An open “Ask Dayton” thread while I work….

It’s been a while since I last did something like this. Since then, I’ve gotten a nice influx of followers here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Twitter. Thanks for being here, people. You make this stuff fun.

Anyway, since I’m destined to spend most of the day in my office as I finish up a story outline and peck away at an essay-in-progress, I figured I’d open up the spigot a bit, throw caution to the winds, and launch an open “Ask Dayton” thread.

Now, this isn’t to be confused with the “Ask Dayton” bit that I do every so often over at the G&T Show. The guy who answers those queries is a rather surly dick who likes to growl and snap his way through whatever oddball questions the show’s listeners throw his way. Those queries sometimes but not always begat a response that’s kinda sorta funny. Maybe. While that guy looks like me, sounds like me, and has the same name as me, we’re two totally different people. Honest. He’s from an alternate reality, or something.

Okay, here’s the deal: 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 just for you!

(I might let the other me write those.)

Asker’s choice, so far as the topic goes. We can talk about writing, pop culture bullshit, deep thoughtful musings on the duality of man and the blurred line between good and evil, the tragedy of a show like Full House gets a Netflix renewal while Firefly fans are left sleeping in the wet spot, whatever. I reserve the right not to answer anything I deem too personal or inappropriate for this particular venue, but this is a rule I’ve never actually had to invoke. Still, it never hurts to make such things clear up front.

Okey-dokey, then. Who’s got a question?


20 thoughts on “An open “Ask Dayton” thread while I work….

  1. I’ve been kinda scared to ask this, and it may be inappropriate to bother you with it (if so, I apologize), but here goes– how does one get to be an official Star Trek novelist? As opposed to a fan-fiction writer, or someone who’s eager to meet Paramount’s lawyers…



    1. No need to be scared. It’s a fairly common question. 🙂

      Answer: You have to be bitten by another Star Trek novelist.

      In all seriousness, there are several different ways this might come about. The most common one (and this it the case for pretty much any tie-in license; not just Star Trek) is that an editor will reach out to a writer they know, or who was recommended to them by someone else. Writers with an established publishing record might contact the editor themselves, asking about possible opportunities, or have their agent submit an outline and sample chapters the way they do any other novel.

      Then you have boneheads like me, who trip on the carpet and fall into the work.

      The thing about writing for any tie-in license is that it usually comes down to the editor wanting people he/she knows can deliver quality work on time, because the deadlines can sometimes be insane. With something like Star Trek, there’s also the added factor of working in concert with other writers who all are contributing to an interconnected continuity, so familiarity and trust is again key, as well as flexibility on the part of the writers. Getting to a point where the editor is calling you about this or that job is not an easy road, to be sure, and it’s not something I take for granted.


        1. As Veronica said, there’s a new version of Pocket’s Star Trek: Strange New Worlds writing contest supposedly in development. When I hear more about it, you can be sure I’ll be posting about it here.


    1. I get names from everywhere. Sometimes I namedrop people I know, or (more often) I just start matching first and last names until I find something that sounds cool to my ear. For example, I’m writing an outline for a story where the main character is an FBI agent in the 1960s, and the editor specifically asked for a “cool sounding tough guy spy name.” 🙂

      For alien names, I experiment with different spellings until I decide something looks right and has a chance of being pronounced without the reader spraining their tongue.


  2. Forgive me if this has been answered before, or it you’re not at liberty to answer it:

    How will Trek novelists be handling the Hobus supernova incident, if at all? “Relaunch” Trek fiction is rapidly coming up on the year 2387, but I could’ve sworn I heard that even though that the supernova event took place in the Prime Universe, anything to do with the Abramsverse is a completely different licensing mess, and that authors may not be allowed to use it.


  3. Are you planning on working in a satirical quote attributed to Sarek as a nod to “Don’t believe everything you see on the internet” at some point?


        1. I think it was something along those lines, yeah. I guess it didn’t sting as much as it could have, because one could argue that the first season kinda sorta has an ending.


      1. I never watched either of them. I really felt Pushing Daisies should have been given a longer run. Bryan Fuller just can’t seem to catch a break. Between Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls and now Hannibal…that guy just seems to make interesting shows that just won’t catch on. Here’s hoping he doesn’t bring his “curse” to American Gods.


Lay it on me.

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