Category Archives: Haha!

The Internet’s Terrible Twos

I think the internet is growing up.

I know what you’re thinking, but listen.

When I was younger — when most of us, in fact, were younger– the internet didn’t know what it was. WE didn’t know what it was. It was like “Here. Here is this thing I have. In fact, here is everything. I don’t know what to do with it, but I have it, and now so do you.”

We all found our little corners, and if we couldn’t find a corner we had the freedom to build one for ourselves.

It was a magical and lawless time, as I’ve said before.

Wild Wild AOL

Yeah, like that.

During this period, the internet was a thought form, an entity yet to be.  It was like the early days of Earth, before the primordial ooze glooped out its first amoebas.

Today, it is the first complex organism to not only discover dry land, but to discover it has the ability to walk on it without dying.

Primordial Mind Blown

Phil told him he would live, but Roger had to see it for himself.

Or, to put it a different (some might say “better”) way, it is a toddler discovering that the world exists, independent of itself, and that, despite this, people outside its immediate experience can still have the same thoughts and feelings it has, and this blows its fucking mind.

astonished-baby

OMG, YOU LIKE ELMO??

Are you really that surprised other people put your thoughts to words? Like, are you seriously having a “mind blown” moment? Do you know what words like “amazing” and “astonishing” even mean? You should, you have Google in you.

Google - Astonished

Yet every time you use them, you diminish their impact, because so often what you call “astonishing” and “amazing” is so obvious, matter-of-fact, everyday, and, frankly, common-sensical that I’m left wondering if the tumblr post you shared was actually amazing for you, or if you linked the wrong post and didn’t realize it.

Either you have no idea how to use these words accurately, or, like a child first becoming aware that the world around them is more than a hologram of their own devising, you really are unbelievably astonished by someone describing with words what you, yourself, have thought.

Michael Cera

Is it?  But is it, though? Or does it make a normal amount of sense.

See, I’m baffled, because I thought we were all pretty well aware of the fact that, while we do live separate lives with our own individual perspectives, we are still experiencing the same events, more or less, and often that means we have similar thoughts. Most people — I should say, at this point, “grown ups” for the sake of the analogy– nod and agree when someone else says something they were thinking, or had previously thought.

“Yes, my thoughts exactly.”

But you. You, Baby Internet, you scream like Criss Angel just descended from the heavens and delivered you the puppy you saw at the adoption fair a week ago. (HOW DID HE FUCKING KNOW?!) You drop your jaw to the floor and a small nuclear explosion consumes everything in a three mile radius from the force and velocity with which you add the message to your social media post.

Introvert Problems

Internet. It’s only Michael Cera. We all know he’s awkward, sweetie. Shhh. Everyone wants the food they see on TV; it’s why advertising works.  Lots of people are socially awkward and introverted (which are not the same thing, but may go together); you are not alone, no matter how much you enjoy being so.  This isn’t quite Cave Johnson talking about combustible lemons, here; I really don’t think we need POTAToS levels of enthusiasm to show our agreement.

But this is a lesson you will learn in time, Internet. You finally have context for all the words and stories and images we flooded you with at your inception, and you can’t help but scream your wonder at the world around you.

I know.

I understand.

That’s why I want you to enjoy this while you can, because we’re going to get really sick of your shit when you hit puberty, and I can’t guarantee we won’t find a way to ground you.

—-

Adalind Monroe is a writer from the Pacific Northwest with a serious flea problem, right now.  You guys don’t even understand.  Combustible lemons are a serious option.

You can read some of her short stories linked in the nav menu above, but none of them have explosions.  Yet.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Stop Buying E.L. James a Yacht!

E.L. James (author of the Fifty Shades of Grey blight) is publishing a guide for writers, and it’s all our fault.

Can we just take a moment to sit down and think, though?  Cause I need a breather before I get into this.  And maybe a stiff drink.  (I said drink, cool it!)

It’s been four hours; do I need to call someone about this?

Personally, I feel sick to my stomach and I’m not sure I even recognize reality right now.  I look at my face in the mirror, and all I see is this disgusted look of bemusement, and I can’t get my eyebrows to stop doing that thing.

Why, Universe?  Why MORE Fifty Shades of Grey buzz?  Y U DO DIS??

I’ve been upset for a while, as many of you may know, about everything even tangentially related to Fifty Shades (including, but not limited to, the loss of the phrase “it’s all just shades of grey”), but just I can’t live in the negative space necessary to be the kind of upset Fifty Shades deserves. I actually have to step away from the topic entirely to de-stress and forget, for a minute, that Fifty Shades of Grey has sold more copies than the entire Harry Potter series, that E.L. James is now considered one of the highest paid authors in the world, and that she’s about to publish a guide to help other writers be [sarcasm] as talented and successful as she is[/sarcasm].

My mind is reeling from that last statement.

First I experienced Disbelief.  “Oh my god,” I said to my little dog, who was fast asleep, and also didn’t care, “E.L. James thinks she has valid advice to give.  Which, of course she does, because she’s the Messiah of Writing, now.  Have you not seen her bank money?”

Following the Stages of Grief, I experienced the briefest flare of Anger.  “This is going to ruin writing (and therefore, all life,) forever,” I thought, with no trace of hyperbole.

Then I skipped on to Acceptance, because ain’t no one got time for this, and thought “I have to share this,” because suffering is more bearable when shared.

But . . . how?

How do I share this with the people I know?  Even if they don’t think Fifty Shades is Abuse, they can at least see the objectively terrible prose for what it is.  How do I share this without feeding the negativity spiral and have us all chanting Satanic spells in the hopes one of them puts an end to this, the Darkest Timeline?

 

My Darkest Timeline survival kit.

And then I remembered the only line of thought that allowed me to fall asleep the last time I was so upset by the series; change the conversation.

Instead of calling Time of Death on quality in literature as we know it, we need stop bad literature from winning.

Now, our first instinct in this situation is to be appalled at the very notion that a writer with as little appreciable talent as James could even begin to instruct other writers in the craft.  This is considered a native instinct, up there with “fight or flight” and knowing it’s only a matter of time before Justin Bieber becomes his own religion.

 

Clearly, this has already happened.

 This serves two purposes: 1) To prove you have a brain, and 2) that it’s still working.

Working brain intact, we are right to be appalled by this news, because new, impressionable writers may look at James’ success and think “Writing sounded hard when I talked to those masochists typing on finger nubs and drinking way too much coffee.  To hell with that noise!”, and the next thing you know the stuff the internet was ashamed to show you becomes the next best sellers on all the shelves, because E.L. James is to literature what “reality” is to TV.

At least, that’s the fear.

This is, of course, ridiculous, because as long as there are writers with passion, there will be quality in literature.  The bigger (and by far, scarier) question lurking within that fear, though, is “After this, will quality writing even matter?”

I say “Yes.  But only if you make it matter.”

If you want to see quality published, you have to put effort into quality writing.  No brainer, right?

