All posts by Jay Dee

I Swore This Wouldn’t Happen

No, this wasn’t supposed to happen! Okay, it’s been a while since I updated, and all those plans I had written about didn’t actually happen. I had every intention of doing it, I just got caught up in life and many other things.

First of all, let’s get Authors Answer up to date. It will come out of hiatus later this year, I hope. I’ll also get to work on more international books, writing posts, world building posts, and maybe even a few reviews. And I’m going to talk about a big topic that’s happening to people who have small YouTube channels. And the deadline is tomorrow! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ll see soon enough.

Anyway, updates are coming, this was just a little hiccup. Thanks for reading, and I will be posting very, very soon!

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Authors Answer 152 – Writing Real People in Fiction

In high school, I read a book called The Wars, by Timothy Findley.  In this novel, the main character finds himself in a house with Virginia Woolf, who was a real person. In fact, she was an author. But she was appearing in a fictional novel. Naomi Novik has used real historical figures in her Temeraire series, as well. Books based on history and our real world quite likely will have real life characters. But what if we based the book on a real person? Who would we write about?

Question 152 – If you could write a fictional book about any famous person, living or dead, who would it be?

Gregory S. Close

I think I’d like to write a biography of Boudica. Celtic warrior queen fighting the fight against the might of Rome? Inspirational but tragic. I’d like to highlight more women in history, especially those in what’s considered atypical roles, because the history books have been written by, and predominantly feature, white dudes.

Paul B. Spence

It might be a little difficult to write a fictional book. If I were to write fiction about a real person, I believe I might write one about Tesla, because why not?

D. T. Nova

Probably Nikola Tesla. He was remarkable enough in real life, and his popular reputation makes wilder stories entirely plausible.

H. Anthe Davis

Ergh, I don’t know if I could do that, and I wouldn’t really want to. I don’t write fanfiction because I don’t like playing with other people’s characters — I feel like I can’t keep them canon, which is important to me — so to write something about an actual (once-)living human being just compounds that problem. Also, I’m not so interested in anyone out there that I would be driven to write anything that hasn’t already been written. I much prefer to pull in traits of people I admire and make them part of my characters, so that I can explore them freely.

Jean Davis

I love reading historical fiction, but I don’t think I’d be very good at writing it. The research involved really isn’t my thing. That means it would have to be someone living and those options are rather vast. I’m going to go with writing a fictional book about George R.R. Martin and the secret maniacal glee he has about making us all wait for his next book and how it’s all a grand experiment to see how far readers will be pushed before they get mad and leave or call the tv version good enough. Will his last book not sell at all or go gangbusters? If nothing else, it would give us something to read while we wait…or not.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I thought about it for a good while, but I honestly couldn’t think of a decent answer to this question. The thing is that I don’t really idolize anyone. I admire people, I think that their work/art/etc is wonderful, but I don’t really put people up on a pedestal in a way that would make me want to write about them, fiction or otherwise. That said, if I had to come up with some kind of answer, I probably wouldn’t mind writing about Jared Padalecki (one of the stars of Supernatural), because he’s someone I really admire for personal reasons, and I could just write a Supernatural-style book, which would probably be tons of fun for me.

C E Aylett

Edward Whymper, the first mountaineer to climb the Matahorn in 1865. My Great grandfather (? great-great? Not sure) was his valet and went with him on his expeditions. I’d like to understand what it would have been like back then for him, how tough it would have been. Writing about Edward Whymper would probably be the closest I could get to my ancestor.

Eric Wood

A fictional book about a real person… Hmmm I think I would write about a certain president and his one way trip to Mars to settle America’s first colony. It fails, of course.

Jay Dee Archer

I would not write about someone living or who has close relatives that are still living. I’m not writing a biography, I’m trying to fictionalize some part of their life. The more ancient, the better, I think. But I like the idea of alternate history, especially if it’s fantasy. Mostly because of a possibility of an ancestral link to William the Conqueror’s companion, William Malet, I would probably use him as a main character in a book. What I would write remains unknown.

How about you?

If you could write a book featuring any historic figure, who would it be? Let us know in the comments section below.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! And welcome back to the blog. I’m rejuvenating the blog this year, and I have many exciting things to come. Many of them are things you already know about, but there will be some new things, as well.

