yhlee: Flight Rising Spiral dragon, black-red-gold (Flight Rising Jedao baby Spiral)
[personal profile] yhlee
I enjoy reading writing how-to books, and was curious about the specifics of writing for YA [1], so I read Deborah Halverson's Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies. Despite the titles, I've had reasonably good luck with the "For Dummies" series, and this one had good reviews. In fact, despite the "For Dummies" moniker, Halverson covers a fair amount of material that is less 101 and more advanced (sentence structure and rhythm, for instance).

[1] As you may have figured out, I have never written YA.

The material is well-organized (usually true of books in this series) and clearly presented. I especially appreciated all the examples. A lot of writing how-to books have examples that are lackluster, which always makes me wonder if the writer purporting to show you how to write knows what they're talking about, but here they were actively well-written.

The parts I found most interesting were not the general pointers on writing craft and technique but the ones that discussed how writing for young adults/middle grade readers is different from writing for an adult audience, everything from sentence structure (shorter sentences) to the nature of the protagonists (more self-centered and less reflective, to be in tune with the emerging maturity of the target audience). Also practical marketing considerations like being sure that you avoid doing anything hinky (e.g. sending marketing emails directly to minors, which is a no-no for obvious reasons).

Halverson refers to many examples from YA/MG, and includes excerpts from her own as well as brief spotlights from other YA/MG writers. I really liked this and found that I wanted to read a lot of the books mentioned! I regret so much that Party Girl Goes A.W.O.L. appears to be a made-up example for the purposes of illustrating how to write a cover letter, BECAUSE I WOULD TOTALLY READ THAT NOVEL. Former party girl sent to military prep school by her grandfather and leading a rebellion against the school authorities? Someone please write this!

I will own that I skimmed several sections as being not immediately relevant to me. For example, Halverson talks about finding an agent. This is useful stuff to know about, but I already have an agent, so I moved on because I am impatient and there are more boooooooks calling my name.

Thanks to the generous person who donated this book to the cause!

[cross-post: Patreon]
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (River among trees)
[personal profile] schneefink
I went bouldering today, for the very first time, together with LB and his friend (who've been doing it for months now.) It was fun! And exhausting. LB warned me I'll be sore tomorrow. I've been running semi-regularly, but I've done almost nothing for my arms the past several years and it's very noticeable… Nothing that can't be fixed, and reaching the top is a great feeling.
I don't think it'll be feasible for me to do hockey this semester/year – once I get a job the likely times of the university courses won't work for me anymore, but the alternatives are more expensive and I don't want to commit to that before I've found a job – so for one year climbing could be a fun alternative, I'll see. On top of that I want to continue running more regularly.

I have a freezer now! I'll be able to store ice cream, and most importantly I can cook in advance and just heat things up when I don't have the energy for cooking. It'll be great.

Quotes of yesterday's D&D session:
"I didn't sell my soul, just my body – wait, that came out wrong."
"I have an idea! …can I have an idea?"
"Trust us, nothing too terrible will happen," after which the whole table laughed.
In summary, my character has now made a (short-term) deal with the succubus possessing her, we (temporarily) turned a Roc demon Lawful Good, there was another healing-via-killing-cannibalism-and-reincarnation, there's a vengeful spirit after us that's attracted to even thoughts of its name, and next time we'll finally enter the haunted library. Probably.
[syndicated profile] io9_feed

Posted by Beth Elderkin

An executive from the UK distributor of Game of Thrones came out this week and said concerns about sexual violence against women on the show are “nonsense.” Excuse me while I roll my eyes to Moon Bay.


[ SECRET POST #3524 ]

Aug. 27th, 2016 16:15
case: (Default)
[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3524 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.


More! )


Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 48 secrets from Secret Submission Post #504.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.


Aug. 27th, 2016 16:12
case: (Default)
[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

The first secret from this batch will be posted on September 3rd.

1. One secret link per comment.
2. 750x750 px or smaller.
3. Link directly to the image.
- Doing it RIGHT: http://i.imgur.com/KuBug.png
- Doing it WRONG: http://imgur.com/KuBug

Optional: If you would like your secret's fandom to be noted in the main post along with the secret itself, please put it in the comment along with your secret. If your secret makes the fandom obvious, there's no need to do this. If your fandom is obscure, you should probably tell me what it is.

