Tag Archives: Rambling

Winding Down

Word count is currently 117,159 for the interested.

I’m on page 457 out of 565 of the manuscript (no clue what it is in book form) but we can guestimate that it is about 95,000 words in give or take. The last chapters are action-packed so their word density is probably lower.

Just did an actual calculation when I realized the manuscript was still open:

  • Guess – 94,764
  • Actual – 94,839

The law of averages is pretty amazing sometimes, eh?

Anyway, I am winding down. Had to work double-time today because I was busy all last night. I want to be wrapped up by the end of the weekend and get the new draft into the hands of first readers. At this rate, I should make it with plenty of time left. It was looking iffy for a while. These last few chapters must have been written with a wee drop of whiskey in me because there was a lot that needed fixing.

But it is fixed and I still managed 42 pages tonight. I’ve usually only been doing 15 to 30 on weekdays so today was surprisingly quick for having so much work to do. I don’t think there are any “bad” chapters left to get through, especially not after the whole rewrite that I made a huge deal about.

I’m very happy with the way things are looking. Very happy.

So that is good.

That is very good.

Oíche mhaith, bitches.

Conlanging (Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck)

Son of a bitch, I told myself I wouldn’t do any conlanging for this series.

I told myself and for some reason I have the wikiarticle to the International Phonetic Alphabet open in one tab and a multitude of grammar articles open.

Last night, filled with some ideas, I started writing in my little gridded notebook some notes that to the unenlightened would look little different than Quenya.

[hjmi njfɔlm] “I had a dog”

[mia njfɔlm] “We have a dog” (We here is inclusive, meaning the listener is included)

ɪmiga e mjfɔlwð] “He will have the dogs”

So that is about all the language has right now. I have a verb for “to go” as well and some pronouns, though as you can probably notice the subject is optional when made obvious by conjugation (e.g. “I” is made obvious because it uses the first person singular conjugation, but he/she/it use the same conjugation and therefore need it).

Conlanging then, if you didn’t get it, is the art/science/past time of making up languages. There are lots of ways to do it, it is a ton of fun for those of us with a background in linguistics or a pretty alphabet. It can be as simple as Pig Latin  or as complex as Ithkuil. It can be as realistic as Quenya or as simplistic as Esperanto.

Right now the language as it is is strongly rooted in the languages I speak or have been studying: English, German, Irish, and Esperanto.

So shall we deconstruct things a bit? That’s sort of what I want to do because talking about it with you will help me think about it as well. All these examples are, therefore, works in progress. In two weeks none of these things might exist. They might all be different. So grain of salt and such.

Okay, so we are going to take a step back. Of the three sentences two of them have only two words. I’m going to shorten them into something I can write with only my keyboard and not copy-pasting. By the way, things in //s are theoretical and things in []s are in practice. So let us transcribe these three sentences.

“hmi nfolm” I had a dog

“mia nfolm” We have a dog (inclusive)

“thmiga e mfolwth” He will have the dogs

So, between sentences 1 and 2 the change is “hmi” to “mia” and the changes in English are “I had” to “We have.” So we can guess that “nfolm” means “a dog.” This mostly implies that the language is either VSO or SVO (Verb-Subject-Object) or (Subject-Verb-Object).

We can confirm the word order with sentence 3, where we go from “mia” to “thmiga e”. We are assuming that the words “hmi” and “mia” are verbs that imply pronouns, something that is common in languages. Since “thmiga” has that “mi” base, we can take “e” to mean “he.” So the language is VSO, and uses conjugation to imply pronouns.

Now we only have three sentences, which makes data gathering hard. Lets add some more.

[ɹ̝̠̊en] “hren” – I go

[ɹ̝̠̊en] “(h)hren” – I went

ɪɹ̝̠̊en] “thhren” – I will go

Oh no, things aren’t getting easier. Two of those are pronounced the same! Well, as the language’s creator I can tell you the theoretical pronunciation of sentence 5:

/hjɹ̝̠̊en/

Which is very difficult to pronounce, in real life it would be realized as the given sentence 5.

