–Returning students, $15 off with coupon code ALUM
–New students, $10 off with coupon code NEW Here’s what’s on tap. All courses run for four weeks and include live sessions (recordings provided if you can’t attend live), individual feedback on four homework assignments, group question and answer sessions, and ongoing access to my monthly alumni question and answer calls. Registration is $365 until one month before the class starts (unless it sells out), $380 thereafter. January: Holly Mikkelson’s Spanish to English Translation Workshop class is sold out, but we’re taking a wait list for a potential April session. E-mail me at email@example.com if you’d like to be on the wait list. February-March: Karen Tkaczyk’s Editing and Proofreading for Into-English Translators, covering four important topics: proofreading, monolingual editing, bilingual revision, and self-editing, including information about how to add editing to your range of services. April: Getting Started as a Freelance Translator, with me. My flagship course for beginning and aspiring translators, including self-paced videos, and individual feedback on your translation-targeted resume and cover letter, marketing plan, rates and billable hours sheet, and online presence. May: Madalena Sanchez Zampaulo’s Copywriting for your Business and for your Clients, focusing on an often-overlooked skill that can improve the quality of your translations, attract new clients to your business, and open up new income streams. June: Dorothee Racette’s Organization and Productivity for Translators, back by popular request! Featuring information tailored just for our profession, Dorothee’s course will help you get off the stress-chaos-feast-famine hamster wheel and get more done while enjoying your work more. Or, as a past participant put it, “stop flailing.” I’d love to have one of these courses be part of your professional development plan in 2019! Just let me know if you have any questions! The post Sign up for a 2019 course this month, and receive a free consultation appeared first on Thoughts On Translation.
If you’re looking to adopt a pet this holiday season, Contra Costa Animal Services has waived adoption fees from now through Saturday, December 15th.
You can adopt for free at the Martinez (4800 Imhoff Place, Martinez, CA 94553) and the Pinole (910 San Pablo Ave., Pinole, CA 94564) Adoption Centers.
Before adopting, it is encouraged that you visit the shelter and spend the time with the pet to better understand their temperament and how it interacts with family members.
Checking in with international liaisonsRepresentatives from the Swedish, Italian, German, Spanish, Russian and Urdu communities took place in our preparational meeting this week!
Open floorSome questions for the new editor may need various answers we don’t have a predefined reply for, in those cases you can also reference the plugin sticky topic we’ve used before the release. Read the meeting transcript in the Slack archives. (A Slack account is required)
Get familiar with WordPress 5.0Here are some links to places to learn more about the new editing experience and WordPress 5.0.
- WordPress 5.0 release post
- Gutenberg designer and developer handbook
- WordPress.org/Gutenberg teaser, where you can use it live.
- WordPress 5.0 Field Guide
- Gutenberg on GitHub (This will be deprecated but offers a nice history.)
- Changes to the REST API
- Media in 5.0
- The Twenty Nineteen default theme and Gutenberg support in other default themes.
Once a landless second son, Durand has sold his sword to both vicious and noble men and been party to appalling acts of murder as well as self-sacrificing heroism. Now the champion of the Duke of Gireth, Durand’s past has caught up with him.
The land is at the mercy of a paranoid king who has become unfit to rule. As rebellion sparks in a conquered duchy, the final bond holding back the Banished break, unleashing their nightmarish evil on the innocents of the kingdom.
In his final battle against the Banished, Durand comes face to face with the whispering darkness responsible for it all―the king in cobwebs.
* * *
Of Daughters & Day JobsI learned a little about writing and time while I worked but on The Tales of Durand. The final book, A King in Cobwebs, was a wee bit late — it really ought to have been published in the 1850s. And, for this inordinate delay, I would like to blame my family. When I was an unattached, semi-employed youth, I had a special sort of time. There were whole days and evenings and weekends when time yawned like the sea and I could jump right in. If I wanted to work out ideas and build stories (or worlds) over months and months, I could do it. Magic. Now that I’m a proud parent with a real job and various responsibilities, I’ve noticed some fairly obvious things about writing in scattered fits and starts.
First, if you don’t keep nudging a story along on a nearly daily basis, the whole architecture of the thing tends to fade from the imagination. (I want to use the word “palimpsest” here, or maybe some metaphor with watercolors and drizzle, but I’d better not). When the interrupted writer returns to the work from a long break, the story has become a strange place. And it can take real time to find the blueprints and collect the tools. So, clearly, a monastic life of penury and solitude is the way forward. (Although now that I think about it, there are advantages to love and regular meals which ought to figure in the balance. You may wish to draw your own conclusions).
The Magic of the Jouster’s ArmpitThe Tales of Durand is a harrowing story, but researching the books was a great fun. For me, the best finds were those telling, unexpected bits that make a person feel that the past is a real, weird, particular place you’ve never been before. They popped up everywhere. I remember reading a First World War memoir and gathering stories of mud and fleas. A crowd of school kids and I heard an old castle guide explain time (with sundials and bits of dangly jewelry). And modern day jousters? They use the internet to grumble about how a well-struck lance chews up the lancer’s armpit. How can you not collect these things? I suppose the notion is that readers will, for a second or two, feel like they’re meeting the real people of some real place (at least as peculiar as our own).
