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angelfly72
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angelfly72 What is science fiction writing exercise

From an actual two hour aura reading conducted at the Berkeley Psychic Institute of Sacramento: “Your telekinesis is set at six percent at this time. There is an agreement on this planet to keep telekinesis at a level below ten percent of our capability. This is because mankind hasn’t spiritually evolved enough to handle the ability.”

I’m gonna do it.”
Ronnie opened her eyes and stared at Steven, who was sitting across from her in the meditation circle. He was grinning with his eyes closed, aware that the others were looking at him in astonishment instead settling down and going into a deep trance to clear their spaces. Ronnie took a deep breath before saying something, but the Center’s goth beauty queen beat her to it.
“You suck.” Marta ran her black lacquered four inch nails through her black-streaked blonde hair. “I can’t believe it. You suck on every possible level.”
Steven opened his eyes and looked around the circle. His “little stinker” gleam was in full effect.
“Why do I have to suck? Why can’t you say that I’m being practical?”
Frankie-the-Weird glared at him, the multiple rings that he had pierced into his top lip were quivering. Like Marta, he was dressed in black, and had piercings and tattoos all over his body. . “Dude…how’s letting the government hook you up to some bogus machine that’s only going to fry your brains being “practical”?”
Steven leaned to his left toward Frankie, a movement that he knew would annoy his fellow psychic teacher.
“Frankie, son, I know what’s wrong. You don’t understand the concept of money. You can’t; you’ve worked part time at that book store too long. The possibility of having bills paid, buying a car, living in your own place never occurs to you.”
”I work full time now!” Frankie exclaimed heatedly, sliding his chair closer to Marta.
“Good for you, Frankie. You’re moving up in the world. Glad to hear it. But I’m talking about getting PAID, making some cash for once. They pay you $2,000 every week you come in. All you have to do is go into trance, just like what we do around here, and bam, that money is yours! It’s sweet, man! I’m tired of being broke.”
Marta blew out a gust of exasperated air.
“So you believe the government when they say the clinical trials for this so-called telekinetic amplifier is safe? This is the same government that would send you to Iraq so you can take an RPG in the back for some corporate fat boy!” Marta narrowed her green eyes. “I thought you had better sense than that, Steven.”
Ronnie waited, trying to gauge whether the tension in the room needed to dispelled, or whether the argument would dissipate on its own. As the lead teacher and the most experienced psychic, she was responsible for keeping the center grounded and free from unnecessary energy. But sometimes, she noted ruefully, things just need to be said and worked out, even if it brings negative energy in the place.
Besides, Steven did have a point. Contrary to popular belief, most psychics were solid members of the impoverished class. Marta and Frankie-the-Weird shared a two bedroom townhouse with Frankie’s brother and his trans-gendered girlfriend. They rode their bicycles everywhere, shopped at thrift stores and bought their food from the grocery outlets. The two of them have never earned more that $30, 000 a year, and they didn’t seem particularly interested in upward mobility. Steven worked as a substitute teacher and supplemented his income by doing Army Reserve duty once a month. He hadn’t been called to Iraq yet, but he knew the day would come eventually. Like Ronnie, none of them were paid for teaching psychic ability classes. They were at the center for twenty hours a week, and only recompense was an occasional party, monthly dinners and a safe place to meditate and play with their psychic abilities. Ronnie could see where Steven was coming from. She was an R.N., and had turned lucrative overtime shifts in order to teach the classes. But she had a motive for being involved with the center—her niece, Tomi.
