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Writing is about perspective

Last night I had a talk with a friend of mine about the story I am working on and getting it written. We talked about a lot of stuff, and there was a lot of things I could not explain about the story; such as how it was going to end, or what it was that the protagonist in it was fighting for. Somewhere along the way the idea of giving him a pet raccoon was added into the mix of things we talked about. The conversation wrapped up with a bit on my struggles with the right way to end a story, and the feeling I had like I had forgot how to finish a story.

It was a good talk, and I am still arguing with the character about why I do not want to give him a raccoon.

As I started working this morning I was still thinking about the things we had talked about (and arguing with the character on why he could or could not have a pet raccoon). I was also contemplating the way writers approach a story, how structure is determined, and I saw a few quotes that I liked. I dug out my old green artist’s journal to record them. This old green book is based on the book from the novel Illusions, where I open it at random, read the quote that is written on whatever page I open it to, then get back to work. Today I added three more quotes to random pages because of how they resonated with me on the current struggles I was experiencing:

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.

~ George Orwell

 

The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.

~ Philip Roth

 

Before I wrote the Potter books, I’d never finished a novel.

~ J.K. Rowling

 

After I had those quotes written, I flipped through a few pages and found the only entry that I have included that is a quote I myself made at one time. It was in a chat with a friend, the same one I was talking with last night, back in August of 2003.

So far I got this page worth of text… well… a page with text on it… one letter… an e… but it’s a capitol e!

And there is, to me, a good example of perspective in writing. It did not matter to me at the time that I was staring at a page, and had been for some time, on which the only writing was a single capitalized letter of the most common letter in the English language. I had something on the page, it was no longer a blank page, I could work with that, I could write something from that. Would I keep that E in the finished work? I have no idea, I do not even recall what I was trying to write at the time, but whether or not I kept it does not matter. I had started working on whatever I was writing and from that meager beginning a written work was born.

Writing is all about getting started. Begin with a single letter and from that build a word, transform that word into a sentence that becomes part of a paragraph and keep building outward into pages and chapters and into a finished story. It all begins with a single letter on the page.

I still have not figured out that elusive ‘how does one end a novel?’, but for the moment, I think I will take my cue from the King in Lewis Carroll’s, Alice in Wonderland:

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop”

Wind in West Nursery Rhyme

Last night I was reading an old nursery thyme book online and as I paged through a few more pages today I found this little rhyme…

WHEN the wind is in the east,
‘Tis neither good for man nor beast;
When the wind is in the north,
The skilful fisher goes not forth;
When the wind is in the south,
It blows the bait in the fishes’ mouth;
When the wind is in the west,
Then ’tis at the very best.

I like to think that is a good sign, since on January 1st there was a steady wind all through the day here that blew in out of the west. So, maybe 2018 is going to be better than 2017 after all? One can hope I suppose. At the very least I still have power and internet as of my posting this, so there is that at least.

2018 Resolutions

It is now 2018 and I have decided that I should probably think up a few resolutions for the year, so… here goes, my resolutions for 2018, in no particular order:

  1. Publish a non-fiction ebook on Amazon
  2. Publish a fiction novel on Amazon
  3. Write at least one scene for my novels every day
  4. Continue daily exercises – nothing major, just stuff to get me moving rather than sitting at desk all day working
  5. Earn enough to pay at least the phone and electric bills each month by the end of the year
  6. Keep my desk clean by cleaning it every day after I finish work for the day
  7. Keep my trailer clean by cleaning and organizing it once a week

Note thatfor my book publishing I am limiting myself to just one non-fiction and one fiction book. I actually hope to publish more of each kind, but I am only resolving to one of each for the year, just so I do not get completely discouraged by something like ‘1 per month’ or something.

Provided I have access to the internet and electric I also want to…

  1. Post at least 1 video to my YouTube Videos  every week during the year
  2. Start a podcast
  3. Post daily to my website (here)
  4. Post daily to my Patreon page
  5. Get back into working on my social media networking that I’ve let go stale for far too long
  6. Built up my Wyvern’s Crest website
  7. Create, sell, and share 3D models and projects

If you would like to help me create novels and 3D assets you can visit my Patreon page at the link above and become a patron of the arts starting at just $1 a month.

