Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

when you look into the machine it already looked into you

Reading more for rwet, some of the Gnoetry work:

He wasn’t rich enough or something.
Everything belonged to him. He was just
robbery with violence,
and sorrow, dishonor, and varnished boots.
So he comes here, you know, to the profound
darkness of his heart. The flies buzzed in a lofty
portico. I was only
a thing. He thumbed the messenger, invited
me over. “It’s really profitable, and
rather less pretty in shape, but you never
forget the uncle.” Afterwards I came
upon him alone. A continuous noise of the drum,
regular and muffled like the closed door
of darkness, claimed him forever.

Eric Scovel, A Light Heart, Its Black Thoughts, 2009

From the first poem I found on the Internet:

The stones make you great.
The stones greet you in mosaics on the hillocks.
They seem to face me so that we can speak each to the other.
The wind breathes inconsequentially over the grass.
But it is your voice temperate with original breath
that I can almost hear it amidst the false speech of this age.
Between the wars we were lost to each other,
but now there is a transformation— a consolation.
What voice would you bring into the 21st century
now that we are of the same age—
mine and yours bound together by thistle?

Stones by Marc Weidershein, 2009

Clearly that’s a far cry from this:

The leader of the troop unlocked his word-hoard;
the distinguished one delivered this answer:
“We belong by birth to the Great people
and owe allegiance to Lord Hygelac.
In his day, my father was a famous man,
a noble warrior-lord named Ecgtheow.

–Beowulf, 900 AD(?) trans. Seamus Heaney

Of course, that’s kind of a cheap shot, but what about this:

Angel of beach houses and picnics, do you know solitaire?
Fifty-two reds and blacks and only myself to blame.
My blood buzzes like a hornet’s nest. I sit in a kitchen chair
at a table set for one. The silverware is the same
and the glass and the sugar bowl. I hear my lungs fill and
expel
as in an operation. But I have no one left to tell.

–6. Angel of Beach Houses and Picnics by Anne Sexton, 1972

So what came first, electronic text or the contemporary text? Electronic thought or the current thought? I think it’s clear that electronic text engages and pleases some because they’re already set up for it by the circumstances of contemporary life.

On the other hand that ignores some notable movements and artists.

How far back can you go?

reading the dictionary

for Valentine’s day

maybe this is too dumb? Oh well.

egrep ‘ing.$’ sonnets.txt

O! how thy worth with manners may I sing,
What can mine own praise to mine own self bring?
Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing,
The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing;
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting?
And for that riches where is my deserving?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thy self thou gav’st, thy own worth then not knowing,
Or me to whom thou gav’st it, else mistaking;
So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgement making.
From you have I been absent in the spring,
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,
My love is strengthen’d, though more weak in seeming;
That love is merchandiz’d, whose rich esteeming,
Our love was new, and then but in the spring,
As Philomel in summer’s front doth sing,
Of this our time, all you prefiguring;
They had not skill enough your worth to sing:
O! ’tis the first, ’tis flattery in my seeing,
To bitter sauces did I frame my feeding;
To be diseas’d, ere that there was true needing.

Egrep for linguists.

Shakespearean sonnets.

corresponding course (#1)

One of the authors of the IFComp 2009 game Earl Grey also teaches some cool classes in NYC, some of which happen to be on elit using Python.

The Spring class started recently. Though I make it a habit to browse the UW and Hugo House class schedules for any similar kind of course (on the craft and practice of elit), I’ve never found one, so though I’m a little behind I’ve decided to follow along with this one as best I can. There’s some great material in the syllabus and the class notes. From the first class:

Suggested exercises

This is just to grep. Use a combination of the UNIX commands discussed in class (along with any other commands that you discover) to compose a text. Your “source code” for this exercise will simply consist of what you executed on the command line. Indicate what kind of source text the “program” expects, and give an example of what text it generates. Use man to discover command line options that you might not have known about (grep -i is a good one).

[matingball ~/rwet]$ grep you | tr . \\n | sort
This is just to grep. Use a combination of the UNIX commands discussed in class (along with any other commands that you discover) to compose a text. Your “source code” for this exercise will simply consist of what you executed on the command line. Indicate what kind of source text the “program” expects, and give an example of what text it generates. Use man to discover command line options that you might not have known about (grep -i is a good one).
^D
 Indicate what kind of source text the “program” expects, and give an example of what text it generates
 Use a combination of the UNIX commands discussed in class (along with any other commands that you discover) to compose a text
 Use man to discover command line options that you might not have known about (grep -i is a good one)
 Your “source code” for this exercise will simply consist of what you executed on the command line
This is just to grep
[matingball ~/rwet]$

Physical therapy. Take a text on paper–a newspaper, a restaurant menu, a book, whatever–and perform a transformation on it equivalent to the way one of the UNIX text commands we discussed transforms digital text. For example, to grep a book, you might highlight or cut out all of the lines in the book that match a particular string.

art review:

