Category Archives: Writing

J.K. Rowling and the Penmonkey’s Opinion

Since this is exploding all over the internet, and I’ve now made the minimum ante-in to speak about Harry Potter fandom (I watched all the movies over the month of January) I feel like I’m privy to talking about this now. Hermione and Harry would be just absolutely awful together. Not as a couple, but for the story itself. Continue reading J.K. Rowling and the Penmonkey’s Opinion

Instead of an angry internet rant, here’s my goldfish!

Today, I read a presumptuous, reductionist, condescending article about diversity in geekdom. It devolved into flamebait about white, heterosexual, male self-importance and privilege, and then to hating on male geeks.

I wrote a 1,268 word response to it, and almost clicked “Publish”, but I refuse to spread more internet hate. Instead, here are pictures of my goldfish.

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Front and center, Speckles. To the right, Loam. Loam started out charcoal black, but turned orange as he grew up, which is apparently common for darkly colored goldfish.

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Saya is the biggest, and the sassiest in the tank. I love watching her lumber around the tank and the indignant look she makes when she accidentally bumps the bridge (lower left of picture).

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This is Blaze. He’s the fishtank’s redneck. Lauren says that according to The Internet, Blaze’s tumor is benign, and that in any case, if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be able to save him. It doesn’t seem to bother him any though.

Aren’t they cute?

Wasn’t that better than listening to an angry white geek argue with another angry white geek even though they agree on the central premise?

I thought so.

The Dark Tower, Chiastic Something or Other, and Existential Blue Screens

So, we hit the 10-year mark on the last book of The Dark Tower series this year, but in case you, like me, are a F/SF fan that totally missed the whole thing because the bookstores file it under Literature with the rest of King’s work (WHY!?), I will alert you that yes, there are decade-old spoilers straight after the cut.

For those of you that haven’t read it yet, all you should know is that it’s good to read, and that King does manage to wrap it up with a satisfying-yet-not-satisfying ending. I want to talk about that ending. Continue reading The Dark Tower, Chiastic Something or Other, and Existential Blue Screens

Snowraven 2014 and other news

Wow, okay, um. Hi.

I haven’t posted an update here since August, and that’s kind of irresponsible. There are a lot of reasons for the lapse, but the best reason is that I dumped a ton of time into finishing Snowraven’s rough manuscript. It still needs edits, but those edits won’t start from the ground up, and that makes me as happy as a… a… well, a writer that’s finished a rough manuscript.

My next project is an as-yet untitled 3-part serial novel with the elevator pitch:
“What if Conan the Barbarian had trouble with women?”

Apparently I think that this story’s more important to tell than the backlog of other ideas that were waiting for post-Snowraven free time to complete. In a way, I find the new story comforting. The plot is quick and silly, but it’s been two years since I’ve had a new story idea rather than just executing on backlogged ideas. It’s a relief to know my stock of story-seed isn’t exhausted.

Notables since August: I finished The Dark Tower series, read Chuck Wendig’s Mockingbird, watched two anime series (“Ika Musume” and “Attack on Titan”), and got lost in Civilization III and IV, The Sims 2, and Fallout 1, all over again. I’ll have reviews for these things up here soon.

Oh, I took the JLPT N1 again. Results will be back in February or March, not that it really matters. I’ve been doing fine professionally without that certification anyways.

Why Writers Should Come Out Of Their Caves

At Norwescon, I sat in a panel assembled to answer a pretty simple question: What benefit can writers get from leaving their caves? More the pity then that the panelists spent more time discussing how introverted they were, how much benefit they get from staying in their caves, and how the light and the outside world exhausts them.

Okay. I get it. You’re a writer. The myth and legend of solitary creation has so captivated you that you’ve dedicated your very life to getting as little human contact as possible. As one panelist put it, “If you aren’t getting something out of your writing, enjoying the very task, then why would you be there?”

Sure. But does forced solitude follow that? I like talking to people. I like capturing the spirit of how people are. I like social gatherings, time with friends, shit, time with strangers. Do I have to offer that up on an altar just cuz some late 19th early 20th century drunks pooled in the societal expectation griddle and congealed like thrice-cooked-and-rancid sausage fat? Does every other writer have to be battered and cooked in that shit? Continue reading Why Writers Should Come Out Of Their Caves

Drive Might Be Inherited, Money and Connections Certainly Are

This article came across my feed today, from a magazine that usually does a pretty good job of things.

I couldn’t help myself. I broke my rule of arguing with strangers on the internet in order to post this diatribe on the Facebook post:

This is horrifying, more like reading Ayn Rand than your typical U.S. Republican speech.

So the rich “inherit” the drive of their parents? What about the political, social, and financial capital that separates the elite from the poor, even in an egalitarian society such as Sweden? What about the fact that a rich B-student in the U.S. can afford an unpaid internship while a poor A-student might have to work for minimum wage in order to mitigate the financial damage of an education? What about the fact that due to these circumstances, the rich B-student gets fast-track to Management, while the A-student may end up working retail after he gets out, because he has no elite connections? What about the fact that the elite have the financial reserves to take outsize risks, safe in the knowledge that however hard they screw it up, they and their family will assuredly not starve.

The world is not an equal place, and Economists deal with the real world. That’s why we’re not philosophers or moralizers. Leave biased, incorrect, and unscientific ideology to them. We’ve got dismal science to do.

While I’m not at all alone in this assessment, I’d like to expand that last paragraph. Continue reading Drive Might Be Inherited, Money and Connections Certainly Are

Why The Lens Character From J. Geils Band’s Centerfold Is A Creepy Otaku

So I was listening to this in the car today…

…And I thought, “Who is this guy?”

Most critics of Centerfold take a feminist slant, focusing on notions of male possessiveness and the commoditization of the female body.

Not me. I thought, “Have I met this guy? What’s he look like? What’s he like?” Continue reading Why The Lens Character From J. Geils Band’s Centerfold Is A Creepy Otaku

Writing By Inches

Misery talked about the games writers play to keep words flowing.

Here’s one I once used.

Before my first workshop, during my browser window years, I’d write a sentence or two between tasks in games; while my character recovered from scorpion stings in Shadowbane, or troll throwing-axe wounds in Wacraft’s Hinterlands. I’d pause my anime every five minutes to tap out a sentence, and then unpause. If I’d kept it up, Naruto alone could have netted me fifty shitty stream-of-consciousness novels — I didn’t keep it up, but ignore that. Continue reading Writing By Inches