A few years ago, my boss instructed me to write a two-page film treatment of one of our novels, All You Need Is Kill
, to help our LA office VIZ Productions maybe sell it to the movies. Well, a few million bucks and five screenwriters (including a $3m payday for Dante Harper for the initial spec script, which was actually fairly close to the book) and innumerable drafts and then Tom Cruise's input and some reshoots and the introduction of new characters and a name change, we have this:
It's not terrible. Pretty neat, actually. Less boom-boom than I was worried about. I joked on the dayjob blog that rather than "based on All You Need Is Kill
", we might say that the film is "thematically adjacent to All You Need Is Kill
." Yes, it's whitewashed, but given the sales of the books and the orders coming in for the mass-market tie-in edition, the film remains a great commercial for the novel!
In other news, I have a new essay up on BullSpec, about my new novel Love Is the Law
(which is under eight bucks, and fits in Christmas stockings, btw), in which I explain why it's actually like The Alchemist
After I posted my Convention Harassment Policy Starter Kit, I learned about a study Nicole Stark had done about harassment policies at fan conventions. Stark’s article is available on Google Docs, here. I’ve seen a fair amount of discussion on harassment policies and why we do or don’t need to worry about them, but this is the first example I’ve seen of a more rigorous academic survey and discussion of harassment policies. Stark gave me permission to link to her paper, and to discuss some of the highlights.
From the abstract:
This study uses content analysis to evaluate a sample of 288 fan convention websites. These conventions took place within the United States from March to November 2013. The analysis was used to determine how common sexual harassment policies are and their characteristics. This study examined both frequencies and descriptions of codes of conduct, including promoted and prohibited rules, sanctions, reporting guidelines, and the existence of a sexual harassment or general harassment policy. Less than half of the sample contained any behavioral policy at all. Those behavioral policies that were present were found to be generally informal, unstructured, and devoid of a sexual harassment policy. However, many policies contained rules that could be used in the prevention of sexual harassment. These rules, when made clear and recognizable, may work as effective policy in informal spaces. (Page 2)
Stark opens by discussing an instance of sexual harassment from New York Comic Con, and goes on to note that:
A study on sexual harassment policy in manufacturing firms revealed that an available written policy resulted in a 76 percent reduction in one year’s reports (Moore and Bradley 1997).
In other words, to anyone arguing there’s no need for a sexual harassment policy, there is actual research showing that such a policy can significantly reduce sexual harassment.
I expect some people to protest that a convention isn’t the workplace, and that’s true. There are likely to be some differences in the dynamics and effects of a harassment policy in a convention space vs. a workplace. But the underlying premise and conclusion here is pretty straightforward: “We created a written policy on sexual harassment, and sexual harassment decreased significantly.”
I assume most people would like to see sexual harassment at conventions decrease significantly as well. Ergo, creating a written policy seems like a really basic and obvious first step.
Stark’s sample comes from the costume.org website’s list of upcoming conventions. The cons were all from 2013, all located in the U.S., and included media, anime, literary, gaming, comics, relaxicons, and more. So what did she find in her study?
Of the 288 convention websites, 59.38% had no listed policy on their website in regards to behavior or code of conduct. Less than half of all websites (40.62%) had at bare minimum, a behavioral policy explaining acceptable or unacceptable actions while at the convention. These rules ranged from a basic ‘be polite’ to lengthier explanations and examples of what was acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Of the total sample, only 3.47% used the phrase ‘sexual harassment’. However, 13.88% used the word ‘harassment’, not detailing readily available distinctions between harassments, whether sexual, bullying, or annoying otherwise.
Fewer than half of conventions have a posted policy about acceptable behavior, let alone harassment. And the policy is only the starting point; what about instructions on reporting harassment and other unacceptable behavior?
Only 15.27% (44) of the 288 convention websites contained guidelines on reporting. Of the three conventions participating in Project: Women Back Each Other Up, only one employed the use of purple ribbons to indicate female staff members who were prepared to intervene and handle potential sexual harassment. Several policies listed that if there were emergencies, to dial 911 or building security. This left 84.72% (244) of the convention websites devoid of response or guidance to potential victims.
Stark goes on to recommend:
…in evidence of the language and audience in these informal spaces, the following are suggestions for a comprehensive policy at fan conventions. The policies need to be recognizable and readily available (Moore & Bradley 1997), properly enforced, include and define sanctions, train employees for prevention and response, (Harmus & Niblock 2000), detail complaint procedure (Fowler 1996), and define sexual harassment in terms that the audience understands. (Emphasis added)
I have very little to add beyond Yes. That.
