Saturday, 10 January 2009

HOWTO: Write in a World Full of Distractions.

Cory Doctorow, of Boing Boing fame and author of quite a number of SF novels (look 'em up 'cos I'm too lazy to google them for you), has an article up on Locus Online on how to deal with the distractions of the Internet while writing.

He doesn't believe in switching it off--the most obvious route--but has a number of useful tips to keep those distractions at bay. Some of them are obvious, like switching off your IM and carving out a regular writing routine, but the one I find most useful is his cautioning not to research:
Researching isn't writing and vice-versa. When you come to a factual matter that you could google in a matter of seconds, don't. Don't give in and look up the length of the Brooklyn Bridge, the population of Rhode Island, or the distance to the Sun. That way lies distraction — an endless click-trance that will turn your 20 minutes of composing into a half-day's idyll through the web. Instead, do what journalists do: type "TK" where your fact should go, as in "The Brooklyn bridge, all TK feet of it, sailed into the air like a kite." "TK" appears in very few English words (the one I get tripped up on is "Atkins") so a quick search through your document for "TK" will tell you whether you have any fact-checking to do afterwards. And your editor and copyeditor will recognize it if you miss it and bring it to your attention.

Follow the link to read more!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

It is the New Year! Time to write about porn.

Yes! What an excellent idea!

Unfortunately, though excellent it may be, it is only impossible for me to do so. Therefore, permit me to pass you an equally excellent link: Soiled Doves of the Old West.

And if you're wondering what prompted this non sequitur of a post, I will have to say I've changed genres in my reading. For the past year or so, I've been telling everyone who's bothered to listen to me that I was in my Science Fiction phase and most of my reading has been SF-related. I guess it's safe to say I've since switched to reading Westerns...

...yeah, I know. Not an improvement on my literary tastes, but I rewatched Sergio Leone's masterpiece, Once Upon a Time in the West recently and it dredged up a longing inside me for the Wild West.

Am currently reading Louis L'amour's Flint, which is enjoyable but the writing keeps raising my inner editor's warning sirens (Character perspectives change mid-paragraph! Repetition!). I also found True Grit by Charles Porter at BookXcess which I bought immediately and will read once I've finished Flint.

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