hildy89: (always miss shaw)
Sorta update: I talk a little over here about what I'm reading/watching/etc lately. I also talk about how I'm not writing. I'm trying to nudge it into life with some goals. I honestly don't know why my writing urge has been so quiet lately. I've been reading a lot, so maybe I'm just priming the pump trying to figure out what I want to really write. It's frustrating as hell.

I'm trying (and failing) to keep up with some of my podcasts. Um, Radio Downloader was shut down by the BBC, so anyone I recced that to earlier may need to find another source, which is really a shame. I liked the way it'd grab the episode whenever it aired for later. I do have a massive backlog of "In Our Time" to get through. I've also been listening to Verity Podcast, a Doctor Who podcast compromised of a bunch of women. What's eerie is listening to Deb Stanish who basically sounds very similiar to [livejournal.com profile] neadods. And maybe I've watched entirely too much BBC if I can make out Scottish Liz's accent without subtitles. (And now I've challenged her -- she's suggesting doing one in broad Scots -- I'm fully expecting to go "The Doctor did what now?")

I bought but haven't listened to the new box set of "Counter Measures" and subscribed to the "Confessions of Dorian Gray" that I inexplicably fell in love with over Christmas. Big Finish is also twigging my Emma Peel by giving us audio versions of the David Keel-John Steed era The Avengers, starring Milner from [livejournal.com profile] foyleswar as Keel. I wonder if they'll bother adapting the two that survived -- "Frighteners" and "Girl on a Trapeze".
hildy89: (home)
In the "told you so" side of the column, my dear little dentist found a cavity in one of my molars. I knew something was off about that side, but couldn't pinpoint the location. I certainly could when the cleaning tools hit it. Ow and more ow. He didn't think it was causing all my jaw problems, since it didn't look that bad on the surface, but he's only looking at externals. So I get to have a filling done in a few weeks. He's already warned me to take Advil or Tylenol beforehand since they'll need me to crank my jaw wide open. To someone with my jaw issues, ow, that's like asking someone with limited flexibility to do the splits the first time out! But I'm hoping it solves some of the problems.

If Fedex is right and they're not mocking me, I have a set of new filters on the way for the dehumidifier. (Having read online about the quality of their "Smartpost" service, I'm inclined to believe my initial idea that they're mocking me is not so far-fetched.) Under separate cover, I also have the rest of the threads for my Stitching Olympics projects. So I get to hunt noble linen this weekend.

Job is winding down. We're boxing up the last of the stuff to be scanned and then we box and barcode the rest. How fun.

[livejournal.com profile] ficfinishing is going slowly. I've rethought my entire idea and now it's sprouted a new scene or two. Time to rewatch "Christmas Invasion".
hildy89: (always miss shaw)
So I've signed up for [livejournal.com profile] ficfinishing. They're allowing Doctor Who as a fandom and I have two rather stubborn ficlets that don't want to be finished. One just doesn't want to be revised, which is more my hangup with following up after critiques. Does anyone else have trouble going back and making those revisions? It's a real block for me sometimes.

The other one was intended for [livejournal.com profile] whofest about the meeting of Liz Shaw and Harriet Jones. The first I started was post-"Christmas Invasion" but before Harriet is forced out. Is that timeline even plausible? Do we know how long she lasted? She was gone by the time of "Runaway Bride". When was Saxon elected?

The second thought I had Spoilers for Stolen Earth )

[livejournal.com profile] selenak has written "Patterns", focusing on similar issues of the Silurians/Christmas Invasion.

Retreat!

Oct. 3rd, 2006 09:43 am
hildy89: (writer's block)
I'm feeling much better. The sinuses are still recovering from the weekend, but I hope that was more allergies than reoccurrence.

I left on Friday for the CVS writer's retreat, catching a ride from [livejournal.com profile] ariadnesthread. We were staying at the Lion & Crow Lodge in Luray, Virginia. We made good time so it was only about a two or three hour drive. Nine people and two dogs stayed for the weekend. Both dogs were golden Labs, trained as seeing eye guide dogs, but one was retired. My allergies don't love dogs, but strangely they seem determined to win me over. The place is very nice with five bedrooms and large living room. The decor was eclectic to say the least. Some of it was lodgey with wildlife pictures, but they also had Mayan sundials as well, not forgetting the giant chess set in the master bedroom. Being writers, we of course posited our own version of Clue: Miss Scarlet in the bedroom with the rook! We did get some rain, but it didn't ruin the weekend. It was a lot chillier than I anticipated, though. We joked that we brought enough food that we could have had a surprise blizzard and we probably would have made it okay. We had delicious waffles and crepes for breakfast and pasta for dinner one night.

