What Are the REAL Odds of Success? Extreme Ownership & the Best-Selling Author

A great post with advice (and a real wake-up call) from Kristen Lamb to writers.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Original image via Lucy Downey from Flickr Creative Commons Original image via Lucy Downey from Flickr Creative Commons

Many of us are doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). If you’ve been following this blog the last two weeks, then you probably know I’ve had a horrific case of the flu. While this does mean I’ve sidelined editing (have to have higher thinking skills) and teaching (kind of need a voice) this has not excused me from writing.

In fact, it’s been pretty good for my writing since Robotussin apparently chloroforms the internal editor and is like Skittles to the Lizard Brain who is now running around in my head with scissors.

Oh God! It has the glitter! Hold on! Back in a minute….

Where was I? Yes, Lizard Brain is great for creating, and if I keep my pace, I should finish my 50,000 words tomorrow. Right now I am at almost 41,000 words and have been averaging about…

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New Paintings

Brontosaurus comes out of hiding

“Brontosaurus Comes Out of Hiding.” Welcome back, Thunder Lizard. We missed you. 🙂

Fan art for the excellent "Jurassic World." A Velociraptor meeting with the Indominus rex.

Fan art for the excellent “Jurassic World.” A Velociraptor meeting with the Indominus rex.

Stylized representations of two ancient sea creatures, a trilobite (top) and an ammonite (bottom).

Stylized representations of two ancient sea creatures, a trilobite (top) and an ammonite (bottom).

On the Superversive: A Science Fiction Credo

I have nothing to add. Josh Young deserves a standing ovation for this.

The Badger Contemplates....

(Man, this blog is turning into an odd mishmash of theology and SF.)

(Also, spoilers ahead for Robotech/Macross and Firefly/Serenity.)

Edit: Jagi has informed me that Superversive and the Human Wave movement were independently developed. They’re still very similar 😉

The illustrious L. Jagi Lamplighter has a post today discussing the goals of the Superversive literary movement. Superversive is a bit of a refinement, as I understand it, of Sarah Hoyt’s Human Wave science fiction movement, which calls for stories that are fun rather than emotionally punishing for the sake of being emotionally punishing.

It’s not going to come as a surprise to anyone that knows me that I like my stories dark. I like my stories to be nailbiters, heroes fighting against all odds. I like my stories rough, and I want my heroes to suffer a bit. I’m not opposed to killing a beloved…

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I Now Have an Etsy Shop

As of today, I have opened up a shop on the shopping website Etsy. This would be a great chance to sell some of my dinosaur and landscape paintings, and perhaps other items later on. Only 5 items are there right now, but more shall be added as time goes on. Since I just have completed works and haven’t yet started making prints, it’s currently first come first serve. You can find the shop here.

One of the paintings you can buy from there.

One of the paintings you can buy on the shop.

Hope you are all having a wonderful day!

History for the Fantasy and Sci-Fi writer

Minimum Wage Historian gives a most excellent breakdown of the ways history can lend realism to your fantasy writing. This is an article I think most authors can strongly benefit from reading.

Zach – Welcome to Minimum Wage Historian. I’m doing this from Japan so I’m alone today.  Today’s topic is from a presentation I gave at ‘Life The Universe and Everything,’ a writer’s conference held in Provo Utah. This is from last February where I tried to dispell myths about medieval combat and warfare in general and tried to show how the realities of such warfare are actually very fascinating and could add depth, realism and drama to a fantasy story. Yes, fantasy, by definition can really do anything it pleases, but there still has to be logic behind what they do and this is why I’m here, to bring logic to fantasy (and sci-fi) combat. Too many times I’ve read a fantasy book where the two armies clash in mass blobs, everything gets into a confused mess and somehow the hero and villain end up facing each other.

Yeah, you know you've seen this a dozen times. King Aurther, Willow, Dark Knight Rises, and so on. Yeah, you…

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A Note on Science and Skepticism

“Question everything.” If only Neil deGrasse Tyson would turn this elegant phrase on his own positions, especially regarding known historical fact.

I had the great honor of meeting Tyson at the 2006 Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. He was incredibly witty, friendly, and accessible. We had a grand time discussing the possibility of life on Jupiter’s frozen moon Europa, while waiting in line for ice cream. For this reason and others, Cosmos was a series I looked forward to. So far I’ve watched the pilot, and more than half of another episode (there’s a lot of TV I have yet to catch up on; procrastinators unite…tomorrow). The visuals are incredible — they are the kinds of things I’ve longed for since Jurassic Park forever spoiled me to special effects. If only Tyson’s “polite” antagonism toward theism didn’t keep throwing itself in the way. Oh well. One day I’d love to meet up with him again over coffee and discuss science once more.

However, I bring up this matter to illuminate a larger point, about skepticism. What passes for “skepticism” today ain’t what it used to be. What it should be.

Anyone can make a claim about reality. But whether it meshes with what is already known is another matter entirely. Like Tyson’s inaccurate portrayal of Giordano Bruno tarnishing an otherwise amazing introduction to the wonders of the universe, a faulty line of reasoning or a powerful and trendy agenda can throw a wrench into the gears of critical thinking.

Science is by its nature investigative. It is a fine scientist indeed who manages to put aside as much of his bias as possible, and draw conclusions based on what is observed rather than what he thinks “should” be there. It’s an ideal we may never fully realize, but knowledge is only gained when you keep reaching for it.

In other words, science as properly practiced has no sympathy for dogma or declarative statements that something is “impossible.” Nature itself seems to lack that sympathy, as well. Seashells have inspired possible modifications of military armor. Jupiter’s moons were thought to be boring, cold chunks of ice before the Voyager probes revealed otherwise. Soft tissue has been confirmed in dinosaur fossils, which surprised just about everyone. The universe keeps knocking our expectations off their fragile pedestals over and over again. I thought we would have learned our lesson by now.

Alas, the modern skeptic, rather than pay any attention to his creed and examine matters at hand with a careful eye, tends to arrogantly scoff at certain verboten claims even before he examines them. Clumsy ad hominem attacks and self-assured political grandstanding start to take the place of any actual care for accuracy. Oftentimes they can make a legitimate point (as in the case of vaccine safety), but follow a faulty line of reasoning. Being right for the wrong reasons is almost as bad as being flat-out wrong.

For that reason, I tend to distrust the conclusions of a self-described “skeptic.” If you call yourself a skeptic, I only ask you to please walk the talk. Send the hard questions in every direction, not only at your favorite punching bag. Remember to sharpen your own thinking skills, and remember: even those with a university degree and grant money can engage in pseudoscience.

The two steps to getting 30 million hits on your blog

This advice can certainly be applied to other creative endeavors that carry a reputation of being “less than lucrative.” Make something of quality, and plan to be successful.

The Matt Walsh Blog

In just a few days, this website will pass the 30 million view threshold.

Since its inception in November of 2012, my blog has officially been read (almost) 30 million times — with about 29,800,000 of those hits coming in the last 6 months or so.

Everything has changed because of the success of this endeavor. Through the revenue from the modest bit of advertising I do on this site, coupled with the folks who generously donate to help keep the ship afloat, I’ve been able to leave my job, move back home to Maryland, and concentrate on writing full-time.

In the last six months, I’ve been republished by several major news publications, invited on TV shows, asked to speak at banquets and graduation ceremonies, approached by book publishers, and presented with other kinds of exciting opportunities (that I have to vague about, for the time being).

I thought about what I should do to…

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