A Two-Planet Species

The Advanced Apes

When humans first landed on the moon on July 21, 1969, many people believed that we would have visited Mars before the end of the century.  However, the year 2000 came and went, and dreams of going to Mars felt no more realistic than they had in 1969.  Our species underestimated the challenges that sending humans to Mars posed.  Although we discovered several challenges that needed to be overcome with scientific and engineering ingenuity, the biggest obstacle was with government funding.  The richest country on the planet during the past four decades has been unwilling to invest the funding it would take to make us a two-planet species.  As a result, people pushing for Martian colonization are looking to private industry.  In 2012, two companies have made firm proposals with the goal to colonize Mars this century: Mars-One and SpaceX.


On May 31 2012, Mars-One announced plans to…

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The darkest secrets of Choose Your Own Adventure books

I recently got a kindle book about writing CYOA books. Checking this post out to see what other information they have.

The Delve

You are reading a blog post about Choose Your Own Adventure, a series of books popular in the 1980s and noted for plot lines with multiple endings and a reader-as-protagonist framework. As your eyes scan the screen, the text branches into two sentences, each ending in hyperlinks.

To read about the history of the Choose Your Own Adventure series, click here.

To read about the bleak nihilism of the authors and the existential damage inflicted upon kids by the Choose Your Own Adventure series, click here.


The History of Choose Your Own Adventure

“You are practicing law in New York, supporting a family and paying the bills. But in your spare time, you also are writing children’s books,” wrote Scott Kraft in a 1981 profile of Choose Your Own Adventure creator Edward Packard. “What do you do? If you choose to remain a lawyer, this is the end of your…

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Ten Books Which Feature Characters with Agency

I am going to have to check these books out.

Barefoot Whispers

Sometimes I get really tired of reading books where characters don’t have control. Some of the most popular books out there have plots that happen to people. I don’t want life to happen to me, I want to happen to life, and I like to read books like that too.

agency characters

I first learned about the concept of “agency” during my Illness Narrative class during Semester at Sea. It’s still a concept that is hard to describe, but I think the gist of it is that someone with agency is able to act within and upon their environment.* To illustrate, the conclusion of Mockingjay really annoyed me because it essentially stripped Katniss of any semblance of agency she had (if you’ve read the books, I think you’ll understand).

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Why Tolkien wouldn’t be published today – and what that means for writers now

Matthew Wright

I posted the other day about style. It’s important for authors. And with The Hobbit being filmed around where I’m living, I thought I’d talk about its author. J. R. R. Tolkien, his style – and why he wouldn’t be published today.

Tolkien could be chatty – as in The Hobbit, where he nailed the voice of a storyteller. Or he could be epic – as in most of The Silmarillion. In The Lord Of The Rings (LOTR) he was both. At times his words had a biblical quality.

Now, we could claim this was accidental. Tolkien became a household name in spite of himself. He tinkered. He never really finished anything – breaking one of the Heinlein rules about writing. Structurally, LOTR broke a lot of the rules. Many of his characters were cyphers. And as for the written style with its wanderings – well, Tolkien began…

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Berley’s Top 10 World Building Tips for Sci Fi or Fantasy

Curse Breaker Series

Like I have mentioned in past blog posts, it took me ten years of writing and collecting rejection letters to get to level I am today. And even so I’m still working and still climbing. Always working and always writing to improve my craft. The bad part about going through those ten years is obvious, even the annoyingly cliche parts. The form letters, the future uncertainty, people not interested in looking at your work, people telling you you’re wasting your life and you should do something else. But believe it or not, some good things came out of those ten years. I learned to be a better writer, I developed thick skin, and I learned more or less how to market myself and my work and on top of that I learned how to world build. Like I said before my techniques might not work for everyone. But before you…

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One Big Try/Fail Cycle: a new take on seven-point plotting

Caleb's Book, Music, Movie, Story Blog

So you may or may not have seen Dan Wells’ lecture on Seven-Point Story Structure. (I mentioned a blog or two ago that I wanted to talk about it. This is the one you’ve all been waiting for.)

