6,514 words · 13,497 views · 1,304 · 18
4,322 words · 18,388 views · 1,493 · 27
1,289 words · 4,166 views · 649 · 15
3,720 words · 4,933 views · 410 · 11
14,788 words · 5,300 views · 311 · 9
4,940 words · 10,303 views · 812 · 34
2,633 words · 1,242 views · 242 · 7
7,920 words · 11,602 views · 483 · 20 · sex
27 comments · 204 views
Convert dates to Unix time:
$ perl -e 'use Time::Local; $x = timelocal(0,0,0,1,0,2013); print "$x\n"'
1357016400 [Jan 1 2013, in seconds since 1970]
$ perl -e 'use Time::Local; $x = timelocal(0,0,0,1,0,2014); print "$x\n"'
1388552400 [Jan 1 2014]
Number of people who've written since Jan. 1 2013:
sqlite> select count(distinct(uid)) from story where date_modified > 1357016400;
Number of people who've written since Jan 1 2013 and wrote more than one story:
sqlite> select count(distinct(u)) from (select uid as u, id as id1 from story where date_modified > 1357016400 and exists (select id as id2 from story where uid = u and id2 <> id1));
Number of people who wrote since Jan. 1 2014:
sqlite> select count(distinct(uid)) from story where date_modified > 1388552400;
Number of people who've written since Jan 1 2014 and wrote more than one story:
sqlite> select count(distinct(u)) from (select uid as u, id as id1 from story where date_modified > 1388552400 and exists (select id as id2 from story where uid = u and id2 <> id1));
("date_modified" is the date the last chapter was created, or maybe submitted or approved. It doesn't change when you edit a chapter.)
Fraction of writers who've written more than one story for fimfiction who wrote in 2013 but not 2014:
(8823 - 5947) / 8823 = .326
Also: Will you please agree that SQL is a stupid, stupid language?
SaturdayIf you're in Pittsburgh today...1 comments · 60 views
Location: Jared L. Cohon University Center, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, 412-268-2107. Free parking.
11:00 am – 1:00 pm, YA Writing Workshop: Caroline Carlson will run a writing workshop called “Blueprints for Enchantment: Constructing a magical world for your fantasy novel” [advance registration required; $10 suggested donation] in the Danforth Lounge. [Online registration appears to still be open.]
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm, YA Author Lecture “Keeping it (Un)Real” with Nalo Hopkinson: Free lecture; McConomy Auditorium.3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Book Signing in the Conan Room of the University Center. Books for the signing can be purchased in the CMU bookstore or brought from home. No reservation is needed for the main lecture by Nalo Hopkinson or the book signing. They are free and open to the public.
Caroline Carlson is the author of The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates, a funny and fantastical series of novels for young readers. Her first book, Magic Marks the Spot, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, an American Booksellers Association Best Book for Children, and a Junior Library Guild selection. The Terror of the Southlands was published in 2014, and a third book in the series is forthcoming, all from HarperCollins. Caroline holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Pittsburgh with her husband.
Nalo Hopkinson, born in Jamaica, has lived in Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana and for the past 35 years in Canada. She is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, USA. She is the author of six novels, a short story collection, and a chapbook. (Novels: Brown Girl in the Ring,Midnight Robber, The Salt Roads, The New Moon’s Arms, The Chaos, Sister Mine. Short story collection: Skin Folk. Chapbook: Report From Planet Midnight). She is the editor of fiction anthologies Whispers From the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction, and Mojo: Conjure Stories. She is the co-editor of fiction anthologies So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction(with Uppinder Mehan) and Tesseracts Nine (with Geoff Ryman). Hopkinson’s work has received Honourable Mention in Cuba’s “Casa de las Americas” literary prize. She is a recipient of the Warner Aspect First Novel Award, the Ontario Arts Council Foundation Award for emerging writers, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the Locus Award for Best New Writer, the World Fantasy Award, the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic (twice), the Aurora Award, the Gaylactic Spectrum Award, and the Norton Award. A new short story collection, Falling in Love With Hominids, will be a 2015 release from Tachyon Publications.
