Friday, October 31, 2014

First words in 2014 Nanowrimo

I'm sitting at the kitchen table, it's about one AM on November first, and I've got some strong tea in front of me.  To be sure I'm awake I ate far too much chocolate so I may be shaking a little as I start typing.  Time to fire up Ommwriter.
Okay, 1745 words.  Time to go back to bed.
An excerpt:
" Oldham was still cruising, still relaxing and enjoying it.  Soon, he would have to fight the wind and look for signs of direction and strength.  Now though, he cruised.  This was his last chance to talk and he used it.
"I hope you'll be warm enough", he said and risked another glance at the new guy's, Kasher's cotton robes.  There were a lot of them but none were particularly thick.
"So do I", responded the man with a mild accent. "Sir Oldwife's representative stated that appropriate clothing would be provided.  "I've spent some time in the Thar Desert and the nights are cold there.  These clothes held up then."
Oldham smiled.  "You'll wish it were that warm where we are going.  I'm more concerned about the wind, I guess."  He took a last drink from the German, lidded beer stein and pushed it back into its clip.  Another glance at the instruments.
He pulled a wire and Kasher knew a flag was waving behind him.  A flag for Canneau to, uh, do something mechanical.  The heat in the cabin increased briefly and Kasher knew Canneau was loading the box with more of the strange coal."

The working title is Nepali Steampunk.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wheaton gets some ideas from Internet Archive, Snider get some of his in the Midwest.

Grant Snider shares his sketch book and discusses where he gets his ideas.
The text is barely legible. The drawings are often incomprehensible to anyone but myself. The rhymes are way too obvious (though this probably won’t change before the final published comic).
When I jot ideas in my sketchbook, what’s important is speed. I want to put an idea on paper before I have time to second guess it. Layout, proportions, drawing above a third-grade level - there will be many more hours to address these problems. 

Wil Wheaton shares in his joy at the vast array of material available at the Internet Archive that can be manipulated into new forms.  One thing that made me pause; after all his manipulations, does it really matter what the source material was?  He took some 1920's music and slowed it way down - from a few minutes to nearly an hour - I don't think I would have a clue what the source was after that.  Still, he is correct that there is a lot of inspiration and material to work with.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Azimov on new ideas

How do people get new ideas?  Amazing clarity in writing from the guy.  Some quotes from Azimov's discussion:
Consequently, the person who is most likely to get new ideas is a person of good background in the field of interest and one who is unconventional in his habits. (To be a crackpot is not, however, enough in itself.)
My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it. (The famous example of Kekule working out the structure of benzene in his sleep is well-known.)
The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display.
But how to persuade creative people to do so? First and foremost, there must be ease, relaxation, and a general sense of permissiveness. The world in general disapproves of creativity, and to be creative in public is particularly bad. Even to speculate in public is rather worrisome. The individuals must, therefore, have the feeling that the others won’t object.
If a single individual present is unsympathetic to the foolishness that would be bound to go on at such a session, the others would freeze. The unsympathetic individual may be a gold mine of information, but the harm he does will more than compensate for that. It seems necessary to me, then, that all people at a session be willing to sound foolish and listen to others sound foolish.
I do not think that cerebration sessions can be left unguided. There must be someone in charge who plays a role equivalent to that of a psychoanalyst. A psychoanalyst, as I understand it, by asking the right questions (and except for that interfering as little as possible), gets the patient himself to discuss his past life in such a way as to elicit new understanding of it in his own eyes.
In the same way, a session-arbiter will have to sit there, stirring up the animals, asking the shrewd question, making the necessary comment, bringing them gently back to the point. Since the arbiter will not know which question is shrewd, which comment necessary, and what the point is, his will not be an easy job.

Preparing for Nanowrimo

Nanowrimo founder Chris Baty and some people from Blurb talk about the event.  I think you can see the talk at the link. This link will work better.

One of the things they discussed was the traveling shovel of death.
People rushing to make their plots work sometimes run into the sort of difficulty that smashing a character in the head with a nondescript shovel can solve.
I am not going to tidy the stuff below up.  The very rough notes below are what I wrote while listening to the talk.

NANOWRIMO's Chris Baty talks about the event

The main Problem creating a work of art is "Not a lack of talent but a lack of a deadline".
"Let your creativity fly"
"Up to 10 New York Times bestsellers; including "Water for Elephants", "Night Circus"

Common objections
"I don't have the time, the talent, ..."
"Nobody has the time to write a novel, but everybody can find the time.  [working on nanowrimo]...Makes reading books more interesting."
"If you've got a million things to do, then 1,000,001 isn't that big a deal.  If you've got nothing to do, then one thing is a big investment."

nuts & bolts of doing Nanowrimo:
Writing totems, hats and dragons - toys or mascots to motivate you.  What can I carve?
Doug Tiffin  –  Get the beginning, middle and end in 30 days, not a finished novel. But be sure to get an ending.  Have gaps but include an end.
What is better, "Plotting v Pantsing"?
By the seat of your pants.  I don't know which is better.... find a middle ground.
Start out each day by planning what will happen in this one writing session.
I like having a set of story peaks or events so I can work at different locations in the story if the story stops in one area, I can continue in another area.

Avoid oily snacks - don't mess up the keyboard
Carrots or celery and coffee.
Writing challenge - you can't go to the bathroom until you write 1000 words.

best advice for 1st time participant:  "Know that you can do this.  There is a great distance between where the book is now and where it will be."

plot bunnies - Plot ideas can breed like rabbits until you have more idea than story.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Professional musician? Hope you got a day job.

