Five Things I Learned in the Age of the Typewriter

This is essentially my philosophy. And I too got started on a typewriter…

Kobo Writing Life

by Barbara G. Tarn

Next year I’ll celebrate 40 years of stories. I stopped counting before the indie revolution and I was already over 500 titles, with less than 10 unfinished.

Before you ask: yes, they suck. No, I will never publish most of those stories, although I did throw the very first in a couple of books, because I wanted to show bad writing and I didn’t know how to show that except by using my own beginner writing.

I’m not even rewriting most of those stories, just keeping them as background or world-building if it’s SFF, especially if I wrote them last century. Of course all were unpublished, since I started putting my work out there only in 2011 and joined KWL at its inception in 2012.

Barbara’s global sales via her Kobo Writing Life Dashboard map #KWLMap

So, what did I learn at the time of the…

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WriteTip: When You Get Stuck, You Just Keep Going

last-tomorrowWriting -any creative endeavor, really – is all about giving yourself permission to fail.

Now, in one sense, that’s idiotic and ridiculous. The purpose of art is not to make something that’s bad. It’s not to allow something that’s bad to enter the market. The purpose of art is to make something that people respond to in some way, either by giving you money for it or by offering criticism on it. Creating something that will do neither is a waste of time and energy.

So I don’t mean that. What I mean is, when you’re working on something, and you’re not sure if you have a way forward, and you start looking at it like it’s some wriggling obscene bastard creation of hubris and wishful thinking, you may be tempted to scrap the thing and move on.

This is what you should not do. You should finish it. You should keep going. You should say to yourself the magic words:

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I Don’t Know If This Means Anything…

…but I have been collecting followers on Tablo at a fairly rapid clip. Without too much promotion on social media, either. I’m going to chalk that up to the work appealing on some level.

The last chapter of The Devil Left Him is started. I can still finish if I sit down and make it happen. I’ve also started the next chapter of Last Tomorrow and outlined the next chapter of Void.

Somebody on Tablo liked Void. I feel like good news is breaking out all over.

Time in Space

One of the sci-fi novellas I’m working on right now, Void, has a theme about space travel and the hell it plays with time. When I wrote Solar System Blues, I avoided this by making the ship in question travel at below-light velocity, and deliberately making the voyage a long one. Even then, the fact that Burton had been in space for 30 years straight had consequences for his character.

But ever since Einstein, the idea has been that faster-than-light travel would warp time around a vessel, so someone would seem to travel to Alpha Centauri quickly would discover upon his return that many years had transpired on Earth.

In such a system, people who traveled in space professionally would be a breed apart from the rest of humanity, quickly cut off from their familial roots. They’d have to develop their own culture merely to have any sense of themselves. That’s part of what is animating the ennui that Lang, my protagonist in Void, suffers.

I’m not hitting this too hard, because I’m not well-versed enough in space-time physics. It’s just there in the background, humanity cut off by the cold empty distances from its home.

Why it’s called Void should be clear. Read the first two chapters for free on Tablo.

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Somebody Translated Descartes’ Meditations into Bro-Speak

That someone calls himself Philosophy Bro, and the book: Descartes Meditations, Bro.

It features a side-by-side translate, so you have the 1901 English Translation, and the Bro-Speak on the facing page. You know, like the Seamus Heaney Beowulf or Pinsky’s translation of The Inferno (both of which you should read, because they’re awesome).

I just wanted it noted for the record that we are translating early 20th-century academic English into early 21st-century Vulgate English. Just in case anyone should try to tell you that the classics are dead.