Andrew Girle's Blog

Crime and Speculative Fiction Blooking

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And the next few thousand words have etched their weary way

Posted by Andrew Girle on October 8, 2013

The next few thousand words of Fireballs’n’Fortyfives have etched their way out of my brain and onto the electrons.

The worst thing? I have a cool name for the next story. With a character who isn’t supposed to be sticking around. That is seriously uncool.

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Good grief, May already?

Posted by Andrew Girle on May 18, 2013

Fireballs’n’45’s is now up to 20K words, scribbled out on the bus on my daily commute.
I need to get this puppy finished so I can unleash it on an unsuspecting world!

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Still writing!

Posted by Andrew Girle on January 6, 2013

My apologies – I have not posted on here since my dismal failure at Not-No-Wri-Mo.
BUT
I was stuck at the car dealership on Wednesday, waiting for the diagnosis of a ‘funny squeak’ in my 6 month old car, so I used the five hours to stamp out 1200 words in the Fireballs’n’45’s storyline.

And came up with an idea for a t-shirt… line drawing of a fedora pulled low over a canine muzzle, with the caption “Pitt, Detective. When it’s time to see a dog about a man.”

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Pseudo NaNoWriMo – looks like I’m Mister Ten Percent

Posted by Andrew Girle on November 29, 2012

Ten percent is great when you’re on commission.

Not so good when you’re shooting for 50,000 words and manage 5000 or so in 30 days.

Damn.

On the plus side, I doubled the number of words in my current Minim Opus (see what I did there?)

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November 12 and it looks like keeping to the NaNoWriMo suggested word count has me beaten

Posted by Andrew Girle on November 11, 2012

As at ‘close of play’ last night (11/11) I had about 4500 words done, of an expected 22,000.

Whining aside, it is a fun game to play, and is encouraging me to just write, without bouncing backwards and forwards worrying about stuff, and without sweating the research (at least, not too much – curse you interwebs!).

I’m still trundling along, so lets see how far I get at the end of the month…

Happy writing!

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Curse you, real life!

Posted by Andrew Girle on November 1, 2012

First day of shooting for 2000 words, and I managed 800.

Not bad when you consider I haven’t written squat in months!

I have to be up at 4am to get ready for work, so I have curtailed my writing as of 8pm so I don’t fall asleep driving my commute.

But the weekend – the weekend is MINE!

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NaNoWriMo approacheth

Posted by Andrew Girle on October 31, 2012

I’m not signed up for NaNoWriMo, but I’m going to do my best to churn 50K words out.

Starting in eight hours.

Bedtime, here I come!

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Not NaNoWriMo

Posted by Andrew Girle on October 29, 2012

My last post on here was at the end(ish) of July.

I hope nobody was holding their breath for an update!

A couple of my writerly friends and I have decided to use the NaNoWriMo concept to get our collective (water barrels/posteriors… oh what the hay… BUTTS) into gear.

The plan is to write 50K words in the course of the month.

I have the characters, structure, world building and rough outline of the story already done – no flying by the seat of THESE pants.

Still, 2000 words (give or take) a day is going to be fairly intensive. There will be little or no editing done, and what starts as 50K may end up 25K in the cold light of day. We’ll see.

Wish me luck!

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Curse you, Writing Excuses!

Posted by Andrew Girle on May 23, 2012

Listening to an old Writing Excuses podcast today, there was a writing prompt. I’m not always one for jumping on a writing prompt, but this time it was too intriguing to NOT try. The prompt? To write a story from the point of view of an undead soldier in a shambling horde. WITHOUT using the word ‘BRAAAAIIIINNNNSSS’.

 

So here we go!

XXX

The worst part of being dead is trying to pick up chicks in bars.

It’s not like I’ve got rotting flesh hanging off me. That all went thirty, maybe forty years ago when my whole horde got hit with a fireball. Sure cleaned my old bones right up, gave them a great polish. And where is that meddling do-gooder wizard now? Who cares? Not me, that’s for sure.

But even when I give the old parietal bone a good rub with some floor wax and a soft cloth, there’s not a single woman that gives me a second look. It’s dead-ism, that’s what it is. It’s outright discrimination against the dead of the species. Dead guys need love too, y’know.

I suppose it can be a little off-putting for some people. I do the best I can. When I put on a good robe, I can cut quite a fetching figure. I mean, everyone dresses up, don’t they? True, it can be difficult to look me in the eye sockets, but at least I have plenty of coin. I realise the coins usually come in pairs, but there is a good reason for that; just don’t ask. You probably don’t want to know.

