dduane: Via the Self-Rescuing Princess Society. Anybody know…

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015


Via the Self-Rescuing Princess Society. Anybody know the artist?

Ursula Lopez, apparently (which I see someone already said).

  1. Right-click on the image in Chrome
  2. “Search Google for this image”
  3. Profit!

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So, how do you handle keeping different revisions of a work in progress? Writers probably don’t have as many weird untraceable interaction bugs as programmers, but I’m sure you guys are just as prone to waking up, looking at that section you rewrote last night, and wondering what the heck was in that drink.

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

Well, since I changed over to Scrivener this isn’t really so much of a problem, as the program can be set to do automatic incremental backups every time you hit save – and these can be saved to Dropbox, which is how I manage it. (The excellent Fizzygins outlines here how to set this up for the Mac version of Scrivener.)

Scrivener can also be set to automatically back itself up when you finish a work session / close a project for the day. (While this isn’t mandatory, I always do this when finishing up, without fail – as failing to close a project in one device and opening it in another can cause confusion, or worse still, conflicted versions of the project file. (Yes, Scrivener does warn you when you open a file that hasn’t been properly closed elsewhere, but it leaves you the option to make a copy of the file and operate on that instead. My experience of this has been that it causes more confusion than it prevents, so I don’t do it.)

So when rereading your material the next day (or whenever) if you find that what you’ve written doesn’t work for you, you can always roll back to an earlier version. It takes a little searching sometimes to find the version you need, but just knowing that it’s there somewhere is very reassuring. 

(I usually also compile the last day’s save to ebook format and have Dropbox send it to my iPad, so I don’t have to wait to get downstairs to the big computer to go OMG-why-on-Earth-did-I-write-that? on rereading the material, but can do it first thing in the morning, in bed, just after checking the email. Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment. (But I find that rereading the material first thing after waking up is a good way to set up for the day’s work.)

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A question: Creation, self-esteem, and the urge to run your own work down

Thursday, July 24th, 2014



(via anartificialaspidistra:)

Hi Diane, I’ve been a fan for a long time. Read the YW books, Wounded Sky, and eventually the Door Into… books staring when I was a kid back in the 80s. Someday I’ll take a picture of the Hello Kitty notebook I owned circa 1984 where I wrote both Ed the shark’s name and Sherlock Holmes’ name surrounded by hearts. I was totally willing to marry either one of them. ;D

Anyway, when I started looking for more Sherlock stories after the BBC show premiered I got into reading fanfic, and eventually the amazing art on Tumblr. It was great to see someone whose books I’d always loved was right in there as a fan too.

Reading someone’s tags today, I noticed the latest example of something that makes my heart hurt a little every time I see it. The art (it was a short Sherlock comic strip) was great! Well laid out, engagingly drawn, funny, entertaining, etc. But the artist’s tags were all about how terrible it was. How she couldn’t write, how she couldn’t draw, etc. I know how hard it is to put your work (of any kind) out there and just let it speak for itself, but the prevalence of young girls making something amazing and then sharing it by saying “here’s this thing I did. It’s probably terrible,” just kills me. I can’t count how many posts I’ve seen people tag or comment that their art or they themselves are “trash”. I mean, I get that they’re self deprecating for comic effect, but…

I don’t know. Maybe learning to not put down your work before someone else gets a chance to is just something that has to be grown out of, but I also wonder if more of us older women should be saying something. I’d love to see girls say “here’s this thing I made [full stop]” if it still seems too hard to say “here’s this thing I made; I’m proud of it.” Just not tearing themselves down would make a world of difference, I think.

I guess I’m just curious if you have any thoughts to add. Thanks again for writing such enjoyable stories and building such cool worlds! May you live long and prosper.

First of all: thanks. :) It’s always nice to know I’m getting the job done.

Re the self-esteem problem as regards talking about one’s work: I see a lot of this from girl creators too. (Yet also from the boys, until they gradually knuckle under or get pushed under the surface of the whole patriarchal never-say-anything-that-might-make-you-seem-weak crap, and get it institutionalized out of them.)

Part of the problem is that the creation of art (or indeed anything else useful) is unnerving business, because you’re essentially making the invisible visible: making something out of nothing — and even that phrase is culturally loaded. (“Don’t make something out of nothing!”: a classic putdown for overreaction.) Yet making Something out of Nothing is also, as it happens, what Gods do. (The classic western-culture version of this: Deity moves over the surface of the empty void, says, “Hmm. Light…” and bang! Light.) 

So creation routinely frightens those who who do it — because the actual process of mastery of art takes a long time, and in the meanwhile you may frequently feel like you’re riding the tiger, only half in control, while your grip on the tiger’s ears is always threatening to slip. And creation frightens more badly those who don’t do it (not that you’ll ever easily get them to admit that), because they see you making Something out of Nothing and that’s not normal. Everybody gets a little freaked as a result, and it’s probably no surprise that the responses to the act of creation by both creators and spectators can get skewed — reactions based on fear not routinely being the healthiest ones.

