Crusader spotlight – The Golden Eagle!

February 28, 2011

This is going to be another short spotlight, because I’ve been running around finishing things from my February to-do list – and helping with the Haggle. But I wanted to do a spotlight on another crazy crusader, and in fact, I’ve decided to officially change Blogosphere Monday into the Crusader spotlight for the duration of the Platform-building Crusade!

So – the Golden Eagle has a cool writing blog. She’s preparing for the A-Z challenge in April, she’s a Nanowrimo winner, and a Ninja novelist. Also, she absolutely fooled me with her first Crusader challenge entry – I thought that she couldn’t swim, but… well, I’ll let you read the spoiler for yourself!

Advertisements

Blog the Cat, Chapter Seven – How to fix a broken screenplay

February 26, 2011

Blog the cat screenwriting index.

Okay, we’re drawing close to the end of Blake Snyder’s screenwriting book, ‘Save the Cat’, and chapter seven is about propping up a screenplay and fixing rough spots. Actually, more of the chapter is about diagnosing problems with screenplays, but he does offer some ‘fix-it’ tips as well.

Rather than my usual tack of going through the content of the chapter first and then tackling exercises, I think that this week I’m going to mix in my participatory content and evaluate my Script Frenzy screenplays with respect to each possible problem as I go. I’ll try to cover all three complete scripts for each point, and my one incomplete script I’ll only bring up if it seems particularly relevant.

Problem 1: The Hero is passive.

Symptoms: The hero is being dragged through the story by other characters or forces, his motivation is missing, his goal is vague. He might be lazy and get handed clues to the mysteries surrounding the plot instead of going looking for them. Other characters might always be nagging him and telling him what to do next.

Ideas for how to fix: Probably start with reviewing the goal motivation first, and then going through the plot to make sure that it’s being executed well, and that whenever there’s a possibility of the hero being proactive or just waiting on events, make him show some initiative.

Read the rest of this entry »


Short Fiction – The Onus of Grace… plus Crusader Challenge lie!

February 25, 2011

Well, since the Valentine’s SDMB short fiction contest has started, I figured I might as well share the one contest entry story that I’ve written and not yet posted to the blog. This was from September 2010, and it was this idea that I eventually expanded into my Nanowrimo 2010 story.

Oh – and the answer to my Crusader Challenge is at the end of the story. 😉

The onus of Grace

Richard sighed as the Hornet cruised down the road. The sun was setting, and the energy patterns of every person in every car on the freeway seemed to blur and meld until it was a multicolored aurora, like the Northern lights come down from the sky.

For a moment, the vision made it hard for him to concentrate on where he was steering, and then the defense system kicked in and he was just looking at taillights ahead of him and headlights in the oncoming traffic, like any ordinary person would see.

“Is it bad?” Jessie asked him. “I could drive for a few hours.”

“No, it’s fine now,” he assured her. “Just a bit of an overload of aura vision. I’ve turned it off for now.”

“Is it like that for you?” she asked, curiously. “A light switch? Or more like tuning out some distracting piece of music – you still hear it, but it isn’t as bad if you’re not paying attention?”

Read the rest of this entry »


Why I don’t like the ereader.com beta software for Linux

February 24, 2011

I’ve been a fan of the ereader.com book reader software since way back when they were ‘Peanut Press Palm Reader’, which came bundled with my first true PDA, a monochrome Palm m125

It seemed like a revolutionary idea, that all kinds of great books, (well, a mediocre selection of great books and more good books,) could be bought for cheap and carried around in my pocket.

I’ve used ereader software on dozens of different devices now, and I do think that the platform has a lot to recommend it. The interfaces are usually good, especially with the intuitive ‘click to turn the page’ options, and it’s easy to copy your books from place to place, with the only digital-rights nonsense being a prompt to enter your name and your credit card number as an unlock code. The logic there, is that unlike arbitrary password, you’re unlikely to include the credit card number when sharing your book files on a peer to peer network, or to friends of friends on a CD.

