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A Question for My Readers
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  1. #1

    9 A Question for My Readers

    As most of you know,I'm disabled.

    Money is mighty tight, and getting tighter.

    HG Wells--Who I never cared for all that much; and Robert Heinlein--who I liked without slavishly worshiping--are two examples of writers forced to write by an inability to do almost any other form of work.

    {As it happens, both of them had Tuberculosis--So I understand. No, I don't have TB--Praise Jesus!}

    Edgar Rice Burroughs--Who I will staunchly argue was one of the Greatest Writers of all time.....

    Burroughs, like Thoreau, can be read on many levels. People who see only cheap-pulp melodrama, just aren't getting all that Burroughs had to offer.....

    But anyway, Burroughs was a rather spectacular failure at a number of professions--Including Railroad Detective, Calvary Trooper in one of the last Indian Campaigns and Storekeep.

    His first book, "A Princess of Mars" was written on the backs of inventory sheets from his failed Store.

    Be all that as it may.

    I often wonder if I couldn't make a bit of Cutter with my writing.....

    I have several more "Mainstream SF" {Ain't that an Oxymoron?!?} Plots that I'm thinking of trying.....

    "Survivalist Fiction" is kind of a Sub-Genre within a Genre--out in the big "Real World", away from the Internet, it appeals to a rather limited Audience.

    At any rate, I didn't think of "Wayside" as being a possible entry vehicle into writing for Pay.....

    But I got to thinking: It is kinda all icing right now, with very little cake.

    I mean, it is little but outlines and Gun Battles.

    If I re-Wrote it.....

    First of all--I hate dealing with Social Engineering--What I prefer to call "Anal-Snuffling" {Like Dogs do...}

    I need to devote almost as many chapters to showing how Petulia came to Power, and showing what sort of person she was.....

    I generally like to use real cities in my Stories--but no one likes to see their city cast as a Villain--hence Petulia's renaming her capital "Equality".

    I do need to study my Google Satellite Maps of Eastern Kentucky a bit more, and at least pin down in my mind, the approximate location of Equality.

    Petulia comes to power, because several factions intend to use her as a figurehead, and then usurp power--but once she's entrenched, they find themselves in a Stalemate or Mexican Standoff.....

    Mild Spoiler: That's Why when Petulia Dies, all her subordinates fall to fighting so viciously that the Cooperative largely falls apart very rapidly.....

    But Petulia in the Internet story so far, is little but a Hated Name.

    End Spoiler.

    Also, Wayside's Memoirs need a good bit more show and less tell.....

    Writing for Internet Publication, the story, as it stands, is about as good as I can do it.....

    And I intend to Finish while the Muse is still with me--as an Internet story.

    {Too much Re-Writing at this stage, would frustrate my readers--and probably cause me to lose interest.....}

    But who thinks that the result could serve as the bare skeleton for a possible commercial story?

    As far as some other Plots: How many Remember the Grand Old SF Tales from the 30s; 40s and 50s?

    No, I ain't that old, but I've read Anthologies.

    Has anyone Read Stanley G Weinbaum?

    Weinbaum wrote of a Solar System where Intrepid Explorers explored Venus, Mars and several of the Moons of Jupiter and Saturn in their Shirt Sleeves--i.e. Breathable atmospheres and at least survivable temperatures.

    But you couldn't really write retro stories like that today--it would blow the suspension of disbelief.....

    But what about an Alternate Universe with a Solar System much like Weinbaum and others imagined it?

    First of all, What if both Jupiter and Saturn were both Red Dwarves? (Tiny Suns noticeably smaller than our Sun)

    That should get you a few habitable moons.....

    Shuffling Venus and Mars and Mercury around, and changing them subtly, should do much the same there.....

    And just for Phun, lets make the Hero a man from our Universe that falls through a rare sort of Connection.{Rare in our World. A good bit more common there--So he can tell folks over there that he fell through a hole from an Alternate Universe and hardly raise an eyebrow...}

    Lets also suppose that they have a Working Dean-Drive over there--whether or not one is actually possible in our Reality, or not.....

    {Never heard of the Dean Drive? Google it....}

    And that its 2012 over there too.....

    Point One: If Jupiter and Saturn were that much larger, the Solar system would have evolved much differently.....

    Point taken--but if there is an Astronomical number of Alternate Universes, keep looking till you find one with an Earth very like ours, in spite of all the other Different Influences.

