Writing log- September

notebooks-blog

If you hadn’t seen the reading log post for a while, I bet you don’t even remember when it was the last time I posted something about my writing progresses!

So I’d say it’s about time! This post was really overdue!

If I think this way, I realize that I managed to be a shame even as aspiring writer, other than as mum and generally speaking as human being!

I opened this blog mainly to speak about writing and not being able to write more often about writing seems a bit silly.

However, let’s see whether I’ll manage to avoid a too long rant and keep going with the update on my writing status!

If you thought I’m doing a big mess with books, reading my previous post, you can easily guess I’m doing the same with writing.

And you’d be right!

I have so many notebooks, pieces of paper, apps on writing, drives connected to my emails, files on my computer and laptop, that I really have a huge mess going on.

In other words, I don’t know what is where!

Despite that, in the attempt to give a tidy up of this endless sea of bytes and paper I narrowed down to four, at lease for the moment, the number of notebooks that I always have at hand.

Here you have them in the pictures!

From the left:

Orange notebook – In here I’m jotting down the elements of the new project, the urban fantasy about hunters. I’m putting notes of my researches, notes on the world building, notes about the plots and the characters.

Sheep notebook – In this one I’m trying to tidy up and give a more or less definitive form to the plots about my high fantasy world. Each plot is followed or is going to be followed by the list of characters, maps and main information about the world or the particular nation.

Gray notebook – It’s where I’m writing the actual book. A part from the fact that I had too many files on the computer, I realized that I couldn’t stay in front of the screen too long anymore. As I’m working in front of a computer now, I barely manage to update this blog, so in order to keep writing I’m using pen and paper…old style!

It seems that it’s working at the moment, let’s keep the fingers crossed!  

I’ll curse myself for sure when I’ll have to pass all the writing into the computer – eventually I’ll have to – but for the moment it’s important to move on!

Small notebook – As you might read on the cover, this one is the notebook where I write the ideas I have for the blog. I usually bring it with me at all the times, everywhere, so I won’t lose any idea anymore.

Of course this means that also weird dreams and ideas for my books are going in there, but at least I know where they are…at least for now.

Once these notebooks will be finished and I’ll have to start a new one, I wonder whether I’ll be able to find them a place in where I’ll always be able to find them or they’ll get lost as the previous ones.

It might seem that I treat them like I didn’t care, but it’s not so. I’m just messy.

So, aspiring writers out there, can you give me an advice on how to tidy up the mess or sort the situation?

How do you do?

How do you organize your writing?

How do you manage not to lose your stuff?

Please, please, please write to me in the comments below!

Those, at least, won’t get lost!

Reading log- September

Google search!

Google search!

I haven’t updated this log for a while…again.

It seems that lately, however, I’ve managed to find a slightly better balance and I’m managing to read a bit more. A bit on the train and a bit during the lunch break.

If I’m lucky, I even have five to ten minutes before bed.

I have to say I’m quite happy for it and I’ll enjoy until it lasts.

I won’t put here, as I did before, a comment for each book I’m reading as it would be repetitive. Also there won’t be many news, as one of the new books I’ve started absorbed completely my attention, so the other 10 books I was readying are more or less at the same point!

I’m very sorry, now that I think about it, but I haven’t kept the promise I made of not starting new books. It really seems I cannot resist to the charm or obsessive-compulsive feeling more likely!

So following is the listing of the books I’ve finished from last time and also the status of the ones I’m now reading.

Outlander– It’s one of the new entries. I’ve mentioned it in my previous post, so I won’t get lost in the summary of the story. Mostly because TV shows really sticks to the book, although book –of course- is slightly better!

So for this I’m at page 344 on 863.

Hunger– Here no news, I’m at page 234 on 586.

Irish ghost stories– Here no news, I’m at page 42 on 1102.

Wizards first rule– Here no news, I’m at page 114 on 764.

Memorie del sottosuolo– I lost it momentarily, probably it’s in a bag somewhere, but I’ll find it for the October update! I’m a shame, I know!

Delitto e castigo– Here no news, I’m at page 56 on 684.

Ancient appetites –  Finished, I’ve started the second volume:

The wisdom of the dead man –  I’m at page 37 on 469.

A Song of Ice and Fire –  volume three- Here no news, I’m at page 192 on 569.

The maze runner– Finished! Loved it. I’ve started the second volume:

The scorch trials– I’m at page 54 on 359.