Tomi’s psychic ability was immeasurable. She saw the spiritual world just as clearly as the material world, and at the same time. At first, she thought the girl was suffering from hallucinations brought about by grief over the death of her mother and infant sister. But as she listened to what the girl said, she realized that the visions she had were extremely detailed and always accurate. Not only that, she would often describe what the entities were saying, and mimic their speech patterns. No, she had to find out more about the psychic world. She had to help her niece, who was struggling to come to terms with abilities. It couldn’t be easy. It was never easy for Ronnie, and she never saw spirit as clearly Tomi. But she could certainly learn how to handle her own ability, and teach her niece how to handle hers.
In the meantime, however, she had to manage a group of beginning meditation teachers who had differing opinions about being a psychic.
“Marta, Marta, Marta…I thought Paxil helped you manage those conspiracy theories!” If nothing else, Steven consistently insulting to nearly everyone but Ronnie. She had to take advantage of that before the situation went into hell-fire red.
“That’s enough, Steven, everyone! Time to get back into your bodies, stay out of each other spaces. This is the time we use to climb into that neutral zone so we can teach others how to find their space. You can’t do that if you don’t know where yours went!”
Steven tried to make another comment, but a glance at Ronnie’s stern face made him think better of it. Reluctantly, he closed his eyes and began the process of calming his mind and body. There was silence for a few minutes while each teacher went further into a meditative space. Ronnie noticed a purplish blue aura softly entering the room, and turned her attention toward it. The aura became still, and the spirit-in-the body named Patricia became visible within it. She spoke softly, but with authority.
“Good evening, everyone. I just wanted you to know that you have filled my entertainment quota for the night. It was a hilarious discussion, but I want all of you to be aware of something. Please come out of trance for a moment.”
Patricia was thin, almost painfully so. A person would take look at her waif-like body, mousy-brown and thick wire-framed glasses and assume she was passive and fragile. She was nothing of the sort. Patricia could see spirit with her eyes open, a feat that only Ronnie’s niece Tomi could claim. Her telekinesis was estimated to be set at twelve percent, which was previously considered impossible. But she could unlock doors without keys, and get bottles of Coke out of vending machine without money. Her ability earned her an invitation to become part of a government project to test a new device known as a telekinesis amplifier. The invitation was also extended to all of teachers at the Midtown Psychic Center. Patricia sent an email with a scanned copy of the invitation to all of the teaching staff, with a brief message saying that she would discuss the matter in person. This is it, Ronnie thought. She knew Patricia had remained in deep trance all day long, and she couldn’t begin to imagine what the master teacher saw in reference to the government invitation. All eyes were trained on Patricia, and no one seemed to be breathing.
“I just wanted to let everyone know that I have looked at this from every possible angle, and I saw that this telekinesis amplifier is a legitimate device. It does enhance one’s telekinetic ability, and those who already have …advanced capability would be able to transport themselves across great distances.”
Steven broke out in wide grin and pumped his fist in the air. “Sweet!”
Patricia smiled at him, then looked down at the floor for a few minutes, apparently retrieving some of the images that she saw while in trance.
“I wouldn’t get too excited, Steven. The government is requesting that only a certain number of people who have demonstrated enhanced abilities be allowed to participate in the trials.
Steven’s face looked like it had fallen to his ankles.
“What? What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
Marta and Frankie exchanged grins and exclaimed “sweet” in unison.
"Think, think, it ain't illegal yet!" George Clinton
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marta_randall
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Re: angelfly72 What is science fiction writing exercise

