A long time ago I learned a very important general lesson from a critique group: When someone makes a criticism that *hurts* you to hear? That's the one you must pay attention to.

That pain you are feeling is the emotional version of the pain from putting your hand on a hot stove – a warning something you didn't notice up until that point is gravely wrong and must be addressed.

And justifying your position against such a critique is leaving your hand on that stove…

I've used plantUML before, so Mermaid is not new to me. It does seem like something I'm likely to use when documentation with diagrams and graphs, being as my preferred text format is Markdown.

> Mermaid. mermaid-js.github.io/mermaid/#

There are two ways to use commas…

You can use them according to well-understood grammar rules. grammarly.com/blog/comma/

Or you can use them as most people have for centuries of written English: as the place where you would pause for a moment, if you were saying it out loud.

What grammar rules miss is the importance of commas – and every other punctuation – as tools for communicating meaning, grammar only provides a guarantee of *correct* meaning.

But meaning must always come first.

People working in technical fields: stop sending emails or posting to team chats with giant, convoluted text blobs.

Learn how to use bullet points!

* Giant text blobs are difficult and error prone to parse

* Bullet points force you to clarify a thought on its own without leaning on context before or after; context a reader might miss

* Comments or questions to bullet points are unambiguous, as they refer only to that point – making responses and conversations easier to follow

I was looking for ways people mix Markdown with YAML and stumbled across Quire. quire.getty.edu/about/quire/

Not open source, though they they say 'it will be'. But still pretty interesting and maybe worth fooling with.

Updated to note: they are wrapping Hugo, so if you already have Hugo content and want to publish it in other formats – here you go…

Gibson's genius (and Stevenson's, to a lesser extent) lies in writing stories you can enjoy with half your brain tied behind your back – while weaving in word puzzles and little epistemological mysteries for those of us willing to work for a richer experience.

Related: If anyone is interested I'll tell the story about the first time I met Gibson in the late 1980s and asked him if he'd read Vinge's 'True Names' before he wrote Neuromancer.

[fin]

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> Patterns in confusing explanations. jvns.ca/blog/confusing-explana

NOTE: Pattern #13 'What without Why' describes the reason I believe command line utilities should provide a '--explain' argument to expand on the results of '--help'.

It occurs to me the difference between melodrama and drama is the amount of time focused on people being upset versus the amount of time focused on them getting upset and doing something about it.

In this, melodrama is more like real life.

Epiphanies…

By ‘Writing Epiphanies’ I mean epiphanies about writing, not writing about epiphanies. To explain what I mean, I’m going to tell a story about an epiphany David Levine had.

I heard David talk about this epiphany many years ago at a writing retreat on the Washington coast where he gave a workshop session. This was long before David had won any major awards or sold a novel. What he said resonated with me deeply and I remember it quite clearly.

[contd]

Attaching tags to the thread:

Also, edit two toots up: replace 'F&FS' with 'F&SF'. Doh!

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MkDocs – Project documentation with Markdown. mkdocs.org/

MkDocs has really improved since the last time I looked at it. Nowadays it's more like a full-on site generator with extra features for code docs.

> The one where books is not really a good idea. ellegriffin.substack.com/p/cre

Breaking into (and remaining in once you get there) traditional publishing has ALWAYS been a problem for writers and the conglomeration of the market into two or three giant publishers has only made it worse.

The Internet promised to solve the problem, but Amazon broke it again. Publishing, especially fiction, is swirling around right now; it might find a new lease on life or it might get flushed. We don't know…

Harlan Ellison literary executor J. Michael Straczynski (yes, *that* J. Michael Straczynsk) is arranging publication of Ellison's uncompleted 'Last Dangerous Visions' short story collection and is opening up one short story slot for an unpublished writer.

The hitch? The submissions window will be open ONE DAY, April 30… patreon.com/posts/last-dangero

Got an edgy, challenging SFF short story with strong characters sitting around? You might stand a chance!

Why isn't there more fanfiction or fanart set in Ian Banks' 'Culture' universe?

For example, fanfiction.net's Bank's page is completely empty: m.fanfiction.net/crossovers/Cu

Others have asked the question: forums.giantitp.com/showthread

Mind you, there is some, for example: trevor-hopkins.com/banks/

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