Saturday, January 15, 2011

Yes But What Have You Written Lately?

Even though nobody has ever asked me that question before, I live my Writing life in constant fear of not having an answer to it. I'm not sure why, but I've decided not to question it because it keeps me productive even when I don't want to be.

For the past couple days, ever since I wrote up how I could write 42 hours a week, I've been scientifically testing what exactly goes into creating the strange spurts of productivity that I so enjoy. I'm subtitling it "How David Can Write One Story In One Day" because that seemed a bit too pretentious for a post title. The preliminary results follow. I reserve that awesome post title for the final results after I manage to do this for a while.

Carry around a notepad and write down absolutely anything that comes to mind: title, dialogue, paragraph, character description, setting. Transfer it into a document (I label mine "Soup") you can search. From Soup, ladle out a list of possible titles and attach images/blurbs. Special bonus if the image and blurb are for an Opening Scene. Second best: A really good ending.

Select one of the titles before you go to sleep.

As soon as you wake up, get at least 1000 words into the story so you know what the characters are and have a structure of the plot.

Get out of bed, drink some coffee, bathe, buy food., do stuff, then cook lunch.

While you're waiting for lunch to be ready Bracket Outline the remaining scenes of the story, e.g. [Timmy Does Something]. You're allowed to change it later, but know what the Middle and the End is and how to get there.

Bulk out the bracket outline (catchy quotes, descriptions, transitions) as you eat lunch. You can do some quick research/random page'ing on wikipedia/tvtropes if you like, if you're eating anyways and thus not able to type at optimum speeds. When you've finished eating (you have an hour or so)...

UNPLUG THE INTERNET (Do not skip this step)

Sit down and write at least 1000 words or 1.5 scenes, whichever is longer, in the order in which they will appear in the story. If you must pause, know the next sentence you're going to write down.

If you really must, you can then take a bathroom break and tweet about it. Then unplug the internet again and sit down and finish the damn story.

Transfer the plain text into a word processor, read it through once (don't change anything!) and run a spell check, then:
(for submissions)
Manuscript it up pretty, check your Churn spreadsheet to find an appropriate market and submit it ASAP. Continue submitting as necessary until appropriate market list is exhausted.
(for epublishing)
make some cover art, format it up all pretty (.doc and .html) and put it up online, whether immediately or on the next scheduled Business Side Friday.

Tweet about your success, for tracking purposes. It's not bragging if you actually accomplished something.

Goal: 5 stories a week.
Can I do this regularly? Not yet. Is it possible? Yes.


I have a few questions about this picture.

They all lead to certain madness.

3000 words? Yes
Short Story "The Ambassador's Lady" - not...quite...finished (kinda undercuts the post don't it?)
- - - -
Reading - ScienceSeeker


Friday, January 14, 2011

Things That Don't Exist

In any Alternate History that I write, the reader can implicitly assume that the following things do not exist:

Stargate: The Movie
The First Three Seasons of Seinfeld
except "The Pony Remark", "The Parking Garage" and "The Chinese Restaurant"
Star Trek: Not The Original Series (or Star Trek IV)
except for Q (I love that guy!) and any episode involving the holodeck.
Battlestar Galactica 1978 (and 1980)
"Count Baltar"? What does he do, sell cereal? Quite frankly, that's ridiculous. Give me the real series, where Gaius Baltar is the true hero. Alignment? Lawful Selfish.
Starship Troopers movies
Stop murdering a good book! Three times! Stab stab, twist kill.
Star Wars Episode I & II
More specifically, Episode I and II were stuck together as one movie and then there was a whole other movie  where Anakin got some character development instead of being defined by his girlfriend. Bam! Oh, and James Earl Jones did not shout Nooooooooooooo
Super Mario Bros.: The Movie
as a Mario movie. It exists as a decent generic scifi comedy with a catchy theme tune.
Back To The Future II & III
Damn it, Biff. I only see one coat of wax. And that's all I want to see of you from now on.
Superman III & IV
Oh don't even argue.
Spiderman I & III
except for Uncle Ben. Awwwwwwwwww...
The Last Episode of Firefly
in that there wasn't a last episode in that it was never cancelled and in fact renewed in perpetuity or until it ended naturally gah
Family Guy & American Dad
Screw you!
Comic Books
except Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns.
Yo Mama
She's so fat, she has her own timeline. (Oh, snap! Crisis on Infinite Weights)


Whether this makes it a utopia or a dystopia is up to you.

