Monthly Archives: July 2013

Why We Don’t Have Flying Cars

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RobidaLaSortieDeL'opera2000

Personal aircraft, small enough to fit in a garage with the wings folded. Especially the one you could take the wings off at your destination and drive them into town. How many inventors have announced theirs in magazines, set up to sell to an eager populace, and went broke? How often have we read about them in science fiction, only to have them never materialize?

True, over the years they have tended to become anti-grav cars, skimmers, jump-cars, and lose their wings, but why are we all still stuck in rush hour, only dreaming of hitting the button and leaping skyward out of the jammed traffic?

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What Every Writer Should Know

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This gave me such a warm glow by the end, I just wanted to share it. Most successful writers, and certainly most writers who like writing and the writing life, do not take a competitive attitude toward other writers. We’ve always clumped in clubs and workshops, and cleanse our souls of killer parasites by sitting down to talk with someone who really understands what we go through. That’s only other writers. The blogosphere has given us our own city of writers in which to live and share and take refuge and be uplifted. This is one of the rays of sunshine on a cold day, the cool breezes on a hot day, reminding us that the future for writers is looking better than ever. Certainly, for each of us the individual future is better when we let go of the negative and just enjoy what we are. We’re storytellers. “Become what you are.” (Nietsche)

Thank Your Local Scavengers

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Somewhere in the latter half of the 20th C. we got out of the habit of recycling. Recycling was positively normal before WW2. It’s just that the poor did it for the better off, or lazier.

Today, we’re expected to do it ourselves. But after two in the morning, through this bar zone come the fellows with their shopping carts, or just carrying a trash bag, the latter maybe on a bike. They look for plastic and glass bottles and aluminum drink cans left on the curb (or my building’s lawns) by drinkers, and smokers on break. They check the outside trash cans. Some brave souls flip open the lids on the dumpster in front of the karaoke joints, and climb in to see what’s been tossed there. There’s three or four that work the trash cans at Waipahu Transit Center, different nights or different times. (In Hawaii, there’s a deposit on beverage containers, to boot.)

This is an ancient task.

Sure, it’s never been a high-class activity, but it was always an honest buck (or shilling). Some working-class Victorians did it as a sideline, just keeping their eyes open on their walk to and from regular work, for scrap paper, rags, bottles, dog’s dropped teeth.

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Dualing Through a Blitz

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The topic came up at the Camp Nanowrimo of working more than one project to make one’s wordage (well, I’m counting this: as Perian reminded me, it’s camp,  not NNWM). While many people declare they could never skip around, several were delighted to find they weren’t alone in the world.

Back when I was working from home, as a writer, I used two Nanowrimo accounts just so I could track progress on two different novels in November. I would write several days on one, feel like I had emptied that well of ideas, and switch to my other account while the first one filled back up. They were usually moderately different books, so that was refreshing, too. It really helps when I sit down to blitz draft to alternate this way. The later in the month, the more often I switch, too. Yes, I would usually hit 50k on both.

Some people say they simply couldn’t remember and keep straight two stories. Well, writers are like magicians, in that any rule they think is true about their mental limitations, is true, for them. I gather these are the people who never watch more than one television show per season. Or read a novel or short story while waiting for next week’s episode. I am perfectly willing to accept that they can’t imagine or make up more than one story at a time, but not that they can’t just remember the stuff. I may be queen of pantsers, with a massive allergy to outlines, but even I make notes and gazetteers.

That’s the actual problem baffling a dual blitz: they just can’t switch creative gears that fast. If that works for them, great. But I always warn people about working methods to make sure they are working, for you. It doesn’t matter in the least that it works for someone else, or that you wish it would work for you, if it actually doesn’t.

Some people don’t work well with the blitzing technique, let alone its variations, but it’s worth trying a couple of times, especially if writing two pages a day is making a book take forever, so that you do lose track of what you’re doing over the months.

On the other claw, blitzing may seem not to work for you if this is the scenario — You write like crazy for several days, then burn out. You can’t think of a thing. You quit blitz writing every day. You lose habit and incentive. You go back after a while, plink at it desultorily, try to find the fire, finally do and — you’re out of month.

If you dual, you do that same initial burst, maybe take a day to switch by reading your research or plans, maybe just look at the screen and go, “Nah, I’m stuck,” and jump right over to Project B. At that point, you get a second initial burst! You don’t lose the habit, you’re still all fired up, and you see pages stacking up. When that seems to stick, you go back to Project A, and suddenly it’s all new and fresh and you can see what you can do with it. You keep up that fun energy and challenge which is what all the Nanoholics love about Nanowrimo and Camp(s) Nanowrimo.

So try being a dashing dualist — it may make the blitzing work for you!

THEY KILLED THE REBELS!

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Basically, July Camp Nanowrimo has killed off the Nano Rebels by embracing them.

Not doing 50k words? Change your goal right there.
Writing a script? As welcome as at Script Frenzy.
Doing non-fiction, poetry, short stories, or something else? Pick how many words you want to do.
Finishing something already started? Great — just choose your number goal.
Revising a project? They figure one hour of revision equals writing 1000 words.
Researching a project? This sound even strange enough to get kicked out of camp, but — one hour = 1k words.

The only one I haven’t seen is non-word goals, but it is a writing month. Still, I’m sure if you asked them they’d come up with equivalents, like drawing or inking one page of already-scripted graphic novel = 2000 words, or doing a composited book cover = 2000 words or doing a cover painting = 10,000 words, if you don’t just do it on the 1hr = 1k words system. Basically, this is Camp Creativity, verbal orientation, but everyone welcome if it helps you get your beloved work done.

Now, back to work!