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How the Oscars Got Me Wondering Whether Playing Everyone's Favourite Game Will Give You Cancer



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No, I'm not talking about when a boy and girl put their naked parts together, nor am I talking about that game where you are symbolised as a shoe or a thimble and go around and buy property. No, I am talking about the game where you choose actors to portray the mental image of a picture in your head - also known as Celebrity Cheek (because I have heard people pick actors for nearly every feature but their rear ends).

Yeah, I actually sat myself down with my homework in front of me and sat through the how ever many torturous hours of the 83rd Academy Awards. And yes, seeing Melissa Leo drop the f-bomb and James Franco in drag - not to mention his granny say "Marky Mark" - made it worth it. But seeing all of these men that I've continually drooled over, and the ones that I just think are amazing, as well as those women who are so pretty I wish they'd trip, it made me wonder: to what extent should authors match familiar faces to their characters?

I'm not frowning and nay-saying at this - I mean, hell!, I even do it - but just think about it. It's awesome to name George Clooney as the perfect face for your MC, and usually, we are quite apt at watching films and stopping it halfway through because "OMG, that guy looks exactly like my MC's arch nemesis from high school! Must. Search. IMDB." (Come on, I know you do it.) There is nothing wrong with that - in fact, there are always reasons to do it that are extremely beneficial to our writerly processes.

However, what do you say to writers who base characters entirely on celebrities? There are a bucketload and a half of actors whom I adore, who would never fit into any of the characters in any of my novels. I would die of happiness if I could use Ralph or Joe Fiennes, Robert Sean Leonard, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kevin Spacey, Natalie Portman, Gwyneth Paltrow or even Sean Ashmore - but I can't. So I wouldn't consider changing one of my MCs to suit the kind of role one of these actors would take, or even what one of these actors look like. After seeing The Social Network, for example, would you sit down and create a character (and I'm not talking extra, or minor minor character, I'm talking prominent reoccurring character) based entirely on Andrew Garfield? Looks, personality, even speech?

I'm unsure of whether this has come out coherently or whether most of you have given up already and resorted to skimming - I apologise. (*is still watching the Oscars*)

Here is where I shamelessly plug the blogfest Now Starring... over at Rapturous Randomocity and tell you all to pull together your movie buff brains and churn out some headshot pictures, via Google Images.

So, feel free to throw in your 2 cents below. Do you cast your characters? Do you think people should? Or, what are the boundaries before an author goes too far?

D'You Ever Get Those Umpteenth Draft Blues - They're Like the Mean Reds (Or, I Need to Buy HG Wells' Time Machine off Sheldon Cooper)



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Say hip hip hooray for absurdly long titles. (And if you didn't catch those references, look here (at 2:50) and here)

I apologise profusely here, boyos. School has been an even greater burden that I'd ever imagined. If I want this mark I've been blabbering about, I am going to need to clone myself. Seriously. It's been a long week since I last spoke to you all and I'm afraid it may be another until I can break above the water. I'm drowning in homework, and core texts that I absolutely despise. In fact, I'm starting to look a little like this:


And this glorious situation sparked me with inspiration as gracefully as lightning destroys a palm tree. Inspiration for, well, my blog. *Casts longing glance to manuscript in the corner* As I tried to straighten out my weekend to catch up on all the work I missed when I was sick this week, I realised that Saturday - my devout RETURN revisions day - was being consumed by extra reading/film viewing/art sketching for school. I remembered how when I was writing, there was no way my homework was having priority. Or how when I was revising the first couple drafts, there was no way my homework was going to stop me from clocking in a huge number of hours. But now, well, tomorrow - it's just not going to happen. At first I blamed the work, but then I thought maybe it's something else.

