Monday, 30 April 2012

Lights and Stone

Yeah, I'm still putting random words together in the hope they make a decent-sounding title for Teo's story. Watch out for a long ramble I'm using to make my brain work...

I've been tagging it as "Lights World" on this blog and that is the folder that it is saved into on my computer, but you know what I am not actually sure what the "lights" in question are. :P In this draft of Teo's story it seems to be something religious but in the previous draft it was implied the Lights, not that ever came to explaining them, were the shielded cities since whatever that big war was about happened. And if you go even further back into the timeline of stuff I've written set there, back to all the really basic fantasy set in rural farming villages with lots of pagan gods and witches and stuff, then the lights are extremely dangerous and scary, some other entity aside from their witches and gods.

There's a very vague timeline and mythology I could build up if I every actually finished any of the intended longer stories (things like Shapes and so on stand perfectly fine on their own). It starts or perhaps ends with Lights, the story about the wandering storyteller. For a time I considered actually making him Teo, or to steal his story and put Teo into it. But he should be a storyteller and a completely different character. So perhaps Teo will meet him or travel with him at some point. In Ionea's Diary (Another one I never titled :P) her brother has gone off to this big war in a huge city at the heart of the empire that they're in the most outlying regions of, and I actually spent a bit of time thinking about that and building the city in my head though the whole story was set around Ionea's family farm. I suppose that one would come first, because it's been enough generations that no one remembers things being differently in Teo's story, when he's living in this magically advanced society which mirrors the real world (he has a tablet computer he's always checking this time around... it was only a laptop before :P) but is almost completely shut off from the outside world. They've probably forgotten what the Lights are and got some weird propaganda version of it in their heads anyway. I wouldn't be surprised if even quite knowledgeable people like Master Deryn are just culturally brainwashed in some way to not realise quite how much is different from how it used to be. And his father probably remembered the outside world. :P

Last night I stayed up past one (le gasp!) watching a documentary on life in ancient Rome, and though I'm not exactly taking it all (ie: as long as I don't have any senates and emperors and stabby political stuff it kind of loses the obvious Roman traits that would instantly get it branded as such) the world itself offers me a lot for Teo's story. Also not all the multiculturalism or trade and luxury goods, because they're completely shut in and the point is they don't have any of that. But I think his city may have been like Rome once, so even if everyone's the same now, I know Teo and Rishan, for example, are of hugely different racial backgrounds, even if they barely even realise it themselves because everyone's been mixed in together so long it doesn't even occur to them that there might be differences. I suspect some brainwashing to make people forget some of their ancestral history. But in my head the magic-using people are actually genetically enabled to do it, and that means Teo has no chance in hell of ever casting a spell, thank you very much.

Anyway, I'm not trying to tie everything altogether really, but when I don't have much to rely on in terms of new plot, just a lot of backstory, it does make me wonder what else I've written that's stashed in that folder on my computer currently going nowhere. And I *did* love that storyteller very much.

Might have to change his gender if he ever does show up though. List of male characters off the top of my head from Teo's story: Teo, Rishan, Mr Garrif, Master Deryn, the still-unnamed apprentice of Master Deryn, Jek if he ever shows up and I hope he does because he ruled the one scene he was in last time, a handful of dead but important men such as Teo's father, Loremaster Deryn...

List of female characters in Teo's story: Berys, Emelle.

At least Emelle isn't a stereotyped character who I'll keep confusing with whatsherface from the other story. She's now got a bit of awesomeness to her.

Still, that's almost Cloud People bad. I had to introduce Arisetta just so Yzobella wasn't the only person wearing a skirt for the whole story (after her mother's death in the first chapter) versus Sael, Val, King Cloud Peep, Denvel, her father, King Bob, Dytael and Frank. And those are just the major characters...

