Saturday, 23 November 2013

Fiction pad update

Fiction pad has made some changes: they now allow a cover page, as well as links to images within the body of a story and banners are now standard format rectangular rather than square as they were for a little while. There are also a few more changes including story tags. So you can add in warnings of character death or original main characters or whatever in the tags. Neat, huh?
I spent a lot of time today adding in the scrapbook pages that goldengirl made me for ‘Best Friends share everything’ chapters, as well lots of other banners people have made me over the years and they look beautiful. I also used the images that inspired one shots as their cover pages.

So my main page now looks like this.
All I can say is I need more banners to fill those plain blue bits!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Expanding plot devices

I have decided that I love expanding plot devices. You know… the things that always provide the device or the information that the main characters need at the exact moment that they need it. Like dad’s diary in Supernatural, or the caravan that belonged to Nick’s aunt in Grimm, or the Tardis from Doctor Who; infinitely large is clearly the way to go with these things.
On Grimm each week the main character Nick finds a weapon, a book or a potion that will coincidentally defeat this week’s monster. And afterwards it is filed away or lost, usually never to be seen again. I have only seen the first series but so far, nothing has returned. Blasted aussie TV keeps moving things around.
Dad’s diary on Supernatural ought to be ten inches thick with the information that the Winchester boys pulled from it; at least in the early series.
I've also been watching Arrow, the TV series and the fabulous Island where Oliver was lost for years, has at some point, crossed from plausible to beyond ridiculous. I only identified that as my issue with the show when I recorded the last episode. I usually fast forward through the commercials but I caught myself pressing the ff button during the island sequences. I can no longer rationally believe that the Island is lost, with the amount of traffic to and from it. Or that any areas of it remain hidden or unknown.
So I guess you have to use expanding plot devices carefully.

Thursday, 14 November 2013


I am writing away for Nanowrimo and still working on ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ but last night as I was scribbling away, (I write longhand in notebooks and type it up later; it works for me) I came to an awful realization.
My nano novel is a rewrite of Bluebeard. I needed to come up with a story idea in a day and that story has always fascinated me. If you don’t remember, Bluebeard is the guy who married between 7 and 107 wives, in different versions of the tale, and murdered them all. She asks for a few minutes to say her prayers, which he grants (wtf - as if?) and she goes up on the roof and waits until her brothers rescue her. The feminist in me objects. I want her to rescue herself.
His last wife is my heroine. In my story she knows that he is going to kill her. She has opened the room where the bodies of the other wives are hidden and she knows his secret.
My one sentence summary is:
Hyacinth, a curious and clever girl is married to Bluebeard, a wealthy landowner, when she discovers she is his seventh wife and the others have been murdered by him so she must fight for her own life and fight for justice for the dead.
I have written a chunk of it and I have struck a problem.
I like Bluebeard. I have made him sexy and gorgeous and he adores his little seventh wife. He will beat up anyone who hurts her. He’s my Hannibal, I suppose. He will love her until she crosses that line and breaks his rules. The betrayal for Hyacinth will be worse when she understands what he is. She will be devastated and it will be really hard for her to see what she doesn’t want to see.
I like Bluebeard.
And I have to kill him. And that is really hard to write.
Plus, in my other fanfiction story, they have almost reached the battle with their archenemy. I refuse to write a Stephenie Meyer non-battle chat in a paddock, so characters that I love are going to die.
And I will have to kill them.
If one story was fluff, I could use writing it as a break from writing the other, more intense emotional story, but I have unwittingly set myself up for tears in both.
Sigh… better stock up on tissues.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Nanowrimo update

I am still nanowrimo-ing if that is the right word. I am not doing so well; just under 15,000 words for 12 days. I need to write 1800 a day to finish. Of course, I am still working on ‘I'll be home for Christmas’ and if I added that in too, I would have 25,000 exactly.