Hint: Yes.

250 words? Yes
Short Story "The Ambassador's Lady" - in progress.
- - - -
Reading - "Discipline" & "Time"
(Freelancer's Survival Guide)


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Greasy Spoon Night Shift Waiter

Here's what a Writer is, is a person who's willing to explore the dark corners of people's lives, compare them to the dark corners of his own mind and concoct an amalgam of the two into something readable. The only way to explore these dark corners is to actually go there. There's no real point in making a map, because the terrain shifts every day.

It's scary.

What I did today was write a very scary story all in one sitting. It's not scary in the sense of monsters, it's scary in the sense of...lack of monsters. What actually goes on inside someone's head is disturbing enough without having to worry about losing even that...

I wrote it entirely to this:

Mr. Miles Davis pretty much captures the mood of the story.


Sometimes I just stay up all night and see what happens. Amongst my favorite activities are wandering around the darkness and seeing what goes on. They say a man is what is he is in the dark. I say that makes a lot of sense. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to write something else, because I don't trust myself to go to sleep tonight.

It might even be set in a Greasy Spoon Night Shift. But I can't stop whistling...

3500 words? Yes
Short Story "City Muse, Country Muse" (AKA Alan #4)- finished, submitted. (W1S1 Status: Gold)
- - - -
Reading - ?


Wednesday, January 12, 2011


A blog post about daring, disappointment, and determination.

I was doing my Random Creativity Thing (so called because I'm too creative to give it a name) and it generated a good idea for a story. All the cool kids do retold Greek myths, right? Why not me? Jump on the ole' bandwagon about 20 years too late and really make it work.

As a recipient, mostly self-inflicted, of a Classical education, this should be pretty easy. What's the first Greek myth name I come up with? Aithra, mother of Theseus. Got it. There's sex, kidnapping, some confusion over a rock. That's good story material, and since she's a girl the Classical period undoubtedly stifled her true awesome beneath giant heaps of sexism. RIFE for RETOLD. to make Aithra shine? Magic! Aithra the Sorceress! Everybody likes sorcereressi. It's what every little girl who doesn't want to be a princess or a pony wants to be when they grow up. Yes, yes...this is a fine plan. Now let's just wander over to Wikipedia to make sure I remember how to spell the name and such...

Aethra (Greek mythology)
"[...]a version of this Aethra appears as Aithra, a sorceress and concubine of Poseidon, in Richard Strauss's famous opera Die ägyptische Helena (The Egyptian Helen)."

Richard Strauss, you son of a bitch. Wait, what's this...

Die ägyptische Helena
"Aithra invokes elves to torment him; they make him believe that his rival, Paris, is present, and he rushes out to confront the specter. Aithra’s magic then helps Helena regain her original youthful beauty, and a lotus drink banishes her anxiety."

Richard Strauss, you goddamn genius. Even if, since it's opera, Invoked Tormenting Elves cannot be nearly as awesome as that description. They probably sing or something, jeez. 

Anyways, this has taught me a lot about stealing stuff and making it better. I'm still going to write an Aithra story, I just don't know what it'll be about yet. It can hang out in the back of the queue until I plow through the rest of these stories.


In this scene, Aithra uses her staff of power to beat an assailing Trojan about the head and chest. Then with a dramatic swivel, she knocks the second soldier's legs out from under him and turns him into a batterflea*

*An insect that she just made up. She's that powerful.

2000 words? Yes
Short Story "Science Up Some Love" - finished, submitted (W1S1 Status: Green) 
- - - -
Reading - ?


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How David Could Write 42 Hours A Week

Using the power of Spreadsheets! to reveal how lazy I am. (Use the scroll bars...)

