Monthly Archives: October 2018

5…4…3…2…1 – Nanowrimo is Go!

bird flying zoo beak

Photo by Skitterphoto on

Five days to go before I embark on Nanorimo – don’t worry these blog posts will continue – I’ll need the distraction of doing something else as a stare at a blank page and try to fill it with ideas.

That bird to the left has nothing to do with anything – except that the title was taken from Thunderbirds.

Ideas are slow to arise in my brain at the moment but it is my hope that on that faithful Thursday when this all starts something will have arisen out of the emptiness of creativity. Failing that I will just write 50,000 words of back story and, in the words of Homer Simpson, it will just be a bunch of stuff that happened.

black android smartphone on top of white book

Photo by Pixabay on

When it comes to world building there need to be limitations. If the Enterprise could beam through any atmosphere and through shield it would remove the drama from many a story.

Expanding to other universes there are other limitations. In Babylon 5 the jump engines need time to recharge. And we all know the issues the Millennium Falcon has with its hyperdrive. Having these problems is vital to telling a good story. If the heroes are two powerful then where is the challenge?

dscn0416_11670707_o For the type of science fiction stories I want to tell FLT will be vital. While a series set entirely in the Solar System might be interesting I don’t know the first thing about working out the physics of the situation.

And I don’t have time to get a degree in astrophysics to write the story. It will therefore have to be a soft science fiction and very soft at that.

The above picture is a firework. To my eyes it reminds me of a jump point from Babylon 5 – a sign that a ship is about to enter the star system. In designing my own idea for FLT this is the type of thing I wanted – but instead of hyperspace it is and instantaneous transit between star systems. The limitations is the accuracy of these portholes and the power needed to make them.

When it comes to word building I want to knew everything…

sky earth galaxy universe

Photo by Pixabay on

This includes the names and ranks of everyone aboard the ship depicted. I am very anal with this sort of stuff. This stuff is, probably, irrelevant most of the time. I still like to known though you know?

The reason for knowing was born out of the immune crewman idea in all of trek. Whether it is Spock, Data, Odo, The Doctor, or Phlox there is always someone aboard who can’t be effected by the threat of the week. So I figured if I knew the make up of the whole crew I would know which characters I could use.

And the porthole drive, for lack of a better name, came from a stupid place. In Star Trek the excuse for action is often ‘We are the closest starship.’ I hate that reasoning but that is a debate for another time. For me in order to be able to say that a ship was the closest I would need to know where every planet was in relation to every other.

sky space telescope universe

Photo by Pixabay on

Many years ago I did attempt to do that. I listed my fictional planets on a spreadsheet and started to make up co-ordinates. I even worked out a formula so I could plug in any two plants and get a distance between them.

Having a porthole drive sidesteps the issue nicely. All planets are as easy to get to as any other. Like in Stargate SG-1 as long as you know the stargate address it doesn’t matter where the other planet is.

books on bookshelves

Photo by Mikes Photos on

That is one thing I have learnt from writing. Sometimes research and background information is necessarily. There are other times when a writer can make their lives easier by doing the simple thing and sidestepping the issue completely.

Doing research can get you pulled into an internet rabbit warren of irrelevant information. So next time you are looking something up ask yourself: How much do I need to know? Ask yourself if you can make a small change and avoid spending your precious writing time trying to find a small nugget of information.

For example lets say the protagonist’s mother is dying of cancer. To accurately research the effects of cancer on the body would require a lot of time. However the important part, for the story, is how it effects the protagonist. So you could try being vague about the mother’s illness. The emotional punch is the same and you avoid the rabbit warren of doom.

I’ll see you next time for an update on the first four days of Nanorimo.


I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog:

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Nanowrimo – 2018

ballpoint pen classic coffee composition

Photo by Pixabay on

Nanowrimo 2018 is fast approaching and I will be taking part. Even though, at this precise moment, I have very little idea of what I am going to be writing about.

I already have several projects on the go and it would make more sense to finish one of them but I enjoy the challenge of nanowrimo and I want to do it. Also I have done it for the last couple of years and don’t want to miss one. It is funny how an established habit makes it easier to continue. I discovered the other day I had missed a day on my morning pages and that was annoying – although it is possible it was a computer error and that entry didn’t save.

sky space milky way stars

Photo by Miriam Espacio on

There are some characters in my head that I have done very little with and I think writing 50,000 words on one of them might be a good idea.

