My drug of choice is writing--writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Oakland Reads (Blogust Fundraiser)

This is Oakland Reads. 

Oakland Read's mission statement is to get the number of third graders reading at a third grade level from 38% to 85% by 2020.

Oakland Reads will be the subject of our Blogust fundraiser.

Here at Writing About Writing we always give 10% of every penny we make to children's literacy charities (usually local to me). We've given donations in Blog's name to the local outlet of the Oakland Library, helped buy a great set of readers for a local underfunded class that will last them years, and even helped the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter last year.

This August I have another a special fundraiser.

For the month of August I will be donating FIVE TIMES the normal amount to Oakland Reads (50%) of everything we make.

But wait, there's more....

We have also had an anonymous donor promise to match any donations that W.A.W. makes [up to $1000] to Oakland Reads. That means that during August, any donations you make to Writing About Writing will instantly become full donations to Oakland Reads and 50% donations to Writing About Writing.

But wait, there's even more....

A second supersecret anonymous donor stepped up to the plate and said they would be matching Writing About Writing's donation to Oakland Reads [up to $2500] contingent on the fact that I must take it as a normal, non-Blogust donation. That means that every donation you make from now until August 31st will be a 110% donation to Oakland Reads and a 90% donation to Writing About Writing.

[Edit] But wait, OMFGZOMG there's even more....

A THIRD donor has offered to match what we make here at Writing About Writing. That means until August 31, every penny donated here will become a 210% donation to Oakland Reads and a 90% donation to the blog.

Also, my readers are absolutely fucking amazing.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Meta Mailbox (Mailbox)

Haiku replies? Questions about questions? How many questions will I answer?

[Remember, keep sending in your questions to chris.brecheen@gmail.com with the subject line "W.A.W. Mailbox" and I will answer each Friday.  I will use your first name ONLY unless you tell me explicitly that you'd like me to use your full name or you would prefer to remain anonymous.  My comment policy also may mean one of your comments ends up in the mailbox. And I often reply to questions about questions.]  

Robert writes:

Deep but meta question requiring answer in haiku.

My reply: 

Start with a bad joke
Deep answer, but lots of snark
Add in threesome jokes

Erin asks: 

Do you answer questions in the order you get them?

My reply: 

Start with a bad joke
Deep answer, but lots of snark–

Oh sorry, wrong question. No, some questions sit in the bin for months, and there are a couple I'm pretty much never getting around to. (On the small side of average, Jeannie. And an hour, easy, but only if they're really into it and my tongue doesn't cramp up. Okay?!?!) We've finally reached the point that even answering a question a week and Sunday Shorts two or three times a month, we're probably never going to get to all the questions.

(I say that now, but it always seems like there are dry spells where I decide no one loves me and I'll never have a successful blog.)

So I basically have to pick which questions to answer, so I tend towards the ones that are either going to be educational, fun, or at least entertaining to answer (like hate mail). I save the others for either moments of desperation or when I have a few different questions that relate to a single theme. If I'm not answering something you really hoped I would, you might try re-asking the question in a really attention grabbing way or with a few threesome innuendos thrown in.

Stephen asks: 

How many questions can we ask?

My reply:

Twenty, and then I totally cut you off!  But that's a lifetime deductible that can be circumvented by groupie threesomes...or groupies....or threesomes...or really just asking a twenty-first question that doesn't suck.

There's not really a hard cap. I do try to mix it up so that it's not the Stephen show. If one person sends me seven or eight questions in a single e-mail, I'll probably spread them out over multiple articles, even if they're all good. But I've done a whole mailbox before of just one person's questions because I thought they were good questions. People who ask good questions, I've answered several times, and some have sent questions that I still haven't gotten around to. (Still looking at you Jeannie–and nothing permanent, or really detrimental other than some jaw pain.) It really depends on how fly and awesome the questions are. Go for maximum fly and awesominity if you want multiples.

Because multiples rule.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Getting My Pratchett On




So for the last two years, every time Terry Pratchett has been on a poll–any poll...for any reason...including, but not limited to, "best science fiction"–one of my beloved readers has "stuffed the ballot" by giving a shout out on a Pratchett page (Facebook, I think). Since anyone can (and is, in fact, encouraged to) do the same thing with other authors, worlds, or books, I haven't really put a kibosh on it. Still, Pratchett's dominance has remained the one constant in the Writing About Writing universe.

