Sunday, 23 April 2017

World book day


(okay, so it's the 24th here, but maybe where you are it might still be the 23rd?)

This year, the 23rd of April is... *fanfare* World Book Day!

(At least, in the USA. In England - where it started - it was March 2nd this year. In Australia, it is the 23rd of April - according to Google - but I'd never heard of it before; possibly because we have Book Week in August, possibly because the 25th is Anzac Day and that's a solemn event for Australians.)

There's no particular reason for this post. Except I wanted to wish all you writers a happy World Book Day! Celebrate your creations and the importance of what you're doing!


You may continue.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Second Camp update

I meant to do an update on how Camp's been going approximately every week - but I forgot. (What a surprise.) So here's an update on the middle two weeks of April.

I've spent a lot of time with family (we've had school holidays and a few public holidays here), which is, of course, good. (Except for my word count, but hey, it can wait.)

I've read nine books, thick ones, including my first Neal Shusterman novel - Scythe. Five stars. Enjoyed it a lot. I'm going to look for more of his books - once I've finished Camp, of course...

That's about all, I think? Oh, I've watched a heap more Studio C videos, too. And got my family addicted to them.

There's nothing else I'm forgetting to mention, is there?

Oh. Riiight. Word count? My Camp novel?? No one wants to hear about them, right?  


I would be the first to admit that I am a slow writer. Things like Write or Die, or anything that gives me a rate of words per minute, they just don't work for me. (I spend my whole time watching the numbers go down, or typing random letters and erasing them to stop myself 'dying'.) I never did very well with sprints and word wars either.

But then I found... *drumroll* myWriteClub!

Something about the progress bars - that count to sets of 100, not your goal - really motivates me. Also I can see other people's progress bars (in the global sprint) and while sometimes they write way faster then me - a fact I've suspected for some time - sometimes they type slow, erase a heap, or flick between 307 and 308 words for half a minute. And I love being able to change my status to encourage other writers, or to exchange a few words with them, or congratulate them for reaching the goal they stated in their status.

I used to write about 600 words on a good day, 1000 on a quiet day with no distractions. On myWriteClub, I've written several days (some quite interrupted) of 1200-1500 words.

(I sound like a bad commercial, don't I?! I promise I am in no way being paid to say this... ;P )

But with the end of April now in sight, I'm hoping to use myWriteClub to get 1k+ every day. Which would be a great achievement for me... and something I need if I'm to catch up to my goal.

How is your Camp going? Did you pack enough mostypo repellent? (okay, that was bad. sorry.) No attacks by rabid plot bunnies, I hope? Are your characters behaving, or have they rebelled and taken over running of the story? I'd love to hear all about it!

Monday, 17 April 2017

Twelve legions of angels

So this is a little late for Easter, but I was reading Matthew's account of the betrayal and arrest of Jesus. And I got to Matthew 26:53, when Jesus says, in response to Peter pulling out a sword to defend Him, "Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?" 

Various sources place Roman legions in this era at 5,200-6000 men. Twelve legions, then, would be close to 72,000 - and these are angels, not men. If we check the Bible (Old and New Testaments), one or two angels were enough to make people tremble in fear and awe (thinking of Daniel's visions, I reckon angels must be terrifying in their full presence.)

And then I imagined heaven, and thousands upon thousands of angels kneeling before the throne, saying, "Lord God Almighty, send me."

They couldn't see the future; only God can. I don't know if they were aware of God's full plan. But if they didn't know -

Thousands upon thousands of angels saying, "Send me.
Thousands upon thousands of angels burning in indignation as their Prince silently endures the shame of multitudes even though He's the Son of God and Messiah of these people.
Thousands upon thousands of angel hearts breaking at His unjust and cruel, cruel death.
Thousands upon thousands of angels worshiping God as they realise His plan and His wisdom.
Thousands upon thousands of angels adoring Christ their Prince when He returns to glory triumphant over death.