Optional #2: If you would like WARNINGS (such as spoilers or common triggers -- list of some common ones here) to be noted in the main post before the secret itself, please put it in the comment along with your secret.

Optional #3: If you would like a transcript to be posted along with your secret, put it along with the link in the comment!

ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
[personal profile] ursamajor
Inheriting a Wii U means coming up with an awesome name for it. #albhed #finalfantasy #rikku #jrpg
[syndicated profile] io9_feed

Posted by Andrew Liszewski

30 years ago, every kid who was lucky enough to see Transformers: The Movie in theaters must have had something stuck in their eye when Optimus Prime died. But if the Autobots had had access to a 3D printer, maybe Optimus wouldn’t have had to die before passing the Matrix of Leadership on to Hot Rod—they could have just 3D-printed a perfect duplicate like Bob Clagett did.


selfindulgentbitch: lanning (Default)
[personal profile] selfindulgentbitch posting in [community profile] vidrecs
Vid Title: U.S.
Vidder: innerbrat
Fandom: Captain Americ
Summary: It’s supersoldiers all the way down.
Reccer's Comments: I love this vid because it takes the existing canon, looks at the subtext, and makes it text. The super soldier program is such an awful idea and the only time it isn't a crime against nature, peace, and common sense is when it's viewed through Steve Rogers. Everyone wants the power and they want Steve until they realize it won't be coming through him. This vid doesn't shy away from how good Steve is, but it focuses our attention on the other aspects of creating "super men", the ambiguity, the horror, and the dream of being powerful/invulnerable and how contagious, glorious, and destructive that dream is.
[syndicated profile] geyserofawesome_feed

Because sometimes what you need most is to simply watch a happy pair of stegosaurs frolicking, rocking on their plates, and just generally enjoying each other’s company.

This delightful gif is the work of cartoonist Drew Mokris.

[via Reddit]

Today I learned

Aug. 27th, 2016 15:34
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
That the sound made by a lashing tail of a cat face to face with a squirrel calmly grooming itself on the other side of a window can under the right circumstances be audible a floor away.

Dear FemslashEx Creator Letters

Aug. 27th, 2016 12:02
muccamukk: Wanda casting a spell, surrounded by violet swirls. (Avengers: Scarlet Witch)
[personal profile] muccamukk posting in [community profile] femslashex
Link them here!

Be sure to include your AO3 user name, and the fandoms you nominated along with the link.

Please remember not to rank your fandoms or pairings. If you're asking for art, please remember to leave some art-friendly prompts. Please respect that everyone has different likes and squicks, and may love relationship you can't stand.

If you post a placeholder/locked post, don't link to it here until it's filled in/unlocked and ready to read.

If you'd like to list "extras" (relationships that are nominated in the tag set, but that you can't fit on your requests), that's okay, but try to make sure you indicate that they're second preference, and give them less space than the requests that you're getting matched on.

Discuss "Teenage Heroes"

Aug. 27th, 2016 13:25
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
[personal profile] dialecticdreamer has posted a discussion on her blog about "Teenage Heroes."   It includes a lot of thought about problems with the typical portrayals, and how that might be done better.  I encourage interested folks to take a look, because this is something I write about fairly often, and much of that veers away from the usual stuff.

Fails To Plant The Concept

Aug. 27th, 2016 17:00
[syndicated profile] notalwaysright_feed

Posted by BD

Retail | IL, USA

(I get to have this conversation at least once per work-day.)

Customer: “Do you work here?”

Me: “I’m the plant vendor. If you have a question about the flowering plants, I can help you.”

Customer: “Great. Can you help me with the lawn mowers/barbecues/pots?”

(Said with varying levels of politeness.)

Me: “I work with the plants…”

The post Fails To Plant The Concept appeared first on Funny & Stupid Customer Stories - Not Always Right.

But were they lost?

Aug. 27th, 2016 17:40
oursin: George Beresford photograph of Marie of Roumania, overwritten 'And I AM Marie of Roumania' (Marie of Roumania)
[personal profile] oursin

Intriguing article about Barbara Skelton, of whom I was vaguely aware.

