Progress Report – July 2017

Progress Report – July 2017

July 2017 turned out as yet another quiet month for Star Trek fanfiction writing.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | July 2017
First of all, on the G & T Show forums, I posted nothing. Because at that site, the forums were removed a few months ago, due to the influx of spammers. And at this moment in time, the replacement blogs have not yet been created or started. Hence, still nada!

However, at this time, I still have no replacement, and neither do they. Therefore, I posted very few stories and, as a result, the read counts did not advance too much.

And on Fanfiction.net, during July 2017, I I finished posting Shake Your Body. I then started He Stays a Stranger.

Finally, on Wattpad, I continued to post Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain.

Milestones

See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

Because I finished and won NaNoWriMo in 2016, I sent The Real Hub of the Universe out for more beta reading. And that has proven more difficult as usual, as people are just plain busy. Furthermore, this wholly original science fiction work takes place in Victorian Boston. However, I would like to put off completing the second book until I get at least a modicum of feedback on the first one, and that has proven elusive.

Also, the editing for The Enigman Cave finished and the book was queried in mid-May. The publisher, Riverdale Avenue Books, asked for the entire manuscript for reading and reviewing. Hence I am cautiously optimistic; there are no guarantees of publication.

I also worked on the sequel to The Real Hub of the Universe, called The Real Heart of the Universe. I had already written over 50,000 words by the end of June. Hence I am perhaps one-half to maybe even two-thirds done.

Prep Work

I edited a Wattpad draft for the following fanfiction piece from The Times of the HG Wells, The Point is Probably Moot. However, I do not have to post it just yet.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

The month was hot and I was also incredibly busy with my freelance writing business. While it is good to have money and to work, I do kind of miss writing fiction.

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Review – New Toy

Review – New Toy

New Toy is, unfortunately, a failed story.
New Toy

Background

First of all, New Toy never really had much of a plot. Because the concept behind it was to try to get people to donate to Ad Astra and give them more story if they did so. However, it sadly backfired. As a result, there is very little story and a lot of going to nowhere. While the concept is of interest, it never really got off the ground and now, I am certain, it never will.

Plot

Hence the main plot of New Toy, such as it was, consisted of a kind of enemy creating a brand new weapon. And here’s all I’ve got, sorry: In August of 3110, the Chilo try out a new temporal weapon that threatens the multiverse.

Therefore, Carmen has to send HD and Marisol. And so Boris threatens HD (hence HD’s song).

Because I was looking to get people to donate, any number of disparate extra plot elements were thrown. Meet the kitchen sink of short stories!

Yeah, that is just never, ever a good idea for plot development and story lines, okay?

Music

The music is Lena Lovich’s New Toy.

And HD also sings Joe Jackson’s Is She Really Going Out with Him?

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

While it might have been a good idea at the time, it just plain isn’t anymore. This one will (highly likely) never be finished. I have no plans to pick it back up again, and I have little doubt that no one is exactly clamoring for it these days.

Ah, well. They can’t all be good ones. Hey, at least I tried something new!

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Portrait of a Character – Yilta

Portrait of a Character – Yilta

Origins

Yilta was conceived of early in the process of planning the Wells series. I wanted a character who Kevin O’Connor would sleep with and then, the following morning, a temporal change would replace her with his newly-not-deceased wife, Josie.

Portrayal

Yilta
Holly Hunter as Yilta (image is presented for educational purposes only)

Yilta is played by actress Holly Hunter.

I love this actress although the accent, admittedly, isn’t right for this character. However, that’s all right.

Personality

Relationships

Darywev

Yilta’s first husband breaks their marriage when he blames her for the death of their daughter, Brinka. However, Brinka is the victim of  birth defect and so Yilta is blameless.

Kevin O’Connor

Yilta marries Kevin in I Do Again and I Do Again (and Again). She brings him out his shell and convinces him that his life is worth living. Furthermore, she reminds him that he’s allowed to be happy.

Mirror Universe

Mirror Yilta
Mirror Yilta

There are no impediments to Yilta existing in the Mirror Universe, although the later you get in the timeline, the longer the odds become. Mirror Universe Calafans are copper-colored, so Yilta’s appearance would be rather different. Also, as a non-human, her species would not have the Y Chromosome Skew. So as a result, she would not necessarily be oppressed. Furthermore, engineers are needed in any universe, so she could have a decent life. Would she be with Kevin? It’s hard to say, but hybrids seem less common on the other side of the pond.

Quote

“Well, we all liked Otra. But it’s also, you know, it affects us all. The problems your unit is having, that is. I mean, “I suppose we all have doubts at one time or another. We have ugly bits of our history – I am certain that every species does. But to try and tweak it and do better? It just strikes me as the height o’ arrogance. We are a religious people, so we know that we cannot do any better than Lo, or even Ub, the lowest of our gods. But I don’t think you need to have religion in order to realize that trying to improve upon time is not only not going to work, but that it’s an exercise in ego-strokin’ and nothin’ more.”

Upshot

This chipper and resourceful engineer more or less saves Kevin O’Connor’s life. And that saves her own, too.

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Review – Smells

Review – Smells

Smells
Smells lingered over this little story, just like they do in real life.

Background

First of all, Smells was written because of some petulance on my part. Because I was posting on a site requiring beta reading before posting, I got tired of that. I didn’t want to do that as it was fan fiction. Furthermore, I was seeing suggestions of changing some of the fundamentals of Reversal. With so much dependent upon that story, imperfect as it is, I wasn’t interested in subsequent ‘fixes’ which I felt would gut the plot. However, I was curious about the beta reading process and reeled off Smells with two brand-new characters in order to see what it was all about. Hence my reasoning was to offer up two characters I didn’t really care about in the hopes that I wouldn’t be offended by any suggestions and would potentially learn something.

And then I mostly forgot about the story, but revisited it when I began writing the E2 stories as I needed names and I needed relationships. Tracey and Osh fit the bill rather nicely.

Plot

Because Smells was not intended to have a plot, the story progresses linearly although it barely goes anywhere. Essentially, Trace and Osh discover they are going to become parents. Furthermore, Phlox once again proves he has the lousiest bedside manner of any Starfleet doctor, ever, in the history of all Starfleet doctors.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

Most drabbles suffer from length and depth issues, and this one is no exception. However, the story is decent even if a little oddly executed. Certainly, within the E2 time frame in particular, this sort of thing could happen.

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Portrait of a Character – Telatharia

Portrait of a Character – Telatharia

Origins

Telatharia was created in response to a prompt for ‘Andorian Week’.

Portrayal

Telatharia
Suzie Plakson as Telatharia (image is for educational purposes only)

Telatharia is played by actress Suzie Plakson.

This character actress is well-respected in Star Trek circles and has played a multitude of characters of different species. Furthermore, I really liked this character although I had originally pictured the character a lot younger than this.

Personality

Resourceful and highly intelligent, the character gets out of a sticky situation and solves a problem during Recruitment. Because she smartly figures out (more or less) where she is, the Section decides to give her a chance.

Furthermore, her quote (below) ties her story line to the E2 timeline and the destruction of Duluth, and Lagos and Bogotá connections circle her back to the rest of the Wells series and even to Multiverse II.

Relationships

Telatharia has no known relationships.

Mirror Universe

Mirror Telatharia
Mirror Telatharia

There are no impediments to Telatharia existing in the Mirror Universe. However, the later you get in the timeline, the more difficult the odds become. Because only humans have the Y Chromosome Skew, she is not necessarily subject to oppression.

Quote

“Yes, the fact that there was rebar told me that it was later than Hiroshima but earlier than Beijing. It had to be the Third World War. It seemed too chilly for Lagos or Bogotá. After that, I didn’t know the names of a lot of destroyed cities from Earth. I guessed there were too many tall buildings for Teheran and then I just went with the only other name I knew. I guessed that you wanted to make the problem difficult but not impossible.”

Upshot

While the character is of interest, I really intended  for her to be a one-off, and that shows. However, aside from some of the Daniel Beauchaine story line, I really haven’t shown the deep future of Section 31. Maybe she can return then, if I decide to pursue that idea.

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Review – Multiverse Mini

Review – Multiverse Mini

Multiverse Mini seemed like a good idea at the time.

Multiverse Mini

Background

First of all, Multiverse Mini was my idea, to add a round robin mystery style story. However, the story was never completed, and the mysteries were too odd and no one really ‘got’ them.

Plot

The concept behind Multiverse II consisted of a puzzle and a mystery to be solved by the other players. Hence my inspiration came from Dungeons and Dragons and the like.

Music

I wanted this one to be loaded with music. Hence the prelude song (before anything else happened) became Neil Young’s My My Hey Hey because I wanted to instill a feeling of foreboding.

The first song posted? The Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds because  I wanted the participants to think about the illogic of Pepperland.

And then to give a hint that a river had to be crossed, I added Lenny Kravitz’s version of the old Jimmy Cliff tune, Many Rivers to Cross.

So for the next trial, I wanted the characters to teach each other something. Surfing was supposed to be fun. Hence I went with the B52s’s Rock Lobster.

And then in order to make the training sessions obvious, I added the Beach Boys’s Surfin’ Safari.

Because Lili becomes distressed by the sound of the waves (I added a thunder and lightning storm to the night of her parents’ deaths; that detail had not been there before), and the test was ended before Naurr, a Caitian, would have to get wet.

So the next test concerned getting out of heat, and the song? Buster Poindexter’s Hot Hot Hot.

