Authors Answer New Member Decision Soon

I’ve received some good emails from a few people about joining the Authors Answer team. I have to say to those people that you’ve made it incredibly difficult for me to decide! Why must you make my life so difficult? No, I’m kidding.

I’m thrilled with the quality of the authors who applied, and I’ll be making my announcement after I’ve notified them all of my decision.

This makes me excited about the continuation of Authors Answer, as we have some great members already.  I want to thank all of you who contribute every month. You’ve been absolutely marvelous. And thank you to everyone who applied. I hope everyone will be happy with the choice I’ve made.

And of course, thank you very much to Amy Morris-Jones for being a great part of the team for the past seven months.

Disney or Original Fairy Tales?

For those of you who have read the original fairy tales that we all know in Disney form, I have a couple questions. I haven’t read any of them, so I’m interested in your impressions.

Which one was the most disturbing?

Which one was the most surprising?

Do you prefer the originals or the Disneyfied versions?

I would like to read them sometime when I have time. Also, are they short?

Authors Answer Looking for New Member

We have had our first retirement from Authors Answer today. I want to thank Amy Morris-Jones for her participation and lots of great answers.

What this means is that now we have an opening.  Just one opening. If you’re interested, please go to the About page and send me an email through the form there. I’d like to say that the first person to send me an email will be the new member, but I’ll make this a competition. So, if you’re really interested, tell me briefly why you want to join Authors Answers in your email. Also mention what you write, published or unpublished. But you only have about 24 hours, 36 at most. I’ll make the decision in about 36 hours and contact the winner.

If you are the successful applicant, I will ask you to write a brief bio and send you June’s questions. If you can get them answered soon, you will be included in the June Authors Answer.

So, is this something you’d like to do? Then let me know!

Creationist Discovered 60 Million Year Old Fish Fossils

This comes straight from my home province of Alberta in Canada. It probably has the highest number of Creationists in Canada, as it’s the most conservative province, at least religiously.

A Creationist from Calgary was digging in a basement when he found what is probably a completely new species of fish dating back to 60 million years ago. This is a problem. According to him, they’re only 4,500 years old. How does he know? Noah’s flood.  He’s sure they were deposited there by the flood. This guy actually helped build the Big Valley Creation Science Museum.  Creation Science. Something that contains not one bit of science.

He’s also interested in having Alberta schools teach Creationism. He hasn’t directly asked the government, though. I have a problem with that. Creationism is religion. Public schools are secular. If anyone thinks that Creationism should be taught in science classes as an alternative to evolution, they are completely wrong about what science is. I would have a big issue if a science or biology teacher started teaching Creationism in class.

But back to this discovery. This dates back to 60 million years ago, which is extremely significant. This was only a few million years after the K-T mass extinction, which wiped out non-avian dinosaurs and most other species. These fish lived in a time when life was recovering from the devastation of the extinction and asteroid impact. We know it’s this old because of several methods of dating, which all agree with each other (fossil record, palynostratigraphic, and magnetostratigraphic).

It’s not 4,500 years old. At that time, Mesopotamia and Egypt both had civilisations uninterrupted by a giant flood.  It didn’t happen. So, how can a great flood wipe out everything but a small group of humans and the animals of the Ark, yet the civilisations continued on without even acknowledging this flood? Sounds fishy.  Oh yeah, Egypt started building pyramids around that time. He says that he has come to “accept the fact that we all have different opinions.” Too bad evolution and science are not opinions. They don’t care what people believe. They just are.

Choose My Best Instagram Photos – Round 1, Group 4

Are you ready for the next photos? This is group four.  It’s interesting looking at the voting results. There are some I expected to do well, while others I didn’t expect to be voted so highly. For each group, I’ll be moving at least 2 on to the next round, but sometimes up to 5.

The rules are simple. I post 10 of my Instagram photos every 2 or 3 days, and you get to vote on your favourites. It’s multiple choice, so please vote for 2 to 4 photos (3 is ideal). Leave a comment saying why you voted the way you did.

So, here are the group 4 pictures:

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Sunny and very warm now!

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Cheeseburger with Swiss cheese at Kua'Aina

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Dark clouds

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Hungry?

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

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Down to the platform

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Schedule board at Futamatagawa station

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Shonandai high rise apartments

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Curvy canopy

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2 wet balls reflected in the rain

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You know it's June when hydrangea start to bloom

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Please vote for your favourites!

