Blogroll Roll Call #4: Plot to Punctuation

It’s yet another installment of Blogroll Roll Call!

Today, I’m taking a look at Plot to Punctuation (aka “Show Some Character”), by Jason Black. Mr. Black is a Book Doctor, and blogs about character development in fiction. His blog covers a variety of storytelling do’s and don’t’s, and I’ve found it very helpful. I do wish I’d discovered it before I was four or five drafts in to my first book. Nonetheless, it’s been useful.

Why I Bookmarked It
It’s actually pretty easy to say why I first started reading Mr. Black’s blog. It was this post about the Five Stages of Grief, and how they should be used in developing characters. Actually, to be more specific, I think that the first post I read was this one, his 2009 “Best Of” post, capping off what he felt were his best posts of that year. Topping the list was the post I linked above about the five stages of grief. Black argues that the five stages can be used as a template for all the emotional reactions in a novel.

I bookmarked the site (and the specific post) immediately, because I was having trouble with two scenes in my own novel, both of which deal with a character coming to terms with information that any sane person would reject. These scenes are towards the end of Chapter 3 and the begining of Chapter 4. I reworked them more than any other scenes in the book, and I hope that some of what I learned from Mr. Black’s blog shows through in Sam’s reactions to Reggie’s news about secret societies, and what Sam sees in Reggie’s room later that night.

Why I Still Read It
Can a writer ever know or read too much about writing? Just now, in preparation for this post, I glanced at Black’s most recent postings, and discovered I’d missed one on how to use Myers-Briggs personality types in your novels. Within moments I was searching the web for a Myers Briggs test so that I could take it from Reggie’s perspective.

Why You Should Read It
If you’re a writer, or like reading, this is a useful and insightful blog. You’ll learn things like what Tolkien teaches us about conflict, and what Star Wars teaches us about character introductions. You may enjoy the current series on 45 (more) flaws that expose your lack of storytelling experience. Parts One and Two of that series are already up, and you can have all sorts of fun finding the problems in your own writing, or in that of others.

Until next time.

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Blogroll Roll Call #3: Websnark

Welcome back to Blogroll Roll Call.

Eric Burns-White has returned with a new Websnark site. As he was before on his original and now defunct Websnark site, the man is incredibly prolific. It shouldn’t be surprising. You’ve heard of people who burn their candles at both ends. This blogger got married at some point while writing the old blog, and went from a man who simply Burns, to a man who actually Burns-White, like magnesium. Websnark is a blog about comics, normally about webcomics. Recently, he’s been blogging a lot about DC’s New 52, specifically because of the current controversy over the lack of non-WASP male characters and creators in comics. If you’re not familiar with the controversy, you can read the Websnark synopsis here.

Why I Bookmarked It
I originally bookmarked the old Websnark blog because I am a total webcomic addict. I have scores of them bookmarked. Once I’ve exhausted the blogs that I’ve listed in the Blogroll, I might start a Webcomics Roll Call feature on this site. Websnark being, generally, a blog about webcomics appealed to me.

Why I Still Read It
Mr. Burns-White did not only have insightful commentary on comics I already read and enjoyed like PVP and xkcd. The site also helped me find new comics to read, such as Least I Could Do, and the now defunct Ozy and Millie. Even if Burns-White wasn’t posting about these comics actively, the links and descriptions were there, broken into lists that were loosely organized by updating time. Back in college, this was a very useful time-killing tool for me.

This explains why I kept checking back again and again for updates, even when the site stopped updating some time in 2010. I’ve bookmarked the new site because I’m hopeful. Burns-White is already back into providing the type of commentary he’s famous for at the new website. And I do enjoy reading it. But the new site lacks the laundry lists of webcomics that the old site had. To make matters worse, those lists are now gone from the old site, too. I suppose everything, eventually changes. I do hope some of that will come back, perhaps in a new form.

Why You Should Read It
These days Burns-White is blogging about comics in general, and delving into political commentary within that realm. If you don’t follow webcomics, you can always enjoy the insight into print comics, or the political aspect, or his occasional foray into video game blogging. You may discover something out there that you were always ready to be a fan of, but never knew existed.

Until Next Time

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Chapter Nine

Illustration by Adriel Begay

Happy Friday, and as July draws to a close, I proudly present Little Lost Dogs Chapter Nine: The Stalker.

Some of you may have missed my blog posts earlier this week. Perhaps you only read the site on Fridays. Perhaps you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Perhaps you’ve been confused by the fact that I always leave the most recent chapter post stuck to the top of the page, with newer blog posts beneath it. Be confused no longer!

