Posts Tagged: writing

NaNoWriMo 2014 Winner

This is my fourth consecutive win. It sort of feels a little less-satisfying that the others. For one thing, I’m writing something that’s intensely personal, so I kind of felt pretty drained by it. Also, there was a lot of research involved because it’s historical fiction, so even when I wasn’t writing, the topic was

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NaNoWriMo 2014 Book Cover and Current Word Count

The working cover I made for my 2014 NaNoWriMo novel. (Spoiler alert: some words might not actually be true.) Also, a handy graphic that updates with my word count so you can see what I’ve got going. I’m at 8670 words, above word count for day 4, and I have a pretty good idea what’s

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Publisher’s Weekly: The Top 10 Essays Since 1950

From Publisher’s Weekly: The Top 10 Essays Since 1950. Robert Atwan, the founder of The Best American Essays series, picks the 10 best essays of the postwar period. Links to the essays are provided when available. Fortunately, when I worked with Joyce Carol Oates on The Best American Essays of the Century (that’s the last

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Things I’ve been doing lately (instead of blogging)

Things I’ve been doing instead of blogging: Taking a scene writing class from the Indiana Writer’s Center (I also took a world building class at IWC taught by Maurice Broaddus). I don’t know yet if this is helping me write better, but it is helping me procrastinate. Taking a sewing class from Crimson Tate our

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Excerpt: Untitled Short Story

I would not mind your thoughts on this, the beginning of a short story I’m working on (that is due Sunday! but we’ll just gloss over that for now). I’m hoping this will be a series of related short stories. It is in a particular genre, but I’d rather get further before I disclose that.

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Winner Winner, Turkey Dinner – 2013 NaNoWriMo Finish

50,119 Words, validated, means that I “win” National Novel Writing Month. I’m very grateful to Stephanie, who has been really supportive of me doing this, even though she’s had a lot of difficulties going on right now. We’re adjusting to her lengthy commute to her new job and a family illness, so it’s been a

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NaNoWriMo 2013 Wordcount, day 19

I’m three fifths of the way through National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and still on track for word count. I wouldn’t say the last few days are works of genius or anything. Or even spelled correctly. But they are word strung together on a page in some sort of semi-coherent fashion. So there’s that. Week

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NaNoWriMo 2013

I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month again this year. I’ve undertaken this challenge in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012, and I “won” twice – in 2011 and 2012 by writing 50,000 words each year. That novel is pretty close to being complete, but needs some major revisions and finishing work, and I’m pretty

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NaNoWriMo 2013 Preparation

I decided to get serious about plot, rather than just pantsing-it completely. I transferred the handy chart I got at GenCon to my bulletin board. And noted the troublesome spot where my plots commonly end up. The chart is from the “Fiction Fundamentals Part 1: Plotting and Planning” led by Lawrence Connolly & William Horner

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Gen Con Writer’s Symposium 2013, Saturday in Review

WKS1345346 (Fiction Fundamentals Part 3: Putting on the Polish on Sat at 08:00 AM – 3 hours) Lawrence Connolly, William Horner III “In-depth workshop: learn how to make your story sing through application of effective revision and editing techniques.” I was really sorry to miss this workshop because the other two these guys did on

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Gen Con Writer’s Symposium 2013, Thursday and Friday in Review

Thursday WKS1345344 (Fiction Fundamentals Part 1: Plotting and Planning on Thu at 08:00 AM – 3 hours) Lawrence Connolly, William Horner III “In-depth workshop: learn how to avoid extra work by planning your story and all of its elements from the beginning.” This was easily the most useful of the day’s programs to me, although

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My Gen Con Writer’s Symposium Schedule

I think I’m probably a bit over-scheduled for GenCon this coming weekend – I’m signed up for these writing workshops and seminars. I’m thinking my brain is going to be pretty fried if I attempt to do all of this, so I’ll probably skip out on some of them strategically. Fortunately they’re all in the

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Character lists in famous novels

The characters in these lists are main characters and key secondary characters in these stories. In some cases there are additional secondary and minor characters not listed here. This list may be updated periodically with additional famous novels and their character lists. The Great Gatsby Characters: 10 Nick Carraway Jay Gatsby Daisy Buchanan Tom Buchanan

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Damsel in Distress: Part 1 – Tropes vs Women in Video Games

