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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Best Modern Fantasy (Round Three)

I'm back!

I have internet! And best of all I have it without having a sixteen hour schedule of pet care that involves four hours of driving each day. (It's really the little things.)

I do have some running around to do today, in service to the eldritch gods with whom I've made a pact about finishing my novel before it's even later than late, but nothing like these last few days. Here are the results of the latest Modern Fantasy round. The top four will move on and the bottom four are culled.

And if you'll forgive me a personal quick, single tear for A Dirty Job:  "You were up against giants, my friend. But it doesn't make you not good."

The next round of this poll will go up tomorrow...along with one of these half-dozen posts I've got mostly drafted.

Text version below
The Dresden Files- J. Butcher 84 36.52%
The Kingkiller Chronicle- P. Rothfuss 47 20.43%
Mistborne- B. Sanderson 44 19.13%
The Magicians- L. Grossman 22 9.57%
The First Law Trilogy- J. Abercrombie 20 8.7%
Hounded- K. Hearne 7 3.04%
A Dirty Job- C. Moore 5 2.17%
 Dawn of Wonder: The Wakening- J. Renshaw 1 0.43%

Friday, August 18, 2017

Reminder

I'm still down wifi (and probably will be in any meaningful way until Tuesday).  I'm working to bring you what I can write in word and then copy paste into the Blogger text field at an internet cafe or McDonalds in the limited time I can be away from doggo, but it'll be Tuesday before we're back on track.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Best Modern Fantasy (Round 3)

What is the best fantasy written in the last 25 years?  

Remember, we're just narrowing down the field here. These titles are not the whole poll, and in fact if you have voted on every round so far, you've probably seen less than half the titles. This isn't even the quarterfinal round yet. We just need to cull a few titles off the lists. So if you don't see someone you're sure should be on here, they're probably in another part of the poll. Keep checking back and they'll turn up.

There have SO many nominations for Best Modern Fantasy that we are going to have to do a round before quarter finals.  So in order for this not to drag on for months, I'll be running these early rounds for only THREE DAYS EACH.

I want to clear up a mistake I made on the last poll. I wrote 25 years on the nomination post and then thought I had said 15 when I wrote the latest culling round. So Harry Potter and Song of Ice and Fire are back on for the quarterfinals, and I'll try not to make that mistake again. My brain is not the best place for numbers on a good day.

I also want to remind everyone that I'm currently on a job with a dog I can't really leave alone for very long and a spotty internet where I don't even get cell phone signal, so I'm doing the best I can to get some content offerings sacrificed to The God of Pageviews™ but it'll be Tuesday before I can reliably post. I start doubling up at another job WITH internet on Friday, but there's going to be a lot of back and forthing. I should have some posts ready to cut and paste though. 

Back to the poll:  There is no way to "rank" votes, so use as few as you can bare.

The poll itself is at the bottom left, under the "About The Author." 

Note: If you see a title that is "breaking the rules" (older than 25 years) please let me know. I did not have time to cross check all of them. 

Don't choose poorly.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Reminder: Unwillingly Offline (Meta)

Reminder:

I am currently on a job that has limited internet access. Most of what I am doing online comes from when I walk the dog far enough down the hill to get some cell phone signal, but my phone doesn't work well for writing whole blog articles. I'm getting some writing done on my novel, outlining a bunch of articles for next week, and trying to prep the polls with things I can just cut and paste quickly when I am in town long enough to stop and whip out my laptop. (I might get a listicle in there too if I can get the whole thing written in a word document!) However, for the most part, I'm stuck doing what I can and when I can and our regularly scheduled content has been interrupted.

I'm doing the best I can, and the best thing I can say for all of this is that the writing continues apace, I just can't get it uploaded. So next week, starting Tuesday when this job is over, should be a cornucopia.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Best Modern Fantasy (Round 2 Results)

The latest results in our ongoing effort to pull enough titles out of the running to get a proper poll has its next set of results. The top four titles will be going on to the quarterfinal round. HOWEVER....it seems that someone slipped in a disqualified title (much like Harry Potter in the last round). The Song of Ice and Fire is awesome, and Martin is still writing, but the first book (Game of Thrones) is older than 15 years. So it is the NK Jemison Trilogy that will be going on.

Edit: My original nominations call said 25 years (not 15), so a couple of titles are back on the menu.  :)

Text version below.

The next group of titles I'll be trying to weed out will be up tomorrow. Stay tuned!

American Gods- N. Gaiman 64 35.36%
A Song of Ice and Fire- GRR Martin 36 19.89%
Small Gods- T. Pratchett 33 18.23%
Stormlight Chronicles- B. Sanderson 23 12.71%
The Inheritance Trilogy- N.K. Jemison 10 5.52%
The Riyria Revelations- M. J. Sullivan. 6 3.31%
Garden of the Moon- S. Erikson 5 2.76%
The Iron Druid Chronicles- Kevin Hearne 4 2.21%

Meta Update

So here's the current situation:

I'm about to head over to Ikea and purchase a number of their sturdy, but inexpensive tables. (They're called Lack if you're curious and they're only about $8. Which is good when, like me, you're on a budget.)  So what I was going to do is purchase a number of Lack's–right now I'm thinking maybe as many as ten or fifteen. I may have to make a number of trips because I'm currently only driving a little Prius C, and it will be limited to four or five per trip.

It'll probably take me a couple of hours to get them all built. They're not as tough as some of the stuff (the chest of drawers I built looked like I was assembling an orbital laser), but they'll still take me a bit per table.

I'm going to set them up next to each other. I haven't decided if I'd rather do a row or more like a circle around myself. I'm still sort of gnawing at the details there.

And then I'm going to flip them. Every goddamned one. Because right now is so table-flippingly annoying, oh my fucking god! There aren't enough tables here. I'm not sure there will be enough at Ikea.

Flip all the mother fucking tables.


I'm typing furiously in the parking lot of a McDonald's and pretending that I don't see the manager giving me the hairy eyeball every time he comes through the parking lot because he knows EXACTLY what I'm doing and I haven't ordered so much as a cup of coffee.

Internet at the place I'm pet sitting has gone out as of last night around 8pm.  Normally I would just take it as a sign from the universe that it's time to focus a lot more on my writing and use my phone as a hotspot when I have something to post. However, this particular job is one of those swanky houses with a pool and a view that is way up on a hill, so my phone doesn't really get signal there.

Can you hear me now?  No. No I can't.

