Stop reading boring books

If you’re like me, you read for entertainment. Every once in a while, I come across a book that just doesn’t hold my interest. At those times, I feel almost guilty if I stop reading it, especially if it’s a popular book. There are a couple on the 2015¬†Hugo ballot that fall into that category. Here’s the thing. There’s nothing wrong with stopping. If I’m reading for entertainment and I’m not being entertained, the book isn’t doing it’s job, and I’m wasting my time. I’m not going to name any books in this post. Just because I find something boring doesn’t mean you will. I’m not talking about specific books. I’m talking about continuing to read any book you find boring. There was one...

Tips for travellers

My first job out of college was travelling to customer sites and installing software. Before that, I’d taken two trips that required flying, and I started off woefully ignorant on how to do it. I go to a lot of conventions. Many of them are out of town, so it’s fair to say I have experience with travel so I decided to put together a list of tips. Some of these pertain to travelling and writing, but others are just general travel, so let’s just jump into it. First, never buy these. These are a complete and total waste of money. “But Gama,” you may be saying, “the TSA says I have to bring small liquids and gels. If I don’t buy this, how will I keep my teeth clean?” I’m glad you asked that. Dental hygiene is...

The right tools for the right job

This actually does relate to writing, so bear with me. I buy cheap shoes. Shoes cover my feet. As long as they do that, they’re good shoes. I might pay a little more for dress shoes, but not that much more. There’s one exception to this. Running shoes. I’m currently training for a half marathon. Among other things, this means my longer runs will be hours long. In that kind of situation, I’m not going to get the cheapest shoes I can find. I went to a specialist running store where they watched me run. They saw that I put more weight on the inside of my foot so they recommended a shoe that has extra arch support. The first time I bought that shoe, it cost me $160. Whenever I replace it, I get the same kind of shoe, and I can generally find...

I like Medieval Europe

Every once in a while, when I’m telling someone about a story I’m working on, and they’ll say something to the effect of “Oh, it’s a medieval Europe setting. Have you considered doing some other type of setting? What about something based off Mexican culture?” It’s an understandable question. The majority of fantasy is based in medieval Europe. “Cultural appropriation” has become something of an anathema in the industry, and I do have experience with that culture. Here’s the thing, though. That culture doesn’t interest me. That’s not really surprising. The things that draw us are the strange, the unusual. David Farland talks about how the biggest successful movies have one big thing in common....

Taking a break

I’m sitting in my living room watching an episode of the Justice League. I was recently excited because I found Star Wars: Knights of the Old Repulic on Steam, and I’ve been playing that. I haven’t written anything in two days. You know what? That’s ok. A common piece of advice “Write every day.” That’s good advice, for some people. For others, it’s the worse possible advice, and following it will lead the writer to hate writing. Here’s the thing. You have to find the schedule that works for you. Brandon Sanderson writes for six or seven hours every day, generally from about 9 PM to 3 AM. Kevin J Anderson does his writing while hiking and dictates his novels. Eric Flint writes in spurts, almost constantly for...

Write what you know: Getting thrown off a bridge.

One common piece of advice is “Write what you know.” I remember on one episode of Writing Excuses (Writing Excuses 5.30: Writing Action Larry Correia said “One thing I really recommend because a lot of people hesitate to write action because of that old rule about write what you know, but nobody here has ever sword-fought a dragon. OK? So don’t let that hold you back.” That’s good advice, but sometimes, it really does help to know certain things. If you know me, you know I occasionally do crazy things that could get me killed, and that I do these things under the guise of research, so you’re going to get the benefit of that. These posts will be under the category “Write what you know”. Enjoy! At one point or...

Impostor syndrome and my first panel.

Picture this. You’re in the middle of a crowd. Everyone is showering you with accolades about how awesome you are, and they are so impressed with your achievements. You smile and shake hands, and graciously accept all the praise. Meanwhile, on the inside, one thought is going through your head. “What if they all find out I’m a fraud?” You didn’t deceive anyone. You actually did all the things they think you did. You put in the work. You took the risks, and in the end, they payed off, but people don’t understand that those achievements don’t make you all that great. As soon as they realize that, they’ll get angry and declare you to be a fake. This is unofficially called impostor syndrome. I had never really had a...