datbeardyman

Less about the world, more about me.

Weekly Links #24

Another week and another bunch of links. And it’s been a good week. Writing is going well. I’m at the 25000 words mark, which is enough words to create a momentum of their own. I’m not sure the Winterfest deadline is still realistic, but I’m still trying to keep to it.

Of course the most important thing to happen in the entire world is the return of Game of Thrones. So obviously I’ve included an article about GoT. How could I not?

I’ve included a really heavy piece about Post Colonial Theory. Partly to show off that I managed to read the entire thing, but also because the parts I did understand, were quite interesting. At some point in my life I’m going to have to study philosophy. I like reading these snippets, but I think I really need to master the basics before I can really enjoy the heavier bits. And be able to offer opinions that I can defend.

I’ve also included an older thing about Messi. I simply love Messi. I simply love Messi.

And as always, feel free to subscribe to my blog and perhaps even have a look at some of my published works on Amazon.

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“That excitement is reflected in the viewing figures. Every episode of Game of Thrones is watched by an average of about 25 million viewers, and that’s only the figure provided by US broadcaster HBO.” How Game of Thrones put TV drama to the sword

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“With superlatives running out to describe Messi, a new word was added to the Spanish dictionary: Inmessionante; 1) the perfect way to play football, an unlimited ability to self-improve; 2) describes the best player of all time.” Messi at 30: 30 things you may or may not know about Barca’s famous No.10

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“Few people these days claim that whites and Indians are racially incompatible. But many argue that whites – or, more euphemistically, ‘Europeans’ or ‘Westerners’ – and Indians (and blacks and Chinese and countless others) belong to distinct cultures and possess discrete identities. Many argue, too, that especially for children, it is important not to undermine their sense of identity or create confusion about their cultural attachments.” how culture came to appropriate race

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“When the Delphic oracle told our father founder that he was the wisest man in Athens, he understood this to mean that he alone knew how little he understood.” Saving Science from Pseudo-facts

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“On elite university campuses, the concepts associated with this theoretical stream have increasingly displaced the more traditional vocabulary of the Left, particularly among younger academics and students. Indeed, the two most influential political frameworks of the past century on the Left, Marxism and progressive liberalism, are often described not just as being inadequate as sources of critique, but as tools of social control.” Silencing The Subaltern in Post Colonial Theory

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“We soon have a sociological effect whereby everyone knows that, say, a certain movie is very good or very bad, even though everyone might have ‘known’ the exact opposite if only a few early voices had been different.” There’s no good way to kill a bad idea

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“You don’t have to be a journalist running into the warm embrace of a holiday to know that, sometimes, it is hard to avoid the news. The news follows us to the airport, it boards the aircraft with us, then it digs into our melted brains via lamentably good poolside wifi connections. The news is airborne.” Why do people actively avoid the news?

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On Being An Extremist

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I find it unsettling when I remember I’m considered to be a bit of an extremist. It’s not usual for a woolly liberal centrist to be described as an extremist. Yet here I am, a firm believer in the notion that a woman is the best judge of what should or shouldn’t happen to her body. And that apparently is enough to mark me out as an extremist. Only in this age of homeopathy can such a thing be said to make any sense.

Ireland, it seems, is divided into two camps. There are those who believe abortions should only happen out foreign and those of us who believe abortions should be provided here. Supporting a woman to have an abortion in her own country is extreme. Insisting a woman leave the country to have an abortion is considered to be the best way to avoid spooking those poor denizens of Middle Ireland. Ireland, it seems, is divided into two camps. There are those of us who consider this to be the rankest of rank hypocrisy and those who consider this to be winning.

Ireland, it seems, is divided into two camps. There are those of us who think women should enjoy the ride, as men have always enjoyed the ride. Sexual incontinence for all, as it has always been, but now women are allowed to have a say in the process and also to enjoy the experience. Yes, use precautions, but please enjoy yourselves. Sex is brilliant. And if those precautions fail, then feel free to choose whatever option best serves you. And then there are those who shake their heads. Consequence free riding is and always has been the preserve of men. We didn’t spend generations incarcerating pregnant women just to enrich the religious. We locked them up because riding is for men. Abortions for women who enjoy the ride is akin to saying that locking up women who enjoyed the ride was somehow wrong. And that can’t be right. Can it? That’s just too extreme for Middle Ireland to ponder over its morning cornflakes.

