Tag Archives: writer

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksWhen I look for articles to read, I tend to favor ones that go on tangents from what is typical of the writing process. This week has several examples of this idea. I hope you find these articles as intriguing as I did.

Monotasking: The Forgotten Skill You (and I) Need to Re-Claim, ASAP

The Versatility of Index Cards

Deep Habits: Work Analog

Jules Verne: Failed Stockbroker to Father of Science Fiction

How to keep motivated after the first draft

INTEGRITY OF REVIEWS

What I Learned About the Future by Reading 100 Science Fiction Books

5 Online Ways to Increase Your Author Presence

The Danger of Being Neighborly Without a Permit

Eight Reasons Why The Hero’s Journey Sucks

Author Interview: Will Hahn

When I asked Will to describe himself as a writer, he replied: I write epic fantasy in about the same way as someone repairs a broken pot; with occasional layers of glue so thin you can hardly see the progress until I’m done. It is with pleasure that I introduce you to author Will Hahn, here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Will HahnBorn in Vermont among five sisters, Will Hahn was thus plunged into epic struggles at an early age. Surviving them, he studied Ancient History, later teaching it until he began to resemble an eyewitness. Along the way to a new and very different career, he unaccountably found himself both a husband and father, an adventure that quite simply drowns all others in its joyous din. So his newfound vocation to write epic fantasy, which would normally have confused the life out of him, now seems quite natural. Will wears as much grey as possible, as often as he can.

When and why did you begin writing?

I was blessed with a very literate and passionate family life, and was always writing something. Comedy sketches, class skits, radio plays and some of the longest and most torturous love-letters ever to meet the alphabet; but I never composed tales of any kind until June of 2008. For any being as old as I am, that’s very recently!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

OK, now we arrive at the tricky part. I still don’t. Fantasy writers are incredible people who make things up. With all the encouragement in the world I never “wrote” one word about the Lands of Hope. Only when I gave up trying to DIS-believe that world, and accepted that it was completely real to me, could I recognize that I am in fact a chronicler. And I have been chronicling like a madman since that day almost seven years ago.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I’ll try! {for epic fantasy, “a little” is hard} Judgement’s Tale is a novel unfolding in four books. Part Four, entitled Clash of Wills is due at the end of March 2015. It’s the tale of how the Lands of Hope descended from centuries of peace and stability into grim challenges. The year 1995 ADR marks the beginning of the Age of Adventure; among educated folk, the word “adventure” is not used in a complimentary fashion! And it’s often not the nobility, or the leadership of the settled kingdoms that provides the spark to meet these tests, laid down by an ancient liche and an Earth Demon who are trying to return the Lands to their former thralldom under Despair. Instead there are a scattered few—too young, too ignorant and too far apart—who must play the heroes if the Lands are to survive.

What inspired you to write this book?

He did. Solemn Judgement, for whom the tale is named, was the first person I ever saw from the Lands of Hope; but it was some time before I realized he was a part of that world (which I’ve been studying for over thirty years). That’s how far apart from everyone he usually is. If you start to read of him you’ll see, he’s relentlessly driven and serious, and he aimed that same determination my way, hounding me to try even though I thought the job was impossible. Maybe a little of Solemn rubbed off on me; here the tale is nearing completion and I would never have thought that was going to happen.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I call myself a chronicler and a day-job dilettante. I am very fortunate to have a great full-time job and of course there’s always plenty going on with family. When I get a half-hour in the morning (between feeding the cats and the ladies rising for the day), or perhaps an hour of an evening (when the email queue is cleared and the ladies are watching a cooking show), I can squeeze in a few more paragraphs. What emerges from the keyboard tends to be fairly polished material: I have the advantage of extensive notes taken from my decades of study and a lot of familiarity with the events themselves. And since there are such long pauses between writing, it’s always on my mind and tends to “set”, like a casserole before you put it in the oven.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

