Wednesday, December 21, 2011

That blank stare...


Listening to: Annabel Fae - Already Home
Mood: tired from this cold...who gets a cold in summer anyway?
Plotting: my hubby gave me an awesome bunny ^_^

Welcome to the blog of randomness!
And that's the opening line I came up with after staring at the screen for several minutes. Writer's block, maybe? Or it could be that I just have too many things I want to blog about and can't decide on which.

It's four days to Christmas and I've put a couple of decorations in the house and let the kids make a few decorations for the tree. Which is very little if you consider the long list I have to complete: sowing a tablecloth for our Christmas feast, painting the table decorations with the kids, making Christmas crackers, baking gingerbread men and christmas trees, creating my awesometastic gingerbread house as the center piece for our table (the sweets I bought have all but perished in the week since I bought them - sweets don't last in this house), wrapping the presents, and getting the kids to sit down and finish the Christmas cards so I can get it all sent off to family and friends.

Busy, busy, busy. Bzzzzzzzzzz.

Let's not forget the plotbunnies nibbling at the back of my mind the whole way. I've also decided that there is no excuse not to be going to church anymore, so I went last week with two little monkeys, and I'll be going again on Christmas Eve.

I keep telling my kids that Santa isn't real. Of course they think I'm bonkers because they took photos with Santa and Santa seems to be in every mall we walk into. But I want my kids to understand the meaning of Christmas, and how easier to do that than to discourage the Santa smut and reinforce the reality that we're celebrating Jesus's birthday with CAKE!

CAKE. No. The cake is not a lie.
Okay, it is.
But there will be cake.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Something I learned this Year

Listening to: Love the Way you Lie - Eminem ft Rihanna
Writing: Nanowrimo 2011 Novel
Mood: disappointed


First off: CONGRATULATIONS to all the passionate writers out there who made it to the golden 50k words!

Nanowrimo officially ended for me yesterday. I got to a whooping 26 000 (and some other numbers) words. So another year gone by where the goal line is just out of my reach, but I gave it my best shot with the little time I had. I'm not giving up on my story either, I'm still trudging onward like a good little soldier. If anyone else out there didn't make it either, KEEP GOING! Good stories never end, they live on in our minds and if your muse is anything like mine( he likes to keep dumping everything in my head onto paper) you'll finish writing your novel yet! Just... not in November. Maybe December, but realistically I'll probably complete my Nano next year March.

And then start planning for Nanowrimo 2012.

A friend of mine recently lost a family member of hers. It was strange because only a week prior we were talking about funeral songs and how her father wanted them to play Frank Sinatra's I did it my way at his funeral. In that one simple request, I could tell that this man had a lot of character. He must have been one of the most stubborn, most self-motivated people to walk the earth. He must have accomplished his life's goals because, as you'd imagine, the song wasn't referring to the way he passed but to how he'd lived his life.

This December I'm going to be blogging every day (yea, EVERY day!)(-edit- well, no, not every day) listing things I learned this year. Maybe you'll find some of it useful in some way or another, and if you do, please do share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments section.

The one thing I learned this year is to never give up on yourself.  Do your best and give it your all, put up your best effort. Even if you trip over your own feet, even if you come last, even if you're voted out, even if you've got a low wordcount, even if other people have a negative opinion, even if you think you're not worth it, none of that matters as long as you don't give up on yourself.

Pick yourself back up, keep running, keep playing, keep writing, keep trying, keep going. Never give up. Believe in yourself. Give yourself a break. This will become my motto for the new year, I think. Never give up.

Because, one day, wouldn't you also want to be able to say I did it my way?

Catch you guys tomorrow!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

At this rate you will finish on December 8,2011.



I have a prologue and I have my first two chapters down. I'm on chapter 3 at the moment and it feels like I've only started picking up momentum now.

I met my MC, Haley, where she was leaving the principal's office after some incident (earlier that day she slipped and smacked her head into the floor and her sisters' friends laughed at her - Haley didn't appreciate that much so there was some teenage slapping going on), that had her suspended from school. On the drive home, her parents inform her that they're sending her to a special summer school a.k.a. Christian Bootcamp. Haley will have none of it and runs away. She decides to take the 'short cut' through their local reserve to avoid running into the authorities (or her parents) on the main road, but she stumbles upon a tunnel that seems to have appeared out of nowhere. Curiosity gets the better of her and she goes inside for a looksee, wacks her head against a rock wall (again, poor girl) but then the dark starts to make her paranoid (or maybe she's just smacked all the marbles out of her mind?) and she's 'chased' by whispers (yes I was listening to Skillet while writing that part).

She makes it out the other side of the tunnel, and follows a lonely road to a creepy house in the woods, where she steps into something that might have come out of Alice in Wonderland. Or not. It's pretty weird anyway. A blind boy tells her where she needs to go, and Haley, wondering if she is in Wonderland, follows his directions. She gets snatched into this underworld by a witch who wanted to use her for a spell to keep the cold from her house/hut/cave (there's clearly confusion between myself and my characters about what to call it), but then just as suddenly and inexplicably the witch lets her go again. Haley doesn't wonder why because nothing is making much sense to her, and she believes she'd knocked her head one too many times that day (whether she has or not I haven't decided yet). So Haley is let lose in this underworld but then! She's chased by a ginormous worm. And I mean this thing is huge, and I did not enjoy writing it because worms are just... ick and make my toes curl in disgust. Like frogs - with those soft, squishy bodies that only needs a little squeeze to make them.... Wait. I'm digressing. Where was I?

Oh, the ginormous worm chasing Haley. Right, so she runs off with this worm chasing her and suddenly this wolf comes out of nowhere (or I might have written about the wolf before, my memory's already foggy on the details) and starts chasing her, too. She manages to lose the worm, but the wolf keeps on her heels the whole time until she accidentally falls into a river of blood.

Of course she doesn't know right away that it's blood. Haley wiggles her way out of this river and tries to outrun this persistent wolf. She stumbles upon this small little town and goes into what appears to be a bar. The people in there are pretty creepy, in varying degrees. That's also when she realises she's covered in blood, whatnot with the light on her and all. So she goes to this tiny bathroom to try clean up, but this weirdo follows her. She dodges him but then the whole bar seems to have turned against her - and then she kind of really does lose her marbles.

Haley believes that she's in a coma of sorts and this is all just in her head.
I think I'm going to go with the first idea, but not the second. I'm contemplating bringing astral projection into the mix to explain some things. She's reincarnated at the end of the novel so I might as well.
So, Haley believes that this is all imaginary and that she's really in control, and she starts spewing some crazy smut at these people. But then, just as this weirdo guy grabs her, her hero arrives! Tararum!
But he's nothing what she had expected and she's disappointed. However, I'm pretty happy with how he's turned out, appearance wise anyway.

At the moment, he and Haley are having a bit of an argument. He's trying to explain to her that everything is real, and Haley is being very difficult. Not exactly how I'd pictured the first meeting between girl and guardian angel would go down, but hey, it beats cliche.

I have 22 days left to get 38,383 words written.
And aren't those numbers just funny? Like tomorrow is the 11th of the 11th of 2011. I'm going to make a wish at 11:11:11am tomorrow morning. And then again at 11:11:11pm, just for good measure.
Nope, not wishing to win the lotto.
I wish I can win Nanowrimo this year.

Good luck everyone! ^_^

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Day 1 - Hello Nano, meet my Life!


I'm fairly sure that since midnight last night, just about everyone in my region has a word count higher than 0. Everyone except for me. It's lunchtime and that 0 is still there.

