Here with me or here without… Sadder still? You were never here at all!

[Source]

It’s hard to say I miss you because you were never here with me. It’s hard to say I love you because you were never mine. ~ Author Unknown

Science genetically engineering vampires & species specifically designed to kill? Bad idea.

This is a huge risk…

Nevertheless, I’m going to go out on a crazy-insanely dangerous limb and state for the record?

Developing, genetically engineering  ANYTHING in science relatively similar to zombies, serial killers, werewolves…

And FREAKING VAMPIRES!!!!!!!!

Bad thing.

Bad, bad, bad, bad-bad, thing:

[via io9] Vampire bacteria could become the ultimate antibiotic

A bacterium found in sewage water could revolutionize modern medicine. It’s basically the bacterial equivalent of a vampire, spending its time hunting other bacteria and sucking out all their nutrients. This could revolutionize antibotics and stop the rise of “super bugs.”

The bacterium in question is called Micavibrio aeruginosavorus. Scientists have known about it for a good thirty years, but it’s proven extremely difficult to study using traditional techniques. University of Virginia researchers have only just managed to decode its genome and figure out how it works, and their findings are intriguing.

Micavibrio aeruginosavorus survives by finding certain other strains of bacteria. It then attaches itself to its prey’s cell wall and begins leeching on the victim’s nutrients. That’s unusual for bacteria, most of which simply harvest nutrients from the surrounding environment. For whatever reason, that isn’t an option for this bacterium, which has to rely on finding and destroying other bacteria to live.

At least one of its preferred victims is an enemy of humans. Pseudomonas aeruginosavorus causes serious lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients. It’s early days yet, but the researchers say it would be possible to use Micavibrio aeruginosavorus against this deadly pathogen, injecting it nearby and allowing it to hunt down and destroy the infectious bacteria.

Chief researcher Martin Wu adds:

“Pathologists may eventually be able to use this bacterium to fight fire with fire, so to speak, as a bacterium that will aggressively hunt for and attack certain other bacteria that are extremely harmful to humans.

It is possible that a living antibiotic such as M. aeruginosavorus — because it so specifically targets certain pathogens — could potentially reduce our dependence on traditional antibiotics and help mitigate the drug-resistance problem we are now facing.

This vampire bacterium could well prove to be an extremely appealing alternative to common antibiotics, which work by inhibiting bacteria reproduction or breaking down their cell walls. The problem is that certain bacterial strains have developed resistance to these antibiotics, creating new breeds of so-called super bugs. Micavibrio aeruginosavorus is an intriguing alternative because bacteria can’t build up resistance to a predator in the same way they can a traditional antibiotic.

And because this bacterium only hunts a very select number of strains, it wouldn’t pose any threat to the myriad of beneficial bacteria that we rely on in our body. It also can get through difficult environments, like the viscous mucus film created by Pseudomonas aeruginosavorus, and reach its target in cases where traditional antibiotics would be significantly less effective.

Of course, the bacterium isn’t yet ready to be injected into the human body. It will likely take significant genetic engineering to get it to the point where it can hunt down the desired bacteria strains while leaving others alone. But this is potentially a huge breakthrough, and the fact that we already have the genome mapped is a very encouraging start. [Read More]

But apparently, me being of sound mind (Unlike these mad scscientists currently running amok) & body?

DON’T necessarily feel the same way.

Nope…

Not at all.

[via NYTimes]These mosquitoes are genetically engineered to kill — their own children.

Derric Nimmo/Oxitec

Oxitec injected DNA into mosquito eggs to modify the species.

Researchers on Sunday reported initial signs of success from the first release into the environment of mosquitoes engineered to pass a lethal gene to their offspring, killing them before they reach adulthood.

The results, and other work elsewhere, could herald an age in which genetically modified insects will be used to help control agricultural pests and insect-borne diseases like dengue fever and malaria.

But the research is arousing concern about possible unintended effects on public health and the environment, because once genetically modified insects are released, they cannot be recalled. [Read More]

Engineered to kill?

