Tag Archives: writing

Writing Exercise Based on Minecraft

I’ve become a bit of a fan of Minecraft, thanks to my daughter. I enjoy the creative aspect of it, and have challenged myself to build multiple towns and even cities. Not only do I play the game, I record myself doing so. If you want to see my successes and failures, you can check out my channel. It’s called Dad Plays Minecraft for obvious reasons. I play Minecraft, my daughter is not involved.

So, I’m an adult who plays Minecraft. Aren’t I too old for a game like this? Well, I wrote an article on gamers.media (part of vocal.media) about this, and I’d like you to tell me what you think about it in the comments below. That will explain why I play it, and why I think it’s perfectly fine for adults to play it.

But the purpose of this post is to talk about writing. Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about writing for the first time in a long time on this blog. Sounds like I’m reviving it, doesn’t it? I had this idea for a while now, and I’ve found that I keep thinking about a background story and lore for my Minecraft world. It’s a fantasy story, and I’ve been thinking about writing a series on this blog in a diary/journal style related to each episode of my video series. Not only can you watch the video, but you can read what the character is writing in a journal about his journey and adventures. In a way, it reminds me of Myst.

I’d like to know what you think of this idea, as I’d love to see it get off the ground and turn into an interesting first person account of his life in a strange, wonderful world. Let me know in the comments section below what you think of this idea.

Writing and Editing Services on Fiverr

Has anyone ever used Fiverr for anything? It’s a great way to find cheap and quick services for just about anything, from creating logos to getting voiceovers to editing services. Well, I’ve joined Fiverr.

I’m now offering a couple of services. One is blog and article writing. With my experience in blogging and writing articles, if you’d like my services, then please check out my gig on writing.

The other service is proofreading and editing. I will track edits, correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and smooth out those awkward sentences. I will not change content or tone, though. I’ve had plenty of experience editing and proofreading in my time as an English teacher, as we offered those services. I have edited a book (and parts of other books), magazine articles, and even scientific papers. My offers are for 1000, 2000, or 5000 word documents, though it can be customized. And since I’m familiar with both American and British spelling, I can adapt to either one. So, if you’re interested in my proofreading and editing services, check out that gig.

I’m dedicated to doing these jobs accurately and with a quick turnaround time.

E Is for Environment Minister

Silly days of the week. They go sequentially don’t they? I missed a day yesterday, and posted The Doctor just before this post. But this one is on time!

For the A to Z Challenge, we move on to the letter E, and while there is an engineer in this story, it focuses more on the Environment Minister. But the engineer is a recurring character while the Environment Minister is not. And this is where things start to heat up! So, let’s find out what happened and you can also see what was going on in my head when I wrote this part:

If you want to keep up with the story on my YouTube channel, then please consider subscribing! And let me know what you thought about this part of the story.

D Is for Doctor

The alphabet is easy. The fourth letter is D. And it’s pretty easy to figure out a job that starts with D.

Last time, our carpenter had a mishap, and so he had to have someone check over his injury. Here is the Doctor! No, not from Doctor Who, but an actual medical doctor.

So, we continue the A to Z Challenge with the letter D and The Doctor. Check out the video of me reading my story, and then I talk a bit about some of the background.

If you’re interested in keeping up with the story as I release it, then please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel! I talk a lot about books, reading, writing, and even some science fiction. And let me know what you think in the comments below.

C Is for Carpenter

Part 3 is here for my reading of Ariadne! The letter C stands for Carpenter.

If you remember from my previous posts, I participated in the A to Z Challenge three years ago, and I wrote a flash fiction series based on the letters of the alphabet, each part representing a different profession. For the letter C, I chose carpenter.

On my YouTube channel, I decided to read the stories out and then discuss various aspects on what was going through my mind while I was writing. Who are the characters? What’s revealed about the world and my inspiration? Well, find out in the video!

If you have any comments, then please let me know down below.

B Is for Botanist

Oops! I missed a day. But here it is, this is part 2 of the Ariadne flash fiction series I did three years ago for the A to Z Challenge! You can see the full list of stories here.

In this part, I read the story, “The Botanist.” I also discuss the main character, Malika Said, and a bit more about the tree. Find out what I have to say about my writing thought process in the video:

If you’d like to keep up with the videos on my YouTube channel, then please consider subscribing.

And let me know what you thought about this part!

A Is for Artist

No April Fools today. I actually am going to do a blog post every day this month. Sounds like the old days!

Starting today, I’m sort of doing the A to Z Challenge, but in video form. The first part of the flash fiction series I did three years ago is up! It’s called “The Artist.” Enjoy!

I’ll be posting a new video every day, and if you’d like to keep up to date on YouTube, you can subscribe to my channel.

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.

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.

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.