Five Links 10/17/2020
1. https://killzoneblog.com/2020/10/should-a-fiction-writer-use-a-thesaurus.html “In college my roommates and I used to play a game with a dictionary. We cleverly called it “The Dictionary Game.” It was played with a big dictionary and scraps of paper. When it was your turn you’d look through the dictionary until you came across a word no one was familiar with. You wrote down the correct definition. The other players made up fake definitions that sounded right. The object was to fool as many people in the game as you could. You got a point if you guessed the correct definition. You got a point if somebody guessed your fake definition. The person who chose the word would get a point for every wrong guess.
I learned some cool words this way. The one that has stayed with me for over forty years is borborygmus. It means a “rumbling in the bowels caused by gas.”
This still cracks me up. It’s an onomatopoeia, a word that sounds like the thing it describes (although onomatopoeia itself is definitely not an onomatopoeia). And it makes for a great insult: You borborygmic swine! That’ll stop a bad guy in his tracks.” Sounds like an unusual game.
2. https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com/2020/10/13/what-writing-actually-is/ ““Let us record the atoms as they fall upon the mind in the order in which they fall, however disconnected and incoherent in appearance, which each sight or incident scores upon the consciousness.”
—Virginia Woolf, “Modern Fiction”
We write in order to explain ourselves, in one way or another, to perfect strangers removed from us by both place and time. I’m all for fun adventure stories in any genre, all the while understanding that even those fun adventure stories have something to say about the author and his or her time and place and culture and prejudices and fears and anxieties and desires and… as much as I can pry out, all of which will have been pried out, by me, because that’s what I’m looking for as a reader. Your readers will read your work in which you have poured out some measure of your time and place and culture and prejudices and fears and anxieties and desires and… filtered through their own time and place and culture and prejudices and fears and anxieties and desires and…
See how that works?
Why you start to write at all is entirely personal. I hope you’re not approaching it as some kind of “If J.K. Rowling could do it…” get rich quick scheme, but what the hell… that will come through in your writing as well. Maybe you have something to say about… anything… sibling relationships gone wrong, elder abuse, the eternal power of love and forgiveness, why it sucks to be living through COVID quarantine… anything in any combination.
In “Pippi and the Moomins,” Richard W. Orange uncovered that:
‘It was the utterly hellish war years that made me, an artist, write fairy-tales,’ (Finnish author Tove) Jansson told an interviewer after her second Moomin book, Comet in Moominland (1946), came out. ‘I was feeling sad and scared of bombs and wanted to get away from gloomy thoughts.’
Oh, boy, do I want to get away from gloomy thoughts right now. That sounds like a fantastic reason to write in October of 2020.”
Research & Fun Bits:
1. https://www.janefriedman.com/writing-and-publishing-horror-qa-with-todd-keisling/ “KRISTEN TSETSI: In a since-deleted interview on Medium, in answer to a question about your attraction to horror, you say, “I’m one of those weirdos who enjoys the exploration and what I might find waiting for me in the dark, even if it terrifies me.”
That’s all well and fine in fiction, but in real life, standing at the edge of very dark woods, would you step into the trees? And, when standing at the edge of very dark woods (literally, not metaphorically), if there is fear, what is your fear? What do you imagine is in there?
TODD KEISLING: Do I have a flashlight? If so, then yeah, I’ll probably step into the woods.
I used to go on long hikes and bike rides with my dad in the state parks of Kentucky and Tennessee, so the woods themselves don’t scare me. I’m more afraid of tripping over something, falling into a hole or from a cliff, or disturbing a nest of snakes. Yes, I’m terrified of snakes. And ticks. Lyme disease is no joke.”
2. https://somethingferal.wordpress.com/2020/10/10/going-west-coetan-arthur/ “Arthur’s Quoit came as something of a surprise. The huge neolithic tomb rises from the plateau behind St David’s Head, the angle and ridge on the capstone seeming to shadow the lines of Carn Llidi beyond. The capstone is around twenty feet long and over eight feet wide, supported by a single orthostat that holds the point of the stone around five feet from the ground. At first glance, you assume that somewhere during its five thousand year history, the other two orthostats that would have supported it must have fallen and the earthen mound that covered it been eroded away. There are many such places where this has happened.” Amazing!
Some Things More Serious:
Teaser Fiction & Poetry:
Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:
1. https://jessicabakkers.com/2020/10/11/book-review-nightmareland-a-horror-anthology/ “You all know I have a horror bent (especially those of you brave enough to have read the first book in The Armageddon Showdown, Guns of Perdition). So, when I found out my good friend and fellow horror lover, Robbie Cheadle, had stories published in a few anthology series’ called Box Under the Bed, I rushed out to get my hands on a copy of one of the anthologies. Not only were Robbie’s stories terrific, but the other authors told terrifyingly delicious tales that chilled me to the marrow!
Compiled by award winning author, Dan Alatorre, the Box Under the Bed anthology I started with was called Nightmareland. The stories are bookended by Alatorre’s own short story(ies) focusing on Jessica (good name), who tries the new designer drug, Nightmareland, and goes on a wild trip into her own terrifying subconscious. The stories in the middle of these opener / closer stories symbolise her nightmares. Get it?”
2. http://middlegrademojo.com/2020/10/13/happy-book-birthday-who-gives-a-poop-by-heather-l-montgomery/ “As if her book about roadkill (Something Rotten) wasn’t gross enough, Heather Montgomery brings us a book about poop. And just like her roadkill book, this one is stuffed with science and scientists. She writes about Dr. Logan Kistler, an archaeologist that specializes in archaeogenomics and who, by studying mastodon poop, made a connection between ancient wild gourds and the pumpkins we eat today. There’s also Dr. Daniella Chusyd, who trained her dogs to sniff out elephant dung so it could be analyzed to determine why the forest elephants in Africa are declining in numbers.
Even though there is a lot of information about defecation in this book, it’s also a fascinating look at real scientists and how the scientific method is used to answer questions and solve problems. Not only did I learn how important whale dung is to phytoplankton and the overall health of our oceans, I learned how scientists study this subject. Who knew there were so many cool jobs as a scientist?
Heather’s unbridled enthusiasm for all things in nature, even poop, is intoxicating. She makes the science of scat so interesting that you almost forget to be grossed out. Written in a personal, humorous narrative style, I felt like I was riding along with Heather when she interviewed the scientists and I was looking over her shoulder when she did hands-on research. Her detailed description of cutting open the bowels of a dead possum is probably one of the grossest things I’ve ever read.
I highly recommend Who Gives A Poop? Young readers, ages ten and up, will be all over this book like a dung beetle on deer droppings. It would be great for the classroom too!
Kirkus gave it a starred review. “A well-stirred slurry of facts and fun for the strong-stomached ‘poop sleuths’.”
Heather Montgomery has a B.S. in Biology and a M.S. in Environmental Education. She has published 17 books for young people. Learn more about her at www.heatherlmontgomery.com.”