Ray Bradbury once advised that before one writes a novel, they should first write a story per week for a year.
So, that’s what I’m going to do. I’ve scheduled my first story to be done on the 6th next month, and after that, one per week every week until i get 52.
I won’t be posting them here, because I’ll be submitting them places. You may see a few that turn out so silly or strange that I don’t think they have any chance in any market, but mostly you’ll just be seeing updates on my progress. On the right, where you see my submissions and what books I’m reading, I’ve added a new counter for stories written, and streak. Hopefully they stay exactly the same, but even if I end up missing a week, I’m definitely going to finish the year out.
This is going to be an exciting year packed full of writing, I’m looking forward to stretching and strengthening my writing muscles, and after the year, I’ll start focusing more on a novel.
If any of you fellow writers want to join me on my quest, feel free to comment and link to your blog so we can keep each other in line!
Okay, Ray, here I go!
Posted by Jonas David on September 30, 2013
NASA’s rover Curiosity has made an exciting discovery–the soil of Mars contains about two percent water by weight. This means that any colonizers would be able to extract about one pint of water per square foot of Martian dirt.
This discovery suddenly makes the idea of people living on Mars a lot more feasible, a lot more real and close. There could realistically be a permanent settlement on the red planet within my lifetime.
What would having a second planet do for humanity? For one, I think it would unite us. Because it’s not going to be only Americans or Europeans or Russians or Chinese living up there. It will be many people from many places–but all from Earth.
If we can see our planet as one of many, around a star that is one of many, maybe we will care less about the lines drawn on our maps of it and be more concerned with our planet, and our selves as a whole.
Over the course of history humanity has become more and more united, moving from roving bands of a few dozen, to a few hundred, to cities of thousands, to collections of cities, to countries, then to groups of countries that all work together. We need to make the final step of uniting as a planet, and we need to make it soon.
Posted by Jonas David on September 27, 2013
I’ve started a new blog with Lisa from CiceroGrade. It’s a goofy satirical story with no plan, and is very bad.
We’re writing it in turns with almost no communication, so who knows where it will go! If you like bad fantasy, or or enjoy rolling your eyes at tropes, cliches and ridiculousness, then you might enjoy The Adventures of Thrag Ogretooth.
Check it out!
Posted by Jonas David on September 23, 2013
There was a little jumping spider on the table at a fast food restaurant I ate at the other day. I don’t remember her being there when I sat down, but suddenly there she was, as well as some kind of flying insect, like a small crane fly, which looked like it was injured.
I watched the spider creep slowly toward the flying thing, one careful step at a time, until it was in range and pounced. I watched the spider hang onto the back of the squirming fly until it was still.
All this happened on the wide open expanse of the table, with nowhere for either of them to hide. I knew, as soon as I left, an employee would come along and wipe down the table, taking the spider and her meal with it. The spider had no idea what a dangerous place that table top was to be.
It made me wonder if we could be in a similar position. If there were forces about to wipe the tabletop of our planet, we would never know, and if we did, our only option would be to run. We already know of things such as gamma ray bursts and asteroid collisions that could kill us, but likely there is much much more we don’t know about.
Like a prairie dog running out into traffic, or a mosquito splattered on a windshield, unknown forces beyond our control or comprehension could be lurking around any corner. But we have no choice but to keep living, loving and learning, and eating our meals. Just like that spider on the table top.
Posted by Jonas David on September 3, 2013
I recently read this article in the New York times by Anna Gunn, the actress that plays Skyler White in Breaking Bad about how much hate her character gets. It was surprising to me how obsessive people can get about a fictional character (death threats.. really??), but, not surprising to me that people tend to like the character of Walter over Skyler–and it has nothing to do with misogyny (though that may be the reason for some people).
We like active characters. We like characters who are trying to do, or achieve something, more than we like reactive characters. In the show, the conflict is framed as Walt trying to do something, and Skyler (and Hank, the police etc) trying to stop him. We identify more with the person trying to do something, especially when they are the focus of the show. The others are seen as opponents, obstacles to overcome. So even though it is clear that Walt is a dangerous and really morally empty, violent and selfish person there is still that part of us that wants to see him succeed, because he is struggling to achieve something.
Its all a matter of how the story is framed. If instead we were shown the story from Skyler’s point of view, as she slowly realized who her husband really was, and made plans to escape him only to be stopped at every turn by the manipulative, egotistical Walt–we would certainly root for her to succeed and identify more with her, because she would be the one trying to do something (escape) and Walt would be stopping her from reaching that goal.
This is why in so many stories, the villain ends up stealing the show. Writers often get so caught up in the villain’s plans and efforts and how resourceful and determined they are, that the evil things they are doing stop mattering to the reader/viewer so much, and they only see that the villain is working hard to do something, and the hero is just there messing everything up.
Give it a try next time you are writing a conflict. Decide who you want the reader to cheer for, and make that character the active one, with their opponent trying to stop them from achieving something. I think you’ll find that readers will love your active characters, despite whatever odious flaws you give them!
Posted by Jonas David on August 24, 2013