So here’s the thing. Solemn Judgement, called by most The Man in Grey, has often been nearby when the great deeds of heroes happen in this age. But I tended to follow the groups, and Judgement was always, always alone. Even other adventurers can’t accept him! Then I realized something; by the time of the deeds I was chronicling (as late as 2001-2002 ADR), The Man in Grey was already known (and disliked) everywhere. But he kept acting like he hadn’t come from the Lands originally. I finally noticed, whatever his outward maturity, Judgement was not very old. So I became interested in his beginnings, and started to trace them in my research. The result was quite literally Judgement’s Tale.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Aside from “wow, everything this guy publishes is probably pure gold”? Honestly, I don’t think epic fantasy is where you would go for an extraordinary new philosophy or take on the Alleged Real World. We read of these incredible new places and situations in order to learn again the eternal truths. In the Lands of Hope I can promise you, Hope is the side you want to be on, crime does not pay, and those who sacrifice for the ones they love are heroes. In “Judgement’s Tale”, we see the difference between the word “noble” used as an adjective, as opposed to a noun. There are big changes afoot here.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Emphatically, no. I will admit that my experience studying and teaching Ancient History suited me to understand some of the limitations of a customary and hereditary society like that I observe in the Lands. And one thing my love of history showed me was that human life never changes. Once you understand what a person was dealing with—perhaps being a second class citizen, maybe a strong need to go into the same trade as the father—then you can clearly see the choices they made and empathize with them. I spend a lot of time following heroes around, and I believe their virtues are the same here in the Alleged Real World.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I would have to list Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Ursula LeGuin and Stephen Donaldson as the acknowledged masters of this genre; I’m a big re-reader, and their tales all figure highly. The heroic fiction of pulp authors like Robert E. Howard and the golden age of Comics resonate with me as well, for the economy of prose (which I lack) and the commitment to action (which I think I carry). More recently, Tad Williams and G.R.R. Martin have of course shown me a lot about scene-setting, character-hopping and the way to build a world view through the lens of many individuals.

If you had to choose, is there a writer you would consider a mentor? Why?

Fellow indie author and my current micro-publisher Katharina Kolata is an absolute inspiration for her boundless energy, many projects, unflagging support and a constant can-do attitude whatever the changes brought into this market. Without her I’d still be a chronicler, but probably with half the output I have now.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I left this important job in the hands of my publisher and good friend Katharina, who has given all my titles a make-over that I think really establishes a consistent tone.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Please continue writing, the actual tales I mean, because that’s the most important thing. If you feel up to publishing yourself, that’s great—it was crucial for me to give myself deadlines for publication and then meet them and I hope that works for you too. If you want to test the waters and market yourself, that’s great too: lots of fabulous people and great advice out there. But write. Never stop thinking about what to write next. That more than anything has brought me a deep joy and great satisfaction.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Two things. First, that e-books make excellent gifts! And more seriously, I cannot adequately express my jubilation and gratitude to those who have shared such strong, positive feedback on my previous Tales of Hope. To see someone I have never met take the time to read the book, and write such a detailed and authentic review as those I have seen, is priceless and a great encouragement to continue. Please don’t hesitate to review an author’s book if you have the time, it’s the most important way you can support them after buying it in the first place. Thanks!

Book Cover Reunion of SoulsWill Hahn
Newark, Delaware

FACEBOOK

Clash of Wills, Part Four of Judgement’s Tale

Cover Artist: Katharina Kolata
Publisher: http://www.independentbookworm.de

AMAZON
SMASHWORDS
BARNES & NOBLE

Book Review: Glory Season

Book Name: Glory Season
Author: David Brin
First Published: 1993
Nominated: Hugo 1994 and Locus 1994

David Brin is an American scientist and writer of hard science fiction novels. His works have been New York Times Bestsellers and he has won multiple Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Campbell awards. Brin was born in Glendale, California. He graduated from the California Institute of Technology with a degree in astrophysics. He followed this with a master of science in applied physics and a doctorate of Philosophy in Space Science from the University of California, San Diego. He currently lives in Southern California with his wife and children.