24 comments · 230 views
Thanks to you folks' contributions during the Clarion write-a-thon, I won a critique from a professional writer. My choices were Karen Joy Fowler and Delia Sherman, and I chose Karen. She has the opposite of Kurt Vonnegut syndrome: She continues to identify as a fantasy & science fiction author despite not writing much fantasy or science fiction. Also, she's a sweetie.
I think Karen's first famous story was "The Faithful Companion at Forty," in Asimov's 1987, in which Tonto has a mid-life crisis about his role supporting the Lone Ranger. She followed this with a slew of best-selling novels (summarized by Wikipedia):
Sarah Canary (1991) - A mysterious nonsense-speaking woman in 1873 Pacific Northwest.
The War of the Roses (1991)
The Sweetheart Season (1996) - A novel about a female baseball team from 1947 Minnesota.
Sister Noon (2001) - 1890s San Francisco.
The Jane Austen Book Club (2004)
Wit's End (Putnam, 2008) - A young woman visits her godmother, one of America's most successful mystery writers.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (2013)
Earlier, I said,
If I win, I think I’ll make him or her read a pony story.
So... which story should I ask Karen to critique? It should:
- be one of my longer stories, 'cuz they're all really short
- be understandable by someone with no pone pone pone
- not be a simple comedy, because there's not much to say about those
- not be terrible
I'm thinking of:
The Magician and the Detective
Burning Man Brony
The question I keep asking myself are:
- Should I give her one that I think has serious problems (the slipshod pacing of chapters 2 thru 5 of Moments, the boring chapters 2 & 3 of Moving On, the hammer-the-reader-over-the-head-with-lessons in the second half of Burning Man Brony, the flaky POV in Fluttershy's Night Out), to get her opinion on how to fix it?
- Should I give her one that I think has no serious problems, to maximize my chance of getting some extra-pony validation that I've written at least one thing that doesn't suck?
- Should I give her one that I think has some artsy writing, like Moments, Burning Man Brony, or Pony Play?
- Dare I give her Pony Play or Twenty Minutes?
What do you think?
35 comments · 291 views
CORRECTED NOV. 13 AS PER HeirOfNorton's OBSERVATION THAT BOOKSTATS FIGURES INCLUDE JOURNALS, AND INSTEAD USING NIELSEN BOOKSCAN FIGURES:
Total books sold in America in 2013: 2.6 billion.
Total print books sold in America in 2013 and reported to Nielsen's Bookscan Retail & Club Channel: 501.6 million
Fraction of Bookscan sales included in its Retail & Club Channel: 0.8
Fraction of books sold in America reported to Bookscan: 0.75
Total print books sold in America in 2013: 501.6 million / 0.8 / 0.75 = 836 million
Fraction of books sold in 2013 that were e-books: 0.3
Number of e-books sold in 2013: E / (E + 836 million) = 0.3, 0.3E + 0.3*836 million = 1E, E = 250.8 million / 0.7 = 358 million
Total books sold in America in 2013: 836 million + 358 million = 1.19 billion
Total words of fiction sold per year in America: 2.6 billion * 0.6 * 80,000 = 125 trillion words 1.19 billion * 0.454 * 80,000 = 43.2 trillion words
(Most of these figures were surprisingly hard to find. Everybody reports on trends, percent change, and dollars. Nobody cares about number of books sold.)
Total words of fiction read on fimfiction since its beginning:
sqlite> select sum(views * words) from story;
2682702309872 (2.68 trillion)
(This is "story views" times words per story. It's an over-estimate, because about half of readers quit a story on fimfiction after the first chapter. But it's the same kind of overestimate you get from counting books sold instead of books read.)
Words read on fimfiction in the past year: Probably about half of that = 1.34 trillion words
Fraction of those words read in America: 0.8? I'm making that up based on when people read stories, and the fraction of English-language brony conventions that are in America.