Narrative Designers assembling

I came across http://narrativedesigners.net/, which is a newish forum/wiki/resource for people working in narrative design. Seems to be mostly people in the AAA industry, and perhaps those from art and academia as well. It’s always struck me that these folks work in something of a walled garden so it’s nice to see a public-facing community site take form.

pystil

pystilmockup

I’ve been thinking for a while about something like a drawing tool for writers…something like Alchemy that I would write in Python, maybe using pyglet. I’ve always wanted to make tools as well as make games, but they seemed beyond my capabilities somewhat…I have some specific UI ideas I’d like to try in the software flesh (mainly — bigger text for godsake, though it may turn the tool into one only I would use). A couple of new developments inch me closer to my goal. It’s beginning to look like Nick Montfort’s nn, now known as Curveship, will have a release later this year. And then over at MudBytes in a thread where someone asked for help naming a mud framework/IDE written in Python, I thought of the name pystil. So…a narrative/text generation player/maker? Who knows.

digital propp

Courtesy of a link at Fair Game, a simple Proppian fairytale generator. I’ve been thinking about joining things like this, the Abulafia generator, and IF in some way.

Propp fairy tale generator

fondling wheat

The second lo-fi recording experiment: “Game Writing 101”, InPrint at Richard Hugo House.

About the Panelists

New York Times best-selling writer Eric Nylund is the author of “Halo: Ghosts of Onyx” and other novels; he also writes for games such as “Gears of War.”

John Sutherland has written for games including “Mind Aerobics,” “Go” and many Microsoft games such as “MechAssault 2,” “Asheron’s Call 2,” “Shadowrun” and the “Mass Effect”; he also writes poetry, fiction and screenplays.

Panel moderator Melanie Henry’s first video game was “Pong.” As an editor at Microsoft Game Studios for the last seven years, she’s worked on such games as “Gears of War” and “Counter-Strike” for the original Xbox.

[InPrint at Richard Hugo House]

Thanks to Leslie Howell of InPrint at the Hugo House for putting together this group of Microsoft game people, who threw down an informal introductory rap about what it’s like to write for games in general, and AAA titles in particular. There’s ongoing Q&A during the discussion, with Melanie Henry posing questions every so often. Eric Nylund answers first in part one.

I haven’t got around to annotating the tracks yet but hope to do it soon — almost two hours of discussion! All I did in Audacity was amplify the tracks between 10-14 db., and go through with the envelope tool to bring down some of the spikes from coughs, knocks, laughter, etc. I need to find some way to quickly do that without losing the dynamics of the live sound.

Highlights were the 12 year old (? — hope I guessed your age close enough man!) who owned the Q&A, the man with the Q&A buzzwords (who managed to work in auteur theory, ludology, and agile development into I think four questions), and the title of this post, courtesy of a quote from Eric Nylund in reference to a certain film.

Each part is about 30 minutes.

Game Writing 101 (part one)

(part two)

(part three)

(part four)

full magazine

I’ve been poking around lately to see the extent of the SF magazine world. This will get redundant I’m sure.

Here’s an oldish list of SF small press stuff and webzines at suddenlypress.com.

The SFWA list.

Yes, the Wikipedia entry.

Found “An Open Source Speculative Fiction Magazine Model” (though I don’t know how open source figures into that, honestly).

That got sparked by Paolo Bacigalupi’s posts on the subject, which you can find through the article linked above.

A half-fluff piece at Speculations, good enough to skim.

Anyway, so the point of this post — here is what I think would be cool: a paying online SF magazine that included IF. Call it a monthly, 1-3 IF works a month, 2-3 short stories and serials, and a weekly column of something, say around 25k words total (let’s be generous and do .05 a word, so $1250, and IF gets a flat rate of $100. Annual budget is $18k — hahahaha).

Maybe the column rotates, first week is editorial, second is SF, third is IF, and fourth is craaaaaazy.

Notwithstanding I have no technical experience to get something like that running, I would like to read something like that. And hey, this is why I get to post it on this thing and not spray it across a forum somewhere.

The magazine gets funded by general donations, and throw in a tip jar for individual stories.

It would need a web-based interpreter, so people could read it anywhere — I wonder how well a web interpreter works on a mobile device.

sf markets

(and another page to post)

Frankly the world of market lists, e-zines, fan zines, pro markets, semi-pro markets, 181 day response times, the SFWA pro list, and everything else baffles me. So in an effort to simplify I’m just going to troll pages of writers who seem to know what they’re doing and collate a list of sf markets it would be worthwhile to submit to. We’ll see how useful this becomes. Think of it as a market list in larval form, drenched in pus.

Courtesy of (as in, copied from) Jay Lake

Realms of Fantasy
Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet
Apex & Abyss
Strange Horizons
Ideomancer
Revolution SF

Courtesy of David Levine

Darker Matter
Infinity Plus
Aeon Speculative Fiction
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
Asimov’s Science Fiction
Analog Science Fiction and Fact
Interzone
Black Static

Courtesy of Ruth Nestvold

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine

(special note: Mary Soon Lee basically rocks the world here)