shop assistant: Thanks friend!! That was a fast and seamless transaction. You are a 100%, AAA+++ shopper! What a pleasant and uplifting experience I will happily sell to you in the future and fully recommend you to other stores!!!!!
From William Steig’s Caldecott Award acceptance speech, 1970:
Art, including juvenile literature, has the power to make any spot on earth the living center of the universe, and unlike science, which often gives us the illusion of understanding things we really do not understand, it helps us to know life in a way that still keeps before us the mystery of things. It enhances the sense of wonder. And wonder is respect for life.
I have nothing to add.
Read the whole speech here [brought to my attention by gizo]
Dan’s guest for this episode was Michel Kripalani, president of Oceanhouse Media who are the developers responsible for adapting Dr Seuss’s books for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Among other things, he talked about the process of adapting the books for these devices while maintaining the whole point of the original books – to help kids learn to read. Worth a listen.
I have dutifully downloaded The cat in the hat but am yet to test it on my kids.
But if you want to be a writer, than be a writer, for god’s sake. It’s not that hard, and it doesn’t require that much effort on a day to day basis. Find the time or make the time. Sit down, shut up and put your words together. Work at it and keep working at it. And if you need inspiration, think of yourself on your deathbed saying “well, at least I watched a lot of TV.” If saying such a thing as your life ebbs away fills you with existential horror, well, then. I think you know what to do.
Factotum is the third and final installment in D. M. Cornish’s fantastic Monster Blood Tattoo series (now called The foundling’s tale in USA). This is a series that you should definitely read in order so if you have not read books 1 and 2 yet, I suggest you give them a look. You can read what I thought of them here: The foundling; and Lamplighter. By way of warning, the following review will give away a couple of plot points that develop over the first two books, so feel free to stop reading here and go read those books first.
At the end of book 2, Rossamund took on the role of factotum to Europe, the monster slayer with whom his life had become connected. For those not already familiar with the series, Europe is a Fulgar, someone who has had extra organs surgically added to her body that allow her to generate something like lightning that she uses against monsters. Rossamund had also been accused of being a monster himself – one with a human form. These two developments provide the storyline for Factotum which begins with the final stages of the journey to the city of Brandenbass, including a battle with a sea monster on the way. Rossamund is then introduced to the lavish life Europe leads when not hunting monsters. He has little time however, to sit back and enjoy living in high society as influential people in the city, including some enemies of Europe become aware of the accusations against him. Rossamund also seems to find it hard to keep out of trouble and his curiosity and naivety lead him into a seedy establishment where his conscience forces him to act on what he sees there (sorry, that’s deliberately vague as I don’t want to give too much away).
Eventually Europe and Rossamund along with a couple of his old friends who are now also in her employ take on some commissions to track down and kill various monsters. While this may seem to take them away from the trouble brewing in Brandenbass, it manages to follow them. Throughout the various events in this book Rossamund is exposed to new aspects of the monster world and the ways the monsters and humans exist together as he tries to understand his place in the world.
As with the first two books, Factotum is a long and detailed book including extra information about the world in an Explicarium at the end of the book. If you have read and enjoyed the first two I expect you will want to read this and expect you will enjoy it. If not, then head back to the beginning and read Lamplighter. The series is set in a richly described fantasy world, the characters are interesting and well developed and it it not always clear who is on the side of good or evil. The story has also kept me curiously turning pages (over 1500 of them through three books).
I decided to plug the text of the novel I am pretending to write into wordle, a tool that produces a word cloud making the most frequently appearing words bigger.
Here is my novel in progress:
I don’t claim to know much about writing, but I wonder if this might be a slightly useful editing tool. Obviously the two most commonly used words are character names, so I figure that’s alright. “Father” is up there too, but that sort of works as a character name as well. The next three are interesting: “just, “know”, and “like”. In particular “just” doesn’t seem like a word that should be used more than just about any other word in the story. When I get around to editing what is just a very rough first draft, I will just have to focus on removing that word just as much as I can. I suspect “know” and “like” may not be as much of an issue, but am willing to stand corrected.
I recently posted about my decision to skip NaNoWriMo this year and embark on a modified version, National Novel Finishing Month instead. In short, instead of trying to write a new 50,000 word project, I will try to make a good chunk of progress toward finishing an existing project. I’ll also be setting a lower target than 50,000 with something in the vicinity of 15,000 being a more realistic target for me.
The project in question, with the increasingly inaccurate working title Wildflowers currently sits at 29,244 words. For the sake of a round figure for the total word count I’ll shoot for 15,766 words in November bringing the project to 45,000. That’s a breath over 525 word per day. I think I can manage that.