ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 [personal profile] dialecticdreamer has written the science fiction ficlet "Spinward" to someone else's prompt in the Creative Jam, but it's so awesome I wanted to share anyhow.  If you enjoy positive stories about human/AI partnerships, definitely give this a look.
ysabetwordsmith: (Karavai)
This is the freebie for the October 2014 Creative Jam. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] ellenmillion. It also fills the "Far Over the Misty Mountains" square in my 9-1-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem belongs to the Torn World project.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Thanks to a donation from [personal profile] rix_scaedu, there are 9 new verses in "The Lotus Warriors."  The invasion begins!  The resistance begins!  And promptly goes splat.  Clearly something will have to be done about this.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an article about writing aliens who are really alien and not just funny-looking humans.  There are some good ideas.  But then there is this mistake which people keep making ...

This is a related argument to the issue that if someone creates a “real” alien, it might be so far off from what human minds can comprehend that no reader or viewer could get into the story.

*headdesk*  Do you have a cat?  A dog?  They are nonhuman, think very differently from us, yet most people have lived with one or the other.  Consider our interactions with horses, pigs, ferrets, elephants, dolphins, parrots, etc.  These are all animals we interact with.  We play with them, train them, talk with them, eat them, ride them, occasionally even have sexual contact.  My bet is that if we meet aliens, we're going to respond very much the same way: Can I eat it?  Fuck it?  Wear it?  Play with it?  Train it to work for me?  Experiment on it?  Decorate my house with it?  Will it want to do any of those things to me?

This is why I often use animals as inspiration for an alien race.  It gives me a basis of plausible biology to start with, and that suggests some things about its culture, how it might interact with people.  The aliens won't think like humans, but will think as sapient beings.  And humans will go right on being humans, the way we deal with the nonhumans we already know.

Another thing I do is bring in bits of far-flung human cultures, ones that many readers will be less familiar with than their local culture.  That's because other humans are usually weirder than so-called alien characters.  They have little quirks like Korean culture considering plans to be dangerous, or many Native American tribes counting a third (or more) gender, or the Canary Islands whistle-language Silbo Gomero.  So make sure you at least out-weird other humans.

One of my favorite, most-alien characters is Alakazam by M.C.A. Hogarth.  Imagine an empathic, fluffy person the size of a basketball who does not speak but does emote in helpful, usually pleasant ways and expresses preferences for certain people's company.  Sort of like a pet, but always with a sense of being deeper, more nuanced, and ineffably mysterious.  You don't have to understand it to like  it.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the October 7, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] perfectworry, LJ user Westrider, and Deb1789.  It also fills the "parent(s)" square in my 9-29-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo  fest.  This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.  It belongs to the series Frankenstein's Family.

Read more... )
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[personal profile] dialecticdreamer has posted "Storm-Brought" from a previous Creative Jam.  This is a wonderful bit of science fiction featuring aliens hemmed in by a storm, one of whom finds an injured human afterward.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the October 7, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] janetmiles[personal profile] chordatesrock, and [personal profile] siliconshaman.  It also fills the "eccentric" square in my 9-29-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo  fest.  This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles.  It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

Read more... )
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Thanks to a donation from Anthony & Shirley Barrette, the poem "No Mind Without Spirit" is fully sponsored. Find out more about why Percy's idea doesn't work in nether-Earth.
ysabetwordsmith: (moment of silence)
Zilpha Keatley Snyder has passed away.  She wrote many books for young adults, often speculative fiction.  Below the Root, And All Between, and Until the Celebration were among my favorites.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
The Poetry Fishbowl is now CLOSED for prompts, although more poem thumbnails may appear.  Thank you for your enthusiasm!  

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "mad science."  I will be checking this page periodically throughout the day. When people make suggestions, I'll pick some and weave them together into a poem ... and then another ... and so on. I'm hoping to get a lot of ideas and a lot of poems.

Click to read the linkback poem "Testing the Metal" (A Conflagration of Dragons, 17 verses available).


What Is a Poetry Fishbowl?