But here’s a problem.  The majority of writers seeking publication face a real uphill battle far beyond applying every trick, tip, and hard-won skill they ever paid a workshop to learn; writers are looking to craft the best, most engaging story they can manage without killing themselves (please), but publishers are looking for something they can sell.  If the two happen to coincide, so much the better, but what the writer pours into their craft often isn’t what the publisher is looking for when they turn the first page.

And that’s all before E.L. James publishes the lazy self-help version of a writer’s guide. (It has blank lined pages at the end for writers to “set down their own ideas, or ‘inner goddess'”, as all good lazy self-help books do, not because fluffing out pages, but because people interested in writing never keep paper or, say, computers around to facilitate “setting down” their ideas, so it’s really considerate of James to make sure space is provided for them, and not lazy at all.)

But, it’s not like writers have been unaware just how screwed over they are when they plight their troth with an established publisher — those authors who are successful were at least somewhat aware of the flaming hoops they’d be forced to hump in order to see their manuscript polished and shipped to bookshelves across the . . . well, county, probably — country if the publisher thought they could push it.

  
SPOILER ALERT: Publishers haven’t softened over the years.

If anything, they’ve figured out how to squeeze even more money out of every venture with the least amount of effort or risk on their part.  The writer does all the writing, and most of their own marketing, and almost all of their own promotion and public event managing until the publisher feels they’re enough of a safe bet to offer more.  If the author is really, really good at this, and makes enough money for the publisher, the author might catch some breaks for the future, and even see a cozy profit themselves.  I’m not saying they could live comfortably off that profit, but they could celebrate with a reasonably priced meal out on the town, and an off-brand bottle of champagne, if they used a coupon.

And I’m not pulling this out of my ass, either.  Search for articles around the internet designed to help writers, and once you get past the craft itself, it’s all about how to promote yourself.  Building a solid audience before you approach a publisher, for instance, illustrates to the publisher that you have the ability to market yourself (one less thing they have to worry about, then), and increases the odds your book will sell if they publish it. [relevant links attached – find them*]  That makes you a safer bet than an unknown author with no following and no internet presence.

Being an author isn’t glamorous.  Authors like J.K. Rowling are the exceptions to this publishing house sideshow, not the rule, and it’s still not without monumental effort that they succeeded.  But, her success is the fairytale we tell ourselves when we’re wallowing in writer’s block and too much mescal.  Rowling is the bedtime story we whisper before falling asleep, because picturing ourselves doing a talkshow circuit to give the breathless public insight into the mysteries of our process makes it easier to keep plugging away at the keyboard to just finish the damn manuscript.

I know, I know.  All of this sounds really depressing, which is probably because it is really depressing.

That was the conversation.  This is why we’re changing it.

Until recent years, it was both difficult and not terribly profitable to self publish — even if you did it, it could actually cost you a lot, and you were unlikely to reach much of an audience — but, thanks to glory of the internet, now it’s as easy as hitting the upload button and spamming every community you’ve ever joined until someone reads it. (It’s like success . . . .)  You could also go through outfits like Smashwords and Amazon, and get yourself free ISBN numbers, or take a more hands-on approach to make physical copies through CreateSpace, and similar, to distribute yourself.  (Pros and cons are a completely separate topic.  Stop it.)  The point is, it’s not a choice between printing in your basement, or bending over for the Rod of Publishment, anymore.
 

Pictured: Please don’t search for “rod” and “punishment” in the same keyword string.

 

We have options; we shouldn’t be afraid to use them.

If the publishers don’t want to take the risk on good prose, and you’re expected to do your own promotion, anyway, why not check out the indie scene?

But there is a second component to all of this; the reading public.  If everyone today loved War and Peace, E.L. James would have been sacrificed before Justin Bieber on the day of his birth, and writers would be rewarded for investing the time, effort, patience, and bouts of screaming insanity it takes to do what we do.  But we are not fortunate enough to live in that reality.

There is something we can do about it, though: Starve the publishers of the kind of public grateful for a series of books as thematically complex as a holiday dinner at Honey Boo-Boo’s. (Logan, shut up.)
 

Pictured: Character Development

 

The only reason publishers can get away with printing books barely edited to prevent copyright infringement is because people keep buying them.  I know you probably don’t personally know three-hundred-million people whom you can convince to not buy something, but that shouldn’t stop you from talking to those you do know.  I mean, it’s probably too late for all those grown-ups you know, all approaching thirty for the last twenty years, and watching their bodies slow down to die, but the young people can still be reached.  Teach kids to appreciate complexity, critical thinking and facing new challenges, and you’re going to have a generation of readers who aren’t looking for a book so simplistic in its execution it’s actually easier to read by repeatedly slamming it against your head.

I know this isn’t a perfect world — not everyone is going to automatically leap for Nietzsche and Dostoyevski (holy butts, I spelled both of those correctly on the first try!)–, but it’s only this far gone because we let it happen.

So, here’s the conversation: If you don’t like the idea of new writers giving in to the inner idiot we all have screaming obscenities at us, keep being better.  Stop buying idiot books written by idiots.  Discourage others from buying idiot books written by idiots.  You know how idiots get published?  The idiot public makes it profitable for idiot publishers (same thing?) to support bad prose, because it will sell better than a complex story written well by an author who cares.

—-
Adalind Monroe is a writer from a depressingly sunny part of Southern Oregon,  and hasn’t eaten since breakfast, so she’s really, really hungry now.
*I didn’t find them. 😦 I was too hungry.  I have failed you.

[seppuku][/seppuku]

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Shave November (or Why I Can’t Grow a Beard)

[SPOILER: It has nothing to do with gender.]

Legally I’m not allowed to grow a beard. The last time I did the beard grew in with such glory that most of those who looked at it directly were stricken blind, and inevitably fated to descend slowly into madness. Those lucky few who managed to avoid losing their sight gouged out their own eyes to preserve the memory of my beard without interference from everyday visual stimuli.  A blind cult evolved to worship my beard, where lesser beards were sacrificed on an altar of mustache paraffin and beard combs. Panic spread through the bearded community for no beard was safe so long as the cult existed, and with new members joining daily from exposure to my beard, it was quickly becoming a matter of national security; the cult had turned its sightless gaze to President Garfield’s mighty visage.

James A. Garfield’s Beard (pictured with James A. Garfield)



Approached by the president himself, who, having heard the legends and the warnings, swathed himself in black cheese cloth to diminish the devastatingly high levels of glory radiating from each follicle, I was asked to remove all traces of facial hair for the good of the people. I’ve never heard a man speak with more sorrow in his voice than when I heard President Garfield force himself to ask for the destruction of what he called “The Messiah of Beards”; even through the cheese cloth, he could see enough to be profoundly changed by it.

It was a quiet affair, The Shaving. In a cottage stashed in the great Virginia wilderness, I shaved off every last trace of facial hair, gathered it into a basket of wild flowers and ivory combs, and gave it a proper viking funeral on the sweeping currents of the Potomac river. Returning to D.C., the cabinet was sworn to secrecy, and I signed a document swearing never to grow any sort of facial hair again, for the good of the people, and the good of the country. President Garfield wept the silent tears of a man witnessing the death of true beauty.

