Random flow of words

There’s a new way to write that I’m not familiar with yet. That’s right . . . I have a new keyboard. The new keyboard is slightly different from the older one, primarily in the fact that the keys are not backlit.

I should note that this post is one of them letting-the-mind-roam-free posts; basically, I have no purpose other than to get used to my new keyboard, and the best way to do that is to use it. Read this warning to mean “this could be boring” . . . I’ll throw in a few random photos to keep readers from nodding off, but really, unless you’re a fan of my rambling thoughts, you can stop reading right here. 

Anyway, I do like keyboard keys that are backlit because I’m not a touch typist and I look at the keyboard when I type and I do a fair amount of typing at night when the only illumination is from the desk lamp and my 30″ screen.

The reason that I switched keyboards is that the old one — the one with the backlit keys — started having trouble with double-strikes and some sort of lag in the reaction of the keys to my striking them. That resulted in the last letter of one word ending up as the first letter of the next word. Not all the time, obviously, but frequently enough that correcting it took up some of my time. I suspect this to have been the fault of some keys reacting slower to the key-press than the Space Bar.

Of course, it could also be a sign of a disturbing deterioration of my fine motor skills, a precursor to some debilitating neurological disease that I’ll deal with once it becomes more pronounced.

Also, the CAPS LOCK key no longer worked. It’s not that I use it a lot (I don’t scream much online) but it is inconvenient for some things I type on a regular basis.

The new keyboard is slightly larger with slightly larger and more spaced out keys . . . no, wait . . . I just checked, and the keys look pretty much the same. Funny that; they feel larger.

The keyboard, however, does have a larger footprint because it incorporates a wrist/palm rest. That’s something I don’t use because my hands actually move as my fingers hunt and peck their way around the keys and as such, I don’t rest my wrist/palms on anything; it’s my forearms, near the elbow, that rest on the edge of the desk. They don’t make keyboards with forearm rests. 

You know what? So far, no mistyped words and double letters or letters running into the next word. This should speed up my writing a bit.

How fast do I type? Well, I don’t know. When I’m discussing stuff online with others, I appear to type my responses a lot faster — even when (usually) giving longer responses — than most people reply, but that could also be because my brain works so fast. Not accurately, mind you; just fast.

I kid about the brain part.

One of the difficulties with determining my typing speed is that most (all) typing tests I’ve seen involve the timed transcription of words or sections of articles. For me, that means I have to look at the words, then look down to type them, then look at the next group of words, and so on because I look at the keyboard when I type so that I can direct my two to four fingers to the appropriate keys.

I never transcribe anything from one place to another — that’s why FSM invented the Cntl-C and Cntl-V keys combinations — so those tests are (in my opinion) antiquated and irrelevant; a throwback to when office workers transcribed stuff.

All I know is that I can keep up with the words forming in my brain, be they opinions, fiction, or scathing condemnations of political parties and/or religious leaders.

Anyway, let me muse about writing as in the craft and not so much as in the mechanical devices used by the writer.

No particular reason other than I want to touch on a few things about writing. For one, I want to reshare a post I wrote years ago regarding the different approaches to creating fiction (HERE).

The piece is called The Architect and the Composer and I came across it in the course of exchanging e-mails with another writer. 

I guess not much has changed since I wrote it (other than I could now do a better job of writing it). I still write the same way I describe in that post. Sometimes I have an idea, sometimes not, but the first step is to start writing a scene or a character and see where that takes me.

The blog A Side of Writing — where that piece appeared — went away after a while, and I lost touch with Conrad. We used to exchange emails and, at some point, I stopped getting answers; when I think about it, that happens a lot. Deeper thinkers would ponder why people feel so threatened by me that they take refuge in the shadows. Or, they might postulate I’m more of a jerk than I realize; take your pick.

Anyway, while A Side of Writing was up and running, I often responded to his writing prompts. Those prompts were the genesis of many flash pieces (some summarized HERE). There were a few duds (I used to write at work as I ate my lunch) but for the most part, I think they were good writing exercises that produced decent results. That summary only covers my writing through 2014.

Since then, I’ve used prompts from other sources to occasionally produce decent stuff. Stuff like my linked second person POV stories (HERE and HERE),  and a few pieces that I like to reread (HERE, HERE, HERE, and — of course — HERE). Those will eventually make their way into whatever self-published anthology I put together.

Speaking of which, how am I doing on the rejection front?

Well, as of today, I’m at 48 rejection. At this rate, I will likely be dead before I reach the magical number of 837. I’ve stopped sending my second novel to agents . . . I think I tried something like 20 agents.

I know what you are thinking . . . those are paltry numbers, Disperser; you need to submit until you drop.  

