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  • #135219
    Bethania Gauterius
    @sparrowhawke

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Thank you for your feedback! I’ll get back with a longer reply sometime, but thank you so much for your detailed critique.

    I must admit hearing somebody else read my work was a bit strange, but you did a great job. Your voices were great.


    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Thank you so much!

    "For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." - Psalm 103:14

    #135260
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    So… are y’all ready for another?

    Moniker: @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Book Title: Excavatia: From Dust Arise
    Audio Link: Prologue: The Beachhead – Scene 2 – A Meeting of Monsters
    Duration: 10 minutes 42 seconds

    Here is the Text:  (Word Count – 1137)

    A creature of living darkness emerged from the well of the deep. It had been summoned from the great gulf that separated the world of the seen from the unseen. The beast was given a keystone granting it a metaphysical form reflecting its monstrous nature, allowing it to pass through to a place where the designated one would come to be tested to learn to lead others either by faith or by sight.

    The supernatural swords of fire blocking its entrance were briefly parted by the keepers and it was, at last, permitted to enter the hidden world from which it had been ejected so very long ago.  Soon others would emerge from the world of the seen, but this was its opportunity and its singular mission: To kill the desire of the one called to lead.  To stop the opening of the other gate beyond the hidden world to the kingdom without end.  A kingdom called Excavatia.

    Like a shooting star, the creature came through a ragged tunnel in the evening sky opening just above the horizon’s edge of the marching sea.  Upon hitting the atmosphere, feathers of smoke peeled from its falling form creating contrails that marked the path of its fiery descent.  Its ponderous bulk plowed into the shoreline with a crash and thunderous clap echoing across the breaks and turns of the seashore cliffs.  The pressure of the impact caused the crawling shallow water to explode into the air, and a large furrow tore into the rising shore, casting a cloud of sand into the air thereafter.

    Something huge emerged from the furrowed trench masked amid the falling water and dust, clouded in a loamy patina, sparkling with wetness as if it was newly birthed into this world of sea and lowering sun.

    It shifted, undulating in the air, seeming to twist the landscape around it as if bending the light out of its path like a massive, invisible fist moving under plastic.

    Its form was translucent, but opaque with the accumulation of sand sloughing off its ponderously moving body.  It lumbered forward and headed towards the open darkness of a sea cave carved by wind, time, and water.  The sea swelled and surged behind it as the rippling, translucent, hulking thing faded into the sea chiseled cavern as deeper darkness enfolded it into its waiting bosom.

    An old woman’s voice, coming from somewhere deep within the cave spoke to the newly arrived monster and said, “Welcome to the Mid-World, my prince.  We have waited long for your coming.”

    The beast filled the cavern with an even deeper darkness, raising its darkling form to cover the escape route through the entrance to the sea cave.

    Words, seemingly formed of rock and evoked from the deep-belly of the land and sea, responded to the woman’s voice, rumbling out of the walls and echoing throughout the recesses of the deep cavern.

    “You speak in the language of the original tongue. How come you to know this? And by what power do you recognize me? You have the hinting of human blood about you, but it is not your own smell.”

    The monster drew in a sniff that sounded like crashing waves of the sea, “I sense the water and dust within you, and the smell of another Prince of the Dark. Are you a creature of this land, or another place?”

    The woman’s voice responded, quavering, “I am a confined spirit of the air, my Prince. The original tongue is native to me. I was given this form through the blood and formation of another. I am your servant and the one who beckoned you with the accursed stone.”

    “The traces of water in you, are not of this outer sea. From whence do they come?”

    “There is a great and deep river between the mountains, my liege. It is called a fjord. There I was infused by the Beast of the Sea, your kind, along with the killing of the human form that previously bore it.”

    “And what of that Prince? How come you to leave your loyalties there and bring them to me?”

    “The former Prince of the Waters was slain, my Lord. Its head was taken by fishermen, even as I was present, lurking hidden within its locked jaws. I alone had enough blood left to sustain me.”

    The monster seemed to ponder her words thoughtfully for a long moment, and then the bellows of its throat chamber formed an odd popping sound like that of breaking rocks.

    “Then, servant, you will be my eyes upon this land, for I move among the shadows and beneath it. The light of this world burns.”

    “What is it that you wish of my, my master? I knew you would come, but I did not know for what purpose.”

    “There is one of the Ancient Land soon to come to this place. We are to undermine him at all cost, for he like others before him seek the Kingdom that is hidden here.”

