commonpeople1: (Avatar)
One Direction by hmv_getcloser
One Direction, a photo by hmv_getcloser on Flickr.
In honour of the approaching NaNoWriMo, I'm going to start writing one hour a day. I don't mean necessarily write for one hour, but have that time and space dedicated to it. I may just stare at a screen or a paper journal for 60mins.

What I want is routine. I already have one with exercise, and even with my little cafe excursions on Monday mornings before work, so why can't I have an hour a day for writing? And for days when I absolutely can't get an hour to myself, I could add it to the weekend so - say - on a Sunday when I'm at home, I can write for three hours and catch up on the hours I owe (though that sounds like a cop out already, doesn't it?)

So I'm here, sitting in the living room listening to Jarvis Cocker's show on BBC Radio 6 (<3), the wind rattling the windows (bring it on Super Storm of the Decade About to Hit Britain), only a few minutes gone by in my allocated hour.

Can I write on LJ during my allocated hour? Yes I can. Can I write on Twitter or Facebook? No, I can't - those networks don't count.

I wish we had a cat. It would nestle against me when I was focused, then sprint away when I tried to pet it.

My mouth tastes faintly of chai tea. And a little bit of the cheese and onion Ruffle crisps I had for lunch with a salmon and cream cheese bagel, on a bench in Victoria Park.

I went to the gym first thing this morning - it's always empty on Sundays, which I love. I took a bath in the afternoon, with a candle for company (a scented one that one of the Sissies gave me for my birthday.) I listened to songs from my iPhone while I soaked - 100 randomly selected songs from my iTunes.

I have a brasilian friend in town who I met for drinks and a play at Soho Theatre last night. (A very good feminist play that was a hit at the Edinburgh Fringe - highly recommend you see it you have a chance: Bryony Kimmings: Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model.) We were meant to go to Columbia Road's flower market today... I'm still waiting for their phone call.

Last Tuesday my boyfriend and I marked 15 years together. Fifteen years ago we went on a date in Montreal, to see Bride of Chucky. I gave him David Sedaris' latest book, which I bought at Gay's the Word (one of London's best bookshops). He gave me a collection of short stories written by bloggers, edited by Dennis Cooper.

He's now in his cupboard office, going through his bills. We just watched the final episode of The Killing III. I'd been under the impression that it was the last series ever, but the ending has left a door open and a return more than likely. This makes me happy even though the Scandinavia portrayed in the series is as bleak as fuck.

A few weeks ago I toyed with the idea of doing a fanfiction NaNoWriMo - a thriller based on One Direction. Here's my pitch: girls from all over the world adore the boys and want to meet them at all costs. But little do they know that... One Direction have a bloodlust for their fans! They enjoy hunting and killing them for sport. (There's some subplot about One Directioners disappearing and a cop who wears ugly knitted sweaters investigating these cases.) The opening scene is a One Direction bus pulling out of the stadium, with blacked windows - girls screaming their heads off around it and begging the boys to come out. Little do they know that inside its soundproof walls, Harry Styles is wielding a chainsaw and advancing on a terrified Directioner... and so on. My heroine in this fanfiction comes from Nottingham and survives a night in One Direction's hotel after her friend is killed. She turns into prey as the band hunt for her, even going so far to track down her family's home (they announce to the world that they are bringing their arena tour to - surprise surprise - Nottingham!)

I may have Moussaka for dinner tonight. I bought some at M&S during the week and put it in the freezer. Oh, I forgot to mention: we didn't have Pancake Saturday yesterday! I don't know if the boyfriend has been reading my journal but it suddenly became French Toast Saturday and I was in charge. (I make some mean french toasts I'll have you know.) I'm determined to have Pancake Saturday return next weekend.
commonpeople1: (Steven Lubin)

Morning, London
Originally uploaded by dan mogford
I've been waking up nearly every day at 6.30am to do my NaNoWriMo. London is dark but from my kitchen window I can see a pink glow in the eastern horizon and light reflecting off the skyscrappers in Canary Wharf. Steam escapes from their flashing top - nearly all their windows brighly lit - and I wonder if there are Polish cleaners finishing a shift just before the suits arrive. The towers look in pain from the cold.

It's warm in our flat despite the heaters being off (we live far up so everyone else's heat rises towards us). I brew some coffee after a shower and eat toast while sitting by the window. A colony of seagulls circles the same stretch of land in Bethnal Green each day. The Gherkin looks dark while the rest of the city awakes. I turn on BBC Radio 3 and there's always some perky classical composition. I try to concentrate on the blank page and get the pen going. I shake my head in annoyance if the radio starts playing an organ piece (sign of a bad day to come.) I leave the computer turned off because computers are the writer's modern curse.

Everything in my life feeds into NaNoWriMo. The latin names of plants I'm learning for my horticulture course, songs from the 80s, a film I saw two days ago on Israel's war with Lebanon, and even dreams. When I'm finished at the end of this month, I'll read through my notes from back to front and type out only the passages or sentences I like. These will be the starting points of scenes and chapters of a second draft, which hopefully will be more coherent and well written.

I wonder if my stories would be less melancholy if I was doing NaNoWriMo in Brasil, where summer has already arrived.
commonpeople1: (Cabbie)

Originally uploaded by shotbygrant
[ profile] wink_martindale and I sat beside Carole from Big Brother 8 this weekend. She was with a friend at the same coffee shop as us and she sang along to one of the songs on the radio at one point. I bet most of you don't remenber that particular Big Brother: it was the one where the housemates were initially all-female and then slowly men were introduced in the next couple of weeks. It was ferocious.

We had gone to the coffee shop to do our NaNoWriMo and I thankfully ended up breaking through my problem of not knowing what my story was about. I've now got a direction and I'm excited about my characters. I followed Natalie Goldberg and Ian McEwan's method of writing: jot down anything and everything - even if it means pages and pages of random narrative - until something clicks. It really does work.

Last night, we got home in time to see the fireworks in Victoria Park. As my landlady/friend correctly pointed out, it was probably the last one the park would have (thanks to the government's cuts.) The theme was the death of dozens of people at Bethnal Green tube station during the Second World War - where many had panicked after hearing sirens and rushed down the stairs, causing a crush that killed 176 people on 3 March 1943.

Just before the fireworks began, Wink told me that Bethnal Green was supposedly the most haunted station in London, with a very high amount of ghost sightings. Suddenly, in the park's darkness, sirens began to roar and lights pointed up at the sky. Tower Hamlets' logo at centre stage exploded on fire and two voices began to sing: "London Town is on Fire, London Town is on Fire..." It was very haunting and macabre. The fireworks were accompanied by popular hits from the 1940s. The memory of those who lived and died during the Great War was never far away.

commonpeople1: (Spring Break)
I travelled this morning on a 45 degree angle, somebody's butt clinched against mine, my crotch in the face of a startled guy. The Central line ride ended at Marble Arch and I decided to take my chances above ground. What a gorgeous day to cut through Hyde Park! Felt like spring; I took long deep breaths as I crossed that large field on the east side, the sun in my face, enjoying the sense of space and freedom.

Yesterday eve was my first horticulture class at Regent's Park. A class of thirty people, most already working in the business and older than me. A few true English eccentrics. By the end of these 18 months I'll be able to name most common plants by their latin name, prune them at the right time of the year, grow and propagate to my heart's content. I wonder if in the near future I can have a part-time job in the arts and a part-time job in horticulture. Would be ideal.

It's going to be a bitch getting home tonight. I might just sit in some cafe and do NaNoWriMo until the crowds have dispersed.
commonpeople1: (Elvis)
Save LJ Month has come to an end. Livejournal should give [ profile] neenaw a one year free paid account since I got plenty of people Googling "Save LJ Month" and landing on my pages. Shows that it has had some impact. I can foresee this turning into a "thing" we do every October (like the generalised moaning that happens in February) until we are all in our retirement homes, still fretting about the need to Save LJ.

I'm glad I did it as it worked as a sort of warm up to NaNoWriMo, starting tomorrow. Yup, I'm going to try NaNo again - this time doing it entirely on a notebook (easier to carry around and sit in cafes if procrastination inspiration requires.) I have no clue what it will be about, but that doesn't matter. For me, NaNoWriMo is about testing myself as a writer - learning my routines, what works best for me, how my brain works, etc. I always learn something new each year, and I think of previous NaNo years with fondness.

Yesterday I went to the community garden and planted some garlic. They were happy to hear I was accepted to a horticulture course at Regent's Park.  It will last 18 months and will be on the science of plant growth and propagation. I lost four weeks of the course because I was on the waiting list (until Tuesday, when someone pulled out due to illness). I have a lot of studying and catching up to do this afternoon.

My favourite performances last night: Rebecca, Katie and Cher. My least faves: One Direction, Matt and Belle Amie. I get the dreaded feeling that Tesco Mary is going to win the show.
commonpeople1: (Clarice)
My novel for this year's National Novel Writing Month is called Jason Voorhees Is Dead. I wrote just under 20.000 words before I had to give up due to repetitive strain injury (an ongoing problem since then.) However, Jason is not dead. I plan on taking up with him again sometime in the holidays, when my fingers are relax'a'licking good.

By the way, next time you slag off Jason because he's ugly or he killed scores of horny youngsters, just remember that he was a victim first of all. Of bullying, of his wacky mom. Have some compassion.

Some weekends ago, at Warp Records 20th Anniversary, I was sitting in The Coronet's bleachers resting my feet when my friend Natallica asked if I had a mild form of OCD. Yes, I replied. I think I do. Because when iTunes' Genius and Amazon's Recommendations tell me to listen to something, I make a Spotify playlist out of it. Because what's random to others is synchronicity to me. Because, like I said, I haven't given up on Jason yet and will make those 50.000 words squeal by the finishing line.

A mild, mild form of OCD.

I've been posting my NaNoWriMo ramblings over at Succès de scandale because Wordpress has this neat system that tells you what people type in Google to find you. From those searches I create new posts - a type of spiral that feeds back into Google and pulls closer ever more people interested in those topics.

I also have Google Alerts for anything to do with succès de scandale. Over a week ago, a story came up about the American artist Ed Kienholz and how an exhibition of his in the 60s was particularly scandalous. I was suffering from insomnia that night so I took the opportunity to write a short piece about it. As I was finishing, my brasilian friend B woke up and found me in the living room. The piece wasn't discussed between us.

Later in the day, when I got back from work, I found B sitting in our living room checking his e-mail. He was coming down from a LSD trip. He told me he'd been downtown and visited the National Gallery, but an art piece by Ed Kienholz freaked him out so much that he had to find refuge with Van Gogh's Sunflowers. Do you see the beauty in this synchronicity? Now, I have to of course visit the National Gallery and see this piece before it leaves. I'm hoping that new doors will open from the visit.
commonpeople1: (Default)
I may have to quit NaNoWriMo this year... because of tendonitis.

I'm going to rest for a few days and see how it goes. If my hands improve, I'll continue even though I won't make the 50.000 finishing line.
commonpeople1: (Cormac)
A group of people stranded on an island - check. Mysterious going ons - check. Dark events in the past - check. Love quadrangles and sexy meaningful looks - check. Bad dialogue - check. A goth couple - check. A cute dog - check. About a gazillion episodes ahead of you before the truth comes out - check. If the producers of Harper's Island wanted a worthy successor to Lost they could have done much worse.

