Welcome to my scratch of virtual land. Here you'll find my creative work, random thoughts, immersive travel narratives, essays on the writing craft, and other uber-nifty™ stuff. To stay in the loop, join my crew by filling out the form below.
This is one of those posts that only about 15% of you will care about. It’s not profound, creative, or even particularly well written. Rather, it’s my update on what I’ve been doing—accompanied by a reassurance that neither myself nor this blog are dead.
Those of you who are members of the crew heard from me at the beginning of this month. About a month before that, I sent the third email outlining my current projects. Even telling you about my projects was a project I didn’t follow through on.
Some of what’s been going on is applicable. I’ve been working as the managing editor of a literary journal, presenting at a conference on engaged learning, preparing to present at a conference on educational development in Sweden (ICED 2014), writing a book on engaged learning (with a team of seven other writers), solidifying a creative writing community in my area, attending classes, and obsessively reading the Song of Ice and Fire series. (Season 4 premieres in just over a week! Gotta prevent spoilers!)
Today’s technology provides innumerable new resources for hopeful writers, and one of the most powerful learning hubs is found in online video. When used appropriately, services like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and the countless other online video hubs provide some of the most powerful, thorough, and affordable learning centers for up-and-coming creative writers.
Are you finding that difficult to swallow whole? Consider this: Through sites like Netflix, we get a sense of the broad story arcs through “binge watching” opportunities, are able to filter for higher-quality content, browse in an environment that promotes experimentation, and access a discovery engine that helps introduce us to new work.
Happy National Grammar Day! (No, seriously. It’s a thing.)
This holiday is relatively new (circa 2008), and comes to you from a group of enthusiastic grammar nerds. Now, I may not be quite as deep into the “should” of language as many of the most passionate members of the grammarian community, but I do take pleasure in the elegance of a well-formed sentence. Grammar lets us communicate clearly and effectively—and, just as important, it gives us a set of rules that we can intentionally violate for effect.
I wanted to fill you in on some details of the day. The rest of this article will give you information on the holiday, a few of the nerdy happenings and opportunities available for you, and some of my favorite grammar-related videos.
From Albrecht Mar of Tilyun—Royal Scribe and Royal Historian of the Court of the Castellonian Empire—writing to His Eminent Lord Cammen Castell III—Emporer of the Central Lands, King of Ten Thousand Kings, Liege Lord of the Castellonian Empire—on this, the 17th day of the Silona (17.8), in the 157th year of the Castellonian Era (157 c.e.), being 1126 years after the conclusion of the Ventian Era (1126 p.v.).
You have asked me, My Most Eminent Liege Lord, to write you concerning the journey I wish to undertake. While I hope its political and diplomatic benefits are satisfactory on their own merits, the true questions of this voyage are tied to history (as my position inclines me) and philosophy. I have spent much time researching the history of heroes, and I believe our common mistakes in discussing heroism lead to questions well worth asking.
The first great misstep we often make is believing that heroes are the foundation of the world. Often, histories are told with only the mention of great men who led movements or armies or kingdoms, while little mention is made of the things these men led. In truth, even the greatest among us are but a weak force in the creation of the world. Heroes are made of the same flesh, blood, and bone as the rest of us. They are toppled by steel and spellwork. Their mightiest plans are felled by sickness and storm and momentary lust. When they die, even kings are laid to rest and make that final descent to dust with the aid of nothing but heavy time.
Many in my generation were handed fairy tales for love stories and happy endings as the promised reward, but my favorite love story is not so happy. It comes from Baldur’s Gate II—my favorite video game of all time and one of the best stories I’ve ever encountered.
This entry will give you some contextual details and analysis, but someone recently uploaded a video that goes through all of the major romantic dialogues in the game. Checking out at least some of this video will give you an idea of how top-notch music and voice acting contributed to the story.
This article has been moved to the Creative Writing Guild.
Copyright © 2014 Rob Blair Writes