It’s not food; it’s water (or beer): surviving in fiction

I’m going to answer and comment on a short post I came across a few days ago, “Three Rules for Food in your Fantasy novel.” It’s a short list of common sense points so there’s nothing much to add, but I noticed this:

Can they carry a day’s worth of food or a week’s worth? Even when spread among several riders, you may have to consider a few pack animals to help carry the load but remember that even then they will not be carrying a month’s supply of provisions or probably a very wide-spread fare.

Three things here: (1) You probably can carry a month’s worth of food if you know exactly what you must carry (and you accept that, indeed, it won’t be a very wide-spread fare,) (2) notice that pack animals are mentioned, but not that they also have to eat (and they eat a lot,) and most importantly, (3) water is not mentioned.

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Tell me, don’t show me your characters’ emotions.

I have written other posts criticizing common bits of advice given to writers, and I have in fact hinted that I believe the emperor to all of them is naked, so here it is: Show, don’t tell. What is it good for? Not much really.

There are also some elephant-in-the-room-sized clues hinting that all this Show, Don’t Tell thing may be, at best, platitudes, and at worst, nonsense. First of all, the entire history of human literature. Pretty much everything written before the last 100 years was 90% Telling, with Showing sparkled here and there to enhance or highlight certain key passages.

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Thoughts on biases and manuscript reading from the other side of the Atlantic

Via one of the blogs I follow (Amatopia), I found this interview with veteran author Paul Clayton. He talks a bit about his life and work and then he is asked about where he believes publishing is going and how his late works, most of them self-published, tie with that.

Clayton claims traditional self-publishing is too slow and that the selection process has become incestuous, compromised by what I guess could be described as either identity politics or just a very homogenous editorial class.

But I was never one of these dominant, mega-selling, white males. I was a “mid-list” author, as my first agent told me. But now, anybody that looks and sounds like me, is, in my opinion, wasting their time trying to get past the 20-year-old female, or feminized male, junior acquisition editors and interns. Especially if they write about what I would describe as “traditional America and Americans.”


But along came eBooks and they have given my writing career, such as it is, new life, although not as vibrant and visible as traditionally published books. You CAN publish without waiting five years, but so can everyone else.


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November 30 post: To sum up…

this has been a productive blogging month. And I didn’t have to put in that much extra effort, which is interesting. I haven’t made a post every day, and certainly not a flash/short story each day (and I already knew I wasn’t going to be able to do that anyway) but this will be the 24th post this month, which is quite good. I have written a few short stories, I have started something that may become a larger work, and I wrote a few posts on writing that have become quite popular, at least compared with my usual numbers.

Thanks to all of you who found some of the posts interesting and shared them. I may despise Twitter, but I can’t deny a good chunk of this month’s visitors came from there.

And what’s in store for December? Well, I’ll continue writing small chapters for Project Contact, but perhaps at a slower pace because, honestly, I don’t even have the general layout of the story — I was pretty much improvising as I wrote them. I have a few ideas for other posts about writing too, and I’m going to start a gaming project but that’s something I’m not going to publish here though (not in its entirety anyway.)

I’ll keep myself busy. And if you want to do the same, remember that you don’t have to wait for any magical month, ruleset, or gamified online community to start pounding that keyboard. You can start tomorrow, or right now, if you want.

 

 

November 19 post: some notes on possible sci-fi stories.

For some time I have been playing with the idea of writing my own futuristic fantasy stories. This grew from my disappointment in how the stories from a popular sci-fi franchise are written and, in fact, how space operas in general are written. I’d like them to be a bit harderNot necessarily in the sense of rocket science hard, which is what you may be thinking, but with other plot elements, from warfare, exploration, pacing, economy, the spatial and time span of these stories, the fact that in most you don’t even feel like the vastness of space matters, etc.

Continue reading “November 19 post: some notes on possible sci-fi stories.”

November 4 story: The Dreadful Writer, Part I

This is the full interview with the British-American writer James L. Cunningham. It first appeared on All-Men’s Adventure Magazine in 1935. The original interview was half as long and its most “juicy” aspects had been cut off, probably out of fear of upsetting the moral authorities that back then were keeping a close eye on this kind of magazines. The writer died later that year from cancer, which could explain his strangely forthcoming and open answers. After Monroe Webster, the editor and interviewer, died in 1965, the original interview with lines marking the parts to cut out was found among his papers.


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Terror at 10^6 feet: Twilight, Asimov, and the Simpsons.

 

That’s from the Terror at 5 1/2 Feet, from The Simpsons episode Treehouse of Horror IV. It’s known that that story is based on The Twilights Zone’s Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, although there the gremlin looks a bit different.

PubTThou01.jpg

But I was looking for non-awful sci-fi short stories (pre-decline Hugo short story nominees, to be precise) and came across this old Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine cover. It could be a coincidence, but I wonder if this inspired them to some degree when they designed the gremlin:

asimov gremlins

 

gremlin3

Game of Scoliosis*, manly posture, suits, and other stuff.

*Kyphosis, actually, but that doesn’t sound that funny.

I saw this image yesterday, and I chuckled immediately. It was a reflexive laughter, and it took me awhile to understand what exactly had triggered my reaction.

GoT
That’s from the TV show Game of Thrones, in case you have been living under a rock these last years. Image Sauce: NYTimes

As I said, I laughed when I saw this, even before I had consciously processed what I had seen. A few minutes of heavy thunkin’ later, I realized what was wrong: they look ridiculous while trying to look cool, which is the worst kind of ridiculousness that exists.

Continue reading “Game of Scoliosis*, manly posture, suits, and other stuff.”

“Where does coffee come from?” Asks multinational coffee megacorporation. “Dunno,” it says and shrugs.

There is a type of news or news article that reflect the current zeitgeist so well that they deserve their own analysis.

Coffee industry discusses need to improve diversity, inclusion – The Seattle Times 18.04.2018

Coffee farmers, buyers, roasters, retailers and baristas from around the world are gathering in Seattle this week to show off their wares, compete in the U.S. Coffee Championships and do business.

And nothing goes better with coffee than conversation.

 At an industry symposium on the sidelines of the Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle, talk focused on challenges ranging from climate change and consolidation to the industry’s struggles with equity, diversity and inclusion up and down the supply chain.
[blablabla]
Other speakers pointed to an economic reason to welcome more under-represented minority groups into the coffee business, particularly as the industry looks for its next wave of growth. In the U.S., young, ethnic minorities represent a huge and growing market of would-be specialty coffee drinkers, but they may not see themselves reflected in the industry, said Phyllis Johnson, president of BD Imports.
How should the industry increase coffee consumption among African Americans and other minority groups, Johnson asked. Her answer: “Hire them.”
This article links to an older article: “After arrests, Starbucks is talking race.”
I know most of you reading this are American, so bear with me when I say this is the most American thing I have read in a long time. It combines self-centeredness and lack of geographical knowledge, peak wealthy liberalism, and peak corporativism, all mixed together in an unholy brew of moral superiority and ignorance.

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DISUM 19-04-2018

 

  1. You definitely have a problem, Houston.

Ex-Houston 911 operator guilty of hanging up thousands of callers – CBS News 19.04.2018

A former 911 operator in Houston has been found guilty of hanging up on people calling for emergency services. Jurors on Wednesday found 44-year-old Crenshanda Williams guilty of interference with emergency telephone calls, a misdemeanor.

She was sentenced to 10 days in jail and 18 months of probation.

Prosecutors from the Harris County district attorney’s office say she worked as a 911 operator for a year and a half, ending in 2016. Records showed that thousands of calls lasting less than 20 seconds were attributed to her hanging up. She was fired after a supervisor noticed the unusual number of “short calls,”

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