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I found that little nugget while looking for some information on dress codes during the Victorian era:
Game: The Victorian Period

I had fun and learned a few tidbits about etiquette. The dress code actually makes some kind of sense, now.
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I've had this idea for a novel for a few months now. It just started with a character having to deal with a *change* (didn't know what, except it was supernatural), and his father being involved, somehow. I had a daydream where they would fight enemies in a parking, exchange gun shots, steal a car, and go away.

I've been thinking of that idea a bit more, last week, and came up with a very basic plot. Still kinda blurry. I had a big problem with the antagonist's motivation. Fortunately, as an exercise, I wrote a fake conversation between her and one of her henchmen. That allowed me to understand her, as well as my henchman who's turning out to be a very interesting guy.

Overall, I decided it was taking shape, and no matter how big the plot holes, it was time to start writing.

Boy oh. This "writing a sex scene" bit must have had a bad influence on me. The first scene finds my young male protagonist in a dark alley with his boyfriend. They're, uh, a bit naughty, but don't want to get caught. I wanted to convey a sense of urgency and danger. Then something clicked.

There were two elements I took for granted: it was meant to be an urban fantasy, and my protagonist was gay. In my original setting, he's very at ease with his sexual identity, and is rather open about it. Now... that scene in the alley... Midway through, I realised it had to take place in the Victorian era. More difficult, so more fun, and it means that Donovan's homosexuality becomes a *problem*, not just a sexual preference. Oh, it also means I have to rethink half of the plot and most of the setting.

So, back to the drawing board. I'm quite fascinated with how this story is building up. I suspect there might be a few false starts with this one...

Read more... )
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I can't remember whether I've linked that post here or not already. I'm going through the "Learn Writing with Uncle Jim" thread at AbsoluteWrite, and it's awfully interesting.

I'd like to keep track of one post, in particular:
How to write sex scenes by HapiSofi
As he/she says, most of these principles can also apply to fight scenes. That's where it comes in handy for me, as, hmm, sex scenes? Let's not go there. Yet.
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I have taken that job as a recycling promoter. It turned out it would be a one-year renewable contract. It will be over in two months.

In the course of this year, I've learned the ins and outs of garbage removal. That was interesting, and at times infuriating -- for example, when people think that they can throw whatever they want in the streets, no matter how dangerous it is for the garbage man. Engine oil, anyone?

I've been following trucks, driving for 7 hours at low speed, changing gears every time they stopped to pick up a rubbish bag. In a car too big for me (couldn't see, crashed it three times). With manual gears. First time I really, really wished for an automatic. It killed my knees, my back, and my patience. Good thing I told them I couldn't sit without pain, at the interview. :\

When that task was over, we walked instead. Yes, for the whole seven hours. I didn't mind that, oh no. The two sunstrokes during the heatwaves, on the other hand, I could have done without.

I've worked with the oddest team ever. The clash of personalities definitely kept things fresh. For a change, I was *not* the most immature one. And it's not because I've suddenly grown up. No no.

I've talked with people about recycling. And then, about other things -- because, as I found out, people are lonely, and desperate for a conversation. Any conversation. They told us about the past, about their lives during the war. How worried they are about their children, who don't have a job / are still in school / are so young, but so street-smart already they don't look like kids any more.

Some people just barked at us. To my surprise, I'm not too bad at defusing a crisis. I can also brush the bad experience off quite easily. Looks like I've grown a thicker skin. And I know they, too, are eager for a conversation.

Some people, on the other hand, were sweet. They smiled. They made us a coffee, picked up some fruits growing in their garden. We joked together. One woman told that she was dying, told me her pains and her fears, and then that she was relieved to be able to talk about it to someone who wasn't bullshitting around the subject. I just listened. The experience was humbling.

Overall, an interesting year. :)

Next step: New Zealand, and then England. For good. At last.
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I had a job interview yesterday. I think it went fine, although it's always difficult to tell. I'm only coming down from my frantic state today. Yesterday was... difficult. Not so much for me, as for my Significant Other. Poor man.

Aside from the normal stress from an interview, I had to cope with an additional factor. I applied for that job something like six months ago (an eternity) for what I had understood to be a one-year contract. It is, in fact, a two-year one. That would push my going back to London to September 2011. I'm itching to go as it is. Two years to wait... Oh god.

Read more... )
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Word count as of today: 17529.

Interesting. When I started this story, I thought I could use my (smallish) experience in writing fanfiction to help me forward.

Turns out, it's a whole different animal. I have created *minor* original characters in the past, and loved the process. But this time, I can't fall back on *major* characters I already know in order to define the relationships between them and the new characters.

I don't have a world already set up for me, with its rules, its conventions, its special vocabulary. I have to imagine the places, the houses, the villages. Create families. A history, an economy. That in itself is a slow process.

But the most difficult part? My story has to stand for itself. It's not part of a n-years long show. There's no past history between the reader (writer, too) and the characters. So I have to learn to love or hate them. I have to make it so the reader feel for them, too. I'm not sure I'm ready for it.

