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Humble Bundle Full of Books

Hum­ble Bun­dle: A place of mad­ness, I tell ya’

Alright, for those who don’t know, Hum­ble Bun­dle does a pay-what-you-want kind of thing for assorted books and games. They bun­dle the stuff up and you get it for…well, what­ever you pay.

$1? Sure.

$100? Sure.

There are bonuses, of course, if you pay higher than the aver­age or higher than a cer­tain amount (like $15), but the bulk of the good­ies are yours at any price.

Check out what they are offer­ing here:

$123 worth of DRM free books in three for­mats: EPUB, Mobi, and PDF, all from Sub­ter­ranean Press. Har­lan Elli­son, Joe R. Lans­dale, John Scalzi — a whole hella lot of good authors in 22 books (if you pay at least $15).

Some of the meta-data is a bit wonky on one or two of the books (poor Robert MaCam­mon is “First­name Last­name” in his offer­ing, I Travel by Night) but it is a small price to pay for so many books at such an afford­able cost. Not to men­tion, a quick meta­data update via Cal­i­bre (you do use Cal­i­bre for your DRM free book col­lec­tion, right? Right? *judg­ing*) will fix that right up.

Check it out as it ends in six days.


New Post has been published on K. L. Neidecker: The Blaagh

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Insane Writing Falsities 1: Asking Permission


I spend some time float­ing about this here inter­webz, inter­act­ing, read­ing, email­ing, dig­i­tally stalk­ing peo­ple who won­der to them­selves, “who the holy hell is this guy, and why does he keep tweet­ing me?”

As a writer, it should come as no sur­prise to you that a lot of my net time involves writ­ing and writ­ers. We word nerds are like that, all clicky and strange. Some of these folks I fol­lowed because of an inter­est­ing post, or a book they wrote, or because they often col­lect links together in some mas­sive orgy of click­able knowledge.

Some­thing they did intrigued me, enter­tained me, or made me think.

And, of course, quite a few of these are advice blogs, usu­ally on Tum­blr, which answer ques­tions and dis­pense, well, advice on the writ­ing process.

Advice is good. Advice is help­ful. We all need advice. And, for the most part, you can find some pretty inter­est­ing things on these advice blogs, like links to how lan­guages formed or what some sub-culture in a dis­tant land does or did or will do. Lit­tle nuggets of brain-feed abound in these places, lit­tle trig­gers that just might get a new story idea brew­ing in your head.

But there is an insane thing I see on many of these blogs: ques­tions of such an inane sort, usu­ally answered with such grav­i­tas it makes my head spin.

Things like:

My pro­tag­o­nist and antag­o­nist are sim­i­lar. How do I make them different?

Can I (insert action here) in a (insert genre here)?

What are the rules for (insert trope here), and can I make up my own?

Here it is, folks, in a nut­shell. If you write, then you are a writer. Maybe not a good one. Maybe not an expe­ri­enced one. But for fuck’s sake, you are a writer.

Repeat after me: I am a writer and I don’t need per­mis­sion to write what­ever I want how­ever I want.

Really, folks, don’t ask ques­tions like these. Don’t ask the inter­net if you can make stuff up in your own book.

And that’s what this all boils down to: ask­ing per­mis­sion. Sure, the for­mat of the ques­tion changes, but the seed of the issue, the crux of the prob­lem, is this.

I want to write, but I can­not because of some rule, or I am afraid to solve the prob­lem myself since I might be miss­ing some rule.

How do you make your char­ac­ters dif­fer­ent from one another? Really? How many peo­ple do you know? A bunch I bet. Notice how they are all dif­fer­ent? Write like that. Write those peo­ple. BAM, magic. Char­ac­ters are really not that hard, and none of them are ever made whole cloth and from the author’s brain-meat. Pull from the sources of your life, for good­ness sake. Every­one is doing it, folks, everyone.

If you have to ask how to write a cer­tain story, then you are either not read well enough in those types of sto­ries to feel how they work, or you are afraid to write it the way you see it in your head. Either way, you need to come to grips with the fact you are the writer, you are at the wheel. I see folks ask­ing things like, “How do I write fan­tasy…” I promise you, no amount of help­ful links in a mas­ter post of writ­ing shit is going to answer that. You can­not learn how to write fan­tasy from the inter­net. You learn by A) Read­ing fan­tasy, or B) Just mak­ing it all up as you go! You can do that! In fact, it was just this type of DIY atti­tude that got us all our great books to begin with, folks.

I will repeat that: Those book that affected you the most, that made you want to write, were likely the exact books that broke the rules and made it all up.

Tolkien was like, “Imma write a pseudo-historical tale and take ele­ments from all the races I’ve read about in real life, but add, get this, lit­tle damned peo­ple and a giant flam­ing eye­ball on a tower!”

David Eddings was like, “Imma write fan­tasy with­out fol­low­ing most of the set rules for it by Tolkien and the authors that fol­lowed, and instead take ele­ments of ancient prose-poems and tales of knights, and get this, make my wiz­ard a lech­er­ous dunkard whose only love was a wolf-woman! Oh, and glee­ful violence!”

What are the rules for a cer­tain story ele­ment? There are no rules, and that’s the rule. Tolkien didn’t fol­low rules. Brad­bury didn’t fol­low rules. Elli­son actively had car­nal activ­i­ties in pub­lic with rules. You make the rules.

Look, I get it. We all start some­where. We all need a hand. We all want to know if we are doing it right. And there are cer­tain, let’s call them best prac­tices, to bor­row from the dead soul­less void of the cor­po­rate world. Not rules exactly, but not not rules, either.

You should try and write in an active style. You should avoid too much pur­ple prose. You should keep char­ac­ters inter­est­ing and lively. You should mix up sen­tence length so it is fun to read.

Fan­tasy usu­ally involves magic. Sci-fi often takes place in space. Noir has a lot of brood­ing, angry protagonists.

But do not ask ran­dom peo­ple on the Inter­net if it is ok for you to write a cer­tain theme, or style, or genre. Either you do or you don’t, there is no ask.

That’s what it is to be a writer.

If you want rules, be a lawyer.

If you want to write a noir steam­punk fan­tasy were­wolf book, then open your lap­top and do it. You’ll get an awful lot more done that way than ask­ing the inter­net for per­mis­sion, I’ll promise you that.