Welcome to the official website of Noble Storm Books and author S.F. Edwards

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Space Opera: Writers, Summer 2016 Flash Fiction Contest WINNER!

The Space Opera: Writers Facebook Group began a flash fiction contest last winter to be run quarterly.  I skipped the first one for personal reasons and have submitted in the last two.  I placed second in the Spring Contest as judged Author David Farland.  This, of course, made me ecstatic.  So I competed again in the summer contest as judged by Peter F Hamilton.  And this time. I won.  I was blown away to see that this morning.  The entries will be compiled by the group's leader, Scott McGlasson, into an ebook for free distribution, but this is a huge add to my writing resume.  I will post the link to the ebook once it is completed for sure.

For those that don't know, flash fiction is a short story, in this case 1000 words or less, based on a starter phrase or image.  In the case of this contest, six images were presented.  Authors picked an image, wrote their story and submitted it for judging by the moderators (in the blind, no names attached).  The top three were then submitted to the final arbiter, Peter F. Hamilton.

The images for the Sunmmer 2016 Flash Fiction Contest

There were a total of 35 entries this time, and most were quite good.  I based mine on image number 6.  I have read through the entries and liked a great many of them.  Some were just not my taste, and others were great romps.  I am always impressed by what these talented undiscovered authors can come up with in just 1000 words or less.

A big shout out to the other two finalist, Chad Dickhaut and Josh Hayes.  Their stories were excellent and I'm still surprised that I won in the end.  I also love what PFH wrote about the three finalists, see below.

Peter F Hamilton has spoken! The celebrity judge of the Space Opera: Writers summer flash fiction contest has handed down his first, second, and third place rankings.
Says Peter:
"Okay, here we go.
For the record, this was a lot tougher than I was expecting! They’re all of publishable quality. So the ranking is all down to personal preference, which means very little in the real world.
First: Hermetic History
Second: The Day We Tore The Sky
Third: Salvation
Hermetic History. 1000 word stories are always difficult, you have to include plot characters and hopefully a punchline or twist at the end -that’s what I always look out for. This story has all of these, in addition to some very professional prose. It conjured up a decent worldview in a few paragraphs, then made me wonder exactly how it was going to end. Given the length, not a page turner, but I wanted to know what was coming next. The goal of any story. Also, using Elon made me chuckle.
The Day We Tore The Sky. The ‘voice’ of the story was really well established in the first few lines. An essential quality in a piece this short. Personal preference again, I liked the tough-guy character with a pretty bleak sense of humour. There was a lot in here helping to place the reader in the world, with all its excess government security and missions that never go to plan adding to the believability. As always, I was wondering how it would end, and yes it ended well.
Salvation. (For transparency I should declare Salvation is also the name of the book I’m currently writing, but I’m fairly sure I managed to put that to one side) The only reason I placed this third was because although it was well written, and covered all the bases of making me want to read on, it felt like it was a section of a much larger work. This is a credit to the worldbuilding, which set up an intriguing civilisation and a conflict within it. I simply wanted more out of it than a story this length could realistically provide. If Josh has the detailed structure of this universe mapped out, along with the character arcs, maybe he should consider a longer piece set here.

This win is still blowing me away and now I just have to decide how I will proceed.  I think that I may compile this story with my second place finisher from last contest along with some other shorts I have been tossing around into a collection of short stories.  I might also submit them to some anthologies.  I will keep you apprised as I make my decision.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Five Page Fixes #1 Star Trek (2009)

Welcome to the first installment of Five Scene Fixes.  Unlike YouTube series like Cinema Sins, that only point the problems, in these posts I will look at popular media (movies mostly) that while good (or sometimes bad) could have been made great with just minor adjustments.  I will try and limit these "fixes" to only what was seen in the original releases, keeping track of subsequent director's cuts and extended editions will only complicate matters.  Some of these fixes will be minor, others may call for the complete rewriting of the scene, but sometimes even a throw away line can be enough to make a giant plot hole disappear.

Before we get started on the minor fixes that would have made this movie better, let me put this forward.  I like Star Trek, I am not a huge Trek fan, growing up on Star Wars myself, but I always enjoyed Star Trek for what it was, a great platform for writers to tell allegorical sci-fi stories.  It could almost be treated as an anthology series similar to the Twilight Zone, if it did not have a recurring cast of characters.  Those characters and stories became iconic in sci-fi and helped to establish many of the sci-fi tropes we know and love today.  When I first heard about the reboot I had no issue with it, assuming it was done with respect to the original vision of the creator, Gene Roddenberry.

