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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Next, Please Introduce Yourself » (Insert 'hello' and ingenious line of prose here)

   
Author Topic: (Insert 'hello' and ingenious line of prose here)
Exploding Monkey
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...as you can see, I am still a writer who is working on his toolbox (hence the lack of an awe inducing subject line). LOL

My name is Keith and I am a husband and father in the thritysomething crowd. I have been writing since I was around age ten, but have not really started serious writing until a few years ago.

I have been out of it for about a year now. I have a real problem finishing my stories (mostly short SF) and become frustrated with them and quit. However, I recently met another aspiring writer who is a little younger, and I dare say a tad below my own skill level. His enthusiasm though has rekindled the keypunching imps that live in my hands and I was about 27 pages into what would have been probably a 35-page story when my PC’s power supply failed and spiked both the motherboard and the hard drive.

Bye-bye story. Bye-bye everything I have started (and might have finished now) for the past three years. Bye-bye PC.

Rather than say “to hell with it” by this new set back, I built a new PC from scratch (a very fun and rewarding experience if you know what you are doing) and am now poised to get back into my ideas and the stories that spring up from them.

My love of science fiction was born from my interest in Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but the downhill slide of the story quality in the following spin off series like awful Voyager and Enterprise turned me away from that franchise all together. Berman has flushed everything that made Trek fun down the shit chute, but refuses to admit it.

Anyway, it was probably all for the best because it was the poor writing of the Trek and Wars franchises that drove me back to reading. And it was within the SF literary world where I discovered Ender’s Game.

Between Card’s exceptional grasp of the character driven story and an email correspondence I had with Canadian hard SF writer Robert J. Sawyer, I was inspired to write again. Much like Tolkin, I write to entertain myself more than anything else. But my thinking is if I am going to put it down on paper for my own need to express the stories I want to hear, why not go a step further and try to sell them?

So here I am. I have a fellow writer to share with (even if I am helping him out more than he can for me at this point) and may be looking for others to workshop with at a future date as well. At this point though I am more interested in discussing the craft to expand my toolbox and to meet writers and see everyone’s different take on things.

I hope to learn much from you all!

-Keith


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onepktjoe
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Hi Keith,

Hello and welcome. I'm still pretty much a newbie around here too, but I think you'll find this is a great community.

BTW, your toolbox will morph into what is commonly referred to around here as a HUB; I strongly urge that you research this in the Open Discussion forum under the thread of the same name, lest you be startled by the transition. You'll find that, in and of itself, it will not enhance your writing skills, but the strange life forms around here that are constantly adding to and tweaking upon its contents, most certainly will.

I can acutely sympathize with your recent loss. I've taken to the OCD-like ritual of backing up my work in dozens of forms and in as many locations around the planet. The loss of my loved ones is 7 years old come summer, but it still aches sometimes when it rains.

In any case, I hope you enjoy the community, and I look forward to seeing your work on the board.

Best,
Joe


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Exploding Monkey
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Thanks!

Hey, anyone here use a word processor outside of MS Word? I'm interested if writers prefer a word proc other than what Microsoft offers.

While it's a good program, I have always felt there was probably something better out there for writers.


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HSO
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Welcome.

Some people use Open Office. Others use Word Perfect. It varies. Most of us have MS Word, though, and that's probably the most common WP format you'll see on Hatrack.


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Jeraliey
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I like WordPerfect, myself, but I find it more convenient to use Word. That way, I can transfer files to other computers through email attachments (really useful since I don't have a printer...) and be sure that they'll open whenever I send them to anyone.

That said, Word really REALLY annoys me. Just the other day, it automatically changed "propositional" to "prepositional", completely changing the meaning of a philosophy of language paper and earning a confused note from the professor and a quick meeting to clarify what I actually meant. I proofread the thing, but Word just kept on changing what I typed when I wasn't looking!


