Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Word Choice Wednesday: Abort


Merriam-Webster says:
I am deliberately skipping directly to this definition: a: to terminate prematurely: cancel. b: to stop in the early stages.

I'm old enough to remember when that was how it was most often used, too.

Abort wasn't a common word before it got attached to a certain medical procedure, and it's now been pretty much completely overshadowed by the controversy attached to its other meaning. So I'm going to call this at least a ten cent word due to rarity and difficulty. What do you think? 

More specific than:
Stop. Cancel is similar, but more passive. Halt refers specifically to moving things, in my mind.

Word relationships:
This word used to be fairly clinical and formal, but had a certain harshness maybe because it was used in military or other action-y situations: Abort the missile launch! I wonder if it hasn't picked up a tinge of violence from all the controversy in its vicinity. Nowadays you hear a less formal term like scrap or a less active one like cancel. Scuttle also seems to be generalizing to take the place of abort -- scuttle really refers to deliberately sinking ships, but it's a similar concept to abort.

What comes to your mind? Post a sentence using it? (without mentioning the medical procedure, pregnancy, etc.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Meeting Maggie

Not entirely accurate for me; I'd say she's a good acquaintance by now. It has become clear to me that Course Corrections is an important journey for her, so she's got to take center stage.

Maggie McBride heads up a jailbreak, to put it simply. Organizes, oversees, and puts her neck on the line for both the funding and to pull it off. Sounds obvious that she should be the MC, right? Well, in my previous novel Shen and Lena were the MCs and they are in this story too. Maybe they're co-MCs, maybe they're major supporting characters. They gave me enough structure to write what I've got so far, but now I need to unwrap my brain from them and bring Maggie into focus.

I also need to bring Val up to focus, too, more on that as we go.

First question is: what kind of person does this kind of thing?

Organizes a jail break? Going to need drive, organization, attention to detail, huge amounts of confidence and acting ability, and relevant skill sets.

Here's why it's her story: Maggie starts out with charisma, acting ability, and drive. Learns the rest, most importantly the confidence. Skill sets she can hire. Money she can get (with strings attached). Leadership... that, she's learning. She's very young, only twenty, and she got a head start but there's a long way to go.

Next question: what can I bring to the table?

Not a lot, really. All my characters contain bits of me, but Maggie is one of my least-like-me characters. I know a bit about being obsessive. I have experience with the emotions that are contributing to her drive -- anger, pain, abandonment.

Next question: how is this character not like me?

See above. I am not charismatic. I've never been in a position of authority, never given orders. Let alone orders that could get people hurt. Maggie's going to stretch my horizons, guaranteed.

Next question: Any homework I need to do?

First book I went to was The 48 Laws of Power, which I read long ago and still refer to.  This book can tell me what Maggie needs to be in an ideal situation. She's not in an ideal situation, of course. She can't be a perfect leader. But at least I know what direction to go in.

Here's an unexpected bit of homework that helped me when I was starting to see Maggie emerge as the MC: in the commentary track of The Simpsons Movie, the creators talked about how Homer Simpson is not a lovable character. The more you think about him, the less lovable he is. And yet we put up with him. Why? They pointed out that it's because Marge loves him. Marge is a good and highly sympathetic character.

So here's my transference of that lesson. Maggie is young, inexperienced, and probably has bitten off more than she can chew with this jailbreak. Why do we have faith in her? Because Val has faith in her.

Val -- Valentin -- is the guy she's with. He's got to be Marge, here. He's got to be a true blue nice guy. Which is easier to write, in fact, though he will need a little mussing up so he's not unbelievably perfect... c'mere, Val, lemme muss you up a bit... won't hurt, I promise... :D

The other thing I need to get a handle on is charisma. Charm. Making friends and influencing people. Wait, I think we have a copy of that around here somewhere...

How do you create charming characters? Or any character that's not much like you?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

End of story

First draft is finished. Little over 9200 words, which is an awkward size for a short story these days but hey. (aside: why is it that short stories are getting shorter and novels are getting longer? Nobody wants to make a medium-sized time investment anymore...) Time to put it down for a while.

Ping faced his demon -- which was also mine -- and afterwards I'm glad to say that I got to write a scene with him in his relaxed, smiling, non-suicidal state. It echoes back to me as a bit of peace. Can't face my demons the same way my characters do, but it helps in some way to see them faced. If that makes any sense.