Here’s the thing . . . those are rejections from places where I wouldn’t mind seeing my stuff published and from agents that I wouldn’t mind representing my work. Now, people (don’t ask who; it’s just people) will tell you that you need to exhaust all the avenues you can think of before giving up.

Imagine you want a tattoo. It’s a tattoo of a wolf head, and you want it on your cheek where everyone can see it. Why a wolf head? Perhaps you are a diehard fan of this blog. Or, you admire the cold-blooded and efficient way wolves dispatch their prey. Whatever the reason, you want this tattoo.

You research all the available parlors in town, and you rank them. You then start visiting each one in turn, from the ones with the best reputations and going down the line toward the guy that will ink you in a back alley with a used syringe he found in a dumpster.

How far would you go down that list before you said: “hmm; you know what? Maybe I don’t want it that badly after all.”

Granted, if you’re an author who has to put food on the table for a spouse, three children, a dog, and a pet raccoon they rescued from the sewer, you will sell to anyone who will pay, and you’ll aggressively search for anyone who will pay.

That’s because, as a professional, it behooves you to sell everything you write otherwise  — in effect — your hourly pay takes a hit. If something doesn’t sell, the time you spent writing it would have been more financially productive slinging fries at a fast food joint.

Now, understand, I’m not giving myself the airs of an elitist . . . the opposite, in fact. I’m saying that what I submitted to date is not good enough to make the grade at the places where I would like to see my work published.

I’m saying that I need to improve my writing until those places accept what I write.

That’s not to say that what I wrote is crap, but it’s also true that I don’t absolutely need to sell those works. I will happily save stuff that doesn’t sell for when I get around to publish it myself. Meanwhile, I need to send fresh material and set my current stuff aside.

Where do I get ideas? Well, sometimes I write stuff like THIS (it goes back some). Note the flow of ideas encompasses anything from a flash fiction piece to a short story to a space opera/saga that could span multiple volumes. That little write-up contains many stories that could be told; it’s an ideas generator.

Part of this retrospective was because the aforementioned email exchange pushed me to examine the novels I’d written and looking back at what I had written about the process at the end of each of them (HERE, HERE, and HERE).

For me, as a reader, the First Novel is the most fun to read because I was having fun as a writer and used a fair amount of humor. I also think I managed to balance the humor and drama in the story pretty well. So, yes, it has drama but I would call this a “light” read.

The other two are pretty close in terms of favorites, but if pressed, I would pick the Second Novel over the Third Novel because there are more characters interaction and chemistry in addition to action scenes and what I think is a decent plot. I say that as a reader but, like for all speculative science fiction, you can easily pick apart some of the premises. 

The Third Novel is more action than character development (how I view mystery and suspense writing; not so much an exploration of the characters but the characters reacting to events) and that makes it my go-to novel to fulfill that need in me. This is the novel I read after having read detective and mystery novels that leave me wanting more.

Yes, all three are NaNoWriMo novels and the last NaNoWriMo novel (Gin’s War — I finally named it) seems to be the more marketable of the three. 

Why do I say that? Well,  above I said something that struck a chord. Something that I knew but that I’d not dwelled on.

In mystery/action writing, you’re not so much growing a character (although you can) as having that character react to the events that drive the plot.

Why is that important? Because it may be that’s the kind of writing I’m suited for and it’s my estimation (I could be wrong) that the SF&F genre is drifting toward not only entertaining but also to being a positive force to drive social and personal growth.

Lofty goals those, but I, on the other hand, write strictly to entertain. Or, I try and write to entertain. Perhaps I’m actually writing to bore, and I don’t know it. Regardless, murder mystery readers — in my estimation — want excitement over deep life lessons, action over introspection, and fast-paced plots as opposed to drawn-out sagas (the current trend in SF&F).  

Mind you, you can have characters react to events in SF&F as well, and many successful books have such characters. They’re called iconic characters. In that, they don’t so much have a narrative arc as they are agents in the development of the plot. 

Take, for instance, Tarzan . . . Tarzan’s main attraction as a character is who he is as a person. Readers don’t expect him to eventually become a banker wearing Armani suits, and if he does, they expect him to revert to his wild persona.

Same for Aragorn, in Lord of the Rings; we know he is a King, and the journey we take with him is to see his destiny fulfilled. Contrast that to Frodo who grows as a character and ends up a very different person than when he started out.

That’s why I really didn’t care too much about Frodo’s but liked the Aragorn story arc.

In mysteries, the iconic detective reacts to events, investigates clues, but seldom undergoes significant personal growth. At least, that’s my expectation and what I’ve seen in books I’ve read. It used to be my expectation when reading SF&F books.

Unfortunately, per my estimation, these days are not those days. Mind you, I’m not speaking about readers . . . I’m referring to editors and agents and people in publishing. At least the SF&F ones I’m somewhat familiar with — and heard in interviews — expect less adventure and more social and interpersonal development. I could be wrong . . . as I often am. 