I even managed to get ereader pro running on my Linux eeePC netbook, though they didn’t officially support Linux, through something that’s called ‘the wine compatibility layer’, which allows a lot of windows programs to run under Linux. In December, I upgraded the eeePC to the Maverick Meerkat Xubuntu version, and in the course of re-installing all my software, went over to the ereader.com site to download the windows installer.

And I got totally distracted when I saw that they had an entry labeled ‘Ereader beta for Linux Ubuntu’. Quickly downloaded this and installed it on the eeePC.

Unfortunately, this beta version is among the worse pieces of software that I’ve seen. Not the worst, because there’s some truly wretched stuff out there, but bad enough that I was really disappointed that it came from ereader.com

Read the rest of this entry »


A Wizard of Mars – Chapter Seven

February 23, 2011

A Wizard of Mars chapter index.

This is a fairly short chapter, with an even shorter summary. I’m going to be trying to get the plot summaries to be more concise, instead of relating all the little stuff that happens, but this chapter makes it easy for me.

The guys – Kit, Ronan, and Darryl, go to a new Martian crater, one of the ones that the signal from the first egg went to. While investigating there, they see and interact with a bunch of wizardly ‘constructs’ in crazy forms, including fantastic Martian monsters and a ship of astronauts that claim to be from back on Earth. All of those guises, though, are being taken from their own minds, particularly a Mars movie that Darryl saw a long time ago, and they start to speculate on what this might mean. They decide that it’s the wizardries that the original Martians left behind testing them as a kind of self-defence system – if whoever discovers the message freaks out at these manifestations, and either run away or react aggressively, then they fail the test and don’t get to find out more. So they agree to move on to the next site in the message relay, investigating calmly but refusing to back off.

That’s about it for the important plot stuff that’s going on, as far as I can tell. So what else really impressed me with chapter seven, in terms of the writing?

A few things. One is simply that there seems to be a lot of energy and enthusiasm in the bits with the old Mars movie stuff come to life. I can almost picture Diane having the time of her life as she’s writing it, and that’s certainly endearing to a reader, as long as you can relate at least minimally to that enthusiasm. It reminds me, actually, of an anecdote that the author related in an interview that’s included in the audible.com version of ‘High Wizardry’, when she talks about going to the drive-in as a young girl or something like that, and she got to see “First Spaceship to Venus.” When she was older, she had a friend tape it for her, and was a little shocked that it had managed to capture her imagination so much, since the special effects were so bad. But I guess that she still has a soft spot for old sci-fi movies.

Read the rest of this entry »


It’s nice to meet you, my name is Chris.

February 22, 2011

(My entry in the first Crusader challenge.)

I have a number of stuffed toy animals in my apartment, including teddy bears, owls, cats, mice, a pony in pyjamas, and possibly a rabbit.

I’m a sucker (pun intended) for the Twilight books.

I’m very stubborn and will often choose to go entirely the opposite way if somebody helpfully suggests what I should do. For just that reason, I refuse to bloviate in this post, or mention blades or anything fuliguline

I have a tendency to accumulate electronic devices of a variety of shapes, sizes, and functions.

I am quite intelligent and able to understand many complicated things fairly quickly.

I like to eat and love bacon-pepperoni pizza.

One of these factoids is not true – leave a comment and guess which one I lied about!


Blogosphere Monday Incoming special – Catch-up for Crusaders.

February 21, 2011

Okay, the Platform-Building Crusade is off with a bang, and I’ve been having a great time getting to know the other members of group 14 and the other crusaders who’ve dropped in to comment. I’ve also gotten a very warm and fuzzy feeling seeing my subscriber count and daily hits go up!

So, first off, I’ve got a stupid question that I hope somebody can help me with, and then, I’m going to steal a really good idea that I saw on another Crusader Blog to catch you up on what I’ve been doing lately.

EDITED – stupid question has been answered! To see the updates from blogspot sites that I’m following, all I need to do is go to http://www.blogger.com – that’s the step that I was missing! (Full question ramble has been moved to the end of this post.)

