Category Archives: General Writing Things

Yet Another Teaser

Redneck_Eldritch_coverThe third story preview for Redneck Eldritch is up!  This time it’s the fine story Recording Devices, by D.J. Butler.

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Moar Teaser!

Redneck_Eldritch_coverAnother preview of a story in the Redneck Eldritch anthology is up – The Swimming Hole, by Theric Jepson.  Also, as you can see, the final cover art is up.

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promo-cover_REI’ve contributed a story to the upcoming Redneck Eldritch anthology from Cold Fusion Media (I prefer to call it “American Gothic” so I look classier when folks ask about my latest project down at the country club, but whatever).  Anyhoo, in advance of the publication in April, there will be a sting of teasers for the various stories in the anthology.  Check out the first one, for A Hole In the World, by Ian Welke, here.

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Happy Birthday, Edward Gorey!


Of course, you died back in 2000 and all, but if it appropriate to wish anyone a happy birthday after they’re dead, it’s Edward Gorey


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Keepin’ the Streak Alive!

NaNo-2015-Winner-Badge-Large-SquareAs you can see by the graph below, I have once again won NaNoWriMo.  As you can also see, I again managed a wonderfully smooth progression that steadily jumped ahead of the daily wordcount goal one needs to hit 50,000.  Finally, you can see from the end there, where it stops dead at 50,008 words on November 28, that I hated the novel by the end of the month and wanted nothing to do with it.

Seriously, it’s horrible, some of the worst stuff I’ve written.  Still, it’s 50,000 words of something, and hopefully in a few months when I can stand to look at it, I’ll find that maybe 20 or 30k of that is usable as the core of an actual book.  That’s what Nano is all about!


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Interesting Problem

derailmentHey, has anyone else ever been frantically cranking out a mystery during nanowrimo and had, say 6,766 words in, have one character ask another character a question that derails the whole plot?  Just asking.

Characters can be real jerks, when they get ideas.


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Language Quantification

quantifyI spend a lot of time in my day job quantifying things, and apparently this falls under one of the many things I do that other people think is cool, because, as with Global Positioning System work and wearing wrap-around sunglasses, I often find people doing it in inappropriate contexts.  Today I find yet another in a long line of people desperately trying to score language and grammar.  This time, it’s in the New York Times, and involves trying to figure out which works of literature the speeches of various politicians are most similar to.  The method of comparison uses axes of “complexity” and “positivity” to classify both books and speeches.  I could delve into why these things are hard to quantify in language, and why it might not work, but we don’t really need to get into all that.  Besides, Language Log is better at that than I’ll every be.  But there’s no need to get all clever about it; there are two much simpler ways to examine this whole thing.

First, let’s look at the results.  Are Ted Cruz’s speeches similar, in any meaningful or useful way, to Beowulf?  Has anyone ever listened to Bernie Sanders speak and thought it sounded like James Joyce’s Ulysses?  No.  The answer is no.  So the final results don’t help much.

But heck, let’s also look at the axes of the graph.  Is Peter Pan really characterized by it’s relentlessly negative language?  Is the language in Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat really simple?  Again, maybe in some sense, but from a purely practical sense, is that a useful sense?  No.  So apparently the scoring system doesn’t really work, either.

So there we go.  Back to counting personal pronouns.

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There Are Rules

KaldeidotropeHey, all, I have a new story up in the Autumn issue of Kaleidotrope: There Are Rules.  Check it out, if you are so inclined (it is less spooky than the delightful cover art for the issue would imply)


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I don’t like talking about the movie adaptation of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen more than absolutely necessary, since one can say without exaggeration that it is one of the worst things to ever befall humanity.  If nothing else, it holds the record for distance between quality of source material and quality of adaptation.  But now there’s talk of a new movie version, and I’m (very) cautiously optimistic, if only because if it is relatively successful it might bump the current hideous abomination from occasionally taking up valuable TV time on Saturday afternoons, like the way the new Fantastic Four movie will … okay, bad example.  Okay, like how the more recent Judge Dredd movie bumped that horrible Sylvester Stallone thing where he refused to wear the helmet, or the various more recent Batman movies bumped the various older Batman movies.

But here’s the thing.  Everyone is very excited about the quote from John Davis, producer of said movie, where he says it’s going to be more “female-centric”.  This has, of course, made the sort of people who shriek about Ghostbusters remakes flip out, because argle-bargle PC blah blah, and other people to get all excited about John Davis’s creativity and bravery.  All these people are jerks, because they are either opining about something they don’t know about, or like the author of that very article I linked to, seem to have not absorbed anything of what they read.  Or what John Davis said.

Because Davis’s whole point is that being more faithful to the source material, it will end up being more female-centric.  This is because unlike the movie, which had Alan Quatermain leading the group because someone got Sean Connery to play him (and Sean fucking Connery can’t play a semi-decrepit opium addict who needs help to find his way back to being useful, oh no), in the graphic novel, Mina Harker was the one who recruited the team of sociopaths and held them together (for a while).  Of course in the movie, Mina had to be changed into a generic leather-clad spinny killbot ™ who, as I recall, had no lines. She got off easy compared to the treatment of Mr Hyde, but let’s not get into that.


See? Right there in the center

Anyway, can we just all agree that no one who hasn’t read the Alan Moore graphic novel is  allowed to talk about this subject anymore?  Great, thanks.



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Legal, But Stupid

soapSo there’s a new app out there called “Cleanreader” for people who don’t like writing all that much, by expurgating naughty words (that is to say words that Jared and Kirsten Maughan don’t approve of).  Some folks don’t like their writing being altered by this thing, but it is legal.  The thing is, back when Thomas Bowlder made Shakespeare safe to read back in the day, he didn’t just barge in and replace one word at a time (despite the fact that his name later came to be synonymous with doing that).  Single word replacement just results in too many comical errors, as one finds in the recent biography of Groin Cheney.

The other problem, of course, is that folks like the Maughans, who don’t have much respect for language, aren’t really equipped to come up with good replacements for naughty words – wouldn’t be even if they could come up with a more intelligent replacement method.  I mean, check out the list of words and their replacements, here.   There seems to be some confusion about what a “bottom” is, for one thing.  And more to the point, you can’t replace the tapestry of various words for that piece of the anatomy, each with their own particular flavor, with one word.

But I’m here to help!  It so happens that throughout the ages, we humans have come up with all sorts of wonderful words for intimate anatomy, so there’s no need to be so stingy.  Just check out Johnathan Green’s various lists – he’s done all the legwork.  And wouldn’t you rather read prose peppered with words like “ring-dang-doo” and “Captain Standish” than see nothing but bottoms and groins everywhere?


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