Thursday, January 28, 2010


I'm going to talk about sacrifice today. No, not the kind where you find a virgin and sacrifice her to appease the angry Gods so the harvest will be bountiful. I'm talking about the kind of sacrifice that I, as a writer, make in my life.

First - I gladly make the sacrifice and wouldn't have it any other way!

The sacrifice I'm talking about is . . . time, or, rather in this instance, social interaction with others.

There is only so much time in a day. I'm not one of the lucky ones that do not have to work for a living. I have to go to work, five days per week, Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM. Okay, I normally go into work a bit earlier than that, but . . . My evenings, well, depending on the day of the week, my evenings are chaotic.

A normal evening:
  • Get home and give Squeaky (my whiny cat) a treat. She's on a diet and she's not happy, not at all, not at all!
  • Pay attention to the boyz (Jesse and James) - just a bit, not too much, because there's only so much time.
  • If Frank is awake, chat with him. If he's asleep - woo-hoo, a few minutes just for me! : )
  • Walk the boyz.
  • Cook dinner.
  • Eat dinner.
  • Clean up dinner.
  • Dry the dishes that Frank has washed and put them away.
  • Send Frank off to work.
  • Write!!!!
  • Bond with Jesse, James, and Squeaky.
  • Let the boyz out.
  • Go to bed!

This is my normal routine. Some nights, I don't have to cook dinner and I can start writing a bit earlier.

Second - I'm not complaining, not one bit.

So, this week, I received a phone call about subbing in a card group. I turned down the opportunity because . . . well, it would be time away from writing, in the evening, during the week, which is not something I want to do right now. The words are flowing on the new project and, well, I just want to write. I don't want to socialize - well, Friday nights are the exceptions, margaritas, and all that jazz - or do anything, except write.

So, for my writing, I sacrifice the social interaction, the chance to catch up with friends, acquaintances, play cards (which I love doing), try some new food (always good), and just get out of the house.

I think we all, as aspiring or otherwise writers, make such sacrifices and do so, for the most part, willingly.

We - day jobs, kids, families, pets, other obligations - don't have the leisure to do everything we want to do and still write as much as we, sometimes, want to write.

That doesn't mean that we (I) should turn down all invites during the week or on the weekend. Heck, if I didn't go out every now and then, where would I get great inspiration? It wouldn't happen. I just think that, when accepting or turning down invitations, we (I) really need to consider what we are sacrificing - social interaction, extra writing time - or whatever. There comes a time and place when we sacrifice too much and lose out in the process.

So, the rambling point of this post: consider carefully what you are and are not willing to sacrifice on this crazy path to publication, and beyond. Don't give up everything, because you might find, at the end of the road, that you have nothing!

This week, yeah, I turned down one chance at social interaction. I'm giving in to my passion to write, but I know, that next week, I might be willing to sacrifice some writing time for some social interaction. In the end, things happen when they are meant to happen, not when I want them to happen, and that without balance . . . well, someone ends up with their butt suddenly on the ground!!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Actions . . . Denied??

Over at the kt literary blog, there was a post about "Smirk", and other words to avoid. Yes, you know the drill, click, read, and then back here, otherwise you won't understand a thing I'm going to post about. Okay, you will understand, but still, common courtesy . . .

The main point of the post was the overuse of the word smirk and Daphne (blog writer) made the following comment: But "smirk" is just one of those words that gets used a log, along with "shrugged" and "nodded", at least as far as I've noticed.

So, here's my comment:

If characters aren’t allowed to laugh, shrug, smirk, nod, shake, or whatever, then what to they do during a conversation? I mean, my sister couldn’t have a complete conversation if you tied her hands behind her back. Come to think of it, neither could I. So, how are such things conveyed in a novel without consider such words (i.e., actions) as overused?

I mean, seriously, people don't just stand, ramrod straight, not moving, blinking, nodding, smiling, smirking, arching an eyebrow or twenty, while they have a conversation. People do all those things, and more, when talking with each other.

So, if, as writers, we shouldn't overuse such words/actions, then how do we convey such actions with our characters. Are the nods, smirks, shrugs, shakes, twitches, winks, smiles, etc., just not important? Are these actions so insignificant not to matter at all?

Since I don't have the answers, though perhaps by the time this post posts Daphne will have answered my question, I'm leaving them up to you, dear readers. Have at it!!


