Thursday, December 11, 2008

NaNoWriMo...its over!

November has come and gone, and I have 50,000+ words to show for it. I won NaNoWriMo, but got a form rejection for the 4th quarter of Writers of the Future. I guess one out of two isn't bad.

Time to give that story another pass through for spelling errors and send it out again. I refer to Heinlein's Rule #5: Keep the story in the mail until someone buys it.

Fire and forget.

It's a bit early to review the year, but I have to say I'm very pleased with my level of production. I have to go back and count, but I estimate 150,000+ words for the year...the most for me since I've gotten serious about writing.

Now it's back to finishing up the story for Q1 of the next WotF.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

NaNoWriMo -- The words keep on rollin'

NaNoWriMo week 4 starts monday. It's the home stretch and I'm primed for a big run.

In week three, I made the biggest strides, yet, to eat away at my word shortage. TECHNICALLY, there is no shortage. The first two days of the month I spent trying to finish the short story I was working on. That was about 3000 words over those two days, but I chose not to include those in my NaNo project. I'm trying to keep it honest.

Heading into week 4, I'm 1.6 days behind. If I hold the productivity that I've been making than I'll cross 50K with a couple days to spare. I will have won NaNoWriMO. It will be my biggest writing achievement to date. That leads to the next challenge: Maintaining that productivity after NaNo is over. If I can do that, the first draft of my first novel will be done by Christmas (projecting between 80 and 100K words total.)

I guess that will be the test for whether or not I've really learned something in the month of November, then, won't it?

50K FTW!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

NaNoWriMo working for me

The second week of NaNoWriMo is called the 'sophomore slump'. Not for me. I had a 2 day word deficit going, but I'm chipping away at it steadily. The novel started out pretty rough, as I said in the previous post, but I've written some scenes that I'm pretty happy with.

I've also stumbled upon the Farpoint Media family of podcasts. I've found some really good writing related shows that i'll be listening to regularly. I personally recommend DragonPage, Cover to Cover with Michael R. Menennga and Michael Stackpole. You can check out the full line of podcasts at Farpoint Media

That's all for now.

50K FTW!!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A little off the pace

My NaNoWriMo word count is off a bit, but I'm pretty pleased with my progress. Write everyday, dammit. That's the montra, and I've been close. I do need a couple of big days to get back on track and I hope they happen soon so that my word deficit doesn't get to be insurmountable.

They say the first week is the honeymoon. Your excited, your determined. The second week is coming up and everyone says that's when it gets hard. The novelty of the endeavor has warn off. Your internal editor is sreaming that you're writing total crap. The impulse is to go cycle back and fix what you've done.

That's not the point of NaNo.

Writing...and writing the goal. The stuff I've written so far is probably some of the most disjointed I've ever done. The beginning flails about and all together it flows like clogged sewer line...but I'm doing it.

My one complaint (if there is one) is the lack of science fiction novels being written in my local NaNo region. I haven't looked at every profile, of course, but there seem to be a butt load of fantasy, some of which is World of Warcraft fan fic.

Noticing this took me back to the discussion I had with Rick Novy about Fantasy Vs. Science Fiction in publishing. I still think it's easier to break into fantasy. More titles published. The publishers are more likely to buy lots more first novel manuscripts if they seem competent, throw them out into the market and see what sticks. i don't think Sci-Fi has that luxury.

But enough of that. Back to NaNo work.



Sunday, October 26, 2008


This year I'm participating in the National Novel Writing Month challenge.

Write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. It's tough.

My novel won't likely be finished at 50k, but if I make that number it's a winner to me.

Get the details at

50K FTW!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Live your lives as normal

I've got to go a different route for this post. There probably will be very little about writing or machinima this time. I feel like its time that I try to shed my own light on this economic turmoil that our country is going through.

First of all, I find almost unfathomable that the biggest investment banks and insurance companies would go belly up at the same time. Lehman Brothers...really??? An investment bank started during the civil war that has weathered two world wars, the great depression, three other wars, the stock market crash of '87 and everything else all of a sudden throws in the towel.


Washington Mutual?? Now the biggest bank failure in history... All at once?


Pardon the conspiracy theory flavor of this, but believe me when I tell you this was engineered. There is such a want from a few select liberal powerhouses to move this country to a socialist format that they will stop at nothing to make it happen.

The ground work is being laid under the disguise of "change". Barack Obama is the poster boy for this movement. The current administration is (unfortunately) weak, ineffective, and disliked by the people partly from their own policies and mostly from the media microanalyzing and playing up anything that could me thought of as a mistake or a misstep. This is the perfect time for all of this to be put into place under the disguise of "change".

