Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 30

What better way to end this little series than with something from my old writing professor...I'd have typed this one out, but why bother, when there's this handy-dandy video already made?

From Lance Olsen's novel Burnt:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Need More Words

my favorite NaNo-based NaNo-distractions have come from NaNoWriMo Toronto this year -- last year I disocvered the great NaNoToons via the work of Debbie Ohi (who's a heckuva encouragement for aspiring/wannabe writers) and then this year I discovered Errol Elumir's songs. A lot of fun -- pretty good music and video work, too. Here's his latest, a song I can truly, truly identify with.

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 29

In writing, don't use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the things you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us the thing is 'terrible,' describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don't say it was 'delightful'; make us say 'delightful' when we've read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, 'Please, will you do my job for me?'
C. S. Lewis

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 28

It is damned hard to write things that make blank sheets better.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 27

Stuff like this [articles on fiction writing] can be really, really useful. But here's what drives me totally nuts about it. It drives me nuts when writers insist on framing 'what works for me' as 'here is the only correct way to do this'.

Because that's rubbish.

The way I write isn't the way other people I know write. And yet somehow we all manage to turn out books that work for us and our readers. There are many, many ways a writer can get from idea to published novel. There are many many styles and techniques and voices and tools that can be used in the successful telling of a story. The trick with articles like this is to cherry pick them. Suss out the techniques that mesh with your style and borrow them ... and ignore the rest.
Karen Miller
(who also writes as K E Mills)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 26

Writing just takes practice and a clear idea of what tone you want your books to take. I happen to like people who are smart mouthed, tough, and upbeat. I learned a long time ago that you can't write and be critical at the same time -- uses a different part of your brain. So when you write, turn off the critic. Wait a few days and then read what you've written with a more critical eye. If you can't change it to read the way you'd like it to -- find one of your favorite authors and figure out how they handle what you're trying to do. Pay attention to viewpoint, logic, and voice (is this something my character would say?). If it still doesn't work, set it aside for some other day and try writing a different story. That's what I do (grin).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 25

my rules for good writing...:

1. Don't be afraid to suck. It's easier to fix something that's broken than it is to create something from nothing.
2. Write your first draft "with the door closed."
3. Don't try to make everyone happy. If you try to make everyone happy, you end up with According To Jim. Write what you're passionate about, and write to entertain, amuse, and satisfy yourself. To borrow a phrase from Joel Hodgeson, the creator of MST3K: don't ask yourself, "Will anyone get this?" Instead, tell yourself, "The right people will get this."
4. If you're going to write, you have to read. If you're going to write screenplays, you have to read, and you have to watch lots and lots of movies, both for entertainment and for education..

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 24

I learned then and have relearned many times since, that the best part of a writer's life is actually doing it, making up characters, filling the blank page, creating scenes that readers in distant places might connect to. The thrill lies in the rush of sentences, the gradual arrivals of characters who at once seem to have their own life.
Larry McMurtry

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 23

Since the day my first novel was published in 1992, I have told people that writing was like surfing. The hardest part was paddling out there, the longest part was waiting for the right set and the best part was getting up on the wave. You live for the wave, and you wish you could ride it forever. That was writing.

The only problem with that was I had never ridden a real wave. I was simply riding a metaphor: When the writing is good the story surrounds you like a swirling barrel of water. It's all you can think about. Your desire to stay in it wipes out all the rest of the world. I figured that's got to be what surfing is like, so that's what I told people writing was like.

That explanation worked all right for me until I turned 50 a couple of summers ago and decided to see if I'd had it right. I went to Maui with my family to learn how to surf. I can't say I ever saw the inside of a tube, but I rode enough soft waves on a soft top longboard to know that all along I had been on to something with that metaphor.
Michael Connelly

Monday, November 22, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 22

Read, read, read. Read everything--trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out the window.
William Faulkner

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 21

Twain's Rules of Writing
(from Mark Twain's scathing essay on the Literary Offenses of James Fenimore Cooper)

1. A tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere.

2. The episodes of a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help develop it.

3. The personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others.

4. The personages in a tale, both dead and alive, shall exhibit a sufficient excuse for being there.

5. When the personages of a tale deal in conversation, the talk shall sound like human talk, and be talk such as human beings would be likely to talk in the given circumstances, and have a discoverable meaning, also a discoverable purpose, and a show of relevancy, and remain in the neighborhood of the subject in hand, and be interesting to the reader, and help out the tale, and stop when the people cannot think of anything more to say.

