Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Habits of a Super Successful Reviser

JK ROWLING ONCE SAID something about Harry Potter. I don't know. I'm told that having the first few words of a post be something search engines like helps draw traffic to a post. We'll see.

Regardless Saturday, Jan 25, 1:02 p.m. eastern time. I've been working on yet another revision of my never to be finished novella/novel (it's really close here) and I figured I'd take a break to show you how hard it is to actually revise something.

9:22 a.m. - I awake. Extremely late for me. I have been sleep deprived for weeks and it's finally caught up with me. I'd intended to have been working on my revisions for at least since 8 this morning. I'm already behind my daily goal.

9:26 a.m. - Crap, I remember that my son has to be at work at 10 this morning. No point in starting now. I decide to read instead.

9:46 a.m. - Double crap. I remembered I was supposed to have awoken my son. Who didn't get off work until 12:30 a.m. the previous night. I wonder if this is entirely legal for my underage son to work these hours. I decide to not rock the boat, but wake him up.

9:52 a.m. - How it can take a kid an hour and a half to get ready for school, but 6 minutes to get ready for work, is beyond me. We drive to his work in a blinding snowstorm, it's actually very pretty. The snow is like sand blowing across the road. It doesn't snow here that much, and we almost never, ever get the super cold, sand-like snow.

10:10 a.m. - I'm back. The wife is up. I tell her not to disturb me, I've got revisions to do. I also promise her that this will all be worth it when the sales of this book are bringing in an extra $5k a month.

10:12 a.m. - I recall that I haven't checked my sales totals recently. I take a peek. Turns out I have sold a copy of War Angel recently. Somehow, my least favorite story written continues to make consistent sales. Albeit, very slow sales, but still, much more consistent than my other stories.

10:16 a.m. - I look at story, I have characters working on a log cabin in the 18th century wilderness. I realize that they have no access to things like nails, or metal. I had already described a door and wondered how it would work with no hinges. Decide to look up building techniques for colonial era cabins.

10:33 a.m. - I've somehow ended up watching a video of a baby polar bear taking its first steps. It's so cute.

10:55 a.m. - Twitter is very interesting this morning. Did you know JFK's last words to his wife were something along the lines of "Don't wear those glasses."?

11:16 a.m. - Realized being alone in the house with the missus is an opportunity not to be wasted.

11:18 a.m. - Back at computer. Ready to work. I haven't had breakfast yet. I decide on a V8. Trust me, it's the calm before the storm. I'll probably eat a whole camel and 17 decorative soaps before the day is over.

11:24 a.m. - Back to story research. So, I've decided that the cabin was made in the Swedish style. I decide all that door description has to go. No hinges, no sophisticated tools to craft anything that intricate. Unless my tough guys can punch a piece of wood until it agrees to become a working door it won't be happening.

11:26 a.m. - I'm pretty sure I missed something with the research. I decide to go back to make sure I'm not missing something.

11: 34 a.m. - Hey! Someone posted a comment on my post at the Indie Writers Monthly blog from early this morning (it was scheduled already, I didn't work on it this morning). I check it out.

11:37 a.m. - Comment isn't that special. But then I get a vague sense of guilt because I should have commented on some comments somewhere. And then I wonder if I've visited back everyone I was supposed to this week. I decide there's no time like the present.

11:51 a.m. - I'm so hungry. But can't worry about that now. I have a story to work on. Except, I'm not sure I can focus on a story without eating. It is almost lunch time. I've decided to go get a hamburger when...

11:52 a.m. - My mother calls and volunteers to make a stew for lunch. It sounds amazing and invite her over to use our kitchen, because I'm lazy. Also, I can work on my story while the wife and the mother cook. It reminds me of something else I learned the other day, the Old English for 'Bride' means cook. I remind my wife of this.

11:53 a.m. - My jaw hurts. Wife disagrees with history.

12:02 p.m. - Wife decides to take nap. Probably in retaliation to the 'bride' comment. My stew will have to be eaten later.

