Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: November, 2006

Pumping Fists in the Air

November 28, 2006 at 8:30 PM. Nanowrimo is over! Take that, you crazy 67,000+ words of unending drivel!

Okay, so this year, I’m feeling a bit more relief than usual. This story has been hard. For some reason, it’s been a pain trying to pry it out of my head and putting it into words. There have been points where I could have seriously been driven to drink, just like my main character.

Anyways, if you feel like reading a first draft about a burned out actress in late 18th century France trying to solve the magical murders of a bunch of astronomers, go to this page. You can read it in either installments or download the entire thing.

Yes, this means you can breathe a sigh of relief too since this is my last Nanowrimo post of the year. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming…

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Dig Me Out of the Electronic Graveyard

Someone actually bothered to interview me. See my Q & A session with Sean Lindsay on Nanowrimo here.

(Cross-posted at Writing Sya)

I Could Get Up On A Soapbox

The Eater of Books. (via Monkeyfilter) SEM images of silverfish, the bane of book lovers everywhere.

The corporate wives’ club. This is so weird and out of my ken that I almost don’t know what to say. Maybe it’ll be better all around if those high-powered men married robots.

Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans. Hey, I’ve never noticed this one before. There are some fairly thought-provoking articles (enough so that it makes me want to yell at the computer screen) like the lack of strong female characters on TV and the debate about whether sci-fi is a “male” genre and fantasy a “female” genre. And sexual harassment at science fiction conventions. Ooo, now I want to crack some heads…

Tangled Bank #67. It’s the latest edition over at Newton’s Binomium. Go, read some science! I know you want to.

The Thursday Threesome: Black Friday Sales

Onesome: Black– I saw a white Christmas tree the other day all done up in “black and white”; I was thinking an Oakland Raiders fan might like it! Do you have any color preferences for your Christmas decorations? …or maybe a theme you’ve found somewhere that resonates with you?

I prefer the traditional decorations. I think themes are a little too tacky. (To be honest, I think the holidays in general are too tacky.)

Twosome: Friday– leftovers? …or do you have plans to order a pizza in to counteract all that turkey?

I’d rather have the turkey leftovers than the pizza.

Threesome: Sales– Okay, the big question: are you going to ‘attend’ any of the “Black Friday” sales? …and if you are, are you hard core serious like the 5 am “be there” crowd?

Are you nuts? Friday means I’m staying the heck out of retail.

Can’t Look Away

Anatomy of an Internet Flame War. Heh. The essentials of conversational train wrecks distilled.

The Ultimate Blog Post. In keeping with the tone of the first link. I wonder how a parody of one of my own blog posts would look like…

Extra Extra! Stupid Gender Stereotypes Are Still Alive and Kicking! In blogosphere time, this is an old entry, but this is still a pretty good take down of this asinine Telegraph article blaming women’s reading habits for the decline of men in education.

Some Technical Difficulties

In trying to figure out why a comment to my other blog couldn’t publish, I discovered that Blogger has been hiding a huge stash of comments since September which it never saw fit to inform me of.

Arg!

So once again, if you feel like I’m deleting your comments before they can show up on this site, I’m not! If you don’t see your comment up within two days, feel free to e-mail me and I’ll see what I need to fix.

Solution: Get A Good Editor

101 Reasons to Stop Writing. Maybe a more accurate blurb would be “101 Reasons Not to Get Published.” Yes, there’s a lot of dreck on the bookshelves, but wouldn’t some fault lie on the shoulders of the publishers and the editors who let it get past the slush pile in the first place? The writer is responsible for actually putting a crappy novel into existence, but is he really to blame for the reader picking up the book?

There’s a lot of bad writing out there, but people have to learn how to be smart readers too. I’m a rather fast reader, but most people aren’t and reading time is precious. It’s obvious that no one wants to waste their time reading bad books. But if readers spent a little more time picking what they read (by reading reviews and synopses, listening to trusted word-of-mouth sources, and ignoring what’s “in” or what’s “good for you”) instead of grabbing the nearest bestseller at the airport newsstand, more people would be avid and satisfied readers.

What most squicks detractors of Nanowrimo is the false expectation that some (arguably most) participants come away with. I’ve read a lot of Nanowrimo posts where people claim that the novel they write this November will be good enough to publish. I’ve also read posts where people won’t show what they’ve written because they think it’ll be so good that somebody will steal it. People use the Nanowrimo challenge as an excuse to call themselves writers and novelists–i.e. artists with actual discipline–without going through the hard work of editing so other people can look at them an awe.

But I’d like to say: let people write whatever they want. The critical point for good writing is not Nanowrimo itself, but afterwards when you have to do extensive editing to get rid of the bad parts. And if you’re not willing to edit, you deserve the heaps of rotten tomatoes thrown at you.

(Cross-posted at Writing Sya.)

The Thursday Threesome: A Day in the Rain

Onesome: A Day–or so ago? Oops, wrong meme. Wait, that might be cool… “A Day or So Ago, I saw…….” You fill it in!

…a girl in high heels breeze past me while I was walking up a fairly steep hill in hiking boots. The world’s not fair, I tell you. I bet her feet don’t hurt either.

Twosome: in– case of rain, do you carry an umbrella? …or do you just hoof it in a hat?

I always carry an umbrella. I’ve also started wearing a hat because it’s been getting cold.

Threesome: the Rain– in Spain? Nah, how about locally: has the rainy season kicked in for you yet? Snow? Nothing? Come on, it’s almost Thanksgiving here in the States!

Yes, there is rain.

Have You Read Anything Lately?

In What is the worth of words?, Michael Rogers–“The Practical Futurist”–pens a hypothetical report from 2025 in which literacy has practically disappeared upon the inundation of visual media and technology. Reading “is a luxury, not a necessity!” he proclaims. But before you get completely indignant, note that this is a Swiftian satire meant to spotlight the current erosion of reading and writing ability in today’s society.

What disturbed me most was not the article itself but a comment about the article I read somewhere else suggesting that there is too much money going into the math and sciences and that as a solution, this money could be better used to fund literacy programs. I really don’t think that is an answer. Not only can you not function in society without the ability to read, but you’d also be equally helpless if you didn’t know how to add or if you didn’t know how basic things work. I don’t think enough money is going towards education in general–but that’s another can of worms I’m not opening now.

If you want to get people to read, let them read something that they would enjoy even if it’s not on the literary snob’s list of approved brain food. All the literature teachers won’t help you if the only thing they recommend for children is the “classics” with the stipulation that everything else is trash. When I look back at the assigned reading I had to do in grade school, it’s a wonder I didn’t go completely mad. Some of that stuff was dull, plodding, and downright depressing.

Painting the Tape and Karaoke Democracy

Double-Tongued Dictionary. Whoa. If you didn’t feel unhip before this will do it.