• Random Ramblings,  Story Excerpts

    I ignore her

    Productive and fun day, though nothing to report on the front of my novel. I quite liked today’s Doctor Who. I’ve been struggling with the non-historical episodes not quite pulling me in, so this was nice in that it takes place in the future and had me interested from beginning to end.

    Today I’m going with a snippet from my novel because I feel like it says a lot about Eyan, one of my main characters, very succinctly. Incidentally, this paragraph is immediately before the one I shared yesterday.

    Atthya tries to stop me from completing the experience. She says it will make me angrier, that I already know all the facts, that it’s pointless. I ignore her.

  • Purse
    Random Ramblings,  Story Excerpts

    A fashionable line of women’s clothing that has large pockets (no, this post is not about a real brand)

    I feel very accomplished and much more optimistic about my novel after editing Chapters 29, 30, and 31 of Part Two, and Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 of Part Three. I know I could abbreviate that Chapters 1-8 but listing them separately makes me happy.

    There are many chapters in Part Two that need a lot of work, and probably a lot that needs to be cut, but today’s relatively smooth sailing reminded me that a lot of the novel is looking really good.

    Chapter 5 is honestly one I barely remember writing, one of the many chapters I sped through to meet my June 1 goal of having a complete draft. Today I’m going to share a snippet of it that amused me to no end when I got there today:

    Markyl is entirely focused on his work. The client he met with a few days ago has commissioned a logo for a new start-up company that, among other things, is committed to providing a fashionable line of women’s clothing that has large pockets instead of assuming all women carry purses. After two frustrating days of ideas that are at best derivative, and at worst, insultingly bad, he’s finally inspired. In the last hour he’s created the first and second variations of three separate logo designs. He has definite favorites, but they’re all good.

  • The Way of Attrition concept image
    Story Excerpts

    The Way of Attrition: Chapter One

    Rather than post a short story today, I decided to share the complete first chapter of my novel (as it currently is, I can’t promise some details won’t change).

    It’s sci-fi fantasy. A story about friendship, civil rights, and how we treat people who are different. The first chapter is apparently 8,147 words long. And that right there tells you a lot about the state of this long novel.

    I had a lot of trouble getting the text of the chapter in here with paragraph breaks and italics and without entire sentences being dropped, which is a problem I ran into. To be honest, I’m still not sure I have it without cut off words and/or lost sentences. Please let me know if anything appears to be missing – there shouldn’t be questions that don’t get answered, unless something actually happens in the narrative to interrupt things, random answers not attached to questions, or shifts in the dialogue or descriptions that are abrupt / unnatural.

     

    The Way of Attrition
    by Erika Friedman

     

    Part One: Camaraderie

    Chapter 1

    The scream is agonized. It cuts the cold air, the walls, the closed door, fierce like a siren, too loud and too close. It echoes in the chill that tickles my spine, in the shiver that embraces me.

    There is nothing unusual in the sound, except for its lingering in my ears and mind, masquerading as a surprise. It’s not. Not here. Here it’s so common it often doesn’t register. The

  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
    Random Ramblings,  Scene,  Story Excerpts

    Alan Rickman as Snape is one of the best casting choices ever made

    I’m testing this theory where, because I’ve been sitting in front of my computer for the last couple hours and Ianta already did her computer-screen-blocking stint, I’ll be able to get through this blog post without her getting between me and my words. To that end, that’s this whole blog post. Goodnight!

     

    Juuuuuust kidding.

    So I didn’t edit Chapter 14 today and I don’t even care. I was too busy being super happy about how insanely adorable Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is. Then I was too busy being super happy about how insanely adorable Love, Simon is. The (audio)book made me legitimately happy. Half the time I was walking around with this ridiculous grin on my face as I listened, and when I finished it, I started it over again.

    The movie’s really pretty different (just as a general heads up to anyone who may be interested) but I think the changes worked for it and it was Erika-happy-making in its own right. I generally enjoy my fiction darker and more complex than this, which is great and all, but a book or movie or song or whatever that makes you happy is a really fantastic thing and I’ve been having a blast riding this happy wave.

    I think I’m going to diverge from that story that’s been simmering the last week to post an excerpt from my novel that makes me happy, happy being the obvious theme of the day.

    <What’s wrong?>

    <I’m getting

  • Custom virtual reality code
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    An interesting murder request

    Adulting has taken most of my Saturday.  Non-adulting highlights include Star Trek: Voyager, Jamba Juice, listening to a dystopian fiction audiobook, and furbutts of the dog and cat variety.

    Early this month I purchased a 30-day 10-image subscription to Shutterstock as a source of images in my blog and website redesign and for my stories. I’d intended to use most of them in my blog redesign, thinking I could rotate through several of them. In practice, however, most of them don’t work due to how responsive design resizes images. Unfortunately, unused credits expire so I have two days to decide how to use my remaining six. While I have many beautiful favorites, there are few I imagine having any use for. Alas.

    As a nice break from my adulting, today’s First Sentence was written just now:

    “Focus on the user.” The advice exasperates me. Users are banal and tedious. It’s all sex and action hero fantasies, hardly any interest in scenarios that require complex theorizing. Occasionally, an interesting murder request comes along, and those help break the monotony, but the sameness of most of the “custom” programs is wearing on me. Sometimes I think of slipping in a jack-in-the-box and turning a standard secret agent gig into a parallel universe time travel escapade but, well, I have to do what pays the bills and “focus on the” bloody “user.”

