yhlee: I am a cilantro writer (cilantro photo) (cilantro writer)
[personal profile] yhlee
I picked up Rachel Aaron's 2k to 10k, a book on increasing wordcount output, after seeing it recommended somewhere. It's $2.99 as a Kindle ebook and a fast, well-organized read. It also, sadly, doesn't help me much. But that's not surprising; Aaron herself says in her introduction that every writer's process is different and that if you don't find her methods useful, scrap 'em.

Aaron's method is based on three cornerstones: knowledge, time, and enthusiasm.

By knowledge, Aaron means you should know what you're going to write before you write it. This doesn't just mean outlining in the usual sense that most writers use, but even something so simple (as she mentions) as sitting down for five minutes before your daily writing session and jotting down notes on how you want your scene to go.

I am an outliner--I outline at the chapter level because I find it almost impossible to finish stories that don't have some level of preexisting structure. (I learned this the hard way, after leaving dead story-corpses all over my hard drive and not being able to finish things for years. There's a reason my short story output per year is not great.) I rarely outline in more depth than that because I have almost never found it helpful to do so. Well, in a spirit of open-mindedness, I tried Aaron's method while working on Dragon Pearl. I spent about five minutes and worked out where I thought the scene was going to go. Within 500 words, I had gone completely off the rails, so that was pretty much a waste of time. I could have tried it again, but I know myself well enough to be pretty convinced that going off the rails would be a regular occurrence. I mean, I'm the person who tossed off Kel formation instinct almost as a throwaway worldbuilding detail only to have to practically take over the trilogy (it's a major theme and plot factor in both Raven Stratagem and Revenant Gun), and a character who had not even existed in the outline for Revenant Gun ended up becoming one of the major secondary characters. So, uh, yeah. Since I'm prone to zig where I was supposed to zag, this bit of advice is not helpful to me. But it might work for you.

By time Aaron means time management--not just making the time to write, but figuring out your own writing output patterns and playing to your strengths. So if you take a couple weeks to record your wordcount output and discover that you write fastest in the evenings, then prioritize writing in the evenings. If you write best when you have several uninterrupted hours, try to arrange your life to make that possible. Things like that. This part I'm pretty comfortable with. I don't work another day job--I'm a stay-at-home parent. I can pretty much arrange my hours however I want. I'm not great at time management, but this is more a function of my terrible willpower than lack of self-knowledge.

The last bit is enthusiasm, by which she means that stuff you're genuinely enthusiastic about writing will go faster--often much faster--than stuff you're not. I have experienced this; I think many of us have. Unfortunately, this doesn't really help me. I am sitting on a weapons-grade mood disorder. My being able to sustain enthusiasm about ANYTHING for longer than a few hours is pretty much never going to happen. When I have writing projects scheduled out a couple years in advance, it's pretty hard to imagine being able to maintain any level of enthusiasm for the work to come. And, I mean, besides bipolar disorder being disruptive, I spend a lot of time depressed, including depressed about my writing. So this is just a wash.

She does have one useful insight that I've observed about my own writing (and which I wish someone had told me rather earlier), which is that when you seem "stuck" in your writing, sometimes it's because your subconscious is trying to tell you that there's a glitch in what you're currently trying to do, and you need to reconsider your approach. I have definitely had that experience--generally once I figure out a solution to the problem in the writing, the "blocked" feeling resolves itself.

Anyway, the Rachel Aarons of the world may well be able to write a decent novel draft in the twelve days that she cites, but I am never going to be able to do that. I can't sustain much more than 2,000-2,500 words per day without burning out, partly because I don't think fast, partly because writing is a painful endeavor for me. I guess I will have to be resigned to being slow and suboptimal. Her observation that you should be as excited about your writing as you want your readers to be particularly dismays me, because I spend most of my time hating my professional writing [1] and by this standard I'm just doomed. :/ But that's not Aaron's problem, it's mine.

[1] In all fairness, my fanfic isn't much better, it's just that in fanficlandia people tend to not actually leave comments if they think your fic sucks, they just leave crickets. :p
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
So the first four episodes of season five of Steven Universe aired tonight as a "one hour special event." They will be re-airing individually throughout the week -- two tomorrow at 7:00, then one Wednesday & one Thursday.

Aside: my DVR didn't know what to do with a block that didn't have proper season/episode information attached and shoved it down at the bottom of the list, which made me think it hadn't recorded at first, that is, panic.


Is The Living Easy Yet?

May. 30th, 2017 01:42 am
[syndicated profile] crooked_timber_feed

Posted by Belle Waring

Summer is stipulated to begin on Memorial Day in the US. I’m pretty sure everyone else just starts it on June 1 like normal people. At any rate it’s almost summer in the northern hemisphere. Here in Singapore the days are lengthening by…seconds and headed for the solstice when the day will be 3 minutes longer than the night—which is totally imperceptible. Why not listen to Hot Hot Summer Day, an underappreciated but very awesome song from the Sugarhill Gang.

The more obvious classic is DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s Summertime, which has the advantage of having a great video.

Is it hot where y’all are? Are your kids about to get out of school and be on your hands the whole summer? Do you have screentime limits for them so people don’t just play video games and dork around on the loserweb all day? We are struggling to implement this. (Perhaps because this may be one of those ‘do as I say not as I do’ situations.) International school here ends on the 16th and John needs to be back in early August, so on the 20th we begin our dizzying yearly trek across all of fracking America, including stops in Arizona, D.C., West Virginia, and South Carolina, flying via Japan and Los Angeles. Kind of a drag but got to see that beloved family. Tell me of your plans Plain People of Crooked Timber (I am aware that they may be ‘work all summer you idiot; not everyone is an academic or has children to entertain’).

[syndicated profile] robert_sharp_feed

Posted by Robert

It has been a long weekend of second halves for me. I only saw the second half of the FA Cup Final on Saturday and the second half of the Huddersfield v Reading playoff this afternoon. And tonight I only watched the second half of the Sky News programme May v Corbyn Live: The Battle for Number 10. Unlike the football matches, this piece of general election programming made me rather angry for a number reasons. Let me count the ways.

  1. First of all, it was in no way May vs Corbyn. They did not ‘square off’ in any sense. There was no ‘battle’ or any exchange of words between them. The programme was a misnomer.
  2. And that misnomer provided cover for Mrs May’s political cowardice. That neither Mrs May nor Mr Corbyn have taken part in the party leaders’ debate is, as broadcaster Robert Peston described it, pathetic. Politicians seeking to lead us should put themselves into challenging, unscripted situations with their opponents.
  3. My annoyance was not only semantic. The substance of the discussion was anger-inducing too. Because, while it was slightly amusing to watch Mr Paxman try to skewer Mrs May by asking her the same question over and over again, it was not at all enlightening.

Paxman began by drawing attention to Mrs May’s central contradiction, which is that she campaigned for Remain before she was handed the task of delivering Britain’s exit from the EU. Paxman spent quite a while asking “when did you change your mind?”… but that is not the central political question of the moment!

It has been nearly a full year since the question Whether Brexit? has been answered. The big political question since then has been What Kind of Brexit? Mrs May does not appear to have an answer to that question, so she was very lucky that Mr Paxman did not ask it.

Instead he repeatedly asked whether the Prime Minister would be prepared to walk away from negotiations with the EU. In response she repeated the truism that ‘No Deal Is Better Than A Bad Deal’ and Jeremy Paxman never managed to ask her what her definition of a bad deal might be. He was so intent of trying to create a shareable, memorable TV moment in homage to his famous Michael Howard Newsnight interview, that he did not interrogate the Prime Minister’s vision of what a good Brexit might look like.

