Works in Progress
[00:00:28] John was on vacation for a long weekend so he didn't get a lot of writing done. He's still fumbling with drafts of Dispossessed and Stonelair.
[00:01:53] Eric wrote "absolutely nothing". He's struggling with his Don't Wake Up rewrite. It's slow and painful. He did write a couple hundred words on Faith, Love and Rust that's ready for critique.
[00:02:35] To switch things up, Mike got some writing done this week. He gave a talk over the weekend at Wordcamp Milwaukee on Podcasting (a lot of examples on Typehammer came up). He wrote about 6000 words scripting out his presentation so he'd remember everything and stayed within his time slot.
In Episode 14 Mike talked about the Orbit Books Fantasy Workshop. He wrote 800 words of a scene showing a character who is morally conflicted. He expanded the first chapter of The Breed.
What's happening online
Procrastination as a Tool for Productivity
Procrastination as a Tool for Productivity. As a programmer, the author of this blog post was not doing well with all the small distractions that to him every day. His solution was to push all those random tasks to a certain day of the week (in his case Tuesdays). This simple change allowed him to focus his work days by shutting off the distractions to a certain block of time.
John talked about Mondays as his "Typehammer day" when he works on show notes and prepares for recording. Most tasks are focused around Typehammer for him. When Mike did more consulting, he used Mondays not for client work, but for running the business and learning new things.
Writing Competitions for 2015
[00:06:32] A list of Creative Writing Competitions in 2015 lists out a number of creating writing competitions for the remainder of 2015. Mike asked if any of us have entered a contest, to which we all replied that we have not.
Authors Unite Against Amazon
[00:07:19] Authors United is a group of authors who have made a request to the Department of Justice to investigate Amazon on their dominance of the book market. Since Amazon sells 75% of traditional books and 65% of the ebook market, these authors feel Amazon is unfairly affecting the market. But a counter view has also been written by another author who has called out Authors United. Joe's Letter to the Assistant Attorney General states these are traditionally published authors and their motive to shut down Amazon is to prevent other new authors from getting published and thereby diluting the market for the Authors United's books.
Apocalypse Weird: The Serenity Strain
[00:09:57] John is reading The Serenity Strain (http://www.amazon.com/Apocalypse-Weird-Serenity-Chris-Pourteau-ebook/dp/B00TVCVRZ0/?tag=typehammer-20) by Chris Porteau. This was much better than Reversal
Death in a Prairie House: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Murders
[00:11:01] A little known fact about Frank Lloyd Wright was a multiple murder committed in his Taliesin house by a member of his staff. Mike read Death in a Prairie House: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Murders that described this horrible crime. It's a topic typically avoided by biographers of Wright, and Mike found it really interesting.
[00:12:55] Eric finished The Tears of Jihad by Sean Emerson. Eric generously gave it 3 stars.
He started The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.
Eric wrote a blog post called 5 Stars listing out his criteria for what makes a book worthy of a 5-star review. Eric's criteria are:
I did not want the book to end.
I have re-read, or am anxious to re-read the book.
I recommend the book even to people that do not enjoy the genre or subject.
Will talk at length about the book, even if that means losing friends because they are tired of me talking about the book.
Eric's top book is The Killer Angels: A Novel of the Civil War by Michael Shaara.
This goes on personal taste, and mine's better than other people's.
In discussing reviews, Mike starts at 5-stars and drops the rating if the book loses something. Eric and John believe a book must earn the 5-star rating. Really good books are 4-stars and must have that "extra something" to get the 5-star rating.
Tech Focus: AI Authors
[00:17:50] Today's geekier side of writing is Artificial Intelligence writing erotica. To wit, I Taught a Bot to Write Its Own Erotica and You Can Too. While the article itself is amusing, it brings up the broader issue of bots taking over writing as a whole. It's not the first time Eric has seen something like this. Certainly many jobs have been taken replaced by computers and the rate is accelerating.
Mike brought up an article at Copyblogger post Don’t Panic, But This Article Was Written by an Algorithm in which articles written by algorithms are almost indistinguishable from those written by humans. So far, sports summaries are pretty good, but otherwise authors might be safe, for now.
Just because you know your world and all its inticacies, you don't need to put it all in your story. In The Tears of Jihad the author wrote a lot about the dogma of both the Christians and Muslims in the story. He knew his topic well, but spending pages on it didn't reveal character. Instead it only revealed the knowledge of the author. It was, in Eric's opinion, at the cost of developing the characters and plot. The characters were flat as a result.
Just because you know it doesn't mean you have to write it.
Because you know it, you can make a richer environment by slipping in the details here and there, but not a Islam 101 class. More internal conflict with the characters rather than lectures.
Writing that Pays
[00:28:44] Listverse will pay $100 if you get published with a list of 10 things. The list sohuld be 1,500 words and 10 items minimum. You submit your article and if Listverse likes it, they'll publish it and pay you via Paypal or Bitcoin.
[00:29:28] We wanted to keep InCoWriMo fresh in everyone's mind if you're interested. InCoWriMo takes place in February and is International Correspondence Writing Month.