100 Days to Go (AKA, I Don’t Have a Clue)

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I am eternally impressed by other bloggers. Bloggers who have time and bloggers who have panache to say the things that I kind of just flop about like a dead fish saying. The lovely Carrie-Ann Dring of Something Definitely Happened started her blog to document the British wedding. So to speak. People get married every hour of every day of every year, and no wedding is the same, of course, but less documented are British weddings (naturally, because there are less of us than of Americans) and I’m sure there are many misconceptions about what happens.

In short, you should check out Mrs. Dring’s blog backlog, where she talks about organising her wedding. Or you should check out her current blog stuff if you like pretty vintage outfits.

And I, for one, should have been doing more to document the organising I should be doing. But I suppose that there isn’t actually that much to say. It’s a learning curve, certainly, but it’s so much fun. I feel like a Sim building an implicit skill; you can’t see what I’m doing happening, you can’t see my brain churning, but it’s all there in the background, inching up that skill bar, piece by piece. I can do it. We’ll see.

It is exciting, though, because…

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It is 100 days until I am wed. I can’t tell if that’s a long or a short time. Three and a half months. 14 weeks. They’re all numbers.

And what do I have to do with such short time?

Well…

> Bridemaids’ dresses. (Don’t ask. It’s a long story.)

> Cars. An equally long story with technology’s fault at its heart. The waiting game is on again.

> Page boy’s outfit. Which is on its way.

> Cake. Or, at least, sorting the final image of it.

> Bridesmaid presents.

> Wedding rings. Uh, yeah…

> Table arrangement. But with an ironically-timed meeting with our wedding coordinator tomorrow, that will be crossed off the list as soon as all involved are concerned. And food. That comes into that, too.

> Other decorative things. Like seating cards and table names… Centrepiece candelabras. We’re good.

> Order of service.

> Flowers.

> Hair. Sorted in two days.

> Wedding fittings. But they’re coming. They’re on the will-be-done list. And I have nothing to do for the time-being.

> Invites. Without these, we will have no guests. And these, of course, have a time crunch.

And did I mention? I have three exams, three pieces of coursework, and a dissertation…

I think that’s it. It’s not really as much as it looks. But it isn’t all ‘doom and gloom’ (if it ever was at all). Our priest is wonderful and joyful and I am as confident about the ceremony, which for me is what is important, as I guess I ever will be.

(Opening photo by the lovely Vivienne Edge Photography)

On Originality

(Or, its existence, which if is, is scarce)

What makes your novel unique?

They say it a lot, as if originality is a rite of passage a novel must go through. Chances are, though, not much. We all know the problem the modern writer faces: of writing the novel of our heart only to find that someone’s got there first or got their ‘big break’ with something so similar to yours.

It is devastating.

Recently, I was watching an old Doctor Who – The Time of Angels, in fact – for River Song kicks, when The Doctor mentioned the phrase ‘time energy’. Time-energy. What rather ravels the threads of my novel. Of the trilogy.

What’s more, there was a crack in time and people disappeared from memory.

‘Hang on,’ I said to myself, ‘wasn’t that the premise of my novel, the first draft of which I wrote five years ago…? Three before Doctor Who used it.’

It happens, and it’s a ruddy pain.

So, what’s a budding author to do? Well, for starters, consider the differences. Don’t get hung up on those similarities that must indeed stick out for you. My novel is set in an alternat/ive timeline, not the future. There is no one in Doctor Who who is trying to harvest the time-energy; it is purely wild. And, though, I mean my time-energy is wild, unpredictable, and partly antagonist, it can also be tangible when it wants to be.

It’s an entity, yo.

For others in a similar position to me – don’t give up! Don’t abandon your projects simply because there are others on the market with similar faces to yours.

That’s my advice, in any case. Make your novel yours, not anyone else’s.

Further, look with respect to those books and films and materials that are similar to yours. They help, they train – and you can support those who keep your genre and ideas thriving.

I wouldn’t even say the issue is genre-related; romance novels, for instance, still fall under the issue of the same plot, over and over. But, of course, a novel or fictitious story is not made solely of plot. For romance, it’s a little simpler to focus on the personality and quirks of your characters, but for science-fiction fantasy you could also give interesting traits that a reader wouldn’t suspect.

