Tuesday, December 3, 2019

December news

So I didn't finish NaNoWriMo :-(

I got into a reading challenge, and by golly, I'm going to do even better this month. Even with Christmas and all. We were just 50 point short of winning!

And here's December list of "things I've learned"

mendacious - not telling the truth; lying
(The Grand Tour; Or, The Purloined Coronation Regalia)

vie, vied, vying.
to strive in competition or rivalry with another; contend for superiority
(The Golden Tulip) 

mollify - appease the anger or anxiety of (someone).

contrite - feeling or expressing remorse at the recognition that one has done wrong.
(The Haunting of Hill House)

attenuated - having been reduced in force, effect, or value.
(Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius)

"Another stone used for early querns and picturesquely known as "pudding stone" is a conglomerate which derives its name from the rounded bits of quartzose rock, white and red, embedded like plums in the surrounding mass of finer silicious particles which form the main body of the "pudding".
(English Bread and Yeast Cookery)

Monday, November 25, 2019

Oh, dear...

It's five days left of NaNoWriMo... and I have written about 20.000 words... Doesn't look good for me :-D

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Oh, the things one learns...

oleaginous - rich in, covered with, or producing oil; oily; exaggeratedly and distastefully complimentary; obsequious
(Cold Comfort Farm)

Doxxing refers to someone gathering pieces of personal information and posting them online - whether on a private page or in a more public location. In many cases, the intent is to harass the person or to lead others into harassing them.
(Referring to some "popular" YA author who got her knickers in twist when someone said they don't think her books should be read in an university book club. I have never heard of this "popular" YA author, or any of her books, nor of the "famous authors" who joined to support her in this horrible offense. But I have made a note to never read her books or any of the books of the others, because I don't want to be doxxed. This is why I'm not mentioning her name, because I'm 100% sure of that this comment here would be enough for her and her fans to put me on their list.)

Oxonian - relating to Oxford or Oxford University.
(Importance of Being Earnest)

propitious - giving or indicating a good chance of success; favourable. favourably disposed towards someone.
Latin propitius (“favorable, well-disposed, kind”) - from prope - near, close, almost, better

anthropophagy - the eating of human flesh by human beings.
(possibly Of Love And Other Demons or Carmilla. Maybe The Willoughbys)

oupire - A vampire, an evil spirit.
From Polish upiór

inculcate - instil (an idea, attitude, or habit) by persistent instruction.
(inculco - impress upon, force upon, from in calco - tread upon, trample, place under heel)
(Ms. Rapscott's Girls)

the deuteragonist or secondary main character is the second most important character, after the protagonist and before the tritagonist.
(some thing or another about writing - it's NaNoWriMo)

arquebus - an early type of portable gun supported on a tripod or a forked rest.
(Of Love And Other Demons)

funereal - having the mournful, sombre character appropriate to a funeral.
(Funus is death or funeral, funereus illboding, fatal or funereal. Huh.)

The gallowglasses (also spelt galloglass, gallowglas or galloglas; from Irish: gall óglaigh meaning foreign warriors) were a class of elite mercenary warriors who were principally members of the Norse-Gaelic clans of Scotland between the mid 13th century and late 16th century.
(All Souls Trilogy)

hectoring - talking in a bullying way.
(Hector: a blustering, noisy, turbulent fellow; a blusterer, bully.)
(came up when researching for my NaNoWriMo)

lugubrious - looking or sounding sad and dismal.
(Latin lugubris - mournful, gloomy)

irascible - having or showing a tendency to be easily angered.

A jaunting car is a light two-wheeled carriage for a single horse, with a seat in front for the driver. In its most common form with seats for two or four persons placed back to back, with the foot-boards projecting over the wheels. (Or no seat for the driver, who would be sitting sideways on the passenger seat while driving - or the seats could be facing inwards, like the old horsedriven busses. Which probably evolved from jaunting cars.

