Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Feb 14-20, 2016

Feeling light headed again this week.

Anna Lovind: When will you be enough?

The opposite of rape culture is nurturance culture. Dating tips for the feminist man.

This revolutionary cancer therapy yields extraordinary results in human trials. When are some of these therapies going to make it to the public? IFLS.

Irish Archaeology shares photos of Ireland in the 1930s.

Vikings didn’t dress the way we thought. With the return of the History series Vikings, this past week, this article caught my attention. EurekAlert!

Hunting with wolves helped humans outsmart Neanderthals. The Guardian.

The BBC presents striking images of our solar system.

Rosetta’s comet is ‘fluffy.’ Phil Plait for Slate.

And that is your teeny tiny thoughty Thursday.

See you Saturday, for realsies, this time.

Thoughty Thursday

Advertisements

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 14-20, 2016

Pub news, literary deaths, and videos, oh, my!

The big issue of the week: The Huffington Post is proud that it doesn’t pay its writers.

Related: How do writers get paid in a world addicted to free? Kristen Lamb.

Two literary losses this week.

K.M. Weiland shares five important ways storytelling differs between novels and movies. Later in the week, she posted about hacking readers brains by using all five senses in your description. Finally, she explains why cool for cool’s sake character traits are not, in fact, cool.

Roz Morris wonders whether you’ve left an important scene out of your story.

C.S. Lakin shows us the benefits of breaking down scene structure into three parts. Later, she looks at scenes as segments and capsules of time.

Densie Webb explores writing as compulsion on Writer Unboxed.

Andrea Phillips guests on Terribleminds: Throw everything at the wall. On the messiness of modern careers.

Christine Frazier analyzes fight scenes on The Better Novel Project.

Christian Cameron shares his thoughts on faith, piety, and writing about religion.

Foz Meadows: we can’t just adapt science fiction and fantasy novels—we have to transform them. Tor.com

Dan Blank started his own YouTube channel (and, yup, Ima share all of them):

 

 

 

 

 

 

Porter Anderson reviews the progress of Shelfie and Bitlit at three years.

Catherine Ryan Howard updates us on the progress of her two novel deal.

Jim C. Hines: My mental illness is not your inspirational Post-it note.

Haruki Murakami writes about how he became a running novelist. The New Yorker.

Phylogenetic analysis suggests that fairy tales are much older than we thought. Phys.org

The good people of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast interview Beth Revis.

 

I really like Shane Koyczan’s poetry. Here are several samples for your listening enjoyment.

 

 

 

 

Valentine laments the lack of original book titles. The Guardian.

Mental Floss lists 15 things you may not know about Beatrix Potter.

Altas Obscura shares 15 real-world locations of science fiction dystopias.

Buzzfeed lists 27 products for book lovers.

And that was Tipsday.

See you Thursday!

Tipsday

CanCon 2015, day 2: Getting noticed (in a good way) in the novel and short story slush pile

Yesterday ran away with me, so I’m a bit late.

Panellists: Mike Rimar (co-owner Bundoran Press), Gabrielle Harbowy (managing editor, Dragon Moon Press), and Elizabeth Hirst (editor, Pop Seagull)

SlushPile

MR: What do you want to see?

GH: Electronic submissions simplify the process. You want to submit your absolute best work. Follow the submission guidelines.

EH: When something works well in the submission, it stands out.

MR: When it comes to a query, I need to see three things: word count, genre, pitch.

EH: I like a little personality.

Q: Do you always reply?

GH: When submissions are open, yes. When they’re not, all bets are off.

MR: Usually, we reply within three months. If someone has taken the time to query, we will reply. Nothing’s worse than being left hanging.

GH: Wait 1.5 times what the submission guidelines say, just to give everyone a buffer. I will always respond when we have an open submission period.

MR: Asimov’s can be up to six months.

GH: Lightspeed will reject you before you can hit send. It might be a cliché, but eleven lines is all an editor needs to tell if the submission is for them.

EH: I think that’s true, but I keep readings until I know for sure whether it’s a pass or a request for full.

MR: For the Second Contact anthology, I gave people more of a chance to impress me. Two to three pages.

GH: If I’m suitably impressed, I might check out chapter two.

Q: Can you share some statistics?

EH: We had 70 submissions for the Robotica anthology. We took 18. I found more that I liked, but we couldn’t take them. Love, Time, Sex, Magic was different.

MR: It’s sad when you read a really good story that doesn’t fit.

Q: Will you respond with a ‘please send something else’?

MR: No. If I reject a story, I don’t want to invite further interaction.

GH: I’ll respond with a request for further material if I like what I’ve read.

