I have never, ever worked so hard to get a story right, than I did with Concord.
From its cover (that’s the bridge leading from Lexington to Concord and, yes, there was an engagement on it), to determining whether men would tip their hats to women (yes), to figuring out Colonial Era market prices, to even deciding what one of the cows would be named, Concord is an absolute labor of love.
The premise of the story is an interphase: Malcolm is transported to April 1775 Lexington, Massachusetts, and takes the place of an ancestor, just as a future time traveler, during the time of the Genesis Project, takes the place of his own ancestor, who is fighting alongside Malcolm’s ancestor. Injured in the fighting, Malcolm and the time traveler, Robert Lennox, are quartered in a home, where they meet, among other people, Benjamin Warren.
With what is almost 20/20 hindsight, the men know that they were together and that their relationship worked out. But it’s still tentative and a little strange. But when they kiss, you want to cheer.
This was easily the most difficult decision, to figure out which was the best of these many stories. Three stories get an honorable mention here. First is The Reptile Speaks, which is a Gorn romancing a Cardassian. I loved the idea of putting together a rather different couple, and how someone who looks so menacing could, at bottom, be a truly good person.
Reversalhas to be mentioned, as it is not only the love of the dark stranger for the light, but it’s also an amazing kick-off story. A ton of roads lead straight to Reversal.
But the winner, the best one (and I might change my mind tomorrow) is The Three of Us .
All of the E2 stories were labors of love, but Three is really the big one. That is also due to, in part, its size.
Characters move from misbehaving and acting childishly, to acting criminally, to eventually maturing. Kindness, friendship, and togetherness, lead to more.
As might be expected from such a title, the relationship is an unconventional one.
But the parties persevere, and grow, as time pulls them along and they experience not just romantic love, but also brotherhood, fellowship, parenthood, and, ultimately, tragedy.
This image becomes particularly important, and is a part of one of the story’s many high points.
I love this story, from its tentative, scared, damaged people, to its criminals, to its hopefulness, to its sorrow. As Lili O’Day says in Fortune, “There is something there.”
Nothing really comes close to Seven Women, when it comes to tragedy. From the very start, the reader is told that Tommy Digiono-Madden is going to die. A fireball is coming, the fire door is closed, and he cannot outrun any of it. He knows this is it. But instead of having his life flash before his eyes, Tommy instead thinks of seven pivotal women in his life. They range from the three women he called mother, to his first girlfriend, and more.
This was a character I had only written little snippets of, and very few as an adult. As readers got to know Tommy, so did I. The best decision I made in that story was to not bow to internal pressure to give him a happy ending.
Spoiler alert: he doesn’t get one.
The best romance story was easily the hardest of these decisions to make. Tune in; I may do this again next year.
I write in all sorts of genres and wanted to put together what I think are my best treatments of them. This is in conjunction with all of the story reviews I have been posting, and future reviews.
I have written a good 200 or so stories. Choosing what is ‘best’ is subjective and certainly my ideas change over time. These stories, I might add, are not necessarily the ones with the greatest read or review counts. Sometimes it’s just the best in my mind. I don’t always agree with my readership.
One of my favorite genres to write, comedy speaks to me.
From the amusing title, to its start as Chip Masterson is busted by Deb Haddon for keeping Tripp‘s stuffed gerbil toy, Stella, to their romance, to Chip’s nascent to friendship with Aidan, the story celebrates a number of below decks themes.
The basic premise is a prank war, all carried out while inertial dampers are being perfected. This canon piece of equipment is about the dullest bit of Star Trek technobabble, so it was the perfect backdrop for a ton of hijinks. After all, the inventors (it’s a competition) would mainly be bored by their activities. They would be itching for something to do.
And then there’s the goat ….
I write a ton of drama and it can sometimes be difficult to sustain. Right now, today, as I write this blog post, I feel that one of my better, if not my best such stories, is Saturn Rise.
I had wanted to not only showcase more of Pamela and Treve’s relationship, but also to attempt to resolve some of the unfinished business in Intolerance, Temper, and Fortune.
