Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The End of October Writing Challenge

As the mortar shells explode around me (I believe they are called fireworks) I am forced to admit I am a failure. As Buster from AD would say (waving his hook hand at me) 'Loser! Loser!'. I didn't succeed in finishing Til the Moon Fails before the end of the month. Overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, I barely even got started. So it rolls on to month number five. Don't worry, TTMF fans, I will continue working on it through November (as well as writing my NaNoWriMo novel). I probably won't get it finished in November, but all things going well, please God, I will finish it in December.

I have decided to label October 2006 as the black writing month, or the month of literary drought (otherwise known as writer's block and sometimes Failurism).

Friday, October 27, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006

The End of October Writing Challenge

Forget about 50K words in November, forget about editing 50K in March, I have a new challenge and it is really a humdinger!

or, its other name

So, what is WOK all about? The challenge is to write 70K words in nine days (that is, from now until October 31st). You have to write a novel, but it can be an existing one that you are either currently working on, have worked on before or have finished in the past and want to rewrite or add to. You can write in any way you want, but the aim of the challenge is to not only reach the 70K word goal, but to do so alive and in one piece.

Anyone interested? Anyone going to join me?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Dog eats face!

I caught the end of Horizon on BBC last Tuesday night and it immediately caught my attention. There was a picture of what looked like a dentist cleaning a woman's teeth, except the woman had no lips, nose or chin and no skin on the bottom of her face. It was a little like something out of a horror story, and knowing my love of horror, I was hooked. The scene then cut to an ordinary enough woman walking through some woods in France talking about how good it was to be outside again. My curiosity peeked, I went on line and did a search for this woman - Isabelle Dinoire. Her story is a sad one. She received terrible injuries to her lower face, losing her nose, lips and chin and had to wear a mask (as one would) until a French surgeon agreed to do the first face transplant. He grafted on the nose and lower face of another woman and the operation was a success. Now, this is interesting enough. While medical science is not quite up to par with face transplants as seen in Humphrey Bogart movies and Face Off, scalp transplants, ear and nose transplants have been completed successfully. Some points of interest about Isabelle's face transplant: -

1. The 'donor' was a 'brain dead' woman who had attempted to hang herself (which means the poor woman was killed to get her face. I hope they gave her pain killers as they removed the skin)
2. The surgeon who performed the operation also performed the first hand transplant (what! they are doing that too now? Hope the 'donor' wasn't a killer, wouldn't want to have an evil hand!)
3. Isabelle will have to be on immunosuppressants for the rest of her life, to keep her body from rejecting her new face. Now, I know that people who get kidney transplants and such have to do this too, and there is a surprisingly high rejection rate. However, while it would be awful having your new kidney rejected, imagine waking up one morning and having your face rejected! Wouldn't that be awful (this is where we need cloning to make new faces!)
4. Isabelle couldn't smoke, talk and found it difficult to eat while she was missing her face.
5. Doctors have warned her not to smoke again as it could participate a rejection of her new face, but, undaunted, Isabelle has lit up again.
6. Isabelle's new face doesn't resemble either her old face or the donors. She now has fuller lips and a different shaped nose.

Ok, so that is interesting enough in itself but I wouldn't be blogging about her if that was it. Face transplants, while I know they are an amazing medical breakthrough, don't interest me that much. I've been brought up reading about them and seeing them in fiction, so the real thing pales a little in comparison. However, the way Isabelle lost her face really interests me. Allegedly, she took sleeping pills and, while unconscious, her pet Labrador ate her face! Now, while I don't doubt a dog could easily maul away someone's lips, nose and mouth, I don't understand why her pet would do this without provocation. How long was she unconscious? Was the dog starving? Did various searches on the net to see if there was a precedent for this, but didn't find any similar stories apart from starving dogs eating their dead owners (seemed to be a lot of Labradors doing it too - does this mean Labradors are man eaters, or they are just really popular breeds?)

Anyway, face transplants aside, the real story is how she got injured. What made the dog do this to her (if he did it at all?) I can't understand why the media haven't jumped on this. All the news stories mention the dog attack as a throw away line, as if this were normal. It isn't normal. Dogs do these things for a reason. I can't think of any reason why a dog, a pet, would do this to a sleeping woman without provocation. Anyone else think that this is the most interesting part of the story and that there is something very odd about it?

Either way, the poor woman did lose her face somehow and that would be a very traumatic and horrible thing to happen.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

100th Post!

Hurrah! I've reached my 100th blog post. Gosh, they certainly do build up quickly! Anyway, I did have a real reason for this post, not just because it made the 100th. I forget to mention I got Lemony Snicket's final unfortunate event in the series at the weekend. It's release date was Friday 13th so I battled my way into town, dodging school children and Friday traffic (why is it always worse on a Friday?) Anyway, after sitting in traffic for ages and then finally getting parking, the book shop I went to didn't have it! Can you imagine? It is a well known chain of Irish bookshops and they didn't have The End (didn't have The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly either - or, if they did, it was so well hidden I couldn't find it and I didn't feel like queuing at the desk to ask). Dispirited, I returned home. On Saturday, I braved going into town again and went to another chain of Irish bookshops which not only had both books, but they were also both discounted, and as I was paying with birthday gift tokens, it made me feel specially glad.

As for The End. I was disappointed at the title, to begin with. All the other books have clever alliteration in the title like The Bad Beginning or The Hostile Hospital. I was sure the last book would be called The Evil Ending or The Ferocious Finale, so I was disappointed before I had even opened the cover.

As for the book itself, I don't want to give away too much. It didn't end the way I hoped or imagined, so I was disappointed on one level, but on another level it was a satisfactory ending. I thought the story was slow at the beginning and lacked a lot of the charm of the other books but it did pick up near the end. I didn't like the Penultimate Peril very much, I thought Lemony (or Daniel, I should say) was mean to his characters and the Baudileres acted out of character. However, they are back on form in The End.

My only gripe about the last book, apart from the title and not including my hoped for scenarios (which was a ridiculous expectation) is one that, like many series of children's books that have gone before it (Garth Nix's seven towers series springs to mind) while the books are well written, imaginative and have good characters there is no overall plot structure to sustain the series and they just peter out at the end. I still like reading them though!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Super Nanny

Watching Super Nanny at the moment. It is turning into my regular Tuesday night fare. I really admire Jo Frost. Her techniques remind me of dog training, but I think raising children and training dogs are very similar in many ways. It amazes me what some people do to their children. They aren't bad people, but... they lost the plot somewhere along the line. It is fascinating watching.

TV - the bane of my life!

I am still hoping I will get Til the Moon Fails before November 1st. I think Nanowrimo will be a doddle after that if I do! However, if I don't get it finished, I will have to continue writing it in November and it gets priority to my nano novel, so it will affect my chances of winning. I'm sure I can do it all! *hopeful grin*.

Little Miss Sunshine

Went out for dinner last night with Pat and Edwina. Went to the cinema with Edwina afterwards. Saw Little Miss Sunshine. Was one of the most enjoyable films I have seen in a long time. All of the actors were absolutely spot on. Steve Carell rises in my estimation every time I see him. He is a good actor as well as a good comedian. Abigail Breslin justifiably stole the show as Olive, the seven year old contestant in the beauty contest of the title. It is Olive who holds the film together and gives a reason to all the other characters being there as they journey 1000 miles across the U.S from Albequerque to California in an old VW bus. Like a small capsule of life, the film deals with depression, death and disappointment yet avoids any morbidity or sentimentality and is refreshingly funny. The characters are all likeable (even Greg Kinnear's character becomes likeable by the end) and it avoids a lot of the cliches that doom similar fare.

I would definitely recommend this film

On a totally unrelated note, isn't chocolatier a wonderful word? I expect to see men with long curly hair, wearing velvet pantaloons and brandishing chocolate swords.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Feeling insecure

Pottering around the web, doing research, and suddenly it seems to me that everyone else's blog is better and more interesting than mine, and everyone else's life is more vibrant and everyone else's view on things is more pertinent and important and everyone else's profile has been viewed more times than mine. At times like this I want to curl up and die. Maybe I'm not cut out to be a human being, let alone a writer.

I'm just thinking like this coz I'm tired and feeling pretty ill and I've LOTS of work to do!

Also, M*A*S*H (the movie) is on telly and the the song - suicide is painless - is running through my head. I know that I've reached a low ebb when I'm watching M*A*S*H.