 (Cold Comfort Farm)

 leveret - a young hare in its first year
(Cold Comfort Farm)

Norfolk Biffins is a sort of apple. When it is prepared in a certain way, you get these delicious "cakes" of dried fruit...
 (A Christmas Carol)

Parlour games from A Christmas Carol:
One of the company goes out of the room, while the others choose a
word to be guessed, one with two or three different meanings being the
We will suppose that the word “Spring” has been thought of. When the
person who is outside the room is recalled, he (or she) asks each one
in succession: “How do you like it?” The answers may be “Dry” (meaning
the season), “Cold and clear” (a spring of water), “Strong” (a
watch-spring), and “High” (a jump). The next question is: “When do you
like it?” The answers may be: “When I am in the country,” “When I am
thirsty,” “When my watch is broken.”
The next question is: “Where do you like it?” and the answers may be:
“Anywhere and everywhere,” “In hot weather,” “In the clock.” The game
is to try and guess the word after any of the answers, and if right,
the player last questioned takes the place of the one who is guessing;
if wrong, the questioner must try again.

Other Victorian parlour games, like forfeit and charades

indigent - poor; needy.
(Antelope Wife)


camelopard (actually, giraffe)

bricolage - construction or creation from a diverse range of available things.

following words came up with my research on Commedia dell'arte

meretricious - apparently attractive but having no real value. Relating to or characteristic of a prostitute.
From Latin meretrīcius, from meretrīx (“harlot, prostitute”), from mereō (“earn, deserve, merit”) (English merit) + -trīx (“(female agent)”) (English -trix).

tatterdemalion - someone wearing tattered clothes

dotard - an old person, especially one who has become physically weak or whose mental faculties have declined.
(Also a nickname to Donald Trump)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Middle of NaNo...

uh. Not going too well...

But... I have learned things. I need to write the first thing in the morning. I can't do anything else before, at least anything that takes more than 15 minutes. I can absolutely not read.

Also, YA is basically pulp fiction. So is Romance and Fantasy. It' not literary fiction.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

"I tried writing like..."

I Copied the Routines of Famous Writers and It Sucked

Rituals, routines and writing tips from the most successful authors
The Daily Routines of 12 Famous Writers
Daily Rituals: A Guided Tour of Writers’ and Artists’ Creative Habits
9 Weird Habits That Famous Writers Formed to Write Better 
The Odd Habits and Curious Customs of Famous Writers
Writing Secrets of Prolific Authors
8 Strange Habits Well-Known Writers Formed to Write Better 
The Daily Writing Routines Of 20 Famous Authors
11 Successful Writers Share Their Writing Routines

Dean Koontz
- Writing Habits
- The Koontz Method

JK Rowling
- 8 Rules of Writing
- Routine
- 5 Daily Habits to Steal from J.K. Rowling, Including Her Commitment to Self-Development
- J.K. Rowling reveals the routine she uses to write her best-selling novels

Alison Littlewood
- A Look At The Morning Rituals and Daily Habits of 9 Popular Authors 
- Interview: Alison Littlewood on A Cold Season

Gillian Flynn

- A Look At The Morning Rituals and Daily Habits of 9 Popular Authors 
- Gillian Flynn Talks About her Writing Process
- Lessons In After-Hours Creativity From Pop Culture Writer Turned Author Gillian Flynn
- How I Write 

A.M. Homes

- A Look At The Morning Rituals and Daily Habits of 9 Popular Authors

Haruki Murakami
- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers
- Write Like The Wind
- Daily Routines
- Writing Advice
- Lessons on Writing and Leading a Writer’s Life
- The Daily Routines of Great Writers
- 10 Famous Writers And Their Daily Creative Routines

Susan Sontag

- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers
- The Daily Routines of Great Writers

WH Auden

- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers
- Daily Routine

E.B. White

- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers
- The Daily Routines of Great Writers
- Routine matters
- 10 Famous Writers And Their Daily Creative Routines

Ernest Hemingway

- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers
- The Daily Routines of Great Writers
- Routine
- Daily Routines
- Writing Habits  
- the self-described daily routines of some of the world's most prolific minds

Vladimir Nabokov
- the self-described daily routines of some of the world's most prolific minds
- daily routines
- How Nabokov Wrote His Masterpiece, Lolita

Joan Didion
- The Daily Routines of Great Writers
- 10 Famous Writers And Their Daily Creative Routines

