Anne Bean

I make delicious words. // I make words delicious.

Category: Link Roundup

NaNoWriMo 2014

It’s November in Seattle, which means a time of rain, darkness, and frantic novel-writing. Seriously, art is how people survive through the winter in the Pacific Northwest. Whether that’s writing, music, knitting, carving, or painting, art has gotten people through the dark of these short winter days for a long time. Last year I wrote down every time I did creative practice on a little slip of paper and put it in a jar, like picked root vegetables. I believe that done without expectation of quality or result, the practice of creating can be a great way to push back despair. Ironically, of course, the difficulty of creating at all, much less of letting go of the expectation of quality or result, is a great cause of despair. I always hope the two balance each other out.

credit: Chris Vlachos via Wikipedia

credit: Chris Vlachos via Wikipedia

This year I’m writing a comic script, although if the word count becomes too oppressive I’ve given myself permission to also write “in-world documents,” i.e. characters’ letters, journals, newspaper clippings, etc. First off, it turns out that since I am not Alan Moore, individual script pages don’t have that many words on them. So far I’ve averaged 150-300 words per page, which shakes out to 7ish pages of script per day, which is a decent amount of story. I figure I’ll get somewhere between six and twelve issues out of November, which isn’t actually my whole story. Interesting to feel out pacing in this new genre of speed-drafting. I feel like if other (fiction) NaNos have been running a marathon, this is like backpacking a long trail–different pacing, same idea.

Anyway, thankfully I have some really great gear to help me this year: Scrivener.

CorkboardIt’s a free program during the month of November for a NaNoWriMo trial, then 50% off if you win. In general it’s a pretty affordable program for what it does, which is a lot:

  • Scrivener lets me arrange my scenes on a virtual cork-board (or as an outline), with each scene displayed with a summary on an “index card.” This lets me outline my comics and then choose which scenes I want to write first.
  • Each page can contain marginal notes, or pictures, research links, or lists of themes.
  • There’s also a spot for character sketches and setting descriptions.
  • Actually writing in comic script format is easy. First of, there *is* a comic script format, which is at this point pretty huge. It’s the Anthony Johnson style, which I find approachable. I think it’d be possible to set your own style if you wanted to do a different format, but I haven’t yet gotten that far with the program. Regardless, it will save me hours of formatting in Microsoft Word, which is usually accompanied by screaming and/or slow brain death.

So that’s what I’m up to for NaNoWriMo. If you’re also doing NaNoWriMo, or if you just want some craft resources, I figured I’d ridiculously self-promote by reminding y’all of craft articles I’ve written that might be helpful.

Three-Act Structure

The Interrupter in Scenes

Fiction, How Does It Work (with lots of Kate Beaton cartoons to help explain stuff)

Writing from your characters’ POVs subjectively

Writing Dynamic Female Characters

A Nice Example of the Major Dramatic Question and Passover Question

Using Symbolic Props

and finally

Using Fraggle Rock as a Character Creation Model


And if you’re tired of hearing me yammer, go check out Bob and Jack’s Writing Blog, which is a treasure trove of great craft articles, including many specific to memoirists.

Happy Writing!

Link Roundup: Freelance Resources

So, it’s official.

I’m a freelancer. While a day job may or may not float into my life to help me pay the bills, at this point I am a freelancer of many hats: design primarily, but also writing and editorial services.

There are some really rad things about freelancing, and some less rad things about freelancing. Freedoms and responsiblities. I have the freedom to control my own schedule, choose my clients, set my own rates, and I have no commute or grody office snacks to deal with. (You know you’ll eat the cake just because it’s there, even though it’s vile Albertson’s sheet cake which you don’t like.) The downsides? I am in charge of my own finances, contracts, marketing, and health insurance (with help from hired professionals on occasion). I don’t have a steady paycheck. I don’t have a steady amount of work; so far it’s been feast or famine. It’s awesome and rough at the same time.


Here are some resources should anyone be interested in freelancing or are already doing so:



  • Booklife by Jeff VanDerMeer is a fantastic resource for folks who are writing. He talks about both your “external booklife,” i.e. how you market and present yourself, and your “internal booklife,” i.e. how you get creative work done in context of the rest of your life. Jeff’s website is also rife with resources.
  • My current business card fave is They have decent prices and a wide range of products.

