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Everything posted by EleCivil

  1. It's pronounced "Ah-LAY-suv-elle." Haha. I really, REALLY don't miss subbing. But yeah, one of my students and I were quoting this sketch at each other the other day. "Insubordinate...and churlish."
  2. That's the thing - you've got a writer's instincts, so you do this without thinking about it. All of these "Three rules for fiction" or "Two guidelines for creating characters" kind of quotes break down into a way of quickly describing what comes naturally to good writers. Same goes for reading strategies - you don't teach them to good readers, because they're already using them.
  3. I like those two principles a lot! I remember hearing John Rogers (another screenwriter) break it down in a similar way: A good story establishes a character and answers three questions: 1.) What do they want? 2.) Why can't they have it? And 3.) Why should I give a shit? That one always stuck with me.
  4. I say we all go to his house and stage a demonstration! Fellatioccupy Virginia!
  5. I'm pretty sure my family considers me the crazy one. I say they're all nuts, and I'm the only half-sane one, but to be honest, that "half" is pushing it. They're...probably right.
  6. Mooks. Goons. Minions. Expendable henchmen.
  7. Okay, guys, I know I've been kind of...neglecting my authorly duties these last few weeks. The truth is, I had to save Christmas. Had to fight my way through waves of increasingly dangerous mooks to get to the evil mastermind, at which point I had to appeal to the deeply concealed childlike innocence in his heart in order to rekindle his belief in the magic of the season. Or I've been driving across the country visiting the friends and family I had to leave behind when I moved to the rural middle of nowhere. The upside? Driving for 32 straight hours gives you a lot of time to think, so I'll have some more LiP for you shortly.
  8. This. There's a bell curve. You've got a few that are absolutely terrible and shouldn't be allowed near a classroom, you've got a few that are excellent and stand as paragons of the profession, and you've got the vast majority that are somewhere in between those extremes. You'll likely find the same bell curve when you look at any career.
  9. Oh, hey, somebody called my name. Haha. As mentioned in that other topic about education, if you ask for it, I’ve got to give it to you. I'll try to hit the highlights. 1.) "Not getting a degree in content, but getting a degree in education and knowing nothing about the subject." Depends on the state. Most require education degrees, some will accept content degrees. Programs like Teach for America recruit people with content degrees and give them a crash-course in education, but such programs have a track record for producing poor quality teachers who tend to quit the profession within two or three years (a generalization, of course - some do manage to stay in the game and become excellent teachers). Now, every state and every school is going to be different, but I can share my experience. In order to get my Bachelor of Education, I had to essentially triple-major - I took a full courseload of English and Science courses that would have been enough to earn a BA or BS in those areas, and then a full courseload of Education Theory, Policy, and Pedagogy courses. In order to get my certifications, I had to also pass a series of both paper/pencil tests (each lasting about 3 hours) and practical tests ("Here's a room full of students you've never seen before. Teach them this set of standards, and this state-licensed Master Teacher will observe and critique your methods.") In order to finish the program, I had to complete six months of field work in several schools, teaching both of my chosen subjects at several different grade levels while performing field research. My state also requires teachers to enter into a residency program, much like doctors. For your first four years of teaching, you are considered a Resident Educator, not a professional teacher. You have your own classroom and do all the work of a professional teacher, but you report to a Master Teacher and have continuing reflection, observations, and additional scrutiny from above. You are also working on one-year contracts with no job security, so that poor teachers can be weeded out. (I recently got my Master Teacher's credentials, so now I've got a few residents to boss around! I'm mad with power! Before, I was just mad.) It's certainly possible to half-ass your way through such a program and come out the other end not knowing all that you should, but if you're the type to do that, you probably shouldn't be in education in the first place - you won't be able to hack it, and you'll wash out after a year or two. 2.) "The modern educational system is of poor quality." Literacy, high school graduation, and college graduation rates are higher at this point in time than at any other time in the nation's history. Test scores are good and consistently rising - the media does not understand how to read and interpret the data, or they are deliberately misinterpreting it because they are corporate shills (not that test scores mean anything). Other countries - even those with "better test scores" - are still sending their theorists and researchers here to try to crack the code of how and why American education creates such powerful and flexible minds. Most people do not get to see this, and instead hear things about how terrible American education is, because there is a great deal of money in convincing the public that the educational system is broken. Surveys show that the vast majority of American parents are happy with their local public schools. They believe that the education system is broken, but THEIR school is good. Again, the media and various corporate shills work to poison our perceptions. 