First to Land on a Comet?

This week the European Space Agency (ESA) announced they will choose from among five sites on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for the Rosetta spacecraft’s robot laboratory Philae to land, as reported here, here, and here. Crop_from_the_4_August_processed_image_of_comet_67P_Churyumov_Gerasimenko300px-Rosetta

Philae_over_a_comet_(crop)They claim this will be the first time a human-built spacecraft has landed on a comet.

I beg to differ.

I’m aware of an alternate universe very close to our own, a universe in which an actual manned—not robotic—landing has already occurred.

In 1897.

It’s all documented in my story, “The Cometeers,” a story to be launched tomorrow by Gypsy Shadow Publishing. Yes, that’s tomorrow. The 1st of September.TheCometeers72dpi

That means you don’t have to wait for the ESA to take their sweet time choosing a landing site and preparing to send down the Philae probe. They’re not even attempting their landing until mid-November. That’s not for two and a half whole months!

Who wants to wait that long? You can be witness to a manned landing on a comet as soon as tomorrow.

Also, in my story, the comet isn’t some benign rock way out there at some safe distance.  Not at all.  It’s huge, and it’s hurtling toward Earth.

A planet-buster.

Further, the heroes of “The Cometeers” don’t have fancy computers, or Ariane 5 rockets, or robots, let alone nuclear weapons. All they’ve got is gunpowder. And a big cannon. And their ingenuity.

And a few sticks of gum.

I’ve got nothing against the fine folks at the ESA. Really. The Rosetta mission is exciting, and it has the added benefit that it’s really taking place in our own universe.

Sometimes, though, alternate universes can be fun, too. Read “The Cometeers” and see if you agree. Jules Verne said, “Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.” It looks like the ESA will soon make something real, something that first blasted like a cannon shot from the imagination of—

Poseidon’s Scribe

The Story behind “Wheels of Heaven”

ToBeFirstWheels72dpiWith my story “Wheels of Heaven” about to launch on July 1st, I thought I’d tell you how I got the idea for the tale.

The series What Man Hath Wrought consists of alternate history stories involving technology. Basically, they’re “what if” stories that ask what would have happened if things had gone differently. While doing some research on interesting ancient technologies, I came across the Antikythera Mechanism. Or perhaps I saw a mention of it on a documentary on the Science Channel, Discovery Channel or History Channel.

300px-NAMA_Machine_d'Anticythère_1It’s a fascinating machine, advanced well beyond what anyone gave the ancient Greeks credit for. Moreover, until x-ray tomography was conducted on the device in recent years, no one knew what it was for.

Intrigued by the mechanism, I then had to think of an interesting way to fictionalize it. Some outlandish, but really fun, ideas occurred to me, but other authors had already explored notions such as the device being a time machine, teleportation machine, or even an alien communicator.

My story ended up being more plausible. I portrayed the mechanism as being exactly as it really was, a device for computing the position of the sun and major planets—the wheels of heaven.

In 1900 and 1901, divers discovered the device amid other shipwreck debris off Antikythera Island. “Wheels of Heaven” is my fictional account of how it came to rest there. An arrogant Roman astrologer will discover he can make predictions with greater speed using the device, but will come to question the connections between people and the stars.

rimtradeWhen research revealed the wreck to be a Roman merchant ship, I checked out what those ships were like. They differ from trireme warships in interesting ways. The carved neck and head of a swan which I describe in the story was actually a common feature of these ships.

For the most part, of course, “Wheels of Heaven” is about the struggles people have, the struggles we still have today. If you were certain you were right about something, an idea about which you’d formed a long career, and you found out it was all wrong, could you accept it? Are we all slaves of predetermined fate, or do we have free will?

Go ahead, take a trip through time to about 80 B.C. and voyage with my characters Viator and Abrax aboard the Prospectus. I know you’ll enjoy it; that much has been written in the stars by—

Poseidon’s Scribe

Ex-Out Deus ex Machina

Strange term, that ‘Deus ex Machina.’ All it means is ‘the god from the machine’ and if your story’s got one, you probably don’t want it.

Deus ex MachinaAlthough the concept comes to us in its Latin wording, it dates from the plays of Ancient Greece. Performed in amphitheaters, these plays sometimes featured an actor playing the part of a Greek god, who would descend into the final scene apparently from the sky by means of a crane with ropes. The ‘god’ would solve the play’s central problem by means of magical powers.

Over time, the phrase came to mean the late and unexpected introduction in a story of a character, ability, or object that seems to resolve the story’s conflict in some miraculous way.

