Time for an “Ask Dayton” thread, because REASONS.

A perusal of my blog stats tells me I’ve had a steady influx of new visitors and followers in recent weeks. My Facebook profile and Twitter  feed also have had some recent
upticks in new friends and followers. All this is curious, as I don’t think I’ve written, said, or done anything to attract any real notice.

(Note to self: Check local police blotters.)

Anyway, to celebrate the arrival of these aforementioned curious onlookers, and because the evening is looking to be dominated by an assortment of administrative tasks with me perched in front of my computer, anyway, I figure it’s time for a new “Ask Dayton” open thread. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, owing in large part that whole “Ask Dayton” bit I’ve got going over at the G&T Show. However, it’s good to just throw open the doors once in a while, right?

So, here’s the deal, for anyone interested: Ask me anything, if you’re so inclined, and I’ll do my best to provide a brief yet thoughtful answer. If I can’t conjure such a reply, you’ll instead receive a wise-assed comment, created especially for you!

Asker’s choice, so far as the topic goes, though I reserve the right not to answer anything I deem too personal or inappropriate for this particular venue. Despite setting up this rule, I’ve never actually had to enforce it, but it never hurts to make such things clear up front.

All-righty, then. Who’s got a question?



14 thoughts on “Time for an “Ask Dayton” thread, because REASONS.

    1. They’re both challenging, for different reasons. Creating original characters in any setting is a challenge, period, because you want characters to whom the readers an relate, or love, or love to hate, or whatever. They need to be distinct personalities, organic to the setting you’ve established (unless them being completely out of place is the whole point of the exercise, of course), and so on.

      Writing established characters is easier in that regard because most of the heavy lifting’s been done for you, so the challenge there is to make sure you’re putting them through their paces in a manner that’s consistent with their previous portrayals (translation: the way the fan/reader expects them to be), and at the same time trying to do something new or different with them, too…while maintaining that consistency. 🙂

      Then, there’s mixing the two, where you don’t want your new characters to look/act like bad riffs on an established character, etc.


  1. Having just completed The Fall series, I find that I am curious about the group writing process. How close are the collaborations? Do you ever find that someone has written you into a corner that is difficult to write your way out of? Is there a master plan of what direction a series is to take? Do you ever thanks heat for maybe not going in a direction that a previous writer might have wanted you to take?



    1. Yes, to all of the above. 🙂

      When it comes to collaborations, there’s always going to be varying degrees of “give and take,” and what sounded good at the outset when the “master plan” was laid down might not end up working so well once it’s time to execute the story (or a given part of a larger story). If everybody is working toward the same goal, the story and telling it in the best possible way is the primary goal. Opinions will differ on the details from time to time, but the key there is to not take such things personally, regardless of which side you’re on for any given “differences.”

      Just my $.02.


    1. I haven’t ruled out revisiting The Last World War at some point. I just haven’t really come up with the “hook” I’m looking for to anchor a third book, which is one of the reasons why the second book ends in a way that doesn’t really “demand” a follow-up.

      I don’t have a formal TLWW bible, though I do have some docs with character notes, ideas for short stories or side tales similar to what I did with “Texas Pride,” and so on. Why? Because you never say never. 🙂


  2. Who’s your biggest influence as a writer outside of the science fiction field? A mystery novelist? Classical author? Some dude who writes opinion columns for the local paper?


    1. I like to read from a variety of genres/topics, so that list could get pretty long. When it comes to fiction writers outside SF, a couple of my favorites are Nelson DeMille and P.T. Deutermann. DeMille is one of the few writers who does first-person POV in a way that doesn’t annoy me, and Deutermann writes the kind of military mystery/thrillers I want to do when I grow up. Greg Rucka’s another one like that, as he also writes some great thriller fiction outside comics/SF.


  3. I’m reading Peaceable Kingdoms… haven’t finished it yet, but I’m loving it… When the Enterprise is chasing after the special ops ship, and their engines are about to give out… why not launch a runabout, if they can do warp 8.3, and the spec ops ship could only do 7? Did they only have the Dordogne (and not the Cumberland), did they have no other any warp 7 capable shuttles? Or would the launch just not be possible in time to catch up with the enemy ship?


    1. Shuttles and runabouts aren’t typically combat craft, and this still was something of a tactical situation. If the engines had failed and forced the Enterprise to break off pursuit, that might’ve been an option.

      Thankfully, it didn’t come to that. 😉


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