character

Preparation for NaNoWriMo 2012

We’re now just 2 weeks from NaNoWriMo 2012 and I must say I’m excited for it to begin.  I’m looking forward to getting started and getting my new novel down and I fully intend to not only win NaNo but win with style.  That 50k will be reached and surpassed before the end of the third week in.  That is my goal and my aim and I’ll keep updated my progress here.

My NaNo project is titled Acts of Life and centres around a character called Jake Elloway.  Jake is a very famous and well loved actor from Earth who is offered a role that is a little different to the roles he normally plays.  Always glad of the opportunity to show how versatile an actor he is, he accepts the part and takes a job aboard an inter galactic freight liner in order to research his intended character’s job and lifestyle.

Of course things don’t go entirely to plan and with Jake being a narcissistic megalomaniac, life with his new companions isn’t as easy as it could be.  When they are forced into an emergency landing on an uninhabited planet, they must also be aware of the ever present dangers that lurk in the shadows.  Not only must the crew fight to survive, but Jake is forced to face his real self and deal with his personality flaws.

Will the crew survive the terrors that wait for them on the planet Tellizon..?  Will Jake leave his selfish megalomania behind and become an asset to the crew?

Keep watching to find out..!

Brand new interview with Leon Domenico

Just to let everyone know that Leon Domenico stopped by and gave another interview about the upcoming fourth book in The Lilean Chronicles series.

Leon is Vincent’s father and spirit guide to Farra Duncan and he tells us a little about this new adventure.

Take the link below to read his interview.  Scroll down the page, the new interview is right under his first.

 

Click here to read the interview with Leon Domenico

Furyan Aria – the truth behind the shining eyes of Richard B Riddick

FURYAN ARIA – the truth behind the shining eyes of Richard B Riddick

by Merita King

copyright Merita King September 2012

All rights reserved.

Alone I stand here surrounded by fear and hate.
Hunted across worlds by those seeking their pound of flesh
for what it will bring them in the market place.
There is no peace, no sanctuary to be found.
Left to die, a baby’s cry unheeded by the strong
as they fill trashcan after trashcan.
Monsters hold no fear for him, Claws, teeth, animal instincts, hunt or be hunted,
these he understands.
The last of his kind, the omega of a nation.
Climbed from the trashcan, unwound the cord.
Relentless retreat, running, always running
but that trashcan is always there.
Climb out of the trashcan and still believe.

Don’t get too close, you don’t know me, can never know me.
Always behind a wall, peeping out.
Kill, walk away and save yourself, no one will blame you.
But they blame you anyway and hunt, always hunt.
So run, run and hide behind that wall of stoicism
for they’ll never understand you anyway.
Gonna miss the party, c’mon.
But don’t you cry for me, not for me.
They killed everything he knew,everyone he pretended not to love.
Down in the dark, he sees clearly what must be done.
Take a life? Sure. Take that life? No.
Run, hunt or be hunted, always on the move.
A killer? A convict? A saviour?
Always the chase, the thrill of the chase across worlds.
Your brain shuts down in cryo sleep
But he’s still awake, awake in the trashcan.
Does he still believe?
Started out with a cord around his neck and still believes.
Fought for his life in the dark, but always saw it clear
when others were blind and stumbling.
Still believes.
They killed everything he knew, and he still believes.
You keep what you kill.
But you can’t kill the trashcan.

Endorsed by the great and mighty (sort of)

Click on the images to enlarge

Intergalactic Guidebook – page 2 is now up

Just letting you all know that page 2 of the Intergalactic Guidebook is now up and available for your perusal.

Hope you like it.

World building for fiction – when is enough, enough?

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m compiling a new page on this site which I call the Intergalactic Guidebook.  I decided a little while ago that it would be fun to create some kind of encyclopaedia of The Lilean Chronicles.  In it I would write a kind of mini wiki all about the worlds and peoples we meet in the series.  This is going to be a herculean task, as I’m finding out but it’s fun to do and I don’t mind it taking a while.  I’m uploading each page when it’s complete and will blog when there’s a new page for you all to peruse.

It’s called world building or rather in my case, galaxy building and I actually did this when I wrote the books.  I built the words, the galaxy as I wrote each volume of the series.  What I’m doing now is putting all that information together in one place, but I’m finding that something interesting is happening as I’m putting it all together.