So normally in THAT situation, I would just make sure all the animals are okay for a few hours and head out to the library for a solid writing shift. After all, I'm pretty clear that pet sitting is not 24 hour supervision (unless that is actually the service paid for) and I have other jobs/plans that I'll be doing during a typical gig. However, the dog I'm watching this week is pretty high maintenance. I don't want to leave her (or put her in a crate) for that long.

So I'm kind of off the grid for a bit–except maybe if/when I can steal away for an hour or so.

What that will mean for blogging depends on how this week unfolds. I may be able to just pop down the hill to the library once a day for a short visit, post something I've already written in a word document, and you'll hardly even know how annoying of a time I'm having up here. But it also might mean that I miss a post or three this week and then have some EXTREMELY awesome posts when I get back to wifiland. The content will be the same either way (and is still ramping up from the summer school schedule). The schedule just might be a little messed up.

I feel like fucking Doctor Claw. Next week will be awesome, Gadget! NEXT TIME!



I haven't seen Mr. Manager for a hot minute, so I'm going to attach a cheap and easy didactic lesson to this moment. A lot of writers hit a speed bump and say "WELP. Can't write today!"

The thing I hear most from writers who I admire and love and read and want to be like is that when something goes wrong, it's annoying, and maybe even makes for a good story, and might slow them down or fuck up the blog post for that day or something, but they keep writing. Even if they have to use pen and paper by candlelight, there's just something about that process of amalgamating images and emotions into words that they look for any way to Macgyver a solution instead of reasons they can't.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Best Modern Fantasy (Round 2)

What is the best fantasy written in the last 15 years?  

Remember, we're just narrowing down the field here. This isn't the whole poll. This isn't even the quarterfinal round yet. We just need to cull a few titles off the lists. So if you don't see someone you're sure should be on here, they're probably in another part of the poll. Keep checking back and they'll turn up.

There have SO many nominations for Best Modern Fantasy that we are going to have to do a round before quarter finals.  So in order for this not to drag on for months, I'll be running these early rounds for only THREE DAYS EACH.

This post will be it for today since yesterday's post not only took about six hours to write, but then about five hours of comment moderation to keep from getting trolled by people who thought the post was a paint by numbers instruction manual or a place for performative satire. Hopefully tomorrow

Me: Wouldn't it be a great example of irony if a bunch of SQiD's showed up on my post and did exactly what the article described.

The Internet's Millions:



Back to the poll: there is no way to "rank" votes, so use as few as you can bare.

The poll itself is at the bottom left, under the "About The Author." 

Note: If you see a title that is "breaking the rules" (older than 15 years) please let me know. I did not have time to cross check all of them. We have already had a series (Harry Potter) get disqualified.

Don't choose poorly.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Best Modern Fantasy (First Round Results)

Not much fanfare here since it's 9pm and I spent five hours on today's post and a couple more watching the comments on FB to keep the trolls (and ironically, no insignificant number of SQiDs) at bay.

You'll see the top four in the quarterfinal rounds once we cull the massive number of remaining titles down to four manageable lists.

To the others, give a hearty wave.

We'll get a new round up tomorrow.

Text version below.

Harry Potter- J.K. Rowling 110 48.03%
Night Watch- T. Pratchett 50 21.83%
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell- S. Clarke 19 8.3%
The First Law Trilogy- J. Abercrombie 18 7.86%
Keys to the Kingdom- G. Nix 11 4.8%
Lightbringer Series - Brent Weeks 10 4.37%
Age of the Five Series - T. Canavan 6 2.62%
The Powder Mage Trilogy- B. McClellan 5 2.18%

Social Justice Bard and The Status Quo Defenders ("SQiDs")

CN: Mention of rape.

Let me begin with two stories of things I've seen in only the last 36 hours....


The first you've probably seen happening yourselves. A Google employee wrote a manifesto that women are biologically less well-suited to be engineers and that diversity practices designed to combat discrimination based on gender and bring gender parity to 50/50 were the brainchild mostly of leftist authoritarianism.

This instantly made national news from blogs galore to National Public Radio debate forums. This is important as it was not laughed at, tossed aside, completely ignored, or considered to be the inconsequential self-absorbed ravings of an irrational person with a biased axe to grind.

It was all bullshit of course, and took mere hours to be debunked not only by other engineers, but even within academia (an institution that can't debunk a cheese sandwich inside a month). This was partially because it had all been debunked the week before.

And the month before that.

And the year before that.

And the decade before THAT.

And basically every time some dude opens up his mouth and tries to reverse engineer a biological reason for the rampant sexism in their world (from Sam Harris's ludicrous "estrogen vibe" to the popular "girls are bad at math," to The Bell Curve, all the way to the new claim that women are just more neurotic and less able to handle stress) they are pulling the same familiar song and dance, that has never been exactly true and has always been misappropriated as an excuse for discrimination.

It's not that these people haven't stumbled upon some sort of fact or another or some study or something that might be TRUE (testosterone in prefrontal cortexes or whatever the fuck), but rather it is that unswervingly the paradigm into which they immediately attempt to plug and play this new data–that it makes SENSE to look around and see sexism on display–is always the central conceit of each new round of bullshit. That whatever men tend to do (or not do) more, that is A) always and unquestioningly the objectively better way to accomplish every desirable outcome even though it is men who define success, B) not usefully supplemented by any other approaches that might be what women, femmes, or even gender variant folks "tend to be better at," and C) absolute biologically destiny–no matter how minor the results are, how little the disparity matters compared with other X factors, or how difficult they might be to untangle from culture.

Each round then becomes a variation on the theme: "Aha! I was right to be sexist all along!"

And while the battle lines were drawn immediately as one can imagine, with sexist MRA's and the so called "alt right" immediately falling to the ground like men's soccer players over the writer's "freeze peach" (because no one should ever get fired for saying outright that one class of people are inferior and there OUGHT TO BE a gender gap since women are naturally neurotic), and then proceeded to publish details of Google employees who decried the letter (all trans folks, women, or people of color) even knowing exactly what the online response would be.

However, there was also a secondary outcry (mostly from men) that we examine the ten page document with great intellectual rigor for its 9 1/2 pages of less offensive claims, apply maximum nuance to its suggestion that reverse discrimination is objectively bad, assign nothing but immaculate faith (better than good faith) to its author, trust the author when he assures us he's not about gender stereotypes (right before he drops the mother of gender stereotypes), completely ignore the broader context of a company with a real gender diversity problem in an industry that is famously hostile to women, listen closely and carefully to the scientific explanations, reignite the dialogue about biological determinism, and closely entertain, discuss, examine, and debate this topic."

