Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Okay, weirdness, but it Halloween so I guess it's par for the course - and to scare the tripe outta me.

Tried to link with the sidebar to the website with the freebie, you know, to make it easier to find the site. I can tell you that the cold splash of fear across my skin was icy! I had obviously done something and now the website was giving me a hotlink message everytime I tried to download Daystrider! WTF??! Self-flagellation was happening, too. I shouldn't have touched it, I shouldn't have done that, or this, I should have left the damn thing alone! But, noooo I had to fiddle with it; try to lower the banner a bit so it doesn't cover the ads, maybe add a counter, pretty it up...

Once I took the link away from this site, the download on the website returned. Colour me relieved! It's working now.

I do fear that it will all go pearshaped once PBW puts up a link to the website - then again, if it's in the text of the post, I don't think it will screw up. I could be wrong and overly paranoid, but the website is here:

Jaye Patrick

Yes, it looks dweebie and amateurish, but, hey, I am dweebish and an amateur at webdesign. I'm leaving it alone now, stepping away from the HTML editor...

One day, when I grow up and get over this 'writing' fetish...


Less than twenty-four hours to Nano, at least, on this side of the world.

I think I'm ready; there are plenty of factors involved like a full-time job, caring for an aged parent, visits by family, whether the outlines are strong enough and I stick to them, or whether I'll simply chuck it all and simply write whatever pops into my head.

Weekends are going to be of absolute importance. If I can't do much during the week, I'll be relying on 20-30k word counts each weekend to catch up.

I feel more relaxed this year, too. Previous years, I wrote on the verge of panic, trying to get the words out, but I feel as if everything is well in hand (of course, that can change in a moment).

Once underway, I'll post progress reports and extracts from the WIPs.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

New Story

Just a quick note to say that there's a new story up over at the takeaway just in time for Halloween.

Not my usual story, but there you go. A writer, any writer, should be flexible in their creativity; it opens the field for them and, if nothing else, demonstrates what they need practice on. Me, I need lots of practice!


Yesterday, I mentioned Mercury in Retrograde and what it meant. I can tell you, it's going to be a long haul to November 17 when the planet is no longer retrograde.

I was expecting a delivery of furniture yesterday and spent most of it disassembling and shifting furniture from upstairs to the garage, from downstairs to up and generally making room. As you can guess, no delivery. The delivery guys were supposed to call me, instead, it was explained, I was supposed to call them - Friday's conversation letting me know of the arrival of said furniture did not include a phone number, merely the comment that someone would contact me with the delivery time. No, they've gone for the day, no, they don't work on Sunday, nor Monday, given them a bell on Tuesday or they'll call you. Riii-ght.

Today, I did some more furniture shifting, decided to hell with it and sat down to watch a DVD. Nup. The player wouldn't recognise the DVD. Get back to housework.

Sister turns up - as she does every Sunday - to do her laundry. One and a half loads later, the washing machine stops; normal service, I think, ain't resuming anytime soon. No clicking, no buzzing, nothing but a malevolent orange light telling me that electricity is, indeed, getting through. I've had the beast for fifteen years, so it's obviously time for a new one.

I'm not going to ask "What's next?" Coz, I don't wanna know. I'm not going to rant and rave because shit invariably happens.

It's irritating, frustrating and... nothing to get stressed about. Yet. I shall do my calming exercises and hope for the best.

In the meantime, short story to be posted tomorrow, if, of course, the stars align just right to offset Mercury...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Well, finally

After a week of angst, I've finally cracked the website building thingy. (So much for doing programming as part of my Diploma!)

PBW's Challenge is done: written, edited and posted over at my somewhat simple website, called, strangely enough Jaye Patrick.

You can read the novella, long short story, Daystrider. Yep, it's there now.

And, as I write this, I realise I've not posted a link to my e-mail address for any comments, critiques or gasp positive notes!

All I can say is that Mercury is in Retrograde and as such, screws up my life. Mercury is not only the God of Messengers, but also of Mischief and my ruling planet. Which means I'm gonna have pissy little senior moments and misunderstandings until about 17 November. This, of course, does not bode well for NaNo.

Sigh, such is life.

I've just added the e-mail address to the website. Interestingly enough, now that I've gone through hell to get the site up and running, adding stuff doesn't seem so hard.

I think after the challenge - give me a month or so - and I'll have excerpts up of the books I've written. Hmmm... I wonder what else I can do?

Friday, October 27, 2006

So far... zip

So far, I've tried three different free web sites, all to no avail.

The first, I didn't receive the password, the second wouldn't link the pages I wanted, screwed up my coding and was generally unhelpful - scratch Zero Catch - and the third, I'm still waiting for the password.

I know I live at the bottom of the world, or near enough to it, but, jeez, waiting a week for a password is little over the top, don't you think? We do have broadband down here, you know. Scratch Topcities.

I've resent the request for a password to another site... and... nothing. Nada. Zip. Empty inbox.

All I want is a simple, free web site to post my challenge work. In the future, I'd like to post extracts of my work, maybe upgrade to an ad-free site - you know, actually pay for it. So far, my faith in these freebies is definitely shakey.

I'm going to try one more time with this site; should I not get what I want, it's history, too...

Nope, not getting anywhere with Free Web Services, either.

I have a list, and I'm checking it twice. It will take a while but I'm determined to have the challenge up and free!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Grr... so far the web page isn't behaving as it should before publishing it to the real world. Obviously, there's something I'm not understanding, or the Zerocatch site is just being obstreperous because it can and will cause me the most amount of stress!

Not entirely sure what to do about that, but it's good to have a couple of back up plans. Of course, if I mention them here, it will all go pear-shaped and I'll be buggered.

I want a website, if only to be able to post excerpts and linkages. Not much good having a writer's blog if you can show off your longer wares; short ones, yeah, okay. I worked long and hard on my books and I want to share some of that effort.

I'm going to explore the options. Somewhere, out there, is a simple web-hosting site I can upload my HTML to. All I've got to do is find it... before Monday.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


So I got busy yesterday and started coding for the web page.

It will be at jayepatrick.0catch.com - at least that's the plan.

The good news is that I've done basic coding before; the bad news is that it was six years ago. The simple stuff came back quickly, but I'll have to hunt down the more complex stuff.

It's going okay, and I think I'll make the deadline; not easily, I imagine. The end result maybe extremely basic - probably will be - but it will be done.

What will I do with it afterwards? Hmm, I don't actually know. Be a central point for excerpts and Blogs, I suppose. Whatever.

I'd actually forgotten how much I enjoy coding - ain't that a kicker? I think coding tapes into my logical side where writing tapes into my creative side; a nice balance.

So, right now, I'm hunting up coding sights and putting in a few things. Cool!

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Hell of a weekend. I've finished editing Daystrider, signed up for a web page - though I've still yet to construct it, and almost done the outline for the two books I'm writing for Nano.

I say almost, because family biz got in the way and left me eleven scenes short of completion. sigh

No big. I've got the names of everybody and titles popped up too: Summer's Rule and Winter's Reign - better than the original titles of Sucks like a drain and What were you thinking??? don't you think?

Tomorrow, I'll finish the outlines and let them stew in their own juices for a while, then re-look at the timeline, add more description to the characters, world build (though there are only... maybe five? locations). Later on in the week, I'll build the web page and by the weekend, I'll be set.

Paperback writer will have the link to the site - it will be here, too - everything I need to have done for NaNo will be done, and I might, for a change, get the weekend off. That's the plan, at least, and we all know what happens to plans, don't we?

* * *

And there you go: plan disrupted already: another story is due up over at the the takeaway this weekend, so I'll have tht ready, too.

Sometimes, I wonder if I've taken too much on - especially this time of year...


