Creative Attribution

Ballet Dancers by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Image courtesy of the Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Foundation
Painting entitled: Ballet Dancers
Shared under the Creative Commons attribution

Creative Attribution. Giving credit where credit is due. You may notice, I always post where I get my pictures for my blog, even if it is from the Internet Hive Mind or Facebook posts. Creative attribution is important, not only because it is the (copyright) law, but by acknowledging the hard work of others you encourage them to continue and others to attempt.

Copyright is important. Economic and sociological studies have shown that in countries where people have their property protected from confiscation, physical or intellectual property, they are more likely to create beyond bare needs. If people don’t realize any gain from the hard work of creation, planting crops or developing software for example, they aren’t going to continue doing it. They are going to pour effort into those items where they or their family has gain, or at least meets the necessities.

At the end of the day, the priorities for people are food and shelter. If their work does not gain these items, and they have no other means of gaining them, they will switch work … or die.

A no-brainer decision.

If they have food and shelter, and leftover time beyond that, they may invest it in creative activities which don’t put food on the table. But if they have a choice between creative activities with different levels of profit, so they can get luxury items like clothing, Internet, and transportation, they will choose toward the greatest profit and personal enjoyment. For some people, like painters, the personal enjoyment comes from the activity.

By always acknowledging the personal efforts of people, and following the copyright levels they choose, you are supporting them … and they will create more cool stuff. Modern life allows a lot of free time, granting people the ability to post stuff online just to give away. Wikipedia is just one of the phenomena related to modern life’s free time.

In closing, I would like to mention posting the Creative Attribution is just good manners. Like writing a thank you note. Someone took the effort to make something you can use for free. Putting their name to it is a big thank you shout out.

Needless to say, this subject is important to me … as an painter, calligrapher, editor, writer, and embroiderer. I do a lot of free stuff I share; I also do a lot of stuff just to keep a roof over my head. Thank you for recognizing my work, for buying those things I do sell, and for sharing what I give away for free. I appreciate it. Without you, I would be doing my arts a lot less.

Editing Rant: Outline

Model Of Twisted Dna Chain Stock Photo

Image Courtesy of cuteimage at

Why Outline?

On the days when your muse takes a day off, you can still keep going. Words on paper every day is how a book gets completed. You don’t need a detailed outline, just a line or two per chapter to do the trick. I am hoping to use my outline to get through my post-convention slump. 

In addition outlining helps with:

  1. Refining the concept – Sometimes the story is not about what you think it is about. Once you know what the important conflict is, keeping focused on the plot pacing is easier.
  2. Pacing – Essential for genres where you need to provide clues and red herrings, such as mysteries. You don’t want to give them up all at once or hold them back too long. Useful everywhere – quests (journey stages), relationship development (love at first sight still needs tension), and emotional changes (when does the first change occur, when the backslide, and the final new emotional habit develop?).
  3. Timeline pressure – Ticking clock, need to know when everything happens, and picking up the pace as the deadline approaches.
  4. Large casts – Don’t let people just disappear and keep the pivotal characters impact consistent throughout the manuscript.

And from the editing standpoint if you are under contract:

  1. Length – Get a feel for how long the book is. Over time you will know how many words are in a chapter. Do you need to add chapters to reach your word count or do you need to go on a path of destruction? An outline can help indicate which sub-plots you can remove.
  2. Synopsis – Hate synopsis? Providing one to your content editor will help them know what direction you are going.  Use the outline to figure out what is specific to the largest plot and present that.
  3. Time left to write – So that contract. It has a deadline. Just how far are you into writing that book? Your editor needs to know – YESTERDAY – if you are falling behind. … And if you are not under contract because you are a new writer, I recommend setting a personal goal to practice meeting deadlines. Many of the editors for hire have narrow windows for taking on new business; you are going to want to fit into one. (Yep, there is the editing rant as promised. Deadline, folks!!!)
  4. Pantser editing – After finishing your story, go back and outline it to help you refine how you need to edit your story. Which chapters might need moving? Where does the pacing slump? Is any chapter just an info/history dump and needs to be redistributed so it is not disruptive?

An outline is the scaffolding, the building blocks, the DNA of your story. What other things do you think an outline will help you with?

Other Cool Blogs: Writing Your Bio

Bio: Iz Spezial – Luv Mee!

So you need a bio. Could be because you are appearing in a con, publishing a short story in anthology, or actually got your novel accepted somewhere. Maybe you are just setting up your Facebook page, a blog, or website. Could be you have a speaking engagement, displaying some art, or signing up for a dating service.

Anyway, you need to create a short biological sketch. One of the toughest things in the world. You can write 100,000 words of fiction, but writing 100 words of “I done good and is spezial” is tough.

Never fear, 
Luna Lindsey wrote a great blog on the topic, “Tackling the Dreaded Bio” for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America website. The website has several great blogs including focusing on the “Craft of Writing” and the “Business of Writing”.

Hop on over to to find out all about writing a bio.

Other Cool Blogs: Magical Words February 17, 2016

A Cup Of Coffee On Writers Desk Stock Photo photo by Praisaeng


This week’s other cool blogs postings from Magical Words returns to the incredible Tamsin Silver. (see other blog from her I commented on HERE)

This weeks blog is 
Hump-Day Help: Refill/Restore/Replenish. 

Very timely for me in the middle of tax season. I get an hour … yes one hour … of personal computer time per day right now. The other waking hours are one hour to get ready for work and the hour once home to pack for the next days work (lunch, layout clothes, shower, and the like) and an hour to wind down – not on the computer because that will not wind me down. On the weekends I get an extra hour each day, one for groceries and one for clothes. That is pretty much my life right now outside of work. Yes, I am working seven days a week and have been since January second.

Oh, and that one hour of computer time is devoted to keeping this blog running, keeping in touch with friends, dealing with bills, and the myriad of other obligations.

Any of it writing or creativity? Not really. And I am tired. Core-center through-and-through tired.

Ms. Silver hits it spot on. Take care of yourselves. It is necessary – as a writer, as an artist, as a human. Read the Magical Words blog – again the link is 
here. And go rest, refill, restore and replenish.

(And to all of you out there holding down two jobs AND raising kids – you people are amazing!)

WRITER’S & READING EXERCISE: Do one creative thing. Something that makes you smile with accomplishment once you are done.

(Addition from 2/25/2015 – 
Ms. Liana Brooks has an excellent addition to this discussion at

I love Maslow’s pyramid of needs and this makes sooo much sense for writer’s block.)