3.) "Not enough time spent teaching teachers how to teach." Yes and no. Depends on the program, of course. This is mostly what happens in the bachelor's program, not the master's. Here's the thing: effective teachers learn by doing. They earn their stripes in the field. If I try to teach like another teacher, it'll be terrible. If another teacher tries to teach like me, it'll be terrible. Kids understand authenticity and they see through phoniness, so there's no way to design a course that teaches teachers "If a kid does X, you do Y." However, B.Ed. programs contain coursework in child psychology, sociology, endocrinology, and cognitive neuroscience, so that future teachers leave understanding the mental, physical, and social states of the children they are preparing to teach. From there, a teacher must study oneself, and from this mass of knowledge cobble together a style and method. The teachers that neglect this step are the ones you see attempting to follow scripts or working out of a book, "not knowing how to teach". They know the mechanics of teaching, but they do not know themselves. 4.) "What's the deal with a Master of Education, anyway?" Most schools have many different specializations within the M.Ed. program, depending on what the student wishes to do. Some of the common specializations are as follows: Curriculum and Instruction - How to teach, what to teach, and how to teach others what and how to teach. Specializing here can lead to becoming a curriculum specialist - a sort of on-site coach for teachers, often assuming some of the administrative roles, as well. Instructional Design - How to create entire programs and curricula from scratch. Specializing here can get you into the state board of education, or any number of for-profit companies that write pre-packaged curricula and study guides. Educational Technology - How to use, build, and design educational hardware and software. Generally considered to be the "money" specialization, as you can get in with tech companies with this kind of credential. Leadership of Educational Organizations - For future principals, deans, university presidents, superintendents, etc. Courses specializing in employee evaluation, high-level finance, state and federal education law, leadership theory, etc. Tends to have more in common with a business degree than an education degree. Some specializations are more taxing than others. Ed. Tech involves taking engineering/comp-sci courses, Ed. Leadership involves business courses, etc. Curriculum and Instruction is honestly pretty easy for anyone who's been in the classroom for any number of years. I ended up taking Ed. Leadership, just because it was something that I knew I didn't already know - I'm a theory-head, so Curriculum/Instruction and Inst. Design would have been a re-tread of what I'd already taught myself. To get back on topic, it wouldn't surprise me if Duck Commander had specialized in Ed. Leadership - as I said, it's basically a business degree, and he's a successful businessman.
  10. When I was living in a large, northern city, I would have thought the same way. This year, I moved to a Southern rural town. You know how many of my students own guns, dress in camo every day, and absolutely love Duck Dynasty? All of them! They keep telling me to watch it, but I just shrug and say "I don't own a TV," and they look at me like I'm from Mars. Granted, I frequently drop hints that I am from Mars, so it's understandable.
  11. Southern Christian preacher thinks being gay is a sin. Breaking news? I think the crazier part of his statement is when he said that pre-civil rights, African Americans "weren't singing the blues". I mean...I'm pretty sure there was a great deal of blues singing going on. There are recordings and everything.
  12. Upon reading the title, my first thought was "That's my secret, Captain. I'm always worried." But really, being blocked as pornographic by a webfilter isn't completely unreasonable. Some of our stories (hell, even one of mine) include depictions of sex. You can argue that sex scenes aren't necessarily "pornographic" (linguists, especially, would take issue with the -graphic part, I think), but if you're the kind of person who buys a webfilter or requests that sexual materials be blocked by your ISP, you probably don't want this site coming through. We're not G-rated, and some people only want G-rated Internet. Fair enough. I'm totally on board with the Dudeciple idea, though. I've got a card in my wallet that says I'm officially a Discordian Pope, if that helps. 'Course, I've also got a card in my wallet that says I'm offically a "Pimp Daddy". (I...uh...I haven't cleaned out my wallet since middle school.)