Ireland, it seems, is divided into two camps. There are those of us think it indefensible to pick and choose the abortions we are comfortable with and to decide which women have done enough suffering to merit an abortion. This is thought of as extreme. Then there are those who need women to suffer to the point that any misgivings they have about abortions are overcome. Misgivings that will return the moment the next woman has the temerity to demand an abortion and the whole process begins again.

Ireland, it seems, is divided into two camps. There are those of us who are quite certain that a foetus is never the equal of the women carrying it. Well no, it is the equal and even more important than the woman who carries in one circumstance, when the woman carrying it decrees it to be so. A woman owning her body and knowing her own mind is dismissed as extreme. On the other side, the foetus is considered the equal of the woman carrying it unless the woman has suffered or is suffering to a yet to be legally defined degree. This legal bar of suffering may end up in our Constitution or the Constitution may oblige our parliament to make suffering and tragedy a prerequisite for women with the temerity to demand an abortion. This is not thought of as extreme.

Ireland, it seems, is divided into two camps. There are those who think campaigning for women to have access to abortion in their own country is extreme. The very act of saying we want abortion services to be available in Ireland, without demur, without apology, without euphemism, without shame, is dismissed as gauche and divisive. Then there are those who think abortions are gross and women’s voices are scary so just please leave me in peace to eat my cornflakes.

Ireland, it seems, is divided into two camps. There are those of us who go to great pain to ensure we present a professional and reasonable front when campaigning. We keep our accounts public, write letters of persuasion, advocate, canvass and lobby within civilised norms. Then there are those who see this effort and dismiss it as just the same as those who abuse, those who threaten, those who picket politician’s houses. It is considered extreme to expect people to look at what people do and note the difference.

Ireland, it seems, is divided into three camps. There are those of us who reacted with surprised satisfaction to the outcome of the Citizen’s Assembly. We’d forgotten that when presented with the facts, people will see the inescapable logic of greatly extending abortion services in Ireland. Then there are those who dismiss facts as being less important than their sincerely held beliefs. And then there are those who simply don’t expect ordinary people to be able to deal with facts. In this era of homeopathy, Brexit and Trump, they are convinced people will not raise their heads from their cornflakes to consider facts. They will keep to their prejudices and assumptions and vote accordingly. It is considered extreme to trust voters as it is extreme to trust women.

Ireland, it seems, is divided into two camps. There are those who are called extremists and there are the self-serving and lazy commentators who call them extremists. And I find I am getting quite comfortable with being the extremist they keep speaking of.

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Weekly Links #23

More links from the Twitterverse. Happened upon an article about Game of Thrones, which I think is very appropriate. It is back on Monday after all. This nerd had been counting down the days. I’ve also included one about Wonder Woman. I haven’t seen the film yet but I do plan to. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

And as always, feel free to subscribe to my blog and perhaps even have a look at some of my published works on Amazon.

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“Game of Thrones is an incredibly dense show, filled with hundreds of characters, families, legends, and everything else under the realm’s sun. With all the information fans have had to absorb over the years, it’s easy for some things to fall on the wayside. That includes the show’s plethora of religions.” A Complete Guide to the Religions of Game of Thrones

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“Community, in this sense, is not merely something that one fits into; it is also something one chooses for oneself, through a process of self-discovery. It is based on shared circumstances, certainly, but offers a transcendent kind of togetherness. It is active rather than passive. The LGBTQ community. The Latino community. The intelligence community. The journalism community.” What Does ‘Community’ Mean?

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From this perspective, love of one’s country comes at the expense, not only of love for other countries, but also of individual reason, critical thinking, class solidarity and a sense of common humanity. Can there be a progressive patriotism?

