Music…and Writing

It’s amazing the power music can have over a person. The ability to conjure up memories, long forgotten ones, repressed ones and, most often, cherished ones. Then there are times when the memory cannot be accessed and deep emotion is called forth instead, so strong and real it’s like it’s happening for the first time.

I’m sure everyone has at one point in their lives been asked the inane question, “If you could choose, would you rather be deaf or blind?” Frankly I’d rather be neither, but there you have it. Now, if being made to answer I would have to say I’d rather lose my sight than my hearing (knock on wood). I suppose many who know me would be surprised by that, after all it is a well known fact that I am never as happy as I am when I have a book to read. But then with today’s technology books can be accessed in so many ways; Braille is of course the age old option, although I’m not sure how much fiction is published in Braille. Then there is the firm favourite, audio books, my current favourite audio book(s) is the Harry Potter series read by Stephen Fry, I actually prefer listening to Fry read them than read myself now (well, except for his Tonks voice, I mean, come on!). But back to the subject at hand, blindness wouldn’t stop my reading. Being deaf on the other hand would mean no more sound; to never again hear the love of your life telling you how much he loves you, never hearing your name called out unexpectedly in the street by an old friend, never again recalling fond memories when hearing a song for the first time in years or making new memories with new songs. Of course there are many ‘never agains’ with being blind too, but none of those seem as important to me.

I was watching a film called August Rush the other day, which tells the story of an 11 year old boy who lives at a boys home outside NYC. He hears music in everything and is convinced music will lead him to his lost parents. The film starts by explaining his parents circumstances and why he’s not with them, and then begins the journey to find them. What I really loved about the film was how fitting the music was, a lot of the themes start out as normal city noise and then it’s all put together, making music the main character of the story and the film. The actually human relationships and plot of the story is forgettable, there are dozens of similar films out there, but as pure entertainment and fluff it’s definitely watchable. But no, it really needs to be watched for the music, using everyday noise as a basis for the soundtrack of our lives, culminating in August’s Rhapsody at the end. So while on the one hand it’s a story about a boy looking for his lost parents, the main story has to be music and how it influences our lives. Did I cry? Well of course, I cry at the drop of a hat remember.

Hmm, well the point of this post was really just to say how much I love music. As always I end up going off topic for a while, but hopefully it all makes sense. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of scores, the Twilight, Torchwood and Doctor Who 1-4 scores being played rather a lot these days. For me it’s the best music to write to, as I think I’ve mentioned before, and I try to download a wide variety of them. In this task my DH helps a lot, he has pretty much all the scores from his xBox games and a few of those songs are ones I’d actually listen to. Then there is the excellent web radio, Radio Rivendell, which plays game and film scores all day long, since we don’t have the internet in our place it is a rare treat for me to listen to, but seriously if you are likewise inclined check it out. It definitely is a firm favourite amongst the NaNoWriMo Fantasy writers, though I find it works just as well when writing Historical fiction.

Talking of fiction, the last few weeks have been filled with sleepless nights, yet again. The Writeroom app on my iPhone is getting a lot of use as story ideas, plots and characters keep invading my brain, and you know that’s great and all. Except I have about 6 stories unfinished that have just stopped, how about I get some inspiration for them, huh? At the moment though I can’t get to most of my files as they are on the mac and in Scrivener, and I don’t have a monitor for it where we are now. I knew using the TV as a monitor was a bad idea, how am I gonna lug around a 32″ flat screen? I’m sure I’ll find a way, where there is a will and all that. Besides I have quite a few handwritten things to type up at the moment, my ‘epic’ Forgotten Enemy springs to mind, epic because it’s now 10 years since I started writing it. I still have 50 pages of handwritten story, the first few chapters actually, waiting to be typed up and the writing is becoming faded so I should get it done sooner rather than later.

Basically, it’s not like I have nothing to do or write. I could even do some house work, let me just hook up the iPod first.

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In Awe of Twilight

I have a confession to make and I can’t write this post until it’s done; I never had any plans of reading Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga. Nothing against Ms. Meyer, I didn’t even know what they were about. My aversion stemmed from the over hyping of the serious, millions of screaming teenage girls etc. I got sucked in by the whole hype thing with Christopher Paolini’s Eragon, and decided there and then, NEVERMORE. I’d love to dedicate a whole post to how much I loath Paolini’s books, but I feel that the least said the better, let’s not add to the hype. So that is my I was unfairly prejudiced against Twilight and I hope all fans can forgive me.

Luckily for me Twilight got made into a film and for that I will be eternally grateful. When I saw the film at Christmas I was struck by the raw emotion of it and of course (as anyone who knows me would have guessed) I was near tears for the majority of it. I decided then that I would read the books, that I HAD TO read the books, however due to various other reading commitments (reading lists for uni, the huge pile of unread books in out living room) I never quite made it out to the shops to get the series. Then came May 2009 and I had mostly finished my writing course, handed in one of my essays for A210 and the pile of unread books was no more, so when I saw Twilight on one of my weekly shopping trips I picked it up to read after the weekend.

