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Alphasmarts and Snow Leopard

I got a nasty surprise this last day and a half, after an attempt to transfer my outline to the Alphasmart Neo failed midway and left the Neo unusable! Thankfully I was able to rectify the problem – eventually – so I can continue to carry my Neo around in case I get time to write at work.

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Winter is coming

Yesterday (Monday 26th) was the scheduled date for filming to start on the rest of Season One of “A Game of Thrones”, HBO’s adaptation of George R R Martin’s epic fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire”. To say that I’m excited is an understatement…

On a long walk to the post office yesterday, I was trying to work out why. I mean, I really enjoyed reading the first book, and I’m looking forward to the second, but I have other favourite fantasy series, including one that’s already been adapted for moving pictures – several of the Discworld novels have been thus treated. On the other hand none of my most favourite Discworld books have been adapted yet, which takes the edge off the anticipation. Also, Pratchett is an easy sell with wide audience appeal – adapting his work is almost a no-brainer.

When it comes to more serious fantasy, on the other hand, we have practically nothing. SF TV gets to be dark and gritty, at least at times, but fantasy TV is much more limited. For starters, it’s pretty much all urban fantasy: vampires, werewolves, and other monsters disrupting the lives of modern-day people. Secondly, for a generation brought up on the incomparable Joss Whedon, humour is almost obligatory. The only serious show that springs to mind is “True Blood” – which is of course a show about vampires. From HBO.

“A Game of Thrones” is neither urban nor humorous; it’s more like “The Tudors” or “The Borgias”, a sprawling epic of feuding dynasties set in a brutal medieval-style world. There are monsters out there, but they don’t make much of an appearance in the first book (and therefore the first season).

I think, therefore, that part of my excitement stems from the desire for non-fans of the genre to learn that there’s more to fantasy than vampires and boy wizards. Fantasy may not have the kudos of SF literature, which at its best can be the ultimate vehicle for a thought-provoking story, but it is much wider in range and style than public perception.

It’ll be interesting to see how the series is received by the TV-viewing public. Given HBO’s reputation for making top-quality drama, it has a good chance of success, even if no TV adaptation can ever satisfy the fan-boys. But one thing is now certain.

Winter is coming…

Write-in Deadline

I now have an “official” deadline to finish this write-in: Sunday August 15th.
The reason being that I want to get the rough cut critiqued by my writing group as soon as possible, before I attempt the final edit pass, and we’ve arranged to meet on Sunday 22nd August. I’m going to send round the bulk of the manuscript (around 80k) this weekend, with the rest to follow by the 15th.
That gives me four and a half weeks to write around 20k. It could be tight, given my present glacial rate of progress, but if I write solidly every weekend it is certainly doable. Here’s hoping…

Year 7 of 10

It’s often said that it takes ten years to become an overnight success:

“Researchers have shown it takes about ten years to develop expertise in any of a wide variety of areas, including chess playing, music composition, telegraph operation, painting, piano playing, swimming, tennis, and research in neuropsychology and topology. The key is deliberative practice: not just doing it again and again, but challenging yourself with a task that is just beyond your current ability, trying it, analyzing your performance while and after doing it, and correcting any mistakes. Then repeat. And repeat again.”
Peter Norvig, Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years

If so, I reckon I’m on year 7 on 10.

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Things are hotting up

The last few weeks have been hot and sticky – my least favourite kind of weather – so I’ve not had much luck focusing on my writing. Yesterday I decided it was BICHOK time (butt in chair, hands on keyboard), and I managed to finish another chapter – yay!
3000-odd words added to the manuscript, which takes me up to around 78,500, and I’m finally feeling motivated to continue…

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