[personal profile] elisem just posted LIONESS CHALLENGE: Moon in a Rocking Chair, a writing challenge/contest based on a sterling silver and opal pendant she made. Details there, but it's pretty open-ended: a piece inspired by the pendant, no more than 500 words long.
The winner will receive the pendant "Moon in a Rocking Chair" and bragging rights. The winner retains all copyright to their work(s).

I'm signal-boosting this because, many years ago, Elise did a similar challenge for poetry a pair of earrings, "Song of the Lesbian Elephant." I don't think of myself as a poet, but they were pretty earrings, and an interesting title, and one day I decided I could write something good enough to lose a poetry contest. I was surprised, and pleased, when she told me I'd won.
redbird: Me with a cup of tea, standing in front of a refrigerator (drinking tea in jo's kitchen)
( Apr. 14th, 2012 08:46 pm)
[cross-posted from a Making Light open thread]

I am starting to think that real and/or effective apologies tend to be brief. Otherwise they go from "I'm sorry for this mistake, I understand how it must have upset you" through "I can't deny that I'd be bothered too" to "While I'd like to attempt to 'explain' how it happened, I understand that a) an explanation won't undo what was done and b) in the end, as the writer and editor of the newsletter's content, the buck must stop with me."

And then several paragraphs of attempting to explain how it happened, including naming someone else who was involved and implying that it was more her fault than his. (That he referred to her as "the young woman who handles data entry" doesn't help.)

Since I can't think of anything useful to say to this person, given that he is no longer involved with the organization in question, I'm posting here rather than try to give him a brief course in how not to apologize.

[On the underlying issue, I am more amused than annoyed: my high school alumnae/i association somehow decided that two alumni with the same surname must be married rather than siblings, and mentioned us in an article about married alumni. It's the sort of thing that makes a person wonder about alumni publications.]

ETA April 17: Yesterday I got an apology from the head of the Alumnae/i Association. Again, she notes that a simple check should have caught the error, and that the problem was probably human error in the original data entry: but it's brief, and doesn't imply that this means she, the editor, or the organization aren't responsible. (I almost didn't read the email, because it was from an unknown name with no subject, but that's a separate issue of How to Do It.)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Mar. 6th, 2008 09:30 pm)
My current project is editing an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink manuscript, one of those things where they want us to review all of high school science.

Every state has slightly different standards for these things. Mostly, that's not a big deal: North Carolina wants a lot more on hydrology and rivers than most other states, and Texas has more on oil. Sometimes it's utterly maddening--there are states whose standards require the students to learn things that are objectively false. (Not every planet has a circular orbit--this isn't just that none is a perfect circle, this is how eccentric Mercury is--and tongue-curling is a really horrible example to use in Mendelian genetics, because it fails the identical-twin test.) And sometimes it's interesting, because we get to sit there and try to figure out exactly what they want, and why the author didn't look at the standard before reusing existing material.

I spent much of the day cutting irrelevancies, and writing sections to fill in what the author didn't realize was needed. Some is minor--for the section on predicting natural disasters and minimizing risk, the state wants landslides, and I decided that blizzards would fit well. Some is just weird--I think the author is either really fond of seismographs, or just learned about them, but the details she provided are way beyond the scope of a brief description of earthquake prediction. And some is weird and interesting because, well, what would you do with a standard that expects students, given a description of an organism, to predict its ecological niche? What I did included a brief discussion of wolves having teeth, legs, and digestive tract suitable for a predator, and the statement that knowing what wolves eat, you would predict that coyotes are predators, not grazers. (That gives an easy lesson review question on dingoes.) Then I talked about honeybees, mentioning that they live with a lot of close relatives and share their food supply. So you might reasonably expect another organism that digs burrows and shares them with hundreds of its very close relatives to also share food. No, not ants: I ntroduced the naked mole-rat. May as well give them something new and weird. (I didn't discuss naked mole-rat breeding, but the analogy holds, and some of the students may decide to look them up.)

I may not finish this manuscript by the original deadline. My supervisor came by this afternoon to ask how it was going, and I explained that it's going well but slowly, because writing takes longer than editing, and that I'll want her to look at the evolution chapter, since I've written about half of it, and even a good writer needs an editor. We agreed that she'll check with me again tomorrow and see how it's going. When she first gave me the book, she told me that she wasn't sure the deadline was realistic, so she's neither surprised nor unhappy with me on this.

