Tag Archives: science fiction

Guest Post from Jim Denney, Take Two


At Fay Moore: I Want To Be a Writer, we are fortunate to have published authors share insight into how to move forward as writers. Today Jim Denney, author of Writing in Overdrive, has been kind enough to offer some advice in his second appearance here on the blog.

Denney book cover Writing in Overdrive

Write Every Day

By Jim Denney, author of Writing in Overdrive

“The only thing you need to know about writing is that you must do it. The rest is just showing up.”

—Jeff Goins

I love to write. I begin writing every day, almost as soon as I tumble out of bed. Writing is not merely my daily habit, it’s something I can’t wait to begin.

But I haven’t always been this way. When I was in my twenties, writing was a chore. I wanted to write, but I resisted and procrastinated and made excuses for not writing. It wasn’t until I turned thirty that I began building a daily habit of writing. Today, I can’t imagine going all day without writing. It’s actually more difficult for me not to write than to write.

If you struggle with resistance and procrastination, if you want to write but find it hard to drag yourself to the keyboard, I know how you feel. I’ve been there. And I want you to know you can learn to love writing and make it your daily habit. But before writing becomes your love, it has to become your discipline.

Begin by viewing writing as your profession—even if you have a non-writing day job. Stop calling yourself an “aspiring writer” or a “wannabe writer” or a “weekend writer.” Tell yourself, “I’m a writer,” period. Once you accept the fact that you are a professional, you will begin to treat writing as a profession, not a hobby.

Now that writing is your profession, recognize that you are your own employer, your own boss. And part of your job as your own boss is to get yourself to work every day. No one else will do it for you. You have to set regular, working hours for yourself, and you have to show up for work on time every day. As the boss, you must be ruthless with yourself about keeping your writing time inviolate.

As John Steinbeck wrote in his journal while writing The Grapes of Wrath, “In writing, habit seems to be a much stronger force than either willpower or inspiration. Consequently there must be some little quality of fierceness until the habit pattern of a certain number of words is established. … I must get my words down every day whether they are any good or not.”

When building a habit, it helps to write at the same time and place every day. Your unconscious mind learns to associate that time, that place, with the creative process. Whether you write a desktop computer in your office, on a laptop computer in your secluded garden, or in longhand in a notebook at a café, build a daily habit.

You may say, “I’m so busy with my job and my kids that I only have fifteen minutes a day to write. What can anyone accomplish in fifteen minutes a day?” Well, if you write every day without fail for fifteen minutes a day, you can accomplish quite a lot.

Fifteen minutes a day adds up to 91.25 hours per year, or the equivalent of more than two forty-hour work weeks. That’s a lot of writing time. And by writing every day, even for just a quarter hour, you will boost your creativity enormously. You’ll remain focused on your novel, your story, your characters, and your goals every day. You’ll find you are thinking about your story when you wake up, when you’re in the shower, when you drive to work, when you’re at lunch, when you drive home, and before you go to sleep. That added focus on your story magnifies your productivity and creativity in your fifteen-minute sessions. You may find yourself feeling so inspired that will keep writing for thirty, sixty, ninety minutes or more. And you’ll build some excellent daily writing habits in the process.

Most important, you’ll build a deep love for writing that will carry you through the rest of your life. Build a daily habit of writing—and watch writing become the dream job you love.

_______________________________

Jim Denney has written more than 100 books, including the Timebenders science fantasy adventure series for young readers—Battle Before Time, Doorway to Doom, Invasion of the Time Troopers, and Lost in Cydonia. His latest book for writers is Writing in Overdrive: Writer Faster, Write Freely, Write Brilliantly. A veteran of both traditional and indie publishing, Jim is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Follow Jim on Twitter at @WriterJimDenney. He blogs at http://unearthlyfiction.wordpress.com/.

Affirmation–The Payoff for Hard Work


To those of you who have followed this blog for a while, “Thank you.” I can think of moments when several of you, through comments, kept me motivated, tilting at my windmill–finishing my novel. When I doubted myself, you chided me. When I celebrated a breakthrough, you cheered me.

Besides writing my book, I had another goal: I wanted to share what I was learning with others. I wanted another writer to learn from my mistakes or discover a tool to save time. In that vein, I shared my embarrassing moments or time-wasters, so you could learn. Other times, I shared wisdom from experienced authors, so we all benefited.

Yesterday I received a tweet from youth book author Jim Denney that is one of those special remarks. The tweet read:

Jim Denney@WriterJimDenney @MooreFay By the way you have an awesome blog for writers at https://faymoore.wordpress.com/ . Every serious writer should follow it. All the best!”

