Monday, May 2, 2022

#SFF #AtoZChallenge #Reflection 2022

Reflections 2022 #atozchallenge

#AtoZChallenge 2022 tribute badge

 Another round of the A to Z Challenge is OVER! My theme was:

A speculative fiction short story from a dreamer

The story outline started with a dream I had. (I'm the dreamer.) It's a dystopian setting.  

Writing a short story on the fly sounded like a *good* idea. I would not do it again during A to Z. The first week went okay. I had time to write the story as well as comment on 50 blogs. 
But then things went wrong in my life. Regular followers know that, after L, I fell behind. My friend is doing much better. Thanks to everyone who cared and gave prayers, good vibes, and well wishes. 
We were sitting around waiting for him to get out of surgery number two. (We had food with us this time. Unlike surgery number one, where we scrounged a nearly empty vending machine and ate my supply of pocket jerky. Fun fact about J, I almost always have jerky stashed in my pocket.) 

He came out fine, and then we left. In the parking garage, I heard an engine rev. Hairs on my neck and arms stood up. I shoved my spouse to the side before getting grazed by the truck and slammed into a concrete post. 

Yes, they caught the driver. He claimed it didn't happen. And he doesn't know how some of my hair was hanging off his SUV. Oh, the security camera? Whoops. Didn't think about that, did you? 

Anyway. So I didn't die on April 30. But it was closer than I'd like. I'm a little injured but I will be fine. My spouse is fine, but is less than thrilled with the idea of my going on vacation (hiking alone in the woods) by myself in a few days. 

Hey, wanna see a funny? How I named the last character. 

Here's a review of all the prompts I was given (comments, tweets, dm, email, and WEP). 

  • J's dystopian dream ✅
  • wormhole ✅ (several)
  • time/space travelers arrive on a planet that has been settled by space pioneers or an alien race ✅ (Letter Z) 
  • time travel (x2) ✅ (May's students time traveled. It also comes up several times.)
  • another species on Earth suddenly got the upper hand ✅ (The overlords put species on Earth, and they all have the upper hand now.)
  • an alien who's on the run from an overlord race prepared to take over earth and who falls in love with a baker who just happens to be working undercover for the Dept of Homeland Security ✅ (O'tien and Piers)
  • a storm system that isn't exactly weather ✅ (Hurricane wormhole travel)
  • 'Implants'? Memory implants, for example. Or vitamin implants. ✅ (Language implants)
  • something underwater for your setting ✅ (Humpback whale travel was underwater, in a hurricane wormhole thing.)
  • pansexual couple hooking up for the first time ✅ (May and Jade)
  • tardigrade ✅ (Overlord Shell and his kind)
  • shapeshifting ✅ (Piers becomes a humpback whale. πŸ‹ )
  • electricity isn't working, something crucial for the protagonist isn't working but something they never thought they needed, does? ✅ (Letter S. Even I didn't know they'd need the Jay-Aid until I got there. Ha ha ha.)
  • girl's name: Jade ✅ (Love interest character.)
  • dream of things like grass, and running through fields. ✅ (Jade dreams this while in the whale.)
  • Guinea Pig World ruled by Biggles ✅ (Letter Z. Hinted in J, among other posts.)
  • chimera hermaphrodite or sexual organ ambiguity main character ✅ (May Rose)
  • An alien society (or character) that travels only within mind-space dimensions ✅ (O'tien and Az'es)
  • Palio di Siena, in an alternative universe where the occupants of the Contrades are the animals after which each Contrade is named ✅ (J, K, L posts)
  •  ✅ (Q post.)

Fun facts:

I did very little planning. I knew I wouldn't show the world as a setting until I made the WEP post. I did not know that Quintilis would be in the Q post. I came up with that the day I wrote and posted it.

The "catch up" posts that were posted a few hours apart? I wrote them, did two edit passes, and posted. That's "live" writing time.

May Rose, July Ice, and Quintilis Cave -- May is so named because I looked at the names of months. "After Caesar's death, the month Quintilis was renamed July in honor of Julius Caesar in 44 BC" 
And then I decided last names would be from vague descriptions of places. Rose is, of course, a joke, because the place has no roses and smells absolutely terrible. 

During the I post, May talking to the reddish stone was still going to just be an inside joke. As people are the pets now, they don't really have domestic pets, so... pet rocks are cool again! But later I figured out that I could use the stone to help with the alien in the mind-space travel prompt. 

