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Hmm, maybe we’ll try again tomorrow.

I asked my character Jonas if he’d do an interview for me to help get to know him. He agreed, but it didn’t go well. I might have to think up some new questions and try again tomorrow.

Character Interview:

I walk into the room where Jonas sits casually leaning forward, his elbows on his knees, finger tips lightly touching. Before he acknowledges me, I see that he is observant, thoughtful but not deep in thought, and wary without being jumpy. He knows I’m there, but chooses not to react for a few moments.

He greets me with a friendly smile and a lift of his chin. I take my seat across from him. He leans back in his chair, a casual lounge, hands resting lightly on his thighs. Waiting to proceed.

What do you do for a living?

I’m a lieutenant in the Quaven army. I help keep Quaver safe from the likes of Turhmosans and Aenuks.

Are any other people living with you? Who are they?

I’ve been living with Aris for the last year. He’s sort of a father figure to me, I guess. He’s kept me out o’ trouble. [he smiles a smile that I would be tempted to label ‘cheeky’]

Tell me about your parents. How well do/did you get along with them?

[his face darkens and he leans forward again, resuming the pose he held when I entered] My parents are dead. I hardly knew them.

What was your birth order? How many siblings did you have? Older? Younger?

[face set, flat stare]

You don’t want to talk about it?

Read more…Hmm, maybe we’ll try again tomorrow.

What can be achieved

After procrastinating (although, one could argue that the music purchasing – I’m a member of an online music voting group – and software buying – I’d nearly reached the end of my free trial period with Scrivener, and I like it – was necessary), I finally set about doing some writing during my son’s late morning sleep today. He’s due to wake soon, so I’m going type this note quickly. I learned something the other day – yesterday, in fact … No, I’ll say I learned it now, actually.

See, during my procrastinating yesterday, I visited Elmore Leonard’s website and looked up some of his stuff. I came across a short interview with him, in which he said that he didn’t always know how a scene was going to go, he just knew its purpose, and then he would write it. He also mentioned that characters had to talk to him or they were liable to get killed off, but that’s another matter. It came as a breath of fresh air to me. When I first started writing, I just wrote and hoped something entertaining would come of it. And, something did. It wasn’t awesome, but people liked it.

Then I got further and further along the path of enlightenment. I learned about the Snowflake method, I learned about Outlining, I learned about PLANNING … And then I got pregnant and had a baby (oh, the Outlining learning came after the baby … but, meh, details details), and time to write got ever shorter. And so I got to thinking – it’s not about working harder (I don’t have the time for that), it’s about working smarter. My thinking started to turn towards building up a rock-solid outline, have everything nutted out and planned, so I knew exactly how things would play out, and when I had time to write I could do just that.

But …

Read more…What can be achieved

[Pic]Still Learning, but thought I’d share, anyway

Portrait of Jonas
Jonas Sketch

See, I have this vision of starting up a website where I write my story accompanied by pictures (kind of a graphic novel), and then sell the novel, graphic novel, poster-quality images, etc. to those people who want them. I figure it’s a way of me doing what I want to do and maybe making  a little pocket money from it. In order to do that, though, I need to get a heck of a lot better at drawing – in particular, drawing efficiently.

I hope this picture is a sign that I am on my way. It’s meant to be a representation of what my character, Jonas, might look like.

Plot theory – from a toddler

I was writing some ideas down on a scrap piece of paper while away from the computer. Baby-J picked it up and headed straight for the shredder … I was thinking ‘just my luck if he suddenly figures out how to use it’ …

It was one of those moments where I was thinking to myself “Do I stop him to avert disaster? (OK, hardly a disaster – the ideas weren’t ground-breaking, although they were helping me clarify my thoughts.) Or, will I be just a little bit proud if he actually makes it work?” (there’s no way his fingers would go into it, so all is fine on that front).

And then I got thinking how like a plot-line it was. The child grabs the piece of paper and crawls along the floor with it, heading straight for the shredder. You can see the ending – ideas shredded into thin strips – a disaster! But, then again, just maybe, the child will fail to achieve that end. Will he be thwarted by his inability to properly control the paper as he goes to line it up? He has every other time. But, what about this time? Another stride on hand and knee. The tension builds. What will happen?

Why is this here? No reason, I just really like this short/sweet number.

It went into the shredder bin. Whole. (It’s a cheapy plastic bin with a wee shredder sitting on top, so it missed the working part altogether).

[Brief] Movie Review.

Being a fan of Justified, I thought I would check out some of Mr. Olyphant’s movies. (I am also a fan of Deadwood, so figured I was in good hands ).

1. Hitman. I don’t recommend it unless you are a socially inept male who spends his life in front of a computer screen make-believing he is the uber buff and cool hero that doesn’t even see the girls that throw themselves at you. Seriously. This movie doesn’t even have a sex scene. It has an almost-sex scene. Which would be fine. In fact, it could have been endearing – if the rest of the movie hadn’t been so full of cheese it was making a mess of the grill & threatening the benchtop. Yep. Mr. O. is nice to look at -even bald – but I doubt I’ll watch this rubbish again.

The chick in the movie did have lovely breasts, tho. And did actually get them out. So, lonely men of all ages, check it out.

You want a movie about a troubled assassin? Watch The Assassin, with Bridget Fonda. Or the original, Nikita. But the remake was fine.

One bonus: Bald head = great for practicing sketching various head angles & expressions, so I grabbed a few screenshots.

2. Catch and Release. I am also a fan of Kevin Smith, even when he talks. He talks in this movie & is just gorgeous. The storyline is a cute romantic comedy starring Jennifer Garner. She’s a good-looking young lady, isn’t she?

