Hired Short Story From Fiverr

Gareth

I hired various freelancers for science fiction short stories. These stories are mostly backstories for various characters in my novella. To make my ~38000-word novella into a full-sized book, I am making an appendix in the book with hired short stories and science reports relevant to my novella. I plan to put the name of the actual author above each short story.

Below, I have included one of those stories. For this story, I asked sharonbae from fiverr.com to read my novella, choose a character she wanted to write about, and write a 2000-word short story about him/her. She chose Garth Knight, the main villain.

I read her story. It is Garth’s whole life story from a child to a doomed convicted criminal facing his second death sentence. I had it professionally edited for grammar, spelling, and clarity. One concern I had with her story is that it talked about specific and small USA dollar amounts, including cents. Nowadays, one US dollar is nothing, but the story takes place nearly 200 years into the future. I expect inflation would have made dollars even less valuable. So what should I do with her small sounding dollar amounts?

I didn’t want to alter the story because it was her story and I would be putting her name on it. Would she be offended if I changed her story?

I gave in to my temptation and added one paragraph to her story to explain away the dollar value. Maybe you can spot that paragraph below.

Meanwhile,  I have finished my writing and am waiting around for hired help to finish the last short stories, for editors on those short stories, book formatting, etc. I am still on schedule to publish in December.

I was born into a family of ranchers and farmers in Provo, Utah. My father and his brothers inherited the ranch and farms from their father, and they looked to me, my brother, and my cousins to learn the value of hard work and, in due time, inherit the farms and ranch. I grew up shuttling between southern Utah and farms in southern Idaho.

From the time I was a kid, I always sucked at milking cows and feeding pigs. I was always a hardworking lad but hated those tasks, so inheriting the farm gradually began to sound uninteresting to me. My brothers and my father would try to talk me into being more hardworking on the farm, but I’d rather go out to the woods with a good old man who usually came to the hood to fetch boys. We helped him break felled trees into pieces, and he paid us in cash. Although, he paid in cents, I preferred having some cash in my pocket. I can still remember the first day I earned a dollar. I went out before anyone and continued the previous day’s work, and by the time everyone came around, I had worked forty cents worth. At the end of the day, I had a dollar and ten cents, a smiling face, and an aching back. My smile that evening was the last genuine one, until many years later.

The money was in new America Federation dollars from the newly combined nations of most of North and South America and a small part of Africa. It was a combination meant to rival the Eurasia Federation.

That evening I got home to meet an almost empty house and sad faces here and there. My Dad, his two brothers, and my cousin Allan had been involved in an accident on their way to southern Idaho. All of them, except my Uncle Scott, were still battling for their lives. Uncle Scott gave up on the spot. He was on the wheels, and he lost control and rammed their car right under a trailer.

After two days in the hospital, my father died from severe head injuries; Allan regained consciousness, but his father stayed in a coma for another month before kicking the bucket. Suddenly, everything had changed. All three brothers left the scene within the space of one month, and we young boys were left at the helm of affairs. I was only thirteen years old, and my eldest cousin was sixteen. It was too much on us. And, as if to take the burden off of us, officials came around flashing court orders and confiscating most of our properties. The entire large family was left to bask in a small, ancient house. Poverty took a whole new turn.

In those days my self-esteem, sense of identity, and school grades took a deadly blow. I clearly remember feeling lost and totally insecure. I basked in my soliloquy: “Is hard work really a great option?” My Dad and his brothers were the most hardworking trio I’d ever met, but they all died and left their families miserable. My brothers talked about working for other farms—“work hard” to save money and, one day, get ourselves a farm of our own that no one would seize. I just knew I would never be a party to that because I didn’t see it as a way out of this vicious circle of poverty.

As I sat alone one of those sad days, contemplating my next move, a stern-looking man walked in. He was a neighbor who sometimes visited my dad and his brothers. They usually spoke in a low tone and laughed loudly as they sipped little volumes of rum. He looked me in the eyes and said: “Real men don’t cry. Are you a real man? Don’t cry! Grow up!” Those words stuck in my head, especially the question, “Are you a real man?” I wiped my eyes and decided to “grow up.” Albeit in the wrong way. I stole the same neighbor’s car and attempted to drive to Salt Lake City. Far enough for me to breathe in fresh air and grow up. I set out in the middle of the night with Josh, my closest buddy at the time. I still miss that dude. We had ridden barely one hundred miles when we got caught and bundled back home. Back to the place where I felt I didn’t belong.

