• Entertainment,  Television

    Star Trek Sunday: Chronological vs Series Order

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    I have a general preference for series order when it comes to watching Star Trek. Or I would if I were starting from the beginning for a re-watch at this point. At this point in my life, I’m more likely to take each series as a separate entity. My daughter and I are closing in on the final season of DS9 and I’m preparing to do an Enterprise watch of my own. More on that another day.

    Most people seem to suggest that if you’re going to start a watch of the entire universe, you go in series order. That looks something like:

    • TOS
    • TAS
    • TOS Movies
    • TNG
    • TNG Movies
    • DS9
    • VOY
    • ENT
    • Reboot Movies
    • DIS
    • Picard
    • Lower Decks

    There is, however, an argument sometimes made for a viewing order that’s in-universe chronological, which would go more like:

    • ENT
    • DIS
    • Reboot Movies
    • TOS
    • TAS
    • TOS Movies
    • TNG to DS9 to VOY with the TNG movies sprinkled in between
    • Lower Decks
    • Picard

    I’m going to leave out all the things supposedly in development at the moment. The TNG-era line is a bit murky. I’ve come across the argument lately that you should break it out by season rather than series. So Season 6 of TNG should be immediately followed by Season 1 of DS9 and then you do this sort of alternating season thing, inserting the TNG movies at the appropriate junctures, until VOY is the only series left running at the beginning of Season 5.

    I’ve even seen someone make the argument that you should go by the stardate in each episode across all three to get a better sense of the history of the Star Trek future of the time period.

    Personally, I come down on the side of series order. Watch the evolution of storytelling, technology, and social issues. Breaking things out by season for the TNG-era shows would make more sense if there was any real crossover in storylines or background events. For the same reason, breaking it out by stardate seems excessive.

    But that’s me. I also wouldn’t bother with the reboot movies again – once was enough for me – and I’d likely skip both Discovery and Picard. Actually, I mostly have skipped Discovery the first time around, but we’re not going to rehash any of those arguments again. If they’re bringing more people to Star Trek, I’m happy.

    However, at this point in my life, Star Trek viewing takes two forms:

    1. Hey, Star Trek is on.
    2. Watching a series in order from beginning to end over time.

    I’m doing the second of these with my oldest daughter and DS9. I’m about to start doing the same with Enterprise on my own, and for partly the same reason. I didn’t see nearly all of it first run and think I probably missed some good stories. Whether I missed some good Trek or not is a different question.

    What’s the right way to watch Star Trek? While I mostly like to have some kind of order in things, I don’t know what the right answer is for anyone else. How do you want to watch it?

    Live long and prosper.

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  • Life,  Philosophy

    Adults Today

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    I try not to make a big deal out of getting old. I’m not there yet, but I can glimpse it from here now and then.

    But when I see what the folks my age on social media are posting more and more of lately, I have to wonder if I’m looking at things wrong.

    There’s a whole lot of back in my day, kids these days don’t have any idea, my generation could handle things, we didn’t have all this fancy stuff, kids don’t understand how the world works, that’s the way it was and we liked it, young people today have it so easy.

    Enough of it that I’m starting to snooze and unfollow people.

    I’m a member of GenX, the supposedly selfish ‘me’ generation, the latchkey kids, the kids who had to learn to amuse themselves because their parents didn’t have time (or inclination) to interact with them. (Hey, all the experts say so, so it must be true.) The kids who, as a result of that, are more mentally ready for the pandemic crackdown than any other generation. (Experts are also saying this, apparently.)

    GenX is in its 40s and early 50s now and at least some of the people in that age group are adopting motivational habits demonstrated by Boomers and the Silent generation, something those generations inherited from their parents and grandparents, and so on, something that might be a partially universal, complaining about those who come after them.

    And I really don’t get how this works, so maybe it’s not quite universal.

    If I think back to when older people were making the same complaints about my generation or age cohort, I remember it came across as bitter whining. And you know what, it still does.

