Friday, December 31, 2010

On Being An Architect: Floorplans

Well, I thought I should finally bite the bullet and finish mapping out Rosentia Island. I have the basic overview done. I know the climate. I know what the name of the two big piers are (Shipperman's and Fisherman's Pier - inventive, I know). I know where the manor house sits. Now it's just a point of actually sitting down and sorting out the manor plan and BOY is it enough to do my head in.

It's surprisingly painstaking to set up a proper map. This manor has about 80 rooms in it. The above stairs sections was fairly easy after checking out a number of Victorian floorplans for Great Houses but the below-stairs section is ... well, there's a lot of rooms and a lot of needs and everytime I think I've got it down I've got to re-draw it.

I've also found photo-representatives of each of the rooms (which took me some time) and a brief description / name so that I can keep my facts straight later on. And all of this for something that only takes place in the first half of the novel (though if it turns into a series, there'll be at least one whole novel based on this and I can re-use the basic designs if not the room descriptions).

It's turned into about 10 pages and counting and I'm already tired of it. On the plus side, the floorplan and some of the stranger rooms have really pointed out plot possibilities so it's not all hard work and no play.

So, how far have you gone to set things out for your novel? And have any of you built 3D models (by the way, Sims 2 is really good for laying out normal houses or regular mansions)?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Magocratic Houses

Well, my main country in the fantasy world I've created functions a little differently. Around 90 years ago, there was a major rebellion against the old aristocracy that was orchestrated by Audorian sorcerers once they were outlawed for their unnatural ways. The Audorians made the whole thing possible but not without help from four other distinct power blocs. After the dust settled, each power bloc formed a mercantile / quasi-hereditary House that would jointly rule the new country. Each House is obviously flavored by the particular backgrounds it came from but each house is branching out into different livery companies and many members are either originally from other Houses or from particularly talented or rich merchants or the spontaneously magical (sorcerers from non-magical lineage) so there's both less differences between the houses and more differences within the houses than one might first suspect.

House Rosentia: They were an old aristocratic family of hidden sorcery who supported the revolution against their noble brethren. Through their skilled betrayals, either by butchery, assassination, or simple espionage, they substantially weakened the old noble families. Due to their treacherous backgrounds, and many scandalous rumors of dark fiends in their lineages, they aren't trusted. However, they're high levels of fertility and the fact that any child born to a Rosentia will be magical has led to them being prize husbands and wives. Many other Houses quite greedily wish to have a Rosentia marry into their ranks (unfortunately, the special fertility stops after the first generation born outside of House Rosentia). House Rosentia has capitalized on the exoticism of their blue blood and their frequently strange appearance, and if they are not artists themselves, they often sponsor some of the best artists - from architects to dancers, painters to writers.

House Ansalon: A naval House who are now renowned for their chemists, alchemists, and sorcerer-researchers. This house is comprised of several prominent naval families who were captains of the old aristocratic fleet before they consolidated their power and helped launch a coup against the old nobles. They are now heavily involved in naval merchantmen and control many water routes as well as shipbuilding and seafaring guilds. They make most of their money in the spice trade. Many of their members are actually descended from pirates, privateers and even the fisherman trades, who were either capable enough or rich enough to be recognised as a member of this noble mercantile class.

House Delevon: Once upon a time these were a secret society of witches and hunters, some of which had the spark of sorcery, who used to creep around behind the nobility's backs and remove curses, slay monsters, and generally protect the general populace. The old nobility had little care for the outback towns and villages ... they were far too focused on their own stilted entertainments. When House Delevon saw an opportunity to seize power for themselves and orchestra change, they have taken it. Unfortunately, they still have to deal with the fiendish House Rosentia whom they would have preferred to see exterminated. Nowadays, they are more often hired for their abilities firsthand and have a huge network of witches and alchemists to call upon rather than be involved in most guild activities (other than, for example, wards). They are also quite skilled at dealing with sidhe, procuring magical artefacts from the Ihlander salt plains, and coaxing Places That Aren't into cooperating with the Realms interests.

House Carrington: The original mercantile class of nouveau rich that were never treated with the respect and dignity they had dreamed of under the old aristocracy. Really, they largely provided the financial and diplomatic backing. They gained a lot of power and prestige in facilitating legal debates, ensuring trade networks went as undisrupted as possible, and keeping the administrative machinery running even during a revolution. There were hitches but House Carrington maintains that it could have been a lot worse. These were the old bankers, lawyers, and budding professionals, such as physicians, alchemists and scientists.