Do you have your own list of resolutions? I would love to see what they are if you want to share them in the comments.

Happy New Year

Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy 2018.

 

Happy New Year!

New Year’s Eve 2017

Here we are, at the end of 2017 and all I can think is that 2018 is going to be another awful year. Still without an income and the bills are looming. My one hope for the year had been to go into it with a new job and the ability to keep the electricity on, but… it seems that is not to be, so, instead, I offer a hope that the new year is a good one for all of my associates, friends, and family.

If I am not seen after the start of the new year know that I will be back when I can manage to get a job and the phone and electricity back on, and until then, I hope for you a wonderful and joy-filled year in 2018.

How much of an expert is that expert?

I was looking for work in the writing field a little while ago and I came across a listing that made me pause. Not because I wanted to take the work, but because it was just… I’m not sure how I feel about the listing, or the realization that it is probably more common than I had suspected before.

When we hear about an expert in a field we think the person has a lot of experience with a subject. This is backed up when we see that the person is someone who has published in that field or has a website or blog or social media sites that focus on the topic.

But… what then are we to think when things like this happen?

“I am looking for someone to help with expert/authority development of myself as a thought leader in the eCommerce Strategy and Digital Marketing space.”

That is the first sentence of a job listing posted to a website for freelancers to find work. Could I do the work the person wants done? Yes, but… how ethical would that be? The job listing asks for someone to give assistance with:

  • Article Topic Ideation
  • LinkedIn Article Writing
  • Blog and Article Writing
  • Submission of Written Articles to Prominent Business Publications
  • LinkedIn Network Development
  • LinkedIn Recommendation Management
  • Blog Creation and Management 

So, this person is looking for someone who is able to create a high quality blog for them, come up with ideas and concepts for articles that they then write and submit to prominent business publications for the person, and to make the person look good on LinkedIn and develop for them a network on LinkedIn to establish them as an expert in the field of eCommerce strategy and digital marketing… whether or not they have the actual skills and experience that they are asking for someone else to set up for them.

It just seems a little wrong to me. The person who created the requested appearance of expertise is the real expert, so that inspires the question of just how much of an expert the person who hired them is? The person might be a highly skilled and respected person in the field, I do not know, but if they are – why do they not already have this stuff in place? Maybe they did not have the time while gaining their expertise, or maybe they never thought of such things until recently.

It still leaves me wondering how we could know if the person is, in fact, an expert or if they just decided they would like to be seen as something they are not. I would love for anyone that reads this to share their thoughts. In a time when it is easy to hire someone for pennies to create an illusion of expertise, how do we know that the person we have gone to is truly an expert on the subject we are seeking their expertise on? What options are there when books, blogs, even social media can be ghost written?

Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments, I would love to hear them.

Cold Mornings and Meager Meals

As I am writing this the weather app says that it is -3F in Houston, Alaska. Based on past experience it is a good 5 to 10 degrees colder where I am, making it between -8 and -13 F where I live. I am curled up on my bed, pillows piled all around me, my winter jacket wrapped around my shoulders to combat the icy draft creeping in behind me, and my electric heater is set about three feet away from me and the air is cold by the time it gets to where I am.

Not exactly the best of mornings, but it is an average one for me.

Something else that has become my normal of late is making due with minimal pantry stores. Last night I dug around the kitchen and came up with rice and a spoon of chili powder to make dinner. I was going to add a can of red beans to it, until I saw the best by date was in 2015. 3 years outdated. I considered that for a long moment before I thought ‘it is best by, not use by…’. Recalling hearing once that canned food can be edible longer than the date says it is good for, I opened the can. The liquid was a bit heavy looking and as I poured it off it turned out to be a bit thick and sludgy. I ditched that can and instead opened up a can of garbanzo beans. So, dinner was rice with a spoon of chili powder and a half a can of garbanzo beans which my brother saved by sending me a can of condensed soup that I poured over that odd mixture.

This is all survivable, but as I sit here on my bed wrapped in sleeping bags and my winter jacket I can not help but wonder what will happen in the days ahead if the power is cut off or I can not find a job. It is feeling like there are very dark days ahead.