Just a side note here about the administration. President Bush's approval ratings are at historical lows, 20 or 30 percentile that last time I saw. But the democratically controlled congress that was voted in because the people were dismayed by the performance of the congress when the republicans were in charge has achieved SINGLE DIGIT approval ratings!!!

Oh yeah, change is good. (Geesh)

In this period of economic turmoil (brought on by the Clinton administration, I might add) its easy for people to be wowed by the shiny packaging of Obama's sales pitch for stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Don't be fooled!!! How many socialist systems have lasted longer than our free market economy??? None that I can think of. I'd have to do some research to confirm that.

Listen to me on this...

The way to make it through these economic troubles is simple if the government doesn't monkey around with it (with the exception of putting back in place regulations that were instituted after the great depression to prevent another).

Live your lives as normal.

That's it. Don't do anything radical. Don't live outside your means. If your still 20 or 30 years away from retirment, don't dump your 401k. You haven't really lost anything unless you cash it in right NOW. If we all renew our NORMAL spending, the market will come back. It will take some time. All of those huge gains in one shot were bad anyway. Slower, steady growth is less volatile and will be lasting.

Remember a free market economy requires us to participate in it.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

E-pub? Nah, give me something I can hold when I read.

I'm in to technology, no doubt about it. If I could, I'd probably change my middle name to 'digital'. With that being said, even I have to draw the line in a couple of places. As a would-be writer, I'd draw that first line at the E-publication.

I know this should be right up my alley. What's more 'tech' than internet E-pubs, right? Maybe its a product of my age. I'm almost 40 and grew up during the transition from what I'll call the 'analog age', to today. I know what an LP is, dammit. BetaMax missed the boat courtesy of Sony's greed. I've seen the rise of the internet and the access to the world that it brings to anyone with a connection. It's been quite a ride. So what's my problem with E-pubs? Partially, its that universal access I mentioned a second ago.

The net and the the technology that has spawned with it, has made it so frighteningly easy for the average joe to create media and showcase it on the biggest stage around. Just about anyone can start an E-publication nowadays...consequently, almost everyone has.

*** Let me preface this by saying that I don't know EVERYTHING about e-pubs and have only submitted to them a couple of times. If what I state as fact is incorrect, please let me know. Now, read on ***

In my search for markets to submit my work, I see more and more that are E-pub only. First, my practical objections...

A: With so many e-pubs bursting on the scene at once, how can any one of them earn any real credibility? At the top of the heap in SF E-pubs right now is Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show and this is a great market having earned SFWA credit for its contributors, but this is only a single exception. Keep in mind that I'm talking about strict E-pubs only. There are plenty of markets that do both at this point.

B: Imagine the size of the slush piles in the inboxes at the infinite number of e-pubs taking email submissions. I can't even fathom the slush at IGMS. Editors have to get through it quickly and may pass over some good work in the process. Some may argue that the story should have caught the editor's eye in the first couple of paragraphs, but I don't see it quite that way. A print submission represents (to me) an investment in time and energy and the love of the work. Mass email submissions are easy, for sure. Too easy. What does it take for a hack to throw something together and paste it in an email? A lot less effort, in my opinion.

C: How does a contributor get paid, really? A low end print pub will pay in copies. What does an equivalent e-pub give you? Copies? Not the same thing. Exposure? How many hits do most e-pubs get? Your story will likely stew in digital hell for at least a year (depending on the rights you give the e-pub upon acceptance) not to be seen by human eyes.

As for my PERSONAL objections....

I prefer to have something in my hand when reading. Yeah, I can sit and read from a monitor. But scrolling that mouse wheel IS NOT the same as flipping a page. Monitor light can be harsh to some and some e-pubs choose bad color contrasts between text and background which makes it harder to sit in front of that monitor reading a story. This is probably where I show my age. I love print. Seeing one of my stories in print jsut means more to me. Don't misunderstand, I'd LOVE to get accepted by IGMS, but this is an exception.

I know I'm gonna catch hell from anyone who reads this, but that's not likely to happen. Like E-pubs, anyone can blog nowadays and I've gotten lost in the shuffle too. :)

In my writing news... My writing got sidetracked by the august machinima contest. I gotta get back in the saddle.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pretty Big News

A post has been a long time coming, my friends. So here it is.

