Archive for January, 2009

Between parent’s visiting, cleaning up for parent’s visiting, Australia Day and admittidly some general slackness of my part, week four was another week well below par.  Only wrote on three days with around 3500 words done.

It is really starting to get to me this lack of progress that is going on.  I want to write, I need to write, yet something seems to be holding me back.  Perhaps it is that little nagging voice at the back of the head which is saying why put in the effort as it’ll never amount to anything.  I really need to stomp on that hard.

I think I need to reappraise how I am going about this and what I am working towards.  I do have some ideas on that regards and will be working towards them over the coming weeks – more shall be forthcoming as it progresses.

Treasure Hunting

Posted: January 31, 2009 in General
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When I was young, I was fascinated with the idea of being a treasure hunter – finding lost cities of gold, shipwrecks stuffed with treasure, that kind of thing.    I enjoyed reading books based around it and watching movies (such as Indiana Jones, National Treasure, King Soloman’s Mines, The Goonies etc) and still do.  During primary school I even wrote a number of stories based around that concept.

As such I was fascinated to come across the following article about some modern day treasure hunters who struck it big.  Very, very big.  A ship loaded with 70 tonnes of platinum, 10 tonnes of gold and 1.5 tonnes of industrial diamonds and gemstones, valued at somewhere between $6 billion and $11 billon.  The discovery may not have been as glamorous and exciting as in the books and movies, but to be involved in it would still have been a thrill.

Australia Day

Posted: January 26, 2009 in General
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Happy Australia day to all my fellow Aussies out there, and to those that aren’t, commiserations.

Needless to say, what with meeting family and friends for BBQ, backyard cricket and what not, my day is going to pretty much non existent in terms of writing.

Time Article on Publishing

Posted: January 23, 2009 in General
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Time magazine has an interesting article on publishing that can be viewed here at their website.  It looks at some of the challenges facing modern publishing, such as bad and out dated business models, and the new wave of self-publishing and other sources of stories that can be found.

While we would all dream to emulate their first example, of an author who in twelve months went from selling her book from the boot of her car to having a half-million dollar contract, I think most of us are more destined for what is mentioned later in the article, to be part of the great content that is available on the ‘net.

The following part I did find interesting;

And what will that fiction look like? Like fan fiction, it will be ravenously referential and intertextual in ways that will strain copyright law to the breaking point. Novels will get longer–electronic books aren’t bound by physical constraints–and they’ll be patchable and updatable, like software. We’ll see more novels doled out episodically, on the model of TV series or, for that matter, the serial novels of the 19th century. We can expect a literary culture of pleasure and immediate gratification. Reading on a screen speeds you up: you don’t linger on the language; you just click through. We’ll see less modernist-style difficulty and more romance-novel-style sentiment and high-speed-narrative throughput. Novels will compete to hook you in the first paragraph and then hang on for dear life.

Given Cara’s Choice is written in a serial format, it is good to see that my idea for it has been, hopefully, agreed with.

Not the News

Posted: January 22, 2009 in Not the News
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The following was something that came to me early in the morning when I was pondering just how odd at times business practice can be.  Got me to thinking about what would happen if other things, such as a sports team,were run in the same manner.

The current world financial crisis has claimed a new and unexpected victim with well known Football club Combined Consolidated United today seeking a government bailout.

CCU President Sir Reginald Frank-Barry emerged from the emergency board meeting of the club today with some rather sombre news for the footballing public.

“These are tough times, and despite our best management practices, we find that we also are not immune to the turmoil sweeping the global finance markets. As a result we have been forced to engage in a series of proactive cost-cutting measures that will ensure our long term viability as a company.

The foremost of these measures is the downsizing of the player base, effective immediately. In what we see as a remarkable new paradigm shift, we are reducing onfield player numbers to nine. This will produce a new leaner and meaner team that will enable us to get the edge over our competitor, who still favours the financial unviable eleven player teams.

We are also introducing a new 23% surcharge on all membership fees and 21% surcharge on gate entrance fees to increase cash flow to deal with factors arising from the current global climate. We understand that some of our supports may have some reservations about this, but the increased costs will be more than made up by our increased performance and services.”

Not all are so impressed by these new changes. Stan Winthrope, a support of the former Combined United before it merged with Consolidated United to form CCU, is one such person.

“We used to have a viable league of fourteen teams, but all these mergers have reduced it to just two, CCU and Amalgamated Unified United. Performances have dropped off given the lack of competition and they are asking three times as much to watch the single game of the week as they did when there were seven matches on. Now we hear as how Sir Reggie and the board have voted themselves 43% bonuses for performances. Meanwhile you can’t walk the streets without bumping into former players, support staff, coaches, trainers and the like all looking for work.”

Respected Football commentator Peter Thornton agrees. “The whole thing is a shambles, to be honest. We are in danger of seeing what remains of the competition fold completely. We had a perfectly viable fourteen side competition running, but it has been run into the ground by rampant mergers, staff cuts and price hikes. I warned at the start that this was what we were likely to see, but I was ignored.”

The government has announced that it is seriously considering the proposal to bail out the ailing clubs, as they do not wish to see a ‘valuable and respected community and cultural identity collapse.’

Week three has come and gone. While it was better than week two, it was still a little lacklustre, only around 5000 words written. Not sure exactly why I haven’t been able to manage better these last two weeks.