That document is still kept under lock and key and 24 hour guard in a vault seven miles below D.C. so that even natural disaster and zombie apocalypse has no chance of destroying evidence of my agreement, and testimony of my sacrifice from one of the greatest bearded presidents this country has ever seen.  No pictures exist of my glorious beard, and all texts describing it directly have been burned.  The only record that even acknowledges that it once was is that single parchment long buried in D.C., and the odds of anyone ever finding it are laughable.  However, I would be remiss if I didn’t give you some epic beard to appreciate, so here you go.

Pictured: Not My Beard (but it’s as close as any mortal beard could ever hope to come).

—–

[ABOUT THE AUTHOR’S BEARD]

Her name was Sally, and it’s said she glistened in the sunlight “as if spun of gold, bronze, copper, and the laughter of children”.

[ABOUT THE AUTHOR]

Adalind Monroe is a time-travelling lady maverick who daily says a prayer for her beard in the ancient tongue of the Nords.  When she’s not sighing wistfully from a window seat on overcast days, just like the day she shaved for the first and final time, she writes genre fiction in the fantasy and horror flavors.  If you want to read more by Adalind, check out the Short Story and Flash Fiction sections of the site.  Or, if you want to read LONGER things by Adalind, then just hold onto your breeches: “Prince of Darkness”, an Eleasian novel, is already in the works, and you’re going to love it.

Here’s to you, Sally. I miss you.

—–

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wendigging the Debate

One man dedicated to fabricating the truth from other fabricated truths: The Real American Hero

Presidential debate correspondent and aggressive pen-monkey, Chuck Wendig, infiltrated the town-hall-styled presidential debate Tuesday, October 16.  As he crouched beneath moderator Candy Crowley’s desk, fogging up his glasses with his own moist exhalations, he tweeted to the public the historical events as they transpired.  This is a complete transcript of Mr. Wendig’s coverage:

Glimpses of Obama pre-debate confirm aggressiveness. He is seen biting a rattlesnake in half and chugging its blood and venom.

Obama then yells: “Welcome to Barack-Town! Population: My Foot In Your Ass.”

Romney wins the coin toss, which means he gets first chance to fake wash a bunch of pots to show his fake support for the poor.

Romney: “I want you to get a job! But China ate them all.”

Romney: “I’m going to make sure you can get hired to make iPhones in a Shanghai sweatshop.”

Romney: “My plan to put people back to work is to undo the Republican dick-jam clogging up Congress’ pipes like an old tampon!”

Obama: “I got a five-point plan, too. Five fingers form a fist and punch Mittens in his crotch-wallet. BOOM.”

Man in audience asks: “Why are you a Muslim Kenyan Martian Socialist Gay Married Christmas-Hater?” Is unmasked as Donald Trump.

Romney just answers the next question by licking his fingers and smoothing his eyebrows, then chuckling.

Romney holds up a golf ball: “This is clean coal!” Then he sets it on fire and warms his hands by it.

Obama: “Truth is, Governor Romney is a lying-faced liar that lies, and his pants are on fire. And full of poop.”

Asked about renewable energy, Romney just squeezes his hair, drinks it, spits it into a Zippo flame and BOOSH.

Now they’re just hitting each other with their microphones. WHUMP BOONG FWUMP FFFMMM BUMP

Obama starts explaining economic theory. Romney makes fart noises and monkey sounds in the background.

(In a brief moment of seriousness, Chuck comments on Romney as being “a smug douchenozzle.”)

Question from audience: “Governor, how do you plan to pay for all your tax cuts?” Romney: “Chinamen. I mean, Keebler elves.”

Romney is now holding the moderator’s head in a toilet bowl he appears to have brought from home.

Romney: “I want to help those middle class families that earn more than a frabjillion dollars per year.”

Upon hearing his name, Bill Clinton rides in on a Kodiak bear wearing a gladiator costume. Bronzed and oiled.

Romney: “I am going to force the wealthy to pay more tax–HAHAHA heehee I can’t do it sorry! I josh! I josh!”

Obama: “Romney’s plan will cost us five trillion dollars.” Romney: “I make that much in a week!”

While Obama is speaking, Romney is wandering around the audience selling snake oil and bad mortgages.

The moderator just pulled out a Taser.

Outside the debate, Big Bird just doused himself in gas and set his golden feathers ablaze.

Romney: “I love affirmative action. That’s a Republican thing, right? It’s not? I hate affirmative action.”

Romney: “I love women. I smack their asses when they do a good job. I give them kisses & candies. They prefer that to raises.”

Romney: “I think abortions are delicious. Wait, what are we talking about?”

Romney: “I GET NEXT ANSWER WAIT SHUT UP ME NOW NEXT FIRST I SAY THINGS NOW STOMPY STOMPY BOO BOO.”

Romney: “I will trade our women to China and that will balance our budget.”

Obama: “I promise to hunt and kill Honey Boo Boo. And film it. Seal Team Six stands ready.”

The moderator is loading a handgun. For herself? Remains unclear.

Obama: “Here is Osama bin Laden’s head. Let us now play kickball with it and end this charade.”

Obama firmly strokes his turgid erection. Bill Clinton and he lock eyes, and share a wink.

Romney: “Obama only did 92% of the things he said he’d do. Zing! Gotcha, nerd! Go back to Kenya!”

Woman asks about immigration. Romney explains that they will serve in an annual “Hunger Games” event.

Romney: “Immigrants can bow out of the Hunger Games provided they agree to serve as building materials.”

Romney explains that his strategy is “to say whatever works to make you like me, When that fails, I will release angry bees.”

Romney: “I sucked four years ago. Hell, I was high on goofballs during the GOP primaries. You shouldn’t quote me.”

(Reflecting on the events with another rare moment of sincerity, Chuck had this to say: “I just want Obama to punch Romney in the ear, Fight Club-style.”)

Obama: “In my next four years I will enact legislation to punish those who interrupt during debates. Seal Team Six is ready.”

Romney just had a terrorist attack in his pants.

Obama gets mad, Shoots lasers out of his eyes. Buzzsaw blades from his mouth.

Obama: “I want to keep guns out of the hands of orangutans, clowns, postal workers, children, grandchildren, and Republicans.”

Romney: “I think children should be raised by guns. Straight guns, Not gay guns. Because, ew.”

Weird. Romney has a dead dog strapped to the top of his podium.

(Gripped by a fever of lucidity, Chuck tweeted: One of these guys is a President. The other is a CEO. Choose wisely.)

The moderator is unlocking a tiger cage.

They pan over the audience. Turns out, undecided voters are basically a pack of unwashed hobos. One guy is sniffing his hands.

Romney: “The key to getting tough on China is enacting legislation to make sure we get crispy, spicy General Tso’s chicken.”

