Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Drawing on the right side of the brain

I inherited a copy of this book some time ago now.
Now that NaNoWriMo is done for 2014, I can afford to spend some time doing things in addition to writing.
I have decided to try this book. I did once have some informal art instruction back in about 1999 (give or take a few years there) which possibly was based on this book.
So, the first exercise is to be completed before you actually begin learning the techniques. There are 4 but I’ve only done 3 of the four. One was to draw a person (no pictures), one was to draw a person doing something (no photographs to be used), one was to draw your own hand (you could look at your hand) and one was to draw a chair (from looking at a chair)
So, this is the start of the journey.
Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Learning the best writing sprint length

I am an excellent procrastinator - truly first class. Add this to the fact that there is always a fascinating array of things that suck up your time on the internet and it makes trying to complete the NaNoWriMo challenge hard.

So I've been trying out a few things this year.
A friend was doing rewards after getting so many words out. I so totally cheated this system that it was worthless.

Next I tried the timed writing sprints. My first few were 15 minutes and I found that I could write a lot in 15 minutes if I knew that I had a break coming after.

The next day I tried 25 minutes. This was a little too long. I felt like my brain was going to try to leap out of my skull and flee.

So now I'm on 20. This is the right length for my writing. I'm just starting to flag a little but not badly.

NaNoWriMo is still tracking on schedule. If I push out a few extra 20 minutes sprints, I should finish a day or two ahead of the due date - 30 November.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Random Story

There were two weeks left to go. How could there only be two weeks? Was I ready? 

I opened the door leading to my domain. The first thing I heard was the scurrying feet of the rats.

Thank the gods, the rats were obviously breeding well. It’s one of the first things that the judges would look for. 

That was always one of the problems, starting a new dungeon. It wasn’t too hard to get it to the proper degree of mould and mildew. As long as the dungeon was below ground level, as long as there were cracks in the floors and walls, you’d get the mildew.

Vermin counts were always important for a dungeon. Not only rats, but roaches and spiders had to be plentiful if you wanted to win. I had no problem with getting a good roach population. Like the rats, as long as the guards threw scraps in the corners, the roaches would come.

Spiders though, I’ve been having problems with the spiders. I was hopeful that today’s shipment would make it much less obvious that there was only one spider actually living in my dungeon. That one was a jumping spider so it didn’t produce webs. Damn the gods.

I decided to inspect the equipment next. The rack had been a problem. It was so difficult to make it look well used and old when it had been installed new a mere six months ago. I had finally started making serious progress on ageing the rack by a combination of chicken blood and water. The vermin chewed at the leather bits, the water began damaging the iron. 

I was about to start my final inspection of the day when a guard entered the dungeon. “Master Flay? Your delivery is here.” The guard barely got out the words and then fled to the main part of the castle.

I went to get my delivery. It was half a dozen crates. They were very light, but they were meant to be so.

“I need you to sign here,” the delivery man handed me his clipboard.

“You must be joking. I won’t sign until I can inspect the goods and I’m not about to do that out here.” I looked around. Where was my useless assistant. “Boy!” I bellowed. “Come!”

It was a few moments later before I heard the footsteps. Damn. “I wanted Bobby,” I snarled as I turned around. 

“Sorry, Master. It’s Betty today.”

I hope Bobby will be there when the dungeon is judged. Betty goes for curls and bows, not at all the look of a dungeon assistant.

Mind you, Betty is far more blood thirsty, if we are doing some business.

“Right, Betty, I want you to help me carry the crates inside. We’ll open them up in the main chamber.”

“I’m not supposed to let this shipment go out of my sight,” protested the delivery man.

I grinned at him. “You are welcome to come with them. Betty and I won’t mind a bit.”

The dude backed off a few paces. “You promise to sign if the shipment is satisfactory?”

“I will.” I had to or the supplier may never fill my orders again. It’s so hard to find dungeon supplies these days.

Betty and I carried the crates inside. We opened one to find that the crate was nearly filled with fine webbing. A few of the spiders escaped, but that’s why I wanted to open the boxes inside, not out.

“You start putting the webs in the corners. I’ll go sign for the shipment and help.”

I went back out and signed for the crates. The webs would make the dungeon as close to perfect as I was going to have it this year.

The only other factor that is considered is the prisoners. We still only had two. The scruffy revolutionary, by now impossible to recognise under the tangled matt of hair. Half starved, scarred and he spent his days chattering to himself. The other was the witch. The rags left to her after five months no longer disguised the fact that she was middle aged. She had been in decent shape when she first arrived but now she just cackled madly.

In other words, my prisoners were everything I could hope for. It’s just that there are so few.

I envy Master Drawn. His dungeon is over 100 years old. Every cell has at least three prisoners and all the equipment has been repaired many many times. It’s so hard to compete against that sort of tradition.
Who knows, he has won every year for 10 years. Maybe the judges will look for something new.

At least now I have my spiders.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Having a moment

Reading along and thinking "I wonder what's next?"

Only to remember that it's your own book and you have to WRITE the next bit before you can read it.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Heard a small bang, then something sizzling and my UPS beeping that it had no power.

One of the power boards under my computer desk had started arching.

I shut down the computer, turned off the power for the UPS then very carefully unplugged the faulty board.

Then I had to go turn back on the circuit breaker.

I could see a lot of yellow flashing within that power board before I unplugged it. It was a bit terrifying.

Friday, August 15, 2014

How to be better at writing or drawing than 95% of the population

Very simple

Do NOT say I can't.

Just do it. At this point, you are already better than the vast majority because they *believe* they can't and so they won't even try.

