Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Internet Just Blew My Mind

Do you have any idea how cool the world that we live in is?


I'm finally getting around to putting the finishing touches on my novel, and I have discovered that the internet is AMAZING.

CreateSpace is an online publishing company that I can submit my electronic text to, and they will send me a copy for free. That's pretty cool.  BUT!  They will also put it on for me, and anyone in the world can buy it.  That's right.  Soon, you'll be able to type my name into Amazon and a real-live hard-copy bonafide copy of my book could show up on your doorstep. I bet you didn't think you knew any of the authors on Amazon- but you are officially wrong.

But, what if you are one of those awesome people who doesn't touch real books anymore, because you own a fancy Kindle?  Or perhaps an iPad where you read your Kindle books?  Have no fear!  Amazon has a program that allows anyone to upload a book onto their Kindle market and sell it as a Kindle book!

Remember when getting published meant that someone had to read your book and think it was worthy of being printed??  Ha.  I remember when Pluto was a planet, too.  Those days are long gone.

The world will soon be a little brighter, because my ill-researched and poorly written novel is about to take both Kindle and Amazon by storm.  Watch out world.  The field of science fiction is about to take a major blow.

I'll put some links on here once they are available.  Unfortunately, the reason that I can make the novel available on so many platforms for free (on my end), is because they are going to charge you for it (on your end).  I think I can make it as cheap as $0.99 on Kindle, and $4.99 + shipping/handling on Amazon.  Those are the minimum prices set by the publisher- and they even give me a percentage of the price as a 'royalty'.  I think I'll get $0.33 per Kindle sale, and $0.51 per hard copy sale.  I might quit my day job.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Top Ten Tips For Writing a Novel

10.  If your plot is dragging, kill a character. It's incredible hard to write a boring death scene.  Probably impossible. Unless the character was actually "bored to death", but I think that even that would be interesting to write about.

9. Start with a sufficient number of characters so that #10 doesn't prematurely end your story

8. Think of novel writing as "The Original Sims".  The reason that Sims is popular is that its fun to have control over a group of characters and make them do outlandish things.  Novel writing should be fun for the same reason.

7. Give up on bad ideas quickly.  For some weird reason, I really wanted someone to win the lottery in my novel.  It just didn't fit anywhere, and I spent too much time trying to work it in.

6. Write about whatever you want.  Chances are if you are enjoying typing it, then someone is going to enjoy reading it.  For example, I spend about 5 pages describing an appendectomy in space.  It was SO fun to write, and it's probably the best written scene in the whole book. If it's not fun to write, it won't be fun to read.

5. Have a terrible opening sentence.  It's only uphill from there.  Mine was, "Hello?"  You don't want to set expectations too high at the beginning or else your readers are going to have, ya know, high expectations.

4. Don't apologize for the decisions you make.  I am very bad a writing relationships between men and women (love is sappy and for wieners); but I'm very good an building relationships between men, or between woman (developing friends and enemies is fascinating!!).  So I put 5 men in space, and 5 women on Earth, and they really don't interact with the other group.  Call me sexist- but a woman in space would've cause MAJOR issues that I'm just no prepared to deal with.

3. Don't name characters who aren't important.  I hate when books have too many characters, and I hate when I don't know which ones are important enough to pay attention to.  If someone's not important in my book, they don't get a name.  For example, "the NASA director" appears a lot in the book, but he's not worth remembering, so he doesn't get a name.  You're welcome, readers.

2. Don't say that you have 10 tips if you can only think of 9.

1. Have an awesome closing paragraph.
SPOILER ALERT: Here'e my last paragraph-

I wonder if anyone remembers that we're here.  Do history books mention in passing that 2 people were left on Mars after NASA collapsed?   Do kids with telescopes know that there’s an old couple living on that little speck of light that they see?  Maybe someday a new ship will land.  Maybe new astronauts will brave the terrain in search of life.  Maybe they will find us, an old couple with a world of our own in this rickety little base camp.  We will be there to greet them with flowers from our garden.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

20 Miles of Inspiration

I just ran 20 miles.  See the video below for a thorough description of how I feel right now.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jesus Is A Liberal Democrat

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jesus Is a Liberal Democrat
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogMarch to Keep Fear Alive


If you don't have 4 minutes to watch the whole thing, you can just watch the last 20 seconds (3:55-4:15)- he sums it up pretty well.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Baby, It's Warm Outside!

Running a marathon in January was a really stupid idea.  BECAUSE DECEMBER IS FREAKING FREEZING IN NEW ENGLAND.  I ran 9 miles on a treadmill a few days ago because it was too dang cold to do it outside.  Do you know what's fun about being on a treadmill for 90 minutes?  Nothing.  Nothing is fun about it.