Romney: “I plan on solving immigration by sending Obamacare to China and then shooting Libya with guns and tax cuts.”

The undecided voter audience is now eating one another. I suspect bath salts. Or some kind of Walking Dead voodoo.

Romney: “China hacked my BIOS and made me say all kinds of crazy things during the primaries.”

Last question of the night: “Do you like anal?” Where do they get these people?

Obama and audience member named Barry form a detective team, Barry and Barry. This fall, on ABC.

Real debate: these two dudes seriously do not like one another. I really thought they were gonna start kickboxing or some shit.

—–

As the president and former governor slowly drifted toward their respective females, and the audience cautiously swarmed the celebridential candidates, Chuck had this final observation to offer before strapping on a jet-pack and rocketing through the hall and out the window in the ladies room:

“Both candidates explode. Everyone dies.”

He offered a follow up when spotted later in a tree several blocks away: “The audience of that debate looked like shelves of mummies.”

—–

Chuck Wendig is the spectacularly talented author of MOCKINGBIRD, a screenwriter of indescribable greatness, and free-lance pen-monkey capable of flinging poo with deadly accuracy.  He keeps a regular blog you can (and will) check out immediately, and is highly followable on Twitter as @ChuckWendig.  Go do these things.  Regret will not follow.  Or it will, but it’s the kind of regret you’ll keep reliving alone at midnight with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and your own tears for comfort.

“Set phasers to love me” indeed!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Skyrim Has Really Complex Politics [Spoilers?]

[DISCLAIMER: This post deals with the history of the Nords in Skyrim, and briefly about events surrounding the Stormcloak rebellion, as well as speculative lore regarding elves.  I try to keep vague about any details specific to quests and outcomes, so I don’t think there are any actual spoilers.  But that depends on how much information you think counts as a spoiler.  You can probably read on safely without risk, as long as you’re not super uptight about what constitutes a spoiler, and really, if you ARE that uptight, why are you reading a blog post about a game you don’t know anything about in the first place?  Anything could be a spoiler!  THERE ARE ELVES! =o  Now you hate me. 😦 ]

Hello, my name is Adalind and I finally got a copy of Skyrim.

Initially I made an Altmer (High Elf) mage whom I named Kivara, who– no, that’s wrong.  I made a Bosmer (Wood Elf) archer named Malloriel, but that was on Amy’s console, so I don’t know how much she counts except to say that she, too, was entirely the wrong first character to make.  Why? Because I quickly found that while adjusting to the setting and storyline, choosing a character that might require a little focused dedication instead of natural inclination in order to play well might not have been the best plan.  I discovered THAT by watching my brother play HIS first character and remarking to myself how useful a shield was for hiding and bashing people in the face, both of which are activities I knew were lacking in my life.  With that little realization under my belt, I set to work creating a character as applicable to the events in Skyrim as possible without imposing any unnecessary racial bias I wouldn’t know was even implied, because, yes, I am THAT player.

Thus was born Cordelia (because I swear to Dibella she looks just like Charisma Carpenter when she was on Angel).  She’s a Nord because the main conflict in Skyrim revolves around the Nords, thus

My TV doesn’t have Print Screen. Shut up.

she would potentially have a vested interest in Nord affairs, not because of the wide-reaching effects the way the Aldamari Dominion would be interested, but because it is her home and her people fighting each other.  She came in as unbiased as I did, which is to say leaning slightly toward the Stormcloaks, because, c’mon!  Down with the Imperialist pig-dogs!  But it’s not really that simple when you take the time to read the books you find scattered throughout the land.  Which I do.  Because I am THAT player.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

Skyrim was, as was the rest of Tamriel, the land of the elves. Mortal, human settlers filtered in and for the most part managed to get along fine with the native elves, sharing their toys and everything.  The Bretons even became nearly indistinguishable from their elven hosts with the high level of commingling (that’s sex), but this was not the case for Skyrim.  When the proto-Nords, like blobs of Nedic plasma, crossed the sea from their original land, which was locked in some kind of civil war, they saw the elves and decided they didn’t like the cut of their jib.  The proto-Nords said “GTFO” and started a new war, because the old one didn’t have any elves, which is probably why the Nords hated it and left.  The elves, understandably, were less than cool with this.

There was a great war between man and elf (believed to be the now extinct Snow Elves), with the Nedic army headed by Ysgramor and his five hundred Companions, which he insisted on calling Companions even though I doubt he knew any of their names personally.  The Snow Elves were led by their forever nameless Snow Prince (which supports the idea that Ysgramor was terrible with names).  The short of it ends with humans winning the battle with many a touchdown dance and thrusting of hips, the Snow Prince slain by a little girl, of all things, and Ysgramor becoming a big fat hero.  Now, even if the conflict was started because the elves were like “GTFO” when the Nords stopped by looking for a kegger and maybe a cup of sugar, the Nords’ answer to the native population’s “We want to keep our homes, thanks,” was to invade and obliterate them, so I’m not seeing a whole lot of nobility in the motives for the war in the first place.  Add to that the speculation (lore speculation, so probable in-game fact) that the Snow Elves descended into the bowels of the earth to seek refuge with the Dwemer (Dwarves) who poisoned them blind like the jerks they were, indentured and then enslaved them for fun, and then, just to make sure they never had any trace of self worth again, they bred them into the cave-dwelling Falmer everyone loves to encounter at night.  By “love” I mean I don’t hate them like I hate undead Draugr warriors, but I wouldn’t mind not hanging out with them ever again.

I now see the Nords as being single-handedly responsible for the total destruction of the native population of elves, not just in having killed them, which they totally did, but in being the catalyst that would also rob them of their sense of identity, history, and self.  Because fuck elves, I guess.

Repeating the pattern is Ulfric Stormcloak — leader of one of the two faction options you’re given as you play through– with the native people of Markarth.  Markarth has a lot of history behind it, but all you need to know is that those Dwemer  jerks who turned elves into mutants built it and then up and left like it was Roanoke (but probably with a far less plausible explanation than Roanoke’s), and humans live there now.  Built into the rocky face of a mountain, it would resemble Rivendell if not for all the hard angles and beds made of stone, which are wicked comfy if you hate yourself and all the joys life has to offer.  The people of the Reach, that is the humans who first settled there, were ousted more than once, the latest occasion being when Ulfric Stormcloak decided to kill the High King for ending a war by saying Nords couldn’t worship their man-god, Talos, because it upset the Thalmor of the Dominion.  To be fair, though, the Thalmor look really terrible when they cry, so it was a pretty big issue.

Until recently, Skyrim didn’t even have an issue with the Empire.  The problems started when the Aldamari Dominion decided that a mortal can’t become a god, so if Skyrim didn’t want to find out what “cleansed by fire” meant first hand, then worship of Talos would have to be outlawed.   Actually, no, that wasn’t even the problem.  The problem was when the High King made the Jarls (kings of individual Holds/cities) actually enforce the law.  That’s when Ulfric threw his dinner across the room and put on his fighting breeches, and a bunch of other people went “YEAH!” and joined him.