Harper's Island is a cross between The Bold and the Beautiful on a high budget with Agatha Christie's bloodiest plot lines and Sweet Valley High's characters. It's 90210 if you could enjoy a character getting murdered each episode. It's Jason Voorhees visiting Dawson's Creek. It's pretty bad but oh so addictive by episode 2. Like [ profile] naturalbornkaos, I recommend you just watch it without investigating places like IMDB, otherwise you are likely to bump into spoilers.

Nothing like some sexy young people getting their heads chopped off to get you through winter!

This weekend, Kevin and I just chilled out at home and did my favourite thing in the world: nothing! Some books were read, some NaNoWriMo was written, some coffee was drunk and some trash reality TV was watched. Yesterday, we briefly walked around Victoria Park and I recorded my first two videos EVER on my brother's ancient hand-me-down digital camera. The first video is an experimental and heartbreaking portrayal of Kevin walking as a jogger goes past; the second video is a terrifying and gut-wrenching expose of seagulls going nuts over breadcrumbs.

Now I better stop procrastinating here and go kick some NaNoWriMo butt.
commonpeople1: (Tess)

Shiny shiny, sha-na-na-nah!

commonpeople1: (Patrick)
After years and years of participating in NaNoWriMo[1] it looks like I'm finally on the homerun and ready to succeed in it!

Reasons why I think this year was easy:

1) I had no plan (i.e. I wasn't precious about what I was writing.)
2) I didnt' worry about coherence. I picked a random photo from Flickr each day and used that as inspiration. Slowly, reoccuring characters appeared and something David Lynchesque took form. No coherence though. No quality either. But, hey, it's just a rough draft.
3) I'm not reading back. I keep going forward, automatic writing. Keeping myself as close as possible to 1667 words a day. Not worrying about someone's blue eyes in one chapter suddenly going brown in the next.

Last night, [ profile] sushidog came over for dinner and X Factor. I baked some spinach and feta burek, served alongside a simple salad with tomatoes. Sushidog provided the white wine and the delicious cookies for dessert.

Everytime I watch the X Factor I feel like playing videogames. It's because of the way each contestant is introduced: they stand at the end of a dark tunnel, badass face expression, while Tom Baker announces their name as if they are about to enter Mad Max's Thunderdome. We came up yesterday with the perfect X Factor videogame, which, if it existed, would surely sell hundreds of thousands of copies this Christmas and cause more demand and despair than the Wii a few years ago.

You choose which contestant you want to play. You then have to fight your way through different scenarios (Louis' mansion in Ireland, Cheryl's footballer palace, Dannii's Australian outback, etc) and defeat a boss at the end of each stage. It goes without saying that Simon is the final boss and it will take a lot of button pressing and power upping to kill him. However, if you manage to find Sinitta along the way, you can grab her by the legs and hit Simon on the head (she squeals "So Macho" with every strike) until he collapses. Contestants come with unique abilities and weaknessess. Rachel Hylton, for example, knows some great fighting skills from her time in jail, but has low charm skills and would struggle in the stage where you have to defeat Brian Friedman, the choreographer, in the Dance Studio. If you really want to power up with a Mega Scream that will knock out lots of baddies on rollerblades, as you are also dodging Dermot O'Leary and his Microphone of Doom, you are better off using Laura White or Ruth Lorenzo. If you want to play with your friends, you can all be JLS and kick butt just like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

There are lots of stages to unlock (what Sushidog calls "the Easter Egg levels"), including one with Sharon Osbourne (and if you are REALLy good, you just might find Ozzy in there somewhere too.) Does anyone know people in the videogames industry?

[1] This abbreviation really annoys me now. I use it, but with gritted teeth.
commonpeople1: (Daily Mail Bookclub)
[Poll #1272796]
I've been thinking about my efforts in previous years - how I never managed to finish the damn novels, but also of how I always took them slightly too seriously ("once I'm finished, I'll re-edit this, and then I'll get published and make millions just like J.K. Rowlings.") This year I've decided to take the exercise completely lightly and just write pure nonsense for my own amusement.