House Audor: These are the remnants of an old sorcerous college that was brutally attacked and massacred by the old aristocracy. They came together and, utilising their most subtle magics, inspired a shock wave of revolutionary sentiment that took the nobility by suprise. They are academics first and foremost and where the old aristocrats awarded careful adherence to noble birthright, etiquette and carefully outlined hierarchy, the Audorians have an appreciation for intellect, rigorous scientific method (what they consider to be rigorous scientific method, of course, is not the same as what modern science would consider it to be), and a meritocratic hierarchy that is dependent on so many factors (intellect, publications, breakthroughs, magical talent, lineage, personal achievements, charisma) that determining one's position in the scale of things is really quite convoluted.

So there you have it, a look at the magocratic houses in brief.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Natural Disasters - Favorites and a link

Since it's the week over Christmas, I'm not going to fulfill my Review / Research cycle. I'll start that again in the New Year. In the meantime, a cool research site is Australian Geoscience. If anyone is curious about Australian natural disasters, their commonality, and historical examples, well, take a look. If not, no biggie. Just comment with what your favorite natural disaster is. Whether by favourite you mean 'most frightening', 'most awe-inspiring', or any other 'most' you care to apply.

My favorite are tornadoes and cyclones. I keep dreaming of those. It's one of the few natural disasters that you can follow and watch.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Inspiration for House Rosentia

If my book is ever published, you will understand. It is one of the noble / mercantile Houses, the more eccentric and, some would say, monstrous houses in The Butterfly Lady. It also happens to be the one that Jason Arneil, the protagonist in The Butterfly Lady, has to deal with the most. In fact, he lives on Rosentia Island. Of course, thus far he hasn't seen much of their true eccentricities but this is just a back water place.

The inspiration is the music clip for the White Stripes' song - Blue Orchid.

Merry Christmas

Sorry I didn't do the review as promised but it's Christmas time and I've been busy shopping for presents, decorating my cubicle, and other such matters of vital importance. Hehe, the girl in the cubicle across from mine brought in genuine lucerne for her baby-in-the-manger display. But yes, Merry Christmas to all! Try not to over-eat (tummy grumbles do not a fun Christmas make) or over-drink (save that for New Years) but do make sure to bust out of your diet tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fallacious Arguments Part 2

Now for Part 2 of Fallacious Research we’ll take a look at different methods of appealing to your audience through various tricks of words that can sometimes sound so reasonable. Also remember, fallacious arguments don’t just exist in dialogue. They can also occur inside someone’s own mind as a convenient method of justifying certain behavior.

First, we’ll start with circular causes and consequences. This is a fun one. This is where you claim that the consequence of the phenomenon is claimed to be its root cause. “The boy was poor and hungry because he was a thief.” Far more logical than the boy stealing food and other odds and ends because he’s poor and hungry, right? Well, we can always prove it by cherry picking. We’ll point out a few individual cases or data that support our argument – a man who lost his job because he was a compulsive thief, for example – and ignore all evidence to the contrary, even if there is more of it. Well, we could also throw in some Misleading Vividness and describe this one man, this incorrigible thief, in such glowing detail that – despite being an exceptional occurrence, it appears to be such a problem that people forget that this is just one man.

Ahh, but let’s say the members on the opposite team are giving me a really good counter-argument that might even sway me - thus destroying all my justifications for owning a mansion while homeless kids are arrested for stealing pears (oversimplification and exaggeration, did you catch it?). I could demand negative proof – instead of offering evidence that thievery causes poverty, I could instead demand that they prove the opposite, thus making my own position look like the generic one that they must disprove. If they do manage to bring their evidence to bear, I can then Move the Goalpost or Raise the Bar by dismissing their evidence because it doesn’t prove that poverty is the leading cause of antisocial behavior.

If they satisfactorily counter-argue, perhaps by successfully arguing that the goal posts were moved too far or that we were getting off-topic, I could try to win by giving Proof by verbosity and simply give them an argument far too complex and verbose to be truly dealt with and keep bombarding them with multi-layered questions that they can’t hope to answer. If they manage to get close to answering it, I’ll sprinkle a few Red Herrings around to distract the audience by introducing a separate argument that I believe will be easier to win. Such as how people today are so coddled they expect to be babied.

Better yet, I can instead take one of their phrases out of context and argue that or even attack the person instead of keeping to the argument. “Isn’t it true that YOU once stole a lolly from the teacher’s desk and YOU weren’t even poor!” I could even poison the well by beginning with a few details about any shoplifting they, or someone they know (if I’m going with Guilt by Association instead), did in their childhood before we get into the argument proper so that everything they say may be discredited or ridiculed due to past indiscretions.