New Story in the Beginning Phase

I am working on a new story. You can find out more about it and why I have added it to my workload at New Story Added to my Stories.

Sahara (2005) glowing clam shells

I like the 2005 movie Sahara, staring Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn, and Penelope Cruz. It is a fun adventure film when one looks at it as that and does not look too closely at the science of the small bits of sideline trivia tossed out in the film. Such as the scene, roughly 24 minutes into the movie, where Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) pauses to look at some shells and tells Eva Rojas (Penelope Cruz) about two shells he is buying. In the film, Dirk says responds to Eva’s asking if diving was the only thing he thinks about with: “No. Sometimes I think about Petricola pholaditormis.” Eva is perhaps justifiably confused by the response, particularly when Dirk proceeds to hold up matching white clam shell halves that seem to form the perfect shape of angelic wings the way he holds them. “The angel-wing clam,” he says, “This river’s the only place on Earth they’re found. When they’re underwater, they glow in the dark. Now the amazing thing’s that modern science cannot explain why.” Perhaps the reason that modern science can not explain it is because it is not true.

Not only do Petricola pholaditormis not glow in the dark under the water, but those are not even Petricola pholaditormis shells he displayed in the movie. What he held up were Cyrtopleura Costata. Petricola pholaditormis are known as “false angel wing”, and are bit differently shaped from the shells that Dirk was holding. The Cyrtopleura Costata, which were seen in the movie, is found in shallow waters of the north west Atlantic between Cape Cod and the Gulf of Mexico as well as other areas of shallow waters in the Atlantic.

The shells also do not glow, although, like most white items, the Cyrtopleura Costata shells will glow if exposed to ultraviolet light.

Still, it is a cute scene, despite the scientific error of it, and is easily forgiven in the overall scope of the film when one opts to not worry too much about the scientific inaccuracies and just enjoy the film as the treasure hunter adventure that it is.

Rogue Agents spreading Holiday misery

The season can not be said to be the best of seasons. Over half the people I know are suffering from the nastiest case of the flu that I’ve seen in many many years and the world is still completely off-kilter from the recent loss of my nephew. I am unemployed and trying hard to not fall into the darkest depths of depression having spent my Christmas Eve making out my unemployment forms rather than a wish list for Santa.

Today, while others are opening gifts and enjoying the warm glow of the holiday decorations, I am curled in my trailer hoping the electricity can be kept on and taking some quiet time to work on my character in The Division.

It seemed like a good way to spend the day, running around exploring post-apocalyptic New York frozen in a state of holiday decor in the wake of the devastation wrought by the Dollar Flu. Perhaps a bit dark given that there is a flu making the holidays miserable for so many, a flu that stole the life from my nephew not long after Thanksgiving… a very dark way to cope with the holiday, I suppose, but it is how I wanted to spend the few hours I have to try and escape my worries today.

I need to upgrade my gear, which means that I need to gather Division Tech. My character is just shy of being level 45 in the Dark Zone, so I decided I would spend my time killing cleaners, LMB, rioters and Rikers while going place to place opening the cases that hold Division Tech. And, throughout it, I would aid what fellow agents I found and maybe help a few others get gear out of the Dark Zone today.

Not quite focused enough to do much in the game I went down to the E 34th checkpoint in Zone 2 where the enemies are soft and squishy and lower end players are running around.

I marked the Division Tech that was only a block and a half away and stepped out of the checkpoint. There was a group of cleaners headed around the corner and I readied my seeker mine to toss at them when another agent stepped out beside me. I hesitated, knowing that as a lone agent in the Zone I had few if any allies in the Zone, but they did not make any aggressive moves, so I tossed out the Seeker Mine and started idly popping shots toward the enemy. I was still very uneasy about the agent beside me, so I conserved ammo and paid more attention to what the other agent was up to than what I was shooting at.