Does creativity pay enough to live on?
  I don't know much about Iggy Pop but I do [EDITTED: too fast typing earlier. I'd written "I don admire..."  Crazy stuff.  Sorry]   admire his voice and know he's more than moderately famous and skilled at his work.  He needs to moonlight?
To keep skinny body and maverick soul together, Iggy’s become a DJ, a car-insurance pitchman and a fashion model. If he had to live off royalties, he said, he’d have to “tend bars between sets.” As I listened to his enthusiastic stoner Midwestern drawl, I thought: If Iggy Pop can’t make it, what message does that send to all the baby Iggys out there? In a society where worth is judged by price, for better or worse, what are you saying to someone when you won’t pay for the thing he’s crafted?
A few days before Iggy’s lecture, Australian novelist Richard Flanagan won the Booker Prize, the most prestigious in the literary world, for his Second World War story The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Just in time, it sounds like: Mr. Flanagan told reporters that he was making so little from his writing that he was thinking about packing it in and becoming a miner. (He comes from a small mining town in Tasmania.) The prize money of about $90,000 and the following sales bump will allow him to continue, but most of his colleagues aren’t so lucky: “Writing is a very hard life for so many writers,” he said.
The link above references a lecture by Mr Pop.  Here is a transcript.

[Added later (Oct 22)]: More on the subject:
People who graduate with a degree in the Arts generally have to deal with high debt and low prospects for earning a sustainable living as working artists.
That's the big takeaway from a new report from BFAMFAPhD, Artists Report Back: A National Study on the Lives of Arts Graduates and Working Artists [PDF]. The short version: “the fantasy of future earnings in the arts cannot justify the high cost of degrees.”
Way off topic:
Write or Die is software that offers a stick to encourage you to return to writing.  Actually, now it offers sticks (scary spider pictures) and carrots (cute puppies or the like) depending on your wriitng output.

I don't know how to use these new icons, but Google has made them freely available.

Friday, October 17, 2014

advice on drawing and lessons on movie making

On Quora: "Is my drawing worth selling?"  The top rated answer is sympathetic but honest - no, it is not.  The responder does give some interesting and apparently useful advice (Drawing is a skill I want to be good at, but haven't put the time into, and I have shaky hands - computers are a wonderful invention - so I qualified the above with 'apparently').
Here's two ideas for you to play with - the first one, just draw to copy it; the second one, get a photo of yourself and enlarge it to at least 8x10, and then cover one half of the photo with plain white paper, and then try to draw the opposite side of the face - the examples are below.  The first one has guideline in it to show you the proportions and layout of the face and facial features.  And in case you are wondering why to do this, it will help you see more clearly how the face appears and is drawn, and will give you good experience.   I do suggest a class, it's the best way to learn.
The examples are probably at the link above or definitely this one.
Every Frame a Painting is a tumblr of excerpts from movies explaining what makes them great.  I am not sure if the above link will show what I want it to, which is a dissection of a scene from Silence of the Lambs - I don't see individual post links.  Anyway, interesting stuff even for movie watchers, much less for makers.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Cicada Magazine wants stories

and they pay 25 cents a word (and it is time for me to learn how to get the green characters on my computer's keyboard.  The '4' key has $ as a shift and the 'cent' in green).
The stories should be about tricksters or thieves:

Cicada magazine, a cultural arts publication for young adults, is inviting writers to submit stories for a forthcoming issue on Tricksters and Thieves. This issue will include stories of pirates, hustlers, and charlatan gods; scrutinies of bewitchment, enchantment, deception, and other guiles of illusion; and inquests of the trickiness of the real self in a field of performances.
NorthWoods Literary Festival in Muskoka
Sixteen acclaimed, award-winning Canadian authors are bringing their talent to Bracebridge for the NorthWords Muskoka Literary Festival, Oct. 3 to 5. It’s an opportunity to meet the authors, learn about their books and inspiration, do some early Christmas shopping for book-lovers on your list, and get those burning questions about a writer’s life answered – all while savouring delicious meals catered by Bracebridge restaurants....Nipissing University provides the venue for the first two events on Friday, Oct. 3. Authors Michael Wuitchik and Anne Lazurko are joined by three literary agents and a publisher, to present a fiction workshop for aspiring writers. Over the afternoon, writers have the opportunity to book a pitch session with the agents to receive feedback on their current projects. An evening wine/beer and hors d’oeuvres reception follows, featuring Giller-nominated author, Anthony De Sa and best-selling author, Terry Fallis who will entertain with their unique brands of humour. Although Anthony’s newest novel, Kicking the Sky, addresses a dark period in the history of Toronto’s Portuguese community, he exudes warmth and humour. The immense wit of Terry Fallis, author of No Relation, matches De Sa and ensures a great time for all. Fallis’ newest book, No Relation, about the effects of being cursed with the name of a famous person like Ernest Hemingway or Marie Antoinette, is full of chuckles and laugh-out-loud moments.

Where should you live to create art? And Raiders in Black & White

If you can work from home, where should you move your home to?  Chang Mai, Thailand and Prague, Czech Republic are apparently the best places.
Alex Tabarrok of Marginal Revolution wonders about purchasing power parity as a criterium.

Steven Soderbergh, ah, adjusted the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark to better watch the staging or framing of the movie without distraction.  He removed all audio and added a music track and removed the colour.  The movie stands up and the framing explains all it needs to.
What Brainstorming can teach you: As I understand the blog post, being told to accept any idea, however crazy, removed only some of their mental blocks: studying the results displayed a big one they are accepted as elemental or as obvious as air.  Teachers were asked to offers ways to reduce traffic congestion from student drop-offs and pick-ups.
In this case, the impossible ideas have a common thread: rather than try to change traffic, they all seek to remove cars from the traffic congestion equation altogether. This produced an "ah-ha" for all involved and led our principal to favor strategies that would help her remove - rather than attempt to change - traffic.
science and design well-integrated.