This is a lot more interesting than proofreading.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Mar. 6th, 2008 09:30 pm)
My current project is editing an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink manuscript, one of those things where they want us to review all of high school science.

Every state has slightly different standards for these things. Mostly, that's not a big deal: North Carolina wants a lot more on hydrology and rivers than most other states, and Texas has more on oil. Sometimes it's utterly maddening--there are states whose standards require the students to learn things that are objectively false. (Not every planet has a circular orbit--this isn't just that none is a perfect circle, this is how eccentric Mercury is--and tongue-curling is a really horrible example to use in Mendelian genetics, because it fails the identical-twin test.) And sometimes it's interesting, because we get to sit there and try to figure out exactly what they want, and why the author didn't look at the standard before reusing existing material.

I spent much of the day cutting irrelevancies, and writing sections to fill in what the author didn't realize was needed. Some is minor--for the section on predicting natural disasters and minimizing risk, the state wants landslides, and I decided that blizzards would fit well. Some is just weird--I think the author is either really fond of seismographs, or just learned about them, but the details she provided are way beyond the scope of a brief description of earthquake prediction. And some is weird and interesting because, well, what would you do with a standard that expects students, given a description of an organism, to predict its ecological niche? What I did included a brief discussion of wolves having teeth, legs, and digestive tract suitable for a predator, and the statement that knowing what wolves eat, you would predict that coyotes are predators, not grazers. (That gives an easy lesson review question on dingoes.) Then I talked about honeybees, mentioning that they live with a lot of close relatives and share their food supply. So you might reasonably expect another organism that digs burrows and shares them with hundreds of its very close relatives to also share food. No, not ants: I ntroduced the naked mole-rat. May as well give them something new and weird. (I didn't discuss naked mole-rat breeding, but the analogy holds, and some of the students may decide to look them up.)

I may not finish this manuscript by the original deadline. My supervisor came by this afternoon to ask how it was going, and I explained that it's going well but slowly, because writing takes longer than editing, and that I'll want her to look at the evolution chapter, since I've written about half of it, and even a good writer needs an editor. We agreed that she'll check with me again tomorrow and see how it's going. When she first gave me the book, she told me that she wasn't sure the deadline was realistic, so she's neither surprised nor unhappy with me on this.

This is a lot more interesting than proofreading.
I'm trying to figure out if I qualify as a pixel-stained technopeasant if what I have to offer is already available on the Web, because the original paid publication was to an online magazine.

I will probably put it up tomorrow morning anyway, in the spirit of supporting my friends and the idea. (Also, I may be getting a bit of additional money for reprint rights in a printed book.)
I'm trying to figure out if I qualify as a pixel-stained technopeasant if what I have to offer is already available on the Web, because the original paid publication was to an online magazine.

I will probably put it up tomorrow morning anyway, in the spirit of supporting my friends and the idea. (Also, I may be getting a bit of additional money for reprint rights in a printed book.)
redbird: full bookshelves and table in a library (books)
»

253

( Jan. 3rd, 2007 09:24 am)
After [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel read one of the footnotes to Geoff Ryman's 253 aloud as part of our New Year's Eve, I picked the book up on the first. It takes a while to come together, but there are more connections, and more plausible ones, than the description "253 words each about the 253 people on a given Tube train" suggests.

Those 253 words are enough to give us snippets of people's lives, thoughts, and plans, even when they aren't interacting. A few of the passengers have famous names, and Ryman gives one of them his own name (though not, I think, life or description). The footnotes, some of which have valid information despite the author's stated intentions, wander all over the place, ranging from the simply factual (a sentence or two about Barings) to the truly fantastic (William Blake walks around in the one Rysmiel read us, and another explains Margaret Thatcher in terms of David Bowie's influence on her and their similar cultural roles).

Passenger 253 didn't quite work for me; 2530 words might not have been space to make that one work, but 253 certainly aren't. spoiler warning )

The end-of-the-book car-by-car narratives help pull things together, and Passenger 253 works a little better after that, I think. The "advertisements" tucked in between sections shouldn't help hold the book together, but do.