I'm thinking of a mesh up between Dallas/Dynasty/Horrible People and the goth scene in London. Bitches. Studs. Fight for Power. Social Climbers. Back Stabbers. Drug Abuse. Drama. Punch Ups. Money. Love. Alliances. Betrayals. Marriages. Illegitimate Children. And, of course, a whole lot of BLACK! And I.T. support.

Although I'm a goth admirer, I know very little about the make up, the corsets, the footwear, the scene, etc.
[Poll #1272797]
commonpeople1: (Default)
I'm temping for the next two weeks near Waterloo. At lunch time, I steal a notepad and a pen from work and decide to find a cafe for some NaNoWriMo work. There's a Portuguese cafe near the station, Cafe Madiera, which has some decently-priced sandwiches. I order my lunch at the counter and ask if there are any free seats upstairs. The guy says there are so I climb the stairs, feeling like I'm going to bump into someone from work. I scan the tables and spot, instead, [ profile] dj_alexander!

We have a quick chat because he's at the end of his lunch break. I'm sure we'll meet again at lunch time and have a proper bitch session chat. I bet he's got a lot to say about the Dev's "new direction". ;-)
commonpeople1: (Nerdy)
A big thank you to everyone who supplied me with a random sentence here. I've used every single sentence you provided and I'm now on my way to completing my first evah novel! Woohoo! You provided me with characters, scenarios and a whole lot of inspiration to get me through the last 22 days.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
30,505 / 50,000

I think the secret is to reach 25,000. Once you are at that point, your story has enough subplots and character development to take you to the end. Or at least that's how it feels to me. Things are clearer in my head; I'm very close to ending Act II and getting started with Act III (which promises to be a fun roller coaster ride). I finally don't see writing every day as a chore, but as another step towards a satisfying end. I'm 5,000 words behind in the word count; it looks unlikely I'll hit 50,000 by 30 November. But that's OK; I've got enough interest now in my own story to keep going.

I hope other NaNo participants reading this are doing well too. My novel is provisionally titled The Hydriade (would you buy a horror novel with that name?) What's your novel called?
commonpeople1: (Nerdy)

NaNoWriMo started yesterday but I can't get my imagination to comply. I need your assistance in getting my muse on the rollerdisco floor. So...

1) Please choose a work of fiction sitting near you.
2) Randomly select a sentence (not a paragraph; just a sentence).
3) Stick it in this post's comments section (not forgetting to include the source).

Thank you. This will be a great aid. I'll attempt to use all the sentences in the first few chapters of my novel, and hopefully that will be enough to get things flowing.
commonpeople1: (Log Lady)
The first draft of anything is shit.
- Hemingway

So, is anyone doing NaNoWriMo this year?

I'm torn. I'm all out of faith, this is how I feel: on one hand, I'm cold and lying naked on the floor - I promised myself last year I wouldn't put myself through a month-long sado-masochistic exercise again; on the other hand, I've never been able to complete the challenge - it would be nice if this year I hit 50,000 words in one month. I want to be that man brought to life.

Also, I'm unsure as to whether I should start with no idea in place, or get a plotline ready beforehand.

Here are some story ideas chugging at the back of my mind:

  • A murder is committed in the [ profile] ozbus. One of the 40 passengers did it. But who?

  • The OzBus accidentally hits a time-travelling hotspot and all the passengers (including bus) are sent to Pangea Ultima. It's Planet of the Apes meets Jurassic Park.

  • Every day, in the month of November, I visit a different diner in London and write about the place - the food, the characters, etc. 50,000 words split into 30 chapters. How hard can that be? (apart from hauling ass each day to a different location?)

  • The choose-your-own-adventure idea which I came up with last year but never followed through.

  • A horrific creature stalks London's canals, living off the innocent flesh that happens to walk (or cycle) by at night. It's up to a gang of hoodies to stop the monster (I wanted originally to make a short-film out of this, but maybe it deserves the NaNoWriMo treatment beforehand.) It helps that I live near canals, so can go for walks in search of inspiration.

