Settings in Science Fiction


Settings in Science Fiction

by Adam Huddleston

Last week I wrote about settings in the fantasy genre.  Creating a fantasy setting can be a huge undertaking.  When it comes to science fiction however, the approach to world building is a little different.

I would venture to say that most science fiction stories are set either in our world, or in what we know of outer space.  In these cases, the author doesn’t have to create a new setting, just assure that the elements of the setting are practical considering what we know.  In other words, the environment, peoples, flora/fauna, etc. of the story’s world may be our own.

It is perfectly acceptable to bend and stretch the natural laws of this world (it is fiction after all) but sci-fi still lives in a basis of reality.

Advertisements

Fantasy Settings


Fantasy Settings

by Adam Huddleston

 

The blog topic this month is “settings”.  The first thing I think about when I think of settings is fantasy fiction.  In my opinion, no other genre (save maybe science fiction) can boast of such robust and imaginative world-building as fantasy.  When it comes to make-believe worlds, not even the sky is the limit.

The joy (and sometimes overwhelming fear) of the fantasy writer is that they often place their story in a setting of their own creation.  This means that the author must imagine the world’s landscape, inhabitants, and history and then place a believable tale within it.  This is not as easy as it may seem.  The setting must complement the characters and plot of the story, without drawing too much attention away from it.

To give a quick example of my own work, one of my fantasy stories I’m working on exists in a world surrounded by a huge, vertical sea wall.  The actual border of their circular, flat planet ends with a wall of water that is hundreds of miles tall.  Since gravity must pull the water away from the land, it causes everything (and everyone) to slide sideways toward the world’s border.  This allows for some exciting, dangerous action scenes.

No matter what your favorite genre to write is, I highly encourage you to try setting a story in a fantasy setting.  It is very fun and definitely strengthens your world-building skills.

Happy writing!

Popular Novels and Their POV


Popular Novels and Their POV

by Adam Huddleston

 

This week, I just wanted to provide a short list of popular novels and what point of view (POV) they are written in.  If you’ve never read a story in a particular POV and would like a starting point, you could do a lot worse than these tales.

First-Person

  • The Hunger Games Series
  • The Twilight Series
  • The Divergent Series
  • Gone Girl
  • The Percy Jackson Series
  • Paper Towns
  • The Catcher in the Rye

Second-Person

  • Choose Your Own Adventure books
  • Bright Lights, Big City
  • You
  • A Prayer of the Dying

Third-Person

  • The Lord of the Rings Series
  • The Harry Potter Series
  • A Game of Thrones Series
  • 1984
  • Animal Farm
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • Brave New World

My Favorite POV


My Favorite POV

by Adam Huddleston

 

This month’s blog theme is literary points-of-view (POV). This has little to nothing to do with the writer’s opinions on certain matters, it is the style in which they write. In a nutshell, the POV of a work is how/who the reader follows the story with.  For example, in a story written in first-person POV, the reader is listening to the narrator as the tale happens to them.  In third person POV, the narrator is telling the story to the reader, but they are outside of the story.  Each POV has different advantages and disadvantages, many of which will be explained this month from the other bloggers in detail much better than what I can give.

One of my new favorite POVs to write in, and one that is popular today in young adult fiction, is first-person present tense. In this style, the story is happening in real-time to the narrator.  It gives the tale a sense of immediacy and suspense.  You don’t know if the character is going to get out of whatever trouble they are in and it feels like events in the story happen to you as well as the narrator.

When writing, many POV choices are available.  Try them all out and see which one feels best for you.

Happy writing!

The Venturi Carnival Company


This week I just wanted to share a short story I submitted to the Your Story contest at http://www.writersdigest.com.  The prompt was a picture of a large, concrete clown head laying in a deserted lot amidst leaves and dust.

 

The Venturi Carnival Company

Adam Huddleston

The Venturi Carnival Company rolled into Bentonville in the early hours of August 5 and left two weeks later in an overnight barrage of fire and destruction.  The first day was spent erecting the many rides and sideshows that Venturi was famous for.  By seven o’clock that evening, the fun was about to begin.  A long line of townsfolk stretched from the ticket booth to the back reaches of the dirt parking lot.  By all accounts, the first few days were enjoyed by all.  Everyone seemed enamored with the circus-like atmosphere and very few complaints were heard from the patrons.

Then, four days after opening night, a metal beam on the Tilt-A-Whirl bent.  Six visitors were thrown into the hot, autumn night.  All suffered serious injuries.  One remained in a coma for over a month.  The ride was shut down temporarily, but by the weekend, it was rocking and rolling again.

Visitors were mugged on three separate occasions, two of them at gunpoint.  One woman accused a carnival barker of sexually assaulting her behind the famed Haunted Mansion.  Carnival security merely winked at the crimes.  A belief began to grow among the townsfolk that they were actually behind the atrocities.

By the carnival’s second week, a manhunt was underway for Arturo Venturi, the great-grandson of the carnival’s founder and head of the current iteration of the gaming/ride spectacular.  Rumors spread that he had been seen at several locations about town; most of them bars or brothels.  A posse was established and the search began.  He was quickly discovered half-drunk at a table in Jimmie’s, an establishment that prided itself on both booze and women.  Venturi was captured but escaped the next morning.  To this day he has yet to be found.

Frustrations came to a head on the night of August 19.  Word got out that most of the midway games were not only rigged, but downright impossible to win.  All told, the games had cheated the townsfolk out of several thousand dollars.

A mob formed in the woods near the back of the carnival.  At the leader’s go, the group tore through the shabby fencing and made a bee-line for the assorted wagons and shacks used by the carnies.  Torches lit up the night sky, pitchforks glistened in the moonlight.  Anything made of wood was set afire.  Several carnival workers were injured, one was killed when a hefty farm-boy drove a shovel through the man’s skull.  The rest made it to their wagons and fled the town in terror.

