Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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Another incriminating picture of John Kerry together with Jane Fonda has surfaced. [probably safe for work]

Mozilla Firefox 0.8 (the renamed version of Firebird) has been released. It addresses what was about my only complaint with Firebird 0.7, that the 'add link' process was ugly, unfriendly, and required several extra steps to do something as simple as adding a new folder. That has been fixed, yay! I still feel you ought to be able to move around link folders from the 'add link' dialog, that it shouldn't be modal (as you can in IE) but that's a minor quibble.

I read Steven King's On Writing on the plane, mostly. Many people says it's the best book on writing they know. Hm. I thought it wasn't bad. Much of it was entertaining. Some of it was overly cute. A lot was stuff I'd heard already. Omit needless words. Use adverbs sparingly. 

I thought the 'write the first draft with the door closed, the second draft with the door open' was very interesting. In a sense, I imagine that's what writing workshops are about. (Although King doesn't have much use for workshops.) I thought that his concept of the paragraph—not the sentence—as the basic element of fiction was interesting. I've sort of found the same thing. Paragraphs, to me, seem to be unitary, atomic, indivisible. They can be swapped around, but when I try to change sentences within a paragraph, it takes me forever and I never quite like the result. The only solution is to write a new paragraph from scratch.

He says that he starts with a 'situation', then develops characters that fit that situation, and then the story about how the characters got into their situation, and how they get out of it, emerges. Interesting. Yes, that's pretty much how I've been doing it too. He describes writing a story as like unearthing a fossil, trying to dig a fully formed but delicate thing out of the earth. This is sort of like Michelangelo's idea that sculpting marble amounted to removing all the marble in a block that wasn't the sculpture. The writer doesn't so much create, as reveal, or discover. This is almost Platonic idealism, isn't it? As if each story exists as an ideal story that it is the writer's job to discern through the flickering shadows of the firelight, and limn out as near to the original ideal as he can. Not sure whether I believe this. I do believe that once you have a situation, and characters, there are a limited number of ways the story can resolve itself; that the outcome of the story depends on the people in it, and if you try to force the story too far from its natural streambed, so to speak, it won't be convincing.

It's also interesting to learn that King doesn't really believe in plot, per se. He believes in the story, and thinks of  'plot' as a clunky contrivance.

King says you ought to be able to crank out a thousand words a day, and a novel in three months. Sigh. I just can't do that, given the time I have available and the speed I write. Sorry. His approach seems to be to write without a plan or an outline, just plunge on in and solve problems as they happen. He seems to think that you have to write while you're emotionally charged up about your story, before you cool down. Not sure I can do that. Not sure I want to do that.

Also: writers who piss on other kinds of writers annoy me. King spends time dissing high-brow, 'literary' novelists. And, of course, they dis him. Stop it, guys. You write different kinds of stuff, that are enjoyable in different ways. There are nine and sixty way of constructing tribal lays, stop backbiting writers who construct them differently than you do.

Write-write: nope. Cat waxing day.


meaning: apologize, thank

謝罪 == shazai == apology
感謝 == kansha == gratitude

Left radical is 'words' (言). Right radical is 'shoot' (射), acting phonetically to express 'leave'. Thus, 'words said upon leaving'. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Words of apology and thanks as one shoots off.'

Stroke order from Josh's Chinese Lookup Thingy (animated)
Stroke order from Taka Kanji Database
Other info from Taka Kanji Database
Gahoh kanji movie

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