izmeina: (circle serpent)
A quick squiggle from Nanoland. This has been the strangest Camp Nano in the last few years and bears an uncanny resemblance to the adventures of August 2012

The map was all rolled out and ready to go. The path should have been pretty easy. Usually Camp Nano is the perfect occasion to get in a bit of practice in writing and brainstorming by grabbing a pack of Devil’s playing cards as writing prompts then churning through them slowly and steadily in the hope of generating as many ideas and leads as possible for the big event in November.

But this time I decided to do things a bit differently. Instead of laying the foundations for a new project, would devote this time to adding more words to last November’s zero draft. All the serpent needed to do was to add a whole bunch of new scenes and try to steer the story into some relatively coherent shape.

The Art of the Steal was about a devil doing deals and offering numerous political fixes in exchange for souls to fill his bright shiny Celebrity trophy cabinet.

It should have been so easy since Dodgy Donald and his minions have exceeded even the worst of expectations.
Between Twitter snippets and even just following the daily news here, there is bucket loads of raw material so it should have been possible to almost go in zombie mode.

But the inner serpent is not playing nicely.

Of course there have been quite a few distractions in the last few months.

Playing with the Pensieve )
izmeina: (Default)
A bright shiny new month begins and it's time to take stock of the old one.
For a few years now July has been devoted to Camp Nanowrimo. But this serpent has been slacking. Ever since they replaced the default setting of 50,000 words for the month with a 'choose your own word count goal' option back in 2014 I decided to wimp out and go for 30,000 words. It's a lot less but still a reasonable commitment of about 1,000 words per day.

This time I added two more challenges. Plastic Free July is definitely a local idea and Dry July is likely to be local too.
Dry July involves giving up booze for the month with the option of getting sponsored or donating the amount usually spent on drink to a charity.
It's pretty easy compared to doing Ramadan where even drinking water is verboten during daylight hours and alcohol the whole year not just July. But still a bit tricky if you are in the habit of drinking a glass or two of red at night to unwind.

Plastic Free July is not quite so simple to describe. It's not just about giving up plastic shopping bags for the month but any form of single use disposable plastic such as straws, styrofoam cups, milk or drinks in plastic bottles and pretty much two thirds of the content of a typical supermarket.

While the nano muses did miss their booze around the campfire at night, they were reasonably satisfied with the alternative of chai tea or hot chocolate and happily churned out their 1,000 words per day.
The first week was quite difficult since I had gotten rather in the habit of sitting out in the garden at night sipping a glass or two of red. But after one week I hardly missed it at all no doubt helped by all those grey rainy days.
The plastic free challenge was rather another matter. I did manage to complete it for the first time in 2013 and had only 5 items in the 'sin bin' but this time I did not even get past the first week before giving into a craving for cheese and chips. Also my favourite shower gel was on sale for half price and that comes in a single use plastic bottle.

A proper plastic Nazi would resort to buying milk in glass bottles, using only the cheapest and nastiest of loo paper because nearly all the other brands are wrapped in plastic and would have a cheese free month and do a ridiculous amount of home cooking and vegetable growing because that's by far the best way to reduce usage.

The constant vigilance required to do the month properly without cheating has a whole bunch of unintended side effects most of which result in eating and living much healthier. That's even aside from the drastic reduction of one's personal pollution foot print.

In the end the one of the three challenges that I did not successfully complete is probably the most useful and important of all and also of course the most difficult.

From now on I will leave the Nano camping adventures behind since the skill I now need to learn is not churning out words but editing, revising them and forming them into coherent final drafts.
Will definitely make a serious attempt on dumping disposable plastic for next July and will resolve not to cheat or to chicken out early like this time.

So now it's time to slink off downstairs to grab a glass of The Scribbler Shiraz and sip it outside under the light of the nearly full moon.
izmeina: A cute cartoon critter with a bag and a teapot on his head (teapot)
A bright shiny new month begins and it's time to take stock of the old one.
For a few years now July has been devoted to Camp Nanowrimo. But this serpent has been slacking. Ever since they replaced the default setting of 50,000 words for the month with a 'choose your own word count goal' option back in 2014 I decided to wimp out and go for 30,000 words. It's a lot less but still a reasonable commitment of about 1,000 words per day.

This time I added two more challenges. Plastic Free July is definitely a local idea and Dry July is likely to be local too.
Dry July involves giving up booze for the month with the option of getting sponsored or donating the amount usually spent on drink to a charity.
It's pretty easy compared to doing Ramadan where even drinking water is verboten during daylight hours and alcohol the whole year not just July. But still a bit tricky if you are in the habit of drinking a glass or two of red at night to unwind.

