Sunday, 22 May 2022

Pontificating About Writing

I've been getting back into my writing. I wrote a new opening to Two Moons, because the old one wasn't working for me. And, I don't mean the old one I previewed here in November 2019. I've written at least two other starts since.

But they weren't working for me.

Why? Hard to pin down, but a number of factors were at play. This is a sequel to my trilogy, but it will likely be read as a standalone. The central protagonist is Glen Anderson, Tachikoma's squeeze.

He's an analyst who likes to keep things secret.

Ironically, it means I'm having trouble knowing what to write about his views. You know, they're classified, so he doesn't tell himself what he's not supposed to know. Okay I stole that gag, but it still a great gag.

So to summarise: last time I counted the word total for Two Moons at 32,714 words. New opening chapters, a revised structure, and stuff chucked out means that the running total is now 37,859 words.

Depression made me her bitch, but finally coming off the anti-depressants and my inner child feels like coming out to play.

Here's hoping I can come off that medication without a relapse. It's a thing.

Sunday, 1 May 2022

The Elephant in the Brain

This is a talk that explains what riles me up most, from people I know to the left and right of me, by how they assume that what they know is true.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Fixing Climate Change?

Can you fix climate change?

This is wrong question. Watch, and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Reading SF

Caught the first book in this series after seeing a recommendation somewhere. Can't remember where, but bought the book two years ago (Dec 2020) and it sat on my to be read pile. Got around to reading it in February this year and I was hooked.

Seriously hooked.

I read the first book and immediately ordered the next two books to read, and then finished them too, and ordered the next four. I've bought the first sequel on the 24th of February and finished reading the whole series by Mar 22. 

That's 14 books in a month.

While the writing itself is nothing to write home about, as Skippy would say, the story is awesome. Trust the awesome.

Wonderfully entertaining story, full of humor, filled with excitement and fun. Totallly moreis, because you can't just read one.

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Questions & Answers About My Books

A joke about progress on Two Moons.

On occasion I find myself checking my books rating on Amazon and Goodreads, and find another review. In this case I found two reviews, one totally by accident, but both of which pondered why I wrote so much or didn't write more about certain elements of story.

First the short Goodreads review by Donald Mclean. Thank you Donald for taking the time to write.

The review starts with describing military SF as a weird genre, and that I had used every acronym and bit of jargon I could find. Absolutely true. Guilty as charged.

My training emphasized the role of the nurse as being able to follow the jargon of al the doctors and other medical professionals, and also being able to talk to the patients too. So I don't find jargon and inter-professional language a problem. Obviously, I need to work on making that less didactic.

The other question is repeated in the other review from Frigid Reviews by Garvin Anders and Dr. Ben Allen whose comments were highlighted in red. Thank you both for an interesting discussion.

The review starts with a brief bio, and with regards to being Ashley Watkins and now Ashley Pollard: I wrote OHMU Warmachine thirty years ago, marriage is a thing.

The first question is around the setting, and how and why I didn't go into any great depth about the changes from the United States into the North American Confederation made up of Confederated States.

The reason I didn't delve into the background changes was simply that I wasn't interested in writing about it. Another reason was simply to signal that this is a story in a science fictional future. I would also add that the subtitle for the series: Military SF set in a Holographic Multiverse.

Similarly, what does it mean that China now the Democratic People's Republic of China? I refer everyone to the answers above.

My assumption is that change is a thing, and change is hard to predict. So I just ran with my imagination to make a setting that was interesting. As for the world building feeling a bit slim, the story is not about politics, or at least not directly. It is about conflict, this is just the way I wanted to tell the story I told.

The next point the review raised was about focusing on NCOs and officers and not talking about the junior enlisted.

It's a good question.

I would say that a story has to have a character that has some agency and I'm probably not a good enough writer to tell the story from the point of view who has no power to influence the outcome.

I'm probably wrong but I thought that a sergeant was probably the lowest rank that could influence the battlespace that the story required. I'm happy to be corrected, and this has certainly made me think about a junior enlisted point of view.

The reviewers were not 'crazy' about the title. I wonder if they linked the play between the title and the Hemingway quote? If everyone dies like a dog, then the title is a play of the theme of the novel; as in dying on the same day every day is a bad day.

Monday, 7 March 2022

It's Time to Come Clean — Brandon Sanderson

More Brandon. Go Faster. Write! Write! Write!

Putting this here as a thank you to Brandon Sanderson, who I don't know, and who I've only ever read one story of. He doesn't write in my wheelhouse (rockets, robots, and ray-guns), but this promo is just so much fun to watch.

Not only that, but has helped me focus on my current work in progress on Two Moons.

Monday, 28 February 2022

Ask Lovecraft - Plushies

I've been refreshing myself about the work of Heraclitis, who I love, as a break from Quantum Field Theory, which makes my head hurt. But a necessary piece of research for my next novel.

As reviews have said, I do my research. But, it takes time to nail down what one needs to know to write convincingly about physics and cosmology, and I watched this as I needed a break from studying.

Ask Lovecraft by Leeman Kessler YouTube video greatly amused me. His witty monologues always makes me smile, and I hope it amuses anyone who come to my blog, too.


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