Vatta’s War – SF Series I have just finished

Book 5, Victory Conditions, Elizabeth Moon

Warning Spoilers ahead… you have been warned!

Vatta’s War is a military SF series that is comprised of 5 books. This one being the last.

I will be the first to admit that I am easy to please when it comes to films or books. Its not often I have to stop watching/reading something. This book was definitely not one of these times. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the books in this series and this last volume pulls together the threads that have been woven throughout the series quite well. Its generally what you would expect from a military SF series. I liked the character development and the way the plot grew throughout. The way the battles were told was really good and managed to get the ideas across without the need fo endless techno babble.

I will say that I did find some of the last parts of the book seemed to be glossed over when she was tying up loose ends. Casually mentioning that Toby’s parents had been found, and that he and Zori were going to live with them and go to school. This was a bit like telling for the sake of tying up that sub plot. It was also frustrating that she didn’t explain much of why Lew Parmina and Gammis Turek did what they did, some kind of motivation other than power would have been good. I think had she done some chapters from the antagonists point of view she could have expanded on this without losing anything else.

I have seen some people mocking Rafe and Ky’s love story but despite the distances and the time apart I didn’t find it hard to believe that they could declare their love for each other when they were not in contact, it was a result of the feelings growing and the feeling of missing each other that brought this on and I thought it was handled well. I have also seen people mocking Ky’s grasp of tactics at such a young age. Again, I don’t understand this as the books made it quite clear she was an honour student who was near the end of her time at the academy and would have finished top of her class. So, given she had all of the training and was close to leaving it isn’t really surprising that she was so good at tactics (also in this universe the implants assist with all aspects of this).

All in all the writing was really good and the structure and storytelling were really good. I powered through this series and will re-read them again at some point so if your looking for a good SF series I would recommend this one.

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2 Months

I realised today that its been 2 months since I posted on this blog, this is not the way to run something that I want people return to.

NaNo was a bit of a flop this year, for a change I had planned it out enough and was clear on the direction but I had been extremely busy with work and at the end of the day was not in a place where I could maintain the pace. Maybe next year.

I have an idea for next year using prompts from the Writing Magazine that I subscribe to. This should give me enough topics to cover during each month for a steady stream of interesting posts.

Nearly 2018, looking forward to Christmas. Today is my last day at work for 11 days so looking forward to finish time.

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It’s in the name

The last post I did was around a month ago and was around NaNoWriMo prep. You will probably not be surprised to hear that one month on I have done…….. almost no prep. I am my own worst enemy.

I even stopped checking Facebook on my main account and this was successful, but that extra time was used with watching more TV. I think as well as doing this I need to have a strict ban on TV in the office now unless I am watching something specific, like today. Formula 1 time soon.

So from the last post I still need to finish up some Character sketches and a little bit more world building. Then my outline, I have my beginning and end. I have some sub plots, I need to weave them together and track how I am going to get from the beginning to the end so I don’t run out of steam.

I think I need to get out of my own way, I spend allot of time worrying about how far it is from A to B in my world and how long to travel, when I am stuck like this I seem to grind to a halt. I don’t know why?

The other thing I decided to do was to pull all my old notes together and re write them as I have changed elements of the plot and I need to be clear moving forward.

So I have 2 hours until it’s time for F1, time to brew up and do some NaNo work.

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NaNoWriMo 2017 Prep post

It’s that time of the year again when I make all these positive and “achievable” goals, a part of my writing journey whether I “win” or “lose” I love taking part. NaNoWriMo, the principal being, write! Don’t edit, don’t fact check, don’t let that pesky inner editor get a look in.

Now depending on the type of writer you are you will either wait until the last minute and then “pants” it all the way, writing with abandon until you are left with a 50k+ masterpiece, ready to be ripped apart and redrafted within an inch of it’s life.

Or if you are like me you will be a “plotter” and now be starting to plan, 2015 saw me finally complete my NaNo journey and finish a project. 13th Earth – Before the Dawn. I still haven’t picked it up to start redrafting since just after I had it printed to have something solid to read. 2016 I started with hope that I could repeat the year before, but alas I left it too late to get all of my planning done and back to the previous years I ran out of steam. So here we are half way through September and I have started flushing out the story I want to tell in November.

This time I am going to write something in the Fantasy universe I have been creating. Dragon Lords – The Return is the name of the title and I have started this previously in NaNo’s although I have changed the story quite a bit since then. Main tasks for the rest of this month are:

  • Flesh out the cast and do character profiles
  • Finish world building
  • Finish timeline
  • Finish the Magic System and get some friend to check it for viability 🙂

I hope to have the above completed ready for the beginning of October, then the rest of the time before start I can devote to outlining. This time I plan on not running out of steam by having a full chapter outline, something to start with so I can relax and tell the story I have been waiting years to tell.

There we go, a more in depth statement of intent than normal, lets hope this enthusiasm carries on throughout October and through to the end of November when I will be able to hold up the second NaNo novel.