BUT!!  Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition-  check out the forecast for Sunday in Rhode Island.

51 DEGREES!!  WAHOOOOOO!!  This will significantly improve my chances of completing 18 miles.  Hopefully the 90% chance of precipitation will be in the form of Gu Chomps and Gatorade.  Nevermind, that sounds sticky.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Santa!! At Midway!!

Walking through Midway, on our way to our fancy residency interviews, Ala and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to chat with Santa about our Christmas lists.  And Southwest gave us each $20 our next flight for doing it.

It was a Christmas miracle!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Death Takes Up Too Much Space

I'm spending the next 2 weeks In the surgical intensive care unit, since my interview schedule is a little slow in December. My first day back on a surgical service since August, and I'm already waiting for a patient to die. The death has been a long process. A long morning.  A family meeting, then withdrawing care, then a morphine drip. Maybe it's because I'm fresh off of my novel writing adventure, but I'm feeling very poetic about Death today. Here goes nothing:

Death takes up a lot of space.  It demands a perimeter around it, where Life is not allowed.  No laughing here.  No smiling.  No talking about what you'll make for dinner.  How much space do you need, Death? 10 feet? 15 feet?   The whole hospital floor?  How far away do I need to keep my Life, to avoid offending your perimeter?  Certainly I must leave your room- where the silent monitors growl at me.  Certainly I cannot stay in the waiting room- where the family wearing black stares me down.  I'll take my Life down to the cafeteria, I suppose, to avoid your looming glare.
I'd like to check my email.  Is that ok, Death?  I'll promise not to smile.  Even if I see a picture of my nephew, I'll be as stone-faced as a wall.  Your expanding perimeter soon takes out the nurses station too.  Can I still have donut, with all its cheerful sprinkles? No? Fine.
Ballooning outward, stretching your limbs like a tired cat, you reach down every hallway whispering, "Run away, Life.  Right now, all this is mine." Life reluctantly obilges, shrinking into the corners and closets, knowing that this too shall pass.  Death will pass over us and soon leave us alone, we reassure one another. Life will resume its rhythm and dance, knowing that it was a small price to pay to keep Death satisfied.  We'll shirk to the corners every time you enter, Our Friend Death, as long as you keep ignoring us in favor of sicker souls.
Slowly you fade away, shrinking back into your secret hiding place some place in the bowels of the hospital, where you can watch us furiously scurry to stave you off.  Oh, if we could find you, and smoke you out like a rabid raccoon.  Alas, you hide too well and we are left dreading your next return, hoping it won't be in our very own house.  There's no room for you in my house, Death. I'll fill it up with Life and Laughter, build a perimeter of my own to stand at its border with my wand raised to you crying, "See, Death? I take up space too! "

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Building Up and Tearing Down

I have spent the past month or so focusing on 3 major activities: writing my novel, getting ready and attending interviews, and running.

The novel writing adventure was all about spewing words onto a page, as many as I could in a day, regardless of their importance or value.  I succeeded in finishing my novel in time (which means I get a free paperback copy of it as my prize! Wahoo!)- but now I have to take on the task of editing my novel.  I can already  think of five or six paragraphs, off the top of my head, that I know are complete crap and should probably be deleted.  But it breaks my heart to do it-  I poured a lot of time and energy into those piles of meaningless words that don't really contribute to the plot line. At the time, I really felt like that rambling monologue about a sandwich would be helpful....

The interviewing adventure had been a whirlwind.  Since September, I've been eagerly collecting interview offers and meticulously adding them and all their associated travel plans to my calendar.  But soon, I had 23 interviews offers, but I knew that I should only really attend 12-15 (according to every sane person I've talked to).  So now I've begun the sad process of canceling them. I get overly sentimental about the programs that I'm giving up.  I KNOW which ones need to be canceled, but when I go to do it, I suddenly feel like I'm closing the door to a possible future that I could possibly have if I kept the interview.  It's emotionally draining to talk myself out of all the imaginary lives that I'm envisioned for each of the programs.

The running adventure- well, that's not slowing down at all.  I'm still very much building up that area of my life (my long run this weekend will be 18 miles.  UGH.)  It'll be torn down soon, too, though.  I'm sure that a month after my marathon, I will feel like I spent an extraordinary amount of time working toward something that was over so quickly, and all I have to show is a medal and a story.

Sorry this post became so whiny.  Here's my new favorite picture in the whole world to cheer you up.  Aren't we the best-looking couple you've ever seen?  I certainly think so.