Language generators

I am in the middle of novel revisions, so naturally I am updating my language generators. I get kind of obsessed with them.

Random language generator
I wrote this page to generate random sentences using JavaScript and JSON libraries. It retrieves JSON data words using an AJAX call and then generates language using pre-defined rules.

Lorem ipsem language generator
This demo generates lorem ipsem text up to as many paragraphs as you specify. Use it for your web design projects. It is created using Markov chains applied to a very long sample of pre-existing lorem ipsem.

Markov chain language generator
In a Markov chain model, the probability of each item (in this case a word) is based on the state of the previous item. A Markov chain language generator can generate real-sounding text given a source document by predicting which word will follow next after each word. Sample documents here include Alice in Wonderland, Ulysses, my very own vampire novel, the King James Bible, a Latin Bible, a few other texts, and user input where you can enter your own text.

Deciding on a username

I have been thinking a bit about my brand lately. I sometimes go by Kristen Ankiewicz, sometimes by Made of Monsters, and I have a couple of domain names too. I have heard that this dilutes one’s brand. I’m trying to fix that by consolidating all my stuff under one name. What do you think should be my username?

The first two paragraphs

I will be sharing snippets from my novel Washing off the Glue in the hopes of getting some constructive feedback.

The first two paragraphs:

Marie came to Burning Man to let go of a memory.

Ten long years of searching for Dad, and she had nothing to show for it. What if he’s sick? What if he’s dead? She had no way of knowing. That’s the part that killed her. Rachel, her best friend and roommate, was probably right: She should give up the search and start living in the present.

I am told “absent or missing fathers” are a cliche in novels, but I’d like to think I have a novel (so to speak) approach. It’s not about the father; it’s about the main character, Marie, who embarks on an obsessive search for him, and encounters all sorts of problems of her own.

What do you think?

Critical

Procrastination by way of web design

I spent a good eight hours today revamping ankiewicz.com, and enlarging all the thumbnail images, bandwidth be damned. I am writing a novel, so naturally I spent all day twiddling with images that have nothing to do with my novel. In the interest of preparing for this novel, I wanted to start a blog about writing, procrastination, and the process. I debated five ways to Sunday whether or not to host my blog on wordpress.com, or ankiewicz.com. Pros to self-hosting: complete control of the look and feel. Cons to self-hosting: no real access to the community and wordpress.com ecosystem.

It’s probably six of one. I decided to host the blog here on wordpress.com.

There are a lot of frog photos on ankiewicz.com

Procrastination

My form of procrastination is a random language generator.

It makes little paragraphs like this:

  • None of the nude cheese lets everything speak of her tryout. Some fiercely stunning pauses speak of her. She says, medium-size. He replies, collecting operatives. They say, mad.
  • I yearn for an oval, parental, and crimson layer. Azure housemothers can gladly take her overcast border. She says, corned. He replies, confusing those heretics. They say, confused.
  • They grin at something. Those customers have these discerning outlooks. She says, blorpy. He replies, rubbing the stuff. They say, nervous.

I wrote it in JavaScript:

http://ankiewicz.com/words/

I even made one for dirty language:

http://ankiewicz.com/words/foul.html

Feel free to use those sentences in your own writing projects.

I am a little obsessed with it. I strive to make it better and better. I want the output to be as natural-sounding as possible. It is satisfying when it spits out realistic-sounding sentences. It’s extremely satisfying when the grammar is correct. I spent hours getting the plurals of the nouns to match the verbs. I spent forever deciding whether or not a sentence needs an adjective, an adverb, or a prepositional phrase.

It will never produce a novel. If I spend half as much energy on my novel as I do on this thing, I’d be done by now. Yet, I am fascinated by the process of creating machine-generated sentences. I am drawn to it. Occasionally, from an unexpected and surprising turn of phrase, I get inspiration.

I find myself getting lost in sites like this, imagining how I would emulate such rules in my own language generator: http://www.gingersoftware.com/content/grammar-rules/adjectives/order-of-adjectives/

What’s your form of procrastination?

Fractals and PostScript

Below is an example of a fractal I wrote in PostScript long ago when I used to be a PostScript developer. I have been playing with my pseudo-fractals. They are repeating & branching designs generated by simple mathematical rules. I wrote them in PostScript and generated the output using Preview on Macintosh. You can also open the PostScript files in Adobe Acrobat Distiller or GhostView. Someday I will try writing these in the <canvas> tag. Someone has informed me that this is a true definition of a fractal, not necessarily “pseudo”, though I think I have a ways to go before they are as beautiful as these. If you like PostScript art, check out my fonts too.

fractal image

Posted in response to the daily prompt Branch

Responsive design

I have updated several of my websites to be more cleanly responsive. A responsive website will fit any layout, including phone and table. Additionally it should elegantly resize between various sizes on a desktop. Responsive design is best practice because in today’s world of proliferating devices, it means one set of code serving up the widest set of platforms; it also doesn’t lock the user into a specific design.

I build responsive websites using a combination of pure CSS media queries (using Sass, or Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets), Bootstrap, Respond.js as a responsive polyfill for older browsers, and Google’s HTML5 shim for older browsers. Ankiewicz.com is built using WordPress and PHP. Monsters.net is built using Jekyll and Liquid. Both sites use jQuery and JavaScript.

Resize the following websites in your browser, or visit them on your phone and tablet:

Want a custom theme, a WordPress install on your own domain, or a responsive design? Contact me.