Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lunar New Year links

Jane Austin was not a Game Theorist.

Monster porn: science and sexuality.  More: The women who write dinosaur erotica. Of course the subject matter fascinates me but there is also some self-publishing advice to be found in the latter article.

A formula for good books.  Includes discussion of Vandermeer's beautiful book Wonderbook.

Doctorow on plots - they're funny things: Text, Audio.

Six strategies to improve your writing.  This list probably includes the suggestion to not simply use your blog to dump a pile of links without explanation, description or commentary.  People have, rightly, badmouthed NaNoWriMo as being an extrinsic motivator which mostly produces terrible manuscripts.  On the other hand, it seems to be the only thing that has gotten me to write as much as I did, as much as I want to.  Now that it is over, I am having difficulty continuing, or getting back into, writing.

One of the strategies at the link is to read (and do) more widely. My own experience is that this is the sort of thing that helps my output.  When I am only doing the mundane (but vital) task of caring for my son, I have the time but not the content to write about.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

NYC Midnight Short Story Contest - Feb 7 start

I learned of this short story contest via a Facebook Suggested Post which concerns me.  I see a lot of garbage come up as suggested posts so Caveat Scriptor!

Still, it sounds interesting so I felt I should share it.  After all only a billion people are on Facebook, while two or three people read my blog.  From the website:
The 8th Annual Short Story Challenge is a creative writing competition open to writers around the world.  There are 3 rounds of competition.  In the 1st Round (February 7-15, 2014), writers are placed randomly in heats and are assigned a genre, subject, and character assignment.  Writers have 8 days to write an original story no longer than 2,500 words. ...
There is also a Facebook page.

Ah, finally read far enough to see the entry fee.
 The entry fee is USD $39* before the Early Entry Deadline of January 9, 2014 and then USD $49* until the Final Entry Deadline of February 6, 2014.

*Get $5 off the entry fee just for tweeting!  Click here to post a simple tweet or facebook post to receive $5 off the entry fee.

Don't think I will be entering now.  Glad I read the Facebook comments to learn more.  Anyway, if you are interested, good luck!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

back to work

I have a lot to do this month and some of it will require creative thinking.

In just over a week, the little guy and I will return to Korea and I have to figure out a way to pack and carry all the things we want to take with us.

I haven't finished the story I wrote for InNoWriMo.  Yes, I did write more than 50,000 words but the story isn't done - in fact it is stuck at beginning of the exciting climax!  I am not sure how exciting that news is, but the climax itself is so exciting as to deserve that exclamation mark.  I've got to finish the story, then start revisions.

In Korea, at my job as a professor of ESL for Dongseo University, I am taking over as manager of the English Cafe events and need to plan what is to be done there.  The typical program has included a daily games hour and a daily showing of the Simpsons.  I like both but also want to add and change the program.  I would love to somehow add a sports competition between the English, Chinese and Japanese cafes.

And, to fill in some time now, I am working on a spoon.  The wood is just something I rescued from the fire kindling pile and cracks unpleasantly under my knife but the shape is working out.
The pencil you see was sharpened by the little guy with a Gerber Dime, a Christmas present I gave him.  Reports on the quality of the blade are not great but it is the right size for him and fine for him to practice with.  It took him around forty minutes to sharpen that pencil and he is learning what angle to use and how to draw the knife back during the cut.  He wants to do more but I am reluctant; I know he will cut his fingers a few times and want to delay that a little longer - no blood in this post, but I cut my hand twice in the beginning stages of carving his cheetah.

My son's writing project went well until we traveled to Alaska for Christmas.  I am hoping he will return to it and will push him a little to do so.  As for now, we have returned from Alaska and he has one more week with his Penetanguishene friends before leaving them - I won't distract him now.

I have writing projects in mind and want to carve at least three Christmas gifts this year - turkey will be extra.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Working on a creative idea doesn't look like working on a creative idea.

At Words, Pictures, Humour (the final word is incorrectly spelled the American way), we see how the author subconsciously worked on a cartoon idea for six years before hitting on the best way to frame it.  Below is an in-process image, halfway to being worked out.
The process wasn’t so simple, but as I retrace my steps in those six years, I can definitely see the formula for success. My approach was to say “whatever,” move on to the next thing, forget completely that I had ever done this cartoon in the first place, go to sleep, get up the next day and drink coffee, eat and drink as I usually do, work at some stuff, work at some other stuff...
Follow the link to see the original image -rejected by the New Yorker - and the final image - accepted.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

TWIC Jan 2014

I had a great Christmas.  We went to my sister's home in Alaska.  The little guy liked his carved cheetah (see any of the past twenty or so blog posts on the subject) but received many toys that were more interactive.  I think the cheetah will be more of a memento of his youth than a toy to be used day to day.  That's what I tell myself, anyway.

My sister gave me a Dremel set.  There were some parts of the cheetah that my knives and gouges couldn't reach well and I think this set will improve future carvings.

I hope all my reader(s) -is the bracketed 's' joke getting old - had a similarly good solstice or Christmas or Festivus or the like and are ready for an exciting new year.  I still have not made any resolutions but do plan to.

Two links for today.
Fred Clark at Slacktivist writes with wonderful eloquence about empathy and evangelical Christianity.  I have no idea what he is like in meatspace but in his blog sure gives Christianity a good name.  Recently, he highlighted a blog post from two years ago that offers a suggestion for your next novel.  Well, the post is about a problem with libertarianism but is framed as a way to create a bully for your story.
Each of us lives in a network of levels of government, with each level in turn differentiated with various agencies, services, bureaucracies, offices, officers, regulators, responders, police, courts, councils, legislatures, schools, libraries, etc. ...non-state, non-individual entities that make up our world: families, friendships, clubs, teams, bands, troupes, affinity groups, congregations, denominations, businesses, banks, exchanges, markets, unions, neighborhoods, theaters, leagues, societies, charities, associations, etc....Look again at that list of entities above — families, friendships, etc. Any one of those might, at some point, come to function as a “bully” in the life of an individual. In doing so, it would be betraying its intended purpose and function, but any single one of those entities so corrupted could turn a person’s life into a hell.

So instead of using that list above as the starting point for another lecture on subsidiarity, let’s instead think of it as a novel-generating machine. Pick one item from the list. Twist it into a bully. Voila! There’s your next novel.

Dan Piraro and Wayno frequently collaborate on ideas for comics.  At the second link, Wayno goes into detail about how his original idea transformed into the published comic (found at the first link).