  • Stack of storyboard index cards
    Random Ramblings,  Story Excerpts

    Until or unless

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the presumption of innocence and how it applies to rape allegations. The obvious application is toward the person (usually a man) the allegations are made against. The less obvious one, or at least less talked about one, is toward the person (usually a woman) who is making the allegations. In this case, the presumption of innocence would be the presumption that she’s not lying.

    But how does that work, presuming both parties are innocent unless one of them is proved guilty (or rape or of lying)? How does it work during the time of #metoo when women are coming forward with their stories of sexual harassment, assault, and rape? How do statistics impact who we favor with the presumption of innocence? When I’ve Googled it I’ve found the estimates of false rape accusations are between 2% and 10%.

    Let me be clear: I’m happy women are telling their stories and I tend to believe allegations of sexual harassment, assault, and rape. Not all women are raped (thank goodness) but all women are harassed at some point, at the very least. It’s happened to me. I’ve heard all the excuses. What was she wearing? How much did she have to drink? Did she flirt with him? Did she say no? Was she clear? Why couldn’t she take it as a compliment? He just asked for a smile. Why wasn’t she nicer when she turned him down? Doesn’t she know how much guts it takes to

  • Not Human
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    Not human, not well

    I enjoyed a lovely evening visiting with friends. Music came up, and I played them a few songs, including Time Bomb by the Dave Matthews Band. These are my favorite lyrics from that song:

    If martians fell from the sky
    What would that do to god?
    Would we put the weapon down
    Or aim it up at the sky?
    No one would believe it
    Except the fucking nut jobs
    They’d laugh and cry we told you so

    I love science fiction for the questions it asks and for the creative ways it showcases our own societal prejudices and weaknesses. I think that’s why I love these lyrics.

    I went to college in Fresno, a city I would describe as fairly conservative and religious. After growing up in the Bay Area, it was an eye-opening and shocking change. I’d never realized that there are a lot of people who believe I will go to hell because I’m not Christian. I’d never realized people thought anyone would go to hell for believing the “wrong” thing, or that so many people would act like they knew the truth about life and god, and knew what would happen to me since I disagreed with them.

    I had a friend the first year and half of college who was Catholic, but not like any Catholic I’d met. I remember telling her I wanted to believe in reincarnation and she said, “Then do.” That was so unlike the religious certainly I’d met with from others in

  • To boldly go where no Elf has gone before
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    To boldly go where no Elf has gone before?

    I had an interesting dream last night. In the dream, I was talking about a story idea – a Stark Trek / fantasy Elves crossover. In it, a spaceship with faster than light-speed capabilities crashes on a remote planet, far from where anyone would think to look for it. The technology is damaged so they can’t get home for reasons.

    The planet they’ve crashed on is populated by Elves, who are ruled by an ultra wealthy upper class. The vast majority of the Elves are poor. There are enormous amounts of classism and racist at play, though my dream didn’t elucidate on the racism front.

    The spaceship people decide to share their surviving technology with the poor oppressed Elves, who use it to overthrow the rich ruling class and transform the society to one that isn’t driven by increasing the wealth of a few at the expense of everyone else.

    One of the clearest memories I have in the dream is of musing to a friend that I probably wouldn’t be able to actually use Star Trek characters for the spaceship people.

    In retrospect, the dream is both amusing and very telling about my thoughts and feelings about the current political situation in the United States, and my wish for some kind of magical fix.

    And how about the complete lack of a Prime Directive for my Star Trek like spacegoers?

    Here’s an imagined possible intro to this story, written right now:

    “There’s nothing I can do! We’re doing down.”

  • First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    There will be pain

    Today our day’s been made of IHOP, CPK, and a lot more Yahtzee. I feel silly. I realized after several games that I was giving myself 45 points for a Long Straight instead of 40. Eeep. I’ve played Yahtzee a lot so I don’t know what my brain was doing there.

    She’s leaving tomorrow but it’s been a lot of fun. I’m glad she came to visit.

    Today’s first sentence is from an imagined dystopia that I’ll maybe someday write. I don’t know when I wrote this First Sentence:

    One day I will have a world. And on this world there will be pain.

  • Tuvok, from Star Trek: Voyager
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    Brief musings of a Trekkie

    In rewatching Star Trek: Voyager, it has occurred to me that the hard time characters give Vulcans about not expressing emotions the way most other species do is…kind of racist (speciesist?). Yes, we know Vulcans do feel deeply, but they’ve learned to control their emotions and that’s very important in their society. The ribbing is portrayed as being in good humor but underlying at least some of it is this idea that they should be less Vulcan. Imagine telling a black person to be less black? A Buddhist to be less Buddhist?

    Last night, when watching the beginning of the episode Tuvix, I wanted to tell Neelix to shut up and stop nagging Tuvok about not expressing himself as exuberantly  as Neelix.

    I know, of course, that there is a level of arrogance Vulcans tend to have about themselves and their cool, logical superiority, so I’m not saying this doesn’t go both ways. Perhaps, though, the underlining intolerance of “be more like me and less like you” should have been explored more specifically in relation to the interaction of Vulcans and other species.

    Anyway.  Today’s First Sentence is actually from a fanfiction story I wrote about Silas and Bod from Neil Gaiman’s the Graveyard Book. It’s from 4/6/2016.

    “You’ve been drinking.”

    “Don’t worry, not a lot. I mean, I can’t drive but I won’t be hung over or anything.”

    “How reassuring.”

    P.S. The image above is from Star Trek: Voyager and I don’t in any way own it.