    Point Two: Could we have a stable Solar System with Red Dwarves in Jupiter & Saturn's Orbits.....?

    The folks on a Science Forum (Hypography) tell me that there are many complex variables, and we can't rule it out completely.

    Point Three: From Earth, both the Red Dwarves would look about the same size as Jupiter does now--but Jupiter in Particular,would be as bright as a Full-Moon, or more so.

    They would be in the night sky when we were closest. When we were on the other side of the Sun from them, they would be in the daytime sky,and visible when not too close to the Sun.....

    Who would like to read a story based on that Idea(s)?

    Anyway, Everyone Please chime in.....


  2. #2
    Science fiction is not my favorite genre, but I think it would appeal to lots of folks here. Write, write and write some more! I have learned much from all the authors here - from my favorites and less favorites. I enjoyed your stories at the tree; I'm sure I'll like this one too.

  3. #3
    I love Science Fiction. I think that story line would be fun. It is a bit like Arthur C. Clarks, 2010- A Space Odessy. I resent Nasa and the politics!! We could have a society like in those old stories if they hadnt quit. If I had the money, I would buy 1000 copies of George O. Smiths' - "Venus Equilateral" and Robert Heinleins' - "Farmer in the Sky", send them to all of the Polititians, Nasa Bigwigs and engineers! They need to be reminded of the dreams we once had.

    I dont know if it would work but it would be worth a try.

    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."---- Robert A. Heinlein

  4. #4
    I think it might serve as a framework. I hope you don't mind a bit of criticism when it is well intentioned. I find your pacing and sentence structure quite hard to read, and I think that in order to write for pay you would probably need to work on the style and technique as well as your question here about pointing your story to a more mainstream view. You come up with very intriguing stories, so you have the most important nucleus of being a good writer. For that reason, I think that it could be well worth the effort. It might make sense to work on the stylistic parts in your ongoing internet stories before also taking on the task of reorienting a story of length.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    If you want to see the process of publication without paying for it, look at's kindle self publishing. It shows you what format you have to use to publish your work. Once you get it uploaded you can advertise it and see how it does. You'll get criticism so you'll need to have a thick skin. People are slavishly concerned about formatting, grammar, and spelling and will miss a good plot to pick at the splinters and rough edges a story might have.

    Anyway, it is a way to get your feet wet without paying for it.
    Find my free fiction stories here.

    "Isnít it interesting that the same people who laugh at science fiction listen to weather forecasts and economists?Ē - Kelvin R. Throop III

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    ...I hope you don't mind a bit of criticism when it is well intentioned. I find your pacing and sentence structure quite hard to read, and I think that in order to write for pay you would probably need to work on the style and technique...It might make sense to work on the stylistic parts in your ongoing internet stories before also taking on the task of reorienting a story of length.
    I don't know how many of you know it, but when Jack Kerouac wrote "On The Road", he used no punctuation at all...

    The thing was one giant run-on. Some editors amended the original version to include standard punctuation.

    I picked the book up at the library. It was okay to read once, but not something that I'm dying to read twice.

    Point is, I didn't know about the Punctuation Thingy. I read the whole book and never noticed.

    I speed read. Yeah I know all those courses that purport to let you read as fast as you can turn the pages...

    But I read, or did read, at about 985 words per minute, with about 87% retention. And according to researchers, that's about as fast as anyone can read, and actually be "Reading" word for word.

    I just don't have time to notice the punctuation much, but manage to make sense without it.

    When I was in High School, they put me in a Remedial English class in my Senior year, for folks who had trouble with punctuation.

    There were twenty-five or thirty of us. The class was taught by Mr Autry. He was legally blind and while he could walk down the halls unaided and write on the blackboard, he had sunken hollow eyes and "The Blind Stares".

    At any rate, he generally taught Journalism and he had a genius for breaking down the rules of punctuation.

    My first three page essay English at Purdue University was well received, with not a quibble about punctuation.

    The teacher did tell me, "Its obvious that you have a strong Journalism background."

    There are--or were perhaps--some subtle differences in how English Majors punctuate and how Journalists punctuate.

    Somewhere along the line, I lost that subtle "Accent". Thinking about it, I think we were taught to use semicolons and colons where an ordinary mortal would probably use a comma...

    And I believe that was a signal to let an editor know where he could chop off a sentence and still have a complete thought.

