Friday, February 28, 2014

Favorite kids books?

Okay, I need a list of the best books for kids. I read SO MUCH as a kid, but I don't remember the books I read when I was really little, or rather, the books my parents read to me.

I feel like reading was such an important part of becoming a writer as an adult. I don't know of a single writer who doesn't read a lot as well. Stephen King said it best: “If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” 

Obviously, not everyone reads at a young age - I suppose there may be people who got into reading when older. But for me, it started way before that. I don't remember learning how to read (that may be because I apparently suffered brain damage and don't remember most of my childhood), but I think it's because I learned to read before I started forming permanent memories. 

At any rate, I need books that I should stockpile now for the future kidlets. I mean, I have to brainwash my kids into loving books as much as I do, right?

So, speak up internet... what can't I miss?


Thursday, February 27, 2014

When the Writing Life Doesn't Make Sense

You know that thing that happens when you look at a word for too long and it stops making sense?

I hope you do, because I'd hate to be the only one. I'll show you what I mean. Take an ordinary word like, say, sleigh. Type it on a line all by itself, like this:


Now stare at it for awhile. Mumble it under your breath about six times. Maybe after awhile it begins to lose its meaning and its shape. Is it really spelled like that? Should it be spelled slay? Really a silly sort of word if you think about it...What does it mean again?

Okay, so maybe I'm alone with this phenomenon and the Sisterhood of the Evil Writers will send the straightjacket guys after me. (Speaking of which, straightjacket is one of those words. The longer you look at it the weirder it gets). And maybe the guys in white coats should come calling, because sometimes its not just words that lose meaning for me but the whole act, practice, and reason for writing itself.

Have you ever had a morning (or an afternoon or evening) where you sat down to write and asked yourself, "Why am I doing this again?" Maybe it all felt pointless for a minute. Here you are, spending all of this time writing this story/poem/novel and maybe the whole thing is shit. Maybe nobody anywhere on the face of the planet will ever read it. And if that's the case, then why on earth are you wasting your valuable time?

Maybe the world would be better off it you weren't a writer. Your house would be cleaner. Your kids and your partner would get more attention. The cat wouldn't have to sit on the keyboard in order to get a little petting. You could put all your creative energy into finding world peace or cure for male pattern baldness or a way to remove hair without shaving.

I'll confess there have been a few times where the thought of giving up writing flitted through my head like some deformed butterfly. Once or twice I've even entertained the prospect long enough to think it made some sense.

And then I don't write for a couple of days and I turn into some sort of demon zombie spawn. When that happens, the only cure is writing.

Some days I'm not sure whether writing is a blessing or a curse, but then I suppose maybe it can be both. The double edged sword of the gods - curse or blessing, depending how you use it. And the whole internal debate is totally pointless. Sleigh is a perfectly valid word. Quitting isn't an option.

Pointless or not, the only thing to be done is to go on.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kill Your Darlings

As I write this, I'm in the midst of edits on a book that seems to be getting universal book love (from me, my betas, my editor…)  It's kind of awesome that everyone lurves it so much, but edits must happen and so on and so forth.

Anyway, there's a bit of banter in the book that is, quite literally, my favorite piece. It cracks me up every time I read it. My editor told me to cut it. It's two lines. TWO! But this was the hardest change for me to make. It was my "darling" of this manuscript.

Here's the funny part. We are making a lot of changes to this book. They're going to take something that was already throwing everyone into book love and we're going to make it better. Like whoa better. But big work, lots of changes. And those two lines were the bit where I wanted to cry. That's what a "darling" is to me. The part that, if you have to change it, it breaks your heart a little. Anything less, and I'm all "kill it with fire!" But not that kind of darling.

The problem is, a good editor knows what the hell they're doing. They know the market. They know how the target audience will react to stuff. And, as much as it hurts, in this case, she's right. It's a pop culture reference that not everyone would immediately get, and that could possibly alienate readers since it happens so early in the book.

She was right, and it sucks.