     Not Recommended
You’ll want to avoid Deus ex Machina (DEM) in your stories because it’s the mark of an amateur writer. You get positive points for burdening your protagonist with difficult dilemmas to solve. But you lose those points and more when you’ve painted your hero into a corner and you can’t get her or him out without resorting to some external savior entering the action at the end.

The presence of a DEM cheats the reader, who is expecting a story about the human condition.  The reader has, therefore, invested some emotional energy in your protagonist, following that hero along through all the conflicts, both external and internal. The reader is wondering how your protagonist will prevail. To introduce a DEM, therefore, is jarring and disappointing.

     Difficult to Avoid
Sometimes you’re working along with your manuscript and you find you’ve put your protagonist in such trouble that, try as you might, you can’t think of a way out. You like the story otherwise, and really don’t want to rewrite in a way that lessens the difficulty and allows your hero to win the day through innate virtues.

These are the times you might be tempted to call in the aid of a DEM. Again, for reasons noted above, it’s best not to do so. In most cases.

     When It’s Right
In the hands of a master storyteller, DEMs can work in two situations I’ve discovered: (1) when the author is making a larger point, and (2) in comedies.

For example, in Edgar Allan Poe’s story, “The Pit and the Pendulum,” the French army conquers the town, enters the Inquisition, and frees the narrator from his horrible prison. But Poe is making a larger point about life and the freeing of the soul to enter heaven when the clock (pendulum) of life ceases.

In H.G. Wells’ novel, The War of the Worlds, it’s true the invading Martians are defeated by tiny bacteria. But Wells is making a statement about Britain’s encounters with cultures having primitive technology. He’s saying that, but for the microbes, even mighty Britain would have been annihilated.

In Monty Python’s movie “Life of Brian,” Brian is saved from a deadly fall by a passing alien spaceship. The DEM literary device is used here for comedic effect.

     A Final Example
If you’re really, really good, go ahead and use a Deus ex Machina. Otherwise, best to avoid them. Let your characters figure their own way out of their jams.

Hmm, as I write this, I have no idea how to end this blog post.

Enter Poseidon, appearing out of nowhere.
Poseidon: “Silly mortal. Just write ‘Poseidon’s Scribe’ below your other babbling text, the way you’ve signed off every other post.”
Me: “Oh, hehe. Thanks Poseidon. You mean like this:

Poseidon’s Scribe.”

Being Poseidon’s Scribe

Many fans have noticed the headline of my website:  “Poseidon’s Scribe—Advice for beginning scribblers, straight from Olympus.”  Questions have been pouring in about that, and it’s time I answered them.

Are you really Poseidon’s Scribe?  Yes.  It’s not the sort of thing you’d make up, or dare to impersonate.

PoseidonI thought Poseidon was a myth.  Does he really exist?  Oh, yes.  God of the Sea, Earth-Shaker, Tamer of Horses.  He exists, all right.  And he gets rather upset when some mortals think him a myth, so I’d believe in him if I were you, especially if you’re going near water.

The Romans called him Neptune; does he prefer to go by Poseidon?  He’ll answer to either name, but I think deep down he prefers the one with more syllables.

Why does he need a scribe?  I never really thought to ask him.  The twelve gods and goddesses in the pantheon each have one, probably because they want their exploits preserved for posterity, but can’t be bothered to write for themselves.

What sort of things does he have you write about?  Oh, you know.  On this day, he created an island.  On that day, he got angry at some sailors who worshiped him insufficiently, so he sent a storm.  Made whirlpools, created sea-monsters, went to New Orleans in mortal form to have a good time at Mardi Gras.  That sort of thing.

What is Poseidon like to work for?  Officially? A great guy, a wonderful boss.  (But the stuff I could tell you…!)

How did you get the job?  Saw the ad, sent my resume, sat for an interview.  Pretty much the same as any job.  Well, except for being teleported to Olympus for the interview.  He looked over samples of my writing, and must have liked them.

What does the job pay?  Poseidon didn’t really get the whole ‘salary’ thing at first, so I had to be insistent.  Then he wanted to pay me in gold, with a morsel of ambrosia and a half cup of nectar a month.  I finally introduced him to direct deposit.  Basically the salary isn’t stellar; it’s about what a Grecian earns.

What are your work hours?  Irregular, to say the least.  At any time of day, Poseidon can pop in and demand I write some account of him making a sea spout to terrorize people, or whipping up a squall for fun.  After the first month, I got the hang of the self-glorifying language he preferred, so it’s a rare week when I need to work more than forty hours.  That leaves time for my hobby, writing fiction.  I’m just glad I’m not Hermes scribe; that poor guy has to write fast.

