And So It Begins

NaNo has officially started, as does my quest to have a complete first draft (finally) under my belt. I'm starting with The Dragon King, and so far so good. I just wish I could figure out how to turn on the typewriter mode so I can't backtrack...

New Layout

Yes, new layout. I get bored easily what can I say :) I actually quite like this one, it's how I envision one of the worlds in Chasing Dreams to look like during the day.

NaNo is literally a week away, but I'm not nervous. At least I don't feel it, but I wonder if I'm so used to the nerves that I don't notice it anymore. Still got lots to do for the Kick-Off, I'm going to really push myself this weekend to get the rest of my stuff all printed out so I can start cutting them up and putting things together. I may have to forgo the little booklets, maybe I'll just buy some instead. Less work is better.

Having fun in WoW. Right now the event Hallow's End is going on and it's so much fun. Candy, trick or treating, attacks from the Headless Horseman and costumes galore. I just wish that the Player versus Player achievement wasn't a requirement for the Hallowed title. I'm not big on Player versus Player, mostly because my computer can't keep up, so that's kind of a bummer. There's always next year, but when you get one title you want more :) It'll end on Halloween, naturally and the next event won't be until next month for Thanksgiving. It'll be the first time it happens ingame, so that should be interesting. We get a turkey gun for pelting people with. Yes, a turkey gun. Hopefully the turkeys will already be cooked beforehand or that could get messy.

NaNo Countdown

So it's that time of year again. NaNoWriMo 2009 is here!

This makes year 8 as a participant for me, and year 7 as the Municipal Liaison for my city. It's going to be a little more difficult this year with my health issues dogging me, but hopefully it'll all work out all right. My co-ML unfortunately can't help me out this year due to some health issues of her own, but hopefully she'll be back next year. One of my other wrimos is going to help out this year, so that's good too. Up on the chopping block this year:

Redemption: last year's attempt at a World of Warcraft story has morphed into its own world and storyline, so I'm going to be taking another crack at it this year. I actually like it better this time around.

Chasing Dreams: a fantasy romance that I've been worldbuilding on awhile. It stemmed from this crazy-in-a-good-way dream I had back in July, and I'm glad I had a pad of paper and pen next to my pillow or I would have forgotten it :) Anyway it's really character driven, which is a bit of a stretch for me because my stories are usually more plot driven. Angsty with a really happy ending.

The Dragon King: this one wasn't supposed to happen yet, but the muses wouldn't leave me along. Dang muses. Anyway I don't know much more than the Dragon King's name and a very fuzzy concept, so stay tuned to see how this one unfolds.

I'm going to try a different concept this year. Last year I wrote 1667 words per story each day. This year I'm going to write 5k a day, but focus on one story at a time. Once one hits 50k I'll move on to the next one. It's kind of risky, but it may work out better this way. Time will tell!

Music of the Moment: She Wolf - Shakira

Hot 'Nuff For Ya?!

Guess we couldn't totally escape the heat this year, could we? :)

I kind of wish we could have kept the nice weather of July, the nice warm weather without the humidity. It was so beautiful out, and the breeze was nice enough to not have to stick the A/C in the windows for the most part. There's nothing nicer than having a nice summer breeze coming through the balcony while I'm at the comp. But with the hotter weather comes amazing storms, and I'm so glad we live in a building with nice big balconies. We seemed to have lucked out, because for the most part I can watch the storms from the balcony without the use of an umbrella or poncho. I'm crazy enough to go out anyway :) I love storm so much. My goal is to try and get a camera that'll be fast enough to catch lightning; my little guy just isn't quick enough. I can't complain though - I've managed to take some really nice pictures with this little guy.

