NoNoWriNo

NaNoWriMo 2016 turned into my worst one yet. I managed to write 254 words, then I just couldn’t seem to get anything else done. let’s look at the reasons.

Privacy

I had very little privacy. I can’t write upstairs, because the TV is on, and I’m never alone in the room. I couldn’t write in the kitchen, because it was a high traffic area. And whenever I was able to go down there, it was only for a short time while my daughter was at school.

Time

I worked more than usual this month. I had less private time at home. And if I had time at night, I was usually too tired to concentrate on writing.

Getting in the Zone

Because of the first two issues, I was unable to get into the zone. I couldn’t concentrate like I wanted to.

So, this was not a very good NaNoWriMo. But really, I prefer to write without the pressure. And if I can get my own space and be able to go in there at any time to write, that’ll allow me to relax and write like I want to.

How was your NaNoWriMo? Did you succeed? Let me know in the comments.

About December

So, December is almost upon us.

I have plans for December. I talked about how I plan to get back to the basics before. December is the month I start to do it. I have a pretty solid plan for it. Now, keep in mind that my work schedule is pretty heavy during the holidays, so I will be working longer hours and more days than usual then. Regardless, I’ll maintain a post a day. But what I post about will be back to the roots of this blog. This is what to expect:

  • Five book reviews. That’s right, five.
  • An author interview.
  • Resuming Quick Facts Astronomy.
  • And at least one worldbuilding post.

I really want to get back to doing these things. It’s part of what gave this blog its character. I also plan on doing something else new. You know I’ve been doing Star Trek episode reviews. Well, I plan on doing reviews of full seasons of different TV shows and movies. Coming soon will be season 1 of The Walking Dead, as it’s pretty short, and I just have two more episodes to watch.

Are you looking forward to December? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Can No Man’s Sky Be Salvaged?

It’s been nearly three months since I’ve played No Man’s Sky. It’s gone through some major issues with losing most of its players, many people complaining about false advertising, and a game that seems to have no direction. Well, it’s finally being updated! It’s called the Foundation Update, which adds many features, such as the ability to construct bases, build and operate freighters, hire alien workers for your base, and more. And these are some of the things that were originally promised. What’s even more interesting is that this isn’t the biggest update to come.

Check out this video about the updates. Don’t mind the people in the video. They always joke around about the games.

Will I resume playing it? Of course! I want to see how it’s been improved. Unfortunately, the update is buggy, as my sister has found out already. But they should be ironed out. But I’m not particularly interested in spending all my time building things. I still want to explore every planet I discover. That’s what I like about the game, despite its issues.

Is anyone considering playing again? Let me know in the comments below.

Week in Review – November 27, 2016

A very contemplative week. I’ve had a lot of time off from work, and I’ve had a lot to think about regarding writing, videos, and more. So, what exactly happened? Let’s find out!

Reading

I finished The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N. K. Jemisin! Nice to finish another book. I started reading The Martian, by Andy Weir, and I’m now 6% finished. After I read that, I’ll watch the movie. Enjoying it so far.

Writing

With NaNoWriMo finishing this week, I won’t be able to do much in the way of writing. This was actually my worst NaNo! Oh well.

Videos

Some milestones were reached! I achieved 20,000 views on my main channel! I tend to get more views on YouTube than on the blog, yet I have fewer subscribers on YouTube. It was a slow week on my vlog channel, though. I had some trouble a couple times. So, I published 7 videos on my main channel and just 4 on my vlog channel. My main channel reached 300 subscribers in the past 24 hours, and will have a special 300 subscriber video tomorrow! Actually, it ended up being too long, so it’s a 2 part video, which will go up over the next 2 days.

Patreon

Nothing. Major revamp coming very soon!

Languages

After my daughter’s performance at her Japanese school’s play, I feel like I want to focus on Japanese again.

The Blog

Nothing really special happened, but I’ve been noticing the stats are very interesting. I have no blog posts in the top 7 or 8 for views this month. All of the top performing posts are from previous months. This is the first time that old blog posts carry most of the views for my blog. Not only that, with only one post per day, it’s actually outperforming last month in stats! That is very interesting. December will also be only one post a day, but I should return to twice a day in January. Going to focus a lot on established series on my blog, worldbuilding, reviews, interviews, and more! And a big welcome back to some science posts.

