jenniferkoliver: (Wolves | Blah Blah Blah)
I banned video games from my house so I wouldn't get distracted, then the other day at Storyslingers a friend handed me Beyond: Two Souls and The Last of Us to borrow. I mean, it would have been rude to say no, right? ;) Anyway, I've been tentatively playing Beyond: Two Souls and it's amazing. I'll do a separate blog post about gaming soon.

Previously I mentioned a crisis of faith about historical fantasy, but to be honest there's been a considerable crisis of faith about all my writing in recent weeks. So I dug out The Artists' Way by Julia Cameron and took myself on a Writing Date to a local cafe. There was mild bustle. There was hot chocolate. And there ended up being about 500 words, which doesn't sound like a lot, but for me at that moment was a breakthrough. I'm also in the swing of doing Morning Pages again, and have uncovered a couple of incidents from my past that I believe have been blocking me from consistency in writing. Being aware of these mental hurdles means I can try to get past them when they arise. It's not always easy, but it's definitely doable.

Plotting of the new YA sci-fi novel goes great. And I'm so happy to be able to say that! For a time my main characters weren't giving me anything, but now they're blooming and becoming interesting people, and I'm starting to really enjoy them. This, like my historical fantasy, is a dual POV (one male, one female). I seem to roll that way with long-form. I like alternative perspectives.

This is so silly, but do you remember Gizoogle? It was a thing back in 2005 (I can't believe it's been that long!), and I had no idea it was still online and working. Gizoogle will translate a web page, Twitter stream, or segment of any text into gangsta speak. I ran part of my very British, very Victorian-era novel through it and might subject my writing group to the results next meeting.

Swords and Sociology, Redux - great blog post by Kameron Hurley about how too much technobabble can pull you out of a story. From her post: "It’s this obsession with details that the POV characters really wouldn’t 1) know or 2) care about."

Jodie's Suite, by Lorne Balfe, from the Beyond: Two Souls OST.
jenniferkoliver: (Stock | Kitty Love)
Last month I actually got around to downloading all of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim expansions: Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn. And OMG. I'm a bit late, but I usually wait a few months after something new comes out to both give the developers chance to release patches for the bigger bugs, and to give most of the rowdy and obnoxious gamers time to burn out. Which is always good. Anyway, cutting my thoughts on each DLC as this got a bit long.

Dawnguard, in which you can be a vampire hunter as part of an ancient order, or a vampire lord. It's up to you )

Dragonborn, in which you travel to the volcanic island of Solstheim and challenge the first dragonborn who is out for your blood )

Hearthfire, in which you can build your own houses, collect stewards to guard all your loot, and generally feel like a wealthy person )

These DLCs are well worth the money, IMO, and they add a fair amount of new stuff to Skyrim that you can continue to enjoy even after completing the main quests. With the exception of Hearthfire, the other DLCs offer a considerable number of new quests, making them good value, too.

I also just picked up a copy of Dishonored which I've had my eye on since before release, and I'm tempted to grab Tomb Raider soon as well. Gah, so many games, so little time!

Screamager, by Therapy?
jenniferkoliver: (Spirited Away | Chihiro & Haku)
This is what I've been up to lately: a total revamp of my web design website! The older version was out of date and a few things had changed, plus some of links had died and I needed to decrease the amount of pages, so it was time to shake things up a bit. I got to implement a couple of new features on the site—namely an integrated Twitter feed on the footer, and a basic contact form on the contact page.

I should also note that I'm currently open to commissions, so if you're looking for an awesome, affordable website, drop me a line! But please remember to check the Services page first, as that's where I list everything available. Note, I'm still shady on WordPress design. It's something I'm gradually learning, but because of other work obligations it's a slower process.

I also design bespoke LiveJournal layouts for a reasonable fee!

Ok, enough with the shameless pimpage. I want to talk about a couple of shows and PS3 games I've caught up with recently. Will cut this for length: in which I nerd about Downton Abbey, Ouran High School Host Club , Supernatural, Red Dead Redemption, Dragon Age Origins, Dragon Age 2 and Heavy Rain )

Phew! That is a lot of nerdstuffs. I need a sandwich.
jenniferkoliver: (FFVII | Sephiroth)
Took a little step back this past week so I could get some re-writing and polishing done on a couple of short stories, as well as continue to tap away at the Big WIP. One short piece is almost ready to go, and I'm feeling that nervous-squee I get just before submission time. The second story is a revision of a piece I wrote last summer that received helpful feedback from a couple of magazines. It wasn't quite there, you know? But I think it's tighter now, eight months on, and after one more round of beta reading it'll be ready to skate out into the wide world again.

I was thinking, sometimes it's really tempting to re-tweak and re-vamp a piece over and over. That's one of the downsides to progressing as a writer—you can get hung up on old stories. Do any of you read your older works, published or unpublished? I try not to. Otherwise, yeah. Obsession.

There's been much sorting out of the local writing group, too. We now have about 10 people interested in joining and it just keeps growing. At this rate we're going to have to hire out Wembley Stadium to fit everyone in. :)

I've also been sucked helplessly into the marvel that is Final Fantasy XIII on the PS3, a beautiful game packed with action, angst, and loads of weird monsters. Here is a trailer. Isn't it gorgeous? I'm on chapter 9 and already attached to a couple of the characters. I just hope this doesn't end up the same way Dragon Age Origins did—in the freezer, because I couldn't bear to let it end!
jenniferkoliver: (Foo Fighters | Learn to Fly)
Holy crap, it's been nearly a month since my last update. Crazy how time flies, ain't it?

I may have said it before, but it needs to be said again: the Playstation3 is evil. Evil, I tell you! I started playing Dragon Age: Origins one night and six hours later I couldn't remember my own name. [livejournal.com profile] erastes, have you played DAO? I just... oh, God. It's so addictive. I have an arcane warrior elf mage (no kidding, new heights of nerditude have been reached in my house) who is now tanked with a multitude of kickass spells and armour. It's easy to see how people become gamers. What I like about DAO is how thought through the characters are, all of them different, both hilarious and tragic, and with their own ambiguous motivations. It's like a little soap opera, but one you can run around in and interact with. There's so much angst, but at times it makes me laugh, and there are many gorgeous poignant moments that leave me feeling throat lumpy. D'aw.

So lots of stuff to catch up on, not least of which is you guys. I hope everyone has been keeping themselves well and as happy as possible! I've been having fun designing a logo for the lovely [livejournal.com profile] honeybean. It's always great working with people I know, and makes bouncing ideas back and forth an enriching experience while giving us the chance to catch up with each other. We're nearing completion on the project now, and I don't know what I'm going to do when it's finished.

Just about up to date with True Blood season 3. I keep waiting for it to peter out like a lot of these shows, but it just keeps getting better and better. Good times. Though damn, where has that hot werewolf gone?

But the best thing that's happened recently was me and a friend procuring Foo Fighters tickets for next year, in Milton Keynes on July 2nd – anyone else going to that? I CANNOT CONTAIN THE SQUEE! It's been 10 years since I last saw them live, they're my favourite band in the universe, and now I'll get to see their newer stuff in all its rocking glory. And I'll also get to worship at the Altar of Grohl once again. Eee! *runs around*

That's it for now. Wishing everyone well! Maybe soon I will be able to update about writing. It's been hard balancing everything lately, but I want to get that second short story re-written and polished before Xmas.

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Jennifer K. Oliver

March 2017

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