Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The Four-Part Writing Special // Part Two: Characters

Apparently it's Wednesday again.

Anyone would think Wednesdays were a regular occurrence.

TIME FOR JULIAN'S T H I N G. (I mean, the Special. The not-tag. The... the thing.)

Still talking about Three Sisters here! (Read Part 1)

1. Who is the main character? (Bonus points for a description or picture)

There are three POV characters - Billie, Elsie and Josie. But Billie is the main character. Because she's the most like me. Obviously.

She's... the oldest. So she's bossy a leader. She makes her younger sisters work fairly hard, but takes the worst jobs herself. And while she doesn't show many of the softer emotions, she would literally give her life to protect Elsie and Josie.

...Physical description? Really??

Blonde hair and... um...


CONFESSION TIME: I am so scared of info-dumping that I tend to ignore any character description. I mean, how do you work the character's eye colour into a natural sentence?? So I actually haven't focused on developing a full physical description. 

This picture does make me think of her... but it's not accurate to the story.

I can't find out who this is, so I can't find other images
of her and see if Billie looks like that... x(

And I'll probably change my mind later and say it reminds me of her in no way at all. Maybe if I were a plotter I could give you more solid facts, but... I'm not.

2. What is goal of the protagonist? The antagonist? (no spoilers!)

The goal of the protagonist is to keep herself and her sisters alive in their new little rustic life.

The goal of the antagonist isn't to kill the protagonist. Not exactly. She already thinks the protagonist is dead. Instead, it's just your standard sort of take-over-all-the-countries power-grabby goal. Um. Yeah. That's definitely on my list of "Things to change before you let anyone read it, you cliche pengwing".

I could provide spoilers, except I don't know what the ending is... if someone would provide spoilers for me, that would be great. Then I might actually know where I'm heading. 

3. Is there a possession or memory the MC keeps close?

Billie keeps memories of her father close - all the better to brood over.

Nothin' keeps ya bitter like holding your memories close and regularly visiting them to brood. Alone. With your bitterness.

4. What is the MC's greatest fear?

Billie's biggest fear is that she won't be strong enough to protect and look after her younger sisters.

So, obviously, I've used external forces to take even the opportunity of being strong away from her. But I'll come back to her fear before the book's finished.

(And she'll fail. Obviously.)

5. Who is your favorite character?



  • I like Billie, because she feels responsible and she's a lot like me in her big-sistery-ness. 
  • I like Elsie, because she's had to abandon someone she loved without saying goodbye. 
  • I like Josie, because... um I think I might need some more character development or a super subplot here. Because Josie's the one who rides around the forest with a bow and arrow, which sounds cool, but I actually feel a fair bit of apathy towards her. Fine, I don't actually like Josie sooo much. (Not enough for her to be an option for my favourite character.)
  • I like the Beast (Count Laszlo), because he's a grumpy old thing who just wants to be left in peace with his scones and cups of tea and books and ferns. Without having to deal with people misbehaving. 
  • I like Rowan [has his roots in Robin Hood], because even though he's so quick with banter, he has sadness behind his eyes. [Woo that sounds so poetic! now you just have to cOME UP WITH THAT TRAGIC BACKSTORY, YOU DINGBAT AUTHOR.]
  • I like Kik, because he somehow developed character better than Rowan, who was meant to be the main character out of the bandits.
  • I like Zephyr, because he's so sweet. Basically he's in the range of Char (Ella Enchanted) for sweetness (at least that's what I'm aiming for). And he's hurt.
  • I like Jemma, because she's a Camp NaNo panic-fueled creation based roughly on myself because I didn't want to have to make up another full character.
... Billie'd by my favourite female. Male characters... probably Zephyr and the Beast, for different categories. But then, Rowan has come up with some amazing banter... [a significant amount breaking the fourth wall to question if I happened to have such a thing as a plot about me??]

6. List some of the more prominent characters, and then provide a line that describes them (from your WIP).

[Everything is liable to change. But this is how they stand at the moment - or at least how they stood at the start of the draft. Some things have changed already.]

[Also I've taken a not-terribly-literal interpretation of "a line that describes them". Describing their character is much more important than their eye colour! *cough* I don't know their eye colour *cough*]


Grabbing two handfuls of tablecloth, she pulled. The porcelain cup, plates and cream pot smashed to the floor, and the cutlery tinkled among the pieces.
The Beast roared and leapt forward. "How dare you!"
Billie kicked her chair in his bath and grabbed the edge of the table.
"Don't you-"
With muscles toned and knotty from seven months of digging potatoes and cutting trees, she lifted the table and hurled it among the ferns.

(She's having a fit because she thought she'd offered to die in her sister's place... and instead she's being [grumpily] offered scones and tea, while her sisters think she's dead and now have to look after themselves. Which they would have had to do anyway if she'd died, but Billie's not feeling logical at the moment. Besides, watching and being useless COMPLETELY grates against her character.)


Before moving to the forest, she'd been very social, making friends with everyone. The forest, on the other hand, was so lonely and empty. She hadn't seen anyone except her sisters for seven months. If that wasn't enough to drive a person mad, she didn't know what was.

(Billie's "dead" and Josie's run off into the forest. Elsie never took to the rough life like the two of them, and copes so badly on her own that practically the first thing she does is leave their hidden cottage and go talk to people.)


