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The not-entirely-random thoughts of Chris Brecheen about writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Look At Everything Upside Down


Part of having bad A.D.D. is that even when I'm not multitasking, I need to be multitasking.

When I clean the house, I like to put on a show that can create background noise without distracting me. If it's too interesting I'll get distracted, sit down, and watch it. If it's too boring, it won't help me focus on the cleaning and I'll wander off to find something shiny. Most shows I haven't seen before will distract me*, so I can't catch up on Doctor Who or check out Gilmore Girls (which I love so far). So I usually watch shows I've seen already. I recently got through House M.D. for probably the third or fourth time.

*Supernatural has been the only show I have been able to watch for the first time while cleaning. If I missed some dialogue, I just assumed Dean said "Sam, you're my brother," a few times and then one of them died.

I've been re-watching The West Wing lately since I've seen it two or three times. (Actually, technically, I've seen the first four seasons two or three times, but I always lose interest after Sorkin stops writing and the quality of dialogue tanks.) There's one scene that always reminds me of writing even though it involves no writers and has nothing to do with writing.

It's the scene with the Cartographers for Social Equality.

It is ever a reminder to me as a writer to look at everything upside down. Everything. Always.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Best Y.A. Series (Semifinal Poll)

What is the best young adult series??  

Thanks to everyone who took part in the FANTASTIC participation of the nominations. Another poll with that many entries and I'm going to have to start doing only books with three or more nominations (1 nomination + two "seconds") in order to stay sane.  However, this time around, I embraced the madness.

I want to encourage everyone to read the directions carefully. A few of you nominated clearly adult books, stand alone books, or five or six different titles. 

However the list was (again) far too massive to be included in a single poll. That means we have to do a semifinal round. I will put the first list on a poll for ONE WEEK. Everyone gets five votes and the top five series will go on to our final round poll.

Then a week from today, I will put up the second list of books for ONE WEEK and we will generate the ten titles that will end up in our final round. In the last two weeks of November we will have the final round showdown for the best Y.A. Series.

The poll itself is at the bottom of the left sidebar. It's the long black poll looking thing. Everyone gets 5 (five) votes, but please remember that there is no ranking system, so you will "dilute" a strong vote for every extra you take. Only vote twice or more if you really can't decide.

AS A REMINDER: Many of these books have been turned into movies, but we are voting on the BOOKS. If you liked the first Hunger Games book, thought the second was okay, and found the third one to be a train wreck, then you shouldn't vote for Hunger Games...no matter how awesome Donald Sutherland is making the films.

If you want to be a helper, please check my spelling and that the titles match up with authors. I cut and pasted from the nomination page without checking every title individually.

This week:

Young Wizards - Diane Duane
The Old Kingdom/Abhorsen Chronicles - Garth Nix
The Dark is Rising - Susan Cooper
The Hunger Games - Suzzane Collins
The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer
Trickster series - Tamora Pierce
Percy Jackson & the Olympians - Rick Riordan
Another Fine Myth - Robert Aspirin
Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
Harry Potter- J.K. Rowling

Next week:

Warriors - Erin Hunter
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
A Wrinkle in Time Series - Madeleine L'Engle
Dragon Riders of Pern by Anne McCaffery
Uglies/Pretties/Specials - Scott Westerfeld
Stainless Steel Rat - Harry Harrison
Heralds of Valdemar - Mercedes Lackey
OZ -L Frank Baum
The Books of Swords - Fred Saberhagen
Death Gate Cycle - Margaret Weis
Winnie The Pooh - Milne

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Clackity Clackity

I'm still working on my Ace of Geeks article that should be up this week. It's gotten to be pretty long and it's going to take two days worth of my writing.

If you want to see it as soon as AoG publishes it, be sure to follow me on one of the media where I post articles I write for other blogs.

In the meantime, I welcome you to read about how video games make me a better person. A lesson in how we all can learn about how to listen with empathy from the tabula rasa of starting a brand new game.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ace of Geeks

[The text in brackets will disappear in a few weeks. When I'm working on a piece for Ace of Geeks, it won't actually show up until later on that week, so those days I will do a little emcee job for whatever the last article was, and encourage people to watch their social media if they want to see the one I'm working on as soon as it goes up. (So watch W.A.W. on social media if you want to see the article I'm working on today as soon as it goes up.)  However today I figured I would set up the latest menu to go into The Reliquary.]

Writing About Writing is not the only blog I write for. Ace of Geeks is a blog where I take a stroll away from writing, and dip a little further into the pure geek side of my life. It's where I talk about video games, science fiction movies, and role playing (of the non sexy variety), and generally write with a wonderful group of geeks and friends and an editor who in his own words wants to be "Wil Wheaton."

Ace of Geeks puts out a M-Th blog (to which I contribute at a pathetic "once in a while" pace very roughly averages out to once a month) and a weekly podcast on Fridays where they talk everything from non-traditional publishing to the latest video game play in's to interviews with geeky icons to discussions about deeper themes in movies. They extend to all the Great Warm Hug of Geekdom™.

Here are the articles I've written for them:

10 Reasons Gamergate Has Failed
How Video Games Made Me A Better Person
I GOT TO DO A PODCAST!!!!! (Here is a follow up to that podcast I wrote.)
"Fake Geek" Is Not the Problem With Fake Geek Girls
Bioshock Infinite: Your Argument Is Invalid Part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Movies Deserve to Be Done a Second Time
Why I Will Never See Ender's Game (Possibly Ever)

Rollout!


So this calendar thing may not look like much to most of you in the studio audience, but it is actually what I've been working on getting right for a couple of weeks now. And tonight, around midnight, I finally finished up a version that I can take on a trial run. It probably shouldn't take so long to compare when I have time available to when I write things that take a lot of time, but....um....I am not a smart man Jenny.



As I wrote a couple of days ago, my current (or old) schedule was failing me in a number of ways that this new version seeks to redress.

It's a monthly schedule instead of a weekly one.

Even though a lot of things repeat weekly or biweekly, a few of the more time consuming entries happen only once a month. That gives it a definite pattern fidelity without locking in so many days of the week that writing anything else becomes a nightmare. It makes space for the other blogs (and I'll put a cross post here those days), and has a much more realistic posting schedule for the days I'm taking care of The Contrarian while still getting something up every day.

It leaves time open for my own fiction and reading without sacrificing quality or quantity by leaning more heavily on the weekends and making many of the more time consuming posts monthly or bi-monthly.

I'll take it on a test drive around the neighborhood during November, and make sure it doesn't drift to the left when I let go of the wheel, stick in third, or make a clanky noise above fifty. I want something a little more concrete than "fluff" on Wednesdays, and there are at least a couple of days I'd like to add choices, but this is looking pretty good right now. I may need to fiddle with the knobs and see if the plan survives its encounter with "the enemy" before I shout it from on high.

Once I know it's going to hold together, I'll update my Update Schedule.