35 Years Old

Today is both my birthday and that of Auguste Rodin (sculpter of The Thinker). I’ve no idea how old Auguste is, but I’m 35.

Three and a half decades old. Many of the people reading this may remember that my worst fear as my thirtieth birthday approached was growing older. Now I’m middle aged and it still isn’t a nice prospect, but I’ve made my peace with it. Back then I was starting to realise that all my achievements were not only in the past, but the witnesses and places those achievements were recorded were pretty much all gone. I had memories, but nothing to show for what I had done in my life. As I have a rather potent fear of growing old and becoming a victim of something like Alzheimers which steals your mind from you, this was untenable.

Now I’m working towards newer and more tangible achievements. They may be good, bad or even average in the end, but they’ll still be something I can look on with pride and say “I did this”. Far from having my best in the past, now I can see more to do stretching far in front of me. For the first time in a long time I’ve been looking forward to a birthday and I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

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61 thoughts on “35 Years Old

  1. Happy anniversary! I'll get back to you later on your main page… Have a nice day. Tell your better half I said hello! Enjoy!

  2. Nice to know you liked it. Nothing too weird or confusing then?So far I've had it said there's elements of Rowling and Pratchett in there. Definitely not bad company to be in.

  3. Happy birthday Mikipooh..:hat:sorry it's a bit late in the day but some appointments kept me.And I meant to mail you to say DAMN yer chapters are wayy too short man :(ok at first I saw some Terry Pratchett in there but it didn't take me long to see more of you than I wanted to see someone else if you can understand that incoherent drivel I just spouted.Personally it sucked me right in there which is always important to whatever I read.So just know I loved it and I'm not just saying that cause it's your birthday :p

  4. Nothing too weird just yet and not confusing. I'm usually a stickler for that, that when somethingmuddles the readability of a passage it gets skipped or the book gets tossed.Hence me not liking to change authors as getting too used to certain writing styles.Over explanation is a huge no no in anything I read.

  5. Originally posted by garlingmatthews:

    Glad födelsedag!"It was wet in the city. Bertha had left the taps on again…"

    :left::right: I think I may have missed something… :confused:

  6. 3,900(ish) words, out of just over 70,000 so far. It's one of the longer chapters.I trialed that because I wasn't sure how people would react to the cuts to other characters, and a first chapter where you don't know anyone or what is happening is the ultimate test of that.

  7. Catchy, very catchy indeed. The first feeling is that I want to read more, and I'm even willing to pay for it. I have had a habit to read the first and last few sentences of stories to make a decision whether to read or not the full story. Here I have no possibility to read the last sentences of a story, but the very beginning of Wildwood simple throws in. The idea of ever expanding city and new walls build around it is intriguing enough.Originally posted by Furie:

    I wasn't sure how people would react to the cuts to other characters

    I like it. Very soon I got a hang of it, who are the main characters. I'm a big fan of Robin Hobb (Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden), and especially I like her The Liveship Traders trilogy, and that is because there has been this cuts from character to another used as well. There it was taken even so far that reader was first made to love one character and hate another, and then it was suddenly turned totally upside down by introducing how that another hated person sees things.My only critiques on Wildwood concerns the dialogues and names. For me it is difficult to follow long dialogue if it is not somehow all the time indicated who is who. It kind of slows down reading, that's all.And what comes to names, it is just that 'Don Corleone horse head spell' like references that bothers me. I do not have anything against intertextual references, but on fantasy I find this very delicate issue. There is a risk to ruin the atmosphere or turn it into Terry Pratchett style comedy.Okay, to make the "hamburger feedback" complete, I end by saying that I especially like the way how reader is kept in dark. The door is opened just slightly to peek in, but not fully opened. In very beginning it is revealed there will be big secrets to find out and lot to anticipate.

  8. Originally posted by Cois:

    Damn I inbox message never went through..

    :awww: That is why I always first copy any longer comment before I submit it.

  9. Originally posted by serola:

    Here I have no possibility to read the last sentences of a story

    Just for fun, have the very last paragraph in the book.

    And there was.

    There we go. Hope you enjoyed it and it opened more of an understanding for you. ;)Originally posted by serola:

    And what comes to names, it is just that 'Don Corleone horse head spell' like references that bothers me.

    In my world magic is remembered a power that is directed by will. In order to remember specific spell effects, mages use some form mneumonic that helps them remember how to direct their will. A lot of them seem to pull the little rituals they use from other media. Hence a spell to call a floating horse head may see the mage calling out "Don Corleone" to gather his power in the same fashion, while a spell that drops a piano on someone may see the mage screaming "Loonius Tunius" to the heavens. It's a cheap source of jokes, but the mages are pretty much side characters who help to frame the storyline so it won't be seen so often that it gets old. I prefer to slip in references to jokes rather than the jokes themselves, and quite a few of these raise smiles instead of the laughs they could have gotten, but allow the story to go on without too much interruption.Humour is such a personal thing though, that any style is a risk. I stuck to the style I use in my posts, mainly. Sometimes they're overt, while other times they're more like subtle digs.

  10. I just go headlong, then. Excuse my language. I am a foreigner, you know, and my English might be a bit weird. The cuts between characters can be a very effective dramaturgical method, especially when the author wants to keep a certain level of suspense. You leave one character 'hanging from the cliff' while the reader has to learn something about an entirely different person, and the reader will wonder how the hell these two persons are related if related at all. To mess around with the reader's mind is nice, but only if it serves a purpose. If the cut frequenze has a deliberate pattern, make it clear from the start.The way you split up between Timmins and Martha seems a bit odd. To me it does not seem methodical, if you know what I mean. It seems to me as if you just split the Martha narrative up in two because it seemed like a good idea at the time, but I would actually had preferred if it was not cut up. I got confused when we returned to Martha, because the first three paragraphs does not place her in a context. You should place Martha in the context: within her house, in the first part, before we leave her again. It would be consistent with what you do with the mages. We know where they are at all times in the text. Don't want your reader to get confused about where the characters are situated, the stage design, backdrop and set pieces, so to speak. If you want him to be confused it should be about other things.I like the intro. The sort of zoom-in from an over-all view of Dunwall to the characters is sort of conventional, but suithing nevertheless. I like when a story has a traditional beginning and then slowly goes crazy. And I've got the feeling that this story is about to go all the way. I like that.About the dialogue: You just have to throw us a bone about who is saying what. Dialogue without supplying narrative simply just doesn't work. Like Sami said, we have to go back and read the conversation over and over to find out who said what.Picture Martha and The Piper while they are talking. A 'she said, rubbing her forehead' is simple and enough. People will make gestures while talking, and these gestures might tell an entirely different story or give away how the characters really feel. You can actually have two different conversations going on: what they say to eachother, and what their displacement activities display. It also gives the characters substance and appearance. It gives us a chance to believe in them.If I have to imagine all that by myself as a reader, you lose control of your reader. You don't want that to happen. Trust me. You need to be in total control of the reader.I like the humour. And I like the Corleone thing. This makes me want to read more, because I want to know how crazy this can get…Otherwise, good going. Not finished yet, I'd say. Write it over four five times again.

  11. Interesting description of a work flow. Haven't really thought about it before but these mobile devices offer great tools to authors nowadays.

