I’ve amassed a ridiculous number of online articles and tidbits on every sort of topic, from a single post on how to make a fairy garden to thousands of postings about how to write a novel. There are so many, I know I can’t possibly read them all (kind of like the scary number of books on my Kindle). Yet I keep saving them away, many in a file labeled “later.” I wanted to start sharing a few of the articles I’ve actually read (and some videos I’ve watched) on the last Friday of every month. Here is the first batch for your perusal. Enjoy.
■ For Writers:
Flog a Pro
If you haven’t discovered the “Flog a Pro” series by Ray Rhamey on Writer Unboxed, you might want to check it out. Mr. Rhamey submits the first 17 lines from a bestselling book and asks, “Does this narrative compel you to turn the page?” He then explains the reasons for his yes or no vote. Seventeen lines doesn’t seem like enough to pique a reader’s interest but “editors and agents often make their read/not-read decision on the first page. In a customarily formatted book manuscript with chapters starting about 1/3 of the way down the page (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type), there are 16 or 17 lines on the first page.” The posts include a first-page checklist which is a helpful reference for writers trying to improve their work and their chances of creating a page turner.
Taking (or Leaving) Writing Advice
In “Writers: Ignore This Writing Advice. If You Want,” author Janice Hardy from the website Fiction University advocates “understanding what we [writers] do and why we do it. The more we know about our process and what we’re trying to achieve, the easier it is to spot ‘good, but not good for us’ advice…. If that [process] works for you, it works. If you’re happy with the results you get, there’s no need to change it. If you’re not happy, then it’s up to you to decide what to change to achieve the results you want.” She also says, “If you find yourself frequently saying, ‘yeah, but…’ every time you hear/read/see advice, that could indicate a reluctance to grow as a writer…you might want to take a step back and think about why you’re fighting it so hard–especially if you’ve been receiving the same advice from multiple sources (as in a critique).”
Do you write science fiction and poetry? You might want to try scifaiku—similar to haiku, but “it contains the use of technology, human insight, and vision of the future that is natural in science fiction stories.” I had never heard of this form of poetry until I came across the article “A Primer for Writing Scifaiku Poetry” by Wendy Van Camp.
Why I Had to Invent a Star Drive
Author Graham Storrs discusses rockets, warping space, quantum theory, and made-up physics because sci-fi writers “have stories to tell that won’t wait decades or centuries while all those geniuses [scientists] clamber slowly up onto the shoulders of giants. If you want to go faster than 10c, you’ve just got to make stuff up—but plausible-sounding stuff, not just any old stuff, or you might as well be writing fantasy.”
Top 10 New Species of 2015
IFL Science shares the list of top ten new species selected by the ESF International Institute for Species Exploration from over 18,000 species discovered during the last year.
■ For Fun:
Apache vs. Dragon: Who Would Win?
Watch as a dragon takes on a AH-64 Apache helicopter.
Dancing Baby Groot
Follow the do-it-yourself steps artist Darren Carnall took to create a dancing baby Groot (from the movie Guardians of the Galaxy) as a birthday gift for his wife. And then watch the video of the final result. FYI: the video may not work on mobile devices.
When I first saw the photo of this product, I laughed so hard I cried. I kept imagining walking down the hall at my old workplace and seeing a colleague in this position. Who would really stick their head in a pillow and sleep on their desk, at work? Maybe a man…but I don’t think a woman would chance mussing her hair. Click on the photo if you’re interested in finding out more (I am not an affiliate).
■ Yep, Yummy:
Cream Biscuits (Only 2 Ingredients)
The (copyrighted) photo of these biscuits was enough to make me stop everything and do some research. The two ingredients? Self-rising flour and cream, plus melted butter for the top. You’ll find some great advice on how to make biscuits, such as “do not twist your biscuit cutter” when pressing into the dough (this seals the edges and stops the biscuits from rising). I resolve to make this recipe, y’all, before the summer is out.
5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
This has become my favorite cookie recipe—not only for the taste but the soft texture and the simplicity of putting it together. I make these several times a month for family and to share at SouthWest Writers meetings. Just mix the five ingredients together by hand, roll into balls (I flatten them a bit before baking), and pop them in the oven for nine minutes. Try the recipe and let me know what you think.
Image “Rocket” courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net