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Writing Time: Everlasting #79

by on Apr.08, 2014, under Articles, Writing, Writing Group, Writing Updates

Writing Session

Word Count: 365
Consecutive Daily Writing Count: 89
Magic Spreadsheet Points: 3,908

Been a while. Sorry about that. As you can see I’ve added two new metrics. Consecutive Daily Writing Count (CDWC) is how many days consecutively I’ve written at least two hundred and fifty words. It’s related to the Magic Spread Sheet I talked about last post. Which brings me to Magic Spreadsheet Points (MSP), which is how many points I’ve earned from the sheet. Like I Should Be Writing, the game is real but the points don’t matter, but I felt like reporting them anyway.

Today’s writing session has been relatively easy. I’m actually at writing group today for the first time in a few weeks. Sadly being able to write every day has lessened the value of going to a place to write with people but I was still looking forward to it all day. It is also good to connect with people who share a similar hobby at least.

One thing that has fallen to the wayside with the writing every day and not attending writing group is the Weird Words column. I apologize for that. It will likely make a return at some point but not this or next week, quiet likely.

Everlasting Update

Novel Word Count: 208,518 (+10,278) [Days: 28] [Avg. Wpd.: 367.07]

The end is in sight and it is amazing, and sucky at the same time. I’m so close to finishing and I’m still seeing problems and plot holes as I write out my outline. I’m following the outline closely, only deviating a little. At this point I’m only writing down inspiration notes which I think would make really good ideas but this story will require a significant rewrite.

Same old same old, I know.

A few characters have died and I have a better idea of how airship docks work in my world now, at least. Dead people is progress right?

Editing & Critiques

Currently not editing or critiquing anything.

Other (Non-Writing) Projects

Magic the Gathering Organizer

Nothing has been done on this front.

Video Board Game

I’ve been discussing it with some friends and ruminating in my head. I may do some writing on this after this post, actually.

Other Works

Weird Words – Temporary unexpected Hiatus

Free Write - Hiatus. But keep an eye out for some one shots.

Station – Waiting to be edited.

Matrix – Hiatus.

Gerald – Waiting to be continued.

Reconfigure – Waiting to be turned into an actual short story.

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Writing Time: Everlasting #78

by on Mar.11, 2014, under Articles, Writing, Writing Updates

Writing Session

Word Count: 329

I’ve been a little bad at these huh? Well the good news is I can make up for that by reporting some really awesome numbers. Okay that above word count might not look so awesome, but wait till you see below. Okay fine I’ll spoil it now. So in the last sixty-four days, I’ve written a grand total of nineteen thousand, two hundred and forty or so words on Everlasting. Which is an average of about three hundred and ten words per day. Three hundred is a key count because it is basically how much I’ve been writing every single day for the last sixty or so days.

To explain, a while back I heard about “The Magic Spreadsheet” on the writing podcast I Should Be Writing. It’s a spreadsheet that turns writing consecutively into a game by awarding points for writing. You get points for writing at least two hundred and fifty words. You also get points for writing every single day. The longer your streak, the more points you get. So while you can write in two thousand word bursts every few days, the real incentive is to write every single day. If you’d like to follow my count you can click here to go directly to the page I am in on a Google Docs sheet. I’m using the name Nojh.

So that has been working fabulously. Only having to aim for three hundred words a day (up from 250 because I “leveled up”) is significantly easier to pull off. As noted!

Everlasting Update

Novel Word Count: 198,240 (+19,861) [64 {310.32}]

So the outline is done, which is probably how I’ve been managing to keep my word count going. There are days where I find holes in my outline that once again annoy me but I’m still going for the “no editing until finished” method. Because really, I need to trunk this thing. It has some neat ideas but it really is my first work. Right now characters are running around trying to move the plot along and I’ve lost most of the characterization. But we’ve hit the next major action scene that effects everyone, so I’m looking forward to that.

Editing & Critiques

Currently not editing or critiquing anything.

Other (Non-Writing) Projects

Magic the Gathering Organizer

So last time I reported this was on hiatus. It may or may not be. I had some inspiration do to a design document so I wrote up some design ideas. So we’ll see how this goes.

