Miss Alexandrina

The thinking-space of a not-quite novelist

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Let off steam at the Asylum Steampunk Festival

Alexandrina Brant:

A little idea of why I’ll be absent from the blog for a few days and what I’m up to over the long weekend at the end of August. :)

Originally posted on The Petwood Hotel Blog:

This weekend the City of Lincoln will be invaded by Steampunks! Don’t worry, they are entirely harmless, they just love dressing up in Victorian style – anything from top hats and flying goggles, to corsets and flamboyant feathers.

The Festival celebrates the steam powered world of the late 19th century and attracts visitors from all over the world. It’s the biggest Steampunk festival in Europe, scheduled for the Summer Bank Holiday (28th – 31st August). “Lincoln will host a full convention-style day programme with a fringe style programme of art, literature, music, fashion, comedy and simple good fun.”More info here.

If you fancy the Festival, do visit their website beforehand, particularly the scheduled programme, as there is a lot going on,

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Photo of the Week: Dreary

In England, we’re fighting the summer rain again. Boo, cold weather… I was given this miniature bamboo, and I think it works well as a subject for this week’s photo. I lightened it up a bit, as, as you can imagine, the weather does not good natural light make. Hopefully, it will cheer up a bit…


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RSW 24/08/15

Phew. Has it already been a week? I feel like I’ve been all over the geography this week, busier than average.


How I did on last week’s goals.

> Write 2,000 words of the WiP short. Done this, I think.

> Edit chapter two of H and get it to my critique partner. Working on that right now.

> Critique chapter three of my CP’s new novel. To work on this. Hopefully tomorrow, and if not, Wednesday. I’m behind schedule here.

> Write up one (non hop) blog post of the list I want to write. Unlikely, but I can try some words of wisdom on Weds. Sadly didn’t manage to do this one this week, but perhaps this is something I can work on as the calendar year goes on.

> Plan and trial at least three of my Steampunk outfits for Lincoln Asylum. Have done two, and will be working on the next once I have finished #2 above.

My goal(s) for this week.

  1. Start threading together the segments of the WiP into a coherence plot that follows, scene to scene.
  2. Participate in Manuscripts and Manicures*
  3. Critique chapter three of my CP’s new novel.
  4. Lincoln holiday with The Boyfriend :D

A favourite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

Procrastination – I didn’t write much new prose this week, and that’s been my own fault, but I know I’m worried that I’ll look back at the finished manuscript and think that it’s not good enough.

The biggest challenge I faced this week.

Effort and distraction. Sometimes I’m more content doing something else, something easier, or not writing at all.

Something I love about my WiP.

I got to talk about it for this month’s Beautiful People hop, and through it I learnt that the heroine influences the hero more than vice versa.

*I’m hoping to take part in next week’s Manuscripts and Manicures, but my nails are going to be specially painted for the Lincoln Steampunk Asylum, so I might be rushing between painting, particularly as I don’t get back ’til the Tuesday!

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Beautiful People: the Friendship Edition

For this month’s Beautiful People (hosted by Cait and Sky), I’m going to look into the friendship between two characters (the main characters, in fact) of mine in my work-in-progress short. Kazia and Joel haven’t known each other for so long, but they soon become firm friends, and a bit more…


  1. How long have they known each other, and how close are they?

By the end of the short story, they’ve known each other for a few months, five or so—but seeing as they meet at the beginning, their knowledge about each other is limited, as it should be. I’m writing a romance, not a stalker thriller.

Throughout the short, they get closer and closer mentally, but physically, they are miles apart so relish time spent physically in each other’s company.

  1. What’s their earliest memory of being best friends?

Of being close? Difficult to say. I think it finally clicks that they rely a lot on each other the closer to the climax of the story—but telling you about that would be spoilers, as their emotional interactions make them better friends.

  1. Do they fight? How long do they typically fight for?

I wouldn’t say they fight for a temporal length of time. It’s more that they get miffed at each other frequently and have arguments that are short, to-the-point, but resolve said arguments on the spot, or within a few hours of thought and snapped discussion.

  1. Are their personalities similar or do they complement each other?

They both have a quirky side, which is what drew them to each other, but, fundamentally, their personalities are different. Kazia is studious and focused on her studies and animal anatomy as a passion, whilst Joel is less academically inclined, but good with his hands. Not a euphemism.

He is good at building things, okay? Even if he doesn’t quite know where he wants his career or future to go—whereas Kazia is happy to stay in research.

  1. Who is the leader of their friendship (if anyone)?

Kazia and Joel have similar temperaments in terms of how they interact around each other. I’d say that they both lead different parts of their friendship and how they get to know each other. Or, if one is the more socially submissive, I’d say it’s Joel, as he does not have as much confidence as Kazia.

  1. Do they have any secrets from each other?

Yes, many. Most because they’re afraid of upsetting each other with facts that would probably be worked out in the time it would take them to discuss what would happen. Nevertheless, they keep those secrets and pretend everything is fine.

  1. How well do they know each other’s quirks and habits?

Not very well, to be honest. However, that is what I, as a reader, would expect; because they have not known each other for so long, it follows that there would still be a lot for them to know about each other beyond the confines of 10-ish-thousand words.

  1. What kind of things do they like to do together?

They like to go to role-playing events, and they Skype a lot (trust me, I know some technophobes who prefer to talk via phone, so being able to use an application-based conversation device is a hobby). I can imagine that they would play board or card games together, as neither are very competitive, but I can also imagine that Kazia would be confused as to all of these new boardgames that have come from nowhere. She may be geeky, but only when it comes to biology. Her nerd radar is sufficiently lacking compared to Joel’s.

  1. Describe each character’s fashion style (use pictures if you’d like!) How are their styles different/similar?

dress1In their daily life, both Joel and Kazia dress quire casually – unlike his brother, Joel isn’t much of a ‘macho’ football playing guy, so doesn’t have any jerseys or leave his kickers hanging around his den. Instead, it’s just t-shirts. Kazia’s the same. She likes t-shirts because she doesn’t see the point in dressing up for a normal day. She is a jeans-wearing sort of person.

Being role-players, they also have their own style of outfits for the weekend: Kazia went for a classical NeoVictorian lady’s day wear of what Joel calls a ‘teapot skirt’ (no manners, the man!) and a blouse. Joel tends to wear two- or three-piece suits, with a particular emphasis on the waistcoat.

  1. How would their lives be different without each other?

Lovingly beheaded

I think they both would have less direction in their lives if they hadn’t met each other. Through Joel, Kazia worked out where she wants to study for her PHD; through Kazia and her academic determination, Joel realised that he needed to get his life together a bit more and look towards a career rather than just a job.

That’s it from me for this month! Check out the rest of the hop to see what the other writers have been up to with their characters.

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Six Things Writers Should Know About the Myers-Briggs Distinction I(N)tuition and (S)ensing

Alexandrina Brant:

Reblog from writer Victoria Grefer about characteristics of Meyers-Briggs Intuitive v Sensing personalities. As an INFJ and a writer, I find this series interesting and helpful.

Originally posted on Creative Writing with the Crimson League:

When time is ticking and you have to pick fast, how conformable are you trusting your gut? That's one faction in intuition vs. sensing When time is ticking and you have to pick fast, how conformable are you trusting your gut? That’s one faction in intuition vs. sensing

This post is number 2 in a series about Myers-Briggs types, and will highlight six things writers should know about how their characters will generally favor either sensing or intuition. The first focused on Thinking and Feeling (T/F).

  1. In some ways, intuition/sensing is about big picture orientation versus detail orientation. Sensors learn from and start with the details because they start with what they can sense. (That’s where the name comes from). In contrast, people with an intuition orientation tend to spot patterns and work from the big picture or pattern down to the details.
  2. If you want to make it evident that a character is intuition-oriented, make sure he or she tends to trust the gut instincts that arise. Right are wrong–and for certain Myers-Briggs types…

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Photo of the Week: The Calico

I can only offer a non-explorative, domestic photo fro this week, of a local neighbourhood kitten, with whom I’ve made friends. I call this energetic bundle of fur Calico, after its fur patterning.


Cute little thing, even when it’s attacking a defenceless twig.


RSW 17/08/15

Apparently we are getting near to the end of Ready, Set, Write! This year, even though my summer lasts for another month and a half. That’s what I get for not having internet for over a month! Let’s have one last crack at our goals, before manuscripts and manicures next week.

How I did on last week’s goals.

> Do some exercise. I did some walking, fun running, and a 20-min dance workout.

> Write 2,000 words of Geeky Love WiP short. Hehe, I stupidly did not take a note of how many words I’d written last week, but I’m halfway through on wordcount the entire story, and I’m making progress definitely. I’m gonna tick this one off.

> Finish reading the two stories I’m almost at the end of (Inspector Morse, and Bride by Mistake) and choose a) a single Kindle book to keep reading (as opposed to swapping between them) and b) a print book to read. Done, not done, and done. If that makes sense.

> Write up one (non hop) blog post of the list I want to write. Nothing from the list, but I did get a post up that wasn’t a hop.

My goal(s) for this week.

  1. Write 2,000 words of the WiP short.
  2. Edit chapter two of H and get it to my critique partner.
  3. Critique chapter three of my CP’s new novel.
  4. Write up one (non hop) blog post of the list I want to write. Unlikely, but I can try some words of wisdom on Weds.
  5. Plan and trial at least three of my Steampunk outfits for Lincoln Asylum.

A favourite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

An array of beads and baubles decorated the first segment of the trestle table that stretched the entire back wall of the workshop. The middle segment had been claimed by tools, and I headed there. The third segment was Mom’s worktop, and she changed what lay there every day. Today she’d draped receipts, invoice, and bills on the top, as if she was making jewelry out of paper and not precious stones.

The biggest challenge I faced this week.

Time. I’m actually doing and reading a lot, so around the small things, I have some time ton write, but at least I’m getting engaged about writing again.

Something I love about my WiP.

I’m working on backstories, even when I’m not really including them. I’m getting to know what motivates my hero and heroine…I think.



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