Where is your office?  Can you work from home?  I do work at home, actually, though on some occasions the sea-god teleports me to some ocean or other to see an event (or its aftermath) myself so I can describe it as an actual witness.

Do you get benefits?  No.  Although I keep telling Poseidon it’s a full-time job and I’m entitled to benefits, he’s an immortal and considers me a temp.

Can Poseidon fire you?  Or worse?  In theory, yes.  There was a period, a few centuries ago when he would turn his scribes into goats or banish them to Hades if they wrote poor accounts.  But that led to a shortage of mortal volunteers, so now there’s a process he has to follow.  No changing into any sort of animal without thirty days advance notice, arbitration hearings, full documentation of deficiencies, access to a lawyer, etc.  I think my job’s pretty safe.

How do I get a job like that?  Well, there are only so many gods, and they like to hire young scribes who will serve for a full mortal career, so positions don’t open that often.  If I had to guess, I’d say Hephaestus’ scribe would be next to retire, maybe in fifteen years or so.  If you’re into writing about fire, metalworking, masonry, and sculpture, that could be the job for you!

There you have it.  If you think of more questions, just leave a comment or click on Contact in my menu above to send an e-mail to—

                                                           Poseidon’s Scribe

February 17, 2013Permalink

Better Writing through Chemistry?

If you consume alcohol or mind-altering drugs, will that improve your writing?  Many people think so.  Supposing it’s true, it’s nice to have that short-cut to greatness available, isn’t it?  Why struggle to choose the right words while sober or clean when you can snort, inject, or imbibe your way to literary greatness?

The connection persists because so many of the top writers, it seems, had a reputation for using drugs or alcohol.  The two that spring to my mind are Edgar Allan Poe’s use of opium and absinthe, and Ernest Hemingway’s consumption of wine, mojitos, and daiquiris.  The list of famous authors who wrote under the influence also includes Anthony Burgess, William S. Burroughs, Raymond Chandler, Jean Cocteau, Phillip K. Dick, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Aldous Huxley, Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey, Stephen King, Carson McCullers, Dorothy Parker, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, and Tennessee Williams.

The effects of alcohol that might benefit a writer include a loss of inhibitions, which might stimulate creativity.  However, other effects would be less helpful: blurred vision, slurred speech, slowed reaction times, impaired memory, blackouts, shaking, lack of muscle coordination and balance.

Drugs vary in their effects, but some of the reactions that might aid an author include euphoric pleasure, confidence, and extended wakefulness.  I suppose hallucinations could be of use to a writer, so let’s include those.  However, the known downsides of drugs can include delusions, aggression, paranoia, drowsiness, respiratory depression, nausea, blurred vision, headaches, disorientation, impaired memory, slowed reaction time, diminished judgment, mood swings, and addiction.

On balance, it seems to me there would be more harm than good in drinking or using drugs to improve your writing.  Some of the things said about the writers I listed above may not even be true.  The Edgar Allan Poe Society has debunked the myths about the writer of “Annabel Lee” and “The Bells.”  It’s not entirely clear if some of the other writers took drugs or alcohol to improve their writing or to cope with their troubled lives.

I remain skeptical about using drugs or alcohol as a path to quality writing.  Joanna Penn, whose blog I follow, has written a very thoughtful piece on the subject.  I have to commend author Eric Kuentz for actually conducting an experiment and being willing to share his experience.  His results seem rather mixed and it appears he’s disinclined to recommend the practice to others.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on, or experiences with, this subject.  Please leave a comment.  As for my own experiences, well, my scribing job occasionally takes me to Olympus where I’m sometimes allowed to partake of ambrosia and nectar.  Those are the substances most recommended by—

                                                    Poseidon’s Scribe

November 4, 2012Permalink

The Modular Author

I’ve written before about the conflict between the way readers want authors to be, and the way authors’ muses want them to be.  Now I’ll carry those thoughts forward to conclusion.

As a reminder, readers want you (as an author) to be consistent in genre and style so when they pick up one of your books, they know what they’re getting and aren’t surprised.  On the other hand, writers’ muses are creative and get bored with sameness; they’re always seeking something new and different; it’s always possible for an author’s ideas to run dry, and that’s another reason for writing in several genres.

There’s a conflict, a disconnect, between the desires of the people in each camp.  I think it’s a little much to expect readers to change.  They’re the customer, after all, and the customer is always right.

