “springy, flashing wavelets” of the first scene became “agitated water” in the second. First, the horizon was merely hazy. Second, it was a mysterious barrio between him and those he waited for.
Try writing some scenes like this. Try writing the same scene—possibly even one with the same dialogue—and putting it in a different context. Use the atmosphere to convey the feelings of the scenes differently.