playing for keeps

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Archive for the ‘blogger’ Category

Once in the editor’s hands

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on March 24, 2018

Last week, I sent the “The Death of David Pickett” manuscript to several readers, one professional and a couple of friends. I used their feedback to rewrite it, at the same time I researched editors for an extensive developmental and line edit. Today, I committed to one editor, signed the service agreement, and sent off the deposit. Things are moving along.

I’m not good at editing my own writing. At the same time, I’m an inveterate tinkerer, always rereading and rewriting my work, changing a word here and a sentence there. So when I sent off “The Death of David Pickett” to the editor I just hired, I was at a loss. The editor insisted on “version control” where “[c]lient shall not make any revisions to the manuscript” once I’ve submitted it for editing. So now what do I do? Why, write something else, of course.


Posted in "What's Left?" by "Lefty" Hooligan, 1% Free, blog, blogger, blogging, G.A. Matiasz, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Writing Weekend

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on March 18, 2018


We concluded our six week Finishing School group last Wednesday and I’m solo this weekend reworking the long short story/short novelette (~11,150 words). Working title “The Death of David Pickett,” it’s a prequel set in the same universe as my novel 1% Free. I’ve sent it to a couple of readers for first impressions. But I have some revisions already in mind since I declared it complete to wrap up my Finishing School participation. So it’s minimal social media and maximal writing for the next few days at least.

I’ll also be researching editors who do scifi, short fiction, developmental editing, and line editing as the next step. My copyeditor and illustrator will eventually be commissioned for the project, and the whole process will take months before I have a digital “book” I intend to give away for free. The giveaway will be to promote the novel, but it’ll require a coordinated blitz using email and social media, and maybe a multimedia pdf/ebook for maximum effect. I’m thinking July or August.


There are a couple of classic writer’s block memes. One is of the writer staring at a blank page or computer screen in frustration while the other is of that same frustrated writer surrounded by piles of crumpled pages while pulling out his or her hair. I’ve never suffered from writer’s block, or from an inability to write when I wanted. For those who do I suggest Pat Schneider’s Amherst Writers and Artists method. It’s a little too hippie-dippie for me, but the non-judgmental workshop style of AWA seems to work for a lot of people.

I had more and more problems writing when I was a raging alcoholic prior to 2010, and for the nine months or so after I stopped drinking when I was clinically depressed. Before I stopped I was also somewhat depressed, and increasingly I skipped writing my monthly columns for Maximum Rocknroll. I didn’t even bother sitting at my computer pretending to write because I had essentially lost interest. In doing CBT-based therapy for my depression after 2010, I promised myself to write my column every month no matter what. And I’ve lived up to that promise.

There’s a big difference between writer’s block and depression. For writer’s block there are appealing writing programs. For depression there are appropriate therapies. The key to any solution is a proper diagnosis of the problem.

Posted in 1% Free, blog, blogger, blogging, G.A. Matiasz, Maximum Rocknroll, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Working on MRR columns

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on March 14, 2018

Happiness is an open, warm library.

I have my column back from my copyeditor. There are issues with grammar and punctuation which I’m working on now, but nothing problematic about content. Of course, copyeditors are not tasked with editing content, and rightfully so. I already sent the rough to my friend Comrade Motopu for comments and criticisms regarding the column’s subject matter, which is a defense of the ultraleft. He’s good with it. Once I correct my copyeditor’s issues, I’m good to go.

I’ve also got my first line for the next column: “Sometimes a globalist is just a globalist.” It’s a paraphrase of that famous quote attributed, it seems wrongly, to Sigmund Freud that “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” With all the talk about globalists being “bad” I thought I’d make it clear that capitalism is a global system run by a capitalist ruling class. It’s open and above board, with its plans openly published in places like the Wall Street Journal. Of course there are conspiracies within capitalism, but capitalism and its ruling class is not itself a conspiracy. Therefore I take issue with conspiracy theorists who contend that a secret cabal of Masons/Illuminati/international bankers/lizard aliens are actually running the world and that globalist is their code for Jews.

