Tag Archive | interview transcription

How is your cutlery today? …

After reblogging the spoon article I pointed my sister to read it. This led to a very insightful conversation with my sister. It’s not that I thought she didn’t understand my experience just that I was surprised how instinctively she recognized that the spoon explanation is not a perfect metaphor. Even I hadn’t noticed some of the issues it ignores.



So some add-ons to make it cover M.E. that my sister suggested:

  1. the number of spoons you start with in the morning is variable and not always dependent on yesterday’s activities. M.E. seems particularly sensitive to variations in daylight and atmospheric pressure.
  2. activities don’t have a set tariff of spoons i.e. the more tired you are the more spoons a given activity will take. On a good day eating breakfast will cost ‘one spoon’  but on a bad day it might cost ‘3 spoons’.
  3. above a certain number of spoons it is possible to borrow against tomorrow’s allotment however it will cost you more spoons than the activity would usually. i.e., it might cost one spoon to do today but it will reduce your starting total of spoons tomorrow by 3.
  4. under a certain number of spoons borrowing spoons is impossible and attempting to do so will led to a total meltdown of all spoons. It is this trying to borrow against tomorrow that leads to major relapses.

One other thing about M.E. is that your number of spoons varies and it is not always possible to work out how many you are starting with on a given day. I.e. when you first wake up you think it’s a good day and you have lots but by the time you have eaten breakfast you realize that you needed more spoons than usual to complete the activity and so actually must be on a low level of spoons today.



Camp began today! I actually made a good start 🙂 : 2,206 words. I only need 1,667 every day to ‘win’. I had an ‘easy’ chapter today. My new female point of view character, Victoria, is being very helpful and co-operative. Unlike my young male point of view character, Joshua, who keeps trying to go on plot detours despite my remonstrating with him. I think I’ve pacified him for now but I’ve come to dread seeing his name on a chapter heading; hPOe is definitely making me work for my streamlined plot.


Proofreading / editing

You might remember me moaning about transcribing interview over the last couple of days/weeks. Today mum finally submitted her assignment. This meant me having to employ the full range of my proofreading skills. Getting the flow in these experimental papers is really hard. The tight word count makes it tricky to cover everything needed in a succinct but fluent manner. I did manage to teach my mum a new grammar rule: the abbreviations etc., i.e., and e.g., should always be followed by a comma.


Right I will shut up now and go focus on the men’s gymnasts. Yum :-p


Hours Sleep Today so far : – 8 hours in 2 sessions 😐
Headache intensity / pain level : 4.5 😐
Nausea level : 6 😐
Joint / muscle pain : 4 😐
Fatigue : 5 😐
Brain Fog : 3.5 🙂

Tick, tock, tick, tock …

Another day crawls by. I’m signed up for the August camp of National Novel Writing Month. 6 days to go! Time is going too slowly. I haven’t got much writing done – only 74 words today. I can’t really focus on writing when I’m this tired and distracted.


I have got my mum’s transcription done though so that’s one less thing on my agenda. Of course then my sister became a much bigger priority in my life. When one door closes a whopping great big hole in a wall opens.


My sister is doing well – tossing back the painkillers ever 4 hours. I managed to get a bit more sleep today but my body is still resisting me. I’m intending to up my dosage of beta-blockers so hopefully that will help. Still I don’t really mind. Time with my sister is never wasted. Looking after her makes me happy even if it is just watching over her as she sleeps.


A trip to the acupuncturist today means at least my back pain is down to normal levels and my headache reasonable. Dark glasses are still as standard though.


Hours Sleep Today so far : – 5 hours in 2 sessions 😦
Headache intensity / pain level : 3 🙂
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 3 😀
Fatigue : 5.5 😐
Brain Fog : 5.5 🙂

The lurgy monster has targeted our house …

All four of us have been laid up today with headaches and generally feeling awful. My mum and sister are on the cough sweets, Dad and I are tossing the painkillers back.


