Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Looking for something new to read and short on money? You're in the right place, where I'll be featuring aspiring writers and their (free!) work!

We're kicking this new project off with sci-fi comedy thanks to Adrian Ozryth, author of Dip$hits in Space.

An eccentric comedy about space, and the Dipsh**s that end up in it. This hyper-self-aware comedy of stupid proportions centers around Captain William T Lawg (no relation) and his adventures as a guy who managed to afford a refitted soft-top icecream truck in space, in a universe where that's shockingly common. His trusty crew of valiant randos, Marley the tech-bro stoner spacebunny, Duffy the plump and sassy female mechanic, Roy the frigging fabulous Android, and also that other chick is there. Ride with the crew of the notorious Tast-E-Chill to a world of wonder that a lot of other space travelers have already been before, but probably not Lawg, so it's still exciting. with a crew of 3-5 and an IQ of also probably 3-5, The captain putters along to uncharted lands, where history, loot, drama, innuendos of the sexual verity, and various technicolor hoes shall surely be waiting, usually with some form of trap. Prepare yourself for shallow adventure, moderately offensive and overwhelmingly childish scenarios as the crew battle impossible odds, fierce enemies, lack of food and survival tape, and occasionally their own incompetence. Romance, Politics, Originality, this sucker has none of those, and it darn well knows it. raise the sails and grab the rails as a bunch of dipsh**s find themselves...IN SPACE. (Roll dramatic tapering credits, to royalty free trumpet music)

Meet the author and read a sample below:

Tell me a little bit about your writing journey. How long have you been writing, and how did you get started?

I got started when I was 12, mostly as a means to fight depression. I didn’t know I had autism at the time, so I didn’t fit in and was pretty alone. I started on paper and years later transcribed my stuff to computer. I alternated from drawing to writing as a means of escapism for myself. Wasn’t until late high school when I realized anyone might actually read it.

Why sci fi specifically? Is it something you write often, or is this your first venture into the genre?

I actually began in serious and very dark fantasy stuff. My first story being “A story Less Told”, where my favorite MC got his start. I found that my writing was too dark for most, and often just kept me in the dark moods. I decided to break into comedy to provide something more uplifting to the world, and sci-fi just has the widest room for possibility. I was more of a TV buff than a reader, reading mostly textbooks and documents and watching star-trek and star wars. Space is just the ideal open environment for an episodic comedy.

What are your goals for your writing?

My goals are just to provide free entertainment, and something that makes people laugh and get through dark times like I had growing up, where humor and sci-fi got me through a lot of loneliness and depression. I want to create something people can enjoy freely and share, even interact and be part of. Money isn’t a concern here.

What inspired the book?

The book was inspired by the opportunity to make people laugh, but the plot and ideas are based heavily on both Furtrama and Firefly, with some other shows inspired in there. It’s just an excuse to spoof and re-imagine pop culture nostalgia elements, while making something new for the characters to grow. They really fuel the story.

Who is your favorite character in the book and why? Tell me a little about them.

My favorite Character is probably Greg, or “Gizzy” later on. I added Greg as an old character to boost the shock factor. He’s a 15,000 year old alien made of biological and technological parts from a species that run multiple avatars like a mini collective. So Greg ends up in a female body early on, and finds himself swapping more and more for no reason but personal style. He’s aggressive, rude, barbaric, villainous, but also respectable and true to himself, even when himself is herself. Complexity is fun.

What are the challenges of working with a sci fi setting?

The only challenges to working in sci-fi is keeping it from getting too god-tier on the tech. If you make a new technology that fixes everything, you need to work in believable cons to why it can’t be used all the time, or won’t work. I’ve had to break my own devices and ideas to keep them from being a cheat-code to eliminate all conflict.

Do you have anything else you’d like to say to the readers?

With that said I wanna say to the readers, not to give up on your ideas, and don’t write for the money, write because you love it. Set small goals, don’t force yourself into deadlines, just write when you feel inspired to write and don’t be afraid to come back and refine it later. Until you publish it, it’s easy to fix or erase.

"And there she was. A gleaming beacon of polished…whatever it was made of. Aluminum maybe. I got it for a song, a real bargain, but I know why. Yea she is fast but the dealer saw me coming. It takes a lot to fool Captain William T Lawg, but this guy was a pro. He told me the interior was carbon fiber but turns out its mostly plastic and cardboard. Oh well, I can have it swapped out piece by piece over time for something better, something good and light, something that wouldn’t rust up or get old, something like titanium or bitanium. Just think how fast she would be then. I don’t know how many kilos or pounds or yen I could shave off but I bet I could reach like…insane speeds.” said a clearly intoxicated man with jet black hair. His 5 o’clock shadow made him look older than he was but he was brimming with confidence despite his unpolished look.

