Backstory and Boring Ass Writing

I just scanned through the ‘novels’ section of a particular writing forums workshop area. To say that I was disappointed would be putting things lightly. One particular work stood out and I’ll explain why.

In the post leading up to his/her writing, the author asks if this chapter was something in the middle, an infodump or good writing. He/she then goes on to post almost 3k of words that is nothing but information about his character’s background. I stopped reading after the second paragraph because it was nothing but a combination backstory and infodump all in one and ended up boring as hell! And what made things worse was that there were people who actually thought it was good. God help us readers!

See, there’s a fine line between writing backstory and doing an infodump. What he wrote there was both in one and if I looked at that novel on the shelf, I’d’ve put it right back down and walked away. Sorry, but I don’t care to know everything about a person’s ethnic background and family all up front-even if written in first person.

Ok, the first 300 words of this story is nothing more than backstory/infodump about background, genetics and how the character’s grandparents met. Really? Really? This is important shit to put at the beginning of a novel? I don’t know about you guys, but it’d put my to sleep.

Now let’s contrast what I describe against the first paragraphs of my Athol novel, which is also written in first person.

They say that man’s basic nature changed as he evolved and moved further out into space; that his urge for violence against other members of humanity faded. In my opinion, that’s a crock of shit but that’s neither here nor there.

One thing about being in my line of work, you always get to see the true nature of mankind, and it isn’t pretty. Someone is always lying to another person, or committing a crime and getting away with it or even trying to steal from other criminals. Either way, it’s enough of a shit soup to shoot down that optimistic garbage.

I watch the people entering and exiting the subway, staying ever vigilant that someone might sneak up on me again like on Earth. That’d been a close call and frankly I’m surprised I’m even here to write this.

Believe it or not, the safest place to sit on the train is a window seat. No matter how you cut it, no person can see behind them; it’s physically impossible, but there is a way to cheat. Most people don’t notice it but every once and a while but a window, especially at night, reflects what’s within its field of vision. And in this case it acts like a mirror and allows me to see what’s going on behind me.

At this time it’s just a mother and child who are on their way home from a shopping trip. They’re about as non-threatening as vanilla ice cream but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep an eye on them. Anyone can be a hazard for a person like me so I remain vigilant.

What’s funny is despite all this internal vigilance, anyone looking at me from the outside would just see a brown haired seventeen year old girl wearing a blue-black cloak and gloves. Given that it’s the winter and the temps are low, there’s nothing out of place about it. And that’s how I like it.

Despite my best efforts, the gentle rocking and the wheels’ sounds start to lull me towards sleep. It’ll take a good hour more to reach where I need to be, so I keep on eye open while dozing. No one with any brains will try to make a move in such a contained area without any means of escape, which allows me to relax just a bit.

Now, this shows a lot of character while not pulling an infodump on the poor reader. Which would you rather read? Opinions?

Does Anyone Really Give A Damn About How Many Words You Write In A Day?


I love the threads about how many words a person can write in a day. They really tickle me to death. Does is really matter whether it’s 1k or 6k in a day? To me it sounds like the old ‘my dick is bigger than yours’ that boys have so much.

Now, a person can sit back and write 1k of solid, publishable work compared to another’s 6k of shit? Who’s doing better? The more important thing to consider is this: are you writing something that is of high quality? Now I don’t mean lacking typos, because that’s going to happen even if you type slowly. Do your sentences make sense? Are the simple and clear? Did you use a ten dollar word when a fifty cent word would’ve worked better?

There are so many things to consider when discussing how many words in a day one can write. When sufficiently motivated, I can crank out anywhere from 2.5-4k when in the ‘creative’ phase of the book. After that I end up having to do at least 2-3 edits to get it to what might be considered publishable quality.

Like today: I’ve done a final read through/edit of my Talia novel to the tune of 4-6k, I have also written almost 3-4k in my Athol novel, but I can guarantee you the Athol work is nowhere near publishable quality, so what have I gained? Not much. Although, I will admit that when I’m in the creative phase (when I’m actually putting the idea to paper) I tend to write far more in a day then when I’m rewriting/editing. This is because I just want to get the story down while I have it in my head. After that its edit, edit, edit, edit and edit some more.

In a nutshell, don’t compare yourself against others when it comes to how many words you write in a day. Just make sure they’re the best amount of words you can write. Shoot for quality over quantity.


Blind Leading the Blind



Once again I have to say I find the forums to be comedy relief when I’m trying to work out a difficult section on my writing. Today, it’s reviews of someone’s writing and the one’s making the reviews. When I see someone whose writing sucks ass and is boring as hell trying to tell another writer that the other writer’s work is boring, I nearly bust a gut laughing so hard.

