Monday, 26 November 2012

NaNoWriMo time again

Hey, look what I got!

NaNoWriMo is part of the reason I've been completely absent. The other is that once again I woke up to find my throat was completely swollen and yukky and I spent a week lying about waiting for tonsillitis to go away. And yes, that happened on my birthday. When else?

Once that was all recovered from I pretty much went right into doing NaNoWriMo.

This year I won it actually fairly easily. Every year before this I've had oodles of free time and even if I was doing stuff like important essays for university or whatever, I would be procrastinating my bum off and churning out huge chunks of text while I was dithering over three lines of essay. Of course this year I was working all the time, and so I actually needed to introduce some discipline to my work. I would write as much as I could of the word count every single morning, and even if that meant still hammering out the last hundred in between putting my hair up and hopping around with one foot in my boot, then I would update my words on the site before I left the house.

On the second day I had my time zones all wrong and I meant to do two days word count and then update the second half after midnight... It all got put on day two though, so after I changed my time zone back to the UK instead of Pacific time, I had to write another extra day, and since every single day after that I endeavoured to finish beyond the daily target, I was a day ahead at least. Add in two days of word-warring and a week where I wrote between 2-3,000 almost every day with some extra work in the evening, and I finished with a week or more left of November.

Every NaNo I've completed I ban myself from writing random scenes that I have in mind just to boost word count: I find it a much better motivator to be waiting for those scenes and wondering how I can get to them. Obviously I have to try and find a purpose to every scene I write aside from just moving the plot on. I can never write "And then they rode all day and by nightfall..." going into a scene I actually had in mind. Embers and Elves really helped me there since it was day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, and so if I wanted to proceed I had to find a reason to make that hour exciting. Hence all the stupid soap opera drama, but dammit, Medwin would not be the same if he had come from any old boring story.

Anyway, Exchange of State is probably not the best thing I've ever written and of course it needs a lot of pruning and fixing up. My aim at the moment is just to make it to the end of the month so my work won't be affected on the graph, and then to tidy it up.

And then not to do exactly what I did with The Poet and the River, by deleting all my hard work the instant I was done with it in a heartbreaking moment of confusion over file names.

Even if it's not my best work it's always good to have long finished drafts lying about, or even huge chunks of novel ready for more work later. NaNo is good for filling up folders with drafts, basically. And you can't get anywhere if you never write anything.

Anyhow I am still 800 words off my morning goal and I have to go to work soon, so I should probably stop procrastinating. :D

Friday, 12 October 2012

Well, I've still blogged more in 2012 than I did either of the other two years that I was using this blog...

At the moment there is a massive hole in my bedroom ceiling, through which you can see the pale October sun. As such I have temporarily relocated to my old room that I spent all my formative years scribbling away in. At the moment it's less than inspiring. There are empty cans of paint sitting on the disassembled remains of my old desk, now lacking the half-mile of counter top I used in the place of a real desk. Because everyone knows the best furniture is made from recycled building materials. I've currently got my laptop sitting on an old card table or whatever else you use a felt-covered table for, and in the corner there is a folded up sewing table and a broken artist's drawing board with smiley faces doodled on it. The shelves are missing a few boards, and the scraps of carpet have been badly put back, so like a reverse rug I have carpet all around the edges and a patch of bare splintery boards in the middle. To complete the look, old Amazon envelopes and packing materials are strewn across one corner.

The newest piece of furniture is a brown leather sofa which mysteriously appeared in here not long after I moved out, and has a decent array of cushions and looks utterly alien amongst the mess, like it was playing hide and seek with the downstairs furniture and crept up here, giggling to itself. "They'll never find me here!" it said. Whether the TV and armchairs got bored and went to get cake or are genuinely still looking, I'll probably never know. In any case, this social reject sofa is my bed for the foreseeable future, and the leather rejects all attempts to tame it with a sheet. Having spent ages eleven to eighteen sleeping on the world's lumpiest futon atop a creaking, clanking metal frame which went CHUNK if you so much as shifted your weight to stop an arm from going dead, this is actually an improvement, if you ignore those years I went away to university and slept on real mattresses, or the fact that for the last year I have actually owned a bed which didn't attempt to fold up and swallow me in the night.

On the other hand, my dad finally cleaned the red nail varnish off the light switch, which had been here longer than we had the house and was like the defining characteristic of my room: it was the one with the red light switch. When I was four that was a hugely exciting thing. When I repainted the room when I was eleven I had access to nail varnish remover and cleaned it off, but it looked so alien and plain and boring that I instantly reapplied it. I need a room where at least something is intentionally shabby. With the walls all plastered and painted a pale shade of blue, there are definitely aspirations of neatness here. The wall is saying, "You never stuck up ten million posters of Legolas here, as far as I remember." I spent such a good chunk of my childhood scarring this room I never imagined it would be so easy to remove every trace of the imaginary lands and imaginary loves I created and pasted up there.

Somehow the stacks of paint tins and cleaning products would be more bearable with a red light switch, like the room is saying, "It's okay, it's meant to be like this."

Maybe I'll just take a marker pen and draw my life-size shrine to the Almighty Gsnurd over the wall in front of me again. That's bound to help.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Been quiet for a while...

I've had a cold and somehow even just a rubbish minor illness makes me go quiet. I mean, I took a whole year off, starting pretty much the week I got tonsillitis, and it took me that long to get back into blogging... Not sure what that's about.