Jeez.

What could POSSIBLY go wrong with that?

And they wonder WHY normal people (you know, NOT them)…

Look at them like a bunch of ego driven whack jobs with a very low public opinion?

[via New Scientist] [...] Cut loose from objective truth, America’s public dialogue has become one of warring opinions and policy paralysis. Progress is made by brute authority, over the laws, despite the data, and against the will of opponents – the very situation Locke and Jefferson were hoping to avoid.

Anti-science ideology has taken hold before, differently, but history may provide some lessons. The fundamental elements were similar when the Soviet Union elevated the ideology of Lysenkoism ahead of the warnings of geneticists, whom Trofim Lysenko called “caste priests of ivory tower bourgeois pseudoscience”, not unlike Sarah Palin’s characterisations of global warming as “doomsday scare tactics pushed by an environmental priesthood”. Soviet agriculture was set back 40 years.

The political right in Weimar Germany called Einstein’s theory of relativity a “hoax” and said he was in it for the money – much as climate deniers argue today.

During the Nuremberg trials, Hitler’s Minister for Armaments, Albert Speer, recounted the use of new technology to deliver a uniform ideological message, much like today’s political echo chambers: “Through technical devices like the radio and the loudspeaker, 80 million people were deprived of independent thought.” In other words, “Dittoheads”.

In his Great Leap Forward, Mao set forth a plan to transform China into a modern society in 15 years. Scientists who advised against his ideas were harassed or jailed. Mao’s policies led to the greatest famine in human history and the deaths of over 40 million people.

The US is obviously nowhere near any of these situations, but is reaching a crisis point uniquely its own. With every step away from reason and into ideology, the country moves toward a state of tyranny in which public policy comes to be based not on knowledge, but on the most loudly voiced opinions.

The solutions are as multi-faceted as the problem. Above all, scientists must reengage in the national civic dialogue (see opposite) and reasonable politicians should challenge opponents to science-themed policy debates. [Read More]

It kills me how much they DON’T get it. How very much scientists have NO understanding as to why they have such a low public opinion.

And THEY are supposed to e the smart one here.

Craziness.

Boggles the mind.

Really does.

*shakes head sadly*

Out: Calling a place ‘haunted’ New hotness: ‘Emotional defects’

Say that a place that is haunted has “emotional defects”?

Sure works for me, they’re not wrong…

Cause if a place is haunted, emotional defects?

Yep, they gots ‘em or the ghosts wouldn’t be sticking around.

Some states, while avoiding the term ‘haunted’ require sellers to inform buyers of such ‘emotional defected’ places:

[via Gizmodo] In Some States You Must Tell Buyers Your House Is Haunted

If you’re planning on moving because some paranormal activity chewed up and spat out your dog you might have some extra paperwork to fill out. Some states require that sellers warn buyers about weirdness that could affect property value.

Most states require that sellers disclose the physical problems with a property, but in some states you need to reveal “emotional defects ” ahead of time. Of course what and how much you need to disclose varies from state to state. In some places you can get away keeping it vague, but in New York the State Supreme Court has held that sellers must explicitly inform buyers of all defects—including intangible ones like hauntings. [Mental Floss; Image Shutterstock] [Read More]

Too bad?

There is no law requiring prospective employers from telling possible employees…

The same thing.

Places, like say THIS one:

[via io9] Maine courthouse haunted by mysterious blur

Several weeks ago, a motion-sensitive security camera in the Lincoln County Courthouse in Wiscasset, Maine captured footage of a curious splotch traveling down an empty hallway. Nobody was in the courthouse at the time and this mobile blot was filmed in daylight. What will stop the reign of this trespassing smudge?

Reports WCSH6:

Courthouse workers say it was daylight at the time so it could not have been a flashlight. And they say if anyone had been in the building the alarm would have sounded. County Commissioner Sheridan Bond says he used a magnifying glass to examine a still frame of the image, and believes he can see a face in the fuzzy object.

