Joseph Giddings' Gear Shop


I Wrote Something!


Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.

Kidding aside, I’ve finally found motivation to write.  I’ve been plagued with ideas for stories based my Mist world and finally found the means to make it happed – The Magic Spreadsheet.  It works similar to something I used several years ago, except now a lot of people can see it and I feel compelled to at least make my minimum word count (250 at the moment).

It works.  I’ve written everyday for the last week and a half, so far totally right at 13k words.  Good times.

I’m going to keep at it.  I’m ready to get back into writing regularly.  Even if its only 250 words a day, it beats the 0 I’ve been doing for a while now.


So long 2012.

I can’t complain too much.  I have a good job and a wonderful family.  In these times, these are the thing everyone wants.  I don’t need piles of cash or a fancy car (though it would be nice!).

But, I miss something dearly – writing.

I spent all of 2012 working my butt off.  I have a job that is demanding and stressful, but yet at the same time I find it to be very satisfying and fulfilling.  Not many people can say that.  However, it has taken up all of my time that isn’t filled with my family.  My free time is relegated to time in front of the TV after my son has gone to bed.  Lately it has been spent playing Rocksmith or in the last week, Assassin’s Creed III.

The urge to write is there, though.  And lately, it has been making it’s presence felt.

I have a document with story ideas in it.  Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve added about three pages to it.  Each idea is anywhere between a sentence and a paragraph, but enough to help me work with it.  The real key to that document isn’t the individual story ideas.  It’s the possibility that those ideas can be combined into a totally off the wall idea that will make an awesome story.  I have read many times in the past that writer’s best ideas didn’t come from the idea they had in the middle of the night, but rather when they merged it with an idea they came up with two years previous.

But I’m out of practice.  And I hope that 2013 will allow me to get back into things.  So, I have decided that there are some things I need to do to make that happen –

  1. Eliminate as many sources of negativity as I can.  That includes cutting back my own innate negativity.  I’m a pessimist, despite my best efforts to be otherwise.
  2. Manage my stress with exercise.  My stress isn’t intolerable, but I feel it does limit my desire to do things and holds me back.  So, I will make an honest effort to exercise and get my stress manageable.  Oh yeah, it will make me healthier, too. 🙂
  3. Eat better.  This goes in with the exercise.  I really need to stop plowing through a Zaxby’s Nibblerz Meal with fries and a Diet Coke.  I know, the diet drink makes it healthy, but it can’t do it all on its own. (I’ve always joked that I can eat whatever I want as long as I had a diet drink with it, as that made it healthy)
  4. Read more.

So, if I can accomplish these things, I can get back into the writing mindset.  The words are there, and as my friend Dario likes to say, they will come in time.  I feel I need to help them along if I ever want them to come forth.

And these aren’t resolutions, as I feel people make them with full intentions of breaking them.  I’m merely setting goals, that I can meet at any time, be it in 2013 or beyond.

How things change

About a month ago, I pulled Mist out of the office and started reading it.  In case you don’t know, Mist is the novel I wrote a few years back.  So large I broke it into three parts, because each item by itself would be the length of a novel.  Well, I was ready to get to work on it.  I think I read about two chapters in it (and damn, they need some work).  Then, something else stepped in my path.

As you know, I’m the Assistant Managing Editor at Tangent Online, a fairly large and well known short fiction review site.  I haven’t done much with the position since earning it last year, aside from maintaining it’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Well, the Managing Editor ran into a rough patch, and needed me to take over for a while.  So I’ve been learning that, in addition to various other personal life items that just kept me busy in the evenings.

Swallowing your time (and your soul) since 1996

Oh yeah, there’s also Diablo 3, but that’s another story.

Anyway, I’ve nearly gotten my hands around this editor thing, which is pretty demanding work when I have work to do.  I have a new appreciation for what solo editors have to do to keep things floating, I can say that for certain!

So I just keep on moving.  I haven’t written much in well over a year, aside from some gaming material for personal use.  I have a lot of ideas flowing and lately the itch to sit down and write something has started to grow.  I think here in a few months, once I get past a few other hurdles, I will be ready to get back into the writing game.  At the moment, I have noting even to send out to publishers, and I really need to correct that!  I have a ton of finished stories.

Well, finished as in the first draft is done.  Which means I have about 6 or 7 more revisions of each one before they are ready for sending out to people for consideration.

Mist looms, as well.  It’s time to get it right, and get it out into the world.  I just need to get this next review posted to Tangent…

Brain Dead!

That’s about how I feel these days.  I have a job that is pretty mentally demanding during the day, so when I get home in the evenings, my brain just wants to shutdown and turn into a vegetable.  So I wind up sitting in a chair with my laptop and playing a game, or watching TV.  Not much writing happens these days, and reading even has taken a backseat.  Sure, I’m getting some reading done, but it isn’t in the same quantity as before.

So how do you get out of that rut?  Well, in my case I just need to settle into the job and once I have a grip on it, things will improve.  It’s been about a year since I seriously wrote something that wasn’t a review or a blog entry, and it was almost a year ago that I got the job that got me to where I am now.  I’ve been in my current position for 4 months, now, and I think I’ve a grip on things, so everyday I feel a little better when I get home.  I’m also eating better (sort of) and shooting to improve my health (need to lose some weight and get off my ass and ride my bike more).  And, with the very early arrival of spring, I find my own mood lifting.

Which is why when two weeks ago a story idea just came to mind and I grabbed it and let it churn in my head, I was pleased when I found myself still pondering it several days later.  I’ve warped and altered the story, making it more sinister, then backing down and making it more preachy.  And so on.  I finally wrote my idea into my Ideas document and made some notes in my Moleskine.  More than I’ve done in a while.  That makes me happy, because I’m starting to get back to where I was several years ago when I started this journey of becoming published.