Saturday, October 21, 2006

That's done

The novella, Daystrider is done.

I think. No, I'm pretty sure it's done.

I'm working on the cover and putting it all together. I've still got to put up a website - which I'm rather excited about, because that means I can finally post excerpts from everything else I've written. Books, that is.

Gives me chills just thinking about it.

Now that this project is almost at an end, I can get to the NaNo stuff. I'll be writing like a fiend to get some plot points down, but that's for tomorrow.

For now, I'm happy the novella is done. Came in at 20k, which is about what I expected. Cool!

Look for it soon...

Friday, October 20, 2006

The book...s

A little busy at work today, so I haven't got as much done as I'd hoped. (Uhh... I probably shouldn't have confessed that...)

Anee-waayy, moving on...

The scenes are appearing in an ad hoc way, the characters are forming up nicely, have a couple of names, conflicts, mwahaha moments, background info, all still in my head.

But, this is it so far:

Bio-engineered twins, sold as children by their drug-addicted, alcoholic mother to a man whose motives are less than pure, discover they're about to be 'rescued' by a couple of alpha heroes. Kept in isolation in a mountain fortress, the twins know nothing of the outside world except what their 'father' allows them to know.

The - so far - unnamed heroes have no idea what they are walking into and are captured, their squads killed, by the twins and fortress guards. Their father stopped the twins from killing them all; he has a plan and it's one that will prove catastrophic. The twins are now unsure as to who the enemy is: Men who want to save them, but admit the twins will be imprisoned because they are so dangerous, or the man who raised them, but who wants to use them as for his own immortality.

Each book will deal with each twin: Winter and Summer (named because one is emotionally distant and the other... isn't).

As the books develop, I'll post more, including excerpts once a week when Nano truly gets under way.

For now, I'm waiting for the heroes, villain and other character names turn up, and the titles of the books to appear. I can wait, but not for too long.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Warming Up

I was going to do a post on global warming, the water crisis here, and Dr David Suzuki being in the country... but the topics are too complex and can wait(!).

So I'm warming up for NaNo via the outline challenge over at the Forward Motion Community.

Yep, I know, I know, I've said that outlining doesn't work for me; I'm an organic writer. But I thought I'd give it another go. Not because I can't resist a challenge... um... okay, got me there, but I think that outlining, even briefly, is good for any book. If nothing else, it's made me focus more clearly on the direction I want to take.

This year's Nano challenge will be two partnered books; both will start at the same point, but separate at a critical juncture, then come back together at the end of the second book. As you can see, the only way I can do this and not repeat myself too much, is to have two outlines; at the very least, plot points which will serve as guideposts rather than the guidebook.

The limitations will be that each book cannot be anymore than 75k each; that gives me a total of 150k, achievable if I knuckle down like last year.

I'm still creating my characters and world building, but by Sunday, I'll have just about everything sorted, I think... Tomorrow, I'll let you know more about the works.

Oh, hmm... still have to edit the novella... better get the can opener and prise out some extra time for that...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Basic Guide To Aussie Life

With thanks to About our community newsletter, here is a guide to Aussies, in case you didn't know how to recognise one...

1. The bigger the hat, the smaller the farm.

2. The shorter the nickname, the more they like you.

3. Whether it's the opening of Parliament or the launch of a new art gallery, there is no Australian event that cannot be improved by a sausage sizzle.

4. There is no food that cannot be improved by the application of tomato sauce.

5. On the beach, all Australians hide their keys and wallets by placing them inside their sandshoes. No thief has ever worked this out.

6. Industrial design knows of no article more useful than the plastic milk crate.

7. All our best heroes, are losers.

8. The alpha male in any group is he who takes the barbecue tongs from the hands of the host and blithely begins turning the snags.

9. It's not summer until the steering wheel is to hot to hold.

10. It is proper to refer to your best friend as "a total bastard". By contrast, your worst enemy is "a bit of a bastard".