City of bones – Another new entry. I’m at page 12 on 506.

 

The book thief – Another new entry. I’m at page 58 on 554.

 

Enciclopedia. Tutta la seconda Guerra Mondiale-volume 1– Another new entry to be considered a reference reading as it’s an encyclopedia on the Second World War. I’m at page 53 on 493.

Madame Bovary– It’s lost in the phone somewhere but haven’t touch it from the last time!  

The ghost pirates– Finished. Loved it!  

Carmilla– Finished as well. Love it so much!

Dracula– Audio book. Finished as well!

Shadowmagic– On going, cannot exactly quantify as it’s an audiobook too!

Actually, writing the whole thing down, I realized I’ve more on my plate than I thought, and it was a lot already. 12 books, one PDF, 1 Audio book…no seriously, I have to stop! It’s getting out of hand!

Question is: how do you stop?
Is there anybody else with this obsessive compulsive push in starting new books?

The funny bit is that I don’t mix them up at all, and my friend keep asking how do I do. I have no clue. Can someone, maybe having the same habit, explain this to me?

I’ll leave out the considerations for a hopefully shorter post in October…who am I trying to convince here?

***

Oh and before you walk the plank, ye scurvy dogs: Happy talk like pirate day!!!!

Yarrrr!

Happy Supernatural Day!

Sorry I just love them! I don't own the image tho!

Sorry I just love them! I don’t own the image tho!

On September 13th we, poor obsessed fellows, celebrate Supernatural Day.

I’m one of this lot.

You know I love the show. To me it has been a mile stone for different reason: it helped to feel a bit braver to watch horror, it gave me inspiration to start planning my book and it helped in meeting a dear friend.

On the top of that, I think that the messages sent through the lines are nice and healthy. Also the cast give us the sensation to be there for their fan, they’re involved in the society and charity as, and sometimes even more than normal people in order to set a good example.

They brought thousands of people to feel like they were part of the big family. And personally, I love them all a lot just for this.

Jensen and Jared are saying in the following video that they want us to see celebrating the day sharing what we think are the funniest moments of the show.

Off the top of my head the following are the funniest! Rather the plain laugh, often I prefer the sarcastic tone of Dean and Bobby. Which is why they’re my favorite characters ever.

On books and adaption…

Latest obsession! This is a Google search!

 

It’s pretty obvious that I’m a big fan of books, I love to read them, collect them, smell them, reread the ones I loved most.

But you know also, if you’ve followed this blog for a while, that I love films and TV shows. Watching the screen sometimes it’s just relaxing, in particular at the end of the day, when the brain goes on strike…let’s tell the truth.

But how about adaptations?  

Sooner or later, if you’re book and film lover, you’ll cross your path with a book that has been turned into a film or a TV show.

I have to be honest, I’m not a big fan of adaptations but sometimes there are exceptions to the rules.

I could gather here my best moments and experiences.

I think that the very first film adapted from a book I’ve ever seen was “The name of the rose” by Umberto Eco.

In that case, I read the book before and I absolutely loved it. It was a thriller but set in a medieval monastery of friars.

Then I realized that there was a film adaptation made. Actually the actors in this film, Christian Slater and Sean Connery, were giving me a guarantee of a good film. However, form the great expectation the fantastic book gave to me, I was left with just a disappointing feeling of emptiness and disappointment. Useless to say, I read the book a second time.

I think that following that experience, I tried to avoid adaptations for a while. Some of them really not worth to be mentioned.

Then here it is “Harry Potter” series of books. 7 books to read. I lost the count really of how many times I read the lot of them. I love the ideas, I love the feelings they give you, I love the way Queen Rowling unfolded the story and the details.

Then the films were released.

I don’t mind them. I admit that I love the books more, but I don’t mind the adaptations either. My curiosity and wonder are actually stimulated by the special effects, and the way I’m able to see on the screen something I’ve always only imagined.

Also I like the actors, I’m not an expert on the matter, but I think that the quality of acting in these films is pretty high. And of course I love Gary Oldman and Alan Rickman, they are two of my favorites.

Let’s mention too the cameo of David Tennant, whose interpretation was something powerful and fantastic.

This means that I don’t mind to watch them all over again. In this way I’m double satisfied, I can watch the films many times and reread with pleasure the volumes.

True, the film cut a lot from the books, and they decided for an unnecessary 8th film, but still no major disaster was made.

