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Pearls Before Swine by Stephen Pastis

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Jack Kirby Sez Make Your Own School


Jack Kirby sezsound advice from the King of Comics
(God, I miss you, Jack; you and Steve and
John and Mark M. and a host of others)

thanks to Steve Niles for the tip off


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BALDO On Writing


ba140313 edit

Baldo by Hector D. Cantu and Carlos Castellanos

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A Couple Of Quick Questions (Story Research)


Okay, a couple of quick questions regarding a story idea that’s been percolating in the back o’ me beedy widdle bwain for a while…

I’d like responses from folks who can answer authoritatively re math & physics.

Story involves a large/mostly hollow spherical space colony/artificial world.  Let’s say it’s about 1,200 miles in diameter, rotates on its north-south axis, ergo the  ”gravity” along the interior equator is Earth normal.  Central light source in the very middle; hot but not unbearably so/no dangerous radiation.

Images below give a rough idea of what I’m talking about…


AC76-1288My protagonists are teleported into the vast hollow space of this artificial world (we will presume our teleportation machine has adjusted for angular momentum, orbital speed, etc.)

Question #1: 
How long would it take my protagonists to hit the interior surface if they arrive about 500 miles above the equator?

I know if the sphere had no atmosphere then theoretically my protagonists would fly along inside it…at least until the minimal mass of the hull of the sphere slowly pulled them toward it, or the light from the artificial sun pushed them away.

However…would the interior atmosphere still be relatively thick enough for humans to breathe all the way from the interior surface to the artificial sun?

Would the currents from this atmosphere push my protagonists along gently, or would they start dropping like a rock almost immediately?

Would they start slow and then begin picking up speed geometrically as they would on Earth (32ft p/s p/s)?

Question #2:
How fast does this world (1,200 miles in diameter) need to be rotating for the equator to have one Earth gravity?

Would my protagonists be falling straight towards the interior surface, meaning whatever speed it was traveling at would hit them laterally like a freight train, or would they be gaining angular speed as they fell (perhaps due to wind currents) so they will be matching the angular velocity on impact?

For the sake of my story, would it be safer for them to fall in the direction of either interior pole rather than towards the equator?  (I presume “gravity” would be considerably less due to angle of spin.)

For this particular story I’m looking more for plausibility than hard scientific realism here — a handwaveum answer that lets my protagonists survive a freefall to the interior equator (into water, mushy vegetation, marshes, whatever) will work just as fine as a master’s thesis in physics.




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Raymond Chandler On Technique


Raymond Chandler on technique

“The moment a man begins to talk about technique that’s proof that he is fresh out of ideas.” — Raymond Chandler

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“The Most Sublime Fool That God Ever Turned Out”


RB quote Cooly-vespa-Haruhara-Haruko-Nandaba-1515078-1360x768 cap

“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling.  You must write every single day of your life.  You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next.  You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.  I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime.  I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you.  May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise.  Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days.  And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury

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Heading For The Last Round-Up (On This Story At Least…)



This N.C. Wyeth illo has
nothing to do with my story,
I just thot it looked nice.

Finished the second draft of my YA neo-Western earlier this week.  I never write exactly the same way twice no matter what I do.  Sometimes the ideas come out almost completely wholly formed in the first rush, other times they need to be teased out through several missteps, other times still the basic idea stands but needs to be worked on and polished.

In this case I had the core idea about 14 years ago; had my set up, core characters, basic conflict, and ending in mind.  From 2007 through early 2011 I began noodling down all the possible incidents and complications I could think of related to the central idea, as well as some light preliminary research.

Research can occur anywhere in the process.  Some stories I’ve written have been the result of finally finding the story spine to an idea in the research, other stories have little if any initial research and just enough on the final draft to make sure I haven’t made any egregious miztakes.

For this story a basic knowledge of the background was all I needed to get it plotted out.  Once I finished the plot I started writing it while at the gym, pecking out 500-1,000 words a day on my cell phone while on pedaling an exercise bike.

Finished the first draft on November 7th, 2011.  Printed it up, let it lay fallow for a while then did red ink copy editing / re-writing in mid-2012.  Did a lot of research during this period for details, not core ideas.  Finally picked it up again for for a serious re-write in late December / early January; wrapped up that draft three days ago.

I’m going to let it sit for a few weeks, then do another red ink edit followed by a third re-write in…?  (Hopefully not too long; this has been sitting around much too much as it is.)

First draft is to get the story down:  Who-what-when-where.
Second draft is to shape the form:  How.
Third draft will be for characters & style:  Why.

Will there be a fourth draft?  Probably not to this extent, but I’ll doubtlessly be tweaking and polishing up until the point where I actually upload it for readers.

