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Resolutions: 2015

1) Lose weight. Automatically on everyone’s list, right?

2) Finish book. On my list every year, and like #1, it never gets done.

3) Write. Like a bat out of hell.

4) Apply for grad school. Because I’m a masochist.

5) Fix car. It’s been a year now since the accident, I think it’s about time.

6) Blog. Because you pay for this crap.

7) Read more. It’s good for the soul.

And that about does it.

Higher Intelligence = No Emotion

Lately I’d been doing a lot of reading on “Theory of Mind” for school, and for whatever reason it got me thinking about a popular trend in science fiction stories. Whenever characters are supposed to be of higher intelligence, it’s suggested that in trade they give up empathy and in extreme examples lack emotion altogether. Take for example, Vulcans in Star Trek, the Observers in Fringe, there was an episode in the last season of Eureka where Jack is given an “intelligence serum” by Kevin, and as his intelligence grew, his emotional capacity shrank until all he cared about was being smart.

The reason I got to thinking about this in conjunction with my Theory of Mind readings is because their storylines are contradictory to everything people actual science, particularly social science, are proposing in regards to cognitive thought. Emotion and being able to empathize with others is considered to be a process of higher thought, not lower. an ability to think about others emotional states and to read others emotions and respond accordingly, to see others as comprehending beings is a sign of heightened intelligence. 

I guess I don’t understand why the opposite is taken as truth in science fiction — aside from Vulcans becoming the standard model for a higher race of intellectual beings.

Proof, Proof, Proof, or Prove that You’re Human

We’re all guilty of it.  I anticipate doing it as I’m writing this post, and catching it shortly after I publish.  

We make mistakes in our writing, be they typos or simply grammatical kerfuffles that we overlook because our brain is mush, bashing out words without taking care to ensure they all fit harmoniously together.  Sometimes it’s because we’re in a rush, other times because we just didn’t know any better, and usually because we’ve been reading and re-reading the same passage over and over and over again that we’re just skimming things now.

People have written about how you should always proofread, always, always, always.  Go ahead, type “should I proofread” into Google and see how many articles you pull up.  A lot of them will tell you never make a mistake.  Polished pieces of writing don’t go out with mistakes.  Of course, that’s not true, sometimes they do.  The really honest articles will tell you to just try not to make a mistake.  Proofread your work several times and then have a few friends proofread it too.  I always grab my sister for my editing needs, she’s a proud grammar Nazi.

As writers, we should strive for our writing to be as polished and perfect as possible before sending it out the door.  We tout ourselves as professionals at this, so everything we write should be par excellence.  Right?

But sometimes, we don’t have the time or it just isn’t logical to proofread something we’ve written that many times. I will admit it, I have sent out Tweets on Twitter that were garbled messes it’s a wonder readers were able to begin understanding my meaning (but they do!).  I mostly blame my “smart” phone and it’s oh-so-awesome autocorrecting technology (yes, that sarcasm is dripping).  Ultimately, we’re only human.

So what is the solution? Does it matter all that much that the blog post I hammered out between homework assignments in an effort to remind the digital abyss I still exist is littered with typos that should’ve been caught my third draft were it a manuscript?  Is it hurting my reputation as a storyteller that I tweeted “twat” instead of “twit”? 

Oh well, it’s what editors are for.  There are a lot of other things in my writing that people will have problems with outside of that silly typo that slid right by.

Will Fantasy Casts Always Be Just Fantasy

For the first time yesterday, I fantasy cast a character in a story I’m working on.  I wasn’t going to mention to anyone my current writing project, at least until I finished the first draft, because I’ve been doing so well on it and talking about how well I’m writing something tends to be the nail in the coffin of that trend.  Therefore, I won’t mention how many words I’ve written or give too many details.  

The only thing important to note is that I fantasy cast a character in the story.  Well, he won’t appear until the end of this book.  It’s a serial fantasy story. He’d feature predominately in the second book.  

If you’ve never fantasy cast before, and have no clue what it is, well, it’s sometimes recommended as a cure or preventative measure against writer’s block.  Basically, you think about your story hitting it big, being made into a movie, and cast Hollywood actors into the part.  Some writers fantasy cast as a part of their character development, give them an image/personality/attitude/speech style/etc. to model their character off of, but that’s not something I recommend doing.

Like I said, I’ve never done it before.  I don’t like doing it, because I don’t like the potential of associating a celebrity to a character and influencing the way I write that character.  I don’t want to limit myself, I want a blank canvas.  

