Tuesday, May 13, 2014

TWIC (Mid May Edition)

From the Hanoi grapevine:
M Literary Residency 2015-2016 in Shanghai/Bangalore: call for applications
Deadline of applications: 20 Jun 2014
Residency duration: from late 2015 to early 2016 (10-12 weeks)
From the open call:The M Literary Residency Programme, fully funded by M Restaurants, grew from our Literary Festivals, as we heard from writers about what was needed to nurture and produce the best writing in this region.
Applicants may apply for ONE of two M Literary Residencies:Bangalore, India: A 10-12 week residency at Sangam House, in a rural setting near Bangalore, South India from late 2015 to early 2016. (Please note: Residency dates are set by Sangam House.)
Shanghai, China: 10-12 week residency in Shanghai. The residency must be taken up before March 1st, 2016, and be completed in one continuous period.
EligibilityThe residencies are open to all writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and dramatic prose. There are no nationality restrictions, however, applicants should be over 21 years old at the time of application and be writing in English. Unpublished authors and past applicants are also eligible.
FundingThe successful applicants will have transportation costs to and from the residencies covered by the M Residency and a total stipend of US$1,000 to cover additional living costs during their stay. Applicants are responsible for their travel/medical insurance and visas.
I just finished an online class titled "Creativity: Music to my ears" - You can guess why I signed up.  The main project was to choose a problem and think of a hundred (or more) ways to solve.  My group looked at using music to encourage people to read.  Completely independent of our work comes this news from Scientific American. Most of the article is gated; Here is an excerpt:
 Today a symphony of research trumpets the many links among language, reading and music, including several that reveal a connection between rhythm and reading skills.
12 principles of animation:
As action starts, we have more drawings near the starting pose, one or two in the middle, and more drawings near the next pose. Fewer drawings make the action faster and more drawings make the action slower. Slow-ins and slow-outs soften the action, making it more life-like. For a gag action, we may omit some slow-out or slow-ins for shock appeal or the surprise element. This will give more snap to the scene.
Inequality and the arts
There’s a reason why a lot of modern culture was produced by people living on a shoestring, from the New York intellectuals to all those poets and painters starving in their fabled garrets. It’s time-consuming to do something original; it requires bad manners, or at least a lack of automatic deference for received wisdom; and it helps to have an abundance of low-paid but undemanding jobs around–mailman, night watchman, librarian, clerical worker–that one can drift in and out of, as well as a few cheap urban neighborhoods where like-minded artistic riff-raff can congregate. (Russell Jacoby’s description, in The Last Intellectuals, of the ecology of the freelance intellectual has never been bettered.)
Science Fiction from South East Asia - including Korea which I didn't consider all that southerly.
The RIAA isn't doing much to help artists even as it squeezes companies, apparently to collect royalties for them.

