Freedom of Writing, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

OPEN COMMENTS WEEK

Use the Comments section to talk about anything at all concerning the writing life. Here’s a few things that crossed my mind as I posted this.

A writer using only approved words and phrases writes propaganda.

If you think you cannot forge your own life, you haven’t met my rangemaster. Lou grew up behind the Iron Curtain. To make a long story short, he decided to come to America. He walked across Europe, worked on a ship for passage to America, and lived in a boxcar in Florida until he met a guy who gave him a job on a shooting range near me. Today, Lou drives a new Corvette and owns the shooting range. I admire Lou.

Jobs that can be done from home can be automated.

Empirical science, the real science that allowed us to land on the moon, is based on observation and measurement. One cannot observe or measure the future. “Science” predicting the future is just someone wanting something from you.

A writer committed to “show-don’t tell,” to quote Thornton Wilder, “…believes that the pure event, an action involving human beings, is more arresting than any comment that can be made upon it.”

Our solar system has so far moved 1 trillion, 627 billion, 700 million miles through space in my lifetime. I was outside looking up on a clear night during so little of this trip that I am personally embarrassed to write stories of interstellar travel.

“This is a site where we swap and share news, opinions and experiences about writing, from first paragraph to finished product and beyond. …So here in the Co-op we try things out, see what works and what doesn’t, and tell each other about it.”
– Curtis Bausse, First post, April 26, 2016

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38 thoughts on “OPEN COMMENTS WEEK

  1. mimispeike says:

    Good going, GD. If we had nothing up by noon I was going to throw together another piece on punctuation. Or else more Maisie.

    I’ll have something ready by next Monday. That’s a promise.

    I’ll be back later with some open comments. I’m making a stew right now.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My Sci Fi writing has slowed down a lot lately. Two reasons:
    1) I don’t love the current story as much as the previous ones. So the words aren’t just pouring forth.
    2) I’m doing a final proofread on a non-fiction book I’m co-authoring with another consultant, and it’s taking much longer than I anticipated. It’s already produced. I’m reviewing the “final” InDesign version, and it’s full of all kinds of glitches–introduced by the person that produced it. Yuck.
    Also, I’m ready for spring and longer days. And I’m ready to take a trip to Hawaii, if it ever gets it’s post-Covid act together.
    Bah humbug and Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. mimispeike says:

    What do we want to give ourselves for Christmas?

    I want to have all my front matter and back matter done for Maisie. The pages are set up. The type is in place. I have seven images to create/finish. That’s do-able. If I don’t have too many days like today.

    I spent all day trying to make one image work. I couldn’t bring it to the point that I was really happy with it. I tossed it.

    I’m worn out. I’ll work on something completely different tomorrow. I’m sure the image for Maisie’s film Sweet Maisie O’Grady is going to work, but it’s intricate. It will be another all day project. For an image that will display about four inches tall in the sidebar on my cover for book two. Am I insane?

    No. I’ll make it large enough to use on posters or in mailers as well.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Mike, “I don’t love the current story as much as the previous ones. So the words aren’t just pouring forth.” Makes me wonder, just what is a writer’s motivation? Love of story for you sounds great.

    Mimi says, “I spent all day trying to make one image work. I couldn’t bring it to the point that I was really happy with it. I tossed it.” So, successful work makes her happy.

    Me, I pretend that others will enjoy what I’ve written and at that point, I’m satisfied.

    Love, happiness, satisfaction: That all works.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Perry Palin says:

    Several people have referred me to The Chicago Manual of Style. Maybe I’m not stylish. I’m resisting. Except for my frequent skirmishes with the comma, I think my style works for me.

    Not that I can’t learn from books. I have enjoyed reading and rereading John McFee’s 2017 book Draft No. 4.