In this initial uprising, Ulfric removed the remaining native born people of the Reach from their homes allowing Nords to completely supplant them, so those who remain, now called The Forsworn, hate all Nords.  I can totally sympathize with that, especially when all those who remain in the city from the original blood are enslaved in the silver mine/prison by their friendly Nordic hosts.  Playing a Nord, though, I don’t really appreciate their tendency to still try to kill me even though I helped them this one really important time.  My ability to sympathize with their cause is also hindered somewhat by the way they insist on terrorizing the citizens of Markarth who had nothing to do with the uprising, but are apparently evil because they’re Nordic.  Very much a “Sins of the . . . That Guy You’ve Never Personally Met are the Sins of the . . . Everyone Else” situation.

With all this, you might wonder why it’s not an obvious choice to go with the Imperials, then.  Well, I mean other than because they’re obviously pig-dogs.  Partly I can say it’s because I haven’t met an Imperial who isn’t a douchebag and/or royal tool (ha!) except for the first one you meet at the beginning of the game. (I call him Smelly.)

All the Thalmor I’ve met have been super mean, too.  Just all kinds of arrogant.  Also, they’re trying to kill me.  I mean, Cordelia.  Apparently helping  Forsworn is a no-no in their book worthy of clandestine assassination attempts that aren’t even officially sanctioned.  Not the kind of people that encourage me to encourage Cordelia to join them.

I can’t get behind the Imperial army because they’re under the boot heel of the Dominion, the aforementioned arrogant meanies, and from a personal standpoint I’m really not into one religious view dictating to entire races and countries of people what they are and aren’t allowed to believe based on what does or doesn’t offend them, so while I may not fully support from where the Nords have come or their inherent attitude of Right by Conquest, if I were going to pick a cause it would be to fight against religious oppression, but dang, Bethesda!  You didn’t make them a very sympathetic people!

So, no one’s right, everyone has baggage, and I AM THAT PLAYER!

—–

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Adalind Monroe is a writer and gamer who listens to Malukah sing The Dragonborn Comes on repeat because it’s pretty much the coolest arrangement of a Skyrim song ever.  She is an avid reader and writer of fantasy fiction, and feels much inspiration coming to her revolving around conversations she pretends happened between Cordelia and the NPCs.  Currently, she swears a lot at Lydia for getting caught in a glitch at Sungard and pretends her mercenary in full Dwarven plate is an Animunculus.  Cordelia’s second horse is named Artax.

Check Adalind out on Facebook or Twitter for all the fun, and don’t forget to stop by her Smashwords page to get all the reading.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Here’s a Question: How Perfect is “Too Perfect” for Characters or Races in Fiction?

I don’t recommend using this method for writing your fiction, but I can’t really stop you, you rebel.

I tried asking this just earlier today, and was very nearly stoned to death by another writer who felt that the question was so old and over-asked that the answer should be part of the automatic mindset a writer gets the first time they decide to write, like a new writer benefits package complete with FAQ and club pin, but if it’s really asked often enough to be an “old meme”, as they put it, then doesn’t that mean there are people who still want to know? There are always new writers, new reasons to ask the same questions, and I don’t think it’s very fair to slam the book on a topic simply because you, as an individual, have found the answer that works for you.

It’s obvious,” they said. “Give them flaws.” But is it really that obvious? For some of you, you might be nodding your head yes, and saying “Of course it’s that obvious,” but we’d never be in danger of encountering Mary Sues, Gary Stus, and Paragons if it was really that obvious to everyone.

A Mary Sue/Gary Stu, for those who may not know, is defined as a character lacking flaws that give dimension and credibility, and is frequently a paper-thin “wish-fulfillment” character for the author, allowing them to imagine that they are the ones having these adventures. When you see the term, it’s most often because you’re reading about fan fiction, but this doesn’t mean it hasn’t appeared in traditionally published fiction, either. Bella Swan, for instance, from the supremely popular Twilight Saga (as if you needed the reminder), could be called a Mary Sue. Though we’re not given specific details about her appearance, we are led to believe she’s both beautiful and popular, but for no obvious reason. She doesn’t participate in any meaningful school activities, but remains the center of attention at school so long as it serves the author’s interest, which is usually until Edward shows up, or is mentioned, or thought about, or missing. But this isn’t about my opinion of Stephanie Meyer and her Frankenstein’s Monster of a series, it’s about characterization! (And she has none! ZING!)*

Pictured: Character depth.

Now, Mary Sue and Gary Stu are the two-dimensional trope extremes of flawless fictional characters, and sometimes they can be easily avoided by adding a simple flaw here and there, but what if you’re writing a legendary hero in an epic fantasy? Say, Heracles. (Go on, say it. “HerAAAAACKles.” It’s fun, right?) Good. Now that we’ve got that out of our systems, our new story revolves around a Greek character named Heracles. He is the son of the king of the gods, but also half human! Is this a flaw? Well, that all depends on how you treat him. If his being half human diminishes his strength, allows him to be killed like any mortal, denies him the ability to ascend to Olympus, or lack all the rhythm it takes to win the ladies through the power of dance, then yes; you have yourself a successful flaw. If, however, being half human just means he’s not a god, but really he’s mostly a god, then you don’t have a flaw at all. What you have is a Paragon.

A Paragon is a peerless example of perfection, and when it comes to writing characters, a Paragon is often a two-dimensional protagonist who can never be defeated. No, not even by the evil Dark Lord of Evil, who has also never been defeated. When it’s obvious the Paragon will always win, there’s no reason to believe there’s any risk involved in the adventure. This is a problem when you want the reader to feel the tension when you give your protagonist obstacles to overcome. Paragons don’t struggle with obstacles, they explode through them and smell fantastic and don’t need to change their clothes ever, because they never get dirty or sweat. That might be great if you’re living in a romance novel where making naughty after a battle would be kinda gross if the protagonist wasn’t a Need No Shower kind of guy, but most of us aren’t romance ingenues, so, in my opinion this is a problem, because it disengages the reader from the character they should care for the most.

But what if we’re not talking about a single character as being flawless. What if we’re talking about an entire race of Paragons? What if we’re talking about . . . elves? Ooooo, mystical, shiny, immortal elves! Well, let’s rewind a bit here. Odds are we’re not talking about the kind of elves that can be described as “wee folk”, who mess about at night making shoes and cookies. We’re probably talking about Tolkienian styled elves, and that’s a problem, too. Tolkien’s elves were far from perfect. On the surface, in The Lord of the Rings specifically, it can appear that the elves embody a kind of perfection. They are immortal, beautiful, magical, in tune with nature, highly skilled warriors, healers, and mediators, but beneath that, many of them suffer from blinding pride. You need look no further than The Silmarillion for proof of the dangers this elven pride can produce.

