jenniferkoliver: (The Walking Dead | Daryl)
A lot of the time, what I love about a fictional character is their interactions with other characters. This is how I get to know my protags: make them talk to other people, many different types of people. It's like when you speak to somebody posh on the phone, you sometimes find yourself affecting a posh accent, and afterwards you berate yourself for doing it. My characters do the same kind of things.

I got my one-on-one appointments confirmation from Winchester Writers' Conference. I'll be speaking to one author and two editors. The nervousness solidifies! I'm currently sorting out a synopsis and ms samples, which need to be sent off by May 29th. This will be my first ever synopsis. I'm sure I'll agonise over it for ages.

Terry Pratchett on science, technology and his favourite Discworld characters - from The Guardian.

Permission Based Publishing: The NY Publishing Model (and Why It Doesn't Work) - from Huffington Post. The section in this article that struck me was Help midlist authors break out.

Considering Theme & Motif - good article by James Broomfield highlighting the differences.

Bottles to the Ground, by NOFX.
jenniferkoliver: (James Hook)
I should have a considerable Final Fantasy XIII post to put up soon, and maybe a batch of journal icons. Right now my free time consists of writing 500-word chunks of novel, followed by twenty or so minutes in FFXIII, then switching back to do another 500 words. Rinse and repeat for a few hours. This method wouldn't work during a first draft, and probably not for a short story, but for a novel I've been chipping away at for many months it seems to be getting me through.

Breaking 77,000 words on draft #2 felt especially good because I wrote over 6k at the weekend. That doesn't happen often. I wish it did. It's getting a bit strange now I'm nearing the last part of the story—my ending in the first draft fell apart spectacularly, so I'm wading into territory that's still largely unfamiliar. There's one less character in this version, which is good because he didn't fit, and the new idea is way stronger and more action-packed, but I'm still struggling to find the right tone for the last couple of chapters. Ending things is hard. You don't want it to be schmoopy, but you don't want it to be bleak so readers feel cheated, and you want to hint that the story might not be entirely over (at least, for a few characters), but you don't want to leave too many threads hanging. I used to dislike the saggy middle part of a long story, but now I think I dislike endings more.

Reading one of those books I've been meaning to check out for ages, Zoo City by Lauren Beukes. It's so well written and fresh. Beukes stitches an alternate reality, gritty modern day Johannesburg together with magic and mystery. It's a raw book that's very real even with the paranormal twist (the magical element doesn't get in the way of the plot and characterisations). It's clever and fun and dark. I highly recommend!

The Elder Scrolls Online: The Alliance Cinematic Trailer - I almost signed up for the beta the other day, but stopped when I realised I don't have time to get into another game. Still, doesn't this look incredible? I love seeing locations from Oblivion updated with shiny technology!

Roll On, by Sneaker Pimps.
jenniferkoliver: (True Blood | Eric)
So I am eyeing Photoshop CS6 for the Mac again. For the gazillionth time. Apparently it's HD Retina compatible, which just excites me in ways I cannot describe. It's hefty on the coin purse at £630, but I use PS a lot—for my web design, and also the random designing I do for my own pleasure (icons, graphics, etc) and occasionally for the amusement of my friends. I'm aware this is sounding very much like I'm trying to convince myself, and I guess I am, because like I said it's a lot of money. In fact, it's tempting to enrol on a short course somewhere, become an official student for a couple of months, and buy it at its student price of £190. Dudes, those price differences are crazy. Hmm.

Stepping away from monetary dilemmas for a moment, a friend recently told me about a new dark fantasy online action RPG called Path of Exile. It's still in beta and it's free to play. I've frolicked in the game a little, though I'm still not sure if I'm a MMORPGer. There are elements that I love—it's visually beautiful, and the character class system not only offers the usual types (warrior, rogue and mage) but also the option to pick a character that combines two classes (a roguish mage, for example). It's designed and built by Grinding Gear Games, a passionate team who understand how complex games work. On the other hand, it's a steep learning curve if, like me, you're not so familiar with the mechanics of desktop roleplaying. And so far there's no support for Mac users. Still, I am recommending it, as I prefer it far more than I did my brief stint in World of Warcraft. Check out the trailer here.