We can combine 1, 2, 4, and 5 and see that going from present to past tense adds a /h/ at the head of the word. In the same way we can use 2, 3, 4, and 6 to say making present to future tense adds /θ/ at the head of the word. Using English words it would look like:

(I) Go – I go

(I) Hgo – I went

(I) Thgo – I will go

So if “hmi” is “I had” and “mia” is “We have” we can subtract the “h” to get “I have” (“mi”), which means that adding an “a” at the end changes the plurality of the person (“I” becomes “we”). Same Idea as above:

(I) Go – I go

(We) Goa – We go

So, what about the end of that? “Thmiga e”. If we know “e” is “he” and the “th-” is future tense, that makes “-ga” the third person singular conjugation.

It is going to get a bit harder with “nfolm” and “mfolwth.” The word for “dog” is “folm.” In my work so far “n-” is the indefinite article and “m-” is the definite article. The plural is “-th” but it also mutates the consonant before it. /M/ just happens to mutate to /w/ in this particular case (funnily when /m/ undergoes lenition in Irish, it turns into /w/, that is why “good” is “maith” and “good night” is “oíche mhaith”).

Anyway, I am rambling and I am actually going to do some editing tonight. This is a pleasant distraction to me and I’ve enjoyed sharing a slice of madness with you.

Oíche mhaith! [ihə wa]

Dragging Me Back In: Promotion/Relegation & America

Okay, here is some new vocabulary for the unsoccery people:

Promotion and Relegation, often used together and sometimes abbreviated Pro/Rel. It is a pretty contentious point in American soccer fandom.

So, over in þe olde Ængaland and – well – the rest of the world Association Football uses this system that would be completely alien to Americans: promotion and relegation. What it means is that the soccer season doesn’t end in a championship (there are cups for that) it just ends. Someone comes in first and someone comes in last and there are teams inbetween. What happens is that the lowest ranking team(s) get sent down a tier (relegation) and the highest ranking team(s) get sent up a tier if possible (promotion).

Now this means a lot: first it means that minor teams with enough cash and support can grow and spend even a season or two at top-tier earning extra TV cash. It also means that for weak teams every match is a battle and it ensures interest remains in the club through two general means: first if you lose everything, there is a good chance next year you’ll have a better season (because your opponents will be weaker) and it also means that up to the end fans are watching and praying that you don’t get relegated.

A lot of American soccer fans grew up not watching MLS, but EPL (English Premier League). Now that America’s MLS is picking up in popularity EPL fans are calling for their beloved pro/rel to make the jump across the sea.

People are very divided on this issue and some people (myself included) are divided even within themselves because pro/rel isn’t all good. So lets talk pros and cons and then move onto how I think America can realistically adopt pro/rel.

Some Pros:

First, like I said, it makes smaller clubs viable. It encourages people to root for more than just the big team from the big city 500 miles away. In the USA in every sport there are 20-ish teams and that is it. You have to pick the one closest to you, or the one that your father’s brother’s wife’s cousin played for that one year before blowing out his knee.

If done correctly this means MORE not less money for the the league. FC Butte is almost assuredly NOT going to be a power player. But the people of Butte are probably also not going to too many Sounders matches. They are passively watching on TV or the internet. Stick FC Butte into the picture and likely they’ll go to a few games a year. A supporter or ultra will go to quite a few more. And then they’ll still probably watch the Sounders game on TV. In economics terms: we are far from true market saturation in the United States.

Next – it stops stupid one sided and worthless matches from becoming common OR forces owners to actually invest in their teams. Basically it helps “settle” the market and encourages more investment. A team with an owner who is risk-adverse might settle into a lower tier. If the owner wants to keep challenging other local clubs they’ll have to invest. No more owners taking supporters for granted. If they don’t invest the team might slide and that might mean fewer tickets sold. So in a city like Cleveland, with only the Browns, tier 2 might not be a bad idea. People will still go, the Browns might do better with teams of similar stature and everyone wins. On the flip side the Cubs now need real investment, their in-town rivals the White Sox might steal fans away if they get relegated. That means this whole mentality of “as long as Wrigley is filled” undergoes a drastic change – win or die. That’s good for fans and supporters.