I recommend anyone interested in the ongoing conversation about sexual harassment in fandom read the full study. And my thanks to Nicole Stark for letting me link to and chat about her research here.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
I just sent in my most recent round of edits to my editor. They were edits for The Golden City
, you say, That's already published!
I thought the same. But -this- was a round of edits between the Trade Paperback and the Mass Market version that comes out in June '14.
And there were errors. I asked for readers to tell me if they've seen any errors, and I did hear back from one. (There was a sentence that had 'on' where it needed 'in'....Thanks, Rosemary!)
There was also a word that looked like it had a space in the middle, a word that got left out of an italics group, a couple of places where the English word was used rather than the Portuguese, and one place where I'd made a continuity error. One sentence that was clearly anachronistic. All in all, 10 tiny changes will occur between the Trade and the MM.
I would like to believe that one day I will turn in a manuscript that has NO errors. The Golden City
was clearly not that manuscript. I shall just have to try harder on the next.
Also, it's really hard not to change things. (At this point, it's better not to mess with the typesetting too much, so you have to hold yourself back.) But I noted in two places that Duilio's waistcoat was forgotten. In one scene he undressed and I didn't mention his waistcoat in that process--it just kinda disappeared the way they do in romance novels. In another scene, I don't have him wearing one (it's almost buyable since he's out on a boat, but not really.) Yeesh!
The real question? How could I have missed that in the gazillion earlier edit passes????
Anyhow, I know no book will ever be perfect, but I try....I try....
In other news, I'm running another giveaway on Goodreads.
This one is open to US, UK, Canada, Australia, Portugal, and Brazil. Weirdly, the last time I did one worldwide, not a single winner was from outside the US. This makes me suspect I entered it incorrectly. I hope I got it right this time.
Also, SFSignal put up a list of books that deserve more attention
at the Mind Meld, which includes The Golden City
(and Martha Well's excellentThe Cloud Roads
too, among many others.)
Finally, I wanted to note here that I'm part of an author group called Novelocity. (Lawrence M. Schoen, Beth Cato, J.Kathleen Cheney, M.K. Hutchins, Elaine Isaak, Michael R. Underwood, Steve Bein, Fran Wilde, Tex Thompson, & Tina Connolly)
We've all got books coming out this next year. At this point, we're not posting anything (we start Jan 1) but if you're interested in following us, you can find us at:Our Nascent WebsiteOur Empty Facebook
And Our Blank Twitter Feed
So this was startling: On a list called “10 Signs Your Man (or Woman) Is A Psychopath,” #5 was “Great Sex.” “Those who have been with a psychopath often say it’s the best thing they’ve ever experienced,” I was informed. “A psychopath goes out of his way to please you.”
It’s the old stereotype: bad boys are better in the sack. Those nice boys just don’t put gravy on your biscuit, honey.
Problem is, that didn’t really fit with the psychopaths I’d seen in action. Some of them were stellar in bed, almost addictively so. Yet others were really great at the “sweeping women off their feet” part, but turned out to be mediocre or unresponsive in the sack, caring more for their own needs than their partner’s. They got by because they manipulated their partners into wanting to please them, but there’s a difference between that and actually being good betwixt someone’s nethers.
And then there’s the skittery problem of diagnosing psychopaths in the wild. I mean, how are we diagnosing psychopaths? Was this a scientific survey? No, it was 1,300 blog readers self-diagnosing their ex-boyfriends, all of whom presumably turned out to be jerks. And I’m a little leery of that – I’m sure every one of those exes were manipulative jerks in some way, but there’s a large gap between that and a person clinically diagnosed as “lacking all sense of guilt or empathy.”
No. I’m willing to bet that sociopaths run the same gamut of sexy satisfaction as normal people, and this article’s just playing into old sexy-vampire legends of “The man who can kill your body can own your body.”
So what’s happening here? Self-selection, one suspects. Let’s try a new theory:
You’re more likely to stick around if someone hands you earth-shattering orgasms.
Sex is the grease in the wheels, baby. There have been plenty of times that Gini and I were furious with each other, but our kept us, ahem, coming back. Because even if a relationship is dissatisfying, degrading, and dismal, an hour-long romp that musses your hair just the way you like it is at least one bright spot. And it’s easy to confuse that sort of lubetastic shenanigans for love, because someone just made your body feel sooooooo damn good, how could they do that if they weren’t there for you emotionally?
But no. Some of the most memorable sex I’ve had has been with people who turned out to be completely incompatible with me. They say the heart wants what the heart wants; well, the genitals also have their own agenda. Access to the genitals is, hopefully, gatewayed by the heart, so often there’s a lot of overlap – if you’re sleeping with people you find repugnant to your soul, you’re probably doing it wrong.