Squashing My OrcsThere is great fun to be had in catching cliches, and I caught a few while I was working on Durand. (I imagine every writer fights with them). If you can spot one of these terrible things — and squash it — the resulting splatter of new and interesting ideas can be immensely satisfying. Of course, it isn’t always easy to catch the things: they will often arrive disguised in little bits of superficial creativity. I remember, as a teenage writer, feeling quite proud of the unique qualities of “my orcs”, for example. And, to this day, I keep a forest of cunningly disguised elves hiding just off camera. Fantasy is full of such temptations. But, when you do manage to catch a cliche, what fun you can have! I’d planned a scene where my hero would ride up to a strange castle and call for the man in charge. You can picture a castle wall. Guards on top. A big gate. Fortunately, before I tried to reupholster scene, I caught myself. What if there was no one at the castle? What if everyone has vanished? What if they’d followed their leader into the hills? It could be a pilgrimage! What sort of holy place could it be? Why would they go? In the end, I was very pleased with the little world of motivations and repercussions that popped up when the story left the well-trodden path. (There’s a scene now where a doomed father grieves a lost but once-promising son in a strange gorge of hanging rags). Splat!
Time, Tide, and Disappearing HorsesIn the future, I may write a novel set entirely in a single room. In my favorite stories, the landscape is alive. It is its own character, and it has the power to conjure up boatloads of awe and dread and wonder. I’m thinking of the cold, claustrophobia of the Icelandic sagas; the majesty of the Tolkien’s broad spaces; Sherlock’s moors; or Shelley’s arctic wastes. It’s all good fun. If you are going to take your readers through a few good landscapes; however, you are almost forced to put your characters on horseback and send them trotting all over creation. (This is unfortunate).
Horses are ticklish things. Anybody who knows anything about horses will tell you that nobody knows anything about horses. I gathered useful hints about personality and maintenance from guidebooks and handbooks and conversations with actual people, but no practical amount of research could ever do the job. There is a neat and frustrating divide among historians, for example, about whether a medieval charge was a galloping affair or only a grim and resolute canter full of razor sharp points. Worse, horses have a curious tendency to disappear from the pages of a novel. During the revision process of The Tales of Durand, horses popped in and out of existence more times than I am comfortable admitting. I suspect that this is where centaurs came from. When there’s a lot of traveling, time soon becomes a challenge as well. In The Tales of Durand, time is measured by the movements of the sun and moon. In fact, the moon has a new name each month (based on timeless cycles of the agricultural year, because it’s a fantasy novel and people expect things). Sadly, all of this created a record keeping issue. Over the course of the series, I’m not sure how many times I put two full moons in the same month, two sunsets in a single day — and I’m still not sure I understand tides. (Thank goodness for editors. Really).
Little Actual ExplorationThe seed of this trilogy was a flawed little short story about a fellow who felt miscast in the role of hero. He did the job, but he didn’t feel that he deserved the accolades. That was the idea, but I’m not sure I could have told you precisely where the story was going; the notion of the doubting hero felt like something I wanted to explore. Three novels in, I’ve started to see more clearly where my head was. The reader meets quite a number of tortured souls in these pages, and, typically, their wounds are self-inflicted. People hang onto their guilt or doubt or anger no matter how it hurts them. And, because we’re in an enchanted world, their suffering renders them monstrous and tears at the landscape. Thankfully, by the end, some of my favorite characters are beginning to come to their senses. (They might even have a chance at happiness). Maybe what I’m saying, in several hundred thousand words is that we should cut ourselves some slack. And be careful with our armpits.
* * *David Keck is a New York based writer, teacher, and cartoonist who grew up in Winnipeg, Canada. David Keck: Portal The Tales of Durand: Print | eBook
* * *
Writing a novel in six parts may be easier than writing a novel in one huge partThe six sections of this book are interconnected so that I consider it one complete story. Each piece can, to some degree, stand on its own, but not fully. The six parts are necessary complements that tell, in the end, one united narrative. And yet… Because there were six sections, there was freedom to tackle each separately, as I would with a series of short stories. I wrote them out of order, however the whim took me, which happened to mean that I wrote the last section first and the first section last. This unintended sequence was serendipitous because A) it’s always helpful to know your ending when you write and B) and it’s much easier to write a good beginning when you already know how the rest of your story will unfold. But it was more than writing out of order that made this book easier. There’s the mechanical factor that editing something short involves dealing with fewer “ripple effects” than editing something longer. This meant I could work on discrete chunks and not worry about the whole story for long stretches of time. This novel fits together like an extravagant domino pattern with enclaves that wouldn’t be knocked over by a general domino-pocalypse. Those enclaves were places I could work without all the other sections of the book peering over my shoulder, as it were. I don’t know if this lesson is useful, because unless I’m planning to slice up all future stories into many distinct parts, editing this book was a surprise vacation that may never happen again.