Watched Arrested Development this evening. Funniest line from the episode (which was pretty funny, and yes, I use the word pretty ALOT) was Bob Loblaw's Weblog (try saying that fast five times!)

I wasn't good company tonight, feeling really badly, so badly I am thinking of going to see the doctor again tomorrow *shudders*. Valpot gave me great idea for some articles though (fact based writing isn't my strong point at the moment).

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Happy Birthday Mulder

Happy birthday Fox, 46 today. On another note of interest, Chris Carter's birthday is on Friday. As it happens, I know someone who shares his birthday with Mulder and another who shares her birthday with Chris. It made it very easy to remember their birthdates!

Monday, October 09, 2006

The book I am reading at the moment...

Mmm... it's not bad. Imaginative enough, and kind of funny, with identifiable characters. I'm not at all green eyed about it either - really, honest I'm not!

Cat in a box

Look what I got in the post this morning.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The book I am reading at the moment...

Several thousand years old and written by a Greek man, it is still relevant today. I can't wait to read it.

Happy Birthday Sigourney

57 today

Friday, October 06, 2006

Random thoughts

There was a very high tide this morning. It was right up to the side of the road in the Loakers (Blackrock's salt marsh). There were lots of ducks swimming really near the road but, as I was driving, I couldn't really look at them. I would love to have stopped and watched them for a while, try to identify the species (with the aid of my lovely new book of birds that I got for my birthday) but I was already late for a doctor's appointment. I wish I had blown it off and watched the ducks instead, I would have got as much help from them and it would have been much more pleasant. My usual doctor (who is lovely) was away and her locum prodded me and poked me and then said I was healing and he wouldn't do anything for me. I don't go to the doctor easily, so it was annoying to go through all that and not even get some medical help. Ah well, I suppose my ear will heal. Apparently the left ear is connected to family, so maybe I haven't been listening to my family recently and that's why I have an ear infection! Moviextras has a photo shoot and member recruitment tomorrow in Dublin. There have a lot of movies coming up in the next few months, including the movie of PS I Love You and a horror. I'm tempted to go, but my meloncholic temperament tells me it is a waste of time.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

National Novel Writing Month

Check out my new blog - Seven Days in Hell - about my Nanowrimo experiences. It won't have much to say until November 1st, but I will up date it every day with my word count, progress, regress, highs and lows while I struggle to write a complete, 50K word novel. I'll have some competition too (Mungo and Valerie for two), so I'll keep you updated on their progress too.

Nanowrimo and annoyances

Til the Moon Fails has been languishing this week. I want to write, but I'm just not able to get it together. On the plus side, I've started scribbling some notes for my Nanowrimo novel this year - working title, 7 days in hell. I have the plot more or less worked out, just have to put it into bullet points, write out the personalities of the three main characters in more detail (the heroines are twins, one a sanguine meloncholic and the other a meloncholic sanguine!) and then I am ready to go. Have to finish Til the Moon Fails first though.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Set backs and start ups

I've been sick in bed for the last week or so, crippled with a bad upper respiratory infection (ear ache, cough, etc) and I haven't been able to do any writing (the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak). That means I am about two weeks behind schedule. I'll try and catch up, but I'm not 100 % yet, so my plans will have to be changed again. I guess I'll take October to finish Til the Moon Fails. Still, if I get it finished this month, it will have only taken me three months to write, compared to 10 months on In Search of the Moon. Not bad.

The National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) website opens this week for registration. I toyed with the idea of being Municipal liaison for my area this year. I even considered doing up snazzy posters and going on local radio, but when I learned I would have to moderate a forum and encourage people online I thought it would involve too much precious time and decided against doing it. I will be doing the challenge though - 50,000 words in 30 days. A doddle! I'm writing a zombie horror, so that is what I'll be plunging straight into after I finish Til the Moon Fails. Lots of flesh eating and gore - great! Check out NaNoWriMo's site (link on left) and sign up.

The book I am reading at the moment...

I finally finished Dhampir! Whew! That was hard to read. Grew up hearing all about Gobbolino, but never read it because our copy was either stolen or fell to pieces - or both! It is a sweet, simple story, cleverly written. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it as a child, but it is still an enjoyable read.