Firstly, an announcement. On Friday 1st August I will be reading three of my poems, including the winning “Nutshell”, at the book launch of “You is For University” in which it is published.
It will be my first time reading my work aloud to more than a few peers in a classroom, so I’m understandably nervous! I’m hoping to be able to post some sort of recording of the event on here, but have not had confirmation yet of that possibility so watch this space.
Now to another topic. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the feeling when you discover you have been mi-hearing the lyrics to a favourite song ever since you first heard it. I had that experience recently with Evanescence’s “Away From Me” (from their demo album “Origin”).
The most annoying thing about that revelation was not that I actually prefer the version I thought I was hearing. It’s that I had been planning to quote it in a fan fiction, and it turns out that the actual lyrics don’t fit the story nearly as well as what I thought it was.
The actual lyrics:
I’ve woken now
To find myself
In the shadows
Of all I have created
What I thought they were:
I’ve woken now
To find myself
In the shadows
Of a lie I created
Tiny difference, big impact of the meaning, especially since it was the line “a lie I created” that grabbed me for the story in question.
The good thing is, this has never (so far) happened to me with original fiction–probably because I don’t make it a habit of quoting song lyrics in it. For fan fiction, however, I reckon I could get away with quoting my interpretation of the lyrics and then adding an explanitory note.
This entry was posted in Fan Fiction, Misc Rambles, Writing News, Writing Process and tagged alex harlequin, alexannah, anthology, author, book launch, contemporary poetry, creative collection, creative writing, fan fic, fan fiction, literature, nutshell poem, poem, poet, poetry, poetry anthology, public, published poet, published poetry, the student wordsmith, wordsmith, writer, writing.
Lately I’ve been considering which ideas, out of my pool of fanfiction plot bunnies, are suitable for recycling into publishable fiction. I had decided to do this long before 50 Shades came out, though my intention always was to change whatever I recycled enough so that anyone who’d read the fanfiction wouldn’t already know the story. In other words, picking and mixing elements rather than just changing names and places. (Which in my view is a bit lazy, and sort of dishonest.)
Anyway, out of all the fics I have, I didn’t think I could actually make Settling Down into something original. The planet details, yes, but not the plot, since it’s built closely on the (Doctor Who) characters, not to mention the fact that it’s not a novel-style plot–it could potentially go on forever.
But now I’ve had an idea. If I were to create new characters and plausibly put them in a similar situation–stranded on another planet–I could actually write it, not as a novel, but as a ficblog. It could work. If I kept the principles I’ve been using for the fic (short, regular chapters), I think it could work. Thoughts?
Ooh … I’ve just had a fantastic idea for it. I can’t say what, right now. But it could feed into a novel idea I’ve been sitting on for a while …
My poems are now available to pre-order in their respective anthologies from The Student Wordsmith and Good Newz–follow links here. [UPDATE: Sorry the link doesn’t seem to be working. I’m still trying to figure out why that is. In the meantime I’ve posted the info on my Welcome page.]
End sales pitch.
I’ve had an interesting month. I did a few posts titled “Things I Learned in [insert month here]” when I first started this blog, but haven’t done any for a while. But for this post I’m doing something … else.
Some Things I Learned:
- My animal is a beaver, according to one of those “What animal are you” quizzes. The night after I did the quiz, I had a dream about a beaver called Bobby who kept singing Madonna’s “Open Your Heart”. Feel free to analyse.
- If you stick a tube in a tree and collect the water, you can boil it down to make syrup. (Not all trees.) I only know this because I was looking at a wilderness survival website for researching a fan fiction (which is like a kind of cross between Lost, The Hunger Games, and I’m a Celebrity).
- I can, apparently, hold my breath for longer than average, since I beat my St Peter’s buddies on our Butlins weekend. This came as a real surprise since I always thought my lungs were rubbish and expected to lose. Okay, I used to play the oboe, but only for a couple of years, about eight years ago …
- This one’s for the Whovians: there is no ‘C’ in the Gallifreyan alphabet. At least in the one designed by Lorna Sherman, which is awesome and I’ve been inputting tonnes of character names into the translator.
