Thursday, December 29, 2011

I'm a hoarder.

I think it's programmed into my DNA that I have to make sure to gather food so that I don't starve to death. My mother has followed our family history backwards and found out that our ancestors were the only survivors when starvation killed the rest of the village. In my eyes that's proof enough. It's in our genes.

The problem is that one of the shelves in the larder have had enough. It's broken and it can't be fixed. No, that's not the problem, it's a symptom of the problem. The problem is that I have enough food to feed and army for a month and we're only four persons in the household. Two of that being our sons that spend much time away form home.

I never make new years resolutions, but this year I think I should make an exception and make one. I really need to stop buying and storing so much food. I will never be in a situation where I will have to feed an army. Ever. It's about time to relax and stop hoarding, at least for a couple of months or so...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Volcano in My First World


I've made an image based on how I remember the volcano hideout that I created when I was 4 years old. the entrance was hidden and there were several tunnels that led in and out too. The bottom floor was for storage and animals. Since I grew up on a farm I couldn't imaging a good place to live without animals in it. The next floor was the great hall where my characters would eat, play and have important meetings. The centre of the volcano is open and light, as well as rain, would come down through the hole. The next to floors had rooms and bedrooms. All rooms had small windows where you could look out and make sure that no one was coming to the volcano. At the top floor there was a garden with both flowers and fruits.

I had two characters that was "I". One was a good girl named Maria. She was princess like and liked to bake, cook and take care of everyone else. The other was Fiddledee a tomboy that went on adventures and got into trouble. She's the one who often ended up in the city jail where she had to struggle to escape.

There were other kids there too, mostly boys, but they were most often created after what I needed at that time. One older buy was often in the stories I created. He was good, safe and strong and he helped me when I was in trouble. I can't remember what I named him, even though I'm certain that he did have a name.

All the bad guys and enemies were adults. The sheriff and his men that would put us in jail and the bandits who tried to rob us in the high mountains were all large and scary men. The spirits of the forest and the witches of the desert were all female, ugly and terrifying to look at.

Now I struggle to remember some of the adventures I created since it would be fun to write one down. It wouldn't be exactly the same as then of course, but I'd use the same story line and idea as I did as a child.

Monday, December 26, 2011

World building I did as a child

I was 4 years old when I started building my first world and now I've decide to recreate it.

First there were mountains and volcanoes. I can't remember the sun ever being behind the mountains and I've decided it's because they were to the north. Lava fields spread from the mountain range and down into the desert. There were small mountains sticking up out of the lava and close to the desert there was a small volcano. That's where my characters lived. The volcano was a fake, a clever way of hiding from the enemy. Inside of it was a castle like building where the characters lived and had fun.

The rocky desert had no sand dunes. In the middle of it there was an oasis where my characters sometimes hid from the enemy. A river passed the fake volcano and then it faded into the desert. There were mountains in the desert and the river or water from other sources could be found if you dug into the ground there.

To the west there was a city located on green fields. The city was crowded and dirty. There was a jail, a stone building with iron bars in the windows. The prisoners where held in the basement where the barred windows where up by the roof. My characters often ended up in there and they would look out those windows and watch the birds in the sky.

South of the city were the high mountains where there were precious stones and metals that could be found in deep dangerous mines. The dwarves who lived there also made good quality weapons and armours.

At the far south there was a jungle. Lush and green with strange plants and animals in it. I didn't  know anything about strange plants and I imagined my grandmothers plants there.

To the east of the desert there were woods. Small lakes, rivers and big trees. My characters built tree houses, real big houses, and the built huts to live in. They would also rob rich people who travelled through the woods, just like Robin Hood did. That's why they needed the volcano hideout and often ended up in jail.

 

How I know I was four years old when I built the world? We moved to the city then. I dislike the city very much and that's how the city appeared in my world, as a prison. The Volcano hideout, in the dark, was my dream escape while the woods was a symbol for "home", the place where I grew up. The desert, the high mountains and the jungle were are scary as well as amazing places of exploration. Places I connected the real world to as I experienced more and more.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Lonesome Christmas Blues - Blind Blake 1929


Christmas and blues is a great combination. I really like this.


My new "baby" =)

It's a Sony Ericsson C901 GreenHeart. I don't think that my husband thought of it when he bought it for me, but I'm really happy that it's "green". The environment is something that's often on my mind. The only thing missing is a "FairTrade" type of label too since the majority of all technology we use today contains metals mined by people that are virtually slaves.