Anywhoo, I've finished the latest draft of Concrete Faery, and sent it off to an editor I really liked the look of... I wasn't meaning to jump right in like that, but an opportunity popped up, so I grabbed it. I really ought to be looking at agents, not editors, but I'm excitable and not very good at being normal. My mum had to read my cover email and prune it down into stuff normal people would say. Hopefully the fact that Concrete Faery is full of things that normal people wouldn't say is its main selling point, though... So maybe I ought to write all my business emails in my crazy way? I don't know. :P Even if I'm trying not to be silly I'm terrible for rambling and saying things I shouldn't.

My oldest email account that I still use (kinda), the gsnurd one, got hacked yesterday... Sent a whole list of people a spammy link. Not pleased with that, especially when I got locked out of it all day for apparently not knowing enough about myself to answer all the questions. I really ought to just close down the account or at least delete all the contacts and reserve it only for those moments when I'm trying to log into a site I haven't been to in years and have to try all the old emails... Most things I have now are linked to my main gmail account, so I barely think about it.

What else have I been doing? Well, work has been rained out for like 4 straight days, so I've been catching up on sitting around and playing Minecraft. I recreated the main features of Fishbourne Roman Palace before I ran out of bricks and couldn't do the out buildings and kitchen and stuff. S'alright, you basically use 3 pieces of furniture for the whole game, so a giant villa is wasted in-game. It's just for show. :P

I've also been making tentative stabs at Secrets of the Stonespeaker. I realised it's 30,000 words long, and the plot is barely exposed. Just a few threads to tug on at the moment. It's the opposite problem of the Troutespond books... There's just so much going on there. I was going to save the character Jek up for ages and only have him appear after several major events... But I realised I had to use him anyway. So he's suddenly filling up space. :P Some of the Teo scenes could have been shorter and had less in them, but he's my only real chance for general world building in the opening since he's the only one moving around and being a noob at everything. At least these days the fad is for massive paperweight books.

But it's so ridiculously far from being finished, I don't know why I'm talking about it like that. Just carry on and write it, Lizbob. Shush now.


Well there's always other things on my mind, but that's as much of a summary as I can be bothered to type, so I'm off. : ) *wanders away*

Oh, except that my mum got me a copy of the complete Sherlock Holmes short stories, and I've been working my way through them at a fair pace and enjoying every word. Brilliant stuff.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Save the bear!

Seeing the last post reminded me that I'd bought those pencils... I haven't even sharpened one of them yet... Not doing a good job justifying buying them to myself!

Thinking about justifying, I kind of compulsively justify everything left/right because that's how essays were supposed to be handed in right through school and university... Because presentation was everything. Had to be reminded today that in actual fact the standard for manuscripts is just left justified, I suppose because then all the letters line up in the same place as each other if they're scanning it or something. I dunno. Probably other reasons back before technology.

Murfs has started getting a bit over-heat-y again, but I think this is because I've been slowly transferring a whole stack of CDs onto him. He's completely reasonable when I'm just sitting on my beanbag and writing.

Thinking of the beanbag, this is my current workspace. It's only so chaotic because of the week-long ongoing CD transfer thing. I finally realised that I could do it on this laptop now I had it back in working order... And I have seriously got CDs I bought almost two years ago and never listened to because I only really listen to music on my computer and like a CD at night while I'm writing in bed, but I can rarely be bothered to change that one. Also I keep it to the same few "quiet" ones so if I pass out while it's still playing I won't wake myself up when a shouty song comes on.

Anyway, I've been pretty good lately about keeping at least my floor clear, if not the room at an actual presentable standard. I dunno why; no one special ever comes here (EXCEPT MY MUM, AAAWWW), but I'm giving that tiny room, tidy thoughts thing a go. My thoughts could do with a little more organisation.

Yes Freddy is being eaten by that drum. No he's fine, don't worry.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Beanbag land

Well I've ended up living on my bean bag for the most part of my sitting around writing experience. This is mostly because Open Office and Libre Office don't seem to talk to each other 100%... Add in that I was creating .doc files so I could open them via Dropbox on my Android phone, and basically I think the files were going through the blender. I'm presumably quite lucky that I only had to save a new version each time because of all the "THIS IS A READ-ONLY FILE, YOU MORON" that kept flashing up. I'm pretty sure there must be a way to change a file so it is *not* read only, but aside from saving it as a copy like Open Office always suggests I don't know. Mostly because I'm lazy.

I mean theoretically all of those things should be compatible with each other: Dropbox works on Lubuntu, Android and Windows 7, and .doc files are the standard file that all files come in and word processors have to be able to open because they're going to lose a huge market of they don't. Somehow switching to them from the Open Office/Libre Office standard file type and then wringing them through a mobile phone still produced less than optimal results.

Anyhow, the reason I'm on my beanbag is my desktop computer did some more delightful freezing/overheating, and since Murfs, even with his half hour battery life, is the more reliable of the two since he was be-Linux'd, that's where I ended up saving all my files as the version I'm currently using, and haven't dared edit them on another machine in case I have to go a fifth round of "Save as copy..."

So far for just this one attempt at a draft we have had:

I'm mostly worried because I don't think I know what I'd call the next file when it inevitably breaks.

And yes I know I should probably delete them, but I'm paranoid: what if in three weeks I find there's a missing word somewhere and I knew I wrote it but what was that word even..!?! And I have to open up six different versions of the file, but at last, there it is! Only on the phone-copy I made which is only random strings of jumbled characters when I open it on a computer, but still viewable on my phone? After ten minutes of scrolling through the slow-loading pages I find that one word that I was missing!

