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Posts Tagged ‘Duofold’

Unexpected Role Models

Posted by Dirck on 21 August, 2017

Today, I wasted my lunch period; rather than return the flayed flap of skin on the front of my face to the proverbial grindstone, I raced home to share the Great Eclipse(!!!) with my son.

That is pretty much the peak of totality where I was standing.

Wait a minute… by “wasted” I mean “utilized in the best possible manner,” because while eclipses happen regularly enough, they don’t happen here a great deal; the last one like this was in 1979.  But this is all digression, really, because it is writing I will eventually touch upon.

Today at The Regular Job has been very quite, so much so that I have tacit dispensation to do whatever I liked so long as I was handy to the telephone; thus, I have done a little tidying of the back room of my site, soon (I hope) to appear with a shiny HTTPS in its address and prevent Google from blacklisting me.  In the course of this, I found some backtracks from this very blog hiding among the apprehended spam, and entertained myself with a bit of reading– because, once upon a time, I actually produced content on this thing, some of which was vaguely amusing.

One of the items of past glory I examined was a slightly meta examination of my own writing style, which I’ll synopsize here so you don’t actually have to click that link.  I had found a place which claimed to analyse the style of any text pasted into it, and discovered that the writing of this screed as it existed then was like David Foster Wallace, H.P. Lovecraft, Mary Shelley, Cory Docotorow, and (shudder) Dan Brown.

All of which was somewhat interesting to the current version of me.  Then-Me was about a year away from getting nearly serious about fiction writing, and somewhat further away from getting as serious about it as I am now (which some might say is still “insufficiently so” but I work with what I’ve got).  What, Current-Me wondered, would be the effect of feeding some of my fiction into that purported analysis engine.  Indeed, did it still exist?

Why, yes, it did!  And here’s me with idle hands!

The results are… interesting to me.  Certainly satisfactory, although in a head-scratching way which I’ll explain presently.  As with the last attempt, I gave thing ten samples in an effort to see if there was any consistency in it.  Whole stories, too, not just snippets.  I was told with one of them that it was stylistically like the work of Arthur C. Clarke.  That story, the only one of the bunch that has yet been shown publicly, was aiming for more of an M.R. James flavour, but I will never decline to be likened to Clarke.  Two others came up with Anne Rice as the style-mirror for me, and seven of them produced Agatha Christie.

And here I became bemused.  I understand the presence of Clarke in these estimates.  Rice and Christie confuse me.  This is not a fragile male ego baulking at being compared to women, because really, honestly, that’s not the way I roll.  The source of the confusion lies in what I know about my own reading.  I have read loads of Clarke.  His influence creeping into my own work?  Sure.  However, my reading of Anne Rice is limited to Interview with The Vampire, once, in… I think 1990.  I have read Christie more recently, but rather less of her; a single story, about two years ago.  I have watched the entire run of Poirot Mysteries, but that’s hardly like reading the books upon which they are based.  The similarity of style is unlikely to be a result of emulation, however unconscious.

Bemused, then, but not exactly put out.  No reference to Dan Brown, which pleases me greatly, however commercial his work might be.  “Commercial” is a word one might apply to any of the three this recent sampling produced; not only are they all considered good writers in the literary art sense of the word (none without debate, of course– that’s art critics for you) but they have been widely published.  I am very content to be compared to people who got publication galore.

…of course, one also say “widely published” of Edward Bulwer-Lytton, for a particular period.  Ulp.

Today’s pen: Parker Senior Duofold
Today’s ink: Waterman blue (vintage)

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Posted by Dirck on 17 August, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 17 manuscript pages.

Say, that doesn’t seem like a very productive week, does it? Well… let me counter that impression with a couple of pictures.  The first is slightly misleading.

