Sunday, September 14, 2014

100-Word Sci-Fi: "Act of Aggression"

Every week, I write a hundred-word story inspired by a random word. This week's word is "smile."

Act of Aggression
by Nigel G. Mitchell

Glenn Roberts looked up at the judge, who glared down at him with six narrowed eyes.

"You are charged with threatening a High Lord of the Mitandi, which calls for death. However, I believe your display of teeth is your people's gesture of friendship known as a smile. Therefore, I sentence you to ten hours of cultural sensitivity training."

"Thank you, Supreme Justice," Glenn sighed, and smiled.

The judge lunged to his feet. "What? You dare threaten me, a Supreme Justice? The sentence is death! Immediately!"

Glenn screamed as the courtroom roared in outrage, and the soldiers descended on him.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Psychology of Abandoned Books

I've started a lot of books in my life, but I haven't finished all of them. I think every reader has abandoned a book at some point in their lives. Goodreads put together a great infographic on the most abandoned books of all time, and some of the reasons why. Having read Moby Dick and Catch-22, I'm not surprised they're on this list.

The Psychology of Abandoned Books


What books have you abandoned and why?

[Via pinterest.com]

Sunday, September 7, 2014

100-Word Sci-Fi: "Trash Day"

Every week, I write a hundred word story inspired by a random word. Today's word is "garbage."

Trash Day
by Nigel G. Mitchell

Matt Woodland scowled. "Why do I have to take out the trash again?"

Veronica held out a trash bag with a green arm hanging out of it. "I'm the one cleaning up these things. The least you can do is take them out to the curb."

Matt sighed, grabbed the bag, and trudged out the front door.

On the street, all his neighbors were out shoveling up the bodies of dead aliens left over from the invasion.

Matt tossed his bag onto the huge mountain stacked on the curb. He shook his head. "You never see this in the movies."

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

100-Word Sci-Fi: "The Price of Gas"

Every week, I write a hundred-word story inspired by a random word. This week's word is "gas."
Source: Wikimedia
The Price of Gas 
by Nigel G. Mitchell

Natalie Castillo watched the gas station attendant approach the bus driver, and held her daughter Liz tighter.

"That's ten gallons," the attendant growled. "How do you plan to pay for this?"

The bus driver looked over his shoulder at Natalie. He nodded.

The hands of the other passengers seized Natalie's arms and shoulders. She screamed as more hands wrenched her daughter out of her grasp.

The driver grabbed Liz by the neck and shoved her out of the passenger side door. As the bus headed across the desolate sands once more, the shrieks of her daughter faded into the wind.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

100-Word Sci-Fi: "Panacea"

Every week, I write a hundred word story inspired by a random word. This week's word is "afflict."

Panacea
by Nigel G. Mitchell

One of the aliens faced the others in the command center. "It is done."

A second alien asked, "And the humans suspect nothing?"

"Not at all. We have provided the drug they call panacea, and their tests confirm it will cure all known diseases within twenty-four hours. Governments are rushing to approve panacea, thinking it will revolutionize their medical care. They have not detected the virus in the drug that will infect anyone who takes it. Only when their children are born sterile will they discover the truth, when it is too late. Within a generation, humanity will be extinct."

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

5 Dumbest Rejections I've Ever Gotten From Publishers

Before I started self-publishing my books, I tried the traditional route of submitting work to publishers. I got a lot of form letters in return. I also got the occasional letter from editors who actually commented on why they rejected my stories. Some of them were very helpful and I used to improve my writing. Others were downright bizarre. Here are five that stood out to me.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Stephen King Bingo Card




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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Why William Gibson Confuses Me

Neuromancer is one of my favorite novels, but I know it's not for everyone. William Gibson is one of those writers who makes his writing as dense and symbolic as possible. A perfect example is the very first line of the novel, "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."

I know people who love that line, but I always found it bewildering. I always thought he meant "gray," but that doesn't work. A dead channel doesn't have a single color - static isn't gray. With static, the color varies from black to gray. The sky can't literally be the color of static, unless you looked up in the sky and saw clouds flickering like static. So to me, this analogy is strained to the breaking point.

I also got a chuckle out of a chapter in The Difference Engine where he starts out describing a character's cellular structure and keeps expanding outwards to internal organs until it finally turned out he described a woman taking a bath. There's absolutely no reason for him to describe her biology, because it's not relevant to the story. He just decided to do that for reasons known only to himself.

TL:DR - Some of Gibson's writing sucks.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

10 Links for Readers and Writers, including 30th Neuromancer Anniversary

Baby Got Books! (via Reddit)
1. 30 Years of William Gibson's Neuromancer - A retrospective on the highly influential cyberpunk novel. (via Kirkus)

2. Writing Emotion: Does Your Hero Shrug, Smile & Frown Too Much? - Writers tend to fall back on some obvious character tags like smiling and frowning. I'm guilty, too. (via Writers Helping Writers)

3. Rise Up from Science Fiction Monoculture! - There tends to be a certain stereotype of militaristic science fiction, but this article goes over some books that broke the mold (via The Tyee)

4. Amazon launches Netflix-like service for books - Amazon proves that Netflix-style book reading is the future with Kindle Unlimited. (via TIME)

5. Street Teams: The Fraudster-author's Indie Publishing Secret Weapon - I've seen other authors using "street teams" and never thought much of it, but this author has a serious beef with the ethical implications of them. (via Witch Rants)

6. Amazon's 10 Best Books for Children - There are some classics on this list. (Via Huffington Post)

7. My Advice to Aspiring Authors - You've probably seen advice successful authors give to new authors, but you've never seen frank and realistic advice like this. (via Hugh Howey)

8. Personality Tests for Your Characters - I don't care for personality tests, but Psychology Today has found a use for them: fleshing out your characters. (via Psychology Today)

9. 21 Books That Changed Science Fiction And Fantasy Forever - Hitchhiker's Guide is number one, so you know I love this list. (via io9)

10. Love knows no color: Interracial romance novels find growing audience and acceptance - I don't read romance, but diversity in any genre is a good thing (via TIME)

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Monday, July 28, 2014

The Writer's Cheat Sheet to Body Language

Some of us are observant and cautious and people-watch and know intimate details of body language to include in our stories. And some of us have no clue how to describe a character's emotional state except to say "he was angry." And some of us are in-between. No matter what kind of writer you are, this cheat sheet from Archetype Writing will come in handy. It's a collection of emotional states, and body language to use in all situations.


[Via  imgur]

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