This also could potentially add space for talented players who are not necessarily great. So long as lower tiers pay living wages it means the fear of “do I play the sport I love and risk starving” or “do I get a job I hate and eat every night” sort of vanishes and that might be good for developing talent. However, it means we as Americans have to reevaluate how we look at sports as a career option, which I’ll discuss in the cons.

The Cons:

So as I just said, this requires a HUUUUUUGE change in how Americans view sports as a career option and how players should develop as well as tiered leagues.

Right now in America it is essentially pros or nothing. Yeah yeah, minor league baseball. You know who watches minor league baseball? No one.

What about minor league soccer, Nick? You know who watches minor league soccer? Hipsters and soccer purists. Sorry to say it, but that is sort of it. I know at least one fireman who is likely ringing his fists waiting for a chance to put my neck in there. There isn’t really a market for low tier soccer in the USA. Not enough to guarantee TV spots.

But Nick, Indy 11 is on TV and sold out every game. First: yeah, their stadium is tiny. Second: that really just goes back to what I am saying: the soccer market in the United States is far, far from saturated. So call it the exception that proves the rule. Indianapolis is exactly what MLS should look for in a tier 2 city. Big-ish. Passionate. Lacking in a lot of other sports (they have the Colts and they have minor league baseball IIRC).

A huge drawback is America is HUUUUUUUUGE. Like gargantuan. Germany is one of the larger states in Europe and it is half the size of Texas. HALF! This makes travel really hard and really expensive. Small teams will probably need to have travel subsidized, which no league wants to deal with. In lower tiers, with regional play, travel is no problem. But what happens when our hypothetical FC Butte is promoted to a non-regional tier? Now they are flying to Tampa and El Paso and shit, none of those teams want to fly to fucking Butte (sorry Butte, I’m sure you’re beautiful but I’m not queuing to visit your lovely vistas).

There is also the potential to introduce yo-yo teams. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it can be annoying. Usually when pro/rel supporters talk about their system it is this beautifully fluid system with all sorts of teams floating around. But its not. The cream floats to the top, the shit sinks to the bottom. Manchester United is not being relegated any time soon without something cataclysmic happening. Rangers from SPL got sent to (what?) tier 4? And they are rising back to the top with a nearly unprecedented speed. Why? Because the quadruple relegation was unprecedented.

A yo-yo team is a team that is too good for tier n but not good enough for tier n-1. That means one season they are #1 and promoted, the next they are #20 and relegated. Repeat forever. FC Augsburg over in Germany used to be a good example of this. They are actually currently #4 in Bundesliga as of my last update. So I guess a good example (according to wikipedia) is Norwich, I’m sure some Norwich fan will correct me. I don’t see Americans dealing with yo-yo teams. But that goes to the first point: the mentality as a whole is not ready for this system.

So to wrap up this rambling with the biggest con: lower tiers have to fight college sports. Americans love a few things (in no particular order): Guns, Jesus, Reagan, Boobs, and College Sports. Unless you went to Purdue and gave up ever winning a bowl, you fucking love college sports. Fuck I did go to Purdue and gave up ever winning a bowl and I FUCKING LOVE WATCHING ME SOME COLLEGE SPORTS!

A low tier is going to have to fight college sports first for viewers and then for players. The NCAA is a big monster to fight. But this goes back to the very top of the cons pile: we see sports as pros or nothing. These kids HAVE to go to college. They cannot all be super stars, right? They need to have a back up! That is not a mentality or a societal norm that is going to change overnight because someone paid $500 to fly a banner over a single MLS match. That is an Olympus Mons sized hurdle we will have to climb.

So? Where do we go?

So? How does America catch the pro/rel fever? More cowbell? More left-over European players? Jürgen Klinsmann?