I've got a new story ready to go for the current quarter of Writers of the Future. I'll get that off in the mail soon.

I have another story almost finished. I haven't decided if I'm going to hold it for next quarter or send it off. It's seems like a fit for ASIMOV'S to me.

I just won an honorable mention in the machinima contest with my entry, ASTEROID TRUCKERS. I'm pretty pleased with that video, especially since 90% or more of the other entries were all World of Warcraft machinimas. I used the game HOMEWORLD. I've never really seen any Homeworld machinima outside of music videos. I think that made it standout a bit against all of the fantastic entries. The winning submission, The Robber Baron of Warsong Gultch, was made in the style of silent film. The creator, Pinkhair, was able to give it a very convincing silent film look, including scratches on the film. The highlight was a chase scene involving a train that she said she modeled herself. I don't know how she did it, but it looked great and blended in perfectly as if it belonged. Congratz to her and all of the other winners.

If you like machinima, you can look at all of the contest videos @

You can save some time and check out my own entry below.

Watch more Gaming Videos

In other news, we've signed on the dotted line to build a house in a new development a few miles away. It'll mean a little bit longer trek to work, but it'll be worth it. This has been both scary and exciting at the same time.

Exciting, for obvious reasons. New house, new people, etc.

Scary in that it'll have a payment larger than any I've had to make before. We can afford it, but the thought of anything costing $1000 month is intimidating to me.

Then there's the HOA. I've never had to deal with that before. The HOA book is full of things you CAN'T do rather than what is allowed. I've never been one to do yard work regularly. Don't tell me when I need to cut my grass, damn it! Guess that's another adjustment I have to make.

That's it for now.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Frothing at the Mouth: Where is SF Going?

Another writer I know blogged about where he thinks SF is going as a genre HERE .

I offered my own opinion and I thought I'd post it here...

^JR^ said...
I agree, It should be all about the story. But I think this means different things to different readers (and writers).

Most read for the pure enjoyment of fiction.

Some read to go beyond enjoyment and escape the doldrums of their daily lives, even if its just for a little while.

And another smaller fraction (in my IMHO)read to actually take something with them from the story. Whether it be just a better understanding of the subject that was written, or even expanding their own thinking and being opened up to new concepts that they hadn't even considered.

There was a physicist on Coast to Coast AM the other night who said he was opened up to theoetical physics and time travel theory by both Einstein and H.G. Wells when he was kid. Of course Einstein isn't fiction, but he certainly helped this guy out.

So where Do I think SF is going..or should go? As long as SF still gets people to think outside the box while they are being entertained, I think we're right where we need to be...which is pretty much where we should've always been...In my opinon, that is.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Moving right along

The new story is moving right along. I'm getting not quite 1000 words a night, every night. By comparison, my production is off the scale compared to last year.

EDIT: I failed to mention I was even working on a new story. This one is a little tale about the first man to travel faster than light.

I'm also toying around with a new machinima idea. More on that later.


Monday, June 30, 2008

New job position and the writing it affects

Two weeks ago I started a new position at my employer's corporate offices as a computer operator--third shift computer operator, that is.

When I heard about the opportunity, I was hopeful. I love technology, and I have an amptitude for technology, so I wanted to move to that department. I've spent nearly 20 years in my current capacity, at the retail level, and it was time for a change. Then I was told it was a third shift job. UGH! It took me nearly 10 years to get off of third the last time I worked it. But it was a job in the corporate office which meant additional benefits.

Another concern was how it would affect my writing. I was worried that my writing time would evaporate altogether with having to deal with my kids during the day and trying to sleep before work. As it turns out, though, I have a significant amount of downtime while some jobs of the bigger jobs are running in the system. During that time, all I have to do (providing the paperwork is up date) is monitor the systems and make sure these jobs complete successfully. I estimate I have as much as two hours that are pretty well open with no one around to interrupt my train of thought So I've been bringing my laptop with me and making good use of that time. I've completed the edits on a WOTF story, and gotten 3000 words into a new short story about the first man to travel faster than light.

Except for getting a larger raise than I did, I don't think this could have worked out any better for my writing. Hell, what could be a better environment to write SF than a room full of computer servers with 1,000 miles of cable and 10,000 blinking LED's :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

How did we sink so low???

I dont't have much of a writing update for this post, except that I am starting a new position in my company soon that has a good amount of down time between tasks. It may lead to a lot more time to write. WOOHOO!!!

