Category Archives: Writing

Inherent BS: Word Count

Let’s face it, it’s impossible to escape the fact that we live in a world where “too long; didn’t read” is, itself, too long to be bothered with. The audacity of being so lazy you have to reduce an incomplete sentence into just letters can leave the mind boggling. In the next few years there’s little doubt we’ll be seeing the semi-colon go bye bye too. And, yes, my lack of faith in the internet’s tolerance of the English language is that strong. And I’m a novelist.

So, clearly, I’m also fucked.

Continue reading Inherent BS: Word Count

Inherent BS: Luck and Entry Fees

Friday the 13th, an ominous day for most because of silly superstition and things no one really understands. The origins of the day have long been discussed and fails to have a satisfactory answer. The reasons rarely have any attachment to reality (or each other) and are usually the long form of “we picked it at random”. In fact, here’s a couple I always find amusing myself:

Continue reading Inherent BS: Luck and Entry Fees

Inherent BS: Arbitrary Numbers: “Success”

At the time I’m writing this, it’s the last day of the year and I’ll admit I wasn’t too festive at first. Truthfully, I, like many people out there, have had a rough couple of years. But, in the end, the thing that depressed me the most was feeling as though I would never find any sort of success in my life. In fact, I felt worthless. A couple of people had even suggested it or said it to me over the course of this year. With that year coming to an end, I felt they’d been right.

I can’t say I’ve been published in a big way this year. I’ve been published, yeah, but I haven’t had the kind of win that you could cheer to the world about. Truthfully, I got heavily sidetracked by children and responsibility to my family and friends. At first, that felt like a cheat and a burden.

But then a little guy walked up next to me and said in a very quiet voice, “I miss mommy”.

My sister’s been gone for only a few days from her holiday visit. Though she believes she’ll get her kids back in a few months, we can’t really be sure what’s going to happen in the foreseeable future. I’ll admit, I felt like that was time being stolen from me. Until my nephew climbed on my lap and rested his head against me. Then I realized a truth that I had lost in the last few months.

Several of the “Arbitrary Numbers” I had considered ranting about could really all be compiled into a single category: “Success”. We tell ourselves that success is measured by monetary values, numbers of copies sold, number of viewers, amounts earned. Often times, when a writer is grinding away, he wonders about whether or not the book will sell thousands of copies or only dozens. But my nephew, sweetheart that he is, reminded me of one simple truth: both are a win.

Continue reading Inherent BS: Arbitrary Numbers: “Success”

Inherent BS: Arbitrary Numbers: Submissions

Wow, look at me, I’m back. Though I don’t know if anyone will bother looking at it since I haven’t updated. I’ll be honest, I was pretty right about the kids kicking my ass back and forth across my house while draining what little is left of my sanity and soul. Truth be known, I can’t remember the last time I had a guilt free sequence of uninterrupted sleep, but that’s another story.

Today, I got rejected again. My crane looks like crap.

But it got me thinking. See, before the kids got here I had a sequence of other entries I wanted to make here and I realized that I had to get them in. Not only that, but I had to fight to retake what little of my life there was to take. In essence, I’m not getting any sleep anyway, so I might as well do something with the couple of minutes here and there where I get to take a breather. I can sleep when I’m dead.

Though I may lay down a couple times

Continue reading Inherent BS: Arbitrary Numbers: Submissions

Inherent BS #1: Writers Part 3: Being “Rational”

A lot of how we approach our profession as writers is mental. In fact, except for the movement of our fingers as we write or type the things coming from that mind, everything is mental. But as we approach it we tend to have some problems with being able to sort out the emotional end of things and the logical side. Frankly, we’re often subject to some judgment from the people around us, either as an under appreciated person often dismissed or someone who is too caught up in our own issues. But understanding that is a key part of being a good writer. After all, if you’re going to get beyond the bullshit in your life, you need to know it’s coming.

