Archive for ‘Writing’


I forgot to do this last Wednesday. Webcomic update!

Yeah what with my having a birthday last week I got kind of distracted. Anyway, here is last weeks page of my webcomic, and yes there will be one on Wednesday too.

Page 6

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Why I love the new J.J. Abrams Star Trek universe.

Look, let’s face it, while the Original Star Trek Universe has given us all decades of entertainment, a lot of laughs, a few tears, it’s kind of been written into a cul-de-sac. And by that I mean, they were seriously considering a series based around Worf. Worf people. You know, the guy who gets his ass kicked when they writers needed to show that someone was tough enough to actually bother fearing. (Yeah, yeah, I know he was frikkin’ awesome in Deep Space Nine, but still…no, just no) Besides with the launch of a new Trek universe the original is probably, at the very least from a studio point of view, dead as a doornail.

But where does that leave us?

Well actually it leaves us with an entirely blank slate. As of this moment the only thing the new Trek-‘verse has in common with the original is a handful of characters. That’s it, seriously. Don’t believe me, well consider the following points.

Kirk is captain of the Enterprise 10 years too early.

Christopher Pike is her captain for probably, allowing for crew assembly and equipping time, less than a year. Instead of his original five years, which are alluded to as being almost as legendary as Kirk’s two stints as her captain on five-year missions.

Robert April…is nowhere to be seen. Hang on a second. Robert April is nowhere to be seen? Hang on that can’t be right.

Ah but this is where we get to my utterly blank slate theory. Old Spock came back in time, created a parallel universe, and in so doing changed everything. He’s indirectly responsible for the destruction of Vulcan, as well as the almost destruction of Earth. He is directly responsible for bringing in to being new technologies and new concepts (the trans-warp transporter). Look reduced to brass-tacks he’s responsible for the destruction of the entire known future history of his universe.

He brought about a universe where George Kirk died thirty years too early, and so all the lives he would have touched, not least his sons, are irrevocably changed.

Kirk instead of launching the mission that will meet the actual God Apollo (Well sort of a god, it’s complex), Gary Seven (Which may explain Khan being met far too early, I’ll get to this), and will serve as inspiration for hundreds of subsequent future heroes; has instead launched on what should have been Robert April’s voyage. Have you even heard of Robert April? If you’re under thirty, and weren’t a hardcore Trek fan, probably not; but then neither apparently has Abrams.

So, Kirk will probably never end up back in 1960’s Earth, never meet Gary Seven, or his cat (sort of, again, it’s complex) Isis. So it’s possible that Gary Seven will, for all his extra-terrestrial technological and training advantages, die on that particular mission. Which (if you’ve read the Eugenics War novels) means that Khan will have faced far lesser foes. Which could well mean that he escaped an Earth that was rapidly slipping from his grasp aboard the Botany Bay far later than in the original universe. Which in itself could explain why he was found so much earlier…he simply hadn’t travelled as far from Earth.

Add in the destruction of Vulcan and suddenly we very likely no longer have the characters T’Pau, T’Pring, Saavik, Tuvok, or Valeris. Why? Well, they’re all probably dead.

With the destruction almost the entire of the Federations 2nd Fleet at Vulcan in the first Abrams movie, we probably lose a huge number of Next Generation era characters. Why? Well again, and again we meet characters in The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager who come from families with a legacy of Starfleet service. So, unless they were with the 1st Fleet they’re bang out of luck, possibly out of existence too.

But guess what folks? We’re just getting started because now we get to the head-wrecking time-travel stuff.

The Enterprise under Kirk is going on it’s first five year mission a decade too early. Which means it’ll likely be going a decade of exploration too close to Earth. So as I previously said, it’s likely there’ll be no trip to the 60’s, much less two of them. But with Khan well and truly on ice, will there be a Genesis planet? A battle with Captain Kruge? A Klingon Bird of Prey to use in a desperate flight back to the 1980’s in search of a Humpback…whale, not person, whale damn it!

And here we run in to another problem. Scotty gives someone the formula for Transparent Aluminium, you know kind of how Old Spock gave New Scotty his own theory of Trans-Warp Transportation…yeah, that won’t cause any problems to the timeline.

Oh and just to add salt to some canonical wounds, this might also mean no encounter with the Guardian of Forever, or at least not ’til much later in the new universes history.

