Thursday, November 30, 2006
From the moment the first convict set foot on this land, sent here by a British penal system overloaded with prisoners, the rivalry between the two nations began.
Australia was the dumping ground for all sorts of convicts, from those who stole bread in an effort to feed the family of Industrial England to prostitutes, con men/women, fraudsters, minor criminals. A good number of them were ex-soldiers, convicted of mutiny, desertion and insubordination. A lot of the Irish, however, were political prisoners.
Needless to say, a lot of Australians are descended from these people, and are proud of it; kind of like Mayflower descendents - though for different reasons.
A lot of piss and vinegar has been thrown backwards and forwards, most of it name calling. We call them 'Poms, bloody Poms and whinging Poms'; they call us 'convicts, sheep-shaggers and skips (short for Skippy the Bush Kangaroo). It's usually good natured, in the same way we call the French 'frogs', Americans 'yanks', Japanese 'nips' and New Zealanders 'kiwis' just to name a few.
It's an Australian thing to find a nickname appropriate to culture, social status, sporting team or person.
Now, though, there is the BPARD; the British People Against Racial Discrimination who are trying to get a beer ad banned because it views the phrase 'cold enough to scare a Pom' as a racial slur.
The story quotes BPARD spokesman David Thomason as saying: "The Oxford Dictionary classes Pom as being derogatory just like wog, wop, dink, dago, coon and abo, it's every bit as bad as the term nigger."
As far as I know, the term ‘nigger’ was representative of a culture of slavery and oppression that the British have never suffered at the hands of Australians, quite the reverse given the origins of Australians.
But comparing being called a 'pom' - a term of affection - to something as repulsive as 'nigger'?
BPARD should suck it up and move on. The word ain't going away as longs as there is an Aussie who knows this country's history and why we call 'em 'whinging Poms'. Perhaps we'll now call the stuffed shirts of BPARD 'Girls' Blouse Poms'.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
It's a terrific read in the Darkyn series, but it comes with two bonuses: The first is an extract from Night Lost due out May 2007 and the second is an extract from A Plague of Memory, the next eagerly awaited Stardoc novel, due in January 2007.
Midnight Blues is the tale of Detective Adam Raphael Suarez, a Darkyn, and a nun, plus the evil, psychotic and twisted Darkyn who wants them both for his sick games. It's a quick read, but no less satisfying. It fits neatly into the Darkyn world and the best part is that it has a slight coninuation of Dark Need, the current book in the series.
Go, read it! And, as a final plug, read some of the other entrants in PBW's Challenge, there is something there for everyone and they are all FREE!
Monday, November 27, 2006
Muslim outrage huh. OK ... let's do a little historical review. Just some low lights:
• Muslims fly commercial airliners into buildings in New York City. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslim officials block the exit where school girls are trying to escape a burning building because their faces were exposed. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims cut off the heads of three teenaged girls on their way to school in Indonesia. A Christian school. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims murder teachers trying to teach Muslim children in Iraq. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims murder over 80 tourists with car bombs outside cafes and hotels in Egypt. No Muslim outrage.
• A Muslim attacks a missionary children's school in India. Kill six. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims slaughter hundreds of children and teachers in Beslan, Russia. Muslims shoot children in the back. No Muslim outrage.
• Let's go way back. Muslims kidnap and kill athletes at the Munich Summer Olympics. No Muslim outrage.
* Muslims fire rocket-propelled grenades into schools full of children in Israel. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims murder more than 50 commuters in attacks on London subways and buses. Over 700 are injured. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims massacre dozens of innocents at a Passover Seder. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims murder innocent vacationers in Bali. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslim newspapers publish anti-Semitic cartoons. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims are involved, on one side or the other, in almost every one of the 125+ shooting wars around the world. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims beat the charred bodies of Western civilians with their shoes, then hang them from a bridge. No Muslim outrage.
• Newspapers in Denmark and Norway publish cartoons depicting Mohammed. Muslims are outraged.
Dead children. Dead tourists. Dead teachers. Dead doctors and nurses. Death, destruction and mayhem around the world at the hands of Muslims ... no Muslim outrage ... but publish a cartoon depicting Mohammed with a bomb in his turban and all hell breaks loose.
Come on, is this really about cartoons? They're rampaging and burning flags. They're looking for Europeans to kidnap. They're threatening innkeepers and generally raising holy Muslim hell not because of any outrage over a cartoon. They're outraged because it is part of the Islamic jihadist culture to be outraged. You don't really need a reason. You just need an excuse. Wandering around, destroying property, murdering children, firing guns into the air and feigning outrage over the slightest perceived insult is to a jihadist what tailgating is to a Steeler's fan.
