It probably isn’t any surprise that since we are all human (though there are some who claim otherwise despite the evidence they are), our characters are virtually all human. Even our aliens aren’t so alien and often come off as almost human. The question on my mind is if we, as humans, can write truly alien characters and hold the reader’s interest. I think it can be done because on occasion writers get this one right and create a truly alien character who isn’t all that human.
Without proper research I prefer to confine my comments to the concept rather than give specifics. I know there are some good examples both directions, but it would be too easy to get blogged down by examples and not get anywhere. My mind is churning with examples I could draw on, more that this blog could contain.
So how can we writers make our aliens more alien? First we have to identify what makes us human and attempt to counter that with the opposite of what we associate with being human. Typically we draw on other human cultures, from other places or times, to create our alien cultures. That is still is human. We need to go deeper to get really alien and not just foreign.
There are some values that we humans have. Aliens might value something different. Not necessarily things we would find evil, but just different. As I am still digging into this question myself, I do not have the answers as to how to do this. I am looking and thinking on it. It is vital to one of my story ideas so it is something I will revisit again when I have my own answers. Until then, I challenge you to turn your own mind to this question and see what you come up with. How alien can you make a character? And physical form doesn’t count.
Scott Seldon lives with his family in Colorado and works as an IT administrator. Visit his website (sites.google.com/site/scottrseldon/) for the latest updates and to find where his books are sold.
This post was originally written for Week 3 of the Master Koda blog tour, but the host as since deleted the post. It is reproduced here for archive purposes.
For those who have this blog setup as a feed, you will need to change it. Effective immediately all new posts will be on my new blog, http://seldonsf.blogspot.com/. All the old posts will remain where they are and the new navigation has a link to the new blog (News Updates on the left). Please continue to follow as I will be posting information on what I am working on, book releases, free review copies, guest bloggers, and other fun things.
I wouldn't have bothered to change, except that the template here on Google sites doesn't allow for guest comments. What a shame, otherwise it was working perfectly. The new one should word very well anyway.
For one month, through October 17, get your complimentary review copy of Pirates of I'ab, my latest novel. This offer is only good on Smashwords using coupon code VL48G.
The summer has drawn to a close and with it the Master Koda Virtual Blog Tour. It has been quite a ride. The schedule has called on me to write some very interesting posts and has created a new circle of friends. It has definitely been worth the time and effort.
This has not been a solo effort. We worked as a group, each of us contacting the person we were hosting and the person hosting us. This is really how writers are supposed to work together. Regardless of genre, we are a team. Not just those of us who participated in this blog tour, but all writers all the time. We help ourselves when we offer to host another writer. I saw the results in visits to my books on Smashwords and downloads of free titles and samples. The graph would shoot up when the blog’s readers took an interest in what I had to say.
That doesn’t begin to cover the excellent advice from the tour coordinators. Tasha Turner did an excellent job of herding us writers and instructing us on what to write about and ho to contact our guests and hosts. The assignments that we wrote to post challenged me and broadened my concept of blogging. Not only did they show what to write when you guest blog, but taken overall, it dug deep into what makes each of us a writer and that is what interests readers. From how we write to what inspires us, to an actual story we wrote just for the blog.
So, I have come away from this tour, enlightened, charged, and with a new circle of friends. I was pretty new to blogging when I started, but now I really feel that I know what I am doing and feel ready to ask some of my fellow writers if I can be their guest and invite them to be mine. I actually feel that I know what I am doing.
One of the funniest things, is that I find prose so easy. When I have the story in my head, the words just flow. Writing blog posts is not nearly so easy. In fact, I would have to say this post, the last one of the tour, has been the most difficult to compose.
Armed with my new blogging skills and a new circle of writers to interact with, I feel more ready than ever to blog on a regular basis. A big thanks to everyone involved in the tour, especially my guests and hosts. Good job everyone and thank you for making it such a valuable experience.
This week, the last week of guests in the Master Koda Blog Tour, I have the pleasure of featuring Dominique Goodall in a post that concentrates on her upcoming release, Echoes of Winter.
A wolf. A destiny. And only one war to stand in his way.
When Convel leaves his birth pack, he didn’t expect to end up in a war against cougars. As he gathers his strength about him as well as new pack-mates, he is also confronted by Humans – once believed to be mostly dead.
He isn’t alone in his endeavours. He doesn’t know it, but Singer and her rag-tag ‘pack’ are racing towards him for the climax in his life so far. With Sage, the elderly lynx, helping to guide him, will he be successful or will the traitor in his life get what they want?