Gradually chipping away at Final Fantasy XIII again. Some of the battles are difficult, and some combat sequences with lower level baddies go on for way too long, but I still adore the characters and their progression, and my god, it's still so gorgeous. Who knows, I might get a bit further through it than chapter 8 this time!

7 Grammatical Errors That Aren't - from Daily Writing Tips. Breaking rules is fun, especially when the rules aren't really rules.

25+ Pieces of Writing Software You Should Know About - Again from Daily Writing Tips.

Walkin' On The Sun, by Smash Mouth.
jenniferkoliver: (Predator | Hand)
I planned to blog each day of the Weekender, but yeah, I should have known there would be too much going on. This is a bit lenghty (hence why it's taken so bloody long to finish it!).

The journey to north Wales took about seven hours, but because me and Beth were full of squee about the con it didn't seem that long—not until we got to our lodge and stepped inside out of the cold, and the wall of tired hit. The lodge was gorgeous, with modern fittings and a rooftop balcony, and a panoramic view of Cardigan bay and the marina below. It was a bit of a writer's haven; I could have happily stayed just to hang out there.

OK, but we did make it to the con. Friday's opening ceremony was short and sweet, and we got a promising taste of Area 51, the weekend's performance entertainment who were spectacular and present pretty much the whole time.

Early on Friday morning, on our way to drop things off in the car, me and Beth got Darthed ) Vader accused us of squeezing his butt, which was a complete lie and you should never listen to a word that guy says. Does he even have a butt?

Anyway, there was a huge vendors area full of merchandise, books and trinkets, and even though we visited it three times during the day we only managed to chip away at maybe half of the stalls. There was a gamers area too, where you could hang out and play. I bought a Thundercats clock made from the cover of an old 1980s annual (Beth picked up a Danger Mouse clock for her husband; unfortunately I didn't have the excuse of a spouse or kid!). The venue itself was huge, split between two main buildings, with a cinema showing sci-fi movies around the clock, and various places to sit outside and grab food. The layout looked great upon arrival, though I did have a few issues with the panels being so close to the signing and vendor areas—more on that in the next post.

Then we settled down for some panels. Here Come the Girls, Here Come the Boys, No Airships Required (featuring Robert Rankin), and Vampires in Love )

More photos under here, mostly giant robots and Area 51 )

We popped back to the lodge to freshen up, but because we ended up chatting we ran a bit late to the cabaret. The entertainment had its moments of WTF (the Dalek impersonator from Britain's Got Talent, accompanied by brightly coloured dancing Tardises) and also its moments of WOW, like Mental Dave the illusionist and his teleporting rabbit (gah, so cute!), and again, Area 51. Vid of them in action ) Oh, and Titan the robot was kinda cool. I also caught part of its spot which you can watch on YT here. Me and Beth were planning on getting an early night but there was a party after the cabaret—super cheesy music, and the robots joined everyone on the dance floor. We danced until nearly 1am, and then headed to the lodge for some well-needed sleep.

Although I've posted about some of my highlights, there were a few sucky bits that I'll mention in the next post. From what I've read on other write-ups by people who stayed in the caravans on-site, we did right booking the lodge in town. Yikes!

Part two of my write-up is now online here.

On the Run (Feat. Jenna G), by The Qemists.
jenniferkoliver: (Wolves | Wolfwomen)
I was skimming a few of my favourite author blogs recently, like you do, and a panel caught my eye on someone's Boskone schedule:

Writing Advice: The Next Level, Harbor II
Writer Nick Mamatas says, "By the time someone finds their way to a panel at an SF con, stuff like 'Don't quit your day job' and 'Read widely' and 'You have to finish a story before you submit it' is no longer necessary...There is certainly a need for higher-level advice. I had a student recently who had never heard of Freytag's triangle." So let's elevate the answers, people--and the questions.
Jeanne Cavelos  (M), Elizabeth Bear, Beth Meacham, David Anthony Durham, Kate Baker.