Now I'm looking forward to learning how to use it and to trying the camera out. I know that the camera can't compete with my Canon 550D, but that's not what I wanted either. There's just too many occasions where I want to take a quick photo without bringing the big camera out. I have a feeling this will be great fun. =)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas?

Christmas Card by Jenny Nyström
It's that time of year again...
I wouldn't say that I hate Christmas but I'm very tired of it. It's been years since I had any holiday feelings that were of the positive kind, and this year it's even worse. We're all ill and that means that it's up to me to make all the food and preparations. Cancelling Christmas feels like a great idea right now.

It doesn't help that my doctor changed my medications last week either. She removed all my painkillers and substituted them for painkillers that doesn't work. Brilliant idea for the holidays.

Well, there is something good about this Christmas. It's the first time in many years that I haven't had to buy my own presents. This year I even got things that I'm happy about. A new cellphone is at the top of the list.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

18 years

We've been married for 18 years now. Strange how time flies.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Procrastinating

Jupiter
I'm not getting anything done. There are plenty of things I should do, there are things I have to do as well as things I want to do, but nothing happens. I'm tired, I'm in pain and I can't make myself do anything more than the absolute minimum. I'm going to visit my mother next week, hopefully that will help me get back on track again.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Editing

I had planned to stay away from editing what I've written before until my head is clearer, but, I've started poking at it. Just a few changes here and there, nothing complexed or demanding. The best thing is that I'm actually enjoying doing it.

I'm also poking around with my PSP, adding plug-ins and brushes. The plan was to find things that I can use to make illustrations and maps for my CYOA, but I've strayed away from that.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Star Wars Mistakes

I've been watching Star Wars for a couple of days now and I've noticed many things I've never thought of before. Mistakes in the movies. I just had to search YouTube for it and there I found even more. Now I'm busy doing something that I don't have to do. Again.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I'm so not doing what I should be doing...

http://www.mattepainting.org/
I should be reading about English grammar in the hope of learning something that will stick to my Teflon mind. What am I doing? I'm looking at Matte Paintings. When I'm not watching TV or reading history magazines. The odds of me learning something useful today are slim.

Monday, September 26, 2011

"Words you say never seem to live up to the ones inside your head."

My sister called and asked if my oldest niece could come and visit us. The answer is no, but I found myself saying "Uhm... I don't know... I ... uhmm... just don't know right now ..." That's just stupid. I know very well that I can't take care of myself and my own family as it is and taking care of her kid too is simply too much. My sister knows that I'm not well, it's rude of her to even get the though and ask me. Still, I'm unable to say one simple word. No!

The nurse called back about the appointment I was promised to get in early August. I'll get one in early October instead. I asked if they really could do things like this, promise and appointment and then not give it until two months later. She did not answer, she just said goodbye.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I haven't the foggiest...

It can't be age related, I'm not that old, but I keep forgetting things. What did I do yesterday? Well... hmmm...? When did that happen? Lemme see now ... hmm...? It's as if there is a black hole that keeps swallowing information and removing it from my world.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lies

I talked to mom on the phone today. I told her that everything is fine. I lied. There is no point in telling how things really are, there is nothing she can do to change it. Telling her about it will on the other hand make me feel worse. What's worse than feeling worthless? Admitting that you are pretty damn worthless.

I'm thinking about a fantasy character I'd like to create. I'd like him to have a look that makes people think of a tree, but not like the ents and hurons in LOTR. Tree but not a tree, will that ever make sense? How do I describe such a being?

Friday, September 23, 2011

I'm writing again...

Not much and it doesn't come out right, but at least I'm writing. Well, I'm sort of writing. A few words now and then, then I draw something, Googel something else and watch Star Wars. We've bought the blue ray box and I've been watching for days. First all films, then the films with the commentaries and now I'm heading towards the three extra discs and what ever is on them. I'm really loving the commentaries and all the explanations and extra information in them. Homages, added funny things (such as the kitchen sink), the locations they have been at and where all the sounds come from. Great fun. =)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

WTF?

I've finally gotten around to calling the health center to ask why they have not given me the appointment I was promised to get at the beginning of August. Apparently, the doctor who was supposed to give me the appointment is on vacation (moose hunting?) this week but he will be back net week and they will call me then.

How does this add up? It's been over a month since I should have heard from him. He's not there this week... What happened to all the other weeks in between? How could the fact that he's on vacation this week stop him from contacting me during the other weeks? Logical, it is not.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

“Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering - and it’s all over much too soon. - Woody Allen

More WWF Posters with optical illusions
No matter what I do I can't keep myself up for long. I'm down, blue, pessimistic and I dislike most things in the world as it is. Nothing is fun, nothing is relaxing and nothing can keep my interest for long.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vacation again

I went for a well needed vacation, again, and this time I have no plans at all. I'm simply taking each day as it comes. After a couple of days I suddenly found inspirtaion again and I'm writing, by hand. (I don't have much computer time here and it's very relaxing.) It's not a master piece that I'm writing but I'm at least writing after months of writer's block.