  13. I usually wait until stories are finished before I start reading, but I was so impressed by Cynus's short stories that I had to make an exception here. I really like where this is going. The title makes me think that there are elements at play beneath the surface, here. And Cynus's work has always struck me with a light World of Darkness kind of vibe, which I'm definitely picking up on here. Looking forward to this one.
  14. I remember reading an interview with Philip Pullman where he said he wrote his books with ballpoints and paper, saying that it allowed him to take his time - the little flashing cursor in a word processor seemed to be trying to get him to rush. Given the sheer wordcount and the fact that it took him ~7 years to write His Dark Materials, I can't imagine the number of notebooks and pens he must have gone through. Personally, I can't imagine writing with pen and paper for any great length. For one thing, my handwriting is terrible. It was bad when I was a kid, and I was writing every day in school. Since college, all my writing has been done via typing, so while I can type like a racehorse (well, you know, if it had fingers), I write slowly and sloppily. Second, I'd constantly be afraid of losing my work. If it's all longhand in a notebook, what happens when that notebook gets left behind in a move, or a cup of coffee gets spilled on it, or it simply ends up lost? I can (and do) email copies of my own drafts to myself, so that even if I'm states away and my computer explodes, my work is safe in the cloud. I usually have a scene written in my head before I sit down at a keyboard, however. I already know who is going to say what, what kind of stage business they'll be doing, and what the eventual goal of a scene will be, along with certain details I want to add. By the time I open up the word processor, my writing is done - I'm just typing.
  15. Haha, nice! Also, I noticed that toward the bottom of that article, there was a series of pictures of people appearing on the news with unusual captions/identifiers, including mad genius author Alan Moore appearing on BBC News: Man, what a great resume.
  16. Yes! And personal preference. If you were to hand me, say, a Danielle Steel novel, I wouldn't enjoy it, but would it still trigger some emotional brain functions?
  17. I know, right? Seeing the movie made me want to go through the series again - I've finished Game and Shadow and am currently re-reading Speaker for the Dead. I'd forgotten how much of an old-school sci-fi feel this book has. The Demosthenian Hierarchy of Exclusion feels like something straight out of the golden age. And I believe it's what Card used to explain the pro-war theme in the first book. The Demosthenian Hierarchy of Exclusion is a means of classifying foreignness in a universe in which both human colonized planets and alien life exist. There are four levels: Utlanning - a human of the same species and same world, but from a different city or country. Framling - a human from another planet. Ramen - a creature of a different species that we still recognize as a "person" or even "human". Capable of communication and understanding. Varelse - a living creature that is incapable of communicating its purposes, desires, or needs. Unintelligent animals fall into this category, as well as species that may be intelligent and self-aware, but we cannot know it. The idea is that as of the first book, the human race knew of the formics/buggers as varelse - they had come to Earth, responded to no communication attempts, and slaughtered countless humans. Wiping out a population of varelse is considered morally neutral, like a farmer shooting the wolves threatening his livestock. Humans had no way of knowing that the buggers/formics were anything but mindless predators who would continually make attempts to exterminate the humans, and we had no way of asking their intentions or negotiating peace, so humanity was justified in destroying them. It's once we've determined that certain alien species are ramen - self-aware, intelligent, and capable of communication - that the thought of humans wiping out that species becomes morally questionable. Though the later books put them in several situations where that choice needs to be evaluated. Again, golden age sci-fi style - set up a clear system of rules, and then show the implications of humanity trying to justify breaking them. Ender's guilt comes from the fact that for hundreds (if not thousands) of years, he is the only person alive who knows that the formics were ramen rather than varelse, and he knows that the only way he can make a universe safe for non-humans is to turn himself into a monster. Agreed. I think I picked up those two books after you recommended them to me, actually, back when I had only a few chapters to my name. Characters and Viewpoint especially helped me become a better writer.
