Posts for 2018

Catching My Eye (2018-12-10 Edition) (2018/12/10 05:00)
Stuff I'm looking out for, anticipating, and recommending.

A Bridge To The Quiet Planet (2018/12/09 08:00)
My good friend Steve Savage has his first novel out. Go grab it.

Our Respective Things (2018/12/08 05:00)
My work can only really be measured against my other work. Same with yours.

Beat It To Fit, Paint It To Match (2018/12/07 05:00)
"Workshop" is the wrong word for the place where we come to mutually improve our writing.

My Best Fiend [sic] (2018/12/06 05:00)
I ask of a friend not that we be in absolute harmony, but only that our discord be its own delight.

Mop And Pail, Dustpan And Broom (2018/12/04 05:00)
How PCs become trash accumulators that rival any closet, garage, crawlspace, or basement.

Slugging (And Slogging) On (2018/12/03 08:00)
Getting caught up, and some notes on criticism from days past.

Pounded To Death (2018/11/24 09:00)
I go through keyboards the way other people go through pencils.

Would You Do It Anyway? (2018/11/23 05:00)
"Do you enjoy doing it?" is, I think, only half the statement. The way I would put it is, "Would you do this anyway?"

Paint Your Lunch (2018/11/20 05:00)

No, No, NaNo (2018 Edition) (2018/11/20 08:00)
There was, as you can guess, no NaNoWriMo challenge for me this year. But it wasn't always like that.

Give It Away Now (November 18, 2018 Edition) (2018/11/18 08:00)
Once again: My all-new thriller/SF novel Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned is available as a free giveaway, for a limited time!

This Art-Too Unit Has A Bad Motivator (2018/11/15 08:00)
More from Steve on the whole vexed issue of doing what you think you want to do, not what you actually want to do.

Bad Fuel For Brooding (2018/11/14 07:00)
This whole business of how we become the stories we tell ourselves is so easy to get wrong and in so many ways.

Very Much Reality (2018/11/13 05:00)
Anything you put out in the world under the pretense of entertainment is worth taking at least as seriously as someone else could. And some take it very seriously indeed.

What We Put Into Our Heads (2018/11/11 05:00)
Most of us simply don't care what we stuff in there. It's a moral failing.

This Project Still Has No Title (2018/11/10 05:00)
But at least it now has a wiki.

Give It Away Now (November 9, 2018 Edition) (2018/11/09 08:00)
My all-new thriller/SF novel Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned is available as a free giveaway, for a limited time!

Another Turn Of The Big Wheel (2018/11/08 08:00)
Call me a workaholic if you really want to. I just call it keeping ahead of the curve.

The Price Of Everything And The Value Of Nothing (2018/11/03 01:00)
The difference between a skeptic and a cynic is motives.

Do(ing) The Right Thing (2018/11/02 08:00)
"moral action is also, inevitably, practical action, and immoral action is inevitably impractical..."

Spelunking The Inner Archive (2018/10/29 06:00)
Compiling that list of influences the other day was like performing archival research on myself.

'Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned' Is Now Available! (2018/10/29 10:00)
My new novel is finally out! Everyone on earth should buy six copies.

Under My Influences (2018/10/27 08:00)
The stories, films, music, and other things that stuck with me.

Sometimes Nothing Can Be A Real Cool Hand (2018/10/26 05:00)
There's this line about Zen practice that comes up a lot, that it doesn't "give" you anything.

Creativity Repeating Itself (2018/10/25 08:00)
“Every director has one film to make. He just keeps remaking it.”

A Few Less Words Next Time (2018/10/22 05:00)
No good story is ever too long and no bad story is ever too short, but that's still no reason to waste breath.

In Lieu Of Telepathy (2018/10/21 08:00)
You can't tell people anything; sometimes you can't even show them, either.

We're Almost There (2018/10/19 07:00)
More 'Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned' news!

Same Old, Same Old (2018/10/18 05:00)
Our Gray Goo Media problem.