Plastic Free July is not quite so simple to describe. It's not just about giving up plastic shopping bags for the month but any form of single use disposable plastic such as straws, styrofoam cups, milk or drinks in plastic bottles and pretty much two thirds of the content of a typical supermarket.

While the nano muses did miss their booze around the campfire at night, they were reasonably satisfied with the alternative of chai tea or hot chocolate and happily churned out their 1,000 words per day.
The first week was quite difficult since I had gotten rather in the habit of sitting out in the garden at night sipping a glass or two of red. But after one week I hardly missed it at all no doubt helped by all those grey rainy days.
The plastic free challenge was rather another matter. I did manage to complete it for the first time in 2013 and had only 5 items in the 'sin bin' but this time I did not even get past the first week before giving into a craving for cheese and chips. Also my favourite shower gel was on sale for half price and that comes in a single use plastic bottle.

A proper plastic Nazi would resort to buying milk in glass bottles, using only the cheapest and nastiest of loo paper because nearly all the other brands are wrapped in plastic and would have a cheese free month and do a ridiculous amount of home cooking and vegetable growing because that's by far the best way to reduce usage.

The constant vigilance required to do the month properly without cheating has a whole bunch of unintended side effects most of which result in eating and living much healthier. That's even aside from the drastic reduction of one's personal pollution foot print.

In the end the one of the three challenges that I did not successfully complete is probably the most useful and important of all and also of course the most difficult.

From now on I will leave the Nano camping adventures behind since the skill I now need to learn is not churning out words but editing, revising them and forming them into coherent final drafts.
Will definitely make a serious attempt on dumping disposable plastic for next July and will resolve not to cheat or to chicken out early like this time.

So now it's time to slink off downstairs to grab a glass of The Scribbler Shiraz and sip it outside under the light of the nearly full moon.
izmeina: (Default)
In this bit of the world June 30th is the equivalent of Goblin New Year’s Eve. A time to make grand plans for the future, to get finances and savings sorted and all that sort of boring stuff. Due to a very ancient and almost anal habit of keeping a little black book to record every single silver sickle spent, keeping the money monsters under control has never been particularly difficult. I decided to go the whole hog last June and to switch over from using a normal calendar diary to a bright shiny new 2014/2015 Financial Year diary starting on Tuesday 1st July 2014.
Tonight it finally gets laid to rest while the promise of a bright shiny clean slate beckons.

Strange Days )

On the eve of Camp Nano, it is amusing to think that Nanowrimo proved to be the first testing ground for the serpent on the art of creating rituals or habits for getting stuff done. The seemingly impossible task of writing 50,000 words in 30 days was not so daunting when done in itsy bitsy steps, slowly and steadily plodding along every single day.

It’s satisfying to know that it’s been useful training for so many other things even if not a single word from all those years ever sees the light of day.
izmeina: Strange Spiral Clock (Time Turner)
In this bit of the world June 30th is the equivalent of Goblin New Year’s Eve. A time to make grand plans for the future, to get finances and savings sorted and all that sort of boring stuff. Due to a very ancient and almost anal habit of keeping a little black book to record every single silver sickle spent, keeping the money monsters under control has never been particularly difficult. I decided to go the whole hog last June and to switch over from using a normal calendar diary to a bright shiny new 2014/2015 Financial Year diary starting on Tuesday 1st July 2014.
Tonight it finally gets laid to rest while the promise of a bright shiny clean slate beckons.

Strange Days )

On the eve of Camp Nano, it is amusing to think that Nanowrimo proved to be the first testing ground for the serpent on the art of creating rituals or habits for getting stuff done. The seemingly impossible task of writing 50,000 words in 30 days was not so daunting when done in itsy bitsy steps, slowly and steadily plodding along every single day.

It’s satisfying to know that it’s been useful training for so many other things even if not a single word from all those years ever sees the light of day.
izmeina: (Default)
Izzie has been a busy serpent. There was so much stuff going on in April. All sorts of government gossip and a dreaded certain centenary and a whole bunch of gardening to be done. For most of the month the weather was absolutely gorgeous. It was sunny but not too hot and most of the time there was the delicate light that invites quiet contemplation, pottering amongst the weeds and general contentment with the universe.

