Monday, 29 June 2015

Damn You Adverbs!

As I'm editing Immortal Space I'm using a nifty little website called Hemingway. It's a nifty little site that tells you when a sentence is hard to read, when you use the passive voice, and the amount of adverbs you use. Adverbs are those words that help further define a verb. For example if you say how someone says something then you use an adverb. Like "He said quietly". Quietly is the adverb there.
Thanks random website!
I don't know why but Hemingway has a serious problem with adverbs. It turns out I use them a lot, a strategy it strongly disagrees with. I mean, look at just how many adverbs I used in that last sentence! I noticed though that the more I cut the adverbs down, the lower the reading grade of my work. That lead me to a quick conclusion that makes this whole editing process a lot easier; I kind of need adverbs. If I don't have them, and I break up the sentences like Hemingway wants me to, then everything becomes too simple. The whole thing reads like a children's book. No offence to children's books but they don't read very well when you're old enough to comprehend actual sentences and stories.
Best kids book ever?
I don't even know what makes adverbs bad. I think the only word I really overuse really, is the word really. I mean, I really, really, use it like, a really large amount. Okay I'm just messing there but I have noticed an over-abundance of that word. Just that one though really.

So let that be a lesson to you; adverbs are the devil. At the same time they aren't. Sometimes you want your sentences to be hard to read. You want slightly complicated words that end in "ly". Unless you're writing a kids book that is.

Friday, 26 June 2015

I Need Your Help. Yes, Yours. And Yours.

As you all know I'll be releasing a book in probably under a month. If you don't know that then you should know it's going to be called Immortal Space and it's going to be super cool and you should buy it when it comes out. Anyway, one major aspect of a book is the cover.
Look at all dem sexy, sexy books. 

Let's be honest for a second here; we ALL judge a book by it's cover. Not just literal books too. We take a lot of our first impression of a person from how they look. So a book cover can be just as important as all the fanciful words inside it.

I'm not going to ask you to draw the cover for me. Asking a group of people to do a cover would be ridiculous. I'm having a friend do it. Hopefully. She's agreed to it but she also agreed to go on a two week camping trip. She's also highly distractable. All of this grouped together may mean as much as we both want her to, she may be unable to do it.

Anyway the thing I need your help with is the font for the title of the book and my name. I've narrowed it down to a few choices but I'm having trouble picking one. So I'm going to show you the ones I picked and you guys let me know which one(s) you like. I can't say for sure the most popular one will be the font used but it'll help. So here are the choices.

Crash Scene

Forgotten Worlds

Freya

Neo Sci Fi 2

Summercamp
All of the fonts come from DaFont and are licensed as being completely free/for commercial use so there's no worries there. Let me know which one you like the look of! If you're a font-y person and have suggestions of your own drop one of those too.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

"Love" At First Sight

Time for me to wax philosophical for a minute. It's one of the things I do best after all. So I was trawling around the internet when I stumbled upon a slightly interesting question. I say interesting because it got me to think a little. Someone basically asked the question "Do men believe in love at first sight?"
Kirby Cupid is best Cupid. 
She asked the question based on the fact that true love takes time. A real relationship takes time. I remember reading somewhere (though I'm not sure where now) that a crush lasts four months. Four months is how long it takes for you to fall in love. That would seem to disprove love at first sight, no? That wasn't my answer to the question though. This was;

"I have experienced "love at first sight" but over time came to realise all that is, is lust. You can fancy someone at first sight sure, crush on them, and want to do them, but you can spend five minutes with someone and then realise that's all you want to do. You don't like them and you can't build anything long term with them. True love, like you said, takes a while to work out.

But lust can be an excellent building block for an initial relationship. If you want to be with someone based on just their appearance at first, and then it turns out you have a long and lasting relationship, who's to say it wasn't love in the first place?"
Hearts are fickle things
That's really how I feel on the situation. Confusing as it is. I can't say I necessarily believe in love at first sight. Then again, maybe you did feel love at the time without realising it. Who is to really say?

Do you believe in love at first sight? 

Monday, 22 June 2015

Please Stand By

Thanks to technical difficulties I'm actually writing this on my phone. I can't recommend it. The blogger site isn't mobile compatible at all. My computer should be fixed by the end of the day. So that's good. 