Studying

Nothing!

The Next Week’s Goals

With the end of the month coming, I have some regular end of month things to do: Month in Review blog post and the monthly wrap-up and TBR videos. I keep telling myself that I’ll be writing reviews. I need to do that. And I’ll also be doing more experimenting with SEO, as well as doing some new thumbnails for my YouTube channel.

How was your week?

An Introvert in Winter! The Jay Dee Show 8

Oops! I got a little behind in my vlog again. Attempting to catch up again this weekend. Actually, I did a few vlogs that cover two or three days instead of one. My main channel is updated as normal, though!

First up, with my main channel, I posted seven videos. Let’s take a look at them.

The library book hauls have returned! This time, my daughter is acting as silly as ever.

Lots of milestones. My channel reached 20,000 views! Also, 6 months is coming up, and my channel is just about to reach 300 subscribers. I also made the science channel announcement.

My next Opening Up video is a big one. I talk about being an introvert.

Since the weather has become wintry, I made some book suggestions based on winter weather.

Returning to Japan, I uploaded a quick video about the architecture of Ginza in Tokyo. Some of it is really unusual!

Continuing as usual, I posted my next retro book review, His Majesty’s Dragon, by Naomi Novik.

And finally, just two hours ago, I posted the latest in my Authors Answer videos with my goals for writing.

Moving on to my vlog channel, I only posted three videos. I should be posting another one later tonight, though. It’ll be after midnight, though.

First off, I talked about some vloggers who are quitting or changing their channels, as well as what’s going on with my channel idea for science.

Then I show you a bit about the wintry weather we’ve been getting, but something odd happened. Geese were flying the wrong direction!

And I had an issue with recording, but I did get to talk about something! It’s a short video, but worth watching.

That’s all for this week! If you have a favourite video, let me know in the comments below. If you watched all of them, thank you! And if you haven’t subscribed to either of these channels, but you’d like to, then please click on the links above and subscribe.

Authors Answer 108 – Bad Advice for Writers

A month ago, we talked about the best advice we’ve received as writers or authors. But what about the opposite? We don’t always receive great advice. Some of it is best to ignore. Some people just don’t know how to give advice that’s useful. Advice should be constructive, not destructive.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 108: What was the worst or least helpful piece of advice you’ve received about your writing?

Elizabeth Rhodes

Any kind of advice that hinges on “this is a rule of writing stories and should never be broken” is one I almost always write off. Writing rules are like rules of the English language: there are always exceptions, and these exceptions have been made by some of our favorite authors. Now, I don’t think I’m on the same level as George R. R. Martin, for instance, but I’d like to get there and saying “never ever ever write prologues because them’s the rules” does nothing to help that. Perhaps the focus should be on “this prologue isn’t working, let’s figure out why.”

Cyrus Keith

The most useless critique I ever got was a person who told me my work was riddled with spelling and grammar errors, “but don’t give up. You’ll be a great writer someday.” This was AFTER my first novel had already won the EPIC Award for Best Thriller. The worst actual advice anyone offered was, “Give up. You’re not a writer.”

Gregory S. Close

The most useless piece of advice I ever received was from a professional literary reviewer from Writer’s Digest, who informed me that I shouldn’t call the prologue of my novel a “prelude,” because that wasn’t the proper terminology.  Although the same reviewer did have other (helpful) feedback, this one stuck in my craw as particularly inane and useless.  It’s a fantasy novel that involves bards and music as major story components – it didn’t seem too much of a stretch to substitute musical terms for prologue and epilogue – prelude and postlude – but apparently, this person did not make the connection, or did not agree.

Linda G. Hill

Apart from being told which direction my stories should go and what should happen next (I hate that!! It’s not only not helpful, it makes me think too much. My stories go where my characters take them… I have very little say!), I think the worst thing anyone has ever told me is that I should turn off the comments on my blog because people don’t really read what I write anyway. Subsequently, I got rid of her and kept my 3,600 followers, many of whom have become good friends.

