Links for 28th January 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Reasonably Unscrewed-Up Character ≠ Mary Sue

    "I’m aware that the term “Mary Sue” is experiencing some definition creep so that aside from meaning “author wish fulfillment character” it’s also come to mean “supercompetent, non-screwed-up main character.” But this seems like critical and linguistic laziness to me — Let “Mary Sue” mean what it’s supposed to mean, and let something else mean that other thing; I vote for “Campbellian Competent,” myself. I think it’s perfectly legitimate to criticize writers on both counts — Campbellian Competent characters can be lazily constructed and boring as hell, just as Mary Sues are painful to read in their own way. I’d just suggest critics actually try to parse the difference. It’d be more useful to readers, and I know it would annoy me less."

    Tagged with: sfsciencefictioncriticismcharacterMary-Suedefinition

  2. The Seven Sentence Story

    "We talked about plot having several components: an inciting moment, rising action, a climax and a denouement. One way to see how a plot can work is to build a plot skeleton, a very short story, stripped of everything except the plot. To write this kind of story, you are limited to only seven sentences. Each sentence has a specific role."

    Tagged with: writingtipsplotsevensentenceexercise

  3. Shrewd Writing Advice From Some of Science Fiction’s & Fantasy’s Best Writers

    "… there was one phrase I always had on a Post-It stuck to my monitor, one thing I always attempted to follow. I can't recall where I picked it up from, or if it was distilled from months and years of panicked deadlines because I'd spent weeks making the first page the most polished opening in history. It is this simple instruction: GET IT DOWN, CHANGE IT LATER." Marc Gascoigne.

    Tagged with: writingadvicetipssfsciencefiction


    "Guess what? You're not owed love. You're not owed a living. You're not owed respect. You're not owed a fair chance. You're not owed readership. You're not owed instruction. You're not owed indulgence. You're not owed a way out of the horns of a dilemma. You're not owed anything. Ask 100 people what it means to be a writer and most will know: it means being a starving loser who outlives whatever publication he or she manages to get by a few decades, at least. You're not owed anything but, at BEST, the neglect of a postliterate culture, and at worst the sort of calumny and brickbats otherwise reserved for child molestors and the people who hang their toilet paper in the incorrect underhand manner. […] If you're worried about vilification, you're in the wrong business." Nick Mamatas.

    Tagged with: writingrespectapprovaloffencecommunityethics

  5. ardour | the new digital audio workstation

    "Ardour capabilities include: multichannel recording, non-destructive editing with unlimited undo/redo, full automation support, a powerful mixer, unlimited tracks/busses/plugins, timecode synchronization, and hardware control from surfaces like the Mackie Control Universal. If you've been looking for a tool similar to ProTools, Nuendo, Pyramix, or Sequoia, you might have found it. " Freeware, also.

    Tagged with: musicdigitalsoftwaretoolsaudiofreewareproductionrecordingapplication

  6. Better CSS Font Stacks

    "… using these guidelines, and building on the experience of much more knowledgeable type gurus, I have compiled a list of font stacks that will both open up more font possibilities for web designers, and hopefully offer more appropriate substitutes… " Much more scope than the standard stacks here. Experimentation is called for.

    Tagged with: webdevcssfontsstackstutorialinspirationtypography

  7. HTML-Ipsum

    Ooooh… pre-styled boilerplate test text. This is a lifesaver!

    Tagged with: webdevHTMLdummycontenttypographymarkupresourcegenerator


    "PX to EM conversion made simple." Good; em sizing baffles the crap out of me.

    Tagged with: webdevdesigncsstypographyconverterempxtool

  9. Em Calculator

    "Em Calculator is a small JavaScript tool which helps making scalable and accessible CSS design. It converts size in pixels to relative em units, which are based on a text size." Noice!

    Tagged with: webdevdesigncsstypographygeneratorpxemconversionaccessibility

  10. Global warming irreversible for 1000 years

    "The authors emphasised that increases in CO2 that occur from 2000 to 2100 are set to "lock in" a sea level rise over the next 1,000 years, so action is needed urgently to prevent that. Rising sea levels would cause "irreversible commitments to future changes in the geography of the Earth, since many coastal and island features would ultimately become submerged," the study said." Well, shit. Mars colonies, anyone?

    Tagged with: climateglobalwarmingchangeirreversiblesciencenew-southsea

  11. Lit-Fic : the genre that dare not speak its name

    "At heart, the seperation between speculative fiction and literary fiction is a clash of cultures. Speculative fiction is geek culture. I don’t mean that at all pejoratively. Geeks run the world, they bought it in the mid-80’s with the profits of the information technology revolution. Literary fiction belongs to the old elites, the ones the geeks bought out. They used to run everything but these days they’ve been beaten back to a few academic institutions, snooty bookstores and the book review pages of national newspapers. And the geeks are even infiltrating there. Speculative fiction doesn’t need to be acknowledged by literary fiction, it _is_ the new literary fiction." Zing!

    Tagged with: literaturesfgenresciencefiction

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