Posts Tagged: writing

The London Skyline at Dusk from the Embankment Bridge

The London Skyline at Dusk from the Embankment Bridge

Sun. 11.18.18 – Yes, I am back in London to write. I find that I write best here, for a number of reasons both known and rather mysterious to me. When I am home in California, I can muster 2000-4000 words per month, hardly words enough to finish a short story in reasonable time – let alone a book. When I am in London, I can reach that word count in two days or less.

The last two years of US politics have heavily weighed me down and when I get to London, as long as I stay off of the news and social media sites, I am able to feel slightly bouyant again. At least here, I can float in my imagination – unfettered from the fecal matter of US politics – long enough to create and write.

While I am not participating in the NaBloPoMo nor NaNoWriMo, I am doing my best to restart my blogging practice in a more regular fashion – albeit in clumps – as well as finish writing a few stories and a book.

Here I am for a month. Let’s see how much writing and editing I can get done. Wish me luck.

Photo taken by Ms. Jen from the Embankment Golden Jubilee Bridge at dusk with her camera phone.

Writing and Reading

While I have been on my Big-Five-Oh birthday gift to myself writing retreat, I have also been reading. So far, I have worked my way through a re-read of the whole Ben Aaronvitch’s Rivers of London series and I am nearly finished with re-reading Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series (minus the more recent co-author or other author Pern books).

Why am I rereading books I have already read many times before, particularly in the case of the Pern books? I am reading them not just for the joy of the story but also to see and analyze how two authors who I admire have constructed their stories and series as a whole and from various writing perspectives.

What this past two months of reading and writing has shown or revealed to me is that I have a preference for multiple person point of view / main character stories or at least multiple threads of story interwoven over a single main character’s point of view with one story arc.

McCaffrey’s Pern books are almost always, with the exception of the YA books, multiple main characters with multiple threads of story. While Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series is from the POV of PC Peter Grant, each book weaves in multiple strands of story, including one series long story thread. One of the things that I also like about Jane Austen books is that by and large her stories are also ensemble stories, even if we see the story from the POV of one or two main characters.

The novel length story I wrote from 2015-2017, A Quiver Full, was a multiple character POV story. I started writing it as a short story for a writing challenge and it was originally written from the POV of two characters, after I expanded it to novel length – several more characters demanded their share of the conversation and stage time. After the fact, I got the feedback from a reader that it should have more of the romance of just two characters and not so much of the other stuff.

After finishing writing A Quiver Full, I printed it out, then I put it up on a shelf for a bit of aging before I reread it and started rewriting. It was six weeks on the shelf when I received the above feedback, which hit me enough of the wrong way that the first draft has stayed on the shelf and I started writing a whole new novel in December of 2017.

This second novel is from one character’s point of view. It is meant to be a humorous mildly unreliable narrator story wherein by the end the reader should be questioning if the main character really was all that and more or if we want our hero to be heroic rather than a mere man. Now more than seventy percent of the way through writing the story, I find myself longing for more strands of story – not in the novel I am writing now but in general.

Then it hit me about a week ago, as I was knee deep in my Pern reread that I prefer multiple characters with third person limited POVs in the plural to one or two main characters. I want more story, I want more points of view, and I want to be stretched. When I return back to California, I will be ready to take A Quiver Full off the shelf and start the rewrite.

But before I can do that, I have got to finish writing my one guy and his POV story.

Tidbits for a Sunday on the Road

The Tappan Zee Bridge

This:

“I divide every disagreement into two classes,” Bob Taylor was telling me. “Class One is when two people disagree and neither can explain to the other person’s satisfaction that other person’s point of view. A Class Two disagreement is when each can explain to the other’s satisfaction the other’s point of view.”

He paused. “Class One is destructive. Most wars and pain and suffering in the world are based on Class One disagreements. Class Two disagreements enable people to work together even when they disagree.”

The key to his management style, he said, was to avoid Class One disagreements, and when he encountered them, to turn them into Class Two.” – How Bob Taylor assembled the team that invented personal computing: an appreciation, by Michael Hiltzik in the LA Times

******

All the Other Tidbits:

‘Muskrat’, ‘Helpmate’, and 6 More Folk Etymologies: Because language isn’t logical

Next to a great bowl of Finnish Fish Soup, Rhode Island Clam Chowder is now my very favorite soup. Ok, a great miso should be on the list duking it out for number one, too.

Where did your dog come from? New tree of breeds may hold the answer via metafilter and a link to the chart, click to make bigger. Study full-text.

Europe’s Famed Bog Bodies Are Starting to Reveal Their Secrets
Starry Success: Protecting the Night Sky Above La Palma

How to Remove Light Pollution from Your Astro Images

“By not having any one idea jump too far from reality, Walkaway demonstrates how close we are, right now, to enormous promise and imminent peril. It can make the book read more like a manifesto than a novel in parts, but good sci-fi is always a bit uncomfortable, and it’s easier to swallow when packaged as this small-idea, understated approach. Utopia and dystopia are not mutually exclusive, as anyone sitting in 2017 watching for signs of nuclear war on their pocket supercomputer can relate to. The good news is that small ideas are easier to implement than big ones, so maybe, with their help, we can turn down the dystopia slider. Perhaps this is how utopia starts: not with a bang, but with a whimper.” – Cory Doctorow’s Walkaway and the Power of Small Ideas, by P.T. Phronk in Tor.com

