January 24th, 2009


[links] Link salad has breakfast in America

The Throw Down in Squid Town — Evil Monkey has a book throwdown. My poor Green is in there. Good thing she's a highly-trained assassin! Go vote!

How novels help drive social evolution — Analysis correlating literary protagonists with hunter-gatherer archetypes. A weird intersection of literary criticism and anthropology. (Thanks to John Burridge, via mailing list.)

The Klingon Keyboard — For klingonguy Does it slice off your fingertips when you make a typo? (Thanks to sheelangig.)

Steam Robot Design Game — (Thanks to willyumtx.)

Early Green Giant — The Green Man by way of Ray Harryhausen. Except I always thought he looked like Peter Pan after the H-bombs had fallen on Neverland. From Drawn!, the illustration and cartooning blog.

Arabic Logos — From Drawn!, the illustration and cartooning blog. I find myself following more visual arts blogs. This seems to help me in my writing.

vintagephoto — My new favorite LJ community.

World's Most Curious Ephemera, Part 2 — More mad genius from Dark Roasted Blend.

The Edge of the American West on media coverage of the Boxer Rebellion

Alternative Currency — A phenomenon of which I have been well-aware, but I never knew the proper nomenclature. Interesting stuff if you're writing about underground economies, for example.

Squid Teeth Inspire Handy MaterialThe circular teeth squid use to snag and handle prey could lead to strong but lightweight, environmentally friendly composite materials, according to new research. Hmmm...

A Workable Fusion StarshipCentauri Dreams with more on practical interstellar transportation. This is basically Project Orion with semiconductors. I'd sooner carry John Carter's radium rifle around than ride in either one of those things, but it's cool thinking.

Do Naked Singularities Break the Rules of Physics? — All together now: "You cannae break the laws of physics, Jim." (Thanks to lt260.)

Gecko Tape That Lets GoTechnology Review on new generations of adhesives. The article points out an obvious problem I'd never considered, which is how you control when (or whether) an adhesive lets go. Which of course is right up there with "How do they get teflon to stick to the pan?"

?otD: Could we have kippers for breakfast, mummy dear, mummy dear?

Body movement: 40 minute ride on the stationary bike
This morning's weigh-in: n/a (got distracted and forgot to weigh)
Currently reading: The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville

Originally published at jlake.com.


[personal|writing] On being a public person

One of my most deeply held beliefs has been severely challenged in the past couple of weeks. As regulars of this blog know, I have a strong conviction that the story belongs to the reader. This statement could be generalized to "the words belong the reader", in the sense of blog posts, articles and any other public statements I make.

The recent cultural appropriation furor in the blogosphere has been identified by some observers as originating with this post of mine: [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ]. Since the discussion started, one of the nicer things I've seen said about myself is that I am a "denier of white privilege." I'm not going to bother to link, they're quite easy to find if you want to read them.

On the face of it, suggestions that I am denying white privilege are directly contrary to my plain reading of my own words, as well as to the intentions behind them. But that doesn't matter. Because my words mean what they mean to the reader, with whatever context the reader brings to them.

This is a difficult post to write. I'm trying not to defend myself, for example, from judgments about at me quite at odds with a lifetime of behavior and a published paper trail running toward a million words. Because the people who read that post don't know me, don't know my fiction, haven't been following my blog for years.

All they can judge me by is the words they see.

And that is the peril of being a public person. My words speak for themselves. If I craft them ineffectively, or they fail in context for a reader, that is the risk the words take, and that is the risk I take through the words.

What I've learned these past two weeks is that I've never much minded being taken to task for my fiction, but being taken to task for my personal beliefs can be very painful indeed. What I've also realized, again, is that such criticism cannot be allowed to stop me.

Originally published at jlake.com.


[writing] How many rejections have you had?

Pursuant to a discussion on Twitter right now, I'll mention here that I had about 150 rejections before I made my first pro sale, and currently have had over 1,200 in my career. (1,225 as of this week.) By contrast, I personally know at least two writers who made a pro sale with their first ever submittal.

If you've sold a pro story, how many rejections did you receive before that point?

If you haven't sold a pro story yet, how many rejections have you received so far in your quest?

How many career rejections total?

I'm curious as to people's experiences and views on this.

Originally published at jlake.com.


[writing] Update on The Heart of the Beast

10,700 words on The Heart of the Beast today, to 24,300. That's about six hours' work, 90% of it revisions. By the end of my work session tomorrow I'll be breaking into the portions of the book where I have outline and notes, but only fragments of complete text to work with. At that point this effort will shift from an odd form of revision to something of a pastiche of my core process and Jeff's.

What I'll do then is build the outline into the working file. I'll be combing back through the notes to capture layered versions from his original palimpsest, and drop in scenes transcribed from the handwritten or printed out material. After that, I'll be straight drafting, essentially, albeit with a very different source and scaffold than is my wont. Still having a lot of fun here.

As usual, Collapse )

Originally published at jlake.com.