Afterwards I came across “Game of Thrones”. I started with the TV shows. Then, when I had the awful feedback from the editor about my writing, I bought all the books. The reason of this abrupt purchase was that the only advice- no advice that she gave to me was to read in English.

Actually how it went was more or less like: “Can you give me an advice on how to improve my English?” “Well, I’d say you should read in English, but I assume you’re doing it already”

Yes, I was doing it, but I thought that was a nice excuse to buy a book or better many.

Anyway, the point is that for a while I read the books and watched the series at the same time and then I realized that the choice of the actors wasn’t that bad, also the story was pretty much faithfully narrated.

But I cannot be 100% sure, as for some reason I decided to not to spoil myself and not to watch it constantly. I started to follow the series when they decided to change the story and detach from the books.

So I feel I cannot really judge this adaptation, but I assume my feeling is more positive than negative.

After GOT I found “Hunger Games”. To be honest with you, I didn’t really like the first film, as I thought it was like a bad mash of “Contenders” and “Battle Royale”.

However, in one of my visit at Eason’s I found the trilogy sitting on the shelf, the covers very charming. I got closer out of curiosity. I opened the cover and went to the first page. First person, present tense.

My eyes locked to the page and I exited the shop with the three books.

I loved them ever since and I reread them at least three times.

Now, for the sake of this post, in this case I have to record something weird that happened related to this example.

A few days ago I was talking with a friend who claimed that reading the books after having watched the films means spoiling your imagination in favor of the way characters are represented on the screen.

This is true but only in part, at least for me. A good example is “Hunger Games”.

Having read the books only after having seen the first film, at the very beginning the faces of the actors were kind of forcing their way into my imagination.

However, going on with the reading, my own imagination took over and characters were represented in a totally different way.

The biggest example is Peeta, who you all know I love very much. I felt almost offended by the choice they made for the cast. Peeta in my head, from the book description, was totally different.

Also all the cuts they made in the story and the ploys they found to direct the story, including a not- necessary- at -all 4th film, made me a bit cross. At the end of the day though, I don’t mind watching them.

Last example I want to make is with “Outlanders”.

I started to watch the TV show and I liked it.

Looking for spoilers, as usual, I realized that there were books at the base of the TV show and I went to look for information.

I found out that there are actually 8 books and the 9th should be on the way. They’re written by Diana Gabaldon.

I immediately bought the first three to have a look at how they were.

I have to admit they’re simply written, nothing much complicated, but the first person narration and the kind of writing, simple without killing the story with description, makes it pleasant.

It won’t be the best book written in the world, but I like it.

Besides, reading the book and having the first episodes of the series fresh in my head I could understand how similar they are.

The narration and the dialogues are exactly the same, sometimes using the same words.

So far, so good.

But I reserve the right of changing idea when I’ll go on with the story. You never know!

Concluding, leaving aside the massacre they made with “Vampire Assistant” (I don’t even want to talk about it or maybe I will in another post, but I might result kind of unpleasant, so much they ruined “Cirque du freak” series of books), I know at least a couple of TV show, cartoons and films more that I found out are based on books.

Sooner or later, very slowly, I think I’ll be able to buy and read.

What do you think about it?

Do you prefer books or films?

If you prefer books, what do you do in case you come across the representation before?

Let me know in the comments below!

Visiting the Amerigo Vespucci sailing ship!

One of my passions, a part from writing and fantasy, are ships and pirates!

Sometimes I think that an awful lot of my posts begin with “one of my passions”, and maybe this could be the reason why I find hard job to gather the time to second and nurture them…they’re simply too many.

I know I should concentrate on one at time, but it’s kind of difficult to me.

But that’s me, right? Unless I decide to change completely my brain and way of thinking, I guess I’ll have to figure out a way to do so!

Vespucci 2

So where was I? Oh yeah, Amerigo Vespucci is an 83 meters long sailing ship the marine cadets of Livorno use at the end of every first year of academy. They go on a 3 months training trip and, from what I learned, I can tell you that their training it’s pretty hard, both physically and mentally.

I saw it docked near my new office.

It’s not unusual seeing tall ships docked near there, as I work in the port area. For how big my passion is, however, I never managed to go and visit one. I only went close and watched the outside while rushing for work or home, but the crew wasn’t there.