11. A thong is not a piece of scanty swimwear, but a fine example of Australian footwear. A group of sheilas wearing black rubber thongs may not be as exciting as you had hoped.

So, there you have it: Aussies in the wild.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

First Draft Done

Day Strider - the rewrite, comes in at just under 20k.

The editing may make it larger or smaller; larger would be better, smaller would suck. I could already see, in my brief overlook of it the work, that some areas need some adjusting because of what comes after.

It's always difficult to plunge yourself into a story while real life happens around you and the past week has been difficult. Those difficulties were reflected in what I wrote on those particular days. It didn't detract from the overall story line, but it did change a few things. Things I'll have to go back and look at closely.

I could see a bit of confusion there as well which will have to be sorted.

Still, I'm happy it's done and I can take a break. Not for too long though, I have to distract myself with plotting and mulling over the two books I plan to write for NaNo.

The challenge this year is not to write an epic of 150+k, but to write to a word limit on each of 70-85k and no more.

I suspect my journalist training will come in handy for this, but I'll have to balance it out with my creative side so I don't skimp on the descriptions.

For the moment, I'm going to relax with a book.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


As the weather. I saw the clouds rolling in and went out to take the laundry off the line. I literally feel the temperature drop. It was so hot every breath dried my throat - got the washing dry quick, though. Now there's a distinct southerly bite to the air and I'm thinking rain is on the way.

Maybe not just rain, but a storm, which means I'll have to get off the computer, dammit. Just when I'm up to the end game with the novella. She is going off to kill the villain while he stays behind to wait for the police, or so she thinks... but you knew that. What you don't know is the how of it, heh, heh.

So, while the weather remains, er, somewhat clear of lightning, I'm off to kill a creature in an expectedly gruesome manner. Hah! That's what I love about writing! You talk about such things to people who don't write and they think you're a little strange... okay, a lot strange, but there you go.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Barbeque Season!

And I don't mean getting out the Weber and smokin' some steaks!

I mean it's early October and already the temperature has bumped over 30 degrees. There is nothing worse than having a busy day and being roasted by the sun at the same time. Oh, sure, air-conditioning is wonderful thing, but only if you're inside enjoying it, and only if people keep the damn doors shut.

Again, today, was nigh on 35 degrees celcius. Bad ju-ju for me. I spent all day in town; the car needed a long and involved service. I'm not the kind of woman who enjoys shopping. I'm a hunter/gatherer. That is, I make a list of things to hunt and I go out and gather it. I don't spend time browsing or umming and ahhing, I go git the varmints, and I'm outta there.

With school holidays, it makes the job that much more worse. Squealing, hot kids, tired, disgruntled parents; what an awful way to spend a hot and sticky day.

I did get some Christmas shopping done, though. Nearly done, in fact, and the car goes great now. There's a slight breeze here on the coast which makes it bearable.

I'd love to go to the beach tomorrow, bare my chubbiness paleness to those sun worshippers, but I don't want to cause any heart-failures and fainting (that would be the sharks, not the people). I still have to finish this novella, too.

I think this summer is going to be atrocious and now is the time for me to take some measures in case the bush fire season returns. Partly done, of course: I've got my Bushfire Fighter Certificate, and I'll be running around tomorrow morning clearing gutters and any debris around the house. Next weekend, I'll shop for a generator - in case of power failure - and a barbeque kit should the power fail for a few days like it did a couple of years ago.

Maybe I should move to Tasmania; nice and cool down there almost all year around. Sigh.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Just because...

Sometimes, people in the world are simply not looking at the big picture and because:

It would be nice if there were.

Given that Kim Jong-il is a petulant, childish, ignorant, meglo-maniac, and that Venezuala now has closer ties with the oppressive Stalinist nation, it seems certain Heads of State want to create discord because they can, not for any other reason. America is too good an excuse. Say the words in a cranky tone and every nut job in the world will sympathise.