6. When the author describes the character of a personage in his tale, the conduct and conversation of that personage shall justify said description.

7. When a personage talks like an illustrated, gilt-edged, tree-calf, hand-tooled, seven-dollar Friendship's Offering in the beginning of a paragraph, he shall not talk like a Negro minstrel at the end of it.

8. Crass stupidities shall not be played upon the reader by either the author or the people in the tale.

9. The personages of a tale shall confine themselves to possibilities and let miracles alone; or, if they venture a miracle, the author must so plausably set it forth as to make it look possible and reasonable.

10. The author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones.

11. The characters in tale be so clearly defined that the reader can tell beforehand what each will do in a given emergency.

An author should

12. _Say_ what he is proposing to say, not merely come near it.
13. Use the right word, not its second cousin.
14. Eschew surplusage.
15. Not omit necessary details.
16. Avoid slovenliness of form.
17. Use good grammar.
18. Employ a simple, straightforward style.
Mark Twain

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 20

A manuscript, like a foetus, is never improved by showing it to somebody before it is completed.

Friday, November 19, 2010

So Have You Seen this Fan-Made Hunger Games Clip?

I don't know if you've seen this yet, but if you've read The Hunger Games you really, really should--it almost perfectly captures one of the best scenes in the book. If you haven't read it, and are considering it (and you really should), stay away from the clip 'cuz it'll ruin one of the best scenes in the book.

Other than the fact they got Rue's ethnicity wrong...can't think of a problem with this. I'd gladly fork over $10 to buy a ticket to this group's version of the whole book.

Watching this made me realize one major problem with making a movie of book: How does Hollywood expect to do this flick and get a PG-13?

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 19

First of all, realise that it's very hard, and that writing is a grueling and lonely business and, unless you are extremely lucky, badly paid as well. You had better really, really, really want to do it. Next, you have to write something.
Douglas Adams

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 18

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Having "The Talk" with your Kids (not *that* one)

I admit it, and it brings me great shame to do so...I messed up with my older two (despite my good intentions), and am trying to do better with my younger two, but it's so hard when their older brothers have it so messed up...

Parents, don't make the same mistakes I did... talk to them about Star Wars from an early age.

somehow this post feels like it should end with this:

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 17

There is no such thing as a perfect book or a perfect story.
Every book in every library on this planet has something wrong with it. It could be something tiny. Maybe a minor character isn't well drawn. Maybe a description goes on too long. May the dialogue is stiff in one spot. There's something wrong with every single one.
No matter how hard we writers try, we will never achieve perfection.
Perfection doesn't matter. No two readers would agree on whether our book was perfect anyway. Besides, readers care less about perfection and more about connection, getting caught up in a story, caring about the characters.
When you're just starting to write, you may be miles away from perfection, and you may be well aware of it. It's maddening. It's disappointing.
Writing is deceptive. You know how to read. You know what you like in a book and in a story. You know how to write, how to make sentences and paragraphs. So why can't you tell your story in the beautiful way it t appears in your mind?
Well, you wouldn't expect yourself to play the trumpet perfectly the first time you picked it up. You wouldn't expect to join the Olympic team the day after you learned to swim.
Writing is a skill, and the more we do it, the better we get at it. I expect to be learning to write till I die. There's always more to learn, and that may be the best thing about being a writer.
Gail Carson Levine

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 16

You're in the middle, a little past the half-way point. The glamour has faded, the magic has gone, your back hurts from all the typing, your family, friends and random email acquaintances have gone from being encouraging or at least accepting to now complaining that they never see you any more---and that even when they do you're preoccupied and no fun. You don't know why you started your novel, you no longer remember why you imagined that anyone would want to read it, and you're pretty sure that even if you finish it it won't have been worth the time or energy and every time you stop long enough to compare it to the thing that you had in your head when you began---a glittering, brilliant, wonderful novel, in which every word spits fire and burns, a book as good or better than the best book you ever read---it falls so painfully short that you're pretty sure that it would be a mercy simply to delete the whole thing.

