The first step on my new career path

The plunge taken, the ball gently pushed down the slope finally. I’ve just completed my first week of classes, and everything is going smoothly. In case an update is needed, I’m taking online classes at Southern New Hampshire University for English and Creative Writing. Two 3-credit classes per term, six terms per year, plus my transfer credits comes out to being done by Fall 2015. Not too shabby, and hopefully my prose will become a razor’s edge. I CAN’T WAIT! It’s so exciting. I don’t even care if I ever make a lot of money, I’m after the respect and accomplishments.

A few weeks ago I completed my latest story, Raven, submitted for a contest. I’m rather fond of it. The prompt was simple, create a story about a “villain”. Easy enough. I really enjoyed writing it, and it seems to have received favorable reviews so far. It’s a bit darker than my usual stuff, but of course all my WDC items have been all fighting or adventure. I really need to do something mellow.

I have some new story ideas, although I think I’m holding off on contests for a bit. I’ll have Raven’s contest result that I’ll be waiting on, then the L. Ron Hubbard entry results hopefully in December. Oh, did I not mention that? Yeah, I entered a story a couple months ago to the Writers of the Future contest. Since I’m unpublished, I thought I may have a shot. I was a bit discouraged though, after my submission, as I read some previous winners’ entries…oh man, I was definitely not in their league. But, oh well, at least I developed the balls to enter. Still pretty short-sighted of me since I’ve only been writing since January this year. Still a baby in the writing world.

Since my course load seems a bit light, and I won’t have any contest deadlines, I might write some stories  just for fun. I haven’t really done anything independent (besides my crappy novel), so perhaps it’s time to start doing some with no pressure, no prompts, and no rules. I have some original ideas ( I think), so they’ll turn out decent, I hope.

Let’s see, what else…well, that’s it really. See you next time. 🙂

Oren

Copyright © 2012 – Oren’s Realm – All Rights Reserved


My thoughts of reviews of “Brotherhood”

Wayyyy back in July, I posted my second short story that I wrote for a WDC narrative contest, titled “Brotherhood“. So, I’m going to talk a little about that story.

“Brotherhood” was written as a parallel story to “The Cyclic Ruse“, the latter telling the story of a warrior selected to abolish an elemental evil ritualistically. Specifically, there is an orb which controls the weather of this land, pushing extreme heat or extreme cold depending on its current color/mode. Using an elaborate method of gathering, creating and forging of a weapon, and warrior-selection, this unnamed kingdom resets the orb before it becomes too extreme, eradicating life with intense cold or intense heat. I absolutely loved this base concept/plot, and with some work and practice I plan on developing it further.

Because of how excited I was at the world in my head that stemmed from The Cyclic Ruse, I used the prompt of the next round of the contest to further plunge into this world that was newly developing. Now, I still won that round, but I personally feel this story (Brotherhood) was written with too much spontaneous backstory, was unrefined, and did little to make the reader comfortable and knowledgeable of this world. It should have  been a self-sufficient piece, and not rely on The Cyclic Ruse for any sort of information. Unfortunately, I set the winter scene, mentioned the orb, and made the protagonist of Brotherhood intimately linked to The Cyclic Ruse. So, a good story, but definitely a learning experience.

Brotherhood is set in the same world as the Cyclic Ruse. Venn, a young mage, is searching for a winter dragon, along with others in the kingdom. The purpose is to extract its heart for use in creating the tool/weapon that’ll reset the next iteration of the orb. These dragons have been hunted for centuries, and lately have been becoming more rare; not only from excessive hunting, but there seems to be some sort of plague affecting the beasts, which I hinted at, for some unknown reason. Venn is on this search to show to his parents and brother that he’s worth something; his brother happened to be the warrior from The Cyclic Ruse. Venn decides that he wants his brother’s sacrifice to be worth nothing, and plans to kill the dragon if found instead of calling the other searchers to extract its heart. The dragon is found, yet Venn loses the spell that will subdue the dragon, so he follows it. It acts strangely, pops out an egg (which in my head was implied to be rare, although not sure if I mentioned that), then it promptly dies. He has a brief moment of “nice guy” syndrome and considers the value of his find, but his dastardly jealous self says “screw you” to his brother and the kingdom, and fries the egg.

A good story, I think, but definitely needed work. As my second short story, ever, I feel it was a good effort.

It received two reviews on WDC.

Review #1:

First Thoughts: Venn is a young magician who desperately wants to prove himself against his older brother Deric. When his quest for the Cyclic Orb fails, Venn volunteers to find the last winter dragon. This makes me believe that Venn is a driven man who once has been beaten will get back up and try his hand at something else. 

What I liked: I liked this description. “The dragon was not white, as he expected, but almost pitch black. It’s body was large, round and muscular, the four leathery legs driving it powerfully forward. The head was flat and broad, with frost tipped ridges lining the eyes and skull. Short spines snaked down its back to the end of its narrow rough tail, and they were all tipped with icy excrescence”. Information and creative. 

