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Archive for February, 2015

Cut It Out

Posted by Dirck on 27 February, 2015

No particular theme for today’s film; just a little bit of nonsense based on the works of the noted author and recreational racist H.P. Lovecraft.  Because I like his work in the former line, and because he didn’t recruit too hard for the latter.

As outre as this is, it’s a good deal less upsetting than at least three Betty Boop features I’ve seen.  Actual cartoons of the 1920’s were weird.

Today’s Pen: Pelikan New Classic
Today’s ink: Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun


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Posted by Dirck on 26 February, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 23 February
  • 24 February
  • 26 February
  • Choose Your Own Unspeakable Doom.
  • Eight manuscript pages.
  • Seven pages.
  • Nine Pages
  • 45 min.
  • 35 min.
  • 45 min.

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How’s The Mileage on That Thing?

Posted by Dirck on 25 February, 2015

The evidence of this compendium of nonsense over the past year and a half suggests that I’ve started neglecting the craft and science of pens for the art of writing.  I’d even bow to an accusation of that sort, since I’ve had to take in my metaphorical horns in the pen-buying department; fewer in, fewer interesting and novel repairs (although there is a brewing entry in that direction, too), and a drying up of the fountain that feeds my yammering about pens.

This is not to say, though, that I don’t think about them rather more than is sane normal.  Indeed, with the concentration upon writing, I’m using fountain pens more on a daily basis than when I was holding forth on them with regularity.

The recently completed (and soon to be re-titled) “The Yellow Oracle” gave me a chance to consider, for example, the rate of ink usage when writing.  I filled the pen that is currently doing all my fiction just before I set out on that story, which allowed me to examine with some precision how much ink went into the story.  Some precision, since I didn’t actually measure the before and after volume of ink in the pen, but I’m pretty good at estimating.  Well… estimatin’.

The first draft used roughly one-third the ink available in the pen.  The process of running up a second draft saw amendments, and also didn’t reproduce the striking through of occasional sentences that always happens in the first draft– I will admit to myself when a sentence has gone off the rails, and scrap it rather than try to reuse the parts.  Thus, the 5,400 words of the story as it ended in second draft probably reflects not quite as much ink as went into the first draft, so for ease of math, we can say that I’m getting around 5,000 words/ml.  I’m sure that there’s some ball-points that snicker at this, and that’s fine, lads.  I’ll just keep on refilling the thing, and we’ll see who’s around to do the book signing.

Now, before someone runs off and says “You can write 5,000 words with a milliliter of fountain pen ink!” in a tone of authority, I want to first point out the amount of hedging in the previous paragraph.  Also, the paper I was using was relatively thirsty.  The current project, going onto paper that is a lot less absorbent, has certainly got more than double the pages of “The Yellow Oracle” (not all work gets recorded here, remember) and has only just now half-emptied the pen.  Moving from estimating to semi-informed guessing, I’d say we’re up to more like 7,000 or 8,000 words/ml; highway mileage!

I guess that rating the amount of writing a fountain pen will do leans more in the direction of craft than science; replicating results is very tricky, and a headwind can really throw off your performance.

Today’s crafty device: Pelikan New Classic
Today’s ink: Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun

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Grey? OK.

Posted by Dirck on 20 February, 2015

This is a big time of year for grey around here.  Weather, streets, faces, and if you live in the wrong neighbourhood, all the damn houses.  There is, however, one grey object that I look forward to at this time of year, and it’s the subject of today’s lifted film.

If you haven’t seen the movie itself, you should.  I believe I’ve previously mentioned that it’s a cure for the sensation that there are 8,000 days between winter solstice and vernal equinox.  This and a dose of Vitamin D– fix ya right up!

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Balance Craftsman

Today’s ink: Herbin Lie de Thé

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Posted by Dirck on 19 February, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 16 February
  • 17 February
  • 18 February
  • 19 February
  • Finally catching up with letters, it being a day off (merry InCoWriMo, everyone!)
  • Choose Your Own Unspeakable Doom…
  • …oom…
  • …ooooom.  Also, a migraine.  I’m a trouper.
  • All of them
  • Six manuscript pages.
  • Ten pages.
  • Five pages
  • All damn day
  • 35 min.
  • 55 min.
  • 45 min.

Also, merry Sheep/Ram to everyone who attends to that particular calendar.

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Spine-Tingling Romance!

