Archive | September 2010

The fancy becomes unfancy.

A nice marble lobby that is just waiting for terrorists or vandals. :D

Now, I’m not fully sure what you can do with this information, but I learned that if you pour an acid on marble, you will start to breakdown the marble. That’s how people test to see if a rock is marble or not; they put some HCl on it and if the rock fizzes, it’s marble.

One thought I had, not that I’d endorse this in real life, is that would be one way to get a message across. If you spray enough strong acids against a marble wall, that message is never coming out.

Do not laugh at the science fiction writer.

Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it’s the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself. …Science fiction is central to everything we’ve ever done, and people who make fun of science fiction writers don’t know what they’re talking about.

Ray BradburyBrown Daily Herald, March 24, 1995

I’ve never actually read anything written by Ray Bradbury. (I honestly don’t have the time at the moment.) However, between this and how he defines science fiction, I think he may be very interesting.

Do you eat anything when you write, and if so, what?

What to write when there’s nothing to write.

Without any thoughts.I had this problem a lot and I’ve talked about it a lot. Nothing is coming out. And the fact is, no matter what I say on here, it’s still not coming. Nothing I do is coming.

So here’s my plan. I’m just going to write whenever I can. I’m not going to try to plot out anything. I’m not going to find anything complex. I’m not going to do anything. I’m just going to write.

See, I think it’ll come out similar to Samuel Brackborn. With this story, I just started writing and I came out with what I came out.

My theory with this is that the more I write, and just keep writing, the more plots I’ll get and the more I’ll keep using that part of my brain that I need to use in order to continue writing.

I honestly don’t know if this’ll work, but that is my plan. I suppose as part of my plan, I also need to not watch as much TV. Even though I watch only an hour of TV a day, by the time I get home from studying, have dinner, do dishes and all, I don’t have much time left to myself. So we’ll see how this works out.

How to Kill the Prisoner.

So, perhaps this is a bit controversial, but I found out today how they put someone to death.

  1. First, they put them to sleep. I actually didn’t catch which drug they use, but it’s because by the time they start to die, it actually hurts a bit
  2. They give pancuronium bromide as a muscle relaxant. This actually paralyzes the diaphragm and is used for hunting monkeys in Africa.
  3. They give plain, boring potassium via an IV push. That means that they take the potassium and just shove it into the person as quickly as they possibly can.

The person will actually die from the heart not being able to handle the excessive potassium and throwing itself into a dysrhythmia. Then, the person dies and all is done.

To be carried along downstream, or to fight against the rocks, branches, and everything else

I’ve been thinking a lot about reactive writing. See, I read that in general, a story can be made up of three basic crises, and each one with the possible exception of the first one caused by the character reacting to the previous crisis, and thus causing the next one.

Initially, I thought that was ridiculous. You don’t need a few good crises tossed in to make a story. You need complications.

But what is complication?

Allow a momentary side note on my part. I quoted someone who said that your life doesn’t make a good life story. This is true, and I’m going to explain the reason why this relates.

In writing, we can’t just let the problems and complications wash over the hero, and the hero does nothing. That’s why writing a story about my time n school doesn’t work. Yes–things happen. But I don’t react strongly enough to how they react. So I don’t have the money for tuition this semester, well, I’ll take out a loan. So now I get a chance at a special scholarship, well, I’ll submit the papers and see what happens. I don’t decide to cheat on the applications in hopes that no one else will notice, or sneak into the office and steal the other applications.

This is also why journeys don’t work well in writing. In general, a journey has things happen, but they don’t have things that the character can react to happening.

So my new name for this is reactive writing. A story can’t just be about how something happy happened. It has to be how something happened in which a character overreacted and caused even more of a problem.

Unfortunately,  I’m not doing so well at this in something I’m writing now, but hopefully with much editing it will come out.

So, how reactive is your writing?

Styles of Writing

What kind of fiction do you write?

What kind of fiction do you wish you could write but know you don’t have enough experience/knowledge to write about it?

Movies for Writing

If you happen to browse through the recently pressed posts on wordpress, you would hvae seen today’s post.  However, if you didn’t, or didn’t find the title interesting, then I have to recommend this post.

I share this also because I have shared how Star Trek began my writing career. Because of that, and because Star Trek is really awesome as it is, especially the new movie with JJ Abrams, I am automatically attracted to anything with Star Trek.

World-building is something a writer must employ to assist or accentuate the core conflict. Our goal as writers must be to get a reader to relate and connect. People connect with people, not worlds.

I think those two lines are the most important of the whole entire post. To be honest, I love world building. I love coming up with how the world changes and the what if’s of writing. However, as a science fiction writing, I need to remember that the story needs to focus more on the people, with the background as an extra bonus.

It’s like a song. Having a good story with good characters is like having an awesome catchy beat to your music. For a long of people I’m finding, the words of a song don’t matter, so long as the beat is good. But, if you can draw in some beautiful, moving words that match the music, then you have something that people love.

Anyway, here is the whole post. And just like her, I recommend the newest Star Trek and wait eagerly for the next one.

What Star Trek can Teach Us About Writing.

Use your brain!

I encourage you to please seriously consider these words, because more often I am finding in movies the existence of plot holes that should have been addressed and yet are left unattended like an open sore. Know this: Few manuscripts with a plot hole will survive much longer than ten years.

Many books require no thought from those who read them, and for a very simple reason; they made no such demand upon those who wrote them.

Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon, 1820

Three Tools of Proofreading

(Abigail Side Note: I’m sorry about the nothingness of last week. I”m trying to juggle a new semester and about five new responsibilities. Hopefully things will start to balance out soon.)

Proofreading, which is basically just like editing, is something that everyone needs to do. No one should bang out ten pages of some random paper and call it a day. I have discussed elsewhere the benefits of editing but I think that the tools of the trade must be understood.

1) Spell checker. I will admit, I love spell checker. I am a horrible speller. I just learned last year how to spell “necessary”. Before that, spell check picked it up for me. One of the first things I do after I’m done writing is run a spell check on it. That clears up all the obvious errors.

That being understood,

You cannot rely on spell checker.

Seriously. There are so many similar words, like dug and drug, rely and relay, defiantly and definitely, summery and summary. None of these words mean the same thing, but they will show up as correct on spell check.

Also, a spell checker can’t distinguish between  parts of grammar. If I drop an -ly from a word, it won’t know. It just looks at what you wrote, and compares it to what it finds in the dictionary.

That being said, we move on to tool number two.

2) Eyes. Imagine the horror of actually having to do something  manually. </sarcasm> Seriously though, you do need to actually read though what you wrote slowly, looking for all those little errors that spell check missed, and typos you made. Usually, when you do this, something that made sense before might not actually make sense anymore. Understand: That’s Okay! That means you found a place that you’ll have to edit anyway later.

3) The Pen: This is going to seem like a nuisance, but, having a pen handy to mark where your mistakes are is a very valuable tool. Wait–I can’t mark with a pen on my computer. That would ruin it! Well, then that means you probably want to print it out.

See, I know that it may seem like a waste of trees. And for a long time I thought that printing things out to edit hem was, in fact, a waste of money. But after I have seen how many errors I missed when I didn’t print it out, I learned my lesson. Waste the trees! Your project will love you.

So that’s it. The three basic tools of proofreading. Yes, you can use one without the other, but it isn’t very advisable. You need all three to make sure that your manuscript is as good as it can possibly be.