Writing is usually considered a solitary pursuit. One exception to this is a fascinating exercise called a "fishbowl." This has various forms, but all of them basically involve some kind of writing in public, usually with interaction between author and audience. A famous example is Harlan Ellison's series of "stories under glass" in which he sits in a bookstore window and writes a new story based on an idea that someone gives him. Writing classes sometimes include a version where students watch each other write, often with students calling out suggestions which are chalked up on the blackboard for those writing to use as inspiration.

In this online version of a Poetry Fishbowl, I begin by setting a theme; today's theme is "mad science."  I invite people to suggest characters, settings, and other things relating to that theme. Then I use those prompts as inspiration for writing poems.


Cyberfunded Creativity

I'm practicing cyberfunded creativity. If you enjoy what I'm doing and want to see more of it, please feed the Bard. The following options are currently available:

1) Sponsor the Fishbowl -- Here is a PayPal button for donations. There is no specific requirement, but $1 is the minimum recommended size for PayPal transactions since they take a cut from every one. You can also donate via check or money order sent by postal mail. If you make a donation and tell me about it, I promise to use one of your prompts. Anonymous donations are perfectly welcome, just won't get that perk. General donations will be tallied, and at the end of the fishbowl I’ll post a list of eligible poems based on the total funding; then the audience can vote on which they want to see posted.

2) Swim, Fishie, Swim! -- A feature in conjunction with fishbowl sponsorship is this progress meter showing the amount donated.  There are multiple perks, the top one being a half-price poetry sale on one series when donations reach $300.



3) Buy It Now! -- Gakked from various e-auction sites, this feature allows you to sponsor a specific poem. If you don't want to wait for some editor to buy and publish my poem so you can read it, well, now you don't have to. Sponsoring a poem means that I will immediately post it on my blog for everyone to see, with the name of the sponsor (or another dedicate) if you wish; plus you get a nonexclusive publication right, so you can post it on your own blog or elsewhere as long as you keep the credits intact. You'll need to tell me the title of the poem you want to sponsor. I'm basing the prices on length, and they're comparable to what I typically make selling poetry to magazines (semi-pro rates according to Duotrope's Digest).

0-10 lines: $5
11-25 lines: $10
26-40 lines: $15
41-60 lines: $20
Poems over 60 lines, or with very intricate structure, fall into custom pricing.

4) Commission a scrapbook page. I can render a chosen poem in hardcopy format, on colorful paper, using archival materials for background and any embellishments. This will be suitable for framing or for adding to a scrapbook. Commission details are here.  See latest photos of sample scrapbooked poems: "Sample Scrapbooked Poems 1-24-11"

5) Spread the word. Echo or link to this post on your LiveJournal, other blog, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social network.  Useful Twitter hashtags include #poetryfishbowl and #promptcall.  Encourage people to come here and participate in the fishbowl.  If you have room for it, including your own prompt will give your readers an idea of what the prompts should look like; ideally, update later to include the thumbnail of the poem I write, and a link to the poem if it gets published.  If there is at least one new prompter or donor, I will post an extra freebie poem.

Linkback perk: I have a spare series poem available, and each linkback will reveal a verse of the poem.  One person can do multiple links if they're on different services, like Dreamwidth or Twitter, rather than all on LiveJournal.  Comment with a link to where you posted.  "Testing the Metal" belongs to the series A Conflagration of Dragons and has 17 verses available. 


Additional Notes

1) I customarily post replies to prompt posts telling people which of their prompts I'm using, with a brief description of the resulting poem(s). If you want to know what's available, watch for those "thumbnails."

2) You don't have to pay me to see a poem based on a prompt that you gave me. I try to send copies of poems to people, mostly using the LJ message function.  (Anonymous prompters will miss this perk unless you give me your eddress.)  These are for-your-eyes-only, though, not for sharing.

3) Sponsors of the Poetry Fishbowl in general, or of specific poems, will gain access to an extra post in appreciation of their generosity.  While you're on the Donors list, you can view all of the custom-locked posts in that category.  Click the "donors" tag to read the archive of those.  I've also posted a list of other donor perks there.  I customarily leave donor names on the list for two months, so you'll get to see the perk-post from this month and next.

4) After the Poetry Fishbowl concludes, I will post a list of unsold poems and their prices, to make it easier for folks to see what they might want to sponsor.

