Rose & Bernard Reunited

Call me an old softie but damn when Rose and Bernard finally reunited in the Lost episode – Collision, I got pretty misty-eyed. Great episode.

OK – off to do this week’s Critter critique.

Same shit different day

Another 450 words on the story. My output seems poor to me but the section is dialogue heavy. I hope to be able to up the sessions count before too long. Practice makes perfect.

Started watching the Season 2 Lost DVDs. The episodes flows so much better this way. Also the Audio/Video quality of the discs really give the show a cinematic feel.

Next round of the Critters critiques has started today. I really find doing this really helps me with my writing.

The Beat Goes On…

435 more words to the story this morning. Best I can do in a hour. Need more time. Hard to find.

Keeping Busy

Various things on the go right now.

Just finished the Season 2 DVD boxset of Veronica Mars – great series, snappy dialogue, well defined characters portrayed by an excellent cast all led by the dynamo that is Kristen Bell. In the process of writing up a review for the DVD site EyeCraveDVD.

Working on my short story. I think it will be ~ 5,000 words and have about 1800 of them so far.

Reading Heart of Darkness. Great writing but tough sledding as far as reading goes.

Also working through the Stephen King Uncollected, Unpublished book, the current Analog issue, finished the excellent King interview in The Paris Review magazine, reading the Taverns of the Dead anthology, and falling miserably behind in my reading of the weekly New Scientist magazine. Waiting in the wings the last issues of Dark Discovery and Cemetery Dance.

Finally, re-listening to Stephen King’s – On Writing on the commute to work.

Whew!

All that, and there is the real life stuff family, job etc.

Yep, no wonder time flies.

Word on the Street Festival

Yesterday, Sunday Sept 24th, was my first time out to Word On the Street festival. It was held at Queen’s Park in downtown Toronto. Took my 6 year old son with me and he had a blast. We caught the subway from Fairview Mall. It was Tim’s first time on the subway which he treated like an amusement ride.

While there I managed to hit the SFWA booth. There I talked briefly to Terence M. Green and picked up his book Sailing Through Time. A longer discussion with Karl Schroeder took place and I picked up a few of his books as well. Karl had a copy of his new book – Sun of Suns, I believe the title was, and its a SF version of a pirate story that takes place in a world with no gravity. He was very enthused about it and has signed a three book deal, with a fourth possibly in the wings. Great to experience the infectious passion of a writer first hand.

We managed to do all of this before the rain kicked in.

I am a big Stephen King fan – my favourite storyteller of all time. Another favoured writer is also a Stephen. The other Stephen is Stephen R. Donaldson of the Thomas Convenant The Unbeliever fantasy series. Style wise these two writers are light years apart. Yet both are able to create fictional characters that stick with you forever.

SRD runs a Gradual Interview feature on his site where he picks questions to respond to. Over the years that he has done this, SRD has shown a razor sharp dry wit and self deprecating humour. He has on occasion answered questions about his thoughts on the more famous King.

There are other references to King over at the SRD Gradual Interview but I found Donaldson’s observation of King’s writing skill in terms of description very insightful in this Q/A.

Question: Do you have any rules-of-thumb in your own writing, such as “Well I need to describe the scene, a room (say) in Revelstone, so I’ll force myself to describe it in x number of words/sentences, then move on to something juicy happening…”? Or do you work on a more intuitive level? I guess what I’m asking is, what advice do you have for a writer who is having trouble seeing the forest for the trees?

Answer: I think this is a huge challenge for any writer. Yes, writers move through the story far more slowly than readers do. Yes, this causes enormous problems of “translation” (accomodating the reader’s perspective within the writer’s): “pace” is only one of the difficulties. And yes, reading your own prose *as if* it had been written by someone else is both numbing and, ultimately, impossible. And no, there aren’t any “rules”. Each writer solves the problem(s) in his/her own way. (Try to imagine a Patricia McKillip novel “paced” like a Stephen King novel. But don’t give yourself an aneurysm. )

I think of my own approach as “trained intuition”: I do it “by feel”. Years and years of practice and study permit me to proceed *as if* by reflex. My only advice if you can’t “see the forest for the trees” is: look at a different forest; stare at different trees. Instead of obsessing about your own work, study someone else’s. Observe, for example, how Stephen King “slows down time” for the reader whenever he writes a Big Scene (which, incidentally, is one of the keys to his success): the faster and more urgently events move, the more words (details) he uses to describe them. The more you’re able to see in other people’s work, the better qualified you’ll be to make decisions about your own.

(08/29/2006)

Here he reinforces the concept of King having his feet planted on the ground.

Question: You have several times spoken highly of Stephen King and his writing skills. Have you ever had the opportunity to meet the man?

Answer: Yes, I’ve had that pleasure several times. I don’t really “know” him, but he has always treated me with exceptional courtesy. And he gives off a good “vibe,” for whatever that (purely subjective) perception is worth.

(09/21/2006)

Survivors of the 20th Century

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren’t overweight because……

WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem .

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo’s, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms……….WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no
lawsuits from these accidents .

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays,
made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
This generation has produced some of the best risk!-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned

HOW TO

DEAL WITH IT ALL!

And YOU are one of them!

CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

and while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.
Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn’t it?!

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