The Bombardment Of Stories

It’s a bit of a joke among writers, but it actually happens.  Someone comes up and tells you they have a great idea for a story, and they want you to write it and split the money with them.  Apparently, they think the idea is the hard part.

Folks, let me tell you, it’s not.  Not at all.  Ideas come fast and furious sometimes.  For me, they bombard me when I’m in the middle of a project and can’t really afford to devote time to new stuff.

Ugh. Continue reading “The Bombardment Of Stories”

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Utopia Versus Dystopia

One of my favorite kinds of fiction is dystopian fiction.  I like the stories about plucky heroes and heroines who battle oppression are awesome.  Particularly if they end with those heroes and heroines living happily ever after somehow.  Most of them, anyway.

Other people prefer their governments to be more Utopian.  They like to envision the perfect society, whatever form that takes, and to see the world become perfect.

It’s a nice idea.

Unfortunately, it’s also important to understand the relationship between Utopias and dystopias.  They’re not opposites like fire and ice, where two things are so diametrically different as to be unable to exist in the same place at the same time.

No, they’re flip sides of the same coin.  One person’s Utopia is someone else’s dystopia. Continue reading “Utopia Versus Dystopia”

Writer’s Block Ramblings

Right now, I’m in a weird predicament.  I have a case of writer’s block, of sorts.

Now, I personally believe that what we tend to call “Writer’s Block” is really something else, either a lack of understanding where the story should go or a lack of motivation on a subconscious level.  I suffered this after my mother passed away and only recently seem to have gotten past it.

“Wait.  You said you got past it, but this post is about you having writer’s block.  What gives?”

Well, I got past it with my fiction.  I have writer’s block regarding a blog post for this site. Continue reading “Writer’s Block Ramblings”

Hard SF, Or Something Softer?

Some time back, I made a decision as a writer.  That decision was whether I should try my hand at hard science fiction or not.

For those who don’t know, hard science fiction is basically fiction where the science plays an incredibly prominent role.  For example, The Martian is an example of hard SF because of the role the actual science involved in telling that story.

There are, of course, varying degrees of “hardness” for science fiction going all the way to space opera like Star Wars.

Now, I love hard SF.  There’s something cool about reading someone who really gets the science and can turn it into a compelling story, and some of the masters of the genre do just that.

Me, though?  Yeah…not going to happen.

I’d love to write hard SF, but I lack the science background and I lack the aptitude for it, to be honest.  Being ADHD and dyslexic, things get a little wonky when I try to force myself to learn stuff like that.

Besides, while I love hard SF, I also love the softer stuff.  My love for science fiction kicked off in a darkened movie theater before I was even old enough to read.

Space ships flying by from the top of the screen, blaster bolts smacking it, and a princess putting a message in an old R2 unit.  It was everything for me at that age, and I was obsessed.

Star Trek followed, as well as everything else, and I was hooked.  I’d watch bad science fiction before I’d watch the most recent Oscar winner (still true today, to be honest).

I wasn’t much of a reader (see also: ADHD and dyslexia) for some time, though I did read the occasional novel here or there.  It wasn’t until I picked up Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers in the MCLB Albany exchange while on leave from boot camp that my love of reading really got fired up.

But then, it was almost nothing but science fiction and fantasy, and remarkably little of it was all that hard.

When I started writing, I figured a lot of my stuff would be fantasy because I know that kind of stuff better.  I might not be able to crank out a magic system like Brandon Sanderson–few can, to be honest–but I knew armor and weapons pretty well, and figured I could learn the rest.

But I really wanted to write science fiction.  I wanted to write about heroes and villains flying space ships and shooting each other on alien planets.  I wanted to do all of that.

Unfortunately, there was a story of an author who spent the night working out the math on orbital mechanics to make sure his story would work.  If that’s what was required, what hope did I have of making great science fiction stories?

However, I also figured out a short time later that there are a billion stories out there that don’t require that sort of thing.  There are a billion stories out there that I do understand the science enough to tell them.

Sometimes, writers get so wrapped up in their stories that they want something to work, even if it shouldn’t.  There’s one notorious author who wrote the most awful book I’ve ever even attempted to read but will not be mentioned because, frankly, the guy is nuts.  I and a friend spent two years trying to tell him about all the issues with his book–including issues of basic physics–only for him to deny the accuracy of any of it. He was so in love with his story that he just couldn’t grasp that he probably shouldn’t have written that scene in that manner because it was just too much.

I don’t pretend to be a scientist, an engineer, or even scientifically inclined.  I’m just a guy who loves the genre.

So what do I do?  Do I just write space fantasy like Star Wars?

The world doesn’t work in extremes, and the answers are often found somewhere in the middle.  For me, I think, the answer lies along an area where I do somewhat understand the science, but don’t write stories where the science needs the hand of someone who can teach college level classes on the subject.

I think it’s important for writers to understand their limits as individuals.  For example, if you’re not someone who can do more than basic algebra (like me), then you don’t need to be bothering to try and calculate orbital mechanics.  Leave those stories to people who know how to do that and tell the plethora of other stories out there that you can tell.

Just my two cents on the subject.

 

Update On Sabercat

Now that I’m past all the ridiculousness from my cable company, it’s time to get back to work.  That means Sabercat.

Last weekend, the manuscript went out to beta readers.  While I was offline, I got one full report back and a partial.  The partial is from someone who is dealing with the nastiness of allergy season and he promises he’ll get it finished in the near future.

That means I’m still waiting on several reports, and since it’s a pretty short novel, I may reach out later today to see if folks have completed reading it yet at the very least.  I know that I, as a beta reader, have a tendency to put stuff aside if I’m not careful and forget about a manuscript until the author is getting antsy, so if others are like me, they’ll probably appreciate the nudge.

However, if life has just conspired against them, I completely understand that one too and since they’re volunteering, I’m not going to be pushy in the least. Continue reading “Update On Sabercat”

Back Online

Miracle of miracles, Mediacom decided to actually show up on time and they got the cable and internet up and running.  So now I’m back online and can get caught up on everything I missed.

Additionally, I can post stuff here, and I had a lot of things that popped into my head while I was spending an awful lot of time reading (this is not a complaint. 😀 ) though I suspect I’ll forget the vast majority of them.

The issue here was a connection at a junction that literally snapped off.  All that was needed was for the technician to switch to another junction.  He was here for less than ten minutes.

Five days.  I had to wait for five days to get someone out here to switch a cable to a different junction.

Thank you, Mediacom.  I lost out on a week’s worth of work–and, by extension, pay–and while I’m glad you credited us for a week’s cable service, it doesn’t put that money in my pocket.

Still, at least we’re back.

Again.

Awkward.

The Other Shoe

I get the site up and running, and I’m ready to roll and provide tons of new content as I can, and what happens?

My cable–and, by extension, my internet–decided to die on me Sunday night.  I call Mediacom to get a repair on Monday morning when *I* find out about it, and what happened?  “I’m sorry, Mr. Knighton, but we can’t get anyone out to check your line until Friday.”

The fact that I work online held no sway with them, so here I am, trying to throw up a quick post with my wife’s phone.

Unfortunately, her data plan doesn’t provide a lot of bandwidth, so there’s not really enough to work off of, but it does give me the opportunity to let you guys know what is going on.

Hopefully, I’ll be back into the 21st Century early enough on Friday so I can get something posted then.

I have no plans of going incommunicado any time in the near future.  Hell, I just got back. 😉