You got to love the self-righteous people who think they’re God’s gift to writing! And the same ones can’t write for shit themselves but they’re trying to tell others how to do it. See the combination of stupidity and comedy? It truly is the blind leading the blind.

Things like this continue to hammer home why aspiring writers need to spend more time writing and less time on forums. They’re liable to get advice that sends them down a rabbit hole that they may never recover from.




by Jill Pantozzi | 12:54 pm, July 4th, 2013


We’ve heard from Dame Helen Mirren on the topic of Doctor Who, in particular, the casting of the new Doctor, a few times now. But she’s not done yet (or at least people aren’t done asking her about it yet) and we’re totally fine with that. Hear who she suggested to take up the mantle.

Mirren was asked by ITV’s Daybreak whether or not she’d take on the role of the 12th Doctor on the long-running BBC sci-fi series. She answered, “absolutely not.” And although we’ve heard that from her before, she made sure to drive the point home.

“I’m not going to be the first female Doctor Who – no, no, no,” she said. “I absolutely wouldn’t contemplate that.”

Although she does think there’s a right person for the job.

“I do think it’s well over-time to have a female Doctor Who. I think a gay, black female Doctor Who would be the best of all.”

The series will return for the 50th anniversary special on Saturday, November 23 but soon after we’ll see Matt Smith’s Doctor making a transformation come the Christmas special. Although folks have been throwing around rumors as to who the 12th Doctor will be, we likely won’t have the official announcement until late summer, early fall.


Number One Writing Tip




I saw a post this morning asking what was our number one writing tip. In all honesty, it’s hard to boil things down to one tip. So, here’s mine:

Get your story finished first and foremost.

Let it sit and ‘rest’ while you get the emotional connection to it out of your system.

Rewrite it completely.

Hard Copy edit: print it out on paper and read through each chapter.  I recommend doing it 2-3 times.

Make sure you print yourself one hard copy version of the completed manuscript.

When it comes to actually writing the story, my one tip is to let it grow on it’s own. I never outline my stories, I just create a first chapter through trial and error (it often times takes me 3-4 attempts to get one that makes sense and I like) and then it let it grow own it’s own.

Also remember, there will be times where you do feel like you’re shoveling sit from a sitting position. It’s when you feel this way that you need to keep pushing yourself forwards. I think you’ll be surprised at how well you’re writing really was.

Bad Brad’s Opinion


While I try to stay out of the sports business, (in the interest of transparency, my first bachelor’s is in Sports Management) I have to say that Brad. K. is more then right about what he says. I’ll explain:

NASCAR, like anything else, is a business. And this is something people don’t want to know. The first thing they said in Sports Management classes was: “Get the word ‘sports’ out of your mind. It’s ‘sports entertainment.’ Learn that term.”

Like any other business, the products of controlled, marketed and operated in such a way to maximize profits. No one goes into any endeavor without wanting to make a profit, and sports teams and owners are no different.

The France family, who own NASCAR and ISC (their track ownership arm who own 2/3 of the tracks on the circuit give or take) aren’t fools. They didn’t become billionaires by being stupid.

With that said, let me explain some dirty little secrets about the business side of NASCAR. First off, let’s talk demographics. On a rough guess (since I don’t have access to their records) I’d say their fan base breaks down like this:

50-53% Chevy

20-25 Toyota

15-20  Ford

5-10 Dodge

Yes, I know they don’t add up to 100% exactly. It’s a rough guess.

Now, if you’re running their business and 50% of your fans come to see a particular make run well, or win, each week…what would you do? If you were smart, and mind you the Frances are, you’d make sure that brand wins the corresponding amount of races to match the % paying to see the win.

This is why you see teams like Hendrick win so much. It’s not that they’re so “superior” to the others, but the fact that NASCAR needs him, and Richard Childress to a lesser amount, to fly the Bowtie banner. Without allowing them to run things that give them an advantage, then the Bowtie fans couldn’t count on the number of race wins they’d get.

And before you call me a ‘conspiracy theorist’ bear in mind I know how this business works. And, if you ever get a chance to talk to people who’ve been on the NASCAR teams (and you’d be surprised how many IRL team members were in NASCAR before coming to open wheel) you’ll learn the same thing I”m telling you now.

It’s all business.


Thus, Bad Brad’s opinion is spot on and accurate. Nothing more, nothing less.

I could go on for an hour explaining how all this works, but I won’t. If anyone wants to know more, then they can drop a comment and I’ll be glad to discuss it off blog.