MR: If we meet face to face, I’ll tell you directly.

Q: Do you respond if someone submits repeatedly?

MR: It hasn’t happened yet.

GH: It’s happened to me. They’re probably not paying attention. I keep a maybe file. It’s about 10% of submissions. 2% receive further consideration and 1% might get published.

MR: What are the technical no-no’s you watch out for?

GH: Not fitting with the publication, not following the submission guidelines. Stupid, nervous mistakes are forgivable.

MR: Keep your queries polite and to the point.

GH: In fiction, it has to be complete. Make sure you include your contact information.

MR: Are you as forgiving with paper submissions?

GH: It’s been ten years and I’ve never received one.

MR: Tricks just make me mad.

Q: Is theft a problem?

MR: Not at all.

GH: If I like it, I’ll buy it.

MR: People can have similar ideas. It’s not copyright infringement.

GH: I choose the one that executes the best.

More great advice from professional editors. I’ll be back on track next week, when we’ll be moving on to day three and speculating sex and sexuality.

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Feb 7-13, 2016

It’s been a bit of a disturbing week, but there’s always hope for the future.

Last week marked the trial of Jian Gomeshi. Here are a few posts and articles that discuss the issues at the heart of the frenzy.

The judge will render sentence March 25, 2016.

Related and equally terrible: Zoë Quinn explains why she just dropped the harassment charges against the man who started GamerGate.

A neuroscience researcher shares four rituals that will make you happier. The Business Insider.

Canadian artist, Calvin Nicholls, creates beautiful sculptures from paper. The Bright Side.

Argentinean and Brazilian doctors investigate mosquito insecticide as a possible cause of micorcephaly. The Ecologist. Just to keep things balanced, a scientist friend provided me with a link to the original New England Journal of Medicine article on the Zika virus’s association with microcephaly.

Julia Roberts is Mother Nature.

 

Michael Shermer, founder of Skeptic Magazine, states improving animal rights improves the quality of human life. Big Think.

Phil Plait says that a small asteroid will definitely miss Earth on March 5th. Slate.

Uluru, as seen from space. Phil Plait for Slate.

Here’s the big astronomy news of the week: The laser interferometer gravitational-wave observatory (LIGO) sees gravitational waves for the first time ever as two black holes eat each other. Slate.

Big in a different way: Researchers have discovered a 300 mile wide crater under the Antarctic ice which could date back as far as the Permian-Triassic Extinction. Ohio State University Research News.

Priceless art discovered in a Paris apartment, abandoned since 1939. Faith Tap.

How two sisters and one murder inspired 500 songs. Atlas Obscura.

Lots of thought-worthy material here. I hope you find some inspiration for your creative endeavours.

See you Saturday for more CanCon 2015 reportage.

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 7-13, 2016

Load up your plates my friends, I have lots of nommable readables here 🙂

K.M. Weiland shares her insights into being a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder and a writer. She also offers some tips on how to remain healthy even if you live at a desk.

C.S. Lakin explains how writers can benefit from outlining their scenes. Her scene structure series continues with the opening hook.

Janice Hardy shares five common problems with novel beginnings and how to solve them.

Jamie Raintree shows how the power of consistency builds writing careers.

Lisa Cron shared an older post with our Story Genius class: Three misunderstood pieces of writing advice that can derail your novel. Writer Unboxed. And here’s her most recent post for WU: Where real drama comes from.

Anne R. Allen lists five reasons writers need to use Google+ even though the new Google+ is awful. I must admit, I’ve fallen out of love with G+ these days. I still post there, but if I’m in a time crunch, it’s the first SoMe to be sacrificed.

Kameron Hurley admits her fallibility: We all drop the ball. Another excellence post on the importance of self-care and forgiveness in times of stress.

Related: Allie Larkin writes about the myth of balance for Writer Unboxed.

Jim C. Hines explores the pros and cons of antidepressants.

Chris Winkle gleans lessons from the cinematic writing of I Am Number Four. Mythcreants.

Local author and writerly friend, Paulette Dahl, publishes Love Letters. The Northern Life.

Ken Pisani says, finding an agent is the worst this ever. Publishers Weekly.

You should read this chat on diversity in publishing from The Toast.

The Kenyon v. Clare court case has been all over the feeds this week. Here’s where I heard about it first. Courthouse News Service.

J.K. Rowling will be publishing the script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Publishers Weekly.

This is cool. Mental Floss lists eight things invented by famous authors.

Mental Floss also lists eleven authors who hated the movie adaptations of their books.

Bitch Media presents, Anya to Zombies, an alphabet of graphic novels by women.

