Being a Better Writer: Repetitive Ticks That “Don’t Exist”

Welcome back readers! I hope you’re doing better this Monday than I am. As I am still sick. On the mend, thankfully, and I’ll be picking up some Nyquil today to at last give this cough the boot, but it’s been tenacious in hanging on.

Anyway, before I get to today’s topic, I do have one news topic to bring up: Thanksgiving and the Black Friday Sale.

Midnight on Thursday, and running through the next week, most of my lexicon of books will be getting in on the Black Friday sale goodness! If you’ve been holding out on a particular title, this will be the time to grab it! Or if you’re looking for a good Christmas gift for the reader in your family … this is it!

There’s only one catch. Due to Amazon’s bizarre handling of international digital markets, the sale isn’t consistent across all countries. Sorry. But I’ve done my best to put as many of my books as I can on a sale if possible.

And a steep on, too. We’re talking 50% off or more. Even for new books like Shadow of an Empire or classics like Colony. I’ll post more about it as the day approached, but for now? Set your alarms and get ready. If you know folks hunting for a deal or looking for Christmas gifts, let them know!

Okay, with that bit of news out of the way, let’s talk about repetitive ticks that don’t exist. With a title topic like that, I’d expect that a bunch of you are expecting me to talk about “Saidisms” and other repetitive words, but … nope! I’ve already talked about that. You can find that post here.

So then, what’s this post about? Well, it’s a curious one, but as the title says, I’m talking about repetitive ticks that don’t exist.

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A Note About Broken YouTube Links

So occasionally I’ll check outgoing links on my site from the control panel I’ve got, just to see what people are following, or in the case of YouTube links, watching. Sometimes I’ll use YouTube to show a video that serves as a good example of something.

However, in the last few weeks I’ve noticed that some of these links go to YouTube videos that no longer exist. Which … is fair. YouTube is changing a lot of its rules and operating terms lately, and channels are being shuffled around or closed off as it happens. It’s the internet. Things come and go.

But personally, I’d rather fix those broken links if possible. There’s simply one catch: My stats page doesn’t tell me what page sent my readers to that YouTube link, nor does YouTube tell me what the name of the removed video was (which would at least give me a clue). Thus, the only way for me to know what link could be bad would be to hunt through every single post on this site (which is several years’ worth) looking.

This … is not feasible. I don’t have that kind of time. And nor do you. But that doesn’t mean it’s without hope.

So open call: If you happen to be using the resources here and find a broken link? Just post a comment letting me know, and I’ll see about fixing it ASAP. Don’t feel a need to go hunting for them. Just … if you see one, I’ll see about fixing it. Or, if I can no longer find it, I’ll make that known in the original post.

Simple and straightforward. If you find something that’s broken and you feel like letting me know, do, and I’ll see about fixing it.

Over and out! I’ve got writing on Hunter/Hunted to do!

“A Game of Stakes” Beta Call!

Sorry this is a bit late, but the Beta Call for A Game of Stakes has been sent out … almost a week ago? Crud, yes, it was a week ago. If you’ve been a Beta Reader in the past, check your e-mail inbox! I’m going to try and have this one polished up by this weekend, next at the latest to get it in early before the submission deadline.

Check you inboxes. That’s all I’ve got today!

Being a Better Writer: Self-Deceiving Characters

Hello readers! How was your weekend? Get any good reading in? I did. Working my way through Jack Campbell’s second Lost Fleet series, which has been good fun. Spoilers, but he has an interesting approach to alien life.

Anyway, there’s not much in the way of news (outside of the Beta Call for A Game of Stakes having gone out a couple of days ago, so check your inboxes) so we’re going to jump right to today’s topic. Which, by the way, is a companion piece to a Being a Better Writer post a month or so back on Ambiguous stories and characters.

See, over the course of that post it became clear that there was one aspect which needed its own time set aside. Sure, we can have a plot, events, or characters that is ambiguous or deceptive to the reader, and even to other characters through lack of information, the wrong information, or even the wrong position (all of which, if memory serves, came up in that other post), but what about a character who is ambiguous about things because they themselves refuse to acknowledge them. As in, well, the title today: A character that deliberately deceives themselves?

