Sunday, December 31, 2017

Thinkin' about the new year

I have some concerns that don't really fit this blog and are a little too personal for me to share. I wrote a sort letter to myself as a way of thinking through resolutions and such. Here is what I am willing to put online:
I want to be a writer. I have spent a lot of time thinking about writing but not much time actually writing. This mess of an essay doesn't count. I have five Nanowrimo books maybe halfway completed and I need to finish one and try to sell it. I need to do this to see if I can do this professionally.
I made a list of things I want to measure at this camp. They include:
Writing: mostly this should be number of words written that day toward completing a book.
Other Creative: This might be wood carving. I don't know what else but I do want to encourage myself in this area.
Hours spent Outside: I love being outdoors but I hate leaving my apartment. I don't care what the numbers are at first, I only want to know if I should change them.
Hours slept: I nap a lot. It is time to cut back on naps.
Hours spent on the computer: My son is not alone in using the computer too much. It is time to see how long I am sitting here and then decide how long I should be sitting.
Exercise: I think this is clear enough. It is tough for me to exercise in the winter but i have to find something to do.

TWIC: mad science, books, fear, steampunk

Sci Am has a video of their discussion the science of creativity.
A guide to the top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy books. Below is a cropped image, follow the link for...yada, yada.
Follow the link for the full comic.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Bravery and foolishness

 I had it in mind to carve a "Nune-saram" (눈사람). In Korean, this means 'snowman', but 'Nune' can mean 'snow' or 'eyes' so the carving was going to be two big eyes with a tophat, arms and legs. Oh, Korean snowmen (snow-people?) are made of only two segments, rather than the North American three, so a pair of eyes would fit very well here.

It would look something like this.

I am at a camp and will soon be teaching science at the camp. Ah, the subject isn't important. It is important to my story that I am not at home and only brought a few tools with me. I expected to borrow a saw to make cuts of the big chunks of wood so I could remove them more easily.  Out of impatience or boredom, I decided to start the work without the saw.

And so last night, while pushing my gouge with great effort, it slipped from the wood and ran across the back of my right hand.

I will be okay. The blade cut through all the layers of skin but no deeper. The doctor stitched it up real nice and made a pointed comment about how lucky I was; all my tendons are intact!

So, what do I do now? Naturally, I will not carve tonight. But if I can get a saw, I intend to at least do that work. But will I finish this? Or give away all my carving tools? Will I be able to carve again without my hands shaking?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

a scam? - book order reading list book

Added a few minutes after hitting publish: I thought these 'books' were a scam and I still can't say I like the idea of them but I found reviewers on Goodreads who were appreciative of a list that offered a reading order. The author is open about what the books are; there is no subterfuge going on. I won't buy one but I can indeed see the value. Huh, I guess this is a creative way to earn a little money on the side of big authors - and also helping those authors by making their books more approachable.  

I was searching for books by an author I like and found the book:
This 'book' costs $1.31 Can and apparently contains a list of Pattison's books in the order various series should be read.
The author, Rita Bookman, probably an alias,has several such 'books' on Amazon. The first line of the product description says,
 which appears a pro-active defence against such attacks.

For what it's worth, the Wikipedia list of his books is probably sufficient.

I gotta say, this 'book' and the many similar that Bookman has published may be useful. And the amount of effort per word is wonderfully low - these lists probably generate a lot of value per time committed to the work.

Eliot Pattison's website is here. And for the record, his books set in Tibet were written in the following order:

and MANDARIN GATE. (saved you $1.31).

Saturday, December 23, 2017

TWIC: Catching up and Merry Christmas!

I've been giving exams and marking them and organizing grades to fit the bell curve I am expected to maintain and haven't spent much time working on Creativiti Project. and now, I have quite a backlog of links. Here ya go!

200+ Story prompts. These prompts, at a quick glance, didn't do anything for me, but I do like finding a prompt to start from.Ah, I just had another look and I take it back. These two, found quickly, have caught my attention:
K. Wieland has a best of post and this one about story structure.From the latter is an interesting info-graphic which I have trimmed and snipped - see the full version at the link:
Art and science at Nature Ecology and Evolution. Trimmed image - follow the link ...
Depression reduces creativity.

