Sunday, August 11, 2019

Speed

Asalia House

Flying at an average speed was his skill. He did it easily. The day he decided to get rid of her, they jumped on his small plane and took off. She was looking forward to this adventure. He saw that in her annoying little beady eyes. “The plane doesn't have doors, how cute,” she said as they flew higher and higher. Yes, it is very cute, he thought, especially now that that damn flock of whatever birds they were was flying too close to his plane. Silence. Good thing he had a parachute on. Did she have one too? Nope.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Writing Is Not Always... Writing!

Milk Wood

Milk Wood celebrated the end of Camp NaNoWriMo with a party organized by me and DJ Book (Buquo Resident).
Everyone worked hard throughout July and we all deserved a bit of music to relax. The theme was Summer Fun and the tunes were great!

“Every secret of a writer’s soul,
every experience of his life,
every quality of his mind,
is written large in his works.”
— Virginia Woolf

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Vindictive Bruises

Tierra de Fuego


The pilot wanted to land the plane. He wanted to drop every single passenger safely at the airport. He checked his flight plan and was confident he could do just that. He greeted them one by one. He smiled and exchanged a few words of encouragement with those flying for the first time. Mid-air, the stewardess said someone wanted to talk to him. He left the cabin and... saw her. He knew right there and then that the passengers weren't safe. He was going to kill a few and bruise a bunch.
“Where is she sitting, again?” he asked, sneering.

Monday, July 29, 2019

How to revise Your Novel Course

Instructor Verona Lorgsval at Port Olni

I used to hate revising/editing. Several of my complete novels are collecting dust in virtual drawers because of that.

Then, the course How to revise Your Novel started. And something major changed.

One step at a time, we identify the weaknesses of our story. All aspects of it are scrutinized and noted down.

Nothing is changed at this point. Only at the very end, do we make the changes needed, and we make them in one go. So, instead of dragging your red pen through page after page and dying of boredom, there's always something different to do and a different perspective to consider.

It's my first time using this method, so I take longer than a week for each task. I'm not worried though. Motivation and the will to soldier on are crucial.

As you can see below, the course is 22 weeks long. It's a big commitment and it's totally worth it.

In case you'd like to attend, this course will start at Milk Wood soon.

Syllabus for How to Revise Your Novel
Instructor: Verona Lorgsval in Second Life
                 Victoria Lynn Osborne in Real Life

Week 1. Despair: The Novel you got. Here we will be printing out your novel. And doing the first read through and tracking down your novel.
Week 2. Promises Promises, Finding your biggest first draft wrecks.
Week 3. The Hunt for the slippery Scene. An Interlude.
Week 4. Promises Promises the plot you got.
Week 5. Conflict and What Matters.
Week 6. Sharpening Your Characters Bringing Fictional Folk Into Focus.
Week 7. How to Triage Your World.
Week 8. Wrapping up Triage Final Details of Target, Promises, Story and Theme.
Week 9. How Manuscript Surgery Works.
Week 10. Theme and Story Take Two.
Week 11. Plots and Subplots.
Week 12. Committing to your Characters.
Week 13. Tracking and Completing Conflicts.
Week 14. Simple Time Dealing with Time Crises and Modifying In-scene Story Structure.
Week 15. Complex Time: Time Between Time.
Week 16. Becoming Consistent.
Week 17. How to Cut the Manuscript.
Week 18. Cosmetic Surgery I. Line Editing with Style, Grace, and Commas.
Week 19. How to Improve Dialogue, Description, Action, and Flow.
Week 20. Beginnings, Ending, Pace and Step-by-step.
Week 21. How to Survive and Thrive with your Type-In.
Week 22. Surgical Review: Streamlining the In-Depth Revision Process.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Peer

Tierra de Fuego


Those bags looked interesting, he thought. He walked closer, watching the passengers, checking if anyone was keeping an eye on them. Nope. He sat next to them. Vintage. He could sell them for a nice amount, plus all the clothes inside, perhaps even a computer. As he walked away, he felt something wiggling inside one of them. He hid behind a building and opened it slowly. The clothes were moving. The moment he decided to close the bag and leave it behind, something jumped from underneath and bit him on the face. His last words were “Curiosity killed the thief”.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Courses