Crap! I need to do a disclaimer, don’t I? *sigh* . . . Okay:

Nothing I’ve written above is to be construed as me complaining, claiming any kind of victimhood, or cursing the Universe for having been born at the wrong time and on the wrong continent. Just collating thoughts, is all. 

Anyway, I’m hitting just a shade over 2,000 words and I have only one more photo ready to go, so I should wrap this up.

Plus, I’m now at the point where I don’t notice that it’s a new keyboard; I guess I’m pretty much used to it. You know, I’ve had much fewer typing mistakes so I’m hopeful my previous issues were more to do with the old keyboard and less to do with a debilitating neurological misfiring of brain signals to my fingers. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

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. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, sympathy, or complaining about my life, or asking for help and advice, know you’re  likely missing my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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27 Responses to Random flow of words

  1. The most depressing thing about trying to get published is going into a bookstore and seeing all the crap that has been published! Or maybe that is incentive?

    Liked by 1 person

    • disperser says:

      It can be both . . . the good part is that these days there are more options to finding an audience than 20-30 years ago. The bad part is that there are so many self-published offerings out there that it’s difficult getting noticed.

      I do agree it’s easy to find crap on many a bookshelf and per everything I’ve learned in the past four years, a lot of it has to do with the fact that an acknowledged fact of traditional publishing is networking. It’s not foolproof, of course, but it’s flat out stated that you have a better chance of getting eyes on your work if you “know” someone, either from conventions or other venues where publishers and agents mix with “regular” people.

      Ostensively, that’s not enough as what’s offered has to meet certain levels of quality . . . but evidence points to that not always being the case.

      Then again, as a writer, it’s difficult for me to fairly judge my work against that of others. All I really know is that other people are selling stuff, that readers buy books from other authors, and that (at most) I have about six regular readers. Again, not bitching. These are just facts.

      So, two things with that . . . one, if I buy into the idea that good books will do well just by word-of-mouth (the self-published route combined with minimal promotion) then I can only conclude that none of my stuff is good enough or I would have more readers from the word-of-mouth engine.

      Or, two, if I insist that my stuff is good, then I have to conclude that — if and when I self-publish — word-of-mouth is not enough of an engine to drive sales.

      Put those two things together, and one has to conclude that the most likely path to significant sales (except for rare exceptions) is through traditional publishing. And that, perhaps, all that crap is not crap to readers who are buying it . . . readers who obviously wouldn’t be buying my books.

      Ultimately, I’m just glad writing is — for me — a hobby and not a job that has to bring in money for food and rent.

      Like

  2. renxkyoko says:

    I’m not too much into character development in mystery/F/SF, either. That’s why , more often than not, I drop Detective/mystery, etc TV shows /series that have too much personal drama . I dropped Marcella and The Killing because of that.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      I’m not watching anything currently offered on television or streaming because there seems to be a predilection for angst in most contemporary characters/shows.

      Do you want to know what I watch a lot of? (Rhetorical question)

      I watch highlights of past TV series on YouTube. Or, even, previous seasons of current shows. Interesting scenes and character moments from popular (and not so popular shows). It’s surprising that you can actually get the gist of the whole season from just watching 4-5 minutes clips of scenes that fans liked.

      The Mentalist is one such show as is Blacklist and even Game of Thrones. House is another show that had great scenes and it’s nice watching them without the associated drama surrounding the character and the supporting cast.

      It even helps with my writing as far as giving an understanding of the dynamics of character interactions.

      One show you might like (we used to love and still watch) that was really good is “Life”. Unfortunately, I think Netflix just dropped it from its lineup (you might check).

      Like

    • disperser says:

      Oh, Newsroom. Lots of great scenes on YouTube from the show Newsroom. The show was OK and a little preachy, but many of the character scenes were great.

      Like

      • renxkyoko says:

        Ill check them out. I just finished watching 2 seasons of Witnesses, A French subtitled crime series. I don’t know if I like it , but since I didn’t drop it, I guess I like it. The plots seem to be “out there” though. ( one crime to solve per season. )

        Like

  3. oneowner says:

    I can type faster than I can think, which is not saying much. I use an 8 year old Microsoft wireless keyboard and mouse that works great but has more buttons on it than I use. The top row has 19 buttons that don’t seem to do anything but I suspect that they function only with other Microsoft products.
    I worked with a guy that claimed keyboards were dishwasher safe (top rack). He lied about a lot of things though but to be honest, I never tried it. I’m not a big believer in getting electronics wet.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Yeah, lots of buttons I don’t use, but there’s comfort in knowing that I have more capabilities than what I’m using. It’s a bit like “I know I could be great . . . if I wanted to!”

      I’m with you on wet electronics. Also, dusty, oily, and cranky. Cranky is the worst; when they go that way, you can hardly do anything with them.

