Tuesday, 26 March 2013

FB3X Drabble Cascade 3 - Word of The Week 'stone' - Cold Vengeance (PG13, Thriller)

Fantasy Boys XXX Drabble Cascade

Author's Note
This week's word from FB3X Drabble Cascade took me on a not-so-literal journey. Stone as a descriptor, rather than a noun. 

Cold Vengeance
Sophie Duncan

I felt nothing looking down on the snivelling wreck in front of me. Two years chasing, but this was not for Sash anymore, I had lost that part of me along the way. Why was I here?

Didn't much matter.

"Please," he begged. "I'll give you anything you want."

I blinked at him, gun loose in my hand for a moment. Yet, those baby blue seducers touched nothing. I was immune.

"Can't give me my soul back, can y'," I shrugged.

His eyes widened - shock then despair. I firmed up my grip, put the barrel against his forehead, and fired.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Top Ten Movie Countdown BlogFest

I'm joining in the Top Ten Movie Countdown BlogFest.

Now, I thought this blog post would be easy, but I'm finding whittling my list of favourite movies down to just 10 is v. difficult - many have fallen by the wayside!

10. The Mummy (1999)
I love Egyptology, I love adventure movies and John Hannah has the best one liners ever! Brendan Frazer and Rachel Weisz star in what everyone thought was going to be a minor adventure movie, but turned into something of a blockbuster. I'm not surprised, because it has a stellar cast, a fun script that doesn't take itself at all seriously and a good dose of action to back it all up. Plus, the heroine is out and proud as a LIBRARIAN! What's not to love?

9. Lady In White
Lukas Haas after Witness, but before he grew up, playing Frankie Scarlatti, a young boy who, thanks to a trick by his friends, gets shut in the school cloak room and thus witnesses the appearance of the ghost of a little girl. Shortly thereafter, he is attacked by someone who is very much alive, who comes looking for something in the same room, and he is nearly killed. Thus begins his quest to find out who the little girl is, who the mysterious woman in white can be and what his attacker wanted in the school room.

It's a bit twee in places, the whole hearts and stars at the end is not its finest moment, but this film has the ability to gently scare (don't expect blood and guts and lots of screaming), take you to the edge of your seat and also charm as it harks back to rural USA in the mid 20th Century. It's a small town story, not fast paced, but enthralling and the first time I watched it, I wanted to find out everything Frankie is discovering.

8. Jack's Back
This is an 80's movie starring James Spader (wow is he sexy in this one) and Cynthia Gibb, and, on the surface, I should have hated it, because it contains two of my most awful things in a movie: Jack The Ripper inspired murders (I find them really boring); death of a twin. However, this is one of my all time fav movies now, hence it being on this list. It just has something, probably James Spader, but there is something else as well - a little mysticism, a bad boy done good and some really good action.

7. The Green Mile
I cry and cry and cry when I watch this movie, but I also smile through the tears at times. Heart-wrenching and difficult to watch in places, but just a brilliant, brilliant piece of cinema.

6. The Young Sherlock Holmes
This is a real romp of a movie that reinvents the first meeting of John Watson and Sherlock Holmes to a boarding school in London. It's Steampunk before Steampunk was invented, throws in Egyptology, which is a favourite of mine and mixes it up with a lot of fencing and stiff upper lip. It was also an early use of computer graphics. The villains are villainous, the heroes, heroic and its not that subtle, but I've loved it since I was young and the whole attack of the killer cream buns that happen in the middle is priceless!

5. Chocolat
I can go back to this movie and watch it over and again. The characters, the eccentricity, the setting are all just wonderful. N.B. I tried to read the book after seeing the movie and absolutely loathed it. :(

4. The 13th Warrior
This is another one of my go-to comfort movies. I can put this on and just watch, I don't get bored like I do in other movies I've seen before. Antonio Banderas playing an Arab who gets dumped with a bunch of Norse men going off to rescue a village from a (possibly) mythical foe. He's a poet, not a warrior, and if he'd been ten years younger, I'd have said this was a coming of age movie, but it's more than that. There's self-discovery, courage and a lot of dead vikings by the end of the movie, but, since it embraces the complete fearlessness of death that the Norsemen have and their sense of fatality, you don't grieve for them, you celebrate them.

