Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Portugal, Alphas and A Case of The Smarts

Yonks ago, when streets were still wide enough for carriages and people actually used carriages, before the invention of the NetBook, I bought meself an AlphaSmart. Never heard of it? Here you are...

Yes! A floating keyboard! This thing runs for a year on a set of AA batteries and is so robust, you could throw it in the pool and it would probably learn to swim (don't try this at home, folks)

My poor alphasmart got discarded when I bought my NetBook (almost as many yonks ago) BUT last week the battery of my NetBook died and who knew? You cannot buy replacement batteries at any physical store, you have to get it online and await delivery.

With summer in the air, I love writing in randon places, under the apple tree, lying on the trampoline, you know how it goes. So, caught without a battery, I went to the garage and dug out my alphasmart from a box in a dark, dusty corner. Switched in on and, after 2 years, the thing switched on 2 bars of battery life and zooming to go. Aah, I'd really forgotten how much I love this little writer's tool.

Here's the reasons I'm going back to writing first drafts on my alphasmart (not good for editing, though)

(a) Only four lines of text shows up. I am a compulsive editor, I write two new lines and go back to edit the last 10 lines. The alphasmart forces one to just press on ahead in draft mode because it's practically impossible to do any decent editing on the small display

(b) No internet connection. No distractions.

(c) So robust, we're leaving for Portugal this week and my alphasmart just gets tossed into the suitcase without second thought.

(d) Battery life.... just goes on and on and on... love it!!!

And on that note, we're off to Portugal until the end of the month. Everyone have a great time here and I'll see you when I get back with some piccies to share

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

So, here's Breghan musing on life with Arran, from The Devil of Jedburgh...

   The two of them together were volatile and flipped each other’s mood at the turn of a word.
   Thank heavens he’s leaving in the morning and I have a few weeks grace before I have to worry about it.
   She closed her eyes to dream of a suitor who’d compose romantic poems in her name instead of roaring, who’d woo her with softly spoken promises instead of wicked innuendos, a man too sophisticated and elegant to overpower her with raw masculinity. But every vision she tried to conjure was eclipsed with the lean strength encased in those leather breeches Arran wore today. The way his golden hair fell across his face to hide the scar at his cheek but not the harsh nature chiselled in his jaw.
   The adventurous part of her thrilled at the dark desire he aroused while the sensible part warned there’d be no happy ending.

Monday, 4 April 2011

The Old, the Bad and the Useful

This weekend, I was going through my archive of written books, chapters and scenes that never quite made it into the submission world and, in some cases, never made it past a couple of scenes. I was looking for a specific ballroom scene I knew I'd written and was wondering if I could use in my current wip.

What I came across was the first three chapters of a medieval scottish, written many, many years ago that was just so... bad. I can't even use the excuse that my voice has changed, matured beyond comfortable recognistion, etc this was just plain bad writing. To be kind, I'll consider it a learning experience that has led to better things. I must admit that I did read over it with a kind of fond, if cringing, nostalgia... imagine your thirtish something self going glancing over photos of your akward, teenage self :)

I did find my ballroom scene and something extra - that scene had two side characters I'd completely forgotten about and I have the perfect opening for their grand debut in my wip. I love this kind of find, the discovery that even back then when I was honing my craft and learning the ins and outs of writing and publishing, my imagination could still dream up a delightful character or two and place them in a horrid dilemma.