Welcome to the club.

That's how novels get written.

You write. That's the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Neil Gaiman

Monday, November 15, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 15

When you think of the great writers, penning a novel seems terribly romantic. You think of F. Scott Fitzgereald, a Riviera breeze billowing his curtains and the sounds of the Cap d'Antibes street cut by the tapping of his typewriter, as he lacerates the rich and dreams of the past. Or Hemingway, in a hotel in Pamplona in the heat of the afternoon, as bullfighters take their siesta and drops of water bead on a bottle of kirsch. Or Joyce, squinting his Irish bead-eyes as he blends his classical training and his Gaelic imagination to summon up allusive rhythms and language dense and enfolding.

Even lesser novelists seem glamorous. Some scribbler burning twigs in a boardinghouse in the second arrondissement as he dips his quill pen into the ink. Or a slim and shoeless thirty-something, taking a year off from his job as an alternative-marketing consultant to sit in a park in Vancouver or Park Slope and type into his PowerBook a wry yet soulful take on the paradoxes of hypermodernity.

That is all delusion. Writing a novel is pathetic and boring. Anyone sensible hates it. It's all you can do not to play Snood all afternoon.
Steve Hely
How I Became a Famous Novelist

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 14

Every novel should have a beginning, a muddle, and an end.
Peter De Vries

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 13

To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.
Mark Twain

Friday, November 12, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 12

Plot grows out of character. If you focus on who the people in your story are, if you sit and write about two people you know and are getting to know better day by day, something is bound to happen.

Characters should not, conversely, serve as pawns for some plot you've dreamed up. Any plot you impose on your characters will be onomatopoetic: PLOT. I say don't worry about plot. Worry about the characters. Let what they say or do reveal who they are, and be involved in their lives, and keep asking yourself, Now what happens? The development of relationship creates plot. Flannery O'Connor, in Mystery and Manners, tells how she gave bunch of her early stories to the old lady who lived down the street, and the woman returned them saying, "Them stories just gone and shown you how some folks would do."

That's what plot is: what people will up and do in spite of everything that tells them they shouldn't, everything that tells them they shouldn't, everything that tells them that they should sit quietly on the couch and practice their Lamaze, or call their therapist, or eat until the urge to do that thing passes.

So focus on character.
Anne Lamott

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 11

here are a few rules ... for writing:
  1. The best way to write better is to write more.
  2. The best way to write better is to write more.
  3. The best way to write better is to write more.
  4. The best way to write more is to write whenever you have five minutes and wherever you find a chair and a pen and paper or your computer.
  5. Read! Most likely you don't need this rule. If you enjoy writing, you probably enjoy reading. The payoff for this pleasure is that reading books shows you how to write them.
  6. Reread! There's nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over. When you do, the words get inside you, become part of you, n a way that words in a book you've read only once can't.
  7. Save everything you write, even if you don't like it, even if you hate it. Save it for a minimum of fifteen years. I'm serious. At that time, if you want to, you can throw it out, but even then don't discard your writing lightly.

Gail Carson Levine

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 10

Rules such as "Write what you know," and "Show, don't tell," while doubtlessly grounded in good sense, can be ignored with impunity by any novelist nimble enough to get away with it. There is, in fact, only one rule in writing fiction: Whatever works, works.

Ah, but how can you know if it's working? The truth is, you can't always know (I nearly burned my first novel a dozen times, and it's still in print after 35 years), you just have to sense it, feel it, trust it. It's intuitive, and that peculiar brand of intuition is a gift from the gods. Obviously, most people have received a different package altogether, but until you undo the ribbons you can never be sure.
Tom Robbins

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 9

It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating. Today, for instance, as man and woman, both lover and mistress, I rode in a forest on an autumn afternoon under the yellow leaves, and I was also the horses, the leaves, the wind, the words my people uttered, even the red sun that made them almost close their love-drowned eyes. When I brood over these marvelous pleasures I have enjoyed, I would be tempted to offer God a prayer of thanks if I knew he could hear me. Praised may he be for not creating me a cotton merchant, a vaudevillian, or a wit.
Gustave Flaubert


As you've no doubt noticed, I'm doing National Novel Writing Month yet again. I just threw up the code for our stats/word counts over there to your right. Not the most impressive of numbers, but give us time.