Of course then there are those people who will not listen:

No matter how many times you explain the geo-political climate and what various countries may or may not do and their consequences, some leaders don't get it. If they don't get it, then why the hell did you vote them in anyway? And if you whisper 'America' in a tiny voice, others will look knowingly at you.

It's like shouting English at someone who's never learned the language.

And there are some truly ugly people (not just men) out there, inside and out. Not because of any genetic predisposition, but because of their ego-centric ideologies. The idea that a leader cannot be wrong, merely misguided, ill-informed, or wrongly advised is a crock o' shite so stinky, everyone knows you're standing in it.

When was the last time you heard a leader stand up and say, "I'm sorry, I was wrong, I accept responsibility for this. Should charges be brought, I shall not resist." Huh? Never. Presidents, Prime Ministers, whomever, never accept responsibility any more and that makes them ugly inside and out.


I think I'll go and do some work now...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Enemy of every State

Sometimes, ya just gotta wonder.

North Korea, that bastion of absolute dictatorship, is under the impression that it has the right to scare the tripe out of the region by exploding a nuclear device. As a sovereign nation, you understand; a caring, sharing, have-to-defend-ourselves-against-everybody country.

Japan is, understandably, nervous; and if they are nervous, it raises the possiblity of Japan acquiring nuclear technology, which will make China extremely nervous. If China gets nervous, well, that will make the U.S. nervous, and so on...

Worse, that dickhead Kim Jong-il has embarrassed long time supporter China with this test.

Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, called the North Korean Ambassador in and laid it on the line:

"I said it was one thing to be offensive to the United States and Britain and Australia and their allies, but it's another thing to treat the Chinese, who have been such stalwart supporters of North Korea for such a long time, in this way," he said.

"North Korea have humiliated the Chinese government.

"The Chinese government had been working intensely to try to stop this testing taking place."

Mr Downer said China provided 80 per cent of North Korea's humanitarian aid and half of the reclusive Stalinist state's trade was with China.

"The North Koreans have treated China extremely shabbily in this particular situation," Mr Downer said.

Sanctions, in this case, will not work unless China sanctions NK. And given that the United Nations has turned into Pussyville, I doubt sanctions will be enacted anyway.

In reply to the U.S.'s proposed sanctions, the NK Ambassador to the UN Pak Gil Yon told reporters that "the test would help "the maintenance and guarantee of peace and security in the (Korean) peninsula and the region."

Instead of pursuing "reckless" statements or resolutions, Pak said the Security Council should congratulate North Korea's scientists and researchers.
And if you believe that those scientists managed to create a nuclear bomb all by themselves, then I know of a large sand pit in the middle of Australia you might want to buy.

This all sounds like sabre-rattling by the head idiot in North Korea, except for a few minor historical incidents:

The discovery of four incursion tunnels under the DMZ large enough for mass troop movements into South Korea;

It launched seven missiles into the Sea of Japan in July 2006;
In August, the regime announced that the 1953 Armistice was 'null and void', and last Saturday, South Korean troops fired warning shots at North Korean troops who had crossed a boundary in the Demilitarized Zone separating the two country's forces. If that doesn't give you the shivers, this should.

While any information coming out of the north should be taken with a grain of salt or six, it should be remembered that inside North Korea the populace believe the propaganda as gospel.

What all this suggests is that North Korea is preparing to fulfil its dream and goal of reunification with South Korea, no matter what the cost.

The questions remain: will North Korea demand South Korea rejoin it under threat of nuclear action? And if the South refuses, will the North use its arsenal anyway to punish its southern neighbour? With a paranoic madman in charge and in command of the world's fifth largest standing army, who the hell knows?

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Speed of Time

Time is a dimension that has no beginning and no end; it merely marches relentlessly on second after second, minute after minute and so on. It never changes speed, it stops for no one and nothing. It can't be fooled, nor can it be manipulated. Once gone, it's gone forever, no matter what sci-fi writers might postulate and it ain't on anybody's side, either.