Jack Kerouac
- The Daily Routines of Great Writers

Don DeLillo
- The Daily Routines of Great Writers

Benjamin Franklin
- The Daily Routines of Great Writers

Anaïs Nin
- The Daily Routines of Great Writers

Maya Angelou

- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers
- The Daily Routines of Great Writers
- the self-described daily routines of some of the world's most prolific minds
- Masters of Habit: The Wisdom and Writing of Maya Angelou
- Maya Angelou Always Rented A Hotel Room Just For Writing
- 10 Famous Writers And Their Daily Creative Routines

Kurt Vonnegut

- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers
- The Daily Routines of Great Writers
- 10 Famous Writers And Their Daily Creative Routines

John Steinbeck

- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers

Ray Bradbury

- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers
- The Daily Routines of Great Writers

Alice Munro

- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers

Simone de Beauvoir

- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers
- Daily Routines
- The Daily Routines of Great Writers

John Updike

- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers

Henry Miller

- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers
- The Daily Routines of Great Writers
- 10 Famous Writers And Their Daily Creative Routines

Leo Tolstoy

- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers
- Leo Tolstoy’s 17 “Rules of Life:” Wake at 5am, Help the Poor, & Only Two Brothel Visits Per Month

Mark Twain
- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers
- Daily routine

Charles Dickens

- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers

Jane Austen

- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers

Anthony Trollope

- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers
- Daily Routines

Bernard Malamud
- The Daily Routine of 20 Famous Writers

Ursula LeGuin
- Daily Routine
- The Ideal Routine
- 10 quotes about writing
Best Life Advice

Michael Lewis
- Daily Routine

Robert Caro
- Daily Routine

Alice Walker
- Alice Walker Offers Advice on Writing

Agatha Christie
- Writing Routines

Albert Einstein
- The Old Elephant Tricks

F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Routine Matters

- Daily Routines

John Grisham
- Daily Routines

Gustave Flaubert
- Daily Routines

James Thurber
- Daily Routines

Alaa Al Aswany
- Daily Routines

Gunter Grass
- Daily Routines

Emily Dickinson
- Daily Routines

Charles Darwin
- Daily Routines

Joseph Campbell
- Daily Routines

William Gibson
- how I wrote Neuromancer
- The Daily Routines
- Q&A
- The Daily Routines of Great Writers

Hunter S. Thompson
- Daily Routine
- What We Can Learn From Hunter S. Thompson’s Daily Routine
- Hunter S. Thompson’s daily routine was the height of dissolution

Alexandre Dumas Sr.
- 5 Lessons for Internet Writers from Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo

Dan Brown
- 4am starts and spinach smoothies: Da Vinci Code's Dan Brown on how to write a bestseller
- The daily routine that makes bestselling author Dan Brown ultra-productive
- 10 tips for writing bestselling suspense

George R.R. Martin
- 11 Writing Lessons From George R.R. Martin
- Minimalism, Success, and the Curious Writing Habit of George R.R. Martin
- George R.R. Martin's friends explain the complicated reasons his next book might be taking so long to write
- GRRM’s Writing Process
- 'Game Of Thrones' Creator George R.R. Martin Shares His Creative Process

Karen Russell
- 10 Famous Writers And Their Daily Creative Routines

Barbara Kingsolver
- 10 Famous Writers And Their Daily Creative Routines

Toni Morrison
- Daily Routines
- Writing routine
- “You Don’t Know Anything.” And Other Writing Advice from Toni Morrison
- Toni Morrison and the Writing Process
- 5 Ways Toni Morrison Can Improve Your Writing

Thursday, March 28, 2019

"Where do you get your ideas?"

I have never understood this question. Or, I have never understood it is a question.

The ideas are there, all around, everywhere. Everyone has ideas. Every idea is born the same way.
One sees something, hears something, reads something, associates with things one has seen, heard, read earlier, and there it is, an idea.

Being an author, one puts the ideas into stories. I suppose that's what people are actually asking...