—and I inwardly flailed that I couldn't attend. There are always nifty cons and amazing panels I would love to take part in, but here's one I'm sure would seriously benefit advanced writers who already know the basics and have been writing/publishing for a while, something you don't seem to find as often as panels/workshops geared towards more generic writing advice and encouraging new talent.

It would be cool if there was an online forum, maybe subscription-based, where panels could be transcribed and perhaps continued or opened up to the online community, especially for folk unable to attend cons who would like to discuss these things and learn. The reason I'm wary of buying books on writing is because whenever I do, it's always the same generic writing advice—advice I needed five or six years ago, but not so much nowadays.

Also, check out that panel. :)

Two days until the Sci-Fi Weekender. Squee!

No One Knows, by Queens of the Stone Age.
jenniferkoliver: (Wolves | Wolfwomen)
I can't believe it's been nearly a month since I did the Year 10 writing workshop. I wanted to blog about it way sooner, but lifestuff got in the way (as it often does). The workshop was great. There were about 25 students in attendance, which made me nervous to start with, but I had a teacher and teaching assistant there for support and to help keep things focused. I think the girls enjoyed it—at least, a few of them definitely did. There were a couple who weren't so into it, but that's to be expected; they didn't have any choice but to be there. A couple of students came to speak to me at the end, which was lovely. The very first thing I did was read out one of my short stories that works with their prompt "Other Worlds" and it seemed to go down well. Here are the topics and exercises from the workshop. Could be helpful if you're planning something similar )

I've also managed to write a solid few thousand words recently, passing the 50k mark on draft #2 of my steampunk novel. Thrilled! The last ten thousand or so words have been such a slog, but now I know I'm just over halfway with this rewrite, and it feels sweet.

Random: playing Oblivion last Saturday, questing my way across Tamriel, and at one point I turned around to see that my follower (who's sticking with me because his quest is currently active, plus I like the company) was missing his cuirass. So far, he hasn't found it, because he's still running around with me half-naked. Not that I'm complaining or anything. :)

And a couple of links for fun or interest:

Confident Writing - A blog that features articles, tips and suggestions to help you write with confidence.

Sci-Fi Weekender - Taking place in North Wales, March 1st – 3rd 2013. I'm linking to this because me and a friend are going. There are some awesome guests of honour—I will blog my squee about this in a few days!

We Apologise For Nothing, by Fightstar.
jenniferkoliver: (Stock | Typewriter)
I was listening to the Dubstep station on radio (on my desktop, which you can do with the Scrobbler, which is awesome) and heard the title track Graduation from Gemini's 2011 EP. Oh man, I wish I'd checked out their newer stuff sooner. I think I prefer Graduation to their older EP Blue—you can hear some echoes of Blue in the melodies and style and structures of the songs, and there are nuances that seem to be characteristic of Gemini, but at the same time it feels expanded and stronger and deeper. I really love it. Here is the title track on YouTube:

Graduation - official video. It's very pretty.

You can download the EP on iTunes here.

I forgot to mention that I've been invited to do a writing workshop with some high school students next Thursday, as part of a visiting author event. They have a couple of published authors in to talk about their books, and while one of them is available to workshop with some of the boys afterwards, the other author isn't, so they've drafted me instead. I'm a bit nervous about it; I've never worked with young adults. The only times I've led workshops or given talks have been at adult events, where everyone present has signed up to be there. These pupils aren't getting any choice. :) I've been mulling a few topics for discussion and a couple of small exercises to (hopefully) inspire and motivate. They'll be writing for a short story competition with the prompt 'Other Worlds', which is right up my alley and which I'll also be judging. I'm looking forwards to seeing what they come up with. Will post about it here, when all is said and done.

