The Martian, Rejection, and Finding Your Reader

Annie Cardi

Recently I read The Martian. It’s been the big buzz book over the last year or two, with a new movie out. Usually I don’t dive into a lot of the best-seller adult list, but I decided to give it a try after getting recommendations from friends in the sciences who enjoyed it. Psyched by the idea of a sci-fi novel that was heavy on the sci, I requested a copy from the library and (about four months later; thanks, Matt Damon), I read it.

It was fun and exciting. Mark Watney was a clever protagonist with a good sense of humor, and the rest of the astronaut team felt real. The science was well explained to the reader and seemed feasible, like manned missions to Mars could actually happen in my lifetime. The dynamics between NASA and the media and international governments felt genuine. Reading it, I could totally imagine this as a…

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New Kindle books I got today.

I picked up some books on Amazon for $0 today. Here is the list and not doing links as WordPress seems to dislike links.

They are all for the kindle.

Writing : Novel Writing Mastery, Proven And Simple Techniques To Outline-, Structure- And Write A Successful Novel! by S. Evans.

The Art of Writing a Story by Low Kay Hwa.

The Pulitzer Punch: Four Principles to Immediately Enhance Your Writing by John Allan.

Twitter for Writers by Nathan A. Goodman.

The Evil Indie Author: How I made a Trillion Dollars on Kindle, Blah Blah Blah (How To Really Make A Living On Kindle). by Luis Samways.

Zbooks Ebook Cheatsheet and Guide: A Beginner’s Guide to Publishing an Ebook by Eric Z.

What To Do When You Are Rejected? by James Altucher.

Your Voice Matters: How Your Words Can Make a Difference in the World by Ryan Johnston.

How To Build Good Writing Habits by Zak Khan.

The 10 Minute Fiction Template Creator by Mr. X.

Story Crisis, Story Climax 1: How to Use Film Structure to Plan Your Novel by Stephen J. Carter.

From brain to page and a follow-up


One of the biggest challenges we face as writers is getting what we see in our heads onto the written page. We live with our characters and settings for so long as we plot and plan and then get down to the actual writing. Our characters are alive to us and we see the world through their eyes. That’s a good thing except when it’s not.

It’s a good thing when we let ourselves listen to those characters and yet we still hold enough control over them to make sure they tell us everything the reader needs to know as the story progresses. That doesn’t mean we have to lay everything out on the first page. But it does mean we have to sprinkle cookie crumbs of plot throughout. The last thing we want is to make our reader mad because we suddenly pull a rabbit out of our hat…

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What Sets Good Writing Apart From Bad Writing? A Five Point Guide

Humans Are Weird

The short answer: I don’t know.

Trying to define so called, “good writing,” seems to me a task curiously similar to trying to explain why some people prefer chocolate ice cream above vanilla ice cream.

Ultimately, it boils down to a matter of taste.

Nevertheless, despite the fact – I feel comfortable in using the term, “fact” – that good writing is boiled down preferentially, it seems that there is a certain sort of, shall we say it, “objective benchmark” that must be met before preference becomes fully involved.

Again, sticking to the ice-cream theme, and for instance; I might personally prefer, on a typical day, chocolate ice cream to vanilla ice cream, but if the chocolate ice cream is made poorly, then I might, on that same day, choose vanilla instead.

The question however remains: What is to determine whether or not the chocolate ice cream has been made…

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A Tale of Two TORS. Be Warned, I’m Annoyed

Girl Genius Adventures


They are the best of publishers, they are the worst of publishers. It all depends on who you talk to. If you can.

Many know TOR books as a science fiction powerhouse. They publish best selling authors who love them to pieces, and well they should.

Then they publish us. This might be a surprise to many of our readers, as we have been self–publishing Girl Genius and other comical books for over thirty years. But, in fact, TOR is the publisher of the first Girl Genius Omnibus; Agatha Awakens. You see, TOR was thinking about starting up a line of science fiction graphic novels, and told us that they thought having a multiple Hugo Award winner as the launch title would be a nice touch.

We agreed, but had reservations, as we had been selling Girl Genius for over ten years at this point, and didn’t want them to…

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On the Taxonomy of Spaceships

A must read. Very useful. Especially for some of us aspiring space opera writers.

Geeks New England

Yup, spaceships again.  Between Star Citizen, the new Halo, the new Star Wars, a couple of key mods for Sins of a Solar Empire that I keep up with and have done some voice work on, and Destiny, my mind has been buzzing with them.  I’m a huge nerd who thinks of things in my free time like “if I were a shinigami what kind of Zanpakutō would I have?” and “I wonder if I’d rather be a ranger or a mage” and “ff I were a Jedi in the New Jedi Order, what kind of ship would I have?”  And alongside that sort of inane theorycrafting and imagination comes obvious questions, like “would I want to captain a cruiser or a carrier?”  But then, what exactly is the difference?

It would be a stolen and recommissioned Imperial II-class Star Destroyer named Sanguine, by the way. In…

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Making video games

Heading back to town.

Heading back to town.

Got a member killed.

Got a member killed.

I have been wanting to make video games for as long as I can remember.

A couple of days ago, I rediscovered RPG Maker in Valve’s Steam store. I was thinking about it but decided against it some time ago.

I learned they have been making steady upgrades to it and the latest release is RPG Maker VX Ace. Comparing the versions on their site, it looks ok.

Then I discovered that they have a free lite version. I promptly downloaded it and started playing around with it. As usual, I would get stuck and have to go look at whatever tutorials they have online, which is a lot. Youtube, RPG Maker forums, and a slew of other sites have tips, tricks and stuff.

I decided to make my first game be simple. Then I made the simple error of posting what I am doing on Facebook and a friend expressed interest. I got back into working on my game, looking at tutorials, and stuff, I decided I need to make the game bigger.

Then I hit a snag. It is too easy to bite off more than you can chew. I had expanded the map too big. Just filling it with map stuff would take time. The really long part would be filling it with encounters and stuff. I toned it down to around 50×50 map. I have limitations with the lite version so that should be ok.

I might get it done as a simple, first game in a day or so and upload it for people to check out.