nebroadwe: (Books)
Diane Duane shows us all how not to behave in the presence of a Plot Bunny here. Heed the warning! Take heed!
nebroadwe: (Bear)
The good folk of Making Light are having fun with a meme:
He only uses prepositions when it is entirely necessary. He doesn’t misplace commas: he helps commas go into the Punctuation Protection Program. The characters in his novels send him fan letters. ... He once wrote a story that consisted of a single sentence which was serialized in three issues of The Paris Review. ... When he was in a coma after an automobile accident he made his deadline anyway. A copy-editor once queried one of his sentences -- and he allowed her to live. ... People read his prologues. His grocery lists have gone for six-figure advances at auction. Grammarians adjust their rules to match his realities. He is the most interesting writer in the world.
The rest to be found here -- share and enjoy!
nebroadwe: (Bear)
James MacDonald got it started over at Making Light:
You got problems with your writing
She said to me
The answer’s easy if you
Put your B in C
I’ll show you how to move along
When you find you’re up a tree
There must be fifty ways
To plot your novel.
But I must say my favorite comes from Stephen Frug in the comments:
A man throws down his pencil
He says why am I stuck in the middle now
Why am I stuck in the middle
The rest of this book is so hard
I need a writer's resort vacation
I want a shot at a Nebula
Don't want to end up a remainder
On a remainder table ...
Share and enjoy!
nebroadwe: Write write write edit edit edit edit edit & post. (Writer)
Pale in the gray dawn,
a frozen puddle preserves
night's scattered snowflakes.
nebroadwe: (Bear)
Thanks for the gift, [ profile] evil_little_dog! Om nom nom ...
Until the first flake
Melts on the tongue, can we say
It's truly winter?

nebroadwe: From "The Magdalen Reading" by Rogier van der Weyden.  (Default)
My local goddaughter's younger sister, N, has the makings of a writer.

I was checking her homework last night and she handed me a set of comma usage exercises. (Serial comma usage, ha! Take that, Associated Press!) She was to take several short descriptive sentences and combine them into one long descriptive sentence; thus
The train was noisy.
The train was fast.
The train was crowded.
became, in N's careful handwriting,
The train was noisy, fast, and crowded.
And so on ... until I came to #4, which read:
The candy was red.
The candy was yellow.
The candy was striped.
Here N balked and produced
The candy was red and yellow striped.
Which did indeed sound better when read aloud than
The candy was red, yellow, and striped.
but, sadly, did not demonstrate the skill required by the exercise. "Ohhhh," N said, enlightened, and pulled out her eraser.

I'm glad she agreed with me on the purpose of her homework, because I'm pretty sure "red and yellow striped" should have been hyphenated, but not how. ("Red- and yellow-striped"? "Red-and-yellow-striped"? I want more context: are we talking about red candy, yellow candy, and striped candy or some candy that's red-striped and some yellow-striped or candy that's striped in both colors?) Anyway, I like N's ear for rhetoric. You go, kid.
nebroadwe: From "The Magdalen Reading" by Rogier van der Weyden.  (Default)
From a lecture by T.S. Eliot on John Milton, read 26 March 1947:
I believe that the scholar and the practitioner in the field of literary criticism should supplement each other's work. The criticism of the practitioner will be all the better, certainly, if he is not wholly destitute of scholarship; and the criticism of the scholar will be all the better if he has some experience of the difficulties of writing verse.
Amen, brother. Amen.
nebroadwe: (Books)
More kerfuffle has erupted over a leaked draft of Stephenie Meyer's next planned novel in the Twilight series. Observers are divided over the author's decision to shelve the project, but until Nora Roberts weighs in, I think Diane Duane has the best analysis of the situation:
The line that brought me up short was this one:

With writing, the way you feel changes everything.