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“The phrase “alternative right” has been critiqued on several grounds: that it’s too vague; that it obscures the extent to which the movement is coterminous with the rest of the Republican base; that it’s a euphemism for white supremacy.” The Alt-Right Branding War Has Torn the Movement in Two

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“Hernandez was arrested after police found the deceased foetus in the toilet. She spent a week handcuffed to a hospital bed while being treated for severe anaemia and a urinary tract infection, and has been detained ever since.” El Salvador teen rape victim sentenced to 30 years in prison after stillbirth

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“With approximately 2.75 MILLION blog posts published every single day, blogging is an immensely popular hobby with an enormous community and has now even become a viable career option for many. For me, it’s been a life-changing experience and the best thing I have ever done, but it hasn’t been without it’s issues.” Should You Self-Censor Your Personal Blog?

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“That said, one thing immediately jumped out at me, comparing Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman to this new one: Intent. When you’re designing for fantasy, a good designer starts with something real and builds on that. In the case of Wonder Woman, that starting point is EVERYTHING. What you start with informs what you end up with.” ‘Wonder Woman’—Armor vs. Underwear & Why It Matters

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On Noveling: The Impatient Boredom

As I write this I am 13,000 words into the first draft of ‘Hidden Messages.’ It is going well. The wonderfully detailed plan is no longer wonderfully detailed. As I sat down to begin the first draft, I had an idea. It was, I’d like to say a twist but it’s more fundamental than that, the addition of an element that solved weaknesses I hadn’t realised existed. The moment it occurred to me I thought to ignore it. I had my plan, if I kept adding little things on a whim, I’d never begin, never mind finish. But second thought and third thought saw its necessity. Now I can’t imagine the story without that new idea being incorporated. What I didn’t do however is go back to the plan and alter it. Impatience took over. I wanted starting and I wasn’t going to wait for ever more preparations to be made.

I will pompously reference the adage about plans never surviving first contact with the enemy. The plan had gotten me this far. And when I hit a wall, and I surely will hit a wall, I will go back to that plan to find my route around or through it. But for now, I’m keeping that new element wholly in my head. I haven’t even gotten to it yet but I’m excited to discover how it looks and feels as I write it. I think, and don’t forget this is before I’ve written any of it, it makes the story more cinematic. I never make a conscious decision to make a story cinematic or otherwise, but I will wonder about this quality as I write it. When I finished ‘The Bucket’ the only other medium I could imagine it in, was some sort of play. ‘Blue Eyeshadow’ is perhaps a made for TV movie. This one though, I think has the bright visuals and large scope that would suit the big screen.

This isn’t an entirely redundant and self-indulgent form of escapism. I’m not writing a movie. I’m writing a novel that I hope will appeal to the cinematic part of our brain. I want it to be easy for the reader to picture the scene, as it were. The next novel won’t be cinematic, it will have a different appeal. Knowing what I am hoping to produce is as important as knowing what I am trying to write.

For now, I am enjoying myself. I am having to invent some scenes on the hop as I alter the plan in anticipation of the new element (possibly elements) to come and this is doing my confidence a lot good. It’s necessarily slowing me down but it is a heady feeling, spinning something out of nothing. While I write purely for the money and acclaim, it is just so wonderful to invent. To create. To shape. I know that even if no one reads this one, I will write the next one. And the one after that. The act of creating is addictive.

I am going to take a break from blogging the novel though. I have another 60,000 words or so to throw at the page, before phase two begins. I am in that exciting and boring, glorious a tedious phase of telling myself the story. And it’s going well. I wish I could hurry it up a bit, but there are about two months of this slog to get through. It is a weird thing, my confidence in the story is so high at the moment I just want it all down on paper so I can polish it. But I can only go as fast as I can go, a thousand words a day. The only thing of note I will be working on is seeing if I can somehow increase my daily word rate. When I reach the half way point, approximately, 35,00 words I’ll blog again.

Blogging about this process has thus far been a great fillip for my confidence as well as a source of motivation. So, thank you reading and see you in 22,000 words time.

Previous: There Be Progress Here

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Weekly Links #22

Another week, another series of links. It’s been a good week. I hit the 10,000 word on my WIP. Ha, I rarely use that phrase, as it seems a little poncy, but that says more about me than the phrase. Over 10,000 words into my WIP. I’m going to embrace it. I am feeling good about this one.

