Notes from the Thurs Writer’s Group 10/1/09

I miss my dot-matrix printer. I pushed “print” and it printed. If it didn’t, it was out of ink. That was it. It probably still works – though I gave it away. Windows XP won’t support it.

It supports the Kodak AiO ESP3, which will print a variety of diagnostic test pages, but not the document I want to print. I bought it bexcause I grew weary of arguing with my HP printer.

What does it take to just get a printer to print documents?

So, I didn’t have copies for the meeting, even though I had new material.

Other notes from the October 1 writer’s meet-up: In hopes of finding inexpensive computer hardware that works.

“TK” in addition to being copy-editor shorthand for “To Come” is also the postal code for Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand located in the South Pacific, the stock symbol for Teekay Corporation, an oil shipping company, and an anaocronym for the Tool Kit GUI library for the TCL programming language.

Your resource for playing the concertina.

A steam-punk flavored automatic Genre Fiction Generator

Some alternate views on writer’s groups:

Steven Harper Piziks at Book-view cafe with the very basics of how they can be helpful.

And Dean Wesley Smith with why they are dangerous.

Homepage for the Desert Dreams Writer’s Conference , sponsored by the Desert Rose chapter of Romance Writers of America – which tells a lot about what sort of agents and editors are likely to attend. $218-248 for non-member registration depending on when you sign up, and how many extras you want.

And the difference between sketches of intelligent alien species, and sketches that resemble monsters from an RPG supplement is that aliens wear clothes. I have some examples, but my scanner is also my printer.

So we leave with a song:

Now You know.

Weekly round-up of unimportant details

This is becoming more of a weekly blog than a daily one, and more of a writing blog than a general one. So be it. I blame the Examiner.

When interviewing a subject for an article or quoting a job of work, there are no unimportant details.

If it costs more in labor to sort the hardware than the hardware is actually worth, you might as well pitch it, right? Anyway, that’s what happened to that bucket of bolts.

Both articles I wrote for Demand Studios cleared in the first pass, and they owe me $25 for what should go for $70 (at $.10/word). Well, sometimes situations just turn to crap, and you make the best of what’s left.

I’d link to them, but they’re buried in, and I’m not a registered user of a site I’ve apparently contributed to.

The WordPress spell-check does not recognize “blog” as a word. (Nor does it recognize “WordPress”)

Today’s graphic: overlapping mythical creatures

And a New Scientist Opinion on The Coming Robot Wars


Word lengths for short fiction categories:

[a caveat – not all sources agree on these…]

Micro-fiction 100 words or less

Flash Fiction 1000 words or less

Short-short story 2000 words or less

Short story 2000-7500 words

Novelette 7000-25000 words

Novella 7500 – 40000 words

[Overlap? Sure. These were defined by liberal arts folk after all.)

Novel 60000-150000 words (though conventional wisdom is that you want to come in between 80000 – 120000 unless you are a well-known writer.)

Straight Dope on the entymology of “O.K.” which, to spare you some time, is an abbreviation of “Oll Korrect”, a phrase common in newspaper parody in the 1840’s. The term exploded in popular use though as shorthand for Marin Van Buren, aka Old Kinderhook, by both friends and supporters.

With that in mind, OK would be technically correct, but the phrase is still considered informal and improper in many circles.

“Okay” on the other hand, eliminates confusion with the postal code for Oklahoma.

Pick a version and stay with it. English really doesn’t have any other rule.


Arizona Consortium for the Arts

The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Sorings MO

San Miguel Mexico

Tau Ceti

Glenda Larke on when to give up writing.

Now You Know

Writer’s Meet-up notes 8-13-09

Only five people, and we were still the loudest group in the coffee shop. A marked contrast to the recent past. I have some bits of interest to writer’s in general, but first, a few random facts that came up last night.

Two sources for London rhyming slang:

Wikipedia on the Rochdale Cooperative Principles.

Non-wiki source: CommunityMarket

Probably a little upscale for hillbilly teenagers, but the Kawasaki Mule is typical of utility ATV’s.

The pilcrow, the paragraph symbol, does appear like a backwards “P”.

Now some links of more general literary (or at least commercial copy) interest:

KK Rusch’s far-reaching guide to freelancing.

Google has a proposed settlement with the Author’s Guild over Google’s habit of just posting stuff on the internet and asking about copyright later. Few other writer’s organizations like it, including the Science Fiction Writer’s Association and the National Writer’s Union.

And more on the paradigm shift involved when pricing e-books.

[More on that subject in this blog – here.]

I have a little gig writing for about camping. Examiner is hiring – though its not really as straightforward as that. They pay by the page-view, according to a Secret Formula, but its cumulative page-views, so if you have a lot of article up for a long time, and people keep reading them, those pennies pile up into dollars. That’s the theory, anyway.

If you blog on a particular subject regularly, then the Examiner is probably a better deal that blogging for free, or for the pittance of Adsense or the like. I would not, though, mistake this for paid-by-the-word commercial non-fiction.