Milk Wood
"Learning never exhausts the mind." 
Leonardo da Vinci



2019

June 12 - Workshop on The Pomodoro Technique for Writers  - Instructor Verona Lorgsval (Second Life)

February 13 - Workshop on Using Tarot Cards to Overcome Writer's Block  - Instructor Verona Lorgsval (Second Life)

(continued from 2018) January 8 - July 15 - How to Revise your Novel - Instructor Verona Lorgsval (Second Life)


2018

December 4 (continues in 2019) - How to Revise your Novel - Instructor Verona Lorgsval (Second Life)

August 15 - October 11 - Speculative Writing - Instructor Verona Lorgsval (Second Life)


August 14 - October 2 - Mystery Writing - Instructor Verona Lorgsval (Second Life)


2015

May 11 - June 7 - Heart Health (University of Reading) - a Beginner's Guide to Cardiovascular Disease (character building).

April 20 - May 31 - Psychology and Mental Health (University of Liverpool) - How a psychological understanding of emotions and behavior provides new ways to improve mental health and well-being.

April 20 - June 14 - Introduction to Cyber Security (The Open University) - Essential cyber security knowledge and skills.

April 13 - May 15 - Forensic Science and Criminal Justice (University of Leicester) - The use of science in criminal investigations and its role in the criminal justice system.

March 9 - 27 - How to Succeed at Interviews (The University of Sheffield) - Tools to succeed at interviews and land a dream job or course place (character building).

March 2 - April 10 - Dysphagia: Swallowing Difficulties and Medicines (University of East Anglia) - The administration of medicines to patients with dysphagia (character building).

March 2 - 20 - Introduction to Dutch (University of Groningen) - Introductory course (character building).

January 5 - February 13 - Introduction to Forensic Science (University of Strathclyde) - Methods and scientific underpinning of forensic science, from crime scene investigation to reporting evidential value within a case.


2014

December 1 - 12 - How To Read a Mind (The University of Nottingham) - Introducing cognitive poetics: the application of cognitive science to literary reading.

October 27 - November 3 - How to Read Your Boss (The University of Nottingham) - Linguistic techniques to enhance business communication.

September 29 - November 9 - Introduction to Journalism (University of Strathclyde) - Key principles and debates in journalism in the context of an escalating story.

June 23 -July 11 - Good Brain, Bad Brain: Basics (University of Birmingham) - The form and function of the human brain.

June 8 - August 1 - Forensic Psychology (The Open University) - How psychology can help obtain evidence from eyewitnesses in police investigations.

April 28 - June 20 - Start Writing Fiction (The Open University) - Fiction writing focusing on the central skill of creating characters. - Review

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Camp NaNoWriMo July



A week to go till the end of Camp NaNoWriMo July and I have already finished the 30 hours I committed myself to. I'm quite pleased with the amount of work done and its quality.
After starting the Novel Revision course with Verona Lorgsval in Second Life, Victoria Lynn Osborne in Real Life, I am now moving forward with the revising of my latest novel (the others are gathering dust in a dark drawer because I hated revising).
Slow steps, but steady steps.
This month, I worked on characters and promises to the reader. While writing, we often present a character or a certain object, hinting something about them. Are those hints followed through? Or will the reader wonder what happened to them?
I have also worked on accuracy and continuity. Simple things like "X stands up" when he was already standing by the door are quite frequent in my writing. I make them all stand up for some reason, multiple times without even sitting down!
Verona suggests we don't actually touch the text yet. At this point, we are identifying the weak spots in the story. And that's what I'm doing.
The next step is to work on the scenes. I'll be hunting them down! Literally. PACTS! You're probably thinking, huh?! Yes, Protagonist, Antagonist, Conflict, Twist, Setting. That should be fun.