One chapter in and I was hooked! I started reading on Sunday and on Wednesday morning I had finished all four books (on Monday after finishing Twilight I went straight to the bookshop and bought the New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn). Inbetween reading I watched the film twice, first on the pirate copy we bought at Christmas, and then the proper copy as I went and bought the special edition because I just had to see the special features. And then of course I bought the soundtrack, which was perfect. So yeah I am now a Twilight fan, and proud of it.

Because the books were labled as YA fiction I did have my doubts, most if it would be insanely and unrealistically angsty as teen fiction tends to be. Well there is angst, no doubt about it, but good angst, the kind you can believe in. The raw emotion I felt in the film is even more evident in the books, and I cried, if possible, even more whilst reading. I was in awe of Stephanie Meyer’s ability to write in 1st person, it’s something I’ve experimented with myself on occasion, but I’ve never quite got it right. This story is perfect for it though, by seeing everything through Bella’s eyes the reader gets more invested in the tale meyer tells. And as Bella is without a doubt the character who changes the most through out the series the reader is given a more complete picture of why Bella changes the way she does and why she makes the decisions she makes. Without  Bella there is no story, without her Edward can just go on with his life as he has for the last 90 years, he won’t miss what he’s never had.

In any case, reading Twilight inspired me to dig out an old story I started about 8 years ago and now i have two pieces for my ECA. Both are the beginning chapters of a novel, the first one, the one I was originally planning on sending in is a Timetravelling-ish story where our heroine jumps from 2009 and right into 1815 and the Battle of Waterloo. It let me combine my love of sci-fi/fantasy and the Regency era and I’m quite please with it, even if the ending is a bit weak. But now of course I have a contender and this is more a urban fantasy/ supernatural drama kind of story. It started out 8 years ago as a Buffy the Vampire Slayer sequal, except there was no one there from Buffy, the similar things ware The Watcher council, slayer lore and Watchers. There isn’t a single vamp in sight, instead we have other things which go ‘bump in the night’. As the story developed and I stopped plagarising Joss Whedon, the Watchers Council became the  Assembly of Elders and consists of humans, ‘good’ demons, witches and other beings (this is still a bit sketchy), the slayer becomes an immortal warrior who can live for ever, but who is not indestructable. So she could easily live for several millenia without aging, but shot her in the head, plunge a knife in her heart she is as dead as the next person.  The watchers are called mentors or companions, and can be human, or not. They live their normal life spans, so are regularly replaced, once a warrior has lived a while and gone through a few mentors these are usually relegated to the post of research assistant because that’s really all the use they are. In any case the story begins with the current warrior, a girl who looks ot be in her 20s, having almost lost a fight. She survives but has completely lost her memory, the beginning of the story is really her quest to get her memory back and identify who her true allies are. It’s changed so much since I started writing it, and I think some more changes are waiting to happen as there are quite a few things I want to change, need to change, but these are more in the later story so the beginning chapters should be fine as they are.

To make things even harder for myself I do have a third story ready for the ECA, a pure Regency story with quite a bit of drama. I am reluctant to send it in though because while I am really happy with 90% of the novel, I am not happy with the beginning and that is the part i would have to submit. Well I still have a few days to decide and polish so at this point everything is possible.

I’m not entirely sure how I went from a post on how much I love Twilight (wanna-be teenie that I am) to talking up my own writing, but oh well. All I wanted to say was THANK YOU Stephenie Meyer for a brilliant books series.

It’s been a while

My beloved blog, I have missed thee so much. Living without Internet is a real pain and not something I’d recommend. However it is a self-inflicted problem as ordering the Internet is something I could do instead of lazying about everyday.
Well enough of the self pity and loathing. This is just a quick update to say Hola, and to confirm that I am still among the living and enjoying Abu Dhabi and UAE VERY much.
The weather is great, quite cool at the moment, but summer is fast approaching. Apparently once we hit June leaving the air-conditioned comforts of your house is not an option, so we’ll have to enjoy it while it lasts.
Well that’s all for now, busy getting A210 stuff in order not to mention A215 so have enough to do but once internet is install I’ll be back with a vengence.

The Waiting Game

It’s been a month now since I last saw my hubbie, and at the moment I’m eagerly waiting for my visa to come through so I can join him in Abu Dhabi. How ridiculous is it to be married for 5 days before your brand new husband leaves the country? I’m just really fed up with it now.
At least my writing course keeps me busy, I’m really enjoying it despite the near disaster of not being able to submit the first eTMA. Luckily my tutor was very helpful, and I was able to submit it a few days later instead, crisis averted. I just hope it was worth reading, I’m so nervous about getting it back, what if I don’t have what it takes to be a writer? Apparently it’s due back on Friday, until then I will have to continue my fretting and sleepless nights. I have this heavy lump in my chest thinking she is going to hate it.
In other news Nanowrimo is going really well, yesterday I hit the 50,000 mark which means I’m more than half way to my target of 100,000 nifty spiffing words 😉 I love writing this story, it’s like 3 years of thinking coming together making it all fit nicely with each other.
Tomorrow is the last day of the working week in Abu Dhabi so if I have no visa news then it will be Sunday at the earliest that I will know. Fingers crossed everyone

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Almost ready to start

Well I have my course materials, I can get in to the course forums and I’ve been allocated a tutor and tutorials. All that is missing is the tutor group forums and Divine inspiration, although I’ll be happy to just get the first one
After getting my TMA08 score today I can put A103 behind me (I don’t really fear that i got less than 30% on 09, so nothing more to worry about), THANK THE HIGHER BEINGS, is all I can say. It will definitely NOT go down in the history books as my favorite OU course (hmm what am I unwittingly saying there?) TMA08 earned me a respectable 79%, which with 600 words missing I can’t be unhappy about.

I’ve had a little look in the BRB (Big Red Book), done a few clusters and freewrites. I definitely prefer the freewrites, I get a much better mind flow when doing them, with the clusters I struggle and it is very forced. Saying that though I don’t think my freewrites are very free, I can’t seem to just from word association to word association but stick with one theme. Hopefully the tutor won’t mind too much, I guess that is one of the things I’ll have to ask about once the tutor group gets going

The End Is Where We Start From

Said by the ever wonderful Captain Jack Harkness of course and also the title of Shem’s new story which you can read at HG, remember you have to sign up to read stories there, but then the JA FanFic posted there is among the best there is.
But more of that later, the end I’m starting from is the end of A103. It’s been a long way coming, and I am so relieved to have it all done. Now I can consentrate on the creative writing which I’ve been harping on about for a while (oh had y9ou not noticed, sorry must aim to do more harping).
I bought the material for the course a while ago on eBay, and have looked at the different parts, but nothing in-dept. We haven’t got our materials yet, some problem at the printers or something, but I had access to the PDFs for a while so have had a look at the TMA etc, and they don’t look too intimidating 🙂
Being a bit bored today I thought I’d post my old HG drabbles, as not everyone will want to sign up there to read them.
Enjoy

Apologies for the layout…

For anyone who has been on the blog in the last few days, you have my sincere apologies for the messiness. I have been experimenting with the template and it hasn’t really been going very well so back to the old way for now.

TMA07 went in at 23:53 so that was quite nerve wrecking, have promised to myself that I won’t do that again, TMA09 should be sent in by the end of August and I’ve scheduled myself to do TMA08 the first weekend of September, that way I can used the tutorial efforts of Oxford and the 60’s Day school to best use.

At the moment I’m just looking forward to finishing A103, there is just too much on the course that doesn’t interest me. My A215 registration is now showing on my StudentHome page, and OUSBA accepted by application for an account with was surprising but very very good. I’m not sure i would have been able to start A215 this year if I hadn’t.

Eagerly anticipating my new course

A215 Creative Writing was the reason I found the Open University in the first place. I was just going to do that one course, no thoughts of a degree or anything, until I started looking around the site. Of course I was hooked in an instant (of course), and started A103 first to ease my way in. Along the way I decided that a BA (Hons) in Literature sounded nifty so that is now the ultimate goal, though the other courses to reach it change now and again.

But back to the much anticipated A215, this morning I received the course material which I bought off eBay. That thought is got get a bit of a head start on the course material, especially as one month into the course it is of course NaNo time. So my plan before September would be
1. Work through “The Ode Less Travelled” by Stephen Fry
2. Work through Part 1 of the A215 work book
I’ve bought myself a special notebook to use for the course, and have slowly started filling it with various ideas, though I’m having a hard time of quitting my old habit of just opening a Scrivener template and writing an idea down 🙂
I’ll let you know how if goes, as I think I’ve said before I’ll post anything I write as an exercise from The ode… on here, can’t vouch for how good it’ll be though.

The Queen of Blogs…

Though unfortunately not the Queen of blogging, you would actually have to remember to post more than once in a blue moon for that title. This is my new start, trying to get my act together before starting A215 Creative Writing with the Open University in September. I’m hoping this will be a nice outlet for blogging about my day, writing and everything else 🙂

I also have two other reasons for doing this blog:
Firstly I have a dreadful habit of scribbling things down everywhere, and then end up loosing them, never to be seen again. So my plan is to now post some here, at least the more complete scribbleries.

Secondly, I’m terrible at doing writing exercises, I’ll start them with the best of intentions, but not complete them. So with A215 in mind I’m gonna work my way through the writing exercises in Stephen Fry’s The Ode Less Travelled, as poetry is a definite weakness of mine.

I usually write Historical Romance, which I’m scared will be frowned upon by A215 tutors as people tend to look down on you when yo mention this as your area, just to put the final nail in my coffin it is specifically Regency romance I write. There, I am out

I also write fantasy, modern and more traditional. The modern tends to be very BtVS, Angel, Charmed, Hex etc influenced, whereas for the more traditional my inspiration comes from David Eddings (Belgariad and Mallorean especially), though nowhere near that at the moment, as well as Elizabeth Moon and Papa Tolkien (though that really goes without saying)

Currently I’m studying A103 An Introduction to the Humanities with the OU, and loving it 🙂 About half way through at the moment, so scarily getting towards the end. The ultimate goal is a BA (Hons) in Literature, which should take 3-4 years (I hope).

Well it’s the end of another bank holiday, and time for bed, so this should be enough for now.

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