Shaking the Tambourine

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

It’s that season again . . . time for one of my semi-regular posts where I clear my throat nervously, point at the “About” link in the header, and let people know that I offer editorial and critique services for a reasonable fee.

(It’s been a long hard winter, with all the household expenses that a long hard winter always brings.  Because I’m a hardworking Dr. Doyle, I’m doing my bit to keep the electricity and the internet flowing.  Wherefore I also point, discreetly, at the tip jar link at the bottom of the right-hand margin.)

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Peeves of the Day

jamesdmacdonald:

And it’s “sleight of hand,” not “slight of hand.”

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

Because hoo, boy, am I feeling peevish at the moment.

Peeve the first:taught versus taut.

Taught is a verb; it’s the past tense of teach:  Jack taught Joe how to tie knots.

Taut is an adjective, meaning stretched or pulled tight, the opposite of slack:  Joe pulled the line taut.

Peeve the second: Will somebody please ask all the budding fantasy writers out there to stop having their colorful secondary characters speak in generic rural bumpkin/hearty seafarer/urban rogue dialect while their main characters speak in standard English?

Honestly, writing dialect is difficult (and problematic) enough when you’re dealing with an actual known real-world example.  Most of the time, dealing with a made-up dialect only compounds the problems.  (The usual “if you’re a stylistic genius with a golden ear” exception applies, of course.  But most of us don’t qualify for that one.)

And that’s quite enough peevishness…

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“It’s a House Name,” Tom Said Frankly.

jamesdmacdonald:

“My frog is dead!” Tom croaked….

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

Franklin W. Dixon.  Carolyn Keene.  Victor Appleton.  Familiar names, all three, as are their literary creations:  The Hardy Boys.  Nancy Drew.  Tom Swift.  How do these authors manage to have their names on such long-running series?  (The first Hardy Boys adventure appeared in 1927; the most recent just this past February.)

The answer:  these authors are all house names.  That is to say, the name is a pseudonym that is owned not by the writer of a particular book, but by the publishing house, thus enabling the house to hire different writers at need for the series, or to have more than one writer at a time working on different books.

Frank and Joe Hardy (and Ms. Drew, and Tom Swifts Senior, Junior, and III) were creations of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, and their prolific adventures were made possible in part by the detailed outlines which the syndicate provided to…

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Ursula K. Le Guin Gets Her Snark On

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

She read a New York Times interview with Kazuo Ishiguro about his forthcoming novel, The Buried Giant, which takes place in a non-historic just-post-Arthurian England, in which the author frets that his audience will say that it is fantasy.  (To be fair, it contains. among other things, a dragon.)    And she was moved to speak.

I’ve said this here before, and I’ll say it again:  One of the things I respect most greatly about Le Guin is her steadfast refusal to disavow the genre.  More than one author, upon attaining literary respectability, has stashed their propeller beanie and their Spock ears in the far back of the closet . . . all honor, then, to the ones who don’t.

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Today’s Bit of Amusement

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

Over at The Toast, “How to Tell if You Are in a Logic Puzzle.”

Because heaven knows, Logic Puzzle Land has only a tangential relationship to Real Life Land.

Obligatory writing reference:  When constructing plots and figuring out character motivations, remember that Fiction Land generally strives to reflect Real Life Land, not Logic Puzzle Land.  There are a few instances where it’s closer to Logic Puzzle Land – the strict-form allegory, for example, or the roman à clef – but those are the exceptions rather than the rule.

(Now that I think of it, that’s a good way to distinguish between an allegorical work and one that merely makes heavy use of symbolism and metaphor:  If the workings of the plot and the actions of the characters appear to be taking place in Logic Puzzle Land, you’re probably dealing with an allegory.)

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Prep Work

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

Today and the rest of this week are mostly all about getting ready for Boskone . . . getting all the necessary laundry done, formatting and printing out all the stuff for our reading (there are people out there who can read aloud off of their tablet or laptop, but I’m not one of them), getting out this month’s newsletter  (if you’re not a subscriber, you can become one via the signup link in the sidebar, and have the March issue show up in your mailbox when the time comes), and keeping a wary eye on the weather predictions for the next week.

If we’re lucky, Boston will have shoveled out from under its most recent snowpocalypse by this weekend, and won’t get another one while we’re there.

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Peeves of the Day

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

Because it has been entirely too cold up here of late, and cold weather makes me peevish.

Peeve the first:  Mixing up tic and tick.

A tick is a bloodsucking parasitical insect.  (Okay.  Technically, an arachnid.)  Or the sound made by a clock.  Or a check mark against an item in a list.

A tic is an involuntary muscular movement.

So a character with a facial tick . . . no, I don’t want to go there.  Just thinking about it makes me twitch.  Gives me a tic, if you will.

Peeve the second:  Oh and O.

“Oh!” is the interjection:

“Oh, no!”

“Oh, what a day!”

“Oh, for heaven’s sake!”

O is the particle that goes in front of a noun that is the name of somebody or something that is being directly addressed by the speaker:

“O Lord, we beseech thee….”

