Archive for the Sci-Fi Part 1 – Revised Category

Rewriting the First Chapter of StarFire Dragons Novel

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Kavakian Empire, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2016 by Dawn Ross

Serpent Spaceship

As you may know from my previous post, I am getting conflicting feedback on the first chapter of my sci-fi novel. Many of my beta readers liked how it just jumped into the action. These beta readers were regular readers. They weren’t writers or writing experts. When I did submit my first few chapters to someone considered as a writing expert, I was told that I needed to ground my character in his normal world first and give the readers a chance to get attached to him. So which is correct? A writing expert can’t be ignored, but neither can the genre of science fiction readers.

I’ve been doing some research. Here is a site that I found the most helpful – 6 Ways to Hook Your Reader From the Very First Line. Of the four things this helpful writer’s article says they find the most annoying in the first chapter, I committed two of them. I started with dialog and I introduced too many characters at once.

One of the six things this article suggested I do to hook the reader was to begin at a pivotal moment. This seems to conflict with the writing expert’s feedback I received. How can I possibly start with a pivotal moment if I’m taking time to ground my character in a normal world?

This article on hooking the reader has other suggestions that might help. I could make the reader wonder, I can create an interesting picture, I can introduce an intriguing character, I could start with an unusual situation, and/or I could begin with a compelling narrative voice. Let’s visit each of these options.

Make Your Reader Wonder

I think chapter 1 does a good job of making the reader wonder. Why are the Tredons running from a race of scavengers? What will J.D. find on the planet?

Create an Interesting Picture

I was told by many of my beta readers that this story has the feel of Star Trek. While many sci-fi readers probably love Star Trek, is this what I want? Perhaps I should try to create a world that is at least a little different from Star Trek. But how can I make it interesting? I’m at a bit of a loss here. Really, the only thing I can think of is to make the history a little different and focus more on the characters.

To make the history a little different, I took into consideration other feedback about how I used too many Earth terms in my story. Everyone in my story is human. Earth became uninhabitable many centuries ago. The human race traveled to other worlds, terraformed them, and started over. Starting over took time. Over many more centuries, the populations on these planets grew and the people evolved (or in some cases, devolved). Although space travel had been known in the past, they did not travel during this period. It wasn’t until they were fully developed again that they began to explore and seek one another out. That’s where the Prontaean Alliance comes in.

Of course, I won’t explain all this in the first chapter. But I will hint at it.

Introduce an Intriguing Character

One of my beta readers told me that Jori is the best developed character in the entire novel and that everyone else falls short. I’ve known this and I’ve been trying really hard to make J.D. just as interesting as Jori. I did this by adding his insecurity about his new position as commander because of the Kimpke incident. However, this seems to have made him weak-minded and not very compelling. I’m still brainstorming about this.

Start with an Unusual Situation

I think I’m on the right track with this one. I’ve got the reader wondering why the Tredons are running from a race of scavengers. But I think I need to enhance it a bit more. J.D. is wondering this, but I need to put more feeling into it.

Begin with a Compelling Narrative Voice

I rewrote the first chapter at one time to set the scene. I used a lot of flowery words. But a compelling narrative voice doesn’t just mean using flowery words. Since my story is written in close-third, the narrator is J.D. and J.D. isn’t a man of pretty words. So somehow, I have to catch the reader’s attention through J.D.’s voice.

Begin at a Pivotal Moment

This story isn’t just about how J.D. and Jori evolve from being enemies to being friends. It is also about how J.D. learns to fit in his role as commander. So my pivotal moment doesn’t have to be about how J.D. and Jori first meet. It can begin with J.D. feeling out of place.

Now that I have all this information, I’m going to try and tie it all together when rewriting the first chapter. I won’t start with dialogue. I’ll only introduce a few characters rather than several at once. I’ll try to create an interesting picture with J.D. being more intriguing with a compelling narrative voice. And I will try to make the pivotal moment be more character driven rather than action driven.

Stay tuned! I will try to get the first chapter rewrite for my novel posted next week. In the meantime, feel free to comment with your ideas on how I can make this story better.

Beta Reader Feedback for Novel StarFire Dragons

Posted in Reviews, Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , , on October 15, 2016 by Dawn Ross

I’ve submitted my sci-fi novel, StarFire Dragons, to several beta readers and their feedback has been exceedingly helpful. Beta readers are readers who look for loopholes, point out spots that are confusing, comment on whether the pace is too slow or too fast, suggest ideas for plot movement or character improvement, and so on. Beta readers do not edit for grammar, punctuation, or spelling (unless they want to).

In many cases, several people pointed out the same issues. This was helpful because it showed me something really needed to be fixed. In other cases, only one person pointed out a certain issue. This was also helpful because sometimes it was just something that other readers missed. Here are the most common issues people found in my science fiction story.

Action or No Action

Chapter 1 starts out with action. Some of my readers loved this while others did not. The ones who loved it said it really hooked them to get into the action. The ones who didn’t pointed out that a story should start with scene and character introductions. In other words, start the first chapter in the protagonist’s normal world. I can see how this would be important, but I am at a loss as to how to hook the reader with a normal situation. Also, I decided to rewrite the first chapter and present it to new beta readers and was told it was too boring.

Obviously, this is a case where I’ve received conflicting information. I can either decide to just please one set of readers or I can see if I can try to find a way to please both. The way to please both would be to show J.D.’s normal world, but in an exciting way that hooks the reader. Thoughts?

Too Many Characters at Once

This is another one where I received conflicting information. Some beta readers said I introduced too many characters at once while other beta readers wanted more information on each of the characters as they are introduced. A suggestion to fix this problem would be to only vaguely introduce the characters in chapter 1, then add to their characteristics as the story progresses. Thoughts?

Details

Some of my beta readers said I gave too much detail while others said I gave too little. I think this is more of a reader preference than it is an issue. The readers who said I gave too much said a close-third point of view doesn’t justify lots of detail. They also said that today’s readers can easily fill in the blanks. The readers who said I gave too little felt the characters were too faceless. They said they couldn’t feel the scene as well because it was never described.

While I myself prefer to fill in the blanks, many people prefer more detail. So my choice is between not giving enough detail to readers who like detail or giving too much detail to readers who don’t like detail. I choose to give more detail. And perhaps to avoid giving too much detail, I should try to be brief but very descriptive about the detail. I should try to convey emotions with the detail. And I should try to convey the detail using other senses besides sight.

