redheadedfemme: (open the door)
Well. This is sad. 

Author Ray Bradbury Dies at 91

On my Delicious account, I just linked to the poem that inspired one of his best stories, "There Will Come Soft Rains." (The story can be found here.) Written in 1950, it's an old-fashioned kind of science-fiction story, perhaps, but Bradbury's unique, iconoclastic style cannot be mistaken. 

It's too bad we don't have the future he wrote about (except for the nuclear holocaust, obviously). I could think of a lot worse things than living in Bradbury country. 
redheadedfemme: (open the door)
Well. This is sad. 

Author Ray Bradbury Dies at 91

On my Delicious account, I just linked to the poem that inspired one of his best stories, "There Will Come Soft Rains." (The story can be found here.) Written in 1950, it's an old-fashioned kind of science-fiction story, perhaps, but Bradbury's unique, iconoclastic style cannot be mistaken. 

It's too bad we don't have the future he wrote about (except for the nuclear holocaust, obviously). I could think of a lot worse things than living in Bradbury country. 
redheadedfemme: (open the door)
Here's a lovely quote from Charles Dickens.

Making books ... is very much like building houses; and the author is a more or less happy combination of architect and carpenter. A house, when it is properly put together, is a harmonious union of foundation, frame, clap-boards, doors, window, and shingles: and when one comes to think it over, a properly made book is about the same thing. Anybody can collect all these units--these bits of material--but everybody cannot put them together in the right way.

Or put them together at all, for that matter. 

I never thought I was a juggler--or a homebuilder--or a worker of puzzles. (Actually, I used to work puzzles, but I don't think I'd have the patience now.) But when you're a writer, you're all of those things and more. 

Architect. Carpenter. Hammer-slammer. Puzzle-builder.

Writer. 
redheadedfemme: (open the door)
Here's a lovely quote from Charles Dickens.

Making books ... is very much like building houses; and the author is a more or less happy combination of architect and carpenter. A house, when it is properly put together, is a harmonious union of foundation, frame, clap-boards, doors, window, and shingles: and when one comes to think it over, a properly made book is about the same thing. Anybody can collect all these units--these bits of material--but everybody cannot put them together in the right way.

Or put them together at all, for that matter. 

I never thought I was a juggler--or a homebuilder--or a worker of puzzles. (Actually, I used to work puzzles, but I don't think I'd have the patience now.) But when you're a writer, you're all of those things and more. 

Architect. Carpenter. Hammer-slammer. Puzzle-builder.

Writer. 
redheadedfemme: (infected brain)
(Warning: Copious amounts of bad language follows, for those whose eyes bleed easily.)

I'm writing a story where the protagonist is a rock guitarist, and naturally enough, one of his favorite words is "fuck." This got me to thinking about cursing in general, both in the real world and in the pages and on the TV screens of our favorite SFF universes. 

One of my favorite examples of the latter is Battlestar Galactica's (reboot version) "frak." (The word has been somewhat co-opted in the real world by the method of drilling for natural gas known as hydraulic fracturing, shortened to "fracking" in the media. Note that I spell BSG's cuss word differently, both to differentiate and because of the fact that "frakking" just looks cooler; the c seems to drag the word down.) BSG's creator Ron Moore obviously used the word as his universe's equivalent to our "fuck," as a way to get in appropriate amounts of military-style cussing without being censored. In spite of the fact that the word got a bit overused in the show's final season (especially when President Laura Roslin said to someone, "You don't know frak"--ugh. That sentence bounced off my astonished skull and fell to the floor in an ungrammatical, suspension-of-disbelief-shattering heap), I'm still quite fond of it. 

In the original 70's Battlestar, there were a couple of other invented words. Anybody remember "felgercarb?" As I recall, it was the Colonies' version of "bullshit," although they obviously couldn't--and fortunately, never tried to--twist it into the real-world version of "you're shitting me." You're carbing me, anyone? There was also a little thing called a "centon," which, according to however it was used in a sentence, seemed to be a measurement of both space and time. This led to a memorable moment (for me, anyway) when that week's guest star--if I remember correctly, it was Emergency's Randolph Mantooth, playing a suspiciously human-looking alien recently awakened from a cryogenic sleep--stopped in the middle of a rather tense scene to confront one of the show's stars, his voice boiling with frustration: "Apollo. What is a centon?"

In a particularly ham-fisted bit of editing, the scene cut off right there, so neither Mr. Mantooth nor the show's audience ever got an answer. 

I've never watched Farscape, but I've heard it has several invented curse words. The one I've heard most often is "frelling," which I have to say I do not like. To me, it slides out of one's mouth like a dead snake, falls splat on the floor, and just lies there. In contrast, "frak" explodes out of your mouth like an angry bird and wings viciously off to do its damage. Obviously the difference is the final consonant; the authoritative, nasty k is just so much more satisfying than the slippery, weak l.  

