Writer’s Diary: Religious Sci-fi?

Readers of my story “The Monk” might have noticed recently that the story line has moved into the next phase of development. Key parts of the background for the story are being revealed. This is a bit of a new genre because most stories about religion tend to be about existing religions, while for this story I am inventing two entirely new religions that exist in opposition to each other. The clerics of the two faiths are battling with each other and soon there will be a war of words developing as the two faiths battle for the hearts, minds, and souls of the characters.

Fans of the Star Wars franchise will point out that the Jedi and the Sith reflect two opposing religions. However, in no part of the movie franchise do the Jedi and Sith battle out their differences in a debate or dialectical struggle. They just fight violently with each other immediately on contact. This battle of goodies and baddies was enough for me as a child, but as an adult I find myself disturbed by the mindlessness of their constant warfare. The imperial and the republican forces may well represent the globalist and nationalist political forces that have existed throughout human history, but because the movies never delve into depth about the ideology driving the two factions one cannot easily distinguish the two. Luke Skywalker never once shows any remorse for the people he murders throughout the series with the exception of his own father. We never learn about Luke’s thought process, and it’s bothered me whether or not he is actually a good person. Continue reading “Writer’s Diary: Religious Sci-fi?”

Writer’s Diary: Character Depth

Writing depth into a character is difficult. Creating a character who is flawed, complex, and deep is not an easy task. In my early books (15-20 years ago), all my characters were flawless. They were honest, strong, noble, and if they were villains then they were at least stoic villains. These superficial characters were the creation of a superficial writer. That is, the younger me hadn’t gained enough self-knowledge to be deep enough to create deep characters. Even to this day, I struggle with simple things like lying in fictional characters.

I am naturally an honest person. It was difficult for me to accept that other people lie. My villains used to be honest people, which doesn’t make any sense to me now because an honest villain can’t be evil. They must be dishonest in some way. When I was a young man, though, my world was turned upside down when I discovered something about myself: I actually did lie. I lied to myself by telling myself that my weaknesses weren’t really weaknesses, but unique virtues that only I had. For example: I am not manipulative, I am kind hearted by tricking people into doing what’s best for them, which is actually only what’s best for me. Continue reading “Writer’s Diary: Character Depth”

Writer’s Diary: Market Facing Author

The age of the Internet has done something to writing that hasn’t been the case ever before in history. In the past writers were extremely limited in their ability to reach an audience. If I had to use clay or stone tablets to reach my audiences then I would need to spend most of my time learning the art of making these tablets and only a fraction of my time on actual writing. Even with paper and the printing press it was still difficult to spread ideas. There have always been gatekeepers preventing writers from sharing their creativity and they’ve mostly been economic: the availability of clay was the gate keeper for the author of clay tables, the availability of parchment the gate keeper for the dark age author, and so on. When the printing press came along it was the publishing company that was the gate keeper. Do you want your writing published? Then it needs to find a publisher who will approve it for you first. With the internet though, this has all changed. For less than a day’s salary you can buy a domain name and publish your own work and it can potentially reach everyone who can read.

However, how am I to earn a living being an author? Patreon is exciting to me because in the past artists needed to either have plenty of money themselves or they needed to have a wealthy patron to fund their creativity. The idea that hundreds of people could each chip in a few dollars for me each month and that I might be able to actually make something of a living from my hobby is quite exciting. Of course, I haven’t actually made any money from this yet and probably won’t for a long time. However, nothing ventured, nothing gained as the saying goes. I enjoy writing and it is meaningful for me to share my work. Now that I have this site, and I’ve decided how I will run it, all I need focus on now is producing good quality writing. Writing that people will actually want to read. Writing that people will think, “it was worth my money supporting that guy!” So what can I do to be in control of this? How can I make this site a success now that I am a market facing writer, not a publisher facing writer, because the only gatekeeper left is the reader. Well, I have a few goals at the moment for improving my writing: Continue reading “Writer’s Diary: Market Facing Author”

Writer’s Diary: Patreon & Fresh Starts

This has been a busy couple of weeks for me, both on this site and off. I have been working full time during the days but also busy on this writing blog in the evenings. I have created several new pages for this site to make it more navigable and added them to the top menu and the side menu for everyone’s ease. Be sure to check out the schedule page – I will from now on be publishing to this schedule as best as possible. The most important update will be my Saturday updates as these will be the updates that I charge to Patreon for – none of my other updates will be charged to Patreon should you wish to support my writing. If you would like to support my writing by throwing a few coins my way to stimulate me to work harder please visit my Patreon and sign up as one of my patrons. There will be rewards of sneak previews and extra content for those who support me on Patreon.