    “But the stone…I saw you consume it. We have disposed of the virtue stone needed to bring the prophecy about.”

    “We have only delayed it. The stone is embedded in me. I could not consume it, for its power would send me into Tartarus.”

    “You mean it is here still? Not out in The Void?”

    “It cannot be lost. The virtue stones are from the altar of The One. They can be contained only for a time, but they answer another’s call.”

    “So how are we to prevent the one who will lead another of the stone quests?”

    “You will join their company. You will undermine their group, and sow seeds of dissension among them.”

    “I have done this before, only with some limited success. Those who knew the form I bear, eventually suspect.”

    “Then it is for you, that this charge I give is perfect. Those arriving here do not know the others. They will all begin as strangers without names.”

    “Your will is mine, my Lord. I am called Torlah among those who know me by my true form.  I am called Noadiah, but the others who see only the blood form I now wear. And by what name shall I call you?”

    “My name is Sheol, for I am the Lord and Master among the many graves of men.”

    “So, My Lord Sheol, how shall we begin this deception together?”

    “Bring me a sacrifice so that I may feed on human blood. From this, I will give you another form, beside the ashes of the one you now wear.”

    The monstrous bulk in the shadows slowly moved aside, allowing the faint graying light from outside the cave to pass around its body. Giving the old woman leave to go to the outside and do as it had commanded her.

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135342
    Crazywriter
    @crazywriter

    So i just choose a scene from my WIP?

     

    #135346
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @crazywriter

    Absolutely!  Any scene. No context is necessary.  In medias res
    We just want to hear the isolated scene you wrote and go from there. It is a kind of speculative exercise, just looking at the component.  Think of scenes as puzzle pieces.  We know they belong in a larger context and will reveal a grander picture once put together, but each scene has its own unique quality and has grooves and an individual shape that fits together with others that surround it. It has implicit value, just like you do as God design the uniqueness of who you are.
    Show us that piece. 🙂
    Don’t worry about the others it fits with.  God loves individual pieces. He calls each of them by name. 😉

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135390
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Ok! Critique @sparrowhawke!
    1. Is there anything that stood out to you as intriguing about this scene?
    The strange writing was very interesting how it was integrated into the plot/characters. It had plenty of mystery and promise attached to it and made me want to keep listening.

    2. What would you say the mood was of this scene?
    Tense, but also routine like establishing the character normal before setting off on the adventure.

    3. What character(s) in this scene would you like to know more about?
    The POV character, he seems to bleed trauma. His level of jadedness and his assumption that everyone hates him gives me the sense that he’s still reeling under out-of-control circumstances and uncertain responsibilities. I also wondered somewhere in there where his parents were and if they were still alive.

    4. Which character, if any, do you feel the most empathy toward in this scene alone?
    I feel plenty of empathy for the main character; on the surface he rather sounds like a bratty teen but I get the sense he’s very passionate about his beliefs and is quite fond of his mentor. It makes me wonder how his circumstances have effected him and why he’s so out of touch with his own emotions.

    5.Which of the following, as a reader, do you wish I had developed more fully in this scene?
    a. Setting
    b. Character thoughts and motivations
    c. Character appearance and/or mood expressions
    C and a; the setting really doesn’t need much or else it’d hamper the flow of the scene, but I would like to know more where they are and why. I also would be interested in knowing more about his appearance/mannerisms and how reflective they are of his personality.

    6. Do you feel that the dialogue in this scene flows or is mechanical and stilted?
    The dialogue was quite vivid and alive and it showed a lot of personality.

    8. Did this scene make you want to read more scenes? (Why or why not?)
    Yes absolutely, I want to know more about their situation and why he had the audacity to steal his mentor’s resolve. He just really screams trauma to me or that he hasn’t had time to adjust to this dangerous situation yet.

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #135540
    Bethania Gauterius
    @sparrowhawke

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Yeah, I myself don’t really know what the Rissians did or what exactly Resolve is. I really just wrote this on the spur of the moment after getting the word “Resolve” in my head. And so I got this sarcastic main character and really interesting first person present tense. Usually that drives me nuts, but I think it’s working here.

    Yes, Malar is overdramatic and whiny. In his defense, those things he said at the end were meant to convince Crin and he kind of hates himself for saying them and being so cheesy. But yeah. Malar’s quite a brat.