Don’t stick to stereotypes. That’s what the unoriginal is made of. I personally like subverting the tropes.

The writing, too, is the glamorous essence of reading a new novel. Voice. Imagery. Style. Those aren’t just buzzwords. And, unfortunately, voice is not something we can ever put words to so precisely. It’s the communication between the writer and their characters – a dash of each to the recipe that crafts the tone, vocabulary, even syntax of the story. 

The way a story is told can change anything. Make us forget what was similar.

It’s an unfortunate situation, I know – more than anyone, so it feels with my passion in temporal science, when every inciting incident is of people disappearing from time – but for writers facing this same problem, all I can say is that, though your story might not be the most original, you can paint something new with your characters and settings.

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7 Quick Takes – Essays, Time-Management and God

Let’s pop over to This Ain’t the Lyceum to see how everybody’s been doing this week.

seven quick takes friday 2

~1~

Firstly, it is this little blog’s fourth birthday! I’ll admit that it’s been a less-impressive run than the last couple of years in terms of blogging, but on the other hand, I have got things done and my life has been rolling along as steadily as it is able.

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It almost matches my blog layout…

~2~

Unfortunately for the blog, this has meant that even the best well-meant of posts have got lost at the wayside. Nowadays, I have an idea, and it barely gets further than halfway before I have to transfer my efforts to another activity. I meant to post yesterday, I swear. I’ve even moved reblog Thursday to a Reblog Weds to accommodate my hectic Wednesday timetable this year. These things just haven’t happened, though.

~3~

It’s the weekend! And it truly has been a “thank goodness it’s Friday!” day for me. One of my research participants cancelled last minute yesterday for this afternoon, which meant I was able to actually get some of my – shock horror! – dissertation done in the time of their absence. The thing is that, with (so far) 600 words a day, I’m getting there, but I have more to do than I can afford to have a dissertation report and its progress on my back, too.

~4~

I was going to go to a dance class tomorrow, but that too has been cancelled. The good thing about Lindyhop is that it covers so many different styles of dance, and my group in Reading have recently become more interested in getting together a chorus line. The video below is a chorus girls group performing a piece they choreographed – Greece’s premiere chorus girl group, actually, A Bowl of Cherries.

~5~

Life is about balance. And there is no truer person who knows this than the [current] university student. At the moment, I’m pretty sure I’m out of balance – but that’s okay. I live with that. See my point #3 – I definitely have to make my time. Who-ever says that time has to found in a day? One has to dig it from the ruins of the hours.

Nevertheless, we must take heart – for God knows His plans and handles our plans. This Isaiah quote is encouraging for anyone in the midst of working and striving, those who feel as if their hopes and wills are fading. God has the strength. Do not be faint in His palm!

(Found on Nurse-buff)

~6~

I’m hoping to get to you some writing tomorrow, just something small I decided to do without giving it much thought. It’s set in the world of WTCB and features a couple of characters from LSOT, but apart from that, it was just me playing with dynamics.

~7~

She’d written three times in as many days.

Gabiee twisted the letter between her finger and thumb until it had rolled into a tube she’d easily hide up her sleeve.

As if on cue – and an ominous cue at that – the grandfather clock in the atrium struck. She unearthed the chain from around her neck – from it dangled a pocket-watch, battered but carefully strung. A gift from her husband, and from his father to him.

Seven. Home-coming, for the best of words.

Barely an Hour to Write‏

You may have noticed that I haven’t been on the blog lately – and sporadically at best – but I have barely had any time lately to write, let alone conjure up as blog post from somewhere. I’m in my final year of my undergrad, and I’ve been busy with study reading. Factor in the hours of sport and dance I am dong for my health, and I’m normally exhausted by the time I get back at 10pm. My mind refuses to write at that time unless I have to, and relaxation takes over where I haven’t during the day.

So, here’s hoping I’ll be able to sort something where I’ll get to write more, but I’m not even seeing Christmas as the opportunity. We will just have to take one day as it comes.

Girardoni Kata – A Steampunk Martial Art

An interesting article about how writers can and must fit their writing, for instance fight scenes, to their created technology. Here, specifically, Steampunk martial arts.

Nick Travers

Since posting my article on the Girardoni gun, ‘Steampunk Warfare – The Real Deal’, I find myself inventing a whole new martial art to accommodate the weapon.

