47 Comments

A stunning first look into this world! I’m so here for the seed-growers and bee-keepers. Definitely taking notes.

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Hi Peter, thank you for reading and for your feedback. I'm looking forward to how you feel about the story as it unfolds. There are two more parts. :)

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Aug 1, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

What do u mean by white water I mean water is colorless right?

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This is just a play on the opening lines of the story which is from Völuspá a Norse poem central to their spirituality:

‘An ash I know,

Yggdrasil its name,

With water white

is the great tree wet.’

The sacred tree from Norse mythology was watered with a sacred water that would turn everything white. The tree itself is white. My water has a religious character and contains white ash to give it a whitish colour and is meant to bless the tree seedling. It's called white water but it's not white like milk. I hope this makes sense.

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Aug 2, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

Oh thanks for your response, it's understandable now❤️

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Thank you 🤗

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Aug 6, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

Isn’t white water fast moving water? That is what I understand from the term white water rafting anyways.

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I couldn't find any reference online to the reason it's called white water in the Norse mythology so I just invented something. But it could well be that it's fast water...

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Aug 6, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitewater

This link explains and has nice pictures of the effect. Apparently the term earliest recording in the USA was from the late 1800’s. However, it could also be the blood of a God or something bright and shiny.

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Aug 6, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

I just picture large falls and fast rivers. Most of my pictures of Niagara Falls has white froth and white spray. Rivers that move fast enough and have rocks have white froth and opaque parts.

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Aug 1, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

Thank you for sharing. I’m an avid reader. I sometimes skip entire chapters because an author waddles on and on without gaining my interest. Your story sparked my imagination and I felt like I was there. All five senses activated. Looking forward to the rest of the story.

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Thank you so much for your kind feedback, Wendy. I am happy to read that the story sparked your imagination.

When I write I first need to imagine myself in that scene, have a look around, and then describe what sights and sounds and atmosphere I encounter. The result is a bit like the shadows of the real world projected on the wall of Plato's cave. But I keep working on improving. :)

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Jul 25, 2023·edited Jul 25, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

Stunning, Claudia. This will certainly need another read as I'm likely to have missed some nuanced details, but your descriptive language here is beautiful. There's a rich texture to the words that fits the plants and spaces being described, you've nailed that all so well. So much detail and such a believable world being crafted. Love the links with the other stories already told. Love the notion of the Dust Road, the background details that come later on in this piece.

If I were to offer any critique, it would only be in the early dialogue of the sisters and some exposition in their lines that naturally comes through later on towards the very end. Some of that dialogue could be more restrained given you tell it later. But, that's my usual desire of wanting things to be kept hidden from me as a reader 😅

Would Alaska really have forgotten about the corn blight?

Also, after Alexander's comment last week I'm now left seeing dialogue attribution everywhere I look, and maybe I'd snip a few here, but that's again just my own editing tastes.

Also, in reading this, I realise a part of our stories collide in theme (Precipice, I mean). An inevitable collision perhaps, given the subject, (and not necessarily a bad one of course) but it makes me wonder on me shifting focus a bit. But maybe it's ok having a different angle on a similar theme (though my descriptions would not do justice what yours have here! 😊)

Anyway, me rambling as usual. Beautiful work. Beautifully crafted words.

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Thank you, Nathan, for your kind words. I'm not sure if you're going to find many nuanced details, any subtleties are pure coincidence as I didn't intentionally weaved any in the story. I am a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of person and this translates also in my writing. 😅 But if you find anything, I'd be happy to be proven wrong. 😜

I noticed that a lot of the readers are fascinated by the 'Dust Pirates' and the 'Dust Road' and I would also like to ask you: what made you curious about these aspects of the worldbuilding?

Thanks a lot for the feedback on the dialogue, this is a very good observation, if I reduce some of the initial dialogue I can build more tension. I'll have a look once I recover from writing this story. 😅 Spent over 12h only last weekend for the last round of editing. I think that I don't want to see this text for a while.

I think that Alaska would forget about the corn blight because she was 8 years old and her father's disappearance one year later is such a huge change that many minor things that happened previously would be rendered even more insignificant. More, this seed growing colony is in charge of replenishing the seed banks and the blight would have affected only one type of corn from perhaps hundreds planted in a season.

I am stickler for dialogue attribution. Maybe it's because I started by writing screenplays and there you need to attribute every single line of dialogue to a character. I also don't like it when I read a book and I have to go back because I don't know anymore who said who. That's why I'm following Stephen King's advice of always using 'he said', 'she said'. I think that it makes easier for the user.

From what I've read so far, our stories are very different. I think that you can continue writing what you had in mind. Even if it would be the same, it's two takes on the same issues and the stories will be vastly different. Personally, I wouldn't change my course because of this. But I also start writing when everything is pretty much set in stone in terms of worldbuilding. I only add the details on the fly (well, more or less, since I am reading one research book per story to be able to get to those details). And trust me, even that changes the flavour of the story a lot.

Thank you

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Jul 25, 2023·edited Jul 25, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

Thanks Claudia, good info and thoughts. And yes, I know that feeling of not wanting to return to something for a long while.

RE: Dust Road. I'm not sure. The image it conjures up of a secretive seed trade, the name you've given it, both work well to make it feel real and intriguing.

