Tag Archives: Neil Gaiman

The Fake Geek Girl


The term has been heard all over the internets lately, and it’s become a really disparaging phrase.  Those three words have been used to describe not just someone who may be opportunistic, but anyone who happens to identify as being a woman.  And even if someone is being opportunistic, really who cares.

At one time, I recall finding a woman who was really into “geek culture” to be really awesome and someone I could talk to for hours about this awesome thing that happened to be my hobby.  Because then I could talk to someone and not have them give me a weird look when I tell them the story about how hilarious it was to have a halfling paladin begin a paladin charge.  On a Shetland pony.  Forget the fact that in the table top D&D group I was involved that we never had anyone commit to a paladin charge before, that wasn’t the humourous part.  It was the fact that one of the first times the commitment was made, it was by a halfling on a Shetland pony.  Charging a giant.

To most, that story would have made no sense, but to anyone who knew of the aspects of Second Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Skills and Powers, Combat and Tactics, they’d get the concept and find why it was so funny.  Halflings, after all, weren’t known for being paladins.  Most of the time whenever I talked to someone outside of my little group, I’d get this look or often the question of “so when are you gonna finally grow out of this”.  As though because I was an adult, that such things as this were rather frivolous.  Childish.

I’ve had close female friends I’ve been able to talk to about stuff like video games, comic books and movies that appeal to “geek culture”.  I’ve had long conversations about the Sims, finding the interesting things about Second Life, hearing about a friend’s raiding in World of Warcraft and showing off the world of Tyria in Guild Wars 2.  And hearing that sound once they saw it, that sound that said “I have to get this game”.

I recall that the first comics an ex girlfriend began reading were the Sandman books, and later one of the Death series by Neil Gaiman.  She liked the portrayal of Death, as someone who wasn’t this image of doom, but as someone who looked a little more positively about the afterlife.  We even read one of the children’s books together that Gaiman wrote, all thanks to the Sandman series.

I honestly do not understand why this attitude prevails that women don’t have a vested interest in something simply because they happen to be women.  There’s a good chance that a lot of women out there who happen to read comic know more about them than I do.  Simply because I have drifted away from the medium in the last decade.  When you do find someone who really likes the same or similar things that you do, talk to them.  Don’t grill them or doubt their passion for something.  They don’t exist to threaten your love of something.  They could end up being a really good friend and someone to talk to for hours about all of those things you enjoy reading or watching or playing.

The next woman you talk to that happens to play video games could be your next raid partner in World of Warcraft or Guild Wars 2.  So make sure you’re not a jerk to them.  And don’t see them for only one thing, because the chances you lose a friend, or a possible friend, increase when you act like a jerk.


Posted by on July 23, 2013 in Life, randomness


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Wednesday morning quote-fest


On stories:

“All good stories deserve embellishment.” ~Gandalf, from The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien

“Cherish your wilderness.” ~Maxine Kumin! The poet, novelist, and essayist is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a former Poet Laureate.

“Fiction is dangerous, of course, because it lets you go inside someone else’s head.” ~Neil Gaiman, “Why Fiction is Dangerous” Book Expo America 2013

On books:

“A book is really like a lover. It arranges itself in your life in a way that is beautiful.” ~Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of Where The Wild Things Are

“I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.” ~Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel Prize-winning Turkish writer was born in Istanbul, June 7, 1952.

On art:

“Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.” ~Chuck Klosterman! The journalist and essayist was born in Breckenridge, Minnesota.

On women:

“Forty-seven percent of all players are women, and women over 18 years of age are one of the industry’s fastest growing demographics. … Today, adult women represent a greater portion of the game-playing population (31 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (19 percent).” ~The Entertainment Software Association – Game Player Data

“It’s fascinating how many people think “free speech” means women are required to listen to their abuse.” ~Amanda Marcotte

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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in Fun, randomness


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Writer quotes

Quotes by writers, some about writing, and some about books (and writing).

“Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe.”  ~Neil Gaiman

“It doesn’t matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.” ~Jo Walton (Among Others)

“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?” ~John Green

“So often is the virgin sheet of paper more real than what one has to say, and so often one regrets having marred it.”  ~Harold Acton, Memoirs of an Aesthete, 1948

“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.”  ~Anaïs Nin

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”  ~Ray Bradbury

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”  ~E.L. Doctorow

“A word is not the same with one writer as with another.  One tears it from his guts.  The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.”  ~Charles Peguy

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”  ~Sylvia Plath

“I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.”  ~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.”  ~Elmore Leonard

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  ~Toni Morrison

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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in Fun, randomness


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Money flows towards the writer

I found this at Neil Gaiman’s Tumblr, and it’s really good advice.

English writer Neil Gaiman. Taken at the 2007 ...

English writer Neil Gaiman. Taken at the 2007 Scream Awards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yog’s Law:

Money flows towards the writer. 

That’s all. All writers should remember it.

When a commercial publisher contracts a book, it will pay an advance against royalties to the writer. Money flows towards the writer.

Literary agents make their living by charging a commission of between 10 and 20% on the sales that they make on behalf of their clients, the writers. When advances and royalties are paid by a publisher the agent’s percentage is filtered off in the direction of the writer’s agent but the bulk of the money still flows towards the writer.

If a publisher ever asks for any sort of financial contribution from a writer, they’re trying to divert money away from the writer, in direct contravention of Yog’s Law.

If an agent ever asks for up-front fees, regardless of what they call them (reading fees, administration costs, processing fees, or retainers), then they are trying to divert money away from the writer, in direct contravention of Yog’s Law.

It’s a brilliantly simple rule. We should thank James D Macdonald for it in the best way there is. Buy his books

Money flows toward the writer.

No, that doesn’t mean that the author should get paper and ink for free, or that he won’t pay for postage. It does mean that when someone comes along and says, “Sure, kid, you can be a Published Author! It’ll only cost you $300!” the writer will know that something’s wrong. A fee is a fee is a fee, whether they call it a reading fee, a marketing fee, a promotion fee, or a cheese-and-crackers fee.

Is this perfect? No. Scammers have come up with some elaborate ways to avoid activating it. But it’s still a good and useful tool, and will save a lot of grief. Any time an agent or publisher asks for money, the answer should be “No!”


Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Life, randomness, Writing


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The Quotation Dogs

With apologies to Quinton Terentino, here’s this round of quotes for a Tuesday.

I often quote stuff that’s inspiring, current and even will make one think.  In this case, it’s a few quotes about success (which can include success in writing) and one from Neil Gaiman which describes what I’m going through right now: writer’s block.  More on that later.  For now, here’s the quotes.

Success is measured not so much by the position one has reached in life as by the obstacles he has overcome. ~author unknown

This next one, is from Neil Gaiman.  This is his answer to a tumblr user who asked how to deal with writer’s block.  Today it feels very close to home.

English writer Neil Gaiman. Taken at the 2007 ...

Image via Wikipedia

You turn off your inner critic. You do not listen to your inner police force. You ignore the little voices that tell you that it’s all stupid, and you keep going.

Your grade isn’t suffering because your writing is bad, it’s suffering because you aren’t finishing things and handing them in.

So, finish them and hand them in. Even if a story’s lousy, you’ll learn something from it that will be useful as a writer, even if it’s just “don’t do that again”.

You’re always going to be dissatisfied with what you write. That’s part of being human. In our heads, stories are perfect, flawless, glittering, magical. Then we start to put them down on paper, one unsatisfactory word at a time. And each time our inner critics tell us that it’s a rotten idea and we should abandon it.

If you’re going to write, ignore your inner critic, while you’re writing. Do whatever you can to finish. Know that anything can be fixed later.

Remember: you don’t have to brilliant when you start out. You just have to write. Every story you finish puts you closer to being a writer, and makes you a better writer.

Blaming “Writer’s Block” is wonderful. It removes any responsibility from the person with the “block”. It gives you something to blame, and it sounds fancy.

But it’s probably more honest to think of it as a combination of laziness, perfectionism and Getting Stuck. If you’re being lazy, don’t be. If you’re being a perfectionist, don’t be. And if you’re stuck, figure out where the story went off the rails, or what you got wrong, or where you need to go deeper, or what you need to add to make it work, and then start writing again.


Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Fun, randomness


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