(Updated) Advice for Aspiring Writers!

(Updated) Advice for Aspiring Writers!

Good morning! There’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time now but never got around to it. And that is, share some tidbits of wisdom that I have learned over the years about writing. Most of these tidbits are things I learned from people who really knew what they were talking about, so I was sure to listen! Some others are just things I concluded along the way.

And wouldn’t you know it, the list has grown to include another important item since I originally scrawled them down. In any case, almost twenty years after I began writing, I’ve managed to condense the most important lessons I’ve learned down to six main tips. Here they are…

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Behold! The Venus Calendar!

Behold! The Venus Calendar!

Recently, I learned that there’s an actual Martian calendar, known as the Darian Calendar. It was crafted by aerospace engineer Thomas Gangale in 1985, who named it after his son Darius. It was also adopted by the Mars Society in 1998 and will be the official calendar of Martian settlers (if and when permanent settlements are built on Mars someday).

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Revitalizing an Old Idea: Thirteenth

Revitalizing an Old Idea: Thirteenth

It came to me when I was in University and eventually grew to become the seed of my very first written work. It was intended to become part of a series called Legacies, and I had big plans for it. I even wrote a few short stories over the years that were part of this fictional universe. However, as years passed and I became more committed to hard science fiction, I fell out of love with the series. Since it was my first effort, I also felt that the writing was amateurish and needed serious polishing.

But the other day, I found myself musing about the seed. It wasn’t a bad idea, and I could still recall the sense of inspiration I felt when plotting it all out. And over the years, the basic concept was still there, always trying to find expression in new form or variation on the old. I can’t help it. There’s just something about ancient migrations, long-lost tribes, and forgotten histories that is so damn intriguing!

And since I’m at a transitional point in my writing – my first trilogy down and an open field in front of me – I’m once again contemplating if this idea has a future. While it’s not exactly hard science-fiction (more space opera), I still think it has the potential to be fun and intriguing.

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Talking About “the Process” – Part the Second

Talking About “the Process” – Part the Second

The last time I got into one of these, it was because a friend asked me some engaging questions. And so I talked about the one thing I never liked to talk about. And wouldn’t you know it? I actually enjoyed it. And it turns out that some people actually read it and found it interesting. So I thought I’d suck it up yet again and get into something else that is process-related. Again, this is something I don’t normally like to talk about. But it’s something that writers are frequently asked, myself included:

“Where do your ideas come from?”

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Talking About “the Process” – Part the First

Talking About “the Process” – Part the First

Recently, a friend of mine raised the subject of my writing process, how I go from receiving an assignment and/or getting ideas to researching the topic, deciding on an approach, and so forth. In short, he said that if I were ever to write an article where I share my personal experiences and preferences, he would happily read it. While I was understandably flattered, my first instinct was to groan at the mere mention of those two words:

“The Process”

I don’t why, but for about as long as I’ve been writing at a professional level, I’ve found this kind of talk both painful and tedious. Maybe it’s the way I’ve grown tired of introspection over the years, or maybe the way I prefer that discourse be focused on material rather than method. It’s like that witty line David Hyde Pierce once uttered on Frasier: “This is boring, yet difficult.”

Still, it’s an important subject and a crucial part in how things get created. For the sci-comm (science communicator), it’s all about taking raw information that is often inaccessible and translating it into an accessible narrative. It’s also about taking discoveries and developments that might otherwise appear to be happening in a vacuum and relating the context in which it happened, and the implications going forward.

So I decided to suck it up and relate what I could about this topic. For convenience sake, I have decided to address it in a Q&A format:

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Introducing The Martian Dispatches!

Introducing The Martian Dispatches!

At long last, this special project (which I’ve been busy with for many months) has been released. Which means I can finally talk about it! But first, a little preamble…

About a year ago, I joined Mars City Design®, a non-profit innovation and design platform dedicated to merging architecture, design, and the creative industry with the commercial space sector (aka. NewSpace). Since their inception in 2016, they’ve hosted an annual design competition where architects and designers from around the world submit ideas for how humans could live sustainably on Mars someday.

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Science Fiction, Babylon Style!

Science Fiction, Babylon Style!

There are times when ideas come along that just feel inspired. Then there are times when you think, “this is something I really should do because it sounds awesome in concept.” Those are the kind of ideas that you know readers will appreciate, provided you can do them justice! Otherwise, they’ll just sit on the shelf (or your Documents folder) and gather dust. The following list of ideas sort of straddle these two categories.

They came to me while researching ancient Mesopotamian myths that remain a part of our culture today. In fact, many of the myths that are considered to be foundational to western culture trace their roots to the “land between two rivers” (between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers). Here are the ideas I was mulling over after reading up on some ancient myths.

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My First (Real) Five Year Plan

My First (Real) Five Year Plan

The Five Year Plan… chances are, we’ve all heard someone talk about how they have one and hoped that they would be able to achieve all their listed goals by the end of it. While I’m sure most people can’t be bothered to listen to anyone lay out their life plans with anything other than the barest of feigned interest, it does feel like this is something we should all consider.

Somehow, having a plan in place that includes an ultimate goal, concrete steps on how to get there, and a timeline for each step – that just seems like the kind of thing serious people and high-end achievers do, doesn’t it? So I got to thinking a while back that I should start setting goals and a schedule for making them happen, though this would be subject to adjustment along the way.

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The Fermi Series Will Be Released as a Book!

The Fermi Series Will Be Released as a Book!

A few months ago, my boss at Universe Today encouraged me to take on a new writing project. For months now, I’ve been writing a series about the Fermi Paradox. For those who are not familiar, this paradox takes its name from Enrico Fermi, the Italian-American physicist who was instrumental in the development of the atomic bomb and the first nuclear reactor.

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The Cronian Incident, by Matthew Williams @storybywill @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #TheCronianIncident #Scifi

The Cronian Incident, by Matthew Williams @storybywill @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #TheCronianIncident #Scifi

The Blog Tour Continues. Check out Didi Oviatt!

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TheCronianIncident

To celebrate the upcoming release of the final installment of The Formist series, we’re going back to where it all started in The Cronian Incident!

Read on for details, excerpt, and a chance to win a signed copy of the book!

The Cronian Incident FINAL 150dpiThe Cronian Incident ( The Formist #1)

Publication Date: September 2017

Genre: Science Fiction

Jeremiah Ward was just another convict, a disgraced investigator who once worked the Martian beat, now serving his sentence in a mining colony on Mercury. When a member of a powerful faction goes missing on Titan, Ward is given an opportunity he cannot pass up. In exchange for investigating the disappearance of this figure, he gets a clean slate and a second chance.

But, the deeper Ward digs the more secrets he finds. Instead of investigating a missing person’s case he becomes embroiled in a centuries-old conspiracy and Ward comes to realize his…

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