Wednesday Linkdump – January 5, 2011

Middle of the week, time for another lump o’ links from the RSS feeds of us three guys. Or rather, from Brandon and Luke. Mike’s a bit busy this week. Enjoy!

Brandon’s links:

  • 10 Books for Writer’s Focusing on Craft: One secret the good writers know is that you simply can’t expect to just be good just because. Developing your craft requires study and practice. This post offers some good suggestions for books worth reading.
  • 10 Things I Learned from Tolkien: Good list of things that made Tolkien’s work great, and worth keeping in mind if you’re going to write well.
  • Chillwave: A new wave in Sci-Fi, or a hippy’s wishful thinking? You decide.
  • It All Started When – Charles Stross: Funny little piece by Stross about the beginnings of his writing career. A lesson to be learned from it is not to take for granted what computers can do for us as writers these days.
  • Ten Rules for Writing: I don’t necessarily agree with all of these rules, or at least, with maintaining them firmly. But the list has some good pointers for keeping yourself on track with your writing and making the most of the time you have. I especially liked rule 1, which I might summarize as: “Write lots!”
  • Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die: This is an interesting article about the evolution of geek culture from something constrained to “classic geek” in the 70s and 80s to basically being the definition of our culture. I don’t know if I agree with everything he has to say here, but it’s an interesting read. A follow up to it is this other blogger’s response – On the Death of the Geek Culture.

Luke’s links:

  • Bad Science in Movies: This is an amusing graph showing what laws of physics have been broken in which science fiction movies. (I’d like to debate one or two of their choices, though.) It also goes to show something: if you’re writing science fiction, be aware of how humans currently view the laws of physics. If you’re going to ignore something, do it for a reason, not simply because you’re ignorant of such things like “there’s no such thing as faster than light travel.”
  • Who Gathers the Clouds?: These are some thought-provoking pictures that may rouse some ideas for you.
  • Reading in the font Comic Sans leads to better retention: According to this paper, reading in bad fonts will help you remember more, because your brain has to work harder to understand it in the first place. This does not mean you should send your submissions to publishers in such fonts, though, unless you want to be remembered as “that person who thinks they can write because they discovered weird fonts.”
  • Pixar to get stamps: Several characters from Pixar films will be commemorated on stamps.
  • Eclipsed Earth: This photo shows what the earth looks like during an eclipse. The large black spot moving across the face of the planet is a little disconcerting!
  • Improve your sleep: 17 tips on improving your sleep life. Brandon posted a bit ago how dreams can help your creativity, and it’s certainly easier to concentrate and be creative when well-rested. Do what you can to get good quality and quantity sleep.
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