Websites for a 13 year old writing enthusiast.
What all ( maybe some?) writers fear. For full comic, follow the link:
I notice that my links have little to do with Christmas. Well, I still wish you a merry one and all that. Happy Festivus!
Wait, one Christmasy Tweet!

Monday, December 11, 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

Monday, December 4, 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.

Wednesday, November 15, 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.

Monday, November 13, 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.

Wednesday, November 8, 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. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

TWIC: insult generator

Martin Luther Insult Generator. Not exactly creative - well, Luther's insults were creative indeed - but this site is already a collection of generators, so here it is for completion's sake.
I have started Nanowrimo and had a bad start so I have been catching up. I'm writing this on Saturday morning and I don't know if this post will grow or not. If anyone cares, I am now caught up, 5012 words in three days. Yesterday I nearly doubled the required word-count so I am likely to finish strong.  Of course one of my friends involved in the event is at double my wordcount and has the required words for six days.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Nanowrimo started

A Nanowrimo miracle occurred! In the summer I bought a bluetooth keyboard for my phone and computer. Then the bluetooth on my phone no longer connected all the time - it's an old phone. Yesterday, I tried the two again and the connection was smooth and constant. I was ready to type in a variety of locations! Here is one example:

I walked at a slow but constant pace (no choice about the consistency on a machine after all) and typed at a slow and inconsistent pace. I think I was more thoughtful. Anyway, it was forty fewer minutes sitting in a chair so the whole thing was a net positive so far.

Time to dig in on the writing. I've many words to go before I sleep.

Monday, October 30, 2017

TWIC: fonts, distraction, mistakes to avoid, Nanowrimo plot prepping

1,000 fonts to try out. I have mild opinions on fonts. I like Times New Roman (which Blogger says this is, or maybe this is Blogger's version) and I don't know what the big deal is about Comic Sans. There is some value for educators to experiment with fonts. I recall a seminar on the subject; the takeaway was to use three fonts in handouts for students. One each for instructions on what to do, one for the questions for the students and one for examples.
Everything Weisberger has written on his Freewrite in one year. Freewrite is a single purpose platform that is meant to reduce distraction; all you can do is type in one font, no internet. I think my sister had an electric typewriter with more features thirty years ago. He hates it and didn't write very much.  In somewhat related news, I bought a bluetooth keyboard so I could type with my phone and reduce the amount I was carrying. A week or so later, the bluetooth on my phone died. I guess I'll use that keyboard more next year when I have a new phone.
9 mistakes to avoid in CBC writing contest submissions. It feels like I offered this link before but a quick search didn't turn it up. Maybe it is so valuable, I should post it twice!
Chat Nano links form October 26. The official topic was 'plot' and we did discuss it but also a lot of other things.
Plot generator.
using public domain images to make cover art.
Nano's 30 covers in 30 days feature.
Aeon Timeline, an app/tool for keeping your plot organized. Some discount for Nano writers.
Scrivener has a free trial period through Nano and Nano winners get a good discount if they want to buy it.
Nanowrimo has a dedicated topic listing on Quora. I liked this discussion of Michael Moorcock's style of writing.

Monday, October 23, 2017


oops. posted too early. new post with this content -and more! - early next week.

TWIC: Nano prep, computer design, dinosaurs

This week's online workshop on preparing for Nanowrimo focused on Worldbuilding.
World building questions to help you visualize your setting.
Elements of setting.
A map generator I wasn't previously aware of.
I previously mentioned Jerry's Map, a map he has been building for decades of a land that does not exist. Here is his blog. And his website.
Thinking about setting. An ESL worksheet.
A setting worksheet. Here it is shrunk a little:

A reminder for me: The Chatnano commands for Timmy.
In other news:
Google is designing with an eye to fun while Apple is designing with minimalism in mind. I don't know a lot about computers although I have a Windows notebook and an Apple desktop. I should note the differences but I don't use the Mac much - I like it and it has lasted longer than I had expected but my son is always on it. Anyway, The style and features of my Acer computer running Windows 10 are what I imagine they need to be or should be or have to be. I haven't put any thought in to what they could be or what could be different. So articles like this get me considering different options.
Dinosaur Art has its problems but it is not guesswork.
We’re also stacking up fossils with preserved skin and other forms of soft-tissue, giving us direct insight into tissue types and bulk in certain species, as well as evolutionary maps of anatomical evolution. With these, we can make ever tighter predictions about, say, whether a dinosaur was covered in feathers or scales. Sometimes, we get it wrong, as we might have for Tyrannosaurus. Recently described Tyrannosaurus skin impressions suggest that – contrary to all its closest relatives and the expectations based on them – Tyrannosaurus was probably mostly or entirely scaled, and not covered in fluff as we’ve recently assumed. What this tells us is that tyrannosaur skin evolution was more complex than we thought, with some earlier species having feathers, but later species losing some or all of them. But rather than sobbing over the need to scrub feathers from older artwork, artists can be happy about this: our data has taken a step forward, and all future artwork of Tyrannosaurus can be just that little bit more accurate.
Characters. Tips on writing exciting ones.
Bad (and some good) writing advice.
Originality in story telling. Is it possible?
In important but not necessarily creativity-related news, Canada's spy agency has released a malware-fighting tool. I don't understand such things well enough to know if I should download and attempt to use it but for those in the know, it's available.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Incheon Animals: Upupa epops

The hoopoe is a beautiful bird. I knew they could be found in Korea but this is the first one I noticed. It is nearly magpie or blue jay sized but my camera had trouble (or, I had trouble) getting a clear photo. Here are mine and below a few from the Interweb.


Pixdous (this one shrank a little):

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

TWIC: lots of generators, a science of imagination, Gates on NPR

I attended an online prep workshop for this year's Nanowrimo. We discussed a lot of generators for names and such. Here are some:
A human name generator. Superhero character generator. Lists of names with meanings. D & D characters. Character appearance generator. Character backstory.
A google app: Character story planner.
Sci Am looks Toward an Imagination Science.
At the link are a video and PDF of the results of a Neuroscience Imagination Retreat.
The past decade has seen an explosion of research into the psychology and neuroscience of imagination, with rapidly evolving literatures on topics ranging from mind-wandering, daydreaming, mental simulation, theory of mind, and creative problem solving. Despite considerable progress, however, several fundamental questions remain: What is imagination, and how do we measure it? Is imagination a fixed ability, or can it be enhanced through targeted intervention?
Another site for name generators: the Nanowrimo Appellation Station.
Sci Am also discusses how they make infographics, this one on pregnancy in progress.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

TWIC: Notebooks,desks

Snider tells us what to put in our notebooks. The image below was cut so it has only half of his list. Follow the link for the rest!

CBC's guide to writing prizes for Canadians. An excerpt from the 'Fiction' category. There are also non-fiction and poetry categories.
Canadian Tales of the Fantastic Short Story Competition
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: Written by a Canadian, about Canadians, or takes place in Canada
Entry fee: $15
Prize: $500 for first place
Carter V. Cooper Short Fiction Competition (Exile)

Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Entry fee: $30
Prize: $10,000
CBC Short Story Prize
Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $6000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and a 10-day writing residency at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Four finalists will each receive $1000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and publication on the CBC Books website.
Notable winner: Michael Ondaatje
Cedric Literary Awards
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Residents of Western Canada (B.C., Alta., Sask., Yukon) aged 50+
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $3,000
Eden Mills Writers' Festival Contests
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Residents of Canada
Entry fee: $0-$15
Prize: $50-$250
A short one this week. I have spent the past five days at my in-law's farm, celebrating the Korean holiday of Chuseok and spreading rice to dry.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

TWIC: 1702 math text,Terrible Dahl, Money, logos

Rebecca Steel's accompt book.
Book description:
Scope/Content: "Anno 1702" is written on the title page, but within the text, the present year is given as 1701 and as 1702.
Scope/Content: Manuscript mathematical cipher book written in 1701 and 1702 by Rebecca Steele, a young student in Bristol. Pages exemplifying specific mathematical operations and concepts are embellished with calligraphic designs and command-of-hand drawings, and some lessons are dated. Many processes and operations are described in long word problems, including one (p. 30) where Steele is set the problem of figuring her exact age. She gives her birthdate as 28 May 1689 at 8:12pm and the present date as 17 April 1702 at "about 10 in ye morning." She is likely the Rebecka Steele who appears in Quaker birth records for the city of Bristol as a daughter of William and Melior Steele, born on 28 May 1689 in Thomas Street.
Condition: Bound in contemporary speckled calf with blind tooling and metal clasps.
Via pharyngula.
Maybe one reason I am not a published author is because I am a really good guy. Apparently, Roald Dahl was a bit of a monster and look how well he wrote.
How to make $290,000 selling books. Amazon has removed the book, priced as $290,000 from its website.
A Nanowrimo friend interviews author Kelly Morse.
Science Fiction and Fantasy: ruined by Atheism?
Logos drawn from memory. As always, this image was shrunk slightly and the the link has more details. Click to see it somewhat larger.
via Kottke.
I like the idea of text prompts to help me think of a short story. But incomplete doodles will work, too. Here are some interesting completions of a few doodles.

