The Japan Adventure Continues! The Jay Dee Show 38

Only 1 booktube video this past week! But there are 5 videos to show you on 2 channels. The week features my return to the Japan Vlog series from our trip to Japan last month.

On my main channel, I uploaded 4 videos. It includes a booktube announcement, some Star Trek, and more Japan!

The first video is all Star Trek. Last week, the new Star Trek Discovery trailer was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con, and I share what I thought about it. Check it out!

Up next is the return of the Japan videos. For this one, I visited Shibuya and Meiji Jingu Shrine with a friend of mine in Tokyo who I’ve known for almost 20 years. Take a look at what we saw.

And then I announced that I’m doing VEDA in August! VEDA is Vlog Every Day in August, and that means I will do a video a day for the month. Find out about my plans for it.

And finally, another Japan video! This time, we spent a night in Yokohama and visited the amusement park Cosmo World with its huge Ferris wheel.

And then, on my family vlog, Tommy and Dad, I had a little talk with my daughter, seeing how well she could pronounce “genetically modified organism.” The results are pretty funny.

What’s in store for this week? Well, of course, VEDA! I’ll also be doing more Japan videos, another Star Trek episode review, and hopefully, some more science.

Which video did you enjoy the most? Let me know in the comments section below.

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Authors Answer 141 – Choosing a Title

How can something so simple-looking be so difficult? The title may only be a few words, but it’s very important, especially if it’s to be memorable and eye-catching. A book could go through several titles before the final one is chosen. How do we choose our titles?

Question 141 – How do you come up with the title of your stories?

Gregory S. Close

Things that I think are important in a chapter/story/novel title:  double-meanings, turns of phrase, foreshadowing, and (if at all possible) a pun.  For example, one chapter in In Siege of Daylight is called Storms and Wards.  The title is literal, in that there is a storm involved, and magic (wards).  But there’s a bit of double meaning here, because there’s also a bit of conversation about conflict and politics, and the conversation is between a Master Bard and our hero, an Apprentice Bard (his ward, in a sense, kind of like Robin to Batman, but less grim and with more singing).

Other chapters have a lot more symbolism and/or foreshadowing, some a lot less, but I like to slip it in there when I can.

Cyrus Keith

Sometimes out of the clear blue skies, a phrase drops on me like an anaconda and won’t let go (“Hush Little Baby,” “The Next Fool But One“). Sometimes, I look at the overall theme of the story, and the title is a reference to that (“Becoming NADIA‘”, “The Long, Hard Ride to Midnight“). I keep a spreadsheet for title ideas, and one for story ideas. Sometimes I match them up, and sometimes they just kind of stay on their own.

Linda G. Hill

Titles are the hardest thing for me. They are borne of brain-numbing torture most of the time. Only twice has a title come to me easily. In the first case, the title was the inspiration for my first novel – Trixie in a Box (yet unpublished), and the second is a memoir I’m working on about my life as a hearing woman mothering a Deaf son, which will be entitled Don’t Talk with Your Hands Full!

D. T. Nova

I just think about it until I have a title that both means something important to the theme and also sounds good to me, with a tendency toward simple titles.

Paul B. Spence

Painfully. This is really the only part I struggle with. I usually try to name them something that will evoke a certain emotion from the reader, which still somehow relates to the story without giving the plot away. The working title is rarely the one I end up using.

C E Aylett

At some point in the writing process, several drafts down. Most often, anyway. Something will just crop up from the story that hits me as appropriate. Or something connected to the theme.

Beth Aman

I don’t usually stress too much about this.  Sometimes I find a cool line somewhere later in the book, or a cool concept.  I like it to be somewhat related to the plot, but also sometime that conveys what type of story it’s going to be.  I dunno. They just appear.

Jean Davis

My titles seem to just happen. I found that if I need to have a title, it’s a torture session and everything I come up with will be awful. I’ve had a title before I started writing once. Most often they hit me while writing, when a word, theme, or phrase catches my attention. Otherwise, the file is the name of the MC until the first round of edits, which is the other point that title ideas tend to hit me.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

So far my naming conventions have been extremely straightforward. I tend to simply describe a key aspect of the story. In “Nowhere to Hide“, for instance, the main characters are constantly finding that they can’t hide from the looming horror no matter how hard they try. “The Other World” is literally about an “other world”, and early in it’s life it was called “Parallels“, because it was about a parallel world. A short story that I wrote for a competition was called “Pool of Diamonds” because the key scene has the main character kneeling in a puddle, surrounded by diamonds. In retrospect, describing my “method” this way sounds terribly lacking in creativity, but I feel the straightforward approach has worked for the works I’ve written so far.

