Huxley's Writing Thread

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Omnidon
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Huxley's Writing Thread

Post by Omnidon » Tue Mar 07, 2006 2:46 pm

[Edit by heruca: I split this off from the "True20 Fantasy" thread in the "Games Seeking Players" forum]

Sounds a lot like how I play, minus the d20 ;-)

So you say you're a professional writer, mind telling me what you have written?
I've been considering doing some fantasy writing, on the recommendation of multiple people, but it's a hard market to work with.

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Post by HuxleyJP » Tue Mar 07, 2006 3:08 pm

Sure, I'd be glad to tell you what I've written, although I've never written anything in the Fantasy genre (altough I was once a staff editor for a short-lived Fantasy zine). Most of my writing nowadays is academic in nature (i.e. research on "reflective thinking models" in compositional instruction, pedagogical dissertations, etc.) but as a freelancer I've written articles on Johnny Cash and Warren Zevon, features for Philadelphia and SJ Magazines, CD blurbs for online music subscription services, copy for television commericals, a couple of short stories, and, of course, my doctoral dissertation, which was on John Berryman's "Dream Songs." Other things, probably, that I've forgotten, but I guess to say that I am a "professional writer" means that I'll write pretty much anything if I'm getting paid, and pretty much anything even if I'm not.

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Post by Omnidon » Tue Mar 07, 2006 4:28 pm

HuxleyJP wrote:Most of my writing nowadays is academic in nature (i.e. research on "reflective thinking models" in compositional instruction, pedagogical dissertations, etc.)
Sounds interesting, got any links to your work?
What university are you at?
One of my parents is a professor at Cornell.

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Post by HuxleyJP » Tue Mar 07, 2006 8:29 pm

Unfortunately, there are no links to any of my research that are accessible to the public. There are a number of reasons for this, not least of which is the growing plagiarism problem that we encounter among college students. You would need subscription databases, such as EBSCO or Google Scholar, in order to find most good scholarly writing.

I used to teach in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. Now, I am at a small, private, liberal arts college, and it is nice because I can focus my energy on teaching and research instead of having to waste alot of time doing departmental legwork.

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Post by Omnidon » Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:26 pm

Well, if you want, you can PM me the titles of your work & such and I can see if my family has access, or you can send me a sample.
Only if you want to though, it's ok if you don't.

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Post by HuxleyJP » Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:29 pm

Omnidon wrote:Well, if you want, you can PM me the titles of your work & such and I can see if my family has access, or you can send me a sample.
Only if you want to though, it's ok if you don't.
My friend, I wish my students could be as eager as you. To be honest, it's kind of dry writing--all that esoteric jargon, the extent to which it assumes a healthy amount of prior knowledge. Not to mention the level of abstraction...

Most recently I have done some research on assignment design, particularly essay assignments, using the "ill-structured model" versus the "well-structured model." In the latter, an obvious structure or path is implied by the question, so the student is essentially applying a very linear kind of logic to completing the essay. In the former, however, a student is presented with a broad question that is essentially unanswerable, so a non-linear thinking is utilized in order to reach some kind of concrete conclusion despite the fact that the question itself only leads to other questions. Pretty interesting, eh?

Anyways, if you subscribe to Rhapsody you can read some of the blurbs I wrote for old rock and roll albums (alot of Queen, Van Morrison, Rolling Stones, Derek and the Dominoes, many others). I'm sort of working with an agenda because I'm not supposed to be objective so much as I am supposed to compel listeners to want to listen to an album, even if it's not the best album ever.

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Post by Omnidon » Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:36 pm

To be honest, it's kind of dry writing--all that esoteric jargon, the extent to which it assumes a healthy amount of prior knowledge. Not to mention the level of abstraction...
Well it can't be that boring, since you choose to spend your time doing it ;-)
As I said, I have an interest in writing and literature. I read 4-6 books a month, mostly fantasy and classics, and debate philosophy regularly with my friends.

I would have read a fair amount of scholarly writing about composition already except that I have difficulty reading print due to over-sensitive eyes. (Most of the books I 'read' are on audio and my computer font is huge).
Also, I find that most people who make a career out of english and writing have limited imagination, and I was excited to finally meet someone who writes professionally and also happens to clearly have a sophisticated imagination.

Admittedly, I don't know much of the "esoteric jargon" since I haven't been able to go to college yet due to a chronic illness (to which my eye problems are related).

But I look forward to chatting with you some time. ;-)

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Post by HuxleyJP » Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:03 pm

Thanks for the kind sentiments. Being new to the community here, it's nice to get a warm welcome from someone who has obviously been around for a while. Scholarly writing is boring, in a way, but that's because the imagination and insight of the process is always more fun than the actual writing of it, which tends to become rather tedious after a while. I'm sorry to hear you say that you associate people involed in English and writing with an absence of imagination. It seems to me that literature and writing are very much about imagination. Even technical writers possess quite a skill. It's not easy to write anything in such a way as to not suggest even the slightest semblance of your self in the tone, style, choice of details, etc. I fear you may have had some lousy English teachers. You ain't the only one.

For the record, I am not only a gamer but a huge advocate of gaming. I encourage it to my friends, students, colleagues (or their kids). I think it is a wonderful way to nurture creativity, encourage critical thought about things like politics and religion, and emphasize a narrative approach to situations, which is always a healthy way to think. If anything is stifling to the imagination, it's television and pop culture, but I don't want to come on here sounding like some preachy anti-Promethean. Let's just say that roleplaying games may be games but that doesn't mean there's no value to them beyond recreational aesthetics.

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Post by Omnidon » Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:45 pm

Ha well I agree with you whole-heartedly.
I've nearly given up television entirely and can't stand small talk or pop culture.
I would roleplay all the time if I could manage it. There's nothing more fun for me than immersing myself in a world of imagination.
And I'd say I've learned far more from my extensive experience with fantasy novels than I have from any textbook or teacher.

Yes it is true that I have had bad english teachers. But most teachers in general are not very good these days. (And being the son of a college professor and a veteran of the multiple schools that I've moved to, I've met quite a few teachers.)

I was just saying I was disappointed in the relatively lower frequency of *good* english teachers.

I've met a lot of people who are admittedly taking an english major because it is thought to be an easy way to graduate. Unfortunately, many of those people end up filling the role of english teacher. And because english is more of an art than most professions, it's harder for them to publicly demonstrate their incompotence.

The standards for language skills are also quickly degenerating. Television likes to show the world's stupidest people, and of course that's where everyone is learning their english. Also, it is often 'politically incorrect' to correct someone's poor grammar or slang.

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Post by heruca » Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:23 pm

Huxley, do you want me to split this discussion into its own thread in the Clubhouse forum? I think it's taking the focus away from your game announcement.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by Omnidon » Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:41 pm

I think that's probably a good idea ;-)

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Post by HuxleyJP » Fri Mar 10, 2006 11:59 am

heruca wrote:Huxley, do you want me to split this discussion into its own thread in the Clubhouse forum? I think it's taking the focus away from your game announcement.
Indeed. I seem to have hijacked my own thread. I blame Omnidon entirely. He got me started. Hehe.

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Post by Omnidon » Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:46 pm

Muahahaha!

:twisted:

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