We like Kickstarters!

Yeah, this isn’t writing or fandom related but it’s important!

Over the past couple of years, Hubby and I have backed a number of different Kickstarters. We backed two collected volumes of a favorite webcomic, Girl Genius, ending up with hardcover versions and a number of cool rewards for our support. Hubby has backed several games, most by his favorite game designer, James Earnest. He tries to choose games we’ll play as a family, like Pairs, a new card game. With our shipment on that one, we got three different sets of cards (one with artwork from the Girl Genius artists, Phil and Kaja Foglio) and the extra game, Falling. We’re still waiting on our copies of three different games from the Pack O’ Games line published by Perplext, but otherwise, we have pretty much everything we backed last year.

Even though Hubby swore he wouldn’t back any games this year, two have come up that we both felt we had to have!

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Busy building

Yep. I am busy building a new website. My old archive is falling to bits, mostly because I have only a passing acquaintance with HTML and none whatsoever with CSS. It pains me, in a way, to do this.  I felt my original site had some rather interesting features; for example, quite a few people commented favorably on my Library page with its shelves and books. However, the guestbook script I downloaded to act as a reviews board was no longer supported (indeed, no longer exists!) and was buggier than an ant hill. It filled with spam–though the spam catcher was really good a quarantining it and deleting it. The whole site is built on tables within tables within tables. It’s just too unwieldy. So, I’m going for a WordPress build on my own domain. I need something that looks sleek and will function as my author’s site as well as my fan fiction archive.

So far, so good. There is some tweaking still to be done but I’m learning as I go. My daughter, at least, has more than a passing acquaintance with CSS. (She’ll tell you she’s no expert but she’s better than I am!) I have already exported this blog and imported it there; eventually I’ll be posting there exclusively, I think.

I also like the fact that WordPress.org had the WP Copy Protect plug in, as well as JetPack, which is used here. There is entirely too much plagiarism on the Web these days. I’ve seen people copypasting stories they don’t own from Fictionpress and selling them on Amazon.com. There’s the whole issue with the food bloggers who are having their recipes and photos snagged and used in like-farming sites all over Facebook. The issue is part of the reason I’ve been leery of posting my novel online anywhere. But with the Copy Protect, I can do that safely. (Plus, I can put it behind a password for extra security while it’s being betaread.)

I’ll put up a link when I’m ready.

Taking a break to update on Camp NaNoWriMo

I decided to do the Camp NaNoWriMo July session, even though I previously tried (and bombed) in April. I’ve found in past years that July isn’t quite as busy for the family as the rest of the summer seems to be. So, I picked up the novel, dusted it off, and went back to the beginning.

I had a good start, but pretty soon lagged behind on my word count. There’s still so much world building to do! I’ve been getting great ideas, though, which has kept the plot moving. It’s just that pesky internal editor who gets in the way most days, as well as a borked OpenOffice on both my laptop and my desktop. No one has given me a straight answer at the support forums other than “use .odt”, which I refuse to do. Not too fond of proprietary formats that I can’t share with friends who have other software. So, I’ve switched over to Scrivener. Haven’t done much fooling around with all the bells and whistles yet, but I’m liking it so far. I have the 30 day trial on the desktop and the Camp NaNoWriMo version on the laptop. I think, if I reach my goal–and it looks like I will–I’ll buy it. Reaching my goal means I get it for half price! 🙂

Though goals are flexible for Camp, I went with the traditional 50K. After floundering with that OpenOffice problem and spending a couple of days just goofing off, I’ve really picked up the pace! Right now I’m a day ahead of the word count. That’ll change at midnight, when I’ll be just over the day’s goal. My intention is to keep at least a day ahead. Easy right now as I’m sliding into stuff I’ve had in my head but never have put down on virtual paper. The visuals are there and becoming more and more defined as I continue. Some pretty horrific stuff, too–the vampires have shown up and so have the dragons. There’s a grand plan to kill off one of my MCs; just need to shape up how and when this will happen. I’ve got an idea for a sixth group of elvenkind, one which is far friendlier to the humans than any of the other five.  (I really need to flesh out that fifth group!)

Still tons to do! For the first time, my extended family has had to listen to me groan and complain (or boast!) about the novel. My oldest niece has been asking me questions about it, which is a real switch! I’ve got some decisions to make about self-promotion, too. Never to early to think about that!

Well, back to the book! I’ll crosspost here from my livejournal from now on (also to my new tumblr). Later, y’all!

 

Making another stab at the novel

Uh … yeah.

I’ve done some more fiddling with the plot, removing the entire inn sequence—though the inn itself may return in a later chapter. Some of the characters have had their functions and family relationships reworked and I’ve rewritten what is sort of a prologue, even though I understand that many agents don’t like prologues at all. I just feel it’s really important to the plot for this information to come out at the beginning, especially as it’s so far in the past.

Still tinkering in my head about a few things, particularly in regards to the dwarves and giants. Going to keep writing as much as I can. I find it kind of hard to do during the day when the boys are playing League of Legends (they ask if they can unplug the desktop from the router when they do—gives them less lag and better ping). But I do want to get my sleeping schedule under control, too, so late nights are going to have to be pared back. Hopefully I can find some time to write that’s convenient for all of us.