Finally, if all else fails, we could go with a Sentimental Fallacy. It would be more pleasant if thieves became poor, and not the other way around; therefore it ought to be that way; therefore it is that way. This fallacy can also lead to the Fair World Hypothesis: If the world is fair, then people get what they deserve, therefore poor people deserve to be poor, therefore they have no right to steal, regardless of if it is a basic foodstuff or a Porsche.

And wow! I’ve still got enough research for a Part 3 which will include the various “appeal to’s….” After that, who knows?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Comparative Ethnography: Conferences

By the way, an ethnography is an attempt to capture an outsider's perspective of an event and help other people feel like they're there, or at least, help them imagine what it would be like to be there. It's different from a story as there is generally no narrative. In fact, the role is to be evocative while trying to reduce bias - which is the complete opposite of a story which is meant to have quite a strong Point-of-View bias. So please don't judge my writing talents on the basis of my ethnography talents! It's more an exercise in converting modern life to my fantasy world.


People filled the cavernous lobby, milling about a table covered in name badges or queueing for the coffee machine and the juice taps. Then, as if by some unspoken agreement, people started trickling into the main room to take their seats. They sat in pairs or small groups, leaving polite gaps between strangers where possible. The loud mumble of four hundred people talking is stilled when the event coordinator steps up onto the black platform at the front of the room, and gives a welcoming speech.

One by one, the speakers come up to the lectern to showcase their wisdom, flanked by projection screens that show powerpoint slides, web-sites and YouTube videos. In the quiet moments between their speeches, chinking glassware can be heard from the kitchens and distant voices are carried through the gaps between the walls and the high ceilings.

The speakers vary in presentation talent. One woman’s head bobs like a nervous bird as she attempts to both read her speech and gaze out into the crowd. One man spends more time reading the speech than looking at the crowd and yet his speech reading is less obvious because his movements are slow and steady and so it feels like a conversation. Another woman manages to do her speech without recourse to any notes that aren't already up on her powerpoint slide. Yet each has some interesting fact or story to share with the audience.

*****The Realms*****

A wide variety of people clutter the narrow cobblestone streets beside one of the smaller amphitheatres in the city. Most wear representations of their Noble House membership, or allegiance, with badges, symbols on their clothing, with even a few guild members wearing full livery uniforms in the colours of the noble house. The sky is clear, with a few shreds of clouds, and the temperature is quite hot and dry. A few people complain about being under the sun on such a day, only to be refuted by an aging gentleman who states drily that the principles of open communication and visibility to the people demand that such congresses occur outside the walls of any building.

Finally, the gates are opened and people begin to shuffle in. First go the nobility, wearing a few proud but subtle tokens of their House Membership, and they assemble in the front rows of the auditorium. They do not all sit with members of their own House, instead, many of them go to sit with members of allied Houses. Then go the invitees who were expressly invited to attend and they are allowed to sit where they will but most go to sit just behind the nobles' row. Finally, the gatesmen, who have counted each who have entered, tally up the numbers and figure out how many seats remain. Then they allow the uninvited who, if they are lucky (or unlucky, depending upon one's view), might even find a vacant seat beside a nobleman if one of the nobles could not attend.

Conversation is loud and boisterous until a gong silences all. The speaker stands in a perfectly designed space, surrounded by stone designed to provide the acoustics necessary, and also with great skill projects his or her voice. A little magical aid goes a long way here and often a minor noble will add volume to the words of the more important speakers so that all can hear it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Links of Value

Here's a few more blog links that I think are very useful. One of them describes how Culture Isn't Uniform and this is a very important issue to bear in mind when creating fantasy worlds. There are sub-cultures and there are sub-sub-cultures and then there are the smaller groups within. An elf shouldn't be any more of an Elf than I am a Human. I'm a Human, a Female Human, a Human raised in a single parent family, a Gamer Human, a LARPer Human, a Writer Human, a Blogger, an office worker, a local government worker, a White Person, an Australian, etc. Thus you couldn't just label me Australian or even White Australian, though I'll have something in common with them. Heck, my friends and I might even have more in common with a group of Japanese Australian gamers than we do with generic White Australians.

So bear that in mind when writing up your elves. Rich or poor, noble or beggar, rural or urban, or anywhere in between, remember that one's dominant culture or sub-cultural groups are only a part of the equation.