So I took my two minutes of scowling at the email and sticking my tongue out at it and generally being a big old five-year-old.

And then I deleted it.

I killed it with fire.

As an author, it's fine to question your editor. Hell, I'd even argue that it's a good thing (so long as you aren't questioning every change). But once they explain, your job is to

  1. throw whatever kind of in-the-privacy-of-your-own-home (and-dear-gods-not-on-the-internet) fit you need to
  2. thoroughly examine their reasoning
  3. repeat steps 1 & 2 as needed
  4. and (barring a damn good reason not to) make the fucking changes. 

If you have a good editor, this shouldn't be hard because step two is going to make you realize they're right. Your editor is not your adversary.

Just for the sake of getting it in your head, I'm going to repeat myself.

Your editor is not your adversary.

Your editor is your teammate. They are your right hand. They are the one that keeps you from charging into battle not only sans armor, but sans weapons. There has to be a level of trust there along with a level of professionalism.

Like it or lump it, you need to learn to kill your darlings--no matter how precious they are to you.

Monday, February 24, 2014

So You Have a Stalker

Being a writer doesn't necessarily mean you will have a stalker, nor does not being a writer mean you're immune. But if you're a. a woman, b. existing on the internet, and c. have any kind of platform at all, each increases the likelihood that you'll end up with someone who will stalk, threaten, or harass you. (Again, this also happens to men; for the sake of simplicity, I am using female to be the default in this as statistically speaking women seem more likely to be stalked, but it is NOT gender-exclusive.) As a writer, this might be something you'll have to face if you haven't already.

First, what actually is stalking? Is it more than what we think of as trolling?

Stalking is a difficult term to define, and there are different legal definitions depending on where you live. But here's a simple one used by various sources (including, I believe, the Violence Against Women Act):
"...purposely engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress."

I have been stalked. Good friends of mine have been stalked (some even recently). Sometimes by an ex, sometimes by fan, sometimes by someone decidedly NOT a fan, sometimes attempting to get back at someone connected to the victim. Sometimes these messages are overtly threatening, both to the victim or the victim's family. Other times they're not, but they're crossing a line any reasonable person would see when a person tries to insert his or herself in the victim's life for some unknown gain. Every person is different and therefore every stalking case is different and will require a different approach to deal with it.

This blog post isn't on the psychology of it--I'm not going to tell you what to do. This blog post also isn't going to be about the legality of it; I am not giving legal advice. If you fear for your safety, phone the police. Right now. But because this is something a lot of writers deal with, I would like to offer some general suggestions.

1. Read this book.

It's Gavin de Becker's The Gift of Fear. I hesitated for a long, long time because I saw an interview de Becker gave and a few of the comments he made about domestic violence bothered me enough to disregard everything else he said (Lilith Saintcrow touches upon it in her review here, and incidentally it was her support of the book that pushed me to eventually give it a try).

And then don't just read it once. Read it every year. I plan to, because despite having read it, societal conditioning still led me to ignore red flags and warning signals the last time I dealt with someone who made me uncomfortable, and the results could've been disastrous. As I reread it last summer, I felt like an idiot for not seeing things sooner.

Understanding the warning signals can help make you aware from the get-go who to be wary of and who to avoid, even in an online setting.

2. Keep everything.

Look, I'm a union man's daughter; I have it sewn right into my DNA that you keep records of everything, never throw anything out, and always have everything ready to back you up. When it comes to dealing with people online, you can never keep too many records.

Any message that makes you uncomfortable, or threatens you--anything at all--keep it. The messages on your blog? Maybe they're from a troll, or maybe they're from someone whose behavior is going to escalate. Regardless, don't trash them. Block the IP address, keep the comment in moderation, take a screenshot. I know it can wear on you, especially for particularly heinous comments, but some people stalk their victims for years. This information could help narrow things down later if problems escalate and police become involved.

