Tag Archives: Kristin Luna

The Inklings: One Friendship to Bind Them

When it comes to famous friendships, the one that first comes to mind is the bond between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Their friendship developed through their writing group, The Inklings, which met in a pub called The Eagle and Child, or as they affectionately called it, The Bird and Baby. Over years of critiquing and beers, a number of the Inklings went on to be published, as well as become some of the most respected authors in history.

In college, I was fortunate enough to take a J.R.R. Tolkien class from one of the most renowned C.S. Lewis scholars in the world, Diana Glyer. Naturally her studies of Lewis led her to the study of Tolkien as well. Diana Glyer recently released the book Bandersnatch: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings, which focuses on the relationships, successes, and pitfalls of the group. No one else that I know of, save for Christopher Tolkien, knows The Inklings like my former professor Diana Glyer. She’s devoted much of her life to passionately researching them.

Thanks to her book, I gathered some important points that you may want to keep in mind when it comes to your own career and the company you keep.

  1. There were 19 Inklings total, and they met for 17 years!
  2. The Inklings greatly encouraged one another, even going so far as writing publishers to encourage the publishers to publish one another’s books.
  3. While they encouraged one another, the group members fought and criticized just as easily and often.
  4. Tolkien didn’t like The Chronicles of Narnia when Lewis brought in the first pages to The Eagle and Child. Not even a little.
  5. However, not everyone was crazy about The Lord of the Rings either, namely Hugo Dyson.

These points stood out to me because of the group’s commitment to one another, even though they did not always agree. They fought for one another, encouraged one another, and did what they could for the others.

Sometimes we may get a little tired of our writing groups and wonder what the point of it all is. But just remember: a few men would meet in a pub not so long ago, and some of them might’ve had the same thoughts. But their commitment to their craft and commitment to the group didn’t waver.

Throughout the book, Diana also observes how the reader can shape their writing group to be successful. She outlines what was successful in the Inkling collective, and how to make your group dynamically your own while avoiding some of The Inklings’ nasty pitfalls.

I’d highly recommend picking up the book if you’re in a writing group and you’d like to learn lessons from some of the most well-known authors in history.

The Final Goodbye and Day Four – Two Double Nickel Stories

The Final Goodbye

You know, I forgot to tell you this. I loved the way you said my name. You pronounced every syllable, and you let the vowels roll the entire hollow of your mouth. You didn’t quite do that when you left. In fact, I don’t think you said my name at all. And I won’t say yours ever again.

Day Four

Angela took the hairpin from the Barbie and bent it straight. With her eye to the lock, she tried to read its secrets. She stuck the hairpin in the lock and waited. Silence. Then she carefully worked the hairpin, hoping tonight, it might just work. She really missed her family.

Footsteps sounded down the hall.

Meet the Fictorians: Mary Stormy Pletsch

“Come in, — come in! and know me better, man!” -Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

We’d love for you, our wonderful readers, to get to know us better. That’s why, each month, Kristin Luna will interview a member of The Fictorians. We’ll learn more about each member, such as their writing processes, their work, where they live, and what they prefer to drink on a warm summer’s day. We hope you enjoy this monthly installment of Meet the Fictorians.

Meet the Fictorians:

Mary Stormy Pletsch

Kristin Luna (KL): Hi Mary! How are you doing and what are you drinking presently?

Mary Pletsch (MP):I’m doing well and I’m drinking a can of Moxie. Let’s toast all the folks from Maine reading this and nodding. Everyone looking bewildered, head to Maine and see if you are among those lucky few who appreciate this delicious cola-type beverage.

KL: I love your love for Transformers. Please tell us when your love of them started and do you collect any action figures as an adult?

MP: Oh wow, in the fall of 1984 when the original animated series first aired. My Transformers and My Little Pony cabinets hold my life-long collections, still growing.

KL: How long have you been a Fictorian?

MP: I was here at the start of the site! I think that was 2010?

KL: One of the originals!

If you don’t mind sharing, where do you live? How does it play in to what you write about?

MP: I’ve lived in three provinces, but I do hold a special place in my heart for the Maritimes. I was proud to team up with my husband to write “The Island Way” in Tesseracts 19: Superhero Universe, which is a story about a superhero from Prince Edward Island caught between her family’s traditions and the opportunities she could find on the mainland.

KL: Your short stories have been in TWO unicorn anthologies: One Horn to Rule Them All and A Game of Horns. Tell us a little about both stories, and which one do you like best?

