It’s That Time of Year

Well it’s that time of year.

NaNoWriMo is in full swing and I forgot about it. Sad face.

I started a story a few days late, but it already needs a heavy rewrite, so I may end up scrapping it. To be honest it would best be served as a graphic novel. If anybody wants to tackle some panel drawing let me know.

Thanksgiving is coming up, followed by Christmas and the New Year. I’m already knee deep in ‘things’ between church and home and planning the 1000 trips my family will have to take. It’s very taxing already. My writing has been on the back burner for months because of the baby and work and editing and designing and everything else. That short story collection I’ve been talking about releasing for the better part of a year may someday become a reality.

But the point is that we all get busy.

1. Find something to do

This blog has kept up my spirits and work ethic, if albeit slightly. I find myself trying to write a post at least twice a month if not once a week. Sometimes it’s hard, but it keeps me going. Researching and having to go out and watch movies for reviews and stuff helps me stay sharp in my mind for future projects. Finding the time to develop these things while not having a full-time writing avenue is difficult, but the creative juices are still flowing.

2. Find other things to do

If you read this blog religiously you know that I’m an avid hunter and fisherman. Well I used to be an avid fisherman. Hunting season is in full swing, and I will be tracking down an elk pretty soon. And there will be pictures of my conquest. Hunting helps me get away from all the stressful stuff and have some alone time. I’m an INTP person, so getting away is extremely important to me. If I was still single, I would probably spend my weekends in another state. Hunting also helps me with self worth issues because it provides much needed meat for my family.

I digress.

Find something to do that isn’t writing to help you chill out and relax. Relaxation often leads me to ideas that I can write down and develop later.

3. Do some writing

As i mentioned earlier, I had planned to do NaNoWriMo again this year. That didn’t happen. But I did start writing a story and have a pretty good idea of where I want it to go. Not very solid yet, but it’s a start. If you’re stuck just writing a blog or you’re done relaxing and have some ideas, try to write a little bit. Who knows, maybe you’ll bang out the next great thing. Maybe collaborate with someone. Do some sort of writing. You’re bound to come out of your funk eventually.

 

This is a post that is similar to many i have already written, and is mostly a reminder for myself and anyone in the same boat. It will end. The ideas will come. The words will make it onto the screen. Get it done.

Keep it up.

What to do with all of those unfinished projects

I’ve been bad lately.

I’ve been writing, but not every day, and certainly not as much as I need to finish NaNoWriMo.

So what do I do with that story? Do I finish it? Leave it for dead? Start another one?
Finish it definitely.

I’ve found that I am way better at writing short stories than novels. I don’t know if it’s an attention span thing, or a drawn out story thing, or an I’m addicted to tv shows thing, but i do know that it’s a fact.

So I had this great idea for my novel, but I just can’t seem to push it very far. So I’m going to rebrand it as a short story or novella (depending on final length).

So what have you given up on?

Let’s finish up this post with some useful information:

1. Finish projects

I think I can honestly say that I have at least tried to finish all of my projects. That doesn’t mean that they’re all finished. It certainly doesn’t mean that everything is good.

I had a stretch for a while in the summer when I wrote about three terrible stories.

And by terrible I mean that NO ONE will ever get to read them.

But I did muscle through and finish them. And eventually I wrote a story that other people would actually read. And who knows? Your failed novel could be a really good short story, or your failed short story could be a really good joke.

2. Know when to quit

If your novel is a really long painful expression of an idea, do everybody a favor and end it. The edit it down to a manageable word count.

Then call it a novella or short story.

Or if you have the drive and the skill, finish your novel. Novel writing is hard, so if you can finish it at full length you’ve really accomplished something.

So know when to quit: short or long you won’t be wrong.

3. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself

I decided to write this epic space opera one time. The only problem was that I lost all grip on the story and ended up writing the most absurd piece of fiction ever to grace my computer screen. And all I can do is laugh at it.

It’s terrible.

But I finished it.