One suspects that if we could delicately separate this concept of “love” from the concept of “physical satisfaction,” you’d find that all sorts of surprising people might be sexually compelling. You just wouldn’t want to wake up next to them in the morning. So you don’t bother. Which is good, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to go start popping open loathsome men like Cracker Jacks on the off-hand chance they’re your Kavorka Man.
Yet it does mean that people tend to slur that distinction. Good sex often inspires fondness… even when it really shouldn’t.
And those sexy sociopaths, well, one suspects there may have also been unsexy sociopaths who just didn’t cut the mustard bedwardly. But they weren’t around long enough to do damage! The reason all these smoochable Hannibal Lecters seem to be boudoir-omnipotent is because they were the ones who were so good at sex they rode this “good sex inspires fondness” exploit into an extensively damaging relationship.
I’d posit the sign is not “Good sex is the warning sign of a psychopath,” but rather “Good sex means you’re way more likely to stay with a guy.” And if that guy’s a psychopath, well, you’re in trouble. But we silently discard all the “good guy, good sex” cases because they’re not of interest, and we silently discard all the incompetent psychopaths who might have wormed their way in to do damage if they were just a little more skilled at oral.
Nah. I’m saying #5 is the same old story that tells us that good sex is linked to danger, as a subtle way of slut-shaming. The only way you can satisfy yourself, goes the subliminal impulse, is to find an evil man. For only evil men could master this evil skill.
Good men blow their lovers’ minds, too. They just don’t get the PR.
So what’s the real lesson here? “If someone’s mastered your horizontal mambo, be careful. Love is not sex; sex is not love.”
Which is, I think, a little nicer than “Those orgasms may have been a killer‘s orgasms!”, don’t you?
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/359720.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.
Yesterday evening I lost it again. There are pressures on my life I don't talk about in public, because they are not my story to tell, but they are running very high. Plus my luggage is still missing, even though it was supposed to be delivered yesterday. Plus I lost my phone under weird circumstances, which even though I found it again left me feeling very foolish and incompetent. Plus a productive but sobering discussion about clinical trials with a research oncologist yesterday. Plus a missed meal (due to a fasting glucose check in lab) which put me off for the day. Plus the whole dying of cancer thing. Plus plus plus plus.
So, yeah, some days the hamster wheel in my head breaks loose and rattles down the highway, carrying me with it screaming all the way.Lisa Costello
held me and put up with snot everywhere and us going without sleep because naturally all this occurred (relatively) late in the evening.
I'm still here, but it's a damned hard life, even on the best days. Yesterday was not one of the best days.
Dementia: Terry Pratchett 'angry' with governmentMeet Your Body’s Death Eaters
— From brain to blood to bone, macrophages take out our cellular trash.
(Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)
Calvin and Hobbes on ebooks
— Hahahah.Twitter’s World
— Languages and Twitter.Prosthetic Arm Found in Second-Hand Shop
— Ah, headlines.Irrefutable Proof that Santa is Odin
— (Via rekre8
.)'Get me off this plane': Man locked in dark cabin in worst layover ever
— Wow. (Via RWN.)Fat Flag
— Food, art, nationalism. (Via willyumtx
.)Europe's rarest orchid rediscovered in the AzoresBlistering exposé prompts Johns Hopkins to suspend black-lung screenings
— Coal companies paid the Baltimore-based university handsome sums to screen the claimants for the disease. After reviewing chest X-rays, the university’s scientists almost always concluded that the scans did not show black lung — a conclusion which often overwhelmed any other medical opinion in the case.
(Via Slacktivist Fred Clark
.)What Names are Normal? Shifting the Center of the World
— Culture and names.Online Dating Shows Us the Cold, Hard Facts
— Fascinating article, although it makes a couple of logical leaps."She Said 'This Is a Gun.' I Said No, It's a Prop for My Monkey."
— Ah, TSA, we hardly knew ye.At Least 194 Children Have Been Shot to Death Since Newtown
— The NRA says arming more adults will protect kids—but most are killed at home, our investigation shows, often with unsecured guns.
Yep. Definitely safer dead by those guns than they would have been remaining alive in a gun-free household. Ask any gun owner.The Heartland Institute and the American Meteorological Society
— If climate science really is in such disarray as the deniers claims, then why do so many resort to misleading tactics so often? Why post misleading graphs, why cherry pick data, why engage in egregious ad hominems, why send out emails about papers that say the opposite of what the paper actually concludes? If their claims are correct, then why even risk the perception of impropriety? It might seem as if they're more interested in scoring political and ideological points rather than scientific ones. But then, the evidence is solidly against them. So are 97 percent of the scientists who actually do research in climate science, as are the data, the science, and the reality of global warming.