This week I finally published my review of July’s Full Moon Monster Movie, Little Shop of Horrors. I also started a new feature called Blogroll Roll Call, a breakdown of the blogs I read, and why you should read them, too. Blogroll Roll Call #1 was about Jonathan Simon’s Lighting Octopus, which chronicles geek happenings in my home state of Arizona. Blogroll Roll Call #2 dealt with my friend Amanda Jennison’s blog about making food, love, and war, Front Toward Enemy.

There will be more Blogroll Roll Call next week, and I’ll see you all again next Friday for Chapter 10.

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Blogroll Roll Call #2: Front Toward Enemy

Hey, look. A second installment of Blogroll Roll Call! Today we’re looking at Front Toward Enemy, by Amanda Jennison. Amanda blogs about food, life, love, and her upcoming nuptials. She also blogs about what it’s like to love someone who is currently serving in the armed forces. Her fiancé is not currently abroad, but he was, and he only returned recently.

Why I Bookmarked It
I’ll be honest. I originally bookmarked this blog because the author, Amanda, is a friend of mine. She and my wife were coworkers a few years ago, before she moved back to the other side of the country. And despite living on the other side of the country, she attended our wedding earlier this year. Amanda and I share a love of pirates, and of food. She blogs plenty about the latter, not so much about the former. Back when I first bookmarked the blog it was called “Like a Fat Kid Loves…” and the individual posts had clever titles that completed the sentence in the name of the blog. “Like a Fat Kid Loves… Mmm Donuts,” for instance, or “Like a Fat Kid Loves… Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting,” or even “Like a Fat Kid Loves… Hot Buttery Rage (and Pumpkin Muffins)”. The name of the blog changed when Amanda’s focus changed from food-specific blogging to the broader issues of her life at home while her fiancé (then boyfriend) was away serving. But as her most recent post shows, she still blogs about food from time to time.

Why I Still Read It
Being my friend isn’t enough to keep me reading a blog, and it certainly isn’t enough to post it here on the website. I still read Amanda’s blog because she updates reasonably often, and the recipes she posts make my mouth water. I do like to know what’s going on with my friends across the country. But take a look at my Blogroll and let’s be honest: I’m really here for the food.

Why You Should Read It
The food, people, the food. That may seem like I’m selling my friend’s personal experiences short, but let us face the facts: you don’t know her yet. You’ll get to know her, through her posts. And she’s a wonderful person to get to know. But I’m telling you, you need to bookmark Front Toward Enemy today because of the food.

I know that some days it seems like there are millions of cooking-related blogs out there. I’d like to make two points about that, though: 1) can you ever really have too many options for finding a good recipe? and 2) food blogging is harder than it looks. I know. I’ve tried it. I’ve made a couple of dishes while obsessively photographing every single step along the way. What’s that you say? You haven’t ever seen them posted here? Good point. That’s because half the time the pictures don’t look nearly as good as I thought they would. My poor kitchen cleaning habits are partially to blame here. Even when the pictures are good, I don’t have the time or inclination to upload all of them from the camera, pick out the good photos, upload those to the internet, and describe my step by step process. Heck, by the time I’ve gotten around to uploading photos to my own computer a few months have generally passed. So give Amanda’s food blogging a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed. You may leave hungry, you may leave with a new appreciation for the trials and tribulations of an Army bride, but you won’t leave empty handed.

Until Next Time

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Blogroll Roll Call #1: Lightning Octopus

Welcome to a new irregular feature here at Green Bandit Press, the Blogroll Roll Call. As you can see, on the right hand side of the site, I’ve added a list of links to blogs I read. This isn’t every blog I’ve bookmarked. I weeded out a few that update very sparingly, or that wouldn’t be of interest to a wider audience. If you have a blog that I haven’t listed, but which you think I should, please let me know. Even if you’ve let me know before. You see, sometimes I forget to bookmark blogs I enjoy, just as I sometimes leave bookmarked blogs that haven’t updated in years.

For now, though, I’ll start this feature with Lightning Octopus, by Jonathan Simon. Mr. Simon blogs about all thinks geeky in Arizona. In (quickly) researching this post, I discovered he was also the official Tweeter (Twitterer?) of Phoenix ComiCon 2011. He’s been interviewed in Phoenix New Times, so if you want more information, you could head over there.

Why I Bookmarked It
I probably started reading Lighting Octopus because of the connection to Phoenix ComiCon, though I wasn’t aware of the official nature of that connection at the time. I was looking for more information on events going on around the time of the Con, and stumbled upon this blog.

