I am continuing to record and post episodes of my Timeless Files podcast about the TV series Timeless, now looking at Season 2. The series just keeps getting better and better. All episodes of the podcast are available at PodBean, iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn and wherever else you get your podcasts.
I’ve been sitting on this news for a little while. I’m delighted to say my story “The Restaurant Trade” will be published in the forthcoming anthology, TALES FROM PLEXIS. These are stories set in and around Julie E. Czerneda’s Clan Chronicles books. It is a real pleasure to contribute to this. I’m greatly looking forward to reading all the stories when the book is published, which is scheduled for late 2018, from DAW.
My new free podcast discussing the TV show Timeless is live in iTunes and also available at podbean.com. Timeless is a great show and deserves a big following. Whether you’re a fan or just curious to learn more, I hope you’ll have a listen.
I’m unable to take part in NaNoWriMo this year, but now seems like a good time to reflect on taking part last year.
First and foremost, NaNoWriMo is about getting words down. It’s about getting used to writing every day. Sitting in the chair and doing it. Inevitably that might mean the words aren’t as good as you would hope for, and the story is not as coherent as you would wish. That’s ok. There are limits to what you can do in a month. But the main goal is to write 50K words and that’s the one thing you shouldn’t compromise on.
At the same time, I do not believe it is a good thing to write 50K words of utter crap. You can aim higher than that. You can try to push the idea in a more exciting direction every day. You can try to discover a story that you can someday stand behind and publish.
Every time you write something you learn new things about what makes a story work or not work. You learn about your own strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and see where you can improve. Most importantly you learn that you can do it. Self-doubt falls away, because you are, in fact, writing a story, and not just thinking about it.
What then if you fail? You might find that 50K words is actually too difficult for you, or that life intervenes in some way you could never have anticipated. Well, as soon as you’ve written one sentence, as soon as you’ve made a start, then you’ve succeeded to some extent. The glass really is half full with NaNoWriMo, or any other kind of actual writing. Actual writing always takes you forward. Even if you later scrap it and write something better.
But try to hit that 50K target. Have a plan. Write 1700 words every day. Or write less on weekdays but more on weekends. Track your progress. Know whether you’re ahead or falling behind. If you’re ahead keep going. Maybe even edit a little. Or think about how you would pitch this story to a publisher. What would make it stronger? If you’re behind, can you somehow devote more hours per day to the task? Or are you being too self-critical, too much of a perfectionist? This is a first draft, not a final manuscript.
Oh now I am wishing I had time for NaNoWriMo 2017. I don’t but I do have other goals for November. Best of luck to you if you’re giving it a go. Give it your best shot.
Everyone in Helsinki seemed to know the World Science Fiction convention was happening in their city. Even the airline knew they had a plane full of SF geeks, and they made a point of welcoming us. The convention itself got off to a shaky start with long queues and insufficient capacity in some of the rooms, but this was mostly sorted out by the second day.
I particularly enjoyed a panel on the subject of writing your first novel. I’m a bit past that now but it was interesting more generally about writing anything. Mysteriously, each panel had to wrap up after 45 minutes, despite having one-hour slots, often leaving me wanting more.
Food at the convention consisted mainly of burger meals. I experimented with a toasted sandwich at one point, which did not go well. The dealers room was mostly filled with books in Finnish, and people queuing up to ask George ‘Really Really’ Martin to sign something.
I got to hang out with Eeson & Becks all week and chat to them about Twin Peaks for their “Time for Cherry Pie and Coffee” podcast. Also managed at least brief chats with many writing friends who were attending, but in the bustle of a busy convention I never crossed paths with others.
Loved Helsinki itself. The food was excellent. The beer was expensive, but I expected this. It’s Scandinavia after all. Took a trip out to the island of Suomenlinna on the last full day. The island has its own brewery, as all islands should. Eventually I was forced to head home. The very efficient trains running regularly between Helsinki, the convention, and the airport, could not be faulted. Back in the UK, the service from Gatwick to Brighton was a different story.