Cool. I've always wanted to be a Goth, but I suspect there's an age limit.
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book_worm
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Re: angelfly72 What is science fiction writing exercise

All I can say is: cool. I started to get into it and was sad to see it end. I wonder what is going to happen once they get their telekinetic abilities cranked up.

Very interesting story you have there, good characters also :smileyhappy:
There are so many ways to go with this, I wonder which one you'll pick and I can't wait to read more!
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book_worm
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Re: angelfly72 What is science fiction writing exercise

Oh, just one more thing, the dialog is a bit tough to follow, I wasn't sure who was talking at the moment. You might want to put some tags at the end of the dialog so we know who is saying what.
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angelfly72
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Re: angelfly72 What is science fiction writing exercise

LOL! I know the feeling, although I never thought about being a goth. I always thought along the lines of being a pilot on one of the Air Force's "Thunderbirds" fighter jet teams or maybe...a female professional wrestler. :smileyhappy: Well anyway, the age thing is definitely a deterrent. I was hoping you didn't mind if I borrowed your name for the purpose of the exercise, Marta. I just didn't think "Heather" or "Jennifer" or even "Elizabeth" felt right for a goth girl in this story. Marta just had that "right" sound to it! :smileywink:
"Think, think, it ain't illegal yet!" George Clinton
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angelfly72
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Re: angelfly72 What is science fiction writing exercise

Thanks for great feedback, Bookworm! I've always wondered about that aspect of fiction writing--how to attribute dialogue to a character without seeming real corny. For example:

"Let's go hang out on K Street," said Frankie-the-Wierd.

"No, I don't feel it," said Marta.

See what I mean? It almost reads like a Dick and Jane book with the "he said" and "she said." But when I look at some of my favorite authors' work and how they handle dialogue, a lot of them don't attribute dialogue directly to a character at all. They seem to feel that the reader can see who is speaking from the context of the story. Well, they're successful, and I'm not. So maybe I need to get back to basics until I am in a postion to break the rules. LOL!

Angela
"Think, think, it ain't illegal yet!" George Clinton
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angelfly72
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Re: angelfly72 What is science fiction writing exercise

Wow, thanks again! Actually, there is a main story that I've been working on for about a year that involves Tomi (Ronnie's niece) as a main character. I knew Ronnie was going to work on developing her own psychic ability in order to help her niece, but I never thought about it much more than that. This writing exercise helped me flesh out the process that she undergoes a little more. But now, I have more characters who seem to have interesting stories, certainly Frankie-the-Wierd and Marta. Even Patricia. My first inclination is to have Steven called into duty in Iraq. Hmm...land mine or RPG? Oh, that's mean, isn't it? :smileyhappy: Thanks again for the feedback!

Angela
"Think, think, it ain't illegal yet!" George Clinton
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book_worm
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Re: angelfly72 What is science fiction writing exercise

[ Edited ]
You don't always have to use "he said" and "she said".
For instance you can write:

"Let's go hang out on K Street," suggested Frankie-the-Wierd.

"No, I don't feel like it.", growled Marta.

You can always spice it up :smileyhappy:

Just a few tags after people say things, you don't have to do it after everyone. That can get tedious for the reader.

Message Edited by book_worm on 02-09-200704:34 PM

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Josh_Crowe
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Re: angelfly72 What is science fiction writing exercise

Psychic abilities have been written about so much you need to have a strong awareness of what has been written before because your potential audience certainly has.

What are the rules for your psychic powers? Who has them? Where did they come from?
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LindaE
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Re: angelfly72 What is science fiction writing exercise

I like the young, disaffected youth who are psychic angle and I would read more. I have no problem with the speech tags at all and could figure out who was talking - it was probably the formatting of the post that caused the confusion.
The only problem I saw was the huge chunk of explanation in the middle of the dialogue - perhaps finish the dialogue scene and then have the explanation paragraph?
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marta_randall
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Re: angelfly72 What is science fiction writing exercise

"Said" is an entirely invisible word. This means that you can use it a zillion times in a story and people are simply not going to notice.

However, sometimes it helps to vary it a little bit: "Such and such," George said. "This and that," said Mary. Substitute other words cautiously, remembering that they are supposed to describe how things sound.
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angelfly72
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Re: angelfly72 What is science fiction writing exercise

Hmmm...well, I probably depart from science fiction tradition on this point because I'm a psychic myself. :smileysurprised: It doesn't matter if anyone believes it or not; it's just that I am what I am and that's that. I don't bother proving or defending it. My take on psychic ability is that EVERYONE has it. People have different capabilities, some more pronounced than others. I used to work with developmentally disabled adults, and I have watched them use different forms of psychic ability to get the things that they wanted. The things they wanted were usually very basic, like food or my attention as a teacher, but they still did it. And they had no conscious awareness of what they were doing. But if you think about it, how does someone who doesn't speak clearly (or not at all) get a teacher's attention, especially if they know they will not have what they want if they disrupt the classroom? It led to some pretty interesting situations.