And then there’s Tasha Yar and her time onboard the Enterprise C…mmmmmm Tasha Yar…*sighs*…*coughs* anyway. We know that Tasha Yar becomes another linchpin of her own universes timeline when an alternative version of her goes back in time to fight with the crew of the Enterprise C during their Thermopylae moment against the Romulans. The means she’s captured by a Romulan commander, who fathers her daughter Sela, and then kills her for trying to escape. Leaving Sela to become one of the hottes…I mean nastiest recurring villains in The Next Generation era. (and in the extended universe one of the people fighting for the Romulan Imperial throne. But yeah, only real geeks know about that…or Robert April, so moving on.)

And then there’s the Dividians in America during the lifetime of Samuel Clemens. Hmm I wonder what happens with them in the new timeline, maybe they eat Guinan. (Well that should spark some truly filthy fan-fiction.)

But what about Sisko and his jaunts to the past? Let’s ignore for a moment the fact that there’s currently no real reason for the station K-7 to exist, much less for Kirks Enterprise to wind up there with Kirk still in command in around 12 years time. Instead let’s ask ourselves is there even a Sisko to go back, and fanboy all over Kirk? We’re assuming he exists in the later timeline here. But with the changes Old Spock has created is there even going to be an Enterprise D? Will its crew who are really, truly unlikely to include any familiar faces, be similar enough to the original version to push Q’s buttons the same way, meet the Borg, and trigger the battle which leads to Sisko being in command of Deep Space Nine when the Wormhole is found? Or instead, assuming he exists in the future of this new universes timeline, will he instead be a starship captain of little note.; thereby saving the Alpha and Beta quadrants from the ravages of the Dominion War. And remember Sisko is also important to his universes history because he plays the part of Gabriel Bell, who admittedly he is partially responsible for the death of, and right about this time my head explodes from trying to figure out timelines and temporal paradoxes.

Will Voyager ever exist? And if it does without Tuvok (remember he’s probably dead) will it end up in the Badlands so it can find itself in the Delta Quadrant (Fuck that’s far away! They wanna go home.). This is kind of important, remember they had at least ten episodes based around time travel. Most of which must have left some changes in their wake.


Yeah. Where did I start with this? Oh yes the blank slate.

The original time-line was frankly awesome. It’s probably the single largest continuous storyline in television and movie history. It covers centuries. But it’s also become very restrictive. Look at the last thousand words for evidence. All of those things happened, and have to be worked around to tell new stories. And while the various series of books have done sterling work explaining and exploring a lot of the under utilised plot devices (New Frontiers take on Apollo being a brilliant example.) they were also rather hamstrung by being written into a universe with a solidly established storyline. And in fact this has only gotten worse as various writers have filled in the blanks.

Abrams universe took the Star Trek rulebook, tore it up, set it on fire, and then pissed on the ashes.

No more Vulcan.

A Kirk who is FAR too young for his position.

A Federation which is far more aware of it’s vulnerabilities.

And best of all, no known future history.

Sure there might well be a Captain Picard in the new universe. But with the changes he’s just as likely to be the producer of the finest red wines in the Alpha Quadrant. Or a history professor in the Academy. Or a street sweeper.

Nothing in the new universe is set in stone. There’s no reason that Abrams can’t take old storylines (Gary Seven being my favourite  prime example.) and run with them, giving them the time, and polish they deserve. But there’s nothing stopping him, and his successors, from ignoring them completely.

And that’s why I love both the original and Abrams universes equally. The original gives me stories I know and understand. I get the setting, and after a lifetime of watching, and reading can see most of the connecting strings between episodes, books, comics, and films. It’s a tapestry, sometimes loosely, and sometimes tightly woven. But I know it. And that’s both comforting, like an old fairytale, and in its own way exciting.

But the new universe is just pure adventure, for everyone. Everyone who watches it is experiencing it, more or less, for the first time together. It’s an opportunity for new writers, new storytellers to tell their Star Trek story on a relatively fresh and new sheet of paper. The basic rules still apply. Kirk is still, more or less, Kirk. Spock is still logical. Scotty is Simon Pegg…ummm ya *happy dance*. And the Enterprise is still the badass of the fleet. But beyond that, who knows. Who knows what changes have extended from the distant into the (future)past of this new universe. Who knows what dangers were swept away by the new timeline, only to be replaced to newer, deadlier foes.

Well someone knows, they’re sitting behind a laptop right now, wondering how to tell that story. And probably wondering how you write in lens flare.

So in memory of the original universe, Voltaire. *Riotous applause*


Why I think Superman sequels almost always suck, and why you should go to the new one.

