Back in Action! Facts to Fiction!

Howdy y’all!

I took a little break the last 10 days and have missed everyone’s thoughts and writing contributions so much!!!

I am really glad to be back!

While on my break, I have had an interesting true life experience that fed into a story idea.

What unusual circumstances have you encountered that inspired their way on to the page?

Would you be willing to share here a little of what happened and how it influenced your writing?

My event…?

Well, I never saw it coming!

Real Estate, a Cult masquerading as an elite social society, a prominent vineyard, a boys camp and murder!!!

(I ask you, where is Angela Lansbury when you really need her? :joy:)

If anyone is curious I would be happy to share?

In the meantime checkout these tips for writing fiction based on facts from

Happy writing!!!


That sounds like quite the story. Would love to hear it.

This article reminded me of some of the reasons I wrote my adult contemporary novel. It came from a desire to share an often-forgotten point-of-view with my peer group, but there are snippets of things in it that actually happened to me: a broken cell phone screen, a fictional character helping me understand far more of myself than I could ever have discovered alone, a cat who hates walking harnesses, dealing with rude customers, a Toyota Corolla.

Never underestimate the power of truth, no matter what setting it may find itself in. :stars:


I like your last line about never underestimating the power of truth.


Your story sounds intriguing. Please share. I enjoy a good mystery. Also, thanks for the link. I’ll check it out over my next meal.

I have been sprinkling historical factoids, using some real events from my personal experience, and spring-boarding from actual scientific events/ discoveries while working through my hard science fiction manuscript. [Of course, that also means I’ve been doing heaps of research…It’s no wonder I’m not to the end of my first (zero?) draft, yet. :roll_eyes:


Keep it going, your doing all the right things and the end is in sight!

My apologies for not responding sooner.

I have had some pressing medical issues and I am wrapping up a renovation to move my daughter and grand children into their own abode this post covid lock down season of our lives, but privacy and my writing desk are with in my reach of undivided attention again.

All the details to come!

Thank you all for your interest in my story, that feels really good.:blush:

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@DeAnna, glad you’re doing better, and I hope that move is going/went well. :upside_down_face: Definitely know about the itch to get back to writing. It can be overwhelming when you can’t listen to it right away.


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Keep going. It will all pay off in the end.

I have 3, no 4, no 5 WIP’s, but I’m seriously thinking about going back to a 25yr old project that required a lot more than the sketchy research and 1 long-haul trip I originally did.


Same. I usually keep a minimum of three going at once. :shushing_face: Not to mention the three–wait, no, it’s four–other original projects waiting in the wings, plus like thirty or forty more fanfic installments in my ongoing timeline. :sweat_smile:

There’s just something about multiple projects that I’ve always loved. At times, yeah, I’ll stop everything and throw all my time into one project until it’s done, but usually I at least take breaks to go “be with my other friends” every so often. :sunglasses:

What other projects are you working on besides the fantasy novel? (If you don’t mind sharing, that is.)

(apology to those who’ve heard this before)

The original challenge was to write a fantasy novel, but received wisdom said make it a series to be worthwhile. So there’s books 2 and 3.

Then I had this cast of side characters who wouldn’t shut up so book 4 came along with a new protagonist (who then inserted herself into book 3 as an introduction). That story opened out to book 5, who knows if it will ever get written.

Meanwhile I have the original project from 25 years ago with 2 characters who won’t go away.

And the comedy-fantasy I originally pitched as a radio drama.

And little curios like ‘The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse,’ also known as Dave. War, Conflict, Famine, Death and Doubt - that’s Dave. Doubt was meant to come first. There’s nothing drags humanity down like doubt.

And the catalog goes on…


There’s a Steam-Punk space-opera, ‘The Langtree’ with a clockwork android called Babbage (catch-phrase “you’re all going to die.”)

And an Arabian Nights fantasy, ‘The Thief and Princess Vika.’

And I have a hankering to write a detective. One of these days…


(Apologies for the repeat. I skim through every thread, but don’t always remember everything that’s been mentioned/discussed.)

Wow, fantasy, post-apocalyptic, mystery, comedy. I’ve always loved fantasy (or sci-fi) that includes more than traditional genre elements. For example, I don’t like mystery as a genre, but there is one mystery-esque novel I love: Timothy Zahn’s Outbound Flight–a locked room murder mystery, set in the Star Wars universe (before the Disney years). I also dislike romance, but I like Dave Wolverton’s The Courtship of Princess Leia (another SW novel) and Morgan Bussee’s Ravenwood Saga (fantasy-romance with emphasis on fantasy).

For me, dabbling in genres I don’t usually write in is such a great experience.

Is The Fifth Horseman a short story? Or novel length?

I love the sound of The Thief and Princess Vika.

I see you’ve got some non-fiction options available via the site in your profile, but I’d love to read some of your fiction work when it’s available.

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May I ask what are y’all’s methods for your scheduled time to work/complete on each project or personal organization of each project? I’m always curious how other creative folks do the logistics of making their craft work in a business fashion.

