some useless writing tips, as we carreen into NaNoWriMo
november is a shitty month to do a writing challenge unless you are a college student or a white man with a wife. ponder that one for a fuckin second
that said, ten minutes writing, five minutes resting a la Nanowrimo works pretty good for getting a bunch of words out to edit later.
if you need to look something up [[double bracket it]] in the text and keep on with your life
[[double brackets]] in general are great for putting shit into that you know will need to be dealt with later or notes about the story itself, which is a writing tip I first learned from Piers Antony and which I suppose justifies his entire shitty oeuvre. I shouldn’t talk, I read a lot of them. I read a lot of Robert Heinlein too, and the takeaway I think I’m going for is “squeeze what you can out of shitty white male writers and ignore them for the rest of your life”
highlight shit you know has to be dealt with later and keep writing so there’s a later to deal with it
a joke is much funnier if you let the reader do half the work.
never apologize, never explain - well, explain a little. but over explaining never works. trust your readers. in my experience they’re much smarter than you are.
if you say things in a straightforward way without explaining that unlike in real life, a hoodorwooflersten is entirely unlike, but not quite, like a horse that acts like a dog, and allow the reader to figure out through context that a hoodorwooflersten barks but you can ride it, things go much much smoother.
don’t be ashamed of your old stuff, no matter how shitty. practice makes perfect, and someone probably enjoyed it. respect your past self and them.
read a shitton, and think about what you read
done is better than perfect. done is better than perfect. done is better than perfect.
writing, like drawing and painting, is an artistic skill made possible by technical training. the mechanics of writing can be learned. maybe you can’t be taught the spark. but you can learn to be ready for it
you gotta write a lot of shitty stuff to one or two good stuff. I’m sorry. It’s dumb. I wish it didn’t work like that.
There is One True Writing Method, and that is the one that works for you.
If it doesn’t feel good don’t do it
not like, bunnies and sparkles good, artistic good. there’s a difference. you can be moaning and bitching but it’s still good. I don’t know how to describe it. you have to chase the high.
it works pretty good to have a goal of writing so many words (anywhere from 1 - 1000 is a pretty good ballpark) or time spent wrting per day but if you don’t make it it’s terribly counterproductive to beat yourself up about it
unless you are paying the bills by writing, it’s okay to take a break from writing. Go hike. play a video game. if it doesn’t give you joy (sometimes a hard angry joy, to be sure) stop doing it. rest.
i’ve been getting a lot of messages lately (and unsurprisingly, considering how unrepentantly i’ve been reblogging stuff from them) from followers asking me for podcast recommendations - and i love getting those so thank you, guys! - and i thought i’d make a masterpost of what i’ve both a) finished and b) enjoyed since i’ve started bingeing them. and, as an extra added bonus, what has canonical lgbt+ representation (since i know what you guys are into [waggles eyebrows]).
canon lgbt+ is a ✓. this is definitely the first podcast that i’ve fallen in love with as hard as my original gateway podcast: welcome to night vale. it’s so well-written, the characters well-drawn, the premise fascinating - atypicals, or people with some sort of special ability, in therapy - and it’s such a positive story and experience that i can’t help but feel better on days i listen to it. it really believes in humanity and that’s such a wonderful thing in this day and age. plus, the voice acting is killer.
canon lgbt+ is a ✓. i don’t think it’s been officially confirmed that dr. dalias is, at the very least, bisexual (in fact, the official channels seem to be dancing around it, possibly so as not to spoil anything in the upcoming season), though it’s been hinted at plenty in story. especially as i don’t know how else you can explain a supposedly “straight” male character getting called out on repeatedly thinking about a naked man during a group mind-link experience. that aside, it is freaking hilarious. the premise is doctors in space, one formerly drug-addicted doctor helping to stabilize a currently alcoholic one with amazing side characters including nurse jane johns and levi, a hypochondriac alien and deposed prince who seems to have a personal vendetta against wearing pants. it’s well-acted, cleverly written and a freaking joy to listen too. so funny and so smart, i can’t recommend it enough!
canon lgbt+ is a ✓. so much queer representation it’s bananas. this ask the creators got is actually pretty representative of their approach to the show, slyly funny and very gay. our main character is a genderbending queer private investigator who’s lost his heart head over a sweet-smelling thief with a heart of gold and more aliases than jennifer garner, all set against a noir backdrop. oh, and on mars. yeah, you read all of that right. there are a few awesome side stories as well, including a couple of horror ones (that have no effect on the main juno steel story line, so can be skipped - and the creators are VERY GOOD about warning what’s to come in the episode notes), as well as lesbian outlaws and a disabled knight. there’s literally nothing not to love. EXCEPT FOR HOW JUNO STEEL WON’T LET HIMSELF HAVE NICE THINGS.