Let's say... you read a newspaper article. It's about some kids who bravely stopped a train and prevented an accident.
So - you start wondering... who were these kids? Let's think... three kids sounds good (maybe they were three children in the newspaper article. If so, it's really easy, then.) I want the oldest to be a girl, and then there should be at least one of the other gender, so one girl and one boy, and the youngest... I want her to be a girl. The oldest... do I base her on me at that age? Or someone I know or have known or read about? I think she's called Roberta... Bobby for short. And the boy is Peter, and looks like this, and the youngest is Phyllis. So... why are they there? They like to play by the railway. Why? Hmm... Perhaps they have just moved next to a railway. Why?
and so on and so forth. One just keeps asking the 5 W's and H.
Who was involved?
What happened?
When did it happen?
Where did it happen?
Why did it happen?
How did it happen?
To me it's easy to create characters. There are about 7 billion people on this planet, and they are all people. Not two are exactly alike, but most are almost alike... most of us have two eyes, a nose, a mouth and two ears. For most of us these function "normally". Most people can see, smell, taste, speak and hear. Most of us have a head on top of their necks, two arms, two legs and a torso between. All of us have a mother and father. Some of us have siblings. Most of us have likes and dislikes, love some things and some people, hate some other things and people. Most of us have some ambitions, goals, aspirations - might not be big ones, might not be much, but they are there. Most of us want to live. Most of us like doing the same kind of things for entertainment. Most adults have a job. The psychology works for most people, if not all. Maslow's hierarchy of needs work for most of us. I can use myself as the base for all the characters and just change some bits.

And in the Western world we all have met thousands of people. If a person reads, one meets even more so. So, just take a couple of all the people you have met, and put them together.
Your first teacher + the girl you saw at a store last week + the side character from the book you last read.
Miss Gray, as young... Vera Gray. She's small and slender, has dark hair, bright blue eyes. She is affirmative, friendly, but serious. She's a quiet person, but her eyes look straight into you. She sees you, really SEES you. Everyone likes her, though, because she seems to like what she sees. How can she like you, when you know how unlikable and boring and nobody you are... what does she see you don't see? And - the story is on.

The names for characters usually just pop up. Just think about naming your child. You might think of the family names, maybe your own name, or the other parent's name, maybe some ancestor, maybe some celebrity, or a character from a book, tv series or movie. Maybe you heard a nice name somewhere.
My eldest sister got her name because my grandmother heard someone mention it at a store. Another big sister was named by a girl in a newspaper article. I don't know where my name comes from, but my mother had decided it already before I was born. "If it's a girl, it will be Sanna, if a boy, Sami". (Sanna is the Finnish short form of Susan, and Sami of Samuel. It might sound like a girl's name in USonian ears, but it isn't.) Another big sister was named after the day my parents got married. A brother got a variant of my father's name. They were discussing naming the child after the name day of the day.
The thing is that the characters do get a sort of life of their own. You could do a little experiment. Go to a random character designer.

Random Character Appearance Generator
Skin: Light brown
Hair: Mid-length, curly, graying light brown
Eyes: Gray, somewhat small
Height: Average height
Weight: A bit pudgy
Build: Average
Maybe something like this?

Now - prejudices and preconceived notions. What could she be called? Melissa? Apple? Lulu? Anything goes. She looks pretty mischievous and naughty there. Up to no good. Maybe Weasley twins' spiritual sister? Does she have brothers and sisters? Little by little you notice you have created a whole character with a life story. Fill in the character sheets available online about her.
It's totally fine to steal and plagiarize at this point. You are just practicing here.

Which is another nice exercise in developing character ideas. Genderbend your favorite characters. How would a female Sherlock Holmes be? Change the other parameters. How would Sherlock Holmes be if he was living today? Or she? Try different genres. Fantasy Sherlock Holmes? Scifi Sherlock Holmes? What if he was black? Asian? Could you mix in some African folklore? Or Native American? Now, change his/her name. Change the addiction. In stead of cocaine, she could be addicted to exercise. How would that look in Victorian times? Or maybe he's spiritualist. Maybe he's extremely religious. Change the hobby. Let him make origami instead of playing violin. Enhance some of the qualities, like narcissism. Make him a fashionista. Tune down the marysue. Give her a backstory that explains the observation and deduction skills.
Now take Elizabeth Bennet. Genderbend. Change genre. Change time. Change environment. Change ethnicity. Change family circumstances. What if she was the eldest? Youngest? What if she was stupid? What if she wasn't interested in men? What if she wasn't interested in anything but men? What if he wasn't interested in anything but men? How Elijah seduced Fitzwilliam...
What if Elijah Bennet was Sherlock Holmes? Or if Siùsaidh Holmes was Elizabeth Bennet?