Hence, the umpteenth draft blues. (Whether this will be coherent or not, I'm not yet sure)

The umpteenth draft blues isn't like the first draft blues where you feel inadequate and think your plot doesn't make sense and that you maybe rushed the middle and royally fracked up the ending. No, no, no, no, no. The umpteenth draft blues, hereby referred to as UDB, is when you feel anxious and nauseated by the construct of mere sentences, and you need to 3D-ify the shit out of a character's personality and you just can't, and every piece of dialogue is stilted and you don't know what to do because if you don't finish this god-fracking-damn book now you're going to go looking for your Dad's Winchester rifle or a well-situated noose.

And the key to overcoming it, or even just keeping up with it isn't the same as before. You know, back when everywhere you looked for advice on revisions was about those first few sweeps and hurled those easy steps at you like they were basic arithmetic.

But now, you can't take a break. You've tried. You said: "Hey, at the end of term, I'll have two straight weeks to do nothing but write and revise". It doesn't work. You're past the page of forgetting everything, forgetting anything that has to do with this Frankenstein monster. It's no longer that thing screaming "Gurrrrgh!" on that cold slab. It's learning, it's experiencing and it's yearning to become human. To become real. (In this odd metaphor, I do indeed mean that your WIP wants to become a real novel. A finished novel.) When you leave it alone, all the damned thing does is plague you with new ideas, brilliant ideas that leave you if you disregard them for too long. You know every inch of this damn thing. Every inch. And guess what? It knows every inch of you and how to get at you. (EG: *whispers* It knows where you live)

And you can't damn well read a how-to book to solve your problems. Trust me. I've checked. The problem with UDB is that it's entirely motivational and completely stems for your servitude and obsession with this mess of words (Which, by this point, I'm hoping is more than a mess). And it's bloody hard to contact your subconscious without Leonardo Di Caprio, a team of architects and forgers, and Christopher Nolan's camera angles.

Also, you notice how it's like Speed - you've got Keanu Reeves and The Bullock sitting behind you on the Procrastination Bus, and you can't do anything else but drive and drive and drive. When you ever do something novel-related, it's sketching someone, or planning or plotting or brainstorming - but never actually doing (Apologies. I couldn't think of a relevant verb). In fact, since you started this umpteenth draft, you've had exactly five brand new novel ideas that are bloody amazing; but every time you start, you get stuck and you realise that you don't actually care about this idea. You love your novel and you could never cheat on it ever. You're so sorry that you even thought about it.

Alright, so it's fine and dandy that I'm griping and grousing and bitching (hip hip hooray for synonyms!), but the subtle, ever-present question still stands. Great, I have UDB and I need medication and a support group, but what the bloody hell do I do?

And I'm going to be honest and do the cardinal sin of blogging: reveal that I do not, in fact, know everything. Actually, I'm hoping that you, my readers, are more privy to such top-secret UDB information than I. However, while I do not know everything, I do know some, and without additional advice, I am yet to be fully cured of UDB.

1 I suggest you read more. I know, I sound like that ancient English teacher at your school who secretly looks like Ms. Clavel and who responds to non-reading delinquents by frowning really hard. But it helps. It helps. It helps. And you know what? Yes, you should read that brand new Urban Fantasy YA. But maybe you should read other things as well. Think about films, as an example. The new and highly-anticipated-by-moi film I Am Number Four is not just YA-targeted - it's action, fantasy, sci-fi, adventure, romance, thriller, etc. Are you thinking what I'm thinking B1? You need to realise that there should be multiple aspects to every novel that appeal to certain readers. Despite being an Urban Fantasy YA reader, I have other preferences within that genre. It needs to have action, adventure, minor romance and thriller aspects. So instead of making a beeline for that new Urban Fantasy, browse a little. Pick up that new Sci-Fi or that new Spy novel. At this point, any new ideas will only benefit you. If it's only a verbal tic for that gremlin cop in the third chapter of your WIP, it's still gold.

2 Get addicted to 1-star Goodreads.com reviews, and fast. No, seriously. I might just meet Edward Norton at one of my 1-star Review Readers Anonymous meetings. Now, I'm not telling you to study those reviews like you're a day out from your HSC. Skim the overly rantish ones and ones that say: "It just didn't do it for me". The golden nuggets are those ones that have spacing and possibly even use bold and italics which reference other books besides TWILIGHT and Mary Sues. What you need to do with these nuggets is to read a bucketload of them, so many that Thor would have some trouble picking up said bucket, and to pull out the relevant pieces, the peeves that'll improve your brain, your writing and your WIP.

