Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Congratulations Are In Order

I completed NaNoWriMo for the third time. First time ever officially participating and it was in spite of taking fourteen days off writing this month. I’ll spare you the emo inherent in explaining why I took those fourteen days off.

Anyway, as you may know, 50K is actually about half of a novel. I think I own exactly one full adult novel that rings in at about 50K. First time authors normally need to shoot for 100K. Luckily, Overly Optimistic needs another 50K at least in order to finish up the story.

So, NaNo this year was for me a way to get motivated to write half of the novel … and a way to get a discount on Scrivener for Windows when it comes out for real in January.

Don’t expect Overly Optimistic to be out in January. Part of the reason I had a hard time writing it was that I didn’t have the plot structure developed well enough. I’m going to finish developing that structure before continuing with the rest of the novel. Also, I have several other writing projects due before January.

Anyway, raise a glass to all the fine folks who pulled NaNoWriMo off this year. Especially the ones who hit 50K two weeks ago. Bastards.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bedtime Stories for the ADD: Seedlings

The little god of a little world in a place very far (though perhaps not so very far) from here planted seeds.

There was no such thing as male or female in those days. The god would one day be perceived as female, but back then the god was simply Krabbit.

Krabbit was neither wise nor powerful. Nothing new ever is and everything—everything—was new.

When the seeds Krabbit planted began to sprout, Krabbit went to take a nap. It was a short nap so far as gods are concerned, but very long for us or for the creatures that sprung from Krabbit’s seeds.

They learned to feed themselves, play games, and plant more Seedlings—the name they gave themselves—until all of Krabbit’s first world was filled with Seedlings.

After a very long time for Seedlings, the new Seedlings had slightly different appearances and ideas about the way things should be done. Some said Seedlings should only be planted by certain kinds of Seedlings. Others felt it was very wrong to water at particular times of day.

There was talk amongst the Seedlings of war. Those who were most concerned in one side or another went to talk to Krabbit. They yelled very loudly until Krabbit woke up.

“Yes,” the young god said to the seedlings, “What seems to be the problem? Do you need a bigger world or more types of creatures? Is the sky too green?”

“Oh great Krabbit. Nothing you do could ever be less than perfect—”

Krabbit doubted this very much.

“—We have questions.”

“Oh? Feel free to ask. Did you want to know how this world is held in the sky?”

The Seedling’s eyes grew wide. “Krabbit holds it there!” they said with reverence.

Krabbit laughed kindly. “No. That would get boring rather quickly. The concept is easy, but I’ll let you figure it out for yourselves since you’re disinterested at the moment. What is your question?”

“Oh great Krabbit, we need to know who should be allowed to plant Seedlings and when they should be watered and many other important things.”

“I don’t understand,” Krabbit said. “You seem to be making Seedlings quite well and none of you look too dry. What do you need my help for?”

“We need to know who is doing things wrong so we know who to be angry at.”

The sky broke out in great orange clouds and curly lines of light skittered across the clouds. Krabbit had not yet learned patience, but soon calmed and the ominous clouds and lightning subsided.

“You should be angry only at the people who hurt you or hurt others,” Krabbit said.

“And no one else?” the Seedlings asked.

“No one else!” the god boomed.

The Seedlings were very embarrassed. “Ok,” they said. They backed up from Krabbit slowly.

“Anything else?” Krabbit asked.

“No, no. That’s good.”

Krabbit rolled over and took a somewhat longer nap.


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Friday, November 19, 2010

No/Delayed Bedtime Story

Hey, it's been a hectic week with NaNo. There may be a Bedtime Story this week, but it probably won't be before midnight.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Bedtime Stories for the ADD: Breathing

Heather panicked.

Had anything like this ever happened before?

Everyone was going to think she had murdered him. Sure, they wouldn’t be able to find the body, but would it really matter?

