jenniferkoliver: (SPN | Castiel)
Jennifer K. Oliver ([personal profile] jenniferkoliver) wrote2012-12-20 12:38 pm

Duotrope update, dictionary game, Lovecraft antho, and links

For anyone who uses Duotrope and hasn't seen this, as of January 1st 2013 you will need to subscribe to use the full service. This means you won't have access to the search function or all details of individual market listings. It's $5 per month or $50 per year, and there will also be gift certificate options. If you have markets bookmarked on the site and you don't want to subscribe, now would be a good time to export and save your listings, as they will only be openly available for the rest of December.

This week was my writing group's holiday party that we do every year. There were minced pies and cupcakes, popcorn and drink, festive Dada and write/draw silliness! Two of our members brought along the Dictionary Game, and since it was so much fun, I thought I'd share the rules here. It's very much like the British TV show Call My Bluff. (I'm stealing most of this from Muriel Higgins, who wrote out the rules for Storyslingers.)

DICTIONARY: The aim of the game is to deceive others about the meaning of a strange word while resisting their efforts to deceive you. You will need a dictionary and non-distinctive scrap(s) of paper.

TO PLAY: One player, the Dictionary Holder, chooses an obscure word unfamiliar to all. Example: "Pleymon".

In secret, each player then has to concoct a definition of the word and write it down. The Dictionary Holder writes the real definition, then collects all the definitions in a hat/pot. The Dictionary Holder then reads out all the definitions in a random order:

PLEYMON: a pale yellow star in the constellation Scorpio; the neck part of a suit of armour; a musical instrument from the Pyrenees; the fatty deposit in the second stomach of a cow; an ancestor of the porcupine; a gorge formed by melt water from a glacier.

Then players are to guess which one is the real definition. Bear in mind, thinking aloud is opportunity for mild gamesmanship.

Players then cast a vote each and announce it to the Dictionary Holder. You may not vote for yourself. Really wacky answers may get votes for sheer chutzpah.

Finally, the Dictionary Holder announces the correct definition. You score a point for a correct guess. You also score a point for each person who voted for your (false) definition. The Dictionary Holder scores a point for each player who didn't guess the right answer.

Then the dictionary is passed to the next player, who becomes the Dictionary Holder. Rinse and repeat.

(Note: "Pleymon" is a made-up word, so all definitions above are nonsense!)

We ended up playing this in a mix of individuals and small teams, which I think made it funnier as some of the discussions were absurd (and of course, at times quite naughty).

Currently reading New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird, an anthology edited by Paula Guran that features stories inspired by the scribblings of H.P. Lovecraft. So far, it's an excellent collection, some of the stories really spooky, some quirky, some just plain clever. Lovecraft is hit-and-miss for me, but I'm consistently loving these new weird tales and would recommend this to any speculative fiction fan regardless of whether they like Lovecraft or not.

And some links…

Night Bazaar - A group blog for sci-fi, fantasy and horror authors, regularly discussing topics related to the writing life. There's a load of good stuff here—posts on submissions, world-building, POV, action scenes and much more.

How I used Kickstarter to reboot a book series, and my career (and maybe my life?) - Tobias Buckell talks in depth about his experiences with Kickstarter, and the realities of a book project.

Where Is My Mind? by Pixies.

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