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.

Tuesday, May 23, 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.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Incheon Animals: Red-eared Slider

WikipediaTrachemys scripta elegans

This may not be a native species and I saw a sign with one and warnings not to release pet turtles into the local stream.
They look similar but a tiny bit bigger than the painted turtles near my home.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

TWIC:Grant Snider, habits,

I'm a big fan of Grant Snider's comic and will probably buy his book, if I don't win it in a giveaway. Here he talks about creativity (podcast). Another podcast; this one includes a giveaway. - You can play the podcast on the website or click the last link "Embrace the joy with our latest podcast" and you can download it there.

Figures as different as Charles Dickens, Henri Poincaré, and Ingmar Bergman, working in disparate fields in different times, all shared a passion for their work, a terrific ambition to succeed, and an almost superhuman capacity to focus. Yet when you look closely at their daily lives, they only spent a few hours a day doing what we would recognize as their most important work. The rest of the time, they were hiking mountains, taking naps, going on walks with friends, or just sitting and thinking. Their creativity and productivity, in other words, were not the result of endless hours of toil. Their towering creative achievements result from modest “working” hours.
Mason Currey wrote a book on the daily lives and routines of artists (Amazon) that I think covered similar territory. A Harvard Business review of the book:
As I read, I became convinced that for these geniuses, a routine was more than a luxury — it was essential to their work. As Currey puts it, “A solid routine fosters a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods.” And although the book itself is a delightful hodgepodge of trivia, not a how-to manual, I began to notice several common elements in the lives of the healthier geniuses (the ones who relied more on discipline than on, say, booze and Benzedrine) that allowed them to pursue the luxury of a productivity-enhancing routine:
A workspace with minimal distractions. Jane Austen asked that a certain squeaky hinge never be oiled, so that she always had a warning when someone was approaching the room where she wrote. William Faulkner, lacking a lock on his study door, just detached the doorknob and brought it into the room with him — something of which today’s cubicle worker can only dream. Mark Twain’s family knew better than to breach his study door — if they needed him, they’d blow a horn to draw him out. Graham Greene went even further, renting a secret office; only his wife knew the address or telephone number. Distracted more by the view out his window than interruptions, if N.C. Wyeth was having trouble focusing, he’d tape a piece of cardboard to his glasses as a sort of blinders.
A different version of ghost-written. Trish Vickers is blind and was working on a novel.  Her pen ran out of ink but she didn't know and 'wrote' another 26 pages before her son noticed the problem. Luckily forensic experts at a local police station volunteered their time and were able to recover the text. Above is the Boingboing summary link: here is the link to the original.
Not knowing what else to do, she and Simon called the police. To the Vickers’s surprise, officers at Dorset HQ volunteered to work during their breaks and free time, hoping to use their forensic tools to help. And, five months later, the police reported back with success: they recovered the never-written words. Vickers told a local newspaper that the pen she used to write the pages — even though there was no ink left in it — left behind a series of indentations: “I think they used a combination of various lights at different angles to see if they could get the impression made by my pen.”

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Incheon Animals: Barn Swallow

The Korean Barn Swallow. Hirundo rustica.

I heard the chicks and looked around until I saw an adult. It was flying out of an electric meter box. My hand is covering the apartment number.

Eight chicks seems like a lot.

Bird details here.

Click Baitin': Met an accident

Josh Huang on Quora offered a prompt for a story and asked if people could complete one. My response (the prompt is in bold):

I remember I met an accident, but this morning I wake up in my own bed without any pain. You don’t meet many accidents these days. Now that contraception is legally required, it is hard to get pregnant unexpectedly. 
I think back to seeing her yesterday and how she hit me with that club. As if a human powered club would hurt a citizen in in today’s most fashionable garment, the titanium suit. I wonder where she is now.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

TWIC: Sykes' advice, writing platform, writing,

Sykes on Writing
I have some suspicions about this product. Everywriter. It was described to me as a Chinese version of Scrivener but free. Friends who pointed it out admired the Chinglish: stories on everywriter don't have a climax, they have an orgasm. Or so I have been told. I guess I'm an everywriter virgin.

Canadian Embassy in Seoul Blog is promoting a young writers fiction contest. Entries must use '150' in some way - this is Canada's 150 anniversary! I believe this is an international contest so be sure to find the local embassy's information.
non-writers a work. Wait staff don't write the menu, but they might be asked to document how their job works. Here are five tips to help them make intelligible documents.
  1. Create a documentation standard. This will be vital. Without a standard, you’ve failed before you begin.
  2. [This is actually #5. I snipped the intervening ones. Follow the link for the others] Get users to review the documents. Ask them if they can quickly find and understand the information they need. Modify the documents based on their feedback.
Microsoft Paint is more powerful than you thought.
7 Easy Art Tutorials.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Incheon Animals: Pretty Good Cormorant

I am not certain it is the Great cormorant so I didn't want to exaggerate (wikipedia). Phalacrocorax carbo