It is our perception of time that makes the difference. For kids, Christmas Eve is the longest night; for a dentist's appointment, time passes all too quickly.

Yea, verily, do I know the last!

There are only three weeks left for PBW's Challenge, and, only three weeks left until the beginning of NaNoWriMo.

Both are of equal importance to me. The first because of the potential to be one of twenty to have work read by a master, and the second because it guarantees me one or two books written.

For the first challenge, I've hit a major snag. For one of my short stories to be expanded into a novella (simply posting a short story, to my mind, is cheating - even though it would give me room to focus on NaNo), I've had to do a re-write. Oh, I've taken sections from the original, but there wasn't enough in it. So, I've introduced a new character, done a bit more on the world building and presented a different aspect to the tale.

Day Strider has been rejected for publication on a few occasions; not for bad writing, but for bad magazine selection on my part. Twice it got the 'not quite right for our publication' speil. I call that a good rejection.

I figured it would make a terrific novella - a variation has already been written as a full-length novel.

Until yesterday, I was feeling more than a little stressed about how I would manage both projects, but after writing 8k of words - some new, some pasted - I felt much better.

Why, if I've got another 20k to go would this please me? Because the extra writing time I've carved out is good practice for NaNo. One project has fed the next, and now is the time for that practice.

Most people who are participating in NaNo, indeed, most writers have a day job so scheduling NaNo is, I suppose, time manipulation; time management at it's best.

So, using Holly Lisle's time schedule, I have twenty days to get it written and posted (two days set aside for disasters or life, whichever pops up first) and twenty thousand words to write = a thousand words a day. Since I type at about 95 wpm, that's a gimmee and given I have three weekends, I have plenty of time to complete the first challenge. Add in focusing on NaNo and it doesn't seem that much.

Even if I only do 500 words every weeknight (7000) that still leaves me with 13k over three weekends. And while doing this, I'm practicing for NaNo, which requires 1666 words a day, which is good practice for anyone who wants/needs to be a writer.

If these calculations sound a little panicked, well, that's easing, because I know I can do this. I'll have this done within a week and then do the edits.

The best part is that if the story doesn't lend itself to 20k, I'll still have a completed novelette by the end of it; of course, then I have to have a book prepared should I win...

Damn, I'm so running out of time...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Out with the old

I have way too many books.

What? Is there such a thing? I hear you cry with outrage.

Yes, there is. I have no more room in my favourites bookcases (2), nor in my reference bookcase (1 + four shelves over my desk) - and we're talking seven foot tall bookcases here. Add to that two more seven footers (one double stacked) and two four foot bookcases and we're talking a lot of books. Oh, and the ones still packed in... hmm... three boxes. There just mine. In the rest of the house there are three seven foot, one eight foot, one three foot, a seven foot break front and five width-of-the-house fitted shelves. All filled with books.

When I think about it, it's a what the...? moment, who reads this much?

Answer: my family.

My mother jokes that we have someting on everything, and she's not far wrong. I don't think I have ever wanted for information on something, no matter how obscure. As for fiction, we have an author (or more) representing the complete alphabet. From Asimov to Zorkoczy and more genres than you can shake a Whippy Stick at.

My books are my pride and joy; without them, I'd never considered being a writer. The problem is, I'm running out of space. And, no, buying yet another bookcase is not the answer. The answer is to trade in some of the books I've not read for ten years or more and have no urge to.

So, I traded a seven-book set of fantasy (author to remain nameless) for a couple of reference texts: one on astronomy and one on birds.

Now I have room to put my next re-readables: Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series. The first four now sit with my David Webers, Elizabeth Moons, Laurel K. Hamiltons, Eoin Colfers, Terry Brooks, S.L. Viehls, Holly Lisles, Anne McCaffreys, Tara K. Harpers, J.K. Rowlings, J.R.R. Tolkiens and Andre Nortons - yeah, just my sci-fi and fantasy favourites bookcase.