"I think you had enough soda for now" said the woman with the blue hair.

"Why is that, maybe I'm not done partying?" he said with an eyebrow raised.

"You haven't even left your stool since you have been here. You arrived drunk, pounded back like 8 sodas and you seem to be staying fairly lit for some reason." She pointed out.

"Maybe that's how my party gets started. Anyway so you wanna see my ship?" asked Captain Lawg.

"Not really." The Bartender replied.

"But it's a convertible, that's why it's so fast." He bragged.

"Isn't that a bad characteristic for a space ship?" she asked.

"Only if you are a little battle cruiser or an explorer or a cargo ship." He scoffed.

"I thought you said you were an explorer?" she asked. He gave her a silent stare.

"Different kind of...oh come on, I have everything else. Jumbo minibar, disco ball, hot tub, even an android that I am confident just needs new fuses to work."

"But not a roof?" she noted, raising an eyebrow.

"Hey, I'm not gonna lie to you and say she is a Nerp class cruiser, but a good ship is only as good as its captain and that's what matters, hard-top, canvas top, something better then those, doesn't make a difference when it comes to decisions and reflexes." He said drawing his pistol and spinning it like a cowboy, nearly dropping it.

"Havin trouble there Tex?" she grinned.

"Balance is off, that's why it's so impressive. A normal man couldn't even get it spinning." He said sighing as she noticed it was missing the barrel and reciever, just a handle and trigger, complete with holster.

"What happened to your gun?" she inquired.

"It's a convertible too...shut up. I mean, sure I owe a little money but I can't give them my gun or my ship." He protested, knocking back another shot.

"So you gave them half of both?" she asked.

"Damn right. Finding a ship is impossible with the new registration codes. Every new ship requires a license and inspection, same with the new guns. You can thank the politicians for that. But as long as it pre-dates the ban...perfectly legal."

"But what good is half a gun or half a ship?" she asked.

"That's the beauty of it. Ship's top is just an addition, the registration code is printed on the engine and the main frame column, so you can swap the top all you want baby, ride topless all day and it's perfectly legal. Little canvas and a few cans of flex-spray and you got a ship. Guy on the commercial said you could make a boat out of it with a screen door. If it can hold water, it can hold vacuum, obviously water weights more than vacuum. So technically she may not be a full ship in the normal sense but she flies just fine. All I gotta do is haul some cargo and make payday and I can get whatever top I want, never change the registration code and that sucker at the pawn shop never even asked." He grinned proudly.

"Okay, but isn't the registration number for that handgun printed on the barrel?" she asked. He scoffed and looked down at his belt. His eyes went wide.

"Awe son of a bitch damnit!" he said throwing the handle to the ground.

Read Dip$hits in Space for free, and follow and support Adrian Ozryth on Wattpad!

Check out my other featured authors and their free-to-read works!

I see writers asking all the time how to stick with a project. They get a few chapters in and things die out. They don't know what to do with it, or they find their excitement for the story fades away and leaves them unmotivated to continue. When I ask these people how they prepare for their story, the most common answer I get is "Oh, I just get the idea and start writing." Sound familiar?

I've been in the same boat. In fact, despite desperately wanting to be an author since I was 9 years old, I could barely finish a story for years, let alone get anywhere near publishing it. It wasn't until I was 17 that I came across the Snowflake Method of outlining and decided to experiment with it--and proceeded to write the entire first draft of Dreams of Otherworld, what would go on to be my first published novel, in just over a month.

Now, the Snowflake Method isn't magic. Everybody has a different process and is wired a different way, and if you're happy throwing yourself into an idea and seeing where it takes you then more power to you. But if you find yourself struggling to figure out what direction to take your story, or with getting yourself to keep writing beyond the exciting few days of starting, then I advise you try it out. It may not be the method for you, but it may just solve your problems, or at least set you on a path to find a method that does.

Also keep in mind that many of the steps of this method do not have to be done in the order posted here--or done at all. If one doesn't work for you or works in a different place feel free to reorder or adjust them to suit you best.

The Snowflake Method is named so for the way you build up your story before writing it--starting with one simple piece and adding more and more to it until you have a fully fleshed-out plan. Like the image to the side shows, you add increasingly more intricate, detailed bits onto the basic shape of an idea. While that can be done in a dozen different ways, the official method is broken down into 10 steps.

Step 1: One-Sentence Summary

The first step of the Snowflake Method is to boil your idea down to its essence. The idea behind this says that it's critical to understand the core of a story, and this forces you to nail that down without getting lost in all the other elements. This one sentence should sum up the most basic idea of your story, and ideally is kept under 30 or so words and avoids any names.

