Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 22-28, 2015

Posts on the Clean Reader controversy (a recap of the posts I shared last Saturday):

 

Your book’s inciting incident may not be what you think it is. Nice nod to The Princess Bride, K.M. Weiland 🙂

Here’s her vlog on 1st person POV vs. 3rd person POV and how to decide which will be best for your book.

Janice Hardy’s month-long online revision workshop isn’t over yet! Day 22: Sharpen the hooks and tighten the pacing.

Veronica Sicoe shared these pointers on writing a goddamned novel synopsis.

Jamie Raintree uses time blocking to organize her day and shares worksheets to help you do the same!

Neil Gaiman’s advice to writers from the Nerdist podcast:

 

John Ajvide Lindqvist on writing process:

 

My friend, Kim Fahner, contemplates her development as a writer.

Young readers prefer printed books. BoingBoing.

AussieWriter shares this infographic on writerly insults. Fun 🙂

Buzzfeed proposes 28 words that the English language should adopt.

MTV reports that the Game of Thrones series will “spoil” the Song of Ice and Fire books.

Entertainment Weekly posts this Outlander featurette in anticipation of next weekend’s return.

Outlander TV News from the UK premiere:

 

It was a writerly week!

See you on Thoughty Thursday!

Tipsday

Clean Reader, censorship, and political correctness

The big news of the week has been Clean Reader, which, despite the rumours, is still an app. Essentially, it’s an ereader that disguises what the creators of the app see as profanity.

There have been two camps among writers. One would rather their work not be read at all rather than have it read in an altered form, particularly when the alterations were made without the author’s consent. If the reader doesn’t like what the author writes, they have the right not to purchase or read it.

The other writerly camp concede that once the work is out in the world readers can and often do what they wish with it and as long as the author’s work is still being read and they are still being compensated for it, they’re okay with it (despite how repugnant they might find the practice of altering the work without consulting the author).

Here are some of the posts that have made it across my social media streams this week. (They’ll all appear again in my Tipsday post, BTW.)

As I mentioned on Facebook, on which I shared most of these, I’ll let you read through and decide what you think about Clean Reader for yourselves.

I will, however, share with you, why Clean Reader disturbs me.

It is censorship. No bones about it.

But censorship happens all the time in all of the arts, you say. This is true.

Profanity in television and movies is *bleeped* or dubbed when these shows are televised on network television during hours when impressionable young people might be watching.

There is a rating system for movies and while cinema employees may not strictly enforce it, they do have the right to turn away patrons if they are deemed too young to watch the movie.

Trigger warnings are plastered on music in various formats and there are usually “clean” versions of songs released for radio play.

Books are routinely banned because they are considered profane.

It was just a matter of time before categories for books (adult fiction, YA, children’s, etc.) became insufficient for some readers, or their parents.

I assume that Clean Reader is using the same conventions that allow the bleeping or dubbing of profanity in movies and music to justify the alteration of the ebooks they provide their readers.

It’s a choice and it’s a validated approach as much as I might disagree with it.

You might get the idea that I’m one of those writers in the first camp (above). You’d be right. If people don’t like what I write, they don’t have to read it. Not that every other word I write is a swear word, but I do write about sex, and body parts are also words that the creators of Clean Reader are not comfortable with.

It also smacks of political correctness (to me). It’s like some thought experiment. If we change the words, we protect those who might be harmed by them. If we change the words, we’ll prevent our children from becoming violent or otherwise behaving in a way we find unacceptable.

Big Brother, anyone? Maybe that’s overstating the issue, but I’ve always thought that common courtesy and thoughtfulness were more effective than political correctness.

Why does this concern me? Political correctness is another form of censorship. It all comes from the same, admittedly well-meaning, place, but truthfully, it doesn’t help anyone.

Those of you who have young children will know what happens when they learn their first swear word. Even if it’s something merely socially unacceptable like poopy-head or fart-face (kids often return from daycare or kindergarten with words like these) is it ever effective to forbid them from saying it?

If you’ve tried that strategy, you may have had a wee tyke running through your house shouting poopy-head at the top of her or his lungs. They do that.

More often, parents will have (sometimes repeated) discussions with their children to let them know that their words may make other people feel uncomfortable or hurt and that these words are not ones we should say without thinking about them and about the consequences of saying hurtful words to others.

