Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shakespeare or Stephen, Either One Will Make Me Bank

This actually happens, kids.
Just this in, everybody.  No longer do you have to rely on your friends, your fans (if you are so blessed as to have them) or even your middle school language arts teacher to inform you what kind of famous author you write like.  Thanks to extreme advances in technology since the Kindle, computers are now more than willing to tell you who you write like!

If you are a writer (or even the average blogger) and have been living beneath a rock, then you probably missed out on one of the latest memes to his the internet.  "I Write Like" is a web-based program that analyzes  inputted paragraphs and spits out white bread authors that it thinks you write like.  Of course, being an author, I totally had to do this.

For control purposes, I'm going to completely redo these and ignore any answers I may have from before.  That said, let's see who I write like.

First up is an excerpt from Nagnomei:  The Key of Nixey.

“This is beyond inhuman.” The usually haughty and well-groomed moon goddess now roamed the empty streets with her companions, her hair disheveled and robes tarnished by soot. “This is Serafin.”
          Three other wayward figures bumbled their way through debris behind her. Gylara climbed over a piece of fallen house before asking, “Are you sure?”
          Alillia lowered her hand after another flush of smoke flew by. “Of course I am. He did the same thing to one of my villages five years ago. It ended up looking exactly like this.”
          The others recombined in the middle of the dusty highway, their spirits shaking as their immortal bodies breathed in murky, sulfuric air and trudged through broken boards, cracked glass, and a trail of carnage that made war look like a viable excuse. Shiloh stepped away from the corpse of a white, bloody chicken before the heel of his boot could accidentally stomp on it. 
          “We should clean this mess up before some mortal finds it,” Gylara then mumbled. “Give me a few minutes and I’ll have the bodies gone.”
          “Do you think you should get rid of all of them?” Fate bemused, strolling past the crumbled marketplace and the severed hand that lied outside its old doorstep. She was the only one who seemed detached from the atrocity that befell the nameless Rawlian village – her visions of its occurrence from the past few nights made her feel like she was walking through a predisposed nightmare for the hundredth time.
          “Why wouldn’t we? Do you want somebody discovering this?”
          Fate shrugged her thin shoulders and turned away from her three companions. “He’ll be back soon.”
WHRRRRR goes the internetz, and now for my result! Survey says:

I write like
Mario Puzo
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Naturally I have no idea who the heck Mario Puzo is.  Wikipedia informs me, however, that he wrote the likes of The Godfather and the Superman screenplays.  Well, dang.  That's kinda cool.  He also wrote a lot of mafia related stories.  Oh. Oh okay.  That's totally like high fantasy with Gods and swords, right?

Moving on to exhibit two, an excerpt from CROSS//Rebirth

Danielle sighed and approached the door to the office. She knocked once, expecting the familiar grunt alerting her to enter. But she never heard it, nor did she hear much of anything. Not being one to just intrude on her commanding officer’s abode, Danielle waited another minute before knocking again. This time she thought she heard some sort of affirmation coming from the other side, so she grabbed the handle and swung the door open as if she were bestowed with every god-given right to do so.
            Behind said door was an image that would forever be burned into Danielle’s poor and badly scathed mind:  prostrate on the desk was her esteemed captain, her brown uniform horribly tussled from repeated pawing and cheeks redder than a freshly picked cherry. Between her legs stood the major, kneeling over the edge of the desk with her short, dark hair concealing her eyes but not hiding the acute smirk on her face. Under any other circumstance Danielle would have bailed from the room, leaving the captain to her usual lesbian debauchery in her own office, but she was so frozen solid that Danielle was not sure if she could pry her eyes away. Once she analyzed the state they were in and the fact that both women were high-ranking officials in her country’s government, Danielle wanted to scream at them, “God damnit, you whores, this is not a pornocracy!”
Wait for it....

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Oh, hey, somebody else I've never heard of!  Google magic says his most popular book is called Infinite Jest, and further investigation leads me to believe that this is a novel I should read sometime in the future. I'll take it.

Of course the next natural question to ask is, "So, what is this program doing to make it say I write like Wallace??"  Having traipsed the like of programming and internet crap over the past few, formidable years of my life, I'm lead to believe that it's a simple algorithm based on sentence structures, word choice, and punctuation.  To see if I was right, I actually looked up how it looks, and hey, the creator talks about it right on the site!  To save you even more scrolling, I will merely point you to a link to the page:

Aw, I was more or less right!  This makes me feel a little better.  And goes to prove that technology isn't quite intelligent enough to compare my works.  That makes me feel a lot better.  I don't know if I could handle the onus of writing The Godfather Part IV.

PS:  For funsies, I ran my senior thesis through that. Not giving you an excerpt, but here is the result:

I write like
Vladimir Nabokov
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Oh dear. Is that what I wrote about?? No wonder I got an A!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Your blog is schizophrenic."

Don't jump!  You guys will be fiiiine.
Reader Carla, (omg u giyz inorite??) asked me in an email a very good question recently.  "Why, Hildred, do the two mirrors of your blog have different titles? Yo, it's true! The LiveJournal version is called "Hello From a Stranger" and all the subsequent mirrors, including the last one on Blogspot, is called "Musings From a Procrastinating Author".  Why did I do this?  Am I schizophrenic?


The LiveJournal came first, many years ago when I realized that my real name was still free for taking and I snatched it up.  I later made it my writing journal, in which I mostly posted my works, like poems and song lyrics.  Later on I transformed it into what you see now.  At the time of its creation, however, I named the journal after a short story I had written around that era.  The story was called, obviously, "Hello From a Stranger", and was about a married couple that had been separated for a long period of time.  When they were reunited they still loved each other, but felt like strangers in how each had changed.  The story revolved around them trying to find a level of comfort between one another once again.  (See, this is what I wrote in high school.  What happened to me.)  And since this was to be a public blog in which I would not know most of my readers, and likewise they would not know me, "Hello From a Stranger" just seemed poetic and appropriate.

When I really started rolling on the blog a couple years ago, I decided to change the name to "Musings From a Procrastinating Author", because that title just pretty much summed up what was going on.  I was musing.  I was a procrastinating author.  Plus it has a ring to it, yeah?  As for the reason why I never switched the LiveJournal name over...well, I liked the older title. And, I totally forgot. Yup.

But to clear any and all confusion...the blog's official name is Musings, and yes, I know you really care.

Because,  after all, Carla cared. Thanks, Carla.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Seems like these days anybody can just upload their novel to the Tubes, like they're Hemingway or some crap."

Books take up space.  Viable space.  Space I could be using to store my multitude of CDs because I think they're nifty.  Also, books are made out of paper.  You know what that means?  If you're a voracious reader, you're killing a lot of trees.  As an Oregonian I am programmed to tell you that you are SICK.

But my biggest beef with books is that paperbacks are so easily ruined.  I get pretty OCD about keeping things looking new for as long as possible, and this includes my books.  Mends in the spine, dogeared gross.  People go on and on about "well loved books" being beautiful, but I want mine to look like they just walked out of Borders with a top hat and tails.  Because I paid money, that's why.

So you'd think I would be all over this E-reader stuff.  After all, I love my little electronics like my Preciouses, and think that the more things we can convert into digital the better - that means less "wasted" resources and more free space in my physical life.  (Says the woman with 300 CDs.)  And if I had an E-reader, I would name it Spock, because come on...they're so...Spocky. 

But I'm not.

When MP3 players first came out I was all up in that shiznit.  Cell phones are cool for convenience.  And yeah, I get why E-readers are so cool, because you can't use braille and we all know that the idea of John Milton trying to bask in his own glory with an E-reader would be hilarious to witness.  Plus the files are so cheap most of the time that it's almost criminal.  It makes buying the Penguin Thrift Edition of The Old Man and the Sea seem like a ripoff.  And yet I can't stand the thought.

It's all for purely selfish reasons, I assure you.  Do I want to live in the age when books become totally obsolete and everything is digital?  (I know, unlikely in my life, but humor me.)  Ever since I was a kid I was obsessed with books.  As in the actual physical aspects of them.  My love for the shape of a book was so hardcore that when I wrote my own stories, I would cut pieces of printer paper in half and handwrite on those...because then it was like a real book!  I loved going to the library and determining where my books would appear on the shelf.  I do not, however, like going to Amazon and determining where I would be on the search page.

I'm old fashioned, kids.  Books piss me off in their impracticality, but I have deeply ingrained into my subconscious that it's the ultimate form of my work.  I'll know that I'm achieving my dreams once I pull the first hardcover copy of my debut book from the box sent to me by the printer.   All those copies will then go into the trunk of the car and I will begin to loathe their existence, but damnit, I wrote a book!  I can look at my work in digital form whenever I want - all I have to do is open the original Word documents.  Actually seeing the dead trees and used ink means a lot more to me.  Those trees died for my novel.

But I'm not stupid, because obviously digital is the future and yadda yadda yadda.  Yet even when I see people reading from E-readers when at the park or on the bus, I think, "Man, would seeing somebody reading my novel on one of those things be as cool as seeing them read an actual book copy?"  I dunno.  Probably.  I guess it depends on how bored their faces look.

So what say you, readers?  E-readers.  Have one?  Want one?  Sworn them off and still using a pager to sort your life out?  As a reader have they changed the way you read?  As an author have they changed your view of your future publishing career?  Do you even know what an Amazon Kindle is?  I need to know, because I am nosy.

PS:  I am totally probably going to ask for one for my birthday.  In before anyone calls me a potential hypocrite, because I totally know.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I" think you may just be complicating..everything" and other stories about apples burning down houses told in less than 100 pages and no less than five run-on sentences.

Please tell me you see it. Please.
My longest manuscript thus far is cappin' around 500 pages.  Maybe around 250k words.  The usual accepted length for a "novel" (ie: not a novella or a short story) is around 50k words and at least over 100 pages.  Of course, this is arbitrary, but please humor this standard for the duration of this post.

Going off that, I can write novels.  Seriously.  It's pretty much all I CAN write.  Tell me to write 100+ pages on some story and by the Prophet of the Garbage Disposal I will do it.  Hell I 'll write you 150 pages.  While we're at it, have 200!

Ah, crap.

Ladies and gentlemen and all humans in-between, I can only write novels.  This is almost hard fact.  I've had the task twice in my life of writing a short story that could not go "over" 30 or so pages.  Each time I wrote about 32 and was given a pass on it.  I was so unhappy because I TOTALLY COULD'VE KEPT GOING.  What do you mean you want me to condense my story into only 30 or less pages?? What is this?  I don't even...

About seven or so summers ago I had a really great idea for a short story, or even a novella if I could make it last that long.  I didn't see it passing 50 pages, anyway.  I wrote the whole story that summer, and at the time it was one of my best works.

It also ended up being one of my longest.  100 pages and over 50k.  Definitely in "novel" territory.

Here's the thing, kids.  I can't condense my ideas.  I just can't.  Even if I start with something really simplistic like "George eats an apple", by the time I'm done,, George has gone into the kitchen, baked that apple in the most delicious apple pie ever, shot a rabbit out the window, got the mail, was surrounded by SWAT while out getting the mail, was arrested for suspected terrorism, found out later that the rabbit he shot was actually the Easter Bunny, and meanwhile his sad, neglected pie is burned.  Cue fade out on his house burning down because the oven was left on. ALL BECAUSE OF AN APPLE.  And that's just what I made up right now, so imagine what it's like when I've already planned out other crap and then sit down to write it.

This isn't just limited to fiction either.  When it came to college papers, it was either do or die.  I would often reach the point where I was so desperate for more to write about that, to reach the mandatory length to get the grade, that I would suddenly have a great idea...and the next thing I know?  Two pages over.  I never understood how everyone else seemed to manage cutting down their ideas.  It's like gardening, yo.  You get a letter from your homeowner's association that you're freakin' roses are overgrowing your fence and prickling joggers on their way by in the morning, so would you PLEASE go out and trim them back?  You're told that they have to be cut back by at least the fence's height.  Well, okay.  So you grab you your shears and go out there to trim some bleepin' roses.  Of course, these are your beautiful roses.  Your prize-winning roses.  Just cutting off the dead stems feels like heresy.  But you do it.  You cut back and cut back and admire what you did.  You even rake up and compost the debris.  And then you realize that you only cut off about six inches all around and d'oh some stupid jogger just got lacerated again by blue-ribbon red-roses.  Good job.

Ironically I love reading short stories, and not just because I have a short attention span for the written word (that isn't my own).  I guess maybe it's slight jealousy.  The fact that Shirley Jackson could make me laugh and cry in The Lottery (my favorite short story, go read it if you haven't, I'll wait right here...) in so few pages was amazing.  And maybe that's just her craft, who knows?  As writers, our talents lie in different abilities, and that's what makes us awesome.  I mean, I like to think I'm a pretty awesome writer any day, but that's only in full-length novels.  My job I've set up for myself is being able to drag you in from the first page and then taking you on a 500 page clusterfrack of WTF and OMG until you come out at the end going "oh mah gawd ty hildred!!!" and I sit there beaming like a mo-fo.  That same ride on one of my short stories would be like going through a half-assed haunted house:  lame, boring, and you didn't even get any candy at the end. (I'm sorry).

So now I have a question for all of you who may (or may not be?) reading this:  what is your poison?  Are you too wordy to be confined to short stories?  Are you too succinct to write a full novel?  Are you so badass you can do both AND bake that apple pie without burning the house down?  Or would you just rather write a term paper and meet the bare minimum'll read everyone's stories afterwards...

Please tell me,, I need to know.  I need to know whether to bow at your feet in literary mercy or not.

That said, I smell smoke in the kitchen.  I hope this doesn't mean the SWAT is coming.

PS: This post was only supposed to be about three paragraphs long.  OOPS I DID IT AGAIN, LOL.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hey, you can't force greatness. Just let me exude it naturally.

I write so well I do it with one hand.
As you may or may not have noticed (probably not, because let's face it, I'm not ~famous~) I disappeared once again.  Oops.  Well, I really do have a fantastic reason for that.  Two, actually.  The first is that the last time you saw me I was in the middle of my senior year of university.  You know what that means, right?


And that blows.

All of my creative writing energy went to that bastard child with academia.  It was 30 pages of pure bullpocky about something I really do care about, but not really, but I had to convince my advisers of that, but I like using conjunctions.  Thankfully that whole SCHOOL thing is over with now, having just graduated this past May, leaving me time to get back to things I care about?

But wait!  What was the other thing?  And hasn't it been over two months since I graduated?  What's been keeping me?!

The second thing was, bluntly, my mental health.  She hasn't been doing so well these past couple of years - too much stress, too many disappointments, and too many idiots.  I finally snapped and had to back away from everything, pretty much.  Yes, even writing.  Because I can't write very well when my brain is a clusterfackle of emotion, thank you very much.  I take that out on music.

Not to say I haven't done any writing at all.  On the contrary!  I managed to finish the first half of the Key of Nixey's rewrite, which is now up for reading at my LiveJournal equivalent.   I am also almost finished with the first draft of CROSS//Rebirth.  Not too shabby.  Also, if you haven't noticed, I am writing in my *gasp* writing blog again.  This comes with a few other changes - namely that I've cut back on a couple other blog copies.  As of now, the Blogspot version of MoaPA is the "official" blog.  The only other one that will be updated is the LiveJournal one.  So, pick your poison:


Or add both! I like to feel popular!  And loved.  It would help my mental health a lot! You know you want to!

Don't worry, legions of fans, I will continue to update.  I have at least FIVE ideas already for future posts!  That's at least five more entries you can look forward to reading in the coming days!  Isn't that awesome.

Also, if you can't tell, the tone off these journals will take a bit of a turn.  Before I tried to sound a little smart.  You know, legit.  Screw that.  This is my personality, and this is WHO I AM I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR.

I typed that with the most piss-ass smile on my face.  I suck at roaring.

I...I'm gonna go now.  SEE YOU TOMORROW, PROBABLY.