Board Game formerly codenamed Platform now codenamed Video Board Game

Okay so that’s a long title. VBG is going to be its shortened name. I said I wouldn’t reveal details but I might yet still. If someone else can take my ideas and run with it, good on them. I’ve been doing off and on-design of this and I really need to just sit down and make a prototype of the basic idea. The basic idea is a system that can be easily themed to mimic or simulate old-school 2d video games, particularly platforms and “adventure” games. Think games like Megaman, Super Mario Bros., Zelda, Altered Beast, Metroid, and X-Men 2: Clone Wars. Except those are all other people’s intellectual property, so it’ll be art work and story that borrow heavily from these kinds of games, with (hopefully) mechanics that help you feel like you’re playing a twitchy platformer, while actually being a very tactical/strategic board game.

Lofty goals huh?

Other Works

Free Write - Hiatus. But keep an eye out for some one shots.

Station – Waiting to be edited.

Matrix – Hiatus.

Gerald – Waiting to be continued.

Reconfigure – Waiting to be turned into an actual short story.

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Weird Word: Glabella

by on Mar.03, 2014, under Articles, Weird Words, Writing

Glabella

Noun

  • (anatomy) The space between the eyebrows and the nose.
  • (zoology) The axial protuberance on the cephalon of certain arthropods (especially trilobites)

Example Usage:

“You have a little something-” “On my mouth? Oh, how embarrassing.” “No, um-” “On my dress? Oh dear!” “Not exactly-” “Well then where?!” “Your glabella.” “I will not be talked to that way!” “No, Ma’am, its your face-” “Are you saying I look like an insect!? !” “What? No I-” “Sir, I think we’re going to have to ask you to leave.”

SourceWiktionary

Commentary:

I don’t actually have a problem with people who have hair in their glabella, or what is more commonly known has a unibrow. I think the look gets a bad rap from old cartoons, where all the bad guys had unibrows. But now you know what that the name of that place is, so you can tell your beautician exactly where you wish the hair removed.

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Sexism in SFWA (and the world)

by on Feb.18, 2014, under Articles, Culture, Gaming, Video Games, Writing

You don’t have to look very far these days to see sexism but you do have to know what you are looking for. The problem is that most of us are effectively blind to it, both because it is kept behind close doors and  because it is hiding in plain sight. And when people, particularly women, call attention to it, they’re often labeled misogynist, or simply told to “laugh it off”. Even when sexism is dragged out from behind doors for all to see, it is easy to claim that it is happening to just one person, or a small group of people, hidden away, and not a systemic problem within our society.

Noted and award winning author Mary Robinette Kowal was slandered by some of her peers in the Science Fiction Writer’s Association (SFWA) the other day. Male members of the organization made comments via the organization’s public email listserv. One called her a hypocrite based upon her public views as a feminist and what clothing she chooses to wear to award ceremonies, as well as simply calling her phony and incompetent.

To her credit, Mary has offered a response which, rather than simply attacking back, called attention to this attack and focused instead on making it an example of sexism and to make note that this is not an incident she is facing alone, but that women inside and outside the SFWA suffer all the time from what is effectively verbal abuse.

In her response entitled”Me, as a useful representative example“, she says the following:

Then I replied to the messages saying, “Honestly, I’m fine. Four years in office inured me to this so mostly I’m just laughing.”

And this is the part that I feel I should draw attention to — I was “mostly” laughing. I was also having mild stress reactions. Dry sweats, elevated heart rate. I was ready to shrug them off as, “Meh, doesn’t materially affect me. I’ve seen worse.”

Until someone pointed it out that I was basically saying, “I’m inured to being abused, because I was abused for years.” See… the things those folks are saying in that public forum? When I was in office, they would email that bile directly to me and because I was an officer, I could not choose to ignore it. I had to read every single one. And I had to reply politely to them. Strangely, sometimes I had trouble doing that, but a polite response was the one that was expected. Now? Being out of office for two years, I can say whatever the fuck I want, but most beautifully, I don’t have to read the emails.

So this is why I feel weird about writing about this. My impulse is to tell you all that I’m fine and that this has no material affect on my life. And that is true. But I also know that I am a useful representative sample of the abuse that happens to other women.

