Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

You may, if you’re a writer type, have come across this blog: http://3amepiphanyproject.blogspot.com/

Me being, well, me, I didn’t find out about it till I was already behind and then I have been bad at finding time to actually take the dratted challenges.

BUT. I will nonetheless post those I DO complete here!

Hope you enjoy…

Reluctant I

Write a first person story in which you use the first person pronoun (I, me or my) only two times. Keep the ‘I’ somehow important to the narrative you are constructing. The point is to imagine a narrator who is less interested in himself than in what he is observing.

Wordcount: 600 (+/- 10%)

Now frankly, I think I can do a better job than this, and may well try it again.

But here’s my first effort.

Don’t Get Caught

Don’t get caught. The best advice an old thief can give, and the old thieves are the ones to heed. It’s easy to say, less easy to do, especially when the guards are coming and the lock picks just aren’t working. It’s a time to consider whether this is a good life path. The door is very ornate, very imposing, and very solid. Wood may seem old fashioned, but when it’s centuries old oak it might as well be cast iron. Coupled with an unexpected state of the art lock it is impregnable to the opportunist thief.

A kick only results in a sore toe and a muffled swearword. Being found isn’t an option – this is not the time to get caught, that’s for sure. The windows on either side of the corridor are starting to look more tempting; falling twenty feet seems a better alternative than having my kidneys used as bongos.

The imposing pillars that line the corridor also provide a little cover for anyone trying to open the window. It’s a small comfort, but in this situation it’s better than nothing. The latch is, naturally, sealed shut, but it is less of an obstacle than the heavy wood of the uncooperative door.

The task is a fiddly one, but doable. The voices are getting closer, but obviously these guards are more easily fooled than some. Doubling back or hiding in a cupboard would seem amateur to an amateur, but in the right situation it can provide those few extra moments to evade capture.

The window finally opens with a noise that could be interpreted as a sigh of relief by those of a fanciful nature. The night air is cold but welcome, like a scent of freedom on the wind.

The drop is enough to give pause, but only for a moment. Whoever designed the gardens planted a shrubbery for this very purpose, or at least never considered a flower bed under the window a security risk. They were foolish, but they earn a quick murmur of gratitude.

Edging out through the window and onto the ledge is the easy part: closing the window again from outside is more difficult. Clearly the architect was less fond of criminals than the gardeners are. It’s necessary, another ruse to give a few moments before the escape route becomes clear to those in pursuit. All those moments add up, eventually equaling a successful getaway.

It’s impossible to close the window entirely. A rush job will have to do. So far these guards have not proven the most observant, and it might just be enough.

Decision: wait and hope they don’t notice the window is ajar, or risk them hearing the rustle of the greenery below? The chill breeze makes the decision – even the stupidest guard will have more trouble ignoring a draught.

At arms length hanging from the ledge the ground still seems a long way away, but it is too late to second guess. Footsteps which have been getting steadily closer for five minutes are now too close to ignore.

A deep breath, a reluctant unclasping of fingertips, and the deed is done. A bush doesn’t provide much cushioning, but it’s better than the cold hard ground. Bruises will have to be ignored for now, a stealthy creep through the shadows stands between me and freedom. The gardener has earned his thanks with an avenue of trees that provide excellent cover, and the outer walls are no barrier to one experienced in burglary.

A moment to brush off the leaves, and a thief becomes an ordinary citizen emerging from an alleyway into the light. Hiding in plain view is another trick the old thieves will teach the young. It’s one of the best ways of following their favourite piece of advice. What was that again? Don’t be afraid to ask – a proud thief is a dead thief in this city.

But always remember. It’s simple. Don’t get caught.

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John Scalzi has some good advice in this and the follow up article. Advice I wish I had been given when I was a teen, frankly.

His tough love approach may not be to everyone’s taste, but his advice is sound and his style is amusing. Read it, don’t be offended, take the advice given in the spirit in which it is intended (this guy openly says he is a reader too – he’s not trying to stop you from writing!) and learn from it. Worthwhile article.

Read this and… be encouraged.

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Holly Lisle’s Create A Language Clinic

I’m not sure whether I will ever use the language I am creating through this ebook, but it is SO much fun. If you have any bent at all towards enjoyment of languages, this will pique your interest. Not just from the POV of actually creating a language, but for getting you to think about how languages work.

I did a BA hons in Russian (apparently equiv to a US MA for Merkians, but don’t quote me on that, as I don’t know how true that is. But it’s more than a BA, less than a UK MA), along with an evening class in Japanese, French and Croatian at uni level, and have studied other languages before and since, and I still learned things I didn’t know and was made to think about aspects that had not occurred to me before.

If languages are your thing, check it out. Lots of fun!

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So I managed to reset my password, though how to do so entirely confused me. And I am stuck at working out how to change it to something memorable. Argh!

I am doing wriye, the Writing Year, this year: just as soon as I can work out how, I shall post the progress meter on this site.

I’ll try and do better posting here 🙂

I need to post links to my other blogs. I have been meaning to do this for months *blush*.

And I need to work out the formatting stuff on here so I can make posts look pretty. Blocks of text – not easy to read! I’ll get there. I hate changing blogs…!