No. First there are bigger hurdles to handle. First we need to stop the cluster fuck of trading and DPs and regulations concerning the movement of players between clubs. This is necessary so we mesh better with other leagues. Then we need to adopt the same trading windows. HOWEVER. We should not adopt their calendar. This is mostly because Europe is a lot warmer than the US in the winter, so while they can still reasonably move around in December/February, we cannot. Storms and freeze-ins is a real thing.

I think that We should use the winter as our “off season” period. Summer can be our mid-season break for trading. This gets players out of the sun when the heat is at the worst in places like Texas and California. This way our trading windows sync up with Europe better and we don’t have to travel in the snow. Both wins.

Once we get better trading and a better transfer window the USSF (US Soccer Federation, our version of the FA) will have to work with the existing leagues to be open to the idea of pro/rel. They are going to want to see cash, cold hard funbucks. This means all those people clamoring for pro/rel need to get out to and watch some low tier soccer now. If the MLS/NASL/USSF sees the money at the bottom, they’ll want a piece.

Once they’ve been shown the potential for income they’ll have to restructure themselves. MLS is a “single entity” meaning the owners are actually investors, they don’t own their team they rent it from the MLS. The MLS will have to devolve into a standard league structure within the USSF. This can actually happen over night. The actual guts of the issue is simple – give the people in control actual control. The hard part is getting the MLS to want to let go.

Then after that the USSF needs to come up with a real, official structure. This means a) drawing a concrete line between pro and amateur, no more semi-pro on the pyramid. It also means b) getting these leagues to play along. Same schedule, same windows, same pool of players, and very real lines of promotion and relegation. Then throw in some cups to have fun. The Lamar Hunt Cup is our “Open Cup” and then throw in a few more, one for the lower leagues, one for everyone but the top. That’ll be nice. Cups, for the uninitiated, are tournies that run alongside the season. They are knock out and they let teams play teams they might not normally play as well as funnel some cash into the lower leagues when teams like FC Butte play the Chicago Fire.

I imagine it like this: the NASF (North American Soccer Federation) has four tiers:

  1. Tier One – The NAPL
  2. Tier Two – The NACL 1
  3. Tier Three – The NACL 2
  4. Tier Four – The RPSL
  5. Under this is amateur

The NAPL

The MLS is renamed the North American Premier League, encompassing both the United States and Canada under the newly minted North American Soccer Federation. The NASF will NOT govern the national teams for either country, which is not how it usually works but I think the USA and Canada are best when their sports leagues work together – however at a national level we shouldn’t ever compete together.

This league would be the cream of the crop, 20 teams and no regional divisions. Once you get this high, you are in, you are the best, you got the cash to travel. Teams aren’t promoted from this league, but they can be relegated.

The NACL 1

The North American Champion’s League 1 is tier two. Their best go up to the NAPL and their worst go to the NACL 2. I like the British style of best/worst 3 with a play off for the fourth spot. This means the teams ranked 20, 19, and 18 in the NAPL are always relegated, 17 and 16 play a two-game series with the loser being relegated. The same applies here for 4 and 5 for going up.  There are 20 teams here as well.

This league will also be non-regional, perhaps needing some about of subsidizing of travel costs. Teams here should be from medium to large markets like Cleveland from the beginning of this rant.

When a team is relegated into the NACL 2, it goes into its respective conference automatically. This means all teams (even those far from the threat of relegation) need to be pre-assigned a region.

The NACL 2

Things get complicated here. This is the first regional league made up of two leagues of with 20 teams each, divided east and west. This should NOT be based around “well two teams in Texas should be in opposite conferences” but rather travel costs. Each region plays their season in parallel. Their respective champions are both automatically promoted. Then the next four teams play parallel tournies to fill the second spot.

I’m just going to copy-paste the wiki article for the English pyramid (with changes as necessary):

The bottom three teams in each division relegated to the proper region as appropriate. If, after promotion and relegation, the number of teams in the East and West divisions are not equal, one or more teams are transferred between the two divisions to even them up again. This should start with teams previously transferred to the “wrong” side, then go go to teams closest to the other league.