H. Anthe Davis

I am a title-hoarder.  I have a file in my story folder that just collects title ideas — little words and phrases that pop into my head or that I hear somewhere, like in a song, that stick with me and gestate an idea in my mind.  When I’m titling novels or chapters, I reference that list to see what best fits.  If nothing does, I look at the overall theme of the novel: what sort of mood or philosophy am I most leaning toward in it?  My first book, The Light of Kerrindryr, got that (possibly hampering) title because the main character is conflicted in his understanding of the Light, which he worships.  Is he truly following the Light he knew back home (in Kerrindryr), or is this some different, twisted version of the Light he’s succumbed to in his travels abroad?  This isn’t ever explicitly stated, but it’s a conflict in him throughout the book, and so it became the title.  Other titles in the series have referenced key events or important objects (The Splintered Eye for an event/creature, The Living Throne for an object/….creature, etc).  I also try to make sure that the covers resonate with the title, because I’m picky like that.

Eric Wood

First, I’ll come up with a working title, usually based on the plan I have in my head. Then I start writing. If the title still matches the piece, I keep it. Otherwise, I’ll retitle it to be a creative interpretation of the story or blog post. I try to keep it mysterious, yet comprehensible enough so readers have an idea of what to expect. Like good lingerie, something needs to be left to the imagination.

Jay Dee Archer

This is definitely one of the most difficult parts of writing for me. The story, characters, and setting are easy by comparison. I go through several titles, usually. But sometimes one sticks out that I feel I really need to use. For my Ariadne series, the web serial is called Journey to Ariadne because it chronicles the preparation and journey to the planet Ariadne. The first novel is likely to be titled The Knights of Ariadne, and it has a double meaning. The family name of one of the colony’s main families is Knight. But also, it can mean warriors. As for the series about the old man traveling through the solar system, I have no title ideas yet. And a fantasy series I have planned is tentatively called The Fractured Lands, but that may change.

Quite often, the title will come early on, but I won’t always stick with it. It can be an inspiration for the story, though. There could also be something in the story as I write it that becomes the title.

How about you?

If you’re an author, how do you choose a title for your books? Let us know in the comments section below.

Star Trek S1E16 – The Galileo Seven

Parts of this episode have always bothered me. But at least this is the first time we get to see the shuttlecraft being used by the Enterprise crew to go somewhere. This is a very Spock-centric episode, and I have some issues about it.

Season 1, Episode 16: The Galileo Seven

Original Air Date: January 5, 1967

Stardate 2821.5

Planet: Taurus II

Featured Alien: Taurus II creatures

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott, Uhura, Sulu

Main Guest Characters: Lt. Boma (Don Marshall), Commissioner Farris (John Crawford), Lt. Gaetano (Peter Marko), Yeoman Mears (Phyllis Douglas), Lt. Latimer (Rees Vaughn), Lt. Kelowitz (Grant Woods), Creature (Buck Maffei), Transporter Chief (David Ross)

Things I Noticed

Murasaki 312 is a quasar-like formation. Of course, we now know there are no quasars in our galaxy, but they are extremely luminous cores of galaxies. Sure, this could be a black hole, but it sure isn’t a quasar. At least with the digital remaster, they made it look quasar-like.

I find it interesting that they need to transport medicine from one planet to another to handle a plague. They can’t make the drugs on Makus III? But I guess I can understand, since it’s probably a newer colony.

I’m not very fond of the digital remastering of the shuttlecraft. It seems to be even lower quality than TNG. Animation students could do a better job.

And speaking of shuttlecraft, this is the first episode produced that showed a shuttlecraft. “The Menagerie” was filmed later, but aired before this episode.

The instrumentation on the Galileo seems kind of clumsy and inefficient. Latimer had to reach behind himself to press a button to reverse engines.

Kirk said the shuttlecraft is 24 feet long. Not metric!

I can’t stand Commissioner Farris’ constant smug look. It’s the kind of look that makes you want to punch a guy.