That makes sense about Alaska and the corn :)

Well, if I manage to get around to writing a chapter from Tess' point of view then you'll see where part of my story is going, but thank you for saying that isn't an issue, and you're right, two takes on similar issues will inevitably be within stories that are vastly different 🤗

I look forward to Part II, though hope there aren't too many 12hrs edits ahead for that one ;)

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I thought that the story was done and there will be no more edits for the next two parts, but I was wrong. My husband liked the first part and also the remaining two but gave me some feedback that will lead to more hours of work. Let's see when I'm ready to pick up the story again this week. 😭

Naming the Dust Road was a no-brainer (hint: the Silk Road 🤣, the Tea Horse Road - yes that was a thing and it was huge economically speaking). There is seed trading happening but also a lot of shady trading, it's a jungle really. I'm getting excited about writing that part of the story. But first I'll deal with the cooperatives.

I'm now even more excited to read the Tess chapter. Will it be about food?

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Jul 26, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

There are always more edits, even when there don't need to be more edits ;)

Take your time.

It's great that your husband likes it, too. I'm never quite sure what my wife thinks of mine 😅

I hoped/assumed the inspiration was from the Silk Road. Brilliant.

Hadn't ever heard of the Tea Horse Road -- there's my morning's reading/Googling sorted, hehe.

RE: Tess. It's about where she works and what she works as part of. Involving many plants and seeds that were sought from across the world, and her perspective from living in Vi her entire life.

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This is very exciting, I am really curious to read about your take on seeds and the future. Do you read any book as inspiration/research for this topic?

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Jul 28, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

Yes, your Substack :P

But in terms of books, no, but I've taken notes on some that you've mentioned and I'm nearing the point where I need to to get a little bit of factually believable aspects incorporated.

At its core, I want this to be a story about people and their interconnected lives, but with a throughline of a plot central to the world as a whole. I'm concerned I won't pull the latter off, but just going to try and see.

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Apr 28Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

I will let you get back to your writing. I find plotting sometimes distracting when I know where I want my story to go, but it somehow heads off in its own direction. I need to remember to let the plot develop as it will.

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Apr 28Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

I am not a hard core tech guy, though I appreciate the benefits it can bring to our lives. Sometimes it occupies too much of our lives, when we should be appreciating nature and each other more. We create the tech. it is how it is used that concerns me.

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Yes, my focus with this series is more on our relationship with nature in a future where there's plenty of technology but our ecosystems are greatly endangered because of climate change.

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Apr 28Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

I am looking forward to seeing how todays tech. might evolve in the future

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There are some glimpses but I'm not a hard tech fiction writer. Hope you won't be disappointed.

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Love this world infused with sensory detail! My husband is a copywriter in the robotic agricultural industry, actually-- and we frequently comment on how his work sounds like sci fi.

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Thank you for reading, Lisette. Your husband's job sounds really interesting, I'd love to read some samples. 😂

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Www.lely.com - have fun with the robo-milker rabbit hole! 😅

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Thank you, Lisette, I will have a look. Maybe I get some inspiration for the third part of my story. 😁

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Loved this piece, Claudia, and am excited for the next installment to hit my inbox.

I started my writing journey off with intentions of becoming a screenwriter (and continue to write scripts on occasion), so I'd love to read the screenplay version as well! Sorry to hear in your notes that that process didn't go as hoped, but I'm sure glad that it led you here, to this collection, and to Substack.

Hope you've had a great week!

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Thank you, Garrett, for reading and for taking the time to comment. 🤗

Once I'm done publishing the three parts, I will publish the initial screenplay. The story is completely different but I am curious what the readers have to say. It will be a fun exercise.

Are your screenplays based on your fiction stories?

I am not so interested in writing screenplays anymore, but I would like to have a fiction podcast. I studied screenplay because I thought that I will get better storytelling techniques than by joining an MFA. I think that the study helped me even though it took some time and some hard work from my side to understand exactly how. 😅

The week was busy at work, but looking forwards to the weekend! Wishing you great time as well! 💚

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Jul 24, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

I enjoy world building stories. I am fascinated by your dystopian world although I am not normally a fan of dystopian fiction. I am particularly interested in the dust pirates.

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I'm happy to read that you enjoyed my story despite not being a fan of dystopian fiction. Honestly, it's a genre that is hard to digest and if the story is too tough even I find myself recoiling.

Dust Pirates will be the story number four. And story number five takes places in deep Dust Pirates territory. May I ask, what about the Dust Pirates awakened your curiosity?

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Jul 25, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

It may well be just that I loved the first three dune novels. The ecology has always fascinated me. The concept of a greater purpose, to remake the world better than it is.

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Dune is a huge inspiration, I must admit. And I think that Dust Pirates will echo Dune in some ways. Though it's a short story happening on Earth. :)

I only read the first Dune book, unfortunately. How did you find the other two? Are they as good as the first one?

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Jul 25, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

There where actually 6. Dune (1965)

Dune Messiah (1969)

Children of Dune (1976)

God Emperor of Dune (1981)

Heretics of Dune (1984)

Chapterhouse: Dune (1985)

I read the first 5. I really liked the first 3 and thought that they started losing focus after that. They should all be available at the public library. The series was and still is very popular.

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I heard that the books after Dune were not as good and I think that this is what discouraged me from reading more of them. Which is silly, actually. I should make my own impression. Thanks for sending me the titles. ☺️

What is another of your favourite books besides Dune?

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Jul 26, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

I grew up reading Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clark, mostly hard science fiction. Then discovered Ursula K. Le Guin which lead me to some fantasy, Terry Pratchett, Anne McCaffrey,etc. I found I just started reading authors I liked and didn't pay much attention to the titles I am afraid. I still have a tendency to do that.

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