Also include emails. It can be very tempting to direct certain email straight to trash, but the person sending the email will have no idea you didn't see it; all it does is help your own peace of mind. But ignorance is not bliss if you're dealing with someone who could become dangerous and you might need to establish a pattern later. I use Gmail and it's very simple to set up a filter and move incoming email into folders. I have a folder called "CrazyPants" and any email from a handful of people who either are prone to yell at me, harass me, or otherwise freak me out, go straight there. That way I have the messages saved but I don't see them; if I choose to go looking at them, I'm able to mentally prepare myself before I go looking, rather than have them simply land in my inbox.

3. Never react right away and take care how you proceed.

The line of thinking is always "ignore the trolls." And there is a logic to this as well when dealing with stalkers or someone possibly prone to violence; as de Becker says, each contact--even to say "stop contacting me"--buys you six more weeks of harassment. Sometimes, though, the opposite reaction is instinctual: to confront someone, to argue, to tell them to fuck off.  Sometimes restraining orders are helpful and at the very least provide a record; other times they can trigger violence in the perpetrator.

There is no right or wrong way to respond, and what you do must be carefully weighed depending on the circumstance. Sometimes hiding behind anonymity means shining a light on the stalker's real name will send them scurrying back to the shadows to find another target; other times, it might enrage the stalker and increase the frequency and severity of their behavior. Be wary of one-size-fits-all suggestions for dealing with such a situation, and seek professional help whenever possible.

4. Utilize "Be On the Lookout" Alerts.

If you're concerned at all for your safety, or even if someone is just raising red flags and make you uncomfortable, it is worth letting your friends and family know to watch out for this person.

There is a risk here that people will tell you you're overreacting. There is also a risk with employers; in the summer, when I went to my employer about a stalker situation to request that they forward me any emails that might come, I was later told that the "concern" regarding my stalker was a reason for giving my job to someone else. This is bound to happen: people either won't take you seriously or somehow blame you for what you're going through.

Be cautious who you tell--you want support, first and foremost--but don't keep it entirely to yourself. Often when a stalker finds his or her path to a target blocked, they'll then go at it sideways. This can involve trying to get to her through her job, approaching her friends, etc. If you have suspicions about someone, carefully let people know to be on the lookout for this person, not to respond to him at all, and forward you any communications for your records.

5. Be aware that you will hit roadblocks.

Social networking sites are wonderful but they often provide places for predators to hide without punishment. Reporting an impersonation on Twitter requires you to send in a scan of your driver's license, but getting Twitter to confirm whether or not, as part of their "we reserve the right to share parts of the complaint with the user you're complaining about" bit, they'll keep your personal info entirely confidential, is a bit of a challenge. Any site where membership and participation is free means user concerns are going to take a backseat to profitability from advertisers. This means a lot of these sites are not vested in protecting or supporting victims.

It doesn't mean you have to leave Twitter, or Facebook, or whatever, but understand that aside from collecting evidence if harassed there, there might not be much you can do.

6. Watch what you put online.

When you register your domain name, pay the extra $5 a year to make your contact information private. Invest in a PO Box. Don't include photos of your children or your home online. Don't use real names when referencing your kids.

On Twitter in particular, it's easy to feel like you're chatting with a bunch of friends; in reality, it's like standing on a stage with a microphone being completely unaware of who is listening to you. Just because the only people who respond are those you know or people who seem cool, you literally have no idea about everyone else paying attention. On Facebook, lock down the privacy on your personal page and ask family/friends not to tag you or your kids in their photos.

I had someone go through my photos and figure out where I live despite the fact that I never show street signs or the names on storefronts. Be 100% certain before you post any personal details that you're okay with them being out there and if you're unsure, don't take the risk. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT IF YOU ARE STALKED. I am not victim-blaming. But it's reasonable to be cautious about what personal information you share online as a public person.

7. Get help.

I'm not just talking legal help here. Depending on the severity of your experiences with a stalker or harasser, it may cause anxiety, fear, and impact your day to day life. Living in a state where you are constantly scared for your own safety will wear on you and it's important to seek treatment to ensure this person doesn't rob you of any more of your life than he already has.

