Category Archives: Writing

Successful Self-Publishing Case Studies

Given the sheer numbers of self-published books, it statistically unlikely that someone will make a living via self-publishing… except that given the sheer number of self-published books there’s a non-trivial number of writers who make a living via self-publishing.

So with that caveat in mind, take a look at Sam Haysom’s article on Mashable about three self-published authors who have succeeded.

Roll for Initiative… at a distance

I’ve been compiling the various resources and freebies that people are posting daily on the Interwebs as ways to combat the coronavirus isolation.

One activity I sorely want to try in the coming weeks is delving back into some role playing games (RPGs)… and, in fact, it’s possible that might be an activity to do with my kids.

So Paul Darvasi’s article for KQED is a treasure trove of ideas about how one can use RPGs for educating people (and honestly, just being a better gamemaster).

In addition, since we’re now in stay-at-home mode, Charlie Hall has a great article on Polygon about how to run your RPG online. I’ve used Roll20 before, but I’m thinking trying straight video may be easier to just jump in. I just need to work on the descriptions.

Science Fiction Tropes, Ranked (Barnes & Noble Edition)

I’ve posted about science fiction tropes before, but as we’re now deep into the Era of Social Distancing, at least some writing has got to happen, right?

So here’s another list ranking tropes via Ross Johnson for Barnes & Noble. I might quibble with the ranking of the top 5 (dystopian governments and time travel would be my 2 and 1 respectively), but everything on the list should give you a knowing nod or a smile.

And who doesn’t like space pirates?

A drop of water for your thoughts…

Wouldja Believe? It’s a Five-Year Blogiversary!

Obligatory if somewhat dated pop culture reference.

Back on March 1st, 2015, I re-entered the web world with a personal website, something I really hadn’t had since the 90s, which in Internet terms is ancient history.

Perhaps because March 1st doesn’t correspond with any other anniversaries in my life, I keep on meaning to do an annual retrospective about posts and such on the blog, but keep on forgetting.

This year, however, I made sure to set a reminder for myself. As with any eponymous blog, this post is mainly a self-indulgence, but for anyone who wants to go back and check some of the posts (over 400!), here’s an accounting of the “greatest hits” and some of the “deep cuts.”

Star Trek

Of course, these posts topped the list. My series, Crisis of Infinite Star Treks, lasted almost the full five years. There were long and short entries and ones that I thought were better than others. The three that seemed to best represent the series are:

Writing

I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of my posts about writing got so many views. Writing and trying to do more work as a writer is near and dear to me… and frankly, one of the reasons I’m online anyway.

Granted, most of the posts are mainly linking to or commenting on articles or resources I found online, but it’s been great to share what I know. Some of the most read have been:

Integrally linked to many of these articles are the posts which talk more about motivation (one of them is up there). That was led to several posts about finding purpose, meaning, and motivation… often explicitly disconnected from a paycheck. These were a lot of fun to write (and probably helped me work through some thoughts):

Personal Favorites… and other odds and ends

As indicated above, part of the fun of a blog is the ability to indulge your whims and flights of fancy, often without a care for deadlines or the editorial rigor you yourself might expect from a magazine article.

Many of the posts grow out of articles I read online that I want to expand on, which include.

Less fun, but very cathartic, has been writing remembrances

Finally, there’s a few that I enjoyed writing just for fun and I fully expect to add to that category in the next few years:

So for those of you who have popped over to this blog, thank you. I hope you’ve enjoyed the links and the articles and the geekery.

I’ll probably do another of these sooner than five years hence.

A Day in the Life of a Writer in the Business

I’m always interested in different people’s writing processes, including how they balance non-writing.

Okay, I should probably specify productive non-writing. It’s pretty easy to procrastinate and not write.

Novelist Vincent Zandri has an interesting approach that I’ve heard from other writers in how they approach the business of writing by being very definite about both the writing part and the business part. I appreciate the level of detail.

Credit Where Credit is Due: Batman Edition

Still thinking of the Oscars this week and I came across this piece in Forbes which mentions a small coup in terms of credits.

You see, for the longest time, the iconic character of Batman was credited pretty much only to Bob Kane, when in fact, that particular caped crusader was not a solo act. In fact, there’s a Bill Finger award that has been established specifically to recognize comic book writers whose work in comic book writing has gone previously unrecognized (at least significantly).

So that’s a Throwback Thursday to make you smile.

Barry Lyga on Writing What You Know (kinda)

I’ve been musing on the old –and to my mind, inaccurate– advice to “write what you know” and I’ve been meaning to write a post about it.

Barry Lyga, as per his website (which you should check out).

But in the meantime –and perhaps for the better– how about I just link to a piece by novelist (and occasional Tohubohu screenwriter) Barry Lyga?

There’s a whole lot of nuggets in here, but I won’t spoil them for you. Suffice to say I agree with a lot of this and find that understanding how you’re like your characters and their experiences has rung true for me as both an actor and a writer.

As it happens, he has over 50 articles of writing advice on his website, so if you like what he has to say, read on! (And I’m sure he’d suggest picking up some of his books. Writers gotta eat, y’know).

But first things first, check out why you should write what you know (kinda).

Hangin’ with the Velocipastor

This week, I joined the Streaming Nonsense crew in their mission to review lesser known films available online. This time, we looked at The Velocipastor. Is it everything you want from a disillusioned-priest-becomes-dinosaur-and-fights-ninjas movie? Give a listen.

Classics per Checkout: the New York Public Library’s List

The New York Public Library (NYPL) released a list of its most checked out books in its 125 year history (it was founded in 1895). Coming from a family that includes librarians, archivists, and avid history readers, this was delightful news. I learned about it as the NPR story covering it was shared widely among my social media channels.

One curious note in the NYPL release: an honorable mention for Goodnight Moon, which I suppose they suppose people would wonder why it was absent. It turns out the NYPL’s chief children’s librarian didn’t care for it and, seeing that this was back in the age of traditional gatekeeping, made sure it was kept out. Dan Kois over at Slate has some additional details.

Strange attitudes about Margaret Wise Brown’s evergreen book with the green bedroom aside, the whole list is interesting, considering it does represent over a century of readers. I hope other library systems add their lists in time.

2019 By the Indie Numbers

I’ve mentioned author and indie published Russell Nohelty a couple times on the blog, both specifically about his book on selling your work and in his detailing his efforts to build his business.

So, as a bit of follow-up, all last year he did a monthly income and expense report about his business, often detailing what worked and what didn’t, what his predictions were, and what the basis of those predictions was. It was wonderfully detailed stuff: data you almost never get to analyze unless you’re doing it yourself.

So on January 1st, he did an income report not just for December, but for all of 2019. It’s remarkably open and informative.

Oh, and because I’m sure he wouldn’t mind, if you think you’d dig the stuff he writes, he has a Kickstarter for his “Godsverse” novels running for the next six days.