It's great to spend some time with my mom too. She's full of creativity and funny ideas and when I'm not lauging I'm getting inspirtation. Laughing is great medicine and I recomand it to anyone who need a boost in life.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Nothing.

I keep trying and I keep coming up with, nothing. This is very frustrating. Nothing seems to work once I start to write it down. Even worse is that I don't feel like picking the camera up to take a couple of photos either, not do I feel like drawing, sketching or even doodling on my computer.

I did replant some of my flowers yesterday, I guess that should count for something. It's been years since I should have done it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

This is not going well...

I keep writing a few sentences and then .... I erase it all. It's simply not turning out the way I'd like it to. Suddenly all other things in this world seems more interesting. Reading through news pages, even politics that usually don't interest me much are more interesting than writing.

I keep thinking that I should just take a picture and write a story around it, to get things going. Any picture would do of course but I keep looking around and I can't find one with a story in it. Not a story I can tell. So, I'm still stuck at nothing.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This is not turning out as I hoped it would.

It's time for me to start writing again. I've been doing other things for too long and I need to get back on the horse before I forget how to do it. After reading through my old writings, the ones I plan to edit, I feel discouraged. It's too much that need to be changed, I don't know if I'll ever be able to fix it. I'm not a writer after all, I'm someone who likes to write and thought I'd be able to do it properly. Or at least somewhat properly.

I'm dropping the editing for now and aim to write something new instead. That's not easy either since my brains is mush right now, but it has to be easier than the mammoth task of editing the other writings.

Now all I need is a story ... =/

From a Teacher –

In the world of hi-tech gadgetry, I’ve noticed that more and more people who send text messages and emails have forgotten the art of capitalization.

For those of you who fall into this category, please take note of the following statement:


“Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.”

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Heat Stroke


Not only is my brain mush because of the exhaustion, it's hot outside and that affects me too. It has been hot and humid for weeks now and I'm suffering. The other evening I bravely ventured out to film my son and his band as they played. I was sweating rivers, it was hot and I did not bring enough water to drink. The result was... not good. I failed to film several of their songs because I thought I turned the camera on when I turned it off, and then when I changed camera to film my son singing with another band... I forgot to make sure that I had focused the camera. Well... something's better than nothing and I did manage to film something.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

It's a big day today for our youngest son.

Our youngest son and his band has their first paid gig today. They make 250 Sek (27€) each. Not a fortune but still enough to make them happy. It's a private party and I'm happy that I'm not expected to be there. Though that day will come too, very soon. 10 days from now to be precise. I'm hoping that our oldest son will be there to help me with the cameras and I also hope that it won't last too long. Strange wish now that they are finally playing for a live audience but ... I'm so tired.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Exhaustion Syndrome

I found it a bit odd that I could find almost nothing about it in English. (It's usually the other way around, there is a lot of information in English and very little in Swedish.) Then I found this and it all cleared up for me.
Exhaustion syndrome, also called burnout and exhaustion depression, leaves objectively measurable changes in the brain -- including reduced activity in the frontal lobes and altered regulation of the stress hormone cortisol. This is shown in a new dissertation from Umeå University in Sweden.
It seems as if the Swedes are on the front line when it comes to this.

It's been over a week and I'm still trying to wrap my head around this. Things I could easily learn in minutes keep falling out of my mind and I just don't "get it".

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Burnout

I've been at wits end a couple of times before, but I've always managed to get my act together and keep on going. This is different though, I'm in pain, my mind is spinning, I feel seasick because of the dizziness and I can barely get the most important things done durng the day. I've admited defeat and I've seen a doctor about it. The solution is of course to change the situation I'm in, but that's very difficult to do as things are right now. (My main stress factor is the fact that my husband is very ill.)

I've had to drop all the projects I've been planning to get done and is now struggling to make it through one day at the time.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Spinning Woman

Look at the spinning woman and if she is turning left your right side of your brain is working. If she is turning right your left side of your brain is working.
If she turns both ways for you then you have a 160 or better IQ .

Click on the image to see her spin.