Parents teach their children respect and courtesy. They teach their children to think before they speak. They teach their children about context and about human failings (you might hear Mommy or Daddy say a bad word when we’re really upset, but sometimes even we forget we shouldn’t say these things).

These early lessons can be the groundwork for more important issues that need to be discussed as children grow older. From bullying to bigotry, sexism to sexuality, words that some people find offensive are essential to these discussions.

We need to use our words, all of them, to provide our children with the tools that will help them mature into courteous and respectful people. We need to use sexually explicit terms to discuss the facts of life as well as alternative sexualities and the respect we all should have for them.

We can’t pretend vulgarity doesn’t exist. We can’t ignore bullying, discrimination, misogyny, or homophobia, and hope they’ll go away just because we don’t use “those words” anymore.

We need to teach people to be wise about their use of words.

I think that’s why Clean Reader disturbs me so much. It’s a dumbing down of language. Censorship of this kind is for people who think reading profanity will corrupt them. Censorship is for people who can’t or don’t want to trust their own judgement.

We can’t engage in meaningful discussion without words, and yes, that includes the bad ones.

It’s only my opinion, but I think my life would be diminished by the disappearance of profanity. If I’d never discovered the Shakespearean Insult Generator (and this is only one of many such sites) or Rogers Profanisaurus (they have an app now too), I would have laughed a lot less and my vocabulary would be significantly limited. Mind you, my sense of humour is distinctly scatological 🙂

I wouldn’t want to read, or write, in a world without profanity.

There are some books I’ve read and enjoyed very much that would not be affected at all by the censoring of profanity, but I couldn’t imagine enjoying Diana Gabaldon’s books (for example) half as much without it, nor would I appreciate someone editing out all the profanity in them.

If someone feels, however, that they want this service and that they can’t read books without it, I support their right to choose Clean Reader. I also pity them for feeling that Clean Reader was the only choice they could make.

Nerdmaste, my writerly peeps.

Muse-inks

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, March 15-21, 2015

There’s a whole lot of thoughty going on!

What kind of geek is Delilah S. Dawson? The kind that has to defend herself far too often.

The part of bravery people struggle with most. Michael Hyatt.

Things that introverts would never tell you. Higher Perspective.

Gideon Lichfield of The Atlantic explores the science of near-death experiences (NDEs).

I’ve been curious about trying absinthe since I was that the liquor store was selling it. I checked it out this weekend, though and it’s a little expensive for my taste. Maybe for a special occasion. This article on The Daily Beast on the resurgence of absinthe piques my curiosity, though.

Four reasons you should invest in a standing desk. Michael Hyatt.

Six things you should know about how you learn. The Next Web.

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s new late night television show will premiere April 20! The Verge.

This new Tesla battery has the power to take you off the grid 🙂 Inhabitat.

Since I live in the city, I didn’t get to see these, but apparently it’s been a very good week for aurorae 🙂 CBC.

What colour is the universe? It’s okay to be smart.

 

What your genes can and cannot determine. The Guardian.

How did an Arabic inscribed ring end up in a 9th century Viking grave? i09.

Oppression by omission: The women soldiers of the Civil War. Brainpickings.

Jane Goodall is still wild at heart. The New York Times.

Horses never forget their human friends. NBC news.

Check out this video of killer whales feeding in the Dodd Narrows in BC. CBC.

Fawn rescue:

 

Cookie Monster, life coach:

 

Office cats from AFV:

 

ViralNova wants to fill your cute cup to overflowing with these adorable animals!

I hope you were inspired by some of this edumacation 😀 Edutainment?

See you Saturday!

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 15-21, 2015

K.M. Weiland introduces the Story Structure Database, and excellent new resource for writers. You can contribute to it, too!

Roz Morris shares how writer’s block became an opportunity.

Anne R. Allen shares ten social marketing no-no’s.

Jamie Raintree shares her experience in finding her agent on Thinking through our fingers.

Shawn Coyne explains his second draft that is not a draft theory on Steven Pressfield’s blog.

Janice Hardy’s month-long revision workshop continues with day 15: clean up description and stage direction.

Christine Frazier offers lessons for writers from her analysis of The Dark Knight. The Better Novel Project.

Porter Anderson offers Amish Tripathi’s Shiva series for our consideration on Writer Unboxed.