I think I'll be a Rebel this year for November's NaNoWriMo.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Devotion

Tierra de Fuego

He was devoted to his hobby and he had the best tools. He looked up. Days under the blazing sun hadn't discouraged him. The pole had to be perfect for the challenge. It took him a while to accomplish his goal but he chopped it off. A blaze of sparkles scattered in all directions as the pole hit the sand.
“One more. Victory!”
What followed was a lot more impressive than a few sparkles. He didn't even see it coming.
The military knew nothing while the media spent weeks debating if there had been any victims of that misguided bomb.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Current

Black Kite


The current state of affairs is grim. What did I do to deserve this. All I wanted was a little garden with a touch of originality. But that greenish tone. I hate it. It makes me want to puke. And those little ducks floating about in a neat little line make me want to kill them though they are fake ducks. I sit here and wonder. Could I paint this in black and fire the decorator?
“Honey, help me here. I'm not sure whether to go for a twisted branch or for a straight one. Just love the green tone!”

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Simple Reason

Salt Water

The reason why I've decided to leave was quite simple. I was tired of everything and everyone. I was especially tired of him. Yes, that guy who worked at the cafeteria. He didn't do anything to be honest. He never said anything either. He was just there, staring at me all the time. When I found him standing across the street from my door, I packed and left. Now, I live by the sea. It's beautiful. It's actually more than I could've wished for. The guy next door... He stands at his window and stares at me all the time.
Pick two: reason, discretion, zone, stunt, simple, deadwood, Tuba

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Plot

Borgatti

We all go a little mad sometimes. Yes, but... How much is a little? When does a little turn into a lot? As she wrote the story for the local paper, she thought about the time she had spent tracking that man. He was skillful. He hid in the forest for weeks. "Make it personal", her editor said. And she did. She wrote about how she remembered him. He was such a terribly mean child who torched houses and killed animals. The thing is... the story was just a story. Would he go a little mad or a lot mad?

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Logic

Borgatti

There used to be a little heart in that garden, filled with hope. And that heart grew and grew. The little heart wasn't so little anymore when it decided to leave the safety of the garden. He still recalled the butterflies and the tree house though. He even recalled the weasel and the pelican. When the little heart was arrested, the only thing he could think of was how far away the garden was and how he wished he could go back. But then he remembered... he had torched the garden, because that had been the right thing to do.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Losing

Avatar Games

Strings left, strings right. They pulled the strings left and they pulled the strings right. The doll swayed on the small stage, left and right. Her face was emotionless. The brush she held swayed with her. Her face was emotionless... And the more they pulled on the strings, the more she swayed. And the more that brush swayed, the more she painted an invisible feeling in the air. It swayed angrily. The doll's fingers cramped around it tightly. Her body shook and jumped in all directions. And that brush painted a face of sheer anger. Metal dolls have feelings too.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Camp NaNoWriMo July


Here we go again!
It's almost time for Camp NaNoWriMo July.
The official website now offers the option of deciding on the amount of hours rather than the number of words.
So, this July, I will continue revising my WIP and my goal will be to work for 30 hours.


I didn't give up in May and I am actually having fun going through the revision process.

So, onwards and upwards!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Surrounded

Milk Wood

He looked up and smiled. He was surrounded by trees. As always, he had returned to his comfort place, the forest, the dark gloomy forest, the threatening little grim pathless forest. When he looked up, he didn't see the dark. He saw beautiful trees in gorgeous tones of yellows, oranges and reds, and browns with a pinch of green here and there. He especially loved his spot, right in the middle of all those wonderful trees. He didn't know if it was the middle, but he liked to think it was. He looked up again and smiled a dark smile.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Nameless Atmosphere

