Monday, 29 September 2014

October is Spectober on Steve!

This month on Steve the WriMo Forum we're trying something a little different - a month that combines preparing for NaNoWriMo with a celebration of speculative fiction. Here's the announcement:

Hear ye, hear ye, it's almost October here at Steve! This month, we've got a whole bunch of awesome activities and exercises lined up to help whip your story into shape and prep for NaNoWriMo!

It's time for...ta daaaa...Spectober!

Q: What is this Spectober thing?
A: It's NaNoWriMo preparation. It's a WriMo. It's an organizational boot camp. It's mandatory fun.

Q: AHA, but what if I'm not DOING NaNoWriMo?
A: Welcome, rebels. Welcome to the dark side. We've reserved a special lightless hole in the Sinister Symphony of Sad Trombones just for you.
...Just kidding. You can do Spectober with any WIP, from an existing draft to the merest wisp of an idea. If you're a writer, then Spectober is for you!

Q: But wait! I don't have a story!
A: Aaaaaaaand Steve's got you covered! During the first part of the month, we'll work on idea generation.

Q: But no! I don't want to plan anything out just yet! I prefer to leave the details pretty vague.
A: That's fine. We've got plenty for you as well! We'll be doing a bunch of NaNo-related prep activities that don't involve stories. It's time to get organized and get pumped!

### Scheduled Events

1st-14th: Daily Plot Bunnies - come up with 14 brand-new story ideas in 14 days.
4th-10th: 7-in-7 Character or Bunny Drawings - draw 7 characters or 7 plot bunnies (or just 7 rabbits) in 7 days.
11th-17th: 7-in-7 Playlists - each day, pick a character (or if you're juggling multiple bunnies, you can do bunnies), and assemble and post a playlist of at least 7 songs for that character/bunny. Include links if you like.
18th-24th: 7-in-7 Pictures - each day, pick a character or plot bunny and then assemble at least 7 pictures that represent it. You can use Pinterest. If you already have a collection, add 7 more pictures to the collection.
24th-31st: 7-in-7 Inspirgency Exercises! What is an inspirgency? To borrow the NaNo term, it's when inspiration fails during NaNo. To pick ourselves up during those times, we'll each be making ourselves a series of exercises. We can repeat these as necessary during NaNo.

### Stuff That's Happening All Month

SpecNoWriMo - Write a work of speculative fiction in October! What is speculative fiction? It is science fiction, fantasy, supernatural, or anything in between. Use SpecNoWriMo to get a head start on your NaNo novel, or use it as a warm up for a different story. Any length fiction is allowed: you can write short stories, poetry, novellas, etc, but only speculative fiction words count.
The 90-Day Reading Challenge (or at least the last 31 days of it) - Writers are readers, so choose a novel-reading goal for the month and hunt down some great new books! Those of you who are already reading -- time to kick it in high gear and read those last few books!
NaNoPrepMo - Get all your NaNoWriMo plotting, planning, and organization done by October 31st!

### Weekly Stuff

#### Mondays of Mucking About
Discussion time! On Tuesdays Mondays we'll be talking about the craft of writing - everything from coming up with an initial idea to tackling the dreaded Editing Monster.

#### Tips Tuesdays
Tuesdays are all about getting (and staying!) organised. Schedules, software, managing RSI, finding motivation and getting ready for NaNoWriMo are just some of the things we might be talking about.

#### Worldbuilding Wednesdays
Each Wednesday, we'll be posting brainstorming exercises to help everyone flesh out their worlds. Everyone will post their work on Steve for discussion, feedback and general advice.

#### I Never Could Get The Hang Of Thursdays
Thursday is the day for general discussion and cries for help. We'll also have random challenges like decorating your writing space, showing off your stationery, coming up with ways to keep warm/cool, stealthy fort-building, photography, image manipulation, drawing characters/places/other cool stuff, cover creation and Stevian art creation.

#### Friday Flash Fiction
Each Friday, we'll post a prompt (or selection of prompts). Everyone writes a ~1k flash piece, which is then posted on Steve for discussion and feedback. There will be a total of 5 'FFF' challenges in the month.