Terrible Antagonist

A few beta readers did not like Mik Calloway’s character. They said he was too cliché for a bad guy. I agree. I’m not very good at writing bad guys. I’ve decided to fix it by making him a little more personable. Although we still hate him, it will help us understand him better if I provide a better explanation as to why he hates Tredons so much. Any other ideas?

The Connection Scene

Many of my readers felt that the scene where Jori cried in J.D.’s arms really hit the spot. But one beta reader said it felt forced. The situation forced Jori to warm up to him rather than it happening organically. I kinda see the point. I tried to make it show organically when Jori was upset that J.D. called him a brat. This, to me, showed that Jori actually cared about what J.D. thought of him. So, I think I can expand on this a little more so that when the connection scene does come, it doesn’t come across as too fake.

Sentence Structures

I tend to write very formally. And as such, my sentences tend to be about the same size and the same structure. This was noticed by a few of my beta readers who are aware that sentence lengths should vary because it helps with the story pacing. Short and choppy sentences can indicate a fast paced scene while longer sentences can help provide the pacing for slower scenes.

Better Character Dialogue

Many of my beta readers pointed out that all my characters talk the same. This is not at all realistic, especially in a futuristic world where the races and cultures are even more diverse. I tried adding a different way of speaking for Lt. Jenna Stein, but it turned out to be more confusing for people. So I need to think of a way to make my characters speak differently without trying to write out annoying accents since today’s readers don’t like reading accents.

There are a few ways I can vary the way a character speaks without writing annoying accents: different sentence structures, different sentence lengths, different words, odd speech habits, swear words (which I succeeded at with Terk), jargon, characters who repeat themselves, characters who over- or under-explain, and probably many more I haven’t thought of.

I plan on keeping Stein’s use of the word “be” the same even though some of my beta readers were thrown by it. I think they were thrown because Stein was the only one who talked differently. If I make other characters talk differently, it may not be as noticeable. I plan on having Lt. Chandly use more jargon. Lt. Commander Bracht seems like a guy who would speak shorter sentences. The captain as well, but he always speaks much more formally than Bracht. Some other character may use the word “um” a lot. I’m still deciding on others.

Weak Main Character

A few of my beta readers felt J.D. was too weak of a character. One beta reader specifically said that Jori seems to be a much better developed character than any of the others and it would really make the story better if J.D. and perhaps even Captain Arden were just as compelling. I agree. I keep trying to make J.D. more interesting, but for some reason I am having a hard time. Suggestions?

Too Trekke

Almost every single one of my readers thought this story had the feel of Star Trek. This was intended because I thought it would make it easier for readers to relate to the setting. But it turns out that many of my readers was annoyed by this, especially since some characters, like Bracht, were too similar. They wanted to see a different world with different people. While I don’t want to deviate too much from the world I’ve created, I do understand the need to be a little different. Thoughts?

Tags

One person said I used the word “said” too much and should use other more creative tags. Unfortunately, though, I’ve heard that using a bunch creative tags is a weak and novice way of writing. A better way to fix the problem of too many people saying this and that is to use action before or after a sentence in order to tell the reader who is speaking. For example: The captain raised his eyebrow. “Are you sure you want to do this?” Another example: J.D. scratched his chin. “No. Probably not.”

Chapter End

One beta reader felt the story should end at chapter 30 because it left the reader hanging and inspired them to read the next book. I don’t know about you, but I hate it when a book leaves me hanging. I tried to inspire the reader to read the next book in the series at the very end, chapter 33, but I’m not sure I did a good enough job. I need to work on the ending so that it concludes the first book but still inspires readers to read the second book.

Conclusion

While I may not be fixing every point or taking every bit of advice given, everything my beta readers shared with me was helpful. The best thing about the feedback I received from every single one of my beta readers is that they really liked the story. This gives me a lot of hope and inspires me to perfect it as much as possible. Thank you, everyone for any tips and feedback you’ve provided. ❤

 

Conclusion to StarFire Dragons: Part One of the Kavakian Empire

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2016 by Dawn Ross

If you’ve gotten this far, then you like my science fiction story. Do you like it well enough to buy it? Great! Because will be ready to buy soon. Right now, it’s being reviewed by beta readers and edited by a professional. I will let you know as soon as it’s published.

“What? You mean I have to buy it in order to find out the end?” you say.

I bet you feel cheated, like I’ve dangled a free story over you like a carrot and then whacked you with the stick instead.

Before you send me a nasty email, let me explain myself. I’ve worked long and hard on this science fiction novella. I’ve worked many hours, days, weeks, months, and even more than a year on it. Now let me ask you… If you wrote a book or even created a piece of art or composed some music, wouldn’t you want to get paid for it? Of course you would! It’s only fair, right?

My intent is not to cheat you. In fact, part of the reason for posting this free version of my sci-fi novel is to keep from cheating people. How so? Well, have you ever purchased a book that really sucked, that sucked so badly you could barely get through to page 10? By giving the first 3/4 of my story for free, I’ve given people the opportunity to decide whether they like it or not. And so I say again, if you’ve gotten this far then you like it.

So please help an artist out. Encourage me to finish Part Two by purchasing Part One of the Kavakian Empire: StarFire Dragons. And keep me excited about writing so that I write even more of this continuing space opera saga (which I already have mostly mapped out).

Thank you for your consideration.

Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire Part One Chapter 33 – Revised

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2016 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – Starfire Dragons (provisional title)

Chapter 33 – Revised

(Here is another brand new chapter. I hinted at some of it in the unrevised version of my science fiction story, so maybe you know what’s coming… maybe.)

Jori sprung forward, landed on his hands, flipped back onto his feet, and repeated three times, adding an extra twist on the last one, and landed facing the direction he had just come. Terk furrowed his brow in determination and then did his own moves down the mat, landing next to Jori with a full flip.

The two went back and forth at increasing levels of difficulty, not really competing yet still trying to outdo one another. Neither of them spoke. They hadn’t spoken since yesterday’s incident at the gym. Jori was irked with Terk’s constant confrontational attitude and Terk was probably upset at him for calling him out on it.

What does he expect? Sure, the Alliance as a whole was their enemy. But Captain Arden’s words kept popping back in his head. Why? Why are we enemies? He still didn’t know the answer. But he knew J.D. wasn’t his enemy. The man had played a large part in saving their lives. And he’d been protecting him while Terk was in a coma. If only Terk would listen and understand.

J.D. walked by, dabbing his forehead with a towel. The wetness of his shirt indicated he was probably done for the day since the man rarely spent more than an hour at the gym.

