When I first heard that an Amazon employee had crashed an unmanned aerial vehicle in the Space Needle, I thought to myself “Well, Bezos has finally done it now.” Year after year of losing money? That’s a mark of pride for Seattle-based businesses. Annoying indie authors by not giving them much money for Kindle Unlimited? Well, where else are their most loyal partisans going to go now? But but jove, people are a bit twitchy about drones getting up to mischief these days. And he could hardly have picked a more beloved civic monument to ram. This isn’t the Saint Louis arch or something.
But now it sounds like he simply buzzed the observation deck, maybe without running into anything. So that’s all right, then.
I see MTV is moving forward with a Shannara TV series. I’d feel bad for old Terry Brooks, sort of riding George Martin’s coattails on the whole “make a TV series out of a fantasy novel series” thing. They both started writing around the same time, but Brooks published the first book in his big ol’ fantasy series way before Martin. I bet ol’ Terry gets quite a ribbing at the writer barbeques.
But at least the MTV series is starting with Book 2, Elfstones of Shannara. Because let’s face it, if they’d done a Sword of Shannara movie, he would have looked even more coat-tailish, since it would have been a acene-by-scene remake of a movie someone else made not long ago.
On the other hand, the Shannara series currently consists of like twenty or thirty books, so there is little risk of George Martin-esque issues of outrunning the books. I think Brooks may occasionally write another Shannara book by accident, actually. Sure, they may run together a bit by book three, from what I recall, but that’s what script doctors are for.
I’m not quite sure what to think of Working On My Novel. On the one hand, it looks pretty funny, and also sad and horrifying. It also seems to say something about the novel writing process, and the weird way some people are desperate to put it off, or to brag about it, or to try to force themselves to do it by making it public.
It also says something about the publishing industry that a ten-dollar book with one tweet that someone else wrote per page will probably be very successful. I’m just not sure what.
I’ve shared a number of bonechilling ideas over the years, for the edification of my readers. I’m not sure how the latest would work as a story idea, but it certainly was bonechilling. I was riding along on my bike, minding my own business, passing what I assumed to be a roadkilled squirrel in the other lane, as one does quite a bit in these parts. When the squirrel sprang to its feet and darted in front of me, I didn’t have time to so much as twitch, and rolled over it with a nasty thump. Worse yet, thanks to my speed, the squirrel was kicked up and back by my tire, where it grabbed on to my ankle with super-squirrel strength.
I reacted coolly to this development, of course, unclipping from my pedal and shaking it off while saying something witty that I can’t quite recall at the moment in calm, measured tones. It didn’t look too good as it bounced along the pavement behind me, but once I’d collected myself and returned, planning to put it out of its misery, it was gone.
Now, I don’t wish to alarm anyone, but it is pretty clear that we’re dealing with a zombie squirrel here, and where there is one zombie squirrel there are others. Worse yet, given the speed with which it moved, it seems these are not a canonical Romero-esque shambling zombies, but rather the fast, “28 Days Later”-ish zombies.
We’ve all seen plenty of advice, as writers, plenty of lists of things to do, or avoid. Personally, I’ve been hesitant to recommend most of them, but finally I’ve found one source of inspiration that I think anyone would find handy.
Personally, for my author photos I plan to stage a series of photobombs. Oh, sure, it may take readers a while to figure out that the guy who keeps showing up in the back is that author, and not smiling family or the wedding party, but once it hits them they’ll have that warm feeling of satisfaction that comes with figuring out a puzzle.
But Szilvia Molanr has come up with a pretty fun take on author photos, too, and all it took was some cigarettes and very serious expressions.
538.com has done a survey about the Oxford comma, and come up with some interesting results. Americans only prefer it by a small margin, which seems strange at first, given how useful it is. Why wouldn’t it be overwhelmingly favord, you are no doubt wondering. Well, it sort of becomes more clear if you dig into the statistics, as these things often do. A careful read shows that people who don’t like the Oxford comma tend to be the sort of people who don’t know what it is. As such, they may be simply reacting to the word “Oxford”. Sad, but can you really blame them?