Stepping back a little, it's interesting how one can go through a story with one's characters and be in that moment, in there with them trying to get the immediacy down, but at the same time you're seeing the big picture (hopefully) and where it's all going, how it will end. It seems to me that actors do that, too. They've got the whole script in mind, but they've got to be in that moment. I don't know if I've ever heard someone talk about similarities between writing and acting.

I can only speak for myself, though. I'm interested in how other writers interact with their characters, if anyone wants to blog about it or point me toward something to read.

I'm also glad that although this story goes to some dark places, it ends well and I'm not leaving the character a sobbing wreck as has happened in other stories. There's an ick factor and I do try to get some suspense going, but I don't know if the story qualifies as horror -- someone else will have to be the judge of that.

The beginning sucks, though. Will need to work on that.

Next, back to Course Corrections to finish the first draft. Spent a very productive morning with my Idea Sounding Board working on what needs to be done.

Friday, March 25, 2011


I was thinking that maybe I can drum up some blog traffic by participating in blogfests, maybe join the Writer's Crusade (the second crusade is currently full, though). In wandering about the blogs I came across this blogfest at Is It Hot In Here or Is It This Book and wow! Excellent workshopping idea! and wow, excellent incentive! (wow! terrible grammar!)

140-word tweet pitch, critted by fellow blogfesters and judged by an agent!

Gonna go dust off my pitch for Hacker's Reboot...

Edited: 140 characters. Yikes. Two sentences, maybe?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book Report

I have posted my book report for Eon over at Worlds Unimagined. Yummy hard science fiction, even with its Cold War-era assumptions. The Berlin Wall fell when I was a college freshman, so it was interesting to me how easily I slipped back into that US vs. USSR mentality... and how odd it felt, at the same time.

Also missed my highway exit and was ten minutes late to work today. Thanks for distracting me, Ping. Though yeah, we do need to figure out how to end this story.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Word Choice Wednesday: Sequester


Merriam-Webster says:
a : to set apart : segregate   b : seclude, withdraw

It also lists a second definition: a : to seize especially by a writ of sequestration b : to place (property) in custody especially in sequestration. And 3: to hold (as a metallic ion) in solution usually by inclusion in an appropriate coordination complex.

I'm calling this a ten cent word due to formality and limited use. The formality probably comes from the fact I usually hear it in a legal context -- sequestering a jury. I'd heard the #3 definition in chemistry classes, so it's also got a scientific formality to it, for me.

More specific than:
Collect, and related terms like gather or store. I get a sense of being put away from sequester, of doors closing. Not permanently, but for a while. Also, a deliberate choosing and orderly arranging of what is sequestered. All of that ties into the chemical sense of the word, too -- specific molecules being chemically bound to other molecules until such time as they are released.

Word relationships:
It's less voluntary than seclude or withdraw. But not as unpleasant as segregate. No religious connotations as found in cloister. All of these words apply primarily to people or places (for secluded) but sequester can refer to items also. With reference to gathering items, sequestering is more organized than simply putting something away or packing it away. And more formal than a colloquial phrase like putting up or putting by (canning/jarring/freezing food for long term storage).

What comes to your mind? Post a sentence using it? (without mentioning juries)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Listening to characters

I asked Ping what his options were if his story doesn't work out. (It will, but I try not to tell the characters that.) First thing he said was "suicide". I had been thinking he might murder his grandma, but apparently that's way down the list.

So suicidal it was. And since the banality of the opening scene made me cringe, I cranked that up to something he's actively wrestling with. That's changed the tone of a couple scenes, so far. One where the emotions turned into a triggering situation (as an aside, I'll admit I've never been entirely clear on the meaning of the "trigger" tag you see around... postings labeled "Warning: may be triggering"... well, I think I've got it now) and one where he suddenly got pathetically desperate. Interesting. He's a lot closer to the edge than I expected.

Should be good for the story. Don't feel like I'm in a position to judge right now.

Past the four thousand word mark as of AM on the 20th, might be at the halfway point.

Here's a slightly different question: in those times that the character has surprised you with a development, has it ever turned out to be the wrong way to go?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Being prepared

I've put down Course Corrections until I finish Ping's story (needs a name) and/or hear back from Viable Paradise (some combination thereof). Edits trickled off on March ninth or tenth. Started Ping on the fifteenth. About 2600 words in three nights. First scene is a problem: character wakes up. ARGH. Keep going anyway. Fix later.

