A Periodic Table of Storytelling Tropes (via @drcrypt, HT: @paulwiggins)

This is a very attractive periodic table generated from the TV Tropes website (NOTE: I did not link to that website because it is the black hole of the Internet; if you are interested in storytelling it can take hours to extricate yourself from it).

The Periodic Table of Tropes might be a better name for this interactive visualization: Although each box on Harris's Periodic Table contains one storytelling element coupled with an atomic number, you probably won't recognize many of these storytelling elements from creative writing class. Rather, the Periodic Table of Storytelling is filled with elements such as "Idiot Hero," "Getting Crap Past The Radar," and "Xanatos Gambit," spread across groups that range from archetypes to metatropes.

See, just reading that tempts me to click through to TV Tropes and find out what it means... Must... Resist...

I won't pinch the image and post it here directly, but definitely click through to check it out:

The Up-Goer Five Word Processor (via @theloop)

This is appropriate considering the post just before this one, relating to the Jane Austin word list. I love the XKCD cartoon that inspired this, and I love the (utterly frustrating) real world text editor implementation.

Or, rather: I love the first funny pictures that made this happen, and I love the (really annoying) real world word-writing word box that was made from it.

Kill me now...

Can you explain a hard idea using only the ten hundred most used words? It's not very easy. Type in the box to try it out.

Try it here:

21 Lies Writers Tell Themselves (via @brainpicker)

A tongue-in-cheek list for the writers out there. I particularly like:

9. I don’t need to back up my computer. 10. Publishing this book will change my life. 11. I’m not going to get caught up in all that publicity stuff. 12. I’m only on social media because I have to be to promote X. 13. I’m only going to go on Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr for a few more minutes.


The 5 Stages of Grief Following the Publication of One's First Book (via @PublishersWkly HT: @annetreasure)

Entertaining list of examples covering Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance:

"Hi. I've been thinking about what you said and, of course, you're the publisher, you understand these things, and you're absolutely right: a story about genetics is fine but we do indeed need a better hook for the paperback. And I think I've got one! What this book needs is—wait for it—More Vagina! Attached please find a draft of a new chapter with the working title of 'DNA And Your Vajayjay.'"

Read them here:

Abandon your e-book readers and only read paper books! (mock advertisements) (HT: @editormum75)

Gruen Planet is an Australian TV show about advertising, and each episode includes an imaginary 'pitch', in which two rival advertising agencies have to construct a video commercial trying to sell a difficult product (previous products/campaigns have attempted to convince Australians to euthanise themselves at age 80, or that we ought to invade New Zealand). These two commercials attempt to satisfy the brief: 'a campaign to convince us to abandon our e-book readers and only read books made of paper.'

Enjoy (and vote on your favourite) here:


Ten Questions My Girlfriend Asks About My Job In Publishing (via @momentumbooks)

Mark Harding from Momentum Books writes an insightful top ten questions list about his experience in publishing. It's an FAQ, really. Example:

1. Why aren’t you paid more?

Because I’m not a professional athlete.

The internet needs more soul-baring articles like this.

Read it:

Explaining Literature to my Wife (via @mcsweeneys)

Todd McKie explains to his wife the difference between real life and the things he writes about, in this humorous piece on McSweeney's:

I keep telling you it’s only fiction, this thing I do late at night. This thing I do while you’re snug in our wide bed. If I put a woman character in a story and I make her a potter and she has black hair and her name is Patricia, well, of course it can’t be you, because you’re a painter and your name is Priscilla, and you have brown hair.

Don’t you get it? I make it all up!

Entertaining and true:

"Alot Was Been Heard" Automated eBook art project floods the Kindle store

This is a nice alternative to all the plagiarism-filled junk eBooks flooded onto the Kindle store:

A pair of artist-coders have unleashed a small army of bots designed to flood the Kindle e-book store with texts comprised entirely of YouTube comments. According to the artists, even they have no idea how many books their autonomous bots are posting to the store.

Christopher Mims over at Technology Review interviewed the creators of such timeless classics as 'Alot Was Been Heard' and 'Sparta My Have':

"The KINDLE'VOKE machinary is based on three major parts. (1) The "Sucker" a clever suction apparatus to gather comments from Youtube. (2) the "Ghost Writer's Table": the book compiler that handles generation of books content, book covers, authors at the same time. (3) The "Amazon Kindle Scatter Bots" that make the brand new digital literature available for all of us.

This is really original (and possibly annoying), and it's worth having a look at the kind of publishing chaos/market subversion our new digital world allows.

I suppose an alternative reading is that this is a kind of public graffiti, smearing digital feces over a shop front, but let's be a little upbeat about it for now, right?