Also during two weeks of April there was an invasion of artists from all over the world adorning the city walls with gorgeous murals. Some were so large that the artists used cherry pickers. It was wonderful fun wandering around with the lists and ticking each item off one by one. Since a lot of the walls are a bit off the beaten track and hiding in quirky corners it was a most fascinating way of seeing the suburbs.
One proved to be very inspirational indeed.

creepy crawly Cthulhu

Then there was the annual ritual of Camp Nanowrimo for folks who do not want to wait until November to squiggle their stories. So that’s where all the words have been going the last month. Was slacking a bit going for a goal of 33,333 words for the month rather than the usual April quota of 50,000. Just been for a quick visit over at the camp cabins. These are groups of a dozen or so participants who share a ‘campfire’ where they can post snippets of story gossip, offer ideas or encouragement to each other. Well that is the theory anyway.

April Foolishness )
izmeina: a spooky blue Cthulhu brandishing wicked weapons (pen and paintbrush) (squid)
Izzie has been a busy serpent. There was so much stuff going on in April. All sorts of government gossip and a dreaded certain centenary and a whole bunch of gardening to be done. For most of the month the weather was absolutely gorgeous. It was sunny but not too hot and most of the time there was the delicate light that invites quiet contemplation, pottering amongst the weeds and general contentment with the universe.

Also during two weeks of April there was an invasion of artists from all over the world adorning the city walls with gorgeous murals. Some were so large that the artists used cherry pickers. It was wonderful fun wandering around with the lists and ticking each item off one by one. Since a lot of the walls are a bit off the beaten track and hiding in quirky corners it was a most fascinating way of seeing the suburbs.
One proved to be very inspirational indeed.

creepy crawly Cthulhu

Then there was the annual ritual of Camp Nanowrimo for folks who do not want to wait until November to squiggle their stories. So that’s where all the words have been going the last month. Was slacking a bit going for a goal of 33,333 words for the month rather than the usual April quota of 50,000. Just been for a quick visit over at the camp cabins. These are groups of a dozen or so participants who share a ‘campfire’ where they can post snippets of story gossip, offer ideas or encouragement to each other. Well that is the theory anyway.

April Foolishness )
izmeina: (Default)
Once again Izzie is not lurking like in the old days when posting online involved acquiring a weekly ration of happy hours on Cheap Tuesday and then slinking down to the local nasty netcafe hoping to find a free keyboard amidst all the pimple faced spring chickens playing war games.

It’s so easy to get distracted these days but all that will have to end at the stroke of midnight. Then begins the foolish adventure of April Camp Nano. Amusing to think that I am aiming for 1,111 words per day (rather than the usual 1,666 or so) when lately 1,000 a month seems an unsurmountable obstacle.
I guess there will be a lot of aimless meandering which does not matter too much since the point is to get back into the habit of writing regularly.
Been resorting to sneaky tricks in order to create and continue good habits offline which was in part helped by the recent online course on gamification. Much to my shame, while doing very well on the weekly quizzes, did not reach the pass mark of 70% due to not doing a single one of the 3 writing assignments which were worth 35% of the total between them.

Then there was the creepy sad saga of the recent plane crash in France. That little side trip to Vienna back in January involving two flights each way began to look like a bit playing Russian roulette with 4 bullets and beating the odds. It is scary what some people will do for their 15 minutes of fame or when they feel their identity or job security is threatened. The copilot lost more than his job in the end but insisted on sharing his misery with the world. But it is his parents and ex girlfriend who are left to live with the endless "if only"s. Creepy to think that by a terrible quirk of fate, the call of nature could have such catastrophic consequences. “A horse, a horse. My kingdom for a horse” comes to mind. Even Old King Richard got himself another 15 minutes of fame.

The Fearless Leader of Oz and his never ending episodes of foot in mouth disease have also been the source of hours of being glued to Youtube. Such Schadenfreude that the lame Labor lapdogs who approved some outrageous meta data retention laws only last Thursday now also have egg on their faces over some sloppy security lapses concerning private information about international big wigs at last year’s G20 conference. The one where the other mad monk rasPutin was caught cuddling cute koalas in the company of his hero worshipping lover boy.

Maybe I should steal the pair of them as characters for the crazy foolish April adventure.
izmeina: A cute cartoon critter with a bag and a teapot on his head (teapot)
Once again Izzie is not lurking like in the old days when posting online involved acquiring a weekly ration of happy hours on Cheap Tuesday and then slinking down to the local nasty netcafe hoping to find a free keyboard amidst all the pimple faced spring chickens playing war games.