I don't know. This likely isn't how it happened. We aren't told a great deal about angels, and they might well be able to see God's plan a bit better than us - and God did foretell Jesus' death in the Scriptures, and Jesus did say that He had to die, so maybe they would have understood. But my storyteller heart seized the thought of all those angels, up in heaven, hearts breaking because Jesus wouldn't call them and they couldn't. see. why.

I don't know?

and I tried to write this in a story but I couldn't because I didn't want to put words in God's mouth
and I'm only tiny and struggling and I can't see very far
and God is so huge and amazing I can't even comprehend how much
and I couldn't write a story about God

A few randomish facts that might spark a worldbuilding idea

I like to collect random facts and annoy my family with them. 

Me: Mum, did you know that in 1879 a city in Belgium [Liège, to be exact] trained 37 cats to deliver mail to surrounding villages?
Mum: They did not. 
Me: They did! 
Mum: Cats? They trained cats? 
Me: ...
Me: Well they commissioned 37 cats. 
Me: It didn't work. 
Me: You already guessed that, didn't you. Because cats.

But some of the facts I've found could be useful for worldbuilding or various happenings in your stories, so I thought I'd share a few. 
(These have all been collected from '1339 QI Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop'. Interesting book - but crude in spots. Read at your own risk.)

‘Journey’ is from French journée and once meant the distance one could walk in a day.
In Tibet, distances were traditionally measured by the number of cups of tea needed for each journey.
All the mountains on Saturn’s moon Titan are named after peaks in The Lord of the Rings.
Thailand has a special language used exclusively for talking to the king.
In the USA, ransom payments to kidnappers are tax-deductable. 
No more than two flies are allowed by law in any public toilet in China.
Public applause is banned in Belarus.
The Andorran army is made up of ten soldiers. 
 In Kennesaw, Georgia, gun ownership is required by law.
Entrance to the Tower of London used to be free if you brought a dog or cat to feed to the lions.
The Kattenstoet was a medieval festival in Belgium in which cats were thrown from the town’s belfry.
Villages in County Durham include Pity Me and No Place. 
Portsmouth has a locksmith called ‘Surelock Homes’.
The British Standards Institution has a 5,000 word report on the correct way to make a cup of tea.
Only 22 of the world’s 193 countries have never been invaded by the British.
In WW1, it was patriotic in the UK to kick dachshunds. 
There are 300 lakes beneath Antarctica that are kept from freezing by the warmth of the Earth’s core.
The ancient city of Alexandria was built in such a way that the sun shone down the main street on Alexander the Great’s birthday.
Henry VIII put a tax on beards in 1535 (his own was exempt).
King David I of Scotland gave tax rebates to subjects with good table manners.
Queen Victoria could eat a seven-course meal in under half an hour.
The Queen does the washing-up once a year, in a special hut at Balmoral.
King John I of France was proclaimed king five months before he was born and lived for five days.  
Human bone is four times stronger than concrete.
After a double hand transplant, right-handed patients can become left-handed.
A human being can survive for nine seconds at 1000˚C without suffering lasting damage.
Since 1940, 157 people have fallen from planes without parachutes and survived.
Having a younger brother or sister can increase your blood pressure by more than 5%.

In the 1720s, the Gloucester Journal apologised for ‘the present scarcity of news’ and offered a selection of poems instead.
The oldest dance still performed is the Austrian shoe-slapping dance.
In the 19th century, a 5-foot 6-inch footman cost £20/year; a full six-footer cost £40/year.
For 214 years, until 2012, it was illegal in Paris for women to wear trousers. 
The guillotine was last used in France in 1977.