Despite all this, prior to the brain sucking monster returning, I managed to get a significant piece of writing done. After reading my novel through yesterday, or whenever it was, I realized there are huge chunks of information that I know that the reader doesn’t because the point of view characters don’t. So I was mulling it over last night. Currently I have the details of invasion covered as well as the details of the surveillance covered. But I don’t have any information included on the wider military and political action. So I have created a new point of view character ! A big step since this is a completely new character and therefore I haven’t got any fleshing out work done on her. It is useful though since I can use her to give me inside information from the palace as well as female voice to balance the two current male point of view characters.


Right that’s enough writing talk. I must have done something else with my day right! Hah, not really. I pottered about on the internet, watched a episode of Dexter Series 2 and went to bed for the afternoon. Upon crawling out of bed at 19:00 I simply pottered around on the internet looking at NaNoWriMo forums until I could physically get the energy to chew anything. For dinner I went for scrambled eggs, toast and chopped tomatoes – anything to avoid chewing as much as possible. The painkillers eventually kicked in and so I tackled an hour on my mum’s interview transcription.


Since then I’ve been making the rounds of my internet favourites. I was hoping my new book on writing ‘The Elements of Style’ by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White would have arrived today but sadly not. So I shall patiently ( 😦 ) wait for it to arrive on Monday. Please Mr Postman !
Hours Sleep Today so far : – 11 hours in 2 sessions 😦
Headache intensity / pain level : 6 😦
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 1 😀
Fatigue : 6 😐
Brain Fog : 4.5 🙂

If I only had a non-insulated heart …

For the record four hours sleep is not sufficient for a healthy working day. I was up at 05:30 enjoying the dawn chorus 😦 ; I would much rather have still been asleep. My heart is acting up again. I’ll be lying in bed and it will feel like there is a think layer of insulation around it right in the center of my chest. I get this heavy feeling which feels a bit like indigestion accompanied by that tickle at the back of your throat. Sometimes it even feels like I can feel a value fluttering away in my heart. I’m not even sure that is biologically possible !


Anyway I gave up on lying down and decided to tackle my novel instead. I haven’t been writing the last couple of days and was worried I’d lost my flow. So this morning I read through my novel so far on my Kindle to get back into the rhythm of it. I avoided editing, even though there were some obvious word omission issues. The Superhero Nation articles got me thinking about who my characters are – are they real people or cardboard cut outs? Reading through my novel I feel like they aren’t perfect people so that is okay. But there are some issues with follow-on. The shift from one chapter to the next is quite abrupt. I will have to work on a way to smooth over the transition or key the reader into the change in POV, date and location.


I did manage to write 1607 words today. I think I have the timeline worked out so that I can cover the next set of significant events. Looking at the timeline it is clear I am going to have to go back to the early chapters and add in some details so that it is clear what information is flowing where. I was considering whether I need another POV character to cover the capital and the internal military intelligence situation but I am hoping my main male character will be able to that from now on. So I will have to work out a way for him to be told the information needed in the early chapters.


I managed to do an hour of interview transcription so I only have 20 minutes to go ! 🙂 I still have some commas to check but I am nearing the end of that project. And to cap the day off I won twice at The Settlers of Catan bringing my sister’s benevolent reign to a crashing halt. But mostly whatever I’ve been doing today if I wasn’t writing I wanted to get back to it. I’ve got the writing bug again 😀


Hours of Sleep Today so far : – 7 hours in 2 sessions 😦
Headache intensity / pain level : 6 😦
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 1 😀
Fatigue : 5.5 😐
Brain Fog : 5 🙂

Want to join me for an evening of cancer and gambling? …

I’m not sure what I did today really. I did spend an hour doing my mum’s transcription – 14 minutes completed, only 30 to go !! I then spent a bit of time checking comma usage before I gave up and crawled off to bed. Of course I did spend a bit of time pottering around on the internet. 🙂 I’ve got a regular routine of pages I check through when I get on the computer first thing: Hotmail, Facebook, NaNoWriMo, Superhero Nation, here.


My sister arrived home not long after I got up so we have spent the evening watching DVD’s: The Big C – Season 1 final 4 episodes and Las Vegas disc 3. A good way to spend 6 hours !


I still haven’t got back to reading any fiction yet but I have looked longingly at a few of my favourites. I’m intending to implement The NORTAV Method on a couple of my favourite authors once I get some time, so I have made a ‘little’ pile of them by the TV.