She plays a young woman dealing with her fiance’s death, & all the drama that goes with that. Finds herself at least a little bit attracted to one of the fiance’s friends, blah-dee blah.  Oh, that makes it sound as though I didn’t like it. I did. It was sweet.

Mr. O. looks far younger than he must have been in 2006 – well done, sir, on such an achievement. Yeah, I could see me, possibly, watching it again in a few years’ time.

But that last line of the movie?

Urgh. It probably wouldn’t suck so bad if I wasn’t such a fan of the movie Singles. Honestly, that line just had me thinking “rip off”, which probably wasn’t fair. But so be it. I did like the movie. I’d probably give it a 3/5.

Haven’t seen Singles? Go on, give it a go. Bridget Fonda is in it, too. And Matt Dillon. And Pearl Jam – with speaking parts!

2,500 words enough?

Of course not. Only a complete manuscript will do, but it might be a bit much to ask in one day.  Well, I had more fun writing tonight’s words than I have for a little while. I got to play with my characters a bit, all while getting information across and setting them up for the next phase of the plot. Now, that’s what I call progress.

Read more…2,500 words enough?

Over 1,500 words today …

Now that’s what I call progress.

And, I’ve done several loads of washing, fed, changed, danced and played with my son, taken him and the dog for a walk (and a swing at the park), organized to go check out a childcare centre next week … And various other things. Time to think about making dinner. Then, it will be bath and wind down for bed for the wee man – hopefully hubby can help with that, since they don’t see each other all day – and then, hubby will be off out to practice with his band tonight, so once weeman is asleep, I can extend my word-count even more. Woot!

The great thing is that I’m far more organized now than I was a year ago. I have a pretty well-detailed outline and a really awesome antagonist (I’m certainly excited about getting him down in text). And, finally, I seem to have broken my most recent bout of writer’s block, so, assuming that getting back into the swing of fitting everything into my day (haven’t tackled my part-time work just yet) doesn’t mess with my muse too badly, things should be swinging along nicely this year. However, I must remember to force myself to do this short story project, too. Typical. I set myself another goal and my novel-writing ramps up a gear. Seems to be the way it works.

2012, here I come.

Home from holiday …

The opening of the First Three Chapters (F3C) group on Writing.com is drawing close. I am very excited about it. My first three chapters are written (heck, I’ve had as much as 16 chapters written, but I think you would agree – if I let you read it all – that the re-writes I am working on are for the best. Working with this group, I will work on getting those first three chapters to the standard required to snag an agent or publishing deal (I hope!). I know I still have a lot of writing to do, but with the contacts I am making through being a part of this group, along with the local writing groups I have joined, I am feeling good about moving forward and making real progress this year. I think I can afford to take the time to shine and polish these three. And I will put the result here. Then I will continue to forge ahead.

On top of that, I am planning to compete in this month’s Dragon’s Keep Short Story Competition. What’s more, there is a bonus for those who enter said competition with a Steampunk-themed short-story. Steampunk and dragons … cool.

I came back from holiday yesterday and am in the process of sorting my son’s part-time daycare (last year’s option fell through for this year, smack bang in the middle of the holidays), working out how to do some catch up for my part-time work while I have no care for the boy and writing/researching whenever he sleeps (yes, I should probably work instead of write, but I can do that in the evenings when hubby is home – it requires less concentration). Oh, yeah, and fitting in housework and meal-making in there somewhere.

Did I say I don’t drink coffee? You must have been talking to the pre-2012 me.

Steampunk! – continued

Where I continue my review of this anthology of short stories.

My final impression of “The Last Ride of the Glory Girls”  was a pleasant one. The story kept me interested, read well & had a satisfying conclusion.

My first impression of  “Clockwork Fagan” was that it somehow slipped through the editing cracks. Yep. There were several typos, which isn’t a big deal, I guess, but I’d be gutted if I was Cory Doctorow.  Anyway, the story covers the case of a home for crippled children (generally all injured from working with the big machines used in the various industries of  the story’s world).  The home’s supervisor is a rough man who takes advantage of his position. He takes all the food and donations meant for the children for himself, leaving the kids very little.

That is, until the day Monty Goldfarb arrives. Pretty soon the tale  turns gory. The supervisor is dead from a knife wound and the children set about creating an automaton, using parts from the recently deceased, to fool the rest of the world into believing that the children are not alone.

I found the tale enjoyable enough. Reading it, I felt a little like an emotionless observer, but I suppose it is tricky to draw a reader in with a small word count. Or, it may have been because there was a need for that kind of observing given the nature of the tale – which required using the deceased’s own face.

I don’t want to give too much away, but the story was constructed well and, again, the ending felt right.

“Seven Days Beset by Demons” by Shawn Cheng is a cute graphic story about a music box creator and seller. As he meets the  potential purchasers of his wares, he experiences the seven deadly sins. It’s a quick tale that gives a nice break in the  book. Quite cool.

“Hand in Glove” by Ysabeau S. Wilce is a rather neat mystery tale. The police department’s golden boy succeeds in capturing his suspect after a series of murder/thefts. But not everyone is happy. Constable Aurelia Etreyo is confident that the wrong man is due to hang because she believes in the evidence – including fingerprinting (a new, untrusted technique). We go through a series of clues  and meet some very interesting characters, which I won’t go into because it’d give the game away. So far, this one would probably be my favourite tale.

However, I am now reading “The Ghost of Cwmlech Manor”, by Delia Sherman, and it is rather good, so far.  (Never mind that I can’t pronounce one of the most used words).