________________________________

I don't belive in the "IQ over 160" part. However, it's an interesting trick. She initially spins to the left for me, but I can turn her to go to the right too. I've done "Right brain vs Left brain" tests online and the score keeps coming up as close to 50/50. Sometimes the left has a few % more and sometimes it's the right who comes up with a few % more. I think that has more to do with it than my IQ.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I found about 14 cranes the other day.

It's amazing to see so many of them and I think I'll never get used to it.

As a child I followed my grandparents out on an adventure. My grandfather had seen cranes dancing on a mire and it was something extraordinary to see. First we took the car and drove away from the town. Then we walked through the forest and over a cutting area, then out on the edge of the mire where we hid in a group of small trees. Waiting in silence is tough for a little girl and I remember being hushed many times. Then when I was as bored as I could possibly be, we heard them. Using the binoculars we could see two cranes at the other side of the mire. Two grey dots that sang and danced.  It was ma magical experience.

The cranes I found this time were out on a field next to a heavily trafficked road. It's still amazing to see them, but the magic is gone.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I think about writing...

That has to count for something... right?

I think I picked a bad time to learn more about how to write properly. It's very possible that I've forgotten all I've learned when summer is over.

I should write or edit some thing ... but, bugs, birds and photos are much more interesting right now. One of my photos of a rare insect has been published in the local newspaper and that spurs me on. As if I needed motivation to take more photos.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Insects...


I'm spending several hours a day walking and photographing. The wind is still a bit cold but things are moving in the right direction again. Insects are high up on my list of interesting things and honey bees have been the main focus during the last days. The blue pollen that this bee have collected makes it a clear favourite.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's snowing.

I was full of energy and I loved the great weather and the long walks I could take. Now it's snowing. It's cold, I'm lighting candles and I've put on warmer clothes again. I should have known better than to get tricked into thinking that the winter is over. =/

I haven't written much lately. I've been busy with music instead. My youngest son and his new band needed a live video for a contest and I suddenly found myself filming it, together with his girlfriend. I forgot my earplugs and I didn't hear much for two days, other than the ringing in my ears. Still, I'm happy that I can help out. ... and even more happy that they don't rehearse at our place anymore.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Small Tortoiseshell on Coltsfoots.



I can't help it, I keep taking photos of them. But, this time I made a video too. Change is stimulating. I'm still struggling with the conversion and quality of the videos but I think I'm getting closer to an acceptable result.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Just a little test to see how videos turn out when I upload them...

video

I'm so tired of this. If I understand this correctly, I have to convert the mov files into something else and then upload them , but there is a size limit too and ... the quality turns out to be so and so. After going half crazy trying to figure this out last year I got a promise from my husband, he'd figure it out during the winter. It didn't happen, he's been very ill all winter and my videos are at the bottom of the list of things that needs to be done.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Birds

I got several good photos of birds today, even some of birds flying. I also shot a short video of a Common Goldeneye male that was trying to get the attention of two ladies. The poor thing didn't know how to work it since the two ladies were separated by a sheet of ice.

I also have hundreds of photos of Small Tortoiseshell butterflies on Coltsfoots. I don't need another photo of it but ... I just have to take another snap simply because I can.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Swan

We now know that we have missed the grand spectacle of the year, the mass migration of birds. From what we can tell we've missed it by weeks since spring is early this year. It's bitter since it is something that we long for all winter, but things are what they are. The good thing is that my husband is well enough to get out into the car again. It's been 6 months since he could do that.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fresh air

I decided that I had to go out and get some sun. It lifts my mood and the extra pain it causes me is worth it. Spring is early this year and it's strange to think that it's still April. I found coltsfoot blooming on the south side of a slope and one tiny Siberiean squill spreading its petals out among the sheltering roots of a tree.

There is still ice on the water down in the bay and there are streaks of snow on the north sides. I only saw one migrating bird an Eurasian Curlev, but I know there are many more out there since I've heard them.

My husband too a giant leap forward today. He went to the garage and backed the car out. Now our sons can help us change the tires to summer tires. Then we're set to go, if he has the strength to go out into the car again anytime soon.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"You should not cry hello before you are over the creek."

The title is a Swedish proverb basically meaning "don't celebrate too soon". Well, I did. The pain is back and with a vengeance. =/

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's storming outside.

Well, maybe not storming but close to it. It's a good reason for me to not go out and I plan on poking my laptop for the rest of the day. The CYOA is calling for me and I think I will attempt to finish it. Writing in second person narrative is not my thing and how to manage it in the CYOA bothered me for a while. Then I got the (if I may say so myself) great idea of making "You" a being that is mostly a spectator that sees things through the eyes of another person. Every now and then "You" have choices to make, as it works in a CYOA, but the story itself is told in third person.