    My personal hero in writing was Lucy Nash, my language arts teacher in 10th and 11th grades. She had us read, and then she had us write and write and write. She handed out the grammar books but we told her we were not going to look at them. She took them back and then we read some more and wrote some more. Lucy and her husband Charlie, our school principal, retired after my 11th grade. I helped them move their furniture seventy miles to his ancestral family home. Our new teacher the following year wrongly thought we had college student siblings writing our essays and stories. That was the first hint that Lucy had gotten through to us.

    I learn to write best by reading. I read for the story, but I also read to see how successful authors handle facts, language, pacing, suspense, and the rest of it too. I try to get my facts straight. If I don’t know something for a fact, and I can’t find it, I’ll try to leave it out. I’ve read two books in the last month where the authors described, for two different guns, the use of safety mechanisms which do not exist on those guns. Hiccups in otherwise good stories. I wonder what else might be wrong.

    And language. I try to keep my language straight. My writing instructor tried to edit a line by my rural adolescent Upper Midwest male MC from “In the spring I heard geese calling overhead and grouse drumming in the woods,” to “In the spring geese called overhead and grouse drummed in the woods.” Her edit didn’t sound right. Then I realized that the word “drummed” is never used in the Midwest to describe the mating behavior of the male ruffed grouse. “Drummed” is not a word here. In the past tense “the grouse was drumming.” He never “drummed.”

    Anyway, I’m okay with my unstylish prose, questionable commas, true enough facts and backwoods lexicon. When my fictional narrator is a first person adolescent male recounting his misadventures, some of my readers tell me that they wish they had known me back when. I’m satisfied to know that I’ve made the stories real for them for at least a little while.

    Why do I do this? It’s not for the money. I do it just for the fun of it.

    Liked by 6 people

    • I agree with you about style, Perry. It is and should be personal to the writer. I use The Chicago Manual of Style like a dictionary in that it defines agreed upon rules of grammar. Sometimes, what I write can be interpreted in different ways and I want that grammar which best carries the meaning of my words.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Love the anecdotes about being taught by Lucy Nash.

      I had several memorable teachers in high school and stayed in contact with one of them for decades.  Miriam Sargon died in 2020 at the age of 101.  Her 29 years of teaching included my grade 12 AP English class, the only class outside of STEM with a lasting influence on me.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. victoracquista says:

    I’m in discussion with a foreign publisher about publishing my debut sci fi novel, Sentient, in German. There are some un usual twists to how this all came about. It’s exciting but only in the discussion phase. I had a previous nonfiction work picked up by a foreign publisher so I have some limited experience. Since reacquiring and self-publishing the work, there has been some traction with sales. It’s all rather exciting but it’s also intimidating. I’m not complaining. If anyone has knowledge about the German sci fi market, I would love to hear from you.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Wonderful news, Victor! Echoing GD: I wish you all the best. Keep us posted!
      …………………..
      Actual literary anecdote:

      A woman once blurted to acclaimed New Yorker writer James Thurber, “I’ve read you in French! You’re even better in the Gaulic tongue.”

      Without batting an eye or faltering in his smile Thurber shot back, “But of course; I always lose a little something in the original.”

      Liked by 4 people

      • victoracquista says:

        Thank you GD, Carl, and Sue!

        Sue, to answer your question, with my nonfiction title that was translated, I had a foreign agent that I hired after the publisher had already offered a deal. The agent negotiated a slightly better deal but took his cut. I wound up making an additional $90.00. That contract expired after seven years and I would not recommend this particular agent.

        A close friend and colleague has an agent in Switzerland who has negotiated on his behalf, including a German translation. I feel comfortable enough doing this contract on my own, along with the legal department at the Author’s Guild. My thoughts are if this goes through, and sales in Germany are decent, I’ll probably look to hire an agent to shop the book to foreign publishers. I would probably reach out to my friend’s agent.

        My previous agent did represent me several times at the Frankfurt and London Book Fairs which is where a lot of deals are made. While I did get a second contract, the cost my agent charged to represent me at these book fairs exceeded the royalties I received.