This has been a long election campaign and yet any substantial discussion over what kind of Brexit the next government will pursue has been absent. This is of course because it is such a hard issue to deal with, which in turn means that neither has presented a coherent strategy to the electorate. But politicians should be up to the challenge.

When the Prime Minister called a general election, she said that she needed to be in a strong political position when she began the Brexit negotiations. But that only makes sense if she had, or intended to, set out a clear position on Brexit before the election. This would have allowed the British electorate to at least endorse her approach (or an alternative set out by one of the other parties). It would, in turn, have sent a clear signal to Brussels about what kind of deal would and would not pass muster in the British parliament.

So it is strange that there is so little policy substance offered to answer this crucial political challenge. I suspect we will get all the way to Election Day and beyond without becoming any wiser. I feel let down by everyone in this regard: by the Tories, by Labour and by the Media, all of whom could have elevated this debate in such a way that our vote on 8th June was a meaningful policy choice over what kind of Brexit we want. Instead, I imagine people will vote tribally, vote on feelings, and vote on who has the marginally less tainted ‘brand’. High-minded types tend to scorn that kind of gut-vote, but that’s all I have to go on this time around, and it is that which makes me most angry.

[syndicated profile] culture_vulture_feed

Posted by Vicki Galloway-Place

“The theatre was created to tell people the truth about life and the social situation”
Stella Adler
‘We are going to tell a story, one that is not often told; the story of a woman who exacts ...
[syndicated profile] markpack2_feed

Posted by Mark Pack

A mock national estate agency called “May and Co” is being launched by former social care minister Norman Lamb and the Liberal Democrats to highlight the disastrous effects of Theresa May’s proposed Dementia Tax. The Conservative policy would force the sale of family homes to fund care for elderly and vulnerable relatives.

Lamb will be unveiling it tomorrow with estate agent “for sale” boards, warning that Theresa May’s policy would lead to a vast number of forced house sales.

Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care spokesperson, said:

We are launching May and Co to hit home to people that Theresa May will force you to sell your house. The effects of this cruel and uncaring policy will be massive, and the most heartless I have seen in all my years in national politics.

Elderly and vulnerable people face losing up to half the value of their home to fund this ill-conceived policy, with nine out ten homes potentially at risk.

To compound the misery, the Dementia Tax would inflict on families, Theresa May continues to treat people with contempt, and refuses to come clean on how much it will cost.

Here’s the new website May & Co website:

jitterylittlething: (Default)
[personal profile] jitterylittlething posting in [community profile] style_system
I've managed to find the raw source code for Livejournals Gradient Strip but on saving and compiling I'm getting errors. Is there a way to give someone here the source code so they can make it compatible with DW?

Edit : The error was this >

des = "Width of entries as a percentage of the page width.";
values = "55|55%|65|65%|75|75%|85|85%";
property use page_recent_items;
property use view_comment_subject;
property use page_friends_items;
property bool show_entry_userpic {
des = "Show userpic with entries on Recent Entries page";

Should I remove these lines from the code?

Thank you :)
[syndicated profile] political_betting_feed

Posted by Mike Smithson

Was a 95% chance – now 84%

During tonight’s Channel 4/Sky News Corbyn/May event I monitored the Betfair overall majority market to see if there was any movement. Half a million pounds is being traded on it every day and the liquidity is there.

The answer was that there was a bit of movement but it is hard to attribute this to the programme. The question now is whether the event and the coverage of it will have any impact on voting intentions.

I thought that both Corbyn and May did OK and I was surprised that the PM was not tempted to attack the Labour leader in anyway whatsoever.

Paxman was appalling with Corbyn and his absence from regular political coverage since leaving Newsnight certainly showed. His whole line of questioning seemed to provide the peg for the LAB leader to demonstrate that he wasn’t quite as left-wing as he’s portrayed. He was much better with May.

TMay overall gave an accomplished performance and was at her weakest when trying to explain why we are having an election at all blaming everything on the Lib Dems. I am sure this might become an issue in the closing phase.