Further, I wanted Malcolm to have to deal with introducing his parents to Lili, and possibly risk their disapproval. Done within the context of introducing them to Declan, I also wanted to present an alternate point of view regarding the acceptance – or not – of Lili and Doug‘s open marriage.
Just as Pamela has to have it out with her mother, Malcolm has to have it out with his parents.
As Ethan Shapiro learns of his great-aunt’s death, young Jewish crew members are brought together. Part of this is to properly mourn the woman’s death, but another reason is a budding romance, as Andrew Miller is looking to ask out Karin Bernstein.
I introduced not only these original characters (plus Josh Rosen), but also covered the subject of the existence of a Starfleet Rabbi, Leah Benson. Because I love these characters so much, they have all been woven into my fan fiction, including the Mirror Universe stories, as they meet dissimilar fates. Leah in particular is very different on the other side of the proverbial pond.
I have never been a fan of slamming doors, zombies, things going bump in the night, etc. types of stories or films. I just plain don’t like being scared for my entertainment. Hence I hit upon an idea, and that was to show what I feel is far, far worse. And that’s the Holocaust.
Taking place over the course of Halloween weekend, Tucker, who in canon is a classic horror film buff, has helped Chip line up a number of classic horror movies. October 31st is devoted to the old John Carpenter film.
Canon characters such as Phlox and Amanda Cole sit through the picture, as do a number of my own original characters. And then Tucker disappears.
As a crossover story, he’s whisked to 1945 Upper Bavaria, and becomes a part of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, which includes freeing Milena Chelenska, her sister, and their neighbor. Furthermore, he witnesses a war crime, where the managers of the camp (by this time – true story, by the way – they were mainly just kids, as the real management had fled) are shot to death by firing squad, without trials.
It turns out that he’s been interphased rather deliberately, as Wesley Crusher and the Traveler work to get him back, thereby neatly tying into Crackerjack.
Beyond the fact that I think these stories are some of my best work, my peers have agreed. Where No Gerbil Has Gone Before and Day of the Dead are both award winners.
In order to dovetail with my recent blog post about the Trek Blogging Community, here’s a post about the Writing Blog Community I hang out with that isn’t Trek.
There are non-writer bloggers who I follow, too (well, of course everyone who blogs is actually a form of writer, but what I’m really talking about here are bloggers who also dabble in fiction writing). But this post is only going to be about fiction writers who blog – with one notable exception. These aren’t really in any particular order.
Joshua C. is an experienced blogger – he’s been doing this longer than I have! I love the old-timey look to the pages. The prose is fascinating, but the writing samples are even better. Very well-organized, this blog is clearly the work of someone who’s been doing this for a while, and loves it. I know Joshua from a NaNoWriMo group on Facebook.
Katrin Hollister is a friend from Wattpad who is new to the blogging scene. She’s a far busier student than I am, and is balancing a new blog, Pinterest, Deviant Art (she is also an artist), and of course her studies. One great use she recently made of her new blog was for a cover reveal for her Wattpad epic, The Windcaster.
Like most Tumblr blogs, hers is very visual. There are some great images of Armitage, mixed in with terrific covers that she has made herself. The blog also links directly to her fiction and acts as a cross-promotional vehicle.
SeeThomasHowell is another Wattpad friend. On Wattpad, he doesn’t just write, read, and review. Jason also conducts interviews of fellow writers. A lot of these interviews end up on the Howlarium, which is a mix of his own writings and promotions, interviews, and promotions of others’ work. It’s a grand and generous collection of cross-promotions.
Jessica B. is another NaNoWriMo Facebook pal and another new blogger. Her blog has been mainly devoted to writing snippets and all sorts of original poetry. She is currently in the query part of the process of becoming a published author.
A mix of promotions, announcements, and guest blogs, RAB’s blog is intended as a cross-promotional vehicle for their books. This blog feeds a number of their other social media enterprises, such as their GoodReads page.
