Are You Polyamorous With Your WIPs?

It happens to the best of us.  We’re booking it through writing a book, then – WHAM! – it hits you like a box truck going under 11-foot-8.

You have another book you want to write even more.



You’re so close to finishing that book.  You’ve got to stay on track, got to get that done so you can start editing, submitting, publishing, etc. etc…

In this case, you decide to keep working on that book.  It hurts – your mind feels the pain of trudging through a story you don’t want to write.  You must simply hope the story doesn’t suffer like you are.

If you’re close enough to the end, this strategy works out.  You’ll reach the end triumphant.  But, if you’ve got a little longer to go, each day causes you consternation.  That other book’s still lingering, dying to be written.



Finally, you must give in.  It was just too much, and you felt like continuing the original story was going to fail anyway.  Sure, first drafts all need editing, but you wouldn’t want to look forward to what you’d have to edit…

Just a couple chapters, just enough to get that new idea down, and you’re back to your old story.  If you can write just a little on this ‘other story,’ then you’re much more likely to come back to it and remember what a great idea it had been.

But there’s a risk with doing this.  Sometimes, those chapters are like a gateway drug.  This new book is so enticing, so fun, and offers new challenges and plots.


Ok.  You can handle two books at once.  You were so far ahead with the first one, anyway, that they’ll end up finished at about the same time.

You’ve got the skills.  You’ve got the will.  Now all you need is a little more leeway with that timeline you’d originally had to get that book finished.



That first book was never what you wanted anyway.  That book was predictable garbage.


So don’t feel bad for leaving it for something new.  Sometimes you just need a break, and sometimes it’s simply good for you.  It’s better to write something new, something less likely to be published/finished/loved, than to write nothing at all.



I recently went through this full cycle.  I was almost done with American Chimera, my latest novel-length project, when I got completely distracted by something that doesn’t deserve to see the light of day.

Have you ever cheated on your novel?  Do any of these steps resonate with you?  Let me know in the comments!

The Mercury Dimension – Short Pitches

The Mercury DimensionThursday the 6th was PitMad day on Twitter, which means unagented authors everywhere showed off their chops in 280 characters or less.  I joined in with one tweet, just so I wouldn’t be entirely left out. Even so, I don’t have many friends on Twitter and didn’t go in expecting much.

Inspired by Lorraine Amber’s post from a few months ago, I thought I’d ask you which (if any!) of these piques your interest.  Let me know in the comments!  I might try to do the pitch party in December, so it’s time to polish my sales skills.

Did you do a pitch tweet?  Do you have a book you plan on querying soon?  I’d love to do a query trade with you!

Pitch 1

The humans send Commander Russus to destroy an innocent race as part of a deal to gain vital information about their enemy. Can she convince the humans to accept mediocrity in the interstellar community, especially when she isn’t even human herself?

Pitch 2

Though a shapeshifting alien, Commander Russus is no stranger to humanity. She willingly destroys planets and races for them.

Now her admirals demand she slaughter innocents. Can she change her orders, or will she sacrifice her career to save her victims?

Pitch 3

They call Russus ‘shapeshifting vermin,’ but her loyalty to the most murderous of races – humans – has never wavered. Now they command her to slaughter a planet of innocents. Can she win a fight against her orders, or must she betray her loved ones?

Pitch 4

Commander Russus is sent to seal a deal her admirals made with the tree-like aliens from Tsanur.  When she discovers the Tsanurians want her to save their slaving operations, she disobeys.  Can she find enough evidence of the Tsanurians’ evil to save her career?

Pitch 5 (The one I Tweeted)

Russus risks her commission as the only alien aboard a human mercenary ship when she defies her admirals’ orders to destroy a planet of innocents. Can she fight through treachery, poisonings, and racism to rescue an entire species from oblivion?

Let me know what you think!  While I think The Mercury Dimension (TMD) is the best thing I’ve ever written, it won’t be too long before I reveal my next major project and TMD will fall to the wayside on this blog.

Did you have a #pitmad submission on Twitter?  Give me a link or a follow – I’d love to check out what you’re putting out into the world!

Meet Trust III AND Aesthetic Giveaway

I’ve posted about it a couple times before, but my current (and most well-edited) work in progress is The Mercury Dimension.  I’ve scheduled copyediting in early September and am finishing as many of my own edits as I can before then.  While that happens, I’m going to introduce a couple of my characters.

Today, I’m pleased to introduce the antagonist of The Mercury Dimension, the tall and mysterious Trust III.

The Tall and Storied Trust III

Trust Aesthetic

The tall and tranquil Trust III rules over his stately realm on the ancient planet of Tsanur.  His roots and branches reach dozens of kilometers of land, and he controls every aspect of life within his domain.

As a Sovereign of Tsanur, the tall and serene Trust III has grown many Bonsais, or organic terminals/saplings that accentuate his existence.  These Bonsais send information and experiences back to the tall and immobile Trust III from other Sovereigns, from unreachable areas of Trust’s domain (such as controlled lakes or shoreline), and from Tsanur’s colonies in deep space.  In this manner, the tall and genius Trust III can communicate and interact with people and worlds far away from his location on the homeworld.