Also, points for the passenger called only "Who?", including the description of his appearance and his interactions with some of the others in that car.
redbird: full bookshelves and table in a library (books)
»

253

( Jan. 3rd, 2007 09:24 am)
After [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel read one of the footnotes to Geoff Ryman's 253 aloud as part of our New Year's Eve, I picked the book up on the first. It takes a while to come together, but there are more connections, and more plausible ones, than the description "253 words each about the 253 people on a given Tube train" suggests.

Those 253 words are enough to give us snippets of people's lives, thoughts, and plans, even when they aren't interacting. A few of the passengers have famous names, and Ryman gives one of them his own name (though not, I think, life or description). The footnotes, some of which have valid information despite the author's stated intentions, wander all over the place, ranging from the simply factual (a sentence or two about Barings) to the truly fantastic (William Blake walks around in the one Rysmiel read us, and another explains Margaret Thatcher in terms of David Bowie's influence on her and their similar cultural roles).

Passenger 253 didn't quite work for me; 2530 words might not have been space to make that one work, but 253 certainly aren't. spoiler warning )

The end-of-the-book car-by-car narratives help pull things together, and Passenger 253 works a little better after that, I think. The "advertisements" tucked in between sections shouldn't help hold the book together, but do.

Also, points for the passenger called only "Who?", including the description of his appearance and his interactions with some of the others in that car.
I found this call for papers on Octavia Butler's work in [livejournal.com profile] nnaloh's blog.

This volume aims to bring together for the first time a comprehensive collection of critical essays on Butler’s writing. The anthology will combine previously published work that was influential in shaping much of feminist and – more recently – queer debates on Butler’s fiction with new scholarship engaging with Butler’s writing. Those approaches may involve readings of any of Butler’s works in terms of e.g. feminist theory, queer theory, science fiction studies, postcolonial theory, lesbian and gay studies, and critical race studies.

E-mail proposals for new articles as attachments to:
Patricia Melzer
Women’s Studies, Temple University
pmelzer@temple.edu
phone: 215.204.6953

Deadline for proposals (ca. 1000 words): March 30, 2007
Deadline for full manuscripts (ca. 8000 words): June 15, 2007
I found this call for papers on Octavia Butler's work in [livejournal.com profile] nnaloh's blog.

This volume aims to bring together for the first time a comprehensive collection of critical essays on Butler’s writing. The anthology will combine previously published work that was influential in shaping much of feminist and – more recently – queer debates on Butler’s fiction with new scholarship engaging with Butler’s writing. Those approaches may involve readings of any of Butler’s works in terms of e.g. feminist theory, queer theory, science fiction studies, postcolonial theory, lesbian and gay studies, and critical race studies.

E-mail proposals for new articles as attachments to:
Patricia Melzer
Women’s Studies, Temple University
pmelzer@temple.edu
phone: 215.204.6953

Deadline for proposals (ca. 1000 words): March 30, 2007
Deadline for full manuscripts (ca. 8000 words): June 15, 2007
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Oct. 29th, 2006 04:19 pm)
The term "picowrimo" seems to be stuck in my head; it should be 1/1,000th of NaNoWriMo.

I could probably write a bad drabble in 30 days.

Alternatively, there's the six-word story thing that's going around.

Here's one:

God said, "I'm your biggest fan."
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Oct. 29th, 2006 04:19 pm)
The term "picowrimo" seems to be stuck in my head; it should be 1/1,000th of NaNoWriMo.

I could probably write a bad drabble in 30 days.

Alternatively, there's the six-word story thing that's going around.

Here's one:

God said, "I'm your biggest fan."
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Aug. 17th, 2006 08:56 pm)
Useful advice from [livejournal.com profile] agrumer:

I'm a fan of rhetoric. I'm not saying that everybody needs to talk like Vulcans. But your rhetoric should mean something. If you tell your reader/listener to ask themselves something, you should actually want them to ask it of themselves. *
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Aug. 17th, 2006 08:56 pm)
Useful advice from [livejournal.com profile] agrumer:

I'm a fan of rhetoric. I'm not saying that everybody needs to talk like Vulcans. But your rhetoric should mean something. If you tell your reader/listener to ask themselves something, you should actually want them to ask it of themselves. *
.

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