Eighteen months later, I left home. This time I didn’t leave in a stolen car or in the thick of the night. I left home in broad daylight, with my mother’s knowledge, my belongings, and fifty-five dollars in savings. My major aim was to get rich and liberate my family from poverty. I also craved influence, as it seemed the high and mighty in the society were untouchables.

Over the next few years, I landed myself in college while working several odd jobs: from construction to a menial job at the local skating rink. I also worked with a waste disposal company to make ends meet, and in those days, I felt like my body always smelled of garbage. While working at the construction site, my boss easily picked me out as the most hardworking guy on the crew and always called me out whenever he had a contract anywhere. Soon, I stopped working other menial jobs and concentrated fully on construction and schooling. It took an extra bit of motivation to not get overwhelmed with handling both tasks.

In due time, I had bagged a bachelor’s degree in criminology, finishing somewhere above the mid-point of my class. Fernando, the class topper, once said I would have been his major contender if I’d had the luxury to concentrate more on schoolwork. You might say Garth Knight is arrogant, but I think not only would I have been his contender, I’d have beaten him. It doesn’t matter now.

The college certificate was definitely a stepping-stone, as I ascended high above it. My construction contacts actually paved the way for me. Shortly before graduation, I was working hard as usual to settle some final bills when a top official came around. I guessed he was the owner of the facility, so I greeted him with a smile and continued my work. Soon I was called aside. He said he perceived me as a “sharp guy,” and my boss also recommended me. He had a few tasks for me, which I handled intelligently. I leaked classified information from my school’s database, and he was pleased. Hey, don’t roll your eyes on me; I was broke, and the pay was great.

After a successful execution of my trial mission, my new boss had some faith in me. My degree in criminology, alongside my intuition, was a huge boost, or so he thought. I was inducted into a league of ruthless spies, which was funded by a sect from the Earth’s Global Federation. We were availed some of the most sophisticated gadgets in the world, at the time. I started at small jobs within the league, and my success rate allowed me to rise in the pecking order. In no time, I was completing missions in several nations that were yet to be members of the Earth’s Global Federation. It became fascinating. I was raking in hard cash, and my family valued me as a top government official, so there was no going back this time. Once you taste real money, you can only crave more.

A master of disguise, I played several roles at a time and got access to information that I wouldn’t usually have access to. One time, I got caught in Russia; their only mistake was to arrest me like a gentleman. Two guards armed with nothing but Tasers sat by my side, and the driver had a pistol at his waist. I made for the driver’s gun, and my Taser deflector made their shocks ineffective. It was the first time I had pulled the trigger on someone, but I shot at their limbs, and learned later that they didn’t die. I heaved a sigh of relief.

Before long, however, accessing and disseminating information led to kidnapping and, subsequently, killing. Then I knew I was officially a bad man. I hadn’t planned to be a killer, but sometimes the mission read: “Make him disappear.” How else could I have done that? Kidnap him forever? I had to do what had to be done to keep business going. Soon I became ruthless in the art and act of pulling the trigger and bursting skulls open. The prick that I felt in my heart whenever I pulled the trigger grew fainter and fainter, until I could no longer feel it.

Renowned for ruthlessness, I was enjoying myself; my wealth and influence grew exponentially. That fateful day, when everything started sliding downhill, the mission was to torture a guy and extract information, but I did more than that. The information indicated that I was on the radar and might soon go down. I thought killing the guy would eliminate the issue, but things escalated. He was a defense minister and kidnapping him was insult enough, but his death? Forces rose against us, and I had to be sacrificed to calm things down.

My death was faked, and I was buried six feet below for twelve hours. Some political leaders had a caucus meeting and decided that I would be useful on Sonik. Some felt my intuitiveness and intelligence might help Earth and Sonik build a healthy relationship, while others worried that my ruthlessness would result in a bad image of “Earthlings” on Sonik. My faction had their way, and I was dug up, given a stern warning to be diplomatic, and then smuggled up to Sonik. Naturally, I would have opted to stay on Earth, but if it was discovered that my death had been faked, it might result in cataclysmic pandemonium. It was necessary that I should leave Earth or die. I chose the former.

