Thursday, September 9, 2021

Your writing voice, and BEING CORRECT.

In a writing group on FB, someone posted a snip of their WIP. People gave a lot of feedback, myself included, but several points made, (often with a great deal of conviction!) could easily have a counter-point that I felt would have been just as valid.

For example, someone pointed out 'head hopping' going on. I'm kind of blind to light head hopping, and am fairly guilty it that myself...

I tend to think of it as "the narrator takes the side of whoever did something last." ie:


"Give me your lunch money!" Dave commanded. Usually, this was enough to score a buck or two from Timmy. He complained less than he used to. Good Timmy.

"You know I have to eat, don't you?" Timmy knew Dave didn't care. Frankly, Timmy didn't care a lot either. He'd given up, and kept extra money in another pocket just for this kind of situation. That didn't make handing over a buck and a half any more fun, but it prevented getting beaten up later.


Is that head hopping? I guess so. Does it bother me? Nahhh.. does it bother readers? IT BETTER NOT, OR I'LL SEE THEM AFTER CLASS!!!!!

I guess my overall point is that you have good flow, and aren't making MASSIVE ERRORS, a lot of aspects come down to taste. NOTE- Don't make excuses for crap calling it your style. It is a skill to determine the difference at times. If it kinda bugs you a bit at the moment, but "It's okay like that.." there's a good chance it isn't okay like that, and will bug you when you read it years later.

There comes a point where you're just fine-tuning your voice. One person will tell you not to use the word 'said' to tag dialogue, the next will tell you that said is an 'invisible word' that gets in the way less, and everything in between. I've gotten a lot of mileage out of just leaving a quoted chunk of dialogue in close proximity to an action, and leaving it up to context to help tell the reader to understand who's talking.

Tired of Dave's bullying, Timmy fled. "Bite me!"


That said, I am a heavy user of "said" unless something else expresses the mood notably better.

Tuning ao many aspects like that are going to depend on your voice, and the scene.

and 2 months after publishing, you'll decide you made all the wrong decisions. And you'll be right. And wrong.


Wednesday, August 11, 2021


 English, like any language, is subject to change and evolution over time. This is fine, and fascinating. From nouns being used as verbs, and slang becoming entrenched in the zeitgeist, I'm all for yeeting obsolete dogma. While still being able to recognize and utilize the old rules as appropriate and when needed.

Now and then this unbridled evolution can give us a bear with razor-encrusted tentacles flowing from the sides of its neck. Should it be observed? Certainly. Should it be accepted? How does it behave? Does it steal pick-a-nic baskets and shred campers? Observe, maybe run. Maybe dust off and nuke it from orbit.

Where do we draw the line between "suck it up, language changes and also sometimes facets of our culture have their own entire vernacular" and "This is horse-apples"?
Can you gronk it? Should you gronk it? Will not gronking it harsh someone's vibe? Would inadequate gronkage rob you of something fly or poggers?

Monday, August 9, 2021

Comma, Comma comma. Comma?

 In "writing thoughts no one asked for, and anyone who cares already has an opinion" #43857333, subsection commas 7434.

The line-

"Dad carried Ella and Grandpa carried the bike."

I changed this and put a comma after Ella. Why? When you read it, you understand properly what's going on. BUT... a comma does separate the thoughts.

Mid-way through the sentence, especially if you're not reading with strict attention, in a rush, stoned, whatever.. for a moment, your brain MIGHT be picturing Dad carrying Ella and Grandpa.

This is of course, idiotic. The comma isn't NEEDED. But its inclusion makes it more readily digestible.

This particular example is for work (name changed, obv) and the reports I edit are to be usable in fast, easy references by law types, but for my own prose, I don't want readers tripping as they read, even a little- (unless I want to slow them down for a reason, but there's smoother ways to do that). I over-use commas if anything, but if the clarity is at stake, I'll suffer a few too many commas over a few too... few.

This message has been brought to you by commas. Commas: for home, office, camping, or Oxfordian lists. Now available in wingding!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Coffee with Golconda review

E.A. Bass treated me to their eclectic sci-fi novella that's a blend "between comedy, drama, psychedelia and mystery."

It has a general feel of a collection of short stories that seem only tenuously connected at first, until the strings begin to draw it all together.

Before I get into the review, let's drop a link to its amazon page here.