MP: Well, “Queen of the Hidden Way” in A Game of Horns is a prequel to “A Single Spark” in One Horn to Rule Them All. “A Single Spark” is the story of a young girl making her own destiny by joining a group of unicorn riders…and I really think that one is my favourite, because “The Unicorn Riders” is a game I used to play with my toys when I was a kid, and to have that mythology turn into an actual published story means a lot to me. Since the protagonist of “Spark” is a new recruit and not the group’s leader, I decided to make my second story be about the origin of the leader, who made her own decision to create the unicorn riders instead of fighting for her place on her nation’s throne. I like the way it turned out too, but as a prequel, it hasn’t got all the Riders in it yet.

KL: You’ve also had short stories in Apex magazine, Shock Totem, and other anthologies. What do you love about writing short fiction?

MP: I actually prefer long-form writing…novels and novellas. I like having the space for my characters to grow and change. I’ve learned a lot, though, from writing short fiction. Novels, by virtue of their length, are a harder way to practice building a story arc because they take so much longer to complete. And the word limits on short stories have done a lot to cure me of wordiness: when you’ve only got so many words to work with, you have to make every word count. I’ve also learned to focus in on primary characters and primary conflicts, and am less likely to get sidetracked by secondary characters or out-of-control subplots. This is why I recommend shorts as “learning-to-write” practice.

KL: That’s really interesting! So then what kind of stories do you gravitate toward writing and why? (Certain kinds of themes, protagonists, antagonists? Certain settings you seem to prefer?)

MP: I like to write military stories, but when I look back at my published works, they really are a mix. Every once in a while I get myself in the mood for a good creepy tale, but I’m not predominately a horror writer. I’m a sucker for tough older women and “found family,” particularly characters with a tendency to “adopt” younger characters.

KL: Are you working on any longer fiction right now or a book?

MP: I’m working on a book right now for The Ed Greenwood Group! It’s a space opera set in a “pulp sci-fi” universe: think larger-than-life heroes, ace pilots and rag-tag mercenaries, and a starship held together with baler wire.

KL: Sounds like a lot of fun! Are there any future projects of yours we can look forward to?

MPWell, there’s that book. 🙂 That should be coming out in 2018! I’ve not had as much time to write shorts this year now that I’ve got novels on my plate…but “Women in Practical Armor,” including my story “The Blood Axe,” should be out soon.

KL: What advice (that you’ve received) would pass on to a newer writer?

MP: Don’t be afraid to break rules. “Rules” that cause more harm than help don’t do you any favours. I don’t write every day. I don’t write when I’m sick. Writing when I’m sick creates pages of garbage I have to delete anyway, and delays my recovery, meaning in the end I’m farther behind for trying to write every day. Don’t get up and write first thing in the morning if you’re more alert in the afternoon: do your “mindless” tasks and get those out of the way first. Make the rules work for you, not the other way around.

KL: What’s your favorite Fictorians post that you’ve written so far and why?

MP: I’m happy with “The Semi-True Story” as an answer to the question about my writing process, which is informed by my reality without being a fully accurate report on it.

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If you have any questions for Mary, please leave a comment below. Thank you for reading!

Meet the Fictorians: Emily Godhand

“Come in, — come in! and know me better, man!” -Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

We’d love for you, our wonderful readers, to get to know us better. That’s why, each month, Kristin Luna will interview a member of The Fictorians. We’ll learn more about each member, such as their writing processes, their work, where they live, and what they prefer to drink on a warm summer’s day. We hope you enjoy this monthly installment of Meet the Fictorians.

Meet the Fictorians:

Emily Godhand

Kristin Luna (KL): Hi Emily! How are you and what are you drinking right now?

Emily Godhand (EG): I’m well, doing the same thing I do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world.
…while sipping a hard drink, of course.

KL: You’re one of our newest Fictorians, and I thought this would be a great opportunity for our readers to get to know you. Can you tell us a little about you?

EG: Dark thriller author, former psych nurse, and rat enthusiast. I am an Ambassador for Wattpad.com, where I am the administrator for a profile of international paranormal authors called the “Ouija Board of Directors.”

KL: What inspires you the most when it comes to writing?

EG: I’d have to say music and the nightmares I’ve had for over 16 years now. Lyrics are poetry and music is poetry without words. I’m not sure I’m actually capable of expressing myself without music playing, but fortunately I always have a radio playing in my head. If you see me dancing with my eyes closed, you’re welcome to join in. As far as the nightmares, they were of course surreal, but I couldn’t die in them (because I’m me.) I started to write them down, and then re-write them, and through that I was able to become lucid and redirect the story from inside the dream.

My friends discovered my journal and kept asking, “…and then what happened?”, so I turned them into stories.

KL: You have a great presence on Wattpad. What’s your username/website? Can you tell us a little about that process?

EG: Absolutely. You can find me at https://www.wattpad.com/user/Godhand, as well as the ParanormalCommunity profile at https://www.wattpad.com/user/ParanormalCommunity.

