• Life,  Writing

    590 Days in a Row

    by On the 20th of March of 2020, five days after almost everything else had shut down for COVID, a week after I’d had to have individual conversations with the 70+ staff in my department that the casino was shutting down for a few weeks while society got a grip on COVID (and no, we didn’t know exactly how long, but the indications we’d been given suggested we’d be open again before summer – look back on that now and choose your emotional reaction), upper management gave most of the rest of us the same speech, ultimately leaving just the General Managers and the site Maintenance Managers for our district,…

  • Writing

    The Plan

    by Or part of it, anyway. Because there is one. It’s reasonably detailed, too. The question that remains is how close I’ll stick to it. Well, and how much the universe and regular life events will interfere with me trying to stick to it. At a high level, the writing plan is relatively straight forward and consists of a target number of Flash pieces, Short Stories, Novels (just one of those), Poems, Journal entries, and Blog posts. There will still be a focus on editing this year, but I’m more caught up than I was when I started that focus, um, before COVID maybe? It’s been a while.  But I…

  • Publishing,  Writing

    Change in Design Philosophy

    by I’ve recently undergone a bit of design philosophy change when it comes to e-books. Well, books in general, but e-books specifically. I’ve always enjoyed those few pages some publishers put in the back of the book giving you a taste of the sequel or another work by the author. The first couple of chapters or to the end of the scene that breaks 5,000-ish words. A glimpse of things to come. Love it. Not everyone does, and that’s fine. But I have seen a few notes here and there that it upsets some people to get to the end of the story before they’ve gotten to the end of…

  • Life,  Studying,  Writing

    Another Trip Around the Sun

    by I’m 51 today. If you’re keeping track, that means I was born in 1970. It also means I’ve spent the last few years growing more conscious of my age and the ages of the important people around me, particularly the ones who are significantly older. Strange how we grow more aware of our mortality in middle age. To go along with that, there’s the idea with deep roots in my head that I need to make the rest of my time in the universe as productive and meaningful as I can. In the neighbourhood of my 50th birthday last year, I significantly overestimated how productive I’d be on the…

  • Writing

    A Break from Serials, Among Other Things

    by Not a lot of blogging lately, hmm? And you may or may not have noticed that I’m taking a break from serials right now, having allowed both Heroes Inc and A Matter of Honour to run to completion without immediately starting another. Also, April is shaping up to be the lowest monthly word count since the pandemic started because I’ve pretty much only done editing this month, plus just a little blogging. The reason for all of these is the same: I’ve been nose to the grindstone, pedal to the metal, shoulder to the wheel working on getting my teaching ESL course done, or as done as possible before…

  • Writing

    Yup, Still Writing FanFic

    by There’s really only one reason, and that reason trumps all of the arguments against doing it, which mostly boil down to how you can’t make money playing in other people’s universes unless you’re specifically invited by the rights holder. Here’s the thing, though. I don’t write my fanfic because I’m trying to make money at it, I’m doing it because I want new stories in the Star Trek prime universe that I would have enjoyed reading or seeing on the screen. If anyone else happens to enjoy them, too, then that’s a good thing. So far, I’m at: Published = 2 novels and 7 short stories. And I’m using…

  • Selection of tools
    Writing

    Construction in Progress

    by Or maybe spring cleaning. Or both, really, but the cleaning part will likely go past spring. Some significant changes are happening around the site right now. I’m trying to completely reorganize so that it’s more intuitive to find things and folks who visit are seeing the things they care about as well as the things I’d like them to see. The big changes: I’m switching to a static-ish front page (you may already have noticed this, or maybe not; it’s not like I get a tonne of traffic – click here to see if you’re interested). This will ultimately have a sort of standard format that includes a few…

  • Writing

    I Hate Flashbacks

    by I hate flashbacks in fiction. I’m not saying don’t ever use them. I’m not even saying I don’t ever use them. But where they exist, they should: Be really, really short. Be really, really interesting. Actually move the main plot forward. The problem is, nearly all flashbacks fail on one or more of these. More likely, they: Are very intrusive and tend to throw me out of the story. Serve to insert some “clever” bit of worldbuilding or backstory that would serve the actual story better by being included in more “current” events. Take up far more narrative space than what they’re adding warrants. Interrupt the flow of the…

  • Writing

    I Hate Dialogue Tags

    by He said, she replied, Bob yelled, etc, etc, etc. To the point where if there are more than a couple in a short story, I start to cringe. Even worse if there are adverbs involved. There’s lots of well-meaning writing advice out there (some of it by incredibly well known and successful writers) about how dialogue tags should be invisible so you should only use ‘said’ except in extreme circumstances, that they’re only there to tell the reader who’s talking, that they help the story along. I take a different view. They’re more invisible if they aren’t actually there. The reader should be able to tell who’s talking by…

  • Writing

    2020 Vs My “Best” Writing Year Ever

    by I thought it might be amusing to contrast 2020 with my best writing year ever, 2014. In 2020, we had a variety of ups and downs as a society and I had a lot of them personally. While I was technically at home for a lot of the year, there were a variety of life changes in that time, and those were very much reflected in my writing output. For the first quarter of the year, I was in a high stress, high pressure job that consumed 60-ish hours of my life per week, plus a half hour commute in each direction on five of those days. Along came…