Venexia

The place is haunted, someone said. Or perhaps it's just for the show.
The atmosphere is eerie, another added, chuckling.
They all agreed.
“What's the place called?”
No one knew.
“Let's call it Nameless.”
Everyone laughed and their laughter echoed throughout the pitch-black galleries and archways.
They got closer to one another. Just in case, they thought collectively without actually saying it.
Where are the scary ghosts, someone asked in a jesting tone.
No one thought it was funny.
That's when they noticed the dark shadow snaking its way towards them and they knew it wasn't just for the show.
PICK TWO: 
stunted growth, bath, passive, pelt, atmosphere, nameless, tendency

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Zone

Kronbelt

A crow perched on a branch of a dead tree. The tree had been dead for a long time.
The crow gazed at the town below. The town was nearly dead. The helipad hadn't been used in years. The lighthouse was off.
The crow watched as they buried one more. Man, woman?
Six people were left alive. They didn't know yet, but they would soon be dead, all of them.
The crow perched on the dead tree and watched them.
The town would soon be his and he would finally be able to get rid of this ridiculous crow disguise.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Slurp

Tatty Soup


Slurp!
Hey, that's not the way I brought you up.
Slurp...
I won't say it again.
Slurp?
I warn you.
Slurp. Slurp.
Stop it.
Slurp, slurp, slurp.
OK, that's enough. I've had it.
A thunder of stomping feet approached the kitchen while the kids scattered in all directions. Johnny stayed behind, sitting at the table, daring his mother.
Who was it? Come on. Who was it?
No slurping now? Spit it out. Who was slurping?
When the mother finally gave up, Johnny looked at his cup. It was almost empty.
The others' cups were almost full.
He sneered.
Slurp.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Jack

Waterland

Home sweet home, Jack thought. The day was coming to an end and no one knew where he was. His caravan was his home, at least the home he loved. The place was not much to look at. It desperately needed a bit of paint. The door was gone. That was a long story. However, he was home. When the snake decided to nestle in his bed, Jack wished he had a door. As a result, he spent the night pointing a lamp at the non-existent door and thinking of snake patterns to paint on the side of his caravan.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Heart Attack

Octoberville


"Yes, I hired it.”
“You hired a heart attack?! How can we hire a heart attack?”
“Talk to it and settle for an amount. Easy.”
The prosecutor looked at the judge. The judge shrugged.
“When did you talk to this heart attack then?”
“Two months ago.”
“And it said it would kill your boss?”
The defendant nodded.
“Are there many heart attacks around doing hit jobs?”
“No, there's only one.”
“And what's its name?”
“Cock-eyed Paulie.”
“Ah, that's why your boss is still alive.”
The room burst into laughter.
A few weeks later, the prosecutor died of a heart attack.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Potato Chips

BWC Village


"Do you have any potato chips?" The young man looked at the fruit stand.

"Does it look like I have potato chips?!" said the vendor, pointing at the different crates packed with fresh fruit.

"I don't know. Perhaps. One never knows!"

"When you look at my stand, do you see any possibility, as remote as it might be, of me selling potato chips? Be honest. I mean... look. Bananas, coconuts, melons, pears, apples, kiwis, oranges. Do you really think I would have potato chips as an option?"

"Potato chips go well with everything, even fruit!"

"Go away. Just go away..."

Monday, April 22, 2019

Camp NaNoWriMo!

I'm alive! I didn't die of boredom as it usually happens while revising a story. I'm still following Verona's method. I did the first read through and tracked weak and strong aspects of my story. And I feel encouraged. Surprisingly enough, I'm actually looking forward to continuing revising. *checks for fever* Nope, all good! Now, onwards to the next steps!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Charge

Bridgetown

The end of the bridge approached quickly and the jeep charged off the edge of the platform. 
"There goes another pilot," said the chief engineer, crossing his arms over his chest. 
"We need a different solution for this," said the director. "We cannot afford losing more pilots and, what's worse, jeeps. We are stretching our resources thin as it is. I told you that it was a bad idea to test the brakes system at the bridge. It's too high." 
"Yes, but you also said that you wanted to reorganize the staff, didn't you?" 
The director sulked and walked away.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Emotive