The writing retreat was much less structured than our marathons, more like a giant write-in in that respect. My muses decided to confuse me. Frustrated by my lack of interest in my original fiction projects, I brought down the notes for several fannish ones. I figured I had enough original snippets on the laptop to make up the difference. And of course, guess what happened? Two older projects resurfaced, both from old CVS challenges. Hopefully this is a good sign for next month.

I signed up for yet another year of Nanowrimo. The forums are already burbling with activity. I have no clue what I will be writing this time around, which scares me. I've tossed around a few ideas that have been germinating in the brain, but all seem very research heavy, particularly the Asian influenced one. I really want to go back to my fantasy roots this year. I know I've waited until the last minute to make a decision before, but I feel more panicked. As usual, my Nano journal is over at [livejournal.com profile] nanonano.

Of the new shows, I'm adoring "Heroes". I had recorded the pilot on a whim, just to see what it was like. I'm enjoying it a lot more than Studio 60. I want to like that one, but something is just off with the humor and interactions. The DVR picked a beautiful weekend to fritz up however. It messed up both episodes of "Doctor Who" from Sci Fi. I've seen them already, but I still liked the idea of watching them on the big screen.
hildy89: (writer's block)
Why does it seem like I always struggle with the same computery things? Every time I have to submit a chapter/story to CVS, I always find myself flailing with Word at the last minute to add headers and page numbers. It does not want to work tonight. I may just say screw it and have the headers on all pages. On the bright side, it's the first time I've gone back and revised one of my Nanos. Dear gods am I nervous about this one. And I haven't even gotten to complicated parts yet.
hildy89: (carnevale venizia)
"It's 90 degrees, have mercy, John please..."

Sorry I'll stop singing. (Be glad it isn't Nelly!) But it's really really hot out there, which I'm sure is not news to anyone. Ironically my apartment felt fine when I came home. Alas the humidity crawled in over night and made it unbearable.

One last follow-up from this year's Media West. The last t-shirt I ordered finally arrived, so I can celebrate the new Stargate seasons in style. Unfortunately it's too hot for me to wear them. Oh well, at least I won't be able to bemoan the lack of fannish t-shirts for next year's con.

I signed up for a writing submission slot in August. I'm contemplating rewriting the first couple of chapters for "Where or When". It'll be the first time I've submitted any of my Nano related material. I'm hoping it'll help me jump start finishing the damn thing.

Still contemplating the New York trip for my birthday. I realize late August is probably the worst time to visit the Big Apple, but the only other time will be in October for that manga convention and I may not be able to make it up to the city from there. Thoughts? Suggestions?
hildy89: (walk with me)
The writer's group is doing a mini-Nano, jokingly referred to as a "nanette". Only 30K in 30 days, which means only 1,000 words a day. But when you've hit the wall I've found (reinforced concrete - hurts like hell at a dead run) even that seems unsurmountable. I had plans too! I had this wonderful fantasy idea that doesn't want to be written apparently. I barely wrote a few hundred words last night on the way home. Then again, starting any major project right after a trip is not the wisest idea. But neither is trying to write 50K around the Thanksgiving holidays.
hildy89: (writer's block)
[livejournal.com profile] ellen_kushner reprinted a fascinating article by Gail Godwin about the inner writing critic called Watcher in the Gate. The article is also posted here. Kushner had done a presentation based on that essay. The CVS members have met this Watcher. It's the one that sharpens all their pencils and assures them that cleaning the fishbowl is completely necessary before finishing that chapter. At least some things have changed since the 1970s. You don't have to run down to the library to check a battle or what gloves they wore. Now we just spend forever on Google.
hildy89: (cuff)
So it was back to the Thursday writing group again. I've been on hiatus because of my foot injury. It was good to see everyone again. I'm hoping to get back into the swing of writing, especially original stuff. With my focus on the archive and graphics lately, I haven't really written much.

[livejournal.com profile] whytcrow handed out some markets, including one for Paradox's Alternate History contest, which is quite tempting. I was ruminating over ideas on the way home. It's almost a pity I don't live with my parents anymore. I would love bouncing ideas with my father on this one. Part of my problem with AH is I tend to think small. Every writer seems to want to write the South winning the Civil War or the Germans winning WWII. I still have my AH skating story where the 1961 plane crash never happened. But it's a little obscure by science fiction standards. So I went back to my usual hunting grounds in Tudor-Elizabethan times. Keith Roberts had Elizabeth I assassinated in Pavane. I started going a step further and wondering what would have happened if Henry VIII's brother Arthur had survived. Still not sure what if anything that train of thought will bring forth...

