Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Writing Prompt

Friday, February 5th, 2010

I was poking through “The Observation Deck” (Naomi Epel) – pick a card at random and look up its description in the book, then use it as a starting point for writing.

I pulled “Choose the right name” – which concludes with an interesting exercise:

Brainstorm a list of interesting names, or pick one from the phonebook. Then sketch a written portrait of the person who might bear such a name. Assign an age, occupation and marital status. Describe hobbies, mode of dress and favourite foods. Think of three other names such a person might bear.

Writing Challenges & Uncomfortable Questions

Friday, June 19th, 2009

A friend at the local St Louis Podcaster’s Meetup group suggested I listen to a nice little podcast called “Writing Challenges“. I had no idea going into it that the podcast comes from a Brit – a delightful surprise – always nice to get a dose of the accent. (especially today, the day when I go to swear-in at the court house to become an American citizen!)

Another suggested podcast was “Uncomfortable Questions” – fascinating interview format which gives an insight into a whole variety of people’s believes / philosophy. My only complaints are (a) she pod-faded back in 2008, (b) the host has probably the third worst/most annoying voice I’ve ever listened to (coming in behind Captain Janeway of Star Trek Voyager at #1 and radio ads for Ray Vinsen’s mortgage company at #2). Sadly the sample set for the podcast gives the content a somewhat skewed and unbalanced leaning toward a particular world-view, as the host acknowledges at one point. Still, a fascinating insight into a particular segment of society and what they believe!

Script Frenzy 2009

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Yes, I am doing it.

Chronicles of Riddick : Underverse Come

Balance is everything to Elementals:
Water to Fire —
Earth to Air …
… ‘Verse to Underverse.

“Balance is everything to Elementals.

Water to fire, earth to air. We have thirty-three different words for this balance.

This foolhardy Necromonger quest has disrupted Balance in twenty-six of its thirty-three tenses. If you were any lesser man, I would say we are doomed.

But you’re not a lesser man, are you Riddick?”

The question is, will I finish it this year? 🙂

Turn of the year

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Bilbo’s walking song (as he is leaving Bag End, in “Fellowship of the Ring”) seems somehow appropriate:

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

Yay me!

Monday, December 1st, 2008

I just wrote over 50,000 words in a month!

50,000 words in a month – and the massive sprint at the end, 10159 words in a single day!

Nano is here…

Monday, October 27th, 2008

The “national novel writing month” is coming up fast! The schedule looks a little like this:

Day Goal
Sat, Nov 1 1667
Sun, Nov 2 3333
Mon, Nov 3 5000
Tue, Nov 4 6667
Wed, Nov 5 8333
Thu, Nov 6 10000
Fri, Nov 7 11667
Sat, Nov 8 13333
Sun, Nov 9 15000
Mon, Nov 10 16667
Tue, Nov 11 18333
Wed, Nov 12 20000
Thu, Nov 13 21667
Fri, Nov 14 23333
Sat, Nov 15 25000
Sun, Nov 16 26667
Mon, Nov 17 28333
Tue, Nov 18 30000
Wed, Nov 19 31667
Thu, Nov 20 33333
Fri, Nov 21 35000
Sat, Nov 22 36667
Sun, Nov 23 38333
Mon, Nov 24 40000
Tue, Nov 25 41667
Wed, Nov 26 43333
Thu, Nov 27 45000
Fri, Nov 28 46667
Sat, Nov 29 48333
Sun, Nov 30 50000

Basically, about 6 pages of story every single day. My goal, however, is to push hard early in the month as I am preaching twice (Nov 23 and 30th) so I need some sermon preparation time. Thankfully the first few days are a weekend and I can reasonably expect to get a rocket boost on the words. All of the words, as they’re written along with a log of progress will be posted to my Nano progress website.

Writing Tools

Friday, September 12th, 2008

The author of the “Scrivener” writing tool has a really useful page detailing a bunch of other writing tools for both Mac and Windows. With Nanowrimo just around the corner something like that might just be worth a look.

I have a strange process when it comes to writing. I guess it’s a sort of “break it down and plan the blocks” process, but it involves wrangling a stack of index cards. These can contain anything from

  • Character ideas
  • Scene ideas
  • Themes
  • Activities
  • Must-have plot points
  • etc.

I generally pull out the list of plot points / scenes and then sort them into a semblance of order. Clearly there will be gaps so more cards get written and filed with the ideas or with the more concrete scenes. Since Nano is 30 days long I like to then use 1 – 30 month dividers so I have a small number (1 – 3) scenes each day that I need to write.

I guess the index cards are my way of “storyboarding” without the torture of drawing anything, these are word pictures and sketches. No software I know can replace the tactile feel of sitting on the floor with 50 index cards spread out randomly around me and the very, very basic organization of tossing them into piles, then organizing the piles. At least, no software that I know of. 🙂


Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Every year during the National Novel Writing Month they publish a weekly podcast called “WrimoRadio“. I have been consistently impressed with the quality and have thought to send in a small editorial piece to them but was too busy with other things (like writing a 50,000 word novel in a month). I am very tempted to send in the “plot bunnies” piece this year though.

I was on Facebook and noticed Chris Baty (founder of the National Novel Writing Month) changed his status to “Chris Baty needs a WrimoRadio producer so he doesn’t die in November.”

Podcast production is something I enjoy, I have the hardware investment and the previous experience. Should I ping him and offer? With everything else I am doing that would be one more reason I might not make 50,000 words. On the other hand I could put it on my resume – “podcast production for the National Novel Writing Month” – so it has its benefits too. Maybe I am oversimplifying what it would take … it wouldn’t be the first (or the last) time I’d done that!

