Friday, December 26, 2014

Flash Friday # 126: Company Policy, Part 8

Alicia waited while Theseus continued to scan through whatever information he had found. He had paled. She didn't like to think what kind of trouble would worry him that much.

He finally looked up at her, pocketcomp still in hand. "We should have been considering where the explosives were coming from."

Alicia looked around with surprise. He was right. She had run the department that kept records on pretty much everything New Worlds for Humanity bought and she'd been conscientious enough to learn what almost everything was on those lists, so that if something went out of balance, she knew the use.

"There were some explosives," she said. "That the company bought, used on new worlds to clear the ground most often. They could not be imported to Earth and I can't believe they could have slipped even a tiny bit onto Earth. The officials are really watchful for that sort of stuff."

She leaned against the wall, exhausted. Very few people were around right now, and those she saw were so stunned and afraid that she thought the two of them could have walked out without any disguise and not been noticed. She felt the wave of exhaustion as well. Everything that had happened since this afternoon just simply could not be real.

As she thought those words, emergency aircars flew past, sirens screaming. Her nightmare was being shared by thousands of others. She only now realized that people who knew her would have seen the report that she was a terrorist. She had relatives and they were going to be harassed.

"What is going on? Do you have answers finally?" she snapped. This might not be his fault, but he was as close to an enemy as she had right now.

"Did you read about the cache of weapons Earth Government intends to drop into the sun?"

"Yes. A lot of older, unstable --" She stopped. "What port are they launching from?"

"You want to guess?"

"But why?" she asked, more confused than before. "What could they want with these old weapons? Surely they have better out on Caine's Hold."

He looked up at her. "You already know the answer. You told me it."

"I did?"

"They could not be imported to Earth and I can't believe they could have slipped even a tiny bit onto Earth. The officials are really watchful for that sort of stuff."

"Good memory." She blinked, staring at the wall behind his head. "So they really want it for here."

"Ross House never did as well on Caine's Hold as the others. I am guessing at Ross House involvement but there is another scenario, in which Brown needs a power base to fight off Ross House when they came for him. Brown strikes me as the sort of person who might try something so daring and stupid."

"Like making a deal with Ross House to begin with."


"And he already has the weapons. That's how he's blowing things up."


"But everyone is still after us," she said with a shake of her head and a nervous glance around the area.

"He still wouldn't want people coming after him. We make a good target. But not for much longer. I'm calling in help."

"Calling in --"

"IWC forces," he said and looked at her. "This isn't something you and I can handle."

"You could go to local forces --" She stopped herself, looking around with worry. "No, you can't."

"No, it would not be wise. Even if we survived being caught, it might take months before this mess could be sorted out, especially scine it's bound to get worse before it gets better. No. I need to contact the IWCS, and I can't do that from something as low powered as my pocketcomp. I need to get to the port and use their communication's equipment. I think that will be the easiest way to do this."

She looked at him for a long, silent moment before giggling. "Easiest," she managed to repeat.

"You don't want to know the other options," he said. He stood, smoothing down at the dress he wore. I'm going to need a uniform to get into the port."

"And me?"

"I'll find you somewhere safe --"

"No," she said, surprising even herself. "I go with you. I can, at least, keep watch when you need it."

He stood up straighter and looked into her face. She found it odd, looking at the old woman, but seeing Theseus there. "You cannot really know if I am telling you the entire truth."

"I suspect you aren't," she said. "I suspect there are many things that have to do with your work that you aren't prepared to say to me. There may be things you know about Brown that brought you here. I don't care. Being somewhere safe isn't going to help me in the long run, especially if you fail simply because no one was there to help."

"Yes. Thank you. I don't often work with people, and rarely with people who don't panic. You are a wonder Alicia."

She hadn't expected such words and really didn't know what to say to them. "What do we do now?" she asked.

"We waylay a couple guards and take their clothing," he said.

"Maybe it's not too late to panic?"

884 Words for more fantastic quick reads

Monday, December 22, 2014

Information for the Two Year Novel Course

If you find you are interested in the class simply join Forward Motion for Writers, which is a free site, and then sign up for the class, which is also free. Below is both the overview and the introduction to the class so you can get an idea of what is going on:


I began the first Two Year Novel Course at Forward Motion in January, 2004. The course covered writing a novel from the very first idea all the way through submission (or later, for Indie Authors -- all the way to publication). I filled the course with information to help people at every step, and while new writers often found it useful, even those who had written a few novels discovered things of benefit as they shifted their thinking for newer projects.

There are eight sections in all:

Basics: Weeks 1-5

Characters: Weeks 6-13

World building: Weeks 14-25

Outlines: Weeks 26-33

Writing the First Draft: Weeks 34-65

Editing -Second Draft: Weeks 66 -77

Editing - Final Draft: Weeks 78 - 88

Submission and Publication: Weeks 89 - 104

Whether you are looking at Indie (self) Publishing or pursuing traditional publication, the path through the artistic aspects of creating a novel are virtually identical, as is the editing work (which is still an act of creativity in its own way). I have tried to indicate where there might be aspects to consider differently, but these classes are aimed at anyone writing.

There are a total of 104 classes. Each class includes a 'lecture' plus an assignment and examples. Some lectures are short and others are quite long. Not everything will help you, and certainly not everything will help with every book you write. However, the more authors are willing to look outside their usual patterns, the more likely they are to find the spark to write something new and different.

Introduction to the 2YN Course

I can't teach you to be a great writer.

I can, however, show you the one thing I'm very good at, which is moving through a story from start to finish. I can point out things which might help you in your goal to be a successful writer. However, in the end, you have to do the work.

I can show you how to take hold of your imagination and let it help you write the book that is there in your head, ready to be told. I can show you some tricks to writing a good book which might have a better chance of drawing the attention of an editor or -- essential for Indie Authors -- those crucial first readers who will spread the word about your new release.

Nothing, of course, is guaranteed. You have to do the work. You have to be willing to learn and to experiment.

Starting in 2015, I am presenting the class in a different way.  Prior to this, the classes were posted one at a time over the weekend.  This year I have posted all 104 classes ahead of time so that you can go through them at your own speed. However I strongly suggest you read all the classes in order and do the exercises, no matter if you think something applies to you or not.   You will still be posting your material in the same way as previous classes.  You may want to join up with others (especially in your own genre) to comment on each other's work.  With small groups, you have a better chance of nudging each other forward.  You can form these groups by putting up a notice on the General Discussion board.

For the next two years, if you follow the course the way I originally planned it, you will work your way through the process of writing of a novel. Depending on the genre you work in, by the end you will have written between 80,000 and 150,000 words. If you dedicate yourself to doing the work, you will have also edited the work and either begun the process of submitting the material to send to agents or publishers, or will be preparing it for publication.

This is not going to be a fast romp through the work of writing a book. The 2YN course will be easy for some of you and more difficult for others, but I hope you will all learn something helpful -- if nothing more than knowing some of the suggestions don't work for you.

This is, by the way, an important aspect to learn about your own writing. Sometimes forcing yourself to try to write to someone else's perfect method is a good way to kill even the most inspired story. Here is the most important thing we all have to remember in this class:

No two writers are alike.

So why should I teach this class? I'm not the best novelist in the world, but I do know how to start, continue and complete a novel, as well as how to move on to rewrites and editing. The act of writing is one of my strong points, and I believe I can help others refine the way they work, look at new ways to approach novel writing, and find the best pattern to help them continue writing to the end of a project.

This set of classes is as much about dedication, direction and exploration as it about writing. By joining in, you are committing to follow through from the first idea to the end of the novel.

You're about to start an adventure. Good luck, and remember to have fun.

What you need for this course

What you need for this course is a love of writing, an idea you want to explore, and the determination to see it all the way through to a finished novel.

I suggest you get a three ring binder and tab inserts to show the different sections (Basics, Characters, etc.). You can print or hand write your assignments and keep them in the notebook. Having the notebook will be an easy way to reference the material throughout the class. You can also keep the material in files, of course, but just make certain that the pieces you create are easy to access.

Do not skip classes

I also strongly suggest you do all the classes, even if you're not sure how it might work into your current novel -- and especially if it's something you haven't tried before. Writers should always be open to experimentation!

Most of all, remember to have fun. Don't let this course become 'work' that destroys the joy of creativity.

Here is what some people have said about the classes:

"When my urban fantasy novel Quarter Square was published by Carina Press, the first person I thanked on my acknowledgements page was Lazette Gifford, for it was on one of Zette's excellent Two Year Novel courses that the book was conceived, born and nurtured." David Bridger

"The Two Year Novel Course got me thinking about my story in ways I'd never considered before - ways that deepened and enriched my story. I even gained a main character who is vital to the story from one week's exercise." Wandering Author (Member of Forward Motion)

"Without Lazette Gifford's 2YN course I wouldn't have discovered my ideal writing process. Having taken the course, the first drafts of my novels now come out with a lot less struggle." Alex Fayle

"From world building to curse words to the food your characters eat, Lazette Gifford's 2YN courses take the monumental task of creating a believable world and breaks it down into bite-sized chunks. For anyone who thinks they don't have the time to write, this course can show you a manageable way to get words onto paper." AJ Maguire