Thoughts On Forums

Every year I hop on the Nanowrimo website forums and lurk on the reference forum, where people ask questions to help them with researching their novels. Over the years though, I’ve seen some patterns.

Like, weirdly enough, one of the first questions of the year is always someone asking about  synesthesia, and another person asking about polyamoury. Of all things. Every year. Not a complaint, just an observation.

There’s generally a couple of questions about Canada. Usually one about the weather, but that never specifies what part of Canada, and thinks the weather is the same across the entire country even through it’s bigger than the USA.

There’s also generally numerous questions referring to something ambiguous do to the fact that the poster assumes everyone will know they’re talking about the United States. “Question about the west coast” for example. West coast of what?

There’s the numerous people who ask questions and they haven’t even tried to research it themselves. Like, you can literally type the title of their post into google and the first result is the answer to their question. There’s a shockingly large number of these.

And then there’s the one’s who ask a question about something they haven’t bothered to learn enough about to make the question make sense. Like, they ask a question about the X era, only X is a place name, not an era.

And every once in a while someone asks on the reference forum a question about a mythical or supernatural creature, in a very serious manner, as if they sincerely believe it exists, and why doesn’t anyone just give them a straight answer as to how much silver nitrate it takes to disable a werewolf, and whether or not unicorns mate for life rather than just mocking them. Of course werewolves and unicorns are real, silly. I’m never sure if these people are trolling. They probably are. I would, if I weren’t too lazy to make a troll ID and use it to post shit like that.

And there’s the people who post “tell me everything you know about X.” But it’s never something specific. It’s something like, New York, or Russia, or learning to fly an aeroplane. Dude, what I know about learning to fly fills a textbook. I’m not typing a textbook into a forum post.

And last, but not least, there’s the one that annoys me the most by far. It’s the people who want you to write their story for them. They post a question that’s not a question, but a request for a brainstorming question. Throwing out some vague ideas and go “what kind of character would make a good main character for my story?” or “What kind of profession should my character have?” The sort of questions that, if you’re writing a story, there are more considerations than you can convey to the readers of a forum post, and an experienced writer would know that. They want you to come up with something for them to write about, when those sorts of decisions and inspirations are the things that make a writer unique. They always get the most responses, too. Everyone’s happy to be asked their opinion on something, especially when they don’t actually have to know what they’re talking about.

There’s one more that I don’t tend to see on the Nanowrimo forums so much, but I see it on a writing forum I used to frequent, but got too sick of this specifically that I don’t bother looking at that forum anymore. It’s “Question.” That’s the title of the post. You don’t know what they’re asking unless you actually click on the post and read it. There are questions where the post title is not specific enough as well, that are almost as bad. I don’t have time to click on every post in a page of hundreds of questions to see if I have anything to offer. Please, for the love of whatever gods you hold holy, title your posts accurately and and specifically. If you don’t, I don’t have time to click on them, because many of these sites, especially the Nanowrimo one at certain times, can run slow. Us people who know shit, we ain’t gonna wait for your post to load unless we know there’s a good chance we have something to offer. Do yourself a favour.

Upcoming Events

Originally posted on Chadwick Ginther:

Some fun stuff on the horizon:

Central Canada Comic Con!

I’ll be sharing some space with GMB Chomichuk, Samantha Beiko, Ryan Roth Bartel, and assorted other awesome folks in Artist’s Alley. Come on down to Booth 328 and say hi. I’m also debuting a new illustrated Thunder Road ‘verse short story illustrated by Kevin Madison (who did a series of  “Thunder Road Trip” illustrations)! “A Simple Twist of Fate” will be limited to a 200 copy print run, so you know what they say: buy early and buy often.

Other friends of Thunder Road that will be in Artist’s Alley include: AP Fuchs (#829), Burst Books (#823), Donovan Yaciuk (#316), Kari Ann Anderson (#116), Keycon (#910), Lovern Kindzierski (#425), Nyco Rudolph (#532), Scott A. Ford (#621), Scott Henderson (#324), and Sierra Dean (#724).

NaNoWriMo is kicking off November 1st. I won’t be participating in NaNo this…

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Athena’s Daughters II

Last Dec/Jan, Silence In The Library Publishing did a Kickstarter for their anthology of women authors writing women main characters called Athena’s Daughters. It was the most successful literary anthology ever done on Kickstarter.

This December, they’re Kickstarting Athena’s Daughters II. Why I’m excited about this: I’ve posted this on facebook already, but when the kickstarter goes live, one of the stretch goals will be the inclusion of a story by yours truly.

How stretch goals work: for those unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it’s a crowdfunding service. People put forward a proposal, state  how much they need to do what they’re proposing, and offer rewards in return for donations. Stretch goals are for when they pass the amount they are asking for, at which point they can afford to do extra things. Like include more stories. Like mine.

I’ll put out reminders and updates closer to when the Kickstarter goes live, but if you want another fantasy and science fiction anthology full of awesome stories about women, with a story from me about an airship, a skywhale, and the end of the world, here’s your head’s up.