I arrived on Sonik about fourteen Earth years later. Spaceships are now a little faster, and the journey can be made in thirteen years. There was total freedom for me. The influence I had craved since I was a boy—I had it in excess there. I was the number one human on Sonik and, arguably, the number one creature, because humans rank above the Sonik natives. Occasionally, I missed home during my early years on Sonik, but I soon savored being the much loved and much feared Garth Knight.

Everything was going really great until the day an Earth spaceship landed on Sonik. I smelled trouble when I first heard the name: Robert Vasquez. His mission, furthermore, didn’t appeal to my fancy. I enjoyed riding on the relative ignorance of the Sonik natives, and he intended to spread some education. I was determined to stand in his way with everything I had, but Robert’s determination coupled with wittiness was one of a kind. He constantly outwitted me on all fronts, I have to sadly admit. His activities resulted in my apparent downfall on Sonik. His enlightenment programs spurred a revolution, and he brought on board a fairy genius—Diamond-san—who had profound Earth knowledge. Diamond-san was the individual who wrote a perfectly articulated letter and sent it down to Earth; that brought about my replacement and deportment.

A new Earthling leader for Sonik was sent with some military personnel. I was taken unaware and bundled back to earth. It felt like the day Josh and I were caught, while on our way to Salt Lake City, and taken back home. I had settled in to feeling like a Sonik native, and Earth felt like a strange land.

Here I am on Earth, forty Earth years after I first left for Sonik. I have not been availed the opportunity to visit our old farm in Utah. I don’t know how my brothers have fared with their dreams of “working hard.” Maybe they successfully got themselves a farm, or maybe not. I doubt if my mother would still be alive—it wouldn’t matter much though; they all think I’m long gone. For now, I’m in custody, and all who were involved in my exit are being tracked down by the current government. Maybe this is the end of Garth Knight.

Continue reading

Deciding Which Book Blurb

I hired three different people from fiverr.com to create a book blurb for my new ‘Shoulder Fairy’ science fiction book I expect to self-publish next month. It will be my fourth book.

Creating a blurb for this book is a little tricky because the story is difficult to explain in just a few words. The worst case is “The book is about a salesman goes to another planet to sell electronic tablets.” While that is true, it’s missing the motive, the obstacles, and the dangers that the salesman experiences. He’s not in it for the money.

I’ll share all three blurbs below.

_DSC0254-NoLogo

The year is 2198. It’s been thirteen years since Robert Vasquez saw the light of day. He spent most of his life seeking knowledge and educating others; a wealthy man who was never been understood by his fellow mankind. No longer able to find his purpose on Earth, he traveled the universe toward the star Procyon A and the planet known as Sonik.

Humanity has intermingled among the locals of the planet. Sonik was nothing like Earth with its hazardous atmosphere, unfiltered air, and radiation levels that threatened human health. Strange creatures and unknown landscapes await his journey. Here he plans to start again, and to spread education and knowledge throughout the new world. But his mission is threatened by internal politics.

In his journey, he meets a fairy-like creature convicted of a grievous crime whom he confides in. Unnatural thoughts invade his mind as his paranoia continues to grow. He learns about a prophecy and an ancient civilization about the history of the planet. He becomes a fugitive from his own kind. One after another, he is tested to the brink of his existence. But is he prepared to learn the unexpected truth that has been living inside him?

The above blurb is by Almuntassermohd @ fiverr. I thought it was pretty good. The grammar issues were annoying but fixable. He does emphasize some of the dangers and obstacles in a vague way. Vague is probably good for a blurb. I don’t want any spoilers. I may choose this for my back cover.

He came to their world to teach. Instead, he learned how to fight… Robert Vasquez is a teacher. Resourceful and innovative, he has traveled to the distant planet of Sonik to spread Earth’s knowledge and culture, and improve the lives of the natives. But not everyone is so eager to change the status qou… He soon finds himself under the watchful eye of Ambassador Garth Knight… a corrupt bureaucrat who wants to keep Sonik’s population ignorant and docile… Easy prey for a militaristic Earth to take over. As Robert travels across this new world, he discovers a bizarre growth on his shoulder… and a strange voice, whispering in his head. But before he can deal with a possible mental breakdown, Garth’s spies turn the natives against him. Forced to flee into the wilderness, Robert must battle savage alien creatures, local bandits, and the harsh environment in order to survive. Guided by the voice in his head, Robert discovers a hidden archive of the planet’s knowledge and history. Along with a treasure trove of ancient but advanced technology… including a fleet of ships that could give the sinister ambassador the military edge he needs to dominate the planet once and for all… Shoulder Fairy is a thought-provoking science fiction adventure, featuring alien worlds, galactic politics and a relatable hero. Fans of Glynn Stewart, K. R. Fox and Sara King will love this thrilling tale of knowledge conquering ignorance.