I know and understand that these bloodthirsty murderers do not represent the majority of the world's Muslims. When, though, do they become outraged? When do they take to the streets to express their outrage at the radicals who are making their religion the object of worldwide hatred and ridicule? Islamic writer Salman Rushdie wrote of these silent Muslims in a New York Times article three years ago. "As their ancient, deeply civilized culture of love, art and philosophical reflection is hijacked by paranoiacs, racists, liars, male supremacists, tyrants, fanatics and violence junkies, why are they not screaming?"
Indeed. Why not?
It just about says it all really, except that for evil to triumph, good men need only do nothing.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Still, five days to go and I'm powering along nicely. I'm still wondering whether I'll get to my own personal goal; it matters not if I don't make it, of course, but it would be nice to wake up on Friday morning and think, 'hey, I wrote three books in a month, how about that' then go back to sleep.
Hah! It'll be more like, 'thank the Goddess that's over with, now get your sorry butt outta bed and to work!'. I should have planned for a nice day off, but no, I didn't.
My rewards have yet to turn up, but I'm hoping they will next week so I can spend the weekend catching up and indulging myself. The lawn needs mowing, I need a hair cut, the house work needs doing... and a list of neglected chores as long as my arm.
No wonder my eye's a'twitchin'
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Of course, I don't really have that luxury if I want to make my target.
There would be no shame if I missed the goal, I've done really well in this challenge and late in Nano, I begin to wonder if it's all been worth it, why I do this to myself, and why don't I take a damned day off?
The answers are: yes, because I can't resist a challenge, and if I want to become a professional at this, and I'm going to come up against almost impossible deadlines.
Today hasn't been a complete loss. I've done nigh on 3,000 words and managed to read some of the free e-books from PBW's Challenge. Reading those works have left me a little shy about my own work, because the ones I've read are so damned good. Risque, adult, intriguing and wanting more.
There is one I've hesitated at reading: I'm not a fan of Christian inspirationals. However, I made a promise to read them all and so I will. If it's squiky, I won't list it.
And that's the plan: to list all those that are terrific; my favourite choices, though be warned, some of them are erotica.
Okay, then. I was meant to post a short story over at The Takeaway, but this close to the end of NaNo, I'm going to beg off. But I'll be posting two stories in two weeks, so that will be a bonus.
I'll try not to be seduced by the Sci-Fi Channel which starts here next Friday... but I can't guarantee anything...
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
You are The Moon
Hope, expectation, Bright promises.
The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.
The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.
What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.
Isn't that card beautiful? Then there was this quiz:
|You Belong in Winter|
Quiet, calm, and totally at peace...
You're happy to be at home, wrapped in a blanket, completely snowed in
Whether you're lighting a fire or having a snowball fight, you always feel best in the winter.
Yep, I do love my Winters. Of course, the wonderful thing about Blogthings, is that it can keep you amused for hours!
|You Are From Pluto|
You are a dark, mysterious soul, full of magic and the secrets of the universe.
You can get the scoop on anything, but you keep your own secrets locked in your heart.
You love change and you use it to your advantage, whether by choice or chance.
You don't like to compromise, to the point of being self-destructive with your stubborness.
Live life with love, and your deep powers will open the world to you.
Whether any of them are true of not, depends on your mood, doesn't it? Still, it's a highly effective way to avoid working.
Monday, November 20, 2006
I've never been a diary or journal keeper; it took time and what I wanted to write was the prey of nosy and sometimes cruel siblings. That much I did learn. Instead, I kept what I wanted to say to myself, certain that no one was interested and if they were, I would be subject to derision and I-already-knew-thats, as I'd already experienced.
Once out of the familial home, that attitude never changed, until the advent of blogging. Even this I resisted; I ummed and ahhed over what the hell I could possibly talk about that anyone would be interested in.
And then it occurred to me: What did it matter?
In this place, I had an open forum to say whatever I wanted. I could wax lyrical on whatever took my fancy and if someone took me to task about it, that was their right as much as it is mine to put it here in the first place. There are, allegedly, millions of blogs, and mine can hide amongst them, stumbled upon by accident, or deliberately visited, it's here, hopefully to stay a while.
Freedom of speech, means just that: I am free to make a speech, which is more than I had as a kid.
So. Three hundred posts later, and I'm still going. It matters not whether people read it or not, post comments or not, because this is where I come to vent my spleen, share a joke, some information, or just rant. Because I can.
I hope I have enough to say for another 300 posts, and another 300. Who knows? One day, I may very well button my lip - but I don't think so; I spent too many years doing that.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Yes, my name is Jaye and I abuse keyboards.
But back to the temptations - please, don't sing! The siren's call of PBW's challenge book and the challengers, the latest JD Robb, Artemis Fowl, the fact that I really, really need to get some exercise before my butt is too large for the chair..., cable tv, the new mobile phone I want to play with, are all vying for my attention.
Unfortunately for them, the writing of the third book is going damn well. So well, I'm resenting having to turn the computer off to go and sleep, or work, or shop, or whatever.
Should my reward for this month's work turn up, I know I shall be doomed. All those anime dvds? Gah... I hope they don't arrive until December 1.
When I'm in this mood, it's best to stop writing in the middle of a sentence, so it's easier to pick up where I left off. And that is another tip on how to keep going when you're a) not sure you want to and b)get stuck.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
It's a more well-rounded book with humour as well as action; and I like the characters more. That makes a difference. So does writing when I'm tired - there's less wondering if it is right and more control by the characters themselves.
Sure, they looked at me sideways with the motocross bike, but, they shrugged and carried on. (I think Justin liked the idea, and Winter just went with it as a new experience.)
No such fun in the first book, and I doubt there'll be much humour in the second; it doesn't suit either main character. Perhaps some droll humour from Nathan.
Humour is one of the tenets of the Lord of the screenplay, Joss Whedon, and we all know how well it works for him.
I guess I'm going to have to let the characters find their own way; it's always best during NaNo, otherwise you write yourself into all sorts of things the characters simply wouldn't do.
Twelve days to go and 70k to write; 5833 words a day to make that. Hmmm... doable, if I want it to be. And I want it.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
From Astrology for Writers, Editors and Filmmakers:
Gemini: Wordsmiths all, Gems have great creative bursts this month. Write everything down. Carry a notebook or index cards... SOMETHING to capture the brilliance before you get sidetracked. How's that ADHD?
Hah! Pretty close to the mark wouldn't you say?
Over at Fiction Factor, Deanna Mascle has the secret to successful writing.
JA Konrath has a post on the question of how you're doing as a writer.
Gabriele over at The Lost Fort has a translation of a poem that marked a really interesting period in British Army History (and is covered in most books on military disasters).
And Balls and Walnuts has a post about the War on Christmas. (Ya gotta shake your head at that one.)
Had to post this, too. Do you remember when?
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
It's not a very old keyboard, I've yet to change the batteries for the first time, but already the 'n' is wearing away and there's a smooth spot on the space bar from the constant battering. Yes, I'm hell on keyboards.
Totally unrelated, and it's been a slow day on the NaNo. I ran into a plot stop. That's the stop where you think, "and then what?" but can't come up with anything reasonable. Other authors call it 'writing yourself into a corner', and that's true.
To me, it's the opportunity to pause in the mad rush that is November. And so I did.
Which leads me to another tip, and that is: when you are stuck, walk away. Do something totally, and I do mean totally unrelated to writing.
I changed the blog over to the new beta version; spent time fiddling with it. By the time I was done, my mind had worked through the writing problem and come up with a solution. Better yet, it came up with an ending. On the downside, I still have to fill in another twenty to thirty thousand words before I get to that ending.
I think that's a fundamental difference between organic and non-organic writers: non-organic writers have plotted out everything, they know what's going to happen; organic writers have a vague idea and find - or at least I do - that various unconnected scenes are popping out all over the place! Talk about multi-tasking!
Anyway, a slow-ish day with 5300 words done, and that's okay, because I'm at an impending action scene and it will take a few thousand to get through. To me, that's the ideal spot to finish up for the day. Tomorrow is a day off for me and I can throw myself into it. Yay!
Sunday, November 12, 2006
The house benefitted from my puzzling out problems, so that's a plus. I also had a reasonable word count, but I'm far from satisfied.
I'm back at work tomorrow and I don't want the word count to drop; then again, maybe I should stop putting pressure on myself.
The other side of the argument just stepped up to the plate: I love what I'm writing and resent any interruption.
But... the books will get written whether I do it in November or December. Alternatively, I have the wherewithal to finish them this month if I stick to the loose schedule I've made! Of course, we all know what happened to the outline, so who's to say I'll stick with the schedule?
It's a good thing I'm a Gemini; I can explain away the schzophrenia! Or I can simply blame the muse, who's just got up from the corner and is coming out fighting. She's already got book three in mind, with a post-script for the fourth person.
Sometimes, I exhaust myself.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
This one feels more cohesive; probably because the major points from the first book are still fresh in mind.
The difficulty comes with the reversing of a personality. It’s hard to take a bust-your-chops, rebellious, aggressive post-teenager and turn her into to a shy, fearful and hesitant woman; then build them back up to that same kick ass personality slowly.
Deconstructing the character from the first book to the second where more vulnerability is needed. There is such a thing as being too independent, too strong and tough. How do you get around that? By taking it all away. You’ve got to have a good reason, and an effective method.
I have to say, it’s fun. Poor Winter. So much power and no idea how to use it.
At the other end of the candle is time. Writing sucks it up and I’ve been spending long hours sitting at the computer. I’m still focusing well on the story line, still taking caffeine intravenously, but I will crash sooner or later. I’m working on the later. I want three books and I want them by the end of the month.
The current schedules dictates I finish this one by November 18 at the latest, the third by November 27, leaving me three days to build the first up to its preferred total of 70-75k.
Then I can collapse into a heap and sleep it off. Oh, joy.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Thank the Goddess I tossed the outline. It's very liberating for me do so; I find structured writing constricting and I promise to try never to be lured into writing an outline again.
Trying to conform isn't my way, I understand that now, and yes, I can be as thick as two bricks about it.
Each author must find their own way in this creative world, and mine is as an organic writer. I want to find out what happens next as much as the characters do, and I'm blessed with the characters coming to me fully formed before I even start to put finger to keyboard. I've also practiced very hard to have fast typing fingers. If I didn't, I'd never keep up with what's happening in my worlds!
Tomorrow begins the second book for Nano, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to be pissy at work until I can get at least a couple of thousand words down. Since it's Friday, I'm hoping the boss will turn a blind eye to the manic typing coming from the next room. At least I'll be appearing to be busy to the customers that drop by!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
To me, they’ve only done a part of the job. Yes, the criteria is for 50,000 words in 30 days, and yes, they’ve done that. But what is the worth of their work? Is there a market out there for 50k? Probably, and for some, it’s the first step in a long career as a writer, especially for those for whom this year is their first NaNo.
When I did my first Nano in 2003, I was dripping in smug at completing the task, yea, I wallowed, for a day, at least. Then it occurred to me that the job was not yet done. If I wanted to be a writer, half a book wouldn’t cut it.
I sat myself down and damn well finished the book, within the month. It certainly wasn’t my best work, though I still think about it as having some truly exceptional parts to it; as in: who knew that could come out of my head.
NaNo is hard enough, but if you’re focused enough, determined enough, you’ll get through it. At the end, if you plan to be a writer, you’ll not just have the 50,000 words, but real, honest-to-Goddess, book.
And then, why you can edit it, re-work it, re-write parts of it and maybe, maybe you’ll be able to share it with the rest of us who toiled along side you.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Currently, I get the feeling that the NaNo characters aren’t quite sure about what they should be doing, are a little hesitant. This is not a good thing, because what they eventually do or say won’t seem genuine.
I suspect they know what’s coming up and aren’t entirely sure it’s appropriate. My job, then, it is to make it so. To set them up and direct them to the ending that needs to be.
Why? Because the ending of the first book is the precursor to the beginning of the second book. I have to have a reason for the first book to end a particular way otherwise the beginning of the next will be an eye-rolling one.
I don’t want that; I want people to wonder what happened. A cliff hanger without being a cliff hanger. Difficult writing to be sure, but have I ever resisted a writing challenge?
Sunday, November 05, 2006
I wasn't going to post today, but I thought, 'what the hell'.
My focus wasn't what it should have been, but I was up late last night working on this. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I let my characters have their heads and they didn't disappoint.
In fact, at one stage, my fingers are flickering across the keyboard and I'm reading what's appearing on screen. It was so sad I ended up with tears in my eyes. (I'll admit right now that I had some sappy music on, so that'll be part of it.)
One of the most important aspects of writing is that you feel the emotion. If you can feel it, the reader will too - or should if you've written it properly. That's not always the case because the reader can't see into your head.
For me, it was a pivotal, tragic moment of cruel misunderstanding. I'll have to wait until December before I know if it works, though. I don't edit as I go, I simply get the words down.
And now, I'm done.
Tip No.5 Scene work: To complete your mission of 50k words, there are some scenes that are essential: sex, fights, arguments and make-ups. For the first two, you have the lead up, the action, and the follow up recriminations and justifications. For the second two, you can just jump right in and have at it. Then it's a repeat - but remember to keep in mind your finale. You don't want your characters to be so disillusioned that the ending won't work.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
I've done just over 9,000 words today on Nano, and my thoughts are somewhat scattered. Why? Well not just because of the effort involved... okay, it is actually, and it's the schedule I've set for myself.
Last month, I wrote a 20k novelette for PBW's challenge, and outlines for the Nano challenge, and a short story for the takeaway. This month, I've set myself a challenge of writing two books and a short story for the takeaway.
And for those people who don't think that's a lot of work, well, it is.
Too much? I'll have to see, but the reward is the result: two books, two short stories, an e-book boosted by the fabulous Sheila Kelly, otherwise known as S.L. Viehl, Jessica Hall and Lynn Viehl, and the knowledge that I can meet deadlines and do challenges at the same time. All that adds up to demonstrating to prospective agents, editors and publishers that I can do the work when asked.
As for any tips I might have?
Tip No. 3: Don't take on more than you can manage. Nano isn't a sprint, it's a marathon and like any other marathon, you need to pace yourself. Set a particular amount every day. 1666 is fine for achieving 50,000, but if you want a book set your goal higher: 2,500 a day will give you a 75,000 word book and that's great. And remember: never give up on your dream to be a writer.
Did this post make sense? I hope so, otherwise, when I read it tomorrow, I'll be coloured embarrassment!
Friday, November 03, 2006
The 3 Bears: A far more accurate account of the events of that fateful morning:
Baby bear goes downstairs, sits in his small chair at the table, and he looks into his small bowl.
It is empty. "Who's been eating my porridge?" He squeaks.
Daddy Bear arrives at the big table and sits in his big chair. He looks into his big bowl and it is also empty. "Who's been eating my porridge?!?" He roars.
Mummy Bear puts her head through the serving hatch from the kitchen and yells: "For God's sake, how many times do I have to go through this with you idiots?
“It was Mummy Bear who got up first.
“It was Mummy Bear who woke everyone in the house.
“It was Mummy Bear who made the coffee.
“It was Mummy Bear who unloaded the dishwasher from last night and put everything away.
“It was Mummy Bear who went out in the cold early morning air to fetch the newspaper and croissants.
“It was Mummy Bear who set the damn table.
“It was Mummy Bear who put the bloody cats out, cleaned the litter boxes, gave the cats their food, and refilled their water.
“And now that you've decided to drag your sorry bear- asses downstairs and grace Mummy Bear with your grumpy presence, listen carefully, because I'm only going to say this once:
“I HAVEN'T MADE THE F***ING PORRIDGE YET!!!"
Yep, knew it would happen, but not so quickly. Actually, I was trying hard to keep to the outline; after all, I spent some significant time working on it.
The first chapter, I thought, went well and I took it as a good sign. But, no. It was not to be. I am, undoubtedly, an organic writer. I simply cannot stick to an outline, no matter how well-crafted and information driven. It's just not me.
I found myself writing about stuff that was supposed to happen in chapter five, in the third chapter. I'm hoping that when it comes time to do the rewrite and editing, I can fix that - for the time line if nothing else.
For now, I'm going to use the outline as a guide, as sign posts to what I want in the books, so all that work isn't wasted.
Tip No.2: Find your comfort zone and stay there. I know it's said that a writer should be able to write anywhere, but amidst screaming children, a barking dog fighting neighbours, that is a lie. Writers do need to turn off the noise to concentrate, but it's better if there's a space for them somewhere in the house; away from noise, away from demands, away from the real world. Simply tell people you are taking a time out for two hours. Let them know that this two hour time out will happen every day, for a month. Get the household used to this idea, and even when NaNo is over, you'll still have that time reserved for yourself. Keep it, do not let anyone take that time from you, it can't be regained.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
To make my challenge, I need 4666 and a bit (can't forget the bit) every day; to have a chance of finishing, I'll need to do more than that so I have a buffer zone.
Now to something encouraging: Over at Rachel Caine's live journal, Rachel has prizes going, including a critique of the first 50,000 words completed and other prizes. Go and have a look.
For those who are struggling with NaNo, I'm going to post tips on most days.
Tip No. 1: Make sure you have set up a daily update sheet. On this sheet, have these rows - days numbered from 1 to 30; then columns word count, ongoing total and less 50,000 (if you need the formulae, let me know). Each time you finish a paragraph, do a word count and put it in the column, then do another paragraph. You'll be surprised at how quickly the less column reduces every single day.
Time for me to do my own writing... coz this don't count!
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
They are there for your entertainment. There are also a number of genres so you're assured of something you can enjoy. I, for one, will be looking closely at the whole list whether it is in my genre or not.
I'll need a break during NaNo and there is nothing better I'd like to be doing than reading these pieces written as a challenge.
Sheila's challenge has forced wannabe writers to put up or shut up; this list is the fruits of their labours.
Go, enjoy, make positive comments.