3 And, yeah, I know it's so senior year of high school, but create a schedule. You've got every other odd and bloody end up on your bedroom/office walls - plot lines, character images and biographies, town maps and setting diagrams. How about a schedule? If you don't revise twenty pages on Saturday morning, you are not allowed to watch that new episode of Glee on Monday night. But at the same time, use it so that it's flexible to some extent. If you're not feeling the magic and you've got UDB bad, well, swap Write Time for Work Time or Cook a Pastry Time. I find that saying Saturday is writing day does in fact keep a lot of the garbage inspiration flashes and "Pay attention to me!" cries at bay. You are going to have to get all Monk up in your organisational stuff.

So, voila! Any additions to my oh-so-helpful advice?

Going on Crusade (or, I Wish I Had Sewing Skills Like Emma Stone)



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Salut, madame et monsieur! (Apologies, I've had two French classes and I think I know everything. *wink*) Now we have two fellows to our right today: Saladin (SAH-LA-DINN) and Richard the Lion-heart. So where are we - or, when are we? The Third Crusade! Say whuuuut? Isn't this a writing blog? What's with the history lesson?

Oh, pardon me.

(And secondary apologies if you didn't catch the reference in the title. For enlightenment, see: Easy A.)

See that grey cross emblazoned over Richo's breast? It's meant to be red. Sorry, Google images is colour-impaired. Anywho, back way back when, Crusaders would sew a red cross into their tunics to show that they were on Crusade, also known as "carrying the cross". (Google the Crusades if you're interested - it's bloody brilliant). And the title comes into play as I briefly mention that in a recent film: Easy A, just like in the book: THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, a girl sews a red A onto her shirt (A for 'Adulterer'). Well, guess what? I might just be sewing something red onto my shirt as I join The Writers' Platform-Building Crusade!

The illegitimate brain-child of blogger Rachel Harrie of Rach Writes is on its second round on the ultra-special internet and is open for business, and has been for some time (Though I understand there is some sort of deadline on Friday/Saturday). It runs from the 1st of February to the 3rd of April - and there is no real deadline. (So do it do it do it do it do it do it.)

Go to the link above (Or for lazy folk, right here) to get more information on the Crusade, because we all know how good I am at summarising. But I'll try anyway. So the Crusade is based around the idea that writers nowadays are forced to be more proactive in making contacts and getting their name out there, telling potential agents and publishers that "We are here, we are queer!" (For that phrase to work, you must use the "strange, odd" definition of queer *grins*). But it's not just for aspiring writers or attempting writers, it endeavours to link those writers to published writers, beginner bloggers, industry people and whoever else that will help to "build our online platforms".

So when you join the Crusade, you adopt a new family (also known as a group), meet some new people, get a few new blogs to read, some challenges to participate in, some extra traffic to your site and an awesome button for your sidebar.

I think it's a brilliant idea. I've already thrown my name on down, so you should too! Come on, let's embroider red things on our shirts!

My Blog Is Carbon Neutral And It Just Planted a Tree (What Can Yours Do?)



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This a bit of a belated post, but you'll cope. I bet more than half of you haven't even noticed the badge that's been sitting on the far right sidebar. So basically, my blog is now carbon neutral. (Or, you know, so says the badge)

Basically, it's a programme that started in Germany (By the company Make It Green) that aims to lessen carbon dioxide emissions. For this programme, My Blog is Carbon Neutral, they joined forced with Arbor Day Foundation. And when they put their rings together... (Nah. Sorry, no Captain Planet). Anyway, these awesome people are aiming to replant the Plumas National Forest in Northern California, which was nearly destroyed by fires in 2007.