Coffee with Golconda will tell you what you want to know when it is good and ready, and you will mind your manners until it does. You will flow between unique locales, imagery and thought-teasing metaphors that bring vastly differing settings vividly to life.

There were many moments when I felt strong Terry Pratchett influences, quirky yet meticulous, though that could just by my perspective- then in the next moment, things might turn surreal, or gently philosophical from the unique perspectives of Golconda and those that encounter him- only to shift to back quirky on a dime, then back again.

The world-building is gradual, doling out dollops of information casually, sometimes paying intense attention to a tiny detail, or referencing the bigger picture almost dismissively, or casually informing you that some of your assumptions were silly. (You should have known better, and Golconda will set you straight. When it's time.)

Once Coffee with Golconda has told you what it has to say, you might want to go back and read it again to see what you could not see before.

. -oO*Oo- .

Update from me about Rubberman's Exodus, quick status update as long as I'm making a rare blog post (I KNOW I should do more here, sue me!) I am past 60% in my second editing read of the 'final' book, after which it goes to my betas, and an editor, then one last editing read from me. The cover is basically decided, but as a fair warning to my longtime readers who have paperbacks of the rest of the Rubberman series... I WILL be launching with covers in the same style to match a full set, but I DO have general plans to address ALL of my covers. I've been vain (doing them all myself) and/or lazy with my covers so far... they're not laughably bad, but they're not great... the day to fix that is coming.

Oh, by the way, Rubberman's Exodus IS bigger than Cage or Citizens, and very very nearly rivals my biggest book to date, Echoes of Erebus. 

.... Erebus' daughter might have something to say about that in the future...

Monday, July 6, 2020

And they held each other. Fresh excerpt from WIP Rubberman's Exodus

Fresh scene, barely edited, so proceed with caution. Tara and Sasha are among hundreds of others in what equates to an internment camp built out of a repurposed fish processing facility. They recently had a very bad time in a bombed-out ruin, which was not helped by Sasha's agoraphobia.

Book progress is at 92k words. The ending is in sight, but it's got a fair chunk to go yet! Oh, and here's the current cover I have. The final will probably look a lot like this.

“How ya doin'?” Tara said, putting an arm around Sasha's shoulders for a squeeze.

“Oh. You know. Spectacularly.” She grabbed Tara's hand and gave is a squeeze. “Same as the rest of us. Grateful to our kind hostess, and looking forward to trying to sleep in a room with a couple hundred other people again. With this stink. Oh, and there's that little wet spot outside looking at me.”

“Wet spot?” Tara glanced out towards the direction of the ocean. “Uh, yeah. That's... that's something all right. Hey. We gonna talk about what we saw in those ruins?”

Sasha's gaze shifted into a distant nowhere. “Can... can we not?”


Sasha wrapped herself into Tara, burying her face into her shoulder, and squeezing at tight as she could. “Tell me that's not the world,” she mumbled into Tara weakly.

“Well... yes, we're told that place is like one in two places like that, and the vast majority of the world isn't... that.”

“No good,” Sasha said, squeezing desperately, even tighter. “Tell me that didn't exist.”

Tara nuzzled into the hair near Sasha's ear. “I don't know what you're talking about, Sash. We're home. We're in our room on our own bed. The generator's doing fine, and we even have the day off. I'm going to keep you in bed all day, and not let go.”

“Never let go,” Sasha whispered.

“Of course not. You're my Sash.” Tara gave an extra bit of squeeze, unsure if it could even be felt against how hard Sasha was squeezing.

“You won't let go because I'm weak?”

“You're my Sash.”

A few moments passed as they held each other, doing their best to ignore their surroundings.

“I hate being weak. I hate that it makes you have to … to deal with me.”

Tara moved back enough to look Sasha in the eye with a stern expression. “You. Are. My. Sash. I know how big it is out there. I know how that's making you feel. I have trouble logically understanding that hugeness out there. You can't help how much it affects you, but you push through. I've never been prouder of how you handled that run to the AirLimb back at home, or how you followed me into those ruins. I've never been so ashamed of myself for bringing you there.”

“Tara, no...”

Tara grabbed Sasha close again, almost forcefully. Hints of sobs struggled to push their way through Tara's voice. “Y-you are my Sash. You're so strong, hon. You're my...”

And they held each other. And others held each other. Some needed comforting, others chose to explore cautiously. Others stared at the sea.

And night eventually came.