Do it again. You are improving. Trust me, it may not be obvious at first. But it's true, every time you work on a skill, it does improve.

Keep at it and know that you are a creator.

That's it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I think that's going to need fixing

So, I am slowly typing into this computer my actual first novel (still).

And there are a few problems that pop up from time to time.
My current problem is that my group bought horses and a mule.
A page later, they walk into a city and somehow don't have to deal with the animals - they didn't put them in a stable - or tie them up or indeed anything.

Sheesh. That's gotta be fixed.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Random story - start

“You must follow the path through the mountains,” the spirit guide told the dreamer. “Beyond the mountains is the river. Cross the river then you will see.”

She woke, breathing hard. It was the third week running that she’d had the same dream. She could no longer deny that it was a true dream.

In the morning, Portia went to the elders hut. “Greetings, most honoured ones,” she bowed politely to the elders. “I have had my true dream.”

“Come closer, child,” beckoned one of the elders. “You are what age now?”

“Fifteen summers,” Portia replied.

“Your true dream comes late for you. Most girls have their true dream by their fourteenth summer. Tell me about your dream. Start with your guide.”

Portia swallowed hard, this was why she’d left the dream twice over. “My spirit guide is a chipmunk,” she whispered.

The elders looked at each other. “The spirit guide symbolises who you are meant to be. The owl is wisdom. The wolf is loyalty. The eagle is freedom. The deer is serenity. But…” he paused. “We have no knowledge of what the chipmunk symbolises. Are you certain, child?”

“Yes, elder. I am certain. For the past three weeks, the chipmunk has visited my dream. And each time, it says the same thing.”

“Go on.”

Portia told the elders exactly what the chipmunk had told her.

“That at least is clear. You say that the dream started weeks ago? Why did you not tell us?”

“I was,” Portia sighed. “I was hoping that it wasn’t my true dream. I wanted to dream…” she stopped. Portia was embarrassed by her true desire.

“You wanted to dream that you were to marry Hactef, did you not?” asked a female elder. “Your feelings toward him have been noticed.”

Portia nodded. “I had hoped.”

“Hopes do not engender the dreams. You should have come to us sooner, child,” the elder chided gently.

“I know. I am sorry, elders.”

“We will have to prepare you for your journey. Are you ready to begin?”

Portia’s eyes widened as she slowly nodded. “Today is your day of fasting. Tomorrow is the day of cleansing. Then we have the feast.”

One of the elders came forward. “Come, child. I will take you to the place where you will fast.” They left the hut of the elders. Portia knew the way to the special hut as well as any in the tribe. But her steps were as slow as the elder would allow, the reality of having her true dream recognised wasn’t what she’d hoped for.

The special hut was set aside for any of the rituals of the tribe. It was isolated from the rest of the huts.

“Mediate or sleep. Someone will bring you food to break the fast when it is time.”

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Dear companies that send email

Please note the following.

I am not the Lynn A* who was an Eagle Scout
I am not the Lynn A* who bought a Camry in the US.
I am not the Lynn A* who bought a Toyota in the US.
I am not the Lynn A* who...

Honestly, don't just send freaking mail to LynnA*@gmail.com and expect it to magically find the right one.

Better, don't send freaking gmail unless the person opted in AND gave you the email to use.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

D is for

D is for the dog
Who is playing by the log.
He is fast on his feet,
a sweeter dog you'll never meet.

Friday, March 07, 2014

C is for

C is for the Candy
The lady always keeps handy
She gives a few to the boy
And hopes he won't miss the toy

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

B is for

B is for the Baby
Who came with the lady
He is sitting by the lake
Some treats he's ready to take

Sunday, March 02, 2014

A is for

A is for Alligator
Famed for his 'see ya later'
Though for a sweet and toothy smile
He is beaten by the crocodile

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Phobias and working through them

I've actually had three phobias - relatively mild but definite phobias.

Once upon a time, I was afraid of thunderstorms. Not hide in a closet afraid but they made my heart race.  Then we moved to south Florida and there was a thunderstorm every afternoon during the summer. Within two weeks, they didn't bother me much any more.

One was a fear of talking in front of groups. I'd get nervous as all hell and talk twice as fast as I should. Then I did a group of subjects where you had to do group presentations. At some point, I stopped getting nervous as all hell.

The last is a fear of heights. This one still bothers me, I've yet the opportunity to work through that fear. I live in a town with few high buildings and the land is relatively flat. Maybe someday.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

A Thing that bothers me more than it should

It's how often people and artists think winged human - feathers. If humans had wings, they would be fur/hair coated. There are no animals that I know of that have fur and feathers.

I suppose it stems from the artwork featuring angels with wings of feathers. But it still bothers me that people think this would be how it would work.

If humans could have wings, they might be similar to bat wings.

So, humans with feathers bothers me. Mammals that have 6 limbs instead of 4 doesn't worry me at all. Go figure.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Spam replies - 1

Spam message

Your mailbox is full of, 00.1 GB, Please reduce your mailbox size. Delete any items you don't need from your mailbox and expand your email quota (size) with the below web links: 
HERE (link removed)
Thank you for your understanding.
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Dear idiot,

You are going to have to lift your game to succeed. No one should fall for such a lame arsed effort as that one.

a) 0.1 gb? - You expect me to care about a mailbox that only has a megabit of storage? First pdf attachment is going to kill that.
b) anyone who really hosts a mailbox should know my userid/name for that. No name == no box.
c) the from email has no relationship at all to the link in the message. That always spells trouble.

Don't pollute my email until it vaguely looks real.