While I’m not referring to one of the few non-fiction books by Stephen King although I’ve read it more than five times, I am referring to one of my many hobby projects which is trying to get published in a Sci-Fi magazine named Analog Science Fiction. I’ve almost finished my second story which I plan to submit to the magazine. I’m constantly surprised at how the story evolves and takes a new direction that I couldn’t have predicted. I don’t know that this will be the one I get published and mostly I’m not worried whether it is accepted or rejected so long as the story turns out well. The format is short story so I can collect ideas quickly and submit them without having as much time invested as say a novel.
I’ve developed a lot of tricks during my writing journey and I thought some may have been original. However, I’m finishing a 20 hour audio book named How Star Wars Conquered the Universe which talks a lot about how Lucas developed Star Wars ideas and I realized my simple tricks are most likely obvious methods that many writers probably rediscover on their own. Even so, I still enjoy reading how other people write and develop ideas and all their nifty little tricks and in my own simple ways coming up with ideas to try to pluck those pesky elusive ideas out of thin air. One such example which is not really anything special now that I think about it is just keeping a list of interesting character names and character profiles. I also keep other lists such as plot twists and potential settings or scenes for stories just to name a few.
I’ve also experimented with various pen and paper media (including fountain pens and ink bottles) and I have found that having many areas to sit and take in the scenery and sounds even seems to make a difference. For electronic word processing, I’ve settled on using Ubuntu MATE Linux and LibreOffice Writer. I have it installed on a flash drive so I can boot Linux and my writing tools on several different PCs including hybrid/convertible laptops without having to overwrite Windows that came installed on them. Then much like with various pen and paper combinations I can pick whichever device is most convenient for a writing area such as my back yard wooden swing or a smaller metal frame swing in the front yard or a desk I have in my shop. The flash drive not only has the tools I use on it but also saves my work. I make routine backups of it so I don’t lose anything. Since I don’t have wireless coverage in all these areas especially my metal walled shop, I don’t have to worry about having network access. And while my work likely isn’t worth stealing, I don’t have to worry as much about someone getting their greedy little hands on my work before I release it since the flash drives are mostly isolated and I don’t usually have Linux connecting to the Internet.
Finally, I’ll end with an image that I found on unsplash.com that gave me the idea for this blog entry. I included the photographer’s badge below the picture in case you want to check out more of her photos. I’m going to keep trying to get back into a routine writing blog posts so maybe my next one will be right around the corner. 🙂
I just upgraded my pc to windows 10 creators update which has Microsoft Paint 3d. I didn’t have a lot of time to spend with it so I just did a simple doodle to test it out along with another free app called plumbago which is a notebook writing sketching app. The first image below I did with plumbago and a stylus.
I then saved it as a png and loaded paint 3d and created a simple blue 3d sphere. The eyes, mouth, and north pole err I mean hair are called stickers and you can place them on the 3d objects. Finally, I loaded the first image as a custom sticker and stretched it over the sphere. It also supports 3d text which is what I did the date in. Lastly, I used a yellow light source on the first and red light source on the second and exported them to standard jpg format.
My main problem with plumbago is I couldn’t figure out how to lasso some of the image and enlarge or shrink it. I figure it must be possible but with the ruled lines maybe it disallows it. All in all both programs are pretty neat. I’m sure I’ll try them out again when I have more time so I can gingerly doodle more and hopefully better images. 🙂
the nebulous precipice of dreamy snow-capped peaks
I’ve been thinking about painting lately but not with acrylic or oil but with words. I had been toying around with the idea for sometime already when I started reading a book titled H.P. Lovecraft’s Book of the Supernatural: 20 Classic Tales of the Macabre, Chosen by the Master of Horror Himself. How is that for a long book title. To be honest, horror has always been one of my least read genres. However, my goal as a wannabe writer is to read everything especially genres I don’t care for as much.
As I read the book, it dawned on me that the part I loved most about it wasn’t the stories although they were good too but the essay at the beginning of the book written by Howard Phillips himself called Notes on Writing Weird Fiction which you can read by clicking on the hyper-link. I could read that essay over and over and enjoy it anew each time even though it is extremely condensed. Here is the first sentence from his essay:
My reason for writing stories is to give myself the satisfaction of visualising more clearly and detailedly and stably the vague, elusive, fragmentary impressions of wonder, beauty, and adventurous expectancy which are conveyed to me by certain sights (scenic, architectural, atmospheric, etc.), ideas, occurrences, and images encountered in art and literature.
I’m speechless and in my mind’s eye, I can hear George Takei, saying “OH, MY!” right now. And yes I do hear with my mind’s eye… sometimes. LOL. I’ve known for a long time that one of the horror genre’s strengths is incredible imagery and scenery but I’ve never been able to articulate it anywhere near the level that HP Lovecraft does in his essay. And one final note, what he says or implies about using writing to understand something in your own mind with extreme clarity is another reason I choose to dabble with writing though I’m not naive enough to think I’ll ever be a writer on par with HP Lovecraft.
A final final note, the title I almost used tonight was the nebulous precipice of the xenopus which by the way is an African clawed frog.
Warning. This post may venture out a little farther than normal into the weeds of obscurity and geekiness.
