Yep, I’m still on about the DRTL. I think I love acronyms. I also like lists. Here goes:

AFAIK =          as far as I know

AIUI =              as I understand it

BRB=               be right back

BTDT =           been there, done that

BTW =             by the way

F2F =               face to face

FTW =             for the win

FOAF =            friend of a friend

FWTW =         for what it’s worth

GAL =              get a life

GIGO =           garbage in, garbage out

HTH =             hope that helps

IANAL =          I am not a lawyer

IANAD =         I am not a doctor

ICYMI =          in case you missed it

IDC=               I don’t care

IDK=               I don’t know

IIRC =              if I recall correctly

IRL =               in real life

ISTM =            it seems to me

JK =                 just kidding

LOL =              laughing out loud

OMG =             oh my god (or gosh, if you don’t want to blaspheme. I do want to blaspheme.

I very much want to blaspheme, then giggle about it.)

OTOH =          on the other hand

OTT =             over the top

SMH=              shaking my head

STW =             search the Web  <—– I can be a real bitch in certain online discussions when ppl who know better ask dumbass questions anyway. Dear Dumbasses,  Contrary to what you may have heard, there are dumb questions. Lots of them. You are probably thinking of asking one right now. Don’t do it. Just shut up. Love, Chloe

TIL =               today I learned

TMI =              too much information

TTYL =            talk to you later

WYSIWYG =   what you see is what you get

YMMV =           your mileage may vary

YOLO=             you only live once

Handwringing about ‘the Death of Reading’?

Photo Credit  Used under a CC licence

Let me preface what I am about to say with this self-statement: I’m not a hand-wringer or a pearl-clutcher.

But when it comes to reading, it seems like my entire life people have been talking about how the literacy of young people is on the decline. I have moments when I think it might actually be true: maybe young people are a bunch of non-reading ninnies who can barely spell.

Then I come to my senses and remember that complaining about young people is a favourite pastime for middle-aged folks everywhere and everytime. I think there are probably thousand-year-old manuscripts in which monks bitch about how kids today aren’t as literate as they once were, and their illumination skills are terrible.

So when an email popped up in my inbox with the following text, I rolled my eyes. Rolled ’em way, waaay back:

The person wrote:

Recently I was introduced to the abbreviation DRTL, and I realized that this new language represents not just a kind of shorthand, but also a new philosophy of written language.  This particular construct, DRTL, seems to me to symbolize the new philosophy:

                     DRTL = Didn’t Read, Too Long

So here’s what had my eyeballs spinning in their sockets . . . people have been skipping some or all of the reading available to them since there have been people who could read. Let’s face it, many of us humans are lazy and easily bored. If there is a way to cut corners, we will find it.

So from my point of view, DRTL doesn’t reflect a change in reading habits, it reflects an uptick in honesty. Surely that’s a good thing?

Do you have any weird habits when writing?

shoes off
Photo credit Used under a CC licence

It seems like some writers have weird habits or writing rituals, and some don’t. I have two:

1. For some reason I cannot write if I am wearing shoes. Tights and socks are ok. Shoes are not ok. Not even slippers or flip-flops and such. Forget about it. It’s like there is a direct line from my feet to the creative part of my brain that shuts down if I’m wearing shoes. Should I be calling them ‘foot prisons’ instead? Or ‘brain prisons’? The upshot is that I take my shoes off before I start to write, no matter where I am.  I often have my shoes off during critique sessions (but no one can tell because we are sitting at a table).

The weird part is that the rest of the time I love shoes. I even collect shoes. (Of all the ridiculous hobbies.)

2. I  have problems writing if there are other people in the room. Sometimes having the room to myself is not enough, and I can’t work if there are other people in the apartment. Unlike the shoe thing, the need for utter alone-ness seems to be intermittent.  The more anxious or stressed I am about writing, the harder it can be to write if there are other people at home.  I’ve met only one person who is an exception to this: my spouse Robert. I can and have written chapters while he has been nearby. I think that may be why I married him– I can stand to have him around while I am writing.  I suspect he’s ok because he is a quiet, self-contained man who respects boundaries.

Anyone else have strange writing rituals?

What genre do you write in?

Photo Credit Used under a CC licence

What genre do you write in? 

I write in urban fantasy. I don’t know that I always will, since I go where the writing takes me. I can worry about what to call it after I’m done. I’m pretty heavily influenced by horror and mysteries as well.

Umberto Eco said something like “Every story is at heart a mystery” (not the exact quote, but that is the gist of it). Yes. I think so. Much like so-called real life, for that matter. I try to write it like it’s a mystery, even when it’s not.

Speaking of Umberto Eco, he said something else I think about a lot: “there are only two stories: ‘a stranger comes to town’, or ‘someone goes on a journey.” (Again that’s just the gist of it, not the quote itself). My sense is that both of those stories are actually the same story with different POV.  I think about that a lot when I am writing. Sometimes when I am struggling with a scene I re-write the action from another character’s POV just to see it through their eyes. That can get me over rough patches.

What do you love about it?

I love reading UF, and I think we have to write what we love to read.

I love the freedom to solve problems in unexpected ways.  Having worlds full of magic and supernatural doings allows for that.

I like writing first person narration, and that is commonplace in UF.

I am bored by reading or writing female characters who stay nicely inside proscribed gender roles. Many UF females heroes violate gender norms. I love that.

Turn of phrase

Tim Powers, one of my favourite speculative fiction/ alternative history authors, has terrifically vivid descriptions.  His novel On Stranger Tides is book about Blackbeard, voudun, and zombie/ghost creatures that can do your evil bidding. The hero is sword-fighting with one of the zombie/ghost guys, and experiences this:

quote powers


I love this description almost as much as I love clawfoot bathtubs filled with buttons and doll heads.

If my words are worth nothing, why are you stealing them?

Right on

days like crazy paving

A few days ago, I noticed that people were sharing around my blog post “Muslim, queer, feminist: it’s as complicated as it sounds” without including my Twitter username. Not a huge deal – they were linking back to my blog, so I was still getting clicks and page views out of it – but it was a little disconcerting (not bad, just disconcerting) to realise that my work was being shared around by people who didn’t even know me and therefore couldn’t directly credit me as the creator.

People keep telling me this is a consequence of “fame” (I wasn’t even aware that I was famous!) – that people will share your work without letting you know about it. I suppose I can live with that, as long as people aren’t just copy-pasting words of mine without any kind of course or attribution…

…which is exactly what happened to me…

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