Tag Archives: writing

Becoming Superman

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“No, not gone. Now we make our own magic. Now we create our own legends. Now we build the future. Now we stop–“

“–being afraid of shadows.”

Delenn and Sheridan (Babylon 5: Into the Fire)

I like to read. I usually read about 30 books a year but I rarely talk about them here. When I say read I am including audio books and maybe that is fudging the data somewhat. Then again I think my brother includes the children’s books he reads to his son. Given that I am 8 books behind schedule for my 39 book target maybe that is something I need to do – although I don’t have children so it might be a bit odd.

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I have recently finished Becoming Superman by J. Michael Straczynski. It is his autobiography and it is amazing. I listened to the audio book while walking to work and I must look like a complete imbecile as parts of it are literally laugh out loud funny. Although maybe that is just because I am a writer – unknown and unpublished but still a writer. To me though some passages were most amusing.

I will not sleep, eat, drink, nothing! The words and I will be locked in mortal combat until one of us surrenders

G’Kar (Babylon 5: No Compromises)

Becoming Superman tells the whole story of JMS’s life. It talks about his abusive upbringing and goes on to his career as a writer across many areas of creativity. He was had an amazing career and the volume of scripts he has written is phenomenal. I find myself rather envious that he has been able to do that full time – even with the financial struggles that came with it.

Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics and you’ll get ten different answers, but there’s one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won’t just take us. It’ll take Marilyn Monroe and Lao-Tzu and Einstein and Morobuto and Buddy Holly and Aristophenes .. and all of this .. all of this was for nothing unless we go to the stars.”

Commander Sinclair (Babylon 5: Infection)

JMS is a man of incredible integrity – on more than one occasion he left working on a TV show because he refused to adjust it to what, in his mind, would be a detriment to the work and to the characters. He also kept a promise made to his wife even after they divorced. A promise that she would never have to work in a closed in office if that wasn’t what she wanted. It was wonderful to reed about a divorced couple that still cares about each other after the end of a relationship. The common wisdom of the world would suggest that that is impossible but it is not.

It doesn’t matter if you stand completely alone. Fight for what you believe.

Captain Sheridan (Babylon 5: Objects at Rest)

I have used quotes from Babylon 5 in this review for three reasons. Firstly it is what I know JMS from and it is a work I very much admire, secondly I don’t have a hard copy of the book, and thirdly he puts his feelings in to the mouths of his characters. He describes this idea in episode commentaries of how his character creation can be based around a particular trait of his.

The quote above is very important and it is echoed in Becoming Superman. It is the idea that a writer, or any sort of artist, well have their naysayers. These are the people who say ‘Get a real job’ or ‘You’ll never make money doing this.’ While tenacity and dedication are no guarantee of success the important thing is to keep going. To try every day to make a step towards your goal. As the old saying goes: ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ And a novel of 100,000 words begins with a single word. Even a 500 words a day will get you a first draft in less than a yeah. So keep going and fight to achieve your goals. That is what I take from Becoming Superman. It is a book about the struggles of life and what is important. It is quite simply an excellent read.

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: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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What is it?

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I don’t know what this blog post will be about. My mind is a bit on the blank side at the moment. It probably doesn’t help that I am doing three things at once at the moment, this, a YouTube video, and texting.

Multitasking simply doesn’t work. Yet I keep doing it. Why? Probably because I have all the focus of a cat in a field of catnip.

Photo by Wojciech Kumpicki from Pexels

…or it could be that there are so many things I want to accomplish that I am trying to do all of them. Even though none of those things I mentioned are really accomplishments. And all that happens is each thing edges forward at a very slow rate – and this takes far too long – I need help.

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My novel seems to be going well. Reading chapters out, almost, weekly is useful as it means the chapter’s are expected and I am, sort of, accountable to someone else. There may have been a few too many conditional clauses in that statement.