(Adding a cut here, since more discussion and a brief how-to course in auctorial esteem lies below. Also, “pieces of shit”…)

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The sweet silver song of a lark

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

The sweet silver song of a lark:


The sweet silver song of a lark

The song that contains the line above was originally famous for having come from the great Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Carousel, and is now much better known on this side of the water for its association with two great British football clubs (after the Gerry and the…

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dduane: The post-haircut selfie.

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014


The post-haircut selfie.

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Greek mythology, feminist reclamation of lost/ancient tradition, and an interface issue: or, The Thing I Got So Cranky About The Other Day

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014



The passage below, when I ran across it last week, initially caused my mouth to drop open in sheer disbelief. And since then the thought that it is even now wandering blithely about unchallenged has been sort of gnawing at me. So some ranting is about to ensue. If you’re not in the mood for that, best turn your eyes away now and look at some nice pics of kittens drinking beer or something.

…I can’t now even remember what brought me to this particular page, and I want to emphasize that this isn’t in any way about the OP, who doubtless thought the source (or at least the quote) was reliable.


…it’s not. And since this (as some around here like to say) is relevant to my interests, I just want to drop a few notes about this one quote, and leave further considerations to those who feel like going into them.

So here’s the material that got up my nose.

Greek myths mention several Islands of Women, where Amazons lived without men, only consorting with neighboring colonies of males at certain seasons when they wanted to conceive their children. Taurus, Lemnos, and Lesbos were said to be such all-female societies. The Greeks apparently feared them. They said the women of Taurus sacrificed to their Goddess all men who landed on their shores; and the women of Lemnos had risen up against their husbands and murdered all of them at once. The Greek writers seemed to have no doubt that women could destroy whole populations of adult males, and there was no effective defense against them.

The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, Barbara G. Walker (p. 26)

(rolls up her sleeves) It’s hard to even know where to begin shredding this like wet kleenex analyzing this…

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OP: 940 notes
DD’s fact-check: 99 notes

Tumblr is a great place to be inspired, roused, motivated, whatever. But if you approach it with a credulous mind, it’s also a great place to be indoctrinated with “facts” that aren’t actually factual.

Which is fine. IDGAF/IDWIW/YOLO/PQZ and all that. Dream big. Be inspired and impassioned. Raise consciousness. Right the world’s wrongs.

But know this: If you aren’t consciously employing critical thinking, you’ll be creating and propagating new wrongs the whole time. And some of the people who otherwise might have been persuaded by you are going to decide that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

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dduane: morethanslightly: part of my doubt when I read any interesting fandom speculation about…

Sunday, March 9th, 2014



part of my doubt when I read any interesting fandom speculation about the future plot of any show is simply “the writers aren’t thinking this hard about it”

And nine times out of ten you’ll be right.

Note: Comment courtesy of someone with a long history of writing on actual shows.

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Did you write for Scooby Doo? If so, I’d love to hear a story or two about that experience.

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Long, long ago now. IMDb has a couple of the script names, though I remember doing a couple more. (Possibly those were co-writes with one or another of my story editors. Tom and Duane were good teachers, patient and considerate of a newbie, but they didn’t spare me hard work or expectations of good performance.)

There’s not much to tell except that it was fun, but surprisingly difficult work in its way. Animation writing is not normal screenwriting: it has its own language and its own rhythms, and the pages read faster (routinely a page per thirty seconds for scriptwriting of that kind, instead of a page per minute, which is the norm in almost every other kind of screenwriting). The other major amusement was that Scrappy-Doo was just being introduced: so I can say, with only a slight smile, that he and I are contemporaries in animation. (But I draw the line at “colleagues”.)  :)  (…Then again, maybe I shouldn’t. My work on S&SD essentially financed the writing of So You Want to Be a Wizard.)

The crazier stuff started after I more or less “graduated” from Scoob and went on to other series that Tom and Duane found themselves working on at (then) Hanna-Barbera. Some of these still turn up on Cartoon Network or elsewhere: some have been more or less mercifully buried under the detritus of passing time. It was while working on Fonz and the Happy Days Gang that I first (with T&D’s connivance) smuggled a fake page into a script to make the poor long-suffering broadcast-standards-&-practices lady smile. It was also there that I found myself party to a discussion with another BS&P person (a guy this time) in which we were given a note about how it wasn’t OK to have the characters tied up to the inner works of a windmill, because that was “imitable behavior”. But when Tom thought for a second and said “Okay, can we chain them up?”, then that was OK, because… chains were harder for the average nine-year-old to lay hands on? I can’t even remember the justification any more, but it was apparently acceptable.

And there were many other useful teaching moments and lessons. It was from Tom and Duane that I learned how to insert something blatantly inadmissible in a script so that the upper-ups would concentrate on throwing that out and completely miss something we really wanted to keep in. (A tactic still very useful.) It was there that I got to sit in on a taping of a Captain Caveman that I’d written, and heard Mel Blanc say “fuck” in Cavey’s voice (and idiom) about a hundred times.

(grinning in memory) In short, it was like The School for Scandal with cartoons: an excellent place to start learning the craft.

Ah, good times… good times.

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