I may also need a new title for this work…

Some revamping of characters and worlds

When NaNoWriMo 2012 came around, I asked what story I should focus on, the alternate history X-Men meets Harry Potter meets Girl Genius (most of which was finished) or the fantasy world with everything from mages to werewolves to dragons to vampires and everything but the kitchen sink. Both of the stories contained a cast of characters I had worked with in more than one venue, starting with a modern day tale that just didn’t work. However, I took the advice of my friends, ThatGirlSix and Lillehafrue, and started work on a prequel to the fantasy world, using a different cast entirely. I didn’t feel it went well; I was creating new characters on the fly and didn’t feel any too invested in them at first. By the end, though, I was invested in a couple of them enough to possibly continue the story at a later datel. I also had a chance to set some of my fantasy world in thick pudding, if not quick-drying cement.

Right now, though, I’ve got my eye on both of my other stories. I figured most of the characters had enough differences between them that I could feasibly do both and make them separate casts entirely. So, I’ve spent most of today (with my feet up to help battle both a swollen right foot and a diabetic ulcer on the left) doing just that.

Main characters got new names in some cases. Others got new names, backgrounds, and backstories entirely. One set of characters married; another will remain as lovers and still another will remain as siblings. Some nobility got demoted. One more minor character was elevated to familial status, and I’m working on creating an entirely new character to replace a deleted one. A handicapped character in one story is regaining the use of his legs, and is splitting his powers with this new character (who will be handicapped – as was his now-deleted counterpart). Following so far? Good!

My eyes are crossing from an extended period on both my favorite baby name site and on the fantasy name generator at ninefrenchboys. Hopefully I’ll be able to read the notes I’ve been scribbling on a pad of yellow paper. I brainstormed some of the names with the Girl, who gave me some definite ideas of what names sounded more “martyr” and which didn’t. I’ve been reimagining the looks of a few characters so they’re not quite so much like their counterparts.

All of this will mean some rewriting, along with more than one global find/replace (a reason I transferred both stories over to yWriter). Maybe, just maybe, by the time Camp NaNoWriMo starts in April, I’ll be able to flesh out some more of what I started and get one of these beasts done.

Now, back to setting up my character pages!

More scintillating dinner conversation!

Part of last night’s conversation was in response to Boy #2’s suggestion that we watch The Scarlet Pimpernel (Anthony Andrews, Jane Seymour, and Ian McKellan, 1982). We finally bought a DVD version of this because our taped-from-my-parents’-TV VHS copy died. Hubby led off the discussion on “fictional gentlemen adventurers with secret identities”, with an eye to finding out if there was one older than Sir Percy Blakeney. I mean, the Baroness D’Orczy wrote The Scarlet Pimpernel back in 1903. There had to be somebody!

Well, we really couldn’t think of one! Zorro, whose pedigree is similar, wasn’t created until 1919 in “The Curse of Capistrano”. The Shadow, another “wealthy man about town” was 1930. Wikipedia suggests Sherlock Holmes to have or be a secret identity, but he was more a master of disguise – then again, so is Sir Percy! But, as Hubby put it, “he’s not going around under an assumed name in a more or less constant fashion”.

Tonight I brought up two old Disney favorites that I thought might be relevant. One was the Swamp Fox, who is a historical figure anyway and not at all fictional. The “old swamp fox” was a sobriquet the British gave him.

The other was the Scarecrow, or the Reverend Doctor Christopher Syn, who was a smuggler and pirate with a “secret identity” of a country vicar. Hubby brought out the fact that the man was not a hero, and a quick look at Wikipedia showed that his first appearance was 1915. Hubby mentioned a character in an operetta, that of an archeologist who had a secret identity of a freedom-fighter in Northern Africa. The operetta was The Desert Song, and was written in 1926. It was inspired both by tales of Lawrence of Arabia and a 1925 uprising in Morocco. The archeologist’s name was Pierre Birabeau and his heroic alter ego was The Red Shadow. (It had a really cool song: The Riffs.)

So, as far as I can tell, ol’ Percy is an original! Do any of my readers or friends have any candidates? (And don’t you just love our table talk?)

A little fangasm!

Within just a day, I’ve had the pleasure of hauling out my Thunderbirds knowledge (with all the attendant books and other paraphernalia) to help a couple of fellow fanfic writers and personal friends. It was certainly fun, especially all the stuff about Alan Tracy’s educational background. Add to this my posting the first chapter of one of my short stories (Burning Muses) at AO3 and uploading a new post to my RP, and I’m full of Thunderbirds at the moment. It’s given me quite a hunger for fic and for writing or editing what I already have up. I edited the first chapter of Burning Muses, making it tighter. In many respects it was like my edit of the little scene I wrote a few days ago. The changes I made brought forth Brains’s voice and made him less … poetic. (Because if Brains is anything, it is NOT poetic.)

Then, there was the chatter at the dinner table. We went from Gosford Park to Downton Abbey (which we have not seen) to Acorn (which streams Downton Abbey), and then to Netflix – where movies are more plenteous in DVD than in streaming. This led to BBC America (and how we could get it on cable), to other premium cable services, to Game of Thrones and whether or not the TV series matched the novels. That particular thought brought out movies that didn’t match their source material – Boy #2 brought up the Percy Jackson movie (The Lightning Thief). This brought the whole shebang back to … Thunderbirds! The Girl’s comment: “I knew there was another kids movie like that! ” Hubby brought up that Frakes had said in an post-film interview that he directed the movie that the producers wanted, even though he knew the fans would be “annoyed by it” (Hubby’s words, not Frakes’s.) I promptly chimed in. “Annoyed? Annoyed?” Which, of course, is far too mild a term to describe the old guard’s intense hatred of the film.

Maybe if he’d stayed closer to the source material, we’d have had another Thunderbirds movie. After all,  there will be another Percy Jackson film, coming out this year.

Some fandoms get all the luck…