As a writer, I love the way a simple decision can drive the development of a whole story world. In this case it is the adoption of a certain gun mechanism, but it could equally be a political, institutional, religious, technological, hierarchical or social idea, just as our response to these things change the real world around us.

A story world must hang together logically for the whole thing to feel real to the reader. To give your story an ‘other-worldy’ feel, just turn a social norm on its head and follow the logical consequences of that decision.

The other day, I took the family to see the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, UK. The Mary Rose is a Tudor warship…

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Time in Fiction: Addressing the Timey-Wimey, Troublesome Truths

For all you temporal scientists (!) out there like me, Victoria over at The Crimson League discusses the use of time in fiction – and, as I well know, the difficulties that can arise from misplacing time in one’s novel.

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

times-in-my-hand-1429208-m Time is such a crazy and troublesome thing, both in life and in writing. Some among us (well, the Whovians anyway) might even describe it as “wibbly wobbly” or “timey-wimey.”

Time issues have tripped me up in various drafts of my novels. Handling time in fiction–where the rules of time in the real world aren’t always at play, especially in my genre of fantasy–can be a tricky task. We can expand and contract and change how time works to a greater or lesser extent when writing.

While this is fun, and wonderful, and one of the most creative ways we can execute artistic license, it can also be difficult to keep track of. To keep under control.

Here are some ways time in fiction has caused me problems, or ways I try to be aware of time as a factor when I’m writing. They’re nothing to panic over. Just some…

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The Premise of When the Clock Broke in Gifs

I stole this idea from the awesome Cait Drews. I illustrate the premise of my novel with crazy gifs, for your amusement. 😉

 

Upper-class pacifist Phillip Costello and stubborn middle-class Aidelle Masters are getting married. In a month and a half, in fact.

Of course, as these things go, not everyone is happy about their union. After all, jealous socialite women (like Aphrodisya from my pitch slam entry) have spread rumours about Aidelle and tarnished the name of the Masters family.

Phillip’s own brother, Rion, is more concerned about the impending war against the Second Continent. When he vows to estrange Phillip from his share of the Costello inheritance unless he do the more noble thing and serve his continent, Phillip knows that, for Aidelle’s sake, he’s got to leave.

Much love for two consecutive Thomas gifs.

But Phillip, being the prejudiced and private man he is, won’t admit to her that he’s run out of money. To Aidelle, Phillip would simply rather go to war than marry her. He’s finally realised that the socialites have been right. And that makes her mad.

The last moment Aidelle remembers before sinking into her armchair in sobs is a slammed door, a broken engagement, and the crashing reverberation of the timepiece she chucked at her fiancé.

 

Aidelle wakes, bewildered, to the sound of a voice in her abandoned bedroom. The sky outside is still a crackling storm, flowers thrashed and soaked; the house hasn’t aged. When a strange girl introduces herself as someone from Aidelle’s future, Aidelle’s all:

There’s wittiness in choosing this gif. 😉 Also, both Belle and Snow from Once would make good adult versions of the mysterious girl, Zara.

But this strange girl gives Aidelle a reason to live again: trapped in a bubble of time poured from the timepiece, she has the chance to fix the clock here and rewind the moment of the argument. One more chance to convince Phillip to stay…this time without the hissy fit.

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Gratuitous Lucy Hale gif. The image reminds me how much she looks like Zara.

In his own time, Phillip’s not going to give up, either. He returns from war to the bombed ruin of his townhouse. Basically, he’s like:

But with Aidelle’s name rather than Gandalf’s, of course. The atmospheric background stands.

Rion doesn’t care. One remark and he’s back at their childhood mansion:

Regardless of his parents’ wishes he marry someone new, Phillip’s determined to seek out his former fiancée and return her to where she belongs beside him. However, with the help of a psychic teenager, he begins to realise that she might not exist in his own time anymore…

Even so, time’s not going to play fair.

Think the manners and etiquette of DOWNTON ABBEY crossed with the temporal paradoxes of DOCTOR WHO. We follow the dual perspective of Aidelle and Phillip, and occasionally peek into the minds of two other Costello brothers, whose futures the marriage of Aidelle and Phillip will change, too.

Rupert Everett ❤