But you know what, I'm not going to sweat it this year. There's no pressure. It'd be nice if I could finally make the 50k, of course, but I'm not going to lose sleep, weight and a social life because of it. So on my agenda for the day - shopping!

I might write something when I get back home. We'll see.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The muse & plot bunny vs reality


I'm going to write a little story so that my friends and family (who are not writers) will have a much better idea what it means when a writer says 'The muse is calling my name!', or 'I'm inspired', or 'I NEED TO SIT DOWN AND WRITE, NOW!'

Your child/younger sibling/best friend (muse) has been very good with keeping themselves occupied while you deal with the daily tasks of work/school/whatever it is that is consuming your time (aka. life). You're always aware that they're waiting on you to spend time with them, until you finally get to a point where you start to feel guilty that they're so quietly patient. You get this great idea (plot bunny) on how to repay them/reward them for their good behaviour and you say 'you know what, I will put everything else on hold and we will go have some quality one-on-one time, if not today then definitely in 8 days' time'.

Sounds good, right?

Your child/sibling/friend is SO excited that you haven't forgotten they exist and that you're going to be doing something fun together, like the good old times, that their excitement becomes infectious and before you know it, you are swept up by it and geared and ready to go. So you grab them by the hand, practically skip to the door as you drag them behind you, and with great joy you fling the door open.

But instead of feeling the warm sunshine on your face, you get pelted with hail stones; instead of meeting up with all your other friends, they're unavailable and don't answer when you call them; instead of stepping into an exciting, bold world ready for you to come play in, you step into the real world where chores and work require your immediate attention. You turn to your child/sibling/friend and you want to explain to them, but their excitement has morphed into stubborn determination (which can be a very bad thing when the timing is not right) and you just know that if you bail out on them now, it will take a lot of grovelling and coaxing and promising and, did I mention grovelling?, for them to do anything with you willingly thereafter.

This is what it's like when you introduce Plot Bunny to Muse (and vice versa), and reality becomes an obstacle in your path. The muse will always be there somewhere in the depths of your subconscious, but when you neglect it for too long, it starts chipping tunnels to the deeper and more unreachable part of your mind. Sometimes it will take a long time before you venture down the right tunnel and find them sulking in a little corner. Sometimes it's a really tough battle to drag them kicking and screaming from their sulky-corner and it might take a while for them to warm up to you again. The muse, I've found, can be stubborn to the point of being unhealthly. They can be your worst enemy or your best friend, depending on how you scrabble your words.

Personally, I've had to fight my muse out of hiding, and then poke him with a hot iron until he submitted to my demands, at least twice in the past five years. Reality has a way of scaring the muse away.

This time, however, I've got my muse chained to me. If he was to break through the chains, I've got his shoes superglued to the ground. If he was to struggle out of his shoes, I have a minefield of sinkholes that will suck him straight back to me. If he was to fly, I'll shoot him down and clip his wings. If he was to teleport...well, let's just say that I have another no-nonsense muse lying in wait to chase my carefree muse back to where he belongs.

So, I'm going to be dotting down some stuff on a plot bunny that's been pestering me for a while now. I might write it for Nano, but as it stands, I'm still going to be writing the first part of my completed manuscript.

8 DAYS TO NANO!!!

*Please refrain from pointing out the fact that a muse is female. I know this. So does my muse. I also have imagination and don't let cliches box me in. My muse is quite content being male.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Of Genres and Nanowrimo

Listening to: The Devil's Trill by Vanessa Mae
Reading/revising: Shadow Legacy (w/t)

I had a scout around to familiarise myself (again) with the different genres and sub-genres out there. I've never slotted my work into a genre before. I've labelled myself a horror writer, because that's what I tend to read, watch, and breathe, but the horror in my mind translated onto paper oddly enough doesn't fit in the literary horror genre. Funny that.

The reason I struggle to define what my novels are, in essence, is because some genres bleed into others. For example, my Chronicles of Derenvere series starts the first book off where my MC is abducted, tortured (mentally, physically and emotionally) and mutilated to a degree. On top of that, he's being starved to death very slowly. There are some nasty, gory scenes, but they become less and less the further away my MC escapes his nemesis. Now those elements should, by all means, shift the story into the Horror genre.

But here's the thing: my MC is an aspiring powerful sorcerer, coincidentally also the heir to the magical kingdom Derenvere, and they have things like unicorns and dragons and elves running around the show. There's runes, and levitation, and the setting isn't in the real world - it's all a manifestation of my imagination. This would make the story a fantasy - anything with dragons and princes and magic class as Fantasy.

And to put the cherry on the cake, it is also a very spiritual journey my MC goes on. Going from being a blind believer to a non-believer to having doubts, he's spiritually tormented for a long time. I don't write about God and Satan and angels, per say, but there are beings in the series that are derived from them. So, what does it make my novel? Is it Literary fiction, because it focusses mostly on my MC's inner and outer journey, or is it Inspirational, because it involves spiritual growth?

You see why it's hard for me to decide on a genre. I could just slot it into the General genre, but I'm reluctant to do that. So far I've claimed this to be a Dark Fantasy, whatnot with all the fantasy and the horror. But maybe the final decision on which genre is more befitting will be at my agent's discretion.

One novel I'm not confused about is my current manuscript titled Shadow Legacy. It's definitely a YA Paranormal novel. It does start off with my MC being trapped in an alternate world (which would make it a Fantasy) but she eventually finds her way back to the 'real' world where she has to deal with the paranormal that has followed her there.

I'm not fussing over this one. It's Paranormal.

I'm also going to be rewriting/revising this novel for Nanowrimo. Yes it's 30k words or something at this stage, but it's not like I'm cheating. I'm still  going to be working just as hard at this as everyone else who will be starting a new project from scratch. I'm still going to be putting in the hours, same as everyone else. This is one manuscript I need to get done, chop-chop, so I can start searching for representation by the New Year. Or should I say, the Last Year? It is 2012, after all.

I'm looking forward to meetups with writers in my region, if I can make it. I want to say that I will go to every meetup and be one of the last people still sitting there writing my little heart out. I want to say that I will get to go chill out with a few cups of coffee and with like-minded people. I want to say that I will be a regular visitor to my library every day and get at least an hour of writing done. 'Tis but a dream!

But look, I doubt  the library staff are going to be very tolerant of my little monkey messing up their computers or unpacking all their DVDs and books in the kids section, and let's not forget how he absolutely loves to run around screaming like a monkey going to war. Maybe for the first day or two they'll look past it. After that they're likely to ban me from setting foot in the library unless my monkey is gagged and tied down, y'know?

Anyway.

18 days to Nano!!!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Beta Reader vs Alpha Reader

Listening to: Unbreakable - Fireflight
Revising: Shadow Legacy (w/t)


Back in the day, when I had the luxury of morning and afternoon two-hour-duration naps to do my writing in, I was very much addicted to writing fanfiction(FF). The first writers I ever encountered and befriended were reviewers and authors on fanfiction.net. That was the allure of it - the reason why I opted to spend more time writing something I couldn't make a dollar off of rather than working on my originals - it was the people. The sense of community and belonging.

And let's not forget the reviews. They are evil.

I knew my writing needed some serious work, but no one seemed willing or able to point out my flaws and help me through it. They had other obligations, other responsibilities, like focussing on their own FF's lest they incur the wrath of their fanbase for taking too long to update. Then I heard about this mythical creature - a beta reader.

I found a few and queried with them if they'd be interested in helping me with my work. Only one of them ever got back to me. I was nervous but elated - I've found someone who was going to genuinely critique my writing! So I happily sent my first draft of my first chapter to this beta-reader and... nothing.