There is still a problem. I keep mixing the tense up. Sometimes it's present tense and sometimes it's past tense. I think I'm doing it because "You" are following "This" person, and you see and experience what he or she is seeing and doing. You are there when it happens, present tense, but I'm still telling the story. And then there is that part that says "show don't tell" again. I think it will haunt me for the rest of this year, or longer.

I'm using Hero Machine 3 alpha to make the characters. It's quick and easy to make one and even easier to make changes if needed. It's better than the old versions of Hero Maker because of the easy to use functions where you can change size and shape of the character. I  pop the finished images into PSP to make backgrounds and correct minor flaws and then they are set to go. My characters don't need to look professional since this is something that I'm doing for fun, but the Hero Machine still makes them look really good. =)

Monday, April 18, 2011

I'm still amazed.

I had a brief moment when I thought that the bad pain was back, then it faded again. Perhaps I should pinch myself to make sure that I'm not dreaming, but I've had enough pain as it is. I have tons of things that I have to do now when I can, such as the laundry, and my mind is still foggy. In other words, I still have excuses to not start editing and rewriting. It might be for the best. The "show don't tell" part is still bugging me. From what I can tell it would have been easier if I had written it all down with that in mind the first time. Now that it's there in writing I'm having problems to "rethink" it all.

I've started to make a CYOA (Choose Your Own Adventure) while my brain was partly disconnected. The idea was to make a basic and short adventure and put in basic illustrations. Needless to say, it's a disaster. Tangled minds = tangled adventures. Now I have one more thing on my list of thing that I need to fix. =/

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Suddenly, it happens.

At first I didn't dare to believe it, but now I think I dare to think it might be so. The worst part of the pain is gone. It disappeared just as suddenly as it started. The "milder" pain is still there but it is easier to manage, I'm used to "everyday" pain as  it is and a bit extra will probably not bother me much.

The spring is here. At bit early it seems but still very welcome. We still have snow on most of the lawn but the flowerbeds by the house are clear. This morning I saw this years first crocuses when I leaned out of the office window. I've also heard swans fly over the area early in the morning. Now I hope that my husband will get better soon so that we can go out birding again.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The pain is driving me insane.

I don't sleep much, I can't do the things I really should do and I can't even do the things I usually do to distract myself from the pain. =(

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dragon Eye

Dragon Eye - Conchron
I' procrastinating again. Trying to fix my writing still gives me a headache and I keep finding reasons to avoid doing it.

In my defence I have to say that making a dragon eye is something that has been on my to do list for ages. The first eye I made was accidentally erased and I've been planning to make a new one for ... Oh... about 2 years now.


My husband is finally home again and things are turning back to normal. I'm still in pain and I'm still hungry but things are at least moving in the right direction.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Woe is me

The pain in my shoulders and arms is getting worse. I can't sleep properly at night because the pain wakes me up. I've started taking extra pain killers and this far it hasn't changed much. For a while I thought that the pain stemmed from the cold that I had, but the cold is gone and the pain is still here.

I'm also struggling with the rewrite and the pain in my arms is not the only problem. I just don't "get it". Well, I know what I need to do but I still can't figure out how to do it. It's like knowing what way to go and still keep walking down the wrong path. I could ask for help, have people show how it should be done, but I think it's better if I struggle to learn by myself. At least for now. There has to be a way for me to get this through my thick skull ... somehow.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Funny

A Texan professor and an Oxford professor are chilling at a conference bar. The Texan professor, bored, looks to the Oxford professor and strikes up a conversation. "So there partner, where y'all from?" Oxford prof. replies, pushing his glasses to his nose: "Well, in reply to your query, I hail from Oxford. In addition, where I come from, we never end our sentences in a preposition." The Texan prof. blinks once, shrugs his shoulders and drawls, "My apologies! What I mean to say is 'where y'all from, asshole?'"

Friday, April 1, 2011

Show, don't tell.

I'm good at telling stories, at the kitchen table. My husband claims that I have a million faces and the way I speak with my whole body often amuses him. I also use the tone of my voice as well as verbal, often dialectal, expressions to tell the story.

Writing is another animal entirely. I still "tell" the story but without the "action" of my voice and body language and the story falls flat. I've been Googling and reading advice on how to do it in writing and I'm still struggling. At times if feels as if I've met my nemesis and I feel like giving up. (Though, that might be my fever talking.)