Authors Answer 30 – The Validity of Fanfiction

Anyone read Fifty Shades of Grey? That bestselling novel was originally a Twilight fanfiction. It’s been overwhelmingly considered a terrible book with bad writing and horrible editing. Incredible that it became a movie. Does this make fanfiction a valid form of literature? Well, this week’s question comes from OpheliaMorse.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 30: What do you think of fan fiction as a writing medium? Do you think it has credibility despite the subject matter?

H. Anthe Davis

I think fan fiction has an emotional credibility, if nothing else.  Look, I really like fan fiction — I’m the one from a previous answer who said that’s what they wanted out of writing.  Some can be extremely inventive, or emotionally resonant, or tie things up better than the author did; others can be ham-handed self-insertion or plot-less sex.  All of that is fine, in my opinion.  They all show engagement with the source material and a desire to be part of it, and can be a great way for a fan-writer to hone their skills before jumping off to their own project (or for blowing off steam in between their own projects).  I never wrote fanfic myself — I was acutely uncomfortable with the thought of not doing others’ characters justice — but I’ve had years where I read a ton of it because I wanted more of a world and the original author(s) just hadn’t provided enough to sate me.  With the Kindle Worlds thing Amazon is doing, maybe fan fiction will be able to step up into legitimacy.

Elizabeth Rhodes

I have mixed feelings about fanfiction.  On one hand, a major aspect of writing fiction is the creation of a setting and characters that make sense and go well together.  A fanfiction writer has that part of the job done for them.  On the other hand, it might be just as difficult fitting your own story and ideas into a fictional universe that isn’t yours, and not change that universe into something of your own creation.  When done well, fanfiction can be a skill I respect.  But I’ve also seen plenty of fanfiction that butchers the author’s original stories for the sake of wish fulfillment.

Amy Morris-Jones

I think fanfiction can be a great jumping off point for writers. It provides writers with a ready-made set of characters and situations that the author can then extrapolate from. However, I don’t like the idea of publishing fanfiction without the permission from the original author. It’s not fair for a writer to financially gain from someone else’s idea. It’s at that point in the process where the writer needs to move beyond those characters and create ones of his/her own. A writer who can write good fanfiction can also write good original fiction.

Caren Rich

I think fan fiction is fun and it allows the reader to continue the story of characters they have enjoyed.  I don’t know if it actually has commercial credibility. But, I’ve never read any either.

Jean Davis

Fan fiction can be a great exercise for those starting to write or experimenting with different aspects of writing. When I first starting taking writing seriously, I dabbled with fan fiction to figure out how to make readers feel, to find what point of view worked best for me, to learn to describe settings and objects in a way that created a visual image, and how to create a beginning, middle and satisfying end.

Playing with someone else’s world and characters creates a level of freedom that allows the writer to focus on other things. Some of the hard work is done for you. You have world rules to work with, a setting, you already know the characters, their goals and weaknesses. All you need to do is figure out a storyline that plays, at least to some degree, into what already exists and start writing. It’s also a great tool because you have a readership who knows the world and the characters and if you get something wrong, they will tell you. There’s a level of accountability to get the details right and describe things correctly.

D. T. Nova

I think fan fiction is one of the reasons that there are more writers now than ever before; it’s a good way to ease into writing, since it involves some of the same processes as original writing but with less work required because the characters and worldbuilding already exist.

Because it involves a lower level of creativity than original writing I would say that it has somewhat less credibility, but it has some and there are published authors who got their start with fanfic. (However, taking a fanfic and trying to pass it off as an original story just by changing all the names is not something I have a very opinion of.)

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Fan fiction has always gotten kind of a bad rap. It’s considered to be “lazy” writing, because you’re taking the world and characters that someone else worked hard to create, and plopping them down into your own plot. It’s not hard to agree with the poor assessments sometimes, because a lot of the fan fiction that can be found out there is poorly-written drivel that only came to light from a fanboy/girl’s desire to insert his/herself into one of their favorite tales.

But that’s not all fan fiction is about. Fan fiction is about showing your love for another’s writing. It’s about having fun and trying to honor that writing, and maybe even creating something new as a result of it. Think of all the movie remakes and reboots that are out there. Are they not, at their core, fan fiction? And sure, some of them might make you cringe a little, but some of them are absolutely amazing. Is “The Avengers” not a form of fan fiction, created through a re-telling of a pre-existing comic? You’re damn right it is.