However, all of these words can be taken too far, as has happened to our real-world favorite, "fuck." It has, unfortunately, been demonstrated that this one word can be used as an adjective, a noun and verb, to wit: "This fucking fucker's fucked." I suppose this would appeal to those who insist that real people do say things like this, to which I would be tempted to reply, "Yes, and real people can be awful goddamn boring. You can't write a book about boring people." (Well, I guess you could write lots of books about boring people, if you like filling up trunks.) There's being simple and smart, a la Hemingway, and there's being repetitive and stupid, a la using the same curse word every other sentence. Which is why I've taken pains to have my rock star use his favorite word, in either dialogue or description, only once per page, if at all. There's plenty of other delightful British euphemisms I can substitute, like "bloody" and "shag" and "sod." 

For that matter, there are plenty of ways to insult people without using curse words at all. The icon above is one example; apparently Shakespeare was a master of this. There are also lots of old-time, backwoods American expressions that do the same thing. "He's as useless as teats on a boar hog," and "you talk like you fell out of a well," are two of my favorites. (I collect phrases like that; I have a book of them, to which I've added others I heard from my parents, aunts and uncles. They would rarely say anything stronger than "darn" or "heck," but they could dismiss someone with a scathing, "He doesn't know his rear end from a hole in the ground.")

But as colorful as these phrases might be, they obviously can't be used by everybody. (And who was the author who came up with "tanj," which I believe was the acronym for "there ain't no justice?" Ouch. That's even worse than "frell." Talk about schoolboys with weak, receding chins.) I don't think cursing necessarily indicates--for either author or character--stupidity or a lack of education (sexist curse words like "bitch" and "cunt" are in a different category, which I'm not tackling at the moment), but as with all things, you can quickly overuse it. 

After all, you can say "fuck/frak you" or you can say, "Go play on the freeway." The richness of our language, and the inventiveness of our storytellers, allows for both. 



redheadedfemme: (infected brain)
(Warning: Copious amounts of bad language follows, for those whose eyes bleed easily.)

I'm writing a story where the protagonist is a rock guitarist, and naturally enough, one of his favorite words is "fuck." This got me to thinking about cursing in general, both in the real world and in the pages and on the TV screens of our favorite SFF universes. 

One of my favorite examples of the latter is Battlestar Galactica's (reboot version) "frak." (The word has been somewhat co-opted in the real world by the method of drilling for natural gas known as hydraulic fracturing, shortened to "fracking" in the media. Note that I spell BSG's cuss word differently, both to differentiate and because of the fact that "frakking" just looks cooler; the c seems to drag the word down.) BSG's creator Ron Moore obviously used the word as his universe's equivalent to our "fuck," as a way to get in appropriate amounts of military-style cussing without being censored. In spite of the fact that the word got a bit overused in the show's final season (especially when President Laura Roslin said to someone, "You don't know frak"--ugh. That sentence bounced off my astonished skull and fell to the floor in an ungrammatical, suspension-of-disbelief-shattering heap), I'm still quite fond of it. 

In the original 70's Battlestar, there were a couple of other invented words. Anybody remember "felgercarb?" As I recall, it was the Colonies' version of "bullshit," although they obviously couldn't--and fortunately, never tried to--twist it into the real-world version of "you're shitting me." You're carbing me, anyone? There was also a little thing called a "centon," which, according to however it was used in a sentence, seemed to be a measurement of both space and time. This led to a memorable moment (for me, anyway) when that week's guest star--if I remember correctly, it was Emergency's Randolph Mantooth, playing a suspiciously human-looking alien recently awakened from a cryogenic sleep--stopped in the middle of a rather tense scene to confront one of the show's stars, his voice boiling with frustration: "Apollo. What is a centon?"

In a particularly ham-fisted bit of editing, the scene cut off right there, so neither Mr. Mantooth nor the show's audience ever got an answer. 

I've never watched Farscape, but I've heard it has several invented curse words. The one I've heard most often is "frelling," which I have to say I do not like. To me, it slides out of one's mouth like a dead snake, falls splat on the floor, and just lies there. In contrast, "frak" explodes out of your mouth like an angry bird and wings viciously off to do its damage. Obviously the difference is the final consonant; the authoritative, nasty k is just so much more satisfying than the slippery, weak l.  