I sincerely hope you never have to face a situation like this, or that if you do, the perpetrator slinks back and leaves you alone afterward. But be calm, be prepared, and take steps to deal with the situation.

And kill the person in fiction. Because you're a writer and that's just what we do.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It's Not Poisonous Unless You Put It In Your Mouth

Well, not exactly. For the most part, however, that's an accurate assumption, and it comes across the finish line as one of my very top "Pet Peeves."

Snakes are not poisonous...not even if you eat them. Neither are spiders, though I'm not sure there's enough people attempting to swallow either to be certain. Maybe a toxic species or two exists...but only if you eat it or rub it on your skin or all sorts of things you shouldn't do with snakes or spiders.

Poison, you see, is ingested or touched. VENOM is injected and that, my friends, is what those lovely fangs are for.

This is something that you need to get right, at least if you're writing about bites of any kind, evil giant insects, reptiles or anything venomous...VENOMOUS, meaning they inject an unlucky character through a bite of some kind. 

Poisonous critters do exist. If your Heroine takes to licking random frogs in the Amazon, she might certainly be poisoned. In fact, she should probably keep her hands off unidentified amphibians as well, as some toxins can quite easily take effect through skin contact. So, feel free to kill by poison if you choose, but please, make sure it's not a biting injury..

Bite=fangs(or grooved teeth)=VENOM

If you think about it, it sounds cooler anyway. I mean, many butterflies are technically "poisonous" but if one bit you it would probably just tickle or something equally harmless. 

Unless it was a venomous butterfly...and that's a story I just might have to write some day. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

I'm celebrating today!

Yeah, totally not for Valentine's Day. Sorry people, but my evil heart isn't cut out to embrace a corporate holiday designed to make you feel bad about your relationship status, no matter what it is.

Since my family has heard this a million times and you're my captive audience, I'll subject you to my mini rant on Valentine's Day. I just feel like there's nothing less romantic than being forced to be romantic, especially at marked up prices. I think love should happen every day of the year, not just Feb. 14. And if you're single you feel bad because you're alone and if you're in a relationship, you stress out trying to make it romantic and perfect and it never winds up that way.

On our first Valentine's Day, I told my then-boyfriend, now-husband, that I didn't celebrate it. He gave me a suspicious look and asked, "Is this one of those things where you say you don't, but if I don't get you anything, you'll be mad?" I smiled and told him that if he got me anything, I'd break up with him (see what I mean about being romantic all year round? :) )

So we don't celebrate. I sometimes suspect he wishes we did, because he's a naturally romantic guy and I quash those instincts on the one day a year where it's expected of him.

I'm getting lazier in my old age, though. Instead of ranting at everyone about V-day (well, other than you guys), I tend to let people celebrate and be happy without raining on their parade. If you choose to celebrate, then good for you. Just don't let it stress you out too much.

However, I am celebrating today. For multiple reasons. One, two of my good friends have kids with Feb. 14 birthdays. Two, my best friend had her baby a couple days ago, and although he was born with complications, he's doing amazingly well and that's worth celebrating.

And most importantly, three, because my life is awesome. For one thing, I have a husband who brought me donuts and milk last night just because he knows I love them. For another, I'm PREGNANT!! and I am just now starting to feel the baby move and that's just darn exciting. And if that loses me evil cred, then so be it :)

So today is a good day, whether or not Hallmark tells me it is. I hope you all have a great day, Valentine's or not.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


It is just past two weeks since my second novel, Wakeworld, was launched into the great big wide world. This means PR and blogging and hopes and fears and dreams and reality checks and total exhaustion.

I've decided that this poster about sums up my truth of the moment:

And now I am off to half ass yet another project. See you in two weeks when I can maybe string together two complete sentences in a row.

(Also - check out the other demotivators from They are evil)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Making Good Mac & Cheese

A few weeks ago, Mum was lamenting to me over the phone that she can't make macaroni and cheese.