I’m still sticking to my pursuit of quality and my desire to only be published by the best out there.  I could just toss my stories to the lesser markets right out of the gate to get that quick “I got published!” feeling, but I’m in no rush at all.  I’m still going to be an insatiable perfectionist with my stories, only turning one loose when I’m sure that its worth being read and when I am (mostly) satisfied that it’s the best it can be.

So I may have been down, but I’m not out.  I’m still reviewing books (Bull Spec #7 should hopefully be out soon).  I’m still the Assistant Managing Editor at Tangent (I also maintain the site’s Facebook and Twitter presence).  I’m just also a very busy service desk supervisor that needs to let things balance out.  All things in due time.  There’s no rush. 🙂

Farewell 2011

I can’t complain too much about the year.  Within the borders of 2011, I was unemployed, found a good contract job, which resulted in my being brought on full time for an even better job.  I also sold four stories, one to Ray Gun Revival and another to an anthology.  I do regret that I didn’t get a lot of writing done between April and December.  However, adjusting to a job can be taxing and then having to learn another one months later is even more taxing.

I seem to remember making goals last year around this time…

Yeah, I’m not going to get into it here.  The year didn’t work out like it should have along those lines, but it still worked out well.  Now that my employment situation is leveling out, I’m hoping I can get more writing in starting soon.  I have ideas, just need the will to sit down and get it done.

I really need to do something.  After all, I only have one story left on the market, and I hope to move it along soon.  So I need to get on some of these stories sitting around collecting dust.

Anyway, everyone have a safe and happy New Year.  See you in 2012, and while I’m not going to set goals for myself, I’m nonetheless going to make sure I do better than I did this year.  Which, all things being equal, wasn’t too damn bad.

Fear not!

Yeah, this little bastard in the red robe.

I just finished reading The Goblin Corps by Ari Marmell, which reminded me greatly of D&D.  Of course, as I started to ruminate about a title for this post and I realized it had been a while since I last posted, I knew that some people may wonder where I ran off to.  So yeah, “Fear not!” came to mind, and then this little bastard in the red robe.

I’ve had a LOT of dice hurled at me over the years by speaking like him at the gaming table.

But I am still here.  Writing book reviews (look for my review of The Goblin Corps soon), maintaining the Tangent Online Facebook page, and struggling to work on my own writing.  (Speaking of Tangent, I was rather shocked to see my name actually shown at this place.)

Like many writers, I have to hold down a full time job so I can have things like clothes, food, a roof over my head, and internet access so I can piss away time that I should be using to write.  However, my new job involved me learning a LOT of new stuff, and I’m learning more every day, so on some days I get home and my brain just wants to veg out and let the TV control my brain.  I may play Dragon Age or maybe Bayonetta.

But the only writing stuff I did was, well, nothing.

Well, no more!

Tonight I successfully finished my redpenning of “The Eyes Have It,” and soon I will start to commit those changes to the story.  I also have an itch to write a story idea that came to me watching the first episode of the anime Angel Beats.  I have a lot of stuff to work on here, and I am ready to do it!

I just need to finish this quest on Dragon Age first, though.

So yeah, fear not because I’m still here and doing my damnedest to get back into the flow of writing and editing.  It’s been long enough!

Fortunately for the rest of you, I’m not vain enough to go edit my Wikipedia page into existence. 🙂

Time for a Shift…

I have reviewed a lot of stuff over the last couple of weeks.  A book review for print and several magazines (and half an anthology) for online publication.  I’ve read a lot of good stories and a lot of bad stories.  I find inspiration in a lot of them.  Elements that worked well.  Elements that didn’t.  As a reviewer, I have to critically look at these works and find the flaws as well as the shiny spots that make the entire story.  In the end, I find a lot of good material to inspire my own writing.

Having been misunderstood by many people out there who read my last blog entry, I feel it necessary to clear this up for those people that cannot seem to understand what I was getting at.


I know.  I’ve done it.  Read my reviews of Boneshaker, The Falling Machine, and several short stories that I’ve read over the last year.  No where did I ever say that you couldn’t write a bad review of a book or story.  But, a well written, BALANCED review cannot focus completely on the rust and dents.  You have to also let the person reading your review know that there are some good elements in there.  My point before, which had me called a dickwad on one place on the internet by someone that obviously missed it, was that you cannot write a serious review and have it completely decimate a work unless it has no redeeming qualities.  On the same coin, you cannot write a review that is just overly gushing over a book, either.  Both methods wind up with you, the reviewer, looking like a fanboy or an idiot.

Now, if there was nothing good about the story and you have to come out with guns blazing, telling the world that the writer is a hack and shouldn’t be published, do so.  Just use some tact and think about who will be reading it.  Your name is attached to it, after all.

Okay, I’m done with that.  I will reiterate something from my last post that sums up another point I am trying to make here, and the comment I mentioned above was a prime example of it…

“Because you never know who might actually be paying attention.”


Now that I have all those reviews behind me, and I’m on a short hiatus from Bull Spec (he almost has the next issue full, and there isn’t anything coming up that I want to read for review), I’m going to start writing more fiction.  You know, that stuff I really want to write.  I have a lot of story ideas, and someone forwarded me a link to an anthology of Steampunk Horror, and I have two stories to clean up to send to them.  One is called “The Eyes Have It,” which features a scene that was one of my favorite to write (a guy digging out his own eyes with a sharpened silver spoon), and the other needs a new title and a serious rewrite, but it’s currently called “Brass Spiders.”

So yeah, I’m shifting gears and moving back to the writing.  In a month or two I will also be starting an online workshop that I hope will also propel me forward.