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I Never Could Get the Hang of Thursdays.

A week from the time I am writing this the last votes of the general election will be being cast. Yes it is that time again in the UK. We had an election in 2017 and 2015 and now again. Since the Brexit vote the UK has been in turmoil and it has felt like nothing else has been discussed in parliament but Brexit.

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

I always vote in elections even though, sometimes, it feels like a pointless endeavour. The first-past-the-post voting system is deeply flawed. A party could, in theory, get the most votes but few seats if their support was too spread out. This is because what counts is the votes in each constituency. CGP Grey has done a series of videos on voting which is well worth a watch:

Check out the rest of the play list it is pure gold.

For the time being, and for the foreseeable future, we are stuck with this system and have to work with it. I think the spoiler effect is especially problematic – and it is why we are in the mess we are in – if you follow the news in the UK you will know what I mean.

I am rethinking as I write this but I think I am just going to say it. The Conservative party was worried UKIP would take their votes – so they humoured them by having the referendum. The plan seems to have been that the referendum would result in remain winning and UKIP would disappear. However leave won and nobody was expecting that or knew how to proceed.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

There are other issues besides Brexit but Brexit is certainly going to be a focus of many people’s votes. It for that reason, although not that reason alone, that I am voting Labour this time around.

It is my opinion that Labour’s plan is the most fair. The Liberal Democrats, while I agree with their position, are ignoring the referendum. The Conservatives are following the referendum but are ignoring the fact that the question was too simplistic. There are as many ways to leave the EU as there are to have a fun weekend. Imagine if that was the question: Would you like to have fun this weekend?

Photo by KML from Pexels

We would all say yes to that but what are we going to do?

  1. Watch football
  2. Get drunk.
  3. Go to the club.
  4. Sit quietly at home, listen to The Corrs, while sipping tea.
  5. Read a book.
  6. Play a board game.
  7. Watch all of The Lord of the Rings films back to back.
  8. Run a marathon.
  9. Make a quilt.
  10. Sit in the park.
  11. Go trainspotting.
  12. Write your novel.
  13. Stay in bed and just sleep.
  14. Cook a fancy meal.
  15. Enter an eating contest.
  16. Go to the gym.
  17. Visit mum and dad.
  18. Watch Cricket.
  19. Go to the science fiction convention.
  20. Go for a hike.

All those things could be fun. However if I said ‘Yes’ to fun and ended up at the gym I would be very disappointed. (The fact that I put on weight last month and need to go to the gym is irrelevant at this point.)

Or to put it another way.
Would you like a £1000?
Yes.
That’ll be one foot please.
Wait what?
Your foot for the £1000.
On second thoughts…
You said ‘Yes’ now hold still.

Photo by Tyler Lastovich from Pexels

Now you could decide that you would rather have £1000 than your foot but when the money was offered that wasn’t known so the question needs to be asked again. It is not ignoring democracy it is following through and giving people an informed choice. In my view it is the same as getting work done on your home. When you ask for a quote you have a figure in mind and if it is a lot more than that you wouldn’t go ahead with the work.

There are many questions that turn from a ‘Yes’ to a ‘No’ when more facts are known. I honestly can’t understand the Brexit at all costs mentality. Yet that is what many people seem to want.

I did have more to say but this post is getting really long. My philosophy this election is anyone but the Tories. That said I like what Labour are offering, and this time around might have voted for them anyway. And I hope if they do get in they help the homeless and poor families who need it so desperately.

I hope the election goes well and I suspect that with whoever wins we still have some time before this Brexit stuff is truly behind us.

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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…the end. (Nano 2019)

Yesterday National Novel Writing Month 2019 came to an end and I completed the 50,000 words. It was a bit of an uphill battle at times but I did it and I am pleased with having done it. It didn’t quite go according to plan and I want to tell you about it. And I am doing this at the last minute – I have 39 minutes. (Yeah that really didn’t work out did it?)

One: My planned protagonist was not my protagonist.

I started off with a plan for a main character and her story. That character ended up hardly being in the story and she might not even be in the final draft.

Two: My actual protagonist turned out to be gay – but he is still closeted.

Sometimes your characters speak to you – it is weird when it happens because you don’t know where it comes from. My actual protagonist is Ian Foyle a lieutenant in the Royal Navy. Specifically an observer on a helicopter.

I just picked the name at random. I only needed to know about him in relation to his job. Now the story has a love interest. Some people swear by detailed character descriptions I prefer to just find out as I write. (To let the characters speak to me.) I will have to get a sensitivity reader when the time comes. The last thing I want to do is offend any one.

Three: My secondary main character lost his wife.

The other main character is Lieutenant Commander Andrew Hildebrand. (Tip for next year give character’s long names it helps boost the word count) – I was writing a scene between him and an elf. He was attracted to her and I kept thinking this was bad because it felt like he should have been married. I put in late wife and suddenly it clicked. His wife was gone and he was feeling guilty about feeling attracted to someone else.

Four: One of the fauns may be transgender.

So fauns are important to the story. I won’t say villain more like an antagonist – I didn’t want a villain as such.

My idea of the fauns was that they are matriarchal thus it is the males that have what we would consider a ‘female’ role. As such a faun ship’s captain should have been female – but I kept writing ‘he’.

So could this character be transgender? And if so how does that work in a world of magic?

…or

Is the faun a male pretending to be female to overcome prejedice in his society?

…or

Am I just a bad writer who can’t remember his own race backstory?

All in all it was a good month of writing. And now I can panic about Christmas. See you next week.

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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The Whoosh of a Deadline.

I’m leaning towards blind panic myself.

