Friday, September 26, 2014

Tweets about Battlestar Galactica

I'm late to the BSG party but I'm gonna get through them all. From earlier today:

Dear SiriusXM...

Dear SiriusXM Radio,

I'm upset that the Bob Edwards Show is ending today. Really upset.

Bob is easily the best interviewer in radio. If he only ever interviewed big names that would be enough. But when he spends an hour with an author and explores not just the themes of the book but the process the writer went through to write it, it's amazing. When he visits with John Feinstein about sports or Dave Zirin, it's interesting and compelling. His conversations with musicians are fantastic. Filmmakers really open up to him, too.

In short, he can hold his own with any interviewer on TV or print. His long years of experience in news reporting are reassuring and invite confidence from his subject. How can you let him go? How can you have cancelled his show?

Ah, money. Money money money.

I suppose you must care on some level that he's done stellar work. That the show won awards probably doesn't matter. The respect Bob has earned for the quality of his work showed in the quality of guests on the show. You realize that, don't you?

I'm sure you do. After all you gave him the freedom to do what he wanted for ten years and look what you got. The best interview program on radio anywhere. ANYwhere.

So it's about money is it? What does my fee go to? I know you can pull up the numbers of people who listened and we are all subscribers so we paid to hear him and his show. You know how many of us there are and you know what other channels we're listening to. So a quality program that employs ten people, that wins awards and covers subjects with a depth that NPR and PBS can only dream of, is ending because --- well, I can't fathom a real answer. Is your company in financial trouble? I suppose I shouldn't be upset. Things change. Shows get canceled. It happens, I know.

But I am upset. I'm disappointed that you seem to think that the Bob Edwards Show is disposable. It's not.

Please bring it back. Please do the right thing and continue the excellence. I bought XM radio back in the day because Bob was on it. While it's true that I've come to love satellite radio, I am sad that you seem not to care that when money gets tight again, it will be easier to consider dropping my two subscriptions.


Jason Arnett
subscriber since 2005

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The New Things

I'm struggling a little with the pitch for a new novel. It came to me yesterday almost fully formed but there's a line that I'm not happy with because it's cliched beyond belief. Still, it's accurate. So I'm working that out.

In the meantime I've written the first chapter of the book, even gotten into chapter two. (You won't believe how many commas I've already killed. I'm a victim of 'use commas as a pause' from days gone by. Digressing.) Taking a much more steady, studied approach to writing this new book. That's kind of why I'm spending time refining the pitch for a second day. I'm not procrastinating. Nope. I'm not. I'm not. I PROMISE.

So the pitch is informing the outline, too. There are a bunch of little ideas floating around the big one. Fitting them all together, stitching them all together, is the real challenge of this one. The big idea is not wholly original, though I hope it will be by the time it's revealed in the story. For now it's an obvious trope. It's workable. The way this book seems to be going I'm confident it'll solve itself.

If not, I'll take an axe to something.

Such is the writer's life.

Oh, yeah, I suppose I should say this out loud: I won't be participating in NaNoWriMo this year. At least not as of now. I've got this new book and a bunch of short stories I'm working and I have another novel to edit and the novella too. I'm the only one stressing about any of this so that's not bad but I do want to get all this more in process. Plus we're heading into the busy season at work.

So as much as I want to flat out write in November, I'm gonna write and edit and support my group in their own writing endeavors. We'll see if I miss it or not.

All right, so I need to stay focused. Wish me luck.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Where To Find Me March 2015

I will have a table in Artist's Alley, doing my thing and hawking new stories.
Can't wait.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

As Of Yesterday...

This is what I posted on Twitter:
Jason Arnett @ajasont 
For now I'm putting this novel in the trunk. I'm not done trying to get it out in the world, I just need a break.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Instructive Criticism

Pulling this from The 46 Rules of Genius by Marty Neumeier. It's subtitled 'an innovator's guide to creativity' but it's got several useful items for those who are already creative and maybe haven't explored or just don't know why they do what they do or even how.