Still on the writing theme, last night I was chatting to a friend about how my writing stamina seems tangled with my physical stamina, and how everything flows better when I'm regularly exercising. The holiday period is always a difficult time to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but I'm getting back into it now, and I'm noticing the effect it's having with writing projects—things are picking up again, gathering strength and momentum. The best part is, when I'm feeling good about writing I'm generally more energised to exercise, and it ends up a self-perpetuating cycle. Just got to make sure nothing comes along to break it, like, y'know, the holidays. :)
jenniferkoliver: (Wolves | Girl with Wolf Hat)
My friend Yvonne linked me to this, and I'm sure a lot of you have seen it already, but for those who haven't, Stephen King has spoken about a number of topics recently at UMass Lowell, including how he turns an idea into a story, writing screenplays, reading books twice, Randall Flagg (who is always around), creating characters, 50 Shades of Grey and how (some) readers (sometimes) don't challenge themselves enough, and Lovecraft. Even if you're not into King, it's a nifty glimpse into his writing life. I wish he'd had more time to chat. Watch it on youtube here.

And since my last post, I think I may have figured out the literary zombie problem, thanks to Yvonne's tireless critiquing sessions and some really helpful reviews on the online workshop. A couple of times I panicked that I'd have to rewrite the entire thing, but it was one of those instances where the fixes seemed major, but were actually not that bad. I hate how my brain decides I'm "done" as soon as I've finish a first draft—it makes going into edits such a slog. Usually once I get into them it's not so scary, it's just that gap between the end of free-flow writing and the start of nit-picking that sucks. In the past I've tried editing immediately, but I find I need a day or two of Skyrim distance to be able to see problems clearly.

And some links of interest:

A massive list of bestsellers that were initially rejected. Only because this one lists more books than usual.

You're Not Supposed to Write That: Taboos in Speculative Fiction, by Vylar Kaftan, for Apex Magazine. 'Because it’s presented under the umbrella of “what if,” speculative fiction allows people to consider how society can break down, independently of their preconceptions about their own society.'

O Holy Night, sung beautifully by Nat King Cole.
jenniferkoliver: (EXO-M | Tao)
Can I stay in denial that LJ fandom is slowly dying? More and more people are leaving. I like Dreamwidth, but it still doesn't feel like home. I've been on LJ since 2003 in various incarnations; it's like watching an old, good friend gradually slip away.

OK, enough with the melancholy. There are positive things! It's my wonderful BFF [ profile] davidrcooke's birthday this week, and that was cause to celebrate last weekend. After hopping down to Southampton on Friday night, me, Dave and his partner Chris went out to The Olive Tree restaurant, where I had the most delicious confit duck leg & pan-fried duck breast with herb mashed potatoes and Morello cherry sauce, followed by a mocha cheesecake. Nom. Later that evening, after they'd had some wine, I cunningly EXO-bombed Dave and Chris, making them watch the phenomenon that is shaky pockets in the History video. Oh, how I laughed. On Saturday we somehow managed to cram Portsmouth and Winchester into our day, though the Winchester Christmas market was so crowded we couldn't get to many of the stalls for a proper look around. In true me-like tradition, I bought my own Xmas presents: an Emporio Armani "Diamonds" gift set (if only we had smell-o-screen!), and a cute plum-coloured Superdry coat that was on sale. It was the last on the rack, it was in my size, and I saved £27. Mm, bargains. They almost taste as good as mocha cheesecake.

And in true me-like tradition, I forgot to take any photos.

I've passed 40k words on the steampunk novel draft #2. It's a bit of a milestone, possibly marking halfway. The first draft rounded out at only 63k words, but it was one-sided, told by only one of my two main characters. This version has both POVs, plus some little extras that I hope will make it more structurally interesting. I'm going to try and write the next 10k words before the 25th.

I've also been struggling with my zombies in a new short story in progress. The trouble with zombies is they're not prone to thinking, well, much of anything apart from braaaaains; they certainly shouldn't be having deep, literary thoughts about un-life and such, especially when they haven't eaten any brains in a while. There must be a way around this, however, and I'm determined to find it.

