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

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Potpourri, Poll's Product, Plus Persuasive Petitioning and Plentiful Possibilities

It's a perfidious ploy to practice parallel patterns of patter play to persuade participation, but people's predilections produce a predictable passion that are proximate to the particular prowess for such pizzaz.  Plus....it's pleasing.

Blogsational!- Lots of blog news--I'll try to keep it as short and sweet as possible and get on to the potpourri.

Broke 9000 pageviews yesterday.  Since I started putting things up on Stumbleupon the 1000's have been coming every few days.  I can't believe how amazingly things are going.  I know it's small potatoes, but I'm up 100% from a month ago and 500% from two months ago.  Y'all take my breath away.

Well, it looks like I'm going to Burning Man!  I've been there ten years running, but the cost seemed prohibitive this year.  Then an angel from on high gifted Supportive Girlfriend and me some tickets, and it looks like we'll be there after all--at least from Thursday through the weekend.  I might be able to figure out how to make the scheduling function work, but what is more likely is that Writing About Writing will take a break for a few days. I'm sure some B.M. themed entries will be showing up both before and after.  If I had LOTS of readers, I would utilize the scheduling feature, but right now my page views are almost entirely dependent on my cross-posts to G+, Facebook, Livejournal, and Stumbleupon, and it would be a shame to have four articles that got no traffic because I wasn't around to pimpify myself.

What is Burning Man?  What a great question!
I shall now write a fifty thousand page article next week as an answer.
Aren't you so glad you asked?

So...here are the results of the poll about structure vs. spontaneity.  Clearly I need to figure out how to distribute bacon through the internet...spontaneously. So while I have accounting try to work bacon-focused R&D back into the W.A.W. budget at only 40 cents a month, I will work on putting up another poll soon.

The worst part:....there wasn't actually even a comment on 8/3's entry. ~sigh~

So even though I vaguely remember something from my Math For Liberal Arts class about sample sizes or standard deviations or something, I'll totally assume that everyone who voted represented an accurate sample.  You can look forward to a LITTLE less structure and a little more Oh My God, Krook Is DEAD!!!  (It'll take some mighty fine nerds to get that one without Google.  Are YOU up for it?)

Really not how I want to come across.
Debbie Downer Time- Every six weeks or so I'm going to tell you guys there's a donation button over on the right, and I'm going to feel REALLY dirty while I'm doing it. But Unsupportive Girlfriend is going to make me get a "real job" if I can't monetize writing, so I'll let you know it's there. It's right above that awesome, and totally-not-photoshopped picture of me and it uses Paypal.  I'm not begging, but it's there if you find yourself with hundred dollar bills pouring out of your pockets and the sudden realization that WAW has provided you countless hours of entertainment, you could make a writer's month with only a dollar or two.  Also, there are lots of ways you can help a writer try this newfangled method of "going for it" that don't involve cash.  You can turn off your ad-block for JUST my blog.  (I'm not asking for clicks, and I could lose my blog if I did. I'm JUST saying you might turn off the adblock.) The ads are for cool things like self-publishing, MFA programs, the latest sci-fi books, and video games.  Of course, sometimes the ads are for Special K....and in Spanish, but crawler bots make mistakes too!  Maybe you see something interesting.  Or...you know....maybe you really like mucho mas K Especial para el desayuno.  Either way...that would help.

You can also help me get out into the blogoverseonetosphere by sharing any articles you might like.  I really like Stumbleupon since it matches interests with surfers in a non-random way and gives me a long slow trickle of hits on my more popular articles.  (You have to sign up, but after that it just takes a click, and it's pretty damned cool if you haven't tried it already.  Seriously.  It's a lot of fun!) But really, any media where you give me a shout out is awesome.  I'm still just getting started here.  Some days I'm still happy to break triple digits, and I average about ten cents per hour of work at the moment, so any signal boost of ANY kind would be awesome, especially if you go back to one of your favorite oldies and give it a shout out or a "like"/"+1"/"stumble".  I don't want to be a total whore about this; I just don't think most people who don't run a blog themselves understand just how much even a single "Like" or "+1"button (or ESPECIALLY sharing) actually DOES make a difference.