This video is sad and beautiful and all kinds of wonderful: The Life of Death. Great storytelling.

Fantasy Fiction Focus features Tim Reynolds.

 

Historical novelist Tracy Chevalier calls Charlotte Brontë her hero. The Guardian.

William Gibson shares his experience writing Neuromancer. The Guardian.

The secrecy and speculation around the Doctor’s new companion (or not). Radio Times.

A Discovery of Witches series is in development. Deadline Hollywood.

I can hardly wait! Outlander, season two, begins April 9! And here’s the official trailer in case you need a little something something to get excited about 😉

Now, to settle down with some tea and let all this awesome digest!

I’ll be back with some thoughty for you on Thursday 🙂

Tipsday

CanCon 2015 day 2: Blood spatter pattern analysis

Presenter: Detective Constable Garneau of the Ottawa Police

Note: The Constable introduced himself, explained what his job entails, and the education he needed to do his job. He told us that he hadn’t presented to writers before and that he’s brought along the material that he’d present to an introductory forensics class. Then he told us that he spoke to a writer about what would be important for a writer to know. He was advised to focus on the physical evidence and on the interpretation of that evidence through case studies. We wouldn’t need to know the history of forensic science or much about the physics.

So, he asked us if we would mind terribly if he focused on that material. He also warned us, even though it was in the program, that he would be presenting some graphic material. He was so polite.

BlooSpatterPatternAnalysis

Blood spatter pattern analysis tells the examiner:

  • The direction the blood droplet was travelling;
  • The angle of impact;
  • The mechanism(s) that contributed to the creation of the pattern;
  • The area of origin;
  • The minimum number of impacts for any source of blood;
  • The relative positions of person(s) or object(s) involved;
  • The sequence of event(s); and
  • The identity of the perpetrator.

The most useful evidence is the outliers.

I confirm theories using science. I don’t work for the Crown, or the defence. I work for the court.

Blood behaves according to the principles of physics. It will behave differently, and look differently, on different surfaces.

In lab simulations, I use sheep’s blood, but then I would also have to explain how sheep’s blood behaves similarly to human blood when I present the evidence in court. If I don’t have to use a lot of blood for the simulation, I’ll use my own.

There are three kinds of blood spatter patterns:

  1. Passive;
  2. Spatter; and
  3. Transfers.

Passive blood spatter patterns are affected by gravity and include: drip stain patterns, drip trail patterns, drip patterns, splash patterns, pool patterns, saturation, and flow patterns.

Spatters are caused by a physical action and include: mist patterns, expiration patterns, cast-off patterns, cessation cast-off patterns, projected (e.g. arterial spray) patterns, and impact patterns. Impact patterns are the fun ones. I have to use physics and math to explain them.

Transfers occur when a blood-covered object touches another object, leaving a pattern behind. Transfer patterns include: the transfer stain, the swipe pattern, and the wipe pattern.

Many of us develop morbid senses of humour. It’s a way to protect ourselves from the impact of all the horrible things we see every day.

For impact patterns, we now have software which will map everything out based on our measurements. I could use strings, and in some cases, I have to, but it’s very time-consuming. Dexter does it wrong, by the way. You can be very precise.

I use trigonometry to determine the area of origin/impact.

The rest of the presentation was specific case studies and how the Constable’s blood spatter pattern analysis resulted in a resolution to the crime. In some cases, it was a positive outcome. In some, it was not. Most of the crimes presented were perpetrated by men against women, often their girlfriends, or spouses.

It was gruesome, but fascinating.

Next week: Getting noticed (in a good way) 🙂

Be with the one you love, tomorrow.

Phil and I will be heading to an afternoon movie (Deadpool!) and dinner.

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Jan 31-Feb 6, 2016

I’ve been sick. Maybe that’s why I’m a little light-headed this week 😛

February 1 was St. Brigid’s Day, or, for the other pagans, Imbolc. Irish Central.

This is a great article on the Granny Women of Appalachia. Hub Pages.

I didn’t share the news last week, but Canada has school shootings, too. Wab Kinew writes about using our grief for good, after LaLoche. The Globe and Mail.

Celebrating 100 years of enfranchised women in Canada. The Toronto Star.

Brian Hiatt reviews David Bowie’s final years. The Rolling Stone.

Photographer Donal Maloney shares his photo essay of Ireland’s abandoned psychiatric hospitals. Irish Central.

BuzzFeed wonders what it would look like if male scientists were written about like female scientists.

I had no idea this was even a thing. Why the outcry (yes, outcry) about Susan Sarandon’s breasts is bullshit. Harriet Hall for Stylist.

Lady Gaga’s new release: Till it happens to you.

