Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Kinds of Writing

I know this would come as a shock but the most common phrase which sends people over here, is 'kinds of writing.'
I know your jaw just dropped! And don't you deny it.

In any event, when I started this blog and called it All Kinds of Writing, I had a few specific kinds of writing in my head. Mostly fiction and freelance (as in writing articles for magazines).

But there are many more kinds of writing. I really wanted to try to list them here briefly but there are far too many groupings and sub-groupings.
I'll try to explain:

One division of the kinds of writings is as follows:
- Expository Writing - where the writing serves to explain, inform
- Descriptive Writing - writing that serves to show, describe
- Narrative Writing - tells a story
- Persuasive Writing - arguing for or against an issue
- Creative Writing - interestingly, creative writing is a vague term, but it includes (while isn't limited to) fiction (across the genres), poetry, drama, screenwriting, autobiographies and more.

Another way to divide the kinds of writing is from a target audience, or purpose point of view. So there can be:
- Academic writing - includes essays, research papers, reports and so on, each of them may use some of the modes listed above.
- Professional Writing - writing for academic or scientific journals, business reports, position papers, policy statements, and the likes, because these have to follow a standardized form.
- Business writing - includes technical writing, business plan writing, resume writing, letter writing etc.
- Copywriting - writing marketing text, grant writing
- Journalists, columnists, article writers (staff or freelance) - these writers write for newspapers and magazines either news articles, commentary or articles which focus on a certain subject
- Non-fiction book writers
- Fiction - novelists, screenwriters, playwrights, short stories writers, etc.
- Poets

Now where would you categorize game writers, ghostwriters and speech writers? And are translators writers?

I don't think I covered everything. In fact, I'm sure I didn't. Take fiction writing for example - what about genre writing? Is each of the genres a kind of writing? What about the different styles of poems? Is writing haikus a class in its own? And then we have those who write book reviews, or those who write the obits. How many kinds of writing are there? How far and deep can we get dividing them? And what writer makes the most money???
Read the rest

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Bloggy Stuff - New Feature, Links, Comments

I started this blog certain that I knew exactly what I wanted this blog to be like and about - more of a resource page. And as many good things in life, I was (very) pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually a lot more fun (and informative) to discuss writing with like-minded individuals than to dish out information.

However, as many of you (I'm sure) do, I too look occasionally at my stats and the phrases search engines send traffic over here. It got me thinking that it would be a good idea if I actually posted about the things people come here for.

So I think that what I'm in effect saying is that I'm announcing a new feature, let's call it Keyword Post, where I'll be choosing a popular keyword/phrase and post about it. And I think that what I'm also saying is that I'll do my best to keep with the tone of the rest of the blog but that these posts tend to become "lectury" and that I'm sorry in advance if they do and that I'll do my best that they don't.

That was the first thing I wanted to say about ze blog. The second was about links. Any of you who changed site address lately and suspect I haven't updated it, please let me know, that is unless you're okay with waiting for about a month which is when I promise to check all the links and overhaul the site (for now I get to your blogs through feeds where the links are updated).

Third, about comments. Occasionally, I get comments in old posts. Some of the comments I can actually put two and two together and figure out the post, but others, I have no clue and I don't mean to but I cannot respond. So until I put a hack to alert me as to the post or switch to Haloscan or something like that, please tell me the post you're commenting on (if it's an old one (not on the front page) and if you want a reply).

I'm sure there was more, but that's good for now. Hope I didn't bore you to...


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Happy Birthday William Shakespeare -
The Da William Shakespeare Code

Happy birthday William Shakespeare!

I couldn't possibly not mention you on your probable birthday (and death-day) despite (or maybe because of) making my life miserable in high-school, as if high-school wasn't complicated and miserable enough without you...

Who were you William Shakespeare? Were you even at all? What did you look like? And what's the deal with the earring?

I mean, didn't you figure that by leaving this on your tomb, suspicions would arise, conspiracy theories would be told?
Good Friend, for Jesus' sake forbear
To dig the dust enclosed here:
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones.