I know the worlds contained within The Lilean Chronicles very well.  I spent a year writing with my characters and I know all about their worlds, their culture etc so writing it all down again for the guidebook is not hard.  What I’m finding though, is that I’m actually writing stuff I never wrote in the books.  There are things in the guidebook that you won’t read about in the series at all.  The back stories in the guidebook are way more comprehensive and complete than the information in the novels is.  This got me to wondering why I’m feeling the urge to go so much further with these back stories, when some of the information isn’t in the books.

The answer is simple really.  I love doing it.  World building is such huge fun and it’s a total pleasure to invent a whole world, a race of people, their beliefs and culture, even their diseases and sports.   I also feel that the fuller the back story is, the more believable the novel becomes.  When you can find out everything about the world a character comes from, it helps you identify with them more closely and understand them more deeply.  Besides, it’s interesting shit to read..!

So how much is too much?  Should I go so far as to include geological information about the composition of the land masses?  Should I document the changes to air purity over the past thousand years and cross reference this with a graph showing the increase in population perhaps?  Maybe I need to include a political history, complete with list of the last 10 years worth of import and export figures?

No, I think not.  For one thing, it would bore me rigid to write and therefore, probably bore readers too and secondly, it teeters on the edge of OCD.  Readers have enough imagination and sense to know that stuff isn’t necessary for a work of fiction.  Yes it would make it totally comprehensive but it wouldn’t add anything to the story as a whole.

I’d love to one day publish the Intergalactic Guidebook as an actual book to accompany the series but it would involve massive amounts of artwork and I don’t have the money to pay my hugely talented art guys enough to cover the time they would need to devote to such a project.  Who knows what the future holds though; I may win the lotto one day and then I’ll be emailing them..!

After the hiatus, getting back into the groove

I haven’t been able to write for the past 3 weeks.  This wasn’t because of writers block.  It wasn’t because my imaginative flow decided to flow away.  It wasn’t even because my characters went on holiday without me.  The reason is Mother.  My mother visited me for 3 weeks and that means that all writing stops while she is ensconced within my living room.  Oh she likes books and is proud as punch that I’m writing them, it’s not that.  I read her the draft of my upcoming fourth novel, Changing Faces and she loved it.  I read her the 5 chapters of my fifth novel and she loved them too.  I even read her my two flash fiction stories and she positively gushed.

I just feel self conscious when she’s around and I don’t seem to be able to sink myself low enough into the creative flow when I know she’s lurking 5 feet away doing her cross stitch or soduko.  She also has the annoying habit of peering over my shoulder at the computer when she shuffles past on her way to the kitchen to make a cuppa.  That annoys me and makes me self conscious about what I’m writing and gives me a childish urge to wrap my arms around the pc monitor like a kid in school trying to stop the big ginger kid at the next desk from copying my answers on the math test.

I’m one of those writers who needs silence.  I can’t write to music.  I have tried but I find myself concentrating on the music instead of writing.  My mother is great and she would happily sit and do her cross stitch or puzzles for hours (she does anyway) while I write but she can’t stop nattering.  She can’t seem to go for more than a couple of minutes without making some sort of comment or conversation, about anything at all and the interruptions really take me off my stroke.  From the regular “oh there’s another emergency vehicle siren, you get a lot of them here don’t you?” to the occasional “must pop to the loo, my pills are working,” and everything conceivable in between.  Then there’s the coughing, sneezing and farting..!

No, I need silence to write.  I need to be able to focus my entire mind on maintaining that intuitive link with my characters so that I can hear their voices and take dictation from them accurately (yes that’s right, I don’t write my stories, I just take dictation from my characters.  I’m one of ‘those’ writers). Once I get going, hours can go by without me noticing and I ‘awake’ to find myself sitting in complete darkness at 2am, desperate for a pee and horrified that I have to be up at 6am to go to work.  I sometimes think that the ease with which I switch into my alternative fantasy-reality is what enables me to focus so entirely when I’m writing.  I don’t just invent the people, their lives and the situations, I actually know them and experience them with them.  It’s a total and real connection and if time and my bladder allowed, I’d write for days on end without stopping.

