How to Boycott Me, I Mean, REALLY Boycott Me

Damian Trasler:

I haven’t been following the Gamergate story from the outset. I’m sure some people really are concerned about responsible journalism in the gaming industry. But the flood of vitriol, the rape and death threats have shown that the personal standards of a lot of the people posting with that tag are very, very low. Reading about the response to Felicia Day’s post on the subject made me shake my head in disbelief. As often happens, John Scalzi lays it out nicely.

Originally posted on Whatever:

So a few days ago, it was suggested to a faction of the hot, pathetic misogynist mess known as GamerGate that launching a boycott of Tor Books was a possible “action op” for them. This was quickly shot down, no doubt in part because the person suggesting it was Theodore Beale, and no one at this point actually gives a crap what he thinks about anything. However, last night I went on another Twitter tear on the subject of GamerGate, and I woke up this morning to a few chuckleheads bleating to Tor about what a terrible person I am, in order to, I don’t know, get Tor to talk to me sternly about having opinions on the Internet…

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Two newly published plays

In the final burst of the latest publishing round from Lazy Bee Scripts, two of my latest one act plays have reached the light of day.

Digging Up Edwin Plant” works either as a standalone piece, or as a sequel to “The Kitchen Skirmishes“. It features Bernard and Lucy, now well adapted to their roles as parents, but Bernard has developed an unhealthy curiosity about what happened to the boy who used to bully him at school. Based in part on personal experiences and featuring more poetry than you might expect for a one act play, this piece looks at how we remember people who have passed out of our lives, and who, exactly, forgiveness is for.

The MACT production of "The Kitchen Skirmishes" (See "Gallery" page for more details and images)

The MACT production of “The Kitchen Skirmishes”
(See “Gallery” page for more details and images)

I wrote this after seeing a group had produced their own play based on the works of a local poet. This seemed like a fine idea, so I dug out the mysterious poems of Edwin Plant, after checking there’d be no copyright issues, and used them to help tell the story I was thinking of : Bernard, unable to track down the bully, finds only some poems written by someone with the same name. Is it the bully? What do the poems say about the person who wrote them? Bernard sees regret, and a possible explanation for the behaviour of the boy he knew, but Lucy isn’t convinced.

“The Poems of Edwin Plant” e-book is available on Amazon Kindle.

The other play to be published this month is “The CosPlay“. A recent addition to my many hobbies, my family and I have thrown ourselves into the world of Cosplay after attending the Vancouver Fan Expo ( See here, and here for more details….)

This play has a small group working hard to prepare a vital presentation that might save their department from being downsized, but it’s also the weekend of HeroCon, and at least two members of the department are determined to be there, in costume, for the big photo. The whole department turns out, with varying degrees of costumed success, but the revelation of dressing for your inner hero brings about a few character changes in the office…

New Sketches on Lazy Bee Scripts

Lazy Bee LogoLike New York, it sometimes seems that my Publisher Lazy Bee Scripts never sleeps. It’s been a busy few weeks, with a whole bunch of scripts that I sent in coming to light online. Normally I wait for the Lazy Bee Scripts Newsletter – The Buzz – to come out, and paste it in this blog, but today I thought I would blow my own trumpet a little.

TLC Creative, of which I have the honour to be one third (and occasionally a quarter, since we have a new collaborator these days) has been on a creative kick after two years of resting on our laurels. Although we haven’t produced a new pantomime (yet!) we have been writing sketches and some one-act plays. Most of the sketches are appearing first, with the two plays coming soon. They’ll probably get their own blog post, especially as one ties in with an e-book I have already published.

So, here’s a list of the sketches available NOW and links to their online location so you can read them INSTANTLY and FOR FREE (and then Tweet about them in ALL CAPS!)

Finding Miranda

Miranda’s not happy being Miranda, and she wants to go and find herself.

School for Fashion

Learn how to Fashion, now that it’s a verb, with Lapita.

The Uncomfortable Announcer

Don’t let your kids read this one. A store announcer has to say some things she’d really rather rephrase.

