Camping and Writing   Leave a comment

I had a brilliant (brilliant in theory… perhaps not so brilliant in practice) idea while I was stuck behind a slow-moving tractor thingy on the road (one of the perks of living in a mostly rural area). Camp NaNoWriMo obviously is supposed to have a camping theme. “Camp” brings to mind going outside, getting bitten by insects, sitting around a fire pit, and “roughing it,” which means no technology.

So then I got the idea to go old school with my Camp NaNo project. No staring at the blinking cursor on the computer screen! I’m going to put one of my many notebooks to good use and write the whole draft longhand. With my word count goal, I’m going to write only 750 words a day. That will be one page front and back and the front of another page per day if my calculations are correct. Doesn’t sound like it’ll be too hard, and I can validate my word count with a lorem ipsum generator at the end of the month.

And the best part is, with an old-fashioned notebook, I can write wherever I want, and I won’t be glued to my desk (I don’t have a laptop), so if the weather’s nice, I may go outside!

Posted March 31, 2015 by Maggie in NaNoWriMo

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Filling in the Gaps   11 comments

My series of stories takes place from about 1997 to 2012, but there’s a gap in the timeline from about 2000 to 2002. Trying to fill in the gap leads me into many daydreams, in which I think about what the characters might have been doing after one story and before another. I consider all the loose ends that haven’t yet been tied up.

All that daydreaming led to an idea for Camp NaNoWriMo. I have my main character, who had been a minor character in two other stories, I have my basic plot, and I have a working title. Now I just have to outline a few scenes, and I’ll be well on my way to 22,500 words for April. If I don’t finish the story by the end of the month (and if inspiration persists), I’ll continue it in July.

Sounds like a plan so far, but let’s see how many obstacles I run into while trying to achieve the goal. :)

Posted March 28, 2015 by Maggie in NaNoWriMo

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Creepy Algorithms   6 comments

This is an interesting news item about the creepiness of algorithms. Even if you don’t know anything about what an algorithm is because you’re scared of math like me, you see the results of algorithms all the time.

One time, I was really hungry and somewhat bored (and my brain was fried), so instead of getting out of my chair and getting something to eat or doing something productive, I did a Google search for local pizza restaurants. Now every time I go to a website that has ads, I see ads for Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Papa John’s, you name it. That’s an algorithm.

Facebook uses algorithms to filter your news feed and tailor it to what interests you most. (After all, there’s no way you’re going to spend time scrolling through every single one of your 1,000 friends’ updates.) Pinterest uses algorithms in the same way, so you can assume that pretty much every social media and dating site does the same thing. This may seem helpful at first, but the author of the article has a darker view.

Because we see only what we want to see or what interests us, we may become narrow-minded and more cemented in our prejudices. So if your social networks filter out all the news that’s biased to the left, you’re going to think that the right-wing view is all there is, and you won’t get any balance.

Algorithms are only going to get more pervasive, so I’m not sure what can be done to prevent you from becoming their victim. Nothing, I guess. But it does help to know what they’re all about and why they’re there.

Posted March 26, 2015 by Maggie in Websites

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