Not a peep. Not a whisper. It's like they dropped off the face of the world. I ended up plaguing them with emails, first because I was worried my writing was so terrible that it was taking them weeks to go through it, then later because I just wanted to annoy the hell out of them until I got some kind of response from them. I got nothing.

There's nothing more discouraging or infuriating than sending your baby to someone and never hearing from them again. I'm just glad it wasn't any of my original work that I sent to them, else I really might have lost my mind. This is also the reason why I have issues sharing my work with anybody other than my close family and friends.

So I went and thought about what had happened to me, and noticed that quite a few writers leaving reviews for others stating that they ought to find themselves a beta-reader. One in particular referred a young writer to one of the very beta-readers who had never bothered to reply to me. I contacted the writer personally and warned them about what had happened to me, just to give them a heads-up. The writer got back to me a week later and asked if I would mind critiquing her work because the same thing that happened to me had happened to her. Somewhere along the lines of my email to her, we had gotten lost in translation, and she assumed that I was another beta-reader.

I wasn't then, but I told her I'd help her out as best I could, and a few months later I got a heartwarming thank you from her, a dedication and referral to me as a beta-reader on her profile - and the rest is history. If there is one thing I love more than writing and reading, it's helping other writers.

I'm no guru at writing, don't get me wrong. You can never know everything there is to know about the craft since it's a on-the-job-learning kind of experience. I've always shamelessly declared this, but a couple of young writers have taken this statement the wrong way before. False accusations and observations were made, it became a personal matter - it was pretty ugly. I followed up on it with this writer and we made our peace, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't knock down the little confidence I had in my writing skills.

That was only one unhappy writer I ever had to deal with. For the most part, all the other writers I've beta'd for have either given me genuine thanks for my input, or we've become friends and keep in touch ever so often via MSN chats or Facebook.

Different writers are at different stages of developing their talents. Some need more work than others, like the ones who have English as a second language (like me); others just need someone to help them fight a two-man battle with things like characterisation; some have just started out and need to be guided and made aware of the rules.

Some have been writing for years and, very similar to someone who has been driving for years, have picked up naughty little habits that they don't even notice until you point it out to them (overuse of the comma or fragmented sentences, as a couple of examples).


The thing is, every writer has talent, whether their talent is in their vast knowledge of their subject matter, or their particular voice, or their imagination. And like every writer has talent, every writer has one single thing in common - we all need to hone our craft.

I've done beta work for some of my favourite writers on FF.net. My nerves were dancing with excitement and terror, though. My beta abilities have also extended from FF to rough original manuscripts of others. I feel I'm qualified enough, after three years of being a beta-reader, to offer my input to 'real' writers.

This has become extremely handy for me because I now have experience with what to look out for in my own manuscript. Not that I'll ever stop wanting a critique partner. My hubby offered to crit my work for me, so once I'm done with chapter one, I'll be getting that feedback I crave so much.

Oh. I also recently learned that I'm actually not a beta-reader. I'm an alpha-reader: that other person who sits patiently waiting for you to finish writing the next chapter so they can read it and critique it for you. A beta-reader, according to definition, is someone who critiques your work when you have finished writing the whole manuscript.

Like I said, you can never know everything.
Though I always used the term 'writing buddy', I never knew it was called an alpha-reader. So I did know what everyone else was talking about on that forum after all!



Saturday, October 01, 2011

Revision: And so it begins.


Listening to: Hero - Skillet
Mood: Can't-think-straight-tired
Reading: Demon in my View by... can't remember author name.
Writing: Shadow Legacy

I have, at long last, taken the actual plunge into revision.
I'm on page 7 of my 112 page novel. My previous attempt at 'revising' it was a complete bugger because I had started to rewrite it from scratch.
Without a solid plot outline drafted up to guide me along a rewrite, a rewrite is not going to happen. I'm supposed to be revising it, anyway, not rewriting the whole manuscript.

So! Let me tell you a little bit about Shadow Legacy.
I first wrote it back in 2005-2006. I'm not entirely sure which year I wrote it, but I did write it within a week. I think I might have blogged about it before. If you're a writer, you can imagine what I've got on my hands here. Revising a first draft of 38, 500 words is not an easy feat.

It's a young adult supernatural romance, starring a set of eighteen year old twins, Haley and Amber. Haley was lured into a different realm where she fell prey to creatures of the dark. She was first going to lose a few toes, an ear, and some other body parts after a witch snatched her up, but she caught the eye of a vampire (yes, I'm aware that I stated before that I will never write vampires, but there is also a first time for everything) who 'rescued' her from the witch. Why she caught the eye of the vampire, I'm not too sure yet. Another creature of the dark in one of my scenes laughs at her when she demands to know why specifically she was targetted, and tells her 'Such arrogance. You don't really think there's any special reason why we chose you, do you? Any other human would have been good enough. You just happened to be in the right place at the right time.'

But I'm not sure whether this creature was bluffing and purposely trying to play with her head, or whether it was speaking the truth, since I haven't elaborated on the scene or know when or where exactly it will fit into the story.

The only reason why Haley survives in their world is because of her guardian. I'm not putting a label to it other than guardian, so it can be a familiar or a shade or an angel, whatever the reader choses to believe. Her guardian has the ability to shift from human form into wolf form. No, he's not a werewolf; he's invisible in her world, but in the dark realm he can manifest in these forms. I chose a wolf for his other form because I'm a dog person, dog is man's best friend, they're loyal to their owners, they're guardians of sorts (guard dogs, get it?) and wolves are territorial by nature. All these qualities factor into his character. I might have thought a name up for him before, I'm not sure because I haven't actually written him yet.

This is all backstory, though. Whether I'll incorporate it into the actual book remains to be seen. As it is, the story starts off with Haley wanting to go to sleep as soon as the sun is up. It introduces her and Amber, their relationship with one another, and the initial conflict that exists between them.

I will need to make a note to get that conflict resolved by the end of the story.

Nothing much has really happened in the first 7 pages. Aside from a phonecall for Amber, an argument between the sisters, and Haley reflecting vaguely on her past for the purpose of informing the reader, there's not much else going on. I've already revised certain details, like turning the sixteen year olds into eighteen year olds, giving them more dialogue, and changing the matter of Haley lounging in her backyard for the day to her sleeping instead. The part where she reflects on past events might get cut, if I decide to start the story off where she's lured to this dark realm, because then there would be no point in mentioning it.

There is a lot of work ahead of me. The story is written in third person narrative from Haley's point of view, yet later on, if I recall, the point of view jumps to Jeremy (the male lead) when Haley gets sucked back into the dark realm, to Amber, and back and forth like that until Haley comes back onto the scene. I haven't actually written the parts where Haley is in this dark realm. It's a concept I still need to explore and flesh out a bit. I wrote the story, believe it or not, without my female lead. Amber is more of a secondary character than a lead, so I'll be putting her in her place and following Haley all over the show.

I prefer to stick to one character's point of view. Sure, as a writer, it's really easy to jump from character to character, and I can make it work. But as a reader, I've always preferred to stick to a single character throughout a story. Consistency is key to prevent confusion.

Besides, I've always said that I want to write that book that I haven't found yet.

My first task of revision is to pick places where my writing can be clearer, more interesting, more informative and more convincing. Yep. I'm leaving the descriptive part of my writing for the final draft.