For me, this kind of a blogging community advances more than one purpose. It’s a place to cross-promote works, of course. But it’s become more than that. For me, it’s become another vehicle to making friends. It’s a joy to be able to, just like with my Star Trek friends, be able to talk to these people about a lot of things. And for them to immediately getit.
This is a somewhat different post, as I am (for the first time! Sound the trumpets!) participating in a Blog Hop. I’ve been tagged by Alex Karola, I’ll answer a few questions, and then I will tag three other folks to continue the chain. Those three folks, who I will mention again at the end are Jessica Bloczynski, Katrin Hollister, and MirielOfGisborne.
Without further ado, here are the questions.
1. What am I working on?
Egad, it feels like, what am I not working on? I have a WIP which is wholly original, that I am going to submit to my publisher. If all goes well, it’ll be a trilogy. Well, it’ll be a trilogy whether it’s accepted for publication or not. But I’ll be the first to admit that it could use some tightening.
I’ve got the Barnstorming series. It has stalled recently, in favor of schoolwork, wholly original work, and various short prompted stories. I have a wholly original work in progress for Wattpad that hasn’t been posted yet but I’d like some more chapters before I start. I have The Social Media Guide for Wattpad. The draft is technically done, but I’m always finding more to say.
Hence the answer is – ta da! – lots of stuff.
2. How is my work different from others of its genre?
I tend to add a philosophical bent to a lot of my work. Without getting into the details of what I want to present to my publisher, one of the underlying themes is: what does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be sentient/intelligent? I think when we start to answer those questions, we will begin to understand our own selves better. I like to explore that inner essence (I’m mainly a science fiction author), and that generally isn’t explored while stars and planets are being explored. I try to change that.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Part of it is for my own purposes; I try to write what appeals to me as a reader.
Part of it is also for the purpose of creating art. I like to be creative. A part of it is also to slip some philosophy in there. I think the study of thought and thinking is going by the boards. I see people spouting stuff all the time and it has no basis and no foundation. It’s not philosophy; it’s just a lot of posturing. The real thing is becoming rare. This is not to say that I’m busily slipping philosophy into my works, much like someone might grind up carrots and shovel them into burgers in order to stealthily get people to eat healthier. Rather, it’s a part of the dish/story. Read it for the science fiction, read it for the philosophy, read it for both. I like to think readers will get something out of it, regardless of their preferences or foci.
4. How does my writing process work?
I am naturally overly organized and I wouldn’t be shocked if I were OCD as well. I keep an enormously long timeline (which is published on the site, in pieces) and that is an incredible help. I am able to do things like look at it to determine who is older than whom, who could meet, etc. I also keep a long list of every character I have ever made. These characters are paired with various actors/actresses. For canon, of course, it’s whoever really played them. For originals, I make judgments, and those eventually start to inform my work. E. g. if a character is short, that decides a few things but generally not major plot points.
I keep an idea bank, too, and sometimes it’s painfully scant. E. g. the Daranaean Emergence series was started with a two-word phrase: smart kangaroos. When I have an interesting dream, an idea for a name, a title, a series, a story, all of those are typed into the bank. While I do answer prompts, the bank helps when I am really stuck.
For longer works, I tend to flesh out the ideas, but I don’t go with a formal story line. I tend to have ideas of where I want to go, though, or sometimes scenes play out in my head. Funny thing is, sometimes a scene that I have been thinking of for a long time can end up far shorter than I had thought. In Reflections Down a Corridor, I had a vision of Jay swimming, swimming, swimming. That whole scene is maybe a few pages long, yet I thought about it for months. Was I sick of it? I can’t honestly say.
Sometimes scenes are written in order. Sometimes, they aren’t, although usually that’s because they are standalone short stories. But some of that can be laid at the feet of the timeline. I have ideas of where I’m going with this or that, and I need to go through X to get to Y so I’ll sometimes write Y and then realize, oops, I’d better prefigure that with X.
