Four updates in one post (warning: some updates my be really short)

I just finished reading Andy Weir's The Martian and, on the off chance you're in to hard science fiction and you haven't read it yet, I suggest you pick it up. It's breezy and funny and it moves along briskly and there are tons and tons of math! Don't worry, though, because Weir does a great job of keeping it at a level that I found easy to follow. I've no clue if the movie will be any good or not, but the book's a keeper.

Now isn't this interesting? New Orleans is making a bid to host Worldcon 2018? There are worse places to visit, and there are worse reasons for visiting a place. 2018 is far enough away I can't even think about making concrete plans, but wouldn't it be fun? Speaking of New Orleans, this arrived in the mail yesterday.  It's beautiful, it's raw, and it's special. 

I'm home alone this weekend. You'd think I'd be out doing wild, bachelor things and so forth. Well, you might think that if you didn't know me. I've done a lot of work (because hey, that's what you do on labor day weekend, right?) and some reading and a little, but not nearly enough, cleaning. The only bachelor thing I've done is restrict my meals to "things I can prepare easily and clean up afterwards easily." That name would look terrible on a label, wouldn't it? Someone smarter than me will probably come up with something better...

That last flash fiction story was a bear. It was a two-part prompt: The previous week, we created a character. Then, last week, we wrote a story using someone else's character. I selected a fellow who didn't say much other than a few prophetic in brief spasms. Then I got to work on the story. I had a setting, I had other characters moving around the main character, I had  a basic plot outline and even had it halfway finished when I noticed that I hadn't really done anything with the character himself. Uh oh. This was the point at which I noticed that it's tough to write essentially mute characters. In theory, I would have recognized this at the outset, but I'd somehow missed out on this vital realization. 

Four hours, a complete shift in POV, and an kind of a cop-out of an ending, I had it done. Not great, but a terrific exercise and that's what these prompts are all about. It did, however, lead me to ask myself a question. Let me put on my toga and you can pretend I'm speaking in the voice of some Greek philosopher:

"Is it better to tell a great story adequately, or to tell an adequate story skillfully?"

Ok, I'll take the toga off now.* Ideally, of course, you want to tell a great story skillfully. For the sake of practice, I feel as though I've been spending too much time and effort trying to come up with a great story and not working as hard at telling it well.  So, for the next prompt, my goal is to pay more attention to the technical side of things, the mechanics of it, even if that means I'm not particularly "inspired" by the story. Does that make sense? 

* Don't flinch; I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt underneath it.