    Wah, wah, wah. Kids today have stuff that we didn’t have. Kids today don’t care about the things that were important to me growing up because those things don’t all apply to society now and I don’t want to admit it. Kids today sometimes even get the help they need. Kids today have it cushy and easy.

    Right. Easy.

    We forget how easy we had it. Partly because we didn’t and partly because we have it easier now.

    Parts of the two generations that came before us accelerated and enabled the gathering of resources and wealth into the hands of a few. Parts of the two generations that came before us enabled the erosion of the social fabric and safety net of our society. Parts of the two generations that came before us were the reason we grew up during the height of the cold war when the doomsday clock was always a few seconds from midnight and we half expected to wake up to a nuclear holocaust on any given day.

    We’ve reaped the shreds of what was sown before us because that’s what was left and struggled to pretend those shreds are good and right. Now we’re ready to denigrate our children and soon grandchildren because they aren’t grateful for the scraps of the shreds that are left because all of the ridiculous economic, social, and societal policies and practices that have gone on since the end of World War II continue accelerating in the background.

    If our kids get to go to post secondary education, they can expect to graduate not with a few thousand dollars in debt, but with tens of thousands.

    They bring that debt into a world where the cost of housing has gone up as fast or faster than tuition so there’s almost no way they’ll manage a mortgage until they’re 2/3 of the way to retirement, especially since that student debt counts against them. Never mind that wages and salaries haven’t remotely kept pace.

    They’re supposed to be grateful for entry level jobs that keep them barely above the poverty line. Alternately, they’re supposed to be grateful for minimum-wage jobs that don’t and work hard to get something better because those jobs are just for starting out, never mind that minimum wage was originally designed to be able to support a family.

    They’re coming with all of that into a world that’s increasingly full of waste with air that’s increasingly hard to breathe and a temperature that’s making existence increasingly difficult for every living thing on the planet. And why is that? Decisions that the major players in previous generations have made, and continue to make, without thought to long-term consequences. Because hey, I got mine, so screw you.

    Yeah, kids today have it easy. By all means let’s point the finger at people who had very little to do with the world they’re inheriting and try to make them feel bad about it.

    My message to the people who have picked up the habit of complaining about “kids today”, break the habit while you can. If you’re going to collectively whine about whole generations, try to do it somewhere I don’t have to listen. Because I’m sick of it, and I’m going to start calling it out more, and I think we all need to.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

    Mostly Cloudy: The subscription era
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  • Entertainment,  Television

    Star Trek Sunday: Lower Decks Revisited

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    Way back in August, I posted about my initial reaction to Lower Decks. The verdict at that point was that it was my favourite new iteration of Trek since Enterprise ended. We were only two episodes in at that point, but the first season is over now and it’s been renewed for a second season. I hope it gets more.

    Why? I’m going to steal most of the paragraph I wrote last time:

    Lower Decks is about friendship, loyalty, compassion, understanding, finding your way, coming of age, and expanding what it means to be a Starfleet officer and a sentient being, human or otherwise. The character interactions come back to the base of Star Trek: supporting each other in a strange but hopeful future and building towards it being even better while doing the right thing because it’s the right thing.

    Kind of what Star Trek is all about. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations and building a better world in every way you can.

    I’ve really enjoyed Lower Decks so far. It’s been fun, it’s been funny, and it’s been Star Trek.

    The reboot movies gave us action movies in Star Trek wrappings. They were beautiful, they were exciting, they were well cast, but only the third one tried to be Star Trek. It didn’t miss, but it didn’t really land, either.

    The first season of Discovery was beautiful but had a lot of questionable aesthetic and writing choices and didn’t give me anything in the way of actually being Star Trek other than taking place in the same universe. I’m told it’s better since, but I’m not ready to give it a second try yet. I felt similarly about DS9 in its first run. In the middle of Season 6, I still kind of feel that way.

    Picard tried to give us big ideas but mostly missed in the fuzzy, drawn out plotting and meandering storyline, a show that could have been a mini-series instead, told in half the amount of time while losing very little story.

