Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Number Three!

I gave a list of my anticipated goals for 2014.  I'm not sure if I should keep 5, but I'm not really sure how I'm Mundelein rather than in Illini6.
going to narrow it down.  I will recount it here now, but know that I'm only going to cover professional type material here on this blog.  As such many of my goals will be covered in Flowers of

1.  Learn Greek - that is a must, and I've placed it above and before all else.  If I do nothing else this year, even if I lose my job, I must finally learn Greek.  What I do with this however will not be tracked here.  I'll track this in Flowers of Mundelein.

2.  Archaeology - I can see how I might drop this, however I've volunteered to "help" run a Archaeology Merit Badge clinic.  At long last I  have a legitimate reason to pursue Archaeology and someone relying on my to produce.  If I didn't commit to helping I could slid this down on the priority list again.  I'll have to see on this one.  It is a maybe.  Also, I think this will probably be covered in Flowers.

3.  Writing - this belongs squarely in this blog and I'll come back to this one.

4.  New Job - I can't really control if I need this or not, but if I do it will certainly move very high up the priority list.  At this point I may have to keep it very high anyway for piece of mind.  I may track that here, as it is professional, but I may not.

5.  Commissioner - This is not really a goal, but a general catch-all for my Scouting function.  It is personal and will be covered in Flowers, but it is also a commitment I made to others and they are relying on me.  I'm going to set goals for others, so I had better keep up my end.

Let's go back and look at number three.  I want to keep a couple of rule sets in mind:

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

SMART Goals are:

  1. Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  2. Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  3. Achievable - state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  4. Relevant – stresses the importance of choosing goals that matter.
  5. Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.
Last year I used Results-oriented for #4, but what I mean is something that is really important and the results matter.

I highlighted Heinlein's rule #2 because I think it may be the one I most often break and the one that is certainly easiest for me to break.  I'm going keep that in the forefront of my mind and work on it.

With these in mind, I want to take January as Prop's Novel Finishing Month (ProNoFiNo) for Hidden Temple to the Lost Gods.  By, "finished" I mean a complete first draft with nothing in it like [put something here] or [explain something] or even [rewrite this].   This will be a adding month and not a refining month.

In March I'm going to sign up for NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month).  This is like NaNoWriMo, but in this you must spend 50 hours editing.

Once I've edited Temple to a good second draft I'm going to start marketing it.  By the end of April I will have it out to at least one publisher.  I will keep putting it out until I do get it published.

GOAL:  Get Hidden Temple to the Lost Gods published by the end of the year.
  1. ProNoFiMo in January
  2. NaNoEdMo in March
  3. Research publishing in April
  4. Send it out to publishers starting end of April.
There you go, simple.

Oh, and Robert J. Sawyer added a sixth rule:  Start Working on Something Else.

I like this a lot and I do find this easy.  I almost always do this, and sometimes I've done it before #2, which is less good, or more ungood.  

On the other hand I might have to do this to follow Ray Bradbury's advice to write 400 words a day or Terry Pratchett's advice to write 500 words a day.  I don't know which should override the other.  This one is important, but I think actually FINISHING a novel overrides it.

Once I get that done, then maybe I can make a goal as simple as, average 400 words a day for a year.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

All I Want for Christmas is Stephen Fry for Doctor!

First of all, Merry Christmas to you all and Happy Boxing Day!

When I started writing this post I had only recently found out that Matt Smith is ending his stint as the Doctor on Doctor Who at the end of this current "series" (in US parlance it's called a season).  Last night I watched several episodes of Doctor Who and a special regarding Matt Smith's tenure on the show.  I saw most of "The Time of the Doctor" which is Matt Smith's last episode.

This begs me to finally finish this post and put it up.

Peter Capaldi is the next Doctor, but I want to go on record as strongly endorsing Stephen Fry as the Doctor.  I think he would be a brilliant choice.
Mr. Fry has criticized Doctor Who as being a children's program, which it is.  I have no problem with that and he said he thinks it is fine as much as occasional fast food is.

This very attitude goes very far to explaining why I think Steven Fry would be the best Doctor, and what I think is wrong with New Who.

With Steven Fry you always get the feeling that there is something more, something behind and above what you see; what he is presenting.  I get a feeling of a much larger world when I listen to or watch Steven Fry.

Steven Fry has taken up the colors of techno-champion and knight of the endangered from the fallen Douglas Adams, and I find his approach more subtle and light hearted.

I have three problems with New Who.  The most prominent is how flashy, polished, expensive, orchestral and grandiose it is.  At first I thought that was my problem, that I was just pining for the old, campy, synthesizer, cheap Who of my youth.

In fact I've realized that it is not glitz vs camp, but see vs imagine.  The thing that made those old campy, cheap episodes so great was that it was very clear that there was much more out there in the universe than you saw, there had to be.