Control room eye-candy (images shrank, etc):

11th century herbal remedy guide digitized.

Boingboing has a summary.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Inktober 1: I had to start somewhere

Well, I have confirmed that I have a goal. That goal is to draw something that doesn't embarrass me. Sigh.
I often draw a version of this on my whiteboard for students to see the difference in tongue position and the importance of sticking their tongue out when they pronounce, "th".

The great artists I have seen and drawn inspiration from all show their warmup doodles on the side. I can't get more embarrassed so I might as well be pretentious.

Incheon Animals: Nephila clavata

Objectively, I know the value of spiders, even though I don't care for them. At least I can expect them to remain in their webs while I look at them, unlike fast-moving insects.  This one, the East Asian Joro spider or Nephila clavata was plenty big and disturbing. But also so very beautiful.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Music of my youth: Doug and the slugs' Tropical Rainstorm

I didn't have any specific taste in music and so drifted where friends and coaches led. One swim coach, who shared a last name with me but probably wasn't related, was a huge Doug and the Slugs fan and played his music while we swam.
I absorbed it while I swam and only later, when I knew the name of the group realized I'd heard their songs on the radio.
 D & S was the first concert I went to on my own, using a friend's ID to sneak in underage. Although this is not a bar or live favorite, D & S was the best bar band I can think of.

Anyway, this is not a love song but a wreckage-after-love-is-over song.
We're nothing more than friends gone their separate ways, no longer parallel lines.
The song has a bitter edge,
Hearing your master call, you finally turned to home
Back to what you see as real
but is more about the recovery
A bond broken, then repaired.
The imagery fits the song perfectly,
Oh, I heard the small-craft warning long before they came
Ah the gales oo were blowing for days
Clearing the pathway of the branches from the storm
I realized that you had made your place
Swept away by a tropical rainstorm on the lower mainland

Inktober starts tomorrow

Inktober is a drawing festival that takes place during October. Drawings have to be in ink - "(you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want)." and posted online.

The website is here. There is a Facebook pageWith the hashtag on Twitter.
Here are the rules:

On Twitter, Abby offers her own prompt list: has lessons and tips for aspiring artists - $14.99 a month. They are mentioned in the video and introduction at the Inktober link. I am not interested but those who actually do this as a hobby might find it useful. SVS has some other content for Inktober.

Seeing the great work of artists doesn't intimidate me much. I have no illusions about my own skills but I hope that my skill does improve through the month. For simplicity reasons, I may post my drawings here once a week. In addition to the prompts above, I often try to draw examples for the subjects I teach. my work here may well include a carefully drawn version of my standard 'TH' pronunciation face. I'll have to check the textbook I am using these days to see what else is needed there. Otherwise, I sometimes like to look at a map or a building schematic while writing to see what actions are possible in the story - I know that I have written four people entering an odanathropter and eight climbing out at the end of the journey - and maybe mistakes like that will be easier to avoid with a few images at hand (Obviously, an odanathropter is an airship shapes like a dragonfly). 

Here are some of Jake Parker's (the creator's) work from 2013. He offers these images in a book, so I have taken care to shrink them greatly.
The image below is from Jake Wyatt. It was posted on the inktober Facebook page on Sept 15, but I don't know how to link to a specific post on Facebook. Here is Wyatt's website and the image below has been shrunk. I don't know the first thing about ink drawing and wanted to see images with colour being used.