#### Wonderful Weekends of Wordplay
Crazy free-for-all time! Well... sort of. Weekends are the time to focus entirely on ongoing projects or the things you really, really want to get done before November 1st.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Metal Madness: Album Review - 'Venereal Dawn' by Dark Fortress

How the heck can it be September already?


That would be a gloomy sigh, but right now I'm listening to the new Dark Fortress album Venereal Dawn and I just can't quite be gloomy because metal awesomeness is pouring into my ears and as much as I want to feel gloomy about how the year is passing so fast and there's a disappointing lack of awesome writing sitting on my computer, I also want to headbang and generally act all crazy and hyperactive over the music.

Um... yeah. Readers of this blog already know the Blackwood is not quite sane so the above is probably neither news not out of character.

Anyway, Dark Fortress. When I decided to attempt an album review my initial thought was that it was probably going to start with something about how I want to mash the keyboard, headbang, jump around, scream and generally act crazy, but at the same time I feel like I'm probably supposed to be intelligent and sensible about it. Then I was just going to add some links and do a bit more flailing.



Listen on Spotify, read more about it on Encyclopaedia Metallum, or there's 'buy' links on and through Century Media.

Sound good?

Okay, done.

*starts combing knots out of post-headbang hair*

Now it's probably time to sound intelligent and sensible or whatever.
The music is black metal... sort of. Looking around the internet, you find a lot of trailing off and adding 'sort of' to genre classifications for bands that have Morean in them. The lyrics are like some kind of bizzaro/sci-fi poetry and well worth a read all on their own.

Every time I listen to the album (and I've pretty much just had it on endless repeat since the release) I pick up new bits and pieces in the music. It's huge and complex, overwhelming in the combination of head-exploding metal and layered subtlety. I still don't quite know how to process it all, which is probably why I started my post the way I did.

Okay, that's about all I've got. Go and listen to the album already.

Links again:

Listen on Spotify, read more about it on Encyclopaedia Metallum, or there's 'buy' links on and through Century Media.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

'Daily Goats' #1: B1 and B2

First kids of the 2014 season!

I'm finally doing a thing I've been planning for the past at least three years, so goat pics!

These two are 'B1' and 'B2', still-unnamed daughters of my doe Bellatrix. They were born on the 24th of August and they're two days old in this picture.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Blog Necromancy II: The Return of 'The Return of Siana in Black'

For reasons, I've moved from my former location at to a brand-new Blogger blog. This may possibly mean that 'blog necromancy' is going to be a successful thing. There's a list of things that could be involved in the revival of Siana in Black in my previous post.

Anyway, over the next... some time... I'll be tidying up and reviving all my old posts, making sure the images still work and updating a few things that would otherwise be hideously out of date. Also probably a lot of talking about heavy metal, which is totally an ideal subject for a writer's blog.

Anything else I need to say?

Oh, right - shameless plug required. Visit Steve the WriMo Forum to hang out with my writers' group. I'll probably have to talk a lot more about Steve if I'm going to get back into this blogging thing.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Blog necromancy - the return of 'Siana in Black'

I don't know about this 'blog post' business. I thought about the writer's block option, but I'm really not sure how to explain it. Then I thought about doing a metal album and I didn't really know which one I'd pick or what I'd say about it. Then I had an idea about talking about songs related to my Camp NaNo project and basically I think I've come to the conclusion that I'm a lousy blogger. I suppose I should put my writer's block comments together and post them, but... yeah, don't know.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Zim hacks part 2: split a single-file manuscript into chapters and scenes

In a followup to Zim hacks part 1: compile a manuscript, this time I'm going to split a single file into chapters and scenes (pages and sub-pages) within Zim. For me this is actually the more useful of the two tools, since I write in FocusWriter and only transfer completed drafts into Zim for ease of reading and note-making when I'm preparing to do some rewriting. Anyway...

Zim hacks part 1: compile a manuscript

The following script runs in the Linux terminal and will compile a manuscript that has been divided into Chapters and Scenes in Zim Desktop Wiki. It's twitchy and a little annoying, but it's the first step in my attempts to find a comfortable Linux equivalent to Scrivener and yWriter. Scrivener runs natively if you don't mind some UI problems with dark-on-light OS themes and yWriter (sort of) runs in Wine, but I really want something that doesn't have all those qualifications added after the word 'runs'.