Writing tips round-up redux

There seem to be a lot of posts containing advice for writers in my RSS reader at the moment, so I thought it would be nice to share them with everyone. Let’s see …

First up we have Jeff Vandermeer reposting the start of his “Evil Monkey Guide to Creative Writing” at his recently-relocated blog.

My Futurismic co-blogger and rising science fiction novelist Tobias Buckell has links to some extensive notes on plotting that were taken at the Taos Toolbox writer’s workshop.

Finally, Jetse de Vries is e-submissions fiction editor for Interzone, but he’s a writer in his own right, too. He shares with us the lessons he’s learned from reading the slush pile, and discusses the value of “trunking” stories that you just can’t seem to sell.

[Cross-posted to Futurismic]

Friday Photo Blogging: gatecrashing a Second Life recruitment party

Hello, Friday people! The pictures below will explain why there were no posts on VCTB yesterday …

Linden Labs recruitment bash, Brighton

LL Recruitment Bash 3

Yup – I was in Brighton last night, after a fairly last-minute decision to meet up with a friend at a Linden Lab recruitment party event-type-thingy. I went with no expectation of getting a job out of it (which was lucky, because that expectation would have been unfulfilled), and nor did my friend (though she’s a skilled builder in Second Life, and wasn’t afraid to mention that to people on the off-chance).

To be honest, I’m not sure what I expected, having never been to a recruitment party of any sort, let alone one in the weirder end of the computing industry.

SL humour invades RL

What we found was a Brighton seafront restaurant (built into an old public toilet block, no less) filled with a large crowd of chancers who, much like ourselves, had seen the LL blog entry and decided to attend for the opportunity of free food’n’booze and meeting some fellow geeks … as well as a few people from Linden Lab and NC Soft bemoaning the fact that no one seemed interested in looking for work.

I gave some people my card and offered my services as a copywriter with experience in software end-user documentation*. I’m not expecting any emails any time soon … but hey, you never know.

[* “Sure, I have experience – I’ve read loads of it! No, wait, come back …”]

So, we got a room full of SL geeks, a free bar (that didn’t stay free for very long), a young lady playing guitar and singing (which she usually does in SL, as Smily Raymaker) and a bag of promotional gubbins and nicknacks, mostly for NC Soft games. But my friend and I both fell for these SL cubes:

Second Life promo cube-light

The light inside slowly changes colour, pink-blue-green. I nabbed one for my desk. My friend, being a sensible female with a handbag of practical dimensions, procured about five for sending to other SL friends. Result.

So, not exactly the kaleidoscopic blast we had hoped it might be. But it was ace to have a night out in Real Life with someone I’ve known through Second Life for a few months. As anyone who’s done it will probably agree, meeting internet friends can be a pretty bizarre experience. The weirdness was overcome by heading back to the hotel room with a few drinks and …

… using the free wi-fi to log in to Second Life and watch Bill Hicks video clips on YouTube. You can’t tell us we don’t live on the edge.

Other stuff

That was the big event of the week, pretty much. I judged at the second heat of the Wedgewood Rooms Showcase on Wednesday night, which was a good laugh for all involved except my liver and kidneys, but otherwise I’ve done very little of any interest – most unusual, I know.

[I would tell you all about the fun of editing book reviews for Interzone while waiting for the last few to arrive, all the while staring into the oncoming headlights of an impeding printer’s deadline … but even my well-honed writing skills balk at the task of portraying the repeated reading of the same on-screen documents many times through (and the simultaneous biting of fingernails) in a manner of interest to a general audience. I’m hoping that with experience I’ll become less worried and nervous about the editorial process. In the interim, I’ll be budgeting a full week of unreasoning panic into my schedule for the next issue.]

Books and magazines seen

No books this week, but one more mag in the postbox, namely the September issue of F&SF – which features a Ted Chiang story that I’ll have to read sooner rather than later.


Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s instalment of my geekish life as a vicarious experience – it’s been pretty good fun from this side of the screen. My stomach says it’s time for The Friday Curry, and then it’ll probably be an early night to catch up on missed sleep … in the meantime, I hope we all get to have a weekend without appalling weather.

Hasta luego, amigos.