Rise of the Fallen 722nd

Writing prompts are not my cup of tea.

Not that I have a snobbish attitude toward them, anything that gets the creative juices flowing and entices a person to write is okay in my book. Hell, I’ve even participated in a few hashtag games on Twitter, but none of the suggested prompt words, sentences, paragraphs, or pictures ever truly inspired me.

Until I stumbled upon the Noriyoshi Orai artwork shown above.

Blindsided by an idea, I began scribbling notes of an alien invasion futuristic war that keeps pushing its way further and further into Earth’s past with the intention of creating a zugzwang (a situation in which the obligation to make a move in one’s turn is a serious, often decisive, disadvantage) story using a fairy tale twist.

Why a fairy tale?

Because the old ones are replete with heavy messages, drenched in the misfortunes of the world, and yet faith, perseverance, and sometimes sheer luck, can turn the tide in overcoming life’s trials. I wanted to present it as an old story, told in archaic language, laced with a subtle message still relevant to the modern world.

If you ever want to hear your muse laugh, tell her your lofty goals for a story before you’ve actually written it.

“Rise of the Fallen 722nd” began life as a story examining patriotism, loyalty, ingenuity, and the enduring human spirit in the face of the ultimate no-win scenario. The outline wasn’t difficult to put on paper. The story itself? That’s a different matter altogether. This little darling of mine went through the draft mill forty-nine times, each revision drastically different from the one before. Only one patch of dialogue survived from the original piece.

Futuristic war? Check. Progressing forward into the past? Check. Zugzwang? Double check. Fairy tale twist? Not so much. The fairy tale elements weakened the integrity of the overall structure and sadly had to be put down like Old Yeller. Still, it’s been fun (and frustrating) to write. And I’m not done with it. They say the fiftieth time’s the charm, right?

Wish me luck.

33 responses to “Rise of the Fallen 722nd

  1. Good luck to you, Rhyan! I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a killer story. You have the knack for punching the readers in their guts or massaging their frayed nerves and extracting cheers either way. Those are a lot of drafts. Phew! I’m definitely doing something wrong. Haha! (Nervous laughter)

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, Terveen, you’re fine. Fifty drafts are too damn many. This is one of those impossible stories that seem wonderful and perfect in my mind and less so when on the page. It’s like applying real-world logic to a dream. Cheers for the vote of confidence, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I’m hooked already. Sounds exactly like something I can sink my teeth into. And that artwork! Great googly moogly! I’m going to look up more of Noriyoshi Orai’s work. I have to hand it to you for your stick-to-it-iveness. Fifty drafts…jeez, fifty of anything is a LOT (except for pizza–fifty pieces o’ pepperoni pie sounds just about right)! Wishing you a breezy 5oth draft (see what I did there?) and looking forward to experiencing this tale when its ready to unleash upon the world. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fifty is excessive, but this story nags at me, so even when I set it aside to work on something else, it keeps doing little things to get my attention. I just need to find a way to maneuver it into the Goldilocks position of being “just right” so that I can continue on my writer’s journey with some semblance of sanity intact.

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  3. Visual art is the 50,000 words we can’t seem write. Which makes the brevity of poetry more enticing. Monet said that attempting to paint certain things in nature would drive one mad. Add the musicians, dancers, sculptors caught between the spiritual and the physical searching for that evanescent moment. Which begs the question of which expressive art is the most maddening? And where do the limitations of one artistic sense beg to be part of another? “I would like to paint the way a bird sings.” Claude Monet

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  4. You got me interested, good luck! Love the artwork, it feels savage and futuristic. Pictures and music are inspirations for me and rarely do I get inspiration from prompts alone. Can’t wait to read more Rhyan!


  5. Good luck, my man! Thanks for the new term – Zugzwang – I like this. At my BJJ Academy, we’ve been using an analogy that captures Zugzwang well: put your opponent in a bad “choose your own adventure book” where every choice is a bad one. Zugzwang. Man, I love German phrases!

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