Signing up for Wattpad is easy! All you need is a username and password of course, and then an email, Facebook, or G+ account. As far as Wattpad particulars, I’ve started a book to help new users adjust to the particulars of how to do well on Wattpad. The biggest thing to remember is that Wattpad is mostly a community of mobile readers, so, activity within the comments section will be your biggest way to interact with the community and to draw attention to your story. Wattpad’s biggest demographic is young women, and there is a robust LGBT+ and fanfiction community.

KL: Do you have any books out right now?

EG: I currently have a work in progress on Wattpad called “Fear of the Dark”, about two women who seek freedom, then revenge, on the cult that killed them. I’m also working on two projects for the ParanormalCommunity to teach the community within a frame story so that writers and readers alike can enjoy. Paranormal Academy teaches users about historical/cultural lore and common tropes and Paranormal Powers teaches about such things as ESP, Clairvoyance, Telekinesis, and other such abilities found in paranormal stories. That one I write with my friend and fellow author J.S Bennett, who also wrote a story with me that was published in “A Game of Horns: A Red Unicorn Anthology” that raised scholarship funds for aspiring writers to attend the Superstars Writing Seminar here in Colorado.

KL: Where can we read more of your writing?

EG: At this time I’m currently working on launching my website, www.emilygodhand.com, where I’ll post updates on my works in progress and links to published books. Probably some rat pictures, too.
…Yeah, that’s about guaranteed. My rats are adorable.

KL: I’m friends with you on Facebook, and I love your posts. Specifically, I love your posts about rats. Where did your love of rats come from?

EG: When I was still a psychology major, we studied rats at the lab at the main campus and I became fascinated with how much about them I had learned wrong. They were clean, intelligent, friendly creatures who just wanted to snuggle and eat snacks with their friends. They’re also incredible survivalists, who will not only persevere and thrive in the worst conditions, but care for their colony. They bring food to the infirm, they share treats, they will free a trapped buddy and defend each other.

I guess I really identified with a small, cute, cuddly creature who will sink their teeth into your flesh if you threaten them or their friends.

KL: You have a unique job, and I was wondering if you could tell us more about that and how it’s factored into your writing?

EG: I am still a nurse, and though I’ve since moved out of psychiatric work due to frustrations with the system, I use my writing to help educate and advocate about mental illness, particularly depression and PTSD, or Post-Trauma Stress Disorder. A lot of my characters will often have anxiety, depression, or PTSD due to the things they’ve experienced in the past or things experience during the course of the novel. I was frustrated with reading about heroes who were unaffected by what happened to them, because I feel that reading is a way to learn how to process, adapt, and overcome similar situations in our lives. Reading about the character’s mental process of dealing with these issues and coming out on top can be cathartic and validating to a reader (and to the writer crafting the story). It shows heroes who are afraid, and then act anyway. People who are tired and exhausted but carry on. It also humanizes people with these conditions and I hope will reduce harmful stigma and stereotypes, because it is written in their, or rather my, voice.

I currently work with individuals with physical disabilities, who, like individuals with psychiatric disabilities, I feel are another underrepresented group within literature. While my patients’ stories aren’t mine to tell, I do like to include characters with a variety of disabilities in my stories because they are people who exist in our world, and deserve to exist in worlds we craft.

KL: If you could give any writerly advice, what would you say to new writers?

EG: Writing, or any form of communication really, whether music or art or dance, is a practiced skill that is developed. If your words aren’t perfect at first, keep writing. If you hate everything that comes out, get something down anyway, because you cannot edit nothing. Write sentences where you accidentally leave out the verb because you’re so excited to get the idea out. If you get stuck on a scene or what a character says, write “TK” and come back to it. Don’t lose the momentum. Maybe you won’t feel it’s ‘good enough’ because your first draft is not the same as the edited, polished work of individuals who have worked for years on improving their skill, and that’s okay. Keep working on it.

KL: What has been your favorite Fictorians post that you’ve written so far?

EG: My favorite would have to be my two part piece on conflict. Part One, Perceiving A Threat covered the ways that different people from different backgrounds might perceive, or not perceive, a threat. Part 2, Reacting to the Threat, described the different ways someone of different upbringings and experiences might react differently.

Within our culture and within writing, I feel there is not enough understanding of what constitutes violence and the various and valid ways that people perceive and react to it. The social, cultural, and situational things that influence how we might act or react should be reflected in the stories we tell, because they are our stories, and how we communicate with each other. What we learn from stories influences how we perceive ourselves and contributes to the lens through which we read our experiences, past and future.

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If you have any questions for Emily, please leave a comment below. Thank you for reading!