Posts from the ‘Writing/Blogging’ Category

The Art of Story Telling

So, we’ve started a new GURPS campaign over in my corner of the world (GURPS, for the uninitiated, stands for Generic Role-Playing System and is like D&D, but nerdier) and, this time, I’m the session leader (often call the GM – Game Master).

That means I have to come up with the story that we play through and I have to lead the players into making decisions that further the plot-line – there’s a lot of thinking on your feet that I have to do to alter scenarios based on what the players are doing but still stay true to the overall tale.

All this got me thinking about storytelling vs. writing a novel. There is a certain element that verbal storytelling has that the written word loses, no matter how eloquent the author is. I think it has to do with the storyteller’s facial expressions and tone as he tells his story, his body language and mood. All of those non-verbal cues add a new layer to the story that the written word just cannot replicate.


That’s not to say that verbal storytelling is better – I like both equally – but it is very different. I think that the oral tradition is focused on hearing, while the written word is more focused on creating visuals – painting word pictures, if you will. Because the author is not sitting in front of you, acting out his story as he tells it (i.e. making his eyes huge to indicate surprise or wonder, hunching his shoulders inwards to invoke fear as he describes a monster, etc.), he has to rely on painting a vivid enough picture that you feel those emotions yourself. A person verbally telling a story can choose just a few choice details and indicate emotions and other facets just by gestures and expressions.

Anyways, that’s where my mind wandered to tonight. I happen to enjoy both methods of conveying a story, but do you guys have any preference?


Brain Fart

I swear I had thought of something to write about today. It was all catchy and clever and involved more than just a picture of a few lines of text.

And I’ve forgotten!

It wasn’t a book review (though those need to start up again soon for reals). It wasn’t a rant… it was some sort of musing on something bookish. It was gonna be awesome.

For now, here’s a picture of a cat reading a book.


Writing Resolutions

So, I have fallen woefully behind in my book reviews, both here and over at FindStuff2Read. My newest resolution is to write one book review a week – two for this blog and two for FS2R (which you should check out btw – it’s run by Shannon Howell, who runs an awesome blog of her own).

Other than that, I just hope to keep not missing updates.

Post-graduation Ponderings

So, having graduated and earned my BA, I now get to answer the fun question of What To Do With An English Degree. And, of course, while I ponder this question, my mind goes to…

Pride & Prejudice!!!

See, I do have an idea of what I want to do. I want to be an editor, preferably for books. I could also happily edit and ghost write for magazines and blogs though – and I’ve taken what steps I can towards getting actual experience in these fields so that I’m not jumping in totally cold and inexperienced. But, even with this groundwork that I’m laying, I actually have no idea of how long it will take for me to land a job in my desired field, much less my “dream job”.

So, the question now is, am I going to be Lizzy or Charlotte?

Lizzy said that nothing short of the deepest love was going to induce her into matrimony – and she held out for it. At the risk of dying a poverty-stricken old maid with no home of her own, she refused to settle for anything less than her ideal. And, let’s face it, it did pay off for her.

Charlotte, on the other hand, made a very practical choice and “settled” for a comfortable home and a secure future, even if it meant that she didn’t have a steamy romance. As she seemed very content with her choice even at the end of the book, we must conclude that it paid off for her as well.

How these musings apply to me goes into how far outside my field am I willing to look for a steady job. Do  I take what I can find that pays well and ensure a steady income for the Beloved Husband and I? Or do I hold out for that dream editing job somewhere in the nebulous future and only pursue jobs in that field?

And how much of this do I have to decide now?

Will I be Charlotte or Lizzy?


Adventures in Reading

StormFront_Hardcover_1-120So my wonderful wife has finally roped me into writing something for her. I’ll be filling in for her as your guest writer today, next Wednesday, and next Friday as well.

As some of you may know, until recently I wasn’t much of a reader. Granted, I read a lot of articles online, but I was never much for novels. My main problem has been that I’m not a particularly fast reader (something my beloved wife still teases me about) and I would make such slow progress in a novel that I would forget the beginning of a book before I got to the ending. This has been the case for most of my life, much to my English teachers’ chagrin. That’s why  my wife was so happy when I asked her to pick out a book for me to take on my business trip to Louisiana last year.  I knew that the computer I was taking with me couldn’t play video games made in the last decade and I’m too cheap to buy the in-flight internet so I figured that I would have some time on my hands to finally read.