Posted by Dirck on 13 February, 2015

Valentine’s day tomorrow?  Well, that calls for a thematic film:

…and I just saved you from having to go to the theatre and watch 50 Shades of Grey.  Ain’t I a sweetie?

Today’s charming pen: Pilot L-150MS
Today’s cute ink: Herbin Bleu Myosotis

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Posted by Dirck on 12 February, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 9 February
  • 10 February
  • 11 February
  • 12 February
  • Choose Your Own Unspeakable Doom
  • Eight manuscript pages.
  • Five pages.
  • Six pages.
  • Seven pages
  • 55 min.
  • 25 min.
  • 40 min.
  • 40 min.

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Making A Foolish Choice

Posted by Dirck on 10 February, 2015

I find, I think in common with many people of a similar family situation, than I frequently want to strangle my brother.

I’m not going to, this is no open confession of murder or even actual murderous intent.  A Simpsons-style strangling, with lots of funny noises and no one actually getting hurt, would be the ideal, in that it would vent the frustration without engaging the interest of the police or one’s own sense of guilt.  However, since that’s not really an option, I’ll just have to live with wanting to do it.  Anyway, it is frequently useful or comforting to have a sibling, sometimes even both, so I try not to hang onto the sensation.

Sometimes, though….  But I’m being obscure.  I was talking about something I had seen on these Interwebz of ours a couple of weeks ago, the thrust of which was the failure of most games that get “Lovecraftian” hung on them to handle the great lurking menace to all reality properly.  The problem is, in a nutshell, that games offer the chance to win, even if winning is really hard, and the whole point of the notion of “Lovecraftian” is that the greatest triumph possible is to never realize how utterly insignificant all human activity is on a cosmic scale.  My brother isn’t quite as much of a fan of Ol’ Providence as I am, but he reads enough Mike Mignola comics to appreciate that sort of thing.  I went on like a dummy to say that I had a vague notion of writing a fake review of a game that actually does it right.

He had a laugh, and then grew thoughtful.  I believe I have mentioned that my brother is a graphic artist.  By this we understand that his brain doesn’t work quite like a normal human thinker.  Some damn muse or another spoke into his receptive ear, and like the conduit to the invisible that all artists occasionally become, he spoke.

“That would make an awesome Choose-Your-Own Adventure book!”




Not only was he right, he seems to have stuck the notion firmly down my interhemispheric fissure.  All last week it was wearing away at the cortex it was up against as I was getting through those second and third draft things that were screeching for attention, and I actually began writing it on Sunday.  I’m now thirty-five pages along, and it’s turning into actual work.

The positive aspect of this current project is that I suspect it will be rather good practice for a proper novel; all this keeping track of different story lines, without the requirement that they all end up connecting or at least agreeing at the end, is bound to help the eventual full enterprise.  The negative aspect, apart from “what’s the market for Choose-Your-Own Adventure works?,” is that it will make the progress reports even more boring for the foreseeable than they have been (and I’m under no illusions on that front).  Adjustments may occur, if the Watchful Conscience will allow.

But there’s still some time left, and the blank pages call.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer 300
Today’s ink: Pelikan Violet

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Highway Condition: Winter

Posted by Dirck on 6 February, 2015

We’ve have an odd bit of weather lately– warm enough to rain, then filthy cold like we expect, followed by what the weather forecasters tell us is “normal” for this time of year, being cold that doesn’t instantly snatch the ears and nose off your head.

Now there’s a gale and a promise of freezing rain.

So, for today’s film feature, something with a duofold purpose.  Those sick of winter get to look at some desert, and we all get to see how people are currently driving outside my window.

Today’s pen: Pelikan M20
Today’s ink: Chelpark Black

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Posted by Dirck on 5 February, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 2 February
  • 3 February
  • 4 February
  • 5 February
  • Second draft of “The Yellow Oracle.”
  • A lot of effort to get connected to a writers’ workshop.
  • Third draft work on “The Third Act” and The Healing Power of Crystals.”
  • Third draft of “The Dutch Walk.”
  • 1,111 words, for a total of 5,402.
  • Success!
  • Done and done.
  • Sorta done; there’s a suggestion by one reader that needs some pondering.
  • 55 min.
  • 40 min. (and some Facebook)
  • 50 min.
  • 35 min. (allowing for cold symptom effects)

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