    However, I’ve said it before and I’ll restate it now: if any of these have brought new people to Star Trek who will explore the roots and the concepts and the heart of the series, that’s a good thing. It doesn’t matter if I like any particular series or movie and it doesn’t matter what I think of the respect (or lack of it) that might have been shown for source material or characters or concepts. If it means Star Trek continues to get made, that’s a good thing overall.

    I’m probably not the audience for Prodigy (although will likely try it anyway), and I have concerns about Section 31 (nothing wrong with a little moral ambiguity in story telling, but I’m afraid this is going to push that off the deep end in search of the dirty, gritty universes that seem to be so popular in recent years), but I have great hopes for Strange New Worlds as a return to the episodic heart of things exploring the universe and what it means to be human.

    In that light, Lower Decks has given me star Trek back. It’s about people and ideas and making a better world. And sure, it’s given it to me in the form of a sometimes-wacky comedy series, but the deep stuff is there, too, and that’s what I really want from my Trek.

    Live long and prosper.

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  • Reading,  Studying

    English Is Weird

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    Okay, so that’s not really news to anyone, but if you study it in detail, you start to discover just how weird. To borrow a quote: “English is not a language, it’s three languages wearing a trench coat pretending to be one.” – Gugulethu Mhlungu

    According to articles and studies I’ve been reading lately, English pulls about 82% of its vocabulary and most of its structures from Latin, French, and earlier Germanic Languages (Old English, Old Norse, etc). The rest comes from Greek, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and a whole lot of things that are based on language of origin for trade goods (coffee comes from Arabic via Dutch, for example).

    To painfully extend the analogy, English also goes through other languages’ pockets looking for random nouns and popular participles.

    Right now, I’m studying towards a TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certification. The first big piece of that is understanding grammar. Now, as a voracious reader for most of my life and a long-term writer, I feel like I’ve got a good understanding of my native language. And I do, but up until know it’s been at least a partially intuitive understanding. Sure, like everyone else, I learned the grammar basics in grade school, and it was drilled into me so hard that I retain at least some of those basics even know, but aside from that being a long time ago, it really was only the basics. The structure of English is a lot more complicated than most of us even want to think about.

    Examples:

    1. I know there’s a bunch of different kinds of pronouns and how to use them because I’ve been doing it for almost fifty years. I have never sat down to work out what they were and what the subtle differences between some of them are until now. (There are 9 major categories, btw, and I’m currently able to name them all because of a strained acronym: DRRRIIPPP.)
    2. Gerund versus Present Participle. Same thing only different. One’s a noun and one’s a verb. Until very recently, while I’ve known what they were, I’ve really just used them and intuitively known whether or not I had it right. There wasn’t really any thought process involved. Only now, thinking about it is important, so I’ve been thinking about it.
    3. Adjectives go in a certain order by type. We all know it, but most of us don’t know what that order is. We just use it. So a lot of people will grammatically squirm if I tell them about my gold new beautiful bowtie, but not know exactly why. It should be a beautiful new gold bowtie, and everyone should feel better now. (Just think if I’d told you about my sealable leather Corinthian brown rectangular new large pretty briefcase.)
    4. Auxiliary verbs. Particularly Modal verbs… yeah, I don’t know if I’m ready to try explaining those in a sentence or two yet. Try: verbs you use with other verbs to add more meaning to of the sentence. Helpful? I don’t know. I might like to know, but I don’t think I’m quite there yet. I think I’m close.
    5. We’ve all seen the memes talking about close vs close, read vs read, bass vs bass, entrance vs entrance, and so on. Think about coming at the English language as an adult and how much of a giant pain the butt these are going to be.

    And so on and so on.

    The point is, at least in my head, that just because you intuitively understand a language and speak it fluently, that doesn’t mean you can teach it to someone. It’s just like anything else. In martial arts, I can’t teach you how to throw a proper punch if I don’t understand the body mechanics that go into it. How much actually goes into knowing how to hammer in a nail? Have you ever thought about all the things you actually need to know to figure out how long it’s going to take to get to your destination at the speed you’re going?

