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Stock Character A Day

I’m happy to announce a little project that I’m launching. I decided to have it be it’s own site, since it’s somewhat different than what’s going on with this one. But hop on over there and check it out!

I’ve been looking for something that gives me a bit of an outlet when I just feel like writing something. I don’t expect it to be much more than that, a nice creative outlet that can be whatever the mood is that day. What I’m doing is going out looking at stock photos, of which there are many, including the bizarre, the funny, the tragic, and the just plain confusing. Each day I’ll pick one and create a character for it.

At this point, those are the only rules and expectations. We’re just going to have to see where the wind takes this one. The only thing I know is that there will be a new one every day, long or short, happy or sad.

Check it out!

SCAD Project

DAVINCHEY

It may be obvious that I have been neglecting my writing lately. For a while I tried to pretend that it wasn’t true, that I was just slowing down a little. But the fact that I haven’t written anything substantial in more than 6 months can’t really be argued with. There are a lot of reasons (excuses?), but the main on is that I’ve been busy. Most of my free time has been used up with another project for the better part of a year, and I’m determined to make sure that writing doesn’t feel like an obligation. I like writing. I want to write more. But any time that I would sit down to write simply because I hadn’t for a while, I took the cue to do something else. More on that later. Right now, I’m going to take a quick look at what’s been distracting me lately. Warning for anyone looking for writing or sci-fi: you won’t find it here today. Many apologies.

Since last spring, I’ve been working with a partner to build a SaaS application, and it’s finally ready for the public. I say “finally” because we had hoped to release it sooner, but we’re extreme sticklers for quality and refused to release anything we weren’t 100% proud of. So, at long last, here is DAVINCHEY.

DAVINCHEY is a very powerful tool built for managing and sharing resources within a team. That sounds vague, and the reason is that it’s extremely customizable. But you could think of it like a reservation system for anything that your team needs to coordinate. In some past jobs I’ve held, these would probably be things like expensive lab equipment, servers, shared computers, or shared licenses. It’s a single place to manage all of those assets, find out who has them at any given time, and reserve them for yourself. It also stores any amount of data about them that you need in a centralized database. It sounds a little dry, but it’s incredibly useful (not to mention valuable).

In addition to that, it has very advanced features for building into other IT systems or automated tests. There is an API that allows any computer to check the reservation schedule, reserve things, query for data, or anything else that a person could do through the app. I’m not going to go into many more details here, because it’s not really what I intend for this site. If you’re interested, I can help answer questions. We’re also offering a free trial to anyone that wants to see what it’s all about. And lastly, I’ll be doing periodic posts on our company site about some of the more interesting uses that this application can provide here.

</shameless plug>

Lexicon – Max Barry

I just finished a novel recommended to me by a friend, and I’m compelled to add my name to the list of hearty advocates. It’s not terribly common for me be as compelled to finish something as I was with this one, and I can absolutely say that you should go read it now. That book is Lexicon by Max Barry.

 

This was the first of his novels (five at the time of this writing) that I have read, and from start to finish it was the kind of writing that makes me feel a little foolish for trying to sit down and write things of my own. I reached the end and said to myself, “Damn it. That was good. Why would people want to read this thing I’m working on again?” This kind of experience has the potential to make your own writing pursuits seem silly by comparison, but I’ve learned (or compelled myself to believe) that in fact it should be a very positive experience instead.

 

Lexicon is, in my opinion of course, very well thought-out. It feels extremely well-plotted, the characters reasonably complex, and the pacing is such that I never felt that I was in a lull. The premise was definitely compelling, and while there were certainly plot points I anticipated, I was never sure that it was intended to be a twist at all. Maybe I was in fact only just keeping up.

 

The writing itself was just right for the context. Barry has a style that is unstilted and no more complex than it needs to be, but just as compelling as it should be. There were multiple times that, for example, I simply felt the vulnerability of a character, having been drawn into the situation naturally and unwittingly. Perhaps there would be things I would want to see differently if I decided to pick apart each tiny piece in detail – but I see no reason to do so. I enjoyed the read immensely.

 

And that’s the key point for me, when something like this makes its way through my reading list. I’m so accustomed to combing through my own writing with a magnifying glass that I forget this feeling. Sure, it’s necessary on your own work. It’s your own responsibility to make it as good as it can be. But it’s easy – pardon the slight cliché – to compare your blooper reel to everyone else’s highlights. This novel represents a huge amount of stellar effort, and we get to see the polished product. That says nothing about what your own writing could become itself, only that you recognize what you love and want it to become.

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a few drawing-boards waiting for me to get back to them.

Pieces of Mind – Prologue (3200 words)

This is the opening chapter of a novel-length piece that I’m working on. I’m pretty excited about it. I think it’s a really fun story with some interesting surprises. I suppose that this can serve as a bit of a teaser. Like most of my writing, it’s sci fi but the strongest sci fi aspects aren’t necessarily present in this chapter.

 

Pieces of Mind

By Carl Hinchey

Prologue: James

In hindsight as he lay dying fifteen minutes later, James would consider that he should have been more cautious. He was living proof that no one, not even the most noble and decent, could avoid making enemies. James had accepted this as the price of success, but he had never considered that it would cost him his life. Continue reading