May 17 2013

Trekker’s Guide

In a few hours I’ll be heading out to see the latest Star Trek flick. I’m on lock down to avoid spoilers, but I’m getting good vibes! Hoping it makes me feel better after Iron Man 3 delivered several swift brutal kicks to my midsection.

So today I came across this, the original 1967 writer’s guide to Star Trek. It’s a blast. There is a lot of great material, especially at the beginning, on what makes for good science fiction. I haven’t had a chance to go through all of it, but here are some real gems, like

IF YOU’RE ONE OF THOSE WHO ANSWERS: “THE CHARACTER ACTS THAT WAY BECAUSE IT’S SCIENCE FICTION”, DON’T CALL US, WE’LL CALL YOU.

and

The less [science fiction terminology] you use, the better. We limit complex terminology as much as possible, use it only where necessary to maintain the flavor of the show and encourage believability.

IMPORTANT: The writer must know what he means when he usesscience or projected science terminology. A scattergun confusion of meaningless phrases only detracts from believability.

(This second one would have been nice for some of the later series to follow, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Incidentally, I’ll be at the Dallas Comic Con this weekend and might meet, among others, LeVar Burton. If I do I can’t guarantee that I won’t break down into a blubbering emotional wreck trying to pass on a Reading Rainbow/Star Trek fan fiction manuscript.

(Note to self, get to work on Reading Rainbow/Star Trek crossover.)


Aug 5 2011

Homicided

Some time back I linked to the LA Times Homicide map, which I thought might be a fascinating source for story ideas. I haven’t gotten around to using it. But that’s neither here nor there. Now there is one for New York.

The lesson I take from this is that you should not live in Brooklyn if you are black.

Speaking of homicide, you really should read this. Fantastic, especially if you like reading about crime scenes. I love writing crime scenes. You get to really dwell on details, and everything can be important. The more obscure or seemingly insignificant, the better. And of course, detectives are a great character archetype to play with. Seriously, I have like fifteen or twenty crime scenes I’ve written, with no story written after them. They’re fun. And horrible.


Sep 29 2010

Spooctober

The Writer’s Ink crew had an excellent meeting the other night, and it was decided as a group goal that we’ll all be trying to write some 250 words a day during October. This is something we should be doing anyway, as a matter of policy, but I think various things have been conspiring to keep many of us from productivity this past year. We are hoping to get back at it!

I know I, for one, have not gotten nearly enough rejection letters this year.

It was perhaps inspired by this post, among other things.

We will be consulting these, should we need them.

Maybe I’ll try writing a novel a thousand words at a time.


Sep 27 2010

Advisory!

I’ve got a post about superhero fiction over at the Flash Fiction Chronicle! You can read it! Comment!


Nov 11 2009

The Importance of Fun

Work is killing me, so I really haven’t had any time to get much done. I have, however, managed to squeeze out an article for the Flash Fiction Chronicles. You can read it here.

I’m thinking of making a regular series of articles here about the sort of thing featured in that post. Each week feature something that I think is awesome to write about. I’d talk about why they are important to storytelling and point out what I think are a few good examples. Any interest in that?

Whatever attempt at NaNo I might have made is a complete bust. I simply haven’t had any time with all this overtime at work. But at lunch last week I managed what may be the first rough paragraph of a Chuck Chaykin novel. Enjoy. Continue reading


Sep 17 2009

Slushie

Since KC has abandoned her post (I kid, I kid, KC!), Every Day Fiction is looking for a new slush reader. If you love to read and critique, and want learn a little bit about how the publishing biz works, you should consider volunteering. I understand it’s actually a highly valuable experience. I would, but I hesitate to commit to something like that – I’m not sure I would have the time. Maybe at the beginning of the year, when work is less busy.


Aug 21 2009

Tips for (poorly) writing strong female characters

  1. She is sassy! Whenever her inferiors are around our heroine is always ready with an arched eyebrow and a snappy remark to make the upstart feel foolish.
  2. She takes no guff! She is always ready to point out how wrong her superiors are (by superior we mean only that they have greater rank – rank likely earned through politics, seniority, or luck, not merit, clearly) and it’s up to her to put things right when the situation goes, ahem, tits up. They should have listened to her to begin with!
  3. She is infinitely good at her job. Even if she’s had no training, and in particular knows more than anyone who’s knowledge comes purely from books, not experience. If a particularly unique scenario comes up, feature the following exchange:

    “Wow!” said the intern. “Where have you even done that before? It’s not in the manual!”

    Our heroine arches an eyebrow, wipes the sweat from her brow. “Who said I had?”

  4. On the rare occasion that our heroine gets something wrong, it’s not that she was wrong, but rather that the other character was right. Use the opportunity to develop the other character, not her.
  5. You must give your heroine some flaws, obviously. Just make sure they are relationship problems. Divorce is a popular choice. Just make sure she leaves these personal issues at home! She doesn’t have time to let that nonsense interfere with her career.
  6. She always takes the hard road to achieve her goals, and it always pays off. Bonus points if her parents wanted her to do something else with her life, for any reason – if they also question why she is lacking a husband/child, prepare yourself for a trip to the bank to deposit your giant novelty check.
  7. If writing for a younger (young adult, perhaps) audience, make sure she has boyish qualities – maybe she likes cars, or disdains pink dresses. The less feminine your female is, the better. This is especially the case for any story aimed at teenage boys. Obviously, boobs are still a necessity, and if possible she will still have a crush on the cute boy next door who doesn’t notice her until she puts some makeup on for gods’ sake.

This concludes, for now, my seminar on writing strong female characters. I hope you have found it useful. Please refer to page 3A of your handout for further questions.


Aug 12 2009

Community Building

I’ve got a post on the importance of community building for online writers over at the Flash Fiction Chronicle. Check it out!


Jul 22 2009

Research

For today’s post I will direct you to the Flash Fiction Chronicles, where I chat about research for stories. Exciting!

The article also talks about some of the inspiration for “Four Liars,” in case that is of interest to you.


May 3 2009

New Chronicles Post Up

I’ve got a new post up over at the Flash Fiction Chronicles, about what to do when real life and fiction pass uncomfortably close in the night. Check it out! Comment!