mbarker: (Smile)
Over here, David B. Coe blogged about "You Can't Teach Passion." And...

For some reason, the title, "You Can't Teach Passion," kind of itched whenever I saw it. So I've been thinking about why that feels like fingernails on a blackboard to me.
You can't? )
You can't teach passion. But you can quench it, so easily. And, on the gripping hand, you can encourage passion. Heck, you might even find a teacher cheering you on. And that's real learning.
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
Now that was odd. A couple of Japanese are biking around Europe on TV, and they wandered into a small town in Czechoslovakia. Where they found a paper store with handmade paper. Among the items for sale was an odd newspaper kind of thing. They asked what this was, and learned that the owner had made paper and done one page at a time silk screening of underground news when the Communists were in charge and such newspapers were crimes.

Think about making the paper, then printing each page one at a time by hand - with the knowledge that getting caught would be severely punished.  That's commitment.
mbarker: (Me typing?)
"The thing is: don't feel that any rule of writing must be hard and fast, and handed down from Sinai. By all means try them all out but, in the last analysis, stick to that which makes you comfortable. You are, after all, an individual." Asimov
mbarker: (Burp)
Or at least flash fiction based on spam.

When the world sends you spam, turn it into spam-ade? That's the premise behind the Weird Tales writing contest at
pull tab to open )
When the going gets weird . . . the weird make spam-ade!
mbarker: (Default)
I'm playing with forms on LJ, so I'll use an LJ-cut to avoid chewing up friends pages.

The first one is a simple worksheet, with the ten questions from Science Fiction Workshop 1.
Hide the form? )
How odd - I don't get the html editor with comments?
mbarker: (Me typing?)
The short version: Good science fiction uses science as a stage for examining human relationships and emotions at the point where we start feeling emotional about technology. So sayeth Alex Terzich, in the midst of a lengthy essay. But is that really what good science fiction is all about?
More musings . . .  )

Good or bad, science certainly play a part in science fiction. And thinking about exactly what that role is might just be useful for a writer of the stuff, right?
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
The Thoroughly Unauthorized Summary of Writing Excuses Episode 3: Killing Your Darlings

In which we learn that sometimes little darlings need to get the hatchet because they just don't fit anymore, that keeping them on tap for the right time and place may make it easier to cut them out right now, and that someone else can see which ones need the axe better than we can. Oh, and Howard spits Diet Pepsi on the table when someone suggests that our first book really should be killed.
Many details . . .  )
Practice cutting your darlings. Write more, and don't worry about cutting this little darling, because you can always make more.

Only three episodes behind.
mbarker: (Default)
Okay, so Sleepy Hollow was on TV here in Japan recently. And given that Johnny Depp was in it, I watched. Kind of interesting, but IMHO a flawed tale. Couple of things irked me.
Clippety-clip, hide the details . . .  )
Nice atmospherics, special effects, and such, but I wish people would pay as much attention to the story as the film settings? If you start off with one question for the audience, answer it! And don't forget, if you have your main character play with a gun in the beginning, by the end of the story, he really needs to drop it on his foot - or do something else useful with it.
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
Just a short sketch from life here in Japan. Hope you enjoy it.

Our little neighborhood supermarket tends to be busy, housewives bustling, kids in their carts, a veritable center of daily commerce gleaming under the ruthless fluorescent lights. So I suppose it was somewhat out of place the other day when I started laughing.
hiding the details . . .  )
When we write, we learn about ourselves.
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
Episode Two of Writing Excuses: Blending the familiar and the original

From over at

This was kind of hard to summarize - lots of great ideas and interplay. So this is rough notes, not a nice transcript or summary, but I think it gives an impression of the episode.