The series of representation on SFF guest posts on Jim C. Hines’s blog continues with Sarah Chorn’s discussion of disability in SFF.

Need some visual inspiration? Here’s the Fantastical Women site featuring lots of fantasy art by women artists. Gorgeous!

Canva shares this list of 40 books on creativity. When I die, I suspect it will be because I was crushed by my pile of unread books (!)

18 perfect short stories. i09.

Fast Company presents an infographic on banned books and some of the reasons they were banned.

SF Signal interviews Tanya Huff.

Lightspeed interviews Patrick Rothfuss.

What happens when a fundamentalist Christian marries an atheist author? Sally McBride guest posts on WarpWorld.

Now there are some consumable readables! Nom-a-nom-a-nom . . .

See you Thursday!

Tipsday

My literary mothers and what they taught me

This post was inspired by a challenge that another friend participated in. That challenge was to write, in a short post, the influence of a single literary mother.

While I found the concept compelling, I also found it restrictive. I have many literary mothers. The gears have been working on this one for a few weeks now and this is the result.


Siobhhan Riddell

I was in grade three and I had just started to write. My first piece was a little essay about my new puppy.

Siobhan was in grade five. She was an artist and she illustrated a dragon slayer fairy tale.

The grade five class’s projects were presented to the grade three class. Siobhan’s drawings found their place in my imagination.Always Sail West

I submitted my first short story to CBC’s “Pencil Box” that year.

The next year, I wrote the Christmas play for my grade four class.

What was I reading at the time?

I was reading comics: Star Wars (for Princess Leia), Dazzler (Marvel), Huntress (DC). I was trying to find compelling female heroes. The writers and artists were men, however.

I also started reading C.S. Lewis, Lloyd Alexander, and I, again, was seeking women authors with whose stories I could connect. I tried Zilpha Keatley Snyder (The Headless Cupid, The Witches of Worm), Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (The Witch Saga), Joan Lowry Nixon (The Kidnapping of Christina Lattimore), and Lois Duncan (Summer of Fear, Stranger with My Face, and, of course, I Know What You Did Last Summer). While Naylor came close to becoming a literary mother, her work didn’t stay with me.

At the time, across the street from my house, were a convenience store (comics) and a branch of the public library. They were an almost daily stop in my routine.

Critical criteria of a literary mother: Her influence has to stay with me. I have to have continued to read or re-read her books, or remember the impact she had on my life in a concrete way.

Madeleine L’Engle and Susan Cooper

It was Madeleine L’Engle’s (then) Time Trilogy that I first connected with. Something inside me said, “This is what I want to write.” She’s technically science fantasy, but it was the first science anything that I’d read to that point.

Susan Cooper came into my life a little later, but again, through the public library. I read her The Dark is Rising series and loved her take on Arthurian legend. This spoke to the fantasy side of my writing persona.

I bought both series when I had enough money to do so. I still have both.

What else was I reading? Elfquest by Wendy and Richard Pini. A friend was, and still is, very much a fan. The same friend introduced me to Robin McKinley (The Hero and the Crown, The Blue Sword). Both of these were strong influences, though not quite in the literary matriarchy.

There were a lot of other novels I was reading, most thanks to the above-mentioned friend, whose dad had a fabulous classic SFF collection and often encouraged her to offer her patronage to The World’s Biggest Bookstore in Toronto when she visited him 😀

Her dad even set us up with our first D&D books, after which, we spent entirely too much money on the game, but spent years in geeky bliss roleplaying.

R.A. MacAvoy, Susanna Kearsley, Ursula K. Le Guin, and O.R. Melling

When I went to university (Guelph, the first time), I met, through my roommate, her sister, Sue Reynolds, who wrote Strandia. This book was influential on me because it was one of the first ones that didn’t involve a romance in the happily ever after of its protagonist. There were romantic aspects to the plot, but the protagonist chose wholeness for herself rather than her beloved’s proposal in the end.

Also through my roommate, I was introduced to Welwyn Wilton Katz. I read just about everything Katz wrote for a few years and she was well on the way to becoming a literary mother, but I didn’t stick with her, or rather, her books didn’t stick with me as much.