  18. I'm really interested in this. I've written scenes that I thought were just all right - throwaway lines, here or there - that readers have pointed out as being their favorite lines from a certain chapter. I wonder if the scan would show low activity for the author and high activity for the reader, in that case. And some of it would depend on the author's writing style - writers who plot everything out in advance, follow outlines, and play scenes over and over in their heads before putting them on paper might show less excitement than those who use a more emergent, improvisational style of writing. And for those who do more than one draft and go through the self-editing process - would they show less intensity on the later drafts, having already been through those scenes?
  19. Thanks to everyone who took the time to post or email about the latest chapter! ...And thanks to all those who specifically made threats against my person. Um...I think.
  20. Scene? Hell, a whole story. Fistfights with Flashlights was written and submitted all in one go, with no editing or even a read-through. To this day, I've never gone back to read it. Just got a little too real for me, you know? Jangled the snot out of me. Right after writing Laika, I started writing a direct sequel. I got a few chapters in the can, but it was really, really dark. Though I thought it fit the characters involved, and it wasn't drama-for-the-sake-of-drama, I didn't want to keep writing it. I'm not saying I can't get dark - FwF was pure insanity, Laika had themes of isolation, alienation, and conversations about suicide, and even L&L, by far my most light-hearted story, had mentions of substance abuse and self-loathing - but this one was just too difficult to write.
  21. Chapter three has been submitted and... Wait, what? Posted already? Wow, The Dude works fast!
  22. Yes! I grew up on this show, and I think it still holds up. A reader once asked me about my influences for Laika, and I cited this show. Also, as a ten year old, this was my first exposure to Iggy Pop. Heh.
  23. As a "Millennial", I was likely part of the last generation that was taught, as kids, how to use card catalogues, libraries, and actual ink-and-paper sources for research. That said, when I got to about 7th grade, the Internet became ubiquitous and I never actually needed to use any of those skills. I used the library in undergrad...because it was a quiet place to plug in my laptop, connect to the college's wifi, and access their scholarly databases. I remember going through the actual, physical books and professional journals maybe twice, because one of my professors required it. In grad school, I used exactly one physical book - the APA Publication Manual (though I think I only opened it twice - I've written so many APA papers that I memorized the format years ago). For everything else, "research" requires a different skillset than the one I was taught in school pre-Internet. Now, constructing a powerful string of key terms and manipulating the various search options in a database of scholarly sources has taken the place of pulling from the card catalogue and navigating shelves with the Dewey Decimal System. Yes, there are some people who think "research" means Google and Wikipedia and nothing else, but those are the same kids who thought "research" meant copying the encyclopedia. Nerds know better. Nerds are still nerds - it's just the methods and tools of nerdery that have changed.
  24. I remember reading an interview with Card where he said that the message was that pre-emptive total war can be justified - that fear of an attack can justify the destruction of another. I wish I could find that article again - I remember that the interviewer kept talking about how she read it as an indictment of war and violence and that it focused on the psychology of an abuse survivor, and Card just kind of brushed all of that off and said "Nope, pro-war. The Bush Doctrine is right." The author closed by saying something about how even though the author was attempting to deliver the exact opposite message than the one she got from reading it, she re-read the book and found that it was still beautiful. Ahaha. I like the way you think.
  25. This is a forum on a website about reading and writing, full of readers and writers. Is it surprising that a lot of us like literary analysis? Can't speak for anyone else, but when I read something that I love, or find an author whose work has an impact on me, I like to think about how that happened. How those characters - some of them limited to only a few pages of a novel - were able to feel so real. How that author took ink on a page and translated it to real emotion. And I enjoy reading the interpretations of other book nerds, because, hey, what do I know? Seeing another reader's interpretation of writing allows me to see it in a new light, as well. I don't see it as "necessary", but I see it as fun, and that's enough to justify spending ten minutes reading a forum thread. As for "get a life" - that could be said about any hobby. Some people are into watching TV, or following sports teams, or studying music theory. I like reading and thinking about books, and I like discussing those books with other people to understand how those with other viewpoints may have reacted to it. I find that entertaining. If you don't, that's cool, too, but why come at us so aggressively for having different hobbies? That said, welcome to the forum!
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