    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Thank you for the critique/feedback Cathy! You have a big heart if you felt empathetic toward Malar just based on this scene. I mean, I feel bad for him being the author and knowing some things (like I said before, this idea needs a LOT of work and brainstorming–I myself have a ton of questions), but if I just read this scene, I’d think he was entertainingly sarcastic but Idk if I’d pity him. He has been rather traumatized, yes

    This, along with a few scattered notes and ideas in my head, is the extent of my knowledge of this story:

    I’m really discovering this one. It’s actually quite interesting at the moment, not knowing so much about your own story.

    "For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." - Psalm 103:14

    #135561
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Hi Cathy,

    I did post the Scene 2 follow-up to the first scene you reviewed.  Just curious what you thought about it.
    Were you able to get a new laptop?

    I like the idea of implementing the passive and active voices like that, that should be really fun to see especially tied to the character arc!

    I tend to label each scene with a title, so this one is called “A Meeting of Monsters” and I believe you will hear more of an active voice as well as me “altering my voice” to that of…well, you’ll see. 😉

    Cheers!

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135584
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world
    Yes I keep meaning to write the answers to those scene questions, I’ve just managed to juggle way too many projects all at once yet again at twenty of the balls have fallen over two jugglers died and my imaginary friend is running with scissors again 😉
    But I loved listening to it while I was working, (can’t wait to see what happens to that stone…). I meant to ask, is this the same story as the excerpt in Controversial Themes? And if so, that wretched villain there is his son the main character? (Or am I drawing inferences from completely unrelated details, which I have been known to do before XD)
    I did see the shift in voice with the increase in dialogue and interaction too and it’s very suspenseful especially for a prologue!
    Oh laptop! *siiigh* no. I of course don’t know as much about laptops as my parents and that one didn’t actually meet my needs. Apparently what I should look for is a 8 gp i5 something-or-what not refurbished (thank Goodness for Amazon search filters!). So the search continues lol!


    @sparrowhawke

    Lol he is entertainingly sarcastic! (and I never know what’s going on in my story during the first draft either XD). XD XD I probably just thought he was traumatized because I was just studying PTSD/C-PTSD for my MC and he had a lot of the symptoms…
    I love your storyboard! It channels a lot of dark vibes with sarcasm which is always a fun mix XD.

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #135599
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Hi Cathy,

    Ha! I have those jugglers and scissor-bearers running through my house too.

    To your question:

    I meant to ask, is this the same story as the excerpt in Controversial Themes? And if so, that wretched villain there is his son the main character?

    The two in the prologue are supernatural villains each in a kind of form.  One is massive. A creature that is not often seen, but moves underground, digging furiously often at the approximate speed of a freight train. It is what came through and crashed into the seashore.  The other is “the old woman” named Noadiah, but she is something else besides what she appears to be.  I know these are cryptic answers, but they are accurate.

    The excerpt is connected to this same story, but it a glimpse into a backstory for it with regard to the oppressive human kingdom of Xarm.  The father and son in the excerpt are the man who become the ruler of the “Marxist-type” kingdom, and the son is his successor, who after his father’s death, becomes so obsessed with his father’s tormenting memory he calls himself “The Son of Xarm” and forsakes his given name.

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135682
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world Prologue Meeting of Monsters!

    1. Is there anything that stood out to you as intriguing about this scene?
    The contrast between the two villains was fascinating, especially as they plotted dividing the people. Contrasting the villains’ different appearances with the division they plan to work make increase the flow and clarity of the plot. The scenery was very interesting as well, a lot of it Biblical details, has an edge of Revelations tone to it even if most of the details are from a huge variety of scriptural passages. and leaves a trail of mysterious details and facts that haven’t been explained yet. I might be concerned about giving too much information all roughly the same amount of attention. Instead maybe a preliminary explanation of a couple strongly scene-relevant details that can be tied to something to help jog the reader’s memory. But again as a prologue it works just fine.

    2. What would you say the mood was of this scene?
    The mood seems to continue the feeling of angst and horror effectively. It has a heavy overtone of mystery and impending doom and sets the stage for a very exciting adventure. The imagery is intensely Biblical and leaves no question as to who the villains are and what their end-plan is to any Christian reader.