Therefore, the clutter stays. It's okay, as long as it's only on the computer I don't look like a mad cat lady hoarder who has manuscripts piled up past her ears in every room of the house.

If you print out the contents of my entire writing folder it *is* more than two large storage boxes through. Significantly so.

Shh. I can be mad in my own time.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

So then I poisoned myself...

My mum left me at home all by myself and expected me to fend for myself while working full-time. Now, I am, I admit, rather hopeless but I did survive three years of university with only two crippling illnesses and one of those I had and recovered from over the summer holiday where people were there to care for me. So I thought, you know, a few weeks, how hard could it be?

Aaaand I managed to get food poisoning for the second time in my life. I have total veto power over what I put in my mouth so I can't blame anyone but myself for the decisions I made regarding what I was going to eat. Mind you I tried the licorice ice cream at work the instant I was back there, so I suppose I haven't really learned any lessons at all from this deal, except that somehow I've equalled "don't get food poisoning" with "remember to eat vegetables" and even if it's totally inaccurate I don't want to second guess that valuable life lesson too much.

Anyway, I am back on my feet and also back to work, but I did manage to spew out a lot of Teo's story in the last few days as well, during the "no longer throwing up every five minutes but still too weak to do more than sit at my computer" stage. I'd got rather stuck with it and I wasn't sure what was going to happen, but then I had a burst of inspiration and desire to write it.

This was caused by walking along the road to my dad's house, completely meaning to think about Concrete Faery, since I'm already as far as writing the bit at the end. But I stopped to look at the view over the valley and I was just trying to work out how the City (yes it still doesn't have a name) would look if it was about the size of Hastings. Since I can see pretty much all of Hastings, one way or another, just outside my house.

Anyway, that totally side tracked me and I wrote my first real scene from Per's point of view (YES the prince has a name now!) and then re-wrote the scene I'd been stuck on, which was Rishan's viewpoint. I totally cut Teo out of it, and then by skipping immediately to Berys, the poor guy has faded from view a bit.

Well he is stuck doing a really boring job at the moment and I don't have any plans for him to have something exciting happen while he's down there. He just needs to be out of the way.

Anyway, after all that, the important thing is that I came up with a title for the story! It's called The Stonespeaker's Secrets for the time being, at least until I come up with something better, or, in the far future, some editor at a publishing company forces me to change it. Which I would really not mind. Because titles are really not my strong point and I've only stressed so hard about the Troutespond Series titles because there are so darn many of them and that sort of makes it my responsibility because there's a lot of work involved.

Like, all the wizards are Stonespeakers in that story. It'll be funny for people to try and work out which is the one in the title. Even I don't know which one has the most significant secrets! (Okay I totally do but I'm not telling.)

Friday, 10 August 2012


Well, in the last week I've expanded Concrete Faery by over 3000 words, which I am pretty impressed with, considering I've mostly been reading it through and tweaking and rambling here and there where appropriate. I've not even been working even somewhat solidly on it: I'm still working every day, and I started reading one book, finished reading a different one. So my current ongoing pile of books is still huge but at least it held steady this week, while the finished pile grew for the first time in a while. :P

It is rambling like that I need to avoid in the story... Hoping I get it all out of my system here. :P

I've become aware I'm not entirely sure what constitutes healthy food. I've been feeding myself for three weeks now and I feel a little ill. I've been trying to eat a variety of foods. I think it may be the manner I'm eating: trying to feed myself up to survive until the end of work, and then after work when I feel hungry for the first time after snacking all through the morning, I cram a huge meal into my face at 10pm or something ridiculous like that, and then dither about when I can go to bed.

So all in all I think I just need to eat the same sort of food I'm eating but maybe not like I am eating. So there's an interesting fail on my part. :P

I think writing Ally jinxes me to be a bit more fail-tastic and prone to accident. My clumsiness has jumped in the last week. I smacked my head twice at work, once on the counter really quite hard when I was bending down to look for napkins I didn't intend to give to a customer anyway because they were being whiny. :P

Anyway I'll have to leave for work in an hour so now I've got a layer of stupid thoughts out of my head, back to writing!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Summer Cleaning

Just had a go at wearing myself out by tidying my room... I am quite proud of the effect I had on it. Not sure how long it will last, but for tonight I only have my old problem of too many things on the surfaces. On my desk alone, which is a pretty narrow space, I have a little barrel of fountain pen ink, a desk tidy, a PIN reader and card, gum and soothers, a gum tin that looks like a pacman ghost that my current gum strips don't fit in, a little wheelie bin pencil sharpener, a big eraser, a small tangle of wires for my camera/phone/wireless antennae, a data stick, a mug of pens, a coaster with a glass on it, an empty ibuprofen packet, my phone, nail clippers, a comb, a lego man, a little toy horse, a red teddy bear, a giant ladybug stuffie, a fairy snow globe and one of the only sheep ornaments of a set I had that Bekah didn't deface and I didn't smash somehow. As well as two speakers, a monitor, keyboard, mouse and the tower of my PC since there's no room for it beneath my desk because I keep half a drum set under there. :P

Anyway, tidy room, tidy mind, apparently. Not that I spend much time thinking about my room. And I'm usually pretty tidy about organising things that matter like my writing.

I was wondering if I should organise my books a little better, but I have to do them by size just because of the awkward shape of my shelves and lack of bookends, so that would destroy any attempts to properly alphabetize it. I'm using hefty books and notebooks as bookends on half the shelves. And I wonder why it took me most of an evening to locate my copy of the complete works of Shakespeare...

