layla: grass at sunset (Default)

This is for Chuck Wendig’s character creation flashfic challenge. Anyone can participate — rules are at the link. Post your description of a character, link to it at Chuck’s blog, and next week people will pick from the communal character pool and play with them!

Key: the dragon space librarian

Key is a dragon who hoards knowledge. She [or perhaps he, or it, or they] dwells in a hollowed-out asteroid, networked with tunnels — spacious, well-lit, and warm, with lamplit reading nooks every so often — that are filled with books. Key has a copy of every physical book, from Earth and a thousand other worlds, that she can get her claws on. But there is more than that: the station houses a computer at its heart that has what Key claims is a repository of all knowledge from the entire span of recorded history.

This is clearly an exaggeration.

Still, if you are looking for a piece of information that can be found nowhere else in the galaxy, Key’s Library is the best place to go — making it a mecca for the desperate, the lost, the seekers of knowledge … and of course a certain number of bounty hunters and their ilk. You will be welcomed, and fed, and given access to the library for as long as you like.

Key loves talking to visitors.

But in order to leave, you must give her a book she doesn’t already have, or a piece of information that is not in the computer. If not, well …

(Whether the outcome of not being able to do this is “… and then she eats them” or “… and then they stay as part of her staff of space librarians and help a space dragon curate an asteroid full of books” is left up to the individual writer.)

Crossposted from Wordpress.  
layla: grass at sunset (Default)

“One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is a signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water.”
– Annie Dillard from The Writing Life

I first encountered this quote (well, a paraphrased version) in the absolutely wonderful Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. I want to print it out and tape it in about five places around my writing area.

Because, yes. This is something I really struggle with. I’ll come up with a clever idea or a neat title or a character name I really love or a wonderful introductory paragraph or an archetype that really speaks to me — and I’ll want to save it for a better project. I’ll think, “Oh, this character is only going to be in one short story; I don’t want to waste that name on him!” Or: “I’ve had this character in my head since I was 12; I have to wait for the perfect story to use her in!” Or: “What a nifty idea; I should save it to use in a better story later.”

I hadn’t realized until reading this quote that other people feel this way too. I sometimes worry about running out of inspiration, but the world is a never-ending well of it; I probably already have more ideas than I could write in a lifetime, more character names than I could use, more titles than I will ever have stories for. The more of these I clear out, the more room there will be for other, newer, fresher ideas and characters and titles. And if I write the very best I can, I suspect I’ll just learn how much better I can write. (At least, that’s how it seems to be working so far.)

Besides, if you save all the good ideas for later, you’ll never write anything good now. And since everything we write is (technically) being written now, that means you’ll never write anything really good. You’ll just daydream about the awesome stories you’ll write someday when you’re good enough.

Originally published at Layla's Wordpress blog. You can comment here or there.


layla: grass at sunset (Default)

December 2016

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