Thursday, 27 March 2014

Ceilings

So the light improvement work on Book 4 has sort of turned into what happened with my bedroom ceiling last year: suddenly I have a huge hole and I have to take apart the whole rest of the book to repair the damage I've done. But it's okay because it will look nicer and be bigger and more spacious when it's done! And a few of the opening chapters are pretty much the same.

I always felt I wrote a better opening than a close, or if not better, then at least water tight: the premise is awesome, I just have to write something to suit it all the way through to the end. A lot of my stories start just as the opening scene or the first few chapters, and often when I have that I have to let it sit a long while to start coming up with my first ideas for what might follow that first pure, perfect idea.

In this case I had a sort of skeleton structure for the whole story, but the actual telling of it, I feel like I really undersold some ideas, and other times just didn't really tell it that well. Even if the writing seems fine sentence by sentence, I just feel like as a story teller I really ought to have done better, and am more capable of it... On the other hand, the end of book four is the oldest first draft I have still "in circulation" if we call the "official only draft I've ever bothered to write of a story" circulation. Everything else from that time has been re-written so thoroughly you wouldn't recognise it, often for the same reasons. And at the time I remember putting the story down and saying, "Well, this is the best that Present Me can do, I leave it for Future Me to go off and become a better writer, and then to get back to me in 3-4 years with a better draft."

I like to think that I am currently that Future Me. :P And for once Past Me might have been onto something instead of being a total moron, as she normally is. *glowers one second into the past at her*

Oh also my hand isn't so ouchy any more. I have an incredibly precise small scar that's still pretty fresh and red and some swelling, but frankly after the year my hand's had, I'm calling it cured and being done with it. :P

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Okay so I had the hand surgery

It still hurts like crazy to try typing with both hands, though I sometimes forget. Over the last few days I very slowly and painstakingly typed out a thousand words of book 4, mostly left-handed. Writing so slowly makes you pay a lot more intention to what you mean to say, and an idea better be good since you have to hold it in your head that much longer before your fingers catch up with your brain. I keep forgetting what I meant to write or not being so fond of a sentence any more after spending a whole minute trying to get it down.

Well I have a lot of work to do still but it's nice to be doing any, however slow.

/ end update :P

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ouch.

So the day after tomorrow I'm having hopefully quite mild surgery on my wrist to get it all fixed up and on the road to recovery... No more random nerve pain I'm hoping! And a wrist that can tolerate more than a few hours mild computer usage a day before it starts complaining. And fingers that can grip a pen for more than a few minutes. But mostly it's the "random stabbing pains anywhere and everywhere in my hand" that I'm interested in sorting :P

Of course since the injury it's been my least productive time ever for writing, with me actually going the whole of October without a real project, as I finished one edit and was just waiting for NaNoWriMo... as soon as that was over and I finished Medwin's story I sank back into poking and prodding the series. In a way I feel I may have been this unproductive because editing does often feel like a drag: some things I had to do and some things I just felt obliged to do, and while I'm concentrating on them, I count it as productive work but not actual writing. I think I may have started other projects or perhaps done something like finish Book 5 in this time but I have often actively steered away from doing intensive writing projects, with the exception of NaNoWriMo, which I wrote left-handedly in a notebook and then typed up as gently as I could, and still felt like too much work sometimes. I think it's probably my greatest achievement maybe, just that I did it :P

Anyway, for the past eight months or so I've steered myself towards not particularly creative aspects of writing: all re-reading and editing. It gave me time to sometimes get inspired and hammer out a few big new solid paragraphs, but mostly I just read and read and did a few small edits that only needed a few seconds hands-on-keyboard time.

I'm hoping once I have the surgery out the way, and whatever recovery time is necessary (apparently a huge cast for 48 hours, never mind the longer work to build up my hand's strength again) I can get back to the more creative side of my writing.

I'm doing an edit on book 4 at the moment which is turning into at least 4-5 chapters of entirely new content... The way it's ended up I decided since it all just seems to tumble out too quickly, I'd literally just insert a new day and see what Tanya would do if I wouldn't let her go off and investigate properly right away. As Tanya is Tanya, she immediately found a lot of good ways to fill the time with nice character development for her and a lot of overlooked characters (like Jeremy!) and to drop in buckets of foreshadowing which I realise had been missing.

Also I've been vaguely working chronologically through the books pretty much since I got relegated to the reading and editing bench, although I had been working on Concrete Faery before that anyway, trying to get it ready for sending to people. I guess once that day is done and I make it link up nicely with the remainder of the book (which I still haven't dared read so I don't know how much work it needs exactly), I want to finally move onto book 5 and finish it. It's embarrassing that it's still the only unfinished one in the two first cycles, especially when I can see so clearly how it's meant to go. It's a matter of both laziness and just a feeling that literally anything else is more important to write because it's uniquely stand alone and also I feel like I just know what's going to happen and when I sit down and write it will come out, so in a sense... why do I need to write it? :P Which is a terrible mindset especially since I want it done, but it makes things I feel I *need* to do a lot more urgent in case I don't want to do them 5 minutes later or I literally forget what I even meant to do to them.