The rides were torn to pieces.  Many of the townsfolk made off with their parts, proudly displaying them for years to family and friends when they got together for cookouts.  The only thing left behind was the giant clown head that once dominated the welcome sign.


Screenplays

by Adam Huddleston

 

This week I wanted to share with you my new interest. Sometimes when you’re stuck in your current work, not sure where the plot should go or if your dialogue is stale or not, it helps to branch out and try something different.

Although I love reading, my current schedule makes it easier for me to watch movies.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I began and finished a novel without putting it down for several months or starting another book in between.  Since I love films, I thought I might try my hand at writing a screenplay.  The first step is learning proper formatting and some of the terminology.  After that, it’s just a matter of letting the words flow on the page.

Here is an extremely short screenplay I recently finished based on an extremely short story I wrote a year or so ago.

 

FADE IN:

INT. MASTER BEDROOM – NIGHT

ADAM is in bed, fast asleep next to his wife, JENNIFER.  A thin line of saliva runs down his cheek onto his pillow.  A muffled THUMP comes from the direction of his son JASON’s bedroom.

ADAM

What was that?

JENNIFER twitches a little in her sleep but does not respond.  ADAM slides out of bed and glares at his wife. He shuffles down the hallway to JASON’s room.

ADAM

Everything ok–

ADAM sees a giant shadow in the corner of his son’s bedroom.  He opens his mouth but is interrupted when something brown streaks in front of his eyes.  JASON’s teddy bear, ROBOT, performs a flying side-kick into the nose of a massive creature in the corner.  Bones SNAP. ROBOT drives his fist into the beast’s chest and pulls out a pulsing, black heart. ROBOT screams in triumph and holds the heart aloft.  ADAM’s and ROBOT’s eyes meet. ROBOT grins and trots across the floor to ADAM.

ADAM

Robot?

 

ROBOT

Yes, Adam?

 

ADAM

Is this really happening?

ROBOT’s brow furrows.

ROBOT

Tonight it is, Adam.  Tomorrow may be peaceful.  The days and weeks following may be as well.  But some day…some day…

ADAM looks over at the dead creature then back at his son’s sleeping buddy.

ADAM

Oh.  Okay.  Uh, thanks…Robot.

ROBOT

You’re quite welcome, Adam; you and Jason both.  I swore to protect his precious life the day you brought me home and I plan on keeping that promise for as long as I am able.

ADAM nods at the dead beast.

ADAM

What are you gonna do with that?

ROBOT

Don’t worry about the Gorthok.  It’ll be disposed of before your son wakes.  Oh, and Jason whispered to me tonight that he wants toaster pastries in the morning.

ADAM

Uh…toaster pastries.  Got it.

ADAM turns toward the hallway for a moment then turns back again.  The room is back to normal. All four corners of the bedroom are empty.  Jason is tucked away under his comforter, a small arm clutching ROBOT close.  ADAM heads back to his bedroom rubbing his eyes.

ADAM

 (mumbling)

No more Italian food after eleven.

My Favorite Movie Plot Twists


My Favorite Movie Plot Twists

by Adam Huddleston

Even though this is a writer’s blog, I feel much more comfortable mentioning plot twists that have occurred in movies.  Without spoilers, and in no particular order, here is a list of my favorite film twists:

  • Unbreakable, The Village, The Sixth Sense (practically anything by M. Night Shyamalan)
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Soylent Green
  • Fight Club
  • Seven
  • Psycho
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Planet of the Apes
  • The Usual Suspects
  • Shutter Island

FLASH FICTION


FLASH FICTION

Adam Huddleston

 

This week, I wanted to give an example of the flash fiction that I used to write (and later judge). Specific keywords (decided upon by me or whatever kid might be within shouting range) had to be used and the word count could not exceed one-hundred words.  The author was tasked with doing their best in creating a beginning, moving the plot forward, and providing an adequate climax.

The five keywords (off the top of my head) that I will use are: envelope, basketball, horse, generous, and final.

Arthur wiped away a tear as he read the envelope’s contents. His beloved horse, Sprinkles, was to be put down in less than a week.  Although the majestic beast had won many races, his final contest proved to be his downfall.  As Sprinkles was coming down the back stretch, a stray basketball had bounced onto the track, causing him to crash.  The horse’s leg shattered.

Arthur offered a generous sum to whomever would identify the perpetrator of the crime.  Within a week, the accused was found; Arthur’s son.   Punishment was unnecessary; the loss was sentence enough.

My Favorite Horror Movies: Revisited


My Favorite Horror Movies: Revisited

by Adam Huddleston

Here’s a blog from 2017.

Favorite Horror Movies

by Adam Huddleston

Since this will be my last blog before Halloween is upon us, I thought I’d share some of my favorite horror films.  In no particular order:

Night of the Creeps

Night of the Living Dead

The Thing

Silence of the Lambs

Jaws

Coraline

Poltergeist

The Shining

Psycho

Alien

Creepshow 1 and 2

If you are a fan of the genre, I highly recommend giving any of these movies a watch.  They are entertaining as well as wonderfully written, shot, and acted.

Happy viewing!

Favorite Quotes: Revisited


Favorite Quotes: Revisited

by Adam Huddleston

     Here is a blog from 2015.  Enjoy!

 

Favorite Quotes

Writers love a good quote.  What classifies as “good” may differ between individuals, but most would agree that it should be witty and memorable.  That being said, here are a few of my favorite quips:

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

                                     Mark Twain

“When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did–in his sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.”

                                   Bob Monkhouse

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

                                  Douglas Adams

When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.

                                   Albert Einstein

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

                                    George Bernard Shaw

 

Happy writing!