First of all, I’ll do a minor refreshing of the design. I’ll make it look more bookish. Second, more of my own writing on this blog. Third, a desire to do some collaboration with others. And fourth, a bit more of an integration with my YouTube channel.

But I think the biggest thing is that I’m going to concentrate a lot on writing. In particular, Ariadne and short stories. I really need to focus on the main reason for this blog, my writing.

Another thing I’d like to do with YouTube is profile booktubers (book vloggers) who I subscribe to, and think you should watch if you’re interested in that kind of thing.

I’m going to leave you tonight with a video of mine, which is all about the year 2018. It’s all about plans related to my writing, YouTube, and business. While watching, I’d like you to think about what your plans are for 2018. Let me know what they are in the comments section.

Happy New Year!!

The Future of This Blog and More

Have you noticed how quiet I’ve been? I think I lost my way. But never fear, I am coming back and stronger than ever. There are going to be some changes around here, some streamlining, and a much stronger focus.

I started I Read Encyclopedias for Fun to review books and use as a means to launch my writing career. Somewhere along the way, I started talking about other things, stopped writing, and even stopped reviewing books. The only thing that really kept going was Authors Answer, which I haven’t updated in quite a while.

The last three months have been a trying period. So many things have happened that took priority. Surgery (not me), health issues (not me), employment issues (me!), a new puppy, and a complete reassessment of what I want for myself and my family in terms of business and creative endeavours. I haven’t been very active in the blogosphere, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. That will change.

This blog is very important to me, and important to my future in writing. But this goes back to early 2012, and the whole reason I started this blog. As a platform for me to showcase my writing, talk about the publishing industry, and, this is extremely important, make like-minded friends. I feel I did the friend thing, and I am happy for all the people who have helped out and contributed to this blog in Authors Answer.

But I should get to the point. What’s going to happen?

The Blog

The blog will be given a mild makeover. Actually, the theme will stay the same, I’ll just redo the banner. I want it to focus more on the book and writing aspect of things. The topics I write about will change. Actually, they’ll be more focused on the core of this blog: writing and books. I’m going to take the time and actually write fiction. I will talk about the writing process. I will talk about my writing progress. I will give little insights into what I’m doing in my writing. I will talk about world building once again. This is a very important and interesting topic to me.

Authors Answer is going to go on an indefinite hiatus. It’s become increasingly difficult to think of topics to talk about every month. It may come back in the future. Actually, I want it to come back in the future, as it’s been a staple on this blog for three years. I think it needs new and fresh ideas, though. There are three posts I still have to make, and I’ll be doing them on every Friday for the rest of this month. Unfortunately, due to all of the events that have happened since summer ended, I didn’t take the time to get my traditional “big authors” to contribute to the anniversary question. This time, it’s only focusing on the core contributors of Authors Answer, and to be honest, they deserve the spotlight. I can’t thank the contributors to Authors Answer enough. You don’t know how much I’ve appreciated you all.

Expect to see a bit of an integration between my main YouTube channel and this blog, as well. But it’s nothing new. I plan to post each of my book-related videos to this blog, but I will have a lot of things to say, as well. I won’t just post the videos. They’ll be a part of a blog post, not the purpose of the blog post.

YouTube

That takes me to my other creative outlet, YouTube. I’ve been focusing a lot on my channels, especially in the past couple weeks. I have three channels that I will be uploading to regularly. Only one of those channels will be talked about on this blog regularly, though. In case you don’t know about them, here’s your chance to discover them.

Jay Dee Archer is my self-named channel, and it is my book/writing/scifi/fantasy channel. I do talk a lot about Star Trek and things like that, but that’s my main non-bookish series (except the Japan videos). This is the channel that I will be posting videos of, but only the book-related videos (except Star Trek). That is actually my “official” author’s channel, so it is highly relevant to what I talk about on this blog. The reason I will continue posting my Star Trek videos here is because that series is a huge influence on my science fiction writing. It’s been an important part of my life since I was a kid, and I will not stop talking about it. Anyway, click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph to go to my channel and subscribe.

Science: Not Just a Theory is my second channel, and the one that requires the most resources and time to produce videos. As a result, I’ll only be doing one video a week for now. I don’t want to take too much time away from my writing, but this channel requires a lot of research and plenty of editing. The main focus is space, but I will talk about other sciences, as well. It’s also the channel that has the largest potential for growth on YouTube, and as a result, could be a major source of income for me. While the prospect of it becoming an actual business for me is quite possible, I do this channel because I love science and want to promote the importance of it to people, as well as show how it can be very interesting.