This time around I found out they were organizing tours of the ship, but the visit times were exactly matching my working shift, lunch break included. It was so sad. The ship was leaving in a couple of days and once again I wouldn’t manage to visit it.

However, one of my colleagues that very day announced that in her partner’s office were organizing a guided tour for the Vespucci. If she wanted she could join with a couple of people more.

Needless to say that I secured a place with her, starting immediately my giggling spell that lasted the whole day! I must have looked like a frigging idiot! Or a lunatic, you pick! The truth was only one: this was a dream becoming true!

I was getting on board! I couldn’t believe it!!!

I know that I might seem a bit nut or weird, but to me, boarding, although for a few minutes, on a sailing ship was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

All my attention was concentrate on the ship and the bits and pieces that built up together form that marvel.

I barely noticed the officials, the cadets and the Capitan unless they were saying something interesting about the ship and its parts.

I asked this official, I actually don’t know the name of, many question about which one were the shrouds, details about the sails and speed in knots and the relation in between the two of them.

I found all these extremely fascinating and interesting.

Also I realized, with a pinch of sadness, that I made a huge mistake.

I don’t know if I told you already, the very first book I wrote was in Italian and it was about pirates – of course! – and ships. During the trip and the explanation on the Vespucci, I understood that some elements, crew number and basic navigation technique and details in my story were completely wrong.

I felt both bad and excited. Bad because, if I had the arrogance of editing and sending to an editor, I might have been mistaken for one cheater author who writes about specific stuff without having enough knowledge about it.

On the other hand, also I felt excited because I could confirm that I can learn more, that there are so many things I don’t know yet. 

It’s something really amazing.

Vespucci 3

Once again I want to thank so much Nicole and her partner for giving me this fantastic opportunity; and you, my dear readers, for reading until the end this post full of nonsense for any other person but me!

I hope, anyway, you will enjoy some of the pictures.

Do you have anything you like so much that makes you lose the control? That you love so much that you cannot regain the said control although you’re struggling hard in the attempt?

Let me know in the comments below!

And of course, in case you know any website where to read and learn all about ships and pirates, please, I beg you, write it here for me!

Vespucci 1

Kudos to a fellow writer!

Click to link the Facebook page of the artist.

You all know, my dear readers, that my biggest dream would be being a published writer.

However, I’m not talking about me in this post!

I want to tell you about a fellow aspiring writer who is trying her best to do something I’m not very good at.

Yes, because, I read, I plot and I try to start writing…but these are just side dishes of the main course: complete what I’ve started. Something I am apparently unable to do.

This other writer instead is very good at it, so she’s just inspiring in her way of living!

Her name is Michela and she’s Italian too. I don’t know her personally as I’ve met her only once for five minutes but we keep in touch online.

A mutual friend introduced each other as, a part from writing, we have something else in common: our passion for Jack Black!

Actually even in that she’s more involved than me! She’s a winner, folks!

The reason why I’m writing this post is to prize her. Despite being very good and talented, I’m not sure she realizes how good and talented she is, so I hope I’ll manage to carve here a reminder for the tougher moments.

Let’s face the truth, we all have those nasty spells.

I’ve just finished to read the second volume of her series called “I racconti di Kel”, a high fantasy with a rather original story.

I won’t talk here of the story itself, although I think you would like it. However, it’s still a private thing and I think she prefers this way for now. Besides, this isn’t the point of the whole speech here!

The point is that I admire her, because she’s very strong and determined and very much the person I’d like to become.

I always complain I don’t have much time or I’m tired, but the truth is that I like of determination… I guess.

Michela works in an ice cream store and every morning starts her job at 5. Afterwards she goes back home and usually takes care of her niece and nephew and then she helps in the house. When she’s done with all these, or when has some spare times she writes.

She managed to finish and edit two big volumes doing as such and just for this I think she deserves admiration.

But not only.

Another reason I respect her for is something I had at the very beginning, something I partly lost after all the workshops I’ve made for years: the art of improvising and following the instinct.

Lastly I admire her for the unconditioned love for her characters. Mind, I love mine too and I get attached to my characters as well, but she’s far ahead on this point also.

She wanted to bring them alive and able to see them and touch them, so she asked to other two girls, as talented as she is, to reproduce them in drawing and in 3D.

I’ll insert in this post two pictures, one for each one of them.

I’ll also link their personal space, so feel free to have a look at their work, you just click on the pictures. I think it’s worth your time.