Are you looking forward to the new Superman movie Man of Steel? You are? Good, I’d be worried if you weren’t. After all it’s not every year you get the chance to see a new big screen adaption of one of the best known god origin myths. And that right there is my reason why Superman sequels always suck.

He’s a god.

Okay, I’ll explain a little more. Superman, like most if not all superhero stories, can be viewed as modern mythology. Wolverine is perhaps a modern take on Odysseus, wandering the world in search of home. Wonderwoman, is quite literally an Amazonian princess. Nightcrawler and Angel, are supposedly descendants of races early humans mistook for angels and demons. And Superman, is Heracles, or maybe Perseus, well one of Zeus’ bastard sons anyway (I think probably more Hercules though because the second part of his origin story is usually his having to slay more gods/titans. An act which in Heracles mythology ends with his taking a seat alongside his father in Olympus.).

We’ve always had superheroes in our cultures. In the past though they either represented the very, very best of humanity (a lot of the Fianna, or the Knights of the Round table), of semi-godly origin (half of the classical Greek heroes were demi-gods), or were straight up gods (Prometheus sacrificing his freedom to give mankind fire, etc). But they were, with the addition of tights and some ACDC to the soundtrack, what modern kids would recognise as superheroes. They can simply do things that “normal” people can’t. They’re smarter, or stronger, or have powers, or are immortal, or, or, or.

So back to Superman.

Superman has one of the better origin stories of the very early superheroes. His entire world is destroyed by some cataclysm. His father desperately tries to save his entire race, but his efforts are rebuffed by his own people. So out of absolute desperation he sends his only son to Earth in a small purpose built spacecraft. Then Supermans parents die. Next twenty-ish years of boring stuff about him growing up as a normal mid-western kid on a farm, all the while hiding his true nature. His adopted dad dies (man this kid is bad luck to have around). Moves to the big city, wants to use his powers for good, creates a costume, becomes Superman, has a career saving a REALLY clumsy, and self destructive newspaper reporter. Saves the world a bunch of times like a good solar powered god.

That’s Superman boiled down to a single paragraph. Doesn’t sound so good does it? It actually sounds kind of comical.

But in reality it’s actually a rather engrossing story. You have the ultimate fish out of water, an honest to goodness alien, whose father sends him to a world where he knows his son will become godlike because of his new environment. And a lot of Supermans origin story, when it’s told well, is about his struggle to accept his true nature, and the responsibilities that go hand-in-hand with that nature. Because in Superman, just like in the ancient myths, power/acclaim doesn’t come for free. There is always a price.

Sometimes that price is your bitch of a step-mother trying to kill you as a child, before driving you mad enough to kill your own wife and children, in some versions not once, but twice. Heracles.

Sometimes the price is that you become a king, only to have it all taken from you, and then have the universe add ridicule to insult to injury by dropping the the prow of your own ship on your now homeless head. Jason of the Argonauts.

And in Supermans case, the price is knowing he can never save everyone. No really, that’s the price. No matter how perfectly he pulls off a rescue, someone will still be hurt. He is a god, but one who isn’t all powerful, a god who can’t have a really perfect win. The world is just too damned big for one man, even a superman, to save all of it. So instead he spends his time saving as much of one city as he can, and Lois Lane constantly, because and I cannot state this strongly enough, she is a super-magnet for trouble as well as being incredibly clumsy (and yeah, usually kinda hot so there is that).

His origin story works really well because it’s about a young god who wants to be a normal man, but is forced over time, by circumstance to accept his true nature. Even though it means he will have to pay some enormous personally torturous price. Perseus anyone?

And right there is why the sequels, 1980’s Superman 2 being an exception mostly because it was actually far more the second part of his origin than a true sequel, usually suck. He’s a god. There’s really no suspense, no peril. Superman will not die. Lois Lane will not die. And everyone else is more or less just a nameless face in the crowd who you won’t see more than once, or at the most very often. Superman always wins in the end, because he’s a god. So why bother warming up the edge of your seat?

Peril is important to good storytelling. And it is an element that even one of the worst superhero movies of all time had in spades. X-Men 3 is an abomination of a movie. I honestly think it’s far worse than the 2003 movie Hulk, and that was just a mess of bad CGI, combined with not enough good story. But even with it being such a terrible hash of a movie, X-Men 3 really had one thing going for it. Characters, major ones, could and did die. The good guys won, yes. But they paid a truly huge price, and you were never sure how many of the characters you loved would still be kicking at the end of it all.

