December 8th, 2010


[links] Link salad for a hump day

I will be an instructor at Viable Paradise in 2011 [ | LiveJournal ] — What me intimidated?

Kyle Cassidy reviews some of his favorite books — Including my own The Specific Gravity of Grief.

Math Puzzles’ Oldest Ancestors Took Form on Egyptian Papyrus — Mysteries of the ancients, indeed. (Thanks to Dad.)

Why I hate Darwin's beard — A zoologist reflects on images of scientists.

Arsenic and old Universe — The self-correcting mechanisms of science in action. This is the kind of stuff that the denialists who infest conservative American "thought" never understand. Reality-based thinking admits of and corrects for error. Faith-based thinking cannot be wrong by self-definition, and therefore does not understand that self-correction process.

Charlie Stross on Julian Assange — I think he's on the money here.

Why our Afghanistan War Dead don’t Seem to be News — An interesting piece of socio-political analysis from Juan Cole.

If Only Laws Were Like Sausages"I'm so insulted when people say that lawmaking is like sausage making," said Stanley A. Feder, president of Simply Sausage. Hahahaha. (Snurched from Scrivener's Error.)

?otD: What really knocked you out? The cheap sunglasses?

Writing time yesterday: 1.5 hours (WRPA, 1,500 words on a short story project)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.25 hours (solid)
This morning's weigh-in: 251.6
Yesterday's chemo/post-op stress index: 5/10 (peripheral neuropathy, emotional distress)
Currently reading: Between books


[process] Revising versus editing

No, this is not the post I promised a while back. Not yet. Think of this as a pre-post.

Last night over dinner, calendula_witch and I were comparing notes on current writing projects. "I'll fix that on revision" is one of our favorite phrases in those conversations. I mentioned that I'd been thinking about making a blog post on the difference between revision and editing. That unfolded into a curious conversation wherein the more granular our discussion became, the more confused I became. That in turn eventually forced me to fall back on three basic concepts, none of which I am very satisfied with.

1) There is often a difference of scale between revision and editing, but that is not the distinguishing feature between the two.

2) There's a reason we don't call all those nice people at the publishing houses "Revisers".1

3) I am sorely tempted by the Potter Stewart test, viz. "I know it when I see it", which is a bad sign for the clarity of my own thinking.

So let me turn this around and throw the question open. What do you think the difference is between revision and editing? I'm quite curious how this looks to other folks.

1. Granted that editing as done by acquisitions editors, copy editors, production editors, managing editors, etc., is a different-but-related beast from editing done by an author laboring away in their digital garret.


[child] Asking questions about writing

Tonight over dinner, the_child (a recently-minted teenager now) asked me how a writer could manage to work on an idea without getting mixed up on how other people had written that same idea. We had a long, interesting and productive conversation on balancing reading and writing, filling the well, and where ideas came from and what to do with them.

It's like having my own little writers conference, right here.