Not so good: The dragon was already dead! How could you do that?!?! I think the story would have been better if Deric was about to be killed by the dragon and Venn had to either save him or leave him. 

Final Thoughts: Venn has finally achieved his own glory and will return to his family. This could be open to a much larger story that I would definitely read. Cheers and write on!

My thoughts: I have no issues other than the reviewers “Not so good:” comment. I figure the reviewer felt that I could’ve made the story a bit more dramatic, perhaps with an appearance by Venn’s brother, and a choice to save him or let his brother die by the dragon. A much better ending, I will admit. Kudos to the reviewer for being smarter than me. 🙂

Review #2:

I like your writing style a lot. It flows well, has enough description to tell what needs to be told but is concise enough to keep the story moving. The story is good too, though I think I may be missing some backstory (I haven’t heard of the Cyclic world before and so some of the detail in here was lost on me). That said, it was still well done despite my missing knowledge.
Keep up the good work!

My thoughts: Short and sweet. Absolutely right, I should have not made this story contingent on another without any sort of independence. Lesson learned.


Finally getting…

Finally getting around to some free time. I really need to nail down a schedule for this blog.

Okay, a few updates. As mentioned before, I participate on Writing.com regularly in a fantasy group, and compete in several contests on the site. An experienced and high-ranking (for lack of a better description) user nominated me to be a “Rising Star”, which is a program designed to recognize, encourage, and mentor promising new writers. Amanda, my sponsor, co-authored a winning story with me for a group contest, and she apparently enjoyed our collaboration enough to think I have potential. Great news, and I hope to live up to her expectations. There are several projects I must work on as a Rising Star, and I plan on trying hard.

I’m not sure how to feel about a lot of the praise I’ve received. I’m really intimidated at times. I want to hide my head, strip my items from the site, and junk it all sometimes. I know I still need a lot of improvement, but some seem to think I have a future as a writer. I dearly hope so.

This semester, which I’ll remind you that I’m going to Southern New Hampshire University for English and Creative Writing, is fully paid for. Books are bought, classes scheduled. It’s exciting and intimidating. I know I can do all of it, but I still feel that urge to “turtle”. It’ll be fine, though. I have a lot of support.

Tomorrow I’ll continue my reviews from my portfolio, talking about Brotherhood, which I mentioned in an older entry.

I’ll see you tomorrow. 🙂

Oren

Copyright © 2012 – Oren’s Realm – All Rights Reserved


Remembering 9/11/2001

Countless people today are talking about the significance of this date. I doubt there is anyone anywhere who does not know what today means.

I’m not sure what it means overall to me. I was working downtown in Oklahoma City when it happened. I heard about it from a coworker, after the first plane hit, and we went to the breakroom to watch.

At first, not to sound harsh, but it was only mildly interesting. It looked like a major accident, and so I was only watching it offhandedly while joking with my coworker. However, when the second plane hit, the change and shift in everyone present was more than palpable. We saw it live, like millions of Americans. The thought of anything being an accident was shattered, and shattered violently.

Someone crashed those planes deliberately.

Growing up in a military family, and my formative years being the 1980’s, with the threat of nuclear war discussed so often, the first thoughts I had were just that: War. I actually didn’t even consider terrorism, although of course it made sense when I thought about it rationally later.

I don’t really recall what the resulting days were like. I’m sure it was full of news watching, dialogue with family and friends, and a topic of many discussions.

The second plane hitting the second building, and that emotional realization of what that meant, is my most vivid memory of that day. Much more than the collapse, although that was just as terrible. Today, watching a documentary on the events, seeing that second plane hit, live back then, still fills me with shivers.

It’s been 11 years, I have no personal ties to the event other than being an American, yet the day affected me so profoundly. It was the sense of “We are not alone.”; not in an extraterrestrial sense, but as a person living in a nation, I was not alone. There are BAD GUYS. Bad people that can hurt us, hurt our nation, hurt even me in my safe little center of the U.S.

However, even though I knew I was not alone in a negative sense, I knew that I was not alone in a good sense, as we were finally united as a nation and people against a common foe. I don’t care one whit about the political ramifications, I just know that 9/11/2001 united us into a true United States, even if not forever, but just enough to be a whole nation with a singular purpose.

I wish that we, as a nation, could keep that wholeness, but I’m know we’re still in the same pickle politically that we have always been. It’s too bad, really.

Copyright © 2012 – Oren’s Realm – All Rights Reserved


Busy is good.

Wow. So, yeah, busy times lately! Since my last post, I have been accepted into Southern New Hampshire University to begin studies for a BA in Writing. I was able to get some previous college credits transferred, and only need 88 (approx.) to complete the degree.