And speaking of another hot, my dear friend Colleen (who hereafter shall be known as my personal illustrator) drew me another picture of Matsu from Darkstorm. I swear I feel like I've fallen in love with him all over again, though I haven't fallen out of love with him yet. I guess it's having that visual, even though I can picture him pretty clearly in my mind. A very impatient character he is - he would have actually met up with Adelyn in chapter 1 if I would have let him. Unless dreams count ;)

Music of the Moment: Fragrance - Gackt Camui

Birthdays and Bouncing

Fun week! Monday was my birthday, so all this week and the days leading up to it was distracting with the excitement. It's funny how it always seems so far off, and then BOOM! All of a sudden it's there. This year though it sort of extended all week. Sunday I saw my dad for coffee, had a nice visit and ran into a couple of friends I haven't seen in a long while (and was admonished for disappearing from Facebook, haha. It's a habit, what can I say). Monday was dinner with my mom and my aunt as well as the largest cake I think I've had yet. All chocolate, very creamy and sweet with HUGE fresh strawberries inside and on top. My only complaint is that the strawberries on top would have been more enjoyable had they been dipped in chocolate instead of whatever they had been dipped in. Still, it was very good. Sweet Paradise certainly earned its name. Tuesday I had the whole afternoon and evening to myself. It's a lot easier to focus when no one's home. Wednesday I got the first of three packages from my lovely friend Tessa who lives in the US. I didn't realize the true scope of the 'few things' that she bought and sent to me until I actually saw them.

This first package contained two magazines from Japan, both with Gackt Camui on the cover and one of which she told me about when she actually ordered it. Most of the mags she orders through a guy from Japan named Koji, who buys and resells them for a reasonable price. She's one of his most frequent buyers, and a few months ago he sent some original photos he took when Gackt made a reappearance as Uesegi Kenshin at the Kenshin festival in 2008 as a thank you. So nice. I can't read kanji (yet), but the images are nice and hey, it's incentive to get on the ball to learn Japanese. It's funny in a culture-shock kind of way the difference between our mags and some of Japan's mags. The Out of Music magazine reads much like ours in that its from left to right. The second I can't read the title of, but it appears to be a weekly mag. This one you have to read from what we would consider the 'back' of the magazine, only it's the front in this case. Yes it's a little odd, but anyone who's ever read mangas from Japan would probably not find it quite so strange since they read right to left. But you read the text in this magazine from left to right just as you would in a Canadian or American mag. There's also a map of downtown Tokyo in this mag, which will be VERY useful once I can read the names LOL

Along with the mags was a book Tessa also told me she ordered, and what I got was not what I pictured. It was BETTER. It's a beautiful hardcover photobook of Gackt as Kenshin, many which look like they were shot on the set of Fuurin Kazan. The beginning has an interview with Ogata Ken, a very well-known actor in Japan who also appeared in the drama and sadly passed away last year. It was really nice to see, Gackt always speaks very highly of him and respected him a great deal. Interspered with the many wonderful photographs is a 9-part interview with Gackt, which in true Japanese fashion you must read right to left. And the text goes from top to bottom, instead of side to side. And yes, you must read the book from 'back' to 'front'. Doesn't detract from my love of the book though, so now I just have to find an appropriate place to display it where it won't get banged up. Unfortunately the top of my only bookshelf is comprised of all my Tolkien books at the moment. I need more furniture. The last part of the first package was the booklet from the Diabolos live tour DVD.

After that, it was sort of downhill so to speak, but no less appreciated. Thursday came a stack of burned cds containing a great deal of music, a bracelet made with onyx beads and a stretch bracelet made with blue tiger's eye beads, green tiger's eye beads, onyx beads and an amethyst bead with silver spacers between them all. And today came a lovely folder that I have no plans on using from the Requiem et Reminiscence II tour as well as the single Kimi no Tameni Dekiru Koto (What I Can Do For You in english). A nice way to end my 'birthday week'.

So now I think I shall head back into Liquid Story Binder and do some more story bouncing. I keep going back and forth between Darkstorm and Redemption which is kind of weird, but hey as long as productivity happens that's ultimately the goal. There's more actual writing going on with Darkstorm however, but my main characters seem to have fallen silent. Let's hope they have some more to say once I get some points out of the way for future Redemption scenes. I think, to motivate myself, I'll match my daily productivity with the wordcount of my last journal entry. 913 words should be easy enough. Until next time!