It’s so easy to get distracted these days but all that will have to end at the stroke of midnight. Then begins the foolish adventure of April Camp Nano. Amusing to think that I am aiming for 1,111 words per day (rather than the usual 1,666 or so) when lately 1,000 a month seems an unsurmountable obstacle.
I guess there will be a lot of aimless meandering which does not matter too much since the point is to get back into the habit of writing regularly.
Been resorting to sneaky tricks in order to create and continue good habits offline which was in part helped by the recent online course on gamification. Much to my shame, while doing very well on the weekly quizzes, did not reach the pass mark of 70% due to not doing a single one of the 3 writing assignments which were worth 35% of the total between them.

Then there was the creepy sad saga of the recent plane crash in France. That little side trip to Vienna back in January involving two flights each way began to look like a bit playing Russian roulette with 4 bullets and beating the odds. It is scary what some people will do for their 15 minutes of fame or when they feel their identity or job security is threatened. The copilot lost more than his job in the end but insisted on sharing his misery with the world. But it is his parents and ex girlfriend who are left to live with the endless "if only"s. Creepy to think that by a terrible quirk of fate, the call of nature could have such catastrophic consequences. “A horse, a horse. My kingdom for a horse” comes to mind. Even Old King Richard got himself another 15 minutes of fame.

The Fearless Leader of Oz and his never ending episodes of foot in mouth disease have also been the source of hours of being glued to Youtube. Such Schadenfreude that the lame Labor lapdogs who approved some outrageous meta data retention laws only last Thursday now also have egg on their faces over some sloppy security lapses concerning private information about international big wigs at last year’s G20 conference. The one where the other mad monk rasPutin was caught cuddling cute koalas in the company of his hero worshipping lover boy.

Maybe I should steal the pair of them as characters for the crazy foolish April adventure.
izmeina: (Default)
Camp Nano is a strange masochistic ritual. Taking time away from slinking around in Cyberia in order to dedicate sixty minutes or so to every day to squiggling and knowing damned well that all of it will end up gathering dust on some hard drive.

For while the serpent is disciplined when it comes to the word count, the stuff that comes after is just one enormous festival of procrastination. It’s been nearly five years now since first setting foot in the crazy place that is Nanoland.

A Word Salad )
izmeina: Roz with clipboard from Monsters Inc (monsters inc)
Camp Nano is a strange masochistic ritual. Taking time away from slinking around in Cyberia in order to dedicate sixty minutes or so to every day to squiggling and knowing damned well that all of it will end up gathering dust on some hard drive.

For while the serpent is disciplined when it comes to the word count, the stuff that comes after is just one enormous festival of procrastination. It’s been nearly five years now since first setting foot in the crazy place that is Nanoland.

A Word Salad )
izmeina: (Default)
So another Camp Nano adventure is over and it is time to return to mundane reality. That includes choosing some new books to toss in the serpent sack for all those spare moments waiting or lurking when out and about. Extra attention is always reserved for certain special occasions. This usually include the obvious such as the new year and Halloween but Good Friday and Mayday are also on the list. Those times are saved for the spooky or spiritual sorts of stuff, Dan Brown included.
The most recent of these was James Herbert’s ‘Sepulchre”. Never heard of the man until he died recently. He was apparently a pretty famous writer of horror and spooky stuff and his most famous books were “The Rats” and “The Fog”. Just the titles alone is enough to make a serpent curious. Ever since reading Orwell’s “1984” at an impressionable age (and recommended by a religion teacher too along with “Animal Farm”) the Izzie has had a thing about rats. A creepy movie also added flies to the list.

spooky books and stuff )
izmeina: wicked twisted happy smiling green serpent (Smiling serpent)
So another Camp Nano adventure is over and it is time to return to mundane reality. That includes choosing some new books to toss in the serpent sack for all those spare moments waiting or lurking when out and about. Extra attention is always reserved for certain special occasions. This usually include the obvious such as the new year and Halloween but Good Friday and Mayday are also on the list. Those times are saved for the spooky or spiritual sorts of stuff, Dan Brown included.
The most recent of these was James Herbert’s ‘Sepulchre”. Never heard of the man until he died recently. He was apparently a pretty famous writer of horror and spooky stuff and his most famous books were “The Rats” and “The Fog”. Just the titles alone is enough to make a serpent curious. Ever since reading Orwell’s “1984” at an impressionable age (and recommended by a religion teacher too along with “Animal Farm”) the Izzie has had a thing about rats. A creepy movie also added flies to the list.