I’m excited about it. I had originally considered a technical degree, like Computer Science or Engineering; money being the motivator behind those choices. After some serious consideration and discussion between my wife and I, we both decided that to avoid burnout and declining interest, perhaps a degree that I would enjoy would be preferable. I would be more inclined to finish, as well as still possessing a 4 year degree. My job opportunities will increase, although my available max salary would, of course, be much lower than a technical degree.

Another reason for pursuing an education in writing, is that this is something I can do until I die. Even after retirement age, I can still put out books/stories that I enjoy. Income without the job. One would argue that it’s still a job, but I say not really. It’s pleasurable and fun to write.

So, here’s to education. I start October 29th.

As for this site, I plan (hopefully) to continue to update regularly. I have lots of things to talk about, including my current and future personal projects, and status of my life and future career. My next entry will continue into reviewing my comments and reviews from WDC for “Brotherhood”.

See you next time!

Oren

Copyright © 2012 – Oren’s Realm – All Rights Reserved


Back from Color…

Back from Colorado, unfortunately. Such a beautiful state. If I could have a nice place about 10000 feet with nothing but trees and a years worth of food and supplies, I would be happy.

I finished the short story I was working on, today. I had trouble with a title, but I settled on “The Law and the Fist”. Simple and direct, and probably lame. I was happy with the ending, and I’m probably a bit long-winded, as it’s roughly 5800 words. I enjoyed the world I created for it, and I may develop it into a full novel.

My wife and I have been discussing me going back to school for a degree. As my current job is pretty cruddy, getting a degree would open up tons of job opportunities, allowing me to actually get a job with progression and a future. I considered a technical degree, as of course that would get me a job with lots of money. But, is that what I really want? I could do a technical job pretty easily, but I’m not sure I would enjoy it.

What I’ve learned to enjoy recently is writing. So, why not go to school for an English or Writing-based degree. Who cares if I end up a columnist or journalist; it’s still writing and that is what I enjoy. I discussed with my wife, and she agreed she would rather have me happy than not; at any rate, a degree would still broaden my job opportunities. So, I’m not looking into schools offering Creative Writing or similar degrees, and maybe I can make something happen.

Maybe we’ll see that novel yet. I have three solid book ideas, and I bet I can cook up others. Exciting!

Copyright © 2012 – Oren’s Realm – All Rights Reserved


Eventful week, but not much fun.

I promise I’m not slacking already. It’s been an eventful week, as the title says. I’ve been planning a week long trip to Colorado, and that’s been so much fun (no, really, fun >.<).

I’m going to talk about something for a little bit tonight, as it’s therapeutic for me. Writing is so much easier for me to say something than it is to speak it.

Last Friday evening, my grandmother died. She had  a stroke, a pretty major one that completely toasted her whole right side. Apparently she had the stroke, and was not discovered for at least two hours. Because of that, her organs did not receive the oxygen they needed, and her body was unable to recover. The reason her death is so poignant is that she not only is my last remaining grandparent, but she is the only one I really know. Her last husband, the man I called grandpa, died when I was eleven (I’m now thirty-five). My biological grandfather remains a mystery. On my mother’s side, that grandmother died last year, but I have only met her twice in my entire life. Her husband, my grandfather, died when I was around three.

So, you see, this grandmother was the only one  I knew.

A couple of things about her death that bothered me. First, I had heard that she was still responsive and able to hear people when they spoke to her. She would squeeze my hand, and open her eyes (well, one of them) and look around. As I thought she could hear me, I spoke a few goodbyes to her. I wanted to believe she heard me. Later, as I left, something about that bugged me. She would do that little routine every time I spoke; the thought occurred to me that it may be an automatic reflex, and that she could not near me at all. Later, I talked to a nurse, and confirmed that suspicion. She was brain dead and gone long before I ever saw her. I can’t get that automatic action she did out of my head.

Second, when she finally died because of her organ shutdown, we were all there. I am familiar with ECG patterns, and I knew it was coming. Her heart stopped finally, and everyone stared at the monitor, waiting for it to come back. That bugged me a little, but the real thing that bothered me was that she had to stay on the respirator. So, she was still breathing, but dead. Oh that bugged me almost as much as the automatic response from earlier. The hospital can’t shut it off without a doctor to call time of death.

I’m pretty imaginative, and those two images just keep floating around in my head. It’ll take time, I know, but I’m stuck in a morbid merry-go-round in my head for a bit.

On a lighter note, my trip to Colorado starts tomorrow. 75 degrees instead of 110, it’s going to be great. Hopefully I can relax and get off that merry-go-round for a bit. I plan on finishing my current short story project, The Lawbringer ( the contest I’ve mentioned that requires a western), and doing some work on my first novel. It’ll be a good opportunity to have family time and just forget about the real world for a moment.

I’ll continue in a bit with my review opinions on the story in my previous post. Until then, have a great weekend!

Oren

Copyright © 2012 – Oren’s Realm – All Rights Reserved