Thursday, March 21, 2013

A few random links and stuff!

I haven't done a 'lazy linkage' kind of post in a while (of course, Sentential Links and the Sunday Burst are that sort of thing, I suppose), so here's a bit of 'lazy linkage'!

:: Neal Asher on tracking word counts in writing.

I upped this to 2,000 and still found it too easy, but then this was all my words, so next I discounted journal entries, blog posts, and stuff I put on message boards (yes, I even counted the words in them) and reset my target to 2,000 words of fiction. This is what I’ve stuck to ever since. When I get started each day I read through and correct the previous day’s 2,000 words, then start on the next. As I reach that figure I try to simply stop, and not go on until reaching a natural break. If you just stop while you know what you’re going to write next, it’s easier to get going again the next day.

I should try that...the 'not trying to get to a natural breaking point' idea. I should say, I have tried it, but I often wind up staring at the screen and thinking, "Where the hell was I going with this?" So now I'll just leave a little note in parentheses, indicating what's to happen next, like this:

"It was you!" she exclaimed.

[The murderer is the butler. Later, having solved the crime, the two Princesses have hot fudge sundaes followed by a pillow fight.]

:: Charles Stross on why he doesn't self-publish:

Anyway: this is why I don't self-publish. Yes, I could do it. But it'd suck up a huge amount of time I would prefer to spend doing what I enjoy (writing) and force me to do stuff I do not enjoy (reading contracts, accounting, managing other people). The only sane way to do it would be to hire someone else to do all the boring crap on my behalf. And do you know what we call people who do that? We call them publishers.

I do think about self-publishing from time to time. For me, it's a notion of last resort, for these reasons: I don't want to spend the necessary time doing all the marketing, design, and all that jazz. If it comes to that, I will, because I frankly believe very strongly in the book I wrote and the one I'm writing and I also believe very strongly that I'm going to get better at this (based on the fact that I can look at my writings from years past and see that I already am better at this). But I won't do that unless absolutely no one out there is willing to do the heavy lifting for me.

:: Phil Plait sums up some new cosmological findings. They are mindblowing. Go read it! As he concludes:

I still hear some people say that science takes the wonder out of life. Those people are utterly and completely wrong.

Science takes us to the wonder.

:: Ten small changes you can make to help avoid another Steubenville.

:: In the early to mid-1990s, I became quite the rabid baseball fan, falling deeply in love with that game. I've fallen away from it for many reasons, which always makes me a little sad, because I remain convinced that of all the major sports, baseball is the most inherently beautiful.

Anyway, any baseball fan from that era likely remembers the awful day in 1993 -- now twenty years ago -- when horrible news came out of the Cleveland Indians' spring training. Two of their players, pitchers Steve Olin and Tim Crews, were killed in a boating accident, and only by some incredible quirk of fate did Bobby Ojeda avoid the same fate. For a franchise that was on the upswing, the accident was an absolute punch in the gut. Today, I read a deeply sad but well-written article about that accident and the lives it altered forever.

The cloudless sky, the shining sun and the still waters betray the truth of what happened here.

This is where the world lost you, Tim, and you, Steve. On Little Lake Nellie in Clermont, Fla. This is where you boarded a black power boat shortly after sundown on March 22, 1993, hoping the bass would be biting on that overcast evening. This is where you saw the headlights flashing from the shore, alerting you that the rest of your friends had arrived. This is where you hit the gas, Tim, not knowing that, in the blackness of a night with a new moon, the 18-foot, open-air Skeeter had drifted out toward the unlit dock on the opposite shore -- a 185-foot-long wooden structure that extended far into the water. This is where the boat slammed, head-high, into the end of that dock.

This is where life met death.

The baseball world couldn't fathom what happened here, because ballplayers aren't supposed to die. Not during Spring Training, when optimism is abundant and nobody frets over standings or statistics. Not when they have young, growing families waiting for them on dry land.

That's why baseball fans remember the names Tim Crews and Steve Olin. They remember the way your Cleveland Indians teammates wrestled with the emotional intensity of that 1993 season. The way Bob Ojeda, who had been with you on the boat and survived only because he happened to be slouching at the moment of impact, dealt with survivor's guilt and suicidal thoughts before returning to the team later that year.

What they don't know, what they can't know, is what it's been like for your families to live with the losses. What it was like for your wives to explain to their children that Daddy wasn't coming back. What it was like -- what it is like -- for them to wonder what their lives would be like today, if only you were still here.

Twenty years. You've missed so much.

You know what's really odd? While writing this, something jogged in my memory, and I realized that I once linked, for another site, an article for the tenth anniversary of the Little Lake Nellie accident. I wonder if I'll still be here in ten years, to link someone's observation of the thirtieth anniversary of it.

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