One question that I've seen asked in writerly circles is: How do you know when to start? Not where to start the story, but when do you know enough to actually start writing. Some people like to go seat-of-their-pants and just dive in with inspiration to go on. You can always fix it in revision, after all.

Personally, I want to go in prepared. I started this story with three outlines -- the events, the emotional arc, and the two combined -- two half-met main characters (Ping and Jeri), a handful of supporting cast, and a couple hundred words of various details (trajectories, speeds, notes on cancer, back story).

Here's where I cheated: already partly knew Ping and Jeri (as I've mentioned) and the supporting cast is also recycled from supporting cast in Hacker's Reboot -- Lissy, maybe Seamus will be there too. My only genuinely new characters are Ping's grandmother, Popo, and the source of the problem, Blu. Popo's mostly a plot function hashed up with bits of my own grandmother. Blu is also largely built from necessities and planned personality points... we'll see how it gels.

Here's where I didn't cheat: the central question of the story, which I will try not to answer too clearly in the actual telling. I need to know the truth, though. The five or six days I spent planning this involved a lot of option-weighing. I settled on what the truth is, worked out how it will present itself, made some guesses about what the characters will think when they meet it, and that's enough to start. For me.

Can always fix it in revisions.

How do you know when to start writing?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blog announcement!

I will be one of several bloggers participating in Worlds Unimagined, a blog covering science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, probably some manga's going to sneak in there and whatever else seems relevant to us. Drop on by!

Word Choice Wednesday: Skitter


Merriam-Webster says:  
a : to glide or skip lightly or quickly b : to move in or as in a jittery or jerky way. 

It also lists a second definition: to twitch the hook of a fishing line through or along the surface of water. I didn't know that. Learned something new today.

This is one of my first WCW posts, and I'm going to peg this as a five cent word. I could see it being used two or three times over the course of a scene. More if it's the single most accurate verb you have for the movement in question.

More specific than:
Run (a penny word). Way more specific than move (also a penny word). Of the a and b definitions above, I use b

Word relationships:
I associate this with small critters that need to move fast while dodging predators. Skitter has implications of seeking a place to hide, too. Nervousness, maybe. Also, objects moving with energy and randomness. The pitcher crashed down and shards skittered across the floor. It's related to skittish, as in nervous and agitated and perhaps inclined to skitter. Jitter as a verb indicating small, random movements with an element of vibration. Skitter doesn't include vibration. And jittering can be done in place, while skittering crosses a distance.

What comes to your mind?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Intro to Word Choice Wednesday

OK, I've got an idea (stand back...) for something I'm calling Word Choice Wednesday.

Picking good words is important. Vital, even. It's one of those subtle things that separates the newbies from the journeymen from the experts. You can learn grammar in spite of all its rules and exceptions and accepted bendings, but learning to choose words isn't something I was ever taught. That I recall. Vocabulary is part of most English classes, mostly as a function of spelling, but the actual usage? Who goes around talking like a vocabulary list, right? When do you use a more general, all-purpose word such as run and when do you use gallop, jog, race or flee?

So tomorrow I will begin a weekly Word Choice post. I will include Merriam-Webster's definition (mostly because they offer a free online dictionary) for reference, but I'm also going to include a valuing system. This may be subject to change, but here's my starting framework:
  • Penny words: Basic words like the, is, run, look, which you can use all the time and nobody will notice. Won't be covering many of these, unless I want to talk about generic-ness. It has its uses, of course.
  • 5 cent words: More specific than basic words. They can be used fairly often.
  • 10 cent words: Words that are good but unusual. Use judiciously. Like the word judiciously.
  • 25 cent words: These words are unusual either because they're very specific or not used much any more. You're not likely to need them more than once and probably shouldn't use them more than once.
  • 50 cent words: Words that draw attention to themselves and really can't be used more than once (in fiction) without sounding ridiculous/pretentious/etc. Such as supercalifrajalisticexpialidocious. (sorry, spell check) More seriously, such as stoichiometry
This isn't really about vocabulary, it's about how we use them. Words don't just have meanings in and of themselves, their meanings are also defined in relation to other words. It's a web of words, not just a list. My intent is to post thoughts on the subtleties of words and their relationships with other words. I hope people will post their thoughts too. Words are full of flavors. If we're going to cook up something tasty, we need to be familiar with all their nuances.