Thank you, Jim. If you are unfamiliar with Jim Denney, you can learn more about him here:

Jim Denney Author of the Timebenders series for young readers, beginning with Battle Before Time. Author of the ebook Writing in Overdrive: Write Faster, Write Freely, Write Brilliantly. Visit me at my Timebenders blog site: Jim Denney’s Timebenders and at my blog site for writers: Jim Denney’s Unearthly Fiction. On Twitter: @WriterJimDenney

Jim Denney battle-before-time-cover

Future or Fiction


The story opens. A man sits in a lavishly furnished home office.

He is obsessing again. Outside his window, Fall is throwing dying leaves to the ground. Dust to dust. The scene is an in-his-face reminder of his own mortality, a mortality he will shed tomorrow in exchange for immortality. Tomorrow he will join the others. He will no longer be human. He will become nonbiological.

If futurist Ray Kursweil is correct, the man’s choice, described above, is our future. Lest you think becoming Borg is fiction limited to Star Trek episodes, know this. There are those who believe that this morphing of man into machine is the factual future. Influential people support Kursweil’s vision.

Ray Kuzweil is the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence. His intriguing new book envisions a future in which information technologies have advanced so far and fast that they enable humanity to transcend its biological limitations—transforming our lives in ways we can’t yet imagine.”

–Bill Gates

Does this prompt your inner storyteller? If a choice such as this were a reality, what would the future look like? What would your family look like? Your relationships? Your work? Your home and world? Who would have this option open to him or her?

Would the earth’s environment have to change to accommodate your new nonbiological form? Is the moist air corrosive and, therefore threatening, to you? Which is more vital to your survival: water or oil? Would a population of biological entities have to be maintained? If so, for what purpose?

Happy imagining.

 

Science Fiction Writing Workshop August 2013 in Baltimore Area


One of the Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe brought a Maryland-based writing workshop to my attention. It is an annual event called Shore Leave, a fan run Science Fiction convention. Scenes from my favorite comedy The Big Bang Theory with the male cast dressed as favorite Star Trek characters filled my head. But the writer was quick to tell me she attends the convention for its writing workshops.

The convention runs over a long weekend in August in the Baltimore area. It is readily accessible by car to those living anywhere from Richmond, VA to New York City to Pittsburgh, PA.

I will provide a link at the bottom of this post to the Shore Leave web site. I don’t find the site very helpful in providing information for writers about the writing workshop schedule. I have pasted what information is there below:

Shore Leave 35 will include:

Writing Workshops: Learn how to improve your writing from some of your favorite writers.   Past panels have included writing about the non-fictional part of Trek; How to express point  of view in your story; The trials and tribulations of being a writer and more.

Joining us this summer for Shore Leave 35 will be Media Guests William Shatner, Amanda Tapping and Julie Caitlin Brown.  Note: William Shatner will be appearing on Saturday, August 3, only. More Information is available.

Also joining us are Author Guests:Rigel Ailur, Russ Colchamiro, Greg Cox, Ann C. Crispin, Mary Louise Davie, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Michael Jan Friedman, Dave Galanter, Allyn Gibson, Phil Giunta, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Jim Johnson, William Leisner, David Mack, James Mascia, Kelly Meding, Susan Olesen, Scott Pearson, Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Judith Reeves-Stevens, Aaron Rosenberg, Lawrence M. Schoen, Peter Wacks, David Mark Weber, Howard Weinstein, andSteven H. Wilson.

Science Guests:Paul Abell, Lucy Albert, David Batchelor, Wayne Bird, Kirk Borne, Caroline Cox, Jerry Feldman, Larry Hubble, Yoji Kondo, Eric Schulman, Stephanie J. Slater, Timothy F. Slater, andRay Villard.

And Special GuestsTye Bourdony andT.A. Chafin.

Shore Leave web site: http://www.shore-leave.com/

Registration form: http://www.shore-leave.com/registration/

Hotel info for the convention: http://www.shore-leave.com/hotel/

Science Fiction: Electronic Warfare and Cyberspace


When one writes futuristic science fiction–or any other science-related genre–one has to rely on modern scientific fact to support future fiction. Most science fiction story telling relies on conflict. Think Star Wars,  the Star Trek syndicates, Battlestar Galactica, Superman, Batman, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Armageddon, Stargate series, Twilight Zone, and many more.

So today’s lesson for fiction writers covers the current military electronic warfare environment for the U. S. military. All information comes from DefenseNewsTv.com’s “Electronic Warfare Roundtable.” Panel members are from different branches of the armed services.