One possible answer is the use of pen names, also called nom de plumes or pseudonyms.  There are many other reasons you might use one, but we’ll just discuss one today.  The idea is to create a persona, an alter ego, another version of yourself.   The author going by that fictitious name is a specialist in a particular genre, a specific type of story.  That’s that persona’s brand.

A downside of pen names these days results from (1) our lives being recorded on the Internet to a great degree, and (2) readers’ desire to know their favorite authors in as personal a way as possible.  Those facts make it difficult to prevent people from finding out the real author behind the pen name.  Authors these days are expected to have their own websites, with their picture and a list of future appearances; some of those things might be difficult for a nom de plume to pull off.  Further, curious and persistent readers even go to the extent of analyzing writing to determine if two apparently different authors are really one person.

But to dismiss these disadvantages for a moment, are we headed for an end state where most authors actually have multiple names, several personas, each cranking out stories according to his or her particular brand?  That would seem to please both authors and readers.  This was foreseen, in a way, by Alvin Toffler in his 1970 book Future Shock.  After observing the increasing number and amount of temporary, throw-away material products, Toffler introduced the concept of the “Modular Man,” a disposable person.  In the future, all people would form several personas, try them out, and discard them as they please.

Is the literary world now reaching Toffler’s future?  What if you created a separate name under which you wrote romances, another name for horror, and one more for science fiction.  For each name, there would be a website for which you wrote blogs and connected with curious readers by e-mail.  Perhaps with some photo manipulation you could get away with posting pictures of these ‘virtual authors.’  Some of them might be male, others female–in fact all of them might be the opposite gender from your real one.  Each one could write stories and blog entries in a different style according to their various personalities.

Difficult?  As a fiction author, you’re used to creating multiple and varied people.  The only difference here is you’re not creating characters in stories; you’re creating other versions of yourself, where each version is an author.  One or more of those versions could be quite outrageous, edgy, and controversial.  Why not?

As of today (so far as you know) I have not plunged into that future/present to any significant extent.  I’m sure others already have.  As for the one who signs my blog entries, that’s really a job title, not a name.  It is my attempt at an alternate persona, my nod at creating a modular author.  Leave a comment and let me know if you would like to have a portfolio of alternate writing personas, if you do it already, and how many such modular authors you maintain.  Though it’s not really me, but kind of is, I’m—

                                                     Poseidon’s Scribe

 

October 21, 2012Permalink

What He Said About ‘Said’

“Today’s blog post is about the word ‘said,’” said Poseidon’s Scribe.

“What is there to say about ‘said?’” asked Blog Reader, who hoped to write fiction someday.

“First, ‘said’ is the most common type of ‘dialogue tag’ used in fiction to indicate who’s speaking,” said the Scribe.  “However, many budding authors worry about overusing that word, so they substitute other words.”

“I don’t believe that,” asserted the Reader.

“It’s true, but the fact is, ‘said’ is pretty much invisible.  You can’t overuse it,” said the Scribe.  “People pass right over it as they read.”

“Well, I declare,” declared the Reader.

“Still, there is something even worse than that,” said the Scribe.

“What’s that?” the Reader asked, questioningly.

“Modifying ‘said’ with an adverb.”

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that,” the Reader said unthinkingly.

“Use of adverbs in that way is termed a ‘Tom Swifty,’ from the Tom Swift series of books about a young inventor.  The authors of those books occasionally sought to modify ‘said’ with adverbs.  Not only are they examples of bad writing, but Tom Swifties have given rise to an entire brand of humor.  There are examples here and here and here.”

“Okay, please stop listing links,” the Blog Reader said haltingly.

“Look, there are at least four things to remember about writing dialogue,” said the Scribe, “and the first is to be very clear about who’s talking.  Don’t leave your readers wondering about that.”

“What do you mean?”

“If you go on for several lines of dialogue without tags–“

“Like we’re doing now, you mean?”

“–the reader can lose track of who’s speaking.”

“You don’t say.”

“I do.  Especially when there’s more than two characters or when they have similar styles of speech.”

“Are there any times you would use several lines of untagged dialogue?”

“Oh, yes.  That technique can heighten the drama of a scene, build it up to a climax.  As each line of dialogue becomes shorter and shorter, your readers will naturally sense the tension building.”

“Are you sure about that?”

“Yes, I’m certain.”

“Really certain?”

“Oh, yes.”

“Sure?”

“Yup.”

“Okay, I think I understand that,” said the Blog Reader.  “You said there are four key points about dialogue.  What’s the next one?”