Having gotten over my own inherent bullshit, I’ve come back to this, the third and final part of my attempt to explore…other people’s bullshit (and my own) about the writing profession. And what’s left for me to cover? Well, I’ve already hit the people who are way too casual about the job and the people who are just a wee bit too intense about it. So really all that’s left to cover is…well… being rational and finding a middle ground in it all.

Continue reading Inherent BS #1: Writers Part 3: Being “Rational”

“Writers are Unstable”

Another opinion I’ve found in the world when listening to people talk about writers is that a lot of us are on the brink or just plain eccentric. It’s not even strictly outside the writing community – writers buy into this one too from time to time. And really, who can blame them? There’s been enough history of big names going out of whack and enough experiences in personal chaos to make anyone start to believe it. As many a wannabe writer has said to me (including when I talk to myself), “I start to understand why so many writers drink”.

Still, this issue has two polar opposite positions with equal levels of BS to them.

Continue reading “Writers are Unstable”

“Writing Is Easy”

So, after what I think was a successful stint of regular posting, I came to realize I should always fall back on my strengths. You see, I have long been and always will be a student of the art of bullshit. Not just laying it out in works of fiction, but also identifying it. It’s a useful skill to have: being able to tell people something completely fabricated with such conviction that they’ll believe it and still being able to identify when someone else is doing the exact same thing. I could have been a politician if I didn’t have a soul. But, instead, I’m simply a guy with a moral code and enough time on my hands to point out other people’s bullshit.

Ironically, after a statement like that, I was inspired to start this post because of being unable to bullshit about myself..

I was asked to submit a bio of myself to the anthology I got into. The instructions were simple: keep it under 100 words and tell us about yourself. Wow, they managed to find my kryptonite so effectively. I’ll admit, I’ve been putting it off because I really don’t know what to say about myself in short form since, as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing interesting about me. Really, all I’ve got is:

“I’m a writer!”

But just that in itself got me thinking about the inherent BS we as writers wade through regularly. In one way or another, we all have a touch of BS in our lives. In fact, for the unsuccessful or rookie writers, there’s three clean cut categories of our bullshit. We all face them and have few opportunities to escape them, and frankly, a lot of it starts with a mentality that what we do is easy. And, sadly, that’s because most people go on thinking…

Continue reading “Writing Is Easy”

“New Sci-fi” Part Five, Stale Cookies

By now, you understand what this series of posts is about, and if you’re not – start from the beginning. But as I reach this last entry I realize there’s one last point that has to be made and it runs a little counter to everything else I’ve said to this point.

For a while, I considered calling this section of my series “Concessions and Uncomfortable Questions”. When I first approached doing this series of posts there was a singular point to be made above all else – the audience hasn’t become close minded. A couple of times I started to graze close to the concept that the audience has become somehow disgruntled with the genres I’ve covered, but I stayed on message (as far as I know). But at this point, there’s one concession I thought I was going to have to make. After all, with a surface analysis, you might see things wrong because of some personal bias.

Continue reading “New Sci-fi” Part Five, Stale Cookies

“New Sci-fi” Part Four! Mental Problems (that we all have)

A while ago I read an article that told me the science fiction genre needed to abandon the science part if it wanted to survive. Frankly, it left me a little unsettled. Immediately I set out on writing a counter-point that has now blossomed into an obsession. In fact, the obsession has stretched into my natural insomnia and here I am, writing this entry while half dead.

So I sit here as an insomniac and figure I might as well get something done in the meantime. By the time I finish this, I will likely be drooling on a pillow…or my desk. In the meantime, I would like to talk to you, my fellow writers, about the mental hangups that plague our genre and the people who consider getting into it. Considering some of the subject matters, this could take a while…

For now, in the interest of time, there’s three I would like to cover that happen to be the cornerstone of why science fiction and high fantasy have a hard time breaking into the mainstream. Freud’s analysis of our mother issues will have to wait for another day.

Continue reading “New Sci-fi” Part Four! Mental Problems (that we all have)