NaNoWriMo Is Coming!

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Well it’s October, AKA Panic-And-Outline-Your-Novel-Month. November is just around the corner and while the rest of the world may associate November with Thanksgiving and pumpkins and the early start of the Christmas season, we writers associate it with NaNoWrioMo (The National Novel Writing Month) where we lock ourselves away, ignore the world, and stress over our respective novel projects for a month.

I’m not too panicked this year, I’m planning on re-writing the novel I wrote last year. So I at least know what I’m going to write. Still it will be a challenge trying to figure out how to fix the numerous problems in this novel. I am excited to get back to the novel, though. I really want to get it polished.

So who else is doing NaNo this year and what are you planning to write? If anyone would like to add me as a NaNoWriMo buddy my username is Lady_Of_The _Pen it’s always fun to meet new people and encourage each other during NaNo.

Best of luck to all!

~~Lady of the Pen~~

Seven Point Plot Structure

I’ve never been very good with plot structure, I’m a discovery writer, and so I usually only have vague ideas of where my story is going. But I’m learning that even if I don’t use a lot of structure in my first draft, I need to implement it in my editing. A few days ago one of my friends suggested this Youtube series on the Seven Point Plot Structure, it’s very detailed and super helpful. Dan Wells uses a lot of good examples so it’s easy to understand. I recommend it to anyone who’s interested in learning more about plot structure.

A Few Brief Thoughts (Doctor Who S8 E2)

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Not sure how I’m feeling about this darker, more cynical Doctor. I think he’s quite good, but I’m suddenly missing Ten’s compassion. Also one of the best things about Doctor Who is its optimism, its wonder and its hope. I’m worried that may be lost. I’m not panicking yet. But at this point in his life I think the Doctor needs a companion to keep him on track more than ever before.

 

~~Lady of the Pen~~

Story Serial

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I’m playing with an idea and would love to hear some feedback. What do you guys thing about a series of short stories on the blog? I have a Victorian Space Adventure I’m working on, the main character is Lady Florence D’Arbanville, Space pilot extraordinar. The stories would center around her and the crew’s adventures in Space. Would this be something you would be interested in reading? And what do you feel is a good length for a short story via blog? Love some impute!

 

~~Lady of the Pen~~ 

The Doctor is Back!

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So after months of agonizing waiting it’s finally here!–Season eight of Doctor Who! Along with a brand new (slightly older) Doctor. I’ve been awaiting the debut of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor with some trepidation. What if he isn’t the right man for the part? What if he ruins it? And how could I love anyone new as much as Matt Smith?…But then again how could I love anyone more, as the Doctor, than David Tennant or Christopher Eccleston? And yet Matt Smith charmed his ways into my affections as a marvelous Doctor. So perhaps there’s hope. 

My thoughts on Deep Breath.

The new Doctor is brilliant. His new age suits him and I will disown anyone who complains that he’s old. The Doctor’s always been old! And sometimes he even looks it. This new persona reminds me a lot of Nine, with some of Eleven’s traits. As Neil Gaiman put it Peter Capaldi isn’t a cuddly Doctor, but he’s glorious. I’m very excited to see where he takes the Doctor. 

Now to get a little more in depth with the episode. Which means, in the words of River Song, “SPOILERS.”

The beginning sequence with Twelve may not have been as memorable as Eleven’s–I mean it’s hard to top eating fish fingers and custard with a cute little redheaded Scottish girl–but it was thoroughly enjoyable watching the Doctor forget who was who and calling Clara “The one who isn’t me, who asks all the questions.” The part with him on the rooftop shouting and signaling to the dinosaur was priceless as well. Twelve has the energy of the Doctor, but he is a blunter, darker Doctor than we’ve seen. It does appear that he pushed that cyborg out of the window and he said that he would go to great lengths to protect the people of Earth. I wonder how dark they can make him without destroying who the Doctor is? But I have faith that they will find a balance. 

One of the most interesting parts of the episode was Clara’s reaction to the new Doctor. She’s horrified that he’s old, that he’s not the man that he was. She can’t see him as the Doctor. I feel like this theme of the episode was in direct response to all the fan girls who complained about the Doctor being played by an older man. I was pleased to see Madame Vastra put Clara in her place. It’s no secret that I do not like Clara and this episode highlighted many of the reasons why. After everything that happened in the episode, after he’d been there when she needed him and come back for her, she still had to hear it from Eleven before she would accept the new Doctor. I really enjoyed Twelve’s jab at her when he said, “It’s times like this that I miss Amy.” I couldn’t agree more. Hopefully the fans didn’t take as long as Clara to warm up to the new Doctor. 

Now for a few questions. Who was that woman who helped them and is calling the Doctor her boyfriend? For one mad moment I hoped it was River, but no such luck. Still, I’m very curious about this new character. 

I’m also curious how they plan to tie in that Peter Capaldi already played in an earlier episode in the Fires of Pompeii? I’m sure the tie in will be brilliant.  

Feel free to comment, I’m curious what other people thought of the episode and the new Doctor.

~~Lady of the Pen~~

Why Originality Doesn’t Matter

This is good.

Saga of Menyoral

Your work is not original.

The good news is, that doesn’t matter. It’s not about being original.

I hear this kind of question all the time: has it been done? Of course it has. Listen and listen well. You are not a special snowflake. You cannot originate anything, in the strictest sense of the word. Your ideas do not spring from the void, no matter how little media you consume. You are human and your brain is infected with stories. Why do you think the TV Tropes wiki is such a lumbering monster? You cannot avoid any and every element of trope and still tell a coherent story, because you are human and humans have been doing this thing for thousands of years. Before we could even write, we were telling stories.

