Summer Novel

by admin on June 5, 2012

Did you know that if you start tonight and write 603ish words a night until August 26th, 2012 (which just happens to be the last night before my fall semester begins – sidebar {should be my last semester before graduating}) that you will have written right around 50,000 words and might just be ready to write “The End” on a short novel.



My wife and I were watching a commercial the other day. One of those commercials asking for money to save the dogs or kids or something like that came on the TV. Toward the end they mentioned that when you send in your money, they will send you a duffel bag with their logo on it. My wife sassily said,

“I need a tote bag to show people what I support.”

What kind of things does your character carry around that instantly identify them as a certain kind of person? Do they carry it because they want people to think that or is it really just an important part of who they are?

Get writing.


Get writing – Near Future Sci-Fi Ideas

by admin on February 22, 2012

I found a few articles recently that definitely seemed like ready made near future sci-fi plots or devices that might inspire you to start writing a new story or give one a new direction to grow into:

  • A company in Japan is apparently planning to actually build a space elevator by 2050. There is some nice information in the Slashdot comments to describe some of the limitations and difficulties of such a venture.
  • ThisĀ  gadget would make an interesting device in a sci-fi thriller or spy type of story. But you might want to disguise it as something a little more subtle before your character starts depositing them all over the city.
  • I never knew that Google provided access to public transportation stuff on their maps. That information will get better as the years go by and maybe with some kind of neural HUD, would be a great way to escape someone or get somewhere important in a very short amount of time. Or maybe the information gets so relied upon that the providers might not be quite reliable. Maybe all of the routes start leading you past a new restaurant that knows how to buy the best kind of advertising. Or perhaps a bad guy learns how to hack the system and instead of fleeing from him, you are actually moving right where he wanted you to go all along.

Whether you use these ideas or some of your own, get writing!


Anatomy of a successful writing week

by admin on February 6, 2012

A friend and I challenged each other to write 1000 words of new fiction last week. Then throughout the week we checked in and said how we were doing. And, no big surprise, we both finished our 1000 words.

I managed to get close to double that done without really working too hard on it which probably shows up in the quality of the writing but bad rough draft writing is always better than good plans of writing that never end up getting written.

I did a few things that helped me reach the goal:

  • Wrote during the day on my iPod Touch which I always carry. Little 50 word sittings add up over the week. Each day I copied all of that into my more permanent document.
  • Wrote during the kids swim class. I normally sit around and read or fight to stay awake.
  • Wrote before I went to bed several times.
  • Didn’t worry about going back and correcting much. It is just a rough draft so I didn’t feel any of that was really necessary.
  • Didn’t worry about other stories rattling around my brain. I just focused on this one. This is frequently a big stumbling block for me.

So what did I end up with.

Most of a short story rough draft. There are two specific scenes that I didn’t get around to writing. Adding them in and improving the descriptions in the story would probably make it about 3000 words which feels like a good length for it. I’ll probably work on adding those scenes and then doing the editing over the next few weeks because it would feel really nice to finish an actual, full first draft and even better to carry it through a round of editing or two.

I had an idea about halfway through the draft that I decided to try. It ended up changing it from a short story to a first chapter of something longer. But I don’t think I really want to go down the full novel route so I will probably just keep it as a nice short story by reworking a couple minor points along the way.


Chipping Away

by TheHack on January 24, 2012

I have virtually no free time and so many big idea plans in my head of things that I want to do and add to an already packed schedule. Instead of making big grandiose writing plans of finishing a novel and winning the Hugo this year, I’m focusing small on my hobby writing.

Really small.

100 words a day.

That frequently takes five to ten minutes. Or less if I have a good idea what I plan to write.

100 words is something that you can do while on hold waiting for a conference call to start at work or while the kids brush their teeth or before you fall asleep or while you wait in line or during a commercial break. 100 words is really nothing at all and barely worth doing.


100 words a day will get me about 3000 words a month pretty easily which would be enough for a rough draft of most of the short stories that I think up. 100 words also frequently turns into 150 when you finish out the paragraph or 500 when you hit a neat little groove. So it is completely reasonable to expect that to turn into about 4-5000 words a month.

Do that for a year and you have a short rough draft of a short novel. Or just a bunch of crappy sentences that count as practice while learning what it takes to right a battle scene or a conversation between a father and son or a political under the table deal or whatever you happen to be hacking away on with your writing.

So far it has gotten me over 1000 words in the last week on the details, details, details story I am working on.