I’d be half way on day 12!
But the only way to really fail is to stop writing!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

If you don't know, look it up

I got a review this week - well, I term it a review, it was more of a complaint.
They wanted to draw to my attention that I had used a word in a story that they didn’t understand. The first thing I did was search my fanfic inbox. I have never received a message or a review from this person before. And maybe they changed their username or something, but probably not. This whole review is a complaint about this word. They have not started with ‘I was really enjoying your story, when…’ and they have read nearly forty chapters of it.
I look up their profile. I reply. I am polite. They are American, I am not. That word means something different to you than it does to me because we speak different versions of English. I say that my betas are American and usually catch things, but they are used to my language now and sometimes words slip through.
They reply. They insist that the dictionary definition is a different meaning. Yes, it is, because your dictionary is different to mine. (duh)
I ask: do you really want me to change that word? It is very early in the morning my time and I have not had enough coffee yet.
No. They were just letting me know. They insist that they (as one reader) were thrown out of the story by that word and that I should add a definition of each word that they might not understand because they felt it was Australian slang. They object to having to go look it up.
It isn’t slang… it’s English. At this point I get annoyed.
Oh, the horror. They might have to look something up.
This story has over a million hits and more than three thousand reviews. No one else has ever had an issue with this word. It has even been translated into French and she understood what I meant. The word is a homonym and it is blindingly obvious that her definition doesn’t fit in the sentence.
I can’t add a definition for every possible word that someone might have an issue with. I can’t recognise them to start, because I don’t have an issue with them. And this month I had readers from 109 countries. I can’t begin to guess what people might not comprehend.
I’d define Aussie slang, but I don’t use it. [Oh, I did once, in my weredingo fic. I spelled Australia as Austraylya. That’s how we say it. And I got a review from an Australian telling me that I had spelt it wrong … snorks.]
So what do I do when I hit a word I don’t know? I look it up.
I love looking up words. I read at my son’s piano lessons and I often ask to borrow her dictionary to look something up. I know that she has a wonderfully fat and enormous dictionary. It is literally a weighty tome.
This week it was rubefascient*.
Last time it was tenebrous**.
I love both those words and I will try to use them in my writing because they are beautiful words. I am thrilled to have new words to use.
I have a very vague recollection of the children in ‘the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ playing a game they called dictionary when they had nothing to do and before they decided to play hide and seek and found the wardrobe. They would flip to a random page in the dictionary and they had to guess if the word origin was Latin or Greek. What fun! Very vague but I am sure they played this game before they went exploring. Or was it in the Dawn Treader? Before they jumped into the painting? Shrugs. Whatever. The point was that children used to play games based on language.
How tragic is the loss to our languages, both American English and Australian English, if we only ever used the same words; the words that people know and don’t have to look up? Language is a constantly evolving thing. So don’t be scared or annoyed that you have to look things up. Embrace it!
*Rubefascient: means red cheeked. The sentence was “There was clearly something in the water of Ireland to make its people rubefascient.” From Peter Temple’s Jack Irish.
**Tenebrous: means dark, shadowy or obscure. I can’t remember the line but it was in Peter Straub’s Shadowland.
PS: The word the reviewer objected to was ‘grizzle’ Ironic eh? Given that was what they were doing - grizzling. lmao
English definition of “grizzle”
verb [I]       /ˈɡrɪz.əl/ disapproving
› (especially of a young child) to cry continuously but not very loudly, or to complain all the time:
The baby was cutting a tooth and grizzled all day long.
They're always grizzling (= complaining) about how nobody invites them anywhere.
(Definition of grizzle verb from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Nanowrimo 2013

I have decided to do nanowrimo this year. Feel free to friend me or however it works. Newbie, here.
Nanowrimo is the national novel writing month and it requires you to write 50k words in November in order to ‘win’ your completion badge. It cannot be something you have already half written, so none of my sketched out rough plot bunnies could be used. I have already written more than that this month and I still have two days left. Grins. So 1600 a day should be doable.
I am probably insane because ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ is still going. I have posted more than 145k words for it so far, and it is still weeks to the battle. It has veered so far away from the original storyline that it will take some effort to get it back into line. A cast of dozens gives me too many characters to want to write for.
BUT can I do that AND finish Josh? That is the question.

I have told readers that Josh may drop its daily updates, but I can't stop writing it. I will do my best to complete both.
So, in two days I have worked out how to install a widget. Yay. And I have written 3,041 words for Bluebeard and done quite a bit of plotting and brainstorming plus I wrote 4,000 words for Josh. Phew.