Music of the Moment: Storm - Gackt Camui

Reviving the Neglected Library

Because, you know, there's so much here LOL

Well that's what happens when life gets away from you. It's a shame that our medical system is so shoddy that it's incapable of caring for our elderly. My grandmother, who has Dementia, has been moved several times since she entered the hospital with fractured vertabrae. For those who are unfamiliar with Alzheimer's or Dementia, the worst thing you can do is move them into unfamiliar surroundings. This confuses them and it's very upsetting, it's just not advocated and it makes their condition more agitated in the end. You would think they would know better this being a hospital, in a ward designed to house these patients, but after everything my mother and her siblings went through to get my grandmother settled it's clear the hospital staff just don't give a rat's behind. I truly hope they never have to see a loved one go through this, but maybe that harsh lesson would teach them some compassion. It's really quite disgusting. And by no means am I saying all hospital staff are so uncaring, I have a ton of respect for those in the healthcare field and I know many of our own are expected to do too much for too little. But this hospital seems to be full of a lot of uncaring individuals. The sooner we can get my grandmother into a home where she'll be properly cared for the better. We have a few good facilities. In the meantime though they know my uncle won't take any crap, and now that I've also gotten rid of the last of the vitrol that's been infecting my life I'm ready to move on.

My writing has picked up again, which is always a good thing :) I use Liquid Story Binder XE to write and I just love it. I just recently discovered how to use the Sequences, only a year later but better late than never right? It makes story planning and writing so much easier for me. Have you ever experienced that feeling when you finally discover the golden method that works for you? That was exactly how I felt once I realized what it did and what I could do with it. I can easily rearrange scenes, plan out entire chapters, insert later scenes as they come to me. My mind doesn't work in a linear fashion most of the time, so it's such a blessing to be able to put later story ideas into the same timeline and not have them somewhere else to be put in when I get there. Versatility is the name of the game for me. I really recommend it, so if you can get your hands on it definitely go for it. Now I can get all 21 story ideas into something tangeable and out of my head - I think my brain's going to overload if they continue bouncing around in there :)

Info Dumps and What to Do With Them

I've always heard people talk about info dumps and how they should be avoided. That's all fine and dandy, but I've never really found a source that really illustrates what an info dump actually looks like. I'm a visual person, what can I say :) I guess it's one of those things you learn along the way. I finally discovered it after putting some of Chapter 1 of Redemption up for critique. I think the whole thing was an info dump :) It was incredibly helpful though, and it's redirected me into another way of thinking and thus writing to put the reader alongside the character. So far so good. But it got me thinking - what do you do with that info dump? And how do you avoid them in the first place?

I'm sure some people are content to just delete them. But for someone like me, I really like everything that was in that info dump. It's not all that relevant to the story itself, mostly scenery description and the like. Plus I really liked the prose. Yet for me it would be a shame to just erase it from existence. I don't know about writers in other genres, but I think we fantasy writers have a tendency to get so caught up in the worlds we create we fail to make the distinction of what's necessary and what's for us. And thus info dumps abound. So what do we do?

I'm a big advocate of finding what works for you, but I'm also a big advocate of sharing those methods in case they might help someone else. So here's my method: profile your world. Sort of like a historical book. Throw in all those details of the history, description, location and get it all out. For me it works on two levels - the profile becomes a great reference, and I don't clog up my chapters with info dumps. All the benefits, none of the burdens. I'm sure it could work for any genre, and not just fantasy. So if you're like me and are starting to notice this trend in all of your writings, that's one way to try and help you curb it. Hope it works for you, and if you have your own tips and tricks please feel free to share them :)


Occasionally I make a visit to one of the local bookstores with the intent of actually buying something (not as frequent as I would like, but hopefully this year changes that :) ). My habit is head for the Tolkien books first, see if anything is avaliable aside from the books I already have. So far I've got three full collections of the trilogy, two of which are boxed sets and one comes with a companion book. The third set are single books are are so worn from repeated readings. I also have a single volume of the trilogy which I refuse to even crack open since it's a 50th edition and I don't want to ruin its beauty. Along with those I have The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The Children of Hurin and The Lost Road and Other Writings. I don't often see anything other than the trilogy, The Hobbit and the Silmarillion but you never really can tell. After that I scour through the rest of the Fantasy section to see if there's anything of interest, and if I find nothing there a quick browse through the store. It stops if I find a book or two I like.