Note: some of what I've said in this blog might actually turn out to be nul in void since I'm simply revising the novel from page 1 without having read through the entire manuscript again.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Shadow Legacy (working title) and goal setting


Listening to: Evanescence - Lose Control
Reading: The Forbidden Game - L.J. Smith


I have a completed manuscript of 39,692 words with an actual beginning, middle, and end, that has been nagging me for a revision for a long time now. The versions I have of it on my computer say that it was created in 2007, but I'm pretty certain that I wrote it sometime between 2005-2006. The original draft on my computer back in South Africa will probably have the more accurate date for when I finished it.

It took me an entire week to write it from the first to the last word. Can I write a book in a week again now? Heck no! I was young, I had no job, I wasn't going to college, I was going through an anti-social stage (what writer doesn't?) and I had no other responsibilities to contend with. Well... I probably did but I can't remember what.

What I do remember is having my muse chain me to my computer until I was done. I really did live in my room for that week. I was up at 6am, typing away the entire day, taking only the necessary breaks to the bathroom when I absolutely had to. I think I even ate my food with one hand and typed with the other that week. And sleep? Sleep was non-existent. I would force myself to turn in at midnight, and I'd be lying in bed with my eyes closed, going over the plot and the characters in my mind, and 'dreaming' about what was going to happen next and how that would affect the course of the story. I'm sure I drifted, but when I was awake, I was plotting. That's where my saying 'I don't sleep, I plot' stems from. And I'd be up again at 6am, typing like a mamba.

I had that urge of intrigue; I was so wrapped up in this world I've created, even when I wasn't writing it I was definitely thinking about it, and I had that insatiable compulsion to get back to it. Nothing else mattered. Everything else was insignificant in comparison. I just wanted to stay lost in the story. It was kind of like the feeling you have when you pick up one of those books that you just can not put down until you've finished it, only it was coming from the writer side of things.

I also remember how completely bushed I was on Sunday afternoon, when I finished writing the ending. I had lunch with my family, I washed the dishes and thought about how well the story had run, and then I passed out on my bed. I felt very much accomplished.

I still do, in a sense. The upside is: I have a completed manuscript!!!
The reality is: I have a completed manuscript. I have a story that's too short to be a novel, that needs to become a novel. The reality is that I have a lot of work ahead of me.

My ultimate goal is to polish it as best I can before starting the query process. But I'm taking it in baby steps. So my first goal is to schedule writing into my daily routine and then to maintain that routine.
Once I can achieve that, I can worry about the next goal.



Blogpost 27 March 2010/Bayonetta review and some writerly rambles


Reposting this because I'm no longer using the other blog.
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So, due to over-abundance of boredom and nothingness, I decided to play some more Bayonetta. I completed Route 666 - and that bike is killer. Although the game smacks of facepalm-worthy moments (the cherub statue with the tallywanker episode;the nutty babyfaced thing in Paradiso that falls in love with Cereza, to name a couple) it is ridiculously fun to play. I love Bayonetta, I love Cereza even more (I want to adopt her!) and I completely HATE Jeanne and Luka. Talk about annoying! Especially Luka whom likes to repeat one word over and over and over again and again in each and every sentence he splutters out. *Major facepalms Luka* Guh!

But those are just the characters you encounter. The actual gameplay - phenomenal, once you get the hang of it. I'm a sword girl by nature, I very much abuse Rebellion and swordmaster style, Red Queen and Yamato Dark Slayer style in Devil May Cry, so you betcha I'm going to overuse Asura in Bayonetta. It's got Rebellion and Yamato moves wrapped in one - can you get any better? (The answer is NO)

That aside, Bayonetta truly is the female version of Dante. I want to BE Bayonetta - and then I want to team up with Dante and torture Nero some. And once I'm done with Nero, I'll torture Dante some too ;) Seriously though, their personality type is one and the same, and it is awesome!

All right, Game-Gush over (for now). I've managed to write two little scenes last night, including an analogy shared by a mother with her son. I am very happy with it, but at the same time I'm quite frustrated, too. They are good scenes and vital to the plot - but not the current plot I'm working on. None of it fits into my novel that I'm writing right now.

This of course means that I'm going to be sitting with pen locked to paper until midnight tonight trying to get some order going. I'll be rewriting the first chapter from scratch, and moving the original chapter 1 to become chapter 2, which means all other chapters will need to be kicked one number up. Up until chapter 9, that is, or should I say the new chapter 10? I'm rewriting that whole chapter, and relocating the original chapter 10 to chapter-much-later, which is where my secondary character, Sebastien (tarumtarumtarum!!!)enters the novel, and most of the character development for my main character, poor liddle Galen, takes place from that point onward. Not that Galen's not going through some changes prior to that meeting, because he most certainly is going through drastic, frightening changes, but Sebastien will be the one to help shape Galen into the uber-cool king he will one day become. I should probably tell you what the novel is about, and of course I will once I've got the summary strung together.

And damn fanfiction. Receiving alerts for 'favourite author' and 'favourite story' is detrimental to my health. It makes me want to drop my originals and go back to my addiction. Though that would be pathetic of me - no one is going to write this novel except for me, and it won't get done just because I keep thinking 'I need to get this done'.

Sit down.
Take the pen.
Put tip to paper.
WRITE.

Discipline, discipline, discipline.

Quote of the day:
Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life - Confucius.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Book Review: The Haunted


"Spectacular! The Hollow keeps you reading from beginning to end without coming up for air." - L.J.Smith, bestselling author of The Vampire Diaries and Night World.


I have a knack for picking trilogies, don't I?

Miss Smith couldn't have described the reading pleasure of this book any better. I got sucked in from the first line, and I didn't want to put it down until I got to the end. (Of course, the end is not truly the end, considering this is the middleman of a trilogy).

We meet a mourning sixteen year old Abbey, taking time out from her life at Sleepy Hollow by staying with her great-aunt Marjorie on a farm. She's seeing a therapist because she thinks she's gone nuts, because see, Abbey fell in love with this hot studmuffin, Caspian, who has white-blonde hair, and who has vibrant green eyes, and who just so happens to be dead. I'm not talking vampire-dead, I'm talking ghost-dead.

Abbey doesn't know whether he's just a figment of her imagination that she had created to help her deal with the drowning of her best friend, Kristen, and in the beginning there are a few moments where the whole situation plays mindgames with you - is he real, is he in her head?! - until Abbey finally finds closure. She later on goes to visit Caspian's grave. That's when I, as the reader, fully accepted that he wasn't just some shadow that was going to disappear when her life starts getting back on track. Part of me half-expected him to do just that when she was kneeling at his grave, but nope, Caspian looks like he's there to stay for good.

The plot and subplots all blend together nicely, from Abbey getting resolution on Caspian's surreality, her awkward friendship with Ben the science-geek, accepting that her best friend had kept secrets from her that were starting to leak out, and five Revenants chasing after her signalling that her death is near. Oh. And there is of course the issue of raging teenage hormones between Abbey and her other half, Caspian her Shade.

The characters are interesting; I loved Abbey's parents and her relationship with them, and the fact that unlike most young adult books, her parents never took the backseat of 'they're-briefly-mentioned-because-they-have-to-be-mentioned' characters. They had a role to play and there was love and effort put into shaping their characters. I liked Ben - albeit he did seem like the typical cliche geek - and the detail put into the Revenants were wicked. I felt freaked out by them, but I think that's what the author was going for. I liked Aunt Marjorie, too, and Uncle Bob... actually, I don't think there is a character I didn't like.
Except for the cheerleader and Vincent. That guy gave me the creepy-crawlies.