And they held each other.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Rubberman's Exodus new sneak peek- Kevin gets memey.

Rubberman's Exodus at 75% first draft completion- here's a snippet written today. Minimal editing on it at this point. This graphic shows a bit of the as-of-yet unreleased map to the facility the Rubberman series is set in.

    At Engineering level, the remaining thirty soldiers moved into the loading bay. A row of empty clothing hooks lined the left wall. Ahead, a barricade of taupe, slightly-damp, steel barrels greeted them, as well as Kevin's face peeking out from a gap near the top.

    “Nice outfits,” Kevin said. “Are you fellas here to tell us when Tara and Sasha are getting back? It's been a lot longer than we were expecting. We were told you might be coming, though.”
The lead soldier answered back, “We're here to ensure that facility operations are secure, in interests of public safety. Please remove the barricade.”

    Kevin looked to the side, to someone unseen behind the barricade, and said quietly. “He's here for safety. Yup. Kinda how I saw it.” Kevin turned back to the soldiers with a smile. “Yeah, no thank you, we've been maintaining this facility for a long time, and things are secure here. I'm guessing it was one of your friends that cut our connection to the Grand Elevator. That's not safe. Also, I don't feel like moving these barrels again, they're heavy cuz they're filled with water. Water from the cooling pool. The one where we keep the depleted uranium, so, you know, handle at your own risk. I'm a professional.”
    Kevin flipped down his Rubberman suit's mask, completing his hazard suit. “So, you can leave, see ya!” Kevin's now-masked face disappeared from the gap, immediately replaced with a box to seal the gap.

    The soldiers didn't need to know that the vast majority of the water it the cooling pool was entirely harmless. The pool was now a bit lower than it technically should be, but the risk was low, especially for what was hoped to be a short duration.
    “Yeah, okay, now what?” Kevin said to a nearby Engineer, suited up as he was, as were the nearest twenty Engineers.

    At that moment, a 'foomp' sound came from the other side of the barricade, and a canister barged through the box in the gap. The canister rested on the middle of the room and started belching out smoke.
    Kevin looked at the smoke canister, and said “Son of a crap-sniffer!” He taped the filter on his mask, and pointed vigorously at the gap in the barricade, and yelled, “Am I a joke to you?!”

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Time Travel Ruins Everything.

I just watched a vid that criticized Futurama for retcon-ing the tale of Seymore the dog. It went on to examine retcon in other works, and of it, and remakes, and followups long after the original... suck. And hard the original works that we've grown attached to, and don't need having had messed with.

Here's that vid:

Eh. A lot of good points. Though I had a different take. I don't have time travel in any of my writing. I feel in falls into deus ex machine pretty easily, and once an audience/reader knows Tim travel is in play, the question will often hang in the air if anything they've seen so far will matter, or be wiped away in an instant. If told well, it's not that extreme, and can be done well, but... meh... Tolerance for time travel varies from person to person, but when I heard Avengers: End Game was going to be a 'time heist'.... ugh... I enjoyed the flick well enough, but... but every time I consider watching it again, remembering the great moments, I also remember I have to go through all the time stuff first. And the Hawekeye stuff. And the... ugh. And I end up re-watching Castlevania or something.

So... Time travel ruins everything. Ok, not everything, but a lot. I'm not so concerned with Seymore's retcon, the initial episode hit hard, and it's not like it was retconned next week or anything. It was left to simmer, and if we're of a Time travelly mindset, we can merrily accept that both outcomes are simultaneously true. Time travel makes that mindset very possible.

As opposed to Rey kissing Kylo. We can hate it, we can wish it didn't happen, but in a time-travel free world, the fanfic-est mind needs to accept that it happened in canon.

What happened in canon if Futurama? Yes. It all did, none of it did, because the time travel factor exists. A wild card that is theoretically unceasing. This is also true of say... star trek. They love the time travel, but are less trigger-happy with it.

Star TREK microwaves don't accidentally cause time tra... .. yet.

Futurama's a lot more loosely goosey with time. We can hate it, or accept the freedom it supplies us to accept alternate timelines. Like we accept Rose Tyler getting a photocopy of the Doctor to keep for herself. But then Trek had that Romulan thing that we have to accept, because rules are rules, and timelines are flexibly strict, and we have to ignore accepting adherence to the solid fluidity of the rules of infinite choices we have only many of, but none.

..... time travel ruins everything.