On the other hand, there is a blog post about
Raising the Stakes which is a really good one to take a look at while editing. She even grades the stakes which is really helpful to me as I should really go and check out my book to make sure the stakes are getting harder as the novel goes on.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fallacious Arguments Part 1

Well, since I’m about to embark on some political debate and speech-making in my novel, today’s research topic involves Fallacies. These are often found in arguments where, rather than a person providing evidence and debates in a rational and open-minded manner, they use tricks in conversation to win. These fallacies don’t just work in speeches, though, they also can be in operation in a person’s own mind and can underline certain contradictory beliefs that don’t make much sense to anyone who bothers to scrutinize them.

First, let’s discuss the straw man defense. This is particularly useful when I have to win an argument with someone who has more evidence, a better case, or is simply better spoken than I am. Instead of tackling the issue at hand, I create an argument for them (the straw man) that is superficially similar but fundamentally different and then argue against that. So if a woman gives a well-researched argument that starting school an hour later (and letting youths sleep in an extra hour) improves student grades because their body clocks are wired to get up later and stay up later, I could use a straw man defense against her in a number of ways.

For example, I could re-construct her argument by misrepresenting her position. “Oh, so students should be allowed to stay up as late as they want?”

I could quote her words out of context that change the meaning of the words. “As you said, ‘teenagers just don’t go to bed early enough’, so why don’t we focus on getting youths to do just that?” This could also count as an oversimplification of her argument. Yes, teenagers aren’t going to bed early enough but the research in this example has just suggested that their body clocks keep them from doing just that. This counter-argument over-simplifies the matter so that I don’t have to argue with evidence involving body clocks.

Rather than argue with the expert, I could publicly argue with someone who is terrible at debating and then quickly refute that person’s poor arguments, therefore undermining the credibility of the studies without ever clashing with the expert.

The slippery slope argument is another fallacious argument as it states that even a very small change will inevitably lead to a series of increasingly greater changes that will end in some significant impact. It ignores the possibility of middle ground or even that the first step will also be the last step. “If we let teenagers sleep in an extra hour, what then? Soon the School Board will let them sleep in to midday and then where will we be?”

Or I could appeal to a probability that simply because it might happen, then it certainly must happen. “Allowing teenagers to sleep in will make them stay up later at night.” Or the Is-Ought fallacious argument where something is claimed to be better one way because it is that way. “Since the school day has always started at 9 o’clock, then it ought to start at 9 o’clock.” Related to this is the Naturalistic fallacy where goodness and rightness is the same as how pleasant or popular something is. “Every other school starts at 9 o’clock so ours should as well.” I could Appeal to ridicule by making the other person’s argument seem flawed by presenting their argument in a ridiculous light. “Oh, let’s let them sleep in because it’s such hard work getting to sleep, is it? Oh, I’m sure it must be the hardest work any teenager even indulges in!”

If you’re like me, I’m sure you can think of dozens of fun ways these fallacies can be used to frustrate more logically-minded characters, entrap characters in faulty thinking, or confuse an antagonist. They can also be used for humorous effect and thus can be handy dialogue tools, especially since we tend to use them so much in our day to day lives.

So that’s it for Part 1 of Fallacious Research. Stay tuned for Part 2.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Research Is Hard

I'm trying to prepare for tomorrow by doing research into techniques of arguments and conversation as well as the instruments of power and regulation (reading Foucault to see his views on that). It's hard going to find any books here that boil it all down enough in an easy-to-read and understand manner. Hmm, hopefully I'll have better luck when it comes down to the actual research article writing bit.

Friday, December 10, 2010

How to use Irony and Yay! I got a present!

Well, I was going to save this link to a really awesome article called How To Push The Envelope on a really neat blog called Hypothetically Speaking but then she gave me an Award so I'll push this link up on the queue. This article was really handy for me because in my novel, still not sure whether to try to get it published as The Butterfly Lady or Curse of the Rose, I need to embed a lot of comparisons and contrasts into a whole House-load of characters.

A quote from Erica in her article:

"Weeds" and "Dexter" are both smash hits from Showtime. Both shows have developed enormous cult followings because they have mastered the art of IRONY. The beauty is that the irony lies in the main characters themselves.

Nicely written and very evocative. Take a look to see if this very clever character technique that Erica has unearthed can work for you as well. This article is so good that if I ever find another one of Erica's unearthed character techniques again, I am so doing a full post on it. (Oh, and by the way, how absolutely beautiful is her Blog? I mean, really! She puts me to shame.)

