Tuesday, December 12, 2017

TWIC: Broetry, education, notebooks

LinkedIn is where a new literary art form, Broetry, is appearing. This art form is social media's crowning achievement, so far.
Educators and infographics tools.Also Tools to design games. And Comics creation tools.
Reasons to keep a sketchbook or notebook.
Pelee Island Spring Writing Workshop
.@dawn_kresan #peleeIsland #writers Coming up! @PeleeIslandBird #NatureWriting pic.twitter.com/lZHU8QjqG3

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Post-Nano TWIC: even more writing links!

The novel I just finished writing 50,000 words of was backstory for a trilogy I had written in previous Nanowrimos. That is, I wrote the trilogy - three incomplete books - and then felt that better understanding the origins of the people and events would help me finish the trilogy. I wonder if I should have read this first: The complete guide to creating backstory in speculative fiction.
Complicated plots, entirely invented settings and large casts of characters can be hard for a writer to keep track of – and if the writer can’t follow the story, the reader definitely can’t.
So, to get organised, you’ll want to start planning your novel.
The scale and style of planning you’ll do will depend on how you work as a writer. As George R. R. Martin once said, some writers are architects, planning everything down to the letter; some are gardeners, planting a seed and letting things grow from there.
No matter which type of writer you are, you’ll need to think carefully about backstory when you’re planning (or at least planting the seed for) your novel.
Back to my story. One thing I did feels especially ironic as I think about backstory. I came to a part of the story where a shaman makes predictions. I wrote:
“Alexander. Electra & Sterope. Mumblerumblefumble. Jesu. Spiralling storm. …”
and commented next to the text:
Add legit and ridiculous words here.
In other words, I waited to write more so I could write backstory, in a backstory.

Ah, c'mon, I thought it was funny.
Week 5 of Nano, how to finish and edit your story. See that line somewhere above that notes I now have four unfinished books in a trilogy? I need this!
On the subject of slogs – if you’re a writer who just found out that you find it genuinely difficult to write, you have my sympathies. Conceiving of a story and wording that story are different skills, and any given author has a different relationship with them. Writing isn’t usually easy, but it reliably rewards persistence, and, put bluntly, there are only so many words in your story. Keep going and you will get there.
Once your story feels structurally sound, it’s time to start thinking about consolidation. Great stories use the fewest words possible to achieve their goal – even when they’re verbose, they’re verbose for a reason. Look at your story and consider whether it makes sense for two characters to become one more complex individual. Can you deliver exposition while also establishing character? Can you use dialogue to move the story forward? Can your world building make the passage of time feel more natural?
How to write funny: This is largely a dissection of the movie, Thor: Ragnarok but it does get into elements of humour.
Gord Sellar describes the way his novel had charged and limped and charged along.
My coworker Brent Meske finished a novel during Nanowrimo and is right now handing out a few copies for comments. The link doesn't go to any freebie, I just wanted to point out that I wrote half a novel during November and he is well-nigh to publishing one over the same period. "Good for him," I say with jealousy and gritted teeth, "Good for him!"
I have some slight connection to the two writers above, but I don't know anything about Rachel Cusk, except that CBC tells us she is writing a novel without focusing on plot.
For ESL and general writing instruction, here are 20 resources for writing and more. Here are two:

*MakeBeliefs Comix has several winter and holiday themed comic prompts, such as this one.
*Story Starters has a list of holiday picture prompts followed by some lines to help students write stories or poems.
Finally sarcasm can boost creativity.
Gino [a researcher at Harvard]  told the Harvard Gazette, “To create or decode sarcasm, both the expressers and recipients of sarcasm need to overcome the contradiction (i.e., psychological distance) between the literal and actual meanings of the sarcastic expressions. This is a process that activates and is facilitated by abstraction, which in turn promotes creative thinking.”