Mike Smithson


May. 29th, 2017 04:45 pm
yhlee: Flight Rising Spiral dragon, black-red-gold (Flight Rising Jedao baby Spiral)
[personal profile] yhlee
Dragon Pearl raw rough draft done at about 75,000 words.


I think I'm going to have a COOKIE. A really nice woman came up to me in this bookstore café and gave me a coupon for a FREE COOKIE with the purchase of a café drink. (She said she had too many of these coupons and she'd eaten her fill of COOKIES. She also gave another coupon away to another woman in the café area before leaving the store.)

I may also buy a book on writing that I've been eyeing.

And also I have to read this book on Korean feng shui for worldbuilding/magic system purposes. (Tantalizingly, [personal profile] swan_tower, it references the practice of feng shui-derived geomancy in Japan as well as Vietnam, etc., but the focus is on Korea. The book is Hong-Key Yoon's The Culture of Fengshui in Korea: An Exploration of East Asian Geomancy and Ch. 12 is The Use of Geomatic Ideas in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Cities, so maybe useful to you? I'm not very far in yet. The author is apparently trained in "cultural geography" (UC Berkeley), which I'm not even sure what that is because this is the first I've heard of it, but it might be worth seeing if he has academic articles on Japanese feng shui (fusui) specifically.

Northfield's Hustings

May. 29th, 2017 06:37 pm
[syndicated profile] snowinsummer_feed

Posted by Weaver

This constituency's hustings took place on Friday night. All four candidates took part.

Other people have given a blow-by-blow report of the night's events. B31 Voices is a "community" website, gently in favour of the establishment. Rozak The Goon is part of Richard Burden's claque.

There were identifiable claques on the night. Labour filled the front seats on one side of the aisle, the Conservatives on the other side. Both were nakedly partisan, cheering and applauding for their own candidate, and remaining silent for the others. A small Green claque turned up, backing their candidate and Burden. We didn't see or hear a Lib Dem claque. This blog was sat in a neutral row, behind the Conservatives and just in front of the Greens.

(More: A full discussion of their strength and weaknesses)

We don't get any vision from Richard Burden; we do see a vision from Meg Powell-Chandler. We don't believe Richard Burden has been a competent MP, and this prevents us from voting for him. We don't believe that Foxface will be a better negotiator than Jeremy Corbyn, and we don't believe Foxface need be negotiating at all, so we cannot vote in good faith for Meg Powell-Chandler.

At times, we're glad that the Alternative Vote didn't pass. Choosing between the old devil and the deep blue parachute would be painful. We can simply vote our conscience and be done with it.

Comments? | Permanent link

Read this post in full at The Snow in the Summer or So-So.

[syndicated profile] markpack2_feed

Posted by Mark Pack

Do we want the public to have a vote on the terms of the Brexit deal once its negotiated and we know exactly what’s in it? The majority of Victoria Derbyshire’s cross-party panel of voters says yes:

As she mentions, that means the majority were backing the Liberal Democrat position on Brexit. Here it is explained in more detail:

Liberal Democrats campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU. However, we acknowledge the result of the 2016 referendum, which gave the Government a mandate to start negotiations to leave. The decision Britain took, though, was simply whether to remain in or to leave the European Union. There was no option on the ballot paper to choose the shape of our future relationship with the EU on vital issues including trade, travel or security.

While much remains uncertain about Theresa May’s approach, it is now clear that the Conservatives are campaigning for a Hard Brexit. This means leaving the Single Market, ending freedom of movement, and abandoning the Customs Union – even though these choices will make the UK poorer and disappoint many leave voters who wanted a different outcome.

The effects of Brexit are already being felt. The value of the pound has plummeted. Inflation has risen. Growth in the economy has slowed, and the government is already borrowing billions more to fill the gap in lost tax revenue. Young people, who voted overwhelmingly to remain, are being told their voices do not matter. Urgent problems, such as the future of the NHS, are being neglected because of the sheer scale of the challenge posed by Brexit.

