July 2nd, 2004


What Kind of Frog are You?

I'm a Golden Mantella Frog!

These frogs occur in several colour forms, each confined to very small locations within the eastern quadrant of Madagascar. They like their habitat with temperatures around 68 - 70*F and high humidity. This species is very showy in captivity preferring elevated positions out in the open. Males are generally smaller, slimmer and more angular in build than females and not as vocal as other species of mantellas. Females can produce eggs at a rate of once every two months given proper care.

What kind of Frog are you?


Story beginnings

A thread in tanaise's LiveJournal inspired the following post, which I've decided to reproduce here:

This thread inspired me to take a look at some of my own openings, to see what I've done. Here's a few examples of opening paragraphs I've used:

1. Tony put on the spex and scrunched his hands into the tight datagloves. He pushed a button on the right earpiece, and the world around him changed.

2. No one saw the first four explosions. Only two people witnessed the fifth explosion, and it killed one of them.

3. Stasis felt unreal.

4. Sarah Jacobson's hands shook as she parked her clunky Volkswagen across the street from the old suburban house in which she had grown up. She sat there, breathing in the gas fumes from the idling engine, as she watched the reporters swarm all over the front lawn.

5. Morning, afternoon, and evening no longer existed, at least as far as Kel was concerned, despite just waking up from a long meditation. He awoke as always: floating in the darkness of space, among spaceships, a huge junkyard of them in orbit around one of the yellow-white stars of a binary system. Beyond lay nothing but empty space, and the distant stars of the galaxy, pinpoints of light sprinkled all around like--like--

6. I'm dying.

Having looked at this, I have to admit that I'm kind of fond of # 2, 3, 4, and 6. The first one and the fifth one seem weaker to me.

That said, I think they all do what I would hope an opening would do. Each one has a promise of something different, something changing, something interesting. The story questions that come up are easy for a reader to grasp:

1. How did the world change?

2. Explosions? If no one saw them, how do they know about them? And who died?

3. What's stasis? What does it mean to feel unreal?

4. Why is Sarah so nervous? And what are the reporters doing there?

5. Where/when are we, that day doesn't exist and a man floats in space?

6. Who's dying? How will he or she deal with it?

Hm. I feel an article for Writer's Digest coming on... :-)

Declaration of Independence

Every July 4th since 1777, the Declaration has been read from the balcony of the Old State House in Boston. gnomi and I have gone for the past two years, and we're planning to be there again this year. You can learn a little more about it here:


and here:


If anyone wants to join us, please feel free to do so. A few notes, though. They start the reading at 10 AM on the dot, and it's very crowded, because there's a parade beforehand. Also, the reading doesn't really take until 2:30 PM; there are other events afterward. Expect to be there from about 9:30-10:30 or so.

Story beginnings, take two

With respect to my earlier post on story beginnings:

All six of those beginnings have one thing in common.

The first person reading my LJ who knows enough about my work to figure out what it is, will win a Tuckerization* in a later story.

*tuckerization (n): The act of using a real name as an in-joke (i.e. Mount Kirby in Kurt Busiek's Astro City comics). From Wilson "Bob" Tucker, a science fiction writer of the 50s who made a practicing of using his friends' names for minor characters in his stories.

Story beginnings, take three

All right, so here's one more contest to win a Tuckerization, and one that's a little more open-ended.

Post a first line to a story you'd like to see me write. I will choose one that appeals to me, and in that story, I will Tuckerize the person who gave me that line. If that story sells, presto! You've been Tuckerized.

The contest will stay open until Wednesday night at 8 PM. Enter as often as you like. I reserve the right to name one winner, more than one winner, or no winners (just in case).

If you are saxikath, you are ineligible. :-)
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