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A cherub...ME?! )

Ok so taken in In Nomine terms (which this appears to) it does make sense and I've played them often enough. Worrying/Amusing though that this was one of the three I predicted at the start.
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*Screams and runs around like a madwoman*

Right, now I've got that out of my system...The cause for the excitement is that [ profile] simara got her copy of the [ profile] genrechallenge year 1 anthology before I left her place this afternoon. It's the first time I have ever had any of my work published outside the bounds of posting stuff on the internet and the wave of excitement at seeing my name and my stories in print was overwhelming to say the least. There was screaming, there were very nearly tears and there was an adrenaline rush that had me practically bouncing all the way to the train station.

If you're a writer fancying a challenge please check out GC it's full of friendly people and a really good giggle, not to mention keeping the creative juices going throughout the year. If you enjoy short stories then please consider buying a copy of the anthology even just as a download, all the proceeds are going to charity which is a far better reason to buy something than it having my random scribblings in ^_^.
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I know a fair few of you out there are crafty types and all of my f/list are caring people so this seemed as good a place as any to spread the word about this: Marie Curie - Create a card for Cancer care.

My mum and I are both contributing, our family has lost its fair share of members to cancer and even if it hadn't I've seen what the disease can do. It's almost ironic that I discovered the project today,shortly after discovering that Patrick Swayze has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. So what are you all waiting for? Get making cards. For those of you who I'm likely to see before the closing date, I can probably pick up some more of the card bags tomorrow if you let me know you want them before about 10am. Since I know that several of you reading this are in the USA I should probably point out that it is an English site and I haven't poked it enough yet to find out if/how to submit international entries to the cause, no doubt they can tell you if you follow the contact details though. Failing that, if you're really determined, drop me a comment and I'll pass you my home address, post them to me and I'll make sure they get where they need to go.

Thanks to all of you for reading.
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I'm looking at tattooes again, never did get the Dragon one I wanted...
This time I'm leaning more towards a phoenix though, don't know why I just am.

I've got a list of possibles (which knowing me will grow over the next few days) all urls at the moment but I may well get around to downloading them and posting the pictures here at some point. One thing I have discovered, it is far more difficult to find good phoenix tattoo designs than it is to find dragons.

4 - which is actually an eagle...

These next few are not Phoenixes or Firebirds or anything like them, they're ravens. I came across the first one in a general search on Celtic style images and it reminded me that they would also be remarkably appropriate for me.

6. Would need to be shrunk a bit and have the coins removed/letters changed.

Back to Phoenixes and things:

10. This one is beautiful but way too big and rather too complex. A smaller, simplified version would be great.
11. I almost like this one but I want something more elegant and well...less chavish!
12 See this is pretty, or at least the actual phoenix and flames part is, but I'm wary about using it because of the group it represents.

And this one isn't even a bird but she caught my eye all the same.

I'm not sure how much I like any of these which is a sure fire indication that I shouldn't get any of them done. They are going in vaguely the right direction though, any of you arty types out there have something that might work or feel like drawing something feel free *bats eyelashes*
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Just because [ profile] simara and I happened to be talking about it the other day I ended up searching out the lyrics to 'The Stolen Child' by W.B Yeats.

To save people's flists... )

Thing is I'm sure I remember a poem based on the Wild Hunt, it goes in cycles of the Huntsman calling a child, the Child telling his father what is happening and the Father coming up with some rational explanation for it. Eventually the Child goes with the Huntsman and his Father is left with only a corpse. Something tells me that the child was ill and the reason he and his father were out was that they were going to the house of the doctor. It's one of those things that is sitting in the back of my mind and I think I may have discovered through it being mentioned in a book somewhere. I can't however remember the title or the name of the author. I have tried Googling it but with not much to go on I've turned up a blank. Anyone out there have any ideas?
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Ok so this is just plain disturbing!

23% of British survey doesn't think Winston Churchill really existed...

Honestly I had problems believing this on first reading, then I thought about it for a while and looked at some of the people you see in the world today. I can actually see it happening.
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Happy New Year guys!
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Again, something that made me giggle and I figure that most of the people I know will appreciate it as well...always assuming that you haven't already seen it of course.

Weakest Link - Dr Who special
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This is taken from one of the messages on the Open University website:

The Government has announced that, as of the next academic year, it will no longer be funding students in England and Open University students in Northern Ireland taking any Higher Education qualification that is equivalent to, or lower than, one they already hold. These students are being referred to as ELQ (Equivalent or Lower Qualification) students. This decision will have major funding implications for The Open University as ELQ students represent a substantial percentage of our student numbers.

There are some exemptions to the new draft policy including initial training for teachers, nurses, social workers and all foundation degrees. But we are convinced that across the sector the higher fees that institutions may have to charge will deter many graduates from university-level professional development. In our opinion discouraging institutions and students in this way runs counter to the Government’s priority to re-skill the nation’s workforce – a priority that we entirely support and currently excel in delivering.

