What a couple of weeks…

Hi all.


Things are a bit tough right now, aren’t they?

Ugly stuff is happening. The treatment of refugees in America (and, more quietly, in and offshore from Australia) is one issue. The latest blow-up has occurred during Refugee Week, which is a sick irony – especially when refugee rights matter all the time, as all human rights do. Another issue – especially if you’re a young city woman like me – is the recent murders of young women who were just living life. Earlier in the week (and last week), I’d wanted to write more about that, but plenty of people, especially women, have said lots already. Also, my emotional bandwidth is occupied by those very issues and other life ones.

There are so many good things happening, too. The uproar of resistance, quiet and loud, of people saying, “enough”, is a good sign. A reminder that there are more good people working for “equality, diversity, justice and love” (as I saw it mentioned online) than there are opposing that. I’ll quote him because it lifted me when I needed it yesterday:

“There are hundreds of millions of people in this world who (just like you) wake up every day trying to be the kind of person the world needs; lavish with compassion, overflowing with generosity, relentless with love. You are, even when you’re not aware of it, surrounded on all sides by like-hearted people who are not okay with the suffering around them either.”
source here

So, while getting annoyed at world things and thinking about how to change them, prioritising life things, and keeping on keeping on, I’ll take time for me where I can, to be with good people and do fun things. Like this, today – a mob called the Roo Keepers came to my uni campus and I got to hold some different Australian wildlife.

Keep on doing your thing, people. Be your own superhero, including being brave enough to reach out to people if things aren’t going well.

WT&TT: Pros & Cons of Pro Cons (reblogged)

Hey look, it’s Tuesday. Chuck is talking about the benefits and downsides of conventions for authors.

The Pros And Cons Of Pro Cons (For Writers)

by terribleminds



I tickle myself inappropriately.

Anyway, so, last week Authorbeing Marko Kloos wrote a post about the cost of his trip to Confusion, an SFF con in Michigan. His estimation of cost: $1880, though he notes with more frugal spending that cost could’ve easily been knocked down to under a thousand bucks.

Still, a thousand bucks is no small amount of cash. With that you could pay rent, make a car payment, buy a month’s worth of groceries, or finally afford a long relaxing weekend with your own personal SEX PONY. Is that an actual pony with whom you make love? Or a person dressed like a pony who just hangs around being sexy? I have no idea! I don’t want to know your peccadillos! I’m not here to judge!

The question, particularly for genre writers, becomes:

Is it worth it?

Is it worth going to a convention or festival not just as a fan but as a professional writer or a writer seeking professional connections? Are some conventions better than others? After all, a genre convention (SFF or mystery or YA) will be different from a more general writer convention (conference) and those will be different yet from a comic-con or book festival.

Do you need to go to one?

Let’s just get the tl;dr out of the way right now:

Nope, you don’t.


Wait! I was kidding, don’t go away. Unless you’re going away to get me some French fries. You’re not? Then fine, plunk your BOTTOM REGION down on that CHAIR-SHAPED ENTITY and listen because I’m not done talking, goddamnit. No, you don’t need to go to any convention…

But you may still find value there. You are not required to go — meaning, at no point is your professional career hinging entirely on WHO YOU SCHMOOZED AT THE BAR THAT NIGHT AT WANGLE-DANGLECON. Your writing career hinges on writing good books that an editor likes and a publisher thinks they can sell and that readers want to read and also, there’s a hefty dumpster-load of luck at play, too.

Though, let’s talk a little bit about that luck factor, shall we? If we view luck through the lens of an RPG, your Luck Stat can (by most rules) be used to boost your chances at, say, finding more treasure or managing a critical hit while attacking a VILE DISPLACER GIRAFFE. If we view life as one big ongoing RPG, then your Luck Stat is there to boost your chances in various life arenas from the romantic to the financial to the professional. Very few things rely entirely on luck — but many things can be influenced by luck. Writing and publishing included.

You can not create luck, really. But you can maximize it.

Bringing this full circle, going to a convention or conference or festival can help maximize your luck in this space. Meaning, maybe you cross paths with an agent or editor who will remember you later when your book crosses their desk. Or maybe you’ll meet another author who is likelier to take a look at your book to blurb it when the time comes because they actually remember your face. Or maybe you attend a panel where four authors say a bunch of smart and dumb stuff that combines like IDEA VOLTRON in your head to form your next book. Again, none of this is essential, but a lot of it has the chance to give you a boost in a variety of ways.

That’s the upfront tl;dr —

No, conventions/conferences/festivals are explicitly not “required.”

But they can be worth it.

Let’s now hash out the actual pros and cons, yeah?

(Disclaimer: this post is just my opinion, and does not comprise anything resembling fact.)

Read more by clicking on the title.

WT&TT: The Unexpected Utility of Science Fiction (reblogged)

Really interesting. I think I like sci-fi and just about any type of fantasy because of the ability to explore the “what-ifs” safely, usually in such a way as certain things are imagined as better than they are today (and if not, then the things which should change – then and now – are usually illustrated starkly).

do have an “overactive imagination”, but I usually like to maintain a positive-realist outlook, curbing my sometimes-weird wonderings when they get too out of hand. Of course, I’m more successful some days than others! Maybe that’s why I don’t like gory horror stuff….


