What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Monday, July 22, 2013

Linkee-poo doesn't know it is a shooting star

Catherine Schaff-Stump talks about writing and the work ethic. She covers many of the thoughts I've been having for the past six months, only she gets to answers where I'm still groping.

Twenty-three tips from famous writers for new writers.

Joshua Palmateir is starting a new publishing venture, Zombies Need Brains, which (IIRC) was also the name of the party he through at a World Fantasy years ago. That steampunk octopus illustration looks wicked.

The plot scenario generator. Sorta like the Edgar Wallace plot wheel. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Kristen Lamb on why we need good antagonists.

Chuck Wendig talks about staking your story through its heart. Or planting stakes in the garden. Anyway, there's 25 things about the how you handle the stakes in your story.

Some tips on approaching agents from an agent.

Some British weather terms. You know, for good local character for your next story set in the isles. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Uh-oh, the secret is out. There is a Hollywood Formula and it seems a lot of movies are following it… page for page. And that's the problem with formulas. The people who understand know that they're more like guidelines (read that in a Geoffrey Rush voice). But when the bean-counters and MBA suits get ahold of it, bammo! Gotta follow the formula until the milk that sucker dry. This even came up at Comic Con. To understand a little about this (in a novel writing sorta way), I recommend the Writing Excuses episode with Lou Anders where he explains the formula. (Pointed to by Dan)

Need the ambiance of a coffee shop, but don't really need the baristas giving you the stink eye for nursing one cup for three hours. Well, now you can have the sound effects to help your writing. (Grokked from Dr. Doyle)

Jay Lake has been sharing photos of Comic-Con. I point this post out because of my undying love for that bottom photo. My black little scribner's heart want to see this at every Westboro Baptist protest.

"I mean, you expect representatives elected by corporate campaign funds to go to bat for the 1%. But they didn’t used to be so mean about it." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A Norwegian woman working in Dubai accuses a man of rape and gets sentenced for 16 months for having extramarital sex and consuming alcohol.. The man got 13 months. Note that the excuse for this is Dubai "remains a deeply conservative region." (Pointed to by Dan)

Strange how providing a supportive environment instead of one that pre-emptively punishes and dehumanizes children they respond by being human. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"On the heels of reports that the Justice Department is placing a hold on all evidence in the case, including the Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm pistol Zimmerman used to kill unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation announced that it is raising money to buy the former neighborhood watch captain a new gun." Way to go, Ohio. Just in case you're still belaboring under the delusion that this case wasn't about gun laws. (Pointed to by Dan)

"But let’s face it – the man was a racist. Not just a creature of his times. Not a youthful indiscretion. Not just viewed with a modern lens. Not just misinformed. A barking mad racist. To him, pretty much all peoples who are not rock-ribbed white New Englanders were inferior, and the less you resembled Lovecraft, the worse you looked to him." And many writers have taken his mantle, and several have attacked this issue head-on to overturn that bigotry. This is an important point. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

SOme of the damage that can be done by preaching the sexual purity gospel. And don't for a second believe it isn't intended. "In case you were wondering, no, this isn’t healthy, and the result of these teachings has been a generation of Christian youth with warped and toxic ideas about sex, dating, and even their own bodies." (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"Freedom of religion has become the biggest hoax placed upon the Christian people and on our Christian nation… When reading the writings of our Founding Founders… (I)t was very clear that freedom to worship meant the freedom to worship the God of the Bible in the way you wanted, and not to have a government church denomination dictate how you would worship… This is why we must continue our heritage as a Christian nation and remove all other gods." Would be much of a problem except this is the Republican candidate for Roanoke County Board of Supervisors. Welcome to a theocracy of idiots. Also note how this idiot is willing to bankrupt his county for the sake of his ideology. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"If you believe in the Bible, then abortion is never an option — it’s a requirement. And it must be performed by a member of the clergy in the house of God, just as the Bible says… If you’ve got a problem with that, don’t argue with me — your real argument is with the literalistic clobber-text hermeneutic and what it says we must say the Bible says." Fred Clark knows his Bible. I, personally, would never want to be on the opposite side of a Biblical argument from him.

We're number one! We're number one. We're… oh, wait. We're number one in income inequity, beating out many countries we used to call Banana Republics. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Likewise there is never any collective guilt involved in such crimes; 'Christians' are not tasked with 'controlling' the violent impulses of their young men and not depicted as agonizing over how they managed to produce bombers despite the peaceful character of their religious precepts." (Grokked from Jay Lake)


Eric said...

Thanks for the link to Grubb's HPL piece--I think it's just about perfect.

I love much of Lovecraft's work: he was an utter master of structure and (though it may seem ironic) verisimilitude. The opening chapter of The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, with its interweaving of real New England history/geography and utter myth is a wonderful lesson plan for anyone who wants to write horror fantasy set in something like the real world. "The Call Of Cthulhu" is a masterpiece of onionskin plotting, wherein the story isn't so much a line or thread as it is a peeling back of one layer after another until you come to the center. (Spherical plotting?)

But he was a racist. A horrific racist. A grade-A nuclear racist nutbag. In addition to things like the awful poem Grubb links to, HPL wrote things like "The Horror At Red Hook" (wherein we learn immigrants are degenerate subhumans trying to wreck America with their degenerate subhumanity) and ghost-wrote things like "Medusa's Coil" where the ultimate horror beyond horror is revealed to be (I kid you not) miscegenation.

Whitewashing that (what an unfortunate expression in this context) is fundamentally dishonest. There's no gloss, no excuse. As Grubb suggests, Lovecraft was bad even by the standards of his place and era. (And should place and era be excuses anyway?) And too many Lovecraft fans and even HPL critics and scholars turn a blind eye or try to paper over it, which is simply wrong.

Having written a bit about Orson Scott Card's bigotry lately, I've found myself thinking about why my attitude towards GdT's Mountains Of Madness is different (if it ever gets made; which I doubt, since I think Pacific Rim is meant to scratch GdT's Lovecraftian monster itch). And I have to admit that one factor, quite simply, is that Lovecraft is extremely dead; if he were still around, I'd have to consider whether I really wanted to line his pockets, however indirectly. If Card were pining for the fjords, so to speak, I might not be as dead-set about not seeing Ender's Game, though the fact I thought it was a kind of lousy novel would also affect my decision.

Steve Buchheit said...

Eric, I think you hit on a few of the point that I think make the difference here. Buying and reading HPL's works don't enrich him. Also, because of his allowing his works (for what became the Cthulhu Mythos cycle) to go into what we would now label as a Creative Commons license, other writers have attempted to correct HPL's poor humanity traits by expanding his world. OSC on the other hand stands to directly benefit from the sale of both Ender books and movies.

And while I agree with Scalzi's take on the issue of boycotting authors/creators with whom you politically disagree, I do think the creations do matter and are more important than the creator's politics. This is mostly from the perspective of being a creator and how my work, while it flows from me, is not me. What some of my characters say and do or believe doesn't have to (and often doesn't) reflect my own beliefs.

And in that vein, I don't believe that going to see the movie or reading OSC's book is going to subtly convert young people to flaming anti-homosexualism. Although I do agree with many of the moral failings you pointed out in your essays.

One final point on HPL, Elizabeth BEar has an amazing story called Shoggoths in Bloom. And, IIRC, her main character is not only an African American, but a college professor who deals with the still occurring racism of the NE maritime areas. So she consciously runs roughshod over HPL's racism, exposes it, and subverts it.