I was drafting the story that would evolve into Initiate of Stone during those years. I started keeping a journal, and aside from my course reading, I was heavily influenced by Guy Gavriel Kay. Mary Brown was also a discovery during this period. I loved her ugly duckling retellings.

I left Guelph after two unremarkable years and got a job at the Coles store in Yorkdale mall. Part of me was in heaven and buying up books like mad with my staff discount. The other part of me was unhappy because, in all other respects, the job was an epic fail on my part.

One of my discoveries during this time was R.A. MacAvoy. I started with her Damiano series, progressed with her Black Dragon series, and fell in love with her quirky Lens of the World series. I read several of her standalone novels as well. She was the first author who reflected my ancestry in her characters (Sara the Fenwoman), and the first who wasn’t afraid to introduce cultural diversity in her characters.

I keep going back to Lens of the World periodically, because that series was also written in first person, present, point of view (POV). It was a challenging POV to use, and it’s still a learning tool for me. I haven’t felt brave enough to tackle anything so ambitious myself.

I also discovered O.R. Melling about this time, but I’ll come back to her in a little bit.

After a couple of years of living in and around Toronto, two other potential careers, a couple of failed relationships, and the realization that I needed to finish my degree if I was going to be able to progress as a writer, I returned to Sudbury to finish my BA at Laurentian University.

Susanna KearsleyIt was during this time that my SFF/D&D buddy, after helping me to connect with Mr. Science and both of us marrying our partners, moved away with her husband. She emailed me and said that Susanna Kearsley, author of Marianna, and recent winner of the Catherine Cookson Award, was giving a workshop for the local writer’s group.

Of course, I hopped down for a visit with my friend and took in the workshop. I read Marianna, Splendour Falls, and The Shadowy Horses.

A couple of years ago, I reconnected with her at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference (SiWC). Her influence on me has been to introduce me to a different genre. When I first met her, it was grouped under gothic, but Susanna’s stories are more paranormal in nature and while romance does feature, it’s not the main focus of her novels.

I took a creative writing course with Dr. John Riddell (Shiobhan’s father) and started to get my stories published.

I also took a course in science fiction and was introduced to Ursula K. Le Guin. The Dispossessed blew me away not only because it was SF written by a woman, but also because of its story structure. I’ve since read the Earthsea series, The Left Hand of Darkness, collections of her short fiction, other shorter novels (Rocannon’s World), some of her YA novels (The Beginning Place), and one of her books on writing craft (The Wave in the Mind).

I keep on picking up her work and reading it. The diversity of her work and the longevity of her career have been what inspire me most about Le Guin.

Finally, toward the end on my degree, I was working on my undergraduate thesis on the YA and MG novels of Welwyn Wilton Katz, Michael Bedard, and O.R. Melling.

I had discovered Melling when I was working at Coles, and kept picking up her books. Mostly, they dealt with magical time travel and Celtic legend. In the series that she had just started (at that time), Celtic legend blended with Native Canadian.

It was the first time I’d seen someone so effortlessly intertwining mythologies in this way. It made me think thoughts. It still does.

Sheri S. Tepper and Diana Gabaldon

I started reading Sheri S. Tepper during my Laurentian years as well. I now have most of her books, even some of the mysteries written under her pen names.

What fascinates me about Tepper’s work is the complexity of her plots and the strength of her protagonists. I never cease to be surprised or amazed at some point in her novels.

Her SF would be characterized as “soft” because of the sociological focus, but I still look to her body of work as an exemplar of what can be done within the genre.

She also writes from feminist and social justice perspectives. Tepper just rocks.Diana Gabaldon

Diana Gabaldon came a little later yet. I started reading her Outlander series after Voyager was published. I’m a little over the moon that her books have finally made it to the small screen.

I’ve now read all of her Outlander books and several of the off-series, but related, Lord John Grey books.

One thing I picked up from her was playing with POV. In a novel with several POV characters, I’ve used the same technique that she does, and I use first person, past, for my protagonist and close third person for everyone else.

It was Gabaldon’s genre mashing goodness that hooked me and the quality of her storytelling that has kept me. I was able to attend some of her sessions at SiWC and she is a lovely person as well as a great writer.


I’ve read and met many other women authors, several of them Canadian, and while I’ve enjoyed reading and learned from each of them, no one else has quite made it into the literary matriarchy yet.