About a year ago I was going through the store, found nothing and so was on my way out when I stopped by one of the sales tables. It was mostly hardcovers, all sorts of genres but what caught my eye was a book titled Sebastian by Anne Bishop. It was a name I've never heard of before, but the reviews touted her as new talent so I just put it to that. Wasn't a purchase I regretted at all, so if you see this book in your book store or decide to do some shopping on Amazon and love fantasy, pick up this book. Sebastian is wonderfully fresh and imaginative, a very unique world. And Bishop's writing style is beautifully descriptive without being overbearing. It's very easy to get absorbed into and connect to the characters. By the end I couldn't wait for the release of the next book, though I don't know why I didn't think of searching her out to see when that was - especially considering the techie that I am. Well it's out now, and as soon as I'm able I plan to grab it - the title is Belladonna, for anyone who's curious. Aside from Sebastian, Belladonna was my favourite character so I'm really stoked that the sequel focuses more on her. If anyone's already read it, tell me what you thought!

Nemesis Now

All my life I've always had a habit of collecting things. Not always a good habit, especially when you're a kid coming home with pockets full of rocks or leaves or something, hehe. I used to drive my mom nuts with the stuff I used to collect, so it's been a struggle for as long as I can remember to not hold on to junky stuff or crap I really have no use for. Still a bit of a struggle, but I'm far better than I used to be. 90% of the stuff I'm hanging on to is really just a matter of I haven't taken the time to actually go through it, and figure out what to do with it. Hoping to curb that too. Well now I finally have an outlet for it:

Nemesis Now faeries! This collection is absolutely amazing. I love the wings especially, and you can see how some parts have a leafy shape to them which I've not seen elsewhere. Gives them a unique look. They also glow in the dark, believe it or not! The edges of their wings are painted with a clear glow-in-the-dark paint, and some of the finer details on them are painted also. They actually look pretty cool - I wish I could photograph them.

This was one of the first ones I got, Virgo being the second. Not only do the edges of her wings glow, but also that large star she's sleeping on and all the little ones too. I adore her hair. I'd love to go that long again, but the problem is that I wouldn't be able to find someone to colour it :) I'm back in my redhead stage, and I give thick hair a new meaning.

Virgo, one of the Zodiac faeries from the 2008 collection. My astrology sign is actually Cancer, but Rhonda didn't have Cancer in at the time. Virgo's rather lovely though, and I plan on collecting the whole lot anyway :) Along with her wings the flowers in her hair and at her feet all glow, and some of the edges of her dress glow as well.

My latest addition! This one is called "To Catch A Falling Star" and I just fell in love with the forest green. I'm not sure what aside from her wings glow just yet, but I'll wager it's likely all the stars.

New Year, New Beginnings

New year should be a start of new beginnings, both personal and otherwise. For me it's finally getting myself in gear with a lot of things. I have a beta reader for Redemption, which will help me finish that story because I know she'll hound me if I don't :) In the meantime the job hunt is on, and I have a hopefully promising prospect on the horizon. So yay for that! I'm also combing the Bewares & Background Check forum over at AbsoluteWrite and putting all of that info into an excel spreadsheet. Every agent, agency, publisher, vanity and scammer listed. Even the ones that don't handle my chosen genre (fantasy). I figured it would be helpful since I can easily sort by a number of things like service (publisher, agency, agent), whether they're legit, things like that. And it saves me the trouble of trying to remember if someone reps/publishes fantasy or not, since I'll have it marked down. If anyone would like a copy once I really get it underway (or now) just let me know. It's really easy to enter the info and I'm always happy to share resources :) So far I'm up to 8 possible contacts.

Also with the new year things with my local NaNo group are going to pick up again. We're thinking of doing our own version of the Night of Writing Dangerously to help support our own local chapter as well as HQ. It's ambitious I'll admit, but I think it'll be a lot of fun. The original plan was for February, but I think we'll be moving it because that doesn't look like it's going to be enough time to plan. I'd rather us take the time to plan this right, than rush it and possibly ruin it. It should be loads of fun though! Maybe we'll wait for the good weather and have it outside, haha

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