"So, James Twining and I concluded between us that to write a good thriller you need: a brilliant central character, a recognisable writing style (Fleming has his distinctive short sentences and muscularity), some link to reality like a real event, character or detailed research, an inanimate object around which the human story revolves, and a news story that breaks as a result of the novel. Easy." On how to write a perfect thriller. (Grokked from MrsTadd)
Catherine Shaffer makes a point and brings us a reminder (since it was also dealt in comments), all writing advice is offered on "use if you can or need, toss everything that doesn't work." Everybody's path is different (the man in the corner shouts, "I'm not"). I can point to all sorts of examples of writers who are successful to different degrees who have made that success in different ways. Keep what works, toss what doesn't.
And here, as I pointed out in comments, I try to give links to all kinds of writing advice. Even that advice that I know doesn't work for me. Why? Because it may work for you. As long as I can see it's sound advice (or given humorously like the link yesterday), I try and share it.
Although one thing you should do (if you're just starting out) is know the importance of manuscript formatting. Jay Lake holds forth on why you should know it and live it. Now, from what I'm told, if you deviate slightly, most people aren't going to toss you for that. But as Jay says, why start out in the hole? It's hard enough to sell something. Also, every profession has their shibboleth. Proper manuscript formatting performs that function for writing. It lets the person reading your manuscript know you cared enough to learn the bare minimum about your profession.
Another article on fear and loathing and the American writer. Oh yeah, #2 gets me all the time.
Say, did you know that some of our most beloved gadgets of SF novels were invented by a hack? And one other thing they missed in the article, they also invented Steampunk. (Pointed to by Dan)
Nick Mamatas on the "true geek"/poser/womanhood/bully debate.
Ken McConnell tells us of a new piece of writing software, Plume Creator. It's currently in Beta testing. If you don't understand that term, you might want to wait until the first release. Although with many open source projects, does the software really ever exit beta testing?
There's a conversation going on between some of my blogger friends concerning religion and it's roll in society. There was a recent event 9death of a beloved family member) in one of their lives which kind of brought the conversation to the fore. Random Michelle K talks about fairness and the random hostility of the universe. Janiece talks about the role of religion as seen from the outside. Here's a life lesson, surround yourself with friends smarter and more insightful than you.
Vintage motivational cards and a second post of them. Personally, I think there's an illustrator giggling over the inclusion of the Sisyphus image in the Loyalty Always Inspires Confidence card. And I hate to say it, but these are from a much simpler time. The cynic in me had a field day with them.
"But you think you're protecting me, you arrogant fucktard?" Eric on the other insanity that gun owners see themselves as the only protectors of freedom (you may remember Jim Wright on the first insanity, that dead kids are the price of freedom). Look, I don't want to go into everything here (I don't have the time or the patience to write it all), so I'm just going to point to the other idiots who thought their guns would protect them from the "guvument". You might have heard of Waco, Ruby Ridge, the Hutaree, the various Aryan Nation sects that went toes to toe with the jackbooted thugs of the FBI. It was the FBI. We're not even talking "Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines" here. We're talking about people who train at a place they call "The Farm." They didn't even have to call in the specialists (Delta, SEALs, AFSO). Those people were "prepared." They were armed to the teeth. So how did it work out from them? Look, the people in power are more afraid of your vote than they are of your guns. Notice how there's no legislation banning firearms that has any real chance of passing either Federally or in the States. However, they have passed laws making it more difficult for you to vote and are more than willing to remove your franchise whenever they have the opportunity. And you know what they were afraid of behind the Iron Curtain. Was it our bombers, our missiles, our guns and swagger? Fuck no. They were afraid of our jazz and denim jeans.
"The fact checkers have been calling out the lies,… have devoted the occasional space to excruciatingly polite calling-outs of some of the most egregious bullshit. The problem is that the pundit and otherwise-expert classes as a unit have… no interest in policing the honesty of the candidates, even as they lavishly scold the lower classes for their opinions on bankers, or populism, or economic austerity, or any of the other masturbatory moral fetishes that occupies the village mind. The same crowd… has not a damn thing to say about a modern candidate whose campaign has revolved around a series of profound dishonesties. Crackpot theories and false claims have always been present, in politics, but as fringe elements—now we are apparently content to endorse them as legitimate political practices even among supposed party leaders." Bending the truth is a longtime political game, even leading to Obi Wan's "it all depends on your point of view," comment in Return of the Jedi. But this year it's being taken to a whole new level. (Grokked from Jay Lake)
"This is my point: I really really resent anyone in any group, but in this case geekdom, presuming to place me or any other person with similar interests as lesser. As a fraud. As someone who doesn't belong and should get out. I am referring of course to some recent articles that have been going around the net about Fake Geek Girls." One of the many panel topics that gets used over and over is "What are we going to do about fandom." It's greying, it's all male, it's dying out, it's irrelevant, it's (whatever bugaboo is hip that year). And then there are the "defenders of the true faith", as exemplified by the recent post on all the "poser women" at cons and how this kid thought it was terrible because, I don't know, maybe they were drinking all the beer or something and only the true geeks should be there. "Quite frankly it's just another example of men dictating how women should behave and what they should wear." Yeah, it was pretty much that. As I commented in Scalzi's blog on the subject, sometimes the movie ain't about you. And while you may think your the defender of the cause, you're just being a dick. Just as there is always someone smarter than you, there is always someone geekier than you. Get over it, have fun. That's what cons are really about anyway. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell, I think)
"CNN notes that Romney has only taken three questions from the traveling press corps during his week-long trip abroad." That's the tagline on the story of a Romney's Traveling press secretary, Rick Gorka, cursing at reporters. Really, Mr. Gorka, it's a "Holy Site" and you're the one saying, "Kiss my ass"? You kiss your mother with that mouth? Also, don't want reporters to shout questions, then provide access to your candidate. Look, I really wanted this to be a campaign. I wasn't going to vote for Romney (Huntsman would have been a more difficult choice), but I wanted this to be a crucible of ideas. Now I'm alarmed at just how much this campaign is not ready for prime time. Seriously. Republicans have campaign strategists falling out of their ears, experienced people at all levels. I see them all the time on Fox News. I may disagree with their philosophies, but at least there's a level of professionalism and experience that you expect. (Pointed to by Dan)
The flags on the moon are still standing (except for the first one). (pointed to by Dan)
Alligator Quotient: Just when I need them, they all go to ground. Figures.