    English is worse.

    I’ve worked through enough and studied almost enough at this point that I think I’m going to write the exam this weekend. When the mark comes back, unless I’m completely out to lunch on how well I’m understanding things, I’ll move onto the middle part of the training, which also makes up about half of things, Methodology. I.e., once you have a functional (rather than merely intuitive) understanding of how English works, you can start to learn how to teach it.

    I fully expect that to be the hardest part of the program for me, but the journey continues.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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  • Keep calm and don't teach your grandmother how to suck eggs.
    Life

    Teaching Granny to Suck Eggs

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    My wife and I had quite different childhoods. She grew up more or less in one place – the place we live now, in fact – with a stable friend group and a stable cultural experience.

    I was a military brat, moving every few years. Even after we settled into what would be Dad’s final posting (he managed to wangle two postings in a row at one base and I did two years of public school and four years of high school in one spot), I still felt like I was moving every frequently until well after I left home. Every base dad was stationed at, we lived in base housing for a year or so and then off-base for a year or so before changing provinces. Once we landed in Ontario, it was only the one house, but I spent the last two years of public school there before “moving” again to high school. After high school, I had a gap year where I almost went to RMC but hated the experience, before moving once per year as a student, even if all in the same city and then for a couple of years after that, but in a different city. Really, it was the summer I was 25, when we bought our first house, before I lived in one spot for longer. We stayed in that house until just before I turned 32, making it the longest I’d lived anywhere until we moved to this house, where we’ve been for nearly eighteen years now.

    That said, I’ve only really felt like I actually lived in this town since COVID began and I’ve been hardly leaving it. Up until March, I’ve always worked somewhere that isn’t here, that I’ve had to drive half an hour or more to get to. Frequently, it was more convenient to shop where I was working. Most of my friends were through work and so was most of my social life, the rest being through my wife’s friend network. This was just where I slept, and I did most of my living elsewhere. Karate eventually bound me to the community a bit more because the dojo was here, but it was almost the only thing that did. Yes, my kids went to school here, but since I was never really in town, that’s been their tie, not mine.

    All of which is a long way of saying that I had a different childhood and growing up experience culturally than most people. I’ve lived on two of the three coasts and a couple of places in between and scattered places even when I started spending most of my life in one province. I don’t have that fundamental, growing up in one spot background. Maybe I missed something and maybe I didn’t. Hard to judge that now.

    But if one thing is apparent, even 25 years into our marriage, and after almost 30 together, my wife and I have a lot of very different cultural reference points. There are various television shows and musicians and cultural commonalities that we don’t have in common, almost as many as we do, and it manifests in weird ways sometimes.

    Recently, she texted to remind me of something during a vet visit that had already been a topic of conversation between us more than once, plus research on my part, and that I’d already dealt with in my conversation with the vet as I was sure I’d told her I would.

    Instead of texting back a simple, ‘K’, or something similar, I sent back that she was teaching granny to suck eggs. Yeah, I know. I should be smarter than that. Some days, I’m not.

    This resulted in an extended text conversation, that I really didn’t have time for at the vet and carried over into a verbal one when we both got home. The short of it was that she’d never heard the expression before and wondered what planet I was from, anyway.

    If you’ve never heard it before, I won’t go into the etymology, but take it as “You’re trying to tell me to do something or how to do something that I’m very familiar with, thank you.” And there’s probably an undercurrent of, “Please stop.”

    I thought it was a very common saying. Apparently, that’s either in my head, or it isn’t common around here. Where she’s from. Where we live. Where we have lived since the end of 2002.

    Ultimately, things boil down to the fact that I know I’m weird. I know that I don’t have all (or even necessarily most) of the same cultural touch points that everyone around me does. I’m okay with that, but by now you’d think I’d’ve learned to let more of them go instead of constantly trying to figure them out so I can express things differently. The thing is it happens just as frequently in the opposite direction. I can’t possibly count the number of times I’ve thought, just in the past year, “What the hell does that mean?” and then had to puzzle it out in the background while the conversation goes on around me.