For Thea Gilmore fans, Compass Records has released a two disc version of her "Songs from the Gutter" with a bonus 11 track disc.
hildy89: (anime_baby)
Why me? Why do I pick the damndest things to write? There's nothing wrong with getting out of your comfort zone as a writer, but I always feel like I'm hitting a brick wall. Write what you know, hah! I have to three choices:

1) Don't write the story, which isn't an option at all.
2) Try to write the scene and almost assuredly get it WRONG.
3) Vague it up and hope someone can sort it out for the rewrite.

I'll try for option three but probably get two.
hildy89: (writer's block)
Gakked from [livejournal.com profile] koshkaphoenix:

How do I write? meme )
hildy89: (writer's block)
By some miracle, though, I did get some sleep last night. They even replaced the screens this morning. So maybe things are going to improve. But I can't help looking imploringly at the weather at St. Andrews. 60 degrees sounds so nice right now, although the winds probably aren't as inviting.

Ironically the awful weather (indoors and outdoors) has made me start writing the followup to last year's Nano. It's handwritten so I haven't had a chance to transfer it to the computer yet.

The Great Brazilian River sent me a notice about my copy of HBP for arrival sometime Saturday. I have visions of half the building lying in wait for the mailman.
hildy89: (research is cat vacuuming)
The library has a lovely photography exhibit downstairs for the WWII nut. Reims, France, has become our sister city and they loaned us an exhibit from the Musee de la Redittion. The photographs were taken by Al Meserlin, a photographer on Eisenhower's staff, during and after the surrender in May 1945.

I've been doing some thinking about why I'm having trouble writing lately. Names are being particularly troublesome lately. I used to have no qualms with giving a character a name during a random exercise, even it was understood that "Fred" or "Nina" would be a placeholder name. Now I'll freeze up. I'll use those dread epithets "the immortal" or "the princess" before I'll name them. Logically I'll think the important thing is the writing. Get the story out and then worry about names. But names are as much character as anything else.

And I've started second guessing myself lately. It's all about the "don't"s in my head. Don't pick a "J" name because someone will think it's a Mary Sue. Don't pick that one you already have used too many like it. Or don't choose that one unless you want to broadcast to the world that you read/watch/obsess over that book/show/movie/comic.

I know friends who never reuse names, even in other exercises. I also have friends [livejournal.com profile] sventhelost notably that we tease because they have several characters with the same name.

The whole process is very frustrating. I used to pick names without thinking. I get them from everywhere. One of my recent characters Selinda was inspired by a recent listening of Wagner's "Die Walkure". I think I'm getting afraid my names are too obvious in their sources... or worse, they'll come off as too fluffy fantasy.

Or maybe it's just the summer doldrums combining with my lack of sleep. The rest of my body hasn't been too cooperative lately. Why should the writing part of my brain be any different?
hildy89: (research is cat vacuuming)
A few weeks ago, CVS had a mini discussion about the Motivate your Writing book we're doing this month. It had prompted some interesting thoughts on how I approach writing, especially for different projects. We did some other exercises from the book this week, identifying based on snippets of writing how we were motivated. Based on the previous week, I had thought I was more geared towards the Achievement and Affiliation goals. The Power description didn't seem to fit me at all. And yet when I took Kellner's quiz, I was more Achievement & Power oriented. The only reason I was power oriented though was based on a) the type of books I read and b) including writing in the hobbies I enjoyed. Everything else was much more geared towards specific goals and standards. Then we wrote the snippets and most people saw Affiliation bits. So either I'm much more evenly keeled (or "confused") than I realize or I'm writing against the curve.
hildy89: (bunnicula by coi)
[livejournal.com profile] neadods linked a a lengthy message board discussion from Laurell K. Hamilton’s board where she basically says the new direction of her books (i.e. high on sex and violence and maybe a plot) has increased sales and it's only going to continue with future books. I vaguely remember when the Anita Blake series first appeared on the scene. The first couple of books received a lot of hype on the old Vampyres@guvm list, unusual enough to catch people’s attention. I don't think BTVS had appeared on the scene yet, so humor and vampires were different, not the usual angst and omigoth. Hard as I tried, though, I could never get into them. But it was interesting watching LKH suddenly becoming a big thing with hardcovers and book dumps and new editions for the old books. LKH could have stayed a quirky little unknown midlist writer and she turned it into bigger sales instead. I can’t really begrudge that in a writer, if it wasn't counterbalanced with all the complaints and the proofreading holes. The complaints were leveled on LKH's own fan club message board, attacked on her own turf. Does that make it any better or worse though?