    3. What character(s) in this scene would you like to know more about?
    I would be interested in a little backstory between the two characters, but at the same time as eldritch abominations that’s not a particular requirement for a good monster. I have heard that the scariest villains are relatable and should be treated as characters especially as “almost human”s where people can “almost” have empathy for them perhaps through an innocent sort of quirk or something that masquerades as kindness without any obvious malicious purpose but that of course is waaay farther down the line.
    Probably I’d be much more interested in the origin stories of these creatures without even bothered with making them relatable as long as they take something important to the reader. I rather wonder how they’re able to work together reasonably smoothly at this point and this may be something you want to accent or adjust depending on how the story goes.

    5. Which of the following, as a reader, do you wish I had developed more fully in this scene?
    a. Setting
    b. Character thoughts and motivations
    c. Character appearance and/or mood expressions
    I think the tone. One area in particular you have nothing but dialogue which I think would be an exceptionally interesting stylistic technique if you didn’t give any prior descriptions at all and left the reader to a simple piece of ominous conversation without any immediate explanation.
    But with descriptions already in place you may want to adapt that and put more breaking details between the dialogue. But then those details can’t extraneous I might try to narrow in on a couple things that’ll be immediately relevant to the next scene. Assuming you want to leave the virtue stones and the historical setting in the dark for now I might focus on the relationship of the two monsters trying to make it as credible as possible and go more into why they need each other’s help for this plan and whether or not they intend to stab each other in the back and if so how soon and how suspicious they are of each other etc.

    6. Do you feel that the dialogue in this scene flows or is mechanical and stilted? I think the dialogue itself works with the tone and mood as well as flows with the plot. I might worry if you tried to hard to make it unnatural and scary it would lose impact over time. But overall especially for a prologue it has excellent dialogue.

    7. Did you learn something in this scene that you wondered about in a previous scene?
    I learned something more of her purpose in stealing the stone but I don’t think I appreciate fully her goal in trying to destroy it, exactly how much she stands to gain or lose. I still wonder why she chose to possess a body to do her work instead of some other dark magic method or what but I did learn more about her goals if not her purpose in this scene and that sets well for a story.

    8. Did this scene make you want to read more scenes? (Why or why not?)
    Absolutely, especially as a prologue it fits into its stylistic tone well and the dialogue makes it more active and current. The characters are beginning to establish their roles and the stakes are starting to be introduced.
    On an odd note does anybody know what the fascination with symbolic magical stones is? I’ve read so many books with magic stones it’s one of the most popular magic items in fantasy and even in real life rocks are often associated with witchcraft. (This…has nothing to do with an actual critique just the weird random question of the day I guess XD)

    9. Is there any part of the scene that you personally felt did not belong?
    Personally I would say there was a lot going on, there were two evil monsters, virtue stones, impending apocalypse themed disaster. Without knowing the whole story I wouldn’t be able to say what goes in the prologue or not. It might seem cluttered and confusing to me but again as a prologue its not meant to explain so much as wet your appetite and it did just that. So perhaps simplify or perhaps heighten surrounding details but really it’s great for its purpose and should work just fine.

    10. What, if anything, would you change about this scene to make it more interesting to you?
    I might try to hit an extreme either going no details and all dialogue or exaggerated aspects of the tones and key plot settings and try to do that to isolate one or the other to account for the readers lack of familiarity with the story. But it’s very optional and personal preference more than anything else. It serves its purpose great as it is.

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #135708
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Good morning Cathy! 🙂

    I so enjoy hearing your thoughts and reading your insights.  You have such a clear perception that you amaze me and I always look forward to reading what you say.

    Thank you for responding to this section as well.  You are correct that there are several vagueries in this “Prologue” but there are deliberate reasons for them.

    Contrasting the villains’ different appearances with the division they plan to work may increase the flow and clarity of the plot.

    The descriptions I have included are spartan in that they are meant to provide a mere outline of their forms in silhouette.  They are, after all, shady characters…[See what I did there? 😉 ]…but there is more to it.  These are deliberately cloaked in vagueness so that when the unfolding story reveals them they will come as more of a suprise.

    So far, all we know at this point is, one is in the form and body of a dead person being animated by something dwelling in her and making use of the old woman’s body to walk unnoticed among the peoples of the land and to be able to physically carry the “giant pearl” that she would not have been able to with no corporeal form of her own.  In the form of a beggar woman, who appears to be blind, the brutal Xarmnians, in which city she hid until they were accustomed to seeing and “not seeing” her.  Xarmnians tend not to notice anyone who doesn’t present strength or a threat.  The presence inside her is a creature of mercurial rages, but she holds herself in check, because she needs this crumbling old body until she can get another one.  The old woman’s person was once loved and respected when she had been living.  So ,when in the brief allusion, “Noadiah” says “I have done this before, only with some limited success. Those who knew the form I bear, eventually suspect.” She is referring to her previous attempt to masquerade in the human form as the original Noadiah among those who knew “the real Noadiah” as she had been in life, they began to suspect that there was something off about her.