Others aren’t so sure about the face —but they say the camera clearly shows something, and no one has been able to offer a logical explanation of what it might be.

Additionally, employees have reported seeing strange silhouettes in the courthouse on occasion. I’m not sure why everyone in the above video is so calm. Either they’ve come to terms with the fact that they live in a state that’s one oversized Stephen King novella or they’ve never seen Ghostbusters 2. [Read More]

Crazily enough?

This isn’t the first time THIS ghost has been caught on tape.

Click the link below, to watch the video of a ghost…

Typing.

Totally insane!

In this clip, a strange apparition is caught on tape at the Lincoln County Courthouse, near Charlotte, North Carolina. Could it possibly be the ghost of a perpetrator that was sentenced to death in a past life?

As I am in the process of writing a story, this amazing video (in link above) makes me wonder if I can hire her to do all my typing.

Cause I would seriously love a ghostwriter!

Oh, come on…

You know I just HAD to go there.

It’s either brain-training games, or whisky-lasers–Your choice!

Brain games STOP depression before it STARTS?

Though impressive…

Pffft.

Totally not necessary.

[via New Scientist] Brain-training games stop depression before it starts

It may be possible to stave off depression before it even appears using brain-scanning software so simplistic in its design that even the psychologist testing it once bet it wouldn’t work.

Ian Gotlib‘s group at Stanford University, California, studies girls aged 10 to 14 years whose mothers suffer from depression. Such girls are thought to be at higher-than-normal risk of developing the condition themselves, in part because they may inherit their mothers’ tendency to “amplify” unpleasant information. Although none of the girls has yet experienced a depressive episode, Gotlib has found that their brains already overreact to negative emotional stimuli – a pattern they share with their mothers and other depressed people.

Gotlib is studying whether these young subjects can use interactive software and brain-imaging hardware to “rewire” their brains by unlearning this negative bias.

In a pilot experiment, eight girls used a neural feedback display to learn how to control activity in a network of interrelated brain regions that have been linked to depression – these include the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, anterior insula and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

The level of activity in this network was measured using an functional MRI scan and displayed to the girls in the form of a thermometer on a computer screen. The girls were shown sad or negative pictures that might ordinarily raise their “temperature”, and tried to lower that “temperature” by adopting more sanguine mental states. They were then advised to try to recreate that mindset in their daily lives.

A control group unknowingly watched someone else’s scan output instead of their own, so they didn’t actually learn how to control their brain activity.

Accentuate the positive

Another set of girls in the pilot experiment received their training through a simple computer game instead. In this game, a pair of faces appeared on a screen every few seconds: they would be either neutral and sad, or neutral and happy. Then a dot replaced one of the faces, and the “game” was to click on the dot. For the eight girls in the control group, the face replaced by the dot was selected at random, but for eight girls in the experimental group, the dot always replaced the more positive face in the pair. Over a week of playing this game daily, these girls were in effect being trained to avoid looking at the sad faces.

Gotlib himself originally found this concept, called attentional-bias training, so simplistic that he bet Colin MacLeod, a psychologist at the University of Western Australia in Perth who pioneered the technique, that it would not alter psychological symptoms. Gotlib lost his bet.

In his pilot study, both kinds of training significantly reduced stress-related responses – for example, increases in heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels – to negative stimuli. These stress responses are a key marker of depression, and they diminished one week after training. The girls in the experimental groups also developed fewer defensive responses to negative faces, such as startled blinking. Control groups showed no such improvement.

Jill Hooley, head of Harvard University’s clinical psychology programme, was impressed by the findings despite the small sample size: “This is highly innovative work,” she said. “Ian is breaking new ground here.”

Gotlib is adding more subjects to the training programme and plans to compare their long-term mental health with a parallel cohort of 200 girls, half of whom have depressed mothers, who aren’t participating in the study.

He presented his results at the annual meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology in Boston in September. [Read More]

Not necessary “Cause, why?” You ask.

That’s easy.

Introducing: A Glass Full of Awesome!