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, it breaks down your basic narrative structure into the following seven points:


Plot Turn 1

Pinch 1


Pinch 2

Plot Turn 2


Some of these terms may be a little unfamiliar to you, so I will expound on them briefly.

Hook- this is the opposite state to your Resolution. If your protagonist ends the story a hero or in love or dead, they need to start the story in a state where they are not those things. Their lack thereof, for whatever reason, ought to be compelling enough that, right from the get-go, we would like to see them in this…

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Let an old Western teach you about good story elements

Mad Genius Club

A couple weeks ago I had the great pleasure of seeing an old favorite from the 1980s: Silverado. In its time, it was not a blockbuster. Nor did it achieve the iconic silver-screen cultural footprint of other contemporary Western productions like Young Guns or Unforgiven. But it did have a long life on the cable movie networks, gaining a substantial amount of audience traction among those who appreciate a good old-fashioned Western feel-good drama. Silverado has an excellent ensemble cast, with numerous faces familiar to anyone who knows the eighties. But more than that, it has great story elements which are instructive for anyone considering how to properly plot and pace their writing.

HOOK BEGINNING. Everyone talks about how the opening of Star Wars hit them. With the Imperial cruiser roaring over the top of the audience, blasting away at the Rebel blockade runner. I think Silverado does a very…

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But for Wales, Richard?

According To Hoyt

As you guys know I’ve been reading about von Braun.  Mostly I’ve been reading about Von Braun because I visited Huntsville for TVIW and got curious.  Before that all I’d heard bout him, as a person, was, dropped in a conversation “I figure he was a true psychopath who didn’t care, so long as he got to space.”

After reading four biographies (two for, two against) I regret to tell you that I’m not sure that was true.

I come neither to bury Von Braun not to praise him.  I doubt if he knew, in himself, if he was a villain or a hero.  And I doubt he was a psychopath.  The reason I doubt he was the later is that he didn’t take to a totalitarian regime like a duck to water.  Instead he tried to compromise his soul a little at a time, a vestige of humanity and…

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Toxic Command: US Army Ignores Nurse’s Yearlong Pleas for Help; 1LT Survives Attempted Murder by Deranged Civilian

Justice For Katie Ann Blanchard

Written By Louise Freeman

August 11, 2017

Katie after laser surgery

At approximately 5:10 p.m. on September 7, 2016, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (NP) at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, heard screaming from an office adjacent to hers at Munson Army Health Center. The civilian NP ran into the hallway and found 26-year-old 1LT Katie Ann Blanchard, an active duty Registered Nurse (RN) and mother of three, on fire from the waist up. (Details of the attack from the FBI Criminal Complaint, dated 8SEP16 can be found here.)

The smell of gasoline filled the hallway. The NP could see another coworker, 54-year-old Clifford Currie, in the office with Katie.  He was clutching a straight-edged razor in one hand and a pair of scissors in the other. Currie, a short, rotund man weighing well over 200 pounds, was screaming at Katie and stabbing at her face even as she was engulfed in flames.


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And Then I Popped Him One

Mad Genius Club

It’s very hard to write violence, for the same reason it’s very hard to write sex.  No, wait, there is one difference, most people have experienced sex, but most people have never been in a knife or fist fight.

Even those of us who’ve been in fights have a tendency to blur them in our minds.  In my case perhaps more so, as I think I’m a berserker, because one minute I get the cold realization I’m going to fight, the next second — seems like — I’m trying to squish someone with a heavy oak desk, and five of my classmates are holding me back.  Considering at the time that desk probably massed half of my body weight, I’d say there was altered consciousness there.

Be that as it may, even if you’re fully conscious through a fight, it’s hard to remember it.  The thing is that everything happens…

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