In many instances Tolkien illustrated that anyone can become corrupted, no matter how innocent or impervious they may seem, from Frodo to Galadriel, yet in modern interpretations of the tall, beautiful, immortal elves what we see are facsimiles painted in perfection. These elves are the upholders of all that is good and moral (according to the author’s perspective), they are the stewards of nature, and they represent the highest moral judgment, all while being beautiful and ageless as everyone and everything else around them is flawed and probably horribly disfigured. Tolkien’s elves live on in our collective memory because of their depth, but when taken as a blank template, they lack any of the elements that make them worth remembering.

I think this quest for depth is what people are trying to address when they ask about perfection. They’re not looking for a chorus of “There’s no such thing as perfection,” a phrase that can mean “so just write whatever you want, and hang the opinions of everyone else”, or it can mean “so no one will believe it if you write it”. Either way, it’s one of the least helpful phrases I can think to offer in response to any question about the subject. I think one of the things we’re really asking here is “How close to ‘perfection’ can I write a character or race before the reader stops connecting with them?” and I think part of the answer comes down to both defining what “perfect” means to us as individuals (part of the “there is no perfection/utopia because no one can agree” argument) and defining what we consider to be the plausible flaws that bring a character or race away from the brink of perfection. It doesn’t have to be a huge flaw like “was blinded six weeks ago and is struggling to cope”, it doesn’t have to create a Damaged Character like “witnessed the death of parents and became obsessed with bats and vigilantism” , it just has to be believable for the character in their situation, like “extreme aversion to the color yellow, which happens to be the favorite color of the love interest”.

For me, a character expressing the idea of “perfection” is one that is no longer in need of personal growth. They are at the apex of development, and have no room for improvement. Where a Mary Sue or Gary Stu lacks flaws, the “perfect” character, the Paragon, lacks the ability to change. Regardless in what manner change would manifest, the absence of change makes a flat, boring, and sometimes very annoying character. What we want to see when we follow a character’s journey is growth. We want to see them change over time, to be effected by the events and people around them. Frodo’s shift from the happy homebody Hobbit of the Shire to the haunted soul who sails away with elves to Valinor. Luke Skywalker’s change from the naïve young mechanic on Tatooine to the self-assured Last of the Jedi, capable of putting a stop to his father and the Emperor. Rand al’Thor’s descent into madness via unrelenting harassment from shrewish women on all sides. This is what we want to see! Well, maybe not the last one so much. But what we don’t want to see is Heracles sweeping peril from his doorstep with a yawn before sitting down to a nice cup of ambrosia. We don’t want to see the Doctor and his companions walk away unscathed every time something threatens all life on Earth. We don’t want to see Dr. House show up to work with a smile and a bounce in his step, tenderly see to the patient and their family, and solve every mystery with sensitivity and as little conflict as possible before he skips home, whistling, to spend a happy, but uneventful evening with his family. That’s just not House, and love him or hate him, he’s memorable because of all his flaws.

So go ahead and make a character people hate, but make them hate him/her for their flaws and not the lack thereof.

—–

*Example of personal opinion. No looking to start a fight between Twilight supporters and non-supporters, so focus on the topic, not the zing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Adalind Monroe is a wildly successful novelist in her head, trying to get the world to catch up by producing quality blog posts and unbelievable feats of fictional daring do. She enjoys Chinese food and short walks on the beach. Actually, she prefers sitting on the beach; the sand is too hot for her sensitive baby feet.

Don't Let Her In (Cover)

If you enjoy her writing and want to experience the magic that is character growth in action, download “Don’t Let Her In”, a weird fiction tale that will chill the willies right out of you and replace them with more different willies. Worse willies. The williest of willies. Also, it’s free, damn you. FREE!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Crap, I Need a Topic: Timeline Software (Or Why I’m Going Old School)

Google Image “Conspiracy Wall”. It’s like that, but with made up politics. Well . . . MORE made up politics. Here’s a bunny.

It really shouldn’t be this difficult.  Are we as writers really asking so much of software makers?  I mean, I really don’t know, because I don’t know how to code anything, but why is it we can’t just have reasonably priced software that allows us to create our own calendars, complete with freaky names for our months, odd numbers of days within them, not twelve in a year, and then organize plot events based on that unique information?

Not so many hours ago, I was working on Eleasia, taking advantage of the creative burst that can come from conquering an existential plot crisis that only thirteen years of world building can help create, when I felt the dawning of a new desire coupled with a new obstacle; timelining.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had the desire or need for such a mythical program, but it is something of a driving need this time around.  Unlike previous occasions, where it would be more convenience than anything else to be able to input my own months, days, and years to each point, this occasion comes wrapped up in the recognition that having so many events over an extreme length of time leaves me somewhat unsure of where my true beginning can be found.  I have beginnings I’ve always considered, but now I have new information to subtly weave into the fabric of the world to build an even tighter foundation than that which already exists, and while I’ve always planned to make each set of books accessible in a way that doesn’t demand that you read them in the order they’ve been released, to those loyal fans who would follow from the outset I would like not to leap so far back in time as to offer events that would, on the surface, seem completely irrelevant.  That is exactly what I think I might end up doing, however, without a visual timeline to play with.

There are always options out there, but most of them require a bit of compromise in order to enjoy, and I feel just crabby enough to not want to offer compromise for anything.  Dammit, I want the software in my brain to exist on my computer, and I want it now and better than I could possibly imagine!  Ideally, I would turn to my laptop, plug in my writing buddy Eloise (a flash drive), and open up some magical bit of software designed just for this occasion, and start injecting plot point and events as they occur to me, but, since I can’t have that, I’m resorting to a good old fashioned, low-tech solution: 3×5 note cards taped to my wall.  That’s right.  You either give me exactly what I want, or I’ll go out of my way to do things with what is quite probably an unnecessary level of effort on my part, which actually does nothing to inconvenience you at all.  That’ll show you!

You see, it isn’t enough to just know that things happen in a certain order (i.e. Gods are created > Eleasia created > Delinithiri created > Other races created > Seleäna does stuff > BLoT gets mad > Future things happen > The Present).  No, no, I set out from almost the very beginning with a specific plan in mind, and it was always meant to be something more complicated than most sane people would ever willingly allow themselves to attempt.  Building off of Jordan’s model, which shows how lives that follow divergent paths can all contribute to the same end, I decided to not only do the same thing better, but to set up concurrent life paths that intersect each other as they would in reality.  Of course this means I need to know enough about what will happen for a particular set of characters far enough in advance that anything I set up with other characters who may cross their paths doesn’t disrupt the necessary sequence of events to come.  Since I can’t use the convenience of software and computering to save space, though, this means that after I paper my wall with note cards and events, I get to dress them up with bits of colored yarn and rainbow thumbtacks like a crazy person looking for a conspiracy in their own high fantasy ramblings.  (“But I just know that given the opportunity, the King of Anovah would have poisoned the HELL out of the ambassador to Alegonfar just to start the War of Flames, regardless of what the historians say.  I never believed Sethrah was innocent!  There was a second mage on the knoll!”)