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

TWIC: Science proves it!, living a fantasy, semi-cliche

There are a variety of phrases, all some version of "science shows...." or "science proves...." that bother me. That said, here is Science Shows Something Something Surprising About People Who Love To Write. I guess no matter how factual they might or might not be, they are inspiring. One paragraph from the article:
It turns out writing can make physical wounds heal faster as well. In 2013, New Zealand researchers monitored the recovery of wounds from medically necessary biopsies on 49 healthy adults. The adults wrote about their thoughts and feelings for just 20 minutes, three days in a row, two weeks before the biopsy. Eleven days later, 76% of the group that wrote had fully healed. Fifty-eight percent of the control group had not recovered. The study concluded that writing about distressing events helped participants make sense of the events and reduce distress.
Your novel's done. Now what?
At Quora, I answered the question Do you spend time 'living' in a fantasy world? The link is to all the answers. Mine is 6 paragraphs long; here is the first one:
I do and I am not satisfied with it! I know it sounds strange that I am unsatisfied with a universe I control utterly, but my apparent love of repetitive tasks and killing of monsters and Nazis disturbs me.
Amazon is policing book promotions that can upset their ranking systems. It seems authors using BookBub promotions have had their books removed from rankings. The same does not happen if Goodreads promotions are used (Goodreads is owned by Amazon, I learned in the article.)
How much of my writing is mine? Scott Thornbury, professor of ESL, discusses creativity and ESL instruction.
Corpus linguistics has, of course, shown him to be wildly wrong: a great deal of real language use does in fact consist of fixed phrases – more than 50%, according to some estimates. The Russian literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin had long since anticipated this: ‘Our speech, that is, all our utterances (including our creative works), is filled with others’ words, varying degrees of otherness or varying degrees of “our-own-ness”’ (1986: 89).
Language use, it seems, involves an equal measure of conformity and creativity, a tension that finds expression in John Sinclair’s distinction between the ‘idiom principle’ and the ‘open choice principle’.
I find in my current Nanowrimo work a lot of simple phrases that I use from repetition, I use them because everybody uses them. And yet they are not precisely cliches. Here I describe students newly arrived at a school:

Some stood tall, aloof and confident, untouched by misfortune, while the faces of others showed nervous hope. The six year old had charmed an older student enough that he held the younger boy’s hand in support.
"Untouched by misfortune" most stands out to me as something I can't imagine saying. It feels right but almost formal, as if I had learned the phrase. So does most of the rest of the quote.  Several pieces of it just don't feel like me. I am comfortable with the words, they are common enough that I am not plagiarizing any individual and they aren't cliches, but I imagine they are examples of 'fixed phrases' that I have absorbed.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

TWIC: grammar for dummies, map generator, editors, peanuts

I just visited a grammar for dummies site. Turns out I was using quotes and question marks correctly most of the time. Once I thought it looked weird, I removed the question mark - hey, if I write the word 'asked' then I probably don't also need a question mark, right? Then I considered a comma outside the end quote... Finally, it was easier to confirm my grammar then over think it with every occasion I had to type it.
From the very helpful site:
“How can you eat a tuna sandwich while hoisting a piano?” Betsy asked as she eyed his lunch.

“May I have a bite?” she queried.
Writers and editors:

The rest of the thread is interesting.
Another medieval city generator. Well, another generator, this may be the first medieval once. I like it!  As you swing the pointer around, the districts of the city display their usages. This one below had a temple but others did not.

The generator also references 3-d toy town. I don't think you can make the two sync and see the same town in both views.

Peanutize Me.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

TWIC: hanging in with Nano, Blavatsky,

Nano update:
I am currently around two thousand words behind. I could catch up if I felt better. I am so sick right now but I think I won't throw up again for a little while.

A recent Quora question about The Secret Doctrines by Blavatsky caught my attention. Weird or mystical books always seem like remarkable works of creativity. And now with the Voynich text deciphered, I am looking for new bizarre works.

The Secret Doctrines fits the bill but I am not sure if it is as entertaining as the well-illustrated Voynich book. Next month I hope to have time to look it over. More information here.
L Sprague de Camp investigated her claims.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

TWIC: colour and mostly Nano wordcount,

If white people were described the way other races were:
1. He looked at her longingly, as he imagined her exotic, mashed potato skin laying gently against his.

2. She took off his shirt, his skin glistening in the sun like a glazed doughnut. The glaze part, not the doughnut part.

3. His eyes looked like eyes because they were eye-shaped, not almonds.
I am a little behind in my Nanowrimo numbers but have time today (Friday) to catch up. My story includes a sort of school of magic from the POV of the teachers - I really to add more carping about the students and more blithe lack of care about their safety!
Sunday evening: I am ahead in my wordcount after a great Saturday at a write-in. I don't know if I have written 4300 words in one day before but that was at least one of my best writing days.
Today was a strange day. The words poured out but, well my story involves learning about technology in medieval times. My characters today made a hand powered cart and I spent a lot of words happily designing the machine.
A lot of words.
I will probably have to delete most of them at some point.
And yet it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed writing about the construction. The word-smithery was not great as I found I didn't know all the technical terms I thought I did.
I am writing this to remind myself of what I like to write about. On Saturday, some parts describing siblings and political machinations really dragged and felt awkward. This writing was technically awkward but went by happily.
A writing show on CBC advises us to read our work aloud to see if it is as good as it can be.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Making a living by giving it away.

Evan Dahm  makes comics.

This is for Vattu (follow the top link to see his various projects.) Here is the first image:
Well, back to my own writing. I am on track with Nanowrimo and hope to build a cushion this weekend.