Anyways, a long way back, I watched The Dresden Files on Hulu and liked it well enough. My wife had thought for a while that I would probably enjoy the series due to the sense of humor and adventure in them, so I asked to borrow the first book, Storm Front. As it turns out, I finished the book so quickly that I should have asked to borrow the second book as well.

More on what I liked on Wednesday.

– Written by The Husband of the Bookwyrm

That Time of Year Again

So, it is upon us… Finals Week.

This means that Bookwyrm’s Lair will be on a short hiatus… kinda. I’ll be busy writing for school, so I won’t be putting any new content up myself, but the Beloved Husband has agreed to cover Friday’s entry. And then Picture Monday is easy enough to do. But next Wednesday’s and Friday’s entries are… unlikely.

Let’s just say, I make no promises.

See you on the other side!

Them’s Fightin’ Words, Lady!

thiefSo, it’s rare that I decide to use my blog as a platform to rant about serious things – at most, I rant about nerdy things good-naturedly. This one has a distinct lack of the friendly feelings that characterize my nerd rants.

Last night, one of my college professors decided (given that Finals are almost upon us) to have what I have dubbed “The Plagiarism Chat”. The usual version goes something like, “Cite your sources. Plagiarism is bad – don’t do it. I’ll fail you automatically and then the school will expel you if the case is severe enough. “. Professors who feel really strongly might add, “I really hate plagiarism and I have a zero tolerance policy, so if I catch you, don’t bother giving me excuses – I will kick you out of my class”.

And, given that we’re seniors in college who are due to graduate in a few weeks, that’s enough. We get it.

This professor’s version was a little different. It went something like this:

“I’m using to screen your papers. I know it’s really tempting to just lift somebody else’s work and use it in your paper as your own… especially when they’re a better writer than you. I mean, who here hasn’t copied and pasted somebody else’s material into their essays? I know you’ve all done it at one point in your lives.”

Um. Excuse me? Actually, that particular sin is one that I haven’t committed.

For the record, I have no problem submitting my paper through Turnitin, what bothers me is her wishy-washy “well, everybody does it” attitude about the whole thing, like it’s just some kind of academic faux pas that gets a slap on the wrist.

Not to mention she basically accused all of us of being intellectual thieves… yeah, I didn’t take too kindly to that. I honestly felt like standing up in my seat and roaring “You dare impune me honor, Madam!!”. Given that I’m five feet tall and skinny, it probably would’ve been pretty funny.

I suppose the reason that offends me so deeply is because of my relationship with books. I’m an English Major – I do a lot of reading and I do a lot of writing. And I want to be an editor once I get out of college, which means I’ll be doing even more reading and writing on a professional level. So, I know the value of intellectual labor, especially now that I’m doing college senior level work. I’m reading a lot of scholarly essays and articles and using those ideas as springboards for my own original work. I’m expected to think and write at a higher level, and come up with my own ideas. The thought of someone claiming my hard work for their own is infuriating, and the thought of stealing someone else’s is revolting.

At its most mild, it’s cheating. At its worst, it’s thievery – just like snatching somebody else’s car, purse, or ipod.

And it’s so easy to cite your sources! You just put quotes on either side and a parenthetical reference at the end with the last name of the person who said/wrote it and what page you found it on (if that applies). Boom! Plagiarism averted! That being said, I really don’t see the allure of plagiarism, especially once you reach the higher academic levels,  since you have to work harder not to get caught.

So, what are your thoughts on plagiarism? Do you think of it as something that’s pretty common (and thus somehow more understandable or not such a huge deal if done in small quantities), or do you think of it as a pretty serious academic crime that should be looked down on and punished severely?

And, to add a little humor to an otherwise humorless rant, here is Tom Lehrer’s song “Lobachevsky”, otherwise known as “The Plagiarism Song” from his album, Songs by Tom Lehrer.

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