Welcome, Authors

Thank you for visiting Far-Sight Fiction, your resource for information on writing, editing, and publishing. The goal of this website is to serve you as authors. If you have a question that is not answered in any of the pages to the left, or if you want more information on a particular topic related to writing, please get in touch with me via email. Check back weekly for new articles of interest, updates on current projects, and other pieces of potential frivolity.

Regular posts are on hiatus until further notice!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Failure – The First Step Towards Writing Success

Today, friends, I am buzzing with joy. It’s amazing how the little things can rejuvenate you so much. After months of feeling stagnant, incapable, and tedious, I have received my “Ahah!” moment at last.

Last night, as I was driving home in the dark, I was listening to a beautiful song that my sister and I shared this week. Driving is a wonderful time to let your imagination wander, and I have always been led through my creativity by music. I began to imagine a conversation between two characters, and slowly the scene made itself known to me. By the time I got home, I had a story in mind. I sat down and a couple of hours later had written my first original short story in years.

How wonderful it is to create a complete piece in one sitting! Writing is terribly difficult. It is exhausting. So many powerful authors over the years have confirmed that the act of writing can be a special kind of hell. And then there are the rare, beautiful moments where it just comes together, and you sit and write just for the joy of writing. It’s even better when the product turns out to be something that you are proud of! What a lovely surprise to start off my week, especially after feeling like my efforts recently were being wasted.

Recently I have read two different articles on how feeling like a failure can actually be the first signs of good things to come. Write to Done calls these feelings “an essential part of the creative process.” Which, when you’re wallowing in self-criticism and feeling as if you’ve made little to no progress, is a wonderful piece of encouragement to hear. Cal Newport also wrote this month on the famous stand-up comedian Louis C. K. and how he overcame a fifteen year block to become the influential man he is today in the comedy community. The one thing these two articles have in common is the idea that in order to break through a block, you have to get to the point of letting go. This end-of-the-line mentality does one of two things: it either convinces people to give up, or it convinces people to try new things.

I won’t go so far as to say that everyone has to feel desperate and lost before they finally discover their creative break (hopefully not!) but most of us get stuck in our writing careers from time to time. It doesn’t feel like a good place to be, naturally, but understanding that it wasn’t a sign that I was a failure was such a relief. Rather, it was a sign that something big was coming. That I was about to turn the corner, and I all had to do was keep at it, keep going, and keep “inviting the awful” as C. K. calls it.

We have to remember to work consistently, even when we feel that what we’re producing is horrible. We have to keep pushing our own boundaries, trying new techniques, new stories. We have to forgive ourselves for being writers who have to struggle through the process, just like anyone else, instead of producing flawless text the first time around. We must always challenge ourselves and never, ever try and demand that we write like anyone other than ourselves.

With that, I am announcing an end-of-the-year hiatus so that I can concentrate on getting back into a more comfortable and more productive swing of creative writing. My book has been slow going, but I feel that with some more focus and some more time spent on it, I could really take off any day. I will pick back up regular posting in the new year – until then, please feel free to email me with publishing or editing related queries! I’ll still be here. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Science Highlights – Andromeda’s Blue Clusters, Self-Healing Spaceship Shields, and the Latest on Deep-Space Exploration Research

The Hubble Telescope has been putting out some incredible pictures of our neighboring galaxy recently. A panorama of Andromeda was released earlier this year in stunning detail. Now the hundreds of images are being analyzed, bit by bit, to help us understand how Andromeda, and the rest of the universe, was formed.

Does this image make you feel small? Consider the mind-blowing resolution that has been captured as each square zooms in closer and closer to individual star clusters. Each of the six blue star clusters exhibited is 150 light years across.

And another neat factoid about this project is that the vast amounts of data is being analyzed not only by NASA astronomers, but also “citizen scientists” – volunteers who have lent their skills to help wade through the details and make new discoveries about the universe.

Now that NASA is openly pushing for Mars, space exploration is getting a lot of attention! But the work has been going on behind the scenes for years, and every month it seems there are new technologies being invented specifically for pushing the limits on mankind’s presence in the universe.

One of the big concerns about humans traversing the solar system is the fact that space is filled with debris. That void isn’t as vacant as we might think – tiny fragments of celestial junk are whizzing about constantly in the gravitational pull of the planets and our sun. If they come into contact with a spaceship, the results can be catastrophic, depending on the size of the debris. Current methods for protecting our machines from these intruders is already quite impressive, but scientists are exploring the idea of “self-healing” shields that could mean the difference between life and death in large-impact situations.

Of course, there’s only so much a shield can do – if your ship gets hit by a large meteor or asteroid, you’re probably going to be icy-cold toast in a matter of seconds. But smaller objects that tear holes in the ship can lead to depressurization and loss of atmosphere. While the ship may maintain its general integrity, that doesn’t mean much to the humans inside it.

But these self-healing shields are using a combination of tough plastic sheets and a liquid plastic interior to allow for punctures to be instantly filled when the center layer is exposed to the oxygen inside the ship.

Testing has not yet been completed in the conditions of space, but so far the project looks promising!

And speaking of space exploration, here’s another good one! Last month the ISS team had their first taste of space-grown produce, and apparently it turned out just as tasty as our Terran-bred vegetables. This ability to grow food out in the void will be crucial to sustaining astronauts who take long trips to other planets. There’s only so much you can pack into a dehydrated pouch!

But growing plants isn’t the only research happening on the ISS that will later be used to further our reach in the solar system. Animals are also being studied to help us understand the long-term effects of space life. In addition to the year-long research plan that revolves around astronaut Scott Kelley and his twin brother, insects, fish, and even small mammals are central to making discoveries that will improve the health of future astronauts on their interplanetary missions.

You can catch up on all the latest ISS projects at NASA’s website, and even find out how the work going on upstairs is benefiting those of us back on Earth!