Disaster, Worry, and the Unexpected Utility of Science Fiction

By Karina Sumner-Smith

A few years back, I took a new job at a new company in an unfamiliar area of town. After settling in—finding the kitchen and washrooms, claiming space for my massive mug, attempting to find a better chair—I started my usual planning for the apocalypse.

Where, in this office, were the exits? Were the doors easily barricaded against the undead; were the halls, or the stairways? Where could one hide if zombies got inside? And where were the air vents, anyway?

“What are you doing?” one of my new co-workers asked on my second day of (apparently not-so-unobtrusive) poking into corners.

“Oh,” I replied absently, “just finding escape routes for when the zombie hordes attack.”

There was a pause.

“Well?” she asked at last. “Will we be safe?”

“Nope,” was my honest reply. “We’re all totally screwed.”


It’s no surprise that writers are good at coming up with stories. Creating stories—or if not full stories, then at least scenarios—is a critical part of the skill-set, and one that gets honed by constant use. Yet this is also a skill of worriers and those with “overactive imaginations”—categories, all, into which I fit neatly.

Worrying, wondering, asking “what if” is something that we all do, at some level. What if I don’t get this job? Should I call him back? What was that noise? Can you even imagine the reaction if I’d gone in there with ketchup smeared across my face?

It’s just that a lifetime of reading and writing genre fiction seems to have shaped the scenarios that my brain presents. On top of all the everyday worries and thoughts of any adult, others slip into the mix.

Read more by clicking on the linked heading above.


WT&TT: Your 2016 Authorial Mandate (reblogged)

Another one of Chuck Wendig’s great posts about writing. Simply? You call the shots – no-one else. Warning for language. Read on:

Your 2016 Authorial Mandate Is Here: Be The Writer That You Are, Not The Writer Other People Want You To Be

by terribleminds

That blog title is way too long, but fuck it.

A handful of weeks ago, some presumably well-meaning tickledick posted a comment here at the blog. It was a comment that I chose not to approve because, really, I don’t need your shit, Rando Calrissian. This blog is my digital house, and I don’t let strangers inside just so they can take a dump on my kitchen table, especially so we can all sit around, smelling it and discussing it. But the comment was a splinter under my nail, working its way up into the finger-meat. And then reading George R. R. Martin’s end-of-the-year message about not finishing the newest SOIAF also was something that crawled inside me and starting having thought-babies.

Being here on the Internet is a bit like hanging out on a clothesline — some days are sunny and warm, other days are cool and breezy. Some days it pisses rain and the wind tries to take you, and other days it’s daggers of ice or a rime of snow or smoke from a wildfire or some pervert streaking across the lawn and stropping up against you with his unwanted nasty bits.

Being on the Internet means being exposed.

You’re just out there. A squirming nerve without the tooth surrounding it.

That’s good in some ways because you’re exposed to new people, new ideas, new ways of doing things. You’re not an isolated creature here. You are an experiment being observed and are in turn an observer of countless other experiments, and that makes a subtle-not-subtle push-and-pull. But can also be erosive or corrosive — it can wear off your paint a little bit.

As a writer in particular, it has its ups and downs, too. Here, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a gaggle of ink-fingered cohorts who know what it is to do what you do. You’ll have a herd, a cult, a clan, a tribe. You’ll have smaller communities who know what it is you write or want to write, too, whether it’s young adult or epic fantasy or erotic sci-fi cookbooks. And here on the Digital Tubes, everybody is has an opinion, everybody is an expert. And that’s extra-true with writing. Other writers have their processes and their hang-ups and their wins and their losses, and they share it all. Which is, on a whole, a good thing. Information is good. Camaraderie is good.

That, though, can muddy the waters at the same time. This Person is doing This Person’s thing, and That Person is doing That Person’s thing, and Other Person is really loud about what WILL SURELY WORK FOR EVERYBODY (translation, will probably only work for people who are or are like Other Person). And advice gurgles up around your feet like rising floodwaters. Do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t say that, don’t write this, this isn’t selling, that is a no-no, publish this way, sell that way, don’t publish that other way, drink this, wear houndstooth jackets with elbow patches, drink that, snark here, snark there, with a fox, in a box, wearing socks, eating rocks, with a bear, without hair, anywhere. We have a whole lot of writers trying to figure out who they really are, and in the process, do a very good job at also telling you who you should be in order to conform to their notions of who they want to be. To confirm who they are, it’s easy for them to also confirm who youshould be, too. That’s not sinister. That’s just human nature. It’s easier to become something when others are along for the ride. And it’s also the joy of confirmation bias — what worked for me confirms that I WAS RIGHT AND SO YOU ARE A HEINOUS DIPSHIT IF YOU DO NOT FOLLOW PRECISELY IN MY FOOTSTEPS. I do it. You do it. Most of us do, I think.