She had just tried to do that for dinner and, according to her, it was TERRIBLE. She bought Velveeta cheese, thought it was going to be this lovely, creamy dish, and apparently it was awful and even the noodles didn't cook up right. Despite the cost and the work involved, she was giving leftovers to the dog.

"I just can't make macaroni like you," she said. "You can do that simple one pot kind and it's perfect--when I try it, it's always terrible."

She's right, I make pretty damn good mac and cheese. And not just one type, either. See, mac and cheese was my favourite food as a kid--still is the ultimate comfort food for me. I have a dozen different types, including: the cheap, one pot dish I cook in a dutch oven with a cheese soup base that makes enough food to feed an army; the gourmet kind I bake in the oven with various cheeses and a savory breadcrumb topping; the quick vegan kind with cashews; the time consuming vegan one with homemade aged cashew cheese; ones with veggie bacon, or roasted garlic, or broccoli, or a cayenne kick. And while I've browsed recipes for inspiration, I've never, ever used one directly while making one of these dishes.

I am the mac and cheese QUEEN. I could feed you a different type every day of the week without you getting sick of it.

Was I born with magic cooking genes? Is it all the virgin blood I add to the sauce in the name of the Dark Lord?

The thing I immediately thought of when Mum was complaining was all the times I've made mac and cheese that fucking SUCKED. Overcooked noodles. Not enough salt. Getting dried out in the oven. Having the wrong butter-breadcrumbs ratio.

I'm single now, and when I lived with someone for years, he wasn't home much. I've cooked a lot for myself, which meant no performance anxiety. The only person eating the food is me, so when it sucks, I shout FUCK, eat it anyway, and file away the experience as a lesson for next time. Mum's not a bad cook, she just doesn't cook from scratch as often as I do because she doesn't enjoy it, so she doesn't have the same amount of experience I do. She doesn't know what consistency to aim for, what it smells like when the cheese has browned just right in the oven, and she wouldn't dare add smoked paprika. But she still compares her practice efforts with the result of YEARS of experience fucking up the dish on my part.

Do you see where I'm going with this, writers?

You read a book sometimes and it's like OMG. It's a fucking revelation. The prose is stunning, the characterization is a work of art, and then, THEN, there was that plot twist that just wrenched your heart and made you sob.

And then you look at yours. My GOD, is that thing ever ugly. Every word just looks wrong. And it seems to SMELL. Like, really, there's an odor coming from your laptop every time you open the doc, and you're pretty sure it's not just you because the cat stares at you like, "Are you fucking kidding me?" every time you work on it.

But you've never seen the thousands of bad "mac and cheese dishes" that other person "prepared". All the times it over-boiled, burned, or otherwise went wrong. Before writing that perfect book you got in the bookstore, the author went through dozens of imperfect books. And before the perfect one became perfect, it was flawed, and went through lots of stages of polish.

If you were living in their kitchen (aka office), hovering over their shoulder, sampling all of these "meals" for years, your perspective would change entirely. The difference between a bad cook and a good cook is one persevered through a few hundred bad dishes to develop the skills and intuition that leads to an excellent meal.

It's fine to strive toward excellence, but don't compare your practice efforts with someone's finished results. It's not magic and it's not out of reach.

They've just been doing a lot of cooking.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Baby Evil Writers 101: The Rules
Julie Butcher

When I first started writing, I went to every single blog post and website to see if I was doing it wrong. The problem with this was that everyone said something different.

You can find rules all over the internet. Never use then, never use comma and then! Never use an adverb, or an adjective, or a noun. Oh my goodness go and cut every single word ending in –ly, or –ing! 

Oh my darling baby minions of evil, You must follow the rules.

Or maybe not.

I tried to follow all of the laws or rules or whatever you might call them. I went through an entire manuscript to take out *that* and *then*. And guess what? It totally made the writing stupid. The music and voice had leaked out with the giant holes.

Guess what else my darling evilettes? If your writing is compelling and your characters enthralling, you can break any rule you want.