So, go to this link and follow the steps. All you have to do is put the badge somewhere on your website, and write a little blog post like this one. Then, email the link to the guys at Make It Green, and they'll plant a tree in the Plumas on behalf of your blog.


Now, you all know I'm not a Tree Hugger or a Greenie or a Flower Copulator or whatever them kids are calling them these days. I post about books and writing - so what the hell is going on? I think that published authors, like actors and musicians, are empowered to influence the opinions of others. And in being aspiring writers, shouldn't we start practicing? So here I am, telling you that if you're going to print out all those pages for when you revise or when you print off your final copy, the least you can do is read one webpage, write an itsy-bitsy post and send an email. Then, you've planted a tree. Saving trees, that's my cause (Since I'm one of those who butcher them).

So if you're interested, check it out.

Motivate. The Sensei, the Clock and the Elevator (Oversized Edition)



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I apologise in advance for the size of this post.

Today's second post is about motivation, success and beating procrastination, just making you (the little white plastic guy on the left) defy all laws of physics and, Inception-style, walk up that ginormous arrow on the tip of that red carpet.

At school this morning, I sat through three seminars given to the Year 11s by a presenter from Elevated Education. Her name was Carmen and she was a sixth-year law student. Her seminars on study skills for the next two years inspired me to adapt the hand-outs and information and stories I was fed today and change it into a blog post on writing and authors. So, going off how I was given this information, this post will be divided into three: The Sensei, The Clock, and The Elevator. I hope you get motivated or inspired yourself. This is really just a self-help book shrunken down into a cheesy post. So, without further ado...


THE SENSEI

I want you to imagine a pyramid, in fact, draw a triangle on a piece of paper. Now, draw three lines, dividing this triangle into three sections (a la food pyramid). At the bottom, write "Dead Poets Society". Then, "Become a Maestro". Then, "Play God". These are the subsections to The Sensei. Now, to reach the greatest writing potential possible for you, you should be doing all three of these steps.

1 Dead Poets Society. You have to take your seat before your metaphoric teacher - which, for this post, is Robin Williams. This subsection is something that you are continually throwing yourself into, even once you've reached the next subsections. You might already do it.

It started with your education at school, from the very first "What is a noun?" to the first "Identify the paradox" question. Now, it's that blog post you read by this informed blogger, or it's the article you stumbled across by so-and-so Bestselling author. It's every scrap of information on the book industry or on writing or on the English language that you pick up. Furthering your knowledge is an integral part of being an author. You must continually teach yourself. The more you know, the more you can put into your work. The better and more informed and more skills you will have to better your work.

Also, use your "syllabus". Now, unlike a high schooler, you don't have a table that says exactly what is examinable. So knowing your syllabus as a writer means knowing your genre, knowing your archetypes and your own personal peeves and desires. By simply taking a few notes on notable books of your genre - those bestsellers that you personally think are over rated. Take notes on what's cheesy, what doesn't work and what you know you could improve.

2 Become a Maestro. This is the subsection that takes the most amount of time. For me? It's taken six years. It varies from person to person. Really, what's going to happen is that you're going to write. You're going to take your knowledge, all that you're acquired from others, books and movies, and just be inspired. Start WIPs, abandon them. Keep writing and don't force yourself to endure a story or characters that you're not dedicated to. If you don't feel that connection, you won't last through revisions and a publishing process. A reader can tell a mile away if an author is invested in their story or not. So just write. Revisit the first subsection, keep practicing. Gain experience.

But the most important thing is that you persist. As that folder on your desktop of all your abandoned WIPs gets bigger and bigger - you need to know that you are talented. Even when you're researching and you're swamped with information and it's just not fitting...You are talented. If you keep going, if you keep writing and creating and learning...you will only get more and more talented than you already are. The more and more you persist, the more and more you pack yourself with knowledge and experience...Eventually, you will become the Al Pacino/De Niro/Clooney of writing. *wink*

3 Play God. Alright, so you have all of this amazing knowledge, this incredible experience. You know what characters you love, what approaches to your writing are more efficient. You've been churning through WIP after WIP, never able to finish. Or if you have finished, the thought of revising is just too much. But then it all changes. You take another blind stab at creating man and you strike gold.

