Archive for 'projects' Category


Her First Story

A couple days ago La Petita told her first made-up story, front to end. My comments are italicized.

Once upon a time, she started; she knows how to start a tale, there was a little boy name named Chula. She makes up some really strange names. She’s quite good at it and I try to write them down when I can. He ran away from his Mommy and Daddy. He ran into the forest and met a wolf, and the wolf ate him. I asked if the wolf had a name, but not this time. Then, he fell into the ocean (pronounced “oh shan”, BTW) and sharks ate him. The end.

Read the rest of this entry…

Comments Off on Her First Story | Catergorized: kids  writing



Today Literature and Latte announced the anticipated release of Scapple, their “mind mapping” software that compliments Scrivener, my writing software of choice. To get an idea of what it can do for you, check out this video.

One of the motivating ideas behind Scapple was to create a simple-to-use tool to draw out connections and links between disparate notes containing characters, actions, items, or what have you in a manner similar to drawing on paper. What would be wonderful to see eventually is a tablet version that works with a pen, similar to Evernote’s Penultimate. Similar, that is, in it’s simplicity to draw the shapes and connections and have them converted digitally to format, synched to a cloud service, and editable elsewhere.

In the meantime, I’ve picked up Scapple and am excited to start trying it out. Maybe it will help me resolve a sticky plot situation I’ve found myself in with the current story, and even if not at least it will help me visualize the story in a way that words and outlines on screen can’t.

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Pen and Paper

Yesterday I came to the startling (re)discovery that I write, specifically stories, much better with pen and paper than I do on the computer. Despite having tons of great writing applications, especially Scrivener, my pace of thought and idea flow works better when I am physically writing than typing. So I’ve started a new project as a test and am rewriting a short story in a large Moleskine sketchbook that has already progressed further than I expected in just a day of recompiling notes, plots and characters from its Scrivener project.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not abandoning the digital process. I’m just going to work with a method that seems to work better for me at this stage of writing. Once done I’ll pop everything in to Scrivener and do my editing (which I do better on the computer anyways, based on experience) and finalizations.

Ah, pen and paper. How I’ve missed you!

UPDATE: Though I’m using pen and paper, I completely identify with this guy who uses a typewriter:

When I’m using Microsoft Word, staring at that bright screen kind of zaps some of the creative process from me, and there are lot of distractions with laptops. Plus, I’m one of the biggest self-editors. I’ll write something and instead of forging ahead like you should, I’ll go back and start tweaking things. With a typewriter, you need conviction. If you want to go back and fix something, you have to white it out or edit it later. So it helps me sustain momentum and get to the piece.

Comments Off on Pen and Paper | Catergorized: technology  writing


The Magic Circle

The Magic Circle of Rudolf III’ve finished my first book of the year. Not that I started it this year, mind you; I started it probably back in October 2012… But I just finished it the other day. The book: The Magic Circle of Rudolf II by Peter Marshall.

I picked this up for research into a story that I started -and takes place- in Prague a very long time ago. Rudolfine Prague was always an interesting topic for me as you can still see the remnants of the golden age brought on by Rudolf today, and the cultural melancholy that came from his passing and the imminent Counter-Reformation and resultant Thirty Years’ War. Reading the book gave me an inside view of the thoughts, dreams and actions of Rudolf which led to, and depended almost entirely on, his life and peculiarities. Though the goal of the book was to show how Rudolf straddled the line between medieval thought and modern thought during his rule as Holy Roman Emperor, and did a good job of it, I read the book more for historical, character and cultural needs. Alas the coloring needs of writing.

My next task for the book before retiring it to the shelf is to gather all of my notes and put them in my Scrivener file for the project. I’m not sure what I’ll read next, but it’s looking like I might try fiction again: The SFWA European Hall of Fame edited by James Morrow and Kathryn Morrow.