It's an endearingly tyro-like way to feel about the craft (IMO). A lot of us go through this stage early on. But she's still in her novitiate, let the Times Bestseller List imply what it may; so odds are she'll be over this way of thinking by the time she's beyond her tenth or fifteenth novel. By then she'll have discovered that writing a novel is a job of work, like building a bookshelf or driving a truck: you don't have to wait for inspiration or the right mood, you just do it. (In fact, writing is one of the very best ways of changing your mood. A highly effective way to get out of the dumps is to write something where the plot requires the characters to feel cheerful. It's like smiling when you don't feel like it: it forces your brain chemistry to change to match.)
Word. This is, in fact, the most important thing I have learned thus far from writing fanfiction. I just wish I had been able to figure it out while I was writing my dissertation. (Also the fact that, being a morning person, I have less of an activation barrier to get over if I start writing as soon as I get up. Duh.)

Some further useful discussion follows here (nested among the snark).
nebroadwe: Write write write edit edit edit edit edit & post. (Writer)
This one's for you, [ profile] nateprentice, and your lovely wife:
Ah! Alone at last,
Two forms make one silhouette,
Limned by candles' light.
Remember to blow them out
Before wax drips on the cake.
Many happy returns(es) of the day(s)!
nebroadwe: Write write write edit edit edit edit edit & post. (Writer)
Pushing a book truck
Across the worn, pilled carpet,
I pass a window:
Silently thronging the air,
Snowflakes drift earthward. Surprise!
Inspired by yesterday's weather, composed primarily on the edge of sleep last night, and -- mirabile dictu! -- not forgotten by dawn, this poem does not explain why I then dreamed about commuting barefoot to work during a summer flood. Eugh.

Untitled #11 under the cut. )
nebroadwe: Write write write edit edit edit edit edit & post. (Writer)
A malediction uttered by someone known only as louannm on the Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.sf.written, in the direction of a soi-disant author spamming the group with the announcement of his recent vanity press publication:
May your writing be accurately appraised by everyone who comes near it.
Brr. Just hearing that makes me reach for the holy water.
nebroadwe: Write write write edit edit edit edit edit & post. (Writer)
Overnight the wind
Stripped the Norway maples bare.
Now chattering leaves
Cross rimed streets against the light,
Chasing the children to school.
[Crossposted to [ profile] just_tanka here.]
nebroadwe: Write write write edit edit edit edit edit & post. (Writer)
Cash-green roof slates crash
Onto sidewalk, shattering.
Must get a man in.
(What he'll charge makes me conclude
He shingles with dollar bills.)
[Crossposted to [ profile] just_tanka.]
nebroadwe: Write write write edit edit edit edit edit & post. (Writer)
Just to prove that, in addition to dishing it out, I have to take it, editorially speaking ...

My friend Marian today defends her doctoral thesis. In honor of the occasion, I wrote her a limerick: Read more... )
nebroadwe: Write write write edit edit edit edit edit & post. (Writer)
Seeing a wren cling
With tined toes to the railing,
She crumbles her crusts,
Her leavings a picnic feast
And twelve full baskets over.
[Crossposted to [ profile] just_tanka.]
nebroadwe: From "The Magdalen Reading" by Rogier van der Weyden.  (Default)
The artistic problem with zombies, en masse, is the same one that characterizes War of the Worlds-style alien invasions, or migrations of killer bees, or eruptions of long-dormant volcanoes: they're best suited to thematic conflicts on a grand scale -- the limitations of the human intellect when confronted with the complexities of nature, or the assault on individuality by mass society, or the inevitability of death. There's no negotiating with such forces; all that remains is how society reacts under the wheels of the juggernaut. But it's a bit hard to personalize the confrontation between civilization and chaos, whether that chaos is represented as mindless entropy or active malice. One usually ends up following the hero(es) or point-of-view character(s) through a picaresque or a series of vignettes elucidating various facets of the collapse; said characters emerge as types rather than rounded individuals. Those claustrophobic moments of self-defense in the basement or the tunnel or the cave are about as close as such stories get to the personal; it's notable that moments of real intimacy are generally represented as perilous (or fatal) because they distract the individual from the group purpose or the mass threat. Me, I'll take Frankenstein or The Invisible Man over The War of the Worlds or even Invasion of the Body-Snatchers because I prefer the character work required by conflicts between the worse and better angels of human nature and because I find the poetics of despair philosophically distasteful. Hope never fails, even though human endeavor frequently does.
nebroadwe: Write write write edit edit edit edit edit & post. (Writer)
In a recent post, [ profile] fmanalyst pointed out that the creative projects your parents coo over when you're six or eleven look ... different ... when you're thirty or forty. All of my wretched attempts at the visual and plastic arts but one have disappeared into the mists of time, but my parents saved my elementary school writing juvenilia and I have just about everything I've attempted since high school. (Amazingly, it's only a file-drawer's worth of hard copy, though I have a lot more tucked away on the computer.) So, here's a challenge to the creatively-inclined on my f-list: anyone got any work demonstrating his/her early promise that s/he'd care to share? Myself, I'd like to offer a brief helping of fanfiction, based on the characters in my elementary school reading books (aside: anyone else remember Sam, Ann, and Walter?), composed probably when I was six or so:
Read more... )
All very melodramatic, isn't it? I didn't discover comedy until high school, when I made friends with a group of girls who'd been writing a collective novel for a couple of years and they let me play along. Ah, the joy of having an audience: I remember parties where we'd all sit around scribbling and then read out our scenes to each other -- my contributions were usually Monty-Python-esque interludes, filled with pratfalls and slapstick, since I wasn't comfortable with the kissing bits and didn't have enough seniority to suggest major plot developments. But occasionally I weighed in with something slightly less manically silly, though verbal play still drove the plot-engine:
Read more... )
I hadn't yet learned to eschew excess verbiage and I was still in love with other people's phraseology, though I had begun to learn about the ebb and flow of dialogue and the use of metaphor and action to tie a scene together. Still, the most important thing writing stuff like this allowed me to do was make my friends giggle -- the finest compliment on earth.