Back when I was still alive, I read somewhere that chicks go for funny guys. I can absolutely call bullshit on that. It’s not like I’m not a funny guy. I’ve got a lifetime of funny stories. And even more from afterwards. I mean, there was the time when we were besieging some castle made of white marble, way up in the hills. This psycho priest got in amongst us, and set off some kind of blasting ritual. We ended up scattered all over the place for years. Eventually the next Dark Lord came along and reanimated us, and I ended up with a jawbone from old Gustav, and a hand from Angus. You don’t think that’s funny? Well, you obviously never met those two. They hated each other, and I spent the rest of my time in THAT horde punching myself in the face.

See? You smiled that time. I’m an expert on grins.

I had a kid tell me I tell Dead Jokes.

Dead jokes? Dad jokes? It was a pun, get it?

Oh come on, it wasn’t that bad.

Where are you going? Come back! Please?

Bugger.

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Space fighters!

Posted by Andrew Girle on April 30, 2012

Anyone who ever watched a WW2 movie with dogfights between fighter planes, then saw Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica will know that dogfights in space are just awesome.

Of course, with no atmosphere, dogfights in space are also not going to happen like the movies. Sorry. Don’t believe me? Others have spent an enormous amount of time thinking on this concept, so get yourself a drink of your choice and head over to Atomic Rockets – make sure you do it on your own time, because if you are genuinely interested, you’ll spend a lot of time there!

Now one reason advanced for fighter planes and aircraft carriers in our history is the problem of horizon, and weapon range. Ships at sea are limited by the curvature of the Earth (radar provides a bit of extra reach); having aircraft to patrol puts your ‘eyes’ massively further out, and equipping them with missiles allows ships to engage the enemy without ever having to fire a shot themselves.

In space, it is argued, there is no maximum range for your weapons (no atmosphere, remember? Energy beams go on forever, and shells / missiles can keep going until they smack into something). The apparent limiting factor for weapons is the amount of ammo you can carry (for shells and missiles) and the amount of heat you can dissipate before you melt (for energy beams).

Likewise, just like the ocean away from a coastline, space is pretty empty. Seriously. Spotting a target against a star field is not difficult, nor is using infrared to pick up the heat radiating from it (don’t believe me? Go back to Atomic Rockets – you missed some bits. I’ll be waiting.).

So, we have weapons with unlimited range, and no limits to visibility. Alas, this spells doom for fighters as we know them, right? I mean, bigger ships with better defenses and armour are so much more survivable, so fighters are a waste of effort, right?

Maybe not.

Because nobody has been able to prove Einstein wrong, nothing can go faster than light. Yeah yeah, I know, it’s science fiction, but hey – let’s at least accept that science has a role to play. Targets obviously don’t WANT to be hit, so they are going to be manoevring – where your target was at the time of firing may not be where it will be when your ravening beam of directed energy crosses the gulf of space. So to try and hit your target, you need to predict an area, a patch of space that it is most likely to be in, and fill that area with shells / missiles / laser beams / coilgun accelerated titanium skulled frogs, or whatever. It’s called deflection, and fighter pilots have been doing it in dogfights since the first pistol was carried aloft in a flimsy craft in WW1.

Now, I’m not an engineer but I can pretty much bet that due to ammuntion constraints / recharge rates / heat dumping, that area is going to be pretty small, unless you accept very low probabilities of a hit.

Big ships are going to be less able to manouevre (well, maybe not, they may have bigger motors, but don’t bugger up the narrative flow NOW of all times), so if they want to keep their own chances of being hit down, they have to maintain a longer range. Fighter class ships will be lighter and zippier, so they can keep that chance of being hit at an impressive minimum.

Here is where it gets clever. The fighter can pick a range near the big ships where it is unlikely that they can be hit, but the target, being so much larger, is still well within the fighter’s engagement envelope. And even if they can’t carry heavy beam weapons (unless they are powererd by fusion collapses, but that is part of my story so you’ll have to wait for that one) they can carry enough shipkilling missiles that they can’t be ignored. Nor can their kamikaze capacity.

So what do you, as the target, do? Why, carry your own fighters of course, that can go out there and keep the enemy away from that engagement range sweet spot. And lo and behold, fighters are BACK!

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