spooky books and stuff )
izmeina: (Default)
It’s a week since a certain online scif fi and fantasy literature course has ended. It was a strange beast of a course. There was the creepy sex obsessed professor conspicuous by his absence, a crazy peer review marking system for assignments and a gang of grammar Nazis relishing the chance for some serious power trips. It required a ridiculous amount of work for a very small return. But that is assuming of course that grading is the only thing that counts because it is the only thing that is measured and in a sloppy unrefined manner at that.
But there were some upsides to this manic masochistic adventure. There is nothing like the allure of an external deadline for getting stuff done. The Izzie ‘100 books to read before you die” list is just another one of those things gathering dust and being saved for a rainy day. But thanks to the course “Dracula”, “Frankenstein” and a whole bunch of Edgar Allan Poe stories have been ticked off that list.
The simple fact of having to write an interesting and insightful 320 word essay on the readings for each week meant that a good bit of thinking was involved. First thought was that 320 words is a piece of cake. Will have that done and dusted in 20 minutes since a good Camp nano day can clock up a word count of 1,200 per hour. But they are as different as chalk and cheese. In Nanoland you just make stuff up and the more words the better. No one sees your efforts unless you are crazy enough to post them.
Trying to say something useful with just 320 words to do it and backing it up with cold hard facts is a very different kettle of fish. A first draft might take twenty minutes but slicing, dicing and rearranging to get rid of every single excess word and then choosing quotations and examples from the readings as evidence often took several hours. But you would be mad to do it for the score because there was just no nuance at all in the grading system and unless your work was truly appalling or exceptionally good the best you could hope to score would be the default 4 out of a possible 6 marks. Every other online course where I have put in even half that amount of effort has got a final mark around 90%. But then they don’t have the same value. The readings have provided plenty of inspiration for the daily 1,666 Camp Nano words.
The Izzie motto had always been “Editing is for December” and December never ever came. But this time it got done in March and most of April too.

Then there was the addiction of the forums where folks would be discussing the books on the list, posting their essays and bitching about the ridiculous grading rubric or snarking about the lectures. “Sometimes a snake is just a snake” was a very common comment. Was lurking there lots and it was very addictive so was ever so surprised to have slinked to the fifth place on the Forums ‘Leader Board” where position is based not just on number of posts but the number of up and down votes received so that those who posted things that others found useful would be ranked higher than those just making inane Facebook like sorts of comments.

So as soon as the time gobbling monster had been slain, there was a sudden surge in the serpent’s daily word count over in Nanoland. There’s still other courses to catch up on. In Cyberia the best things in life really are free. Learning stuff online is a pretty harmless addiction.
I’m finally learning not to be too ambitious or greedy. It’s best to do one thing at a time and do it well than to juggle a whole bunch of courses all at the same time and then view them as a chore with scores to be gamed rather than a source of fun, enjoyment and education.
So resisted the temptation to sign up for the Rice Python programming course running right now and signed up for September instead.

Already looking forward to Futurelearn's "Start writing fiction" starting on Monday.
izmeina: A cute cartoon critter with a bag and a teapot on his head (teapot)
It’s a week since a certain online scif fi and fantasy literature course has ended. It was a strange beast of a course. There was the creepy sex obsessed professor conspicuous by his absence, a crazy peer review marking system for assignments and a gang of grammar Nazis relishing the chance for some serious power trips. It required a ridiculous amount of work for a very small return. But that is assuming of course that grading is the only thing that counts because it is the only thing that is measured and in a sloppy unrefined manner at that.
But there were some upsides to this manic masochistic adventure. There is nothing like the allure of an external deadline for getting stuff done. The Izzie ‘100 books to read before you die” list is just another one of those things gathering dust and being saved for a rainy day. But thanks to the course “Dracula”, “Frankenstein” and a whole bunch of Edgar Allan Poe stories have been ticked off that list.
The simple fact of having to write an interesting and insightful 320 word essay on the readings for each week meant that a good bit of thinking was involved. First thought was that 320 words is a piece of cake. Will have that done and dusted in 20 minutes since a good Camp nano day can clock up a word count of 1,200 per hour. But they are as different as chalk and cheese. In Nanoland you just make stuff up and the more words the better. No one sees your efforts unless you are crazy enough to post them.
Trying to say something useful with just 320 words to do it and backing it up with cold hard facts is a very different kettle of fish. A first draft might take twenty minutes but slicing, dicing and rearranging to get rid of every single excess word and then choosing quotations and examples from the readings as evidence often took several hours. But you would be mad to do it for the score because there was just no nuance at all in the grading system and unless your work was truly appalling or exceptionally good the best you could hope to score would be the default 4 out of a possible 6 marks. Every other online course where I have put in even half that amount of effort has got a final mark around 90%. But then they don’t have the same value. The readings have provided plenty of inspiration for the daily 1,666 Camp Nano words.
The Izzie motto had always been “Editing is for December” and December never ever came. But this time it got done in March and most of April too.