The above blurb is by Aawarren @ fiverr. This one seems to amplify the danger and excitement even more. A couple of the details are not exactly correct but close enough to the truth. I am tempted to use this one also. He doesn’t mention the fairies directly, but he does mention some trouble that was caused by them.

“One is never afraid of the unknown;

one is afraid of the known coming to an end”

~Jiddu Krishnamurti

Robert Vasquez was an Earthling who found himself living on the planet Sonik. Although he missed those he had left on Earth, he saw this place as one that could help promote his electronic products. His goals were to bring Science and Technology to a foreign land.

He decided the best place in which to promote his products would be at a university. He felt if were to gain the acceptance of educational scholars, his product sales would skyrocket. Will he be successful in his quest to introduce a new product to this vast land?

Or will he find that the people will resist his attempt at discovering new technology delivered by a foreigner’s hands? If he was to fail will he find himself seeking to return to his homeland?

This blurb is by another person @ fiverr. Sorry, but I was disappointed by this one. It makes it sound like Robert was just interested in money. A salesman story with a profit and loss spreadsheet in each chapter. That criticism is exaggerated, but where is the danger? Being deported back to Earth was a concern, but so was death. And where are the fairies?

I have two blurbs to choose from. And now I am awaiting the material to put in the appendix of my book. I had hired six authors from fiverr.com and freelancer.com to create science reports and short stories about various characters in the story.

The two science reports were completed yesterday. One to discuss the plausibility of space travel as depicted in my book. The other is a biology report that discusses the plausibility of parasites and small people that fly (fairies) as depicted in my book, complete with references.

I am still awaiting my four short stories. It’s so fun for me to have appendices in my books and hire people to fill them. I plan to give them credit, each with their name under their short story title.

My Editor’s Reaction to My Book

Space

I was excited (as always) to receive the results from my editor, and I want to share my editor’s general comments about my book. This editor is from Scribendi.com. Editors from Scribendi.com are always anonymous (editor number 1479 in this case) so I don’t know if it is a he or a she. Here are his/her general comments:

Hi, and thank you for the opportunity to edit your book. Before I go into detail about this edit (and how much I enjoyed reading your novel!), I’d like to apologize for the lateness of its return. I was not the original editor on the project and saw it pop up on our work interface as a nearly-overdue manuscript, so I assume the original editor had some sort of emergency, but I don’t know the circumstances. As a novelist myself, though, I’m very familiar with the frustration of waiting for feedback and the desire not to lose momentum at this stage, so I prioritized your project and set a goal to return it to you well before the new deadline.

All that being said, what a thoroughly fun manuscript this was–skillfully written, already quite well-edited, and with such an enjoyable plot and so many laugh-out-loud lines that it felt as much like a book I’d recommend to friends as a project I needed to help polish. I should assure you, though, that you were wise to submit it for editing–as the “All Markup” option will show (under the Review tab, and then the Tracking section), I made many corrections for missing words, mistyped words (such as “and” when you meant “an” and such), some punctuation issues (missing quotation marks or periods, occasional misuse of semicolons, etc.), and other errors that can be distracting to the reader and lead to grouchy online reviews if they are not caught and corrected in time. You will find that most of my comments in the margin are praise for great lines and clever plot twists. However, my edit was careful and thorough, with three full passes to catch any sneaky little issues. A couple of bigger-picture suggestions:

1) Though your protagonist’s voice was exceedingly well-done and your POV usage perfect (something I rarely see in this job, to be completely honest), there were a couple of important moments where I felt like Robert’s naivete was too great to be fully credible. Specifically, when he completely disregards the advice on the train not to let the fairy touch him under any circumstances–he’s putting his head against the “birdcage” bars to take a selfie, then getting in close with the fairy and falling asleep–it doesn’t feel properly set up that he’s been given enough reason to trust the fairy and disregard the advice. On my second read it was especially clear to me what a wonderful and even delightful job you did constructing the dialogue and plot progression such that the “hosting Diamond-san” bit unfolded perfectly. It’s the initial setup that I felt could use a bit more credibility, and I don’t think this would be difficult to do at all–I think we just need to see a bit more (and I do mean “a bit”–like, one or two reasons) of Robert’s thought process as to why he doesn’t trust the advice to begin with or why he trusts the fairy so readily.