I know some of what has worked for myself in the past, but it certainly isn’t the best method or I would be way more structured. I often go by my mood and that’s no real plan for success of completion.

Anyone who has methods they use Please do respond. I’m always looking to build a better mouse trap, and I know these kinds of tips can be so helpful to all our community.

Thank you in advance

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Ditto! I am intrigued, as well!

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Thank you. I took most of the fiction down because it was terrible.

There is this sci-fi short on there, could do with another pass of editing:

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Got it up in my tabs to read. :cowboy_hat_face:

Robin please, Never worry about this in our group.

We value the message of your writing above all else and that you ARE writing.

A pox upon the typos, grammar, and punctuation! (Or what not, no worries really)

Trust me on this one (Hemingway sure did) leave it in the hands to your editor to call you out.

We just love your gift of telling an intriguing tale, and that you’re willing to share in the developing process with us.

The Fifth Horseman

“Can I just take a few details,” Jane asked as the unremarkably short, unremarkably thin and unremarkably… average man sat in the visitors’ chair in front of her desk.
Hair; brown. Jacket; brown. Corduroys; brown. Shoes; brown. Jane detected a pattern.
“So, Mister…?”
“Qetar. Q, E, T, A, R.”
Voice; beige. Not even brown. Exceedingly polite, if hesitant. Socially awkward. More than a little unsure of himself.
“Unusual. Is that European?”
Jane began typing his details into the system.
“Aramaic. I can use another name if you’d like?”
“Qetar is your given name? On your birth certificate?”
“Don’t have one. Call me Dave.”
“Dave. Short for David?”
“Or Daud, Dawood, Dawud, Davit, Davud, Dabid, Dauid, Davud, Daveth, Dovid-”
Jane stopped him before he reeled off every variant in every language.
“Yes, okay, Dave is fine. Are you a linguist?” she inquired, looking for something to latch onto, career-wise.
“No. Not really. Just travelled a lot. When I was younger.”
Dave appeared to be in his thirties. The weariness in his gray eyes told a different story.
“And what sort of work are you looking for? Dave?”
“Anything really. Something to pay the rent.”
Jane tried her best to engage, the way she had been taught on her ‘Serves You Right’ customer-liaiason course.
“Keeping body and soul together, eh?”
“You believe in the soul, then?”
For a moment his spirits lifted. She thought he might be flirting with her. Some of the applicants did; out of desperation, or simply to suck up to her in the hope of a shot at the better vacancies. This one seemed more interested in the philosophical question.
“None really.”
“Professional training, then?”
“Working with horses?”
‘Dave’ didn’t strike her as the horsey type.
“Didn’t have them back then,” Dave answered vaguely.
“Employment history?”
“It’s quite long,” he stuttered, even more vaguely.
Jane looked up from the screen.
“I don’t feel you’re being completely honest with me, Mr Qetar… Dave. What was your first job?”
“You want me to be completely honest?”
“You won’t believe it,” he said evasively.
“Dave, I’ve worked in this job centre for three years. I’ve already seen and heard everything.”
“I don’t think you have.”
Jane poised over her keyboard. She’d had a long morning dealing with shirkers, slackers and the chronically work-shy.
“Just tell me what was your first job?!”
“The Fifth Horseman.”
“The what?”
“The Fifth Horseman.”
“Yes, I heard that bit. Horseman? What? Where was the job? What did you do?”
“Apocalypse,” Dave said quietly.
“Excuse me?”
“Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse,” he said leaning forward, expecting her to type that into the system.
Jane sighed. ‘Care in the Community’ was clearly failing another patient. Frustration got the better of her.
“For a start, there’s only four horsemen of the apocalypse.”
“Only four now. I was the fifth.”
Jane gave him the hard stare reserved for the timewasters and drunks.
“There’s War, Famine, Pestilence and Death. Four.”
“No Pestilence,” Dave corrected her. “It’s Conquest. Colleen was always really annoyed nobody got it right.”
“Conquest. Should be first but nobody remembers. I won a pub quiz with that once. Felt like cheating, but I needed the fifty quid.”
“The first horseman was a woman?” Jane heard herself ask.
“Things were more… equitable back in the day.”
Dave continued to look at the checklist on her desk, waiting on the next question.
“Yeah, right. So if those are the four horsemen-horsepersons-what were you?”
“Doubt,” he said simply.
“Doubt? That’s hardly the stuff of the apocalypse.”
Dave sat upright, suddenly very earnest.
“The punishments of God. Conquest, War, Famine, Death and Doubt. Except I was meant to come first. There’s nothing drags humanity down like doubt.”
“Are you sure?” Jane heard herself say.
Jane sat up as if snapped out of a trance.
“If you’re going to waste my time, Mr Qetar-”
“You asked me to be honest,” he interrupted, without taking offense.
Jane’s reserve of patience drained away.
“Tramps, whinos, mental patients. I get 'em all in here. Lot’s of 'em claim to be supernatural beings. I’ve had ET; the reincarnation of Napoleon, twice; Thor, God of Thunder; John the Baptist-”
Dave perked up at John the Baptist.
“No he wasn’t, he was a dental assistant from Redcar,” she snapped. “No one’s ever claimed to be one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Not even one they’ve made up.”
Dave seemed genuinely hurt.
“I am not making this up. Why would I? Anyone I tell thinks I’m insane.”
“Aren’t you?” she said unkindly, instantly regretting it.
Dave was downcast as he fixed wearily on her
“Sometimes I think I’m the only sane person left on Earth.”
Jane didn’t want to get into a discussion of sanity either.
“Alright, if you’re the fifth horseman of the apocalypse, why are you in a job centre in Wolverhampton?”
“The other four chucked me out,” he said, stating the obvious.
“And why would they do that?”
“They said I weakened their resolve to bring down the Apocalypse on mankind. I said that was my job. But after so many thousands of years waiting for Judgement Day they said they’d had enough. Any more doubt and they wouldn’t be able to carry out their God-given mission. I said God wasn’t like that, she only meant it as a threat. Like, withholding pocket money.”
Dave was so utterly convincing, Jane struggled to hold onto her disbelief. Her rational mind decided cross-examination to be the best strategy.
“What colour were their horses?”
“White, red, black and pale,” Dave said without hesitation.
“What colour was yours?”
“Brown. Well, more sort of, beige.”
Brown was Jane’s least-favourite colour. Beige didn’t even qualify as a proper colour.
“I beheld a pale rider, upon a beige horse? I don’t think so.”
Dave was apologetic
“It got left out of the Bible. You know, the Lion of Judah opens the first four of the seven seals? Summons forth four beings that ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses?”
“No mention of beige,” she accused. Dave was so earnest, she felt like she was kicking a puppy. A brown one.
“I got left out. Like the original drummer in the Beatles.”
Jane sighed. All her friends told her the Job Centre was worse than a dead end. She thought of it as a chance to help people. Days like this one made her d-
“Oh no,” Dave said in alarm, staring over her shoulder to the entrance.
A tall woman in an expensive leather jacket and boots with killer heels strutted into the Job Centre. She made an entrance like a fashion model owning the catwalk. She didn’t even take a numbered ticket from the dispenser at the door.
“Oh no,” Dave breathed again.
“Who is it?” Jane whispered.
“You mean…?”
“Yes. That Colleen…”