More links:
  • The Stratford Festival of Canada

  • Bacon, Marlowe & Stanley Authorship Arguments

  • The Shakespeare Authorship Page

  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

  • Shakespeare's Plays and Poems

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    Saturday, April 22, 2006

    A Puzzle Game and Writing Fiction Based on Lyrics

    Okay, so here's a puzzle for you I tried today - Orbox B. I'm stuck on level 12.

    I also wrote a short story today following lyrics of a song I heard.

    I remember reading once in one of the blogs I frequent about writing based on, or inspired by song lyrics (sorry, I can't remember who). Apparently, I'm not the only one who does this. I guess it's easy, or even more like a natural progression. The emotional load is already present, the skeleton and the premise are present as well. All that needs to be done is to dress it up. So I find that songs often inspire me into writing, although I'm not sure I write well while actually listening to music.

    I also tend to mostly write short fiction when it's based on lyrics, but I once wrote a novella (I think 20,000 words is a novella, right?), each chapter beginning with a line of a song's chorus. Four chapters altogether.

    All in all, I'm really proud of myself. I'm doing everything to get out of my rut/funk/tired self. I'm starting to feel the wheels grinding, the sharpening, the focusing...

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    Friday, April 21, 2006

    We're just getting better: Better Sex, Lower Death Rate and Shocking Hands

    Yet again, another predictable result from a research: Equality Makes for Better Sex - no surprises here:
    "Male-centered cultures where sexual behavior is more oriented toward procreation tend to discount the importance of sexual pleasure for women," Laumann said.

    "When mama's not happy, nobody's happy," he said.

    This is also no surprise, especially for someone like me who truly believes we're advancing quickly towards immortality or something like it: U.S. Records Big Decline in Death Rate
    In a powerful testament to U.S. health improvements, the annual number of deaths in the country dropped by about 50,000 in 2004 -- the largest such decline in more than 60 years.

    And now we have proof: men and women are wired differently, emotionally that is. Yes, I know, big surprise here too... but it's nice to have the actual physical evidence of it -
    An almond-shaped cluster of neurons that processes experiences such as fear and aggression hooks up to contrasting brain functions in men and women at rest, the new research shows.

    Anyone living in a really cold, dry climate knows about the awful static electricity buildup. Especially for those with long hair who also tend to twirl their curls. So today I read about how static electricity charges are actually much larger than we would have expected and I was wondering that maybe if I could control the static electricity I could be a superhero, shooting electricity from my hands - cool!

    And finally, something for the soul, my fave - art and science mix - solar wind music
    The music of composer and musician Roberto Morales-Manzanares has been inspired by the sea, by wind and wave, by mathematical equations, and now [by] the breeze of electrons from the sun.
    "You can look at wiggly lines, and you can look at spectrograms, which are kind of rainbow plots, and your eyes can give you certain feedback, but sometimes you hear patterns you don't see readily," she [physicist Janet Luhmann] said. "I see the sonification as possibly adding to the ability to recognize certain kinds of characteristic behaviors."
    Read the rest


    Working, Writing, Living Tired

    Tired people should be outcast, rejected from society. Yes, it's true. Tired people are annoying, forgetful, unfocused, hard of hearing, hard of seeing and a myriad of other annoying traits (I believe I mentioned annoying twice, but then again, here's another annoying quality of tired people for you - repetition).

    So here goes (and you can decide the worse thing):
      1) This morning I made a call oversees at 6:40 a.m. I was still in bed, but something had to be settled early (for me). It was but a two minute call.
      I went back to bed and woke up an hour and a half later by my cell ringing and someone shouting on the other side that I forgot to hang up the land-line phone.
      So granted, oversees call charges aren't what they used to be and an 80 minute call won't bankrupt me, but it is just that it is so unlike me.
      2) Last night I finally went to see V for Vendetta. I'll leave my opinion about the movie for some other time. However, at one of the most riveting moments in the movie, my cell rang. Yes, it's true. I was the culprit, guilty party, that evildoer, the one who forgot to turn off her cell despite never forgetting to do that.
      I cringed in my seat, waiting for the movie-cell-police to hunt me down and shoot me right there and I accepted my punishment calmly because I knew this is exactly what I would have done. But no police came and no laser guns and no pool of my blood left there for all to learn and fear...
      3) Yesterday I was asked to submit a certain part of my writing after a rewrite. This morning, when checking my email I found, to my horror, that I resent the old file. Okay, I rectified the matter immediately, but the embarrassment was unparalleled.
    You're probably saying - well, get some sleep, duh!
    But it's a different kind of tired. A kind unrelated to sleep.