Abbey's love for perfumes is a brilliant contribution to the story, tells more about the character, and then there's Caspian. Every time I read his name, I kept getting the tune 'Casper, the friendly ghost' going through my head. Did I ever get a kick out of it when Abbey later nicknamed him just that! I didn't get such a good feel for his character, as I saw him as this sad, lonely boy who is absolutely smitten with Abbey, but according to Abbey he suffered from moodswings. I don't get it. I could follow his track of mind and get where he was coming from when his mood changed, but those don't class as moodswings, do they? Moodswings are more of a spontaneous thing that is triggered at random for no 'apparent' reason.

To conclude my review: it was like reading a fanfiction of The Forbidden Game, post-The Kill, with a few details changed. The author's inspirations show through The Haunted very clearly, and I couldn't help but think 'JULIAN!' every time Caspian was in the limelight. But then, I'm a pathetic Julian-fangirl who sees the character in anything with white-blonde hair, so do I mind? No! The fact that Caspian's character very clearly was inspired by Julian's character, makes me love Caspian even more.

This is one of the best YA paranormal romances I've ever read, and will definitely recommend it for anyone interested in the genre. The plot, the characters, the chemistry, the visuals, all = WIN.

You can check out the author, Jessica Verday, and her other sources of inspiration for the Sleepy Hollow trilogy, on her website.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Horror nibbles


Listening to: Ça Vaut Mieux Que D'attraper la Scarlatine
Reading: TVA - Last Sacrifice
Writing: Black Eyes (title may change without warning)
Revising: Shadow Legacy

I'm the kind of person who absolutely loves to watch 'extremely' intense horror movies. There was a stage where I'd watched just about every horror movie that our video store owns. I've read just about every YA horror book in our library (I'm working my way through the adult horror books - there aren't enough of them, sadly). But I tend to have restless nights when I read these things, and my imagination is kicked up to it's peak so every little creak and blur has me jumping out of my skin. And, of course, I watch those horrific horror movies through my fingers.

I go through phases, though. I'd watch horror, and nothing but, until I watch that ONE movie (Let Me In, They Watch, Paranormal Activity, The Amityville Horror, etc) that has me nearly hyperventilating in terror and makes me swear that I'm done with the genre. No more. My poor soul can't stand it!

And I'll trudge along for a while, horror-free, until something new in the genre catches my eye again. The Rite, The Woman in Black, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, internet horror-myths that I've missed out on such as the Slender Man, just to name a few. I've started off my horror-spree this time around with F3ar. Of course, my hands are occupied with the controller so there's no way I can play and watch through my fingers; instead I accidentally jab the RS and hurt anyone or anything that's in front of me when I get a fright.

This is just the beginning, so if you're a horror buff or you like the occasional scare, check back here for more links to more upcoming horror stuffs.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Book Review #1


The Vampire Diaries/ Stefan's Diaries, Volume 1, Origins - by Alloy Entertainment & L.J.Smith

Listening to: Rolling in the Deep (Adele cover) - Linkin Park
Reading: book #2
Writing: FF (for inspiration)
Revising: Shadow Legacy

It's taken me a while to blog about this book due to the fact that I'm a fan of the original Vampire Diaries books. I found my inner fangirl sabotaging all my points with complaints about how it's different from TVD.

But that's just it. This is no longer TVD. This is a book based off the TV series The Vampire Diaries, based off the original The Vampire Diaries book series. Fact noted and filed. Stefan's Diaries deserves a decent review untarnished by any other factors.

So, here I go.

The Old World era was done splendidly, from the dress code to the transport, to the traditions and methods of the people of that time. The war being waged in the background made it all the more layered. Damon as a soldier - who wouldn't like that? The prose was picture perfect (<.<) No, but really it was done very well. The image of Stefan's betrothed being found as she was; that initial shock you experience when both you and the main character realise what it is that you're looking at. I felt sorry for Stefan when he tried to work through his feelings of guilt about her death. I felt bad for him having to live with that image imprinted in his mind. The comrade between Stefan and Damon was refreshing, considering their brotherly hate in the TV series, and the vibe of big brother and little brother was portrayed nicely. But then, they were just like every other set of brothers throughout the story. There wasn't really anything about their brotherhood that made them stand out from all the other brothers out there. This is excluding the influence of their father's views on them both, I'm talking strictly Damon = Stefan here.

It was nice to see good ol' predictable Stefan finally thrown into the 'naughty' and 'bad' light. And there was this question throughout, from the moment Katherine showed up: is Stefan really into her, or was he influenced by her the whole time? It's no secret that Katherine liked to play with her toys (poor Damon) but she was clearly crushing on Stefan big time. Damon, on the other hand, let her play him like the fiddle because he'd fallen in love with her. Stefan?

Well, considering he ratted her out to the townfolk, despite his 'feelings' for her, and that he only helped her escape for the sake of his brother, and considering how he gives her the cold shoulder in the TV series, I think it's safe to assume that Stefan really, really does not like Katherine.

I guess, when you're watching the TV series and you read the books based off it, the books tend to lack that spark. Sure, everything in the TV show will suddenly make sense or be explained. But there's no mystery in the books. There's nothing to lure you back. There's nothing in it that will tickle your curiosity because, well, why read the books when you can catch it all on TV?

That's just my opinion on it, and applies to books that were inspired by a TV show (or even a game). You get a broader picture, but the book will never exceed the expectations of the show. It compliments the show, in a way. It's available but it's not a necessity. You can do without it.

On the brighter side of things: Stefan's Diaries is a good book. If you're a fan of the show, I'd definitely recommend you read it.

But for me, I'll give the rest of this book series a pass. It just wasn't my cuppa tea.
...and I'm biased. ;)



Saturday, August 13, 2011

Stories that inspire us

 

Originality is the art of concealing your sources ~ anon
 
Reading: Last Sacrifice - Richelle Mead
Listening to: The Script - Nothing
Mood: I've got a persistent headache. You can imagine.
 

We've all read That Book, or seen That Movie. The One that inspires you to create something of your own, that puts the wildfire in your heart and has you up at 1am in the morning, typing like a madhatter because you're too inspired to even think of sleeping.
My inspiration for my characters stemmed from both the Sweet Valley series by Francine Pascal and The Forbidden Game trilogy by L.J.Smith. Their appearances carried across to my own, but given that there are thousands of heroines and heroes out there with blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, you wouldn't be able to place the source of their creation unless you knew what genres I've been subjected to as a child.

But as all writers do, I've revised and rewritten my stories so many times that my characters have eventually moulded into something different, something new, something that you couldn't trace back to the original place where they'd been inspired. Inexplicably, blonde doesn't suit my character any longer, the name Julian seems too soft, he doesn't have to be six feet tall to be a looker anymore, suddenly he's no longer a rebellious prince from another dimension stuck in our world but he's now classed as a devil whose curiosity just got the better of him, and as his personality develops, the relations he forms around him changes drastically. My characters (and so my story) have grown from being my baby - practically copied from the stories that inspired them - to a teenager that rebelled against yet revelled in cliché, to an adult that is confident, straight forward, layered with experience and originality.

There are still the obvious footprints that point in a certain direction. It's young adult, it's forbidden love, it's family drama between sisters, it's coated with paranormal themes. But would you think my character stemmed from so-and-so? Mmmmaybe, but there are too many differences to make anyone fanrage.

There are a certain number of stories that have been told throughout time. The same stories have been told a thousand times over, in different words and different worlds and through different voices and through different eyes. The love triangle, the machines standing up against the human race, the forbidden romance between vampire and human; it's all been done before.

I always tell my readers that I have a twist or two waiting for them in a story that's been told a hundred times over. Coca Cola tastes like Coca Cola no matter what shape bottle it comes in, but when you add a bit of rum to it, you get a major kick out of it. I can't believe I just used alcohol as an analogy, but it's the closest thing I can think of to describe how a clichéd and abused story line can be refreshed and refined.