Monday, September 25, 2017

TWIC: PErfect, focus, inspiration, sharing, erotica

Grant Snider discusses perfection. I'm a fan of his posters and have bought some for my sister. I want this one, if anyone is interested in helping me with that desire. Actually, I don't want the image below that I deliberately scrunched - follow the link to see the full image:
Boy. I really like the poster but the crumpled version I made to show looks very negative. Really, it is a cheery poster in full.
Focus when writing - and probably any other creative pursuit:
"While writing, shut down email and internet access. All of it! ... We need to practice and strengthen our long-deep writing muscles for most effective — and satisfying — story sinking."
Winnipeg author and actor Anita Daher
The book that inspired Dune!
Anyone who has obsessed over the mythology of Dune will immediately recognize the language Herbert borrowed from Blanch’s work. Chakobsa, a Caucasian hunting language, becomes the language of a galactic diaspora in Herbert’s universe. Kanly, from a word for blood feud among the Islamic tribes of the Caucasus, signifies a vendetta between Dune’s great spacefaring dynasties. Kindjal, the personal weapon of the region’s Islamic warriors, becomes a knife favored by Herbert’s techno-aristocrats. As Blanch writes, “No Caucasian man was properly dressed without his kindjal.”
On Quora, 100+ people share some of their creative work
Selling a book bundle on Amazon. TL;DR: combine the 2 or 3 or # of books into one file, make a new cover and upload it to Amazon.
Describe a cup of water. The lesson Robert Jordan gave Brandon Sanderson.
Should I write more sexy scenes? Part of a newsletter I get From Skinny Artist:
So she was wondering if she should start writing romance novels instead.
Not just romance novels, but “erotica” novels, which I’m told are kind of like the foul-mouthed step-cousin of the romance genre.
When I asked her why she was thinking about changing to this particular niche, she told me that it was because these novels are typically short and sell extremely well. There’s apparently a huge demand for these type of books, and ebook readers are known to buy them one right after another.
But here’s the thing. Tracy has never read an “erotica” book in her life, and she doesn’t particularly look forward to writing one, but she said that she’s tired of putting all of this time and energy into writing her thriller novels year after year only to watch them gather dust on the virtual shelf.
I mentioned to her that although I'm sure there are a lot of erotica authors out there who are selling a ton of books, she was probably going to make herself miserable if she didn’t have a passion (ahem) for the subject matter.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

TWIC: research, comedy, organization

At Quora, a look at different levels of creativity. Joe Velikovsky offered this graph:
Explanation for his 5 Cs at the link.
Norm MacDonald, comedy genius.
I belong to a writing group on Facebook. A colleague asked how best to manage the following word count - I have removed identifying content:
1) 6000 words a month- I have 80,000 words I aim to finish by next Sept - this is my PhD and is of absolute priority.
2) 4000 words a month (1000 words a week) - this is for my blog and to keep my writing sharp and varied
3) 1750 a month (2500 words over 2 months) - these are magazine articles I write for some overseas publications
4) 1000-2000 words a month - these will be for academic journals and are a relatively high priority for an academic. Articles are about 8-10,000 words.
5) 500-1000 words a month - this is for creative writing. 
 For the blog and magazines, he writes in part for publicity - "get my name out there"
I don't have an answer for him but I find his desire to write in different genres and his attempt to be organized at it to be admirable.
A similar question came up on Quora: How do you manage your time when you need creativity to get work done?


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

TWIC: Inktober, CBC, LeGuin, writing, quora,women, Voynich solved, carving tools, tree font

Inktober is coming.

Do submit entries to CBC literary contests. Don't make these mistakes. Here are two:

3. Including your name (and address) in the file
It's impossible to anonymously evaluate a text when you have the person's name sitting in the right hand corner of the last page. Please remove your name and any identifying information from your submission (except the title, of course). We have our own ways to keep track of who you are and what you wrote.