The links this week are largely nerd themed. That wasn’t a deliberate decision, it’s just that I’m in a nerdy frame of mind. Game of Thrones is almost here, there’s new Star Trek on the way, and I’m writing a science-fiction novel so that’s where my head is. And I’m trying, mostly unsuccessfully to pretend the World isn’t going on around me. But abortion rights in Ireland, Brexit and the ever burgeoning body of evidence that proves out species is incredibly stupid keeps intruding into my consciousness. But did I mention I’m over 10,000 words into my WIP. Enjoy the links.

And as always, feel free to subscribe to my blog and perhaps even have a look at some of my published works on Amazon.

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“This week we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter novel, and the beginning — in Britain, at least; the first volume’s publication in America came a little later — of a cultural juggernaut that defined a generation’s experience with books.” The Muggle Problem

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“Social democracy, yeah. That’s sometimes called “the golden age of modern capitalism.” That changed in the ’70s with the onset of the neoliberal era that we’ve been living in since. And if you ask yourself what this era is, its crucial principle is undermining mechanisms of social solidarity and mutual support and popular engagement in determining policy.” Noam Chomsky: Neoliberalism Is Destroying Our Democracy

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“It is astonishing that we have demeaned ourselves in the way we have. I don’t think that the only way you can have a good and constructive relationship with China is by behaving in that sort of craven way.” Chris Patten: A craven Britain has demeaned itself with China, Brexit will make it worse

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“While Wood spent much of the season playing wide-eyed wonder and confusion, Newton had the distinct challenge of shifting in and out of three different roles that were all part and parcel of the same creature.” Thandie Newton on How Westworld’s“Profound” Nude Scenes Gave Maeve Her Voice

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“Mags Leamy (32), a pharmacist from north Cork, said she went in to the assembly with an open mind. “I don’t think we were totally liberal starting, but by the time that you have heard everything, you kind of realise it would be none of your business what Mary does down the road,” she said.” Why did Citizens’ Assembly take liberal view on abortion?

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“In the first season of the show, Sansa is very much an innocent (“I’m meant to be [Joffrey’s] queen and have his babies!” she memorably whines to her father) who undergoes a significant and often traumatic education in the ways of the world. And as it turns out, fiction was mirroring fact—because Turner herself learned a great deal from her time on the set when she was a young teen.” Which Game of Thrones Scene Gave a Very Young Sophie Turner Her “Sex Education”?

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“Abandoning the Cameron project – to make the party if not appealing, then at least not actively repellent to social liberals – now looks like a strategic error. She and her aides bought into the David Goodhart thesis: that politics was dividing between “somewheres” – that is, people with a strong sense of place and identity – and “anywheres” – global citizens who largely cluster in big cities.” How Theresa May abandoned David Cameron’s playbook – and paid a terrible price

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On Noveling: There Be Progress Here

I’m actually writing a novel. Almost seven thousand words in a week and I’ve yet to experience a crisis. This obviously won’t last but opening a document that already contains thousands of words creates a sort of momentum. It’s better than the pages of notes. Better than the number of words you had the day before. And it is so much better than the blank page. It creates in one’s head the idea that you’ve already written twenty or thirty thousand words, it’d be a crime to give up now. Though I say that as someone who has on three occasions abandoned projects that had passed the twenty-thousand-word mark. But not this time.

This time I am working to a plan. I know what needs writing and where everything is and must go. It is a relief, it is a chore and it is fun. The only things getting in my way at the moment are; the little insidious doubts at the back of my mind telling me I’m an imposter, having to make a living, the weather, the dog, eating, reading, watching TV, the news, grocery shopping, Twitter, my little pieces of activism, thoughts about the next novel, existential angst and cutting the bloody lawn. But other than that, I’m OK.

My routine is a surprise to me. A recent IOS upgrade added a thing that encourages we iPhone zombies to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. And if it’s on my Apple product then it must be good and wholesome. I have it set up so that it tells me to be in bed for 12.35 and to get up at 7.35. It has succeeded in producing something my mother so consistently failed to shape, a human being capable of aping adult behaviour. My phone tells me at 11.55 that I should consider getting ready for bed. I do this, because it is my iPhone telling me to do it. Then it tells me that I really should get up or when I check my app the statistics showing my sleep patterns will be out of whack. A simply terrifying prospect.