The RPSL

The Regional Professional Soccer League rises out of the ashes of the NASL. It is divided into four regions: NW, SW, SE, NE of 20 teams each. Done. NPSL is nearly there as-is.

Six teams are promoted (each of the champions and then the top two from a play-off). There is no more relegation. Teams that fail economically have their place in line sold. Since the league doesn’t own the club, the club’s owners are economically liable as any company would be depending on structure and tax filing status and the league can easily wash their hands of the failure. Not their problem.

Like the above, if after the promotions leave and the incoming relegations arrive the regions are not even, they should be rebalanced as appropriate taking into account the same ideas as above – first move teams that have been moved into the “wrong” region into the “right” region, then start moving teams based on proximity.

In Conclusion

So there. This is not as easy as most supporters of pro/rel would claim, but I also think that those in opposition aren’t in opposition for the right reason. As usual, the real reasons (cultural, economic, societal) are probably the real root causes of why pro/rel isn’t happening tomorrow.

From a business perspective, a bigger pool of players and a bigger pool of teams in a system that essentially automatically sends them to the level best suited for owners should be pretty attractive. the USSF/NASF has a lot to earn with so many more teams it just needs to stop being the dog wagged by the MLStail.

But the hurdles in the way are gargantuan. Breaking down the monopoly of the NCAA is an unspeakably difficult task. I think that a market for both can exist – with the NCAA encompassing the spirited amateur, people who are good but not looking to be pros and the actually pyramid holding those who are good and want to do it for a living.

The hard part will be getting the lower leagues to generation enough income to pay their players a living yearly wage. That isn’t necessarily hard either, but it does mean that people cannot just ignore their local NASL/USLPro/NPSL teams anymore. If you want promotion and relegation in the USA/Canada you HAVE to support your local teams. HAVE to. Stop traveling. Stop supporting a big team because they are closest and biggest. Support what you got. You cannot say: I support pro/rel and I’m a Chicago Fire fan from Indianapolis who has never been to Chicago, been close to Chicago, or have family from Chicago. Because you are shooting yourself in the foot.

So, I hope this was enlightening and look forward to all the good this will do for my traff- I mean standing among people with opinions about sports.

Edit:

It has been pointed out to me that relegated teams are given a “parachute” fund to help lessen the blow of decreased TV revenue. This can actually make relegation lucrative if done “correctly.” I don’t really want to talk numbers or money – first it is easy to get wrong, second I don’t want people thinking I crunched the numbers. How you split TV profits and assist teams being relegated is up to organizations like the USSF and might be handled differently depending on where you go. For example – a big benefit from going from the NACL 1 to NACL 2 in my examples is a big decrease in travel costs, which can help off-set a loss in TV profits.

If you haven’t picked up the nuance and difficultly surrounding adopting a new system from everything above, I’m sure this isn’t going to help it any.

Nearly-Noon Writing/Holiday Update

Maidin mhaith, two people who read my writing updates!

Been hard at work since like seven-ish. No plans today to get in the way, eating some waffles, so this has been a great day thus far. Finishing up Chapter Seven, dreading moving into Chapter Eight, the first of three slash-and-burn chapters (chapters that are unusable in the next revision). I am fairly confident, though, this one should go rather smoothly. There is a lot to fix, but what doesn’t work is fairly obvious so I should be able to fix it more easily than I think.

We’ll see.

But as a reward, if I get through it I make it to Chapter Nine (which is actually being split into Chapters Nine and Ten, I think). And those are likely going to be really fun to do as well. So I am excited.

I can do this.

I also understand that today is Christmas Eve, I wish everyone following a great set of Holidays, regardless of when/how/why you celebrate any combination of them.  Brigid shot down my plan of building a giant Yule Goat in the cul de sac and then ritualistically burning it in praise of Thor, so my holiday break has been a little uneventful.

Beannachtaí na bhFéile Daoibh!

Mid-Day Thoughts

Maidin mhaith!

Word count is climbing, I’ve been writing since 7:30, so plenty of time. Plus I still have the rest of the day ahead of me. But now is as good as a time as any to stop and write down some thoughts that I’ve been ignoring lately.