The first video from Anita Sarkeesian’s kickstarter project “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games” is up and running, covering the “Damsel in Distress” trope. You might remember that when Sarkeesian started this Kickstarter project, there was a huge surge of harassment directed at her for even starting the research, before she had even expressed her

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Some other NaNoWriMo Thoughts

Trying to write 50,000 words in a month felt like holding my breath under water – everything else was suspended while I worked on writing. I basically ate, slept, went to work and wrote. I cut out television, most socializing and practically all other stuff that invades my day. Trying to keep the house clean,

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NaNoWriMo 2012 – Validated

So.. I won NaNoWriMo again this year. I finished three days early – with 50,058 words written this year added to what I wrote last year. Now I need to write the actual final chapters and not just scenes from the climactic ending, but hey – I’m a lot closer to a complete work than

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NaNoWriMo 2012 – Day 9

8. 13,336 – 2750 (14497, +1161) Those are my notations for Day 8 of National Novel Writing Month. 13,336 – that’s “par for the course” or the least word count for day 8 to stay on track to “win.” 2750 – the number of words I wrote yesterday. 14497 – total word count for November

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NaNoWriMo 2012

Yup, I’m going to do this again. I’m basically going to add 50,000 words to my novel from last year in hopes of finishing it. Wish me luck. I did it once; I can do it again. Of course last time I took a week off work to do it, and this time I’ve already

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It’s like we’re not even watching the same show

“Glee” Recap (4.01): Marley & Me | AfterEllen.com. I can’t read this recap of Glee. You read it for me. I couldn’t get through the first paragraph, because it’s like the writer and I aren’t even watching the same show. Or sitting on the same planet, even. The crazy; it burns. I thought her recaps

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25 Ways To Plot, Plan and Prep Your Story

25 Ways To Plot, Plan and Prep Your Story. I’m struggling with my novel quite a bit right now, trying to untangle the plot and see if I can figure out what I’m trying to convey. I had a really frustrating time last weekend trying to work it out. The “fly by the seat of

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Pixar story rules

The Pixar Touch – history of Pixar – Blog – Pixar story rules (one version). These are some fantastic story writing rules from Pixar Writer Emma Coats, as collected from her twitter feed. Pixar story artist Emma Coats has tweeted a series of “story basics” over the past month and a half — guidelines that she

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Indiana Romance Writers of America: Golden Opportunities Contest

From the Indiana chapter of Romance Writers of AmericaIndiana Golden Opportunity Contest. We welcome you to help us celebrate the 22nd anniversary of Indiana’s Golden Opportunity (IGO), one of the Midwest’s premier contests. The Indiana chapter of Romance Writers of America® (IRWA) has a well-deserved reputation for offering detailed, encouraging comments to our contest entrants

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Episodic v. Serial – Complications Ensue

Episodic v. Serial – Complications Ensue: So when we actually saw Rob Thomas (creator of VERONICA MARS) giving a talk at Banff, DMc asked him about his thoughts on episodic vs. serial. Rob busted out a factoid I’d heard before, but which really hadn’t sunk in. When people say they watch a show, on average,

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Brainstorming and Groupthink

From the New Yorker – Groupthink: The brainstorming myth, by Jonah Lehrer In the late nineteen-forties, Alex Osborn, a partner in the advertising agency B.B.D.O., decided to write a book in which he shared his creative secrets…. His book “Your Creative Power” was published in 1948. An amalgam of pop science and business anecdote, it

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Word Counts of Famous Short Stories (organized)

Shamelessly cribbed from Classic Short Stories and re-organized by word count from shortest to longest for comparison purposes. We’re discussing short stories with the Indy NaNoWriMo group this afternoon, and I thought it might help to have a word count chart similar to the one I did for Famous Novels back in November. Of the

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Apps I may need someday

Business Model Toolbox The Business Model Toolbox combines the speed of a napkin sketch with the smarts of a spreadsheet. It enables you to map, test, and iterate your business ideas – fast. With the Business Model Toolbox you will be able to: – Sketch your business model using the practical methodology from the best-selling

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Writing Resolutions

Wordplay has a nice list of 12 writing resolutions – 1 for each month of the year. Pretty good stuff, and I plan to adopt them. In January, I resolve to…schedule a regular writing time. In February, I resolve to… create a roadmap to publication. In March, I resolve to… stop procrastinating. In April, I

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Friday Night Lights

While I’m working through my CD ripping project, I’ve been knitting and doing some marathon Netflix watching. I can’t remember what prompted me to start watching Friday Night Lights, but I’ve been working my way through the first several seasons – and it’s GOOD. The writing is amazing. I wish I’d been watching this all

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NaNoWriMo 2011: Validated.

