The Sound of (horrible) Music

The way that some people are picky eaters, I’m a picky sci-fi fan. The way others might wrinkle their noses and pluck mushrooms from their casserole, I remove lots of things from my sci-fi buffet. I’d like to like it all. I really would. But I don’t. And I have a confession. I wish I could like Blade Runner. I really do. But I don’t like it and the reason why – tragically – has almost nothing to do with the story itself. I hate the music. While I appreciate the idea of replicants and the exploration of what-makes-us-human, I can’t get past the awful soundtrack. I’ve tried. It’s (to me) so, so, so awful that I don’t plan to ever attempt watching it again, unless it’s muted and I’m just reading the dialogue captions. Continue reading

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Pandora, and Gift Horses

It was my good fortune to attend the Taos Toolbox workshop in 2014, an experience I give my highest recommendation to anyone considering it. Besides the excellent instruction and critiques, I made some wonderful friends. One of them, my roommate, shared my tastes in music and upon coming home, I queued up her favorite Pandora station: Moby Radio.  A year and a half later I am still listening to that channel 95% of the time when I’m on Pandora. It might not be the perfect choice for every writer, but it seems to have an excellent balance of instrumentals against songs with lyrics, and I find myself clicking the ‘thumbs down’ maybe once every six weeks. Continue reading

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Storytelling Done Right: USA’s “Suits”

I’ve discovered that lackluster programs generally lack luster for obvious reasons. Often they’re simply boring. Sometimes the casting and directing isn’t great. Sometimes the characters’ motives are inconsistent, and the story line just doesn’t hang together. For the most part, if I stop watching a show I can usually say why. Shows I love, though, are a little harder to dissect. I’m always on the lookout for what the program is doing right and I’ve been struggling for a while to figure out what, exactly, USA’s law-drama “Suits” is doing to keep me hooked. Continue reading

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Goodreads

For anyone new to Goodreads someone once described it to me as “like Facebook without all the dickery, and it’s mostly just for book-lovers.” I suppose that’s just about the best way to sum it up. Instead of finding out my acquaintances’  angst-ridden political views, I can log on to Goodreads and find out what my friends are reading, check out book reviews, and get updates on book-related blogs. It’s not social-networking so much as book-networking, and that’s freaking awesome.  Continue reading

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Filed under Book Review, Traditional books

Odyssey Podcasts

There are a lot of great writing workshops out there, too many to try to attend, really. So I was happy to discover that the Odyssey Writing Workshop offers a podcast on some of its lectures. It’s a nice way to get an idea of what to expect if you’re thinking of applying but it’s also a lovely way to pick up on some great writing advice if a six-week workshop isn’t practical for you. The podcasts are produced intermittently, and are some of the best I’ve found when it comes to writing advice.

As a nifty bonus, they have a handy page of writing tips as well.

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January, Jedi, and Justifications

According to Hugh Howey’s advice, aspiring writers should blog every day. I’m not one to argue with successful authors. The reasons I haven’t blogged more in the past fall into two camps: I don’t have any successful-author advice of my own to share (yet); and the rest of what I have is just strong opinions. But I’m trying to embrace the idea that maybe there’s nothing wrong with a strong opinion or two. So, here goes. Continue reading

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Neverwhere (kind of a book review)

A decade ago I read Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. For the first – and, I increasingly suspect, only – time in my life, when I reached the last page I turned back to the first one and started rereading it immediately. I loved the characters, the setting, the adventure, the sense of history intertwined with myth. I loved something woven through it all but it took me ten years to figure out what that something was. Continue reading

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