First, writing is much, much easier when you have already written it before. I find myself much more willing to rewrite than I had first expected. When I first deleted my entire first book (in a separate, new file mind you) I suspected that I’d be about 30% “new” stuff and 70% “old” stuff. I find myself much closer to 50/50 if not actually favoring to write completely new material.

And I haven’t even hit any of the “bad” chapters yet. When that happens I might run the counter all the way to 100% new! Who knows, but I feel good about the Mark III (as I’ve been found of calling it).

Unfortunately the changes might force my already paid-for cover to essentially become unusable. I’ll mull that around a bit.

 

Meanwhile, in sports, Newcastle continues to sail down the rails like an out-of-control rollercoaster headed toward disaster. All three of our keepers have been injured in the last week, the big derby is tomorrow, a keeper finally got off the bench and it is our triple fall-back. Completely blew our chance at the cup by losing to a team we had already sank this year.

Manager Pardew continues to prove that only he can be awarded “Manager of the Month” while in a four-game losing streak (for the previous month after five wins seemed to completely turn our chances around). For fuck’s sake I hate him. His inconsistent leaning toward losing. But apparently five wins and is enough to completely overlook months of constant failure and dismay, despite a return to his normal form.

I don’t know what he’s doing at training but all the fucking injuries that are coming out of that pitch makes me think he is walking around beating everyone with a cane.

 

On the Detroit side of things, perennial pain in our ass and complete failure of an owner Dan Duggan is once again promising a USL Pro team in 2016 and he’s even building a stadium in Detroit. By which I’m assuming Pontiac because he can actually afford that. I really wish he’d just fall of a financial cliff and disappear forever.

The good guys however are rapidly expanding. Season ticket sales are rumored to be coming up to a sales cap in order to ensure that tickets can still be sold at the gate. It might actually hurt our financials because season tickets are so much cheaper for us and them.

However, to help compensate, DCFC gear is going retail. A local sports chain here has started carrying gear and tickets, which is absolutely awesome. Brigid and I have talked a few times about how you know that the team is really getting acceptance and having your stuff in retail was a huge part of that.

I will admit being worried that our grass-roots movement might take a battering from corporate asshats like Duggan, but I think if we can persevere we’ll make it through the storm in the end. But sitting in the past looking forward is much scarier than sitting in the future looking back.

Word count will be posted at the end of the day. Spoiler alert, I’ll likely break into five digits.

Slán!

Cartography

Been doing a lot of book stuff but very little involved writing. Mostly been working on my maps.

Brigid once pointed out another blog post to me where someone had written a piece on the sins of fantasy writers. One of the points made was essentially “Maps were Tolkien’s thing. You aren’t Tolkien. Ergo, don’t do Tolkien’s thing.”

I have several problems with this.

First. I love maps. So fuck you, random internet person.

Fuckyouzard

Second. Their entire piece was “No one is as good as Tolkien” copy-pasted until it was slightly shorter than War and Peace, which is admittedly shallow-minded and also debatable at its core.

Third. Seriously, who died and made them king of fantasy? Fuck you random internet person who I can’t bother looking up.

Maps and fantasy go hand-in-hand. Our world has maps, why wouldn’t a fantasy world? Maps are a great window into the human condition. From racial segregation, to the pride of nations. From isolated languages, to internet traffic in every corner of the world. Maps convey history, science, sociology, greed, adventure, stupidity, and the power to unite. A map can show the lines than humans have drawn over centuries of bloodshed, or in an instant erase them completely and show us as fleas on the side of an elephant.

A map in the first few pages of a novel might have trouble showing that sort of emotion. Without an known history, a history linked to who we are, a map might fall a little flat. Someone from Poland is going to see their western border in a very different way then the border between North and South Korea. Even if they were too young to experience either of the wars that set them.

It is the job of an author to make people care about the little map at the beginning. Whether it is of a continent, or a single mountain by a lake.