Not that I'm doing much better in reverse with the Troutespond Series. Even with the handful of male characters out there, with four loud female narrators you probably need to outweigh them two to one with men to actually make the balance fair. They're just stomping all over the ones they have. :P Viewed in isolation my stories make me look a bit too feminist on one hand, and as bad as male writers who don't realise women aren't just a token role on the other hand. .... Still not sure Ally isn't an apology for this head being the one Yzobella came out of.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Everything you need to know about writing

Is not here. But apparently people keep stumbling across this blog on Google looking for it. Maybe I should start making some blog posts like informative articles for people? I know I write rambling opinions on various things on FictionPost from time to time, although they are tailored for the FP audience, with lots of in jokes and stuff that I'd have to remove for actually trying to help anyone else with. I'd never really thought of writing a blog as a sort of thing that I'd market and try and use to spread information other than the ramblings straight out of my head about what goes on in my head.

But I realised this post: was getting a ton of traffic anyway, so I put more more information into it, and now I'm wondering if I shouldn't have some google-search-results grabbing titles for blog posts about things since apparently if you write it they will come. And if you don't intentionally write it, they will come anyway.

Anyway, for the past few days I've been working on just trying to type up some of the pages and pages of various different stories living in my notebook. I've got a scene and half of Teo's story out now, and I finished the shopping scene in Ghost Choir which I think may have been the natural stopping point as I haven't finished the next scene and I don't really know where it's going because nothing happens in it. The trouble with people these days is that they do just sit in front of a computer and Google their queries... Yet when characters in a story do it it's the most boring thing ever. Instead I think maybe I should make the campus internet go down, and have Ally doing the researching in person. I mean, I know I had a couple of scenes lined up with her asking around, but I realised the nature of what had happened in the past would mean there would be stuff about it on the internet... Even before this afternoon I realised that even my own measley little blog is getting hundreds of hits a month just for one post I made about repetitive poems back in 2009. So Ally going to look online would instantly get her more than the information I'd ever want to release at this stage of the story... And it would seem, in this world now, completely unrealistic for her not to find anything, once the reader knows just what has been going on.

Well that all came out cleverly tied together. I had better stop rambling before I introduce a new and unrelated subject which ruins the "good" writing here.

Ta ra!

Friday, 27 April 2012

A follow up on that prince...

Turns out that I never actually named him. I gave the whole draft from two years ago a glance through and I had to conclude there was nothing in it which actually named that character. So go me for writing like several hundred pages without ever naming the guy, I guess?

I've been forcing myself to type up all that stuff sitting around in my notebook today, and so I'm actually making progress through Ghost Choir. I have thought of Something Exciting For Them To Do, which is a plus. On the other hand, it'll probably have to wait until Alana gets there, and so that means I have another day of plot to flail through. Writing stories with Ally as the narrator are fun, but also involve a lot of faith that there will be a pay off to all the rambling... :P

Also spent a lot of time this morning musing about flash fiction. The lovely Sophie (now I know she reads this I have to be careful what I say... :P) has had a few pieces published in (grats!) and as someone who also occasionally writes flash fiction, when I'm not churning out epics, I figured it might be an idea to dust off one of my old pieces and send it in. Then I had an actually look at said old pieces and now I feel like I need to burn them and never speak of them again. Woohoo.

Maybe I can write that thing about the tiger I've always been meaning to write. Hmm.

*wanders off*

No you aren't supposed to know what that is, don't worry. :P

Anyway, I should go back to making Ally's shopping trip exciting.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Gah, blogger! Whyyy?

So I was messing around with the new templates for your blog, being all like "Oh how fancy and shiny-looking" and then I realised I couldn't get it back to how it used to be because it had literally deleted all the old information for my nice safe four-year-old orange theme with the arrows on and stuff.

So have a slightly fancier but less obvious to navigate layout in soothing red tones because blaaargh the amount of pale grey and white that the internet uses these days makes my eyes sore. :P

My computer has been acting really stupid lately and Ean, who knows Stuff about computers says my processor is having a load of issues. Since said issues manifest in lots of freezes, restarts etc I've pretty much stopped using my big computer for much except just messing around and now I am doing most of my work on the little laptop... Don't really like the tiny little screen for writing... I've got very used to being able to see a whole page at a time practically... it's a little annoying having to scroll up just to check what you wrote in the very last paragraph, if I've been in a particularly rambly mood of late (ha, when haven't I?)