Jori caught J.D.’s eye. The man gave a nod and small wave, verifying his assumption. Jori dipped his head in return while Terk simply glowered. His brother continued glaring at the man’s back as he headed towards the exit. Jori clenched his teeth and bit back the name he wanted to call his brother. Terk caught the look and the tension between them grew.

“I’m done here,” Terk said abruptly.

“Fine,” Jori replied.

Terk moved to leave. “Well, come on,” he said irritably. “We have to do what the Alliance says and stay together,” he added sarcastically.

Jori growled, but followed. No need to give the guards a reason to act. They were already watching with the intensity of a caged blackbeast, ready to attack as soon as the cage door flew open.

Jori walked the track with his brother sullen silence. He masked his emotions, knowing Terk would unintentionally feed off them. He also kept his mouth closed as they paused at different workout stations knowing if he showed any interest or disinterest, his brother would claim the opposite just out of spite.

A prickling sensation tickled his mind. He stopped.

“Come on already, dammit.”

Terk’s annoyance touched his senses, but the other sensation was too strong to be overcome. “Do you feel that?”

“Feel what?”

Jori looked back to where he thought the sensation might be coming from. There were several people doing various workouts, but their emotions seemed to be a simple mixture of determination and satisfaction.

“Menace.” A shiver ran down his spine. Where is it coming from?

“Menace?” Terk crossed his arms.

“You can’t feel it?” Terk’s ability was not as sensitive as his own. But the feeling was so starkly different from anyone else’s that he should notice. Maybe his own attitude is getting in the way.

Terk stepped beside him and looked around.

The sensation dissipated, as though whoever it was had left.

“Hey,” a man called out from behind.

Jori turned around. His concern was replaced by a spike of annoyance. Calloway.

“If you two are looking for something to do, how about a game of hoop ball?” Calloway wore a kind smile, but Jori could tell there was no sincerity in it.

What’s he up to?

“That’s not such a good idea,” one of his guards, Lt. Sharkey, said before he or Terk could reply.

It was odd seeing a female in charge of security. Odder still was seeing and sensing how much the other guards deferred to her without any hint of disdain—everyone except Calloway, anyway.

“Why not, Lieutenant?” Calloway cocked head in mock confusion. “It’s just a friendly game.”

Lt. Sharkey opened her mouth.

“Certainly,” Terk said. “I don’t mind a friendly game.” Terk also wore a smile, one just as duplicitous as Calloway’s.

Shit. Now they’re both up to something. He scrutinized the surrounding guards. As much as he’d love to humiliate Calloway, no good could come of this.

He glanced at Lt. Sharkey. He got the sense that she didn’t trust Calloway either, but she considered it anyway.

“Yeah, it’s just a game, Lieutenant,” one of Calloway’s team members said.

The other Alliance crew members apparently part of the hoop ball game looked less confident. Lt. Sharkey met the eyes of each. One man shrugged his shoulders. Two gave Terk and Jori a dark glare but masked the look from her. Jori sensed nervousness from some of the others, but none of them spoke up against the idea.

“Very well,” Lt. Sharkey said. “But make sure it stays friendly. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Sir,” Calloway replied.

Calloway’s smile curled up slightly and Jori sensed his smugness. Unfortunately, Terk also felt smug.

Chikusho. Shit.

The game was rather easy and not at all as intense as wall ball. All Jori had to do was pass the ball to other team members or throw the ball in the hoop. Being the shortest player gave him the advantage of being able to dart around the opposing players. And both he and Terk quickly got a feel for aiming the throw of the ball through the hoop.

The four players they had been teamed with had not been happy in the very beginning of the game. But they warmed up to them as their team’s score progressed. As Calloway’s team fell behind, Jori sensed the man’s anger rise.

Jori made a move in one direction, then pivoted in the other. He darted past another opponent attempting to block him only to find Calloway in his way. He feigned again. Calloway didn’t fall for it. Again, back and forth, until Calloway overreached in the opposite direction.

Just as Jori slipped by, Calloway slid his foot in the way. Jori skipped over it, nearly losing his balance in the process. He regained quickly and aimed the ball.

The ball sailed through the air and fell through the hoop. His team cheered. One member actually clapped him on the back.

“Great shot,” the man said.

The other team had the ball now. Jori had a knack for getting the ball away from them when they bounced it, but this time his opponent tossed the ball overhand. He jumped at it, but didn’t even came close.

Jori ran down the court, following the other team to their hoop. Calloway ran up beside him, then purposefully placed his foot in front of him. Jori hopped over it.

The game moved too quickly for him to respond, so he played on. Calloway tried twice more, and failed twice more.

The ball was his once more. He rushed down the court, bouncing the ball as he went. Calloway jumped in front of him. The man held his arms out wide. His stance was also wide, and so was the stupid grin he had on his face. Jori glanced around. All of his team members, including Terk, were blocked by their opponents. His only chance was to shoot the ball. It was a distance shot, but he could probably make it.

Jori held the ball up and took aim. He jumped up and flicked his wrist. The ball sailed out over Calloway’s head.

He didn’t have a chance to see the ball go into the hoop. The palm of Calloway’s hand jabbed him in the sternum, immediately taking the breath out of him. He flew backward. Master Jetser had taught him how to recover from a fall, but he couldn’t think quickly enough and landed with a hard thud.

Calloway barked a laugh. Jori’s face flushed. He quickly regained his feet and balled his fists at his sides. He opened his mouth with an insult ready on his tongue but Terk suddenly stepped between facing Calloway.

His elder brother’s elbow drew back and then a loud pop echoed. “Don’t you dare touch my brother, you fucking ass!”

Calloway landed hard with a grunt.

The guards rushed forward, surrounding him and his brother. He and Terk automatically went into a battle crouch and stood together back-to-back, ready to fight them off.

Evade!

His brother’s command in their Tredon tongue spurred him to duck. The air crackled above him as the stun fire shot past.

“Stop!” a female voice yelled. “Stop, dammit! That’s an order!”

His heart pounded wildly while at the same time the heat of his brother standing behind him gave him comfort.

The guards stopped short. But each of them held their stun guns out, ready to fire. If they thought this would stop them, they were mistaken. Jori and his brother had practiced just such a scenario hundreds of times. They’d each duck and roll to one of their opponents and disarm them. Then they’d take each opponent down, two at a time, whether by turning their firepower against them or by physical force.

“Stand down!” a male voice said.

J.D.

“I said, stand down!”

He and Terk remained in their battle stance. One-by-one, the guards tucked their weapons away and stepped back.

When they were all obviously no longer a threat, Jori stood erect. Terk did so as well, albeit much more slowly. His brother’s face was bright red and his knuckles were white from clenching his fists so tightly.