As with virtually all conservative causes, bearing false witness is far more productive than providing evidence, given that evidence-based reality almost never favors the conservative viewpoint.Dear Pres. Obama: Dissent isn’t Possible in a Surveillance State
?otD: Does your staff have a knob on the end?
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Number of FEMA troops on my block forging presidential birth certificates: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)
My LitReactor writing class, Start to Finish
, begins January 9th. This is an online, asynchronous workshop-style class with "lectures." Four weeks, easy to squeeze in! Good if you're working on something specific. Do sign up.
My contributor copy of Caledonia Dreamin'
came in today. See?
It's a nice-looking volume. My story is "Drive the Warlike Angles Into the Sea!!!" and I hope people read it. It was a labor-of-love type story, in that I was eager to be in this book for, among other reasons, the chance to write some Yes
propaganda (the book itself is neither for nor against). I also only got £20 for it. But these days, I feel that a lot of anthologies are fairly cynical, with themes designed either for Kickstart friendliness (e.g., Twenty Authors With Blogs!), or being created via mix'n'match—Steampunk Zombies! I liked that this one is focused closely on language and place, and was wide open as far as storytelling goes. Check it out.
Colin Wilson died last week—we wondered if it wasn't a hoax when only the Times
(of London) had an obit. It took all weekend for the other papers to get their file obits together. The UK press is playing one last round of "Bash Colin" as well, as in this sort of concern trolling into the afterlife.
Haven't seen any US newspaper obits for Wilson yet at all. The New York Times wrote about him...
back in 2005. Don't wear yourselves out, Gray Ladies!
There's no real way to make a coherent blog post out of this, so you'll have to settle for a bit of narrative.
Getting home from Omaha yesterday was an epic effort, but I made it. My luggage did not. My irreplaceable Mongolian camel fur hat apparently did not, though there's some hope I absent mindedly packed it into my luggage (which I never do on purpose).
I had five different flight itineraries yesterday. That is to say, at different points in the process, I was booked on five different flights out of Omaha before I finally managed to leave. American cancelled my original route through DFW on Sunday, the day before I was to fly, due to extreme weather in DFW more or less crashing their operations. I was rescheduled to a Monday flight through ORD.
When I got to the airport in Omaha early, they rescheduled me again at the check-in desk to an earlier flight through ORD, to help me make my connection to PDX. That flight began posting later and later, until was both later than the flight that came after it which I had been previously scheduled on, and late enough to make me miss my connection at ORD. It was also clear the later flight was going to be postponed.
I went to the American Airlines
counter agent and said, "Look, I'm a terminal cancer patient. I have two oncology appointments tomorrow. I have
to get home tonight. Can you reschedule me through Denver on another airline, since both Dallas and Chicago are such a mess?"
They're not really supposed to do that when they still have available seats in their own system, but he poked around and was very helpful, placing me on a set of Frontier Airlines
flights that went OMA-DEN, then DEN-PDX. Since I'd already checked in, he called down to the American baggage room and had my bag transferred to Frontier.
The earlier Frontier flight was full, so I wasn't leaving til that evening. Then Lisa Costello
texted me that the evening flight had posted a two-hour delay, which would again make me miss my PDX connection, stranding me in DEN. I went up to the Frontier gate agent and told him the same thing I'd told the American agent. He put me on stand-by, then got me on the plane in their 'stretch seating', which is what Frontier has instead of First Class. I'm pretty sure they're not really supposed to do that, either, especially since I wasn't even a Frontier customer in the first place.
I finally got on a plane leaving Omaha, my fifth scheduled flight out. I have no idea what happened to my bag at that point. My connection in Denver going to Portland was almost two hours late, but I got out of Denver and home last night. Frontier has no idea where my bag is, because I do not have a Frontier Airlines bag check tag, due to the interairline transfer back in Omaha, and they can't trace it through the American Airlines bag check tag. We're hoping it came in overnight from Omaha via Denver, but given the other delays, it may still be languishing in Omaha or in Denver. As me getting home was the critical issue, I am not grumpy about this. I would like to see my bag again sooner or later.
At any rate, on a day when well over a 1,000 flights were cancelled, thanks to the flexibility of two gate agents, one for American Airlines and one for Frontier Airlines, I got home. My first oncology appointment is at 8 am this morning, my second is this afternoon. I will make them.
So my thanks to both airlines.
Now I'm off this morning for some bloodwork preparatory to tomorrow's monthly consultation with my medical oncologist. This afternoon I have a screening and intake appointment for one of the clinical trials I am trying to engage with. Overnight has brought the Portland area radically unseasonal snow and ice, which will make getting around today a lot more exciting than it should be.