Now, take your favorite character (or any character you liked, from a book you recently read) and do the same exercise. Put in as much variation as you can come up with.

race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, language, cultural origin, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status

When you create a character and give him/her flaws, remember that these flaws must be a natural companion to the virtues and abilities. Every quality has a good side and a bad side, just like Pollyanna said. Sherlock Holmes' intelligence and abilities did set him apart from most people he met, and it was natural for him to develop some distaste for the dumb people he had to share his life with. It's natural one has little patient when one always needs to explain and update people, because they just can't keep up with you.

Ok, then... when you have worked with the "who?" enough time, you'll realize that it's no longer you who decide. Authors will describe what happens next as if the characters refuse to co-operate, resist the decisions you make, have their own head, will, way... you'll notice that your Sherry doesn't have red hair and she dislikes raspberries. She won't say the words you want her to say, because "that's not her". She says something totally different, something that will surprise even you. Where did THAT come from?

When you are telling the story, this starts happening more and more. Stephen King says that this is how all his stories happen. He just puts the ball rolling and then follows it to the end, happen what may. He's just writing down the story as it happens. He doesn't invent the story, he doesn't decide what happens, he doesn't plan, he doesn't make the characters do, say and feel. They tell him what they did, said and felt, and he is just a scribe.

The next W is "what happened?" - this is the "children save train from accident". The ideas are usually just something as simple as that. Astrid Lindgren read an article about a house fire, and how a big brother rescued the little brother by jumping out of the window and he died at the fall. She wrote Brothers Lionheart, which is one of the best books ever. The incident is in the beginning, and the book is about the little brother, his short life after the big brother died, and then what happened after they died... According the "myth" in the book, when people die, they go to a magical kingdom named Nangijala, which is like a medieval fantasy fairytale world, and then they have adventures there. This started with a simple newspaper article and evolved through "what happens after death?"

"What if...?" is a another "What?" question. We got a look at that already with the characters. What if Sherlock was Siusaidh? What if Eliza was Elijah? What if it happened in Africa and not in England? What if it happened in the 14th century Russia? Or 24th century China? What if someone had managed to stop "it" from happening? What if someone hadn't stopped "it" from happening?

Some of the story ideas I have had on this line are: "the stories of people taken by fairies are always told by the taken - what would it look like if seen by the society? How would they react if someone appeared from nowhere and claimed to have come from 100 years ago?"

Another "what" question is "what happened then?" A lot of people have written sequels and prequels to classics, but one could just tweak it a little, change names, descriptions, some qualities to hide the origin, and write new stories. Frankly, I dislike prequels and sequels to classics, because everyone else's but the original author's version is only as good as my own, and I have my own. I'd much prefer if they wrote their fan fiction sequels and then changed it enough to mask the origin. I mean, I don't see Twilight in 50 Shades of Grey. I don't see Harry Potter in City of Bones. There's a lot of books that were born as fan fiction, and then edited to be independent stories.

There really aren't too small stories. Think about Emma, for example. What is the story? A girl thinks about and meddles with love stories among her limited amount of friends. Finally she finds out that she loves a man and he loves her. Nothing happens in the book. Yet it is a loved story. One can really spin a tale of a sausage peg. :-D
Frankly, it's better to do it so. I hate Sarah J. Maas because she puts in EVERYTHING (AND the kitchen sink AND her dog, too) in her stories. I mean, Throne of Glass series, the heroine is the world's best assassin, pirate, fairy, street urchin, orphan princess super-talented magician, the promised one and probably dozen other things as well. In The Old Man And The Sea, the hero is an old man who fishes. He goes out to fish, is away the whole day and comes back with no fish. Sarah took 4397 pages to tell her story and one can't find 100 pages as good as the 132 of Ernest's Old Man.