But now I have to wait, because I don’t even have note cards on hand to start building  my timeline wallpaper.  I think I’ll go play Sims Medieval and see if I can’t add to Seleäna’s story while I’m at it.

*EDIT*  I have the cards, but they’re not on the wall yet.  That is all.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

Yeah, I saw that preposition, and I said “Meh.  Let it hang out at the end of that sentence.  I need coffee.” (07/10/12)

This post brought to you by The Past, when it was written.

Just a friendly reminder:  If you haven’t purchased a copy of “Don’t Let Her In” yet, now is the time to do so!  Until this Thursday (08/02/12) you can download “Don’t Let Her In” for absolutely FREE!  That is 100% less than it usually costs!  Just enter promo-code “SA36R” into the coupon field when downloading to pay absolutely none of the pennies in your piggy bank!  Declamatory statement of excitement here!!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Flash Fiction: The Novel

French in action? Or another lie. (Spoiler: It’s another lie.)

La petite nouvelle the French call it. Actually, they don’t. They don’t call it that at all, I just lied to you because it sounded nice. They really call it micronouvelle, and it is what most of us know as flash fiction.

But what IS flash fiction, you ask? That’s a tricky question to answer with any specificity. There are those who would say that flash fiction is any story told in no more than seventy-five words, and some might call them Nazis for it (Me, specifically. I would.), but most can generally agree that limits ranging from five hundred to one thousand words are at least popular enough to sound like the new standard. Personally, I stick to a limit of five hundred words, because I feel that extending it to a thousand may as well open the door to a full-on short story, and nobody asked for that, so keep it in your . . . brain. Guy.

As this is my blog and we’re asking me what I think on the matter, I’m going to tell you my reason for this opinion briefly. Most of it comes down to the belief that in a piece of flash you are looking at one moment in time, and not the history behind it or the consequences that follow. You, as the author, may have ideas about how events transpired, what brought the characters to where they are, and where they might go when the moment ends, but that’s not for the words written to tell.

“If my ideas don’t fit in five hundred words, though, why should I bother with flash?”

I hear you, dude speaking out of turn, and I have an answer conveniently prepared ahead of time for this very occasion. The answer is, in my opinion, because it’s easy to meander around a novel-length story until you find what you need. It’s easy to embellish a scene with more ambiance and dialogue, and to pad out the length with exposition, but this can lead to that dreaded of all quagmires; the Infodump. When you’re required to think in the briefest of terms, to convey thoughts, emotions, and/or actions in the space it usually takes your character, the professor, to give his class (and the reader) the introduction to a primer on the history of the world, you force yourself to figure out the most conservative way to keep the reader informed without losing the story for it.

“Yeah, but I still don’t–”

Don’t be obtuse, and please raise your hand. The reason it’s important to learn how to do this in flash fiction, and short stories in general, is because it has immediate benefits to your writing in other mediums. When you train yourself to pack a sentence full of information without making it the opening of A Tale of Two Cities, you spend less time digressing from the plot and action and more time keeping your reader on the edge of their seat.

To put it in edible terms, a flash piece is a lean slab of beef with all the fat trimmed off, and then more beef trimmed off so you can eat it in one bite. Which, come to think of it, would be a really bad theme for a restaurant, especially if it meant they offered you the flash fiction version of a steak dinner. But, it works really well in trying to decide what you keep in your micronouvelle.

Yes, you there. I see you raising your hand, and that’s great. Go on then, what is it?

“How do I decide what to keep? Or, for that matter, what to write?”

To be fair, that’s two questions.  I was kind of expecting only one, but I can answer both of them together, so you didn’t throw me off too much.

Deciding what you keep depends entirely on what you choose to write. If, for instance, your story is about an apple being eaten, you wouldn’t spend your precious words telling us how it came to be in a position to be eaten. Alternately, if your story is about a man’s quest for food, you might not focus on the actual eating of the apple. When I sit down to write a shorter piece, I usually focus on what I think of as “crystallizing an atmosphere”. This is to say that I decide what I want the reader to feel, and then I craft a story to capture that feeling, emotion, or mood, and anything that doesn’t contribute to that end has no place.

Now, I’ve been chided before for expressing the opinion “if it doesn’t do X, it has no business existing”, but where X could be foreshadowing or establishing patterns of behavior/objects that will later be of relevance, to me it also means anything communicating something meaningful to the reader that relates to the content of the narrative. This could be as simple as a man eating a crayon, provided (and here’s where the kicker lies:) illustrating it benefits the narrative. In the context of short stories and flash fiction, though, this is all the more inflexible as you don’t have the space-luxury (on the page, not in outer– you know what I mean) to paint a picture in both broad strokes and fine detail. You pick one, and stick with it.

There you are again with the hand.

“How do YOU write flash pieces?”

Oh! How sweet of you to ask! I shall tell you in list form.

    1. Pick an Atmosphere

It’s hard to know what kinds of words I’m going to need, or what I’m going to find most inspiring if I don’t have a mood in mind. A single prompt can become any number of stories when envisioned through different emotional filters, so I find picking that mood first makes it easier to jump into the actual writing when it comes time for it.

    1. Pick a Prompt

For me it can be all too easy to fall prey to fancy when you have no true aim at the start of your flash fiction exercise. Your brain wanders, your eyes wander, your pen wobbles and taps against the page, and you’re not really sure what you want to write, so you bounce around ideas, and in the process might come up with something with more possibility than the restrictions of flash would allow. Because of this, I like finding a definitive seed around which the story can grow, like a pearl, because normal seeds are the things that grow, and that’s not what I said the story seed does, so more like a pearl than a plant.

I like to ask someone to provide a word or phrase, and whatever is offered is what I write. I don’t ask for a selection, or rifle through dictionaries until something jumps out at me. The very first thing I get is what I make work. If you don’t have a friend you trust to give you words you’ll want to work with, try opening the dictionary to a random page, or even an online dictionary or equivalent, and use the very first word or entry your mind registers. Personally, I prefer grabbing people off the street and demanding a word or phrase not related to my releasing them.

Whatever your means, don’t balk at whatever word you end up with; consider it a challenge to write outside of your comfort zone, and a chance for literary growth.

    1. Know Your Ending

You may have your starting sentence in mind already, but before you get too enthusiastic about plunging in, figure out your ending. Not knowing the end is a perfectly viable format for writing many things, but this is definitely what leads to more plot bunnies than quick resolutions. For this reason, I always decide what my ending will be before I ever type a word. Because I can check my word count as I go, I use this to keep track of how many words I have left to reach that end, and can give enough context before the conclusion to make sure it doesn’t feel like a slap-dash afterthought, because I ran out of space. This also makes the edit process easier when you run over your limit.