I started writing IHEAY (I hate everything about you) both to try my hand at first person narrative, and to take the misused storyline of OC=love triangle and do it differently than others. My OC isn't some kick-ass hot and wicked devil huntress, or some poor self-pitying damsel in distress who couldn't tie her shoelaces to save her life. She's not perfect, but she has her strengths and weaknesses just as any other person would have. She doesn't fall head over heels for Mr.D right away either, and he doesn't think she's the most awesomest girl in the world!!! either. They don't get along right off the bat, in fact she ends up having a stronger and deeper friendship with Mr.V before she eventually develops romantic notions toward Mr.D.

And they don't live happily ever after. Spoiler for everyone who reads it there, but no one who reads it is following my blog so I think I'm safe. The title of the story should already tell you that it's not going to have a happy ending anyway.

Because I'm an evil author.
Muhahahaha! >:D

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Blog savvy



Listening to: Unbreakable - Fireflight

I procrastinated updating my blog this morning by surfing the blogosphere and reading random blogs. Now I'm not tech savvy, so I was having major fits of envy about all these thousands of people who possibly incorporated some HTML into creating their own expanded blogs.

Instead of feeding my green-eyed monster, I decided to go back and edit some past posts that I wasn't too proud of, and had served its purpose in letting me vent at the time. I accidentally clicked the wrong tab - and discovered that I could add pages to my blog, too! Aha! So I don't need to be that tech savvy after all!

On my home page I'll be blogging about random things, as I usually do, mostly concerning my writing. I'll be adding separate pages for other topics that encompass my interests, like a book review/reading list page and a page with handy tips and links to writerly things, so keep an eye out for those. I am also considering posting some of my oneshot fanfictions on here for anyone who is curious enough to read them (these might be listed under the prompts and scribbles page).

And, possibly, a page for my novels where I'll post some excerpts.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

One of 'those' days


Listening to: Room of Angel from Silent Hill 4
Reading: TVD: Stefan's Diaries
Writing: this and that

I want to write. I'm burning to write. I'm bursting with inspiration, I can feel it in my fingertips.
The problem is that I seem at a loss on how to direct that inspiration. I know I'm supposed to be writing Blueberry Valley, but I keep coming up with nothing but air when I sit down with that manuscript.

I've even contemplated joining a couple of prompts/challenges to get me going. I wrote a paragraph for a prompt, and halfway through it lost the drive and ended up deleting it because it was just...pointless.

I'm guessing my muse lies waiting either with Shadow Legacy or My Simple Design. They suit the atmosphere best for this kind of inspiration, as it is leaning more toward the dark/creepy/horror side than anything. And it doesn't help finding random songs on youtube that just ignite the inspiration even more.

So what do I do? SL is in need of its second draft, and MSD isn't even halfway past the first chapter yet.

Shadow Legacy it is then. And if, for some reason, I draw another blank when I sit down with this manuscript, I'll have MSD to fall back on. Hopefully.
Else my muse might come and stab me in my sleep tonight.

Oh. Note of gratitude for today: having the cutest kids in the world!!! :D

Monday, July 18, 2011

The end of HP - spoilers



Listening to: Broken - Lifehouse
Reading: Darke Academy/ Secret Lives by Gabriella Poole
Writing: Revising some scraps
Mood: tired/excited

I want to start this blog off by making one thing clear: I am not a Harry Potter fan.
I am, however, a fan of J.K. Rowling. She's got a very engaging author voice and her writing is something to marvel at. Albeit I did find The Deathly Hallows (the book) to be quite dragging and boring as all Harry did throughout most of it was run and hide and change location and hide some more, and every once in a while go looking for another Horcrux. Or that's how it felt to me, and please note, that is also the ONLY complaint I have about the book overall. The plot was complex and layered, and it really is mind-blowing how well she wrapped up all the lose ends.

I do want to say that the producers of the HP movie have done a brilliant job. The chaos of a waging war upon Hogwarts was just as chaotic and messy as I'd imagined it when reading the book. The magic shield they put up around the castle was far more impressive than I'd seen it in my mind - so was the army that followed Voldemort.

I do have a couple of jests about the movie. I imagined the scene where Gryffindor stuck up for Harry against Slytherin to be a lot more effective and awesome than what they put in the movie. In that perspective, it kind of dragged a teeny weeny bit too much to my liking in the movie. Here's why:

The silence swallowed them all again. Every head turned, every eye in the place seemed to have found Harry, to hold him frozen in the glare of thousands of invisible beams. Then a figure rose from the Slytherin table and he recognised Pansy Parkinson as she raised a shaking arm and screamed, 'But he's there! Potter's there! Someone grab him!'
Before Harry could speak, there was a massive movement. The Gryffindors in front of him had risen and stood facing, not Harry, but the Slytherins. Then the Hufflepuffs stood, and, almost at the same moment, the Ravenclaws, all of them with their backs to Harry, all of them looking towards Pansy instead, and Harry, awestruck and overwhelmed, saw wands emerging everywhere, pulled from beneath cloaks and from under sleeves.

Maybe it's just me, but I envisioned the Gryffindors to basically rise to their feet as a single unit; an abrupt sort of motion spurred on by the threat of throwing Harry under the bus. I mean this is a war, and if you consider how the different houses (especially Gryffindor and Slytherin, in particular) have been in a 'social' war of their own for years, I got the mental image of them like a fleet of soldiers suddenly called to attention, just having waited for that one day when their opponent would push the wrong button that will cause them to finally rise up against them.

Another scene I was a tad bit disappointed in was the King's Cross scene after Harry's death. Voldemort's soul cowering beneath the bench - I don't know, I just imagined it would be a bit more disturbing to view on screen. The visuals I got in my head were under-your-skin-creepy, and I didn't get that from the movie version.

And, my last jest about the movie, is of Neville saving the day. Again they dragged out a scene in the movie that I had envisioned to be more wham-bam-WOW in the book. I don't recall Hermoine and Ron trying to kill the snake, and Harry didn't roll himself out of Hagrids' arms like a sack of potatoes when Neville stepped forward. I guess it was to make up a certain amount of time for the movie, but I didn't quite enjoy that as much as I did in the book. I mean, Harry pulling the invisible cloak over himself when everyone is distracted by watching the only guy with some backbone face up to Voldemort being set afire, and then making his great get-away - far more genius than him deciding to flop out of Hagrids' arms like a dead fish in the movie. Also, Neville not wasting any time in dealing the blow that basically won the war for Harry - total awesomesauce. Those were the scenes I looked most forward to in the movie.

But, more often than not, the books are always better than the movies. With that said, they didn't do too shabby with the movie. It was action-packed and had scenes that will make you sit on the edge of your seat, that will make you cry, and laugh, and although I found the script to be minimal in comparison to the action taking place, they did take several lines straight out of the published book.

And that concludes the end of Harry Potter! Or does it? Even if J.K. Rowling does somehow continue the HP series (I heard something about a Potter-something brewing on her website), no other story will ever compare or replace or substitute for the story about the boy who lived. The story has been told; there is nothing more to it. Now all that remains are the many thousands of fanfictions of HP by hardcore HP fans that just won't let their favourite characters go.