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Jaina
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I have been cursed with an eternity of owning computers that come equipped with Works and not Word. They're similar enough, but nobody else I've ever met has ever owned Works without owning Word. I don't understand it! It wouldn't be that bad if I wasn't expected to email professors assignments that have to be *.doc, because Works *can* do that, but it messes with the formatting, and then I get evil looks. Word is more convenient just for me (I recently just went out and bought it. TAKE THAT, EVIL COMPUTER OF DOOM! ...ahem) because I can send documents to other people without getting crazy remarks for my trouble.

Oh, and Keith: your screen name rocks on ice! I'll have to show my brother--he'll love it. Welcome to Hatrack!


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Exploding Monkey
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Thanks. Kind of a silly story how it came to be. Short version is me and a friend were talking pure BS and I pulled 'exploding monkeys' out of nowhere. We started busting up (yah had to be there to understand the context of the converstaion) and so it stuck with me. LOL

[This message has been edited by Exploding Monkey (edited March 21, 2005).]

[This message has been edited by Exploding Monkey (edited March 21, 2005).]


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MrClean
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I once saw a monkey explode. Welcome to Hatrack! hope you enjoy.

MC


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Shendülféa
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*gasp!* You spelled Tolkien wrong! Ack!

Sorry, please excuse me for I am a Tolkien enthusiast (yeah, one of those people).

ahem...

Anyway, "Exploding Monkey," eh? I like it. I call myself insane_husky at the Baten Kaitos forums. Weird names are so much fun, don't you think?

But enough of that, welcome to Hatrack! *gives you unofficial new person sticker and tells Shinomuri at the BK forums that I'm sorry for stealing that idea, which was originally his*

Shendi

P.S. Don't mind my random strangeness. It's late, I'm tired, and...there was something else, but I just lost it.

[This message has been edited by Shendülféa (edited March 23, 2005).]


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ScottMiller
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Exploding Monkeys... clean-up on aisle 7, and bring some buckets while you're at it.

Anyway, greetings, salutations, that kind of thing.

I'm sort of in the same boat; I've been writing crap (and most of it is, too true) since third grade but have been making an effort for the past four years or so to get into the deep end of the pool. (Not counting last year, which was mostly wasted.) At the moment I'm trying new writing tricks to get myself writing more steadily (and better). Excuse the somewhat mangled grammar.

Jaina: This PC has Works and Word, so I suppose they do go in tandem sometimes.

I'm used to the "old" late '90s versions, so I'm frustrated with the new ones, and with Windows XP and its "helpful" task wizards. I wish someone would stake Bill Gates over an anthill in the desert and cover him with honey.

[This message has been edited by ScottMiller (edited March 23, 2005).]


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Shendülféa
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quote:
I'm used to the "old" late '90s versions, so I'm frustrated with the new ones, and with Windows XP and its "helpful" task wizards. I wish someone would stake Bill Gates over an anthill in the desert and cover him with honey.

Me too, but mostly because I'm a Mac user and I find Macs much easier to use when it comes to typing foreign characters. I've seen how you put accents, umlauts, and the like over letters on Windows and it's way too complicated for it's own good. I find it kinda funny in a way. I mean, holding down alt+some random code, what is up with that? All I have to do is type in option+one of the vowels depending on what mark I want and then the letter. Simple. No memorizing codes for me.


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HSO
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quote:
I've seen how you put accents, umlauts, and the like over letters on Windows and it's way too complicated for it's own good. I find it kinda funny in a way. I mean, holding down alt+some random code, what is up with that? All I have to do is type in option+one of the vowels depending on what mark I want and then the letter

Accents are simple in Windows, too (at least in Word). You should be able to do as follows in Word:

Press and hold CTRL, then Press ' followed by the letter you want accented. No memorizing codes.

If you're lucky enough to live in the UK, you'll have that lovely "Alt Gr" button on your keyboard, which works no matter what program you're in. Hold that and type the letter you want accented... ÁÉÍÓÚ

Now, umlauts and others... I've not bothered to learn how to do it yet, because I've not needed to do so. It's probably simple -- just a matter of knowing how.