        For me, it is one step at a time. I am still in the negotiation phase. I have been doing a little research into selling foreign rights as a self-published author. I gather there are some authors who are doing this and enjoying more success with foreign sales than domestic sales. It would be wonderful for that to occur for me. It’s exciting to think big thoughts and dream big dreams.

        Liked by 4 people

  7. In The Best Horror of the Year Vol 12. no less an authority than Ellen Datlow commented (re: Spectral Realms) “There were notable poems by Carl E. Reed, Frank Coffman, Ross Balcom, Abigail Wildes, Ann K. Schrader . . .” Please note: I have placed three poems each in issues 11-17 of SR (that’s 21 poems but who’s counting? Plus one in issue #10) whilst also securing poem publication credits in Black Petals and elsewhere.

    Yes, I’m proud of this recognition and accomplishment. (Google those other names: a veritable “Who’s Who” of the dark poetry genre.)

    ‘Course, I’m still dead broke. Succumbing to worsening health issues. Facing eviction and hounded by creditors. And all-but-unknown to anyone outside a very insular and guarded community.

    But all of that may be about to change.

    I’m currently putting together a manuscript of weird tales and poems which might–might!–be published by a certain renowned editor at a critically acclaimed press in 2023.

    If this project comes to fruition it will mean $$ and a significant heightening of my authorial profile. Wish me luck. (‘Cause then the steely-steely critical knives will come out in earnest.)

    Liked by 6 people

  8. For Carl and Curmudgeon:
    (OK, there maybe should be limits to “Open Comments Week.”)

    The Pirate Song

    Against convention we rebel
    To sail the sea of briny foam
    We drink with demons straight from hell
    And chase their asses home

    The waves be drunk and so are we
    The moon be high and so are we
    We’re sinful dirty pirates
    And we’re sailing to be free

    We’ll blow yer ship to smithereens
    Board yer women & belay yer men
    We’ll sink yer bloody brigantines
    And haul yer treasure to our den

    So flee the hull that flies the skull
    Or Davey Jones will pick yer bones
    Cannon balls and boarding brawls
    Are winsome cheers to buccaneers

    – GD Deckard, Ultima Online, 2010

    Liked by 3 people

  9. You started it, GD!
    (Forgive me if I’ve posted this before; I can’t remember. It’s original drivel from Yours Truly. Mercifully, I’ve refrained from posting the other 36 quatrains.)
    …………………

    Saga of the Viking Slayer: An English Drinking Song

    Groanbone Deathbreath
    King of Kraken Mere
    set sail against the Viking horde,
    tracked them to their lairs.

    In frigid fjord & mountaintop
    he thrust his sharp proboscis
    to slay with gaping, black-lipped mouth
    & fishy halitosis.

    CHORUS:

    Fishy halitosis!
    Woe Odin sons ’cross ocean!
    The King of Kraken Mere sailed there
    with fetor fierce, ferocious!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Is this thread still open? (Taps on mike to see if there’s feedback–SCREECH!!)
    As I said earlier, I’m having a slog with my WIP novel–“Alien Invasion: There Goes the Neighborhood.” Couldn’t get the latest chapter shaped up, so for my critique group I submitted 3 short pieces I had posted here. For the prompts Behind the mast, Catharsis, and Devolve. They liked ’em! The stories were quite different, and I wrote in different voices, and first and third person.
    Why don’t I write more of these, they suggested, if I’m having trouble with the long one? Have I written enough for a book of shorts? Yes, I probably have. Both science fiction and fantasy.
    What luck have you had with a collection of your own short stories? Any advice on this?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have thought of putting together a collection of my own short stories, but another idea just occurred to me. What about a collection of stories from Writers Co-op authors? We have the Rabbit Hole series, but I am thinking only writers from the Co-op with a theme of, “The Best Of.” Maybe, titled “The Best from the Writers Co-op” or some such. We could each pick our story or stories that we like.

      Liked by 1 person

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