It's been a long time since I felt the need to add a series to the favourites, but I love this one. Jim Butcher's comment, You'll never watch the Weather Channel the same way again, is wonderfully accurate.

Too bad I don't have time to finish the next book in the series. I'll just have to leave it until my deadlines are over: a reward for hard work. Then again, I still have time yet...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Working hard

I've finally posted a new story over on the Takeaway and I'm now throwing myself into the Challenge.

I'm looking at something around 20-30k. I've yet to work out how to actually post it, cover and all, in a pdf format, but I'm sure some kind soul will let me know. Eventually.

After doing that, I'll have to mull over the two book ideas I have for NaNo and should Sheila be generous enough to select me, get my shit together and have fully completed edit done on one of two books.

Is it any wonder I'm feeling a little squeezed?

I had to let go the idea to send something to an agent by October, which peeves me greatly, but it's better I focus on getting the work done, writing and editing to the best of my ability rather than sending something off that I wasn't - quite - happy with.

A simple matter of too many projects and not enough time to do them all in. I'm going to have to manage my time better.

Okay, enough. I'm getting back to work.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Yay! Back online

I'm online again at home. Phew.

While offline, I felt a little, er, disconnected. It's really, really odd. I've had the internet long enough that it's now apart of my writing.

It is a simple thing, when writing, to access Google or Yahoo or whatever to find that piece of information you need, or variations of the information. It's all too easy, and I think I'm spoiled; no, I know I'm spoiled. The internet is my own personal wellspring of information. Anything I want to know about, the internet can provide. It has not failed me, nor do I expect it to.

On the downside, there is too much information out there and I am of the personality type easily distracted by interesting stuff, while searching for something specific. I can spend hours looking at pages that have nothing to do with the current WIP. I know I'm not the only writer out here who does the same; writers are curious people who want to know things. Not just for our work, but because the world is a damn interesting place and the internet has brought it that much closer to us.

You don't need to go to China, to Siberia, to Alaska, to Brazil for research (although it would be nice...) you can look up the web pages and all the info you need is there, including stats and photos. As a writer you can imagine the rest: the smells, the light, the feel of the place.

The internet can show you everything from the exotic to the everyday, the naughty and the nice, the simple and complex, the past, present and future, the bland and the disturbing; it's all there at your fingertips, virtually anything you need to know, see or hear, the internet, in all it's evil, compelling glory, can provide.

But. That one blip and it was taken away from me. I felt lost, as if my information sense had been amputated. I like information pouring into my head every day, and for the last thirteen days I haven't had that, or not as much as I'm used to. It's... weird.

For nearly a fortnight, I've had to look up my reference books instead. Yep, look at the spines, pick the right book off the shelf, open to the index and hunt for what I need, then read the appropriate paragraph or chapter. Physical, distracting work, but exactly what I did before the internet came along and lured me away.

It all reminded me how much I love books: the smells, the texture, the new world inside waiting to be discovered, the information written in black on white that has been checked, confirmed and copyrighted.

My reference library is a Grand Dame: sophisticated, well-mannered, patient, educated, quiet. She knows her facts; none of the books would have been published if there was a... *gasp* lie within the pages.

The internet is a tramp: flashy, cheap, accessible, distracting and loose with the truth. Everything must be corroborated via another source, like checking in with the pimp and other customers.

My trouble, of course, is that I'm tempted by both. I'm fortunate to have the choice between the two.

Now that I'm online again, I feel more relaxed. This weekend, I'm determined to get some work done - and I'm belligerent enough to be rude to any mere mortal who presumes to interrupt me. Hah!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


There appears to much in the newspapers of adolescents, young adults and older adults going off their nuts to kill, maim and otherwise display anti-social behaviour.

The public at large seem to be at a loss to explain heinous acts, but I think I have the answer. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it's because they have no or a limited understanding of consequences. And that understanding should have been learnt at school.

If you are not forced to face failure, how can you accept the consequences? How can you do better? If, for example, you are told that spelling incorrectly is no big deal as long as you can express yourself, why wouldn't you be pissed off when you don't get that job? Why wouldn't you assume a more personal reason? After all, you passed everything at school, so it can't be that.

The recent stoush between the NSW Department of Education and Training and The NSW Teachers Federation is heating up as the Government tries to reign in delinquency and illiteracy in the young and the Teachers defend the poor sensitive petals who can't possible cope with rejection or failure because they're to young to understand and it might scar them for life.

Oh, yes. The touchy-feely revisionists are at it again. So far, they've managed to teach Aussie kids that Captain James Cook 'invaded' Australia and 'stole' the land from the indigenous population; that the father of the Australian wool industry, John MacArthur was a murderer and wife beater, that the discoverers of the inland, Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth were also thieves, and other revisionist theories.

Now, though, they're rejecting the Governments proposal to return to the A-E grading system. Nope, they're perfectly happy with: Outstanding Achievement, High Achievement, Sound Achievement, Basic Achievement and Limited Achievement. Otherwise known as 'positive reinforcement'; that is, to promote the positves and not the negatives.

What a load of bullshit! First, kids are more resilient that these idiot teachers give them credit for. While they might be happy with a Basic Achievement and feel content to maintain that, you can bet your bottom dollar their attitude would be different if it was a 'D'. Parents, too, would have a better understanding of their child's failing and take remedial steps.

Second, it does the kids no favours once they leave primary or high school. It is a growing trend among university students who have yet to master basic English. More and more universities are introducing Remedial English classes to teach natural born speakers of the language how to write it. And these students are joing English as a Second Language students - way to embarrass a teenager!

Third, kids are going to come up against failures and rejections. It's a simple fact of life. If you teach them the consequences of failure, they will try harder not to and have a more satisfying life because they can cope with it. Failing isn't the end of the world, but if you don't understand the nature of failure, it becomes everybody elses responsibility and not the child's.

Kids are great at blaming everyone else, but they're expected to accept responsibility as adults. How are they going to do that if not confronted with the consequences of their own actions?

Instead of trying to make excuses for kids academic successes or failures, why not try looking at what the kid is good at and positively reinforce that talent? Look at what the kid is less capable at and find the reason why. Sometimes, it's simply that the kid has no aptitude for it. No shame there, and the apologists should just butt out and let them succeed or fail on their own merits.

...Achievements, indeed.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Three days of not much

The long weekend is over and, writing wise, very little was achieved. I've also discovered that I really don't like not having the internet available when I want it.

I managed to write nearly two thousand words on Sunday, but on Monday deleted most of it, because it all truly sucked.

I find it hard to concentrate when the house is full of people. I'm one of those writers who cannot stand to have someone peering over my shoulder, trying to read as I write. I can't do it. People - read: family - are interested and intrigued, I get that, but I'm forever glancing around to see if anyone's lurking.

It breaks my concentration, my mood and creates a definite frustration level that isn't easily smoothed out. Trouble is, I persist with the writing, determined to write at least something.

The time frame I had to write dwindled way too fast for me.

If I'm to complete the PBW challenge, I'm going to have to create some significant me time out of family time. I can see it's only going to get worse when the November challenge comes along.

Sigh. Somedays, I wonder if it's worth all the aggravation. Then I think, yep. To achieve what I'm aiming for, you've got to take the good with the bad.

I want some peace and quiet to work, I want for people to not be so demanding, and I want my internet back on! Oh, and I really need some more sleep.

It's nice to have visitors, but I've cooked and cleaned and entertained and cleaned some more and cooked a lot and conversed and soothed an obstreperous five-year-old and it seemed I had no time to myself to do what I had already planned.

This coming weekend, I will finish this challenge, damnit and if people get in my way, tough! There. I have a plan and I'm not afraid to use it!