“No-one, and nothing, can be great unless it costs you something” – Viola Davis

A Rather Writer-ly Post

A bit on the side: I came across an interesting set of definitions at Daily Writing Tips today, for ‘tone’, ‘mood’, ‘voice’ and ‘Author attitude’. Quite fascinating

But what I wanted to talk about today is ‘Vernor’s Law’

‘Vernor’ is Vernor Vinge, and his law goes something like this: (I printed it and stuck it on the wall above my desk)

“All scenes need to accomplish at least 2 of 3 things. 1 – Provide background information. 2 – Develop the characters. 3 – Advance the plot”

This works, I think, for any form of art that has ‘scenes’ in it; writing, graphic novels, (because they’re an art form all of themselves) movies, stage plays, and perhaps even music. (If there are any composers passing by I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter)

Of all the odds and sods of tips for writers I’ve come across in my time, this seems to encompass them all … which makes it rather awesome indeed!

And this  is the post from Magical Words where I found it;


Finally, a few of my on-line women friends seem to be going through a bit of a meatgrinder lately. So this is for all of us.

I’m not a great fan of ‘should’. More often than not it’s laden with all sorts of expectations, blaming, and guilt, etc, but in this instance another definition was called for. More like a Woman’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.



A woman should have one old love she can imagine going back to, and one to remind her how far she’s come…

A woman should have enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own even if she never needs or wants to…

A woman should have something perfect to wear if the employer or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour…

A woman should have a youth she’s content to leave behind, a past juicy enough that she’s looking forward to retelling it in her old age…

A woman should have a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra. One friend who always makes her laugh, and one who lets her cry…

A woman should have a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family… eight matching plates, wineglasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal that will make her guests feel honoured..

A woman should have a feeling of control over her destiny…

A woman should know how to fall in love without losing herself…

A woman should know how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without ruining the relationship… when to try harder, and when to walk away…

A woman should know that she can’t change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents… that her childhood may not have been perfect, but its over…

A woman should know what she would and wouldn’t do for love or more…

A woman should know how to live alone, even if she doesn’t like it…

A woman should know whom she can trust and whom she can’t, and why she shouldn’t take it personally … where to go, be it to her best friends kitchen table or a charming inn in the woods, when her soul needs soothing..

A woman should know what she can and can’t accomplish in a day, a month, and a year…

Please feel free to add to this list and share it around.


“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face”Eleanor Roosevelt



What would you think if I told you that a science fiction movie that had one set, was mostly dialogue, had no special effects, was one of the best sci-fi movies I’ve ever seen?

And believe me I’ve seen a whole lot of SF movies; from the really, really bad (‘Battlefield Earth’) to the sublime (‘Blade Runner’, everything ‘Star Trek’-y, ‘Alien’-y, and ‘Harry Potter’-y), from the earliest (‘Metropolis’ – 1927 and ‘Things to Come’ – 1936) to the offerings of the last few years (‘2012’, ‘Inception’, ‘District 9’, ‘Avatar’)

*I’ve only named a few in each category. If I put in all my favourites, we’d all be here for at least another 24 hours*

I’m also a special effects junkie, it’s my drug of choice, after tea that is. I’ll watch almost anything if the effects are good enough. It’s the science that fascinates me. “Just how did they do that?” is a question that I have to know the answer to, and I’ve sat through some absolute junk as research.

But this movie was different. I’m not going to tell you anything more than what I already have in case you want to watch it for yourself.

My point is this. The man who wrote it, Jerome Bixby, crafted something wondrous and challenging using dialogue and not much else. (Of course dialogue alone lacks a certain something without a superb cast deliver it)

Words created the atmosphere, words created the special effects, words created the central conundrum, the tension, and the final unanswered question.

If we have the courage to name what we do, we call ourselves writers. We require courage to send our work out into the world to be published, then courage demands that we sit down at our computers, (of whatever manifestation) our typewriters, or our notebooks (the paper kind) and write some more.

When we run out of courage there are occasions when a shaft of light penetrates our slough of despond and something occurs that pulls our hands back in concert with our minds. It could be anything, even a movie we never expected.

The movie is The ‘Man from Earth’

“I love vampire stories. That’s why I did the movie. Women especially were taken with that movie-even more so when it came out on video” Catherine Deneuve

(Wanna bet she’s talking about ‘The Hunger’?)