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Friday, February 24, 2006

DARC AGES Are Coming...


My novel DARC AGES is currently running as a Web-serial on my homepage. In the month of March 2006, the serial -- a revised edition of the original 1999-2000 serial -- will be completed.

Will I self-publish the complete version? The reader poll results are, so far:
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NO!=2 votes
YES!=8 votes
DON'T KNOW=1 vote
(that's my vote -- if I knew, I wouldn't have bothered with a poll, would I?)

Well, all right then, if 8 people insist, I'll release the revised edition of DARC AGES as a print-on-demand paperback through CafePress.com -- with illustrations! Coming this Spring.

If you just can't hold yourself till then, there's new moychandise in the DARC AGES SHOP (see images) ...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

"Sex, Sex, Sex... That's All You Ever Think About!"

OK, how does one write sex in fiction?
It's so easy to write sex awkwardly (or unintentionally comical)... and you might end up winning the Bad Sex Award. (Go ahead, look. There are no pictures.)

Two challenges of writing sex in fiction:

1. Knowing your audience.
Do you hope to win an all-ages audience? What genre are you writing in?
Readers tend to approach genres with strict genre expectations. Sex will only upset them if they are "surprised" by it.
(Will puberty wizard Harry Potter ever lose his virginity? Probably not. Most of the readers are just not ready for that.)

2. Realism Vs. Romanticism Vs. Pornography.
Real-life consensual sex is glamorous only in the subjective sense -- i.e. for the participants (hopefully). What the participants find "hot", the reader may not. Should you convey what the participants experience, or a give an "objective" seen-from-outside account? You must decide this yourself.

And of course there is non-consensual sex too -- even more difficult to write, since it is offensive and painful on several levels. (This subject is so thorny, I'm not even going to go into it.)

The writer who decides to write about sex, either the implicit or the explicit kind, should have a clear set of objectives:
A) Who is supposed to read this? (People my own age? People of all ages? Men? Women?)
B) Why should the reader want to read this? (To follow the plot? To understand the characters? To get aroused? Or a combination of all three?)
C) Why do I want to write this? (Does it matter to the plot? To the character development? Am I just trying to arouse myself?)

If you don't know why you're writing, if you're not thinking consciously, you will fall into "automatic writing", guided by hormones. The body takes over. The result could end up as pornography (that's "erotica" if you're a woman), and unintentionally comical -- "Bad Sex" writing.

Or you could chicken out, and not mention sex at all. (Chicken.)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

That's A-Lotta Home'a'page-a !

My homepage has been updated with

* The Web-serial DARC AGES, Chapter 55.

Also check out the now completed serial THE ARGUS PROJECT... it now has a link to a special ARGUS PROJECT merchandise shop -- with stickers, posters, shirts, clocks... and a li'l surprise. ;)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I Dare You To Shout "FREEDOM!"

I'd like to ask every blogger to do a very simple thing.

One simple thing... just so I know where you stand.

Post one word in your blog... one little word... in large, loud letters:

FREEDOM!

And if many enough write this word, we'll know how many we are who still believe in this... and still believe in a future for democracy.

Can you feel the tension, below the surface? The West is seething with rage -- a rage for freedom. It is time that our voices are heard -- before they are bound and gagged and silenced forever.

We are many. And we are angry.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Renaissance In European Art

During the European Renaissance, the depiction of the human form became more realistic. One could say this trend preceded the realism in fiction: before you could write "the human condition", you had to visualize it.

Here are some examples of Renaissance paintings. (Bear in mind that in those days there wasn't television or computers, so people gave these paintings a lot more attention than we'd do today.).
A 16th-century painting by Botticelli.
A 16th-century painting by Bosch.
A 16th-century painting by d'Aleccio.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Frog And The Ox

There has been a lot of huffing and puffing in the media over some newspaper cartoons.

Let me tell you this fable by Aesop, and then ponder its meaning...
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The Frog and the Ox

"Oh Father," said a little Frog to the big one sitting by the side of a pool, "I have seen such a terrible monster! It was as big as a mountain, with horns on its head, and a long tail, and it had hoofs divided in two."

"Tush, child, tush," said the old Frog, "that was only Farmer White's Ox. It isn't so big either; he may be a little bit taller than I, but I could easily make myself quite as broad; just you
see."

So the old Frog blew himself out, and blew himself out, and blew
himself out.

"Was he as big as that?" asked he.

"Oh, much bigger than that," said the young Frog.

Again the old one blew himself out, and asked the young one if the Ox was as big as that.

"Bigger, father, bigger," was the reply.

So the Frog took a deep breath, and blew and blew and blew,
and swelled and swelled and swelled.

And then he said: "I'm sure the Ox is not as big as --"

But at that moment he burst.


Self-conceit may lead to self-destruction.

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