hey, hi, if you’re into horror, suspense, creepery or demons, this is so very much for you. the premise is that alex reagan, our host, begins a podcast to interview people with interesting professions. she starts out with dr. richard strand, a paranormal investigator whose mission statement is to debunk all things paranormal. he even has an institute that offers a one million dollar prize for proof of the paranormal, which he has never even come close to having to part with. while alex is interviewing him, she comes across a handful of black vhs tapes: the only cases that strand hasn’t been able to definitively solve yet. the technology to disprove these incidents simply hasn’t come far enough, in his opinion. needless to say, she never moves on from dr. strand and the mystery of the black tapes. each episode, alex investigates another of the black tapes and much later on realizes it’s possible that they’re all connected. oh my god, i almost got chills just writing that, it’s so good, it’s so real, because dr. strand is such a good anchor to reality. alex will occasionally lose her skeptic’s perspective; dr. strand does not. and once alex starts experiencing intense insomnia, making you realize your narrator might not be so reliable? things somehow manage to get even murkier. i really, really adored this one. it’s paranormal set in the most normal of normal worlds, only making it that much spookier.
canon lgbt+ is a ✓. okay, well, if you’ve ever watched black books? this is kind of like black books, aka one of my all-time favorite shows. rudyard funn is just as incapable and universally disliked as bernard black, which was all well and good when the village of piffling vale (which is very nearly a town, you know!) only had one funeral home to choose from. unfortunately, that’s not the case anymore. eric chapman has moved his funeral home right across the street and stolen all the business from rudyard, his embalmer (cum part-owner) and twin sister, antigone, and georgie, their assistant. to add insult to injury, he’s charming and universally adored by everyone except those at funn funerals. very british, very ridiculous, and very funny! WE GET THE BODY IN THE COFFIN IN THE GROUND ON TIME. (well, like that one time they did. [coughs])
canon lgbt+ is a ✓. i listened to this one pretty slowly, for me. it’s very much plot over character, at least in my opinion. which is fair since there’s quite a lot of plot and set dressing to establish. we’re following (dr.) sally grissom, a scientist from the twenty-first century who accidentally creates time travel and ends up stuck back in the 1940s. think a bombs and eisenhower. it was always interesting, and the paradoxes created by the time travel experiments they kept doing were fascinating (i love time travel stuff because of the paradoxes it creates) but i didn’t get really ravenous for it until season two, which is when i really felt it picked up speed. you’ve got anthony stuck in a literal CAGE - a “blackroom” bubble set outside of time, sally trying to garden (oh god), a gang consisting of a veteran, a (former) widow and time doubles trying to bring down ODAR (the company sally used to work for, and that anthony still does) and esther sliding down the ladder of morally unsound one determined rung at a time and it makes for a REALLY grabbing audio drama, eh?
canon lgbt+ is a ✓. i’m already in love with violet liu, all right? she’s a science officer on starship iris–well, what was starship iris. when we first join violet, every single one of her crew mates has just died in an explosion on the pod they were traveling off ship with and the starship iris is in its last throes as well. luckily(?) a passing ship comes along with a plan to get her to safety. this has a real illuminae vibe to it (which is an amazing book btw) and all the characters are already so freaking likable. it’s only on episode two and already shaping up to be a favorite!
canon lgbt+ is a ✓. if there’s a more heart-warming podcast out there, then i haven’t run across it yet. first of all, julian koster’s voice is so vulnerable and soft that i would use myself and everyone i know and also puppies as a shield against everything terrible in the universe for him. second, the rest of the cast - leticia especially - is just as freaking talented. the premise is that julian is the janitor at a radio show that broadcasts from the top of the eiffel tower and has strange and impossible acts every night, from tale-telling crickets to singing saws to the orkestral, a bird that can play every orchestral instrument (except that it refuses to play the viola, because reasons). it’s fun and cute and breaks your heart with happiness regularly and often!
canon lgbt+ is a ✓. this is a horror podcast about a truck driver who is looking for her missing wife. jasika nicole has to have one of my favorite voices around and having it be so heavily dependent on that makes me ridiculously happy. throw in the story-telling of joseph fink, the depth and cohesiveness of his writing, and there is nothing not to love here.
canon lgbt+ is a ✓. this is really sufficiently creepy considering it’s not often overtly creepy. this is set up as a series of relaxation tapes, which progressively get more and more interested in helping the listener break out of the facility in which she’s being kept. super chilling at times, because the voice is so calm and the action so dangerous.
canon lgbt+ is a ✓. okay, well, what more can be said about this at this point? if you’re not listening to it, you’re wrong. why wouldn’t you want to visit a town that can’t be visited and where every conspiracy theory is real and a part of everyday life? yeah, everyone knows about the vague yet menacing government agency, steve carlsberg, you’re not hitting on anything new there. there’s a dog park that doesn’t allow dogs, angels that are never to be identified as angels, mountains that aren’t real, a glow cloud that–ALL HAIL and a love story so complete and perfect that it can and will utterly steal your breath at times. go, listen, inhale.
In defense of sniff walks (and the dogs that need them)
It’s very easy for us, as dog owners, to get into a routine that ignores some of the basic drives of our dogs. Sometimes the desires of our dogs are annoying and inconvenient. Sometimes dangerous. Sometimes they are weird and slow us down. But sometimes they are a necessary form of enrichment.