An Early Thanksgiving Gift Of Sorts (2018/10/15 08:00)
'Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned' is about to drop!

Kid Stuff (2018/10/11 08:00)
On how we've outgrown outgrowing things.

A Walk-On Part In The War, Or A Lead Role In A Cage (2018/10/10 07:00)
On The Minnie Effect in fiction.

Narcissism And No-Self (2018/10/09 08:00)
On a Zen concept vs a psychological one.

You Can't Beat People Up And Have Them Say "I Love You" (2018/10/06 08:00)
On the unneeded cruelties of the moment.

Ray And The Great Unpluggening (2018/10/05 05:00)
How Ray Bradbury saw a cellphone-addicted future. No, not in that book about book-burning.

On The Other Hand, Insects Are A Pretty Efficient Lot (2018/10/03 05:00)
"Specialization is for insects", revisited.

Behind The Scenes With 'AONO', Pt. 8: The Soundtrack (2018/10/01 05:00)
The soundtrack for my new novel.

In And Out Of The Trench (2018/09/27 08:00)
.I ran once again into an old issue: the way a story doesn't look remotely the same in the trenches as it does at the 30,000 foot level.

Behind The Scenes With 'AONO', Pt. 7: The Themes (2018/09/26 05:00)
A discussion of the themes in my new novel, and how they are embodied there.

Now Is The Only Moment Of Your Life, And Other Necessary Delusions (2018/09/25 05:00)
It doesn't mean the present moment is the only thing that exists, or that plans are foolish things.

Large And In Charge (2018/09/22 05:00)
On "volume equals value for money" in books.

Back In Circulation (2018/09/22 08:00)
Heard you missed us?

The Almost There Blues (2018/09/10 05:00)
I keep telling myself, writing the next book isn't going to be such a marathon.

The Grand Mutation (2018/09/09 01:00)
For fun I sat down and mentally traced the progress of my earlier SF-space-opera thingy Flight Of The Vajra.

Disimpostured (2018/09/09 08:00)
Steve has some notes on why authors (him included) come down with Impostor Syndrome.

Nowhere Are We Commanded To Be Doormats (2018/09/07 08:00)
Kevin Drum dropped an aphorism worth repeating: "When you write, pretend you’re writing for people you respect."

True Weird (2018/09/06 08:00)
A world where we mandate weirdness is just as unproductive as a world where we mandate its removal.

Anxieties Of Influence (2018/09/04 05:00)
"...there’s a chance if you’re inspired by an author or a creator, you won’t do it quite right."

Offerings Not Demands, Palettes Not Hierarchies (2018/09/04 08:00)
I have long held a motto of my own that I think is an echo of what Steve is putting out here: Palettes, not hierarchies.

Behind The Scenes With 'AONO', Pt. 6: The Supporting Cast (2018/09/03 05:00)
A discussion of the supporting cast in my new novel, and the roles they play.

Too Smart For Your Own Good (2018/09/03 08:00)
"Beginner's mind" is not something we can impose on others.

Go Elsewhere, Young Man (2018/08/28 05:00)
"The best way to write fiction is to read, watch, and listen to anything but fiction." I am not sure that it is the best way, but I think it is ultimately one of the most valuable.

Give It Away Now (August 28, 2018 Edition) (2018/08/28 05:00)
UPDATED 8/28: My SF novel 'Flight Of The Vajra' and my mystery/thriller 'Welcome To The Fold' are available for a limited time as giveaways!

Behind The Scenes With 'AONO', Pt. 5: The Characters (2018/08/24 08:00)
An introduction to the roster of characters for my new novel, starting with the leads.

Give It Away Now (August 24, 2018 Edition) (2018/08/23 05:00)
UPDATED 8/23: My SF novel 'Flight Of The Vajra' and my mystery/thriller 'Welcome To The Fold' are available for a limited time as giveaways!

For Me Or For Them Or For Us? (2018/08/22 09:00)
When you start by trying to please others instead of yourself, you end up pleasing no one.