I'm a big fan of Old Time Radio and audio dramas in general.  I love how you have to bring something to it yourself.  It challenges the audience to "see" what is happening in the story.

I think the cheapness of old Who did that in many ways.  It almost made you want to close your eyes and imagine the universe, or at least try to understand what they were trying to represent by the quarry or the abandoned hotel.  The way the show was, it challenged you to pretend with it that they weren't running back and forth down the same hallway.

They've taken that away for the most part with New Who.  They've committed to trying to show you exactly what things are supposed to look like.  Once you start doing that then you have told the audience to sit back and watch because you are going to do everything for them.

I get the feeling when I listen or watch Stephen Fry that he is challenging us in some way.

The second problem I have is probably the smallest one: the phone.  New Who bends to our current need for constant instantaneous connection.  The companions can call and talk to the Doctor in real time, with no delays no matter where or WHEN he is.

This is just pure magic and bursts the suspension of disbelief faster than a poorly made costume or badly build TARDIS wall.  I don't know how Fry could fix that.  Maybe they should just get rid of it.

My final objection to New Who is that he has saved the universe, how can they top that?  In old Who he would land somewhere random (mostly), find a local problem, help them fix it and gallivant off again.  The whole of New Who starts off with the notion that he destroyed Gallifrey and the Time Lords to save all of time and space.  They left themselves no room to go up.

I think that was somewhat okay with Christopher Eccleston because he seemed a bit of an outlaw and almost seemed on the lam at that time.  Tenant took that feeling away.  I'm not sure Smith brought it back, but the threats to the Doctor's life did make it seem a bit more focused and less hyperbole (maybe why I like Smith better than Tenant).

I get the feeling that Fry could really do that in spades.  Even if the grand gestures and the universal saves continue I would get the feeling that the small stuff mattered, that those pockets of problems are out there and they need to be dealt with as well.  Fry is capable of showing you the improvements in technology but never letting you forget the environmental and social struggles that are still out there and very real.

I know he won't be the next Doctor.  I know Peter Capaldi has already started, but I can still wish can't I?  Isn't it the season for that?

PS:  Every time I watch Doctor Who I want to write a Doctor Who type story.  Stop it!  Stop flirting with my muse Doctor, she's supposed to be helping me finish my horror novel; leave her alone.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

First Blog Post on My New Keyboard

This is the first ever post I'm writing on my new tablet keyboard.

Before the last post about Doctor Who I was terribly busy with getting ready for Christmas.  Now it's more than half over (my side will be doing Christmas on St. Basil's Day).

I need to report on my goals progress, but it is so close to the end of the year I don't know if it would be worth doing.  One thing I do want to share is what I think must be my goals for next year and the priorities.

I think I need to limit my goals very much.  I wanted to make one for each role I have in life and one each for Mind, Body and Spirit.  I think instead for 2014 I need only a handful (read no more than five) that touch on as many roles as possible.

What I've come up with so far is thus:
1.  Learn Greek
2.  Archaeology
3.  Writing
4.  New Job
5.  Commissioner

I need to use the SMART system to define these and put measures on them.  I'll do that over the next few posts.

The first priority, the first thing foremost above all else and at the cost of all other goals I need to learn to speak and read Greek.  I won't detail why exactly that's true here, but it is.

The others follow in the priority I gave, I think, so far.  I'll let you know as I go.  Also, I will only be tracking my writing goals here.  Most of my personal goals will be tracked and discussed on my Flowers of Mundelein blog.

Now that I've written a post on my tablet keyboard, I think I will be doing it a lot.  That is the purpose of the keyboard and most of the reason for the tablet.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

I Won, Really I Did

Anotherealm.com has a bimonthly flash fiction contest.  They give a theme and you try to write a Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror short story no more than 100 words.

Back in July I submitted a short story to that contest.  The theme of the contest was, "Reality TV."

I hate reality TV, but I wrote a story and entered anyway.

And I won first place.

My story is called "Real Other World."  You can go there to read the prize wining story (actually there is no "prize" but I like to tell people I'm a prize winning author).

I've entered this contest before and won several times.  I really like it.  It was actually where I learned about Flash Fiction.  The first story I ever wrote in that style, and the first story I ever had "published" was for Anotherealm.  I think the first story I ever sold was for them too.  That one was called, "Alone" and it's still one of my favorites.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Kαλό μήνα and Happy Christmas Season

The last poll was a total bust.  No one voted at all, not one single vote.  I did get responses though.  I've decided to go with the American Legion.  I'll be sending in the application a bit later.

My new poll is Christmas related.  What is you're favorite Christmas tune (song or carol)?

I got the list from Wikipedia of the top ten Christmas tunes.  If your favorite is not on the list please let me know what it is in the comments.