When we work, our dogs are often shut in the house or kennel to rest. When we sleep, we expect them to sleep. When we take them for walks, we expect them to get moving at all times. When they stop to smell the grass (or graze), a weird rock, or a squirrel trail, we often get frustrated and call them to us. After all, most of us are on a schedule. I find myself forgetting that while I experience stimulation constantly, all day every day, dogs do not get the same opportunity. I propose that when possible, and when a dog expresses interest, we allow them those moments to sniff. To track. To excite themselves and eat the grass. After all, their life experiences are shaped by what we allow, and often what we have time for. Make time to let your dog be a dog! Most of us could use the moment to take in our surroundings and observe the world, too.
This is a long one, because it involves a growing escalation of actions. TLDR at the bottom. Some terms are translated because I don’t live in an English-speaking country.
We moved houses last year, to the ugliest in the street. The previous owners must have loved Mondriaan, because the front was red/blue/yellow in windowframes and door. One paintjob, many thankful neighbors and several months later, I get an invitation to a voluntary “Collective of inhabitants”, the terms read like an opt-in HOA that you can never leave. A long list of restrictions, and no benefits? No thanks.
I know a popular ‘humans are weird to
aliens’ topic is how easily humans can bond to animals. But then
think the opposite.
We humans are so weird because we are
practically bonding magnets
have our social hierarchies, so it makes sense that we can fit in
with certain groups like dogs and even gorillas if we can understand
them enough. We get ourselves acquainted with dogs who have been
domesticated and these dogs will leap into our laps and constantly
bother us for pets and treats and licking us as a way to show
affection. People who can get certain animals to open up to us are
super cool. Aliens are in awe of how our understanding of them can
get us into a pack so readily that humans who are super close to
normally protective dog mothers are allowed to hold their precious
even manage to bond with animals like cats, known to be mostly
solitary. We care for these cats and when they’re comfortable they
will break their isolation and seek us out for affection.
an alien seeing a dog or cat go to an upset human and try to nuzzle
them or snuggle into their lap to let themselves be held for our
emotional comfort. These animals which, though currently
domesticated, were descended from predators streamlined towards a
goal of becoming efficient hunters. Willingly coming to our emotional
aid and comforting us because they’ve bonded with us so closely.
see dogs act as protectors and bark away intruders on the human
territory, but instantly turn happy when they know it’s their owner
and friend. They see cats utilizing inborn maternal instincts to hunt
down and leave 'gifts’ of dead things in an effort to feed and teach
their humans to take care of them since we’re such worthless hunters
in their eyes. They’ll even know if something is wrong with humans
medically before we do, or know about disturbances in the home like
fires or gas leaks, and will uncharacteristically jump us to get us
out of danger.
when humans are in danger by others, and an animal senses it before
we do, these animals will immediately jump on the defensive and snarl
and warn against any potential enemies and try to alert us.
got dogs who will literally jump on intruders and bite them when
they’re trying to attack their human owners. Throwing themselves and
and intimidating animals many times larger than themselves for our
sake. Even cats, the ones people might think aren’t very interested
in their humans, will throw themselves into the fray and claw the
hell out of something that’s a danger to a precious human of theirs.
for an added bonus, imagine if we can get this to apply to bigger,
deadlier animals with similar capacity for pack bonding.
months and months of talking, mimicking, feeding, and caring for a
giant predator the rest of the crew refuses to near, it’s sort of
relaxed to the human. A sense of loyalty that 'yes, this creature
cares for me’. Then, one day, pirates invade the vessel and somehow
the animal gets loose. Cue the crew panicking when it comes ambling
out of its’ holding bay at the time when a pirate is about to bring a
knife or something down on the human. Two seconds later this pirate
is running and screaming for its life when it sees it. The creature
takes a running start, LEAPS over the human (which was closest to it
and already injured) and takes off after it. When that pirate is
either captured or dead, the creature returns to the human, nuzzling
them and making sounds to see if they’re okay.
human is smiling and mimicking the sounds back, or just talking to it to say what a 'good boy’ it is.
aliens of the crew are in shock. The rest of the humans just smile
for some reason, pit bulls get shit on for being aggressive and “naturally violent”
yet the same is never said for chihuahuas and other lap dogs which routinely have aggression issues because of everything things “aww look at the leedle gwowling dog how cute is that~” and owners frequently don’t bother to train them how to behave properly and allow them to get away with aggressive behavior such as snapping at people.
Like, don’t get me wrong I love chihuahuas and other small dogs but they honestly get so many “free passes” on being aggressive or any other aggressive behavior despite the fact that bites and attacks from them can potentially as severe as a larger dog. They get “free passes” when they snap and bite at people, children, other animals, etc. because “they aren’t naturally violent”.
No singular dog breed is “naturally violent and aggressive” because they’ve been bred to work with and live with people, however, any dog can potentially have aggression issues for a number of reasons, including some of the more stereotypically gentle dog breeds such as labs.