Yet, out of the blue yesterday (or maybe not, roommate was watching “Perks of Being a Wallflower”), I realized I would really like to see Ezra Miller as the primary form of a shapeshifting character referred to in the story as “Morpheus” — which I anticipate that reveal getting me all kinds of flak and eye rolls, to which I respond, don’t judge a book by the name of a character in it

Anyhow, Ezra Miller actually has the look I wanted for the character, dark hair, dark eyes, sharp features, a kind of melancholy beauty.  I know, it sounds generic at this point, but the features are meant to contrast with another character who he’s most closely affiliated with throughout the whole story, that other character has more of a rugged look with golden hair and stormy eyes. Why am I defending this here? Need to get over the writer self-consciousness issue. I don’t need to justify anything to you people!

Back to Ezra, he’s a great actor.  His personality as Patrick in Perks of Being a Wallflower wouldn’t really fit my character at all and I haven’t really seen him in anything else so that’s all I’ve got to base this critique off of, but I thought to myself deep in the fantasy…er, or as deep as I’d let myself go without actually starting to visualize the actor playing my character for fear of perverting my original vision, I thought it would be interesting to see what Ezra Miller would do with the role. 

Anyhow, not long after making this decision, I realized, by the time I finished writing the book or how ever many of the books it takes, begging a publisher to publish it, getting it popular or noticed enough to be made into a movie, the actor would be too old to play the part. This is, of course, not even bothering to dwell on the very likely probability that none of what I mentioned ever happens (no publishing, no popularity, no one seeing it as a viable movie), or the less likely probability due to the high likelihood of the former probability, that he might not even want the part if it did happen (given his filmography, I don’t see him interested in getting into a genre movie). 

Of course I was depressed.  What’s the point of fantasy casting if it’s only ever going to be a fantasy?

I don’t know. I think I’m done playing that game. I’m just going to get back to writing.

Put me in a hole, bury me to my neck…

Recently I pitched to a friend collaborating on developing a game.  I’d tried convincing my sister to work with me on it, to no avail, but it looks like the friend is interested.  Originally, I’d envisioned my sister doing the graphics because she’s a kick-ass artist and I’d do the programming because unlike my sister, I can program my way out of a box.  When I mentioned this to the friend, he was taken aback, stating “I would’ve thought you’d needed help with the programming”.  I was like, well, yeah, that’s what you’d be doing because, honestly, he can barely draw a box but at the same time I’m going “Uh…I do know how to program.”

The problem is that I get pigeon-holed.  It happens to everyone, but I’m getting so sick and tired of it.  People attach labels to other people and fail to see them as capable of anything outside of that label.  I’m an artist so I can only do art. I’m a writer, so surely all I do is write.  The thing is these are just skills, and more skills can be learned on top of them and, well, I love to learn.  I get bored having only one skill and knowing how to do only this one thing.  I’m not alone.  People have hobbies that don’t fall immediately into their primary skill-set, or they take classes, read about things they didn’t know how to do before.  We’re curious critters, us Homo sapiens.  It’s called personal growth, and smart people strive to do it on a regular basis.  

Just because I want to be a writer, doesn’t mean that’s all I can do.  If anything being a writer means I need to know how to do more.  I’m also an artist, a programmer, a gamer, a singer, a knitter, a crocheter, a baker, a philosopher, a chef, an anthropologist, a student, a friend, a bonafide DIY-er…the list goes on.  These are things I do, they aren’t who I am.  They don’t define me. And just because these are the things I do now does not mean I cannot and will not do so much more.

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Quick Updates

Work is going well.  So far, the boss likes me.  We had an employee assessment recently, and I scored much higher than I thought I would.  Seems I won’t be shown the door as soon as I thought I would be.  Yay.

On another note, my personal NaNoWriMo is going well, too.  I’ve been working on a new-ish story.  It’s a plot I’d been dwelling on for a while, but hadn’t gotten around to writing yet.  I really want to work on that sci-fi that I’d intended to do during the actual NaNoWriMo, but I guess I’d rather not do it in a rush.  I want to work on something that matters a little less to me and is easy to pen over the course of 30 days.  Anyhow, back to some productive writing.

Professional Blog Writer

Today I am officially a professional blog writer.

My first post went up for the company blog.  Check it out!

I’m nervous about it.  I know it’s not a great post, and I’m hoping I’ll get better with time and the more I settle into the position.  At the moment I’m working on several other posts about food, recipes, and other products that we sell.  I’m kind of on a homemade kick, everything from scratch (sort of) but in the easiest ways possible and with tips to make eating homemade simple and muss free, so that may be what a lot of my blog posts focus on.  Did you know how easy it was to make your own dressings and condiments from scratch?  I’ll be posting about it within the next few months on the company blog, so maybe bookmark the page or sign up for the newsletter to get updates.