And Bear In Mind (2018/08/14 07:00)
I'm on vacation this week and not posting much, but here's some Links Of Note that crossed my desk.

Give It Away Now (August 14, 2018 Edition) (2018/08/14 08:00)
UPDATED 8/14: My SF novel 'Flight Of The Vajra' and my mystery/thriller 'Welcome To The Fold' are available for a limited time as giveaways!

Give It Away Now (August 7, 2018 Edition) (2018/08/07 08:00)
UPDATED 8/7: My SF novel 'Flight Of The Vajra' and my mystery/thriller 'Welcome To The Fold' are available for a limited time as giveaways!

The Dreaming System (2018/08/05 05:00)
On de-romanticizing the writing process.

Behind The Scenes With 'AONO', Pt. 4: The Story (2018/08/03 05:00)
How the diverse influences for my new novel shaped its story.

Unknown Treasures (2018/08/03 08:00)
One of the things I always hated about myself was how I was, in theory, supposed to be this gigantic SF nerd, and as it turns out I really wasn't.

Revenge Of The Big Lie (2018/08/01 05:00)
I don't see any of this ending well, but I'd rather be on whatever side of history valued verifiable truths over comfortable lies.

An Open Book (actually, a whole lot of them) (2018/08/01 08:00)
In praise of the Open Library project and the late John Holt.

Give It Away Now (July 31, 2018 Edition) (2018/07/31 08:00)
UPDATED 7/31: My SF novel 'Flight Of The Vajra' and my mystery/thriller 'Welcome To The Fold' are available for a limited time as giveaways!

Clearing My Desk (2018/07/27 05:00)
What comes next for me after I shove my current book off my desk.

Behind The Scenes With 'AONO', Pt. 3: The Influences (2018/07/27 08:00)
How everything from 'John Wick' and 'Strange Days' to 'Rurouni Kenshin' fed into my new novel.

Give It Away Now (July 24, 2018 Edition) (2018/07/24 05:00)
My SF novel 'Flight Of The Vajra' and my mystery/thriller 'Welcome To The Fold' are available for a limited time as giveaways!

Behind The Scenes With 'AONO', Pt. 2: The Idea (2018/07/23 08:00)
How my new novel 'Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned' took shape when an existing project fell through.

No Humans Allowed (2018/07/21 08:00)
Once again: Whatever it is we're designing our world for, it isn't the human being.

Behind The Scenes With 'AONO', Pt. 1: The Origins (2018/07/19 05:00)
How my new novel 'Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned' began with a failed fan theory about 'The Matrix'.

Give It Away Now (July 17, 2018 Edition) (2018/07/17 05:00)
My sorta-kinda thriller/mystery novel Welcome To The Fold is available as a free giveaway, for a limited time, by way of Instafreebie!

The Uncertainty Principle (2018/07/16 08:00)
What did Bertrand Russell mean when he said, "Do not feel absolutely certain of anything"?

Watts Up (2018/07/15 08:00)
On how social-reading network Wattpad is becoming a hub for discovering the next big thing.

Court And Spark (2018/07/11 05:00)
It's the fate of most any creator to never know what their work means to other people, but only to themselves.

Psycho Fandom, Qu'est-ce que c'est? (2018/07/10 05:00)
Steve has some notes on pathological fandom that are worth a read. A few things stood out.

Warning! Progress! (2018/07/08 08:00)
Future Genji Press plans, laid bare! (Oh, and free stuff!)

How To Tell Me Something I Want To Hear (So I Can Just Ignore It And Move On) (2018/07/05 05:00)
On not caring what other people think of your work, while at the same time caring about your work.

It's X Meets Y, But With Z! (2018/07/03 05:00)
"There is no reading experience in an idea, only in its execution."

Reality Knocks (2018/07/03 08:00)
And loud.

Be Ye Not As Jerks (2018/07/02 08:00)
There is no guarantee of victory; there isn't even a guarantee of continuation. But you miss all the shots you don't take.

