As my mum is here for the week I think it’s fair to tell you that I won’t be able to update the blog! I wish you a very happy Halloween and I’ll see you next week with a few nice posts!
Monthly Archives: October 2014
Research time #4
It’s not news I love researching, and when it comes to writing I just totally agree with those writers who tell that it’s better to be as more precise as we can on what you’re writing about.
For example, if you want or you need your characters to use a fire extinguisher, either you know how to use it or you look for information. It would be stupid unscrew the lid and use it, right?
I agree on what they say about the expert or even not expert but intelligent reader who questions everything and might feel fooled by an inaccurate account.
I believe that this is valid also for a high fantasy world. As I mentioned in my previous posts on the topic I’ve been researching for a while.
If I want to use a ship or a boat for my story I have to know whether to use a brigantine or a schooner or a different kind of ship altogether.
On the top of the consistency of plot and character I’d add this too as almost vital element.
I hope you’re happy to know that I’m about to tell you what I’m planning right now. But before that, you want to bear with me with this post.
The plan I have in mind involves my whole fantasy world and of course, according to what I’ve just said, loads of research.
Since it will take long time to reach the end of it I thought that I can start now to do some study of the topics I will need.
I also think that it would be smarter to research from the first topic I’ll encounter till the last…given that someone like me could put the word “end” to such a task.
I’m aware that it’s impossible to learn everything and also that it’s not possible to cover fully a single topic in a short amount of time, but dedicating a bit of time per topic I hope I’ll manage to have a fair knowledge that can meet the expectations both mine and the potential reader.
So according to a first rough list I’d need to learn something about: ships types and parts, alchemy and Chinese medicine, Chinese five elements, different environment and kind of soils, animals, trade and bargain, horses, dragons, hot springs, history of fair, prison system, fighting dynamic, penguins, something about habits of the animals I put in FJ, werewolves, ghost, banshees, meaning of colours, tattoos, weapons, axe and fighting methods with it, pirates, drugs, spices, flowers and plants, animals, pigs and something that can harm them, natural poisons, hunting, mines and mining, medieval science level, gill: use and function, fish anatomy, mer-folks, under the sea flora and fauna, Scottish clan system, giants, lava and magma and under water volcanoes.
Do you think I will make it?
Can you see a point in this list?
I hope it intrigues you and makes you wonder what I’m doing!
Comments and feedback are as always very welcome!
I love NaNoWriMo but I have to admit I’m not going to make it this year.
Since I’ve decided already you may see no point in reading this post, but I had to write it, mostly to try to explain to myself why. The explanations I’m producing on daily basis became quite blurred under the weight of “I want to join this year too!!” yelled by the most stubborn part of my brain!
As the Romans used to say: verba volant, scripta manent, thus I’ll write this post.
A part from the huge amount of work and stress I’d add on the already heavy load on my shoulders and that I can’t afford at this very moment, I have another reason.
As I mentioned already I’m working on a very long project (and in the next post I promise I’m going to talk about it!!!) and I actually need loads of time to set the basic line for the story. To this, I might add loads of hours for the researches I need and loads of hours to the work needed for an acceptable first draft.
Although I really love NaNo and I’ll really suffer in not being able to participate to the stimulating and fun run, I have to surrender to the truth that I have no time and no energy to spare.
I have 4 days off and the only time I manage to give to myself is when Maya takes her afternoon nap. Two of these days are dedicated to my blog, so I have only 4-5 hours per week to commit to my project.
As I’m working very hard for this project I don’t want to rush over it in 30 days. Actually I wouldn’t finish even a minimum part of it I guess!
On the top of it I have to admit that, although I’ve always enjoyed NaNo for the fun of chatting with other writers and read about similar experiences, I’ve never finished the books I started during those sessions.
My fault of course, but this one is too important and I don’t want to spoil it! I know myself and although I don’t like this part of my character I can prevent problems!