Book Revew of Jay Kristoff’s Kinslayer up on The Punkettes

I finished reading Kinslayer yesterday, sequel to Stormdancer, so there’s a review up on the other blog I contribute to, http://www.thepunkettes.com. Spoilers: it was awesome.

Also, I have an advance reader copy of Endsinger, so there’ll be a review of that one soon too, as well as a giveaway of a free copy, so keep watching The Punkettes and here for details!

COPA For Kids

COPA, for my American readers is Canada’s version of AOPA – the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association. They, and other groups, have events where they invite kids to come take a plane ride. They organize a day where they get as many pilots and planes together as they can muster, and all morning and afternoon, planes are up and down taking kids for twenty minute plane rides. It’s about exposing young people to aviation, to let them get the chance to see if they enjoy it and encourage them to get involved.

I was at the EAA event earlier this summer, mashalling, and heard there was going to be another one for COPA, so I signed up to fly this time wth C-FLUG, the RAA 150.

I’ve flown at a busy airport, but mostly St. Andrews, where there’s the tower to tell you what to do, and worry about spacing. This event was as busy as the busiest day at St. Andrews that I’ve been flying, but the difference is Lyncrest doesn’t have a tower or air traffic control, so you’re responsible for spacing yourself. You have to pay attention to other pilots making radio calls, and make sure you’re making radio calls yourself to let other pilots know where you are. That and keep your eyes on the sky for other planes.

I think I did all right – I got some feedback about wide circuits, but I was just trying to stay behind the guy ahead of me who was doing a rather wide circuit. I did a couple circuits  alone before taking passengers, on the advice of the C-FLUG chief pilot, since it’s been a few months since I’ve been flying solo, even if I’ve still been flying.

It was neat to be involved in an event coordinating so many planes. At the briefing they went over what route we’d take. With that many planes in the air, having them all following the same route makes things much safer. We were all on the same frequency, and there were set points to make radio calls, and instructions for abbreviated routes if we had a kid starting to get sick and needing to get back quicker.

The air was the smoothest I’ve flown in months. Once the fog finally cleared, there was minimal wind, and once aloft, the plane sailed like we were barely moving.

I got two passengers. The first one was a boy, and he was excited to go flying. He was completely comfortable in the air, and I showed him what happens when you give the plane full rudder back and forth, and he wanted to do “the zero G thing.” Which is just a sudden pull up an then down, to give you a couple seconds of free-fall. It’s one of those things that can be frightening if your passenger’s not expecting it, and a little uncomfortable, but fun, and not at all dangerous.

My second passenger was a girl, and she was really nervous. I told her how my husband was nervous for his first time flying too, and I hope that helped. I wondered if I should have told her she didn’t have to go if she didn’t want to, but she didn’t seem unwilling, and while she told me she was scared several times, she never said she didn’t want to go. It was kind of interesting, reassuring a young passenger. I was never afraid of these sorts of things at that age – I had a bit of blind trust of adults then, and always assumed that no one was going to put me in physical danger. But I think it was good that she was telling me; expressing her feelings. That’s something I had trouble with at that age.

It didn’t help that she was hearing on the radio that bad weather was on it’s way either though. I wish I’d realized that it was the strobe light on the tail that she was mistaking for lightning, or I could have reassured her about that better. I didn’t do anything interesting on that flight with her – didn’t want to scare her any more than she was.

After two passengers, though, the rain swept in from the north-west and we were grounded again. It was a great day though; I love sharing my love of flying with others.

The Lake And The Library by S. M Beiko

Wishing for something more than her adventureless life, 16-year-old Ash eagerly awaits the move she and her mother are taking from their dull, drab life in the prairie town of Treade. But as Ash counts the days, she finds her way into a mysterious, condemned building on the outskirts of town—one that has haunted her entire childhood with secrets and questions. What she finds inside is an untouched library, inhabited by an enchanting mute named Li. Brightened by Li’s charm and his indulgence in her dreams, Ash becomes locked in a world of dusty books and dying memories, with Li becoming the attachment to Treade she never wanted. This haunting and romantic debut novel explores the blurry boundary between the real and imagined with a narrative that illustrates the power and potency of literacy.

I had a lot of books on my TBR list, but at Keycon, I attended a reading where this author read from her second book, and what she read was so messed up wtf, that I went and bought her first book.

Disclaimer: I grew up in a small prairie town, loved books and art and spent most of my time lost in fantasy worlds of literature, and wanted nothing so much as to get out of the stupid dick town I was stuck in. In other words, the main character of this book is basically me at that age. It was a little eerie.

And thus, the first thing I noticed was the main character’s voice, and the narrative voice. The narrative actually reminded me of Peter S. Beagle, or Neil Gaiman, honestly, both of whom I love for their elegance of prose. I’m not one to obsess over well written prose, so when I notice it, it’s because it’s especially good.

The story straddles reality and magic in a surreal sort of way. The magic doesn’t jump out and slap you in the face, it sneaks up on you, kind of, in a slow, subtle sort of way, and builds it’s way to immersion.

A beautiful book, and I’m looking forward to that author’s next one.