Fuck anti-semitism.

Posted in "What's Left?" by "Lefty" Hooligan, blog, blogger, blogging, Maximum Rocknroll, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by G.A. Matiasz on March 8, 2018

My writing starts with an idea. From there it’s either an excited rollercoaster rush to a satisfying conclusion or a slow slog of trial and error teeth pulling that often goes unfinished. Two months ago I promised a friend I’d do a column in defense of the ultraleft. I’ve been plugging away on the subject ever since, doggedly working on approaches until I had three separate attempts in three separate files. Last night I had a conceptual breakthrough about how to knit all three fragments into a single whole, and this morning I woke up at 6am to write. Now, except for some amplification and clarification, the column is essentially done. Of course, it’s not done yet. There’s lots of rewriting and editing on my part before it goes to my copyeditor, and then to MRR. But it’s finished.

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The writing, the writing!

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on February 24, 2018

Laptop in open fire on a black background

I’ve sent my next column to Maximum Rocknroll’s columns coordinator. I do try to get them in before deadline so as not to stress my fellow shitworkers who are also under their own production deadlines. Plus, I consider it a sign of being disciplined as a writer.

Since the subject of counterculture is a perennial one for me, I’ve aggregated all my previous column fragments and notes on the theme of counterculture in one place. Then I spent 2 hours this morning writing the start of my next column related to counterculture.

The long short story/prequel to my novel has reached 11,100 words as a rough draft. Time to let it rest. I’ll come back to it in a week, go through it one more time, and then send it off to a handful of people I know and trust to read the manuscript. I need them to point out flaws and problems in the plot, characters, narrative, setting, themes, and ideas before doing yet another rewrite. After that, it’s find an editor versed in science fiction, hire my copyeditor for a short job, and commission yet another cover graphic from my favorite illustrator.

Posted in "What's Left?" by "Lefty" Hooligan, 1% Free, blog, blogger, blogging, G.A. Matiasz, Maximum Rocknroll | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Reinvigorating This Blog

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on February 22, 2018

I’m ensconced in my favorite office-away-from-my-home-office at The Octopus Literary Salon. It’s the day after my Mechanics’ Institute Indie Publishers Working Group where I learned a lot about positive and negative strategies for self marketing/self promotion. First, blogging is still a thing, and so I’m going to get regular about posting to my blog Playing for Keeps. Second, display advertising deals offered by Kirkus Reviews and others are a bad deal and ineffective in generating sales let alone self promotion. Third, I should seriously consider doing my 10,000 word prequel to my novel as a taste of the novel proper and should be giving it away for free. Lots to think about.

I’ve just submitted my next MRR column to my copy editor, but in doing so I’ve depleted the column reserve I keep as a cushion dangerously low. So this weekend, I’m working on columns. The one about defending the left of the Left is going slowly. Instead I’ve got one about comparing countercultures, from beatnik and hippie to punk. I’m only covering those countercultures I have a working knowledge of, but I hope to draw some conclusions that can be universally applied.

Posted in 1% Free, blog, blogger, blogging, counterculture, hippie, life, Maximum Rocknroll, punk, self-publishing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Adventures in Finishing School

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on February 21, 2018

A week into my 6-week Finishing School project, I have re-evaluated. I’d intended to write 2-3,000 words a week for the next 5-6 weeks for a total of 15,000 words in order to augment an already existing 17,000 word novelette into a suitably sized novella. But I’m barely managing 1,000 words a week in a slow and painful process that’s like pulling teeth.

I still intend to work on the novelette, but I have another idea. I have a 10,000 word short story, sort of a prequel to my novel 1% Free, that needs work and maybe another 3-5,000 words. I spent yesterday working on it. The writing is much easier and more straightforward, smoother and cleaner. I’m giving myself 6 months to rewrite, get edited, and format the story into a “book” for digital distribution.