Echoes of Winter is a coming of age story. It is a tale of betrayal, friendship and mystical feelings with no discernible route. Set in the time after humanities instabilities have caused the spread of a disease/illness. The story is told from the point of view of the animals that now run rife over the places where humans previously ruled triumphantly and like a tyrant – namely the story of Convel – a black wolf who upon leaving his pack and travelling finds his own territory and start a pack with Teira, Amore and Morte. They are hindered by Siltin; a cougar with a sordid past and an even worse mental illness. When Siltin’s current mate, Tamats joins in on her vicious acts, things quickly turn darker for the wolves.
Meanwhile a secret ally in the valley where the battle will rage steps forth. By offering guidance to the inexperienced Convel and stepping forth to further distract Siltin and her mate, this ally may help swing the battle the wolves’ way. A further help is the wolf Singer, heading along with Vhenan – another unlikely ally in the form of an Arctic fox. They are joined by dogs and another two wolves as an invisible string tugs them towards the climax of the book; the overthrowing of a tyrannical cougar and her foul offspring, drawn to her by darker strings than any will admit to.
Humans have already intercepted the wolves in the attempts; and with a traitor in their midst the wolves have the added worry of the humans coming back in the middle of what could become a life or death struggle...and makes the stakes that much more important.
That was when he began to send up a jubilant howl – that broke when he caught sight of Shadow’s body, torn and tattered beyond most recognition and then his howl changed, became a mourning song that all the canines echoed – and in the distance a thin, reedy howl rang into the air, coupled with a cat’s yowl and a fox yipping. Upon hearing the latter, Singer eased her own body down and sighed before throwing her head back in another beautiful song. She’d helped, that indescribable, irrational and annoying thing that had pulled her here had now relaxed the leash, made her feel much calmer, happier than she had been since that strange tugging on her heart.
Dominique Goodall is the author of the soon to be released Echoes of Winter, book one in the Seasons of the Wolf series and a self-confessed wolf addict. She has currently been published in two anthologies by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing and is currently working on getting herself better known by sending in manuscripts for as many different anthologies as she possibly can.
As much as she loves to admit it, she never will be able to count her wolf stuff- there's nothing left for her to be truly able to collect without her own home.
She can be friended on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/WaterSinger
Her author page on Facebook is here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dominique-Goodall-author/250907358312446
The page for Echoes of Winter is here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Echoes-of-Winter/355235744499607
Her twitter name is: https://twitter.com/#!/DomGoodall
And her blog can be found here: http://dominiquegoodall.wordpress.com/
And the trailer for her book is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kix63EXBW50&feature=plcp
Forget imminent, Pirates of I'ab is out now, available on Smashwords and Amazon.
The final editing is nearly complete and and the only big step left is final formatting and Pirates of I'ab, the second installment of the Zaran Journals series, will be ready to upload to Smashwords and Amazon. Other retailers will follow through the Smashwords distribution process (Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Sony Reader Store, Kobo, Diesel, and Blio).
Ven Zaran takes over the last three months of a contract as a favor for a fellow trader. The system is knows for the piracy problem, but Ven is willing to take the risk. What he encounters are well connected pirates who can seemingly take any cargo at will. Each time they stop his ship and take a cargo, Ven resorts to more extreme measures. In the end he breaks the contract and sets out to take down the Dolf, the leader of the pirates out of I'ab.
This week, as part of the Master Koda Blog Tour, I have the pleasure of interviewing my fellow writer, Natalie Starr.
What is the title of your most recently published book and where can we buy it?
The Keeper, is a young adult paranormal romance. It can be purchased on a dozen or so sites, but I would love it if people would purchase it through my publisher’s website:
Is this your first book? Or have you written others?
The Keeper is my debut novel. I am working on the next book in the series now called The Organizer.
Can you share an excerpt or blurb?
The Keeper (Young Adult/Paranormal Romance/heat level 2), by Natalie Star
The morning of her sixteenth birthday, Billie feels blessed despite the reoccurring nightmare that wakes her. Loving parents, a caring boyfriend, and great friends surround her until an heirloom necklace throws her into a world she never imagined.
“Gifted” with supernatural powers and an unexpected destiny as the Keeper, Billie and a mysterious boy from her past must work together to find answers. But, as they begin to discover feelings for one another, he disappears leaving her to fight evil alone. Her life spirals out of control. She breaks up with her boyfriend, Tony, and alienates her best friends Arianna and Jocelyn to protect them from the truth.
As dark forces pursue her, Billie longs to run away from it all, yet a need to do what’s right compels her to face the future as the keeper of more than her own fortune.