Some Really Dumb Things I’ve Done (I learned from these too):
I wanted to go to Charing Cross. I usually use the ticket machines rather than real people, since the queues usually move faster and I don’t have to worry about being misheard (I don’t have a particularly loud voice).
For some reason I couldn’t fathom, my only options seemed to be “Charing Cross Underground (Sorry no fares available”, or “Charing Cross Glasgow”. Instead of going to the ticket office like a normal person, I panicked and bought a ticket to London Bridge instead.
This meant that upon arriving at said station, I had to walk all the way to the barriers, go out with the ticket and touch in with my Oyster, and go back to the same platform I’d just arrived at to get the next train. And, subsequently, the same on the way home.
And it’s not till I was just typing this up that I twigged: I should have been searching for “LONDON Charing Cross”.
Do you want to know the most ridiculous part? I wasn’t even running late. In fact I arrived an hour and a half early. Why I panicked I have no idea. I apparently have a pathological need to get to places early. It’s more of a nuisance than it sounds
Here’s another example of how my brain (sometimes) works. Yesterday I got it into my head that it was a bank holiday. (My calendar doesn’t have holidays marked, and I don’t use a diary, so they usually creep up on me.) For some reason, I thought it must be May Day.
And it’s not like I didn’t know it was actually March. It wasn’t until twenty-seven hours later, and I was pondering when spring starts, that I twigged.
So, there’s some insight into this author’s head for you. I hope you don’t find it too frightening.
PS: I don’t like starting each new post with an apology for not posting in a while, so I’m not going to do it anymore.
Mystery sentence. First reader to translate it gets a minor character named after them in aforementioned fan fiction.
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I guess blogging, like with anything, there’s a time to know when to break the rules. Today, I am rambling just like I used to.
For starters, sorry again for the gap. Birthday + nasty cough = letting things slide. Not that the cough and the birthday were at the same time, thank goodness. I had one, then the other. And talking of my birthday, see photo below!
The Doctor Who decorations and cake kit were a bit of a surprise from my mother. It certainly added a little something to my party, which consisted of four friends and two brothers coming over and all of us stuffing ourselves with pizza then talking geeky stuff until … uh, quite late. Late in my book, anyway. I’m no night owl.
The cough hasn’t been nice. Usually I can stave off colds with what I call my “magic tea”–it’s not magic, just a Chinese herbal tea called Xiasangju Keli. I just have a cup or two when I start getting the sniffles and it clears up–much better than First Defence, which I’ve never liked. I’ve never got a full-on cold since I began drinking it (the time I forgot to drink it aside), though sore throats seem to be something else. Either that or I just didn’t drink enough. Anyway, I’m just coming out of my lack-of-sleep haze enough to be able to write something coherent and hopefully interesting. I’ve spent most of the last few days watching House of Anubis (series two, second time!) and reading Percy Jackson–finished the first series for the second time, and just finished the first in the second, for the first. The two combined have given me some strange dreams and story ideas. I’m itching to write something with weird puzzles and time travel.
Today, for only the second time ever, I did an entry at 750words.com. It would be a very useful site if I remembered to use it more often. I wish I had the gumption to do it every day, but when I look at the little link in my toolbar I think, I dunno what I would write/I feel dry/my brain’s not up to the task, etc. But I managed to get my fingers moving on the keyboard again and spurt out a load of random stuff, some of which I have just re-written for this paragraph! I’m hoping using it will get me back into blogging, and give me more randomness to offer the world.
I’m changing the subject back to the cupcakes, but only because I didn’t want to put this earlier for formatting purposes:
Nothing says “I love you in all your geekiness” like #Dalek cupcakes from Mum on my birthday.