But, in a more pragmatic way, a map is a great way to show scale to a reader. Without context a hike from New York to Chicago can be five miles, fifty miles, five hundred miles. We know that it is a long way to hike. But we know that through experience and from looking at it on a map.

I think that if you are going to drop enough place names – actual, proper place names like “Main Street” or “Edinburgh” or “Poland” – it is important to use a map. ‘Enough,’ of course, is the key word. Use your brain, I can’t do it for you. But if a character just walks from “home” to “the grocer” and distance isn’t important, yeah leave the map on the desk.

Hmmm, I’m think about that urban sort of setting. Can a map help?

Eh… I won’t say no. I love maps.

Just -and this is a  general complaint about naming places- put some thought into your names. I read the first book of the Codex Alera series by the well-known Jim Butcher. The map drove me crazy because I recognized several of the place names and it took me out of “fantasy” world and put me more in the mind set of “this person apparently assumes I’ve never cracked open a history book ever.”

That is definitely something I’d avoid. Given that series was based on a challenge given to him to write something based off two “lame” ideas given by someone on the internet, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if some of the place names were after-thoughts. Still. “Aquitaine” is totally a place in France. Still is. Hard to think of it in a world of magic but that is totally a personal complaint; not bashing on Mr. Butcher.

Also, to the (other) guy on the internet who thinks Pokémon and the “Lost Legion” trope are lame.

Fuckyouzard

As a game Pokémon is a lot of fun. If it is “lame” because it lacks depth or complexity, I’d say you are wrong (look up competitive builds and you’ll get the depth to the engine) and also having a less linear story/game-play is great for that an RPG. Wish they’d stop trying to shoe-horn their shitty writing into it.

The lost legion trope is fun, I wish they’d stop doing it with Legio Nona Hispana, that story is played-out. Honor and soldiery tropes, there is a lot to do there and a lot of things you can do to make it unique. Plus the idea of a larger, vastly superior force being ground to paste by a smaller, native population has some great historical baggage to bring along with it.

As subtle as a brick through a store window.

Reread Your Work

Been writing this morning. I fell about a thousand words short of my goal last night but some things came up that couldn’t be avoided as easily as Facebook.

Decided to try to make a made scramble to catch up today. Am I going to make it? Maybe. Not that I care. All my deadlines are artificial constructs of my own mind.

So, in a pause between chapters I decided to re-read one of my previous chapters to reset my tone and consistency. I do this a lot. I love to reread my work. I specifically write what I want to read. I don’t read a lot. A book or two a year is pushing it for me. I was barely able to drag myself through high school “English” (read: “Reading”). There is only so many times I could read a book I hated and write a five-paragraph BS essay every few chapters.

I’ll bitch about fivers later.

So I lost a lot of interest in reading because to me it was all associated with the pain of over-analysis. Nothing is fun to read if some mad-woman is stopping you every few lines to ask you what it means and why it was done that way. I don’t know bitch, maybe he was being paid by the word and all those words contribute to a higher pay cheque. (Pro-tip: never suggest to your English teacher that Nathaniel Hawthorne was being paid by the word.)

This led to the golden-age of my childhood writing. I was writing the equivalent to a novel every year or so. That is a lot for a kid. I’d hardly finish what I’d start, writing a third of a novel and moving onto the next third. I did this for five years (counting the first year of middle school) until I went off to college, by which time I had started my serial publishing.

Everything I write, including this, will be read and reread countless times by me. I write what I want to read and so I get great enjoyment out of rereading my stuff over and over again.

Echo_and_Narcissus

The comparison is inevitable.

After I finished a bit of rereading I checked twitter and got the following tweet on my feed:

I’m sorry. I completely disagree. If it said “editing” I’d still disagree but to a much lesser degree. What you need to avoid is over-analyzing everything you do. Reread all you want. Get back into your character’s heads, remember what motivates them, what they were trying to accomplish right before you stopped. Reread your favorite bits because it can inspire you to keep going.