There are scores of digital publishing platforms out there nowadays, unfortunately in a constant state of flux. Pronoun recently went belly-up and Amazon’s ClearSpace is changing it’s terms of services, so I’ll wait until I’m further along with the story to chose the right platform. However, because almost anything can be deemed a “book” in digital publishing terms, the idea is to publish new work in different formats to keep up a digital presence, promote and publicize myself and my previous books, and “grow my brand.” I prefer to call it building my empire, but hey, it’s just a slight difference in emphasis.

I have a 10-11,000 word short story that’s just shy of a novelette. It’s also a prequel to my novel 1% Free, or with minimal rewriting it’s become so. I’ve set it in San Francisco in 2023 and I’ve managed three riots in under fifty pages, double spaced. It’s a long way from finished—dozens of rewrites, a professional editing and copy editing, a snappy cover illustration— before I do a super cheap, entirely digital publication using some the platforms out there. I estimate six months and I’ll link it to boosting the novel.

Posted in 1% Free, blog, blogger, blogging, G.A. Matiasz, self-publishing, The Novel, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Maps of Hell — 2042

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on December 15, 2017

FREE — New Maps of Hell — 2042

A four-color brochure predicting what the United States, and the world, will be like in 2042, 25 years from now. Included:

• Outside Cover: Front cover art plus description of countrywide and worldwide changes in the next 25 years and brief explanation of the title “1% Free.”

• Inside First Fold: 9 full color maps of Europe, Indian subcontinent, and southeast Asia in 1910, 1935, and 1960 indicating vast changes 25 years can make.

• Inside Second Fold: black & white map of continental United States depicting extent of social breakdown and second civil war by 2042.

To get this FREE brochure, you will be prompted to enter your email into the popup window which will appear after 20 seconds. If the popup window does not appear, please send me an email with your name, mailing address, and return email to gamatiasz (at) icloud (dot) com and you will receive the brochure FREE via snail mail.

Posted in 1% Free, blog, blogger, blogging, G.A. Matiasz, life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Winnowing the Wheat from the Chaff

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on November 26, 2017

I’ve written and published two books in twenty-two years. At this rate, I’ll be lucky to complete a third book before I die. In light of that, I’ve gone through several score of potential story ideas at various stages of development–from basic idea to completed rough draft–in my word processing program Scrivener, winnowing wheat from chaff to select out a handful of candidates to work on.

I’ve come up with four possibilities, all science fiction. Two are completed rough drafts of novelettes (7,500-17,499 words) I could try to boost up to novella length (17,500-39,999 words). One is set in a post-apocalyptic far future where the main character, an ex-soldier with various biological military upgrades, meets up with someone who claims to be her brother. The second is a time travel/alternate universe story premised on the early, complete assassination of Lenin in an alternate time line.

I also have two promising ideas for full-length novels (40,000+ words), neither of which are anywhere near completion however. One is set entirely in 1968, the year I got politics, which has the main character traveling around to various iconic/historic events, with a sci-fi twist. The second is near-future science fiction in which neanderthals haven’t gone extinct but live secretly amid regular humans on the verge of self-extinction.

The incomplete novels would take a lot of time to finish, but they have the greatest potential story-wise. The novelettes would require extensive rewrites, but they’re basically done. My plan is to concentrate on these four pieces. Which will be difficult because I always have fiction stories in reserve, like two possible, incomplete sequels to my latest novel. One is set five years after the current book, the other a century later, and both are novelette/novella in length. Also, in addition to the archive of fiction ideas and snippets archived in Scrivener, I’m coming up with new ideas all the time. I’ll continue to write my non-fiction MRR columns, of course, but narrowing my focus in the fiction realm seems best.

I’ve got to draw the line somewhere.

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Blogroll update

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on November 10, 2017

I’ve updated this site’s extended blogroll to delete five non-functioning links. Not bad for ten years of personal blogging. As always, please let me know if you find any other dead links.

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