Anyway, we're all familiar with constructive criticism and likely even ask for it. I like the definitions Neumeier uses. This is from page 102 of the book:

The best cure for logic blindness is to seek regular feedback from people who can critique your ideas instructively rather than constructively. It's your job to be constructive - you're the maker. What you need from them is a clear view from the outside. Ideal critics are those will:
  1. Listen to your idea, ask questions, and not react too quickly.
  1. Strive to judge your idea against your specific intent.
  1. Summarize your idea in a way that seems fair and even insightful.
  1. Identify any aspects of your idea that they agree with or appreciate.
  1. Finally, identify aspects they they question or find lacking. 
In the real world, however, the feedback you get may be reactive, subjective, negative, or less than insightful. 

So what I'm doing going forward is to make my queries much more clear about my idea and my intent. That means that I have to actually know what my idea IS when I go into the story. Then I must execute the story with a kind of precision that shows I know what I'm doing. I suspect that will generate responses from agents/editors/others who will tell me what they like and ask questions. 

I don't think it's a foolproof way to get published but maybe it is. Certainly when I have folks beta read things now I'm going to be better about making sure they know what I'm going for to look for that in my stories. The rest is craft that I can only improve through repetition and practice.

Back to writing.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Saturday, September 06, 2014

The Dream Doesn't Die

Look in the rearview mirror, what do you see?

Me, I see a lot of things I could have pursued a little more. Education, relationships, music, comics and lots and lots of other things. What's not there is regret.

Determination keeps me going. I have to be that creative person I've always been or I will go crazy. That's a fact of my DNA without dispute. I've got too much in my life that I value to spend any time on being crazy. Because crazy leads to destruction in my case. Can't have that.

So when a rejection comes in it's a sign that I need to double down on the creative. Time to get better in another way. Keep the stories coming, keep sending them out, collect those rejections. File them all away.

Never give up, never surrender. Even if I and a few close friends are the only ones who ever read my stories, at least they'll be here. They exist because I didn't give up.

And I won't. The dream of a being a published science fiction author is too strong. I won't let it go.


Monday, September 01, 2014

Those Photographs

Are you familiar with Maslow's Hierarchy of Need?

Well, you should be.

It's time that society grew up and progressed beyond adolescence into adulthood. In many ways it's happening but in so many more, so many BASIC ways it's not.

Take a look at the bottom layer of Maslow's ideas: how many people in the world don't have food and water? How many people in your community? Far too many. As a matter of fact, people who work to ensure that everyone has something to eat and clean water to drink are often diminished and ridiculed for fighting for such things. Labeled as liberals and activists and other, worse things. Have you done that? Ridiculed or diminished someone for their beliefs?

Then it's time to grow and leave such childish behaviors behind.

On the second layer up, there's a list of things that people need to feel secure about: their body, their job, their health, their resources. Are you able to walk in public without being harassed by someone trying to diminish or ridicule you? Do you have insurance so that when you get sick you can be treated? Is your cell phone safe from asshats who want to download your information and share it with the rest of the world?

Are you an asshat who wants to feel better about yourself by making someone else feel lesser? Then it's time to grow up. I bet that you don't feel as secure about the basic things as you think. Look at that chart hen do what you can for you and those you love. It's time to actually look closely at yourself and figure that shit out.

Hacking someone's phone to make money by inappropriately sharing STOLEN information is wrong. You're an asshat. If you pay for and publish that information then you're an asshat. If you seek that information out and comment on it, then share it with others you're an asshat. It's time to grow and leave such childish behaviors behind.

You don't deserve to have that information. It's not yours. It wasn't shared with you by the person from whom it was stolen. You are not a journalist doing your job by hacking a celebrity's phone, or indeed ANYone's phone. You're an asshat. You should feel bad about that. You're lowest common denominator and you should want to be more than that. After all we're exceptional here in America, aren't we?

I'm calling you names because your behavior is such that I believe you won't understand anything else. Don't be an asshat.

Don't click on those headlines, don't encourage the behavior. Don't look at those photographs, they're absolutely none of your business. Yes, I mean you. And YOU.

DO believe you're better than that. DO work to ensure your own security and that of others. You'll be better for it. So will your community.

Stop being an asshat. It's not cool any more. It's time to grow.