If you’ve ever considered the possibility that this is all a giant simulation — that you are a program trying to discern some answer to the life’s ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything (42) — I present ants.
Pretty sure that ants are not real. We’re all not real, but ants, if you glance at a collection of them, are more a scattering than actually individual ants. If you glance back at them, they’ll have the same general characteristics (density, mobility, direction, etc.) but they won’t be in the same positions. In fact, if you consider the speed they’re moving, it’s unlikely these were the same ants. They would have had to speed up while you weren’t looking, then slow back down when you noticed them — which no ant would do.
It makes perfect sense if it was a simulation. The ants are there, yes, but why bother tracking them individually if none of the subjects of the simulation are tracking them. Just give them general characteristics. If someone starts tracking them, insert the general characteristics as specific until they are not needed. Save processor time for more useful things.
Anyway, my two cents.
March 871, 2020
It’s better. It’s certainly better.
There’s more public events, more friend and family visits, more things approaching normalcy. I’ve rediscovered drive-in movie theaters, and Disney+ and MCU Phase Four are in full gear. The swimming pool is open.
There are still ants. Lots of ants. We should have bought stock in diatomaceous earth, but like the vaccine it helps keep the ants down. I’ve been under the house to seal gaps with expanding foam. We’ve drowned out whole nests with hose water. They keep coming. Like COVID, anything less than 100% lockdown leaves a window for the ants to thrive. At least they’re not evolving. : knocks wood :
Good news, the writing is back. I’m sixty thousand words into what should be a hundred-and-twenty thousand word novel.
Is anyone else bothered that the Ides of a Month is on the 15th of some months and the 13th of other months? It’s based on an old Roman calendar where months either had 31 days (Ides on the the 15th) or 29 (Ides on the 13th). I guess it makes the number of days after the Ides consistent (except for February, but screw February). They also did not fix it when they switched to 31 and 30-day months.
Internal consistency is not always required for your fantasy world. (But maybe be prepared to explain why.)
Anyway, happy Ides of October.
Yeah, so writing during COVID, with two young boys in the house and an eternal ant infestation, has been . . . difficult. Was really looking to the vaccine making it go away, but between Delta and the idiots, it doesn’t look like that is happening. So we’re on Year Two of COVID and Ants.
Attending first in-person conference since my last entry shortly (half capacity, masked event), with little new material to bring. Wish me luck!
So it’s February again and I’ve come back from my favorite conference with renewed vigor.
The Southern California Writers’ Conference in San Diego is a treat. It’s got a great community, great workshops, and a great format for writers. They have Read & Critiques throughout the day (and through the night) and I love their Advanced Submissions. Instead of a blank pitch session, you submit ten or fifteen pages to an author, editor, or agent and they share their thoughts on your work. Sometimes the agents request manuscripts, sometimes they just give advice. Either way, they read your work. I like that.
For writers working on their pitches and query letters, Jennifer Silva Redmond and Marla Miller put on a great Pitch Witch workshop.
Also, this conference gives giving me awards. And taking my picture.
I’m going to be giving a talk on world-building! A free Shop Talk, sponsored by Coffee House Writer’s Group.
Friday, Aug 9, 6 PM to 8 PM,
Cafe con Libros
280 Second St.
Pomona, CA 91766
All the best books have worlds we can fall into, settings that put us right in the there with the characters. Setting influences everything that happens, everything the characters do, and it helps the reader experience their journey. But how we do we create a captivating world? How do we build the believability and majesty into our works in a way that makes it come alive?
The simplest answer is word by word, but we’ll cover it in greater detail.
Building a world for your story is crucial, and this workshop will help you hone your skills. We’ll cover:
•The prep-work of knowing your world
•How to present your world in a way that avoids information dumps
•Using the five senses plus motion and space
•Understanding, embracing, and respecting cultural boundaries
•The different requirements for world building in science fiction, fantasy, mystery, suspense, etc.
Signed my first book this weekend. It was weird, but fun.
(An anthology in which I have a short story, detailed here.)
If you’re interested in an eclectic collection of short stories and flash fiction, Five Minutes at Hotel Stormcove may be the anthology for you!
Whether there’s an incident at the front desk, something not quite right with the room, a bear stopping in for a beer, or a resolute robot revolt*, lives change by the minute within the grounds, rooms, and corridors of the legendary Hotel Stormcove. Lovers meet, witches gather, friends connect, and those in need always find shelter.
*Robot Revolt is my addition to the anthology, which you can find on page 1.
I just wrapped up the submission and editing process of a new anthology, which I’ll post about soon.
The editor of the anthology, E.D.E. Bell, wrote a piece for Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America on working with editors.
Rule #1: Consider all edits with an open mind
Rule #2: Only make changes you like