But I'm here, and I can make it in to my appointments. Thank you American, and thank you Frontier.
So I had a post burbling today on George Zimmerman’s girlfriend – who, after she called 911 to say that George Zimmerman had stuck a gun in her face, recanted and dropped the charges. And I was writing a post about abusers, and how people are manipulated by abusers, and how the stress of breaking free of an abusive relationship and having everyone knowing what a mess you’re in often makes people want to drop everything and revert back to those simpler days when they didn’t have to self-identify to all their loved ones as “an abused person.”
But that’s a high-wire post, there. Slip a bit to one side and you’re making it seem like Zimmerman’s somehow justified. Slip a little to the other side and you’re implying that the abuse is all the victim’s fault, and a little more gumption would have gotten them out of any bad situation.
Slip a little to yet another side and people are going to miss this very fine distinction that while I understand all the good reasons someone has not to report an abuser, and that I would never blame you if you didn’t want to go through this frustrating and oft-unfruitful bureaucratic PR nightmare, it’s still better if enough people can fight past the system to put assholes like this away. And they’ll accuse me of victim-blaming, when what I’m trying to do is generate sympathy for the terrible plight a victim is in.
And no matter what I did, the comments would be filled with hateful stuff from people who make snap-judgments, saying things like, “Well, why the hell was she dating Zimmerman in the first place? What a dumb bitch!” Which would hurt my heart, because my first instinct is to always go, “There but for the grace of God go I.” And others would debate all the facts of the Zimmerman abuse case, which would require me to come rapidly up to speed on how all this works so I could be sure I was correct.
And everyone would make everything seem simple: When you’re abused, here’s what you do, and if you don’t do it, you’re stupid! When you’re dealing with the cops, here’s what you do, there’s only one right way! And I’d be fighting both sides in an attempt to argue, once again, that the world is full of moral complexities, and goddammit your need to convert a million shades of gray into black and white is not helping.
Between all the flame wars I would need to quash and the danger that someone would misinterpret me, I think of all the effort this blog post would take me. And I’ve got a big project at work to do, and not enough time to manage comments, and so I put this post on the backburner and see if one day I feel it’s worth the energy it would take to shape and manage it properly.
This happens about three times a week.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/359548.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.
So, the Clayton Memorial Medical Fund
has been a big presence in my life these past few years, helping me financially at times of great need. (I did not need them this year, as it happens, thanks to all your generosity with the Sequence a Science Fiction Writer
fundraiser back at the beginning of the year.) Their reserve funds are running low, and they have asked me to try to boost the signal on a much-needed year-end fundraiser.
Here’s what my friends at the Clayton fund have to say about themselves:
The Clayton Memorial Medical Fund helps professional science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery writers living in the Pacific Northwest deal with the financial burden of medical emergencies. Even with insurance, co-pays can quickly add up to thousands of dollars, and over the past few years, we have faced a heavy draw on our money. The Fund is now down to a few thousand dollars.
The Clayton Fund was founded seventeen years ago by Oregon Science Fiction Conventions, Inc. (OSFCI) in response to the illness of Portland writer Jo Clayton. Our initial money came from a national campaign by writers and fans of science fiction and fantasy to help Jo and other writers. The Fund has since assisted many writers in the region deal with medical and dental emergencies.
As part of OSFCI, the Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations to the fund are tax deductible and often qualify for matching donations from employers.
Donations can be made using PayPal through the Fund's Web site (http://www.osfci.org/clayton) or mailed to:
Clayton Memorial Medical Fund
P.O. Box 5703
Portland, Oregon 97228
Please be sure to include full contact information so we can mail you a letter acknowledging your donation.
I’ll be donating from my surplusage from this year’s fund raising for my benefit. If you’ve got a few extra bucks this season looking for a tax deduction, why not join me? It’s an excellent cause helping writers who often have run out of financial lifelines. It's an organization that has been of great help to me personally. That's two fantastic reasons right there.
Walmart Called – Your Christmas Photos Are ready
— My eyes!!! Not exactly work-safe.Mars lake 'much like early Earth'
— The ancient lake environment found in Mars' Gale Crater could have supported microbes called chemolithoautotrophs - if they had been present.