It's somewhat easy to show when I write dialogue, but it's a terror when I have big hunks of text with no dialogue in it and still need to show instead of telling. I know I don't have to "show" it all, there are things that's better if told, but it's still a pain in the rear.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Under the weather

I have a cold, my headaches and I keep coughing and sneezing. My eyes are itching and the eye drops doesn't help at all. It doesn't end there though, my everyday pain has a new twist to it, my shoulders and arms aches like crazy and I haven't slept much this night.

All I want to do is to curl up in bed and rest, but I can't do that. I have a lot to do and to top that off I have lots of people calling trying to get hold of my husband. Then I have people calling to see how he's doing and when he's coming home from the hospital. I'm guessing that the pain in my shoulders and arms stems from all that time I spend on the phone. My husband promised me a head set once, so that I could rest my arms while talking, but he's forgotten about it. So here I am. =/

The worst part is that I feel that I have no right to complain, I'm doing so much better than my husband and should be happy about that.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A new favourite

I've found a new favourite site with a dictionary as well as a thesaurus. It's called Mcmillan Dictionay and it's the thesaurus that's making me all exited. It explains the context of the use of the word. It's great for someone like me that are looking for words to extend my vocabulary with. Someone that's also very likely to use the wrong word now and then because it seemed good but did not mean exactly what it seemed to be. 

I'll still be using it together with other thesauruses and dictionaries to make sure I get the whole picture, but it's nice to find something new that's also helpful. =)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Train wreck

It's been a long time since I last followed an online train wreck. I remember the last time clearly, since I was one of those who very naively tried to help and stop the person who was having a public melt down. It can't be done unless you disconnect them from the internet and keep them away for days, weeks or even eternity. The poor mentally ill soul I tried to help ended up being IP banned from the site and I think it was the nicest thing anyone did for her.

This train wreck is different. It has gone viral, touching countless sites, blogs and forums. It seems as if the writer having the melt down has also potentially ended a future career in the process.

There are several important lessons to learn form it all and I decided to post about it because of that.
  • Being confident is good, being blind to your own imperfections is not.
  • Reading the dialogue/story out loud might not help you at all.
  • Making the effort of editing the story you spent years working on is never redundant. 
  • Having an impartial person proof reading the work before publishing is worth it.
  • Avoid responding to a review of your work. The review is for potential readers not the writer.
  • Take opinions serious enough to question yourself but not so seriously that you have an emotional melt down over it. It might be good advice, use it, or it might be an opinion that doesn't matter, then leave it. That's all there is to it.

Why do you necessarily have to be wrong 
just because a few million people think you are? 
- Frank Zappa -

Dialogue

I thought that I had figured out how to write dialogue, then someone pointed out an error I've made. It's irritating because I thought I had dealt with the issue and could move on to other things. As a result I spent most of my computer time yesterday searching for web pages on the topic. The original plan was to learn about proper punctuation in dialogue, but I ended up reading about how to write too. The only advice that I've found that I can't follow is to read the dialogue out loud. I don't speak English though I write it and trying to read it out loud will only complicate things. People have suggested Textaloud, a program that turns text into speech and I might use it in the future.


Thumb-rules for me to remember:
  1. Read the dialogue out loud. It has to sound as if someone actually said it.
  2. Dialogue should sound natural, but should also be "filtered" to remove unessential information, words and phrases.
  3. Fragmented and grammatically incorrect can be correct in dialogue.
  4. Keep it short (as often as possible), 5 words or less per sentence.
  5. The three-sentence-rule: Don't give your character more than three uninterrupted sentences at once.
  6. Telling (instead of showing) is still telling even if it's in dialogue. 
  7. Don't repeat words, phrases, names and so on unless it's essential for the story/dialogue.
  8. People pause and do things as they speak. (Don't over do it.)
  9. People interact when talking. They wait for a response and decide what to tell, or not, based on that.
  10. "Talking-head syndrome"- Non-stop dialogue that moves too fast. "Stop-and-go dialogue" - dialogue punctuated by too much "action".
  11. People don't tell it all when they speak nor do they tell each other things they already know.
  12. Be true to the character as well as the situation. How would they react and speak? Make sure that the characters don't use each others key words and phrases.
  13. All dialogue should move the story forward or reveal something about the character. If it doesn't then Kill it.
  14. Use dialogue tags to avoid confusion about who's speaking. Common tags (said) are invisible as long as they are not over used, other tags should only be used when it's necessary since they might interrupt the flow of the dialogue.
  15. Dialogue should be self-sufficient and not requiring explanation. It is not the place to append wordy character descriptions.
  16. Don't write in accents and dialects unless you know what you are doing. Don't fake it unless you're writing a parody of the character.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I ...

