28 May 2013

when is fact really fiction?

Considering the crappy weather, and my helpers actually snowed under, I figured that it be fun to do something different this afternoon after work finished. I randomly wrote "mermaids" into the google search engine and watched what happened. Okay, so I deliberately typed in the word. I could have done it with "dragon" or "yeti", or any other random word associated with mythology. Consequently, I came across a mockumantory called Mermaids: The Body Found.

Okay, so they try and explain how mermaids may have come up, other than from the figment of some ancient mariner's imagination. Perhaps it was bound to happen. Mermaids had been part of folklore since the day some drunk sailor saw a manatee for the first time. In some cases, entire cities were founded upon a legend of a protective fish chick. Not that I'm ditching that.

As legends go that is cool.
"Why wouldn't we be mistaken for mermaids?"
"Oh, I dunno bro, cause we're awesome."

Take the legend behind the founding of Warsaw, Poland's capital city:

Feisty, beautiful and busty. Her image has bewitched millions, and you’ll find her film star looks printed on everything from flags to mags. But stop panting at the back. She turns out to be it, and it turns out to have a tail. Who is this godless Jezebel you ask? Well, none other than the Syrenka, the fresh water mermaid who’s been representing Warsaw since before you’d remember.

The first known mention of a mermaid as the symbol of Warsaw can be traced to a royal seal dated from 1390, though this one certainly wasn’t much to look at; depicting a hideous looking bloke with a dragons tail was as close as you’d come to seeing a marketing blooper in medieval times, so it’s no surprise that over the next few centuries this rather grim form was given a bit of plastic surgery – man was turned into woman, and the dragon became a fish.

The legend has been debated and disputed scores of times, and it’s safe to say short of inventing time travel we’re not going to become any of the wiser. Until that time content yourselves instead by familiarizing yourself with the myth. First off is the one you’ll find espoused within these humble pages; Prince Kazimierz, while hunting in the marshlands that are now Warsaw, lost his bearings and faced a night in the open. Miraculously, a mermaid emerged and guided the prince to safety by firing burning arrows into the sky. Warsaw was founded out of gratitude, and the mermaid adopted as its emblem.

Sourced from Inyourpocket.

Still, as a writer, the idea of trying to explain something like mermaids and dragons from a purely scientific perspective is intriguing. Entire stories have been written on the possibility of dragons being real, to Atlantis being found or that Jesus wasn't the one who died at the Cross but Judas, to name a few. It spurs the imagination.

My question however, why did people actually believe that mermaids existed due to some aqua lad theory, or some-such crack pot theory?

More importantly, why did Animal Planet air it?

I have just read this blog post that rubbished the whole mockumantory here, if anyone is interested. Well. okay, "rubbish" is too strong a word. Let me use another: debunk. I whole heartedly agree with him that the movie ought to have been aired on SyFy or some other similar channel, but on a science channel? Next people will be asking if crabs do indeed talk under water....
"But I sing too!"

Seriously, let's leave fiction out of scientific or natural programmes, as it can be confusing. People will really believe anything, especially those younger ones. I mean, isn't it bad enough that we tell our kids that Santa isn't real...?

27 May 2013

Templates

It's Monday afternoon down in good old New Zealand as I write this post, about seven to two o'clock if you must know.

For the last fifty minutes I have been staring at a google doc in an attempt to write a generic email as a template, and am writing this blog post instead. Yeah, ok... it is Monday afternoon and thereafter that means I ought to be working. Yes, true that. But I technically work part-time and from home. So there. Anyway, truth be told it'll be a while before this post will be written (considering it's just after half past two, and I just finished my second coffee for the day).

Templates.

All one has to do is just google the word "template" and you will have thousands of options, from business related forms for minute writing to what goes where in a quality manual. You can get templates on novel writing as well.

Not that I'm against it of course.

Templates and standardised forms are essential for any growing business. I am certain that certain authors have a standard email or two to respond to eager fans, that or a secretary.

I'm not ditching the fact that there are people who specialise in formatting things for writers, considering that it is one thing to create a piece of literature from zilch. Not everyone is that design savvy either, and every bit helps really.

Businesses certainly do, as is evident at work. But the trick is keeping these things personal. And that is the trick. I cringe every time I get a standardised letter for this or that, as it is factual and generally makes me feel like a case number and not a human being. The fact that I'm the primary go between the guys at work and our customers I endeavour to keep things personal wherever possible.

How about you, what are your thoughts on templates and forms?




26 May 2013

With prejudice with an orange

What looks like an orange, but isn't really an orange? As questions go, that was pretty lame. But never mind. My friends tell me that I tend to ask stupid questions.

To your right you'll see a cover stand in for Oranges: A Prelude to the Martian Independence War, a novella that was the result of reading too much Robert Heinlein, and having a very healthy love affair with science fiction as a whole.

The story is about the prelude to war between Earth and her colonies on Mars. Okay, so it's a cliche premise but frankly so what... it's what I want to set this premise in. If all goes well, it should be available either through Smashwords and Amazon in the next month or so (unless I will try to submit it somewhere).

Either way, I'll keep you all updated on which way I go.


19 May 2013

Saturday night at King's High

I went to my old high school last night to see the Dunedin Sinfonia play for a couple of hours, which was nice. For one, it's great to see such organisations as the sinfonia put on a show in a more local setting (especially when said local setting was only two and a half blocks away). The pieces played were done by Mozart (namely Symphony No 35 and Haffner) and Beethoven (Symphony No 4) and a cute wee number with a harp by Handal, with a New Zealand piece featuring a clarinet soloist that... in my musically uneducated ears anyway... did nothing for me.

What was your weekend like?

Dragoon Liberator and other projects in development stages

As I started out on my writing journey, many, many eons ago, I focused on shorter works. Gradually, I moved to longer pieces and had come ...