So, you've completed that first book and are flogging it at agents, what do you do now? Well, Buttercup, here are a few ideas. The easy answer is this, take a breath, and start writing the next book. Or, you could, like me, start training for a new career. But, see, when I had time I did start the next book. And you'll have plenty of time, this rain dances don't take very long (although I'm partial to dancing naked in the light of the waxing moon, YMMV).
And since I point to Chuck Wendig's blog, but it was an article by someone other than Chuck, how about a Chuck post (Chuck Post, BTW is the name of my next polka band). Like his quick-create guide to character development. It really isn't all that quick, but it is a nice guide. I think I need to get a tattoo of "Plot is Soylent Green — it is made of people". I've never really had problems with creating characters, it might be because I've known a number of them in my day. Although, I'll admit, showing them in depth, on the page, has been a little stumbling block. Maybe because I want to say, "they're just like Bob. You know Bob, right?" Also, the NaNoWriMo dialogs.
"Nobody is born knowing how to write, any more than you’re born knowing how to perform brain surgery. We’ve got to get past the myth of inborn talent and recognize that this thing we’ve decided to do is hard work. It takes time, and there’s no end point to the learning process." Jim Hines is smart about writing in his keynote address in front of the Surrey International Writers’ Conference.
On obsession, drive, focus, detail, and how all of that focuses into what we do. And, yea, as a graphic designer some people get into how to make the perfect ellipsis. But unless you're a type designer I'll just be glad if yours actually represents an unexpressed thought that should be obvious and is only three dots long. Also that you use them sparingly (if you only get 3 "!" per novel, I'm willing to give you six "…" for every 100,000 words). If you've gone to business school (and use powerpoint), I'm betting you couldn't do any of those to save your life.
As you may have heard, Neil Gaiman will be teaching at Bard College for a five-year mission to explore… wait, that's not right. But he's there for five years or so, starting this January. He's teaching an advanced writing course on fantasy fiction. If Bard College, the Great Courses, or any of the great audio archives or audiobook companies are not planning on recording these (you know, unless Mr. Gaiman has it specified in his contract that no recordings will be made) the world at large is missing an excellent opportunity. Hell, if they're not and anybody reading this is at Bard and taking his class, if he allows it on his syllabus, I will send you an audio recording device as long as you share the files (you must attend all classes, sit in the front, and make recordings of his lectures).
On using MRI and discovering just how much work "spontaneous creativity" takes. Anyone who has done "creativity" for a living knows it's hard work (we also know how to be creative at need - one big part is feeding the subconscious a diet rich in information). Sometimes when I hear people talking about "creativity" and how "you need to be inspired" (frankly, my paycheck inspires me a great deal) I'm reminded of the lines on the Big Bang Theory. Howard: "You can't just tell a falcon to hunt." Leonard: "Yes you can. There's a whole sport based on it called falconry." (Grokked from Jay Lake)
Oh sure, you knew that Sean Connery, Roger More, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn, Bernard Lee, Robert Brown, and Judi Dench all reprised roles and appearing in more than one James Bond movie, but did you know these other actors appeared in more than one Bond movie? Truth be told, I only knew about half of them. (Pointed to by Dan)
Bogosort. (Pointed to by John)
The 13 horrible ways to die if you're an insect for your edification and story bone factors. (Grokked from Jay Lake)
Time has come today. Fred Clark on people hearing things in rock songs, in this case predicting the Rapture (you know, something other than the Satan worship and suicide cheerleading that people normally hear).
The winners in annual contest sponsored by Nikon for microscopic imaging. If I've done this link correctly it'll take you to the image that shows what neurons look like. All this branches at the top, those are receiving extensions that take in input from other neurons. All those branches at the bottom, transmission points which send chemicals across the void to other neurons (most of those will go to other individual neurons). This is one of the reasons that I don't believe computers will ever be able to match us for human level intelligence. Designing a circuit board that could simulate that would be nearly impossible. And by imitating it, you don't get the same processes. (Grokked from Jay Lake)
This is your brain. This is candy. This is your brain on candy. 'Nough said. (Grokked from Tor.com)
Apparently dogs watch which side other dogs wag on. There's so much in that story, including why sinister means left-handed and that you probably never noticed dogs and cats wag more on one side than the other.
Also, turns out that even before the Great Recession small business, the "magic pill" of politics, was in trouble. Just keep that in mind the next time someone talks about how good small businesses are for the US and how we all should be supporting them.
Oh noes, another person getting thrown off their insurance and getting screwed over by Obamacare. On second glance, just another person parroting the line about how it's all so bad, but didn't actually check it for themselves (and the "interviewer" also didn't check). Without knowing their doctor, we can't be sure the doctor is in the other plans, and if they make more money next year they may not qualify for the subsidy they qualify for this year, but, yea, they'd save money and get a better plan (lower deductibles and out of pocket costs, no limits on doctor's visits, etc). (Grokked from Jay Lake)
Also, health insurance companies may not tell the truth when trying to get their customers to pay higher premiums and then blame Obamacare for it? Why that's unpossible. It's just like Cleveland Clinic blaming their recent downsizing on Obamacare (when they stand to make more money from its implementation). I'm sure it has nothing to do with their recent acquisitions that aren't panning out, or executive compensation, or their reduced bed count, or than other hospitals might be scoring better on customer surveys (which will be linked to medicare reimbursements). No, I'm sure that's not the case. I'm sure it's also not the case that by removing one or two vice-presidents could have saved all those jobs or maybe cutting the decorating budget. (Grokked from Jay Lake)
Thou shall not commit logical fallacies the poster. (Grokked from Cat Rambo)