The biggest and only rule you need for writing is to make each sentence count. Every single word should be necessary to carry your plot forward. Each sentence should be complete in itself. If you take a sentence out of context, it should still sound lovely and make sense.

To do this, try reading your story out loud. The stupid sentences will jump out at you. You'll sit and wonder what came out of your mouth. I swear it will help.

So quit googling the rules and spend the time making sure the words on the page mean what you want them to mean. Tell your story without bogging up your brain with too many laws of writing.

Because really, there aren't any.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Pet Peeves

There's nothing I love more than a book with animals in it. Sidekicks, pets, familiars, you name it, I'm in. But there's nothing worse, nothing, than when animals are done wrong. If you're a pet person, you'll know what I mean. If you're a horse person, you're probably already groaning.

I spent five years working in the pet industry. I've shared my home with every kind of pet you can pretty much get. I've had horses, rodents, fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, arachnids, cavies (you know what a cavy is right? on!) marsupials, and various ordinary and not so ordinary mammals. I'm not a veterinarian, but I put her kids through college back in the horse years. Trust me.

I'm going to start with horses, because I think not only are they a source of massive literary inaccuracy, they're also an untapped gold mine of plot twists. If you plan to put horses in, I suggest either owing one, borrowing one or, even better, signing up for riding lessons. Make sure you pick one of those sagging barns with the muddy pastures that likes to give the "full horse experience" though.
That usually means you'll be mucking stalls, dragging feed buckets around, picking hooves and doing a good deal o the work required to really get to know horses.

So aside from glaring technical inaccuracies like putting a "martingale" on the horse's head. (No. Nonono) the biggest problem I see with horses in fiction is that they are often metamorphosed into big, somewhat useful, dogs. So very not right. 
A horse is not a cuddly puppy. Even a very well trained horse. Even Tonto's horse. (Dont. Even.) If a horse decides it wants to cuddle you, and yes, sometimes they do, you will most likely end up on your ass. Or hanging like a sloth from the horse's neck, the stall door, tack rack or whatever you managed to snatch before Scout there tried to knock you over. Horses are BIG, really big, heavy and strong. They do what we tell them only through the subtle manipulation of cues, treats, threats, cussing and sometimes tears.

This is good! This is plot fodder. If your hero is riding or living around a horse for any length of time, the odds are it will try to kill him at least once. Even nice horses spend their idle hours dreaming up ways to kill their favorite person...or themselves. They do that, too. If there is something deadly poisonous within reach your horse WILL eat it. A lot. 

They will also: bite you, step on you (and refuse to get off, and act shocked when you push on them) kick you, spit on you, roll on you (Sometimes while you're in the saddle--how about during that big getaway scene?) poop at the worst possible moments, stop for a five minute pee (again, during that getaway?) stumble, trip (on purpose, I swear to god) swerve at random moments, and jump off cliffs willingly if a bush looks at them wrong. 

A horse is an unpredictable element. And that is how it should be. Right? This is not a well trained circus gazelle. Horses fart, and waddle, and go into heat, and run away! Oh how they love to run away. If your hero doesn't tie that knot, just gone. Or better, horse tangled into a three point yoga pose with leadline twisted around each leg and its throat (even though its not long enough to do that) and choking itself while thrashing to be free. 

Horses. Done right, a plot goldmine. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Series Post: Ask Dr. Dina - Sutures

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I do not hold a current medical license or certification (I let them lapse because I no longer work in the medical field and don't intend to ever again). What I do have is an extensive medical background in various fields. Everything you read here is the result of either education, training, research and interpretation, or personal experience. The information in this post is not to be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice or examination. Seriously, if you're having an immediate medical problem and you're reading this blog for help, get off the damned computer and call an ambulance!

So, I've been doing this "Ask Dr. Dina" series for about a year now. We've talked about a lot of things medicalish to do with your writing, and today I want to talk about an aspect of wound care that really bugs the fuck out of me when I see it done improperly. As in, I will scream "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!" at the TV/book/movie, whatever. Incidentally, theater staff doesn't like it when you do that.