Best of all it showed a god-type character, Dark Phoenix, dying from something as mundane as being stabbed. It allowed the unstoppable, to be stopped in a way that was not only easy to relate to, but in a way that tore at your heart strings.

This is something that Superman has never, to my mind, really managed to achieve in the sequels. Simply because Superman is Superman. He always saves the day, so why worry? Even in the comic books the writers have had to continuously ramp up what his opponents can do, to have even the slightest hint of peril. But it still doesn’t work. Why?

Superman dies…

He’s cloned.

That version was from a parallel universe.

That version was another a clone.

It was all a dream.

A vision experienced in the Fortress of Solitude.

…and so on. (Not sure how many of those have actually happened. I stopped reading Superman comics around the same time I discovered breasts. But really what else can you do with that character?)

When your chief character is a god, it really is almost impossible to do much more with him. I mean sure you can knock off his support system. Kill his mother, his father, his girlfriend, his dog. But even then you wind up having to tell a superhero story which has no superheroism. Instead you wind up with a story that you could have told better by just having an all human cast of characters, and setting it in a universe that everyone can fully relate to.

Or you can strip him of his powers…superhero movie with no superpowers that isn’t Kickass. I’ll pass thanks.

What’s the point?

But all that said, he does have probably the best of the early superhero origin stories. And I fully expect Man of Steel to quite simply rock. So I really am strongly suggesting that you go watch it. This won’t be the campy 80’s version, or Lois and Clark. This will be a fully realised gritty version based solidly in the same sort of universe as Nolans Batman Trilogy. Or to put it another way, Superman the way we’ve never seen it on the big screen, or really any screen.

Just…don’t expect a lot from the sequels. And there ARE going to be sequels.

So if all that isn’t enough, as a loyal member of the Angry Army I will leave you with the Angry Joe himself pleading with you to go see Man of Steel. I mean come on, could you say no to that face?

And now I leave you. It’s time to Up, Up, and AWAY!


Yeeeeeah, no post today either.

I could lie, I could say that the sun is out, and I just feel too lazy to write. But the truth is that Friday was one of the worst days of my life from an emotional health point of view, and so I am nowhere near the right head-space to be able to write anything worth reading. So that being the case, and considering how sick I’ve been for a full week now, I’m going to take a break until Tuesday week. Hopefully by then I’ll be back to something approximating myself.

Thanks for your ongoing patience.


Why Dr Who gets on my tits.

Okay, so there’s one thing really annoys me about the modern Dr Who. The tagline for it since they relaunched the series has been that The Doctor is “The Last of The Timelords.” Which is cool, and awesome sounding, and shit. But it’s also not to my mind as a life-long Whovien in anyway accurate.

Even if all the other Timelords are now dead (which they’re not, they’re along with The Silver Nemesis and all the other Gallifreyan living weapons, timelocked, whatever that means), but that still leaves the TimeLady Romana. Who, as of the last time she was seen, was quite alive and healthy in Y-Space. Admittedly she was supposed to be trapped there for all eternity but she was alive, and only on one of her earliest regenerations.Remember when Timelords only had 13 of those? Or when alternative dimensions stayed closed off once their storylines were finished?

Also does anyone actually believe that we’ve seen the last of The Master? Really? I only ask because that guy has died more times than Daniel Jackson, and correct me if I’m wrong, but he is a Timelord. Evil (sort of), dangerous, psychopathic, but a Timelord.

So there’s two right off the bat.

But the original Doctors often faced off against other rogue Timelords. They were a staple of the series. Are you really telling me that the ones he faced of against and defeated were the only rogues? Or that those rogues would have obeyed a call to arms from the the council, a council that they refused to answer to in the first place?

Next of course we have Jenny, the Doctors daughter-self. She died, she regenerated, that at the very least makes her more than simply Gallifreyan. Regeneration is after all a key part of being a Timelord, simple Gallifreyans only get to live one life. And speaking of characters who can regenerate.

River Song. She gives The Doctor all of her regenerations. And she’s a time-traveler, which admittedly does give her a better claim to Timeladyship than simply having the ability to regenerate.

Or how about the fact that the Timelords are TIME-TRAVELLERS! They’ve effected all of history. But after the Time War they apparently were taken out  of history? How the Hell does that work? So all their works in our history are erased? Because that’s what’s implied. And yet, if that’s the case then why isn’t our universe crawling with Rachnos, Great Vampires, or Daleks? For that matter how can the The Doctor exist?

