All posts for December 2018

Catching My Eye (2018-12-10 Edition)

Stuff I'm looking out for, anticipating, and recommending.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/12/10 17:00

A while back I used to post more often about books, movies, albums, etc. that were worth looking out for. I fell out of the habit, but it occurs to me now this stuff is still worth raising a signal about, so I'm going to try and do it more often.

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Tags: Catching My Eye  Criterion  Orhan Veli  Willem Dafoe  books  movies 

A Bridge To The Quiet Planet

My good friend Steve Savage has his first novel out. Go grab it.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/12/09 08:00

Purchase on AmazonMy good friend Steve Savage has his first novel out, A Bridge To The Quiet Planet. Aside from Steve being a close friend, I should add another disclaimer that I read drafts of the book and provided him with feedback, but the final result is entirely his. Still, I wouldn't be recommending it to you-all if I didn't think it was worth it.

If you have a friend who's into SF&F, and want to give them something that stands out in its own field — or, if you are yourself that friend — grab this for them.

The blurb:

Learn History or Become History

Sorceress Marigold and technic Scintilla made a living recovering strange artifacts and forgotten history on the world of Telvaren. On a planet of ancient magic and strange science, scarred by old wars and blessed by internet-using gods, there was a lot of past to dig up.

When they needed a change, the duo signed up to aid a vendor of rare documents, making a pilgrimage to the divine grave-world of Godsrest. With the help of a friendly local cleric, it should have been an simple journey — as long as they did their paperwork and kept quiet.

But every step of their interplanetary journey brought new dangers. Something larger and older was at work among the worlds, and the two partners were in the thick of it. They weren't pursuing history, it was pursuing them, and Marigold and Scintilla had to turn the tables . . .

Tags: Steven Savage  fantasy  science fiction 

Our Respective Things

My work can only really be measured against my other work. Same with yours.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/12/08 17:00

The other night I got to talking with friends about our respective stories, and about how I was in a sense jealous of a quality that a friend of mine possesses in his work. He spans two domains very nicely in his writing — the wit and snark of, roughly, the Dave-Barry-to-Douglas-Adams-and-including-Terry-Pratchett continuum, and the more serious domains found in the works of folks like Richard Florida. I admitted to being jealous of the wit, if only because it seems to attract a broader and more engaged class of audience.

Then came a thought experiment: Suppose I were a writing teacher and I had one of my students come to me with such a lament?

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Tags: creativity  creators 

Beat It To Fit, Paint It To Match

"Workshop" is the wrong word for the place where we come to mutually improve our writing.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/12/07 17:00

Enduring Two Years of Botched Surgery – An Outsider’s Guide to Publishing – Medium

Useful criticism isn’t a subjective evaluation of whether you like someone else’s work — that’s a matter of taste — rather, constructive feedback is supposed to be in service of the writer in moving the work forward. How are you helping someone who writes thrillers by telling them to write romance novels instead, simply because you enjoy reading a good love story and still sleep with the lights on? Workshop is supposed to be about advancing someone’s work by giving them tools, insights, and ideas, not pushing one’s personal preferences or agenda.

... What made me a better writer? Writing groups with regular people.

These groups were retired men in their sixties and seventies who wanted to write about the wars they’d been through and the people they had loved who were no longer living. These were second-generation immigrants who wanted to pay homage to their families by telling their stories. In one group, both a mother of an addict and a brother who cared for his disabled brother his whole adult life broke down in tears during workshop because this was the first time they had shared their stories with anyone. They felt safe. Some of the people in my groups went to college. Most didn’t. But we all came together because we wanted to share our work, learn from one another, and maybe make a few friends along the way. At first, I came to workshop armed and ready for battle, but I soon learned that one could receive impassioned, constructive feedback without being patronizing.

Emphases mine.

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Tags: criticism  feedback  self-criticism  writers  writing 

My Best Fiend [sic]

I ask of a friend not that we be in absolute harmony, but only that our discord be its own delight.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/12/06 17:00

I have what I guess you could call "adversarial spiritual friendships" with certain figures. Every now and then I'll come across some fellow — Jonas Mekas, or Penny Rimbaud, or Alan Watts, or whoever. All aglow these folks are, alight with the intensity of their convictions and the depth of their passions. They throw off much light and also much heat, and I'm drawn to the light but find myself also singed by the heat.

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Tags: Jonas Mekas  ideas 

Mop And Pail, Dustpan And Broom

How PCs become trash accumulators that rival any closet, garage, crawlspace, or basement.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/12/04 17:00

This past weekend saw me neck-deep in some cleanup work — recycling to the reclamation center, books to the charity shop, long-lingering junk to the curbside. I also spent an evening and change reorganizing things on my PC, another long-overdue project. That gave me a new level of appreciation for how PCs become trash accumulators that rival any closet, garage, crawlspace, or basement.

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Tags: psychology  technology 

Slugging (And Slogging) On

Getting caught up, and some notes on criticism from days past.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018/12/03 08:00

The next couple of weeks, like the last one, are likely to be slow for me — the end of the year is always a busy time, what with family commitments and such. Hence my silence for the last several days. But a few things did surface for examination.

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Tags: creativity  science fiction  writers  writing 

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