Two Authors

The latest in a long line of collections of bad jokes, Two Authors meet and chat about their work.

I sold my Soul to Santa

It’s a shame Billy’s so bad at spelling : His letter to Santa went to the wrong entity…

The Four Yorkshiremen of the Apocalypse

Four very familiar figure contend verbally with tales of who has created the most misery, destruction and death.

The Spa

Brian isn’t keen about attending the Spa, but it turns out to be completely different to what he was expecting.

Parents Evening at Magic School

I don’t remember writing this one, and it’s funny, so I think it’s David’s. Parents of a kid at Magic school receive an unexpected report on “Meet the Teacher” night.

A Brand New Ancient Tradition

The President of the newly-free country of Sovazni will be arriving soon, and there must be a demonstration of traditional dancing. But no one knows any traditional dances… Time to “Extrapolate from known sources”

We interrupt this Revolution

It’s time for the President’s address to the newly-free people of Sovazni, but the sponsors of the revolution would like to have a quick word….

To see the very latest published scripts, visit the Lazy Bee “What’s New” page

RVs – or Camping the Easy Way

I’ve made no secret that camping isn’t my favourite thing, even over here where camping gets done right: firepits, tent pads, running water, toilet blocks and good access. But I have a dream: Waking up in a campsite without feeling like the cat slept on my head and the tent pad was replaced with orthopaedic rocks overnight.

Yeah, this is how I look when camping. No one needs this in the mornings....

Yeah, this is how I look when camping. No one needs this in the mornings….

So, just for a laugh, we went along to the Snowbirds RV show in Abbotsford to see how the other half camps. And boy, were we in for a surprise.

Just one wing of the Tradex facility. There were three other areas of equal size - plenty to see.

Just one wing of the Tradex facility. There were three other areas of equal size – plenty to see.

In the huge Tradex facility there were lines and lines of RVs on display. From humble trailer tents, through the fabulously appointed Rpod…

Small on the outside, but containing a bathroom and a kitchen and double bed...Plus a zip-on shelter out front....

Small on the outside, but containing a bathroom and a kitchen and double bed…Plus a zip-on shelter out front….

…Right up to the monster coach-sized rolling homes.

The biggest RVs had pop-out sections and living areas larger than the flat I lived in at college.

The biggest RVs had pop-out sections and living areas larger than the flat I lived in at college.

We’ve looked at the Rpods and trailer tents before, but only online, and this was an opportunity to really poke around inside them. What I found weird was that these smaller beasties were the ones designed for family camping. Once you got above a certain size, the RVs were aimed at the Snowbirds – the seniors who run south during the winter, and are looking for all the comforts of home in warmer climes without being tied to another mortgage. The big coaches I had assumed could hold a reasonable-sized rock band and their groupies, actually were meant for an old couple. One bedroom, no roll-out spare beds, bigger bathrooms, and plenty of day-living space. The appointments were plush, but Oldster plush. The whole place looked like Grandma’s house (in a good way. If Grandma had a thing for leather sofas.)

There was more of interest for us in this model - a converted van...

There was more of interest for us in this model – a converted van…

We’re looking for something to suit our old bones better than a pad on the floor. And a built-in bathroom is more appealing than those late-night treks across a pitch-black campsite that may or may not contain bears.

Bears who would be scarier than these ones. And the weasel...

Bears who would be scarier than these ones. And the weasel…

We discovered the Rpod would be great, but the trailer tents are more in our price range and neither is likely for now, since we still haven’t got a hitch put on the car. That’s the one hitch in the plan! That we haven’t got a hitch! Ha ha ha ha ahem.

So it looks like we’ll still be in tents next summer, unless the books sales pick up and I make my first $20,000 and decide to blow it all on an Rpod. Or unless the Rpod people would like me to write them a glowing review of their product from personal experience? Go on, lend us one and we’ll be ever so careful with it.

 

The weasels can sleep in the tent outside it…..

If verse comes to worst.