My strongest ability (along with most of the world's population, probably) is clairsentience--meaning, clear feeling. That's the one that is "on" all the time, whether I like it or not. Most of time, I do not like it. My clairvoyance (clear seeing) and clairaudience (clear hearing) are available to me only when I'm in a deep trance. My experience has shown me that nearly everyone has some psychic ability, whether they realize it or not. It's just a matter of degrees, and whether a person would like to acknowledge these abilities, then seek to learn how to handle them more effectively. My story is based on the premise that everyone is psychic, but most are in denial because of superstitution, fear, dogmatic religious beliefs or plain old skepticism. Most people who are aware of their psychic abilities keep the information to themselves, and just live everyday, normal lives. Well, I don't know about being normal myself! :smileyhappy: The thought of using their abilities for fame and wealth is horrifying, and they simply won't do it. I am one of those people. I don't do professional readings under ANY circumstances, and I won't answer personal questions. My characters will operate under the same principle. As far as I'm concerned, the only rules are the same as in "real" life--you are limited by your own beliefs.

Angela
"Think, think, it ain't illegal yet!" George Clinton
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mae-V
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Re: angelfly72 What is science fiction writing exercise

I can identify with you and your situation. I've always wanted to read stories of magic, say, by real magic-users because there might be more told about what it feels like to live that way in a non-magic using world. I use the metaphor of being a person who sees blue in a world where no one else does. That might be a useful tension in your story, especially since these are young people trying to make their way in the world.

I can see how they might be more committed to maintaining their circle of fellow participants and use it to insulate themselves from the 'noisiness' of the rest of the community. What would it be like to be an explorer who is pushing "normal" boundaries within the group, and is pushing the levels of insanity in the rest of the world? And given there are different kinds of people within the circle, how might their individual pursuits of telekinesis create conflict within the group? How are the individual needs met or not met by the circle?

(Some of this comes from my experiences training in aikido where the intent was to live in an altered state that created peace in our environment--being one with the Force.)
#Play tasty!#
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Muse_of_Ire
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Re: angelfly72 What is science fiction writing exercise

I think this is a terrific opening. You have vivid characterization and snappy dialog (although I agree that a little more attribution would be helpful).

It's so interesting to see what a different slant you take on the telekinetic amplification device idea, which I also used.
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book_worm
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Re: angelfly72 What is science fiction writing exercise

So since the group in your story has to be in a deep trance, like you, to use their phychic abilities, with the help of the telekinetic amplifier will they no longer have to be in a trance to reach those abilities? Will they be like Tami who can unlock doors and get the bottles out of the beverage machines without money? And the principle that they are going to act under as you do, is there going to be a 'black sheep' in the story that maybe doesn't follow that principle? Just some questions/ideas I've been wondering about :smileywink:
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angelfly72
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Re: angelfly72 What is science fiction writing exercise

I just wanted to thank everyone for their comments and suggestions; they are extremely helpful. I have realized something--I wrote this story in MS Word because this site would time me out (I was taking too long, I guess) and I kept losing the post. So I wrote it in Word, then copied and pasted it here on the site. That wasn't a good idea because the result is difficult to read. Someone mentioned format problems, and I guess that's what it is. There is a function in Word called web format, however. I think I will use that next time when I post the follow up to this story, and I hope that helps clear up some of the confusing format. But I will still make an effort to do more attribution in my dialogue.

Bookworm wrote:



book_worm wrote:
So since the group in your story has to be in a deep trance, like you, to use their phychic abilities, with the help of the telekinetic amplifier will they no longer have to be in a trance to reach those abilities? Will they be like Tami who can unlock doors and get the bottles out of the beverage machines without money? And the principle that they are going to act under as you do, is there going to be a 'black sheep' in the story that maybe doesn't follow that principle? Just some questions/ideas I've been wondering about :smileywink:




Are you sure you aren't psychic, Bookworm? LOL! Well, since this is trial run of the TAD, I figured that people would have to be in a deep trance still because it is believed that telekinesis is kept low on the planet by a) gravity; b) the fact that we can't all get along, and it would be a very bad idea for people to be able to throw cars, diesel trucks, boulders, army tanks at each a la The Incredible Hulk.

