Showing posts with label Writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Writing. Show all posts

Friday, September 13, 2019

Rejected Stories - Unwanted Snark

To keep the ball rolling, sometimes
you need to cut parts out. 
I have a file where I keep text that I find particularly interesting but useful to the task at hand. I use it as a prompt for other writing. This didn't fit because the narrator isn't the important person at this point in the story. You can file this under: "I wish this was fiction".

     The professor glared at us. The upside of being 44 years old and in college for the first time is, I am doing this on my own dime. I purchased a book, a seat and a professor. I don’t mind saying that if I have a need. The professors hate it, but word is out that I have the college’s customer service number. I’ve asked for the supervisor of two different deans. They frigging hate me. I can’t say I like me, either.
     My adviser is a double doctor. He has a Ph.D in Electrical Engineering and another in Adult Education. He is insufferable. We hit it off well. He told the 150 or so freshmen that if we wanted a different adviser, we would not be able to find a better one than he. 
     I snorted.
     “Did you have a better adviser in mind?” he asked.
     “Yes,” I said.
     “Who?”
     “Your mom sounds pretty good,” I replied.
     At the time, thought I was sharp.
     It turns out his mom also has a Ph.D. And she is on the college’s board. I wish I had done some more research before opening my mouth.
     In retrospect, it was all fairly predictable. 

Monday, August 5, 2019

Writing is Art

This section is for rough works, slightly better than drafts, but still incomplete experiments. As experimental works, they should not be taken as true, or factual, even though each item does contain a bit of fact. In many cases, these experiments have been abandoned because I couldn't figure out where they were going or in some cases, what the rules or boundaries were.

Occasionally, poetry will appear. I'm sorry, I'm not good at it but sometimes it pops into my head.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

31 Notes for Writing History

I have written 100+ History papers in the past 6 semesters. I have collected some advice from my professors and personal experience, which I though should be shared:
  1. Learn to love double spaces papers, hate single spaced papers. 
  2. 12 point fonts are fine.
  3. New Times Roman is the default choice for a reason.
  4. The professor's style guide is best. Do not argue. 
  5. Oxford commas are impactful, important, and helpful.
  6. Staples are not be a good idea, they should be the law. 
  7. Number multiple page documents even when stapled. 
  8. Use the school directory to look up the professor's name. Spell it correctly. 
  9. Add your own name to spell check. 
  10. Do not merely spell check. 
  11. Do not use contractions. 
  12. "Extremely" and "huge" both mean "I need a thesaurus". 
  13. Dates do not have apostrophes. 
  14. "Very" is unnecessary.
  15. "Interesting" is not. 
  16. "Toward" is United States usage, "Towards" is British and Buffalo, NY usage. 
  17. History does not repeat, but sometimes it rhymes. 
  18. "Etc." is not worth using. There are better ways. 
  19. Foreign words are in italics. Foreign means it is not in an English dictionary. (Important if you are any kind of bilingual.)
  20. No first OR second person, unless the professor requires it. Thank them when they do.  
  21. The past is always in the the past tense.
  22. Do not confuse British for English. The same goes for others. If in doubt, look it up.  
  23. Do not confuse name places for countries.
  24. "Would" is a crutch or a mistake. Be careful. 
  25. "Led" is clearer than "Would lead". 
  26. Passive voice is painful, but not avoidable. 
  27. When comparing situations implicitly link subjects to periods. 
  28. Do not hide verbs.  
  29. Learn how write citation from memory.  
  30. Do not use clich├ęs.
  31. Learn how to type special characters and accent marks manually.  
Bonus: "Thank you" means "thank you". "You're welcome" means "you're welcome". They are not interchangeable. 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Drawing from the Past

This week, artwork has been on my mind. In July, I am going to challenge myself to learn to draw hands and feet. Those are tough subjects, especially if you have little skill. If only I drew more, I would be a better artist.

For inspiration in this self-challenge, I found a book Drawing for Printers by Ernest Knaufft. It was published in 1899 and is available at Gutenberg. It is a treatise printers, not a how to book. Since I also like writing, it may be beneficial for a couple of purposes.


At the very least for publishers of Old School Gaming products, this sort of book captures the style of early game publishers. If you would like a more modern look at publish games, check out A Brief Study of TSR Book Design by Kevin Crawford. I did a review of it about a year ago. I wish I had found it before I started developing my BD&D/AD&D supplement, Zero to Hero


Friday, November 24, 2017

Fractal Logic

This image was rendered for a class on Writing. The red text reads: 

Language holds the logic of 
Why a raven is like a writing desk
Like a piano with 81 keys
Recursion saves the signal
From the lapse of memories


To read the smaller text, I suggest looking at the Google Drawing.

Within each box, is the same text with errors injected. Sometimes on purpose, other times by accident. The first error was that the whole thing was broken down by syllables. However, this is not an accurate rendition of the syllables as the software used was designed for singing, which is wildly different than the more technical definition of a syllable.

Lan-guage holds the log-ic of
Why a ra-ven is like a writ-ing desk
Like a pi-a-no with 81 keys
Re-cur-sion saves the sig-nal
From the lapse of mem-o-ries

I also put in typos and misspellings by going as fast as I could when typing. It was painful not to go back and correct it. I did allow myself to go back and delete incorrect letters, but not actually change them. I mean for this to look frustrating. 

The grid-like fractal pattern was generated on graph paper by the following method: 

Draw a line along one edge of a box on the graph paper.
Toss a coin, heads turn left, tails turn right. 
Repeat.
A lot.

To speed this process, I alternated between cupping a dime in my drawing hand and allowing it move as I drew lines and grabbing a bunch of pennies out of a cup and lining them up dozens at at time. When I reached the boundary of the paper, I would move over into the next blank space with little care as to how it was positioned. 

It was a slow process. Additionally, when I took the pattern to digital, I made more errors. That was something the graph paper was mean to prevent. Oops.