Sam Headstrong

Update 003

Yeah, I'll keep updating regularly, really I will.


Well, the planned tour of Winchester back in May never happened due to horrific weather, and I've been so busy at work recently that I've had no inclination at all to closet myself away and use my brain even more when I got home, so I really haven't done much...

Until this last week, that is. Last Monday was another Bank Holiday, and I finally found the time to walk around Winchester - it was very useful (if exhausting - I hardly stopped moving (let alone sat down) between 10:00 and 17:30!). I have appropriate research now, although I still have some to do for later chapters.

More importantly, I've started writing properly again! I wrote an entire chapter in an evening, and have fleshed out some others to finish later this week. Things are looking up! And hey, if I manager two chapters a week, I can still keep my New Year's Resolution (erk!).

I've been re-reading some of the old stuff I've written (Star Trek, T/K, other original shorts) and finding it helps me maintain my enthusiasm for writing new things, so I have to keep doing that... unfortunately I'm going to run out fairly quickly. The other problem being that it also inspires me to write some more of the various series, which doesn't really help me keep my focus on the book...

In competely non-writing related news, I've started making use of the DeviantArt account I apparently set up in 2003 and then promptly forgot about - I'm still amazed I could remember what password I was likely to have used!

I should thank Tif for commenting and nudging me to post back in July, even though I utterly failed to do so!
Orlando Serious

Update 002

Okay, it's been a little over a week since my last update, but I'm not too unhappy with that as I've had a busy few days! This is the first time I've been able to sit in front of my PC at home for more than a few minutes since Sunday, and I'm making the most of the opportunity to get this update written!

The next update should contain a little more in the way of hard facts about what I've written so far - word counts, chapter listings, planning summary etc. I need to get my laptop all hooked up to get that though (as that's where the latest versions of everything currently are) and I'm feeling too lazy to go and do that. In the mean time, I'll tell you about what I've been doing.

I haven't actually written anything more since the last time I updated, but I'm relatively happy in saying that I've done some research and some much-needed character background development somy week hasn't been wasted.

The most important objective I (mostly) accomplished this week was the initial planning of the sequence that takes up most of the last third of the book. This involves heavy use of the City of Winchester as a location. As obvious and a little trite as it might sound, I chose Winchester because it's a place I know pretty well, and it's a great little city. Not only that, but it contains actual history, which makes it even more useful! There's been a cathedral there since the Norman Conquest, large sections of the city walls still remain, the ruins of Wolvesey castle - once the residence of the Bishops of Winchester - lie not far from both the cathedral and Winchester College - which itself has been in existence for hundreds of years. And, most importantly for me, there is the Hospital of St Cross, the only place on that list that I haven't actually visited yet. My plans for the Bank Holiday later this month are to go and walk the route through Winchester that my main characters are going to be taking, to give myself a better understanding of distances, times, locations and the feel of the place. Not really a hardship, I have to admit.

On the other side of things, I also spent a bit of time thinking about the background of one of the book's major characters - where he's from, where he's been and, more importantly, why he's been there. I'm planning to spend time doing that for all the characters (though I've already done one other, and there aren't that many more as I'm not exactly aiming for a large cast here), but this one had been bugging me as it's starting to feel more relevant. And, sure enough, lo and behold as I started putting his background together one of the details that I'd been trying to tie into the main plot fell into place as easily as a very easy thing indeed.

All of which makes me a very happy little writer. I'd be happier still if I'd added a few thousand words to the word count, but one can't have everything, can one?

Collapse )
Orlando Thoughtful

Update 001

Imaginative subject line, isn't it?

So, I decided to run with a story I had knocking around in my head for which I'd written the Prologue some time ago but then never continued. I made a lot of decisions in the first part of the yeart, including exactly where it's going to be set and who the main characters were.

I have: character outlines for all the major characters; a two/three line chapter precis for all 33 planned chapters; both the A-plot and the B-plot at least loosely determined (although I had an idea today that means the middle/end of the A-plot has to be re-mapped); locations worked out for the latter half of the book; a few chapters written.

I need: to do shedloads of research on London, which is where the first half is set. I need a hospital, warehouses, flats and buildings. Now, I can make all that up, if necessary, though I'd like to use a real hospital and real areas of the city. This is my first goal by the end of the month.

When it comes to chapters they're being planned at 3000 words each (for most, though some are designed to run quite a bit longer). With the plan as it stands, that puts it at 105,000 words when finished - is that long enough? I have the first four chapters done in first draft, along with two others that have been written but not read, and am working on another. I'm feeling sort of okay about that, but I need to put more work into it! This is my second goal, to have three more chapters finished by the end of the month. I'm writing half in chronological order and half not, as some of the chapters are more loosely tied to the rest of the story, so the aim would be to finish the one I'm working on (the penultimate one), write one of the out-of-order ones and the next one chronologically.

So you tell me - sensible goals? What's a good novel length to aim for (I'm not worried about overrunning, but it's good to have a figure in mind)? Is using my journal for this even a good idea?
Climber strength

Hopefully, no poo will be flung...