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The Gears of War Tabletop Report: Finale

So, you guys may have forgotten about this, but once upon a time on this site I did a small series talking about my experiences running a custom ruleset tabletop game for, of all things, a game based off of Microsoft’s Gears of War. Ultimately I stopped doing the session reports because they were digging into my time a little too much (I needed to be writing more important things, like the next book and whatnot), but the sessions themselves didn’t stop.

Until this last Tuesday, that is. Tuesday evening was the final session of the campaign. I won’t say it was a great one, because it was my first time being a DM, and it was a completely custom system that I built and had to do on-the-fly adjustments to … but there were definite fun moments and our team did have some good times.

So how did it end? Well, the players managed to prevent a surviving faction of UIR soldiers from setting off an experimental heavy-metal bomb (atomics, something the Gears universe isn’t very familiar with) in the middle of the COG defensive line on the Jacinto Plateau. Basically, they almost died, but saved the day, and in the end, were rewarded with a ship—something they’d been looking for all campaign. Sure, they had to fight for it, but with a gratuitous selection of high-powered weaponry, the players were able to find it, defend it, and then lay waste to everything that approached while loading it up.

The best campaign ever? Not by a long shot. But … they did have fun. And I did too.

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Being a Better Writer: Scale, Scope, and Ideas

Welcome back readers. How was your weekend? Was it good?

Mine was. A Game of Stakes is going into Beta Reading this week thanks to my Saturday, so it’s one step closer to being done! I’m going to try and polish the Alpha off today, which was going to be yesterday, but  … Well, I had a work shift. And for the moment, Being a Better Writer takes precedence. Sorry for the delay, however.

Also, one other bit of cool news. I’m not sure about the internet etiquette for this scenario, so hopefully I don’t mess it up, but I’ve started getting hits from Wikipedia? Why? Being a Better Writer is being used as a source reference!

Again, not sure of the etiquette here. I only just noticed because I started seeing referral links from Wikipedia but … hey, cool! One further notch in “look how far I’ve come!”

Sands, maybe someday I’ll have a Wikipedia page dedicated to it or something. I’d not thought about that angle until this moment. Kind of an awesome thought.

I’d best get to work on building a future where that can happen, then! So, with news out of the way, let’s talk about ideas and scale.

This one is … an interesting topic. One that was brought about, as many of my topics are, by reading. In this case, it was reading two Science Fiction books, unrelated outside of genre, back-to-back and looking deeply at why I enjoyed one so much more than the other. After thinking about it for a time and letting my mind run across a large number of different traits and possible reasons, it was reading a third book that finally made things click in my head. And when it clicked, it clicked.

It has to do with scale and scope, plus ideas, and how those are brought about in your story.

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Colony Keywords and Patreon Rewards

Hey readers! I’m making a quick news posts on two topics of interest before diving back into editing work on A Game of Stakes. Read through them both! I promise they’ll be short and one comes with cool feedback potential!

First, since it’s quickest, the October Patreon Reward is live on Patreon. If you’re a supporter of $1 a month or more, you’re getting a sneak peek at … the first two chapters of The Dusk Guard Saga: Hunter/Hunted! That’s in addition to the prologue teaser that went up two months ago. All you need to do to see either of them is be a supporter ($1 or more), so if you are, head on over and check the preview out!

Now, that other topic. Colony keywords? What am I talking about? Well, I’ve got a bit of a request of you readers of Colony.

Amazon Advertising works by lining up keywords with folks’ interests and searches. Things like “Sci-Fi” for example. Or names of similar authors. The more keywords a book has that are representative of it, the better and more focused your advertising is.

Now, I’ve gone through and given Colony‘s advertising a decent list of keywords. But I’m curious, what keywords would you readers choose to describe Colony? Post a comment and let me know what comes to mind. I’m curious to see what keywords you guys come up with that my own view missed!

And with that, it’s time to edit!