I’m the opposite of a poetry snob. I’m a poetry slob. Like many people, overexposure to gradiose verbiage from TS Eliot and Thomas Hardy during my later school years led me to distrust poetry.

It’s not straightforward, not clear in its intent, and some of it is more than obscure, it’s maliciously unintelligible.

I know a couple of poets, and one (The amazing Mark Niel) is a poet for the people. He often writes “stuff what rhymes”. He writes about events, and if he uses metaphor, you can spot it for what it is and understand WHY he’s used it. His poems make you smile, more often than not, and the conclusion will have you nudging a friend or neighbour as you grin and say “Look at this!”

To me, it comes back to the old argument about art and intent. When ordinary folks look at modern art pieces, they often say ‘What’s it meant to be?” and get told “That’s not the right question! Don’t be silly, it’s not supposed to ‘be’ anything” etc etc. Worst of all, some artists deny ever having any intent beyond “Provoking a reaction” in their audience. To me, this is a failure. Art should always have intent, an aim, a message. Poetry, I think, has a harder job than prose, because you are deliberately choosing to frame that message in a set format, either the rhyme scheme, or the number of syllables per line, or the more complicated rules of the many, many other poetry forms. If you don’t know what I mean, pick up one of Neil Gaiman’s collections of short stories – he always includes some poetry, and usually explains the rules of the form he has chosen.

So while I love prose, and the freedom of banging out a play or short story, using the odd trick or effort to create a better image or atmosphere in what I write, poetry makes you, the writer, work harder for your piece. In the last week I was tagged in the five days of gratitude challenge on Facebook, and for a giggle decided to do the whole five days in rhyme. Even though for most of the challenge I was only using doggerel (rhyming couplets, if you prefer), there was a huge strain in trying to fit the things I wanted to say into the confines of those rhythms and rhymes.

Adrian Plass once gave a talk about poetry that I attended, and he said “Let the content dictate the rhyme”. It’s simple advice, but harder than you think. It often involves throwing away a perfectly decent opening line because it won’t allow the right content for the following line.

I think my message here is not to be afraid of poetry – don’t mistake it for some ethereal creature, tied to Byron and th’moon and the vagaries of the Muse. Poetry can be fun, it can be tough, it can break your heart in four lines, and it’s always a damn good workout for your brain.

 

Inteview with published author Lucy V Hay

Damian Trasler:

The talented and insanely active Lucy V Hay was kind enough to answer questions on my blog some time ago. Here’s her latest interview with some great links to her current material.

Originally posted on Stevie Turner, Indie Author.:

Lucy Hay's photo

Lucy’s website:  http://www.bang2write.com 

Amazon Author page  http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00EZ45CIC

Blog:  http://thedecisionbookseries.tumblr.com/

Books in the ‘Decision’ series:

Lucy V Hay has packed quite a lot into her young life.  She is a screenwriter, editor and novelist, and is also a trained teacher, a fellow cancer survivor, and one of the organisers of the London Screenwriters’ Festival.  If this isn’t enough she also has three children to look after!  Lucy gives good advice to aspiring screenwriters and novelists on her website http://www.bang2write.com

1. Indie authors are constantly told to ‘increase their author platform’ to get their work noticed. How did you increase your author platform at the start of your writing career?

Blogging! I started years ago, back when AOL had “Hometown” – remember that?? – think it was 2004-5. I wasn’t an author back then, but I was trying to launch my new script reading business and I needed…

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Writing an award-winning blockbuster YA novella that really sells in 30 days!

By Jenifr M’nchylde (author of “I nearly wrote a book once, it was really good but no one was brave enough to publish it”)

 

My soon to be released epic : Mytosis! First in a series of probably twenty three novels. Depending on whether I get a film deal or not....

My soon to be released epic : Mytosis! First in a series of probably twenty three novels. Depending on whether I get a film deal or not….

We all know that authors are the new pop stars. Every teenager wants to be the next Stephanie Meyer, or whoever it was who wrote “Fifty Shades of Gray”.