A bit off topic:

I wanted to go in to our local kitchen utensils store and ask the lady behind the counter if they could reserve their Spongebob cake-tin for me for next week Thursday. I'm not a person who can think on the spot (I'm actually really bad with words) so I ran the possible conversation through my head as I approached the store, to short of prep myself for whatever response I got. So I thought, well, if the lady looks like she's not too keen on it, I'll just be blunt and tell her that I want to bake a spongebob cake for my kids next Thursday, that it is impeccable that it is Spongebob because my kids are spongebob MAD, and that it is to celebrate the birth/welcome their little brother into the family next Friday____________________________________________________________

And that's how my mind went for the few minutes that I stood outside their store staring at the cake tins in the window display. Then it really hit me.
I'm having my last baby next week Friday.
*insert appropriate exclamation here*

I've been through it twice before but the saying still remains the same, even after two kids - nothing can prepare you for something as life-altering as this. It blows you away. The enormity of it can't be expressed in words. It makes me want to cry, and laugh, and hyperventilate all at once (though this might only be due to my messed up preggy emotions).
Well. At least I can say I've had a movie date with my hubby before bubs comes, because who knows how long it will be before we can go on another date. And I had a couple of hours to myself this morning. Let's forget that it was because I had to go have blood tests done and the kids would have been too much for me to cope with; the point is, I had a few hours to myself.

Anyway. Something new I'm going to implement in my blogs from now on is ending every blog post off with a happy note.

Gratitude for the day: after months of scouring our library and yearning to finally read Bram Stoker's Dracula, I happened upon a Penguin published one going for a whooping $1 on the 'withdrawn' shelf at the library. I now own Dracula!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Spo·rad·ic: spəˈradik - Occurring at irregular intervals or only in a few places; scattered or isolated.



Listening to: Starstrukk - 30H!3 ft Katy Perry
Watching: The Wiggles
Writing: Blueberry Valley

Greetings!
It is I, the Queen of Sporadic, come to give your minds whiplash and infuriate/confuse the sense out of you.

I think I've set the record for using the term 'updates will be sporadic' on FFN. You can't blame me for it, though. I'm a mother of two kiddies under the age of 5. I might go through patches where I'm updating four brand-spanking new chapters in immediate sequence in the span of a day, but readers need to keep in mind that these 'rolls' are dependent on several factors, e.g. I have the inspiration, I have sugarloaded coffee/energy drinks handy, my computer isn't stuffing up, my kids are quite content sharing me with my fictional world for that length of time, etc. It's not a daily thing. A daily thing would be my kids hammering down my bedroom door at 6:30 am every morning demanding either my presence or wheetbix.

Went a bit off the track there; the word sporadic just reminded me of the good ol' days when I used to write fanfiction as a means of procrastination before getting to work on my novels. Ah. The good ol' days.

Anyway, this blogpost is going to be very sporadic. I've got a lot of things going through my head at Speedy Gonzales speed.

I've finally found a story to compare my current WIP to: The Time Travellers Wife.

Blueberry Valley, as I've temporarily titled my novel while it's still in early stages, is aimed at the YA audience. It's largely a romance, revolving around a couple's relationship that is put through, you could say, hell. There are secrets that surface, paranoia abound, a love-triangle of sorts, and it just comes down to the odds being stacked against the couple living 'happily ever after' (I've never been big on those fairy-tale endings; you've read one, you've read them all), and how they rise up above it.

There are also heavy paranormal/horror themes, such as the main male characters possessing paranormal powers (think I am Number 4 style) because they're *spoiler* and thus not human. I'm also in the process of writing separate novels describing the male characters (alternately) from their POV, where they're coming from, where they've been, basically their own little life stories that can be stand-alone books, or tie in as a series (with the added bonus that you can read them in any order you like without missing a beat). Not an easy feast to accomplish, but considering I've been writing in this universe for nearly eleven years, it's as easy as pie. But I'm focussing solely on this novel, with the main female protagonist's POV, at the moment so that I can actually get one of these manuscripts completed before the end of the year. And yes, I will be submitting it for publishing. I can't not submit it to an agent.

So, with all that said, I am a tad bit confused as to which genre this novel will fall under. I've always labelled it a paranormal romance, but since time travel is also a current theme in the novel, it adds that bit of sci-fi/fantasy to it. So far it's been suggested to me that it could be classed a crossover romance, but I'll await further consensus from other writers. Albeit I'm starting to wonder whether I've got the definition of time travelling right or not, now.

Anyway. Before my mind explodes trying to figure it out.
We might go watch the last Harry Potter this morning. Heavy emphasis on the might. Hubby is still fast asleep and I think the next show is in another hour - and I'm still in my PJs. We're not HP fans, but it was one of the very first movies we went to watch since we started dating eleven years ago. Since then we've watched every new HP movie that has come out, so it's almost like our personal little tradition in our relationship. We like HP for sentimental reasons, and not much else (except cracking the odd joke about Ron - kiwi humour, y'know).

Oh, and three days ago I finally got to packing my hospital bag. Two nights ago, after some vigorous walking through the CBD earlier the day, I thought bubs was going to make his entrance into the world while I was in bed. It was just past midnight and it was the pain that woke me up. Not a contraction but his head had sunk even deeper down and he was shifting around. I can say that's the first time in any of my pregnancies that I experienced actual pain. So I freaked out. In a very quiet but rushed way - I chucked the last odds and ends into my hospital bag (I restrained myself from carrying the bag downstairs and putting it by the door), and found my hubby still awake in the lounge. He organised a movie for me, because I wasn't going to be able to sleep after that scare, and eventually I was calm and confident enough to go to sleep.

Although I do have this gut instinct that bubs is going to come earlier than predicted.
 It's not wishful thinking either; I have to go for a two hour glucose blood test, another midwife checkup, my last driving lesson, a chat with the doctors at the hospital; I have a property inspection scheduled, and my practical driving test booked, and another trip to the hospital for bloods for the CS to make before bubs is scheduled to arrive. That's a lot to do in two weeks, and that's excluding all the fun activities I have planned for the kids for the school holiday! All of which (aside from the medical stuff, obviously) I really look forward to doing. So this idea I have that bubs is going to come early is not a case of me being at that stage of the pregnancy where I WANT him to come and put this long difficult pregnancy behind me. Just the opposite! I have so much I'm striving to accomplish before he arrives, that I think it would be very typical indeed if he threw a spanner in the works by making an earlier arrival.

Because, you know, that's just my luck.

Friday, July 08, 2011

1, 2, 3


Listening to: New Divide - Linkin Park
Writing: Blueberry Valley
Mood: Contemplative

A chat about whether having three kids is harder than having two kids reminded me of this little story. A young father, who was pushing his toddler in a stroller through the park one day, noticed me with my two wee little ones. He told me they are expecting their second child soon and whether it's harder with two.

I told him it's double the trouble, double the joy, double the love - and no, it's not harder. It's easier because you're already a parent, you've been through this before. It's always, always hard with your first child, because you're still learning and new to everything that parenting entails.

Which is why I think, if anyone has doubts about having three, by all means go for it. You're basically parenting veterans at this stage, and your kids are still young. What you DON'T want is to have #3 when the other two are already in primary-high school. Then it's like you're starting all over again because you forget what it was like to have a tiny baby, and you're completely 'out of it', too. Out of the baby-routine, I mean.

I'm having #3 in another 20 days or so. The only thing I'm nervous about is containing my 4 year old and my 2 year old when I finally do venture outdoors with the newborn by myself. And that's saying a lot, considering the only family I have here for support is my mother in-law, who will be going back overseas in September, and from that point onward it's just me and my 3 little musketeers. And dad, but he's got a 7-6 job so he has those hours free of kiddy-drama, and he's got me there for support when he wants to take the kids out over weekends and stuff.

There is a lot of negativity attached to the number three; three is an odd number, three's a crowd, the third wheel, third time lucky (yes, even that is negative - what's wrong with the previous two?!) But coming from a home where we're three siblings, I don't see anything becoming harder. In fact, we seemed to get a lot more toys and we got to go to the movies a lot more often after my little brother was born.