Oh and, of course, they also ignore anyone who points out the sexism. Anyone (usually women for some unknown reason) who read the slightest sexism into it, are just, quite simply, wrong and they are reading it wrong, and they need to have someone who understands its real meaning inform them of how just wrong they are and just how much this idea needs to be discussed. This includes shutting down anyone who does a point by point takedown (without actual counterpoints, of course). Because anyone who continues to read it "wrong," after they have magnanimously elucidated the proper way to read it, needs to work on listening to them and build a bridge to their interpretation.

(Irony is not high among the list of things these folks notice.)

As if this were a new and fresh and exciting idea that it was just wrong to dismiss out of hand.

As if he had floated some invigorating, ultramodern concept heretofore unentertained, particularly within tech industries.

As if he were an exciting firebrand, floating a notion no one had ever encountered before and for which the "Athenians" would make him "eat hemlock.

As if men using vague ideas of biological difference to justify misogyny and discrimination is a new and edgy discourse that no one has ever thought of before and which really needs to be given room to breathe.
"Ug get brandy and monocle.
Have debate why men better at build fire."

The second story is a bit more personal, but even if you're not aware of it exactly, you've probably seen it play out a thousand times.

On a social justice themed FB page, there was a screencap of a tumblr post about portrayals of rape in modern media. A robust discussion ensued. And when I say "robust" and "discussion" please understand the scare quotes around both words. Generally women took to the thread to explain that they sure would love a little less rape-as-backstory, and a lot less rape happening "on camera" within modern media, and to try to draw a parallel between the reaction to the character whose sexual assault was "heavily implied," the outright demand that it MUST be actively portrayed to "count" with those of the prevailing attitudes in our society that people don't believe women who say they've been raped. ("We must have more than heavy implication," the men said, "if this man is to be deemed a 'bad person'.") Generally the men were explaining that realism, "showing, not telling," and emotional gravitas required this rape to be portrayed rather than implied.  And of course that we couldn't know the guy was a bad guy if there was only ever heavy implication.

First it was one guy. Comment after comment rolled in from women and he replied. Not to one or two. Not five. Not Ten. But fifteen comments. Then twenty. Then thirty. Hours went by and he just kept going. Each comment a carbon copy of the last, almost a dead repetition of his original reply ("Rape MUST be portrayed for emotional impact!"). He was the online paragon of the guy in your contemporary lit class who won't stop talking over all the other students but who keeps saying the same thing over and over about why THEIR take is right and every other is wrong. Thread after thread where he had to have the last word and kept going no matter how many more voices chimed in, even with new and interesting perspectives. Hours of him simply hitting reply with a resilience and tenacity that would have impressed Hercules.

Then another guy joined him, meticulously going through dozens, perhaps hundreds, of comments to explain why our current depictions of rape are exactly what is required by fiction and in no way a reflection of our culture.

Then another showed up. Sometimes they would tag team a thread, but often the second showed up where the first had not. Again, it was not a matter of expressing an opinion on the idea in general and moving on. Every single new person who came in on that thread was contradicted separately–and pretty much by the same exact argument.

Between the three of them, there was almost nowhere, in dozens or perhaps even hundreds of sub-threads, where their argument went unrepresented. Each newcomer was argued down with a replica (not exact, but a variation on a theme) of the last. And while there were a few people who gave their opinion and moved on (and a couple who left screeds like "sexism isn't real" but then also moved on) the impression that there was a balanced debate going on was almost entirely driven by these three guys indomitable vigor in replying endlessly to comment after comment after comment.

It didn't have to be those three guys. It could have been any three guys. Any three who would ceaselessly, tirelessly, unswervingly continue to basically auto-duplicate endless variants of the status quo party line to any newcomer who dared to enter the conversation with a contrary opinion.

These types of guys are so clichéd because their arguments are identical. Their scripts are identical. Sometimes their actual word choice is even the same.

And the thing of it is, these arguments are so interchangeable... SO predictable.... SO unoriginal... SO common... SO basic.... that they were actually wholly unnecessary to articulate (even once, never mind hundreds of times). These men weren't exposing all these commenters to their fresh and innovative thinking. They weren't producing unique or original thought. They weren't blowing anyone's mind. It was the same old bloviation as always. Any one of those women would probably have been able to articulate their argument at least as well as they did (if not better). Any one of them probably had a hundred conversations just like it.

These men weren't even actually edgy (though they would certainly have vociferously argued that they were indeed the bleedingest of edgy). They were arguing, literally, that nothing should be changed and we should keep doing things the exact way that we do them right now with absolutely no alteration.

They were literally (and ceaselessly) defending the status quo.

"Not today, Satan!" say they.


Conventional wisdom in social movements is that something called emotional labor is seldom done by those with privilege (particularly men).

These folks (usually men) demand to be educated. They refuse to empathize. They won't even bother to understand the basic vocabulary surrounding a concept before trampling in with their opinions. They don't process their feelings. They make little effort to be nurturing and excuse it with "women are better at this stuff." They seek validation but do not put as much energy into giving it. They do not develop the emotional literacy to express, or even handle, and particularly to take responsibility for their emotions. They don't learn to be vulnerable and instead distill every emotion into anger.

Emotional labor?
Is that like when I scream and sweat as I'm pumping out hot lead?

And this is true.

Certainly also there are plenty of dudes who will spend six hours online researching PvP shadow priest builds and spell rotation so they don't get called a "n00b" in battlegrounds, who will suddenly, inexplicably lose all ability to work the Google when it comes to the core concepts of social equality, the "meaning of feminism," the sources that confirm the wage gap, violence statistics for groups pushed to the margins of society, the concept of privilege, how microaggressions work, or even (ironically) emotional labor. There are those who expect that conversations about lifelong inequality must always center their feelings and never dare to imply that any impact is anywhere near as important as intent, which must never be impugned. There are those who expect any conversation about their odious behavior to be diplomatic enough that they never actually have to sit with uncomfortable feelings.

And this is also true.

But the idea that they do no emotional labor seems to have a hitch. 

Because they are the vicegerents of tirelessly replying. They ceaselessly roam about, entering any space they aren't physically barred from and rarely fail to find the time and energy to play devil's advocate, demand nuance, provide a one-size-fits-all approach to metonymy that they have heard about slurs (while simultaneously being rather forgiving of actual slurs). They are the ones who will reply to a thread for hours without giving up and who always "just have to" point something out. If you disagree, you must not have understood, so naturally they are willing to explain again why you are wrong. And if you disagree again, they will explain again....and again....and again....

These are the people who, with indefatigable tenacity, call out any progress and "reset" the conversation to some halcyon moment of equality (always "about ten years ago") in which equality was achieved and "you can't prove otherwise." Like creationists insisting with each new debate that the central tenets of evolution are unproven and must be defended afresh, they demand the conversation return to square one and that square is that all things are equal and fair and the burden of proof is to demonstrate otherwise. Even inequality itself must first be demonstrated.

