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Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Tuesday November 4, 2003. LiveJournal has two synesthesia communities. I've now signed on to both of them. And material from both will show up on my Friends page.
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Writing -- "The Caterpillar on the Leaf" advanced by several connected scenes. Or one scene, depending on where you place the boundaries. As of now, I think there are two more scenes before the climactic scene. Enough stuff for at least one novel will be summarized.

I've done some more thinking about kinds of description. Here's the present form of what I have:

Sensory description -- what's usually meant by description. Preferably, each passage should appeal to at least three senses. (Ideally, each paragraph; but it's not always practical in short paragraphs.)

Function description -- 'Since his continuing interest is in process -- how things both physical and social work -- Heinlein doesn't tell what things look like, he tells what they do. For an example, in Beyond This Horizon, Heinlein has one of his characters introduce a Colt .45 automatic. Physically, it is "novel," "odd," "uncouth," and has a stud on its side which when pressed lets a long, flat container slide out. That's it. That's all you get. If you had never seen a .45 automatic, you would be no better off for Heinlein's description of it. You might mistake it for a gum machine (novel, odd, uncouth; has a stud on its side which when pressed lets a long, flat container -- your gum -- slide out). On the other hand, in dialogue Heinlein lets us know more about it and he demonstrates how it works very nicely. You still don't know what the damned thing looks like, but you know very well what it does.' Alexei Panshin, _Heinlein in Dimension_ Chapter VI, http://www.enter.net/~torve/critics/Dimension/hd06-1.htm

Heinlein also described people the same way -- what they do, and how they do it.

Abstract description -- In some "true experience" sex stories, first-person narrator will give his wife's breast size rather than saying what her breasts look like. The rest of his description, and his self-description, will be almost entirely in abstract terms.

I think many of these writers would be bewildered by the above passage. Isn't giving the breast size exactly the same as saying what the breasts look like?

Pattern description -- Some people, looking at a plant, will see Fibonacci numbers before they notice such things as color. This is not _interpretation_ of what they see; it's what they see. Buckminster Fuller mostly saw the world in terms of patterns.
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Medical news in the Health section of Google News's UK edition:

Jane's Addiction
Guardian - Nov 3, 2003
That the opening night of the Jane's Addiction tour fell on Halloween was the narco-punk equivalent of a red rag waved at a bull. Leader Perry Farrell took it as licence to fill the foyer with near-naked hostesses from the Torture Garden S&M club, and the ...
Jane's Addiction treat clued-up fans to 'flashmob' gig NME.com
Sam Leith reviews Jane's Addiction at Brixton Academy Telegraph.co.uk

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