 

A BBC film crew captures deadly ‘brinicle’ in action.

This is cool. Bailey Henderson sculpts sea creatures from medieval maps. Hi-Fructose.

Live by these four rules if you want to be happier. Rachael Yahne for The Huffington Post.

Steven Page’s Surprise, surprise.

See you Saturday!

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Jan 31-Feb 6, 2016

I’m all about the Writerly Goodness.

Most common writing mistakes, part 48: No conflict between characters. K.M. Weiland. Helping writers become authors. Then, she helps us figure out which scenes to include in act one.

Using a scene template to craft perfect scenes. C.S. Lakin. Live, write, thrive. Later in the week, she continues her scene structure series with this post: Scene structure: Beginnings and magic ingredients.

Chuck Wendig gets a little punchy with his headline: The pros and cons of pro cons (for writers).

Emmie Mears guest posts on Terribleminds on the issue of impostor syndrome.

Donald Maass says dialogue should do more than fill the silence. Writer Unboxed.

Juliet Marillier shares her experience as an ‘older writer’ on Writer Unboxed.

Jo Eberhardt ofers up her lessons learned about crafting secondary characters that count. Writer Unboxed.

Tiffany Lawson Inman gust posts on Writers in the Storm about seven fight styles every author should know about.

Chris Winkle offers five signs that your novel is sexist. Mythcreants.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch addresses the issue of writer voice (or the lack, thereof) in her weekly business post.

Joanna Penn interviews Joseph Michael, The Scrivener Coach, for The Creative Penn Podcast.

Andrew Rhomberg shares some important statistics on Digital Book World. Start strong, or lose your readers.

Some hope for the long suffering submitter: Scott Edelman sells to Analog after 44 years of submitting.

A new literary movement: method authors. The Independent.

Mental Floss lists 11 words of the year from around the world.

The book most people lie about having read is not what you think it is. The Telegraph.

Last week was national storytelling week. Bustle lists 15 books that will help you start your storytelling career.

Craft your own origami book marks. Rocket News 24.

A new play, “Pig Girl,” takes on the plight of missing and murdered indigenous women. CBC.

Katy Waldman shares what she learned by joining Emma Watson’s feminist book club. Slate.

Can historical fiction be considered serious literature? Why are we even asking this question? New Republic.

See you Thursday!

Tipsday

The next chapter: January 2016 update

First, a note about the non-writing parts of my life

Well, the new year has gotten off to a bit of a shaky start, not with respect to my writing and revision goals, but with respect to other stuff.

In the last week of December, Phil got sick enough he had to go see a doctor. He hadn’t been in a very long time and in the process of diagnosing the illness he went to see the doctor for in the first place, the doctor diagnosed him with two other, fairly serious, illnesses. Three for the price of one. Yay?

I won’t go into the details, because it’s not my story to tell, but he’s on several medications, we’ve had to change our diet (not significantly, but still), and we’ll have to commit to several more lifestyle changes in the coming months. It’s going to be a good thing, ultimately, but I’m a creature of habit. Change is stressful.

Phil’s been told not to tackle everything at once, and so we’re dealing with things one issue, and one day, at a time.

I’ve gotten a cold for the first time in about three years. Since I don’t get them often, I tend to get doozies. I’m also in the process of seeing whether I’m anaemic or not, and my gall bladder is acting up.

I guess this is my reaction to the stress of everything else.

Which includes learning that I’ve been screened out of the consultant process at work. We’ve had a general information session, because many of the over three hundred people who applied were screened out, but I’m still getting an informal discussion of the specific reasons I was screened out. That happens Tuesday.

I’ve really been trying not to get upset. Work is work and I’ve tried to prioritize my creative work over the day job, but having been successful in the last three processes and had four acting assignments in as many years, I can’t help but feel that I’ve been kicked in the teeth. They still have testing and interviews to go, and if the eventual pool ends up being as small at I suspect it will be, there will be another process in the future. I have to question the point of putting myself through the wringer again, though.

My current acting assignment ends next Friday and at that point, so far as I know, I’m heading back to the training and advice & guidance team, but everyone keeps saying that I’m not going back and even managers aren’t including me in the training plan and no one is telling me anything. I’m kind of suffering from mushroom syndrome.

I’m trying to be Zen, but I’m not very good at that, in all honesty. I am a lot more laid back than some people, but I internalize a lot. Hence, the illen.

Now, onto the Writerly Goodness 🙂

I took some time over the holidays to plan out my writing year. Using Jamie Raintree’s amazing new Writing and Revision Tracker, I set writing and revision goals for the year, and for each month.

