This blog, by writer and aspiring novelist Stephen G. Parks, is about science fiction, space, creativity, and occasionally wildly off-topic ideas such as ethics, politics, music, or journalism. Take a look around, maybe leave a comment!


Music as a weapon - too silly an idea?

I’m at a bit of a crossroads with the novel I’m writing (hereafter referred to as WiP - short for ‘Work in Progress”). I had an idea for an alien race that I thought would be different. I built a plot point around that difference. Then I saw something similar in a movie … and I thought it was stupid.

What to do? What to do? Do I re-write the WiP to eliminate that plot point? Do I remove it entirely? Or is it OK?

Anyone who knows a writer knows that we’re very insecure about our writing, fragile, even. So what do we do when a plot point appears ridiculous? Panic. Stop writing. Have long breaks while we try to understand how we got into this terrible dilemma.

Or maybe we ask for help. Read on

Death vs Taxes - a short story

The Grim Reaper has been summoned by the IRS for an interview. But why?

A 1,500 word story (approx 4 min read) for your consideration READ THE STORY HERE

Novels versus Novellas (What’s in a word count anyway?)

I once asked a literary agent why some books have “A Novel” after their title. The fact that it was a novel seemed self-evident. You find it in the fiction section. You’re holding it in your hand, it’s a novel. She replied “I don’t know”. That’s sat with me for a while now. Read More

Livestreaming the world's wind

I am absolutely addicted to this site, Windyty.com. It shows you wind patterns live (maybe a 30 minute delay) for anywhere in the world. Above is peninsular Malaysia, where I live. Also, when you go to the site, note the controls on the lower right side - try clicking a few, like "Waves, Sea", and see how the map changes. I'm totally hooked on this. READ MORE to see another cool live map.

Putting the Cart Before the Horse - Malaysian Real Estate Style

When I first arrived in Kuala Lumpur, my employer gave me a list of real estate rental agents to contact - these are people used to helping foreigners, and who apparently "know what we want.” I thought that was odd at the time, but just dismissed it as expat hubris. Three years later, I completely understand those remarks. READ MORE

Transformative cover songs

One thing that my partner and I disagree on is cover songs. As often as not, her first exposure to an old song I love is through a cover version made popular much later. Again, as often as not, I find the cover version to be lacking any transformative soul. Often I find them to be desecrating a great old song.

I don’t know how many times we’ve started listening to a song, and she’s said, “I know this song. Sarah Brightman sings it!”

To which my invariable response has been, “Maybe she does, but she didn’t sing it first, and she certainly didn’t write it. How about we enjoy the original singer-songwriter?” READ MORE

What Can Scalzi’s First Novel Teach New Authors?

Whether you love him or hate him, John Scalzi is incredibly influential and is probably the highest-paid science fiction writer today. in 2015, Scalzi signed a ten-year, 13 book, $3.4 million deal with Tor publishing.  Part of my learning process is to deconstruct successful novels to see what I can learn from them. It makes sense to look at John Scalzi’s first book, Old Man’s War. READ MORE

The Value of Expiration Dates

One of the on-going discussions in our household is how valid expiration dates on food really are. My partner tends to treat them as sacrosanct. I, on the other hand, feel that common sense should be applied to them, as I feel they’re often abused to make you throw away and re-purchase edible food. READ MORE

The year in writing (so far)

Recently published stories:

  • My First Cosplay  (published July 17, 2016)- How would aliens handle the ‘dressing up’ part of Hallowe’en?
  • Forget Me Nots (published July 25, 2016) A countdown to the end

I’ve noticed that some writers like to keep tabs on how their year as a writer is going. I’ve never done that before, but the ones I see doing it are ones that seem more committed to writing, so I figured that was good company to keep. Here we go!

Short stories I’ve written so far in 2016 (1,500 - 4,500 words each):

  • Death vs Taxes - why does the IRS want to meet the Grim Reaper?
  • The Curator - a diligent zookeeper is trying to save a nearly extinct species, but both of his last two humans are male
  • The Wind Wasn’t Right - Deep space accident investigation leads to a fry cook in Hong Kong
  • Sylvester Down - A luxury yacht travelling out past the moon is attacked.
  • Graceful Degradation - everything fades: songs, books, photos, memories…
  • Zeus Beheld - So the Greek Gods went on a five year voyage around the galaxy, but didn’t understand time dilation, and return 3,400 years later.
  • Dee for the Win - A young man tries too hard to be the best racer in his village.
  • Plus I have opening lines or scenarios for 15 more.

New short stories on this site (100-word 'drabbles')

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