Similarly, his lack of concern about his growing “tumor” seems a little unusual. Especially in light of the fact that he was warned not to let the fairy touch him, and then she did, and he proceeds to have this increasingly large growth that is visible to everyone, it seems like the average person would be alarmed, worry about disease or infection, or reflect that maybe the fairy lied to them, etc. It makes *complete* sense that he thinks he might have caught a mental illness from the lunatics and that he doesn’t draw a connection between the onset of that and the growth of the “tumor,” and that’s a fun and clever aspect of the plot, but it doesn’t quite add up that he seems so unconcerned about the growth. It doesn’t seem like it would be difficult for him to come up with an alternate theory for it (wondering if it’s an allergic reaction to the fairy’s claws, or thinking it’s an infection but it doesn’t hurt or seems under control) that would allow him to credibly shrug it off.

2) This is more minor, but the matter-of-fact chapter titles could use a bit of brightening up or rephrasing for more intrigue. They don’t seem to quite match the lighthearted yet snappily-paced tone of the rest of the book.

Overall, however, this story is so imaginative and vivid, immersing the reader in a world that feels quirky, credible, and consistently fun. I find it especially commendable that you managed to do this around a plot of selling electronic tablets, which, on paper, seems like it would be difficult to make exciting. Yet through a great main-character voice, quick pacing, and a normal-ish yet odd and funny sci-fi world, you not only pull it off but hit it out of the park. Even the non-human side characters feel three-dimensional and unique, which is quite an achievement in 36,000 words. I know it may seem like I’m going hard here with the praise, but I read a lot of fiction as an editor and also in my other jobs (I evaluate self-published books for an industry review publication and I also serve as a judge for some of the big fiction writing contests), and when an author is really getting it right, I feel like they deserve to be told that.

You asked in your client notes that the editor ignore font and formatting issues. I ignored the issues with the margins, but I did change the entire doc to 11-point Arial (I did not have the two fonts you were using loaded into my Word software, so I chose another common sans-serif font) for consistency. This was mainly because it was distracting as I edited–“Ambivalence” (but not the “-tar”), in one section, was a different size than the rest of the words in the sentences–and I didn’t want to miss any legitimate editing issues due to my attention focusing on that. You can easily change the font or size, of course, with the “select all” feature.

At Scribendi we always recommend returning for a final proofread, as this is the best way to ensure that no new errors have crept in during the revision process. If you wish to request me for a future order, you can do this during the order process after uploading your document. There is a text box at the bottom of the order page that says “Editor Code (Optional).” Just type my editor code, 1479, in this space. When you place your order, the system will automatically send your request to me. Thanks again, and I wish you the very best with this book.

I have addressed the issues he/she pointed out (except the tumor, which I have a good idea on how to address that). Throughout the manuscript, I reviewed the grammar corrections and the suggestions and accepted nearly all of them. I really appreciated the good work and the encouragement he/she gave me.

The price tag (for editing my entire 36800+ word “novel”) was $1,149.66. I thought it was worth it, but not everyone has access to that much spare money.

I Hired a Map Maker

Sonik Republic Dvd

I hired an editor to critique my science fiction manuscript. In his report, he suggested I have a map made since it was challenging to keep track of all the locations. I like maps, so that suggestion excited me.

At Fiverr.com I found quite a few fantasy map makers. I chose exoniensis. I wrote up a list of locations with a brief description for him, he created this image. The price was US$68 (with a modest tip) and I got this color version, a black and white version, and various other versions. I am very happy with it.

The town called ‘Landing’ is the location of the one and only human settlement where the humans first landed on the planet. In the story, Robert travels to every city to sell his educational materials to the planet’s natives at the colleges. However, in six of the cities, Robert’s adventures are not detailed and are only mentioned in passing. The pink Wilderness of No Return presents most of the adventure and suspense.

After the editor’s critique, I made several changes to the story and sent it back for manuscript editing. I expect the results on Tuesday.

