ReWard: The 7 Phases of Almost Any Writing Project.

Every once in a while, my little blog here strives to be something more than a platform for the shameless whoring of myself and my various scribblings. There are the infrequent reminiscences and ruminations about favorite books, films, or TV shows. On rare occasions, I might see fit to delve into a current events topic. Rarer still are those entries where I try to offer meaningful writing advice, or at least a pithy anecdote gleaned from my time in “the trenches” of writing for a so-called living.

This is one of those pieces.

A couple of years ago, while faced with a deadline to have a post ready for the Novel Spaces writing blog along with being caught up in the grips of a Writing Project That Would Not Die, I came up with a list of things that seem able to confront any writing project regardless of size or scope.

The result made for a handy Novel Spaces column, and now seems like a nice thing throw into this space as a “ReWard” piece, in a desperate bid to make this site look like it’s generating fresh content on a more or less regular schedule.

So, from January 2016, I offer the following:

Continue reading “ReWard: The 7 Phases of Almost Any Writing Project.”


Wait…I’ve been doing this writing thing for how long?

It hit me today while reading a Facebook thread featuring comments from one of the responsible parties: I’ve been doing this writing thing….well, the “paid for my writing” thing…for twenty years, now.

Twenty. Years.

Holy. Shit.

snw1Okay, okay. In truth, I’d been writing for a few years at that point, but it wasn’t until the fall of 1997 that somebody actually decided for the first time – after reading a story I’d submitted to their writing contest, of their own free will and without the assistance of mood altering substances – to pay me for my writing. That someone was editor John Ordover at Pocket Books, and the story was “Reflections,” which I’d sent to be considered for inclusion in the very first Star Trek: Strange New Worlds anthology.

Most of you know what happened after that. Secret origin story. Never-ending battles. Truth, justice, and the American Way and so on and so forth. Blah blah bah.

Twenty. Years.

Holy Shit.

Of course, the anthology which was the result of that first contest wouldn’t be published until the following summer, but I mark the letter I received from John as the starting point for what has become my “writing career.” He, along with editor Dean Wesley Smith and Paula Block (who at the time was working for Star Trek‘s licensing department), put me on the path I continue to walk to this day.

(Oddly, the letter is undated, and I find myself unable to recall the date the first contest’s winners were announced. All I remember for sure is “fall 1997,” so I guess a ballpark guess will just have to do. Sucks getting old(er), amirite?)

honor-coverThis is something of a retcon on my part, as back then I had no real aspirations of being “a writer.” It wasn’t a path I’d remotely considered, as at the time I was neck deep in my career as a software developer, having made the transition from military service to the private sector just a year previously. That feeling didn’t change during the next two years, as I submitted stories to the next two SNW contests (and earned a place in the table of contents for the resulting anthologies). Only when John called me and asked if I wanted to write a full-blown Star Trek novel for him did start to wonder – just a bit – if there was something to this whole writing thing.

To be honest, I still wonder that, pretty much all the time, all these years later. And yet, here we are, twenty years later, and I think there’s a chance I might stick with it.

So, yeah: Twenty years. I’m not a “big name” or anything. I’m not one of those writers who will ever be recognized or remembered in passing. There won’t be any big movie or TV deals waiting in the wings for anything I write, but none of that really matters. I’m having fun, and I have a readership who makes up for their modest numbers with their unrelenting enthusiasm and support. I’m totally good with that.

The biggest thing to come out of that first contest was my meeting Kevin Dilmore. What began with him interviewing me as one of the contest’s eighteen winners has become an enduring friendship that I treasure. Indeed, he’s ‘ohana; a member of my family. There a many, many other people I’ve met and befriended since then; people I’d never know if not for this rather odd adventure, which began with that first short story.

I’ve benefitted from several opportunities which I’d otherwise never have received, including a handful of genuine, “Are you kidding me? That that just happen?” moments. There have been a bunch of novels and other short stories during these past twenty years, and there are countless people to thank for this journey I’ve undertaken, so many of whom have expended time, energy, and money in some manner on my behalf. Most important among that group: the readers who’ve accepted the invitation to travel with me every time there’s a new story with my name on the by-line. To anyone who at some point took a chance on me, you have my heartfelt thanks.

Then there’s my wife, Michi, of course. She’s been with me every step of the way, my biggest supporter and loudest, most enthusiastic cheerleader. I literally couldn’t have done any of this without her in my corner.

What will the next twenty years bring? Damifino. Guess we’ll just have to see what we see.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish reviewing this latest novel manuscript.


“5 Questions” with me, @ Ninetoes Loves Books!

I don’t know how I managed to overlook yammering about this earlier in the week, but it seems I did. Chalk it up to trying to knock out a few pending projects and clear the decks for some new stuff getting ladled onto my plate during the coming week.

Anyway, I was contacted a month or so ago by Darren Perdue, who writes and maintains the blog Ninetoes Loves Books, which is devoted to exactly the topic its name implies. One of the blog’s recurring features is “5 Questions,” which Darren poses to various authors. My responses to his five queries were posted on September 11th, and I completely forgot to mention anything about it before now, because…well…because I’m a bonehead, or something.

Anyway, for those interested in seeing my answers to Darren’s “5 Questions” feature, you can mosey on over and check them out here:

Ninetoes Loves Books: 5 Questions With Dayton Ward

Many thanks to Darren for opting to feature me in his space and for giving me a chance to babble for a bit!



ReWard: Writing for “Exposure?” We’re Still On That?

While culling through this morning’s batch of e-Mail, I came across not one but two — count ’em, TWO — “invitations” to write for someone or something. No payment was offered, of course, and the language of the e-Mails themselves suggested that none would be forthcoming. Indeed, perhaps that my even wondering about such things might be viewed as a crime against the purity of the written word, blah blah blah.

Yep, you guessed it: I’d been offered the chance to write “for the exposure.”

Setting aside my initial thought that I’d never heard of a) the people sending the e-Mail or b) the publishing endeavor they claimed to represent, I next reaction was, “Are you fucking kidding me? We’re still doing that?”

Of course we are.

A couple of years ago during my stint writing for the Novel Spaces blog, I wrote about the long debated “writing for exposure” chestnut. Rather than regurgitate the gist of that earlier column, I figured I’d just make a few updates and tweaks before regurgitating it in full right here! Read on:

Continue reading “ReWard: Writing for “Exposure?” We’re Still On That?”