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Archive for October, 2009

Halloween Pumpkin Carving

by on Oct.30, 2009, under Photography

scary pumpkin

Pumpkin Carving is Fun. This is one of the many pumpkins I have carved in the last decade. I enjoy making carvings that contain heavy relief and lots of depth within its light scheme. This pumpkin was set of 3 that I worked on in an afternoon. Unfortunately I no longer of photo evidence of the other 2.

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Adding a Voice to your text

by on Oct.28, 2009, under Writing

When I’m preparing for a road trip, have a long commute or otherwise will be occupied for a long period of time doing something monotonous I like to download a couple of episodes of some of my favorite podcasts. Even though I usually grab Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me (Paula Poundstone and Mo Rocca together are comedy genius, ┬áPeter Sagal’s no slouch either,) and start the trip off with it, I inevitably end up switching to the Selected Shorts at Symphony Space podcast.

Selected Shorts brings together the pinnacle of the worlds best short stories, read by famous actors and authors like John Lithgow, ┬áB.D Wong, William Hurt, and a plethora of other amazing actors. The reverence which these actors hold to the written word is clearly visible as they bring to life the many amazing literary works they are tasked with performing. Its an amazing thing to sit and listen to a story you’ve read a dozen times before, and to get something entirely new from it because of that actor’s performance.

The short story is one of my favorite mediums for prose, but prior to finding Selected Shorts, I had never really considered the performance aspect of the material. When you write you have an internal cadence and style that often works brilliantly on the page. What happens when it is then spoken? Is your punctuation, sentence and paragraph structure such that when an actor picks up and reads your story aloud it maintains that same cadence and style you had within your head?

It is an interesting thing to consider, the performance of your work, you’ll start to notice very quickly that painstakingly crafted phrases have an entirely different meaning when set to voice. And these new interpretations of your work will inevitably shed new light and direction to your story that you never intended. Writing isn’t just something that happens within the hollows of the page, it’s something that exists in all mediums and all arts.

As you start writing this November 1st, take a moment every few days to read through your pages aloud. Record yourself. Record your wives and husbands and children. Listen to it again and again. The pure act of performing your new works aloud will give you insight into the plot, characters and life of the world you are crafting and will help you push the story from being more than just words on a page.

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5 things I’ll waste my time on before Nov 1.

by on Oct.27, 2009, under Writing

In response to Dustin Hansen blog post 10 things to waste your time before Nov 1.

In no uncertain terms I am dreading the upcoming month of November (Thanks NaNoWriMo!) With that in mind, I’m spending the remainder of the week doing the following things to build motivation/anticipation for the annual Novel Marathon.

1.) Create a cover for your Novel. Take pencil to paper, pull out the camera, and get your family members involved with concepting and constructing the cover for your Novel. Even better if you don’t have a clue what the book is going to be about; It’ll be like those often seen novels in the New Fiction section of the book store with a photo of a girl resting on a grassy field with a picturesque sky, the title of the book? Despair.

2.) Explore 20 ways to kill off your Protagonist. When you’re at the beginning of week three, after a painful soul crushing week two, you’ll be ready to Murder any character in your book just to get things moving again. Drown the pour bastard in a pool of Snapple. Mrs Protagonist has a nasty encounter with the weekly coupon flyer, Death by Discount. A pack of wild boar pushes Mr. Protagonist into a fire ant hill, eliciting a terrifying soul boiling scream, followed soundly by the tearing of fabric on tusk.

3.) Program your DVR and erase all the garbage you’ll never watch. Glee might have been a great pilot, but seriously, are you ever going to watch the half dozen episodes stored on your DVR? trash that crap and make room for other quality shows like Californication and Bored to Death (it’s okay to keep Dancing with the Stars, we all you know you like to re-watch Donny’s performance every morning.)

4.) Stock up on Halloween Candy now, when its discount 50%-75% off (or sneak the best stuff for yourself as soon as your kids return from a night of haunting.) And if candy isn’t your drug of choice, your dead to me.

5.) Play a game of Questions – Recalling my favorite passage from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard, Challenge a family member to a game of questions.

R: We could play at questions.
G: What good would that do?
R: Practice!
G: Statement! One – love.
R: Cheating!
G: How?
R: I hadn’t started yet.
G: Statement. Two – love.
R: Are you counting that?
G: What?
R: Are you counting that?
G: Foul! No repetitions. Three – love. First game to…

And what will you do before Nov 1st?

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by on Oct.25, 2009, under Writing

nano_09_blk_participant_120x240.pngI used to write a lot. I used to read a lot. It is easy to get sidetracked by the daily monotony of life and to fall back to doing nothing when you have spare time. You think, “Well, if I just relax for a while I’ll be recharged.” This is never the case, at least not for me. After a day of doing nothing I usually feel far worse than I did the day before.

Because of this, I’ve decided to force myself into a writing competition to keep myself active in those moments when I feel like ‘doing nothing’. This is not a normal competition. I don’t win anything if I finish. Compare it to a marathon, 26.2 miles of pure torture on your body, the NaNoWriMo competition is 26.2 miles of exacting torture on your mind; the goal is to compete and finish, not to get first place. As a writing competition, I feel lacking, as you can well tell by both my sentence structure and my horrible use of punctuation. If an author like Terry Goodkind can write and succeed, surely I can produce at least one literary work.

Partially inspired by a coworkers entry into the competition, and partially because I’ve been ruminating a story in my mind for the last month, the National Novel Writing Month competition is the perfect excuse to begin writing again. Up until now, my longest, complete story was about 10 pages; a short story about a waif whom peddles his services for food. I’ve started and stopped writing 2 separate novels, unable to make it beyond the 10th chapter for either. I am most prolific as either a technical writer, constructing tutorials for software, or as a poet, writing pointless drivel about absolutely nothing.

So here’s to the upcoming National Novel Writing Month (November). Support your local authors by trolling twitter for #NaNoWriMo all next month.

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