After that, I plan to hire people to create short stories and science essays for the book’s appendix. With past books I have written, I enjoyed having the backstories of various of my minor characters in the book in the appendix. I already hired one person to write a story about the ancient ancestors of the natives as hinted about at The National Archives on the map.

This time, seeing how I tried to keep the story scientifically plausible, I want to hire someone to write a science essay on the future of space travel. Specifically, I want it to include how plausible or not so plausible various aspects of my story is as far as how space travel is portrayed in it.

Thanks for reading.

Felipe Lira

For the science fiction I am currently writing, Felipe Lira has been providing the illustrations. He has created eleven illustrations so far, and I believe he has agreed to five more.

Crystal-san

Fairy

Gareth

Earth’s Ambassador to Planet Sonik

I had recruited Felipe from twine to come up with a picture for the front cover of the book. After that, I had expanded the story quite a bit. I hired him to create more illustrations for the book interior.

ProcyonB

Book Cover Illustration

To see more of Felipe’s work (beyond stuff he created for me) click here.

I have completed several drafts of the story by now. Saturday I sent the latest draft to the editor for content editing. He will write a review or critique of the story, plot, characters and the writing in general. After I react to that, it will be ready for the lower level editing.

I also expect to hire people to write short stories for the appendix. In my past books, I enjoyed hiring people to create a short story of a minor character’s backstory, or of some related incident of their choosing and published those stories in the appendix of the book (giving them credit for their stories).  I will probably post the job on freelancer.com this month and hire the most promising bids.

 

The Contest Winner Is …

Beast 1

In my last post, I had started a contest at Freelancer.com for ideas for a specific chapter of the book I am writing. I got 13 entries, but only seven are visible at the link unless you log in to Freelancer.com.

I loved most of the ideas I got and it was a tough choice choosing the one official winner. I chose the entry from Faith I to be the main winner and to get my $100 prize. But then I decided to buy the ideas of three others as runner-up winners (at a lower price they agreed to).

The picture if of one of the beasts pulling the carriage.

The whole chapter is rather long so I divided the chapter writing into four parts:

  1. Entering the Wilderness
  2. Creature Attack
  3. Bandit Attack
  4. Approaching the Destination

Then I set up to write each part individually to keep my mind focused. I seem to do better when I focus on one scene at a time, especially when I am trying to combine ideas from five authors (including myself).

This post will focus on Chapter part 1: Entering the Wilderness.

First here are the four winners:

Faith I

Faith was the grand prize winner. In the contest I had asked for a synopsis of the proposed chapter, and an excerpt of the hypothetical chapter. Faith wrote the whole chapter. She wrote a new part for the previous chapter also, which I added (reworded) to the previous chapter.

Here is an excerpt of her suggested chapter, only the chapter part for Entering the Wilderness, otherwise this blog would be too long. It will already be too long as it is.

By the time we approached the wilderness, the day had already changed to dusk, the forest breeze was rather unwelcoming, and it seemed as though there were no other life forms present save for the trees and bushes. As soon as the wilderness was in full view, the buffalos came to a sudden halt causing the carriage to jolt slightly.

“What’s the matter?” I asked my alternate self aloud as I peered through the carriage window.

I don’t know, maybe the buffalos decided they’ve had enough and stopped for the night. This was followed by a wild laughter and I somehow found myself laughing along.

Meanwhile the others in the carriage stared at me like I was some kind of loon.

After a moment of blank silence, Hunger-tar spoke, “the buffalos are frightened of the wilderness, it gives off bad vibes and the beasts can sense it”.

Again, I wondered what could be so scary to such great beasts, before I could get a chance to ask, I heard the driver and one of the guards outside trying to get the buffalos to move. After several thunderous roars from the beast and yelling from the stage coach operators, our carriage was back in motion.

We proceeded through the narrow pathway of the dark, thick forest at a significantly slower pace than we had been moving earlier. As we went, there was nothing but dead silence, the guards had advised us to keep it quiet so as not to attract

any dangers. Still it seemed to me that everyone was unduly agitated, after all, there was not a single soul in sight nor any sounds except the snapping of twigs and branches as we passed through.

I found myself dozing off after a little while and soon, I was fast asleep. When I woke up, it felt like I had been asleep for years, a feeling that felt all too familiar.

