Archive for February, 2013

Steven Gould Running for SWFA President

This one if for all of my other VP-ers, is case they haven’t heard, or seen it for themselves, yet. I just saw this over at Scalzi’s site:

On July 1, the organization will have a new president. Steven Gould has announced that he is running for the position. This makes me happy, and I fully and unreservedly endorse him for president of SFWA.

I don’t know who else is on the ballot, but I think I speak for most other Viable Paradise alumni that wouldn’t be against seeing Steve “Without a Hat” Gould* as SFWA President.


*Inside joke for VP Alums… For those without the context: Steve Brust, who also teaches at Viable Paradise, was referred to as “Steve with the hat” during the orientation. At least, this was the case during VP 16 when both were present.

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Rollin’… on MVM

I mentioned before that I was late to the Limp Bizkit party. I was aware of a few of their earlier singles, but it was Chocolate Starfish that finally got me on the train (and Results May Vary kept me on a little longer).

This week’s selection was one of the songs (by nature of the beat) that helped hook me on Starfish. Funny thing that I noticed just now was the cameo that Ben Stiller has in the opening moments of the video.

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Something I May Have to Consider…

I have, on the table, an offer to study at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. It is an Unconditional offer (on their end), but the biggest hurdle at the moment (on my end), is the finances: international tuition is, shall we say, not as easy on the wallet. But there are scholarships available (besides just straight financial aid), and being applied for. The outcomes of those applications will play a huge part in whether we move, or not.

(For the record: Plan B for Scotland is already on the table – a good long trip at some point after graduating from the Seton Hill program.)

That being said, should the funding work out, Charles Stross – who lives in Edinburgh, mind – recently posted something that I will have to keep in mind regardless of whichever trip ends up happening: jet lag.

The second type of jet lag, west-to-east, is the real killer… Traveling west-to-east, each time zone you traversesubtracts an hour from your day. Or night. And in the case of trans-Atlantic journeys, this is usually combined with a red-eye flight — for example, departing and 8pm and arriving 6-7 hours later, but 10-12 hours later according to the clock in your destination time zone.

Doing any international traveling soon, but with little prior experience? Check out the full write-up for things to consider.

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A Few Writerly Videos…

(Yes, I am cribbing from their original sources – the writer’s own sites – but I think these are good things, and if nothing else, they are here for me to find later.)

First, a couple of things from John Scalzi… the first, an interview, and the second for the humor of the ensemble.


Then a few things from Neil Gaiman, and his Blackberry sposored project:


(Which, as he indicates here, the stories are currently live. If you like Neil’s work, make sure to download a copy.)

And, as he indicates on his site, for those so interested: if you would like a signed copy of his latest novel (to be released in June) you can preorder here for a limited time.

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Here’s Something Else… from Wendig

One of my fellow SHU people (Hi, Patricia!) shared what I’m about to drop on you on Facebook yesterday, before I had a chance to discover it for myself (and then this morning added a second piece to follow up on the first)… You like hockey? Let me body-check you into the wall with this, the first thing:

Another piece of writing advice from Chuck Wendig. It’s the brash, matter of fact, non-sugar coating that I can appreciate (and is a contributing factor to some of my own writing lessons over the past year).

The goal is not to write a masterpiece. It’s not to sprint. This ain’t NaNoWriMo. The goal is to finish a novel despite a life that seems hell-bent to let you do no such thing. It is you snatching snippets of word count from the air and smooshing them together until they form a cohesive (if not coherent) whole. It assumes a “slow and steady wins the race” approach to this book.

A finished first draft. That is the brass ring, the crown jewels, the Cup of the Dead Hippie God.

I encourage you to go read the full text of the piece (follow the link), but if you’re too link-weary to do that, se the big fat image at the bottom of this (pulled from said linked post above) to get the Cliff’s Notes version…

On the heels of that, though, was this thing that I saw this morning – a spreadsheet. (Mindy Klasky did a series of posts at Magical Words (starting here), which addressed the concepts,  mostly from a business angle – not a raw production angle – but without a downloadable file for an example.) Now… I have not actually played with this thing yet (like I said, just saw it within the hour), but for those that might be interested, there you go. (I’ve heard/read of several other writers doing things like this – at least early on to get into the groove, so it is something I’ve been considering… I’ve just not been that inclined to spend hours figuring out how I wanted to set it up… Priorities, you know?)

(Also, Jamie Raintree [she who created the spreadsheet linked above], has her own section of writerly advice at her site, if you are inclined to explore over there. Just skimming in the brief moments I’ve been composing this, I’m seeing some interesting sounding titles to look at later.)

Right, so here’s that Cliff’s Notes graphic I mentioned a moment ago:

Now, go write something!

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Yet Another Reason Writer’s Should Read Wil…

Wil Wheaton, that is. He’s a geek. He owns it, and anyone that has an inkling of a clue about me knows that somewhere there are all sorts of geek bits in my DNA. But that’s not it. That’s just the tip of the iceberg that led me to seek him out in the early days of the internet, wondering “Whatever happened to…?” That was driven by my interest in both Stand by Me and, of course ST:TNG. I didn’t visit his site regularly in those days. No, that didn’t actually start happening until maybe six years ago.