Legal Things

  • Work Made for Hire is the site of Katie Lane, a rad Portland lawyer who works with creative folks and freelancers. She has a great blog and teaches classes and workshops, too.
  • Sarah Horowitz, author of The Freelancer’s Bible, is also the founder of the Freelancer’s Union. Yes, it exists. Yes, you can network, get help with insurance, and involve yourself in advocacy. If you live in New York, join the heck out of this; you can get group rates on insurance. Sadly, that part of the organization hasn’t made it out to Cascadia, although you can still get dental, life, and disability insurance through the Union.
  • The Graphic Artist’s Guild would like to educate you about copyright law, among other things.

Time Management/Organization

  • 43 Folders has some good thoughts on organizing yourself, your email, your life, and even your methods of organization. On this page, they ask what about your creative practice is sucking, and you choose accordingly.
  • Business of Design Online has some great articles, including this series about time management.
  • The Pomodoro technique is named after tomato-shaped kitchen timers, and is a great way to blast through work: twenty-five minutes on, five minutes off.


What resources do you know about? Let’s share!

Link Roundup: Webcomics!

Hello friends, and happy solstice!

Here are some webcomics to suit every occasion:

"The Glamazon Way" Here is an Oglaf comic that is safe for work.

“The Glamazon Way”
Here is an Oglaf comic that is safe for work.

Perhaps you want to click around for five minutes and laugh your ass off

Junior Scientist Power Hour: Abby Howard of Strip Search writes about Sadness Brownies, Tips for Shy Ppl, Cats, and mooooore. P.S. Her kickstarter for her new comic is up and looks amaaaaazing!

Toothpaste For Dinner / Natalie Dee / Married to the Sea : Husband and wife team from the midwest with a penchant for nail polish and rap music make with the funny in several strips. I particularly appreciate MttS, because it has old pictures that say absurd things. And that is amusing.

Hark! A Vagrant! : History! Literature! Hilarity! Canada! Brought to you by Kate Beaton!

Phuzzy Comics : Also from Strip Search, Monica Ray’s comics are both hilarious and adorable, much like Monica herself.

Dinosaur Comics : You guys. This comic might be…the best comic?!

Axe Cop: He’s a cop. With an axe. Written by a child. Drawn by an adult. The best.

Perhaps you would like to read a more character-driven plot-tabulous story

Questionable Content : Neurotic people trying to have coherent adult lives. Metal! Orbital space stations! Sentient robots! Coffee!

Girls with Slingshots : …Neurotic people trying to have coherent adult lives. Sexy times! Poly relationships! Alcohol! Talking cacti!

Narbonic : Office work at the office of the EEEVIL SCIENTIST.

Skin Horse: The follow-up comic from another perspective, viz. the government agents in charge of dealing with the evil scientists.

Perhaps you would like to learn some things while having fun

Bird and Moon: I showed this strip to my mom, it is that much about science. That sentence might not make sense with everyone’s mom. But it does with mine. So hah.

Science Comic: Maki Naro (also Strip Search, holler) writes about science! And other things as well! #beardwall

xkcd: This man graphs things. Such things.

Family Man: Dylan Meconis’ gorgeous masterpiece. Mostly it is about werewolves but it is in this section because you will learn about HISTORY, too.

Perhaps you would like some sexy times?!

Oglaf: Apparently this was an attempt at porn, but then it turned out really funny so they just rolled with it.

Oh Joy Sex Toy: Erika Moen (Strip Search again, hooray), writer of DAR!, is back with a sassy sex toy review comic. Highly recommended for both practical reasons and entertainment value!

Chester 3000: There is a sexy robot. It is pretty art. It is drawn by Jess Fink. I haven’t read a lot of it, but it’s pretty and sexy and deserves a shout-out here.


…and a special mention to Sinfest, which went from a funny-but-kinda-exploitative gag strip in the 2000s to a full on awesomesauce feminist manifesto in the 2010s. Totally worth a look.


There are so many more. But I must stop for now, for sanity’s sake. Enjoy! Post your faves in the comments!

Link Roundup: Writing Comics

Hey hey, it’s one of my favorite topics, writing comics!



So, the funny thing about comics is that few people sit around for fun and read comic book scripts. In fact, few people have ever seen a comic book script. Or tried to write one. There’s no standard format for a comic books script. There’s everything from controversial “THE MARVEL METHOD” (i.e. plot outline, here you go artist, fill in the details) to full page-and-panel breakdowns.



Which is superior? No one know or can agree! But you can check out this twitter conversation between writers like Scott Snyder, Gail Simone, Warren Ellis, and others as they talk about scripting.





  • Here’s Jim Zub talking about plot structure and his method for writing comics. And y’all know how much I love me some structure.
  • What’s that? You’d like to write some female characters in your comics? Particularly if you feel iffy about writing female characters, how’s about you listen up to Greg Rucka lay down some wisdom.

We confuse arousing with sexy in the same way we confuse strength with cruelty. A strong character isn’t, by definition, a mean one, but the confusion between the two has lead to a shorthand where the attempt to depict a female character as “strong” translates to “bitch.”

-Greg Rucka

  • Also, although they don’t apply as specifically to comics, for the love of all that is good writing check out this article about how to recognize when male gaze is happening in your writing, a.k.a. the “Omniscient Breasts” article.

Imagine a female pov character is going along about her protagonist adventure, seeing things from her perspective of the world as written in third person. She hears, sees, considers, and makes decisions and reacts based on her view of the world and what she is aware of and encounters. Abruptly, a description is dropped into the text of her secondary sexual characteristics usually in the form of soft-focus Playboy-Magazine-style sexualized kitten-bunny-I-would-fuck-her-in-a-heartbeat lustrous-eyes-and-nipples phrases. Her breasts have just become omniscient breasts.

This is what I mean when I speak of the male gaze. The breasts are no longer her breasts, they have become the breasts as described by the omniscient heterosexual male narrator (in the person of the writer) who is usually not even aware that he has just dropped out of third person and into omniscient to describe her sexual attractiveness in a way that caters to a heterosexual male audience.

-Kate Elliott

Link Roundup: Vidjagaems.

So, it turns out I have a lot to say about video games. It’s sort of like me saying: “Link Roundup: Books.”


So I decided to pick out some tasty links that involve video games and women.

First up, the sadly defunct but damn fabulous show by Kate Welsh, SheGeekShow.

There are great reviews of a ton of games. Sadly, Kate lost the will to continue the show on her own time and expense, in part because of all the dang haters were getting seriously annoying. And not even the haters. Like 70% of the show’s comments were about her appearance, positive or negative. Well, I still miss you, Kate.

Let’s talk about female game designers a tic, shall we?

Here’s Jane McGonagal, author of the fascinating read Reality is Broken: Why Games Make us Better and How They Can Change the World, giving a TED talk about just that, along with her game, Superbetter.

Rhinanna Pratchett. Rhianna Frickin’ Prachett. Game designer for the new version of Lara Croft.


She’s also spawner of the hashtag #1reasonwhy, and #1reasontobe, as in one reason why I’m a game designer. One reason why it’s important to have women in the industry. One reason why I’m still talking about this. Um, also she’s Terry Prachett’s daughter. Just for some extra badass points.

Are Women Led Games DOA?  Here’s an article about Remember Me, a game with a female protagonist that’s controversial because in a scene she kisses a dude. And apparently walking around in the skin of a female character, and first-person female sexuality, makes some (male) publishers uncomfortable.

And here’s and IGN article that talks about female representation in videogames and why it matters. It includes the video exploring the Damsel in Distress trope (and its second installment!) that caused zillions of dudebro nerds to freak the crap out and launch a hate campaign against Anita Sarkeesian. Frankly, it’s nice to see an article with her content interpreted meaningfully that’s not just another “OMG the horrible misogyny trolls” recap.


Let’s shift gears. After all that, just need some surreal humor? You asked:

Hey Ash, Whatcha Playing?