And they are the people who do every step of dance of "proof" with inexhaustible precision. Demand they educate themselves, and they can call out just wanting to learn in good faith. Provide them the education and they question its veracity. Provide the integrity of the education with proof and they wonder about the source. Demonstrate the source validity, and they become experts in the methodology of proving a claim and demand physics-level experimental rigor. And if you somehow get through all of this and their defenses begin to crack, THEN...they often must away. They finally have something they must do. Finally an engagement is pressing. However, when they return, the dance will have reset, and all the steps must be done anew. They are unrelenting and feel no fatigue.

These are the people who dig through the internet with dogged persistence to quote mine a Tu-Quoque argument or focus on some imperfect moment they can use against anyone who makes a point they don't want to hear or whose basic human dignity might challenge the status quo. (The race to excuse extrajudicial executions with a suspect's risque selfies, for example.) Thus they can limit those who they arbitrate are deemed qualified to complain only to saints.

These are the people who tenaciously show up to accuse victims of faking their own lived experience or only looking for things to complain about. These are the people who walk past a thousand travesties of the criminal justice system to appear like clockwork and demand all about them adhere to the founding principles of "justice" in the form of jury-level skepticism. Who liken every criticism to thought police. Who dismiss criticism as the tumblr addled rantings of professional victims, but then go ten rounds extolling the virtue of building bridges to those with openly bigoted viewpoints. Who will demand academic rigor in order to accept a claim, but turn around and find academic studies laughably out of touch of the real world. Who will (but only when the status quo has hurt someone) tirelessly demand everyone wait endlessly for "all the facts" before forming judgement.....until such time as that can reasonably become "get over it." Who "Not ALL men" any negative generalization about cishet white men (but are strangely okay with both good generalizations and the ones done towards other classes of people). Who will bloviate endlessly on using derailing techniques from fallacies of relative privation to bringing up that men suffer too when a conversation is not about them to endlessly reasserting their purview to be the arbiters of what "counts" as bigotry, marginalization, discrimination, even though they've never experienced any of it. Who weaponize white male (and cishet) mediocrity as an ideal that all others must aspire to. Who are unrelenting in their stop energy. Who ignore people's boundaries or attempts to disengage (a practice called sea-lioning) and continue the argument. Who find no overall point made with humor or anger too clear not to dive in with a "Well actually..." or a "To be fair" on their lips or tips of their fingers. Who construct longer and longer replies that require more and more time and energy to unpack. Who meet points not with good arguments or undeniable facts but rather simply with MORE--more time, more energy, more words, more replies, more comments....

And who never ever ever ever stop for a moment from dissecting and policing the tone of any piece--no matter if they are the intended audience (or not) or the piece is intended to be angry or funny. They promise that social justice would essentially already BE here if only people would word things more to their liking. Most use vastly more energy to perpetually inform authors of EVERYTHING–everything from blogs to FB comments to Tweets–that they would surely listen if the case were just made in a nicer/more respectful/less angry/less insulting way. Most use far more energy getting people to match their ideal tone (which bears a striking resemblance to dead silence) then they ever do engaging the idea.

And slowly but surely these people, by simply outlasting and outspending emotional labor, they exhaust everyone. They exhaust who engage them in good faith. They exhaust those who try to educate them. They exhaust those who try to give them perspective other than their own. They exhaust those who painstakingly disprove the assumptions by which they are operating. The exhaust the academics and the laymen. They exhaust the people they claim to care about. They exhaust....everyone. The message is clear: the price, should the status quo be challenged in any way, will be unswerving, unrelenting attrition. And when those they work so hard to silence succumb to fatigue, they take a victory lap.

And of course if at any point during any of these inevitable, predictable, uninspired gambits anyone should become exasperated, angry, frustrated, emotional in any way (even if it's having to deal with the same argument for the thousandth time), or restrict their access to go right on tirelessly expressing their opinion ad nauseum, they declare their victory by virtue of superior rationality.

These people don't do no emotional labor. They do tons of emotional labor. They practically do ENDLESS amounts of emotional labor. They show up with North Starian predictability almost everywhere. They rant on endlessly. There are a million more to take their place should one fall. While they have the "home court advantage" few groups are willing, with such predictable tenacity, to kick open more doors, slog into more battles, and take on more opponents in their resolute intransigence. They are constantly doing vast, unceasing amounts of emotional labor.

It is just emotional labor done with the aim of maintaining the status quo.



Toy Available Here
Often these fighters for "The Way Things Have Always Been Done™" are called Status Quo Warriors in the world that has gleefully adopted the label "Social Justice Warrior" as not only a shitty insult, but a pretty cool thing to be called, actually. However, personally I prefer and for purposes of my bardic yarns, I shall use something a little different for these stalwart, untiring defenders against the agents of social progress:

"Status Quo Defenders"

I personally like this since A) they don't really "fight" for anything, but rather run an endless gambet of pre-programmed defenses intended to win based on attrition and causing their opponents to eventually give up. And B) I get to call them "squiddies" like the nickname for Sentinels in The Matrix, and imagine them as having sensitive radar dishes that can hear the slightest breath of social criticism and "snap" towards the any detection of progressive thought around them (like "maybe rape shouldn't be such a common plot device"). Then here come the SQiDs

"Squiddies sweeping in quick."

"A squiddie?"

"A sentinel. A killing machine designed for one thing."

"Search and destroy."

A mention of women's issues on a thread in G sector.
Let's get over there right away.
You two "What about the menz?" and we'll demand proof it's even really an issue. 

Plus you have to love the metaphor of those tiny little hands constantly grasping for anything they can get their little fingers on and lasers eager to tear apart any resistance they find to those who dare to break their rules. The only way to deal with them is to shut them down completely (with an EMP) or be so quiet they never notice you in the first place. All identical. All relatively mindless beyond their programming. All imagine they are rational, and eschew emotion, but have mistaken their programmed violence as perfectly objective. All completely indistinguishable from one another. And all serve a fucked up system that doesn't want people waking up lest it lose the ability to suck the energy out of them without so much as a complaint.

Sounds about right.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Rereading and Other Wheel Spins (Personal Update)

Raw unfettered shit- 82,098 

Slightly polished turd-80,042 

Superpolishedfragileshitstick- 44,754   

I'm currently cooking up some "real" articles (you know....the kind that end up in The Reliquary and get trotted out when I'm doing "reruns" on my Facebook page). These updates include, but are not limited to, a mailbox and a listicle about dillholes who show up every time I post a certain kind of macro (on that same FB page).

