Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Importance of Red Shirts

Recently, a beta reader who was looking over a novella for me said she wasn’t surprised when a certain character died: something about the guy just marked him as a ‘red shirt’ from the start. At first I was a little concerned. This character’s death was supposed to be a turning point, an event that showed that we were moving into the climax of the story and that things were serious now. If this guy seemed like a red shirt, that might dampen the impact of the moment.

(Point of interest: The term ‘red shirt’ comes from the original Star Trek series and refers to the fact that whenever an away party beamed down to an alien planet, there was generally one red-shirted crew member who got eaten/phasered/wasted by the bad guys. I hope that was educational for you. Next week I will explain the term ‘Jump the shark.’).

Monday, February 13, 2012

'Absolute Visions,' on sale now!

I'm part of a fantastic writers' forum called Absolute Write. AW is packed with talented writers, so when forum owner MacAllister Stone announced that she was putting together a speculative fiction anthology there were plenty of submissions, including mine. I sent in a personal favourite: a short sci-fi story called 'The Machine that Loved Alan Turing.' It's kind of a personal one for me, which sounds weird since it's a dystopia story about a robot in love with a long dead historical figure, but hey man, I can relate. I really love this story, but I was starting to worry that I was the only one: it had been rejected seven times before I subbed it to the AW anthology.

But then...accepted! My story was one of the 19 that made it into the book. I'm humbled not only to have made it into the anthology, but to have my name alongside writers that I admire such as Suzanne Palmer and K.L. Townsend. I have yet to read the other stories in the anthology, but I am still sure of their quality.

It's really amazing to have something of mine show up when I type in my name on Amazon.  Right now the hardcopy of the book is for sale for $9.99 on here. A kindle version should be up soon, but for now I can't wait to have the real thing here in my hands.

Oh God, that last part sounds like 'That's what she said' set-up...

Anyway, in case I'm not being subtle enough: Buy this book! It's full of work by both talented writers and illustrators (did I mention there's illustrations?). Support not only the artists but a great forum.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Somethings aren't obvious until you write them

This was supposed to be a longer post about, well, anything else, like my time in Amsterdam, or how learning karate has made me a better writer, or an update on my new year’s resolution, but I’m sick. Not really sick, just kind of sick. I’ve got a killer cold that’s seeped into my bones. I’ve been downing vitamin C, lemon and honey tea, and Echinacea. I’ve even been using a neti pot to try and clear out my sinuses. A neti pot, for those of you who don’t know, is a little pot you fill with boiled water and a salt mixture. You let it cool, and then you stick it in a nostril and let the water drain out the other side of your nose. It’s like a mix between an ancient Mayan torture device and something frat boys use to initiate pledges.

I realized how sick I was when I tried to write. The only parts that were any good, the only time my words rang true, was when I wrote about how much my characters wanted to crawl into bed and go to sleep. I didn’t see how wiped out I was until I saw it written down in front of me.

So, after making an effort to put some words on the page and updating this blog, I’m going to do what my poor characters can’t and go hide under the covers. See you all in better health next week.