Teacher: "Josephine, give me a sentence beginning with I." 
Josephine: "I is ..."
Teacher: "No, Josephine. It's always 'I am...' "
Josephine: "OK. I am the ninth letter of the alphabet."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

*sigh*

I don't mind waiting for hour upon hour at the ER. I understand that they are understaffed and have a lot of work to do. I don't mind the discomfort either, I understand that they put their budget on more important things, such as saving lives. But, I do mind the lack of information.

It's frustrating to sit there as if forgotten for hours, not knowing what will happen, when it will happen or even why.

Even more frustrating is to sit there for 5 hours only to find out, that the information you get is something they have known since you walked through the door. Why not just let the people know what you already know instead of letting them sit there for hours without talking to them? How hard can it be to say two sentences? It's so little that it can't possibly be a waste of time. You could almost blurt it out as you run past them.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Making a list, checking it twice.

Feeling confident that I had sorted out most of the grammatical issues in "The Crow and the Butterfly" I bravely ventured out into "Absolute Write" to get advice on what I need to do next. It's an amazing site full with helpful people and I got a lot of good advice. So much that my head is spinning.

Now I'll rewrite the whole chapter and change the POV (point of view) since it does not work. I've also made a list of the good advice I've gotten this far. I think it will make it easier to correct my mistakes before I make them. ... hopefully.

Ask yourself:
  1. What is the scene about?
  2. Why do I want it to be about that?
  3. Is it backstory or not?
  4. What do I gain?
  5. How much does the reader need to know?
  6. What will the reader learn and walk away with from that scene?
  7. What’s the point of telling it?(If there is no point: Kill It!)
  8. What’s the conflict?
  9. How does the character change in the scene? 
Remember:
  •  Never use more than 1 POV within a chapter. (Let's face it, you're not skilled enough to manage to pull it off.) 
  • "Act it out". Let the reader read the character rather than the words.
  • Obvious is obvious. Don't rub it in.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's my oldest son's birthday.

The little bundle of joy turned 20 years today. =)
(It's amazing, mostly because I don't feel any older than 20 myself.)

His great-grandmother sent him a card that contains the wisdom of high age and I just have to share it.

You are turning 20 years old! 
There is something you should know...
The secret behind a long life
is early nights and a decent life style.
But... The secret behind a fun life
is late nights, wild parties and a lot of laughter.

 =) Now that's why I love my grandmother so much.

A lecture about English.

A linguistics professor was lecturing to his English class one day. "In English," he said, "A double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative."

A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."

Monday, March 21, 2011

I've got the blues.

I've finally gotten around to explore Spotify and the music on there and I'm having a great time. Most of all I love exploring music that I've never heard before and probably never would have if it wasn't for the Internet.
As it is I've been going through "related artists" lists for hours and a whole new world of music have opened up for me.

Listening to the old blues recordings sends chills down my spine. It's amazing to hear the voices recorded so long ago in a world that was so different from ours that it might as well have been an alternative universe.The music is different too, it's not the "wall of noise" that we have today where all the sounds in the song has been digitally mastered to fit and idea about how it sounds best on radio and TV. It simply is what it is, true, raw and blues.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Once in a blue moon ...

... there is a super moon. I marked the date in three of my calendars so that I would prepare my camera in time, make sure that I had a flashlight and that I had the camera settings under control. Did it work? No.

My mother called to tell about how she had been out to take photos... and I was watching TV, making dinner and editing my story. The cameras ... well ... err... *sigh*

I grabbed my camera bag and ventured out into the cold darkness. Fumbled around with camera and lenses and took a couple of photos, then I ran out of battery. End of story. I still got a couple of blurry photos and one that I think is OK.

Next time, I'll mark it in my calendars so that I don't forget to prepare my camera.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I'm the alien.

There was an experiment that our teacher in Swedish used once, he told us to explain ordinary things around us without using the terms for them or the standard words that described them.

"Picture that you are talking to an alien," he told us, "and have to describe it. You can't call a rainbow a rainbow because the alien don't know what a rainbow is."

In a way that's how I write in English, I don't know the correct term and I end up writing many "explaining" words instead. The latest example I've found is, "the fields had not been tended to for years". I put the Swedish term into Google Translate and suddenly I had one word that would explain it all, "fallow". It's not over there of course, now I have to figure out how to use the word correctly. Do the fields "fallow", had they "fallowed" or did they "lie in fallow".

I feel an headache coming on...

Ops!

I decided to rewrite "The Crow and the Butterfly" to apply the new things I learn since the story is shorter. The first thing I noticed is that I've somehow posted an unedited version in my blog. I have no idea how that happened. Even worse is that I didn't notice it as I posted it or when I browsed through it. One explanation could be that I posted it when my husband was ill and my focus was at him and not what I was doing, but it's still a poor excuse.