Oh yeah, also a notebook and some phone documentation just surfaced on my desk :P *moves them*

Should really do stuff with the rest, but... I think I have actually worn myself out now. It's almost 2:30 and I've been tidying since just before midnight...

I was going to write something about writing: I've pretty much finished re-drafting Changeling's Choice to something I am extremely happy with, but it's so late and I'm probably a bit addled right now, so it's probably not the best time to analyse my writing experience or whatever I want to do. :P

May come back to this in the morning. May forget for a week. In any case, here is a blog entry.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Same things as anyone...

I've had Stereophonics's Lying in the Sun stuck in my head for the last half hour. Not sure why because I know full well it's an extremely sad-sounding song and having finally had a good dose of sun I should not be having mournful lines from a slow, sad song stuck in my head, whatever the title. My brain is no better than a radio station stooge who crawled through their back catalogue for every song with "sun" in the title without stopping to sample the content.

My subconscious can be a bit dumb like that, but I've also been musing on how it can occasionally be quite good too. We just finished watching The Hollow Crown series of Shakespeare histories on the beeb this evening (went from Richard II - Henry V) and my brain is reeling in post-Shakespeare wordgasm delight. After too much exposure to anything eloquent and well-written I end up with a subconscious bubbling with wordplay and fancy phrasings, but I can never ever get it out. It comes out in weird moments when it is of absolutely no use. Sometimes I can barely speak: I have a tiny bit of a lisp and can stammer sometimes and often if I do manage to speak it comes out incoherent or backwards with a lot of verbal dyslexia. I say a lot of ridiculous things because I'm so relieved to get through half the sentence I hadn't planned the rest since I wasn't expecting to actually get to say it. And it's not like I'm exactly the most eloquent writer either. I'm pretty lousy at poetry when I'm trying to draw words out. And I've never grasped rhythm well.

But all that aside, I sometimes accidentally spill out a stream of words that just WORK, and occasionally there is an incident such as the one where we bumped into an American tourist in London who asked for directions, and completely without realising, I ran out a stream of Shakespearean quality English in response, complete with a "perchance?" on the end when enquiring as to where he was heading. I didn't even realise what I'd said until I noticed my mum practically wetting herself with laughter, and then I ran through what I'd said. Perhaps it was just my brain seizing on the chance to perversely try to convince Americans we really do all talk like that all the time here.

Wish I really could talk like that all the time.

And write like it too. That would just be brilliant. :D

Friday, 20 July 2012

Well that's cool... I can update my blog from my phone now. I was just thinking I was going to bed, but this is much more interesting. I half planned to take my laptop with me because I'm slacking again. It's once again the fault of not being able to write in a notebook  for long stretches. I have a ton of text to edit instead. And my brain seems to have been switched off all summer. I need a more regular schedule so I can make time in my brain that I know is writing time. I seem to be unable to put a new paragraph in so I'd better stop now before this gets too long...

Monday, 16 July 2012

Return of the Killer ASDAsaurs

You may remember my love of badly drawn dinosaurs:

Well there is a spot in Hastings which seems to have the same sacred reverence of the square with teeth or wibbly line with legs in the middle that are children's attempts at T-rexes and the imaginary Brontosaurus.

I speak of course (of course!) of the ASDAsaurs: the mosaic-mural thing outside the new ASDA in St Leonards which is simply the most awesome mural I have ever clapped eyes on and I defy you to produce a better T-Rex than that yellow box with a tail and teeth on the end. I am completely in love and every time I go past I sigh a little with delight that such a thing exists. It makes me forget that they are Wal-Mart and evil and okay they make decent instant hot chocolate but whatever.

In a perfect world primary school children would decorate every public building and every wall. And the theme would always be Dinosaurs. It could be "Dinosaurs and..." the seasonal theme such as nature, football, whatever... Just as long as the important word was there at the beginning. Perhaps we could get them to design packaging for things. Or to dabble in webdesign. The world needs more hilarious poorly drawn dinosaurs.

It occurs to me...

That I actually haven't done any work on Changeling's Choice in like two whole weeks or something. I've been busy being awesome at Teo's story. I retconned in a new chapter three, which is now from Jek's point of view. Still don't know what the story is called, but I DID finally come up with a name for that annoying prince... Sophie's suggestions helped. :D If she's reading this, *waves* Thanks! He's got a suitably pretentious name now, and I'm still plagiarising names from myself all over the place for other minor characters. But it doesn't matter because I'm hardly likely to use the old stuff they come from.

And if I do go back... Well I'll just have the trouble of trying to think of more names for those places.

Although it's more likely one day I'll, like, mentally over turn the table and be like, "All these names are stupid and I only came up with them to save me from going crazy from having to call everyone "that guy" all the time in the narration until I thought of something better!" And then I'll give them all new, better names after a lot of crying over how hard it is to name people and how my kids will all be called Bob, even the female ones.

And I did write that chapter with Rishan, or at least the first half of it. He turns out to be a very fun character to write, exactly like I predicted.

It's been raining a ton here lately, and I haven't really worked for over a week because of it... Plenty of time to sit around writing. I've tried turning my hand to Captain Templeton but I've still not really been in the mood for drawing it. It's a really complicated background in most of the panels, so I admit I may be putting it off a little, but only because I want to do it right, and coming to it in the wrong mood very quickly means a lot of scribbles and me giving up in a huff. I am not a good artist. :P Good artists practice every single day and rise up to challenges like complicated backgrounds with enthusiasm. I just sulk. :D

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Lizbob: the greatest hits

Okay, these blog entries are getting more and more image-y, but now I have my computer stocked up with a childhood and teenagerhood of pictures I can't resist compiling them. :P

First up: the Nonsense Collection.