I’ll try to follow the forum and the blogs anyway. I don’t want to miss the whole fun entirely!!!
How about you?
Ready to go?
Maya made it…almost!
I’m so happy that I had to share the news with you!
After the first attempt of potty training made a few months ago ended up in a disaster, we decided to wait for a while to avoid stressing our toddler too much.
A couple of weeks ago though we noticed that Maya didn’t enjoy to go to the crèche as usual, saying that she didn’t want to play with the other children. The thing sounded strange as she loves it.
We tried to think about the cause and we guessed that maybe she was feeling put aside as she didn’t use the toilet.
So we decided to try again. As I had that weekend off, we started on Saturday morning.
The response seemed more encouraging than the last time! Maya went to her potty and did there her business.
Not only she did that, also she started to use the normal toilet after two days.
She used the Peppa Pig step to reach the sit and the reducing ring to avoid falling inside!!!
What went over our expectation was that Maya started to go alone to the toilet. She doesn’t tell me anything anymore, you just see her walking over the bathroom, switching on the light, jumping on the seat and wee! Plus, when she finishes she cleans herself alone as well and after that she flushes the toilet!
My only concern was that she still poo in her pants but at the crèche they assured me that it’s very normal and that children do that.
I have to say I’m very proud of her!
Well done, honey!
I’ll leave you with a genius video! Japanese know best!
Why I do what I do!
A few days ago, while on the door to greet customers, I saw entering the building a well-known face! It was C. who used to work with me and I hadn’t seen for a long time.
We hugged tightly each other, happy to meet by chance and she left with the promise to keep in touch. Life is busy and we might not keep the promise but she’ll always be someone I’d meet with pleasure.
After this happy meeting, since it wasn’t that busy, my brain started to think as usual on its own accord.
The train of thoughts was triggered by the fact that this friend, although sometimes demotivated by the environment and the type of job, was still working in the tourism industry.
I’ve seen many people leaving my workplace and the majority of them still work in the customer service area or tourism.
If you ever happened to come across a blog or a Facebook page written by a customer service person, I’m sure you’d find it hilarious. I work in that field and I still manage to read in awe some description. I guess human being will never stop surprising us!
Despite all the weird people, despite the bossy management and despite the impolite customers some of us seem stuck there with no resolution to change.
You might argue that there isn’t much choice at moment or that some people have no other experience a part from customer service or many other reasonable explanation that might make anybody seems fool in keep going on to serve customers.
The truth is that we might like what we’re doing.
Sympathy from a customer or a positive feedback from another sometimes makes you feel proud of yourself; because it is clear that you centred the target.
Also, I believe that every single person in the field has his or her own motivation.
I’m not saying that for everybody must be like this but I can guess that the majority are in my same boat.
Someone might find satisfaction in being of help or someone is just bored to stay home alone and might need a wide range of contacts with other human beings.
Personally, maybe because I want to be a writer or I am just a curious person, customer service is great source of inspiration and details. Plus, it guarantees me to broaden my knowledge.
Every single customer hides a background or a story. Everyone has that unique characteristic. Everyone has something to say and sometimes to teach, if you’re willing to hear and to learn.
In conclusion, I’d say that the previous ones are the reasons that explain why I do what I do.
I might continuously rant about everything, I have my rant spells here on these pages too, but the truth is that I love doing what I do because makes me feel useful and also satisfy my thirst of knowledge and supply my stories with many queer elements!
Or let’s say, at least I feel like this today!
And what do you think?
Is like this for you as well?
My little family!
Since I’m struggling really hard to get through the week, I decided to be very kind to myself and prepare a very simple post.
I’m going to show you my little family!
The video I’m uploading was filmed by an Irish band, Storyfold, in the street where I live. In September the crew was walking up and down the whole street to get some portraits of people living in the area! We were stopped at some stage after our grocery shopping.
We don’t usually do shopping all together, especially in the local area, but that day was perfect for a family walk!
