Welcome

My drug of choice is writing--writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Best Modern Fantasy (Quarterfinal 3)

That feeling of secret shame when you
realize that you're rooting for the bad guys
chiefly because this dude looks like
Danny Rand.
What is the best fantasy book or series written in the last 25 years? 

Today was long, hard, double booked, 12 hours at my other two jobs, and involved getting my ass just fucking KICKED by A.D.D., so I'm not going to do much more than tell you that quarterfinal three of our poll is up, and it's up to you to decide which three titles will be joining Harry Potter (obviously) in going on to the semifinals.

Everyone will get three (3) votes. The top four titles will go on to the semifinals.

The poll itself is on the bottom left of the side menus, below the "About the Author."

For mobile users you click on "web page view" and then scroll ALLLLLLLLLL the way to the bottom.

These quarterfinals will only be up for few days each (less than a week) so vote quickly that we can move on without losing momentum.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Best Modern Fantasy (Quarterfinal 2 Results)

The pet sitting double book started today, so it might mess with our update schedule through this weekend. (I'll still get you six posts for this week. I just might need to put that last one or two up over the weekend.)

In any case, here are the results of our most recent quarterfinal poll. The top four names will go on to the semifinals. And the new poll will be up tomorrow. (With a post to follow if I'm on fire but not until Friday if I'm less....on...fire.)

Thank you for the incredible turn out. I hope enthusiasm stays stoked.

Text results below.




Malazan Book of the Fallen series- S. Eriksen 433 35.06%
Small Gods- T. Pratchett 256 20.73%
Song of Ice and Fire- G.R.R. Martin 123 9.96%
Neverwhere- N. Gaiman 116 9.39%
His Dark Materials- P. Pullman 105 8.5%
Mistborne- B. Sanderson 82 6.64%
Farseer Trilogy- R. Hobb 68 5.51%
The First Law trilogy- J. Abercrombie 52 4.21%

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Writing Prompt: Short and Timed

The place I'm currently cat sitting has some pretty gnarly parking laws around it. I can try to find a place a few blocks away or move my car every hour. Today I've been doing the latter and I might keep on for the duration of the trip.

Why? Because I get to have short, timed, focused writing. I come in. I set my keys back down. Maybe have a drink or use the restroom and it's about 45 minutes until I need to move my car again to avoid any hint of impropriety before a zealous meter reader who marked my car the second I walked away cruises back through like a t-rex sniffing the air.

A timed writing exercise is nothing new–you've probably done a thousand of them before, but what often gets overlooked is how useful they can still be to a seasoned writer. It's too easy to look across an "entire day" and push writing back and back and back until it's in this tiny corner. Or to sit down to an "hours long session" and spend the first half of the time futzing on Facebook or playing Gardenscape because those hours stretching out gave you a sense that there was much more time. We tend to question ourselves less under deadline and push ourselves harder. Plus it's easier to put off distractions for "a few minutes" than it is to be good about them all day.

Then suddenly, with your back against the wall, a few minutes worth of work actually gets done. Certainly vet writers have their days where it all just falls into place, but they also have their fits and starts too. Sometimes it's just a lot easier to think about sitting down to write for a half an hour than an afternoon.

That's where timed speed drills come in.

PROMPT:

Use your current work in progress provided it is a first draft. If your WIP is not a first draft, pick something else or start something new. It's important that you not be working on something where you mull over a word choice for several minutes, but rather a piece where you're trying to get it out onto the page. Set a timer for NO longer than 45 minutes. The "sweet spot" will be somewhere where you will feel the pressure and your mind won't wander, but also before you can become overwhelmed and then bored by writing at a heavy pace. Most season writers will be able to do 45 minutes easily–resist the urge to do more. Newer writers may have to do less, but less than ten minutes is probably too short.

Set your timer and begin to write. You don't have to scribble furiously. This isn't necessarily a free write (where the "pencil must keep moving") but you do have to keep writing. No checking other tabs or doing anything else for that 45 minutes. When you're done you can do whatever you want: Facebook, check your phone, research, "research," but for now just keep making words.

Bonus points:

  • Depending on how fast you write, you can make this prompt extra intense by giving yourself an ambitious word count but don't make it so high that you're flinging words like a free write. The trick here is to get yourself writing at a clip you usually only do under pressure, not necessarily to just fling spaghetti at the wall.
  • Take a break and do another timed exercise in a few minutes. See if you can have a truly spectacular session in timed chunks with definite breaks instead of one overwhelming glob.
  • Play around with how long you can write before you start wasting time. Find out what your own sweet spot is.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Best Modern Fantasy (Last Call for Votes)

What is the best fantasy book or series written in the last 25 years?  

My hope is to futz with the usual update schedule this week and ratchet up the intensity of posts as the week progresses (and as time becomes more accessible), I'm double booked on pet sitting* and my nanny hours are higher than normal this week, but there should be time after tomorrow night to do some heavier posts that'll land at the end of the week.

*I know. I know. I said I wouldn't. I have already turned down some jobs that would double book me. This happened to be an emergency for a friend.


There are only a couple of days left for our second semifinal for best fantasy book or series written in the last 25 years. On Wednesday the results will go up (and later that day, the next semifinal round). I don't want this poll to go on for months more, so the quarterfinal rounds are going to be quick.

Don't forget you get three (3) votes, but that there is no ranking, so using as few votes as possible is better.

The poll itself is in the lower left at the bottom of the side menus.

I'm told if you're on mobile you have to click "webpage view" then scroll alllllllllll the way to the bottom, you can find the poll.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Renown Margin

[Note: Everything in brackets will disappear in a few weeks.

I'm trying to come up with little posts I can write while the smoke is still blowing down here from the north bay. As bad as the air quality is, I am still very fortunate. I can ameliorate the worst of the coughing and sore throat by staying inside (which isn't my favorite, but dry hacking is worse than being cooped up), but my eyes are also burning and I can't read or write for very long without getting a headache.

Today I thought I'd put together the menu for my latest "segment" here at writing about writing.]


I am not famous.

But I do have a following that is growing, a public persona that some people recognize, I run into strangers who know who I am, and have attracted enough attention that not every interaction is free of awkwardness and sometimes discomfort. Millions of people have read my work, and at the edges of my pedestrian perception of the world the edges have begun to crinkle toward something

This blog was always meant to be educational on the surface and the meta level, both in being writing about writing as well as a real-time disclosure of what I find that works (listicles like woah), what I find doesn't (posting college essays), and what deals are strangely Faustian (hello Facebook). You see the excruciating glacial progress. No overnight success stories here. If I start to carve out something, you will see how it took me years of writing every day to get there. You will watch me improve from old articles to new. You will see my career as it happens.

And now the first glimmers of something like fame are included in that career. So here are the articles about that.

Intro
Groupie Threesome Jokes and other Problematica (Mailbox)