“Oh, he’s finally up!” Ink-san said, and the rest of the crew chuckled. I slowly sat up, blinking my eyes to see all of them staring at me.

“Honestly, I don’t know how you can sleep through this, I mean, doesn’t this place creep you out.” Said Copper-san as she flew over and landed on my shoulder.

Looking out the window, I noticed that it was now nearly pitch dark outside, save for a faint beam of blue light coming from the front of the carriage, I imagined it was what the stagecoach driver used as he guided the carriage. It was at this point that I noticed how ominous the forest was, nonetheless, I decided to put up a brave front. To distract myself, I focused on eating the food we had gotten at the marketplace, the others joined me and for a good while we were all able to ignore the sinister nature of the dark wilderness.

I used many of her ideas in the first part (and second part) of my chapter.

Sasha S

The next runner-up is Sasha S. I use many of his ideas but I didn’t use them for this first part of the chapter.

Ravi N

The next runner-up was Ravi N. I used a few of his ideas. For the first part of this chapter I mainly used the idea of the pink color for the strange forest leaves. This particular wilderness is strange even for the planet Sonik.

Robert, copper san, Ink san, and Hunger tar along with the coach guards and driver departed for the national archives. The national archives was a place that was situated in the middle of the vast forest, filled with unspeakable dangers, but Robert and his group were mostly unaware of this. After travelling for half a day through their carts, the group reached the outskirts of a vast forest. The forest was an entire world of its own, its trees were tall reaching almost the sky, and the peculiar thing about the forest was that it wasn’t green in color but rather had a dark pink hue to it. It looked absolutely beautiful. Everyone was dumbstruck on seeing it, even the people who’ve heard about it before were no exception.

Seeing the peculiar dark pink hue of the forest, Robert asked copper tar if she knew anything about it, but to his surprise, she had no idea about it. After some moments, their carts entered the forest, the instant they entered the forest, they felt a chill which made their hairs stand on back. Every one of them had an idea that this forest was more than just beautiful. The buffaloes of the carts were hesitant to pull the cart inside the forest, but they were helpless against their masters. The group kept travelling but at a considerably lower speed. The forest had different trees, and some peculiar plants, one plant which looked like a sunflower devoured a small leopard like an animal. Seeing that, nothing came out of their mouth. Soon the day was about to set, it wasn’t the time for the sun to set, but the thick canopy of the forest was preventing the sunlight from entering, which led to early sunset. The group decided to camp for the night but at that instant, they heard a roar that sounded very angry, all of them heard it and everyone felt the fear in their hearts at that moment. Hunger tar asked Robert what was it? But Robert was also at a loss, even his other half was a bit terrified. Copper san and Ink san were so scared that both of them were holding Robert’s head standing on either side of his shoulders, the scene despite the situation was looking pretty comical. The buffaloes were all kneeling on the ground, the sound was there only for an instant and wasn’t heard after that. But the buffaloes refused to get up for a long time. The night came and the forest looked even more mystical, the scene felt like it was straight out of a dream. They made supper from their ration, ate and went to sleep. When Robert was sleeping, he could hear the sound of a small child who was sobbing and talking in broken sentences. Initially, Robert thought that it was his other half, but it soon became clear when his other half complained about the same thing. They heard it for a few minutes then the sound disappeared.

Nicolas C

The last runner-up was Nicholas C. His ideas were valuable, and I use a few of them later, but not in this first part of the chapter.

Jimm Grogan

So, here is the first part of the wilderness travel chapter as an example for this post. This is the official first draft of my version of the chapter part. I merged in many of Faith’s ideas and a few of Ivan’s with many alterations of my own.

By the time the wilderness was in the distant view, the day had already changed to dusk.

There were no farms, agriculture or homes in sight, so technically we were in a wilderness already. But the normal wilderness had sparse trees, grass and visibility into the distance. I saw occasional furry creatures scamper away from the road, resembling pikas on Earth.

But up ahead, there was what appeared to be a distinct boundary. On one side was normal wilderness. On the other were dense tall trees raising a canopy of pink leaves, sloping steeply upward from the boundary. It was a wall of trees and brush, with no visibility to what might be behind or inside that wall.

The road led to a dark hole in that wall.

I was appreciating the humor of the wilderness’ name less and less; the ‘Wilderness of No Return’.