    The other “creature” is bulky and massive.  In the light, it appears as a massive translucent distortion, like a desert mirage.  But in the darkness, under half-light, it is visible and is a terrible sight to behold.

    When “it” says to the Noadiah impersonator:  “Then, servant, you will be my eyes upon this land, for I move among the shadows and beneath it. The light of this world burns.”  Its statement is true.  It avoids the sunlight and is most at ease in darkness, which is why, upon crashing upon the shoreline of the beach, it proceeds immediately into the sea cave, where it will begin its tunneling underground.  This creature symbolizes a monstrous assault on “foundations”.  Later, it will attack a troop of Xarmnian soldiers, because it hungers and thirsts for human flesh and blood.  It literally opens up the ground beneath them and attacks all who fall into the resulting pit.  A whale does something similar when pursuing the massive amounts of krill it consumes.  It is called a bubble net effect, in that it swallows air, and releases it by opening its mouth forming a rising ring of bubbles that force the schooling krill into the center of the widening bubble as it rises out of the depths below.  The whale follows the bubble upward and scoops up the gathered krill trapped within the center column of the rising “bubble net”.

    This creature is comprised of metallic spines, with a head the size of a utility van, and crushing flat and torquing teeth that twist each time it opens its jaws. I call it a “Dust Dragon”, and yes it does have an elusive biblical origin, like many of my character creations do.  This monstrous being is half-supernatural being and half a collection of scales, claws, bony plates, diamond pointed spines, and rocky plates that gouge and cut through the underground as it rams its way further and deeper into the land of the Mid-World, following the progress of the twenty-one Surface Worlders who have been brought out of time and gathered together to fulfill a quest and prophecy in this heartland country symbolic of a redeemed human soul.

    The Dust Dragon is only one of the three total “Dragons” occupying the Mid-World, though the other one, A Leviathan (Job 41 & Isaiah 27:1), was killed in the prior failed quest that the MC (later called O’Brian) is called back to lead.  The earliest Dragon to enter the Mid-World is trapped and “sleeping” in the High Mountain range, a formidable and imposing wall of jagged stone towering to the sky. Only “the Ancients” of the Mid-World know of its existence and that it attempted to steal the massive golden Dominion Crown once atop The Marker Stone, from which the three virtue stones fell out of their settings as it attempted to fly off and ascend the crest of the massive Stone Walls, clutching its prized possession.  The Massive Stone Range has four cities that are built upon ledges and terraces in the arduous trek upward.  Each of the names of these cities begins with one of the following letters: S-E-L-F
    Hence, the mountain range is called the Self Range.  [The multi-headed red dragon (Ephesians 2:2 & Rev. 12:3) is the same that appears in Revelations and the very same Serpent of Eden that crawled out of the forbidden guard and slinked away into an Occulus portal into the Mid-World before the eventual global flood of Noah reshaped the earth (Surface World) and obscured the old portals into the undiscovered country of the Mid-World lands.]

    With the Dust Dragon, I am taking some creative license here, was once in the Surface World in biblical times during Korah’s rebellion against Moses and Aaron’s leadership in the desert. (Read Numbers 16:32)
    It was used as an instrument of chaos fulfilling God’s purpose to punish Korah and Dothan, but its savage killing did not stop there, so it was banished and cast out into the Void, there is waited for centuries until “Noadiah” by attempting to cast the stolen “Pearl” (a Virtue Stone [the Faith stone, aka The Fidelis Stone]) out into the Mid-World’s eastern sea, instead opened the sky and this “beast” caught it in its mouth, allowing it to enter the Mid-World, just ahead of the beach arrival of “the Twenty-one” Surface Worlders.  The Virtue Stones are not of these worlds, they are from the land of Excavatia.  What the thing inside Noadiah’s body does not know is the Virtue Stones cannot be destroyed or entirely lost.

    This passage (from the prior reading) also reveal some of that:

    [Noadiah] “But the stone…I saw you consume it. We have disposed of the virtue stone needed to bring the prophecy about.”

    [Dust Dragon] “We have only delayed it. The stone is embedded in me. I could not consume it, for its power would send me into Tartarus.”