Currently I’m working on a number of synopsis. I’m trying to get the basic stories of a number of novels written down so that later I can move back and forwards between them as the mood strikes me and at least have a point of reference besides what may be in my head.

I’m also planning to do some extensive work on a series of short stories – I want to get a few finished and on the site soon.

Musical Interlude

Posted: January 21, 2009 in musical interlude
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After a short break, we return once more with a couple more tracks from Fallout 3.

Jack Shaindlin – I’m Tickled Pink

Jack Shaindlin – Lets Go Sunning

A Better Day

Posted: January 16, 2009 in writing update
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After last weeks rather poor effort, yesterday I got a rather solid day of writing in, clocking in at around 3600 words written.  In effect I got more done yesterday than all of last week.

Of that around 2000 words were of the rough synopsis of In Fire – I sat down and wrote it out all in one hit, and I like where it is going.  Another 1000 odd words were of the first part of the rough synopsis for the Steampunk story, though the synopsis isn’t finished yet.  Later on I’ll have to go back and write up the full synopsis, which will probably take up ten to twenty thousand words on previous efforts.

Week Two of 2009 was pretty much a write off. All up, I managed around 3000 words for the week, which is what I am aiming for per day, not the week overall.

Admittedly there were some mitigating circumstances, with a few days out due to visiting my parents for their joint 60th birthday party, but that still left a number of days where I should have got more done.

I am also going slightly crazy – I have far too many story ideas reverberating around in my head wanting to get out, but not enough time to do so. This is the list of the current ones (though it changes fairly regularly).

Serial Story:

Cara’s Choice.  Takes up a couple of hours a week – no plotting, just write what comes to mind.

Short Stories:

The Pit:  Man and Beast are thrust into a fighting pit to battle for the crowds.  Who lives, who dies and can they win their freedom?  First draft complete.  This one is set in the In Fire novel world.

The Bronze Man:  A small Maedari village comes under attack by Chelosian sea raiders. Can they hold out long enough for help to arrive?  First draft around two thirds complete, this is turning more into a novella than a short story

The Straits of Tuafi:  Privateers and smugglers make a daring raid on the strategic islands at the center of the Straits of Tuafi.  In conception/plotting stage.

The Charioteer: Beast stalk the ancient lands and Lahaenar the Charioteer must battle one such beast to save a village from its devastation.  In conception/plotting stage.

The Professor: While investigating an ancient burial site, Hjalir and his escort come under attack by desert raiders.  Taking refuge in the tombs, they find something that may be more dangerous that even the raiders.  First draft one third done.

Cahuac and the Sun:  The Sun has wandered from its course and abandoned the Aracan.  The mighty Cahauc sets out to find the Sun and return it to its appointed way.  First draft complete.

Ray and his Human:  In the depths of space, their ship crippled, the sarcastic android Ray has to keep his ‘master’ alive.  Conception/plotting complete.

The Village:  In the far distant past, simple stone age traders arrive at a wondrous village, where hundreds live and possess vast wealth of copper, clothes of dyed fabrics and other unheard of treasures.  This story was written for something else – I am in the process of rewriting it to fit into my world.  Rewriting old draft.

The Duel:  An old knight and a young knight exchange words and a duel is provoked.  A surprise lies in store as the pair meet to settle differences by a trial of arms.  This is a story I wrote back in high school, though I seem to have misplaced it.  Conception/plotting stage.

Novels:

In addition to those short stories, I have a number of novels floating around in my head, plus more I am deliberately avoiding even thinking of.

Winter Wolves: Synopsis complete – 12K words done of first draft.

In Fire: Plotting/Conception stage.

Out of Time: Plotting/conception stage.

Queen’s Honour: Synopsis mostly complete.

Primal Tales:  Uncertain as to whether this will be a novel or a collection of stories, but revolves around shapeshifters and beastmaster, berserkers and the wild magic of weather and beasts and plants.  Still in the conception stage, but the concept leapt out at me recently and won’t let go.

Steampunk Tale:  In a fantasy world where magic and monsters meet steampunk – guns and clockwork and steam engines and air ships – a young man joins up with gentleman explorer Sir Richard Hammerman and his entourage and embarks on a wild adventure.  Conception stage.

So there you have it.  Some six novels and nine short stories all fighting to be heard.  No wonder I’m going stir crazy….

A Writer’s Joke

Posted: January 14, 2009 in General
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I heard a writer’s joke the other day – can’t recall exactly where, otherwise I’d credit it – but it went something like this.

Person 1: What do you do?
Person 2: I’m a writer.
Person 1: Oh, have you sold anything?
Person 2: My couch, my car, my flat-screen TV.

Amusing but at the same time rather insightful. There are very few writers out there who wouldn’t like to be published, to make a living from it, but the vast majority of us never will. We write because we love to write. We’d write more if we could, but certain things keep getting in the way – ie, the need to earn a crust. If we could do that by writing, we would. In the meantime we can dream, and writers most certainly dream, otherwise they wouldn’t write. For every successful author (no matter how bad their books) there are ten of thousands wanting to follow in their footsteps.

Sort of like actors in a way. Many want to be up there on the big screen, living the life luxurious, but most will remain stuck as waiters and maybe make a bit scene in the odd B-grade movie.

Still, if we do not try, we can’t know if we can succeed.

What we need to do is get more people reading more books – the more they buy, the more demand and hopefully the more chances of getting found. Of course, that may just be that aforementioned dreaming.