Fantasist's Scroll

Fun, Fiction and Strange Things from the Desk of the Fantasist.

11/11/2016

Writers, Talking

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this month, you should be roughly a third of the way through and might need a bit of a break.

If you aren’t participating in National Novel Writing Month, that’s okay.  It’s still Friday and maybe you just need a break.  Either way, I think I’ve got you covered this week.  At least, I’ve got you covered if you like science-fiction, famous authors, and cranky discussions about literature and marketing.  It also helps if you like Studs Terkel or Gene Wolfe or Issac Asimov or Harlan Ellison.  Why?  Because the link I have for you has all those things in it, all those writers talking about literature, science-fiction, and the state of the world.  In 1982.  More than 30 years ago, but it’s all still quite relevant.
So, for whatever your reason, take a break and head over to the Observation Deck at Kinja and watch/listen to these brilliant men talk about some of the most interesting things in the universe.

Enjoy!
Then get back to writing and I’ll see you next week!

This post originally appeared on Diary of a Network Geek!

9/30/2016

Get Ready for NaNoWriMo

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I thought I’d try something new this year; early preparation.

To be clear, though, I’m not going to attempt NaNoWrimo this year, because I’m way too busy right now. However, in previous years, I would often post things to help people who were doing NaNoWriMo during the month of November, when the event occurs and this year, I thought I’d start early to let anyone who was writing get their prep out of the way.  So, here in the earliest stages of planning, you hopefully have an idea what you may want to write and, while you’ve been thinking about it for weeks or months, maybe you haven’t captured those thoughts.  In the past, I’ve used dozens of notebooks of every shape, size and description to scribble down every stray thought I may have had about whatever project I had in mind.  The only problem is, I could never seem to get the ideas all gathered together and into a useful format.  That’s where Evernote came in.
I started using Evernote because of the Getting Things Done method for staying organized.  It’s a great system and, naturally, it gave me a way to collect all my ideas so I had easy access to them and one tool that people used in the GTD system was, Evernote.  (For some more details on that, and a great introduction to the GTD system, check out David Allen’s setup document for Evernote.  It’s well worth the $10!)
Once you’ve checked out Evernote, then go read their article Prepare for NaNoWriMo with Evernote.  It’s got some great ideas for how to capture your story and character ideas via Evernote, which you can then reference on your writing computer or your smart phone.  It’s pretty awesome!
And, if that wasn’t enough, they even have some great creative writing templates you can integrate into your personal creative writing notebook.

Trust me, it’s never to early to start planning and you will not regret using Evernote once you start!
So, let’s gear up for a month’s worth of creative writing resources in preparation for National Novel Writing Month!

8/29/2010

Service Dissconnection

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Monkey which is mid-afternoon.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Oy vey!  It’s been a long, long time since I wrote here!

Frankly, it’s been a long time for a lot of reasons, but, mostly, because my creative endeavors have moved in other directions.  For one thing, I’ve been doing more photography, which you can find here, as well as working on at least two other sites; Diary of a Network Geek and something a little more personal, JKHoffman.com

But, I’ve also been working at my day job a lot.  And, that, of course, combined with a general malaise and chaotic busyness, have all led to a pretty negative impact on my personal spirituality.  I’d like to say I’ve been seeking that, but, frankly, I’ve just been a little too burned out for even that much personal growth.

So, as a result, this blog, this site, this entire creative idea has languished.
And, honestly, it probably will continue to languish.  If not for the history of it, and some of the back-end server details that no one cares about besides me and my webhost, I’d have shut the whole thing down a long, long time ago.
In any case, if you want to see what else I’m up to, check out one of those other sites.

Thanks!

10/3/2009

Changes and Unexpected News

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning.
The moon is a Full Moon

The conlang scripts may not have been the problem after all!

Perhaps, when we do track down the issue, I’ll be able to reenable some, if not all, of my conlang apps for your future enjoyment! Be sure to watch this space for news!!

8/27/2009

Bit Rot

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

By all rights, this blog should be dead.

Frankly, the entire website is so old and out of date and willfully not maintained that I’m surprised there’s any traffic to it.  But, there is.  And with any large volume of people, there are always those who take advantage and push free resources beyond their intended use.  Well, that’s just what happened here.

One of the many things I originally did with this site was dabble in conlangs, or CONstructed LANGuages.  Toward that end, I created or modified several Perl scripts to help me generate words that sounded authentic and consistent according to some linguistic rules.  When I was doing this, very few people were yet.  Now, there are many, many more people who offer language generation programs and scripts, but I think I was one of the first people to have free, interactive web pages that would let the neophyte conlanger generate or manipulate their language.  In fact, I’m not sure how many there are even today.  Hopefully, there are a lot more who can take the burden of people ramming quite literally gigabytes worth of data through their free resource.  I hope they have their own server, though, since when people did that here, it crashed the server I was on.  Yeah, that’s right, people ran so much data through my little programs that it crashed the server.  In spite of me asking them not to do it, then building in some fairly significant limitations on how much data could be sent to the script at once, a small percentage of the users, who I have come to think of as abusers, still managed to crash my webhost’s server.

