Roosevelt on victory and defeat

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

—Theodore Roosevelt, excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic”

r.H. Sin on using Instagram as a writer

r.H.Sin is a best selling author that uses Instagram to post poems in the form of screenshots of text. In this article he explains his numerous experiments on the Internet until he landed the current formula. He specially emphasizes the effect hard work had in his success.

“That’s what they call it in the beginning, ‘we’re just talking,’ yet no one is saying anything,” he wrote. “People aren’t discussing things of substance. They’re not asking questions. All these forms of communication but no one communicates. Social media has become a way of window shopping, of watching other people love one another.”

“I am a workhorse. I think a lot of people in my industry are content with the ‘struggling artist’ ideology. I’m not. On any given day, my account brings in 600,000 to one million ‘likes.’ The object is to be seen or heard, and I make a lot of noise.”

“Your account should be growing, you should also be growing. Evolving is the point,” he said. “People bullshit in our niche, they say follower count doesn’t matter but how in the hell do you expect to reach this generation if they’re not following you in some form or capacity?”

—r.H. Sin, The Life of an Instagram Poet

A post shared by r.h. Sin (@r.h.sin) on

Fiction: Space Parasite

Val put on the spacesuit, patted the pup on the head and approached the hatch. One of the propellers was down and she couldn’t stir the ship. She would have to go into space to investigate the damage from the outside. She checked the oxygen tank, and tested the magnetized boots. She set up a long rope attached to her belt. If something should fail, she could be back inside in a few seconds.

Val had been out in space less than 10 minutes when she saw it. A dark shadow behind the ship. It was crouching and moving along the hull towards her. It got closer. It came out from the shadow of the propeller. Val could see it clearly now.

It was a black and red slimy ball. It had long articulated extremities that looked like spidery tentacles. Val’s breathing stopped. It was a big one. The space parasite extended two of the bony tentacles and wrapped them around her right leg and arm. Before Val could pull back on her rope, the parasite jumped towards her.

Val thought of her dog. For one last fleeting instant she wondered if she had left enough food on the bowl to last four days until the next shift arrived.

—max zsol

🦑🚀

Word of the day: Logotherapy

A useful term for an existentialist like me:

Rather than power or pleasure, logotherapy is founded upon the belief that it is the striving to find a meaning in one’s life that is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans.
Logotherapy on Wikipedia

Viktor Frankl is a psychiatrist that introduces the topic of logotherapy based on his experiences as a Holocaust survivor.

Carl Richards On Judging Your Own Work

I had this experience enough times to realize that I was simply terrible at judging whether my work was good or not. And guess what? So are you. You’re just too close to it.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to matter, as your job now officially has nothing to do with deciding if the work is good. Your job is to do the work, put it out there and let the world decide.

Now, I know that sounds scary. But let’s be dead clear about something: You’re not John Steinbeck (and neither was he, at the start). You have to get there first. And the only way to do that is through practice and criticism. But the only way to get practice and criticism is to make and share your work.

—Carl Richards, Free Yourself of Your Harshest Critic, and Plow Ahead

Michael Swanwick on Writing Short Stories

“The thing about short fiction is that it doesn’t really pay,” [Michael] Swanwick says in Episode 222 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “For the amount of time that I’ve put in on these stories, I probably have not earned back—even with the collection—minimum wage.”

[…]

Swanwick believes that short fiction serves as a proving ground for new ideas, and that more of it means more innovation and experimentation. He cites William Gibson’s short story “Burning Chrome,” which served as a test case for Gibson’s classic cyberpunk novel Neuromancer.

“It’s really a bad idea to write something new at novel length, because you don’t know whether you can do it or not,” Swanwick says. “But you can risk a short story, and if it works in a short story, you know that you can take it to novel length.”

Don’t Try to Make a Living Writing Short Stories

Book outlining and an icon timeline

“I’ve found that people who outline a lot spend more time up front planning. People who discover their story by writing it spend more time at the end revising. It tends to even out.”
—Brandon Sanderson

After my NaNoWriMo experience last November, I decided to plan my book. It’s been now about 3 months since I started outlining. I can’t believe it has taken me 3 months to outline a single book. I still feel I could do much more planning. But, tomorrow I am starting the draft. This is what I have to show for my outlining phase:

I wrote 37K words in early drafts, mostly pantsying. In the last three months I’ve written 90K words in notes (character bios, plot outline, setting descriptions, etc). It seems overwhelming when looking at those numbers.

Outline

Following the advice in The Novel-Writing Training Plan, I wrote a synthesis of plot, a kind of “draft zero”, with all the story fully detailed, but with none of the narrative. I’m sure by the time I write my draft one, the plot will change again. The outline is simply a map, the discover is in the writing journey itself.

This outline represents the different arcs, characters and themes of the story. It is helpful to see how well distributed the conflicts (⚠️), the revelations (⭕️, ❌) and the character’s goal (🚀), and other ideas like robots (🤖), drugs (💊), etc. This is just the condensed version, the full outline has one section per scene and one line item per topic.

Tools

  • Ulysses for non distraction writing.
  • OmniOutliner for outlining: This is my replacement for the common cards system for planning. I like text in lines or paragraph form more than cards or even mindmapping.

Planning and outlining can be an obsessive form of procrastination. I am looking forward to writing the book. My goal: 2,000 words per scene per day.

Orson Scott Card on beginning and ending a story

Mr Card, tells us about the mistake that many writers fall into. That of beginning a book with one story and ending it with another.

“[T]he beginning must make the audience ask questions that are answered by the story’s ending, so that when they reach that ending, they recognize that the story is over.
The beginning of a story creates tension in the audience, makes them feel a need. The ending of that story comes when that tension is eased, when that need is satisfied. So in determining your structure, it is essential for you to make sure your beginning creates the need that your ending will satisfy; or that your ending satisfies the need that your beginning created!
—Orson Scott Card, How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy

Ralph Waldo Emerson on self-reliance

“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it.
It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Absolute best quote from all of Westworld Season 1

They say that great beasts once roamed this world.
As big as mountains.
Yet all that’s left of them is bone and amber.
Time undoes even the mightiest of creatures.
Just look at what it’s done to you.
One day you will perish.
You will lie with the rest of your kind in the dirt.
Your dreams forgotten, your horrors effaced.
Your bones will turn to sand.
And upon that sand a new god will walk.
One that will never die.
Because this world doesn’t belong to you or the people who came before.
It belongs to someone who has yet to come.

—Dolores, The Bicameral Mind, Westworld