— Alex Harlequin (@aharlequin) January 26, 2014
My copy of You is For University, in which “Nutshell” is published, is in the post! Finally I can see my name in print for the first time. And in my final bit of news, I received an offer for someone to translate some of my Doctor Who fanfiction into Russian! I actually got the request a while ago but I’ve just said yes (I thought I had already for ages). I’ve already had a Harry Potter drabble posted in French … does this make my work trilingual? Okay, probably not, since I’m not doing the translating. But still!
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Apologies for the long gap in posting. Hope everyone had a good Christmas and didn’t get indigestion. I hope all those in my area have their power back on now, and didn’t get flooded–weather’s been awful.
A Who-ish Season
I got a book called Doctor Who: The History of the Universe in 100 Objects for Christmas (along with two Doctor Who calendars–my parents know me!). I’ve only flicked through it so far, but I have mixed feelings about these kinds of books. As far as I can predict without reading it cover to cover, anything related to the new show I’ll already know, and anything to do with the classic series will probably spoil me majorly for when I watch the episodes in question. Which I plan to once I own the complete box set that was being advertised at the Anniversary Celebrations at London ExCel (no price or release date I noticed, but it’s obviously being planned, and about time too).
I don’t think I wrote anything about the Anniversary Celebrations for my blog, which I will rectify probably in the next post. For the moment, my two cents on the last two episodes. I went to the cinema to see the Anniversary episode, and enjoyed it more than I thought I would actually. Ten(nant) was my Doctor and I never quite got into the new style of writing either since the show changed hands (that’s not to say Moffat hasn’t done some great things, but I find it more confusing and less continuous). I was afraid the ep would be too ambitious and all energy would be put into understanding it rather than enjoying it, but I think it worked in the end. And whilst during the first watch I was dreading the end (what were they going to do with Gallifrey??) I was relieved by the actual finish. I was disappointed that Billie Piper wasn’t actually there to play Rose, and I did spot a few small plot-holes that I now can’t remember, but overall I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.
I don’t think I’ve had long enough to really build an opinion of the Christmas ep. Maybe I should do a reflective paragraph on it another post.
A recent bout of insomnia, other than spurring a tonne of fanfiction during the first night (I wish it could have been my coursework that got stuck in my head, but at least I wrote something) has made me read more, since I now stop looking at screens an hour before I try to sleep. This has meant a break from my Kindle, since it is Kindle Fire and more like a tablet than an e-reader. But it’s made me finally get around to reading some physical books again, specifically all 7 Harry Potter, which is and always will be my favourite book series.
I haven’t read them through for some time–the last time I read one, it was the seventh, and I finished the day I moved into my first uni digs (back in 2010). So it’s been a great experience re-reading them and reminding myself of all the greatest bits, especially those that never made it into the films, like my favourite quote:
It unscrews the other way”
or small details that I’d forgotten or even not noticed before, such as:
… one [task] that many of my followers would give their right hands to perform …”
(Both quotes by JK Rowling, I claim no ownership.)
Also moving through the series there were more of them, since the later ones I’ve read far fewer times. I can recite passages from the first book or two (I used to be able to do most of the first chapter) but the seventh I’m much less familiar with. Allow me to demonstrate.
All right, I’m a geek. And it’s all approximate, I’ve hardly kept track of how many times I read each book. The only one I can be certain of is Deathly Hallows, since I read it once when it came out, once to my dad, and just finished it again two days ago.
In my “calculations” I’m allowing for audio versions and the number of times I’ve read individual passages (for example some of the earlier books I flicked through so often there’s probably at least an extra read total in addition to having read cover to cover).
Joke of the Week
(Told to me at Christmas.)
It was a cold Christmas night. A man was sitting warm by his fire, when there was a knock on the door. When he opened it, there was nobody there.
“Excuse me,” said a tiny voice. He looked around, but still couldn’t see anyone. “Excuse me, I’m down here!”
He looked down, and there on his doorstep was a snail, shivering and dusted in snow. “P-please s-sir, I’m s-so cold, could I c-come in and shelter b-by your fire?”