“Keep it interesting,” said Poseidon’s Scribe.  “Humans are social animals and love to talk.  Your readers want to hear your characters talking, and they have a preference for dialogue over narration.  But they don’t want to be bored, so keep dialogue interesting.”

“And the third key point?”

“I thought you’d never ask,” said the Scribe.  “It’s related to the second point.  Use dialogue for dramatic purposes, to show characters at their moments of strong emotion as they grapple with the problem that represents the story’s conflict.  Minimize the use of dialogue just for providing information.  That’s called info-dumping.”

“Which is what you’re doing now,” said the Reader.

“True, but we’re having a real discussion, not a fictional one.”

“Are you sure?”

“Pretty sure,” Poseidon’s Scribe held up his right index finger.  “There’s one last point I want to make about the use of ‘said’ in dialogue.  If you’re still worried about repeating ‘said’ and you doubt my point earlier about readers skipping over it, then substitute some type of action, or movement, or description.”

“What do you mean?”  The Reader’s brows furrowed.

“Instead of using ‘said,’ have your character do something while speaking.”  The Scribe swept his hand to indicate motion.  “After all, people really do things while talking.  They don’t just stand there.”

The Reader nodded.  “I see what you mean.  But what do I do if I have a question about this later?”

“Just click on ‘leave a comment’ below this blog entry.  See it down there?”

“Yeah, there it is.  Well, thanks for everything!”  The Blog Reader smiled.

“Don’t mention it,” said–

                                                             Poseidon’s Scribe

The Stories behind the Stories, Part II

Today I’ll continue my attempt to convey where my ideas come from by listing the remainder of my published short stories, and the source of the ideas for each one. If you missed Part I, here it is.   And now for the most recent seven stories:

“Blood in the River.”  At Ralan, I came across a request for submissions for a horror anthology about fish or fishing, to be called Dead Bait.  I had no desire to write horror fiction, and tried to move on to other writing projects.  My muse, however, wanted me to write it and whispered the story idea quite loudly.

 

“A Sea-Fairy Tale.”  As I recall, the discussion during one critique group session had turned to the then-current popularity of fairies in fantasy fiction.  Again, I had no desire to write anything of the sort, but my muse insisted.  I gave my fairy story a sea-going flair.  The story was published in The New Fairy Tales Anthology.

“The Finality.”  Another visit to Ralans showed me Severed Press was looking for submissions for an anthology about the Mayan 2012 prophesy, to be called 2012 AD.  I’m not one of those who thinks the world will end this December, but that Mayan calendar myth does make for good story material!

 

“Bringing the Future to You.”  My critique group decided to task ourselves with a writing exercise.  (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was inspired by just such a group challenge.)  We chose a phrase at random from a book of writing prompts.  The phrase was, “The fortune teller said…”  This story was published in the anthology Cheer Up, Universe!

 

“The Vessel.”  I got this idea at a science fiction conference.  I don’t remember the exact inspiration, but while at the conference I suddenly got a vision of Atlantean sailors returning in their ship to find their homeland, their island, gone.  The idea stuck with me for several months.  Then I had occasion to read Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond.  His non-fiction book deals with the interaction between high-technology and low-technology cultures in history.  There are elements of that book in my story.  “The Vessel” was published in Quest for Atlantis:  Legends of a Lost Continent.

“Within Victorian Mists.”  I enjoy steampunk, and one night I was websurfing about the topic and saw some buzz about people bemoaning the lack of steampunk romance.  I didn’t want to write romance, but the muse prodded me to give it a try.  In thinking about what I could write, I remembered a mention, years earlier, of someone being surprised radio was invented before the laser.  That got me wondering what might have happened if someone had invented the laser in Victorian times.  This story was published by Gypsy Shadow Publishing.

“Leonardo’s Lion.”  Like many people, I’m fascinated by Leonardo da Vinci.  One aspect of his life is rarely mentioned; late in life he constructed a mechanical lion as entertainment for a royal party.  I got to thinking–what happened to that lion afterward?  Gypsy Shadow Publishing also published this one.  (Notice the clockwork gears on the cover.)

Some writers struggle to search for good story-writing ideas; some bump into ideas all the time.  Whichever you are, may you come across the inspirations you need, the ones that prompt you to write great stories.  That’s the wish of–

                                                                            Poseidon’s Scribe

February 26, 2012Permalink

The Stories behind the Stories, Part I

In these blog entries I’ve usually refrained from shameless promotion of my own stories, but today will be different.  However, since my purpose in these blogs is to offer help to beginning writers, I’ll couch my blatant self-advertising as instructive, educational matter.

