21 January 2016

DARPA Working on Informateur?


DARPA announced its intentions of eventually building a chip no larger than one cubic centimeter, or two nickels stacked back to back, that can be implanted in the brain. The chip would act as a neural interface by converting electrochemical signals sent by neurons in the brain into the ones and zeros used in digital communications.

Sounds like the precursor to an Informateur to me. Be interesting to see where this goes.

What's an Informateur? Check out my webserial Perfect to find out.

Want more Perfect episodes? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

08 July 2015

Writing Book Review: The Artful Edit by Susan Bell

The Artful Edit: On the practice of editing yourself ©2007 by Susan Bell

To date, the best book on editing, and maybe the art and craft of writing, I’ve read.

  • Not pedantic – stresses that each writer will need to find what works for her
  • Lays out techniques, provides examples and studies
  • Discusses general editing concepts (macro vs micro editing) and offers a “Diagnostic Checklist” for each

  • Some writers will find Bell’s discussion too vague desiring more tips, tricks, and secrets than this generalized discussion of what one should be thinking about when self-editing (or even editing another’s work)
  • The final two (of five) chapters are interesting though the least useful

Bottom Line:
  • Absolutely worth checking out from your local library
  • Consider purchasing a copy, new for under $15 or used for under $5

Bell’s style is approachable and relatable: it’s easy for a writer/reader to say, “Okay, this is what I need to be doing when I’m editing my own work.” She also goes a step farther and suggests that if one method isn’t working, here are (about) eleven others to try. And while the final two chapters provided less ‘usable’ insight for me, others will find value in a look at how a sound editor or other writers work through the editing process.

The most important take away is writers need a systematic approach to viewing their work and engaging in the editing process. Unless one is willing to pay for extensive editing – almost wrote expensive editing, a useful Freudian slip – authors must edit their own work well. There is too much competition for space for that short story and novel. Even if the publisher is still paying for editorial services, it is likely that much less attention will be given your piece than in the past. [Interesting note: this is the gist of the final chapter, so maybe it’s more ‘useful’ than I’ve lead you to believe.] Simply put: if they like your work but it needs extensive editing before publication it’s just that much easier to give it a pass. Learning how to self-edit is as crucial as knowing when to show and when to tell.

So what’s the difference between a macro and micro edit you asked? A macro-edit is the big picture. In Bell’s words: “Intention, Character, Structure, Foreshadowing, Theme, and Continuity of tone. A micro-edit looks at the detail: “Language, Repetition, Redundancy, Clarity, Authenticity, Continuity, Show and tell, Beginnings/endings/transitions”. That’s an outline of the meaty middle of her text. Her first chapter, “Gaining Perspective” offers eleven methods one can use – mix and match to suit your needs and tastes.

29 October 2014

Perfect, Episode Forty ♦ Howling Wind

Part Two of Perfect draws to a close with publication of

Perfect, Episode Forty ♦ Howling Wind

I hope you've enjoyed reading Perfect. Part Three is planned for 2015 - please use the "Follow on" links to the right to be notified when the next episode is available.

It's also important to thank a few people for their help in bringing you Part Two. I'm indebted to my friendly librarian Judith and her friend Pam for assistance on the final section of Episode Forty. Don't know how I could have written it without Judith's advice and feedback. Writing may be a solitary endeavor, but creation stems from contact with others.

Critique partners from Westside Writers also provided wonderful, useful feedback as I was developing each episode in Part Two.

Thank you April, Gayle, Judith, Marilyn, Mike and Pat, Pam, RebeccaWalt, Whitney, and Vanessa.

01 October 2014

Perfect, Episode Thirty-eight ♦ Anita's Day

Has another fortnight gone by? Am I really publishing the thirty-eighth episode of Perfect, editing the thirty-ninth, and tweaking the first full draft of episode forty - the biggest cliff hanging, Part Two closing, season finishing, OMG ending for 2014? Yes. All around, the answer is yes. I'm a tiny bit overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, but pretty excited and pleased.

So this week George and Anita have settled into life in a future Red Cloud firmly rooted in an age long since passed into our own history. He followed her from a comfortable life in civilization to a new, unimagined, impossible life in the Great North American Wilderness Park. So what do they do all day? How's he dealing with the change? And exactly what does Anita think about it all? Find out in

Perfect, Episode Thirty-eight ♦ Anita's Day