An idea comes to you. Characters, plot, setting. It all falls into place and you realise that you are in love with your idea. If you could become betrothed to your idea, it would've happened two minutes ago.

This WIP becomes a relationship. You have these amazing times together, and you've never felt more emotionally attached to a work before. You've also had your downs, but unlike before, there has always been something that pulls you back. This WIP differentiates itself from all the ones before it in some inexplicable manner. The quotes are snappier, more in depth ideas are pouring from you - you didn't even know you could be so deep! - and all you can see in the future are possibilities. All your previous work, learning and practicing, have come together in this encore performance.


THE CLOCK

I know the excuse. Oh, I don't have time to write, to revise or even plan; I have work, I have schoolwork, I have to catch up on all my shows, I have to go overseas. The path of being a writer has no ultimatum to your other life. You don't need to pick one or the other. Instead of trying to take a break from one or the other...Plan your writing around your life.

Now, the three elements of the clock are three easy steps.

1 Find the time to do the work. Look at your priorities. Sure, you've got work or you've got school. But then look at what else there is. Facebook. Youtube surfing. TV shows that you're not even dedicated to. Blindly dialling friends because you're bored. Uh, why aren't you writing?

2 Doing the most important work, or, prioritising. You need to figure out what is really necessary for you to do and what isn't. Writing that fight scene you're dead scared of, you really need to do. Watching the Bourne Identity over and over because you're "researching", you don't. Now if you're forced to devote writing time sparingly, don't you think it'll be more productive for you to knuckle down and write the damn scene? (Hint: You should be nodding in agreement).

3 Reducing the work you do. Can you see how picking time for writing and only doing really productive activities during these time periods will reduce the work you do? If you had all the time in the world for your writing and you weren't forced to sit your butt down and get work done (real work), what would you be doing? Writing the fight scene or watching Matt Damon blow shit up? Answer honestly. Following those two steps will most definitely help kill a lot of procrastination.


THE ELEVATOR

Now, I'm going to need you to draw again. I want you to draw two more triangles, one small and the other twice its size. Label the smaller one: "The Average Aspiring Writer". Label the bigger one: "The Author". Now split the bigger triangle in half (horizontally), naming the top bit "My Very Favourite Gun" and the lower bit "The Magical Kernel".

The Magical Kernel. So, I guess a kernel is just another way of saying essentials. This is the foundations of the Elevator. So there are four parts to the Kernel: Beliefs, Goals, Planning and Hard Work.

1. Beliefs. I'm not necessarily talking about religious beliefs here. The beliefs of someone very close to the end of the track, close to making it to where we're all headed, believes three things.

i) there is no such thing as a naturally perfect writer. James Patterson, Stephen King and JK Rowling do not churn out perfect manuscripts. They still need their editors, they still need all the people necessary to create a book. And guess what? The first time around, they didn't get those people until they sold their book. That means that once upon a time, they were just like you. Where right where you are. Writing and struggling. Revising and struggling. Querying and struggling.

ii) it's never too late. I'm particularly addressing this to the young writers out there. I know how you feel. You read that some sixteen-year-old sold their novel and you think "Holy shit. Sixteen? I'm a failure at life. There is no chance that I'll ever amount to anything. I'll get old and no one will be interested in me". Seriously? I know that when you're young, everything could easily be the end of the world. It is never too late to be published. Unlike acting, etc., you don't need your looks to make it. Only your mind. (So, yes, I guess that once you've lost that, it is too late...) It doesn't matter whether you're published when you're fifteen or when you're fifty. That shouldn't be your goal - getting it done ASAP. No. Take as much time as it takes to create that perfect manuscript. You have all the time in the world.

iii) i can. I know, I know. A couple months ago, my friend's Mum starting reading self-help books. You know, the ones about "how you can help your child" and whatever. Yesterday was our tenth day of Year 11. Her Mum walks into the lounge room, positions herself between my friend and the TV and says: "You can do anything you want to do. You are capable and I believe in you. You can do it". Of course, my friend just said: "Yeah Mum, sure. You're blocking the TV. Bye Mum". But like it or not, her Mum was right. And you should pay attention to this. Are you ready? You sure? Okay. Here it is: you can do it. Again. You can do it. You can. You can. You can. You can.