I don’t know why they’d assume the Galileo would land on Taurus II. Either it was a wild guess or they thought they’d be drawn into the centre of Murasaki 312. And how would they know about the planets? The systems are unexplored.

Lt. Boma and Lt. Gaetano are bordering on insubordination when speaking to Spock. They’re ready to blame him for everything.

20th century gauges on the shuttlecraft! We have some old technology.

Spock was getting a little emotional while giving orders. Or was he just being forceful?

Spock was questioning himself a lot. This is a Spock I’m not used to seeing. He should be more intelligent than this, as he should know logic isn’t everything. At least he’s more like that in the movies.

What is space normal speed? I would assume it’s impulse and not warp.

When Galileo lifted off, Taurus II’s CG looked extremely amateurish. I’m not impressed with the CG in this episode.

So, this was Spock’s first command. Even though he is a Lt. Commander, he’s never been in command before? He’s second in command of the Enterprise!

Rescued at the very last second! How probably is that? Of course, it was done for the drama.

My Impressions

As I mentioned before, I wasn’t very impressed by this episode. The main failing here has to do with Spock. His inability to reason that less intelligent life forms do not behave logically baffled me. Spock should know better! He should know that living and working with humans for so long. Nimoy’s acting was over the top with this one. Usually, he does well as Spock, but I felt this episode’s acting was atypical of him. Not good. Not to mention his logic was too simplistic.

John Crawford does a pretty good job of being a very arrogant and incredibly irritating Commissioner Farris. I could not stand him! William Shatner was good as Kirk, while the others were pretty typical, including Scotty and McCoy. Though why were they needed for an astrophysical survey is beyond me.

As you could see with my nitpicks, there were things that annoyed me about this episode. It was never one of my favourites when I was a kid, either. Whoever was in charge of the digital remastering of this episode didn’t do a very good job. The shuttlecraft looked awful. I normally like the remastering, but not in this case.

The theme of this episode is okay, but I don’t like how it was handled by Spock. He really should’ve been more intelligent than that.

Verdict

★★1/2

Your Voice

What did you think of this episode? Did you enjoy it? Or did you find it to be unsatisfying, like I did? Let me know in the comments section below.

500 Subscribers on YouTube! The Jay Dee Show 37

Thanks to a sudden increase in subscribers on my YouTube channel, I’ve passed 500 subscribers! That was a pretty quick increase, and it keeps going. In the past week, I’ve posted 3 videos, all on my main channel.

The videos on my main channel are mainly about Authors Answer, but also a talk about what I plan to do on my channel in the future.

We start off with Authors Answer. I talked about movie novelizations and my experience with them.

Then my channel passed 500 subscribers. As a celebration, I made a video! And you have got to see my daughter in it. She’s a bit silly.

And then another Authors Answer! This time, I talk about writing sex scenes. Exciting!

Some Star Trek and a science video are coming this week. I hope to get to a lot more, as well! That includes Japan videos.

Which video did you enjoy the most? Let me know in the comments section.

Authors Answer 140 – Developing Plot

You need characters and setting for a story, but what would it be without a plot? Not much of anything. The plot may be one of the most complex parts of writing. A good plot isn’t predictable and straightforward. There may be multiple story lines running through the plot, but they all lead to one conclusion. So, how do we develop our plots?

Question 140 – How do you develop the plot of your stories?

Eric Wood

To develop a plot I sketch it out much like an artist would. An artist might draw out the art piece in pencil with very light strokes that are easily covered. I sketch out the plot of my stories with short words, a few descriptions, and random ideas to that come to me. It’s when I sit down to write the story in full that I then fill in details and move the story along from beginning to middle to end.

H. Anthe Davis

Plot? What plot? Okay, so I do have plot, even though at base it’s ‘a couple people plunge into adventures to stop a threat against everything’ — standard fantasy schtick. However, I think of ‘saving the world’ as more the end-goal, and all the plot movement is about what the individual characters want, how those wants impact other characters’ needs and ambitions, and how these conflicts turn and twist the story as the characters fight their way toward their end goal. All of my characters have their own little arc — not always very large — which is both based on and also gives them their personality. It may have nothing to do with the main plot but it’s something that drives them, and because of that it influences and potentially bends the main plot in unpredictable ways. I always want to make sure that as the writer, I’m not railroading the characters into certain actions — but it’s okay if the characters themselves are acting on each other to force actions because of their personal motivations. Obviously my stuff is very character-driven.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I’m honestly not quite sure how to answer this question, because actively “developing” a plot isn’t really my style, to be blunt. For better or worse, my writing method has most been, “picture cool scene in head –> write scene –> try to come up with logical reason for that scene to exist”. It’s probably not the most professional approach to writing, but so far it’s been what works for me, and amazingly my plots have manage to work themselves out into coherent stories that my readers seem to be enjoying!