I’ll always have a special place in my heart for fan fiction, because the “genre” is how I really got into writing in the first place, and while it’s often scorned in the “professional” community, I think fan fiction definitely has it’s place. At its least, fan fiction is an opportunity to more easily practice your writing. At its best, fan fiction can turn into a worldwide phenomenon that brings something old and brilliant back out into the light.

S. R. Carrillo

Oh, yeah! Fanfic all day! Of course, as with any form of art, some are better than others. I’ve read fanfics written better than some international bestsellers. Just because something is written and predicated off another world doesn’t mean it should be dismissed as not being credible. Many great writers would’ve never found their way to original fiction without the gateway drug that is a good fanfic.

Paul B. Spence

I don’t feel that fan fiction has any place being published in any form; that includes the internet. I see fan fiction as a violation of copyright, which is backed up by copyright law. Fan fiction is, at its core, a derivative work. Therefore, it cannot be done without the express consent of the author, and if it is done, it is owned wholly by the author of the original work. Nobody can tell you that you can’t write it for yourself, but the moment you put it out there for anyone else to see  — whether you sell it or not — you’re breaking the law.

That said, I don’t feel there’s anything wrong with someone practicing their writing by writing things that are based on the works of someone else, but if you want to be taken seriously as an author, write something original.

Jay Dee Archer

I don’t have a problem with fanfiction in general. It’s a great way to practice writing without having to develop the world and characters.  Just focus on the writing and making a story. It also shows appreciation for a story.

However, there are some problems. Some authors don’t appreciate fanfiction, especially if it’s used for profit. It is an infringement on the author’s copyright. And what happens if someone believes that the unauthorised fanfic is part of the storyline? I could see the original author writing a new novel in the series that completely contradicts an existing fanfic, causing fans to question the original author.  Okay, so that’s probably unlikely, but you never know.

So, fanfiction is fine if it isn’t for money, and it’s not against the author’s wishes.

How about you?

Do you enjoy fanfiction? Do you think it’s a credible form of writing? Let us know in the comments below.

Expanding Knowledge One Post at a Time

If you go to my Knowledge page, you’ll notice there are three series there.  In particular, I’d like you to check out Encyclopedia. I’m going to be changing this a bit.

Instead of calling it Encyclopedia Entries, I’m going to make separate pages for different topics. They’ll still be under the Encyclopedia heading, but have their own pages. I’ll be continuing with the Moon series, but place it under the Astronomy heading.  I’ll also be adding a heading for Geography, and I’m considering doing one for Palaeontology, focusing on dinosaurs, then other prehistoric animals.  And the great thing is, I’ll be doing all of them in alphabetic order. No choosing favourites, just going through them all in order.

The Moon series will still have basic information about each moon, an image, and five interesting facts.

The Geography series will go through every country in the world with a lot of facts. Mostly statistics, including extremes, major city populations, and other facts. I’ll also have images for the flag, as well as public domain images or those available through Creative Commons for cities and major landmarks.  After doing countries, I’ll do provinces, states, prefectures, etc.

The Palaeontology series will start with dinosaurs, which was a big passion of mine when I was a kid. I’ll discuss where they’re from, when they lived, their size, all the scientific classification, and an image, if available.

What are you interested in seeing? Anything above interest you, or is there something else you’d like to see?

Are You Multilingual?

I studied French from grade 4 until grade 11 in school.  I challenged the grade 12 French test in grade 11 and passed without studying.  So basically, I have credit for nine years of French education.  That was twenty years ago.

In university, I studied Japanese for one semester and learned how to read and write hiragana and katakana. I had some basic grammar, as well. That was in 1997.  In 2005, I moved to Japan, started studying Japanese, and passed the 3-kyuu Japanese Language Proficiency Test in 2008. I can speak Japanese at a survival level, but not great. Unfortunately, I’ve been spending most of my time speaking English, something I regret.

So, I’m fluent in English, can understand about 30-50% of what I read in French (forget about speaking), and can understand the topics of conversations in Japanese, and I can usually understand most of what is being said at work in Japanese.

My daughter speaks mostly Japanese, though understands English. She will be fully bilingual, plus she’ll be learning French in school in Canada.

How about you? Can you speak more than one language? Are you monolingual, bilingual, trilingual, or a polyglot? Or just fluent in one language with some ability in others? Let me know in the comments below.

Who Do I See?

I’m on the train right now. It’s only a short ride. But who do I see?