The planet of Tsanur has never been marred by war, and economic dominance along with peaceful interaction with other species has been the mantra of every Sovereign.  With their diplomatic abilities and position as stalwart keepers of economic prosperity, the Sovereigns of Tsanur have always encouraged and enforced as much goodness in the universe as they could.  The tall and bountiful Trust III continues this tradition with serious devotion.

Too bad the humans are out of control, quickly breeding wrecking-balls.

Sovereign of Sovereigns

The grandeur of the tall and looming Trust III demands absolute respect.  All who wish to see or speak with him should get used to using at least two honorifics to decorate his name. He also enjoys sprinkling his twigs with gold dust to accentuate his honor and wealth.

Though measuring the height of a Sovereign is taboo, the tall and inimitable Trust III quietly believes that he is the tallest, and thus most powerful, Sovereign of his generation.  With plenty of land, rain, and carbon dioxide left to process on Tsanur’s surface,  he expects to rule for another millennium, maybe more.

We, the short and poisonous humans, would do well to determine our own social order and keep our places in it.

Keeper of Secrets

A being three-thousand years old has seen more than any human can imagine.  Unable to forget a single experience, the tall and introspective Trust III can dole out wisdom from the ages.  His lifespan has encompassed the entire spacefaring existence of many species, and his concentric rings contain the memories of ancient ones that are otherwise forgotten.

It’s these secrets that keep the tall and brilliant Trust III an essential ally of the humans.  With age and memory spanning so far back, his memories contain the information that the humans must have – information that promises to keep them alive, and information that no one else has.  Only the tall and merciful Trust III knows how to find the Shadows, but are the human governments willing to pay his price?

Ready for More? Comment for the Giveaway!

If you liked this, please like and comment!  I will have at least one more of this series on Commander Russus, the main character.

Did you like my aesthetic?  There are two ways you can get your own!  I wrote a how-to guide here, complete with snarky angst.

In addition, I’ll make an aesthetic for ANYONE who requests one in the comments below (within reason, of course; I reserve the right to cut this workload short in the case that it gets out of hand)!  If you have a character with enough information posted about them, leave a link in the comments and let me know which character you’d like to see an aesthetic for.  I’ll read your story and make an aesthetic.  With your permission, I’ll post the finished product on this blog along with a link to your stuff!

Hope to be making some cool stuff for y’all!

How to Make an ‘Aesthetic’ For Your Character or Book

I participated in the Pitchwars PWPoeprompts this month on Twitter, and two of the prompts included something called ‘Character Aesthetics.’  I’d seen people making these ‘aesthetics,’ but they hadn’t made a lick of sense to me.  In order to fulfill the prompt, I decided to do some research and discover how to make a character aesthetic.

What Is an Aesthetic

An aesthetic is a collection of pictures that represents your character, story, or something else in a way that isn’t necessarily straightforward.  It is about ‘feeling’ rather than ‘being,’ about representing intangible traits as well as physical attributes.

Below are a couple of the aesthetics I made for the Twitter prompts:

The one on the left, the one that includes all the natural images and green, is for Trust III.  He’s a giant tree that rules a large swath of land on the planet Tsanur, and he believes – somewhat truthfully – that humans are poisonous.  On the right is the aesthetic for my main character, Russus, who commands a human spaceship and is tough as nails.

Each image was chosen because it represented something about the character, some of which shows up in the story (for instance, Trust loves to dust his twigs in gold).  Some writers claim that this exercise helps them get into their characters’ heads.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that aesthetics seem to be dripping with angst.  When you sprinkle in a bit of angst, even to characters like Trust or Russus who really don’t need any, they feel more like ‘aesthetics’ as they appear on the interwebs.

Finding and Saving Pictures

I tried to use pictures from sites without royalties, but a few (like that spaceship) had to come from Pinterest where rights management isn’t very well done.  I strongly suggest using free images if you can, especially if you want to publish the aesthetic.

You want to worry about size inasmuch as you don’t want to have extremely different image quality in your frames.  Try to choose photos of a similar size to each other.

Building Your Aesthetic

There are programs out there to build your aesthetics, but most of them have sketchy origins or are paid services.  I found it better to put forth a little effort to get great results and save your computer from a virus.

If you use GIMP, you can use the select tool to make an aesthetic grid and insert your pictures:

  1. Use the rectangular select tool to create white lines.
  2. Make four horizontal and four vertical lines using copy-paste, then merge the layers.
  3. After that, you just plop in your pictures, clip and resize them as you would, and rearrange the layers so your grid is on top
  4. Flatten the image or export to .png to finish off your aesthetic!

If you would like to use my template, here is a .png (image type that saves transparent backgrounds) of the white grid I used for the Trust and Russus aesthetics.  It looks empty here, but trust me – there are lines.


If you use my template or instructions to make an aesthetic, I’d love to see it!  Tweet it and tag me, @hrrgorman, or tag this post on your WordPress so I can check it out.

Sunshine Bloggers Tag

Hannaconda at the Random Blog was nominated for the Sunshine Bloggers Award.  She tagged/nominated me, for which I am ever grateful, but I think I’d rather not continue the pyramid scheme for now.