I'm not saying that writing fanfic is easier. Because, well, you *have* to understand and respect rules, and fit in a world you haven't created, and jump inside the head of characters who aren't your babies. The difficulties are similar, just, mostly, reversed. I was used to them. No such familiarity now, anymore. I make my own rules. :o

This new freedom thing is scary and exciting. :)
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The men from the second floor, that is. They drink, smoke and do drugs in the staircase. They're destroying the building, bit by bit. Threatening our peace, our sense of safety.

And yet they're not mean, at least not to me. Polite, sweet. Sad young men, who do drugs. The blond one has lost half of his weight since I last saw him. He barely goes out anymore, and when he does, it's only at night. I hear him yell at some of his friends some nights, when they meet in the street under my windows, or in the hallway.

I worry that one day one of them will do something even more stupid than destroying themselves. Get into a fight, run in the middle of the road, ride their scooter a tad too fast. Yet, when I feel selfish and very tired of them, I hope they'll do just that, and hurt themselves so bad I won't ever hear of them anymore.

But then I look at them: two little boys, lost, and more self-destructive than I've ever been; and I can't bring myself to hate them.


Sometimes I just wish I weren't able to see them.
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Oh hey, you know that moment when the main character of a book / movie enters the spooky house, with a spooky music running in the background, and doesn't turn the light on but comes in while tripping over bloody cadavers?
When anybody with an ounce of sanity would run away in the other direction?

I'm having one of these moments. There's my MC, Jenny, and she's running after a child, only she's starting to realise it's not a child but a ghost. And what is she supposed to do now?

I need her to go forward (for the all-hail-the-plot, you know), but she's a bit spooked right now. Can't blame the poor woman, really. I know I would run the hell away from there. She might just do that, too. She's yelling at me for putting her in that situation in the first place, and let me tell you, you don't want to see her when she's angry.

Gosh and that was actually a scene I had planned out. For all I know, this story is going to end up about fluffy ghost bunnies from Mars being harbingers of the Apocalypse.
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I've just finished marathoning the 7th Season of Buffy.

This stuff should come with a warning. Seriously. I was spoiled six ways to Sunday (hello, we're in 2009), and yet I am as emotionally distressed as if I hadn't known what would happen.

Random thoughts below the cut. )
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I've watched the first two episodes of the seventh season of Buffy for the first time tonight.

James Marsters was already my favourite actor. His performance in this episode floored me. It felt like watching a great performance of a  Shakespearean play.

It may sound silly, but... I'm shaking. I was so moved, I had to sit on the ground for a minute.
First time I experienced anything like that through this media.
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www.locusmag.com/Features/2007/05/cory-doctorow-in-praise-of-fanfic.html
Where a science fiction writer explains his views on fanfic.

I found this passage very interesting:

Writers sometimes speak of their characters running away from them, taking on a life of their own. They say that these characters — drawn from real people in our lives and mixed up with our own imagination — are autonomous pieces of themselves. It's a short leap from there to mystical nonsense about protecting our notional, fictional children from grubby fans who'd set them to screwing each other or bowing and scraping before some thinly veiled version of the fanfic writer herself.

There's something to the idea of the autonomous character. Big chunks of our wetware are devoted to simulating other people, trying to figure out if we are likely to fight or fondle them. It's unsurprising that when you ask your brain to model some other person, it rises to the task. But that's exactly what happens to a reader when you hand your book over to him: he simulates your characters in his head, trying to interpret that character's actions through his own lens.

I've experienced the phenomenon he mentions, about characters taking a life of their own; both with original characters, and (to a lesser extent) with fanfic ones. We bring them to life. They grow on the paper, in turn surprising us, disappointing us, feeling us with pride. I understand how bad some authors can feel about their children being stolen. Yet, once the story is out, the characters are like grown up. They don't need the author anymore. So what if a fanfic writer wants to have a chat with them for a while? :-)



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Novel:
500 words today.
I finally have a clear visual image of the village the story is taking place in, since one of my characters has decided he wanted to bike through the most interesting parts of it. The descriptions aren't anywhere near as clear as my mental image, unfortunately. That's really not my forte.

Short story:
I've rewritten the scene that lacked punch and gotten rid of one minor character. I had to reorganise / rewrite a few paragraphs to adjust to the new situation.
Now there's a huge scene staring at me with beady eyes. I have skimmed over it when I first edited the printed version of the story; I really need to give it a good second look. I'm sure I can tighten the prose. Too many long sentences in there, I must have stuck a truckload of double adjectives, adverbs, and compound sentences.
I find that editing is just as difficult as writing the draft in the first place. And that's just the rough edit. Can't wait to tackle the details. :-|
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Meeep. So far, I've only been able to write 500 words a day. Which means, if I want to write a novel (around 100 000 words), it will take me roughly four months to finish the first draft.
Gaaaah. I need a faster brain.
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Reply to this meme by yelling "Words!" and I will give you five words that remind me of you. Then post them in your LJ and explain what they mean to you.

[livejournal.com profile] silverjackal Words that remind me of you: writing, army, running, England, and Star Gate (one word).

And you're right, it reminds me of me, too! )

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I've been lurking on www.absolutewrite.com/forums/ for the past few days. It is a fantastic resource.