It won't just affect the OU either, any university or other institute of HE is going to be hit bu these cuts which, let's face it, are just another strike against the British education system in general. Theoretically it might affect colleges offering A levels to those who already have such qualifications as well.
The link below goes to a petition set up by an OU member to campaign against the cuts, I will do some more research into the wider impact of this proposal but for now would urge those who can to sign this one. Unfortunately it's only open to British residents though.

Full message: )
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I was bored, I googled Skippy's List in hopes of finding something to cheer up what has been an other wise pretty crappy day.

I found this mentioned in one of the comments and promptly did likewise with the googling...It worked, I giggled, I decided I had to share.

Hope this gives your days a boost the same way it did mine.
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Well my novel now has a title, a working title at least "Fata Quadrivium". For some reason when I was musing on the subject Fata Morgana popped into my head, aside from being one of the possible epithets for Morgan le Fay it also means an illusion of some kind. It didn't seem quite appropriate like that so I went searching for the latin for gate/door/portal/crossing given what Bri seems destined to do (since I've given up arguing with her after last time), anyway I finally came up with Quadrivium which means Crossroads. It's a nice magical place and I suppose that the effect she will have on Faerie will bring the fae to a crossroads in their power and existance. It is only a working title and therefore subject to change if I come up with anything with a better ring to it, however, the more I look at it the more it seems right.

I've got most of it pinned down now, mostly in note form which has given me another couple of thousand words. It's all kinds of messy but at least it's there and I know where I'm going to finish the damn thing. The story has ended up going in a vastly different direction to the one I thought it would at the start, most of my original questions ended up becoming character development rather than plot and the plot has left it very much open for a sequel if I ever felt like reading it. Given that there is so much I'm going to end up needing to pare down to make everything mesh I think I may take a leaf out of [ profile] simara's book and use this as a plan rather than a first draft. Some of the prose is reasonable, some of it is even good and occasionally my plot shows the promise of becoming something much better than anything it is at the moment. I still don't feel that it's going to be a masterpiece, I'm not even sure that it will come out as anything particularly original but I do look forward to getting to play around a lot more with some of the folklore that I ended up ignoring because I was becoming so frustrated this month. At some point I will probably post up what is left after I've taken out the worst of the embarrassing word padding interspersed with notes where needed to indicate the flow of things between the chapters I have.

The biggest departure I think I will be taking is that Bri will not be raised in Faerie. I still want her to be taken at a young age but mostly because I actually like my prologue and the first chapter or two where all the Changing happens. After this I have visions of her being returned to her mortal family with perhaps the appearance of a 'nanny' to care for the young girl while her parents are about their busy lives. This woman will of course be a faerie who will raise the child on tales of the Daonie Sidhe and the world beyond what can be seen. Later on, probably around puberty, she will be stolen away to Faerie and things will pick up my later chapters which are mostly reasonable. A certain faction of the Unseelie court want to tempt her into working with them because she is destined to wield great power, although they don't know what form this power will take. Certain members of the Wild Fae want her because they do know what she might do and want to use it as their gateway to the mortal realm. The greatest part of the Seelie Court just want to see that she will use whatever power she has responsibly, and ideally not to wreak great changes in their way of life. She needs to make the choice herself but events will push her into releasing the power one way or the other at which point she will restore the ability to all fae for them to walk between the worlds. This will of course happen in the end battle with the big bad, the Lord of the Wild Fae at which point she has to kill him to protect the mortal world and stop him setting himself up as 'The Evil Overlord'TM

Reading it like that it does come across as a pretty cliché fantasy plot but hey, it's been a while since I wrote one of them and I think I can make it a reasonable cliché fantasy plot.
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I have a shiny shiny purple bar!
I do not have a finished story nor do I have plot that is good but I have a novel and it might be editable into something that doesn't make me cringe at the thought of showing it to people.

I am win
That is all
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Hmm, the longer that I keep at this blasted plot the more I think that I actually have a chance of making it something vaguely decent on the re-write. I'm discovering more and more little snippets of information that will work just as soon as I edit something. I refuse to edit this month but I'm crowbarring where I can, even if it doesn't quite make sense, (Hey, Hollywood can do it why shouldn't I?!) because it keeps the old wordcount going and I'll find time to edit next year...After I finish the first draft of Pryde and Honour of course.

I'm kinda worried that my P&H characters will think that I've abandoned them and refuse to talk to me. On the plus side this year's Nano has reminded me that I can just skip around when I'm not sure of the next chapter and that I shouldn't be afraid to make new plans half way through if something needs more detail. It might never be a masterpiece but I don't think I can consign it to the depths of my hard drive just because it has taught me a few things (like October really IS for planning).