Examples: A boy discovers he's a wizard and is sent to attend a magical boarding school. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

Four siblings discover a magical world hidden beyond a wardrobe, ruled by an evil witch. (The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe)

When she goes to visit an ailing relative, a girl discovers a hidden faerie kingdom and befriends its prince. (Arcatraissa)

Your one-sentence summary will serve to give you a direction to move forward from and focus your planning.

Step 2: Paragraph Summary

With the core idea down, you can move on to expanding it into an actual story. This summary should follow the entire length of your story, beginning to end, but kept to one paragraph in length, meaning only the most basic, overarching ideas of each part. If you're using the traditional three-act structure, this summary is most easily done in 5 sentences, but if you're doing something else you can adjust it to suit your needs.

Sentence 1: The set-up. How things start out--who is your protagonist, where are they at the start, and what is the expectation before things change? (If I was using Arcatraissa for this, I might write something about Cassie's family intending to visit her ill Aunt Julia for the summer, and Cassie's initial feelings on this plan.)

Sentence 2: The inciting incident. The event that interrupts the status quo--how does it happen, and what is your protagonist's reaction to it? (In Arcatraissa, this would be Cassie meeting Tae and discovering faeries are real.)

Sentence 3: The first disaster. A brief summary of what happens following the inciting incident, and how things change yet again. Does something happen to raise the stakes? Does the protagonist discover something shocking? Is a plan interrupted or not go as expected?

Sentence 4: The second disaster. Similarly to sentence 3, this should be a summary of what happens between the first disaster and an event that changes the stakes or expectations yet again. The second disaster most often becomes or leads into the story's climax.

Sentence 5: Resolution. How the climax plays out and the story ends.

Step 3: Flesh Out the Characters

Before writing, you want to know your characters just as well as you know your plot. After all, they're the ones driving most of these events you're writing about. So to make sure all these many pieces you're juggling fit together perfectly in the end, you need to know as much about your characters as possible. For each of your major characters, and even some side ones if you feel it necessary, write a short summary of their arc through the story. This can be done as a bullet pointed list, in prose form, or whatever helps you the most, but it's most helpful to include the following things:

Their goal: What does the character want to achieve? All characters--protagonist, antagonist, or in between--have a goal of some sort, and it's a crucial part of understanding their role in the story. Harry Potter wants to defeat Voldemort. Katniss Everdeen wants to win the Hunger Games.

Their motivation: Also called a character's "why", their motivation is the reason behind their goal. Every goal has a driving force behind it, sometimes more than one, and a motivation often plays into a characters' backstory and makes them more real and relatable. Harry's motivation is to protect his friends and the Wizarding world. Katniss wants to protect her sister and return home. Be sure not to gloss over your antagonists' motivations--they care about things too, whether we agree with them or not.

Internal conflicts: What does your character struggle with, beyond the outside factors going on? Are they unsure or scared of what they're doing, have their loyalties torn, or know something that conflicts with their goal?

Their epiphany (or epiphanies): This is how the character changes through the story. A realization they have or something they learn on their journey. It might change their goal or motivation, or it might be the result of succeeding or failing to achieve their goal. It might result in a new goal to lead into another story. A character's epiphany can came about in a thousand different ways and be anywhere on the spectrum between positive and negative, so let your creativity have fun figuring this out.

Step 4: Expand the Summary

You should now have the skeleton of your story and a good idea of the major characters and events in front of you. Now it's time to add the meat of the story by expanding your summary. Turn each sentence of your paragraph into a paragraph of its own, adding in details, side characters, and subplots so you have a more rounded summary of that section. By the end of this you should have a much lengthier, detailed summary that gives you a solid idea of what needs to happen and how the major events from your paragraph summary lead into one another.

Step 5: Different Perspectives

Now that you have a more detailed summary, head back to your characters and figure out how they each see the events going on. Each character should have their own unique view--they may agree on certain things, but events will ring different to different characters based on their backstories, internal conflicts, and goals. Write up a brief summary of the story from the perspective of each major character, exploring how they react to things and anything they do "off-screen" that affects other events or characters.

Step 6: Expand Again

Jump back to that 5-paragraph summary you wrote in step 4. Time to expand again. Using what you've figured out about your characters and how they fit in with these events, write a more detailed summary from beginning to end fleshing out everything that wasn't explored fully before. It's recommended you have a 3-5 page summary by the end of this, but don't worry if you go over or under. As long as you feel you understand your story well by this point, you should be okay.

Step 7: Refining Characters

We're going back to your characters for this step. You should know them pretty well by this point, but now is the time to sort out any kinks in your planning. Refine their character arcs, write out their backstories, make a chart of their role in the story, figure out their relationships with other characters, or anything else that will help you fill in any remaining gaps.