3. The Woman In Black
I have read the book, seen the stage play, seen the TV adaptation and I was chomping at the bit to see this movie when it came out. Some folks might have groaned about Harry Potter being the lead, but Daniel Radcliffe plays a perfectly understated Arthur Kipps, a young man devastated by the loss of his wife and struggling to find his way back into the world. Much of the film is focused just on Arthur and the ghostly terror that awaits him in Eel Marsh House, an isolated place on an island cut off from civilisation for much of the day and night by the tide. Daniel proves that he is a strong actor, who can hold the screen by himself. For fans of horror, there are plenty of moments from spooky to downright terrifying and it is a well-paced, totally absorbing story.

2. The Lost Boys
This movie began my life-long addiction to all things vampire, plus, I like the Lost Boys' style! ;P
I love the half-vampire fighting full-vampire for their soul trope and this one did very well. It's very 80's, but it's the bits of the 80's I like to remember, so it's well worth a watch for any vampire movie fans.

1. Return of the Jedi
This has to be number 1: I waited to see it for five or six years after it came out, because we didn't get to the cinema a lot when I was a kid and, so the first time I saw it was on video when we borrowed a VCR for the Christmas holidays and rented the vid. Then we nearly wore out the tape, because we watched it so many times.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Lists and blog hops and promo - oh my!

A couple of weeks ago, I started looking into list makers for blog hops, since Tash and I are embarking on organising some regular community-building fun stuff for Fantasy Boys XXX. So I thought I'd share my conclusions so far.

First, I went to take a look at the most popular linked list tool, Linky Tools. Looks like an excellent product, only problem for me, it costs $2 a month. Not much, I know, but for a cash-strapped writer, that's at least 3 sales and since I'm at the start of community building, I couldn't justify the expense (yet).

So, I went looking for free tools.

Last week, Tash and I launched our first Drabble Cascade on Fantasy Boys XXX - a bit of fun challenging folks to write drabbles (100 word pieces) inspired by a word of the week supplied by one of our readers. Naturally, since we want folks to join in, we needed a tool to collate all the drabble posts and we decided to use Simply Linked. It's, as its name suggests, a very simple tool, allows you to create a user, create lists with that user and then gives you javascript to paste into your site so folks can join the list. Great! It did exactly what it said on the tin!

However, after using it for one week, I began to see a few problems for extensive use of this tool:

  1. The only embed option is javascript, and several of our entries were from LiveJournal, which strips out scripts, so they couldn't show the linked list. This would also be true of WordPress, I believe. Blogger, however, is fine with javascript.
  2. The list owner cannot reorder items in the list - this became a problem, because I decided, as an after thought, that having a link to the main drabble information post would be useful in the list, and I could not put that entry at the top of the list unless I deleted the other entries.
  3. There is no notification when folks join the list, so I had to keep going back and checking the list manually so I could go and comment on people's entries. This is okay with just one list to check, but, since we'll be running one Drabble Cascade a week, this would soon get out of hand.
So, I went searching again, and for week 2, we're going to be trying out Listly. This is a social media site which allows anyone to create lists on any subject they like and have folks add items to the list. It has notifications, ability to change the order of list items, and it has multiple embed options, including an iframe for places that don't allow javascript. Brilliant! It fixed all the Simply Linked issues.

However, there are 3 drawbacks I've come across while setting up our first lists. 

  1. Unlike Simply Linked, a list cannot be set to non-editable, so if you have a fixed term event, like a blog hop that happens on a single day, you cannot prevent anyone from adding more items to the list after the fact. This is not a problem for the Drabble Cascades, because we want folks to carry on adding as long as they want to.
  2. This is a major drawback. Listly has a free and a premium version, and in the free version, any list that is created is instantly live, anyone can see it and interact with it. This is a problem for those of us scheduling posts on our blogs in advance that we want to go live as the day ticks into being while we're asleep in bed. Not even the premium version offers scheduling of lists going live (I don't think, although finding the help on Listly is somewhat problematic). What this means in practice is, I can create my list for a Drabble Cascade in advance, but what would have been invisible unless I embedded the list in a post for Simply Linked, is instantly public on Listly. My solution: create the skeleton of the list and embed it in the scheduled drabble post, but leave out the pertinent piece of information, the inspirational 'word of the week'. That will appear in the blog post and, later on, when I get out of bed on the day of the drabble cascade, I'll update the list with the word of the week.
  3. When you add an item to the list, because of the reading of the page being added, you cannot add a blog post that is in 'scheduled' mode, because, of course, it does not exist at that moment in time (this is something you can do with Simply Linked, because it does not use any more than the url). This means that, as a list owner, I can't pre-add the FB3X blog entries for the cascade to the list until they go live, which would be useful, but is not a show stopper.
  4. [EDIT] Another drawback with Listly that wasn't immediately obvious, because I was already logged in on my browser (doh!) is that you have to have a Listly user to add to a list - this is not very different from giving your email addy to the other list services, but you do have to have either Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn accounts. We've asked folks to feedback on this requirement to see if they're happy to create a Listly user to be able to join in the Drabble Cascades. [EDIT END]
So, in short, neither solution is perfect, and we have yet to try out the Listly list in practice, but, for free services, both of them are pretty good. I'll follow up and report on how well we get on with Listly.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Animating Your Google+ Cover Image

I've had an enquiry about how I have animated my cover photo for my Google+ profile: so I thought I'd share how I did it, step by step.

