I’ve started a new project co-authoring a book with my computer. The goal is to encourage myself to work on my generative handwriting algorithm. My plan is to create a new page each time I make an update to the program so that I can record a progression of the changes.
Page 1 – “In the beginning” APR 9, 2021
Right now the program is very basic. It creates a collection of letters, grouped into words, and then writes out the results using a set of 5 glyphs. Each glyph has a different result each time it is drawn, so there is always a unique result.
Eventually I hope to add more glyphs, create capital letters, and even add punctuation. I also want to improve the text generation to more closely resemble actual words. I love the idea of keeping track of my progression by documenting it in a book format.
Page 2 – “ugh potum stekh” APR 17 2021
For the second page, I made a change to the way the program creates words. Originally, each word was made up of letters randomly selected from a string:
alphabet = “aaeibcdeeeefghiiiijklmnooooopqrrstuuuuvwxyz”
Now, I’ve changed the word formation to use consonant-vowel word patterns like CVC and CVVCV etc. I also took a cue from Wheel of Fortune and doubled the amount of the most common consonants (R S T L N + C) and the vowel (E).
First, a pattern is selected for the current word, then letters are pulled from the corresponding array.
consonant =[“b”, “c”, “d”, “f”, “g”, “h”, ”j”, “k”, “l”, “m”, “n”, “p”, “q”, “r”, “s”, “t”, “v”, “w”, “x”, “y”, “z”, “r”, “s”, “t”, “l”, “n”, “c” ]
vowel = [“a”, “e”, “i”, “o”, “u”, “e”]
The written results don’t look much different from page 1, mostly because I’m still only using 5 glyphs for the entire alphabet. But the translation looks a lot more like something you could actually decipher. Also note the adorable little star* that randomly appeared in the last line.
Page 3 – “exem gwoat” APR 30 2021
The third page is all about vowels. I made a separate glyph shape for each vowel and dropped the letter “u” from my alphabet. I haven’t decided if I want to pursue making an entirely constructed language or keep it more asemic. I suppose I could try both in the future!
The written results look different on page 3 compared to pages 1 & 2, and it’s easier to find a “word” in the manuscript when you can identify the vowel shapes. I had fun generating a bunch of pages using this code, it’s just so beautiful! But this was my favorite one, so it is the official “Page 3.”
Page 4 – “Versals” MAY 11, 2021
In page 4, I added versals (drop caps) and some basic paragraph forms to the manuscript. I had a lot of fun playing around with the versal shapes, and I am planning to make them even more exotic in the future. But for now, at least I have the basic structure in place.
I’ve also decided to go with a purely asemic exploration in my manuscript, and my goal now is to evoke a narrative without the use of semantics. Thus, I dropped the translation bit because it doesn’t really matter what letters the program picked for each word.
Page 5 – “Dripping Triolets” JUN 2, 2021
This is the first poetry page in my manuscript. I’ve started experimenting with rhyming structures and how to convey a sense of poetry to my writings. For this Triolet (an 8 line poem), I adjusted the sentence-generator to repeat certain lines and create the rhyme structure ABaAabAB.
You can tell that the “words” are the same for lines 1, 4, and 7 even though there are variations. I also played around with the glyph y axis to create the “dripping” effect which works quite nicely in this poem.
I would love to hear any thoughts or comments!