[via Gizmodo] You know what’s great? Really good scotch whisky. You know what’s not great? Fake scotch whisky. Worry not. Researchers at St. Andrews University have figured out how to test your whisky’s authenticity by shooting it with lasers. Mmm, whisky-lasers…

Here’s how it works. Researchers put a drop of whisky on a chip the that’s about the size of a credit card. They then use a couple of fiber optics (no thicker than human hairs), one of which lights it up, while the other analyzes it. The technique looks at the fluorescence of whisky and the scattering of light when it interacts with various molecules, which is called its Raman signature.

They claim to be able to determine the whisky’s brand, age, and cask. Pretty incredible if it’s true. I wonder how they plan on compiling this database, though. Do they expect distilleries to give them a bottle from every batch? If so, how do I join these guys?

There’s good news and bad news here. The good news is that they only need a single drop of whisky in order to determine its authenticity. Waste more than a single droplet of that golden elixer and you’d have me rioting. The bad news, well, you have get a drop out, which means you need to open the bottle. That in itself means it’s not going to be much use to us consumers, directly. It’s more for distributers or stores who are buying in bulk and want to make sure they’re getting a crate of the real McCoy. Those types won’t mind sacrificing a bottle for the greater good. On the flip side of the coin, you would have to pry that bottle of Lagavulin out of my cold, dead, drunk hands. Indirectly, though, it benefits consumers who buy from distributors and stores, hopefully ensuring we get what we pay for.

I have no fancy microchips, databases, or fiber optics, but if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go shoot my whisky with some lasers, just for the hell of it. [BBC News] [Read More]

Is there ANY type of depression that could stand up against this glass-bound bit of wonderful?

*shakes head, smiling*

No…

I think not.

And although it is understandable that the girls in the first article are far too young to benefit (not to mention) Whisky+Laser?

I, however, am not…

Thank. You. Gawd!

“Bartender, I’ll take a whisky, please. I  have my laser at the ready–Bring it on!” Pew, pew-pew pew. “Perfection!”

Why yes *sips*, indeed it is.

*smiles*

When it comes to writing, and being a writer? Just do it!

I write…

all the time. Whether it be by hand, on paper, in my head, or on my computer? I write, constantly. Anything and everything inspires me. Always has. My biggest problem? Not getting distracted by the next story, the next new character inspired by something I ran into in my day-to-day.

I’ve been this way as long as I can remember…

I do not know how to be any other way.

Writing.

It’s such a huge part of who/what I am, and I wouldn’t change it for anything else in all the world.

How do you feel about, do YOU ever get that writing urge, but have no idea how to go about it, inserting that need, fulfilling that desire amongst all of the ‘have-tos’ real-life throws at you daily?

Lucky for you, the wonderful site LifeHacker.com, has got a wonderful plan all figured out…

Thank you, LifeHacker!

[via LifeHacker] Harness the Mental, Creative, and Emotional Benefits of Regular Writing

Today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), where thousands of people challenge themselves to write a 50,000 word, 175-page novel before the end of November. It’s a huge task for even seasoned writers, but writing that much does more than just hone your writing skills. Sitting down to write every day can also serve to clear your mind, get the creative juices flowing, and add a little meditative respite to your day that may otherwise be missing.

According to NaNoWriMo.org, over 200,000 people signed up to participate in the challenge last year, and more than 30,000 of them hit the 50,000 word goal by the end of the month. The vast majority of them aren’t professional writers. That’s the beauty of NaNoWriMo: You don’t have to be a writer to participate, all you have to do is be willing to sit down every day and put your thoughts on paper. Once you get started, the rewards of writing on a regular basis will come to you quickly. Photo by Erin Kohlenberg.

How Can Writing Regularly Help Me?

Even if you’re not aiming for the 50,000 word NaNoWriMo goal—and we think you should, if for no other reason than it gives you something to shoot for—making time to write every day has other benefits. Whether you’re writing free-form or you’re advancing a plot or outline, writing keeps your creative juices flowing, and that creativity can spread to other aspects of your life. It forces you to make new logical connections between your thoughts, and forces you to dig deep to come up with new ideas. It helps you be creative in a way that you can’t be just by thinking or daydreaming. Photo by Pete O’Shea.