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I’ll give you a little titbit of information. Consider your character’s history. I am writing a section with centaurs and kelpies. It is so easy to put human characteristics to this beings. However a nod may not be a ‘Yes’, a shake of the head may not mean ‘No.’ and a thumbs up is not possible if the beings don’t have thumbs. Even those examples mean a completely different thing in different parts of the world before we even get in to a fictional world So in closing remember…

The Truth Resists Simplicity.

John Green.

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: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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What about our many Fans?

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We seem to live in a creative lull at the moment. That is not to say that we don’t have great TV and films to watch but consider this question: How many films and TV shows can you think of released in the last few years that have no connection to anything that has gone before? Maybe I am just out of touch but what I see is a saturation of reboots, remakes, prequels, sequels, adaptations, and based on real events.

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Star Trek: Discovery is technically a prequel and not a reboot. However so much has been changed and retconned it might as well be a new show. My question is why isn’t it a new show? Answer: Money.

Dollar signs! Money! I didn’t build this ship to usher in a new era for humanity. You think I wanna go to the stars? I don’t even like to fly. I take trains. I built this ship so that I could retire to some tropical island filled with …naked women. That’s Zefram Cochrane. That’s his vision. 

Zefram Cochrane (Star Trek: First Contact)

I look at any work of fiction from a writing and creative standpoint. I am however aware that they are also a business. If a series is being created, and millions spent on it, then it will need to have views. In order to have viewers they need to make it as accessible as possible. And a connection to something that has gone before is as easy a way as any. However I think that that attitude is in danger of alienating the established fans. That is certainly how I feel when looking at Star Trek: Discovery.

…it… it wasn’t our world anymore. They made it theirs.

Willow (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Prophecy Girl)

The problem with science-fiction is the speed at which technology marches on. Discovery needs to look superior to today’s technology while looking interior to a 1960’s version of the future. This is, of course, impossible.

…well mostly.

I still think Enterprise had many issues but the look of the show, particularly the internal sets, was well done. It really gave the feel of a ship that was more advanced than today but still less advanced than the 1701. There are, naturally, a few compromises but it is never going to be completely cohesive.

Discovery doesn’t seem to have the same care and attention. Having touch screen controls makes sense but the series didn’t need holograms to work. I like continuity and a cohesive universe. In my view if a writer doesn’t want to be concerned with continuity why not begin again… well I have the answer to that above… Discovery has given me an appreciation of Enterprise as now I see the good and can ignore the facepalmingly bad.

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Well ignore might be too strong a word.

Many people are enjoying Star Trek: Discovery and that is wonderful. I truly mean that but it is not for me. One of my friends who likes it said you have to forget about the other shows. Again why not make something new?

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In other news the BBC is adapting His Dark Materials.

Doesn’t it look good?

And I can’t wait! I know that this contradicts all I have been saying above. I am not against books and TV shows based on other things. I would just like to see lots of new things coming out along side them. Said the man who hasn’t been to the cinema in ages and will probably next see Star Wars: Episode IX.

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: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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Done!

Hands Typing Typewriter Ancient Retro Classic Keyboard I have just validated my novel. Yes 50,000 words written in a month. This is only the beginning of course and many cuts will have to be made – and maybe the story isn’t even any good.

Nevertheless a story exists now that did not before and now all that remains is to finish it… more words and edit; edit; edit.

After all as someone wise once said: ‘You can’t edit a blank page!’

Woo hoo!

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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.

***

The picture here is from: https://www.pexels.com/

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Nanowrimo 2017 – Half Way

pexels-photo-261510 It has been more than a fortnight since I last posted. That is because I have been working on Nanowrimo.

Juggling my writing, work, housework, and food is not easy. This is part of the reason the washing up has rather piled up in the last few days, why my flat is even more of a mess, and why I had a wired meal just now of: steak, a bell pepper, and Doritos. I have to leave for work in about an hour so I really should snap to it – by it I mean washing up – met writing target for today.

