Tag Archive | Kindle

A nervous nose appears …

I’m creeping nervously back into my old haunts. Given that last time I said I was back I promptly fell off the blogging wagon again I am loath to make an definitive statements this time.

 

Life has been quite an adventure since we last spoke. My dad gave us all a scare when he started losing his sight in his left eye. On Sunday it was hazy by Tuesday he couldn’t see anything out it. Very scary!! It was job to accompany him to various hospital departments. He didn’t have an appointment so we had to hang around for four hours while they squeezed him in. He got a very exciting ultrasound of his eye which was interesting to watch while showed he had blood in the eyeball. They weren’t sure if his retina had detached so he had to come in the next day for more shoe horned appointments. He had his first minor surgery that day to laser the small tears but they could not be sure they had them all. So the next day (Thursday) he had another minor surgery where the next guy up the chained lasered the back of his eye some more. However on the Monday they then dragged him back to drain the blood pool from his eyeball, finish off lasering bits and put in a gas bubble into his eye.

 

For the gas bubble to work effectively to press his retina back against the tissue without scarring Dad was required to stay in one set position for 50 minutes out of ever hour. This meant I had to take over feeding everyone and Mum took over cleaning up after me. It was pretty exhausting standing making dinner every night. I am extremely grateful that Dad is back in working order now. Worse he needed drops put in his eyes every 2 hours for the first week so it was a bit of a strain having to get up and down all the time. It is amazing how quickly 2 hours can pass when you are reading.

 

Because of all this family drama my Open University assignment got put off indefinitely. Finally the final, final deadline was given. Tomorrow the assignment must be in or I fail this course. Thankfully I have had a burst of thinking wellness and have just completed the last question. There is one question where I am extremely dubious about my answer but otherwise I am very pleased with my work. I shall just have to see whether my marks are any good.

 

Right having blown all my brain cells on databases and SQL queries today I am now off to curl up with a good Kindle!

 

Hours Sleep Today so far : – 8 hours in 1 session 😐
Headache intensity / pain level : 1 😀
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 4 😐
Fatigue : 5 😐
Brain Fog : 5 😐

Trying to train a young dog in old tricks …

Wow, I can’t believe it has been 10 days since my last blog. I am struggling to get back into old habits. Partly this is because my laptop was stolen away by my mum for a few days. She needed my Vista since her Windows 8 was not cooperating with her. My other reasons include recovering from major life events.

 

In the UK if you are disabled and need support with your care at home you can apply for a benefit called Disability Living Allowance. This comes in several different levels but in previous years I have been on the lowest rate for the care support and the highest rate for mobility. Basically the highest rate for mobility is not much money but it does include an automatic right to a Blue Badge which gives you access to yellow line parking. So when I reapplied in 2011 it was the expectation that my benefits would be continued as usual though it is always a very process in and of itself. Shockingly I was turned down completely. They seemed to think that I had been cured!! So over the last year we have been going through the appeals process. It finally culminated with a face to face tribunal on Tuesday of last week.

 

The tribunal was three people across a desk from me and my mum. By prior consent I was not told of the date of the tribunal until the day before. This cut out all the days of worrying I would otherwise of wasted my time on. With only 24 hours notice I was in surprisingly calm frame of mind as we arrived. Due to inclement weather the tribunal was running behind but this did not bother me. I had my Kindle with me after all. Still I was pleasingly calm when we finally entered the session some 60 mins after our arrival. The session itself went very well. I tried to follow my mum’s advice to pause and count to 5 before answering. I have a tendency to rush in with an answer that is then usual not entirely accurate. The questions themselves were offered in a very gentle way. I was frightened that I might end up being cross-examined or with hostile questioning but the panel were very mild in their tone. A mere hour later it was all over. We trundled home in the snow to await the result. On Thursday I was informed by post that I was to be awarded the lowest rate care and mobility back dated to the decision in 2011. Yeah!!! 😀

 

This of course would be quite enough of an outing to incapacitate me for a few days but on Thursday I was roused from my prone position to celebrate my sister’s birthday. This was to be a big occasion – not her birthday but the first occasion of meeting her boyfriend of 3 months. We went into the nearby large town to eat at our favourite Greek restaurant. The food was spectacular as usual. We, under strict orders, managed to not embarrass my sister too much. I certainly enjoyed a chance to see her young man in person. He certainly managed to cope with us for one evening to his credit!

 

Now as the new week begins I am still trying to pick myself up from last week. With my Open University assignment due in on Wednesday this week hopefully my brain will start co-operating soon.

 

Hours Sleep Today so far : – 13 hours in 2 sessions 😐
Headache intensity / pain level : 2 😀
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 2 😀
Fatigue : 6 😦
Brain Fog : 5.5 😦

Where’s the Prince for a Reading Beauty? …

I am officially attempting to claw my way out of a Kindle coma. I have read 238 books since the beginning of December. That works out at something like 9 books a day! This is my standard way to deal with stress – retreat into my bedroom with a pile of books or in this case my Kindle.

The main source of my stress has been my mum’s ongoing situation. She had her surgery on Christmas Eve and came home Christmas morning. I was stressed out on the 23rd before we took her into hospital. Mum got a lot of hugs as I hung onto her as she waited out the ticking clock for us to head out. But once we at the hospital it was a calm experience. She was in a  really small ward of 6 beds with 2 nurses. Everyone was really friendly. Mum was very calm about it all so that really helped me be calm as well. Her surgery was uneventful and she enjoyed an evening of rest before coming home to us. Christmas Day was strange with my sister and dad going to get her, then naps all around so that presents weren’t opened until 9pm.

My best presents were the ones I bought and gave. I got two board games that we are now enjoying as a family. The time spent with them is my best Christmas present. I did get a beautiful bracelet from my best friend made with lava from Mount Etna. This way I can have a bit of Sicily with me everyday as a reminder of my best friend’s new adventure abroad. My best friend and I met up for a delicious Indian meal on Saturday. I haven’t been out without a family member since I last saw her in March/April time. We had a wonderful catch up. I look forward to seeing her again in the summer when she gets back from her job.

Hours Sleep Today so far : – 8 hours in 2 sessions 😐
Headache intensity / pain level : 1 😀
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 2 😀
Fatigue : 6 😐
Brain Fog : 5.5 😐

I’ll huff and I’ll puff …

And then I’ll fall over. As part of my family duties as the best oldest sister ever I went along with my family to check out the University of East Anglia yesterday. My sister might apply for a job there and so she wanted to have a look around the campus. So I dressed in as many additional layers as I could and headed out. It is a reasonably long drive from our home. Plenty of time for me to start and finish a medium length novel on my Kindle. Due to evening obligations we had to be back early so this mandated an extremely early start. I am not accustomed to eating breakfast at 07:30 anymore. My school days are long behind me!!

 

The campus itself was inoffensive it was just large. I took my stick and plodded my way round. We had plenty of sit down stops but my feet still felt like I was walking on hot coals. It took 2 hours of lying down before they lost their heat. On the last stretch when I could see the car so near and yet so far away, I thought I might actually be sick my stomach grinding away as I tried to catch my breath. My sister followed this ‘mammoth’ trek with a night at a laser shoot-em up evening. Sort of like paintball but in the dark with lasers. I went to bed and stayed there until my stomach demanded food!

 

So maybe after Christmas I might be losing my sister to grown-up life. Her own rented house and a well paid job while I stay at home and try to convert my father to watching my shows with me. Oh well, she does say she’ll still commute home to watch Strictly Come Dancing with me when that comes round again. Can’t watch couples dancing without someone to critique them with.

 

Otherwise life goes slowly. National Novel Writing Month has so far been a bit of a bust. I just haven’t been able to get to my computer what with all the other activities I’ve had going on. We are still counting the days until my mum gets her news – 4 days. But my headaches have been low and apart from my feet and legs from yesterday I’m not feeling to bad.

 

Hours Sleep Today so far : – 10 hours in 1 sessions 🙂
Headache intensity / pain level : 2 😀
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 5 😦
Fatigue : 5 🙂
Brain Fog : 5 🙂

Winter is coming – hibernation is beginning …

For me hibernation involves curling up with my Kindle and never leaving my bedroom again. I’ve been in major reading mode this last week. My exam on the 12th October was amazing. It was the most relaxed exam I have ever sat. This was mainly because the paper followed a set layout for the questions. So I knew beforehand precisely what sort of answer would be needed for each question so there were no surprises. Of course that doesn’t mean I got the answers right!! Hopefully though I’ve done enough to get over 70% and therefore get a 2:1 on this module.

 

In response to my dropped stress levels my body then went into full ME crash mode. I’ve been having horrendous headaches, nausea, and fatigue.  I’ve therefore been profitably spending my time submerged in my Kindle devouring other writers’ worlds. The highlight of all this reading has been Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series (The Unsung Hero). I’m loving the in-depth, intertwined storylines. The romance is really well drawn and the action believable. I love the storyline of David and Mallory. I’d fall in love with David too. 🙂  Finally the dork gets the girl!

 

In other news, National Novel Writing Month approaches. I have been mulling over my plot issues but am still mostly unresolved on the major issues i.e. the ending!! However I have made progress so once November rolls around I shall begin my plan to rewrite and restructure my novel to actually get into a fit state for consumption by a reader. Given my hibernating state I have not been near my computer for the last week but I shall endeavour to make some progress on character outlines and plot breakdowns in the next few days before November steams around.