Roche


The old bridge stretched out, tired. The sky wept softly while a feisty seagull fought against the wind. He wanted the place to be beautiful and special and vibrant, but nothing could survive there. He tried... He even wanted to rebuild the bridge so others could come over but each time he set new stones on it, they would just be taken away by the water, over and over again. He fought as much as that lonely seagull. He didn't want to give up. But he was alone. It was with a heavy heart that he walked away that day…

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Street Corners

Tokyo 3.1


The blinding sparkle of local street lights contrasted with the deep shadows of dark street corners.
The army tank looked eerie.
Everyone knew they were about to lose the war.
The others were all over town with their soldiers and their heavy artillery, blocking the roads and asking for ID as if they owned the place. The others controlled the comings and goings while everyone tried to lead a normal life in the middle of utter chaos.
What gave them hope was the fact that someone was somehow setting those tanks on fire. One by one. They'd never give up.
Pick Two: standard, graffiti, blinding, blithering, pony, sparkle, amuse, fire

Monday, April 1, 2019

Let's Get this Show on the Road


Camp NaNoWriMo starts today and it's time to put those Novel Revision classes to good use. This year, I am revising "Just Before Dawn", the story I have written during NaNoWriMo last November.


Syllabus for How to Revise Your Novel
Instructor: Verona Lorgsval in Second Life, Victoria Lynn Osborne in Real Life

Week 1. Despair: The Novel you got. Here we will be printing out your novel. And doing the first read through and tracking down your novel.
Week 2. Promises Promises, Finding your biggest first draft wrecks.
Week 3. The Hunt for the slippery Scene. An Interlude.
Week 4. Promises Promises the plot you got.
Week 5. Conflict and What Matters.
Week 6. Sharpening Your Characters Bringing Fictional Folk Into Focus.
Week 7. How to Triage Your World.
Week 8. Wrapping up Triage Final Details of Target, Promises, Story and Theme.
Week 9. How Manuscript Surgery Works.
Week 10. Theme and Story Take Two.
Week 11. Plots and Subplots.
Week 12. Committing to your Characters.
Week 13. Tracking and Completing Conflicts.
Week 14. Simple Time Dealing with Time Crises and Modifying In-scene Story Structure.
Week 15. Complex Time: Time Between Time.
Week 16. Becoming Consistent.
Week 17. How to Cut the Manuscript.
Week 18. Cosmetic Surgery I. Line Editing with Style, Grace, and Commas.
Week 19. How to Improve Dialogue, Description, Action, and Flow.
Week 20. Beginnings, Ending, Pace and Step-by-step.
Week 21. How to Survive and Thrive with your Type-In.
Week 22. Surgical Review: Streamlining the In-Depth Revision Process.

If you're doing Camp and you are a Second Life resident, join us at Milk Wood (Writing Group).

Ongoing events (all SLT):

Dashes - Mon-Fri at 6am and 6pm
500 Word Snatches - daily at 1am and 8am
Speculative Writing course - Thurs at 2pm
Fox Rocks (writing poetry) - Sat at 9am

Also:
The Inspiration Booth for locations to visit and get inspired by
The Lady Bug hovering above the writing table for prompts
Bunny plots throughout the sim for even more prompts

At the moment, we meet at Milk Wood's Camp. But feel free to enjoy the public areas of the sim as you like.

Have fun writing and exploring!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Confluence

Nostos Deer

Trains are fascinating. The other day, I watched a webcam of a train traveling through amazing landscapes. The tunnels were the best. I finally saw the proverbial light, yep. That made me chuckle. I hardly ever spotted anyone though. Except that one time when a man was throwing another off a balcony. I wonder if anyone else noticed that. Well, the video wasn't live. It was a live broadcast of a recorded trip, whatever that means. Nothing I could do. I wonder if that man is alive. The confluence of circumstances is tough sometimes. But trains are indeed absolutely fascinating.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Milk Wood Renewed



Milk Wood was founded by Harriet Gausman in 2007 and is the home of the Virtual Writers group in Second Life.


It has been my writing home since 2012, when I started writing on a regular basis after my Real Life took a tumble.