Since writing also makes you take those ideas out of your head and put them into real words, it also challenges you to think about how you can communicate those ideas to others in a way that makes sense. You’ll have to turn your abstract ideas into something that’s concrete and understandable by others, and it’ll challenge you to grow and develop the language and communications skills required to get those ideas across. Even if you deal in facts and figures, creative writing can help you learn to communicate complex ideas more effectively.

Don’t worry if you don’t get it right: it won’t happen overnight. The other great thing about NaNoWriMo is that it forces you to tolerate yourself and make mistakes. All of your misfired ideas, horrible typos, and other mistakes will be right there on paper for you to review and scrutinize later, and that’s okay: part of tackling a challenge like this is that you have to learn to forgive yourself and keep plugging away until you’re finished. You’ll learn to edit your work, refine your thoughts after you’ve gotten them out of your head, and fine tune your language skills.

Writing regularly also has meditative benefits. The clarity of mind that comes with getting into “the zone” when writing is a wonderful thing, and you only get there by plugging away. The only way to be a better writer is to write as often as possible.

Don’t worry if you don’t make the deadline either. What’s important it that you give it a try. You never know, you might get to the finish line sooner than you think. You may give up halfway through, or something may come up that distracts you from the challenge. That’s okay: the deadline isn’t quite as important as the fact that you gave it a good try, or that you kept working until you were finished. Keep writing, and you’ll keep reaping the benefits. Photo by Eduardo.

We’ve discussed how keeping a personal journal also supports personal development, and keeping a work diary encourages professional growth. Expressive writing has been proven therapeutic benefits. Even blogging can be good for you. It’s more important that you write, and that you keep writing, than that you hit a specific word count in the allotted time. Still, strive for that goal and work hard to get there—you never know what you might accomplish.

Harness the Mental, Creative, and Emotional Benefits of Regular Writing

How Will I Find the Time?

As with all things, if you make writing a priority, you’ll find time to do it. Long before I joined the Lifehacker team, I had a full-time job that had nothing to do with writing, but I made sure I found time to make writing part of my day, every day. I liked to start my day with a few words, and then finish my workday with a few more. You should find some regular time that works for you as well. Whenever that time is, block it off on your calendar. You need to make time to bring your ideas to life.

If you’re going to get started with NaNoWriMo, setting aside the time to participate is important, and you’ll definitely need dedicated time get it done. Everyone approaches NaNoWriMo differently. Some people look at the 50,000 word goal and break it into 30 equal daily portions. That would mean you’d have to pen close to 1700 words every day for the month of November to get to your goal. Others break it into week-sized chunks and approach it that way. If those methods help you get started, run with them. What’s important is that you find a method that works for you.

How Do I Get Started?

If you want to use NaNoWriMo to get started writing regularly, the NaNoWriMo site also has a number of tools and tips to help you outline your ideas and get started. Register an account and poke around the forums. All of the writers participating in NaNoWriMo want each other to succeed, so you’ll find great tips and encouragement there.

Harness the Mental, Creative, and Emotional Benefits of Regular Writing Aside from that, there’s little you have to do except put your pen to paper or your fingers to the keyboard. We’re big fans of the previously mentioned webapp 750 Words, a tool that challenges you to write 750 words every day, will remind you to start writing at a time you choose, and will keep track of your word count as you write. Each day you successfully write 750 words, you get points and earn badges. The tool is completely private, so while you get the benefit of a clean and distraction-free writing environment, it also automatically saves your work so you can come back to it later. You can also look back at any time to see how well you’ve been doing. Photo by Cas.

You can also check out the previously mentioned Penzu as another private journaling service, or our five best distraction-free writing tools to help you get in the zone and focus. Pick something that works for you—even if it’s old fashioned pen and paper—and just start writing. It’ll do you a world of good. [Read More]

Now that you know how to write…

The next step?

