Sunday, 15 May 2016

Are you interested in writing?

The Open University (UK) offer free online courses.
From the website ~
Have you always wanted to write, but never quite had the courage to start? This first free course, Start writing fiction, will give you an insight into how authors create their characters and settings. You will also be able to look at the different genres for fiction.

Before, during or after the course you may also like to view a variety of related content on OpenLearn, we've collated a range of free content to enable you to take your learning further, with more in-depth, free features - including activities and exercises, interviews with writers and relevant free courses to support your learning and give you a wider perspective on this fascinating subject.

You may also like to watch a video of Dr Derek Neale, senior lecturer in Creative Writing at The Open University read from his short story 'Land of their Fathers' and tell us what inspires him to write in an interview.
Try more free creative writing courses: HERE & HERE
  1. Writing what you know
  2. Start writing plays
  3. Writing Poetry
  4. Creative Writing
  5. Start writing fiction: characters and stories
  6. Approaching poetry
  7. What is good writing?
  8. Reading
  9. What is poetry?
  10. Approaching prose fiction
Extras ~  other interesting courses

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Beautifully haunting...

Edgar Allan Poe ~ widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States and American literature as a whole
Birdy and Rhodes ~ Let it all go...

Birdy - Shelter [Official Music Video]
Investigating the yin and yang of a heart.

I like to write emotional conflict. I really feel comfortable writing scenes that capture the rawness of love in full glory or the kind that can only be found in the depths of despair. Investigating the yin and yang of a heart. There's something about the truth found in heartbreak or a newly discovered love that captivates parts of my soul, inspiring creativity, and I use these elements in my writing. Music helps me to delve into these places, such as Birdy, Gabrielle Aplin, Mree, James Bay, etc, all capture the essence of reflective haunting but in a beautiful way. Melancholy is a layered veil, and once each layer parts, pieces of the self, are uncovered. 
Riding the ripples of karma
Catharsis is the release of tension and anxiety that results from bringing repressed feelings and memories into consciousness. My main characters are cruelly tortured by karma (Vororbla), a mystical power beyond their reach. They experience a lot of emotional turmoil, but to release the past they need to understand their inner self/emotions. 'What do they really want?' Their story is a journey of learning, understanding that actions can and do affect others far beyond immediate time. That we are all connected and not as distant as we think. Actions create invisible ripples that spread through time, there is no running away from Vororbla.  Bea, Karian, and Chance, all need to find their inner strength and answers to questions of the heart, which lay hidden between the layers of the self, lost in the past and present. Only then will their future be decided. 
Love and light,

Bestseller ~ A Carpet of Purple Flowers - May 2016 ~Quick Update - I'm happy. :o)

Bestseller List
Czech Republic

Romantic Dreamers...

1. a person with romantic beliefs or attitudes.
"I am an incurable romantic"
synonyms: idealist, sentimentalist, romanticist
2. a writer or artist of the Romantic movement.
"Wordsworth, Coleridge, and the later Romantics"
Art by Deonta Wheeler
A hopeless romantic ~
A person in love with love. Believers in fairy tales and love. All hopeless romantics are idealists, the sentimental dreamers, the imaginative and the fanciful. 
They often live with rose coloured glasses on. 
They make love look like an art form. 
They are the visionaries and the dreamers. They see possibilities that others don’t and they believe in them wholeheartedly. They live with their hearts firmly pinned to their sleeves and caring more for love than for practicality.
They wish that the world felt the same.