My aim for this year is at least 200,000 words, though I am hoping to exceed that – it sounds like a lot, but even 1,000 words a day would be 365,000, so… here’s to raising that aim. I decided I would rather be able to raise it than find myself getting behind and getting discouraged. Maybe I should aim higher, but when you are ill a lot, it can be tough keeping those goals going in the first place. Exceeding it will do me much more good than continually failing to reach it.

At last count I had just over 19,000 words, but I need to update that now we are actually in February.

WIP currently are

’07 NaNo, currently standing at 62K. A Strictly Come Dancing fanfic I’m finishing for my own pleasure. I have learned so much from writing this, my first truly long bit of fiction.

’08 NaNo, “Almost Like Drowning”. Stalled horribly at just over 50K! Plan is to work on this during NaNoEdMo

Untitled Jane Austen tribute/Christian fiction, which is less than 10K at the moment. I need to be brave and work on this – at the stage of loving the idea and being afraid I will wreck it by working on it!

Those are the Big Three this year. I am going to try and get back into writing short stories too, and also look out the writing course I started as a teenager. Wish me luck!

On the purely for pleasure front, I have an idea of a Pride and Prejudice fic which might be quite fun!

What am I reading at the moment?

I’d like to recommend The Muse, a modern day, ballet-based tribute to Pride and Prejudice that I read on firthness.com, by an author named Jessi. Some discrepancies with realism for the ballet IMO, but I really enjoyed this. A very clever use of the themes and basic storyline of P&P for something that is nonetheless very different.

I’m currently re-reading Emma, having made my way through P&P, Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility recently. These books are looking so old and tired, poor things! Much loved. Have been given book tokens as a late Christmas present – deeply tempted to buy myself a really nice set of Austen. Also want to get my hands on Sanditon.

I’ll definitely read Northanger Abbey next – will I make myself read Mansfield Park? Since the first time I read it, when I was frankly a bit disappointed, I have always enjoyed it more than expected, probably because I remember that first disappointment! So yes, probably.

I have promised my flute student that I will read Twilight. I did read a rather cruddy online version; I can see why it has devotees and similarly can see why it has detractors. Bella Swan is intensely irritating, and some of the storyline is not good. There is also a distinct lack of real, coherant plot right up until the final few chapters, when suddenly all hell breaks loose! On the other hand, I find Edward a very intriguing and interesting character, and while Meyers’ treatment of Vampires is hardly Canon, it is at least remotely original. I’ll be interested to read it in the considerably more comfortable form of a paperback and see if that improves my opinion at all.

I am about halfway through Khaled Hosseini’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns”. It is inspiring me to re-read Bookseller of Kabul and the half dozen other books I have about Afganistan. Not an easy read, but a compelling one. Is it living up to the hype? Sort of. Ask me again when I have finished it. Then it will be on to The Kite Runner.

Also reading and re-reading “33 worst mistakes writers make…” books from Holly Lisle’s online shop. I have the “Blind People” and the “Ballet” one. Due to the author’s lively style and a serious personal interest, the Ballet one is for me not only a useful resource but a highly enjoyable read. I’d love to see Gypsy Thornton publish some more – if this is anything to go by, fiction and non fiction from her would be a rewarding read. I need to look out her website and post a link.

If I list any more of the pies I have my finger in at the moment, no one will believe that I could possibly be reading this many books and truly enjoying/absorbing them all at the same time…

I’m watching/have watched:

The Jane Austen Book Club – I read the book as well. I think if one could combine the best of the book and the best of the film, this could be a great story. As it is, neither grabbed me, though on the positive side they sent me back to Austen herself, and that is always good.

The ’95 Pride and Prejudice. Both better and worse than I remembered – I should know by now not to watch an adaptation too soon after reading the book. It was lovely to see it again though, I need to watch it in a few weeks when the book is less fresh in my mind.

Takin’ Over The Asylum. To watch this is to wonder how it took so long for David Tennant to become a household name, but even then, his performance is simply one great performance among many. I have watched three of 6 episodes. I have a feeling later ones may make me cry, I’ve a nasty feeling there is liable to be at least one minor tragedy in the works. So far, I have been made to laugh and to think, and have been very moved. A really great series – I’m so glad I decided to buy and not just rent.

Persuasion – the ’81 (I think?) version. Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root, anyway. This managed to be both quite faithful to the book and very disappointing at the same time. Will write a little more about why at a later date.

Think that will do for now. I will, I will get back into blogging this year. Whether anyone will read me remains to be seen…

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Well, new to WordPress. Well, at least, I haven’t actually used this before even though I’ve had an account for a while…

I signed up to http://70daysofsweat.com/wordpress/ – I’m currently mid NaNo http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/243250

I figured this would be as good a place as any to keep track of my progress through November and on into December as I try and figure out a road through the snarls of my plot.

I have 24987 words so far, not including the ending which I’m rather supersitiously not counting!

This puts me bang on track for NaNo, not sure about 70 Days.

It puts me a touch behind where I want to be as I like to keep ahead of the word count (saves panicking!) but hopefully I’ll manage to get a bit more done before I have to go out, and when I get back later this evening.

I may or may not publish extracts… (though there’s one on my NaNo page!) I may or may not be interesting… time will tell.

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