I'm more than a little surprised at the direction my novel's going. FOr most of the year, I'd been playing around with a Comedic Science Fiction idea, and despite some great help from readers a few months ago, I decided I just couldn't pull it off. Then I veered into a Nick Hornby/Jonathan Tropper direction, but that one again, fell apart in the planning. Somehow, I started something that touched on urban fantasy, and then became just good ol' fantasy. Surprised the heck out of me. I'm really not sure where I'm going with it, honestly, but I'm having a blast finding out.

I wrote a fight scene tonight--first one since college. This one was far superior to those, but, ugh. I've got a long ways to go there. It was pretty fun tho. I kept fighting the temptation to mime out certain moves to make sure I could describe them correctly, but was pretty sure my co-worker would've labeled me insane (or more insane), so I kept it to the brain. Also tonight, two characters I've been working on for a week were finally introduced, which was a relief. Sadly, when I got to their grand entrance, I'd forgotten their names. So that derailed me for 5-10 minutes. Their new names are pretty cool, and at least one of them is easier to pronounce, but man, I'm gonna be trying to remember their old ones for quite some time. Note to self/other writers: jot stuff like that down. Duhhhhhh.

Frodo's the only one of The Offspring that's taking the plunge this year. The others are plenty busy, and probably a bit demoralized by not being able to finish in year's past. I think next year, I'll give the Princess a nudge again, I think with a little effort on her part, she'll be able to produce something, she just needs more practice. Samwise is clearly not a writer--at least not in his mind, and that's fine, his creative interests are directed elsewhere, and it won't be too long before he'll be writing little ditties (and maybe some long ones, too) instead of stories. Frodo, meanwhile, is writing something very new for him--the last couple of years he's written two adventure/superhero stories in a series, and this year he's going for more of a semi-autobiographical, slice of life kind of thing. The change is doing him good, it's a lot of fun to see his skills develop. Sure his word count is low, but in a week or so I expect them to skyrocket.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 8

Why Authors write I do not know. As well ask why a hen lays an egg or a cow stands patiently while a farmer burglarizes her.
H. L. Mencken

Why do writers write? Because it isn't there.
Thomas Beger

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 7

Writing, in its most essential sense, is an artificial means for getting thoughts and images which reside in YOUR brain over to the guy holding your book in the most effective and accurate fashion possible, so that the reader will successfully translate your thoughts into HIS brain. The written word uses symbols to describe sights, sounds, and situations, in order to let the reader create the story inside his own imagination as he reads.

Writing is the original virtual reality.

If all goes well, the imaginary world you help the reader create in his head becomes as believable, exciting, and interesting as the real world.

But that means you need to make everything go well.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 6

Nothing corrupts a man so deeply as writing a book; the myriad temptations are overwhelming.
Nero Wolfe

Friday, November 05, 2010

Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith

sorry for the rushed nature of this one, but I wanted to get something up today and didn't have time to polish it right.

You just have to love this concept. An illiterate cowboy in 1890's Montana hears about Sherlock Holmes due to the republication of some of Watson's accounts in American periodicals. He's drawn by what Holmes does and sets about getting his hands on all of Watson's reports he can. And then he makes his brother read them to him over and over and over so he can learn how to do what Holmes does. At some point he thinks he's learned enough to start, and puts himself in a situation to put his skills to the test. And presto, you've got yourself a novel.

So much for the concept--how was the execution? Ehhh, not as good. It was dull, downright slow, filled with a bunch of cliched Western types. It was interesting enough to keep me reading, but man, did it get sloggy in parts. I'm glad I persevered, because the conclusion was satisfying (even if it's pace was 200% of what preceded it) and the central characters were amusing.