12:26 p.m. - I realize I have no idea where the past 24 minutes have gone. Then I remember that I used my phone to surf the web and check emails and twitter. It's all identical in content to my computer, but formatted differently. Don't ask me to explain it, it's a mystery to me why I can lose 20 minutes this way. Stupid phone.

12:28 p.m. - Am worried that story protag is way too passive. His call to action comes near the story's climax. I realize I've no hope of telling *this* story any other way. After two plus years of work, am thinking of chucking it.

12:34 p.m. - Can't chuck it. I've sworn I'm doing this. I'll just make this character aggressively passive. You know, I don't know. I suck. I hate writing. I should watch a movie.

12:45 p.m. - Tweet something about the day's productivity:
12:55 p.m. - Realize that I have no posts of my own scheduled for the upcoming week. Remember that I enjoy doing these diary posts, and decide to take a break from working and work on this instead.

1:57 p.m. - I've still not eaten. I've been doing this post for one hour. Mostly fact checking. Did I really comment on a blog at 11:34? The timestamp on the blog disagrees with me. Whatever. Screw that. I'm telling you I did do it at 11:34. Done.

AND THAT MY FRIENDS, is exactly why I love doing revisions, and why it's been this one story for the past 2 plus years.

"Hmmm... a 2000 year-old demon falls in love with a 16 year-old girl.  Science tells me the plot is perfect."

Monday, January 27, 2014

5 Tips About Fun!! By Brinda Berry

5 Tips About Fun During the Longest Winter Ever

Thanks, Rusty, for switching blogs with me today. It's like that whole switching bodies thing. Like that Freaky Friday or Big movie. Actually, no. It's nothing like that. This will be a lot more fun than switching bodies. Speaking of fun...

Segue to 5 Tips About Fun since Rusty and I are the experts. (Stop laughing, Rusty.) I get the ho-hums in January and look for things that can boost my spirits. I really hate winter. I'm going to focus on the financial investment of having fun. 

1. Let's begin with a way to have fun for ZERO dollars. I need to employ this one a little more myself. I've recently maxed out my book budget. That one-click Amazon button and I are very friendly. I imagine you are a reader (or why are you visiting this blog if you're not?!), so get a library card. I use my card to check out audiobooks from the downloadable library. The very cool thing is that I listen to the ones I enjoy. If it's a bad book, I quit listening without any guilt about wasting money. I can listen to borrowed audiobooks while I drive, exercise, clean, or any number of mundane activities. 

2. Now we'll move up to CHEAP fun. Invite friends over and ask everyone to bring a finger food. My husband and I are planning a Superbowl party next weekend. The hubs is making hot wings (cheap but hearty typical gameday food) and I'll make something. Food, drink, friends...what could be more fun than that?

3. I thought about putting movie theater trips into the MODERATE category but no. Movie tickets and snacks cost more than a DisneyWorld ticket these days. Instead, how about going for movie downloads or HBO? We actually subscribe to NetFlix now, but getting a season pass of your favorite show is affordable as well. I've purchased season passes on Amazon Instant Video. You can buy a season ofGame of Thrones for under $30. 

4. SLIGHTLY MORE expensive but healthier is the day trip to a state park. I live in Arkansas, so we have plenty of those. These types of activities are only more expensive  because fuel isn't cheap. So, look around for attractions within a 100-mile radius. There was a castle under construction that I wanted to visit for a second time, and I looked it up online. The Ozark Medieval Fortress closed in 2012. I'm so disappointed. Times have been tough for everyone and tourist attractions have taken a hit as well. Support your locals.

5. What's EXPENSIVE? Everything else. I love to travel. There are several places on my dream list: Scotland, Italy, France, Hawaii, and Australia. I need to start planning and saving now if I'm ever going to make it to one of these places. My tip for doing something expensive like this is to plan ahead and watch for bargains. I'm taking a weekend trip to Nashville, TN in March and booked a hotel room through Groupon. It's going to cost half of the normal rate with an added $30 restaurant voucher for each day. 