Why is this misleading?  Because it implies a mathematical precision exists in the growth of what is, really, an organic structure.  We don’t look at a basketball player and say, “That person is 114.3% tall,” right? So, on to the other, more completely accurate picture:

Yep. END.  The story has run its course, the protagonist slumping off to face the rest of his life in the wake of the harrowing events laid out on the preceding 802 pages†, and I get to have a beer to reinforce myself at the prospect of the second draft (which I was already dreading as part of an entry in May).  It may only be 97.9% of the projected length, but for someone who hasn’t a lot of novel-ing experience, and who a couple of times thought the plot was gurgling out of him much too briskly, I’m fairly proud to have landed that close to the target.

I’m trying to decide now whether I give myself a bit of a break and work on a short story or two, or if I should just get onto the smoothing of this roughly-gouged bit of word-granite into something that actually looks like a viable novel.  I believe that I’ll decide this at leisure, over the course of the weekend.  Under the influence of large beer and strong drink.  You know, like those writers you see in movies.

 

†You see the format of all those pages, of course.  If my estimates are near correct, that’s just shy of 300 pages of legible, typed material.  I ain’t no Stephen King, nor any George R.R. Martin (yet)‡.

 

‡This parenthetical barnacle may be considered a sign of raging hubris.  I’m sure I’ll get over it as the magnitude of the work ahead of me becomes apparent and notes from my helpful readers begin to appear.

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Non-pharmaceutical Psychotropics

Posted by Dirck on 11 August, 2017

I have a friend who starts a lot of conversations with “you know what’s weird?” We have come into gentle dispute on this topic, as I don’t find the failure of a cat to sleep through the night or the way sales tax applies to clothes really qualifies as weird.  I usually offer a counter example, like magnetic putty, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, or the US healthcare “system,” all of  which prompt her to suggest that the use of the word has shifted among Millennials (of which she is not one).

Be that as it may– this week’s film is weird.

Of course, this would be more amusing if world events had not taken their current turn, but let’s enjoy the mild dissociative state old cartoons induce, eh?

Today’s pen: Parker Senior Duofold
Today’s ink: Waterman blue (vintage)

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Posted by Dirck on 3 August, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 22 manuscript pages.

If you hear a slight humming noise, it may well be me in my excitement at being so close to finished the first draft. The climax is not quite underway, but the fuse on it is burning and about to enter the touch-hole.

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Posted by Dirck on 27 July, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 22 manuscript pages.

That’s a rather better week of it.  The summit is at last in view, too– I’m only about 90 pages from my goal.  This is good news, because what little I know about pacing is shouting at me that delaying the climax much based on where the story stands now is not wise.

I also want to be slightly self-congratulatory about this weeks perseverance, as yesterday saw an honest parade of painful stupidity at Regular Job.  I was able to grunt through it for the noon writing session, but at the cost of forgetting completely to reply to some emails from people seeking work on their pens.  I’d best get at that, eh?

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And Now For Something Only Slightly Different…

Posted by Dirck on 21 July, 2017

I’m not posting a film here this week because, after a couple of weeks of utter silence, I want to put the final nail in the edifice of boredom I’ve been erecting here.  Yes, it’s pictures of the vacation.  Those who are still coming here for the pens will want to stick around for a little bit of flesh-creeping horror, too.

This year’s vacation was an unusual extravaganza, funded by a long-service award handed out by Regular Job (I complain, but I know I could be in a much worse place).  The same sort of thing ran to a trip to Disney World the last time I got one, but politics and inflation took that destination off the menu.  What we did, then, was travel to exotic… Edmonton, Alberta.

OK, it’s not much more than my own home town writ large, but it has a couple of things which rendered it attractive.  There are the Alberta Railway Museum and Edmonton Radial Railway Society to pander to my son’s love of such things, which persists undiminished, and in the same vein there is Fort Edmonton Park, in which previous centuries’ modes of transit run all day long and you can ride them for free after entering the park. Another feature of the park is a hotel which costs no more than any other decent hotel in the city, and booking a room includes park admission.  Thus, we essentially spent our vacation in a very comfortable bit of 1922 (with free wifi, even if there isn’t a TV in the room).