    It seems likely that there will always be more to figure out.

    Life is weird, so am I. Both of those are likely to remain true.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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  • Writing

    200 Days in a Row

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    Today, as I type this blog post, I’m marking 200 days in a row with time spent on a writing activity – drafting, editing, plotting, or some combination of those – every single day.

    In that time, counting this post, I’ve had a net gain of 256,993 words. That number will go up a little since I still have a little time booked for drafting today, though not much, but it’s a pretty good number any way I happen to slice it.

    While 200 days in a row of just about anything is impressive, I wasn’t really paying attention so didn’t mark 100, and I won’t likely notice 300 as it goes by, but if I continue on this streak, I probably will note when I hit a year, since that will be a really big deal at least in my head. Depending on how you want to count things, that’s either March 19th (365 days in a row) or March 20th (the anniversary of the beginning of the streak). Either way, I’ll try to remember to mark the occasion as long as nothing happens to break the streak in the meantime.

    For now, I’ve got a little more typing to do today.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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  • Television

    Darkmok and Jalad at Tanagra

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    Or, TNG at 33.

    Last Monday, Star Trek: The Next Generation turned 33.

    A couple of days later, my favourite episode turned 29.

    “Darmok”, the second episode of the 5th season of TNG, first aired on 30 September 1991. The Children of Tama, an alien species with an alien language, want to establish a dialogue with the Federation, and the Universal Translator seems to have no problem with the language, but it also gives the Enterprise crew what seems like gibberish. At least until they figure out that the Tamarians speak in metaphor and allegory. Of course, without the common cultural references, talking to each other is still hit and miss at best.

    As Picard and the alien captain Dathon learn to work together against a dangerous beast while marooned on a random planet, they also slowly learn to talk to each other, and we start to get a few pieces here and there.

    “Temba, his arms open.” A gift, an offering, tell me more.

    “Shaka, when the walls fell.” A failure. (I use this once in a while. It confuses nearby people but it’s moment of great joy when someone understands.)

    “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.” Work together.

    “Sokath, his eyes open.” I understand.

    There are plenty more, but you get the idea. While they eventually manage to talk to each other, in the process, it costs Dathon his life.

    It’s an episode ripe with depth and meaning and it does what Star Trek does best: exploring and expanding what it means to be human while demonstrating that we’re at our best when striving to be more than we are. It’s TNG at its peak, as was a lot of 5th season, and I remember watching that first airing with friends on an old TV in student housing. Nostalgia, perhaps, but if I watch the episode now, I get the same feeling of wonder even though I know what’s going to happen.

    Live long and prosper.

    Mirab, his sails unfurled.

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  • Writing

    2020 Q3 Writing Overview

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    Q3 being July, August, and September, which account for a total of just over 93,000 words once I’ve totalled all the buckets. Not as impressive as Q2’s 153k, but far better than the 21.7k achieved in Q1. Even though I’m trying to switch gears to become a full-time student now, that wasn’t the case for most of Q3. And there’s a big difference between the 32-36 hours per week I’m trying to spend on Academics right now (although, that will go up when I get to carry a full university course load), and the 55-60 (or even more) I used to spend out of the house at work (or commuting) and dealing with stuff from home.

    By most measures, it’s been a good quarter and the year has been pretty solid. Taking the period as a whole, I averaged 1011 words per day and didn’t pass a single day without writing or editing something. A few of those days had very small word counts, even down in only double digits when exclusively editing, but I had almost twice as many days with over 2k words produced, and several of those in the 4k range.

    Falling back to that original January 5th post about 2020’s goals (which, when I open it, isn’t even remotely as comprehensive as I remember), I’ll measure Q3 and the year to date against those a bit, and note again where I’ve adjusted things to match priority changes.