5) If donations total $100 by Friday evening then you get a free $15 poem; $150 gets you a free $20 poem; and $200 gets you a free epic, posted after the Poetry Fishbowl.  These will usually be series poems if I have them; otherwise I may offer non-series poems or series poems in a different size.  If donations reach $250, you get one step toward a bonus fishbowl; three of these activates the perk, and they don't have to be three months in a row.  Everyone will get to vote on which series, and give prompts during the extra fishbowl, although it may be a half-day rather than a whole day.  If donations reach $300, you get a half-price sale for one week in one series.  Everyone will get to vote on which series to feature in the sale, out of those with extra poems available.


Feed the Fish!
Now's your chance to participate in the creative process by posting ideas for me to write about. Today's theme is "mad science."  I'll be soliciting ideas for scientists, lab assistants, hapless victims, minions, henchmen races, laboratories, offices, secret lairs, forming hypotheses, doing experiments, making discoveries, difficult choices, plot twists, safety equipment, doomsday machines, gizmos or super-gizmos, mysterious substances, scientific theories, types of madness, monologues, and poetic forms in particular. But anything is welcome, really. If you manage to recommend a form that I don't recognize, I will probably pounce on it and ask you for its rules. I do have the first edition of Lewis Turco's The Book of Forms which covers most common and many obscure forms.

I'll post at least one of the fishbowl poems here so you-all can enjoy it. (Remember, you get an extra freebie poem if someone new posts a prompt or makes a donation, and additional perks at $100-$300 in donations.  Linkbacks reveal verses of "Testing the Metal.") The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Diane Severson Mori compiles a list of poetic activities from SFPA members each month. This time she split the list, with individual poem publications with links in this section and all the magazine/book stuff elsewhere. So here's a batch of speculative poetry for you to enjoy. Just scroll past mine that you've already seen, it's in alphabetical order.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article lays out some common flaws in worldbuilding.

Amusingly, I often use these things to distinguish cultures or even inspire writing.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
So I was following [personal profile] dialecticdreamer's recent thread on SF and I came to this conclusion:

Science is Ask culture.

Religion is Hint culture.

This is why they so often fight like cats and dogs, and why it takes a master linguist or sociologist to convince them to kiss and make up.

This explains so very much.

(Here is a primer on Ask/Hint cultural divide.)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 [personal profile] dialecticdreamer has a thoughtful post about flawed science and how that rarely appears in science fiction.  So many stories that haven't been done to death yet!
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article promotes the idea of positive SF as a way of encouraging positive futures. Yes! This! I want this! And they have made an anthology of it too, Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future. WANT.

Some further thoughts ...

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This is an advance announcement for the Tuesday, October 7, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. This time the theme will be "mad science." I'll be soliciting ideas for scientists, lab assistants, hapless victims, laboratories, offices, secret lairs, forming hypotheses, doing experiments, making discoveries, difficult choices, plot twists, safety equipment, doomsday machines, gizmos or super-gizmos, mysterious substances, scientific theories, types of madness, monologues, and poetic forms in particular.

I have a linkback poem, "Testing the Metal" (A Conflagration of Dragons).

If you're interested, mark the date on your calendar, and please hold actual prompts until the "Poetry Fishbowl Open" post next week.  (If you're not available that day, or you live in a time zone that makes it hard to reach me, you can leave advance prompts.)  Meanwhile, if you want to help with promotion, please feel free to link back here or repost this on your blog. 

New to the fishbowl?  Read all about it! )

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This is an advance announcement for the Tuesday, October 7, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. This time the theme will be "mad science." I'll be soliciting ideas for scientists, lab assistants, hapless victims, laboratories, offices, secret lairs, forming hypotheses, doing experiments, making discoveries, difficult choices, plot twists, safety equipment, doomsday machines, gizmos or super-gizmos, mysterious substances, scientific theories, types of madness, monologues, and poetic forms in particular.

I have a linkback poem, "Testing the Metal" (A Conflagration of Dragons).

If you're interested, mark the date on your calendar, and please hold actual prompts until the "Poetry Fishbowl Open" post next week. (If you're not available that day, or you live in a time zone that makes it hard to reach me, you can leave advance prompts.) Meanwhile, if you want to help with promotion, please feel free to link back here or repost this on your blog.
 

New to the fishbowl? Read all about it! )

 

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