As long as the world delivers according to their expectations, they greet each morning with open arms and a smile that comes straight from the heart. When it doesn’t, it hits them particularly hard and can send them spinning into a depression from which they don’t always recover.
We’re all different combinations of spirit and matter. Each of us has a particular way of expressing ourselves in the world, a certain emotional make-up, a characteristic way of thinking.
Are you a Dreamer? by Cebulon ~ DeviantArt
Romantics are more naturally attuned to the world of spirit than matter, although they may not know it. They more easily perceive the deeper realities of life, the innate worthiness of others. They have no difficulty in believing in ‘happy ever after’ because, at some level, they are anchored to a place where all is well—the realm of the soul.
What they struggle with, though, is the more mundane. 
If some of us are more naturally attuned to spirit, there are many who are more anchored to the material aspects of the world. 
Life has a funny way of trying to balance things out, though. Those more comfortable being focused in the material world often find themselves prompted to discover their spiritual aspects as years go by. 
And us poor old romantics are often thrown a few curve balls to help us develop our more material sides.
To put it another way, the world eventually challenges romantics to find ways of grounding their dreams in the same way that it challenges ‘realists’ to broaden their perspective beyond the material.
Via Nadine Keller (Google)
From a young age, many romantics are discouraged from actively dreaming—either being told off for living in their imaginations or encouraged to participate in more mainstream views of how things are instead.
But unlike those of a more practical disposition who tend to focus their energy externally, the energy of many young romantics is initially directed internally before it can be given external expression.
Dreaming is vital to their natural way of being and to their happiness, and without being allowed permission to explore their inner landscapes they start to lose their way and themselves, cut off from their source.
Most of us are ill-equipped to become something other than who we really are. Romantics are natural dreamers and encouraging them to be anything other than that will end up in unhappiness not only for themselves but also for those close to them.
Not only is dreaming essential for romantics, it is also important for society in general. It is a dreamer who can see possibilities which others can’t see—whether that is a relationship’s highest potential or the opportunities for peace in a war-torn country.
It is part of nature’s balance to have people who are more tuned into possibilities than actualities, as well as the other way round.
Are you a romantic?

Love and light,

Writing Style...

A kind reviewer, via Goodreads, mentioned that she liked my 'writing style' and this prompted me to blog a post concerning 'The Voice' of an author. Further down, I've provided links to websites with more information. Enjoy. :o) 
A writer's style is what sets his or her writing apart and makes it unique. Style is the way writing is dressed up (or down) to fit the specific context, purpose, or audience. Word choice, sentence fluency, and the writer's voice — all contribute to the style of a piece of writing.
In fiction writing, the style must represent the author's personal expression of these events that comprise the plot; setting the mood, and leading the reader to a subjective, non-literal, emotional understanding of the subject.

How a writer chooses words and structures sentences to achieve a certain effect is also an element of style. When Thomas Paine wrote “These are the times that try men’s souls,” he arranged his words to convey a sense of urgency and desperation. Had he written “These are bad times,” it’s likely he wouldn’t have made such an impact!
Style is usually considered to be the province of literary writers. Novelists such as Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner and poets such as Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman are well known for their distinctive literary styles.
Elements of style
Many elements of writing contribute to an author’s style, but three of the most important are word choice, sentence fluency, and voice.
Good writers are concise and precise, weeding out unnecessary words and choosing the exact word to convey meaning. Precise words — active verbs, concrete nouns, specific adjectives — help the reader visualize the sentence. Good writers use adjectives sparingly and adverbs rarely, letting their nouns and verbs do the work.
Good writers also choose words that contribute to the flow of a sentence. Polysyllabic words, alliteration, and consonance can be used to create sentences that roll off the tongue. Onomatopoeia and short, staccato words can be used to break up the rhythm of a sentence.
Sentence fluency is the flow and rhythm of phrases and sentences. Good writers use a variety of sentences with different lengths and rhythms to achieve different effects. They use parallel structures within sentences and paragraphs to reflect parallel ideas, but also know how to avoid monotony by varying their sentence structures.
Good writers also arrange their ideas within a sentence for greatest effect. They avoid loose sentences, deleting extraneous words and rearranging their ideas for effect. Many students initially write with a looser oral style, adding words on to the end of a sentence in the order they come to mind. This rambling style is often described as a “word dump” where everything in a student’s mind is dumped onto the paper in no particular order. There is nothing wrong with a word dump as a starting point: the advantage of writing over speaking is that writers can return to their words, rethink them, and revise them for effect. Tighter, more readable style results when writers choose their words carefully, delete redundancies, make vague words more specific, and use subordinate clauses and phrases to rearrange their ideas for the greatest effect.
Because voice is difficult to measure reliably, it is often left out of scoring formulas for writing tests. Yet voice is an essential element of style that reveals the writer’s personality. A writer’s voice can be impersonal or chatty, authoritative or reflective, objective or passionate, serious or funny.