    I guess this is also in way of apology for my lack of regular posting lately.

    I hope for a new Melly after the weekend, because quite frankly, I find it hard to live with her.
    In the meantime, I'm going to exclude my tired self from society (or until I feel less tired).

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    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    Writing Contest and Writing Software

    Writing Contest
    Georganna Hancock from the Writer's Edge Blog will be judging a contest for The Writing Show. It's for first chapter of a novel.
    More info on the contest, or through Writer's Edge Blog.

    Writing Software
    I don't know if you are aware that Darren from it must be tuesday has designed and developed a software - The PageFour Notebook - a tabbed word processor for writers, which is "a complete writing environment."
    I haven't downloaded it yet, but I hope to do so as soon as I have a normal internet connection again (should be in about three weeks). Just thought I should let you know.

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    Writing 101 - Getting Started Writing

    There are two sort of writers out there: those who write for the drawer and those who want to get published and even make writing a career.
    My friend Jackie's been the first kind for quite some time but I think she's ready to make the move because just the other day she asked me how I started writing and what I did to get published. She also wanted pointers. Well, I thought I'd share my answer:

    When I made the switch from writing without anyone seeing to wanting to be published, I was so concerned about the process of publishing (finding markets, the right format, writing cover letters, writing queries), that the writing took second place and for a while no place at all. All I did for nearly a month was to try and find out how to be a writer that I forgot that a writer can't be one if she doesn't actually write.

    I've read too many "getting started" articles. These articles usually suggested anything from buying a computer, printer and paper as well as having a library that includes The Writer's Market to setting attainable goals and creating a work space. Well, I always found these articles scary. And rather obvious too.

    Yet, the question remains, what should one do should one wishes to write and be published?
    Here are my five simple things:

    1. Write. I think that this is the most important thing. One should always write, if it's by setting aside a certain amount of time each day for writing, or by taking advantage of free time or any other method (or non-method) that works. Meaning, a writer should spend time writing without worrying too much about where to start. (One can always write the beginning of a piece later, some even recommend it.)

    2. Market research. Set aside a certain amount of time a week/month for market research. This is more important at first until finding markets becomes matter-of-course.

    3. Be aware. Be very aware. Of everything. If you're a columnist, pay attention to what's going on in the area that interests you, or if you're a fiction writer, pay attention to how people interact and the colour of the sky.

    4. Talk out your ideas, either with someone else or with yourself. Have a notebook, cards, anything to help you organizing the ideas.

    5. Get a life. I always try to maintain balance. When I was a student I had this rule that Saturday night is sacred for going out. I didn't care if I was in the midst of finals or if a project was due Monday morning, Saturday night was dedicated to having fun. So maybe I'm too much of a geek who needs rules for having a life, but regardless of how r&r is obtained, it is just as important.

    Any other advice?
    Read the rest

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    Thursday, April 13, 2006

    Judge of Character

    I always write here about issues that I come across in my fiction writing as I come across them. Hence I wrote a post about hard characters to write a few days ago.

    And from there I always branch out into other things too. Well, we call that thinking, don't we?

    After writing about my characters and analyzing them a bit in the post, I noticed how much emphasis I put on certain traits of the characters I write. I noticed I used the word 'smart' several times to describe them and it got me thinking. Do I really pay that much attention to that in real life? When I meet people, is that the what I care about - how smart, wise, or intelligent they are?

    If so, isn't this view simplistic? And do I then transfer that to my fictional characters and make them somewhat flat with the main characteristic always being smart or not? It worried me.

    At the same time, these past few days I've spent a lot of time with family. Spending time with family is different than spending time with friends. For some reasons we - and I think it's most people, and if not then just I - expect a lot more from family members. Things I wouldn't pay attention to with friends, I do with family. I want perfection in both character and relationship with family members. Impossible of course.