For those who are image-creation savvy, I have two things to say:

  1. The image is an animated gif, which unlike other social networks, Google+ allows.
  2. I found that with 19 frames, I had to halve the size of the image from 2120x1190px, which is the max for the new Google+ cover image to 1060x565px in order to have an image that loads in a small enough time.
For those of you who would like to know how to design and make an animated gif, then read on. :)

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

FB3X Drabble Cascade #1 - Question or Answer? (Non-fiction)

Y'know, I've been thinking about drabbles a lot while setting up the FB3X Drabble Cascade #1 and up till now I've been assuming that they're works of fiction, because that is the classic definition, but then I got to thinking some more and I wondered - why? If someone has something to say in the non-fiction realm, then why not attempt the challenge of getting it into 100 words? So, then I thought, do I have anything to say in 100 words about 'question' , our inspirational word of the week? And here is the result. ;)

Question, or Answer?

What is more important, a question, or its answer? 

Questions can tell you a lot about the asker: for example, which one of these two do you think is short on patience?


"Is that alright with you?"

The response is also telling.


"Oh yes, completely."

Which responder is friendly, and which one means the opposite of what they're saying?

We can convey lots by just the phrasing of a question, but also its tone is important, which we can express with punctuation, like the exclamation mark. 

Questions: subtle, blunt, warm, or cold, where would we be without them?

Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters - my thoughts

if I had to describe my reaction to Hansel and Gretel in a few words, I think I'd say 'surprisingly plotty'. By that, I don't mean a great epic with huge twists and turns all the way through, but it certainly, as my sister put it on the way home from the cimema last night, is the equivalent of a good YA novel.

It's not a long movie, only an hour an a half, but it doesn't need to be longer, it's not trying to be complex and long winded, instead, it's punchy, full of enough action for any fan of such things and then has enough plot behind it to hold the whole thing together, unlike some the more disastrous movies we've seen recently where it all seems to be action based on a very small premise.

Basic plot: Hansel and Gretel are abandoned in the woods by their father, just like the fairy tale. They don't know why, they don't talk about it. But they did meet the witch in the gingerbread cottage and she did force feed Hansel candy, to the point that he has 'the sugar disease' - which is like no diabetes I've ever seen unless you expect a diabetic to go into a coma within seconds of not taking an unnamed injection that has no known source. However, practicalities aside, I mean, this is a fantasy movie and there are plenty of weapons around that just wouldn't be there, like a very effective gatling gun, the low-sugar attacks are a cheesy little plot device that comes in useful for the writer at one point, guess what, during a crucial fight.

Anyway, I digress, on with the plot: after escaping from their first witch, Hansel and Gretel become witch hunters, and folks looking for strong women in stories, H&G has it in bucket loads. First, Gretel is the leader of our duo, Hansel pretty much does as she says and she keeps him in line (more about the siblings' characters later). Plus, all our villains, witchy ones, are female, and Famke Janssen does a great job as the ever-nasty Muriel, grand high witch. There are some human villains, just to mix it up a bit and they're all men.

So, that's the premise, what about the main plot? Well, it's pretty straightforward, H&G are hired to find a town's children that have been going missing and the townsfolk suspect witches. H&G go up not only against the witches, but the town Sheriff, who wanted to burn an innocent women, whom he had decided was a witch. needless to say, violence and gore ensue - there's a reason this movie got a 15 rating in the UK, believe me, there is no trying to cover everything up for the sake of a 12A certificate (yay!). And a girlie shows off her assets, above the waist too, so another reason for the certificate. I am soo, sooo, glad that they didn't sacrifice the action for the rating, I've seen far too many movies of late that water down what the camera sees just to get a 12A, and that would be fine if the tone of the movie matched, but in a lot of cases, it didn't.