Tommy and Dad is my third channel, and this is a more relaxed family vlog featuring my daughter and I. I’ve started vlogging on it just this past week, and hope to maintain regular uploads at a pace of around videos per week. This channel requires the least amount of time to edit and produce videos, so I can do them more frequently. I don’t do anything fancy. Just record, edit the clips together, and post to YouTube. It’s more of a fun thing for my daughter and I, but it also has a lot of potential. If you’re interested in seeing a bit about my life with my daughter, then check it out!

Business

I am taking a business-like approach to a lot of things now, because I want to provide a secure future for my family. But it’s also important to enjoy doing what I do. I don’t write or make YouTube videos for money, but if I can focus and make it into a business, then I will. Over the past year, I’ve been doing a lot of research on SEO (search engine optimization), marketing, and promoting. I need to do a lot more to become good at it, though. The promotion of this blog, my writing, and my YouTube channels is important, and I will do my best to get them out there for people to discover. At least I won’t be spammy about it.

There are other avenues I’m looking at. For my science channel, I’m using Patreon, which I have yet to promote. I’m going into Patreon not as a way for me to ask people for money. No way. Wrong approach, and I definitely don’t like that way. It’s a business platform, as well as a community I want to develop. I’ll be offering value to it. There will be perks for Patrons, and depending on how much a Patron contributes, the perks increase. It will also allow me to improve the videos and devote more time to both making videos and writing. As the channel is educational, I believe it has a lot of value for people. There are exclusive benefits to being a Patron, such as behind-the-scenes videos, input into the production of the videos, private discussions about science, and opportunities for discounted merchandise.

And that brings us to merchandise! I’ll be opening a Cafe Press store to sell science, education, and literary themed merchandise. You might want a mug, or maybe you want a t-shirt. I’ll have those and more. I hope to launch the store in the next couple months.

What do you think?

So, what are your thoughts about this? What kind of merchandise are you interested in? Do you have any video ideas for any of my channels? And what kind of bookish/writingish (I made that up) blog posts would you like to see in 2018? Leave me a comment! All the feedback you have is greatly appreciated.

*taps the mic* Hello?

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I guess you deserve an explanation. To put it simply, the past month has been unusual. Life intervened. Many things happened back to back that were both unexpected and expected. I won’t go into too many details, but this is the tl;dr version:

Emergency hospitalization (not me!), new job, short trip, and new puppy!

The puppy!

Mostly, I’ve had to do a lot of running around, adjusting to a new schedule, and many other things. But I have to say this:

This blog is not ending!

So, what’s going on then? Where’s Authors Answer? There are still three more Authors Answer for October not posted, but they will be. I didn’t announce it publicly, but Authors Answer is on a hiatus until the New Year, as I try to figure out what direction to take it. It’s getting more and more difficult to ask questions. Have they all been asked? No, but they’re very difficult to think of. The final Authors Answer of the year is a big one, though. Look forward to that one!

If you’re a subscriber to my YouTube channel, then you know I’ve been somewhat active there. I haven’t been as consistent as I should be, but that has a lot to do with what’s been going on. I’ve also been in the planning stages of a new series for my science channel, which I hope will be well-received and popular. I’ll update you this weekend on what I’ve posted on YouTube.

I also have an office now! This means I should be able to do some writing in privacy, at least during certain times of the day. I’d like to get a couple short stories out in the coming months while I’m working on Journey to Ariadne and my first novel. Progress!

With all that said, how about you? What have you been up to lately?

Who Is the Klingon Voq? I Have a Hypothesis

If you’ve been watching Star Trek Discovery, then you know who Voq is. He’s probably the main Klingon character in this series, a Klingon without a house. But he looks different than the others. He has light skin, while all the others have dark skin.

While I was watching episode 4, it suddenly hit me. I believe I have a very good idea who he may be. This may not be the first time we’ve seen him. Below is a video I made explaining who I think he is and my reasoning behind it. The video contains spoilers, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t watch it. Also, below the video, I say who I think Voq is. Again, that could be a spoiler.

If you haven’t watched the video, but want to know who I think Voq is, well, here it is. In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season 2 episode “Blood Oath,” we see original series Klingons Kor, Koloth, and Kang return (this time with the forehead ridges). But they’re hunting a humanoid known as The Albino. He is never referred to as a Klingon, but he looks similar to one. You see, I think Voq may be The Albino. Watch the video to find out why I think this.

