Monthly Archives: October 2013

Better to give than receive?

What is the hardest thing about writing? Coming up with an idea? Turning an idea into a coherent whole. Knowing what to keep and what to ditch? Nope, as tricky as all of those can be, compared to the task of getting an honest opinion of your work from someone, they’re mere child’s play. I’ve heard it said that friends are kind and family is generous yet a writer needs feedback. The reason I’m making this entry is in regards this post which concerns how NOT to give constructive criticism.

Personally I’m of the opinion that it is actually pretty tricky to write something with absolutely no redeeming features. Sure I’ve come across work with good ideas badly executed or that is well written but based on weak ideas. But something that is irretrievably rubbish, that’s hard to do.

So what are my tips for giving useful advice?

1) Find the bad and the good, at least one example of each.

2) Start with the bad. Yes I know every writer wants to hear their work is great but really if any of us are to grow then it is our weakness that need work. If there are a lot of weaknesses, better to focus on one, Rome wasn’t built in a day and no one became a great writer overnight.  If a particular aspect is good, well great then we don’t have to worry about that.

3) End with the good. Constructive Criticism is meant to be just that Constructive, you’ve broken them down looking at the bad, now you build them back up.

But what about the writer any advice there.

In a nutshell: Take it.

If people learn that the first word of criticism results in them either attempting to pry your teeth from their throat or you bursting in to tears, then you’ll never get an honest opinion again. Which will come back to haunt you because if or when your work gets out into the world, criticism it will receive and not all of it will be fair.

Until next time.

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Filed under Random Rants, Writing, Writing Group

Ships of the Fleet – Predator Class Destroyer

predator on patrol


The Predators are the largest and newest class of destroyer currently in service with Battle Fleet. The first to be rated as suitable for deep space operations, these multi-role ships are capable of supporting the main battle line, close escort and deep space strike. Currently 15 Predators are in service with the final six expected to be commissioned by 2066.

destroyers on patrol


The Lance and Broadsword classes of destroyers had respectively been designed to provide support for the battle line and as independent strike missile strike vessel. Two effectively specialist designs, neither of had come to be regarded as entirely satisfactory and what now wanted was a vessel capable of performing both roles while still remaining small enough and cheap enough to be built in useful qualities.

Destroyer views


The genesis design of Predator came from a proposal from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in answer to the P475 specification for a light cruiser strike cruiser. While this project was ultimately abandoned due to the budget cuts of the early 2050s, the mix of a heavy missile throw with a substantial point defence grid was regarded highly interesting.

As the fleet had found from previous experience to simply build a diminutive of the P475 cruiser was unlikely to prove fruitful, so instead emphasize was placed on the missile and point defence aspects of the design at the expense of gun power and operational range.

Layout follows what has become the typical destroyer layout, a three part arrangement with primary armament and command functions concentrated in the forward third of the ship, power rooms and engines aft, with an open centrifuge amidships. The folding centrifuge is the first to be used on a Battle Fleet ship and while initially troublesome in service, makes the Predators the first human destroyer to be able to simulate gravity up to a full 1G.


As the fleet only deep space capable destroyers, the Predators have supplanted the River and Continental Class Light Cruisers in the escort role around Dryad. Freeing up these vessels for deep space patrolling. It has been reported that in this role members of the class have involved in a number of live-fire incidents but details remain classified at time of writing. Among their listed wartime roles is deep space strike, while the fleet has not exactly specified what this means analysts believe the type would be used to strike at enemy supply line several systems out from Earth.

Missile strike

Fleet released publicity shot


Length: 116 metres

Beam: 69.50 metres

Height: 48 metres

Armament: Four standard missile launchers, standard load twelve slammer missiles. Four Mk IX light plasma cannons in two twin mounts. Six octuple point defence mounts.

Power Plant: Two Mitsubishi VX18 Fusion reactors

Engines: Two ACAE Iolar and one half Iolar engines.

Crew: 6 officers and 43 crew

Endurance: 34 days standard, 58 days max.

In service: 15

Under construction: 6


The Predator class are taken from the Nameless War setting

The Nameless War, available on Kindle, Smashwords, Kobo and paperback.

The Landfall Campaign, available on Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords and paperback.

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Filed under science fiction, Ship design, Ships of the Fleet, starship

Short Story – Waiting Room for the Unforgettable

“It won’t kill you, in fact it can’t kill you,” said King Arthur reasonably.

“Yes but it will bloody hurt!” Elrond, Lord of Rivendale, replied heatedly.

“Ah,” said Arthur after a moment of consideration, “this is that elven allergy to iron thing, isn’t it?”

“No, because it’ll squish me like a bug and it will hurt and I’m not doing it,” Elrond said before stomping off in a huff.

“Elves shouldn’t stomp!” Arthur shouted after him before slumping in his throne. Avalon hadn’t always been like this. In fact when he’d first turned up it had been quite pleasant. The funny thing was Arthur could remember being real man. Well not just a man; he’d been a chieftain. Three whole villages and more men than he could count – so over forty – had been his to command. Then he died, choking on a chicken bone and instead going to the halls of his forefathers or even that ‘Heaven’ place the Christians had always banged on about, he arrived here. At first it had been just him, a few of his old pals and a couple of old gods wafting about the place. Not bad really. But then it started to change, the Myths of Arthur really got started and his old pals just sort of faded away. They weren’t part of the story any more and no one remembered them. Instead they were replaced by the people from the tales of ‘King’ Arthur. When he’d been a live he’d had a wife, wide of hip, with a voice that could have stripped paint and the ability to force feed a man his own knee caps if he didn’t respect her. Now that that had been a real woman, not like the simpering Guinevere that myth had lumped on him instead. She spent most of her time was off fooling around with that pillock Lancelot, because that was what the myths said they did. King Arthur could always feel the Myths tell him he should be upset about that but Arthur the man felt the two could have each other.

One of the old gods had explained it to him once, Avalon was the home to that which had been once imagined but not yet unforgotten. The only thing Arthur could ever remember imagining as a man was his enemies’ heads on spikes but the people out there in the real world kept imagining more and more things. By god they came up with some strange fish, a werewolf policeman with an odd sense of humour turned up last week. There were probably thousands of spaceships with strange names like ‘Mississippi’ and one very improbable design that looked to Arthur like just a blue box. Monsters, heroes, robots, aliens even cartoon women who ‘weren’t bad, they were just drawn that way’. People in the real world imagined things and when they turned up here, as King of Avalon, Arthur had to explain it all to them. He tried to fob it off on others occasionally but the myths said he ruled here so it remained his job. It was always a hard sell and some new arrivals didn’t take it well.

The giant robot was the one of those troublesome one, a huge clumsy thing, it had been blundering around treading on people. With a sigh Arthur motioned it forward and hoped he wasn’t going to get stood on again. The robot lumbered to a halt in front of the throne but before Arthur could speak, there was a pop and a cat appeared. It gave the robot a look of searing contempt before walking off.

“Oh no! Not more Grumpy Cat Memes,” Arthur groaned to himself.


This is a modified version of a piece I put together for a writing group I am part of. Originally 300 words the count has gone up a bit since then.

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Filed under Short Stories