Check your machine learning licenses. Even if you didn’t know you had granted one. Especially if you didn’t know you had granted one.
I have just been alerted by my narrator to a clause tucked into my Findaway Voices distribution agreement. It was the last bit of attached Schedule D, distribution policies about things like poor recording quality, hate speech, and [highly inappropriate behavior with animals and minors], and other categories I never expected to apply to our work, so I hadn’t seen it.
Gonna take a moment to share something that frankly shouldn’t be political, but judging by the party-lines vote so far, apparently is.
Someone shared a meme on Facebook to say that white men should be treated well because they won World War 2. This of course not only ignores the contributions from BIPOC members of the armed forces (and all women), but blatantly denies the history of why there were fewer non-white combatants than there could have been, such as official regulations which prevented enlisted black men from serving in the same capacity as enlisted white men. Dorie Miller shot down enemy planes at Pearl Harbor in a cook’s uniform because he was not allowed to be a gunner. He saved countless lives, was awarded a medal, and was sent back to continue as a cook until his death, because that was the regulated role of a black sailor.
This shared meme also ignores that tens of thousands of eligible Asian-American men could not fight alongside white soldiers because they had been taken from their homes without due process and imprisoned for years in camps where people were shot to death if they walked too near the fences—a thing which is Very Bad if it happens in Europe, but apparently is not worth mentioning in history classes when it happens here.
Okay, rather than snarking at the separate statements which have combined into a irritating whole, I’m just gonna say this over here, as a sort of inspirational rant.
I’m going to use NaNoWriMo and myself as my talking example, because it’s general and won’t point blame to anyone, and also because it’s an easy example this month. But this concept goes well beyond NaNo.
So here goes:
EVERYONE HAS COMMITMENTS. EVERYONE HAS OBSTACLES. EVERYONE HAS EXCUSES.
Today marks the beginning of Inktober, an annual art challenge. I explained in 2017 why I, a writer and a truly terrible pencil/ink artist, would try this, and how it is good for me. This year I’m doing it again.
Today’s prompt was “poisonous,” so I drew a cute little snake. I was actually pretty happy with my pencil sketch; Inktober and Sketchtember really did a lot for me. Continue reading
Today I’m going to talk about manuscript formatting and how you can use it to become a favorite writer among editors and their layout minions.
I’m kind of breaking one of my rules here, which is that I don’t generally advertise that I do layout. My time is limited and I am rarely looking for additional work. However, it occurs to me that explaining how to provide cleaner files for layout might actually save me time and effort, and it can certainly save other people time and effort, designers and editors and writers, and that’s good all around.
Note: I am writing this specifically for files I receive for anthology layout, but this manuscript formatting advice is good for market submissions, too. Sending a clean file to an editor makes a better impression than one that looks messy, even if the writing is the same.
So here are some simple guidelines to making your editor and layout designer like you a lot! Continue reading
So a couple of weeks ago there was a little cluster of complaints again online about why can’t we just have women characters embracing their femininity instead of doing all these hero things.
This could be puzzling at first, because a lot of these complaints come from folks who also espouse things like “motherhood is the ultimate heroic act” which seem to suggest that femininity can be heroic, but of course the actual meaning is about traditional gender roles.
And this is boggling to me, because women can be pretty darned heroic while being extremely feminine.
The Women of Weinsberg. Lithograph, c. 1910.
I’ve covered a number of historical examples before, so this time let’s take the legendary women of Weinsberg. When their town’s conqueror announced the men would all be executed but the women could leave with whatever valuables they could carry on their own backs, the women marched out carrying their husbands. How many of those husbands, d’ya think, were up there piggyback thinking, “Geez, I wish my wife was more demurely feminine”? Or do you think he might have at that moment valued her extremely feminine protectiveness, strength, and even stubborn defiance of authority? Continue reading
Two days ago I got the notification that the NYC Midnight Short Story contest final results were up. I delayed opening the email, because I knew my third round story had not been as strong as my first two and I didn’t expect to do well. I finally clicked through, scanned just enough to confirm that there had not been a miracle, and I closed the page. Another email came with my feedback — every story in the contest gets feedback from multiple judges — and I didn’t even open it. I was busy, it wasn’t going anywhere, and I already knew there were problems with my story.
Yesterday morning, I opened the feedback email. Their feedback format is to collate the positive notes first, followed by the collated critical notes. I read the first couple of sentences on what the judges liked, then read down — and I realized that I was barely skimming, skipping over all the nice compliments to look for the coming negatives on what the judges felt needed work. Continue reading
I haven’t handwritten stories since… elementary school, I think. /thinks back/ Oops, no, there was some terrible self-insertion fanfic I wrote during pre-algebra back in middle school, before I knew that even had a name (because we didn’t have public internet yet, for which I thank God, or I might have posted it). Anyway, I adopted typing for storytelling early on, as soon as we had a Tandy computer from Radio Shack.
I do know some writing friends who handwrite their first drafts, however, and quite a lot who handwrite their outlines and notes. And there is evidence that writing by hand helps you retain more, if taking notes, or be more creative, if inventing.
I resisted. But eventually I found a pen I loved, in an elegant metal form which feels so classy, which can be refilled so it’s environmentally responsible, and I discovered that I actually don’t dislike writing by hand nearly so much as I dislike writing with lame pens. A quality instrument made all the difference. I got a notebook, and then another, and I filled them with plot notes, lines to be tucked into dialogue, ideas, etc.