Saturday, August 27, 2011

It's Bane Cook!

Found this hilarious video from the awesome Key of Awesome crew and it made my day. Hope it brings some funnies for you.

I tried watching Dane Cook one time, but I just couldn't get past the first ten minutes of his act. For me, the guy made me cringe, not laugh.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What is in a Nym?

Names are funny things.

I've decided to drop the pen name S.E. Gaime after someone pointed out to me another, rather famous, author Neil Gaiman, and how his last name was very similar to the pseudo-name I've chosen. Damn you, Neil Gaiman! (just kidding)  The whole reason I picked up a pseudo-name was because I wanted a secret identity, kind of like Batman. You get to run around with mask and cape on the internet and no one knows it's you. It's a neat idea. Also, my real name occasionally confuzzles people. However, this same person said my name is also more unique than S.E. Gaime, and thus, more recognizable. Doesn't matter if people can pronounce it or not. And that's true. I still cannot pronounce this Russian fantasy author's name (author of The Alchemy of Stone), but I would certainly recognize the name if I saw her on the shelf of a bookstore.

So you can call me either defcon or Siobhan Gallagher - yes, a very Irish name. I also get to keep my anonymousness because apparently there are a lot of Siobhan Gallaghers out there - even a ghost ship!

Friday, August 19, 2011

I think I thought

A funny thing has occurred to me recently: I'm contradicting my earlier advice.

This is surrounding character thoughts in stories. I use to say: "Put character thoughts in italics to distinguish it from the rest of the text."

Now I say: "Italics? We don't need no stinkin' italics!"

It's weird, and it wasn't that long ago that I use to like character thoughts in italics, Now I find them annoying. To me, the italics are like waving a red flag to the reader, saying: "Look! See this right here? It's a thought!" And that's just lazy writing. If you're writing in a tight narrative, like 1st-person or limited 3rd-person, everything is already in the character's head, thus, it seems redundant to put it in italics. I've even found you can pull off nearly 1st-person thoughts in 3rd-person without reverting to italics. Allow me to demonstrate...

Tight 3rd-person narrative with 1st-person italicized thought:
She turned the octagon-shaped box in her hands. I wonder how it works. 

Tight 3rd-person narrative with nearly 1st-person thought without italicizing:
She turned the octagon-shaped box in her hands. Wonder how it works. 

See what I did there? I clipped the "I" from the beginning of the thought sentence, and it should be apparent that it's a thought sentence, otherwise, it doesn't work. And yeah, it switches tenses, but it's OK to do that, so long as it flows. When it flows, most of the time readers don't notice; it's only when they notice that cues them that something is off.  

I'll post longer passages later on to further demonstrate this style.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Save a Brony - be a Hobo!

So this is a shout out to fellow AWer Bart's group Sci-Fi Fantasy SpecFic SYW Hobos.
This group focuses on how to improve critiques so that everyone may benefit in their writing. Sadly, the group has been floundering lately. Yeah I know, not everyone loves to critique, but it truly is good exercise for your editing skills and you can learn a thing or two just from others' writing. And we'd love to have more folks join and participate. You might even get a pokemon code name!

Otherwise, Fluttershy will give you the stare of DOOM!!!!

btw, definitely check out the new My Little Ponies if you haven't already, it's a great show! (adults are allowed to watch cartoons, right?)

Friday, August 12, 2011

"I'll get to that later in the story" and other nonsensical things writers say

Now when I say "writers" I mean the ones who have yet to be published, who post their stuff on forums in the hopes for feedback from their fellow writers. However, I've been noticing lately that there are a lot of writers who dismiss the questions and advice from their critters.

What's that you say? You'll get to that later in the story?  Well, what happens if I stop reading right now?  Why is the answer to my question in act two rather than in act one? There must be this assumption going on that if a reader starts reading that they must read the entire story from start to finish. News flash: The reader is in no way obligated to continue reading, especially if they're finding plot holes in the first page of your story!

Here's another one: Ambiguous intros. Yes, by all means start your story with a disoriented narrator who rambles and doesn't have a clue what the hell is going on, because that's a sure fire way to confuse your reader and make them put down your story. Characters are great, but you need to give the reader a setting to vis-ua-lize, otherwise the characters are floating in space. Also, readers are going to imagine their own settings in order to make sense of your nonsense, and of course, their interpretation is going to vary. In one case, a guy had posted an ambiguous intro and some critters thought the setting was a warzone because the main character was bleeding all over the place. Surprise, surprise, that's not what the author had intended. But you know, what do you expect when you don't give readers that vital information? 

And no, explaining the intro afterwards does not count. Your intro either stands on its own or it doesn't.

Basic science brought to you by 
Professor Pinky Floyd
Oh, and my favorite: Being defensive! This goes back to the fact that if your story isn't doing its job (i.e. telling the story in a clear manner) then you're doing it wrong. You want to be stubborn and resist the suggestion given by people who are trying to help improve your story (granted, not all suggestions are good ones), then fine, no one really cares one way or another. However, I do care if you've wasted my time. Say "thank you" and just move along with your misconceptions. Don't snigger, don't try to explain your position, because undoubtedly you are wrong and just making a fool of yourself. Yes, I saw one person try to argue that "powerful energy" would leave a trail of pretty colors in a void. Has no one ever heard of refraction? C'mon, it's Pink Floyd's symbol!

Anyway, these are just a few of the joys of critiquing. Doesn't it look like fun? But really, I do enjoy critiquing because it not only helps the writer but me as well; it's good practice to hone in on your skills as a writer. But you know, sometimes...sheesh!