And there's always that awkward "Insert Symbol" command in Word... Really, if you need these symbols on a regular basis, either change to the appropriate keyboard (and settings in Windows) or use a Mac, I suppose.


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Exploding Monkey
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Shend's nuts. I like that in people. Looks like I'll fit in well with all you wackos.

Question though, in regards to the HUB, can I just start off with a plain imitation leather belt and attach the upgrades later, or do I need to pick up a no frills base model unit so all the items will attach properly?

And what colors does it come in? I have several writing suits for my diffrent situational needs.


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TaShaJaRo
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Welcome Keith. I'm sorry for your loss. It took only one hard drive crash for me to be like onepkjoe and completely OCD about backing up my writing now. I used to use floppies (back in the day) and would keep a set at work and at my mom's (just in case my house burned down).
Now I just use a thumb drive and I keep it with me.

Good question about the HUB. I think I'd like one in purple. Or, given the recent turn of events in the Quest for Survivor, camouflage so that no one steals it.


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Exploding Monkey
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To tell you the truth, I knew that PC was on its deathbed and had been warning my wife about it. The guy at the PC shop that I bought some of my new components from said, "You made a DELL last four years?! Pretty impressive." Now that I know how to build though I’ll never go back to a pre built rig.

I started backing up all my data to DVDs a few days before the melt down, but lost all my emails, docs, and a couple of minor programs when my PSU let the machine have a nice little jolt of alternating current. If it had only lasted a day or two more I wouldn’t be in this mess. Oh well, live and learn eh? LOL


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Elan
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That little Word trick with the Control key also works for other characters. For example, to type the spanish letter "enyay" (not sure how to phoentically type it out, but you know the "n" with the wavy line over it - ie, the tilde character?) At any rate, hold down the CTRL key AND the SHIFT key, type the tilde, release the shift and type the lower case n, or to capitalize an upper case N keep the shift key held down.

this may possibly be the ONLY useful feature WORD has. Me? I'm still looking for the button to push to turn ALL of WORD's "helpful features" the heck OFF and leave it to function like a simple,stupid, OBEDIENT typewriter.


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Shendülféa
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Wow, Exploding Monkey. You seriously made a Dell last for four years? That takes talent. My mother works in the computer lab at an elementary school--all the computers in that lab being Dells, and they break down quite frequently. I work at the library at my college and the women I work with all have Dells at their desks that they seem to have trouble with quite constantly. Plus we use Dells to check books out to patrons as well as a variety of other tasks and it seems like they have problems every time I walk in. Even though I'm a Mac user, I've worked on Windows computers a great deal, and I know that Dells, while probably not the worst Windows computers out there, are by no means of the best quality. Maybe they are a good quality for the price that they come at, but considering how often they have to be repaired, it's probably cheaper in the end to by a different brand or, like you do, build one from scratch.

And this is random: you think I'm nuts? Well...maybe I am, I dunno. *ponders that thought for a moment* I did after all give myself the name "insane_husky" at the Baten Kaitos forums. Hmm...I guess I am.


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Jeraliey
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I have a Dell (named Jane...stop laughing), and it's lasted me very nicely for four years. I fully expect to have it for another four.

Any problems I've had have been quickly and easily fixed by my more computer-savvy friends.


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Shendülféa
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Well, I never said they had bad problems, just problems. Last time I had a problem with one of my Macs was probably ten years ago when we got this really bad virus on our really really old craptastic machine. Ever since...nuthin'. Not so much as one virus or anything else as far as I know.
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TaShaJaRo
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Shendülféa - you sound like my husband. He recently converted to the MAC side and has been a rabid MACite ever since.

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Exploding Monkey
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I'm too much of a PC gamer to switch to a Mac, otherwise I'd concider an Apple cause I hear they are superior computers when you want a serious tool.

Mac = Serious comp for serious needs.
PC = Best suited as a gaming machine.

I plan on building a second PC after our move from here in Southern California to the Pacific Northwest is complete. It's gonna be a power rig built strictly to give me my gaming fix.


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