Monday, April 27, 2009

Sci fi writer?

I am realizing that if you looked at my links to writers and other writing blogs you'd think I wrote sci fi and read sci fi. Neither is exactly rue, just that I have found that sci fi writers seem to have the most active and most interesting blogs.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

One of the best headlines ever

Just saw this on Yahoo.

Woman hit by car running from bear ... and survives

That has to be some story.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Glow in the dark puppies

Scientists have taken fibroblast cells that express a red fluorescent gene produced by sea anemones and cloned them into puppies. This is what they get.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A day of firsts

Before last night Padres' pitcher Jake Peavey had never given up a grand slam. Something else he'd never done? Start for my fantasy baseball team. Thanks, Jake. Your timing couldn't be better.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Idea file

I wonder how long other writer's idea files are. Mine is a document on my computer. It's 4 pages long and contains everything from possible character names to story ideas. There are little bits of prose that haven't found a home yet.
“Don’t bore me with you stories. I don’t want to hear how you went skydiving or ran with the bulls. Because if you’re here telling me the story then I know that everything turned out OK.”
It’s the happening that you don’t see. The happening is life, it’s all the things you do until you realize that it’s happened. A dissolving marriage, a bad relationship with your kids. You don’t realize that things are as bad as they are until they can’t get any worse, until they are broken beyond repair. Until they’ve happened, and by then it’s too late.

I think that my file is a good size. It's got a lot of stuff in there I hope to develop further. But I know that there are other writers with notebook after notebook full of ideas, probably developed to greater detail than my little file.

So, if there are any other writers out there reading this, how big is your file and what's inside?

Friday, April 17, 2009

A blog death?

I am afraid that I may have linked to author A.E Roman's blog just as he has decided to call it quits. The only post there now is titled "A Time to Rest." There is nothing else there. Hopefully he comes back to us because I found him interesting and really liked the excerpt from the first chapter of his novel, Chinatown Angel.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


After years and years of writing and trying to write I am coming to the realization that I probably write better during the day.

I always assumed it wouldn't be so. That I would write better at night. I'm a night owl. For years I worked nights, coming home at midnight. Staying up until 2 or 3 either watching TV or writing.

But the last few days of thinking about when I am the most productive it seems like that's in the morning.

When I say most productive I am not talking about doing my best writing, just when it comes the easiest. And it's in the morning that things seem to flow the best, when the story seems to be coming to me. That's when this writing life is the most fun. It's when I know that it's what I want to do.

So what does this mean? I guess that if I am going to get as serious about this as I say I am I need to start making time to write in the mornings. Carving out an half hour or hour to devote to this. When that's going to be I'm not sure, but I need to do it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

After the first week and playing .500 ball

I don't know what to do. We are at the beginning of the second week of the baseball season and the two teams I follow have a combined .500 record. Do you know how long it's been since that happened?
My Royals should be 5-2, if not for blowing a late lead on opening day. A 5-2 record would put them in first place in the AL Central. I don't know that they can keep it up all season, but it's fun to be a fan right now.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The slippery slope of memory editing

There was an interesting story in The New York Times on breakthroughs by neuroscientists in eliminating memories. The simplified process is this: add a chemical called ZIP to a specific part of your brain and the connectors needed to retain a certain memory are eliminated. The doctors and scientists working on this say that it could do wonders for people with post-traumatic stress, addictions, phobias and memory loss. The story really is fascinating and worth a read.
A Wired magazine reporter talked to an ethicist about all of the potential unforeseen consequences, one being small, false memories could be created. This is worth a few minutes to read too.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Inspiring quotes

When I had my little desk set up at my old apartment before Gina and I got married, I had a couple of things tacked to the bulletin board hung on the wall above where I would write. One of them was a collection of pictures from magazines that I'd pulled to use for setting or character inspiration. The other thing were some quotes that I found inspiring. They were reminders to me to just keep writing no matter what.

Looks like I am not the only one. Tobias Buckell does it too and he shares those quotes on his blog. I'd share mine but I can't remember any of them. When I get the bulletin board and all of its contents out of storage I'll share them.

And read the responses to Tobias' post. There are many more good quotes there.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Science or science fiction?

Interesting post over at the Oxford University Press blog on nine words that you may have thought cam from science but really came from science fiction. What may be more interesting than the list are the comments after it. Several people debunk a few of the entries.

Fantasy baseball, I'm back

It's been at least five years, but probably more, since I have played fantasy baseball. I've never been any good at it, but thought that since I was writing on occasion for a friend's fantasy baseball web site I should probably have a team. Plus, I was missing it. It's always fun in the early part of the season -- drafting, setting lineups, tracking daily progress. There is a point, however, when it can become tedious -- setting lineups, tracking daily progress. It all becomes a hassle. Part of that may be because my teams are never that good. It's harder to stay interested in a team when it is losing consistently.

I think my problem with fantasy sports is that I have never had the interest in statistics that is required to be a successful fantasy player. I still have my favorite players and that childlike belief that those guys can do anything. Even if the smart move is to look over them and go get the who puts up better numbers, I just can't do it.

That's also why I wouldn't make a good baseball owner. I'd go get all of the guys that I like, even if I look at them with rose-colored glasses.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

ESPN baseball power rankings

ESPN has released its first power rankings of the baseball season. The two teams I follow are paired in the bottom half.

22. Texas Rangers

A pair of long shots make the team: Kris Benson cracks the rotation; Andruw Jones lands a spot on the bench.

23. Kansas City Royals

The popular pick to make some noise in the AL Central? Could this team be this year's version of the 2008 Rays?

I can't say I am surprised. The Rangers and Royals never get much respect from ESPN. My opinion may also be colored by my fandom. I am not above having a bias when it comes to baseball. The bias is the best thing about being a baseball fan, especially this time of year.

We are a day away from the season starting. All of the teams have broken camp in Florida or Arizona. Players are getting ready to start the games that count. And the fans are busy working out the things that need to happen for their team to finish first. Trying to tell themselves if this rookie can play to his potential and that veteran can find the from he had three years ago then we could win.

I will admit that I have spent a few moments that I am not too proud of reveling in the injuries to the A's and Angels' pitching staffs. I am not a sadist and hope that the injured pitchers get better. But the fan part of me is thinking that this could mean good things for my Rangers, especially the Angels injuries. If they can struggle at the outset and the Rangers can play better to start the season than they have the last two years then we have a shot. Did you see the way we played in the middle months of 2008? We weere one of the best teams in baseball. If we can extend that to a complete season and avoid injuries then this team can surprise.

And the Royals? They play in one of the weakest divisions in the game. The top of their rotation is improved and they have a young, stud closer coming in to shut the door. Their offense was the big weakness last season but this spring that's been the least of their worries. New hitting coach Kevin Seitzer has them swinging the sticks like the 1927 Yankees. OK, not that well, but what can I tell you, I'm a fan. I am only looking for the positive, and if they can start this season like they ended the last one then we may have something.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Check it out

There are more pictures here. Even Obama as a Jedi battling Darth Vader.

Flash fiction exercises: Part 5

This is a short one. It stops much too early because I relly like where it was going. Not sure why I didn't finish it.

I have the prompt for this one and it's probably the most literal one that I saw as a member of the group. Most of the prompts were vague and general. This one told you exactly what the story was going to be about.


Here is what I did with it.

She sat in the car, wringing the steering wheel with her hands. Knuckles white. This was no good.

The teller windows in the First Colonial were in the back of the lobby. It was a good 100 feet from where she was and, even though she was looking through a car window and the windows to the bank, she could recognize all three of them.

Steven, her youngest, was watching over the four customers that were waiting in line. He had them all face down on the floor. Lindsey, her oldest, was making sure none of the tellers tried to play hero, and Jason was clearing out the teller drawers.

She shook her head. Their faces were covered. That was the first thing their father taught them. But those nylon masks did little to hide their identities.

Some wonderful description

I stumbled across this writer's blog last night. His name is A.E. Roman and one of his posts is the fist chapter of his book. I found a couple of paragraphs that I really liked and thought I'd post them here. Hope he doesn't mind.

Kirk Atlas was of indeterminate ethnicity, with a shaved head that glistened like a dull gold. His torso was the size of a mini fridge, packed tight into a five-foot-six-inch frame. He was bare-chested under a white gym suit with maroon stripes. He wore Puma sneakers on his feet and dark Versace sunglasses, a tattoo of a black panther etched above the word "Gangsta" on his forearm. On the long glass coffee table was an empty bottle of Havana Club, dirty ashtrays, a can of Coca-Cola, and a .45.

I have bolded the part here that I really like. A torso the size of a mini-fridge. It paints the perfect picture.

Atlas finished whispering in Albert's ear and sat back smugly on the plump leather sofa, smoking a Cuban and drinking rum from a crystal glass. He beamed at me like I was a camera ready to snap his picture.

That last line kills me. This is my favorite kind of description. I don't want to read pages and pages on the shade of blue in a woman's eyes. Give me something creative and quick and I am perfectly happy. More than perfectly, actually. Good description can get me excited and want to write myself.

After reading the first chapter I really think I may have to go out and get his book, Chinatown Angel.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A new experiment

I am trying something at another blog. It's a serial story told in 100 to 300 words a day. I started it today and have no idea where it's going. This could be fun. I hope so, at least. We'll see. But if you want to follow along it's over here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Boring characters, you're on notice

Found this post most helpful. I can't count the number of times I have struggled with a story where the characters are doing something that should be interesting, but it just isn't. It's not the character's fault. They may very well wind up doing something interesting at some point. When they do I'll be happy to put their story on paper. But until then go about your business. You obviously have my number. You can call me.