Now, before I move on, something else on belief. Self-belief. Think about your aspirations to write that novel, to get it published. Now think of anything you can think of that makes you think: I can't. It could be that your characters have never been better than 2D, or that your dialogue has never sounded realistic, or your novel is riddled with plot holes. Got it? Now, it you say "I can't" to any of these points, you: 1) Won't try, and 2) Are sabotaging yourself. Now think to yourself: What do I need to do to fix this? You need to revisit things I've already talked about. Educating yourself in your weak field, practicing, and then executing and writing that killer example. Remember, you can.

2. Goals.

There are a lot of reasons to set goals. For one, they work. They really do. They make you focus and they make you motivated. But your goals should be written down and they should specific. By writing them down, make a list. All your goals. Your most important goal. If you want to finish the best book in you, then write that down. If you want to be published, write that down. Now, put those goals up everywhere. On the shower glass. On the back of your door. On the ceiling of your bedroom. On your car dashboard.

Here's a brief story. There's this boy, Rob Cannon Paris Bartlett III, who attended one of those prestigious schools. For his eighteenth birthday, his parents bought him a Porsche and let him customise his number-plates. He put RCPB 97. He was going to score a 97 in his HSC (End of school exams). When he went out to the car in the morning, he'd see it and think "97. That's my mark". When the valet took it in the school lot, he looked at it and thought "97". When he drove home and got out, he'd look back and think "97". What mark did he get? 97.

3. Planning.

So you have your goal. Let's say that it's make it to the NYT Bestseller List. What I want you to do is break down your goal into smaller goals. For this goal, it might be finish book, revise book, finish revisions, get an agent, further revisions, sell the book, work butt off to create best version, make the list. Now, imagine Mt. Everest. Big-ass mountain, kay? Now, all up the mountain, there are camps, check points. Think of your BIG GOAL as the peak. Now all the smaller goals are the camps. Don't look at the peak. Focus on the next camp. Just get to the next camp. And then keep going until there's nothing else in front of you.

The great thing about planning out your goals is that it releases pressure and allows you to shine. Let's revisit out NYT Bestseller List. The thought of creating a novel that's good enough to make the list is daunting, it's scary, it's a lot of pressure. Now look at the mini-goals I put down in the paragraph above. See all the revisions? Now, think about making a book agent-ready. Not NYT ready. Agent ready. Remember, you're going to have revisions after that with their ideas as well. At the moment, all you need to think about is you. Not your editor, or your team at Insert Publishing Company, or the general public. You, first. Then, your agent. An agent will invest in a book they believe in, an idea they believe in. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be the best thing since sliced bread in regard to grammar. There are some bestselling authors who are atrocious with their grammar. Remember: you love your novel. Someone else out there will love your novel.

I thank any of your who made it this far. Three seminars in one post is ENORMOUS. But I don't know if I'm really the Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3 type. If you made it all the way through, I hope all of this information helped.

If you have anything to add, please feel free to comment below. Any advice, any personal experiences. And remember guys, we're all a community of writers, and we need to remind each other that we can all do it. You can do it.

The Versatile Blogger Award



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It's been about a month since the absolutely amazing and drop-dead-gorgeous Trisha over at WORD + STUFF awarded me with the blog award you see to the left. Go look at her blog now. Now, I say!

And now, the rules. So in order to accept this award I must 1) share seven things about myself, 2) pass the award to fifteen bloggers, 3) notify the recipients, and 4) link to the blogger that gave me this award.

Alright. I've already done one of these sorts of posts, so I'll try not to recycle anything. Anyway, SEVEN things about me.