Original here:

Tolkien Rips off Harry Potter Again! (via @gizmodo)

Ah, kids these days:

Ever noticed the similarities between The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter? IMDb commenter brian__007 did and came to a startling realisation. Tolkien totally ripped off Rowling and not only that, the “bastard’s” at it again with The Hobbit, his latest “original” work.


A Financial Breakdown of a Self-Published Project

I posted a link to Pat Grant's excellently self-promoted and self-published graphic novel 'Blue', last week. This timely follow up is from his blog, and details the breakdown of costings for his project. It's really quite disappointing to see how much money is required, and the great risk involved to Pat directly. It's a solid breakdown though, and gives you a bit of an idea where all the money disappears to in such projects (hint: most doesn't go to the author).

Have a look here:

Self-publishing: SHAMELESS PUBLICITY DOCUMENT! (via @paula_kruger)

Promotion is a critical (and difficult, and expensive...) part of self-publishing. This interactive graphical page by Pat Grant, promoting his graphical novel BLUE, is inspirational. It's a clever comic that introduces his work in an entertaining and compelling (and occasionally disturbing) way. You should really check it out here:


25 Things I learned from Opening a Bookstore (via @peterjblack)

A tongue in cheek article reposted by Peter Black on twitter, and I thought it would be entertaining for a relaxing Friday:

1. People are getting rid of bookshelves.  Treat the money you budgeted for shelving as found money.  Go to garage sales and cruise the curbs. 2. While you're drafting that business plan, cut your projected profits in half.  People are getting rid of bookshelves.


21. A surprising number of people will think you've read every book in the store and will keep pulling out volumes and asking you what this one is about.  These are the people who leave without buying a book, so it's time to have some fun.  Make up plots.

It's a little cynical but still amusing.

Read it all here:

Fantasy Armor and Lady Bits (via @madartlab)

This is a friday post that follows up this link, about the bizarre poses often found on fantasy covers: In this post, Ryan analyses practical armour and compares this to some of the frankly ridiculous images in fantasy art.

Why does my opinion matter? I’m an armorer. I make actual armor that people wear when they hit each other with swords. When making armor I have to strike a balance between comfort, protection, range of motion, and appearance. My experience has made me more than a little opinionated on the subject of fantasy armor.

I intend to set the internet straight. See below for how to do it wrong, how to do it right, and why you might care.

Read the detailed analysis here:

The Fantasy Novelist's Exam (via @catvalente)

It's friday, so it gets a little silly around here.

Ever since J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis created the worlds of Middle Earth and Narnia, it seems like every windbag off the street thinks he can write great, original fantasy, too. The problem is that most of this "great, original fantasy" is actually poor, derivative fantasy. Frankly, we're sick of it, so we've compiled a list of rip-off tip-offs in the form of an exam.

As an example, the first question is: 'Does nothing happen in the first 50 pages?'

It's brutal, and the marking criteria are also brutal:

We think anybody considering writing a fantasy novel should be required to take this exam first. Answering "yes" to any one question results in failure and means that the prospective novel should be abandoned at once.

Nonetheless, it does highlight cliches of the genre, so it's worth checking out if you write in this area.

Full exam here:

Striking a Pose (Women and Fantasy covers) (via @margolanagan and @jimchines)

Just recently I saw this article by Jim C. Hines reposted by Margo Lanagan on twitter, and it was too entertaining to let slip by:

Now I could talk about the way women are posed in cover art … or I could show you.

Jim proceeds to sacrifice a little dignity to recreate poses from a selection of mostly urban fantasy covers, to great effect.

Check out the fruits of his labour here:

Library book overdue by 123 years (via @mswainwright)

A pleasant read about a book borrowed in 1888 friday link from the Guardian's The Northerner blog. It invokes a more relaxed time...

I do not think we will need the book back, I do not think anyone even looks at our books in the reading room anymore, they are just there for old times' sake.

Read it here:

Oh my God, my friend is a writer! What do I do? (via @npbooks)

Rebecca Rosenblum writes a fun article to help you cope with a new found writer in your life:

Don’t panic—this is something most adults will eventually have to deal with, if only until they can find a way to leave the bar. Maybe it’s a new friend, that great guy or gal from work or the gym, who suddenly blurts it out as if you should have somehow known from his or her lack of dress sense and unfocused stare. Or maybe it’s a friend you’ve known for years, a trusted confidante who you’d never have suspected harboured such a secret.


Ok, so calm down, take a deep breath and think. Is this a friend you want to keep? Because if you’ve been dreaming of ditching him/her, now is your chance; writers are used to rejection.

She addresses this crisis by answering a few frequently asked questions, such as:

Will my writing friend drink during the day/be surly at dinner parties/refuse to hold down a job?

These are important things to know if you are a non-writer who finally finds themselves with a writer in your life, so check out the information you'll need to survive here: