Friday, 8 September 2017

A few exciting things from around the blogosphere || [I'm not procrastinating, you're procrastinating]

I'm supposed to be working on my tertiary studies right now. Or updating/rewriting my resume because MY LIBRARY HAS A POSITION OPEN for one week only. (The last two times I [obviously] didn't get the job, but I just have to keep trying... the head librarian wants me there, so eventually it's got to happen! xD)

And instead I'm wandering the writerly circles of the blogosphere.

I know right. Such a surprise.

BUT I FOUND OUT SOME INTERESTING THINGS. Which I thought I'd share with you, because I haven't seen anyone talking about them in the blogs I follow... so you might not hear about these things either. So I'm telling you, just to make sure.

Firstly, Project Canvas has a blog. I was pleased to see that, because I hadn't heard any updates from Project Canvas for a while and I was hoping it hadn't died a slow and lingering death. It's true that there's only one post, a 'welcome!' one from a month ago, but by following the blog I can keep myself in the loop.

If you don't know about Project Canvas, the basic idea is that
"A group of teen and young adult writers from around the globe have come together to write a book of advice and inspiration for fellow writers.

I said (several months ago) that I could probably help with some editing, but I actually don't know how the book's progressing... its projected publication date is in 2018, but I haven't had to edit anything, so it's possible they didn't need my help.

I don't know! Maybe you've all submitted articles? and you're keeping a close eye on the whole project? and I know at least five of my followers are already following the blog. BUT THIS IS JUST IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T HEARD.

Just as a note, Hannah is part of the Project Canvas team! And so are Abigayle and Aimee - I don't know them well, but I've seen them around the blogosphere, so some of you would know them.

_ _ _ _ _

Jennifer A. Nielsen is running a competition for her new book (Feb 2018), The Traitor's Game. (She says the book will appeal to fans of The False Prince - so, naturally, I'm in!)

The competition is different to the usual sort seen on the blogosphere, too: She posts a photo of where she is, and we guess in the comments (she edits out the answers, though, so no sneaky copying there! ;). Correct state is 1 point; city is 4 points. There will be 10 photos, and the person with the most points at the end wins. The prize is a galley of The Traitor's Game.
The first photo is here!
- but I'm not sure how much longer it's open (or if I'm such a slack poster that it's already shut...)

(To be honest, I'd do this even if there was no prize. It makes me feel like Sherlock Holmes. Mwahaha.)

(Although the fact that I'm not from the USA might put me at a disadvantage, as I have no idea about American tourist spots/heritage buildings/anything else like that which might be put in a photograph...)

_ _ _ _ _

And... there was something else I was going to say... ??


Catherine Meek, one of the [main?] people behind Project Canvas, is joining with Aimee to create a kind of blogging link-up thing! Except this one will really tickle the fancy of any of you who like snail mail...

One blogger will get the Friendly Neighborhood Journal in the post, put some poetry/art/encouraging words/something nice etc into the pages, and then post it to the next address (which Catherine and Aimee provide). And when it arrives, the process will be repeated.

These guys are sending an actual. physical. notebook. ACROSS THE USA. (+ possibly the world? at least, I'm in Australia.) Imagine the love + faith + encouragement that could come from that! Imagine a book, slightly travel-worn, slim, but heavy with the words of friends and strangers, overflowing with kind and uplifting words. Imagine receiving it in the mail.

I'm in love with the idea.

There is the problem with providing a physical address. Seriously, I don't want anyone on the internet to be able to find me!? But I'm hoping it can be sorted out - Catherine suggested, in response to another blogger's concerns, that they could sandwich a blogger between two people s/he knows, so sharing the address wouldn't be a problem. I think that would work for me??

So basically I want to see ALL YOUR NAMES in this Friendly Neighborhood Journal when it arrives in my mailbox.  ;D

_ _ _ _ _

Are you familiar with Project Canvas? (Did you submit an article?) Have you read The False Prince? (and if not, what are you doing with your life???) Do you love snail mail? Might you, maybe, be signing up for #thefriendlyneighborhoodjournal ?? 

And how do you keep up with what's happening in the blogosphere? because it's a bit hit-and-miss for me. (Same as for what books are being released.)

Note: I may not be around much for the next two weeks. I'm doing work experience at... *fanfare* the library. (*cue surprise all round*) Plus I should probably study. Probably. So I'll see how things go. I'll definitely still reply to your lovely comments, though!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Beware: I'm a Writer || or: meet my family!

Everyone knows writers are dangerous people to be around, right? We have the whole "if you annoy me I'll put you in my book and kill you" thing.

Which I have never done. Yet.

But people-watching is a great way to get new characters. Or figure out how your characters would realistically act. Or get hilarious dialogue. Which is what I'm here for today.

Sometimes I overhear things I reeeally want to use in my writing. And, since I don't leave the house that often, most of these things are overheard from my family.

If you're reading this, my dear family... I'm sorry. But you're living with a writer.

things my family have said (that I want to put in a book one day)

Sister 2: Are you asleep?
Me: ...yes.

Brother 2: "Canada's crashing the holiday bus!"
[I refuse to give you any context.]

Sister: Why is there water in my spot? *stabs it with her fork*

Me: ...why are you wearing sunglasses?
Brother 1: these are not sunglasses
Brother 1: these are night vision glasses
Brother 1: they make it look like it's night

Brother 2: I see two stars in a line!

Brother 2: (singing) You make me wanna shout
                  Kick my heels up and shout
                  Throw my arms up and shout
                  *trails off* ...and catch them?
Me: ...How?
Brother 2: ...with my hands. I kept those.

Sister 1: Do I have conversation in my eyes??

Mum: New rule. No Batman at the dinner table.
Sister 1: *hands still spread over her face in a 'mask'* *raspy voice* But... I'm Batman.
Mum: No.
Sister 1: ...
Sister 1: *dives under table*
Sister 1: *comes back out, rather disheveled* Batman had to go.
[We'd just seen the trailer for The Lego Batman Movie. Just. the. trailer.]

Mum: What are you doing on the roof?
General sibling group: ...what?
Mum: What are you doing on the roof?

Sister 1: You get too attached to things that are too easily broken.
Brother 2: *clutches his Lego creations protectively*
Brother 2: You used to cry too when it was pack-up time.

Brother 1: Can I borrow your camera? I'll try not to fill it up.
Me: With photos of bugs?
Brother 1: *walking away* *completely seriously* No, dragons. 

Brother 2: *into disconnected radio* Got a coffee, mate, got a coffee?
Me: ...
[I don't know how universal it may or may not be, but Aussie truckies open UHF conversations with "Got a copy, mate?"]

Sister 1: My genius is ruined on you.
Me: I think you mean wasted?

Any sibling: There's a bug in my dinner!!
Dad: It's fine. He won't eat much.
[On the other hand, if it's a caterpillar, the answer is "He only tastes like the cabbage, that's all he's ever eaten..."]

Sister 1: She thinks she's the bee's bonnets.

Sister 1: *drinking*
Me: *comes into kitchen*
Sister 1: *drops cup of water* *slaps her hands across her face in her 'mask'*
               *raspy voice* ...What do you want?
Me: ...
Me: Don't forget to clean that up.
Sister 1: ...but I'm Batman.

Sister 1 is the drama queen of the family (and the possibility of her reading this post is... higher than I'd like.) Do you have siblings, and do they sometimes say downright hilarious things? Or are you the hilarious one in your family? What's the funniest dialogue you've overheard? (doesn't have to be from your family!) Is this standard Dad behaviour, and do you have any message for Sister 1?? (I suggest stop being such a drama queen, kid, but I suppose I'm biased?)

Friday, 25 August 2017

Beautiful People #27 || I finally talk about Three Sisters

Annnd August's Beautiful People has been open since - well - the start of August?? - but I'm just getting around to it now. (Because if I procrastinate too much longer, it'll be September.)

Beautiful People is a link-up hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In, so thank'ee kindly, ladies, for that.

I'm going to go with one of my three major characters from Three Sisters for this. (You would never have guessed there were three major characters in a story with the working title Three Sisters, would you??)

I should probably give a little context? since I haven't talked much about my writing at all?)
There are three sisters in Three Sisters (cue more astonished surprise); Billie, Elsie and Josie (or Ells and Josh... but never Bill). They live in a forest, in a cottage they [Billie, mostly] built themselves, and in varying degrees of uncomfortable-ness. Josie likes the freedom and spends her time riding their bony old horse around and waving a bow; despite having lived in the forest for seven months, she still views their life as a great adventure. Elsie... well, she had a life before they came to live here; she dislikes the forest, pours her heart into her writing, and feels her sisters don't appreciate how hard she works making their life tolerable (she does the cooking etc). Billie does appreciate Elsie, but she won't say it; they've all had to make sacrifices for this new life, and Billie keeps it going by sheer stubbornness and very hard physical labour.

The story opens with Josie coming home unusually rattled; she was caught poaching in the forest by its legendary resident beast, who demanded her life in forfeit. Billie makes light of it, but when the Beast turns up at their cottage, furious that Josie didn't honour her bargain (to say goodbye to her sisters and then return), Billie is ready with the crossbow. Which... is a commendable effort, but doesn't do much. Out of options, she offers herself to pay for her sister's crime; although she isn't aware, this, according to traditions held from ancient times, is binding: the Beast can neither refuse, nor in any way harm her.

So now Elsie and Josie, believing Billie dead, argue and leave the safety of their cottage. Meanwhile the Beast - who, as I'm writing him, is turning out more and more like a grumpy/legalistic but very bewildered great-uncle who just wants to be left in his library while everyone follows the RULES (no romance involving him, by the way) - has an angry young woman prowling around his house and smashing his china because she can't leave but she can see (via a handy book that's basically a magic mirror in book form) her sisters making dangerous choices without her there to stop them.

Annnd... that's basically as far as two 10k Camp Nanos have taken me.

I have more in mind, including a Cinderella thread, a Robin Hood thread + bandits, an angry empress, sisterly loyalty + sisterly fury, and nods to various fairy tales.

Please note: all of this is regarding a nowhere-near-finished first draft. Characters and plot are still developing. Answers are not set in stone. In fact, I will probably tend to waffle for a while and then admit I don't know the answers.

Oh, and I'm answering these questions for Billie. ;) Time-wise, this is probably... soon after she's taken?

What are they addicted to/can’t live without? 

Billie can't live without her own strength. She has to be in control of the world/situation around her. So... does that make her... addicted to power??

That... was not my intention.

But the transition to her new life in the forest has meant she's had to live without a lot of things, and (so far as I know) she's not addicted to anything physical. Like, say, coffee. (That's a strange foreign drink which [it's strongly implied that] one of the other characters introduces them to.) So I think anything she can't live without is definitely non-physical.

Like power  control of the world around her her own strength, so she can protect herself and her sisters. (Because that has gone amazingly so far... I suppose she did manage to keep things going for seven months, though.)

It's actually also likely that she can't live (or wouldn't have been able to create this new life) without her anger (see the 'what are they holding on to' and the 'someone they resent' questions, below).

Name 3 positive and 3 negative qualities about your character.

Positive: Protective, strong-willed, strong
Negative: Over-protective/controlling, stubborn, relies on her own strength instead of trusting others

Oh look, they're basically the same. I love it when that happens. I think it's a good thing for characters' strengths to potentially be their weaknesses.

Are they holding onto something they should get rid of? 

I can't think of anything. As far as physical objects go, anything with an emotional attachment got dumped when their forest life started. Instead she keeps a simmering lump of completely justified anger and resentment.

...I suppose she should get rid of that??

...Or I could kill the other person.

...After all, that lump of bad feelings is probably 49% of what drives her to make their new life succeed, no matter how hard it is. (Basically, out of spite. "Haha you dumped us, but look at us now. We're doing F I N E." *attacks problem with sharp-bladed shovel* "JUST F I N E.")

(The other 51% is protectiveness. Because I too am a big sister.)

(I think we're far enough off topic now and I should move on.)

If 10 is completely organized and 1 is completely messy, where do they fall on the scale? 

Um. She used to be probably an 8? but her new life involves a lot of nature and nature isn't really something you can keep organised. I think she likes inside the cottage to be tidy (at least, she put up hooks and stuff), but otherwise she's silently rebelling against her old life and has embraced the mud and sweat and deliberately does things which she would never have done in her old life because #ew. Not that that's relevant to how organised she is. I'd say probably more like a 4 or 5 now.

What most frustrates them about the world they live in? 

Billie gets frustrated when she can't control the world around her. She did it in her old life, and with enough stubbornness and sweat, she can usually do it in this new one. Except when she can't. Mostly that's because of the Beast, but sometimes it's Elsie or Josie being rebellious.

e.g. [Billie yelling at the book:] "I told you not to leave the house where do you think you're going get back here this instant or else" (Beast: "I'll just... there was something I urgently had to do... on the other side of the house." *leaves awkwardly*)

How would they dress for a night out? How would they dress for a night in? 

I may have mentioned "rebelling against her old life" and "spite" in my previous answers??

Billie would wear her most worn-out dress - clean, but still worn-out, and completely not the kind of dress that's worn on a 'night out'. And her boots. Not just because she only has a few dresses (and scrubbing the mud out of them kind of wears them out) (and they're a bit darned around the hem and knees) but because she refuses to be the girl she once was. Because that life let her down and now she refuses to go with anything but the new life she built for herself + her sisters.

How many shoes do they own, and what kind? 

This is obviously a very important question, and I'm ashamed of myself for not having thought of it before.


One pair of scuffed leather boots; good-quality, but well-worn.

Do they have any pets? What pet do they WISH they had? 

Billie has a bony old horse. His name is Old Bill. Her sisters thought that was hilarious, but they're smart enough not to call her Bill. (She doesn't like it. Or she wouldn't like it... no one's actually dared do it, yet.) Unfortunately - although Billie could really use Old Bill for plowing the vegetable patch or for dragging logs - Josie has claimed him.

Is there something or someone that they resent? Why and what happened? 

She resents her father. Because he chose the path that benefited himself and threw his daughters to the wolves.

I know... another terrible parent, when YA's full of them already. I'm sorry. I'll try to write some nice ones too.

What’s usually in their fridge or pantry? 

They have a cellar that Billie dug, and it usually has whatever game Josie's caught recently + vegetables from the garden. There would be leftovers from the last meal, in a bowl wrapped in a damp cloth, except they don't usually leave leftovers.


I hope you enjoyed that journey into my WIP! It's late, I know - August is almost over - but I've been enjoying other people's BP posts so much that I felt I had to do one. Plus I've been half-promising to give you a few more details about Three Sisters since, I don't know, April?

So. That's Billie! Do you think she sounds addicted to power?? Do you sympathise with the over-protective big sister or the younger ones who just want to have their own lives? What do you think of the Beast?

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Quick survey || Jem vs. technology

On my last post, Ivie made it known to me that my sidebar isn't showing up right.

[If you can see a big white space on the left, that's where the sidebar's supposed to be.]

When I looked into it, I found that, for me, Firefox worked fine, while Chrome and IE didn't. I also discovered that the sidebar was not gone, but was off-screen: if I zoomed waaay out, it's still there (and it's pushing the footer down too far). Like so:

I spent such a long time going through forums, which said mostly that the probable cause is A) copying content from Word or somewhere else, which brought incompatible formatting with it, or B) an unclosed <div> somewhere.

Then I spent sUCH. A LONG. TIME. going through all my posts. (I'm just glad I don't have more, which is not something I usually say.) And while I found (and ruthlessly ironed out) some frankly disgusting HTML,

I can't find the problem.

So I need a favour.

Could you please write and tell me:
1. What browser are you using?
2. Can you see the sidebar?
3. If not, do you have any idea when you last saw it?

I would really appreciate it. Your comment doesn't have to be long or flowery. I typically worry that my comments will seem terse if they're too short, but if you write even just write one-word answers, I will be very grateful for the information.

Thank you for aiding me in the fight against the technology. I know with your assistance I can crush its rebellion.

...thank you, Strax. I'll keep your advice in mind.