Friday, November 25, 2005

Personal Note / Apology

Due to an extremely busy week, I did this little disappearing act and I'm sorry.

I had one project due yesterday (Thursday) and I have another one due Monday. Hence, I cut myself off completely from blogging. I had to, you see.

Also - NaNo is due Wednesday and I would like to try to reach 30,000 words at the very least. I will call that a win, considering everything.
However, I do know of this is one amazing person who already reached the 50,000 mark last week. Yzabel, way to go!

And to my American friends - Happy Thanksgiving.
I was supposed to go to the US yesterday for Thanksgiving but was grounded due to the blizzard we had here. Sigh. And it's not even winter yet.
But it was a blessing in disguise as it afforded me more time on my project. (Plus, I really don't like turkey.)

So there you have it...


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Idol Writing - Compromising your Artistic Integrity

Soon, another season of American Idol will begin. And while I may not watch Lost, Survivor, or most other TV shows, I do watch American and Canadian Idol (but shhh, don't tell, it's my little secret).

I don't know if you know, but last season two contestants seemed very out of place there, at least at first. Same was true with Canadian Idol where one contestant was such a rocker, the judges didn't know if she would fit the pop singing and culture. One of them even asked her - are you ready to sell your soul? (my own paraphrase).

It is well known that rockers view pop singing as exactly that. An artistic compromise for the purpose of selling more CDs and be more popular. Well, what is pop(ular) after all?

Crossing the Line
Uploaded on October 30, 2005
by darkmatter
I often thought of the matter in my writing as well. What would be the point, if any, where I would say, 'Stop.' What is the line I wouldn't cross?

I know that many of you who read this are fiction writers mostly, so the question is almost moot. But not entirely. Has anyone ever decided to write in a certain genre because it was the "in" thing? Has anyone ever put in a sex scene simply to drive up interest? Has anyone ever changed her language because she suspected her own would not sell?

What about after a sale? Has anyone ever agreed to change something fundamental just to keep the sale?

Since I don't write only fiction, I find myself considering some of these things more often. I sometimes "dumb down" articles because I know this is what editors prefer even though the public is perfectly capable to be slightly more challenged. (One could argue that perhaps I don't write for the right markets, and one might be right, but still, it's an interesting point.)

In my fiction writing, also. I am always asked to change something. Without fail. I usually agree without any regrets, except for this one time. This one time will haunt me forever (or until I'm famous and can republish the story as it was originally written). I feel that on that one occasion I sold my integrity.

So I coined the term for my own sanity - idol writing. Sometimes, for a bit of publicity and a bit of money we compromise. Instead of carrying our hearts on our sleeves and sing rock/jazz/blues/punk we sing pop. Instead of writing with all of our hearts we write someone else's ideas.

Do you have a line you wouldn't cross?

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Friday, November 18, 2005

This and That - about ten of them

First, it's officially snowing here.

Second, I've discovered that all my hand written stuff I've done in the past ten days or so, after my laptop went caput, for NaNo does not even amount to half of what I thought it would. I still have to transfer a few more pages, but it's disappointing.

Third, my office is freezing despite the furnace working full time. I think I might have to get a heater.

Fourth, I'm missing so many ingredients for tonight's supper yet there's no chance in hell I'm going outside in this weather (and it's only just the beginning).

Fifth, professionalism, professionalism, professionalism! I've queried a certain magazine a month and half ago but heard nothing yet despite them promising in their guidelines a two week reply. I've queried about my query and again have yet to receive an answer. Why is it that only one side of this industry is expected to maintain professional behaviour?

Sixth, as always I have an adjustment period in which I can't write after I travel. Today is the third day. Granted I'm jetlagged, tired and have a cold, but come on! And I have so much to catch up to as well.

Seventh, my forever single best friend is now dating. Shhhh. Don't jinx it.

Eighth, if I read one more depressing blog post I'm going to explode. The winter is definitely here and it's only just beginning. I'm stocking up on tissues. Please don't make me cry too much this winter...

Ninth, it's kind of hard writing when wearing a heavy winter coat. Options? 1) Freeze. 2) Move computer upstairs. 3) Buy a heater - hopefully tonight. For now - it's kind of hard writing with a heavy winter coat on.

Tenth, Cavan is right. If Canadians didn't have winter, what would we complain about?

Eleventh, I wish there were no adverbs in this world. It's so easy to use them, yet sooooo bad. Thank you Carter for reminding me (nicely).

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Paris en Feu - Paris on Fire

I cannot ignore what happened in Paris lately even though I'm quite late talking about this.

And no, I'm not going to discuss this politically, socially, or any other ally.

In fact, I've changed my mind and I'm not going to discuss this at all. It's hard enough to see the images, to see Gais Paris like that, that all need for words is gone.

I've never been. It's true. I've been to many places but never to Paris. And I've had so many different excuses each time. Perhaps I was afraid of shattering a dream. Perhaps Paris seemed so magical that I didn't want to ruin that image. Beautiful Paris, with its chateaux, palaces, museums, street monuments and restaurants. Romantic and unattainable.

Well... no longer. That image is now ruined and while Paris remains beautiful, the mystical aura I gave it is no longer there.

Maybe I will visit Paris after all. And maybe sooner than I ever imagined. I think I'm ready.

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Back to Blog Writing

Sorry, I said Tuesday but meant Thursday...

I'm back home finally after a very long stretch.

As far as my writing is concerned I had some setbacks, such as the demise of my laptop, but I also had some successes. Most notably was my ability to actually write while away, something I found difficult to do up until this last 'away mission'.

I came home to a new monitor, which I'm happy to report is a slick, flat and black 17'' LCD monitor. Things like this make me very happy.

However, I also came home to a chilly weather, which of course everyone blames me for. Apparently it was hovering around 10c-15c (50F-60F) until I arrived. It dropped to zero (32F) and below the day I arrived. Needless to say I don't believe them. They must be lying. It can't be. Not to mention it really can't be me. I couldn't have such influence over the weather... or could I?

This weather, in any event, made me sick so this post is it for today. But I'm looking forward to visiting you all next.

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

I'll Be Back Tuesday

I'll be back to regular blogging Tuesday the 16th.

Thank you all for visiting in the time that I am absent and see you all then...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Just Another Sunday

Today I wanted to put in at least an hour of writing on my already behind NaNovel so I woke up early.

Someone, and I'm sorry but I can't remember who, told on his blog about his previous year's NaNovel getting corrupted by viruses or something like that. I boasted that I usually write on my laptop which isn't connected to the internet and therefore is very safe. What I didn't mention was that my laptop is nearly 8-years-old.

This morning, not being very different from others (yet), I stayed in bed and turned on my laptop. It had problems starting up, but hey, being seven and half, it wasn't the first time this happened and so I didn't get too anxious. When on the fifth attempt my laptop wouldn't start, I began to feel little pangs in my chest area. Forty-five minutes and two dozen attempts later you could have found me pulling my hair out. I no longer cared about my laptop, only about the material inside, especially the NaNovel (I have backups for most of the rest).

Eventually, after much qualm, I managed to start the computer in DOS mode and copy the necessary files onto a floppy. I sent copies of the files to my gmail, yahoo and msn accounts. Just to be on the safe side.

As I was finishing doing all that my alarm clock went off. I ran back to the bedroom, leaned over the bed to reach the night table and turned on my night lamp. You guessed it, the alarm clock didn't stop alarming. I tried turning off the night lamp. Nothing. I tried turning the night lamp on and off a few more times to no avails when I finally had an epiphany - turning on and off the light won't affect the alarm clock, perhaps I should try pushing the little button on the clock. Lo and behold - it worked, I did it! I chuckled to myself, feeling pretty silly, but already knowing what this day was about to turn to.

By this time I also needed to get dressed. So I did. Then I even put on my socks and heavy winter shoes on. I nearly left the room when I realized that while I was wearing shoes, I wasn't wearing any pants... That's right and you can imagine the sight: underwear, bare legs, socks to the knees and heavy winter shoes. This time I wasn't chuckling, I was laughing hysterically.

So, when a day like this happens, I always get the impression it wouldn't stop, but then again, if I don't take charge and change my day, who would? When these little mishaps happen I simply take a break, a deep breath and make myself come out of the funk (despite not writing anything for NaNo…)

Have a good day everybody and if things happen, try to laugh at them, and then maybe they'll laugh back - who knows?

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Friday, November 04, 2005

Aliens and Mafia Blogs

Since many of us are very busy with NaNo these days, and since some of us who don't do NaNo find our blogs lacking in posts lately, then here are a couple quick links:

To all your sci-fi lovers out there Kate created an alien. Well... at least this is what I see when I look at the new Apophysis image she's posted.

And since, as Mama Corleone, I always pay my tribute to Teh Blog Father, here's the latest one: and you're really going to enjoy yourself there, go check it out.
Teh Blog Father


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Tactician Writer - Seeing a Few Moves Ahead

In the last few writing related posts I had some very interesting comments. What I found to be most interesting was how we almost all differ in our writing techniques: some are very plot oriented, some character driven, some spend months building a world, others spend months creating a detailed outline, while others yet simply take the pen (or sit at their computer) and start writing. I loved, for example, how Pat categorized herself as a "method writer."

Well, I need to tell you something else about me first. I play chess. Not very well, but I try. As a chess player though, I've learnt the importance of seeing a few moves ahead. The more moves you can see the better player you are.

Same goes for my writing. I can't categorize myself using any of the above techniques. Depending on what I'm working on I have different methods I use. However, there is one thing I always strive for and that one thing is to know/have, at the very least, a few scenes ahead in my head.

So there you have it, I present a new method - tactical writer. And as always, I'm probably not the first to write about this or mention this, but who has any "first" ideas these days?

Any chess lovers out there by the way?

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