Thanks for listening as I plan my strategy for making it to summer. Any advice for me on this topic? Ready for winter to end? Having a Superbowl party? Have you seen this crazy, fun video for MORE NFL?

Visit my blog at to see Rusty's Tips About Fun.

Watcher of Worlds (Whispering Woods #3)

By Brinda Berry
Whispering Woods Book 3
ISBN: 978-1-941133-00-2

Senior year should bring fun, friends and happiness. Not portals, treachery, and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Mia Taylor, gatekeeper to an interdimensional portal, wants nothing more than to heal from her romance gone wrong. Illegally falling for her co-worker Regulus had been a huge mistake. But when Regulus goes rogue to hunt down a murderer, Mia must forget her broken heart and use her unique abilities to save him. Traveling across dimensions, she enters a strange and hostile world where a rebel faction holds the key to their escape. Her gift of synesthesia is in high demand, and a secret organization of the otherworldly kind has her in their sights. But sabotage and murder may be the least of her worries. Her ex-boyfriend wants a relationship. Her dad wants her to act normal. Her friends want her to stop moping. Who knew faking happy would be the easiest part of senior year?

Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She’s terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality.  She doesn’t mind being called a geek or “crazy dog lady”. When she’s not working the day job or writing a novel, she’s guilty of surfing the internet for no good reason.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Where I Ramble... But Hope You Think I'm Deep

I have another post up at the Indie Writer's Monthly blog this morning. Today I'm tackling diversity, not in my writing, but in my reading habits.

Hint: If the books I read are any indicator, I might be a white supremist.

Please, go check it out.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Math: I Don't Always Get You, But I Still Love You

SO THERE COMES A POINT sometimes, were I just have to put up my hands in surrender, and admit that I have no idea what in the world is going on. It can hurt my pride a bit, but it needs to be said.

So, while I was off searching for my 'weekend filler' posts I've been putting up all weekend over at the Indie Writers Monthly blog I stumbled upon something that made me stop and, well, spend a few minutes pondering.

I found this post over at Sploid about the sum of all positive real numbers being -(1/12). You know,, 1+2+3+4+5... Now, that is counterintuitive, I mean, I can't think of a logical means in which adding up all numbers would equal that. But that doesn't really bother me much, you can't get a handle on many concepts if you can't deal with a bit of counter intuitivity in your life. I watched the video below and was ready to move on, they'd tried to explain, but I didn't quite grasp, but I had decided to just shrug my shoulders and not to put any of my brain power to the thing.

Then, towards the end (around the final 2 mins of the video), physicist Tony Padilla just starts talking about the difference between a 'really big number' and infinity. He ends up making a very passionate case for the beauty of math. Even if you skip the first 6 mins or so, I encourage everyone to watch the last 2.

The reason that this moved me so, it because that I've never come across this before, and I've not been able to wrap my head around. Now, there are tons of things that I struggle with. When I was in college, one of the times anyway, when I was determined to be a biologist, I spent a few semesters doing nothing aside from taking math courses.

Now, I was never a guy who especially loved math. I was always pretty good at it, but didn't enjoy it very much. And much like writing, if you don't practice it all the time, you tend to not be able to really excel. So I figured I'd do it all in one go I suppose. Anyway, I was struggling with something and was having to have a one on one with the calc prof, and while we were in her office, and she explained the concept to me half a dozen times, I finally sorta got it.


And I asked her, is there stuff that you struggled with like this, things that you just don't get? And she told me that while she was in grad school that she did deal with stuff that was so abstract that she was only able to get through it using only her determination, and that it was really beyond her ability to comprehend.

We talked for a bit, and she tried to explain to me some of the things that blew her mind. It all went over my head. But regardless, that made me think of Salieri's curse in the movie about Mozart, Amadeus. Where he was one of the few men alive that was gifted enough musically to realize the depths of Mozart's genius.