 

Hours Sleep Today so far : – 8 hours in 2 sessions 😦
Headache intensity / pain level : 6 😦
Nausea level : 2 😐
Joint / muscle pain : 2 😀
Fatigue : 6 😦
Brain Fog : 6 😦

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 🙂

Watch out for skull burrowing parasites …

It’s too early !! 😦 Why am I awake? Gahh. I managed 6 hours interrupted sleep over night on the heels of yesterday where I only got 3 hours sleep. I had the most horrendous headache yesterday. I felt like some creature had got it’s mouth parts on the back of my head and was trying to chew its way in, while its pointy sharp fingers tried to gouge out my eyes. I made it to an 8 on my headache scale. It was a pleasant couple of hours in the dark !

 

I was trying to get some sleep in as I am well aware 3 hours sleep is a nap not a night’s sleep. However my afternoon nap was doomed to failure and I spent 3 hours lying in the dark staring at the back of my eyelids. Eventually the pain died down enough that I could cope with my bedside lamp on, so I was able to read my Kindle for another hour before my headache eased down to normal proportions.

 

I used my hours in the dark working out an excellent back history to my fictional countries interactions. Combined with my research on rainfall and geography I think I have a solid basis for why one country would be fertile and the neighbouring country have water shortages. I also tried to think out my current outline. When I started I was only planning on one book for the whole story, but it is taking me a lot longer to get through the first section than I thought. Either this is a bad thing and I’m over writing this section or this is a ‘good’ thing and the story actually stands up to being much more in-depth than I originally intended.

 

I think I have 6 sections to my outline and I’m about 2/3rds the way through the first section. Now they may not all be of equal length but if all six sections are 30,000 words plus then my final word count would be 180,000 words plus. Given that I think this first section is going to need at least 2 more chapters I expect this section to come out at a draft word count of apprx. 48,000, which would make the final word count 288,000. Rather long for one novel !!! So I was thinking, in my enforced darkness, that there is a reasonably natural stopping point in the first 1/3rd of section 3 so I could split the whole story in two at that point and depending on how the last few sections write there is a way to make the last section into an entry into a sequel. Anyway thoughts like this keep me happy and entertained while my head feels like it is being chewed open.

 

‘Good’ stories mutate on you as you write them so I’m not totally surprised by this turn of events but I think I am surprised that I had so much depth planned without really realizing it. I think this is mainly to do with the fact that everything has to have a reason. I can’t write it if I don’t know why it is the way it is even if that reason is never explicitly stated in the novel. Which is why I spent some of my three hour contemplation working out why the building I’m using is place where it is geographical which lead to a complex territorial dispute between neighbouring countries in the early formation of their states. I love my subconscious since the details dovetailed nicely with some previous thoughts I had had on history of certain famous figures in my backstory.

 

Hours Sleep Today so far : – 6 hours in 1 session 😦
Headache intensity / pain level : 3 😀
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 3 😀
Fatigue : 5 😐
Brain Fog : 3 🙂

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 😦

Sleep, wherefore art thou? …

It’s too early ! My body is very confused that I actually went to bed before 1 am and thought I was going for a nap not a sleep. So here I am awake at an unearthly hour of the morning. I have managed to get some work done though so that’s a benefit of these extra hours awake.

 

I’m still trying to tackle the use of the comma and other punctuation. I got a grammar guide out from the library to see if reading on paper vs off the screen would help me. I’m not convinced I’m getting the plot any better. I did learn something new about the apostrophe. Apparently if you say “in a weeks time” it should be “weeks’ time” which I did not know so that’s something I’ve learnt.

 

I’m refusing to pay much attention to the use of commas in my own writing; otherwise I would spend most of my writing sessions agonizing over them. I’m a bit worried I’m being overly descriptive in my writing but I can’t seem to stop myself so I will have to rely on a good editor to help me weed out the unnecessary passages. Currently I can justify why I’ve included those passages but perhaps once I get to the end of the novel these early scenes will take on a different weight within the story and I’ll be able to shuffle material about a bit more.

 

I haven’t quite decided if I am finished with Chapter 4 yet. I may add in another scene or I may jump to the next chapter. At the moment the end of each chapter is a jump in time and character viewpoint so far I have ended each shift with a ‘cliff-hanger’ or at least a concern that is not resolved until the middle of the next chapter. I am hoping this creates a desire in the reader to keep reading to find out what the outcome is / was.

 

I’m currently at 24, 732 words precisely ! With a bit of maths I work out that the current word count per chapter multiplied by the current number of chapters gives me a final word count of 136, 000 words. So at least this is going down from 145, 000  on my last calculation. I’m hoping I can get down to at least 100, 000 words by the time I finish. Given that I intend to sell as an ebook length is not a consideration in quite the same way as with a paper book where weight is an issue. However without a tight control on the word count it is easy for books to get flabby. There is nothing worse than getting three quarters of the way into a book and then being dragged through some tedious descriptions when all you want as the reader is to know what happens next.

 

Well I’m off to decide on that extra scene. If you are interested in any of this writing stuff then I have put together some useful resources on the Your Writing page. I’ve included the computer programs I’ve been using, the online grammar sites I regularly end up checking and some free ebooks from Amazon about self-publishing on the Kindle.

 

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