And now, I must go and write all the Christmas cards in the universe (or so it feels, on this side of the pile).

Night of the Hunter, by 30 Seconds to Mars.
jenniferkoliver: (Death Note | L)
You know, it's not the anonymous spam that annoys me the most. It's the ones that create LiveJournals especially so they can bypass the 'disable anonymous comments' setting. Grr. Argh.

Taking about a month and a half away from the novel (draft #2) has clarified a number of issues, and I've finally discovered why I hit such a massive roadblock in the re-drafting. I realised that one of my main characters was too focused on my other main character, and not focused enough on his own life/motivations. I've taken the outline, which was still a little shaky after the first draft anyway, and rewritten it, incorporating more drive for my male POV. He now has his own interior and exterior struggles that he needs to deal with throughout the story, and for the time being everything is clearer and makes more sense. His story thread is also tying quite nicely with the rest. Damnit, if only I could have done this at the beginning of October, but I think I needed the distance to see it—and to recharge my energy levels.

And a few links I've found interesting and entertaining recently:

Struck by a major bout of writer self-doubt the other night, and then found, purely at random, this article by Chuck Wendig: Failing Versus Quitting (Or, "Your Lack of Confidence is Neither Interesting Nor Unique"). I found it weird that it was the first page I stumbled across when blog-hopping on that particular wibblesome day.

Slush Pile Hell is on Tumblr, and makes me chuckle.

Kit Whitfield writes a fantastic article In Defence of Twilight, which sounds a bit odd, but it's worth a read regardless of whether you love or hate the series. I like her reasoning and pretty much agree with every point. I mostly link to this because I often tease the Twilight series, and sometimes it's just nice to offer some balance!

Beetlebum, by Blur.
jenniferkoliver: (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
A few weeks ago Theodora Goss said something on her blog that struck home:

I think the same thing happens with a novel: in order to write a particular novel, you have to become the sort of person who can write that novel. And of course the process of writing the novel changes you as well. But you have to become the writer. The novel comes out of the writer that you are, and if you’re not ready, the novel won’t work.

This is so true, but I'm adapting it very slightly here for my own post. I often start stories, get a little way in, and realise that I'm not ready to write them yet. It's not a case of giving up; it's more putting them aside until I feel confident enough to do the idea justice, or more knowledgable on the subject. It's always an instinctive sense that I'm not ready. But it's also instinctive that I know the story seeds are good enough not to throw away.

It might take a month or two of pondering, research and progression—writing, reading, talking about writing and reading, learning all I can—or it might take a year or two. There are some ideas you just love so much that you can't let go of them, and that's fine. Hopefully, eventually, you'll be ready to write them, and write them well.

It's got to the point where I actually quite enjoy the feeling. I think: some day, this story will rock. It's like having something to look forwards to. So, while it might not be instantly productive, it's heartening that you get to the stage where you're self-aware enough to just know and not sweat it.

(One day, I will be ready to write science-fiction set in space. With actual science and everything!)

Bachelorette, by Björk.
jenniferkoliver: (Stock | Butterfly Hat)
Finally updated my website with a brand-spanking new layout to match my LJ. This is something I've been meaning to do for ages, but I kept putting it off because I didn't know enough about Wordpress design. Well, I got fed up of sucking at Wordpress, and so I've opted for a much simpler site--no plugins or databases, no extravagant bells and whistles, just easily accessible links and info. Oh, but I did find a sweet CSS Twitter widget solution, which is on the sidebar. For all intents and purposes, it looks like it could be on Wordpress. But it isn't. So there.

And this is a good time to mention again that I can be hired to make a website for any individuals or small businesses.

I linked to the latest John Lewis TV Christmas advert on Twitter, but there wasn't room to express how much I adore it. It's possibly my favourite ad all year. Check it out: The Journey. Isn't that just the loveliest thing ever? Ah! Epic snowmen! (Part of me hopes the snow-woman went out and got him an Xbox or something.)