“What the heck happened?” J.D. said to no one in particular.

“He broke by dose,” Calloway said. The man was still on the ground holding his nose. Blood gushed from between his fingers. No one moved to help him.

J.D. turned his eyes to Terk. The look wasn’t accusatory. Jori could sense the man’s disappointment, though.

“He hit Jori and made him fall!” Terk pronounced each word like he was punching them out. His nostrils flared and his chest heaved.

J.D. looked at Jori. Jori replied with a nod of his head, but said nothing.

“It wad an acthident,” Calloway replied.

“Fucking liar!” Terk turned to go after the man again.

J.D. put out his hand. “Stop!”

Terk stopped and turned slowly to face J.D. A growl rumbled in his throat and Jori could sense his anger boiling over.

“I believe you,” J.D. said to Terk in a much calmer voice.

Terk’s growl died. A hint of confusion stabbed through his anger. Jori sensed the commander’s truthfulness so Terk probably did too.

J.D. turned to Jori. “Are you okay?”

“Yes.”

“Let’s get you to sick bay and have a look anyway, alright?”

“Why?” Terk barked. “So you can verify we’re telling the truth? You think we’re lying about this?”

“I just told you, I believe you,” J.D. said firmly. “This is just protocol.”

His brother’s jaw rippled, as though he were grinding his teeth.

“I thought you left,” Jori said to J.D., hoping to divert his brother.

“Lt. Sharkey called me back. She suspected Lt. Calloway might try something and thought my presence would deter him.”

“Well it didn’t,” Terk said vehemently. “Why in the hell did that ass pick on my brother anyway?” Terk spit on the floor and glared hatefully at Calloway’s back as the man staggered toward the exit.

Jori glowered at the man’s back as well. Interesting how no one is bothering to help him. “He hates us. But since he can’t do anything about it, he resorts to pettiness.”

Terk frowned at his brother, but the look wasn’t hateful. “Why you?”

He shook his head. He and Terk had been taught to take out the strongest opponent first, so Calloway’s actions made little sense.

J.D. put his arm on Jori’s shoulder and looked at Terk. “He’s a bully. Bullies only pick on people they know they can overcome.

Terk huffed. “Jori can easily reduce that baka to a pile of bloody goo.”

J.D. winced. “Let me rephrase that. Bullies only pick on people they think they can overcome.”

Jori’s cheeks burned. J.D.’s words troubled him, though he didn’t know why. Perhaps it was the man’s corresponding feeling of disgust. Why did he touch my shoulder when he said that? Why did he wince at what Terk said? Does he think we are bullies too? Some Tredons were. His father certainly could be. I’m not though, am I?

*****

Terk clenched and unclenched his fists against the tingling sensation in his fingers as the adrenaline coursed through him. “He’s a coward for trying to hurt my little brother. You shouldn’t have stopped me,” he said to the commander.

“While I agree Lt. Calloway was way out of line,” the commander replied with an annoyingly calm look on his face, “and he will get punished for it—your reaction made it look like you were the instigator rather than the other way around.”

He grunted. Master Jetser had said something similar on more than one occasion, but why in the hell should he care what others think?

The commander shrugged his shoulders. “It’s over now, at least. Let’s just go on to sick bay, alright?”

Terk heated again. “He said he’s okay. He doesn’t need to go to your stupid sick bay.”

The commander stiffened at his tone. He could sense a touch of uneasiness in the man and it almost made him smile.

“Well, I’m going anyway.” Jori briskly stepped away.

Terk opened his mouth to speak, then closed it again and growled instead. He caught up to his brother, giving both him and the commander a dark look.

He deserves to die,” he said to Jori in their secret language as they headed toward sick bay.

His brother sucked in his breath. “J.D. has done nothing!

He sensed the commander didn’t know what they were saying, but the man’s head cocked slightly at hearing his untranslated name.

Terk frowned. “I meant Calloway. But the commander too. All of them. They are our enemies.

Jori’s eyebrows went up slightly. “They saved us.”

He let out an exasperated sigh as a new heat flushed over him. “Not this damned argument again.”

His brother’s brows turned back down. “You wouldn’t even be alive if it weren’t for them.”

He stopped short and turned to his little brother, leaning in close to his face. His teeth clenched so hard that a pang ran from his jaw and down his neck. “I don’t understand why you like him so much. He’s a pussy.”

He’s not.” Jori steadily held eye contact.

He clenched his fists as a strong urge to knock some sense into his little brother came over him.

“Is everything alright?”

The commander’s voice grated his nerves but he ignored him. He could sense the man’s apprehension, but the feeling was overpowered by the determination he sensed from his little brother.

Terk straightened. As much as Jori frustrated him sometimes, he wouldn’t hit him. It wasn’t because Jori would hit him back. It was because he wouldn’t. Somehow, this bothered him more than anything. Besides, it wouldn’t do any good anyway. Stubborn brat.

Terk held his annoyance in check but refused to let the argument go, especially since he was right about this. “He is a coward. I can practically feel him shaking in his boots when he’s around us.”

He’s just being cautious.”

He’s afraid.” Terk spoke through his teeth.

And yet he still doesn’t cower. Master Jetser says bravery is when you stand tall despite your fear.”

I don’t give a damn what Master Jetser says. I still say he’s a coward.”

Calloway’s the coward.”

Which only brings me back to my original argument.”

Jori squared his shoulders. “Calloway got what he deserved. You humiliated him. You broke his nose and didn’t even get in trouble for it. I’d say that’s punishment enough.”

He huffed at Jori’s naivety. Men like Calloway needed to be put in their proper place—at the bottom. “You’re weak. You know that? You stayed too long with mother.”

Jori set his jaw firmly, but Terk could sense the comment stung. He averted his gaze from Jori’s hard stare. The comment was unfair and he knew it. Jori could outdo him in almost every physical activity. The only things holding him back was his current lack of strength.

Despite his guilt, Terk wasn’t about to apologize for the comment. “Fine. Maybe we’ll just hurt him a bit when we make our escape.”

He turned away and the two of them began walking again. The commander kept pace, radiating a sense of unease along the way.

We don’t have to escape.” Jori said. “They’re letting us go.”

Terk growled in frustration. “We can’t just walk away from here without doing something to make up for our failure.”

Father was going to be so pissed. He was Daiichi Prince and it was his duty become the fiercest of warriors. It was bad enough those damned Grapnes had caused a fiasco. Grapnes of all people! He had no intention of continuing to play nice with these Alliance cowards.

Jori scowled. “Father doesn’t have to know we were ever here.”