ONE: I am an insanely bad fanfiction writer. I just can't do it. I take a firm stand against Mary Sues and author projection into fiction, but if I ever delve into another fandom, I always find myself - the best (fake) version - seeping into the OC or love interest. I'd prefer to formulate my own worlds and characters where I seem to be able to restrain myself.

TWO: Despite only having read the Harry Potter series during the Great Sickness of '09, I still feel as though JK Rowling claims my childhood.

THREE: I am incapable of getting 100% in a yearly exam or a BIG exam. In smaller tasks at school and whatever, sure. But once it's the final thing, my brain must just garble and select a wrong answer. Le sigh.

FOUR: I am a terrible, terrible wuss. Seriously. I don't know how I'm going to fare in the world once I'm dropkicked from my parents' nest. I've never really taken a liking to any food besides my mother's cooking. I'm the burst into tears during emotional fights type. I guess I can tolerate pain, but if it's not significantly bad then I'm prone to complaining and moaning.

FIVE: My typing speed is something like 92 words per minute...

SIX: I go through mobile phones like crazy. I put them through the wash, step on them with soccer boots, lose them down the back of the couch, lose them somewhere in Thailand... Today I bought a new one. My first Nokia.

...And that's all I can think of at this precise moment in time. So now for the blogger list - which is seriously lacking, I'm sorry. I tried not to double up with people I chose last time (And sort of failed at it). But congrats all!

1. Lynda R. Young at WIP It
2. Ellen at EllenFaith
3. Michelle at Aggghhhhh
4. Ramsey at Ramsey Hootman
6. M Caledonius Rae at Travels in the Lands of the Norse

One less than last time. Gosh darn! *wink*

The Short, Short, Short Return Into a Jetlagged Heatwave From Air-Conditioned Heaven



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I returned from Thailand on a TG-something to Sydney on Friday morning. My brain was telling me that it was nine in the morning, but the clocks and air hostesses told me otherwise. For the past two days I've been roasting in a heatwave where each day sits at about 42 degrees (celsius) and retains that until early in the evening. I know some of you must be thinking: "You just came from Thailand, what are you talking about?" Yes, but alas, I spent half my time in air-conditioned rooms, or out in the evening when the temperature had dropped. It was also winter while I was over there.

But what does this have to do with anything?

Writing-wise?

I got a brand new spanking idea for a novel, involving a lot of culture and delving into mythology and the Himmapan forest. Over the last day, I've poked at it a little bit, finding places to integrate past ideas into it. It could be bloody brilliant. But if it's the one, it will be there, perhaps even stronger in my mind, when I find time to get to it.

Regarding RETURN, I made a lot of ground work. I wrote all of the scenes set in Thailand in the previous drafts from photographs and distant memories from when I was eight and younger. And after meeting my family and visiting the village my mum grew up in, I've got everything I need to further those scenes - I've even got some ideas for scene change, foreshadowing and character introduction that'll really help.

And reading wise, well, I wasn't so successful. I didn't realise how much we were doing. The plane trip over was absolutely terrible. Everything malfunctioned, so no entertainment. I was a little nauseated, so I was then starved. And then the first week was chockers full of sight-seeing (Ayutthaya, River Kwai, Hellfire Pass, etc.) and the second week was a lot of shopping and the third week was rellos. I managed to finish two out of four, and will throw those reviews up after this post. (Or will try my best)

Another note on reading: I've returned to school, so I've had to put aside BEHEMOTH and DOCTOR ZHIVAGO and pick up the reading materials for my Advanced English class (EMMA) and my Extension English class (TIRRA LIRRA BY THE RIVER).

Until I undergo a week of school, I can't comment on how the school term will affect my blogging schedule. There's a list of priorities before my blog posts (homework, work, editing) and I promise that as soon as I find a gap, I shall contact you my super-followers.

So, in closing, I'll share with you one of the more awesome and stranger things I discovered whilst I was over there. I give you Mi chob Phuchai (I Don't Like Boys) by Kat-Pat, a singing duo from Thailand.

video
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