 To be honest I don't know what happened. I just know my browsers refuse to work and I'm having Internet problems but it's only on my computer so I know it's not an Internet related issue.

 I've ran anti virus and anti malware programs that both claim they've removed something but the problem persists. It wouldn't be the first time that the handy refresh your computer option on Windows 8 saved my ass. And my computer. 

 Hopefully I'll be back with some real content on Thursday. May this also be the last time I have to write a blog like this.
I can only apologise if the text is huge. My phone did it on its own and I can't correct it. This is not fun at all. Don't recommend it.












Friday, 19 June 2015

"It's A Gi- I Mean, Boy!"

This post is inspired by a comment I left at Crazy, Tragic, Almost Magic. Michael made a post about her name, and what it's like being a girl with a name generally given to boys. I told her that there was a fun little story about my name and that I would make a post about it. I think it's a story I've told before but when you get to blog as long as me you end up repeating some things. Embarrassing stories from your childhood being one of them.
Though I'm not sure how embarrassing this will actually be. 
When a woman is pregnant she can have an ultrasound to tell her the sex of the baby. A lot of parents take this option so they can buy clothes and decorate in advance and do all of that stuff. My parents took the good doctor up on their offer and they were informed that they were not, in fact, going to have a healthy bouncing boy.

No, they were told they were going to have a girl. 

For reasons I'm not quite sure of (I assure you I have a penis) my parents were told that I was a girl when she was pregnant. I'm told they bought dresses and possibly even had a pink room all ready for me. Obviously when I was born the doctor noticed I had a penis and that someone had messed up somewhere. Instead of having a beautiful baby girl my parents had an ugly baby boy.

According to my birth certificate despite the fact I was born in May I wasn't actually named until June a few weeks later. I asked my mum about it and she says that basically my name was chosen on a whim. They couldn't decide on a name and were just like "Fuck it, we'll call him Mark." And thus the greatest writer the world has never known was Christened.

Well, I was Christened not long after I guess.

But there you have it; my name was chosen on a whim because my parents were confused as I was supposed to be a girl. Some people would say that explains a lot about me and even question how wrong the doctor who said I was a girl was. I'm not one of those people as I'm happily a white male cisshitlord as Tumblr would put it.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

You Won't Believe What My Earliest Memory Is

Forgive me the clickbait title. I couldn't resist. I wonder if it'll work. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Well anyway I was poking around one of the online hubs I'm a part of when I stumbled upon a question. The question was not in fact "What is your earliest memory?". Instead it was "What is your earliest gaming memory?" As in video games. I know my first memory of playing video games pretty well. It's one of my most vivid memories from when I was a wee lad.
It involves my old friend the Nintendo Entertainment System
In my house I have an attic. I think Americans usually refer to them as lofts. In the really old days of living here it was a bedroom. Now it's a storage area but I still remember the days it was a bedroom. In that room I had a small TV set up with a NES attached. I'd spend a lot of time playing Super Mario Bros. 3 (a game released before I was born), Duck Hunt, and one of the really old Megaman games. I'm not actually sure which one.
I love this game. 
Because this happened back when I was about three years old it means that not only is that my earliest gaming memory, it's my earliest memory entirely. My earliest memory is literally playing video games. Even though I mostly remember playing video games in my teen years they have been a part of my life for over twenty years.

Friends may come and go, but video games will love you forever I guess.

What's your earliest memory? 

Monday, 15 June 2015

I Need A Dictaphone

I don't know about you guys but I'm quite the dreamer. As in, I literally have a number of dreams. I think I gave up on dreams about life and my future a long time ago. Wow, it's as I write that that I realise how sort of serious I am about that. Fuck. Well anyway, to get away from that depressing tangent; I have some really weird and out there dreams. They're almost never to do with what's happening in my life at the time. Though they of course include people from my actual life. I remember reading somewhere that happens in every dream because the human mind is incapable of creating characters. Apparently everyone you see in a dream is someone you have seen in real life, even if for but a second.
Dreams are awesome, but weird. (Source)
A lot of great stories started out as dreams. Harry Potter is a famous example. J.K Rowling has said that she got the idea through dreams. I also need to stop mentioning Harry Potter so god damn much here. It's just the most common and known example. I think a lot of writers get great ideas from their weird and vivid dreams. The kind of dreams I have. Ones that would make an excellent basis for stories. The only problem is I'm no good at remembering dreams. Hence the wish for a dictaphone.
I realise the obvious solution to my problem lays with my phone. It has recording software. Or an app can be downloaded in seconds. I just feel that by the time I bring myself around enough to start up my phone and load up the app I'll probably have forgotten that quickly. Still I doubt there's any harm in trying and I should give that a go.

