Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for January, 2013



Thursday, January 31st, 2013
forums

Hi people. I need some website help. I’m looking to install a forum. I need it to be fairly easy. I’ve looked at a couple, but I wondered if there is

anyone out there who might know something about forums and have a recommendation, and two, if there’s anyone who would be able to help me take a stab at this.

 

Also, for Saturday’s discussion, we’re going to have some issues. I can’t allow any more than ten deep on the comments–WP won’t let me. So we’re going to have to

deal with a bit of a jumbled mess. Be warned.

Thursday, January 31st, 2013
Book Club Poison Study

I finished reading Poison Study last night. Can’t wait to talk about it. Really looking forward to the discussion too. How are you all doing gearing up for Saturday’s discussion? I’m going to set it up to start in the afternoon. I have to take my daughter hunting for pants in the a.m. and it’s a fair bit of a drive and we will have a girl’s lunch date/shopping adventure, so it could take a bit. I’m not entirely sure how to begin discussion, except to maybe put up some beginning questions, ask people to start new questions in a separate comment, and then reply to the questions in each comment. This may work very badly. I think it would be best if I could figure out how to set up a forum, so I may see if I can do that for next time, specially if this goes well.

The puppies are in trouble. They decided to chew up some of the kids’ stuff while I was at work. So they are outside and being ignored, after I told them how bad they have been. I also cleaned up all the bits of chewed stuff. I don’t think they took me all that seriously, though. They wagged at me a bunch as they went outside.

I need a lunch date. i want to go to the pizza buffet but my regular lunch date conspirators are unavailable. I don’t want to go alone. Yes, pity me. I’m so pathetic. I’m also hungry.

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
Bookclub reminder

Hey everyone~

If you’re participating in this month’s book club selection, here’s your reminder that we’ll be discussing it here this Saturday. So if you’ve not been reading or if you’re behind, you can still get there! I hope you do. I’m looking forward to it.

I’d love if you brought questions or discussion items. I’m going to set up a blog post for it, and hope that it allows for enough comments and discussion.

Keep reading!

Monday, January 28th, 2013
iPad and language

First, the language. I was contemplating today why an event is called a function. I was wondering about the etymology of it. I don’t have anything handy to check on it, and my rather desultory attempts online have not helped. But it’s a curious idea, isn’t it? To function is to behave in a certain fashion, with the assumption that function is correct, and malfunction is faulty. So how does one get from there to function as in, I shall attend the function. I do get the synecdoche of functionary, where a person is reduced to their use-value or a representative part of such (think hired hand). Anyhow, was pondering that today.

I also got an iPad today. Well, it isn’t mine. It belongs to the campus. I do get to use it indefinitely, however. I’m just now trying to get it set up. It’s got very basic programs on it right now. Which is to say, I’m going to have to get iPages for it, or some such. But I have to investigate what sorts of writing programs and etc. will work for it. I also know that could get a keyboard to attach, but don’t know if it’s worth it. It’s heavier than I thought. I don’t think it would make me a good reader. I’m supposed to use it for educational purposes in the classroom, but I’ll be honest, I have no idea how. Nor does my department. We got these things without any plan of how to make them teaching tools. So I’m going to have to explore that.

Does anyone out there have an iPad? Do you have any thoughts on ways to use it for a purpose (which is to say, for more than mail/facebook/twitter/games. I can figure those out. It’s got 32gigs and and doesn’t seem to be retina display. I would be surprised if it was.

Sunday, January 27th, 2013
A snippet

From what I’m working on now. I don’t know if I will like it down the road, but I like it now.

Teeth dug into his jaw and cheekbones. Hot, fetid breath filled his mouth and nostrils. Above his left temple two pin-sharp venom fangs pressed into his skin. Carys waited for hilket’s jaws to snap shut, waited for the bones of his face to squeeze and shatter, for venom to send his body into paroxyms. Blood thundered in his veins, as he anticipated the hilket’s claws ripping away his armor and slicing open his stomach to let his intestines spill out onto the ground.

He waited.

The animal panted, but otherwise remained frozen. Its rough tongue pressed against Carys’s cheek and chin.

Rain fell, sluicing over them both, pattering loudly in the leaves and on the ground. Everything fell away until they seemed alone on an island suspended in time. The female hilket had gone silent. Nor was there any sound from Kydrian. Carys and the male hilket were statues in a ruined graveyard. Enemies captured in stone, forgotten and forever doomed to this sculpted moment of terror and pain. Or so it felt.

Saturday, January 26th, 2013
Reading and writing

One perennial piece of writing advice that I give is to read your works aloud. Hear the words, hear the rhythms, hear the alliteration and assonance, and the poetry of the language. Listen for choppiness and disjointed thoughts, for the clumsiness of language and the way sentences can draw out and become exhausting to read. It is a tremendously useful piece of advice.

So why do I so rarely follow it?

I know, it’s stupid. I was reading my work aloud tonight because I’m struggling a bit with this scene and have managed to get further through it. The happy surprise was that I liked it and it worked. But there was something missing and I filled in. But truly, it is an exceptional tool and I must not forget it. I don’t know why I do. It really is simple. I think it’s a time thing maybe. That I feel like it’s a waste. Or maybe it’s very strange to hear my own voice saying my words out loud. A weird embarrassment that is silly, since no one else can hear me read.