I guess we were rewarded and that it can be considered, in my twisted mind, a good sign!
I’ll leave you with the video! I don’t really like or approve children online, but this is a nice thing, so…we’re in the first two minutes of the song.
Can you tell who we are?
I usually have one weekend off per month and when this happens I have to work three days during the week. It also means that the said week will be the heaviest of the whole month as I don’t really have much time to rest in between one working day and the following one.
The present happens to be such a week and even if it’s only Tuesday I’m already knackered. The reason could be the 10 thousands customers we had in between Saturday and Sunday or it might be that I woke up at 4 on Monday or it might be all these reasons put together.
I sincerely hope to make it through the week!
And while I’m writing this I can smell Japanese curry, which happens only when I’m very, very tired.
The reason why I decided to write this post is because yesterday was a very queer day, and you, my faithful reader, are my confidants.
I woke up at 4 a.m. with my house alarm ringing in my ears. I don’t even know where I collected the mental lucidity to stop the alarm and hence to cancel the call to the police. We switched on the lights, both awake…more or less. My heart was drumming in my ears and I had a strong nausea, but it’s normal when I stand up from sleep too fast.
I thought that could be someone trying to get in the house. My partner just took it easy: he got up and still rubbing his eyes went to the toilet, brushed his hair and then set to search the house.
When I asked for explanation in the morning, he said that we were up and in case someone was in the house then he knew that we were aware of his presence.
To be honest with you, this scared me even more!
Anyway, after searching the whole house we realised that the responsible for the episode might have been the helium balloon deflating in the room….stupid balloon!
Despite the racket, Maya kept sleeping so we went back to bed and tried to sleep a bit more until the real alarm went off to tell us it was time to go to work.
The problem is that I felt a bit uneasy as I thought that the alarm would go off again and then I didn’t easily manage to sleep after the balloon episode. But when I did, I had one of my strange dreams.
I don’t remember every details of course, a part that I was both the watcher and one of the main protagonists of the dream. It was something in between teen wolf and Grimm to make you understand what I mean. Basically we were werewolves hunting strange creatures that turned out to be giant goblin-gnomes (I have no clue why I called them like it in the dream!) who could be recognized because their heads became a skull if they were put in front of a mirror. In order to kill them we had to pull the piercing they had in the nostrils and keep pulling until the string attached to the piercing was stretched enough (you could tell by the pop it made, like the cork pulled out from a champagne bottle!) to transform them in powder and they dissolve in the thin air.
I woke up feeling dizzy; I waited a bit before getting up otherwise I would have fallen on the ground!
And with me getting up I could start my day….
Yes, I was just at the beginning.
Then I went to work and let’s say that things didn’t improve much!
The first weird thing was a lad from England coming through the entrance door with a big rubber duck into a straw-hat he was holding like a tray. When I asked him about the duck he said it was a hostage for a friend who didn’t come with him to visit my workplace.
Second thing happened while I was on tills. A customer paid me with a 20 euro note, but I didn’t realised that in the very centre of the note there was a stain I only noticed when I put it back to the drawer. Even examining it more attentively I couldn’t understand what the stain was. It looked something in between a strawberry seed and jam or jelly, reddish-pinkish colour.
The real mystery is that I tried to get rid of this, mainly because it was disgusting to me. For some reason the note kept hiding behind other notes, I kept putting it in front to give it away at the first opportunity and yet when I looked into the drawer, the nasty piece of blue paper was once again in the middle of the bunch.
Luckily I got rid of it before closing so I didn’t have to touch it!
The following one was something happening on tills again. As you might now in the main European cities there is this service called city sightseeing tour bus. We have to ask every single customer whether they came with that or not in order to give them a euro off on the full price.
So I did with the couple I had in front of me.
“Did you come here with the city sightseeing tour bus?”
“No we got this sky bus!”
“We came with the sky bus”
So they kept repeating the sky bus, till eventually I realised we were talking about the same thing.