What I really wanting to bitch about today is what we has come to be the current staple of television now: the reality show and/or American Idol-type shows

The word 'reality', of course, is a misnomer. There's nothing real about them. But people seem to eat up the throwing together of a dozen or so different people in a house and film them complaining about each other 24/7.

Thinking about it now, though. The bigger complaint I have about the American Idol ripoffs. That is to say, the format is ripped off and repeated over and over and over again. Contestants perform whatever task the show is meant for such as singing, dancing, cooking, sewing, interior decorating, inventing, hair cutting, circus performing or friggen DOG GROOMING --DOG GROOMING???? Anyway, these people that are living out their dreams by being on the show and its their one, last, chance (cue the heart-wrenching melody of pity music) to make it happen for real. And they are doing it all for their little cousin timmy who has lying at the bottom of devil's gorge with a broken leg with no chance of help because someone in a big fossil fuel burning SUV, ran over Timmy's loyal border collie who was running back to town to get help, face 3 judges every week to have their effort scrutinized and pray its not their week for elimination.

Can we stop this already?!?!!?

The producers of these shows go out of their way to select every Harry Hard-luck and Sally Sob-story they can find for these shows, all for what? Compelling television???

Dammit, I'll revisit this topic another day because I'm tired and pissed off now at how low our standards must have sunk for this crap to be entertaining,


Friday, May 23, 2008

Well, another bump in the road

I got a form rejection in the mail from FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION magazine today. I'm slightly bummed, given that this one had stayed out for a little while. I thought they may have been giving it some serious consideration.

No Worries. Time to print out another copy and move on to the next market on the list.

For most new, unpublished, writers this submission process into the short story markets can be almost painful. You drop your 4000, 5000, or even 10000 word labor of love into the mail with hopeful granduer. That question popping up whenever your thoughts turn to your wayward manuscript; Is this the one? You check the mailbox with the same wide-eyed anticipation of a 5 year old on Christmas morning back when the toys took the kids outside to play and show off to the other kids in the neighborhood. (I never did get that Knight Rider big wheel, dammit)

The lesson we all have to learn at this stage in the game is the same that has been applied to so much modern military missle technology. FIRE AND FORGET. Write your story. FIRE it off into the mail and FORGET about it. Write the next story, rinse and repeat. I'm still learning this. Its not second nature yet. Each rejection that comes back is still a bit of a downer, but if there's still a market available, I'm sending the story back out. I may give it the once over checking for mispellings and things like that, just in case. But sure as shit, its going back out.

So I push ahead with the novel, still in the developmental stage. The production goal is set at 1000 words a day, projecting 80,000 words. When it's finished, I move on to that next stage in a writer's development; the query.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

How does one start one of those pesky novels?

The short (and smart-ass)answer is "at the beginning".

But that's not what I'm going on about today. No, I'm speaking of that most sacred cow of questions that new writers have for the pros; How do you WRITE a novel? A question that any writing pro SHOULD tell you has no direct answer. Anyway you want, is the answer I like.

There are endless creative processes to choose from. Some have to have every detail laid out in stacks and stacks of character notes and a rigid outline before anything is committed to paper. Some have whiteboards on the walls of their office with major charcters listed and track each character's progress in the story with a flow chart. A few brave souls have the raw talent to just go to town without anything more than the idea for the story. Myself, I can't micro-analyze to that degree but having some sort of roadmap is very helpful.

For my novel, I guess I could say I'm in the outline stage (and I use the term loosely). I went through a period of making some character notes a couple a few months ago. While letting the idea, and the things I planned for it, congeal into something more useful, I spent time writing short stories. After mulling things over in my head from time to time, I felt like that pie was fully cooked which brings us to now.

My "outline" is, basically, a bulleted list of events I envision for the story. I've done this before. A couple years ago before SNW, I had an idea for a Star Trek novel. Back then, I knew very little about the writing profession. I figured everyone was a heavy outliner with endless rewriting over and over and over. The thought was intimidating and I knew I didn't have the discipline for all of that at that time. I decided to try to keep things simple and started the list. I found that to a degree this list was writing itself. If THIS is going to happen then THAT has to happen. Things began to show themselves and link up in a logical progression. I completed the "outline" for that book, but never wrote it. S&S's policy about not accepting unsolicited manuscripts didn't sit well with me.

Anyway, the list is coming together pretty well. I find it easy to see holes that need to be filled. The neat thing is, some of the things in a list like this can be moved around, like chess pieces, to make the story flow the best way possible. This method could have a benefit later. If it's good and clean enough, I think it will be handy in writing my synopsis for that first agent the requests a partial.