It’s not about originality. It’s about conversation, by which I mean responding with your own art to the…

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Prophets of Science Fiction

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 “Science fiction is our speculations, our dreams, and our fears of what the future will bring. Many of these ideas are seemingly far fetched and wild, things that would only be accepted in fiction, but those ideas open the door of possibility…”

For the rest of my blog post go to Vaguely Circular, run by several of my writing friends. This month they’re having an awesome blogathon entitled “Imagine This” focused on speculative fiction. Be sure to check out all the great blog posts!

~~Lady of the Pen~~

Hard Truths

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I’ve been working on editing and polishing my novel ‘Train to Everywhere,’ which I wrote during NaNoWriMo back in November. When I finished the 2nd draft I was high on writing. I’d never gone beyond the first draft of a book before and I was thrilled. I felt that the end was insight. I just needed to make a few more changes, polish up a scene here and there and I’d be done. I could upload it onto Amazon and show it to the world!

But as I’ve gotten a little distance from the 2nd draft I’ve begun to realize that it still has issues. I tried to deny how much work it really needed. A couple of friends had read it and loved it, but part of me knew they weren’t thinking critically enough. But recently I finally got a critical opinion from one of my friends and she confirmed what I already knew, that the story still needs a lot of work.

Accepting this has given me a lot of freedom. Before I didn’t want to make major changes, so I was trying to patch up problems when what they needed was reworking. But now I’m not looking at the story as a solid piece of work, but a number of elements. Elements which can be changed, rearranged or cut of necessary.

So while I’m disappointed that I still have a long way to go on this novel, I’m excited by the possibilities it allows me.

Wish me luck!

~~Lady of the Pen~~

Fiction Friday: 8 Things Writers Forget When Writing Fight Scenes

There’s some useful information here.

Lisa Voisin

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Recently, I attended VCON, a science fiction and fantasy conference in Surrey (part of Metro Vancouver) and attended a session called “Writing About Fighting.” The panel consisted of writers and experts who were disciplined in multiple martial arts, including authors Lorna Suzuki and T.G. Shepherd, and Devon Boorman, the swordmaster of Academie Duello in Vancouver. (I lost my program, so if you remember who else was there, please leave it in the comments, below)

For me, this talk was so fascinating, it was worth the cost of admission to VCON. In fact, I spent days thinking about the topics discussed. These are just a few of them as I remember it.

Eight Things Writers Forget About Fight Scenes:

1. It’s not about the technical details

First of all, if you’re not technical and don’t know the details of fighting, you shouldn’t try to write about them. Some writers try to to…

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How to Train your Dragon 2 Review

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In the world of sequels, this is a pretty impressive one. The animation is gorgeous and if you spring for 3D there’s a whole added depth. John Powell once again does an amazing job with the soundtrack, though it didn’t quite have the same magic as in the first one and that is something I’ll say about the entire movie.

The movie is very good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Where the first movie was a story about friendship and finding your place in your world, this is a coming of age story. It’s five years later and a lot has changed in our favorite viking village of Berk, dragons have became a part of the culture. Things seem perfect, everyone is happy and content–everyone except Hiccup that is. He’s a free spirit and flies far from home, creating maps and searching for dragons. But his father believes it’s time to retire and for Hiccup to take over as leader, this is an honor Hiccup is not thrilled about. The story goes on from there, it’s solid, but not terribly imaginative.

SPOILERS ahead! I found it interesting to discover Hiccup’s mother was actually still alive, but it’s definitely not the most original move. Part of me was happy that Hiccup and Stoick were so understanding as to why Valka has been gone for 20 years. It warmed my heart, but my brain had some trouble with it. I feel like there would have been some anger or hurt going on, it didn’t need to be extreme, but I didn’t feel her explanation as to why she left and stayed away was very convincing. But I will say it was very sweet, especially the scenes with Stoick and Valka, which of course was put in to twist the knife later on.

The idea of the dragon army being amassed by any angry, scarred man, with a grudge against dragons, was rather typical. They went from a heart warming story about a boy who befriends a dragon to a typical action adventure story about fighting an ultimate foe. I liked that Hiccup had to grow up, learn, and take responsibility, but killing Stoick to do it felt like another cliche. I don’t think these things would have bothered me with most kids movies, but after the magic of the first one I had such high hopes. I will not say that those hopes were dashed, because I did truly enjoy the movie, but I did leave feeling disappointed.

I think my final point and perhaps the one that annoyed me the most was that Astrid didn’t play a larger role in the story. I wanted to see her and Hiccup working together more. They’ve been dating for 5 years and are apparently going to get married one day, but aside from the promising beginning there wasn’t much of them working together as a team. It’s not that Astrid wasn’t present throughout the movie, but her scenes weren’t important for the most part and we didn’t get to see much of the relationship between Hiccup and Astrid. I was also disappointed that Astrid and Valka never had a scene together. I would think that Hiccup’s mother would want to get to know the girl who is likely to become her daughter-in-law. It could have been a great scene but it appears they were too caught up in their giant dragon battles to fit that in.

I know this is all rather negative and it is by no means a bad movie, it’s beautiful and has some great moments in it, but after the simple magic of the first, I feel like this one could have been so much more than the big action film it turned out to be.

~~Lady of the Pen~~