Now, see, I'm trying one of their methods: the BIC (Butt-In-Chair). What does it mean? Basically, I have to sit at my computer for two hours everyday and write write write.

What's not allowed: doing the laundry or washing the dishes in a fit of despair; plotting the story; researching technical info on the web (arghh, here goes my favourite procrastination trick); posting on livejournal or anywhere else, for that matter. Just write.

If the words don't come, stare at the blank screen.

So I did that yesterday. Ahem. I tried, anyway. I managed two one-hour sessions, which, for my first day, is all right I think. I did a lot of staring. Blank screens are fascinating little things, aren't they?

But I wrote, too. A lot, a lot, a lot. Unfortunately I deleted almost as much. Total of the day: 300 words. Boy am I slow. It's like I'm afraid I'll break my story if I choose the wrong word at that stage. It's stupid.

I'm about to try again, right now. My goal? 2 hours, 800 words. We'll see.
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I've been stumbling upon a very neat site while researching writing exercises.

Simon Haynes is a sci-fi author, and he provides tips and tools on his website.

The first one is FreeMind, an open-source mind-mapping software:
http://www.spacejock.com.au/PlottingANovel.html
It's like having an infinite whiteboard with marker pens that don't stink and give you headaches. Bliss. I enjoy using it to go from broad ideas to accurate details without going bonkers in the process. It's also nice to explore different hypothesis, organise the plot, and so on.

My only beef so far is that it doesn't do hyperlinks, so when I paste a reference to a document on the web, I can't just click on the link to go back to it. No big deal.

ETA: It does Hyperlinks, actually. Ctrl-K is your friend. Shame on me!

The second one is yWriter, and is a free software written by Simon Haynes.
http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter.html
The article that references it : http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter.html

Oh boy. This program rocks my world, and I've only explored a small portion of its possibilities. It makes it so easy to find the scenes you're working on, and which characters are in which scenes, at what location... You can fill all sorts of details, like for example at what time the scene starts, when it ends, if particular objects are being used...

I find it a lot more practical than my standard word processor. I've just finished a short fiction. I had made a rather major change (as in, gotten rid of one character) at one point, and forgotten to fix all the scenes to reflect that change. I was able to find my ghost character very easily. I was also able to rewrite scenes to explore new avenues, while keeping the old ones and mark them as "unused" so they wouldn't appear in the printed version.

Cool stuff, really.
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Hey, if someone's still there. I've been hiding in Skoukla, all these months. It's a dark place where I feel safe, but it's not all that healthy.

I'm crawling out. I've been crawling out many times before, and being dragged back down just as many times -- that's when I disappear. So, I know I'll crawl out this time again, but I don't know how long it will last before I go back into hiding.

Since my last post, I've gone through two RL jobs, one I quit because I was harrassed, the other one I was laid off from as it was relocating. I'm unemployed and looking for a small job to tide me over until I go back to England.

In the meantime I had stopped writing, and to a point, reading. The words just didn't flow anymore, either in or out. I think part of the issue is that I live in France, which is fine and dandy except French is not my language of choice.

I couldn't stop creating, though, and found a new interest in Second Life. I am known as Raindrop Drinkwater, over there. I'm designing clothes, mostly latex. Raindrop is definitely in Skoukla at the moment -- the social pressures of SL are a bit overwhelming at the moment. I hope I'll be able to log back into SL within a fortnight.

So, basically, I'm still alive and well, if a bit hindered by social anxiety issues. It's daft. I play theatre and I'm fine on stage, but having an internet presence scares me. :)

Bah, still working on it. I'll snap out of it!
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I found a new job :D
It's been a few weeks now, and I'm still getting used to the new rhythm. There's a huge learning curve, but it's very interesting.

I'm less tired than I was in my former job, although my energy levels still aren't what they used to be. I'm about to sign up into a sport club to fix that. I just hope I'm not still suffering from the consequences of the depression I had a few years ago. That would *suck* big time.
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It has nothing to do with Daniel Jackson's peaceful way of exploring the world.
It also has nothing to do with "We come in peace. Shoot to kill", the Star Trek spoof (that's what I was googling for).

We come in peace is a series of short flash movies, featuring stupid monsters that are gracious like a block of concrete. They are mean and selfish. The stories are absurd. The dialog is limited to "Dup! Dah?". Go check it, it's fun!
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Talk about bad timing.
It looks like the ficathon (that I completely missed) finished today. Everybody's posting stories.
Gaaahhh.

I'm looking for a job, so I *don't* have the time to read fanfic.
Well, I opened [livejournal.com profile] destina's one. Just because... my mouse slipped. Yups, it was a computer glitch.

I read the beginning. Daniel's on a planet with a team of scientists. Setting: the jungle. Shit hits the fan. Jack sees one very damaged guy.
I'm writing a story, where... Daniel's on a planet with a team of scientists. Setting: the jungle. Shit hits the fan, and Jack sees one very dead guy.

Our stories are probably very different; still, I won't read hers until I've finished writing mine. I don't want to unwittingly plagiarase her work.

I suppose I'll just have to write faster...