Dammit, Jori. Don’t you get it? We failed. I failed.” He leaned in slightly as they walked and pointed emphatically at his chest. “I can’t go home empty handed.”

Why not? Why should we try so hard to please someone who doesn’t really care about us?

Terk growled. “Because we have to be strong.”

I am strong. I don’t have to be hateful like father in order to be strong. Master Jetser says there is strength in standing up for what is right.”

Fuck Master Jetser!

“Hey!” The commander put out his hand to stop them.

Terk stopped but gave the man a dark and hateful look.

“I don’t know what you two are arguing about, but—“

“It’s none of your business,” Terk said through clenched teeth.

A sense of anxiety spiked from the commander, but the man squared up his shoulders. Terk glared at him, daring him to interfere.

Jori stepped between them with is back to Terk. “It’s nothing, J.D. Just an argument between brothers.”

The commander didn’t move. Terk kept his eyes locked to the man. He wasn’t about to be the first to turn away.

Jori stepped back into him, forcing him to step back. He looked down at his brother in reflex, breaking the lock.

His face tightened along with another wave of heat that swept through him. “Dammit, Jori.”

Jori’s face was dark red and his eyes like daggers. “Stop this, Terk. He is not our enemy.”

The torrent of fury his little brother radiated gave him pause. Not because he was afraid, but because he knew this level of determination. If he made a move against the commander, he had no doubt Jori would try to stop him and he’d have no choice but to fight with his brother too.

His stomach roiled at the thought but he pushed it down. He held his brother’s glare for a moment longer, then turned away abruptly. “Fuck this. I’m going back to the gym. You and your friend can go on to sick bay if you want.”

He marched back the way they had come, not caring if anyone followed. The guards did, of course. All six of them.

*****

Derovichi scrolled through the information on his tablet. The captain had told him to leave it on his ship in their docking bay, but he needed to get this work done. Fortunately, getting the tablet right out from under their noses had been as easy as breathing, just as easy as it had been in getting the other perantium suits.

Someone tapped Derovichi’s shoulder. He looked up from the tablet and saw no one.

He stood, not the least bit afraid. “No games. Show yourself.”

A shimmer wavered in the air before him and coalesced into a man. Except for the silver suit the man wore, it was like looking in a mirror. Many outsiders couldn’t tell one Chekrosian from another, but in this case making the distinction was actually a challenge. Derovichi recognized the same jutting chin, the long but not too long face, the narrow lips and sunken eyes.

“It worked.” His twin brother grinned widely.

“So the security officer’s information was valid.”

“I have a plan.” Conovichi’s grin widened further.

Derovichi returned the smile. “I’ll notify the others. The six of us should be able to pull this off.”

 

THIS IS THE LAST CHAPTER I WILL PUBLISH ON THE BLOG

To find out the end, you will need to wait until my book is published. This could take time depending on whether I can find some beta readers to give me feedback, whether the feedback requires a lot of rewriting, how long it takes for the book to be edited, and how long it takes for me to format it for both an e-book and a paperback.

I apologize for getting you hooked and not letting you read the end. But if any of you are artists (whether it be with music, fine art, dance, or writing) then you understand how much work goes into what we do and how important it is for us to be compensated.

 

I’d love to hear some constructive criticism. Please leave a comment below. Praise would be most welcome as well.

(This sci-fi saga is protected by copyright) Copyright August, 2016 by Dawn Ross

You may share this sci-fi novella so long as you link back to this website and mention, The Kavakian Empire by Dawn Ross.

The Kavakian Empire Part One Chapter 32 – Revised

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2016 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – Starfire Dragons (provisional title)

Chapter 32 – Revised

(This chapter is even newer than the last. The following two scenes were not even mentioned in the unrevised version of this science fiction story.)

J.D.’s skin prickled and his jaw tingled as though his blood had drained from his head. His breath caught every time one of the two princes swung or kicked at one another. The two boys sparred in a blur of motion. Jori whirled and twisted like a blade in a cyclone, with Terk moving nearly as fast.

Although it was only Terk’s second day out of bed, his treatment was complete and he was at full strength now. Yet he still barely matched the moves of his little brother.

One of Jori’s kicks caught Terk right in the jaw. Spittle flew, and maybe even a little blood. J.D. flinched, certain that Terk’s temper would ignite and the two would fight for real.

The two stopped for a brief moment. Terk shook his head, then spit off to the side. His expression was blank. Not a hint of anger showed.

In one quick motion, he raised his fists and the two sparred once again.

After two hours of sparring, a rather large crowd had gathered. Most had their mouths agape. Not even Lt. Commander Bracht and Lt. Gresher’s sparring bouts looked like this. Bracht, though strong and fast, definitely didn’t have Jori’s agility and flexibility. And the two men didn’t land nearly as many hits as the two brothers.

A deep thud sounded as Terk’s leg jutted into Jori’s gut. The boy tumbled back, but quickly somersaulted to his feet just as his brother honed in for another attack.

J.D. hesitated to stop this. To others, it might appear the two brothers were fighting. Yet, somehow he knew they weren’t. Despite the intensity of their movements, neither did any serious damage to one another. Dear god, this must be their normal.

The sparring ended abruptly, as though the brothers had reacted to an indiscernible signal. The two bowed respectfully to one another. The whispers of the onlookers grew louder, but no one seemed to be brave enough to direct their questions and comments to the princes themselves.

Terk turned away toward the exit of the gym while Jori made his way to J.D.’s side. Terk stopped short and turned to his brother with a half-frown. He hesitated a moment, then met with J.D. as well.

“We’re ready to go,” he said with a hint of irritation in his voice. He scowled down at his brother, who returned the look with a dark one of his own.

Instead of leaving, the three of them ended up stopping to watch the officers using the various martial equipment. Terk squared up his stance and crossed his arms in front of the speed bag where Bracht was practicing. The back of J.D.’s neck prickled. The increased rate of his heart quickly caught up with the beat-beat-beat of the bag being hit.

“What the hell?” Terk said loudly. “You have a tame Rabnoshk? So much for them being a superior warrior race.”

Bracht caught the speed bag in both hands and growled. “Fool, boy! You know nothing of what it means to be a true warrior.”

Terk reddened. “A true warrior doesn’t serve his enemies.”

“A true warrior knows hate is his only enemy. One day, perhaps you and your barbaric peoples will evolve and learn this.”

Terk uncrossed his arms dramatically. He puffed out his chest and clenched his fists. “You think you’re better than me, you fucking Rabnee?”

