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Announcements: A.I.,M.D. (reprint), 4th Street Fantasy, and A PIN DROPS

✒️ But I Want to be a Paperback Writer... Hey all, couple of things coming up that I wanted to throw at y'all. A.I., M.D. has been reprinted in the Spring 2024 Dragon Gems Anthology . This story about a misanthropic medical robot originally ran in Unidentified Funny Objects Vol. 8 . Next weekend I will be attending 4th Street Fantasy  and will be appearing on the 10:00am Sunday panel Dwelling on Redemption  alongside Aja McCullough, Aimee Kuzenski, Vivian Shaw, and John Wiswell. If you're there, come say hi! A new story called A Pin Drops is in the June issue of  Flash Fiction Online . It can purchased through their website, and it will appear for free online later this month. It is--hands down--the strangest story I have ever sold. Is it funny? Yes. Is it traumatizing? Also yes. Which is more prominent? I will leave that as an exercise for the reader. Thanks, ]{p
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YMMV: You Aren't Funny

🤐 Boy, What a Joker, What a Funny, Funny Guy... There's a lot that goes into telling a joke. Picture yourself at a party, standing around the kitchen, shooting the breeze, and then people start trying to make each other laugh with jokes. It's your turn--all eyes are on you. So you start with the setup. You're hamming up the absurdity a little, and you're taking note of how your audience is responding. If they're enjoying it, you lean in and stretch things out. If their attention is flagging, you move ahead more quickly. You're gesturing, you're doing voices, and you're building up to the big finish. And then you get there. You pause for emphasis. While you deliver it, you raise your voice by a few decibels so every knows that this  is the punchline. And the people laugh. They reward your effort, because, as noted above, there's a lot that went into telling that joke. Now throw all of it away, because none  of it works on paper... You Aren't Funn

YMMV: Stop Bashing Popular Things

🥊 'Cause I've Still Got a Lot of Fight Left in Me... Some months ago I found myself in a bar sitting between two groups of people involved in separate conversations. On one side, someone was talking about how Hamilton  is overrated. On the other side, someone was talking about how the CW show Supernatural  is overrated. Now, I'm a huge Hamilton  fan, but for some reason the Supernatural  conversation grated on me more. Because I'm pretty sure that show is exactly  correctly rated. No one watching Supernatural  after fifteen seasons is under the impression that this is high art. It is monster-of-the-week melodrama. But, it is exactly what its fans want, and they enjoy it exactly for what it is--which is why it ran for fifteen seasons! Now, I've never seen it, so I can't personally attest to the quality, but the point remains... Stop Bashing Popular Things I promise, this will eventually circle back to craft. When E. L. James's  Fifty Shades of Grey  hit the

Geekway to the West 2024 Redux

🎲 It Might Feel Good, It Might Sound a Lil' Somethin'... It's the middle of May, and that means Kurt has once again devoted an entire extended weekend to discovering new board games and socializing with people even nerdier than I am. There was a lot of stuff in Play-and-Win that was new to me, and here they are! Barcelona This one I'd seen at Geekway Mini but hadn't been able to get time on. It's a medium-to-heavy weight tile-laying game about the "Eixample" district of Barcelona that was built in the 1860s. You draw two tokens every turn that represent people in the upper, middle, or working classes and place them in the neighborhood in order to trigger game effects. Then you erect buildings based on which class of people are at the intersections. There are some side objectives you can use to gain more points, a cobblestone board you use to expand storage, a trolley to manage, intersections to build... it's got a lot of moving pieces. It's go

YMMV: Edit for Aesthetic Third (Line Editing, Part 3)

💄 Your Purple Prose Just Gives You Away... This is the final installment in my trilogy on line-editing. If you want to see these ideas in action, you can check out a demonstration I did several years ago for Flights of Foundry  in which I apply these principles to the opening paragraph of Fifty Shades of Grey . Edit For Aesthetic Third It's tempting to think, since aesthetic is third on my list of things to edit for, that it's not all that important. So let me clear the air right up front. Aesthetic is extremely  important. In fact, you might say that it's more important than everything but clarity and word-economy. This is because the word  aesthetic  is covering a lot of ground here. Style and tone? Aesthetic. Format? Aesthetic. Genre conventions? Also (often) aesthetic. It's a broad umbrella, but all of these have one thing in common: a key part of your story is the way  you tell it. This extends to the aesthetic of your writing because the way you write your sente

YMMV: Edit for Economy Second (Line Editing, Part 2)

💰 It's the Economy, Stupid... It's funny what gets lodged in your brain. There's a line from the Steven Soderbergh movie Ocean's 11  that I find myself coming back to frequently. It's just before the start of Act 3, when Rusty (Brad Pitt) is prepping Linus (Matt Damon) for his role in the heist. One of the pieces of advice he gives is "Don't use seven words when four will do." And this stuck with me, not because it was particularly important to that scene, but just because it felt like, I dunno... solid life advice? So naturally it found its way into my philosophy about writing, and that's why we... Edit For Economy Second Way back in my post about Writing to a Word Count , I talked about economy in writing, and how the idea of "word-economy" stays forefront in my mind while drafting and editing. Word-economy isn't about using the fewest  words, it's about making the most effective use of your words. The idea goes back (like eve