Friday, January 25th, 2013
Two Questions

I have two questions for you all since you are brilliant and knowledgable. First, can you explain SEO to me? I see it all the time, but I’m not sure what exactly it is. One reason I ask is because in my blog posting is an option for the all in one SEO pack that allows me to put in a title, description, and keywords. I recognize that this is important for making me visible on the web, but really, I have no idea what I should be doing in any category. Also, I see jobs out there that as for SEO, and I’d like to be able to tell my students what that means, particularly in reference to tech editing. Because I’m clueless. If you know of a website where I could read and learn more, let me know.

Second question: My choice of editing buttons on my blog posting is extremely limited. Like about 10 things. It’s extremely limited. I tried adding a plugin to extend it, but it didn’t take at all. It’s called UltimateTineMCE. I’m not sure if it was what I wanted, or how i didn’t get it working. It is activated. Can anybody give me an idea about what to do?

Thanks!

Thursday, January 24th, 2013
A writing post

I haven’t talked about writing much lately. I think it’s been because I’ve been stewing about a scene. It’s still stewing, but I had some thoughts today. I was reading from Don Maass’ 20th Century Fiction. There’s some really good stuff in there and some stuff that probably won’t work for me, but it definitely has inspires me to think in some different directions. Some things are pretty obvious and makes me smack my head and think, what kind of mental reject am I?

Specifically, I was reading a passage where he was talking about how your main character should have two competing desires that collide at some point. The desires have to be mutually exclusive–if one wins out, the other fails. A for instance would be Aragorn in the LOTR (cuz I just watched it again). He doesn’t want to be king. He wants to keep his life as is and not take on the responsibility of a nation and a people and he doesn’t want to let his potential failings as a king over run him (thinking of Isildur). At the same time, he wants Sauron to be defeated. The trouble is, if he get his way on one, the other can’t be. He pushes off the decision as long as he can. But eventually, he has to decide and gather the ghost army. The point is, he is driven by both desires, and eventually they collide. It gives him an inner conflict that gives rise to most all of his actions, what he says, and what he doesn’t do.

Reading this reminder of inner conflict made me rethink the current character I’m writing. He’s got an inner conflict, but I haven’t spent much time thinking that through or articulating it to myself. I need to, so that I can strengthen his actions and his story line. I can make him more vivid. I also have to think this question of inner conflict for my other major and minor characters. Particularly the minor characters to make them more full and round. It means some work in terms of just stopping and going over my characters again. I thought I articulated a lot of their issues, but this is another way for me to think about them. I think it will strengthen the story.

What are some of your favorite characters with competing inner desires? Are they resolved in a satisfactory way? Are they heroes or villains?

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
Confessions of a TV Junky

I have to admit I watch Hawaii Five-O. And sure, there’s a certain amount of eye-candy of the male persuasion there that makes me happy. Even the bad guys are hot. But the real reason? In High Def, the panoramic shots of Hawaii are stunning. It looks warm. The water is lovely. The green is so beautiful. So basically, I’m all a’drool over the scenery. I have never been there, but I so want to go one day. I know, as confessions go, not very juicy, but I’m in Montana. It’s winter. I think it’s about 10 degrees right now. So wishful watching is what I do.

In other news, I have completed all on my to-do list for the day. I decided I would start creating a weekly to-do list that made me break tasks up over the week and allow me to get things done. I hope. It worked for today. Now to see if I can get it done tomorrow. The key is not to make the list too heavy. Just three or four specific tasks that I can accomplish after work, and writing is definitely scheduled for specific time. I might do more, but at least I will definitely schedule that time. But some of the other things include chores and getting specific projects done.

Also, I’ve got a new post up on Magical Words talking about Writer’s Guilt. It’s what’s given rise to my task list.

Monday, January 21st, 2013
A Deliberately Lazy Day

I had promised the kids that we would watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy this weekend. Well, I promised the boy. The girl didn’t really know what it was about. But then he had a friend spend the night and stay until latish on Saturday, and then some friends came over Sunday to watch the two games, and well, today turned into a watching day. We only got through two movies. I haven’t watched them since they were in the theaters. Seriously. I’ve had them, but just never watched. So never saw the extended versions.

I love these movies. I’d forgotten a lot about Boromir’s scenes and I like the additions of his past to The Two Towers. I like Pippin and Merry more than ever. Samwise used to annoy me some, but I like him a lot better around this time. Of course the Steward of Gondor, even in his short scene, was as obnoxious and terrible as I remember, and John Noble was so good. They all are. Once again I’m in love with Aragorn, Boromir, Legolas, and Faramir. I want them all. In a bowl full of chocolate and whipped cream. Shhh. Don’t tell my husband.

The kids enjoyed them. Girlie got a bit scared of the Balrog and the Uruk-hai, and she cried when Galndalf died. Boy cried when Boromir died. Both of course loved the Ents. It took me back a few years and made me really sad I haven’t seen The Hobbit. I know some people don’t like it, but I’m easy to please sometimes. I’d probably just love it for the nostalgia of the other movies.

We’ll be watching The Return of the King soon. Kids are eager, as am I. But we’ll see how the whole time and homework thing goes.