“That’s enough!” J.D. quickly stepped between them. “Lt. Commander,” he said to Bracht, “I suggest you go back to your practice.”

Bracht jutted out his chin. “Gladly, Sir.”

The Rabnoshk warrior pounded the bag anew. It was the same rhythm, yet somehow louder and more menacing. The security officer guards were still but looked ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. Each one of them glared threateningly at the daring prince.

I’m going to have a talk with that man. Bracht had just set a terrible example in front of the crew. Not that it was unprovoked, but he should have ignored the boy. No good can come of this.

“Is everyone here a coward?” Terk said loudly.

The beat of the speed bag faltered. J.D. suppressed a curse. “Do you think it’s smart to try and pick a fight with every member of this crew?” he said to the prince before Bracht could make another comment.

“You mean this crew of weaklings?” Terk made an emphatic gesture with his hand.

“I mean an entire ship full of people who hate you and would rather see you dead than walking these halls.”

“I’m not afraid of you. But I can tell you’re afraid of me.” The elder prince smiled dangerously.

J.D. ignored the flight-side of the fight-or-flight sensation welling up within him and stood firm. “I don’t deny that your behavior gives me a reason to be concerned.”

“Reason to be concerned?” Terk made a derisive snort.

He let the comment pass. “But don’t think for one moment that I’ll let that stop me if you cross a line.”

“And just what do you think—“

Jori stepped between them. “Achta!” he said to his brother. “Isha dong wacha be? Dukka ma sevi den… agi den.” Jori’s tone was harsh and his brow furrowed in a heated glare.

Whatever language the boy had spoken, J.D. had never heard it before. It wasn’t Tredon yet it was obvious Terk understood.

The elder prince bared his teeth angrily. J.D. braced himself, expecting Terk to turn his rage loose on the boy.

Jori stood fearlessly against his taller and larger brother. The two of them glared at one another with balled fists hanging at their sides. The air around them seemed to crackle. J.D.’s heart froze. If the two fought for real…

Just as he mustered the mindfulness to intervene, Terk’s posture visibly relaxed and his face went blank. His eyes broke from his brother and bored into J.D.’s.

“Lucky for you, my brother likes you.”

Without waiting for a reply, the elder prince turned and stalked away.

J.D. glanced down at Jori. The boy’s face looked nearly ready to spit fire as he watched Terk’s back. It was difficult seeing him as a ten-year-old boy right now. Is Terk afraid of him?

“Thank you,” he said to the boy.

Jori made a sharp nod, but said nothing.

 

I’d love to hear some constructive criticism. Please leave a comment below. Praise would be most welcome as well.

(This sci-fi saga is protected by copyright) Copyright July, 2016 by Dawn Ross

You may share this sci-fi novella so long as you link back to this website and mention, The Kavakian Empire by Dawn Ross.

 

The Kavakian Empire Part One Chapter 31 – Revised

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2016 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – Starfire Dragons (provisional title)

Chapter 31 – Revised

(This is a completely new chapter in my science fiction story. I think I only mentioned this scene briefly in the final scene of the unrevised version. As I’m writing this, I realize I need a lot more tension. But I’m not quite sure how to do it. Please read this, and then feel free to offer some tips.)

Terk slammed the digiview down, making J.D. jump in his seat.

He’s more childish than his little brother. He opened his mouth for a rebuke, but thought better of it and pressed his lips together instead. It wouldn’t do any good anyway.

“I gotta get out of this damned bed!” Terk threw the covers off and swung his bare feet to the floor.

“The doctor said you should rest one more day,” Jori said, seemingly unfazed by his brother’s outburst.

“I don’t give a shit what he said. If I lay here for a minute longer, I’m going to implode with boredom.”

J.D. winced. The elder prince’s annoyance was almost palatable. Please, no more temper tantrums.

Terk’s outburst yesterday had nearly caused an incident. In a bout of frustration, the elder prince had sent his tray crashing into the wall. His face was red, most likely from embarrassment at not having much strength. When security had rushed in with their stun guns ready, Terk’s face had turned redder, probably from outrage. Thankfully, the paligenesis treatment was still in progress and the prince was incapable of reacting with anything other than curses.

It had taken some convincing to get the officers to stand down… and even more to get Terk to cool down. Perhaps Bracht had been right about keeping the princes in the brig. Well, Terk anyway.

“At least take it slow,” Jori said.

Terk didn’t listen. He stood abruptly from the bed and took a step forward. The move made him stumble like a drunken Bodenkan mercenary.

J.D. suppressed a smirk, not bothering to help the grouchy prince. It would serve him right if he fell on his butt.

Jori rushed to Terk’s side only to stop short as his brother stabilized. The elder prince managed to remain upright. He took a few deep breaths and then walked over to get the clothes Hanna had brought.

Terk pulled off his gown to change. Despite the atrophy, his arms and legs were corded with muscle. He was lean as compared to J.D.’s own build, but looked as fit as any of the Alliance security officers who guarded him. I only hope they will be able to handle him if things really get out of control… which is where things seem to be heading.

J.D. stepped out to give the boy some privacy. Jori hung back a few moments, probably to make sure his brother wouldn’t lose his balance, then met J.D. on the opposite side of the privacy curtain.

It had only been two days since Terk had awoken, but he was fully awake and growing more irritable by every passing hour. And the more irritable the elder prince became, the more difficult it was for J.D. to keep his calm composure. Jori probably sensed this but didn’t comment on it.

Terk didn’t seem to have the same level of intellect as his younger brother. Jori spent as much time studying as he did practicing in the gym, but the elder prince only used his digiview to find instructional or entertaining martial vids. When Jori had mentioned the exciting things he’d learned when reading about Pershornian warfare, Terk waved him off. And when J.D. had suggested a game of schemster, the young man twisted his mouth as though he’d eaten something sour.

The privacy curtain slid open. “Let’s go,” Terk said.

To his surprise, Terk walked steadily, pausing only long enough to give the security officers a dirty look as he headed out.

Dr. Jerom looked up from the digiview he was reviewing. He opened his mouth to say something, but was too far away to be heard. J.D. shrugged his shoulders, giving the man an apologetic look. Dr. Jerom snapped his mouth shut and shook his head. Terk wasn’t the first patient to ignore his advice.

J.D. glanced at the two Kavakian princes as the three of them headed down the corridor towards the gym. Terk’s upper lip perspired, but his jaw was set in apparent determination. The young man’s eyes were dark yet bright at the same time, as though he were trying to decide whether he was angry at himself for feeling so weak or excited about finally getting out of bed and doing something other than browsing a digiview.

