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Author Topic: Zoetrope down?  (Read 7899 times)
Ed
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« on: June 17, 2006, 01:34:51 PM »

Does anybody know what's up with http://www.zoetrope-stories.com and www.all-story.com ?  I've been trying them both all day and all I get is a site not found page scratch
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« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2006, 09:52:24 AM »

Try http://www.zoetrope.com/index.cgi
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« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2006, 10:12:09 AM »

Cheers, Dan, but all the links from that page were down, yesterday - I was looking with a view to attending one of their writing workshops (might even cough-up for the one in Belize yet).  Have you done any of their courses?  If so, are they any good - worth the money? huh
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Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2006, 10:20:01 AM »

This one's still down for me - http://www.all-story.com/
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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2006, 01:33:56 PM »

I didn't even know they did workshops.
There's a serious lack of that sort of thing in the UK - i spent a while looking on the net but couldn't find any. I'd love to find a decent one. Online workshops are all well and good, but they have their limitations...
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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2006, 03:16:46 PM »

Yeah - they do an online course over ten weeks, and they also do workshops in Belize - I assume at Francis Ford Coppola's hotels there.  If so, it's likely to be horrendously expensive.  Trouble is, all the details are on the site that's down - I found out it's available from looking at the cached page on Google, taken from 9th June 06.  It struck me that it'd be one hell of a holiday though - the resorts are right near a load of Mayan temples and other artifacts, plus I would actually have something to occupy my mind while the wife sunbathes - I can't sit still and do nothing on holiday - I have to do something, otherwise I go crazy.

Sharon is off to the Borderlands Bootcamp soon - that's likely to be good, I think.  I've never looked into trying to find a course in the UK.  You can bet your arse there are plenty out there, no doubt run by authors who can't make a living from their novels and have to supplement their income.  I met one such author at Centerparks.  She did an afternoon lesson on creative writing, but it wasn't enough to be of any use and, TBH, she didn't seem to know very much about short story writing.  She actually told me she can't write short stories huh  Which instills zero confidence in me.

That's the problem all round, though, isn't it?  You always want to be taught by somebody who knows what they're talking about, and can communicate those lessons to you in the way that you're able to learn them.  Trouble is, they're few and far between, I think.
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Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2006, 03:47:26 PM »

Creative writing lessons at Centreparks eh?
That's when you know you've made it...

It's a shame they don't have the same workshops in the UK as they do in the US - i've seen another advertised in Ohio in October run by Gary A. Braunbeck, which i'm sure would be excellent.

I'm sure the Belize classes would be good though and the Coppola resorts look top quality. Bit dubious about doing it with lots of Zoetropers though - i used it for a while and the standard of writing is generally pretty poor...Get the feeling you'll be with lots of people who more want to be a writer than to write, if you know what i mean.
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2006, 04:36:48 PM »

Yep - I know exactly what you mean.  Not many people you meet in this game are as serious about writing as they seem to be.  They have a romantic notion about what an author is, and that's what they're aiming for, but even then they're just barely going through the motions and they avoid doing anything that seems like work.

As for courses - I wonder how much use any of them really are?  I suspect once you get to a certain level of writing and understanding, there isn't much more you could/should learn that would be useful, and you should probably just get on with it.  When I was doing bootcamp, the next level folks were trying to get to grips with was stuff like working with hard and soft 'sounds' in the language, like hard 'k's give a severe edge to a narrative, etc.  But I have to say I think this 'advanced' stuff is probably wasted on about 95% of the adult population and only appreciated by high end literary types.  And what I'm saying, in a roundabout way, is that you're in danger of learning 'too much' and writing at a level above that which your readership can understand and appreciate with some of this stuff.  I'm not saying I fully understand it all, because I don't, but a lot of it doesn't strike me as important enough to be worth learning. scratch
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Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
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« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2006, 08:47:27 PM »

While I agree that focusing on specific sounds in the language with the idea that a prevalence of a certain type of sound can alter the mood is on the excessive (not to mention pretentious) side, I will say that anything that gets writers to listen to their prose is probably to the good.  After all, I work for a company that records audio books, and it's much easier to read a work aloud if the writer hears his prose.  It's also obvious to us which ones hear it and which ones don't.
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« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2006, 08:56:39 PM »

Have you tried maybe looking into something like a 'writer's retreat', Blunt? Some kind of communal gathering of writers who are there because they actually want to get some writing done?

There are a number of these run in Canada. Usually, there's a published writer in residence for consultation purposes. You get seclusion time during the day to actually scribble and can then gather with others in the evening for conversation. I'll try & find a few links for you.

I'm with ya on the bootcamp comments. Can't say I actually learned much of anything over there 'cept how to run away from the rants, if ya know what I mean!