So, I do what my phone tells me to do. Sometimes Arwen gets up too, so I have to feed her then I have my porridge while watching whatever U.S. twenty-two-minute-long comedy show I’ve recorded. Breakfast eaten I write a thousand words. It’s probably only 9.30 at this point and I’m done for the day. No matter how hard I try I cannot sit down to write fiction again until the next morning. I can blog, but not fiction. It’s irritating, but it works. Perhaps in the future I will be able to increase the writing to two hours and two thousand words, but for now what I’m doing is working and I don’t intend poking it with a stick.

The most important thing I’ve learned, during this project, is that to create wonder and fantasy, one must be as boring and predictable as possible in one’s habits. This is not at all what I expected.

Previous: World Building

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Weekly Links #21

Another bunch of links. An interesting  mix this week, from Star Trek to abortion to patriotism and finally to the question of who should the Left, in the UK, cater for. That question appears in the last two links. They are somewhat in opposition though not written in opposition as such. It’s a subject that interests me a lot. As a very recent mover to the Left, I am enjoying grappling with what I mean by ‘a recent mover to the Left,’ just how Left have I moved and what is the Left. Then my brain hurts and I remember there’s always Star Trek. But it will be new Star Trek. Will it be dark and challenging as one expects from a good drama in this Golden Age for TV or will it be Star Trek, replete with easy answers? I don’t even know what I want to be honest. Which makes my brain hurt and then I go back to solving the World’s problems from my keyboard. It’s a full life really.

As always, feel free to subscribe to my blog and perhaps even have a look at some of my published works on Amazon.

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“Showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg — working from a creative roadmap laid out by executive producer Bryan Fuller — are delivering a Trek saga that gets rid of one the franchise’s decades-old limitations in an effort to evolve the series.” Star Trek: Discovery to ditch a long frustrating Trek rule

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“DS9 frames terrorism differently especially since we have a character that is a regular member of the crew. Kira is in a moral grey area in this episode. It makes that a difficult place to be in as she is with the provisional government and works with Starfleet.” Star Trek Redux: Terrorism on DS9

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“There has never been a day since Alan’s birth I haven’t thought of him. Not one. His beautiful face is always before me even if his photographs aren’t in my wallet or at work. I could be enjoying a meal with my wife and friends, on holidays, at work, reading a paper, and I see him. I never want to forget him because his life broke my heart and taught me some valuable lessons about life and people.” A death in the family: The short life of my beautiful son Alan

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“She said these contraceptives are reliable and don’t rely on people’s actions for them to work, like condoms and the contraceptive pill do. Family Planning is hopeful more people are getting education, as well as hoping more people are delaying their first time having sex, Ms Edmond said. Other countries are also showing a decrease in abortions on an annual basis, she said.” NZ abortion rate lowest in over 25 years, with long-term contraception said to be influencing factor

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“Anniversaries give rise to wistful reminiscences that tap into what Perry Anderson once termed “the history of possibility”: none more so than the Russian Revolution of 1917, though the allure of “October” has greatly diminished since the collapse of the state it spawned. The global triumph of liberal capitalism has distilled the revolution – and the idea of revolution more generally – into a single frightening adjective: totalitarianism.” Red mist – the legacy of the October revolution

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“Labour has to build a new labour interest out of these estranged class and ethnic cultures. But Labour’s membership has been increasingly concentrated amongst the higher educated and in the globally connected places of the economic winners. As the party has become more socially liberal it has grown more culturally exclusive, and so has found itself estranged from the class it once represented.” A Labour politics of belonging

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“The contemporary debate about Britishness is framed, of course, by the political and cultural transformation being wrought by Brexit. For opponents of the EU, Brexit allows the nation to take back sovereignty and reassert its identity. Opponents of Brexit deride such desires as xenophobic, driven by a compulsion to turn away from the world. Neither side seem willing to grapple with the entangled character of our identities.” for common values, against patriotism

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On Noveling: World Building

Well I finally finished the planning portion of ‘Hidden Messages’ and have begun the actual writing part. And it is going well. While it was frustrating to plan in such detail, I’m glad for every hour spent in that process. The amount of unnecessary time and words it is going to save me (wait for the blog post where I discover the planning was a waste of time, that’ll be a doozy) will, in my estimation, be enormous.

