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For those who have owned businesses or been salespeople and tried to meet potential customers, it is usually not long before the first invitation comes to visit a referral networking group. The basic concept is that the group has business categories, and they will only allow one business of each category into that particular chapter. […]
We have now seen several forms having different requirements. Rather than learning something totally new today, we will look at a form that developed out of the tanka. Brief History: The haiku is a Japanese form. It started out as the first three lines of the tanka, which would be used in an extemporaneous chain […]
I write software for a living. It’s a good living, because most people just can’t do it. For your amusement, I’m going to describe the revolutionary developments I’ve seen in this field over the last three decades. This means I’ll be skipping the period of time between the discovery of fire and the invention of the Apple […]
Sometimes, the most thorough way to learn something is by first learning every way not to do it. I have written several books, two of which can still be found here and here. But before my first book was finished, I was writing books for more than two decades. That’s right, more than 20 years to just finish a book. The time was not all in the first book I finished; of course, it was in all the books I never finished writing. So, today, I shall share my expertise on ways to not write a book.
1. Slow Writing the Near Future—My first method for not writing a book was to choose to write a science-fiction novel set in the near future. I was employed in a consulting job that took a lot of time, and I didn’t have much time for hobby writing. Before I had 50 pages written, I had to move the book back 12 years, because the near future had caught up with me. Even after moving it back 12 years, it would have been set in 2012, and I still haven’t finished it. Later, I just incorporated many of the ideas, themes, and plot elements into a totally different book.
2. Scope Creep—Say that you want to write a non-fiction book, and title it 101 Ways to Do Something. It doesn’t matter what the something is. But you start researching the something. Soon, you find that you have 102 ways to do whatever it is. So, you decide to go for 151 ways. You know there are more out there. You know you can get 151, and you have this idea for a cute thing on the cover where you have the 101 and cross it out and put 151 above it. It will work, right? Until, of course, you stop and count and find you now have 168 ways. Well, what kind of number is 168? So, you have to go for 201, right? Perhaps you see where this is leading.
I am an English teacher. I’ve taught in both public and private schools and grades ranging from 6th to 12th. I currently teach 7th grade English and Literature at a Catholic school in Omaha. While English grammar assignments and tests are almost universally abhorred by students, writing assignments tend to come in a close second […]
The Ricochet Group Writing theme for August will be “Share Your Expertise”. In Group Writing, Ricochet members claim one day of the coming month to write on a proposed topic. This is an easy way to expose your writing to a general audience, with a bit of accountability and topical guidance to encourage writing for […]
“I’m willing to believe that you’re human, or that I am. But I don’t see how both of us could be, and so persistently misunderstand each other.” Not a comfortable impasse to reach in an argument, and not the sort of impasse promising friendship rather than enmity. And yet, around here, it still does. Not always, but it can.
I remember saying the above to fellow Ricochet member @titustechera when we first were getting to know each other. Because the way we chose to first get to know each other was to have blazing rows. Every. Single. Flippin’. Time. It did not seem possible for one of us to comment on the other without provoking some sort of deep, even existential, dispute, which you’d think would be kind of hard to do on a website where members pay to join an online conversation with at least somewhat like-minded people. They were at least civil rows — constrained as we both were by the Code of Conduct. Nonetheless, that it was even possible for two people with anything in common to disagree so thoroughly courted absurdity. How could we?
EDIT: It has been suggested that given I owe now on both fire and bugs, I should write about firebugs. Fireflies, maybe. Or pyromaniacs. So, Ricochetti: Have you ever been a pyromaniac, known one, or facilitated pyromania? In Girl Scouts, I used to teach small girls how to more effectively set things on fire. Little […]
The hat is talking to me again. Remember the news it gave me from Storyburg a couple of months ago? Apparently, things haven’t settled down there yet. I just heard this scary report from the ABC Storyburg News Service – something about a fire in a cornfield and 200,000 lb. rocks falling from the sky! […]
In Hamburg Germany 73 years ago, people would experience the first major firestorm caused by coordinated attacks of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Eighth Air Force (USAAF) of the United States Army. Conceived by Winston Churchill and Air Chief Marshal Arthur Harris, Operation Gomorrah was approved on May 27, 1943, with the night […]
Fire is very important to Canadians. There’s a reason for this; it gets mighty cold up here by times. Even in warm weather, though, it’s a vital part of our lives. A lot of my best memories of outdoor fun involve fire in some way: campfires in the woods… bonfires on the beach… backyard marshmallow […]
I can guess that some of you looked at the August theme, “Share Your Expertise”, and thought: that’s not me. I can’t call myself an expert when I know some real experts who could put my meager knowledge and skills to shame. However, “Share Your Expertise” isn’t necessarily about you, it’s about exposing Ricochet to any kind […]
Leaving aside any cracks about brimstone etcetera, sometimes death brings laughter. No, not great roaring peals, but the sort that helps inject fond moments of levity (even if trying at the time) into more somber proceedings. My cousin, a sturdy man in his own right, delivered the eulogy. I was able to return a small […]