In conclusion, I want to thank Michela for teaching me a great lesson…well, actually more than one!

Also I want to wish her best, because although she thinks she just wrote this story for herself, I firmly believe she could go much further than that!!!

And most of all, please keep writing the third volume as I want to know how the story goes!

Good luck!

The link soon to come! Look further down!

 

EDIT:

Since the artists whose works are in the last picture are more than one, following I’m going to list the names, clicking on the hyperlinks you’ll reach their Facebook Pages:

Elisabetta Piras

Il magico mondo di Ploppi

Il regno di Lot

GretArtist Déco

 

Italian Embassy VS Franny. This time is 0-1!

Google search but absolutely perfect!

One of the most annoying things if you live abroad, is the necessity to use your country services.

I’ve complained already on this pages about the scarce service we receive, but, please, bear with me, I had to do it again.

However, this time I can say the frustration has a little satisfaction added to the mix.

The reason why I needed the Embassy this time was linked to a form I needed to fill for Maya.

I called them at the end of June asking for information. The reply I got was “Go to the website and download the form then sent it to us by post”

“I don’t trust post” I said “Can I do with emails?”

“Oh yes, of course, you can send it over to our PEC address”.

And this is exactly what I did.

I decided to send the documentation to both their addresses since I didn’t trust them either, the normal address sent the email back and the PEC went through.

Also, because I still didn’t trust them, I decided to call the office a few days later to check whether the email was arrived or not.

The very same voice that was so nice two weeks before in giving me all the information, this time was kind of hysterical.

He almost shouted me saying that I shouldn’t have sent it to that address and that I cannot expect them to fill the form so quickly.

That was weird, last year I went to the office, during normal office hours and they did it in a few minutes.

At least he confirmed he received it.

Eventually, since I had to leave a few days later and I really needed the form, I went to the office in my day off and waited in the queue.

As you might have guessed I prepared a copy of the documentation I needed because I didn’t trust them, although they said they received.

When you go to that office you know for sure three things: the time you arrive, that you’ll never know when you’ll get out and that you’ll be pissed by the end of the process. The most of the times you’ll have to argue too!

Public offices in Italy don’t work properly and this one is no exception. We’re not in Italy but once in there you’re trapped in this parallel reality you need in order to accomplish your mission!!!

I reached the office then and I met at the gate one of my team mates, Cri, who was a little bit more positive about the place…but just for the first half an hour!

Everybody is tricked at least once!

Of course you don’t take a number when you arrive and you look around in order to memorize whomever might be before you. But here is the trick: one of the windows is dedicated to passports appointments so you lose a bit the count. Reason is that even those who has the appointment have to wait in the same queue.

Eventually one genius came in asking “Who’s the last one?” like the old ladies do at the GP’s in Italy…simple but effective, why didn’t I think of this before?!

Anyway, when my turn arrived I went to the window with the full documentation and the lady said “Oh thanks, we’ll fix an appointment to have it collected!”

No, hold the horses….what?

You see? The satisfaction I was mentioning before was referred to my reaction. The old Franny would have complained a bit and then go away with her chin down hoping against hope to make it on time!

This time no, I pointed my feet on the spot and explained my reason. I told them that last year I had the very same form done on the spot. And, for the records, I sent an email and the called to check the email was arrived. Only after over a week of silence I decided to show up!

They said the procedure had changed and the email couldn’t be found. When I showed the email on the phone they complained the address I sent it to was wrong, even with a tone of mockery like I was a poor idiot who sent to the wrong address. They actually suggested that address to me when I called the very first time!!! Besides, nobody bothered to tell me the procedure was chanced!

I apologize, my dear readers, I don’t read minds yet!

I started to rise the voice until an old lady was called, she explained that the procedure was changed and that I should have followed the passports one.

I said that I would have done it, if I knew it! If they didn’t write it on the website and nobody told me during the informative calls I made, how I was supposed to know it?

The old lady shrinking in her shoulders told me “We write loads of things but people don’t read!”

“You don’t say…I do the same job” I said, although I specified that it’s not exactly rocket science to have the waiting period specified next to each form!

To make the story short, eventually I got my form, although I had to wait an incredibly long time in that hole of an office!

And with this, I think I can say I won!

Damn embassy!

What do you think? Do you live abroad?

If so, do you need your embassy often?

How is it?

Let me know in the comments below, I’m very curious!