J. Martin

July 18, 2021

Scratch That, We Don’t Even Need That Asteroid

Thankfully, I’m living in an area that’s neither susceptible to wildfires nor to floods, and the water in the basement merely rose to one inch, maybe two. For my part, it merely damaged my late uncle’s tax filings box. If you’re fully or partly self-employed and file your tax returns in Germany, ten years is the legal retention period even if you happen to be dead. Well, should the German Finanzamt ever find an obscure reason to check, they need to keep a blow-dryer and a flatiron handy.

Thus, guess what—another week went by without a blog post! Instead, I wrapped up developmental editing for my writing project, as mentioned. Next stop, line editing. Different people go about it in different ways, here’s what I do. I go line-by-line through each block of description, action, and dialogue to analyze each sentence if it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing in the best possible way—word choice, meaning, clarity, vividness, and so on. Dialogue blocks have a few more parameters to check, attributions and beats among them. (The technical term “action,” I should add, doesn’t denote car chases or something but any action, including a character entering a room, as opposed to describing how that room looks or what memories it triggers.) If you’re familiar with editing, you will miss a few steps here; these I approach separately under the label “style editing,” a good topic for next week.

Meanwhile on Flickr, I put up the album Xi’an II: The Great Mosque (15 images), plus ongoing uploads from the Singapore River district. 

No fun stuff today, sorry about that. Just not in the mood with all that’s going down, from heatwaves to floods to crooks on camera.

But in the audio department, here’s a killer podcast I like to recommend: Sean Carroll talking with Stephen Wolfram. Around April last year, Wolfram published a novel approach for a fundamental theory of physics, which was fascinating but didn’t exactly follow scientific protocol. While, unsurprisingly, physicists all over the world didn’t immediately drop what they were doing, it’s definitely worth a look (or a listen). Yes, you need to have at least some basic knowledge about relativity and quantum physics to enjoy this podcast. Yet, if you followed my prior newsletter recommendation and watched The Biggest Ideas in the Universe, you have all you need to merrily follow this podcast along!

Go get your shots y’all, everyone’s needed to turn the ship around soon,