Monday, June 19, 2017

TWIC:random, gurkhas, lackey, the cure, travel writing, pacing,

I guess randomizing your life is a form of creativity. The results were interesting.
And randomizing part of your travel plans.
For my own reading. The origins of the terrifying Gurkhas.
Mercedes Lackey is an incredibly prolific author and is getting tired of Quorans asking if she is a real person!
Also, she is a plotter, not a pantser.
And she is open to working with the dead.
Snider has the cure! -jerk that I am, I removed it -and shrank the image. I now know the cure - you know where to find it.

Quora and Writer's block: One. And Mercedes Lackey doesn't think Writer's Block is real.
Tips for travel writing.
Probably not purely travel related: hot keys for making PPTs.
In some stories, you learn that every action has a reason or consequence. Virtually every choice is intended to drive the plot forward or teach us about characters. But for Miyazaki, of Ghibli Studios fame, it was important to have a pause, a rest in the action. I think I have embedded the tweet and quote; if it doesn't show up when I publish the post, I'll it later.

Gary Gygax's FBI record.

Monday, June 12, 2017

TWIC: anatomy, money, schedules, self-loathing, secrets, note taking

Emerging writers vs those who make $100,000 a year.
Finding #2: Indie Publishing is a Viable Pathway to Success
We wanted to know if there was any correlation between how an author was published and whether or not it got them to the 100k club. The results were pretty surprising to us. Of all 100kers none were purely traditionally published. To be fair, only about 5% of overall respondents were solely traditionally published (James Patterson did not take our survey), so traditionally published authors didn’t make up a big part of the surveyed audience, but none of them were in the 100K club.
The New York Times tells us to schedule time to be creative.
Internet headline writers hate themselves.
In many non-public industries, success is like hide-and-seek. Companies find an advantage—a secret sauce, like the Coca Cola formula or a Netflix algorithm—and guard its secrecy at all costs. But web journalism is a radically public business, where writers can see what headline tropes get retweets, which stories blow up on Facebook, and which companies finish the month with the most readers. This business isn't like hide-and-seek. It's like Sardines, the derivative game where one person hides (e.g., under the sink), everybody else tries to find and join them, and the last person who doesn't see the clump of people in the kitchen is the loser. That's web journalism. Ruthlessly maximizing audience means figuring out what's working—for you and for everybody like you—and doing it over and over.
Writers are caught between the commercial instinct to maximize attention to articles that they've spent lots of time writing and the aesthetic instinct to not hate every fiber of their very being after they write the headline and press the publish button.
Hide secrets in your writing.

How to hide secrets in your story

The true aim of hiding secrets in your story is to give the reader autonomy – to give them reason and motivation to investigate your writing and engage with it on the deepest possible level; one where you’re no longer around to guide them. Because of this, there are actually a couple of ways to hide your secrets. 
Codes and ciphers
...Dan Brown’s Deception Point includes a series of letters and numbers on its last page, offering readers a code to solve. Using the book itself, the codes can be translated into individual letters, which can then be placed into a five-by-five square to reveal the message [redacted - follow the link if you really care] 
References and clues
References and clues are a less direct way of engaging the reader, but can be incredibly satisfying in their own right. Books like The Eyre Affair and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen populate their stories with characters from famous works of literature.
Context and hindsight
Context and hindsight are the most natural ways to seed secrets into your story. When, for example, the reader learns the true identity of Fight Club’s Tyler Durden, earlier scenes take on new meaning, and a second read-through renders familiar scenes in a different, transformational light.
Secrets and lies
The theory is a patchwork of throwaway moments, strange comments, and interlinked details, and it’s unclear whether it will ever be confirmed or denied in the books themselves. In a series built on myth and intrigue, it’s a tantalizing possibility – a treasure trail that invites fans to think back and interrogate scenes, even as they wonder how it could come to a head in the future. If the theory is true, it’s a masterclass in how to hide secrets in your story, and it never needs to be resolved to have value. There’s as much enjoyment in piecing together a behind-the-scenes story as there is in seeing a theory turn out to be right.
Modern Busy Town.
Image shrunk greatly, to see full size, follow the link.
One trait I kinda/sorta share with Gates and Branson. We take notes. At the link are five tips, from which I have removed the details from, leaving below only the titles:
1. Create your own system. ...
2. Write down your thoughts immediately.
3. Expound on your thoughts later.
4. Store your notebooks for future reference.
5. Review your archive regularly for patterns or associations. 
Semi-related: I have been rereading Kim and reading Bayonets to Lhasa as research for my steampunk novel set in Nepal. Mostly, I've been using my Kindle's highlight feature but I should be writing down my notes and remarking why I found them interesting.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

TWIC: formatting and publishing, carving tool, ninjas, atmosphere, scientific writing, editing,