Step 8: Outline

Using your detailed summary, break the story up into scenes. It shouldn't be too hard by this point to figure out where things need to break into natural scenes or chapters based on the events. Take this list and put it into a spreadsheet, outline, or bullet point format with notes on what happens, who's involved, and any other information you feel you might need. The resulting outline will be, I find, the most useful tool for during writing, to reference as you go.

Step 9: Synopsis

This step isn't strictly necessary, but can be very helpful if you're hoping to go through the traditional publishing process. Take each scene from your outline and expand it into a short paragraph. You'll end up with a draft synopsis you can use for reference as you write, or as a basis for a synopsis you may need to give literary agents later on.

Step 10: Write!

Sit back and admire your hard work before jumping into your first draft. You should now have a solid, well-developed road map to guide you all the way, and your writer's block should be (mostly) eliminated.

The little parasite (I say lovingly) that is my son is sucking my energy today so I'm just gonna get right to it. It's character rambling time, this time with my favorite boy, Raeth.

Raeth, or Tiraethsi if you want to get on his bad side quick, is one of the major players of Tide and, personally, a favorite of mine. A siren of the Dragon Court, he's known for his cunning and merciless nature, and for parading around his "girls", some of the most beautiful women of the Court whose exact jobs are more or less unknown (though not for a lack of theorizing and gossip.) Raeth embodies everything about the tidespeople that Hania's village fears: beauty, danger, power, and a penchant for seeing people as pieces in whatever game he feels like playing.

With his goals and motives unclear, it's hard to say whether he's someone to trust or avoid--and being a siren doesn't help that. He's far from shy about the music in his very voice, or about the many things he could do with it if he chose to.

Raeth gets a spot among my favorite characters for a few reasons. He was incredibly fun to write; he has a way of leading every situation he's in however he wants it, and is very good at going unnoticed when he does. He's opportunistic and conniving and brilliant, and likes to be two steps ahead of everybody else. He can play any role he feels he needs to--friend, master, leader, weapon--and does it all with a kind of snark and dark humor he can't quite get rid of.

Check out some of the music that inspired Raeth:

Meet Raeth in the sneak peek below, and remember, Tide is available for sale now!

He ran one finger down the grimy wall of my cell and inspected it, cocking his head. As he did, he began humming, so soft at first I wasn’t sure I really heard it, but the sound grew louder. The melody was slow, smooth, growing and echoing in my head until I could do nothing but listen to it. It was a song like the ocean, like the wind, sweet and stormy and exotic. In the first seconds of it, I wondered how it was an answer but then it drove all thought from my head. It didn’t matter whether it was an answer or not, I wanted to keep listening.

Then my knees buckled, my legs too weak and dazed to hold me. The impact when I hit the floor jolted the realization into me at the same instant he stopped. My head cleared, the lovely, foggy admiration replaced by cold terror. I scrambled up, tripping over the chains in my hurry.

“Get out,” I gasped, feeling my back hit the wall opposite him. “Now.”

“You’re not in any position to be ordering me about, now, are you?”

“You’re a siren.”

He smirked. “Smart girl. Now keep that up and pay attention.”

“I don’t care what a siren has to say, get out.” Despite the brave words my voice shook. I kept against the wall; I couldn’t avoid being cornered, not here, but I could stay as far from him as possible. As if a simple distance of a couple yards would prevent him from killing me if he chose. Aven’s warning echoed loud and clear in my mind.

“Look.” The siren stepped toward me again and I flinched. “You and I both know that if I wanted to hurt you it’d be done already. A few words, a bit of song, and I’d be able to make you do anything I wanted. But I haven’t. Do you think there might be a reason?”

Of course there was. But I didn’t like any of the potential reasons I could think of. I decided not to suggest them and asked, “Who are you?”

“Always with the most boring questions, you humans,” he muttered but answered after a brief pause. “Call me Raeth.”

I forced myself to relax a fraction, though I didn’t take my eyes off him. “Hania.”

“I know. The Court gossips.” He turned away, strolling along the wall separating me from the next prisoner as if exploring the tiny space. The strange light danced across him, and where it hit bare skin revealed tiny scales for an instant before he moved away. “You are the…whatever you are, of our queen’s new plaything. And you’ve come to free him, I presume.”

“I have.”

“Do you think you can manage it?” A pit in my insides said no, I couldn’t. I had no hope of standing up to people like this. Just looking at Raeth made my legs watery with fear; I couldn’t win out against his queen. The siren must have understood my answer in my expression, because he nodded. “I thought not. That’s why I’m here.”

“Why you’re here?”

“To help.”

I stared, disbelieving. Why would a siren want to help me? Unless he meant to give me some sort of false hope, get me close to saving Tobin to make crushing me all the sweeter. A sick game? “Why should I trust you?”

“Because you’ll die if you don’t.”

© 2018 Lacy Sheridan | Author

  • White Instagram Icon
  • White Pinterest Icon
  • White Amazon Icon