    1. Trim Down to Your Limit

You don’t have to get it all right the second you start typing. As writers we’re going to edit everything, and a flash piece should not be the exception. Use the language you feel is appropriate, get to your goal in as conservative a manner as possible, but don’t curtail your creativity to the limitations of the medium. Go ahead and exceed a little bit, because the act of editing out the excess is an important part of training yourself to edit bigger pieces. You learn to recognize the descriptions that may be nice, but aren’t necessary for the scene. You may find yourself cutting single words, or re-finessing a sentence to say essentially the same thing in less space, and, hopefully, more effectively. This is probably the most helpful aspect of all the tricks used for writing and self-editing, regardless of the genre or medium.

A flash piece is like any other story, and should have a clear beginning, middle, and end, even if the story you’re telling is as short and simple as “For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn” [Hemingway]. If you make sure your story contains just these three things (beginning, middle and end, not unworn baby shoes for sale) you’re well on your way to writing good flash fiction. You may find that only one or two of these steps work for you, or maybe none at all, and that’s fine. Just remember that not all methods are universally applicable, and that this is what I find works for me. If I didn’t feel they worked well, I’d print this post, crumple it up, burn it and scatter the ashes in shame for even thinking to write them out in the first place. Mostly, though, you should really give writing flash fiction a try, especially if you’re struggling in other projects.

*****

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Adalind Monroe is a talented young upstart from the West, who enjoys stories that incorporate apples, baby shoes, and bunnies, but not at the same time. She doesn’t always drive, but when she does, it’s in a Chevy named Keith. Keith is a girl.

Adalind now hosts her own Flash Fiction Friday here on C.I., so if you found yourself inspired to try the methods above, or you already have some micronouvelles under your belt and wouldn’t mind seeing them shared with the internets at large, send your stories to FlashFictionFriday dot ci at gmail dot com, subject line “FLASH FICTION: <Story Title>”. [OFFICIAL WORDS] All submissions must be written as flash, and may not be snipped from larger pieces. Strict limit of five hundred (500) words. Please include word count in the body of your e-mail, preferably right after the title. Stories must be received by Wednesday to be considered for Friday inclusion. Please include any links to previous works, official pages, personal blogs, biographical material, or pictures of bunnies you may want linked or included at the end of your story to direct traffic back your way, or to make Adalind smile extra hard.

To read more by Adalind, you can subscribe to this’a here bloggery, follow her on Facebook, or check out her stories at Smashwords.com.

Need a prompt?  Try:  Chronicle

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I Write A Blog Now, Blogs Are Cool.

Hello, Audience!

Let’s imagine for the next few moments that we have assembled in a lovely little library in the English countryside.  The color pallet is warm with dark woods and natural light, accented with cool blues, rich reds, and soothing teals.  The center of the room is dominated by exquisitely comfortable chairs and couches ringed by concentric circles of shelf upon shelf packed full with books, and the air is redolent with the smell of fresh coffee and old paper.  An old Persian rug delights bare toes while protecting the polished oak floor beneath this cabal of comfort.   This is where we will meet to chat about this and that, discuss writing and life, and maybe even learn a few things about ourselves and the world around us.  Mostly, though, it’s where we’ll laugh, because other than sleeping, laughing is my favorite thing ever.

Truth time and full disclosure:  I don’t live in the English countryside, nor do I have this library, but they sure do sound nice, don’t they?  Fear not, though, for soon enough (SOON ENOUGH, DEAR READER!) I will have both these things, and then I’ll invite you all over for coffee and writer chats.  Also there should be a hearth.  Terribly romantic, the hearth.  Perhaps not entirely safe with so much paper and wood around, but it’ll be fine if you don’t insist on roasting marshmallows all the time.  Hm . . . I think that’s the first thing I need to ban in my fictitious library.  No roasting marshmallows.  Sausage should be okay, though.

So, hello and welcome!  As you may have guessed, or read somewhere, or psychically intuited (and if that’s the case, kindly refrain from hanging out in my head as that’s where I keep all my important stuff), I am a writer.  Up and coming, they would say, and they’d be well within their rights to do so.  My genres, as you’re no doubt curious to discover, are predominantly Fantasy and Horror, though I do occasionally make forays into Sci-Fi and Steampunk, or toss them all in an atom smashing Hadron Collider to see what comes out of the resultant explosion of inspiration.  At least, I hope it’s inspiration.  It smells like burnt paper and, for some reason, whiskey, so either it’s inspiration or the ghost of Ernest Hemingway is one unhappy camper.

What’s that?  Why yes, I AM a nerd, in fact.  I think that to some extent all genre writers are, whether they admit it or not, but I most certainly am.  I love the Trek and the Who (well, I mean, I also like The Who, but they’re  not who . . . the Who?  I– never mind), the Potter and the Hobbits, Lemon Demon, Wil Wheaton, Comic Con, [Day9], Felicia Day and The Guild, a little WoW, a little Repo! The Genetic Opera, The Devil’s Carnival, and Terrance Zdunich, and, guys, you guys, seriously, I love H.P. Lovecraft.  HUGE into Lovecraft.  Love . . . Lovecraft.  Yes.  Lovecraft.

This isn’t my first blog, or my first blog about writing, but the other one is . . . dumb.  Well, no, it’s not dumb.  I’ll probably actually re-post some entries here, but I got very excited about documenting the processes that go into Fantasy world-building, which is still just so awesome, but a little too specific, and I wasn’t always doing anything interesting with the world-building when I should have been writing entries about it, so it never went anywhere.  But now there’s this!  And it’s whatever I want it to be!  It will probably be about writer things, but it will probably also have nothing to do with writing, maybe simultaneously, though I suppose seeing that would depend on how many realities you’re reading the blog in, and whether two opposing topics are posted on the same day.

Yes.  I think that all looks to be in order then.  Congratulations on a successful first post, Me!  Now if you can just find it in you to post with enough regularity to keep you some followers, ah, that’s the dream!

*****

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adalind Monroe is one cool cucumber three clicks away from sending ninjas after the people who created this site for making it impossible to do what she really needs to do.  Sure, posting words to a blog is the biggest part of writing a blog, but being kicked out of an unsaved post every time she wants to insert a helpful link to her biographical page, because the ability to add a widget to do that for her is apparently too much to ask for, is so many shades of uncool, you guys.  For reals.  Fix that.

If you can find her author page, check out the links to find her published stories, or search for her directly on Smashwords.com.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
War of the Words

Now With 20% Less Sleep!

The Fear Mythos

Organized information for writers and readers

Now With 20% Less Sleep!

edittorrent

Now With 20% Less Sleep!

Fiction University

Now With 20% Less Sleep!

Now With 20% Less Sleep!

Lucinda Bilya - Blog

Now With 20% Less Sleep!

Now With 20% Less Sleep!

McSweeney’s

Now With 20% Less Sleep!

SlushPile Hell

Now With 20% Less Sleep!

Writer's Relief, Inc.

Now With 20% Less Sleep!

terribleminds: chuck wendig

Now With 20% Less Sleep!

On The Bird

Now With 20% Less Sleep!

French Press

Pure, unadulterated France

%d bloggers like this: