Musings

[Blog] (More) Musings on Spacestations

It’s entirely possible that working in an actual, honest-to-goodness city has gotten inside my head. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been spending sizeable portions of every week actually in Los Angeles for the better part of a year: I still stare up at the buildings like the country girl I apparently still am. In case there’s any question, yes, I’m completely okay with that.

Now, nerd that I am, staring at the seemingly never-ending stretch of buildings inevitably leaves me considering the logistics of space stations. Well. Some of the logistics. I don’t mean things like creating gravity and making sure life support works (okay, so maybe now I am, in a purely theoretical sense) but more what it would be like to have a city’s worth of people living suspended in space.

Assuming for a moment that the fictional civilization in question figured out how to build and maintain a structure that could support millions of people, what would it be like to live there? How would someone move between the different places they need to go? LA has its chaotic mess of tangled freeways, but it’s hard to imagine that this:

would translate well to this:

If only because it’s going to be hard to find a place to put all the cars (or their 25th century equivalents). It’s just not the most efficient use of space. Plus, in our modern day cities, you’ve got to deal with miles and miles between the places people live and the places they work. Or play. Or run errands. And part of that is because there’s a limit, either cultural or physical, to how much we want to build up as opposed to out, and because we do, to one extent or another, have the space to build out. That’s not going to be a luxury the fictional inhabitants of a massive space station are going to have.

On the one hand, that’s going to mean that anyone living in that kind of orbital city is going to feel more or less like a sardine. On the other, there’s a certain convenience to being within walking distance of anywhere you need to go. Add in a few snazzy, high-tech elevators that can bus you from floor to floor or from section to section at remarkably high speeds, and things might be a little more reasonable.

And maybe people will continue to be more and more able to work remotely, cutting down on even more of the need to scramble from one place to another. Or maybe some sort of complicated shift system would exist, which would preempt any overwhelming surge of people at a particular time of day. Imagine that… a world without rush hour! Even so, I suspect it would take a certain sort of person to be able to thrive in orbit.

It’s all speculation, of course. But then, isn’t that why so many of us enjoy the science fiction genre? Hard or soft, there’s something about such speculative fiction that keeps us excited, engaged, and curious. Something that keeps us wondering about what might come…

… in the 24th and a half century!

Musings

[Blog] Too Many Hobbies, Not Enough Time

As a kid, I didn’t recognize time as a limited resource. Sure, there was only so much reading, playing, writing, etc. one could do before it was time to go to bed, and sure, I recognized that there was a point which, if passed, meant I would not finish my homework on time, but that’s about it. The idea that I could possibly not have enough time to do everything I wanted to was completely foreign.

Oh, shush. You can stop laughing any time now.

Anyway. That, in and of itself, is hardly an earth-shattering revelation. Figuring that out is part of growing up, part of maturing. It’s good and necessary, but not a sign of any special insight.

All this to say, no one ever warned me that I was going to reach a point where I was going to have to choose what interests to pursue. Or if they did, I was too young and foolish to listen. That’s a distinct possibility. Either way, the fact remains that I’m at a point where I have to balance the amount of time I spent reading, writing, having a social life, playing video games… and the list goes on.

I know. Poor me. Perhaps a better way of putting it is to say that I get to make that choice. After all, it’s silly to complain too seriously about having too many good options.

Musings

[Blog] Tanner and Miranda Status

Wow. So, here we are at the end of January, which means I’ve had almost two whole months to figure out what I want to do with the my tangled behemoth of a NaNo manuscript. The short answer, of course, is edit it and turn it into something presentable. The longer answer involves figuring out how I want to structure the thing so that it flows like a proper story.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, I’m sure you’ve heard me wax long on the subject before, so I’ll spare you one of my favorite rants (this time!) and just jump to some of the juicier details. First, unlike with far too many of my projects, I have a bunch of scenes in mind that I know I want to fit into the final project, and I know roughly where I want/need them to go.

These scenes include, but are not limited to: a showdown at high noon, at least one chase sequence, at least one explosion, and probably a scattering of carnivorous sheep. Because I can. We’ll see if that last one makes it through a proper set of edits.

Anyway! I’ll check back in next month with a Tanner and Miranda specific update, but until then, keep an eye out for other various ramblings and more new short stories– including one going up tomorrow!

Musings

[Blog] What I do when I'm not writing

One of my favorite hobbies (other than writing, of course!) is making small figurines out of Sculpey. Sculpey is a polymer clay that stays soft until it’s baked, and I’ve played with it on and off since I was a kid. Lately, I’ve just been playing with the plain white type, which I can then paint to finish it up. I’m still working out some of the kinks, but honestly, it’s so much fun, and more often than not I’m pretty happy with the results.

So! Without further ado, here are a few of my favorites.

In case it’s hard to tell, starting with the biggest one and going clockwise, there’s a snow leopard, a red panda, a gryphon, an egg in a nest (so simple, but so fun to make), a horse, a fox, and a dragon. All of these except the horse and the dragon are finished. The horse… I still don’t know what color I want to paint it. The dragon mostly just needs detail work done, and I’m terrified of messing it up.

Anyway! Yes! When I’m not writing, you can often find me busy coaxing tiny critters into existence from a blob of clay. So much fun!

Musings

[Blog] Radio Chatter

Spending as much time sitting in an ambulance as I do, there’s a part of the job that I’ve come to enjoy that I never would have thought of before: listening to the radio chatter. The company I work for is relatively small, so I actually know/have met most of the other EMTs. That being said, when we’re working, it’s generally just the two of us on a single crew, or sometimes two crews depending on what the call is: not exactly a busy, bustling office surrounded by lots of coworkers.

Now, when I drove for a rideshare company a while back, one of the things that drove (ha!) me nuts was the fact that it was so very lonely. Sure, you had your passengers, many of whom were enjoyable to talk to, but of all the jobs I’d ever worked, that was the most isolating by far.

You might think that it could feel the same way, though perhaps to a lesser degree, with it for the most part just being you and one other person all day, though I’m the first to admit that even one other person doing the same thing as you and working with you is so much less lonely than the alternative. But even then, I suspect it could get a little alienating if it was just the two of us.

Which is where the radio chatter comes in. We get to hear what everyone else on shift is doing– for the most part. Who’s going to a call. Who just got on shift. Who just finished theirs. It’s so little in so many ways, but it’s a reminder that there’s a whole bunch of us out there together. Perhaps I’m romanticizing it. Perhaps not. Either way, I enjoy it.

((On an entirely different note! Check back in tomorrow for a new short story!))

Musings

[Blog] Structure and Stealth Recommendations

As someone with a propensity for writing and planning to write, it should come as no surprise that I also enjoy stories told by other people. Part of that is the same love of a good story that so many people share, of course. And a part of that is genuine awe for how some storytellers structure and build their stories, particularly the longer ones with oh-so-many moving parts.

Like, for example, the Harry Potter series.

I recently read through the entire series again for a second time (yeah, yeah, I know… only two times?!), and was utterly amazed at just how much was set up from the beginning. Or at least, how many things from the early books J.K. Rowling managed to work into the later books– and honestly, I’m not sure which is more impressive. Characters and tiny tidbits about their history that we find out when we are first introduced become, if not central to the entire plot, then at least salient plot points.

And most of it is stuff I’d never, ever have noticed if I only read through once. (So it’s definitely a good thing various friends recommended that I do it at least twice.)

I’ve also been re-reading/restarting Girl Genius, which has been so fun. For those of you unfamiliar, Girl Genius is a steampunk webcomic that’s been running online for over seventeen years. It’s absolute madness, and after successfully keeping up with it for years, it kinda got away from me a few years back. Mostly because it’s so very convoluted that I was getting thoroughly confused.