If she hunted again, would the Beast come back? Would it take her? Josie thought of the crossbow, hanging on the rack inside the door. Let the Beast come. She would train. She would fight. Let the Beast come; she would welcome it. For Billie, she would kill it. She had been too weak and Billie had died because of that. Josie would not wait until the Beast came after her to avenge her sister. She would hunt the Beast down.

(This is Josie's internal monologue. IMPULSIVE DECISION-MAKING RIGHT HERE. No. Seriously, Josie. Maybe tHINK THIS THROUGH.)

Count Laszlo/the Beast:

"Mrs Potts! I will be needing tea. Excessive quantities of tea every day for the foreseeable future. And a large portion right now."

(I'm not sure how he went from trying to kill them to being a grumpy old teddy bear?? but that's a problem for the second draft.)


Tall but not overly broad, he had the air of a little boy who'd never grown up, and the tousled brown hair to match. His skin was freckled and his eyes dark; he wore a simple shirt and pants in patched brown and green, with soft leather boots like her own. Her eyes went to the bow and quiver on his back, and she wished again that she had her own bow still.

(But that's Josie's impression when she met him [she's actually pretty immature at this point and I was trying to bring that through in how she saw people; for example, she's misinterpreted "the air of a little boy who'd never grown up" - that's him bluffing that he's okay]. Billie notices different things about Rowan. Mostly because he's tying her to the table leg while he + his men try to raid the Beast's house.)


[Rowan:] "These are my men, all of whom I trust with my life."
Kik snorted. "We have a common goal, but adding the compliment - thank you, by the way - doesn't mean you can call us your men, Rowan. We discussed this. We're willing to follow you, but we aren't your men."
"Aren't they all such lovably humorous rogues?" Rowan's smile didn't quite reach his eyes.
[Later; Rowan to Josie.]
"Welcome to the Hood's Men."
Kik mumbled something from back at the clearing. 
Rowan ignored it.


The only [foreigner] not dancing. The only [foreigner] wearing black. The [foreigner] who should never, never have seen her again.
"Elsabeth," he said again, hoarsely, and stepped forward heedless of the dancers. He looked like he'd seen a ghost.
Which he had.



"Do you sell paper?"
"I do." The woman looked up, brushing a strand of hair off her face and leaving a swipe of ink in its place. She was only a bit older than Elsie.

(She wasn't supposed to be in more than one scene?? but she stuck around and made herself useful.)

I understand that these aren't all main characters! But I thought I'd introduce a bit more of the cast haha this practically is all of the named cast.

7. Who is the funniest character? Smartest character? Creepiest character? Most reckless character? Quirkiest character?

After careful consideration I have decided that my characters don't seem to be funny on their own, but in pairs. I'm not actually terribly far into my plot, but where I currently am, Billie and Rowan are... well, I think they're funny, but I suppose they're really just bickering.

The Beast is probably the smartest... in book learning. Not so sure about real world application, since he doesn't seem to understand - for example - how human emotions work.

I guess the creepiest character is the girls' father?

And Josie is definitely the most reckless character.

For quirky... maybe Mrs Potts?? I mean, she's a glowing orb that floats around glowering at Billie. That... is not terribly quirky. I do not actually have one of those quirky and lightheartedly and funny characters.

8. How do you come up with names?

It's not my division if I can't see it.

*also external screaming* *that's very important* *can't forget that*

9. What is the Myers-Briggs type of your MC? (Bonus points for side characters!)

I actually hadn't gotten around to doing this yet! So... now I know.

Billie: ESTJ. This fits perfectly with how I pictured her, which is cool! She's leader who values dedication, honesty, and hard work - and clashes with anyone who goes against those values. Not touchy-feely or big on words of affection (I actually did her Love Language too - Acts of Service); can miss emotions in others; stubborn and not very sensitive.

Elsie: The first time, the result was ENFJ - "natural-born leaders, full of passion and charisma... with a natural confidence that begets influence." That doesn't sound like Elsie to me; she enjoys being around people, but not being the centre of attention, and she's not as much of a leader as her sisters.

So I did it again, and the result was INFJ (which is funny because that's mine). This seems a bit more like her: "soft-spoken, but with strong opinions", private, could be seen as a quiet Extrovert but still needs time alone to recharge.

Josie: My first try gave ENTP. This seemed partly accurate, but she's not overly selfless or sensitive (she's a bit self-centred, at least at the start). Next time, the result was ESTP, (intuitive/sensing was hovering around 50%). "Little regard for sensitivity"... "leap before they look"... "likeliest personality type to make a lifestyle of risky behaviour"??? JOOOSIE RIGHT HERE.

(Anyone have experience with the MBTI system? How would you say these would interact? Anything in particular I should know??)

10. Are any characters influenced by someone in your life?

Billie: myself - even though our personality types are apparently practically opposite, we share a silent but fierce protectiveness.
Josie: annoying little sisters who don't behave logically??
Zephyr: I wish he was based on someone I know xP

So that's Part Two of the Four-Part Writing Special! I hope you enjoyed hearing a bit about the characters in Three Sisters(Sorry about the length....)

Which character do you like best? Which one would you like to hear more about? Who's your quirkiest character? Do you like the sweet guys in books? (Char! Kai! Faramir!) Are your characters influenced by (we won't say "based off") someone in your life? Do you know your characters' Myers-Briggs types? What's your Myers-Briggs personality type?