And here’s why I keep going back, and why I think many of my fellow Seton Hill people or Viable Paradise crew should to (if their not already) – or anyone else, for that matter, that may be into writing. In many ways, many of us are in the same boat in terms of writerly XP – working on that first novel. Sure, he’s got more publishing credits in a variety of forms – but none of them are novel length.

Then he drops little things like this:

I realized that I have all the tools I need to write stories of any length, even if the longer stories are outside of my comfort zone… I know how to write a novella or even a novel, but I’ve been afraid to try it and fail. I’ve spent a lot of time worrying that, at any moment, Carrie’s mom will spring out of the closet, covered in knives and shriek at me, “THEY’RE ALL GOING TO LAUGH AT YOU!!”

Which strikes to the core of something that has been a major thing for me the last few months, a little soul searching and self-appraisal as far as my own writing goes.

I read Wheaton’s blog because in addition to his geek/acting stuff, he is a writer, just as insecure as the rest of us, and still near the start of his own (prose) writing career. And I wish him well.

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Waiting on MVM

This week brings us another of those “radio/video” combinations that it took a while for me to remember. Mumford & Sons seems to be an ensemble right up my alley for a live show. They have more of a folk sound, and from what little I’ve read most of the members are multi-instrumentalists.

This is one of the lead singles from their 2012 album Babel, “I Will Wait.”


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Feasting on Wendingo Flesh…

Which, for those inclined towards writing and don’t know what that means… go here.  So, I’ve made comment before about how I periodically drink some of Chuck Wendig’s writerly Kool-Aid (shut up, it’s Grape, and Grape is awesome!)  I don’t always go hang around his water cooler, but when I do, I usually find something that strikes me (like a shotgun shell against a zombie, or a sucker punch to the gut)… and makes me want to crawl into a corner and weep on my notepads as I scribble word-shaped blobs of ink onto them.

This recent post was no exception, and when combined with my other admission from a recent post, it really did a number on me.

Some posts (like the one I linked to above) can apply to more than just writing, of coursem so I encourage you to check it out. For those writerly inclined among you, though, here’s a taste:

This is the act of forging something out of nothing. It demands sacrifice. It’s you carving off parts of yourself to a future without promises, you spilling power and grief and embracing chaos and uncertainty all in the hopes of trying to make sense of this thing you do in the sheer bloody-minded chance that something you write will finally matter but the trick is, it all matters, because writing is how we connect with ourselves and the world beyond our margins. Writing is how we tether ourselves to god, a god in a narrative world that is, of course, us.

You’re the Muse that inspires you. You’re the god to which you sacrifice. You’re the battering ram made of unholy fire that tears down Writer’s Block. You’re the knife that cuts the arm off, you’re the boulder that must be pulverized, you’re the devil in the details.

*wheeze* Excuse me *cough* while I do some writing.

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Discworld… There’s an App for That!

I’m a few days late on the news, but I found this interesting: there is now, apparently, an app that will let you explore that magnificent jewel on the Disc that is Ankh-Morpork.

For about $14.

I’ve only just read the first book in the last couple of months, so much of the detail would be overwhelming (or, lost, since I wouldn’t have the same points reference as an avid reader). However, I find this to be a fascinating thing.

It’s an interactive map! Huzzah! The gamer part of me is thrilled. The fantasy reader/writer part of me is intrigued. I realize that not all authors, nor all book series/world, would rate enough marketability to warrant similar apps (Harry Potter, likely could. Dresden Files, maybe, but the point is “established audience” would be the key determinant). But the fact that it could be a possibility, that we are in an age where such things can be created – for the fans, that’s just phenomenal.

For those that are big into Discworld, here’s a new thing you can play with. Those just into the possibility of interactive maps (and with an extra $14 to spend), looks like you can get a god fix here, too.

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An Interesting Scrivener Thought…

This one is for my writer people that may not (yet) be regular visitors to Magical Words. Specifically, for those that are Scrivener users.

In case I haven’t mentioned it: I first heard about the software from reading Charles Stross’s blog where he mentioned it a couple of years ago… late 2010. I thought it sounded interesting, a checked out the site, and downloaded it after a laptop upgrade in early 2011. I tinkered with it, but started actively using it for projects in the past year,

One of the things that I did before really jumping in to my Thesis WIP (novel) was spend a little bit of time setting up my own template – which meant using the stock Scrivener design, then adding or altering some of the lables. (Disclaimer: I used David Hewson’s as a guide, but not as gospel.)

Which is why I am sharing today’s post from Magical Words. Mindy Klasky, the post’s author, offers up a screenshot of her Scrivener setup.

And I saw two more things that I hadn’t thought about when I first created my template but, in hindsight, makes a huge amount of sense: Acknowledgements & Plot Summary [or, as I read it: Synopsis].

Which is why I am sharing… Those of you into Scrivener, check out her post and see what you think.

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