I have been writing (with considerable time off), in some form or another, for the past 4 1/2 decades, no exaggeration. My initial writings were crudely drawn images in old calendar books that would have otherwise been discarded. Inevitably, they were all about more or less the same thing – anthropomorphized dogs going on adventures.
I used to own (many of them are still in my parents’ house) little plastic farm animal toys.
Many of these came from my father’s business trips to Munich, and they were fairly well detailed. When not drawing picture books, I would play act stories for these toys. Usually, it was some sort of journey.
The toys still exist, but the old calendar books are long gone, in some landfill somewhere (they were discarded before recycling was really mainstream).
As a teenaged girl, I had diaries, but all of those are also gone to a landfill. I did not get back to writing anything resembling fiction until my senior year in High School, when I had an AP English teacher who encouraged such things. I took Creative Writing in college, and a Law School boyfriend also encouraged me to write. Then I set it all aside until maybe 2000 when I did some short works and then started writing fan fiction in 2004.
After a few more short works, I set it aside until 2010. Ever since starting up again (with Reversal), I have written something pretty much every day, whether it’s Star Trek: fan fiction, wholly original works, blogging and/or fiction outlining.
Lessons Learned (in no particular order)
Write to keep writing
While I suffer from writer’s block, just like every other writer, I suffer from it less than I probably should, because I make an effort to write nearly every single day. This keeps it all going.
Take and Keep Notes
I have a large timeline for fan fiction, spanning a few millennia. I have other timelines for wholly original fictional universes. These are kept with MS Excel. Timelines are incredibly useful, as you immediately know things like ages, and if character lifetimes overlap.
I keep wikis (more like informal detailed outlines, as I am the sole contributor) for all major series, and separate ones for wholly original fiction. These are for world-building, and they contain everything from character heights to birthdays to naming conventions for various items. It’s all decided once and the references are at my fingertips.
I also keep a list of plot ideas, which also contains possible titles, species ideas, possible character names, etc. (Eriecho was originally going to be Klingon). This ‘parks’ new ideas so that I can concentrate better on the story I am trying to finish.
Don’t Throw Anything Away
Character names from 1986 have shown up in fiction written in 2011, no lie. A quarter-century later, and in a different universe, the names still work.
Your Work Should be Shared
I belong to several writers’ groups online, both for fan fiction and for wholly original work.
There are a lot of people who are terrified of sharing their work with others. These are not people holding back because it’s work they want to try to have published. They just plain aren’t ready to share anything.
And that’s unfortunate, as their work can stagnate with no feedback. Fiction isn’t meant to be hidden away, locked in a drawer somewhere.
While not everyone will love what I have written, I’ve learned to separate critiques into constructive and destructive, and can tell the difference.
There are those who go into reading a fan fiction who are biased against a particular series, or character or character pairing, etc. They might dislike a certain plot point (e. g. not everyone likes time travel), or they just might dislike all fan fiction.
Most of what these folks say is not worth reading, or repeating. Fortunately, I haven’t run into too many of these folks in my travels.
As for those who engage in personal attacks, they should be blocked without a second thought. No one needs to be trashed in order to be effectively critiqued. Ever.
Do Your Research
In one of my first-ever fan fictions (There’s Something About Hoshi), I misspelled MACO as MAKO, and was corrected by a reader. At the time, I was overly sensitive and felt it was petty. I have since come to realize that of course this person was correct, and they were only trying to help me get better.
Pay it Forward by Reading and Reviewing Others’ Work
Sitting back and expecting everyone else to do the heavy lifting of reading and reviewing is pretty selfish. Writers, of course, should take care not to steal from each other, or plagiarize. But the building, nurturing, and sustaining of writer communities means that you, the writer, need to also become the reader, and the critic. Always be a constructive critic.
Practice and Edit
Not writing does not make you a better writer. Only writing, and reading, can make you a better writer. So do both.
Don’t Crowdsource Your Ideas
I see this a lot, where potential writers, terrified that they have a bad idea, ask their peers for a judgment about whether something is a ‘good’ idea.