I’m validated at 50163 words. Technically I’m “done” writing my National Novel Writing Month project. Except that I still need to write chapters 12-15 and chapters 2 and 5. But 50163 words makes it “finished” for the purposes of the contest. I’m a winner. I’ve written more than Slaughterhouse Five and The Great Gatsby. Not

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NaNoWriMo 2011: Still chugging along.

I’m at 43,506 words. That’s 6,494 words away from “winning.” And I have 4 days. I think it’s a safe bet that I’ll get there, especially since I have all day tomorrow to work on it. I didn’t write at all on Thanksgiving Day, but I wrote in the car both to and from Iowa

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Men are bad at sex (writing)

The Literary Review’s “Bad Sex in Fiction” award is dominated year after year by men. (heh. See what I just did there?) I do find the thought that men can’t write sex well very funny. And there are some prominent male authors on the list, too, which is odd, because what’s so interesting about their

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NaNoWriMo Update: Still on target

My word count is now 35,521 words. Not quite beating out Ole Yeller on the “famous books word count list.” I’m under par by 1,153 words, but I should have time to get caught up (and hopefully ahead) tomorrow on the road to Iowa for the family Thanksgiving. Stephanie is driving, and I’m planning on

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Word Count for Famous Novels (organized)

Word count for famous novels, in ascending order by number of words. Based on this list compiled by Nicole Humphrey Cook. (Thanks Nicole, and sorry for stealing; I wanted to see the list in order.) For average word counts based on genre, see this handy reference. Also, here’s another list I may swipe and add

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Nanowrimo 2011: Still in the game

I’m at 28,932 words – above par for the first time since the first week. (Par for day 17 is 28,339.) Around 115 pages. Parts of this story are poor, parts of it make me really happy and there are large chunks that need to be better researched. I know what the end will be

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NaNoWriMo2011 – Still Cautiously Optimistic

It is NaNoWriMo 2011 Day 13, par for yesterday’s work (Day 12) should have been 20,004 words/80 pages. Mine was 17,234 words – about 68 pages. I’m 2770 words behind par, which isn’t too bad. This is definitely more than I have ever written before in a single sustained effort on any single subject, so

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Personal Truth

I’ve posted this quote before, but it came up in conversation recently, and I was struck again by how very beautiful it is. May Sarton, from Journal of a Solitude: “My own belief is that one regards oneself, if one is a serious writer, as an instrument for experiencing. Life–all of it–flows through this instrument

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NaNoWriMo 2011: very tentative outline

I spent some time yesterday trying to work out how my story is going to go, and came up with some potential chapter titles. Which, looking at them now seem completely over the top and fraught with the possibility of failure, but what the hell. I may as well look stupid. It wouldn’t be the

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NaNoWriMo2011 – Outlook: Cautiously Optimistic.

I didn’t say anything about joining National Novel Writing Month this year because I haven’t gotten very far with this in the past, and I’ve learned talking about stuff tends to kill projects before they get off the ground. I’m doing much better this year, though, and I’ve managed to keep my word count up

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Oh darn – delicious links auto-publishing died

Shoot. My blogging crutch went away. For the past five or six years I’ve been using a little-known and not very well supported delicious links tool to auto-publish the links I’ve saved to my site. It was easy because I could hit a bookmarklet when I was on an interesting page and delicious would save

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links for 2011-09-07

Fictional Food | Bringing food from page to plate! Recipes for fictional foods from books, television, movies and comics. (tags: recipes fiction books movies television) Fridge Horror – Television Tropes & Idioms Fridge Horror is, simply put, when something becomes terrifying after the fact. Maybe you thought about this or that plot point a little

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links for 2011-09-01

Stupid Game of Thrones Characters – Dorkly Article If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the Stupid Ned Stark meme. Hilarious as it is, the other idiots get off scot-free. Let’s fix that. (WARNING: SPOILERS) (tags: GameOfThrones memes funny) Don't talk down to little girls: Lisa Bloom explains why Ask