Another challenge I had this week was the dilemma of trying to repair the damage I had done to The Monk and Humhyde by writing them under a time pressure. In both cases I was writing them very late at night and quickly just to get a publication out each day. I have abandoned this approach and decided that in the future I will allocate time specifically for my writing during the day so as to make sure that I produce quality writing consistently. Also, I have limited my weekday installments to just 1,000 words each – although my Saturday updates will be 2,500 words long. The purpose of these word limits on my posts and scheduled releases is so that I can write ahead several weeks in advance. This will reduce the pressure on me to publish material that isn’t polished enough to share. If I get enough Patrons I will increase the amount of material I post, but I still need to find out if anyone likes my writing enough to be my Patron. Continue reading “Writer’s Diary: Patreon & Fresh Starts”

Writer’s Diary: Reforms

Lately, I have been working long hours and pushing myself to keep up my writing schedule despite my tiredness. The result has been that I find the quality of my writing has dropped significantly in two of my recent posts. I will go back and fix these pieces up so they’re up to the standard I feel comfortable publishing. When I first started this blog, I wanted to update it regularly, however, realistically it isn’t easy having a regular schedule of large updates. It would be much easier if I restrict my updates to a particular length. So starting next week, I have a new schedule.

The purpose of this is so that on the days when I am too busy or tired to write, I will always have something ready to publish. The posts will be shorter than they have been, but they will be consistent. Also, the quality shouldn’t suffer like it has recently with the rushed out pieces. Also, I am going to add my Patreon account to this page so if you would like to support my writing, please feel free to sign up. I will only charge my Patrons once a week on Saturday for the major update. All the other updates are free. Continue reading “Writer’s Diary: Reforms”

Writer’s Diary: Finishing Space Fall

Space Fall is almost finished, I won’t get it done tonight alas, I’ve been recovering from the flu this week and while I’m almost better, I’m still feeling quite weak. I am working on part ten and it will be the final part – even if it is a really long part. I am determined to finish my first draft in the ten parts that I originally planned it to be in.  I actually only started writing Space Fall on the day I published part one, and if I hadn’t gotten sick I think I would have finished it a few days ago. It’s been a very exciting experience writing my first fiction piece in the public domain.  I’ve got at least four regular readers of my story so far according to my net stats. Since I’m not well enough to finish writing it, today I thought I would answer some questions instead. Continue reading “Writer’s Diary: Finishing Space Fall”

Writer’s Diary: Future Projects

Space fall is now most of the way towards completion, and I’ve been thinking about what my next writing project might be.  I have a few contenders.  Presently, I’m fascinated in Anglo-Saxon England and what life was like during this period, especially for the 90-95% outside the aristocracy and clergy.  Life was very difficult back in this era and famines were a constant source of threat to people’s survival.  There is a tendency to dismiss Europeans as being primitive farmers and barbarians before the renaissance, but I figure common sense discounts this idea.  Europe as a continent, especially in the north, has this annual catastrophe called “winter” and in order to survive this the inhabitants of these lands had to adapt to winter conditions in ways people in other parts of the world didn’t need to.  For example, in jungle regions there is fruit all year round, while in Europe fruit is only available in the warmer months.  Europeans had to develop technologies and strategies for coping with winters that exist nowhere else in the world except perhaps Japan, Korea, and Manchuria.

Continue reading “Writer’s Diary: Future Projects”

Writer’s Diary: Narrative Creep

Ok, yesterday was a big day of writing for me.  I wrote over 5,000 words in total on various writing projects.  I was determined to get part 5 of Space Fall out at all costs.  Eventually I finished part 5 and it came out at ~4,250 words.  I actually wanted it to be longer, somewhere in the 6,000 word range.  However, it was getting close to midnight and I decided to compromise on the mental plan I had for the outline of my book.  I had planned for it to be 10 parts at 1,500 words each, yet I’m now at part 6 and it’s already 11,000 words!  This phenomenon happens to me often when I am writing, often enough that I’ve started to give it a name: narrative creep.  It’s when a story that’s simple enough in the planning stages takes on a life of its own and starts growing, possibly exponentially.  While other writer’s complain of writer’s block, my biggest concern is never knowing where to stop.  I generally just want to keep adding to a story until it’s oversized and bloated.  I don’t know if anyone else has this experience? Continue reading “Writer’s Diary: Narrative Creep”

Writer’s Diary: Space Fall

Hello readers,

If you’re worried about missing out on part 5 of Spacefall, you may relax, I am working on it, and will probably put it up tomorrow.  I’m just taking a bit of a break today because the last two parts were 2,000 words each and part 5 is looking like it will be in the 3,000 word range.

Space fall is based on an idea I had one day while reading up about exo planets that astronomers have found in recent years.  I was particularly surprised to learn that water is a relatively abundant substance in the universe that is typically present during the formation of a new star system, but unless a planet has a strong electromagnetic field, like the Earth does, the water eventually gets blown off the surface of the planet and into space.  Water is so abundant that some exo planets have oceans on them possibly hundreds of kilometres deep.  Yet many planets are like Mars or the moon lack a strong electromagnetic field to prevent the water that used to be there from being stripped away by the sun’s radiation. Continue reading “Writer’s Diary: Space Fall”