Tag Archives: Writing

Foolish Promises

It’s only taken 24 hours and I’ve already realized that my promise to write a blog post every day was a foolish, empty promise at best.

I cannot help but self-censor myself a bit. If I have nothing burning to say, why force myself to say it? Too many people have to speak out just to hear themselves speak. Perhaps it drowns out the sound of the rushing of wind between the ears?

Let’s then explore a related topic: What is the urge that makes me want to promise to write something every day? I have, I feel at times, a compulsive urge to create things.

Not things like new Ikea furniture or a tray of shortbread, but the desire to make things wrought entirely from my own mind. It’s a strange compulsion, seldom accompanied by an actual idea, but with a rather helpless sense of longing. It often strikes me while driving on my way home from work.

I used to get that sense of creation from coding computer programs, although nowadays modern programming languages are more about cobbling together blocks than raw creativity – it rather feels like the Ikea of programming. Perhaps I’m just burned out on it. In my teens and 20s, like so many others, I could spend 20 hours a day fueled by Cheetos and Dr Pepper whilst spewing stream of consciousness programming onto the screen.

Now I feel like I should be doing proper writing. Have I got the great American novel in me? I don’t feel that I do. My taste runs towards rather old-school science fiction. Perhaps if this were the classic days of pulp science fiction, I’d be right at home in good company – cranking out straightforward but ridiculous stories of life on Venus and, with a little luck, turning my ability to produce bullshit into a world-wide, tax-avoiding religion.

Ah, but I can dare to dream!

No. The plots, when they do come to mind, get quickly rejected by being scientifically impossible. It seems entertaining science fiction is dead because of the reality check. Damn you physicists and your “speed of light is inviolable” and “the electronic transmission of matter over a beam is impossible”!

You can only write old-style science fiction nonsense if you’re being quirky and ironic.

But wait! I am quirky and ironic!

There might be some hope yet.

E-Books and My Novel – an Unlikely Combination

I’ve been doing some testing today on the iBook e-reader that Apple provides for the iPad. I’ve not-so-much been testing the reading experience, but testing the capabilities for outside material.

You can, of course, buy books directly from Apple’s iBookstore and they even have a selection of free e-books – of exactly the kind you’d expect from Project Gutenberg – but you’re not limited to e-books strictly from the iBookstore. Apple has chose to use the epub standard. so I thought I’d give that a test.

First, I went to epubbooks.com and downloaded a free book. By simply dropping it in iTunes, it transferred to my iPad on the next synch. No glitches.

Next, I was working on a programming project and I needed to consult the online, PDF manual. Of course, I could have easily brought the PDF up on the iPad, but I remembered that some people used software to convert PDFs to epubs. I downloaded a piece of software called Calibre and soon had my PDF document converted to epub. The results were passable, although the PDF conversion didn’t always get the pages or pictures formatted correctly.

I also used Calibre to convert and RSS feed into an e-book with mixed results. My own blog came out near picture perfect, but a friends apparently upset the applecart and the whole thing came out an unreadable mess.

IMG_0121Finally, I took a Fusion Patrol novel I started writing last year and converted it to an e-book. Like some many other writing projects, I made it about a third of the way through and got distracted from finishing it. For a lark, rather than just checking out how well it had formatted, I decided to read it end to end.

I don’t know how other people interact with their writing, but for me, writing is somewhere between a torturous chore to a matter of necessity. There are times when I just must write, but then as the steam wears off, it becomes painful to continue.

Then comes the second-guessing phase. After a certain period of time, if I go back and re-read my earlier works I usually find (A) typos and (B) that I hate what I wrote.

IMG_0122But every once in a while, I look back and I say, “Hey, that’s not bad.” and so it was with Fusion Patrol: The Penny Dreadful (working title). I actually like what I wrote.

It looks good as an e-book, too. Consider this to be a “sample”.

Now I have to finish it.