My wife and I got, perhaps, less out of it than the lad.  What we got, though, was freedom from housework, the spectacle of a very happy son, and a trip to Stylus (where a Pilot Elite 95S was almost able to convince me that the profligate spending of a vacation could be expanded to encompass its cost; alas, reason prevailed); so, relaxation, happiness and a couple of bottles of ink.  That’s pretty good, really.

Here’s a quick tour of the trip, with a hair-raising conclusion:

The start of the trip, in which I attempt to bring a degree of civilization to the modern air-travel experience. It worked pretty well, too.

 

A brief spatiotemporal anomaly saw us taking in the sights of Melbourne in 1958. This only lasted about a half-hour (subjectively).

Our hotel. Since I wasn’t paying, so we got the extravagant top corner suite.

 

He For Whom All Was Done, surveying the view out the window, because…

 

…the view out it regularly included a trolley.

 

There’s part of the reason for the trip.

 

And here’s the PRIMARY reason for the trip. Son also enjoyed the Ferris wheel, and was less disappointed by the ride operator’s refusal to let him toot the whistle.

 

This sort of reaction was gratifyingly frequent. Son loves his rail-borne transportation systems.

 

I have a sneaking suspicion that this is not an advert one would have seen in a trolley in 1922.

 

Son contemplating the departed spirits of those who travelled across our vast nation in a sleeper Pullman, at the Railway Museum.

 

A little way down the street from our hotel was the Capitol theatre. The building was shared by a jeweler’s, who bafflingly carried no pens whatsoever.

 

Not shown within; the shop-girls who cannot possibly be paid enough to dish out ice cream to hordes of tourists in a building which was, the day we visited, the same temperature as a healthy human liver.

 

Next to the confectionery… say, I got my first fountain pen in a drug store. Let’s have a look in there!

 

AH-HAH! There’s stationery in the drug store!

 

A close-up of the packaging, for those who enjoy that sort of thing.

 

There you go, pen-lovers. Your quiver of dismay.

Dismay? Well, apart from the missing lever in one of those pens and the amazing degree of tarnish on the pencil at the right, they’re all just sitting there in the light of day, slowly discolouring and not getting used for their true purpose. Sic transit gloria mundi, alas!

To end on a high note, I think I should plug Fort Edmonton again.  It’s delightful, one of the better living history parks I’ve been in; my wife said of the people who populate it in period outfits, “It’s like Disney World niceness, with a frosting of Canadian polite.”  I can hardly improve on that.

Todays pen: Parker Senior Duofold
Today’s ink: Waterman blue (vintage, but a little newer than that seen above)

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Posted by Dirck on 2 February, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  •  23 manuscript pages (that’s a little better).

 

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Posted by Dirck on 26 January, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  •  18 manuscript pages.

That’s an alarmingly low page-count for this week, which is down to an unexpected office celebratory lunch.  Free lunch, yes, but not only did it cost me a day’s efforts, it made me rather ill so yesterday was not very productive either.  Boo.

However, if my page/word ratios are right, I’m now above 25,000 words, or 100 typed pages.  For something that only gets poked at over lunch-hours, that’s coming along reasonably well.

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Posted by Dirck on 19 January, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  •  22 manuscript pages.

A joyful… more or less… realization on Tuesday, that the point-of-view of the novel wasn’t quite where it should be.  This will make extra work on the second draft (thus “or less”), but it also mean some elements that have been a drag-inducing burden to the narrative can be more easily handled and I should be able to skip along a little more briskly henceforth.

I’m also faced with a couple of other projects that might distract me from this hoped-for brisk skipping; there’s a call from weird stories which also examine the effects of colonization in the Victorian era, and my wife is urging me to convert something to a screenplay for a local competition.  Egad.

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Posted by Dirck on 12 January, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  •  26 manuscript pages.

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