Don't get me wrong, Star Trek 2009 is not a bad movie.  It just left some large plotholes in there and could have been made that much better with just a little work, or by adding just a few lines.  One of the biggest complaints that I know many people had with the movie was Kirk's precipitous rise to captaincy from being, basically a delinquent with zero space time under his belt prior to entering starfleet.  So let's get to the fixes:

#1:  The Bar Scene;  Add in a line from Pike about how Kirk served on a civilian or Star Trek Merchant Marine type ship, maybe even made Executive Officer and was recommended to Starfleet by the captain.  This would also be a nice place to drop a nod to the original series, by naming another civilian ship captain.

#2:   The shipyard:  There was no reason to show the almost completed Enterprise on the ground.  It would have been just as effective to show the major hull pieces of the Enterprise on the ground, for later assembly in orbit.  This is more a design level discussion, and the design of the NuTrek Enterprise has never sat well with me.

#3:  The Transwarp Transporter:  Sorry but just inputting an algorithm would not make the transport due what they needed, actual code would be required, and probably some physical alteration.  Adding just a shot of the transporter exploding after use might actually suffice to ram this home, and a line from Scotty about how he's been souping up the transporter as well.

#4:  The Core Ejection.  Simple Fix, don't eject the core, but the Antimatter Reserves.  (I said some of these were simple fixes).

#5:  This one is not a scene fix so much as a design issue.  I have always despised the design of the ships in this film.  The exterior of the Enterprise, while similar to the original, was just too flowing, and it had numerous size discrepancy issues.  The biggest failure however was to the interior designs.  Modern ships are designed around compartmentalization, keeping spaces only as large as necessary in case of hull breaches.  A ship like the Enterprise would be similarly designed.  Filming in a brewery might have been necessary for budgetary reasons, but adding in some digital walls would have helped to a great degree.  The vast open chambers of the engineer deck just hurt any suspension of disbelief.  Nero's ship was even worse with the whole interior not appearing to have any interior walls.

Like I said, some films don't need much in terms of fixes, the next NuTrek film however, that one was a mess.  That being said, I loved Star Trek Beyond.

We're Back...

Sorry for the last of updates for the last 9 months.  Life has been busy, and has kept me from working on this.  But, we are back now.  Here are some updates:

Spiral War, Book 3, Rising Warriors, Rising Threat, is with the editor and should be back in my hands NLT my birthday in late August.  After that I will send it off to the Beta Readers, including the cover artist before finalization and hopeful release in Fall 2016.  I will be posting this novel to Kindle Scout, see if I can't get Amazon to help foot the bill for advertising and promotions.

Spiral War, Book 4, The Gorvian Campaign (Working Title), is finished and now fermenting before I jump in to the self edit.  I have submitted the first three chapters to the OWW however for comment as I proceed through my self edit.

I am also stepping up my own self-promotion game.  I will be attending several conventions in the coming months, some I missed out on the deadline to appear, but the first will be a tiny art and hobby show at work.  I won't be able to sell there, but it will get me some exposure, and I will hand out the new book cards with links to here, the amazon purchase site, and the ISBN for physical book purchase.  Speaking of which, I have two boxes full of Books 0, 1, and 2, awaiting my convention appearances.

My special Owen showing off the hardcopies.

Convention appearance one will be at the Olympic Collectible Expo's fall show on October 1, 2016 at the Silverdale Beach Hotel.  I missed the last show, but am glad to appear at this one.

I am on the wait list for Jet City Comic Show  on November 5-6, 2016.  Crossing my fingers to get into this one.  I will update on this and other upcoming appearances as they arise.

Onto the writing front, some errors were pointed out in the current edition of Spiral War: On Dagger's Wings.  As a result, I am preparing a version 1.2.  I found most the errors pretty quickly, which was upsetting, but then I have gotten better on the editing front, so that is not surprising.  Version 1.2, which will update to all kindle addresses for free, will include a new Forward section to address the issues and hopefully appease some fans.

Final note for this update.  I love doing reviews and am getting back into it.  As part of that, I will bring out an old game I used to play with my father and other writers, 5 Scene Fixes.  In that we take a movie or show that could have been great, but was hampered, and maybe ruined by 5 scenes, in some cases more.  My first victim, the Star Trek reboots.  That being said, I saw Star Trek Beyond over the weekend and absolutely loved it, so a longer review will be forthcoming.