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.

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Aside

Probably should have posted this yesterday, but … oh well, I’ll edit and put it up today!

First, I’m right on track for word count. Hallelujah! Wednesday, I felt generally run down, ill, and grumpy, to the extent that we ordered comfort food (pizza) instead of what I’d planned for dinner (hot dogs) and I didn’t write a word. I was a full day ahead on word count at that point, so taking the day off didn’t hurt a bit. I’ve been getting out of the house in the afternoon, which helps immensely with my writing productivity. Today, I’m going to haul butt out when the D&D starts later on. I may try to do this every day until the end of Camp. It’s good to not have the chaos of housecleaning, laundry, critters, et al weighing on me.

When this is finished, I want to put it somewhere that my friends can see it and comment as part of the betaing process, but where it would be private and not necessarily considered “first publish”. Fictionpress is absolutely out; I’ve been hanging out at  the fpwatchers group on livejournal and seeing how many stories are plagiarized from there, even published online for cash at Amazon. Besides, that would be considered a first publishing situation. I could put it on my own site and distribute private links to my friends, but how to let them comment? The guestbook I’ve tried to use as a “review board” is FUBAR and no longer supported. I’ve tried Google docs before. Some of my friends had a hard time accessing it. Has anyone done anything with Disqus? How difficult would that be to add to a website and is it flexible enough to use as a review board?

I’m also thinking about consolidating my web presence. Right now I have several blogs; this one, another WordPress blog (for family tidings), my faithful livejournal, a Blogger (for religious issues), a sparkling new tumblr, and of course, Twitter and Facebook. The Facebook is personal, using my real name. The Twitter uses my online handle as does this, the livejournal, and the tumblr. I could easily add a WP blog to my site; that’s one of the apps my web provider offers. I’m trying to decide which way to jump so I can be poised for when I actually need/want to do self-promotion.

So, any ideas? My website needs some serious overhaul in any case!

Oh, and this blog is under an alternate spelling of my online handle, “Tikatu”. Just sayin’.

Crossposted from livejournal and tumblr.

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!

Stretching disbelief

Okay, y’all, explain this to me. Downton Abbey is an English period drama right? Set around 1920? Then why, oh why did someone cross it over with Thunderbirds, set over a century later? Why?? Who in blazes thought that would work?? SMH.

Well, I skimmed it over. Seems like Scott is just smushed in there to “save” Mary — mostly by being a packhorse and helping her cover up the fact that some man died in her room. Jeff is shoehorned in as a reason for Scott to be at Downton. There’s a brief mention of Lady Penelope and the Island, but really, is this a Thunderbirds cross-over? I don’t think so.

The tricky thing about writing cross-overs is making them plausible while keeping each universe true to itself. For example, someone has written a Doctor Who/Thunderbirds cross-over which manages to do that. Doctor Who is a very flexible universe which can stand being woven together with other fandoms. There could be a case made for movie-verse Thunderbirds and something modern day, such as Supernatural. One writer has done a lovely job melding TV-verse Thunderbirds with the anime Battle of the Planets. Of course, it’s fairly simple to cross Thunderbirds over with some of the other Gerry Anderson properties. Most of them are supposed to be set around the same time. But if you have to create an OC (such as a “long-lost Tracy sister”) in order to make the fandoms cross, you’ve done it poorly, IMO. It ends up being implausible, and stretches a reader’s willingness to suspend disbelief beyond its limits.

Yes, people have the right to write what they want. Yes, I’m ranting like a persnickety old geezer who wants the kids off her lawn. But I just can’t fathom how this Downton Abbey story could be called a cross-over with Thunderbirds when, if you change the names of the Tracys, you have some generic Americans visiting the manor for some unspecified reason.