I esitmate I'm about halfway through it at this point. Then it'll be 1000+ words a day until completion. I'm projecting 80,000 words should serve this story nicely.


Friday, May 16, 2008

A Couple of Personal Achievments I'm Proud of

Here are the results of my first project in my partial-part time fun hobby, MACHINIMA.

This is the trailer for my first video: REKGAR & BUSBY EPISODE ONE: PART A

WoW Videos

And here is the full feature....

Blog relaunch accompanies new novel project

Greetings, my friends.

Following the trend of blogging writers, I present myself to you. The novel has been in development for a while and I think I'm pretty close to beginning real, steady work on it.

Don't worry, though. While my focus is turned mostly to my writing, I'm still chock full of opinions that I'll still express from time to time.

So sit back, kick your shoes off, and lets take this wild ride together. Hopefully, when its all said and done, someone will learn something,


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Same old song and dance -- without Aerosmith

So, Hillary Clinton pulls off the unexpected victory in New Hampshire even though before the primary, polling data showed her trailing by as much as double digit points behind Obama. The embarrassment of Iowa, all but forgotten.

In a pre-primary newsconference, Clinton choked back tears as she reaffirmed her committment to carry on in the face of the Iowa loss and the brutal media coverage that came with it. This demonstrated to the voters that the usually rock-solid chick candidate had a soft side. We were made to feel her pain (in the words of another Clinton)

Fast forward to the closing of the polls in NH. Exit polling painted a very different picture than the day before. Oddly enough, the voters seemed to flock to her side. Did we feel for her plight and give her the support she was supposed to get in Iowa?

I think not.

Sure, the tears may have moved some people--a few; the weak minded, most likely. But I propose a different answer. One that has been demonstrated before.

In 1992, the buzz surrounding Bill Cinton's campaign was shattered by the Gennifer Flowers scandal. Clinton's aspirations appeared derailed like those of so many other big name dems from years past (Gary Hart comes to mind). But then there was a heartfelt appearance on 60 Minutes with his wife at his side. He was apologetic, ashamed, nearly tearful about the affair (as I recall). This sensitive display seemed to carry weight with the voters of the time by rebounding Clinton to come in respectable second place to Mass Sen. Paul Tsongas. Clinton then dubbed himself "The comeback Kid". Sound familiar yet?

With the Clinton's, nothing-NOTHING-is coincedental.

But tears alone won't have the effect that these two have shared. There's a funny little thing about NH voter registration. One can register the day of the primary--at the polling place, no less. The residencey restrictions are virtually non-existent. If there is an address in NH that you sometimes sleep at...or one you think you may want to live at sometime in the future, your in!

Its been widely speculated in the last few elections that voters are imported to place with these lax requirements to fluff up the numbers of a particular candidate who needs them. It doesn't take much to round up a few bus loads of homeless people, pay them a meager sum of money, and take them somewhere to vote. Or even using the personal info of the dead to obtain voter registration. I have no doubt that is what happened in NH in 92 and again in 08.

Nothing with Clintons is coincedence.


Monday, January 7, 2008

Presidential Campaign 2008 --The point that NO ONE seems to get.

The campaign regular season has begun with some perceived surprises.

Hillary Clinton was smited in Iowa, as was Mitt Romney. Barrack Obama looks to be carrying his momentum into New Hampshire. Mike Huckabee has been sparring with Romney directly in debate in response to Romney's attack ads. Giuliani is still using 9/11 as the bedrock of his campaign. Ron Paul's radio ads keep running during my favorite talk shows. And still,Fred Thompson still hasn't really said anything at all. Everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else and micro analyzing their opponents politcal voting records and, at the same time, calling themselves the candidate for change because they can win!


There in, lies the problem. The focus they want you to have is on who can win. Everyone likes to back a winner, after all. Makes you look like a friggen genius. But beyond that...beyond all the bold promises (remember the middle class tax cut??), it really does not matter who wins.

The winner will be voted in because they are the most "presidential" and have the "interests of the people at heart" and vow to shrink gov't, reduce taxes, reform health care, blah blah blah. This will be the mistake that the voters will make...the same as every presidential election.

No candidate...not Clinton, Romney, Huckabee, Obama, McCain,...not a single one will be able be an effective President if there is not a Congress that will work with them. Its that simple. The system of checks and balances will cripple the government as a whole and nothing will get done. No changes. No promises kept.

And the sad thing is, it will take no less than a generation to fix this.