Random bits

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

A couple of news stories on the English “Daily Telegraph” news site caught my eye. First one that said:

Legal bid to stop CERN atom smasher from ‘destroying the world’

The world’s biggest and most expensive scientific experiment has been hit by a last minute legal challenge, amid claims that the research could bring about the end of the world.

James Gillies, spokesman for CERN, insisted that despite the huge amounts of energy the Large Hadron Collider will produce, it posed no risk to the safety of the planet.

He said: “The case before the European Court of Human Rights contains the same arguments that we have seen before and we have answered these in extensive safety reports.

The Large Hadron Collider will not be producing anything that does not already happen routinely in nature due to cosmic rays. If they were dangerous we would know about it already.

“We are now concentrating on firing the first beams around the collider and then on fine tuning it until we can get collisions, when the science will start.”

A spokesman for the European Court of Human Rights confirmed the lawsuit had been lodged and the petition to obtain an emergency injunction against CERN was rejected. She said: “There will therefore be no bar to CERN carrying out these experiments but the applicants can continue with this case here at the ECHR.”

and then, another story

JK Rowling ‘delighted’ at decision to ban Harry Potter encyclopaedia written by a fan

JK Rowling has spoken of her “delight” at winning her copyright battle against a fan who planned to publish a Harry Potter encyclopaedia.

She had described the Harry Potter Lexicon as “wholesale theft” of her work.

In court papers, Mr Vander Ark, 50, said he was a teacher and school librarian in Byron Centre, Michigan, before recently moving to London to begin a career as a writer.

He said he joined an adult online discussion group devoted to the Harry Potter books in 1999 before launching his own website as a hobby a year later.

Since then, neither Rowling nor her publisher had ever complained about anything on it, he said.

In his court statement, Mr Vander Ark said the Lexicon “enhances the pleasure of readers of the Potter novels, and deepens their appreciation of Ms Rowling’s achievement”.

Rowling, who has earned £560 million through the Potter books, told the judge she had not brought the case for the money, but because the Lexicon was “atrocious” and “sloppy” with “very little research”.

The seven Potter books, which ended last year with the final book in the series, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, have been published in 64 languages, sold more than 400 million copies and produced a film franchise that has pulled in 4.5 billion US dollars at the worldwide box office.

On the one hand Science and on the other Fiction. Totally me. Add to that the “geek” factor that I am running the new Google Chrome web browser (and loving it)!

I wonder, in the JK Rowling story, when it says “adult online discussion group devoted to the Harry Potter” if that means it was a group for grown ups, or whether the tone of the postings were “adult” in nature. If it’s the latter I can clearly see why Rowling would object – slashfic ought to have nothing to do with a kid’s genre book! Authors have a tenous (at best) relationship with fan fiction writers. Some encourage it (Rowling has said in the past that she was “flattered” that people wanted to write their own stories based on her characters), some tolerate it, others actively try to stamp it out (Anne Rice has consistently and aggressively prevented fan fiction based on any of her characters, as has Raymond E. Feist and Anne McCaffrey).

BBC Writing Prompt

Friday, September 5th, 2008

The BBC Website reported

Distinctively odd
For the past 30 years, the Bookseller magazine has awarded a prize to the oddest book title it can find. The first ever winner was Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice

Mind-boggling as that is, it is far from the strangest. Now the top prize has been won by the 1996 magnum opus Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers, published by the Hellenic Philatelic Society and edited by Derek Willan.

They finished by saying:

We want to give listeners a chance to construct their own stories, inspired by the titles which have won every year.

The Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year

  • 1978: Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice
    (University of Tokyo Press)
  • 1979: The Madam as Entrepreneur: Career Management in House Prostitution
    (Transaction Press)
  • 1980: The Joy of Chickens
    (Prentice Hall)
  • 1981: Last Chance at Love: Terminal Romances
  • 1982: Population and Other Problems
    (China National Publications)
  • 1983: The Theory of Lengthwise Rolling
  • 1984: The Book of Marmalade: Its Antecedents, Its History and Its Role in the World Today
  • 1985: Natural Bust Enlargement with Total Power: How to Increase the Other 90% of Your Mind to Increase the Size of Your Breasts
    (Westwood Publishing Co)
  • 1986: Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality
  • 1987: No Award
  • 1988: Versailles: The View From Sweden
    (University of Chicago Press)
  • 1989: How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art
    (Ten Speed Press)
  • 1990: Lesbian Sadomasochism Safety Manual
    (Lace Publications)
  • 1991: No Award
  • 1992: How to Avoid Huge Ships
    (Cornwell Maritime Press)
  • 1993: American Bottom Archaeology
    (University of Illinois Press)
  • 1994: Highlights in the History of Concrete
    (British Cement Association)
  • 1995: Reusing Old Graves
    (Shaw & Son)
  • 1996: Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers
    (Hellenic Philatelic Society)
  • 1997: The Joy of Sex: Pocket Edition
    (Mitchell Beazley)
  • 1998: Development in Dairy Cow Breeding and Management: and New Opportunities to Widen the Uses of Straw
    (Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust)
  • 1999: Weeds in a Changing World
    (British Crop Protection Council)
  • 2000: High Performance Stiffened Structures
    (Professional Engineering Publishing)
  • 2001: Butterworths Corporate Manslaughter Service
  • 2002: Living With Crazy Buttocks
    (Kaz Cooke – Penguin)
  • 2003: The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories
    (Kensington Publishing)
  • 2004: Bombproof Your Horse
    (J A Allen)
  • 2005: People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It
    (Gary Leon Hill – Red Wheel/Weiser Books)
  • 2006: The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification
    (Harry N Abrams)
  • 2007: If You Want Closure In Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs
    (Simon & Schuster US)

If that doesn’t make for a fun writing prompt, I don’t know what would!