Jean Davis

I usually start writing with an opening scene in mind and just see what happens. Occasionally I’ll know where I want the story to end, most of the time I don’t. Most of my first drafts move along like: if this happens, they need to B to get to C and hmm, to get to D they need to do this thing, etc. So I guess I’d say it’s an organic plot process. There’s a good deal of me looking off into space throughout the day while I run through the next step of the plot in my head before I sit down to write the next scene.

Beth Aman

HAHAHA, what’s a plot? Am I supposed to have one of those? Usually I just start writing and let the plot unfold as I write. (This is called being a “pantser” – ie you ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ as you write.) I really flesh out my plot and have it all start to make sense when I do draft #2, and each successive draft makes more and more sense plot-wise, with adding in smaller plot arcs, micro-tensions, and foreshadowing. It’s like the first draft is me going around making a bunch of dots on the page, and the second draft is connecting the dots to make a picture. For actually coming up with the plot, I take my ideas and then ask ‘what could go wrong here?’ or ‘what’s the worst thing that could happen?’ or sometimes, ‘what’s unexpected?’ Then I let my imagination go wild, and try to make it all make sense at the end. (I wish I was a plotter. I really do. It would make life so much simpler.)

C E Aylett

No set formula. Sometimes, especially if I’ve researched a character particularly well, I’ll just write what comes to me and often it works out roughly to be right — the plot stems from the character. Sometimes, and this happens with the stories that come from dreams or something I heard on the news, I have a major twist or an ending in mind, something that the story pivots on. I then write out a first draft, see where I’m at by the end and how the story arc runs. If needs be, the beginning will be rewritten to accommodate a strong arc.

Paul B. Spence

I decide where to begin. I think of something interesting in the future of the characters to write toward. I fill the space with character development and side-stories.

D. T. Nova

Same as with characters, elements of the plot can be inspired by anything, and once the idea is there it’s mostly down to seeing how it fits together. I go through so many ideas and don’t think its entirely conscious how I decide which ones belong in the same story.

Linda G. Hill

“What if …?” It’s a question I’m always asking in my head, and it often ends up being a story.

Cyrus Keith

Plots come from everything from dreams to sudden revelations, to lessons learned, to random over-hearing “what if…” from across the room. Sometimes, the plot comes after the title. I love plays on words, and sometimes I get a great title idea. For instance, a thriller with a title like “Hush Little Baby” generates so many delicious ideas. That’s my current WIP.

Gregory S. Close

My plotting goes something like this: Come up with the basic story elements, flesh out the world-building and character-building as necessary to begin writing, maybe do a story outline, then start writing. Plot has to be consistent and fun and maybe a little bit complicated here and there, but it should move forward through the eyes/experience of the characters and in context of the world. It has to make sense. The bad guy is taking over the world!! Why? The magic sword has been discovered! Where was it? Why? Who put it there? I adjust plot just like I adjust character and world-building – if the driving story element turns out to be stupid, inconsistent, or otherwise doesn’t work – I change it. My last step in plotting is, after the final draft, go back and add the moments, clues, snippets of dialogue and foreshadowing etc that will glue it all together into a seamless story.

Jay Dee Archer

I start off with the idea, then develop a general direction I want the story to go in. I know how I want to finish the story, and work toward that goal. I start off quite general. I’ll write out the major plot points, then flesh them out. I plan out what I want to do for each chapter, outlining them. I pay attention to what each major character should be doing at the time, even if they aren’t in a chapter or scene. I need to know how each story line is going, and where they intersect. Once I’ve figured out the plot, I start writing. But the plotting isn’t finished. While I write, new ideas pop in my head, and sometimes it takes a new direction. When I finish writing my first draft, I go back to make sure I’ve got all the plot points in that I wanted, and make sure they work. I check that there are no loose ends. And of course, I make sure there’s a bit of foreshadowing in there. I also refer back to all of my character and setting notes to make sure everything is consistent. In the end, I should have a nice, cohesive story.