The same thing came up again in Good Will Hunting, where Matt Damon's prof at MIT (well, Matt Damon's character's prof) mentioned that there were only a handful of people on earth that could tell the difference between the two of them (the prof being the lesser mathematical talent), but that he was saddened that he was one of those people.

Now I came to grips with my limitations a long time ago. It doesn't bother me as much that I don't understand as much as it used to. I'm a guy who can't tell the difference between Will Hunting and his math prof, but I'm still curious. So, if you, like me, want a detailed explanation of the proofs... see the vid below. But be warned, it is very mathy.

But still awesome.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Science Discovers Secret To Writing a Best Seller

[Edit, Since I discovered the paper and wrote this, I noticed that the interwebs have exploded with people linking to, and commenting on this story. Since this isn't actual news to most peoples at this point, please enjoy the picture I inserted.]

Seriously, that isn't link bait. It's an actual thing. I found this paper over the past weekend wherein the geniuses at Stonybrook University have finally cracked the code to writing a best seller.

They poured over the texts of thousands and thousands of books and looked for commonalities, not in plotting, or structure, but in prose. They then compared to a long list of underperforming books to see what they did differently, again, speaking strictly of prose.

And they found out a lot of stuff. Namely, when comparing just the prose of all those books, they can tell with an 84% reliability* of whether or not it was a best seller by just looking at the prose itself.

Now, since I wasted spent quite a bit of time looking at the paper, I think I can distill it down to a few simple points. However, I do encourage you to sit down and read through it if you can, it's written like most academic papers are, which is to say, dryly. But the information it contains is pretty interesting. And if you go over the first few pages carefully, you can probably see some flaws in their sampling methods.
This has nothing to do with my post. I just had this doodle, took a picture with my phone, hit the 'drama' button and... ta da!

Despite that, I think it's brilliant topic. I really hope I find more like it.

So, anyway, what are some takeaways?

1) Quit with the damned adverbs: That one might be obvious to any that spend much time reading those writing tips that are everywhere online. Turns out, science agrees. The folks that wrote the paper don't editorialize on why any of their findings might be indicators, but I know that I tend to not enjoy adverbs that much at all (especially in dialog tags).  But that's just me, a reader. As a writer I know that we have to use them sometimes, but I suppose it's like adding salt to your cake mix. A little can make it amazing, a lot can make it gross.

2) Write something that scores higher on the Flesch Index: What's that, you ask? Simply put, it's how readable the prose is, for example, the paper I linked to in the opening paragraph probably has a very low score on the Flesch Index, you want a higher score here. That isn't to say that people are dumb either, it can just mean that you write confusing sentences. So, you don't have to dumb it down, just don't make it harder to read than it should be.

3) Don't use Verbs: Wait, what? What the hell are they talking about? You know, after all the defending I do for Science, it irks me they go and tell me to quit using verbs. I mean, it's hard to send my hero on an epic quest to save the world when I can't have her, you know, actually do stuff. Which, of course, leads me to my final point.

4) Don't pay too much attention to that paper: I do think it's fun to look at, and I appreciate the effort to qualitatively show correlations in what makes works successful and what doesn't. Even if it is mostly unusable information. I hope they keep going. But at the same time, pointing out that successful books use words like 'and' isn't really the deep sort of insight I was hoping to get when I started reading.

*Not really, but it's hard to make a bold statement if I have to follow it up with a bunch of qualifiers. So, just go with the 84 number, okay?

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Conversation With Jay Noel

I FINISHED READING JAY NOEL'S Dragonfly Warrior over the weekend. I was floored by it. He did an amazing job. You can read my full, rambling review, over at Goodreads. But the gist of it is that this was something I couldn't put down and think everyone should read. So please, drop what you're currently reading and go pick this up.

On Saturday afternoon, as soon as I'd finished, I sent Jay a few questions about his novel, and he was kind enough to respond. Please see what he had to say below:

1) Dragonfly Warrior, if I recall from what you've written about it before, has had quite journey before publication. When did you first develop the idea for this story? And what sort of changes were made to it along the way?