As I mentioned in my last Next chapter update, 2016 will be the year of revision. As I return to the querying process with Initiate of Stone, I realize I want to have some of my other five finished novels revised and edited and ready to go so that I can keep working toward my dream of a traditional deal.

What I did was to add up the current word totals of all my drafts and divided them up according to what I figure will be my productive months. I also estimated what my blogging totals would be per month and add in my NaNo 2016 writing goals.

What that worked out to was 37,550 words of revision each month (except November and December), between five and seven thousand words of blogging each month (except November), and 50k words drafted in November and December (NaNo this year will be book three of the Ascension series I figure it will take me two months to complete the draft).

So this is what January looked like.

JanuaryProgress

And I even took a few days off (!)

The month started with a couple of days devoted to reading through my draft of Apprentice of Wind, and then I set to. I’ll probably have the first run through done within the next couple of weeks, and then I’m probably going to go through it at least one more time.

So at 9,274 words, I wrote 141% of my writing goal and at 69,774 words, I almost doubled my revision goal (186%).

I also revised and sent out two short stories, and heard that another short story is still under consideration from a submission last year. So that’s awesome.

I also sent out IoS packages to open submission periods for a couple of publishers. As of the end of last year, the three Canadian small publishers I’d pitched last fall had either declined or failed to respond.

We’ll see where all of that gets me.

Other excitement

I’ve attended a few events this past month. The first was Last Stop at the Sudbury Theatre Centre, in which a couple of writer friends had their plays in progress workshopped in front of a live audience (us). It was awesome.

Then, I attended a Skype workshop with Barbara Kyle through the Sudbury Writers’ Guild on adding magic and verve to your first thirty pages. Barbara is an excellent presenter and so knowledgeable about her craft. It’s a pleasure to learn from her.

Finally, I attended a lecture by singer/songwriter Steven Page at Laurentian University on ending the stigma around mental illness. He sang a couple of songs from his new album and discussed his struggles with mental illness.

I’m also currently enrolled in two online courses.

First, I couldn’t resist signing up for Story Genius with Lisa Cron and Jennie Nash. It’s based on Lisa’s new book (of the same name) and is eight weeks long. I’m working on my week four submission this weekend. It’s hard (like, it hurts my poor, tender head hard), especially negotiating the day job and health issues Phil and I are facing right now, but I can see how it’s going to improve my ability to write a novel that will hook readers and keep them reading.

Second, I signed up for Jamie Raintree’s Design a writing career you love workshop. I’m trying to keep one foot in the business side of things. Jamie’s an excellent instructor and I always enjoy her courses.

I’ve booked my hotel for both Ad Astra in April and WorldCon in August and am still waiting for the registration information for The Canadian Writers’ Summit to emerge.

So, I guess it’s no wonder I’m under the weather at the moment.

By and large, though, I love my life. The creative part of it anyway 😉

Next week, the CanCon 2015 reportage continues.

Hope your creative endeavours are moving full steam ahead and that you’re all well on your ways to meeting your goals. Feel free to share your trials and triumphs in the comments below.

The Next Chapter

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Jan 24-30, 2016

Popping your mental corn for . . . a couple of years now, anyway 😉

Walking helps us think. Ferris Jabr for The New Yorker.

Diversity at the Oscars matters. #OscarsSoWhite Cameron Bailey for The Globe and Mail.

I am not black. You are not white.

 

The bitter experience of residential schools translated through ballet: Going Home. CBC.

Steven Page shared his mental health struggles in Sudbury last Thursday night. The Northern Life.

You are not weak by Devin Sarges.

 

New Alzheimer’s treatment fully restores memory. Science Alert.

The memory capacity of the brain is ten times greater than previously thought. New Universe Daily.

Mental Floss lists ten legendary monsters of North America.

Plants communicate using a network of fungi. Uplift.

Trees have social networks. Another article on the same topic. The New York Times.

Traces of a 9000 year old civilization discovered in Lake Huron by University of Michigan researchers. Message to Eagle.

Lupus 4 is a dark cloud in space. Phil Plait examines the mysteries of this tentacular hole for Slate.

Lady Science, a new anthology, is helping to stamp out sexism in the sciences. Slate.

A buried ‘daytime hotel’ is rediscovered in all its Art Nouveau splendour. Messy Nessy Chic.

Roger Boisjoly, the engineer who tried to stop the Challenger launch, dies at the age of 73. The LA Times.

Mimi Matthews explores cat funerals in the Victorian era.

And that was Thoughty Thursday.

And guess what? I lied last Saturday when I said I’d be back with more convention reportage. It’s actually Next Chapter time! So, I’ll be back on Saturday with that.

Thoughty Thursday