I forgot to link to the other bloggers.  Oops.

Julian's post || Sarah's post || Ivie's post || Lisa's post || Mrs Baldwin's post || Faith's post || Lila's post || Evangeline's post

Have you read the posts by these amazing blogger-writers too? (If not, go do it!)

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Four-Part Writing Special // Part One: Story

Julian (over at Saver of Memories) has created a thing. It's been through a bit of discussion and modification, but now it's ready for the first part to step into the blogging world!

It's... a link-up? Tag. But not tag-gy because you don't tag people.

See, there was a REASON I called it a thing.

The 4-Part Writing Special // Part One: Story

Basically, there's a few of us who've joined Julian in answering four sets of ten questions about our current WIP. We've even decided to put up our posts on the same day.

That's organisation and coordination.

Of course, once you factor in time zones, it isn't quite so neat... and the chosen dates don't work for some of the participants... but iT'S STILL IMPRESSIVE. 


These are the participants! You should go check out their blogs and read their 4-Part Special posts too!

And now for the questions, kindly thrashed out by [mainly] Julian, Sarah, Lisa and Ivie. (The images were created by Ivie, too. :)

1. What is the title, genre and current status of your WIP?

Working title: Three Sisters.

Genre: fairytale mix/retelling [shush that's totally a genre]

Current status:
(What I say:) 

(What I mean:)

[Ooh look at me. Mixing Marvel and DC again. *gasps all round*]

2. What do you think makes your story unique?

I think it's unique among Beauty and the Beast retellings, because I've chosen to have the younger sister cause the Beast's anger, and the older, responsible sister pay for that.

I haven't read too many B+B retellings... but as far as I have read, they try to stick to the "father trespasses/etc, Beauty goes to live with the Beast so it won't kill her him". But what kind of father would do that?? Not to get too iffy here, but all he had was the Beast's word that it wasn't going to, I don't know, eat her. As an older sister, I can't fathom how he wouldn't have protected his daughter with his life, if necessary. I'm trying to investigate that sort of angle.

Oh, also, the Beast was never human, does not fall in love with "Beauty", and ends up being a grumpy/legalistic/slightly bewildered great-uncle kind of figure, who just wants his books and his tea and to be left in his garden in peace. So there's that too.

3. Where did the title come from?

I have a habit of titling my WIPs after their MC. Thus, I have Lyndie, Emily James, Huck Morton, etc.

Thusly, Three Sisters.

Because there are three. (Although Billie's my favourite and is therefore the main main character... but Elsie's story is growing on me [it involves a tragic romance backstory]; Josie's story thread still needs a bit of work though. [It's not very exciting or twisty.])

These are just working titles, after all. I have no idea how to title properly. I've never gotten that far.

4. How long have you been working on your WIP?

I started Three Sisters for April's Camp NaNoWriMo, and got 15k. After that, I worked on it during July's Camp and got another 10k (with a rather spectacular finish, if you remember...). And I haven't really considered November yet (because it's wAY TOO EARLY TO WORRY ABOUT THAT, RIGHT??), but currently I'm thinking I'll continue with Three Sisters. Because I haven't worked on it since July.

Anyway. The answer is either 6 months, or two months of actual work.

5. What do you think people will enjoy most about your WIP?

I think they'll enjoy the characters and their interactions. (I certainly do.) Also the nods to various fairy tales.

6. Provide a snippet (long or brief) of a favorite scene.

Josie backed away, leaving Old Bill's side, but she was surrounded. Rowan stepped closer.

"I did apologize before, but I'd like to do so again. This is nothing perso-"

Josie slid a knife out of the sheaths inside her boots and spun Rowan, twisting his arm up and holding the knife to his ribs. "You seem to be a leader. So tell them to let me go. Or I will make this personal."

"Easy, now." His voice became even calmer. "Have you considered that this might be a bad idea? There are a lot of us, and one of you, and we're skilled archers. Except for Kik, but he won't practice, so he can't expect any better."

Kik snorted and let Old Bill away into the trees. The rest of the men remained, a ring around Josie and Rowan and the drama. They didn't, Josie was bothered to see, look at all worried. She pushed Rowan and tried to walk forwards using him as a shield, but he dug his heels in.

"I only have to say the word and they'll shoot," he warned. "You can't do this."

"Shut up!"

"You're forcing us into a corner, you know that? We never meant for anyone else to get involved, but you wouldn't take a hint and leave."

Josie changed her grip on the knife, the handle sweaty. "Nice, now let me go."

Rowan twisted his body away from her, seized her wrist and forced the knife, point-first, away from both of them. "How about we discuss that now you're not holding a knife to me?"

With her free left hand, Josie reached for the knife's twin in her other sheath.

One of the men shouted a warning, and Rowan grabbed her arm before she could get it.

"That isn't very polite. I was talking to you."

"And I was ignoring you." Josie tried to bite his arm.

He pulled out of her reach. "There's no point in all this. Let's talk it out sensibly. We want our presence to remain secret, and we feel you're a threat to that, so we would like to keep you contained here until we have packed up and can move. You are unwilling - understandably - for us to contain you. That about covers things?" He saw she was not going to reply, and continued. "Do we have an alternative to containing you?"

"You could shoot me, I suppose." Immediately after saying it, Josie realised that might not be the most appropriate thing to say, unless she didn't mind being shot. They were, after all, holding bows. "I'm not too keen on that plan either, to be honest."

PLEASE FORGIVE. It's first draft writing from Camp NaNo. By all rights, it should never have seen the light of day.

And because I am apparently crazy like the Beast, here's a snippet with him:

Count Laszlo poked his head gingerly inside the door. "Ah, you're awake? I heard voices... thought I might check on you. Is there any chance I could get my study back soon?"

Billie looked down at the open book, its edges pressing red lines into her skin. "I- no!"

"Do you mean you've gotten attached to my room, in which case I must strongly object, or has something happened which has distressed you?"

She shook the book. "I've only been gone three days! Three days!"

"I'll leave you alone, then." He coughed. "But could you possibly move to your own room?"

Billie flapped a hand at him without looking up, and Count Laszlo sighed - but not loudly enough to draw attention to himself - and withdrew his head, pulling the door gently shut behind him.

Same disclaimer as before - if your eyeballs have received permanent damage, that's not my fault (even though it completely is).

Oh, and the book is like the magic mirror from Snow White?? the Beast helped Billie set it so it was set to watch Billie's cottage [where her sisters are supposed to be].

Actually, I guess it's more like a security camera...

Also please note that the Beast has undergone multiple personality changes through the first draft so far, and will need to be made consistent in editing. Although it kind of makes sense here that he's not-grumpy, because last time Billie came out on top, so he's a little more cautious. (You can read a little of what happened earlier - when he pushed Billie too far by talking insensitively about her sisters - in question 9. He's right to be cautious now.)

7. Describe your WIP in 10 separate short phrases.

Fighting, protective sisters
Remnants of a family banding together
Teacups and glowing orbs
Confusion and misunderstanding all round
Banter and snark
A grumpy Beast who wants to be left alone with his library and scones and cups of tea
A prince who thinks he's seen a ghost
Forest aesthetics
Also garden/library/scones/tea aesthetic
Have you figured out yet that I'm making these up on the spot
I'LL COME UP WITH A BETTER LIST LATER okay? because this would actually be helpful.

...Also, none of these are technically phrases. Never mind. I DO WHAT I WANT. Also it's going on 11pm so I'm not going to sit here arguing the finer points of grammar (I save that for daylight hours).

8. What is the hardest thing to write with this story? What is the easiest?

The easiest thing is the banter and people being snarky at each other. The hardest thing is making sure that the banter and snark has a point and progresses the story.


9. A line where the tension builds.

"We discussed this yesterday. I don't think I have enough furniture to do it every day."


Billie stuffed the last of her bread into her mouth and, maintaining eye contact, swiped everything off the tea-table onto the floor.

The teacups and scones with honey are innocent victims of the 'discussion'. This causes enormous tension. ENORMOUS tension, I tell you.

Do not attack the Beast's teacups.

10. Explain the plot in one line. 

People are confused and make bad decisions and I do too. 

Um, this would require me to... have a plot.

I have some ideas and some things I want to do and just a whole heap of situations to make things awkward for my characters.

I do not know how the story is supposed to end.

And there you have it! Ten tidbits about my WIP, Three Sisters.

Because you all wanted to know more about the ramblings of my brain  amazing thing I am calling a "story" smushed-up fairytales I'm writing as one big happy story!

Now you should definitely go check out the other participants' posts on their WIPs, answering these same questions. Here they are again:

Excellent! Off you go, then - no, WAIT. Comment first. Obviously. (Why are you sneaking away like that?)

Banter and snark - vital or no? Do you know how your story is going to end? Do you think the Beast is justified in his protectiveness of his teacups [and food]? And the most important one: HOW DO I PLOT. (Please and thank you for answering that one.) 

Saturday, 30 September 2017

summer fun tag PLUS sunshine blogger tag (the second)

I've been tagged a few times recently not so recently actually because I'm terrible like that, so I'm going to combine two because I'm not sure how much you actually want to read about me??: the Summer Fun Tag, and the Sunshine Blogger Tag [#2]!

Side note: I'M SORRY I TOOK SO LONG, KIND PEOPLE WHO TAGGED ME. You've probably forgotten you ever did such a thing.  

And I know most of you are in autumn and heading for winter, now, but here it's HOT. And it's the first month of spring. So. Summer and sunshine it is!

- The Summer Fun Tag -

This tag was created by Mykaela, and I was tagged by Gray at Writing Is Life (thanks, Gray!)

1. What's a nickname only your family calls you?
Despite being Australian, and knowing several people with very Aussie nicknames, I actually just have a shortened version of my name? and everyone calls me that. I'm actually a bit disappointed that I never got a creative nickname. (Then again, considering the likelihood of it not being flattering, maybe I'm not sorry.)

[Pennites, consider this an invitation xD]

2. What's a weird habit of yours?
Nooo... don't have any weird habits. I'm not weird.


*asks family*

Brother 1: Well, he can't think of any.

Sister 1: Being negative is not a weird habit, Sister 1. It's just... a habit.

Brother 2: Wiggling my ears and "the weird eyeball thing". [I cross my eyes, look left, cross my eyes, look right, repeat. Makes it look like my eyes can point different directions.]

Sister 2: Talking to myself and pulling faces?? That's normal...


Mum: Being negative??? And facetious??? What is this??? Where is familial loyalty when you need it???

3. Do you have any strange phobias?
Not really? I don't particularly like spiders or other creepy-crawlies when they're moving fast and erratically, but that's hardly a phobia. I'm not fond of heights either, but I manage. Nothing I've come across in my [admittedly short] life so far has caused me to completely freeze up out of fear and freak out.

4. What's a song you secretly love to blast and belt out when you're alone?
I am rarely home alone. Or in the car alone. Or alone at all, really. My family tends to travel as a pack. But the last time I was home alone, I blasted as many Owl City songs as I had. (And made myself a mug cake.)

I also love to belt out Stand by Me - it's just a really good song for belting??

5. What's one of your biggest pet peeves?
PUNCTUATION MISTAKES ON SIGNS. Like how do people get paid to produce a professional product that is full of mistakes like that?!? How do you even get "your'e"?? (as one, horrific example I saW a rEAL PICTURE OF.)

Also people who are reading the next book in a series when I want it. Or people who are reading my favourite books and don't appreciate them.

6. What's one of your nervous habits?
Talking. If I'm nervous, I'll say something to fill the silence. I think. But maybe it's actually just like regular conversation but I'm overanalysing it because I'm nervous. Ooh look. I'm babbling just thinking about it.

7. What's a YouTuber that always makes you laugh?
Studio C always made me laugh when I first started watching, but it's a bit hit-and-miss now.

I actually don't watch much on YouTube? because "internet data allowance" and "shaped plan" [go over the limit, our internet goes sLOWER THAN A- A- ... IDK BUT SOMETHING REALLY SLOW. LIKE, REALLY SLOW.] 

8. What was your first stuffed animal, and what was its name?
Technically my first stuffed animal was the calico bear that people wrote their names on when they came to meet me (and to visit my mother, I suppose??) in the maternity ward. It spent the next 10+ years of its life on top of a cupboard, as a Very Special Object, and thus never got a name.

Other than that... I was actually had a special stuffed animal. My first special doll was Pamela.

Her fingers got chewed off. I'm sorry for that now.

9. What's a drink you always order at Starbucks?
What is this thing you call... "Starbucks"??

I don't know if we even have Starbucks here in Australia?? Certainly not in my area. I don't drink coffee anyway, so...

10. Do you have any weird body skills?
See #2, weird habits, for my siblings' opinions. I can also wiggle my ears.

11. What's your favorite comfort food?
I actually really like bread?? Buns and stuff, I mean. But "comfort food" would seem to imply snacking, something my family doesn't really do.

12. What is a phrase or exclamation you always say?
I realised a while ago that I use "big on" a lot? I'm "big on" chocolate, "not big on" boys who are full of themselves, "big on" notebook collections. It's weird and now whenever I say it I'm self-conscious.

13. What did you use to wear that you would never wear now?
Teeny-tiny dresses.

I'm not saying I was immodest, I'm saying they were made (handmade, some of them - there were some lovely ones with smocking) to fit a five-year-old. I would still wear them now if they fit me. They were so cute. Why do teenage girls not get really cute/sweet dresses??

14. What did you want to be when you were younger?
Career-wise, I don't even know, although I went through a period of planning on running a stable with my best friend (before eventually maturing and realising that I just wanted to be horse-mad but I wasn't actually - nor did I know much about horses anyway).

My mother does tell me I wanted to be married to my brother. When told I couldn't, I wanted to marry my cousin. I got very upset when told neither of them were an option, because "I didn't know any other boys, how was I supposed to get married??"

Calm down, smol me. Seriously, kid. There is plenty of time yet.

Current almost-not-a-teenager me is taking that advice to heart as well, having realised she does not want the responsibilities of marriage just yet. Why choose to be the mother when you can stick with your own.

15. How tall are you?

16. What are five ways to win your heart/become a great friend?
1. Books. Share them. Love the ones I love (or say you do and make me believe it). Give me books. Receive books I give you with enthusiasm.
2. Food (none of this carrot-sticks or paleo "dessert" nonsense either). I need either sugar, salt,  or carbs (technically sugar = carbs [but not the other way around], but never mind - bread or pasta, basically). Other foods will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. ("Desserts" containing coconut milk, grated almond, carob, and/or no wheat flour will likely go badly.)
3. Do not suggest we "go to the shops and hang out". This is a sure-fire stress inducer. How does one "hang out"? At the shops?? Is spending of money required? Will we be eating, and thus, will I be required to buy food? (is bringing a sandwich in gladwrap okay)
4. Fangirl with me. Fairly simple.
5. Take the first step. I will not speak to you first (well, I'm working on that, but it's unreliable). Neither will I try to make you a close friend once we're acquainted, being concerned that I might smother you and that you'd rather spend your time with someone else (I'm sure you already have friends, after all). I will reciprocate your friendship to the level you offer it, but that doesn't mean I don't want to be friends.

Ooo-kay. *cough* That's way too deep. Moving ON, people. We now have:

- The Sunshine Blogger Tag -

I was tagged by Lisa at Inkwell; this is actually the second time I've done this tag, but the questions change every time, and these ones look fascinating. :) Thanks, Lisa!

1. Do you have favorite fictional families/siblings and who are they?
Off the top of my head, I can't think of any amazing families or siblings in fiction.


...After scanning my shelf, I have selected:
Butler and Juliet, from the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer.
Aiden and Meg, from the On the Run series by Gordon Korman.