So, I won't go into details about the rest of the plot, but suffice to say there are revelations, conflict, separation, betrayal and of course, the big fight at the end (remember I mentioned a gatling gun ;P). All in all, a bloody good romp!

However, what I found the most interesting was the relationship between H&G. As I said earlier, she's definitely in charge, she's the sensible one, the negotiator, and that could have easily meant that Hansel could have been the bit of muscle behind her, but that is not how it comes across. Gemma plays Gretel as strong, but tempered and G has a deep, deep love for her brother. She is also not an invulnerable Mary Sue - she can kick arse, but she also gets her arse kicked. I'm not saying the characters in this are overly subtle, but someone though about them beyond their dialogue.

Hansel is a bit more complicated (or maybe I was just watching Jeremy more - I admit it, he is very good looking ;P). He came across as emotionally stunted by his childhood trauma, not very eloquent, unable to handle a woman's advances and he could have looked like a bit of a clown, but the way he was played/directed means his flaws were endearing, rather than clownish. There were also a few subtle things that were not overtly mentioned, just the way scenes were set up: in one bedroom scene, he slept under Gretel's bed when there was a bunk above for him. No explanation, no in yer face, this is a trauma reaction, just him lying on the floor and rolling under the bed to go back to sleep after Gretel wakes him up because she's having a bad dream about their childhood. I thought that was a nice little window onto their lives, not only Hansel, but Gretel's need to talk and Hansel's unwillingness to address the past (which of course is going to come back and bite them in the arse).

Oh yes, and as a side note, there was an interesting scene where H&G have been separated and G literally lands on H - they check each other over and they play it almost like they are lovers, which made me sit up and take notice - very well done, subtle scene in the midst of a whole heap of carnage, which leaves you to make up your own mind as to whether their situation has led to a little too much closeness in their relationship.

So, all in all, good characters, good supporting cast too and a fun, romping plot. It's good to see an ol' fashioned adventure on our screen again, no scrabbling for extra screen time, or younger certificates. There are: some fun comedic moments (chuckle, not belly laugh); a scattering of character subtleties, enough to give the watcher something to hang on to; strong women, both bad and good; strong men too, and finally a pretty engaging plot. I really enjoyed it, in fact I'd go see it again.

The only detractor, we had to see the movie in 3D, since there were no showings in the evening in 2D. The the 3D was crap. Pretty much all of it except the titles and credits was stuff flying out the screen at us, and in some cases, off the bottom of the screen, which threw me out of the 3D. At one point, we were in a forest at night, and I couldn't actually see the trees because the 3D dropped the amount of light. This is my little rant - quit with the 3D, PLEASE, film industry and go back to relying on plot rather than just special effects, this movie did not need 3D!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Going to see Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters tonight ::bounce::

Okay, so it may be a not-too-serious action adventure with a slender plot (I'm going on other mentions here), but I've been wanting to see Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters since I saw the first trailer for it on Google+. :D It has Jeremy Renner in leather, Gemma Arterton for the blokes, so there's equal opportunities kick-asserie AND fantasy witch-fighting ;P.  I don't expect to be blown away by the subtleties of the plot, but I do expect to be entertained! I shall feed back on if my expectations have been met :)

FB3X Drabble Cascade #1 - Word of the Week - question

I'm joining in the FB3X Drabble Cascade #1.

Author's Note
I decided to write a fanfic drabble this week, because I haven't done a whole lot of fanfic writing in a while, and it's fun ;) This is actually a small interlude that follows on from a fanfic I wrote last year called 'A Sex-Witch At Castle Stein'. It based on characters from The Stein and Candle Detective Agency by Michael Panush, a fabulously testosterone-filled set of pulp detective stories with a twist, namely zombies, ghosts and other supernatural mayhem. I'm a slash writer, so that is the way my fanfic rolls, but the little interlude below is PG :)

When I read the word of the week, my immediate thought about a question is that, usually, the most important thing is the answer...

A New Place

by Sophie Duncan

"Whaddaya think?" I asked proudly, sticking my heels up on my desk, leaning back in my expensive chair, hands behind my head and grin plastered on my face.

Weatherby stood in the doorway just behind Evelyn, and, if I'm honest, it was the kid I was checking for approval of our new offices. It had been nearly a month since he'd dealt with the Sorceress, but that bitch still had a hold on him and this ol' soldier wanted to give him a lift.

He walked in then, looked around some more, adjusted his glasses self-consciously and, finally, smiled.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Musings on Crime Drama and a little more...