"I first developed the story as an epic fantasy. But I also love science fiction, and I wanted to combine the two. For years, I wrote down notes and various outlines, trying to get it right. I wanted a story that drew from the traditional heroic fantasy I grew up with, but included many of the other genres and elements I loved. So the story continued to evolve, and I wrote one chapter - a specific scene I had in mind - to see if this idea had any wheels. And it sure did, and it ended up being a steampunk novel."

2) I haven't seen the e-versions, but the paper version is gorgeous. Not just the cover art, but the book's interior. Did you play much of a role in putting that together?

"Absolutely I had a role in getting the book's look just right. Dragonfly Warrior had been with two publishers previously, and I wasn't happy with the process at either houses. That's why I went full-on-indie. No one was going to care about my book more than me. That's the control-freak in me talking. I hired Inkstain Interior Book Design to do the paperback and JT Formatting to design the ebook. The ebook mimic's the paperback's aesthetics, and I couldn't be happier."

3) This book spits on the idea of fitting neatly into a single genre. The closest thing I've think I've read to your novel, in terms of the feel of the world, is Scott Westerfeld's, Leviathan. But even that comparison only goes so far before falling apart. Things like this don't typically come straight from the ether though, what most heavily influenced you in creating this series?

"My influences come from all over. The steampunk setting is from H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. The heroic fantasy is drawn from my love of mythology, specifically The Odyssey and King Arthur. I also studied a lot of Asian mythology. And the twist and turns, along with the backstabbing and drama is from all the Shakespeare I read. So yeah, this book (and series) is a combination of all the things I enjoy."

4) There is a real undercurrent in the novel regarding loss, specifically, boys losing their mothers. It really had a great deal of emotional resonance. Do you care to discuss what made you want to explore that particular theme in this book?

"My mother was very young when she lost her mother to breast cancer. I think subconsciously, I drew from that in my family history. My mother was raised by a tough, ex-POW father, and I am very cognizant of how her upbringing affected her for the rest of her life. I think when a child loses a parent, there's such a void there, and it triggers a lifelong search for a connection to their lost parent somehow. It was something I wanted to delve into, and it is a driving force for my main character, Zen."

5) The Story's protagonist, Zen, is stoic, innocent, compassionate, and, as far as I could tell, entirely without vice. You broke almost every rule of character creation I can think of, yet still made him an incredibly compelling lead. Tell me about him, and how you came up with this innocent warrior with the weight of the world on his shoulders?

"On the surface, Zen seems to be very one-dimensional. Yet from the very beginning, you see the cracks forming. Oh, and you left out one other personality trait: arrogant. He's an idealist and thinks himself as invincible. I think a lot of twenty year olds feel like that. I drew from mythology here, especially Odysseus and a young King Arthur. Many readers sense his arrogance very early on, and they can't wait for him to come down to earth. I enjoyed creating a character that was a living oxymoron: an innocent who has spilled so much blood. The second book, Shadow Warrior, is a continuation of Zen's journey and self-discovery. The world isn't so black and white, and the full impact of his "deeds" finally hits him. Hard. I put Zen through some big-time hardship, and he is taken down a few notches."

6) As soon as I put the finished copy of this book down, I was ready to read the next. How long do we have to wait for the next in the series? And how many books do you have planned?

"Shadow Warrior should be back from my editor any day now. My goal is to get it out there this summer. Hopefully, my readers can wait six months. The third book in The Mechanica Wars is titled Iron Warrior, and it's already 75% done, and I hope to get it out around January of 2015. Even through there's three books in this "Warrior Trilogy," I feel like it's really one big 1200 page novel since I worked on all three books at once.

"I plan to write a second trilogy in this world I've created, based on the feedback from my beta readers, and it will feature the further adventures of a wild and adventurous airship pilot and his crew."

7) You've managed to tell a complete story, but still show that there is a lot more to come. Any teasers you can share about what happens next to Zen and the rest of the crew?