So here's the thing... I don't post stuff on here any more. Like, ever. Partly because I've never really been one for posting things about my personal life even though I did occasionally (c'mon, Britich Stiff Upper Lip (TM) and all that!), and I've stopped writing fanfiction almost entirely so I never had anything to post.

Thing is, I've met a few people through this that I really want to keep in touch with (you know who you are, you're all on my flist!), plus I'm a total geek who put lots of effort into designing from scratch the layout of this thing and I don't want to get rid of it.


Collapse )

EDIT: Added lj-cut, 'cos it was quite long!
Jared Leto

(no subject)

As usual I meant to post something on here a couple of weeks ago after New Year, but failed. Christmas was pretty good - quiet with the family, seems like a very long time ago now! I got books, DVDs, the usual from the family. My parents had carers in to look after Grandma overnight on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, which helped a lot! There was also a bit of a leak in a valve in the heating system, meaning we were resorting to the immersion heater for hot water and the hot air/convection heaters for most of the house over Christmas, but it's all fixed now!

New Years was also quite quiet, but good nonetheless. I went out with a small group of friends into town, which was dead! Apparently the thing to do this year was to celebrate at home (yours or someone else's!) but we wanted to go out so we were in a pub drinking quietly - random flavours of chocolate shots being drunk and also sweets being given out by the bar staff, which was nice!

I've had the last couple of weeks off work, which was also great - and needed! Had to log on to do a bit of work last Wednesday, but apart from that I actually managed to have some time off! I spent half of it rebuilding my computer, so now it's two computers and some network storage, which is mirrored so I don't have to worry about harddrive failures anymore! Plus I now have a flat panel monitor, finally!

Yesterday was my Dad and uncle's 60th Birthday, so we threw a bit of a party for them - 120 people in a huge hall having a Barn Dance, which was pretty spectacular. My uncle lives in Norway, so there were 20 or so Norwegians there as well, which made the dancing interesting as they didn't always understand the instructions! Completely knackering but loads of fun! My brother and I did a little speech for my Dad, in which we gave our top ten of his most embarrassing moments, which got quite a good laugh. Saw quite a few people I haven't seen for ages, including my brother's best friend from school. He and his wife have just had a baby (Oli), and they were all there... I had to take a moment when my brother's friend came in, as it's been about eight years since the last time I saw him - he's now thirty and, quite frankly, he's completely gorgeous. He's half Italian, so he's got the genes, that's for sure! I mean, guh! It was great to catch up with them all and spend a little time with Oli (who I was introduced to as his 'Uncle Phil', which was a bit odd!). We also floored Dad a bit when we gave him his present - a tandem skydive from 10,000 feet! I'm going to do it with him (assuming he gets the all-clear from his doctor, which is likely but we're not counting our chickens yet...), so sometime this year I'm going to be hurling myself out of an aeroplane, alongside my father!

I'm writing this now in the few free minutes I really don't have before I just in the car to head off to Bristol for the week on a training course - I have only the vaguest idea of where I'm going as it was all organised while I was off work and the hotel has been changed twice, but I'm sure I'll cope! I'm meeting other people there, so I can always call if I go horrendously wrong! I won't have internet access for the next week except in the case of emergencies and work, not that it'll mean much as I'm crap at posting these days.

Right, that's enough rambling. Got to pack my bag and make a valiant (but futile) attempt not to forget anything!
Christmas Marvin

A Thrill Of Hope, The Weary World Rejoices

I can't decide whether I'm feeling particularly Christmassy or not this year. I have my usual scepticism where the holidays are concerned, but it doens't seem to be quite as all-consuming as it often is - I think I might even enjoy it this year!

It might have something to do with the fact that I've decorated my house - and it's all decorated the way I want it to be, not a compromise with anyone else living there - so the decorations are (mostly) understated and tasteful (or, my version of it, at least). I think my favourite (though the swag on top of the piano is quite good) has to be the maroon feather boa I've got draped over my DVD shelves in place of the tinsel I couldn't find!

I've also (finally, after about three years of gathering songs) burnt a Christmas CD for my car! I wanted something that was a mix of my favourite classic Christmas songs, together with the odd comedy one and cover versions by artists I like. So this is what I've got:

1: Last Christmas - Jimmy Eat World
2: O Come All Ye Faithful - Twisted Sister
3: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Barenaked Ladies feat. Sarah McLachlan
4: I Want An Alien For Christmas - Fountains Of Wayne
5: Wombling Merry Christmas - The Wombles
6: Baby, It's Cold Outside - Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews
7: We Wish You A Merry Christmas - Enya
8: Merry Little Christmas - Coldplay
9: Do You Hear What I Hear - Choirboys Feat. Hayley Westenra
10: Santa Baby - Kylie Minogue
11: Christmas Is All Around - Bill Nighy (from Love Actually)
12: Christmas Wrapping - Waitresses
13: Carol Of The Bells - The Calling
14: Walking In The Air - Angelis
15: Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree - Amy Grant
16: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Bruce Springsteen
17: Silent Night - Carly Simon
18: O Holy Night - Church Choir from Home Alone OST
19: Santa's Coming - Hoobastank

Hidden Track: O Holy Night - Barenaked Ladies

I'm not going to stop searching for other tracks, but as it stands that's what I'm listening to whenever I'm in the car!