    I was afraid I also transfer this into my characters.

    I looked back and checked some of my writing to see if I transferred this ridiculous notion that family should be perfect and that people's most important trait is their brains.

    I'm happy to say that I think I'm safe. As far as family relations go, I believe I draw an accurate imperfect picture. As far as smarts it's a bit more complicated. Yes, I do put emphasis to that effect in my characters, but I put emphasis on other characteristics as well that balance its importance.

    I'm probably thinking too much about it, but after that post I just couldn't help it.
    Read the rest

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    Sunday, April 09, 2006

    My Writing is Ridiculous

    Courtesy of Georganna Hancock from Writer's Edge, who put her own test results on her blog, here's my readability test results.

    Apparently I write (at least on my blog) for fifth graders (Flesch-Kincaid Grade) and am not even close to post graduate level of writing (Gunning Fog Index) but at the bottom of most popular novels. I am, however, pretty good according to the Flesch Reading Ease test.

    The following table contains the readability results for All Kinds of Writing current first page.
    Reading Level Results:
    Summary                                          Value

    Total sentences 316

    Total words 1922

    Average words per Sentence 6.08

    Words with 1 Syllable 1156

    Words with 2 Syllables 496

    Words with 3 Syllables 172

    Words with 4 or more Syllables 98

    Percentage of word with three or more syllables 14.05%

    Average Syllables per Word 1.59

    Gunning Fog Index 8.05

    Flesch Reading Ease 66.15

    Flesch-Kincaid Grade 5.54

    If you want to try, here's the link for the Readability Test

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    I'm a real boring person

    Courtesy of Weird Cake, here is the results of my Seven Deadly Sin Quiz:
    Seriously, I ask you, how much more boring can I be??? Everything's medium...








    Discover Your Sins

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    Saturday, April 08, 2006

    Authors, Small Press Center and Misc Items

    First, let me refer you all to Cavan's new blog site where he continued our conversation regarding author's gender and race, concentrating mainly on the what most of us said - that we don't care about the authors and their background, only their writing. Cavan lists a few very good points in favour of knowing authors' background and I must say that now that he said a few things I'm more curious. Here's the post.

    Second, I received an email from Small Press Center announcing that
    The Small Press Center would like to announce our lecture series Emerging Voices to your organization. This series is highlighting writers published by groundbreaking independent presses. We kicked off our series with acclaimed author Lee Stringer, and we now continue it with Akahsic Books, famed indipublishingng company.
    Akashic Books, a Brooklyn-based independent publishing house works to highlight quality writers who have been either ignored by the mainstream or are put off by the monolithic nature of major publishing houses.
    If you live around the NYC area check it out. More info here on their site.

    Religious Flavoured Items:
    - "Gospel of Judas" gives new view of Jesus' betrayer
    - Jesus Could Have Walked on Ice, Scientist Says
    - A proof of angels and demonsÂ… - Could bad angels be responsible for diseases such as AIDS and Ebola?

    - Licensed to Kill: Some Doctors are Real Naturals
    - Bio-engineered bladders successful in patients

    - Chaos=Order: Physicists make baffling discovery
    - Professor Predicts Human Time Travel This Century

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    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    Home Sweet Home

    Seems that even though I'm not home, someone else feels completely at home there - a family of raccoons:

    And quoting the email from hubby:
    "Big Mama was not happy - she went after the handler!


    Not to worry folks, everybody - raccoons and handler - is well.


    Wednesday, April 05, 2006


    I'm probably about to alienate a few people, but I have to be honest. I don't like quotes. There's something about them that drive me up the wall. Maybe they sound too much like poetry. LOL!

    But seriously now, quotes sound, or are meant to sound like universal truths, and they really aren't. Things are said in context and by mortal and fallible humans. Taking them out of context and attributing to them absolute wisdom doesn't make sense to me.

    Don't get me started about "motivational quotes" for example. Mostly, I don't even understand them. It's not that I'm a cynic, far from it, but quotes rarely "do it" for me.