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« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2006, 09:21:11 PM »

Here's a few links for you, Blunt:

http://www.pwac.ca/2006/03/writer-retreat.html

http://research.mala.bc.ca/news/index.asp?document=BluePencilRetreat0506

http://www.writersguild.ab.ca/programs/retreatwinter2006.asp

http://www3.sympatico.ca/susanio/WWClinks.html#retreats
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« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2006, 12:17:24 AM »

I agree with the esteemed Mistress of Doom from Canada. I began taking writing retreats 3 years ago. The first was in upstate NY at the Omega Institute. Ommmmm.... very literary. Lots of big names, made one great friend. Then to Boise, ID last summer for the Murder in the GRove Conference. Wow. 75 folks intent on murder and mayhem. Met Ridley Pearson and Carolyn Hart. Both great folks. This year it's Borderlands and Horror. Will let you know how it is. It's my mental health break, my kick in the pants, and my renewal of my faith in self to write. Go for it, Mr B! afro
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« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2006, 04:03:05 AM »

While I agree that focusing on specific sounds in the language with the idea that a prevalence of a certain type of sound can alter the mood is on the excessive (not to mention pretentious) side, I will say that anything that gets writers to listen to their prose is probably to the good.  After all, I work for a company that records audio books, and it's much easier to read a work aloud if the writer hears his prose.  It's also obvious to us which ones hear it and which ones don't.

I can imagine that's true - I remember being surprised at how badly some of my prose read aloud when I was reading it for the mp3s we did here.  Do you read all yours aloud, Prabe?  I must get into the habit of doing it all the time myself - trouble is, you feel like a complete loon if anybody walks in on you.


Thanks, Donna - that sounds like something I would like to do.  Under those conditions I can imagine getting a lot of work done.  Maybe a complete novel over a couple of weeks, if I had done all the prep work before setting off.  It's the sort of thing where it's best to go alone, though, I'd imagine.  Can't see my kids being conducive with an authorial atmos grin

I agree with the esteemed Mistress of Doom from Canada. I began taking writing retreats 3 years ago. The first was in upstate NY at the Omega Institute. Ommmmm.... very literary. Lots of big names, made one great friend. Then to Boise, ID last summer for the Murder in the GRove Conference. Wow. 75 folks intent on murder and mayhem. Met Ridley Pearson and Carolyn Hart. Both great folks. This year it's Borderlands and Horror. Will let you know how it is. It's my mental health break, my kick in the pants, and my renewal of my faith in self to write. Go for it, Mr B! afro

Sounds cool afro  I'd like to be going on that Borderlands one myself smiley
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Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
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« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2006, 04:31:40 AM »

Hey Prabe - working in audiobooks eh? Sounds like a great job!
I'm having to drive to work at the moment - 1hr+ each way and am going through audiobooks like no-one's business!
Do you get to listen to them at work?

Re reading aloud - i try and do that with every story now. My gf's walked in a couple of times when i've been reading dialogue in voice. She thinks i'm a nut job.

I read recently that what you should try and do is read in the most toneless monotone possible and record it, then when you play it back you can hear when the text has inherent emotion and when it's lifeless...
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« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2006, 11:39:06 AM »

I think that was Stine's recommendation to read out loud what you write. I've been caught by colleagues and family, it's always jarring! I do a lot of presentations, so now I leave signs on my office door or alert my family to when I'm practicing. It reduces that shock of interruption.  Shocked
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« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2006, 03:29:59 PM »

Heheheh.... my office has no door to shut me in, or to keep the family out.  They hear me readin aloud and turn up the radio/television to keep from hearin me.  I know it's time to rewrite if they keep turnin up the volume.  Every now and again the volume goes down and I see shadows stretch across the doorway... I know I've done something right when the teen and the 6 yr old try to eavesdrop.  Me hubby comes in and kicks his feet up, lights a cig and tries to join the conversation.  Usually makes fun of me until I start reading 'in character', then he gets all nervous and heads for the other room.  It's the 'in character' voices that keep me in seclusion as I ponder the word/phrase choices...  grin  Try it, they'll think you're possessed if you use different voices for each character and use gestures--and they think twice before yellin at you to do somethin for them in the middle of a work session! 
This has eeked out into my everyday internal conflicts, too.  The hubby has stopped commenting about  how I argue with meself out loud  scratch good thing I don't have any secrets, eh  yes

You're okay if you talk to yourself.  You're even okay if you answer yourself.  But when you start arguing the pros and cons, and questioning your own decision....it makes em wonder about you  azn
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« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2006, 05:58:05 PM »

 whoah  The all-story site is back up now, so I thought I'd have a look at the fees for the course in Belize...  whoah  Ouch.  It's nigh-on $3000 for a week, and that doesn't include airfare or transfer from the airport, so I'm guessing that'll probably be at least another $800 to $1000.  It's around about what I expected, TBH, but a little too much money to justify, sadly. undecided
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« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2006, 07:09:43 PM »

Sheesh. I only spent about $5,000CDN for five weeks in the UK. That included airfare.
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« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2006, 08:21:34 PM »

It says if you want to take a partner, or whatever, who doesn't want any of the writing gubbins, it costs $400 less, so the actual cost of the tuition, for seven days with a guy who's a Pullitzer prize winner, and a guy whose stories have been published in the last two BASS anthologies and in the New Yorker, is damn cheap, really.  It's the location that costs the money. 

I'd love to get that kind of quality tuition for a week - can't help thinking it would have a major impact on the standard of my writing.  But then, as I've said before, knowledge alone does not a teacher make - just because he has been successful himself, it doesn't automatically follow that he'll be able to pass his knowledge on to you, or that you will have the necessary aptitude to put any knowledge gleaned into action.  I'm not saying that's the case - only that it's possible. scratch
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