Seeker of Thrones 6-67

Jul. 22nd, 2017 06:50 pm
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Posted by Abbadon

“He that feedeth the worm called Doubt must tend it all his days,

But he that ignoreth the worm called Doubt doth permit it to swell until it feedeth upon his very heart.”

– Knight’s manual, author unknown

Deserves

Jul. 22nd, 2017 04:01 am
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Posted by David M Willis

Shortpacked! is now available on the Comic Chameleon app!  For you younger folks, Shortpacked! is a webcomic I drew once.

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Posted by Elizabeth Bear

42033cc7af08ce78dab5e38bf346b4b7cca4bfba89cd9a3e1ec81de2ad2ebfbb.jpg

I learned this from Robin Hobb, though I'm pretty sure she didn't realize that she was teaching it to me at the time: there is no extra credit in science fiction. 

By which I mean, one of the things that I do, that other writers do, that people in various other fields probably do too (though I don't have direct experience of that) is that we make extra work for ourselves because of... I don't know, acculturation probably that if we JUST WORK HARDER and are teacher's pets and volunteer for extra labor that somehow we'll get better outcomes. This is superstition, really--because publishing is an enormously unpredictable and random business where quality is not always rewarded, and a lot of things can go wrong. And like anybody who makes their living off a capricious and dangerous environment (actors, fishermen) writers are prone to superstitions as a means of expressing agency in situations where we're honestly pretty helpless. (Nobody controls the hive-mind of the readership. Oh, if only we did.)

Now, by extra credit, please note that I don't mean the things that I consider part of baseline professionalism in a writer: turning in a manuscript that is as clean and artistically accomplished as possible, as expediently as possible, and working with your editor to polish and promote the resulting book. What I mean is raising those bars to unsupportable levels, such as: "I will turn in a completely clean manuscript so that the copyeditor has nothing to do!" and "I have a series of simple edits here, which I will resolve be rewriting the entire book, because then my editor will be more impressed with me."

Spoiler: The copyeditor will have stuff to do, because part of her job is making sure that if you break house style you're doing it on purpose. Also, your editor will probably be a little nonplussed, and possibly sneak a pull out of the bottle of Scotch in her bottom drawer, because you've just made a lot more work for her.

Other manifestations include: "I must write forty guest blog posts today!" and "I must write at least twenty pages every single day to validate my carbon footprint!"

(That latter one is the one I tend to fall prey to, for the record.)

I see it a lot among women writers especially, probably because we feel like we constantly have to validate our right to be in a space that is only intermittently welcoming, but it's certainly not a gender-specific problem. 

And the thing is... it just isn't so. You don't have to do a pile of extra credit work. It doesn't help, and might in fact be detrimental--to your health, your sanity, and eventually your career. It's possible to out-produce your readership's appetite; it's possible to out-produce the publishing slots available to you; it's possible to fuss yourself so much over tiny details that don't actually matter that you add years to your production schedule and die broke in a gutter, or talk yourself out of finishing the book entirely.

They're never perfect. They're just as good as you can get them, in the limited time available, and then they're done and you learned something and the next one can be better, you hope.

And nobody's going to bump your 4.0 up to a 4.2 because you did a bunch of homework you didn't actually need to do to get the finished product as good as possible, and also out the door.

LBCF, No. 144: ‘Two Swell Guys’

Jul. 21st, 2017 11:40 am
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Posted by Fred Clark

“The scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward” (I Timothy 5:18). So tip 20 percent. At least. Divide by five and round up. If you also plan to: A) say grace aloud before the meal; B) ask your server if he/she is “saved;” and/or C) leave a gospel tract on the table when you leave, then make that 40 percent.

July 21st, 2017

Jul. 21st, 2017 07:00 am
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Posted by Kate

Sudden and unexpected Voss sympathiser Ben Thackerey

Psst, if you’re in the UK, check your local Waitrose or WH Smith for the newest issue of the awesome kids’ comic, The Phoenix, because it’s got a strip in there what I have drawn- Claire, Justice Ninja: Ninja of JUSTICE! There’s Claire stories in the next two issues too! She’s even on this week’s cover! Aaa!

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Posted by Fred Clark

Glioblastoma multiforme killed my grandmother. And then, years later, it killed my mother. That's what this disease does. It kills people. It is, as we keep hearing today in the news, a very "aggressive" form of brain cancer. There is no cure. It is a matter of months. Perhaps a year, but not two.

It’s about to be writ again

Jul. 19th, 2017 08:20 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

Is there life on Mars? Republican House member seeks answers on Mars-ghazi. Plus: Backwards-masking and the P&G rumor; the 1811 pamphleteer who blazed a trail for Charismanews; the Rule of Threes; and another reminder that requiring children to recite a daily loyalty oath is creepy.

Seeker of Thrones 6-66

Jul. 19th, 2017 05:31 am
[syndicated profile] kill6billiondemons_feed

Posted by Abbadon

“The king Au Vam was known for keeping a peculiar member of his council – a low-born scullion, who would serve tea for his grand war parties. This country maid kept the company of ten of the most powerful generals in the Yellow City, and was privy to their most tenebrous plans, yet was scarcely sixteen summers of age and educated not a whit.

Her purpose was thus: if the grand designs and monolithic schemes of any of these mighty and august men could not pass the base judgement of a girl of sixteen summers, they were immediately discarded.

Thus did Au Vam win nearly all of his battles.”

-Histories of the Yellow City, Vol. 32, paragraph 3 (A.S.C. 189)

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Posted by Fred Clark

In an essay on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Stanley Hauerwas asks "What made it possible for him to see the character of the regime Hitler represented when so many others did not?" He looks for an answer in the academic theology Bonhoeffer studied in seminary, but the real answer is to be found several blocks north of there.

Shaking the dust off their feet

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:02 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

In the age of Trump, John Fea writes, many "evangelicals are experiencing a crisis of faith as they look around in their white congregations on Sunday morning and realize that so many fellow Christians were willing to turn a blind eye to all that Trump represents." And the Rev. Lawrence Ware confirms this, explaining "Why I'm Leaving the Southern Baptist Convention."

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