    First, on the writing side:

    1. Plot novel. Basic goal = 3, Stretch = +2, Super Stretch = +2. Q3 = 0, leaving me at 2 for 2020 so far, but that third one is in progress so I’m confident of hitting at least the Basic goal here.
    2. Draft novel. Basic goal = 0. Stretch = 1, Super Stretch = +1. Q3 = 0, bringing us to 0 for 2020 so far. So still right on track because I didn’t plan on doing a lot of drafting this year, but I have put a little work in on the Universal Destiny sequel. No promises I’ll actually finish it this year, but we’ll see.
    3. Short Stories. Basic goal = 12, Stretch = +3, Super Stretch = +3. Q3 = 3, bringing me to 8 for 2020 so far, lengths ranging from 350 words to 27,000. I have two short stories in progress at the moment, so the Basic goal should be within reach, at least.
    4. Flash Stories. Basic goal = 12, Stretch = +3, Super Stretch = +3. Q3 = 1, bringing the total to 3 for 2020 so far. Some work to do here.
    5. Non-fiction book. Stretch = 1. Q3 = 0, bringing us to 0 for 2020 so far. I’ve put together the basic plan here, but sincerely doubt I’ll find time to start writing it before the end of the year.
    6. Blog posts. Basic goal = 100, Stretch = +25, Super Stretch = +25. Q3 = 51 posted and 5 written for a special project, bringing me to 141 for 2020. Basic reached, Stretch reached, and I feel like I’m probably going to smash through the Super Stretch before October is out.
    7. ST Audio Script editing. Basic goal = 8. Q3 = 0, and I dropped this goal in late May, moving straight into converting these to prose. I don’t expect to ever produce the audio drama, though they remain a wonderful idea in my mind.
    8. Novel editing. Basic goal = 2, Stretch = +1, Super Stretch = +1. Q3 = 1.5, bringing us to 4.5 for 2020 so far. As I said the last time I wrote one of these, I’m looking at this on an editing-pass basis. Post-drafting needs 4 different kinds of editing passes, so I’m counting any post-drafting pass on any novel-length story as 0.25 and taking a total.
    9. Story Editing. Basic goal = 12, Stretch = +3, Super Stretch = +3. Q3 = 0, so still sitting at 6 for 2020 so far. Something else that needs work.
    10. Fanfic novel editing. Basic goal = 1. Q3 = 0, keeping me at 1 for 2020 so far. There was no Stretch or Super Stretch goal here. I do have a couple of short novels drafted and that I’ve done revision notes for (two of the previously mentioned audio script conversions), but they aren’t near the top of the list again yet.

    Next, Publishing:

    1. Agent/Publisher Hunt, Novel. Basic goal = 1. I’ve suspended this goal indefinitely. I’m more and more convinced that pursuing traditional publishing at novel length isn’t worth the time and effort for anyone who hasn’t already made it big there. The market is… unfortunate, I think, and the nature of the number crunch makes it a smaller investment to replace a new author with another new author than to work with someone who didn’t immediately become a bestseller than it is to try getting them there.
    2. Story Submissions. Not going to talk about this one right now. It’s probably not going to get much love between now and the calendar rollover, either.
    3. Poetry collection. Basic goal = 1, Super Stretch = +1. Q3 = 0, so I’m still at 1 for 2020 but I’ve started the poem selection for another book.
    4. Indie Novel. Basic goal = 2, Stretch = +1, Super Stretch = 1. Q3 = 0, so I’m still only at 1 for 2020. I have six novels fully edited, but the one at the top of the queue, I can’t seem to get the cover right. It might be time to move things around a bit.
    5. Indie Collection. Basic goal = 1. Q3 = 0, so still at 1 for 2020. I have some plans here, but they’ll likely materialize next year.
    6. Indie short. Basic goal = 6, Stretch = +3, Super Stretch = +3. Q3 = 3, bringing me to 8 for 2020 so far. I think I managed to mis-report this by one last time, but 8 is the current accurate number. The Stretch goal should be good. The Super Stretch is still possible.
    7. Fan Fiction stories. Basic goal = 4. Q3 = 1, bringing us to 4 and the Basic goal for 2020.
    8. Fan Fiction Novel. Basic goal = 1. Q3 = 1, reaching the goal. This was A Matter of Honour, in early September.
    9. Fan Fiction Collection. Basic goal = 1. Q3 = 1, reaching the goal. This collected the 8 Batch 1 TOS stories and happened at the end of August.