And yet again am given to wonder about the fates of women who become muses or supporting characters in the stories of better-known men in their circles who they married or shagged or didn't shag but led a dance...

And what is the difference between someone like Jean Rhys (a 'lost girl' if anybody was) who gained literary cred, and the ones whose works are mined for their acquaintance, but not considered in so serious a light as writing.

And whether however Ford Maddox Ford may seem creepy, he did do a certain amount of mentoring and promoting, that perhaps was not standard?

Also considering that Powell's Pamela Fitton is an absolutely no redeeming features bitch and if a portrait, a particularly malign one.

And in possible irrelevant trivia note, one of her husbands was a Mitford girl ex.

Sell your fandom / relationship!

Aug. 27th, 2016 09:26
muccamukk: Rebecca and Amanda hugging and laughing (HL: Fun Femslash)
[personal profile] muccamukk posting in [community profile] femslashex
Sign-ups open tomorrow, which means now's the time to talk everyone into offering your very favourite in that last spot.

So use this post to make convincing arguments such as: Pretty pictures, reasons why you love the thing, links to canon (please keep it legal).

Comment on Dreamwidth, or to the FemslashEx tag on tumblr.
zulu: Karen Gillam from Dr. Who, wearing a saucy top hat (Default)
[personal profile] zulu

Right, so!

This game is what I think of as a 'typical' twine game. (I probably haven't played enough of them to know what typical is, but this is how I picture it.)

It's in the second person, with short passages (no more than 500 words each and mostly much less, often only a sentence). It sets up a world with a mystery or a strangeness to it, in this case the fact that you're an intern in a magical publishing company. It does simple, but fun and thematic, things with visuals--the background & text change when you enter the Magical Dimension. There are lots of loops, such that you have to click around a lot and explore; there are mazes; sometimes you have to do things quite often in order to get anywhere. Some loops don't have endings unless you give up on them. There are three endings; I've only found one so far.

And also typical of twine games I've played--and again, I don't actually know if this is typical, but it seems so--is harder to define. By this I mean, there is a difference of approach to storytelling. There is a deliberate use of tropes, and undermining of tropes. They expect you to know the tropes and to appreciate the subversion. In this case, there's all this shadowy dangerous magic going on, but you're not invited in, it's a portal fantasy where you only go through the portal to fetch coffee for your officemates, because you are a magicless human and an unpaid intern. The narrative makes direct callouts to these tropes and offers a very ambiguous feeling of how it is to be a human in the magic world. You don't belong there, but when you return, you don't belong here either. A discomfort with traditional narrative, maybe? A more 'realistic' view? And I don't mean realistic in the sense that magic has to be deconstructed, explained, autopsied. But rather that the emotion isn't pure joy/belonging/acceptance that is expected. Magic is real! and it wants you to make copies all day.

I'm wondering if this approach is...if not specific to twine games, then...common, maybe? Or is it just that this is the phase of storytelling the world happens to be in right now, this feeling of world-weariness, this cynicism regarding tropes? I just feel that twine games express the cynicism differently than elsewhere, I guess. It's not about making things grimdark, it's about making them 'sad', but depression sad, not sadness sad, if that makes sense.

Yes, I would play this game again, looking for the other endings.
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Posted by Beth Elderkin

The Iron Throne is one of the most iconic images in Game of Thrones, and yet it’s always been a bit, well, lackluster. Now, someone’s taken it upon themselves to make a throne worthy of the Ruler of Westeros—or, at least, their LEGOs.


james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Is that the very first comment was nuked:

Comment removed; consult our Moderation Policy for guidelines.

I bet even without having seen it, I can make an educated guess why.

Service With A Smile

Aug. 27th, 2016 15:00
[syndicated profile] notalwaysright_feed

Posted by BD

Movie Theater | Surrey, England, UK

(I’ve just had a customer complain because I informed her she was waiting at an unmanned till while serving other customers. She complained to the manager, by which time she’s accusing me of being rude, something that struck everyone who heard as out of character.)

Manager: “I had a rather loud woman complain about you telling her go to the queue.”