I'm not sure if I'm going to be around much for the next few days - I'm at my parent's from Sunday through to Tuesday, so I'm taking this opportunity to wish everyone on my flist a Merry Eisteddfod and a Crumbly Thimble!
Orlando Thoughtful

Kiss me - I am the Bearded Marlene!

I love my Mum!

But more on that later. They've finally (finally!) opened a Reflex in Southampton - that's an 80s club, a chain that seems to be everywhere else in the country but here. We went there on Friday night, and it was a lot of fun!

However, we had a reason to be there, to be out - one of my friends (my ex, in fact) passed the viva for his PhD on Friday morning - so he's now a fully-fledged Doctor of Chemistry! It's brilliant news (he's the first of my close friends to manage it, though there are a couple of others in the making...) so we celebrated good and proper!

Yesterday was my Grandma's 91st birthday, so I spent the day at my parents' house while people came and went to wish her a Happy Birthday. She's not very good at the moment - relatively okay in the moment (though she's really subdued) but she has no idea what day it is, let alone what day it is! Still, she seemed to have a good time, even if she did forget about everyone's visits the moment they'd gone.

So, two weeks until Christmas day, and I have yet to buy a single present! I'm usually at least a *bit* more organised but, alas, this year 'twas not to be. I can't help but feel a bit mean, but I'm sort of relieved I have less presents to buy this year as I haven't kept in contact with a few of the people I've lived with over the last couple of years - in fact, Friday was the first time I'd seen one of them in over a year! And I don't have to worry about Lenny as she and I did Christmas in November. Still, fifteen days and it'll all be over bar the tidying up.

Which, I suppose, brings me back to why I love my Mum - advent calendars! We both know I'm getting a bit old for them, but she still buys me one every year. This year, though, she surpassed herself. She bought me a Pirates of the Caribbean advent calendar (how festive!) - simply because it had pictures of Will Turner and Jack Sparrow on it! She knows me so well! XD
Jared Leto

I Want An Alien For Christmas!

I received my first Christmas card of the season yesterday, from my financial advisor! It feels like it's a bit early, but then it's under three weeks away, which is a bit daunting - guess I should get some shopping done!
SBP Sirius to Remus Minimalist

Sleep is for people too lazy to stay awake!

So, a month between posts - am I getting better or worse? I can't tell. I know there've been things I intended to post about the last few weeks, but I'm damned if I can remember what they were.

Life is pretty good at the moment - work is busy without being (too) stressful - lots of training courses as we're getting brand spanking new kit in soon, which is exciting (shut up, it is!). Have been rather ill recently with some sort of stomach bug, better now but had a few rough days, including one at an IBM training centre in which I was violently ill in the toilets (but you didn't really need to know that...).

Have booked some time off work in the first couple of weeks in January (assuming project work allows for it, unfortunately), so here's hoping. I am going to use the time to do geeky things with regards to my home computer setup, inclusing (finally!) setting up a file/print server and doing some hard-disk mirroring to help prevent catastrophic failures etc. What's that you say? I need a life?

Had a weird day yesterday (Sunday) - was at work in the morning for out regular quarterly patching, then met up with a friend who was down for the weekend from Milton Keynes. We had Sunday Lunch at a pub, which was alright, then headed to the University to play a couple of games of pool in the cafe there to kill some time. He was going to be manning the doors and selling tickets for the university musical society (which he was a member of until last year), and I ended up being roped in to help with that so I became the doorman, tearing people's tickets and stopping people getting in who shouldn't, for both shows. On the upside I got to watch it for free, and I vaguely knew a couple of people in it (from karaoke) and someone else I knew was doing the lighting. It was fun - they performed a selection of songs from loads of shows, including Miss Saigon, Starlight Express, Fame, Rent, Avenue Q, Wicked and The Lion King (an excellent version of He Lives In You), and was generally very entertaining, despite the compere's best attempts!

On that subject, I've made a sort of early New Year's Resolution to go to more shows next year. So far, the list I am prospectively seeing is: Stomp (because Helen wants to), Evita, Avenue Q (again), Wicked, The Producers, Phantom of the Opera (again, again... again); also hopefully Spamalot. Anyone got any other recommendations?

[EDIT] Just glanced back over the last couple of entries before this - why do I only post when I've been ill? [/EDIT]
Angel Vampire Puppet

It was a graveyard smash!

Collapse )

I have discovered that clock changes are Not A Good Thing when you spurn such things as alarm clocks and rely on your body's own internal clock to wake you up in the mornings. The clocks went back on Sunday - I had a lie in so it didn't really affect me, I just had a longer day. But then on Monday morning I woke up utterly, irrevocably convinced that it was 6:30am. So much so that it took me several seconds of staring at the clock I do keep by my bed to realise that it was, in fact, 5:30am. And, of course, there was no way I was going back to sleep, because my body was convinced I needed to be up and about. Bah. It was better yesterday and pretty much back to normal today, but for that one day I think I was an hour out all day.

I'm sure I had something else to say, but I'm buggered if I can remember what it was...