So now mother has gone home and I can get back to it.  Book 4 needs another proof read/edit and book 5 needs more chapters.  My characters have had a well deserved holiday; I just hope they’re back and ready to work..!

The Internet – its power to heal or hurt

I am on facebook every day, for quite a significant amount of time. If I’m not actively working my page, then I’m checking it every half hour or so just in case. Just in case of what I don’t know but facebook is addictive as we all know and, well you have to check your page often don’t you…?

One thing that constantly amazes me is the way people are hurt or offended by the actions or words of other people. It’s as if the general population really do expect everyone to be nice, friendly and helpful all of the time and when they’re not, they’re surprised, hurt and angry. The thing that people just don’t seem to grasp, is that people aren’t nice, friendly and helpful. In fact people are normally the opposite and I’ve found that to expect otherwise is idiotic at best, and downright suicidal at worst. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and the internet revolution has enabled us to be more vindictive than we ever thought possible back in the day when we had to actually converse with people face to face. When I was growing up I had to actually talk to people and if I had a problem with anyone I had to deal with it and them physically. Being a non confrontational sort of person meant I tended to let things slide more often than not but conflicts did occur from time to time and when they did, I had nothing to hide behind. Nowadays the internet allows us all to be brave, pro active and downright aggressive if we desire to be, and the temptation must be extreme if you are the sort of person that has never had the balls to actually confront anyone in person. It’s so easy to be assertive online that anyone can do it.

People are now able to show their true colours like never before and so many are taking full advantage that an average day on facebook is tantamount to going into battle. Each and every day I piss at least one person off and get pissed off by at least another couple. Facebooking is fast becoming a stressful way to spend my spare time. There are so many weird and wonderful people on the internet and the popularity of social networking sites such as facebook make it so easy for these people to make their presence felt. when I was growing up, each town had it’s fair share of weirdos and oddities and they tended to keep themselves to themselves and everyone knew to keep out of their way, but nowadays the internet has given them the opportunity to scream their weirdness to the masses worldwide and they are taking full advantage.

With the ability to create completely false identities, social networking sites allow us to be whomever we want to be without the ever present chance of being found out that we had to worry about back in the day. One can create any number of facebook accounts and every one of your alter egos gets it’s voice heard..! Equally astounding is the fact that so many of these weirdos have entourages of willing and flaccid hangers on who make all the right noises and so encourage the weirdness even further. Many of them are just so weird that they are funny and it is not these that I worry about. The ones that worry me are the ones who use the internet to bully and demean others who may not have the ability to stand up for themselves. I have been bullied a few times on facebook and I admit that at times it has upset me to know that there are people out there who get a kick out of having influence on the emotions of other people without the possibility of a backlash. As time goes on I get more used to it and am able to brush it off more easily these days but I often see others who are obviously terribly upset at something one of their ‘friends’ has said to them. When you don’t have to worry about whether you are going to get a knock on the door, it’s so easy to express your darkest emotions at the expense of another and for every one that disappears off your facebook ‘friend’ list, there are ten others who will agree and laugh with you.

It’s as if we, as a species, are losing the ability to converse naturally. Nowadays we don’t write letters, we don’t phone people and we don’t talk and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if we didn’t soon evolve without mouths at all…! With texting, e mails and now social networking, what use are mouths..? Without the visible feedback from conversing face to face, how can people learn how to behave socially? Human beings are social creatures; we are pack animals and cannot survive alone but today’s lifestyle seems to be trying to make us into solitary creatures. This can only lead to our downfall and at worst, it could mean the breakdown of society in general as we continue to do our interacting virtually and without the instant feedback that physical interaction gives us. I now find myself feeling more at ease communicating via text, e mail or social networking than I do on a face to face basis and that is worrying.

In order to try to counteract this, I have a little thing I do sometimes that helps me. Whenever I have to pop out to the shop I make a pact with myself that I will make myself actually converse with someone, anyone, about anything at all before I get back home. This has become easier over time and now it’s not so much of a problem for me as it was when I first tried it. Even if I just say a couple of words to someone at the checkout, so long as I actually talk and make something resembling a conversation, I go home happy with myself. Conversation is a dying art and I want to try to keep it alive if I can.