WHAT to write.

Taking what you have, the setting, the characters and the story and translating it to word form that makes SENSE.

Easier said than done?

Not for the amazing io9!

[via io9] How to Write a Sincere First Draft of Your Science Fiction or Fantasy Epic

Most first drafts are horribly insincere, and that’s a big reason why revising a novel (or screenplay) can be so hard. Figuring out what you really meant to write, instead of the garbage you actually did write, can be a nightmare.

Today’s the first day of National Novel-Writing Month, and you’ll be hearing a lot about the importance of banging out a first draft quickly, and not worrying about quality. So here’s a few words about the importance of making sure your first draft is actually sincere.

I’m using “sincere” in a pretty broad sense here — not just in the sense of “making sure you’re not making a political or social statement you don’t mean, for which people on message boards will call you a fascist and make you cry.” Instead, I’m talking about the importance of figuring out what your story is really about, what your characters are really feeling, why things happen the way they happen, and what exactly holds your world together. Chances are, an insincere story will be either schlocky, derivative, or nonsensical — or quite possibly all three.

How to Write a Sincere First Draft of Your Science Fiction or Fantasy EpicHere’s the part where you say that you’re in a hurry — you’ve got a novel to write, and only thirty days in which to write it. Even the few minutes you’ve spent reading these words so far, you’ve fallen further behind in your marathon sprint. But here’s the thing: taking a bit of time to figure out what you actually mean to write can save you loads of time down the road, when you’re halfway through your project and getting bogged down.

Obviously, this is assuming that you actually have a story in mind, of some sort, and that you’re not just flailing around and hoping you hit something. Maybe you’ve already outlined your story, or maybe you’ve just got a super-vague idea of your characters and their world. Either way, it seems like a safe bet that you’re not going to write a novel in a month without having some idea what it’s about.

So how do you go about making sure your novel is sincere? There are two ways: thinking about what you really want to say here, and looking for the most common types of insincerity.

What you want to say

First off, thinking about what you really want to write. Let’s start metaphysical, and work our way down to the nitty gritty.

How to Write a Sincere First Draft of Your Science Fiction or Fantasy EpicI’m a firm believer that every story does come from stuff in the author’s life, or things that are floating around in the author’s head, or things that are going on in the world. You’re never going to be entirely conscious of what’s making you write this story — and you probably shouldn’t be, or some of the fun is lost — but you can still think about what this story means to you. If there’s something you’re going through that you want to work through in fiction, thanks to the magic of the Objective Correlative, it’s not a bad thing to have in the back of your mind.

It sounds dorky as sin, but I make a habit with short stories and other creative projects, of sitting down and doodling on a blank page or empty Word document — just thinking about what are the things I personally am obsessing about that are going to go into this story. And then I never look at what I’ve written down afterwards — but it just means the things that are in the back of my mind as I write are now slightly closer to the front of my mind.

A novel, in particular, is often where you work out your questions that don’t have easy answers — the things you can’t simply say in a sentence, or an essay. Not so much “Killing people is wrong,” but “When is it right to kill people?”

I’m not saying you have to have a capital-T Theme in your head as you write, or that you need to be conscious of Tackling an Important Social Issue. Those things can lead to heavy-handed, clunky writing in which people stand around sermonizing instead of acting like people. But having a sort of “tag cloud” of the stuff you’re chewing over in the background of your head can be super helpful, even if you just put it in a drawer.

How to Write a Sincere First Draft of Your Science Fiction or Fantasy EpicThen somewhat more concretely, there’s the question I mentioned above: “What holds your world together?” This is sort of akin to world-building in general, but it’s slightly more specific. After all, your world is not The World — it’s the place where your characters live, and the handful of locations where they probably spend most of their time. Unless your main character is a jet-setting millionaire, he or she probably stays in one town or city, and hangs out in a few spots.

