All posts for Uncategorized / General in November 2017


On The Burning Of Two Bridges

Self-pity is no way to ask for help.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017-11-30 13:00:00 No comments


One of the long-standing self-destructive psychological tendencies I had to work hard to rid myself of was this habit of presenting myself to certain people as pitiable. The thinking behind this, such as it was, was that if I did so to the "right person", said person would take pity on me and "save" me.

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Tags: psychology relationships

You Feel That Feeling?

On choosing an emotional resonance for a story.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017-11-29 13:00:00 No comments


It occurred to me again just recently that much of the time, when I'm putting together a story, what matters most to me is how the ending resonates emotionally with the audience. When you're done, what feeling does it leave you with? The storyline, the plot, is just a way to get to that feeling, and so any number of possible storylines that could bring us to that feeling are valid considerations.

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Tags: storytelling writers writing

Moving Parts

Reverse engineering shouldn't be a prerequisite to working with technology.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017-11-25 13:00:00 No comments


I had an idiotic experience with this blog the other day. The SSL certificate attached to a certain subdomain on the blog expired, and didn't automatically renew. Getting it renewed turned into a ridiculous rigmarole of circular looking-things-up, back-and-forthing with my web host (they're very good, by the way), and hair-pulling. I finally got things unsnarled, but I see now why some people give up on IT or software development and go into farming.

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Tags: technology

The Nose On Your Face (And Everyone Else's)

On training yourself to see the obvious things.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017-11-24 22:00:00 No comments


Remove the legend to become one — Remains of the Day

Nowadays, companies hang flat screen TVs hanging on the walls, all them running 24/7 to display a variety of charts. Most everyone ignores them. The spirit is right, to be transparent all the time, but the understanding of human nature is not. We ignore things that are shown to us all the time. However, if once a month, a huge packet of charts dropped on your desk, with a cover letter summarizing the results, and if the CEO and your peers received the same package the same day, and that piece of work included charts on how your part of the business was running, you damn well paid attention, like any person turning to the index of a book on their company to see if they were mentioned. Ritual matters.

Emphases mine. The article in question is about how the Visual Display Of Quantitative Information, as per Tufte's work of the same name, can be made far more compelling than the usual PowerPoint puke. It's windy, but a good read, although the part I chomped out and highlighted stood out most for me on its own merits.

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Tags: Zen belief spirituality

Thank You

Reasons to be grateful.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017-11-24 00:00:00 No comments


Acknowledgments are in order today. Aside from the usual friends-and-family gratitude — everyone in question there has already been thanked and appreciated directly — here's a few giving of thanks for things I talk about on this blog.

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Tags: real life

The 'I' In Experiment

All art is experimental. Let's not shy away from that.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017-11-22 00:00:00 No comments


Sez Steve:

Remember my goal to write at least 24K words, probably 30K, this month? Yeah, still having issues with trying to force myself. ...

Why was I still feeling like I was forcing myself? I didn’t have to go very deep to figure that out.

I felt like I had to do everything right. Or that I had to get it perfect the first time. I had the space, but was trying to get it right the first time.

That’s when I had another realization, fueled by my writing, my observations, and my agile practices. All writing is an experiment.

We’d like to think writing is some kind of precise creation. Perhaps its that we think of it physically, or that we have a perfect idea of what we’re writing in our head. But it’s not, it never is.

John Cage: "What is the nature of an experimental action? It is simply an action the outcome of which is not foreseen." To which I would add, if we are honest, we know full well the outcomes of any action, even the ones with which we believe to be most intimately familiar and believe to be tediously predictable, are not foreseen. Not wholly; not as we tell ourselves they are.

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Tags: creativity creators experimentation writers writing

Just Us

On 'Justice League' itself. Beware spoilers.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017-11-19 13:00:00 No comments


The other day, I talked about how what Justice League did and didn't do (mostly didn't) was a green light for me to do something with the ideas that went unused. Today, I'm talking about Justice League itself, so beware spoilers.

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Tags: Justice League comics movies storytelling

Those One-And-Done-Isms

More on why I'm a never-the-same-thing-twice writer (and why others might not be).

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017-11-18 00:00:00 No comments


A line worth commenting on from Steve:

My friend Serdar, a consummate experimenter, never even writes in the same setting, to keep himself going. I never quite got why he might want to do that (which is not my cup of tea), until realized writing is an experiment. The more you have, the more that push you, the more you grow.

Me, I like to play in the same settings, but I do explore elsewhere. That’s how you keep growing.

There's much more to this discussion, but I want to start with that line in this post and then leap back later to tackle the other things mentioned.

I don't know that my choice to not do the same thing twice if I can possibly help it was something I arrived at consciously. It was a habit I found myself in, and I think it was reinforced in a few stages.

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Tags: creativity sequels writers writing

Half A League Onward

My 'Justice League' theory is bust-ice league. But that's a good thing!

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017-11-17 13:00:00 No comments


I caught Justice League on opening night. No spoilers, so read on without fear. In fact, I'm not even going to review the movie directly, but instead talk about how the way it fulfilled (or did not fulfill) my expectations about it amounted to a creative win/win for me.

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Tags: Justice League comics movies

Endtable Pile, Continued

More notes on getting caught up with the state of SF&F.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017-11-12 13:00:00 No comments


Some more thoughts on my SF&F reading problem, as it were.

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Tags: reading science fiction

The Endtable Pile

Some of my SF reading list for 2018.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017-11-11 15:00:00 No comments


Last weekend I was at my parents' place up in New Jersey, and I dropped a bundle of money on books at the Strand — not once, but twice — as part of my mission to do some more SF/fantasy-oriented reading in the coming year. Here is a tentative list of what I plan to tackle in '18:

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Tags: reading science fiction

Turn That Damned Thing Off

On the autohypnosis of the boob tube.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017-11-09 13:00:00 No comments


Of all the things I wasn't fully prepared for when I left home, one of the most subtle and underappreciated turned out to be how other people (ab)used TV in their daily lives.

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Tags: media psychology television

Validation Is A Drug

And one of the most intoxicating for do-it-yourselfer creators.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017-11-07 13:00:00 No comments


May | 2013 | Doing In The Wizard

... I’ve noticed a trend in bad webcomics: they tend to also be the first webcomic the author has ever put out. Because everyone sucks at first. Doesn’t matter if it’s writing or art or zero-gravity topiary, if it’s your first time doing it you’re going to vomit out an amateurish mess. That’s fine. It will be a stepping stone to something better. Unless you then put it out on the Internet, where it somehow attracts a following. People flock to your forums to sing you praises, they buy your crappy home mode merchandise. Maybe you even start making enough money to live off full time. And suddenly, there’s no reason to get better. You’re already on top. And what should be a stepping stone turns into the end point of your progress as a creator.

Emphasis mine.

First off: The attached post is a rather virulent attack on The Kingkiller Chronicles, so if you're a fan of the work in question you may be irked by that. I am not a fan of the books myself (read the first one, wasn't impressed with it), although I think the tone of the essay in question is more vitrolic than it needs to be. But I thought the part chomped out above is worth talking about entirely apart from the attack on Rothfuss's work. Anyway:

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Tags: creativity do-it-yourself psychology validation

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