"Other than Zen's innocence being stripped away and nothing but suffering around the corner for our hero, there is an element of romance in Shadow Warrior and Iron Warrior. That was the plan all along, and it's a vital part of Zen's maturity and journey. Like Odysseus who tries in vain to get back to Ithica, Zen's journey takes on a life of its own. Look for ninjas, airship pirates, and steam-powered mechas in action. Several of my beta readers also fell in love with a secondary character, Zapitoni. The wily pirate captain will be back for more."

8) On the craft side of things, I imagine that you've plotted out the story here pretty extensively, but do you care to share what your process for writing this novel has been? Did you write as the muse struck? Or is it a ritual that you stuck to every day? 

"I do my best to write every day, and for the most part, I'm pretty disciplined. But sometimes life gets in the way. There are times when things just click, and I can knock out 5,000 words in a day. I used to be a pantster, but I've learned to outline and utilize the 7-point story structure to build my stories. I often veer from my best-laid plans, but that's fun for me. You can still plan AND let your imagination go wild. I also use Scrivener, which has cut the time it takes me to write a 100,000 word novel by more than 50%. And no, I'm not a paid spokesperson for Scrivener!"

9) Any advice you have for folks working on their own multi-volume epic? Things you've learned along the way that you really wish you someone would have told you that would have saved you much heartache and grief?

"Even when I was a panster, I still had a written plan for not only each book, but my whole series. Granted, I've veered quite a bit from it. You have to be flexible to change things. And please, for the love of Thor, KEEP TRACK of those changes. If you don't, you will forget if your character has brown or blond hair. Or what day it should be. Or the name of his eldest daughter. Save yourself some heartache. Write all that stuff down, and if you change any of it while writing your manuscript, make those changes in your notes."

10) And finally, is there a question that you've been anxious to answer, but I've not thought to ask? Whether it be about this novel, the series, or anything else?

"Sure. I'm often asked, why steampunk? Not only have I loved the genre long before it even had a name, but I love the PUNK aspect of steampunk. Whether a book is steampunk, or dieselpunk, or cyberpunk, they all have one thing in common: they all deal with revolution and questioning authority. One major theme of The Mechanica Series is the impact science and technology has on our world. In my series, the country with the biggest, baddest machines rule. My books are fun and full of action and adventure, but underneath it all, I still want to question humanity's progress. It's easy to see all the good that came out of the Industrial Revolution, but what's the price we pay for all of that technology? Oh, and steam-powered mechas is a damn fun way to explore that theme."


Saturday, January 11, 2014

I Do Hang With VERY Famous People

Funny thing, I watched that show on SyF last night, Helix. It was okay, but there were plenty of things about it that really bothered me. Like in that I'm-not-sure-that's-how-a-crisis-response-team-would-behave sort of thing.

Actually, I got that feeling a whole bunch of times during the show.

BUT I tweeted something along the lines of this:

Sure, it might not be my very finest effort, but it was my snarky way of saying that while I enjoyed the show, it was overly serious. I don't know if there was that Inception like BWWAAAAAWWW sort music playing in the background the whole time or not, but there might as well have been.

Anyway, as you can see, one of my many fans favorited it. Yay for me. I don't get enough of those. But since I didn't recognize the person from the photo. I wanted to know who it was that found me so delightful.

As you may be able to see, it was someone named Luciana Carro. That means absolutely nothing to me. But okay. I figured I'd feel honored just the same. Still, I clicked one more time to see what her bio said.

And Boom!

Oh, it's the actress from the show... and from Battlestar Galactica... and from Falling Skies. And yes, I looked at her photo several times and I'm still not sure what character she was on the show, but I don't care. Other people knows who she is.

And of all the people in the world, she decided that my tweet was her favorite in the whole world.

Wait, you can favorite more than one tweet, can't you? Dammit. Still, I'm running with it. My brush with a small time celeb.

Anyway, I have another post up at Indie Writers Monthly. Check it out if you're bored. Otherwise. I'll see you soon.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IWSG... It's 2014 Edition

In case any of you have forgotten what this little gem called The Insecure Writer's Support Group, is. Once upon a time, Alex J Cavanaugh had an idea that for once a month, we writers can tear off our masks of normality and reveal to the world all of our insecurities in a judgment free day of whinery.