These brothers offer a great take on Holmes/Watson, and I'm sure I'll get to the sequels pretty soon. Hoping that now that the series has been set up, the next ones will pick up a little faster.

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 5

When asked, "How do you write?" I invariably answer, "One word at a time," and the answer is invariably dismissed. But that is all it is. It sounds too simple to be true, but consider the Great Wall of China, if you will: one stone at a time, man. That’s all. One stone at a time. But I’ve read you can see that [expletive deleted] from space without a telescope.
Stephen King

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 4

Very few writers really know what they are doing until they've done it. Nor do they go about their business feeling dewy and thrilled. They do not type a few stiff warm-up sentences and then find themselves bounding along like huskies across the snow. One writer I know tells me that he sits down every morning and says to himself nicely, "It's not like you don't have a choice, because you do--you can either type or kill yourself." We all often feel like we are pulling teeth, even those writers whose prose ends up being the most natural and fluid. The right words and sentences just do not coming pouring out like ticker tape most of the time. Now, Muriel Spark is said to have felt that she was taking dictation from God every morning--sitting there, one supposes, plugged into a Dictaphone, typing away, humming. But this is a very hostile and aggressive position. One might hope for bad things to rain down on a person like this.

For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really sh*tty first drafts.

The first draft is the child's draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later. You just let this childlike part of you channel whatever voices and visions come through and onto the page. If one of the characters wants to say, "Well, so what, Mr. Poopy Pants?," you let her. No one is going to see it. If the kid wants to get into really sentimental, weepy, emotional territory, you let him. Just get it all down on paper, because there may be something great in those six crazy pages that you would never have gotten to by more rational, grown-up means. There may be something in the very last line of the very last paragraph on page six that you just love, that is so beautiful or wild that you now know what you're supposed to be writing about, more or less, or in what direction you you might go--but there was no way to get to this without first getting through the first five and a half pages.
Anne Lamott

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 3

I certainly don't sit down and plan a book out before I write it. There's a phrase I use called "The Valley Full of Clouds." Writing a novel is as if you are going off on a journey across a valley. The valley is full of mist, but you can see the top of a tree here and the top of another tree over there. And with any luck you can see the other side of the valley. But you cannot see down into the mist. Nevertheless, you head for the first tree. At this stage in the book, I know a little about how I want to start. I know some of the things that I want to do on the way. I think I know how I want it to end. This is enough. The thing now is to get as much down as possible. If necessary, I will write the ending fairly early on in the process. Now that ending may not turn out to be the real ending by the time that I have finished. But I will write down now what I think the conclusion of the book is going to be. It's all a technique, not to get over writer's block, but to get 15,000 or 20,000 words of text under my belt. When you've got that text down, then you can work on it. Then you start giving yourself ideas.
Terry Pratchett

Side Jobs by Jim Butcher

I'm not big on the short story form. Outside the Nero Wolfe short story collections, I could count on one hand the number of short stories I've read in the past 5-10 years. Lately, there's been a decent number of my favorite Urban Fantasy writers contributing to short story collections--usually on a theme, and usually using characters I really want to read about. But being short fiction, and being surrounded by stories about characters I don't care about/don't know/don't have time to get to know even if I wanted to, I don't get around to getting my hands on them.

From what I can tell, that's resulted in me missing some interesting stuff--even the start of a series I'm invested in (maybe more than one, come to think of it, but I'm not going to double check now).

Which is a whole lotta rambling set up to saying why I was very happy to hear that Jim Butcher was going to release a collection of previously published and new Harry Dresden stories. And even happier to get my hands on it last week.

Being short works of fiction, basically every story was this--some sort of problem, Harry investigating rather quickly and then moving right on to the fireworks, usually dazzlingly so. Wham, blam-o, thank you, sir. Each of them also tended to focus on at least one member of the supporting cast in a way we don't get enough of in the novels. I really appreciated getting to spend a little time with each of these people in this setting.

It was, admittedly, a mixed-bag. The first story, "Restoration of Faith," was the first Dresden story, and it's clearly that. There's a lot to our favorite wizard PI that is recognizable here, and a lot that get's tossed before Storm Front. A fun read, but I'm glad Butcher tweaked things the way he did.