[ profile] seanan_mcguire recently posted the 47th essay in her fifty thoughts on writing series and it stuck with me because I often hear people telling other people that what they like is lame. I used to be a bit of a music snob when I was 20 and at uni. I had Big Opinions About Everything and anyone who liked stuff that I didn't was off their rocker. If you take a look at the varied music I listen to today, you can see I've grown up a lot and am well over that phase. ;) Anyway, this is my roundabout way of saying it's a neat essay and makes a fine point, and while the series is predominantly about writing it can be applied to anything. I try not to scoff at anyone for liking or doing the things they like and do, and I would hope that people will do me the same courtesy.

Tomorrow, by Silverchair.
jenniferkoliver: (Bleach | Ulquiorra)
I've been having silly fun with The N+7 Machine today. If you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend playing with this, as it will not only entertain but it might also throw out some unexpected writing prompts.

From the site: "The N+7 procedure, invented by Jean Lescure of Oulipo, involves replacing each noun in a text with the seventh one following it in a dictionary."

Here are a select few of mine (#0 being the original paragraph) from my novel in progress:

N+0: Above the spiked rooftops to Grace's left, discharge from an explosion glittered in the orange under-glow of fire. Another textile factory, now smoke and rubble and so much glass. The city cracked and popped as though it was fracturing. And the people on the streets cheered.

N+7: Above the spiked roosts to Grain's legation, discomfit from an exposure glittered in the orbit under-gnat of firecracker. Another theatregoer failure, now smother and rubble and so much glimmer. The clairvoyant cracked and popped as though it was fracturing. And the perch on the stretcher-bearers cheered.

A couple more under the cut, including a snake, some smooching, and a clanger )

Sleepless (Xilent Remix) by Excision & Savvy.
jenniferkoliver: (Default)
T'uther day [ profile] jakobdrud posted about the amount of stories he currently has out on submission (18! He is a writing machine), and I came away pondering my own story output—which, I quickly realised, is extremely low.

Thus, efforts were made to come up with prompts for a crazy week of word churning. I was planning to do flash fiction but, uh, my version of flash fiction usually ends up looking more like short story, so... yeah. At the very least I hoped to come away with one or two pieces I liked enough to tidy and send out, and that is exactly what I've got. Yay!

First, I drew up a table and wrote the days of the week, followed by a different prompt for each day. A couple of prompts came from the First Line Challenge on Storyslingers Blog, and the others were randomly harvested from the Internet—anything from a theme, a concept, or a line of dialogue, to a more detailed paragraph, etc. Then last Monday, I sat down and started writing. Here's a break down of my week in stories, including snippets )

This was a great experience—a real lesson in letting go, crunching words, and not giving myself time to lose confidence in what I was writing. I can't wait to do it all again, and I would highly recommend trying this if, like me, you tend to lose faith in your WIPs.

Harder Than You Think, by Public Enemy.
jenniferkoliver: (South Park)
I thought about waiting to post about the Story Slam until we had some footage up online, but it's probably going to take a few more weeks before we get the video edited how we want it. The good news is we managed to film about an hour of the event so there are loads of clips to choose from. Best to leave the movie making to someone who knows more about it than me, though, or it'll end up looking more like the Blair Witch Project than a cool promo of a lit event.

Everything leading up to the Slam was a blur. I'm still not entirely sure how we pulled it off. No, wait, I am sure: it was thanks to the help and support of loads of friends and colleagues and family. We were so lucky.

We managed to snare ourselves two fair and eloquent judges, Allie Spencer and Gail Aldwin, a compère in the form of Daniel Frisby, and some groovy live music from The Wrongo Bongo Band. Not to mention (again) the mecha-Western artwork Dan Morison did for our promotional material. In the end we had about 35-40 people in the crowd, some of whom were readers, some special guests, and some just there to soak up the stories and energy. There was a nice buzz from early on that continued through the evening. It helped calm my nerves (a bit!).

