Why I Decided to Become a Writer

While I may not be making full-time living from my writing (yet), I’ve always known that writing was something I wanted to do. I knew, even as a kid (okay, maybe as an older teen) that getting published and writing as a full-time job wasn’t as easy as just spinning a few great yarns. A few years into actually being self-published, I realize it’s even harder than I’d thought—but it’s still worth it, and still something I plan to pursue for the rest of my life.

I have always had many varied interests in addition to writing, and so picking one thing to do as a “career” seemed kind of confining. For many years after I graduated college and had various jobs that didn’t relate at all to my English degree, I seriously contemplated a life and career path(s) other than that of writer. Right now my “job” is a vintage re-sale business, via Etsy and other venues.

So why did I pick “writer” anyway and decide to pursue that instead of some other viable career that might actually be somewhat stable and make me money?

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What to Bring to a Writer’s Conference

I’ve attended a few writers’ conferences over the years, and recently just got back from the first in-person one I’ve attended in over three years. It was great to be surrounded by so many writers! If you’ve never been to a writers’ conference, I encourage you to find one near you and attend. So what can you expect from a day or a weekend with other writers? Here are some quick tips that can help make your experience comfortable and fun.

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Happy New Year! Here We Go Again?

Yes, it’s a new year again. A new year full of hope and chances to start over. A new year full of goals, dreams, and plans. A new year to wonder how different life might become from what we imagined it would.

The past two years have sure thrown us all for a loop. Even those who haven’t lost jobs or loved ones have had their lives changed. Many would agree that this past year, and the year before that, weren’t the best years they’ve ever had.

And 2021, also, actually

But despite two years of changes that nobody wanted, I still choose to look on the new year with hope and positive expectation. And while this past year may not have been the greatest on record, I’m so grateful that I had some pretty amazing things happen.

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Strong Women of Fantasy: Elisa Maza

This is the next installment in my series about strong women characters in sci-fi and fantasy. My goal is to highlight some well-written female characters who are strong leaders, every bit equal to men, and yet still feminine.

Elisa Maza

I will begin by repeating that a strong female character is not a male character in a woman’s body. Women are inherently different in more than just biology, and those differences are important to portray well in fiction if a strong female character is to be believable. Yes, women can be warriors, leaders, and protectors (traditionally male attributes), just as men can be gentle, calming, and nurturing. But in a story, a strong female character needs to be so much more than just a gender-swapped man.

Many fantasy and sci-fi stories have an overwhelmingly male cast. All too often, the “token female” is just that—serving either as romance/sexual tension, and/or to simply say “this story is all about equality because look a woman.” In this post, I’ll be discussing the character of Elisa Maza from the 90s Disney TV cartoon Gargoyles. In this fantasy adventure story, the cast was, predictably, overwhelmingly male. Elisa may have initially stood out as the “token female,” but it was quickly apparent that she was to be a main character every bit as important as all the male humans and Gargoyles.

Elisa Maza, Police Detective 

Elisa starts out as a strong woman from the get-go, because she’s a New York City police officer. One can’t be a wimp if you’re a plain-clothes cop in the Big Apple. She’s determined, smart, and doesn’t back down when she knows she’s in the right—all traits of a strong woman. She refuses to be bullied (by human criminals or fantastical monsters), and though she uses her authority as a cop to get things done, she uses violence or her gun as a last resort. She also chooses to act rationally rather than react emotionally when faced with the shock of meeting living Gargoyles for the first time.

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A Glossary of Writerly Jargon, Part 2

Some time ago I wrote a post sharing some writerly jargon: terms that writers use that you may or may not be familiar with. To follow up on that post, here are a few more terms that you’ll likely encounter in the author world: 

In Medias Res 

Latin for “in the middle of things.” It means to start a scene or a story in the middle of the action. Not necessarily in the middle of a heated battle, but for example, in the middle of a conversation or the middle of some other activity that matters to the story. Stories that begin with the main character waking up, getting out of bed, eating breakfast, and so forth can get things off to a very slow start and you risk boring your reader with unimportant actions.

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Writing Technobabble: Z is for Zathras

Welcome to my guide on how to write technobabble! Every post will start with one letter of the alphabet, from A to Z, and cover tips and ideas for all you writers of sci-fi. Whether you’re writing about near-future science fiction, far-flung alien worlds, or historical steampunk adventures filled with advanced technology that never was – these posts are designed to help you write convincing and unique tech for your story! 

Z is for Zathras 

So what does Zathras mean? Zathras is a character from the TV show Babylon 5. He is an alien who helps to maintain the Great Machine—an ancient and advanced piece of tech on the otherwise-desolate planet that the Babylon 5 space station orbits.

For this particular A to Z Challenge about technobabble, what Zathras represents goes along with the “X” and “Y” posts. He represents something “other” and strange, and he represents the author just plain having fun with worldbuilding. Zathras is a comical yet enigmatic character who is not very good at explaining how his tech works (or explaining anything, really); but he is wise, intelligent in his own way, and masterful at building and fixing advanced tech, even if he can’t explain how it works.

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