Litlets

February 18, 2009

Writing News: Call for Submissions

Filed under: Writing — crcb @ 9:47 pm
Tags: , , ,

I enjoy not only literary fiction and poetry, but also science fiction, fantasy, horror and related genres. Expect to see links for all, as I come across them.

NOTE: I do no vetting of publishers listed in this blog. Submit at your own risk.

Venue: Anthology
Title: Destination: Future
Publisher: Hadley Rille Books
Description: Science fiction anthology seeks stories of 3000 to 6000 words
Timeframe: Submissions accepted 3/1/2009 – 6/30/2009; publication expected early 2010
Rights: not specified
Pay: 3 cents/word by PayPal, possible royalties

For more info: http://www.hadleyrillebooks.com/DestinationFutureSubs.html

February 16, 2009

Software for Writers Review: Q10 – Updated

Update:

  • The QuickText function is now working for me. I don’t know what I was doing wrong before.
  • Only timed writing has an audio cue. Wordcount-targeted writing has only visual cues.
  • I haven’t tried the spellchecker again. That’s a feature I’m too cocky to use very often, anyway.

~~~~~~

Introduction

Q10, a free, full-screen text editor, is similar in concept to TextRoom, which I previously reviewed. TextRoom, I found, has its share of problems. Q10 has a few shortcomings, but it easily wins any comparison with TextRoom.

Q10 is available at http://www.baara.com/q10/. I installed the PortableApp version on a thumb drive, and that’s the version I’m using to write this review.

Pros

  • The status bar (at the bottom of the screen) shows a running wordcount total.
  • Q10 includes modes for targeted writing, either by wordcount or by time limit.
  • Q10 saves files in a plain text format, so they can be opened by any text editor.
  • The background color, foreground color and fonts for both the work area and the status bar are configureable. (I’ve set mine to a blue background with white text, for nostalgia’s sake.)
  • You can set the character encoding to UTF-8 or ANSI, and you can set the line-endings to match your platform: Windows, UNIX or Mac.
  • Paragraphs beginning with two dots (..) are considered notes, and do not figure in the word count.
  • Q10 includes a QuickText feature for commonly-used words and phrases (but see below).
  • Q10 includes a spellchecker (but see below).
  • Autocorrection is included and customizable.
  • Q10 has a small footprint.
  • It’s free!

Cons

  • Although it’s free, it’s not Open Source.
  • Q10 is available only for Windows.
  • The documentation consists of one pop-up window listing keyboard shortcuts.
  • If you want audio cues when you reach your writing target, you have to put up with a typewriter sound effect. It would be nice if that sound effect could be disabled separately.
  • I haven’t been able to get the QuickText feature to work.
  • Running the spellchecker crashed the application (but only when I asked it to “change all”).

Summary

Q10 has pretty much everything I was hoping for in this type of text editor. Its defects, for me, are in the nature of annoyances. If it lacks many features of such applications as NoteTab or Notepad++, that’s by design. What it’s meant to do, it does well, a bit of bugginess aside. I expect to use Q10 quite a lot.

February 15, 2009

Some Thoughts on The Worm Ouroboros

The Worm Ouroboros, by E. R. Eddison; introductory material by Paul Edmund Thomas

Coleridge, and others after him, have written of the “willing suspension of disbelief” involved in reading imaginative literature, but I’ve seen nothing on the “willing suspension of disapproval.” Just as we must accept the physical world of the story – whether it includes dragons, shadow governments, or people who talk in aphorisms – we also must accept the moral world of the story.

For The Worm Ouroboros, this means accepting the glorification of war, which is implicit throughout. The virtues the characters admire are warrior virtues. It has this in common with the Icelandic sagas and Homeric epics that, according to Paul Edmund Thomas’s introduction, were major influences on Eddison.

I don’t read Icelandic or Greek, so I can’t say how much of Eddison’s prose style was based on his sources. Ouroboros is written in a pseudo-archaic dialect of Eddison’s own invention. This is part of the world the reader must accept. However, after a few chapters, I found the style mostly unobtrusive, sometimes delightful, and only rarely painful. As Tolkien and others have noted, the names of the characters don’t seem to belong to any unified cultural context, but I don’t think that’s a flaw. There are obviously a number of nations in Eddison’s world, with much contact and commerce among them. In the mundane world, my own circle of acquaintances provides names from at least five continents, and from too many languages to estimate.

Thomas, despite my snarky comments in an earlier post, is understandably defensive about Eddison’s powers of characterization. The heroes are mostly indistinguishable from one another. The one who stands out in my memory is Brandoch Daha, who is both a dandy and a berserker – and having told you that, I’ve told you all I remember of him. Eddison sometimes does a better job with the villains. King Gorice XII combines courage, cunning, charisma, and a number of other alliterative traits. The aptly-named Corsus, who panders his own daughter for a command position, is also memorable. But the most intriguing and nuanced character in the novel is the counselor Lord Gro, a bit player whose fidelity to his own principles (and they are not selfish ones) leads him to be a traitor to multiple sides.

As you might expect from a tale weak on character, events are plot-driven. Despite (or maybe because of) the careful construction of the symmetrical narrative, which circles around to bite its own tail, the novel feels episodic. Most acts and decisions seem to arise from force of plot rather than force of character. The “and so” is provided by a scheme outside the world of the story; within, all is “and then.”

According to Thomas, many readers have a problem with the beginning of the novel, which introduces a quickly-dropped framing narrative. I have more trouble with the conclusion, where the exaltation of war becomes explicit. If you can buy into that ethos, the ending gives the body of the tale more meaning. If your morals, like mine, are a little old and stiff and just won’t bend that far, the ending makes the main part of the book meaningless.

But I shouldn’t let that be the last word. I enjoyed the novel enough to go on to Eddison’s Zimiamvia trilogy, as soon as I find the volume I’m missing.

Blog at WordPress.com.