Words read on fimfiction in America in the past year: 1.34 trillion * 0.8 = about 1.07 trillion words
1.07 / 66.9 = .025
fimfiction accounts for 2-3% as much reading as do all of the new books sold in America.
That makes ponyfiction more popular than Westerns, and nearly as popular as horror.
All that doesn't take into account people who read old books, though. I understand some people still do that.
Oh, and it doesn't count Mature stories, because my code to read the "Latest Story" pages doesn't see them. (It's a cookie problem.) I hear there are some of those on fimfiction.
(Caveat: Listing all the stories with over 100,000 views, I found Merlos the Mad has a 47,000-word story called "Thunderstruck" that has 8725 views, except for chapter 7, which claims to have 262,000 views. That's an extra 12 billion words reported right there. Hopefully there aren't many database errors like that.)
21 comments · 237 views
By the time Celestia had resolved all the pending petty disputes between neighboring farmers, and some even pettier disputes between great nobles, the sun's rays slanted low into the great hall. There was only one case left, and no way of putting it off any longer.
Celestia sighed. "Bring her in," she called.
The guest, or prisoner, was escorted down the red-and-gold carpet, one very serious-looking guard on each side, eyeing her as if they expected her to bolt for the side door at any moment. Sometimes one's own propaganda caught up with oneself that way. But if the guards were hoping for excitement, the prospects seemed dim. With her head sunk toward the floor so that her white mane fell over one eye, and looking naked (half the ponies in the room were naked, but only she seemed self-conscious of it) without her cape and hat, the bedraggled sky-blue unicorn looked neither great nor powerful. She shuffled to stand in front of the dais and look mournfully up, not quite meeting Celestia's eye.
"So," Celestia said, "I meet the Great and Powerful Trixie at last."
Trixie blushed with shame and looked down again.
"Trixie. We are very cross with you." Celestia only ever used the royal "we" to indicate that she also spoke for Luna. "Do you understand why?"
The magician said, in a small, repentant voice, "Because I am a selfish and arrogant pony."
Celestia's lip curled in a bitter smile. "Then I should be cross with half the ponies in this room. No, Trixie. Try again."
Trixie risked a look up, and a look of worry crept into her face, which was more convincing than the repentance. "Because," she said experimentally, "of the damage that the Ursa did to Ponyville?"
"Closer." Celestia leaned forward in her throne. "Trixie, can you tell me what our rule of Equestria depends on?"
Trixie's legs bent backwards even as she bowed her head forwards, as if her rear half were thinking about bolting and leaving the front to fend for itself. "Power?"
Celestia shook her head. "No, Trixie. Not power." She calmly watched Trixie squirm and waited for an answer.
"That's very flattering of you to say so, but no."
"Ancient mystical rocks?" Trixie guessed with a weak grin.
Celestia shook her head in a disappointed fashion. "No, Trixie. Trust. Our rule depends on trust. I sit here on a throne in Canterlot, and govern counties so far away it takes days for news to travel back and forth. How do I know the ponies in all those far-off places are acting as they should?"
Celestia smiled. "Now you've got it! And, more importantly, why do the ponies in those far-off places obey the commands of a princess most of them have never seen—who might, so far as they know, not exist at all? Why do they not come stomping down to the castle in a mob, and make angry demands, or scheme silently against me in their distant secret places?"
"I'm... supposed to say trust, aren't I?"
Celestia snorted. "You think it's the guards, the army, and my terrible sharp horn. But it isn't, Trixie. It's trust. Trust makes Equestria go round." She stood up off her throne and took one step forward, towering over the much-smaller pony at the bottom of the steps, whose knees were beginning to tremble. "And when you lie to ponies, and you pretend to be something you aren't, it isn't a little thing of no consequence, Trixie. It teaches ponies not to trust. That makes it an attack on the foundations of Equestria. That makes it a threat to our peace."