Semi-unrelated, I’m also planning on slowly learning to do homemade lotions, soaps, skin care, shampoo, hair conditioner, and cosmetic products.  Yes, I’m looking at becoming a hippie, except I want to be very scientific about it, track how well things are working, shelf life, etc.  I just need to come up with a recording system, and also run 0ut of the current products I’m using.  I’ve already got plans to make some lotions, sugar scrubs, maybe lip balm, and laundry detergent for the holidays — give some as gifts 🙂 !  Though I’m a bit wary of giving things to my loved ones that I haven’t tried on myself yet.

I might start a blog to post my results on everything.  We’ll see how that goes.

Back to the professional blog writer thing.  Yeah, come by and take a look at the post.  Tell me what you think, because I could use a few tips, pointers, lot of feedback.  Final note, I made breakfast this morning with the product I blogged about.  It was so much easier to use than I thought, though I totally missed the instruction to cover and lower the heat (I covered, no lowered heat…didn’t ruin it too much and I caught it eventually).  Here’s a pic.

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I suggest purchasing one soon. It’s a limited time item.

 

School’s Out Forever…almost

I have one week left of classes and then it’s finals week.  Winter break, roughly a month long.  School starts up again on January 24th, marking, finally, my last semester as an undregrad.  I feel like I’ve been an undergraduate student forever, and my family would definitely agree.  It’s taken me about ten years to get my bachelor’s degree, I meandered at the community college taking random classes, switched my major countless times, and even took one semester off entirely.  

Few can probably claim to have taken so long finding themselves, and I’m still kind of looking.

I’d like to go to graduate school.  I’m just not sure how soon I can go.  I need to get a few professors to like me enough to write me recommendation letters.  I need to get into a field school to bolster my CV.  I need money, that’s a big and extremely scary one. Hardest of all, I need to find a school that will take me, complete with a professor interested in what I want to research.

For now, I just need to finish this semester.

NaNoWriMo 2014: Diary Entry 1

Day 3, and I’m already behind on my word count.  Why does this always happen to me every year?!

Oh, right.  Because my attention is divided between school, work, and other stories i’m obligated to finish, before I can work on my own NaNoWriMo project.  My word count so far: a woeful 916.

Augh.

Okay, well, I can catch up on that 4000 some odd words that I should have written by now.  Sure.  Totally.  In between homework, homework, homework, and a handful of chores.  I don’t know why I do this to myself every year.  On a positive note, the friend I convinced to participate in NaNoWriMo with me has been chugging right along with her word count.  Which makes me super excited, because she’s a beginner writer, that’s been wanting to get into it for a month or so now, and she was scared to do NaNoWriMo, she didn’t think anything she turned out would be very good.  Which I told her, point of NaNoWriMo is not quality but quantity. It’s a first draft, after all, you go back and edit after the month is over.

So, as I contemplate how to make up for this limp of mine right out the starting gate, here’s a short list of Things Not To Do When You Fall Behind in NaNoWriMo!

1) Post to your blog – seriously, why am I wasting words on a blog post that could be going right into that pile of 4000 I need to catch up on?

2) Check in on Twitter – which I did first thing this morning, and all last night.  For what possible purpose?  To avoid the hell out of that daunting word count goal.

3) Volunteer to run out and get tacos for dinner – did that last night, and there went an hour or so of my writing time.  Tacos were delicious though.

4) Complain – because you’ve done this to yourself.  There’s no one to blame but you and you just sound like a self-pitying sad sack when you bitch and moan about how much you suck.

5) Debate about what you should work on, homework or NaNoWriMo, then hate yourself for choosing homework – honestly, homework trumps NaNoWriMo.  The only thing I should hate myself for is setting myself up for this failure every year.  Between school and writing, I know I have to choose school (at the moment), yet I always feel like a failure when I do.  It’s a self-perpetuating cycle that spirals me down into a depression only egregious amounts of chocolate can fix.  I’m off to do homework and eat chocolate.  And hopefully, during short breaks, I can manage squeezing a productive amount of writing time in.

Best of luck to the rest of you on your NaNoWriMo!  Feel free to let me know how it’s going, especially if it’s going well and you want to rub it in my face.

It Starts

Happy November people!

The first day of NaNoWriMo is here.  Pens and papers (aka. Word Docs) at the ready?

I’m nervous, but excited.  About to get started, I think.  I was thinking about doing homework, changed my mind two seconds ago.  Homework can wait until tonight.  I need to write my first 1666 words of NaNoWriMo.

Good luck and happy writing.

 

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