Comments Off on The Magic Circle | Catergorized: books  prague  writing


Three Day Novel Writing

Православни икониI thought this was an interesting thing. Michael Moorcock, possibly best known for his Elric series, wrote many of them in three to ten days by developing a crazy simple formula. Sometime I’ll have to try this out. The story might not have tons of depth but it would be a way to get things done fast…

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Disruptive Hypotheses

Though geared towards businesses, I thought this article applied equally well to writers, especially writers or speculative fiction. That the author quoted George Bernard Shaw helped in seeing this:

The difference between prediction and provocation, to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw’s famous line, is the difference between “seeing things as they are and asking, ‘Why?,’ or dreaming things as they never were and asking, ‘What if?’”

After all, what is speculative fiction but asking, “What if?”

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Advice to Writers

Excellent advice for writers from Nobel winner VS Naipul.

VS Naipaul’s Rules for Beginners

1. Do not write long sentences. A sentence should not have more than ten or twelve words.

2. Each sentence should make a clear statement. It should add to the statement that went before. A good paragraph is a series of clear, linked statements.

3. Do not use big words. If your computer tells you that your average word is more than five letters long, there is something wrong. The use of small words compels you to think about what you are writing. Even difficult ideas can be broken down into small words.

4. Never use words whose meaning you are not sure of. If you break this rule you should look for other work.

5. The beginner should avoid using adjectives, except those of colour, size and number. Use as few adverbs as possible.

6. Avoid the abstract. Always go for the concrete.

7. Every day, for six months at least, practice writing in this way. Small words; short, clear, concrete sentences. It may be awkward, but it’s training you in the use of language. It may even be getting rid of the bad language habits you picked up at the university. You may go beyond these rules after you have thoroughly understood and mastered them.

I should print this out for the members of my writers group. I like that the list is simple and direct.

2 Comments | Catergorized: writing


Periodic Table of Storytelling

Thank you DeviantArt user ComputerSherpa for creating the awesome Periodic Table of Storytelling based off of the sometimes hilarious TV Tropes site (which isn’t just TV). Now if I could just figure out how to use this alchemical mix to get published.

Comments Off on Periodic Table of Storytelling | Catergorized: books  geek  movies  tv  writing


Script Frenzy Info

I’m not ready to participate in Script Frenzy, in which you write a 100 page script in one month (similar to NaNoWriMo for novels). I suppose I could; I have something in the pipe that is pretty much ready to be written but (excuses excuses) I just don’t feel I have the time to write enough every day to keep up. Still, I was looking at their How To page and man, does it have a lot of good information. If you’re interested in script writing and want to start off with easy tips, tricks, instructionals and tutorials then you’d be hard pressed to find a better page than this one. I’m bookmarking everything…

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Rory’s Story Cubes

Rory's Story Cubes iPhone App
Rory’s Story Cubes for iOS
I recently went around the web looking for writer’s tools for the iPhone. Not necessarily for writing applications but for tools to help the creative juices flow. My very favorite discover was Rory’s Story Cubes. It’s a simple idea. Take nine six-sided dice with a total of 54 different, iconic images on them, roll them (or shake them in this case), and tell a story based on the images you see. I’ve done this a few times with Rosa and the results were fun and creative, even for her when she told her stories. I can’t imagine how much fun a young kid would have.

If you’re looking for a way to break out of writer’s block, or simply give yourself a quick challenge, then I highly recommend Rory’s Story Cubes. I’m even tempted to get the physical dice and the expansion actions sets.

Here’s my quick story for the attached picture. Not the best, but I’m throwing this together as I write this post.

While playing around with Story Cubes I decided I wanted to tell you about them, but by phone was locked up with a password. What? I never put a password on my phone… Oh well, I thought, I’ll take care of the phone later. So I went home and wrote this story on my blog, and now you’re reading it.

Could be better, but you get the idea!

Comments Off on Rory’s Story Cubes | Catergorized: apple  writing
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