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? Commiserations?
commonpeople1: (Jehovah Witness)
Rich celebrities like Paris Hilton get sent to jail for short sentences during the summer. No cameras allowed, not even at their arrival.

Non-entities like these people sign up for a short jail-term during the summer. Excessive amounts of camera allowed.

But which of the two shows does the public actually want to watch? The Simple Life indeed.

Creative writing exercise: Start a blog today and pretend that you are Paris Hilton's cellmate. She arrived in your cell today (well, last night at 11.30pm) and she will be doing time with you, in matching orange jumpsuits, for the next three weeks. Detail your life in prison with her. What kind of conversations do you have late at night when the moon shines through the bars? Is she a snob? Is she interested in getting to know you? Does she have salacious secrets to trade in exchange for protection? What do you do to kill time?

You can treat this exercise as a sort of NaNoWriMo, which ends when Paris Hilton gets released while you stay behind to rot in jail.
commonpeople1: (Default)
Internet is down at home so I can only sneak-a-Livejournal-peak at work. If there's anything I need to know, drop me a line, etc, ad infinitum.

Quick update: I've spent the evenings this week writing my novel (provisionally titled Blank Shots) as part of NaNoWriMo, and uploading it to a blog. I will post a link to it soon, for anyone interested in crappy first drafts. My word count at the moment is just over 13,000 words.

Kevin had a battery of tests and will find out next week what was wrong with him. He's feeling better now, craving chocolate and croissants like he's good ol' self.

I want to see Borat this weekend, or Red Road, The Page Turner, Little Children and The Host. So many choices, so little money.
commonpeople1: (Morrissey)
I spent most of last night working on my NaNoWriMo novel. Major writer's block attacked me as soon as I sat down; in typical Libra fashion, I couldn't decide which idea to follow, which hole to crawl into. In the end, I decided for an exercise involving photos: each daily writing will be inspired by photographs which, in turn, will create linked stories (or perhaps not?) I want something fractured and unstructured -- for the moment -- so that my narrative won't feel, from the beginning, rigidly attached to a plot.

I'm more interested in characters, even if I have no clue what kind of lives they lead in Laval, France.

commonpeople1: (Log Lady)
Good luck to everyone participating in NaNoWriMo, or similar-related events.

If you live in London, you must go see Faust. I saw it yesterday and it's hands down the best play/art project in London at the moment. I'm not even sure you can call it a play since it takes place inside a 5-floor warehouse, with audience members wearing masks, dark corridors barely lit by candles on the floors, a vast number of rooms to explore (many of which I never found), and all kinds of weird and wonderful events which leave you, after nearly 3 hours, wanting to come back for more.

My trip to Hell - contains spoilers )

I must go back. I hear the run is being extended until March and I would like to know who in London wishes to come with me. Good walking/running shoes recommended, as well as stamina to survive 3 hours on your feet.
commonpeople1: (Daily Mail Reader)
I travelled to south London this afternoon, into the heart of Lewisham, to hang out with three girls (co-workers), eat cake, drink tea and talk about NaNoWriMo. I got the three of them hooked on the idea of writing a novel in November, and now they can hardly talk about anything else.

When I arrived, the hostess was spreading whipped cream on the cake and dropping strawberries onto it while the other two sat on the floor reading tarot cards. I picked up a copy of The Seven Basic Plots from the floor then rifled through the french novels neatly arranged on the bookcase.

We gossiped about people at work; laughed at our presumptious plot lines; talked about our favourite novels; and did a little writing exercise I learned from Writing Down the Bones. They laughed when I told them my novel would be a re-working of Kafka's The Trial with a pinch of Heat magazine. Well, either that or the story of a very powerful family that owns a cinema called "The Alabama" and a vineyard in France (a sort of homage to the many Sydney Sheldon novels I read as a kid as well as the TV series Dallas.) I need to make up my mind soon.

April 2017



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