So what’s that got to do with being aggressive online..? Well it’s all about being real as opposed to being fake and that’s the relevant point here. Most of us wouldn’t have the nerve to be aggressive to people face to face as quickly as we do online. That’s because when we talk and interact face to face, we have to consider the other person’s feelings and we have to be aware that if they react badly to what we say or do, we may get either embarrassed or hurt or both..! Because most of us are cowards at heart, we don’t want to be embarrassed or punched in the face, so we moderate our language accordingly and that is what is missing when we interact online.

It is human nature to be a bit competitive. We have this inner need to keep up with the Jones’s and be better than the next person but when it’s done online without the usual signals that encourage us intuitively to moderate our language or actions, it quickly and easily gets out of control and that’s when people get hurt. When you are constantly having your feelings hurt by comments online, it can influence how you interact when you do meet people face to face and any reactions you display then influence the other person, who then has their feelings hurt and so they carry that to their own interactions, and so on and so forth. In this way, the social structure of modern society slowly and inexorably begins to crumble until we have de-evolved into the grunting savages that we so proudly proclaim to have left behind.

The one thing that you can never get across online, is the subtle meaning of your words. You may have meant it as a joke, but your written words alone often don’t get such subtleties across and more often than not, people get the wrong end of the stick and take offence even where none was intended. I’ve had this happen to me many times and have learned to make an effort to make sure the intended meaning of what I’m saying, is obvious in my comments. I’ve had my jokes and funny comments taken completely the wrong way and have had irate ‘friends’ sending me angry emails more than once. Conversely, there have been times when someone has pissed me off so much that I have fully intended to piss them off in revenge, but they’ve either refused to take the hint or just ignored it.

It just goes to show that the human ego is a fragile thing and the internet gives us a never before seen opportunity to take advantage of that. Whether we do that with good intentions or bad, is down to each individual at the end of the day but I fear that now the revolution has begun, there’ll be no going back. I fear for our social structure and am noticing more and more that the internet is making me more reclusive each and every day..!

Where’s the Dignity?

I’m not often at home at the right time to watch the Jeremy Kyle show and when I am, most times I don’t bother to watch it. When I do watch it, I find it compulsive viewing for all the wrong reasons. This is the kind of show everyone says they hate but they can’t stop watching it and I’m the same.

I like Jeremy Kyle himself; I like his style and delivery. He’s not like those other talk show hosts who dither and faff around his guests. He tells them direct, he says what we’re all thinking and he takes no prisoners. He’s funny with it and sensitive where and when sensitivity is called for, most of the time. There are times though when he annoys me. Sometimes I feel he goes too far with his aggressive act and there are times when I feel he belittles people just a bit too much.

It is a constant source of amazement to me what people will happily admit to just to get on the telly. Everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame and even if it means you have to admit to having anal sex with your girlfriend’s brother’s friend’s landlord’s dog walker at seven thirty in the evening on the common whilst your eight month old triplets are left alone to fend for themselves for a fortnight, that’s okay so long as you get on the telly! Really, have these people no shame at all? If I’d done anything remotely similar to some of the stuff the folks on this show admit to, I wouldn’t go out of my house for a year and when I finally did, it would be after dying my hair, donning a huge sombrero and enormous sunglasses! Maybe it’s just me being overly shy but where the heck has dignity gone?

Some people say they pay people to over act and make their situations more dramatic than they are already and that may be so, we’ll never know but it certainly is compulsive viewing. I find myself doing what my parents used to do when I was young; what used to make me think of them as right old fuddy duddies. I sit here and shake my head sadly as I say to myself “jeez what has happened to the youth of today.” I now sound like my mother, which is a frightening thought but I have to admit I now finally understand what she meant all those years ago. Sorry mother!

The first tv show of the Jeremy Kyle ilk, was that one run by Robert Kilroy Silk, remember him? Didn’t he vanish from our screens after some kind of scandal? I can’t remember but I loved his show. It was revolutionary at the time and it was great when things got a bit heated and some of the audience started shouting and ranting at each other. We’d never seen such things on our screens before and we were captivated. I will never forget the one where the old guy in the front row didn’t realise his flies were undone and no one else bothered to tell him.