Yesterday I worked with adverbs and tried to figure out how to "exchange the weaker adverbs for strong verbs". One thing is very clear, my English vocabulary is not good enough to find the "strong verbs". I don't know how to say, "climb quickly" or "knock softly" in any other way and the thesaurus is not any help either.

Today I'll be hunting for adjectives that's not needed and I'm certain it will prove to be just as frustrating.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Oh no!

Every time I see that there is a problem somewhere in the text I learn more and as I learn more I see new problems. It seemed so simple just days ago, but now it's giving me an headache. There story is there and all I have to do is to edit it so that it's readable, no? No.

I joined Absolute Write because the forums there are full with good information about grammar as well as how to write. In one thread I found a link to an online grammar and style checker. It was only a limited version that was free to use, but it was enough to give me an idea. ... *sigh* ...
I know that such checkers are not 100% correct but it was still a bit disheartening to see all the errors. I've been aware of some of them without knowing exactly how to fix them, but some were totally new to me.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Done!

Er... well ... almost.

I've finally worked my way through the final battle and ended the story, five years after I started writing on it. However, I have to edit it and rewrite it all and that will probably take me five more years. =/

It's still a great achievemnet on my behalf and I'm looking forward to the editing, to making the illustrations and to posting it in the blog. I've already made the basic layout of the blog and some of the illustrations and I'm longing to see how it all comes together. Hopefully it will be easier to finish than the writing of the story.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Procrastinating ...

Dragon Cave - Work in Progress
Procrastinating seems to be what I do best these days. I should finish reading that book, I should sort the stuff that's all over my desk, I should ... but I don't. I just can't motivate myself to get anything done, no matter how simple or easy. ... I hope it's not me who end up without toilet paper because I didn't get around to filling it up.

The weather is great, the sun is shining and I've actually been out on my first walk with the camera since January, but that was a way of procrastinating too since I couldn't replant my flowers while being out there.

Monday, February 28, 2011

There is "battle" and then there is "battle...

All of my intentions of writing went out the door. First of all the simple ride to the hospital with my husband turned out to be anything but simple and then when we finally got back home hours later I was too tired to write. Then it was our youngest sons birthday and I think I have a cold and I'm in more pain than usual and ... many more excuses.

When I finally got around to going to battle it was not the battle I had intended. After years of frustration over the spam on Yahoo Answers I finally went to the Suggestion Board found the Spam Battle thread and followed the link to Chatzy to find out more. Since then I've spent many hours battling spam, chopping heads of the Lernaean Hydra and killing giants. Spam, I understand now, I much more than what meets the eye and the spam that's easily recognizable as spam is only one part of a much larger beast.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Going to battle.

I've reached the part of the story that I've dreaded the most. It's time for battle. It's crucial for the story and it has to be done but I don't know how to write it. I'm not particularly interested in wars, strategies and tactics but I still have to write something that will seem credible somehow.

I'm going with my husband to the hospital today and that will give me a little more time to think it over before I start writing. I'm also thinking about asking my sons about it since they both have great imaginations and both are role players. If all else fails I'll have them "roll the dice" for me.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

HC SVNT DRACONES (here be dragons)

animation,dragonI've spent most of the weekend trying out animations and making gif images. There are other and better things I could have done with my time, but it has been so much fun that I happily ignore that. I've tried UnFreez and Advanced GIF Animator (the free trial version) to make several different animations. UnFreez is quick and simple to use, as I've said before, and most importantly of all, it's free. It's a great plus for people like me that do things once in a while just for fun.

animation,dragonAdvanced GIF Animator was a big "so what" to me. I'm already making and editing my images in Paintshop Pro and I didn't find the editing tools necessary or even helpful. It's easier to add and move frames, but that's not really that hard to do in UnFreez either.There is a banner on the gif  animations made with the trial version and I won't bother to post one here because of that.

animation,dragonThe three animations I've had most fun doing in the order I made them, top to bottom to the right. The frame is a picture tube image and then I made a basic wall with a texture brush. I've used a background I made for a blog once with a red landscape and dragons and then I added shadows to the dragon silhouettes and lightnings to get some action. I wanted the frame to sparkle as if it was an electric device and I felt that the first try sparkled too little, but after seeing the second try I went back to more basic sparkle instead and tired to time it so that it sparkled more when there were lightnings and less when the image was dark.

This is my favourite time waster ever and I'll be making more in the future.