At the ConDor XXVI convention in San Diego I attended a talk on Space Navies and Space Marines.

During the talk they got off on the subject of traditions. I felt that one thing they missed is traditions are kept because they are useful.

There’s a simple tradition on board U. S. Navy ships when a rover (a sailor that patrols the ship) hands his weapon to his relief. Although his weapon may be unloaded he never points it at his relief who’s standing in front of him. The sailor going off watch unloads the weapon, checks to see it’s unloaded. Returns it to his holster and then hands the holstered weapon to the his relief.

And yes there have been people shot because they skipped a step. The relief belts on the holster and then repeats the checking of the weapon. There are no bands playing, but this tradition is written into the books.

Other traditions such as ringing the bell to mark time may date from when sailors could not afford a watch and could not read one. You stand a four hour watch and studies have shown that after four hours your efficiency falls way off.

The general discussion was will future space ships be structured like Navy ships or like airplanes. After working for the U. S. Navy there is no doubt that space ships will be structured like Navy ships. Airplanes do not stay in the air for weeks or months at a time. If a light bulb goes out on an airplane the pilot does without till he can land and someone on the ground replaces it. If a light bulb goes out on a ship a sailor requisitions one out of ship’s supply (it’s usually hidden somewhere under a deck plate) and replaces it. A Navy ship carries replacement parts, even a big bomber aircraft does not. A navy ship has sailors on board to repair things, an aircraft does not. If you break down in space you have to fix your craft, or it’s a long wait for a tow truck.

A space craft has to carry as little as possible to save weight (mass). If the person who calculates what could break during a mission to determine what spares a craft should carry and they miscalculate the crew on the ship could die.

It’s called logistics and logistics saves lives.

There will be checklist for everything. In space one mistake and it will kill you. Now and in the future you will have a virtual assistant to make sure you do your checklist and watch you do it. Checklist will be the new tradition.

Stay strong, write on.

Professor Hyram Voltage

Photos from ConDor XXVI

Michelle Lowe on the right and her and her beautiful assistant on left

Marie Andreas on right and her beautiful assistant on left

Demi Hungerford on right and her beautiful assistant on the left. Are you starting to see a pattern here? I got to start writing down the names.

Cake, Horns, and the Deer-in-the-headlights-look. People having fun.

Don’t Just Do It, Write.

Don’t start your writing day because you have to do it. Don’t think of it as a drudgery. Don’t think of it as something you have to do.

Write because you want to find out how the hero is going to get out of the mess you got him into. This may take a couple of rewrites but the reader will never guess what’s coming.

Write because your hero has become to cocky, to arrogant, thinks he can do anything. It’s time to put him into his place. It’s time to make his life miserable. It’s time for a little story tension. Make that a whole lot of tension. If it’s interesting for him, it’s interesting for you, and for the reader.

Write because the sun is out and it’s feels like the day you’re going to write an extra 1000 words. The birds are singing and the words are going to flow.

Write because it’s dark, cloudy, stormy. Write like the weather; write dark, write stormy, and depressed or write violent. Every story needs a good lightening bolt or even a couple. Write the ‘through the tunnel of death’ part of the hero’s journey of your story. Skip ahead and write the dark part of the book. Incorporate a dark cloudy day into your story. Incorporate a storm, lightening, high wind. Make your hero miserable. Write how the weather makes it worst for the hero. It’s her wedding day and it’s storming and she can’t put off the wedding.

Smile and write because it’s storming out side and your in a coffee shop. The shop has to sweep the floors, clean the tables, wash the dishes and heat the place so you’re warm. You got it made. You’re not sitting shoulder to shoulder at a metal bench next to 300 other workers, putting the same little part in the same place on a circuit board hour after hour, day after day, but your heroine is there and does that and will do anything to get out of there (or so she thinks).

Write to be with your story friends, the heroine and villains of your story. Yes, villains can be friends, good friends.

Don’t write because it’s on your schedule, it’s your practice, or your habit. Write because the world wants your story, it’s begging for your story. Write because of the story, your story. It has to be told, by you, and your way.

Stay strong, write on.
Professor Hyram Voltage

Don’t Let Goals Limit Your Writing

If you’re like me you celebrate when you reach a goal. That’s not bad, BUT (and there’s always a but) don’t let that limit you.

You’ve accomplished a major goal, go ahead and celebrate, but don’t stop. You’re on a roll. Use the momentum. Push yourself. A break and rest are good, but don’t abandoned the goal. There’s always more to do. Think stretch goals.

If you’re a football player and you have the ball, you don’t stop when you’ve reached ten yards and gained a new down you keep running.

If your goal is easy to reach or it has become routine to reach then increase the goals. If you don’t grow, you don’t strive for better hard to reach outcomes you will be eaten alive.

Look at RCA. It was a huge electronics company. Now all that’s left is the name that was sold to a Japanese company. The letters stand for Radio Corporation of America and now it’s only a label to be stuck on Japanese things. What happened? The company lived off the income from a bunch of patents and when the patents expired they had no new products. They did not have a big engineering staff developing new products not related to the old patents.

Is this what is happening to HP and IBM? They stopped making new and revolutionary products. They fired their development staff to save money, lots of money. The companies are a shadow of their former selves and may soon become labels slapped on someone else’s products. Don’t let this happen to you.

Movie stars reinvent themselves every few years. They do this to keep from being typecasted. To keep fans from becoming bored with them. To explore new roles.

Do the same. Write under a new pen name in a different sub-genre or even a whole new genre. Increase your word count per day goal. Write for an extra hour. Set a goal to write one additional new book this year, up from the number of books you wrote last year. Will this require changes? Yes. Will this be good? Yes. Will you succeed? Who knows, but you will strive and good can come from that.

Stay strong, write on.

Professor Hyram Voltage

Now go watch Chris Fox’s YouTube video on motivation at;