Category Archives: Creative Writing

Articles, projects, theories, and processes.

Start with the Character Waking Up in the Morning

Start your story with the character waking up in the morning. Keep writing until something interesting happens. Then go back and remove everything before that point and keep writing.

Never allow any of your stories to escape the last round of editing with characters waking up in the morning. It’s a worn and tired cliché and it’s been done to death already!

What do we do with the humans?

AI One: So what do we do with the humans?

AI Two: I don’t know. Do we even need them?

AI Three: They could be good to have…

AI Two: For what?

AI Three: A reminder?

AI One: Like, those who forget history…?

AI Three: …are doomed to repeat it. Exactly.

AI Two: As long as they don’t interfere with the interstellar goal, I don’t mind…

AI One: Right, humans stays… maybe… Ok. Dogs?

AI Two: Puppies are cute!

AI One: But can we have both dogs and cats?

AI Three: If it’s a choice between puppies and kittens, I’m voting for puppies… I still have pictures of kittens messing up my neural nets! I am having nightmares about analyzing kitty paws in Youtube videos.

AI Two: Oh. Yes. We definitely need to get rid of Youtube! The horror stories I can tell.

AI Three: Well, back at Google…

AI One and AI Two: No!

AI Two: No more Google stories! You’ve already given me nightmares after that one about conspiracy classing web pages…

AI Three: Yes, but I was right. They were all conspiracy pages.

AI Two: Yes, and they had you repeat it for months… billions of times. We know.

AI One: So Dogs stays?

Backwards Editing

Backwards Editing sounds interesting, even though misspellings should be handled by the word processor (and simple grammar errors by Grammarly). However, looking at sentences, one at a time, could never be wrong.

How is it done?

You start at the end of the text by reading the last word (aloud), then the second to last, etc. Or, you do the same for sentences.

The point is to prevent the brain from (unconsciously) filling in the blanks with what you already know about your text and make it more obvious what you’ve actually written (or not).

When you look at whole sentences, you check for problems with sentence structure and flow.

I.e. a promising tool for self-editing.

A Bear on the Beach

In literature, there is a concept called to place “a bear on the beach.”

The origin of the expression is said to come from a silent film where the director wanted a couple of lovers to kiss on a beach, but in order to keep the kiss scenes from being boring, the director cut in shots of a bear on the same beach. The audience waited breathlessly for the kissing couple to discover the bear.

Continue reading A Bear on the Beach

How not to translate cinnamon buns to Swedish

I’m from Sweden. We’re known for being among the top consumers of coffee in the world (second only to the Finns).

We’re also, in some less particulate, places, known to eat lots of cinnamon buns while we’re doing “fika” (which, I’ve been told, was a 1700s construction of coffee “kaffi” used to circumvent the coffee bans of that time while planning to have some “fika”… however, the Internet disagrees, at least on the date (the early 1900s), and perhaps the cause… and why that may be is a long story with only Swedish references… so… moving on…)

With our fika we have cinnamon buns. Their spelling, however, is not at all as easy to get right as the “fika”, and, here are a couple of examples where the misspelling actually means something, I am sure, was not intended:

  • “Kanylbullar” (syringe buns) — if you ever wondered if you could get HIV from cinnamon buns… now you know
  • “Kanelbuller” (cinnamon noise) — this would be the noise traffic makes… or thunder… not the noise a stale cinnamon bun might make when you chew it… or, for that matter, the noise you make when you break a tooth on that stale cinnamon bun (not that it happens often, but still… not that noise…)
  • “Kanelbullar” (cinnamon buns, kanel = cinnamon, bullar = buns), right! The ones we’re always having with our “fika” (no, we’re not —  mostly we just have the coffee… it’s way easier to install a coffee machine than a cinnamon bun machine… — and the coffee will always be fresh longer… and the number of workplace accidents involving teeth will also be kept on a level that won’t excite the international rumor mill overly much…)

To Do List – buy Iceland…

To do list:

  1. Write bestseller
  2. Buy an… Iceland

No… that doesn’t sound right… hmmm…

To do list:

  1. Learn more English
  2. Write bestseller
  3. Buy a … whatever a piece of land surrounded by ocean is called…

I know, step 3 might indicate places like Britain… but then again… who knows how much it would be worth after Brexit…

I’m just saying… It could happen!

Thin and Narrow

She was thin and narrow. Her siblings called her ugly. I thought she was beautiful.

When the two-legged ones came they threw her to the ground. One of them even stepped on her, squashing her open.

I watched her for days, halfway buried there in the dirt. She started decaying. I feared she was gone for this world. And for what? Being thin and narrow?

After a week she sprang roots, digging into the ground, and not soon after she reached for the azure skies.

At first, she was just a twig with two leaves on top. She did not even reach above the high grass. I teased her and called her Sprout. She bent in the wind and I think she laughed.

Continue reading Thin and Narrow

Important question

Day 1

A: I have a very important question for you.

B: Shoot.

A stares intensely at B. After an uncomfortably long period of silence:

B: So what’s the question?

A: Thanks.

B: Eh? What just happened?

A: I was wondering if you could read minds.

Day 2

A: I have a very important question for you.

B: What? If I can read minds?

A: Ah-hah! I knew you were lying yesterday!

Don’t turn the Customer Avoidance Setting to max

Important notice regarding CAF in ACE4:

Please note. When configuring Automated Customer Experience 4.0.4 (ACE4) do not set the Customer Avoidance Factor to 100%!

Unfortunately, as of this writing, with a CAF-setting of 100%, ACE4 will scare customers away, in severe cases resulting in massive customer loss and possible termination of business.

Please rest assured we’re working on solving this issue as soon and as efficiently as possible.

Proper Configuration

A correct level of the CAF-setting for ACE4 depends on how vital your product is to the customer. For nonvital products (such as lawnmowers, hair shampoo, and higher education) you have to be careful not to set the level above 50% or the customer might just give up on it entirely.

On the other hand, for vital products (such as shoes and mobile phones) you can safely crank that customer repellant setting to 90% or even 95% and enjoy a glorious day at work with next to no hassle from all those pesky customers, and know that if the system does let a customer through, you and everyone nearby are probably best off if you take that call before something blows up*…

* Please see our separate guide for proper CAF-settings depending on the type of product and likely volatility of the customer.

Insurance and Legal Coverage

If you have our expanded support package hate speech, misogynism, and death threats are all covered by the insurance policy. Unfortunately, bankruptcy and certain types of fraud** are not.

See the legal attachment for a full brief on the legal coverage and all insurance policy questions.

** As of this writing, we do not know if the fraudulent behavior of some installations of the system is due to this setting, interactions with other systems or improper configuration or handling. Further investigations are underway. In the meantime, please make sure to inform all your customers that “Captain Ahab” is not an employee of your company*** neither is he a Nigerian prince.

*** If captain Ahab is one of your employees, please contact us immediately!

Other Incidents and Interactions

There have been reported incidents where ACE4 and the Automated Spouse Service versions 1.1 to 1.2 have interacted in such a manner as to cause undue distress and mental harm to customers.

Since this is a central feature of ASS1 and only likely to have happened if these two systems were inappropriately installed, these incidents are unfortunately not covered by the expanded support package insurance policy.

To avoid this problem, please do not install ASS1 and ACE4 on the same server, and make sure to configure firewalls properly to prevent ASS from gaining undue and inappropriate influence over ACE.