Instead, I’m going to answer her questions!

1. What hobbies do you have?

Writing happens to be the big one.  I am an engineer during the day.  I also really love Dungeons and Dragons.

2. Worst book you have ever read? (Throw into the sun horrible)

This one.  I think Hannah J. Russel and I share similar feelings about religious writing – if it’s stuffing bullshit down your throat and talking down at people who don’t agree, it’s a piece of garbage.

Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood by Piper and Grudem is not only degrading to both men and women, but Christians and non-Christians who don’t agree with their worldview about gender roles.  It’s got such a focused lens that doesn’t take historical context of biblical passages into account.  It’s just… it’s just the worst exegesis of gender EVER.

3. Do you write? And if so what do you write?

The Mercury DimensionI do write!  I usually write fantasy or science fiction, and my most recent major work is a science fiction tale that has a very classic feel.  I am in a beta reading phase now, if you want to check out The Mercury Dimension.

4. What three things would you take to a deserted island?

A box of 24-hour MREs

As much drinking water as possible

Sattelite phone with a fully charged battery

5. If you read how do you choose what to pick up next?

I like to get suggestions from people, but that’s not always feasible.  I tend to read some of the stuff that I see bloggers advertise.  Recently I’ve realized that I haven’t read many classics, so I’m trying to read a few of those to edify myself.

6. Fishes or Snakes? (Either to eat or in general)

I’m pescatarian, so definitely fish for eating.  In general too, because my mom was so afraid of snakes that I think it rubbed off on me a wee bit.

7. What country would you visit if you had no restrictions?


I honestly have a bucket list goal of seeing Rod Stewart in concert, and that probably means a Vegas trip to see him at Caesar’s palace before he dies.  Good luck to me getting off work long enough to do that.

But for reals, I want to go to England sometime – that’s like tourism lite for English-speaking Americans, I think.  I’d also like to go to China (see last question), but the air pollution there makes me wary.

8. Favourite genre of books you pick up?

Sci-fi or fantasy.  I like sci-fi better, but I know enough about science that badly done sci-fi can drive me nuts.  Frank Herbert, author of Dune, is a piece of garbage sci-fi writer in my opinion.

9. New or used books?

I don’t care.

10. What got you into blogging?

I mentioned in an earlier post that I originally did this blog so my mom could come to the website and see what I wrote.  I didn’t try to meet people or use the blog collaboratively for YEARS, thinking my mom was my only reader.

Well, I found out in January (2018) that she only ever read 1 short story of mine, and that wasn’t on the blog.  She didn’t really have time to bother with my stories, and it burst a bubble in me.  I decided to blog harder and seek out internet friends.  It’s been rewarding, but also… strangely hard?

11. What languages do you speak.

English and 我说有一点中文。我在大学学习中文,可是我说很慢.

The rules of the Sunshine Bloggers Award includes tagging 8-11 people; while I think I know enough people who I could tag, something about that makes the ‘award’ feel less important.  However, if you’d like to be tagged/nominated, leave a comment and I’ll amend this post to include you.

Happy Thursday!

7-7-7 Tag – Work-in-Progress Wednesday

E. Kathryn recently tagged me in the 7-7-7 tag.

The rules?  Go to page 7 of your manuscript. Share 7 sentences. Then pass tag 7 other people.

I have a work in progress, though I haven’t mentioned it before now, as well as a host of other books.  I want to start a beta-reading process after I get this edit/rewrite completed.  Since it’s at that stage, though, I haven’t really typeset it to figure out what ‘page 7’ should mean.  I decided to look around 2,000 words in.

In this short selection, the main character has returned to the human warship, Victurus, after acquiring promise of fuel delivery from a merchant.  Lieutenant Commander Purgux speaks here about the fuel merchant.

“You have to show these Tronderians who’s boss.  They may be big, but they crumble under firm pressure.”

I glared at Purgux.  “That’s racist.”

“No, that’s business.  The IESU won’t give us bootstrapped races a fair shake, so we make our deals for ourselves.”  He shook a finger towards the letter he had just dropped onto my desk.

For now, I’ll leave you wondering more about the story.  I intend to make more posts concerning it in the near future, and you can follow my new blog on Tumblr if you want to hear more about the novel and it’s progress.

Betta Reading

7 people to tag?  Goodness, that’s rough!  I love filling out forms and answering survey questions, but I feel almost ashamed of taking advantage of chain mail like this.  I don’t want anyone to participate who doesn’t want to.  I do encourage anyone who reads to check out these awesome bloggers!

Rebecca Alasdair – I know she has a WIP with an intriguing magic system/source called ‘Grace’

Danielle Summers – If she doesn’t have a WIP, I know she has plenty of recently written books to choose from

William Mangieri – His WIP, Swordmaster, has me intrigued

Joanne the Geek – She has a WIP or manuscript on her blog, and I have a feeling that’s not all she’s up to

Wolf Moisan – Definitely has a lot of work coming up, and is posting a story on the blog

Samantha James – Posting her Dragon trilogy right now

Maisy – I’m certain she has a pile of good stuff to choose from, if she wants to participate