I read a lot of male authors as well, but that’s not what I’m writing about here, now, is it 😉

The women I’ve listed in the section headings are the ones I consider to be my literary mothers. These are the women through whom I trace my development as a reader and as an author.

Who are your literary mothers?

Muse-inks

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, 8-14, 2015

Because it was daylight savings last week:

DST Princess Bride meme

This is how I feel EVERY time we shift. Admittedly, it’s worse in the spring, but still. It messes me up.

A related article: how our circadian rhythms shape out waistlines. NPR.

Science debunks the myths of the midlife crisis. Scientific American.

Huge tomb of a Celtic prince unearthed in France. The Daily Mail.

This church isn’t abandoned anymore. LittleThings.com

I enjoy fart humour, so here are some humorous fart facts from i09.

Candid shots of actors behind the scenes of your favourite movies. Distractify.

You are what you listen to. The Creativity Post.

Why chameleons really change colour. Vertiasium.

 

Murmurations are so soothing to watch. i09.

An old dog toy is left out for a coyote to find. Super Cute on Imgur.

I guess I wasn’t much on the thoughty this week, but there you are. Blame it on the time change 😛

Be well until Saturday.

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 8-14, 2015

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away last week.

Here’s Neil Gaiman’s very worthwhile talk at JCCSF. It basically turned into a tribute to his friend.

 

Here is BuzzFeed’s ranking of Pratchett’s Discworld novels.

Sir Terry will live on in the words of his books and in the hearts of his readers.


 

K.M. Weiland’s Sunday blog and podcast is dedicated to writers on the verge of writing spectacularly complex characters.

Why is your awesome protagonist boring readers to death? Katie’s Wednesday vlog.

Janice Hardy’s month-long novel revision workshop on Fiction University continues. Here’s day eight.

Jodie Renner guests on Anne R. Allen’s blog with this step-by-step guide to writing a prize-winning short story.

Therese Walsh explores multitasking further on Writer Unboxed. Snakes on a brain.

Veronica Sicoe posts on how to clean up your manuscript formatting in MS Word.

Kameron Hurley muses on the virtues of becoming a professional writer.

The second round of Jim C. Hines’s guest posts on representation in SFF begins with this post by LaShawn Wanak on false narratives.

Grammarly presents the strange origins of English idioms.

Grammarly (again) offers ten quotes from Winnie the Pooh that will make you smile.

BuzzFeed weighed in with these 31 quotes from children’s books.

Vanity Fair analyzes the Game of Thrones season 5 trailer.

And HBO is doing a 30-day countdown. Here’s the first instalment: Who are the sand snakes?

Tor.com shares 13 fantasies that are based on myths from the British Isles.

Lessons for writers from Bavarian Fairy Tales. The Take Away.

See you Thursday!

Tipsday

Series discoveries: Anime

I’ve been thinking about writing this for a while. I’ve basically become an anime junkie.

The backstory part

A number of years ago, I can’t actually remember exactly how many, I’m that old, now (not), I used to stay up late on the weekends, Friday and Saturday nights. Not terribly late, but 1 or 2 in the morning.

As Mr. Science used to say, sleep is the enemy (he’s since reassessed that particular opinion, stopped drinking coffee in the evenings, naps on weekends, and is generally more pleasant for it).

It was my way of trying to make the most of my weekends, but I’d sleep in the following mornings, so I really didn’t gain any time. I’ve since just decided to use the time that I have more efficiently 😉

But one of the things I used to do at the end of those late nights was to watch YTV. At the time, they were playing Inu Yasha, and though it was cheesy in spots, I thought it was great storytelling.

After that series ran its course, they played Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach, and then Death Note. I loved Fullmetal and Bleach even more than Inu Yasha, but Death Note not as much.

Even earlier, I’d watched anime movies like Vampire Hunter D, 3 X 3 Eyes, Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed, Akira, and others. A friend of mine owned (and still does) the local comic store, and would order the videos, video discs, and finally DVDs, and brought them gaming nights, parties, and so forth.

So anime was nothing new. Loving it was, though.

New toys, new obsessions

Last year, Mr. Science purchased a Roku stick. For those of you who don’t know, a Roku stick will allow you to access all sorts of free and by-subscription content. You can access BBC World News, Canada Film Board shorts, and other nifty stuff for free. You can set up Netflix on the Roku.