This is bass-ackwards. Instead, writers should be writing. Their ideas are, likely, perfectly fine. Why do I say this? Because most ideas are fine; it’s their execution that demonstrates quality, or the lack thereof. Consider the following story idea.
A suddenly disabled man is late for work one morning. Ignoring his new infirmity, he tries to go to work, as he is the sole supporter of his mostly ungrateful family. When they become, by necessity, more independent, they abuse and neglect him and, unappreciated, he eventually dies. They go on without him.
Don’t know that plot? It’s Franz Kafka’sThe Metamorphosis, easily one of the top 100 (if not 50) works of fiction ever written. Ever!
But that plot summary isn’t too promising, eh? It’s in the execution where Gregor Samsa comes to life.
Your ideas are fine, except for the idea that you need others’ approval before you can start writing. Nonsense! Write anyway.
You’re Better Than You Think
Unless you are out and out plagiarizing someone else’s work, there is probably someone out there who will like your writing. That leads to my next point.
Find Your Ideal Audience
Sites which cater to, say, only Star Trek: Enterprise will not appreciate Star Trek: Voyager fan fiction as well as sites that focus on it. That may seem obvious, but it’s a point that people sometimes seem to miss. If your work isn’t being read, try other sites. You might do better elsewhere.
Fix Your Technical Problems Before Posting
Always look over spelling, punctuation, capitalization, word choice (e. g. make sure you are using the right words, and they mean what you think they do), and grammar. A few stray errors are fine, but try to fix most of it before posting. This is a courtesy to your readers.
Not Everyone Wants to read your entire Saga
Readers’ time is as precious a your own.
Their not wanting to read your entire 10 million word saga is less a reflection on your abilities (or their love of your work), and more on their own busy lives.
Expecting your audience to read your entire saga is a discourtesy; you are not being respectful of their time. Respect their time by mixing in some short stories as most people can find the time to read something less than 10,000 words (even better, less than 5,000).
Compete With your Peers
This ups your game considerably. Put yourself out there, and don’t expect to win. Competitions are also a great way to get more people to read and review your work.
Keep Track of your Stats
You don’t have to be as analytical as I am, but it pays to at least have a handle on what’s popular, and what isn’t. These findings will probably differ from site to site, and having objective data means you’ll have a better idea of whether a story will go over well or poorly at a particular site.
Use Your Time Wisely
We all have lives, so writing time often has to be rationed. Determine what you want and need, and how well various sites satisfy those wants and needs. Do an informal cost-benefit analysis – does a site offer ease of posting? Better critiquing? A bigger audience? A better-matched audience to your work?
Build a Readership
When I learned I was going to be published, I told pretty much everyone in my network. A lot of people said they were excited about potentially seeing my wholly original work in print. This is not only ego-gratifying, it’s also, potentially, a source of reads (and even sales) and reviews for professional work. I’m not saying to become a writing mercenary.
Rather, cultivate and nurture your most loyal fans.
That doesn’t just mean being kind to them (which should be a given), and thanking them (another given); it also means listening to them. Do they want to see more original characters? A new horror story? More time travel? Do they think your last book dragged in the middle? Take them seriously. They are really trying to help you succeed. Let them.
I have come a long way from picture books that I showed to no one, and stories that I left to rot in a trunk and are no more. Fan fiction has improved me as a writer, and has taught me to believe in myself. It has led me to becoming a published author. I owe it a lot.
In the continuing saga of looking at Boldly Reading blog prompts, we have the second such prompt about Star Trek fanfiction (and, really, about any other kind of writing, for that matter) – what do you like to see in a review of your work? what do you comment upon yourself in a review? has a received view changed your opinion on a story you wrote or were writing? and finally, has a review sold or warned you off another author‘s story?
Everybody loves good reviews. They make us feel warm, happy and special. They pull us up when we’re feeling low. Good vibes all around.
But really short good reviews (e. g. I loved it!) are nice but they are dissatisfying. It’s like a half a sip of really good coffee. Hence, whether I read a review or I write one, I feel that a good review should have a little more depth than that. Why is the story so beloved?
Here are a few ideas –
Are the original characters believable and multidimensional? Do you, the reader, understand who they are, their motivations and back stories? The answer does not necessarily have to be yes to all of these questions, by the way, but what is it about the original characters that grabs you?
Are the canon characters well portrayed? If they step out of character, is that explained in a satisfying manner? Can you, the reader, hear the canon character’s voice in your head, saying these words? Can you see the canon character performing these actions?
What’s the driver of the events? Is it a new ship or person? A conflict? A discovery? A problem that needs solving? A mystery? Was the situation believably introduced, showcased and wrapped up?
Where is (are) the climax(es) in the story? What is it leading to? Is it the logical release of the build-up that has occurred throughout the story?
How have the characters or the situation changed by the end of the story? If the story was a reset, does the resetting to the beginning make sense?
Sometimes, a story does not completely work, but there are redeemable elements of it. When that happens, I think it’s time for suggestions. And again, a short review is not too much help. Authors need to learn (and be nice about this!) how to improve their works. It is possible to help someone become better, and writers should take the suggestions in the spirit in which they should be given.
I thought ___ was a bit of a hand wave. If you were rewriting the story today, how would you correct that and add more drama to that element?
___ is incorrect, per (cite research). Are you looking to write an alternate reality?
I loved your characters but I thought the situation didn’t quite suit them. Do you have other stories with these characters?
I thought the situation was compelling, but I’m unsure about the placement of the characters in it. Do you have stories with similar situations, but different characters?
Sometimes, it’s just … oh God. You feel like sowing the ground around someone’s computer with salt. What to do?
One option is to simply not review at all. After all, even in a review hunt challenge, you could forego the points and just bow out of reviewing. But that does not help the author get better. Can they get better? It’s a definite maybe. There are people who take suggestions to heart. And there are others who might accept the suggestions later. Then again, there are also people who think that everything they write is so wonderful that you must be the problem.
Try to find something positive to say, anything! Did they get a canon character’s voice right at all? Was the situation unique? Were there any memorable lines?
Once again, constructive criticism is the way to go. Be specific and detailed, but also be kind. E. g. a review that says, In canon, Scotty is not an Eskimo, and I’m just not so sure I’m buying him as one. I think that’s specific, and it does not trash the author or attack them personally. Hey, someone else might be convinced, but you, the reader, are not.
Are they new to writing? Maybe comment on the maturation process in writing. This is not to say that you insult people by suggesting that no one under the age of 40 can write, or that you need a decade’s worth of experience to be any good. Rather, you can suggest that continued writing, over time, often changes and hones one’s style.
Out and out plagiarism should not be rewarded, of course.
As for me, I look at the number of reviews I get, and the number of reads. For short stories with no reviews and a high read count, that raises a red flag with me. But for longer stories with no reviews, it’s less of a flag, as there are plenty of longer stories that people just don’t stay with. It’s not necessarily due to the quality of the writing. Sometimes that’s just due to readers’ personal schedules.
And I can’t say that I love criticism, but I am a writer and I expect it and I understand it. People have told me that something looked like a hand wave, or that they couldn’t stick with something. I think that’s fine, and that tells me where to improve, and tighten things up. But I do have an ego and, like everyone else, it can sometimes be bruised.
So I ask, if you hate it, and you still choose to provide a review, I do hope you won’t just trash me. And I vow to you that I will do the same.
As a part of The Twelve Trials of Triskelion, the program is coming to an end, but we on Ad Astra are looking to keep it up. As a result, we’re looking to expand blogging. And now there’s a new book club, called Boldly Reading, with its own blog!
I’ve realized that while I love the Star Trek Enterprise and The Original Series eras, that doesn’t necessarily define what I seek out. More often, I go looking for a good story, and then whether it fits into my own personal era preference doesn’t truly factor into it. Good stories are good stories.
I also have great respect for people who put themselves out there for the challenges, in particular, the monthly challenges. For newer authors in particular, it has got to be daunting. It presents the old what if they don’t like me? fear that I suspect all authors have inside us.
Once I’ve read a challenger (even if they don’t win, and even if I didn’t love their story), I try to look at more of their works. Sometimes people are just off, and one story didn’t hit its marks but that doesn’t mean that others won’t. But if I’m disappointed enough times (and I can’t honestly say exactly when that moment occurs, but I know it when I see it), I’m done, unless it’s for a monthly challenge. Then I’ll read all of the entries because I don’t think I can vote in good conscience without reading all of that month’s entries. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to love the author who has disappointed me. Unfairly or not, that person now has more of a hurdle to climb over in order to get my love. But it’s not an impossible hurdle.
For authors not involved in monthly challenges, I am looking for good characters. I love action sequences, but the truth is, they’re hard to write. Sometimes what you’re thinking of just does not translate well to pixels. But characters can. Someone who is not a Mary Sue. Someone who isn’t just described in some huge data dump as if the author were picking the character out from a police lineup. Someone who I can hate or love or be repulsed by or laugh with or at or want to hug or kick. Someone who stays with me.
Give it up for Templar Sora!
One author whose works I have loved pretty much from the beginning has been Templar Sora.
Two of his characters I have particularly enjoyed are Jessica St. Peter and Seymour Sonia. Jess is an unlikely leader, a person thrust into the role when everyone around her falls down on the job or is too scared or damaged or inexperienced to step in. And, as a young leader, she deals with something that a lot of young leaders in fan fictionnever seem to have to deal with – insubordination by people who think she should not have her place.
Enter Seymour Sonia, the consummate jerk. Everything from hitting on Jess (before she gets a command) to openly being hostile to her, he’s a fun character to despise. The beauty of this character is his passive-aggressive nature. I have found that often jerk characters are written as utterly one-dimensionally, as authors might feel they have to stack their decks. After all, who could possibly hate a Starfleeter?
I love a lot of what I’m reading. But to really hit the stratosphere, give me a character where all I want to do when I see him in a scene is yell, “Bite me!”
There are any number of things for me to write about, but I am going to concentrate on my own fiction. This is mainly because I know it, of course, and also because I am, in many ways, my own worst critic. I can look at entries from a year or more ago and cringe. But I guess I go on.
Where everything is
I tend to post most of my works in Trek United before anywhere else. This is partly because that’s where I first posted fan fiction, so I have a history there, and also because they were and are very encouraging. However, I often find myself going back to older works and tweaking them when I post them elsewhere. Sometimes it’s to better dovetail with canon. Other times, it’s to dovetail with fanfiction – that is, my own universe and my own overarching storylines. After all, if character X is dead in 2157, and in an earlier work, he’s alive during that same time period for some reason, I may switch that up, if it doesn’t destroy the integrity of the older work. One thing that might be of amusement is that there is a rather strong profanity filter there. I have found I’ve had to get creative with synonyms. I have kept this – I suppose I’m used to it now – when describing what are sometimes very intimate scenes.
More earthy stuff can be posted at Trek Empire, but I haven’t yet used it for that, not really. I have plenty of earthy material. More (much, much more) on that later. I just haven’t done much at TE, as of this writing. I also have two drabbles at The Delphic Expanse.
Another place with my work is Trek BBS. So far, I’ve only really scratched the surface there. Yet another spot is Fanfiction.net. Because uploading is permitted there, I’ve taken to posting three chapters at a time when I’m spinning out longer works. For both of these locations, I have felt the need to somewhat bowdlerize my work, so it’s been the opposite of Trek Empire.
Much more polished works are generally found at Ad Astra (they are also the sponsors of this blog, so I thank them for setting it up). I also like the formatting there, and the critiquing system. It just seems to work out better for most of my fan fic publishing needs.