Say you’ve already done the basic world-building stuff, of figuring out what the world would be like if everybody was telepathic, or if fairies were real. But it’s not a bad idea to think about your main characters’ world, and what holds it together — why do your characters spend time together? If you were building a handful of sets for the movie version of this story, what would they be? What makes the people in your story a community, rather than a random collection of people? Why doesn’t your hero just wander out of this story and into a different story? Ideally, you want there to be some kind of centripetal force that causes everybody to stay within the boundaries of your story, and that centripetal force is part of what your story is about. (If it’s any good.)

How to Write a Sincere First Draft of Your Science Fiction or Fantasy EpicThen there’s all the stuff of what your characters want — and just like everything else we’re talking about here, this can and should change over the course of your first draft. You may decide halfway through the tenth chapter that a major character actually has a totally different motivation than you first thought, and you can always back and retrofit the earlier chapters later, in the second draft. (I’m not, by any means, suggesting that your first draft needs to be polished or something you want to show to anyone but your cat.) Still, having a wee idea of what is motivating your characters, and what the story is about emotionally for them, will save you a lot of time later on, when you get to the dismal middle of the story.

The thing that motivates your characters is also the thing that will keep you typing away, after you feel like giving up — because your characters want something so badly, you feel compelled to keep driving them towards their goal (and putting obstacles in their way.)

How to Write a Sincere First Draft of Your Science Fiction or Fantasy EpicOn a related note, if you have an outline, or even an inkling of a plot already laid out, it’s worth spending a bit of time noodling over why things happen — and whether you already have indications that things are just happening because the plot requires it. Remember that your plot is there in the service of your story. The plot is what happens, the story is why it matters that these things happen.

The most common types of insincerity

You don’t want to get to week three of NaNoWriMo and then find out that your story took a wrong turn nine days ago, and you have to backtrack or build a bridge or something. And the best way to avoid that horrible fate is probably to avoid having your characters do things that make no sense, but which seem like a good idea at the time. By definition, any time your characters start acting out of character, it’s a form of insincerity.

How to Write a Sincere First Draft of Your Science Fiction or Fantasy EpicSo when you’re poring over your outline or noodling over your plans to ascend to the summit of your storyline, take a few minutes to be on the look out for a few of the most common types of insincerity:

  • Genre cliches. Every genre has cliches, from literary fiction to paranormal romance. There are things that happen because the author saw them in some other book, or even in a movie or TV show. Don’t spend hours poring over TVTropes to see if anybody has ever identified one of your plot devices as a trope before — but do keep in mind that things that happen because these things happen in this kind of story are a form of cruddy writing.
  • Pulling punches Conflict is unpleasant in real life, so most of us try to avoid it wherever possible — and this can carry over into your fiction. Having people deal with the ramifications of nasty stuff that’s happened is kind of painful, too. So it’s easy to plot out a story in which bad things to people, and those people never deal with it. Or in which characters are just sort of carried along by events, instead of saying “Wait a minute, this isn’t what I signed up for.” Also, sometimes if a character is gearing up to do something really unforgiveable, it’s always tempting to pull back and protect your beloved character from being so loathesome. Don’t pull your punches. Not even in your first draft.
  • Fake sentiment This is another one that you want to watch out for, the whole time you’re writing your first draft. If your characters don’t feel something, they don’t feel it — even if they really ought to. Even if a genuinely nice and decent person would have warm, fuzzy feelings in this particular situation. It’s hard enough to focus on what’s really going on emotionally with your characters, without letting fake Hallmark card emotions that you feel ought to be there clutter things up.

That’s just a few examples of the types of stuff that can make your first draft insincere — and can make writing your second draft infinitely harder and more tooth-pulling. What sorts of insincerity have you noticed in your own first drafts?

Pulp magazine covers via Paul Malon, Sir Chutney and Haackfan on Flickr. [Read More]

Writing.

The point is?

To do it.

Writers write, its what they do. Want to be one? I would say then that it’s time to stop THINKING about it and get to the doing.

There is really no better advice in all the word, thanks to Nike…

So what are you waiting on?

Just do it!