  12. And this is the reason I put up a sample. My view of events allows me to figure out who is saying what easily enough and most of the later conversations are between characters who speak differently enough to easily tell who is saying what, even if the viewpoint doesn't make it immediately clear. But early set pieces like this one are where we can fall into a hole very easily and it's one I can't easily see because I'm too close. Hence the tester.The first Martha section was indeed split and put back together with other things and split again. It has spent time as several different introductions to that character, each of which has been abandoned as her role both shrank in some areas and grew in others. I have a note on the first part to rewrite that whole section and mix it in with the second part with her in. The first two Timmins (working name only) sections would then be melded together and we'd cut to Martha as he first finds out he isn't alone in The Study, skipping the conversation in there entirely.Subtext is something I'm as subtle as a sledgehammer with but which isn't shown here. As the main character journeys through the story there's a lot that she says while blatantly thinking the exact opposite. It's one of the better sources of comedy and drama at the moment and allows me to slip little hints into the narrative without big bold flashbacks, of which there are a few (there'd be more but I can't afford the wibbly wobbly effect). The interplay between characters who feel drawn together by something bigger than themselves is something I seem to be quite good at. Grudging respect, making fun in the midst of horrors, keeping quiet so that someone makes a fool of themselves publicly. These are the things that make my girls fun little assholes so far.What I'm trying to do at the moment is get the thing story complete before smoothing out the rough edges. My process seems to be to write something on my phone and then when there are quite a few sections, slot them in place into the narrative. This itself is made up of complete sections and notes about what I want to happen in incomplete scenes. Every so often I export a finished chapter as a separate file and rewrite it, sometimes from scratch and sometimes simply around what I've already written. Most of the time I'll do a mixture of the two. Just yesterday I turned the first sentence of a paragraph into a rather large five paragraph section of its own just to set up a cheap joke. Once at that stage I count that chapter as story complete and gone through its first edit.Once everything has gone through that I'm walking away for a few months so I can go back relatively free of blinders. Then I'll be doing my second edit. This is the one where I'll go through in order, cutting all the fluff that made its way in, making sure that everyone talking is evident from the moment they open their mouths, and basically rewriting most of the book again and redefining where the cuts occur. I'll also be making final chapter choices in this stage although the thing is set up how I think it'll work right now.And that's when I'll start the proof reading for spelling, grammar, punctuation and sabotage by humanoid cats.

  13. Subtextuals are somewhat easier in the first person narrative, because it seems more natural when you hear it straight from the horse's mouth. The various forms of narrator's perspective have their own benefits and faults. First person allows us to get a very intimate view on the character, but only as the character sees himself, his self-image. This makes first person very interesting, but also harder to work with.Third person sets the narrator in a sort of all-seeing position, and because the narrator seems to know everything about the characters and also what has happened and probably what will happen as well, credability is not as significant as in first person. The 'voice' becomes arrogant and even annoying for the reader because you feel that this all-seeing entity is holding information back on you, carefully deciding which info is proper at the time. Of course, the latter can also be used as a plot device, but in an overall wiev first person is more intimate and more trustworthy as opposed to third person.In the long run it is expedient to keep your reader in mind when you write. Expecting the reader to know as much as you about the story and the characters – like in the example you mention with the dialogue – is a very common mistake for writers – of fiction as well as of fact. Professionals as well as amateurs. One of the calssic 'failures of communication'.For example: I'm at the moment writing a story that partially takes place in military circles, and if I put all sorts of jargon into their dialogue without throwing the reader a single bone about what all those abbreviations mean, people will lose interest after a few chapters. And I might do that, simply because I don't give it a thought – this is where second viewers come in handy.You are writing fantasy. This means that you are dealing with brand new things: a new world, a new mythology, different races, creatures and even a different form of magic (I suspect from your sample). This makes it even more important for you to keep in mind that the recipient might not be in possession of the same level of information as you – in fact he don't have a clue at all, until you tell him.But… Judging from your sample, and what you tell us – this is pretty good for a beginner. I say that as a former editor of written works. Writing a book is not something you just do. I respect that deeply.

  14. Sami, I've attempted larger works on phones before but never had quite what I needed for something this scale. Part of that was that I was usually writing for this or other places and had the Opera Mini text limit in mind when writing. Still, the tools only get better as I go along.Martin, I have a way in the third person that works quite nicely at showing what someone is thinking without giving away plot points or seeming too "Oooh, stuff is happening. Woo, what could it beeeeeeeee?" A few little phrases scattered throughout the text for flavour masquerading as the surface thoughts of the characters. Something like "By the gods, he wouldn't let them get away with that." for want of a better presented example that doesn't make it look like a shit technique. In action these little bits of flavour text help to enhance the action with enough subtext to go beyond shallow, but not so much as the reader is overwhelmed.Another technique I employ is to give each of the third person characters a specific vocabulary and limit the narration by that vocabulary occasionally. One character may wonder how his father is doing, while another is worried about her pa. Letting this vocabulary find its way into the narration of the third person perspective helps each viewpoint stand apart a little more.These two work in tandem to help the characters show what they're thinking in regard to the current situation without them giving their secrets away. Well, except for Nelson. He's a special case.