Even if they didn’t, they’d find out about their affair. It had been completely above board. He hadn’t been her student in two years and they didn’t start seeing each other until three months ago.

She grabbed a trash bag from the kitchen and stopped halfway between the kitchen and her bedroom. She squashed the air out of the bag and threw it into the trash can.

Heather sat on the end of the bed and wept.

When she couldn’t cry any more, she breathed a deep sigh.

Dust poured out of her nostrils and gathered into the form of Jerry, naked and curled up on the ground.

She squealed and he jerked and turned to face her.

“Is everything ok, dear?”


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Friday, November 5, 2010

Bedtime Stories for the ADD: A Thousand Rooms Called Home

I never again complained about the house being too small. I didn’t dare complain that the new rooms had dead bodies or spent shell casings in them. Not that I feared her.

She wasn’t the one who made the rooms we borrowed from empty universes so ghastly.

Sometimes I don’t see her for days at a time. I search the rooms, track drywall dust and sulphur through all the incarnations of our house, but I never call out for her. It seems a sin to bring sound into those wind-swept places where gods fear to speak.

What shame they must feel, created by humans and blamed by humans for human failings.

I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming that night as I wandered through our countless kitchens and living rooms. Sure, I spotted the remains of meals we’d carried there, dishes we’d forgotten, pillows I had taken with me on nights I couldn’t sleep alone in that one bed we’d ever shared. It still didn’t seem real.

I wasn’t blaming her for the size of the house or how cramped it felt when she opened up the holes. I thought we were commiserating.

Then I passed into one of the worlds that is endless winter and heard the faint whoosh of the hole being closed.

She couldn’t hear me and it wouldn’t have mattered if she could. I’d apologized before. Many many times before.

I felt like crying then, but it felt like sin.


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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Licensing and Me

This is about the practical side of copyright use in the US legal system.

One person can write a story, make music, record sound effects, make art, and produce it. It’s time-consuming and most people aren’t skilled in enough media to make a good product that way.

If you’re not rich, you need to collaborate with other poor people or combine your work with the Public Domain or appropriately non-restrictive licences. Sadly, too many people use the most restrictive Creative Commons license possible. If you use a No Derivatives license, your music can’t be background for a scene and your photo can’t be a cover for a story. If you use the Non-Commercial clause, your work can’t go in a video because video host sites have ads. I won’t be making money, but someone will, and likely not much of it.

Some people who license NC say “share it all you like, just don’t charge money for it.” In other words, if you aren’t charging you’re ok. That’s what NC should mean, but doesn’t.

For the last several weeks I’ve been licensing all my non-writing material on the following logic: is this something I want to turn into a larger business venture? If not, I release it public domain or CC-BY at the strictest. I chose PD or CC-BY depending on whether I want credit. In photography, I don’t care so it almost all goes public domain.

If it could be a larger business venture, I release it CC-BY-NC.

Writing is a bit more complicated and that’s why I haven’t set a specific license for my writing available here. I don’t like CC licenses for writing, but I’ve yet to find one I like better.

Most of the stuff I write here will be released under something like CC-BY. No Derivatives is tempting, but making a video or podcast from text is transformative and that’s forbidden by ND. Also, I’d rather not have my mistakes perpetuated for all time because I used an ND license.

Until I find something better, you can use any of my work (except Chrissmas Collins Universe stories) with only two restrictions. Make it clear I wrote the original work and don’t charge money.

The advantage, for those who are wondering, is that I maximize my audience and keep my fanbase interested. I don’t release all of my work on Troll Jammies. You probably shouldn’t release all of yours for free either. But make sure you get the maximum benefit out of what you do release.

The people using our work to make other things are people like us. If we make it easier on them, there’s more likelihood that we’ll get the publicity we want.

Note: As I’m sure someone will note if I don’t mention here, it is possible to negotiate with individual creators to get work licensed under less restrictive licenses. However, it’s easier and less time-consuming to simply find something else to use.

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