The March sisters, from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
The Carr family, from What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge.
The Woolcot family, from Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner.

Looking over these lists, there seems a bit of a pattern: contemporary/action books get older brother/younger sister siblings, while classic children's novels get large families. Of course there'd need to be more research into this before any sort of generalisation could be formed; please feel free to give me examples of books that prove/disprove this apparent pattern!

2. If you could reform one villain (book or movie) who would it be?
Loki. Eheheh.

3. If you could work with/be the apprentice of/learn from one historical figure (hero or not) who would it be?
When I saw "apprentice", I thought "HALT". But he's fictional, not historical. Besides, I'd likely die.

Okay. Um. Jesus? Being a disciple of Jesus in the flesh could only help my relationship with him, right?

(And maybe Tolkien, for writing/worldbuilding. I imagine he'd be great at worldbuilding...)

4. Have you ever dreamed (when you were asleep, of course) that you were in a book or movie? If so, which ones?
Not that I can recall? But I'm sure I have... I just can't remember. (I think it's a pretty safe bet to say that at some point I would have dreamed I was in the MCU.)

5. What are you favorite kinds of book titles (e.g. one word, a reference, symbolism, with a certain word in them...)?
I've never thought about this?

*scans nearby/recent books*

Ally Carter's Embassy Row trilogy uses lines from nursery rhymes as titles, e.g. the one currently by my foot is See How They Run. (Though the third book is Take the Key and Lock Her Up, which isn't any nursery rhyme I've heard of.) Still, that's a pretty cool idea.

I've just listened to Marissa Meyer's Cinder, and I like how her four-book series takes its titles from the MCs. Mostly because that's how I get my working titles.

The Wrath and the Dawn (Renee Ahdieh) is a nice fantasy title with an Arab feel, and The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern) just sounds like a historical/fantasy. On the other hand, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Catherynne M Valente) (my fingers are tired now) gives off a pleasant sense of self-awareness that I'm rather fond of.

So overall I don't think I have a defined preference? but this is very interesting and now I'll be analysing my reading choices and their titles.

6. If you could be the "sidekick" of one fictional character, who would it be?
Since you said 'sidekick', I have to go superheroes here.

Um... Marvel doesn't really go for sidekicks much, does it? I mean, I can't think of many. Bucky is/was Cap's sidekick... Kate Bishop would shoot you if you called her Clint Barton's sidekick... I guess the Warriors Three and Lady Sif could be considered Thor's sidekicks, but I suspect they'd do to you what Kate Bishop did, only worse. [Any further suggestions?]

But if we go DC, there's a whollle range of possibilities. E.g. bunch a heap of sidekicks together with a few other kids: now you have the Teen Titans! And I would definitely choose to be Batman's sidekick.

(Sorry, Marvel... I'd rather be in the Marvel [Cinematic??] Universe, but circumstances were unfortunately against me.) 

Because not only is Batman super-cool, but Bat-"I-work-alone"-man has so many sidekicks:

Dick Grayson | Barbara Gordon | Jason Todd | Tim Drake | Stephanie Brown | Cassandra Cain | Damian Wayne

...those are just Robins/Batgirls. And only the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I wouldn't be surprised if there were more of them.

 haha nope you don't

Basically, I'd be in pretty cool company.

Plus, Batman.

(The downside would, of course, be that Batman goes through a lot of sidekicks:)

Again, off the top of my head [and this is just specific incidences/references I know of]:
Dick 'dies' (it was a set-up, and he joined a spy group [which turned out to be controlled by bad guys]).
Barbara gets paralysed from the waist down when the Joker shoots her in the spine (not because she's Batgirl, but to send a message to her father, the Commissioner).
Jason - well, Jason. Jason gets beaten to death with a crowbar (the Joker, obviously). How he gets back from being dead, I have no idea... but he becomes Red Hood and kills bad guys (Batman doesn't associate much with him after that).
Tim fights a million killer robots to save his Batfamily, but dies in the process. (Except he was apparently actually transported to another planet?? maybe molecule by molecule, idk.)
Stephanie is so distressed by this ^ that she stops being Batgirl and starts getting in Batman's way in any way possible.
Cassandra - it isn't Batman's fault at all, but she was raised with violence as her literal only language; she couldn't talk, but she could read body language like an actual language. This was before she was Batman's sidekick, though, and I actually haven't read anything that indicates she stopped hanging out with him. She's actually pretty cool.
Lastly, Damian. Ah, Damian. It's messy [as is what he'd would do to bad guys if it wasn't for Batman's influence]. He's the current Robin, and Batman's son, but he's really Batman's sidekick on an on-again-off-again basis, due to extreme arrogance and despising of rules. He's, like, ten. Loves murder.

Annnyway. I'm sure you're all screaming by now. I'm not a Marvel traitor! I promise! I just... like DC too. Just the comics... it's not that bad, guys...


That works too. Next question!

[Hang on. I could be Sherlock Holmes' sidekick! I mean, Watson got married and left... there's a vacancy there! Even though Watson would also deny being a sidekick!]

[Sorry, yes. We were moving on.]

7. If you were a superhero, what would be your power?

More superhero stuff.


I think this maybe might mean 'what power would most suit your personality', but I'm going to ignore that anyway. I've created a few superhero characters, and I'm going to pick one of the powers I gave them.