Remember when the question of whether there had ever been open water on Mars was highly debatable? I love science.“Its (sic) not bigorty (sic), its (sic) biology”
— Ah, conservatives. Incompetent as well as bigoted.Oregon Campaign For Gay Marriage Hits Signature Goal
— Another breath of sanity against the winds of conservative religious bigotry.The NSA Has Been Spying On World Of Warcraft
— Wow, do I feel safer. And this without Moat GunZ!!!™ even.South Carolina Sheriff Deletes Facebook Post About Refusing To Lower Flags For Mandela
— Huh. Wonder why he backed down. It’s not like Republican officials in the American south ever pay any kind of penalty for their racism. The opposite, really.There’s Now A Coloring Book To Teach Your Children To Love Ted Cruz
— Wow. Just wow. I guess stunting their children’s (and everyone else’s children’s) minds with evolution denial and a refusal to teach critical thinking isn’t good enough for conservatives. Now this cult of personality shit?Washington Doomsday Prophecy
— Hahahah.Republican to-do list
— Hahahah. Yeah. No soul-searching for Virginia GOP after losses
— Mullins mocked post-election analysis that said Cuccinelli was too conservative for a changing state. “This is false narrative by false prophets,” he said.
Because, uh, yeah. You know what? Keep it up, GOP. Your Angry White Men are dying out, and pretty much everyone who isn’t an older white man or a member of some deeply politicized church is soooo done with you. All the better for the entire country, your party members included, if you hurtle into irrelevancy guns ablazing.The Punishment Cure
— Now, the G.O.P.’s desire to punish the unemployed doesn’t arise solely from bad economics; it’s part of a general pattern of afflicting the afflicted while comforting the comfortable (no to food stamps, yes to farm subsidies).
That’s actually an excellent précis of most of the Republican party platform. Which arises logically enough from their Angry White Men strategy, itself an impassioned, no-compromise defense of established privilege (or at least perception of established privilege), proudly and self-consciously at the expense of the rights and opportunities of others. (Not to mention more subtly at the expense of their own rights and opportunities.)
?otD: Got oncology?
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Number of FEMA troops on my block forging presidential birth certificates: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)
The Art Thing is now known as Artemis Thing, because...err...it wasn't an Arthur.( Pics!Collapse )
A few years ago I met an online acquaintance for a face-to-face lunch. He was a writer and wanted the inside scoop on playing essays with The Smart Set
. A genre fiction person, he was not very familiar with querying non-fiction magazines. (Hint: it's usually the managing editor or section editor.) So I gave him a few tips and a name. Then a few weeks later we met again and the guy told me, "I wrote to the editor and asked if they took reprints. He didn't write back." I didn't say anything but I did have a thought, and a prediction:
place anything with The Smart Set
And indeed I was correct. I don't know if leading with the question of reprints was really the reason, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was. TSS pays real money for real essays; why would they want second-hand material? Even in the field of service journalism, where evergreen material is constantly recycled and occasionally reconceptualized, material isn't often simply reprinted. (Reblogged, for free, by the lowlifes at Huffington Post
, sure.) You have to rewrite, localize, whatever.
And in fiction, reprints are generally worth less than original material.
Now, it is true that we are living in what I called a golden moment
for reprint anthologies. It's fairly easy to sell a reprint these days, even for the non-famous, but the markets themselves are generally reprint markets.
What I've been noticing lately is that when I make a note about wanting to see submissions or pitches for various projects I'm working on: The Big Click
, or my day job anthology Phantasm Japan
, people have been asking right away, "Do you take reprints?" Bigger names have simply been sending me
Is this a bit of advice people are getting now? "Always ask if the editor wants to see reprints before offering anything new?" Because if so, it is terrible advice. As far as I am concerned, asking this question is like tripping the editor, dropping trou, squatting over him, and easing out a big snaking turd onto his face, while shouting, "This is what I think of you! THIS IS WHAT I THINK OF YOU!! YOU LIVE TO EAT MY SHIT!"
And needless to say, those authors just talked themselves out of consideration for those projects. If I wanted reprints, I'd ask for reprints. Hell, if I wanted reprints, I wouldn't need to make even semi-public calls. I'd read in the field I wanted to buy from, and contact the authors privately to solicit the reprints. My checkbook is large enough and my projects prestigious enough that I want new material, and I want excellent new material. It's even fairly easy for me to get—when I open things up, it's partially because I'm a little dissatisfied with the material I am seeing, and partially due to the same romanticism that made Haunted Legends
the first Ellen Datlow project with open submissions, and that made Clarkesworld
a magazine with no form rejection letter.
Now some editors may disagree with me about being asked about reprints before being offered new material. Almost surely some editor will pop up and say that they like any sort of question, professionally asked. And I'd like to say: consider the source. I note that the more mental energy editors put into some notion of fairness to writers, the less concerned they are about readers. That is, they don't have very many readers. POD anthologists with 1c a word budgets, CreateSpace publishers with convention dealer's room-only print distribution, micropresses with a 1000-book list with each title selling fifty copies...they may love being asked fancy business questions like "Do you take reprints?" Then they get to give fancy business answers like "Only if it's very good!"