As we neared the hole into the dense forest, the chill breeze wafting from the entrance felt unwelcoming. The sky was partly dark already, but as we entered the hole it quickly felt like midnight. The buffalos came to a sudden halt causing the carriage to jolt slightly.

“What’s the matter?” I asked as I opened the carriage to lean out.

Hunger-tar spoke. “The buffalos are frightened of this wilderness, it gives off bad vibes and the beasts can sense it.”

One of the carriage guards turned on one of those ‘ultra-bright’ fairy-sized flashlights I had been giving away as a bonus to fairy’s who bought my tablets. I looked up at him as he climbed down from the carriage roof to the ground.

“We’ll be fine,” he whispered. “I got one of these magic lights some human has been giving away. The beasts will follow the light. Just stay quiet so we don’t attract attention.”

Hey, aren’t those lights reserved for fairy customers? My twin personality complained.

As long as the fairy buys a tablet, she can do whatever she wants with the light as far as I was concerned. I was actually flattered that it found a use in some profession.

The guard walked out in front of the beasts, lighting the way. With the driver’s slapping the reins on them, the beasts started forward again, but slower.

Ahead, I could only see the road and tree trunks and gloom. The ultra-bright light didn’t seem so ultra-bright here, but it worked. We could see.

I closed the door. “Why do we need to be quiet?” I whispered to my fellow passengers. “Whose attention is available in this place?”

“There are evil predators from this forest,” Ink-san said. “Some are attracted to noise.”

I laid back and closed my eyes. “Maybe things will look more interesting in the morning,” I said.

“Really? You’re going to sleep?” Hunger-tar asked.

Oh yes, though my other self.

“Oh yes,” I muttered aloud. My previous worries about Garth finding me had kept awake last night. This was an excellent time to get caught up on my sleep.

A jolt of the carriage awoke me. I opened my eyes tentatively.

“Oh, he’s finally up!” Ink-san said. The rest of the crew chuckled. I slowly sat up, blinking my eyes to see all of them staring at me.

“Honestly, I don’t know how you can sleep through this. I mean doesn’t this place creep you out,” said Copper-san as she flew over and landed on my shoulder.

Looking out of the window, I noticed it was still dark. “It’s not even morning yet?”

“It’s morning,” Ink-san said.

I opened the door and leaned out while Copper-san clung to my ear. I could see the pink canopy overhead. All direct sunlight was blocked by it. But is was light in a pink gloomy way. I could see the road and the tree trunks. The species of tree was different in this wilderness. Besides having pink leaves and being outrageously tall the trunk bark was a deeply textured black.

The guard was no longer walking in front of the buffalo or using his light. We were traveling faster now though approaching a speed bump crossing the road. The dirt was broken in a straight, two-meter wide line straight across the road. I braced myself as the carriage jolted over it.

I closed the door. Everyone inside seemed depressed or worried. To distract ourselves, I focused on unpacking the food we had gotten at the marketplace. The others joined me and for a good while we were all able to ignore the sinister nature of the dark wilderness.

 

 

I Started a Contest

I was having trouble deciding how a particular chapter in my book should go. I knew what the purpose of the chapter was. In general, I needed to get a group of people (including the protagonist) from place A to place B.

One idea is to keep the scene at place A that I already have, and the scene at place B, like I already have, and skip the travel scene.

But, I really wanted to show that the wilderness they traveled through was treacherous and had bandits. It was information that helps the plot. I could just have the people in scene B talk about how treacherous it was and that there were bandits. But many books on writing say you should show information, not tell it.

So I started a contest at Freelancer.com. Here is the link: https://www.freelancer.com/contest/Science-Fiction-Idea-for-Chapter-1547242

The prize is $100. The job is to give a synopsis of how the chapter could go, and a sample excerpt or paragraph for the chapter. I get to use the winner’s idea when I write my chapter and the winner get $100.

So far I have one entry and 7 notices that people are preparing their entry and to please be patient. The contest has seven more days and I expect to let the contest go to full length. The one entry is good and I could be happy with that, but I want to see what others propose. Maybe some of them will be even better.

I suppose that eventually, I could have come up with some idea myself, but a contest is so much fun and it the past contests have produced good results for me.

Meanwhile, the finished first draft is not done yet but is in sight. And after it is done, I will need to go through the whole thing again to get it all coordinated since I changed some elements and details in the course of writing and the beginning of the draft needs to not contradict the end.