Sunday Tidbits with a Photo of Melting Snow in the Sagebrush

Snow melt in the sagebrush

Sun. 01.29.17 – Today is the last Sunday of January and life is interesting. Here are some links for your reading pleasure:

Terri Windling’s link/quote round up with beautiful illustrations on Fairy tales and fantasy, when the need is greatest

Cipher War: After a century of failing to crack an ancient script, linguists turn to machines

A lovely story of a found photo album from the mid-20th century leads to Love and Black Lives, in Pictures Found on a Brooklyn Street

A quote from an NYT Opinion column from yesterday, One Country, Two Tribes:

Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at New York University, calls it the clash between globalists and nationalists. The globalists, who tend to be urban and college educated, want a world like the one described in John Lennon’s song “Imagine” — no religion, walls or borders dividing people. The nationalists see that as a vision of hell. They want to defend their culture and emphasize the bonds of nationhood — flag, Constitution, patriotism. They also want to limit immigration, an instinct that globalists are often quick to condemn as racist.

It is one of the most profound fissures of the modern political era and has upended politics in Europe, too.

“Global elites feel they have more in common with their friends in Paris or New York than with their own countrymen,” said Lars Tragardh, a historian at Ersta Skondal University College in Stockholm. “In their view of the world, the centrality of citizenship gets lost, and that is very threatening to the nationalists.”

And last but not least,
This Granular Life: Is atomic theory the most important idea in human history?

Photo of the snow melting in the sagebrush above the Meadow Creek meadow overlooking the Owens Valley taken by Ms. Jen this afternoon while walking Canela with her Lumia 950.

Jenifer Hanen is Creating Art & Writing at Patreon!

Greetings Lovely folk of the Internet!

The past two years have been very fruitful creatively for me, I have been quietly writing fiction stories and working on a film photo project, as well as my working on my mobile and DSLR photography. The writing and film projects take time and money to complete.

It is time for me to bring my work out of Google Docs files and the black hole of Lightroom on my computer and share them in a more substantial way with folks who wish to help support my writing and art making endeavors. By support, I mean a community of folk who are excited to read, view, comment on, and receive photos, stories, essays, and be the first to hear about new works in progress.

Would you like to participate in a community that supports my creative endeavors with a monthly photo and story, as well as a weekly link round up? If so, come join me at Patreon by make a pledge.

The various tiers of monthly pledges will range from thank you and here is a weekly round up of links to Patreon-only Monthly photos and stories all the way to a Monthly mailed Photo Card (real printed photos from the film project) to a Yearly signed Photo and|or Story Book. I will also be making and sharing my photos and writing at this blog and other social media sites with a weekly round up of links of my work and other interesting links here at Patreon.

The monies from the pledges will be going to help fund the writing and photography.

Thank you for joining me in this creative endeavor. You rock!

Jenifer Hanen, aka Ms. Jen

Become my patron at Patreon

The Years of Silence

It has been 5 years, 6 months, and 22 days since I was hit with a large shockwave that blew me off my daily blogging perch. I have struggled time and again during this past half a decade to resume a daily blogging practice to only have the silence over take my blog, my typing fingers, and more deeply my soul.

For many bloggers this past half a decade has been a time to leave their personal blogs for writing on their Twitter or Facebook or Medium or other social accounts. That has not been the case for me, as the silence has gone deeper: I quit Facebook in April 2012, I see no reason why I should write on Medium when I could write here, and my Tweeting has declined since 2011-2012 significantly.

No, the real problem that I have become silent. My whole world, internally and externally, has shrunk. And this is more than ok, it was necessary.

I have had one major cycle of quiet whole life silence in the past, where I withdrew into myself for a period of nearly four years. It was a time of reading, learning and conserving my energies before I jumped back out again.

I am not interested in discussing at length what happened in the past but finding a way forward from here. While I am not quite ready to be out and about yet, I am working steadily in the background; there are a number of background processes currently running of writing, thinking, and taking photos.

I am writing fiction stories to be published soon. And I am, also, thinking quite a bit on ideas and trends in technology and how people use it – whether I blog about it anytime soon remains to be seen. I continue to take and mostly post photos daily to Flickr and/or Instagram and/or here.

I don’t think the personal blog is dead. This one may be quiet and full of photos, but it is not dead and the background processes may very well come to the foreground soon.

Has the Internet become too Slick?

Dooce writes today:

“During the panel I shared a sadness I’ve felt about the increasing lack of independent storytelling online, how so much of the content being produced now is all about images and beautifully styled vignettes. So much of the web has become a giant Pinterest board”

While I don’t read many lifestyle blogs, I have noticed that many of the food blogs I have read for years are now more like a slick food magazine than a blog. More and more of the bloggers I know have either gone professional or they have stopped blogging.

I enjoy the holdouts who are not sponsored and who are blogging/writing/sharing their passions for the joy of it, even if their passion is also their profession. A few of my current favorite blogs are:

Myth & Moor
Astro Bob
Box Elder
Poemas del rio Wang
A Totally Impractical Guide to…
Moby’s Los Angeles Architecture Blog
Leonid Tishkov: art in progress
Fixing the Hobo Suit
The Bitten Word

What are you reading these days that is good storytelling or blogging for the love of ideas, a subject, or just for sharing one’s life?