It actually started as a fantasy ability from a different story - an ability held by Rumpelstiltskin. Straw to gold? Fine. Stone to carbon dioxide? Can do. Person to marble? Doable.

Changing it to a superpower put a bit more chemistry into it: the character [haha yep I've switched back to the character] has to know the chemical structure of the state she wants to turn it into. Wood to stone? Fine - the molecular structure she chooses will define the type of stone. Stone to wood? She'd have to be touching wood and 'copy' the molecular structure, because wood is an organic compound and therefore seriously complicated. Marble statue to person? Are you kidding do you know how complex the human body is at a molecular level?!? But she can make things vanish into thin air (i.e. turn them into carbon dioxide or nitrogen or a combination of regular air gases), which is probably what she uses it for most - it's a great defense.

Anyway. Not sure as to her 'kryptonite' yet... but it sounds like a great superpower to have. ;P

8. If you entered a fictional world, what is the worst thing that could happen to you?


Actually, being forced/manipulated to cause another person's death would be way worse. Or not saving someone I was responsible for. 

9. What kinds of book covers don't you like?
Ones that look like contemporary YA romances. Know what I mean? I can't really describe it, but there's this... fluffy angsty sort of look about them??

Ones with people whose heads are cut off. the edge of the cover, I feel I need to specify. Not actually cut off.


10. Which fictional character would you want as your sidekick?
Considering the depth of my answer to #6, a Robin is a pretty good choice. (Except when they keep dying.) Probably Tim.

But, you know, I reckon Hawkeye would make a great sidekick. xD

No, wait. Bucky.


11. What fictional character would you want as your arch-nemesis?
Someone really lame...

i.e. NOT Moriarty, Loki, Artemis Fowl, and all the rest of those mentally/morally unstable geniuses. (Genii??)

But now I think about it, this is an interesting question. We think of "arch-nemesis" as "worst enemy", but it actually isn't. "Nemesis" means "the inescapable agent of someone's or something's downfall" [according to my helpful Professor Google]. And "arch-" is "from Greek 'arkhos' meaning 'most important'". So I guess arch-nemesis means approximately "person who will inescapably do most of the causing of your downfall". They don't even have to hate you, I'm pretty sure?

So I think I'd want someone morally good causing my inescapable downfall. (I don't know... is that possible? I just don't want my legacy to be "Overthrown by villain; evil wins again".) And smart (it would be embarrassing if they bumbled their way into causing my downfall ;P). But I'm having trouble thinking of a specific character, because I need to know where I'm [down]falling from. Am I a genius? Am I a superhero? Supervillain? Am I... me? I don't have enough data to answer this question. ;P

And those are my answers to the questions! 


*everyone breaths a sigh of relief*

I don't know where the rules to this tag are (I think I lost them) but I believe they are:

- Answer 11 questions,
- Tag 11 bloggers, and
- Ask them 11 questions.

(Just as a side note, why is it that many tags seem so taken with Eleven?)


...(Fair point.)

Anyway, now I've found/made up the rules, I'm going to ignore them! Again! Because I DO WHAT I WANT. Still, I'd like to see Mary Katherine answer Lisa's marvelous questions for the Sunshine Blogger tag, so I'm not going to ask new ones. And you know I never tag 11 people. Because Maths.

But if you like these questions, steal the tag! And I'll come over and read your answers. :)

Sorry for putting you through that! Whose sidekick would you like to be? Who would you want for a sidekick if you were a superhero? Did I go on about superheroes for way too long? Can you wiggle your ears? Would you like to be Halt's apprentice? [Ranger's Apprentice series, if you don't know.] Talk to me about families in contemporary fiction! Tell me all the things!!

Monday, 25 September 2017

Coding tricks for bloggers



*slaps self*

So I spent the last two weeks on a work placement, which was awesome! but also took from 8:30-5. And I KNOW that's fairly regular hours for a job (I DON'T WANT TO ADULT, SURPRISE!!), but I also had a ~2-hour round drive. So. That + my assessment = minimal blogging time.

(Hint: do not leave assessments until the date they're due when that date coincides the last day of a two-week work placement which means you'll be out from 7:30am until 6pm.)

(If you needed that advice.)

But now I'm back! Or not. To be honest, I'll be just as sporadic as ever.

...annnyway. Let's leave the uncomfortable confessions there, shall we??

Today, I've written [discovered that I had actually had a draft already for] a post on coding! Specifically, writing code that will help you when blogging. So enjoy!

[Note: this post is actually rather ironic considering recent events. I wrote the draft of this post, giving tips from my experience in coding, and then I discovered that I'd messed up something, somewhere in my blog's code, which made the sidebar refuse to behave. BUT I FIXED IT. (With your awesome help.) So I'm definitely qualified to be teaching this subject 'cause debugging code is way harder than writing it.] 

*pretends to be super-qualified*

a few coding tricks for bloggers

A great way to personalise your blog, and to smarten it up from the Blogger templates (which are sometimes a bit tacky), is to play around with the coding.

And since we're talking about coding tricks, Autumn (at Autumn Reads and Writes) wrote an amazing post about how to change how links look in your blog! [I confess it was not a recent post. I'm a slacker, okay?? But it's still a good resource!] And when you hover over the links, they look like this! or this!! or this!!! GO AND READ HER POST IT'S GREAT OKAY?? (+ I'm not going to just copy it out here, so you have to go read what she said.)