Her post also points out a different problem now with writing. It used to be you'd get the reviews in the newspapers or trades and maybe some ardent fan letters. In the Internet age, everyone can post a review on their blog or message board. Everyone has an opinion and can be a critic. Do authors ignore them completely and act in a bubble? Or do they act like LKH or Anne Rice and lash out at the very people buying their books? It's nearly impossible these days to shield yourself from that without being a complete hermit. Me, I'm a curious person by nature. However bad it was, I'd want to know what people were saying, whether it's on a review site like Reviewing the Evidence or Amazon. Yes, I can see where you'd need some very thick skin to deal with those. I don’t always even deal well with critiques or feedback, so I'm not sure I'd be the best judge. It does make me wonder what they feed vampire authors. Was Bram Stoker this wanky with his fans?
hildy89: (research is cat vacuuming)
CVS meeting was more draining than I expected. Without a book or speaker planned, we did some writing prompts. I did a rather silly send up of Ron's line about spiders and butterflies that I must type up for my HP friends. We also used some pictures from Motivate your Writing book and analyzed our motivations for writing. Kelner breaks them down into three major areas: Achievement, Affiliation and Power. Most people have them in combination. The interesting thing is how they change depending on the situation. During Nano, I am Achievement girl. I'm zeroed in on a goal and by gosh I am going to make it even I have to stay up all night. I discovered that while I enjoy the social aspects of the write-ins, I don't get as much done in them. On the other hand, when I'm in the writing group, during the rest of the year, I'm very much about fitting in and hoping my writing is liked. I suspect I'm that way for fannish pursuits as well. And yet, I don't. If I did, I'd write the same ships and fannish niches as everyone else, wouldn't I? I just wish I could figure out a way to use this to balance them more. I like the hard goals, but I also crave the social aspects of writing. Writing for myself was nice once, but lately it's not enough. I need someone to say "Oooh, I like" or "I never thought of it that way". Or peek over my shoulder and say "Eh, that needs explaining more."

Something to cogitate on.

Oh, and I got the job and I start on Monday. Yay me!
hildy89: (research is cat vacuuming)
Automated Storyteller: Oh, woe is the curse of the prolific author. It's very much a case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't". The main example given is Alexander McCall Smith of the Ladies Detective Agency fame.
hildy89: (crumblingwalls)
I was reading about Prince Rainier’s funeral. The Grimaldi curse sounds like something out of a fantasy novel with a wronged witch cursing an old and noble family. It does seem like they’ve had nothing but bad luck, although the family is still around since the curse was enacted, so it must not have been completely fatal. Obviously the witch didn’t take a page from "Into the Woods", so the "family tree would always be a barren one". As if she didn’t suffer enough just losing her father, Princess Caroline’s husband is currently in the hospital. She already lost her second husband in a speedboat accident.

Being royal in fantasy )
hildy89: (big sleep)
One of the class moderators suggested keeping a reading journal, so we could share any tidbits along the way. With all the influence this book and genre has had on me lately, especially related to last year's Nano, I thought this was a useful idea. So I started putting stuff into one of the Moleskine notebooks I bought awhile back. Over lunch, I discovered to my amusement that I started it upside down and backwards. The purple notebook was started halfway through, so maybe I'm just weird that way? I'm sure some literary researcher in the future will have a lovely thesis topic on "Writing journals and what they say about the process." If my head wasn't attached... at least the submission is done.

And I can see the Huston version when I get home from CVS, since TCM is doing a marathon of Bogey movies tonight.
hildy89: (underwater archaeology)
I have a badge for work now. I'm all properly identified and everything. Now I can get into the library in the morning without having to call someone. Or go through the metal detector. It is a little disconcerting using biometrics. You swipe your card and then you hold up your thumb to the keypad to let you through the gate. I feel like I'm in "Alias" or that Six Million Dollar Man IBM commercial.

I think I'm mostly done with the rewrite for "Going Under". I'll have to type up the changes when I get home and remember to add the headers, but otherwise, we're good to go. Well, and getting the copies made, but there's a nice Staples around the corner.

I scored bigtime on Tuesday when I went by Clarendon. My New Balance sneakers were starting wear down after last week's non-stop shelving. So I was thinking of hitting Tysons to find a new pair. Then I noticed a shiny new running store I hadn't seen before. I wondered if they had my shoes. Oh, yes, everyone raved over my shoe. But everyone liked it in grey, not white. (Not counting the whole narrow width issue...) They called the other store to see if they could order it. Lo and behold, the Alexandria store had a pair. They'd transfer them to my store and I could pick them up today. And they'd be a little cheaper than the New Balance stores. My mother's shopping gene finally kicks in.

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