You can also set up anime channels like CrunchyRoll and Funimation. Now these require a subscription fee, but it’s quite reasonable.

We wanted to watch something together. I chose Bleach, largely because the run on YTV had stopped in the middle of the second season. We started from the beginning and burned through the entire series somewhere in June or July.

We kind of went into withdrawal and Phil resorted to a Shonen Jump subscription and buying the continuing manga. I’ve read up to date on the manga as well, but it’s not the same as the anime. There’s something about the form that draws me in more so than the manga.

From there, Phil’s watched Attack on Titan, Death Note, and he’s currently addicted to Gintama. There are a few others that he enjoys as well.

We tried Claymore, Souleater, and Spice and Wolf, and didn’t enjoy them. Claymore and Spice and Wolf didn’t hook us in the first couple of eps, and Souleater was aimed at a younger audience. Though we gave it several eps, it just didn’t appeal.

I wanted to watch the newer version of Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Phil joined in part way through and we both found that we enjoyed Brotherhood more than the original.

We wanted to continue watching other series together, though. So we selected Fairy Tail, which we burned through and are now waiting for the weekly instalments (getting our fix tonight). Next, it was the short-lived enjoyment of Blue Exorcist, which was only one season, and then Log Horizon, which again, we are now watching weekly after having watched all the existing eps.

We’re now watching Akame ga Kill in between waiting for new eps of Fairy Tail and Log Horizon. It’s quite graphic in its violence and main characters get themselves killed all the time.

I don’t want to get all spoilery on you and there are so many anime reviews out there on the web that I’ll let you look into all of these series yourself and you can decide if you want to partake. What I will do is let you know what I’ve learned from watching anime.

The takeaways

  1. The power of friendship trumps everything else.

Though we’re not opposed to dark storylines (the protagonist of Death Note is a right bastard who perpetrates all kinds of evil), Phil and I find we don’t enjoy them as much as the ones like Bleach, in which Ichigo Kurosaki continually learns and grows because he wants to protect the people he loves.

Not that Bleach doesn’t have its dark moments (the revelation about Unohana in the manga blew us away), but Ichigo always manages to make the noble choice. Everyone likes him without things getting too saccharine because he’s a flawed and relatable character.

Other series, like Fairy Tail and Log Horizon focus on the power of friendship in a more obvious fashion. The only thing that bothers me a bit about those two series is that the power of friendship often takes precedence over all other considerations.

Mind you, most of the series we watch are intended for tween and teen boys, and so romantic overtures are often set aside (despite the ample breast size of most of the female characters), even when they (the overtures and the ample breasts) are boldly thrust at the protagonist, as they are in Akame ga Kill.

  1. Story arcs predominate.

They could be as short as two or three episodes, or as long as two seasons, but the writers of anime have their plot shit wired tight. There’s always a payoff and it’s satisfying even if there are aspects of the story arc that I don’t enjoy.

Redemption is a big theme. Heroes become villains, and villains become heroes. Sometimes you’re not sure which is which.

  1. Humour abounds.

There’s always a ridiculous argument or reaction to something. Erza, in Fairy Tail, for example, though she’s an awesome wizard and warrior, is socially inept and often obsesses over silly ideas to extremes that her friends find embarrassing. Even so, they support Erza in her obsession not only because they’re her friends, but also because they all have a healthy respect for her power.

Though I don’t watch it, Gintama is constantly parodying other anime (the protagonist reads Shonen Jump and wants his own Bankai – Bleach), and goes to great extremes with scatological humour. If a weapon can find its way into someone’s ass, it does, people are hit so hard their balls fly off, and shit flinging monkeys often foment chaos.

It’s a bit much for me, but Phil laughs himself silly.

  1. It’s good to be surprised.

Just when you think that the story can’t go anywhere else, it does, and it goes to a completely unexpected place.

The concept behind Bleach is that an otherwise normal boy who can see the spirits of the departed has to assume the powers of a soul reaper. In order to save his friends, he is constantly breaking the rules, achieves greater and greater power, and then, because his enemies are so much more powerful than he is, new dimensions and risks open to him in his quest.

In Fairy Tail, the celestial wizard Lucy, though not very powerful on her own, is the key to a greater adventure that everyone in her guild becomes involved in.

It’s all about the creativity in the storytelling.