A tutorial on formatting and publishing your e-book. THe tutorial uses screenshots and open and free software.
Word Processor (MS Word, Open Office, Libre Office, etc...)
Google Docs
Calibre E-Book ManagerAn Epub Validator (There are many of these out there, but this one is free and was recommended by my original distributor)
Your Novel.
My friend the Big Ho also offers some suggestions on e-publishing.
Plotting, planning and cooking up, 24 ways. I tend to do something like the 'tentpole moments'
A story in your head may require certain keystone events to be part of the plot. “Betty-Sue must get sucked into the time portal outside Schenectady, because that’s why her ex-boyfriend Booboo begins to build a time machine in earnest which will accidentally unravel space-and-time.” You might have five, maybe ten of these. Write them down. These are the elements that, were they not included, the plot would fall down (like a tent without its poles). The narrative space between the tentpoles is uncharted territory.
Write three paragraphs, each detailing the rough three acts found in every story: the inciting incident and outcome of the beginning (Act I), the escalation and conflict in the middle (Act II), the climactic culmination of events and the ease-down denoument of the end (Act III). You can, if you want, choose the elemental changes-in-state you might find at the end of each act, too — the pivot point on which the story shifts. This document probably isn’t more than a page’s worth of wordsmithy. Simple and elegant.
The saying goes that an average screenplay usually offers up eight or nine sequences (a sequence being a series of scenes that add together to form common narrative purpose, like, say, the Attack On The Death Star sequence from Star Wars or the Kevin James Makes Love To All The Animals In Order To Make The Audience Feel Shame sequence from Paul Blart, Zoo Abortion). So, chart the sequences that will go into your screenplay. If you’re writing prose, I don’t know how many sequences a novel should have — more than a film, probably (or alternately, each sequence is granted a greater conglomeration of scenes).
Need a job? Have some unsavory skills that are somehow spectacular but discrete? Japan needs ninjas!
Atmospheric Background Music. Many options: Vampire's Castle, Lonesome West, Weirder Things? They got it.
I think I need a curved carving tool like this one.

A few from Quora:
Scientific writing is hard, here are some guidelines. James Emmerson had great suggestions and explanations.
Marketing or finding an audience for a storytelling blog.
A confused question about editing and drafts, I think.
Joe Rogan. I think he was on New Radio. Nowadays, I mostly know him as a moon-landing denier. Some people love his podcast. I am trying it out, listening to his interview with Dr Jordan Peterson.The same interview is on Youtube. Peterson is a U of T professor of psychology who also runs an online writing program where students write about their past, present and future. I haven't dug into any of this yet, but it looks interesting.
Before you outline. Huh?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Incheon Animals: feral cats

I usually feel sorry for these cats but these three, bedraggled from the rain though they were, seemed to at least have friends. I found them on Gacheon University's Yeonsoo campus in Incheon so I suspect the students feed them well.
Feral cats Felis catus

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

TWIC: Malahat, education, copyright, productivity

I've added Canadian literary magazine Malahat to the sidebar.
Brains and education. More ESL related but how to learn and teach better must involve creativity to some extent.
How to copyright a book.
Design and book covers.
Productivity vs hours worked. I think my writing productivity would improve with fewer hours at the computer.
10 tumblr blogs full of writing tips.
Medieval fantasy map generator.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Incheon Animals: visitors from Africa

I believe we are looking at Rothschild's giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), some African elephants (Loxodonta sp.) and a dromedary (Camelus dromedarius). More animals are in the background.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

TWIC: adverbs,stone work,maps

I have read many advice columns on writing; I suspect I have spent more time doing that than actually writing. That aside, one common piece of advice was to limit the amount of adverbs you use. Instead of "Ran quickly", say "Raced" or "sprinted". As I see it, the advice suggests adverbs are an oral device to fix a wrong word after the fact. You can't unsay something but you can modify it. You can however delete a word and replace it.
Is there any evidence or measurable reason to avoid adverbs? There is at least some research on who uses more and fewer adverbs. From Nabokov's favorite word is mauve, Tyler Cowan offers ly-adverb usage per ten thousand words:
Hemingway: 80
Twain: 81
Melville: 126
Austen: 128
J.K. Rowling: 140
E L James: 155
In carving stone, you measure many, many times and cut carefully!


Google Maps the best open-secret writing tool.
While writing and researching, I desperately wanted to visit Liverpool. To wander its streets. View its architecture. Feel its history. But what was a working mom of four kiddos in Texas supposed to do?
Enter Google Maps. The best writing tool that no one knows about. Well, of course, you know about Google Maps. But do you use it in your writing?
As a real estate agent, I used Google Maps all the time. For directions. For a sneak peek at a neighborhood. To see if a pool at a prospective house took up all of the yard when my client still wanted green space.
But as a writer? I had never heard of authors using it. And yet, it became the very best tool in my kit.