I talked last summer about cuts and punctures. Today I want to talk about sutures.

What are sutures, you might ask? Well, that's the fancy medical speak for "stitches." (Staples are different. Those are a different material used to close a wound, while stitches is the name of the actual process involving sutures. It's complicated.)

Now, you generally only need a wound closed ("need stitches") when that wound is over ¼ inch deep (you can sometimes see fat or bone in these cuts), somewhere on the body that moves a lot or is very elastic (like the face or hands), or is really long (about an inch or longer). Here's a great resource for questions (pay no attention to the hippy behind the curtain).There are always exceptions, though, so if you've got a wound that bleeds for over ten minutes despite holding direct pressure over it or is in a place where the edges won't stay closed with a bandage, go to the emergency room/get help. Always play it safe. It's better to get something looked at than ignore it.

Now, having said that, let's talk about what drives me nuts.

It drives me absolutely batshit when I see someone in a movie/TV show/story getting stitches and then the person doing the suturing cuts the suture with their teeth.

First of all – NO.



Am I making myself clear, here?

Now, unless said character is using an actual sewing needle and cotton thread (like in the Thomas Jane version of The Punisher) to sew someone up, breaking suturing material with your teeth is stupid for several reasons –

1) suture kits come in sterile packs with SCISSORS RIGHT IN THEM. See?

If there are scissors RIGHT THERE and your character uses their teeth to cut something instead of those, put your fucking pen down and go to your room and think about what you've done. Stop trying to look cool with your faux-badassery (hint: there's nothing badass about chomping on sutures) and write the scene properly.

2) most sutures are made of a polymer material (polyglycolide), which in layman's terms pretty much means FUCKING PLASTIC. Most are braided/more than one strand and are designed to be tough/not break, so you might be chewing on them for a bit. There are some sutures that are a little more flexible (like silk for certain wounds), but for the most part, you're getting fucking plastic cord, okay? It's not just going to snap because you bite it once.

3) HELLO HIGHLY UNHYGENIC. You just cleaned the wound. You're spending all this time closing it up, and now you're going to put your nasty-ass mouth RIGHT NEAR AN OPEN WOUND YOU JUST CLEANED AND GET YOUR SLOBBER ALL OVER THE NICE STERILE SUTURES YOU JUST PUT IN? Are you fucking KIDDING ME? (Again, if you're using actual sewing needle and cotton/whatever sewing thread, you're really not caring much about sanitation here, so I'll technically give you a pass, but SERIOUSLY? COME ON!) The human mouth is one of the filthiest places imaginable. Don't put sutures in your mouth! No, not even the end bit!

These are just a few reasons why you shouldn't have your characters do this. I could go on, but you get the idea. DO NOT DO THIS. If I catch you doing this stupid shit in your writing, you and I are going to have words, then I will give you something that will result in you getting to experience firsthand how sutures are properly done.

Questions about medical issues with your writing? Leave them in the comments below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. (THESE MUST APPLY TO FICTIONAL SITUATIONS ONLY. I AM NOT YOUR DOCTOR, NOR A SUBSTITUTE FOR ONE.)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

What day is it?

Ha. Oops. Totally didn't realize that Friday had come and gone. Guess that's the advantage of vacation!

It does remind me of something that's been bothering me lately, though. Keeping promises. Being on time. I've had at least three different instances recently in the publishing world where people have just plain forgotten that they were supposed to do something and left me hanging.

I mean, I get being busy and distracted (heck, I'm writing my blog post two days late), but these people forgot for MONTHS. That's no way to run a business or your life.

I'm a very punctual person and it pisses me off when people run late. It REALLY bugs me when I run late. But when people just blindly forget an obligation for months at a time? That's not just being late, that's being disrespectful and hurtful.

So, in short, from the person who is a little late with this post, try to respect others and be on time. And if you have business obligations, keep a freaking to do list of things that need doing so you don't leave poor people like me hanging.

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