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.”