Terk seemed very much like Jori in a few ways. He often had the same placid look, though somehow colder looking. He was just as terse and mistrustful. And he seemed to have Jori’s same ardor for physical activity. Earlier when Jori told him about all the activities available here, the elder prince had seemed riveted.

Even now, Jori was talking about it. J.D. had never heard so many words come out of the boy’s mouth at one time. Nor had he seen the boy express so much emotion. Jori’s eyes were bright and there was almost a smile on his face. It was obvious he was enamored with his brother and exceedingly glad to have him back.

Terk’s eyes suddenly lit up at the pretty young woman headed down the corridor towards them. The elder prince’s mouth curled up and he looked the woman up and down with obvious interest.

J.D. cringed. If he’d ever looked at a woman like that, he’d likely get his face slapped. But the woman either didn’t notice the leering look or was ignoring it.

Terk turned his head to watch her behind as she passed. A heat rose in J.D.’s chest. It wasn’t the first woman Terk had given that leering look to. One of the security officers returned his look with a hard stare, to which Terk had responded by rolling his eyes. And one of the medics pointedly ignored him as she checked his diagnostics, and then rushed away never to return again.

“Don’t look at people like that,” he snapped. “She’s a human being, not prey.”

Terk stopped dead in his tracks. His face darkened and he gave J.D. a penetrating glare. “What? You think I’m some sort of animal?”

He bristled, but getting angry wouldn’t help the situation. “Look. I don’t know how you treat women in Tredon,” he said, trying to keep his tone neutral. “But here, we treat everyone with respect.”

“And just how was I being disrespectful?”

“Leering is not appropriate. Women here find it highly offensive.”

Terk cocked his head ever so slightly.

The confused expression threw him off. He really doesn’t understand, does he? “Do women look at you the way you looked at her?” he asked, hoping to explain it from a different perspective.

“Yes,” Terk replied with a look on his face that seemed to add the words, ‘of course’.

Well, he is the prince. “What if they don’t give you that look? What if you look at them like that and they don’t return it?”

Terk shrugged. “I move on to someone else.”

“You do?” J.D. didn’t mean to say it out loud. He tried not to box people into a stereotype, but it was difficult in this case since Tredons were notorious for committing rape. The files he’d read described Tredons like the barbarian hordes of old where women were taken as spoils of war.

Terk’s face darkened again. “I’m not an animal.”

J.D. put up his hands. “That’s not what I meant. I’m sorry.”

Terk’s face softened somewhat. “If she’s not interested, she’s not interested.”

“She’s a little old for you, isn’t she?”

“I prefer older.” Terk’s eyes brightened and a small smile spread across his face.

J.D.’s stomach soured. “Well here, you are considered a child and any sexual activities with children are highly illegal.”

Terk smirked. “I’m not a virgin.”

He got the feeling Terk was telling the truth. “That’s not the point.”

The elder prince scowled. “So what is?”

J.D. sighed. Where was I going with this again? No, not the stereotype.  “The point is, even if you were an adult, people here don’t like to be leered at. It’s disrespectful. You’re more apt to make that woman feel uncomfortable than anything.”

Terk made a dismissive noise and shook his head. He turned away and they went on to the gym in silence.

The elder prince made a low whistle the moment they entered. J.D. had forgotten how large the recreational areas on Prontaean Alliance ships could be and tried to imagine how grand it looked through Terk’s eyes. Most ships couldn’t accommodate the space, but the Prontaean Alliance felt they could keep crews in space longer if they offered such amenities.

Jori and Terk took the lead with Jori pointing out all the various activities. The expanse to the right was nothing but weight equipment. Cardio machines were further up. Several large sectioned-off rooms for playing sports were further on. Then as they came around the gym’s jogging track, Jori pointed out the gymnastic equipment and several open areas for stretching, martial practice, or for playing other sports. The tour ended at a section where Lt. Gresher sparred with Lt. Addams.

“So, Commander,” Terk said with a sly look on his face. “What do you say you and I have a little sparring competition?”

J.D. suppressed the urge to wince. If the younger prince was at level nine, there was no telling what level the elder prince was at. Even in his weakened state, Terk was probably a lot more skillful than him. “I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.”

“Why? Are you scared?”

“No. Just practical.”

Terk made a small laugh. “Yeah? How’s that?”

“If you beat me, especially despite you’re condition, I will look bad in front of my crew.” Terk smirked at that. “If I beat you,” he said and Terk huffed, “I’m afraid it will sour our relationship. We only have a few days left together. I’d like to make the best of it.”

Terk turned to the closest group of security officers. “How about any of you?”

Two officers darkened and the third’s eyes went wide.

“No,” J.D. said loudly. “If you wish to spar, use the holo-program.”

“Over here,” Jori said, gesturing towards the far wall.

“Fine.” Terk strutted by the guards with a smug look on his face, making the two officers turn even darker.

J.D. sighed inwardly.

*****

J.D. fell heavily in the chair without meaning to. Captain Arden didn’t show any reaction, so J.D. assumed the casual motion was acceptable since it was just the two of them here in his ready room.

“I take it things are not going so well with the elder prince?” Captain Arden said.

He sighed heavily. His shoulders ached from holding so much tension. “I’ve never had such a need to practice meditation.”

“That bad?”

“Nothing violent, at least not yet. He’s very…” Rude? Confrontational? Moody? All of the above? “Surly.”

“The younger one was the same way. But you two seem to have made friends.”

I wish I were as confident as he sounds. “I hope so. Because right now I feel like tossing him in the brig.”

“So I take it it would be a bad idea to ask him about his mission.”

“Yes, Sir, it would. As curious as I am to find out what they meant regarding the scientists, I very much doubt he would reveal anything and I fear trying would cause even more trouble than it did with Jori.”

The captain frowned. “Let’s hope it’s nothing.”

“Short of keeping them prisoner, I don’t think we have a choice but to let it go.”

The captain cleared his throat and somehow managed to sit up straighter than he already was. “Speaking of prisoners,” he said in an ominous tone. “Zimmer has ordered we take the children to him.”

He froze as if he’d suddenly stepped onto the ice planet, Sardeer. “What? You can’t!”

The captain lifted his eyebrow at J.D.’s tone.

“You promised them,” he continued, trying to control his rising panic. “If you go back on that promise, there’s no telling what they’ll do. And I’m willing to bet they’re quite capable.”

“Then we’ll have to make sure we’re ready to handle them when they find out.”

“Sir, you can’t! You know it’s wrong. They’re not criminals. I admit the elder prince is a handful, but what happened to trying to handle this diplomatically? What happened to making a good impression on them in hopes of gaining their trust for future peace?”