What other writing projects are you working on currently?
The Keeper will have three books total in the series. That’s my current work in progress, but in between edits I also write under a different pen name in a different genre. So I’m always writing something.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve created and can you describe them?
I really like my bad boy in The Keeper, his name is Adrik. He is attractive, fair skinned with dark hair and dark eyes. The name Adrik in Russian means: dark. This is why I chose the name. He is evil and represents the Dark side. The Dark is the governing body of evil, so I think it’s a perfect fit for him.
What do you like to do in your spare time (other than writing)?
I LOVE taking photos. I’m not that good at it, but I enjoy it! I also love watching my children play soccer. They’ve been playing for eight years now.
Who is your favorite music artist?
I don’t have one. I enjoy ALL kinds of music. It just depends on my mood, but music that makes me want to get up and dance is the best!
Who is your favorite author? And why?
I have too many favorites. They’re the popular ones with the young adult/vampire/paranormal romance fans. Richelle Mead, Rachel Caine, PC and Krisin Cast, Cassandra Clare, and Melissa De La Cruz.
How did you get into writing?
I was inspired after reading Twilight. While I don’t write about vampires, I made up my own variety of paranormal. I wanted to be different.
Do you ever get writer’s block? And if yes, how do you get through it?
I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think if I come to a point and I don’t know what to write, then that scene is over and I need to move on.
Is writing your hobby or your job?
Even though I am published it’s a hobby or more like a part-time job, but it would be awesome if I can do it full time in the future.
What is some advice you’d give new writers striving to be in your place?
Read, read, and read. Then write every day for practice. Just as your muscles need to be exercised so does your brain.
And finally, where do you envision yourself five years from now?
Five years from now I hope to have my trilogy complete and out in paperback. It’s currently only available in eBook format. I also plan on having another series out. This one I started last year with NaNoWriMo. I never finished it, but it’s a great story that needs to be finished.
Thank you Scott for having me today! You had a great line of questions that I enjoyed answering!
Book Trailer on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8x0K05MHWA
Purchase sites: http://authornataliestar.blogspot.com/2012/01/keeper-where-can-you-find-it.html
Three years ago, if you told me one day I would love to read and write, I would have told you you were crazy-out-of-your-mind. Since then I have read 150+ books and written 2 complete novels (one of them being The Keeper) and I have 3 more in the works.
When I'm not reading or writing, I can be found with my husband supporting my two children on the soccer fields. Or maybe running around with my camera taking photos while camping and/or hiking. Or lastly, and most probable - I'm watching movies on Netflix while simultaneously perusing Facebook.
Our family resides in the state of Virginia along with our old-unintelligent-diabetic cat named Lucky.
Please email any comments to Scott.
This week I have the pleasure of hosting KD Emerson with some interesting insights.
In 2009 I got a wild idea for an experiment of how to touch people’s lives in the suffering economy. I started this crazy group on Face Book called the Big Fat Giveaway group. I set up a website where I ran games and contests. We had a lot of fun and I gave away lots of cool things. Most of the time people just had to answer a trivia question or something equally simple to win cash cards, movies, flash drives, GPS and other fun things.
Reactions from people were very interesting and sometimes surprising. Of the people who joined, most of them had fun and enjoyed the energy boost it gave them. Quite a few people asked why I was doing it, what was in it for me. When I responded, “I just want to change the energy for folks who are suffering with the economy and allow them to win something for a change.” There were a lot of people who couldn’t accept this answer. They would come back with an argument. Some thought there had to be a business brewing behind the scenes, others just shook their heads, but a couple people got angry. These couple people felt I had to have an evil or sinister reason for doing it. They couldn’t accept that there was a human who just wanted to give some fun and light in a dark and dreary world. I shed some tears back in 2009 over that.
Thinking of those couple people rips me open, even today. My tears are for them. My tears are because they live in such darkness that they can’t believe there is one human who would give a gift without a thought of what it might bring them.
Digitus 233, the young adult novel I am writing deals with a world of darkness; it also deals with the light that dispels that darkness. It is my deepest desire it will bring hope and strength to those that read it.
Author, KD Emerson was born (or is that hatched) several years ago. We won’t go into how long it has been because she has this fantasy that she is still
a teenager off to conquer the world. She has a passion for the written word and assisting other writers in becoming the best they can be. She also loves to promote others and cheer them on to victory. Follow her on twitter
@MstrKoda or you can find her at www.masterkoda.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kimmutch.emerson
Please email any comments to Scott.