The man picked up the snail, and hurled it down the garden, slammed the door and returned to his chair by the fire.
The next Christmas, there was a knock on the door. The man left his warm seat by the fire to open it, but again there was nobody there.
Then a tiny voice said, “What did you do that for?”
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“The Unofficial Harry Potter Joke and Riddle Book”, by R.U Kidding M.E. I stumbled across this in my Kindle recommendations this morning, but sadly it did not live up to expectations.
This book needs a lot of work before I would pay money for it. I didn’t need to read further than the free sample–most of the jokes are not actually HP-related apart from the author sticking a character name in front, some are Americanised and just don’t fit with the feel of the books, and there are persistent errors: in the Herbology section, Professor Sprout is consistency referred to as Madam Pomfrey. The few jokes that were actually Harry Potter jokes and I as a Brit appreciated and were factually correct, just didn’t merit paying for.
If you’re looking for a Harry Potter joke book where the author knows their stuff, I highly recommend “Harry Pottiness: A Totally Unofficial Book of Muggle Fun”.
I’ve thumbed my way through this book time and time again when needing some laughs. It’s true it’s incredibly cheesy and the jokes are BAD, but most do fall into the “so bad it’s good” category. The highlights however have to be the more creative pages, such as the Invisibility Cloak care label, and the music chart–always worth a giggle. Highly recommended, and you don’t have to be a die-hard Harry Potter fan to understand most of the jokes; having seen most of the films once is probably good enough.
Since we seem to be having a Potter themed post, why not? I don’t normally discuss my fan fiction on this blog, but as it happens, the (Harry Potter) fan fiction chapter I mentioned in my last post that got mostly wiped, I have managed to re-write to, I think, a pretty good standard. It’s a couple of hundred words shorter so I’ve obviously lost some content forever, but I’m pretty sure I covered everything I meant to cover. Even a lot of the dialogue reads like it did before, which is brilliant. My prayers have been answered. The chapter in question is actually on a story that’s not public yet, and won’t be for a long time–but that doesn’t mean I don’t write something on it when the thought strikes. It’s actually one of the sequels to Six.
Moving away from the Potter stuff, I am so close now with my coursework–just got to figure out this bibliography, and some proof-reading, and I’ll be free to work on Aquila! (And hopefully a few days’ holiday!) I got a 5 for my Children’s Writing module–I have to say I was slightly disappointed, as the first draft of one of my stories was predicted 4-6 before it was redrafted, and it means I just missed getting a First on another module. I’m not totally confident in the report I’m about to hand in, so my hopes are pinned on my Aquila script.
Pin of the Week
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Fan Fiction, Geekiness, Writing Process and tagged alexannah, aquila, author, book review, books, coursework, fan, fan fic, fan writing, fanfic, fanfiction, fantasy, geek, harry potter, harry potter joke book, jokes, reader, reading, science fiction, script, superhero, writing, writing student.
I have for the first time submitted a poem for potential publication in an anthology The Gospel According to Poetry. Today is the deadline, so keep reading to find out if it’s accepted or not. I haven’t quite decided what else I will do with the poem in question, Reasons to Sing; I will decide after I find out.
I’ve added some images to my website pages, including banners on the Projects page. I will be adding them to the individual pages as well, and once I have named my ‘verses I will have a re-organise and make new, better banners.
I had a go at the fan fiction prompt from my first writing prompt post, using Donna and Amy from Doctor Who. An interesting plot bunny is spiralling! I don’t think I’ll end up with another epic in my backlog, but it might merit more than one chapter. I haven’t tried the others yet, haven’t had the opportunity, but I will. I’m also in the process of coming up with more prompts for future posts, so stay tuned.
Pin of the week is a stunning photo I stumbled across when hunting for Milky Way pictures, of the Milky Way and Northern Lights together.
Link of the week: Fanfiction and Literature
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