In the meantime though, I thought I would bring you up to speed on personal updates and the matter of the resurgence of the novel.

Let me TL;DR something quickly here before anyone worries. I'm fine and I've consulted with a physician. But I had a bit of a scare this weekend regarding sleepwalking, and it kind of ate my weekend whole. I'm holding back the details right now, but one day it's going to make a hell of a story.

Problem being, I was REALLY looking forward to catching up on my writing this weekend, and now I have that feeling like I'm spinning my wheels a little and by telling you all this great shit that's totally coming my fingers are writing checks my.....uh....also fingers can't cash.

They really are coming though. I would pinkie swear, but I think these digits have some promises to keep before they make any more.

I've also learned a valuable lesson (for me).  Doubling up on pet sitting, where I'm staying at one place and running back and forth to another, kind of defeats the purpose of how well pet sitting works with writing as a side gig. I mean sometimes the only way you can get a ten day gig is with a little overlap, but I have a sense now of the toll it will take on my writing to do all that running around on top of writing and my nanny gig.

On to the writing:  I get a semi-regular question about how to restart something that has been put on the back burner. It's not a good idea to do that. And most writers emphasize pretty heavily that you want to finish your shit, but sometimes life happens, and we all have that story that went fallow but we really want to get back to.

But you can come back to the world  of your story and find characters stiff, and conflicts unpliable. Everything feels unfamiliar, like returning to an old neighborhood and finding strip malls instead of empty lots and nothing quite where you left it.

Getting back into your story is a lot like trying to work clay: it's going to take some playing with it before it starts to become manageable and you can really get it to start doing what you want again.

The easiest way (and ironically most oft overlooked) to re-enter one's story is to read it. Start at the beginning and just start reading. But resist the urge to revise and edit. Just go through it once and try to get back into that lost mindset. Find all those loose threads you've forgotten you forgot. Your goal isn't to establish a whole new mindset, but try as closely as possible to remember where you were. (Not that you won't change everything; but it will seem less daunting if you don't feel like the entire story is a total wash.)  The second time through, you can start taking notes of things to maybe adjust.

So that is actually exactly where I am today. Yesterday I reread my story and held my quivering hand back from all the revisions it wanted to make like I was Ash in Evil Dead, and today I'm going through it and taking some notes. I'm probably still not going to bury myself in too much revision because the main direction this project needs to go is FORWARD, but now that I've got the groove back that I was in, I have a better sense of what I'd like to change....that isn't just "OMFG EVERYTHING."

I'm happy to report all the plot points appear to be mostly where I left them and after peeing on my suitcase in protest, the characters seem to have mostly warmed up to my renewed affections.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Best Modern Fantasy (First Round)

What is the best fantasy written in the last 15 years? 

We have SO many nominations for Best Modern Fantasy that we are going to have to do a round before quarter finals.  So in order for this not to drag on for months, I'll be running these early rounds for only THREE DAYS EACH.

That's it. Three days. No more. No less. Three shalt be the number of the days, and the number of the days shall be three. Four shalt not be the days, nor either count of two, excepting that thou then proceed to three days. Five is right out.

That means you have three days (not as thou previously establishethed four or five) to pick which of these eight titles will go on to our final round. Everyone will get three (3) choices–not two or four–and the top four winners will be back for the quarterfinals.

There is no way to "rank" votes, so use as few as you can bare.

The poll itself is at the bottom left, under the "About The Author." 

Note: If you see a title that is "breaking the rules" (older than 15 years) please let me know. I did not have time to cross check all of them.

Don't choose poorly.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Coming Soon

The next few days I'm going to do an admin weekend to dig out my inbox of your guest posts and mailbox questions in anticipation of the "some serious shit" that you are totally about to see* when this blog reaches eighty eight miles per hour.

*If my calculations are correct.

Thus, the only thing going up before Monday is (tomorrow) the long awaited first quarterfinal of our best modern fantasy poll. Even though that list looks a little bit like it might include every single modern fantasy book written in the last fifteen years.

So this is your last chance to get in on any nominations or seconds before that poll goes live. I stare without mercy at the comments after the poll has begun that say "This poll doesn't have [X] title on it, and I am horrified by the glaring omission of what is clearly the best of this category." Such pleas do not move me. For I am stone.

But here's what else you can start looking forward to as I catch up, get ahead, and the new schedule starts really kicking in:


  • A fully updated update schedule. (No more Wednesdays off. And probably no more major posts on the weekends. Because a lot of that was just about how tired I was by Tuesday night....)
  • The return of the "brunch post." There's no WAY I'm going to get through all this backlog of "best of" posts, plot posts, and business-ish posts, all while running a poll that went into quarter finals and also post new content without occasionally posting twice a day.
  • Series posts. (Through sick loved ones, terrible breakups, moving out, overwhelming schedules, and toddlers, I've never forgotten my unfinished Skyrim post or my other half completed series.
  • Vlogging! (I meant to do one during summer school, but they really do take almost as much energy as a written entry, and there just wasn't time for it.) I've got this one about hearing the wrong part of the story.....
  • Product Reviews! There are a lot of newer books about writing I'll have to pick up to review, but I still have dozens on my shelf as well. Look for Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott in August. And I'm open to suggestions for September.
  • A higher ratio of content-heavy posts. Or less jazz hands--depending on how you look at it.
  • A four-years-in-the-making resolution to the events of Season 2. 
  • Return of the Revision. Once upon a time I was able to revise one of my older posts each week. It might have to be every OTHER week (rotating out with another kind of post) but it will be back.
  • Guest Bloggers (of the not "really real" kind)
  • Social Justice Bard. I've been holding back.
  • MOAR MAILBOXES  Not only are we going to get back into the weekly habit of answering mailboxes, I'm going to try to do two every week. Cause I'm that masochistic.
  • Craft. Given the blog's name, I should probably do some writing about writing at some point. Maybe.
  • Fiction Not only am I working on my book, but occasionally I twiddle out something shorter that'll end up here. Very time intensive stuff though and it needs a lot of revision before it's ready.
  • And of course for the generous folks on my Patreon who are helping to keep me writing, I'm going to get back to the early access posts.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Battlestar Didactica

Chasing my OWN dreams is more like downing an Alien Queen
with a high powered sniper rifle, but you do you.
On Monday, I announced a major life event: the moment that I can keep writing indefinitely on the income that I'm currently making from writing.

That is to say that as of this moment (albeit with the help of some pet sitting and a few weekly nanny hours) I am a working writer. A dream that I've had since I was ten years old was realized in the back of Lafayette library over the Google calculator.