Tuesday, 26 June 2012


I spent a pretty large chunk of today out on an adventure. I actually had partners in crime for once (well, okay, I was tagging along with my mum and one of her friends and so I was an accomplice more than anything else). But it enabled me to get a series of awesome shots of bubbles streaming out across a misty field, since I had someone to stand behind me and wave a bubble wand around. I'm extremely proud of how they turned out.

I'm always thinking of myself as an amateur photographer, but considering I'm now ferrying over some more photos from my old university laptop, I'm starting to think I mostly just take photos of the funniest things I see, then throw in a few snapshots of something vaguely arty-looking to justify having such a fancy camera when the guilt grips me for not appreciating one of the nicest presents I've ever got. Basically just the drums and laptops trump my camera in terms of awesomeness/expensiveness. :P

And here's me with a whole folder dedicated to fairy cakes. I believe it documents several isolated incidents.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Stared down by aardvarks

Well, I have had a busy few days. :) First I hung out with Bekah and Laura in town, then I repeated that two days after with Catwin and Mahsa as well as Bekah (Laura had to work. Blah, people with proper jobs :P). Then I'd barely recovered from that and BlackJack descended on Hastings WITH MY CAPTAIN TEMPLETON SHIRT, and Sophie was there too... Then I went home for like 3 hours before hanging out with Sophie for a pub quiz, which to my brain was practically having a second day in there since it was a totally different activity. I might have been a bit sun-dazzled.

Anyway, today I had a nice relaxing start waiting anxiously by the phone in case I had to go into work (I didn't, it rained after a load of nice sunny days)... But I did get a call from another place I'd applied to do some writing-related job that uses my brain.

It occurs to me that I have not used my brain much lately, and so I probably sounded a bit dumb to them. :P

Anyway this evening I went to see Frankenstein again with Sophie. The film of the play with Benedict Cumberbatch: I've now seen both versions, with him as the monster and as Frankenstein. I have to say it's really good. I was worried I'd find it a bit silly when I was at the first showing and Benedict Cumberbatch (why would you ever shorten his name to anything else? If he was my bestest friend I'd still call him that every time :P) fell out onto the stage and started flopping about like a fish. But I ended up totally captivated...

I've never actually seen any old famous versions of it as a film, nor have I actually read the book. It's one of those which I just somehow missed. I always ended up in Literature classes where the teacher thought we should do something serious and comparatively dull to the exciting or well-known options.

Or perhaps Mrs H-C had just been teaching so long she was sick of trawling through the same 2 Shakespeare plays and handful of obvious classics a class of teenagers won't mind skimming. The result was, I swear, half the class never seemed to have read the books we were supposed to read, and the rest of the school all seemed to be doing a different course to us. :P

Amongst all that I ended up having one of my busiest writing sessions of this year so far, it feels like (actually, that's a total lie: I'm still thinking in academic years, so I have NaNoWriMo to think of, never mind all the work I put in to finishing Book 7). I was dawdling all over the place about working out what happened with the changeling and Alana in the extra night. I'm really glad I did, because what finally hit me and came out all at once in the middle of the night (into the wee hours of the next day :P) was really good... Haven't typed it up yet: I'm about halfway through that scene, which isn't too far behind by my standards.

I realised when I really was forcing myself to put the pen down and turn the light off that I was actually shaking a little, with maybe a bit of a tear in my eye. I hadn't even thought of the scene as being emotional like that. While writing some things such as that story "Shapes" I basically bawled through the last act since I knew what was going to happen, and I intended it to be moving, so I was looking all over the place for the most emotionally impactful words... Hopefully if only a third of the phrases I picked moved other people I was doing a good job, but because of that approach I was pretty much a mess. Not so the case in these scenes. 

I felt not emotionally isolated so much as just not really looking for words to make it moving: I wasn't trying to do it, so I wasn't making sure anything had an emotional weight to it. If anything I had less lines glancing back at Alana's state of mind than I normally would, despite the emotional complexity of the scene. I think maybe the situation actually accidentally got too close to some stuff which happened to me, so maybe again it's something that won't affect other people so much. Well, obviously Alana's a lot more messed up than I am, but I'm far too easily confused for genuine emotional depth. If you were reading my life as a story you'd just be face-palming, even at the moving parts, because oh my god who is so slow as that? :P 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Aaaargh. The feeling of a new notebook, especially one not like any of the ones you've had before, is just too good. I was doing so so well.... I slipped a few times on pens, but not on notebooks! You can't just accidentally have more notebooks!

Well, except you can. This blog may take a turn for the gritty as I battle my problems with collecting more stationery than I will ever know what to do with. :P I left my current notebook on my desk when I went out the other day, and by the time a series of Things To Do That Day took me from work to the cinema to my dad's, I suddenly found myself with two hours to kill before the F1 and not a single scrap of paper which wasn't a £20 (I just got paid :P). So he gave me a new one he had lying around since I do kind of have my notebook condition from him: he bought up 10 of them since the line had been discontinued. I only bought 16 of that cheap awesome pen when I thought it was discontinued: the price tag was still on the notebook so I totally made the less demented decision when you add it all up.

Anyway it's a really nice A4 notebook (not the standard size I use: I tend to go for the average slightly-squarer-than-A5 books which most notebooks that fit in a bag are). Aargh, A4 notebooks are a challenge. The pages are so big, and you can write for the same one for ages, but when you fill one up and move onto the next it feels SO SATISFYING. And that's compelled me to keep on using it even though I have a good half of the notebook I was on before that left to fill up with words.