A Hard Brexit will make all these problems worse. It is the wrong choice for the country. Liberal Democrats will fight to prevent a Hard Brexit.

At the end of negotiations, there will be a decision on the deal. The Conservatives want the decision to be taken by politicians. Liberal Democrats believe the British people should have the final say.

Agree? Sign up here to show your support.

Look, can I barge in and say hi?

May. 29th, 2017 11:20 am
circular_time: (Default)
[personal profile] circular_time posting in [community profile] doctorwho
I tried to find Who fandom on DW a year ago and... well, let's just say it was a less than successful experiment.

A brief self-introduction… )

Britbox.com now has all classic Who LEGALLY AVAILABLE via streaming service, $7/mo in the US. About flipping time; I've emailed the Beeb and Doctor Who about a streaming service for years. They should've done it during the hiatus, but better late than never. Caveat: they're missing a few Dalek serials— I suspect licensing issues— as well as The Five Doctors and the 1996 movie, but they've got all other complete serials from Hartnell through McCoy plus the unaired pilot version of Unearthly Child, Adventure in Time and Space, and a few other features. Also a fair amount of other good classic British TV including lots of mysteries (Campion with Peter Davison and the Jeremy Brett Holmes recommended), Eastenders, Red Dwarf, Upstairs, Downstairs, and a bunch of other good stuff (but not Blake's 7, the Avengers, or Python. Hopefully soon.) 

I think we need to support Britbox so they'll keep it up and, hopefully, expand it for Whovians in other countries to enjoy. Because fans deserve inexpensive ways to sample ALL of Who, past and present. (Speaking of which, I've also posted a linked index of all the free Big Finish Doctor Who audios on Spotify, uploaded by Big Finish, so they, too, are legal.) 
[syndicated profile] political_betting_feed

Posted by Mike Smithson

Tonight at 8.30pm we have the first big set-piece with TMay and Corbyn appearing before a live studio audience on Channel 4 and Sky News.

They won’t debate directly with each other – TMay ruled that out from the beginning. But she’ll face questioning from the audience and from Jeremy Paxman.

Neither leader is particularly good under pressure of which there is likely to be a lot tonight and it’s a programme where anything can happen.

Earlier se was in Twickenham, where the Tories are facing a strong LD challenge, for what was said to have been a manifesto re-launch. Parts of the event were shown live on TV and the most newsworthy part was Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail calling TMay a “glum-bucket”. You can see it here.

Mrs. May looked far from happy with this observation from a senior journalist at a newspapers which has been one of her main backers.

Mike Smithson

[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_forbes_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Opec, has agreed to maintain their production cuts for the purpose of supporting the oil price. Which is fine, a cartel operating like a cartel, no one really expects them to do much else but try to exercise their market power. The problem here is that they’ve not got as much market power as they’d like, not got as much market power as they used to have. And the whole tale is really a proof of Robert Bork’s contentions about monopoly. That no one really has one because eventually all are overturned by technological change. And that’s what is happening to Opec now. Fracking has changed the global oil market and that means that the Opec cartel just doesn’t have that same old power to control the oil price.

There’s also pretty much nothing they can do about this:

Oil prices slipped on Monday as further increases in U.S. drilling activity undercut an OPEC-led push to tighten supply.

Trading was subdued due to public holidays in China, the United States and Britain, but concerns lingered over whether OPEC action would be enough to stem the tide of oversupply.

Opec, as a cartel, tries to get all members to agree to production quotas. The aim of those is to restrict supply and thus raise prices. If done well then the cartel members can be collectively better off as total income rises–and, of course, consumers are collectively worse off. Pretty standard exercise of market power stuff. Of course, it’s not always done well, there’s often a lot of cheating among the cartel members. This is why cartels are inherently less stable than true monopolies, there’s an incentive to cheat built in. If everyone else restricts production and you overpump then you can gain the benefit of the higher prices and the volume. But of course if everyone cheats then the higher prices are no longer there:

Rigs targeting crude in the U.S. increased for a 19th straight week in the longest streak of gains since August 2011, according to Baker Hughes data. While the number of working rigs has more than doubled from last year’s low of 316, it was the smallest increase this year. Drillers in the D-J/Niobrara Basin in Colorado led the growth last week, adding 4 for a total of 27 oil rigs in the region.