But I have yet to change that moment into a lesson for other writers, the demonstration of which is both the real-time mission of this blog, and the answer to what has in recent months become my absolutely most frequent question (now that I am making an amount of money that aspiring writers seem to find enviable): "How can I do what you have done?" or some variation.

And so we call in The Battlestar Didactica. Because there are many copiers. And I have a plan.



Before your jelly gets too damned totes, let's make sure we're clear that you understand I am still making the equivalent of about four to five dollars an hour. I'm not going to break down my exact financials for you on this blog because reasons, but I put in somewhere between an average to an above average work week just on writing. So it's pretty damned cool to pass that bellwether doing exactly what I've always dreamed, but I would be making more at any McJob. I'm still running a couple of side hustles to keep from eating nothing but rice and beans every meal. So yes, this is a breathtaking moment, but I'm still a ways off from popping over to Serendipity 3 for a spot of lunch.

I started this blog in early 2012. To reach this point has taken me daily writing and 5-6 posts a week for five and a half years. In my first year, I was thrilled as a pig in clichè to get a check for $106 from Google. That's like the longest fucking unpaid and underpaid internship ever. So don't tell me how lucky I am.

Also, as a white dude from a middle class background, I have a lot of privilege. Everything from a family that had a college background themselves to a situation in which I could afford to make very money for years. Some serious shit has broken my way. So don't not tell me how lucky I am.

My success here has entirely to do with the ballooning numbers on Writing About Writing's Facebook Page. We're approaching 2/3 of a million likes there and some 3k additional "followers," and this blog would have a fraction of the readership without it. I've been putting up something almost every waking hour on that page for four years. Or, to put it another way, it's like having a 10hr/week part time job promoting my writing. ....in addition to the 40+/hours of writing itself.

So I guess I'm making even less per hour.

Conventional wisdom from a lot of successful authors suggests that a well read and reasonably skilled writer who really puts their mind to improving their craft and putting themselves out there can carve out a career doing creative writing in about ten years. That's not a paint by numbers formula or a guarantee, (and it surely won't happen that quickly for the weekend warriors), but it is an average you'll see over and over again if you listen to the right parts of writers' stories. And while some may rewrite that rocking debut novel over and over for most of the ten years while others do a lot of short story writing and submitting with a conscious eye to building their cover letter, the time table seems fairly consistent. 

I wish I could tell you about a cool trick I learned. A search engine optimization that cannot be resisted. A way to write once a week and get people to throw money at you. That the SFSU undergrad creative writing program foraged me like steel into a writing machine. I don't know such a trick. If anything I've muddled through that crap and probably ignored a few useful bits of advice in favor of just "pedaling faster" on the writing part. I've been working these last five and a half years. And while one can arguably get to the income part a little more quickly through non-traditional publishing, the predictions for career arcs have me only slightly ahead of the curve. It'll still be years–and probably three or four–before I'm making enough not to have two roommates and skip all holiday plans because that's when other people vacation and need their pets cared for.

Three or four years is my estimate for a very modest living from only writing......which would be right on schedule.

It is an extremely pedestrian experience these days to have people implore me to tell them how they can emulate my success and then argue with me when I tell them to write every day. But I know of no other way.

However, let me also bring glad tidings. I'm a crummy writer who rarely puts in more than an eight hour day and whose productivity tanks when I am working other jobs. The formula is "that hard," but it's also "that easy." Just do it. Writing improves with practice. (Go read some of my writing from 2012 if you don't believe me, and that is after twenty years of practice and a degree in creative writing.) My prose is not that spectacular. I have no particular talent. Everything I've learned, I've only done so by having what doesn't work pointed out to me a thousand times.

I got to this place of extremely tenuous financial solvency not by being the best and certainly not by some "gift."  I got here by doing what you're supposed to do for years. I read a lot, wrote a LOT and plowed through by sheer force of will. And in five and a half years of work, here I am. I won't be so dismissive of the world and its myriad obstacles both societal and personal to suggest that if I can do it, anyone can, but what I can repeat from above (in new context) is that there is no trick. The doors will not be barred because one lacks some slight of hand or arcane technique.

I stand here today only because some doof with a dream and an unswerving tenacity can make progress in this business if neither failure nor glacial progress will deter them.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

In Which Procrastinating Returns (by Rahnia Collins)

In which Procrastination returns, or, the perils and pluses of books about writing…
by Rahnia Collins

She’s baaacckk! Yes, the literary vampire Procrastination has oozed her way back into my life. And like one of those intelligent killer robots from The Incredibles she has learnt to anticipate all my coolest moves. So now she is subtler than ever. She’s come at me this time through the medium of something I simply can’t resist, books. My favourite online bookshop is having a sale and no, it’s not the Evil Empire* it’s the Australian version of The Book Depository. They have these No Shipping charge offers which pop up in my Inbox about once a month, which mean that I can buy even more books (can anyone say book addict?).  You’ll have to believe me, because you can’t see it, but when someone mentions new books I get this slightly crazed look in my eye. My husband (poor, long-suffering man that he is) has become very wary of that look because he knows the causal connection between it and our dwindling bank balance.

Anyway, Procrastination, that relentless anti-muse, has been exploiting one of my great weaknesses, my genre kryptonite, the varied and wonderful world of books about writing (henceforth referred to in this post as, BAW). Books on how to manage the odd, magic thing that we call creative writing; I love them, I devour them, I hoard them. I have an entire shelf of my bookcases devoted to BAW. It’s kind of a condition and I should probably find myself some kind of 12 step-type support group to help me curb it, ‘My name is Rahnia and it’s been three months since my last BAW purchase’ (I’m not making light of 12 step programs here by the way). To give you a recent example of my issue, I was just finishing Elizabeth George’s Write Away (British police procedurals are another great weakness of mine) when I first read one of Chris’s posts about morning writing and Dorothea Brande. So naturally I went online and bought Becoming a Writer.


[Chris's note: I added the links above.]

And the problem with this is????? Well nothing…exactly. Both of these, in different ways and for different aspects of the writing life are excellent. Both books have helped me out enormously over the last few months, Dorothea pulled me right out of the huge Slough of Writer’s Block Despond that I’d been mired in for over a year. Elizabeth gave me some awesome advice on writing characters with distinct, individual voices. But there is peril here. Peril that my old nemesis is manipulating. I get so easily caught up in the awesomeness of the BAW, and the buzz that I get from reading them, that before long I find myself distracted from the actual writing. Things might be different if I could spend all day in a nifty writing studio, reading, reflecting as well as writing, without the distractions of such petty annoyances as paying jobs, children and Mt Washmore.