"I didn't mean it like that!" Trixie protested. "I... I just wanted ponies to respect me!" Trixie glanced round her at the guards and the spectators, but found only stony faces.
Celestia let out a disdainful bray. To the shock of everypony, she stomped down the steps of the dias and stared directly into Trixie's face, their horns almost touching. "You wanted respect!" she spat. "You wanted admiration! What a despicable reason to deceive ponies!"
The guards standing beside Trixie backed away a few steps, giving up any pretense of guarding Celestia from Trixie, and glanced at each other nervously. Celestia paced slowly around Trixie, from her head to her tail and back again, never looking at the unicorn mare. "Do you understand what could have happened if you'd gotten away with it? More lies, more lies to cover up those lies, more respect. More unearned trust. More ponies depending on you to do things you can't, like those foals rushing out to find an Ursa because they were so sure you could fight it off."
The crowd of onlookers had fallen absolutely silent, staring open-mouthed at their princess. The guards looked to the old chamberlain, who had served the Princess since before they were born, and he looked back and shook his head as if to say, No, I've never seen her like this either.
Celestia's heavy hoofsteps echoed loudly as she began pacing faster. "You were building your own cage out of lies. If not for this Ponyville fiasco you might have gone on for years, building it bigger and stronger until you couldn't have gotten out of it if you'd wanted to. You don't know how lucky you are that you were caught so soon!" She came to a stop back in front of Trixie and glared at her, sides heaving, and now it was Celestia who was trembling.
"I'm sorry!" Trixie bawled. "I'm so, so sorry, I—"
Celestia spun around and looked away. "Escort her from my palace," she said, without looking back.
The guards snapped out of their daze, and saluted Celestia's hindquarters. They escorted Trixie out, and then the stunned audience gradually trickled out, until only Celestia, still staring into the back corner of the room and breathing heavily, and her guards remained.
"Get me Shining Armour," she called.
The captain of the guard galloped in minutes later and drew up before her, blowing his dark-blue mane out of his eyes with every breath as he huffed from running. "Your majesty?"
She set off immediately toward the private section of the palace, and he fell into step beside her. "Your shield," she said. "Have you managed to teach Purslane how to cast it?"
"He's working on it," the captain replied.
"I take it that means no?"
"Well," he said apologetically, "what with the wedding in a few days..."
Celestia came to an abrupt halt and turned towards the captain. "I apologize for keeping you somewhat in the dark about this. I did not wish to start a panic. But it is high time for somepony to start panicking. Allow me to explain. Are you familiar with vamponies?"
The captain pursed his lips, and said diplomatically, "I was under the impression they did not exist."
"They do not. They are merely symbolic representations of something too terrible to speak of in stories. Imagine, Shining, a being which drained you not of blood, but of love. A being which left you alive, but with no feelings for your fellow pony. All the feelings you had for your Cadence, for your parents, for your sister, would be gone, fodder in the belly of a monster to feed it for a day or two. You would live the rest of your days in uncaring selfishness, nothing more than a pony-shaped machine."
A shadow passed over the captain's face. "That would be a fate worse than death."
"Indeed," Celestia agreed.
He inhaled slowly. "We will not fear," he said. "We have faith in you."
Celestia looked him in the eye, and he looked back, his honest face full of admiration and trust.
"Teach Purslane the shield," she said.
She left the captain and hurried to the second-floor sitting room at the front of the palace. The sky was turning red as the sun sank toward the horizon. Celestia stepped out onto the balcony overlooking the courtyard. She smiled at the crowd of ponies, and a cheer went up. Many of them had travelled days just so they could say that one day they had watched the Princess raise and lower the sun. The pages standing at the corners of the balcony raised their trumpets and sounded them, and she aimed her horn toward the sun. It began to glow gold with magical energy, turning white as it grew more brilliant. She took a deep breath, screwed up her face in a look of intense concentration, and once again pretended to lower the sun.