But how can YOU get that level of success? And more importantly, how can you do it FAST and without any boring “learning how to do it properly” kind of tedium?

Well, the answer is: You can’t. But let’s pretend you can, and any failure of the scheme is down to someone else being too selfish or shortsighted to recognise your genius!

Have you lowered your IQ and raised your expectations to “Unreasonably High”? Good, then let’s begin.

Step 1: Protagonist.

Yuck! A big word! Ignore it. Try this instead:

Heroine: With the “e” on the end, this means “Girl Hero”, and you’re going to need one! No one buys vapid books like teen girls who have been told it’s the “in” book of the week. Except maybe pseudo-intellectuals when the Booker Shortlist is announced. She needs to be feisty, tough, emotionally raw and red-haired. No, I don’t know what “emotionally raw” means, but cheer up, neither does anyone else. It’s best if she only has one parent. Doesn’t matter which, neither gender stands a chance of understanding her. Why? Because she’s EMOTIONALLY RAW! Pay attention!

Step 2: Plot

This really isn’t very important. I mean, yeah, if you want to write an actual STORY like the Harry Potter series, you might want some kind of actual, you know, character goals, antagonist aims, world building guidelines and conflicting ambitions… But if you’re interested in all that, you’re probably a geeky swot who’s actually going to PRACTISE writing, and develop your craft. So go do that. We’re making money here.

In this case, plot is just “How to get your girl hero to agonise over which boy to choose.” Does she have to fight for the hand of the Rich Boy, even though the Poor Boy Next Door is really hunky? Is she promised in marriage to her proud but shapely cousin, while the evil but seriously pumped stranger crashes into her life when his dirigible collides with her house? Whichever line you go with, the important thing to remember is that there must be two boys, each equally hunky, each with simultaneously no interest in our heroine and madly lusting after her at the same time. It goes without saying that the two boys can’t stand each other. They probably fight at some point. Maybe in the river, their shirts soaked, the wet material clinging to….sorry, where was I?

Step 3: Cover art

This is the most important part of the whole thing. You need the brooding boys on the cover, preferably stripped to the waist. Don’t worry if they never strip to the waist in the story (although, if they don’t, you’re really missing something…) Maybe a moon would be good, especially if you have a supernatural element to the story. Oh, and the title should be in shiny lettering. And just one word. Doesn’t have to be anything to do with the story. One word titles are cool.

Step 4: Selling!

You have a couple of options here. One is “Word of mouth”. Get everyone you know to buy the book and tell their friends it was great. This works really well if one of your friends is Oprah or someone else with their own tv show.

Another option is to buy reviews. There are some unscrupulous folks out there who will return great reviews for cash, but it’s not easy to find them. You may offend a few people on your quest to find ones who’ll take a bribe, but keep looking! This is the hard work part!

Of course, you could submit to a regular publisher and go through their process for new authors, but let’s not kid ourselves : If you were that kind of writer, you wouldn’t have been googling “How to write a YA novel in 30 days” in the first place.

Oh, and I nearly forgot!

Step 2.5: WRITING!

Sorry, yes, keep forgetting this bit. Somewhere along the line you’ll have to actually get some words down on paper about your girl hero, her red hair, the hunky boys and what happens to them. You don’t have to come up with a complete story, just set up some big thing, get the boys into a fight or two, and then leave everything hanging. Do that three or four times and you’ve got yourself a SERIES! You can round it off by having the girl cloned so there’s one for each boy, or if you’re a real downer type, flip a coin and kill off one of the boys.

But the key thing, as all writers know is hooking your reader on the first page. So success could come down to this one question : Are you a good hooker?

Tune in next week for my new blog post on subjects I know F**k all about: Brain Surgery! Make sure the colour of your scrubs goes with your eyes, because it’s all about looking good!

IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE NEW INTERNET GUIDELINES, I HAVE TO POINT OUT THAT THIS ENTIRE ARTICLE IS SATIRE.

Sheesh.