Source  HERE
Tone vs. Voice
Anything you write should still have your voice: something that makes your writing sound uniquely like you. A personal conversation with a friend differs from a speech given to a large group of strangers. Just as you speak to different people in different ways yet remain yourself, so the tone of your writing can vary with the situation while the voice -- the essential, individual thoughts and expression -- is still your own.
1. A Simple Exercise to Find Your Writing Style ~ HERE
2. What’s Your Creative Writing Style? Tips for Developing Your Voice ~ HERE
It can take years for a writer to develop a stylistic voice. Some writers have a natural voice. Others work at crafting a unique voice with a particular tone or attitude. And plenty of writers don’t think about voice at all. But voice is a key element of writing since it represents you as a writer and can help readers connect with your work. For example, some readers will be turned off by a sarcastic tone whereas others may be drawn to it.

Creative Writing ~ HERE

I don't think about 'voice' when writing, but I am aware of tone. In general, I feel reality, day-to-day tasks require a different form (tone) of self and I usually need to get into that 'writing-mode' before I put any words down. If I didn't do this the 'tone' would be different. Does that make sense?
I block out the world and create a mental sphere (bubble) where I draw in and keep a flow of inspiration/creativity around me. Initially, I do this with images and music (headphones on). Depending on the day, it can take minutes or hours to find that balance, but once found the word count moves up. Yay! :o)
What works for you?
Are you aware of 'Voice' or 'Tone'?
 In My Bubble by Love-and-Blades

Love and light,

Monday, 2 May 2016

Singing Stars

Do stars make sounds?
The stars might be singing – but, since sound can’t propagate through the vacuum of space, no one can hear them. The sound was at such a high frequency - almost a trillion hertz - that even animals like bats and dolphins (which have a much bigger range than humans) wouldn't have been able to hear it. In fact, the unexpected sound was six million times higher than that anything that can be heard by a mammal.
Nebula RCW49 
Scientists have recorded the sound of three stars similar to our Sun using France's Corot space telescope. A team writing in Science journal says the sounds have enabled them to get information about processes deep within stars for the first time.
NGC 1977
You'll hear a regular repeating pattern. These indicate that the entire star is pulsating. The sound of one star is very slightly different to the other. That's because the sound they make depends on their age, size, and chemical composition. The technique called "stellar seismology", is becoming increasingly popular among astronomers because the sounds give an indication of what is going on in the stars' interior.
Listen to each star HERE "It's like listening to the sound of a musical instrument and then trying to reconstruct the shape of the instrument".
It's not the first time that scientists have associated "singing" with celestial objects. In November, Rosetta mission scientists discovered that the comet that the Philae space probe landed on had its own mysterious signal.
Is there an actual harmony of the spheres? A chance discovery by a team of researchers has provided experimental evidence that stars might generate sound. They announced their discovery March 23, 2015. HERE
Astronomers have used the words star and sound in the same sentence before. Asteroseismology is a study in which tiny oscillations within a star can be used to probe its internal structure. In those sorts of studies, astronomers effectively turn tiny variations in a star’s light into sounds.

Now a group of physicists is talking about something else: actual sound generated by the stars themselves. The scientists – including Dr John Pasley of the Department of Physics at University of York – said in a statement:
The study of fluids in motion – now known as hydrodynamics – goes back to the Egyptians, so it is not often that new discoveries are made. However when examining the interaction of an ultra-intense laser with a plasma target, the team observed something unexpected.

