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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A Position Statement, of Sorts

jamesdmacdonald:

Whether _Charlie Hebdo_ did anything or not — they were just a convenient target. The real purpose of the attack was to drive certain elements of French society to be beastly to the Muslim minority, in order to give that latter group grievances and push them into the arms of the radicals.

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

In the wake of the Paris attacks, there’s been much earnest discussion going on, in those quarters of the internet where earnest discussion always hangs out, over whether Charlie Hebdo‘s political satires were, in fact, racist, anti-Muslim, and so forth, or whether they were part of a long-standing tradition in French political expression (Daumier keeps getting brought up, for example, and pre-Revolutionary cartoons about Marie Antoinette), and about whether Charlie Hebdo was punching up, or down, or sideways. These are arguments I’m not going to get into, because, one, there are few things more impenetrable to the outside observer than another country’s political humor, and two, from where I stand as a free-speech absolutist, it shouldn’t matter whether Charlie Hebdo was punching in the right direction, punching in the wrong direction, or spinning madly around in all directions like a punching top . . . shooting up a bunch…

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Seasonal Special from Dr. Doyle’s Editorial and Critique Services

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

In the spirit of making the Yuletide (or other seasonal holiday of your choice) a bit brighter all ‘round:

From now through Twelfth Night (5 January 2015), my price for a full-dress line-edit plus a 3-5 page letter of critique drops to a flat $1000 for a standard-weight novel.

This offer can also be combined with the Seasonal Gift Certificate I blogged about earlier.

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Giving Thanks

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

Things I’m thankful for, as a writer:

  • The word-processor/printer combination, a wonder of modern technology that’s eliminated so much of the sheer physical drudgery of turning a story into submittable text.  There are probably writers out there, these days, who never had to wrestle with an electric – or worse, a manual – typewriter and a ream of 20-pound bond paper and a bottle of white-out, making mental calculations all the while as to exactly how many corrections they could get away with on the finished page before having to trash it and start over.  I do not miss those days at all; as soon as I could afford the tech, I was there.
  • The internet, which in addition to supplying us with distractions such as cat pictures and “Which Classic Dessert Are You?” quizzes, also brings the resources of great museums and research libraries to our homes and…

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For Your Amusement

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

A trio of links:

These people have developed a blight-resistant American chestnut tree, and are now crowdfunding a project to plant 10,000 new trees and start the work of bringing the species back to American forests.

Here are some nifty pictures of spherical layer cakes frosted to look like planets – complete with proper planetary cores.  And here’s a link to a tutorial on how to make one yourself at home.

And finally, in honor of the upcoming holiday, a link to NASA’s cornbread dressing recipe.

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