And this is the thing which is breaking that cartel. Don’t forget that with a fungible commodity it is marginal supply which creates the average price. And the marginal production in the global oil market these days is that US fracking produced material. And this is a very different technology indeed:

However, there remains danger that if prices sufficiently rise, financially fragile countries might pull back on their compliance thus far to the production cuts. Any such output boosts could then crimp any price gains.

Well, there’s that, yes. But any substantial price rise would be met by more rigs going to work in the US.

OPEC may still be underestimating shale. Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih made several comments that highlighted an interpretation contrary to our thinking about the state of the U.S. shale industry.

Yes, that’s exactly what they’re doing. As I’ve quoted before:

In the past, observers and analysts viewed resource production as an extraction business in which costs
and prices rise over time as the better low-cost prospects tap out. Fracking has changed the situation
completely. Fracking is manufacturing or, perhaps better, “manufRacturing.” It is not resource
extraction. Historically, manufacturing is characterized by increasing productivity and falling costs.
Furthermore, manufacturing typically begins in more advanced industrialized nations and then spreads
over time to other countries.

Do note that point about advanced nations. There’s absolutely no reason at all to believe that only the US has the geology which can usefully be fracked. Thus we have simply moved away from the entire resource extraction model of the oil business to something much more akin to manufacturing. Which means, as I’ve said:

Far from that traditional resource model of projects becoming ever more expensive we’re now in a low capital consumption and highly reactive world. Any resumption of high oil prices is just going to see those fracking wells increase in number and thus production to come into the market. In effect Saudi is no longer the swing producer and no longer the price determinant on the upside. If Saudi did restrict production to raise prices the major beneficiaries would be those shale drillers.

So, Saudi Arabia opened the pumps to try to kill off shale: the end result is that shale keeps working and any price rise will be met by increasing production from them.

This happens to every cartel and monopoly in the end and it’s happening to Opec. Changing technology is removing their market power.

[syndicated profile] badastronomy_feed

Posted by Phil Plait

Jupiter's south pole

Jupiter is the biggest planet in our solar system, but in many ways we still don't understand it. The Juno spacecraft is providing answers, but not the ones we expected.

[syndicated profile] lib_dem_voice_feed

Posted by The Voice

Did you spend this fine morning out campaigning, or were you sitting on your sofa watching Victoria Derbyshire? I hope it was the former, but if so you will have missed a choice gem from Dominic Raab. You may remember that he was once a Conservative justice minister.

The discussion turned to food banks and the fact that they were being used by nurses in some parts of the country. Dominic Raab made this comment:

What they tend to find is the typical user of food banks is not someone that is languishing in poverty, it is someone who has a cash flow problem episodically.

As you might imagine, Liberal Democrats were not slow in coming forward to condemn his views. Tim Farron said:

Dominic Raab is woefully out of touch and has no idea how much real people are struggling.  We are seeing nurses, police officers and the just about managing having to go to food banks as their paychecks won’t stretch any further.  People are hurting and the Tories, with comments like this, show they just don’t care.

Today, the mask slipped and we saw the real Tory Party.

The real reasons people have to go to food banks are low incomes, benefit delays, debt and homelessness.

These are stupid and deeply offensive comments by Dominic Raab and he should apologise.  This is the Alan B’Stard view of politics that shames him and his party.

Gynophobe resigns

May. 29th, 2017 10:59 am
supergee: (disgust)
[personal profile] supergee
Red Pill founder Robert Fisher will now withhold his essence from the legislature.


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Mat Bowles

October 2015


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Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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