Sometimes science fact is so amazing that you have to remind yourself why you’re writing science fictionWriting about human genetic modification and medical advances that will allow us to rebuild ourselves and vastly extend lifespan…well it’s frankly such an enticing topic in real life that I found myself repeatedly up against the dilemma of what to include in the story. I’ve read hundreds of articles on CRISPR, growing human or human-compatible organs in livestock, advanced prosthetics, life extension, you name it. I’ve also interviewed researchers on the forefront of the science—people who are figuring out how to edit and reprogram our immune systems, for example, in order to combat or even cure diseases like HIV. Not in the distant future, but within the next few years. I mean, holy shit! There were a days when I wanted to go back to school and study biology. And there were other days when I was absolutely certain that I needed to include some tidbit of medical reality in the book because it was so incredible. I had to reel in my excitement about the reality and channel it into the imagined future. The medicine, the gene editing, the drastically extended lifetimes…they simply aren’t important in fiction, unless they are the context for an intensely personal story that allows you to follow a human being (or a version of a human being) that you care about. This was harder than it sounds and there are so many great ideas lying on my metaphorical cutting room floor. But they were abandoned in service of the six main characters and what mattered to them. Essentially I had to remember whose story this was—not mine but theirs.
A character will only do so much, unless…And speaking of characters, I got to re-learn a lesson I’m taught in every book: a character will only do what she is meant to do intrinsically. If that doesn’t happen to include what you believe that character should be doing, then there are two possibilities: 1) the thing you’re asking the character to do doesn’t make a lick of sense and you should get your shit together and change things around or 2) you don’t know that character as well as you think you do. For me, it’s 2 a surprising number of times. Trouble writing the story I see in my head frequently boils down to not having a true feel for who a character is, what made her the way she is, the formative experiences and relationships of her life, and what, if she ever took the time to think about it, would be her personal philosophy. A legal pad and nice pen and six or ten pages of backstory usually do the trick.
Sometimes it’s okay if the tail wags the dogWhen I’m coming up with new ideas, I usually see the characters before I see the world they’re in. But in this book, I understood the world first. I knew I wanted to write stories that involved the genetic and medical future of humans as a race and the experience of growing up and discovering who you are when the very essence of ‘you’ is changing. That idea wasn’t originally connected to any specific protagonists who would carry the story on their shoulders. Yet it turns out that these snippets of context were enough, and in a short time the characters began to show up to live in the house I was building. I guess the take-away here is that there are many potentially workable ways of staring at a blank page.
Write something meaningful to you, regardless of imagined commercial implicationsThis one is hard. As I began putting this book together, with its unusual structure and its potential for being categorized incorrectly as an anthology, I couldn’t help wondering: Who will buy this? Could a publisher get behind it or will it be too odd? Is this what I “should” be writing? Will this be a waste of a year? I stopped asking. Or at least I tried to. Because the thing is, there aren’t valid answers to those questions until you’ve written the book. Unless your name is so huge that your publisher is going to buy whatever you pitch them, no matter how vague the idea, isn’t it better (I asked myself) to simply write the story you want to write? Then you can show people a completed novel. And it will speak for itself. So that’s what I did. Because the simplicity is this: every publisher in every country of the world, and every reader who has ever existed, wants the same thing: a good book. That’s all. I don’t think I can write a good book if I’m writing to chase an idea of what people might want. And besides that, who wants to spend time on something that doesn’t make you want to jump out of the bed in the morning so you can get to work? Happy writing to all of you!
* * *ARWEN ELYS DAYTON is the best-selling author of the Egyptian sci-fi thriller Resurrection and the near-future Seeker Series, set in Scotland and Hong Kong. She spends months doing research for her stories. Her explorations have taken her around the world to places like the Great Pyramid at Giza, Hong Kong and its islands, the Baltic Sea. Arwen lives with her husband and their three children on West Coast of the United States. You can visit her and learn more about her books at arwendayton.com and follow @arwenelysdayton on Instagram and Facebook. Arwen Elys Dayton: Website | Twitter Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful: Print | eBook
On the face of it, finding a reconstruction that satisfies all of the constraints from all the tables the bureau produces seems impossible. But Mr. Abowd says the problem gets easier when you notice that these tables are full of zeros. Each zero indicates a combination of variables — values for one or more of block, sex, age, race and ethnicity — for which no one exists in the census. We might find, for example, that there is no one below voting age living on a particular block. We can then ignore any reconstructions that include people under 18 living there. This greatly reduces the set of viable reconstructions and makes the problem solvable with off-the-shelf software.To combat this, the Census is looking into injecting more uncertainty into their published data. The challenge is figuring out how much uncertainty is too much and what level of privacy is enough. Tags: census, privacy, uncertainity, Upshot