Regularly Expressing

science, sci fi, writing, spirituality

Sword and Isolation

Greenblade lives on World Carrick, an icy planet ruled by female warriors. She herself longs to be a warrior, but despite her training and ability, she lacks the strength of the other girls. She has other qualities that prevent her from fitting in: blue eyes, an unusual interest in boys for a girl of sixteen, and a mysterious power over life and death. She may, in fact, not belong to the race of the Sarl at all, but to their mortal enemies: the Navin.

You can read early samples of this work in progress at Wattpad. If you do, please leave offer comments or give us a vote!

How long should your Fantasy or SF Novel be?

This is a question I struggle with from time to time. It seems the most natural lengths that come out of my pen are 70k words and 150k words. Grr.

I made this table based on Ralan’s compilation of the major players in publishing these genres. I point out that these are preferred lengths and not strict limits. A friend of mine published his first novel with Baen and it was 150k words.

All things being equal, however, it makes sense to target the lengths that your publisher wants. It turns out that books in the length 100k to 120k will work for any of them, and so that’s probably the length you want to write.

Publisher Min Length Max Length
Ace 80 125
Baen 100 130
Daw 60 120
Pyr 100 130
Roc 80 125

The Most Secure Network Ever Built

FirstNet. A dedicated network for firemen, medical professionals, and law enforcement. They say it will be the most secure network ever built. Regardless of how secure they make it, I expect there will be criminals hacked into it from the start.

I expect that this technology will save lives, but it will erode our notion of privacy even further. However, I think the loss of privacy is an inevitable consequence of technology.

It’s a great irony that while the Bible predicts a judgment day when everyone’s deeds are revealed publicly, it is modern technology is on the verge of making it happen.

Maybe I Should like Apple

I’ve never been particularly fond of Apple. It has always looked more like a scary cult than a company to me. However, this recent article about its view on ROI makes me want to reconsider:

“When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind,” he said, “I don’t consider the bloody ROI.” He said that the same thing about environmental issues, worker safety, and other areas where Apple is a leader.

He didn’t stop there, however, as he looked directly at the NCPPR representative and said, “If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.”

My Story Can Beat Up Your Story

Lou Anders (editor of Pyr books) recommended the book “My Story Can Beat Up Your Story” at a writer’s workshop I attended. It took me a while to get to it, because I’ve read a number of books/articles on story structure and I wasn’t eager to hear the same old thing again. However, it turns out that this isn’t the same old thing. In fact, I’ve just promoted this book on my mental shelves to the number one position for story structure.

I should mention that this book is technically a book on screen writing, not novel writing (which is my main interest). However, story structure for movies and books tends to be quite similar. This book provides a number of fairly intuitive lists, e.g. the four questions to ask about your hero, the three goals regarding the Central Question, the twelve plot point of act one, etc. These lists, in turn, are applied to various movies to provide a solid understanding of how each of these lists work. The detail is such that I almost believe one can write a story by filling in the blanks–of course, those blanks are all interconnected and so filling in those blanks is a bit like solving a crossword or Sudoku.

It is a great book. Anyone looking to improve their knowledge of writing should read it.