Friday, October 26, 2012

Things Matt Links: Oct. 26

Below the fold will be the link to the story I mentioned yesterday, along with a brief bit of my thoughts on it. Until then, enjoy some links. Some of these show that I am both lame and behind on my internet linking.

First up, some science! People really do get dumber in a group, it is science. It also explains why the House is even more dysfunctional than the Senate. Either or, let's ignore their caution that we shouldn't extrapolate from their tentative findings. Be a hermit, for your intelligence.

I don't think there are more jerks today than before. I think it is probably the Internet just lets us get in touch with them more frequently. Also: Television.

Speaking of intelligence, here's an interesting thought. So, what have we learned? Stupid people are genetically inferior. Wait. I don't think that's the message I was supposed to get from this article. Maybe I should read it again.

Also: Mimicry. I think this is kind of cool. Think of what terrible secrets are whispered in the deep. By Beluga whales. And/or Cthulhu.

Score: 1 whoever made this sign; 0 Metro.

Here is the most recent page-a-day story. My issue with this story is multi-fold. I first wanted to write a dark fantasy, but I couldn't decide who my protagonist was going to be. I didn't want it to be the old paladin-type guy, but none of the kids seemed strong enough to carry the narrative load. Horace was too deferential to authority; Tom and Fenton were both good possibilities to take on the hero role, but they had their own problems.

What was worse is that I didn't know how to make them win. That's why you'll notice there's a lot of jumping back and forth between people. It was because I didn't know how to make things end well. So, somewhere around when Horace was at the bridge and meets the doppelganger, I decided: "Screw it. Kill'em all." I am more than willing to completely admit this is the cheapest of all authorial cop outs and I took it. I embraced the cheap out; I am not ashamed.

What did we learn though, from this? First: I don't write organically very well. I may never have; I really felt the lack of a plan, and I feel it starts to show. I need my outlines and character arcs planned out before I start writing. Some people can sit down and just write, I don't think I have that skill. On top of that, I really felt the pain of not having a map in mind or a world cosmology/history. Who was this river god we talked about for the first 10 pages or so, but then totally forgot about as the plot picked up? Pre-writing: It is important.

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P.S., Here are the other three page-a-day stories so far this year, if you feel like reading. Of them all, the only one I even remotely like is Across the Gap. Even then... only a little.

1. Across the Gap
2. Parskins Story Ending 1 / Ending 2
3. Zombie Story

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