I forgot about needing a shapeshifter. I didn't want to add another character at that point. None of the students could be shapeshifters because that would have come in the mind scans. So Piers got one more tool. He was already a baker who worked with the Dept of Homeland security thanks to a prompt. But what kind of shapeshifter could be useful? Well, I also needed an underwater scene yet. And then I found the story of a whale ingesting a guy and spitting him out elsewhere. But I also needed a storm that isn't weather, so yes, I added a hurricane that contains a wormhole. 

Biggles was always getting the happy world at the end of the story. I dropped foreshadowing all over the story, but was very careful not to say Biggles or mention guinea pigs until the final scenes. The ChavΓ­n people were real! And lived in the same place that guinea pigs are said to originate from, the Andes area of South America, around what's now Peru. 

I planned from the start that Jade would be Jade X, because that solved a title for a difficult letter. And I knew it would be "X" because May was to train an "alphabet worth" of classes-- because it's the A to Z Challenge and that amuses me. But, omg, using that as one last cliffhanger in the story by telling you that Jade X can't come to the new world... πŸ˜†

May starts off selfish in a way. She's grateful for what she has. She'll do anything to keep what she has. And if that means dozens of virgins from another timeline get turned into pets for alien overlords to breed, so be it. This could have easily been an erotic story if you consider the actual teaching that was going on. Anyway, by the end, May gives up everything for Jade. None of what she was so grateful for matters to her anymore. Does anyone notice the lack of a mention of plumbing on Biggles' planet Yeovil?  

#AtoZChallenge 2022 WINNER badge

There were a LOT of great comments on my blog this month. I'm going to share a few favorites:

(I LOVE how many of you could relate to being ignored by motion sensors for lights, faucets, and doors, by the way.)

Comments for @jlennidorner #atozchallenge 2022

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  1. I got a chill when you said someone tried to run you over. I hope they rot somewhere unsanitary. I'm glad you're okay :-)
    Aw, I'm glad you liked my comments.

    Ronel visiting for A-Z Challenge Reflections 2022

  2. So glad both you and your friend are doing okay. I am with your sweetie about letting you go off into the wilderness after such a scare. No way. Thanks for including me with some of your favorite comments. I have enjoyed your story very much. Did you ever finish the one you did a few years ago with Anna?

    Janet’s Smiles

  3. oh my goodness - the parking deck scene reads like an action movie! I'm so glad you weren't seriously hurt. Thank goodness for security cameras. Was the person drinking or on drugs?

  4. I couldn't participate in A to Z this year. I looked at my calendar and went, nope. There was just no way. But I love what you tried to do this year! What a great idea!

  5. Wow! I'm impressed that you were able to write all your posts 'live'. You'll definitely have to share sometim how you manage to do that.

  6. Hello J! My goodness, I feel horrible for not following along. I'm so sorry about your friend and you. I can not believe you almost go runned over.... the hair on the vehicle... (creepy story writing material). Anyhoot, congrats and thanks for hanging in there despite life getting in the way.


  7. This was a complicated month, indeed! I´m quite happy to hear that your friend is getting better, and so glad to hear that you and your wife are safe and sound, that must have been one of the scariest moments in your life. I´m glad that they caught that driver.
    The list of prompts is amazing, even though I feel that I self-spoiled myself by reading them, hehehe. luckily, the words are but mere teasers of what happens inside the posts, so everything will still be a surprise while I finish reading.

  8. Now I have to start from A and read up all your A to Z entries! Sounds fascinating!

  9. OMG, I absolutely love where you took my 'alien characters that live in mind-space' prompt. Kind of saved the Who knew? Very cool idea that they were able to procreate by occupying the mind of a fetus, and fun that they became friends and lovers of sorts with the beings they occupied. And the tie to the stones was genius. Especially hilarious at the end with the 'chumps with aliens in their heads' line.
    I have such characters that start my human on his weird ride through peoples' minds and bodies in my book, Feeling Human. I was curious how another writer might draw them and where they'd take them.
    Congrats on making it through AtoZ with an inventive and interesting story, even with a friend in surgeries and a close call yourself! Hope all ends well for you humans, as well as your newly invented aliens.

  10. I completely missed your blog this year! I missed a lot of them, though. That's why I'm doing the reflections blog-hop - to make up for lost time. Glad your friend's okay, and that you didn't die!

  11. I too missed your blog this year - I was definitely winging it with a lot of my posts and visiting other blogs fell further down my agenda each day. Sounds like you did a great job though despite the problems you mentioned. Glad your friend is doing ok and that you escaped your brush with death.


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