    Marketing goals. I haven’t done a lot here, just trying to maintain consistency while scaling back my expectations a little.

    1. Blog Posts. Basic goal = 3x/week, Stretch = 4x/week, Super Stretch = 5x. Q3 = 3.9x/week in total. And it would have been more like 4.4 if it hadn’t been one of the things I scaled back on in September. I’ve worked out a plan for Q4 that should make sure I stay above the 3x per week level for the whole year. YTD, I’m currently sitting at 3.5.
    2. Facebook. Basic goal = 3x/week, Stretch = 4x/week, Super Stretch = Daily. Q3 = 6x per week on average. This isn’t that hard to maintain since it’s mostly cross posting, but that means if I don’t blog as much or fall asleep on Instagram, the numbers go down.
    3. Twitter. Basic goal = 3x/week, Stretch = 5x/week, Super Stretch = Daily. Q3 = Averaging Daily. I said it last time, but I suck at Twitter. I’m not very interactive there. Blog posts and serials get announced here, plus a bit of Instagram. The way Twitter seems to function these days, I’m not sure it’s a useful platform for the author who’s early in their career other than as a placeholder or to maintain social contacts made in earlier days.
    4. Instagram. Basic goal = 2x/week, Stretch = 3x/week. Q3 = 2x/week, but only if I round up. This is a target to get better at for Q4, to the point where I’ve built a schedule of reminders for the days in October I’m supposed to think about posting without posting too often. This was a late added goal, so I’ll be very happy to develop a routine and get close to the Basic by the end of the year.
    5. Youtube. Basic goal = 1x/month, Super Stretch = every two weeks. Q3 = 0 posts. Fail. I’m building a schedule for Q4 that integrates with everything else I’ve got going on.

    The monthly newsletter I mentioned last time is now on the list to be a birthday present from me to me. I’ve got the basic design of things, I think, but still have to properly pick and learn software and figure out how to get it going without it becoming a chore. Not quite there yet.

    The end of Q3 brought me a new, and very different, normal. I’m a student again for the first time in decades, and that will ramp up over the next year along with some new professional goals both short and long-term (long-term as in the remainder of my professional working life). Writing is still a thing. It will always be a thing. It just can’t be the main thing right now. But I hope to get there.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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  • Writing

    September Writing Report

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    A direct quote from my August writing report: “September will either be comparable or less than half of that, depending on how something works out. It may sound strange, but I’m actually very much hoping for the less than half version because that means something really, really important to me and the rest of my life has become possible to launch right now.”

    Kind of how it turned out.

    September was a weird month. The first week or so started out solid but then I migrated away from some writing and most publishing tasks as I tried to get everything lined up for my future life plans. Then the first phase of those plans kicked in and a lot of the remaining writing tasks dipped to minimal levels, compounded by a variety of emergency and semi-emergency trips to two different vets for several animals We have a zoo, I may have noted before. Since I last discussed it, it now includes two rabbits, but one less snake. More on that another day, maybe. It was rapid and surprising and I’m still upset about it.

    But to the writing, it dropped down to very low word counts for the last third of the month on the draft in progress, no editing, no publishing, and there hasn’t even been a blog post for about a week and a half.

    Even still, the overall count came out higher than July.

    Overall, it was still a decent month with a total word count of 26.7k. Out of nine months, it’s actually number four. I do expect October to be lower, but I hope still in the sort of 20k range.

    Still, it’s all about the available time.