(Ahem...sorry. I was about to make a digressive political joke, but I caught myself just in time!)

So in other words, this particular version of the TAD takes into account that the very best psychics in the world have access to only 12% of their telekinesis, and that 12% is limited to lifting very light objects and being able to transport them over small distances. Being in a deep trance doesn't enhance this ability; it just keeps the psychic relaxed and believing that they COULD lift small objects. You see, the biggest problem isn't that they can only use 12% of their telekinetic ability. The psychics have to work through layers upon layers of disbelief in their own abilities to do this. After all, there's all the evidence in the world that tells them that what they are trying to do is impossible. It takes a very focused mind to overcome all that.

Remember that scene in "The Empire Strikes Back" when Yoda tells Luke to levitate his X-Wing fighter out of that mucky swamp? Luke almost did it, but he lost faith in his own ability, and his fighter sank back into the swamp. He didn't believe he could do it, so he didn't. It's basically the same deal for these psychics.

Patricia is the psychic who gets the Cokes out of the machines without money, and she is definitely not a black sheep. (I need to make that more clear.) She's just financially challenged and thirsty. It's real hot during the summers here in Sacramento. But I've considered the consequences of taking Cokes out of vending machines, and decided that it would be a very bad idea if Patricia did that consistently. She would draw very unwelcome attention to herself, not to mention the wrath of Coca-Cola, Inc and quite possibly, The Department of Commerce, the Internal Revenue Service and Homeland Security. Maybe even the Securities Exchange Commission, if stockholders get wind of Coca Cola losing big money through vending machines. I don't think Patricia would want to deal with all that.

But Steven would make an excellant black sheep, don't you think? He's a handsome young devil who's tired of getting the short end of the stick, economically speaking. It's been done over and over again in literature, but it's still a major motivation for so many actions in our world--the lust for greenbacks. I have plans for Steven, needless to say!

Angela
"Think, think, it ain't illegal yet!" George Clinton
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book_worm
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Re: angelfly72 What is science fiction writing exercise


angelfly72 wrote: Are you sure you aren't psychic, Bookworm? LOL!

Haha! Sadly I'm not psychic, I wish! :smileytongue:

angelfly72 wrote: Well, since this is trial run of the TAD, I figured that people would have to be in a deep trance still because it is believed that telekinesis is kept low on the planet by a) gravity; b) the fact that we can't all get along, and it would be a very bad idea for people to be able to throw cars, diesel trucks, boulders, army tanks at each a la The Incredible Hulk.
Oh, I see about the trance now. I was just thinking that if they were in a bind if they could use their abilities quickly to act/escape without having to go into a trance (since I'm not sure how long that would take, probly too long in an emergency I'm guessing).:smileywink:

angelfly72 wrote: Patricia is the psychic who gets the Cokes out of the machines without money, and she is definitely not a black sheep. (I need to make that more clear.) She's just financially challenged and thirsty. It's real hot during the summers here in Sacramento. But I've considered the consequences of taking Cokes out of vending machines, and decided that it would be a very bad idea if Patricia did that consistently. She would draw very unwelcome attention to herself, not to mention the wrath of Coca-Cola, Inc and quite possibly, The Department of Commerce, the Internal Revenue Service and Homeland Security. Maybe even the Securities Exchange Commission, if stockholders get wind of Coca Cola losing big money through vending machines. I don't think Patricia would want to deal with all that.
LOL! No, I don't think any of us would want the wrath of Coca-Cola, Inc. :smileysurprised:
I agree, I think Steven would make an excellent black sheep for your story. You can start to see the personality of his character right from the beginning. You can also tell that greed does drive him a bit.
Good luck with this! :smileyhappy:
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