Taking up my pen again in a manner of speaking......

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Taking up my pen again in a manner of speaking......

Postby White Nun » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:22 am

Only if it was that simple (sigh) Waaaaay back in my misspent youth there wasn't such a thing as personal computers and it was a typewriter, pen and paper or nothing. I wrote some very good stories with just pen and paper and my fevered imagination. I liked the direct connection between hand and brain and it took me a long time before I moved on to using a typewriter. It was an ancient back cast iron Imperial at first and then an IBM 'golfball' typewriter which sounded like a machine gun; - I did all my coursework for my Social Work qualifications on that IBM typewriter too and almost the day after I graduated it blew up and never went no more.

In between my busy typewriting a friend suggested I try out his Commodore 64 and I must admit I found it very interesting to use, but then HORROR! I must've touched the wrong key because all my work disappeared :shock:

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That did it, - I never went near another computer for years and nobody could persaude me otherwise. I wasn't going to use some machine that could eat my manuscript in a blink of an eye without leaving a trace. At least with a typewriter nuffing could go wrong and wot was on the page stayed on the page.

So why am I rabbiting on about typewriters and things for? Well the thing is writers tend to get very attached to whatever it is they use to write with.
After the IBM typewriter I got my very first computer, or computers, which were a pile of scrap ex government IBM 8088s which I built up into my very first machine. I've still got it stashed away somewhere; - still goes.
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Moving onto to a fast for its time hybrid XT286 I stuck with that for a while because it could out perform most 386s. Next came a vanilla 486 and then an ultimate for the time DX4-100 486. I did all my work in DOS too, - no Windows for this girl! I built my own machines as well by picking up parts at the various computer geek swap meets around the city.

Then one day I finally went into a mainstream computer store and I asked for a copy of DOS 6.22 because I hadn't been able to find it at the geek meets. The guy behind the counter just stared at me in disbelief for a while then he took me by the hand and showed me a new computer running Windows 98. I was hooked, - I took that computer home with me I did. My very first brand new computer, I got all trembly every time I switched it on like Bonn-o-Tron. I did a fair bit of writing and all my psychology papers on that machine. A Compaq running an AMD300 processor and 32Mb RAM which swiftly got raised to 128MB.
After that I went back to building up my own machines again because I'd also discovered Computer games and off the shelf machines just didn't plain cut it. These days I run two machines in my computer corner; - a Compaq Presario stuffed full of extra RAM, cooling fans and drives with a powerful Gigabyte Video card with 1 Gig VidRAM and upgraded to a 3.0GHz dual core processor; AND an old IBM server case with a P4 board in it running 2.4GHz which is my Linux machine. Server cases are good because they have loads of drive bays and serious level cooling as well as power supplies that could run a small town. It was just unfortunate that the old dual processor server board was slower than a single P4 because it was just soooooooo sexy

But I digress.........


When I started to get the urge to start writing a novel again I immediately dug out my Hewlett Packard 'Joranda' .
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Cutting edge for 1999 it's a really handy little note book and great to use for creative writing. Or it was, - because sometime during its long sleep it had gone bung producing smells of things burning inside and functioning in a seriously erratic fashion when I turned it on like Bonn-o-Tron. I almost wept :(
Fortunately I have a Compaq Armada E500 laptop I built out of 4 other scrap laptops with extra RAM and a 40 Gig hard drive in it that came from an Apple laptop. This runs Linux which it does really well, better than it ran Windows actually.
http://ixbtlabs.com/articles/armadae500/
So this is going to be my 'pen and paper' for the duration. Laptops are good for writers because they can be taken anywhere and used just about anywhere. Despite its age the E500 has a good battery in it too and it can be fitted with up to 3 batteries at the same time which is a major plus coz it gives 9 hrs of playtime.

So what am I writing? I've always written about fantasy type alternative worlds and this is no exception. Does it have a religious theme? - well yes it does, - but it certainly isn't a 'dumbfuck novel'. Triumph of good over evil is the main theme, and the much conflicted central character certainly doesn't seem much like a 'good' person as we might know it.
Title? - I'm going with, 'The Book of Mortal Lies' for the moment.

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Otherwise it will have all the usual stuff, magic, necromancy, un-natural passions, redemption, lost kings, forbidden gods, quests against great odds. No rings, Hobbits or Dark Lords though. Nuffing gets cast into larva pits to destroy it. There will be some monumental hand to hand fighting though; - what else do you expect from someone who has studied the sword arts?

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(This picture fits nicely with the mood of the first chapter)

At the moment I am armpit deep into the first chapter and I may consider publishing it on-line chapter by chapter if I'm happy with what is coming together on the page. I wouldn't bother with going for getting it mainstream hardcopy published though. Been there done that and I can't be bothered anymore with having to edit things down for a word count or wot the market wants. I don't even care that much if nobody reads it because I've always written stories so I could see how they turn out in the end.
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Postby Zahru II » Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:51 am

Sounds great, I am looking forward to it.
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Postby subyrally » Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:40 am

can't wait to see what you come out with.

i know well what you are talking about with the old machines, it gets hard to let go sometimes. sometimes, the old stuff is still better than the new and shiney.
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Postby BFenix » Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:16 am

So, the main character will be some sort of "anti-hero"? I like that. It's funny, not so long ago I was discussing this with Hoboman at Mibbit because I had finished the first book of the Elric of Melnibone Saga by Michael Moorcock and stumbled upon this hero matter.

Curious of what your cooking Nun, keep it up
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Postby Tzan » Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:43 pm

You should get a cheap USB memory stick and copy your file over every day.

Since its an old machine not sure if a new style stick will work. You may need to see what the machine supports and try to find an old one.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB

Or if you have internet access on the note book... wait for it... use Dropbox!!!
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Postby White Nun » Fri Aug 19, 2011 4:16 pm

It's been some years since I read the Elric of Melnibone Saga by Michael Moorcock,. At the time I had a great fondness for his writing and his great skill as a writer. My own Eiolynn of Quilfain (there you go I've told you her name) is a seeker and in many ways a tormented soul with a good dash of the anti-hero about her. However as the tale progresses she will find a redemption of sorts without me being too soppy about it.
The first chapter is going well and all my old fussy writer's skill for detail and proper 'voice' in the manuscript is up and running just like it used to when I would put anything like 4 hours a day into writing along with study and holding down a full-time job. I can't promise when I'll have the first chapter up, but I'll be certainly telling you about it here when it happens.

Thanks for the encouragement guys I do appreciate it.

My E500 laptop is an ex-corporate machine with a 'killed' USB port though I'm going to get myself an adapter to fit the PCMCIA port so I can use memory sticks. In the meantime I can use a floppy disk (remember those) to transfer updates across to my desktop machines. :D

So shoot me I did used to play Oblivion, but Eiolynn of Quilfain does have her beginnings in a player character who carved her way through the main quest in all her awful anti-heroness. I played Oblivion in a very serious Role Play style which is how I started to become fascinated by the character I'd created.
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Edit: I did want to name this tale 'The Book of Lies', but the name is already famously taken. I still haven't finalised the title as yet, but I should get that sorted properly in a day or two.
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Postby White Nun » Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:17 pm

The title is now 'The Book of Ashes' After murdering a Theasurus all afternoon and getting nowhere I took a different tack on the title. It makes no real difference to the story, but at least it's not connected in any way with Alister Crowley et al.

I did think of using the Book of Dust as the title, - only somebody else is about to drop a bestseller using that title and I don't want to clash. According to Bookfinder.com nobody has claimed 'The Book of Ashes' in print as yet so I'm going ahead with it.
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Postby BFenix » Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:21 pm

Sounds either like a book of summoning or a best seller. Lets stick with the second option shall we? 8)
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Postby Paco » Sat Aug 20, 2011 12:18 am

I think Book of Ashes is a better title. You should try and get this published, if just one copy for yourself.
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Postby White Nun » Sat Aug 20, 2011 7:20 am

Paco the Duck Ninja wrote:I think Book of Ashes is a better title. You should try and get this published, if just one copy for yourself.


Yes I like this title best too and after reworking some of the text of the actual 'Book of Ashes' that's central to the story I'm liking it even better.

Some of the e-publishing services will run off a few hardcopies so they can be given to friends or family, - and of course so you can have a copy yourself.
First I've got to get it written which is just starting to hit home. Last time I did the novel thing it took up more than a year of my life and felt like running an assault course.

The plan is I'll put the chapters up on a blogg as I go along and I'll put the links here. Provided I don't die of embarasment over what my central character gets up to that is. I've dug out some of my early handwritten drafts in which I was starting to explore the whole storyline & etc and I might quote bits of them here from time to time. Some will be deadends I won't use, but overall they've helped me explore Eiolynn as a character. As every author knows (sigh) your characters are nothing more than facets of yourself. I should be worried
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Postby Ross_Varn » Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:49 am

Facets of yourself? Have you been paying attention to yourself telling us about your younger, bikeriding, swordfighting rebel self? Aye... I'm looking forward to this.
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Postby White Nun » Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:38 pm

Ross_Varn wrote:Facets of yourself? Have you been paying attention to yourself telling us about your younger, bikeriding, swordfighting rebel self? Aye... I'm looking forward to this.


I know, with my background I should be worried. :wink:

The first chapter continues to flow from my laptop keyboard really well without too many frowning moments or overuse of the delete key. Essentially it's taking the form where two different characters are reviewing the events over a certain time period from their own point of view. One is in the 'present' moment, the other is looking back as they write in a journal. Each 'voice' 'speaks' in their turn as the events unfold. I'm using the Book of Ashes (or at least the first hundred lines or so of it) as the guide for a descent into the 'underworld'. Not entirely original in a way as the Egyptians et al did exactly the same thing. I don't know how much of the actual 'Book of Ashes' I'll end up writing, but it's a fairly challenging thing to write I can tell you.

I'm about 3/4 the way through the chapter I would say.
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Postby BFenix » Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:33 pm

You know Nun, there is an international writing competition called NaNoWriMo. Olothontor told me about it last year but I didn't had time to put my thoughts into "paper" due to school work. Im really thinking of going for it this year with the sci-fi novel I have stored in my head.

You should take a look: http://www.nanowrimo.org/
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Postby White Nun » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:54 pm

BFenix wrote:You know Nun, there is an international writing competition called NaNoWriMo. Olothontor told me about it last year but I didn't had time to put my thoughts into "paper" due to school work. Im really thinking of going for it this year with the sci-fi novel I have stored in my head.

You should take a look: http://www.nanowrimo.org/


Well I've signed up so from now on I shall be blaming you if it all turns to custard :wink:

Thanks for the link and the info about the competition. If you've got a novel stored in your head then you must certainly let it out and let it run about. Leaving them in your head just makes them fester and they turn into regrets which can make you sour for the rest of your life.
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Postby BFenix » Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:15 pm

White Nun wrote:
BFenix wrote:You know Nun, there is an international writing competition called NaNoWriMo. Olothontor told me about it last year but I didn't had time to put my thoughts into "paper" due to school work. Im really thinking of going for it this year with the sci-fi novel I have stored in my head.

You should take a look: http://www.nanowrimo.org/


Well I've signed up so from now on I shall be blaming you if it all turns to custard :wink:

Thanks for the link and the info about the competition. If you've got a novel stored in your head then you must certainly let it out and let it run about. Leaving them in your head just makes them fester and they turn into regrets which can make you sour for the rest of your life.


Tell me about it... Glad I could help, I think you'll do fine at the competition :wink:
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