Today’s military operates in a global environment with a need for 24/7 communication and control capacities. Electronic warfare, the primary tool of modern military action, is based on a cyberspace platform. Thus, the armed services recognize how intertwined the cyber community is with electronic warfare.

The various branches of service identify the following threats from enemy command and control operations:

Soldiers encounter field environments that differ from the norm to which they are accustomed. For example, the military is used to operating with nearly unlimited bandwidth. What happens to soldiers where bandwidth is denied or limited? The Navy panelist admits that, as a service branch, the Navy has let skills atrophy in the modern electronic surveillance and communication environment. The Navy plans to re-learn traditional skills to manage signatures in a non-electronic circumstance. It has to live up to its credo to “operate forward and be ready.”

The Army says it is responsible for enemy command and control, such as disabling enemy communications, sensors or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The Army panelist says he is most concerned by an enemy who is able to maneuver inside the electronic warfare spectrum and go undetected. A dangerous enemy can synthesize an existing system, then change software code and modify the Army’s systems remotely.

The Marines are proud of existing radio battalion systems on the ground. To improve the systems, the Marines want to marry their operations with resident capacities in the air.  However, they face an enemy that adapts quickly. The Department of Defense is scrambling to stay ahead of enemy capabilities.

The Air Force fears an enemy that uses the electromagnetic spectrum to destroy weapons systems.

The Air Force panelist says, “What keeps me up at night is the imagination and innovation of the adversary.”

Today there is a danger of turning commercial products into weapons. Cell phones operate on former military signals. A smart enemy leverages the commercially available technology to defeat or confound secret military technology.

So where is military strategy going? Thus far, the focus has been to give technology to the brigade commander for operations. In the future, overarching architecture will aid higher command authorities, too. Tactical assets and systems will be integrated across service branches. Finally, there will be a greater emphasis on speed–of adaption, of control, of meeting capacity.

Cooperation and synergy, through joint exercises and co-development of tools and technologies, is mandatory in the current fiscally austere environment.

Electronic warfare and cyberspace management is as much art as science. Listening becomes critical. Electronic surveillance will have to increase, as will service branches working together for better upfront planning.

Vocabulary for Science Fiction or Fantasy Novels


In science fiction and fantasy, there is normally a cornerstone culture, central to the story, that is malevolent. It is oppressive of its citizenry, setting the stage for the rise of a hero, an avenger of the people.

There are two words to describe such a culture:

  • cacotopia
  • dystopia

Both words define a world that is the opposite of Utopia, or paradise: a world of deprivation, horror and exploitation. Usually the people are enslaved, if not physically, then through economics or some psychological method. Or earth changes, like  global coastal events caused by meteor strikes or the aftermath of world wars, have disrupted normal society and destroyed convenience systems, such as the electrical grid or banking. Whatever the cause, the new world order is a system that grinds those under its bonds to grist.

Now that your imagination is twisting, turning, leaping and bounding with images, get writing!

Mark Your Calendar — Sell An Article


For my science fans, here’s a nugget about a celestial show you may want to watch.

Comet PANSTARRS: March 10 to 24, 2013

Comet PANSTARRS discovered in June 2011 using the Pan-STARRS 1 Telescope at Haleakala, Hawaii, is expected to put on its best show during this two-week period. During this time, the comet will also be near its closest approaches to the sun (28 million miles, or 45 million kilometers), and Earth (102 million miles, or 164 million km).
 While Comet PANSTARRS was a very dim and distant object at the time of its discovery, it has brightened steadily since then. It still appears on target to reach at least first magnitude and should be visible low in the west-northwest sky shortly after sunset. On the evening of March 12, 2013, the comet will be situated 4 degrees to the right of an exceedingly crescent moon.

Why mention this now instead of in March?

Because, for those of you who write for social media like Yahoo news or e-How, now you have a time critical subject to research, write about, and sell! If you are unfamiliar with this market, as easy place to start is ezinearticles.com. Click here for the editorial guidelines: http://ezinearticles.com/editorial-guidelines/

Ezinearticles doesn’t pay for articles, but it does offer affiliate marketing. Advertisers link to your articles and you get paid for click throughs. It’s not big or easy money, but it is a place to start to learn the ropes.

Check out Associated Content. It pays for articles outright.

If you are a blogger, get paid to post at Blogger’s Pay Per Post. There are strings attached, but you can earn from $.50 to $10. per assignment piece.

Bukisa is a traffic driven buyer. So you have to write on popular topics to draw a paycheck.  However, Bukisa allows you to re-post material that has been published elsewhere. So using Bukisa can double earnings on non-exclusive material.

This gives you plenty to start your at-home writing career. So start researching that comet heading our way, write an article or two, and sell, sell, sell.