The really good idea that I’m stealing, is to do a fairly quick catchup of some of the cool stuff I’ve been doing on my blog lately, along with links, so that if you happen to see something and think ‘Oh, that sounds really interesting, I should check that out!’ you’ll be able to do that easily and without much fuss. So – the Top Ten List of fun stuff I’ve done on my blog in the last six months…

10. Blogosphere spotlights. I tend to get a little too focused on what’s going on with myself and lose sight of the way blogging can be a social activity, so Blogosphere spotlights are a way of reminding myself to give shoutouts to other bloggers or fun blogging events that I run into – I often put my blogfest entries under the Blogosphere tag, or introduce things like the Crusade itself.

Read the rest of this entry »


Sunday Blogisode Twelve

February 20, 2011

Blogisodes Index

“That’s alright,” Exec told him. “Are any of us feeling the worse for the extra oxygen in the air? Remember the symptoms that Peterson listed.”

“With respect, sir,” Jody replied. “I don’t recall you and Ensign Peterson discussing symptoms for hyperoxia, just treatment.”

“No?” Exec turned to Archer, who nodded a slow confirmation. “My mistake. As well as I can remember, you’ll want to be watching out for tunnel vision, ringing in your ears, nausea, severe anxiety, dizziness, or a frequent cough.”

Jody froze in her tracks. “Sir, then it might be hard for me to determine if I’m suffering from hyperoxia in time to receive treatment. I was already experiencing several of those symptoms before we landed. I ascribed them to Kane syndrome – the hyperspace sickness.”

Exec considered this. “Then you should probably go back inside the yacht, just as a precaution.”

“But what about when you find the natives? I can’t do my job if I can’t talk to them.”

“There’s the intercom,” Archer suggested. “Or we could bring them inside through the airlock.”

“I’m not a xenobiologist, but I think it’s a bad idea to bring a native of this planet into a lower-oxygen environment than they’re accustomed to,” I said.

Read the rest of this entry »


Blog the Cat, Chapter Six – Common Sense Rules

February 19, 2011

Blog the cat screenwriting index.

Well, since it’s Saturday, we’re back to my chapter-by-chapter reviews of Blake Snyder’s screenwriting book ‘Save the Cat.’

As we move on through Blake Snyder’s book, this chapter is a little bit less structured than the first five. I also found it much less hard-and-fast than its title, ‘The Immutable Laws of Screenplay Physics’ suggested. But then, I tend to side with the school of thought exemplified by the line, “The only rule of writing is: there are no rules.”

And also, as much as Blake goes on about wanting credit for his ‘snappy rules and ironclad laws’, he doesn’t even lay them out as instructions or warnings. There’s details about how to handle each one, but more than anything, this chapter is laid out as an in-depth glossary, so I’ll cover it on the same basis.

Item 1: Save the Cat

I was already familiar with this tidbit from discussions of Blake’s principles around the time of Script Frenzy last year – and it came up in the introduction as well, since it’s the origin of the title.

What is it? The thing that the hero has to do when the audience meets him, so that they like him and want him to win.

Good or bad thing? Good, in fact, required according to Blake.

Read the rest of this entry »


Shortfic: Only the Elves know for sure.

February 18, 2011

This was another contest entry in the SDMB holiday short fic contest. I blogged about the contest when it was starting, and shared another entry with you a few weeks ago, so here’s the Christmas 2010 story.

I’d love to hear what you think if you give it a read.

—–

Eddie looked around the playground field. Most of the kids had gathered into two crowds, with a lot of children, like Eddie himself, scattered in between them.

“Of course Santa Claus exists,” Holly Scott declared from the center of the group to Eddie’s right, her blonde hair bouncing slightly as she nodded. “You have to believe in somebody like Santa Claus. Or else what’s the world coming to?”

“He’s not real,” Jason Berlin countered, and the other cynics gathered around him cheered slightly. “It’s all a made-up fake. The presents are all paid for by your parents, and the malls hire guys to play dress-up as Santa Claus. Nobody really flys around on a sleigh in the middle of the night delivering toys. Deal with it.”

There was more to the debate, and several of the undecided eventually picked a side, but Eddie still wasn’t sure what to believe in by the time Recess was over. So he walked home from school by himself and ended up telling the whole thing to his mother.

Read the rest of this entry »


%d bloggers like this: