Oct 21, 2011

Words unclear on the concept

Perspicuous (pr-spky-s)

1. Clearly expressed or presented; easy to understand: perspicuous prose.
2. Expressing oneself clearly and effectively: a perspicuous lecturer.

I admit it - I never looked this one up. But Zizek did. Leave it to the philosophers to use an obscure, difficult-to-pronounce term to mean "communicate clearly and effectively."

Sep 22, 2011

Research your criminals

Last night I attended a talk by Peter James, "Britain's #1 bestselling crime author," at the offices of HarperCollins Canada. It was, appropriately, a dark and stormy night, which we had a great view of from the floor-to-ceiling windows in HCC's fabulous 20th-storey offices.

James spoke to an intimate audience of crime writers and fans about his writing process, his sources of inspiration, and the effect on his psyche of writing about gory murders all day. (Apparently the antidote is vodka martinis.)

To add realism to his stories, James has been cultivating relationships with police, criminals, and victims for decades. He goes out on patrol, witnesses arrests, hangs out in jails...the whole bit.

While not all authors have the luxury of totally immersing themselves in the world of their stories, I think any author could benefit from the general lesson of seeking inspiration through research. So often in manuscripts I find that the very best writing comes from what the author knows best, that the most developed characters and settings are the ones that are clear stand-ins from the author's life experience, and that the characters and plot points that are the most "made up" are the haziest, even if the author means them to be interesting and important.

The best thing about this is that it's an infallible excuse for field trips! So go feed into that author stereotype thing where you get to do all kinds of weird, fun things because it's "research for your book." I think I am going to start researching a book about a horseback-riding ballerina who hangs out in tea shops reading her brand-new stack of British crime thrillers now.

Also, he's totally talking to me in this picture. I am Britain's #1 crime author by association.

Aug 24, 2011


I was rapturizing yesterday about the # thing in Twitter and how it seems to have filled some kind of linguistic void for people. It was meant to do a fairly simple thing (group posts about the same event, like blog post tags), but people en masse have adopted it and started using it for a less easily defined, but still very specific effect in both Twitter and the outside world. This is the same process by which any artificially introduced element of language turns into a real part of the language, and... it's just kind of weird. Because it's not really a word or a grammatical arrangement or anything you'd normally think of as being an element of language.

Here is an article that is pretty good about it: How Twitter's Hashtag is Changing Communication. Though I think more proper linguistic study could be done about it. And no doubt is being done right now by the next crop of linguistics thesis students.

And, of course, there's a part about people making a # hand-gesture that reminded me of something I read in the Onion almost a decade ago, proving that really a lot of my brain storage space is...doing very important work: Finger-Quotes Lady Now Doing Hand Parentheses

Jul 24, 2011

Great editing checklist from Romance University

I think this is an exceptionally good editing post - and don't be fooled by the "romance" thing - the advice holds regardless of the type of writing you're doing.

I especially love the tip of isolating all the scenes that your major character is in to make sure their actions flow sensibly and they don't ever stagnate or go off on a weird tangent. I've definitely encouraged writers to do this in the past, but I think this "Theresa Stevens" character explains it better.

Check it out!

Jul 21, 2011

Comprehensive (?) list of e-readers

I came across this list of e-readers/tablet things that people read on. And as a big fan of lists, I thought I would pass it along. I haven't even heard of a bunch of these and will have to look them up.
Adam (Notion Ink)
AS 100 (Toshiba)
iPad (Apple)
CherryPad (Cherrypal)
Cruz (Velocity Metro)
Cybook (Bookeen)
Galaxy Tab (Samsung)
eDGe (enTourage)
Eee Pad (Asus)
EliteBook (HP)
IdeaPad (Lenovo)
Inspiron (Dell)
Kindle (any version)
Kobo (Borders)
Kyros (Coby)
LifeBook (Fujitsu)
Navigator (Netbook)
Pavilion (HP)
PlayBook (Blackberry)
Protégé (Toshiba)
PC Tablet (Archos)
Skiff Reader (Hearst)
Slate (HP)
Sony Reader (any version)
Streak (Dell)
ThinkPad Tablet (Lenovo)
TouchPad (HP)
TouchSmart (HP)
WISEreader (Hanvon)
ViewPad (ViewSonic)
XOOM (Motorola)

Jul 15, 2011

Blog revivalism

Oh, hello!

I've been off running about for the past year, pursuing a graduate certificate in book and magazine publishing in Toronto. That's all done now, which in theory makes me an accredited publishing professional, which is a lovely thing to be!

I've learned a lot about the publishing industry in the past year, and I'm looking forward to taking that out into the world now. At the moment I am freelancing and job-hunting, and that is what I will be blogging about. Soon.

Sep 28, 2010

Beware the Twitter glitch

Ah...good times. It's absolutely pouring buckets out there. I don't have class till 4:30 this afternoon, so hopefully the sky will get itself sorted out by then.

And it's cold in my temporary home! I wish I had the beautiful Latvian-knitting-pattern fingerless gloves that Emma made for me the last time she visited. But alas, they are one of the many necessities that are tied up in all of my belongings that are still in Montreal. Soon.

The real purpose of this post is to inform anyone who may have looked at my Twitter feed recently that I wasn't the author of that delightful tweet. I changed the address of my Twitter feed (it's now http://twitter.com/ErininToronto), and somebody else took my old name, and of course anywhere I've linked my Twitter feed by address...her tweet got posted. So to the poor girl who is "Utterly frutrated and tired! Going to bed. Tomarrow is going to rock!! . . .Because i said it will. It will!" ...I hope your "tomarrow" was way better! :)