Then there was the addiction of the forums where folks would be discussing the books on the list, posting their essays and bitching about the ridiculous grading rubric or snarking about the lectures. “Sometimes a snake is just a snake” was a very common comment. Was lurking there lots and it was very addictive so was ever so surprised to have slinked to the fifth place on the Forums ‘Leader Board” where position is based not just on number of posts but the number of up and down votes received so that those who posted things that others found useful would be ranked higher than those just making inane Facebook like sorts of comments.

So as soon as the time gobbling monster had been slain, there was a sudden surge in the serpent’s daily word count over in Nanoland. There’s still other courses to catch up on. In Cyberia the best things in life really are free. Learning stuff online is a pretty harmless addiction.
I’m finally learning not to be too ambitious or greedy. It’s best to do one thing at a time and do it well than to juggle a whole bunch of courses all at the same time and then view them as a chore with scores to be gamed rather than a source of fun, enjoyment and education.
So resisted the temptation to sign up for the Rice Python programming course running right now and signed up for September instead.

Already looking forward to Futurelearn's "Start writing fiction" starting on Monday.
izmeina: (Default)
Notes from Camp Nano

Once again this crazy serpent has embarked on the month of madness that is Camp Nano. These days there’s lots of room for sooks and wimps. In the beginning, the rules were carved in stone like the Ten Commandments.

Thou shalt write a novel of 50,000 words in a period not exceeding 30 days beginning on the first day of the calendar month as prescribed by the God of Words.
Thou shalt curse and blaspheme the Gods if it serves the purpose of increasing thy tally of words.
Thou shalt slave over a steaming keyboard on the Sabbath if necessary.
Thou shalt murder as many innocent characters as thou desirest in the service of the worthy word tally
Thou shalt resort to fornication and other adulterous perversions in pursuit of this worthy goal
Thou shalt covet thy neighbour’s word count if such jealousy serves the purpose of increasing one’s own meagre efforts.

Bearing false witness by cheating on the word count was about the only unforgivable and most mortal of sins in the cult of Nanology. But this strict regime proved too restrictive for prospective converts so the gurus watered down the most central tenet of the faith by allowing the infidels to replace the most holy of numbers the 50,000 with one of their own choosing and deleting the word ‘novel’ to be replaced with abominations such as ‘script’ ‘poem’, ‘short story’ or even ‘exceedingly pompous rambling streams of consciousness’

More Serpent Words )
izmeina: Roz with clipboard from Monsters Inc (Roz)
Notes from Camp Nano

Once again this crazy serpent has embarked on the month of madness that is Camp Nano. These days there’s lots of room for sooks and wimps. In the beginning, the rules were carved in stone like the Ten Commandments.

Thou shalt write a novel of 50,000 words in a period not exceeding 30 days beginning on the first day of the calendar month as prescribed by the God of Words.
Thou shalt curse and blaspheme the Gods if it serves the purpose of increasing thy tally of words.
Thou shalt slave over a steaming keyboard on the Sabbath if necessary.
Thou shalt murder as many innocent characters as thou desirest in the service of the worthy word tally
Thou shalt resort to fornication and other adulterous perversions in pursuit of this worthy goal
Thou shalt covet thy neighbour’s word count if such jealousy serves the purpose of increasing one’s own meagre efforts.

Bearing false witness by cheating on the word count was about the only unforgivable and most mortal of sins in the cult of Nanology. But this strict regime proved too restrictive for prospective converts so the gurus watered down the most central tenet of the faith by allowing the infidels to replace the most holy of numbers the 50,000 with one of their own choosing and deleting the word ‘novel’ to be replaced with abominations such as ‘script’ ‘poem’, ‘short story’ or even ‘exceedingly pompous rambling streams of consciousness’

More Serpent Words )
izmeina: (Default)
How the best of intentions can come to nothing.