Going to pop the rest under here. A couple of pics, and more squee )

Next week I'll post the short story I read out (apparently; I can't remember much about being on stage other than sweating).

Walk by Foo Fighters.
jenniferkoliver: (Stock | Butterfly Hat)
I always used to say "Trust your story to know what it needs to do" but all my flash fiction seems to end up too long to be flash fiction, even when I set out with a clear plan that's as self-contained and streamlined as possible. The idea starts off small and doable, but in the writing, it explodes and branches off down irresistible avenues. I'm starting to think not all stories know what's best for them—some of them actually want some discipline, otherwise they run away, like the terrible little delinquents they are.

Yeah, I'm having difficulties writing a piece of flash fiction for the Storyslingers Story Slam. Reading slots are approximately five minutes, which equals about 780 words, give or take a few. I had an exciting idea last night, but I already know it'll be a full short story rather than a flash. Grrr. (I'm still jazzed about writing it, though!)

Speaking of the Slam, we've had some incredible custom-illustration done for the promotional posters and flyers. The artwork is by Dan Morison, a London-based artist who draws cool mecha-centric characters and scenes among other things:

Check out his design for Storyslingers here. Cut for size, but you should totally take a look because it is brilliant! )

So far the organisation seems to be going well, although we're aware time is slipping away fast. We have a couple of judges for the panel and we've come up with ideas for prizes and some small tokens for participants. We've also had some sign-ups for the competitive readings, and a number of writers are interested in reading out their flash fiction in the non-competitive slots. Oh, and we may also have a didgeridoo for musical accompaniment (because everyone should have a didgeridoo for musical accompaniment).

Lucky Pressure, by Roni Size / Reprazent.
jenniferkoliver: (Bleach | Ulquiorra)
LJ confounded me when they removed the Last.FM link from the edit profile page. I'm not sure where they announced it, but you can now find and add your Last.FM link at the bottom of this page. I don't really get the need for a relocation, but then, there are many things LJ does that I don't get. ;)

I'm 13,000 words into draft #2 of the steampunk novel and I'm trying to find old 19th century travelogues and journals written by Brits abroad. You'd think there would be tons of them scattered all over the 'net, but for some reason they're hard to locate or just plain unreadable because the scan quality sucks. My friend Yvonne dug up a few decent resources the other day, but even she found it difficult and she's a black belt in Google-fu. This may require another trip to Bath, this time during the week so I can raid the library. It's not too frustrating hitting this wall because there are other parts of the novel I can get on with; the travelogue sections weren't in my original plan anyway, and I don't feel like they're major roadblocks at this stage. But I do need to get it sorted eventually, and I need to get it just right.

Aside from that, the second draft is going better than I dreamed. After realising it needed two main POVs instead of one, the scope of the novel has opened up even more. The finished thing will actually have four POVs, though two of them will be minor, contained in the short travelogues mentioned above. They'll also mark my first proper foray into 1st person. Aiee!

There are also a couple of flash pieces on the horizon for the Story Slam in July. I recently found my way to Erin Morgenstern's blog where she's been writing 10 sentence stories set to photographs, and I thought I'd have a go at something similar using everyday visual prompts. Even if I don't read them out at the Slam, we're putting on a table of hand-made booklets and story flyers like we did at the Arts Festival last year, and they make great printable pieces for sharing.

Random Thought: I'm always flailingly amused that Zack Braff calls Donald Faison "C-Bear" on Twitter. ♥ Scrubs-is-Real-Life.

Hungry Like the Wolf, by Duran Duran.
jenniferkoliver: (Steampunk Woman)
Swiped this meme from a number of people. I'm not tagging anyone specifically; do this if you want to play along! Gah, this thing forced me to look way too closely at my early draft writing. :)

1. Go to page 77 (or 7th) of your current MS
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines – sentences or paragraphs – and post them as they're written. No cheating.

