[Fiction] Friday Challenge #141 – February 5th 2010

How Fiction Friday works:

  • Spend at least 5 minutes composing something original based on the theme or challenge (below).
  • But, remember, no editing. This is to inspire creativity not stifle it.
  • On Friday, simply post what you wrote to your own blog. Then come back to Write Anything and leave the link in the comment section below.  

Pick a book of fiction you’d never read (e.g., if you read sci-fi, pick a romance). Open to a random page and read the last couple paragraphs of the page. DO NOT TURN THE PAGE. Now continue writing the story. Feel free to change the genre as you write.

 What?  Are you kidding?  That’s hard.  Right here goes then.  My extract is from the novel my boyfriend is currently reading The Stars Like Dust by Isaac Asimov (for information, it was publised 1955).  I asked for page 25, but he said it was ‘wishy washy’ go gave me this from page 24:

The view-room was a bubble on the ship’s “skin”, a bubble of curved two-foot-thick, steel-hard transparent plastic. The retractile iridium-steel lid which protected it against the scouring of the atmosphere and its dust particles had been sucked back. The lights were out and the gallery was full. The faces peering over the bars were clear in the earth-shine.

 For earth was suspended there below, a gigantic and gleaming orange-and-blue-and-white patched balloon. The hemisphere  showing was almost entirely sunlit; the continents between the clouds, a desert orange, with thin, scattered lines of green. The seas were  blue, standing out sharply against the black of space where they met the horizon. And all around in the black, undusted sky were the stars.

Using that and this picture:

I got this…

The second the earth came into view gasps and mutters filled the room like a tide.  Then silence, the passengers were in awe of the view.  No one could quite believe they were actually seeing the early from this high, and all for a couple of hundred thousand dollars. 

A voice came over the tannoy,

‘10 seconds’

The muttering started again.  They all knew they would only have one minute and 20 seconds in position before they had to start the decent back to Florida, but the time seemed to flash quicker than anyone imagined.

 ‘5 Seconds’.

Julie turned to the man to her right, she recognised him as an aging pop star.  20 years ago she’d idolised him, going to bed each night dreaming of him, now, he looked like a washed up has been. 

‘This is the bit I’ve been dreading’ she said smiling at him.  He smiled back, a smile that showed off his brilliant white teeth and more ‘laughter lines’ than Julie’s 95 year old mother had. 

‘It can’t be as bad as the way up…’

As he finished his sentence they felt the bubble detach from the rocket booster – a ungodly sound that they knew would haunt their dreams for months to come – before their whole bodies were thrust back into their seats and the earth quickly got closer.

When I read the prompt my heart sank.  I’d spent half the week looking forward to Fiction Friday, and then it was something that I was sure I was going to hate.  I knew I really had to use sci-fi or horror which I thought was going to be horrible.  I’ve tried reading sci-fi before and I find it hard to read, trying to understand other worlds or other creatures kind of detracts from me picturing the story in my head, which is what I do when I read. 

Even when I read the extract from the book I had no idea what I was going to write.  I actually chose 2 of the 4 paragraphs my boyfriend emailed me from the book.  The other 2 didn’t make sense talking about rockets blasting sideways or something.  I scrapped them before I’d even read half. 

Once I started writing though, I didn’t find it too bad.  Maybe because I took some sci-fi from the 1950s and changed it into what would probably be a thriller or dark comedy or something set in the future.  I nearly didn’t do it when I read the prompt, but I’m glad I did.  Again, I welcome any positive or negative criticism. 

Elsewhere in the NTWG galaxy, I think I’ve made a decision that the first short story I’m going to write for my writing course will be a lengthened story I’ve done before for Fiction Friday.  That’s what I think today anyway, I’ll probably change my mind a few times before I send it off.  Next week.  I’m going to complete this assignment and send it next week.  For definite.  By Friday at the very latest. 

I’ve just done the Oneword activity for today (use a word prompt to write for a timed minute).  Talk about coincidences, or maybe psychic abilities… Before I start each one I think of the names that I’ll use in that short story.  As I pressed ‘go’ I realised I hadn’t thought of a name.  I closed my eyes before the prompt came on and ‘Joe’ popped into my head.  I looked at the prompt and it was ‘brother’.  Guess who Joe is…

7 thoughts on “[Fiction] Friday Challenge #141 – February 5th 2010

  1. I like it- I much prefer what you’ve written to the extract you took- sounds like your boyfriend is reading a very heavy book! I can’t get into Sci-fi/fantasy either and it’s made me laugh that so many of us on here have chosen an extract from sci-fi books!! I like the idea of being able to leave the Earth and visit other planets- quite whether we’ll be able to do that ever is another question!! You could definitely take this piece further if you wanted to- I like how you’ve linked the extract from the book with the real world/future world. Thanks for posting 🙂

  2. P.S- I wasn’t going to post anything this week either since I thought it was quite difficult, so I’m glad we both did!! I haven’t looked to see what was on page 132, but I think I may have to and yep I’m sure it won’t be a 6 eyed bat type thing!! :0

  3. Hi there – don’t stress luv! make it fun! choose only a few sentences out of that long part you took and then purposely change the genre. eg:

    “‘5 Seconds’.
    Julie turned to the man to her right, she recognised him as an aging pop star. 20 years ago she’d idolised him, going to bed each night dreaming of him, now, he looked like a washed up has been.
    ‘This is the bit I’ve been dreading’ she said smiling at him. He smiled back, a smile that showed off his brilliant white teeth and more ‘laughter lines’ than Julie’s 95 year old mother had. ”

    is just screaming romance novel, or turn that into a murder scene…. let your imagination go wild…

    mine can be found here – ( believe me Lustbader is not sci fi – nor was Tori a Lizard)


  4. First let me say I liked what you did here. I think you came up with a pretty neat concept. Like Annie said, don’t stress over it. You’re the writer, make it anything you want. Even sci-fi isn’t just about technologies and aliens, it’s about relationships.
    Conversely, I took a romance and turned it into a comedy-sci-fi. It’s your pen (keyboard). Make it write what you want. 🙂

    you can read mine here: http://www.thedarkeagle.com/deceptions-and-aliens/

  5. I’ll let you in on a little secret about visualizing SF – There are only a limited number of stock settings, so look for the most blatant aspects in whatever you are reading. If you take something well known and look at it analytically (Star Trek, say) it’s just like a fairy tale… Call it the Shiny Ever After. You have the various species (kingdoms) and the Enterprise slap, bang in the middle of it all (an entourage of diplomats and warriors), plus the throwaway stuff – transporters and replicators are Magic By Any Other Name.

    Star Wars is easy – it doesnt even pretend it isn’t a great big fantasy world.

    When you get down to the hard SF (the three B’s are pretty much this) you’re looking at politics, relationships and various levels of extrapolation. They often fall into a clutch of tropes (yes, TV Tropes is your friend), so anything that strikes you as being too complex can break into smaller, easier to handle, ideas.

    Most SF, when you break the surface, is really other genres given a spit and a polish for the teenage boy market anyway.

    Yes, I know I’m going to get flak for that kind of thinking. No, I don’t care.

  6. Thanks for all your comments and advice; I really appreciate you taking the time to add them.

    Chris & Bigwords – that’s so interesting what you’ve said about sci-fi, and totally right. You’ve helped me view it in a totally different light. I might even start reading some…

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