I guess that my problem with the Who-verse, is that what a Timelord is has never been properly defined. And by that I don’t mean “had the mystery removed”. Timelords by their nature would be mysterious anyway. They take titles, and never reveal their names. They live multiple lives. They’re…more than anything else in that universe. They could easily be written as mysterious no matter what. But, for me, this sharpest written modern televised science fiction falls down only because of niggles like this. Define, at least vaguely what a Timelord is so you can justify The Doctor calling himself the last of his kind, especially when there are plenty of reasons, within the vague outline you insist on using, for him not to be.

I know, I know, it’s all a wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey thing with loops and strings, and time-space is very complicated so there’s some rationally irrational reason for all this to work within the story-verses laws of nature. But as a science fiction fan, and as a writer I have to admit that this does put me off of watching the show.

I’m sick of mystery for the sake of mystery.

I know that The Doctor is meant to be frightfully mysterious.

And the Timelords are meant to be frightfully mysterious.

And it’s all supposed to be a mystery, wrapped in a riddle, topped off with an enema…or some other word starting with “e”.

But it is in all honesty starting to get on my wick. I’m not asking for all the mysteries to be solved. But an occasional insight into all of this, preferably one that isn’t retconned out again later, would be very welcome.


I came to a big decision last week.

Most of the people reading this will have seen my very short-lived video blog. A few things have killed it off after only 3 parts.

First I became too ill, for a period of three months, to either sit in front of a camera or to want to be seen by the world when I felt like I was dying.

Second my old PC finally gave up the ghost, succumbing to a full-scale motherboard failure. My PC was eventually replaced by a nice shiny new Dell 17″ desktop replacement laptop. Though admittedly weighing in at almost 4 kilos calling it a laptop might be, stretching things a little.

Finally when I did receive my new laptop, and set about recording a new video blog I ran in to some horrible technical problems. Not least the fact that my audio was completely out of synch with my video. That wouldn’t be much of a problem except that I have ZERO video editing knowledge, and in fact had used Windows Movie Maker to record, and produce my first three videos, none of which had actually involved much in the way of editing. End result, Amanda tearing her hair out after a full day of trying, and failing to synch them both up.

Well last week I was having a chat with a really lovely girl I know from the U.S., and she gave me some damned good advice. And that advice was as follows…


And do you know what? She had a pretty good point. Up until this week I have been doing the following, every, single, day. (Barring Sunday, and any day I have an appointment anywhere. So probably it’s more like 95% of every, single, day.)

* 1 hour of ukulele/mandolin practice. Scales, followed by working on one piece for at least 30 minutes.
* 1 hour of writing exercises. Time spent learning new words/trying to learn grammar/punctuation, (with minimal success I have to admit) as well as writing, and rewriting the same piece over and over as many times as I can, each time with different sentences/words/structure, while always keeping the content and message the same.
* 1 hour drawing practice. Which is literally what it sounds like.
* 2 hours working on a novel. This can be writing, researching, or taking down notes.
* 1 hour on one of my pet projects Lately this has been learning about airsofting, but in the past it’s included learning to build PC’s, building things, stuff like that. But it had included video blogging. And finally.
* 1 hour of research every evening. Actually this usually runs to about 2 hours. But that’s because I really enjoy finding out about new things, and expanding what I already know, all so I have a vast wealth of random information to use in whatever project I’m concentrating on.

I think you’ll agree that for a girl who has a really debilitating chronic illness, that’s kind of a lot of stuff to take on. And don’t get me wrong I love doing almost all of it. I enjoy working. I enjoy making, creating, writing, learning. To me it’s actually just as much fun as kicking ludicrous amounts of ass in Skyrim. But lately I’ve come to realise that it’s just too much for me to handle. Not least because those “* 1 hour”‘s usually overrun. I start out intending to do one hour of sketching, then look at the time and realise, “Oh shit! It’s been 3 hours!” It’s taken together, all too much.

So I listened to that girl, and then out of curiosity I went back to watched my own video blogs. Something I had never done before. And they’re, okay. Actually the transphobia one is pretty good. But they’re not what I had intended my video blog to be. And worse, they’re less than I know I’m capable of. So I’m stopping recording new video’s for the time being. I’m also putting my music practice to one side, and letting go of my writing exercises for a while. The former because It’s really just a hobby for me, not something that drives me. The latter because I honestly don’t believe I’m reaping much, if any, benefit from them any more.

That’s 2 hours each “working” day freed up, right away.