My examiner page – so you know what we’re talking about.

Use my name, and I get $50.

Now You Know.

No Cure for Dumb Fear

First of all – its just the flu. It’s not The Plague.

As my wife wrote on her facebook:

Everyone, please-take a deep breath. The REGULAR flu kills 35,000 people a year, every year. Maybe 80 people, in the country, have the swine flu. 80, out of how many million? It’s all over the news because that makes people panic, and panic induces more news-watching. Wash your hands, get on with your life. Thank you.

And the numbers you’ve heard about the current flu – wrong.

From The Age (in Australia)

Vivienne Allan, from WHO’s patient safety program, said the body had confirmed that worldwide there had been just seven deaths – all in Mexico – and 79 confirmed cases of the disease.

“Unfortunately that (150-plus deaths) is incorrect information and it does happen, but that’s not information that’s come from the World Health Organisation,” Ms Allan told ABC [Australian Broadcasting Company] Radio on Wednesday morning.

Similar reporting has appeared in other news sources, mostly from Oz or New Zealand. Curious to see if the US media picks this up or what.

If they shut down my kids school over a runny nose, I’m gonna be pissed. (AZ Superintendent of Education Tom Horne has promised to do just that.)

Meanwhile, I’ve been looking into Aspergers – a subject near to my brain.

There’s two types of advocacy groups for people on the Autism spectrum:

* Normal adults whose children or grandchildren suffer from autism. Autism Speaks heads this movement. They raise money in hopes of a “cure”.

* Adults with Aspergers who do not feel they suffer from the condition enough to warrant a cure. GRASP leads this movement, though there are many others.

These groups do not always get along, and you can follow along on Wrong Planet – a chat board for those with Aspergers.

Here’s a brief glossary if you wanna troll Wrong Planet:

Aspey – someone with Aspergers.

NT – Neuro-Typical = normal people

Curebys (or Curebies) = those who believe Autism as a condition can and/or should be cured.

Yeah, well, there’s a lot of whining – like any other single interest group that feels oppressed.

One fact you need to take away from all this nonsense: No one can agree on what Autism even is at this point, much less what causes it, or how it could be “cured”. Those who say otherwise are trying to raise money.

Why yes – this is all for an article I’m writing (technically an essay). Thanks for asking…

Now you know.

Car shows, Meet-up rushes and wasting time in front of the TV [1/17/09]

So a brief account of things I learned over the past week, since,for various reasons, I haven’t made my daily-entry goal:

At the Barret-Jackson auto show, where I worked on the Ford booth: Shiny, metal surfaces such as diamond plate make it very hard to focus PAR lights. Lighting up cars is not rocket science. You can get a lot more finness manuevering a scissorlift with two hands on the joystick.

The Cardinals should have given the game ball to Carolina Panther’s QB Jake Delhomme for throwing into double coverage four times, which led to 4 of the Cards 5 interceptions. (The pass for the fifth was blocked at the line of scrimmage).

Once again, nobody picks the Cardinals to win this Sunday either.

Once I open a beer and turn on the TV – I am done for the night. I can do one or the other and still have a chance ofgetting something done before I go to bed. But both is a clear sign that productive activity has ceased for the day. (Clearly, that includes updating the blog). was not kidding when it warned meet-up organizers that there would be an early January spike in new members. The Central Phoenix weekly group went from 6 in a mid December meeting to over 15 on the first meeting in January.

The Central Phoenix weekly meet-up’s traditional format melts down completely with 15 attendees.

A great site for nerds who want to compare starship sizes from various fictional universes. They haven’t updated to incluce the new BSG ships, but the dimensions haven’t really changed from the orginal series (IMHO).

Was the season 4.1 premier worth watching? Yes.

Was it worth waiting over a year for? Not really.

Will I keep watching anyway? Of course.

It costs about $400/hour to rent a helicopter in Belize.

Snarge, n, the residue of birds that have collided with airplanes.

Now you know.

September 2nd 2008

You can go from zip to blog at the WordPress site in about a half hour.

Anagnosis, Aristotle’s term for a revelation in a litererary work that turns the direction of the protagonist’s (or other character’s) life. In Greek drama, that direction was almost always downward.

Literary criticism may be dying in the newspapers, but it is flourishing on the internet, albeit with a greater –er- variety of competence.

Squick” is slang for beyond gross.

or so I read. I’m not actually that hip.

You really have to use the “paste from Word” button when imprting text – or there is weirdness.

Screenwriters regard their own format as some indecipherable and contradictory alchemy that only the seasoned pros can possibly understand, and that not being within this mystical format marks one as an amateur. [via – which actually deals with the Dark Knight script – but see the comments below about the quest for the One True Format].

Older news:

Sarah Palin is the new Dan Quayle – and that McCain’s campaign staff finally shouted down Joe Liberman as VP – a hollow victory as it is turning out.

(What we learned from Dan Quayle is that no one votes for the bottom of the ticket.)