It tends to be my favorite day of the month.

And although I can't hope to ever, ever, come close to reading everyone's posts on any given month. I do read as much as I can, and I find, generally speaking, that I'm disappointed in you all.

Why? Because, increasingly, I feel like I'm the only one what has real issues. Everyone else takes that time to just encourage one another. You know, 'Perk up, little trooper. It's going to be okay."

I want people down here in the mud, with me. Whining about how they suck and will never be anything other than a fraud, about how you've been neglecting your family and they deserve better, and how it's only by a thread that you manage to not call it quits each day. And how it's only because of some inner demon that you continue on anyway.

And if you don't feel that way. You should totally lie about it. It would make me feel so much better. Because I look around and see all these people who are so damned self-assured and I can't figure out what my problem is. Misery has been known, in the past, to enjoy the company of others. And increasingly, I feel alone here.

So, come on, people. Be miserable with me!

Okay, I'm kidding... mostly. I really don't want folks to feel bad about themselves. I do, honestly, feel like a fraud most of the time. But I get the feeling that feeling will haunt me no matter what I do in life. I've learned to deal with it.

So, perk up people, it'll be okay.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I'm a Cheater!

Yes, it's true, I've been cheating on my blog with another, sexier blog. I've recently joined a co-op of Indie authors on a shared blog for the purposes of... dammit... I'm not good at this. I guess we just saw that there weren't enough blogs? No, that isn't right. Anyway, I'm not sure what it's about, but I like to think of myself as the kid that stands in the corner in gym class and then hears his name called when they're picking teams.

I'm just stunned I was invited. I don't even know what game we're playing.

Look, whatever. I wrote a post there where I briefly discuss the things I'm most looking forward to in SF&F in 2014.


Friday, January 3, 2014

The Sleeping Sun

I'VE BEEN READING this book that was on a lot of year’s best lists. Wait, actually it was on one list, but other people linked to it on twitter several times and I keep clicking on the same link and was surprised to keep seeing the same book on all these lists, which were the same list.

I figured it out, eventually, but it made for a hyper-awareness of this particular book.

I’m still in the middle of it, and will eventually review it on Goodreads, but there was a short, two or three paragraph section that caught my eye.

In it, in a section that mentions synesthesia, it talks about some neurologists believe a developing baby brain, as it become a toddler, and eventually a child, might sense the world more like someone with synesthesia does.

Interesting, but that lead to a digression about a child animising the objects around them. And how that too is part of the development of understanding the world.

On new year’s, we’d been babysitting my nephews, and I decided to see if my youngest might give me some anecdotal evidence that there is any truth to this. The book suggested asking a young child about what happens to the sun at night. So I asked.

“What happens to the sun at night time?” I asked.

My youngest nephew (herefore to be called, Younger) said, very matter of factly, “The sun gets sleepy, and he has to rest. So he lays down and sleeps until morning.”

My older nephew (I shall dub him, Elder), who is in school, was aghast, he immediately gave a very long, but essentially correct, explanation about the solar system and earth’s rotation while orbiting the sun.

Younger went quiet for at least two seconds after Elder’s explanation before he quite confidently said, “That makes absolutely no sense.”

Kids. They’re pretty awesome.

A QUICK SET OF GOALS for 2014. They’re pretty simple.

1)      Write 500 words of fiction per day. That would add up to 175,000 words in a year. That's a pretty impressive number for a pretty small amount of work on a daily basis. I managed to get 1k out today during lunch. If I don't get it done, no big deal. It's the journey, not the destination. 
2)      Revise and Edit. Tons of stuff to do really. Tons.
3)     In order to help with my nuts and bolts of plotting, I’m thinking of crafting a super complicated time-travel story. Because the airtight time travel story is really the holy grail of plotting, I think. They don’t get done often.

That’s about it for me. Happy 2014, folks.