But yeah. I'm bumping it up the priority order, just for the sake of my pride. *nods*

Of course that does depend a bit on having a working hand, so... wish me luck. We'll see how that goes!

Monday, 10 March 2014

Marking territory

You may notice that I impulse bought my own domain name, and that there is literally nothing else on the internet that is mine enough to bear my name, so this blog has become the only thing related to Elizabethpriest.co.uk, that link incidentally currently leading to an empty page since it seems like I have to pay for hosting as well, and since I don't yet need to actually exist on the internet I don't see the need in starting to pay for that... But it is nice to have a sort of impact on the internet in my own personal way.

I was reading on a news site about the web and internet in general since it's coming up on a big birthday or something. This article reflected on how Facebook and other big websites which need no naming are, obviously, using like 99% of all web traffic and everyone else is out there attracting a meagre amount of footfall because they aren't a big corporation. Even the article I got this from I literally can't remember which website I read it on, since it was on Facebook, with a link to the site. This article also said that, in a way, even though the internet may be taken up by all these huge names (I mean I am writing this on a Blogger platform), what's so good about it is that people can have their space, and will, and me buying a domain name means I've contributed in the smallest way to building the web, and carving my own unique space in it. All it really means in practice is that if I started linking back to my blog in a more aggressive "hey look at me" way the initial link would seem more professional yet the moment you clap eyes on it you see the generic Blogger theme and you know instantly I didn't like, code it from scratch. 

I don't really know where I'm going with that. I just started thinking about internet and the spaces we make on it, and then saw that article today and *really* started thinking about it. I think the main thing these days is that everyone has an internet footprint, and we just have to make it... a not awful one. I suppose it's the same with anything in life: be good and people will like and respect you more than if you're awful. Another article I saw (and heard a bit from the insiders I follow on Facebook/Twitter) was about annoyed SF fans chasing Jonathan Ross out of presenting the Hugo awards at an upcoming convention... He did a dickish thing in the "Sachsgate" scandal and apparently enough people haven't forgiven him for that (maybe other things as well... I really don't go out of my way to watch things with him involved anyway :P) so it impacted him later on.

That sort of thing obviously is the domain of celebrities, but it happens to normal folk too: like the youth police and crime commissioner post thingy where that girl had it for like 5 minutes before it turned out she'd been a lousy human being on Twitter, and had the post taken from her while hopefully someone in a position of power wondered if it was sensible to give the younger end of teenagers positions of high responsibility in the first place. There were probably a great deal of people reading about that and shifting in their seat, wondering what would come out if they were suddenly thrust into the spotlight. The internet is a lot less anonymous these days: Facebook is pretty much always your real name or a jokey nickname your friends identify you by and even if it isn't it's pretty useless if you don't network with people you know in some way or another. People on Facebook expect real life intrusion like forums and blogs etc in the old days never did. Even old social networks like Myspace I vaguely remember (but sort of missed the boat on until it was already dying :P) people would use screen names. Potential jobs can and will Facebook stalk you to check your value as a human being. If you used your real name on Twitter, same again. Many websites just have Facebook embedded where once their own personal comment system would have been. But people still go around like this is the internet dark ages, piling on hate in any comment section you give them.

I guess I'm just saying... Maybe more openness is better, in a way... We might be leery of our information being taken by governments and corporations, but society is turning into the internet anyway, so why not hope that some sort of good can come of the openness... if just one troll a day decides not to post something horrible because they suddenly get an attack of "what would happen when my friends see this?" the world has won a victory :P

Not that I am ever an asshole on the internet but I now have a blog with my real name plastered on it so I might as well say something about this :P

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Concerning Hobbits

My wrist has gone extremely painful again, so I won't type much... On the other hand I got a letter from the hospital saying I actually have an appointment with them, and the biggest shock is it's this month. I would love to be able to use my hand for basic tasks again some day.

Apparently writing too much of anything is bad for me, even by computer: I think my wrist really got bad because along with writing stuff for my work, I've done a surprising amount of editing: since January Concrete Faery has grown 6,000 words, and that's with stuff I've been deleting as well. So that's a net increase... The actual amount I've typed must be more as I have removed some lines here and there.

I've read the whole of The Hobbit, and moved onto The Lord of the Rings, although I'm still determinedly struggling through the history of the Shire and other miscellaneous stuff that comes before the novel actually starts. I sort of want to read it properly because it's been many years and as much as I watch the films I probably should read the books at least once a decade to stop me becoming some sort of dreaded fan of just the media. Of course I hope a lot of people agree if nothing else that structurally the films make a lot more sense, even if it's only the case that it's much better to to cut back and forth between the main characters, not abandoning Frodo for a clear half of the second two books. Even as one volume the amount of time between seeing the characters again is way way too long. Hardcore fans can argue about all the other edits and cuts in the film as much as they like, but they have to give me that... :P