When I went back to the door, I found the girl I was supposed to swap with looking a man who was waving a red ticket (from a different attraction), broadly gesticulating and explaining in a language I learned later it was Russian something we couldn’t understand.
This girl looked lost like I did of course. Our only Russian speaker was off yesterday so we just had to wait till this guy gave up and unfortunately went away.
After that, I was swallowed up by two different huge groups of Chinese that decided to use the entrance of the attraction as the beginning of the tour…I might add at the same time.
Too busy in waving their tickets in my face, they didn’t stop watching my hands pointing in the other direction as I wanted them to backpedal in order to begin the visit. At the same time because they were too loud in talking they couldn’t hear their own guides who were trying to call them in the right direction; of course they were shouting at the same time, with the same tone of voice and not much louder that the rest of their group. So the result was that one group moved only when the other group’s guide gave up in shouting!
I love Asian people, I really do, but maybe because they don’t understand the language or maybe because of their culture they seldom reply to a “hello” or even look at you when they stroll close by.
Since it was late afternoon my level of attention was lower and I didn’t even know how I manage not to scream.
But to let you understand the way my brain was melting, read further.
I was still at the door and I was checking on the queue and the customers inside, then I turned to have a look at the entrance and back again to the till area. But for the split seconds my eyes were on the door I thought I saw one of the cabbage patch kids, massive in size, waving to me from outside the door. Of course when I turned my head again nothing was there to be found.
Yes, I’m a bit ashamed of myself, but there is nothing I could do…a part of being mocked by whoever heard the story.
The end of the day came at last but today I’m still trying to recover!
This week will never end….
Once again I’d leave the task to the music…still hard to bear…will it get any easier?
He used to love this piece too.
To tell or not to tell!
This is the second light post of the week, as I promised on Tuesday.
Watching so many TV shows I thought about a couple of questions.
I love in general fantasy (really any kind of fantasy), sci-fi and dystopian kind of TV shows, but right now I want to exclude those that take for granted a reality valid for everybody; instead, I want to concentrate on those where just one or only a few of the characters make the difference.
To make an example I don’t want to talk about “Heroes” where basically everybody has a superpower or “Dark Angel” where either you’re genetically modified or not. Basically where people are aware of these realities and more or less the truth is accepted as normality by the majority of them.
What I’m talking about is simpler roles like Nick Burkhardt who finds out to be a Grimm or Scott who’s bitten by an alpha and becomes a werewolf without wanting to be one or again the Winchester brothers who are fostered as hunters with no really any other choice.
And thinking about them I ask: Would you like your best friend telling you he or she’s a supernatural creature or a hunter? If he or she did it, how would you behave?
And vice versa, if you were a supernatural creature or a hunter would you tell them? And if so, how would you expect them to behave?
I’ve been thinking hard, as hard can be in trivial question like these. Still it’s hard to foresee behaviour on such a particular event. I might think, or I would like to think I’d do something and in the very unreal case the situation arises I might behave in a completely different way!
But as far as I’m concerned, assuming some fictional event could take place, I’d love my best friend tell me she or he’s a supernatural creature. I actually would consider myself lucky and I won’t be any jealous at all! At least on this I can be hundred per cent sure. I’d like to help him or her in doing whatever they’re doing according to my physical limits. Psychologically speaking I think I could do more, I’m an open-minded person!
Vice versa, if I had to be realistic, I might have some problems in telling the truth. The problem would be my self-confidence as usual. I’d love to tell them the truth, actually I’d need it, but I’d be afraid they would run away. So I might keep it quiet for a while trying to think on the best way of telling them and finally being caught by mistake, as I cannot hide anything for too long!!!
At the same time I’d love them to be happy and helpful, like I would be for them in case they were in my position! Of course, once they stop being mad at me because I didn’t tell the truth before! But they eventually will, because they’re my best friend and they know me well and they are aware of my stupidity!
How about you?
Answer in the comments below, I’m very curious!