Ok just in the unlikely case that any physicist or philosophical purist happens across this blog entry I hope freckles demonstrates (wow I had to think about subject/verb agreement there 2nd time in this sentence) that I’m being silly and playful with mixing ideas.
Lately, as a result of my OCDness and maybe having too many hobbies, I’ve been thinking about efficiency and as I often do how I can take it to the extreme or if you like Latin or you too are OCD you can read that as ad nauseam or ad infinitum or if you really hate the direction this is going, reductio ad absurdum. So as an exercise of all those at once and hopefully to help illustrate my point, I often try to get two birds (or more) with one stone (or in my case words). The bird thing is an example of an idiom and often leads me down the path of trying to remember the difference in a metaphor, idiom, cliché, euphemism, and trope to name a few. All those words link to http://www. merriam-webster.com which is one of the better dictionary sites because it has a lot of extra information such as word origin, etymology, thesaurus and a rhymes with list (useful if you like writing poetry). So before you get the idea I’m gaslighting, I’ll move on but only slightly. 🙂
So thoughts on why I blog? Here is the short list of birds umm err words:
- to share a story often personal which hopefully at least some people will find interesting. Teh internets is a big crazy place so maybe.
- to practice writing – grammar and content. I know I often get the former wrong.
- to document words and ideas that I have learned that I can share with others who are interested. I do this with many hyperlinks in my blog posts.
- to share useful tech-tips – tools and websites, etc.
- to explore ideas or thought experiments that I think of sometimes that don’t fit into my fiction writing.
- I’m sure there are many others that I can’t think of right now. 🙂
So why the title other than the word “final” being required to participate in the wordpress daily prompt? So I have a long commute to work each day and I often play this recall game in my mind while I drive. It may be that I hear something on the radio or an audio book or college lecture audio that I’m listening to and it reminds me of a word or concept that I’ve encountered in the past. So on this one past day I was trying to remember Boltzmann Brain and all I could picture in my head was this image:
I know disturbing, right? LOL. Well I kept forgetting to look it up when I got home or to the office but I would keep remembering it (the game not the words I was looking for) when i got in the car and started my daily commute. So I spent days in agony trying to remember the words “Boltzman Brain.” Now that I’ve mentioned it here, I’ll never forget it again – it has been etched in the halls of immortality on the Internet. 🙂
So I used the word “final” because I don’t really plan on writing about Boltzmann again (although it is possible) and if I actually believed (I don’t) as part of the theory goes that I and my brain are nothing more than a Boltzman Brain then it would be my last paradox on that subject. And what about poor freckles? Well obviously a reference to Schrodinger’s Cat (yet another paradox) since we were on the topic of physics and paradoxes and let’s just say I opened the box the cat was in (metaphorically) or was it Pandora’s? . LOL. I guess that depends on whether or not someone clicked this link expecting a serious discussion on physics. Well I warned them early on. 🙂 I’ll have to save that discussion for another day.
in infinite pursuit of profound profundity
Pardon my word soup but have you ever noticed how life’s hustle and bustle often impedes your ability to take a moment to stop and reflect? Then suddenly you find yourself clamped down on a sliding table heading into a narrow white tunnel into the abyss jamming to loud music? Wait. What? Ok, so it was just an MRI and and since it was for my shoulder they clamped it down with a vice so I wouldn’t move it during the 35 minute scan. Luckily I’m not claustrophobic or it could have been worse. I think it must have been 15 minutes into the scan when I finally realized hey this is a nice place to stop and think about some fictional story ideas I been kicking around. LOL. I figured it was probably a little like a sensory deprivation tank without the hallucinations.
So I certainly didn’t schedule the MRI to have a good place to stop and reflect but if life gives you lemons or 5 month shoulder injuries or long duration scans… Well you get the picture…
After asking the xray tech to change the pandora channel to different music and still not being able to work on my story ideas very well I finally just reflected on my situation. Here I was stuck in a narrow tube with loud noises from the machine (which is why they give you earplugs and headphones with loud music), my shoulder started hurting even worse, my arm went to sleep and my nose started itching and i couldn’t move without damaging the scan results. And I developed a tooth ache from a crown procedure I had the day before at the dentist that was very painful. I was trying to remember what I had did to karma to deserve all this but to no avail.
When all seemed hopeless and lost, bamm, I started getting all these great ideas for stories and I felt like I had reach flow nirvana if such a thing existed. If you haven’t heard of what a flow state is check out the hyper-links by clicking here or here. It isn’t just for intellectual pursuits or tasks. There are other good pages for learning more about it too and you’ll likely recognize some of what they are describing from your own personal experiences.
Ok so you’re probably still wondering what the title is about for today’s daily-prompt word pursue? Well, probably not but nonetheless, I needed a segue. 🙂
The little MRI experience reminded me of something I learned a long time ago that if you constantly look for opportunities to craft and shape ideas whether for stories or video games (like I worked on in my teenage years) or maybe you just want to spend a little time reflecting on your life, you can often find creative ways to do it on your schedule even if your life doesn’t slow down enough to make it easy on you.
At some point, I hope to write a second part of this exploring ideas of creating your own environments to facilitate thinking or reflecting. Something I experimented with many many years ago when I was making video games. Think of it as a thinking chair or area on steroids. Of course all of this isn’t really that unique and most people have probably already discovered it on their own or read about it elsewhere but I think it’ll still be fun to compare notes. 🙂