However, all of these words can be taken too far, as has happened to our real-world favorite, "fuck." It has, unfortunately, been demonstrated that this one word can be used as an adjective, a noun and verb, to wit: "This fucking fucker's fucked." I suppose this would appeal to those who insist that real people do say things like this, to which I would be tempted to reply, "Yes, and real people can be awful goddamn boring. You can't write a book about boring people." (Well, I guess you could write lots of books about boring people, if you like filling up trunks.) There's being simple and smart, a la Hemingway, and there's being repetitive and stupid, a la using the same curse word every other sentence. Which is why I've taken pains to have my rock star use his favorite word, in either dialogue or description, only once per page, if at all. There's plenty of other delightful British euphemisms I can substitute, like "bloody" and "shag" and "sod." 

For that matter, there are plenty of ways to insult people without using curse words at all. The icon above is one example; apparently Shakespeare was a master of this. There are also lots of old-time, backwoods American expressions that do the same thing. "He's as useless as teats on a boar hog," and "you talk like you fell out of a well," are two of my favorites. (I collect phrases like that; I have a book of them, to which I've added others I heard from my parents, aunts and uncles. They would rarely say anything stronger than "darn" or "heck," but they could dismiss someone with a scathing, "He doesn't know his rear end from a hole in the ground.")

But as colorful as these phrases might be, they obviously can't be used by everybody. (And who was the author who came up with "tanj," which I believe was the acronym for "there ain't no justice?" Ouch. That's even worse than "frell." Talk about schoolboys with weak, receding chins.) I don't think cursing necessarily indicates--for either author or character--stupidity or a lack of education (sexist curse words like "bitch" and "cunt" are in a different category, which I'm not tackling at the moment), but as with all things, you can quickly overuse it. 

After all, you can say "fuck/frak you" or you can say, "Go play on the freeway." The richness of our language, and the inventiveness of our storytellers, allows for both. 



redheadedfemme: (my words...my soul)
This article from Slate is really interesting. It goes into the mechanics of how the brain produces words and sentences, and how it gets into the famous writerly "flow." I also learned why I couldn't help but be a writer (besides the fact that I read so much, and always have). 

Kellogg is always careful to emphasize the extreme cognitive demands of writing, which is very flattering. "Serious writing is at once a thinking task, a language task, and a memory task," he declares. It requires the same kind of mental effort as a high-level chess match or an expert musical performance. 

Now, as it happens, I love chess, and also bridge--two cognitively-demanding games, for sure. (And also Scrabble, I suppose, to a lesser extent.) I also used to play the violin in junior high. 

I wonder if other writers have this same combination of hobbies. 

redheadedfemme: (my words...my soul)
This article from Slate is really interesting. It goes into the mechanics of how the brain produces words and sentences, and how it gets into the famous writerly "flow." I also learned why I couldn't help but be a writer (besides the fact that I read so much, and always have). 

Kellogg is always careful to emphasize the extreme cognitive demands of writing, which is very flattering. "Serious writing is at once a thinking task, a language task, and a memory task," he declares. It requires the same kind of mental effort as a high-level chess match or an expert musical performance. 

Now, as it happens, I love chess, and also bridge--two cognitively-demanding games, for sure. (And also Scrabble, I suppose, to a lesser extent.) I also used to play the violin in junior high. 

I wonder if other writers have this same combination of hobbies. 

redheadedfemme: (well...shit)
This is scary. A writer's contract with a major New York house is terminated--and they demand the return of her advance--all because of a self-published ebook of short stories.

Sleeping With the Enemy: A Cautionary Tale

I hope she has a good lawyer. Hell, I'd contribute money to that cause, if asked. 
Tags:
redheadedfemme: (well...shit)
This is scary. A writer's contract with a major New York house is terminated--and they demand the return of her advance--all because of a self-published ebook of short stories.

Sleeping With the Enemy: A Cautionary Tale

I hope she has a good lawyer. Hell, I'd contribute money to that cause, if asked. 
Tags:
redheadedfemme: (computer geekery)
 My story in May's Redstone Science Fiction, Ask Not, has gotten a (brief) review in Locus Online

(jumps up and down)

Actually I didn't. But my heart thumped as hard as if I had. 

I'm sure this is no big deal for some. But I hope I never get jaded about stuff like this. It's exciting, folks. 
redheadedfemme: (computer geekery)
 My story in May's Redstone Science Fiction, Ask Not, has gotten a (brief) review in Locus Online

(jumps up and down)

Actually I didn't. But my heart thumped as hard as if I had. 

I'm sure this is no big deal for some. But I hope I never get jaded about stuff like this. It's exciting, folks. 
redheadedfemme: (plotting)
 I'm holding in my happy little hands the Spring issue of "Tales of the Talisman." Have a look-see over here. Trust me, even the big thumbnail doesn't do it justice--this cover is gorgeous. 

Of course, my hands and the rest of me are happy because of what you'll see when you page down. Fourth bullet point from the end: "Remember, story by Bonnie McDaniel."