Suggestions welcome and comments encouraged!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Characters and their POVs

Like everybody else, I'm watching footage from Japan and absorbing the awesomeness of the scope and power of our tiny little planet. (I'd like to apologize for how my generation trivialized 'awesome' and try to reclaim some of its power.)

Seeing it as a character-development moment, I called over my characters currently in development (Ping and Jeri) to watch a video of the lines of tsunami waves marching toward the Japanese coast.

They couldn't figure out what they were looking at. Which makes sense, since they both grew up in outer space and have never seen a body of water bigger than... um... probably never even seen a bathtub-sized clump of water. That much water loose in a zero gee station would be a nightmare. The ocean is completely outside their experience.

Heck, the ocean is largely outside my experience and I live here.

Earthquakes aren't felt much out in space, either, though if something were to hit your little asteroid homestead it would feel like an earthquake. It could be micro-meteorite, could be a bullet from a linear accelerator gun. Which brings up the question of piracy and fighting in space again. Somebody somewhere asserted that piracy in hard science fiction was either useless or pointless or something... which I disagree with. Will have to work that into a story somewhere.

Ping, Jeri, any experience with pirates? Why the nervous glance at each other, come on, talk to me...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ping's problem is my problem

Monday night I took the night off from tidying up Course Corrections before I put it down for a rest and I worked on a more detailed outline for the short story idea instead.

In the course of that, I eventually got out of Ping why he and Jeri don't have a relationship (she had expressed an interest, and that would have been a while ago by now).

And here I hit up against one problem of blogging -- it's public. I don't know who's going to see this tomorrow or five years down the road. When Ping first told me his problem, I didn't entirely make the connection and spent a day and half in a sudden, dark murk of depression that caused some bad old habits to reassert themselves. (I'd thought I had those well in heel, but that's a whole different discussion). Wednesday, it finally clicked. Ping's problem is my problem. One I didn't want to talk about even more than he doesn't want to talk about it. 

The good news is that this story now has an engine, in my head. The fire in the belly has been stoked. He's going to face his demon. So I don't have to face mine. And if you see this post after reading the story, five years down the line (you know who you are) -- I'm sorry.

So anyway there's my emotional arc for the story. From denial to admission, maybe we'll get to acceptance too. The action arc will provide the straw to break the camel's back. Okay, maybe more of a 500-pound barbell but YKWIM. Go big or go home, right? Now to knit the action arc and the emotion arc together. And see what Jeri's response is.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

General notes and updates

I would just like to note that my blog reading list is completely out of control now. Every time a new follower pops up, I look at their blog and all the blogs they're following.

Submissions report:
  1. Hacker's Reboot submitted to the Suduvu contest.
  2. "The Rookery" submitted to Weird Tales.
  3. Prepping the first three chapters of Course Corrections for my application to Viable Paradise

After that, I will be completely deployed. Need to generate more troops.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Book Report: Salt, by Mark Kurlansky

I read Kurlansky's Cod, too, and these books are packed with information. He's a good nonfiction writer, on the whole, but limiting the book to a single topic does result in some repetition.

Don't miss: McIllhenny's adventures in the salt business before he got his crazy idea about hot pepper sauce and Gandhi's salt campaign as the flash point for Indian independence.

If you're writing fantasy, it's something to think about. Salting and pickling were some of the leading ways to preserve food for thousands of years, so salt's production needed to be constant and it was usually taxed because everybody needed it. Although rock salt can be easier to get, sea salt has always been more popular. Producing sea salt takes up a lot of space and requires a lot of cheap fuel if you're not in a hot climate. Mining salt is full of its own problems.

If you're interested in how to set up salt production in your fantasy world, this is a must read. Plenty of detail about evaporation ponds, pan boiling, working brine wells, removing impurities, preserving fish and meats, pickling, and systems of taxation which led to public outrage. 

I'm currently writing science fiction, but it's not exactly economical to create sodium chloride entirely from chemical reactions. Or is it? Is there rock salt out in the asteroids?


Monday, March 7, 2011

Meeting Ping

I mentioned earlier that I don't make lists of details about my characters, I try to engage them in conversation. Maybe talking about my process will help somebody, so I'm willing to give it a try. Let me know what you think!

A little background: there's a writing contest up in the horror group at Absolute Write. A vague idea came to me. One of my stable of well-known characters is a good fit for the lead. The location fell into place pretty quickly: a small homestead on one of Jupiter's tiny moons, where my MC visited and was invited back. Let's say she did go back and settle down, at some point.