In general I seem to be over the week three blues thanks to the mini write-in that Simara and I had at her place on wednesday (And possibly the fact that we are now done with week three...). It's amazing just how much of a boost the odd 5k day gives you, not to mention the luxury of knowing that you're two days ahead of schedule and the world can explode for a little while if it really needs to. I think it was made all the more satisfying since my last 5K day was a desperate catch up session because I was two days behind. This year has also gone a long way towards reminding me why I continue to do nano, it's a time when I can make mistakes, can write a load of trash but end with something that just might be polishable. It lets me cut loose so I can find all the mistakes that I'm so terrified of making the rest of the year that I just don't write, it reminds me of how to spot them coming, how to work around them and how to correct them. I might lock my IE up over the course of November but it's mostly so she can get a refresher course on her job description! Possibly best of all though, it gives me something to get stressed about that *gasp* doesn't actually matter. The world will not end if I don't make that ellusive 50k, no one will die, it won't send anyone to prison and the only one who will be disappointed in me is myself. It's something I can rant about without worrying that I'm dumping my problems on someone who has quite enough of their own. If I really need to release some pent up tension I can kill my characters in new and interestingly violent ways and when this world just gets too much I have a whole new one that I can jump into at the flick of a switch. Ok, so all of this might seem a little deep and meaningful for what is essentially creative masochism but there you go.

Anyway, enough of this, I have things to do, forums to procrastinate on and maybe even a bad guy to finish introducing...there's nothing wrong with not introducing your big big bad until 40,000 words in right?
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I found myself lacking in inspiration for one of my main plot elements so I decided to have a chat with my MC. It's one of those things that makes me doubt my sanity from time to time but what came out was kinda amusing so I decided to post it here.

Me: So Bri, this whole destruction thing that you're supposed to do. What is it?

Bri: *Shrugs* Maybe if you actually got around to writing the prophecy someone would tell me and then I'd know.

Me: Great idea with one minor drawback, I need to know what you can do before I can prophesy you doing it!

Bri: You remember this whole thing about planning before you start right?

Me: Don't start with me, I might be just the author but I will kill you off if I have to!

Bri: Kidnap attempts, death threats. God you're a bitch!

Me: Right, we've established I'm a bitch. I could have told you that from the start. Anyway, you appeared in my head telling me that you had some destiny or other that involved destruction and needed you to be brought up in Faerie! And besides, Novel writer keeps telling me that I shouldn't make your life too easy.

Bri: Fine. *rolls eyes* Well what's wrong with the whole 'destroying the mists' idea?

Me: I don't know, it just doesn't seem to work so well anymore. I just get the feeling that there's something missing and I don't want to end up needing a sequel which is what will happen if we run with that.

Bri: Why do you need a sequel?

Me: Duh, because there are suddenly faeries all over the place and that makes a fun world to do stuff in!

Bri: Well there's always the vague 'let's jump on the supernatural detective bandwagon' idea you had.

Me: Yeah but I wanted magic to be relatively unknown in that one. I refuse to write LKH fic!

Bri: So don't make it porn.

Me: Not helpful!

Bri: Sorry. *Pause* So why does it have to be actual physical destruction?

Me: Well I suppose it doesn't, I just got the feeling that it was from the random draws I did with the oracle deck at the start.

Bri: What they suggested was the possibilty of overwhelming growth, something that went so far that it became destructive rather than a positive thing.

Me: And...

Bri: Well destroying the current power structure by giving them back the ability to walk between worlds would apply pretty well don't you think?

Me: I guess so. It would upset Bran though, he likes being special.

Bri: He deserves to be upset once in a while, it might stop him being so smug all the time!

(Interjection from Bran): Hey!

Me: Honey I love you but this situation is complicated enough, just ignore her ok?

Bri: Oh right, you come asking for my help and then tell the others to ignore me!

Me: Bri you are not a stroppy thirteen year old at the moment no matter where you might be in most of what I've written lately.

Bri: I like being a stroppy thirteen year old.

Me: I like writing you as one, it's fun. I don't like talking to you as one though, it makes you less than helpful.

Bri: *pout* Fine, I suppose if I don't you'll just threaten to kill me again.

Me: Destruction remember? That should be plenty stroppy enough for you.

Bri: Yeah but not if it's unintentional. Do I at least get to punch Aedan or something?

Me: Why not, or possibly Cael, I feel kinda sorry for Aedan again.

Bri: *rolls eyes again*

Me: No he isn't going to change sides, he's just feeling a little put upon.

Bri: So aside from upsetting the pretty boy do you have any issues with the whole walking between the worlds thing?

Me: Not really, I still don't know where it brings in the Wild Fae as big bads though unless you're making it easier for them to come into the world as well and they want to run amok or something.

Bri: That makes sense.

Me: But it gives them the same motivation as the Unseelie though and I don't really want that.