Farcebook (2018/07/01 08:00)
Notes on a single point of failure.

It Helps To Stay On Track (2018/06/29 06:00)
I made a pledge to myself to keep you in the loop. So, here's the loop.

The Long And Winding Game (2018/06/29 08:00)
We didn't get into this mess all at once and we're not going to get out of it all at once, either.

Ellison Wonderland (2018/06/28 05:00)
Harlan Ellison, whom I wrote about just the other day, has exited the building.

Axes For The Frozen Seas (2018/06/27 08:00)
A Kafka quote re-examined.

A Little Something (2018/06/26 01:00)

New Days Of Blood And Sorrow (2018/06/26 08:00)
"Revealed at Last! What Killed the Dinosaurs! And You Don’t Look so Terrific Yourself."

Solipsystem (2018/06/25 05:00)
On contempt for popular culture as an easy way out.

The Do-Over (2018/06/24 08:00)
What, I'm still editing the latest novel?! Well, yeah.

Look Upon My Works ... (2018/06/21 05:00)
The work should be about the making of the work.

Fixer Upper Insights (2018/06/19 08:00)
Some bits gleaned from the latest round of editing on my book.

The Paradox Of Limits (2018/06/15 08:00)
Maybe we need to speak of focus rather than limits.

Don't Write What You Know, Write How You Know It (2018/06/12 05:00)
Looking at two bits of reading and writing advice from Saul Bellow.

That Pile On The Nightstand (2018/06/11 05:00)
The overwhelming majority of what I'm genuinely curious about reading has been nonfiction. I hate that.

No Second Guessing (2018/06/10 08:00)
More on why motives matter for creative work.

All The Things I Never Said (2018/06/09 08:00)
Most of my unpublished blogging simply isn't fit for public consumption. Here's what most of it is.

You're A DJ, Not A Librarian (2018/06/08 05:00)
You don’t ever write a story, you just write part of one.

What's In A Title? (2018/06/05 08:00)
The less the better, paradoxically.

A Checklist Manifesto For One (2018/06/01 08:00)
"What do I do when I have too many ideas and can’t finish any?"

Spotless Mirrors, And All That (2018/05/31 08:00)
The editing and rewriting process for any of my books always exposes me to the same dilemmas.

Owning Your Boredom (2018/05/30 08:00)
A redux of the old question: what's so bad about being bored?

Obzacktivism (2018/05/29 06:00)
"The other, of course, involves orcs."

Fretwork (2018/05/28 08:00)
On the difference between thinking and worrying, and on worrying as a virtue signal.

Enlightenment NOW!!! (2018/05/27 05:00)
The desire for something quick is not itself wrong.

A Better Beta (2018/05/21 08:00)
On giving, getting, and using good feedback on your work.

Moral Men And Immoral Societies (2018/05/17 08:00)
"The very ordinariness of human life seemed a kind of original sin, the sin of not being extraordinary enough to recognize and resist evil."

The Unfinishing Touches (2018/05/16 05:00)
On imperfection in creative work.

Advertisement(s) For Myself (2018/05/10 08:00)
On confronting my uneasy feelings about self-promotion.

Press Pause (2018/05/07 05:00)
The next week and change I won't be around much.

What We Do In The Shadows (2018/05/06 01:00)
On ramping up from an audience that can be counted on one hand.

I Owe You Some News (2018/05/02 08:00)
A short briefing on happenings at Chez Genji as of May 2018.

Liquid Sky (2018/05/01 08:00)
The original new-wave (maybe also no-wave?) film, with its blaze of low-budget images, mixes cheesy science fiction, grimy bohemian drug tragedy, psychedelic experimentalism, and no-budget arthouse drama

Chaos Reigns (2018/04/30 05:00)
Akira Kurosawa's Ran is currently running on Mubi. See it.

Say What Now? (2018/04/25 05:00)
Don't take it personally when you're misinterpreted.