As has been pointed out,
stories are never released,
they escape…

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Charles Bukowski’s Friendly Advice To A Lot Of Young Men


Bukowski by Emiliano Ponzi

Go to Tibet
Ride a camel.
Read the bible.
Dye your shoes blue.
Grow a beard.
Circle the world in a paper canoe.
Subscribe to The Saturday Evening Post.
Chew on the left side of your mouth only.
Marry a woman with one leg and shave with a straight razor.
And carve your name in her arm.

Brush your teeth with gasoline.
Sleep all day and climb trees at night.
Be a monk and drink buckshot and beer.
Hold your head under water and play the violin.
Do a belly dance before pink candles.
Kill your dog.
Run for mayor.
Live in a barrel.
Break your head with a hatchet.
Plant tulips in the rain.

But don’t write poetry.

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Where Dr. Seuss Got His Ideas


Dr Seuss

“I get all my ideas in Switzerland near the Forka Pass. There is a little town called Gletch, and two thousand feet up above Gletch there is a smaller hamlet called Über Gletch. I go there on the fourth of August every summer to get my cuckoo clock fixed. While the cuckoo is in the hospital, I wander around and talk to the people in the streets. They are very strange people, and I get my ideas from them.”

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Fictoid: the infernal triangle


Maximilian Liebenwein - St George And Dragon virgin n dragon

standing there
drawing his breath
after the fight

never had there been such a fight!
never had there been such a dragon!
what are we saying   of course there
have never been any dragons!  they’re
phantasms fantasies figments of the
imagination!  nonetheless, for the
purposes of our story, there was a dragon

a lot of blood
the dragon’s stinger
had sunk deep with that
last desperate dying thrust

you bleed

words soft


let me tend your wounds


…in the cave…
the dragon’s cave
bone and metal scattered about
skulls cracked open
bones broken in half
the marrow sucked out

take off your armor

hard to do
the stinger
punched through
the metal plate
the sharp edges
bend inward
clutch at the wound


the armor comes off

there, not so bad

will I die of this wound

of that
melodious laugh
no, you will not die of that wound
that I promise you

she prepares a poultice
applies it
soothes the raging pain

the burning pain
the devouring pain

lie down

he does

her cot
a small shelf of rock
in the cave
skulls and bones
blackened and cracked
litter the floor

they died

they did

they could not kill this dragon

this dragon, no, they couldn’t

but I did

you did

and rescued you

the pain eases
becomes numb
numbness becomes

know what they told me
down in the village

what did they tell you

they told me
no knight could ever
defeat the monster of the mountain

did they now

why would they tell me that

to warn you, perhaps

or perhaps
to entice me

ah, brave knight
you are smarter than you look

am I
there is something wrong here
the pieces do not fit
like mismatched armor
these knights whose
bones lay scattered
at our feet
how many
how often

once or twice
two or three times a year
this season or that

and how could a dragon
especially a dragon of this size
how could a dragon survive
between those battles
more importantly
how could you survive
dragons grow hungry
why were you not a feast

the dragon and I
we have an understanding


how do you feel
how is your wound

I feel no pain
what sort of

the stinger
it struck deep
did it not

what sort of

dragons are not
of this realm
good knight
they do not mate
or bear young
in the manner
to which we are

what sort of
I shall not ask again!

melodious laugh
oh good knight
all shall be answered
all shall be made known

reach for your dagger
arms move slowly
as if made of cold dough

what have you done to me

what have you done to yourself
good knight

you came looking for
glory and adventure
fame and reward

glory and fame
we can not offer you
adventure you have already had
now comes your reward
your just deserts

dagger clatters to
cold stone floor
useless fingers

picks up the dagger
turns it curiously in her hands
touches the tip with her finger

for me
did you intend this
for me

what have you done to me!
the poultice –

eases your pain
as promised
relaxes you
prepares you

prepares me
for what

like a maggot
on the skin of a horse
like a weed
growing on a grave
like a wasp
laying an egg
in a spider
so my dragon
has planted a seed in you

numbness now
does he feel something
deep within his bowels

dragons can not lay eggs in the open
for all their fierce demeanor
they are helpless little pups
as a cockatrice lays its egg in manure
my dragon has laid its egg in you
Sir Dung Hill

…it will kill me…


…it will devour its way out of me…

melodious laugh
nay, good knight
as I said
dragons are not of this realm
they eat finer food
than you
can imagine
no, the young pup inside you
just needs a safe place
to grow and prepare
and then emerge
to be my new dragon

…these bones…

the gallant knights who came before you
who slayed the dragons who came before this one
and in turn were slain by the pups who emerged

…I…I will…survive!

melodious laugh
oh, good knight
I have heard that one before

though the dragon emerges
it shall not kill me!
I shall recover!
I shall slay it again!
and this time

so said
all these gallant knights
scattered about you

before I ate them

© Buzz Dixon
art by Maximilian Liebenwein

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