Monthly Archives: November 2011

Writing Advice to Myself: Rules on Becoming a More Prolific Writer

2011 is slowly drawing to a close and since it is never too early to start thinking about resolutions, I have decided to make up my own list of rules that I need to adhere if I want to become a more prolific writer. This short list is mainly based on other pieces of writing advice as well as observations on my own writing habits. After some thought, I believe these are the rules that make the most sense for me personally. Some of these may be painfully obvious when you read it, but just because something is obvious doesn’t mean that I will necessarily do it, so it’s always good to write them down as a reminder. Speaking of obvious… Continue reading

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Writing short stories during NaNoWriMo

It’s November, and for a lot of writers it means it’s time for NaNoWriMo again. After weeks of inaction due to the busy schedule at work, I have decided to make use of this occasion to seriously start writing again, albeit with a different purpose than other Wrimo’s all around the world. No 50,000 word novel for me. Instead I will try my hand at a couple of short stories.

There are several story ideas swirling around in my head for quite some time now, and they are all desperately pleading to be given form and substance so that they can become something more than mere figments of my imagination. For now, I’ve picked two of them to work on. The first one is based on an exercise for the Writers Studio from about a year ago. It is a piece largely inspired by T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, and its challenge of the concept of ‘Might is right’. Ever since I wrote that piece I’ve been thinking about Sam and his relationship with Sir Bruce, and how it would evolve further. The other idea is something I thought up of just a few weeks ago about a writer who gets somewhat caught up by his own imagination. I chose that one because it was supposed to be a very short story in a very simple setting, something I can work on just to get myself into the rhythm again. However I found out today that the idea wants to be something more than a mere warm-up for the other stories. Not that it will evolve into a groundbreaking concept or anything like that — it’s still a relatively simple concept — but I believe now that it has the potential to grow into a story in its own right.

I’ve actually been working on these ideas since the end of October. Unfortunately I’ve found that I have become quite rusty, as I have trouble writing freely and let my imagination do the work for now. I find myself constantly falling back into my old habit of mulling over each individual word before putting it down on paper (before proceeding to cross it out again), so that’s something I need to work on the coming weeks. Well, at least I am putting in the effort again, even if the amount of time and effort spent is still largely concentrated around the weekends and therefore relatively limited. So to be honest, I do not believe I will end up with enough material at the end of the month to reach the 50,000 word goal, but that’s not my personal goal anyway. I will be thrilled if I can finish a couple of first drafts and use November mainly to gain momentum to start writing more in 2012 and beyond.

And to everyone who has taken up the NaNoWriMo challenge, or just the challenge to write anything at all, I wish you all lots of luck!

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How ‘Seoul’ becomes ‘Seoel’ in Dutch

About a year ago I read an article about Seoul in a magazine. I already forgot what the article was about, but I can still vividly remember my annoyance when I noticed that the author spelled Seoul as ‘Seoel’. As first I thought this was just an error on the author’s part which had somehow escaped the editor’s attention. When I decided to Google it however, I realized that Seoel has in fact become a valid spelling in Dutch. Apparently Seoul is also still valid as well, but it seems that most Dutch language sites, including the Dutch version of Wikipedia and the KLM website, use Seoel as its spelling. I find this to be rather baffling, because I believe that this change in spelling is actually the result of the erroneous pronunciation of Seoul in Dutch instead of there being a well thought out reason behind it. Let me try to explain.

The official English spelling of Seoul is based on the Revised Romanization of Korean (RR), and it is broken up into these two parts: Seo(서) and Ul(울). The way you pronounce Seo is like the first part of sock (or sok in Dutch), so eo is pronounced as a short o, which may be a bit counter-intuitive at first. The way you pronounce Ul is like ool as in pool (or oel as in poel in Dutch). So Seoul would sound somewhat alike to soul (hence the ‘Korea’s got Seoul’ pun you might have come across), albeit with a short o instead of a long o. Continue reading

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