For me, the dynamics of project balance change frequently depending on what WIPs I have going. For example, right now, I’m working on 2 short stories, 1 original novel, 2 fanfic novels, and 1 fanfic short story collection. I have no official deadlines for the fanfic projects, but I have to have 1 short story turned in by midnight tonight. The second short story is due at the end of May, and I want to have my original novel done before family vacation in July.

Obviously, the pieces with the closer deadlines have priority–to a certain extent.

That first short story, I spent 10 hours drafting and editing on Friday so I could get it off to betas and get comments so I could sit down and do final edits today.

The short story due in a month has already gone through 2 edits and been sent out to betas. I’m letting that one sit a minute while I wait for more feedback and get short story 1 finished.

Work on the original novel will recommence Monday or Tuesday, and most of my writing time will be focused on it until, either I get to compete in the next round of a short story competition, or I finish the WIP.

The three fanfic projects rotate. I do 1-3 chapters/installments per month, depending on the work load for original projects, blog posts, and platform building.

I find that changing up what I’m writing helps me better understand how to be more versatile instead of being locked into one genre, POV choice, writing style, etc. For example, I just finished a fanfic contest that challenged me to take a fairytale and retell it in a fandom context. For me, that meant taking a Norse fairytale and translating it into a futuristic sci-fi context. The challenge came in preserving the core of the story while using a different cast and setting (a little bit like modernizing a Shakespeare play).

As a result of that fanfic contest, I learned how better to create scenes that instill a sense of movement or plot progression, instead of characters just sitting around talking when they should be doing something else. That new experience helped propel me through drafting the short story due at the end of May, which heavily influenced this round of the short story contest I’m in. And, that short story contest is helping me get a better grasp on how to keep my original novel engaging.

I guess I’d call it the circle of improvement. One varied experience informs all others thereafter.

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Just got to read this and didn’t see a comment section on-site, so I thought I’d drop a review here:

I like how you’ve set up a countdown for readers by periodically updating us on where the shuttle is. It adds tension to Isaac’s journey to the airlock.

Despite the MC being inorganic, this felt like reading a character slipping into Alzheimer’s, and I loved how you ignored the boundaries between organic and inorganic lifeforms. How far Isaac progressed as a person over an 18 month period is remarkable, and I felt so bad that he had to leave.

Isaac’s replacement is a nice foil to Retiring Isaac, showing the audience what he used to be, then overcame only to lose himself in the end.

I’ve read my share of sci-fi, so I knew almost immediately that Isaac was an alternate form of life, but the little hints you give throughout reinforce that: the way the crew treats him, his word choices, etc.

If you decide to give this another edit & polish, I’d read it again.