Bri: No it doesn't, the Wild Fae know what's going on, the Unseelie don't. Cael and Aedan just want shiny new powers to make them the new big bad in town.

Me: Hmmm.

Bri: Wow, I'm stunned by your eloquence oh mighty author!

Me: Why are you never this chatty when I'm trying to write you somewhere that needs a wordcount?

Bri: Why aren't you writing something that needs a wordcount?

Me: Because I'm talking to you.

Bri: You shouldn't be.

Me: You realise that you are a figment of my imagination and I have no intention of taking orders from you right? I am going to post this little ramble on LJ and probably check the forums again.

Bri: *Shrugs* That's up to you...Ok, ok, shutting up now.
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Hah! Not made it up at all.

Of course they're not exactly evil so I may have to do some tweaking. At least it's not going to drive me up the wall wondering where the idea came from though.
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Ok, I've hit that week three stage where I hate everything I've written and am about to give up (again). After having a number of people remind me that there are many people further behind than myself I am still realising that there are probably many more far ahead of me. About all I can say is that I'm on target, not good enough IMO given that I've had no real problems so far this year.

The main culprit in all of this? The dreaded writer's block (and yes it does exist no matter what some optimists might suggest). The story I have so far seems incredibly disjointed, partly because I've been skipping about in an attempt to avoid getting hung up on one chapter that won't flow. There is much flashbacked goodness (the book skips back in time, not the characters 'remembering' stuff) and my favourite messenger who demanded a bigger role (yes I'm looking at you Bran) has talked to me and given me many hundred words. Of course being fae most of those words don't actually tell you much about him except that he wants to take over the story (we've had this conversation more than once and it's not happening, Bri and Aislin are the main characters no matter how much temptation you put in my way). Because of the way I've written my first chapter and given teh two girls a complete memory exchange, I haven't left Bri much to get confused over in the 'real world' which cut out a lot of what I expected to come up. I've had a fair amount of young Aislin in the human world which was fun but that seems to have ground to a halt after she stormed off in a huff because one of her friends had said the wrong thing.

Deirbhile (my bard) has had a nice little flashback scene and explained why she has a limp but it feels like there should be more to it than that. She started out with the intention of being an important member of the supporting cast but has rather faded into the background. Maybe she's sulking. Bran has revealed that he was taken and controlled by a member of the Unseelie Court because he allowed his temper to get out of hand and let them get into his head. He was basically used as a killing machine by one of his greatest enemies (I blame Laurell K Hamilton and her faerie porn). Something suggests that this enemy might be Aedan since Bran does mention that he is still alive and there seems to be a definite tension between them when they meet in chapter 1 (Which I might post in a seperate entry since I don't entirely hate it). That would give me something to go back an add in.

I also need something more with Aedan and Cael since they have been remarkably quiet lately which is a good thing from the pov of my characters but a bad one for plot/wordcount purposes. Then I have the Wild Fae who are my big bads (I think!), half way through my wordcount and they haven't put in too much of an appearance yet, there have been a couple of mentions of them and a couple of vague interactions but nothing that could really constitute plot. See, this is what I find most frustrating, I know what needs to be done, I have some vague idea where things are going and by the end of a thorough edit I might have a platform to write something halfway decent but I just don't seem to be able to get there. I've switched plot focus at least three times since the first of the month and that is just adding to the disjointedness of the whole thing.

Perhaps what I need to do is sit and do some planning, thing is if I do that I start to feel like I should be typing, should be upping my wordcount and that October is for planning not November. Of course what might also help is a good hard froth session with someone who won't try and take the story over. The write in today didn't happen for me for several reasons: 1, money. 2, feeling ill. 3, the knowledge that the main person I wanted to meet up with is at least 5,000 words ahead of me (probably more by now) and defines a bad day as under 3,000 words! (you know who you are and you know I love you really). The main problem seems to be that I'm expecting too much of myself, I've checked my spreadsheet from last year and I was only on around 13,000 at this point. I'm doing a damn sight better than that now so why do I feel so bloody depressed about the whole thing?!

Oh, I do appear to have invented a new faerie/monster type. Could have sworn that I've read about them somewhere but they don't seem to exist according to any search I've tried.
From the front they appear to be attractive human figures, when seen from behind they are hollow, merely a shell of the image they present. They appear to be fully capable of movement and thought despite not having any sort of physical musculature or brain (gotta love magical creatures) and I think that they seek out people's emotions (or maybe spirits) to fill the emptiness of their form. If anyone has any idea what I'm talking about or where the idea might have come from please let me know!

Ok, enough rambling now, I really should be setting my laptop up and at least attempting a wordcount for today. I'm thinking I might need to focus on my bad guys today, it's not much of a story without them and I have rather been neglecting them. Maybe that's why I'm struggling so much.


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