There'll be other homesteaders involved too. The most obvious choices, given the situation, are Li Ping and Jeri (she has a last name but I can't remember it off the top of my head). I've met both of these characters briefly, but I don't know them very well.

Basic sketch time. Ping is of Chinese descent, and in this homestead he's the IT/communications/electronics engineer who was there before my MC arrived. It's a small place, so it was just the one of him running all that and he wanted some help so he was the one who wanted the MC invited back. He's something of a workaholic and is "still" a bachelor, according to how his father introduced him. Not clear on how old he is, though.

First question is: what kind of person does this kind of thing?

Engineers need to be analytical, pay attention to detail, be a bit obsessive and perfectionist, have a good head for math. People who live on remote homesteads need to be fit socially with their group, a bit of a homebody, flexible in skills and emotions, know how to choose their battles, willing to work hard and quickly, be able to figure out what's wrong and how to fix and/or jury-rig it. Right off the bat, I see tension between "a bit obsessive and perfectionist" and "emotionally flexible".  Which is fine. There are also some positive overlaps, between "analytical" and "figure out what's wrong". Let's keep going.

Next question: what can I bring to the table?

I've got some experience with engineering types. Friendships, dating back in college. I may not be nerdy or analytical enough to do it myself, but I've got a dose of that in my personality. So that's a bit of myself that I can tap. I know how to be nerdy, a little obsessive, and analytical.

As far as the homesteading skills go, I am completely down with the hermits. Not what you'd call high strung. Accommodating. So Ping's going to get some of that, too. He's probably more of a perfectionist than me, though how one applies perfectionism can be... inconsistent. As anybody who's seen my house can attest to.

Next question: how is this character not like me?

1. Male. 2. Chinese. 3. Fit in his group? I'm not so good at fitting into groups. I'm generally found around the fringes.

And the rest of his personality is open to being Not Like Me, of course. What's 'the rest of his personality', you may ask? Things like self-confidence, self-discipline, curiosity, resistance to change, violence threshold, balance of utilitarianism vs. hedonism, whimsy. Etc.

Next question: Any homework I need to do?

We'll see. I'm not an expert on Chinese culture, so it may become necessary to learn enough to hypothesize about Chinese life on a small asteroid with plenty of exposure to Russians and Americans, plus an internet that's far bigger than what we have now.

So what do I have to start with?

A nerdy, workaholic engineer who probably wishes things were better on the little moon. Gets along well enough with his family and the rest of the homesteaders, though there are the usual pressures from his family ("still" a bachelor, yeah, like it's easy to meet women out here) and the limited privacy of small, isolated communities. He's got the whole communications platform to use to surf the internet out there, when he can get a connection.

That's plenty for the third-tier character that Ping used to be. If he's moving up to second or co-MC, he'll need to develop more.

So I asked Ping what he thought of what's going on in Libya.

Worried about family, safety, the danger. I suspect that's coming from what I know about Chinese culture. Not so concerned about rebelling against a dictator, the freedom aspects. It's a vague answer, but he's a vague character. This fits with what I know so far -- thinking defensively -- so I make a note of it.

I started writing this on Friday and put it aside to debate whether I wanted to post this or not. Today, while driving into work, I gave Ping another poke. Called him up in my mind and literally stuck a microphone in his face and asked what he thought about Libya. Being a rude reporter type. Got a dirty look and something insulting in Chinese. So he's not quiet enough to keep his mouth shut about annoyances, but not confrontational enough to be direct -- in English. Make a note.

So let's see how this goes. I'm curious to see if anyone's willing to talk about how they develop characters. I'm sure we are all different.

I'll try to post updates. And post a "Meet Jeri" -- she's very different.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Top Ten poll by Tor

Tor has posted the results of their poll to name the top ten F/SF titles:

  1. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
  2. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  3. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  4. Blindsight by Peter Watts
  5. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
  6. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
  7. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  8. Anathem by Neal Stephenson
  9. Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
  10. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville 

So I went to where I have lots of credits for books and did some shopping. Found one available of the ones I haven't read: Kushiel's Dart. Rest are on my wish list. Of the ones I have read...

2. American Gods. I did read it at some point, I seem to remember. Fun, but didn't make a huge impression. First met Gaiman's work back in his Sandman days -- I have the issues starting with the "Game of You" story arc. I always enjoy his stories.