Too many places, too many women, get this sort of unwelcome attention and commentary about what they were wearing but no one does anything. It’s always, “Laugh about it” or “Just shrug it off,” or “Ignore it and he’ll go away.”

You see how well that last is working?

So, I really, truly am fine. But watch what happens to me now that I’m posting. Read the comments when they happen. Note the people who say that because I’m talking about the abuse, I must be begging for attention.

Take me as a useful representative example. And know that I am not an isolated case.

It is sad that we need examples and I applaud Kowal for providing one. And we do need one. I recently was reading an online article about a video game that was in no way related to gender equality. In the middle of this author’s article, he says the following:

…this is, after all, a game where half the punchlines are “ogling women is funny” (and I say that as a staunch anti-feminist)…

It stopped me reading right in my tracks. It took me awhile to comprehend that the initial statement meant that the game wasn’t necessarily to be taken so seriously as it relied upon humor like men staring at women. Yet I couldn’t understand why he felt compelled to add the anti-feminism qualifier, to declare that he was staunchly opposed to a society where men and women are treated equally without discrimination or abuse, be it physical or emotional.

Actually it seems unlikely that the author is an active proponent of sexism. Instead he is likely ignorant of the amount of sexism that exists in our culture and the harm that it does. Instead he is reacting to the backlash that accompanies attempts to educate people regarding this harm, shielding himself from it by claiming that he is not a feminist. This backlash is what Mary Robinette Kowal wants you to look for in the coming days.

That backlash will be just some of the sexism that hides in plain sight.

Links:
Apparently, these guys don’t want women to write science fiction by Aja Romano [DailyDot.com]
Me, as a useful representative example by Mary Robinette Kowal [MaryRobinetteKowal.com]
Cheap Arts by Silvia Moreno-Garcia [Silvia Moreno-Garcia.com]
Mary Robinette Kowal Offers Herself Up as a Useful Representative Example by John Scalzi [whatever.scazli.com]
Does Bravely Default Hate Atheists? by Geoff Thew [HardCoreGamer.com]

 

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Weird Word: Reification

by on Feb.17, 2014, under Articles, Weird Words, Writing

Reification

Noun

  • The consideration of an abstract thing as if it were concrete, or of an inanimate object as if it were living.
  • The consideration of a human being as an impersonal object.

Example Usage:

“Your reficiation of the chairs in this lab are really starting to annoy me,” I said as I sat, a little too quick to stop myself from setting off the whoopee cushion hidden beneath the seat’s cover, which sent giggles through out of the laboratory staff. “So you’re saying that was you and not the chair?” Ry’leu retorted with a knowing snicker.

Alternative Forms

  • reify

SourceWiktionary

Commentary:

What bugged me initially was that I wasn’t sure what the difference was between Reification and Personification. Turns out the two are very similar but not quiet the same. Personification is literary technique writing as well as a way of asserting qualities or roles of one thing onto another thing, such as the Grim Reaper being the personification of death. Reification on the other hand is basically the opposite of objectification, where you would treat death not as a the grim reaper, but as something you could use, carry around, or draw a smiley face on.

Still the word makes me think it just wants to repeat something over and over and over.

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Weird Word: Umpty

by on Feb.03, 2014, under Articles

Umpty

Adjective

  • Being indefinite, unspecified

Example Usage:

The distance between the two worlds was umpty, if only because distance was not a concept the universe had opted to define yet.

Derived terms

  • umpteen
  • umptillion

SourceWiktionary

Commentary:

Every heard the expression “For the umpteen time…”? I did somewhere. I think more in my childhood. Perhaps a sitcom. I always assumed it was one of those made up numbers! It is! But it based off of something. The word umpty! Which was probably created from the made up number. This another fun word to say, but it keeps making me think of Humpty Dumpty which only proper nouns.

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Weird Word: Banausic

by on Jan.13, 2014, under Articles, Weird Words, Writing

Banausic

Adjective

  • mechanical; materialistic, uncultured.
  • utilitarian

Example Usage:

To say Marla was banausic was to be factually correct while also completely wrong, for while she was made of metal and coveted the odd fashion now and again, one could never claim that she lacked social grace.