I suppose I could give it over to Teo's story and start keeping the two separate and side by side, but then I'd end up lugging both around in my bag. At least I currently have a cavernous sack-like bag which, while rubbish for finding my keys in, is great for keeping way more books, notebooks, pencil cases, cameras etc than I should rightly carry if I don't want end up hunchbacked. Also, up until this point there's rather more of Changeling's Choice than anything else in the frog notebook that I've spurned.

But I suppose in my defence I couldn't really avoid taking the notebook: otherwise I would have sat and watched crappy TV for two hours which is not a good thing to do at all when you could be using your brain for something. I know I spend a lot of time not really apparently doing much with my brain, but it's always working unless I've decided to watch TV or something. I could have read: the house is full of books. But I was soaked through and sleepy and hungry and my brain wasn't really up for it.

And yes writing comes so easily to me I'd rather do it than dozens of things you'd think would be harder or more taxing. I'm a bit of an Extreme Writer if it was a sport. I get a lot of comments from random members of the public saying, "I could never write here!" or the likes. And just by the fact random members of the public are around to say such things you can tell I'm already pretty far from my desk. :P Anyway, writing all the time in bumpy, dark, noisy etc places means that just sitting quietly in the living room with a cup of coffee I can practically snore out a chapter.

Another way to tell I have a real problem with notebooks: I wrote all this about them, and I can't even see a simple way around this, whereas someone who is not diseased in the head when shown a block of paper and a writing implement might have a really obvious answer to this. Something common sense which implies I'm making a huge fuss over nothing. But if BlackJack says it she's got to be lying: she's in love with awesome notebooks too.

And this new one is Swedish designed! It's fancy and modern! It's got hidden built in features you don't even know about until you read the text on the back which explains the high tech printing technique used in making the lines on the page to make them ten times better than normal lines!

^ see above. Diseased in the head. :P

Friday, 8 June 2012

Yesterday while I was digging away in Minecraft I had a pretty good moment of realisation where I saw how to fit something I'd been holding onto as an idea into Teo's story (yes it still hasn't got a title) as a bit of great backstory, neatly tying in some history and ideas from the setting I had to make my world a bit more complete, and to provide some character motivations. I find it weird to be riding as blind as I am on the world outside of Teo's city (blah that needs a name too :P) but the point of the story is that they don't know what's outside the walls. However if I'm ever going to learn anything about this prince (yes he still doesn't have a name either) then I will need to find out more about what he remembers from outside the city... This is still a very young story considering how much I don't know about anything in it. I can tell whatever I write now is still only going to be an early draft... I've only ever given it one attempt at a run-through before and I don't want to use most of the world-building outside of the city. Meaning it's basically a new story as I'm still not really building anything except for hunches and ideas about what's out there.

I'm hoping I'll get a new computer soon, since Simon's back from uni and on a computer-making spree. This monstrous old machine may be about to part from me at last... I'm not even sure but I think some parts of it have been with me almost a decade. It's been better behaved over the last couple of weeks than it was when I was convinced its death was not far away... However I'm still really cautious about using it for projects of any real weight. I've been drawing Captain Templeton in little fits and starts, because Photoshop + stupid computer = almost certainly not going to make it to a peaceful shut down late at night. As for writing, all I've done is fill up my notebook with scribbles which are still far from being typed up. I have several scenes of Changeling's Choice ready to go but I've yet to dare even open my word processor to have a look at it lately.

But yeah, not much has really been happening over here lately. I've worked a lot, and I met up with Laura in town and we ended up seeing the new Men in Black film when work got cancelled because of the rain. This week has been one promising hurricane-level storms so I'm assuming I will not be called in often because of it. Now would be a good time to be writing...

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

*ridiculously loud sneezing*

For some reason Melisendé assaulted me late afternoon with another one of her ridiculous sales pitches for her story. "HERE," she demanded, waving a script at me. "DO IT LIKE THIS."

"Suuuure," I said, while already brushing the papers under something in the back of my mind to go with all the other attempts she's made to get me writing her story again. I really like her, 'Mite and Ratty as a core set of characters for something, but what that is yet has not emerged. What would be hi-larious would be sticking them into my Troutespond series.

Yeah. Tempted. Not convinced. Keep trying, Melly.

That said, I'm still leaning more towards keeping than binning on Embers and Elves. Which means Medwin may ride again as a 15 year old whose catchphrase would be "I am not friggin' Harry Potter!" if it were not 1939 and therefore far too early for any cultural references I'd be capable of making. :P If he can show up again then why can't I put Melzaar the Almighty and her ridiculous friends into another story, and still write about them in other contexts?

Although I have always prided myself on having a ton of characters and not blatantly recycling them if I could think of better, more suitable ones. Medwin in book 7 of the Troutespond series, and even Or'wenn, are extremely different to how they would be in their own story, even as far as character and personality. They look the same as themselves, they have the same names, and some of the same basic writing traits (ie: always write Medwin with no filters on my sense of humour, always write Or'wenn utterly deadpan and unmoved by what he's saying/seeing). But the motivations behind all that are very different. They have nothing in common with their alternate world selves, even if Medwin even went to the same school in the same town, and was born in the same place, raised by his grandparents in London exactly the same as in Embers and Elves...

I don't know. What I do know is that fifteen year old Medders is much more likely to start running around on the page than Melzaar.