Then maybe I should do some serious redrafting and get something published 🙂

Until next time…


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Writing group and accountability update

The writing group that I started with a friend had its second meeting a few weeks ago. It was good to get together and talk about writing with like minded people. One of the ideas a member came up with was to set our own targets and then be held to them in the group, sort of a metaphorical kick up the butt.

I liked the idea and I set myself a target, this has had two effects, I have actually sat down to write and am about half way through the first draft of the story. The second point however is that I haven’t kept to the target. Now although I would have liked to stick to what I said I would do I am at least glad that this has got me doing some proper writing.  Although I cannot go to the next meeting I am going to put up the post for the targets for the next meeting and this time I am going to put more effort into meeting it.

All in all it was good to get together with some other writers even though in that actual group we didn’t do much writing, it was more a meet and greet.

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Technology vs Procrastination

I have posted quite a few times about how I procrastinate and in the writing magazines I often look at where other writers work, some in cafes, on the couch, in the garden some in offices I have tried a little of all of them with different results depending on situation.

I have an office to myself at home so you would think I would get lots of work done there. This could be the case if I didn’t watch too much TV in there, or browse the internet, or play games… you see a theme here. I have too much in there. Many computers and screens, tv, books etc. So although I am in there allot I don’t get much writing done.

We recently had a writing meetup for the group I am part of and in that couple of hours I got more actual writing done than in the last few months, looking forward to the next one but I also need to get myself int a routine of getting some actual writing done. Not just planning all of the time like I normally do.


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Writing Meetup

I have joined a few writing groups over the years and they all end up where no one talks for weeks on end and nothing seems to happen.

So, this year I started a writing group with a fellow writer from one of the other groups. Called Northern Writers, I didn’t want to have something that was limited to one town, at the moment there are 8 members and although quite quiet there is some participation.

Sunday 4th we had our first meeting, there was only three of us due to availability but it was good to have a writing meetup. We met in William Steads in Darlington from 09:30 until around 1pm and I have to say I was more productive in those few hours than I have been in the last few months. Something about being in a place with people that like to do the same thing as me and being away from distractions made me focus on what i was doing.

We are already planning the next official meetup and I am planning on maybe going back there myself to do some writing. As I have said in the past it seems daft to have an office to myself and still need to leave the house to do some work without distraction.

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When I was writing everyday there was no literary gems as such but it was a way of getting me writing everyday, since I stopped doing that I have stopped doing everything. That isn’t what I was hoping to get from that exercise. I was hoping that would get me into a routine, suffice to say that didn’t happen.


We are now into August so we have 3 months until November NaNo. Since I did the other one two years ago I have been wanting to use the time to succeed again. 3 Months to properly plan and outline a story. Plenty of time you say….  provided I can get my writing life into gear.

So todays goal, choose which universe to do a story in. Dragon Lords or Shattered Worlds. Fantasy of Sci-Fi??

Then blog blog blog!!

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Why can’t I plan properly?

It’s really annoying, I know when things are due to start and yet I am never ready (writing related) I have been talking about Camp Nano for a few weeks and yet it was the start yesterday and although I have a bare outline I don’t have an outline and I have brought my material down to look through today and I am thinking I need allot more planning time.

Characters, I have some names and a bare family outline but nothing deep about them or anything on their friends of the people that are going to share their adventures.

The world, I have a basic map and some city names but nothing concrete and I need to really plan ahead to make sure when I start writing it’s clear I am living in a world thats established. they say readers can tell when your telling a story from a world you have thought out, rather than something that you are pulling from the air as you are writing. I mean either way of doing it can work depending on what type of writer you are. I need to have a plan, I can’t pants it!

I am wondering now if I should not bother with camp nano and then still do the project I was wanting to do and ready for November. Then again isn’t that just a cop out this early in the process.

Problem is I have the great write series and I was going to use them to get me to a better place with my writing. I am a victim of wanting to do all of this at once and because I want to do all of this at the same time I get none of it done.

I am going to continue planning today and see if I can make the decision if it is worth trying for nano as I don’t want to just write drivel as I am not prepared, but I also don’t want to not do it and then settle back into the habit of doing nothing.

I was toying with the idea of planning my evenings as if I was attending a course, so I have structured time for doing learning and structured time for writing/films/family time.

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30th June 2017 – Finish and Where now?

Well, when I started this I didn’t think I would manage to keep up with it. The post I have made throughout the month have not been long ones, most of them have just been small diary format. But it has got me writing something every day and that was the point.

Not entirely sure where to go from here, I want to keep writing regular but I also want to write something more meaningful on here. Not really the place for normal fiction or anything so I think rather than diary type posts I may need to come up with some proper article ideas and write something meaningful.


Maybe something that is around 1k words and 4 of them in the month. I will have a think over the weekend and see if I can come up with something to do some articles about. Actually looking forward to getting some real meaty stuff on the blog.

We shall see, I will be doing some deciding tomorrow.

I’m just glad I stuck to what I said I was going to do for once. I only missed one day, which is annoying, but I posted it the next day.

Write on!

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