So, now I can write a little bit about one of my favourite components of novel writing, World Building. I like writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, so World Building is something I either get good at or just don’t bother writing. I think however, even if I wasn’t determined to be a writer, I’d still indulge in World Building. Ever since reading ‘Lord of the Rings’ I’ve imagined other Worlds. I’ve populated them, given them cultures and religions, and then made things as difficult as possible for them, just to see what happened.

Good sinister fun, but daunting to transmit with words. When I began writing I had two ways to deal with how intimidating and technically challenging this was. In ‘The Easers’ I imagined a very small World and told the story within that small space. In ‘The Bucket’ I told a very small story, within a much larger World. The World of ‘The Bucket’ is one that is almost fully realised inside my head, but at the time of writing ‘The Bucket, I didn’t feel able to visit it with tens of thousands of words. Thus, the brief visit, in the dark, that was Captain Yilda’s time in the dungeon.

Even ‘Hidden Messages’ is not a World wholly spun from my imagination. There are aliens but not as one might imagine, and that’s all I’m saying about that. The novel I will write after this is set in Kerry but the one after that, Gandalf willing, will be a full length novel set in Captain Yilda’s World. And the reason I’ve put it so far into the future is because I need to get a lot better at World Building.

There are two aspects to World Building. The first is all about inventing to the full extent of your imagination. And then imposing rules, consistency and a relatable logic on the World you’ve invented. It’s fun. And depending on your particular interests you’ll either concentrate on languages (Tolkien) or politics, cultures, relationships, economics, military conflict and magical systems etc. But no matter what gets you going the most, all the sociological, anthropological, geological and a dozen other ‘ogicals’ have to be accounted for. I bloody love it.

The second aspect, however, is where the writing skill comes into play. In planning your novel, you have to decide what is the barest of barest minimum of information the reader will require to understand the World in which your story is being told. Just think Tolkien, then do the opposite. Anyway, if your novel is a huge success you will get silly money to write books that contains all the World Building stuff you had to leave out. Console yourself with that. Until then, minimum of information necessary is the key. And even then, it is a lot of information to have to relay.

I recently read, ‘The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet’ by Becky Chambers and I was thinking about ‘Hidden Messages’ a lot at the time. I found myself examining her World Building. It was flawless. It was seamless. It was smooth and sneaky and surreptitious and it was delicious. Alien Worlds, future humans, alien species, interstellar conflicts, technology, economies and cultures all drip fed, while the reader is getting on with the story.

That’s the skill, insinuating your bloody enormous info-dump into a story, while avoiding the dreaded ‘e’ word. For exposition is death. Yes, Tolkien expositioned like it was 1999, but that was Tolkien. Even Terry Pratchett didn’t expect his readers to endure exposition and he was writing about the Discworld. We did end up buying the maps, cookbooks, atlases and encyclopaedias though.

And to make it even more difficult, you need to avoid exposition while also finding a way to pack the necessary information into the opening few paragraphs, pages and chapters. You have to find a way to situate the reader in the World you’ve invented without overloading them with information, because otherwise they will simply leave.

Most importantly, however, it’s fun. I’m surprised that I think so, but it is. In ‘Hidden Messages’ there is so much I know about the World that is informing the story but you’ll never see it. I, as the writer, get to decide that and then live or die by those decisions. It’s heady stuff to be honest.

So, that’s my take on World Building. I hope you enjoyed it. I have no idea what I’ll wrote about next week. Hopefully it won’t be a whiny 500 hundred words on why I can’t write novels. But it is a possibility.

PS Just in case you’re wondering, I love Tolkien. I write because of Tolkien. It’s just that he did everything wrong.

Previous: Want to Write Now                    Next: There Be Progress Here

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Weekly Links #20

I’ve been meaning to get back to this ‘weekly links’ series of posts for some time. I think it is now the right time. My mental health has improved immeasurably and I’m making actual progress on my novel. So, I’m re-committing myself to this links round-up. Beats a whole bunch of retweets I suppose. One of the things I love most about twitter is that I get to read articles I would never have discovered for myself. The following are the ones I found most interesting this week.

And feel free to subscribe to my blog and perhaps even have a look at some of my published works on Amazon.