Key Points: First, some discussion about what is meant by combining an ordinary idea and an extraordinary idea to make something unique. Then some discussion of how this juxtaposition changes. Postponed discussion of writing the story you want to write for another time as a can of worms. Third was some talk about keeping up with trends and anticipating them.
Lots of stuff . . . )
Parting thoughts that were excellent: Don't just stand on the shoulders of giants and look around at the view, look far out and take a leap! To improve a book explain the heck out of one unimportant thing, then don't explain some important thing at all. Make sure your original is really original -- if you have a strong familiar, you can probably take a few more steps with your originality.
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
Hum. Nancy Fulda, over at has a list of helpful resources specifically for new writers. And I thought perhaps I would (a) extract the format and (b) put up a list of my own. So, format first (feel free to copy this to your own blog and fill it in):

Resources for New Writers
Books on Writing
Discussion Forums on Writing, Publishing, Etc.
Online Critique Groups
Real Life Writing Workshops
Where to Find Good Fiction
Market Listings

And some of my choices are . . .
tucked away for now . . . )
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
Just a little reflection on the rakugo stories.  It's kind of interesting to watch the daily 15 minutes, with cliffhangers and hooks and conflicts, and to see how the writers have shaped this to fit the weekly 6 days. But there are so many loose ends and characters that seem to demand more time.
Examples . . . )
Frankly, I can see how the last four weeks are going to trundle along and probably end in a stunning climax (the actors have started turning up here and there on TV, explaining that filming ended Feb. 22, and the end is in the can, but it's a secret!). But there are so many loose hairs drifting around - and that's both part of what makes this fun and what will make it as frustrating as can be when they wrap up some part of the main story and characters, but leave the rest unresolved.

Stay tuned, right?
mbarker: (Me typing?)
Okay, I'm behind. But over at Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells are putting out a weekly series about writing called Writing Excuses. It's audio, not text, but I tried the first one today (it was put up Feb. 10) and it was pretty good!
Summary of Episode 1 Brainstorming behind the curtain . . . )Well worth spending some time listening to (only 15 minutes). And despite the term podcast, Firefox was perfectly happy playing this in a popup for me. Of course, it took me a moment to realize that I needed to press the forward icon in the popup window, but that's just me.

And you can find out about Howard's Pepsi habit, too. Now there's a sticky image. :-)


Feb. 18th, 2008 11:45 am
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
I know, it's old and was heavily panned - but it just made it to Japanese TV, and I watched it.
ranting . . . )
The point for the writer, I think, is to keep a tight focus on the plot. has all the details.
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
I think that's the first time I've run into that. The other day Dragon NaturallySpeaking (the dictation software I use) gave me florescent, and while I thought it looked a little odd, Microsoft Word insisted it was spelled correctly.

Since I was in a hurry, I let it go. But then today it came up again, and I thought it looked odd. So I checked. And aha! Fluorescent is the lights (fluorescing and company). Florescent, having to do with flowers, is just a vowel off the mark, but rather different meanings.

So, check those dictionaries! I suppose having blooming lights could be a good thing, but I'm not sure if I'd need a fixture or a vase to put them in :-)
mbarker: (Me typing?)
Very interesting week on the NHK drama. Basically, they started with a bunch of teasers on Monday, then set them all aside and did background sketches of each student this week. I'm guessing, but I suspect we'll pick up the action again on Saturday, with the tension and depth of understanding that the week has given us.
Bits and pieces . . . )One more obvious student, and there's two days left in the week - do a background tomorrow, and then pick up with an action-packed Saturday episode? Sounds like a plan?
mbarker: (Me typing?)
Just spreading the news. Over at you can see all the details, but the main point is that  there's an SF writing contest. Short stories (8,000 words or less), near future (up to about 50 years) of manned exploration. No entry fee, but only one submission per author. DEADLINE: April 1, 2008 (no joke). The moon, mars, orbital habitats, asteroids, spacecraft, heroics, sacrifice, adventure - make us wanta be out there!
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
Hum. [ profile] nancyfulda recommended James Maxey (at in case that link doesn't work)

The point of his posting is talking about the reader's role in writing. Even though we may write in privacy (and wash your hands afterward) we write to be read. And that means we need to have that "invisible" reader well in mind. The unseen reader - and often the composite reader. Maybe it's your first English teacher, friends from your critique group, or just a reflection in the mental mirror, but you target a specific reader - and need to make sure you help them understand what you are writing.

Go read it. And then follow the links in the last paragraph, where several other authors and editors share some of their thoughts about writing.

Worth following the links, I think.

May 2017

7891011 1213


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 23rd, 2017 02:26 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios