Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Super 8 *spoilers*

I went and saw the movie Super 8 the other week out of boredom. I had the weekend to myself because the other half was working. I thought I would go into the city and try and hunt down some acceptable wedding shoes. That was pointles. I do not like to wear heels. I find them uncomfortable and I have the balance of a drunk. If the heel is too big I stagger around, roll my ankle, and usually walk into a wall. I would like some flat shoes for my wedding, as you can imagine. I find it uncomfortable enough to wear heels to work. Like hell I'm going to wear them on my wedding day and potentially fall over in my dress, flash my sexy underthings to the world, or even worse fall over while trying to dance in them coupled with a cinderella dress. All the stores I went too either had winter boots or giant, over priced, monster heels. I am going to try looking again after winter. The whole experience left me pretty irritated though. I want the perfect pair of pretty flats (NOT BALLERIA FLATS!!) to complete my whole look. I've got a feeling that is going to be hard. Very hard. So hard I will probably have to go out to some weird special shoe store. Oh and did I mention I have size 11 feet as well? Yeah. Helps, doesn't it?

Anyhoo, after that fun experience, I went and saw Super 8 to finish my afternoon. It was an all right movie. A bit too young for me. But the was "okay" and I hesitate to even say that. It had good characters but it was SO UNREASLITIC. For example (SPOILERS PEOPLE!!) in one scene a man drives his car into the direct path of a train, it hits and explodes, derails the entire train, and then the kids magically find the driver ALIVE and covered in a little bit of blood and scratches STILL INSIDE HIS CAR which has been split in two. Right. Okay. So they expect me to believe that despite driving his car straight into an incoming train, his car exploding, and then the train derailing, this man is alive? and not even burnt to a crisp? Who the hell wrote this movie?

I did a post a little while back about fantasy and reality and asked the question how realistic should a fantasy be? I think realism should play a part. A story has to be believable regardless of what it is about. I don't care if the characters are talking teddy bears or are being chased by space aliens. If the story is not believable it causes the person to take a step back, shake their head, and say "That would never happen!" It is poor, lazy writing, folks. Poor.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Text Speak

I really hate it when people write in text speak on the internet. I didn't really mind it when people first started using it when I was a teenager. Back then the most people used were BRB or ASL or LOL in chat rooms. Now people are using text speak in real life and inserting text speak into sentences with the King's English. One of my most despised "words" that I've seen people using is "I lol'ed" now I am fond of using the occasional text speak word (WTF pretty much describes how I feel when I see people write things like I lol'ed) I draw the line when people start inserting text speak into every day conversations. I mean, come on, lol'ed? When people say things like that I have an urge to grab them by the shoulders and shake them and scream "SPEAK ENGLISH!!" at them.

It's laziness basically. Facebook is real bad. Some people use text speak so bad I find it hard to understand them sometimes. I hate it when write 2 instead of to and shorten words to a couple of letters or add an s or a z on the end of them. I really REALLY hate it when I see famous people write in text speak. I feel like it is setting such a bad example. I know, I know, I sound like an old fuddy duddy, but it's true!! Is it so hard for people to write are instead of the letter r? or you instead of u? How many children are growing up right now with retarded English skills? Text speak is almost becoming a seperate language. Maybe eventually it will be called 'Teenager Code' or something and the only people who will be able to understand it will under educated doucebags who sit on facebook all day.

Writer Machine

One of the most common questions posted on writer's message board is "How long does it take for you to write a novel?" I've noticed alot of writers have developed super human speeds and can churn out lengthy tomes in days, weeks, a few short months and in the case of a few supermen in less than 24 hours. I seem to be of a dying breed that takes over a year to finish a single project (I can do a short story in about 3 months or less). In the past authors would take decades to finish a single book and would sometimes have long breaks in between projects. It seems that modern writers think that in order to be successful an author must be able to write a decent sized novel (usually above 100k) and edit it in three months or less. If an author dares to take longer they usually try to explain it by saying "I have kids...a job..." as if finishing a novel in six months instead of three is not a huge achievement.

We live in a world where people can download music instantly and can order anything they want online. People want things now. They do not want to wait for anything. That includes novels. There seems to be this growing conception among writers that if you cannot finish half a dozen books in a single year you will not have a successful career. You will be labelled slow. People will lose interest in your work and forget about you.

It has taken must just over a year to write nearly 50k of my current project. I am predicting that it will be over 100k in rough draft form and probably between 70 and 80k in the final version. I am incredibly pleased with the time I have taken to write this thing. I have doubled my writing speed from last year. I have pretty much written a perfect sized novel in a year. This from a girl who used to take five years to write a novel. You can see why I am happy with myself.

And yet I am constantly made to feel as if my speed is pathetic. Do I need to be some sort of writing machine to be able to survive in this industry? Do I need to be able to churn out at least two books a year to keep my career alive? Is there something wrong with wanting to enjoy the act of writing and not force myself to hurdle down the road of publishing like an out of control car?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Whispers in the Dark Update!

I got a surprise when I checked my hotmail this morning. Someone had left a comment on my very rough "trailer" I made for Whispers in the Dark all the way back in 2009 before it came out. I actually think my trailer is not that bad considering I had no money, no real good programs to make it with, and only a rough soundclip of thunder to add onto it to make it sound cool. The trailer can be seen here

I thought the comment was really nice. They said they loved my book and would recommend it to anyone who likes Greek mythology. This makes me so happy. It's great for me to know that people enjoyed my little short story, that people did buy it, and that they actually took the time to google Whispers in the Dark. I am looking forward to Echoes in the Wind coming out so much. I am going to get my sister Katie to make the trailer. She's really good at making videos so the trailer should hopefully look much MUCH better than the one I did for Whispers in the Dark. No pressure, Katie! :-)

I am much more proud of Echoes in the Wind then I am of Whispers in the Dark. I feel that I have improved as a writer. The story is longer and much more darker than Whispers. It is a novella so the plot and characters are fleshed out much more. Whispers in the Dark was an experiment. I wanted to see if I could write a short story and get it published. I wrote it for a magazine but through a weird twist of fate it became an ebook. Getting it published as an ebook made me realise that I really wanted to write longer works. I got to hold Whispers in the Dark in my hands as a printed book and that was awesome but I didn't feel like it was a huge achievement because it was so small. I decided I am not really a short story writer. I want to write novels. I want to see my name written on the spine of a book. So you can see why I am more excited about Echoes in the Wind. It is an improvement on Whispers in the Dark because it is a novella. But I know I can do better. I know I can write something even longer.

I actually think Deep Embrace might stand a good chance of getting close to 80 to 100 thousand words in its rough draft. You know what that means? It will be a real honest to God novel! After editing it should be between 50 and 70 thousand words (god willing) which is the PERFECT size for a small novel. My problem in the past with writing was doing works that were too long. Atlantis Reborn clocked in at over one thousand pages in one draft. Yes, that's right, I wrote a phone book. I feel as if I have evolved enough as a wirter that I am now at the point where I can write a perfect sized novel of between 200 and 300 pages long. Deep Embrace might be the one. The question I have to ask myself now though is do I want to market it to ebook publishers or proper agents? I really don't know the answer to that one.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What is so wrong with swear words?

I was reading some of the reviews for Go the Fuck to Sleep on amazon and can't understand why so many people react in horror at the thought of someone reading that book to a small child. I don't understand what people find so offensive about swear words. Maybe it is because I am a writer, but to me, they are just words. How can words hurt me? How can they hurt anyone? How did a small selection of words become so taboo, so outrageous, that people feel the need to gasp in horror if I let the f-bomb slip in front of a small child? Repeat after me people : THEY.ARE.JUST.WORDS.

I agree that a person should never say a swear word in anger to another person and especially around children, but that could be said for any word, not just swear words. I can be delightfully insulting without using a single swear word. Why is inserting the word fuck into a sentence so unforgivable to somepeople?

Some of the reviews of Go the Fuck to Sleep are hilarious. "I would NEVER read this book to a child!" really? because I would. What do people think is going to happen if someone reads this book to their child? do they think they will get a tattoo on their arm and become a drug dealer? a hooker? a chain smoker? I mean, seriously people, saying the odd swear word around your child is not abuse and will not corrupt them for life. Now, if you call them a fucking idiot every day, that is different. That is verbal abuse. But shouting 'Fuck!' when you stub your toe in front of your off spring does not a bad parent make. It means you are human.

Some people are saying that only morons would read their child go the fuck to sleep. Sigh. Once again, I ask the question, why? I would read that book to my child if they were very young, say under two, because you know why? If read in a pleasant sounding voice they will not associate that word with something bad. Hell most kids do not even know what that word means until at least eight years old.

I really hate the bubble-wrap world we live in. People are so determined to shield children from everything. They are convinced that swear words, boobies, sex and violence will corrupt their children. My parents said to my recently what would I do if my child (when I have one) falls down my staircase. My response: they will learn not to play on the stairs then. I will be a good parent. I know I will. I am just not going to be one of those politically correct, over protective, hysterical parents who don't let their child run up slides at the park or jump off swings because they are afraid they will get hurt. I did all of those things as a kid. Yeah, they were stupid, and yeah I could have gotten hurt and I did a few times but that is how kids learn. Through doing dumb stuff.

I know when I do have kids alot of people are going to find my way of parenting really hard to understand. Why is it so weird that I do not have a problem with swearing? How does that make me a bad person? I'm sorry but when people tell me off for swearing I am gripped with an urge to shake my head, laugh under my breath and mutter 'Fucking idiot. It's just a word.' I do not swear like a sailor and I am polite to try and not do it in front of others but when I do let one drop it does irriate me when people tell me off about it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Are bookstores destined to die out?

I read a news article today that predicted that with the exception of a few small stores most bookstores will die out in Australia within a few years. I actually think this is true, but I don't think it will happen that quickly, I think it will take a little bit longer. The world is becoming more digital. Alot of people do not want to buy CD's anymore they just download their music off itunes. There used to be alot of CD stores around but they have slowly been disappearing. I didn't really notice it to be honest. It was only after Jaylani pointed it out to me this morning that I realised he was right. I still like to buy actual CDs. I don't trust computers. I'm always afraid they will break down or lose their memory or that I might spill something on them and then POOF there goes everything.

I think its stupid to put all of your eggs into one basket. Alot of people like to download movies these days as well. Once again, stupid. If someone steals your computer or it breaks down there goes your whole movie collection.

Well, enough about me, back to bookstores. Are they going to die out? Yes, I think they will, newspapers and magazines are not far behind them either. I think eventually ebooks and ezines will become the norm due to the rise of smart phones and tablet computers. Have you ever noticed how much the world is slowly becoming like the world of Star Trek? In Star Trek they have "datapads" which are pretty much tiny touch screen tablet computers. They use them to record things on, research things, read books on. That's where the world is headed in my mind. I think eventually I will start to see more people reading ebooks on the train instead of paper books.

The rise of ebooks and the fall of brick and mortar bookstores has me questioning which path I should take in publishing. It has always been the dream to get published by one of the large, successful, well known print publishers. Is that still a good choice? Would it be wiser to stick to epublishers? Who knows.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The God and Goddess of Darkness

I'm at the bit in Deep Embrace when Perse finally meets the baddies Nyx and Erebus the God and Goddess of Darkness/Nightime. I've been building up to it for a long time. The battle scene will take place in almost total darkness which should be interesting, difficult, but hopefully fun to write. I write so many battle scenes in my stories its always an effort to think of new and exciting ways to write them. A battle scene in the dark should not be as hard as the one I did earlier on in Deep Embrace between Perse and several large, hard to describe, violent sea monters! Ah that was fun! No, really, it was. A bit difficult, yeah, but mostly a fun challenge.

I have this awesome idea about how to describe Nyx and Erebus. Since they are the God and Goddess of Darkness (I do not mean evil I literally mean darkness. They are the God and Goddess of night) I am going to make them an attractive black couple with beautiful long silver hair and glowing silver eyes. If they are exposed to any light stronger than a candle flame or moonlight they turn to stone so they will be appearing to Perse in the dark. I'm going to make them glow though. Now that is going to be cool. They will have a silver aura surrouding them which will look alot like moonlight. They are going to be beautiful, mystical, and creepy.

A part of me has been worrying that some people might take offence that I will be writing two characters from Greek mythology that are traditionally protrayed as white as two black people. The reason I am doing it is because I like for the phsyical appearance of my characters to be symbolitic. I want people to be able to look at them and know straight away what sort of God or Goddess they are. For example: Perse is a mermaid so she has blue hair and a blue tail to represent the sea and gold eyes to represent the rising sun, which is Helios, her soul mate. Helios has red hair (fire) and blue eyes (the ocean) which is supposed to represent Perse.

Another reason I am making Nyx and Erebus black is because I love writing about black characters in fantasy novels with brightly coloured hair and eyes. The main character in my last book, Echo, had black skin and green eyes and green hair. I thought she was beautiful and exotic and I'm crossing my fingers like mad that she will be chosen to go on the front cover of Echoes in the Wind.

When I think of what Nyx and Erebus will look like in my book I think to myself 'Wow, they are going to be so pretty, so eerily beautiful' they are black because their skin represents the colour of the night sky and their silver hair and silver eyes represents the moonlight and the stars. I know I will probably offend some people, maybe, but that's not going to stop me from writing them the way that I want. I know that I will never please every single person who reads my book. That's okay. I accept that. I just hope people do not jump to the wrong conclusions about me and think that I made Nyx and Erebus black because I think that black skin = darkness/evil. Not at all! :-)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Borders bookstores shutting in Australia

I read online today that the rest of the Borders stores left in Australia will be shutting including the one in Perth!! I cannot believe that every single Borders store in the country is going to be shutting down. It was shocking when they closed half of the stores. I really don't know how to feel about this. The company has gone bankrupt, and not surprisingly, considering the prices they charge for their books. I went into one not long ago to look at books for how to use an exercise ball. They had one for about $40 I took one look at it and left. Sorry. Too much. I could get the same book on Amazon for probably less than $20. Sad, but true. If you over price things people will not buy your stuff!!

I feel really sad about my state's one and ONLY Border's store closing. I like living in Perth, but it is so small, so boring, sometimes it feels like I am living in a lonely little backwater somewhere. The Borders in the city was one of my favourite places to browse and shop. It was one of the best stores in the mall. I don't know what the hell they will replace it with but it will leave a big gaping hole in the shops there. We used to have two Angus and Robinson's, one Dymocks and Border's there, now there is only the Dymocks store left. I'm sure they're jumping up and down happily right about now. "Huzzah! No more Borders! Huzzah!" something to that effect. When Borders first opened a few years back I wondered how the other bookstores in town would survive. They did, though, and like I said, Dymocks must be laughing now. I hope they do not close. That would mean having no bookstores in the city at all!! Is that what society is heading towards though? Maybe.

In addition to their sky high prices, Borders went down because people are buying things online and getting ebooks. Is the print industry slowly dying? Will the book end up going the way of the cassette player? Will it become so out dated, so hippyish, so old fashioned, that the only place people will be able to buy books in the future will be from tiny, quirky little shops or antique stores? Possibly.

I feel like I am standing at a crossroads. Do I take the traditional publishing route with my next novel and attempt to get my book in a brick and mortar store like Borders? or do I continue to plod down the road of e-books and see if success awaits me down the path? The risk factors are about the same, to be honest. People say that the chances of success are higher if an author is published by a big house like Penguin or something. That's not really true. I could get published by one of them and still not earn a dime. Frankly, part of me is wondering if it would be wise to stick with ebooks, because what if I get a book pubilshed and then in ten, twenty years time, there are no more bookstores? What then? My book will vanish. Now, if it were an ebook....

Deep Embrace is 1 year old this month

I started writing Deep Embrace one year ago this month. Ah, god, that also means its been one year since I left my last job. How time flies, eh? I can't believe it's been a year. Isn't it funny how time can pass so slowly in some jobs but in others it goes by so quickly it's as if you slept the whole time?

As for my writing, my speed has improved over the past year, and at the same time has pretty much remained the same. It took me over a year to write Echoes in the Wind and that little puppy ended up under 100 pages once it was completely finished. Deep Embrace, on the other hand, is almost 45,000 words long and nearly 130 pages. So I have written a longer peice in the same amount of time, which is good, but I still have not breeched 200 pages or finished the damn thing. I will soon though!

I think I will be finished on the rough draft of Deep Embrace in 3 months which will be perfect timing because that will be around the time I will be assigned an editor for Echoes in the Wind and it will be very close to my wedding.

What are my goals for next year? I would like to make an effort to improve my writing speed some more. I have a daily goal of over 200 words. I usually do between 400 and 500 words a day, sometimes more, but never less than 200. I force myself to meet that tiny goal even if it means writing until my fingers bleed and pulling out large tuffs of my hair. I know it doesn't sound like a very large goal but writing, for me, is like mental torture sometimes. It's like giving birth every day. Try it sometime. As someone famous once said 'Writing is easy. Just open a vein.' DAMN STRAIGHT!!

I know that In Your Footsteps will probably take me another year, maybe even a little longer, but if I can I would like to be past 42,000 thousand words in half the time it took me with Deep Embrace, so that would probably mean upping my daily word limit by another 200 words. A pain in the ass but not impossible.

The dream would be able to finish a proper sized novel in less than 12 months. Finishing one in 6 months would be awesome. Some writers are able to do one in a month, a week, or even a few days, but they are insane. Insane, I say!! I try to be a pleasurable task masker to my brain. I encourage it to write by whispering sweet nothings to it and promising rewards, like playing Wii when I get home, if I can just meet my daily word goal. I do not want to push myself so hard to finish something (like a novel in a month) that writing no longer becomes fun.