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Nuvo Arts Blog Writer Chi Sherman

Speaking of things I’ve been remiss in writing about this year – several months ago, our good friend Chi Sherman became a writer for Nuvo Newsweekly (our local alt weekly, for non-Indy residents.) She’s on the arts/writing/entertainment beat writing about all the cool happenings going on about town, and much of our new awareness of

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Fall Television 2010 – What We Picked

In my extended exam of the reviews of new television shows this season, I ran out of space to track what we actually decided to watch. I made a list and we then cut it down to 8 shows – 6 1/2 hours a week. How I Met Your Mother The Event Castle Glee NCIS

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Fall Television 2010 – New Shows

In times past I made big elaborate lists on my blog of the fall television I was going to watch, using the Fall TV Preview issue of Entertainment Weekly as a guide. I formatted the whole list as a table cell grid with times and shows, highlighted what I was going watch, what was new

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John Cleese on creativity

John Cleese discussing writing, creativity, and getting in the zone for creative work. One of his main points is the importance of not being interrupted while writing – once you are distracted from your task, it’s very difficult to get back on the moving train of thought. So closing yourself off to disruptions is a

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Tails and Tales

Tim O’Brian In The Atlantic – discussing the sources of creativity and how to tell a well-imagined story: My sons, Timmy and Tad–both fans of Winnie the Pooh–have taken lately to wearing tails. At our local Wal-Mart, and occasionally at church, the boys sport lengths of clothesline dangling from their trousers. They prowl the neighborhood

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A Kite That Couldn’t Be Tied Down

This is beautiful: I swooned at the thought of her reading something undoubtedly wonderful in the adjoining compartment but forced myself to nod. We looked out the window: a herd of camels, for a flash of a second. We were in the Gobi Desert. Nights were hard. She was inevitably inches away, sleeping peacefully as

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Could be worse.

I could write like Nicholas Sparks. I write likeCory Doctorow I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing! Update: after running a few more samples of my text through, the site suggests I now write like both David Foster Wallace and James Joyce. I write likeJames Joyce I Write Like by Mémoires,

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The Lost Finale

Kottke does a nice round-up of sites’s comments on the Lost finale. Many of them express what I’ve heard as a common theme among fans – it’s okay that all of the questions weren’t answered, because most of them were. The major storylines were wrapped up. io9, on the other hand, came up a with

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links for 2010-04-06

The Editor and the Curator (Or the Context Analyst and the Media Synesthete) | Tomorrow Museum Joanne McNeil takes to task the folks in new media for their (mis)use of the term "curate" and "curator" when they really are talking about content selection, content aggregation and context analysis. (tags: art language media internet curators curation)

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In search of the next Lost

Entertainment Weekly has an interesting article in their current issue about all of the shows written to be the next big Lost and how none of them seem to be taking off in the way the networks are hoping. I am watching FlashFoward, and it’s interesting, but most of the shows are missing a key

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December? Oh my.

Wow – time to wrap up the year, and I’m utterly at loose ends with various projects. I’ve been working steadily on knitting projects, and organizing the house, two areas where we’ve made some pretty big gains. We’re steadily getting through the mounds of papers that need to be filed or thrown out, with the

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links for 2009-10-31

Home — Second Story Second Story is a non-profit writing project serving kids, schools and community organizations in Indianapolis, Ind. Programs include in-class writing instruction at local schools, as well as after-school tutoring, creative-writing workshops and other events. (tags: writing creative children eucation fun) The Secret Headquarters Dr. Fredric Rinehart has been credited with developing

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Vonnegut’s eight rules for writing a short story

Cribbed from Kurt Vonnegut’s Wikipedia entry: In his book Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction, Vonnegut listed eight rules for writing a short story: Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted. Give the reader at least one character he or

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Ennui

I’ve been rather blue lately. I’m feeling creatively frustrated. I have some idea in my head that I can’t quite get out – like that time when you had that really fantastic dream, and just as you woke up, you thought “I gotta remember this!” at the same time all the details start sliding away

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Woodie Guthrie on songwriting

“I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim too

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links for 2008-03-31

How to Disagree For examples of how to disagree in ways that are completely wrong, please see all of my writing. I need to clean up my act completely. (tags: philosophy debate writing) || Dummy Text Generator | Lorem ipsum for webdesigners || (tags: designTools webdesign resources) I, Cringely . The Pulpit . The $200