The major downside of something like this though? I'm not a fan of my voice. I couldn't imagine sitting down and listening to myself half asleep muttering about some weird stuff I saw in a dream.

What kind of dreams do you have? 

Friday, 12 June 2015

Goodnight Sweet Prince(s)

I don't normally do this kind of thing but today I'm going to make an exception. I'm going to post about something almost everyone else will be. Yesterday was a sad day for me due to the death of not one, but two people who I really liked and enjoyed the work of. The first is, of course, Sir Christopher Lee.

This generation probably know him best as Saruman in The Lord Of The Rings. He was the only person involved with the movies to have had the pleasure of meeting Tolkien himself. That always struck me as something kind of fun. He had been in the business for decades and most people have probably seen one of his movies. He was truly a great actor who will, and should, be remembered for generations to come.

The other person who passed for me is American wrestler "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes. I don't think as many people are going to be affected by his passing as the number affected by Christopher Lee but it's still sad for me. He was involved a lot outside of the ring as well as inside and even though I never really got to follow his career I always enjoyed the times I did get to see him. He was fun, charming, and had quite the impact on a number of lives.
My thoughts are with the family and friends of not just these two, but for all the people who die without us even knowing. As morbid as it is someone probably died while you were reading this and the world at large will never know.

So goodnight sweet princes and princesses. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Be Nice To Your Characters

A few weeks ago I was re-re-re-re-something-reading Harry Potter. Outside of how awesome it is there's one more thing that series is famous for; everyone you love dies. It's especially true in the later books. Outside of everyone dying J.K is incredibly cruel to Harry Potter the character. Every time something good happens to him something terrible does right after. His life is terrible even after he joins the wizarding world. I've come to the conclusion J.K actually hates him, or was extremely depressed at the time of writing.
I'm told she was legit depressed while writing this and didn't know how to end it
Since finishing Harry Potter I started reading a different series by my favourite author. Right now the characters do go through a lot of bad things and they do get hurt, but so far no one has died. Nothing has gone tragically wrong. That's the kind of thing I prefer.

Don't get me wrong; I get that characters have to be tested. It's just like life; things have to go wrong so that they can go right. Stories are about characters overcoming issues and problems and making things go right again after they've gone wrong. Things going wrong doesn't necessarily have to mean tragedy though. If you insist on killing a character then make it be relevant and necessary to the plot. Even if you do that, there's no need to further make life terrible for your characters.

One of the hardest things for me to admit on a literary perspective is that the major deaths, the ones before the final battle, are essential to the plot. Ultimately I can see how they all worked out. Except one. To this day I still haven't gotten over the death of Sirius and I see very little point to it.

Monday, 8 June 2015

It's Awesome Black Widow Is Human

This post stems from a conversation I had with my nutritionist the last time I got weighed. See, as well as talk about my diet and things like that, we shoot the shit on a lot of things. I'm not entirely sure why but she likes being social. We've debated veganism (she's a vegan) and a whole bunch of other things. This time one topic of conversation, for whatever reason, was Black Widow from The Avengers.
She will eff you up. 
Rather than the whole "Is her appearance sexist?" (it isn't) thing she actually took issue with the fact that Widow has no superpowers. She felt that the lone female member of The Avengers should have powers. My argument was that it's awesome she's entirely human. My argument was simple; as a human, she is completely attainable to. For women that is.

I can look at someone like Thor, or Captain America, and I know I can never look like that or do anything they can do. Their powers are not really based in reality. Iron Man has a genius level intellect and works with alloys that aren't real. So even he is something I could never be. I guess Hawkeye is attainable but all the biggest and baddest heroes are people I could never be like.

Black Widow though? Women can look at her as a role model. She looks like a real woman, she acts like a real woman, and everything she can do is (supposedly) physically possible. She is someone a woman can actually be. That's pretty cool to me.

For the first time in human history someone won a debate. Sort of. She admitted that I had a lot of good points and gave her something to think about.

Her unzipped costume aside, what are your thoughts on Black Widow? 

Friday, 5 June 2015

I May Have Asthma

So for the past few weeks I haven't been breathing properly. That's a pretty big warning sign that something is pretty wrong. I felt a bit of a tightness in my chest when I breathed, with the occasional spot of wheezing. It was especially bad at night and after exercise. That presents two possibilities. The first being gross unhealthiness, and the second being asthma. It turns out adults actually can develop asthma later in life. It's mostly a thing that happens to people with allergies and I've had some pretty nasty allergies thanks to the change in seasons.
A Brief History of Asthma
Now okay, I'm no lightweight, but I'm hardly grossly unfit. I work out two times a week and am a lot more active now than I've ever been. Though even if that was the case then I'd need to do something about it. So I went and booked myself a doctors appointment. I attended said appointment yesterday and he agreed that something is likely to be wrong. He's not so sure about asthma and has booked me in for a proper test in a few weeks. In the meantime he gave me an inhaler which is pretty cool.
I've used it twice so far and I have to say it makes a pretty noticeable difference. It's good being able to breath properly. The really interesting part of this tale though is the reason I initially considered asthma. See I'm currently reading a book where the main character has asthma and as I was reading it I found myself thinking "Hey wait a minute, that sounds familiar..." So thank you, book I just happened to be reading.

I'll keep you guys informed.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

That Birthday "Haul"

Last Tuesday was my birthday and it already feels weeks ago. Time is just weird for me. Weeks can feel like a lot longer and months? I'm surprised I can keep track of months at all. The month right now though is June. I almost said July. I'm bad at this. Well, anyway, I suppose without much else to talk about I might as well tell you all what I got for my birthday.
This is actually pretty much it.
The main bulk came from my dad of course. Who is always super nice to me on holidays and birthdays. As well as buying me the three games pictured there he also played a few games of pool with me (he won one, I won one) and he gave me money to buy myself a veritable feast for one. I'm surprised I survived the night. The Iron Man action figure was more of a present to myself as I ended up paying my dad back for it. 

Outside of actual physical gifts I got some money from both my mum and my boss of all people. Last year he got me a big ass cake and he also bought me a game before so I'm not surprised at his generosity. I used his money to buy two books on pre-order so they're yet to arrive. I also know what I want to buy with the money from my mum and just haven't been able to yet. 

Lastly my brother gave me a few DVDs from his personal collection. His money situation is even more messed up than mine so I'm understandable about that. All in all I'm pretty sure I'm going to enjoy everything I got and that's all I wanted to be able to do.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Immortal Space Update Whatever; Major Announcement

Today I am going to dispense with some of the other frivolities of regular Immortal Space updates. I'm going to refrain from mesmerizing you with how much I've written because the fact of the matter is; I haven't written too much. But there is a good reason for that. A reason I shall now get in to.

As you know one of the reasons I'm going back through it all again is to bring it up to date with my current writing skill. I'm going through it and improving the dialogue and the world building, and the like. This is an essential task because the story has been picked up and dropped off at numerous points over the last year or two. Some parts were written ages ago, and some parts written quite recently. The difference in quality was so immense it required me to go back and rewrite everything.

Thankfully I never made such a simple error. 
The bits at the end, otherwise known as the bits I'm writing now, are things that are already in tune with my current skill level. It is impossible for me to improve them at the minute and trying to do so would be a fruitless effort. To that end I found myself copying and pasting a lot of what I had written, merely adjusting dialogue and, on occasion, names to fit in with my new plan. Did you know I accidentally gave the main villain the same name as a different guy entirely? That was the kind of thing I was fixing and it made the whole process much quicker. To that end, through my sort of lazy approach at a second draft, I have a major announcement pertaining to the writing of Immortal Space.

By the end of this week I will be writing entirely new material. We're approaching the end game here folks. I wanted to be starting the new chapters this week but unfortunately I was too busy over the weekend to finish polishing up the last two chapters.

From this point out I have no idea how long anything will take. There are only nine brand new unwritten (but planned) chapters to write. I don't know how long they will take though so I can't promise anything at the minute in regards to a release date. But I will continue to keep you posted.

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