September 8th, 2007


[links] Link Salad kicks back on the weekend

Recent activity on this blog which may be of interest

My customer satisfaction survey

Group storytelling, courtesy of Yokohama Sid

The LOLJay contest — Still in its entry phase.

Open questions

Link salad in the more usual sense

On monotremes — A lot more interesting than you think. Money shot:

The platypus apparently dreams more than any other mammal, and engages in lots of REM sleep. Echidnas do this too, despite early reports to the contrary (Siegel et al. 1998). Platypuses are hard to kill, and euthanized babies (collected for an experiment during the early 1900s) took a disturbing amount of time to drown.

Thanks to the_flea_king for originally turning me on to the Tetrapod Zoology blog.

Irukandji Syndrome — Apparently about the most intense pain a human being can feel and survive. Read the article. A number of people seem to have done this on purpose.

Writing as a Fantasist — An oldie but a goodie from Dave Wolverton.

A discussion of high end animation and 3D rendering for home users

Review of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism Powells | Amazon ] — A progressive critique of the silent spread of conservative extremism through manipulation (and creation) of catastrophic events. Also, a YouTube clip of a short film by the Cuarón brothers discussing this IMDB ]. As IMDB says:

Drawing surprising connections between market methods and CIA torture techniques developed in the 1950s, the film explores how well-known events of the recent past have been theaters for the shock doctrine, from Pinochet's coup in Chile, to the Tiananmen Square Massacre, to the war in Iraq today.

(Thanks to threeoutside for that last one.)

[personal] Weekend update

Well, the Genre car now fits in my garage in a more-or-less normal fashion. Also helped mom and dad with some stuff at their new place over in Sellwood. Discovered on the way out that some genius keyed the Genre car some time in the last few days. It's 7 years old, with 70,000 miles on it, so I'm not too bent out of shape, but I really don't understand why people do that kind of thing.

Writing and writing-related program activities for the rest of today. I have a video interview tomorrow morning, which will be shot at the Beaverton Powell's. lasirenadolce will be back in town as well. Then various activities with writing and with the_child.

Four day work week this coming week, with a hot departure for Crescent City, CA this coming Thursday afternoon, by car. I'm faculty at the North Coast Redwoods Writers' Conference. Back from Crescent City on Sunday evening (with some coastal sight seeing on the way), then off to Omaha the crack of Monday. Next Friday I'm flying from Omaha to Seattle to land at Foolscap, home the following Sunday. So that's 11 days on the road, I think.

Except for WFC in November (with a possible detour to NYC in the works) and various Omaha trips, that's my last big travel for the year. I'm planning to attend OryCon, and I may pop down to Loscon over Thanksgiving, but really I swear I'll be home for the most part. Also, I have this bridge to sell you.

[lj] Oh, mighty LJ brain

I would like to start a biweekly podcast of me reading my stories, or occasional other content such as recorded interviews or general silliness. I have no trouble generating .mp3 files. I can, for example, post them here as links.

What I don't seem to be able to grok is how to get the rss feed going with the custom tags required to make it a subscribable podcast in iTunes, for example. The LJ FAQ was pretty unhelpful, specifically stating that LJ voice posts are the only podcast-able LJ content.

I'd just as soon not have to start a separate blog somewhere just for the configurable rss feed.

Thoughts? Comments? Should I schmooze an establised podcaster into hosting my podcasts instead of wrangling it myself?

ETA: I may now have this in hand. More info as developments warrant.

[process] Ideas as matches

In a discussion elsewhere, I said something which I thought worth repeating in a public forum. Here it is, quoted with permission, with light edits for clarity.

For me, a story idea is like a match. It can be very small, but with a lot of potential. I can light it and go looking for something to make a bigger fire of. Sometimes I'm walking in fog and there's nothing to burn, and the match goes out. Sometimes I find a worm-eaten library where I can immolate the words of centuries in a blaze so bright it makes the pages smoke. Usually it's something in the middle, but I never know until after I've lit the match and started looking.

I'd like to say it takes a lot of courage for me to write the way I do, but I don't think it does,
for me. That's just what I my process and follow the headlights. But it might well take a lot of courage for you to write the way I do — light the tiny match and see where it goes.

I think the key "aha" here, at least potentially, is that the definition of what constitutes a viable story idea varies considerably from writer to writer. At one end of the spectrum, some people need a tight outline, character sheets, even charts and maps — they need to see the story before they set word to page. It's not an idea til its thoroughly worked out. At the other end of the spectrum, there's idiots like me bumping about in the dark, setting fire to our hair, failing a lot, but producing good work often enough that no one generally notices.

What does an idea look like to you?