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.