We all know how impermanent Second Life is. However, twelve years later, Milk Wood is very much alive and kicking.

Daily writing sessions, classes, get-togethers and the occasional party, not to mention the participation in Camp NaNoWriMo (in April and June) and NaNoWriMo (in November) during which there are a lot of workshops, writing sprints and scrimmages (word wars).

At the moment, we have several daily writing sessions (at 1am, 6am, 8am, 6pm), a weekly poetry writing session (Saturdays at 9am), and a weekly class on Speculative Writing (Thursdays at 2pm). All times are SLT.

The sim was recently upgraded from a homestead to a full sim. That meant that it could be fully revamped. Harriet worked very hard, for more than a month, to turn it into an even more amazing place than it was before.

When we stroll around, it is very clear that the sim was created by someone who writes as well. Every little detail is a resource we can use for our writing, every sound, every color, every shape.

Apart from the different social areas, where anyone can sit down and write or simply chat, there are a number of houses, cottages, huts that we can rent to help support the sim. As Harriet states in the Rental Covenant notecard, "We do not seek to profit by Milk Wood, but are obliged to cover the high sim costs through rentals."

And last Sunday, we had the relaunch party! It was a lot of fun to see familiar faces and new faces as well. Great music, great people, lots of smiles and fireworks.

Now, back to work!

Feel free to drop by for a visit. Milk Wood is open to all. Walk around and explore the different social areas and, why not, grab a seat with us and do a bit of writing!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Why Can't You Be More Like Your Sister?

The Tower by Rebeca Bashly

Kneel and don't move.
Be obedient and don't move.
Smile and don't move.
Never answer back and never look up.
Look down and never up.
Do this. Do that. And never look up.
I'm unique. I'm beautiful.
Why can’t you be more like your sister? Why?
Look at her. So unique and beautiful. She looks up and never down.
She's independent and smart. She is everything everyone would like to be.
But not you. No, not you. You can't. You won't.
Kneel and don't move.
You'll never be your sister. Never.
I'm unique and so beautiful, just like my sister.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Kill

NeverlandX

The innkeeper tossed some logs in the fireplace. The room was warm enough but being slightly warmer always made people drink more. More drinking meant more money. And he needed a lot of money. He was desperate to rescue his daughter. He considered telling everyone. But he didn't. If he told them, he'd go to Hell. He had crossed the line before when he and the blacksmith's wife... Well...
What the innkeeper didn't suspect was that the blacksmith knew how to drive one of those things that had landed in his back yard. And his daughter... She was already dead.



Sunday, March 10, 2019

Wordy

Home


The little mouse grabbed a book.
It's nice, isn't it? To dive into a story and enjoy it. Yes, he loved books!
“The red doesn't match your white fur coat though,” he whispered to himself. “Don't lick your finger to turn the page, you idiot! Look what you've done. The page is all... You've killed something again. Yes, you did.”
So, he ripped a few pages off.
Humans are strange beings. They keep all these books on shelves. Why? At least he used them to wipe his paws clean... after reading the stories. No need for those words anymore!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2019



Camp NaNoWriMo is fast approaching and it's time to start preparing for it.


This year, I'll revise the story I wrote last November during the NaNoWriMo. I'll use the method I've been learning about at the Novel Revision classes, a course taught by Verona Lorgsval (Second Life name), Victoria Lynn Osborne (in Real Life).

My story is called Just Before Dawn and it's a thriller/mystery.

A partially burnt body is found in the woods near a half-abandoned commercial area. Sal, a former police detective turned private investigator whose office is located at the commercial area, decides to snoop around. Things take a bad turn when the police start asking her some strange questions.

I'm not much of a graphics/image person, but I have been working on a tentative cover. And this is what I came up with.



I think it's OK. So, for now, I'll stick to this one.
Photo courtesy of Marcelo Silva. Click the link to see the original. I kept the tones/colors/framing/etc. and edited it by adding a layer with orange splashes to the right and the title/author name.

26 days until revising begins!