Why I Still Read It
I’m a geek. I think this probably goes without saying. I mean, you’re reading this post on my blog, on my website, where I’m self-publishing a book about a lycanthropic detective. If you didn’t know I was a geek, well, maybe you don’t realize that you have a high likelihood of being a geek yourself. I still read Lighting Octopus because I really do like to keep up with what’s going on. Normally, there’s not much in the way of geekery up here in Flagstaff, but on occasion, something does happen up here. When it does, there’s a good chance Jonathan Simon will be on top of it. Just over a week ago, my wife and I were at dinner with a friend. At the next table over there were no less than six people dressed in the costumes of characters none of us recognized. We would have been completely confused at the random cosplay, except that I happened to read Lightning Octopus’s weekly feature about things to do on the weekend in Geek Arizona. So I knew there was an anime convention in town. Mystery solved.

Why You Should Read It
I realize that not everyone who reads Little Lost Dogs lives in Arizona. In fact, I know a good number of you are in Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, and elsewhere around the globe. That’s not even counting the spam my blog gets in Cyrillic*. However, I’m a firm believer that geeks should stick together and support things-geeky. Besides, there’s more to the site than just a calendar of events. There’s quite attractive photography by Darby, Simon’s wife. There’s Simon’s descriptions and reports of various happenings. Who knows, maybe you might get lured out to Arizona, or get an idea to replicate something in your neck of the woods.

Until next time.

*Incidentally, if you really do read my site, and have been leaving comments in Cyrillic, they’ve been marked as spam. Please let me know — in English, using the Latin alphabet — and I’ll un-spam your comments.

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Full Moon Monster Movie Review: Little Shop of Horrors

July’s Full Moon Monster Movie review is up here.

Watch this space this week for increased blogging as I attempt to justify all the links in my Blogroll (now on the right hand side).

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Chapter Eight

Illustration by Adriel Begay
It’s friday again, and that means it’s time for Chapter Eight: Foxes, Coyotes, and Dingoes. I hope you have fun with Reggie and his furry friends.

I know I owe you all a Full Moon Monster Movie review from last week, and I know I haven’t been very responsive this week. I’m just happy the chapter is going up on time. Life happens, it turns out, and this week has been crazy at the day job. I can say that if it weren’t for my extremely supportive wife, this chapter may not have been up on time. Thank you, sweetheart.

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Chapter Seven (and Full Moon news)

Illustration by Adriel Begay

It’s time once again for a new chapter. As you can see from Adriel’s illustration above, Chapter Seven involves Detective Street showing Reggie that he has something on his shirt. They’re quickly becoming fast friends, right?

Tonight’s the full moon, but my wife is working late. These things happen, and we knew about it in advance. We’ve given ourselves some wiggle room on the “Full Moon” date for this very reason. Much as lycanthropes transform on the nights preceding and following the full moon, we allow ourselves to watch our monster movie on any of the three nights when the moon is at its fullest. So, tomorrow night we’ll be watching Little Shop of Horrors. If things go well, we’ll watch both versions!

One more thing: if any of you have visited the Table of Contents page, you know it has looked pretty messy. I’ve cleaned it up a bit. Not a huge overhaul or anything, just a few more html tags to make it cleaner.

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July’s Full Moon

Yes, next Friday, July 15, marks another full moon. Some of you may have been confused a month ago, when I first posted about my family’s Full Moon Monster Movie tradition. “What relevance does this have to Green Bandit Press, or Little Lost Dogs?” Now that we’re past Chapter Four, hopefully most of you know just how relevant our monthly movie tradition is.

This month, my wife and I are planning to watch Little Shop of Horrors. It’s been a long time since either one of us has seen it. We both found ourselves thinking about it the other day, so it’s on the list. However, feel free to try to dissuade us in the comments below!

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Chapter Six — and THANK YOU!

EDITED TO ADD: If you visited the site earlier and had problems reading the second half of Chapter Six, the link has now been fixed.

Illustration by Adriel Begay

You did it! Within hours of my challenge, Green Bandit Press had nearly twice as many “likes” on Facebook as it had before. By the end of the day, I was up from 11 fans to 21. And then I did a double check, and saw that while only 21 people had hit the “like” button, a page had done so as well, putting me up to 22! So, as promised, a day early, here’s Chapter Six: In Deep.

It’s been a bit of a long week here, so I’ll keep this posting short. See you next Friday, July 15, for Chapter Seven.

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