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“Even as this incredible academic story nears its climax, darkness shrouds the manuscript itself. In 2015, as Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen, the manuscript’s caretakers in Sana’a fled, locking the manuscript in a secret safe that can only be opened if all of them gather again. The longer the manuscript remains in the safe, the more rapidly it will deteriorate: climate control is essential to its preservation.” Decades after earliest Quran was discovered, scholars to share full text of the Sana’a manuscript

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“IN THE UNITED States, Gay Pride marches were triggered by the Stonewall Riots in 1969, which were a huge turning point for LGBTQ history. After ongoing harassment by police, a group of LGBTQ people (who were predominantly transgender women of colour) took a stand at the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village.” Why we need to reconsider how we view Gay Pride Festivals

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“The House-passed version of the American Health Care Act would strip $834 billion from Medicaid, deprive 23 million Americans of health insurance over a decade and spike premiums in the individual insurance market by 20 percent in the first year alone, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.” WTF Is Going on With the Secret Senate Version of Trumpcare?

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” No. Go crawl back to the time capsule you came out of. Ninety-five percent of Americans have pre-marital sex. Nine months of unwanted pain and possibly death is not an acceptable punishment for being unlucky while engaging in an almost universally practiced past time. It is the punishment for 0 percent of men, which is the correct percentage.” WHY A PRO-LIFE WORLD HAS A LOT OF DEAD WOMEN IN IT

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“Instead, pornography trains us to redirect sexual desire as mimetic desire. That is, the sociological theory — and marketers’ dream — that humans learn to want what they see. In porn terms: If you build it, they will come.” Pornhub Is the Kinsey Report of Our Time

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“This transporter room is quite a departure from typical Trek transporters, with large dishes behind each platform. The large dishes are perhaps meant to show that the Shenzhou is older/less advanced.” First Look At ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Transporter Room And Phasers

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On Noveling: Want To Write This Now

The more I learn about writing a novel, the more I realise I don’t know. And the more I realise I don’t know, the more vulnerable I am to trying to know more instead of writing more. Which is leading me to the added problem of knowing so much about the novel I have yet to write, that it may no longer interest me.

This is where I’m heading. Though I do not say this as an expression of regret. While frustrating, it is also proving to be fascinating. My story, ‘Hidden Messages’ is now almost entirely clear to me. I have written three thousand words of plans and summaries. It’s coherent, structured and I think it has the potential to hold the attention of the reader.

The problem is, the more I delve into it, the more I understand how it must follow a certain path. The more I feel bogged down in, if you will, editing before the fact. I am seeking to hone it to perfect sharpness, before forging it.

And I say this again, this is not a source of regret. I wish I had undertaken this process before writing my previous novel. I think it would’ve been a better novel for it. I may have saved myself a year of plodding and dead ends. Or, and this is what concerns me about ‘Hidden Messages’ it may have remained unwritten as I tried to perfect it before writing it.

I’ll say this for the third time, though it screams of too much protesting, I do not regret this. I don’t regret it for three reasons. The first reason being that if and when I write this novel, it will be a novel. It will be a novel that from the first draft to the last, will require less hacking at than the application of polish. The terror of the rewrite need not sap my resolve.

Secondly, the novel I write after this will be better. I already know its name. I already know the characters. And even though it will be more complex than this one, armed with what I’ve already learned, I know how best to grapple with it. Precipitous pitfalls are replaced by scalable precipices.

Lastly and most importantly, I feel like a writer again. For a long time, I felt like an imposter whenever I saw my Twitter profile. Or worse, when anyone asked how the writing was going. I hadn’t realised I was not fully recovered from the disappointment of my previous novel.

I’d always regarded myself as thick-skinned. I’m not. I crave success and recognition. When that didn’t happen, I took it personally. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I didn’t realise the bang my ego and confidence had taken. I couldn’t understand why I was finding writing a second novel so difficult.

Intellectually, I knew rejection is nine-tenths of the writing experience but I had no defences against it. The only downside to being a cocky and self-entitled man, I suppose. I know that if and when ‘Hidden Messages’ fails to bring me status and riches I’ll be crushed. But I’ll know it is happening. I’ll be prepared. I’ll have already begun novel three. I have to do this because I already know what novels, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten are. And the only thing, right now, that’s preventing me from writing them is writing this one.

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