Category Archives: Writing

Spock, Chabon, and This Mortal Coil

From “Q&A”

If you’ve checked out any of the anthology series “Short Treks,” you’ll know the arguable standout thus far is the first season’s “Calypso” co-written by Michael Chabon.

Chabon, probably better known to many as an award-winning novelist, also wrote this season’s “Q&A” and is the showrunner for the forthcoming Star Trek: Picard.

When I saw a behind-the-scenes photo of Chabon and the Vasquez Rocks (a popular Hollywood “exotic” filming location and one very storied for Star Trek), you could just tell his connection to Trek.

It was very evident for “Q&A” and now from this piece in the New Yorker, one now knows just how personal Star Trek is for him. And if this pain, love, and loss can be found in Picard (and I suspect it will), then I am loking forward to it more than ever.

I could have put this in my final Crisis of Infinite Star Treks post, but this article deserves to be read now.

Finding Other Sci-Fi and Fantasy Gems

Perhaps it’s because NaNoWriMo is nigh, but I found this piece in Wired about exploring and expanding the notions of “must read” works interesting. (I’m currently trying to fold in a bit more reading each day).

Building a Creative Business by Nuts and Bolts

Trying to make a living –or just some nontrivial income– from your creative endeavors seems like a monumental task. At least it feels so for me.

Luckily, for me, I enjoy some of the minutiae of process and procedures and figuring out devilish details I can repeat so all that small stuff is not stuff I sweat over.

Then I constantly get reminded about how much I don’t know. Also I don’t have enough time. Also, there’s something else I don’t know.

That’s where I appreciate all the writers and other creatives who share their experience including the lumps . There’s Holly Lisle for a lot of advice on writing, John August for a lot of writing and screenwriting, Seth Godin for a lot of marketing among others.

One energetic creator and entrepreneur whose resources I’ve shared before is Russell Nohelty. One of his recent posts goes into all the various ways you can try and build up the business side of your creative business, including the prime importance of having and cultivating a mailing list. But lest you want more, he does go into detail on all sorts of things.

Seriously, he goes into the weeds. He wants to go into the weeds. He’s like Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio’s site Wordplayer where they want to explain what muscles in your hand are used when picking up a pencil to begin writing. I’m talking about that level of detail.

So he’s been posting his monthly income and musing on it for the whole year and he recently did a breakdown of what he’s doing with that aforementioned mailing list.

It’s so hard finding an audience –and many people won’t care for your stories anyway– that demystifying the boring yet vital stuff is very much appreciated.

(And I should mention if you really dig the sort of stuff Russell does, he’s got a crowdfunder going that’ll end in just about a day).

Science Fiction still Alien to Some Authors

I mentioned on Tuesday that my office is geeky enough to spontaneously start talking about constructed languages.

As an inveterate geek who can pass as a “muggle,” I’m well acquainted with the concept of downplaying any connections to nerd/geek culture. My reluctance to unfurl my own weird flag has waned greatly over the past 15 years or so, but I understand that reticence.

Sarah Ditum, writing in the Guardian, details how authors have historically, and even today are averse to their work being labeled “science fiction” even as “nerd culture” has never been more dominant.

Who Doesn’t Like Conlangs?

This past week at work, talk drifted to Tolkien and constructed languages, or conlangs, because that’s how we roll.

Now, I’m not about to present any paper to the Language Creation Society. It takes a lot of time to create a full, working language. For Rogue Tyger, I have actual world languages stand in for the various human and alien languages, otherwise I’d be up to half a dozen conlangs by now.

Nevertheless, I find the whole process fascinating — and apparently, Hollywood has found the whole process invaluable to their worldbuilding as Oriana Schwindt details in an article for Vox.

Master of Suspense Masterclass

Well, technically, it’s a 96-minute press conference moderated by film historian, author, and critic Richard Schickel. However, it really is a bit of a masterclass as Alfred Hitchcock, quite confident in what he does and doesn’t do, gives pronouncements about how he goes about things.

Note that you may want to watch Family Plot, his last film, before watching this as that’s the reason for the press conference. You may also find that he’s rather old school and private in his answers, compared to what you might expect from a modern talk show. That should in no way distract some great nuggets of wisdom as to how he approaches filmmaking as a craft. I especially appreciated his observation on keeping the audience engaged and, above all, not confused.

Also, a pro-tip from the comments. If you play the video at 1.5 times speed (under the settings menu in YouTube), you’ll finish faster and Hitchcock will, frankly, not sound like the spokesman for the Slow Talkers of America (which he clearly isn’t, what with being British and all).

Stephen King’s Brief Writing Tips

After Monday’s post, I didn’t want to take up too much time. The weight of the week is probably dragging on you in any case. Here’s Stephen King with some brief writing tips.

A Writer Autobiography, Carl Reiner Edition

I’ll probably share some other videos done by the Writer’s Guild as I watch them in the future, but here’s a treat for those of you who are fans of Your Show of Shows or The Dick Van Dyke Show and so on.

Carl Reiner talks almost for almost an uninterrupted hour and it flies by as he gives you not only his history and development as a writer, but all sorts of wonderful tidbits about writing… and human nature, naturally.

80% of Books written before 1964 in Public Domain?!?

I’m always interested in the state of works in the public domain, especially as works in the U.S. have started entering said domain this year. So I was surprised, bordering on elated, to learn that the majority of books published in the U.S. before 1964 may actually be in the public domain: we don’t need to wait another 1-40 years!

So, so many books… Where to begin?

Here’s a link to the change covered by Boing Boing as well as the actual posting they reference. I’ll update this post as I get more information.

Recommended Reading: For Love or Money (or both!)

The other week, I mused about giving your young’uns a steady diet of scares, inspired in part by reading an article by artist Greg Ruth.

Well, as probably comes as no surprise, Ruth also has some thoughts about the eternal struggle to make a living from one’s creative work and yes, it’s naturally pertinent to illustrators, but I think his points should resonate with writers as well.

By the way, if you want to check out more of his work, his website is here.