Authors Answer 79 – Concentration Killers

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

In an ideal world, authors would be able to concentrate in any situation, any place. But it’s not ideal, and there are situations that completely kill our concentration. But everyone is different. Everyone has a different tolerance for noise, cold, heat, light, and so on.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 79 – What are the worst things that can break your concentration while writing?

Jean Davis

Having written through raising two children,  I can consider a lot of annoying sounds white noise, but video games, especially those with loud background noises and my husband playing guitar seem to be the worst offenders for things I have a hard time blocking out. Thank goodness for earplugs.

H. Anthe Davis

Just about anything can break my concentration when writing.  Noises like people talking in the hall, cars passing in the street, music…  I wear headphones the whole time I write, but I don’t listen to anything…

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On Spoilers, Plot Twists, and Audience Entitlement

This is a rant about Game of Thrones, but probably not for the reason you expect. Spoilers will follow.

There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding whether Jon Snow lives or dies. That question was finally answered in last Sunday’s episode after over a year of buildup. Congrats, fans, he’s still alive. This was enough to piss people off.

I’m sure there are plenty of fans of the show who didn’t like Jon and wanted to see him offed. I’m sure that scene in last season’s finale was satisfying for them, and the latest episode was a letdown. I get that. This post isn’t really about those fans though.

There are the fans who listened to producers when they insisted Jon was dead and would stay dead. They kept an eye on the set to see if Jon would be there. They actively sought out spoilers for the show and got angry when they found they were deceived. I remember comments from randoms on Facebook, outraged that the producers “lied right to our faces.” Now Kit Harington is apologizing to fans for his part in the deception.

Wait, what?

This is a fandom that simultaneously frowns upon spoilers and demands them from the showrunners. How does this make sense? Why should the cast and crew from a TV show tell you what’s going to happen in the next season before it airs? Why should they apologize for not ruining the suspense they were trying to create?

This is like GRRM’s fans bitching at him to put out books because audience interest constitutes a contract. The showrunners may make a living off of entertainment, but that doesn’t make them subject to your whims and demands.

Why can’t we just watch a show and enjoy it?

A Goodreads Mix-up.

I haven’t been on Goodreads in a while. I catch updates from some groups I’m in but hadn’t logged in until tonight. And now I’m regretting not catching an issue sooner.

If you look at my author page, you’ll find (apart from my own glacial reading progress) four books under my name. Only one of them was written by me, and that of course was Jasper. I’m not nearly prolific enough to have written four books. I’m still working on my second!

So I can’t seem to fix the mix-up on my end, but I’ve written notes to other librarians in hopes that someone more competent than I can make new author pages for these other Elizabeths.

I had no idea my pen name was so popular.

Authors Answer 78 – When Authors Get Superpowers

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Writing isn’t easy. Crafting a story is a difficult process. But we’re only human, so mistakes may be made. We’re not perfect. But what if we had superpowers? Not like superheroes, but literary superpowers. What would an author like to have as a superpower?

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 78 – If you could have a literary superpower, what special ability would you like to have that would help your writing?

S. R. Carrillo

The power to instantly read any revision with fresh eyes. I have a tendency to think of my own writing as droll and dull after reading it over and over and over and over. It’s only after I’ve spent months away from a manuscript – usually spent working on a different manuscript in the meantime – that I get to see what I’ve written is actually exciting and engaging and emotional and GOOD.

If I could cut out the long…

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It’s Been a While.

And as I type this, it’s 9:30 on Thursday evening. I notice a pattern in that I’m posting something around this time if at all, and I’m not sure if this is the best time of day to be noticed. That’s why I’ve scheduled the post, and you’re reading it sometime after 10am on Friday.

Honestly I haven’t been doing much of anything to share. A lot of playing Dark Souls and wasting time on Reddit. Not the best use of my time, but there it is. My writing slipped, and that’s something I want to get back on track because it’s one thing that’s sure to help with my bouts of depression.

But there’s some good news! Back in March I had my flash story Swamp Gas accepted by a Australia-based magazine called Antipodean SF. It’s sitting pretty in their 212th issue right now, available for free. They also have an accompanying podcast, and Swamp Gas was featured  on April 23. Have a listen!

It’s back to writing now. If I can only figure out what to write…

Authors Answer 69 – Unusual Comments and Requests

What’s the strangest comment you’ve ever received online?

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

The more well-known an author gets, the more likely they’ll receive some interesting comments or requests by email or on their blog or website. Some may be lucky to get totally sane comments, others may get totally crazy requests. This is what we’ve received.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 69 – As a writer or blogger, what was the most unusual request or comment you’ve received?

D. T. Nova

I don’t think I’ve gotten either a comment or a specific request that was really unusual. (Unless you count spam comments, which can be hilarious when they aren’t just unreadable.) Or a specific request at all.

I got a comment from someone who didn’t like Oreos. That was really unusual.

Eric Wood

I wish I could say I’ve received from strange and unusual requests or comments, But I can’t. Or at least not truthfully. I sure can’t wait to read what the other authors share…

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When Reality Meets Fiction.

Twice in recent times, news stories surfaced that relate to one of my works in progress.

I was working on a short story set on Mars when NASA discovered liquid water. That specific site became the setting for my story “Martian Soil,” which is about a Martian terraforming attempt going awry. It’s in the submissions process now.

Now I’m working on a short story about a robot named SAM that serves as an assistant for an elderly couple. It has an unpleasant encounter with some neighborhood boys that leaves it severely damaged.

Enter Atlas. It’s a robot created by Boston Dynamics that has better balance than previous models and the ability to pick itself up after falling down. The video shows it being pushed around and knocked over by humans. I immediately thought of SAM and what it goes through during my story.

They say art tends to imitate life, but not often do we expect life to imitate our art. When has this happened to you?

Authors Answer 68 – Authors Research the Strangest Things

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to research?

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Authors appear to be very intelligent, don’t they? Well, a lot of the knowledge they’ve gained for writing is through research. And there are some bizarre topics that they’ve researched. I’m sure you’d be surprised, amused, or horrified if you went through an author’s Google search history. But don’t worry, it’s all for the book!

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 68 – What are some of the most unusual things you’ve researched for your writing?

Allen Tiffany

Whether or not a dual star system can have a planet orbiting one of the stars. There seems to be one line of thinking that it can be done if the planet’s orbit is at a 90 degree angle to the plane on which the two stars orbit each other. I also saw an article that said it was not possible, and tried to explain why with mathematical equations. I gave up trying to understand it, and…

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Authors Answer 65 – Convince Me to Read Your Genre

What’ll it take to get you to read science fiction/fantasy?

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

You know the kind of person who says they don’t like your favourite genre, even though they’ve never read it before? The kind of person who says, “Oh, that’s stupid. Why would anyone read it?” I’m sure you’ve met a few. I know I have. If you are one of those people, these answers are for you!

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 65 – What would you say to someone to convince them to read the genre you write in?

S. R. Carrillo

“Gay angel.” No, seriously. You’d be surprised what an uncommon word combination can do to intrigue someone. And it sums up my genre pretty well, I’d say – queer fantasy. One and done.

Gregory S. Close

If someone is convinced that they don’t like genre x,y or z then it’s hard to convince them to try it.  I’ve found the better approach is to find out what kind of stories a…

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