Now onto the bribery that caused me to do this blog post now, rather than try to lure more people to the page with a review on Joe Abercrombie. Erica gave me a Blog Award! My very first. *bows* Feel free to throw flowers up on the stage. *bows*

There it is! Not sure what to do with it other than bask in its radiance and smirk with new found arrogance. Oh well, radiance and smirking works for me any day of the week.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Book Analysis Thursday: Best Served Cold - Joe Abercrombie

Some schools of thought say that you should select a theme when writing a novel and build on it. Joe Abercrombie took to that piece of advice with gusto. Best Served Cold showcases a few solid themes and pulls every iota of plot out of them. The themes that I identified were: Are mercy and cowardice the same? Can revenge ever solve anything or will vengeance be doomed to spark more vengeance?

As a tragedy, this novel is incredibly fascinating as it picks apart the brutality of blood feuds, the futility of politics as old mistakes are repeated, the spreading corruption where hate and pain breed more of the same, and the psychological strains caused by such issues. The novel pits the characters against each other in a seemingly impossible paradox: loyalty is rewarded with suspicion which causes retaliation which leads to vengeance, hate, and the loss of a loyal comrade; while disloyalty can also lead back to vengeance, albeit on a straighter path. If you aren't suspicious enough, you will likely be betrayed, but suspicion itself can lead to treachery.

His characters are complex and driven and the book is a good read simply to see how a drunkard, a Master Poisoner, a Poisoner's assistant, a torturer, an ex-convict murderer, a mercenary, and a soldier all manage to justify their actions. Each believes that their own values are right and, though they may sometimes feel uncertain, and their world views can be shaken, generally they continue to justify their own actions as they stumble along. Often by forcing their expectations of the world adapt to the actions they are forced to undertake. One of the characters does this more than the others and its his terrible slide into tragic monster that really sets this book apart from most others. By helping us understand these people through their thought patterns and complexity, Joe Abercrombie engenders our sympathy simply through fascination. The characters truly are morbid specimens to watch.

Joe Abercrombie also manages to create a female mercenary character who is bitter and vindictive (yet sympathetic), who is actually comfortable in a masculine world (by ignoring masculine / feminine norms rather than railing against the feminine), and who is tough without being boring. There are enough subtle nuances, enough nods to the fact that she is a woman in a man's world, to keep her from just being a bloke with long hair and a girly name (well, sorta girly - Monza Murcatto isn't all that feminine in my book). Nor is she that stereotypical, groan-worthy, eye-roll-inducing macho bull-busting warrior women.

In truth, I think part of the trick was to make her rather nonchalant about a lot of things. Sex and violence are just part of the daily living. Women and men are evaluated as to their use to her. She keeps a tight lid on her feelings but they're certainly still there and when they do rise up and overwhelm her they do it in a way that is uniquely her. They manifest, generally, in physical terms with exhaustion, hunger for drugs, and palpable feelings reminiscent of barely restrained panic (trembling, weakness) rather than weeping or ranting.

This novel is quite unremittingly dark and bleak (which admittedly does fit the subject matter) and the ending left me dissatisfied because of it (which admittedly also fits with the theme - vengeance never brings satisfaction). The fight scenes were superbly described (as were the rather explicit sex scenes) but after awhile I grew bored with the fight scenes. They were too many, and went on for too long, for my tastes at least. Still, his skill in writing them is admirable.

The only other issue I had is a note of caution regarding pacing. Towards the end, the pace moved me so quickly that I started skim reading all the fighting / descriptions, etc. in my desperation to find out what happened next. This ended up reducing my satisfaction as I started stepping out of the scene and more into reader mode. Yes, it's a naughty habit of mine but it is a good point. If the tension goes up too high, you're going to have to write everything at a very quick and brief pace or else the reader will start skipping along.

So, in summary, read Best Served Cold to learn how to write a believable female soldier / warrior; explicit sex scenes; intense fight scenes; novels written solidly around a theme; well-described locations; and believable justifications for atrocities.

For those who have read this novel, what did you think? What techniques did you get out of it?

Oh, and feel free to review my review. Is this method of analysis useful to you? Is it too broad? Too vague? Should I pick one technique in particular and analyse that?

I'm always open to suggestions.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Social Media Advice

Picture Link.

This is some information I gathered on social media from the 2010 Volunteer Congress: Marketing Volunteers: Are we Selling the Unsellable? I thought I'd share it with you all. If you don't agree with it, that's fine. People do things differently and these are just industry recommendations from advertisers, marketers and radio personalities, not authors.

