Saturday, June 27, 2009


There's something very rewarding about writing "THE END." It's all about that moment when you know the piece you're writing is ESSENTIALLY DONE. The story has been put down on paper from beginning to end and it's readable. It may need some polishing and an additional round of revisions but it's essentially done. It's also the point when you have to make decisions about how much more needs to be done so that the work on it is FINISHED. Perhaps a piece of writing is never truly finished but continuous editing and revision is not something I could easily get used to. I need to be able to say something is FINISHED and move on to something else. It doesn't have to be perfect to be FINISHED.

I wrote "THE END" earlier this week when I completed the first round of revisions to the didactic novel I've been writing for the past 6 months. It felt really nice to get to that point. I am now entering unfamiliar territory since this is the first time I manage to complete a first round of revisions and still be interested in the manuscript. I'm looking at all my notes trying to figure out how to prioritize revisions.

What I really need now is to create the right incentives to complete the entire process. I know I'll complete the second round of revisions. I might get a little lazy and find excuses for calling it FINISHED sooner rather than later but I'll get to the point where I can call it FINISHED.

The real question is whether I'll actually ask anyone to read it and what to do with it once it is FINISHED. I don't think the process will really be completed if I just shelve it as a FINISHED project and never get it out for others to read.

This is how this blog is going to help me create the incentives to complete the process: The more I write about it here -- not just the writing process but the novel itself -- the more I build the necessary confidence to do something with it (... have someone read it).

So... here is a piece of information: The manuscript is titled "Learning Log -- A Didactic Novel about Knowledge Management, version 1.0". The "version 1.0" might suggest that I would consider making revisions to turn it into version 1.5 or 2.0. It's a possibility but mostly the "version 1.0" is there to indicate that while it is finished (it's not a beta), I still see the project as an experiment to learn from and not necessarily something that needs to be perfect. {a not so subtle attempt at lowering expectations}

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Playing with Code

I am NOT a programmer and I don't know a lot of HTML. Yet I am playing around with pieces of code to try to customize the TiddlyWiki I am using for my novel. Today, I've achieved one tweak. I've added a plugin that allows the reader to adjust the font size. I didn't create it, of course. I'm a codes scavenger.

I spent most of the afternoon trying to figure out how to automatically indent the first line of every paragraph. I still can't figure it out.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Didactic ... in a good way

I've come to realize that the term "didactic fiction" has negative connotations. The more I look for it, the more I encounter it in the context of someone defending a piece of fiction by saying... "it wasn't didactic at all." In that sense, "didactic" is taken to imply something "preachy" and annoying, something that ultimately distracts from the main function of fiction, which is to entertain. Imagine a novel written with a strong Global Warming theme or some other controversial theme and the main character is a scientist who fights to get politicians to listen to him. The story could easily turn very preachy and "didactic". If the main objective of that novel is to entertain, but use a theme likely to get some traction, then it makes sense to stir away from something too "didactic."

I could try to avoid using the term, just to steer away from the negative connotation but to be perfectly honest, there is a strong didactic element to what I am writing and I am not comfortable pretending otherwise. My task is to explain how a piece of fiction can be didactic in a good way and sufficiently entertaining to keep the reader's attention.

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