But I live in the real world. It was tempting to read and reread Becoming a Writer without putting the exercises into practice, because that takes, you know, effort (Do you know how early my middle daughter wakes up in the morning? Getting up before her to write takes serious commitment). My BAW addiction has completely played into Procrastination’s hands. (As a slightly intriguing side note, for some reason in my head Procrastination looks like Ursula the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid, but with less tentacles.) She whispers gently in my ear, ‘But it’s helping your writing, remember, to write you must also read.’ So the number one peril of BAW, for me, is that they feed Procrastination and she pops back up in my life deluding me into thinking that I’m not really procrastinating. Damn, she’s a clever bitch!

On the plus side, BAW are way cheaper than a Creative Writing degree or even the various (and generally excellent) courses I’ve attended through my local organisation, the Queensland Writer’s Centre. If you are cash-strapped $15 or so gets you the expertise of a writer like Stephen King, or of a teacher like Brian Kiteley. They can also be specifically chosen to suit your own needs, my current WIP is a mystery novel, hence Elizabeth George.  I generally hate self-help books with the fire of a thousand suns but I adore BAW and find them inspirational reading. A BAW can kickstart my love of writing when I falter, as Becoming a Writer did. However, and here’s the kicker, this is where Procrastination gets her beautifully manicured, sea-witch hands on me. Sometimes they are just an excuse not to do the hard stuff like write that passage of dialogue that is the next bit in my WIP. I hate writing dialogue with the power of a hundred thousand suns – so, damn, much! – probably enough to make it a whole blog topic for another day. When I am hating on dialogue I can pick up one of those tantalising tomes and read about how I should be executing my dialogue. ‘But you need help with it, sweetie,’ Procrastination murmurs, and I read on. The BAW can thus become an end in themselves, rather than a means to that end, which is to finish the current WIP before I’m seventy.

So what exactly is it that I’m saying about BAW? Do I think they are useful or a giant time-sucker? I think that, like most stuff, they are excellent in moderation, but if Procrastination tells you that you should be reading them, be wary. Be really, damn wary! Below are a couple of honourable mentions. I’ve tried to include less well-known books and ones that I’ve found of practical use (I don’t benefit in any way by suggesting these titles to you).

The 3AM Epiphany by Brian Kiteley. Practical, wacky and enjoyable. It is excellent if you find yourself stalled mid-WIP. My advice is to read it with your journal, a pen and a stack of post-it notes to hand.

A Novel in a Year by Louise Doughty. Very practical exercises to generate a story idea and produce enough content to complete a novel.  The first activity – “The day after my eighth birthday,” never fails to inspire even the most unenthusiastic of Year 8 students.

Happy reading, but even happier writing and I’d love to hear what form your Procrastination takes, drop a quick description into the comments.

*Amazon


Rahnia Collins is an English teacher by profession, a writer by aspiration and a reader by addiction. She wishes there was some sort of grant that would fund her reading habit. Her other addictions are tea and cats. If her husband had not set a strict two cat limit she would already be a crazy cat lady. 





If you would like to guest blog for Writing About Writing we would love to have an excuse to take a day off a wonderful diaspora of voices. Take a look at our guest post guidelines, and drop me a line at chris.brecheen@gmail.com.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Page Turn/A Lifelong Dream Realized/And Away We Go (Personal Update)

The Yrarbil is a great place to get work done.
Image description: Writer who didn't
flip the image in front of a Library.
Raw unfettered shit- 82,098 

Slightly polished turd-80,042 

Superpolishedfragileshitstick- 44,754    

These numbers have not changed from my last update, or if they have it is not by enough that I need to "count" it. I know I got a couple of sessions in there between being sick and starting summer school, and  However, it's going to start being part of a regular Monday personal update posts again. Accountability and all.


I'm sitting in the Lafayette library typing this. Around me a dozen people are working on laptops and an old guy is reading the paper. Outside on a "reading deck" a guy with a cup of coffee looks like he's taking a break from whatever he's doing on his laptop every few minutes to breathe deep and look at the sky as if he's in a Grape Nuts commercial.

I woke up early, got ready, got all of my non serious Facebooking out of the way, dressed like I was going to work (for I was), bagged up my laptop and was standing at the door to the library when they open (10am). And I will work at least six hours, although now that my Monday evening plans have been cancelled, I might just work until the library closes.

Someday I may get to take advantage of the fact that I have a job where one can clock a full day without ever putting on pants, but not until I've established some good habits first.

I am a full time writer now.

*pauses*

*looks at that sentence*

*writes it again, in disbelief*

I am a full time writer now.

Holy shit.

The Badish News

For those wondering the results of the last six weeks of Patreon "fundraiser," we did not hit our goal. It is a tragical story of tragic tragedy. Do not even attempt to contain your tears.

I'm sorry you didn't hit your goals. I'm so sorry.
We gained a number of smaller donors, which was absolutely top among the goals of running the "pledge drive" in the first place, but it was like that "Good news/Bad news" kid's story and we actually lost a bigger donor.  Illustrating (with a bit of cutting irony) precisely why sometimes a lot of little donors makes for a less vulnerable support structure for a content creator.

If I thought it would help. I would die this episode.
Heck, why don't I do it anyway.
In the end we only got 73% the way to the goal. And given that we started at 65% six weeks ago, that is a touch on the disappointing side. Lots of wonderful people and lots of smaller donations that I cherish, but we fell pretty short.

I will cry until I can't breathe!


So when it was all over, and even during that last week when it was very clear that there wasn't going to be a trope effect like a slow clap (except with one dollar donations culminating in a stadium roar of money being thrown at me), I had myself a bit of an emotional moment.

Know those feels, Chris. Like this one time.....
But at least I didn't star in Batman vs. Superman or something.
I hate everyone. But you most of all Chris.
HOWEVER......


The Unequivocated Good News

There was a second number. A "back up" goal if you will. Not my dream or target goals, but the "safety" goal. A number I was keeping close track of as a sort of fallback position if (as became increasingly obvious we wouldn't) we didn't make our primary goal.

And we reached that one.

By four dollars.

All the best smiling Gifs are evil.
That number is unsustainable in the long-term. More nanny hours will dry up next year, and I can only put off contributing to a retirement fund for so long. But for now–for the next few months– it can provide juuuuuuuust enough that with the pet sitting I do, and the limited nanny hours I get each week, I can keep from needing to dip into the Kickstarter funds and watch myself slowly, inexorably run out of time that I don't need to go get a job waiting tables or something. There's not much wiggle room, and I'm fucked if the side gigs go pear shaped for some reason, but still, I can't underscore how unbelievable that is: Surviving off of writing.