Scientists … realized that in the trillionth of a second after the laser strikes, plasma flowed rapidly from areas of high density to more stagnant regions of low density, in such a way that it created something like a traffic jam. Plasma piled up at the interface between the high and low-density regions, generating a series of pressure pulses: a sound wave.
However, the sound generated was at such a high frequency that it would have left even bats and dolphins struggling! With a frequency of nearly a trillion hertz, the sound generated was not only unexpected but was also at close to the highest frequency possible in such a material – six million times higher than that which can be heard by any mammal!

Pasley, who worked with scientists from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, India, and the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Central Laser Facility in Oxfordshire, said:

One of the few locations in nature where we believe this effect would occur is at the surface of stars. When they are accumulating new material stars could generate sound in a very similar manner to that which we observed in the laboratory – so the stars might be singing – but, since sound cannot propagate through the vacuum of space, no one can hear them.

Asteroseismology ~ scientists convert starlight into sound, for purposes of study.
One use of the technique of asteroseismology is in the search for exoplanets. That’s because tiny variations in a star’s light – the same little oscillations in starlight that are converted to sound during asteroseismology – also sometimes reveal planets passing in front of their stars.
What is Harmony of the Spheres?
Ancient philosophers described the movement of the Sun, Moon and planets as “the music of the spheres” — the geometry of the cosmos conceived as proportional mathematical harmony.

Harmony of the Spheres
The astronomy of the Pythagoreans marked an important advance in ancient scientific thought, for they were the first to consider the earth as a globe revolving with the other planets around a central fire.  They explained the harmonious arrangement of things as that of bodies in a single, all-inclusive sphere of reality, moving according to a numerical scheme.  Because the Pythagoreans thought that the heavenly bodies are separated from one another by intervals corresponding to the harmonic lengths of strings, they held that the movement of the spheres gives rise to a musical sound-the "harmony of the spheres."
Source: Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000
(b. c. 580 BC, Samos, Ionia--d. c. 500, Metapontum, Lucania)

Greek philosopher, mathematician, and founder of the Pythagorean brotherhood that, although religious in nature, formulated principles that influenced the thought of Plato and Aristotle and contributed to the development of mathematics and Western rational philosophy (Pythagoreanism). Pythagoras migrated to southern Italy about 532 BC, apparently to escape Samos' tyrannical rule, and established his ethico-political academy at Croton (now Crotona).

It is difficult to distinguish Pythagoras' teachings from those of his disciples.  None of his writings has survived, and Pythagoreans invariably supported their doctrines by indiscriminately citing their master's authority.  Pythagoras, however, is generally credited with the theory of the functional significance of  numbers in the objective world and in music.  Other discoveries often attributed to him (e.g., the incommensurability of the side and diagonal of a square, and the Pythagorean theorem for right triangles) were probably developed only later by the Pythagorean school.  More probably the bulk of the intellectual tradition originating with Pythagoras himself belongs to mystical wisdom rather than to scientific scholarship.
Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica 97
The harmony of the cosmos
The sacred decad, in particular, has a cosmic significance in Pythagoreanism: its mystical name, tetraktys (meaning approximately "fourness"), implies 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10; but it can also be thought of as a "perfect triangle," as in the Figure.