Funny thing is, though… it’s a whole lot easier to follow when you read it from the beginning. (The trouble with that, of course, is that it’s been updating three times a week for over a decade and a half, so it’s not exactly a quick read, per se.) Which brings me back to my earlier point about structure. Sort of. I’ve caught up almost to the point where I stopped reading earlier, and it already all makes so much more sense. Kinda like it’s actually a cohesive narrative or something. (Gasp!)

What I’m trying to get at is this: good writing requires structure, and that applies to any writing, be it novels or webcomics/graphic novels. Or video games. Or short stories. Or screenplays. Or…

You get the picture.

The other thing that I’m trying to get at is that good, solid structures is really cool. And sometimes can’t be seen until you take a step back, particularly with longer works. Then again, maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to lob reading recommendations at you. But is that such a bad thing?

Musings

[Blog] Happy New Year 2020!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays, and that you’re all ready for the new year– as much as anyone ever can be!

Speaking of the new year, I’ve got a couple of announcements regarding my plans for this blog! First, weekly Wednesday posts are back on, so if you happen to be looking forward to those, you’re in luck! I’m also going to be playing around with actually writing posts ahead of time, in the hope that it means I actually update on time, and not at 11:55pm on Wednesday nights. Heh. With that in mind, if there happens to be a subject that you’d like to see written about by an unrepentantly nerdy amateur blogger, do let me know!

Second, it’s also high time for me to start posting regular stories to the blog, like I was when I first started this thing. They fell by the wayside for a number of reasons, but at this point, I have no good reason to not push myself to do them again, and a whole lot of good reasons to just go for it.

Honestly, it puts me in mind of one of my favorite Ray Bradbury quotes: “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.” I’m not going for the one-story-a-week goal, but two a month isn’t bad, and with any luck, it’ll pull me out of the panicky over-editing loop I’ve gotten myself stuck in. Again. Oof.

And finally, I will of course continue plugging away at Tanner and Miranda. Expect a full update on what’s going on with them in the next couple of weeks!

How about for all of you? Any exciting new writing related goals? Any exciting new non-writing related goals? Let me know in the comments below!

Musings

[Blog] Another NaNo Come and Gone

I’m pretty sure the months are actually passing faster than they used to. It feels like this year’s NaNo event just started, and here we are several days into December. It’s madness, I tell you. Final wordcount for this year came in at right about 56K, which is not too shabby, though definitely not the 100K I was going for. Maybe next year!

Also, as is often the case, reaching the 50K goal doesn’t always equate to finishing the story. It certainly didn’t this year, so I’m still chipping away at it, and will hopefully have a completed pre-rough draft before the month’s up. And then! On to the editing!

Musings

[Blog] Homestretch!

As of five minutes ago, I reached the 50k goal for NaNo 2019! Which I’m super happy about. There was definitely a little while there, when my poor old laptop gave up the ghost, that I actually wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to finish this month. I’m very happy that wasn’t the case.

As for that 100k goal… I somehow don’t think I’m quite going to get there this year. I’m not done writing, and I still have three days, but that’s a pretty wild pace to keep to finish. We’ll see how far I get!

For all of you doing NaNo, how are your projects going? Are you ahead? Behind? Right on track? Keep on pushing! You’ve got this!

Musings

[Blog] Back in service… mostly!

I’m back! Mostly! Problem is, I’m also thoroughly distracted, because there’s a billion and one things that don’t quite work on the new laptop, and right now my brain is far more interested in fixing those than writing a novel. But! I’m writing this post from the new machine, which is a huge step in the right direction.

Also! Here’s a (short!) snippet from my current project:

I can’t imagine what Paul thought when he saw me. Or rather, I could, but I would rather not, as it wasn’t bound to be flattering. I was covered in dust, grime, sweat, possibly a few tears, and definitely a little blood– mine as far as I knew, but I couldn’t be certain. It’s a testament to the relationship he had cultivated with me and Tanner over the last two years that he didn’t reach for his gun and point it at my head as soon as he caught sight of me.