Anyone? Anyone? C'mon, this isn't embarrassing at all ... :-)
nebroadwe: Write write write edit edit edit edit edit & post. (Writer)
Sound the trumpets! At long last, I've had a novella-length original idea (at least, it's not novel-length but the plot problem seems like it will take more than a short story's worth of verbiage to resolve) that I can shoehorn into my untitled Collect-the-Coupons-Novel's universe (allowing me to make use of some already completed research into history and linguistics and giving me a more focused set of further research goals). It comes complete with title ("Never Gazed the Moon Upon the Water"), main character (the euphoniously named Dionisa Andolça de Aguilar) and front end. The difficulty, of course, is that I haven't quite figured out the back end (also an issue with the Collect-the-Coupons-Novel). But the characters are taking their initial entrances and exits briskly enough, so I'm hopeful. Hence the meter:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
215 / 10,000

I'm going to put it aside for a day or so and let it ferment while I finish "The Weight of the Paper," which I really really really want to have posted for my first anniversary as a fanficcer next week. Especially now that I've finally figured out what Falman and Sheska have to say to each other in the middle section ... Read more... )
nebroadwe: Write write write edit edit edit edit edit & post. (Writer)
By the solemn proclamation of Jo Walton, today is International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, honoring those authors who choose to publish or publicize their work electronically. Read more... )

Various and sundry SF authors are celebrating the day by uploading work to the web. Not being a published author of original work myself yet (and surmising that no one would be interested in my published academic prose), I dug into my hard drive and found the following more-or-less self-contained episode from one of my novels-in-progress ... and herewith release it into the ether. Concrit welcomed.

Title: "The Scrying Bowl" (from [Untitled YA Fantasy Novel] -- I despair at titling any of my original work. Fanfiction titles come easier, for some reason.)
Word Count: ~5000
Warnings: Total lack of context (this is from chapter 2) and substantial implicit referencing of one of the western world's larger meme clusters.
Dedication: For everyone on my f-list who's got an original piece fermenting in a drawer. Per ardua ad imprimenda!


      Alex hovered on the edge of sleep for a while, unable to relax completely. Read more... )
nebroadwe: Write write write edit edit edit edit edit & post. (Writer)
In honor of [ profile] evil_little_dog's natal day, I post this tanka on behalf of Edward Elric:
Stumbling in darkness,
Haunted by whispers until
Light breaks in at last:

Who'd have thought that birthday cake
Could hold so many candles?
What can I say? He's a snarky one, he is.

Many happy returns!


nebroadwe: From "The Magdalen Reading" by Rogier van der Weyden.  (Default)
The Magdalen Reading

August 2014



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