Knowitallism (2018/04/24 05:00)
On the prevalence of righter-than-thou behaviors in fandom.

Do The Wrong Thing (2018/04/23 08:00)
What if someone Did Something Bad with a creation of yours?

Is This A Brick Wall I See Before Me? (2018/04/21 06:00)
Not writer's block. Maybe we could call it conceiver's block?

A Second Life On Video (2018/04/21 08:00)
Movies have more second lives than ever, but only because they barely have first ones.

The Incuriosity Complex (2018/04/20 05:00)
Being generally incurious about life is bad enough; it's far worse when you're trying to create.

This Is What You Want, This Is What You Get (2018/04/18 08:00)
"No man demands what he desires; each man demands what he fancies he can get."

Say You, Cliché Me (2018/04/17 08:00)
"A cliché is as much about the deployment and the mode of use as it is the item itself..."

Nobloggy But Me (2018/04/15 08:00)
Blogging never "died"; it's just become harder to see. But it's as crucial as ever.

Faceless (2018/04/14 05:00)
With Facebook out of my life, it's all the easier to spot unproductive discourse of all kinds, because of what else it reminds me of.

Office Space (2018/04/13 08:00)
Steven Savage's latest post is about "rethinking work", and it reminded me of an anecdote courtesy of Milton Glaser...

The Life Of The Mind (2018/04/12 05:00)
An influencer seems more interested in being well-known, being "influential", than in being motivated by a thirst for the truth.

KISS And Make Up (2018/04/11 05:00)
The productivity virtues of keeping it simple, stupid.

To Play Outside One's Head (2018/04/08 05:00)
Another road to creative improvement: thinking beyond your own view of your work.

Erasure (2018/04/06 05:00)
Outside of the social media bubble, the void.

The Driver's Seat (2018/04/05 05:00)
On the problems of a passive protagonist.

Pick Something And Stick With It (2018/04/02 08:00)

Theorizers Vs. Practitioners (2018/04/01 05:00)
Zen matters when it's practiced; it's getting people to practice that's the hard part.

No More Heroes, Pt. 2 (2018/03/27 08:00)
Don't have heroes, just emulate behaviors.

I Am (Not) An Entertainer (2018/03/26 08:00)
"I'm an entertainer." -- Alan Watts. "I am not an entertainer." -- William S. Burroughs. Discuss.

The Unsubmissive (2018/03/25 05:00)
"The world will be saved, if it can be, only by the unsubmissive."

From The Shoulders Of Giants, The View Is Lovely Indeed (2018/03/23 05:00)
"The negation of a [scientific] theory is not a new theory."

The Problem With The Rat Race Is That Even If You Win, You're Still A Rat (2018/03/23 08:00)
On media both social and antisocial.

The Reason They Export Molson Is Because Canadians Are Too Smart To Drink That Bilge (2018/03/21 08:00)
I was going to say something about Jordan Peterson, but this article beat me to it.

The Unthinkable Lightness Of Being (2018/03/20 05:00)
On how Zen and Buddhism are not anti-intellectual, but non-intellectual. Big diff there.

Maybe We Shouldn't Have 'Heroes' (2018/03/18 08:00)
Why this business of personal heroes may well be a bad idea.

'I Burned It All' (2018/03/14 08:00)
Take your story. Rip it up and start again. What's left?

But Will It Play For The Over-21 Set? (2018/03/13 05:00)
How different a standard should we have for works aimed at younger audiences vs. those aimed at "all" audiences?

Philosophizing With A Megaphone (2018/03/12 05:00)
On Twitter as a case study in technical non-solutions to social problems.

Copyediting With A Machete (2018/03/12 08:00)
On avoiding the temptation to edit drastically, late in the game.

When You Didn't Know You Wanted This (2018/03/08 05:00)
What to do when you find yourself saying, "I didn't know I wanted this."

Getting Better All The Time (2018/03/06 08:00)
Why Steven Pinker's encomium to an improving world falls so flat.

