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!