Ever wonder what a place actually looks like? You can use Google Earth, but that’s not updated all that often.

I found a site called Weather Bonk that collects live webcams of various places. This one is of a California freeway, for example, but they have ones of all sorts of places, from beaches to residential neighborhoods. And the webcams are updated fairly frequently.


I just started lesson five on the How to Think Sideways class (lesson six is up but I’ve been slow). This lesson … mind-blowing. If you can imagine tapping into your subconscious for all the things that motivate you, then putting THAT into your writing on a conscious level … it’s incredible.

I have two great ideas for stories from lesson 4, but I’m going with the SF one (any surprise?) because I can do a better job on this without a ton of research — I’ll need some (know someone who curses in Chinese?) but it’s set in Los Angeles and that’s a place I already know.

Click the box at the top of the sidebar on the right there for more information on the course, or you’re welcome to ask about it. I’ve gotten my money’s worth already and I still have the rest of the year to go.

Right now I’m taking Holly Lisle’s How to Think Sideways class (the 12 month edition, which I recommend if you’re coming off a slump, have a lot of outside work going on, or are in general a busy person, as it’s the same lessons, only once every two weeks instead of once a week), and it has been just what I needed.

The first lesson is deceptively simple: what are four barriers (she says THE four barriers) to success?

At first I thought this was one of those first class ‘gimme’ lessons, but when I really took a look and did the work on it, boy, it kicked my butt.

The thing I like best about this class is that you’re assigned to a workgroup. We’re having some very thought-provoking discussions that are changing the way I look at life in general and writing in particular.

And the second class homework is one of those assignments that is so outright FUN that I look forward to working on the project more. (Yeah, it’s a project, already!) I’m getting excited about writing again.

Anyway, if it sounds interesting go by and check it out here. You can start the series at any time, she just assigns the workgroups as a bunch of people join up.

I haven’t put in a plug for my deviantART community, Fifty Word Fiction, in a while, but if you have any interest in microfiction, stop by. Mostly what it is involves getting people to write very short stories, which the ‘deviations’ link to. Some people use the site for prompts as well, for longer works.

Hope to see you over there! Joining deviantART is free (but you can read without joining, too).

From Minions At Work (by J. Steven York):

I got started reading this because one of my sons has a 12″ GI Joe menagerie and makes home movies using them, so I know what goes into that. And who doesn’t love an evil overlord and his minions?

Steve Buchheit made an interesting comment on the last post. Many people prepare a soundtrack for their novels, which gives the mood for writing the scenes that go with it.

This usually happens to involve whatever my teenagers are listening to at the time, but rather than a soundtrack, there’s often a song in my head associated with the story.

For Freedom, it was “Feel Good” by the Gorillaz (It’s a silly song but for me it captures one of the relationships in the story). For Sick Dude Coming, it was “Bodies” by Drowning Pool, for obvious reasons. “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol makes me think of the second half of The Tachyon People.

Several stories don’t have a song to them yet. I think Baroque music would go well with Clan Twelve. The others, nothing yet.

Do you have a song or a soundtrack for your stories? Have you ever been inspired to write by a song?

Paperback Writer has a fun meme today … showing off the images she made in conjunction with her books, either to promote the work or to inspire writing. What a great idea!

I don’t have anything published, but I do like to make images about my stories, usually for sigs during NaNo. There are several that I’d like to make still.

Here are the two I’ve done so far:

Those of you who did the crit will recognize Lorelei, Brienne, Thomas, and Hannah. I got rid of Hannah’s glasses later on, as hopefully we won’t need those things in the 24th century…

I thought this encapsulated the conflicting issues in the story, as well as the play on words in the title.

Now I want to do more of these. I’ll put them up as I do them.

Do any of you use images when you’re writing? Post links to them if you like.

Next Page »