My books are water; those of the great geniuses is wine. Everybody drinks water.
My books are water; those of the great geniuses is wine. Everybody drinks water.
It’s time to share a few interesting links I have found throughout the week. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have any suggestions, let me know.
12 Real Life Inventions That Science Fiction is Neglecting at its Peril
One of my favorite bloggers, Charlie Jane Anders, compiles a list of real life inventions that has been neglected by modern science fiction. If you’re looking for some inspiration for your own project look no further. There’s a lot here.
The Stars Were Right trade paperbacks are available!
As of yesterday my book The Stars Were Right is now available as a trade paperback from Amazon! Nab it today! It makes a great gift! To celebrate I also discounted the Kindle edition to $0.99 for the rest of the week. You can’t even buy a decent cup of coffee for a buck these days.
The Stars Were Right Giveaway!
Now through January 5th you can enter to win a copy of The Stars Were Right on Goodreads. It’s as simple as following the link and clicking “Enter to Win!” Tell your friends (or don’t and give yourself a better chance at winning.)
Syd Mead’s Bladerunner Concept Art
Some of the coolest concept art you’ll see. Ever. Really. I promise.
The National x Bob’s Burgers – Sailors in Your Mouth
Two of my favorite things combine to create an amazing Thanksgiving song for the 2nd year in a row. If you missed “Thanksgiving Song” from last year make sure you listen to it as well.
Getting Lost on North Brother Island
Situated between the Bronx and Riker’s Island, New York lies a small bird sanctuary that was once the site of a hospital. After 40+ years of abandonment the result are some amazing (and creepy) pictures.
The Beast in the Cave
A lost man. A dark cave. A potential threat.
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Now that The Stars Were Right is available in paperback let’s do something fun! How about a giveaway? For the next month if you’re in the US, UK, Canada, or Australia you can enter to win one of FIVE signed paperback copies of The Stars Were Right on Goodreads! Start a new book for the new year and do it for FREE!
370 pages of action, adventure, chases, cults, murder, mysteries, and monsters in your hands for only $13.99! (Actually a bit under right now.) Buy it for yourself today or give it as a gift to family and friends!
That’s not all there is more exciting stuff coming. Stay tuned!
I mentioned in my previous post that over the last month I have been exploring Scapple, software from Literature and Latte, creator of my favorite word processing software Scrivener. (I wrote a post about Scrivener as well, you should check it out. tl;dr – it’s awesome.)
I am foremost a visual thinker, I work with whiteboards all the time for my day job. Be it for wireframes, or just to start hashing out ideas, the temporary nature of a whiteboard allows me to be really loose with my thoughts and really explore avenues with little to no expense. Sadly, I don’t have room in my house for a whiteboard. So I have been looking for alternative means to organize my work without sacrificing space. Paper is too small to write this sort of stuff out and ultimately a waste. I have tried spreadsheets with Google Docs and Apple’s Numbers, but those are too cumbersome for this type of work. I have tried just lists in a document for but it’s hard to step back and really get the big picture. I’ve even tried Adobe Illustrator, which has a lot of similar features, but in the long run is too bulky and cumbersome for this type of work.
Scapple has been on my radar for a while but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to step in and give it a shot. It really was the product I was looking for: it’s both part mind-mapping and part free-form text editor. Everything is drag and droppable allowing for me to work quickly. I can get my ideas onto the screen, make connections between those ideas, and then step back and see the big picture. Here’s the first five chapters of my new unnamed project:
(No, I won’t make it larger. Spoilers!) Only a portion of that is the actual story (highlighted in blue) but I wanted to make sure I paid attention to what else was going on. There’s a lot of plot points to juggle in this one so making sure I have everything organized was key for me and Scapple helped me quickly get my thoughts down so I could progress.
Scapple is still a bit clunky. It’s not as forgiving as some programs, and often times I find myself scrambling to lay things out the way I want them to be laid out. I feel that a lot of this could be solved with some sort of snap-to-grid system. (Which I bet is coming.)
Also, while not a reflection on Scapple, I should mention that this very much one of those programs that can get in the way of actual work. You can spend a lot of time stylizing, tweaking, and laying things out. Time that could be better spent writing. That’s not Scapple’s fault, as I mentioned in my post “Shut Up and Write!“, if we’re looking for distraction we’ll find it.
My final verdict:
Powerful. Quick. Effective at mapping and laying out snippets of text visually. Scapple is the best mind-mapping program to fill that niche in the market. It’s $14 bucks, which cheap in the grand scheme of productivity software and if you’re a visual thinker like I am it’s very handy at getting your plot laid out. It’s worth it, just don’t let yourself get too distracted. The only person who needs to see your Scapples is yourself. Save the perfectionism for the final product, not your notes.
It’s now December 2nd, which is weird because we just had Thanksgiving in America and usually it’s a week or so before December hits. So my mind is struggling to come to grips with the fact that it’s the last month and the end of the year is fast approaching. We’re now two days past the NaNoWriMo deadline, so I figured I’d give a report on my own outcome:
Like every year, I failed at achieving the NaNoWriMo. That’s okay! It’s not like the project I was working on is dead. Far from it! Every month for me is novel writing month, but NaNoWriMo holds a special place in my heart for jumpstarting me towards finishing a manuscript. It’s good practice. It’s why I participate. I went into NaNo with under 5k words and emerged with 22k words in the new project. Not a bad step in the right direction. It’s not (obviously) where I wanted to be (always moar!) but that’s nearly a quarter of the way towards my projected 100k words. A solid start.
The Stars Were Right also got a lot of attention this month. Sales have been trending pretty steadily and the reviews keep coming in strong. I re-learned how to lay stuff out in InDesign and the trade paperback is getting really close to release. Hoping to have an announcement for that VERY soon.
Old Broken Road is getting close to the point where I’ll hand it over to my editor for editin’ — I was hoping to do this at the beginning of November; however being a part time writer means my time is limited and it’s resulted in delays. I still think I am on target for an early 2014 release. Really like the place it’s in.
I finally finished a beta-read of a friends novel. Other books, personal projects, work, basically everything had delayed me, but it’s done. It’s also one of the best books I have read all year. I’d be very surprised if a publisher doesn’t jump at it.
Oh! I also have started messing with Scrapple. I’m really liking it, but I am going to save my thoughts for a later post.
So that’s where I am at! I went into NaNoWriMo with almost nothing and emerged having learned some new software, finished a beta-read, came out with a edited manuscript, almost have a nearly released trade paperback, and I’m 22k words into a new project! All-in-all: not a bad November.