Novel wise I haven’t written anything for a couple of days. I’m trying to work out what I need to do with my male character to make him believable. I’m a bit worried about him being too ‘nice’. I’m thinking I need to have someone read what I’ve written so far and tell me what they make of the characters so far. That way I can gauge whether my image of the characters matches the readers experience of them. My best friend V  said she would help me out with proofreading so I may ask her to be my beta reviewer. I know she is not a big reader, or fan of fantasy so she would be a naive reader to the genre. I might have to find someone familiar with the genre who will be mean to me if I need it.


Hours Sleep Today so far : – 12 hours in 2 sessions 😐
Headache intensity / pain level : 3 🙂
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 1 😀
Fatigue : 5.5 🙂
Brain Fog : 4.5 🙂

Blame the superheroes …

I’ve written 4000 words today. None of them in my novel !! It is that darn website www.superheronation.com. I had a look at their page asking for individuals to write articles for them, just out of curiosity mind you. This was a mistake. You see they have a list of topics they would like articles on and I went and read it. Big, big mistake ! I found a topic where I immediately had some thoughts. I then spent last night unable to escape thinking about it.


I spent my hour to and from the acupuncturist mulling it over in my head. Then I spent 5 hours tonight writing up an outline and fleshing it out. It just happens that this topic coincides with a on-going process I’ve been working through in my own writing. So I am bubbling over with advice on the topic. (I’m keeping the topic a secret for now!)


Well even after all the time spent on it so far it is best not to get my hopes up. I mean it’s not like I’ve got any professional skills, nor any way to prove my knowledge of the field. I’m not a published author or even a professional writer in any form. Well I emailed the site tonight with my outline and an example of my style and we’ll have to wait and see what happens next.


Of course what I should have been doing was transcription for my mum and checking comma usage. Oh well maybe tomorrow. 😦

Hours Sleep Today so far : – 5 hours in 1 session 😦
Headache intensity / pain level : 4 🙂
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 1 😀
Fatigue : 5 😐
Brain Fog : 3.5 🙂

Mind the sinkhole websites …

I spent far too long on the NaNoWriMo forums today. I dragged myself to the dentist to get the last of my fillings, yeah! 🙂 I then spent 4 hours pottering about on the internet when I got back. I should have gone straight to bed but I kept getting sucked into another post ! Worse I found a new website to get sucked in by – www.superheronation.com

The website contains a great set of writing guides which had me absorbed for hours ! I worked my way through:

You can see why I got stuck on the internet for far too long today!

Before I got stuck in the sinkhole of forums I did manage to get some plotting work done on my novel. I went and found a piece of free timeline software which will allow me to keep track of where everyone is across three story arcs. I’m not actually including the villains much in direct text but their actions affect everyone so I need to know what they are doing and when. It is especially useful because I need to know when certain parts of the campaign happen so I know when the news would reach my characters. I can’t have them reacting when it hasn’t happened yet or a week too late ! I don’t think I’ll actually use a date system in my book but it helps me keep track of the time between events i.e. traveling between cities takes time.

I started reading Elizabeth George’s Write Away: One Novelist’s Approach To Fiction and the Writing Life while hanging around at the dentist’s. I’m not very far in but I am enjoying it so far. I really must get back into reading fiction again. I’ve been off the boil for the last week or so. I shall make a determined effort to read a J.D. Robb or Lois McMaster Bujold tonight or tomorrow to keep my hand in. Also I really must get back to doing some Open University work but I still have the interview to transcribe for my mum, boo! 😦 Maybe tomorrow / today I will be more productive.

Hours Sleep Today so far : – 11 hours in 2 sessions 😐
Headache intensity / pain level : 3 🙂
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 1 😀
Fatigue : 5 😐
Brain Fog : 4 🙂

So now you’re back, from inner Bristol …

My sister is back, yeah ! 🙂 Boo 😦 I’m glad she is back ‘cos I have missed her. But I certainly enjoyed my evenings of pottering about on my computer and starting writing my novel at 10 pm rather than midnight. Of course looking over my activity diary for the week I see either blocks of red (high intensity activity) or green (sleep). My sister forces me to stop and watch TV and take a break; otherwise I end up just carrying on all day with no breaks at all.