Social media is great to start conversations with a new audience so build the conversation, make it easy to get involved, ask some questions, and develop a web presence by being memorable and interesting. Listen to the conversation (on your blog and in others) so you can understand their thoughts, feelings, and the communication styles. Remember that people come to your social media site with a ‘What’s in it for ME?’ mentality. They want to know why they should spend valuable time and energy on learning more about you. Social media should generally be targeted so keep your writing blog separated from your personal blog unless you're sure that your audience will be interested in both.

Be willing to surrender control to your customers, to invest time, accept that your words may be misunderstood, be cautious when debating with critics (if you do it at all), and its generally a good idea to be polite and respectful toward your audience (though you can be irreverent towards your topics).

For those published authors who want to sell more books with their blog: Remember that selling is listening and problem solving. People buy from the people they like. It’s a recommendation economy and this is seen most clearly with blogs and Facebook where people can see your connections at a glance and choose to become connected themselves. Social media is a good opportunity to let your happy customers do the marketing for you. So remember, “At the heart of any worthwhile sale is a great conversation!”

What are the important things to consider in social media?

Challenges. (Why are you doing this? Why shouldn’t you be doing this? What are you worried about?)
Content. (Do I have enough? How long can I maintain this particular schedule? What would be a more feasible schedule? How can I improve, or increase, my content? What sort of content will I be putting out there? Plan ahead with your content, set standards, and stick to them.)
Communication. (What is the social etiquette expected in this medium? What sort of regularity can people expect from me? What sort of person do I wish to be and how can I reflect this through my communication styles?)
Connection / Conversation. (Don’t be afraid to make connections, build rapport, and get to know the people on your social media sites.)
Collaboration. (Remember, social media is about participation and not consumption. Social media sites are a collaborative effort. Surrender control – within limits – and understand that others are making a contribution whenever they comment or respond)
Conversion. (Be Fresh! Be Unexpected! Be fun! Be irreverent at times! Be provocative - but not too provocative. Have an idea! The more memorable you are, the more likely they are to become regular followers, but make sure you’re memorable for all the right reasons and not because of your rants about the underprivileged and how they should stop complaining.)


Put some thought into your public persona. People will start to develop a sense of who you are from how you speak and they will feel more comfortable if you respond in a consistent manner. What image do you want people to have of you? Do you want to appear to be an intellectual, a sophisticated academic, a laidback friend, or a motherly voice of reason? Do you want to be that critical person who says what everyone else is thinking with style and flair?

And remember, technology and the internet are a strategy, not a solution. If you want to be a writer, you must write.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Adding Structure to Chaos

Been awhile, huh? I've gone from posting super-frequently to rarely at all. A big part of this is that I took a holiday from all things writing (and, well, editing) but if I'm going to blog, I might as well do it seriously. So, since going to the Marketing Volunteering conference in Adelaide, and listening to their explanations and advice on the whole social media thing, I've done some thinking and defined a few things.

The purpose of this blog: To put all my research, revelations, lists, and links all in one place for later perusal AND helping out the writers of the world by giving them access to it all.

The Blog Me: I'm going for intellectual but easy for most to understand. So, basically, I'm hoping to come across as funny but smart. I also hope I can tackle some of the harder issues in a sensitive enough way because some of my research will be on some not so nice matters.

The Schedule: This is the bit I'm not a huge fan of but I might as well give it a go. I schedule everything else. Why not my blog? I'm not going to plan to do up a bunch of how-to-write toolkit articles (I will do them on occasion but I won't schedule them in) because there are other blogs that are better at it than me (The Other Side Of The Story) and there is no point retreading old ground.

So my schedule will include:

Tuesdays: A short research article on an emotion, issue, historical matter, or psychological problem that is both interesting and relevant to either my own work or writing in general.

Alternating Thursdays: One Thursday, I'll do a review. (Mostly novels but I may also review the storytelling techniques used by certain videogames and movies). The other Thursday, I'll do a brief ethnography (i.e. 200 - 250 words describing the feeling of working in a library) that I will then fantographise (my own random made-up word) to see what a similar setting would look like in my fantasy world. Consider it an exercise in stretching my fantasy brain and turning the mundane into something from another world.

I may do other articles as well. Updates on my writing. Interesting musings. Sudden ephiphanies. But they're not going on the schedule. These two things are. What do you guys think? Would you tune in for that? And what other themes could I put on my schedule?