Sometimes I have to wonder at how cynical about TV plots I have become. I just saw about 30 seconds of an ep of New Tricks (not something I watch regularly), but within that time, I picked the villain and the plot device used by him to get away with his crime. It's a combination of recognising actors, since TV casting directors are rarely original, and spotting the drop-in plot points that are the hints of what is going on.

Rizzoli and Isles is another one where I can usually pick the villain on first sight, and that one's just to do with plot devices, since most of the bit-part actors are unknown to me. CSI too, although this week it was the actor who gave it away, he was the only famous face among the extras and he normally plays low-lifes ;P.

I think I must watch far too many crime dramas, but they're one of my favourite types of TV show and there are still some that can keep me wondering. Lewis was one (it's a pity that it's finished for good, I loved that show and I can watch them over and over again, they don't get boring, even when I do know who did it). It's the same with Agatha Christie. I own all the Joan Hickson Miss Marples, and the ITV Agatha Christie's Marple, and I often give them an airing. The characters are just so well honed and interesting, it doesn't matter that I can quote the script :). I also like David Suchet as Poirot, although there are some of those I can give a miss (his version of Murder on the Orient Express is a travesty both to the character of Poirot and to the tone of the original book). I don't own them on DVD yet, because I'm waiting for him to finish filming all of them and then I'll buy the set - there are only a few to go, including Poirot's last case, which I have never seen filmed.

I've only written one crime drama, Sacrifice of An Angel, and it has given me appreciation for the skill of authors like Agatha Christie. She must have had a mind like a razor to keep everything straight and know when and where to drop in clues and glimpses of character. Tash and I had to plan Sacrifice very carefully, and even then, sometimes we had to rethink what clues we would drop into the story and when. It's really difficult to balance giving the reader a chance to work out who did what while not giving too much away. To be honest, when you're looking from inside the plot outwards, as the writer, it is very, very difficult to judge. I'd be happy if folks told me they had a pretty good idea who 'done it' by 2/3 of the way through the book, but they couldn't be sure - then I'd think I'd done my job.

Certainly, like any type of writing, mysteries take practice and soon, I shall be getting some more. A little later than I wanted to, due to halving my writing time by getting a half-time job and needing to finish the sequel to Death In The Family first, I and Tash will be starting on the sequel to Sacrifice, where Theo and Remy launch into another investigation whilst dealing with the fallout from Francis' death. We have the book outlined, but we're going to need to sit down together to work through it again, since it's been a good year since we developed the outline. It's a very different challenge working with a writing partner, even if she is my twin; I find I have to be much more disciplined about the whole thing, but since I am having to be stricter with myself and my time planning due to working as a project manager as well, I hope the routine of writing with Tash will help.

First though, Heritage is Deadly 2 needs finishing, and I'm glad I walked away from it for a while, because I knew it was missing something, or rather I was missing something when writing it, and, with a little reread of #1, I've actually made note of some points that will make it a much more gripping read and progress some of the plot points from #1 more fully than the current draft does. That will have to wait until Tuesday, though, since tomorrow is Mothering Sunday, so Tash and I are cooking lunch for the family and it'll be a day with my mama, and Monday is a full day of work due to time commitments of the project manager I'm taking over from at university.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Well I survived my first week at my new job, but as for the work-work-life balance thing....

...that didn't go so well. I wasn't expecting it to, though, not in the first week. I'm going to need to get used to my new routine before the going to work thing stops playing havoc with my writing muse. I didn't manage any writing this week (except this blog), but then my head was just full of the project I'm taking on, the new folks I'm working with, and all the little start up things I have to do, like getting a security pass and setting up my remote desktop.

However, after my first week, I do think I'm getting to grips with the new project and all the new university terminology (well, actually, that's going to take years, but at least I understand half of the conversation now ;P). I also know practical stuff like: when the buses run from across the road to take me to and from work; where the cafes and loos are; how to log on to the university network. There are still a few hiccups I have to sort out next week, like my email not working and uploading a photo for my security pass, but I have been ruthless, my hours are done and I have cut all ties with work for the weekend so I can concentrate on my other job, i.e. author.

Well, actually, I'm putting on my publicity and networking hat today and finishing the set up for the FB3X Drabble Cascade, which is a new game/blog hop that I and my sis are setting up over on the Fantasy Boys XXX blog. It's going to be running once a week, on a Tuesday (first one is 12th March) - we picked Tuesday, because nothing ever happens on a Tuesday ;P. We're asking folks to give us one-word inspirations over on this post, and each week, we'll kick off the cascade with a drabble (a story of exactly 100 words) inspired by the word of the week, which we'll be picking randomly from the list of words folks have given us (we already have a few dozen words to select from thanks to our readers). Plus we'll be adding a linked list to the bottom of the post for other folks to post links to their own drabbles and join in the fun, or for those who just want to go and read the creative waterfall of 100-word stories!