For better or worse, I’m addicted to anime now, and happily so. I enjoy it more than most of the television I watch.

I watch it like I watch anything, as a writer looking for lessons that I can take to the page.

Next week: Ima write about my literary mothers 🙂

Be well until then!

Series Discoveries

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, March 1-7, 2015

How gardening, and specifically the microbes in soil, can make you happy. Gardening Know-How.

How healthy gut flora (bacteria) can also have an antidepressant effect. Scientific American.

Empathy might lead to social anxiety. Spirit Science and Metaphysics.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) affect your health. Includes an informative self-test. NPR.

More about your ACE score and a resilience quiz (as a bonus). ACES too high news.

And a supporting article from IFLS: childhood trauma affects the brain.

Surrender doesn’t mean defeat. OM Times shares the seven habits of surrendered people. It’s related to resilience.

How physicians and psychiatrists are medicating women rather than treating the underlying issues. Some of us don’t need prescriptions. Or we don’t need the prescriptions they think we do . . . The New York Times.

For the other side of the story, Emily Landau states that she has been helped immeasurably by prescription medications and that she doesn’t believe they’ve affected her adversely. CBC.

Eleven things introverts want you to know. Elephant Journal.

Last week, I shared the Desiderata text. For those of you who were curious, here’s the version set to music by Les Crane:

 

Stop procrastination by asking one question and considering the answer for three minutes. Inc.

Most consistently successful creative people say ‘NO.’ Business Insider.

The strange world of felt presences links Shackleton, sleep paralysis, and hearing voices. The Guardian.

Did the human alliance with dogs drive the Neanderthals to extinction? National Geographic.

New human fossil offers more detail for our family tree. National Geographic.

Here’s what scientists think methane-based life might look like (if they find it on Titan). From Quarks to Quasars.

Ancient Mars may have had an ocean. The New York Times.

Scientists have discovered another earth-like planet. Higher Perspective.

More on what’s coming up for Neil deGrasse Tyson. The Wall Street Journal.

Cats see things that are invisible to humans. Higher Perspective.

I’ve shared posts or videos about the rabbit island and the fox village in the past, now The Atlantic features some great pictures from a Japanese cat island.

I love crows and ravens and so this story about crows gifting the girl who’s fed them since she was four made me #furiouslyhappy.

This video shares an important message about equality and diversity.

 

It was a thoughty week!

Hope you find something to exercise your grey matter.

Until Saturday, be resilient 😉

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 1-7, 2015

I’m beginning to think that the universe is trying to tell me something 😉 Between Tipsday and Thoughty Thursday this week, you’ll see a definite theme developing. Or not . . .

K.M. Weiland continues her common writing mistakes series with part 39: referencing characters by title rather than by name.

In Katie’s Wednesday vlog, she discusses the reasons why avalanches, wolves, and lightning storms may not be the best way to begin your novel.

Roz Morris posts about resilience. I love the image she found—a bear on a trampoline 🙂

In her series on debut author lessons, Mary Robinette Kowal tackles the topic of writing full time. Important to know: as a self-employed professional, if you’re not writing, you are unemployed.

Poet Mary Oliver inspired Anna Elliott to write a post for Writer Unboxed with this line: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Steven Pressfield writes about self-doubt and what the soul knows about keeping you on the true path.

Janice Hardy has started a month-long revision workshop on Fiction University. Start here with her March 1st post and follow along. Great step-by-step analysis of every aspect of your novel.

Here’s a post outlining the principles of ergonomics for writers from the World’s Greatest Book blog.

And because it’s related, here’s the TED-ed video that explains why sitting too much is bad for us:

 

What Alice in Wonderland reveals about the brain. This could go either on Tipsday or Thoughty Thursday, but because the book is the basis for the article, I’m placing it here. BBC.

When George R. R. Martin was asked how he could write female characters so well, his answer was, “Well, they’re human beings, aren’t they?” When I saw the title of Kate Elliott’s post for Tor.com, I knew it was going to be interesting: writing women characters as human beings.

Women artists re-envision images of their favourite SFF characters. i09.

39 misused words and how to use them correctly. Time.

How Catriona Balfe nailed her audition with one line. TV Line.

Pets who’d rather you pet them than read. The Dodo.

That’s a wrap!

See you Thursday 🙂

Tipsday