    [Noadiah] “You mean it is here still? Not out in The Void?”

    [Dust Dragon] “It cannot be lost. The virtue stones are from the altar of The One. They can be contained only for a time, but they answer another’s call.”

    [Noadiah] “So how are we to prevent the one who will lead another of the stone quests?”

    This is their shared mission. To thwart and prevent a successful carrying out of the Third incursion of Surface Worlders meddling in the prophecies of The Mid-World in service to the Mysterious Marker Stone.

    There also is a sinister connection between what Noadiah actually is (an elemental wind spirit [See Colossians 2:8 NET version]) and the way she gets a body by cooperating with a “dragon” who pulverizes rock and eats “dust”.  A saliva/plasma substance that encapsulates and incorporates both human blood and the rock and dust of the land into a golem form which shifts and takes on the visual aspect of the DNA characteristics of the person whose blood was taken to form it, but it lacks a soul and can only be animated by an elemental wind spirit to give it the semblance of life, if not the truth of it.

    In my story, the wind spirits are evil consistent with Colossians 2:8, and they have a symbiotic relationship with dragons who have the special plasma that can give them a type of body.

    As to your question about the Virtue stones, even though others believe differently (even the MC for a long time), these stones have no internal power of themselves. They are focusing stones that channel effects of supernatural power through the yielded Surface Worlder who bears them, only when the person yields to their calling by The One True God who equips them to do what must be done in pursuit of that calling.  The bearer cannot use them to conjure power or work these to serve their own selfish ends.  These only serve and channel the divine authority of The One who directs His instruments to surrender to His Will.

    God does not lend His power to mortal men to serve themselves, but does work supernaturally through them when yield to Him and they ask according to His Will. (Matt. 18:19, John 5:20-21, John 14:13-14, 15:7 & 1 John 5:14)

    Look up the term “quickening” in the Scripture, and you will see it is associated with miraculous accounts in both the OT and the NT.

    My stories will incorporate a wide scope of biblical mystery because I take a holistic view of its scope in the same way that Jesus did. (See Luke 24:27 & 44, See also Psalms 40:7 & Hebrews 10:7)  From Genesis to Revelation, Jesus defines Himself as The Alpha and The Omega, The Beginning and The End, so if my work reflects Him, all is fair game.

    1 Peter 3:15 [NIV] says:
    But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

    The scope of my story is a journey into the Redeemed Heart of Mankind, carrying out a mission bearing Faith (Fidelis), Hope (Praesporous), and Love (Cordis “The Heart”) in yieldedness to Christ as the Anchor Stone of our sure promise, to restore these gems to the stolen crown of Dominion, and by Faith move against the worldly strongholds that still influence the human soul in its pursuit of The Kingdom (Excavatia), that God calls us to seek. (Matthew 6:33)

    Ephesians 6:12 says in “high places” we are called to contend with and wrestle against a pantheon of evil powers and principalities, that represent themselves are deceitful strongholds in our lives.  But we are made to be overcomers if we yield to His “finished” task and under that authority take back the lands which these have stolen and reclaim them and subject them under His Lordship.

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135748
    Joelle Stone
    @joelle-stone

    Thx for tagging me about this, Mr. Brian! I have a scene I’d love to get feedback on (and it’s so much fun to read stories aloud), but it might take some time to actually get it recorded. 🙂 I’ll get back to you!

    "For love is strong as death." -God

    #135776
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @joelle-stone

    Hi Joelle!

    I wrote a reply this AM that vanished…🤷‍♂️
    I suspect a Gremlin, and someone fed it “after hours”.

    I am looking forward to hearing/seeing your post.  Remember, it is only a single scene, not a full chapter.  No context is needed. Just let it stand alone. That gives us the chance to answer and guess a little then you can follow up with the reply and any clarification notes.

    I have been doing these scenes for about a year now, so I learned by doing and downloaded the freeware Audacity to add in background effects and drop in a musical score behind the maximized Audio track.  You don’t have to go that fancy, but the more you do these, the more you might want to try the other more “theatrical” options.  But for now, start simple.  Have fun with it. If you can corral a friend or family member to play one of the character voices, do that too. You may find they give you more time to write if you are adding new scenes for “their” characters for a later recording. 😉

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135792
    Joelle Stone
    @joelle-stone

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world,

    Thanks for the reminders! Here’s a piece of micro-fiction I wrote for a contest that I decided to use as a guinea pig. There’s a few bloopers, but let me know what you think (and if I did the link right).