Things seemed calm enough, if they were a Rogue Agent they seemed content to not attack me, so I focused a but more on clearing out the path ahead. That’s when it happened. “Warning, an Agent in your vicinity has gone Rogue…”

I do not know if it was the person who had been beside me, I did not catch their name, but I did catch the names of the two who stood behind me and opened fire on me. AH-6DeathMaker and rodriler. I crawled my way bleeding into the nearby checkpoint (respawned in there) and stood near the door a few moments, the two were most likely not the one who had been beside me helping me clear out the cleaners, because they had attained Rogue status 2 by the time I had made it back to the Checkpoint and peeked through the door out to where they were. (I could see their names through the door.) They stayed out there for a good long time, shooting the door and throwing bombs at it. They clearly knew I was there and were intent on making sure they took me out if I tried to step back out of that door.

I could have gone to anther checkpoint, or out of the Dark Zone, but I stayed where I was and waited, a good long time, until they tired of spawn camping and moved away in search of other Agents to attack. As long as they were focused on me and trying to take me on, they were little threat to my fellow Agents in the Dark Zone.

And, that has become my role in the Dark Zone… to safeguard my fellow Agents from threats not only of the enemies that lurk in the Dark Zone, but from Rogue Agents when I can. I am alone most of the time, so the best I am able to do in most instances is to lead the Rogue Agents away from others, but when I can I will stand and fight – even if I know it will always be a losing battle. Yesterday I lured a Rogue away from another agent and into a building where I realized I was not going to escape, so I stopped and turned to fight. I had almost taken the Rogue Agent down when they landed the finishing shot on me. Another agent, the one I had tried to save, arrived and opened fire on the Rogue, the two going down at the same moment. I was happy to see the Rogue pay for their actions, but it was so much nicer when two agents passed me a little bit later and one of them called out over open mic, “ShadesDaughter, I got that Rogue that took you out.”

I tried to respond, but by the time I got my mic plugged in and on they were out of range. The other agent had heard me and paused, however, and we had a nice long talk about the fun of playing in the Dark Zone and the low levels some Rogues will go to to ruin that fun. Such as the Rogue Agent the night before who had joined a party I was in and ran with our group for a good half an hour as we picked up some stash crates. When we went to airlift the crates out ReviKillz left our party and tried to hijack the loot off the rope. I and the person with me opened fire on ReviKillz while I called out to the member that had moved out of the area to get back to the area and help us. ReviKillz managed to take me and the person with me down, but our buddy arrived and kept the Rogue Agent away from the rope long enough that our items were safely airlifted out.

Another agent I met because I had gone to help them extract their loot. It is something I will do, go to extraction points and take on the enemies while the other agent(s) get their loot out. It is good experience and can sometimes make the difference for solo agents who might be getting overwhelmed by enemies. It also adds a bit of help should a Rogue Agent show up. After I had helped the person get their loot out the two of us set off through the city, we were not planning to run the same path, at least I was not, but we ended up heading to the same checkpoint. Just before arriving at the checkpoint we paused and gave a few emotes of thanks and yer welcomes on the aid I had given, then… “Warning, an Agent in your vicinity has gone Rogue…”

I had not realized until then that if an agent went Rogue it meant that *I* could not enter the checkpoint either, but it popped up with a warning when I tried to go in that I could not enter a checkpoint when in PvP. So, I turned and took cover at a nearby truck while the two of is paced a bit and weighed our options on how to best come out of the encounter in one piece. My options were limited, so I dropped my Seeker Mines and the Rogue Agent turned to run from them while I headed for the door to try it again. I guess enough distance had been placed between me and the other Agent, or something, because the second time the door opened and I was let into the Checkpoint. It was Rogue Agent done right. No sneaking, no backshooting, no finding an agent under fire and helping the Rikers or Cleaners finish them off, and no pretending to be a buddy only to try to take loot when they think no one is close enough to stop them. That Agent Gave me time to react and the two of us had an enjoyable few moments of figuring out the best way for us to get though the situation. I would go play Tag in the Dark Zone with that person any day. I would also play tag with those who have in the past helped me get my gear out then stepped back and went Rogue and given me time to react before the fight started.

To those who spawn camp or pretend to be friendly only to pick the best moment to attack Division Agents… I’m getting my gear improved and, despite your efforts, I am earning more experience in the Dark Zon, and soon… I’ll be hunting you down.

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