It’s a genetic flaw. My mum is a work-a-holic. I just enjoy doing the activities so that it doesn’t seem as if I’m ‘working’. Unfortunately with the M.E. my body definitely knows. I’ve had the most horrendous tension headache today – probably brought on by overwork ! I will try better, I will – promise. Don’t believe me? No I don’t either. But I will make the attempt to rein in my need for activity.


So today I achieved:

  • I finally finished the first (! 😦 ) interview transcription for my mum – 7000 words spoken in 45 minutes
  • I got 30 pages done of comma checking. At my current rate I have about 2 1/2 hours left of work to do. I also realized I need to check whether there is a capital after the opening ” in speech since you don’t always need one
  • I surfed the web and discovered NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 😀


I love writing and here I have discovered a place filled with other people who love it too ! 🙂 I was investigating whether the word ‘human’ should be capitalized when describing the human race. Google found me a wonderful forum discussion to inform my thoughts on the topic. I’ve spent a couple of hours early this morning wandering around in the forums amazed at the shared thought patterns of sci-fi writers. I have yet to enter the Fantasy forum.


I’d heard of NaNoWriMo before but not really known what it was or had my brain functioning enough to go find out. It’s an interesting concept but I’m not sure I could do it. I’m on track to write 60,000 words in a month but I’ve been working on the background ideas and plot planning for a very long time. I don’t think I could sit down with a blank page and mind at the beginning of the month and have a novel by the end ! I’ve discovered that I have a slow burn percolation process for developing my worlds and characters. I need time to live with them and get to know them before I’m ready to jump in and start writing a plot that revolves around them.


Although I did just go and get distracted on the forums while writing this post and I found a post that said you are allowed to have an outline and character development – which is all I had when I started this novel a couple of weeks back. So maybe in October (after my exam !) I will join up and use it as a way to write my next (!) novel. Hopefully by then I will be editing this current novel and be ready to start writing another one. I’ve got 3 other almost ready worlds to write about and a possible sequel to this current novel stewing slowly away in the back of my brain. I used to worry I was a one idea writer but now I know I just hadn’t had the right inspirations !


Hours Sleep in 24 hours :
Today so far : – 10 hours in 2 sessions 🙂
Headache intensity / pain level : 6 😦
Nausea level : 2 😐
Joint / muscle pain : 2 😐
Fatigue : 5.5 😐
Brain Fog : 4.5 (but feeling out of sorts) 😐

Well, erm, um, you know – its, erm …

What did I do today? Erm … um. Oh yes I remember – that blasted interview transcription that I am still (!) doing. I am now on 37 minutes. I have 10 minutes left to do, which if I’m lucky I can get done tomorrow. Unfortunately I have yet another interview to start which is also 40 plus minutes, arrhh!


I did a bit of work on my proof reading project. I’m on the final run though. I’ve left the comma usage for last and it is a ball buster. I really struggle with classifying clauses (adverbial, coordinate, dependent, independent) which means when I read the comma rules they are a bit too jargon laden. I’m sure the rule ‘use a comma to separate a adverbial clause from a main clause’ would be perfectly fine if I could work out if my clause is or is not an adverbial clause. Anyway I’m on page 23 of 219 so I expect I may be at this a while.


I then had a nap, after melting my brain with commas. Upon waking up fresh and alert (hah!), I decided that the computer was staying off if I wanted to retain my sanity. But given I was not feeling like any TV I took a chance on the new ebook I bought yesterday called The NORTAV Method for Writers: The Secret to Constructing Prose Like the Pros by A. J. Abbiati. I’ve read up to the middle of Chapter 3. It is a very interesting read. The writing style is very conversational. The jargon is well explained. The diagrams have come out beautifully on the Kindle version. The book comprises the author’s method for analyzing prose construction, basically how sentences can be classified into different types and how they are strung together – ish.


I’ve always struggled with my own writing trying to work out why it doesn’t sound or read the same way as my most admired authors. Jim Abbiati gives us a simple method for classifying types of prose e.g. narration, character observations, reactions, thoughts, actions, and vocalizations. By having a classification system then you can applied it to your favourite author’s work and to your own and compare the differences. It has already given me somethings to chew over to do with implied links between clauses and action and observation clause pairs. If you’re interested in how great authors construct their prose then this method will give you the skills to investigate for yourself.


You might be worried that deconstructing your own prose would harm your writing flow. This is something I’m always nervous about myself. But as the author assures us, studying the mechanics should allow your subconscious mind to pick up a few tricks, even if you don’t use them consciously, just like when you learnt about subjects and verbs back in primary school. Certainly it hasn’t affected my writing flow as I got on with writing Chapter 6 this evening. I’ve got the first scene written which took me quite a long time actually. I had a lot of technical details to work out as I was writing i.e. architecture, sunlight levels, type of music and dance involved in the scene. It’s amazing how much work has to go into even one sentence like ‘it was a vast space, filled with shadows untouched by the fading sunlight’. I keep a very handy reference to sunrise / sunset and moon rise / moon set times ready in my internet browser bookmarks. I have to refer to it almost daily to work out what the light levels would be at any given time in the day in my fictional world – I have picked a real historical date to work from.


If you think you haven’t heard about me doing any Open University studies recently, you would be correct. I know I have to get some work done but I just can’t summon up the enthusiasm. Maybe once I get this transcription stuff out of the way I can dedicate that hour of my day to my studies instead. My problem is given a choice between writing my novel and studying I’ll pick my novel every time !! This despite the fact there is no deadline on my novel but the 5th of September is looming as a fixed deadline for my last piece of coursework before the exam in October. So yes I will be making an effort to get enthusiastic about software development methods, but next week ok.


Hours Sleep in 24 hours :
Today so far : – 11 hours in 2 session 🙂
Headache intensity / pain level : 3 🙂
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 2 😀
Fatigue : 5 🙂
Brain Fog : 4.5 🙂

It’s raining, it’s pouring …

Marion’s the one who’s snoring !!


First off we had the most spectacular thunderstorm today. I was lying prostrate under an array of needles listening to the soothing sound of rain pounding down and for once it wasn’t a CD ! It made the journey home interesting as while there were blue skies by then there was a lot of standing water on the road. On really bad days that particular route is sometimes shut because of flooding so we took it easy and tried to avoid the lakes of water where we could.


After yesterday I would have much preferred not to have left the house today but ho, hum. I spent the car journey there staring at the back of my eyelids pretending I was going to do some story line planning but mostly just trying not to fall asleep. At least the treatment gave me some relief from my headache for a while. I had a good solid nap when I got back but I’m still feeling that in the bone tiredness that comes with the M.E.


Despite that I managed to get another 7 minutes done of my Mum’s transcription, only 17 minutes to go !! (on this recording 😦 ) I’ve also spent a couple of hours doing admin on my novel: writing descriptions for the scenes so that a synopsis can be automatically generated. I then decided to tackle that extra scene for Chapter 5. I’ve written an extra 1755 words which brings Chapter 5 up to 6205 words – about average for my chapters so far. I’m still working on how to end the chapter. I tend to like to have a cliff-hanger or at least some unresolved issue or question so that when I switch away from that character’s plot line the reader wants to keep reading to get back to them. Of course I hope they will want to get to the next character as well to find out what happened from the chapter before last! Well that’s the theory, whether it will work is another matter.


I did invest today in a Kindle copy of The NORTAV Method for Writers: The Secret to Constructing Prose Like the Pros by A. J. Abbiati. You can go here to see his site on the book. Terri Reid (author of  paranormal detective stories) is recommending it on Facebook and as I have taken a recent interesting in all things writing I thought I would give it a go. It is priced at £6.64 so it’s not an arm and leg and it certainly seems interesting from the analysis on his website. I’ll put it at the top of my to be read pile and get back to you about the contents. Hopefully it will be a very useful aid to my writing.


Hours Sleep – today so far : – 13 hours in 2 session 😐
Headache intensity / pain level : 5 😦
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 3 🙂
Fatigue : 6 😦
Brain Fog : 4.5 😦