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Writing ad Libitum

Writing at one’s pleasure. Anyway, that’s a rough translation of the Latin there. I make no claims to Latin scholarship, but I’d looked up the phrase after seeing it in a paper (rats were given food and water ad libitum) and it struck me that it’s a bit how I used to write. Used to.

Before I went pro with my writing, I’d write when a story struck me, and as a consequence, I have files (or had files, many have been lost or discarded) upon files of snips and scraps of tales that I wrote down simply to amuse myself. Writing ad libitum, as it were. Deciding that I was going to make a more professional tack with the writing took away from the ‘at my pleasure’ but it produced more polished, and egads! Actual finished work. Read more

5th Friday

Oops. It’s the fifth Friday of the month and that means all the Mad Ones are sleeping in. Well, not all of us since I happen to be up to write this. But it means there’s no regularly scheduled post. What to do? What to do?

Let’s see. There are a couple of stories over at The Passive Voice that caught my eye this morning. The first has to do with Amazon — again. It seems there are reports of Amazon stripping rankings from some “romance” titles. While I haven’t seen much about this, at least not when compared with some of the uproar a few weeks ago over reviews disappearing, there’s enough talk about it to have me suggesting anyone who has published a romance title that might fall into erotica or the “harder” romances check your titles. So far, it appears to be limited in scope but Amazon hasn’t said much, if anything, about it yet and that is always worrisome. Read more

Beating the Odds

A while back, I read a fascinating piece of non-fiction – Howard Bloom’s The Global Brain. Actually pretty much anything of Bloom’s is worth reading, although it can be slow going at times. The man has a way of drawing from multiple fields of science to produce interesting hypotheses, some of which ring awfully true.

The one that hit me most was in Global Brain, talking about how what he describes as “collective learning machines” (otherwise known as functional, growing anythings) need five elements to function: conformity enforcers, diversity generators, inner-judges, resource shifters, and intergroup tournaments.

He also theorized that they operate at all levels, from the microbiotic all the way up the scale to cultures and societies. Read more

The Right Beginning In The Right Place

Sorry I’m so late with this.  I’m on prednisone (not for the first time, but it’s stronger this time) which means I have to watch every word because they twist around in unpredictable ways.  For instance elsewhere instead of unscented deodorizer, I found myself typing deodorized unscenter.  It kind of works, but dear lord. You read it here first, Prednisone makes you alien.

So I promised to bring my posts on beginning a story to point with a general “how to start this type of story.” Read more

Mid-Listers Are “Toast”?

(This is a blast from the past. Even though I first wrote the post six years ago, much of it still resonates today. I’ll be back later today with a new post.)

Mad Genius Club

by Amanda S. Green

I’ll start with the admission that I’m late getting my post up this morning. Put it down to a serious case of dead brain syndrome. You know, that fuzzy, muddled state of mind that sometimes comes after you finish one project and know you have to move on to another but find it hard to focus. For me, that project was a short story that refused to be short. In fact, it fought me all the way and finally came in at something around 28,000 words. Add to that the fact I overslept this morning and am still trying to get enough coffee in me to concentrate and, well, you get the idea.

So, knowing I really didn’t have much to say this morning, I was going to put up an open floor notice. Then I started going through my email. You guessed it. I found…

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Sausage

Some sausage is made with –as Sir Terry Pratchett put it ‘named meat’. Um. I’d take that with a pinch of salt. And ketchup or the sauce-of-disguise of your choice. Like meat pies (especially the infamous floater (as in surrounded by pea-gravy) either eaten with gusto (another kind of sauce) at 2 AM… or approached with some caution, because even the names of the named bits can be… dodgy. The effects of the dodgier ones — as I can testify — can be catastrophic.

Which is why the fact that I always think of writing a novel and making sausage as remarkably alike should alarm you. I make sausages (mostly with ‘named meat’, I promise. Mostly.) The whole process is pretty gross – but at least mine are good eating. And here is the important part – they’re better eating than the various raw ingredients cooked separately. And they’re different (to the barely recognizable extent in some cases) from the original materials. Read more

Want to hear some good news?

We all want to hear good news. We stay alert for bad news and pass it on all the time, because we’re not the top of the food chain, and we know it – and avoiding the bad things with skill and alacrity is how our ancestors survived to have us. The news loves to capitalize on that – if it bleeds, it leads, eh? Read more

Top Ten Hispanic Authors of SFF

I’m not a fan of identity politics. I won’t play that game. When I’m asked to submit work as a ‘woman writer’ I’m more likely to walk away silently. Either I’m a writer, or not. The fact that I’m female has absolutely nothing to do with it, and I refuse to be given a stepstool that metaphorically lifts me up to the level of other, male, writers. No. Which, I imagine, is how some of my friends who are being identified as ‘minorities’ feel about being identified as such coupled with their writing. But I’ve spent enough time hanging out with Sarah Hoyt (who does not consider herself Hispanic, the American government does) and Larry Corriea to know that they have rolled their eyes and made a joke out of it. So it didn’t surprise me when Jason Cordova brought it up, gently mocking himself as the second-best Hispanic author in SFF, that both Sarah and Jason would egg me on to create a list. It’s what I do, after all, I make lists. When I’m not being all womanish, that is.  Read more

Open Floor

The Mad Ones have run away. The floor is yours. Just make sure there aren’t too many large holes in it when we get back later today.

Tell us what you want us to blog about. Tell us about the books you’re reading right now. Tell us silly stories or post cat pictures.

Until later!

Unwelcome visitor

Recently my old acquaintance Tenebra came to visit. I came across her sitting by the fish pond.

“How come you always show up when I’m three-quarters done with a first draft?”

“It’s the perfect time to visit you,” she said. “If you listen to me, not only will you stop writing this book, but you’ll have wasted the time you already put in on research, plotting and writing.”

“That doesn’t make me more inclined to listen to you.”

“No? Then why are you sitting by this pool, chatting, instead of going indoors and writing?”

Read more