    Be all that as it may, I used to try to write--printing, always print except when signing a check--on paper.

    I would pause every second or third sentence to go into vapor-lock over punctuation.

    I noticed that Edgar Rice Burroughs used the dash quite frequently--dashes and ellipsis were never made plain to me--and even some English handbooks seem rather vague on dash use.

    I also noted that Hemingway--a best selling author with a firm Journalism background--made quite a few comma splices and left a few sentence fragments.

    I loosened up on my Grammar a good deal and since up until now, no one had complained, I thought that I really had it "Down Pat".

    I use the ellipsis frequently because I mean to break off, leave the statement hanging and leave the conclusion as an exercise for the reader.

    The frequent dashes are because I often make parenthetical statements, and parentheses are better avoided for the most part, in prose writing (as opposed to technical, legal, etc.)

    My sentences run long, so I tend to make my paragraphs short--rarely more than three of my longish sentences...

    More to avoid large blocks of unbroken text than anything else.

    Perhaps you could be a little more specific.

    Honestly, I can clean up my sentence structure and logic a bit, but a major overhaul would mean starting from scratch again--and its taken me about forty years to get here.


    I may check into the Kindle Self-Publishing.

    I have a Love/Hate thing with writing.

    Sometimes I feel compelled against my will and better judgement to write.

    Sometimes the compulsion leaves and I'm glad. I even think that perhaps I'm through with writing.

    Then sometimes I sit forlornly at the keyboard--like the proverbial fellow who paid to use the toilet and only passed gas.

    I think one of my major problems is...

    Well, one of the oldest and soundest pieces of advice is to write about something that you care deeply and passionately about.

    My characters are always navigating a "What if?" or "Wouldn't it be neat if?" World, but it rouses no passion.

    Things that I care about deeply:

    #1} My Religion and my Church--Don't think that I'm cut out to be a "Christian Essayist" or even to write Christian Fiction (I often read it, but it isn't my thing to write.)

    #2} My Guns. I honestly believe that Anti-Gun laws are the biggest obstacle to human happiness on the planet at this time.

    Whatever else a man may have, if he doesn't have Guns--If he can't go armed--what does all the rest amount to?

    Dust and Ashes.

    #3} My Dogs. I love them, and I firmly believe that they are fully part of the family...

    Meaning that if I find someone chasing one of my Dogs around with a butcher knife or if one of my Dogs is trapped in a burning building;

    I will react just as strongly as if they were chasing my mother (who's actually deceased) with a butcher knife, or if my father (also deceased) was caught in the same burning building.

    #4} I believe in the extended family kinship as practiced by the Clans of Scotland and Ireland, or the Hillbillies of the 1800's and early 1900's.

    I was born into such a Clan but it has evaporated over the last fifty years, and one can't very well organize a Clan--that's an Oxymoron.

    #5} Yes, I do believe that Estrangement is the Inevitable Price one pays for being an Individual--but its not really a "Price". Its more a fringe benefit.

    Yeah, and if one of you can weave that into a coherent salable story, you're Far More Gifted than I.

    If I had my free choice, I'd rather be a Painter and Sculptor than an Author anyway.

    But my compulsion to keep on despite any visible improvement seems far weaker with My Art than with my Writing.


  7. #7
    RVM45, I'm willing to retract my comment and just accept the difference in style. Something about your sentence structure is very hard for me to read, but then again as you point out Jack Kerouac had a very particular style and did phenomenally well. While your style is hard for me to read, you have clearly been writing seriously for long enough that this is your own personal style. Never compromise on a long standing personal style, even if it makes whiners like me groan. If you were new to the game, however, I might still encourage a little more conventional sentence lengths, etc. But you aren't, so I'll be quiet.

    Reading over your most recent post a little more, I guess the extreme intensity of each line is what makes it hard for me to read. I'm used to bubble gum crap that takes more words than necessary to try to make a point. Don't change - it seems like you have a large number of people who love your style. I think it is just the raw intensity, combined with reading off a screen vs. a page that makes it hard for me. I don't really give two hoots about punctuation, and my writing is far from good despite being paid to write for 7 years.

    Best of luck! ePublishing may be an easier entry for you since the print world is contracting so much today.

  8. #8


    I really hadn't meant to be Argumentative.

    I too find reading off a screen far more "work" than reading print.