Steampunk novel draft #2:

… down to a brightly lit cellar. A couple of gaslamps glowed faintly gold, their light too weak to touch the workshop surfaces washed white by katium's unearthly radiance. Grace stumbled into a wheeled trolley, which clattered across the stone floor and bumped into another trolley. Upon it sat a device that resembled a familiar shape—an animal of some sort, with four protruding leverlike legs and a round brass head sat atop its squat body—though before Grace could register what it was, exactly, Kit grabbed a greying cloth from nearby and threw it over the device, muttering something about "A work in progress." With a little help, Grace made it to a workbench that…
jenniferkoliver: (Deftones | Chino)
We're halfway through the year (er, how did that happen, exactly?), so I thought I'd update on my progress at [ profile] getyourwordsout. Like I mentioned before, April and May were a bit of a wash, but the first three months of the year were highly productive, and it's picking up again now in June. As of this second, so far this year I've written 90,506 words, plus however many I've jotted in my notebook that I never moved over to the computer (I don't count those words, only the ones that make it into documents). Not bad going, if I do say so myself! Sadly, I currently only have one short story on submission, and that's way below what I wanted by this time. But never mind, there are still words. Many, many words. Without words, there would never be any submissions, right? Yeah, I'll keep telling myself that…

I was staring at the Fightstar album cover for Be Human (NSFW!) the other day, and I thought: that's really cool, I'd like to do something like that on my new website and/or blog layout, which prompted me to try and find the original image. Well, I did find it—that and a load more incredible pieces.

The artist is Ryohei Hase. Here are a couple of my favourites, but I recommend checking their entire gallery:

Go Forward and Forward – After the album cover, this was the first one I found. I love it. I love the tangle of it and the pretty surrealism of it, the differing sizes of the rabbit faces, how one or two of them look mean, the detail of the fine white hairs torn from ears, and the movement, the surge of it. My only gripe—and it's a small gripe—is that I find the concept a tad obvious. But it doesn't matter, because this is so very cool.

Album Cover Art – This one is made for a new album by Japanese band L'Arc-en-Ciel. Lookit them colours! And it's quickly dawning on me that I have a thing about animal heads on human bodies. Not sure if I should worry about that or not. Hmm.

Grand Unification Pt. 2, by Fightstar. It's all about that drop at 2:12. Gets me every time. :)
jenniferkoliver: (Stock | Shoes)
I'm resolved to blog more during the summer. Rahul Kanakia recently posted about how he overcame blogging inconsistency, and I've decided to give it a try. I don't think I could post every day, but I'll aim for once a week at first, and perhaps raise it to 2-3 posts a week eventually. We'll see. I never thought to approach blogging the same way I approach writing; when I'm in the flow I can write 1000 words+ each day, so what's stopping me from writing 100 words of a blog post a day? Only me, myself, and I. This is sounding suspiciously like a Mid-Year Resolution, but I can assure you it most certainly is not. No, really! I used to love online socialising, and I find it odd how my drive to blog shifted when I became more serious about putting my fiction out there. You'd think it would work the other way, wouldn't you—that writing seriously towards publication would make writing blog posts easier? Strange how it hasn't.

In a similar vein, I've noticed in recent years how my sociability is tied closely with writing. When I'm caught in a dry spell, with little time or energy to write, I tend to hermit away. This isn't confined to the Internet, either—I withdraw in RL, too. But when I'm back into the writing groove, I want to be around people more. Anyone else get this?

I might have mentioned previously that my writing group is putting on a short story slam (same format as a poetry slam), and I'm pleased to announce that we have an official date for the event! It'll take place on July 20th 2012, here. We've never done anything like this, but it'll be interesting and exciting to set up, not to mention nerve-wracking to participate in. Which reminds me, I need to get on and write some flash fiction to read out! OMG.

I'm also attending the Frome Arts Festival in July this year, taking part in "Dickens's London" run by author Peter Clark, followed by "Editing Without Tears" with Jane Elmor and Jill Harris. I'll try to remember to take lots of notes to share here afterwards.

Glory Box, by Portishead.


jenniferkoliver: (Default)
Jennifer K. Oliver

March 2017

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