Yes it is a first draft, yes you can change anything later. But it is later. Changing a piece because the necessary change is on your mind is important. Don’t let that idea fade. Act on it. If you characters are in a pickle because of some stupid choice last chapter, change it. Don’t “wait until the editor gets to it.” Do it now. Your editor isn’t your ghost writer.

Reread your work, it isn’t a bogey man hiding in the dark. It is a creation that requires attention. And no attention is more important than yours. Just don’t write fivers every few pages.

Becoming an Icon

I mentioned some sports (I also mentioned being a writer but that can wait) and I want to talk some sports. Specifically I want to talk about becoming an icon of a city.

Now there is already a great blog specifically on Detroit City from a supporter’s view, it is called Boys in Rouge and I highly recommend it to those interested in the growth and soul behind our great team. I also recommend it if you want opinion and well-researched facts. This is a place for opinion.

I want you to read this tweet and then I’ll give you some background.

The Apostolopoulos family is a Toronto-based group that owns a lot of property in Metro Detroit, top of the list is the Silverdome (a complete wreck of a building in Pontiac) and also the State Savings Bank, a historic building in downtown. They are also the number one advocate for bringing MLS (Major League Soccer) to Detroit. Paints it in a different light, eh? DCFC knows its supporters have its back. It sees many of them calling out the Apostolopouloses on their bullshit attempts to both “invest” in Detroit while simultaneously trying to tear it down. There is no fear there. Detroit City looked a potential investor in the face and burned that bridge so readily, so quickly, and so fearlessly I can’t really help but be very proud. Detroit isn’t some dime-an-hour hooker to be partitioned and sold, no matter what Lansing or people like the Apostolopouloses want to believe. It is our city.

I can already hear some of you getting ready to rebuke me. Tell me about business plans and how all investors are alike and how teams should shut up and just play sports.

Fuck you.

That is the wrong attitude. That is the attitude that lets racist bullshit like the Redskins and Cleveland Indians exist into 2014. A team isn’t supposed to be just a business venture. It is supposed to be a little piece of a city’s soul, stitched together like a quilt made from those who wake up early, don their colors, drag their friends and family, and stand in the smoke and fire of the game.

Detroit City has done so much right. So much. They put vets back on their feet. They support our schools. They were proud to support LGBT teens in our city and wear kits donned with rainbows against a foe known for using homophobic language. And when people would tear down our city and our history they stood up in a small way with a picture of Jerry Seinfeld.

Because it isn’t about appeasing every investor – bending down a licking the hand that might feed. It is about that little slice of the city that is your soul. That’s why when Detroit City goes out onto a field they are marked by the Spirit of Detroit. Because if not them, then who? Certainly not the Wings, Lions, Tigers, or Pistons. They need fucks like the Apostolopouloses to sit in their court-side seats while the real fans can hardly afford the nose-bleeds.

And we are okay with that. We as Americans are okay with the idea that fans should shut up, sit down, golf clap when the jumbotron says so, and if you so much as think about doing anything more than the wave then the polite gentlemen with the badges and guns will show you to the door.

Why is that good? Why is what we have bad. Pro-tip. It isn’t. People will keep telling themselves that it is bad. Bad for a team to embody more than a business professionalism. Bad for supporters to chant and sing. Bad for people to stand. Bad for drums and coarse language. Bad to set off smoke after goals. Bad to tetris and bad to leave with no voice.

Bad to be an icon.

Well it isn’t. And the fucking line has been drawn. Detroit City Football Club isn’t becoming an icon, it is an icon.

 

Edit:
Detroit City still has its claws out, apparently:

Work in Progess

I guess this is where one would normally say “welcome to the site check back later when I am done fiddling with things.” Chances are I’ll never be done fiddling with things so…

This is my site. It is rather barren right now as I work with a good friend of mine learning tips of the trade when it comes to working on this. Eventually you’ll see my (usually) NC-17-ish twitter handle and get to listen to me talk about things I care about such as: my wife, my job, my writing, my sports, my house. “Normal” stuff. I’ll probably also talk about other cool stuff and some stuff you won’t care about but I do.

So there.

Welcome to my site. Sit down. Buckle up.