    I used to have excellent eyesight. It still isn't bad, but I do need a bit of close-range correction for reading and other "Up-Close" stuff...

    And neither my memory or my ability to concentrate is what it used to be.

    That's why I doubt that my speed is anywhere near 980 WPM anymore, nor my retention 87% either (That is excellent retention, by the way.)

    And on top of all that, marathon reading sessions get me in my back, hips, knees ankles and so on.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    North Carolina

    I used to write quite a bit myself, and there were a number of years where I was writing technical documents. I had an editor that went through everything, the lady that did my editing initially didn't like my "style." And I would get back blead on documents. One day she came storming into my cube and announced, "You write like you talk!" She paused, then she said, "Ok, just be consistant in your documents." Over the years I very rarely had edits. As long as I was consistant with my punctuation etc., it wasn't that big a deal. The key is to do things the same way every time, the reader easily adjusts and then it isn't a big problem with them comprehending what you have written, and being comfortable reading it. If I can do it with 12 volume 500+ page technical docments, you can do it with an entertaining story.

    Good luck, write!!!

  10. #10
    I think you are a good writer, and like you I used to read fast and had high retention however since I had a massive stroke I no longer do, it comes and goes, the up side is I now can reread thigs several times and enjoy it each time. go with what you feel most comfortable with doing. Let us know when you do, if it isn't to expensive I may even buy a copy, I also live on social security disability.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    State WA
    I like your stories the way they are, i like to read and never notice things like punctuation lol. I get to wrapped up in the story. Course that isn't one of my strong points when I write.
    I forgot to say I like syfi just fine also.

  12. #12


    You know, I can't walk very far anymore.

    Not too many years ago, my car broke down. It was the wee hours of the morning, and I didn't want to get my father out of bed.

    I walked 13 or 14 miles home, wearing Leg Boots.

    ( The Leg Boots were from the US Army--switched to Jump-Boots as soon as I cleared basic, and so I still had a couple pairs of almost new Leg Boots several years later, when money got tight.)

    Anyway, I was carrying both a Government Model .45 and a 4" S&W Model 29 .44 Magnum; three extra magazines for the .45. two Speedloaders for the Revolver plus twelve loose rounds, a Buck Lockback, and a Western Bootknife in each boot.....

    And I was in Hiss-Poor Condition back then. I was ashamed at the big blisters and how sore my back was the next day.

    Now I get winded taking the garbage to the curb.

    I carried for eleven years, but I let my Permit slip away--and now there are some bollixed records that have to be corrected.

    To me, the idea of strapping on two or three handguns, picking up a Rifle and a Bug-Out pack.....

    Being young and healthy enough to force march to a Retreat.....

    And having a Retreat!

    Even considering all the Uncool Spritz that would attend.....

    That is a Wish-Fulfillment Phantasy to me.

    I especially like the idea--for a Story--of a Dude who knows weapons, but is caught with his pants down, being gifted a Bug-Out Bag full of Well-Selected weapons and gear, and a map to a pre-prepared Retreat--perhaps by a Friend or Relative who knows him well and is too old or sickly to make the Hike himself.

    Only every time I start to sit down to write a simple happy ode to having multiple Handguns, knowing how to make a shelter with a tarpaulin, build a small fire and cook on it, being discreet, secretive and callous.....

    Y'all know the story.....

    I get carried away with far too many complications.


  13. #13
    i like your stories

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Swimming in sea quarks
    If everyone wrote the same, there would be no best sellers, no favorite writers, and no original plots.

    Some subjective observations on my part;
    Technical writing is something I know well. You don't really need a voice per se, but you do need to know your subject. Fiction of any nature does need a voice. Every fictional writer I've ever read had a voice. The voice is not literal, rather it's played in the readers mind. Consistency is important in this regards, but only for the specific work or for building upon previous work.. I'd offer an example but it would take several pages. Farmer in the sky is an excellent example of one of Heinleins voices, Friday was another.

    Then there is the painter. Every fictional writer needs to paint images with words in the readers mind.
    However it doesn't need to be, nor should it be cut and dry. As with a painting, each element builds the whole. Thus ends my subjective observations.

    All that said, I'm relatively new here, so I've not read anything you've written yet, though I will now. If it speaks to you, write it. That would by my .02
    Facts?? We don't need no stinkin facts...

  15. #15
    Rayku said it very well


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