In the ink well

Dog Ear

August 13, 2015

What’s in a name (DOG EAR)

here is a man I’m imagining for my novel. In opposition to his strict discipline father (for whatever reasons) and instead of enlisting in the Emperic Fleet, he shamed his entire line by joining the skiptracers (i.e. vessel recovery services). He’s one of their older captains now, a hard man who is ruthless to his crew. In fact, his long cruises looking for pirates and hijacked hulls and his aversion to limes have cost him his teeth (through scurvy). How he has two pairs of teeth (one in use, one in his pocket) – a wooden set that are marginally […]
August 6, 2015

Who’s MINDING the store? (DOG EAR)

kay, so this one has uses beyond normal writing, but I’m putting it in a writing context because that’s what we do here. Plotting a novel is difficult. I’m at a point in Tubitz and Mergenstein where a lot is going on. And suddenly I wasn’t sure how to do a bridge scene, so they could discover who the pilots of a mythical gunship were – how could that be twined into the action so it would be exciting, logical, and interesting? I needed a gotcha moment. I thought and thought about it in the coarse of my day and […]
July 30, 2015

The reader’s friend (DOG EAR)

he other night we were coming home from dinner, NPR on the car radio. It was the program Intelligence Squared U.S., where a topic is discussed under formal rules of debate. The “winners” are the team that move public opinion more their way based on surveys run before and after the discussion. So that night’s discussion was “Amazon is the reader’s friend”. I’m not crazy about self-publishing. I’ve mentioned this before, no secret. My own effort (Early ReTyrement, for sale at the bottom of this page (see how this works?)) was decent enough. I got the specific book I wanted, […]
July 23, 2015

Link finking (DOG EAR)

here are lots of things writing is not supposed to be. It’s supposed to be a booklined study looking over green fields, of coming down at nine-ish to sit in a high leather-backed chair with a cup of tea, of sorting through paper notes (glasses precariously perched at the tip of the nose) to remember just what point we were at. And then, pushing another sheet into the typewriter… Well, maybe not that typewriter bit – I originally started newsletter fiction on one of those monsters. Nostalgia doesn’t carry it. But still, there is the internal picture that writers visualize, […]
July 16, 2015

The bond of reading (DOG EAR)

breakaway from my notes about my current writing effort, a little sidetrip into reading and the bonds readers share. My hair was getting long, really long, Doc Emmett Brown long. Really bad for jogging, and really, really bad for corporateland. Had to get it cut. Usually I’d go to a hair cutter franchise in College Park. Called one week and they couldn’t see me. Called the next, got an appointment for that Monday, drove over there. On the way, I got attacked by a white FUV driver having a massive road rage seizure – it was so bad I ducked […]
July 8, 2015

Kedgewater Deep (DOG EAR)

e’re still test-marketing this idea. In the original Tubitz and Mergenstein, the town of Tortuga-Two was buried in a sinkhole. Three streams flowed into it, waterfalling into an underground pool. Under the overhanging ledge of crust the buildings huddled. It was the perfect space pirate base. Of course, I can’t do that in the new one. Now, the story takes place firmly on a single planet where sailing ships skate across lava plains like iceboats. It’s a fun setting for a fun book. But that pirate town I spoke of – I changed it so it lies in a cave […]
July 2, 2015

Block (DOG EAR)

uthor: “So here’s the setup, kid. You know that the count locked in his castle has been cheating his workers. You passionately argue the point, win over the peasants, and lead an attack on his castle. Got it?” Baronet Mergenstein Von Graftin: “How will I do that? What do I say?” Author: “You’ll figure it out. Okay, ready on the set? Lights! Camera! Action!” Mergenstein: “…” And that’s rather what happened to me over the last few days. As noted, a character had to convince flunkies that they were being taken advantage of, that they should rise up and lose […]
June 25, 2015

Echo (DOG EAR)

was feeling pretty down. I’d read The People’s History of the United States – not the apple-pie Sousa march towards patriotism you’d expect. Then, watching a clip of Good Will Hunting (the friend who’d recommended the book had pointed it out), Robin Williams mentions Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomski as another good book. Curious, I ordered it from the library. It’s just as depressing as People’s History, a discussion of how propaganda in media occurs, how it always benefits the rich and entrenched, all that. As a liberal, sometimes the world can be a bleak and depressing place, and I […]
June 18, 2015

Grinding (DOG EAR)

kay, so I started playing this game, see? A little sea adventure called Windward. Clever thing, rather like Pirates. You get a ship, you sail around a random board, you trade between towns and sink pirates. I started playing about a week ago. I sunk a literal boatload of pirates – I’d see those black sails and I’d volley instinctively – must have sent an armada of pirate ships to the bottom. And trading. Pick something up here, take it over there. Repeat. I played and played and played. Then I started reading the bases for the game and its […]
June 11, 2015

Way behind (DOG EAR)

don’t know how this works. I was comfortably ahead with my Dog Ear pieces and now they are all but gone. Yet suddenly, where I had no idea of what I wanted to write, three new ideas popped into my head (this is one of them). So now, on the Saturday evening of a lazy memorial day, I find myself with the following things to knock out. 1) This piece, describing the situation of everything suddenly looming. 2) A Dog Ear piece on Grinding (on what?) 3) A Dog Ear piece I found concerning a checkout list discovered in a […]