Then we had Vanessa Feltz and her show that ended in scandal after she admitted they paid people to act up to increase the drama. That was a shame as I liked her show alot; her style of interviewing was witty and light. Tricia was another one, although I didn’t like that show as much as the others. She was the first one who was actually qualified to do such a show, as she was a trained psychologist or psychotherapist or something along those lines.

Then along came the American versions of these shows with their loud music and razzamatazz. Oprah, Ricky Lake, the old guy with the blond hair, the black guy with the funny name and the older gal with the glasses, Sally something her name was. The trouble with lots of shows of this type is that they often fall into a pattern of same old same old and not enough variety of topical issues we can all discuss and learn about. With Jeremy Kyle it’s DNA and Lie Detectors, with Ricky Lake it was makeovers and with that black guy it was reunions – too much of the same that quickly gets boring.

The thing that I have learned through watching Jeremy Kyle is that no matter how low my self esteem may get and however dire my material circumstances may become, I have more self respect and dignity in my left earlobe than most of the guests on his show seem to have and just knowing that fact raises my self esteem a few points. There was one episode where a gal wanted Jeremy and his team to help her alcoholic mother to stop having one night stands every night. Jeremy interviewed a tearful mature daughter about her mother’s escapades before announcing the mother and bringing her onto the stage. In walks this pensioner of 62 wearing a far too large sleeveless t shirt, which she then proceeds to raise above her head and give everyone a full frontal view of her naked breasts that were hanging down below her waist. She had no teeth, her face was very wrinkled, she wore no make up and obviously hadn’t shaved her legs in over a decade, but she was somehow able to have one night stands nearly every night after raising a few jars in the local of an evening. If that was my mother, rather than take her on national tv to broadcast her exploits to the world, I’d move to the other end of the country and change my name!

In the old days of Robert Kilroy Silk and Vanessa Feltz, when this type of tv show was a new concept, they discussed things, shared opinions and tossed ideas around but now it’s just ‘hop in, do a DNA test, into the next room for a lie detector and hop out again’. It’s boring now and we’re more than ready for either a change of tactic with these shows or a change of show altogether. These shows no longer stimulate my brain, they don’t make me think about how I’m living my life or whether I’m doing as good for myself as I could be. They just make me angry at my fellow man, embarrassed to be the same species as these numbskulls and sickened by how low my species can sink!

I’ll never join the screaming hoard.

My mother is staying with me at the moment.  She lives in Cornwall and I’m in Hampshire, so we don’t get to see each other that often.  A chance conversation just now has sparked a train of thought that is interesting – to me anyway, as someone who’s ‘into’ people and what makes them tick.

I’m a huge fan of Vin Diesel and more accurately, his character Riddick.  Mother knows this and humours me, although she loves the Fast & Furious series herself.  Anyway, Vin and ‘the crew’ are over here in London at the moment, filming the latest in the FF series – number 6.  One of my facebook contacts lives and works in London and he commented that the set is besieged by hoards of screaming females and this sparked a conversation between mother and I.

Much as I love the big guy, I would never travel to join a throng of a thousand screaming females, be stuck at the back and only see him from half a mile away, not be noticed by him anyway and never get to meet and chat with him at the end of it.  Why?  There are several reasons.  Firstly there’s no point if I can’t get near enough to have a chat, get an autograph or a photo and the slim possibility of seeing my hero as big as a pin head from the back of a crowd of screaming women, really doesn’t blow my skirt up.  Secondly, the fact that I would never get anywhere near would disappoint me if I’d made all the effort to get there and who wants to go and see their hero, only to return feeling disappointment?  Third, and most pertinent of all, I worry that meeting him for real would entail me finding out he’s not worthy of my admiration after all.

Over the time I’ve been a fan, there have been times when Vin’s well publicised behaviour has annoyed and disappointed me and back when facebook pages allowed comments and threads and he interacted with us there, when he behaved like a dick, I told him so.  I have already had my admiration for another male actor smashed to pieces by his own behaviour and I don’t want to lose my love for Riddick by seeing Vin ignoring those of his fans who aren’t seventeen and scantily clad and generally behaving like a arrogant prick.

I’ll stick with my photos and dvd’s and my own vivid imagination – the place where everyone does as I want them to, where I am beautiful and loved.