The rest were better executed--mostly because Butcher's grown a lot as a writer since then, all were good reads, some better than others.

A couple of other stand-outs for me were the lighter, "Day Off" about Harry's fruitless quest for a quiet, relaxing day; "The Warrior" in which we get to see post-Small Favor Michael in action--even if it was a tad preachy, Butcher pulled it off, and I was so, so glad to see Michael like this; and "Love Hurts," which is the kind of story we've seen/read countless times about what happens when two will-they/won't-they friends fall under a spell/temporary delusion/whatever and fall madly, temporarily in love--it's been done a lot, frequently poorly, but not here.

"Love Hurts" was also a perfect set-up to the novelette Aftermath, which starts up hours after the jaw-dropping/rage-inducing last page of Changes and was, for me, worth the purchase price. If I'd remembered that this was going to be at the end of this collection, I'd have finished the thing in one setting, rather than over a period of days. Great, great story, both for the plot/characters itself, and for what Butcher shows us about how these characters will act without the man in the duster around. Loved it.

Now, this hasn't convinced me to get these other collections I mentioned earlier--but I just now have hope that some of my other favorite authors will get in gear and publish collections like this one.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A New Favorite Election Day Quotation

haven't read this one since high school (will be starting it Monday again), so it's not a big surprise that I didn't have this one queued up for today/other Election Days.

The most interesting incident Tuesday morning was my walking to a building on Thirty-fourth Street to enter a booth and push levers on a voting machine. I have never understood why anybody passes up that bargain. It doesn't cost a cent, and for that couple of minutes, you're the star of the show, with top billing. It's the only way that really counts for you to say I'm it, I'm the one that decides what's going to happen and who's going to make it happen. It's the only time I really feel important and know I have a right to. Wonderful. Sometimes the feeling lasts all the way home if somebody doesn't bump me.
- Archie Goodwin

Let the Complaining Begin!

As soon as the polls opened today, I went and did my civic duty along with a handful of others (that's not a comment on turnout, btw), many of whom would not qualify for a Senior Citizen discount on anything, so I took heart in that.

One of the nice things about living in the State of Idaho is that I can freely vote my conscience (i.e., not a Republicrat) and be fully certain that the candidate who appears to be the lesser of two evils will make it to office. I'd vote my conscience anyway, but still...

Anyway, according to several T-Shirts and Bumper Stickers that I've seen (if these aren't the true arbiters of what passes for thought in America today, I don't know what is...twitter, I guess), as a voter, I'm now fully qualified to complain. So let me get started:

  1. Kids these Days, yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that ol' Socrates/Plato/Cicero/someone forever old said,
    "The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."
    which just goes to show ya that everyone's complained about Kids these Days.

    Whatever. It's still true, kids today are manner-less, contemptuous and disrespectful, you know it, I know it and they know it.

  2. Two Party System...when are we, the electorate, going to wake up to the fact that this supposed two-party system is just one party masquerading as two, different names for the same stuff? When will we demand actual choices in the forms of multiple parties?
  3. Bite-Sized Candy ShrinkageNow this one, I'm really riled up about. Go check out the contents of your kids' plunder from this weekend, or a bag on the shelf of the grocery store if you're not into that--those things are noticeably and significantly smaller than they were even 1 year ago. Now, I'm not one to call for more government interference in our lives/the market, but c'mon, you're telling me the FDA doesn't have an enforceable standard mass for "bite sized" candy bar?

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 2

Writing is easy. You only need to stare at a piece of blank paper until your forehead bleeds.
Douglas Adams

(one of my all-time favorite lines)

Monday, November 01, 2010

Yup, It's November Again, You Know What that Means...

will try not to bore you too much with it...

Writing Quote of the Day - Nov 1

Writing a novel--actually picking the words and filling in paragraphs--is a tremendous pain in the ass. Now that TV's so good and the Internet is an endless forest of distraction, it's damn near impossible. That should be taken into account when ranking the all-time greats. Somebody like Charles Dickens, for example, who had nothing better to do except eat mutton and attend public hangings, should get very little credit.
Steve Hely
How I Became a Famous Novelist