Assorted stuff and nonsense


I read Robert McKee’s book Story very recently, and have been playing around with the stuff he talks about. It’s a very mechanistic view of writing and the nature of story, and it’s primarily aimed at script writers, causing the prose novelist in me to scoff and say that’s fine for a screenplay because it’s a mechanistic art, versus the more artsy fartsy internal nature of prose.

Which of course is utter bollocks. But still, his view of the importance of outlining and setting up value charges in each scene robs the art of romance for me, so historically I’ve resisted it and gone for the method Stephen King outlines in On Writing – look at it as though you were a paleontologist unearthing a dinosaur, you dig in and find the spirit of the story. These two forces in my head battle constantly, my left brain wanting the clarity of an outline and my right brain wanting the spirit and romance of the more adventurous seat-of-the-pants approach.

So I’ve settled on more of a hybrid approach with the latest story. It’s to be a sequel to Kidnap over Dyra!, but this time I’ve written it straight as I did with Kidnap, before breaking the first draft down into scenes on 3×5 cards, throwing some scenes out and dropping others in, and eventually winding up with a full outline running to about a thousand words – the story itself will probably run at around four and a half thousand, and the thing will end up on Lulu just like Kidnap.

On Lulu, but not only there. I’m going to do a full rebrand of Daily Flash Fiction, primarily because it’s an awful name that sets up all kinds of false expectations in readers (specifically that it’ll be daily). I still don’t know what to call it, and the old domain will still go there, but instead it’ll be a base for serial fiction as well, sort of like Mike Stackpole’s serial fiction experiments. And the old Flash fiction will stay up there as well, possibly with an explanation.

On not-writingy-stuff news, I’m learning PHP in the hopes of being able to get a better day job, and I’ll probably play around with category-specific templates to separate the stuff in more of a clean manner.



In which I don’t talk about the iPhone


Nope. I’m gonna restrain myself. Really.

Oh, alright then, y’twisted my arm: it looks pretty cool. Very swooshy, lots of OS X style visual feedback, stuff whizzing in and out, and the accelerometer is cool too, with the switching to landscape and the video playback features and whatnot. The only thing I don’t like is that it’s all a touch screen – if I’m at a chip shop or something and my phone rings, suddenly I have a screen covered with grease and fingerprints. Even if I wipe it first.

I like touch screens, don’t get me wrong, and I’m always fascinated by interface design, but I wonder about the practicalities of Apple’s no stylus approach. I wonder if some third party will release a special Apple stylus for sticky/sweaty fingered gentlemen such as myself.

Apple TV seems neat. There are loads of devices that do the same thing already, of course, but then there were loads of mp3 players before the iPod, and there are loads of phones now. Really it’s Apple’s execution that allows it to win out so well and so often. I’m disappointed that it doesn’t support DivX though.

Shame there was no Leopard info. I’m getting both nervous and excited about that, seeing as how Apple haven’t yet shown all their cards. Hmmm…



Journalling


I’ve been journalling for a while now, but only started doing it regularly fairly recently after reading “The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self” (Julia Cameron), particularly the bit on Morning Pages, bits of splurge that you’re supposed to write every morning. I have been doing them on my Mac, writing in Journler, but I find workingon my mac a little too distracting, at least for my early morning self – even with something like WriteRoom.

In an moment of Serendipity, I saw this article over at paper journals. Specifically this quote interested me:

Make sure there are no distractions while you write. That means no television, no people talking to you, zero interruptions while writing. If you can’t find a quiet place, put some headphones on and drown out conversations around you. It’s so important to eliminate distractions if you really want your journal to be a big help.

So I’m reminded of my interest in paper. Form tomorrow, I’ll go back to my paper Moleskine journal and start in that again. It’s not like a generally need to go back to previous journal entries anyway, although re-reading them is often fun.



Old maps on Google Earth!


Google have released a bunch of old maps for Google Earth, they’re available now in your Featured Content layer. Just to give you an idea of just how awesome this is:

Googleoldeearth

That’s the ‘World Globe 1790’ map. There’s a bunch of others that are country specific and very cool.

I’ve always had an odd fetish for old maps – unfamiliar maps in general, in fact. I think that’s what started me off reading stuff like Lord of the Rings and Treasure Island. So yes, maps are yay.