And I need to stop using cute nicknames for them before I write another stupid snapshot into my brain with them all in open revolt.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

All your laptops in one basket

Managed to drip tea on my pile of laptops. Just a couple of drops on the lid of one, but it occurred to me there's a saying about eggs and baskets and putting three laptops in various states of usability (but all at least showing zombie-levels of life if not more) one on top of each other is probably a bit of a risk. *Just puts the new one that still works in the regular line of fire for drops of tea*

We went up to London (Hatfield specifically) to see my brother's film show yesterday. It was awesome and his work was amazing. So proud of him for being gifted in something which you can just whack up on a projector and say "Look what I did!". I hope he talked with a lot of the industry people who were there looking to employ some of these young film/game making geniuses, and now has a job or something. I dunno, haven't talked to him today. He's probably quite burnt out. :P

Anyway, because of all the train travel I managed to do a fair bit of typing up on The Changeling's Choice. It's pretty important that I've managed to get as far back as the second book in the series... Not working on book 7 or 8 means I'm editing things a bit closer to the beginning, and I can't really send out Concrete Faery until I'm happier with it. I've already identified Alana as a bit of a problem there because her motivation is a bit sketchy since she's working on behalf of the Piper but doesn't agree with him on a lot of stuff. I need to get in a lot more about everything she does so that it's clearer where she's acting for herself and where she's acting on behalf of the Piper, because that will make her a lot more confusing and, considering she's not the friendliest character, a lot more likeable. I've been skimming through A Clash of Kings to remind myself of what's going on and it's also reminded me that characters who do pretty unlikeable things can still be likeable overall, and vice versa. Not that my stories are anything like, or even the characters: Alana being grumpy is hardly like being the mass-murdering casually rape-y characters who show up in A Song of Ice and Fire. :P

So holding off on writing Concrete Faery while I put in some extra stuff for Changeling's Choice, namely a lot more of Alana's mom and an extra day of Changelingness. Hopefully I'll be able to expose more of Alana's character, and then I can reverse engineer what I learn about her into Concrete Faery. It is definitely making me think about what to write for the first book, because of just how close it is, how much the story ties into and depends on it, and, well, having to recap that one specific story instead of a more general one as the series moves on and there's too much to summarise in a few words.

Well I'd better stop typing before I accidentally close the tab again. :P I'm so clumsy even using computers... And you'd think the amount I game and type and generally use the internet I'd be better at it. You could say the same for walking or not opening doors in your own face. Practice does not = skill.

Thankfully I do feel I get better at writing every year, or I really would despair about not having a single useful talent in the world. :P

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Save the Fish!

I hope when everyone was a kid they drew dinosaurs in various ridiculous situations as often as I did. It was a staple of my childhood. I kept all the dino drawings in one notebook, which confusingly had a fish drawn on the front, by me, wearing a crown and surrounded by a court of smaller fish. "SAVE THE FISH" it declared. And then the rest of the book was about dinosaurs getting in trouble with thunder clouds or eating each other.

Or getting toothache, of course.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

I have a worrying feeling I'm a morning writer...

... and I'm just too lazy to ever do the work in the morning when I ought to. All the most productive, regular writing I did was at university in the mornings before classes or on the bus or whatever. I'm secondly a public transport sort of writer, so combine a 6am bus ride with a notebook and pen, and you get 200,000 words of Cloud People in a term.

Anyway. With work I've had a couple of mornings where I did a lot of writing while I waited to go in... But most of these days when I'm still waiting and don't know where my day's going I always end up putting it off. I try to write a bit before bed but that does tend to lead to face planting into my notebook. And this morning I woke up to the thunk of my notebook vanishing down the side of my bed. I had to mount a full rescue mission for it.

I suppose the real problem is just that I can't find the motivation at the moment, which is rare to the point of being almost unheard of for me. But between all the various computer issues I'm scribbling a lot more in notebooks than I'm typing up, and when I do that I do start grinding to a halt left right and centre when I don't have a definitive version typed up to refer to. Teo's story currently has three scenes dotted through it where the Loremasters' histories are explained, and I'm using none of them... I keep backing away from telling it when I do. And I left off a couple of bridging parts between scenes because I didn't know where they were going in the end because the order is pretty much at random and I still don't think all the scenes I *have* typed up are in the right order. So basically I have a lot of words I'm not using, and a lot of words I'm missing, and until I have a computer I enjoy typing for long periods of time on which is NOT likely to die in front of me as I do so... I am probably going to keep rougher and rougher drafts of all this stuff. :/ Which is also why work on the Troutespond Series has utterly ground to a halt because there's nothing else I can *DO* without using a computer I trust and enjoy writing on.

I know it was a long time ago that I last mentioned reading, but I think I'm getting less burned out now it's been over a year since the degree. In that time I read a few novels, and re-read a lot more. :P I think most of the books I picked up over that year were ones I'd already run my eyes over before. Sort of just getting back into enjoying it for enjoyment's sake. Now I'm ready to attempt new books without finding myself twisting my brain too much. I did find myself sketching a comparative essay between Snow Falling on Cedars and The Girl with the Glass Feet discussing remoteness, isolation, snow and nature imagery in rural island settings, comparing one historical setting to a well-realised fantasy setting, but I managed to shake it before I did more than sketch up a mental outline. So, yeah. I'm healing from my degree. :P

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

I probably need to stop watching Avengers Assemble at some point.

Those record box office takings? I'd say... probably a quarter of them are me. It'd be more, but I used the Odeon card for most of them, and Orange Wednesdays where applicable so got a decent amount of free film for my efforts. :P

In any case, it has completely taken the edge off my wait for The Hobbit to arrive in cinemas.