François le Clerc is the only known pirate to have had a peg-leg.
Only one pirate is known to have buried any treasure.
There is only one recorded case of ‘walking the plank’.
There is no historical evidence for any pirate having ever owned a pet parrot.
The ingredient that makes Brussels sprouts bitter is cyanide.
15 apricot kernels contain enough cyanide to kill a child. 
A medium-sized tube of toothpaste contains enough chemicals to kill 13 dogs.  
You only need to be one metre underwater to be protected from bullets.
A flu virus can only survive on most surfaces for 48 hours, but can live on a banknote for 17 days.
Moths can be trained to detect plastic explosives. 
Diamonds boil at 4,027˚C.
In a 2004 experiment, 70% of Britons handed over their computer passwords in exchange for chocolate.
Latin and Gaelic have no words for ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
The Irish language has one set of numbers for arithmetic, one for counting humans and one for counting non-humans. 
The Andamanese language has only two words for numbers: them mean ‘one’ and ‘more than one’.  
Korean has no words for ‘brother’ or ‘sister’, only words for an older/younger brother/sister. 
The Amondawa people of the Amazon have no word for ‘time’.
The Mayan calendar had five days per year that were known as ‘days with no name’.
The world’s oldest legal system, in ancient Mesopotamia, established beer as a unit of currency.

I hope you enjoyed these, and found some intriguing, even if none of them end up being used in your writing! 

What's your favourite random fact - do you have one to share? Or what's your favourite worldbuilding feature of your story world?

Saturday, 8 April 2017

First Camp update

Apparently I promised to give updates on my Camp progress?! *bangs head on desk*

Day 1: Saturday  is 'cleaning day'. Did not get started writing until 11am or so. Total: 600.

Day 2: Took advantage of my family's Sunday afternoon 'nap time' tradition to pump out a decent (for me) amount. Total: 1000.

Day 3: There were a heap of jobs to be done around the house. And cooking tea took most of the time I usually spend writing. Or something. I'm sure I have an excuse. Total: 100.

Day 4: I was working out in the paddock. All day. Total: 600.

Day 5: Had to drive someone into town; spent all day at the library. Total: 100.

Day 6: At library all day (including a preparation session for the local comic-con). Total: 500.

Day 7: At library all day (more preparation). Total: 200.

Day 8: Volunteered all day at the library's comic-con. (At the door, with a 'clicker', counting people walking in...) Total: ahhh... so far? None.

Grand total? 3100 (+today's)
What I should be on? 4000.


How's your word count going? (Not you, Evo. I know you're past half-way. What are your secrets?? Apart from sitting down and actually writing which I should probably try???) Have you ever been to a comic-con? (like a proper one... with actual famous people and stuff... we didn't have famous people) Do you have any tips about writing routines or tricks to boost word count? (basically I want to know how to do the 'butt in chair pen on page' thing...) (the NaNo dares forum can be good? But my new favourite is the 'NaNo ate my soul' category where people talk about arguing  with their characters - proper on-the-page arguments; and forgetting to get rid of a dead body in a car, or a sleeping-over friend, for chapters; and 'at-this-rate-you-will-finish-on' dates.)

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

April = Camp NaNo

Hi all!

 As 91.3% of you know, April is one of two months in which we have Camp NaNoWriMo!
Me writing. Note the crazed expression in the eyes.
This means that I - despite having a measly 15k goal (measly compared to some of you) - will not be posting very often. I'll try to write catch-ups once a week[ish] to say what I'm up to with my word count *hyperventilating here* and to cheer you all on.

Because you are all winners just for trying this crazy event and your stories will be awesome. And you have to write them so I can read them. *sends plot ninjas* *and a plot dragon* *for those times when a plot ninja isn't enough* *please don't send the dragon back* *she's been eating my shoes* *and my word count*

(And here's as good a spot as any to shout out to my Cabin - I'm the stranger in the group but they've been amazingly welcoming! Especially since I'm in a completely different time zone and that messes up the chat a bit. ;) Plus, sometimes they read my blog! - thanks, guys :D If anyone has Facebook, check out Order of the Pen - I don't have Facebook but this makes me wish I did.)

(Also, how do you like the newish look of my blog? I stayed up very late messing with the coding. I think I'm mostly happy with its appearance now, but does anyone have any suggestions? Do you edit your code yourself?)