So for now there’ll be this blog, my webcomic and the work needed to bring that to where I feel it should be, the novel I’m currently trying to get written, and the extra time is going to go in getting ready to relaunch my video-blog at some stage in the future.

I know precisely what I want it to be, and while I know it won’t be exactly that instantly, it can, and should be much better than it currently is. It just needs work, and I have a lot to learn in order to be able to do that work. You know, minor things like basic video editing, lighting techniques, basic camera work. And I need to sort out equipment for it also, I need to make as much of it as I can, and source the rest for as little money as possible. I’m determined that when I go back to it, it will be what I truly want it to be, not the milky, watered down version it’s been to date.

So rest assured, my video blog will return in the future. It will be better than it was. It will probably be considerably different to what it used to be. But most of all it will be something I can be proud of.

But for now I hope that you’ll keep reading my blog, my webcomic, and some day maybe even my novels. (Goddesses and a publisher willing.)


So, what’s the opposite of a Fangasm?

I wrote last week about how making money is a lousy sole reason for doing anything you love. And I stand by that assertion. I truly believe that nothing will kill your love of something faster than it simply being a means to filling your wallet. I also mentioned in that particular post, the sense of reward I get from knowing that someone else is enjoying my hard work.

Well let me cut to last Saturday night. I was at a party hosted by my best male friend and his Kitten. It was frankly a roaring success, I got somewhat drunk, had chatting time with my lil sister, met people I see far to rarely, and then slept like a felled log. So all in all a wonderful night. I also discovered that people read my blog. It was to say the very, very least an extremely happy moment for me. And here’s why.

Writing is a very solitary experience. You sit alone, and write. Oh, sure you will probably spend time researching, studying, plotting, making copious notes, and all the other things that go in to writing well. And yes those things can often be done while you’re surrounded by people, I know I often do my research while I watch telly with my Partner in Crime. But when push comes to shove, and you finally get down to laying out words by keyboard, you’ll be alone. I often find myself thinking that I’m never more alone than when I’m writing. But part of this solitariness is tied up in feedback or the lack thereof.

I am delighted by the fact that several people respond either with comments or “likes” to my posts fairly regularly. It helps me to keep a track on whether I’m getting it right, “getting it right” here meaning “entertaining/bringing joy”. It’s nice, it makes that self-imposed alone, and lonely time feel worthwhile. (Obviously it’s worthwhile no matter what, simply by providing a chance to practice my writing, and improve in my art. But it is lovely to receive feedback.) But when you find out that people you know regularly read your blog. And more they’re people who you like a lot, despite your barely knowing them. Well I find myself thinking…


Or as Mister Charles Sheen put it…

Which leads me back to my opening question. What is the opposite of a Fangasm? A fangasm is when you meet someone you idolize, and kind of stumble over your words, feet, and tongue. Well I came pretty close to that on Saturday night because these people I really like, some of whom I admire deeply, and more than a couple whom I absolutely adore like my writing. So I feel we need a new word, something which reflects the similarity to a fangasm that content creators feel when they discover that they’re hard work is appreciated…I’m open to suggestions here people!

(For the record I think most creative work is pretty solitary. It’s very much tied up with what’s inside your own head so it almost has to be. That being so, if you are a fan/admirer/orgasmic consumer of someones work well maybe let them know now and then that you like it. A little encouragement goes a long way, and who knows you might just give that creative type the little bit of extra juice they need to finish that new piece. And of course a vibrant dialogue between creator, and consumers makes some delicious fan-service, that much more likely.

Oh and thank you very much to all those who read my lame ass blog. You all make it so much easier to get up, and get writing each day.)


To make money, bad sole reason for creativity.

Someone recently asked me what I do.  And after thinking for a few seconds I replied “I’m a writer, and newly minted webcomic artist, but really I want to be a kind of multi-discipline artist.” After I explained what I meant by that, and that it wasn’t a reference to my predilection for leather whips, and steel chains, they asked my least favorite question ever.


This was followed seconds later by another one I don’t like.

“How’ll you make a living at that?”

Okay quick explanation is probably in order. I love writing, I write this blog mostly just for fun, and as a way to improve my writing by sheer practice. But writing isn’t enough for me. I want to draw, I want to make films, I want to play music, I want to write music, sculpt, design things, make things. But I want to do all of those things well. Not just half-ass them. I want to take time to master them all, one by one.

Why do I want to do all of those things?