SourceWiktionary

Commentary:

A weird word if only because its definition is so weird. I’m not sure if mechanical is meant to mean materialistic and uncultured? Perhaps this was an archaic meaning of mechanical? The utilitarian definition was far easier to use. I am not sure I’ll be using this word if only because I don’t know if know what it really means, despite looking it up!

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The science behind the angel’s glow that saved civil war soliders

by on Jan.08, 2014, under Articles, Science

I read an interesting article on Mental Floss about a pair of kids who seem likely to be apart of our next generation of scientists. Back in 2001, a then seven-year old Bill Martin went on a school field trip and learned about a phenomena  during the American Civil War where some soldiers after a battle, who waited days in the cold and mud, reported that their wounds glowed faintly in the dark. It was noted that the soldiers who exhibited this glowing had a higher survival rate than others who didn’t, and it was named Angel’s Glow.

Some hundred and forty years later, the child of a microbiologist, asked the question if perhaps it was glowing bacteria. Together with his friend Jon Curtis, they did research, and experiments, and won the 2001 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

What were their results? The answer, as it is with anything to do with real science, is that it is complicated. The glowing was due to bacteria, however the bacteria in question lived inside the stomach of parasitic worms. The two had a semi-symbiotic relationship where the worm would burrow itself into an insect and puke out the bacteria. The bacteria would then kill and break down the insect as well as any other microorganisms. The worm would then eat the remains of the insect, as well as the bacteria, where the bacteria would then continue to grow in the worm’s stomach.

However the bacteria and worm in question are normally killed by a human’s internal body heat, which ruled them out as a possibility, until the kids hypothesized that the soldiers, after spending days in the cold and mud, actually had hypothermia which would lower core body temperature enough to allow these worms to survive, and once the humans were well, would be cleared by the human immune system.

So the ultimate result was that a combination of hypothermia, parasitic worms, and glowing bacteria saved many soldiers lives.

Want more details? Click here to read the source article.

Source [Mental Floss]

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Writing Time: Everlasting #77

by on Jan.07, 2014, under Articles, Writing, Writing Updates

Writing Session(s)

Word Count: 258

Happy New Year! I did almost no writing over the holidays. Prior to the holidays I did some writing on a new design project, which I’ll talk about below. Today as the first normal writing session of the new year where I wasn’t on vacation. I’m going to be trying the two hundred and fifty words per day method of finishing Everlasting, although yesterday I opted for my words to count towards working on Weird Words and doing blog updates. Today I obviously reached the goal and I might write some more after this post is done.

Everlasting Update

Novel Word Count: 178,379 (+258)
Outline Word Count: 36,744 (+0)

Doing small updates is interesting. I finished off a scene I had previously written, which was a nice natural stopping point. Honestly writing 250 words is easy as long as I sit down to do it, which I guess is the point. The scene written was the beginning of the abbreviated romantic arc I have between two characters where they are having a disagreement. I, of course, am having second thoughts if the storyline will actually work, but inner editor can suck it! Huzzah!

Editing & Critiques

Currently not editing or critiquing anything.

New Projects

Magic the Gathering Organizer

So little to no work has been done on this, which is somewhat my fault. I think it’ll be on hiatus.

Unnamed Board Game codename Platform

New project. I was inspired by a kickstarter that I won’t reveal to design a board game. I’m not going to reveal many details about it for now but I will be working on it.

Other Works

Free Write - Hiatus.

Station – Waiting to be edited.

Matrix – Hiatus.

Gerald – Waiting to be continued.

Reconfigure – Waiting to be turned into an actual short story.

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Weird Word: Palpebra

by on Jan.06, 2014, under Articles, Weird Words, Writing

Palpebra

Noun

  • The eyelid.

Example Usage:

“That is the biggest palpebra I have ever seen,” the doctor said. “Help me lift it. We can see what type of ocular apparatus the creature uses.”

SourceWiktionary

Commentary:

Need another word for eyelid? No? Really? I could have sworn… This definitely falls under a weird word that you’re only going to use if you’re in a medical field in some way shape or form. Or if you want to sound really smart.

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