The novel is going well. One of the chapters is at nearly 15,000 words. For the finished piece I’ll have to edit it to at least seven chapters. The point is it is going well. That is due, in a large part, to drawing inspiration from my own life. Write what you know. Am I write?

I have a week off next week so the target will be reached. Here’s to the final push!

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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.

***

The pictures here are from: https://www.pexels.com/

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Nanowrimo – 2017

pexels-photo-261510 Nanowrimo is almost here. And once again I am going to attempt this rather difficult feat.

Last year I failed to meet the 50,000 word target. Also Thor, my laptop, died right near the end of it. I lost none of my work though as I have backups of everything.

I still haven’t finished that novel. I have several unfinished novels. I know that that isn’t good. I still enjoy the process of writing. Beginnings are always fun. In those moments you create a new world. After the first few chapters it is easy to become a little lost. It is like when playing with toy soldiers as a child: I’m not sure I ever did but it works for a metaphor. green plastic toy soldiers

When playing such games we imagine the great battle, the establishment of a beachhead, and the destruction of enemy forces.

We rarely play the aftermath. There are computer games for the Battle of Britain. They don’t make computer games where you have to work out the minutiae of the Paris peace treaties.

A novel is still a tall order but one I feel I will achieve some day.  The words ‘some day’ are a curse but there they are.

This year I am going to attempt something a little different. I won’t be working in my usual genera but in romance.

1280px-Narrowboats-at-tardebigge It will be about a lonely man who lives on a narrowboat and finds love. It is a story that has been brewing in my mind for a while.

I have no solid idea of exactly what is going to happen in the story but I am excited to see where it goes.

If you are attempting Nanowrimo this year I wish you the best of luck. See you on the other side.

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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.

***

The pictures here are from: https://www.pexels.com/

The narrowboat picture is from: 

Norman Rogers

en:Narrowboats moored up near en:TardebiggeEngland.

 

 

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I’m Pretty Sure I Had an Idea a Second Ago

light-bulb-current-light-glow-40889 A few minutes ago I had an idea for this post. I know I know – it is not good to have two posts in a row that talk about ideas or lack of same.

Actually in general ideas are fairly easy to come by. I think if you’re serious about writing you will probably find this to be true. Of course having an idea, or a concept, is no guarantee of turning it into a workable story. Sometimes when writing I hit a brick wall pexels-photo-207142 with writing because I lack a certain piece of knowledge.  And finding out some information can be very difficult.

I’ll tell you one idea I had a while ago in a bit – but first let me destroy a concept that some people have. Giving a writer an idea does not mean you have done a significant part of the job. It is the tiniest part of the whole thing. For instance the concept of a TV series like ER or Casualty is quite straight  forward – the drama of hospitals – life or death – and the drama of the staff too. To write that? You have to lean so many details of diseases, treatments, and so on and so on.

When starting to think of a TV series I have heard two, in a broad generalisation, ways a show can be pitched. The first is to say that your idea is this meets that. Deep Space Nice could, arguably, be a western meets space opera. A workable metaphor. Sisko is the mayor, Odo the sheriff, Quark runs the saloon/brothel, you get the idea. The second way to pitch is the what if question. The TV series The Man in the High Castle, based on a book, is: ‘What if we last the war.’ It is a quick way to explain an idea.

So here’s my idea: What if a Roman Legion, or other primitive society, discovered advanced alien technology.    pexels-photo-339805

To me this idea has great potential. Romans were advanced for their time and it would be interesting to explore what they would do if the galaxy was opened up to them.

However to write this story would be so difficult. I know very little about Roman culture, tactics, cuisine, and so on. I think the Legate, in charge of the legion, discovered this technology he would probably use it to take over the Empire.

This could be an excellent story, if I do say so myself, but writing it might be beyond me.

Although, now that I think about it, maybe there is another way. Maybe I don’t have to be historically accurate. Maybe I could invent my own pre-industrial society and work with that – but an idea does not a story make.

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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.

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The pictures here are from: https://www.pexels.com/

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