I have a very specific routine when it comes to writing books, and yet I always seem to find myself struggling with the tools at my disposal. You’ve got Scrivener for drafting, Word for revising, MindMap and Aeon Timeline and countless others, but what about the actual planning of the work? The calendars and task lists and things like that? I end up printing out calendars, but I’d rather have a web-based solution. And since I can’t find one I like, I’ll make my own! Here comes WipSnap.com!
In this episode of Late to the Game, I want to talk about a game I purchased on sale and loaded on a whim and then stayed up way too late playing for several nights in a row. We won’t be discussing the game itself, but rather the story that drives the gameplay, a story that, if I may be so bold, supports my claim that all great Science Fiction writers should play video games and their wives should let them.
Brains are unreliable, not that they’d ever admit it. A perfect example can be found in the proofing of a novel. Even on the tenth or twentieth read-through of a work-in-progress, you can still find typos and missing words and the like. And why? Because the brain has had enough of your piddly story, and in an effort to get back to thinking about how that drinking bird toy works, starts glossing over your text and missing the mistakes. Fortunately, there is an answer in technology.
I listen to a lot of Children’s music, and it got worse when El Matador was born. Usually, it’s just playing in the background as an alternative to the black silence that will someday consume us all. I’m a big fan of Charlie Hope and Caspar Babypants, but a song that recently caught my ear was called Marzidotes in Pandora. If you stop bathing your child and actually listen to the words, you’ll realize you’re hearing nonsense. And then it gets interesting.
As an author, it’s important to see the characters you create as real people. That may sound like a contradiction, but it’s true: if you don’t consider your characters as humans with feelings and thoughts and motivations, your readers won’t either. I don’t think this is a controversial opinion, but I also don’t think anyone with a normally functioning brain can pull it off. To write multiple people, you have to be multiple people. Forget the duality of man; embrace the infinity of identity.
I have become a FitBit. The most important thing in my life right now is counting the number of steps El Matador takes each day. Some days that number is two, or zero, or like the other day, seven. I can’t express how exciting this seemingly mundane task is to me. I know one day he’ll be running circles around me, but right now, this is amazing to watch, and honestly, I had no clue it would be.
One of the things “they” don’t tell you about parenthood is that at some point, you may feel like a prisoner in your own home. Your wonderful bundle of joy becomes a tether, and the outside world takes on a magical, limitless quality that makes you yearn for freedom. Fortunately, one of the easiest ways to combat this feeling is to invite people over, feed them pizza, and let them regale you with stories of a mystical, faraway land called “outside.” They may leave at the end of the night, but their stories will stay with you and make you happy, that is, of course, unless your husband (acclaimed Science Fiction author Daniel Verastiqui) hijacks the conversation and steers it towards The Dark Place.
It’s a beautiful night for writing. Jack is in the Coke, treason is in the air, my fingers are in the mood to fly, and also Jack is in the Coke.
I went on a business trip this week to Maryland, home of the Marylanders, and in the course of setting up transportation and lodging and all of those other things, I had to give out my email address way too many times. But you know what, I hate giving out my email address. As an ardent opponent of advertising, I really hate spam. Like, really hate it. Thus, I needed a way to keep my personal email private while still giving companies a way to contact me. A few years ago, I figured out a relatively easy way to do it.
El Matador has begun taking micro-naps whenever the mood hits him. They only last 5 – 10 seconds before he’s up and at it again, but it’s still interesting to see him learning he can control his own downtime. I love this kid. Everything he does amazes me.