Finances might not blossom for everyone with three kids, but at the end of the day you're that one little number richer in every other way.



Monday, July 04, 2011

Cleaning is good for only one thing...

Listening to: E.T. - Katy Perry
Mood: ----

... and that is plotting.

Other than that, I absolutely loathe cleaning because all I do is think about everything else I could be doing instead.

It's the 4th day of Julnowrimo! To celebrate my zero wordcount by means of procrastination (because who wants to go sit down in front of a blank page knowing that they are going to walk away from a still-blank page 10 minutes later?), I ventured into our bathroom this morning, armed with several rags, cleaning products, the hand-vac and a sponge. So whilst I was scrubbing at the mould and mopping the ceiling (yes, I actually mopped the ceiling, for reasons that are irrelevant to this post) the answer as to how the heck am I going to start this novel off came to me.

And it is brilliant.

The issue now is that I'm so knackered after all that cleaning, and my monkey-boys' first bed just arrived and needs to be assembled. I've got my second wind and will be using it to put the bed together, and then wrestle my little fella down for his daytime nap.

After that. Who knows? I might join him, or I might actually write something today.
Stay tuned to find out!

...that's a joke, by the way.


Saturday, July 02, 2011

Julnowrimo has arrived!

Watching: Sticky TV
Reading: Posts on the forum
Mood: Crazy... obviously.



Anyone familiar with Nanowrimo might have come across the word Julnowrimo before. There are quite a few people participating, but it doesn't seem to have the same effect as the official Nano does. The fact that it's day 2 and I haven't freaked out, because I still haven't written down a word, convinces me that there's not much hype going around.

I think the problem might be because I know I won't be able to write anything while I'm at home. Not with the kids around. It's tough going for me just to update my blog right now - I've had to save my wallet and chase my kids around to get back my pen since the moment I sat down and started writing this blog. Considering I haven't mentioned my latest venture to my hubby, I know that only I am to blame. I'm sure to get some support from him if I told him what I'm trying to do - I might get an hour to myself then.

It just sucks that it's winter here and I'm heavily pregnant, so going on a quick walk through the reserves to find a nice secluded spot to sit down and write is going to be impossible. I'll be homebound for my 'free-hour', I think.

Anyway, there's a lot I want to get done aside from writing this month. I want to go scout around for a bed for my monkey-boy today, so I can start prepping the cot for monkey-babe and get a little area setup for him in our room. And I need to pack my hospital bag - we've got 27 days to go!!!!

That also means I've only got 29 days left to write a 50k novel, and I'm not off to a good start at all.
Oh well. 'n Boer maak 'n plan. I'm sure I'm going to crank out my wordcount every opportunity I get. I'm feeling very confident and at peace with my goal to write this novel. Maybe because, unlike all my previous Nano's, I already know the characters and it's not a case of trying to figure them out in the first chapter. Maybe it's because I'm familiar with the setting and the atmosphere I'm going for. Maybe it's because - hallelujah - I have a solid plot and I have little things tossed into the mix that I know sets it apart from all the other paranormal romances out there. Whatever it is, I know I can do this and I know I can do this well. I might sound melodramatic but I do feel an inner calm about writing it.

Maybe that's the real reason I'm not freaking out with 0 wordcount on day 2.

If you're participating in July National Writing Month, I wish you all the best of luck!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A poem for my sweetheart


Listening to: Somebody to love - Queen
Reading: The 5 Key Elements to Parenting
Mood: =)

***For KC***

I love you with all my heart
You're beautiful, and lovely, and smart;
No matter what life puts us through
Mummy will always love you for you.



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Welcome back :)


Listening to: Whispers in the dark - Skillet
Reading: Create a family website
Mood: plotting


Something had been nagging at the back of my mind for the past week.
It wasn't a task that I had to get done asap, like arranging a time for my next driving lesson, or trying to contact our new property agent again, or trying to get through to immigration to get some answers on my pile of questions on how to go about changing my name. It wasn't a small task as such, but it had that same urgency behind it. It was something that I had to do. It had to be done. Needed to be done. There was no two-ways about it. Something important demanded my attention, and it was going to keep persisting like the cold rain we've been having the past few days.

I didn't know what exactly it was. I couldn't pinpoint it. All I knew was that it was going to start driving me stark raving mad if I didn't figure out what was bothering me so much. Was it because I haven't packed my hospital bag yet? Or could it be because we still don't have a name for monkey number three? Is it because I haven't set up a proper place for the baby upstairs? What if it's the idea of spending 3-5 days practically alone in the hospital - whatnot with me wanting to write horror again, I can already see the skinny, pale woman with black eyes and hair and a bloody gown standing in the corner of my hospital room, stretching her arm out toward me...

So I decided, you know what, I need to get to the bottom of whatever is bugging me. Even if I don't figure out what exactly it is, at least I know that writing something - anything - is going to help alleviate this unsettling feeling like there's something I absolutely have to do.

I took my monkey-girl to kindy yesterday - and got lots of praise for my storyboard that I 'quickly' threw out on paper to help her transition from kindy back home. I'd been planning on stomping the town flat to find a place that will lamenate the storyboard for an affordable price, but the people at kindy were kind enough to copy it and lamenate it for me. This saved me some serious time, as you can imagine I'm probably at the 70kg mark by now and I waddle like a penguin more than I actually walk like a human being.

I went to Whitcoulls in the mall, ended up buying a 240 page writing book and a pen (which turns out to be orange!), grabbed some lunch and sat down at the foodcourt. I keep telling myself that these $10 shopping spurts I have will be all worth while when I finish my MS and get some reward for my hard work, because trust me, every page is used to full capacity.

I'd been planning on starting on a 'new' book, a YA paranormal romance novel, which is why I bought the blank book. With 'new', I mean that it occurs in an already existing fictional world with established fictional characters that I've been writing in and with since 1996, so everything is pretty much laid out and has been written in some shape or form before. Aside from sharing some of the stories with my friends when I was still in primary school, I've never again shown this specific 'series' to anyone. I never thought of getting it published until recently, because it is my world and my characters, for my reading and writing pleasure, and mine alone. I'm vague on the details because I'll be blogging about it when I start writing it. And it's not the story I ended up writing either.

Nope, not at all. I discovered that I'd brought another handwritten story with me in my bag. I wrote it from start to finish a very long time ago, and unfortunately lost it all (actually, thinking about it, it might be on one of my floppy disks. But who uses those these days?) Lucky for me, I'd written the prologue by hand. Tried to rewrite the prologue last year. So I thought, hmmm, time to procrastinate!

I opened the book and read the very first draft. Then I moved on to the second. I was barely half-way through it when a door whipped open in my head and a very loud exclamation of '&%#@ thank the gods you finally heard me, I was starting to worry you'd gone deaf!' was made. Or, that's what I'd imagine my muse would have been saying if it had an actual voice.  Before I knew it, I was writing the third draft, and I got two whole pages of it done! This would have been impossible if it wasn't for my mil who had offered to stay at home with my monkey-boy - thank you mom! :) - because I'm a very slow writer. I think a snail could move faster than I write. That detail aside, I got two pages done!

And the best thing of all is that I don't have that nagging feeling anymore.
I've got something better now. The drive to write - and actually finish what I start. Which is why, although I wrote a bit on this other novel of mine yesterday, I'm going to focus my energy on writing this YA paranormal romance that's been brewing for a decade.

All I need now is a writing buddy to motivate me and crit me as I go.
Any takers? :)