And he's an author I've not really read much of.

So it's time to have a Terry Pratchett poll. This person assured me that Discworld was a great series and that I simply had to read it.  The problem was I just could NOT get into The Color of Magic (his recommendation for the introduction to the world.)

Here is my hat tip to so many who have come to vote on so many polls in the past:

I will read whatever Pratchett book you decide I should.

You decide what is the BEST introductory book to Terry Pratchett and I will read it, cover to cover–even if it's a tough read or I have trouble getting into it. I'll even do a little write up about it and tell people what I enjoyed.

Since Good Omens (which I have read) has been ruled to "not count" both by Gaiman and Pratchett fans, it's out, and I will be vetoing The Color of Magic suggestions since we already tried that. Any other Pratchett book is fair game–Discworld or no.

The usual rules for a poll apply, but this one will be FAST. (It'll be over by mid-August rather than taking the whole month.) The nomination process will only be a week. You may nominate ONE book. Everything after your first nomination will be considered a "second" if someone else nominates it or disregarded if they don't. You may second as many titles as you like (so check back to see if someone has suggested Pratchett books you think would be good on the poll.)

In a week, I'll tabulate the results and post a poll. If there are too many books to run a single poll, I will narrow the field based on which ones got two or more "seconds," so don't forget to second books you like!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

What is the Best World Building (Poll Results)

Oh gee. Look who won.

Discworld trailed behind Middle Earth for most of this two week poll. Then our resident Pratchett fan worked his mojo, and Discworld took an astounding leap ahead...by hundreds of votes. You can still see that some of the other races were a bit close and Newford's well-won third place spot actually surprised several friends.

Alright then Pratchett fans. I throw the gauntlet. You love him. I get it. But I'm still trying to appreciate him. I have tried Color of Magic to no avail and folks on both sides of the Good Omens aisle say that title can't count because of Gaiman's contribution.

So gear your brains up for August's early poll, which will be up tomorrow. I VOW to read (and completely finish) one Pratchett book--Discworld or otherwise. I'll even do a little write up of what I liked and didn't. You have to decide what is the best intro book to Pratchett (sans Color of Magic or Good Omens). The nominations start tomorrow.

The Calm Before the Storm (Blogust Offerings)

Yesterday, I literally didn't have a moment to sit down and even hammer out a quick post. I woke up wrangled The Contrarian all over The Bay Area Discovery Museum (it's absolutely awesome, by the way), cleaned the house, hosted company, and collapsed just a few minutes after I'd put the baby to sleep.

I knew it was going to be busy, but I didn't quite realize there wasn't going to be any time at all.

So let's pretend it is yesterday (everyone put on your pretend caps) and I will give you a preview of what is coming up in Blogust. Then later today I will post the results of our July poll on Best Worldbuilding.

So here are some plans for Blogust. Since we're all still wearing our pretend caps, best to imagine them a bit like a Doctor Who season preview: trailer music that gets steadily more intense, a couple of voice over quotes, and then some clip scenes of new dilemmas ....and a few old enemies, some dramatic quotes out of context  then a dreadfully long, silent pause, and a few teasers from the season arc and/or really powerful enemies.

Voice over: "I have spent a long time trying to tell you that your passion alone is the reason to write. Money, fame, sex (even groupie threesomes)--any of these things, indeed all of these things can be pursued directly with less time and effort. All that remains is the writing itself. The simple act of passion that drives us unceasingly to the blank page."

The continuation and conclusion of "15 Things A Very Cute Toddler Taught Me About Writing."

Elements of Craft

Random Creative Writing Terms (Beginning with the letter N)

Even more hate mail than we already have

What if people handled other jobs like they do writing?

Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird

Fiction. Actual fiction.

Dramatic Quotes: "Ifyou'veneverreadthisbookyoureallyshould!" "This marks a new era in Writing About Writing's history." "You have to figure out who keeps writing these terrible posts, Chris. This can't go on."

Long, dramatic pause.

"Hello, Writing About Writing," Evil Mystery Blogger says, "Have you missed me?"

Skyrim dragon roaring!