How about you?

If you’re an author, how do you develop your plot? Let us know in the comments section below.

Star Trek S1E15 – Shore Leave

This was a very unusual episode. Did you know most of the dialogue was ad libbed? Gene Roddenberry had to rewrite the script of this episode after the network complained it was too surreal. He rewrote it on the fly while it was being filmed. Roddenberry had been told to go on vacation before this episode, and it turns out this episode is about a vacation.

Season 1, Episode 15: Shore Leave

Original Air Date: December 29, 1966

Stardate 3025.3

Planet: Shore Leave Planet in the Omicron Delta region (no official name)

Featured Alien: The Caretaker

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Sulu

Main Guest Characters: Alice (Marcia Brown), Yeoman Tonia Barrows (Emily Banks), The Caretaker (Oliver McGowan),  Esteban Rodriguez (Perry Lopez),  Lt. Angela Martine (Barbara Baldavin),  Finnegan (Bruce Mars),  Ruth (Shirley Bonne),  The Warrior (Sebastian Tom)

Things I Noticed

The planet has no animal life, yet it has flowers. Don’t they require a polinator? But then, this isn’t Earth. Nor is anything real.

This is an unusual episode, featuring figments of the crew’s imagination come to life. This is more fantasy than sci-fi, it seems. It is very difficult to nitpick things, as many of the things that happen really can’t be nitpicked.

Lt. Martine is back, and this time, she seems to have completely gotten over her fiance’s death. Well, that was fast!

Finnegan seems like a stereotypical Irish man combined with a leprechaun.

The old style antenna seems a bit old-fashioned for an advanced world like this.

Why would Kirk run after Sulu, and then take a moment to appreciate a flower? Priorities, Captain?

Kirk seems to be affected by what’s going on the most, or he’s extremely weak-willed. I just can’t seem to resist Ruth, and it takes a lot to snap him out of it.

McCoy is getting pretty close to Yeoman Barrows. Earlier, she massaged Kirk’s back, and he didn’t like it.

Finnegan says he’s still 20 years old, but he looks like he’s in his 30s. Shouldn’t this be from Kirk’s memory?

Before Finnegan flipped him, Kirk’s uniform was intact. After the flip, it was ripped. There was no reason it would have ripped. But you know, no Kirk fight is complete without a ripped uniform.

The tiger has a chain around its neck. Obviously for safety reasons, but why would it appear on this world?

It makes me wonder why humans aren’t ready to understand The Caretaker’s people or where they come from.

Again, they leave at warp 1. Is this standard for leaving a system? I guess it would make sense, taking a lower speed in system.

My Impressions

This was an amusing episode. It was sometimes difficult to take it seriously, as most of the things were quite absurd. But then, a lot of the crew of the Enterprise thought it was absurd. But the acting was also kind of absurd. Shatner wasn’t very good. DeForest Kelley didn’t do very well, either. Actually, there was a bit of overacting. But it makes sense since learning that most of the dialogue was ad libbed.

So, the acting wasn’t that great in this episode. I didn’t think the story was the best, either. It was amusing, kind of weird, but unimportant. It could’ve been removed from the series and no one would have cared. It affected nothing, really.  It wasn’t terrible, though. Just fluff.

One thing this episode did show is how irresponsible some of the crew can be! Kirk fights Finnegan, Kirk stops searching for Sulu because of a flower, Martine changing into a princess dress, Sulu shooting a gun, and more. Maybe their minds were affected by this world? I don’t know.

Verdict

★★★

Your Voice

What did you think of this episode? Was it fluff? Did you enjoy it? Let me know in the comments section below.

The 13th Doctor Was Revealed! It’s a Woman!

Yesterday was the day that the 13th Doctor was to be announced. In Doctor Who, all of the Doctors have been men. But now, we have a female Doctor! It is Jodie Whittaker.

Some people are unhappy, but the response seems to be mostly very positive. The opponents often say they don’t want a female Doctor because the Doctor has always been male. But Time Lords have changed gender in the past, so why can’t The Doctor?

Here’s what I had to say about this:

And in case you missed it, here’s the reveal trailer:

So, what do you think? Are you happy with the choice of actors for The 13th Doctor? Let me know in the comments section below.