Four science fiction and fantasy novellas for young adults.
At Conclave Manor, land-trapped Mermaid Thala Tellurian struggles to accept her privileged life while battling her self-obsessed Uncle in any petty way she can. Isolated and forbidden to delve into her family’s bloody past, Thala longs for change. So, when visitors from a rival pod reveal a hidden agenda, Thala dives straight in. But it’s not until she’s face to face with her family’s lifelong enemy that she realises she’s in terrifyingly unfamiliar waters.
Rowan knew nothing about the secret in his DNA until he found himself on the Terrean team bound for Conclave Seven, the universal Games held every millennia. But on the eve of the Games, knowing he’s a direct descendant of the warrior Spartacus is looking less like a gift and more like a death sentence…
Born into captivity, Doze has spent his life behind the Fence, so when staying there is no longer an option, he takes a chance to see if another life is possible. An experiment on the loose from ConClave Corporation, Doze helps his travelling companions to avoid capture, and discovers that there is no sacrifice too great for freedom.
On the Conclave Pacifica, a spaceship in a fleet heading to a new world, Peach forges an online friendship with Araxi, who is travelling on another ship. But, wildly off course and under pressure for resources, the future of the Conclave Pacifica looks uncertain. Could Peach’s new friend be the answer to her survival?
Writing undersea worlds – channel your inner Mermaid
by Jan Goldie
Want to write an undersea story that submerges your readers in a Mermaidian world? Or perhaps you’re an Ariel-wannabe who can’t wait to create the next epic marine adventure?
Either way, dive into your story with confidence using these 5 top techniques for channelling your inner Mermaid:
1. Know your underwater characters
If you can’t visualise your characters, then how will your readers? Put your comfy pants on, you’re about to be glued to your seat for some serious research time! Think fish. Think deep sea mystery. Search through pictures of marine creatures, watch documentaries about underwater life, mine the likes of Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest for #mermaids and more. The better your understanding of what your character looks like, moves like, how she breathes, eats, communicates and lives, the better your internal image will be and the clearer your written descriptions of her behaviour.
2.Discover the world she lives in
Immerse yourself in underwater scenes. Building on your understanding of your character, try to get a fix on what it’s like to live beneath the waves. If you can, dust off the scuba diving equipment or mask and snorkel and revisit the exquisite feeling of actually being there. Otherwise, visit an aquarium, watch videos, talk to people who’ve spent time working under the sea (marine biologists, ichthyologists etc) and get a feel for how the underwater world behaves. Use your senses. What does it smell like, can you taste it? What do you hear under the water? How do you see and communicate? How would the pressure of all that water affect something as simple as body language – a nod, a wave, shaking your head?
3.Explore her motivation
We’re all aware of the ‘Hollywood’ mermaid stereotypes, from sucrose long haired beauties to toothy underwater witches. So your job is to come up with something unique. One way to beat the stereotype is to provide your Mermaid with a strong motivation, one the reader will relate to. What does your character need? What is she prepared to do to get it? How will this change her? For example, if your Mermaid needs to find her long lost Mother, how far is she prepared to travel? Who will she betray to get the information she needs? What aspects of her upbringing and which members of her family is she willing to abandon to get her Mother back?
4.Activate your character
A lethargic, unmotivated, aimless character does not a good mermaid story make. Ensure your mermaid is active in pursuing her needs. If she starts sounding or looking like a purposeless bottom-dweller, who isn’t interested in moving from her comfortable sandy status quo, it’s unlikely the story can move forward. Strong motivations and real needs should drive your character to make active decisions, not wait for solutions to come her way.
5.Keep it ‘real’
Bring your mermaid to life with relevant dialogue that’s right for her. There’s no need to keep referring to the way bubbles pour out of her mouth when she talks, establish this (or some other form of undersea communication) once, then let the reader be swept away by engaging dialogue that gives meaning to her situation. But keep it real, any language references need to reflect the world she lives in. For example, you probably wouldn’t use the phrase ‘What on earth are you talking about?’ when your character lives under the sea.
Jan Goldie. I’m a working writer, creating content for websites, print media and social media. I have a BA in English literature and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism. Interestingly, I used very few of these skills in the creation of A Mer-tale, relying instead on my over-active imagination. When I'm not slaving over the computer for my day job or imagining myself 30 metres beneath the waves, I'm writing short stories, picture books and YA fantasy novels. My most recent claims to fame are the publication of a story in the crowd-funded collection of short horror fiction Baby Teeth: Bite-sized Tales of Terror, and my YA fantasy novel Brave’s Journey being short listed for the 2014 Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award.
Piper Mejia is a prolific writer, but only recently had her first story, Lockdown, published in Baby Teeth: Bite-sized tales of Terror. A high school English teacher, she is co-editor of student writing collections Write Off Line 2012, 2013, Beyond This Age and Beyond This Story, and is currently working on a young adult fantasy trilogy in both novel and graphic novel formats.
Celine Murray is 19 years old and has had her fiction published in magazines such as WriteOn, Easy Going, and Breeze, and in the horror anthology Baby Teeth: Bite-sized Tales of Terror. She has also published a solo collection of prize winning fiction entitled Seven to Seventeen.
Lee Murray used to be a scientist, but now she writes fiction for adults and children. Lee has twice won the Sir Julius Vogel Award for science fiction and fantasy writing, most notably for Best Youth Novel for her children’s title Battle of the Birds, and her short fiction has achieved international recognition. She is the co-editor of five collected works.
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