My drug of choice is writing--writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Best Modern Sci-Fi Book or Series (Final Round)

What is the best modern science fiction book or series?  

Our final round is live!   

Note: I'm feeling a bit under the weather today, so this will be the only post. I think it's just the release of all the stress–I used to get sick after finals every semester in college.

We have a very long final poll this time because in each of the semifinal rounds there were some ties right at the cut off point. So in total, thirteen names have been pulled from the twenty-two semifinalists composed of reader nominations. That means everyone will get SIX (6) votes.

Please remember that there is no way to "rank" your votes. So every choice beyond your first will "dilute" the remaining votes a little. I know there are some amazing books and series on this poll, and it's going to be a tough choice, but the fewer choices you make, the stronger the votes will be.

This poll will only run a couple of weeks, so don't delay. In August I will start collecting nominations for our August poll while this one is still wrapping up, but this one won't run much after the first week in September.

The poll itself is on the lower left of the side menus–just below the "About the Author."

Since I can't really stop shenanigans, I welcome all the shenanigans. The main one is of course that Polldaddy tracks your IP for a week so you could vote from multiple computers or vote again after a week, but people have also enlisted friends, family, and even author forums or Facebook communities to join in the fun.

Vote early. Vote often.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Best Modern Sci Fi (Results Semifinal 2)

Results in text form below.

Just a quick "brunch" post this morning to announce the results of our second semifinal round for Best Modern Science fiction book or series. (I'm hoping to get a mailbox up later today, but it might be next week before our current Update Schedule comes completely online.)

Well, our poll will be a little bigger (again) since the Atwood/Leckie tie was never resolved. I was sorry to see several of the titles that won't be going on fare so poorly, but honestly I don't think there were a lot of bad choices on this poll.

The final round will go up tomorrow!

Ready Player One - Cline 25 16.89% 16.89%
Honor Harrington Series - Webber 21 14.19% 14.19%
Snow Crash - Stephenson 20 13.51% 13.51%
Old Man's War - Scalzi 13 8.78% 8.78%
The MaddAddam Trilogy -Atwood 12 8.11% 8.11%
Ancillary Series - Leckie 12 8.11% 8.11%
Use Of Weapons - Banks 11 7.43% 7.43%
Consider Phlebas - Banks 10 6.76% 6.76%
This Alien Shore -Friedman 10 6.76% 6.76%
Never Let Me Go- Ishiguro 9 6.08% 6.08%
Commonwealth Saga -Hamilton 5 3.38% 3.38%

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Best Modern Science Fiction (Vote Reminder)

What is the best modern science fiction book or series?   

Things are pretty tight and currently also pretty close right around the cut off point for the final round.

Just a super quickie to remind you not to forget to vote on our semifinal for best modern science fiction. Results will be posted for "brunch" TOMORROW (and the final poll will go up for "brunch" on Friday), so this is your last chance to decide which title will go on to the final round.

If you want to know the details of this poll, the original post is here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Writing About Writing's New Update Schedule

Writing About Writing will post something every weekday. We will also try to put something up most weekends and occasionally a second post on weekdays.

However, Writing About Writing also consists chiefly of one guy with lots of fake people running around behind his eyeballs (he takes care of a 2 1/2 year old, teaches two nights a week, is writing a novel, and sometimes even does really wacky shit like try to go on a date or something). and will periodically fail–perhaps even spectacularly– at this goal.

Sometimes the post in question might be little more a few inspirational quotes or a great Youtube video about writing, or just a picture of me screaming from the stress. I will even attempt to schedule a little something during vacations. It's not that I think my regular readers are twisted into coils of stress and hydrochloric acid, waiting for any possible update. It's just that in the world of blogging, content is king.

I can't promise that nothing will ever go wrong, what with all the intergalactic invasions and evil mystery hackers and such that W.A.W. fields in a typical week.

I also invoke the Anything Can Happen™ real world excuse. I have moved out from the family I stayed with, but a lot of the situations are still in progress. Health complications might crop up suddenly and have me needing to do a sudden unexpected several-hour shift or even an overnight...or maybe even more.

There is a monthly schedule I follow where I try to rotate in and out through the various running segments here on Writing About Writing. Even in a given month, you aren't likely to see something from each category, but it keeps me from doing fifteen listicles in a row and not writing a prompt for months on. I was going to post that schedule here but it'll be better to keep it in my head since I tend to go off schedule about ten seconds before the ink even dries on writing it.

Though we are ramping back up to the full fury of this schedule over the next couple of weeks, this is what you can expect once we get going.

Mon- Novel word count progress report and personal update.

Tues- Our guest posts will be moving to Tuesday!  We have a small handful of regular guest bloggers (who unfortunately have their own life circumstances), but are always on the lookout for one shot guest bloggers or a new regular. Let me know if you'd like to join their ranks! If we have no guest post lined up, we'll still post a little something, but it'll definitely be filler-ish.

Wed- I have to teach on Wednesday night, and often have a tag in prior to leaving. If I do a podcast for the week, it'll go up on Wednesday, but they actually take more time than just the final recorded take (almost as much as a post of the same length after prep and rehearsal are accounted for), and they won't go up every week. Wednesday is also when a lot of polls, plot posts, and such go up.

Thurs- Mailbox!

Fri- A major article will go up each Friday.

Brunch posts- I can't promise brunch posts these days–not even one or two a week. However, if the planets align and I happen to get a surplus of writing time, you may see a day here and there where more than one post goes up. Poll turn arounds in a single day, plot arc posts, "quickies," and various other things (which in the past would have gone up on the weekend) will sometimes show up in addition to a "main post."