And some of the poor semiliterate dears will even say, "But reprints have a place in publications!" or "What about that reprint you ran once!?" as if I said anything about reprints being unnecessary or forbidden. If you are confused, go back to the top of this entry and read it again until you hit this sentence. Repeat as necessary.
I, on the other hand, am working in a buyer's market. I don't like that kind of thing, and when I was starting out it was made very clear that absent specifics one should submit or query new material, not reprinted material. It should go without saying that of course when you have an opportunity open up before you, you grab at it with both hands! And that means having something ready to go, or making time and space in your life and schedule to produce something new. "Would you give me two weeks?" is a perfectly fine, professional initial question. "Do you take reprints?" is just a way to lose an opportunity so far as I am concerned.
- Sun, 13:07: I actually have a hard time imagining any real actors as comic book characters, and the portrayals usually disappoint me.
- Sun, 20:35: Ken, Ken, checking @Duotrope every five minutes isn't going to make anything happen any faster...
I had a particularly strenuous workout at cardiac rehab, on a cold morning where I had been seriously tempted to pack it in. So my post-workout reward of one (1) Dunkin’ Donuts decaf iced coffee was exceptionally satisfying.
And I was tempted to Tweet my one word of triumph:
Which would have been a valid thing to Tweet. I mean, there’s no invalid thing to Tweet. It’s your social media, and you define your voice.
But my voice is generally not in-jokes, and that’s what I think of an in-joke Tweet – it only makes sense in context. If you know me well enough to know my mild addiction to Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee, my fulminating rants about how Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in Ohio is never quite as good as it is in New England (which is stone-cold truth), and my joy at finding one, then you’d know this all-capped shout is some sort of joy. If you knew me really well, then you’d know this was early morning on a weekday, and I must have just finished my workout, and thus would be able to piece together the context of this joy.
But otherwise? That’s not a Tweet for an audience. That’s a Tweet I posted for me, and maybe a secret signal to a select handful in the know.
That’s an in-joke Tweet.
And I see a lot of that mysterious social broadcasting going on, particularly on Facebook – which works really well for those who do know these people, and that cryptic cry of “DUNKIES” often leads to conversational threads like “…whup that treadmill!” and “Check the hottie!” and reinforces a small and exultant culture. For these kinds of social profiles, you really had to be there.
But to those of us on the outside, a constant stream of “Jerry said what?”s and “The tuna boat: incoming”s and so forth make literally zero sense. And I don’t know whether people who primarily interact with their social page of choice realize they make no sense to much of their audience – because quite often, I’m their friend and I have no frickin’ idea what they’re going on about – or simply don’t care, because to them Twitter is just a place for them to blurt out random things from their brain whenever they see fit.
As for me, though, I usually try to be a little more informative, so that Tweet might read something more like:
Just finished a brutal cardiac rehab session. Soaked in sweat, will soon be filled with delicious iced coffee from Dunkies.
Which is definitely contextual. It’s also pretty mundane.
Weirdly enough, this second sort of Twitter-broadcast – which I call the factual, as opposed to the in-joke – gets a lot less response. If I post DUNKIES WHOO, then the handful of jamooks who got the reference feel an urge to reply to show me they’re one of the club, and as such the in-jokes pile up replies. But if I frame it all in context, then what I have here is pretty run-of-the-mill. I mean, it wasn’t an exceptional workout – no medical injuries, no breakthrough treadmill times – and I do it three times a week, so maybe I’d get a scattered “Go you!” or two, but mostly people would nod their heads and e-move on.
It keeps you in touch with me, for sure, so when we meet you’ll have conversational grist for the mill – “How’s your rehab going?” – but as far as inspiring a network of online interaction, it ain’t much. But you’ll at least be able to follow what the hell is going on in my life from a distance, unlike the in-joke world.
And then there’s the performance Tweet. This is what John Scalzi and many other popular Tweeterers specialize in, where you take the mundane thing you’re doing and make some kind of joke out of it, like:
Just worked out to clear the fat from my sclerosed veins. Now in line at Dunkies to get iced coffee to refill said veins with coffee-flavored cream.
No, wait, that’s not terribly witty. How about:
My post-workout ritual: double-cream, double-sugar iced coffee from Dunkies. I AM THE KING OF UNWISE IDEAS.
No, not punchy enough. How about -
- and so on. Which is the problem of the performance Tweet – you feel a little stupid if you spend more than a minute or two thinking up a Facebook post, because crap, it feels all kinds of egotistic to spend fifteen minutes composing The Perfect Tweet. You worry you’re becoming the Plus 97 Guy, pouring ridiculously amounts of effort into something nobody cares about. And then if nobody responds, man, have you lost your edge? Where’s the validation in social media? Man, I’m down twelve likes from last week, what do I need to do to grab these people?