Plug Me Into Something (2018/03/05 08:00)
To put things into perspective for yourself, lose "yourself" a little.

Paranoia The Destroyer (2018/03/04 08:00)
On how the conspiracy theory mindset stems from emotional torment.

The Drive To Create (2018/03/02 08:00)
In re Jarmusch's 'Paterson'.

Typing With Both Fists (2018/02/27 05:00)
On blogging while angry.

The Royal We And The Singular I (2018/02/26 08:00)
On what we do with the discovery that we're not things, but processes.

I Am A Rock, I Am An Island (2018/02/24 08:00)
People aren't flowers, of the hothouse variety or otherwise, and neither are artists.

The Characters Who Don't Do Anything (2018/02/21 05:00)
Don't write stories about "people waiting for their lives to begin."

The Critic-Proof Story (2018/02/18 01:00)
Spoiler: It doesn't exist.

Doomed To Repeat It (2018/02/17 08:00)
In re Parkland.

The Lift (2018/02/15 08:00)
A dopey dud: a mix of satire and horror that doesn't manage to be either funny or scary.

Walkabout, Workabout (2018/02/13 05:00)
"...if we think of “done” as a point we navigate towards, tacking here and there, we can embrace change."

The Attention Thieves (2018/02/12 08:00)
Boredom's not a burden anyone should bear.

Get On With It (2018/02/09 05:00)
On not over-documenting creative work.

Content, Content Everywhere (2018/02/07 05:00)
On the desire to turn everything into a franchise.

The Mashup Men (2018/02/06 08:00)
On making something new from a whole lot of somethings old.

Breakin' (2018/02/05 05:00)
These past couple of days have been a cavalcade of non-stop technical and mechanical failure.

In Over My Head Again (2018/02/01 05:00)
How the heck did I end up starting to create my own programming language?

But Who Am I To Be Critical? (2018/02/01 08:00)
When you look at something, you have to be willing to not pretend that it needs to be great in order to justify anything.

The Loud And The Desperate (2018/01/31 06:00)
"Your image does not need curation, because all you are doing is broadcasting your desperation."

Unsticking The Gears (2018/01/27 08:00)
No prizes for guessing I'm talking about my next project.

A Few Words From LeGuin (2018/01/24 06:00)
Parting words, unfortunately.

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys, But Sometimes They Just Turn Out To Be Cattle Rustlers (2018/01/20 05:00)
We need to have more nuanced ways of taking what matters for us from a given creator and from their works.

Ruined Forever (2018/01/19 05:00)
No critic can ever "ruin" a work you like, unless you don't know what their job really is.

If You Can't Please Yourself ... (2018/01/19 08:00)
Works don't exist just to please audiences. But authors also don't exist just to please themselves.

February, Come She Will (2018/01/18 08:00)
What's on the slate for Chez Genji.

Things I Have Learned, 2018 Edition (2018/01/17 05:00)
Words from the wise.

Mystery, Not Mystification (2018/01/11 05:00)
If you shoot for ambiguity, some people are going to come away from your work bored or confused. Here's how to cope.

Smarts For Me But Not For Thee (2018/01/10 05:00)
On very stable geniuses and the like.

The Answer To Last Week's Puzzle (2018/01/08 05:00)
"Are we so desperate to solve our art?"

Bailout Protocol (2018/01/08 08:00)
When is it OK to quit reading a "boring" book?

It's A Living (2018/01/06 05:00)
If written fiction's becoming nothing but a prelude to adaptation, what's that mean for written fiction itself?

57 Channels Redux (2018/01/05 05:00)
And still nothing on.

Player Zero (2018/01/05 08:00)
On why books need to be written to be books, not film pitches-to-be.

Someone Else's Discussion (2018/01/04 05:00)
On getting back into the headspace for blogging.

Excuse My Silence (2018/01/01 03:00)
But I think you'll find it was entirely justified.

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