Monday, January 25, 2010


I interrupt today's regular post to . . . APOLOGIZE!! You see, the other day I linked to a great post on Behler Blog about plot versus character query letters. I quoted from the blog, mentioned the blogger, and pretty much raved about the post because, well, it just clarified everything for me and made working on my current query letter so much easier.

Well, in all my excitement, perhaps lack of caffeine, perhaps lack of margaritas, I made a major, major error in the post. I referred to the blogger as Lynn Behler!

Imagine my embarrassment when I received a comment from Lynn (done quite nicely, btw) informing me that her last name is not Behler! OMG! I know this! I read her blog religiously . . . okay, not religiously, but I follow her blog, have commented back and forth with her, and dang well know that her last name is not Behler, but . . . PRICE!

So, I've been making the rounds - the original post on my blog (which, btw, has been corrected to reflect Lynn's actual last name), over at her blog, and now, here, formal, all in CAPS in this post - apologizing for my mistake.

Yes, dear readers, I too make mistakes, often on a daily basis. In fact, you should have seen the mistake I, and my sisters, all made with our hair one year when we all got perms. We call it The Christmas of the Big Hair. The photo - nope, no way, no how, am I going to post that sucker - is hysterical, and sad, oh, so, very, very sad. So, mistakes are made, and I'm one to own up to my mistakes.

But, there is an important lesson to be learned by what I did: pay close attention to everything, not only in your blog posts, but your query letters as well. Make. Sure. You. Get. The. Agents. Last. Name. Right!!!!! Luckily for me, this didn't happen in a query letter, but it is still a bit embarassing.

So, Lynn Price, please accept my apologies for screwing up your last name. There truly are no excuses for this mistake on my part. I could blame it on lack of caffeine, margaritas, the fact that I'm no longer (sob) in my 20s, or 30s (double sob) for that matter, my excitement at having a clear vision of how to complete my query - thanks for that, btw - or so many other reasons. The plain and simple fact is . . . I screwed up. I'll try my best not to let it happen again.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Query: Character vs. Plot

Yes, I know, I know, I know, I'm supposed to be unplugged. Really, I am unplugged - well, one of my personalities is, but I can't speak for the others!

I've been in the process lately of attempting to work on my query . . . and not go totally insane in the process. Last night I had a breakdown . . . .ooops, meant a breakthrough!! I finally, finally, finally pieced together the opening paragraph of the query. Yeah, only the opening, but it's a start.

Today I've been mulling over the next part of the query and, lo and behold, I come across this post by Lynn Price. Check. It. Out.

According to Lynn (who has a fabulous Beagle that makes margaritas), when writing a query, the writer should consider whether their brilliant piece of fiction is plot or character driven. Who knew? I certainly didn't.

So, first, some definitions, as provided by Ms. Price . . .

Plot Driven is about the movement of events within a story and how the characters influence those invents. Go here to read more.

Character Driven is all about the characters and it is they who are the main dish in your personal banquet . . . their personalities, motives, and desires are the yin and yang to the plot, and their actions are a driving force to influencing the story.

Who knew? I certainly didn't, nor did I know that (at least according to Lynn) the plot can be on the thin side because it's secondary to the character(s).

The things I learn on a daily visit to the blogsphere.

With a character driven story, the query should focus on the characters rather than the plot. This is where voice plays a big role because you need to make them come to life and make us (agents/editors/et al) care about them.

This little tidbit of knowledge has, to me, been a gift of great immensity because Margarita Nights is all about the characters. Yes, there is plot, major plot, but the characters - their thoughts, desires, actions - are what drive the story forward.

So, since my story is character driven, I am going to heed Lynn's advice as I continue working on my query and let potential agents see, feel, empathize, and understand (my) characters! The reason: the aforementioned, according to Lynn, is the difference between "send me pages," and "no thanks".

On that note . . . wait, hold on, you did check the post out, didn't you? C'mon, sources of great knowledge are worth checking out!

Now . . . have a great day!


P.s. - all italicized sections in this post are taken directly and/or paraphrased from this post found on the Behler Blog.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Site

Okay, found a new site. Yes, I know, I'm supposed to be unplugged. I am. I'm not. Heck, I'm still in beach withdrawal! I'm allowed.