But anyway, now I have a job, which has appeared pretty much since the last blog entry. So I might be able to afford new computer parts one day. :) Not sure of the full wages of a doughnut maker, but it's got to be at least a little better than claiming Jobseekers.

Trying to write a ghost story at the moment but I can't think of any characters. :P

Monday, 16 April 2012

April why does everything happen in you?

So the dig was awesome and gave me a ton of stuff to change for my story (yaaaay). People gossip a lot more while sitting around poking at the dirt than I realised. Also some of the technical things will need changing. I got it surprisingly close in some respects though considering all I had was vague notions from unreliably factual TV programs, Indiana Jones, and a couple of lectures at uni which were mostly like "OMG you guys, look how many skellingtons are probably under your feet right now!"

Also made me realise the Bilsworth Historical Society needs to be a lot more present if they're the guys running the thing... I already had a sort of dramatic battle there as well planned out in my head anyways, but they need to be around more. On a side note I really struggled to write the name of the organisation just then because Open Office has made me very lazy since I can just type Bils His Soc and it appears on my screen. I actually forgot which letters I needed to type.

Since the convention where I attended several panels about the art of writing, I've been thinking a lot about the conflict in my stories, and also what the characters need to do to overcome it. It seems like such an obvious thing and I know it's not like I overlook it completely, but it struck me as I was listening just how much in this series in particular I've not really paid it much heed. The characters do sort of drift between problems. I think it's the lack of epic-ness and the fact I can't really put them too much out of their way; they can't get into so much trouble they'll be arrested. But there are a lot of things I can do to at least make things a lot tenser for them and make it feel like more is at stake, so I have spent the last couple of days just making a sort of plan about specifically adding in a lot more conflict and struggles to the story, i.e. listing some things which could happen that would get in the way of achieving their goals, and then why they can't just breeze past it.

All in all I have miles and miles of planning for the series and not much done towards actually writing it. :P I feel like I really need to sit down and go through each story in turn giving it my full attention, and between the convention, the dig, spending time with my dad, and now this silly 2-day course about how to write a good CV that the jobcentre dumped me on I have actually not had a day to myself for almost 2 weeks. So Wednesday will probably be the day I open up Concrete Faery in one window, my plot file in the other, and settle down to work. Hold me to that. :P

Well, I have been writing more of Ghost Choir in my notebook. Should type that up really... I can't get too far ahead especially since I don't really have a solid plot for it and I'm scared to write too much in my notebook really... I end up floundering while I wait for new ideas. Typing up is a good way of solidifying it in my head, and I never do... For some reason that story always happens in a burst of notebook-writing, then I go a month or three before I type it up, so I always feel pretty distant to it.

Oh, but I updated Captain Templeton. :D

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Tetanus jab pt.2


God dammit Medwin why do you talk me into these things?

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Tetanus jab :(

Tra la la la, I have a social life.  :D Well, I temporarily had one anyway. And I'm about to have a lot of stuff to do over Easter, which is brilliant. Sadly before I do any of that I have to go get a tetanus jab. But oh well. I suppose if I want to be Indiana Jones it's the requirement these days. And dammit I will be the best Indiana Jones there ever was.

I may be channelling Medwin for the next couple of weeks while I do the dig, since there's no way I can approach it with Teb's state of mind from the 7th book. It might not be a great time to hang around me. :P

Wish I'd thought to ask BlackJack if I could borrow a certain hat from her before she came down to visit me. Oh well. :)

I've been trying to get back into writing Ghost Choir the last couple of days since it's the big unfinished one in the middle of the series. Realised that while I have a lot of ideas for it I've never had a scene by scene idea of what should happen next, and I usually only go one or two scenes into the future when writing that anyway, but I still hadn't ever done that. No wonder I felt like I was flailing around a bit uselessly. The only other explanation is that I did write one and promptly lost it somehow because I'm clever like that. Either way, last night I sat down and thought hard about what at least the next two scenes should be and found something plot-relevant to end the current scene that I've been stuck for months on. Part of the problem was just that it was what I was working on around about the beginning of February and for one reason or another I just did not feel like writing any squishy emotional scenes back then.