I have been a fan of Star Trek since I was very little. And have been telling stories since I was old enough to speak/annoy my parents depending on how you look at it. So it was only natural that I would have my own starship crew.

I have in my head a group of eight main characters that make up my starship crew:

  1. Commander Michael Wisdom
  2. Major Virgil Noxon
  3. Major Duncan O’Reilly
  4. Major Tracy Troxell
  5. Major Melissa Dorn
  6. Major Svea Borg
  7. Major  Dimitri Kriskovich
  8. Lieutenant Stephanie McKnight

As you can see it is perfectly balanced between men and woman – which in the crazy way this world is going will probably annoy everyone!

adolescence attractive beautiful beauty

Photo by Matheus Bertelli on

I have written a story or two with these characters but haven’t got fully immersed into their world. Weirdly I have back story for some of them.

I know, for example, that Lieutenant McKnight has red hair, is from Toronto, and her father was a Police officer.

I know Svea is blond, started as an enlisted crewman and, made the jump to officer – although I have since rethought how the ranks work in this universe.

I know Melissa is French, gay, and went into the space force over the objections of her father but that they now have a good relationship.

I know Duncan O’Reilly is from a race of genetically engineered humans, is telepathic, and has small horns on his forehead.

I know that Virgil Noxon was adopted, has twin younger siblings, Wyatt and Morgana, and, that his mother served in the space force before him.

And I know that Michael Wisdom is the middle child. His elder brother is also in the service and his younger brother is somewhat estranged from the family.

photo of green data matrix

Photo by Markus Spiske on

So, yes, all this information is floating around in my head but there is very little written about these people or their universe. So my novel for November will be about these people – now I just need something for them to do.


I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog:

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I Understand…

woman falling in line holding each other

Photo by mentatdgt on

Some people complain about diversity in fiction. They seem to see something wrong with having characters from a variety of backgrounds. This is going to be a post where a white, heterosexual, and male person talks about diversity. What have I got myself into?

When Star Trek Discovery began there were some complains about it. It had a black female lead and a gay character. There are people who dislike it purely because of these factors. I don’t like Discovery. I saw the pilot and 1.5 episodes and it wasn’t gripping me so I watched something else instead. It had nothing to do with diversity. On the contrary that was one of the few bright sparks of the show. It is about bloody time we had a gay character!

red love garden plant

Photo by Pixabay on

Previously, in Trek, we only had off hand references to gay people existing. Whoopi Goldberg got a small victory in changing a line to reflect everyone rather than being heteronormative. In DS9’s Rejoined Kira couldn’t understand why Dax can’t be with the woman she is falling in love with. In that episode it was the Trill taboo that was the problem and not that they were both women.

Diversity is good and it is something that should be seen more of in films. However there is a side to it that I find confusing. Some people talk about it being needed to help the audience identify more fully with the characters. This was certainly true of Whoopi Goldberg who was inspired by seeing Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek. As, at the time, a black woman in such a position was unheard of. Uhura was fifth in command of the Enterprise!

blur carefree cute feelings

Photo by Pixabay on

Now I know what you are thinking: ‘You are a white heterosexual man. Almost every film ever made has a white heterosexual man.’

You are right of course but, for me, those factors don’t mean much.

I need to clarify what I am saying here because I do not want to cause any offence to anyone. I know that white privilege is a thing. And so is homophobia.

I know that no one is going to question me walking down the street holding a woman’s hand. No one is going to question me standing on a station platform holding her while waiting for a train. If I was gay they might. It should not make a difference. Love is love. The point I am trying to make is that my privileged status is shown in indifference. So although I am privileged I don’t notice it because it manifests in people being decent. I haven’t seen the other side. And I don’t really think of my sexual orientation, my race, or my gender as being significant to the person I am.

white teddy bear with opened book photo

Photo by Pixabay on

I remember reading a book report in Primary School. When I was finished I was asked a question: ‘Do any of the characters remind you of someone you know?’

I thought about it and I said that one of the female characters reminded me of my brother. Some people in the class were confused by that. As if men and woman were so wildly different they couldn’t be compared in that way.  I don’t think I have ever needed similarity to find connection – or enjoyment in a work of fiction.

adult anger angry angry face

Photo by Pixabay on

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of my favourite shows growing up. It has a mostly female cast and I never felt alienated or disconnected or disinterested.