Okay, enough of the NPR telethon stuff.  I won't make you go through that for another six weeks or so.   I'll take a quick shower to wash out the stench of sellout from my pores and you guys ponder this next question.

What do you think are the best books in the Speculative Fiction canon?

You can have any definition you want for "best."  Most foundational.  Most literary.  Most popular.  Funniest. Whatever.  I know a thousand of these lists exist online.  I want answers from YOU.

*Please answer here.  A lot of my friends who know me put answers in the places I cross-post like on the G+ thread or Facebook, but it's tough to keep track of them all.  My blog is undiscovered enough to support anonymous comments (until that becomes a problem) so you don't even have to sign up for anything to throw me your opinion.

*Please limit yourself to 5 books.  We can all come up with an endless list of good books.  What's tricky is when we have to think of the really really best ones.  Because then we start to think about why.

*Depending on how much feedback I get I'll make a poll of books I haven't read.  (If I get a lot of feedback it might have to be only the titles that show up in multiple lists or most frequently.)  Anyway, you guys vote on what book I should read.

And I will break out my A game to lit analyze that badboy.  I will analyze the shit out of it.  (Hmmm...maybe that's not the best turn of phrase I could possibly use in that context.)


I'd like to give a shout out to one of my friends who is a professional freelance writer, Shannon Hilson, and her blog The Creative Cat.  This is a really insightful blog about the trials and tribulations of freelance writing--both the highs and the lows.  I've never met her in meatspace but I've virtually known her for going on six years, and she's paid the bills with writing that entire time, so she's a consumate professional to the every definition of the word.  Her blog was an eye-opener to me in a world where writers are dying to whore themselves out for the tiniest exposure.  I highly recommend it to anyone who might be interested in freelance writing or who thinks that writing is writing is writing, especially if you are of the mindset that that if you're doing sales copy or web content, at least you're writing.  Her experience might surprise you.

Book hangover is a problem I've never had.  But I do sometimes take a ten minute after finishing one book but before starting another.  I often eat something savory.  Like chili-cheese fries.

Mmmmmmm.  Chili-cheese fries.

Excuse me just a moment.

Here are the "Walked into a bar" jokes that English nerds REALLY want to see.

50 Creative Ways to Make Your Blog Popular is not particularly creative nor will it make your blog all that popular.  It might make your friends hate you a little bit though.  Seriously, this should have been titled The Same Ten Decent Pieces of Advice that Everyone Has Been Posting Everywhere On the Net And You've Already Read Plus 40 Things I Came Up With in the Five Minutes Before I Started Typing.  (Though that might not fit in the title field.)

Don't worry.  I'm totally not going to cry that this post has been viewed over two hundred thousand times.  I'm NOT!

The tears are from the onions in my chili-cheese fries, okay?

You've totally read this joke before.  But have you read it in handwrity-font with a purple background?
I think not.

If you're going to be prescriptive about grammar, you might as well not half-ass it.  Ryan Gosling won't let you down.

A writer with skill and talent possesses a phenomenal power to articulate with skill and grace what others can't.  As the Chik-Fil-A debacle went viral over Facebook, and people started posting all kinds of articles and memes that were unkind (at best) and usually the worst sort of human demonstrations of how not to be empathetic, two articles by someone both Christian and gay shone like a beacon through all that BS as a demonstration of what kind, compassionate, but also CLEAR writing can do.

The first article about how hurtful it is that people actively support CFA.
The second article about the response he got that Christians don't hate gays.

This is not how life works.
But when someone comes to a gaming convention, and plays in a 1920's LARP wearing a school-girl outfit with a six inch skirt, it's fun to imagine that it might be. 

[Do you want to be featured in potpourri along with a few words from me about how awesome you are?  Do you know a great writing link that I should share? Please send it to me at chris.brecheen@gmail.com, and I will post it along with a shout out singing your praises (unless, of course, you don't want one).  There are four caveats to this.  Please read them before you send me stuff.  If I've posted anything that you feel is "yours" (or "your client's" --eeep!) please just tell me what you would like me to do.  Most everything here that doesn't have an embedding code within its source is some kind of meme, so it would be quite difficult for me to do proper attribution.]