C E Aylett

I don’t know about advice, as such, but someone did say to me reasonably recently that a story I wrote was beautifully written yet it was the most depressing thing she’d ever read. I still don’t know whether to be chuffed or choked about that…

Oh, no, I do remember the worst advice I’ve ever had, actually. Someone read a short story and went through each paragraph for grammatical errors by — literally — quoting from some ‘rules’ of writing text book. They wrote ‘the xxx book of excellent writing says “etc., etc.” ’ I was like, er, dude, this is a work of fiction, which means style and dramatic effects take precedence, and I haven’t done a copy edit on it yet, anyway. S/he didn’t mention one word about the characters, pacing, or anything. That just isn’t useful to me, I’m afraid. And if nothing else, that s/he mentioned each time I used single punctuation marks was ‘an error’ nullified any authority s/he might have had. I don’t care what country you come from — if you are a writer you should have some awareness that there are different punctuation/grammar/spelling rules in English dependant on nationality, even if you don’t know exactly what they are.

Other than that, I’ve always had sterling advice from my crit partners, for good or ill.

Paul B. Spence

Hmm. I received so much bad advice… I would have to say the worst is that say you have to write every day, or have an outline of the complete plot. I write when I write, and I finish a 150,000-word book a year, so…

D. T. Nova

Probably extreme statements that, if followed literally, go too far in the opposite direction from other potential writing mistakes. For example, “never use adverbs”.

There’s nothing helpful to me about “keep descriptions minimal unless you’re writing science fiction or fantasy” because I haven’t attempted to write anything substantial outside of those genres.

Eric Wood

I’ve now spent days thinking of all the advice others have given me about my writing. While some was criticism, it was still constructive. My wife tells me I need to proofread better. She’s right. I was told one of my stories too closely resembled an already famous one. They were right. I haven’t really been given advice on how to write or what to write so I don’t have anything to answer for this one.

H. Anthe Davis

I think all advice and commentary is useful in some way, even if that way is ‘yeeeeah not gonna do that’, but it’s hard to pinpoint anything specific since I’ve left so much standard wisdom in the dust by now.  I haven’t read a book on writing in probably 6-8 years, and good riddance — I have my style, and if readers/reviewers/whomever don’t like it, they don’t have to read further.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

It’s not really specific advice, but I’ve had plenty of people tell me that they can’t relate to my main characters and that I should change him/her in numerous ways. It kinda infuriates me because logic would dictate that not everyone is going to be able to relate to a particular character and changing them for one thing is just going to ruin them for someone else.

Jean Davis

I’m grateful that I really had to think about this. My critique partners have always been helpful, sometimes brutally so, but helpful, nevertheless. The worst advice I’ve encountered was bad simply because it was so vague that it was not useful or so misguided that I outright discarded everything they said because they really had no idea what they were talking about, like wrong ways to format dialogue or structure sentences.

Beth Aman

I’m honestly not sure.  I think my brain is pretty good at detecting bad advice, so I just ignore it and forget about it.  Also, bad advice is often surrounded by grammar errors and awkwardly-phrased sentences, so it tends to be easy to spot.

Jay Dee Archer

I’ve received a lot of great advice. Much of it is related to things like writing descriptions, passive, showing versus telling, and more. However, my worst advice is more general. It’s one of extremes. It starts with the words “never use.” That’s a red flag for me. I cannot take that advice, because there are always cases where it is useful and the best thing to do. We do not have to always cut out every adverb or adjective. Yes, I’ve been told to never use adjectives. I’m not sure how I can describe the size, colour, or shape of something without an adjective and not make it too wordy.

How about you?

What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received about writing? If you don’t write, then make this more general. What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received about anything? Let us know in the comments below.

Books in Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is a reality now. You can get Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, use it on your computer, and enjoy immersing yourself in another world.

But this had me thinking. What if we could enter the world that exists in a book? You can fully interact with everything in that world, including places, characters, and more. Which book would you choose to enter?

I think I would love to be in the Pern series by Anne McCaffrey. I want to become a dragon rider and ride a dragon. That would be incredible.

Or maybe join Ender in Ender’s Game, training in that zero gravity training chamber. That would be a lot of fun.

Or how about exploring Mars in Red Mars? See Olympus Mons, the polar ice caps, or Valles Marineris.

The possibilities are endless. Which book would you choose? Let me know in the comments below.