I Don't Know Much About Art, But I Know Who I Like Dept.

A portrait of the artist as an insufferable jerk.

The other day my wife and I got to talking about artists we have personal misgivings about, and she mentioned that she can't listen to Led Zeppelin anymore because of Jimmy Page's creepy messings-around with underage girls. (For the record: yecch.)

When a living artist is surrounded in mystery, that allows people to project whatever qualities they want onto the person. Most of the time, though, they seem to be a kind of positive blank space: I don't know much about him, but his books are amazing, so whatevs. Then we find out something about that person that blights the whole of their name, and we take everything they've produced and dump it in a box for Goodwill.

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Tags: creativity creators psychology

The Most Professional Guys In The Room Dept.

More on what "real writers" do (or don't do).

Somewhere along the way — I don't know exactly where, between time and Timbuktu, I guess — I picked up the idea that "real" writers don't post moment-by-moment progress reports on their work. They just write the damn things and deliver them to their readers when they're done.

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Tags: creativity writers writing

The WDTJSH Problem Dept.

The single biggest difficulty I have as a writer, explained.

In another forum, there was some discussion along the lines of, "What's the biggest problem you have as a writer?" I chimed in, and the answer I came up with seemed worth sharing:

The single biggest thing I have a problem with is the WDTJSH, or Why Don’t They Just Shoot Him problem.

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Tags: plotting writer writing

Label, Label, Label Dept.

I'm not fond of labels. Unfortunately, we can't live without them.

Some time ago I said to someone else something to the effect that, "I call myself a science-fiction writer because I don't really have any better label for what I do." I gravitated towards that category to describe what I did because it was the only one that seemed open-ended enough to cover many of the things I was aiming for.

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Tags: genres writers writing

Stranger Things Dept.

More on why weird isn't just skin-deep.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review (2016) | Roger Ebert

The characters here are supposed to be delightful — or at least interesting — simply because they’re superficially odd, and it just isn’t enough anymore.

This to me is an echo, and a distillation, of all the things I come back to in my talks about "weird" (see: herehere).

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Tags: creativity creators nonconformity

The Big Shakeup Dept.

Out with the old blog, in with the new blog. Slowly.

Now that I've just barely managed to avoid being clobbered by Hurricane Matthew, a quick note about what will be happening here. Starting over the next couple of weeks, I'll be slowly transitioning this site to my new blog publishing system. I'm still working out the details of how this will happen, but it will most likely involve having visits to the blog homepage redirected to the new blog subdomain, and maybe also have new posts echoed to the old blog for the time being as well.

But the point is to give myself incentive to ditch the old system, move everything to the new one, and build the pieces I need to make the transition as effectively as possible. And, of course, migrate all the old content in time as well.

If you pick up my blog by way of social media posts, you'll see them reflect the new blog URL when the switch happens, so you've got nothing to worry about. If you pick it up by way of the RSS feed or just hitting the homepage, you'll see a note — ideally, the last thing posted there — that will remind you to update your bookmarks 'n whatnot.

Tags: blogging real life

Hindsight For Thee But Not For Me Dept.

Anything that gets in the way of your work is the way; it just doesn't look like it then.

"Take 'myself'," Akira Kurosawa is reputed to have once said, "subtract 'movies', and the result is 'zero'."

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Tags: creativity writers writing

Doing Weird Dept.

Don't do weird. Just do you.

Another busy week, pardon the silence. Our text for today: On Being Weird.

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Tags: controversy creativity nonconformity writers writing

An Appropriate Response Dept.

Creativity; cultural appropriation; "write what you know"; and all that.

A busy week; much real life stuff going on, little time for blogging. AONO continues to roll along, and the latest stretch of work brought to mind that old discussion I keep coming back to about how tough it is to be original. This time, a different angle, the one about "write what you know".

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Tags: creativity cultural appropriation writers writing

It'll Be Fun, They Said Dept.

How my latest book started as a lark, and turned into a mission.

Strange, but true. When I first started working on Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned, around the end of last year, it was partly a reactionary gesture. I'd been in the middle of trying to plan a project that just wasn't coming together properly — too inert, too stiff, too unadventurous, too square — and so I decided to chuck it and do something wild-'n'-crazy, do something fun.

Now cut to me around ten or so months later, and I'm neck-deep in this thing, and it's becoming as complex as that behemoth Flight of the Vajra was. Did I goof?

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Tags: Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned plotting writing

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I'm an independent SF and fantasy author, technology journalist, and freelance contemplator for how SF can be made into something more than just a way to blow stuff up.

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