  1. Song of Ice and Fire Game of Thrones if you only want one book.

    Hitchhikers Guide


    Spell For Chameleon

    Fahrenheit 451

  2. I enjoyed Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead.

    1. Thank you sir!!!! You rock beyond the telling of it. I shall name a zombie hunter after you in my coming epic. :-)

    2. If I might add another fruit of the fiction tree. Dune

  3. Seconding Ender's Game and Hitchhiker.

    Also Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Better even than the movie

  4. [I'm cutting and pasting this here from a FB comment since people clearly enjoy spreading out the answers and watching me dance like the pageview whore puppet I am.]

    The hitchhiker's trilogy. Also The Snow Queen and CrashCourse are pretty awesome. I read Ender's Game and the rest of that series, it was alright.

  5. Can I list a series as one of my books? If so, I would go with the *Watch Series, by Sergei Lykyanenko. (They 're beautifully written, I've highlighted passages and posted them online because I love how he constructs language, and how careful the translators are to grasp his idiom and not just his words.)

    The City and The City by China Mieville. (I love Mieville, and I am so in love with this book I can't even say. Really.)

    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell by Susannah Clarke.

    Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig.

    The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. (I love this book so much more than any of his really well known ones.)

    I really had to restrain myself here. There's a dozen books I didn't name (like Abarat by Clive Barker, or Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle.)

    1. Thanks!!! Restraint is what will make these lists pop. If this particular brand of jazz hands is popular, it won't be the last time I do it, so they'll be a chance to add a few more.

  6. "The Stars my Destination" Alfred E. Bester
    "Glory Road" Robert A. Heinlein
    "I, Robot" Issac Asimov
    "Lensmen" series, E.E. "Doc" Smith
    "The Fountains of Paradise" Arthur C. Clarke

    1. Thank you, sir!!! :-D Very interesting picks. Only one I would consider typical for such a list.

    2. Which one is typical? I, Robot?

    3. That's the one you see most commonly on such a list, yes.

    4. I think "I, Robot" is on most such lists because anyone who has written a robot story since then has been influenced by the 3 laws of robotics. Whether to emulate or to ignore, but you cannot deny the influence.

      Have you read "The Stars my Destination"? If not acquire a copy immediately.

  7. Another comment off of FB. This one due to technical difficulty. My vote is the Family Tree by Sheri S Tepper. It blew me away the first time and subsequent readings have been enhanced by knowing the twist.

  8. Gonna put some women here since these lists always become sausagefests.

    Parable of the Sower


    Mists of Avalon

    Wrinkle in Time

    1. I'm so glad someone else put Wrinkle in Time on here for me. ;)

      I also can't believe I entirely omitted Ms. Butler. (I feel like such a terrible feminist geek now. ;) )

    2. "Mists of Avalon" would have made my top ten list. Along with Anne McCaffery's "Dragon" series (although I also loved the "Ship who Sang" books).

      I tend towards the SciFi first and then the Fantasy spectrum in my speculative fiction.

      Although "Glory Road" could be considered a cheat as it straddles both.

  9. The Bible!

    Oh yeah, I went there anonymous.

  10. Dune
    Coldfire Trilogy
    Foreigner series
    Lord of the Rings
    Book of the New Sun

  11. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
    American Gods by Neil Gaiman
    Waifs and Strays by Charles de Lint
    Moonheart by Charles de Lint
    To Reign in Hell by Steven Brust

  12. To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis
    Beauty, Sheri S. Tepper
    Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
    The Princess Bride, William Goldman
    Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

  13. Never Let Me Go

    Brave New World

    Sputnik's Sweetheart

    Big Brother

    Ender's Game

    Falling From Orbit ;)

  14. Name of the Wind, Rothfuss

    Lord of Chaos, Jordan (since I only had 1 slot left)

    The Elephant Vanishes (OR alternately The Wind Up Bird Chronicles)

    Time Enough for Love, Heinlein

    Foundation, Asimov

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