Sunday, August 25, 2013

On Vacation

I do apologize for not having a blog to post today. Yes, I'm on vacation, but I usually manage to get a post written and posted, even on vacation. Unfortunately, not this time.

On Friday, we were on the road, and drove as far as Muscokee OK before we stopped for the night. After a quick supper, we settled our brain-dead, road-weary bodies into the motel bed and gave in for the night.

Saturday, we finished the driving, finally arriving on the south side of Houston TX. Having reached our destination, we settled in for a quiet evening. Unfortunately, hubby decided to check his email, and his inbox was so full (after 2 days) that by the time he got done, there was no time left for me to do anything on the computer.

Today, we went to the Space Center Houston. Once we looked around and saw what was there, it seemed we could do it all in one day, therefore saving us the money of going again tomorrow. And we did get done, but it was a long day, and we were both limping by the time we returned to our motel room. I was too tired by then to try and write a blog.

So, my apologies, and I will try very hard to actually have a blog next Sunday. Yes, I will still be on vacation. Yes, I will be at WorldCon in San Antonio. Yes, I am on staff at WorldCon in San Antonio. However, by Friday, my staff stuff will be done, so if I haven't gotten one written by then, I will be able to take half an hour to type one up. I hope. Worldcons always seem to have something going on.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Evolving Characters

Humans are said to 'learn' and to 'grow'. This is indicated by the old sayings, "Grow up," and "Act your age." And most humans do manage to remember what they've learned so far in their life, add to it whatever they've learned lately. Putting these things together, they adjust their thoughts, their decisions and actions. They learn, grow and mature.

In writing, characters are said to 'evolve', if the writer is any good.

I'm not sure why a different phrase is used for characters, who are created as representatives of human beings.

I mean, let's look at this. Wherever the story opens, the characters have a personality, and to have that, they have a backstory ... basic life events that have formed them into the 'person' they are. The author is supposed to have that all thought out, even if s/he doesn't actually say any of it in the story.

As the story proceeds, the character is challenged, reacts, learns and adjusts. Woops, I mean, he 'evolves'.

I don't know, to me, 'evolve' means 'become something new'. That sounds like a character who starts at Personality A suddenly makes a complete change to become Personality Z. I have trouble believing people do that, even when that person is a story character.

Person or character, I have a much easier time believing someone starts at Personality A and as a result of the challenge, reaction, learning and adjusting, winds up as Personality A1. A character who does that is much more believable to me.

What do you think?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Open Letter to Internet Advertisers

I can understand why businesses would take advantage of the opportunity to expand their customer base to those on the internet. I even understand that doing so means there are ads trying to gain the attention of every internet user. But the increase and insistent proliferation of those ads - interfering in every aspect of my use of the internet - is really beginning to P**S me off!

Example 1 - Every time I try to sign in to check my email, I am instead rerouted to a request to take a survey. This despite my browser being set to prevent pop-ups. That is like stepping onto my porch to retrieve my snail mail, and being accosted by someone demanding I take their survey instead. Or trying to call a friend for a chat, and finding myself talking to an automated survey that only responds to answers to its questions.

Example 2 - Whenever I play an on-line game, I have to wait through an ad. It wasn't so bad when one viewing would get me to the game, but recently, I've had to wait through that ad for EACH level of the game. Really? That's like reading a book and having to wade through an ad between the chapters.

Example 3 - Every website I visit anymore has more ads than content. And if my cursor wanders over one of those ads, that ad enlarges to cover most of the screen. And far too often, the means to close that ad is hard to find, or possibly non-existent. That would be like driving along a highway and being unable to see any scenery because the billboards are lined up to completely block the view.

Well, I grew up with television ads interrupting my shows every few minutes. I guess I need to learn to tune out these new types of ads, too. I already don't watch the ads for the games, I close the surveys without taking them, just like I close the ads that get accidentally enlarged. But all of these reactions take time away from my life. That's why I get so mad.

You advertisers need to find a way to get the business' messages across without wasting the time of the people you want to be customers. How you do that is your problem. Ours is to find what we actually want to get to on the internet.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

When to Listen

It seems like for every book, movie or gadget that comes along, there are plenty of people willing to tell everybody else how good or bad it is. Some of them actually get paid for it.

 Do you listen to any of them?

Years ago, the local newspaper had a movie reviewer. It didn't take long for my friends and I to realize that any science fiction movie that came along, he hated. Since we liked science fiction, why would we listen to him? Obviously, our opinions didn't agree with his.

More recently, I've noticed lots of people on Facebook writing their thoughts on this movie or that movie. It's understandable. Who do you talk with about movies you've seen if not your friends? I listen to these comments. Then I decide whether or not they will influence my decision about seeing that movie.

Other people's opinions are fine. Everybody is entitled to have their own opinion. If I listen to the comments of someone I know shares my likes and dislikes, then their opinion might effect my decision. If they have completely different likes and dislikes, their comments are not likely to effect my decision.

Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?

What about you? Seen any good movies lately? Read any good books?