Write It Sideways is a site I discovered through Nathan Bransford's blog. Go check it out. It has some great info, and we all know that great info is the key to great writing! Well, that and a few pitchers of margaritas!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Unplugged, but . . .

Well, I'm back from vacation in Ft. Lauderdale, FL! Sad, sad, sad that I'm back to the real world of work! Geesh! Lucky for me, my return coincides with unplugged week. Woo-hoo!

So, I'm somewhat unplugging, lurking in the shadows, may post, may not post, and all that wonderful jazz.

But . . . before I go to start digging out my desk at work, I want to share two links . . .

First, Rick over at The Public Query Slushpile is recommending critXchange. What is critXchange, well, click on the link to find out, or . . . the goal for critXchange is for writers to post a short description of their book, similar to a query, but instead of querying agents it is a solicitation for other writers and readers to provide feedback on the manuscript. So, hop on over to both blogs, read up, and have fun.

Second, Janet Reid has created a handy-dandy little list that tells writers - fiction, memoir, and non-fiction exactly what they need before they query. So, click here and learn!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dialogue . . .

. . . as a beginning! Yes, a beginning. Yesterday I linked to Nicola Morgan's blog and her post about beginnings. If you haven't checked it out, do so now, and check out the comments, which have provided the inspiration for this post.

One commenter asked about starting a book with (gasp, the horrors, shudder, somebody get the smelling salts) . . . dialogue. Nicola's response is below:

Sam - I'm delighted you asked that question, actually. First, I had vaguely heard that unpubbed writers worried about this but I have no idea where it came from. I have never, in all my conversations with dozens/hundreds of novelists, heard anyone say it or discuss it. It would, frankly, be beneath our dignity to make or stick to such a ridiculous rule. rules must have reasons and this has none (except see the end of this comment.)

If you want one single example of why this rule simply cannot be taken seriously, look no further than the first line of one of the most successful AND respected contemporary novels of our time, Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses. I could find more but I can't be bothered!

The only conceivable reasons to avoid dialogue as your first sentence are a) that it's difficult to do well and b) that it's difficult to convey enough of the tone etc of the whole story. But that latter reason doesn't really hold, because you're going to go on to do that in the following sentences.

So, definitely a rule to ignore! If dialogue IS the best way to start your story, it is.

The above italicized section is from Nicola Morgan's blog: Help! I Need A Publisher! and was gleaned from the comments section of this post.

Now, for my enlightened thoughts on the subject matter: Hooray for Nicola!!

I've always thought that the right piece of dialogue could be the best start to a novel. Okay, haven't always thought that, but it sounded good as I was blithely typing along.

"Oh, dear, so sorry I shot you three times in the chest, it really was an accident." Marie casually wiped her fingerprints off the gun and stepped over her husband's dead body.

or . . .

"You're not George Bailey, and this isn't A Wonderful Life."

or . . .

Well the examples from my depraved mind could go on and on. The thing with dialogue as a beginning is it has to be done right and set the tone of the novel. A bland, pithy (don't ask, it just sounded right, and I've been using the word a lot lately) piece of dialogue just isn't going to cut it.

So, have you ever opened your novels of brilliance with dialogue? Did you keep the dialogue through the various revision stages? Care to share your brilliant dialogue that set the tone of the novel?

And, now to Work in Progress Wednesday . . . I've been mulling over three ideas for the last month or so, and just couldn't decide which one I wanted to delve into as my new writing project for 2010. In an effort to be fair to all three children of my supreme brilliance (sorry, a bit more snarky than usual today - sincerest apologies), I've been working on all three projects in the hopes that one would sprint forward ahead of the others. Well, one did, and I'm happy to report that in the past few days I've . . .
  • Begun and Completed the Rough of Part I
  • Started Part II
  • Written 12, 500 words!

Can I hear a big WOO-HOO!!!!

I don't know why this project, versus the others, has taken the lead in my imagination. It just has, I'm not complaining, and I'm just going with the flow of words. Everything is just falling into place with this project, though I can hear the others breathing heavily (no, they're not making obscene phone calls) in my mind, trying to catch up to the project in the lead. They're determined, those wonderful little projects not content to wait in the wings of the darkness of my mind!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Okay, I'm cheating today. Go here to Nicola Morgan's blog. She has a great, great, fantastic post about beginnings, and offers some good advice as well. Go on already, click!!

Okay, just in case you were too lazy to click, I'll give you a brief snippet . . .

Why are we wrong to angst about starting points for novels?

•because you can change it later - just get started and see what happens. Changing the beginning later is one of the easiest aspects of a revision, but you need to get the beginning down now, even if you end up moving it.
•because the hard and fast rules are not very hard or fast. The essential one is: do what works for THIS book.
•because starting points are about to be a lot easier to think about, as I'm about to give you some guidelines. Hooray! And then some options and examples. Even more hoorayish.

Okay, that's all the preview I'm giving you. She provides tons, tons of examples from her own books about various beginnings, and some thoughtful advice as well.

What did I gain most from her post?? Well, in her words because you can change it later! She's right. No matter what beginning I start with - a fall down the stairs, a scream in the night, an empty kitchen and a boiling pot of water, a pitcher of margaritas - I can always change it later.

It's kind of scary how she can read my mind. I mean, how does she know that I endlessly change my beginnings during the writing process? How? How? Oh, because she's a writer (like us all) and been there, done that, and has multiple t-shirts.

So, go on, click on over and have a good read!


Monday, January 11, 2010


Woo-hoo! I reached 100 Followers sometime this weekend. Sorry, can't give you the exact time and date, since I have no clue. I don't really drop into the blogsphere much on the weekends, but, somehow, when I wasn't looking, I reached 100 Followers.

So . . . welcome to the new followers, and thanks to the old ones for sticking around.

Now, I know how I hit the 100 mark. Nicola Morgan over at Help! I Need A Publisher! had a birthday party over at her blog since she reached the 1 year mark on Sunday. As part of the celebration, she had all her followers leave a comment with a brief description and a link to their blogs in order to spread the writing wealth in the blogsphere. So, congrats to Nicola, and thanks for hosting such a fabulous party.

You might want to hop over here and check out the comments. You never know, you might find a blog or 300 to follow. On second thought, Lady Glamis and Elana, don't check out that blog. You two follow way too many blogs as it is, and giving you the potential of hundreds of more blogs might send you both over the edge. I'm just saying . . .

I was also going to do a great post today, but got sidetracked by Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden. I can't seem to put the book down. Seriously. I can't remember the last time I just totally lost myself in a book, page after page, reluctantly putting the book down only when absolutely necessary. The book is a mystery, many mysteries, and the author effortlessly does some amazing things. I'd tell you what they were, but finding them out as you read is half the fun of this book. My only hope is that if I ever attempt something so grand, I can do it 1/4 as well as she has done. So, if you're looking for a good book to read, go get this one. It's an amazing read. I'm 60% through the book, so, depending on my schedule this week, I should have it done by this coming weekend. Woo-hoo.

I will post at least two more posts this week! I have some ideas forming, inspiration from The Forgotten Garden.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Snarky and Serious

Okay, I have this idea I've been mulling over for a potential new project to begin working on sometime this year. Can you believe it's 2010 already? Geesh!!! I have some, not all, of the basics noted down, figured out the potential names for the characters (though I'm not sure whether the names will stick at this point), and have an idea of the magical object that is at the core of the story. I still also have a ton of things to work out in the story.

But, my main questions are: Can a novel be both snarky and serious? Does the snarkiness diminish the serious tone of the novel?

You see, I want one of the main characters to have an A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E! A serious, serious, very snarky attitude! In many ways, this story will be a mockery of . . . well, can't tell you that, state secret, you'd have to give up first born child for me to tell you the secret, and all that jazz. Even though some serious mocking will occur, there is also a seriousness to the story, emotional depth, a coming of ageness to this story as well.

Can the mockery and seriousness, the snark and the emotional depth, walk hand and hand down the yellow brick road?

No, I'm not doing a retelling of The Wizard of Oz, I just liked the image of the yellow brick road.

Is such a balance between snark and seriousness doable? Am I biting off more than I can chew? Should I just focus on one aspect - snark or seriousness - and not attempt both?



Thursday, January 7, 2010

Magical Objects - Part Deux

So, the other day - yesterday to be exact - I did a post about magical objects, and asked some scathingly brilliant questions . . .

  • What is the magical object?
  • What does it do?
  • How does it do it?
  • Why is it important?
  • What happens if it is . . . lost? forces of evil gain control of it? it is destroyed?
  • What is the big even that will/won't happen without this magical object?

Well, I've realized that the third question - How does it do it? - really isn't that important at all!

Say what?? Well, seriously, people, did Tolkien ever explain how the one ring to rule them all actually worked??? No. All the reader really knew is that the ring could turn the wearer invisible, grant them long life, and slowly eat away at their soul. We, as readers, knew this, but not how the ring did all of this. Tolkien never explained that part to his readers.

The cloak of invisibility from Harry Potter - nope, J.K. never bothered to explain the specifics of how the cloak really worked.

The magic mirror from Snow White? Nope, no explanation given.

Yes, it was an epiphanous (yes, I know, not a word) moment last night when I realized that I don't (call it lazy, call it pure genius on my part) have to explain how the magical object works! Woo-hoo!

Now, I still have to come up with the magical object,figure out what it does, and all that jazz, but a detailed explanation of how it works isn't necessary, and, it probably isn't going to happen.


Well, do readers really need to know how a magical object works? Yes, dear readers, that question is for you. What do you think of this epiphany? Have you read fantasy stories where the author never explained how a magical object work? Did you wonder how it worked or just kept on reading, just knowing it was a magical object, and that was enough?


BTW - I did decide on a magical object and pretty much know what it does. Whew! Yeah, there are a ton of other things I have to figure out, but the whole magical object thingy is pretty much figured out. BTW - Davin had a great suggestion for magical objects, so you might want to check out the comments from yesterday's post.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Magical Objects

Today's post is about magical objects. Every fantasy story has a magical object, or two, or a dozen if the book is about a boy wizard and his friends.

Tolkien had the one ring to rule them all!

J.K. Rowlings had the cloak of invisibility, the deathly hallows, the time turner, and so many other objects.

David Eddings had Aldur's Orb - if you haven't read The Belgariad or The Mallorean series, please do so. These are great epic fantasies. I reread them every few years.

These authors each had some type of magical object in their fantasy series.

So, why I am posting about magical objects? Well, I have an idea for a modern day fantasy - perhaps epic, perhaps not so much. It's just in the idea phase right now, so I have no idea what, or if, this might develop into at some point in the future. I'm not psychic, after all.

Anyhow, I need a magical object, I know I need a magical object, and I just can't figure out the identity of the magical object, or its powers, or, or, or, or . . .

Yes, I've hit a wall with this dratted magical object that will become the source of conflict in this fantasy that I will write one day in the future.




So, I've been thinking a lot about this mysterious magical object and came up with some questions to help me, and other aspiring fantasy writers, out:
  • What is the magical object?
  • What does it do?
  • How does it do it?
  • Why is it important?
  • What happens if it is . . . lost? forces of evil gain control of it? it is destroyed?
  • What is the big even that will/won't happen without this magical object?

Those were the basic questions I began to ask myself as I pondered the identity of this mysterious magical object that will be at the core of my fantasy novel.

As I pondered these questions, I realized that many authors before me, and many after me, had/will ponder(ed) this same question. Did they have a cheat sheet to help them? Did they stumble along like I did, searching, gasping for air, and hoping against hope that the answer would just appear in their dreams? Okay, my answer didn't appear in my dreams, just in case you're wondering.

Probably not. Those authors probably stumbled along, just as I have, as I still am (for the most part, though I have an idea or two about the object now), until they were able to work out the logistics in their mind about the magical object necessary for their stories. They probably didn't have the handy-dandy cheat sheet to help them figure out the identity of their magical objects.

Life might have been a bit easier (then again, it might not have been) with a handy-dandy cheat sheet like I created in the depths of my pondering.

So, I give you the above questions to help in the discovery of any magical objects your characters might need in future, or current, writings.

Lastly, as seems the case with blogs, there are questions, mainly for any fantasy writers out there . . .

What is your process in coming up with a magical object? Is it more in-depth than mine? Pretty much the same? How do you ultimately decide on the perfect object? Is it a wand? A cloak? A magical sword? A book? A hat? A pair of jeans? An ever full pitcher of margaritas? An orb? A crystal ball? A magical watch? A . . .