So that's one trick. You can actually make it look like this, too, which is an effect I figured out while messing with it. Baaasically go to Autumn's post, read her instructions, and then instead of putting in:
      a:hover {
          letter-spacing: .5em;

- put in:
      a:hover {
         color: normal;
         border-left: #bd836b 2px;
         border-right: #bd836b 2px;

This will... make more sense when you've read Autumn's post. Unless you already know HTML/CSS, in which case you'll probably be beyond this post.

And... that's links!

*awkward cough*

Now, for my second trick... have you ever wanted to do

It's pretty cool to be able to make little title-things without having to save/upload images of text. Not that I've actually used this yet. Never mind. I will one day. 

Okey-dokey. I'm just going to assume you want to know how to do this? and tell you. I'm also going to assume you haven't used HTML at all, or very little. If you have, you'll be able to skip these first few steps.

Note: Autumn's special features on the links are done within Blogger's Template function - that way, they apply to all links on your blog. Right now, I'm going to be doing coding (HTML/CSS) within the post I'm currently writing on Blogger; my coding will only apply to the specific thing I apply it to.

So, start by writing your text! In Blogger. The regular way. And centre it. Like so:
Pretty text!

Now. On the very left of Blogger's Write Post toolbar - the one that has such helpful things like italics, font size, and strike-through - you'll see two grey buttons: Compose and HTML. Click HTML.


Yes, HTML is not the nicest thing to look at. BUT IT'S FUNCTIONAL. So.

Now, inside your HTML view, the text you just wrote will look like this:

<div style="text-align: center;">Pretty text!</div>

<div>...</div> just sort of wraps stuff into a block that can be manipulated. Whenever you tell Blogger to centre something, it puts a div around it, so it can apply style="text-align: center;". "Style" is a way to put CSS (the coding language that does all the colour, borders, everything pretty!) into your HTML without having to link to a specific CSS document.

But now you want to put a <span>...</span> into your code. (At least, that's how I do it. It's not the only way, I'm sure.) So coding-wise, my example looks like this:

<div style="text-align: center;">
<span style="color: lime; font-family: 'Aclonica', 'Open Sans Condensed', 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 40px;">this?</span></div>

[Note: I don't know that 'Aclonica' is a font that will work by itself or not in a web browser? So I've put
<link href="" rel="stylesheet"></link>
at the very top of the page when in the HTML view. This ensures that the browser people use to view the post will know what font to use. Note also that I have two back-up fonts - 'Open Sans Condensed' and 'Times New Roman' - in case this doesn't work. Because sometimes code does bizarre stuff and I have no idea why.]

So let's break that down:
  • The div, as I explained, is to make the section into a kind of block. (If anyone reading has a better way of explaining it, please chip in!
  • The style="..." is to insert CSS into that particular div. 
    • text-align: center; is CSS. It centres the div. (shocking, I know.)
  • The span tag is to, I don't know, mark a specific spot? It's like a div, but tends to mark part of a line of text or something, instead of blocking out a whole paragraph or whatever. (I never said I was an expert, okay?? I have a working knowledge.)
  • Again, we have style, but this time inside the span.
  • Now within that there are a few CSS elements:
    • color: lime; -- this colours the text. You should probably use a six-digit colour code (e.g. #f97285) instead - that's more reliable, as it can be hard to guess what colour names are supported by the browsers! Google 'color picker'.
    • font-family: 'Aclonica', 'Open Sans Condensed', 'Times New Roman'; -- this is the font. 'Aclonica' is (I hope) the one that's actually being used; the other two are back-ups. I already went into this a bit [above].
    • font-size: 40px; -- this is to make the text huge. Play around with it; it's really easy to just switch another number in.

Mostly it should work right if you make sure to keep the punctuation marks right? So this:
<div style="text-align: center;">
<span style="color: lime; font-family: 'Aclonica', 'Open Sans Condensed', Times New Roman'; font-size: 40px;">And now you can do this!</span>
should turn out like this:

And now you can
do this!

I don't know. Is this clear? Ask me any questions if it wasn't!

And (for if you're familiar with HTML and CSS): it seems like you can put CSS within your post as a "style" section (not just inline)? I didn't know that, but when I was trying to put in the CSS (for the links at the start of this post) to demonstrate what Autumn did with the links, I put a <style></style> section into the very top of my post and apparently putting CSS in there works fine?? (If it doesn't show up right, please tell me!)

And finally, I should mention that I was trying to figure out how to put code in this post so it looked like code (instead of doing what it's, you know, supposed to do??) and I ended up using  Then, of course, once I'd done that, I realised that if I write code while not in the HTML view, it showed up how I wanted it to just fine. So (due to editing and stuff) half the time my code is in fancy colours/boxes... and half the time it's not.

So this post has been a leeettle bit jumpy and what-is-plot-y. What are you saying of course that's not how I write. Or how I live my life. Nope. I hope it wasn't too confusing, and maybe helps you a bit! Even if it just gets you interested in exploring what you can do for your blog with CSS.

Have you ever used HTML and CSS for your blog? What tips/tricks do you recommend? Are you going to try any of these? Did I make any mistakes?? (answer: yes. It was written in too many late-night sessions. Obv. there will be mistakes.)