I may be getting a new computer soon, and if that is the case then I can settle down and lay out all the stories from my series, read them through, and begin my plan of attack. I've been writing notes and preparing myself for the moment that I have to re-read/re-write them, and I think I have a better idea of the sort of words I need to put down, at least. It's all just sitting in the back of my mind, sometimes seemingly completely sidelined for Teo's story... But actually it's all there, grinding away. I get scenes and moments from it in my head as I walk places and get caught up in writing the story in my head in a way that I haven't been affected by since basically early drafts of Cloud People or Soddinelvs stuff. This is "Probably shouldn't be walking near busy main roads" kind of daydreaming.

Although on the way back from the cinema after seeing The Avengers with Catwin, it was actually just fantasising about how I might make myself the Piper's coat that had me distracted. :P That would be epically cool to make an Ally costume, even though like maybe 3-4 people would instantly recognise what I'd done and most of them are internet friends.

Anyway I think my corn on the cob might be boiling over. I don't know why I am sitting here blogging when I should be feeding myself.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Well I feel bad about that lazy blog entry...

So here I am on my day off from selling doughnuts so I have absolutely no excuse about being tired and therefore writing the worst blog entry ever :P

I've been typing up that draft of Teo's story all day, really. Aside from a break to play WoW, but that was after typing up over 4,000 words so I figure it was fine to take a break. :P I was writing a lot of scenes for Teo's story in my lunch breaks and I ended up putting loads of them in a totally different order from how I wrote them. Of course, now that I've pretty much alternated between Teo and other characters I'm going to feel a lot of pressure to keep on alternating as much as I can. Although I do want to get my four narrators (Teo, Rishan, Berys and Emelle) all in the same room at one point to have a drink. I'm getting lots of little ideas for the story coming to me now, and I like how it looks, although I don't really have an idea about how it all links up. I guess I'll just keep writing and find out. It's looking less and less likely that Teo will ever leave this city for long. :P

Aaand I have to go get dinner. I may be back to ramble about something. If not... apologies for another lazy blog entry. :P

Friday, 11 May 2012

Blah, been way too busy making doughnuts and cleaning everything in the shop to be alert enough to blog. On the other hand, I quite possibly have earned moneys. That's cool. :P

I recently had Murfs, my laptop from university, restored to me and I meant to make a long blog post rambling about the nature of storing our lives on computers, although I think I may have done that before. Hm. In any case I never got around to it, but here are my thoughts I posted on Facebook. Yes this is a very lazy blog post... it's 2am and I'm tired long and short term. :P

I'm sitting remembering all the good times I had with Murfs, my laptop from January of my first year of uni. :)
 ·  · 
  • Sophie Corbett likes this.
    • Lizzy Priest I started Concrete Faery on that machine, and hammered out 2,000 words of it every morning before going to classes
      7 May at 23:57 · 
    • Lizzy Priest sometimes we'd curl up in bed together and just watch anime
      7 May at 23:57 · 
    • Lizzy Priest and in my second year when I was having a lot of trouble sleeping we camped out on the floor and watched David Attenborough together, and we'd wake up with my face planted in its keys
      7 May at 23:58 · 
    • Lizzy Priest I wrote all but 6 of the essays I wrote for uni on it, including the Dissertation, which was in pieces of files all over the desktop, which was frozen in time from my last month of using it before today
      7 May at 23:59 · 
    • Lizzy Priest The photos on it track hanging out with all the friends I made at university, and everyone I knew before... It has all my pictures and all my music from my whole life stashed on it
      Tuesday at 00:00 · 
    • Lizzy Priest all the dumb photos of stuffed hedgehogs and pumpkins from sleepovers with Bekah
      Tuesday at 00:00 ·  ·  1
    • Lizzy Priest The weather app was stuck in Chichester. it was 17 degrees and sunny last time I used this laptop
      Tuesday at 00:01 · 
    • Lizzy Priest Google Chrome had all my bookmarks from then, including webcomics I'd lost and forgotten and the University of Chichester login
      Tuesday at 00:02 · 
    • Lizzy Priest I wrote the first Captain Templeton comics on there
      Tuesday at 00:03 · 
    • Lizzy Priest and drew and coloured them with the touch pad...
      Tuesday at 00:03 · 
    • Lizzy Priest The desktop is the first panel of Captain Templeton 5, with Honkers and Fastow cleaning the deck
      Tuesday at 00:04 · 
    • Lizzy Priest For the last year I've felt like I started over, missing all the drawings I did when I was 14, all the dumb photos of cacti I took for some reason... I felt like I was starting anew, when all my computers died one after the other, leaving me with a bare minimum of what I felt was most of my personality
      Tuesday at 00:06 · 
    • Lizzy Priest and now I am reunited with Old Lizzy, who has this totally barmy collection of weird junk cluttering up her computer but is clearly awesome. I think I'll get along with her as I sort through just what she's been hoarding all these years. :D
      Tuesday at 00:07 · 
    • Rebekah Wheatley This is good support for the "extended mind" theory in philosophy of mind... Computers, notebooks, etc. are extensions of our mind : P
      Tuesday at 00:09 · 
    • Lizzy Priest They are! :O I really felt like I'd lost a chunk of myself when I thought I lost Murfs and I really did blow up my other old computer in the same week. When I "lost" the laptop I was like, "it's cool, I still have the desktop. I'll back up those files... Soon."
      Tuesday at 00:12 · 
    • Lizzy Priest Soon was not soon enough :S
      Tuesday at 00:12 ·