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Shooting Stars

Okay, today was supposed to be a post free day, since I've decided that three posts per week is more than enough, and also allows me time to, well, work on my personal writing. I mean, that's what it's all about (and not the hokey-pokey, people), isn't it??

But . . .

Suzette and Bethany over at Shooting Stars are having this contest, and I'm all about winning contests. I'm a bit competitive - just ask my sisters, who rarely beat me at Scrabble.

So, they're having a contest and giving away . . .

2 Query Critiques + 2 First Five Page Critiques + 1 Inscribed/Autographed The Dark Divine for a stunning, grand total of 5 Prizes.

No, you can't win every prize.

In fact, you're limited to one, just one, and you have to let them know which one you want. They seem a bit demanding (kidding, Bethany and Suzette) to me, but hey, what do I know??? Oh, and they have a bunch of ways in which to enter - Tweet, Facebook, MySpace, AbsoluteWrite Forum, QueryTracker Forum, promise them your first born child (okay, that's not one of the ways, but I was on a roll), and a few other ways as well.

But . . .

Why should I be delivering all this info on my blog and not just telling you to click on over to their blog?


Well because . . . No. 2 of the two things I must do to enter the contest is: Post about this contest on your own blog (not just a mention, an actual post.)

I told you they were a bit demanding.

So, I've Facebooked about their contest and I've done a post about their contest. So, I'm in, people!!


Monday, January 4, 2010

Watch Out . . .

. . . for gaping plot holes! Yes, plot holes!

As any driver knows, pot holes are bad, very, very bad, especially depending on the depth of the pot hole. A tiny pot hole might cause a slight jolt as a driver hits the pot hole. A medium pot hole has the potential to cause a bit more than a jolt, perhaps a flat tire. A major pot hole can cause even more damage.

The same goes for those lovely plot holes that sometimes appear in writing.

So, New Year's Eve and Frank and I are watching the latest incarnation of Star Trek on DVD. Love the movie. Love the revitalization of the franchise. I'll definitely watch the movie again.

You know what I didn't love? Yes, you guessed it, the gaping plot hole!

Now, before anybody reads any further I must make the following disclaimers -



Okay, now that the disclaimers are out of the way. Oh, wait, one more: I'm not dissing the movie. I loved the movie.

Okay, we now return to the topic of plot holes.

In the latest incarnation of Star Trek, the movie opens with a giant ship emerging from a black hole. It is soon learned this ship is from the future. Flash forward 25 years. The ship is still out in space causing havoc. No problem here. Suddenly, future Spock is telling a young James T. Kirk about where the ship came from - there was a space anomaly that created a black hole that transported the large ship into the past, and Spock's ship as well. It only took Spock's ship seconds to come through the black hole and . . . yes, the big ship was waiting there to capture Spock and his ship. Oh, did I mention that the crew of the big ship hadn't aged a day . . . in 25 years! Not a day. They all looked exactly the same as when the movie first started. Exactly.

Okay, any one notice the gaping plot hole???

Oh, and somehow, for 25 years, no one in the Federation noticed this ginormous ship. Oh, and somehow, the crew of the ship was able to find fuel, food, etc., . . . for 25 years while patiently waiting in the same exact spot they appeared for Spock's ship to appear. Yes, the exact same spot.

So, by now you should see the gaping plot hole. Yes, a certain suspension of disbelief occurs when reading or viewing a movie. A certain suspension, not total.

The logistics of the non-aging crew, the ability to find fuel, food, etc., is too much of a suspension of disbelief . . . at least for me. I can fill in the blanks about food and fuel, etc., just not the non-aging part and the fact that nobody in the Federation ever encountered this huge, huge ship that allegedly stayed in the same place in space 25 years waiting for Ambassador Spock to appear.

For me, the impact of the movie was lessened by the realization that the crew hadn't aged at all and the ship was miraculously able to sustain itself, its crew, and remain undetected for 25 years. Up until that point, J. J. Abrams had me! I loved the movie, I loved the new premise, and I could see the potential for great new adventures for James T. Kirk and crew since their destinies had been changed by the appearance of the huge ship 25 years earlier.

Okay, he still has me, I'll still watch future incarnations of the franchise, but . . .

So, the lesson here: fill those gaping plot holes. Don't let them exist and make your readers go: Huh!!