Me: “[Colleague on the ice cream stand] is on break, and it’s not fair on those waiting in the queue to jump it to serve her.”

Manager: “That’s what I thought; did you apologise for the inconvenience?”

Me: “I always break these things with, ‘I’m sorry’ but I guess she didn’t like the fact I was serving other customers at the same time.”

Manager: “Then there’s nothing you need to worry about. Well, there is one thing.”

Me: “Huh?”

Manager: “I’m not letting you back on the front line without a smile.”

(I admit, that made me laugh.)

The post Service With A Smile appeared first on Funny & Stupid Customer Stories - Not Always Right.

Three years ago

Aug. 27th, 2016 10:09
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Ibid, then named "Bitey", turned up on the exgf's back porch. He was skinny but not little: at six months he was large as one year old Fig.

He is no longer skinny.

(no subject)

Aug. 27th, 2016 10:07
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I kind of want to swear loudly, but I’m not sure I have the energy for that. I’ve had almost no sleep, and for various reasons, I need to be awake for the rest of the day. The lack of sleep is an intersection of me just not being able to fall asleep and of Scott doing stuff to disrupt my ability to sleep every couple of hours. That wasn’t entirely his fault. Our landline is out, so his work may or may not have called to say they didn’t need him at 3:00 after all. When he tried calling to find out at 2:00, nobody answered, so he went in, and they sent him home. So, he got up at 2:00, left home about 2:40(after another loud alarm), got back at 3:30, got up again at 5:00, and left around 6:15 (after still another loud alarm).

I’m up right now because Scott’s sister is coming by soon to pick Cordelia up to take her up to her grandparents’ place for a day of swimming and boating. That’ll happen some time between 10:30 and 11:00. I have something I very much want to do from noon to 3:00. Scott will be home around 4:00 or 4:30, and we’ll have to retrieve Cordelia.

I did some writing last night on the Iddy Iddy Bang Bang story. I’ve almost gotten my POV character to do something that will give the story movement. I mean, he does a lot of stuff in the story. It’s first person, and he does monologue a bit, but he does things, too. It’s just that he needs to do something that pivots either in his head or in the outside world. Otherwise the story ends up with an 'and so what?'

The current lack of landline is because the equipment from Comcast arrived yesterday, and Scott tried to set it up. He couldn’t get a signal, not even when he took everything to where the cable enters the house and plugged things in directly. He seems to think that Comcast has already activated our service so that the problem is a hardware thing. Given Comcast, I’m not completely convinced. They’ve lost our request for service once already.

Of course, having the Comcast landline wouldn’t have helped last night because Scott’s work doesn’t have that number, only the old number. He has very deliberately avoided giving them his cell number, and I’m pretty sure he’d rather go in and get sent home a dozen times rather than let them have that.

Scott tells me that work is going to change some things about how they do overtime. There won’t be less overtime or anything as happy as that, but we should have more advance notice because they want to plan coverage a month ahead. I’m not sure how that will help deal with things when it’s last minute stuff like people calling in that’s the problem. They also don’t know until mid-week, at the earliest, if they’ll meet the week’s production. If they don’t, they need weekend overtime, and that can’t be predicted during most of the year. (Now through the end of October, there will be work every weekend, but most of the year isn’t that predictable.)


Aug. 27th, 2016 13:00
[syndicated profile] badastronomy_feed

Posted by Phil Plait

Is Caturday still a thing? I don’t care, because it’s now Goaturday.

That is my goat, Jack Burton.* He is one of four goats we have chez BA, the others being Sam, Batman, and Clayton Forrester. They are all fun and cute and adorable, and you can find lots more pictures of them on my Instagram feed (for all my social media links, go to about.me). For example, here is video of me feeding them apples, and here is Jack yelling, “What what?”

I’m on travel right now and my wife sent me this photo of Jack to remind me of some of what I’m away from. It makes me homesick, but it also makes me smile that he’s such a dork, chewing with his mouth open. They’re all dorks and I miss them. But look at him! Look!

When I get home I will scratch them all on their heads and pat their bellies and they will in turn belch in my face and poop everywhere, because they are goats. That’s all as it should be.

*Because I know someone will ask: Here ya go.

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