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.