The craziness that is Camp Nano started today. To be on the safe side, this serpent set a daily goal of 2,000 words rather than the recommended 1,666 in order to reach the end of month target of 50,000 words.

But the map is never the territory. What was supposed to be a twenty minute sprint of adding quotes to an essay and page numbers to the quotes to keep the nitpicking Grammar Nazis happy rapidly expanded to blow out that time slot to a good two hours.

All this effort is part of an online sci fi and fantasy course with a weekly reading list and essays on the readings of no more than 330 words and a goblin word counter that prevents word hogs from even submitting their bloated efforts.

The certificate has no practical use whatsoever and no street value. It will just gather dust like the rest of the rotting fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.

It seems crazy to waste so much time on a mere 320 word assignment especially when faced with a random selection of other participants assigning the dreaded peer review grades. For that is the price of this free but quite tasty lunch.

It was naive to think that producing a rough draft yesterday would make a considerable difference to the time spent during precious Camp nano nights. That took nearly an hour in its own right. It is rather like building a house. Getting up the main structure of floors and walls is a relatively quick process. It is the finishing touches of plastering and painting, adding carpets and fittings that is the real black hole.

I was commenting on the forums recently that a weekly 320 word essay is more work than 1,666 words per day for Nano. For at least with that you can just make up stuff.

So why bother? It turns out that regardless of useless peer reviews, the very attempt of trying to find something interesting and insightful in a book and to distill it down to a mere 320 words is a most valuable writing exercise indeed. It teaches one to be a hard task master when it comes to choosing words.
To quote from a writer recommended by the Cat ""No word ever made it into his documents until it had been grotesquely tortured and failed to confess to the existence of a better synonym."
Taona Dumisani Chiveneko

A good forty minutes was spent this evening cutting the fat from a 370 word essay. That's right. Spending a minute to get rid of each excess word. Blasphemy and sacrilege of the highest order.
So of course the sixty minutes of rationed camp writing time dwindled down to twenty. Did manage to clock up 440 nano words before the pen turned into a pumpkin.

The experience was as different as chalk and cheese.

Did manage to spend another twenty minutes of intended writing time sitting in the garden sipping a glass or two of sparkling wine and looking up at the stars. One of the brightest of all is not a star but a planet. It is supposed to be red but is more a shade of bright orange. Got to watch it at Astrofest a few weeks ago along with a few of Jupiter's moons.

It sort of suited this evening's theme. But in order to avoid the grammar nazis claims of plagiarism, will post only one or two sentences of those hours of effort. (Seriously, some box ticking idiots have accused people of plagiarism because they go entering essay texts on Google search and they turn up on some one's blog. Not a whole bunch of blogs but only one - that of the original writer. Of course the assigned essays are anonymous but even a pea brain should be able to work that one out.

So a few sentences of this serpent's offering.

A Tale of Two Houses

In Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles”, the best of houses and the worst of houses mirror each other in striking and significant ways.

.......

The rest will follow later and hopefully with something better than the usual pretty average 4/6
izmeina: creepy spooky old house infested with crawling critters (Haunted house)
How the best of intentions can come to nothing.

The craziness that is Camp Nano started today. To be on the safe side, this serpent set a daily goal of 2,000 words rather than the recommended 1,666 in order to reach the end of month target of 50,000 words.

But the map is never the territory. What was supposed to be a twenty minute sprint of adding quotes to an essay and page numbers to the quotes to keep the nitpicking Grammar Nazis happy rapidly expanded to blow out that time slot to a good two hours.

All this effort is part of an online sci fi and fantasy course with a weekly reading list and essays on the readings of no more than 330 words and a goblin word counter that prevents word hogs from even submitting their bloated efforts.

The certificate has no practical use whatsoever and no street value. It will just gather dust like the rest of the rotting fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.

It seems crazy to waste so much time on a mere 320 word assignment especially when faced with a random selection of other participants assigning the dreaded peer review grades. For that is the price of this free but quite tasty lunch.

It was naive to think that producing a rough draft yesterday would make a considerable difference to the time spent during precious Camp nano nights. That took nearly an hour in its own right. It is rather like building a house. Getting up the main structure of floors and walls is a relatively quick process. It is the finishing touches of plastering and painting, adding carpets and fittings that is the real black hole.

I was commenting on the forums recently that a weekly 320 word essay is more work than 1,666 words per day for Nano. For at least with that you can just make up stuff.