Hundreds of cards and letters and e-mails have been pouring in asking me one question.  Well, maybe dozens.  Okay, maybe it’s just a question I’ve been hoping others would ask me:  “Where do your ideas come from?”  I explored the topic last year, but today I’ll trace the origin of the ideas for each of my published short stories.  Perhaps in reading through these, you’ll see how ideas can occur any time and for any reason; good story ideas will come to you, too!

Target Practice.” I wrote this story in 1999, and I honestly don’t remember what the inspiration was.  Back then I was in the midst of writing a novel, and I took time out to write this story and submit it for publication to a wonderful anthology, Lower than the Angels.  I think I just wanted to see if I could create a truly hopeless situation and figure a way for my protagonist to resolve the problem.

“The Steam Elephant.”  Seven years later, as I mentioned here, I was inspired by the book The Mammoth Book of New Jules Verne Adventures, edited by Mike Ashley and Eric Brown.  It contained short stories written by modern authors as tributes to Verne.  As a Verne enthusiast, I was thrilled by the book, but disappointed to find no stories echoing Verne’s two-part novel The Steam House.  I decided to write my own, and it was published in Steampunk Tales #5.

“The Wind-Sphere Ship.”  I’m not sure why, but at some point I must have been pondering why steamships weren’t invented much earlier.  After all, the power of steam was known to the ancients.  The Greek inventor Heron (or Hero) developed a steam toy in the first century A.D.  This suggested an alternate history story.  Gypsy Shadow Publishing put this story out in e-book form.

“Alexander’s Odyssey.”  I’ve long been fascinated by the history of submarine development.  One tale held that Alexander the Great descended under water in a glass-windowed barrel.  I  wondered how the sea god, Poseidon, would have reacted, and the story wrote itself.   It was first published in the anthology Magic & Mechanica and then later (in a longer version) by itself in e-book form.

“The Sea-Wagon of Yantai.”  I continued my quest to fictionalize, in short-story form, the development of the submarine.  I found tantalizing references to the Chinese having developed a submarine around the year 200 B.C.  However, I couldn’t find any details.  I figured that left me free to write the story as I wished.  My story was also loosely inspired by Ray Bradbury’s marvelous story, “The Flying Machine,” which I’d read in high school.  Eternal Press published my story.

“Seasteadia.”  Knowing of my interest in the sea, a fellow writer in my critique group sent me an article about the concept of seasteading.  I decided to write a series of stories about seasteading’s possible future.  “Seasteadia” is the first, and so far the only published one, and it appeared in the anthology Aurora of the Sun.

There are more, but I’ll save those for next week’s blog entry.  The point is, a writer’s story ideas come from many sources.  Who knows where your next story idea will originate?  After all, your creative mind works differently from that of–

                                                                Poseidon’s Scribe

February 19, 2012Permalink

Why I am Poseidon’s Scribe

I write fiction, and most of the time the setting for my stories is the ocean.  When you grow up in the Midwest, the sea is so distant and seems very exotic.  You can only imagine the smell of the salt air, the wind-whipped spray, and the mountainous wave cressets.  Saying the words “ocean” or “sea” is akin to screaming the word “adventure.”

You might read some Jules Verne and some Tom Swift, and become even more enthused about the mysterious depths, and man’s ever-advancing technologies for exploring and living in the sea.  Maybe when you grow up, you might join the submarine service.  That dose of reality might just take the magic out of the ocean, but in your case it doesn’t.  At some point, you realized a muse is begging you to write down all the stories in your head.

Maybe it’s not a muse, though.  Perhaps it’s the ocean itself I hear, the watery echoes of wakes left by all the ships down through history that sailed there, or ripples sent back to our time somehow from future vessels.  If it’s the ocean’s mighty voice I hear, then that makes me Poseidon’s Scribe.

Well, let us say Apprentice Scribe, since I’m still learning the craft.  After all, I’m trying to convert eddies and surf and currents into prose.  Something’s bound to get lost in translation.

The sea is omni-faceted, as it turns out, and my stories now span several genres.  These include historical, science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, and horror.  Not all of my stories take place in a seawater setting, but most do.

I’m glad you’re here.  Look around the shop.  Read some of the results of my scribbling.  I’ll use this space to share thoughts about reading, writing, and the sea.  So long as the ocean keeps whispering in my ear, I’ll keep writing it all down, because I’m…

Poseidon’s Scribe