The interior illustration, by Erika McGinnis, is also fantastic. It takes your breath away to look at a depiction in pen and ink of the fragile ruminations inside your own head. I pictured the story taking place as I wrote it, of course, as writers do. I had my collection of mental snapshots. Naturally, the artist's drawing is her own interpretation of what I wrote, but it came very near to what I imagined, and I love it. 

There's twenty-five stories and poems in this issue, and at $8.00 it's well worth your time. Just add an extra squee for me. :-))
redheadedfemme: (plotting)
 I'm holding in my happy little hands the Spring issue of "Tales of the Talisman." Have a look-see over here. Trust me, even the big thumbnail doesn't do it justice--this cover is gorgeous. 

Of course, my hands and the rest of me are happy because of what you'll see when you page down. Fourth bullet point from the end: "Remember, story by Bonnie McDaniel."

The interior illustration, by Erika McGinnis, is also fantastic. It takes your breath away to look at a depiction in pen and ink of the fragile ruminations inside your own head. I pictured the story taking place as I wrote it, of course, as writers do. I had my collection of mental snapshots. Naturally, the artist's drawing is her own interpretation of what I wrote, but it came very near to what I imagined, and I love it. 

There's twenty-five stories and poems in this issue, and at $8.00 it's well worth your time. Just add an extra squee for me. :-))
redheadedfemme: (Default)
I know my news is obviously overshadowed by Osama bin Laden's comeuppance, but this is just as important to little ole me. 

My story "Ask Not" appears in May's edition of Redstone Science Fiction, just posted here. This is, I believe, my first professional sale (at least it's the one with the biggest paycheck by far) although I have had several stories appear in smaller magazines. It's been a pleasure working with Michael, Paul, Cassondra and the crew. Swing by and give them your support, and tell me what you think.
redheadedfemme: (Default)
I know my news is obviously overshadowed by Osama bin Laden's comeuppance, but this is just as important to little ole me. 

My story "Ask Not" appears in May's edition of Redstone Science Fiction, just posted here. This is, I believe, my first professional sale (at least it's the one with the biggest paycheck by far) although I have had several stories appear in smaller magazines. It's been a pleasure working with Michael, Paul, Cassondra and the crew. Swing by and give them your support, and tell me what you think.
redheadedfemme: (Default)
 While shopping this morning, I picked up a copy of Christopher Pike's "Thirst," about a teenage vampire, and started leafing through it.

This didn't last very long. The first three pages consisted entirely of exposition--the most godawful, mind-numbing, speechifying exposition I have ever had the misfortune to read. I remember the protagonist complaining about her hair being like blonde silk, and the depressing experience of everyone taking her for an eighteen-year-old until she opened her mouth, when presumably all of her actual five thousand years of existence came tumbling out. 

This is a published novel, mind you. 

Good books, in my experience, start with a scene and dialogue. I'll never know if this one was good or not, because I promptly put it back (while muttering under my breath about "what terrible writing!"). It's also made me wary about ever glancing through anything by Christopher Pike again.

Until now, I don't think I've ever experienced an "I can do better than that!" moment. But I certainly did today.

Hell, I can do better than that in my frakking sleep
Tags:
redheadedfemme: (Default)
 While shopping this morning, I picked up a copy of Christopher Pike's "Thirst," about a teenage vampire, and started leafing through it.

This didn't last very long. The first three pages consisted entirely of exposition--the most godawful, mind-numbing, speechifying exposition I have ever had the misfortune to read. I remember the protagonist complaining about her hair being like blonde silk, and the depressing experience of everyone taking her for an eighteen-year-old until she opened her mouth, when presumably all of her actual five thousand years of existence came tumbling out. 

This is a published novel, mind you. 

Good books, in my experience, start with a scene and dialogue. I'll never know if this one was good or not, because I promptly put it back (while muttering under my breath about "what terrible writing!"). It's also made me wary about ever glancing through anything by Christopher Pike again.

Until now, I don't think I've ever experienced an "I can do better than that!" moment. But I certainly did today.

Hell, I can do better than that in my frakking sleep
Tags:
redheadedfemme: (my words...my soul)


This is the saddest, most beautiful song I have ever heard. Beth Nielsen Chapman wrote it after the death of her husband. If you watch it, be warned: it's a three-hankie at least.

God, I wish I could write like that.
redheadedfemme: (my words...my soul)


This is the saddest, most beautiful song I have ever heard. Beth Nielsen Chapman wrote it after the death of her husband. If you watch it, be warned: it's a three-hankie at least.

God, I wish I could write like that.

June 2017

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Words To Live By

Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins. ~Neil Gaiman

Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in. ~Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The road to hell is paved with adverbs. ~Stephen King

The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read. ~Mark Twain

I feel free and strong. If I were not a reader of books I could not feel this way. ~Walter Tevis

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one. ~George R.R. Martin

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