“A living planet is a much more complex metaphor for deity than just a bigger father with a bigger fist.”
― David Brin, Glory Season

To understand the basis of the culture of Glory Season, you must go back three thousand years when a scientist named Lysos, the founder of the human colony on the planet of Stratos, used genetic engineering to change their local strain of humanity so that their reproduction was based on seasons. Men are sexually receptive in the summer and women are in the winter. When a woman conceives in the summer, she produces a mix of her own genes and that of the male, having an equal chance for a boy or girl child. When a woman conceives in the winter, she always produces a female clone of herself. Finally, the men of Stratos have been changed so that they are less aggressive during the times that they are less sexually receptive. The result is that most of the people of Stratos are successful group of women clones.

Into this feminist social backdrop, a pair of twins are born to a “hive” of clones called “Lamatia”. They specialize in commercial import/export banking. Maia and Leie are welcome to remain with the hive of their birth, like all variants born of the clone sisters, until they reach their majority. Then they will be thrust out into the world to survive as they will. The twins create a plan to pass themselves off as two members of a larger hive and hope to work as sailors on the seas of Stratos to make their fortunes. As “vars” (variants) they would be considered social inferiors, but as sisters of a “hive” they would lose the stigma.

Events prevent the two sisters from carrying off their plans. They are separated by the ship masters to work on different ships instead of remaining together. Leie is lost at sea and Maia, is injured while battling pirates. Maia leaves the sea and instead takes a job on a railroad while she tries to reconcile the loss of her sister and heal from her wounds. During this time, she becomes involved with a plot by “Perkinites” to eliminate men from an isolated valley and later the entire world of Stratos. Maia attempts to inform the planetary authorities and is put in prison by the Perkinites for her efforts.

Maia remains in prison a long time and discovers that her fellow prisoner is a male interstellar visitor from an untampered branch of humanity. This visitor is seeking a devise known as a “Jellicoe Former”, it is an advanced manufacturing facility that can act as a 3D printer for complicated, technological devises. On Stratos, a pastoral and low-technology society, the Former’s existence would be an eruption of new ideas that would change its stable society forever. Renna wants the machine in order to create items that would repair his spaceship and allow him to return home.

In the end, a climactic battle between political radicals, freed vars and a group of virtuous male sailors will determine the fate of the world and Maia’s personal destiny.

World building is an aspect of speculative fiction that sets it apart from more traditional genre. The author takes an idea of making an aspect of their world different from our own and uses it to explore new ideas of society and technology. To me, this is what sets great science fiction apart from the pretenders. David Brin is a master at this skill. Before he started his story in Glory Season, he had looked at the reproduction cycle of aphids; they reproduce clones of themselves during times of abundance and sexually reproduce during times of stressful environmental change. This gives them a reproductive advantage. Brin applied this concept to humans, using the pretext of genetic engineering to create humans who use this cyclic idea of reproduction, then applied the concept to their world and culture. What I found intriguing about his idea is that instead of making the clones part of a mechanical process, which is how traditionally cloning is displayed in science fiction, he made it a new biological process where sex and relationships took on new forms with his redesigned humanity. Since only women have wombs, they rise to predominance in his stable fictional society.

Glory Season Book CoverThe plot of Glory Season is decent, but not stellar. I still would recommend the book despite this. The culture that results from this new innate biologic process is alien in feel and yet retains enough humanity to allow the reader to feel sympathy for the characters and the problems that they face in the plot. It is worth exploring. My only real regret is that Glory Season is a stand alone novel. I would love a sequel so that I could return and see more of this unique and intriguing world.

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

It is Monday morning and time for another batch of No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links. Mixed in with the general writing tips are articles about review swaps, using twitter as an author and how longhand can be of benefit to writers. Enjoy!

A bit on Literary Techniques

9 Things You Need To Know About Review Swaps

3 Secrets of Writing Longhand

Types, Archetypes, and the Occasional Human Being

A QUICK GUIDE TO TWITTER FOR NEWBY AUTHORS

WHY WORDINESS KILLS YOUR WRITING

The Secret to Writing a Protagonist Who’s Both Unique and Universal

Describing Setting: An Exercise

Despite Tough Guys, Life Is Not the Only School for Real Novelists

Layers and Layers of Plot, Oh My!

Guest Post: 6 Lessons For Making It As An Indie Publisher by Daniel J. Dombrowski

Nonlocal Science Fiction Magazine

Next month, the first issue of Nonlocal Science Fiction, a quarterly short fiction anthology, will launch. Publisher Daniel J. Dombrowski has been working on the project since last summer, and finalizing the last piece of the puzzle for Issue #1 is a Kickstart campaign currently underway. I’ve asked Daniel to come to No Wasted Ink and tell us a little about what goes on during a kickstarter to fund a magazine.

During the first half of 2014, I was floundering. I had been working on starting a topical editorial magazine with a nonprofit in Pittsburgh, PA for about four months. Long story short, the whole thing fell apart because my partner, who had come up with the idea and recruited me in the first place, had failed to find any funding while I had managed to assemble about 70% of the first issue without spending a penny.
I walked away from that project with one thing: knowledge. I would never again throw myself at a project without fully knowing what I was getting into.

It has been a long and winding road since that miserable day when I was forced to shelve a project on which I’d spent hundreds of hours. I’ve detailed that journey on my blog and elsewhere, but the point for today is that I didn’t let my initial failures stop me. The only way to truly fail is to stop trying. And that isn’t just some stale platitude. It’s the nature of working with startups.

Doing things my way

I knew that if I was going to be successful, I’d have to take full possession of a project. Maybe that sounds controlling or egotistical, but it’s harder than you’d think to find a reliable partner. If you don’t have a history with someone or they don’t have past experience on similar projects, you probably don’t want to jump into a long-term project with them.

I thought about what I wanted to do, what I thought I could do. I toyed with a few different ideas before settling on Nonlocal Science Fiction as an initial project of a new digital publishing company, 33rd Street Digital Press, a decision that seemed fairly safe at the time as I knew the genre and I’d been working as a freelance editor for a large self-publisher for six months by that time.

The important bit here is that I didn’t try to identify a project that I thought would be instantly popular. I didn’t try to adopt someone else’s idea as my own to try to duplicate success. I came up with an idea that I liked, and I ran with it.

Success by any means necessary

Every person who starts something new hits the same wall eventually. It happens when you realize that no one else (or at least not that many) has ever really done what you’re trying to do. There’s no manual, no how-to book, no helpful blog post. There’s just you, and you have to be able to improvise while acting like you know exactly what you are doing. I had a boss as a crumby sales job years ago who used to say it as, “You’ve gotta’ fake it ‘til you make it.”

So I threw up a website and posted a call for submissions anywhere and everywhere. My biggest success was with Craigslist, where I had a daily ritual of canvassing half a dozen “Writing Gig” pages across the country. The submissions were a trickle at first. Then they picked up speed. My best month was November when I averaged more than one submission per day.

And some of it was good. Really good. At that point, I began to think that my plan might actually work.

Crossing the finish line?

All told, I received close to 60 submissions before I filled the slate for Issue #1. Once the stories were collected, I moved onto the hard bit, the stumbling block I’d hit once before: funding.

It remains to be seen whether or not the Kickstarter will go anywhere. Perhaps by the time this article is published, the outcome will be a bit easier to predict. Online crowdfunding is a marvelous modern invention that has helped many thousands of projects get off of the ground, but you can’t just expect a project to take off on its own. Nothing worth having is ever gifted to you. You have to go out and earn it. (Another platitude, I know. But it’s true.)

DanProfileDaniel J. Dombrowski is a writer, editor, and upstart indie publisher. He studied anthropology at Penn State, graduating with an MA in 2009 and for some reason believing that “Indiana Jones” was a valid career path. He got married to his high school sweetheart, moved to Pittsburgh, and decided he would be a writer while stocking shelves at a Petsmart at 5:00 A.M. to pay the bills while his wife finished grad school.

He has written for startup magazines and entertainment websites, edited thousands of pages of raw manuscripts from self-publishing authors, and worn out three keyboards in five years. He is a halfway decent blogger, recently a podcaster, and a student of Guerrilla Marketing. His long-term goal is to impact digital publishing in some meaningful way and to help indie authors thrive.