Also I would like to point out that Ash played that one chick with all the dragons in School of Thrones. (For the record, I assume every Game of Thrones character is dead now.)




Link Roundup: Tasty Fairy Tale Tidbits

So we know I obsess a little about fairy tales. It’s true.

two children: one holds an assault rifle, one holds a book of fairy tales. Caption: "One of these is banned in America"

What? Both are dangerous. Both can be weapons.

Have you wanted to read some of the canon tales and not known where to begin?

  • SurLaLune Fairy Tales has classic tales, as well as poetry and essays inspired by tales.
  • D.L. Ashliman has curated an extensive collection of tales at his site Folktexts.
  • Better Know a Child Ballad is a rad blog that’s going through summarizing and discussing the Child’s Ballads, viz. where all the badass Celtic ladies go to rumble.

Are you under the misapprehension that fairy tales are about passive white princesses?

Have you, like me, wondered “What’s with all the mutilated women in fairy tales?”

  • Here’s a great essay by fairy tale scholar Midori Snyder that ponder just that.
  • Speaking of monstrous doings, this series of BBC Reith lectures from Marina Warner, “Managing Monsters,” discusses monsters, pop culture, and gender.

Are you a writer of tales who wishes they only had somewhere to submit their work?

Here’s a few markets that dig the tales:

  • Ellen Datlow is editing an anthology of horror tales called Fearful Symmetries. If your tale is horrific enough, it might belong here. But hurry up: deadline’s May 31st, 2013!
  • The Fairy Tale Review does lovely themed issues.
  • Poet? Try out Goblin Fruit. For this submission period, the deadline’s June 1st.

Link Roundup: Disney

We interrupt your regular programming to bring you a link roundup, a feature which I am hoping to run weekly (likely on Wednesdays in the future). Oblivion Part Two will go up on Monday. But now for something completely different…

This week: Disney.

hipster princesses

If you grew up in America, you are likely to have a relationship with Disney: Love it, hate it, obsess about it, love to hate it, have embarrassed unironic love for it, have unabashed unironic love for it, throw up in your mouth a little whenever you see it, whatever.

For the record, I tend to fall into the nerdrage/mouth throw-up camp. That being said, I really do enjoy singing Disney songs. This one time I directed a Kabuki play, and the all-male cast’s anthem was “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan. As culturally incorrect as you can get, but there’s still something fabulous about blasting that song in the theater with 11 guys belting it out.

Anyway. Disney links!

Let’s start with something positive! This cosplay is pretty badass!

Disney Princesses as warriors

This post about Tiana from Racialicious encapsulates the love/hate/rage feelings I get from Disney pretty well.

You know how they were trying to make Merida from Brave all sexy and stuff for the Disney Princess collection? People aren’t so into that. Sadly, though, Disney is not listening.

The movie I love to hate the most: Beauty and the Beast. Here are some plot holes in it!

Remember that one time Disney actually tried to buy a holiday? Or rather, since they’re making a film about it, they wanted to, like, trademark it and stuff. And they thought that was okay, apparently just ’cause it came from another culture? Yeah, that time. (DID YOU CATCH THE BIT WHERE THEY WANTED TO MAKE DIA DE LOS MUERTOS CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS? BECAUSE I FIND THAT LIKE ALLCAPS RIDICULOUS.)

If you haven’t seen the Advice For Young Girls From a Cartoon Princess series from the Second City Network? Well, Ariel, Snow White, and Belle have some key advice for you.

And last but not least, did we all catch this talented youngster’s parody Disney Princess song? I think it’s adorable; I do wish that he went a little deeper with some of his points. Because there are much, MUCH deeper issues in Disney. I think he gets the closest in the Aladdin section. …Anyone up for making a Disney Prince one with me? Especially you’s folks who can sing? I have some devious ideas.

I’m sorry if I’ve wrecked anyone’s hopes and/or dreams. They were probably nebulous dreams that ended up being realized in the form of a prince ’cause that’s more convenient than figuring your shit out anyway. *cough*That is to say, sorry, here’s some adorable and only sometimes creepy pictures of Disney couples all dolled up for prom.


Post your Disney links in the comments! Sharing is Caring!

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