“Hear me, O King!”

“O…

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Live at Boskone

Doyle and I will be at Boskone in a couple of weeks.

This is our schedule:

Saturday, 14 February, 10:00 AM

Marina 2

The Future of Forensics

Advances in science and technology are driving the future of forensics. How will these changes affect the future of crime prevention and detection? What crimes committed today or yesterday might be solved in the future, and how might it be done? What relationship do these advances have to the future of crime fiction? And how do we keep it feeling “real” without wandering into science fantasy?

John P. Murphy (M), James D. Macdonald, Alison Sinclair

Saturday, 11:00 AM

Harbor III

Mythic Love and Epic Romance

Some of the greatest love stories come from ancient mythology, such as Psyche and Cupid or Odysseus and Penelope. However, great love stories that span the fantastic and (in some cases) the centuries also come in more modern tales, featuring couples such as Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese, Bella and Edward, Wesley and Buttercup, Dr. Frankenstein and Elizabeth, and Count Dracula and Mina. What do these tales of love and romance tell us about love? What do these epic love stories tell us about ourselves? And why are we drawn to them?


Darlene Marshall (M), Debra Doyle, Max Gladstone, Chris Jackson, Ada Palmer

Saturday, 2:00 PM

Marina 2

The Walking Dead: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Walking Dead opened its fifth season with a literal bang and seems to be going strong despite the occasional halting plot, erratic pace, and poor choices made by several characters in past seasons. Still, it remains the most popular show on cable television. What is it about TWD that compels 17 million viewers to keep watching a show that is possibly one of the most violent on television?

Erin Underwood (M), James D. Macdonald, Jennifer Pelland, Thomas Sweterlitsch, Steve Davidson

Saturday, 3:00 PM

Galleria-Discussion Group

The Hollywood Historical Past

Sleepy Hollow is not the first TV show with a historical backstory that diverges from real-world history. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Highlander also presented us with some highly dubious flashbacks. Is this a recent development, or only the latest product of the ahistorical approach to the past-as-story that gave us Shakespeare’s Italy and medieval writers’ fanciful versions of ancient Greece and Rome?


Debra Doyle

Saturday, 4:00 PM

Marina 3

Writing Fight and Combat Scenes

You can learn fencing, stage combat, or martial arts, but these skills are neither necessary nor sufficient to write compelling, realistic fight scenes. What does it take to write a fight scene that creates tension and drama without turning it into a play-by-play? Panelists will explore how to bring their readers into the fight and leave them gasping for air.

Myke Cole (M), Chris Jackson, James D. Macdonald, Ken Mondschein, Jen Gunnels

Saturday, 5:00 PM

Galleria-Autographing

Autographing: David L. Clements, Debra Doyle, James Macdonald, Allen Steele

David L. Clements, Debra Doyle, James D. Macdonald, Allen M. Steele

Sunday, 15 February, 11:00 AM

Marina 3

Writing Workshops: What’s Right for You as a New Writer?

Thinking about attending a writing workshop or an MFA program? Wondering how to pick which one is right for you? Once you do, then what? There is no magic formula to elicit an acceptance letter, but a solid application is a good place to start. Join representatives from various writing programs and learn how to present the best of what you have to offer as a student.

Kenneth Schneyer (M), Debra Doyle, Theodora Goss, Shahid Mahmud, Jill Shultz

Sunday, 12:30 PM

Griffin

Reading: James Macdonald and Debra Doyle

James D. Macdonald, Debra Doyle

The reading very likely will be “Silver Passing in Sunlight” from the upcoming DECO PUNK: The Spirit of the Age
anthology published by Pink Narcissus. A world premiere!

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For Your Amusement

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

A trio of links, from the useful to the odd.

Table Scraps — a food history blog, with more blog links in the sidebar.  (Including one to Pass the Garum!, a blog about Roman cookery.)

Three-Panel Book Reviews, a webcomic that says entirely truthful and funny things about works of literature.  I especially liked the one about Jonathan Franzen, but they’re all good.

And finally, a performance of “Lord Barnard and Little Musgrave” (as “Little Matty Groves” was known before it crossed the Atlantic) sung in Esperanto.

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Now I’ve Heard Everything

jamesdmacdonald:

No Naugas were harmed in the making of this product….

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

Among the other things I did over the past weekend, in addition to having a lovely time at the Arisia sf/fantasy convention,* was to purchase a tablet to replace my color Nook. Why? (Other than sheer neophilia, that is.)  To make a long story short – Intuit finally came out with a mobile Quicken app to sync with the desktop version, which is something I’ve been missing ever since Intuit yanked the license to make Pocket Quicken away from Landware.  And my husband/co-author was on board with the idea because it would mean that I could use the tablet’s camera to take videos of him doing stage magic.

So I picked up a refurbished Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7-incher from NewEgg, and then I went looking on line for a cover.

And that’s when I discovered that none of the online dealers in mobile accessories are talking about artificial…

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