Which, you know, stupid. You’re not writing for How I Met Your Mother, you’re talking about a goddamned iced coffee. Idiot.
But there I am, waiting in line at the Dunkies, composing…
I usually oscillate between the factual and the performance Tweet, starting by trying to say something terribly witty and then degrading gracefully (as they say in the web biz) into a mere factual Tweet if I can’t find a funny spin that fits in 140 characters. And honestly, I’m probably a worse Tweeterer because if I just used the sweat of my brow to put in the good time, devising a truly funny joke before I dare hit post, I’d be magnificent. But I go for the cheap joke, and man, where is my commitment to the form?
But that’s the downside, isn’t it? When you’re a performer, you’re a performer. And I’m not entirely sure I do want my Twitter to be performance art. I want it to be me, and I want it to be inviting so that you’re welcome to become a part of my online world, and if you want to know me, well, ‘ere I am, JH.
(That last bit was an in-joke. But that was a movie reference. SOMETIMES I DO THAT OKAY?)
So I dunno. It’s just odd to think that hey, for a throwaway line on Twitter to chronicle the oh-so-pressing business of my coffee consumption, I can think of at least three serious approaches to spamming 3,000 people with covert Dunkin’ Donuts advertisements. There are probably more.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/359261.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.
We’ve finally finished watching all three seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender. I’m going to go ahead and say this is one of the best shows I’ve ever watched. Here’s the official show description from the website, for anyone who’s unfamiliar with it:
Water. Earth. Fire. Air. Only the Avatar was the master of all four elements. Only he could stop the ruthless Fire Nation from conquering the world. But when the world needed him most, he disappeared. Until now…
On the South Pole, a lone Water Tribe village struggles to survive. It’s here that a young Waterbender named Katara and her warrior brother Sokka rescue a strange boy named Aang from a cavernous iceberg. Not only is Aang an Airbender–a race of people no one has seen in a century–but they soon discover that Aang is also the long lost Avatar. Now it’s up to Katara and Sokka to make sure Aang faces his destiny to save the tribe–and himself. Did we mention he’s only 12?
I don’t know how best to talk about a three-season, 61-episode show, so I’m just going to randomly celebrate some of the things that made it work so well for me.
The Characters: Almost without exception, every character has his/her own personality and story arc. The Big Bad Fire Lord was pretty much the only one who struck me as one-dimensional, and that’s partly because he barely even shows up until the very end. Everyone else felt fully human. They struggle. They make mistakes. You can connect and sympathize with almost everyone, even the villains. These are interesting people, and I wanted to spend more time with them.
The Animation: This is a beautifully animated show, from the background artwork to the various spirit creatures to the different cultural styles of dress and architecture to my particular favorite, the gracefulness of the four styles of bending. It’s gorgeous to look at.
The Joy: Aang’s backstory is incredibly painful. He’s the last of his people, a hundred years out of his time, and is tasked with saving the world. At the age of twelve. Yet he never loses his joy in the world. He jokes, he laughs, he plays, he dances. He believes in people … but not to the point of foolishness. The show hits notes of both very real pain and ridiculous silliness (poor cabbage guy), and the full range in between. That’s a hard thing to do well, and incredibly powerful when done right.
I’m putting the rest behind a cut tag, because of spoilers…
( Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
I'm very self-conscious talking about my book.
Now this doesn't apply to all
writers, but I suspect there are a lot of us who feel this way.
For me, I'm highly conscious that a lot of people wouldn't enjoy my writing. In addition, in real life, most people I know have no clue what I write. Most RL people I know don't read much. That's OK, but when they ask what my book's about, I know I'll just sound insane to them...and they really don't care. They're making conversation.
It's easier if you're talking to a selected audience, like a convention audience or on a blog. Those people -do- generally understand what we're talking about. A lot of them are writers themselves.
But we still deal with the 'they might not be interested in what I do.'
Then there's the second part of this....when someone asks you that, they usually want a short
description. Now remember, novelists write things that are likely 80K+. Giving a 140 word description is pretty hard for us. It's NOT our milieu. (No matter how many times we're told to prepare an elevator pitch.)
So when someone asks about what I write, I'm both self conscious and aware that if I give my book a real description, I'll probably yack their socks off.
(Other writers don't have this problem. I was at a convention recently where a guy in the audience managed to describe -his- short story in detail every time he asked a panel a question. I simply don't have that sort of chutzpah.)
So here's my pitch: In an alternate 1902 Portugal, a sereia must join forces with a police consultant to stop a killer seeking to change the very fabric of history itself.
That's the best I've got.