A spreadsheet of what I apparently actually do instead of Writing would be just depressing, so I didn't make one. Still, this is going to become reality even if I have to punch myself in the face.

On the theory that a punch in the face is an elegant solution to most any problem.


There's something inherently pleasant about a stupid chart. I'm not sure what it is, but it's at least more fun than Sudoku.

Also, now I want to play Pac-Man.

1000 words? Yes
Book "Lived Too Long to Die"
Short Story "Science Up Some Love" - finished
- - - -
Reading - ?


Monday, January 10, 2011

Lazy Writer Cooks: Cup Mama

Abandon All Hope. Just do it now and get it over with...

For some reason, somebody actually asked me to do a sequel post to Lazy Writer Cooks: Boiled Chicken, and she declared herself unsatisfied with Lazy Writer Drinks: Thaiball. So, I says, if I've got a blog I've got to have a series and I tried to think of something else to cook.

I abruptly realized that I don't actually cook anything else, because my Boiled Chicken is so damn delicious and I'm so damn lazy.

Hence the title, lady.

What follows is thus the absolute only other thing I ever make for myself: Cup Mama, which is the fancy Thai way of saying Cup Ramen. Here's what you'll need:
One(1) Cup Mama
One(1) Bottle of Beer
Some(Some) Boiled Water
Zero(0) Dignity
Total Cost: 40 baht. One dollar.
Not Pictured: Hope
Open the cup of ramen. Remove the plastic fork. Now, place the cup delicately beneath the water boiler spout. Be careful, the water might be hot!
It could burn your soul...
Wait three minutes or until bored. Perhaps you could write something in this time, but this is more appropriate as a break from writing to regain all that sodium and all those calories you're not burning while you sit still and move your fingers.
It's extremely spicy, which masks your dull life.
After three minutes, open the cup lid and discard. Use the included plastic fork to eat the noodles, then drink the soup. Drink the beer. If you're still hungry, make another cup.

Drink more beer.

You know who to blame for this.

Now I'm going to get back to writing.

2000 words? Yes
Book "Lived Too Long to Die"
Short Story "Science Up Some Love"
- - - -
Reading - Passive Aggressive Notes


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Rethink Everything

My latest stab at increasing my productivity is much more advanced than previous attempts. I've literally split my netbook (name: "Annette". ...Har?) into two Worlds. There's the Windows partition, AKA the World of Fun and the GNU/Linux partition, AKA the World of Work. The only connection between the two worlds is World Snake, the 1GB transfer drive. Great advertisement for GNU/Linux there, I know, but works.

In the World of Work, YouTube is disabled and I can't access any of the videos, games, books or other entertainment on the World of Fun's partition. World Snake is only used for transferring text files, documents and images. When I'm not doing cover art or word processing, I mostly hang out in a full-screen environment (Emacs or the Terminal) and tap away without distraction.

I do allow myself background music as long as it doesn't have any lyrics in a language I can understand. Anyways, so far so good. We'll see how well it works in the next month as I go for 10 short stories in January, whoo.

By the by, a pretty cool learning resource for Free software (i.e. if you wanted to learn more about GIMP than my Cover Art can teach you) is FLOSS Manuals

So yeah. Looks like I've got it figured out.

And then somebody does this:


On another branch of Rethink Everything, I often forget amidst all the cool Science! of "Contact" (Carl Sagan) that it starts out as a book about Ellie Arroway, female scientist who struggles to be taken seriously, gets taken seriously, then gets screwed over by the universe (in a good way).

I guess it's just as hard for me to imagine Scientists being sexist as it is for non-geeks to image Scientists being sexy. I touch on avoiding sexism (etc.) in Writing Women, Part 1; Part 2, which were rather popular.

Speaking of popular: Along with great character Cool Science Girl Ellie, Contact also had Cool Rich Guy S.R.Haddon and Cool Religious Guy Palmer Joss. A smorgasbord of characterization it was.

250 words? Yes
Book "Lived Too Long to Die"
- - - -

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