What do you think? Do you think I’m right? Or are they different people? Let me know in the comments.

Authors Answer 151 – Tough Criticism

Authors will never please everyone. They have their fans, but also their critics. Check out some of the reviews on Amazon or Goodreads, and you’ll see some pretty negative reviews, including for books that are widely loved. Authors need to develop a thick skin when dealing with criticism, whether it’s from readers or publishers.

Question 151 – What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

C E Aylett

Do you know what? I can’t think of anything I’d consider really tough. I mean, sure, I receive ‘harsh’ critiques on workshop pieces but in a constructively harsh way, so i don’t really see that as tough. More like helpful. When I was a Noob I got a bitchy critique from someone but I soon found out that they had some rather ugly and deep psychological issues. It was such a long time ago I don’t even remember what was said now.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

To be honest, I don’t take too many criticisms to heart. I learned a long time ago that most criticisms are based on personal tastes (which I can’t control, so why worry about it?) or peoples’ desire to be jerks for no particular reason (which I also can’t control, and those people aren’t worth my time anyway).

That said, there was one criticism that really bothered me, mainly because it was very public. I’d sent out a few free books to a service that passes those books on to reviewers with the stipulation that they rate and review the book on the platform of the author’s choice (in my case, Amazon), and I received entirely positive reviews except for one. That last reviewer completely demolished me, on Amazon, for the world to see, with a 2-star review and a major bashing of my writing style, wording choices, and claims of grammatical/formatting errors that not one other reader has brought up yet, so I’m not even sure what she was talking about. All in all, I felt it was an unnecessarily cruel slamming, and because of the wording of the review I felt like she was purposely being harsh simply because it’s a zombie story and she felt that zombies are “over”. I would have just brushed it off as someone who doesn’t like zombies and probably shouldn’t have even been reading the book in the first place, but it bothered me for a while because it kept showing up on the book’s Amazon page as the top review, and it frustrated me that that would be the first thing people saw if they scrolled down to see what people were saying about my book.

Jean Davis

To date, I would say the hardest thing to hear was confirmation on issues I suspected with one of my published books. You know, those nagging issues that you ponder in the night, but your publisher and critique partners assure you it’s all good. Then you begin reading reviews and realize you should have trusted your gut. Trust the gut, it’s there for a reason.

H. Anthe Davis

In the past, I’ve been told that I’ve tortured the English language. That’s part of the reason I’ve been going back over my early books to see where I can un-torture certain phrases and paragraphs — because honestly I can’t deny that sometimes my sentence structure and concepts get a bit over-complicated and knotty. I’ve had a lot of success recently in fixing those problems, and thus the flow of the stories.

D. T. Nova

Even the most negative criticism I’ve received has been given respectfully and constructively, at least.

The toughest was probably the (largely correct) observation that characters were spending too much time discussing important issues unrelated (or seemingly unrelated) to the plot.

Paul B. Spence

Hmm. Criticism vs vitriol… I suppose the toughest legitimate criticism is that I am a little sparse and dry in my writing style. Vitriol is another matter. I’ve been told that my characters are unbelievable because life is fair and someone can’t be tall, good-looking, and competent.

Gregory S. Close

The toughest criticism I’ve received as an author was probably the review of In Siege of Daylight on Creativity Hacker.

The reviewer didn’t find it engaging, was totally confused about what was happening (based on his description of what he’d gleaned of the plot) and he objected to the “proper noun salad” of people, places and things and thought the prologue was pointless .

It was tough to read, particularly because I made an effort not to fall into the bad prologue trap or the info-dump trap. Disappointing. But I actually like critical reviews. You can learn a lot from them.

Jay Dee Archer

For my serious writing, I haven’t received anything particularly tough, but the one that popped up often was my tendency to use infodumps. I told too much, and didn’t show enough. That’s fair criticism, because I completely agreed. But as for some less serious writing, I once published a parody online when I was in university that made fun of the writing style of younger people who don’t seem to know grammar or spelling very well. It was well-received by a lot of readers, but it was completely bashed by one who thought I actually wrote that way. He didn’t realise it was a parody until after I told him.

How about you?

If you’re an author, what was the toughest criticism you’ve ever received? Let us know in the comments section below.