Of course if you really want to hedge your bets for a good run of articles in a given week, a groupie threesome the weekend before will almost certainly motivate me to write for hours on end, and inspire a week of exceptional productivity.


Fair enough. Catch as catch can then.

If there's been a run of extra toddler wrangling shifts or my weekend involved the words,"I'll just play this Fallout game for an hour or two...." the week might involve shorter articles or jazz fingers.

Articles? How about these amazing

Saturdays: I write several other blogs and even try to do some shorter fiction. Since Writing About Writing will always be the place to find all my published work, each Saturday, I will put anything I publish other places, continue my menu tour, or revise old articles.

Sundays: We're going to keep taking Sundays off while we're writing a novel. It's been a long run of daily content–usually with more tears than smiles–but I would rather knock it out of the park once a week, have weekends (not really) off to focus on my work in progress and give you all the best of me on a working schedule. Weekend numbers are depressing (especially on Sunday) so I'm not really going to waste a good article tossing it up when no one is going to look at it.

We may still post occasionally on a Sunday. It is a good time to drop articles that are not chic, sexy, or topical, but which might have a good "slow burn" factor on Google, fiction, or just things that I don't have space for in a given week.

MORE?? If you like what I do, stuff a few dollars into that "tip jar" at the top left. I have bills to pay like any other starving artist, and I'm working three day jobs to make ends meet. I would love to do less of that and write more. I've already cut my hours as donations have stacked up. I'll do it again, but I am over forty and have had a "real job" for exactly two years of my life, so I can't afford to be as Bohemian-carefree as my twenties about saving up for retirement or health care.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Novel Update 1–Word Count: 0

Image description: Writer getting started.
*cracks knuckles*

Well then....let's write a novel, shall we?

I made it.

Seriously, I actually made it.

For months I've been looking across the hellscape off my life and schedule toward this time–this time way off in the distance–when I would really have time to dig into writing like Scrooge McDuck swan diving into his money. Even though I still write during my slumps, for literally years now, I've been looking ahead to this time when things were actually going to clear up and I would have time to write. Real time to really write, in hours long chunks of fevered creativity instead of stolen hours dug out from deep, hidden crevasses or plucked with meek apologies from needful fingers. But every time I felt like I was actually getting close to a schedule that actually facilitated writing, something (like a baby or a health crisis or a pair of back to back moves during a relationship upheaval) popped up like the monster in the last ten fifteen minutes of an eighties horror flick and the time to write behaved distressingly like the dolly zoom hallway in Poltergeist.

Come back here writing time!
Image description: Hallway seeming to get longer from Poltergeist 1982
But I finally made it. I actually, really, truly, finally made it.

This is the page turn. Right now. Literally today. September 19th, 2016 marks the new chapter of my life. Baring some unforeseeable horror that somehow extends some of this shit, I will look back on everything before today as the three-year-long slump and talk about that as my "Meh period." And everything after it as "That year I worked like Neve Campbell and Antonio Banderas in the late nineties.....combined."

Yes, my readers, now it's time for you to see the "serious shit" that I've been promising, swearing, and threatening for months (and even years) now.

Let's fucking do this thing!
GIF description: Back to the future clip of car time traveling. Back to the Future 1985

Tomorrow I'm going to put out a new schedule for Writing About Writing. One that isn't "I'll get whatever shit up that I have time to write when I have time to write it, OKAY???" The new schedule will include a dedicated weekly day for the Mailbox again, weekend posts, occasional brunch posts, writing for other blogs, at least two "meaty" articles a week.

And of course the no-big-deal job of writing a book.

Totally not panicking.
Gif description: Beeker Muppet....panicking.

On that note, every Monday for the next year will be a word count tracker and meta-novel experience in addition to my return to Monday personal updates. Monday is a long work day for me at both of my part time jobs (nanny and teaching), so a blog post that's a little easier to splurt out will be in order.

This will serve two functions:

Number one, it will keep a measure of transparency. To myself of course, but also to folks who generously contributed to the Kickstarter. A year might seem like a long time, but for a project as involved as "Write a book" (from draft, through draft 2, through revision, through more revision, through alpha reading, through editing, through beta reading, through more editing, through final editing, through galley proofing, through publishing) it is actually going to be a pretty slammin' pace. The normal timeline for a book is between two and five years for a first time author who really sits down with some grim determination and has no research to do, and turning around in 12 months from draft to publication is a pace even an established working writer would be proud of. Posting word counts (and revision word counts) will keep me on my toes and all-too-aware of my charge to everyone who pitched in so that I could work only part time for a year.

The more writing is seen as a job that you just DO, the easier it is to slog through the parts that aren't unicorn farts and pixie spew–which, ironically, gets you back to those magically delicious parts all the faster. And I intend to be accountable.

If I get behind, you'll know the reason why (and it won't be because I was checking Facebook). So none of you will have to dramatically arm yourselves as you say "...or I'll know the reason why!" Folks paid to give me a year to work, and if I get hung up in the publication process or there is something that goes over like a depleted uranium balloon with the alpha readers and sends me back to the drawing board, it'll be clear and obvious what happened, and never that I just wasn't working.

Number two
, it will continue the ongoing mission of W.A.W. to not only be advice about writing, but also a real-time, meta blog showing you all the time, energy, and ceaseless dedication it takes to chase the ever elusive "be a writer." For those who think writing a book is a November's work, or even an easy year's work, you will soon see how difficult it can be and how many hours of long, hard WORK go into such an endeavor.

Note: I don't really have zero words written. I'm actually on page 37 or so, but today is the first day of dedicated pacing.