The too main male character’s in the show are Giles and Xander. I like them both but they are nothing like me. Giles is an older mentor character and Xander had enough confidence to ask out his crush out – I could never do that and I wouldn’t have been asking out a girl with super powers. Although I probably would have handled rejection better.

man with white shirt riding abicycle on a mountain

Photo by Pixabay on

TL:DR: Diversity is fantastic but its absence doesn’t effect my enjoyment.

I said before that factors like who I love and my gender don’t matter so what does?

The things I enjoy doing would be much more important. I prefer quite nights in to noisy nights out. With the acceptation of if I am kissing someone!

I am also disabled. I don’t talk about it much, and I think I generally say no to the question, but technically I am. I have dyspraxia, a condition that effects hand/eye coordination, I also have some issues with mental heath.

black and white photo of clocks

Photo by Andrey Grushnikov on

So…I was wrong.

When I saw Doctor Who last week I had a feeling of joy inside when Ryan was shown to have dysprixia. I finally get it. Diversty is not just a nice to have it is absolutely essential. So on this one I have been a little slow.

Also Jodie Whittaker was awesome as the Doctor I have never liked a new Doctor so fast. She had echos of Tennant and even a bit of Troughton.

I look forward to seeing where they go with this show. And I hope they show Ryan coping with his dysprixia rather than an alien healing him. As much as I would like to be normal magic wands don’t exist in real life. And as a very special woman told me the other day: ‘There is nothing wrong with you.’ I should listen to her – a boost to self-esteem is invaluable.

I hope you are doing well with whatever you struggle with. You can do this!


I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog:

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Mudd’s Women

nature water animal playing

Photo by Pixabay on

Mudd Mudd glorious Mudd. I bet you never thought you’d see a connection between a Star Trek episode and Flanders and Swann. Many of you probably don’t even know who they are. So without further ado lets just get into it.

Well we are still yet to get to the really good stuff of TOS. This episode once again has the TOS staple of treating women badly.

Harry Mudd introduces the three women as ‘cargo’. He is transporting them in order to help find them husbands. The implication is that without husbands their lives would be meaningless. Which is rather offensive. It also seems counter to everything Star Trek is supposed to be about. And when it comes to describing what being a wife is it falls back on cliches of housework!

As an aside I understand the need to find someone. However in this episode it is presented in a rather creepy way.

green yellow red needle pin and safety pins

Photo by Pixabay on

Specifically mentioned is ‘cooking’ and ‘sewing’ which seems anachronistic in the Trek word. Sewing is hardly something we do in the 21st century! I find it hard to imagine it would be a priority in the 23rd.

As for cooking that is a bit more difficult to pin down. There are references to real food in Trek but in TOS we see the crew eating colourful food cubes.

beef chopping board fillet food

Photo by Lukas on

Bringing up TNG is futile but just for completeness. In The Wounded Keiko is surprised that Miles’s mother touched real meat. And in Lonely Among Us Riker states that animals are no longer used for food in the 24th century. So who the hell knows?

In short Mudd’s Women is locked into gender roles. That probably isn’t something I can criticise it for. I don’t think that was an idea in the 1960s. Nevertheless for a show often referred to as progressive it is strange how much it clings to how things are rather than how they could be.

Harry Mudd presents an interesting character. I am surprised he got past Roddenberry He is so far from the ideal humans that Roddenberry liked. He is well performed and he is not an evil villain. I am not sure what else to say about him. Certainly his next appearance is more interesting.

adult art black and white group

Photo by Mikes Photos on

At the end of the episode the three woman marry the miners. That is right they marry them. And they have only known them for a few hours at this point. And apparently they only marry them because they are rich. I am slow clapping now.

Beyond the obvious implications what is the point of being rich when stuck on a backwater planet in the middle of nowhere?

This episode also comes with the threat of the week. Unfortunately that seems to be seen as something of a necessity. I am at least glad the problem wasn’t caused by sabotage or evilness. Instead the Enterprise over extended itself in trying to rescue Harry and his passengers. The Enterprise must acquire lithium [dilithium came later] before the Enterprise is pulled down into the planet’s atmosphere. And the miners seem prepared to let that happen if they don’t get what they want – mainly the women.

In conclusion this episode is meh. The women are used as a commodity, the miners seem prepared to risk the lives of hundreds of people if they don’t get them, and I am left with a rather uncomfortable feeling. I am still struggling with TOS but good episodes are just around the corner!


I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog:

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized