The Role of “Magic” in Speculative Fiction

I’ve been thinking about the role of magic/advanced technology in both Science Fiction and Fantasy writing. In both genres it can define a major aspect of the story world. Or it can be part of the sideshow accompanying the main plot. Either way, to have speculative fiction there needs to be something to speculate about. This usually done by projecting forward (advanced technology) or drawing from legends past (magic), if it gets scary along the way we call it horror.

Rounding Out a Mobile Workflow

A few days ago I made mention of how my writing has migrated towards a mobile-first workflow. Three things have made this possible: the Ulysses app, a foldable keyboard, and a wireless flash drive. (PS—I’m not listing the iPad, because everything listed here also works on a iPhone.) SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick I have the 32GB version. This might seem odd to be listed first, but it’s one of those things that makes it possible to connect a wireless-by-nature device like an iPad to a wired world.

Revisiting RTF export

After writing about the trouble with RTF export from iOS apps earlier this week, I took some time to do some in depth testing today. The results were not as good as I’d hoped. I found a few major holes in my plan to use Zoho Writer for RTF export. Starting with a story I just sent out, I went through the entire export process of generating a RTF file to submit.

Patching the RTF Hole in Ulysses

I recently wrote about how the Ulysses app removed RTF support in favor of DOCX. Overall this opened up file compatibility options with a wide range of apps. I’ve been mostly happy with the change exactly because of this—on the Mac. On iOS it’s something different entirely. Why RTF Rich Text Format is the universal translator language for online fiction publishing. Most all magazines accept it, with some preferring it exclusively.

A Few Thoughts on Covering Campaign Rallies

In March, before the Arizona primaries, all of the major candidates passed through the state. Well except for John Kasich, who seemed only marginally interested in campaigning outside of this home state. Both Clintons, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump all held events in the week before the election. For me it produced a bumper crop of political photos. Earlier this week I found out that Saturday might be the last time a presidential candidate visits Arizona during this election cycle.

New Tool: Workflow for iOS

  I’ve started to do a significant amount of work on a new iPad, and Workflow is the best $2 I think I’ve spent so far. It has the potential to build an almost unlimited number of workflows which are scripts that can do most anything. I think its most important feature is to act as a lubricant to ease over the rough spots inherent in iOS. I’d best describe it as a Swiss Army knife that you build for yourself.

Back on the Submission Hamster Wheel

Or back in the saddle again. Whichever you prefer. Regardless, I’ve started to submit my stories again. I put one in with Daily Science Fiction this morning. It’s 865 words of paranormal cop-show goodness. This feels like a turning point for me. One where I can get back to writing, with a better idea of the mechanics of putting a story together. I don’t know how big the slush pile at DSF is, but hopefully I’ll have a response soon enough.

Writing Books 101: Story Engineering

In theory, writing is easy. You type one word after another until the story is finished. But somehow it doesn’t work out that way in practice. At least for me, as someone who’s never had any significant writing instruction, the scope of a large project can be daunting. All the writing classed I’ve ever taken have been focused on short works. From high school creative writing, the classes it took to get junior college requirements out of the way, a few online college classes in short stories and non-fiction articles, and none were focused on work over 1500 words.

Blast from the Past

Sometimes you run across a family photo that makes you wish you knew your parents when they were young. This is also one of the only two photos I have of my grandfather. They’re sitting in a hotrod my father build from scratch in 1954. My mother and grandfather in a homemade flathead Ford powered hotrod. One annoying thing about scanning old photos, is that they’re never square to the paper.

Blog-a-day Summary, May 2016

feature-img This was my own little experiment on how posting every (week)day for the month of May would go. I didn’t say anything about it before starting because I honestly didn’t know if I could keep up the pace. If you look back over May’s post, you might notice they’re all either technical with screenshots or photo-themed with multiple images, and all had featured images attached. Putting in the time to prepare each post took a significant chunk out of each day.