    Writing accomplishments:

    1. Returning to the Warforge universe, I’m about 60% through the Final Draft of the first of the three novels. I’ve started trying to schedule some editing time into my days to help this along.
    2. Finished the basic script conversion of Draugr Rising. Needs some polish and adjustment as there are a few bits of dialogue that are much to long for the screen in context, but overall, it works pretty well. Probably needs some format adjustments, too, since I’m not very experienced at the script-writing thing at this point.
    3. Interrupted Shore Leave, “Smog Alert”, “Tholian Rescue, allSecond Draft. The first is a short novel, the second a short novelette, and the third within visual distance of novelette territory, all taking place in the Star Trek prime universe, TOS era but in the final year of the five-year mission.
    4. First draft complete on the first of the Batch 3 TOS stories, this one a novelette showing the gradual collection of crew on the USS Plataea, a Saladin-class destroyer under the command of the freshly-promoted Vince DeSalle of TOS fame. The way this came together makes me think this might be the first in a set of stories if I want it to be. As yet untitled.
    5. Almost a thousand words (at one hundred or so per day) into a still-untitled story about someone infiltrating the ranks of corporate pit fighters.
    6. A total of 12 blog posts published, with 2 more written for another project, giving me a weekly average of 3.3 for the month.
    7. One whole journal entry.

    September was a lighter than planned publishing month, with exactly one thing actually going up, and not something that I can do other than give away for free.

    1. A Matter of Honour – Star Trek TOS fanfic scheduled to drop on September 6th, it’s done and ready to go.

    October will see something published, but I’m not going to push my luck promising more than one item at this point. I’m trying hard to focus on academics at the moment, and that’s likely going to continue to the end of the year at this point. First quarter should see a combination of gig work and academics, but by the end of next year, I hope to be a full-time student as my primary focus, and that’s going to last 3-4 years. The writing may be a little slower for a while, and that’s okay.

    Still haven’t missed a day since my company shut down in late March. Counting today, that’s 196 in a row.

    That’s worth being happy about.

    I’m hoping in October to:

    1. Complete the final draft pass for all three of the Warforge: Caledonia books.
    2. Finish the basic outline for the Draugr Rising sequel, Kami Falling. I’m down to the detail and scene level plotting at this point.
    3. 3 blog posts per week.
    4. Publish 1-3 books or shorter works.

    As always, there is a grand plan, and it’s almost time to start looking at a more detailed level for 2021.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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  • Writing

    A Writing Experiment

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    I haven’t been writing about writing much lately, have I?

    Maybe we’ll fix that today since I want to share an experiment I’ve been trying.

    I haven’t been getting a lot of writing in during the past couple of weeks as I try to line up the ducks for the next phase of my life. While the first row was lined up about a week ago, I’ve got the second row lined up now and I’m jumping into things starting tomorrow. (For reference, I’m now registered in that TEFL course I mentioned, having picked the one I want and built a schedule to get it done in the time frame I want. Everything is cleared and the course is live. If it weren’t for vet appointments, it would be the rest of my week.)

    But the writing I have gotten in has been a sort of experiment on the fiction side. Every night, I’m trying to add 250 words to a story longhand. The next day, I’m transferring those words to a Word document and adding to them or modifying them as I see fit. In some cases, those modifications are fairly extensive, and once or twice there’s been a side trip to expand a very short scene. Today, I decided to get the long hand work in early. With a gap of a couple of hours, I did the typing as well, so I sort of finished the first and second draft of a story on the same day.

    Going strictly by the long hand version, the story is 6010 words long, but the word document says 8158 words. That’s a bigger difference than I normally get between first and second draft. Between first and final, really, but I think it’s gotten a lot of the editing that would have happened both making changes and tidying things up. I’ll be interested to see how much of a difference in word count there is between this and the third draft. I’m not expecting much.

    It’s a fanfiction story, by the way, the first of the TOS Batch 3 stories, starring a freshly-promoted Vincent DeSalle suddenly in command of a destroyer that should have been scrapped but was fixed up instead and is now off to patrol the Romulan border. Not a lot of action, but a good bit of character exploration, and I think I’m going to come back to this ship in the future. I already like most of the crew members I’ve introduced.

    More immediately, I’m going to try this experiment again but working in a universe of my own this time to see how it works out, and I’ve already got the opening scene in my head. Well, the opening of the opening scene, anyway.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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