You’ve probably written something similar. Don’t belittle yourself and think that you aren’t a good writer. Just laugh at it and keep writing. And maybe someday you can use it in a collection of blooper stories.

Do people even do that?

Anyway, don’t give up on your project. See it through to the end, and maybe you can use it in a way that you hadn’t thought of.

Keep writing!

Genre Mixing

I’ll be honest, Sci Fi is not the only genre I like.

And I will probably try to write something that is not in some sort of Sci Fi subgenre someday. But here’s a good question:

What if I could mix Sci Fi with another genre?
Well I certainly wouldn’t be an innovator.

I think Mel Brooks is a genius. He is a comedian, but his movies are comedy set in another genre. Blazing Saddles is a western, Spaceballs is Sci Fi, Young Frankenstein is horror. And yet they are all comedies.

So what if Science Fiction was the permeating undertone?

SPOILERS IF YOU CONTINUE!

 

Some of you may hate this, but I am a big fan of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series. When I was in grade school, I read those books as fast as I could, seeing the planet Pern in my mind’s eye, wanting to be a dragon rider. But the most interesting thing to me was that in the end, these novels are not fantasy.

They’re Sci Fi.

McCaffrey had this whole world planned out with Dragons and a seemingly supernatural enemy set in what seems to be a feudal time period in the planet’s history. But we find out that that what actually happened was that a group of people came to Pern on spaceships and genetically engineered an indigenous species to create the Dragons. Eventually they uncover the original ship, a supercomputer, and tons of data about why they are on Pern.

In my young mind, Sci Fi and Fantasy were very much two different things.

I read Tolkien’s books and they were far different from Star Wars or Star Trek.

Harry Potter is not Blade Runner or The Matrix.

But I wasn’t paying attention to one of my other loves: Comic Books.

Comic books have a wonderful way of mixing Sci Fi and Fantasy.

Aliens who have powers bestowed by yellow sunlight are susceptible to magic. A Norse god fights alongside a suit of high powered armor with a supercomputer.
They do it pretty well too.

So here’s the big point for today:

 

Don’t be afraid to mix genres. Keep Sci Fi as your starting point, but don’t be afraid to throw in some Fantasy or Thriller elements. Maybe even delve into myths and legends to help complete your story. Make some genetically engineered fantasy creatures to use as an army force.

Don’t be a genre snob. Nobody likes that guy.

 

Anyway, keep writing.

My NaNoWriMo has taken a turn for the worse and I fear I won’t catch back up. But I’ll keep writing and trying. How are your projects going? Let me know.

I also have a guest post coming up at livehacked.com in November, and you should go check out the website and get some helpful tips for marketing your book.

Have a great week everybody, keep calm and Sci Fi

NaNoWriMo

November is National Novel Writing Month here in good ol’ ‘MURRICA.

Thus NaNoWriMo.

Perhaps you have heard of this. I had not until a few days ago. So I went over to nanowrimo.org and signed up. If you don’t know what the deal is, basically you write a 50k word novel during the month of November.

It sounds like a lot of fun and frustration. So obviously I’m all over it!

I wonder if you would join me? This blog is dedicated to writing science fiction and getting better at it, so why not try to write a short novel? I think the goal is attainable, but will still be quite a challenge.

I’ve already been planning my story, and I can’t wait to get it down.

It will have spaceships, and armies, and alien civilizations!

But I digress.

I chose to do this because it will be a good chance for me to write on a daily basis for a month. If you split up 50k words into 30 days, you have to write about 1667 words a day. That adds up to quite a bit of time.

Quite a bit of time spent writing.

And when you spend time writing, you spend time improving your writing abilities. And that’s what we’re all after right? We want our readers to like our writing, so that they will want us to write more for them. We want to uphold the sacred trust between author and reader.

Plus we want to write cool Sci Fi that doesn’t suck.

So if you haven’t signed up yet, hurry up and do so! Write a novel with me during November, and let’s share the experience of doing something awesome.