Read more by clicking on the title above.

Writing Tips & Tricks Tuesday

I subscribe to a few author sites where authors fling thoughts into the void of the internet. I’ve decided that this year, for the foreseeable future, Tuesday will be the day I reblog some of these thoughts. (As an example of how many I get, I’ve already got posts scheduled into March, just from a couple of weeks in January.)

This week, I’m just going to put in a couple of links from Chuck’s blog. They’re guest-blog posts, two authors talking about five tips they learnt writing a particular book/ series/ etc.



And one from Chuck himself about storytelling lessons he’s observed in the latest Star Wars movie: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2016/01/13/five-storytelling-lessons-from-the-force-awakens/

REBLOG: Togs or Swimmers?

I love language…..

Togs or swimmers? Why Australians use different words to describe the same things

Is Australia about to descend into civil war over whether a deep-fried potato snack is rightfully called a “potato cake” or a “potato scallop”? From some recent headlines, you might be forgiven for thinking so.

A series of maps showing differences in words used across Australia sparked fierce debates online over the virtues of calling a barbecued sausage served in a single slice of bread a “sausage in bread” or a “sausage sandwich”.

Given that these maps were put together as part of an educational activity for students participating in the Linguistics Roadshow, the huge interest in the way Australian English is used across the country took us by surprise. But, perhaps it shouldn’t have.

It’s often said that Australian English doesn’t vary much geographically – and it’s true that we don’t find the same striking linguistic differences across the country as in some other corners of the English-speaking world.

However, past and ongoing research has shown that there are some regional differences. Among the most obvious are the words people use for the same thing, such as swimwear – preferences for “togs”, “swimmers”, “cossie” or “bathers” vary markedly across the states and territories.

A very interesting article from The Conversation. Read the rest here.

Life, Generally….and EdiMo is (Almost) Ready to Roll

Hello again!

Well, it’s been a bit busy, hasn’t it? Last week (and the week before) was mostly scheduled posts as exam revision and then exams made me focus on them. Now, though, I’m free and ready to talk. Call this a catch-up post with a few topics. 😛

First thing – the Walk Together Event was great fun. 🙂 I enjoyed it and will certainly be coming back next year. I enjoyed meeting new people and saying hello to those who I knew already. We had quite a strong group where I was and the crowds were good at other places too.

Secondly….who else watched last week’s Melbourne Cup? I know, I know, I’m a bit late, but hey, congrats Michelle Payne, Stevie Payne, Darren Weir and the owners and other assorted people. Also, let’s not forget the horse, Prince of Penzance. That was a very special race. Ten-year-old me and her imaginary mount Mystical Moonlight (I know, what a name!) cheered when she saw Michelle and Penzance were going to win. Current me let out a cry of “Yes!” and punched the air a bit when they crossed the finish line. It’s nice when the good story wins. First female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, with quite the family story behind her (including her brother Stevie the strapper, who has Downs Syndrome), plus a down-to-Earth trainer and a horse with his own history to overcome? It’s the sort of story, I thought, that an author would dream up – made all the better because it’s true. 🙂

I backed Michelle and Penzance from before the race, though not with money. I don’t like the gambling side of racing – or the cruelty side. Those sort of discussions do need to happen, but it’s a tricky thing to negotiate at times. You can tell most trainers, jockeys and strappers etc. love their horses. Darren Weir is a good trainer to support; he employs someone to find homes for horses who can’t make the cut. It’s a shame about Red Cadeaux injuring himself, but at least he’ll live. There was an interesting article in The Age the other day which explored what really happens to horses after they retire or are injured and why they are often put down after injuries. I encourage you to read it, it explains things well. The second link is a more detailed explanation linked to in the first one.

Thirdly, did anyone see the latest Doctor Who episode (weekend of 7th/8th Nov)? Oh my goodness. I was going to geek out a bit here, but then decided it needs its own post. I’ll just say: great acting by all, especially by Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman. Loved the real-world and in-world references. And oh my goodness. That Speech. 😀 More later – it deserves its own post (which I went off to write because it was swimming around in my head – a factor in why this is being posted now and not 12:00 or earlier, 😛 ).

Oh yeah, almost forgot: check out this piece from Pavowski (he used to be Pavorisms but is now ‘Accidentally Inspired’). It’s a little thought on time. Note our amused exchange at the bottom – a reminder about Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere differences. 🙂 A lot of his stuff is pretty interesting, really. Go on, check it out.

So, finally: EdiMo. For many people, November is National Novel-Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. My view on that is similar to Pavowski’s view. Some may like it, but I don’t so will not participate. What I am doing though is EdiMo. My idea is that it will be an “Editing Month” or more than a month, to try to kick-start the editing process. There are different parts to this, so if you see a post with the title “EdiMo”, it’ll be about the writing. First, though, I need to finish the first draft, which is a holey quilted thing of different parts, some more coherent than others to the overall storyline. Blame the fact I’ve been writing this thing over sixteen months in bursts lasting for an hour or so at a time on the train, with a few longer patches sprinkled in.

So, off I go!