Posts Tagged ‘annoyances’

It seems that the band of misogynistic trolls that roam the internet have found a new word to dismiss any male who does not share their belief that women are only good for making meals and sexing them up. They accuse them of having a “mangina”. Which is a not-very-clever portmanteau of “man” and “vagina”, as I’m sure you can guess.

The question I have to ask is: why this term? Obviously it makes them feel clever and witty, because as we all know, insults = debating prowess on the internet. But the whole problem with the term is, simply, the targets of the insult don’t find it insulting. Why would they, after all? If you don’t believe that it’s shameful or demeaning to have a vagina, then why would accusing someone of having one be shameful or demeaning?

The trolls are not well known for their logic or creativity, but if I may, I suggest a new insult for them that’s far more clever than accusing someone of having a vagina. It is: “Cromulent Shitwaffle”. No, it doesn’t make sense. But at least if you use it, then you’ll find that you might actually insult someone, rather than just leaving them shaking their heads and sighing.

~ Ian

a story

Posted: February 10, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

I was at the bookstore yesterday, and I saw a hipster-type guy talking in an incredibly pompous and longwinded fashion to a girl who was clearly bored out of her skull. He seemed to be trying to impress her with his intellect (it was NOT WORKING), and so he kept talking about some writer whose name was “Bourgé”.

Naturally, I assumed that he was talking about some existentialist French writer, some guy that hung around a lot with Sartre and Camus and smoked cigarettes while being pompous and annoying. It was only until he started talking about how the streets in “Death and the Compass” match up with a dream version of Buenos Aires that I realized that he was talking about Borges.


It’s like the people who pronounce the second word in “Axolotl Ceviche” like “seh-veesh.” IT IS “SEH-VEE-CHAY”. NO EXCEPTIONS*.

So, yeah. Before trying to impress a girl with your intellect, always make sure you know how to pronounce the name of the writer you’re rambling about.

~ Ian

*Okay, fine: I’ll admit it: ceviche can be pronounced “theh-VEE-chay” if you’re in Spain. But I am not in Spain, and the kind of Spanish spoken where I live is a dialect of Mexican Spanish. Therefore: “seh-VEE-chay”.

Woke up this morning, and found that I had exactly no shits to give.

In fact, I have so few shits to give that if I had any fewer, I’d be giving Nega-Shits, which I’m sure that nobody wants.


If you are looking for shits today, I suggest that you find someone else. You will get no shits from me.

~ Ian

(Kurt Vonnegut, “Slapstick”)

Now, let’s be clear here. When I say I don’t like Sonic the Hedgehog, that doesn’t mean I don’t like the Sonic games. I do. The original Sonic games are masterpieces of the platformer genre (although the recent games are basically hot catshit). Nor do I mean that I don’t like the universe. The disharmonious combination of Looney Tunes animation and cyberpunk dystopia that is the Sonicverse is awesome, in its crazy, weird way.

No, I just don’t like the character.

I mean, come on. Unless you’re delusional, you have to admit that Sonic the Hedgehog as a character is a complete cash-grab baked up by a marketing team for a second-string Japanese video game developer to be cooler than Mario. And I will admit that Sonic is cooler than Mario– if it’s 1991 and you’re twelve. But it’s twenty-one years after the first Sonic game came out, and the speedy blue Erinaceomorph is old enough to get drunk. And we’re accustomed to something more from our video game heroes than a cheap marketing gimmick. This is the era of Commander Shepard. Video games are coming into adulthood as a medium, and wearing sneakers and having an attitude isn’t enough to make you a fully-rounded character.

So, I’m sorry. Sonic, your games are (excuse me, were) great, but you’re still a flagrant corporate construct.

And honestly? The company that created Link, Fox McCloud, and Samus Aran is always going to be way cooler than Sega.

~ Ian

You know how some writers have these little annoying tics that they have, where they get obsessed with certain phrase structures and keep using it over and over again?

Well, I think I’m having that problem right now.

Or, rather, I’ve had it for a long time, but I’m only beginning to realize how frigging annoying it is.

I overuse parenthetical statements.

More specifically, I overuse parenthetical statements with em-dashes, rather than the more usual commas or parentheses.

I just did a count of em-dashes on The Lotus Imperiate, and I found out that there are 232 em-dashes in the whole document.

In a manuscript that is currently 219 pages long.


It’s incredibly annoying, because I want to destroy every parenthetical statement that I put down on paper. I want to cleanse my body of this foulness. It happens often enough that even I notice it, and I’m the writer. I’m not supposed to notice my individual stylistic tics.

So, what am I supposed to do? Is there some sort of chemotherapy by which I might purge myself of this disease? Some sort of em-dash enema?

An emema, perhaps?

~ Ian

a request

Posted: October 7, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Hey, fantasy writers:

Could we maybe try writing about people other than royalty?

Yes, I know that people with the power to make decisions make interesting stories, and yes, I know that traditionally fantasy has been set in faux-medieval European monarchies. Even so, it’s getting boring to pick up a book about yet another king or princess or whoever trying to save their kingdom from yadda yadda yadda.

I’m not angry. In fact, I understand the appeal. Hell, my first book was about a lost heir to the throne seeking to reclaim his kingdom. But still. I grew out of that phase. And we all should.

