September 28, 2009

Sound of Music in Belgium! - Music of the Spheres Entr'acte

Hello All!

I almost decided to post a "Out of Service" sign for today's post, as I'm too busy finishing up my novel to dig up more research wonders, when I remembered about this really cool/fun video I was sent. So OK, videos like these have sprouted all over youtube, but this one's different. Why? It's set in Antwerp, Belgium (my home country, or one of them anyway^^). Hope it makes your day even better!

Enjoy :)

September 21, 2009

Collecting Ideas or the Art of Avoiding Writer's Block

Dear Readers,

Over the past few years (I’m thinking 3 or 4, I know, it hasn’t been that long for me to forget but I have a faulty memory) I’ve been constantly keeping a notebook on me (preferred size: compact) just in case. . .

Just in case I ever come up with cool ideas for the current story I’m working on, or for future stories. It doesn’t matter.

I have learned that it’s a great way for me to keep track of everything. Yes, especially since I have a bad memory (oh, I already said that) and so KNOW I’m going to forget about 95% of the cool stories I come up with (or ideas for stories anyway).

And it really works! First of all, don’t ever be scared to jot down any idea, however stupid it may sound, that comes to you. Seriously, I get ideas doing just about ANYTHING! A lot of times, it’s not when I’m thinking about writing that I come up with really cool stories :) (Ok, not sure if they’d be cool to you, but they are to ME, which is what matters--after all, what’s the point of writing a story if you yourself don’t enjoy it?).

For instance, the other day a friend of mine was making fun of me for. . . well, really it’s too embarrassing to let you know but those involved will know what I’m talking about (and please, PLEASE don’t put any incriminating names in the comments section!). But yes, she was making fun of me and, lo and behold, it spawned this (what I believe to be) amazing storyline which I’ll develop into a movie script beginning November.

But it didn’t all come out at once. I got the basic, very crude lines in through that personal jab (and no, I’m not offended in the least, since I know how ridiculous I was too, still am in fact, so the teasing was TOTALLY deserved--AKA: no hard feelings ^^). Wrote those down in my preciousssss little notebook (no. 2) and a few days later, as I was explaining my super-awesome-I’m-so-excited-about idea to some other friends, I came up with more ideas, which I jotted down.

Because you see, even though your brain might not be working on the story all the time (or in my case might not be working, period), your brain subconsciously still works on it (assuming the story’s of interest to you) and you’ll come up with GREAT ideas at the strangest of times! (And yes, they can come at very inopportune times too, like when you’re out surfing, in which case I recommend waterproofing your notebook)

And this way, I’m never afraid to forget about a fun story, AND, guess what? (No, not “what,” you’re actually supposed to guess something!) Well, this has allowed me to come up with lots of ideas for tons of different stories (can they actually be weighed, or should I say “loads” instead? Ah, semantics. . .) which means that whenever I’m done with a story (which is coming up soon--end of October, I’m SO excited!), I know I won’t have a problem to start on another story right after. Rather, the problem might be you won’t be able to choose which story to work on first! Seriously!

You see, by keeping notes of all your ideas (and you can jump from one idea to another and back again as your imagination works out more plot ideas and twists), you’ll also be creating a way to avoid writer's block :)

So, where do you get ideas for stories?

--The Writing Apprentice

writer's block

PS: I have been notified that notebooks can be lost. Which is true, like everything else. Recommendation? GPS tracking device. Which could prove a little cumbersome when you have over 10 such journals, but hey. Better than nothing, right?

September 15, 2009

The Apprentice Writer's Chronicles - Intro

Dear Blog Reader,

After much pondering, I have decided to chronicle, in an un-chronological order, my trials as a growing writer (well, I certainly hope I'm growing...).

So what does this entail? Basically me ranting and raving about all the hoops (original French swearword edited out) I have to jump through to make it in this crazy, torturous world.

Just kidding.

It'll basically be me explaining/telling of my latest tribulations, what I've learned, etc, etc.

So why do this? Well, first off it turns out my research posts aren't as popular as I'd hoped them to be (which I think is a real shocker 'cause seriously, who doesn't find science--pseudo or other--fascinating?). Then, I figured perhaps some would be interested to see the writing world through my mildly myopic eyes (well the left one at least).
Ah-nyways, that also means I'll be posting more often (at least once a week) and NO, before you ask, I won't stop with the research pieces, I'll just alternate them :)

There you go. Hope you're happy!

--The Writing Apprentice

September 14, 2009

Kepler the Musician - Music of the Spheres Part 4

"The heavenly motions...are nothing but a continuous song for several voices, perceivednot by the ear but by he intellect, a figured music which sets landmarks in the immeasurable flow of time." (John Banville: Kepler, Minerva 1990)

Once upon a time, there was a boy who grew up in 16th century Germany. His name was Johannes Kepler. Being weak physically, he decided to beat all the other boys in school with his smarts. So, a few years later, he joined the Tübingen University’s student body where he figured out Copernicus was right: the center of our planetary system was not Earth, but the Sun.

Back in those days, the study of astronomy and astrology was one and the same. In any case, Kepler ended up studying our planets and the stars quite closely.

Then one day, as he was giving a math class (see how wonderful math is?), he drew two circles with an equilateral triangle (3 sides are same length) in between and realized that the ratio of the two circles replicated the ratio of the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn.

He tested out his theory, convinced of this geometrical relationship but realize that it wasn’t perfect. His major breakthrough took place when he realized that his predictions for planetary movement turned out better if he used elliptical orbits rather than circular ones.

This came as a shocker, because hello, circle’s better than ellipse, right? However, after many nights of getting sick at even the mention of it, “the elliptical orbits eventually revealed a scheme of celestial harmony more subtle and profound than any that had gone before.” (1)

Ok. I’ll talk more about Kepler’s ellipses in the next blog post. Yes, this one will be 2 weeks from now (and not three, but last week was Labor Day, you know. . . and I felt compelled to follow it^^).

Hope you had fun reading this, and don’t forget to post comments if you wanna talk some more.


PS: I’ve had complaints about the lack of math in the past posts, so I’ve added some here. . .

Same story, more math:

Blah Blah Blah. . .

And so one day, as he was giving a math class, he drew tow circles with an equilateral triangle inscribed in them. Noticing that the ratio of the two circles represented the same ratio as the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn, he decided to test other planetary orbital relationships with various regular polygons.

If the circumscribed circle has a radius A and the inscribed circle a radius B, then for an n-sided regular polygon the ratio B/A = Cos[Pi/N].

Ex: If N = 3 (triangle), then the ratio B/A = 1/2.
If N = 4 (square), then the ratio B/A = 1/[Sqrt(2)].

By following this logic, it appears that the ratio of the planetary orbits around the sun approximate circles inscribed with either a triangle (Mercur/Venus, Venus/Mars, Jupiter/Saturn, Saturn/Uranus, Uranus Pluto), a square (Venus/Earth, Earth/Marsh, Uranus/Nepture) or a pentagram (Neptune/Pluto).

Etc etc etc. . .


Kepler and Math

Kepler and the Music of the Spheres