So why bother? It turns out that regardless of useless peer reviews, the very attempt of trying to find something interesting and insightful in a book and to distill it down to a mere 320 words is a most valuable writing exercise indeed. It teaches one to be a hard task master when it comes to choosing words.
To quote from a writer recommended by the Cat ""No word ever made it into his documents until it had been grotesquely tortured and failed to confess to the existence of a better synonym."
Taona Dumisani Chiveneko

A good forty minutes was spent this evening cutting the fat from a 370 word essay. That's right. Spending a minute to get rid of each excess word. Blasphemy and sacrilege of the highest order.
So of course the sixty minutes of rationed camp writing time dwindled down to twenty. Did manage to clock up 440 nano words before the pen turned into a pumpkin.

The experience was as different as chalk and cheese.

Did manage to spend another twenty minutes of intended writing time sitting in the garden sipping a glass or two of sparkling wine and looking up at the stars. One of the brightest of all is not a star but a planet. It is supposed to be red but is more a shade of bright orange. Got to watch it at Astrofest a few weeks ago along with a few of Jupiter's moons.

It sort of suited this evening's theme. But in order to avoid the grammar nazis claims of plagiarism, will post only one or two sentences of those hours of effort. (Seriously, some box ticking idiots have accused people of plagiarism because they go entering essay texts on Google search and they turn up on some one's blog. Not a whole bunch of blogs but only one - that of the original writer. Of course the assigned essays are anonymous but even a pea brain should be able to work that one out.

So a few sentences of this serpent's offering.

A Tale of Two Houses

In Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles”, the best of houses and the worst of houses mirror each other in striking and significant ways.

.......

The rest will follow later and hopefully with something better than the usual pretty average 4/6
izmeina: (Default)
Izzie's been such a slacker on the posting front. It's not like there's a hectic schedule with a full time job and a dozen kids or something. There's simply no excuse for slacking but laziness and sheer procrastination

But there has been the little distraction of Camp Nano. Took advantage of the new rule that let you set your own word count goal.
Since the point of the exercise was to do snowflake stuff for November's Zombie novel, there was just no point in writing 50,000 words worth of character sketches, background information, scene lists and sorting out a bunch of possible speed bumps on the road to the zombie apocalypse.

After all there has to be some story still left for November.


Once again it is time to take the tricks and mind games used to reach the daily word count quota and extend them to other areas of the serpent existence. Such as the annual ritual of the tax return and more mundane matters such as house work

Not much doing on the gardening front of late except waiting a few weeks for the oranges to ripen. It's way too cold to even consider planting any of those delicious Diggers real tomato seeds

There's a lot to be said for turning all sorts of menial chores into games. It is a sneaky and fun way of getting them done
Must go snatching tips from a certain Cat who is an expert in such matters

The other topic of amusement is the pathetic antics of our "What's old is new again" Prime Minister. A previous one got himself a bunch of nicknames. One of the funniest and most apt was "Lazarus with a triple bypass" And Mr Sheen also known as Kevin 747 has also come back from the dead and is channeling Lazarus. Yes. It truly is a zombie conspiracy

They have taken to bullying the poorest neighbours to take in the couple of thousand people in leaky boats who try to get to Australia every year. Of course you cannot let everyone in who wants to come here but it is not exactly an invasion.

At least the East Timorese refused to sell their souls to Big Brother Down Under unlike Nauru and Papua New Guinea


Here's guessing that the whole boat people thing is a big red button in Australian politics because they all know deep down that this society was founded by a bunch of Brits in boats who were also uninvited by the locals. The political cartoonists are fond of pointing out the parallels. Maybe it's a guilt thing or they fear the new invaders will do to them what their ancestors did to the Aboriginal people
But whatever reason lies behind it, rational or irrational, "Stopping The Boats" is the Oz equivalent of "Law and Order"

The government have even resorted to placing full page advertisements in the newspapers warning people who try to get in without a valid visa that they will be shipped off to some mosquito infested islands far from the mainland. Like the people floating in leaky boats would actually be reading these papers. Or maybe they are looking at them on their ipads and other nifty little gadgets

The adverts are really aimed at local voters. This is Labor party election campaign propaganda trying to pass itself off as immigration policy using funds from the public purse

It is pathetic and disgusting to see both parties appealing to the meaner streaks of human nature in a race to the bottom of the barrel.

It seems that this federal election is going to be even meaner and nastier than the last one.

It's going to be such a nightmare voting this year because you cannot put every one of them last.

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