    And I especially hate it when people use quotes to prove a point. So what if Einstein, Twain or Churchill said something? Like they were always right. As if just because they're famous and dead makes the saying absolutely correct, true and eternally wise.

    Here. Allow me also to quote someone to prove my point:
    It is unbecoming for young men to utter maxims.
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    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    On Agents

    I know that with all these fantastic agents' blogs, the likes of Miss Snark and the rest, there's nothing much I can say or add to the subject. So I won't.

    However, for those starting their way, there is a very short and concise page on Poets & Writers on the matter of agents, including some helpful resources.

    Do I Need and Agent?

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    Sunday, April 02, 2006

    We talked about author's gender, what about race?

    Slush God refers to an interesting discussion about the importance of author's race as well as gender.
    It all started with a list of Sci-Fi books for the ages in NYT fully comprised of white men.
    It continued with comments on the above mentioned list in Locus.
    Then Slush God asked his readers to list the top ten books written by women and top ten books written by people of colour. Here is the discussion in Slush God.

    Naturally, in a perfect world, these questions would be ridiculous to ask but in our world, apparently they aren't.

    There is, however, one things I'd like to add. Some people, yours truly included, don't pay attention to race and gender of the authors. Not because I'm trying to paint myself as a saint, but because I don't usually care about the writer, his life, where he lives or his dog's name. So unless I actually take the time to try to find out, there's no way of knowing the race of an author (jacket picture, but I rarely buy hard covers). As for gender, I only recently found out, for example, that one of my favourite authors is a man (he has one of those names that can go both ways and I always thought he was a she).

    But as naive as I pretend to be, I can still list female authors with greater ease than non-white authors. I'm not sure what it means, if anything, but I know it's something I'll start paying attention to more often from now on.

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    Saturday, April 01, 2006

    Much, much lighter science

    Cheating on Spouse or Taxes Morally Acceptable for Many

    Prayer Does Not Help Heart Bypass Patients

    Asleep Or Awake We Retain Memory

    Tea: the New Anti-Aging Beverage?

    Image of Jesus' crucifixion may be wrong, says study

    Scientists show that children think like scientists

    Loneliness Kills, Study Shows

    Don’t Laugh: Just Think About It

    Better Bacon? Swine + Worms = Healthier Pork


    Quantum, Strings and Antimatter

    I'm fascinated with quantum and particle physics. Granted, I don't understand much. I understand as much as popular science books teach. In a different life (and with a smarter brain), I'd love to have been a scientist. Even my current WIP (ending now - yay) is about quantum physics and hence the connection to writing. To my writing anyways. But that would explain why I try to follow important developments in the fields.

    Three developments caught my attention this past week. To see if I can understand them, I'll try to very briefly explain them here. And if I can explain them here without giving anyone a headache and more so, with people actually understanding, I'd be more confident I've also done it in my novel.

    I'll start with quantum computers. The future of computers is quantum computers. These computers will take advantage of one of quantum physics wonders - particle entanglement. The entanglement is a bizarre characteristics of the particles which allows them to correlate to one another instantly, thus transferring information instantly as well. This will allow quantum computers to operate millions times faster than regular supercomputers.
    This week's breakthrough has to do with overcoming the distances at which this entanglement happens.

    Second is string theory. Without getting into it (I doubt I could even if I tried), string theory is a theory that was devised by scientists to explain contradictions between quantum physics and general relativity theory. This week, from string theory, another explanation to the beginning of the universe was put forth. The interesting point to me is that the prevalent Big Bang explanation suggests that time existed before the Big Bang, however, this new string theory-based explanation suggests that time started with a Big Bang-like event.

    Finally, antimatter. Once, when I talked about art, I mentioned aesthetics. Scientists, like artists, like aesthetics. They've always liked theories that contributed to an aesthetic design of the world. Aesthetics in science comes mostly in the form of symmetry and one of the puzzling problems was the apparent lack of symmetry between matter and antimatter in the universe. This week's discovery brought scientists closer to the supersymmetry theory when they made a discovery about particles that oscillate between the two states (matter and antimatter) and how often they do that.

    So that's it. Hope it wasn't too boring.

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