6. A Storm of Swords. Read it, enjoyed it, read the rest of the series. What there is of it, anyway. Said I was a fan for many years but, well, I guess we all know how that's been going. I'm not an angry fan -- no author is obliged to entertain me -- but I'll cop to being disappointed.

7. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. A friend loaned it to me, so I read it as promptly as I could so I could give it back. I would not say it was a struggle to read, but I did feel a bit of obligation to get through it. The use of magic was interesting, and led to me poking around a bit about John Dee and such people just out of curiosity. Otherwise... again, didn't make a huge impression.

I suppose I should admit that I'm something of a cold fish when it comes to reading. I'm difficult to reel in. Don't invest much emotion in the characters. Been known to put perfectly good books down and wander away for a few days. Once I finish a book, it tends to sink into the murk that passes for my brain.

None of that is necessarily the author's fault. Heck, posting reviews here soon after I read something will probably be more help to me than you all, in the long run.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


"Things are going to be different around here."

Maybe not the best ending line. Not the most definitive. Unfortunately, I can already see another outline of events spooling out from this ending. At least one major personal disaster. And a larger, more serious armed confrontation on the Jovian frontier.

The stuff I said about giving your characters some rein and trusting them? Double edged sword.

First things first: need to go back and chart my MC's progression from angry and uncertain to a half-good leader. Pulled out 48 Laws of Power for a brush-up. Recommended reading for writers who've never been in positions of authority (like myself). Also, Machiavelli's The Prince. Timeless.

I read a lot of nonfiction. Maybe a bit too much. People talk about thus-and-such hot new author in science fiction or fantasy and I generally have no idea. There's only how many hundreds of books being published per month?

Comment to recommend your faves published in the last few years! (please stick to SF/F)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tips for writers from public speakers

This was posted over at W.I.P. It and bears repeating... wanted to add some thoughts.

4. Be confident.

Symptoms of not being confident: using words such as was like, similar too, almost, and sort of in your writing (dialog excepted).

Good piece of advice I picked up somewhere: a writer must eliminate the phrases "I can't describe it" and "I can't explain it" from their vocabulary. From their entire life. I agree. 

5. Learn how and practise.

There's a theory out there that the first million words you write are your apprenticeship. Having gotten through that first million words, I'm inclined to agree. There's good stuff in there, don't get me wrong, but then there's parts where I facepalm and can't believe I tied up almost a quarter million words in that boring subplot... 

6. Presentation is important.

You can't make a good pie without a good crust. This's why store bought pies generally aren't worth the trouble -- they worry so much about the filling and then throw it to some compressed-crumb-cardboardy thing. 

This ties into word choice, sentence structure, timing, and ultimately into the confidence mentioned in #4. Because a confident writer can sell you on these things. But they're closely tied. People like to say that grammar rules are meant to be bent or broken, but IMO you've got to earn the right to do that. Both by proving you know the rules and by confidently leading me, the reader, through your little crimes.

It should also be noted that I'm terrible at these in the real world. I'm shy, insecure, easily distracted, don't pay much attention to my appearance. My writing's a direct line through all that to... I don't know, the choice of words here depends on whether you're an optimist or a pessimist. Either my inner goddess or my inner psychosis.

p.s. Hello, my first few followers! You're making my blog subscription list mushroom... :)

Book Report: Glimpses by Lynn Flewelling

Because of a confluence of events, I didn't manage to get a copy of The White Road until recently and I wondered, as I read it, if Flewelling had ever written anything more... explicit for her stable of characters.

Well, lo and behold. I got a copy of Glimpses. It's a short anthology to scratch that itch.

I read it for the stories, honest. I don't know what experience the author has with erotica, and since I'm already a fan I'm not very fussy. If I came at this anthology from a cool-headed direction, I'd come up with something about needing more emotional involvement, not just Tab A and Slot B. I've dabbled in erotica enough to be aware of the fundamental conflicts of physical mechanics vs. emotions, reader's expectations vs. writer's vision... and I tend to settle on the opinion that porn should not be judged too harshly. If it was too realistic, it wouldn't make you squishy. Down there. I also came to the conclusion that writing erotica is a power trip. More on that later. Maybe. Gonna make you wait.

There being, of course, a place for too-realistic, non-squishy explicitness that makes the reader cringe in sympathy, of course...

Go read the Nightrunner series, be a fan and then pick this up. It's not slash, it's canon. There's even a little hetero for a change of pace. And it's got an impressive array of fan art too.
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