Fantasy doesn’t have to be about royalty. It should be free-ranging, spanning the multiverse, brightly-colored and wonderful and impossible and true. Not just sticking to the same old stories, using the same old characters.

Come on. You’re better than this.

We’re better than this.

~ Ian

For the last year or so, I haven’t done any writing that hasn’t been part of two categories:

1. short stories, and

2. lame bullshit that I put on my blog.

This means that the longest thing I’ve finished in the last year or so has been “Cassandra”, which is 16,867 words in length. That’s not a bad length, mind you: it’s a perfectly good length for a fairly long novella, which is what “Cassandra” happens to be. But currently, The Lotus Imperiate (my current project) is twice the length of “Cassandra”, and will easily make it to six times the length before I’m done with it.

Which makes sense too. 125,000 words (which is my target length) is a good length for a first fantasy novel. That’s about 350 pages of paperback novel.

What makes The Lotus Imperiate different from “Cassandra”, though, is the fact that I’m experiencing a lot of stress and tiredness with tLI.

I guess it makes sense. Short stories are a lot like sprints: best gotten over with as fast as possible. Writing a novel, though, feels more like I’m running a marathon. Pacing is hugely important– both in the actual story and the writing process. When I started out writing tLI, I wanted to hit 2,000 words a day, making it 10,000 words a week (I typically take weekends off from strenuous thinkings). Now I’m typically only hitting 1,000 words a day. It’s not bad, not by a long shot. But it means that in the month and a half I’ve been working on tLI, I’ve made far less than I’d hoped. I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish the book by summer’s end. Now I’m definitely not going to.

Part of my tiredness in writing this story, though, is the fact that it’s structured like a heist story. You get the idea: there are a couple of people who want to steal a MacGuffin, they assemble a team, the team encounters Difficulties®, the thing is stolen, et cetera et cetera. It’s a heist story in a fantasy world, true, and the people they’re trying to steal the MacGuffin from are gods living in a flying city. But the basic plot structure remains the same.

I’m still in the team-assembly part. I could have made it go faster, of course, but I wanted to build up the characters and their backstories/motivations before I got the team assembled. I’m still in that part at the moment, which is part of the reason that I’m bored with it. But I’ll be out of it soon. I hope. And that’s when all the action gets started: the sneaking, and the fighting, and the hiding, and the chases, building up to a Big Thing happening and then another Big Thing, where the book will end. (I’m not about to give out spoilers to my unfinished first draft of a novel, even if the only person who’s ever read it is me.) And that’s the stuff I want to get to. I’m tired of setting up the pieces. I want to get to the actual game.

Where was this post going? I don’t really know. Writing The Lotus Imperiate isn’t turning out to be the zippy fun ride that “Cassandra” was, though. And I guess I just needed to share my thoughts on the whole business. Yes, yes– this is a somewhat whiny rant. Tough. It’s my blog. I’ll say what I want.

What was I saying again?

Oh yeah.


Carry on,

~ Ian

Some Advice For Spambots

Posted: August 16, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

I’m getting really annoyed with spam that goes like this:

I love this post! It’s so awesome, it is like drowning in a sea of fresh lemon-scented kittens! I will share this with all my friends and family. Thank you, Axolotl Ceviche. You have changed my life with your words!

To which I will respond: dude, you’re kind of undermining the compliments that you give to me by having the screen name “Sexy Asian Women Porn Hotline”. Or something of that nature.

Seriously, spambots: commenting on blog posts is about engaging in dialogue, not splooging all over the writer’s face with flowery compliments. I’m just glad that Akismet catches most of the spamposts before they get out into the world.

~ Ian

He ruined two perfectly good names: Adolf and Hitler.

I mean, please: how many people with the last name Hitler had to go through a lot of pointless bureaucracy to get their names changed because they happened to share a last name with one of the worst mass murderers of all time?

Not that I’m saying that there aren’t any other reasons to be pissed off at Hitler. There are. But this is just one that tends to get overlooked.

~ Ian

One thing that I’m continually surprised at when I’m writing is how much I put myself into the story.

It’s kind of scary, actually. Let me give you an example:

In the story, “Cassandra”, there is a character called Cassandra*. Now, Cassandra shows up several times in the story, in various guises. And the main character is in love with her (it’s not exactly a love story, but romantic relationships play an important role in the story). Now, when I’m writing about Cassandra from the perspective of the main character, I’m in love with her. Totally. Passionately. I’ve been in love before; I know what it feels like. So when I’m writing about Cassandra, from the main character’s perspective, I can feel that exact same rush of chemicals in my brain that cause the sensation that makes falling in love so damn good. It isn’t like empathy at all: I am in love with Cassandra, and the main character is the puppet through which I give my love to her.

When I’m not writing, though? It’s kind of scary. I think about Cassandra and I don’t feel anything. I mean, she’s fictional. She’s not even committed to paper. I haven’t printed out “Cassandra”, so until then she just exists as characters in a .pages file.


But when I’m writing “Cassandra”, and at the same time writing Cassandra, I go into the main character’s brain. I become the main character. And the main character is in love with Cassandra. So, logically, I’m in love with her too.

cannot emphasize how batshit gorram loco this is.

But it’s what happens.

Take heed, novice writers: You don’t control the story. All you can do is hang on.

~ Ian

*The character Cassandra is not why the story is called “Cassandra”. The reason why the story and the character are both called Cassandra is the same reason, though.