I couldn't believe it when I looked at the calculator. I had to add it up three times and triple check my expenses.

I guess I'm a full-time working writer now.

So what does that mean for the blog?

It means we can postpone the question of ads on Writing About Writing for probably about another year, and we'll see where we are then. I am torn between not wanting to having ads and the income they would bring in, but a lot can happen in a year–and hopefully not like the lemur thing that happened this last year.

Lastly....thank you all so much.

I couldn't do this without you. In a very real, non-hyperbolic sense, everything set up here is because of your small (and sometimes not-at-all-small) donations. I will continue to work hard to get you the content you crave. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Extension on the Nominations

The horror!
I took ONE look at the absolutely next-level massive list you have all formed for the Best Modern Fantasy poll, and decided that getting a quarterfinal started was antithetical to my actually-take-a-weekend-off weekend off.

So enjoy a couple of extra days extension there, and it'll probably be a second post on Monday.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Down to the Wire

Our last of six Thursday "pledge drive" posts. 

Hope has appeared for our protagonist in the eleventh hour, but time is running out. Will we reach our goals by August 1st?

Welcome to our final pledge drive post. Thank you all for your patience. I'm not yet sure WE made it, but you made it to the end at least! We picked this six weeks because I'm too busy teaching to do a full writing schedule, and because my budget for the next "year" (think school year, not calendar year) needs to be solidified to cover food and rent (and I think I might be getting a cavity).



In just a few minutes, I'm going to walk out the door, teach my last day of summer school, stop to get something halfway decent to eat on the way home to celebrate, take a weekend off from this blog (after posting the first quarterfinal of our poll tomorrow [still a chance for nominations and seconds!]), and on Monday begin a schedule of full time writing.

What I will also do on Monday is figure out my budget for the coming year. Everything I made this summer goes into a savings account that I will use to draw things out as long as possible.  And every pet sitting gig or nanny hour I accrue will push out that final moment of truth when I'll have to hang up my pen, shift down to writing part time, and go get some kind of steady gig.

Of course the question on the table for all of you is not whether or not some two bit blogger has to get a job, but whether I am going to start hosting hosting ads here on Writing About Writing (and do a lot of begging of readers to whitelist my site from their ad blockers). It would help, and I now have the kind of readership that it would help more than a little.  But it's still not a move I want to make if I can help it.

Below is a screenshot from MY PATREON.

This is the best and easiest way to support me as an artist. Set up a payment for as little as a single dollar a month and forget about it.

I'm currently 72% to my third goal. My third goal is based on the Kickstarter I ran last year. That money is still ready to supplement my regular income and fund a few months of full time writing. The goal I'm trying to reach now will keep me from having to drive for Lyft or something once I run through those Kickstarter funds allotted for the novel and keep me writing instead.

72%--up from 65% last week

There is only 28% to go. Last week was an amazing show of support from several small donors. They really do add up. As much as I completely adore my big ticket patrons, I would really love to have a lot of smaller donors. You know it's too easy to imagine that folks who light their cigars with hundred dollar bills will just throw money they don't really need at Writing About Writing, but what's really happening is that real people who aren't rich by any means are reaching deep into their generosity and when life happens that's no longer money they can afford not to have.

I like the idea that they're not doing all the heavy lifting.

There are lots more goals than this one I'm 72% towards. One goal coming up in the next year or two has to do with my nannying day job. It is on a long, slow phase out because the kid in question is growing up. Projections for this coming school year are less than half of the hours of last year. And they'll probably go down again next year around this time. If I can't make up the income, I'm eventually going to have to find a clock to punch in order to not starve.

But Chris.... If this pledge drive is not to get you to the income to write full time, what is it for?

I'm so glad you asked.  I'm treating this goal as something of a bellwether. If I can make just this one, smaller goal, then I'll consider myself reasonably safe for what's coming in the next couple of years. (More patrons will trickle in.) Every dollar I make now will mean that much longer before I have to start hitting my Kickstarter money, and the longer it will last.

Besides it only costs $5 a month to get biweekly selfies.

I want YOU...to get lots more selfies like this one.

Future goals involve more stable living situations and even my retirement needs, but I can deal with them in the future. For now I just want to know that it might be plausible to get there.

Since this blog's inception, due to the breathtaking generosity of patrons and donations from readers like you, we have been able to:
  • Quit teaching night classes during the regular year and write instead
  • Bring you more content
  • Remove the annoying ads
  • Up the number of high quality posts each week. 
  • (Not to put too fine a point on it, but we've been able to keep bringing you content through what would otherwise have been some completely devastating life transitions that would have put most bloggers on hiatus.) 
  • Gone from five posts a week to six. 
  • And we've been able to take far fewer random days off. 

Here are some things I'd like to add if we continue to get more support:
  • Even more posts, and more high-quality posts (less jazz hands)
  • But also more (and better) jazz hands (on top of the "meaty" posts) in the way of potpourris, plot arc posts, and guest bloggers.
  • A seventh and even eight post each week (or more?)
  • A greater number of carefully (perhaps even professionally) edited and revised posts
  • More fiction!!
  • Always and ever free longer fiction (books)
  • An always, forever, ad free experience on Writing About Writing
  • If I can't reach the goal of this pledge drive in the next four days [especially if I don't even come "frustratingly close"], I may have to return to hosting ads on Writing About Writing and possibly considering other ways to monetize my work.  Ads will actually limit the rage of certain kinds of content I can post, and will probably involve no small amount of cleaning out old posts of the same. [Copyright stuff is a little less strident if you're noncommercial.] And if I really can't hit this goal, I have to think about day jobs–day jobs which would see me pulling back from writing.

That doesn't have to happen though.  For the mere cost of twelve dollars a year–just ONE DOLLAR a month–you can get in on backchannel conversations with other patrons, polls, and conversations about future projects including sometimes me trying to get your input about what you'd like to see. But perhaps, most importantly, you'll get that warm and fuzzy feeling that you are supporting an artist to continue making art and entertainment.

So if you like what I do and want to see me do more of it. Or if you don't want to see me have to do less of it. Or if you want to continue to see me do it without ads, please consider a small pledge. We wouldn't have gotten this far without our patrons, and we can't go any further without you.

Again here is that link: https://www.patreon.com/chrisbrecheen

And of course if committing to a monthly amount isn't feasible, you can always make a one-time donation through my Paypal (at the top left of the screen).

Thank you all so much. No matter what is feasible at this time or what you can spare. I couldn't have made it this far without all of you.