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Fascinating Interview with David Simon

David Simon is the producer of HBO’s “The Wire” – a highly acclaimed series that I have on my Netflix queue since I’ve heard so many rave reviews calling it “The Best Show on TV Ever.” Here is part of an interview he gave with Nick Hornby for The Believer: We got the gig because

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November is National Novel Writing Month

This year, for National Novel Writing Month – I have a plan! I’m going to do something really innovative — I’m going to spend the month of November… … building a website for my friend Chi. Yes! I know, it’s not a novel. However… I actually know how to build websites (unlike novels, which I

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David Sedaris Exaggerates!

The New Republic comes out with a world-rocking revelation: David Sedaris embellishes his humorous non-fiction memoirs. Um, no shit, Sherlock. You needed to write an article to tell us this? He’s a humor writer. I sort of figured out he was gilding the lily on my own, thanks. As if any one person has that

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The Chaos

by Gerard Nolst Trenité Dearest creature in creation Studying English pronunciation, I will teach you in my verse Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse. I will keep you, Susy, busy, Make your head with heat grow dizzy; Tear in eye, your dress you’ll tear; Queer, fair seer, hear my prayer. Pray, console your loving

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Locked on the roof? Seriously?

I really loved the West Wing, most especially when Sorkin was writing for it, and I really do like Studio 60, for the most part. But lately the weird thing Danny’s doing to Jordan, the sort of creepy-stalkerish, pre-rapey, not really romantic, “refusal to take no for an answer” thing is really disturbing, especially since

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NaNoWRiMo Update

I’m hopelessly behind and have no reasonable expectation of ever catching up by the end of November deadline. I know what the general story is, but when it comes to writing scenes that make any sort of sense, I’m completely stalled. And the stress of being so far behind is really interfering with my actually

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Nanowrimo: Day 3

Okay, I really, really have the plot all worked out and I’m very excited by my idea, which I think is fun, entertaining, and a Big Idea, also. But I have to do some more research, in the form of purchasing the Historic Plan for our neighborhood, at a cost of $5, from the Indianapolis

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Nanowrimo: Day 1

My word count for day 1: 1281 words. That sucks! I spent most of the day trying to figure out the plot, which I should have had outline in October. It didn’t help that I had my teeth cleaning appointment and the chimney sweeping appointment. Also, the dog barked all day along. Apparently Cthulhu is

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National Novel Writing Month 2006

National Novel Writing Month is November 1st, and the sign-up for it begins this Friday October 1st (I managed to skip the entire month of September in my head). One of my friends participated in the past and is going to again this year. Here’s the scoop: National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants

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Truncated

I finally got wise, and created a new group in my feedreader software called “Truncated” just for people who truncate their posts in their syndication feeds. These are people I love, who are great writers, but the frustration of needing to have a browser window open to read their work is too great, and I

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MacGuffin

Wikipedia definition of the Alfred Hitchcock concept of a MacGuffin. In fiction, a MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin) is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist pursues, often with little or no narrative explanation. The MacGuffin’s importance to the plot is not the object itself, but rather

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“Mary Sue” in Online Fan Fiction

MARY SUE (n.): 1. A variety of story, first identified in the fan fiction community, but quickly recognized as occurring elsewhere, in which normal story values are grossly subordinated to inadequately transformed personal wish-fulfillment fantasies, often involving heroic or romantic interactions with the cast of characters of some popular entertainment. 2. A distinctive type of

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American Rhetoric

A have a few of my favorite speeches here on my own site: [Martin Luther King, John F Kennedy] but here’s a website that has everything… AmericanRhetoric.com. Tons of the best speeches ever delivered in the United States. I wonder a bit about a site that has more speeches by Georgie boy than by Bill

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I Love Television

There are tons of people I know who say things like “I never watch TV.” I’m not one of those. I watch TV. A lot. Usually while doing other things, like laundry, reading, working on the house… but I watch TV. I love TV. Well, the good shows, anyway. Because of the harsh winter this

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How To Write Good

by Frank L. Visco and others Always avoid alliteration. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with. Avoid clichés like the plague — they’re old hat. Employ the vernacular. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary. Parenthentical words however must be enclosed in commas. It is wrong to ever split an

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