      Like

  4. mvschulze says:

    Yeah typing. I’m the worst, realizing that the most used key is the backspace key! I was much better when I was younger, I mean much younger and used a manual typewriter! In that case it was type over’s – literally, over! Not a pretty sight. Nice leaf pictures. Really nice. M :-)

    Like

    • disperser says:

      You know, they make electronic keyboards that mimic the old style typewriters.

      https://www.qwerkywriter.com/

      I think it’s “only” $300 (or was, last time I checked). As for type over . . . realize, that an option you still have.

      And, thanks. I don’t see many of those around here as people are forever cleaning and blowing leaves away (the most common sound in Hawaiʻi is that of a leaf blower). That’s why I photographed them; actual dead leaves of a nice golden/copper color are hard to come by. Here, most leaves that drop rot before they even hit the ground.

      Like

  5. Good important thoughts. Good to think them. See them “on paper”.

    OOH! I LOVE the leaf pics! I have a thing about leaves. I love to look at them. I love leaf art. I love leaf patterns on clothing. Etc.
    Maybe I should join a 12 step program…LA. (Leaves Annonymous)

    I am respecting your disclaimer and past disclaimers so I won’t say any of the sincere complimentary stuff I want to say. But then you already know I enjoy and support your writing/stories!

    YAY on your new keyboard! I saw one the other day that looks like AND sounds exactly like an old typewriter keyboard! It was so cool!

    The U, !, H, S, and G on my keyboard are completely worn off. So good thing I can type well without looking at the keys. I don’t know why those particular characters have worn off?!?

    HUGS!!!

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Thanks, diem3 . . . and because you might enjoy the diversion, here are some leaves posts you might enjoy:

      https://dispersertracks.com/2013/10/29/foliage-2013-part-i/

      https://dispersertracks.com/2013/11/16/foliage-2013-part-ii/

      I agree; it’s a mystery why some letters wear off. Probably related to sox that go missing in the dryer.

      By the way, here’s a bonus post. Not leaves, but you might enjoy it as well. Plus, there’s a poll in it.

      https://dispersertracks.com/2013/11/15/before-and-after-005/

      Take care and have yourself a weekend of losing yourself in the little joys of life.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the letters might be with my missing socks!

        Oh! I did enjoy those posts! And I love your polls/voting! :-)

        Thank you, muchly! I will!
        Great whee-kend to you and Melisa!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • ‘inless you’re a fan of my rambling thoughts, you can stop reading right here. ”

          and a bit further on comes

          ‘You know what? So far, no mistyped words and double letters or letters running into the next word. This should speed up my writing a bit.’

          So my question is; is inless a new word in that websters dictionary (lower case w deliberate) or one you made up as you went along?

          Letting it deliberately slip about a 30″ screen/monitor sounds a bit “look man I’ve got a bigger one than you” sort of boast (you probably have but no need to tell the world).

          Why use the ctrl+C You know what? So far, no mistyped words and double letters or letters running into the next word. This should speed up my writing a bit. when its quicker and easier just using the mouse?I await your response with interest :)

          Liked by 1 person

        • I like rambler, because I are a rambler. :-D

          Liked by 1 person

        • His post would look a lot better if he let us go to town with smileys; don’t you think diem3 ?

          Liked by 1 person

        • disperser says:

          What can I say; English is my second language and that — combined with the fact the Universe is mostly made of irony — had me misspell the word.

          As for the 30″ monitor, it’s not bragging . . . it’s giving a measure of the amount of illumination available to me. As I recall, your own rig sports a bigly amount of screen, but if me stating facts makes you feel inadequate . . . well, it can’t be helped. It’s also interesting that your mind went there.

          Finally, the key combination is a lot faster than the mouse (at least for me). Regardless, the point was that measuring typing speed by timing how fast someone can transcribe a set of words seems less applicable in modern society than it might have been 30 years ago.

          I do envy people who can touch-type and — over the years — I’ve made a few attempts at learning. But, the facts are that I don’t envy them that much to put in the time required to learn. I might have to if I ever start going blind, but even then, there are programs that will type whatever you say . . . which then would prompt me to do something about my stuttering. Let’s hope that it never comes to that as a more eloquent me would be something scary, indeed.

          Finally, smileys and emojis still seem to me as poor substitutes for the proper expression of one’s thoughts. I don’t begrudge or resent people using them but will resist incorporating them into my own parlance as it would surely further erode my tenuous grasp of the language.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Buggered if I know what happened in that last paragraph, probably cos I used the mouse and not the ctrl+c & v system :)

    Like

  7. How much longer are you going to keep crying this What can I say; English is my second language and that — combined with the fact the Universe is mostly made of irony — had me misspell the word.
    How long is it since you conversed all the time in Latin?

    Like

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