  15. I like that you are deliberate about the characters individual usage of language. This is very rare among writers. It is so annoying when you have five different persons with five very different sets of characteristica, but when they open their mouths it might just as well be one person speaking, because there's no variation in their individual languages. I guess it is expalainable when you're dealing with someone like Barbara Cartland or Stephenie Meyer where the characters in themselves are stereotypes, but if you want to write something that takes the reader on a true trip (I think you know what I mean) there has to be consistence between the characters persona and the way he talks.In my writing I try to let the characters' personae shine through even in the narrative – also in third person. The main character in my current story is sort of a renaissance man and he has a profound love for roses, so I try to weave trivia on roses into his narratives. In the start people will think What is it with all this stuff about roses? because it has no obvious purpose, but at a point not far from the start a significant event will 'explain' it and further on no reader will wonder.The same with the other characters. There's a girl who is a fugative, on the run from people who want to kill her. We follow her ongoing escape through the first two thirds of the book. Therefore her narrative is rhythmic, stacatto and very abrupt. Like the hurried breathing of someone running. Designed to give the reader an erratic heart rhythm whilst reading it.All this will, hopefully, keep the characters real in the readers mind.

  16. Dsave told me on the day 12th? was i?t SOO Sorry Mik we do like to remeber all our buds but the yer and days in general have been goig So Fast here and likely there too lol. Hope you had a wonderful day man xo DEE :drunk: :norris: just cause I could :heart: !!!

  17. Originally posted by ruledbymars:

    10inch keyboards so much harder to type on sorry for that too xo

    Unless you have an extra joint between your elbow and your wrist, proper typing on a netbook is impossible! :insane:

  18. I have no discipline for that. I try to write every day but that can range from twelve words (no deleting and rewriting, simply twelve words that changed the scene into how I wanted it to run) to four thousand in credit (after deleting and rewriting I ended up with over four thousand extra words).Most days I make a note on my phone that is the outline of a scene or a replacement for some dialogue. Some days I edit those notes and turn an outline into a basic scene (that needs fleshing out more before it is at first draft level). About once a week, sometimes once a fortnight, I'll sit down at the PC and compile these scenes with what is already there, enter the extra dialogue and backup what is left. Bit by bit I purge my notes that way and then start the process over again. I always keep an up to date version on my phone so I can read and see where to place my ideas easily.In short, I do my best work at my own pace and forcing myself to sit and write, while it works for a lot of people, it doesn't work for me.

  19. First draft? Mostly. I'm currently going through the notes of the last chapters, making sure everything makes a sort of sense and that the characters match up in the ways that they speak and things they know. There are a few scenes that are still in note form and some rough chapters where no voices are present in the dialogue so not long now.After that is done I'm putting it on ice for a couple of months so it'll be new to me when I start my editing run. I'll be more able to see spelling mistakes and problems with the logic of the characters then. Some rewriting will no doubt take place then as well. The results of that will be the second draft and that should be ready to read within a year of starting writing.However, I have this series planned like a comic book event. Each main book will also have other stories that surround it and colour its events in different ways. I'll be writing those before moving onto book two.

  20. Oh, will there be pitturs? I so like books wiff pitturs! Please makes them some good pitturs, thankie! Wiff nice colours too, please!:P

  21. Sorry about that. Wasn't intentionally trying to insult any urban ethnic groups. I was just trying to sound like a disturbed child, jokingly, because Mik mentioned comics.

  22. No no – that is the perfect description, don't be sorry – to sound totally authentic, perhaps finish many statements with "innit" plus, if surpriseddisturbed at something, say simply "is it?".I don't know if shell suits are still on South Londoners, but one of those wouldn't do any harm either. Otherwise, dull coloured baggy T shirts, trousers (not jeans) that are too short, and indispensably, a big pair of bluetooth headphones :)Welcome to the London Borough of Lewisham!

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