A woman standing across from me looking at her iPhone with a Minnie Mouse cover. Two young girls about 6 and 8 years old are standing and wearing hats. A man is sitting and doing some kind of number puzzle I’ve never seen before. Next to him is a woman doing sudoku. There’s a man standing without holding onto anything while reading a book. Two men sitting next to each other are complete opposites, one is rather large and balding, the other is really small and has a full head of hair. A woman is standing nearby with a shirt that says “Manhattan Brooklyn New York.” The mother of the children I mentioned before is wearing a yellow Minnie Mouse t-shirt.

Any one of these people could have a fascinating story to tell. I wonder about each one.

Do you ever watch people and try to guess who they are or what they do?

Book Review – Julius Caesar

juliuscaesarJulius Caesar

Author: William Shakespeare

Series: None

Genre: Classics, Plays

Published 1599

Review Copy: Paperback bought new

Overall Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

 

Goodreads Description (another edition)

The Tragedie of Julius Caesar dates from around 1599, and was first published by Heminge and Condell as the sixth play in the Tragedies section of their First Folio of 1623. The Folio text is thus the only authoritative text of the play and has been the basis of all later editions. Julius Caesar is also a particularly clean text with few obvious errors and comparatively few points where conjectural readings are called for. There is ample evidence of thematic ambiguity in the play, an ambiguity which the play’s editorial and theatrical history has sought to smooth over. The editorial resolution of ambiguities has closed off certain routes of interpretation, directions that the original text offers its readers and performers. This new edition presents the play in the form in which it appeared in the First Folio, restoring, for example, the Folio’s punctuation and lineation and revealing through these rhetorical emphases and nuances of characterization lost by later editorial regularization. Julius Caesar is a profoundly political play easily made to reflect the political dilemmas of the society in which it is produced. Not only is it amenable to such appropriation by virtue of its political themes but also because of its essential enigmatic nature. The editorial tradition of removing these complications has the effect of modifying and distorting the play. This edition returns the original form of the play to circulation and thereby reopens the avenues of interpretation that were originally offered by Julius Caesar.

Review

Julius Caesar, one of William Shakespeare’s plays featuring a historical figure, was an interesting look at the death of Caesar at the hands of his friend Marcus Brutus. Looking at this like it’s a novel doesn’t really work, of course.  It’s a play, and was written to be dramatic.  The story within this book was rather brief and simple. Not at all complex. It’s a story of tragedy, and it just seems like everything goes wrong. But that’s the way of Shakespeare’s tragedies.

The edition I read has an extensive section on William Shakespeare, the source of the story (Plutarch), and commentaries by people involved in various productions of the play. Those are just extras that don’t factor into my review.

The story is very simple, as I said. It’s about the downfall of Julius Caesar at the hands of Marcus Brutus and his conspirators. On Caesar’s side is Marcus Antonius, who delivers a very famous speech. It’s full of drama, that’s certain. It’s not a particularly well-written story, as it’s overly dramatic, and sometimes reads as if there are no real emotions. Take Julius Caesar’s death, for example. I found it had very little impact on me. Sure, Caesar gives the very famous line, “Et tu, Brutè?” But his death was incredibly early in the play. It’s really not so much about Caesar, but more about his killers and those who come after him, such as Mark Antony. Surprisingly, Caesar isn’t in this play very much. We don’t really get to know him well. We get to know Brutus and Antony, though. The entire story goes like this (spoiler warning!): Brutus loves, but hates Julius Caesar. He decides to kill him because he doesn’t like the way he’s become. Caesar dies. Mark Antony makes a big speech, vows revenge. Big battle, and Brutus’ entire side dies. The end.

The characters are very unlikeable, as they usually are in Shakespeare’s tragedies. Mark Antony is maybe the most likeable character, though. Brutus is a hypocrite, loving Caesar, yet wanting him to die. Caesar was portrayed as a cold leader. Antony was the most passionate, and could be considered a protagonist. But I just couldn’t sympathise with anyone.

The setting was in Rome, of course. As it is a play, there’s little in the way of descriptions of the setting. You just have to imagine ancient Rome.

It’s difficult to review a play in book form, especially when the language is from the late 16th century. It’s quite different than modern English, though Shakespeare’s English is considered early modern English. However, it’s not easy to read because of the differences in the language. This edition has a lot of footnotes on each page, which is extremely helpful. It’s recommended that you read it with footnotes, or else you may completely miss the meaning of many words.

Overall, I would give this 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. It’s not my favourite play of Shakespeare’s, but it was enjoyable. I would recommend it to anyone who loves history (however inaccurate it may be) and classic plays. It’s also great for those who enjoy language.