I also have some works on Issuu, under the Trek United imprimatur. Two of my works there, Reversal and Intolerance, are rated Mature, so they are not searchable that way. I like Issuu for how the covers look with the overall layout of the works, but the longer works are also on Ad Astra and have been updated since their publication on Issuu.
Another venue for my work is Merknet. Richard Merk has converted the two longer Issuu creations to Kindle and Nook formats. So you can download those two to your e-reader, if you’d like!
For the most part, when I reference a work, I’ll be referencing Ad Astra. The best and most current versions are pretty much all there, and it’s also for consistency’s sake. If I need to cite a work where the rating has been toned down, I’ll most likely point to Fanfiction.net.
The ratings are all over the place. Some, like The Light, are rated for everyone and could be read to your grandmother without concern. Others, like Paving Stones Made from Good Intentions, are rated for everyone but should make you uncomfortable. Still others go up the ratings ladder, eventually to Intolerance, which is M, possibly M in some spots, depending on how you feel about explicit acts being referred to somewhat obliquely.
As with anything else in life, discretion is advised. But I don’t try to play a gotcha game with ratings, particularly those for children or teens. I think that most if not all of those can be considered as safe for work.
Every now and then, I may reveal something that turns out to be a spoiler. I don’t, honestly, expect anyone to have read all of my stuff or, even if they have, that they remember every syllable of it. But I am going to write here about writing, and sometimes that will mean discussing something that could turn out to feel like a revelation. I won’t use spoiler code.
What this blog is really going to be about
I’ll cover reviewing my own work, and will likely reveal things you might have overlooked, about what I’m really trying to say, or how well (or poorly) I think I accomplished what I set out to do.
I will talk about characters, both canon and original, and will provide pictures for any character where I have an idea of that person’s overall look. I am not so arrogant as to think that what I am writing will be acted by professionals. The pictures are for fun, and to give you an idea of what’s in my head – who do I really see? You may see someone else. Feel free to tell me in the comments section. Perhaps I’ll change my mind. This area will be huge – I tend to do the sprawling Dickensian thing, so I quite literally have a few hundred people to talk about.
I will spotlight original technology and concepts, everything from drugs to sports to original species and their characteristics.
I’ll also give a progress report, probably at the end of every month, giving an idea of what I’ve done, and what’s on the horizon. This will help to keep me accountable, but I don’t promise anything. Life does intervene at times, of course.
I will give you a look inside my creative process, including the kinds of things that inspire me.
Plus whatever strikes my fancy.
I won’t really adhere to a strict blogging schedule but I will try to get something out twice a week. That may change – life and inspiration and time don’t always combine to create the perfect storm allowing me to keep regular blogging hours. I’ll do what I can.
I’m a woman, born in New Jersey (in 1962) but raised in Pennsylvania and then New York. I attended college in Boston and then Law School in Delaware, and practiced law for a few years in New York until I ran screaming from that life. I met my husband in the late 1980s and we married in 1992. We moved to Providence for work and then to Boston in 1995 and have never looked back.
I currently work in IT, and have a background in corporate training, business analysis, data analysis, community management and social media marketing. I don’t believe in limiting myself or pigeonholing myself. I’ve worked in all sorts of places, from a tiny startup that could fit in my car to a Fortune 50 company.
We have no kids. We’ve had dogs four times – no dogs right now as there is just no time and it wouldn’t be fair. But I do love to see my neighbors’ furry friends, and I will stop and pet pretty much any dog I see, all while playing “guess the breed”. I walk almost every day and run over ten 5K races per year. I am almost always last. Everyone cheers because, I know, they realize that they can finally eat and get their prizes.
I am Jewish but I am pretty lapsed. I do a lot of things that a lot of my characters like to do, such as cook, garden and fish. If I were an ENT character, I’d probably be a cross between Reed and Sato. Reed for his organized competence (at least I like to think that’s what I’m like), and Sato for her fears and hesitations (I know I’m like that). It’s no mystery to me why I tend to write them more than all of the other canon ENT characters (and not in a relationship together, by the way).