A writer on writing. An acquaintance, Gord Sellar, doesn't really care for the device of making the main character of a story a writer.  I guess he thinks it is a kind of a cheat.  I do recall several books by Stephen King that featured writers.  Still, he (back to Mr Sellar) likes this bit by Paul Auster:
There were other decisions to be made, of course, a host of significant details that still had to be conjured up  and worked into the scene–for purposes of fullness and authenticity, for narrative ballast. How long has Rosa been living in New York? for example. What does she do there? Does she have a job and, if so, is the job important to her or simply a means of generating enough money to cover the rent? What about the status of her love life? Is she single or married, attached or unattached, on the prowl or patiently waiting for the right person to come along? My first impulse was to make her a photographer, or perhaps an assistant film editor–work that was connected to images, not words, just as Grace’s job was. Definitely unmarried, definitely never married, but perhaps involved with someone, or, even better, perhaps recently broken up after a long, tortured affair.
Giving characters a backstory that might not appear necessary appears to be an important part of writing believeable characters.
Storium - turning writing into a multiplayer game:
With just your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can choose from a library of imaginary worlds to play in, or build your own. You create your story's characters and decide what happens to them. You can tell any kind of story with Storium. The only limit is your imagination.
Storium uses familiar game concepts inspired by card games, role-playing games, video games, and more. In each Storium game, one player is the narrator, and everyone else takes on the role of a character in the story. The narrator creates dramatic challenges for the other players to overcome. In doing so, they move the story forward in a new direction. Everyone gets their turn at telling the story."
Storium offers worlds to play in created by authors, transmedia writers, and game designers, and one of the perks of supporting the Kickstarter campaign is instant access to the already-running beta.
Advice from on beating writer's block Ask TON, One excerpt:
Rose Eveleth, freelance writer and producer and BBC Future columnist:I have a tiered strategy for dealing with writer’s block. The first tier is prevention (is it cheating to include that?) which means that before I write, I make sure that I’m ready to write. That sounds obvious, but I’ve found that the easiest way for me to get stuck on something is for me to not be fully mentally prepared to put words to page (er, screen, or whatever). I put on my writing music (usually this Songza playlist) close all my social media distractions, and set a goal for myself. Sometimes that’s “write an outline of this story” or maybe it’s “just vomit everything out so we can fix it later,” but whatever it is, I find that having a goal that’s more specific than just “write” is really helpful to make sure that I actually do write something.
What is good writing?  Quora took a shot at answering the question.
Anne Zahra tells us, "Good writing is writing that makes you forget you are reading.

If you can make me forget that I'm sitting in my rocking chair and tracing your train of thought across a page or a screen, it's because you know what you're doing."I gotta agree.Many e-books are poorly edited and tripping over a misspelled word knocks me back into my seat and out of the story.

Dinesh Dharme offers a list of 9 points.  Here is part of four:
3. Good writing is like good teaching. Good writing strives to explain, to make things a little bit clearer, to make sense of our world… even if it’s just a product description.“A writer always tries… to be part of the solution, to understand a little about life and to pass this on,” says Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird.
4. Good writing tells a full story.  Good writing roots out opposing viewpoints. AsJoe Chernov says, “There’s a name for something with a single point of view: It’s called a press release.” Incorporate multiple perspectives when the issue lends itself to that. At the very least, don’t ignore the fact that other points of view might exist; to do so makes your reader not trust you.So make sure he or she knows you’re watching out for them. To quoteHemingway: “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector.”
5. Good writing comes on the rewrite. That implies that there is a rewrite, of course. And there should be.Writing is hard work, and producing a shitty first draft is often depressing. But the important thing is to get something down to start chipping into something that resembles a coherent narrative.As Don Murray said, “The draft needs fixing, but first it needs writing.” Or Mark Twain: “Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.”
6. Good writing is like math. I mean this in two ways: First, good writing has logic and structure. It feels solid to the reader: The writer is in control and has taken on the heavy burden of shaping a lumpy jumble of thoughts into something clear and accessible.It might not follow a formula, exactly. But there’s a kind of architecture to it. Good writing has more logic to it than you might think.Second, good writing is inherently teachable—just as trigonometry or algebra or balancing a balance sheet is a skill any of us can master. Journalism professorMatt Waite writes in his essay, How I Faced My Fears and Learned to Be Good at Math: “The difference between good at math and bad at math is hard work. It’s trying. It’s trying hard. It’s trying harder than you’ve ever tried before. That’s it.”

Not entirely on topic, but I liked this breakdown of Jesus' abilities as a charismatic leader.
(3) Jesus always does something unexpected
On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, and a women was there who was crippled for 18 years, bent over and unable to straighten up. Jesus called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.Indignant that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not of the Sabbath.”  Jesus answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham... be set free on the Sabbath from what bound her?” When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted.  (Luke 13: 10-17.  Similar conflicts about healing on the Sabbath are in Luke 6: 6-11; Matthew 12: 1-14; and Luke 14: 1-6, which ends by silencing the opposition.)

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