A guide to writing prizes for Canadians4. Sending the wrong file
Are you attaching the proper document? Sometimes we receive frantic emails from people who realize they've sent in the wrong version of their story. Some keep tinkering with it after it's been submitted and want to send a tighter version. By then it's too late. We only accept one version of each entry for evaluation.
A guide to Canadian literary magazines and journals open to submissions
The CBC has a new short story prize; submissions accepted now!
The 2018 CBC Short Story Prize is open for submissions. Canadian writers can submit original, unpublished short stories until Oct. 31, 2017.
The winner will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, attend a 10-day writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and have their story published on CBC Books.
Introduction by Ursula LeGuin to her new Hainish novels collection. An excerpt:
Methodical cosmos-makers make plans and charts and maps and timelines early in the whole process. I failed to do this. Any timeline for the books of the Hainish descent would resemble the web of a spider on LSD. Some stories connect, others contradict. Irresponsible as a tourist, I wandered around in my universe forgetting what I’d said about it last time, and then trying to conceal discrepancies with implausibilities, or with silence. If, as some think, God is no longer speaking, maybe it’s because he looked at what he’d made and found himself unable to believe it.

Usually silence is best, but sometimes I think it’s better to point out some of the gaps, to prevent readers from racking their brains in the effort to make sense out of what doesn’t. People ask, for instance: how did the League of Worlds morph into the Ekumen? or why did mindspeech suddenly vanish from the universe? I can’t answer the first question at all, but I know what happened to mindspeech. I couldn’t use it in a story any more, because when I began to think seriously about the incalculable effects mutual telepathy would have on a society, I could no longer, as it were, believe in it. I’d have to fake it. And though a fiction writer mustn’t confuse her creation with fact, encouraging “the willing suspension of disbelief” is not the same thing as faking.
From Quora: What should male writers think about when writing female characters. This answer reminds men that women are not always thinking about their chests in the way many men are. Here is an excerpt of what not to write:
She rolled out of bed and put on a shirt, her nipples prominently showing through the thin fabric. She breasted boobily to the stairs and titted downwards.
I did not answer that question but I did answer a few. My social media writing is really taking off - but I neglect my blog. I wonder what my priorities are?
I was one of several who answered:

Another question was about prepping -not for the coming zombie apocalypse, but before writing a novel. This list looked good.
The Voynich manuscript has been solved, or deciphered. It is text describing medical treatments for various ailments. It is difficult to find a single bit ot excerpt; I guess this will do:
It is reflected, however, in the illustrated Zodiac wheels of the Voynich manuscript; the additional ingredients can be identified by the trademark patterns on the bathing tubs, a practice of ingredient identification used by many a medieval apothecary on his albarelli (storage jars). Each Zodiac wheel in the Voynich manuscript is populated by depictions of naked female figures in the classical tradition of either bathing in hip baths or in physical exertions.
I briefly mentioned Voynich here, the link in that post goes to the digitized books.---
Using images in English Language Teaching, a free e-book (pdf format found at the link).
I try to carve wood. I know what a stop-cut is. At a carving tools fair, I picked up a few chisels, gouges and blades that I thought were appropriate; at the check out the clerk asked me what I planned to do with them. She then recommended fewer and different tools. Another subject I need to educate myself in. This blog post on wood carving tools will help.
Tolkien reads the Hobbit. This was his first time seeing and using a tape recorder.
A tree alphabet and font. Katie Holden has created an alphabet of trees. Part of it here.
I must admit I don't know how to install new fonts but if you can and want to, you can download it here.
Via Kottke.
Social Justice Warriors are(n't) taking over science fiction.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Music of my Youth: Vangelis I'll find my way home

Ah, synthesizers.  You were so great, way back when.
I remember the synthed voice more and the first two lines more than anything else. Now looking at the lyrics, it's a neat song that rewards reading.

From Lyrics Freak:

You ask me where to begin
Am I so lost in my sin
You ask me where did I fall
I'll say I can't tell you when
But if my spirit is lost
How will I find what is near
Don't question I'm not alone
Somehow I'll find my way home

My sun shall rise in the east
So shall my heart be at peace
And if you're asking me when
I'll say it starts at the end
You know your will to be free
Is matched with love secretly
And talk will alter your prayer
Somehow you'll find you are there.

Your friend is close by your side
And speaks in far ancient tongue
A seasons wish will come true
All seasons begin with you
One world we all come from
One world we melt into one

Just hold my hand and we're there
Somehow we're going somewhere
Somehow we're going somewhere

Somehow I'll find my way home X4

One of the commenters on the Youtube pages asks an important question about this video:
This blogger feels the song is strongly Christian in origin. It does mention soul and sin but I find it more generic.

I think I'll be digging into Yes: Youtube, Wikipedia