So, sadly, my conlang scripts are starting to go off-line.  One bye one, like fading stars, they’re being pummeled off the internet by people who never appreciated them, apparently.
But, what really makes me sad is that so many people who did NOT abuse them, but used my little scripts to enhance and improve their writing or leasure time won’t be able to use them all any more.  Those innocent bystanders will simply have to do without because of the greed of a few pushy, obnoxious people who had to test the limits of the system.

So, to those of you who played nice and were friendly and enjoyed my little conlang scripts, I’m sorry.  I’m sorry, but now when they start to cause problems for my provider, I’ll have to take them off-line, one by one.
I hope you enjoyed them half as much as I did while they were here.

1/2/2009

Isaac Asimov’s Birthday

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

It’s the birthday of one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century, Isaac Asimov, who was born in Petrovichi, Russia in 1920. He came with his family to the United States when he was three years old and his parents opened a candy shop in Brooklyn. Issac grew up to become a professor of biochemistry at the Boston University School of medicine and in 1950 he published his first novel Pebble in the Sky.

About the same time Asimov took part in writing a textbook for medical students and he found that he loved explaining complicated things in ordinary language, and so he set out to write about science for the general public, in language they would understand. He said, “Little by little my science writing swallowed up the rest of me.”
Asimov developed a regimen of working ten hours a day, seven days a week, producing between two and five thousand words a day. Asimov’s method was to write a book about any subject that interested him but which he didn’t fully understand. He used writing as a way of teaching himself about everything.
By 1970 Asimov had written more than a hundred books and he began branching out into areas other than science. He wrote about nuclear physics and organic chemistry, history, Greek mythology, astronomy, religion, in addition to his collections of limericks, mystery novels, autobiography and science fiction. By the time of his death in 1992 he had published more than 400 books.

7/26/2008

Three Birthdays

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Three birthdays today, all brought to you by way of the Writer’s Almanac.

Today is the birthday of Carl Jung, who was born in Kesswil, Switzerland in 1875. His father was a pastor who was losing his faith. This so shocked Jung as a boy that he decided to become a scientist instead of a minister in order to scientifically prove that religion was important. He is considered the founder of analytic psychology.
More importantly to writers, he noticed that myths and fairytales from all kinds of different cultures have certain similarities, which he called “archetypes”. He believed that these universal archetypes come from a collective unconscious that all humans share. He said that if people get in touch with these archetypes in their own lives, they will be happier and healthier.
He and Sigmund Freud were contemporaries and they even collaborated for a few years, but finally decided that they disagreed with each other’s ideas. Jung thought Freud was too obsessed with sex, and Freud thought Jung was too obsessed with God.

It’s also the birthday of science-fiction writer Aldous Huxley, who was born in Surrey, England on this day in 1894. Huxley wanted to be a scientist like his grandfather, Thomas Henry Huxley, but a childhood disease left him almost blind, so he became a writer. His first successful novel was Point Counter Point, which was an extremely ambitious book. Huxley decided that his next book would be something light. He had been reading some H.G. Wells and thought it would be interesting to try to write something about what the future might be like. The result was Brave New World, about a future in which most human beings are born in test-tube factories, genetically engineered to belong in one of five castes: Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. There are no families; people have sex all the time and never fall in love, and they keep themselves happy by taking a drug called “soma.”
Brave New World was one of the first novels to predict the future existence of genetic engineering, test-tube babies, anti-depression medication, and virtual reality.

And, finally it’s also the birthday of playwright George Bernard Shaw, born in Dublin, Ireland in 1856. He wrote dozens of plays, but he’s best known for his play Pygmalion, about what happens when a phonetician named Henry Higgins teaches a cockney flower girl named Eliza Doolittle to pass as a lady.
Shaw had an opinion about everything, and eventually became famous more for his personality than for his writing. He was a vegetarian and a pacifist, he didn’t drink, and he believed Christmas should be abolished. In 1925, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He died 25 years later in 1950 at the age of 94.
He is now one of the most widely quoted writers in the English language.
He said, “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” And he said, “All great truths begin as blasphemies.” And he said, “Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children.”

5/28/2008

License to Party!

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Snake which is mid-morning.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Happy birthday, Bond!
Well, it’s more accurate to wish his creator, Ian Flemming, happy birthday.
Yes, today is Ian Flemming‘s birthday, according to the Wikipedia. Born in London, England in 1908, Flemming wanted to be a diplomat, but he failed the Foreign Office examination and decided to go into journalism. He worked for the Reuters News Service in London, Moscow, and Berlin, and then during World War II, he served as the assistant to the British director of naval intelligence. After the war, he bought a house in Jamaica, where he spent his time fishing and gambling and bird watching. He started to get bored, so he decided to try writing a novel about a secret agent. He named the agent James Bond after the author of a bird-watching book.
After a several books that sold less and less well, Flemming started to write with the movies in mind. He wrote more sensational books filled with a larger than “normal” helping of psychopathic killers, beautiful women and bizarre plots to conquer the world. Though his books began to sell better, it was only years later that the movie industry took an interest, thus sealing the hopes of budding novelists everywhere of selling the movie rights to their novel.

Well, happy birthday anyway.


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