Writing emotions. No, not ABOUT emotions.

The problem with writing is that it’s wholly subjective. Qualitative. No hard data.

ClickStats, my clicker-training data-keeping app

ClickStats, my clicker-training data-keeping app

Where we can do quantitative analysis, we can make reasonable judgments even when our emotions aren’t in alignment. “I felt great about this today, but we actually had only a 70% success rate.” Or, “Oh, man, today has been a total downer and I hated this session, but we nailed it with a 90% success ratio.”

That’s very nice for behavior analysis and free throws. Not so useful with writing.
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You’re Doing It Wrong.

Bert knows this is wrong.

Bert knows this is wrong.

You know when you hit upon something that’s just so jaw-droppingly, amazingly awful that you just have to inflict it on someone else?

(That was your only warning.) Continue reading

Stakes on a Plane — Men, Women, and Entitlement

Today’s post features a rude game of airplane footsie and some sociological pronouncements. Continue reading

Thoughts on the Boston Marathon Disaster

I didn’t hear about the explosions at the Boston Marathon right away. It wasn’t until my sister and I were on our way home from a library, where we’d been running a simple jewelry workshop for kids, that she checked Twitter and asked, “What happened at the Boston Marathon? Why would they need blood drives?”

And she read back, and she told me. And my first words were, “Why? What is WRONG with people?!?!” Continue reading

Political Insults — Assault Weapons & Weapons of War

The most insulting letter I’ve ever received from any government entity or official was a form letter from TSA, informing me that the agent who had invited me to come back for some costumed roleplay with him was in fact only acting for my own security. Not a word about the inappropriateness of the sexual overture, just a party line about all agent actions being for my benefit.

The second most insulting letter I’ve received from a government entity or official came yesterday from Representative André Carson. Continue reading

Rape in Life and Fiction

Tarquinius and Lucretia

Tarquinius and Lucretia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that’s not a pretentious blog post title or anything…..

As I write this, society (or at least social media) is still reeling with the verdict from the Stuebenville rape case, in which two high school athletes (illegally drinking) sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl (illegally drinking) and were convicted with minor sentences, possibly never carrying the sex offender label, with a warning from the judge to be careful “how you record things on social media that are so prevalent today.” That’s right, kids, if you’re going to rape, just be sure your friends don’t post incriminating evidence on YouTube.

My opinion’s clear enough in the above paragraph on that case, so I won’t spend any more time on that. But the trial prompted me to review a topic I’d been mulling occasionally already, on rape in fiction. Continue reading

Fantasy, and Why We Need It

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(Photo credit: Hani Amir)

Today I intend to justify fantasy as a genre. Not that it needs justified, no more than any other genre, but I’m going to anyway.

But first, I’m going to tell you a story. Continue reading

On Today’s Slavery.

The Slave Market, by Gustave Boulanger

The Slave Market, by Gustave Boulanger

Serious post today, folks.

While writing Shard & Shield, I spent a lot of time researching Greco-Roman slavery, as slavery is integral to one of the cultures in the story. Research always leads one down unexpected roads, and I learned a lot about slavery in other areas of the world and in world history, too. Continue reading

Spoiler! People are Funny.

Truth is stranger than fiction; fiction has to make sense.

This quip, variously attributed to Mark Twain or Leo Rosten, is quite true. In story, writers must pay a great deal of attention to motive and consistency. In real life, people are hilariously inexplicable. Continue reading

What’s It Like, Being a Writer?

What’s it like being a writer, you ask? Well, there’s several different aspects to it all, of course. Here’s a quick glimpse into a writer’s head. Watch your step….

That guy's brain is a bag full of cats. You can smell crazy on him.

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