Because I love to create. More than that, did you notice anything about all of those art-forms? Like maybe the fact that they can all be used to tell stories? That’s what I love most, I love to tell a story. I love to sweep someone up, show them somewhere else, and then put them back down with a smile on their faces. I wrote my first novel for my own pleasure, but it let me discover the sheer joy of seeing other people enjoying something I created.

I didn’t do it to make money. Though Goddesses willing someday it might just let me afford a really, really good cup of coffee.

That’s the thing. I honestly believe that doing anything just to make money is a bad idea. You work in a shitty, entry-level job with no promotion prospects to make money. But you should never do something you love purely to make money. Making money from something you love is always the dream, but more often than not you’ll do something you hate, for the funds to be able to do that thing you love. So making money from my art would be a bonus. The second layer of icing on a cake that’s already delicious, and moist, with a thick layer of icing already in place.

“How’ll you make a living at that?”

I don’t know. I honestly don’t. I have a few inklings of ideas. But nothing that can become reality unless people actually like what I do, get joy from what I do, have thoughts, and ideas of their own triggered by my creations.

So whether I “make it” or not. (Gods I hate that phrase) I’ll keep storytelling because it’s what I love to do. And who knows someday those stories might pay the bills. But if they don’t, I’ll still have the happiness that comes with doing something I love.


The newish Random Ruminations line-up.

As some of you will have noticed I just took a three-week break from blogging. Actually not quite. I actually took a three-week break from all writing of any kind, not counting several ludicrously long Facebook updates. Well anyway, I’m back. Technically I was back on Tuesday, but today I’m really, really back. And I’ve had some time to think about what I want my blog to be in the long-term.

Up until now there has been a regular pattern to my posts. Yeah, I know it’s kind of hard to believe. But if you were to go back through my archived articles you’d find that generally Tuesdays were news type posts, Thursdays were reviews of some kind, and Saturdays were completely random though usually about something vaguely personal. I’ve enjoyed writing to that line-up, and I’ve learned an awful lot about writing doing so. But lately I haven’t been enjoying writing as much as I used to.

Writing has always been a joyful thing to me. Something I do almost on automatic, like a waking dream that sort of flows from my fingertips and winds up on my computer screen. And almost the whole time I have this sense of euphoria, like nothing can possibly go wrong because while I write, while I create the universe belongs to me. Yes I know, I’m nuts.

But before I took my break from writing it had started to become a chore. Not a good thing when you truly consider writing to be your career (Even if you have only sold a couple of articles to random websites. But I’ll work my lil ass off, and some day, some glorious day I’ll make enough to pay for an extra-large pizza with double pepperoni, damn it!) the joy was leaking away. Then one morning I woke up with the thought ringing in my mind.

“Amanda, you need to rewrite everything you’ve written in the past five  years, because it’s all wrong.”

Right. Time for a holiday. Yes Ma’am, three weeks of reading military sci-fi, The Big Bang Theory, and playing PC games. Because there is no frikkin’ way in hell I am going to rewrite somewhere in the region of seven hundred and fifty thousand words.

The question now must be asked. Did the break do me good?

And the answer is quite simply, yes. Far more good than I ever expected it to.

It had time to spend sketching, learning again just how much I love to draw, and admittedly how little talent I have at it. That said I did find enough confidence to start drawing my long promised, and delayed webcomic. I also found myself thinking automatically about storylines, and characters.

I gained enough space, and perspective from the novel I’m currently working on to suddenly, and quite unexpectedly realise that I had screwed up the beginning rather badly. Nothing in it was unusable, I had simply put the cart before the horse. I also realised that I had accidentally written a third core theme to the story, and that actually that theme is far more powerful than the two I had intended.

And to top all this off while I was sketching out the ideas for a sci-fi table-top role-playing game, some Muse came by, and hit me between the eyes with a great big mallet. A great big mallet that gave me a vast almost instantaneous  insight in to what I think will be my favourite piece of writing ever. Characters, setting, basic plotlines, themes, morality, everything I needed to get kicking appearing in my mind in one glorious moment.

So, as you can see I was taking a break from writing. After all, a writer can take a break from the physical act of writing, but if you really are a writer there’s absolutely no way, short of a 9mm bullet to the brain stem to stop your mind from writing.

So that was my break, and now we get back to my blog. I have no intentions of stopping writing this blog. I truly enjoy owning, and writing for it. I enjoy putting my thoughts down on the screen, posting them, and letting them flutter out in to the world. But for it to stay enjoyable I need to change things a little.

So from next week onwards I will be posting Tuesdays, Saturdays, and on the last Thursday of each month. Tuesday will be reviews or news depending on what’s caught my eye in the previous week. Saturdays will still be the random intensely personal stuff. The last Thursday of each month will be something completely new, a video blog.As I gain experience in producing them, and thus speed up this may become a fortnitely, or even weekly thing. But for the time being it will definitely only be monthly.

While I do have a lot of ideas for topics, I still honestly don’t fully know what that video blog will turn out to be. Though terrifying is what mostly comes to mind right now seeing as I haven’t even once posted up a picture of myself here, much less video. But I’m sure we’re all going to have fun, and for my readers/viewers a lot of amusement at my expense in the early days, finding out it will become.

So for me it’s back to work. And I hope you’ll continue to read, be entertained, and who knows even occasionally informed by my blog.





The Two Asshole Types of Rebloggers.

Reblogging is part and parcel of being a member of the blogging universe. If you write well on a given subject, sooner or later your work will be reblogged. It’s simply something that has to be accepted. That doesn’t mean we can’t have a good bitching session about the asshole rebloggers.

But first let’s speak a little about the legitimate ones. These are the people who read your blog. And then think, “Wow, that’s brilliantly written, and matches my views so well I really must share it with the world. But I better ask the author first!” See the last part of that? The bit about asking first? Yeah that’s what marks out a polite reblogger from an asshole reblogger. They actually have the manners to ask if you would mind first.

Sometimes that’s not possible, and instead they will add a short explanation to their reblogging of your work. “This work belongs to…their main site can be found at…you should REALLY go there, ’cause they’re awesome!” That’s pretty polite too.

There might even be other types of nice, legit rebloggers out there. But I haven’t met any of them yet.

I have on the other hand met two particularly assholish types of rebloggers. One type is just outright so, and the other probably thinks of themselves as polite, and legit…but aren’t. Oh which to speak about first, hmmm.

You wake up one morning, and log on to your admin page. You know just to see if anyone commented while you were asleep. Because apparently the rest of the world doesn’t stop while you sleep…but anyway you log on. And there in your comment box is a pingback report. The funny thing is that you don’t remember writing anything that linked back to an earlier post the previous night. But you follow the pingback to its origin, and find that it’s linked to a website you’ve never heard of.

That’s cool, after all I’ve probably only visited .01% of the internet at this stage, and most of those were BDSM websites, or guides to playing an Orc Huntress better. So you look around, and discover that the site your on exists for one purpose only. To “borrow” other people’s work, link back to them, and make sure that visitors are infinitely more likely to see the dozens of Adsense buttons they have littering 75% of the page.

Yes that’s right they’re using your work to generate revenue. And someone said there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

The funny thing is this person probably thinks there were polite. After all, they did only post an excerpt from your work, and then added a nice bright blue link back to your homepage. How nice of them. But they’re still making money off of your work, and they still didn’t FUCKING ASK FIRST! *coughs*

To make matters worse, if they even have a way for you to contact them, it’s probably broken. That way they can feel like they’re open and approachable, while actually being even more of a shower of assholes.

So that’s one type, what about the other?

Oh they’re just outright thieves. Let me tell you a story. It’s a story of glory, of theft, of battle, of assholes!

A year ago I wrote a piece on alternatives to oil. It wasn’t very well received, but hey them’s the breaks. It was however outright stolen. Some little prick from Turkey decided that it was so good, he just had to have it. A little “Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V”, and as far as he was concerned he owned it. He was so happy with “his” work that he then posted it on his own website. A site that had NO way to contact him. But also had no advertising or anything else on it. Nope, in fact all it had was a by-line where he announced to the world that he had written that piece.

Wasn’t that nice for him?

It was until I start pelting his blog provider with complaints, logs, and a link proving that my piece had been posted almost a month before “his”. It was wonderful how quickly his site vanished forever, or at least as close to forever as exists on the internet, as I’m sure Google have an archive of it somewhere on their system, right there alongside the deeds to my soul, and the remains of Lindbergh baby. (If you don’t recognise the reference you should ask your grandparents.)

It’s hard for me to decide which of these are worse. The ones who make money off of your work, but at least give you credit for actually being the author. Or the ones who just outright steal your creativity, and then pass it off as their own. Maybe you know an even worse type, do you?

But regardless of which ultimately proves to be worse, they’re all assholes, and they should be beaten slowly to death by a rampaging horde of two-year olds, armed with socks filled with snookerballs.

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