    Seen  – Duration: 4:45

    Text:

    You aren’t supposed to see me, but there you are. Smiling directly into my eyes.

    My heart skips a beat as I stare into those blue depths. Why–how–what–Questions race through my mind like the many dust devils skittering down the path in the sweeping, swirling train of my raiment.

    “Hello,” you whisper, hesitantly lifting a finger.

    I can only blink as all my flurrying questions settle into one clear word.

    Who?

    Then your finger, just starting to lose its baby-chubbiness, brushes my forehead. I freeze.

    “Pretty wind,” you breathe, your other hand coming up as you trail your fingers down my face and tangle them in my hair. All stills. The dust devils peter out. My hair cascades to the ground instead of whipping away from my face. Your eyes laugh.

    As your fingers explore first my hair, then my streaming garment, then finally find my hands, I realize I can inhale and exhale again. I do so carefully, not wishing to blast you away with a gust of breath.

    “Hello,” you say again, and giggle.

    I can’t help it. I swirl myself around you, lifting you up off the ground in a spinning current of air. I hold you close to my body, finding myself both alarmed and thrilled with the ability to not just touch a child, but hold one. Normally my tentative brushes only skid past one’s face, blowing their hair out behind them. They tend to either glare, ignore me, or laugh and stretch their arms wide as if to catch me. But I always divide myself around them and move on, my subconscious the only part of me registering the pain of being invisible in their eyes.

    Why?

    You gasp and point at something far below us. I hadn’t realized I had carried you so high, and begin to descend. I will not let you come to harm.

    “Looky!” you squeal.

    I have no tongue with which to reply. The ache in my heart I thought I had buried millennia ago flutters to the surface and threatens to burst forth like a gale if I don’t keep it in check. I long to put you down and leave before I can be hurt by your presence even as I yearn to soar with you, listening to your bubbly laugh and watching your chubby cheeks scrunch up and feeling your soft, tangible hair graze my face.

    How?

    “Cow-cow,” you say, twisting in my arms to smile at me as you wave a finger towards the creatures. I want to kiss the appendage, but the best I can do is brush it with the gentlest of breezes.

    Friend. The word flits through my mind. I have caught glimpses of the concept enough to understand what it looks like, but I have no clue how to act as a friend. I have been around since the Breath of Life was blown into the Firstborn’s nostrils and a tendril of the puff had split away and grown until it was gusting air roaming back and forth across the earth. I have seen the Life Breather commune with his Breathed, seen the Breathed interact with his children, seen the children grow and fill the world. I have witnessed many, many relationships and, every time I come across one, the splinter that is my longing for a touch wiggles just a little deeper into my soul.

    What?

    Your brilliant blue eyes, the color of a late-afternoon sky hovering above distant peaks, sparkle as they stare straight into mine yet again. You stick a finger on my nose and bring it down to brush my lips and chin. A shivery feeling shudders its way across my skin as you do so. I pull you closer. How can I let you go? This feeling swelling in my heart is like a powerful, unpredictable storm in the open sea, complete with dark clouds and booming thunder and radiant lightning, unable to be contained or controlled. My arms long to squeeze you as tight as I can and never let go.

    Is this love? I have heard of it before.

    You sigh as your bare toes brush the grass. To anyone strolling by it would seem that you had spun up into the air with the autumn leaves dancing around you to some unheard music. To those with normal sight, anyway.

    One thing I know as I force my arms to set you gently on the ground and slowly back away. One thing I realize as you giggle and stroke my hair and a tear the size of a bucket splashes onto the ground by your feet, splattering you with salty water. One thing I rejoice in as you grab my hands and spin around with your wispy hair blowing in the breeze, then let my hands go, wave goodbye, and prance away towards the blue door of a small home.

    I have been loved and hated, blessed and cursed, guided and thwarted, freed and harnessed, played with and contended with, but now I am something I’ve never been before.

    I am seen.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Joelle Stone.
    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Joelle Stone.

    "For love is strong as death." -God

    #135810
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @joelle-stone

    Hi Joelle,

    Oh, I would so love to hear this, but the link did not work for some reason. Did you upload it on something like Google Docs and then make it shareable?

    If it doesn’t work could you, perhaps email it to me, and I will help make it accessible? Psst: my email is: Excavatia@hotmail.com

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

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