Speculation on number and proportion led to an intuitive feeling of the  harmonia ("fitting together") of the kosmos ("the beautiful order of things"); and the application of the tetraktys to the theory of  music revealed a hidden order in the range of sound.  Pythagoras may have referred, vaguely, to the "music of the heavens," which he alone seemed able to hear; and later Pythagoreans seem to have assumed that the distances of the heavenly bodies from the Earth somehow correspond to musical intervals--a theory that, under the influence of  Platonic conceptions, resulted in the famous idea of the "harmony of the spheres."  Though number to the early Pythagoreans was still a kind of cosmic matter, like the water or air proposed by the Ionians, their stress upon numerical proportions, harmony, and order comprised a decisive step toward a metaphysic in which form is the basic reality.
In reviewing the accounts of music that have characterized musical and intellectual history, it is clear that the Pythagoreans are reborn from age to age. The German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) perpetuated, in effect, the idea of the harmony of the spheres, attempting to relate music to planetary movement. René Descartes (1596-1650), too, saw the basis of music as mathematical. He was a faithful Platonist in his prescription of temperate rhythms and simple melodies so that music would not produce imaginative, exciting, and hence immoral, effects. For another philosopher-mathematician, the German Gottfried von Leibniz (1646-1716), music reflected a universal rhythm and mirrored a reality that was fundamentally mathematical, to be experienced in the mind as a subconscious apprehension of numerical relationships. 
Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica 97
Nishmati ~Sound Of Light
Stellar engineering
Stellar engineering is a type of engineering (currently a form of exploratory engineering) concerned with creating or modifying stars through artificial means.

While humanity does not yet possess the technological ability to perform stellar engineering of any kind, stellar manipulation (or husbandry), requiring substantially less technological advancement than would be needed to create a new star, could eventually be performed in order to stabilize or prolong the lifetime of a star, mine it for useful material (known as star lifting) or use it as a direct energy source. Since a civilization advanced enough to be capable of manufacturing a new star would likely have vast material and energy resources at its disposal, it almost certainly wouldn't need to do so.

Star lifting
Star lifting is any of several hypothetical processes by which a sufficiently advanced civilization (specifically, one of Kardashev-II or higher) could remove a substantial portion of a star matter for any number of purposes. The term appears to have been coined by David Criswell.
Stars already lose a small flow of mass via solar wind, coronal mass ejections, and other natural processes. Over the course of a star's life on the main sequence this loss is usually negligible compared to the star's total mass; only at the end of a star's life when it becomes a red giant or a supernova is a large amount of material ejected. The star lifting techniques that have been proposed would operate by increasing this natural plasma flow and manipulating it with magnetic fields.
The star-lifting array around Polaris squeezes this brillant star using intense magnetic fields, causing mass to be ejected from the polar regions. HERE

Stars have deep gravity wells, so the energy required for such operations is large. For example, lifting solar material from the surface of the Sun to infinity requires 2.1 × 1011 J/kg. This energy could be supplied by the star itself, collected by a Dyson sphere; using only 10% of the Sun's total power output would allow 5.9 × 1021 kilograms of matter to be lifted per year (0.0000003% of the Sun's total mass), or 8% of the mass of Earth's moon.

Many science fiction authors have explored the possible applications of stellar engineering, among them Iain M Banks, Larry Niven and Arthur C. Clarke.

  • In the Space Empires series the last available technology for research is called Stellar Manipulation. In addition to the ability to create and destroy stars, this branch also gives a race the ability to create and destroy black holes, wormholes, nebulae, planets, ringworlds and sphereworlds. Just as described above, this technology is so advanced that once the player has the ability to use them, they usually don't need them anymore. This is even more the case with the last two; once one of these megastructures is complete, the race controlling the ringworld or sphereworld has almost unlimited resources, usually leading to defeat of the others.

  • In The Saga of the Seven Suns, by Kevin J. Anderson, humans are able to convert gas giant planets into stars through the use of a "Klikiss Torch". This device creates a wormhole between two points in space, allowing a neutron star to be dropped into the planet and ignite stellar nuclear fusion.
  • In episode 12 of Stargate Universe, Destiny was dropped prematurely out of FTL by an uncharted star that the crew determines to be artificially created and younger than 200 million years old with an Earth-sized planet containing a biosphere exactly like Earth's being the only planet in the system. Spaceship Destiny recharges its power cells by flying through stars ("Light").

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

— W. B. Yeats, The Wind Among the Reeds

love and light,