Rupert Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 2)

I am writing this on the 22nd and I am far behind on Nano. Things haven’t exactly gone to plan this year. I still have some time left but only two of those days are days off.

Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU from Pexels

Nanowrimo is always a challenge and it is supposed to be. Even though there is no deadline in a real sense there is still a deadline and there is a sense of achievement if it is reached. So if you’ll excuse me I am going to get back to it. See you next week. I hope you have a great evening.

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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The Hump

Photo by Henry & Co. from Pexels

We are just over half way on Nanowrimo…by time… not my words. Yes at time of writing (Saturday) I am at 25,164 words in – which is about 1500 words short.

And now it is Sunday and I have made a bit of progress. I am still behind. In my defence I was ill for a couple of days and so didn’t write as effectively on those days.

Just 13 days to go before the end and I am struggling. Once you reach the hump in a project like this it almost inevitable. The goal is just to get the words on the page and worry about the rest later.

I have a secret strategy – I have jumped ahead in the story to the part I know avoiding the parts that are a struggle. I can go back and fill in the gaps at a later time – in theory.

If you’ll excuse me I have 1547 words left to get me back on track. After tomorrow though I will be off track as I may not get time to write tomorrow. Life does get in the way sometimes.

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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Confusion

By the time you read this I will be ten days into nanowrimo. In theory I will have written 16,670 words. I am hoping that that is more than a theory – I did entertain the rather silly notion of getting 10,000 words a day done in this week as I have been off work for most of it. At least I can get ahead of where I need to be. That should be doable right?

As I write it is 2333 on the 4th and I am 45 words ahead. I have been playing catch up. Due to other commitments I was unable to write much on the first two days. In fact on the 2nd I got no words in at all! Now all I have to do is stay ahead so I can reach that target!

Love this theme tune.

So how is this thing going? Well the title is confusion so I’ll let you judge. Actually in truth it is not going so badly but one of the problems with not planning is that ideas come at you as you write. Therefore certain elements in the plot may be repetitious, irrelevant, or in need of change. I don’t see that as a big issue necessarily – that is why we have editors.

I thought about updating this across the week however that is something I am likely to forget – I do not organise this kind of stuff too well. As I write I am (It is the 7th now) 320 words ahead. I am off tomorrow (8th) too and then back to work so I will be doing more writing today – I should probably try to get outside too. I don’t think that will happen.

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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And so it begins… (2019)

Photo by Maria Pop from Pexels

I am not sure if there will be a knight in my Nanowrimo story but I do know one thing there will be a battle. Hopefully a battle in the story and not a battle of me staring at a blank screen and not knowing what to write.

I have often heard how important planning is for a novel. I find that impossible. I don’t feel I can visualise where things are until they are there. Does that make sense? No. The answer is no.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/gray-concrete-pathway-besides-pink-flower-during-day-158028/

To it is like going for a walk but having to imagine the walk first. Then you write down a sequence and try to follow just that sequence. So rather than having a map you just have a piece of paper that says: left, right, left, left, right, and so on and so on.

So instead of a plan I am going to just start. I am on 2904 words (total) at the moment and have 2096 words to go to get me on track. I want to smash through that and finish this week, which I am off work for, far above the 11,667 target for the fist week. At least that is the plan. Now, if you’ll excuse, I need to get back to it. Toodles.

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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Need to Know

https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-of-rabbit-on-field-326012/

As a writer it is very easy to get drawn into a rabbit warren of interesting but ultimately useless information.

Photo by Eugene Dorosh from Pexels

The most basic way this happens is when I set out to find one simple piece of information. I had a character, I wanted her to be from France, and so I googled for a map of France. I picked a city name. I lingered on the Wiki page for that city – which was pointless all I needed was the name.

Incidentally the city I decided on was Draguignan – which I changed to Bordeaux when reading it out as I wasn’t sure of pronunciation.

Then there is background information. What do I need to know?

How indeed?

Many years ago I began planning the background information for a science fiction novel I was working on. The ship had many aliens on board and I wanted to know everything about the crew. There were 900 aboard and I wanted to know all their names, races, ranks, and ages.

Photo by Mitja Juraja from Pexels

Why? Because of Star Trek. I grew up watching Star Trek. For other children it was Disney but for me it was Star Trek and TNG and DS9 are still two of my favourite shows. A common feature of those shows, and all the Trek shows, was the crewman who would be unaffected by wherever was threatening the crew this week.

So when I was crafting my own universe I felt I needed to know exactly how many of each race there was. Therefore I would know which crewmen I could use for any given story.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

Also to understand command structures I have done a lot of research into the Royal Navy, United States Navy, and many other navies around the world. I have looked at ships, ranks, positions, and have come to one conclusions. I will never understand. The question I am struggling with is how much do I need to understand? A question I need to answer by the start of November.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/grey-submarine-in-body-of-water-under-cloudy-sky-67575/

I would love for someone who knows of the navy to be able to read a novel of mine and find it to be accurate. I have come to the conclusion that the only way to do that is to literally find a reader with that expertise. There is only so much google can find.

I don’t know exactly what form my nano novel will take. I have tried to plan but I just want to start writing. Five days from when you read this it will all begin.

My solution to the gaps in my knowledge is to skirt the issue. The nature of the story is that I can just invent my own world. If it isn’t the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but instead the Royal Navy of …. well I don’t quite have a name yet. Then there can be no mistakes.

If that fails I have to accept that I don’t kneed to know everything. Do I need to know every Seaman, Leading Hand, Petty Officer, Chief Petty Officer, Warrant officer, Lieutenant or Lieutenant Commander? Probably not.

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

Leave a comment

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