Enamored with Etiquette

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Why are we drawn to the past? Why do we love period pieces and costume dramas, especially relating to England? Why do we use the Georgian/Regency Era (1714-1830s) and Victorian Era (1840s-1900) as the setting for so many historical romances or as the building blocks of Steampunk? Why do I spend a great deal of my time with Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, William Garrow, and Sherlock Holmes?
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What I’ve Learned (so far) About Writing Steampunk & Romance

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''When you're last minute revising and you realise how fucked you are'' Upshout.net

”When you’re last minute revising and you realise how fucked you are…”    (from @MedievalReacts)

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Hi folks!  Sorry I missed posting an entry last week, but I was in the final stretch of editing the second draft of All’s Fair and could not be derailed for anything. Let me just say that it’s been a trip, and it ain’t over yet, but I’m enjoying this slight breather.  Back in February, I sent All’s Fair through it’s first round of beta readers. This resulted in a major overhaul for my manuscript: 1/3 had to be cut entirely, 1/3 needed extensive reworking, 1/4 needed to be moved and/or have minor editing, and 1/12 could be kept as it was.  And Draft 2 is easily 100 pages longer than Draft 1 due to all of the stuff that was missing during my first attempt.  Needless to say, it’s been quite the learning curve, especially since I have never written in these two genres before; normally I stick with high fantasy.  So, what are some of the things that I learned at this juncture?

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Checking In

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Greetings to you all from the beginning of Week 3 in NaNoWriMo!  I have to say, this month’s writing has gone a lot better than it has for quite a while.  You may have noticed that my last few entries (although few and far between) contained a note of despondency.  Or maybe a healthy dose of it.  Or perhaps entire buckets of the stuff.  At any rate, I’d essentially stalled out on Ravens and Roses, which I’ve been working on pretty much non-stop for longer than I care to remember.  I know that I swore (again) that I’d have a finished draft at the end of this year (sound familiar?) and I still might.  It just may not be the project I was expecting it to be.  

My 2015 NaNo project, “code-named” AFiLaW (pronounced A-F-I-Law), also referred to as All’s Fair, has gained a lot of momentum, despite containing two genres that I’ve never worked with before:  Romance and Steampunk.  I’ll admit that at this point the prose is a little light on both; I keep forgetting to add steampunk descriptive details and I haven’t touched the sex scenes.  In fact, I may decide not to write any of the latter at all.  Scenes with that particular kind of intimacy are alien to me, and every piece of advice I can find about writing in the romance genre says: “If you are uncomfortable writing sex scenes, then don’t write them because your discomfort will show through.”  So we’ll see.  Still, even with those quibbles, I’ve been writing at least 1,000 words each day and often pass the 1,500- and 2,000-word marks.  That’s practically unheard of for me; I don’t recall doing that well even when I began Ravens and Roses in earnest back in 2010 for my first NaNo.

I think the reason I’ve been doing so well lately is threefold:

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Happy Halloween!

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When I was a kid, I liked Halloween.  I enjoyed acquiring bags of candy and my mom always made us kick-ass costumes, but Christmas was better because presents.  Now that I’m an adult, Halloween has replaced Christmas for two reasons:

1) Any gifts acquired during Halloween are edible and therefore do not take up any real space in my house.  

2) Costumes.

Since getting into anime and cosplay, Halloween has become the best non-convention excuse to showcase some of the awesome costumes that I’ve put together over the last five years.  On Wednesday this week I wore a dark blue yukata decorated with white butterflies I bought at Katsucon, complete with a very simple white obi, tabi socks, and black wig.  On Friday I wore my latest iteration of steampunk.  (Yes, I skipped Thursday because I didn’t have anything else prepped.  My closet is in a state of disarray.)  And today I wore a lovely green and white vintage medieval-style dress that my friend Storm Elf bought for me years ago, but I’d never worn it before because it’s too fragile to survive the Renaissance Faire.

Damn, it’s fun to play dress-up.  Not only is it fun to see the expressions on people’s faces and receive compliments, but it also helps one’s writing.  Getting into clothing you normally don’t wear helps improve descriptions and enter a different head-space, even if you don’t really act like a different character.  And every visit to a thrift store because a treasure hunt of possibilities.  Part of me wishes I had more time, energy, money, and talent to create and wear better costumes more often.   Alas, it can be both expensive an exhausting after a while, so I don’t do it very often.  I’m starting to value quality over quantity.

Even though Halloween has history and traditions far older than the current (sometimes chintzy) version, for me the main draw is being able to transform into something different.  Something new.  I’m hoping that sense of excitement and adventure carries over into November as NaNoWriMo begins.

Enjoy your All Hallow’s Eve!  I’ve included a list of awesome Halloween-esque songs with links to their respective youtube videos. Enjoy!

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Awesome Halloween-esque Songs:

“Moonlight Shadow” by Mike Oldfield (Remix by Blue UltrasGE)

“All Souls’ Night” by Loreena McKennitt

“Shadow of the Moon” by Blackmore’s Night

“FullMoon” by Sonata Arctica

“Mitternacht” by E. Nomine

“Ghost Love Score” by Nightwish

“Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo

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I’m Still Alive!

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Hey.

Do you know what day it is?

Yes, it’s a Tuesday.  What else?

Okay, the date is October 13th.  What happens on October 13th?

Why, the birthday of one of my favorite fictional characters:

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Quick Update (and placeholder)

Sorry everyone; there isn’t going to be a more substantial update this week because I’m finally indulging in a vacation.  However, I wanted to give a quick update (which will hopefully post on Monday automatically like it’s supposed to) on some things that are going on:

1)  On Friday, August 8, 2014, my first autonomous article for the online magazine Scoop was published!  It’s called “A Brief History of Steampunk” and I had a blast writing it.  Steampunk is such a rich and fairly new genre, and I hope I managed to interest both newcomers and experts alike.  Many thanks go to Mark and Jeff for giving me this opportunity.

2)  Since “Okami Amaterasu” is complete, I’ve chosen a new fanfic project to work on.  My Final Fantasy VII story, “Hidden Light,” has been languishing for several years while I puttered around with other projects.  But now I’m ready to get back to it and complete the story.  (The rest of it was already mapped out back in 2009…I just needed to write it!)  It features Vincent Valentine, one of my first bishonen crushes, and my FC Hikari, who was originally designed as a prototype for my Mariner Sequence character, Marella.  Thankfully Hikari and Marella have evolved into different people, but they share a lot of traits, and was my first experiment with writing a mentally damaged character.  Chapter 10 is already up, and you can expect Chapter 11 to be posted Monday, August 18!

3)  I’m hoping to feel more relaxed and recharged from my vacation.  The last few weeks have been a bit of a struggle.  Time to regain some equilibrium.