However, the test really evinced cooperation, and that meant, of course, Miami Sound Machine’s Conga.

Unfortunately,  the story ended here, as the other participants abandoned it. A pity, as there were other challenges.

Unposted Challenge Songs

So for the fourth challenge, it concerned harmony and working together, a la Emilie-Claire Barlow’s O Pato.

And then the hint song? The Youngbloods’ Get Together.

The fifth challenge involved getting from place to place and that meant cars. Hence the first song (why? I can’t recall why) – Warren Zevon’s Sentimental Hygiene.

And then the hint song made more song, Ronny and the Daytonas’ Little GTO.

Since the next one concerned vision and identity, the song was David Bowie’s Sound and Vision.

And the hint song? The Who’s The Real Me.

Furthermore, I can’t honestly recall the theme of the next challenge, but the song was Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze, and Lili and Naurr had to cook something.

In addition, the hint song – Jay and the Techniques’s Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie.

Finally, the finale song – The Tubes’s Talk to Ya Later.

With the hint being Donna Summer’s Last Dance.

Furthermore, as the aftermath, Kantalia converted to her true shape, similar to a creature called a Spanish Dancer.

Spanish Dancer - Multiverse Mini
Spanish Dancer – Multiverse Mini

 

Second Spanish Dancer image - Multiverse Mini
Second Spanish Dancer image – Multiverse Mini

In addition, others joined her and the big reveal would be that they were of Branch Borodin’s species and that they belonged to universe #49.

Finally, the epilogue song (because the planet was 100% water and with no dry land) –Manhattan Transfer’s Trickle Trickle.

Yeah, as I look back on it now, it is really … weird.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Unfortunately, the Multiverse II round robin barely got off the ground. Participants did not seem to understand the puzzles and they went off in unexpected directions which derailed the ultimate plot, which was intended to show Branch’s origin world. I can only blame myself for that.

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Portrait of a Character – Steven Reed

Portrait of a Character – Steven Reed

Origins

Considering the spelling of his name, Steven Reed is yet another shout out to actor Steven Culp. Because of the dreamy aspect of the Recruitment, the shout out to Culp dovetails a bit with Reversal, which is the book that is all about dreams.

Portrayal

Steven Reed
Paul Bettany as Steven Reed (image is for educational purposes only)

Steven Reed is played by actor Paul Bettany. I wanted this actor as I also have him playing Declan Reed. Hence, Steven Reed has connections to both Malcolm and Doug (just like Richard does).

Personality

When Section 31 recruits Telatharia, Steven is there in order to try to throw her and her fellow candidates off the scent. However, he also helps her out just a tiny bit, and his mere presence seems to tell her she’s on the right track. It’s unknown whether he helps anyone else out, consciously or not. And in fact, it’s entirely possible Telatharia was the sole job candidate, anyway.

Relationships

Steven has no known relationships.

Mirror Universe

Mirror Steven Reed
Mirror Steven Reed

There are no impediments to Steven existing in the Mirror Universe, although the later you get in the timeline, the more difficult the odds become.

However, a spy could find work in either universe. Hence, if he exists, Steven would be sitting pretty, and would potentially have his pick of females, so long as he could trust any of them.

But he probably can’t.

Quote

“No one is trustworthy.”

Upshot

While I am uncertain about where to put this character and what to do with him (or whether he should get an encore), I like the idea of him. In particular, his existence means the Reed-HayesO’Day-Beckett-MaddenDigiorno family lasts into the deep future in more than one place. It’s not just Richard and Eleanor, and that makes me happy.

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Review – More than a Will to Live

Review – More than a Will to Live

More than a Will to Live is not one of my favorite pieces, sorry.
Review – More than a Will to Live

Background

First of all, More than a Will to Live arose as a round robin style story created with a few friends. Those sorts of stories often do not work out well, although at least this one was completed. And that’s a lot more than I can say about other such collaborative efforts.

Plot

Because the plot is a bit of a mishmash, it’s a little hard to retell it, so many years later. The main concept was about a primitive alien race fighting invaders. And that would have been a fine idea, except it got derailed and the plot never really got off the ground. As I wrote the primitives, I enjoyed putting them together and tried to get something out of their story. I wanted them to be seen as people. Instead, it became a lot of tropes. However, I cannot fault my fellow writers. This is because we were all relying on tropes after a while. And I will be the first person to admit that they make for far easier writing at times.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Round robin stories can often have consistency and transition issues. This one was no exception. I can see where the prose needs to be tighter. Furthermore, there were any number of plot threads which were lost or ignored altogether.  Hence the wrap up feels forced and strange, and as if it does not quite follow from the parts preceding it. And without a decent, logical, step by step flow, I feel that a story such as this suffers. And that does not serve either the readers or the writers well at all.

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