The captain put up his hand. J.D. ignored him.

“What happened to trying to avoid a war? If Admiral Zimmer takes them into custody—“

“Enough!”

He snapped his mouth closed, cutting off the dozens of other arguments that spun around in his head. He breathed heavily while gripping the armrests of his chair.

“I know the consequences,” Captain Arden said in a moderate tone.

How can he be so calm? He gripped the chair so hard that a pain surged up his arm. It’s the Kimpke incident all over again. He’d wondered earlier whether the captain would choose duty over morality, and it seemed his question was now being answered.

“It’s not something I want to do,” the captain continued.

“Then don’t do it!”

The captain put up his hand again. “And it’s not something I’m going to do if I can help it. I’m speaking to you privately now because I need you to help me think of a way out of it.”

“Disobey him.”

“A way that won’t get us both a dishonorable discharge.”

He sat back in his chair heavily and loosened his grip on the armrests. The pounding of his heart throbbed in his ears.

“Getting the information we know they have won’t help. It will only wet the admiral’s appetite,” J.D. said bitterly. “We can help them escape somehow.”

“Only if we can find a way to do it without anyone getting hurt or anyone being put under investigation.”

“I’ll take the blame,” he replied. It would mean the end of his career. His gut churned at the thought, but he’d rather sleep at night than let Zimmer instigate a war.

“That’s very noble of you. But I’m not ready to lose another commander. We’ll think of something between now and when we get to the Chevert Outpost.”

J.D. straightened. “We’re still going to the Chevert Outpost?”

“We still have our other guests to drop off. And I convinced Admiral Zimmer this location would be more convenient.”

He sighed and some of the tension in his shoulders loosened. “May I suggest, Sir, that we say nothing to Jori and Terk about this until we know for certain what we’re going to do?”

“Excellent idea.”

“Anything else, Sir?”

“No. I think that’s quite enough. Don’t you?”

J.D. stood and made a tight smile. “Yes, Sir. I do.”

“Good. But I do have one more thing to say before you go?”

“Sir?”

“This conversation is strictly between you and I. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Captain. If it’s all the same to you, I’d prefer not to get anyone else involved.”

“Agreed.”

 

I’d love to hear some constructive criticism. Please leave a comment below. Praise would be most welcome as well.

(This sci-fi saga is protected by copyright) Copyright July, 2016 by Dawn Ross

You may share this sci-fi novella so long as you link back to this website and mention, The Kavakian Empire by Dawn Ross.

 

Help – I Need Tips & Feedback for My Sci-Fi Story

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2016 by Dawn Ross

Space Ship

I know you’ve only read up to chapter 30 of part one of my sci-fi story so far, but I am actually done writing the revised version. The revised version is not the final version, however. I have been given a lot of feedback from beta readers and so will be writing up a final version over the next month or two. But first, I need a little help from you.

Series Title?

First of all, I need to decide on the series title. I’ve been calling this the Kavakian Empire but I realized Kavakian may sound like Kevorkian, who is a U.S. doctor that assisted terminally ill patients in committing suicide. But Kavak is also Jori and Terk’s family name through their father, the emperor. Since all the books in this series will be about them, the Kavakian Empire makes sense. However, if it is not appealing, I can either change their family name or I can change the name of the series. What do you think?

Book One Title?

At first I was calling book one, Edge of the Dragon’s Shadow. But I didn’t think it sounded like a sci-fi. Then I remembered that Jori had fired a weapon called the StarFire. And I realized their serpent ship didn’t have a name (serpent is a type of ship, not a name), so I thought I would also call it StarFire. And since Jori and Terk’s father is also referred to as the Dragon Emperor, I though StarFire Dragons sounded interesting. But the word dragon also has a fantasy meaning. What do you think?

J.D.’s Name?

When I first wrote this, J.D. was named J.T. But then I realized J.T. sounded like James T., as in James T. Kirk. After going with J.D., it was pointed out to me that reading a name with initials is too jarring for a reader. And it can be confusing if J.D. is at the end of a sentence; meaning, do I type, “Hi J.D.” or “Hi J.D..” with two periods? So, should I change J.D.’s name again? If so, here are the names I am thinking: Jairo, which means a person who enlightens; Jovani, which means god is merciful; Jeff – short for Jeffrey and means peaceful; Jayvin, which doesn’t really have a meaning but I like how it sounds; Galen, which is very different but I like how it sounds and it means calm or peaceful, which J.D. is. What do you think of these names?

Names in General

Do you perceive the Alliance ship and crew as a military crew? I pictured them more like Star Trek where they can act in a military capacity, but they are also a diplomatic ship with civilians on board. But if they are viewed more as military, then should everyone be addressed by last names instead of first names, even when they are referring to themselves? So J.D. would call himself Hapker all the time and Robert would refer to himself as Arden. I personally don’t like this idea, but I have been being inconsistent. Bracht goes by his first name, but only because his last name is so hard to pronounce. Hanna Sharkey is sometimes called Hanna or Sharkey. There is a character in my second book named Harley Brahm and I refer to him as Harley because it sounds better. Jori and Terk’s crew are never defined by first or last names. Also, I worry that by addressing everyone by their last name that it will be difficult to distinguish their gender. What do you think?

Tech Ideas

I’m not a scientist and my comprehension of how even the most basic types of tech work eludes me. So I need some tech ideas I can add. I don’t want anything too complicated, but nor do I want it to be too simple. Also, I need better names for the tech items I did mention, like digiview, vid-lense, and others.

I’ve been told the Chekrosian’s ability to go through walls isn’t scientifically possible… or at least, they way I described it isn’t possible. I really need help with the tech ideas.

Accents or Ways of Speaking

I don’t want all my characters to sound the same so I need to differentiate the way each character speaks. I can do with with word choices, sentence structures, jargon, or with accents. With accents, though, I’ve been told people don’t like to read accents. I had created Jenna Stein with the intent of trying to have her speak with an accent, but it didn’t work well. I mentioned how she pronounces her w’s with a v sound, but if I typed it out like that, would it make it hard to read? “I vas vatching the boys and they vere acting veird.” I’d think this would be difficult to read… tiresome even. What do you think? Should I avoid having my characters speak with accents?

There are many other things I need to fix, but most of those I will need to figure out on my own. If you could help me with the above, I’d really appreciate it. Thank you for reading my science fiction saga (which started out as a novella but has turned into a full story). Keep reading every Saturday and be sure to follow my blog so you can find out when the book is finally done and published.

Dawn Ross