FB3X Drabble Cascade

We'd love to see the cascade grow, so please spread the word and join in the fun: add our button to your blog/website, or share it in a post by copying the code below

We've found a great, free linked list tool for implementing the cascade, it's called Simply Linked. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of something like Linky Tools, but we don't need anything really heavy, it just does what it says on the tin, allows folks to add their posts to the linked list and if they want to share the linked list with their blog followers, all they have to do is copy the javascript code that we provide above the list: truly simple. I've just been testing out the script (I set up a private test blog to be able to check out these kind of tools and make sure they do what we think they can do without having to post to one of the public blogs) and it all appears to be hunky dory.

So now, I just have to go and use the Google Spreadsheet random number generator to pick a word, come up with a drabble to seed the cascade (although, come to think of it, I think Tash has volunteered to write the first drabble for FB3X - I was getting fed up of typing Fantasy Boys XXX, so I've come up with a shortening to save my fingers ;P - but I still have to write a drabble for this blog as well, because, if I don't join in with it, I can't expect anyone else to). I may write a fanfic drabble for this blog, because it's been a while since I indulged my penchant for fandom.

So, hey ho, onwards, I think I shall need this weekend when it finally arrives! I really have to get used to this office-work thing again! ;)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Finding a new work-work-life balance

Well, tomorrow morning at 9.30am, I start a new job, which means half my working week I'll be a project manager and the other half I'll be writing and publishing. Going from full time writer to 50/50 has all happened in the space of a week and I have to say, I'm a little bit nervous about starting my new job, since it's been nine months since I set foot in an office. Still, the interviews proved to me I'm not that rusty and I have some ideas already, so I'm mostly looking forward to it.

Still, now I'll have to share my writing time with my project management time and my home life, a new work/work/life balance, if you will, and some weeks I expect there'll be more of one work than the other when needs must. At least my writing means I can be flexible for my timetable in the office, so the two should not clash. I just have to get used to the fact that it's going to take me twice as long to produce my books, when I've been able to focus solely on them.

This week is going to be busy, starting a new job always is - lots to find out and take in. Though, y'know, my biggest challenge when joining a new office - it's not familiarising myself with the project, working on financial plans, or anything like that - it's names. I am hopeless with names, I just don't seem to be able to get them to sink in when I first meet someone, so I expect I'll be making notes of names and doing my own very special stakeholder analysis ;P.

Think of me tomorrow, send me positive vibes - ta!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Drabbles, drabbles and more drabbles - it's amazing what you can convey in 100 words!

Today I have written 12 draft drabbles in preparation for the Fantasy Boys XXX Drabblerotic Fest in April, which is Wittegen Press joining in the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge. This is not a fiction format I've played with much, I found it quite tough getting into the mindset for writing a drabble. Being exactly 100 words, they're very immediate, covering only a few seconds in the timeline of the story and so I found those moments, and those words have to be selected very carefully.

Trying to convey something that will interest a reader in just 100 words was the biggest challenge. But, as I started developing the different themes based on the letters of the alphabet, I found it got gradually easier to step into the moment and capture it (at least I think I succeeded). The drafts are with my editor now, so I'll see if I really did get it right tomorrow ;P

All in all, it was a rather fun day stepping in and out of different worlds and providing just a glimpse. One of them was based off an existing story, so it felt a little like fanfic when I wrote that moment, but the rest are all original characters and situations. I found myself revisiting some characters more than once in different drabbles, but being true to the format, I tried very hard to make each one stand on their own, not be a part reliant on another to make sense. Again, we'll see what my editor thinks of those :). 

Dipping in and out also gave me a chance to play with different moods as well as different fantasy/sci-fi characters and settings. Some are serious, some are humorous, and some in between, and I switched it up with tone as well. I'm usually an empathic writer, in that I want my reader to be on side with my protagonist, or at the very least understand them, but I experimented in one or two with trying to generate a sense of separation, a deliberate lack of sympathy with the central character. Not sure if I pulled it off yet. I'll be revisiting the drafts myself tomorrow once I've slept on them - that always helps me review things more cleanly.

Only 1200 words today, not an excessive amount, but with all the pauses and resets to my brain for different universes, I think I am happy with that count :)

I'm really starting to like drabbles! How about you?